Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Asian&nbsp;Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology (ISSN:&nbsp;2457-0125)&nbsp;</strong>aims to publish&nbsp;high quality papers (<a href="/index.php/AJB2T/general-guideline-for-authors">Click here for Types of paper</a>)&nbsp;in all areas of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology. The journal also encourages the submission of useful reports of negative results. This is a quality controlled,&nbsp;OPEN&nbsp;peer reviewed, open access INTERNATIONAL journal.&nbsp;</p> SCIENCEDOMAIN international en-US Asian Journal of Biotechnology and Bioresource Technology 2457-0125 A Novel Method to Produce Cost Effective, Environment Friendly Superabsorbent from Eichhornia crassipes for Improved Water Retention in Soil <p><em>Eichhornia crassipes</em> is considered the worst aquatic weed in the world as it has become a serious threat to the environment and biodiversity hence eco-friendly utilization of this hydrophyte is needed and important. Enhancement of agricultural production to cater for increased food demand is a global challenge which is aggravated by climate change and scarcity of water. Superabsorbent materials have been developed to improve water retention in soil but majority of superabsorbent are synthetic based and non-biodegradable. Therefore, this study is aimed at developing an eco-friendly superabsorbent from <em>E. crassipes</em> in a cost-effective manner and assess its efficacy on improved water retention in soil. <em>E. crassipes</em> was collected from tank nearby Faculty of Applied Sciences, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka and petiole was treated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) followed by microwave irradiation in which reaction conditions were optimized to obtain maximum water absorption and swelling capacity. Prepared superabsorbent was characterized using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), XRD and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Efficacy of the superabsorbent on improved water retention was assessed using normal loam soil. The superabsorbent showed a maximum swelling index of 1276% at KOH concentration of 0.1 moles/l which is attributed to highly porous structure, presence of hydrophilic functional groups in cellulose and hemicellulose, increased number of surface hydrophilic functional groups during the KOH activation process and carboxymethyl cellulose created during microwave irradiation. Water absorption capacity of the superabsorbent is greatly influenced by KOH concentration, reaction time, microwave power and exposure time. Water retention studies in soil showed that superabsorbent has capacity to retain water for 27 days with a slow rate of water evaporation whereas soil samples without superabsorbent showed a high rate of water evaporation retaining water only for 15 days. Findings of this study disclose an innovative method for development of an eco-friendly superabsorbent from <em>E. crassipes</em> in a cost-effective manner excluding toxic chemical reagents which can be used for improved water retention in soil effectively for climate change resilient sustainable agriculture.</p> J. G. Shantha Siri C. A. N. Fernando S. N. T. De Silva ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2020-05-07 2020-05-07 1 10 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230075 The Dynamics of Electrochemicals and Microbial Populations during Anaerobic Treatment of Human Urine in Soil Microbial Fuel Cells <p>The dynamics of electrochemicals and microbial populations during anaerobic treatment of human urine in soil microbial fuel cells (MFCs) were investigated. The experimental MFC was supplemented with daily urine input while the control MFC was without urine. During the treatment process, electrochemical and microbiological parameters in effluent of the urine-supplemented MFC were monitored using standard methods. The pH of the urine increased from 5.70 to 7.16 after 15 days of treatment in the urine supplemented MFC. The concentration of phosphorus, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, total nitrogen and total organic carbon of the urine reduced from 0.76 g/l to 0.07 g/l, 1.91 g/l to 0.17 g/l, 2.24 g/l to 0.09 g/l, 0.14 g/l to 0.003 g/l, 0.08 g/l to 0.00 g/l, 8.25 g/l to 0.74 g/l and 7.10 g/l to 0.53 g/l respectively after 15 days of treatment. Furthermore, Open voltage of the urine supplemented MFC ranged from 5.63 V to 10.34 V while Open voltage of the control ranged from 1.84 V to 5.02 V after 15 days of operation. The population of facultative bacteria (FAB) and strict anaerobic bacteria (SAB) ranged from 64.2 x 10<sup>4</sup> CFU to 36.2 x 10<sup>4</sup> CFU and 21.2 x10<sup>4</sup> CFU to 61.3 x10<sup>4</sup> CFU respectively with time. The urine supplemented MFC performed significantly (p &lt; 0.05) better than the control with respect to voltage output while significantly reduced concentrations of organic carbon, nitrogen and metallic (salt) species were found. Therefore, the soil MFC may be applied as a waste management option to treat human urine while generating electricity before disposal.</p> H. O. Stanley C. J. Ugboma ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2020-05-30 2020-05-30 11 21 10.9734/ajb2t/2020/v6i230076