• Islamic Finance for Poverty Alleviation

      Chuk, T S (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      There is a direct relation between religion and economics. Islamic Finance links the pillars of Islamic faith with financial instruments to produce an ethics based approach to finance. The increasing occurrence of Islamic Financial Institutions worldwide lays the groundwork for Islamic Finance to become a viable ethics based alternative to conventional finance. This thesis outlines the modern origins of Islamic Finance, its distinguishing characteristics and approaches to poverty alleviation in the Middle East and North Africa using the instruments of Islamic Finance to conclude that development approaches under the scope of Islamic Finance are viable.
    • Converting Sweet Sorghum to Ethanol - An Alternative Feedstock for Renewable Fuels

      Waters, Heather (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      The goal of this project was to design an ethanol production process from sweet sorghum for use as a renewable fuel. Sorghum stalks are first harvested and sent through a series of 2 three-roller extractors (70% total efficiency). Extracted juice is pumped to the reactor for preservation and fermentation. Sodium metabisulfite preserves the juice. Ethanol Red (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is the fermentation yeast. Following fermentation, the juice (8% ethanol by mass) is distilled to achieve 90% ethanol. A molecular sieve extracts excess water, resulting in 100% ethanol. Plant wastes accumulate during the process. These wastes are collected, dried, and sold as animal feed for profit. The project economics indicate that the overall process is not currently economically feasible. The net present value (NPV) for the optimum economic situation, assuming a 15 year plant lifetime and 15% interest rate, is -$125 M. Under these circumstances, the ethanol would need to be sold at $44.37 per gallon to break even. To improve this process, further development of methods for increasing juice extraction efficiency should be explored. Additionally, the distillation process could be enhanced with a second distillation column to achieve 95% ethanol prior to using the molecular sieve.
    • Antifungal Compounds Produced in Antagonistic Competition Between Marine Fungi

      Tariq, Muhammad Buchan (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      Competition among fungi has been characteristic of antibiotic relationships between microbes, leading to the discovery of novel antimicrobial compounds. This study observed such antagonistic relationships between marine fungi isolated from coral off the coast of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Competition assays were conducted on these fungal isolates against two chosen competing species on PDA plates. Three fungal isolates were observed to release antifungal compounds inhibiting the growth of the competing species. Methanol extracts were taken from each of the three fungal isolates and ¹H and ¹³C NMR spectra obtained. The three fungi were shown to produce antifungal compounds, not observed in previous studies. 14 fractions were obtained from subjecting the methanol extracts from each of the three fungi to chromatography. The final step remains to test these fractions for antifungal activity leading to the isolation and identification of the antifungal compounds.
    • Identifying Potential Candidate SNP's and Genes Linked to Handedness for Future Study

      Takyar, Ankit (The University of Arizona., 2012)
      The goal was to identify genes for future study that might be linked to handedness for potential candidate gene study. We were able to find 3 major genes through statistically analyzing SNP data within a Genome-wide association Statistical Analysis tool, PLINK. 27 SNPs were chosen based on P-values of below .001, further analysis was done to these 27 SNPs to figure out their gene locus. Using NCBI we found 21 SNPs were within a gene locus. A total of 16 genes were found from the 21 SNPs that were located within a gene locus. Three extra genes were examined since they were located in a gene of interest CTNNA2. The genes found were further screened for high expression in subcortical regions and that have been implicated in neural function or brain development. Out of the 17 genes determined, IRAK2, NRG1, and CTNNA2 adhered to the criteria for screening.