• Bacterial poly-gamma-Glutamic Acid (y-PGA) - a promising biosorbent of heavy metals

      Ogunleye, Adetoro (2015-06)
      Poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) is a biopolymer made up of repeating units of L-glutamic acid, D-glutamic acid or both. γ-PGA is water soluble, non-toxic and biodegradable, and can be used safely in a variety of applications that are increasing rapidly. This study investigated the production of HMW γ-PGA by five Bacillus species (B. licheniformis 1525, B. licheniformis NCTC 6816, B. licheniformis ATCC 9945a, B. licheniformis ATCC 9945a and B. subtilis (natto) ATCC 15245) in GS, C and E media for the removal of heavy metals in wastewaters. The highest γ-PGA yields of 11.69 g/l and 11.59 g/l were produced by Bacillus subtilis (natto) ATCC 15245 in GS medium and medium C respectively. Upon characterization, γ- PGAs with different properties (crystallinity, acid/salt form and molecular weights ranging from 2.56 × 105 Da to 1.65 × 106 Da) were produced. The water soluble, non-toxic, HMW (Mw 1.65 × 106 Da) γ-PGA produced by B. subtilis (natto) ATCC 15245 in medium C was investigated as a sorbent for the removal of heavy metal ions including Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+, Cd2+ and Ag+. The results showed that the removal of metals by γ-PGA was more dependent on the concentration of γ-PGA than the solution pH. The highest metal ions removal of 93.50%, 88.13%, 90.21%, 90.56% and 86.34% by HMW γ-PGA were obtained for Cu2+, Zn2+, Ni2+, Cd2+ and Ag+ respectively. The presence of interfering metal ions could hinder the adsorption of individual metal ions by γ-PGA. The affinities of heavy metal ions for γ-PGA followed the order: Cu2+ > Zn2+ > Ni2+ > Cd2+. The effect of molecular weight of γ-PGA on metal removal was also investigated, and it was found that metal ion adsorption capacity of γ-PGA strongly depended on its molecular weight. The maximum amount (93.50%) of Cu2+ sorbed by HMW γ-PGA was higher compared to that (59.48%) sorbed by LMW γ-PGA. Isotherm models showed that the Redlich-Peterson best described the metal adsorption capacity of γ-PGA. It was also found that a multisite adsorption mechanism occurred via the complexation of metal ions with the free α-carboxyl and possibly the amide functional groups in γ-PGA.
    • Bacterial production of poly-γ-glutamic acid and evaluation of its effect on the viability of probiotic microorganisms

      Radecka, Iza Dr; Bhat, Aditya (University of Wolverhampton, 2012-04)
      Poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) is a naturally occurring biopolymer made up of repeating units of glutamic acid and can be potentially used for multiple applications. This study compared the production of γ-PGA by eight bacteria (B. subtilis 23856, B. subtilis 23857, B. subtilis 23858 B. subtilis 23859, B. subtilis natto, B. licheniformis 1525, B. licheniformis 6816 and B. licheniformis 9945a) in GS and E media. B. subtilis natto and B. licheniformis 9945a have been investigated extensively for γ-PGA production, however, the remaining six have not previously been used. Using the eight bacteria, yields of up to 22.3 g/l were achieved in shake flasks. On characterization, it was observed that γ-PGA with different properties (crystallinity, acid/salt form and molecular weights ranging from 3,000 Da to 871,000 Da) was produced. Production of γ-PGA by B. subtilis natto in GS medium was scaled up using a fermenter and was tested for novel probiotic applications. The survival of probiotics during freeze drying, storage and ingestion was improved by combining them with a γ-PGA matrix. For L. paracasei, 10% γ-PGA protected the cells significantly better (P < 0.05) than 10% sucrose during freeze drying, whereas for B. longum and B. breve, it showed comparable cryoprotectant activity (P > 0.05) to 10% sucrose. This study also demonstrated the potential use of a non-dairy foodstuff (orange juice) for delivery of probiotics. Two Bifidobacteria strains protected with γ-PGA survived significantly better (P < 0.05) in orange juice for 39 days, with a log reduction in viability of less than 2.99 CFU/ml, when compared to unprotected cells, which showed complete loss in viability by day 20. In addition, γ-PGA protection improved survival of Bifidobacteria in a solution mimicking the environment of the stomach. γ-PGA-protected Bifidobacteria showed little (< 0.47 log CFU/ml) or no loss in viability when stored in simulated gastric juice (pH 2.0) for four hours, whereas unprotected cells died within two hours.
    • Balance performance of undergraduate dancers: an evaluation of current and novel approaches in balance testing and training in theatrical dance

      Wyon, Matthew; Clarke, Frances A. (University of Wolverhampton, 2020-08)
      Balance skills are considered essential for dancers as they are required to perform complex, virtuoso movements. However, there is a dearth of evidence on the appropriateness of existing balance tests and training protocols for dancers. The aims of this thesis were to: (a) test sequentially the assumptions of associations between different field balance tests and between dancers’ balance ability and their dance performance, followed by an examination of the relevance of sports functional balance tests on dancers and, building on the first aim, (b) develop a reliable, dance-specific balance scoring tool and testing protocol examining the effects of balance training in a randomised controlled trial. Study 1 assessed associations between five field balance tests: Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), the modified Romberg test, the Airplane test, the BioSway Balance System (Biodex, USA) and a dance-specific pirouette test. Results showed strongest relationships between some (SEBT) reach directions (p<0.01), but very weak to moderate relationships between some balance tests including some SEBT directions, Romberg, Airplane, Biosway, and pirouette (p<0.01 and p<0.05). Study 2 assessed associations between balance ability and dance performance comparing the five field tests from Study 1 to the same participants’ technique and repertoire performance scores in ballet, contemporary, and jazz genres. Results showed a low predictive association of balance ability on dance performance (p<0.01 and p<0.05). The first two studies demonstrated low predictive association between field tests and between balance ability and dance performance, suggesting limitations in the sensitivity of the tests for the dance population. Thus, studies 3 and 4 used a more functional tool to assess its sensitivity towards balance ability of the undergraduate population. Study 3 examined the effects of potential bilateral differences on dynamic postural stability during single-leg landing using a time to stabilisation protocol. Asymmetric training has been suggested in the literature but results showed that bilateral differences did not correlate with dancers’ balance ability; no significant differences were found in dynamic postural stability between the right and left leg and poor effect size was noted. Next, Study 4 examined the effects of fatigue using the same time to stabilisation protocol as Study 3. Fatigue has been associated with injury levels in dancers and balance ability in pre-professional dancers. Results showed that a fatigue condition (Dance Aerobic Fitness Test) had no significant effect on dancers’ postural stability or bilateral differences. Similar to the earlier studies, the functional test protocols in these two studies were limited to basic movements for dancers and lacked the sensitivity to measure variable postural control adaptations. Building on the findings of the first four studies, Study 5 developed a novel Accumulation Balance Score designed to gather data on postural stability and control in a variety of dance-specific settings. Results showed excellent interrater (ICC=0.963) and intrarater (0.992) reliability. Study 6 examined the effects of balance training on postural stability in a randomised trial. To capture postural control data, the Accumulation Balance Score was applied to the data. Results showed effects of training on some balance tasks: time (p=0.048), distance (p=0.004), and in various balances: arms (p=.014), legs (p=.016 and p=.001 and p=.042), and spine (p=.041 and p=.018). Post hoc tests revealed mixed findings between groups. Collectively, the results in this thesis revealed that current balance testing and training may not be functionally relevant for dancers with expertise in organising and patterning balance strategies. In contrast, aspects of novel dance-specific balance training may challenge dancers’ entrained responses, and the reliable Accumulation Balance Score can be applied to more novel approaches and protocols in assessing balance, more closely replicating embodied dance experience with ecological validity. For the first time, postural stability and postural control can be measured together in a balance assessment.
    • Banking regulation and the Basel III Accord: an examination of the risks and shortcomings posed by Basel III

      Haynes, Andrew; Chatterjee, Charles; Jacobs, Lézelle; Barnes, Matthew R. (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-01)
      In 1974 the Committee on Banking Regulations and Supervisory Practices was created and supported by the Bank for International Settlements. It was envisaged that a forum should be created so that regular interaction and co-operation could be achieved by member countries to improve financial stability and to enhance the quality of banking supervision. The aim of this research is to examine the risks and shortcomings posed by Basel III; specifically capital ratios, credit rating agencies and value-at-risk. These are based on the author’s initial research that indicated these to be the most problematic. The research also aims to provide recommendations in order to improve Basel III. Additionally, the research includes Basel I and II to illustrate the developments, problems and milestones to create a wider appreciation of this area. The title of this research is tackled extensively in Chapters 4 and 5 where the risks and shortcomings are considered in the former and recommendations are put forward in the latter. This consists of changes that are taking place or have been suggested. It is argued that there is still much work to do, but there has been significant improvement(s). The main contribution to knowledge and understanding the field in the form of originality is found throughout the research in its treatment of the subject matter and can also be viewed substantially in Chapter 5. The recommendations can be summarised below. Capital Ratios 1. A longer implementation period for liquidity coverage ratio and high quality liquid assets. 2. A longer implementation period for high quality liquid assets in a European context. 3. High quality liquid assets need re-categorisation. 4. The creation of a dedicated liquidity risk management team. Credit Rating Agencies 1. International Organisation of Securities Commissions model and more enforceability through regulators and governments. 2. Tighter regulation through the Basel regulations. 3. The creation of a public credit rating agency. 4. Uniformity on whether agencies offer opinions or advice and more accountability through the Basel regulations. Value-at-Risk 1. Research and investment to improve credit value adjustment value-at-risk. 2. The use of all three conventional approaches - Analytical Variance/Covariance, Historical, and Monte Carlo. 3. Penalising those who manipulate value-at-risk to turn products/positions from high risk to low risk.
    • ‘Behind the scenes’: Stories of grandmothering in the neonatal intensive care unit. An autoethnographic, narrative study

      Holyoake, Dean-David; Paniagua, Hilary; Lumsden, Hilary; School of Allied Health and Midwifery, Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing (University of Wolverhampton, 2022-05)
      This study is concerned with listening to the stories of grandmothers who had a critically ill grandchild in a neonatal intensive care unit. There is a wealth of research on the parents of premature or sick babies, but the parents’ parents are an ignored area in nursing and midwifery literature. In July 2013, my grandson was born seven weeks early and became very unwell on day two of life. This left me questioning what stories other grandmothers would have to tell of having a sick grandchild. As a neonatal nurse, midwife and educator by profession, I felt a duty to explore this neglected area further. Using my own autoethnographic experience as a grandmother as a basis for this study, I interviewed five grandmothers in two inner city neonatal intensive care units in the West Midlands. My position as a grandmother/researcher with my specialist professional antecedents adds a unique insider perspective in this research. Uniquely, I used a theme board to enable me to tell my own story, which then facilitated grandmothers to tell me their own story. From the rich data generated from those narratives, and to allow their stories to breathe, I crafted fictional stories as one stage of the analytical process. A hybrid methodology of performance autoethnography and narrative approaches has been used to explore this hard-to-reach group of women who are silenced when their grandchild is unwell and being cared for in a neonatal intensive care unit. Continuing with a crafts-based analysis, a bricolage of grandmothers’ stories was sewn together creating a patchwork quilt of their words. Their stories tell of ‘getting there’, ‘getting in’ and ‘staying in’. What I discovered was that grandmothers act quietly ‘behind the scenes’, restricted by a ‘border of technology as a barrier’ and emerge as ‘silent heroines’. What grandmothers’ stories tell have the potential to alter the way in which they are seen in the neonatal intensive care unit. I make recommendations for changes in policy and practice to allow these silent heroines to have a voice.
    • Beliefs and attitudes in judo coaching: toward a new model of coaching

      Lane, Andrew M.; Collins, Malcolm D. (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      The purpose of this research programme was to propose a new structure for judo coaching. Judo coaching predominantly uses traditional methods emphasising progression through belts rather than success in competition as the measure of achievement. The research programme examined this issue in four stages involving seven studies. Stage 1 involved a qualitative examination of five elite coaches on what constitutes an effective coach, leading to the initial development of a 39-item judo coaching scale. Given the importance of demonstrating measures are valid, stage 2 investigated the validity of the scale among judo players and coaches. Factor analytic studies on data from 260 (130 coaches and 130 players) yielded a 7-factor solution; 1) Coaching is about winning, 2) Attitudes to coaching at different levels, 3) Attitudes to judo structure, 4) Relationships with players, 5) Presentational issues, 6) Technical knowledge link to coach level, and 7) Coach-player interactions. Multisample confirmatory factor analysis found support for the invariance of the model between coaches and players, thereby showing that relationships are consistent between different groups. Stage 3 used a multi-method approach, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. Responses to the judo coaching scale indicated perceptions of coach effectiveness vary as a function of being a player or a coach, and by level of participation (elite-v-non-elite). Qualitative results emphasise the importance of emotional control, an aspect not focused on in the interviews completed in stage 1. Stage 4 of the research investigated relationships between judo coaching scale scores and emotional intelligence. The study also investigated levels of emotional intelligence between elite and club coaches. High emotional intelligence is associated is proposed to be indicative of being able to manage the emotional states of other people and so should be a desirable quality in coaches. Results show significant relationship between judo coaching scale score and emotional intelligence factors, with further analysis showing that elite coaches reported higher emotional intelligence scores than club coaches. Based on the findings from the studies completed above, a revised judo coaching structure is presented. An elite structure should be based on players having specific performance targets including technical and tactical skills, psychological, and physiological, aligning judo more closely with the structure used in other Olympic sports. Coaches should also be given targets related to developing emotional control among players and instilling players with a self-belief to attain performance targets related to the above. Effective integration and usage of such personnel is required including developing and inculcating sport science knowledge into the practice of elite coaches, and then modifying this knowledge for use in the club system. It is hoped that findings from this research stimulates discussion, and action in the British Judo Association to revise the current system, which could lead to better judo coaching, better players, and ultimately enhanced Olympic success at London 2012.
    • Beliefs and Perceptions in the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among Black sub-Sahara African (BSSA) communities in Birmingham, UK.

      Nyashanu, Mathew. (2017)
      There is ample academic evidence indicating high levels of HIV stigma among BSSA communities. The research suggests that disadvantaged and marginalised social groups like the BSSA communities experience high levels of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. There is a significant amount of quantitative research in the public domain on HIV and stigma. Quantitative research has shown that BSSA communities present late with HIV and sexually transmitted infections often owing to HIV stigma. Currently there is limited published qualitative information on the factors influencing HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities, particularly from the perspective of the communities themselves. This research study explored beliefs and perceptions in the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among Black sub-Sahara African (BSSA) communities in one city in the UK. The Silences Framework, which sits within aspects of feminism, criticalist and ethnicity-based approaches, provided the theoretical underpinning for this study. An exploratory qualitative study methodology was used to identify and explore the key factors influencing the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities. Five focus groups and fifteen one-to-one semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted to collect the data. The institution of Marriage, Religion, Reported HIV statistics, Politics and Immigration, HIV as a Sensitive subject, sexual health professionals Cultural competence, gender stereotyping, Sexual Orientation and Social Media emerged as key pillars underpinning the social scripts associated with the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour. The experiences emanating from the pillars of HIV stigma, identified in this study, showed the impact of social, political and personal contexts associated with specific sexual scripts among the participants impacting on the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour. The 'silences' contained in the socially determined scripts were important in understanding the phenomenon under investigation. The findings from this study were reviewed in light of current sexual health policies and strategies to consider how sexual health professionals and services can best meet the health care needs of BSSA communities. This thesis contributes to current knowledge of HIV stigma and ethnicity, by concluding that the construction of HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities takes place during different contexts of socialization, in a bid to conform to the perceived expectations of society which may be real or imagined. Furthermore, conformity is also influenced by commonly shared and personal appraisal of socially determined relevant issues. These contexts form the bases on which sexual scripts are given meaning and HIV stigma is constructed alongside a socially sanctioned pattern of sexual health seeking behaviour. This study makes an additional contribution in that it is the first time that The Silences Framework has been used to research HIV and stigma among BSSA communities. This research study compliments the currently available pool of quantitative data linking issues of HIV stigma and ethnicity in the United Kingdom. The findings from this exploratory qualitative research study reveal a wide range of critical issues to encourage further qualitative research in the area, while indicating new issues to consider in developing UK based interventions to address HIV stigma and sexual health seeking behaviour among BSSA communities.
    • Beside engagement: a queer and feminist reading of socially negotiated art through dialogue, love, and praxis

      Penzin, Alexei; Sunshine Wong, Yet Chor (2019-04-01)
      This thesis constructs a concept of socially negotiated art as an emergent practice. Displacing a socially engaged art, it uses a methodology of “beside” (Sedgwick, 2003) to explore the affective and corporeal relations that are made, maintained, and transformed as part of the artistic process. The research draws upon queer studies, feminist studies, and affect studies to formulate an embodied criticality that self-reflexively confronts the more difficult dimensions of these art practices. The opening chapter analyses and disrupts a selection of influential concepts that have shaped the understanding of socially “engaged” art. Their “refractions” are interventions on art theories including relational aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2000), participatory art (Bishop, 2012), concatenations of art and revolution (Raunig, 2007), and the continuing avant-garde project (Léger, 2012) through the lens of embodiment. A number of refractions, including counterpublics and disorientation, recur as important anchor points throughout the research. The subsequent three chapters investigate the “relational material” of socially negotiated art. Each one of them breaks down one of its constitutive aspects: dialogue (chapter two), love (chapter three) and praxis (chapter four), which are parameters borrowed from the work of radical educator Paulo Freire. Because of the significant overlap between radical education and socially negotiated art in politics and practice, and because Freire’s pedagogy offers clear demonstrations of situated practice, his writings are used to help centre relations within the context of a socially negotiated art. Ultimately, the three components are unsettled by corporeal and affective proximity: the open inclusivity of dialogue is questioned by intimate, frictive forms like gossip and teasing; the mobilisation of political love multiplies into attachments, body borders, and caring labour; and the transformative urge of praxis is complicated by subjective displacement and situatedness. Together, they present a theoretical articulation of a more peculiar and textured relational material that contributes towards a socially negotiated – rather than engaged – art.
    • Bio-control of root rot disease in vanilla

      Xia-Hong, He (University of Wolverhampton, 2007-12)
      Fusarium oxysporum Schl. var. vanillae (Tucker) Gondon is known to cause root rot in Vanilla planifolia Andrews in most regions where it is grown, including the major plantations in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province of China. This is of serious economic concern to the Province since the vanilla flavouring extractable from the beans of the plant is a valuable food product and an important export commodity. There are no fungicides registered for the control of Fusarium root rot and the only available chemical control methods are ineffective and cause serious contamination of the soil. Breeding for resistance is difficult when no dominant gene is known or where little information is available on fungal pathogenicity. Biocontrol is the main alternative for disease control in this crop, an attractive approach because of increasing concerns for environmental protection. The investigation considers two biocontrol strategies: first the introduction of virulent, antagonistic, non-pathogenic strains, closely-related to the pathogen, to overcome pathogenic populations in infected soils; second the use of essential oils with antimicrobial properties when applied to infected soils. Pathogenicity tests have been done on 81 out of 87 F. oxysporum isolates collected in Yunnan Province. Among these, 32 isolates were non-pathogenic and 49 were pathogenic. The pathogenicity results showed the complexity of F. oxysporum in Yunnan. Seventeen isolates were recovered from the Daluo plantation, of which 14 were pathogenic isolates and 3 non-pathogenic isolates; 26 from the Menglun plantation, in which 12 were pathogenic and 14 were non-pathogenic; 18 isolates from the Manjingdai plantation, in which 12 isolates were pathogenic, whilst the other 6 were non-pathogenic and 20 were obtained from the plantation in Hekou i County, of which 11 were pathogenic isolates and 9 were non-pathogenic. Genetic diversity within this population of F. oxysporum has been investigated with respect to vegetative compatibility and to determine the relationship between VCGs and virulence. The VCG results showed that the 87 strains of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp vanillae isolated from Yunnan Province were complex. They could be distributed into 12 different VCGs and that a direct relationship between VCGs group and virulence could not be drawn. Two non-pathogenic strains, ML-5-2 and HK-5b-4-1, have been screened from 87 strains as candidate biocontrol agents by pathogenicity and VCG, which are self-incompatible and closely related to the pathogens. These two strains were effective in vanilla root rot control in controlled environments, but their effects in field experiments were less conclusive. Seven essential oils, which have long been regarded as having inhibitory effects on pathogens in nature, have also been investigated as biocontrol agents. Three oils, cinnamon oil, thyme oil and clove oil, were effective in inhibiting the growth of pathogen in vitro. These oils may develop into useful components of different management strategies with non-pathogenic strains. For the future, consideration will need to be given to the mechanism(s) of the interaction of the antagonistic components with the soil microbe population and host plant and also to appropriate formulation, to take account of soil type, crop status, cultural practices, environmental and economic factors. Biocontrol methods have considerable potential but must be acceptable to farmers as part of an overall crop management programme.
    • Bioremediation of modelled petroleum-contaminated soils of the Niger Delta and the impact of zeolite augmentation

      Dr. Clive Roberts, Dr. David Hill and Dr. Iza Radecka; Williams ,Joseph (University of Wolverhampton, 2014-04)
      The bioremediation of modelled petroleum oil-contaminated soils of the Niger Delta by a mixed culture of three hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria, Acinetobacter sp, Rhodococcus sp and Pseudomonas sp, was investigated. These bacterial strains were selected based on criteria that they were able to utilize hydrocarbons (hexadecane and sodium benzoate) as the sole source of carbon and energy and were able to show significant growth in crude oil at an optimum temperature of 30oC. For maximal bacterial growth and degradation effective aeration and agitation was required, thus the choice of the shake flask method over the bioscreen growth analyzer for this investigation. The influence of hexadecane concentrations (0.5%, 1.0% and 2.0%) on the bacterial isolates was investigated and it revealed that the Rhodococcus sp because of its different metabolic pathway showed a more rapid growth on hexadecane concentrations as compared Pseudomonas sp and Acinetobacter sp. Amongst the bacterial isolates, Pseudomonas sp exhibited a more rapid growth on 0.5% sodium benzoate while the two others showed minimal growth. Pseudomonas sp Rhodococcus sp and Acinetobacter sp showed a synergistic association when grown on basal salt medium supplemented with 1.0% w/v petroleum crude oil. The influences of a zeolite (clinoptilolite), soil structure and particle size on biodegradation of crude oil in modelled silt-clay and sandy soil of Niger Delta was investigated. Soils from the Hilton site, East-Shropshire, United Kingdom were used for the Niger Delta soils formulation. Geochemical properties of the soil samples from the x-ray fluorescence showed major elements are sodium, magnesium, aluminum, potassium, iron with silicon having high percentage, while x-ray diffraction analysis revealed minerals such as quartz, kaolinite, illite and smectite, which are similar to those of the Niger Delta. The preliminary investigation showed a more rapid and greater extent of apparent oil removal with the addition of both bacterial consortium and clinoptilolite on soil amendment experiments at 30oC for a period of 30 days. There was 79% oil removal by the bacterial consortium in the soil amended with clinoptilolite as compared to 67% in the case of the amended soils without clinoptilolite. Although the addition of both bacterial consortium and clinoptilolite enhanced the removal of the crude oil, however the effect of clinoptilolite may be one of abiotic removal. The soil structure investigation without clinoptilolite augmentation showed that oil removal in the silt-clay soil was significantly greater than that of the sandy II soil after 30 days period (p< 0.0001). There was 72.7% ± 0.8% oil removal by the bacterial consortium in the silt-clay soil as compared to 55.6% ± 0.7% in the case of the sandy soil. However, there was 79.1% ± 0.4% oil removal by the bacterial consortium in the silt-clay soil amended with clinoptilolite as compared to 67.3% ± 0.8% in the case of the amended sandy soils with clinoptilolite. Gas chromatographic profile showed appreciable reductions in hydrocarbon, the rate of which depended upon the particular hydrocarbon. Quantitative analysis of residual oil extract from the silt-clay and sandy soil amended with and without zeolite showed a high rate of degradation for lighter hydrocarbon components (C10– C18) compared to the heavier ones (C24 – C28) by the bacterial consortium. Hydrocarbon components (C10– C18) from both silty-clay and sandy soils amended with zeolite were degraded by the bacterial consortium to 92.1% - 57.7% and 74% - 43.7% respectively, while the soils without zeolite showed degradation rate of 80.4% - 44.8% (silt-clay) and 69.4% - 42.8% (sandy). Hydrocarbon components (C24– C28) from both soils showed an apparent low rate of degradation. The results of this study indicate that the application of the bacterial consortium and clinoptilolite lead to greater rates of biodegradation in the clay soil then in the sandy soil. Studies showed that nutrient addition and aeration both affected the rate of hydrocarbon utilization. The postulated application of selected bacteria in the bioaugumentation of oil contaminated environment in the Niger Delta region was discussed.
    • Body Opera: In Search of the Operatic in the Performance of the Body

      Somerville, Daniel (2014-11-05)
      This interdisciplinary practice-based thesis interrogates the term ‘operatic’ with particular reference to movement. It thereby aims to extract operatic movement from the practice of opera singers and investigate ways to transfer ‘operaticness’ into the bodies of non-singing performers. The research uses Butoh as a model for a non-foundational movement practice (termed herein ‘Body Opera’) and embodiment techniques derived from Butoh, to achieve this transfer of kinaesthetic information. The research was undertaken in part through interviews with opera singers and close observation of opera singers in rehearsal and performance. This process also included the making of sketches of singers in movement, which are included in the thesis and which are regarded as kinaesthetic responses to what was observed. Combining the sketches with embodiment techniques that unlock the movement they contain, the gap between the spectatorial position and the performance maker position is bridged and movement-based practice is created and presented as a component of the thesis, in dialogue with the written component. Furthermore, the spectatorial and researcher positionality are recognised as that of an ‘opera queen’ and this position participates in facilitating the transfer of operaticness from singers to non-singing performers. Operatic movement is identified as that which occurs as a result of the physical restrictions of singing operatically and through the negotiation of those restrictions with the need to convey plot and character, giving rise to non-naturalistic or artificial way of moving. This emphasis on artificiality is theorised as an operatic sensibility akin to queerness. The thesis examines opera through the lens of postmodernism and in particular through a queer theoretical framework. The research analogously applies Butler’s poststructuralist theories concerning performative gender construction to opera and in doing so suggests a reading of opera as potentially queer, gender fluid, subversive and non-normative. This position challenges notions of opera as elitist and pro-establishment. The thesis posits that the operatic is an emergent property that occurs at the intersection of creative practices in opera and which is embodied by singers in performance. The thesis also posits that kinaesthetic empathy provides an explanation for how the operatic is communicated between singers and further suggests that the opera queen is similarly subject to a form of kinaesthetic empathy when listening to opera. The thesis makes a contribution to knowledge through revealing ways in which spectatorial and performance maker positions may be bridged, as well as through suggesting practical ways in which non-singing performers might approach the task of moving operatically. The research therefore contributes to movement practice, but also to opera studies by interrogating the subject of opera from a kinaesthetic perspective that centralises the body and experience of singers in order to understand the art form.
    • Bone health in elite ballet dancers: a multidisciplinary approach

      Patricía Amorim Fernandes, Tânia (2017)
      Background It has been reported that dancers are at greater risk of developing low bone mineral density (BMD) compared to general population; however, some published studies also highlight the positive effects of dance training on bone metabolism. Given the existing controversy, the aim of the current work was a) to investigate bone health status of professional ballet dancers and vocational dance students, and b) to investigate associated factors and mechanisms involved in dancers’ bone health. Design Cross-sectional, longitudinal analysis (2-yrs follow-up) and genetic association studies were conducted on a population which consisted of professional ballet dancers, vocational dance students and controls. Methods The total of 58 professional ballet dancers (66 sex- aged-matched controls), and 152 vocational dance students (96 aged- and sex-matched controls) were screened for BMD status at impact [femoral neck (FN); lumbar spine (LS)] and non-impact sites (forearm). Tanner staging, age at menarche and menstrual status were assessed via questionnaires. Bone mass, nutrition, peak height velocity estimation, energy availability, insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1), oestrogens, growth hormone, and sclerostin serum concentrations were longitudinally measured in a sub-sample of 101 vocational dance students and age- and sex-matched controls. Association between polymorphisms of the Wnt/β-catenin and ER signalling pathways with low BMD were further investigated. Results Female vocational dance students were more likely to display low BMD at the forearm and LS than controls (OR= 0.1; p<0.05 and OR=0.2; p<0.05, respectively); the prevalence of low BMD at the forearm was significantly higher in female professional ballet dancers than controls (37.5% vs. 17.4%, p<0.001). During the follow-up, both female and male vocational dancers revealed significantly lower BMD at impact and non-impact sites (p<0.001) compared to controls. Serum IGF-1 concentrations were significantly increased in vocational dancers compared to controls at 2yrs follow-up (p<0.05), as well as serum sclerostin (p<0.05). Genetic variants at the Wnt/β-catenin and ER signalling pathways were identified as risk factors for low BMD at both impact and non-impact sites. Conclusion Professional dancers and vocational dance students have lower bone health compared to controls. Genetic mechanisms seem to be determinant. It is recommend that dancers performing at elite level should be referred for bone densitometry.
    • Breakthroughs and discoveries in theatre rehearsals: an ethnographic study of Close Quarters

      Prior, Ross W.; Marsden, Robert Michael James (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-12)
      This thesis contributes to the emerging field of rehearsal studies by examining the seldom-analysed (yet oft-referenced) moments of a text based theatre rehearsal where breakthroughs occur that advance the creative process. This thesis presents an original framework through which text-based rehearsal breakthroughs which concentrate primarily on the dynamic between the actor, director and text can be viewed, categorised, and ultimately analysed as ‘The Four Lenses of Breakthrough’. An ethnographic methodology is utilised to analyse data collected from a case study observation of the breakthroughs in the rehearsal period of Kate Bowen’s new play Close Quarters (2018). This thesis sharpens the language used to articulate these moments by creating a practical framework for rehearsal observation and analysis. The Four Lenses created are: (1) individual and small recognition moments that occur; (2) individual discoveries for actors and directors; (3) collective discoveries shared by actors and directors; (4) and, finally, a ‘wow’ moment shared by all, where all the variables coalesce. This thesis builds upon the work of scholars and practitioners whose objective has been to demystify the rehearsal period and to break apart the myth that the rehearsal room is a place of magic, and a mysterious place. With the expansion of rehearsal studies as a field within Western theatre, as well as performance studies since the 1970s, this thesis sits within the critical field of rehearsal studies, and argues for the importance of examining moments of breakthrough in rehearsal. The thesis attests that breakthroughs are unpredictable in a rehearsal period. Even with their ubiquitous occurrence in rehearsals, there is nevertheless a paucity in the literature of explicit analysis of breakthroughs; this thesis also draws together the extant literature as well as offering a new method of analysis.
    • Building query-based relevance sets without human intervention

      Oakes, Michael; Makary, Mireille (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-06)
      collections are the standard framework used in the evaluation of an information retrieval system and the comparison between different systems. A text test collection consists of a set of documents, a set of topics, and a set of relevance assessments which is a list indicating the relevance of each document to each topic. Traditionally, forming the relevance assessments is done manually by human judges. But in large scale environments, such as the web, examining each document retrieved to determine its relevance is not possible. In the past there have been several studies that aimed to reduce the human effort required in building these assessments which are referred to as qrels (query-based relevance sets). Some research has also been done to completely automate the process of generating the qrels. In this thesis, we present different methodologies that lead to producing the qrels automatically without any human intervention. A first method is based on keyphrase (KP) extraction from documents presumed relevant; a second method uses Machine Learning classifiers, Naïve Bayes and Support Vector Machines. The experiments were conducted on the TREC-6, TREC-7 and TREC-8 test collections. The use of machine learning classifiers produced qrels resulting in information retrieval system rankings which were better correlated with those produced by TREC human assessments than any of the automatic techniques proposed in the literature. In order to produce a test collection which could discriminate between the best performing systems, an enhancement to the machine learning technique was made that used a small number of real or actual qrels as training sets for the classifiers. These actual relevant documents were selected by Losada et al.’s (2016) pooling technique. This modification led to an improvement in the overall system rankings and enabled discrimination between the best systems with only a little human effort. We also used the bpref-10 and infAP measures for evaluating the systems and comparing between the rankings, since they are more robust in incomplete judgment environments. We applied our new techniques to the French and Finnish test collections from CLEF2003 in order to confirm their reproducibility on non-English languages, and we achieved high correlations as seen for English.
    • Building the new Europe : soft security and organised crime in EU enlargement

      Haynes, Michael J.; Gachevska, Katerina (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
      This thesis examines the policy and politics of the fight against organised crime in the process of the European Union’s enlargement to Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It covers the period between the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the second Eastern enlargement in 2007 which saw the emergence of a new normative base for international relations and the expansion of the international security agenda focusing on ‘soft security’ issues and threats from weak rather than powerful states. The thesis explores this new ‘soft security’ thinking and investigates its practical application in EU’s policy of building member-states in the New Europe with a focus on the case study of the fight against organised crime in Bulgaria and its EU-guided criminal justice reform. The thesis looks at these developments from both internal and external perspective and focuses on the practicalities of the policy itself such as the development of legislative changes, institutional reform and direct transfer of Western European expertise to Bulgarian institutions. The main findings of the thesis have led to a conclusion which questions the quality and premises of these policies. The thesis argues that the Bulgarian state and the European Union institutions have subscribed to a highly problematic organised crime discourse and agenda which has negatively influenced the quality of their relationship with the Bulgarian electorate.
    • Business ethics: the process of making a moral decision in the workplace

      Knight, Chris (University of Wolverhampton, 2005)
      This research investigates the process of making a moral decision in the workplace, the influences upon it and the nature of its structure. Existing literature is reviewed relating to the nature of a decision, theories of moral philosophy and the psychology of individual moral development and the influence of membership of groups and organisations. Supported by a social constructionist methodology, sixteen informants are inter-viewed and involved in producing a cognitive map of a particular decision which they have made within their employment situation. Their narratives and their maps are then analysed. Four themes emerge relating to gender, emotions, virtues and membership of communities. On gender, general support is indicated of Gilligan's theory relating to ethics of justice (predominantly male) and of care (predominantly female). The process of cognitive mapping highlights the way in which informants tend to include their emotions around their decision as an acceptable influence within the context of the overall situation. At the same time, informants refer frequently to the need to be virtuous in some respect, confirming the key principles of virtue theory. Finally, the decisions shared with the researcher demonstrate that the difficulties of the decisions relate to the influence of being members of different communities and serve to emphasise the tension that often exists between an individual with her personal values and her employing organisation which requires her to conform to behaviour which is underpinned by conflicting values. This research seeks to illuminate the subject in a holistic way, using a qualitative approach and aiming to avoid the compartmentalisation of elements of influences within the whole process of making a moral decision in the workplace, an inevitable result of using the more dominant quantitative methods within current business ethics research. In doing so, it demonstrates that there is no one specific identifiable process and that there are many different ways of making such a decision.
    • Business stategy and organisational performance: an analysis of the Portuguese mould industry

      Rodrigues, Susana C. S. F. (University of Wolverhampton, 2002)
      There is a vast literature on business strategy and organisational performance particularly within an American context. However, little attention has been given to the development of a more complete, integrated and holistic view of the inter-relationships between business strategy, the dynamics of strategy and organisational performance: this is the key aim of this thesis. The current research, attempts, based on Miles and Snow's (1978) strategic typology, to understand the process of business strategy development and the overall implications on organisational performance in the context of the Portuguese mould industry. The purpose is to: " Test the applicability of Miles and Snow's strategic typology to the Portuguese mould manufacturing industry, using a series of cross-sectional studies covering the period from 1980 to 1997 in five tranches. " Test the dynamics of Miles and Snow's strategy types, using longitudinal analysis specifically to explore how business strategy has evolved over the years in response to environmental changes (from 1980 until 1997). " Test the overall implications of the static and the dynamic viewpoint of Miles and Snow's strategy types on organisational performance. Data was collected using a variety of methods including in-depth, face-to-face interviews with top managers, and the development of a highly detailed questionnaire survey instrument conducted in 63 Portuguese mould manufacturing fines. The firms contacted represented 70% of all firms in the sector. The current research reveals that the typology is applicable to the Portuguese mould manufacturing sector. All the four strategy types were reported by top managers with Defenders, Prospectors, Analysers far outnumbering the Reactor strategic type. While many findings were consistent with the typology, some inconsistencies were found and these are suggested to be related to the organisational size of the strategy types in this industry, and its development. The current research findings have also shown that, contrary to the theory expectations, organisations do change their strategy over time. Firms have changed their strategy from Defenders to primarily Analysers. The research also reveals that there are significant differences in organisational performance between types of firms from a cross-sectional perspective, as well as from a dynamic viewpoint. In a constantly changing environment, Prospectors have outperformed Defenders. The conceptual framework - and resultant operational model developed - have proved to be an effective tool in improving our understanding of the complex inter-relationships between business strategy, generic strategy and organisational performance, that will assist managers and economic developers to improve the quality of their decision-making.
    • Can elite male academy players be taught to perform under pressure?

      Devonport, Tracey; Lane, Andy; Nicholls, Wendy; Kent, Sophie (University of Wolverhampton, 2019-04)
      To gain a professional contract in UK academy football, young players must demonstrate an ability to perform under pressure (Larsen et al., 2014). A systematic review was conducted to synthesise findings from applied studies that focus on interventions developed to enhance an individual's ability to cope under performance pressure. Simulation training alongside cognitive-behavioural (CB) workshops was an intervention format that may develop an academy football player’s ability to perform within the highly-pressurised environment of academy football (Bell, Hardy and Beattie, 2013). A limitation of much simulation training that is intended to help individuals perform in highly-pressurised environments is the failure to generate meaningful performance pressure. Similarly, CB workshops can also be limited in their effectiveness due to a failure to identify contextually specific factors that may develop coping skills. Such factors should be embedded within CB workshops to align with the needs of individuals in their respective pressure domain. Moreover, study one of this programme of research aimed to identify meaningful pressure conditioned stimuli, along with factors perceived to be facilitative or debilitative of performance under pressure within academy soccer. The perceptions of pressure, and factors of influence identified within study one were used by academy coaches to inform the design of a contextually specific pressure intervention. Study two, presents and evaluates this pressure training intervention. A mixed-methods approach using quantitative (simulation training data) and qualitative data (interviews with players and reflective diary extracts) provided insight into the effectiveness of the pressure intervention. Findings indicate that simulation training alone could enhance performance under pressure within age groups 11-14 years. Players across all age groups described improvement in confidence, emotional intelligence, meta-cognition, focus and challenge appraisal following the intervention. Future research is warranted to investigate the benefits of simulation training and CB workshops within a larger sample, over-time.
    • Can the empathic underpinning of counselling psychologists detect gelotophobic responses to expressions of joy above non-counselling psychologists and psychology others?

      Danny Hinton; Tracey Platt; Flowers, Trevor A. (University of Wolverhampton, 2021)
      Gelotophobes have a negative attribution bias skewing appraisal of laughter meaning expressions of joy negatively affect interpersonal interactions and could be a barrier to positive outcomes in therapy. This study investigated participants’ perceptions of gelotophobes and non-gelotophobes responding to expressions of joy and examined whether the empathic underpinnings of counselling psychology afforded greater empathy and was a predictive factor in correctly identifying facial affect. This study was a quasi-experimental design employing a quantitative method. Participants (N = 144) consisted of counselling psychologists (CP) (n = 44), non-psychologists (NP) (n = 54), and psychology other (PO) (n = 46). Participants were shown emotional stimuli, pre-coded using Facial Action Coding System (FACS), depicting gelotophobes and non-gelotophobes responding to expressions of joy and asked to identify the emotion from a choice of seven basic emotions. Participants also completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) and the Empathy Quotient (EQ) questionnaires to discern affective and cognitive empathy levels. Results found significant differences in the correct identification, and perception, of non-gelotophobes’ and gelotophobes’ facial affect. CP had significantly higher levels of cognitive empathy and identified significantly more gelotophobe emotional states than NP, but differences with the PO were non-significant. There was also a positive correlation between cognitive empathy and number of emotions correctly identified. Cognitive empathy, however, did not mediate between participant group and correctly identifying gelotophobes’ facial affect; as such, further research is needed to understand these findings. There were also no significant differences in affective empathy. Research highlights factors contributing to gelotophobes’ interpersonal difficulties, a factor in the development of gelotophobia, as well as factors that will facilitate positive therapeutic outcomes.
    • Can web indicators be used to estimate the citation impact of conference papers in engineering?

      Aduku, Kuku Joseph (2019-02-08)
      Although citation counts are widely used to support research evaluation, they can only reflect academic impacts, whereas research can also be useful outside academia. There is therefore a need for alternative indicators and empirical studies to evaluate them. Whilst many previous studies have investigated alternative indicators for journal articles and books, this thesis explores the importance and suitability of four web indicators for conference papers. These are readership counts from the online reference manager Mendeley and citation counts from Google Patents, Wikipedia and Google Books. To help evaluate these indicators for conference papers, correlations with Scopus citations were evaluated for each alternative indicator and compared with corresponding correlations between alternative indicators and citation counts for journal articles. Four subject areas that value conferences were chosen for the analysis: Computer Science Applications; Computer Software Engineering; Building & Construction Engineering; and Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering. There were moderate correlations between Mendeley readership counts and Scopus citation counts for both journal articles and conference papers in Computer Science Applications and Computer Software. For conference papers in Building & Construction Engineering and Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, the correlations between Mendeley readers and citation counts are much lower than for journal articles. Thus, in fields where conferences are important, Mendeley readership counts are reasonable impact indicators for conference papers although they are better impact indicators for journal articles. Google Patent citations had low positive correlations with citation counts for both conference papers and journal articles in Software Engineering and Computer Science Applications. There were negative correlations for both conference papers and journal articles in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. However, conference papers in Building and Construction Engineering attracted no Google Patent citations. This suggests that there are disciplinary differences but little overall value for Google Patent citations as impact indicators in engineering fields valuing conferences. Wikipedia citations had correlations with Scopus citations that were statistically significantly positive only in Computer Science Applications, whereas the correlations were not statistically significantly different from zero in Building & Construction Engineering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering and Software Engineering. Conference papers were less likely to be cited in Wikipedia than journal articles were in all fields, although the difference was minor in Software Engineering. Thus, Wikipedia citations seem to have little value in engineering fields valuing conferences. Google Books citations had positive significant correlations with Scopus-indexed citations for conference papers in all fields except Building & Construction Engineering, where the correlations were not statistically significantly different from zero. Google Books citations seemed to be most valuable impact indicators in Computer Science Applications and Software Engineering, where the correlations were moderate, than in Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, where the correlations were low. This means that Google Book citations are valuable indicators for conference papers in engineering fields valuing conferences. Although evidence from correlation tests alone is insufficient to judge the value of alternative indicators, the results suggest that Mendeley readers and Google Books citations may be useful for both journal articles and conference papers in engineering fields that value conferences, but not Wikipedia citations or Google Patent citations.