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Article
Vitis vinifera L. Pruning Waste for Bud-Preparations as Source of Phenolic Compounds–Traditional and Innovative Extraction Techniques to Produce New Natural Products
by , , , , , , and
Plants 2021, 10(11), 2233; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants10112233 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Herbal products are now considered among the most important sources of phenolic compounds: the FINNOVER project aimed at the creation and development of sustainable supply chains to extract and use natural biologically active agents. Vitis vinifera is one of the most utilised herbal [...] Read more.
Herbal products are now considered among the most important sources of phenolic compounds: the FINNOVER project aimed at the creation and development of sustainable supply chains to extract and use natural biologically active agents. Vitis vinifera is one of the most utilised herbal products derived from buds and sprouts as polyphenolic food supplements for its homeostatic and astringent properties. This research was aimed to describe the antioxidant capacity and the phytochemical composition of V. vinifera herbal products by the application of spectroscopic and chromatographic fingerprints considering phenolics as potential markers to significantly differentiate traditional preparations (macerates) from innovative extracts obtained by an ultrasound extraction from V. vinifera buds. Two different commercial products were also considered. Flavonols were the most abundant class in ultrasound extracts (45%), while phenolic acids were the most important class in traditional macerates (49%) and commercial bud-preparations (about 50%). This study may support the potential use of V. vinifera bud-products (starting from pruning byproducts) as food supplements to integrate human diet with good amounts of phenolics. Finally, the use of different extraction methods on the same plant material could be an important development to produce innovative herbal products with a phytochemical composition similar to traditional preparations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Extraction and Bioactivity of Plant Natural Products)
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Article
Computational Power of Asynchronously Tuned Automata Enhancing the Unfolded Edge of Chaos
by and
Entropy 2021, 23(11), 1376; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/e23111376 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Asynchronously tuned elementary cellular automata (AT-ECA) are described with respect to the relationship between active and passive updating, and that spells out the relationship between synchronous and asynchronous updating. Mutual tuning between synchronous and asynchronous updating can be interpreted as the model for [...] Read more.
Asynchronously tuned elementary cellular automata (AT-ECA) are described with respect to the relationship between active and passive updating, and that spells out the relationship between synchronous and asynchronous updating. Mutual tuning between synchronous and asynchronous updating can be interpreted as the model for dissipative structure, and that can reveal the critical property in the phase transition from order to chaos. Since asynchronous tuning easily makes behavior at the edge of chaos, the property of AT-ECA is called the unfolded edge of chaos. The computational power of AT-ECA is evaluated by the quantitative measure of computational universality and efficiency. It shows that the computational efficiency of AT-ECA is much higher than that of synchronous ECA and asynchronous ECA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complexity and Evolution)
Article
Multi-Ship Control and Collision Avoidance using MPC and RBF-Based Trajectory Predictions
by , , and
Sensors 2021, 21(21), 6959; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/s21216959 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The field of automatic collision avoidance for surface vessels has been an active field of research in recent years, aiming for the decision support of officers in conventional vessels, or for the creation of autonomous vessel controllers. In this paper, the multi-ship control [...] Read more.
The field of automatic collision avoidance for surface vessels has been an active field of research in recent years, aiming for the decision support of officers in conventional vessels, or for the creation of autonomous vessel controllers. In this paper, the multi-ship control problem is addressed using a model predictive controller (MPC) that makes use of obstacle ship trajectory prediction models built on the RBF framework and is trained on real AIS data sourced from an open-source database. The usage of such sophisticated trajectory prediction models enables the controller to correctly infer the existence of a collision risk and apply evasive control actions in a timely manner, thus accounting for the slow dynamics of a large vessel, such as container ships, and enhancing the cooperation between controlled vessels. The proposed method is evaluated on a real-life case from the Miami port area, and its generated trajectories are assessed in terms of safety, economy, and COLREG compliance by comparison with an identical MPC controller utilizing straight-line predictions for the obstacle vessel. Full article
Article
Improved Mixed-Integer Linear Programming Model for Short-Term Scheduling of the Pressing Process in Multi-Layer Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing
by , and
Mathematics 2021, 9(21), 2653; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/math9212653 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The pressing process is a part of the fabrication process of multi-layer printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing. This paper presents the application of a new mixed-integer linear programming model to the short-term scheduling of the pressing process. The objective was to minimize the [...] Read more.
The pressing process is a part of the fabrication process of multi-layer printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing. This paper presents the application of a new mixed-integer linear programming model to the short-term scheduling of the pressing process. The objective was to minimize the makespan. The proposed model is an improvement from our previous model in the literature. The size complexity of the proposed model is better than that of the previous model, whereby the number of variables, constraints, and the dimensionality of variables in the previous model are reduced. To compare their performance, problems from literature and additional generated test problems were solved. The proposed model was shown to outperform the previous model in terms of computational complexity. It can verify a new optimal solution for some problems. For the problems that could not be solved optimally, the proposed model could find the incumbent solution using much less computational time than the previous model, and the makespan of the incumbent solution from the proposed model was better than or equal to that of the previous model. The proposed model can be a good option to provide an optimal schedule for the pressing process in any PCB industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Applications of Mixed-Integer Linear Programming)
Article
More than Bike Lanes—A Multifactorial Index of Urban Bikeability
by , , and
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11584; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132111584 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The present study aims to deduce bikeability based on a collective understanding and provides a methodology to operationalize its calculation based on open data. The approach contains four steps building on each other and combines qualitative and quantitative methods. The first three steps [...] Read more.
The present study aims to deduce bikeability based on a collective understanding and provides a methodology to operationalize its calculation based on open data. The approach contains four steps building on each other and combines qualitative and quantitative methods. The first three steps include the definition and operationalization of the index. First, findings from the literature are condensed to determine relevant categories influencing bikeability. Second, an expert survey is conducted to estimate the importance of these categories to gain a common understanding of bikeability and merge the impacting factors. Third, the defined categories are calculated based on OpenStreetMap data and combined to a comprehensive spatial bikeability index in an automated workflow. The fourth step evaluates the proposed index using a multinomial logit mode choice model to derive the effects of bikeability on travel behavior. The expert process shows a stable interaction between the components defining bikeability, linking specific spatial characteristics of bikeability and associated components. Applied components are, in order of importance, biking facilities along main streets, street connectivity, the prevalence of neighborhood streets, green pathways and other cycle facilities, such as rental and repair facilities. The mode choice model shows a strong positive effect of a high bikeability along the route on choosing the bike as the preferred mode. This confirms that the bike friendliness on a route surrounding has a significant impact on the mode choice. Using universal open data and applying stable weighting in an automated workflow renders the approach of assessing urban bike-friendliness fully transferable and the results comparable. It, therefore, lays the foundation for various large-scale cross-sectional analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport Sustainability and Resilience in Smart Cities)
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Article
Analysis of Fat and Protein Content in Milk Using Laser Polarimetric Scatterometry
by , , , , and
Agriculture 2021, 11(11), 1028; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11111028 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Monitoring the composition of milk products is an important factor in the management of dairy farms and industry. Information on the quantitative content of milk components is necessary to control milk quality, as well as to optimize dairy cow nutrition and diagnose their [...] Read more.
Monitoring the composition of milk products is an important factor in the management of dairy farms and industry. Information on the quantitative content of milk components is necessary to control milk quality, as well as to optimize dairy cow nutrition and diagnose their clinical condition. The content of fat and protein is considered the main criterion for determining the market value of milk. Increasing the efficiency of dairy production requires the use of inexpensive and compact devices that are capable of performing multicomponent analysis of milk both directly on the farm and in technological lines. We investigated the possibility of fast simultaneous determination of fat and protein content in milk by laser polarimetric scatterometry. The block-diagonal elements of the scattering matrix were measured for a series of commercially produced milk samples with the indicated fat percentage, which were diluted by volume with water. From the measured scattering matrices, the size distributions of fat droplets and casein aggregates were reconstructed. Using the size histograms, the content of fat and protein and protein-to-fat ratio in the studied milk samples are estimated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Sensor Technology to Agri-Food Systems)
Article
Estimation of Maize Photosynthesis Traits Using Hyperspectral Lidar Backscattered Intensity
by , , , , , , and
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(21), 4203; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rs13214203 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
High-throughput measurement of plant photosynthesis ability presents a challenge for the breeding process aimed to improve crop yield. As a novel technique, hyperspectral lidar (HSL) has the potential to characterize the spatial distribution of plant photosynthesis traits under less confounding factors. In this [...] Read more.
High-throughput measurement of plant photosynthesis ability presents a challenge for the breeding process aimed to improve crop yield. As a novel technique, hyperspectral lidar (HSL) has the potential to characterize the spatial distribution of plant photosynthesis traits under less confounding factors. In this paper, HSL reflectance spectra of maize leaves were utilized for estimating the maximal velocity of Rubisco carboxylation (Vcmax) and maximum rate of electron transport at a specific light intensity (J) based on both reflectance-based and trait-based methods, and the results were compared with the commercial Analytical Spectral Devices (ASD) system. A linear combination of the Lambertian model and the Beckmann law was conducted to eliminate the angle effect of the maize point cloud. The results showed that the reflectance-based method (R2 ≥ 0.42, RMSE ≤ 28.1 for J and ≤4.32 for Vcmax) performed better than the trait-based method (R2 ≥ 0.31, RMSE ≤ 33.7 for J and ≤5.17 for Vcmax), where the estimating accuracy of ASD was higher than that of HSL. The Lambertian–Beckmann model performed well (R2 ranging from 0.74 to 0.92) for correcting the incident angle at different wavelength bands, so the spatial distribution of photosynthesis traits of two maize plants was visually displayed. This study provides the basis for the further application of HSL in high-throughput measurements of plant photosynthesis. Full article
Article
Health Status and Barriers to Healthcare Access among “Son-in-Law Westerners”: A Qualitative Case Study in the Northeast of Thailand
by , , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11017; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182111017 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The northeast of Thailand is well-known as a popular destination where many male Westerners marry Thai women and settle down there. However, little is known about their health and well-being. This study aims to explore the Western husbands’ health status and identify barriers [...] Read more.
The northeast of Thailand is well-known as a popular destination where many male Westerners marry Thai women and settle down there. However, little is known about their health and well-being. This study aims to explore the Western husbands’ health status and identify barriers hindering their healthcare access. A qualitative case study was conducted from November 2020 to May 2021. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions with 42 key informants who were involved with social and health issues among these expatriates were carried out. The social determinants framework was adapted for guiding the interviews. Data were triangulated with field notes, document reviews, and researchers’ observations. Inductive thematic analysis was applied. Results showed that most male expatriates who married Thai women in the northeast were in their retirement years and had non-communicable diseases, health risk behaviors, and mental health problems. Most of them did not purchase health insurance and held negative impressions toward Thai public hospitals’ quality of care, which was denoted as the main barrier to accessing healthcare services. Other significant barriers consisted of high treatment costs commonly charged by private hospitals and language issues. While the improvement of healthcare quality and the provision of friendly health services are important, public communication with foreign residents, especially male expatriates, is recommended to increase understanding and improve perceptions of the Thai healthcare systems. A regular population-based survey on the health and well-being of expatriates in Thailand, a cost study of a health insurance package, a survey study on willingness to pay for health insurance premiums, and a feasibility survey exploring the opportunity to establish either voluntary or compulsory health insurance among this group should be undertaken. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migration, Resilience, Vulnerability and Migrants’ Health)
Article
Self-Reporting of Risk Pathways and Parameter Values for Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Slaughter Cattle from Alternative Production Systems by Kenyan and Ugandan Veterinarians
by , and
Viruses 2021, 13(11), 2112; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13112112 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Countries in which foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic may face bans on the export of FMD-susceptible livestock and products because of the associated risk for transmission of FMD virus. Risk assessment is an essential tool for demonstrating the fitness of one’s goods for [...] Read more.
Countries in which foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic may face bans on the export of FMD-susceptible livestock and products because of the associated risk for transmission of FMD virus. Risk assessment is an essential tool for demonstrating the fitness of one’s goods for the international marketplace and for improving animal health. However, it is difficult to obtain the necessary data for such risk assessments in many countries where FMD is present. This study bridged the gaps of traditional participatory and expert elicitation approaches by partnering with veterinarians from the National Veterinary Services of Kenya (n = 13) and Uganda (n = 10) enrolled in an extended capacity-building program to systematically collect rich, local knowledge in a format appropriate for formal quantitative analysis. Participants mapped risk pathways and quantified variables that determine the risk of infection among cattle at slaughter originating from each of four beef production systems in each country. Findings highlighted that risk processes differ between management systems, that disease and sale are not always independent events, and that events on the risk pathway are influenced by the actions and motivations of value chain actors. The results provide necessary information for evaluating the risk of FMD among cattle pre-harvest in Kenya and Uganda and provide a framework for similar evaluation in other endemic settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Foot-and-Mouth Disease Control)
Article
Analysis of a Short-Term and a Seasonal Precipitation Forecast Over Kenya
by , , , , , and
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1371; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/atmos12111371 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Kenya is highly dependent on precipitation for both food and water security. Farmers and pastoralists rely on rain to provide water for crops and vegetation to feed herds. As such, precipitation forecasts can be useful tools to inform decision makers and potentially allow [...] Read more.
Kenya is highly dependent on precipitation for both food and water security. Farmers and pastoralists rely on rain to provide water for crops and vegetation to feed herds. As such, precipitation forecasts can be useful tools to inform decision makers and potentially allow the preparation for such events as drought. This study assessed the predictability of a seasonal forecast (CFSv2) and a short-term precipitation forecast (CHIRPS-GEFS) over Kenya. The short-term forecast was assessed on its ability to predict the onset date of the rainy season, and the skill of the seasonal forecast in predicting abnormal precipitation patterns. CHIRPS-GEFS provided a useful starting point to estimate the onset date, but during the long rains in the southwest, where agriculture is concentrated, differences between the predicted and actual onset dates were large (over 20 days). Assessments for CFSv2 generally displayed lower forecast skill over highlands and coastal regions at a seasonal scale. The CFSv2 forecast skill varied widely over individual months and lead times, but over whole rainy seasons, CFSv2 was more skillful than a random forecast at all lead times in the major agricultural areas of Kenya. This research fills a critical research and application gap in understanding the forecast precipitation skill for onset and sub-seasonal prediction. Full article
Review
The Role of Big Data in Aging And Older People’s Health Research: A Systematic Review and Ecological Framework
by , , , and
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11587; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132111587 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Big data has been prominent in studying aging and older people’s health. It has promoted modeling and analyses in biological and geriatric research (like cellular senescence), developed health management platforms, and supported decision-making in public healthcare and social security. However, current studies are [...] Read more.
Big data has been prominent in studying aging and older people’s health. It has promoted modeling and analyses in biological and geriatric research (like cellular senescence), developed health management platforms, and supported decision-making in public healthcare and social security. However, current studies are still limited within a single subject, rather than flourished as interdisciplinary research in the context of big data. The research perspectives have not changed, nor has big data brought itself out of the role as a modeling tool. When embedding big data as a data product, analysis tool, and resolution service into different spatial, temporal, and organizational scales of aging processes, it would present as a connection, integration, and interaction simultaneously in conducting interdisciplinary research. Therefore, this paper attempts to propose an ecological framework for big data based on aging and older people’s health research. Following the scoping process of PRISMA, 35 studies were reviewed to validate our ecological framework. Although restricted by issues like digital divides and privacy security, we encourage researchers to capture various elements and their interactions in the human-environment system from a macro and dynamic perspective rather than simply pursuing accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health and Sustainability)
Article
Efficacy of Ceftazidime and Cefepime in the Management of COVID-19 Patients: Single Center Report from Egypt
by , , , , , and
Antibiotics 2021, 10(11), 1278; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/antibiotics10111278 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the value of using cefepime and ceftazidime in treating patients with COVID-19. A total of 370 (162 males) patients, with RT-PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19, were included in the study. Out of them, 260 patients were [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to explore the value of using cefepime and ceftazidime in treating patients with COVID-19. A total of 370 (162 males) patients, with RT-PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19, were included in the study. Out of them, 260 patients were treated with cefepime or ceftazidime, with the addition of steroids to the treatment. Patients were divided into three groups: Group 1: patients treated with cefepime (124 patients); Group 2: patients treated with ceftazidime (136 patients); Group 3 (control group): patients treated according to the WHO guidelines and the Egyptian COVID-19 management protocol (110 patients)/ Each group was classified into three age groups: 18–30, 31–60, and >60 years. The dose of either cefepime or ceftazidime was 1000 mg twice daily for five days. Eight milligrams of dexamethasone were used as the steroidal drug. Careful follow-ups for the patients were carried out. In vitro and in silico Mpro enzyme assays were performed to investigate the antiviral potential of both antibiotics. The mean recovery time for Group 1 was 12 days, for Group 2 was 13 days, and for Group 3 (control) was 19 days. No deaths were recorded, and all patients were recovered without any complications. For Group 1, the recovery time was 10, 12, and 16 days for the age groups 18–30, 30–60, and >60 years, respectively. For Group 2, the recovery time was 11, 13, and 15 days for the age groups 18–30, 30–60, and >60 years, respectively. For Group 3 (control), the recovery time was 15, 16, and 17 days for the age groups 18–30, 30–60, and >60 years, respectively. Both ceftazidime and cefepime showed very good inhibitory activity towards SARS CoV-2′s Mpro, with IC50 values of 1.81 µM and 8.53 µM, respectively. In conclusion, ceftazidime and cefepime are efficient for the management of moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 due to their potential anti-SARS CoV-2 activity and low side effects, and, hence, the currently used complex multidrug treatment protocol can be replaced by the simpler one proposed in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibiotics and Therapeutic Agent Prescription in COVID-19 Management)
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Article
Social Networks and E-Loyalty: A New Means of Sports Training during COVID-19 Quarantines
by , and
J. Theor. Appl. Electron. Commer. Res. 2021, 16(7), 2808-2823; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jtaer16070154 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Globally, governments implemented several quarantine periods to attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, people were unable to carry out their daily activities in person, and many began to undertake activities online. Gyms and sports schools were among [...] Read more.
Globally, governments implemented several quarantine periods to attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, people were unable to carry out their daily activities in person, and many began to undertake activities online. Gyms and sports schools were among the economic sectors that were required to physically close their operations at the beginning of these quarantines. Thus, many people stopped exercising and turned to social networks as a form of entertainment. The aim of this study was to demonstrate how consumers found a new form of entertainment in the social networks of gyms and sports schools, which allowed them to be entertained and perform physical exercise at home. In this manner, consumers generated an e-loyalty towards the social networks of the gyms that they previously frequented physically. Thus, based on the e-loyalty of their social networks, gyms were able to identify a mechanism that enabled them to approach their consumers and continue offering a variety of products and services online, taking into account the context of COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Cell Wall Composition of Hemp Shiv Determined by Physical and Chemical Approaches
by , , , , and
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6334; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26216334 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The use of agricultural by-products in the building engineering realm has led to an increase in insulation characteristics of biobased materials and a decrease in environmental impact. The understanding of cell wall structure is possible by the study of interactions of chemical compounds, [...] Read more.
The use of agricultural by-products in the building engineering realm has led to an increase in insulation characteristics of biobased materials and a decrease in environmental impact. The understanding of cell wall structure is possible by the study of interactions of chemical compounds, themselves determined by common techniques like Van Soest (VS). In this study, a global method is investigated to characterise the cell wall of hemp shiv. The cell wall molecules were, at first, isolated by fractionation of biomass and then analysed by physical and chemical analysis (Thermal Gravimetric Analysis, Elementary Analysis, Dynamic Sorption Vapor and Infra-Red). This global method is an experimental way to characterise plant cell wall molecules of fractions by Thermal Gravimetric Analysis following by a mathematical method to have a detailed estimation of the cell wall composition and the interactions between plant macromolecules. The analyzed hemp shiv presents proportions of 2.5 ± 0.6% of water, 4.4 ± 0.2% of pectins, 42.6 ± 1.0% (Hemicellulose–Cellulose), 18.4 ± 1.6% (Cellulose–Hemicellulose), 29.0 ± 0.8% (Lignin–Cellulose) and 2.0 ± 0.4% of linked lignin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Polysaccharides Materials)
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Article
Exploring the Dependence and Influencing Factors of Carbon Emissions from the Perspective of Population Development
by , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11024; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph182111024 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Working towards sustainable population development is an important part of carbon mitigation efforts, and decoupling carbon emissions from population development has great significance for carbon mitigation. Based on the construction of a comprehensive population development index (PDI), this study adopts a decoupling model [...] Read more.
Working towards sustainable population development is an important part of carbon mitigation efforts, and decoupling carbon emissions from population development has great significance for carbon mitigation. Based on the construction of a comprehensive population development index (PDI), this study adopts a decoupling model to explore the dependence between carbon emissions and PDI across 30 Chinese provinces from 2001 to 2017. Then, the stochastic impacts by regression on population, affluence and technology (STIRPAT) model is used to investigate the impact of population factors on carbon emissions. The results show that the decoupling relationship between carbon emissions and PDI has experienced a transformation from expansive negative coupling to expansive coupling and then to weak decoupling at the national level, while some provinces have experienced the same evolutionary process, but the decoupling state in most provinces is not ideal. Sending talent to western provinces and developing low-carbon supporting industries will accelerate carbon decoupling. At the national level, incorporating environmental protection into the existing education system as part of classroom teaching could contribute to carbon decoupling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change)
Protocol
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Untargeted Lipidomics Analysis: Practical Guidelines
by , , , and
Metabolites 2021, 11(11), 713; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/metabo11110713 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
Lipidomics is a newly emerged discipline involving the identification and quantification of thousands of lipids. As a part of the omics field, lipidomics has shown rapid growth both in the number of studies and in the size of lipidome datasets, thus, requiring specific [...] Read more.
Lipidomics is a newly emerged discipline involving the identification and quantification of thousands of lipids. As a part of the omics field, lipidomics has shown rapid growth both in the number of studies and in the size of lipidome datasets, thus, requiring specific and efficient data analysis approaches. This paper aims to provide guidelines for analyzing and interpreting lipidome data obtained using untargeted methods that rely on liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to detect and measure the intensities of lipid compounds. We present a state-of-the-art untargeted LC-MS workflow for lipidomics, from study design to annotation of lipid features, focusing on practical, rather than theoretical, approaches for data analysis, and we outline possible applications of untargeted lipidomics for biological studies. We provide a detailed R notebook designed specifically for untargeted lipidome LC-MS data analysis, which is based on xcms software. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics Data Analysis and Quality Assessment)
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Article
DisA Restrains the Processing and Cleavage of Reversed Replication Forks by the RuvAB-RecU Resolvasome
by , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11323; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms222111323 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
DNA lesions that impede fork progression cause replisome stalling and threaten genome stability. Bacillus subtilis RecA, at a lesion-containing gap, interacts with and facilitates DisA pausing at these branched intermediates. Paused DisA suppresses its synthesis of the essential c-di-AMP messenger. The RuvAB-RecU resolvasome [...] Read more.
DNA lesions that impede fork progression cause replisome stalling and threaten genome stability. Bacillus subtilis RecA, at a lesion-containing gap, interacts with and facilitates DisA pausing at these branched intermediates. Paused DisA suppresses its synthesis of the essential c-di-AMP messenger. The RuvAB-RecU resolvasome branch migrates and resolves formed Holliday junctions (HJ). We show that DisA prevents DNA degradation. DisA, which interacts with RuvB, binds branched structures, and reduces the RuvAB DNA-dependent ATPase activity. DisA pre-bound to HJ DNA limits RuvAB and RecU activities, but such inhibition does not occur if the RuvAB- or RecU-HJ DNA complexes are pre-formed. RuvAB or RecU pre-bound to HJ DNA strongly inhibits DisA-mediated synthesis of c-di-AMP, and indirectly blocks cell proliferation. We propose that DisA limits RuvAB-mediated fork remodeling and RecU-mediated HJ cleavage to provide time for damage removal and replication restart in order to preserve genome integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Article
Hybrid Chelator-Based PSMA Radiopharmaceuticals: Translational Approach
by , , , , and
Molecules 2021, 26(21), 6332; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26216332 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
(1) Background: Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) has been extensively studied in the last decade. It became a promising biological target in the diagnosis and therapy of PSMA-expressing cancer diseases. Although there are several radiolabeled PSMA inhibitors available, the search for new compounds with [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) has been extensively studied in the last decade. It became a promising biological target in the diagnosis and therapy of PSMA-expressing cancer diseases. Although there are several radiolabeled PSMA inhibitors available, the search for new compounds with improved pharmacokinetic properties and simplified synthesis is still ongoing. In this study, we developed PSMA ligands with two different hybrid chelators and a modified linker. Both compounds have displayed a promising pharmacokinetic profile. (2) Methods: DATA5m.SA.KuE and AAZTA5.SA.KuE were synthesized. DATA5m.SA.KuE was labeled with gallium-68 and radiochemical yields of various amounts of precursor at different temperatures were determined. Complex stability in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and human serum (HS) was examined at 37 °C. Binding affinity and internalization ratio were determined in in vitro assays using PSMA-positive LNCaP cells. Tumor accumulation and biodistribution were evaluated in vivo and ex vivo using an LNCaP Balb/c nude mouse model. All experiments were conducted with PSMA-11 as reference. (3) Results: DATA5m.SA.KuE was synthesized successfully. AAZTA5.SA.KuE was synthesized and labeled according to the literature. Radiolabeling of DATA5m.SA.KuE with gallium-68 was performed in ammonium acetate buffer (1 M, pH 5.5). High radiochemical yields (>98%) were obtained with 5 nmol at 70 °C, 15 nmol at 50 °C, and 60 nmol (50 µg) at room temperature. [68Ga]Ga-DATA5m.SA.KuE was stable in human serum as well as in PBS after 120 min. PSMA binding affinities of AAZTA5.SA.KuE and DATA5m.SA.KuE were in the nanomolar range. PSMA-specific internalization ratio was comparable to PSMA-11. In vivo and ex vivo studies of [177Lu]Lu-AAZTA5.SA.KuE, [44Sc]Sc-AAZTA5.SA.KuE and [68Ga]Ga-DATA5m.SA.KuE displayed specific accumulation in the tumor along with fast clearance and reduced off-target uptake. (4) Conclusions: Both KuE-conjugates showed promising properties especially in vivo allowing for translational theranostic use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiopharmaceuticals for PET Imaging 2021)
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Article
Real-Time Fault Detection and Diagnosis of CaCO3 Reactive Crystallization Process by Electrical Resistance Tomography Measurements
by , , , , and
Sensors 2021, 21(21), 6958; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/s21216958 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
In the present research work, an electrical resistance tomography (ERT) system is utilized as a means for real-time fault detection and diagnosis (FDD) during a reactive crystallization process. The calcium carbonate crystallization is part of the carbon capture and utilization scheme where process [...] Read more.
In the present research work, an electrical resistance tomography (ERT) system is utilized as a means for real-time fault detection and diagnosis (FDD) during a reactive crystallization process. The calcium carbonate crystallization is part of the carbon capture and utilization scheme where process monitoring and malfunction diagnostics strategies are presented. The graphical logic representation of the fault tree analysis methodology is used to develop the system failure states. The measurement consistency due to the use of a single electrode from a set of ERT electrodes for malfunction identification is experimentally and quantitatively investigated based on the sensor sensitivity and standard deviation criteria. Electrical current measurements are employed to develop a LabVIEW-based process automation program by using the process-specific knowledge and historical process data. Averaged electrical current is correlated to the mechanical failure of the stirrer through standard deviation evaluation, and slopes of the measured data are used to monitor the pump and concentrations status. The performance of the implemented methodology for detecting the induced faults and abnormalities is tested at different operating conditions, and a basic signal-based alarming technique is developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tomographic Sensors for Industrial Process Control)
Review
The Neurobehavioral Phenotype of School-Aged, Very Prematurely Born Children with No Serious Neurological Sequelae: A Quality of Life Predictor
by , , , , , , , , and
Children 2021, 8(11), 943; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8110943 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
School-aged extremely preterm (EPT) children have multiple specific neurocognitive/behavioral disorders that are often associated with other disorders; this manifests a true neurobehavioral “phenotype” of prematurity. To determine a profile of cognitive/behavioral impairments in a population of school-aged EPT children (7–10 years-old) without major [...] Read more.
School-aged extremely preterm (EPT) children have multiple specific neurocognitive/behavioral disorders that are often associated with other disorders; this manifests a true neurobehavioral “phenotype” of prematurity. To determine a profile of cognitive/behavioral impairments in a population of school-aged EPT children (7–10 years-old) without major disabilities, a cross-sectional study was conducted in five medical centers. An algorithm distributed the study population according to four WISC-IV subtests, five NEPSY-2 subtests, and two variables of figure of Rey. The behavior (SDQ), anxiety (Spielberg STAI-C), and generic QoL (Kidscreen 10 and VSP-A) were also evaluated. The study included 231 school-aged EPT children. Three neurobehavioral “phenotypes” were defined according to their severity: 1 = moderately, 2 = minor, and 3 = unimpaired. In all the profiles, the working memory, perceptual reasoning, as well as mental flexibility, were close to or below average, and their emotional behavior was always troubled. Self-esteem and school-work were the most impacted QoL areas. The unimpaired neurobehavior exhibited emotional behavioral impairment and executive dysfunction. The profile analysis defined distinct outcome groups and provided an informative means of identifying factors related to developmental outcomes. The QoL deterioration is determined by the severity of the three neurobehavioral “phenotypes”, which is defined as well as by dysexecutive and/or behavioral disorders.  Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Neonates)
Article
A High-Performance Database Management System for Managing and Analyzing Large-Scale SNP Data in Plant Genotyping and Breeding Applications
by , , , , , , , and
Agriculture 2021, 11(11), 1027; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11111027 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
A DNA fingerprint database is an efficient, stable, and automated tool for plant molecular research that can provide comprehensive technical support for multiple fields of study, such as pan-genome analysis and crop breeding. However, constructing a DNA fingerprint database for plants requires significant [...] Read more.
A DNA fingerprint database is an efficient, stable, and automated tool for plant molecular research that can provide comprehensive technical support for multiple fields of study, such as pan-genome analysis and crop breeding. However, constructing a DNA fingerprint database for plants requires significant resources for data output, storage, analysis, and quality control. Large amounts of heterogeneous data must be processed efficiently and accurately. Thus, we developed plant SNP database management system (PSNPdms) using an open-source web server and free software that is compatible with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), insertion–deletion (InDel) markers, Kompetitive Allele Specific PCR (KASP), SNP array platforms, and 23 species. It fully integrates with the KASP platform and allows for graphical presentation and modification of KASP data. The system has a simple, efficient, and versatile laboratory personnel management structure that adapts to complex and changing experimental needs with a simple workflow process. PSNPdms internally provides effective support for data quality control through multiple dimensions, such as the standardized experimental design, standard reference samples, fingerprint statistical selection algorithm, and raw data correlation queries. In addition, we developed a fingerprint-merging algorithm to solve the problem of merging fingerprints of mixed samples and single samples in plant detection, providing unique standard fingerprints of each plant species for construction of a standard DNA fingerprint database. Different laboratories can use the system to generate fingerprint packages for data interaction and sharing. In addition, we integrated genetic analysis into the system to enable drawing and downloading of dendrograms. PSNPdms has been widely used by 23 institutions and has proven to be a stable and effective system for sharing data and performing genetic analysis. Interested researchers are required to adapt and further develop the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Applied to Agricultural Products)
Article
Screening Teams of Moral and Altruistic Agents
by
Games 2021, 12(4), 77; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/g12040077 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
This paper studies the problem of screening teams of either moral or altruistic agents, in a setting where agents choose whether or not to exert effort in order to achieve a high output for the principal. I show that there exists no separating [...] Read more.
This paper studies the problem of screening teams of either moral or altruistic agents, in a setting where agents choose whether or not to exert effort in order to achieve a high output for the principal. I show that there exists no separating equilibrium menu of contracts that induces the agents to reveal their types unless the principal either (i) excludes one group from the productive relationship, or (ii) demands different efforts from different preference groups. I also characterize the contract-inducing pooling equilibria in which all agents are incentivized to exert a high level of effort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Learning and Evolution in Games)
Article
Evaluation of Tear Production as Measured by Schirmer Test I in Dogs after Acepromazine and Acepromazine–Methadone Premedication
by , , , , , , , and
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3015; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11113015 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of two commonly used sedation protocols in dogs, acepromazine (ACP) and acepromazine–methadone (ACP–MET) combination, on tear production measured by the Schirmer Tear Test (STT) 1. We hypothesized that both sedation protocols cause [...] Read more.
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of two commonly used sedation protocols in dogs, acepromazine (ACP) and acepromazine–methadone (ACP–MET) combination, on tear production measured by the Schirmer Tear Test (STT) 1. We hypothesized that both sedation protocols cause a reduction in canine tear production for a variable time. Fifteen client-owned dogs were recruited for the study. Each dog was subjected to sedation twice, 2–3 weeks apart, and they were randomly allocated to one of two groups receiving ACP (0.015 mg kg−1) or ACP–MET (0.010 mg kg−1 and 0.2 mg kg−1) intramuscularly. In both eyes, tear production was measured 15 min before sedation (T0) and 20 min (T20 m), 40 min (T40 m), 1 h (T1), 2 h (T2), 4 h (T4) and 8 h (T8), after drug administration. Two-way repeated measures ANOVA, followed by the Bonferroni post hoc test (p < 0.05), showed a significant effect of time (p < 0.0001) and treatment (p < 0.0001). A significant decrease in tear production at T20 m, T40 m, T1 and T2 compared to T0 was observed in the ACP experimental protocol, while in the ACP + MET protocol, this reduction persisted until T8. Comparing the two experimental protocols, no statistically significant differences were observed at T0 or T20 m, and STT 1 values were statistically lower in the ACP + MET than the ACP protocol at the other data points. In the ACP + MET group, at T40 m, 100% of dogs showed STT 1 readings lower than 15 mm/min. This finding is clinically relevant as it can predispose dogs to corneal injuries. The major reduction in tear production due to the ACP + MET protocol proves the need for adequate corneal hydration, particularly to discourage its use in animals with altered tear production. The data obtained provide important information helping clinicians to better manage the drug’s effects on tear production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Article
Analysis of Energy Consumption in Commercial and Residential Buildings in New York City before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by , , , and
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11586; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su132111586 (registering DOI) - 20 Oct 2021
Abstract
This study compares the energy burden of New York City office buildings versus personal residences before and during the stay-at-home period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scope is comprised of employees that, prior to the stay-at-home order, underwent a daily commute to and [...] Read more.
This study compares the energy burden of New York City office buildings versus personal residences before and during the stay-at-home period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scope is comprised of employees that, prior to the stay-at-home order, underwent a daily commute to and from a representative midtown Manhattan office building. Energy consumed by these employees with respect to the office building they work in, their transportation there, and their personal residence was determined using publicly available data. Energy usage and cost per person per day were compared in both remote and in-person work settings. The results of this study demonstrated that remote working conditions consume 39.7% less energy and required less personal expense compared to in-person working conditions. Additionally, the results found that a building occupancy of 65% is where the energy burden shifts from residential to commercial sectors. This study can be a starting point of discussion for businesses regarding staffing of commercial buildings and energy efficiency. Future work on this topic would benefit from having a more robust data set compared to the publicly available data used in this study. Full article

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