Next Issue
Volume 27, March-1
Previous Issue
Volume 27, February-1
molecules-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Molecules, Volume 27, Issue 4 (February-2 2022) – 307 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The coupling of renewable energies with electrochemical water splitting to convert surplus electrical energy into storable and multipurpose hydrogen seems highly desirable. The oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is the anodic half-reaction of water electrolysis and the limiting part due to a high kinetic barrier. Electrode materials (i.e., electrocatalysts) based on scarce and costly noble metals are the best-performing OER catalysts. For large-scale water electrolysis, the use of earth-abundant electrocatalysts with a good OER performance remains a major challenge. Porous metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) can be employed as sacrificial agents to construct efficient nano- and high-surface-area electrocatalysts. This work focuses on nickel-based MOFs for the formation of OER electrocatalysts. View this paper
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Section
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Article
Virtual Screening, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Streptococcus mutans Mediated Biofilm Inhibitors
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041455 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 720
Abstract
Dental caries, a global oral health concern, is a biofilm-mediated disease. Streptococcus mutans, the most prevalent oral microbiota, produces extracellular enzymes, including glycosyltransferases responsible for sucrose polymerization. In bacterial communities, the biofilm matrix confers resistance to host immune responses and antibiotics. Thus, in [...] Read more.
Dental caries, a global oral health concern, is a biofilm-mediated disease. Streptococcus mutans, the most prevalent oral microbiota, produces extracellular enzymes, including glycosyltransferases responsible for sucrose polymerization. In bacterial communities, the biofilm matrix confers resistance to host immune responses and antibiotics. Thus, in cases of chronic dental caries, inhibiting bacterial biofilm assembly should prevent demineralization of tooth enamel, thereby preventing tooth decay. A high throughput screening was performed in the present study to identify small molecule inhibitors of S. mutans glycosyltransferases. Multiple pharmacophore models were developed, validated with multiple datasets, and used for virtual screening against large chemical databases. Over 3000 drug-like hits were obtained that were analyzed to explore their binding mode. Finally, six compounds that showed good binding affinities were further analyzed for ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) properties. The obtained in silico hits were evaluated for in vitro biofilm formation. The compounds displayed excellent antibiofilm activities with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 15.26–250 µg/mL. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Correlation of EDLC Capacitance with Physical Properties of Polyethylene Terephthalate Added Pitch-Based Activated Carbon
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1454; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041454 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 519
Abstract
The electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) has attracted attention by using activated carbon (AC) as an active electrode material with a high power density and high cost-efficiency in industrial applications. The EDLC has been actively developed over the past decade to improve the power [...] Read more.
The electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) has attracted attention by using activated carbon (AC) as an active electrode material with a high power density and high cost-efficiency in industrial applications. The EDLC has been actively developed over the past decade to improve the power density and capacitance. Extensive studies on EDLCs have been conducted to investigate the relation of EDLC capacitance to the physical properties of AC, such as the specific surface area, pore type and size, and electrical conductivity. In this study, EDLC was fabricated with AC, and its capacitance was evaluated with the physical properties of AC. The AC was prepared using petroleum-based pitch synthesized using pyrolysis fuel oil (PFO) with polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The AC based on PFO and PET (PPAC) exhibited high specific surface area and low micropore fraction compared to the PFO-based AC without PET addition (PAC). Furthermore, the reduction of the EDLC capacitance of PPAC was smaller than that of PAC, as the scan rate was increased from 5 to 100 mV s−1. It was determined that the minor reduction of capacitance with an increase in the scan rate resulted from the development of 4 nm-sized mesopores in PPAC. In addition, a comprehensive correlation of EDLC capacitance with various physical properties of ACs, such as specific surface area, pore characteristics, and electrical conductivity, was established. Finally, the optimal properties of AC were thereupon derived to improve the EDLC capacitance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Environmental Materials)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Development and Application of Liquid Crystals as Stimuli-Responsive Sensors
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1453; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041453 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 687
Abstract
This focused review presents various approaches or formats in which liquid crystals (LCs) have been used as stimuli-responsive sensors. In these sensors, the LC molecules adopt some well-defined arrangement based on the sensor composition and the chemistry of the system. The sensor usually [...] Read more.
This focused review presents various approaches or formats in which liquid crystals (LCs) have been used as stimuli-responsive sensors. In these sensors, the LC molecules adopt some well-defined arrangement based on the sensor composition and the chemistry of the system. The sensor usually consists of a molecule or functionality in the system that engages in some form of specific interaction with the analyte of interest. The presence of analyte brings about the specific interaction, which then triggers an orientational transition of the LC molecules, which is optically discernible via a polarized optical image that shows up as dark or bright, depending on the orientation of the LC molecules in the system (usually a homeotropic or planar arrangement). The various applications of LCs as biosensors for glucose, protein and peptide detection, biomarkers, drug molecules and metabolites are extensively reviewed. The review also presents applications of LC-based sensors in the detection of heavy metals, anionic species, gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic substances and in pH monitoring. Additionally discussed are the various ways in which LCs have been used in the field of material science. Specific attention has been given to the sensing mechanism of each sensor and it is important to note that in all cases, LC-based sensing involves some form of orientational transition of the LC molecules in the presence of a given analyte. Finally, the review concludes by giving future perspectives on LC-based sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Advances in Liquid Crystals II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Functional Analysis of Autoantibody Signatures in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1452; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041452 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 630
Abstract
For the identification of antigenic protein biomarkers for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we conducted IgG profiling on high density protein microarrays. Plasma IgG of 96 human samples (healthy controls, osteoarthritis, seropositive and seronegative RA, n = 24 each) and time-series plasma of a pristane-induced [...] Read more.
For the identification of antigenic protein biomarkers for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we conducted IgG profiling on high density protein microarrays. Plasma IgG of 96 human samples (healthy controls, osteoarthritis, seropositive and seronegative RA, n = 24 each) and time-series plasma of a pristane-induced arthritis (PIA) rat model (n = 24 total) were probed on AIT’s 16k protein microarray. To investigate the analogy of underlying disease pathways, differential reactivity analysis was conducted. A total of n = 602 differentially reactive antigens (DIRAGs) at a significance cutoff of p < 0.05 were identified between seropositive and seronegative RA for the human samples. Correlation with the clinical disease activity index revealed an inverse correlation of antibodies against self-proteins found in pathways relevant for antigen presentation and immune regulation. The PIA model showed n = 1291 significant DIRAGs within acute disease. Significant DIRAGs for (I) seropositive, (II) seronegative and (III) PIA were subjected to the Reactome pathway browser which also revealed pathways relevant for antigen presentation and immune regulation; of these, seven overlapping pathways had high significance. We therefore conclude that the PIA model reflects the biological similarities of the disease pathogenesis. Our data show that protein array analysis can elucidate biological differences and pathways relevant in disease as well be a useful additional layer of omics information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Proteomics for Biomarker and Drug Discovery)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Immunomodulatory Properties of Masticadienonic Acid and 3α-Hydroxy Masticadienoic Acid in Dendritic Cells
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1451; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041451 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells, which identify and process pathogens to subsequently activate specific T lymphocytes. To regulate the immune responses, DCs have to mature by the recognition of TLR ligands, TNFα or IFNγ. These ligands have been used as adjuvants to activate [...] Read more.
Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells, which identify and process pathogens to subsequently activate specific T lymphocytes. To regulate the immune responses, DCs have to mature by the recognition of TLR ligands, TNFα or IFNγ. These ligands have been used as adjuvants to activate DCs in situ or in vitro, with toxic effects. It has been shown that some molecules affect the immune system, e.g., Masticadienonic acid (MDA) and 3α-hydroxy masticadienoic acid (3α-OH MDA) triterpenes naturally occurring in several medicinal plants, since they activate the nitric oxide synthase in macrophages and induce T lymphocyte proliferation. The DCs maturation induced by MDA or 3a-OH MDA was determined by incubating these cells with MDA or 3α-OH MDA, and their phenotype was afterwards analyzed. The results showed that only 3α-OH MDA was able to induce DCs maturation. When mice with melanoma were inoculated with DCs/3α-OH MDA, a decreased tumor growth rate was observed along with an extended cell death area within tumors compared to mice treated with DCs incubated with MDA. In conclusion, it is proposed that 3α-OH MDA may be an immunostimulant molecule. Conversely, it is proposed that MDA may be a molecule with anti-inflammatory properties. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
ZnO Nanoparticles of Rubia cordifolia Extract Formulation Developed and Optimized with QbD Application, Considering Ex Vivo Skin Permeation, Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1450; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041450 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 708
Abstract
The objective of the current research is to develop ZnO-Manjistha extract (ZnO-MJE) nanoparticles (NPs) and to investigate their transdermal delivery as well as antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. The optimized formulation was further evaluated based on different parameters. The ZnO-MJE-NPs were prepared by mixing [...] Read more.
The objective of the current research is to develop ZnO-Manjistha extract (ZnO-MJE) nanoparticles (NPs) and to investigate their transdermal delivery as well as antimicrobial and antioxidant activity. The optimized formulation was further evaluated based on different parameters. The ZnO-MJE-NPs were prepared by mixing 10 mM ZnSO4·7H2O and 0.8% w/v NaOH in distilled water. To the above, a solution of 10 mL MJE (10 mg) in 50 mL of zinc sulfate was added. Box–Behnken design (Design-Expert software 12.0.1.0) was used for the optimization of ZnO-MJE-NP formulations. The ZnO-MJE-NPs were evaluated for their physicochemical characterization, in vitro release activity, ex vivo permeation across rat skin, antimicrobial activity using sterilized agar media, and antioxidant activity by the DPPH free radical method. The optimized ZnO-MJE-NP formulation (F13) showed a particle size of 257.1 ± 0.76 nm, PDI value of 0.289 ± 0.003, and entrapment efficiency of 79 ± 0.33%. Drug release kinetic models showed that the formulation followed the Korsmeyer–Peppas model with a drug release of 34.50 ± 2.56 at pH 7.4 in 24 h. In ex vivo studies ZnO-MJE-NPs-opt permeation was 63.26%. The antibacterial activity was found to be enhanced in ZnO-MJE-NPs-opt and antioxidant activity was found to be highest (93.14 ± 4.05%) at 100 µg/mL concentrations. The ZnO-MJE-NPs-opt formulation showed prolonged release of the MJE and intensified permeation. Moreover, the formulation was found to show significantly (p < 0.05) better antimicrobial and antioxidant activity as compared to conventional suspension formulations. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Anticancer Activities of Marine-Derived Phenolic Compounds and Their Derivatives
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1449; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041449 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 811
Abstract
Since the middle of the last century, marine organisms have been identified as producers of chemically and biologically diverse secondary metabolites which have exerted various biological activities including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifouling and others. This review primarily focuses on the marine phenolic [...] Read more.
Since the middle of the last century, marine organisms have been identified as producers of chemically and biologically diverse secondary metabolites which have exerted various biological activities including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifouling and others. This review primarily focuses on the marine phenolic compounds and their derivatives with potent anticancer activity, isolated and/or modified in the last decade. Reports on the elucidation of their structures as well as biosynthetic studies and total synthesis are also covered. Presented phenolic compounds inhibited cancer cells proliferation or migration, at sub-micromolar or nanomolar concentrations (lamellarins D (37), M (38), K (39), aspergiolide B (41), fradimycin B (62), makulavamine J (66), mayamycin (69), N-acetyl-N-demethylmayamycin (70) or norhierridin B (75)). In addition, they exhibited anticancer properties by a diverse biological mechanism including induction of apoptosis or inhibition of cell migration and invasive potential. Finally, phlorotannins 17 and bromophenols 1229 represent the most researched phenolic compounds, of which the former are recognized as protective agents against UVB or gamma radiation-induced skin damages. Finally, phenolic metabolites were assorted into six main classes: phlorotannins, bromophenols, flavonoids, coumarins, terpenophenolics, quinones and hydroquinones. The derivatives that could not be attributed to any of the above-mentioned classes were grouped in a separate class named miscellaneous compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isolation and Characterization of Antioxidants from Natural Sources)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Hemp Seeds of the Polish ‘Bialobrzeskie’ and ‘Henola’ Varieties (Cannabis sativa L. var. sativa) as Prospective Plant Sources for Food Production
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1448; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041448 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
This publication characterizes the nutritional value of the Polish hemp seeds of the ‘Bialobrzeskie’ and ‘Henola’ varieties, including the profile/content of fatty acids and amino acids. Hemp seeds were found to be rich in protein, fat, and dietary fiber. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) [...] Read more.
This publication characterizes the nutritional value of the Polish hemp seeds of the ‘Bialobrzeskie’ and ‘Henola’ varieties, including the profile/content of fatty acids and amino acids. Hemp seeds were found to be rich in protein, fat, and dietary fiber. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) dominated the unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) profile. Their average share within the total fatty acids (FA) was as high as 75%. Linoleic acid belonging to this group accounted for 55% of the total FA. Lipid profile indices (Σ n − 6/Σ n − 3, Σ PUFA/Σ SFA, the thrombogenicity index, the atherogenicity index and the hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic ratio) proved the high nutritional value of hemp oil. Considering the tyrosine + phenylalanine and histidine contents, hemp protein exhibited a great degree of similarity to egg protein, which is known and valued for its high biological value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Industrial Hemp Chemistry and Nutraceutical Perspectives)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Polysaccharide-Rich Red Algae (Gelidium amansii) Hot-Water Extracts Alleviate Abnormal Hepatic Lipid Metabolism without Suppression of Glucose Intolerance in a Streptozotocin/Nicotinamide-Induced Diabetic Rat Model
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1447; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041447 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 479
Abstract
This study was designed to investigate the effects of polysaccharide-rich red algae (Gelidium amansii) hot-water extracts (GHE) on lipid and glucose metabolism in rats with streptozotocin (STZ)/nicotinamide (NA)-induced diabetes. Rats were divided into three groups: NC—normal control group), DM—diabetic group, and [...] Read more.
This study was designed to investigate the effects of polysaccharide-rich red algae (Gelidium amansii) hot-water extracts (GHE) on lipid and glucose metabolism in rats with streptozotocin (STZ)/nicotinamide (NA)-induced diabetes. Rats were divided into three groups: NC—normal control group), DM—diabetic group, and DG—diabetic group supplemented with GHE (5%). The experimental diet and drinking water were available ad libitum for 10 weeks. After the 10-week feeding duration, the body weight, liver weight, total adipose tissue weight, and hepatic TBARS and cholesterol levels were significantly increased, and hepatic glycogen content and adipose lipolysis rate were significantly decreased in the DM group, which could be effectively reversed by supplementation of GHE. However, GHE supplementation could not improve the glucose intolerance in DM rats. It was interesting to note that GHE supplementation could decrease the liver glucose-6-phosphotase activity, which was increased in DM rats. Taken together, these results suggested that GHE feeding may ameliorate abnormal hepatic lipid metabolism, but not glucose intolerance, in diabetic rats induced by STZ/NA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Their Pharmaceutical Properties)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Production of Large-Ring Cyclodextrins by Amylomaltases
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1446; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041446 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Amylomaltase is a well-known glucan transferase that can produce large ring cyclodextrins (LR-CDs) or so-called cycloamyloses via cyclization reaction. Amylomaltases have been found in several microorganisms and their optimum temperatures are generally around 60–70 °C for thermostable amylomaltases and 30–45 °C for the [...] Read more.
Amylomaltase is a well-known glucan transferase that can produce large ring cyclodextrins (LR-CDs) or so-called cycloamyloses via cyclization reaction. Amylomaltases have been found in several microorganisms and their optimum temperatures are generally around 60–70 °C for thermostable amylomaltases and 30–45 °C for the enzymes from mesophilic bacteria and plants. The optimum pHs for mesophilic amylomaltases are around pH 6.0–7.0, while the thermostable amylomaltases are generally active at more acidic conditions. Size of LR-CDs depends on the source of amylomaltases and the reaction conditions including pH, temperature, incubation time, and substrate. For example, in the case of amylomaltase from Corynebacterium glutamicum, LR-CD productions at alkaline pH or at a long incubation time favored products with a low degree of polymerization. In this review, we explore the synthesis of LR-CDs by amylomaltases, structural information of amylomaltases, as well as current applications of LR-CDs and amylomaltases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Untargeted Metabolomics Analysis Revealed the Major Metabolites in the Seeds of four Polygonatum Species
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1445; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041445 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 584
Abstract
Most Polygonatum species are widely used in China as a source of medicine and food. In this study, a UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS system was used to conduct an untargeted metabolomics analysis and compare the classes and relative contents of metabolites in the seeds of four [...] Read more.
Most Polygonatum species are widely used in China as a source of medicine and food. In this study, a UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS system was used to conduct an untargeted metabolomics analysis and compare the classes and relative contents of metabolites in the seeds of four Polygonatum species: P. sibiricum (Ps), P. cyrtonema (Pc), P. kingianum (Pk), and P. macropodium (Pm). The objectives of this study were to clarify the metabolic profiles of these seeds and to verify their medicinal and nutritional value via comparative analyses. A total of 873 metabolites were identified, including 185 flavonoids, 127 lipids, 105 phenolic acids, and 36 steroids. The comparative analysis of metabolites among Polygonatum seed samples indicated that flavonoids, steroids, and terpenoids were the main differentially abundant compounds. The results of principal component analysis and hierarchical clustering were consistent indicating that the metabolites in Ps and Pm are similar, but differ greatly from Pc and Pk. The data generated in this study provide additional evidence of the utility of Polygonatum seeds for producing food and medicine. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Brief Report
Optimization of Extraction Conditions of Carotenoids from Dunaliella parva by Response Surface Methodology
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041444 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 460
Abstract
Extraction conditions can exert a remarkable influence on extraction efficiency. The aim of this study was to improve the extraction efficiency of carotenoids from Dunaliella parva (D. parva). Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and 95% ethanol were used as the extraction solvents. The [...] Read more.
Extraction conditions can exert a remarkable influence on extraction efficiency. The aim of this study was to improve the extraction efficiency of carotenoids from Dunaliella parva (D. parva). Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and 95% ethanol were used as the extraction solvents. The extraction time, extraction temperature and the proportions of mixed solvent were taken as influencing factors, and the experimental scheme was determined by Central Composite Design (CCD) of Design Expert 10.0.4.0 to optimize the extraction process of carotenoids from D. parva. The absorbance values of the extract at 665 nm, 649 nm and 480 nm were determined by a microplate spectrophotometer, and the extraction efficiency of carotenoids was calculated. Analyses of the model fitting degree, variance and interaction term 3D surface were performed by response surface analysis. The optimal extraction conditions were as follows: extraction time of 20 min, extraction temperature of 40 °C, and a mixed solvent ratio (DMSO: 95% ethanol) of 3.64:1. Under the optimal conditions, the actual extraction efficiency of carotenoids was 0.0464%, which was increased by 18.19% (the initial extraction efficiency of 0.03926%) with a lower extraction temperature (i.e., lower energy consumption) compared to the standard protocol. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
CNSL, a Promising Building Blocks for Sustainable Molecular Design of Surfactants: A Critical Review
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041443 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 768
Abstract
Surfactants are crystallizing a certain focus for consumer interest, and their market is still expected to grow by 4 to 5% each year. Most of the time these surfactants are of petroleum origin and are not often biodegradable. Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) [...] Read more.
Surfactants are crystallizing a certain focus for consumer interest, and their market is still expected to grow by 4 to 5% each year. Most of the time these surfactants are of petroleum origin and are not often biodegradable. Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) is a promising non-edible renewable resource, directly extracted from the shell of the cashew nut. The interesting structure of CNSL and its components (cardanol, anacardic acid and cardol) lead to the synthesis of biobased surfactants. Indeed, non-ionic, anionic, cationic and zwitterionic surfactants based on CNSL have been reported in the literature. Even now, CNSL is absent or barely mentioned in specialized review or chapters talking about synthetic biobased surfactants. Thus, this review focuses on CNSL as a building block for the synthesis of surfactants. In the first part, it describes and criticizes the synthesis of molecules and in the second part, it compares the efficiency and the properties (CMC, surface tension, kraft temperature, biodegradability) of the obtained products with each other and with commercial ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis, Characterization and Application of Surfactants)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Synthesis and Characterization of an α-Fe2O3-Decorated g-C3N4 Heterostructure for the Photocatalytic Removal of MO
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1442; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041442 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 590
Abstract
This study describes the preparation of graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), hematite (α-Fe2O3), and their g-C3N4/α-Fe2O3 heterostructure for the photocatalytic removal of methyl orange (MO) under visible light illumination. [...] Read more.
This study describes the preparation of graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), hematite (α-Fe2O3), and their g-C3N4/α-Fe2O3 heterostructure for the photocatalytic removal of methyl orange (MO) under visible light illumination. The facile hydrothermal approach was utilized for the preparation of the nanomaterials. Powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) were carried out to study the physiochemical and optoelectronic properties of all the synthesized photocatalysts. Based on the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and UV-visible diffuse reflectance (DRS) results, an energy level diagram vs. SHE was established. The acquired results indicated that the nanocomposite exhibited a type-II heterojunction and degraded the MO dye by 97%. The degradation ability of the nanocomposite was higher than that of pristine g-C3N4 (41%) and α-Fe2O3 (30%) photocatalysts under 300 min of light irradiation. The formation of a type-II heterostructure with desirable band alignment and band edge positions for efficient interfacial charge carrier separation along with a larger specific surface area was collectively responsible for the higher photocatalytic efficiency of the g-C3N4/α-Fe2O3 nanocomposite. The mechanism of the nanocomposite was also studied through results obtained from UV-vis and XPS analyses. A reactive species trapping experiment confirmed the involvement of the superoxide radical anion (O2•−) as the key reactive oxygen species for MO removal. The degradation kinetics were also monitored, and the reaction was observed to be pseudo-first order. Moreover, the sustainability of the photocatalyst was also investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Inorganic Chemistry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
New Ceramics Precursors Containing Si and Ge Atoms—Cubic Germasilsesquioxanes—Synthesis, Thermal Decomposition and Spectroscopic Analysis
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1441; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041441 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Compounds of the silsesquioxane type are attractive material precursors. High molecular weights and well-defined structures predestine them to create ceramics with a controlled composition at the molecular level. New molecular precursors of ceramic materials with the ratio of Si:Ge = 7:1 atoms were [...] Read more.
Compounds of the silsesquioxane type are attractive material precursors. High molecular weights and well-defined structures predestine them to create ceramics with a controlled composition at the molecular level. New molecular precursors of ceramic materials with the ratio of Si:Ge = 7:1 atoms were obtained. The influence of organic substituents on the thermal decomposition processes of germasilsesquioxanes was investigated. Some of the structures obtained are characterized by a high non-volatile residue after the thermal decomposition process. The introduction of the germanium atom to the structure of the silsesquioxane molecular cage reduces the thermal stability of the obtained structures. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Preparation and Performance of Lignin-Based Multifunctional Superhydrophobic Coating
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1440; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041440 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 619
Abstract
Superhydrophobic coatings have drawn much attention in recent years for their widespread potential applications. However, there are challenges to find a simple and cost-effective approach to prepare superhydrophobic materials and coatings using natural polymer. Herein, we prepared a kraft lignin-based superhydrophobic powder via [...] Read more.
Superhydrophobic coatings have drawn much attention in recent years for their widespread potential applications. However, there are challenges to find a simple and cost-effective approach to prepare superhydrophobic materials and coatings using natural polymer. Herein, we prepared a kraft lignin-based superhydrophobic powder via modifying kraft lignin through 1H, 1H, 2H, 2H-perfluorodecyl-triethoxysilane (PFDTES) substitution reaction, and constructed superhydrophobic coatings by direct spraying the suspended PFDTES-Lignin powder on different substrates, including glass, wood, metal and paper. The prepared lignin-based coatings have excellent repellency to water, with a water contact angle of 164.7°, as well as good friction resistance, acid resistance, alkali resistance, salt resistance properties and quite good self-cleaning performance. After 30 cycles of sand friction or being stayed in 2 mol/L HCl, 0.25 mol/L NaOH and 2 mol/L NaCl solution for 30 min, the coatings still retain super hydrophobic capability, with contact angles higher than 150°. The superhydrophobic performance of PFDTES-Lignin coatings is mainly attributed to the constructed high surface roughness and the low surface energy afforded by modified lignin. This lignin-based polymer coating is low-cost, scalable, and has huge potential application in different fields, providing a simple way for the value-added utilization of kraft lignin. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Image-Based Annotation of Chemogenomic Libraries for Phenotypic Screening
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1439; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041439 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 718
Abstract
Phenotypical screening is a widely used approach in drug discovery for the identification of small molecules with cellular activities. However, functional annotation of identified hits often poses a challenge. The development of small molecules with narrow or exclusive target selectivity such as chemical [...] Read more.
Phenotypical screening is a widely used approach in drug discovery for the identification of small molecules with cellular activities. However, functional annotation of identified hits often poses a challenge. The development of small molecules with narrow or exclusive target selectivity such as chemical probes and chemogenomic (CG) libraries, greatly diminishes this challenge, but non-specific effects caused by compound toxicity or interference with basic cellular functions still pose a problem to associate phenotypic readouts with molecular targets. Hence, each compound should ideally be comprehensively characterized regarding its effects on general cell functions. Here, we report an optimized live-cell multiplexed assay that classifies cells based on nuclear morphology, presenting an excellent indicator for cellular responses such as early apoptosis and necrosis. This basic readout in combination with the detection of other general cell damaging activities of small molecules such as changes in cytoskeletal morphology, cell cycle and mitochondrial health provides a comprehensive time-dependent characterization of the effect of small molecules on cellular health in a single experiment. The developed high-content assay offers multi-dimensional comprehensive characterization that can be used to delineate generic effects regarding cell functions and cell viability, allowing an assessment of compound suitability for subsequent detailed phenotypic and mechanistic studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenotypic Screening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Rationalisation of Antifungal Properties of α-Helical Pore-Forming Peptide, Mastoparan B
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1438; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041438 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The high mortality associated with invasive fungal infections, narrow spectrum of available antifungals, and increasing evolution of antifungal resistance necessitate the development of alternative therapies. Host defense peptides are regarded as the first line of defense against microbial invasion in both vertebrates and [...] Read more.
The high mortality associated with invasive fungal infections, narrow spectrum of available antifungals, and increasing evolution of antifungal resistance necessitate the development of alternative therapies. Host defense peptides are regarded as the first line of defense against microbial invasion in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In this work, we investigated the effectiveness of four naturally occurring pore-forming antimicrobial peptides (melittin, magainin 2, cecropin A, and mastoparan B) against a panel of clinically relevant pathogens, including Candida albicans, Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis, and Candida glabrata. We present data on the antifungal activities of the four pore-forming peptides, assessed with descriptive statistics, and their cytocompatibility with cultured human cells. Among the four peptides, mastoparan B (MB) displayed potent antifungal activity, whereas cecropin A was the least potent. We show that MB susceptibility of phylogenetically distant non-candida albicans can vary and be described by different intrinsic physicochemical parameters of pore-forming α-helical peptides. These findings have potential therapeutic implications for the design and development of safe antifungal peptide-based drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Antimicrobial Agents: Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Thermodynamic Solubility Profile of Temozolomide in Different Commonly Used Pharmaceutical Solvents
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1437; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041437 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 363
Abstract
The solubility parameters, and solution thermodynamics of temozolomide (TMZ) in 10 frequently used solvents were examined at five different temperatures. The maximum mole fraction solubility of TMZ was ascertained in dimethyl sulfoxide (1.35 × 10−2), followed by that in polyethylene glycol-400 [...] Read more.
The solubility parameters, and solution thermodynamics of temozolomide (TMZ) in 10 frequently used solvents were examined at five different temperatures. The maximum mole fraction solubility of TMZ was ascertained in dimethyl sulfoxide (1.35 × 10−2), followed by that in polyethylene glycol-400 (3.32 × 10−3) > Transcutol® (2.89 × 10−3) > ethylene glycol (1.64 × 10−3) > propylene glycol (1.47 × 10−3) > H2O (7.70 × 10−4) > ethyl acetate (5.44 × 10−4) > ethanol (1.80 × 10−4) > isopropyl alcohol (1.32 × 10−4) > 1-butanol (1.07 × 10−4) at 323.2 K. An analogous pattern was also observed for the other investigated temperatures. The quantitated TMZ solubility values were regressed using Apelblat and Van’t Hoff models and showed overall deviances of 0.96% and 1.33%, respectively. Apparent thermodynamic analysis indicated endothermic, spontaneous, and entropy-driven dissolution of TMZ in all solvents. TMZ solubility data may help to formulate dosage forms, recrystallize, purify, and extract/separate TMZ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Chemistry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
N-((1H-Pyrrol-2-yl)methylene)-6-methoxypyridin-3-amine and Its Co(II) and Cu(II) Complexes as Antimicrobial Agents: Chemical Preparation, In Vitro Antimicrobial Evaluation, In Silico Analysis and Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Investigations
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1436; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041436 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 647
Abstract
Researchers are interested in Schiff bases and their metal complexes because they offer a wide range of applications. The chemistry of Schiff bases of heterocompounds has got a lot of attention because of the metal’s ability to coordinate with Schiff base ligands. In [...] Read more.
Researchers are interested in Schiff bases and their metal complexes because they offer a wide range of applications. The chemistry of Schiff bases of heterocompounds has got a lot of attention because of the metal’s ability to coordinate with Schiff base ligands. In the current study, a new bidentate Schiff base ligand, N-((1H-pyrrol-2-yl)methylene)-6-methoxypyridin-3-amine (MPM) has been synthesized by condensing 6-methoxypyridine-3-amine with pyrrole-2-carbaldehyde. Further, MPM is used to prepare Cu(II) and Co(II) metal complexes. Analytical and spectroscopic techniques are used for the structural elucidation of the synthesized compounds. Both MPM and its metal complexes were screened against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae species for antimicrobial studies. Furthermore, these compounds were subjected to in silico studies against bacterial proteins to comprehend their best non-bonded interactions. The results confirmed that the Schiff base ligand show considerably higher binding affinity with good hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions against various tested microbial species. These results were complemented with a report of the Conceptual DFT global reactivity descriptors of the studied compounds together with their biological scores and their ADMET computed parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Microwave-Assisted Extraction Coupled to HPLC-UV Combined with Chemometrics for the Determination of Bioactive Compounds in Pistachio Nuts and the Guarantee of Quality and Authenticity
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1435; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041435 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Two novel microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) methods were developed for the isolation of phenols and tocopherols from pistachio nuts. The extracts were analyzed by reversed-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled with a UV detector (RP-HPLC-UV). In total, eighteen pistachio samples, originating from Greece and Turkey, [...] Read more.
Two novel microwave-assisted extraction (MAE) methods were developed for the isolation of phenols and tocopherols from pistachio nuts. The extracts were analyzed by reversed-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled with a UV detector (RP-HPLC-UV). In total, eighteen pistachio samples, originating from Greece and Turkey, were analyzed and thirteen phenolic compounds, as well as α-tocopherol, (β + γ)-tocopherol, and δ-tocopherol, were identified. The analytical methods were validated and presented good linearity (r2 > 0.990) and a high recovery rate over the range of 82.4 to 95.3% for phenols, and 93.1 to 96.4% for tocopherols. Repeatablility was calculated over the range 1.8–5.8%RSD for intra-day experiments, and reproducibility over the range 3.2–9.4%RSD for inter-day experiments, respectively. Principal component analysis (PCA) was employed to analyze the differences between the concentrations of the bioactive compounds with respect to geographical origin, while agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC) was used to cluster the samples based on their similarity and according to the geographical origin. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Synthesis and Characterization of Cellulose Triacetate Obtained from Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Trunk Mesh-Derived Cellulose
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1434; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041434 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 529
Abstract
Cellulosic polysaccharides have increasingly been recognized as a viable substitute for the depleting petro-based feedstock due to numerous modification options for obtaining a plethora of bio-based materials. In this study, cellulose triacetate was synthesized from pure cellulose obtained from the waste lignocellulosic part [...] Read more.
Cellulosic polysaccharides have increasingly been recognized as a viable substitute for the depleting petro-based feedstock due to numerous modification options for obtaining a plethora of bio-based materials. In this study, cellulose triacetate was synthesized from pure cellulose obtained from the waste lignocellulosic part of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.). To achieve a degree of substitution (DS) of the hydroxyl group of 2.9, a heterogeneous acetylation reaction was carried out with acetic anhydride as an acetyl donor. The obtained cellulose ester was compared with a commercially available derivative and characterized using various analytical methods. This cellulose triacetate contains approximately 43.9% acetyl and has a molecular weight of 205,102 g·mol1. The maximum thermal decomposition temperature of acetate was found to be 380 °C, similar to that of a reference sample. Thus, the synthesized ester derivate can be suitable for fabricating biodegradable and “all cellulose” biocomposite systems. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Synthesis of Copper Oxide-Based Nanoformulations of Etoricoxib and Montelukast and Their Evaluation through Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Pyretic, and Acute Toxicity Activities
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1433; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041433 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) were synthesized through the coprecipitation method and used as nanocarriers for etoricoxib (selective COX-2 inhibitor drug) and montelukast (leukotriene product inhibitor drug) in combination therapy. The CuO NPs, free drugs, and nanoformulations were investigated through UV/Vis spectroscopy, FTIR [...] Read more.
Copper oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) were synthesized through the coprecipitation method and used as nanocarriers for etoricoxib (selective COX-2 inhibitor drug) and montelukast (leukotriene product inhibitor drug) in combination therapy. The CuO NPs, free drugs, and nanoformulations were investigated through UV/Vis spectroscopy, FTIR spectroscopy, XRD, SEM, and DLS. SEM imaging showed agglomerated nanorods of CuO NPs of about 87 nm size. The CE1, CE2, and CE6 nanoformulations were investigated through DLS, and their particle sizes were 271, 258, and 254 nm, respectively. The nanoformulations were evaluated through in vitro anti-inflammatory activity, in vivo anti-inflammatory activity, in vivo analgesic activity, in vivo anti-pyretic activity, and in vivo acute toxicity activity. In vivo activities were performed on albino mice. BSA denaturation was highly inhibited by CE1, CE2, and CE6 as compared to other nanoformulations in the in vitro anti-inflammatory activity. The in vivo bioactivities showed that low doses (5 mg/kg) of nanoformulations were more potent than high doses (10 and 20 mg/kg) of free drugs in the inhibition of pain, fever, and inflammation. Lastly, CE2 was more potent than that of other nanoformulations. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Baicalin Targets HSP70/90 to Regulate PKR/PI3K/AKT/eNOS Signaling Pathways
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1432; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041432 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Baicalin is a major active ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine Scutellaria baicalensis, and has been shown to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor activities. However, the protein targets of baicalin have remained unclear. Herein, a chemical proteomics strategy was developed by combining baicalin-functionalized [...] Read more.
Baicalin is a major active ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine Scutellaria baicalensis, and has been shown to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor activities. However, the protein targets of baicalin have remained unclear. Herein, a chemical proteomics strategy was developed by combining baicalin-functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (BCL-N3@MNPs) and quantitative mass spectrometry to identify the target proteins of baicalin. Bioinformatics analysis with the use of Gene Ontology, STRING and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis, was performed to annotate the biological functions and the associated signaling pathways of the baicalin targeting proteins. Fourteen proteins in human embryonic kidney cells were identified to interact with baicalin with various binding affinities. Bioinformatics analysis revealed these proteins are mainly ATP-binding and/or ATPase activity proteins, such as CKB, HSP86, HSP70-1, HSP90, ATPSF1β and ACTG1, and highly associated with the regulation of the role of PKR in interferon induction and the antiviral response signaling pathway (P = 10−6), PI3K/AKT signaling pathway (P = 10−5) and eNOS signaling pathway (P = 10−4). The results show that baicalin exerts multiply pharmacological functions, such as antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidant functions, through regulating the PKR and PI3K/AKT/eNOS signaling pathways by targeting ATP-binding and ATPase activity proteins. These findings provide a fundamental insight into further studies on the mechanism of action of baicalin. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Carotenoids and Their Biosynthesis in Fungi
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1431; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041431 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Carotenoids represent a class of pigmented terpenoids. They are distributed in all taxonomic groups of fungi. Most of the fungal carotenoids differ in their chemical structures to those from other organisms. The general function of carotenoids in heterotrophic organisms is protection as antioxidants [...] Read more.
Carotenoids represent a class of pigmented terpenoids. They are distributed in all taxonomic groups of fungi. Most of the fungal carotenoids differ in their chemical structures to those from other organisms. The general function of carotenoids in heterotrophic organisms is protection as antioxidants against reactive oxygen species generated by photosensitized reactions. Furthermore, carotenoids are metabolized to apocarotenoids by oxidative cleavage. This review presents the current knowledge on fungal-specific carotenoids, their occurrence in different taxonomic groups, and their biosynthesis and conversion into trisporic acids. The outline of the different pathways was focused on the reactions and genes involved in not only the known pathways, but also suggested the possible mechanisms of reactions, which may occur in several non-characterized pathways in different fungi. Finally, efforts and strategies for genetic engineering to enhance or establish pathways for the production of various carotenoids in carotenogenic or non-carotenogenic yeasts were highlighted, addressing the most-advanced producers of each engineered yeast, which offered the highest biotechnological potentials as production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products Chemistry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Chlorogenic Acid-Loaded Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles Modified with Hexa-Histidine Peptides Reduce Skin Allergies by Capturing Nickel
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1430; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041430 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Nickel-induced contact dermatitis is a severe allergic reaction to objects or environments that contain nickel. Many nanomaterials have been developed to reduce skin allergies by capturing nickel, but few agents are effective and safe. In this work, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) were synthesized [...] Read more.
Nickel-induced contact dermatitis is a severe allergic reaction to objects or environments that contain nickel. Many nanomaterials have been developed to reduce skin allergies by capturing nickel, but few agents are effective and safe. In this work, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) were synthesized and decorated with hexa-histidine peptides (denoted as MSN-His6), making it a strong nickel chelator. Subsequently, a dietary polyphenol, chlorogenic acid, was loaded into the mesopores of MSN (denoted as MSN-His6@CGA), realizing the potential of its anti-inflammatory properties. In vitro and in vivo experiments revealed that the synthesized MSN-His6@CGA nanoparticles exhibited more stable and stronger chelation, better biocompatibility, and ideal allergy-relieving ability, whether for environmental metal contamination or for allergic contact dermatitis caused by prolonged nickel exposure. Thus, the application of mesoporous silica-based nanoparticles may represent an ideal approach to alleviate skin allergies by capturing nickel, which would benefit people who suffer from metal-induced contact dermatitis. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Bruch’s-Mimetic Nanofibrous Membranes Functionalized with the Integrin-Binding Peptides as a Promising Approach for Human Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cell Transplantation
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1429; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041429 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 543
Abstract
Background: This study aimed to develop an ultrathin nanofibrous membrane able to, firstly, mimic the natural fibrous architecture of human Bruch’s membrane (BM) and, secondly, promote survival of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells after surface functionalization of fibrous membranes. Methods: Integrin-binding peptides (IBPs) [...] Read more.
Background: This study aimed to develop an ultrathin nanofibrous membrane able to, firstly, mimic the natural fibrous architecture of human Bruch’s membrane (BM) and, secondly, promote survival of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells after surface functionalization of fibrous membranes. Methods: Integrin-binding peptides (IBPs) that specifically interact with appropriate adhesion receptors on RPEs were immobilized on Bruch’s-mimetic membranes to promote coverage of RPEs. Surface morphologies, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy spectra, contact angle analysis, Alamar Blue assay, live/dead assay, immunofluorescence staining, and scanning electron microscopy were used to evaluate the outcome. Results: Results showed that coated membranes maintained the original morphology of nanofibers. After coating with IBPs, the water contact angle of the membrane surfaces varied from 92.38 ± 0.67 degrees to 20.16 ± 0.81 degrees. RPE cells seeded on IBP-coated membranes showed the highest viability at all time points (Day 1, p < 0.05; Day 3, p < 0.01; Days 7 and 14, p < 0.001). The proliferation rate of RPE cells on uncoated poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) membranes was significantly lower than that of IBP-coated membranes (p < 0.001). SEM images showed a well-organized hexa/polygonal monolayer of RPE cells on IBP-coated membranes. RPE cells proliferated rapidly, contacted, and became confluent. RPE cells formed a tight adhesion with nanofibers under high-magnification SEM. Our findings confirmed that the IBP-coated PCL membrane improved the attachment, proliferation, and viability of RPE cells. In addition, in this study, we used serum-free culture for RPE cells and short IBPs without immunogenicity to prevent graft rejection and immunogenicity during transplantation. Conclusions: These results indicated that the biomimic BM-IBP-RPE nanofibrous graft might be a new, practicable approach to increase the success rate of RPE cell transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research of Short Peptides)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Saprophytic Bacillus Accelerates the Release of Effective Components in Agarwood by Degrading Cellulose
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1428; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041428 - 20 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 638
Abstract
The value of Agarwood increases with time due to the gradual release of its major components, but the mechanism behind this remains unclear. Herein we reveal that the potential driving force of this process is the degradation of cellulose in Agarwood by its [...] Read more.
The value of Agarwood increases with time due to the gradual release of its major components, but the mechanism behind this remains unclear. Herein we reveal that the potential driving force of this process is the degradation of cellulose in Agarwood by its saprophytic Bacillus subtilis. We selected 10-year-old Agarwood from different places and then isolated the saprophytic bacteria. We confirmed these bacteria from different sources are all Bacillus and confirmed they can degrade cellulose, and the highest cellulase activity reached 0.22 U/mL. By co-cultivation of the bacterium and Agarwood powder, we found that three of the strains could release the effective components of Agarwood, while they had little effect in increasing the same components in living Aquilaria sinensis. Finally, we demonstrated that these saprophytic Bacillus subtilis have similar effects on Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim and Dalbergiaod orifera T. Chen, but not on Illicium verum Hook. f, Cinnamomum cassia Presl and Phellodendron chinense Schneid. In conclusion, our experiment revealed that the saprophytic Bacillus release the effective components of Agarwood by degrading cellulose, and we provide a promising way to accelerate this process by using this bacterial agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Bioactive Compounds)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Deep Eutectic Solvents as Phase Change Materials in Solar Thermal Power Plants: Energy and Exergy Analyses
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1427; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041427 - 20 Feb 2022
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Nowadays, producing energy from solar thermal power plants based on organic Rankine cycles coupled with phase change material has attracted the attention of researchers. Obviously, in such solar plants, the physical properties of the utilized phase change material (PCM) play important roles in [...] Read more.
Nowadays, producing energy from solar thermal power plants based on organic Rankine cycles coupled with phase change material has attracted the attention of researchers. Obviously, in such solar plants, the physical properties of the utilized phase change material (PCM) play important roles in the amounts of generated power and the efficiencies of the plant. Therefore, to choose the best PCM, various factors must be taken into account. In addition, considering the physical properties of the candidate PCM, the issue of environmental sustainability should also be considered when making the selection. Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) are novel green solvents, which, in addition to having various favorable characteristics, are environmentally sustainable. Accordingly, in this work, the feasibility of using seven different deep eutectic solvents as the PCMs of solar thermal power plants with organic Rankine cycles was investigated. By applying exergy and energy analyses, the performances of each were compared to paraffin, which is a conventional PCM. According to the achieved results, most of the investigated “DES cycles” produce more power than the conventional cycle using paraffin as its PCM. Furthermore, lower amounts of the PCM are required when paraffin is replaced by a DES at the same operational conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Green Solvents)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
An Integrated Proteomics and Bioinformatics Analysis of the Anticancer Properties of RT2 Antimicrobial Peptide on Human Colon Cancer (Caco-2) Cells
Molecules 2022, 27(4), 1426; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules27041426 - 20 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
New selective, efficacious chemotherapy agents are in demand as traditional drugs display side effects and face growing resistance upon continued administration. To this end, bioactive molecules such as peptides are attracting interest. RT2 is a cationic peptide that was used as an antimicrobial [...] Read more.
New selective, efficacious chemotherapy agents are in demand as traditional drugs display side effects and face growing resistance upon continued administration. To this end, bioactive molecules such as peptides are attracting interest. RT2 is a cationic peptide that was used as an antimicrobial but is being repurposed for targeting cancer. In this work, we investigate the mechanism by which this peptide targets Caco-2 human colon cancer cells, one of the most prevalent and metastatic cancers. Combining label-free proteomics with bioinformatics data, our data explore over 1000 proteins to identify 133 proteins that are downregulated and 79 proteins that are upregulated upon treatment with RT2. These changes occur in a dose-dependent manner and suggest the former group are related to anticancer cell proliferation; the latter group is closely related to apoptosis levels. The mRNA levels of several genes (FGF8, PAPSS2, CDK12, LDHA, PRKCSH, CSE1L, STARD13, TLE3, and OGDHL) were quantified using RT-qPCR and were found to be in agreement with proteomic results. Collectively, the global change in Caco-2 cell protein abundance suggests that RT2 triggers multiple mechanisms, including cell proliferation reduction, apoptosis activation, and alteration of cancerous cell metabolism. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop