Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Stage Monitoring in Turbid Reservoirs with an Inclined Terrestrial Near-Infrared Lidar
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(12), 999; doi:10.3390/rs8120999 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
To monitor the stage in turbid reservoirs with a sloping bank, it has been proposed to install a near-infrared Lidar on the bank and to orient it so that it points at the water surface with a large incidence angle (between ≈ 30°
[...] Read more.
To monitor the stage in turbid reservoirs with a sloping bank, it has been proposed to install a near-infrared Lidar on the bank and to orient it so that it points at the water surface with a large incidence angle (between ≈ 30° and 70°). The technique assumes that the Lidar can detect suspended particles that are slightly below the water surface. Some laboratory results and the first long-term assessment (>2 years) of the technique are presented. It found that: (1) although the test Lidar provides erratic distance data, they can be easily filtered according to the intensity of the received signal; (2) the Lidar provides reliable data only when the water is very turbid (Secchi depth smaller than ≈ 1.0 m); and (3) the reliable data can be used to estimate daily stage values (after a simple field calibration) with an uncertainty better than ±0.08 m (p = 0.95). Although the present form of the technique is not very accurate, it uses an inexpensive instrument (≈1500 USD) which can be easily installed in a safe place (such as is the roof of a building). It is argued that the technique could be also used to monitor the stage and the sub-surface velocity in others turbid water bodies, such as some coastal areas (a recent field of application) and flooding rivers. Full article
Figures

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Wang Yi and the 95 Theses of the Chinese Reformed Church
Religions 2016, 7(12), 142; doi:10.3390/rel7120142 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In August 2015, a group of pastors and elders from an urban house church in Chengdu, Sichuan, posted 95 theses online. This bold move, challenging the state and the Chinese churches has created controversy in China and abroad. The theses address a series
[...] Read more.
In August 2015, a group of pastors and elders from an urban house church in Chengdu, Sichuan, posted 95 theses online. This bold move, challenging the state and the Chinese churches has created controversy in China and abroad. The theses address a series of issues on sovereignty and authority with regard to God, the church and the government. This article considers briefly the historical and theological resemblances to Luther’s act, then examines three of the most controversial aspects of the document: its analysis of church–state relations, its rejection of the “sinicization” of Christianity, and its excoriation of the state-registered church. Of these three, the article focuses on church–state relations, since perspectives on the state church and sinicization stem from the same arguments. The article shows how the thinking of this Reformed church and its senior pastor Wang Yi draws on a particular reading of the bible, church tradition, and the role of conscience, and traces these to pastor Wang Yi’s earlier writings and his reading of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed thought. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Tropical Peatland Burn Depth and Combustion Heterogeneity Assessed Using UAV Photogrammetry and Airborne LiDAR
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(12), 1000; doi:10.3390/rs8121000 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We provide the first assessment of tropical peatland depth of burn (DoB) using structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry, applied to imagery collected using a low-cost, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system operated over a 5.2 ha tropical peatland in Jambi Province on Sumatra,
[...] Read more.
We provide the first assessment of tropical peatland depth of burn (DoB) using structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry, applied to imagery collected using a low-cost, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system operated over a 5.2 ha tropical peatland in Jambi Province on Sumatra, Indonesia. Tropical peat soils are the result of thousands of years of dead biomass accumulation, and when burned are globally significant net sources of carbon emissions. The El Niño year of 2015 saw huge areas of Indonesia affected by tropical peatland fires, more so than any year since 1997. However, the Depth of Burn (DoB) of these 2015 fires has not been assessed, and indeed has only previously been assessed in few tropical peatland burns in Kalimantan. Therefore, DoB remains arguably the largest uncertainty when undertaking fire emissions calculations in these tropical peatland environments. We apply a SfM photogrammetric methodology to map this DoB metric, and also investigate combustion heterogeneity using orthomosaic photography collected using the UAV system. We supplement this information with pre-burn airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, reducing uncertainty by estimating pre-burn soil height more accurately than from interpolation of adjacent unburned areas alone. Our pre-and post-fire Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) show accuracies of 0.04 and 0.05 m (root-mean-square error, RMSE) respectively, compared to ground-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) surveys. Our final DoB map of a 5.2 ha degraded peat swamp forest area neighboring Berbak National Park (Sumatra, Indonesia) shows burn depths extending from close to zero to over 1 m, with a mean (±1σ) DoB of 0.23 ± 0.19 m. This lies well within the range found by the few other studies available (on Kalimantan; none are available on Sumatra). Our combustion heterogeneity analysis suggests the deepest burns, which extend to ~1.3 m, occur around tree roots. We use these DoB data within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) default equation for fire emissions to estimate mean carbon emissions as 134 ± 29 t·C∙ha−1 for this peatland fire, which is in an area that had not had a recorded fire previously. This is amongst the highest per unit area fuel consumption anywhere in the world for landscape fires. Our approach provides significant uncertainty reductions in such emissions calculations via the reduction in DoB uncertainty, and by using the UAV SfM approach this is accomplished at a fraction of the cost of airborne LiDAR—albeit over limited sized areas at present. Deploying this approach at locations across Indonesia, sampling a variety of fire-affected landscapes, would provide new and important DoB statistics for producing optimized carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimates from peatland fires. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Polymorphism of the Transcription Factor 7-Like 2 Gene (TCF7L2) Interacts with Obesity on Type-2 Diabetes in the PREDIMED Study Emphasizing the Heterogeneity of Genetic Variants in Type-2 Diabetes Risk Prediction: Time for Obesity-Specific Genetic Risk Scores
Nutrients 2016, 8(12), 793; doi:10.3390/nu8120793 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Nutrigenetic studies analyzing gene–diet interactions of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 C > T polymorphism on type-2 diabetes (T2D) have shown controversial results. A reason contributing to this may be the additional modulation by obesity. Moreover, TCF7L2-rs7903146 is one of the most influential variants in T2D-genetic
[...] Read more.
Nutrigenetic studies analyzing gene–diet interactions of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 C > T polymorphism on type-2 diabetes (T2D) have shown controversial results. A reason contributing to this may be the additional modulation by obesity. Moreover, TCF7L2-rs7903146 is one of the most influential variants in T2D-genetic risk scores (GRS). Therefore, to increase the predictive value (PV) of GRS it is necessary to first see whether the included polymorphisms have heterogeneous effects. We comprehensively investigated gene-obesity interactions between the TCF7L2-rs7903146 C > T polymorphism on T2D (prevalence and incidence) and analyzed other T2D-polymorphisms in a sub-sample. We studied 7018 PREDIMED participants at baseline and longitudinally (8.7 years maximum follow-up). Obesity significantly interacted with the TCF7L2-rs7903146 on T2D prevalence, associations being greater in non-obese subjects. Accordingly, we prospectively observed in non-T2D subjects (n = 3607) that its association with T2D incidence was stronger in non-obese (HR: 1.81; 95% CI: 1.13–2.92, p = 0.013 for TT versus CC) than in obese subjects (HR: 1.01; 95% CI: 0.61–1.66; p = 0.979; p-interaction = 0.048). Accordingly, TCF7L2-PV was higher in non-obese subjects. Additionally, we created obesity-specific GRS with ten T2D-polymorphisms and demonstrated for the first time their higher strata-specific PV. In conclusion, we provide strong evidence supporting the need for considering obesity when analyzing the TCF7L2 effects and propose the use of obesity-specific GRS for T2D. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Pb2+ Effects on Growth, Lipids, and Protein and DNA Profiles of the Thermophilic Bacterium Thermus Thermophilus
Microorganisms 2016, 4(4), 45; doi:10.3390/microorganisms4040045 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Extremophiles are organisms able to thrive in extreme environmental conditions and some of them show the ability to survive high doses of heavy metals thanks to defensive mechanisms provided by primary and secondary metabolic products, i.e., extremolytes, lipids, and extremozymes. This is why
[...] Read more.
Extremophiles are organisms able to thrive in extreme environmental conditions and some of them show the ability to survive high doses of heavy metals thanks to defensive mechanisms provided by primary and secondary metabolic products, i.e., extremolytes, lipids, and extremozymes. This is why there is a growing scientific and industrial interest in the use of thermophilic bacteria in a host of tasks, from the environmental detoxification of heavy metal to industrial activities, such as bio-machining and bio-metallurgy. In this work Thermus thermophilus was challenged against increasing Pb2+ concentrations spanning from 0 to 300 ppm in order to ascertain the sensitiveness of this bacteria to the Pb environmental pollution and to give an insight on its heavy metal resistance mechanisms. Analysis of growth parameters, enzyme activities, protein profiles, and lipid membrane modifications were carried out. In addition, genotyping analysis of bacteria grown in the presence of Pb2+, using random amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR and DNA melting evaluation, were also performed. A better knowledge of the response of thermophilic bacteria to the different pollutants, as heavy metals, is necessary for optimizing their use in remediation or decontamination processes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Thin Film Nanocomposite Membrane with MCM-41 Silica Nanoparticles for Brackish Water Purification
Membranes 2016, 6(4), 50; doi:10.3390/membranes6040050 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes containing MCM-41 silica nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) process. An m-phenylenediamine (MPD) aqueous solution and an organic phase with trimesoyl chloride (TMC) dissolved in isooctane were used in the IP reaction, occurring on
[...] Read more.
Thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes containing MCM-41 silica nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by the interfacial polymerization (IP) process. An m-phenylenediamine (MPD) aqueous solution and an organic phase with trimesoyl chloride (TMC) dissolved in isooctane were used in the IP reaction, occurring on a nanoporous polysulfone (PSU) support layer. Isooctane was introduced as the organic solvent for TMC in this work due to its intermediate boiling point. MCM-41 silica NPs were loaded in MPD and TMC solutions in separate experiments, in a concentration range from 0 to 0.04 wt %, and the membrane performance was assessed and compared based on salt rejection and water flux. The prepared membranes were characterized via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), contact angle measurement, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) analysis. The results show that adding MCM-41 silica NPs into an MPD solution yields slightly improved and more stable results than adding them to a TMC solution. With 0.02% MCM-41 silica NPs in the MPD solution, the water flux was increased from 44.0 to 64.1 L/m2·h, while the rejection virtually remained the same at 95% (2000 ppm NaCl saline solution, 25 °C, 2068 kPa (300 psi)). Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
HER2 Analysis in Sporadic Thyroid Cancer of Follicular Cell Origin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2040; doi:10.3390/ijms17122040 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The Epidermal Growth Factor Receoptor (EGFR) family member human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is overexpressed in many human epithelial malignancies, representing a molecular target for specific anti-neoplastic drugs. Few data are available on HER2 status in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The
[...] Read more.
The Epidermal Growth Factor Receoptor (EGFR) family member human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is overexpressed in many human epithelial malignancies, representing a molecular target for specific anti-neoplastic drugs. Few data are available on HER2 status in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The present study was aimed to investigate HER2 status in sporadic cancers of follicular cell origin to better clarify the role of this receptor in the stratification of thyroid cancer. By immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in-situ hybridization, HER2 expression was investigated in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surgical specimens from 90 DTC patients, 45 follicular (FTC) and 45 papillary (PTC) histotypes. No HER2 immunostaining was recorded in background thyroid tissue. By contrast, overall HER2 overexpression was found in 20/45 (44%) FTC and 8/45 (18%) PTC, with a significant difference between the two histotypes (p = 0.046). Five of the six patients who developed metastatic disease during a median nine-year follow-up had a HER2-positive tumor. Therefore, we suggest that HER2 expression may represent an additional aid to identify a subset of patients who are characterized by a worse prognosis and are potentially eligible for targeted therapy. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
Integrins in the Spotlight of Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(12), 2037; doi:10.3390/ijms17122037 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Integrins are heterodimeric cell surface receptors that bind to different extracellular ligands depending on their composition and regulate all processes which enable multicellular life. In cancer, integrins trigger and play key roles in all the features that were once described as the Hallmarks
[...] Read more.
Integrins are heterodimeric cell surface receptors that bind to different extracellular ligands depending on their composition and regulate all processes which enable multicellular life. In cancer, integrins trigger and play key roles in all the features that were once described as the Hallmarks of Cancer. In this review, we will discuss the contribution of integrins to these hallmarks, including uncontrolled and limitless proliferation, invasion of tumor cells, promotion of tumor angiogenesis and evasion of apoptosis and resistance to growth suppressors, by highlighting the latest findings. Further on, given the paramount role of integrins in cancer, we will present novel strategies for integrin inhibition that are starting to emerge, promising a hopeful future regarding cancer treatment. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
From Consultation to Application: Practical Solutions for Improving Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes for Adolescent Aboriginal Mothers at a Local Level
Healthcare 2016, 4(4), 90; doi:10.3390/healthcare4040090 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Adolescent pregnancy has been typically linked to a range of adverse outcomes for mother and child. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher proportion of adolescent births compared with other adolescent Australian women, and are at greater risk of
[...] Read more.
Adolescent pregnancy has been typically linked to a range of adverse outcomes for mother and child. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have a higher proportion of adolescent births compared with other adolescent Australian women, and are at greater risk of poorer psychosocial and clinical outcomes if they are not well supported during pregnancy and beyond. Drawing on existing literature and consultations with young Aboriginal women and health professionals supporting pregnant Aboriginal women in Western Australia, this paper discusses the importance of creating models of antenatal care using a “social determinants of health” framework. Destigmatizing young parenthood and providing continuity of caregiver in culturally safe services, with culturally competent health professionals provides a means to encourage engagement with the health system and improve health outcomes for young mothers and their babies. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

News & Announcements

Follow MDPI

loading...

Jobs in Research

Selected Special Issues

Selected Collections

Institutional Membership

Member institutes benefit from discounts and convenient payment options.

Feedback

We are keen to hear what you think about MDPI. To leave us your feedback, suggestions or questions please click here.

See what our authors and guest editors say about us.

About MDPI

MDPI.com is a platform for peer-reviewed, scientific open-access journals operated by MDPI AG, based in Basel, Switzerland. Additional offices are located in Beijing and Wuhan (China) as well as in Barcelona (Spain).

Back to Top