Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Biomethane: A Renewable Resource as Vehicle Fuel
Resources 2017, 6(4), 58; doi:10.3390/resources6040058 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The European Union (EU) has set a mandatory target for renewable fuels of 10% for each member state by 2020. Biomethane is a renewable energy representing an alternative to the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector. This resource is a solution
[...] Read more.
The European Union (EU) has set a mandatory target for renewable fuels of 10% for each member state by 2020. Biomethane is a renewable energy representing an alternative to the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector. This resource is a solution to reach this target. Furthermore, it contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, gives social benefits and increases the security supply. Sustainability is reached also when the economic opportunities are verified. This work studies the profitability of small plants of biomethane, which is sold as vehicle fuel using the Net Present Value (NPV) and Discounted Payback Time (DPBT). The paper shows in detail the method used for the economic assessment of two typologies of feedstock recovered: (i) municipal solid waste and (ii) agricultural waste. Detailed information about the various parameters that affect the profitability of biomethane is given, and several case studies are analyzed as a function of two variables: subsidies and selling price. The results support the commercialization of small-scale plants, reducing also several environmental issues. The role of subsidies is strategic, and the profitability is verified only in some case studies Full article
Open AccessReview
Kinases of eIF2a Switch Translation of mRNA Subset during Neuronal Plasticity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2213; doi:10.3390/ijms18102213 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Compared to other types of cells, neurons express the largest number of diverse mRNAs, including neuron-specific ones. This mRNA diversity is required for neuronal function, memory storage, maintenance and retrieval. Regulation of translation in neurons is very complicated and involves various proteins. Some
[...] Read more.
Compared to other types of cells, neurons express the largest number of diverse mRNAs, including neuron-specific ones. This mRNA diversity is required for neuronal function, memory storage, maintenance and retrieval. Regulation of translation in neurons is very complicated and involves various proteins. Some proteins, implementing translational control in other cell types, are used by neurons for synaptic plasticity. In this review, we discuss the neuron-specific activity of four kinases: protein kinase R (PKR), PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), general control nonderepressible 2 kinase (GCN2), and heme-reguated eIF2α kinase (HRI), the substrate for which is α-subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α). Phosphorylation of eIF2α is necessary for the cell during stress conditions, such as lack of amino acids, energy stress or viral infection. We propose that, during memory formation, neurons use some mechanisms similar to those involved in the cellular stress. The four eIF2α kinases regulate translation of certain mRNAs containing upstream open reading frames (uORFs). These mRNAs encode proteins involved in the processes of long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD). The review examines some neuronal proteins for which translation regulation by eIF2 was suggested and checked experimentally. Of such proteins, we pay close attention to protein kinase Mζ, which is involved in memory storage and regulated at the translational level. Full article
Open AccessReview
Aptamers for DNA Damage and Repair
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2212; doi:10.3390/ijms18102212 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
DNA is damaged on a daily basis, which can lead to heritable mutations and the activation of proto-oncogenes. Therefore, DNA damage and repair are critical risk factors in cancer, aging and disease, and are the underlying bases of most frontline cancer therapies. Much
[...] Read more.
DNA is damaged on a daily basis, which can lead to heritable mutations and the activation of proto-oncogenes. Therefore, DNA damage and repair are critical risk factors in cancer, aging and disease, and are the underlying bases of most frontline cancer therapies. Much of our current understanding of the mechanisms that maintain DNA integrity has been obtained using antibody-based assays. The oligonucleotide equivalents of antibodies, known as aptamers, have emerged as potential molecular recognition rivals. Aptamers possess several ideal properties including chemical stability, in vitro selection and lack of batch-to-batch variability. These properties have motivated the incorporation of aptamers into a wide variety of analytical, diagnostic, research and therapeutic applications. However, their use in DNA repair studies and DNA damage therapies is surprisingly un-tapped. This review presents an overview of the progress in selecting and applying aptamers for DNA damage and repair research. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
Monitoring Autophagy in the Model Green Microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Cells 2017, 6(4), 36; doi:10.3390/cells6040036 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Autophagy is an intracellular catabolic system that delivers cytoplasmic constituents and organelles in the vacuole. This degradative process is mediated by a group of proteins coded by autophagy-related (ATG) genes that are widely conserved from yeasts to plants and mammals. Homologs
[...] Read more.
Autophagy is an intracellular catabolic system that delivers cytoplasmic constituents and organelles in the vacuole. This degradative process is mediated by a group of proteins coded by autophagy-related (ATG) genes that are widely conserved from yeasts to plants and mammals. Homologs of ATG genes have been also identified in algal genomes including the unicellular model green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The development of specific tools to monitor autophagy in Chlamydomonas has expanded our current knowledge about the regulation and function of this process in algae. Recent findings indicated that autophagy is regulated by redox signals and the TOR network in Chlamydomonas and revealed that this process may play in important role in the control of lipid metabolism and ribosomal protein turnover in this alga. Here, we will describe the different techniques and approaches that have been reported to study autophagy and autophagic flux in Chlamydomonas. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Development of Novel N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) Based Hydrogels with Varying Content of Chrysin Multiacrylate
Gels 2017, 3(4), 40; doi:10.3390/gels3040040 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A series of novel temperature responsive hydrogels were synthesized by free radical polymerization with varying content of chrysin multiacrylate (ChryMA). The goal was to study the impact of this novel polyphenolic-based multiacrylate on the properties of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) hydrogels. The temperature responsive
[...] Read more.
A series of novel temperature responsive hydrogels were synthesized by free radical polymerization with varying content of chrysin multiacrylate (ChryMA). The goal was to study the impact of this novel polyphenolic-based multiacrylate on the properties of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) hydrogels. The temperature responsive behavior of the copolymerized gels was characterized by swelling studies, and their lower critical solution temperature (LCST) was characterized through differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). It was shown that the incorporation of ChryMA decreased the swelling ratios of the hydrogels and shifted their LCSTs to a lower temperature. Gels with different ChryMA content showed different levels of response to temperature change. Higher content gels had a broader phase transition and smaller temperature response, which could be attributed to the increased hydrophobicity being introduced by the ChryMA. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Coordination of Cooperative Knowledge Creation for Agricultural Technology Diffusion in China’s “Company Plus Farmers” Organizations
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1906; doi:10.3390/su9101906 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Cooperative knowledge creation is important for the promotion of agricultural technology diffusion in “company plus farmers” alliance organizations in China. A coordination mechanism is necessary to improve cooperative knowledge creation. A game model was developed to explain the mechanism. The model’s equilibrium was
[...] Read more.
Cooperative knowledge creation is important for the promotion of agricultural technology diffusion in “company plus farmers” alliance organizations in China. A coordination mechanism is necessary to improve cooperative knowledge creation. A game model was developed to explain the mechanism. The model’s equilibrium was analyzed in noncoordination and coordination scenarios. Eight propositions and two corollaries were proposed and then verified by numeric analysis. We found that (1) the coordination of cooperative knowledge creation is valuable for increasing profit in agricultural technology diffusion; (2) companies and farmers are playing a game, and subsidy coefficients and degree of effort mainly influence their decisions; (3) key factors in the game are success probability and profit sharing proportion that influence the profits of a company and the farmers; (4) discount factors also influence profits, but do not influence the total profit in the coordination scenario; and (5) enhancing success probability, choosing a proper profit sharing proportion, and improving other parameters would be beneficial to the development of knowledge creation, as well as agricultural knowledge diffusion. This research provides a novel illustration of the coordination mechanism for cooperative knowledge creation for increasing the efficiency of agricultural technology diffusion in the future. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An Improved Method of Pose Estimation for Lighthouse Base Station Extension
Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2411; doi:10.3390/s17102411 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In 2015, HTC and Valve launched a virtual reality headset empowered with Lighthouse, the cutting-edge space positioning technology. Although Lighthouse is superior in terms of accuracy, latency and refresh rate, its algorithms do not support base station expansion, and is flawed concerning occlusion
[...] Read more.
In 2015, HTC and Valve launched a virtual reality headset empowered with Lighthouse, the cutting-edge space positioning technology. Although Lighthouse is superior in terms of accuracy, latency and refresh rate, its algorithms do not support base station expansion, and is flawed concerning occlusion in moving targets, that is, it is unable to calculate their poses with a small set of sensors, resulting in the loss of optical tracking data. In view of these problems, this paper proposes an improved pose estimation algorithm for cases where occlusion is involved. Our algorithm calculates the pose of a given object with a unified dataset comprising of inputs from sensors recognized by all base stations, as long as three or more sensors detect a signal in total, no matter from which base station. To verify our algorithm, HTC official base stations and autonomous developed receivers are used for prototyping. The experiment result shows that our pose calculation algorithm can achieve precise positioning when a few sensors detect the signal. Full article
Open AccessArticle
‘I Can Step outside My Comfort Zone.’
Pharmacy 2017, 5(4), 59; doi:10.3390/pharmacy5040059 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
On embarking upon such a multifactorial, professional degree as Pharmacy, students often find it difficult to meld the scientific- and practice-based components of the course. In final year of the undergraduate Masters of Pharmacy degree (MPharm) within the School of Pharmacy and Life
[...] Read more.
On embarking upon such a multifactorial, professional degree as Pharmacy, students often find it difficult to meld the scientific- and practice-based components of the course. In final year of the undergraduate Masters of Pharmacy degree (MPharm) within the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences at Robert Gordon University (RGU), students undertake a research project within a specific area. The aims of this study were to explore the effectiveness of a novel practice based approach to a biomedical science project, to identify elements of difficulty in the process, and to explore students’ perceptions and reflections. Final year students were assigned to perform a systematic literature review working within a defined area of pharmacovigilance. Students were given individual ownership of the research question and were able to choose a topic of interest. Following the successful completion of the assignment, students were invited to explore their attitudes and views of the project and reflect on the process through a focus group using a talking wall method. The findings clearly identified a shift in mindset from predominantly negative opinions initially to an overwhelming positive viewpoint. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Fatty Acids Consumption: The Role Metabolic Aspects Involved in Obesity and Its Associated Disorders
Nutrients 2017, 9(10), 1158; doi:10.3390/nu9101158 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Obesity and its associated disorders, such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, metabolic inflammation, dysbiosis, and non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, are involved in several molecular and inflammatory mechanisms that alter the metabolism. Food habit changes, such as the quality of fatty acids in the diet, are
[...] Read more.
Obesity and its associated disorders, such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, metabolic inflammation, dysbiosis, and non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, are involved in several molecular and inflammatory mechanisms that alter the metabolism. Food habit changes, such as the quality of fatty acids in the diet, are proposed to treat and prevent these disorders. Some studies demonstrated that saturated fatty acids (SFA) are considered detrimental for treating these disorders. A high fat diet rich in palmitic acid, a SFA, is associated with lower insulin sensitivity and it may also increase atherosclerosis parameters. On the other hand, a high intake of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids may promote positive effects, especially on triglyceride levels and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Moreover, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are effective at limiting the hepatic steatosis process through a series of biochemical events, such as reducing the markers of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, increasing the gene expression of lipid metabolism, decreasing lipogenic activity, and releasing adiponectin. This current review shows that the consumption of unsaturated fatty acids, MUFA, and PUFA, and especially EPA and DHA, which can be applied as food supplements, may promote effects on glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as on metabolic inflammation, gut microbiota, and hepatic metabolism. Full article
Figures

Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP)

IOAP participants 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