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Open AccessArticle
A New Approach to Land-Use Structure: Patch Perimeter Metrics as a Spatial Analysis Tool
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2147; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072147 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This work introduces a new class of landscape metrics characterizing basic features of patch perimeters. Specific computation on patch perimeters was carried out on fine-grained land-use maps with the aim to characterize spatial patterns of neighbor patches, evidencing contact points and perimeter length
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This work introduces a new class of landscape metrics characterizing basic features of patch perimeters. Specific computation on patch perimeters was carried out on fine-grained land-use maps with the aim to characterize spatial patterns of neighbor patches, evidencing contact points and perimeter length between two (or more) land-use types. A detailed set of class and landscape metrics were derived from such analysis. This approach is complementary to classical landscape metrics and proved to be particularly useful to characterize complex, fragmented landscapes profiling metropolitan regions based on integrated evaluations of their structural (landscape) and functional (land-use) organization. A multivariate analysis was run to characterize distinctive spatial patterns of the selected metrics in four metropolitan regions of southern Europe reflecting different morphological configurations (Barcelona: compact, polycentric; Lisbon: dispersed, mono-centric; Rome: dispersed, polycentric; and Athens: compact, mono-centric). Perimeter metrics assumed different values for each investigated land-use type, with peculiar characteristics associated to each city. Land-use types assessing residential, discontinuous urban patches were associated to particularly high values of perimeter metrics, possibly indicating patch fragmentation, spatially-associated distribution of land-use types and landscape complexity. Multivariate analysis indicates substantial differences among cities, reflecting the range of morphological configurations described above (from compact mono-centric to dispersed polycentric) and suggesting that urban expansion is accompanied with multiple modifications in the use of the surrounding non-urban land. The computational approach proposed in this study and based on spatially-explicit metrics of landscape configuration and proximity may reflect latent changes in local socio-spatial structures. Our results demonstrate that scattered urban expansion determines a polarization in suburban areas with highly fragmented and more homogeneous landscapes, respectively, associated with mixed cropland and forest systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Acute and Subchronic Toxicity and Mutagenicity of Sideritis scardica Griseb. Extracts
Toxins 2018, 10(7), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10070258 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Sideritis scardica Griseb. has a long history of collection from the wild as a traditional remedy for respiratory and gastrointestinal complaints. It has also been investigated for its promising pharmacological activities in the central nervous system. However, its toxicological data is entirely missing.
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Sideritis scardica Griseb. has a long history of collection from the wild as a traditional remedy for respiratory and gastrointestinal complaints. It has also been investigated for its promising pharmacological activities in the central nervous system. However, its toxicological data is entirely missing. This study investigated the acute and repeated-dose oral toxicity of a S. scardica 20% (v/v) ethanol extract in Sprague Dawley rats, and mutagenicity using the Ames test. No gross pathological abnormalities and no toxicity signs or mortality were detected in animals treated with the dose of 2000 mg/kg bw during 14 days of observation. The tested extract was assigned to category 5 of the GHS. To evaluate a repeated-dose toxicity, an extract has been tested over a 28-day period followed by a 14-day recovery period. No mortality and no changes in body/organ weight or food consumption have been observed. The no-observed-adverse-effect-level of the extract was determined at 1000 mg/kg bw. The results of Ames tests conducted on extracts of different polarity (water; 20% (v/v) ethanol; 50% (v/v) ethanol; n-heptane), were unequivocally negative. The study reveals no toxicity of S. scardica and no concerns for its mutagenic effects, supports its positive safety profile, and confirms the acknowledged traditional medicinal use in human. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Embracing Complexity to Advance the Science of Wildland Fire Behavior
Fire 2018, 1(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/fire1020020 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Wildland fire behavior research has largely focused on the steady-state interactions between fuels and heat fluxes. Contemporary research is revealing new questions outside the bounds of this simplified approach. Here, we explore the complex interactions taking place beyond steady-state assumptions through acknowledging the
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Wildland fire behavior research has largely focused on the steady-state interactions between fuels and heat fluxes. Contemporary research is revealing new questions outside the bounds of this simplified approach. Here, we explore the complex interactions taking place beyond steady-state assumptions through acknowledging the manufactured separation of research disciplines in fire science and the dynamic interactions that unfold when these separations are removed. Through a series of examples spanning at least four research disciplines and three ranges of spatial scale, we illustrate that by precisely defining parameters in a way that holds across scales and relaxing one steady-state simplification, we begin to capture the inherent variability that has largely eluded the fire behavior community. Through exploring examples of “deep interdependence,” we make the case that fire behavior science is well equipped to launch forward into more complex lines of inquiry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regium-π vs Cation-π Interactions in M2 and MCl (M = Cu, Ag and Au) Complexes with Small Aromatic Systems: An ab Initio Study
Inorganics 2018, 6(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/inorganics6030064 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this study we have theoretically analyzed (RI-MP2/def2-TZVP) the ability of metal moieties involving elements from group IB (Cu, Ag and Au) to establish either regium-π or cation-π interactions with π-systems of different electronic nature. More precisely, we have used M2 (oxidation
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In this study we have theoretically analyzed (RI-MP2/def2-TZVP) the ability of metal moieties involving elements from group IB (Cu, Ag and Au) to establish either regium-π or cation-π interactions with π-systems of different electronic nature. More precisely, we have used M2 (oxidation state = 0) and MCl (oxidation state = +1) molecules where M = Cu, Ag and Au. On the other hand, we have used benzene, trifluorobenzene and hexafluorobenzene as aromatic rings. Furthermore, we have used Bader’s theory of “Atoms in Molecules” as well as NBO (Natural Bonding Orbital) calculations to further investigate and characterize the regium-π and cation-π complexes described herein. We believe our findings may be important when describing and characterizing both interactions in a chemical context, as well as to further explore the nature of the recently uncovered regium-π bond. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Boron: Functions and Approaches to Enhance Its Availability in Plants for Sustainable Agriculture
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 1856; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19071856 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Boron (B) is an essential trace element required for the physiological functioning of higher plants. B deficiency is considered as a nutritional disorder that adversely affects the metabolism and growth of plants. B is involved in the structural and functional integrity of the
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Boron (B) is an essential trace element required for the physiological functioning of higher plants. B deficiency is considered as a nutritional disorder that adversely affects the metabolism and growth of plants. B is involved in the structural and functional integrity of the cell wall and membranes, ion fluxes (H+, K+, PO43−, Rb+, Ca2+) across the membranes, cell division and elongation, nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism, sugar transport, cytoskeletal proteins, and plasmalemma-bound enzymes, nucleic acid, indoleacetic acid, polyamines, ascorbic acid, and phenol metabolism and transport. This review critically examines the functions of B in plants, deficiency symptoms, and the mechanism of B uptake and transport under limited B conditions. B deficiency can be mitigated by inorganic fertilizer supplementation, but the deleterious impact of frequent fertilizer application disrupts soil fertility and creates environmental pollution. Considering this, we have summarized the available information regarding alternative approaches, such as root structural modification, grafting, application of biostimulators (mycorrhizal fungi (MF) and rhizobacteria), and nanotechnology, that can be effectively utilized for B acquisition, leading to resource conservation. Additionally, we have discussed several new aspects, such as the combination of grafting or MF with nanotechnology, combined inoculation of arbuscular MF and rhizobacteria, melatonin application, and the use of natural and synthetic chelators, that possibly play a role in B uptake and translocation under B stress conditions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Role of T-Helper 9 Cells in Chronic Hepatitis C-Infected Patients
Viruses 2018, 10(7), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10070341 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus is a hepatotropic virus that is transmitted parenterally. Viral infections are usually associated with modulations of the immune cells, leading to enhanced viral survival and spreading, and accordingly, life-threatening complications. Recently, it has been proposed that a new subset of
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Hepatitis C virus is a hepatotropic virus that is transmitted parenterally. Viral infections are usually associated with modulations of the immune cells, leading to enhanced viral survival and spreading, and accordingly, life-threatening complications. Recently, it has been proposed that a new subset of T-helper, named T-helper 9, is involved in the pathogenesis of different immunopathological conditions, such as allergies, tumors, and viral infections. Some studies reported a protective role, and others described a pathogenic potential for the T-helper 9 cells. Here, we present evidence that T-helper 9 cells are dynamically increased with increasing the pathogenic strategy for hepatitis C virus (HCV). Furthermore, viral clearance is associated with a decrease in T-helper 9. The increase in T-helper 9 was paralleled with an increase in its receptor expression. Taken together, our data suggest that T-helper 9 cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of HCV, and is directly associated with HCV-related complications. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Estimated Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Mozambique
J. Fungi 2018, 4(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof4030075 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Mozambique is a sub-Saharan African country with limited information on the burden of fungal disease. We estimate the burden of serious fungal infections for the general healthy population and for those at risk, including those infected with HIV, patients with asthma, as well
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Mozambique is a sub-Saharan African country with limited information on the burden of fungal disease. We estimate the burden of serious fungal infections for the general healthy population and for those at risk, including those infected with HIV, patients with asthma, as well as those under intensive care. We consult the Mozambican National Institute of Statistics Population and Housing Census report to obtain denominators for different age groups. We use modelling and HIV data to estimate the burdens of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) and candidiasis. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tuberculosis data were used to estimate the burden of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA). In 2016, the Mozambique population was 26.4 million with 1.8 million people reported to be HIV-infected. Estimated annual incidence of fungal infections was: 33,380 PCP, 18,640 CM and 260,025 oral and oesophageal candidiasis cases. Following pulmonary tuberculosis, estimated numbers of people having chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (prevalence) and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis complicating asthma are 18,475 and 15,626, respectively. Tinea capitis is common in children with over 1.1 million probably affected. We also highlight from studies in progress of high incidences of Histoplasmosis, CM and Pneumocystis jirovecii in adult HIV-infected patients. Prospective epidemiology studies with sensitive diagnostics are required to validate these estimates. Full article

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