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Article
Iboga Inspired N-Indolylethyl-Substituted Isoquinuclidines as a Bioactive Scaffold: Chemoenzymatic Synthesis and Characterization as GDNF Releasers and Antitrypanosoma Agents
Molecules 2022, 27(3), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030829 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
The first stage of the drug discovery process involves the identification of small compounds with biological activity. Iboga alkaloids are monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) containing a fused isoquinuclidine-tetrahydroazepine ring. Both the natural products and the iboga-inspired synthetic analogs have shown a wide variety [...] Read more.
The first stage of the drug discovery process involves the identification of small compounds with biological activity. Iboga alkaloids are monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) containing a fused isoquinuclidine-tetrahydroazepine ring. Both the natural products and the iboga-inspired synthetic analogs have shown a wide variety of biological activities. Herein, we describe the chemoenzymatic preparation of a small library of novel N-indolylethyl-substituted isoquinuclidines as iboga-inspired compounds, using toluene as a starting material and an imine Diels–Alder reaction as the key step in the synthesis. The new iboga series was investigated for its potential to promote the release of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) by C6 glioma cells, and to inhibit the growth of infective trypanosomes. GDNF is a neurotrophic factor widely recognized by its crucial role in development, survival, maintenance, and protection of dopaminergic neuronal circuitries affected in several neurological and psychiatric pathologies. Four compounds of the series showed promising activity as GDNF releasers, and a leading structure (compound 11) was identified for further studies. The same four compounds impaired the growth of bloodstream Trypanosoma brucei brucei (EC50 1–8 μM) and two of them (compounds 6 and 14) showed a good selectivity index. Full article
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Article
Pre and Post-Harvest Practices and Varietal Preferences of Tomato in Ghana
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1436; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031436 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Tailored interventions in the tomato sector require current information on production and marketing systems along with the constraints faced by the stakeholders. We conducted this study to understand the current production practices, stakeholders’ varietal preferences, tomato market trends, and challenges along the crop’s [...] Read more.
Tailored interventions in the tomato sector require current information on production and marketing systems along with the constraints faced by the stakeholders. We conducted this study to understand the current production practices, stakeholders’ varietal preferences, tomato market trends, and challenges along the crop’s value chains. A multistage sampling method coupled with a random walk was used to identify survey locations and identify 180 respondents across seven regions in Ghana. The study showed that tomato was predominantly produced by male (81%) and literate farmers (84%). Tomato farmers were smallholder farmers generally cultivating less than five acres. Tomato was mainly cultivated under rainfed conditions. Farmers used both bought seeds and their own saved seeds for production. Farmers in Bono, Greater Accra, and the Upper East region largely cultivated improved tomato varieties, while farmers in the Bono East region cultivated local varieties. Across the regions, being a male and having access to irrigation facilities increased the probability of using improved varieties by 19% and 51%, respectively. The most important farmer and market preference criteria included high yield, medium to large fruit size and rounded fruit shape, red color, time to maturity and disease resistance. The major production challenges of tomato production included diseases, pests, and poor access to water for irrigation. The average yield of tomato varied from 6902.26 kg/ha in the Bono Region to 16,213.98 kg/ha in Bono East. Tomato was exclusively produced for fresh market. The major marketing challenges were low producer prices, low demand for produce, and competition from other farmers. This study provides key information to improve tomato value chains and guide the introduction or breeding of improved tomato varieties. Full article
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Conservation in 2021
Conservation 2022, 2(1), 97-98; https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2010008 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Article
Poor Air Quality in Urban Settings: A Comparison of Perceptual Indicators, Causes and Management in Two Cities
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031438 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Poor air quality (PAQ) is a global concern, especially in urban areas, and is often seen as an important element of social sustainability given its negative impact on health and quality of life. However, little research has been undertaken in cities of the [...] Read more.
Poor air quality (PAQ) is a global concern, especially in urban areas, and is often seen as an important element of social sustainability given its negative impact on health and quality of life. However, little research has been undertaken in cities of the developing world to explore how residents perceive poor air quality, its main causes, what control measures should be used to address PAQ and where the main responsibility rests for implementing control measures. The research described in this paper sought to address these points, using a questionnaire-based survey (n = 262) in Nigeria’s federal capital city of Abuja (n = 137) and the state-capital city of Enugu (n = 125). The survey took place during the COVID-19 pandemic (October 2020 to March 2021), and was stratified to ensure representation across a number of demographic groups such as gender, age, education and income. The results were analysed using the Kruskal–Wallis non-parametric test and Hochberg’s post hoc test available in SPSS version 28. The study found that the ranking of perceptual indicators and the main causes of PAQ had much agreement between respondents from both cities and between demographic groups. Smoke, odour and dust particles were perceived to be the most important indicators of PAQ, while the main sources of PAQ were waste and bush burning, vehicle use and power generators. The two most preferred control measures were proper waste management and the avoidance of bush burning. However, there was a significant difference between the two cities in terms of the main organisations responsible for addressing PAQ, with respondents from Abuja citing the federal government, while those from Enugu cited the state government. Interestingly, younger people in Enugu noted that the government should take more responsibility in controlling PAQ than did the older demographic in that city, but this difference was not seen in Abuja. Overall, this study reveals that residents in these two Nigerian cities clearly recognise their exposure to PAQ and it suggests that these perceptual indicators, and views on sources and interventions should be central to designing policies to control this important issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability)
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Article
Imaginaries of Road Transport Automation in Finnish Governance Culture—A Critical Discourse Analysis
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031437 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
As transport automation technology continues to emerge, there is a need to engage in the questions of its governing—to find a balance between unreflective enablement and rigid control. An increasing body of literature has begun to address the topic, but only a few [...] Read more.
As transport automation technology continues to emerge, there is a need to engage in the questions of its governing—to find a balance between unreflective enablement and rigid control. An increasing body of literature has begun to address the topic, but only a few studies have examined discourse and culture as central components of the related governance processes. This article aims to analyse the discourse surrounding self-driving vehicles in the Finnish context by drawing from the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries. The critical discourse analysis framework is applied to study a comprehensive set of documents published by Finnish national-level governmental bodies from 2013 to 2020. The analysis identifies four imagined ways of implementing self-driving vehicles into the Finnish transport system and a large set of mostly positive anticipated implications. Moreover, the analysis illustrates the transport automation imaginary’s cultural and spatial detachment, most obvious in the lack of detail and the disconnection between the imagined implementations and the anticipated implications. The findings are convergent with findings from other governance contexts, where discourse has been largely characterised by an unjustified optimism and strong determinism related to the wedlock with the automobility regime. If left unaddressed, such lack of reflectivity will not just lead to a plethora of undesired implications for Finnish society at large but will also signify a failure in developing an adaptive governance culture needed to face challenges of the 21st century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Steps for Governance of Sustainable Mobility Innovations)
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Review
Bioactive-Based Cosmeceuticals: An Update on Emerging Trends
Molecules 2022, 27(3), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030828 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Cosmetic-containing herbals are a cosmetic that has or is claimed to have medicinal properties, with bioactive ingredients purported to have medical benefits. There are no legal requirements to prove that these products live up to their claims. The name is a combination of [...] Read more.
Cosmetic-containing herbals are a cosmetic that has or is claimed to have medicinal properties, with bioactive ingredients purported to have medical benefits. There are no legal requirements to prove that these products live up to their claims. The name is a combination of “cosmetics” and “pharmaceuticals”. “Nutricosmetics” are related dietary supplements or food or beverage products with additives that are marketed as having medical benefits that affect appearance. Cosmetic-containing herbals are topical cosmetic–pharmaceutical hybrids intended to enhance the health and beauty of the skin. Cosmetic-containing herbals improve appearance by delivering essential nutrients to the skin. Several herbal products, such as cosmetic-containing herbals, are available. The present review highlights the use of natural products in cosmetic-containing herbals, as natural products have many curative effects as well as healing effects on skin and hair growth with minimal to no side effects. A brief description is given on such plants, their used parts, active ingredients, and the therapeutic properties associated with them. Mainly, the utilization of phytoconstituents as cosmetic-containing herbals in the care of skin and hair, such as dryness of skin, acne, eczema, inflammation of the skin, aging, hair growth, and dandruff, along with natural ingredients, such as for hair colorant, are explained in detail in the present review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds for Cosmeceuticals against Skin Diseases)
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Article
Eating Our Way to Authenticity: Polish Food Culture & the Post-Socialist ‘Transformation’
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11020044 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Of growing interest to social scientists in recent years is the emergence of food culture, i.e., the consumption and lifestyle behaviours of those who harbour a particular preoccupation with food. In many ways, food culture could be used as an index for late [...] Read more.
Of growing interest to social scientists in recent years is the emergence of food culture, i.e., the consumption and lifestyle behaviours of those who harbour a particular preoccupation with food. In many ways, food culture could be used as an index for late modernity and late capitalism—we can identify in its midst various processes of individuation, abstractions of moral consumption, and attempts at mitigating against various late modern processes. Food culture has also emerged in recent years in Poland as an analogous process to the arrival of late capitalism. In this way, in Poland, as elsewhere, food could be understood as an ontologically compelling medium for metaphysical concerns that the structural used to support—for example, moral, ethical, political, and identity-based concerns. The following paper will make an account for how Polish food bloggers understand authenticity in their food choices and lifestyles, and how this is heavily determined by the Polish ‘post-socialist’ context, which is also a new emergent field of enquiry in Polish food studies. The paper will therefore explore the three themes of authenticity that emerge from the interviews and determine that something is authentic to the bloggers when it is (a) free from lies, (b) true to itself, and/or (c) made by the bloggers (“DIY”). The paper will consequently argue that the bloggers’ engagement with food, and their broader lifestyle choices, are contingent on these perceived notions of authenticity and, indeed, authenticity is something that they are always trying to secure in their lives, often through food itself. Moreover, these themes of authenticity, and the categories that underpin them, are often closely connected to the post-socialist experience. Abstractions of time, alienation, community, the environment, food production and identity all come to be anxious categories post-1989, and the bloggers often narrate their experiences with food and lifestyles in relation to these concerns. For the Polish food bloggers, therefore, authenticity is a confused and contested category in post-socialism, but also late modernity, and food culture becomes one way of negotiating this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
Article
The Method of Fundamental Solutions for the 3D Laplace Inverse Geometric Problem on an Annular Domain
Fractal Fract. 2022, 6(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/fractalfract6020066 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
In this paper, we are interested in an inverse geometric problem for the three-dimensional Laplace equation to recover an inner boundary of an annular domain. This work is based on the method of fundamental solutions (MFS) by imposing the boundary Cauchy data in [...] Read more.
In this paper, we are interested in an inverse geometric problem for the three-dimensional Laplace equation to recover an inner boundary of an annular domain. This work is based on the method of fundamental solutions (MFS) by imposing the boundary Cauchy data in a least-square sense and minimisation of the objective function. This approach can also be considered with noisy boundary Cauchy data. The simplicity and efficiency of this method is illustrated in several numerical examples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Optimization and Nonlinear Analysis)
Review
What Can Resting-State fMRI Data Analysis Explain about the Functional Brain Connectivity in Glioma Patients?
Tomography 2022, 8(1), 267-280; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography8010021 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Resting-state functional MRI has been increasingly implemented in imaging protocols for the study of functional connectivity in glioma patients as a sequence able to capture the activity of brain networks and to investigate their properties without requiring the patients’ cooperation. The present review [...] Read more.
Resting-state functional MRI has been increasingly implemented in imaging protocols for the study of functional connectivity in glioma patients as a sequence able to capture the activity of brain networks and to investigate their properties without requiring the patients’ cooperation. The present review aims at describing the most recent results obtained through the analysis of resting-state fMRI data in different contexts of interest for brain gliomas: the identification and localization of functional networks, the characterization of altered functional connectivity, and the evaluation of functional plasticity in relation to the resection of the glioma. An analysis of the literature showed that significant and promising results could be achieved through this technique in all the aspects under investigation. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement, especially in terms of stability and generalizability of the outcomes. Further research should be conducted on homogeneous samples of glioma patients and at fixed time points to reduce the considerable variability in the results obtained across and within studies. Future works should also aim at establishing robust metrics for the assessment of the disruption of functional connectivity and its recovery at the single-subject level. Full article
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Article
The Sub-Ice Algal Communities of the Barents Sea Pack Ice: Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Biomass and Species
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10020164 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
This work summarizes ice algal studies, presented as biomass and species temporal and spatial distribution, during 11 cruises conducted between 1986 and 2012. The majority of the biomass was found as loosely attached sub-ice algal layers, and sampling required diving. A maximum of [...] Read more.
This work summarizes ice algal studies, presented as biomass and species temporal and spatial distribution, during 11 cruises conducted between 1986 and 2012. The majority of the biomass was found as loosely attached sub-ice algal layers, and sampling required diving. A maximum of 40 mg chlorophyll m−2 and 15.4 × 109 cells m−2 was measured in May. The species diversity was separated in zones based on ice thickness, with the highest biodiversity in the medium-thick ice of 30–80 cm. Nitzschia frigida was the most common species. There was a significant positive relationship between the dominance of this species and ice thickness, and it dominated completely in thick ice. Other common species, such as N. promare and Fossulaphycus arcticus reacted oppositely, by becoming less dominant in thick ice, but the positive correlation between total cell numbers and number of these three species indicated that they would most likely dominate in most populations. Melosira arctica was found several times below medium-thick annual ice. Algae occurred from top to bottom in the ice floes and in infiltration layers, but in very low numbers inside the ice. The bipolar dinoflagellates Polarella glacialis inhabited the ice, both as vegetative cells and cysts. The algal layers detached from the ice and sank in late spring when melting started. The cells in the sediments form an important food source for benthic animals throughout the year. Fjord populations survive the winter on the bottom and probably form next year’s ice algal inoculum. A few ‘over-summer’ populations found in sheltered locations might provide supplementary food for ice amphipods in late summer. The future faith of the ice flora is discussed in view of a warmer climate, with increased melting of the Arctic ice cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Sea Ice Algae)
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Article
Molecular and Photosynthetic Performance in the Yellow Leaf Mutant of Torreya grandis According to Transcriptome Sequencing, Chlorophyll a Fluorescence, and Modulated 820 nm Reflection
Cells 2022, 11(3), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11030431 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
To study the photosynthetic energy mechanism and electron transfer in yellow leaves, transcriptomics combined with physiological approaches was used to explore the mechanism of the yellow leaf mutant Torreya grandis ‘Merrillii’. The results showed that chlorophyll content, the maximal photochemical efficiency of PSII [...] Read more.
To study the photosynthetic energy mechanism and electron transfer in yellow leaves, transcriptomics combined with physiological approaches was used to explore the mechanism of the yellow leaf mutant Torreya grandis ‘Merrillii’. The results showed that chlorophyll content, the maximal photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm), and the parameters related to the OJ phase of fluorescence (φEo, φRo) were all decreased significantly in mutant-type T. grandis leaves. The efficiency needed for an electron to be transferred from the reduced carriers between the two photosystems to the end acceptors of the PSI (δRo) and the quantum yield of the energy dissipation (φDo) were higher in the leaves of mutant-type T. grandis compared to those in wild-type leaves. Analysis of the prompt fluorescence kinetics and modulated 820 nm reflection showed that the electron transfer of PSII was decreased, and PSI activity was increased in yellow T. grandis leaves. Transcriptome data showed that the unigenes involved in chlorophyll synthesis and the photosynthetic electron transport complex were downregulated in the leaves of mutant-type T. grandis compared to wild-type leaves, while there were no observable changes in carotenoid content and biosynthesis. These findings suggest that the downregulation of genes involved in chlorophyll synthesis leads to decreased chlorophyll content, resulting in both PSI activity and carotenoids having higher tolerance when acting as photo-protective mechanisms for coping with chlorophyll deficit and decrease in linear electron transport in PSII. Full article
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Electricity in 2021
Electricity 2022, 3(1), 51-52; https://doi.org/10.3390/electricity3010004 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Article
NHF as an Edge Detector of Potential Field Data and Its Application in the Yili Basin
Minerals 2022, 12(2), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12020149 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Edge enhancement is a frequently used transformation of potential field data. Its goal is to sharpen the position of the subsurface structures. Here we propose a new method to enhance the edges of the sources causing the potential anomalies called normalized Harris filter [...] Read more.
Edge enhancement is a frequently used transformation of potential field data. Its goal is to sharpen the position of the subsurface structures. Here we propose a new method to enhance the edges of the sources causing the potential anomalies called normalized Harris filter (NHF), which is based on the Harris filter and amplitude balance. Three synthetic data sets are used to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach. The presented approach provides a better estimation of the sources’ edges when compared to the other methods. The proposed method is robust to noisy data and can avoid the generation of artificial edges, thereby reducing the ambiguity of interpretation. The testing on real data set from the Yili basin in Northwestern China demonstrates that the new approach highlights several anomalies not shown in the geological map or other methods. The proposed approach also shows the advantages of gradually enhancing the edges of the deep-seated structure. The results demonstrate that the proposed approach may be a better detector in qualitatively determining the edges of sources causing potential field data. Full article
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Article
Position Correction and Trajectory Optimization of Underwater Long-Distance Navigation Inspired by Sea Turtle Migration
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(2), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10020163 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Accumulating evidence suggests that migrating animals store navigational “maps” in their brains, decoding location information from geomagnetic information based on their perception of the magnetic field. Inspired by this phenomenon, a novel geomagnetic inversion navigation framework was proposed to address the error constraint [...] Read more.
Accumulating evidence suggests that migrating animals store navigational “maps” in their brains, decoding location information from geomagnetic information based on their perception of the magnetic field. Inspired by this phenomenon, a novel geomagnetic inversion navigation framework was proposed to address the error constraint of a long-distance inertial navigation system. In the first part of the framework, the current paper proposed a geomagnetic bi-coordinate inversion localization approach which enables an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to estimate its current position from geomagnetic information like migrating animals. This paper suggests that the combination of geomagnetic total intensity (F) and geomagnetic inclination (I) can determine a unique geographical location, and that there is a non-unique mapping relationship between the geomagnetic parameters and the geographical coordination (longitude and latitude). Then the cumulative error of the inertial navigation system is corrected, according to the roughly estimated position information. In the second part of the framework, a cantilever beam model is proposed to realize the optimal correction of the INS historical trajectory. Finally, the correctness of the geomagnetic bi-coordinate inversion localization model we proposed was verified by outdoor physical experiments. In addition, we also completed a geomagnetic/inertial navigation integrated long-distance semi-physical test based on the real navigation information of the AUV. The results show that the geomagnetic inversion navigation framework proposed in this paper can constrain long-distance inertial navigation errors and improve the navigation accuracy by 73.28% compared with the pure inertial navigation mode. This implies that the geomagnetic inversion localization will play a key role in long-distance AUV navigation correction. Full article
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Article
Promoter-Bound Full-Length Intronic Circular RNAs-RNA Polymerase II Complexes Regulate Gene Expression in the Human Parasite Entamoeba histolytica
Non-Coding RNA 2022, 8(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/ncrna8010012 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Ubiquitous eukaryotic non-coding circular RNAs are involved in numerous co- and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms. Recently, we reported full-length intronic circular RNAs (flicRNAs) in Entamoeba histolytica, with 3′ss–5′ss ligation points and 5′ss GU-rich elements essential for their biogenesis and their suggested role in [...] Read more.
Ubiquitous eukaryotic non-coding circular RNAs are involved in numerous co- and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms. Recently, we reported full-length intronic circular RNAs (flicRNAs) in Entamoeba histolytica, with 3′ss–5′ss ligation points and 5′ss GU-rich elements essential for their biogenesis and their suggested role in transcription regulation. Here, we explored how flicRNAs impact gene expression regulation. Using CLIP assays, followed by qRT-PCR, we identified that the RabX13 control flicRNA and virulence-associated flicRNAs were bound to the HA-tagged RNA Pol II C-terminus domain in E. histolytica transformants. The U2 snRNA was also present in such complexes, indicating that they belonged to transcription initiation/elongation complexes. Correspondingly, inhibition of the second step of splicing using boric acid reduced flicRNA formation and modified the expression of their parental genes and non-related genes. flicRNAs were also recovered from chromatin immunoprecipitation eluates, indicating that the flicRNA-Pol II complex was formed in the promoter of their cognate genes. Finally, two flicRNAs were found to be cytosolic, whose functions remain to be uncovered. Here, we provide novel evidence of the role of flicRNAs in gene expression regulation in cis, apparently in a widespread fashion, as an element bound to the RNA polymerase II transcription initiation complex, in E. histolytica. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue circRNAs in Cell and Organ Development)
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Article
A Comparative Analysis of the Hydraulic Strategies of Non-Native and Native Perennial Forbs in Arid and Semiarid Areas of China
Forests 2022, 13(2), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020193 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
(1) Background: Water transport systems play an important role in maintaining plant growth and development. The plasticity responses of the xylem anatomical traits of different species to the environment are different. Studies have shown that there are annual growth rings in the secondary [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Water transport systems play an important role in maintaining plant growth and development. The plasticity responses of the xylem anatomical traits of different species to the environment are different. Studies have shown that there are annual growth rings in the secondary root xylem of perennial herbaceous species. Studies on xylem anatomical traits, however, have mainly focused on woody species, with little attention given to herbaceous species. (2) Methods: We set 14 sampling sites along a rainfall gradient in arid and semiarid regions, and collected the main roots of native (Potentilla) and non-native (Medicago) perennial forbs. The xylem anatomical traits of the plant roots were obtained by paraffin section, and the relationships between the xylem traits of forbs were analyzed by a Pearson correlation. (3) Results: In the fixed measurement area (850 μm × 850 μm), the vessel number (NV) of Potentilla species was higher than that of Medicago species, while the hydraulic diameter (Dh) and mean vessel area (MVA) of Potentilla species were lower than those of Medicago species. With the increase in precipitation along the rainfall gradient, the Dh (R2 = 0.403, p = 0.03) and MVA (R2 = 0.489, p = 0.01) of Medicago species increased significantly, and NV (R2 = 0.252, p = 0.09) decreased, while the hydraulic traits of Potentilla species showed no significant trend with regard to the rainfall gradient. (4) Conclusions: The hydraulic efficiency of non-native Medicago forbs was higher than that of native Potentilla forbs, and the hydraulic safety of native Potentilla forbs was higher than that of non-native Medicago forbs. With the decrease in precipitation, the hydraulic strategies of non-native Medicago forbs changed from efficiency to safety, while native Potentilla forbs were not sensitive to variations in precipitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecophysiology and Biology)
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Article
Species Fowl aviadenovirus B Consists of a Single Serotype despite Genetic Distance of FAdV-5 Isolates
Viruses 2022, 14(2), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14020248 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Fowl adenoviruses (FAdVs) are infectious agents, mainly of chickens, which cause economic losses to the poultry industry. Only a single serotype, namely FAdV-5, constitutes the species Fowl aviadenovirus B (FAdV-B); however, recently, phylogenetic analyses have identified divergent strains of the species, implicating a [...] Read more.
Fowl adenoviruses (FAdVs) are infectious agents, mainly of chickens, which cause economic losses to the poultry industry. Only a single serotype, namely FAdV-5, constitutes the species Fowl aviadenovirus B (FAdV-B); however, recently, phylogenetic analyses have identified divergent strains of the species, implicating a more complex scenario and possibly a novel serotype. Therefore, field isolates of the species were collected to investigate the contemporary diversification within FAdV-B, including traditional serotyping. Full genomes of fourteen FAdV-B strains were sequenced and four strains, possessing discriminatory mutations in the antigenic domains, were compared using virus cross-neutralization. Essentially, strains with identical antigenic signatures to that of the first described divergent strain were found in the complete new dataset. While chicken antiserum against FAdV-5 reference strain 340 could not neutralize any of the newly isolated viruses, low homologous/heterologous titer ratios were measured reciprocally. Although they argue against a new serotype, our results indicate the emergence of escape variants in FAdV-B. Charge-influencing amino acid substitutions accounted for only a few mutations between the strains; still, these enabled one-way cross-neutralization only. These findings underline the continued merit of the cross-neutralization test as the gold standard for serotyping, complementary to advancing sequence data, and provide a snapshot of the actual diversity and evolution of species FAdV-B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Avian Adenovirus Infections)
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Cosmetics in 2021
Cosmetics 2022, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics9010018 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Article
Back Pain and Body Posture Evaluation Instrument for Children and Adolescents (BackPEI-CA): Expansion, Content Validation, and Reliability
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031398 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2022
Abstract
The Back Pain and Body Posture Evaluation Instrument (BackPEI) was created in 2013 to assess back pain and its risk factors in school children. However, it does not assess neck pain or the habits of mobile device usage, which are aspects that are [...] Read more.
The Back Pain and Body Posture Evaluation Instrument (BackPEI) was created in 2013 to assess back pain and its risk factors in school children. However, it does not assess neck pain or the habits of mobile device usage, which are aspects that are often part of school children’s lives. Therefore, we aimed to update the BackPEI questionnaire to include new questions assessing aspects related to neck pain and the use of mobile devices and to test the content validity and reliability of the new questions. The updated questionnaire was named Back Pain and Body Posture Evaluation Instrument for Children and Adolescents (BackPEI-CA). The content was validated by eight experts using the content validity index (CVI). To assess reliability, the BackPEI-CA questionnaire was applied at two different times in 105 school children, and Cohen’s kappa (k) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) were calculated. All aspects assessed regarding content validity had a CVI higher than 0.8. The new questions presented moderate and good kappa values and excellent ICC values. The updated version of BackPEI-CA can be used as a clinic tool for assessing the presence, frequency, and intensity of back and neck pain and their risk factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comprehensive Back Health Education: Teaching and Learning)
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Commentary
Why Does the NOTION Trial Show Poorer Than Expected Outcomes in the Surgical Arm?
Hearts 2022, 3(1), 14-18; https://doi.org/10.3390/hearts3010003 - 26 Jan 2022
Abstract
The NOTION trial compares transcatheter aortic valve implantation versus surgical aortic valve replacement in low-risk patients. Looking carefully at the outcomes of this trial, there is no doubt that the transcatheter aortic valve implantation results were outstanding. The same thing cannot be said [...] Read more.
The NOTION trial compares transcatheter aortic valve implantation versus surgical aortic valve replacement in low-risk patients. Looking carefully at the outcomes of this trial, there is no doubt that the transcatheter aortic valve implantation results were outstanding. The same thing cannot be said for the results of the surgery. We tried to understand the reason for that. Full article
Article
ApoE4 Is Associated with Lower Body Mass, Particularly Fat Mass, in Older Women with Cognitive Impairment
Nutrients 2022, 14(3), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14030539 (registering DOI) - 26 Jan 2022
Abstract
A lower body mass is associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the risk of mortality in patients with AD; however, evidence of genetic determinants of decreased body mass in cognitively impaired older adults is limited. We therefore investigated the genetic [...] Read more.
A lower body mass is associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the risk of mortality in patients with AD; however, evidence of genetic determinants of decreased body mass in cognitively impaired older adults is limited. We therefore investigated the genetic effect of APOE-ε4 on body composition in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early-to-moderate-stage AD. A total of 1631 outpatients (aged 65–89 years) with MCI and early-to-moderate-stage AD were evaluated for the association between body composition and APOE-ε4 status. After adjusting for covariates, including cognitive function evaluated with the Mini-Mental State Examination, the presence of the APOE-ε4 was associated with lower weight (β = −1.116 ± 0.468 kg per presence, p = 0.017), fat mass (β = −1.196 ± 0.401 kg per presence, p = 0.003), and percentage of body fat (β = −1.700 ± 0.539% per presence, p = 0.002) in women but not in men. Additionally, the impact of APOE-ε4 on measures of body composition in women was more remarkable in MCI than in AD patients. The presence of the APOE-ε4 allele was associated with lower fat mass, particularly in women with MCI, independent of cognitive decline. Full article
Article
When the Sky Is Low and Heavy: David Lamelas and Transnational Heritage in Flanders
Arts 2022, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11010024 (registering DOI) - 26 Jan 2022
Abstract
In 1992, artist David Lamelas installed Quand le ciel bas et lourd at the temporary exhibition America: Bride of the Sun—500 Years of Latin-America and the Low Countries at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), a show that explored the cultural, [...] Read more.
In 1992, artist David Lamelas installed Quand le ciel bas et lourd at the temporary exhibition America: Bride of the Sun—500 Years of Latin-America and the Low Countries at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA), a show that explored the cultural, economic, and political exploitation of indigenous America by European forces, and its project of colonization and erasure. Lamelas’ work remained a public installation in KMSKA’s garden until March 2021 when it was dismantled as a result of the museum’s years-long renovation. This article examines the work in the context in which it was exhibited and later destroyed as a lens to examine two aspects of contemporary art and history in Flanders. Firstly, it foregrounds the complex, transnational heritage that Lamelas’ work presents and considers its implications upon the local, cultural scene in which it resided from the 1960s to 70s, in the 1990s and in the present. Secondly, the text frames Quand le ciel bas et lourd and America: Bride of the Sun as reverberating with the emergence of nationalism in Flanders and a global, postcolonial discourse in the art world. This article considers how aspects of Lamelas’ work and its elusive meanings over space and time might challenge monolithic understandings of Flemish art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flemish Art: Past and Present)
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Article
Aged Mouse Hippocampus Exhibits Signs of Chronic Hypoxia and an Impaired HIF-Controlled Response to Acute Hypoxic Exposures
Cells 2022, 11(3), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11030423 - 26 Jan 2022
Abstract
Altered hypoxia-inducible factor-alpha (HIF-α) activity may have significant consequences in the hippocampus, which mediates declarative memory, has limited vascularization, and is vulnerable to hypoxic insults. Previous studies have reported that neurovascular coupling is reduced in aged brains and that diseases which cause hypoxia [...] Read more.
Altered hypoxia-inducible factor-alpha (HIF-α) activity may have significant consequences in the hippocampus, which mediates declarative memory, has limited vascularization, and is vulnerable to hypoxic insults. Previous studies have reported that neurovascular coupling is reduced in aged brains and that diseases which cause hypoxia increase with age, which may render the hippocampus susceptible to acute hypoxia. Most studies have investigated the actions of HIF-α in aging cortical structures, but few have focused on the role of HIF-α within aged hippocampus. This study tests the hypothesis that aging is associated with impaired hippocampal HIF-α activity. Dorsal hippocampal sections from mice aged 3, 9, 18, and 24 months were probed for the presence of HIF-α isoforms or their associated gene products using immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridization (fISH). A subset of each age was exposed to acute hypoxia (8% oxygen) for 3 h to investigate changes in the responsiveness of HIF-α to hypoxia. Basal mean intensity of fluorescently labeled HIF-1α protein increases with age in the hippocampus, whereas HIF-2α intensity only increases in the 24-month group. Acute hypoxic elevation of HIF-1α is lost with aging and is reversed in the 24-month group. fISH reveals that glycolytic genes induced by HIF-1α (lactose dehydrogenase-a, phosphoglycerate kinase 1, and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1) are lower in aged hippocampus than in 3-month hippocampus, and mRNA for monocarboxylate transporter 1, a lactose transporter, increases. These results indicate that lactate, used in neurotransmission, may be limited in aged hippocampus, concurrent with impaired HIF-α response to hypoxic events. Therefore, impaired HIF-α may contribute to age-associated cognitive decline during hypoxic events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hypoxia-Inducible Factors in Human Physiology and Diseases)
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Article
Soil Macroinvertebrate Response to Paddy Rice Farming Pathways in Mpologoma Catchment, Uganda
Agronomy 2022, 12(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020312 - 26 Jan 2022
Abstract
Agricultural practices play a major role in influencing soil fauna abundance and diversity. Interest in these practices has increased owing to the growing need for sustainable agricultural systems in this era of increasing agricultural intensification. In this study, two paddy rice farming pathways [...] Read more.
Agricultural practices play a major role in influencing soil fauna abundance and diversity. Interest in these practices has increased owing to the growing need for sustainable agricultural systems in this era of increasing agricultural intensification. In this study, two paddy rice farming pathways (smallholder and large-scale commercial) and an adjacent natural wetland in Mpologoma catchment were studied to determine the response of soil macroinvertebrates to paddy rice farming pathways. Eighteen macroinvertebrate taxa were observed, some of which were not the usual soil taxa (Hirudinea, Decapoda, Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, and Odonata). SIMPER analysis showed that Oligochaeta, Gastropoda, and Coleoptera were the major taxa responsible for dissimilarity among sites. Macroinvertebrate richness and diversity also varied among sites. Some taxa showed habitat exclusivity: Diptera, Odonata, and Trichoptera were exclusive to both rice paddies; Decapoda, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, and Blattodea to natural wetland; Diplura and Ephemeroptera were exclusive to large-scale commercial paddies. NMDS ordination showed that macroinvertebrate distribution among sites was strongly correlated with soil pH and calcium and moderately correlated with phosphorus. These results indicate that wetland conversion to rice paddies could affect macroinvertebrate richness and diversity and underscore the importance of soil environment in influencing the macroinvertebrate community in rice paddies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems and Agronomic Management Practices of Field Crops)
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Review
En-Garde! A Review of Fencing Blade Material Development
Metals 2022, 12(2), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/met12020236 (registering DOI) - 26 Jan 2022
Abstract
Using two fencing swords manufactured in Europe and China, we investigated the typical materials used for fencing blades and compared the experimental results with the nominal compositions of a variety of steels. We found that spring steels and maraging steels were the primary [...] Read more.
Using two fencing swords manufactured in Europe and China, we investigated the typical materials used for fencing blades and compared the experimental results with the nominal compositions of a variety of steels. We found that spring steels and maraging steels were the primary metals used in fencing blades. The review then provides an overview of the chemical compositions, heat treatment processes, microstructures and associated mechanical properties of these materials. By combining the requirements for the safety of athletes, mechanical behaviors of different steels, and production costs for industry, we introduced possible directions for the heat treatments and processing methods that have the potential to enhance performance and overcome the limitations of previous materials. In addition, an ultra-strong steel, Fe-9.95Mn-0.44C-1.87Al-0.67V which could be a promising new candidate in this area, was recommended. Finally, we suggested that successful cooperation between manufacturers and researchers is necessary to reach the various requirements of fencing blades to meet the growing popularity of fencing in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microstructure and Properties of High Temperature Intermetallic)
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