Advancing Open Science
for more than 25 years
MDPI is a pioneer in scholarly open access publishing
and has supported academic communities since 1996.
Article
Hyperendemic Dengue and Possible Zika Circulation in the Westernmost Region of the Indonesian Archipelago
Viruses 2022, 14(2), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14020219 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The transmission of dengue and other medically important mosquito-borne viruses in the westernmost region of Indonesia is not well described. We assessed dengue and Zika virus seroprevalence in Aceh province, the westernmost area of the Indonesian archipelago. Serum samples collected from 199 randomly [...] Read more.
The transmission of dengue and other medically important mosquito-borne viruses in the westernmost region of Indonesia is not well described. We assessed dengue and Zika virus seroprevalence in Aceh province, the westernmost area of the Indonesian archipelago. Serum samples collected from 199 randomly sampled healthy residents of Aceh Jaya in 2017 were analyzed for neutralizing antibodies by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Almost all study participants (198/199; 99.5%) presented with multitypic profiles of neutralizing antibodies to two or more DENV serotypes, indicating transmission of multiple DENV in the region prior to 2017. All residents were exposed to one or more DENV serotypes by the age of 30 years. The highest geometric mean titers were measured for DENV-4, followed by DENV-1, DENV-2 and DENV-3. Among a subset of 116 sera, 27 neutralized ZIKV with a high stringency (20 with PRNT90 > 10 and 7 with PRNT90 > 40). This study showed that DENV is hyperendemic in the westernmost region of the Indonesian archipelago and suggested that ZIKV may have circulated prior to 2017. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Infectious Diseases)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Technical Note
Correlated Bayesian Model of Aircraft Encounters in the Terminal Area Given a Straight Takeoff or Landing
Aerospace 2022, 9(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9020058 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The integration of new airspace entrants into terminal operations requires design and evaluation of Detect and Avoid systems that prevent loss of well clear from and collision with other aircraft. Prior to standardization or deployment, an analysis of the safety performance of those [...] Read more.
The integration of new airspace entrants into terminal operations requires design and evaluation of Detect and Avoid systems that prevent loss of well clear from and collision with other aircraft. Prior to standardization or deployment, an analysis of the safety performance of those systems is required. This type of analysis has typically been conducted by Monte Carlo simulation with synthetic, statistically representative encounters between aircraft drawn from an appropriate encounter model. While existing encounter models include terminal airspace classes, none explicitly represents the structure expected while engaged in terminal operations, e.g., aircraft in a traffic pattern. The work described herein is an initial model of such operations where an aircraft landing or taking off via a straight trajectory encounters another aircraft landing or taking off, or transiting by any means. The model shares the Bayesian network foundation of other Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory encounter models but tailors those networks to address structured terminal operations, i.e., correlations between trajectories and the airfield and each other. This initial model release is intended to elicit feedback from the standards-writing community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Air Transportation—Operations and Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
On the Modified Stokes Second Problem for Maxwell Fluids with Linear Dependence of Viscosity on the Pressure
Symmetry 2022, 14(2), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14020219 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The modified Stokes second problem for incompressible upper-convected Maxwell (UCM) fluids with linear dependence of viscosity on the pressure is analytically and numerically investigated. The fluid motion, between infinite horizontal parallel plates, is generated by the lower wall, which oscillates in its plane. [...] Read more.
The modified Stokes second problem for incompressible upper-convected Maxwell (UCM) fluids with linear dependence of viscosity on the pressure is analytically and numerically investigated. The fluid motion, between infinite horizontal parallel plates, is generated by the lower wall, which oscillates in its plane. The movement region of the fluid is symmetric with respect to the median plane, but its motion is asymmetric due to the boundary conditions. Closed-form expressions are found for the steady-state components of start-up solutions for non-dimensional velocity and the corresponding non-trivial shear and normal stresses. Similar solutions for the simple Couette flow are obtained as limiting cases of the solutions corresponding to the motion due to cosine oscillations of the wall. For validation, it is graphically proved that the start-up solutions (numerical solutions) converge to their steady-state components. Solutions for motions of ordinary incompressible UCM fluids performing the same motions are obtained as special cases of present results using asymptotic approximations of standard Bessel functions. The time needed to reach the permanent or steady state is also determined. This time is higher for motions of ordinary fluids, compared with motions of liquids with pressure-dependent viscosity. The impact of physical parameters on the fluid motion and the spatial–temporal distribution of start-up solutions are graphically investigated and discussed. Ordinary fluids move slower than fluids with pressure-dependent viscosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mathematical Fluid Dynamics and Symmetry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Video-Based Automatic Baby Motion Analysis for Early Neurological Disorder Diagnosis: State of the Art and Future Directions
Sensors 2022, 22(3), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22030866 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) are impairments of the growth and development of the brain and/or central nervous system. In the light of clinical findings on early diagnosis of NDD and prompted by recent advances in hardware and software technologies, several researchers tried to introduce [...] Read more.
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) are impairments of the growth and development of the brain and/or central nervous system. In the light of clinical findings on early diagnosis of NDD and prompted by recent advances in hardware and software technologies, several researchers tried to introduce automatic systems to analyse the baby’s movement, even in cribs. Traditional technologies for automatic baby motion analysis leverage contact sensors. Alternatively, remotely acquired video data (e.g., RGB or depth) can be used, with or without active/passive markers positioned on the body. Markerless approaches are easier to set up and maintain (without any human intervention) and they work well on non-collaborative users, making them the most suitable technologies for clinical applications involving children. On the other hand, they require complex computational strategies for extracting knowledge from data, and then, they strongly depend on advances in computer vision and machine learning, which are among the most expanding areas of research. As a consequence, also markerless video-based analysis of movements in children for NDD has been rapidly expanding but, to the best of our knowledge, there is not yet a survey paper providing a broad overview of how recent scientific developments impacted it. This paper tries to fill this gap and it lists specifically designed data acquisition tools and publicly available datasets as well. Besides, it gives a glimpse of the most promising techniques in computer vision, machine learning and pattern recognition which could be profitably exploited for children motion analysis in videos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Systems and Sensors for Assistive Technology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
High Reflectivity AlN/Al1−xInxN Distributed Bragg Reflectors across the UV Regions by Sputtering
Crystals 2022, 12(2), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst12020162 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
To improve the performance of III-nitride compound semiconductor-based optoelectronic devices, highly reflective distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) are a requirement. In this report, AlN and Al1−xInxN layers were first sputtered and characterized concerning their optical, structural and morphological properties. Ellipsometry [...] Read more.
To improve the performance of III-nitride compound semiconductor-based optoelectronic devices, highly reflective distributed Bragg reflectors (DBRs) are a requirement. In this report, AlN and Al1−xInxN layers were first sputtered and characterized concerning their optical, structural and morphological properties. Ellipsometry measurements were used to determine the optical constants (refractive index, n and coefficient of extinction, k, in dependence of the wavelengths of the layers. The indium content of the Al1−xInxN film was investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. Subsequently, AlN/Al1−xInxN DBRs with high reflectivity spectra operating in the UV A, B and C were designed and fabricated on Si (111) and SiO2 substrates by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering. The DBRs consist of an eight-pair AlN/Al0.84In0.16N at 235 nm, 290 nm and 365 nm with reflectances of 86.5%, 97.7% and 97.5% with FWHM of 45 nm, 70 nm and 96 nm, respectively. Atomic force microscopy analysis yielded a Root Mean Square (RMS) of 2.95 nm, implying that the DBR samples can achieve reasonable smoothness over a wide area. Furthermore, the impact of an annealing phase, which is frequently required during device growth, was investigated. Our findings indicate that AlN and Al1−xInxN are suitable materials for the fabrication of deep UV DBRs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Editorial
Constructed and Floating Wetlands for Sustainable Water Reclamation
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031268 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Modern urbanized societies are facing serious challenges in the maintenance of their water resources [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Constructed and Floating Wetlands for Sustainable Water Reclamation)
Article
Sustainability of the Portuguese North-Western Fishing Activity in the Face of the Recently Implemented Maritime Spatial Planning
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1266; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031266 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) for continental Portugal was approved in December 2019 and has established a novel framework for those players that carry out maritime activities. In light of this challenge, our work addresses the current status of the fishing activity in [...] Read more.
The Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) for continental Portugal was approved in December 2019 and has established a novel framework for those players that carry out maritime activities. In light of this challenge, our work addresses the current status of the fishing activity in the north-western region of Portugal, where relevant small-scale fisheries (SSF) are still well established. Based on official statistical data and a stakeholder survey, structural, economic, and social issues that significantly influence the sustainability of this industry were studied. Throughout the 2012–2019 pre-COVID-19 period, the price revalorization of primary products in first-sale markets was the key aspect that allowed fisheries to partially counteract the loss of economic value associated with the decreased fishing production (a decline of 46% of the total nominal catches). Regarding the regional fishing trade network, the fact that a given species reaches a wide range of prices in closely located major landing ports (Matosinhos, Póvoa de Varzim, and Viana do Castelo) constitutes, nonetheless, an issue that deserves attention and optimization. A survey conducted among training professional fishers confirmed a deeply rooted family/regional tradition but revealed concerns about the future generational replacement. The trainees demanded stronger support from the government, a modernization process for fishing activity, as well as higher social salary standards. Moreover, they assigned a high relevance to the sustainability of aquatic resources. In conclusion, the results shown in the present study reveal a noticeable ability of the regional fishing industry to overcome the challenging economic circumstances that have occurred in the last few years. Against the new scenario decisively influenced by the MSP, a generation of future regional fishers that pursue high social and environmental standards is certainly a solid basis for an optimistic future performance of this activity. For that purpose, a firm commitment to the use of technology seems like a key strategy to adopt in order to further the sustainability of the fisheries in the north-western region of Portugal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maritime Spatial Planning for Sustainable Fisheries)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Exploring Structural Relationships in Attracting and Retaining International Students in STEM for Sustainable Development of Higher Education
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031267 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Attracting and retaining international students has been widely discussed in higher education settings. Increasing the number of international students has become an indispensable strategy for national and global competition. This study focuses on effective strategies and international students’ issues regarding satisfaction in the [...] Read more.
Attracting and retaining international students has been widely discussed in higher education settings. Increasing the number of international students has become an indispensable strategy for national and global competition. This study focuses on effective strategies and international students’ issues regarding satisfaction in the most popular STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs. We designed a structural equation modeling (SEM) method to determine the effect of institutional mediation between push factors and satisfaction factors for the development of better strategies by which to attract and retain international students. This study employed a self-designed questionnaire to collect data: 485 degree-seeking international students in STEM programs were invited and successfully participated in this study during spring 2021 in Taiwan. IBM SPSS 26 and AMOS 26 (Analysis of Moment Structure) were used to carry out the data analysis. We employed reliability, factor, and SEM analyses. This study assumed that the impact of push factors could be modified by institutional situations and result in international students’ satisfaction with their learning and environment and regarding migration policy. The results revealed that the predictors, mediation, and criteria were significant at the 0.05 or 0.01 levels. The findings suggest that push factors impact international students’ satisfaction when using institutional leadership and strategy. The results of the bootstrap with a generalized least-squares method showed that the SEM model fit in 2000 bootstrap samples. The effect of institutional mediation can provide useful information for STEM programs to boost their future recruitment and retention strategies. This study provides an innovative approach to the detection of issues among international students in specific programs. The design of the study can be extended to similar higher education settings. These findings can enrich our knowledge regarding attracting and retaining global students in higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Higher Education and Leadership)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Small Rural Enterprises and Innovative Business Models: A Case Study of the Turin Area
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1265; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031265 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Small businesses and farms are today struggling to find an innovative solution to a globalizing market and a challenging society. Among different aspects, small businesses, especially in rural areas, need to find a balance among tailor-made innovative solutions, specific customers engagement strategies, creative [...] Read more.
Small businesses and farms are today struggling to find an innovative solution to a globalizing market and a challenging society. Among different aspects, small businesses, especially in rural areas, need to find a balance among tailor-made innovative solutions, specific customers engagement strategies, creative value creation solutions, and new business concepts able to reshape existing markets. In this study, 16 small enterprises of rural areas near Turin belonging to different sectors collaborated to co-create innovative business models. To guide this discussion through a sustainable innovation path, a territorial Living Lab set up the four macro-topics of the co-creation workshops linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Innovative business ideas were elaborated through the Brainstorming and Business Model Canvas tool and data were examined with SWOT and cross-case analysis. The results of the workshops pointed out four different innovative business ideas elaborated by the entrepreneurs, all linked by the need to translate innovation into sustainable adaptive solutions to local specificities. This case study showed that a range of enabling factors, such as the creation of a shared vision among local actors, can be codified to clear barriers and/or create innovative business solutions linked to economic, environmental, and social sustainability in rural areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Farm Strategies and Territorial Integration)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Interaction of the EEU Member States and Risks of Their Mutual Trade during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications for the Management of Corporate Social Responsibility
Risks 2022, 10(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/risks10020027 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The research problem is that the COVID-19 pandemic has become a threat to the sustainable development of the EEU and caused uncertainty in terms of the management of corporate social responsibility. This paper is aimed at identifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic [...] Read more.
The research problem is that the COVID-19 pandemic has become a threat to the sustainable development of the EEU and caused uncertainty in terms of the management of corporate social responsibility. This paper is aimed at identifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sustainable development of the EEU from the perspective of the interaction of the member states of the integration association and their mutual trade risks through the prism of the management of corporate social responsibility. The methodological foundation of the research is composed of the provisions of a comprehensive approach that has been used as a basis for determining the cause-and-effect relationship between the member states of the integration association and their mutual trade risks in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The analysis of statistical data is based on the methodology of econometric theory; in particular, the methods of horizontal and trend analysis. This paper analyzes the measures that were taken by the EEU member states to fight the pandemic of a new coronavirus infection both at the national level and at the level of the EEU institutions. The authors showed the asynchronous nature of measures introduced at the national level, while in certain circumstances the economic inefficiency of the introduction of measures, taken at the supranational level, and the impact of imposed restrictions on the current situation with mutual trade in goods and services, and free movement of workers. It has been substantiated that the examination of the economic interaction of the EEU member states in the period of restrictions dictated by a new coronavirus infection has revealed several endemic problems and had a major impact on the achievement of the main objectives of the integration association, transforming the terms for the management of corporate social responsibility. The originality of the paper is that the unique experience of the integration association of the EEU is for the first time studied from the perspective of the impact of the risks of mutual trade during a pandemic on it through the prism of the management of corporate social responsibility. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Cooperative Friendly Jamming Techniques for Drone-Based Mobile Secure Zone
Sensors 2022, 22(3), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22030865 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Threats of eavesdropping and information leakages have increased sharply owing to advancements in wireless communication technology. In particular, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become vulnerable to sniffing or jamming attacks because broadcast communication is usually conducted in open-network environments. Although improved security [...] Read more.
Threats of eavesdropping and information leakages have increased sharply owing to advancements in wireless communication technology. In particular, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become vulnerable to sniffing or jamming attacks because broadcast communication is usually conducted in open-network environments. Although improved security protocols have been proposed to overcome the limitations of wireless-communication technology and to secure safe communication channels, they are difficult to apply to mobile communication networks and IoT because complex hardware is required. Hence, a novel security model with a lighter weight and greater mobility is needed. In this paper, we propose a security model applying cooperative friendly jamming using artificial noise and drone mobility, which are autonomous moving objects, and we demonstrate the prevention of eavesdropping and improved security through simulations and field tests. The Cooperative Friendly Jamming Techniques for Drone-based Mobile Secure Zone (CFJ-DMZ) can set a secure zone in a target area to support a safe wireless mobile communication network through friendly jamming, which can effectively reduce eavesdropping threats. According to the experimental results, the average information leakage rate of the eavesdroppers in CFJ-DMZ-applied scenarios was less than or equal to 3%, an average improvement of 92% over conventional methods. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Crystal Structure, Electrical Conductivity and Hydration of the Novel Oxygen-Deficient Perovskite La2ScZnO5.5, Doped with MgO and CaO
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12031181 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
This paper demonstrates the possibility of creating oxygen deficiency in perovskites A+3B+3O3 by introducing two types of cations with different charges into the B-sublattice. For this, it is proposed to introduce a two-charged cation, for example, Zn2+ [...] Read more.
This paper demonstrates the possibility of creating oxygen deficiency in perovskites A+3B+3O3 by introducing two types of cations with different charges into the B-sublattice. For this, it is proposed to introduce a two-charged cation, for example, Zn2+, as an alternative to alkaline earth metals. Previously, this possibility was demonstrated for aluminate LaAlO3 and indate LaInO3. In this article, we have focused on the modification of the scandium-containing perovskite LaScO3. The novel oxygen-deficient perovskite La2ScZnO5.5 and doped phases La1.9Ca0.1ScZnO5.45, La2Sc0.9Ca0.1ZnO5.45, and La2Sc0.9Mg0.1ZnO5.45 were obtained via a solid-state reaction process. Their phase composition and hydration were investigated by XRD and TGA + MS techniques. The conductivities of these materials were measured by the electrochemical impedance technique under atmospheres of various water vapor partial pressures. All phases crystallized in orthorhombic symmetry with the Pnma space group. The phases were capable of reversible water uptake; the proton concentration increased in the order of La2ScZnO5.5 < La2Sc0.9Mg0.1ZnO5.45 < La2Sc0.9Ca0.1ZnO5.45 ≈ La1.9Ca0.1ScZnO5.45 and reached ~90% hydration limit for Ca2+-doped phases. The total conductivities increased with the increase in the free lattice volume in the sequence of σLa2ScZnO5.5 < σLa2Sc0.9Mg0.1ZnO5.45 < σLa1.9Ca0.1ScZnO5.45 < σLa2Sc0.9Ca0.1ZnO5.45, the activation energy decreased in the same sequence. The sample La2Sc0.9Ca0.1ZnO5.45 showed the highest conductivity of about 10−3 S∙cm−1 at 650 °C (dry air pH2O = 3.5·10−5 atm). Water incorporation was accompanied by an increase in conductivity in wet air (pH2O = 2·10−2 atm) due to the appearance of proton conductivity. The sample La2Sc0.9Ca0.1ZnO5.45 showed a conductivity of about 10−5 S∙cm−1 at 350 °C (pH2O = 2·10−2 atm). A comparison of conductivities of obtained phase La2ScZnO5.5 with the conductivities of La2AlZnO5.5 and La2InZnO5.5 was made; the nature of the B-cation did not significantly affect the total conductivity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Communication
Hepatitis B Virus Integration into Transcriptionally Active Loci and HBV-Associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Microorganisms 2022, 10(2), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10020253 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) DNA integrations into the human genome are considered major causative factors to HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma development. In the present study, we investigated whether HBV preferentially integrates parts of its genome in specific genes and evaluated the contribution of the [...] Read more.
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) DNA integrations into the human genome are considered major causative factors to HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma development. In the present study, we investigated whether HBV preferentially integrates parts of its genome in specific genes and evaluated the contribution of the integrations in HCC development per gene. We applied dedicated in-house developed pipelines on all of the available HBV DNA integration data and performed a statistical analysis to identify genes that could be characterized as hotspots of integrations, along with the evaluation of their association with HBV-HCC. Our results suggest that 15 genes are recurrently affected by HBV integrations and they are significantly associated with HBV-HCC. Further studies that focus on HBV integrations disrupting these genes are mandatory in order to understand the role of HBV integrations in clonal advantage gain and oncogenesis promotion, as well as to determine whether inhibition of the HBV-disrupted genes can provide a therapy strategy for HBV-HCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms Associated with Infectious Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Antiviral Toll-like Receptor Signaling in Non-Parenchymal Liver Cells Is Restricted to TLR3
Viruses 2022, 14(2), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14020218 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The role of non-parenchymal liver cells as part of the hepatic, innate immune system in the defense against hepatotropic viruses is not well understood. Here, primary human Kupffer cells, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and hepatic stellate cells were isolated from liver tissue obtained [...] Read more.
The role of non-parenchymal liver cells as part of the hepatic, innate immune system in the defense against hepatotropic viruses is not well understood. Here, primary human Kupffer cells, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and hepatic stellate cells were isolated from liver tissue obtained after tumor resections or liver transplantations. Cells were stimulated with Toll-like receptor 1–9 ligands for 6–24 h. Non-parenchymal liver cells expressed and secreted inflammatory cytokines (IL6, TNF and IL10). Toll-like receptor- and cell type-specific downstream signals included the phosphorylation of NF-κB, AKT, JNK, p38 and ERK1/2. However, only supernatants of TLR3-activated Kupffer cells, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and hepatic stellate cells contained type I and type III interferons and mediated an antiviral activity in the interferon-sensitive subgenomic hepatitis C virus replicon system. The antiviral effect could not be neutralized by antibodies against IFNA, IFNB nor IFNL, but could be abrogated using an interferon alpha receptor 2-specific neutralization. Interestingly, TLR3 responsiveness was enhanced in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells isolated from hepatitis C virus-positive donors, compared to uninfected controls. In conclusion, non-parenchymal liver cells are potent activators of the hepatic immune system by mediating inflammatory responses. Furthermore, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells were identified to be hyperresponsive to viral stimuli in chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toll-Like Receptors in Antiviral Immunity)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Analysis of Differences in the Levels of TPACK: Unpacking Performance Indicators in the TPACK Levels Rubric
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12020079 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Since the development of the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework, researchers have been developing a variety of instruments to measure the TPACK of pre-service and in-service teachers. The task of developing an efficient, reliable, and valid instrument is difficult. Even validated instruments [...] Read more.
Since the development of the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework, researchers have been developing a variety of instruments to measure the TPACK of pre-service and in-service teachers. The task of developing an efficient, reliable, and valid instrument is difficult. Even validated instruments require guidance for consistent use that preserves the instrument fidelity. The purpose of this study is to provide guidance for using the TPACK Levels Rubric, a validated instrument that was developed on the basis of the model for the progressive levels of TPACK. The authors systematically examined the criteria of the rubric in order to understand the differences in the levels of TPACK for each rubric component, and developed lesson exemplars to create guidelines for educators using this tool in assessing the TPACK levels of teachers. The iterative instrument analysis also led to the revision of the original rubric to establish the horizontal and vertical alignments and the consistency of the rubric, for each level across four components, and for each component across five levels. The construct validity of the revised rubric was confirmed on the basis of a confirmatory factor analysis of 394 mathematics and science lesson plans developed by graduate special education pre-service and in-service elementary school teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Using Technology in Teaching Mathematics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Preservative Effect on Canned Mackerel (Scomber colias) Lipids by Addition of Octopus (Octopus vulgaris) Cooking Liquor in the Packaging Medium
Molecules 2022, 27(3), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030739 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
The preservative properties of waste liquor obtained from octopus (Octopus vulgaris) cooking were investigated. Three different concentrations (high, medium, and low) of octopus cooking liquor (OCL) were included, respectively, in the aqueous packaging medium employed for mackerel (Scomber colias) [...] Read more.
The preservative properties of waste liquor obtained from octopus (Octopus vulgaris) cooking were investigated. Three different concentrations (high, medium, and low) of octopus cooking liquor (OCL) were included, respectively, in the aqueous packaging medium employed for mackerel (Scomber colias) canning. As a result, the canning process led to an increase (p < 0.05) of lipid content, lipid oxidation (development of fluorescent compounds and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS), lipid hydrolysis (formation of free fatty acids, FFA) and ω3/ω6 ratio in fish muscle. In all canned samples, primary (peroxides) and secondary (TBARS) levels of lipid oxidation were low. Remarkably, the presence in the packaging medium of the high and medium OCL concentrations led to lower (p < 0.05) lipid oxidation development (fluorescent compound and TBARS detection, respectively). Furthermore, an increasing OCL presence led to an average decrease of peroxide and FFA content and to an average increase of the polyene index (PI). All OCL-packaged muscle showed lower average values of saturated fatty acids and ω3/ω6 ratio and higher average values of PI and monounsaturated fatty acid presence. This study provides a first approach to novel and beneficial use of the present marine waste to inhibit lipid damage of commercial canned fish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Food Chemistry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Genetic Predisposition and Inflammatory Inhibitors in COVID-19: Where Do We Stand?
Biomedicines 2022, 10(2), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10020242 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) have led to a global pandemic associated with high fatality rates. COVID-19 primarily manifests in the respiratory system as an acute respiratory distress syndrome following viral entry through the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 [...] Read more.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) have led to a global pandemic associated with high fatality rates. COVID-19 primarily manifests in the respiratory system as an acute respiratory distress syndrome following viral entry through the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) that is present in pulmonary epithelial cells. Central in COVID-19 is the burst of cytokines, known as a “cytokine storm”, and the subsequent widespread endothelial activation, leading to cardiovascular complications such as myocarditis, arrhythmias, and adverse vascular events, among others. Genetic alterations may play an additive, detrimental role in the clinical course of patients with COVID-19, since gene alterations concerning ACE2, major histocompatibility complex class I, and toll-like receptors may predispose patients to a worse clinical outcome. Since the role of inflammation is quintessential in COVID-19, pharmacologic inhibition of various signaling pathways such as the interleukin-1 and -6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon gamma, Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription, and granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor may ameliorate the prognosis following timely administration. Finally, frequently used, non-specific anti-inflammatory agents such as corticosteroids, statins, colchicine, and macrolides represent additional therapeutic considerations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inhibitors of Key Targets of SARS-CoV-2 and Other Coronaviruses)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Study on the Control of Dichloroacetonitrile Generation by Two-Point Influent Activated Carbon-Quartz Sand Biofilter
Membranes 2022, 12(2), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes12020137 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Aiming at the problem of highly toxic Nitrogenous disinfection by-products (N-DBPs) produced by disinfection in the process of drinking water, two-point influent activated carbon-quartz sand biofilter, activated carbon-quartz sand biofilter, and quartz sand biofilter are selected. This study takes typical N-DBPs Dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN) [...] Read more.
Aiming at the problem of highly toxic Nitrogenous disinfection by-products (N-DBPs) produced by disinfection in the process of drinking water, two-point influent activated carbon-quartz sand biofilter, activated carbon-quartz sand biofilter, and quartz sand biofilter are selected. This study takes typical N-DBPs Dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN) as the research object and aromatic amino acid Tyrosine (Tyr), an important precursor of DCAN, as the model precursor. By measuring the changes of conventional pollutants in different biofilters, and the changes of Tyr, the output DCAN formation potential of the biofilters, this article investigates the control of DCAN generation of the two-point influent activated carbon-quartz sand biofilter. The results show that the average Tyr removal rate of the three biofilters during steady operation is 73%, 50%, and 20%, respectively, while the average effluent DCAN generation potential removal rate is 78%, 52%, and 23%, respectively. The two-point influent activated carbon-sand biofilter features the highest removal rate. The two-point water intake improves the hypoxia problem of the lower filter material of the activated carbon-quartz sand biofilter, and at the same time, the soluble microbial products produced by microbial metabolism can be reduced by an appropriate carbon sand ratio, which is better than traditional quartz sand filters and activated carbon-quartz sand biofilters in the performance of controlling the precursors of N-DBPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biofouling: Detection, Characterization, Prevention, and Control)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Management of Early-Stage Cervical Cancer: A Literature Review
Cancers 2022, 14(3), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14030575 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Cervical cancer (CC) remains a public health issue worldwide despite preventive measures. Surgical treatment in the early-stage CC has evolved during the last decades. Our aim was to review the advances in the literature and summarize the ongoing studies on this topic. To [...] Read more.
Cervical cancer (CC) remains a public health issue worldwide despite preventive measures. Surgical treatment in the early-stage CC has evolved during the last decades. Our aim was to review the advances in the literature and summarize the ongoing studies on this topic. To this end, we conducted a literature review through PubMed focusing on English-language articles on the surgical management of early-stage CC. The emergent topics considered here are the FIGO 2018 staging system update, conservative management with less radical procedures for selected patients, lymph node staging, fertility preservation, preferred surgical approach, management of tumors up to 2 cm, and prognosis. In terms of updating FIGO, we highlight the inclusion of lymph node status on staging and the possibility of imaging. Regarding the preferred surgical approach, we emphasize the LACC trial impact worldwide in favor of open surgery; however, we discuss the controversial application of this for tumors < 2 cm. In summary, all topics show a tendency to provide patients with tailored treatment that avoids morbidity while maintaining oncologic safety, which is already possible in high-income countries. We believe that efforts should focus on making this a reality for low-income countries as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Early Stage Cervical Cancer)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Use of Air-Classification Technology to Manage Mycotoxin and Arsenic Contaminations in Durum Wheat-Derived Products
Foods 2022, 11(3), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11030304 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Mycotoxins are the most common natural contaminants and include different types of organic compounds, such as deoxynivalenol (DON) and T-2 and HT-2 toxins. The major toxic inorganic elements include those commonly known as heavy metals, such as cadmium, nickel, and lead, and other [...] Read more.
Mycotoxins are the most common natural contaminants and include different types of organic compounds, such as deoxynivalenol (DON) and T-2 and HT-2 toxins. The major toxic inorganic elements include those commonly known as heavy metals, such as cadmium, nickel, and lead, and other minerals such as arsenic. In this study, micronisation and air classification technologies were applied to durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum L.) samples to mitigate inorganic (arsenic) and organic contaminants in unrefined milling fractions and final products (pasta). The results showed the suitability of milling plants, providing less refined milling products for lowering amounts of mycotoxins (DON and the sum of T-2 and HT-2 toxins) and toxic inorganic elements (As, Cd, Ni, and Pb). The results showed an As content (in end products) similar to that obtained using semolina as raw material. In samples showing high organic contamination, the contamination rate detected in the more bran-enriched fractions ranged from 74% to 150% (DON) and from 119% to 151% (sum of T2 and HT-2 toxins) as compared to the micronised samples. Therefore, this technology may be useful for manufacturing unrefined products with reduced levels of organic and inorganic contaminants, minimising the health risk to consumers. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Protonation State of an Important Histidine from High Resolution Structures of Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases
Biomolecules 2022, 12(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12020194 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases (LPMOs) oxidatively cleave recalcitrant polysaccharides. The mechanism involves (i) reduction of the Cu, (ii) polysaccharide binding, (iii) binding of different oxygen species, and (iv) glycosidic bond cleavage. However, the complete mechanism is poorly understood and may vary across different families [...] Read more.
Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases (LPMOs) oxidatively cleave recalcitrant polysaccharides. The mechanism involves (i) reduction of the Cu, (ii) polysaccharide binding, (iii) binding of different oxygen species, and (iv) glycosidic bond cleavage. However, the complete mechanism is poorly understood and may vary across different families and even within the same family. Here, we have investigated the protonation state of a secondary co-ordination sphere histidine, conserved across AA9 family LPMOs that has previously been proposed to be a potential proton donor. Partial unrestrained refinement of newly obtained higher resolution data for two AA9 LPMOs and re-refinement of four additional data sets deposited in the PDB were carried out, where the His was refined without restraints, followed by measurements of the His ring geometrical parameters. This allowed reliable assignment of the protonation state, as also validated by following the same procedure for the His brace, for which the protonation state is predictable. The study shows that this histidine is generally singly protonated at the Nε2 atom, which is close to the oxygen species binding site. Our results indicate robustness of the method. In view of this and other emerging evidence, a role as proton donor during catalysis is unlikely for this His. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases: Diversity and Molecular Events)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Decision Support System (DSS) for Managing a Beef Herd and Its Grazing Habitat’s Sustainability: Biological/Agricultural Basis of the Technology and Its Validation
Agronomy 2022, 12(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020288 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Grazing pasture quality and availability, and grazing animal performance, depend on ecological and weather conditions and grazing management. The latter can be improved by remote monitoring of animals and grazed forage. The aim of this study was to test the ability of a [...] Read more.
Grazing pasture quality and availability, and grazing animal performance, depend on ecological and weather conditions and grazing management. The latter can be improved by remote monitoring of animals and grazed forage. The aim of this study was to test the ability of a new remote-monitoring system to improve cow and pasture performance. The study used 20 collars for a herd of 40 cows, precision technology to monitor each collared cow’s location and activities 24 h per day, and herd-management system (HMS) software to optimize grazing-land and animal performance. The study covered 4 consecutive years of reproductive cycles and seasonal feed supplements. The selected forage’s metabolizable energy (ME) calculated by the HMS was significantly correlated with the ME calculated by fecal near-infrared spectroscopy analysis (rp = 0.91, p < 0.001). Cows’ daily activities (walking, grazing, resting, and average daily meal duration), energy balance, and forage quality changed with the seasons, mainly affected by the timing, duration, and volume of precipitation. The HMS well identified sickness events, forage quality and availability, cows’ retained energy, and grazing-land stocking rate (2.9 ha/cow). A significant increase in weaning rate along the 5 years of the study (rp = 0.921, p < 0.01) was found. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Influence of Different Bacteria Inocula and Temperature Levels on the Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Prickly Pear Vinegar Produced by Surface Culture
Foods 2022, 11(3), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11030303 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
This work intends to determine the effect on the aroma profile, phenolic content and antioxidant activity of prickly pear vinegars produced by the surface culture at two different fermentation temperatures and using different acetic acid bacteria (AAB) inocula. Prickly pear wine was fermented [...] Read more.
This work intends to determine the effect on the aroma profile, phenolic content and antioxidant activity of prickly pear vinegars produced by the surface culture at two different fermentation temperatures and using different acetic acid bacteria (AAB) inocula. Prickly pear wine was fermented at two temperature levels (30 and 37 °C) by using bacteria inocula containing AcetobacterGluconobacter or a mixture of bacteria isolated from Sherry vinegars. Eighty-five individual volatile compounds from different families and sixteen polyphenolic compounds have been identified. It was confirmed that the highest temperature tested (37 °C) resulted in a lower concentration of volatile compounds, while no significant effect on the vinegars’ volatile composition could be associated with the AAB inoculum used. Contrariwise, the highest content of polyphenolic compounds was detected in those vinegars produced at 37 °C and their concentration was also affected by the type of AAB inoculum used. Prickly pear wine displayed greater antioxidant activity than juices or vinegars, while the vinegars obtained through the mixture of AAB from Sherry vinegar showed higher antiradical activity than those obtained through either of the two AAB genera used in this study. It can be therefore concluded that, although the volatile content of vinegars decreased when fermented at a higher temperature, vinegars with a higher content in polyphenols could be obtained by means of partial fermentations at 37 °C, as long as thermotolerant bacteria were employed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analytical Characterization of Foods and Beverages)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Reducing Carbon Emissions for the Vehicle Routing Problem by Utilizing Multiple Depots
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031264 (registering DOI) - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Emission reductions could be achieved by replacing the single-depot mode with a multi-depot mode of vehicle routing. In our study, we identified situations under which multiple depots could be used to effectively reduce carbon emissions. We proposed a branch-and-price (BAP) algorithm to obtain [...] Read more.
Emission reductions could be achieved by replacing the single-depot mode with a multi-depot mode of vehicle routing. In our study, we identified situations under which multiple depots could be used to effectively reduce carbon emissions. We proposed a branch-and-price (BAP) algorithm to obtain an optimal solution for the multi-depot green vehicle routing problem. Based on the BAP algorithm, we accurately quantified the carbon emission reduction potential of the multi-depot mode over the single-depot mode. Factors such as the number of depots, vehicle speed, customer demand, and service time were considered and analyzed. Computational tests were conducted, and the results showed that using multiple depots in a vehicle routing problem can reduce carbon emissions by at most 37.6%. In sensitivity analyses, we show relationships between these factors, and several managerial insights that can be used to successfully reduce carbon emissions were summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Thermochemical and Enzymatic Saccharification of Water Hyacinth Biomass into Fermentable Sugars
Processes 2022, 10(2), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr10020210 - 24 Jan 2022
Abstract
Water hyacinth (WH) is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant that is considered a pest, due to its rapid grown rate and detrimental effects on environment and human health. It is nearly impossible to control WH growth, with mechanical extraction being the most acceptable [...] Read more.
Water hyacinth (WH) is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant that is considered a pest, due to its rapid grown rate and detrimental effects on environment and human health. It is nearly impossible to control WH growth, with mechanical extraction being the most acceptable control method; nevertheless, it is costly and labor-intensive. WH lignocellulosic biomass represents a desirable feedstock for the sustainable production of liquid fuels and chemical products. In this work, optimal conditions of thermochemical pretreatment for the release of reducing sugars (RS) from WH biomass were established: 0.15 mm of particle size, 50 g of dried solid/L of H2SO4 (3% w/v) and 20 min of heating time at 121 °C. Applying this pretreatment, a conversion of 84.12% of the hemicellulose fraction in the raw WH biomass into reducing sugars (277 ± 1.40 mg RS/g DWH) was reached. The resulting pretreated biomass of WH (PBWH) was enzymatically hydrolyzed by using six enzymatic complexes (all from Novozymes). Among them, NS22118 (beta-glucosidase) and Cellic® CTec2 (cellulase and hemicellulose complex) achieved higher saccharifications. By using NS22118 or a mixture of NS22118 and Cellic® CTec2, PBWH conversion into RS was complete. Monosaccharides released after pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis were mostly pentoses (arabinose and xylose) and hexoses (glucose), respectively. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open Access Journals

Browse by Indexing Browse by Subject Selected Journals
Back to TopTop