Latest Articles

Open AccessProceedings
Analysis of the Use of Radiant Floor Heating as a Cooling System
Proceedings 2019, 16(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019016023 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The aim of this paper was to analyze the operational parameters of a radiant floor heating system working as a cooling system, in order to determine the value of possible heat flux and the floor surface temperature that can be obtain on the [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper was to analyze the operational parameters of a radiant floor heating system working as a cooling system, in order to determine the value of possible heat flux and the floor surface temperature that can be obtain on the floor surface. The influence of variable air and water temperatures, pipe spacing, and thermal resistance of floor covering on surface heat flux and temperature was analyzed. The admissible values of water temperature that assure thermal comfort according to standard ISO 11855 were determined for the analyzed variables. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sarcopenia is Associated with Malnutrition but Not with Systemic Inflammation in Older Persons with Advanced CKD
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1378; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061378 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), sarcopenia can be determined by a wide spectrum of risk factors. We evaluated the association of sarcopenia with nutritional, behavioral and inflammatory patterns in older patients with advanced CKD. Methods: we cross-sectionally evaluated 113 patients [...] Read more.
Background: In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), sarcopenia can be determined by a wide spectrum of risk factors. We evaluated the association of sarcopenia with nutritional, behavioral and inflammatory patterns in older patients with advanced CKD. Methods: we cross-sectionally evaluated 113 patients with CKD stages 3b-5. Sarcopenia was defined according to the EWGSOP2 criteria. We assessed: anthropometry, bioelectrical impedance analysis, physical, and psychological performance. Nutritional status was assessed using the Malnutrition Inflammation Score (MIS) and by verifying the eventual presence Protein Energy Wasting syndrome (PEW). Systemic inflammation was assessed by dosing: CRP, IL6, TNFα, MCP1, IL10, IL17, fetuin, IL12. Results: 24% of patients were sarcopenic. Sarcopenic individuals had lower creatinine clearance (18 ± 11 vs. 23 ± 19 mL/min; p = 0.0087) as well as lower BMI (24.8 ± 3.0 vs. 28.4 ± 5.5 Kg/m2; p < 0.0001) and a lower FTI (11.6 ± 3.9 vs. 14.4 ± 5.1 kg/m2, p = 0.023). Sarcopenic persons had higher prevalence of PEW (52 vs. 20%, p < 0.0001) and a tendency to have higher MIS (6.6 ± 6.5 vs. 4.5 ± 4.0, p = 0.09); however, they did not show any difference in systemic inflammation compared to non-sarcopenic individuals. Conclusions: CKD sarcopenic patients were more malnourished than non-sarcopenic ones, but the two groups did not show any difference in systemic inflammation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Antibiofilm Effect of a Medical Device Containing TIAB on Microorganisms Associated with Surgical Site Infection
Molecules 2019, 24(12), 2280; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24122280 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Surgical site infections (SSIs) represent the most common nosocomial infections, and surgical sutures are optimal surfaces for bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation. Staphylococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., and Escherichia coli are the most commonly isolated microorganisms. The aim of this research was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) represent the most common nosocomial infections, and surgical sutures are optimal surfaces for bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation. Staphylococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., and Escherichia coli are the most commonly isolated microorganisms. The aim of this research was to evaluate the antibiofilm activity of a medical device (MD) containing TIAB, which is a silver-nanotech patented product. The antibacterial effect was evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 29213, Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212, and E. coli ATCC 25922 by assessing the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) by the Alamar Blue® (AB) assay. The antibiofilm effect was determined by evaluation of the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentration (MBIC) and colony-forming unit (CFU) count. Subsequently, the MD was applied on sutures exposed to the bacterial species. The antimicrobial and antibiofilm effects were evaluated by the agar diffusion test method, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The MIC was determined for S. aureus and E. faecalis at 2 mg/mL, while the MBIC was 1.5 mg/mL for S. aureus and 1 mg/mL for E. faecalis. The formation of an inhibition zone around three different treated sutures confirmed the antimicrobial activity, while the SEM and CLSM analysis performed on the MD-treated sutures underlined the presence of a few adhesive cells, which were for the most part dead. The MD showed antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities versus S. aureus and E. faecalis, but a lower efficacy against E. coli. Surgical sutures coated with the MD have the potential to reduce SSIs as well as the risk of biofilm formation post-surgery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Strategy for Glioblastoma Treatment: In Vitro and In Vivo Preclinical Characterization of Si306, a Pyrazolo[3,4-d]Pyrimidine Dual Src/P-Glycoprotein Inhibitor
Cancers 2019, 11(6), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11060848 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and other ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in multidrug resistant (MDR) cancer cells is responsible for the reduction of intracellular drug accumulation, thus decreasing the efficacy of chemotherapeutics. P-gp is also found at endothelial cells’ membrane of the blood-brain barrier, [...] Read more.
Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and other ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in multidrug resistant (MDR) cancer cells is responsible for the reduction of intracellular drug accumulation, thus decreasing the efficacy of chemotherapeutics. P-gp is also found at endothelial cells’ membrane of the blood-brain barrier, where it limits drug delivery to central nervous system (CNS) tumors. We have previously developed a set of pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidines and their prodrugs as novel Src tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), showing a significant activity against CNS tumors in in vivo. Here we investigated the interaction of the most promising pair of drug/prodrug with P-gp at the cellular level. The tested compounds were found to increase the intracellular accumulation of Rho 123, and to enhance the efficacy of paclitaxel in P-gp overexpressing cells. Encouraging pharmacokinetics properties and tolerability in vivo were also observed. Our findings revealed a novel role of pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidines which may be useful for developing a new effective therapy in MDR cancer treatment, particularly against glioblastoma. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Review on V2X, I2X, and P2X Communications and Their Applications: A Comprehensive Analysis over Time
Sensors 2019, 19(12), 2756; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19122756 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Smart cities are ecosystems where novel ideas and emerging technologies meet to improve economy, environment, governance, living, and mobility. One of the pillars of smart cities is transport, with the improvement of mobility and the reduction of traffic accidents being some of the [...] Read more.
Smart cities are ecosystems where novel ideas and emerging technologies meet to improve economy, environment, governance, living, and mobility. One of the pillars of smart cities is transport, with the improvement of mobility and the reduction of traffic accidents being some of the current key challenges. With this purpose, this manuscript reviews the state-of-the-art of communications and applications in which different actors of the road are involved. Thus, the objectives of this survey are intended to determine who, when, and about what is being researched around smart cities. Particularly, the goal is to situate the focus of scientific and industrial progress on V2X, I2X, and P2X communication to establish a taxonomy that reduces ambiguous acronyms around the communication between vehicles, infrastructure, and pedestrians, as well as to determine what the trends and future technologies are that will lead to more powerful applications. To this end, this literature review article presents a comprehensive study including a representative collection of the 100 most cited papers and patents published in the literature together with a statistical bibliometric analysis of 14,364 keywords over 3422 contributions between 1997 and 2018. As a result, this work provides a technological profile considering different dimensions along the paper, such as the type of communication, use case, country, organization, terminology, and year. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of C1 + C1 Coupling Reactions in Cobalt-Catalyzed Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis by a Combined DFT and Kinetic Isotope Study
Catalysts 2019, 9(6), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9060551 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Understanding the chain growth mechanism is of vital importance for the development of catalysts with enhanced selectivity towards long-chain products in cobalt-catalyzed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Herein, we discriminate various C1 + C1 coupling reactions by theoretical calculations and kinetic isotope experiments. CH [...] Read more.
Understanding the chain growth mechanism is of vital importance for the development of catalysts with enhanced selectivity towards long-chain products in cobalt-catalyzed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Herein, we discriminate various C1 + C1 coupling reactions by theoretical calculations and kinetic isotope experiments. CHx(x=0−3), CO, HCO, COH, and HCOH are considered as the chain growth monomer respectively, and 24 possible coupling reactions are first investigated by theoretical calculations. Eight possible C1 + C1 coupling reactions are suggested to be energetically favorable because of the relative low reaction barriers. Moreover, five pathways are excluded where the C1 monomers show low thermodynamic stability. Effective chain propagation rates are calculated by deconvoluting from reaction rates of products, and an inverse kinetic isotope effect of the C1 + C1 coupling reaction is observed. The theoretical kinetic isotope effect of CO + CH2 is inverse, which is consistent with the experimental observation. Thus, the CO + CH2 pathway, owing to the relatively lower barrier, the high thermodynamic stability, and the inverse kinetic isotope effect, is suggested to be a favorable pathway. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Methodology to Assess the Suitability of Food Processing Technologies for Distributed Localised Manufacturing
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3383; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123383 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Food processing technology research and development activities have historically been driven by large-scale manufacture upscaling drivers to profit from economies of scale. Increasing demand for high-quality food with pioneering texture profiles, consumer needs for personalised products impacting product formulation (i.e., fat, sugar and [...] Read more.
Food processing technology research and development activities have historically been driven by large-scale manufacture upscaling drivers to profit from economies of scale. Increasing demand for high-quality food with pioneering texture profiles, consumer needs for personalised products impacting product formulation (i.e., fat, sugar and micronutrient content), and constrained availability of ingredients and resources are pressuring industrialists to utilise alternative technologies to enable a more sustainable food supply. Distributed and localised food manufacturing (DLM) has been identified as a promising strategy towards future sustainable systems with technology representing one of its cornerstones. Innovative methods and tools to support the selection of the best alternative technologies for DLM are required. This paper provides an overview of food processing technologies and includes a novel classification created to support future assessments. A novel qualitative assessment method encompassing multiple criteria to understand specific food technologies suitability for future DLM systems is presented. Finally, research benefits are explored through the application of the assessment method to several selected technologies with promising potential in future food manufacturing. The results demonstrate that this methodological approach can assist in the adoption of DLM food systems through the selection of the best technologies integrating individual manufacturer requirements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Different Annealing Atmospheres on the Mechanical Properties of Freestanding MCrAlY Bond Coats Investigated by Micro-Tensile Creep Tests
Metals 2019, 9(6), 692; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9060692 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The mechanical properties of low-pressure plasma sprayed (LPPS) MCrAlY (M = Ni, Co) bond coats, Amdry 386, Amdry 9954 and oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) Amdry 9954 (named Amdry 9954 + ODS) were investigated after annealing in three atmospheres: Ar–O2, Ar–H2 [...] Read more.
The mechanical properties of low-pressure plasma sprayed (LPPS) MCrAlY (M = Ni, Co) bond coats, Amdry 386, Amdry 9954 and oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) Amdry 9954 (named Amdry 9954 + ODS) were investigated after annealing in three atmospheres: Ar–O2, Ar–H2O, and Ar–H2–H2O. Freestanding bond coats were investigated to avoid any influence from the substrate. Miniaturized cylindrical tensile specimens were produced by a special grinding process and then tested in a thermomechanical analyzer (TMA) within a temperature range of 900–950 °C. Grain size and phase fraction of all bond coats were investigated by EBSD before testing and no difference in microstructure was revealed due to annealing in various atmospheres. The influence of annealing in different atmospheres on the creep strength was not very pronounced for the Co-based bond coats Amdry 9954 and Amdry 9954 + ODS in the tested conditions. The ODS bond coats revealed significantly higher creep strength but a lower strain to failure than the ODS-free Amdry 9954. The Ni-based bond coat Amdry 386 showed higher creep strength than Amdry 9954 due to the higher fraction of the β-NiAl phase. Additionally, its creep properties at 900 °C were much more affected by annealing in different atmospheres. The bond coat Amdry 386 annealed in an Ar–H2O atmosphere showed a significantly lower creep rate than the bond coat annealed in Ar–O2 and Ar–H2–H2O atmospheres. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Erosion Induced Heterogeneity of Soil Organic Matter in Catenae from the Baltic Sea Catchment
Soil Syst. 2019, 3(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems3020042 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Soil organic matter (SOM) is unevenly distributed in arable fields in undulated landscapes, but the chemical composition resulting from their turnover, transport and deposition processes is insufficiently known. Therefore, we aimed at disclosing the molecular-chemical composition of SOM in four different catenae at [...] Read more.
Soil organic matter (SOM) is unevenly distributed in arable fields in undulated landscapes, but the chemical composition resulting from their turnover, transport and deposition processes is insufficiently known. Therefore, we aimed at disclosing the molecular-chemical composition of SOM in four different catenae at shoulderslope, backslope and footslope positions in arable fields in the Baltic Sea catchment, Europe. The backslope positions always had the lowest organic C-contents (Corg) (1.6…11.8 g·kg−1) and C-stocks (3.8…8.5 kg·m−2) compared to the shoulderslopes and footslopes (1.7…17.7 g·Corg·kg−1, 5.4…15 kg·Corg·m−2). In the SOM-poor backslope positions, the organic matter was characterized by relatively high proportions of carbohydrates, phenols + lignin monomers, alkylaromatic compounds, N-compounds and amides, indicating intensive microbial decomposition. By contrast, the footslopes had the largest Corg-contents (9.3…16.5 g·kg−1) and C-stocks (8.9…15 kg·m−2) in the catenae and particular enrichments in lipids, lignin dimers, sterols and free fatty acids. These relatively stabile SOM compound classes are interpreted as leftovers from erosive downslope transport and concurrent microbial decomposition, e.g., they are pronounced at backslope positions, followed by restricted microbial decomposition. This heterogeneous SOM distribution calls for an adapted soil management that reduces erosion and places amendments to field areas, such as the shoulderslope and backslope. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Validation of the Overall Foot Health Questionnaire for Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Cross-Sectional Descriptive Analysis
Medicina 2019, 55(6), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55060290 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background and Objectives: In general, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are ignorant of the physician’s role and of RA-related feet problems. The aim of our study was tovalidate a questionnaire on the knowledge of different aspects of overall foot health in [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: In general, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are ignorant of the physician’s role and of RA-related feet problems. The aim of our study was tovalidate a questionnaire on the knowledge of different aspects of overall foot health in patients with RA. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive analysis was carried out between March 2017 and April 2017. A questionnaire was designed and validated through the Delphi method to evaluate the knowledge about the illness, the repercussions on feet, medical podiatry care, and the role of the medical podiatrist.Results: After being checked by a panel of experts, all the items obtained a Cronbach’s alpha over 0.70. Conclusions: The content of this questionnaire about the knowledge of different aspects of medical podiatry health in patients with RA has internal consistency. Full article
Open AccessReview
Iron Sulfide Materials: Catalysts for Electrochemical Hydrogen Evolution
Inorganics 2019, 7(6), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/inorganics7060075 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The chemical challenge of economically splitting water into molecular hydrogen and oxygen requires continuous development of more efficient, less-toxic, and cheaper catalyst materials. This review article highlights the potential of iron sulfide-based nanomaterials as electrocatalysts for water-splitting and predominantly as catalysts for the [...] Read more.
The chemical challenge of economically splitting water into molecular hydrogen and oxygen requires continuous development of more efficient, less-toxic, and cheaper catalyst materials. This review article highlights the potential of iron sulfide-based nanomaterials as electrocatalysts for water-splitting and predominantly as catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). Besides new synthetic techniques leading to phase-pure iron sulfide nano objects and thin-films, the article reviews three new material classes: (a) FeS2-TiO2 hybrid structures; (b) iron sulfide-2D carbon support composites; and (c) metal-doped (e.g., cobalt and nickel) iron sulfide materials. In recent years, immense progress has been made in the development of these materials, which exhibit enormous potential as hydrogen evolution catalysts and may represent a genuine alternative to more traditional, noble metal-based catalysts. First developments in this comparably new research area are summarized in this article and discussed together with theoretical studies on hydrogen evolution reactions involving iron sulfide electrocatalysts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Theoretical Study of a Surface Collinear Holographic Memory
Photonics 2019, 6(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics6020070 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Holographic memory is currently attracting attention as a data storage system capable of achieving a data transfer rate of about 105~106105~106 times that of an optical disc such as Blu-ray disc. In conventional holographic memory, data is generally recorded by optical writing using [...] Read more.
Holographic memory is currently attracting attention as a data storage system capable of achieving a data transfer rate of about 105~106105~106 times that of an optical disc such as Blu-ray disc. In conventional holographic memory, data is generally recorded by optical writing using volume holograms. However, a volume hologram has the problem not only that it is required to have high mechanical accuracy of a system and low coefficient of thermal expansion of a recording medium, because reconstruction tolerance is extremely low, but also that duplicating time efficiency is poor because whole data cannot be recorded at once. In this paper we proposed surface holographic memory that achieved a high data transfer rate, stable readout performance, and collective duplication by expressing holograms with fine surface asperity. Furthermore, the theoretical formulas of recording and reconstruction processes in the proposed system were derived and the reconstruction characteristics of the hologram were evaluated by numerical simulation. As a result, the proposed method generated reconstructed image readout with sufficient signal for a single page recording. However, the reconstructed image had noise, which was particular to a surface holographic memory. Full article

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