The 2023 MDPI Annual Report has
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20 pages, 7831 KiB  
Article
Smart System for Reducing Standby Energy Consumption in Residential Appliances
by Andrei Cosmin Gheorghe, Horia Andrei, Emil Diaconu and Paul Cristian Andrei
Energies 2024, 17(12), 2989; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17122989 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Residential consumption represents one of the most important percentages of total electricity consumption. A considerable number of household appliances consume energy even when they are not in operation, i.e., they are in the so-called standby state, thus producing additional costs, which become significant [...] Read more.
Residential consumption represents one of the most important percentages of total electricity consumption. A considerable number of household appliances consume energy even when they are not in operation, i.e., they are in the so-called standby state, thus producing additional costs, which become significant over time. In this context, one method to solve this problem is to develop a smart system capable of severing the power connection to devices in standby mode, thereby conserving energy and reducing the energy costs. The first step in the design of this system consists of the identification and accurate measurement of the standby state, which was carried out for three of the most common household appliances. Then, by using an ESP32 microcontroller, a system was designed to manage the operation of a relay module based on the current consumption of the connected equipment. Control over the system was achieved through a web application that works across all devices equipped with a web browser, offering functionalities to adjust current value time delays and to manually switch the system on or off. Finally, the deployment of this system across the three appliances studied led to a reduction in the energy consumption in standby mode of 26.68 kWh per month. Full article
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6 pages, 194 KiB  
Communication
Short Communication: Understanding the Barriers to Cervical Cancer Prevention and HPV Vaccination in Saudi Arabia
by Jobran M. Moshi, Aarman Sohaili, Hassan N. Moafa, Ahlam Mohammed S. Hakami, Mohsen M. Mashi and Pierre P. M. Thomas
Viruses 2024, 16(6), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16060974 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Cervical cancer, along with other sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) conditions, poses a significant burden in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Despite the availability of effective preventive methods such as vaccinations, particularly against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), awareness about such [...] Read more.
Cervical cancer, along with other sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) conditions, poses a significant burden in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Despite the availability of effective preventive methods such as vaccinations, particularly against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), awareness about such preventive methods and HPV vaccination remains alarmingly low in the KSA, even with governmental effort and support. While many women are aware of the risks, the uptake of the HPV vaccine remains below 10% (7.6%) at the country level. This highlights the urgent need for Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) at the community level to raise awareness, dispel misconceptions, and empower women to embrace vaccinations. Additionally, there is a need to revitalize the cancer registry system to better track and monitor cervical cancer cases. This short communication aims to map these barriers while identifying opportunities for impactful research. Drawing from the scientific literature, government reports, and expert insights, we highlight the challenges surrounding the tackling of HPV. By exploring diverse sources of knowledge, this paper not only highlights current obstacles but also proposes actionable solutions for future interventions. Full article
20 pages, 1427 KiB  
Article
Research on the Influencing Factors of Spatial Vitality of Night Parks Based on AHP–Entropy Weights
by Le Zhang, Xueyan Li and Yanlong Guo
Sustainability 2024, 16(12), 5165; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16125165 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
As an important form of night-time economy, night tourism is in urgent need of innovation and upgrading to cope with market changes. As an important part of the night tourism experience, the spatial vitality of night parks is also an important factor affecting [...] Read more.
As an important form of night-time economy, night tourism is in urgent need of innovation and upgrading to cope with market changes. As an important part of the night tourism experience, the spatial vitality of night parks is also an important factor affecting the quality of night tourism and economic development. By summarizing the literature and the content requirements affecting the vitality of night parks, this study scientifically and objectively designates an index system containing six evaluation indicators, including Environmental adaptability, abundance of facilities, park attractiveness, Ease of travelling, environmental comfort, and social interconnectedness, based on visitor questionnaires and analysis. The hierarchical analysis method and entropy weight method are used to combine and assign the factors that have a greater impact on the spatial vitality of night parks. The evaluation results show that the environmental security and location significantly affect the spatial vitality of the night park, that is, the social interconnectedness and the park attractiveness have a greater impact on the spatial vitality of the night park. Therefore, in the subsequent construction of the night park, in order to effectively activate the spatial vitality, the visitors’ perception of the safety of the environment and the degree of locational advantage should be prioitised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design and Planning for Urban Space)
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13 pages, 1622 KiB  
Article
Cryptocurrency, Gold, and Stock Exchange Market Performance Correlation: Empirical Evidence
by Kanellos Toudas, Démétrios Pafos, Paraskevi Boufounou and Athanasios Raptis
FinTech 2024, 3(2), 324-336; https://doi.org/10.3390/fintech3020018 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
This paper examines the correlation between three prospective investing options: the Bitcoin cryptocurrency price, gold, and the Dow Jones stock index. The main research question is whether there is a causal effect of gold and the DWJ on Bitcoin and how this effect [...] Read more.
This paper examines the correlation between three prospective investing options: the Bitcoin cryptocurrency price, gold, and the Dow Jones stock index. The main research question is whether there is a causal effect of gold and the DWJ on Bitcoin and how this effect varies on time. The study begins with a background analysis that explains the definitions and operation of cryptocurrencies, followed by a brief overview of gold and its derivatives. In addition, a historical review of stock markets is provided, with a focus on the Dow Jones index. Then, a literature review follows. Daily data from three separate periods are used, each spanning four years. The first period, running from October 2014 to September 2018, provides an overview of the introduction of official cryptocurrency price data. The second period, running from Oct 2018 to Sept 2022, captures more recent trends preceding COVID-19. The third period, from January 2020 to December 2023, is the whole COVID-19 period with the initiation, embedded, and terminal phases. Classical inductive statistical methods (descriptive, correlations, multiple linear regression) as well as time series analysis methods (autocorrelation, cross-correlation, Granger causality tests, and ARIMA modeling) are used to analyze the data. Rigorous testing for autocorrelation, multicollinearity, and homoskedasticity is performed on the estimated models. The results show a correlation of Bitcoin with gold and the DWJ. This correlation varies over time, as in the first period the correlation mainly concerns the DWJ and in the second it mainly concerns gold. By using ARIMA models, it was possible to make a forecast in a time horizon of a few days. In addition, the structure of the forecasting mechanism of gold and DWJ on Bitcoin seems to have changed during the COVID-19 crisis. The findings suggest that future research should encompass a broader dataset, facilitating comprehensive comparisons and enhancing the reliability of the conclusions drawn. Full article
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15 pages, 816 KiB  
Review
Nutritional Strategies against Diabetic Nephropathy: Insights from Animal Studies and Human Trials
by Jiayi Zhou, Nora Franceschini, W. H. Davin Townley-Tilson and Nobuyo Maeda-Smithies
Nutrients 2024, 16(12), 1918; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16121918 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Diabetic nephropathy (DN), defined as continuously elevated urinary albumin and a diminished estimated glomerular filtration rate, is a serious complication of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes and is the main cause of end-stage kidney disease. Patients with end-stage renal disease [...] Read more.
Diabetic nephropathy (DN), defined as continuously elevated urinary albumin and a diminished estimated glomerular filtration rate, is a serious complication of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes and is the main cause of end-stage kidney disease. Patients with end-stage renal disease require chronic kidney dialysis and/or a kidney transplantation. Research highlights the role of diet in modulating specific signaling pathways that are instrumental in the progression of DN. Nutrient-sensitive pathways, affected by nutritional compounds and dietary components, offer a novel perspective on the management of DN by influencing inflammation, oxidative stress, and nutrient metabolism. Animal models have identified signaling pathways related to glucose metabolism, inflammation responses, autophagy, and lipid metabolism, while human population studies have contributed to the clinical significance of designing medical and nutritional therapies to attenuate DN progression. Here, we will update recent progress in research into the renoprotective or therapeutic effects of nutritional compounds, and potential nutrition-modulated pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Nutrition)
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14 pages, 2192 KiB  
Article
Traffic Flow Prediction Based on Federated Learning and Spatio-Temporal Graph Neural Networks
by Jian Feng, Cailing Du and Qi Mu
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2024, 13(6), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi13060210 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
In response to the insufficient consideration of spatio-temporal dependencies and traffic pattern similarity in traffic flow prediction methods based on federated learning, as well as the neglect of model heterogeneity and objective heterogeneity, a traffic flow prediction model based on federated learning and [...] Read more.
In response to the insufficient consideration of spatio-temporal dependencies and traffic pattern similarity in traffic flow prediction methods based on federated learning, as well as the neglect of model heterogeneity and objective heterogeneity, a traffic flow prediction model based on federated learning and spatio-temporal graph neural networks is proposed. The model is divided into two stages. In the road network division stage, the traffic road network is divided into subnetworks by the dynamic time warping algorithm and the K-means algorithm, to ensure the same subnetwork has the similar traffic flow pattern. The federated learning stage is divided into two sub-stages. In the local training phase, the spatio-temporal graph neural network with an attention mechanism is utilized to create personalized models and meme models to capture the spatio-temporal dependencies of each subnetwork. At the same time, deep mutual learning is utilized to address model heterogeneity and objective heterogeneity through knowledge distillation. In the global aggregation phase, a multi-factor weighted aggregation strategy is designed to measure the contribution of each local model to the global model, to enhance the fairness of aggregation. Three sets of experiments were conducted on two real datasets, and the experimental results demonstrate that the proposed model outperforms the baseline models in three common evaluation metrics. Full article
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16 pages, 4300 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Properties of Natural Bamboo Fiber-Reinforced Recycled Aggregate Concrete
by Binyu Xu, Rongxi Tian, Ying Wang, Zhen-wen Zhang and Zihua Zhang
Materials 2024, 17(12), 2972; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17122972 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
To promote resource reuse and the green, low-carbon transformation of the construction industry, this study uses recycled aggregate from crushed waste concrete and natural bamboo fibers to formulate bamboo fiber-reinforced recycled-aggregate concrete. This study investigates the effects of natural bamboo fiber (NBF) content, [...] Read more.
To promote resource reuse and the green, low-carbon transformation of the construction industry, this study uses recycled aggregate from crushed waste concrete and natural bamboo fibers to formulate bamboo fiber-reinforced recycled-aggregate concrete. This study investigates the effects of natural bamboo fiber (NBF) content, NBF length, and the water-to-cement ratio on the performance of concrete through an orthogonal experiment to determine the optimal mixing proportions of NBF-reinforced concrete. Additionally, recycled aggregate completely replaced natural aggregate. The mechanism by which NBF influences concrete was also analyzed. The results demonstrate that the NBF-reinforced specimens exhibited good integrity during compression failure, with NBFs effectively tying the concrete together. The optimized parameters for NBF-reinforced concrete were an NBF length of 20 mm, an NBF content of 0.4v%, and a water-to-cement ratio of 0.55. Almost no flaky Ca(OH)2 crystals were observed in the NBF-hardened cement–paste transition zone, indicating effective bonding at the interface. Full article
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12 pages, 3722 KiB  
Case Report
The First Report on Saprolegnia parasitica and Neoparamoeba perurans Isolated from Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) Reared in Korea
by Dong-Hwi Kim, Min-Soo Joo, Soo-Ji Woo, Kwang-Tae Son, Woo-Seok Hong, Mun-Chang Park, Jin-Chul Park and Sung-Oh Park
Microbiol. Res. 2024, 15(2), 1016-1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/microbiolres15020067 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study is the first report of parasite and fungal disease separated from domestically reared Atlantic salmon in Korea; the characteristics of the pathogens were identified, and histopathological analysis was conducted. Fungal and parasitic diseases were detected in Atlantic salmon and were isolated [...] Read more.
This study is the first report of parasite and fungal disease separated from domestically reared Atlantic salmon in Korea; the characteristics of the pathogens were identified, and histopathological analysis was conducted. Fungal and parasitic diseases were detected in Atlantic salmon and were isolated as Saprolegnia parasitica and Neoparamoeba perurans based on morphological and genetic analysis. External symptoms observed in Atlantic salmon infected with S. parasitica include fin ulcers and hemorrhage, abdominal hemorrhage, and necrosis of the gills and gill covers. The histopathological analysis results showed necrosis, hemorrhaging, and inflammatory cell infiltration in the abdominal muscles, while only inflammatory cell infiltration was observed in the gill covers. The clinical symptoms observed in Atlantic salmon infected with N. perurans included excessive mucus secretion in the gills, a dense amoebic presence on the gill filaments, respiratory distress, and opening of the mouth and gill covers after death. Through histopathological analysis, we observed lesions in epithelial cells, characterized by the proliferation of epithelial cells and the fusion of secondary lamellae. Numerous lamellae were observed to be attached or fused with each other. To ensure the successful establishment of the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry in Korea, it is essential to swiftly quarantine infected fish based on the morphological characteristics of S. parasitica and N. perurans revealed in this study, along with the external symptoms of Atlantic salmon infected with these pathogens. Developing disease control strategies based on the findings of this research is imperative. Full article
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11 pages, 5174 KiB  
Article
Grading Challenges and Prognostic Insights in Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Study of 72 Patients
by Dimitrios Papanikolaou, Ioannis Sokolakis, Kyriakos Moysidis, Nikolaos Pyrgidis, Mattheos Bobos, Soultana Meditskou and Konstantinos Hatzimouratidis
Medicina 2024, 60(6), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60060996 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Chromophobe RCC (ChRCC) carries the best prognosis among all RCC subtypes, yet it lacks a proper grading system. Various systems have been suggested in the past, causing much controversy, and Avulova et al. recently proposed a promising four-tier grading system that takes into [...] Read more.
Chromophobe RCC (ChRCC) carries the best prognosis among all RCC subtypes, yet it lacks a proper grading system. Various systems have been suggested in the past, causing much controversy, and Avulova et al. recently proposed a promising four-tier grading system that takes into consideration tumor necrosis. Dysregulation of the mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) pathway plays a key role in ChRCC pathogenesis, highlighting its molecular complexity. The present retrospective study aimed to evaluate the prognostic factors associated with a more aggressive ChRCC phenotype. Materials and Methods: Seventy-two patients diagnosed with ChRCC between 2004 and 2017 were included in our study. Pathology reports and tissue blocks were reviewed, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed in order to assess the expressions of CYLD (tumor-suppressor gene) and mTOR, among other markers. Univariate analysis was performed, and OS was assessed using the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: In our study, 74% of patients were male, with a mean age of 60 years, and the mean tumor size was 63 mm (±44). The majority (54%) were followed for more than 10 years at intervals ranging between 44 and 222 months. The risk of death was significantly higher for patients that were classified as Grade 4 in the Avulova system (HR: 5.83; 95% CI, 1.37–24.7; p: = 0.017). As far as the IHC is concerned, mTOR expression was associated with an HR of 8.57 (95% CI, 1.91–38.5; p = 0.005), and CYLD expression was associated with an HR of 17.3 (95% CI, 1.57–192; p = 0.02). Conclusions: In our study, the Avulova grading system seems to be positively correlated with OS in patients diagnosed with ChRCC. Furthermore, an elevated mTOR expression also shows a negative correlation with OS, whereas an elevated CYLD expression does not seem to exert a protective role. However, because only a small proportion (4.2%) of our patients died due to ChRCC, despite the long follow-up period, the results must be interpreted with caution. Further research is needed to validate our findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urology & Nephrology)
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13 pages, 481 KiB  
Review
Motivational Interviewing as a Strategy to Improve Adherence in IBD Treatment: An Integrative Review Amidst COVID-19 Disruptions
by Caterina Mercuri, Maria Catone, Vincenzo Bosco, Assunta Guillari, Teresa Rea, Patrizia Doldo and Silvio Simeone
Healthcare 2024, 12(12), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12121210 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Aims and Objectives: This review aims to analyze the effectiveness of motivational interviewing (MI) in enhancing therapeutic adherence and compliance in adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially considering the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Background: IBD, which includes conditions such [...] Read more.
Aims and Objectives: This review aims to analyze the effectiveness of motivational interviewing (MI) in enhancing therapeutic adherence and compliance in adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), especially considering the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Background: IBD, which includes conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, affects over 10 million people globally. It significantly impacts both physical and psychological well-being, leading to challenges in therapeutic adherence. Only 25–47% of patients with IBD adequately follow prescribed treatments. Design and Methods: An integrative methodology that combines qualitative and quantitative research was utilized, following a 7-step framework. This framework encompasses identifying the research question, devising a search strategy, performing a critical appraisal, summarizing findings, extracting data, conducting an analysis, and drawing conclusions. Results: Poor adherence to therapy among patients with IBD can exacerbate disease progression and result in complications. MI has been identified as a promising approach to improving both adherence and treatment outcomes. Studies, including those predating the COVID-19 pandemic, have demonstrated MI’s effectiveness in enhancing adherence among patients with IBD. Conclusions: MI shows promise in enhancing adherence among adult patients with IBD. Although initial results are promising, additional research is needed to thoroughly understand its effectiveness across various clinical contexts. Relevance to Clinical Practice: The findings underscore the potential of MI as an integral component of IBD treatment strategies, suggesting that its implementation could enhance patient–provider interactions and lead to better overall health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chronic Care)
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22 pages, 5345 KiB  
Article
Macrogenomics-Based Analysis of the Effects of Intercropped Soybean Photosynthetic Characteristics and Nitrogen-Assimilating Enzyme Activities on Yield at Different Nitrogen Levels
by Liqiang Zhang, Yudi Feng, Zehang Zhao, Bate Baoyin, Zhengguo Cui, Hongyu Wang, Qiuzhu Li and Jinhu Cui
Microorganisms 2024, 12(6), 1220; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms12061220 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Currently, China’s soybean self-sufficiency rate is only 15%, highlighting the soybean crisis and the supply chain risks that pose a major threat to China’s food security. Thus, it has become imperative to step up efforts to boost soybean production capacity while promoting the [...] Read more.
Currently, China’s soybean self-sufficiency rate is only 15%, highlighting the soybean crisis and the supply chain risks that pose a major threat to China’s food security. Thus, it has become imperative to step up efforts to boost soybean production capacity while promoting the green and sustainable development of regional farmland ecosystems. In this context, the present study comprehensively investigated the effects of intercropping and nitrogen application rate on soybean yield, as well as the changes in gradients generated by different levels of nitrogen application. Based on six consecutive years of maize–soybean intercropping planting patterns, the inter-root soils of soybeans were collected at the flowering stage and evaluated for soil nitrogen content, nitrogen-assimilating enzyme activities, and microbial community composition of soybean, which were correlated with yield, to clarify the main pathways and modes of intercropping effects. The N2 level (80 kg·ha−1) was favourable for higher yield. In comparison to monocropping, the intercropping reduced yield by 9.65–13.01%, photosynthetic characteristics by 1.33–7.31%, and plant nitrogen-assimilating enzyme activities by 8.08–32.01% at the same level of N application. Likewise, soil urease and catalase activities were reduced by 9.22 and 1.80%, while soil nitrogen content declined by an average of 6.38%. Gemmatimonas and Bradyrhizobium enrichment significantly increased soil nitrogen content, photosynthetic characteristics, and soybean yield, while it was reduced by Candidatus_Udaeobacter and Candidatus_Solibacte enrichment. The results of this study provide a theoretical basis for further optimising maize–soybean intercropping, which is crucial for enhancing the agricultural production structure and improving the overall soybean production capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interaction State-of-the-Art Research in China)
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15 pages, 2199 KiB  
Article
Distributed Photovoltaic Generation Aggregation Approach Considering Distribution Network Topology
by Yajie Tang, Sikai Sun, Bo Zhao, Chouwei Ni, Liang Che and Junhao Li
Energies 2024, 17(12), 2990; https://doi.org/10.3390/en17122990 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Distributed photovoltaics (DPVs) are widely distributed and the output is random, which brings challenges to the safe operation of the distribution network, so the construction of photovoltaic aggregations can effectively participate in the flexible regulation of the power system. At present, the extraction [...] Read more.
Distributed photovoltaics (DPVs) are widely distributed and the output is random, which brings challenges to the safe operation of the distribution network, so the construction of photovoltaic aggregations can effectively participate in the flexible regulation of the power system. At present, the extraction of DPV clustering features is not sufficient, only considering the output characteristics of PVs. Certain PVs under some nodes may have a more pronounced regulation effect, but they may be ignored in the clustering process. To address the above problems, this paper proposes a DPV aggregation approach considering the distribution network topology. It combines the voltage sensitivity and the power curve and regards them as clustering features to form the DPV aggregation with the highest average voltage sensitivity participating in voltage regulation. The simulation on the IEEE 33-node system verifies that the proposed aggregation approach can select DPV aggregation more suitable for voltage regulation, and make full use of the aggregation to realize the optimal voltage regulation effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section A2: Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Systems)
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16 pages, 2250 KiB  
Article
The Low Congruence between Plant and Animal Diversity in Field Ridges of Intensively Managed Paddy Landscapes, China
by Yicheng Peng, Haoyu Qiu, Yuyang Qian, Jiaxin Chen, Guoyu Qin, Pengyao Li, Rongqian Zhang and Meichun Duan
Plants 2024, 13(12), 1680; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13121680 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Field ridges are commonly viewed as the stable semi-natural habitats for maintaining plant diversity in the agricultural landscape. The high plant diversity could further support higher animal diversity. But following the adoption of well-facilitated farmland construction measures in China, many field ridges have [...] Read more.
Field ridges are commonly viewed as the stable semi-natural habitats for maintaining plant diversity in the agricultural landscape. The high plant diversity could further support higher animal diversity. But following the adoption of well-facilitated farmland construction measures in China, many field ridges have been disproportionately neglected or destroyed. Empirical studies delineating the relationships between plant and animal diversity in these field ridges in the paddy landscape remain scant, especially in China, which has the most rice production. A two-year field ridge evaluation was conducted in the Chengdu Plain area, covering 30 paddy landscapes. This investigation scrutinizes the shape attributes of field ridges, their plant diversity, and the associated animal α-diversity and community compositions, including spiders, carabids, birds, frogs, and rice planthoppers. In the results of Pearson’s correlation analysis, a significant inconsistent correlation was observed between plant diversity and animal diversity. The analysis of community structure heterogeneity also revealed no correspondence for species composition between plant and animal communities (i.e., spiders, carabids, and birds), while the non-metric multidimensional scale analysis indicated a substantial difference in the species composition of spiders or plants even within the same field ridge between 2020 and 2021. We argue that the implementation of intensive management practices in paddy landscapes, such as machine ploughing and harvesting and herbicide spraying with drones, leads to a scarcity of stable animal and plant communities in field ridges. Therefore, besides retaining these field ridges in paddy landscapes, maintaining the long-term stable ridges by refraining from herbicide spraying or artificial weeding, as well as avoiding winter wheat cultivating in field ridges, will contribute to protecting biodiversity of field ridges as semi-natural habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Physiology and Crop Production)
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14 pages, 1804 KiB  
Article
Production of Resistant Starch by Roasting Retrograded Starch with Glucose
by Małgorzata Kapelko-Żeberska, Tomasz Zięba, Marta Meisel, Krzysztof Buksa and Artur Gryszkin
Molecules 2024, 29(12), 2883; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29122883 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Starch is a natural plant raw material applicable in many areas of industry. In practice, it is most often used in a modified form, i.e., after various treatments aimed at modifying its properties. Modifications of native starch enable producing resistant starch, which, as [...] Read more.
Starch is a natural plant raw material applicable in many areas of industry. In practice, it is most often used in a modified form, i.e., after various treatments aimed at modifying its properties. Modifications of native starch enable producing resistant starch, which, as a prebiotic with confirmed health-promoting properties, has been increasingly used as a food additive. The present study aimed to determine the effect of roasting retrograded starch with the addition of anhydrous glucose at different temperatures (110, 130 or 150 °C) and different times (5 or 24 h) on the modified starch’s properties. The results of high-performance size-exclusion chromatography coupled with refractive index detector (HPSEC/RI) analysis and the changes observed in the solubility of starch roasted with glucose in DMSO, as well as in its other properties, confirm the changes in its molecular structure, including thermolytic degradation and the ongoing polymerization of starch with added glucose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Polysaccharides: Structure, Properties and Application II)
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16 pages, 4817 KiB  
Article
Causal Agent Investigation and Treatment of Dogs Diagnosed with Discospondylitis in a Brucella canis Endemic Region
by Eileen M. Donoghue, Sara D. Lawhon, Sharon C. Kerwin and Nick D. Jeffery
Vet. Sci. 2024, 11(6), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci11060279 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Discospondylitis is a well-recognized disease in dogs, but the relative prevalence of causal infectious agents and efficiency of relevant diagnostic tests are not well-established. Medical record review identified 117 dogs diagnosed with discospondylitis in our clinic over a 5-year period. In 32 dogs, [...] Read more.
Discospondylitis is a well-recognized disease in dogs, but the relative prevalence of causal infectious agents and efficiency of relevant diagnostic tests are not well-established. Medical record review identified 117 dogs diagnosed with discospondylitis in our clinic over a 5-year period. In 32 dogs, discospondylitis was diagnosed as an incidental imaging finding; 24 of these dogs had concomitant neoplasia. A likely causal infection was identified in 45 of the remaining 85 dogs in which blood and urine cultures, serology for Brucella spp., and galactomannan fungal antigen testing were recommended. Ten dogs were diagnosed with Brucella canis, and ten were diagnosed with suspected fungal infection. Brucella suis serology was negative in all 35 dogs that were tested. Blood cultures were positive in 28 of 71 (39%) tested dogs, and urine culture was positive in 12 of 79 (15%). Cultures were positive from the lesion site of four of eight dogs that underwent surgery and one of the five dogs that underwent image-guided lesion sample collection. Subluxation secondary to discospondylitis was stabilized with metallic implants in four dogs. A similar proportion of known satisfactory treatment outcomes at last follow-up were recorded in dogs that had suspected fungal disease, other bacterial infections, or were Brucella-positive and in those dogs with imaging diagnosis only, although some individuals continued to receive anti-microbial agents or showed recurrent signs. These data support the value of blood culture in discospondylitis and suggest a relatively high prevalence of infection with Brucella spp. and suspected fungal infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurology and Neurosurgery in Small Animals)
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10 pages, 1280 KiB  
Article
Glycoprotein-Specific Polyclonal Antibodies Targeting Machupo Virus Protect Guinea Pigs against Lethal Infection
by Joseph W. Golden, Steven A. Kwilas and Jay W. Hooper
Vaccines 2024, 12(6), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines12060674 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Convalescent plasma has been shown to be effective at protecting humans against severe diseases caused by New World (NW) arenaviruses, including Junin virus (JUNV) and Machupo virus (MACV). This plasma contains antibodies against the full complement of structural proteins including the nucleocapsid and [...] Read more.
Convalescent plasma has been shown to be effective at protecting humans against severe diseases caused by New World (NW) arenaviruses, including Junin virus (JUNV) and Machupo virus (MACV). This plasma contains antibodies against the full complement of structural proteins including the nucleocapsid and envelope glycoproteins (GPcs) consisting of GP1 and GP2. To gain insights into the protective and cross-protective properties of anti-GPc-specific polyclonal antibodies, we evaluated the ability of a DNA vaccine-produced anti-GPc rabbit antisera targeting MACV strain Carvallo to provide heterologous protection against another MACV strain termed Chicava in the Hartley guinea pig model. The neutralizing activity of the rabbit antisera against the heterologous MACV strains Chicava and Mallale was found to be 54-fold and 23-fold lower, respectively, compared to the titer against the homologous MACV strain Carvallo in the PRNT50 assay. Despite lower neutralizing activity against the strain Chicava, the rabbit antisera protected 100% of the guinea pigs from this strain when administered up to four days post-infection, whereas all the control animals succumbed to the disease. Using vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) particles pseudotyped with MACV GPc, we identified a single amino acid difference at position 122 between the strains Chicava and Carvallo GPc that significantly influenced the neutralization activity of the rabbit antisera. These findings indicate that polyclonal antibodies targeting the MACV glycoproteins can protect against lethal infection in a post-challenge setting. These data will help guide future antibody-based therapeutics development against NW arenaviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunotherapy and Vaccine Development for Viral Diseases)
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18 pages, 1325 KiB  
Review
Signaling Pathways Governing Cardiomyocyte Differentiation
by Isaiah K. Mensah and Humaira Gowher
Genes 2024, 15(6), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes15060798 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Cardiomyocytes are the largest cell type that make up the heart and confer beating activity to the heart. The proper differentiation of cardiomyocytes relies on the efficient transmission and perception of differentiation cues from several signaling pathways that influence cardiomyocyte-specific gene expression programs. [...] Read more.
Cardiomyocytes are the largest cell type that make up the heart and confer beating activity to the heart. The proper differentiation of cardiomyocytes relies on the efficient transmission and perception of differentiation cues from several signaling pathways that influence cardiomyocyte-specific gene expression programs. Signaling pathways also mediate intercellular communications to promote proper cardiomyocyte differentiation. We have reviewed the major signaling pathways involved in cardiomyocyte differentiation, including the BMP, Notch, sonic hedgehog, Hippo, and Wnt signaling pathways. Additionally, we highlight the differences between different cardiomyocyte cell lines and the use of these signaling pathways in the differentiation of cardiomyocytes from stem cells. Finally, we conclude by discussing open questions and current gaps in knowledge about the in vitro differentiation of cardiomyocytes and propose new avenues of research to fill those gaps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Epigenomics)
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9 pages, 238 KiB  
Review
Antimicrobial Pharmacokinetic Considerations in Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation
by Kevin Johns, Gregory Eschenauer, Angela Clark, Simona Butler and Sabrina Dunham
J. Clin. Med. 2024, 13(12), 3554; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm13123554 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Critical illness creates challenges for healthcare providers in determining the optimal treatment of severe disease, particularly in determining the most appropriate selection and dosing of medications. Critically ill patients experience endogenous physiologic changes that alter the pharmacokinetics (PKs) of medications. These alterations can [...] Read more.
Critical illness creates challenges for healthcare providers in determining the optimal treatment of severe disease, particularly in determining the most appropriate selection and dosing of medications. Critically ill patients experience endogenous physiologic changes that alter the pharmacokinetics (PKs) of medications. These alterations can be further compounded by mechanical support modalities such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Specific components of the ECMO circuit have the potential to affect drug PKs through drug sequestration and an increase in the volume of distribution. Factors related to the medications themselves also play a role. These PK alterations create problems when trying to properly utilize antimicrobials in this patient population. The literature seeking to identify appropriate antimicrobial dosing regimens is both limited and difficult to evaluate due to patient variability and an inability to determine the exact role of the ECMO circuit in reduced drug concentrations. Lipophilic and highly protein bound medications are considered more likely to undergo significant drug sequestration in an ECMO circuit, and this general trend represents a logical starting point in antimicrobial selection and dosing in patients on ECMO support. This should not be the only consideration, however, as identifying infection and evaluating the efficacy of treatments in this population is challenging. Due to these challenges, therapeutic drug monitoring should be utilized whenever possible, particularly in cases with severe infection or high concern for drug toxicity. Full article
12 pages, 2554 KiB  
Article
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Selectively Promoted the Growth of Three Ecological Restoration Plants
by Hengkang Xu, Yuchuan Shi, Chao Chen, Zhuo Pang, Guofang Zhang, Weiwei Zhang and Haiming Kan
Plants 2024, 13(12), 1678; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13121678 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation can promote plant growth, but specific research on the difference in the symbiosis effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant combination is not yet in-depth. Therefore, this study selected Medicago sativa L., Bromus inermis Leyss, and Festuca arundinacea Schreb., [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation can promote plant growth, but specific research on the difference in the symbiosis effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant combination is not yet in-depth. Therefore, this study selected Medicago sativa L., Bromus inermis Leyss, and Festuca arundinacea Schreb., which were commonly used for restoring degraded land in China to inoculate with three AMF separately, to explore the effects of different AMF inoculation on the growth performance and nutrient absorption of different plants and to provide a scientific basis for the research and development of the combination of mycorrhiza and plants. We set up four treatments with inoculation Entrophospora etunicata (EE), Funneliformis mosseae (FM), Rhizophagus intraradices (RI), and non-inoculation. The main research findings are as follows: the three AMF formed a good symbiotic relationship with the three grassland plants, with RI and FM having more significant inoculation effects on plant height, biomass, and tiller number. Compared with C, the aboveground biomass of Medicago sativa L., Bromus inermis Leyss, and Festuca arundinacea Schreb. inoculated with AMF increased by 101.30–174.29%, 51.67–74.14%, and 110.67–174.67%. AMF inoculation enhanced the plant uptake of N, P, and K, and plant P and K contents were significantly correlated with plant biomass. PLS-PM analyses of three plants all showed that AMF inoculation increased plant nutrient uptake and then increased aboveground biomass and underground biomass by increasing plant height and root tillering. This study showed that RI was a more suitable AMF for combination with grassland degradation restoration grass species and proposed the potential mechanism of AMF–plant symbiosis to increase yield. Full article
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18 pages, 10669 KiB  
Article
Accuracy of Determination of Corresponding Points from Available Providers of Spatial Data—A Case Study from Slovakia
by Slavomir Labant, Patrik Petovsky, Pavel Sustek and Lubomir Leicher
Land 2024, 13(6), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13060875 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Mapping the terrain and the Earth’s surface can be performed through non-contact methoYes, that is correct.ds such as laser scanning. This is one of the most dynamic and effective data collection methods. This case study aims to analyze the usability of spatial data [...] Read more.
Mapping the terrain and the Earth’s surface can be performed through non-contact methoYes, that is correct.ds such as laser scanning. This is one of the most dynamic and effective data collection methods. This case study aims to analyze the usability of spatial data from available sources and to choose the appropriate solutions and procedures for processing the point cloud of the area of interest obtained from available web applications. The processing of the point cloud obtained by airborne laser scanning results in digital terrain models created in selected software. The study also included modeling of different types of residential development, and the results were evaluated. Different data sources may have compatibility issues, which means that the position of the same object from different spatial data databases may not be identical. To address this, deviations of the corresponding points were determined from various data sources such as Real Estate Cadaster, ZBGIS Buildings, LiDAR point cloud, orthophoto mosaic, and geodetic measurements. These deviations were analyzed according to their size and orientation, with the average deviations ranging from 0.22 to 0.34 m and standard deviations from 0.11 to 0.20 m. The Real Estate Cadaster was used as the correct basis for comparison. The area of the building was also compared, with the slightest difference being present between the Real Estate Cadaster and geodetic measurement. The difference was zero after rounding the area to whole numbers. The maximum area difference was +5 m2 for ZBGIS Buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Technology for Landscape Design)
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13 pages, 1004 KiB  
Review
Caenorhabditis elegans as a Convenient Animal Model for Microbiome Studies
by Cheng-Yeu Wu, Scott Davis, Neekita Saudagar, Shrey Shah, William Zhao, Arnold Stern, Jan Martel, David Ojcius and Hung-Chi Yang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(12), 6670; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25126670 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Microbes constitute the most prevalent life form on Earth, yet their remarkable diversity remains mostly unrecognized. Microbial diversity in vertebrate models presents a significant challenge for investigating host–microbiome interactions. The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans has many advantages for delineating the effects of host [...] Read more.
Microbes constitute the most prevalent life form on Earth, yet their remarkable diversity remains mostly unrecognized. Microbial diversity in vertebrate models presents a significant challenge for investigating host–microbiome interactions. The model organism Caenorhabditis elegans has many advantages for delineating the effects of host genetics on microbial composition. In the wild, the C. elegans gut contains various microbial species, while in the laboratory it is usually a host for a single bacterial species. There is a potential host–microbe interaction between microbial metabolites, drugs, and C. elegans phenotypes. This mini-review aims to summarize the current understanding regarding the microbiome in C. elegans. Examples using C. elegans to study host–microbe–metabolite interactions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue C. elegans as a Disease Model: Molecular Perspectives)
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11 pages, 8743 KiB  
Article
Comparative Study of the Mechanical Properties and Fracture Mechanism of Ti-5111 Alloys with Three Typical Microstructures
by Haitao Liu, Longlong Lu, Yanmin Zhang, Fei Zhou and Kexing Song
Metals 2024, 14(6), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/met14060722 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
In this work, Ti-5111 alloys with equiaxed, bimodal and lamellar microstructures were prepared by various heat treatment processes. The room-temperature tensile properties, deformation microstructure and fracture mechanism of the alloys with different microstructures were investigated. Furthermore, the mechanism by which the microstructure affects [...] Read more.
In this work, Ti-5111 alloys with equiaxed, bimodal and lamellar microstructures were prepared by various heat treatment processes. The room-temperature tensile properties, deformation microstructure and fracture mechanism of the alloys with different microstructures were investigated. Furthermore, the mechanism by which the microstructure affects the mechanical properties of Ti-5111 alloys with three typical microstructures was confirmed. The Ti-5111 alloy with a bimodal microstructure has minimum grain size and a large number of αs/β phase boundaries, which are the primary reasons for its higher strength. Simultaneously, the excellent coordination in the deformation ability between the lamellar αs and β phases is what enables the alloy with a bimodal microstructure to have the most outstanding mechanical properties. Additionally, the presence of a grain boundary α phase and the parallel arrangement of a coarse αs phase are the main reasons for the inferior mechanical properties of the Ti-5111 alloy with a lamellar microstructure. The fracture mechanism of the alloy with an equiaxed microstructure is a mixed fracture mechanism including ductile fracture and destructive fracture. The fracture mechanisms of the Ti-5111 alloy with bimodal and lamellar microstructures are typical ductile fracture and cleavage fracture, respectively. These findings serve as a guide for the performance improvement and application of the Ti-5111 alloy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Behaviors and Damage Mechanisms of Metallic Materials)
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15 pages, 2473 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Effectiveness of Vermi-Liquids as a Sustainable Alternative to Inorganic Nutrient Solutions in Hydroponic Agriculture: A Study on Diplotaxis muralis
by Sami ur Rehman, Alessio Aprile, Federica De Castro, Carmine Negro, Danilo Migoni, Michele Benedetti, Erika Sabella and Francesco Paolo Fanizzi
Agronomy 2024, 14(6), 1310; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14061310 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Abstract
Organic products are gaining popularity due to their positive impact on human health and the environment. While hydroponics is commonly used in vegetable production, it relies on mineral fertilizers derived from limited and non-renewable resources. As a result, farmers are actively seeking sustainable [...] Read more.
Organic products are gaining popularity due to their positive impact on human health and the environment. While hydroponics is commonly used in vegetable production, it relies on mineral fertilizers derived from limited and non-renewable resources. As a result, farmers are actively seeking sustainable farming solutions. This study comprehensively evaluated the effectiveness of vermi-liquids (organic nutrient solutions) as a replacement for conventional inorganic nutrient solutions in promoting growth and nutrient acquisition in Diplotaxis muralis plants in a controlled environment. The results showed that plant biomass and SPAD values of D. muralis grown in Hoagland solution and enhanced vermitea (vermitea having relatively low pH and high EC) were higher compared to standard vermitea (high pH and low EC). The findings also revealed improved nutrient assimilation of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc in the enhanced vermitea plants. The heavy metal contents in D. muralis leaves were evaluated, too, and they were found to fall significantly below the safe threshold, rendering them safe for human consumption. However, the standard vermitea, with its high pH and low EC, performed poorly as a hydroponic solution. This research suggests that enhanced vermitea can completely replace chemical nutrient solutions in hydroponic agriculture. This substitution could lead to reduced production costs and improved product quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant-Crop Biology and Biochemistry)
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