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Article
Food Insecurity in the Informal Settlements of Inanda Households Living with Children under 60 Months in Ethekwini Municipality
Children 2022, 9(10), 1521; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9101521 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Food insecurity is a continuing challenge for many households in South Africa. This challenge poses serious immediate and long-term health and development risks for children. Despite the intensive literature on household food insecurity, there is limited literature on the household food security status [...] Read more.
Food insecurity is a continuing challenge for many households in South Africa. This challenge poses serious immediate and long-term health and development risks for children. Despite the intensive literature on household food insecurity, there is limited literature on the household food security status in South African informal settlements. Thus, the household food security status and dynamics in informal settlements are not clearly defined. Hence, this study assessed the food security status of households living with children under 60 months in the informal settlements of the Inanda area, eThekwini Municipality. This study employed a cross-sectional quantitative research approach. A non-probability sampling method was used, which used convenience sampling supplemented by a non-discriminative snowball sampling to obtain a sample size of 160 households with children under the age of five. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews, where questionnaires were administered to household child caregivers. Ethical considerations such as informed consent, anonymity, confidentiality, permission from authorities, and cultural considerations were obeyed in this study. The HFIAS and HDDS tools were used to estimate the household food security status. Data were coded and analysed in SPSS version 25 software. This study revealed that higher proportions of the surveyed informal households living with children under 60 months were food insecure. The HFIAS analysis showed that approximately 34, 31, and 28% were severely, mildly, and moderately food insecure, respectively. In contrast, a small (approximately 8%) proportion of the surveyed informal households was estimated to be food secure. The HDDS analysis revealed that most (approximately 77%) of the surveyed informal households had low dietary diversity (deemed food insecure). Cereal, roots, and fatty foods were the main dietary components in the informal settlements of Inanda. It is paramount to improve the food security status of informal households living with children under 60 months through an integrated approach. This study suggests government and private stakeholders’ engagement in developing policies and programs directed at informal households living with children under 60 months to alleviate food insecurity. Full article
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Communication
The Effects of Total Ionizing Dose on the SEU Cross-Section of SOI SRAMs
Electronics 2022, 11(19), 3188; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11193188 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
The total ionizing dose (TID) effects on single-event upset (SEU) hardness are investigated for two silicon-on-insulator (SOI) static random access memories (SRAMs) with different layout structures in this paper. The contrary changing trends of TID on SEU sensitivity for 6T and 7T SOI [...] Read more.
The total ionizing dose (TID) effects on single-event upset (SEU) hardness are investigated for two silicon-on-insulator (SOI) static random access memories (SRAMs) with different layout structures in this paper. The contrary changing trends of TID on SEU sensitivity for 6T and 7T SOI SRAMs are observed in our experiment. After 800 krad(Si) irradiation, the SEU cross-sections of 6T SRAMs increases by 15%, while 7T SRAMs decreases by 60%. Experimental results show that the SEU cross-sections are not only affected by TID irradiation, but also strongly correlate with the layout structure of the memory cells. Theoretical analysis shows that the decrease of SEU cross-section of 7T SRAM is caused by a raised OFF-state equivalent resistance of the delay transistor N5 after TID exposure, which is because the radiation-induced charges are trapped in the shallow trench, and isolation oxide (STI) and buried oxide (BOX) enhance the carrier scattering rate of delay transistor N5. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Effects of Advanced Electronic Devices and Circuits)
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Systematic Review
Exercise Selection and Common Injuries in Fitness Centers: A Systematic Integrative Review and Practical Recommendations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912710 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Weight resistance training (RT) is an essential component of physical conditioning programs to improve the quality of life and physical fitness in different ages and populations. This integrative review aimed to analyze the scientific evidence on the relationship between exercise selection and the [...] Read more.
Weight resistance training (RT) is an essential component of physical conditioning programs to improve the quality of life and physical fitness in different ages and populations. This integrative review aimed to analyze the scientific evidence on the relationship between exercise selection and the appearance of musculoskeletal injuries in physical fitness centers (PFC). The PubMed or Medline, EMBASE or Science Direct, Google Scholar and PEDro databases were selected to examine the available literature using a Boolean algorithm with search terms. The review process was performed using the five-stage approach for an integrative review and it was reported according to the PRISMA in Exercise, Rehabilitation, Sport Medicine and Sports Science (PERSiST) guidelines. A total of 39 peer-reviewed articles (Price index = 71.7%) met the inclusion criteria and evaluated the link between exercise selection and the incidence of injuries in exercisers who regularly attend PFC. Most injuries occur to the shoulders, elbows, vertebrae of the spine, and knees. Although the injury etiologies are multifactorial, the findings of the reviewed articles include the impacts of overuse, short post-exercise recovery periods, poor conditioning in the exercised body areas, frequent use of heavy loads, improper technique in certain exercises, and the abuse of performance- and image-enhancing drugs. Practical recommendations addressed to clinical exercise physiologists, exercise professionals, and health professionals are given in this paper. The exercise selection in RT programs requires professional supervision and adhering to proper lifting techniques and training habits that consider the anatomical and biomechanical patterns of the musculoskeletal structures, as well as genetic, pedagogical, and methodological aspects directly related to the stimulus–response process to mitigate the occurrence of RT-related injuries in PFC. Full article
Review
Potential Role of Sphingolipidoses-Associated Lysosphingolipids in Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(19), 4858; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14194858 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Sphingolipids play a key structural role in cellular membranes and/or act as signaling molecules. Inherited defects of their catabolism lead to lysosomal storage diseases called sphingolipidoses. Although progress has been made toward a better understanding of their pathophysiology, several issues still remain unsolved. [...] Read more.
Sphingolipids play a key structural role in cellular membranes and/or act as signaling molecules. Inherited defects of their catabolism lead to lysosomal storage diseases called sphingolipidoses. Although progress has been made toward a better understanding of their pathophysiology, several issues still remain unsolved. In particular, whether lysosphingolipids, the deacylated form of sphingolipids, both of which accumulate in these diseases, are simple biomarkers or play an instrumental role is unclear. In the meanwhile, evidence has been provided for a high risk of developing malignancies in patients affected with Gaucher disease, the most common sphingolipidosis. This article aims at analyzing the potential involvement of lysosphingolipids in cancer. Knowledge about lysosphingolipids in the context of lysosomal storage diseases is summarized. Available data on the nature and prevalence of cancers in patients affected with sphingolipidoses are also reviewed. Then, studies investigating the biological effects of lysosphingolipids toward pro or antitumor pathways are discussed. Finally, original findings exploring the role of glucosylsphingosine in the development of melanoma are presented. While this lysosphingolipid may behave like a protumorigenic agent, further investigations in appropriate models are needed to elucidate the role of these peculiar lipids, not only in sphingolipidoses but also in malignant diseases in general. Full article
Article
Oligoprogression of Solid Tumors on Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: The Impact of Local Ablative Radiation Therapy
Biomedicines 2022, 10(10), 2481; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10102481 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
The breakthrough of a limited number of clones while on immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), known as oligoprogression, has been previously described. The benefit of ablative radiation therapy (RT) directed at these clones, as opposed to changing systemic therapy, is unclear. We analyzed 30 [...] Read more.
The breakthrough of a limited number of clones while on immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), known as oligoprogression, has been previously described. The benefit of ablative radiation therapy (RT) directed at these clones, as opposed to changing systemic therapy, is unclear. We analyzed 30 patients with advanced solid tumors, the majority of whom (23/30, 86.7%) had either hepatocellular or urothelial carcinoma, who experienced oligoprogression on ICIs and were referred for RT. In this study, oligoprogression was defined as having experienced progression at three or fewer metastatic sites outside of the brain after achieving at least stable disease on ICIs for a minimum of three months. The median time to oligoprogression was 11.1 months from the initiation of immunotherapy. 24 patients had one oligoprogressive lesion and six had two. The median radiation dose delivered was 4650 cGy in a median of five fractions. The median progression-free survival (PFS) after RT was 7.1 months, and the time to oligoprogression was not a significant predictor of PFS2. 26 patients continued on ICIs after RT. While 17 patients subsequently progressed, 15 did so at three or fewer metastatic sites and could have theoretically stood to benefit from an additional course of salvage RT to further extend the lifespan of their ICIs. Overall survival at 6, 12, and 24 months was 100.0%, 96.3%, and 82.8%, respectively. These results suggest that RT may provide a PFS benefit and extend the lifespan of ICIs in patients who experience oligoprogression. Regardless of PFS, however, overall survival in this population appears to be excellent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Synergy of Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy)
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Review
The Role of Electrochemical and Spectroelectrochemical Techniques in the Preparation and Characterization of Conjugated Polymers: From Polyaniline to Modern Organic Semiconductors
Polymers 2022, 14(19), 4173; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14194173 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
This review article presents different electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical techniques used to investigate conjugated polymers. The development of this research area is presented from an over 40-year perspective—the period of research carried out by Professor Mieczyslaw Lapkowski. Initial research involved polymers derived from simple [...] Read more.
This review article presents different electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical techniques used to investigate conjugated polymers. The development of this research area is presented from an over 40-year perspective—the period of research carried out by Professor Mieczyslaw Lapkowski. Initial research involved polymers derived from simple aromatic compounds, such as polyaniline. Since then, scientific advances in the field of conductive polymers have led to the development of so-called organic electronics. Electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical methods have a great influence in the development of organic semiconductors. Their potential for explaining many phenomena is discussed and the most relevant examples are provided. Full article
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Review
Recent Advances in MEMS-Based 3D Hemispherical Resonator Gyroscope (HRG)—A Sensor of Choice
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1676; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101676 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Macro-scale, hemispherical-shaped resonating gyroscopes are used in high-precision motion and navigation applications. In these gyroscopes, a 3D wine-glass, hemispherical-shaped resonating structure is used as the main sensing element. Motivated by the success of macroscale hemispherical shape gyroscopes, many microscale hemispherical-shaped resonators have been [...] Read more.
Macro-scale, hemispherical-shaped resonating gyroscopes are used in high-precision motion and navigation applications. In these gyroscopes, a 3D wine-glass, hemispherical-shaped resonating structure is used as the main sensing element. Motivated by the success of macroscale hemispherical shape gyroscopes, many microscale hemispherical-shaped resonators have been produced due to the rapid advancement in semiconductor-based microfabrication technologies. The dynamic performance of hemispherical resonators depends on the degree of symmetry, uniformity of thickness, and surface smoothness, which, in turn, depend on the type of materials and fabrication methods. The main aim of this review paper is to summarize the materials, characterization and fabrication methods reported in the literature for the fabrication of microscale hemispherical resonator gyroscopes (µHRGs). The theory behind the development of HRGs is described and advancements in the fabrication of microscale HRGs through various semiconductor-based fabrication techniques are outlined. The integration of electrodes with the hemispherical structure for electrical transduction using other materials and fabrication methods is also presented. A comparison of different materials and methods of fabrication from the point of view of device characteristics and dynamic performance is discussed. This review can help researchers in their future research and engineers to select the materials and methods for µHRG development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Resonators, Actuators, and Their Applications)
Article
Egg Freshness Prediction Model Using Real-Time Cold Chain Storage Condition Based on Transfer Learning
Foods 2022, 11(19), 3082; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11193082 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Maintaining and monitoring the quality of eggs is a major concern during cold chain storage and transportation due to the variation of external environments, such as temperature or humidity. In this study, we proposed a deep learning-based Haugh unit (HU) prediction model which [...] Read more.
Maintaining and monitoring the quality of eggs is a major concern during cold chain storage and transportation due to the variation of external environments, such as temperature or humidity. In this study, we proposed a deep learning-based Haugh unit (HU) prediction model which is a universal parameter to determine egg freshness using a non-destructively measured weight loss by transfer learning technique. The temperature and weight loss of eggs from a laboratory and real-time cold chain environment conditions are collected from ten different types of room temperature conditions. The data augmentation technique is applied to increase the number of the collected dataset. The convolutional neural network (CNN) and long short-term memory (LSTM) algorithm are stacked to make one deep learning model with hyperparameter optimization to increase HU value prediction performance. In addition, the general machine learning algorithms are applied to compare HU prediction results with the CNN-LSTM model. The source and target model for stacked CNN-LSTM used temperature and weight loss data, respectively. Predicting HU using only weight loss data, the target transfer learning CNN-LSTM showed RMSE value decreased from 6.62 to 2.02 compared to a random forest regressor, respectively. In addition, the MAE of HU prediction results for the target model decreased when the data augmentation technique was applied from 3.16 to 1.39. It is believed that monitoring egg freshness by predicting HU in a real-time cold chain environment can be implemented in real-life by using non-destructive weight loss parameters along with deep learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Analytical Methods)
Article
Dietary Intake, Nutritional Adequacy, and Food Sources of Selected Antioxidant Minerals and Vitamins; and Their Relationship with Personal and Family Factors in Spanish Children Aged 1 to <10 Years: Results from the EsNuPI Study
Nutrients 2022, 14(19), 4132; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14194132 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Minerals and vitamins involved in the antioxidant defense system are essential for healthy growth and proper development during infancy. Milk and dairy products are of particular importance for improving the supply of these nutrients to children. Indeed, the present study aimed to evaluate [...] Read more.
Minerals and vitamins involved in the antioxidant defense system are essential for healthy growth and proper development during infancy. Milk and dairy products are of particular importance for improving the supply of these nutrients to children. Indeed, the present study aimed to evaluate the nutrient intake and food sources of zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), retinol and carotenoids (sources of vitamin A), and vitamins C and E, and to analyze their relationships with personal and familiar factors in Spanish children from the EsNuPI study. One subpopulation representative of the Spanish population from 1 to <10 years old (n = 707) (reference group, REF) who reported consuming all types of milk over the last year, and another subpopulation of the same age who reported consuming fortified milk formulas (FMFs) (including follow-on formula, young child formula, growing up milk, toddler’s milk, and enriched and fortified milk) (n = 741) (fortified milk consumers, FMCs) completed two 24 h dietary recalls used to estimate their nutrient intakes and to compare them to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Dietary Reference Values (DRVs). The REF reported higher median intakes than FMCs for Se (61 µg/kg vs. 51 µg/kg) and carotenoids (1079 µg/day vs. 998 µg/day). Oppositely, FMCs reported higher intakes than REF for Zn (7.9 mg/day vs. 6.9 mg/day), vitamin A (636 µg/day vs. 481 µg/day), vitamin E (8.9 mg/day vs. 4.5 mg/day), vitamin C (113 mg/day vs. 71 mg/day), and retinol (376 µg/day vs. 233 µg/day). In the REF group, more than 50% of the children met the EFSA recommendations for Zn (79.6%), Se (87.1%), vitamin A (71.3%), and vitamin C (96.7%), respectively. On the other hand, 92.2% were below the EFSA recommendations for vitamin E. In the FMC group, more than 50% of the children met the EFSA recommendations for Zn (55.2%), Se (90.8%), vitamin A (75.7%), vitamin E (66.7%), and vitamin C (100%). We found statistically significant differences between subpopulations for all cases except for Se. In both subpopulations, the main sources of all antioxidant nutrients were milk and dairy products. For carotenoids, the main sources were vegetables and fruits followed by milk and dairy products. A high percentage of children had vitamins A and E intakes below the recommendations, information of great importance to stakeholders. More studies using intakes and biomarkers are needed, however, to determine an association with diverse factors of oxidative damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Micronutrients and Human Health)
Article
Effect of Short-Term Phosphorus Supply on Rhizosphere Microbial Community of Tea Plants
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2405; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102405 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Microbes play an important role in rhizosphere phosphorus (P) activation and root P absorption in low P-available soils. However, the responses of the rhizosphere microbial community to P input and its effects on P uptake by tea plants have not been widely reported. [...] Read more.
Microbes play an important role in rhizosphere phosphorus (P) activation and root P absorption in low P-available soils. However, the responses of the rhizosphere microbial community to P input and its effects on P uptake by tea plants have not been widely reported. In this study, the high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and the ITS2 region was employed to examine the responses of tea rhizosphere microbiomes to different P input rates (low-P, P0: 0 mg·kg−1 P; moderate-P, P1: 87.3 mg·kg−1 P; high-P, P2: 436.5 mg·kg−1 P). The results showed that the P input treatments significantly reduced the soil C: N ratio and C: P ratio compared to the P0 treatment (p < 0.05). Moreover, the P2 treatment significantly increased the soil available P, plant biomass and P content of the tea plant compared to the P0 and P1 treatments (p < 0.05). Both bacterial and fungal communities revealed the highest values of alpha diversity indices in the P1 treatment and the lowest in the P2 treatment. The dominant phyla of the bacterial community were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria, while in the fungal community they were Ascomycota and Mortierellomycota. In addition, P input enriched the relative abundance of Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria but decreased the relative abundance of Acidobacteria. The Mantel correlation analysis showed that the fungal community was influenced by P input, whereas bacterial community was affected by the soil TC and C: N ratio. Furthermore, the P input treatments enhanced the TCA cycle, amino and nucleotide glucose metabolism, starch and sucrose metabolism, and phosphotransferase system expression, which could promote C and N cycling. On the contrary, the P input treatments negatively affected the growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The PLS-PM model revealed that the rhizosphere bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, negatively and positively affected the P content by affecting the biomass. Meanwhile, rhizosphere microbial function profiles affected the P content of tea plants directly and positively. In summary, moderate P input favors the rhizosphere microbial diversity and functions in the short-term pot experiment. Therefore, we suggest that moderate P input should be recommended in practical tea production, and a further field test is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Tea Agronomy: From Yield to Quality)
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Article
First Report on the Streptococcus gallolyticus (S. bovis Biotype I) DSM 13808 Exopolysaccharide Structure
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(19), 11797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms231911797 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Streptococcus gallolyticus subspecies gallolyticus, known as Streptococcus bovis biotype I, is a facultative pathogen causing bacteraemia, infective endocarditis and sepsis that has been linked with colorectal cancer (CRC), but this correlation is still unclear. Bacterial surface structures, such as the major sugar [...] Read more.
Streptococcus gallolyticus subspecies gallolyticus, known as Streptococcus bovis biotype I, is a facultative pathogen causing bacteraemia, infective endocarditis and sepsis that has been linked with colorectal cancer (CRC), but this correlation is still unclear. Bacterial surface structures, such as the major sugar antigens exposed to the outside of the microorganism, are potential virulence factors. One of the primary sugar antigens loosely attached to the cell surface is the biofilm component, exopolysaccharide (EPS). EPSs of S. bovis are poorly characterized molecules. Until now, only one S. macedonicus Sc136 EPS structure was known to the entire S. bovis group. The S. gallolyticus DSM 13808 EPS was investigated by chemical analysis, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The hexasaccharide repeating unit of the EPS, containing four Glc, two Rha residues and one phosphate group, has been described “ →6)-α-d-Glcp-(1→3)-β-l-Rhap-(1→4)-β-d-Glcp-(1→3)-[β-d-Glcp-(1→2)]-α-l-Rhap-(1→2)-α-d-Glcp-(1→P→”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Macromolecules)
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Article
The Importance of Toll-like Receptor 9 Expression on Monocytes and Dendritic Cells in the Context of Epstein–Barr Virus Infection in the Immunopathogenesis of Primary Glomerulonephritis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(19), 11796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms231911796 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is activated by unmethylated cytosine-phosphate-guanosine (CpG) dinucleotides found in the genomes of pathogens such as Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). The aim of this study was to determine the role of TLR9 in the immunopathogenesis of IgA nephropathy (IgAN) and membranoproliferative [...] Read more.
Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is activated by unmethylated cytosine-phosphate-guanosine (CpG) dinucleotides found in the genomes of pathogens such as Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). The aim of this study was to determine the role of TLR9 in the immunopathogenesis of IgA nephropathy (IgAN) and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) in the context of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection. For this purpose, the frequency of TLR9-positive monocytes and dendritic cells (DCs, i.e., BDCA-1; myeloid dendritic cells, and BDCA-2; plasmocytoid dendritic cells) was studied, and a quantitative analysis of the concentration of TLR9 in the serum of patients diagnosed with IgAN and MPGN was undertaken. Higher frequencies of TLR9-positive DCs and monocytes in IgAN and MPGN patients were observed as compared with the control group. Patients diagnosed with GN exhibited a higher percentage of BDCA-1+CD19− and BDCA-2+CD123+ DCs than patients in the control group. Moreover, serum TLR9 concentration was shown to be significantly correlated with EBV DNA copy number/µg DNA, IgG, IgM, serum albumin, total protein in 24-h urine collection test and the frequency of BDCA-2+CD123+ DCs in peripheral blood. Our findings confirm that TLR9 may be involved in the development of IgAN and MPGN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics of Nephropathy 2.0)
Review
A Review of Omics Studies on Arboviruses: Alphavirus, Or-Thobunyavirus and Phlebovirus
Viruses 2022, 14(10), 2194; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14102194 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Since the intricate and complex steps in pathogenesis and host-viral interactions of arthropod-borne viruses or arboviruses are not completely understood, the multi-omics approaches, which encompass proteomics, transcriptomics, genomics and metabolomics network analysis, are of great importance. We have reviewed the omics studies on [...] Read more.
Since the intricate and complex steps in pathogenesis and host-viral interactions of arthropod-borne viruses or arboviruses are not completely understood, the multi-omics approaches, which encompass proteomics, transcriptomics, genomics and metabolomics network analysis, are of great importance. We have reviewed the omics studies on mosquito-borne viruses of the Togaviridae, Peribuyaviridae and Phenuiviridae families, specifically for Chikungunya, Mayaro, Oropouche and Rift Valley Fever viruses. Omics studies can potentially provide a new perspective on the pathophysiology of arboviruses, contributing to a better comprehension of these diseases and their effects and, hence, provide novel insights for the development of new antiviral drugs or therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Viruses)
Article
The Role of Internal and External Factors for Code-Switching: A Study of Early Multilingualism in Germany with Special Reference to Catalan as a Heritage Language
Languages 2022, 7(4), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7040258 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
In heritage language acquisition studies, it has been observed that heritage speakers may experience a shift of language dominance from the heritage language to the majority language due to input quantity and quality factors. The appearance of code-switching in the productions of multilingual [...] Read more.
In heritage language acquisition studies, it has been observed that heritage speakers may experience a shift of language dominance from the heritage language to the majority language due to input quantity and quality factors. The appearance of code-switching in the productions of multilingual speakers has been well attested and has been mostly linked to age and language dominance as well as family language policies and consistence of input, among other factors. For the appearance of code-switching, our cross-sectional study analyses language dominance (MLU) and fluency (w/minute) along with child-external factors, such as family language policies, family language and siblings’ interaction, in sixteen multilingual children (mean age 5;7) being raised in Germany with German and Catalan (and another L1) simultaneously. In a nutshell, children who are dominant in the majority language ultimately code-switch more frequently than the other groups. Interestingly, balanced and heritage-language-dominant children present instances of intrasentential code-switching (particularly insertions and alternations), while intersentential code-switching is frequent across all groups. When families have chosen the ‘one person-one language’ strategy and do not have a family language, code-switching is almost absent. Finally, sibling groups using both the heritage and the majority languages in their interactions show low code-switching rates. Full article
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Article
Sequential Smoothing Treatment of Glass Workpieces Cut by Abrasive Water Jet
Materials 2022, 15(19), 6894; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15196894 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
A centrifugal disc and vibratory finishing machines were applied to improve the surface texture of soda-lime workpieces cut by an abrasive water jet. This innovative method was denoted as sequential smoothing treatment. An experimental study of the effect of the smoothing process conditions [...] Read more.
A centrifugal disc and vibratory finishing machines were applied to improve the surface texture of soda-lime workpieces cut by an abrasive water jet. This innovative method was denoted as sequential smoothing treatment. An experimental study of the effect of the smoothing process conditions on the surface roughness, surface texture and micro roughness of the surface of glass workpieces was conducted. The analysis of the results obtained from experimental research made it possible to determine the optimum conditions for the smoothing process of glass workpieces after abrasive water jet cutting process. The proper selection of the finishing machine, machining media (abrasive chips) and compounds (liquids and powders) made it possible to reduce the surface roughness of areas located in the lower part of the cutting zone from Sa = 4.81 μm to Sa = 1.9 μm. The experimental results obtained confirmed the validity of using finishing machines to improve the surface quality of the soda-lime glass components. An important problem that requires further research is the increase in productivity and the reduction in machining time. Full article
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Review
Synthesis and Biomedical Applications of Highly Porous Metal–Organic Frameworks
Molecules 2022, 27(19), 6585; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27196585 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
In this review, aspects of the synthesis, framework topologies, and biomedical applications of highly porous metal–organic frameworks are discussed. The term “highly porous metal–organic frameworks” (HPMOFs) is used to denote MOFs with a surface area larger than 4000 m2 g−1. [...] Read more.
In this review, aspects of the synthesis, framework topologies, and biomedical applications of highly porous metal–organic frameworks are discussed. The term “highly porous metal–organic frameworks” (HPMOFs) is used to denote MOFs with a surface area larger than 4000 m2 g−1. Such compounds are suitable for the encapsulation of a variety of large guest molecules, ranging from organic dyes to drugs and proteins, and hence they can address major contemporary challenges in the environmental and biomedical field. Numerous synthetic approaches towards HPMOFs have been developed and discussed herein. Attempts are made to categorise the most successful synthetic strategies; however, these are often not independent from each other, and a combination of different parameters is required to be thoroughly considered for the synthesis of stable HPMOFs. The majority of the HPMOFs in this review are of special interest not only because of their high porosity and fascinating structures, but also due to their capability to encapsulate and deliver drugs, proteins, enzymes, genes, or cells; hence, they are excellent candidates in biomedical applications that involve drug delivery, enzyme immobilisation, gene targeting, etc. The encapsulation strategies are described, and the MOFs are categorised according to the type of biomolecule they are able to encapsulate. The research field of HPMOFs has witnessed tremendous development recently. Their intriguing features and potential applications attract researchers’ interest and promise an auspicious future for this class of highly porous materials. Full article
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Article
Identifying Nematode Damage on Soybean through Remote Sensing and Machine Learning Techniques
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2404; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102404 (registering DOI) - 05 Oct 2022
Abstract
Identifying nematode damage in large soybean areas is not always achievable in a practical way. Multispectral reflectance sensors have not been thoroughly evaluated to detect nematode damage in soybeans (Glycine max L.). The main research aims of this study were to: (i) [...] Read more.
Identifying nematode damage in large soybean areas is not always achievable in a practical way. Multispectral reflectance sensors have not been thoroughly evaluated to detect nematode damage in soybeans (Glycine max L.). The main research aims of this study were to: (i) determine the bivariate relationship between individual spectral bands and vegetation indices (VIs) relative to soybean conditions (symptomatic versus asymptomatic), and (ii) to select the best model for identifying plant conditions using three algorithms (logistic regression—LR, random forest—RF, conditional inference tree—CIT) and three options for data input using bands, vegetation indices (VIs), and bands plus VIs. The trial was conducted in Brazil on three on-farm soybean fields presenting different species of nematode infestation. Multispectral imagery was obtained using a drone-mounted MicaSense RedEdge® sensor. At each sampling, georeferenced point nematode infestation and spectral measurements of soybean plants were retrieved for the classification of symptomatic and asymptomatic areas, according to the threshold level adopted. Bivariate analysis of variance (ANOVA), LR, RF, and CIT were used to select the multispectral bands/VIs that discriminated among symptomatic and asymptomatic plants, assessing the best model via their respective parameters for accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. The greatest classification accuracy (>0.70) was achieved when using the CIT algorithm with the spectral bands only, with green (560 ± 20 nm) and near-infrared (840 ± 40 nm) included as the main spectral input variables in the model. These results demonstrate the potential of combining remotely sensed data and machine learning to distinguish nematode-symptomatic and asymptomatic soybean plants. Full article
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Article
Should the Splenic Vein Be Preserved—Fate of Sinistral Portal Hypertension after Pancreatoduodenectomy with Vascular Re-Section for Pancreatic Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(19), 4853; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14194853 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Background: This study aims to evaluate sinistral portal hypertension (SPH) development and its clinical impact on the long-term outcomes of patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent surgical resection with splenic vein (SV) ligation. Methods: Data from 94 consecutive patients who underwent pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) [...] Read more.
Background: This study aims to evaluate sinistral portal hypertension (SPH) development and its clinical impact on the long-term outcomes of patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent surgical resection with splenic vein (SV) ligation. Methods: Data from 94 consecutive patients who underwent pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) with vascular resection for pancreatic cancer from 2008 to 2019 were retrospectively collected. The patients were divided into two groups according to whether the SV was preserved or ligated during the surgery. Their computed tomography images were serially reviewed (preoperative, 6-, 12-, and 24-months postoperative) with clinical parameters. The degree of variceal formation (variceal score) and splenomegaly were assessed, and the oncologic outcomes were compared between the two groups. Variceal score in the SV ligation group was significantly higher than that in the SV saving group at the same postoperative periods (SV saving vs. ligation: 12 months, 0.9 ± 1.3 vs. 3.5 ± 2.2, p < 0.001; 24 months, 1.4 ± 1.8 vs. 4.0 ± 3.4, p = 0.009). Clinically relevant variceal bleeding was noted in one patient from the SV ligation group (SV saving vs. ligation: 0.0% vs. 3.1%, p = 0.953). In survival analysis, there was no significant difference between the two groups (DFS; SV saving vs. ligation: 13.0 (11.1–14.9) months vs. 13.0 (10.4–15.6) months, p = 0.969, OS; SV saving vs. ligation: 35.0 (19.9–50.1) months vs. 27.0 (11.6–42.4) months, p = 0.417). Although SV ligation induced SPH during PD for pancreatic cancer, it did not lead to clinically significant long-term complications. In addition, it did not impact the long-term survival of patients with resected pancreatic head cancer. Full article
Article
Fire Flocks: Participating Farmers’ Perceptions after Five Years of Development
Land 2022, 11(10), 1718; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101718 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Nowadays, extensive livestock farming faces substantial threats in the Mediterranean region, provoking a setback dynamic in the sector. In 2016, the Fire Flocks (FF) project was conceived and implemented as a regional strategy to revert this situation and revalue the sector in Catalonia, [...] Read more.
Nowadays, extensive livestock farming faces substantial threats in the Mediterranean region, provoking a setback dynamic in the sector. In 2016, the Fire Flocks (FF) project was conceived and implemented as a regional strategy to revert this situation and revalue the sector in Catalonia, in the NE of the Iberian Peninsula. FF promotes forest management through extensive livestock farming, and more specifically silvopastoralism, to reduce vegetation load and wildfire risk. The initiative also works on fire risk awareness with the aim of promoting extensive livestock products through FF label and valorization strategies. Five years after its initial implementation, the project managers detected several weaknesses and potential improvements directly affecting the economic and environmental performance of the participating farms. It was therefore considered necessary to conduct targeted qualitative interviews with the farmers participating in the project in order to gather their opinions on the project’s functioning and further steps. To this end, 17 farmers were interviewed with the aid of a qualitative questionnaire. The farmers stated that although FF is not providing them with any direct financial benefits, it does present an opportunity to belong to a group of farmers working on wildfire prevention, thereby lending them a voice as a group, and reaching more social visibility. The qualitative analyses elucidate key elements to be promoted in FF, such as redesign of the operational structure, expansion to a regional scale and action lines to facilitate grazing activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Management for Fire Prevention in the Era of Megafires)
Article
Exploring the Nutritional Potential of Wild Grass Fodder for Mega Herbivore (Elephas maximus) in the Foothills of Western Ghats
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2668; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192668 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
An elephant, being a mega herbivore, consumes large amounts of food. Due to the lack of availability of fodder inside the forest, the elephants move out of their habitat areas and also find agricultural crops attractive, which further results in man–animal conflict. To [...] Read more.
An elephant, being a mega herbivore, consumes large amounts of food. Due to the lack of availability of fodder inside the forest, the elephants move out of their habitat areas and also find agricultural crops attractive, which further results in man–animal conflict. To improve the elephant habitat area, the current study was conducted to assess the availability of native fodder grasses inside the Coimbatore Elephant Reserve, Western Ghats, from April 2021–April 2022. The area falls between 10°37′and 11°31′ North latitudes and 76°39′and 77°5′ East longitudes. It was approached in a systematic random sampling method. A total of 128 sample plots of 1sq.m size were randomly placed, and the density of grass species was recorded in percentage (%). The collected samples were shade dried for one week, ground to pass through a 1 mm sieve, and stored in polythene bags. Furthermore, the samples were chemically analyzed to determine their nutritional values. The dry matter (DM) content of various grass fodder varied from 28.18% to 59.75%. The crude protein (CP) content differed between 5.94% and 11.94%. The highest CP was recorded in Cynodon dactylon (11.94%) and the least in Aristida setacea (5.94%). Ether extract content was found in the ranges of 1.00% to 5.00%. The acid detergent fibre (ADF) content of Aristida setacea (45.74%) was observed as the highest, whereas the lowest was observed in Oplismenus burmannii (26.78%), followed by Themeda triandra (26.85%), Heteropogon contortus (30.12%) and Enteropogon monostachyos (30.31%). The average neutral detergent fibre content of grass fodder was 52.27%, with a range of 37.89% (Oplismenus burmannii) to 67.87% (Cymbopogon martinii). The average total digestible nutrient (TDN) content of grass was 77.45%; relative forage quality (RFQ) exhibited wider variations among the grasses and ranged between 107.51 and 198.83. This study is a pioneer in evaluating the nutritional values of native grass fodder species for elephants in the Western Ghats. The study gives strategies for the selection of high nutritive fodder grass for the habitat improvement of elephants, and it also provides scientific and baseline information for the conservation of native grass fodder species in the Western Ghats. Full article
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Article
Rheological Characterization and Accumulation Tests for Strong Thixotropic Engineering Slurry
Materials 2022, 15(19), 6891; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15196891 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Underground void subsidence hazards, especially mine goaf, have now become one of the major social problems affecting the well-being of civilians and development in China. The objective of this study was to propose a kind of strong thixotropic engineering slurry and filling treatment [...] Read more.
Underground void subsidence hazards, especially mine goaf, have now become one of the major social problems affecting the well-being of civilians and development in China. The objective of this study was to propose a kind of strong thixotropic engineering slurry and filling treatment for use in underground void subsidence hazards. The optimal agent ratio for thixotropic cement slurry/mortar was obtained by indoor tests, where the rheological agent is 7.5% compared to the weight of cement, the water–solid ratio is in the range of 0.7~0.8, and the aeolian sand ratio can be 0~1.5 times that of cement. The rheological properties of slurry and mortar were tested using a Brookfield RST-SST rheometer. The results show that aeolian sand can be used as thixotropic cement mortar for a backfilling treatment for underground voids (mine goaf). The static yield stress increases non-linearly compared to existing thixotropic models. The stress decays sharply with shearing (the shear rate is more or less 10 s−1) and then the stress increases with the increase in shear rate (the shear rate is more than 10 s−1). The increase in the stress of the slurry is greater than in the mortar. A natural logarithmic function between yield stress and rest time (only 1 parameter), an exponential function with two parts for stress–shear rate (a rheology model, with only 3 parameters), and an exponential function for the accumulation law (only 2 parameters) were proposed in turn. Full article
Article
Deep Learning Cascaded Feature Selection Framework for Breast Cancer Classification: Hybrid CNN with Univariate-Based Approach
Mathematics 2022, 10(19), 3631; https://doi.org/10.3390/math10193631 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
With the help of machine learning, many of the problems that have plagued mammography in the past have been solved. Effective prediction models need many normal and tumor samples. For medical applications such as breast cancer diagnosis framework, it is difficult to gather [...] Read more.
With the help of machine learning, many of the problems that have plagued mammography in the past have been solved. Effective prediction models need many normal and tumor samples. For medical applications such as breast cancer diagnosis framework, it is difficult to gather labeled training data and construct effective learning frameworks. Transfer learning is an emerging strategy that has recently been used to tackle the scarcity of medical data by transferring pre-trained convolutional network knowledge into the medical domain. Despite the well reputation of the transfer learning based on the pre-trained Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) for medical imaging, several hurdles still exist to achieve a prominent breast cancer classification performance. In this paper, we attempt to solve the Feature Dimensionality Curse (FDC) problem of the deep features that are derived from the transfer learning pre-trained CNNs. Such a problem is raised due to the high space dimensionality of the extracted deep features with respect to the small size of the available medical data samples. Therefore, a novel deep learning cascaded feature selection framework is proposed based on the pre-trained deep convolutional networks as well as the univariate-based paradigm. Deep learning models of AlexNet, VGG, and GoogleNet are randomly selected and used to extract the shallow and deep features from the INbreast mammograms, whereas the univariate strategy helps to overcome the dimensionality curse and multicollinearity issues for the extracted features. The optimized key features via the univariate approach are statistically significant (p-value ≤ 0.05) and have good capability to efficiently train the classification models. Using such optimal features, the proposed framework could achieve a promising evaluation performance in terms of 98.50% accuracy, 98.06% sensitivity, 98.99% specificity, and 98.98% precision. Such performance seems to be beneficial to develop a practical and reliable computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) framework for breast cancer classification. Full article
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Article
HIV-1 Tat Upregulates the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products and Superoxide Dismutase-2 in the Heart of Transgenic Mice
Viruses 2022, 14(10), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14102191 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Cardiovascular disorder (CVD) is a common comorbidity in people living with HIV (PLWH). Although the underlying mechanisms are unknown, virotoxic HIV proteins, such as the trans-activator of transcription (Tat), likely contribute to CVD pathogenesis. Tat expression in mouse myocardium has been found to [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular disorder (CVD) is a common comorbidity in people living with HIV (PLWH). Although the underlying mechanisms are unknown, virotoxic HIV proteins, such as the trans-activator of transcription (Tat), likely contribute to CVD pathogenesis. Tat expression in mouse myocardium has been found to induce cardiac dysfunction and increase markers of endothelial toxicity. However, the role that Tat may play in the development of CVD pathogenesis is unclear. The capacity for Tat to impact cardiac function was assessed using AC16 human cardiomyocyte cells and adult male and female transgenic mice that conditionally expressed Tat [Tat(+)], or did not [Tat(−)]. In AC16 cardiomyocytes, Tat increased intracellular calcium. In Tat(+) mice, Tat expression was detected in both atrial and ventricular heart tissue. Tat(+) mice demonstrated an increased expression of the receptor for advanced glycation end products and superoxide dismutase-2 (SOD-2) in ventricular tissues compared to Tat(−) controls. No changes in SOD-1 or α-smooth muscle actin were observed. Despite Tat-mediated changes at the cellular level, no changes in echocardiographic measures were detected. Tat(+) mice had a greater proportion of ventricular mast cells and collagen; however, doxycycline exposure offset the latter effect. These data suggest that Tat exposure promotes cellular changes that can precede progression to CVD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
Communication
Scientometrics Study of Research Output on Sheep and Goats from Greece
Animals 2022, 12(19), 2666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12192666 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
The study is a scientometrics evaluation of published articles performed in Greece on sheep and goats during the last 25 years, a period coinciding with implementation of reforms to shape and consolidate tertiary education and research establishments in the country. Objectives were: evaluation [...] Read more.
The study is a scientometrics evaluation of published articles performed in Greece on sheep and goats during the last 25 years, a period coinciding with implementation of reforms to shape and consolidate tertiary education and research establishments in the country. Objectives were: evaluation of the relevant publications and presentation of quantitative characteristics regarding scientific content and bibliometric details. The Web of Science platform was used (search terms: [[sheep OR goat*] OR [Ovis aries OR Capra hircus]] (1997–2022)) and 1080 papers were considered in detail. Throughout the study period, there was a clear progressive increase in numbers of papers published. The papers originated from 39 different entities, most from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (34.0%), University of Thessaly (28.0%), Agricultural University of Athens (21.2%) and Hellenic Agricultural Organization—Dimitra (13.6%). Papers were published in 318 different journals. Journals with more published papers were Small Ruminant Research and Journal of the Hellenic Veterinary Medical Society. The most frequent general topic of study in the papers was health and welfare (46.7% of papers); second most frequent topic was animal products (18.6%). The papers have received 16,558 citations, i.e., οn average 15.4 citations per paper; the h-index was 56, the i10-index was 518 and the yearly citations per paper were 1.71. Papers on goats had higher impact than papers on sheep. There were 1711 individual authors, of which 728 were first or last authors. In total, 24 authors have each co-authored ≥2.5% of all papers; five authors were each first or last in that proportion of all papers. The findings have indicated that relevant research has focused on milk production and diseases of the udder of small ruminants; moreover, there was accumulation of relevant research in Greece in some establishments only. The findings of the study can be employed to initiate improved relevant research approaches in the country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Diseases of Small Ruminants)
Systematic Review
Vitamin D-Related Risk Factors for Maternal Morbidity and Mortality during Pregnancy: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2022, 14(19), 4124; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14194124 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels <20 ng/mL in serum) is a common health condition among pregnant women, especially in high-risk groups. Evidence has connected vitamin D levels with many health-related problems during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Because of [...] Read more.
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels <20 ng/mL in serum) is a common health condition among pregnant women, especially in high-risk groups. Evidence has connected vitamin D levels with many health-related problems during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Because of vitamin D’s effect on both mother and fetus, we systematically review the association between 25(OH)D level and its health effects. From a total of 143 studies, 43 came from PubMed, 4 from Cochrane, and 96 from EMBASE. After screening, we identified 38 studies as candidates for inclusion. Ultimately, we limited this review to 23 articles originating from 12 countries, written in English or Spanish, and conducted between 2010 and 2022. We conducted this review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and evaluated the quality and strength of the evidence by using the Navigation Guide Systematic Review Methodology (SING). These systematic reviews summarize findings that support vitamin D’s role in reducing risks of multiple outcomes and the possible contribution of adequate vitamin D levels to a healthy pregnancy. Full article
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Article
Photocatalytic Degradation of Methylene Blue under Visible Light Using TiO2 Thin Films Impregnated with Porphyrin and Anderson-Type Polyoxometalates (Cu and Zn)
Catalysts 2022, 12(10), 1169; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal12101169 (registering DOI) - 04 Oct 2022
Abstract
In this work, tetra(4-carboxyphenyl)porphyrin (TCPP) and two Anderson-type polyoxomolybdates (containing Cu and Zn, respectively; CuPOM, ZnPOM) were synthesized and deposited on TiO2 thin films. The properties of the obtained materials were characterized through UV–vis spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), diffuse reflection [...] Read more.
In this work, tetra(4-carboxyphenyl)porphyrin (TCPP) and two Anderson-type polyoxomolybdates (containing Cu and Zn, respectively; CuPOM, ZnPOM) were synthesized and deposited on TiO2 thin films. The properties of the obtained materials were characterized through UV–vis spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), diffuse reflection spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). The adsorption and photodegradation under the visible light irradiation of methylene blue (MB) were studied for TiO2, TCPP/TiO2, TCPP/CuPOM/TiO2 and TCPP/ZnPOM/TiO2 thin films in aqueous solution. The results of the diffuse reflectance showed two bands in the visible light spectrum for the TCPP/POM/TiO2 systems compared to unmodified TiO2 that does not show any bands in the same region of the spectrum. The TCPP/POM/TiO2 systems showed a higher removal of MB, with an adsorption rate near to 31% for the TCPP/CuPOM/TiO2 film compared to 9% adsorption on the TiO2 film. The kinetic results show that the pseudo-second order model was the best fitting model for the MB adsorption process onto fabricated materials. The photodegradation studies under visible light showed a better performance on TCPP/POM/TiO2 thin films, with an efficiency in the MB photodegradation of near 49% and 44% in aqueous solution for TCPP/CuPOM/TiO2 and TCPP/ZnPOM/TiO2, respectively. The reusability test indicated that the porphyrin films are moderately stable after the performed cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Catalysis)

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