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Open AccessReview
Melatonin and Autophagy in Aging-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197174 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
With aging, the nervous system gradually undergoes degeneration. Increased oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cell death are considered to be common pathophysiological mechanisms of various neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD), organophosphate-induced [...] Read more.
With aging, the nervous system gradually undergoes degeneration. Increased oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and cell death are considered to be common pathophysiological mechanisms of various neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD), organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Autophagy is a cellular basic metabolic process that degrades the aggregated or misfolded proteins and abnormal organelles in cells. The abnormal regulation of neuronal autophagy is accompanied by the accumulation and deposition of irregular proteins, leading to changes in neuron homeostasis and neurodegeneration. Autophagy exhibits both a protective mechanism and a damage pathway related to programmed cell death. Because of its “double-edged sword”, autophagy plays an important role in neurological damage and NDDs including AD, PD, HD, OPIDN, and ALS. Melatonin is a neuroendocrine hormone mainly synthesized in the pineal gland and exhibits a wide range of biological functions, such as sleep control, regulating circadian rhythm, immune enhancement, metabolism regulation, antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-tumor effects. It can prevent cell death, reduce inflammation, block calcium channels, etc. In this review, we briefly discuss the neuroprotective role of melatonin against various NDDs via regulating autophagy, which could be a new field for future translational research and clinical studies to discover preventive or therapeutic agents for many NDDs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Arsenic Distribution in India by Machine Learning Geospatial Modeling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197119 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Groundwater is a critical resource in India for the supply of drinking water and for irrigation. Its usage is limited not only by its quantity but also by its quality. Among the most important contaminants of groundwater in India is arsenic, which naturally [...] Read more.
Groundwater is a critical resource in India for the supply of drinking water and for irrigation. Its usage is limited not only by its quantity but also by its quality. Among the most important contaminants of groundwater in India is arsenic, which naturally accumulates in some aquifers. In this study we create a random forest model with over 145,000 arsenic concentration measurements and over two dozen predictor variables of surface environmental parameters to produce hazard and exposure maps of the areas and populations potentially exposed to high arsenic concentrations (>10 µg/L) in groundwater. Statistical relationships found between the predictor variables and arsenic measurements are broadly consistent with major geochemical processes known to mobilize arsenic in aquifers. In addition to known high arsenic areas, such as along the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, we have identified several other areas around the country that have hitherto not been identified as potential arsenic hotspots. Based on recent reported rates of household groundwater use for rural and urban areas, we estimate that between about 18–30 million people in India are currently at risk of high exposure to arsenic through their drinking water supply. The hazard models here can be used to inform prioritization of groundwater quality testing and environmental public health tracking programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arsenic Exposure in Environment and Human Health)
Open AccessReview
JNK3 as Therapeutic Target and Biomarker in Neurodegenerative and Neurodevelopmental Brain Diseases
Cells 2020, 9(10), 2190; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9102190 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
The c-Jun N-terminal kinase 3 (JNK3) is the JNK isoform mainly expressed in the brain. It is the most responsive to many stress stimuli in the central nervous system from ischemia to Aβ oligomers toxicity. JNK3 activity is spatial and temporal organized [...] Read more.
The c-Jun N-terminal kinase 3 (JNK3) is the JNK isoform mainly expressed in the brain. It is the most responsive to many stress stimuli in the central nervous system from ischemia to Aβ oligomers toxicity. JNK3 activity is spatial and temporal organized by its scaffold protein, in particular JIP-1 and β-arrestin-2, which play a crucial role in regulating different cellular functions in different cellular districts. Extensive evidence has highlighted the possibility of exploiting these adaptors to interfere with JNK3 signaling in order to block its action. JNK plays a key role in the first neurodegenerative event, the perturbation of physiological synapse structure and function, known as synaptic dysfunction. Importantly, this is a common mechanism in many different brain pathologies. Synaptic dysfunction and spine loss have been reported to be pharmacologically reversible, opening new therapeutic directions in brain diseases. Being JNK3-detectable at the peripheral level, it could be used as a disease biomarker with the ultimate aim of allowing an early diagnosis of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopment diseases in a still prodromal phase. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Trunk Flexion Monitoring among Warehouse Workers Using a Single Inertial Sensor and the Influence of Different Sampling Durations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7117; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197117 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Trunk flexion represents a risk factor for the onset of low-back disorders, yet limited quantitative data exist regarding flexion exposures in actual working conditions. In this study, we evaluated the potential of using a single inertial measurement unit (IMU) to classify trunk flexion, [...] Read more.
Trunk flexion represents a risk factor for the onset of low-back disorders, yet limited quantitative data exist regarding flexion exposures in actual working conditions. In this study, we evaluated the potential of using a single inertial measurement unit (IMU) to classify trunk flexion, in terms of amplitude, frequency, and duration, and assessed the influence of alternative time durations on exposure results. Twelve warehouse workers were monitored during two hours of an actual shift while wearing a single IMU on their low back. Trunk flexion data were reduced using exposure variation analysis integrated with recommended exposure thresholds. Workers spent 5.1% of their working time with trunk flexion of 30–60° and 2.3% with flexion of 60–90°. Depending on the level of acceptable error, relatively shorter monitoring periods (up to 50 min) might be sufficient to characterize trunk flexion exposures. Future work is needed, however, to determine if these results generalize to other postural exposures and tasks. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assigning the Origin of Microbial Natural Products by Chemical Space Map and Machine Learning
Biomolecules 2020, 10(10), 1385; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10101385 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Microbial natural products (NPs) are an important source of drugs, however, their structural diversity remains poorly understood. Here we used our recently reported MinHashed Atom Pair fingerprint with diameter of four bonds (MAP4), a fingerprint suitable for molecules across very different sizes, to [...] Read more.
Microbial natural products (NPs) are an important source of drugs, however, their structural diversity remains poorly understood. Here we used our recently reported MinHashed Atom Pair fingerprint with diameter of four bonds (MAP4), a fingerprint suitable for molecules across very different sizes, to analyze the Natural Products Atlas (NPAtlas), a database of 25,523 NPs of bacterial or fungal origin. To visualize NPAtlas by MAP4 similarity, we used the dimensionality reduction method tree map (TMAP). The resulting interactive map organizes molecules by physico-chemical properties and compound families such as peptides and glycosides. Remarkably, the map separates bacterial and fungal NPs from one another, revealing that these two compound families are intrinsically different despite their related biosynthetic pathways. We used these differences to train a machine learning model capable of distinguishing between NPs of bacterial or fungal origin. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Reduction of Unburned Carbon Release and NOx Emission from a Pulverized Wood Pellet Boiler Retrofitted for Fuel Switching from Coal
Energies 2020, 13(19), 5077; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13195077 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
For renewable electricity production, biomass can fully displace coal in an existing power plant with some equipment modifications. Recently, a 125 MWe power plant burning mainly anthracite in Korea was retrofitted for dedicated wood pellet combustion with a change of boiler configuration from [...] Read more.
For renewable electricity production, biomass can fully displace coal in an existing power plant with some equipment modifications. Recently, a 125 MWe power plant burning mainly anthracite in Korea was retrofitted for dedicated wood pellet combustion with a change of boiler configuration from arch firing to wall firing. However, this boiler suffers from operational problems caused by high unburned carbon (UBC) contents in the bottom ash. This study comprises an investigation of some methods to reduce the UBC release while achieving lower NOx emissions. The computational fluid dynamics approach was established and validated for typical operating data. Subsequently, it was applied to elucidate the particle combustion and flow characteristics leading to the high UBC content and to evaluate the operating variables for improving the boiler performance. It was found that the high UBC content in the bottom ash was a combined effect of the poor fuel grindability and low gas velocity in the wide burner zone originating from the arch-firing boiler. This prevented the operation with deeper air staging for lower NOx emissions. Reducing the particle size to <1.5 mm by modifying mills or pretreating the fuel using torrefaction was the only effective way of lowering the UBC and NOx emissions with deeper air staging while increasing the boiler efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy and Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Abdominal Symptoms and Colonic Diverticula in Marfan’s Syndrome: A Clinical and Ultrasonographic Case Control Study
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(10), 3141; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103141 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Background: Marfan’s syndrome (MFS) seems to be frequently associated with colonic diverticulosis, but the prevalence of diverticula and symptoms evocative of diverticular disease in this population are still unknown. Methods: This prospective case control study included 90 consecutive patients with MFS, 90 unselected [...] Read more.
Background: Marfan’s syndrome (MFS) seems to be frequently associated with colonic diverticulosis, but the prevalence of diverticula and symptoms evocative of diverticular disease in this population are still unknown. Methods: This prospective case control study included 90 consecutive patients with MFS, 90 unselected controls, and 90 asymptomatic subjects. The clinical characteristics, including lower gastrointestinal symptoms, and ultrasonographic features of the bowel, including diverticula and thickening of the muscularis propria of the sigmoid colon, were investigated. In addition, the genotype of MFS patients was assessed. The characteristics of patients and controls were compared using parametric tests. Results: Complaints of abdominal symptoms were made by 23 (25.6%) patients with MFS and 48 (53%) control subjects (p < 0.01). Constipation and bloating were reported less frequently by MFS patients than controls (constipation: 13.3% vs. 26.6%, p = 0.039; bloating: 3.3% vs. 41.1%, p < 0.0001), while other symptoms were not significantly different. Sigmoid diverticulosis was detected in 12 (12.3%) patients with MFS, as well as in 3 (3.3%) asymptomatic healthy subjects and 4 (4.4%) random controls (p = 0.0310). The genetic variants of MFS were not correlated with symptoms or diverticula. Conclusion: Patients with MFS have a greater prevalence of diverticula, although less abdominal symptoms, compared to the general population. Symptoms and diverticula in MFS are not correlated with any genetic variant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders)
Open AccessArticle
Vedolizumab Serum Trough Concentrations and Response to Dose Escalation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(10), 3142; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103142 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Serum vedolizumab concentrations are associated with clinical response although, it is unknown if vedolizumab concentrations predict response to dose escalation. The aim of this study was to identify if vedolizumab trough concentrations predicted the response to vedolizumab dose escalation. We assessed a retrospective [...] Read more.
Serum vedolizumab concentrations are associated with clinical response although, it is unknown if vedolizumab concentrations predict response to dose escalation. The aim of this study was to identify if vedolizumab trough concentrations predicted the response to vedolizumab dose escalation. We assessed a retrospective cohort of patients on maintenance vedolizumab dosing at five tertiary care centers with vedolizumab trough concentrations. Multivariate logistic regression was used to control for potential confounders of association of vedolizumab concentration and clinical status. Those who underwent a dose escalation were further examined to assess if vedolizumab trough concentration predicted the subsequent response. One hundred ninety-two patients were included. On multivariate analysis, vedolizumab trough concentration (p = 0.03) and the use of immunomodulator (p = 0.006) were associated with clinical remission. Receiver operator curve analysis identified a cut off of 7.4 μg/mL for clinical remission. Of the fifty-eight patients with dose escalated, 74% of those with a vedolizumab concentration <7.4 μg/mL responded versus 52% of those with a vedolizumab trough concentration ≥7.4 μg/mL (p = 0.08). After adjustment for relevant confounders, the odds ratio for response with vedolizumab concentration <7.4 μg/mL was 3.7 (95% CI, 1.1–13; p = 0.04). Vedolizumab trough concentration are associated with clinical status and can identify individuals likely to respond to dose escalation. However, a substantial portion of patients above the identified cut off still had a positive response. Vedolizumab trough concentration is a potentially helpful factor in determining the need for dose escalation in patients losing response. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fabrication and Characterization of Electrospun Membranes Based on “Poly(ε-caprolactone)”, “Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)” and Their Blend for Tunable Drug Delivery of Curcumin
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2239; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102239 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Membranes based on poly(ε-caprolactone)/poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) blends (PCL/PHB at 50 wt %) were obtained by electrospinning and curcumin encapsulated at 1 wt % as active agent, as drug delivery systems for biomedical applications. PCL and PHB were also separately electrospinned and loaded with 1 wt% [...] Read more.
Membranes based on poly(ε-caprolactone)/poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) blends (PCL/PHB at 50 wt %) were obtained by electrospinning and curcumin encapsulated at 1 wt % as active agent, as drug delivery systems for biomedical applications. PCL and PHB were also separately electrospinned and loaded with 1 wt% of curcumin. The processing parameters of PHB were drastically different from PCL and the blend PCL/PHB; in fact, the temperature used was 40 °C, and the distance injector–collector was 28 cm. Different conditions were used for PCL: lower temperature (i.e., 25 °C) and shorter distance injector–collector (i.e., 18 cm). The blend was processed in the same conditions of PCL. The fibers obtained with PHB showed diameters in the order of magnitude of micron (i.e., ≈ 3.45 µm), while the PCL mats is composed of fiber of nanometric dimensions (i.e., ≈ 340 nm). PCL/PHB blend allowed to obtain nanometric fibers (i.e., ≈520 nm). Same trend of results was obtained for the fibers’ porosity. The morphology, thermal, mechanical and barrier properties (sorption and diffusion) through water vapor were evaluated on all the electrospun fibers, as well as the release behavior of curcumin, and correlated to the processing parameter and the fibers’ morphologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Biomedical Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Agave Inulin in Children with Cerebral Palsy and Chronic Constipation: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 2971; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102971 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
The main objective was to assess the efficacy of a probiotic (Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938), a prebiotic (agave inulin), and a synbiotic on the stool characteristics in children with cerebral palsy and chronic constipation. Thirty-seven children with cerebral palsy and chronic constipation [...] Read more.
The main objective was to assess the efficacy of a probiotic (Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938), a prebiotic (agave inulin), and a synbiotic on the stool characteristics in children with cerebral palsy and chronic constipation. Thirty-seven children with cerebral palsy and chronic constipation were included. The probiotic group received 1 × 108 colony forming unit (cfu) of L. reuteri DSM 17938 plus placebo, the prebiotic group received 4 g of agave inulin plus placebo, the synbiotic group received L. reuteri DSM 17938 plus agave inulin, and the placebo group received two placebos for 28 days. The probiotic group showed a significant decrease in stool pH (p = 0.014). Stool consistency improved in the prebiotic group (p = 0.008). The probiotic, prebiotic, and synbiotic groups showed a significant improvement in the history of excessive stool retention, the presence of fecal mass in the rectum, and the history of painful defecation. L. reuteri concentration in feces was higher in the probiotic group than in the placebo group (p = 0.001) and showed an inverse correlation with stool pH in the probiotic group (r = −0.762, p = 0.028). This study showed that the use of L. reuteri DSM 17938 and/or agave inulin improved the stool characteristics such as the history of painful defecation and the presence of fecal mass in the rectum against placebo in children with cerebral palsy and chronic constipation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Pediatric Gastroenterology)
Open AccessReview
Effects of Ketamine on Rodent Fear Memory
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197173 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Ketamine, a multimodal anesthetic drug, has become increasingly popular in the treatment of pain following traumatic injury as well as treatment-resistant major depressive disorders. However, the psychological impact of this dissociative medication on the development of stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder [...] Read more.
Ketamine, a multimodal anesthetic drug, has become increasingly popular in the treatment of pain following traumatic injury as well as treatment-resistant major depressive disorders. However, the psychological impact of this dissociative medication on the development of stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains controversial. To address these concerns, preclinical studies have investigated the effects of ketamine administration on fear memory and stress-related behaviors in laboratory animals. Despite a well-documented line of research examining the effects of ketamine on fear memory, there is a lack of literature reviews on this important topic. Therefore, this review article summarizes the current preclinical literature on ketamine and fear memory with a particular emphasis on the route, dose, and timing of ketamine administration in rodent fear conditioning studies. Additionally, this review describes the molecular mechanisms by which ketamine may impact fear memory and stress-related behaviors. Overall, findings from previous studies are inconsistent in that fear memory may be increased, decreased, or unaltered following ketamine administration in rodents. These conflicting results can be explained by factors such as the route, dose, and timing of ketamine administration; the interaction between ketamine and stress; and individual variability in the rodent response to ketamine. This review also recommends that future preclinical studies utilize a clinically relevant route of administration and account for biological sex differences to improve translation between preclinical and clinical investigations. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Estimating Soil Erosion Rate Changes in Areas Affected by Wildfires
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2020, 9(10), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi9100562 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
In recent decades, wildfires have become a serious threat worldwide, producing disasters in the natural and anthropogenic environment as well as serious economic losses. One of wildfire’s major impacts is soil erosion, as it may cause major problems in both the physical and [...] Read more.
In recent decades, wildfires have become a serious threat worldwide, producing disasters in the natural and anthropogenic environment as well as serious economic losses. One of wildfire’s major impacts is soil erosion, as it may cause major problems in both the physical and anthropogenic environment and seriously affect the landscape. This study investigates the soil erosion rate changes in areas affected by wildfires and uses, as a pilot area, the drainage basin of the Pinios earth-filled dam located in the Ilia Regional Unit, western Greece, which has suffered serious erosion changes after a wildfire event. For this purpose, the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) is applied in GIS software, and the soil erosion rate changes in the selected investigation area are estimated at different time intervals. Specifically, soil erosion rate changes are calculated by importing the factors from the RUSLE equation in the GIS software and uses as a dependent variable the cover management factor C, which is strongly influenced by large destructive fires. The models that are produced are compared with each other by collating average annual soil erosion maps and rates before the fire, immediately after the fire and for the existing conditions occurring in the pilot area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Geology and GIS)
Open AccessArticle
Impact of Atmospheric Pressure Microwave Plasma Treatment on Quality of Selected Spices
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6815; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196815 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Current industry needs are related to higher awareness of modern consumers. These consumers are looking for products in which properties such as bioactive compounds are preserved as much as possible. Plasma treatment is one of the most promising nonthermal technologies that can decontaminate [...] Read more.
Current industry needs are related to higher awareness of modern consumers. These consumers are looking for products in which properties such as bioactive compounds are preserved as much as possible. Plasma treatment is one of the most promising nonthermal technologies that can decontaminate food and keep its original properties. Therefore, the aim of this work was to examine the usefulness of atmospheric pressure argon microwave plasma on decontamination of black pepper seeds, allspice berries and juniper berries. The samples were irradiated by plasma for 15–60 s and their physicochemical (dry matter content, water activity, color, total phenolic content, antioxidant activity, piperine content in black pepper seeds) and microbial (bacteria and molds count) quality was evaluated afterwards. Results demonstrated that plasma irradiation for 15 s was sufficient for partial inactivation of A. niger but less effective against the Gram-positive bacterium B. subtilis, regardless of the raw material. At the same time, plasma treatment reduced water activity, which can positively affect further storage of spices. Properly selected plasma parameters may also enhance extractability of phenolics or piperine (from black pepper seeds) and improve antioxidant activity with not very great, but visible, color changes. Full article
Open AccessReview
Iris Colour and the Risk of Developing Uveal Melanoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197172 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Uveal melanoma (UM) is a global disease which especially occurs in elderly people. Its incidence varies widely between populations, with the highest incidence among Caucasians, and a South-to-North increase in Europe. As northern Europeans often have blond hair and light eyes, we wondered [...] Read more.
Uveal melanoma (UM) is a global disease which especially occurs in elderly people. Its incidence varies widely between populations, with the highest incidence among Caucasians, and a South-to-North increase in Europe. As northern Europeans often have blond hair and light eyes, we wondered whether iris colour may be a predisposing factor for UM and if so, why. We compared the distribution of iris colour between Dutch UM patients and healthy Dutch controls, using data from the Rotterdam Study (RS), and reviewed the literature regarding iris colour. We describe molecular mechanisms that might explain the observed associations. When comparing a group of Dutch UM patients with controls, we observed that individuals from Caucasian ancestry with a green/hazel iris colour (Odds Ratio (OR) = 3.64, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 2.57–5.14) and individuals with a blue/grey iris colour (OR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.04–1.82) had a significantly higher crude risk of UM than those with brown eyes. According to the literature, this may be due to a difference in the function of pheomelanin (associated with a light iris colour) and eumelanin (associated with a brown iris colour). The combination of light-induced stress and aging may affect pheomelanin-carrying melanocytes in a different way than eumelanin-carrying melanocytes, increasing the risk of developing a malignancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Basis and Molecular Mechanisms of Uveal Melanomas)
Open AccessArticle
Effect Of Rapeseed Oil and Mineral Additive in Pig Diet on Physicochemical and Sensory Parameters of Cured Ham
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6796; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196796 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of modifications of pig-feeding by additions of rapeseed oil and the humus-containing mineral additive Humokarbowit® on selected quality parameters of cured ham. Pig hybrids (Polish Landrace × Large White Breed) × [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of modifications of pig-feeding by additions of rapeseed oil and the humus-containing mineral additive Humokarbowit® on selected quality parameters of cured ham. Pig hybrids (Polish Landrace × Large White Breed) × Piétrain) were used in the feeding experiments. Humokarbowit® was added up to 4%. Rapeseed oil was added at the dosage of 10 g·kg−1 of complete diet. The physicochemical, technological and sensory qualities of prepared hams were evaluated. Supplementation of pig diet with rapeseed oil and humus-containing mineral additive did not change the technical parameters of the final product, namely, the yield of the production process and weight losses. Cured hams manufactured meat from pigs fed the supplemented diet were brighter and less yellow than cured hams of pigs fed a normal diet. The applied feed modification contributed also to better storage stability of the meat product color. The control and experimental products did not show significant differences in sensory value. Supplementation of pig diets with rapeseed oil and Humokarbowit® increased content of polyenoic—especially n-3-free—fatty acids, comparing to control group, as well as ratio between n-6 and n-3 FFA. Used additives were effective as feed component in prevention of changes in the fatty acids content of cured hams during storage. In summary, the addition of rapeseed oil and humus-containing preparation to pig diets had a positive effect on raw meat quality and may have a beneficial effects on human health by increased polyenoic fatty acids content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Meat Science and Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Biodegradable Flame-Retardant Bamboo Charcoal Composites, Part II: Thermal Degradation, Gas Phase, and Elemental Analyses
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2238; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102238 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Bamboo charcoal (BC) and aluminum hypophosphite (AHP) singly and in combination were investigated as flame-retardant fillers for polylactic acid (PLA). A set of BC/PLA/AHP composites were prepared by melt-blending and tested for thermal and flame-retardancy properties in Part I. Here, in Part II, [...] Read more.
Bamboo charcoal (BC) and aluminum hypophosphite (AHP) singly and in combination were investigated as flame-retardant fillers for polylactic acid (PLA). A set of BC/PLA/AHP composites were prepared by melt-blending and tested for thermal and flame-retardancy properties in Part I. Here, in Part II, the results for differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), thermogravimetry-Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (TG-FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray photoelectron analysis (XPS) are presented. The fillers either singly or together promoted earlier initial thermal degradation of the surface of BC/PLA/AHP composites, with a carbon residue rate up to 40.3%, providing a protective layer of char. Additionally, BC promotes heterogeneous nucleation of PLA, while AHP improves the mechanical properties and machinability. Gaseous combustion products CO, aromatic compounds, and carbonyl groups were significantly suppressed in only the BC-PLA composite, but not pure PLA or the BC/PLA/AHP system. The flame-retardant effects of AHP and BC-AHP co-addition combine effective gas-phase and condensed-phase surface phenomena that provide a heat and oxygen barrier, protecting the inner matrix. While it generated much CO2 and smoke during combustion, it is not yet clear whether BC addition on its own contributes any significant gas phase protection for PLA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Wood Composites III)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Risk of Natural Disaster-Induced Losses to Tunnel-Construction Projects Using Empirical Financial-Loss Data from South Korea
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8026; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198026 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Tunnel construction, a common byproduct of rapid economic growth and transportation-system development, carries inherent risks to life and various kinds of property that operations and management professionals must take into account. Due to various and complicated geological conditions, tunnel construction projects can produce [...] Read more.
Tunnel construction, a common byproduct of rapid economic growth and transportation-system development, carries inherent risks to life and various kinds of property that operations and management professionals must take into account. Due to various and complicated geological conditions, tunnel construction projects can produce unexpected collapses, landslides, avalanches, and water-related hazards. Moreover, damage from such events can be intensified by other factors, including geological hazards caused by natural disasters, such as heavy rainfall and earthquakes, resulting in huge social, economic, and environmental losses. Therefore, the present research conducted multiple linear regression analyses on financial-loss data arising from tunnel construction in Korea to develop a novel tunnel-focused method of natural-hazard risk assessment. More specifically, the total insured value and actual value of damage to 277 tunnel-construction projects were utilized to identify significant natural-disaster indicators linked to unexpected construction-budget overruns and construction-scheduling delays. Damage ratios (i.e., actual losses over total insured project value) were used as objective, quantitative indices of the extent of damage that can be usefully applied irrespective of project size. Natural-hazard impact data—specifically wind speed, rainfall, and flood occurrences—were applied as the independent variables in the regression model. In the regression model, maximum wind speed was found to be correlated with tunnel projects’ financial losses across all three of the natural-hazard indicators. The present research results can serve as important baseline references for natural disaster-related risk assessments of tunnel-construction projects, and thus serve the wider purpose of balanced and sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Risks in Construction Management)
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Open AccessBrief Report
The Commensal Microbiota Enhances ADP-Triggered Integrin αIIbβ3 Activation and von Willebrand Factor-Mediated Platelet Deposition to Type I Collagen
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197171 (registering DOI) - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
The commensal microbiota is a recognized enhancer of arterial thrombus growth. While several studies have demonstrated the prothrombotic role of the gut microbiota, the molecular mechanisms promoting arterial thrombus growth are still under debate. Here, we demonstrate that germ-free (GF) mice, which from [...] Read more.
The commensal microbiota is a recognized enhancer of arterial thrombus growth. While several studies have demonstrated the prothrombotic role of the gut microbiota, the molecular mechanisms promoting arterial thrombus growth are still under debate. Here, we demonstrate that germ-free (GF) mice, which from birth lack colonization with a gut microbiota, show diminished static deposition of washed platelets to type I collagen compared with their conventionally raised (CONV-R) counterparts. Flow cytometry experiments revealed that platelets from GF mice show diminished activation of the integrin αIIbβ3 (glycoprotein IIbIIIa) when activated by the platelet agonist adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Furthermore, washed platelets from Toll-like receptor-2 (Tlr2)-deficient mice likewise showed impaired static deposition to the subendothelial matrix component type I collagen compared with wild-type (WT) controls, a process that was unaffected by GPIbα-blockade but influenced by von Willebrand factor (VWF) plasma levels. Collectively, our results indicate that microbiota-triggered steady-state activation of innate immune pathways via TLR2 enhances platelet deposition to subendothelial matrix molecules. Our results link host colonization status with the ADP-triggered activation of integrin αIIbβ3, a pathway promoting platelet deposition to the growing thrombus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis)
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