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Article
A Dynamic Calibration of Optical Fiber DTS Measurements Using PEST and Reference Thermometers
by , and
Sensors 2022, 22(10), 3890; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22103890 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Temperature measurements are widely used in structural health monitoring. Optical fiber distributed temperature sensors (DTS) are developed, based on Raman spectroscopy, to measure temperature with relatively high accuracy and short temporal and spatial resolutions. DTS systems provide an extensive number of temperature measurements [...] Read more.
Temperature measurements are widely used in structural health monitoring. Optical fiber distributed temperature sensors (DTS) are developed, based on Raman spectroscopy, to measure temperature with relatively high accuracy and short temporal and spatial resolutions. DTS systems provide an extensive number of temperature measurements along the entire length of an optical fiber that can be extended to tens of kilometers. The efficiency of the temperature measurement strongly depends on the calibration of the DTS data. Although DTS systems internally calibrate the data, manual calibration techniques were developed to achieve more accurate results. Manual calibration employs reference sections or points with known temperatures and the DTS scattering data to estimate the calibration parameters and calculate temperature along the optical fiber. In some applications, manual calibration is subjected to some shortages, based on the proposed fiber installation configuration and continuity of calibration. In this article, the manual calibration approach was developed using the model-independent Parameters Estimation (PEST), together with the external temperature sensors as references for the DTS system. The proposed method improved manual calibration in terms of installation configuration, continuity of dynamic calibration, and estimation of the calibration parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Distributed Optical Fiber Sensors: Applications and Technology)
Article
LAG: Layered Objects to Generate Better Anchors for Object Detection in Aerial Images
by , , and
Sensors 2022, 22(10), 3891; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22103891 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
You Only Look Once (YOLO) series detectors are suitable for aerial image object detection because of their excellent real-time ability and performance. Their high performance depends heavily on the anchor generated by clustering the training set. However, the effectiveness of the general Anchor [...] Read more.
You Only Look Once (YOLO) series detectors are suitable for aerial image object detection because of their excellent real-time ability and performance. Their high performance depends heavily on the anchor generated by clustering the training set. However, the effectiveness of the general Anchor Generation algorithm is limited by the unique data distribution of the aerial image dataset. The divergence in the distribution of the number of objects with different sizes can cause the anchors to overfit some objects or be assigned to suboptimal layers because anchors of each layer are generated uniformly and affected by the overall data distribution. In this paper, we are inspired by experiments under different anchors settings and proposed the Layered Anchor Generation (LAG) algorithm. In the LAG, objects are layered by their diagonals, and then anchors of each layer are generated by analyzing the diagonals and aspect ratio of objects of the corresponding layer. In this way, anchors of each layer can better match the detection range of each layer. Experiment results showed that our algorithm is of good generality that significantly uprises the performance of You Only Look Once version 3 (YOLOv3), You Only Look Once version 5 (YOLOv5), You Only Learn One Representation (YOLOR), and Cascade Regions with CNN features (Cascade R-CNN) on the Vision Meets Drone (VisDrone) dataset and the object DetectIon in Optical Remote sensing images (DIOR) dataset, and these improvements are cost-free. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Remote Sensing Image Processing)
Article
Deployment of Wireless Sensor Network and IoT Platform to Implement an Intelligent Animal Monitoring System
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106249 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
This study aimed to realize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), i.e., no poverty, zero hunger, and sustainable cities and communities through the implementation of an intelligent cattle-monitoring system to enhance dairy production. Livestock industries in developing countries lack the technology that can directly impact [...] Read more.
This study aimed to realize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), i.e., no poverty, zero hunger, and sustainable cities and communities through the implementation of an intelligent cattle-monitoring system to enhance dairy production. Livestock industries in developing countries lack the technology that can directly impact meat and dairy products, where human resources are a major factor. This study proposed a novel, cost-effective, smart dairy-monitoring system by implementing intelligent wireless sensor nodes, the Internet of Things (IoT), and a Node-Micro controller Unit (Node-MCU). The proposed system comprises three modules, including an intelligent environmental parameter regularization system, a cow collar (equipped with a temperature sensor, a GPS module to locate the animal, and a stethoscope to update the heart rate), and an automatic water-filling unit for drinking water. Furthermore, a novel IoT-based front end has been developed to take data from prescribed modules and maintain a separate database for further analysis. The presented Wireless Sensor Nodes (WSNs) can intelligently determine the case of any instability in environmental parameters. Moreover, the cow collar is designed to obtain precise values of the temperature, heart rate, and accurate location of the animal. Additionally, auto-notification to the concerned party is a valuable addition developed in the cow collar design. It employed a plug-and-play design to provide ease in implementation. Moreover, automation reduces human intervention, hence labor costs are decreased when a farm has hundreds of animals. The proposed system also increases the production of dairy and meat products by improving animal health via the regularization of the environment and automated food and watering. The current study represents a comprehensive comparative analysis of the proposed implementation with the existing systems that validate the novelty of this work. This implementation can be further stretched for other applications, i.e., smart monitoring of zoo animals and poultry. Full article
Review
Insight into the Progress on Natural Dyes: Sources, Structural Features, Health Effects, Challenges, and Potential
Molecules 2022, 27(10), 3291; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27103291 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
(1) Background: Dyes play an important role in food, medicine, textile, and other industries, which make human life more colorful. With the increasing demand for food safety, the development of natural dyes becomes more and more attractive. (2) Methods: The literature was searched [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Dyes play an important role in food, medicine, textile, and other industries, which make human life more colorful. With the increasing demand for food safety, the development of natural dyes becomes more and more attractive. (2) Methods: The literature was searched using the electronic databases PubMed, Web of Science, and SciFinder and this scoping review was carried out following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). (3) Results: 248 articles were included in this review. This review summarizes the research progress on natural dyes in the last ten years. According to structural features, natural dyes mainly include carotenoids, polyphenols, porphyrins, and alkaloids, and some of the newest dyes are summarized. Some pharmacological activities of carotenoids, anthocyanin, curcumin, and betalains in the last 10 years are summarized, and the biological effects of dyes regarding illumination conditions. The disadvantages of natural dyes, including sources, cost, stability, and poor bioavailability, limit their application. Here, some feasible strategies (potential resources, biotechnology, new extraction and separation strategies, strategies for improving stability) are described, which will contribute to the development and utilization of natural dyes. (4) Conclusion: Natural dyes show health benefits and potential in food additives. However, it is necessary for natural dyes to pass toxicity tests and quality tests and receive many regulatory approvals before their final entry into the market as food colorants or as drugs. Full article
Article
Time Estimation of Polymer Translocation through Nano-Membrane
Polymers 2022, 14(10), 2090; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14102090 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
In this paper, the charged polymer escapement phenomenon, via a little hole of nano-metric dimensions arranged in a constitutive biological membrane, is studied. We will present the case of the transport process of an ideal polymer in a 3-dimensional extended region separated by [...] Read more.
In this paper, the charged polymer escapement phenomenon, via a little hole of nano-metric dimensions arranged in a constitutive biological membrane, is studied. We will present the case of the transport process of an ideal polymer in a 3-dimensional extended region separated by a fine boundary named membrane in a free energy barrier attendance. Additionally, the general translocation time formula, respectively, the transition time from the cis area to the trans area, is presented. The model for estimation of the likelihood, designated by P(x, t), as a macromolecular chain of lengthiness equal to x, to be able to pass by the nanopore in escape period t, was optimized. The longest-lasting likely escape time found with this model is indicated to be tp = 330 μs. Thus, the results obtained with the described formula are in good agreement with those announced in the specialized literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport Processes of Polymers through Nanometric Pore Membranes)
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Article
Diclofenac: A Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Inducing Cancer Cell Death by Inhibiting Microtubule Polymerization and Autophagy Flux
Antioxidants 2022, 11(5), 1009; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11051009 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat inflammatory diseases induces cellular toxicity by increasing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and impairing autophagic flux. In this study, we investigated whether diclofenac induces cancer cell death and the mechanism by which [...] Read more.
Diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat inflammatory diseases induces cellular toxicity by increasing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and impairing autophagic flux. In this study, we investigated whether diclofenac induces cancer cell death and the mechanism by which diclofenac causes cell death. We observed that diclofenac induces mitotic arrest with a half-maximal effective concentration of 170 μM and cell death with a half-maximal lethal dose of 200 µM during 18-h incubation in HeLa cells. Cellular microtubule imaging and in vitro tubulin polymerization assays demonstrated that treatment with diclofenac elicits microtubule destabilization. Autophagy relies on microtubule-mediated transport and the fusion of autophagic vesicles. We observed that diclofenac inhibits both phagophore movement, an early step of autophagy, and the fusion of autophagosomes and lysosomes, a late step of autophagy. Diclofenac also induces the fragmentation of mitochondria and the Golgi during cell death. We found that diclofenac induces cell death further in combination with 5-fuorouracil, a DNA replication inhibitor than in single treatment in cancer cells. Pancreatic cancer cells, which have high basal autophagy, are particularly sensitive to cell death by diclofenac. Our study suggests that microtubule destabilization by diclofenac induces cancer cell death via compromised spindle assembly checkpoints and increased ROS through impaired autophagy flux. Diclofenac may be a candidate therapeutic drug in certain type of cancers by inhibiting microtubule-mediated cellular events in combination with clinically utilized nucleoside metabolic inhibitors, including 5-fluorouracil, to block cancer cell proliferation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Redox Balance and Autophagy)
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Article
An Observational Study of MDR Hospital-Acquired Infections and Antibiotic Use during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs
Antibiotics 2022, 11(5), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics11050695 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has required major adjustments to healthcare systems, especially to infection control and antimicrobial stewardship. The objective of this study was to describe the incidence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and antibiotic consumption during the three [...] Read more.
The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has required major adjustments to healthcare systems, especially to infection control and antimicrobial stewardship. The objective of this study was to describe the incidence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and antibiotic consumption during the three waves of COVID-19 and to compare it to the period before the outbreak at Molinette Hospital, located in the City of Health and Sciences, a 1200-bed teaching hospital with surgical, medical, and intensive care units. We demonstrated an increase in MDR infections: particularly in K. pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing K. pneumoniae (KPC-Kp), A. baumannii, and MRSA. Fluoroquinolone use showed a significant increasing trend in the pre-COVID period but saw a significant reduction in the COVID period. The use of fourth- and fifth-generation cephalosporins and piperacillin–tazobactam increased at the beginning of the COVID period. Our findings support the need for restoring stewardship and infection control practices, specifically source control, hygiene, and management of invasive devices. In addition, our data reveal the need for improved microbiological diagnosis to guide appropriate treatment and prompt infection control during pandemics. Despite the infection control practices in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, invasive procedures in critically ill patients and poor source control still increase the risk of HAIs caused by MDR organisms. Full article
Case Report
Sibling Separation Due to Parental Divorce: Diagnostic Aspects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106232 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Separation of siblings is one of the most difficult diagnostic problems faced by psychologists. Such situations are happening more often in the face of the increasing number of divorces and breakdown of relationships. Therefore, a diagnostic task becomes an in-depth assessment of intra-family [...] Read more.
Separation of siblings is one of the most difficult diagnostic problems faced by psychologists. Such situations are happening more often in the face of the increasing number of divorces and breakdown of relationships. Therefore, a diagnostic task becomes an in-depth assessment of intra-family relationships, ties connecting family members, the preferences of individual people and predicting the long-term consequences of the proposed solutions. The article is dedicated to this problem, and the issue is addressed through the theoretical perspective and the analysis of two cases, i.e., the situation of separated siblings. In the study of children, we present a relatively new method, based on the authors’ clinical experience, which could be used to diagnose the family situation of children. The first goal was to analyze the reasons for the separation of siblings whose parents were in conflict during the separation (first case study) and after the separation (second case study), as well as to assess the functioning of the children resulting from the family breakdown, and the decision to separate them from siblings. The analysis allowed identifying the areas of sibling functioning, which should become the subject of diagnosis when working on expert opinions in divorce cases, or cases establishing contact between parents and children. The second aim of the report was to assess the effectiveness of using play as a diagnostic method in a situation that is a source of stress for the child (family breakdown) and causes tension (the diagnostic process in which this topic is discussed). Full article
Article
How Income and Income Inequality Drive Depressive Symptoms in U.S. Adults, Does Sex Matter: 2005–2016
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 6227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19106227 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Importance: Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Depression prevalence varies by income and sex, but more evidence is needed on the role income inequality may play in these associations. Objective: To examine the association between the [...] Read more.
Importance: Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Depression prevalence varies by income and sex, but more evidence is needed on the role income inequality may play in these associations. Objective: To examine the association between the Poverty to Income Ratio (PIR)—as a proxy for income—and depressive symptoms in adults ages 20 years and older, and to test how depression was concentrated among PIR. Design: Using the 2005–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), we employed Negative Binomial Regression (NBRG) in a sample of 24,166 adults. We used a 9-item PHQ (Public Health Questionnaire, PHQ-9) to measure the presence of depressive symptoms as an outcome variable. Additionally, we plotted a concentration curve to explain how depression is distributed among PIR. Results: In comparison with high-income, the low-income population in the study suffered more from greater than or equal to ten on the PHQ-9 by 4.5 and 3.5 times, respectively. The results of NBRG have shown that people with low-PIR (IRR: 1.30, 95% CI: 1.23–1.37) and medium-PIR (IRR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.46–1.65) have experienced a higher relative risk ratio of having depressive symptoms. Women have a higher IRR (IRR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.24–1.34) than men. We observed that depression was concentrated among low-PIR men and women, with a higher concentration among women. Conclusion and Relevance: Addressing depression should target low-income populations and populations with higher income inequality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in the Health Effects of Place and Social Inequality)
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Communication
Encapsulation of Catechin into β-Glucan Matrix Using Wet Milling and Ultrasonication as a Coupled Approach: Characterization and Bioactivity Retention
Foods 2022, 11(10), 1493; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11101493 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
In this study, the nanoencapsulation of catechin into the β-glucan matrix from oats [O-Glu (C)] and barley [B-Glu (C)] was performed using the coupled approach of ultrasonication and wet milling. The nanoencapsulated catechin was characterised by particle size distribution, surface charge, SEM, and [...] Read more.
In this study, the nanoencapsulation of catechin into the β-glucan matrix from oats [O-Glu (C)] and barley [B-Glu (C)] was performed using the coupled approach of ultrasonication and wet milling. The nanoencapsulated catechin was characterised by particle size distribution, surface charge, SEM, and FTIR. The particle size was found to be 200 nm and 500 nm while zeta potential was found −27.13 and −24 mV for O-Glu (C) and B-Glu (C), respectively. The encapsulation efficiency of O-Glu (C) and B-Glu (C) was found to be 86.5% and 88.2%. FTIR and SEM revealed successful entrapment of catechin in β-glucan. The encapsulated capsules showed sustainable release during simulated gastrointestinal conditions. Moreover, both O-Glu (C) and B-Glu (C) showed that biological activity such as lipase inhibition activity and antioxidant assay were retained after in vitro digestion. It was concluded that O-Glu (C) and B-Glu (C) can be used as functional ingredients effectively in food as well as in the pharmaceutical field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods)
Article
Turbulent Kinetic Energy Distribution around Experimental Permeable Spur Dike
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106250 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
The spur dike is widely used in the waterway renovation project in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River as a remediation structure, but its water destruction is very common, and the influence of the permeable characteristics of the riprap spur dike on [...] Read more.
The spur dike is widely used in the waterway renovation project in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River as a remediation structure, but its water destruction is very common, and the influence of the permeable characteristics of the riprap spur dike on its stability has been neglected in many studies. Through the method of combining a generalized flume test and theoretical analysis, the influence of the submerged degree of the permeable spur dike, the porosity of the spur dike body, and the size of the void on its nearby turbulent kinetic energy is studied. The results show that the turbulent kinetic energy in the front of the spur dike increases with the increase of the submerged degree, decreases with the increase of the porosity, and first increases and then decreases with the increase of the pore size. At the axis of the dike, the turbulent kinetic energy increases with the increase of the submerged degree, decreases first and then increases with the increase of the porosity, and increases with the increase of the pore size. In the rear area of the dike, the turbulent kinetic energy decreases with the increase of the submerged degree, firstly decreases and then increases with the increase of the porosity, and first increases and then decreases with the increase of the pore size. The research results are of great significance to further understanding the water dike age of a permeable spur dike, and can provide scientific guidance for the design and restoration of spur dikes. Full article
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Article
Characterization of the Thermostable Biosurfactant Produced by Burkholderia thailandensis DSM 13276
Polymers 2022, 14(10), 2088; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14102088 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Biosurfactants synthesized by microorganisms represent safe and sustainable alternatives to the use of synthetic surfactants, due to their lower toxicity, better biodegradability and biocompatibility, and their production from low-cost feedstocks. In line with this, the present study describes the physical, chemical, and functional [...] Read more.
Biosurfactants synthesized by microorganisms represent safe and sustainable alternatives to the use of synthetic surfactants, due to their lower toxicity, better biodegradability and biocompatibility, and their production from low-cost feedstocks. In line with this, the present study describes the physical, chemical, and functional characterization of the biopolymer secreted by the bacterium Burkholderia thailandensis DSM 13276, envisaging its validation as a biosurfactant. The biopolymer was found to be a glycolipopeptide with carbohydrate and protein contents of 33.1 ± 6.4% and 23.0 ± 3.2%, respectively. Galactose, glucose, rhamnose, mannose, and glucuronic acid were detected in the carbohydrate moiety at a relative molar ratio of 4:3:2:2:1. It is a high-molecular-weight biopolymer (1.0 × 107 Da) with low polydispersity (1.66), and forms aqueous solutions with shear-thinning behavior, which remained after autoclaving. The biopolymer has demonstrated a good emulsion-stabilizing capacity towards different hydrophobic compounds, namely, benzene, almond oil, and sunflower oil. The emulsions prepared with the biosurfactant, as well as with its autoclaved solution, displayed high emulsification activity (>90% and ~50%, respectively). Moreover, the almond and sunflower oil emulsions stabilized with the biosurfactant were stable for up to 4 weeks, which further supports the potential of this novel biopolymer for utilization as a natural bioemulsifier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biocompatible and Biodegradable Polymers)
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Review
Bioactive Compounds for Quorum Sensing Signal-Response Systems in Marine Phycosphere
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(5), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050699 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Quorum sensing in the phycosphere refers to a sensor system in which bacteria secrete bioactive compounds to coordinate group behavior relying on cell density. It is an important way for algae and bacteria to communicate with each other and achieve interactions. It has [...] Read more.
Quorum sensing in the phycosphere refers to a sensor system in which bacteria secrete bioactive compounds to coordinate group behavior relying on cell density. It is an important way for algae and bacteria to communicate with each other and achieve interactions. It has been determined that quorum sensing is widely presented in the marine phycosphere, which involves a variety of bioactive compounds. Focused on these compounds in marine phycosphere, this review summarizes the types and structures of the compounds, describes the methods in detection and functional evaluation, discusses the ecological functions regulated by the compounds, such as modulating microbial colonization, achieving algae–bacteria mutualism or competition and contributing to marine biogeochemical cycles. Meanwhile, the application prospects of the compounds are also proposed, including controlling harmful algal blooms and producing biofuel. Future research should focus on improving detection techniques, developing more model systems and investigating the effects of climate change on the quorum-sensing pathway to further understand the mechanism and application potential of quorum sensing compounds. This review aims to present an overview of current research carried out in order to provide the reader with perspective on bioactive compounds involved in quorum sensing. Full article
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Article
Impact of Liquidity Coverage Ratio on Performance of Select Indian Banks
J. Risk Financial Manag. 2022, 15(5), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/jrfm15050226 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
The post-crisis liquidity framework improves banking stability by imposing stricter liquidity requirements. However, consistent bank performance continues to be an essential factor in achieving this goal. This study examines the impact of the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) on the profitability and non-performing assets [...] Read more.
The post-crisis liquidity framework improves banking stability by imposing stricter liquidity requirements. However, consistent bank performance continues to be an essential factor in achieving this goal. This study examines the impact of the liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) on the profitability and non-performing assets (NPAs) of Indian banks using annual data from 2010 to 2019. By applying the dynamic panel data regression technique, we found that compliance with the minimum level of the LCR reduces the net interest margins (NIMs) of banks due to a narrower interest spread, thereby impacting banks profitability. Moreover, the NPAs of the banks tend to grow with an increase in LCR. The study’s findings have far-reaching implications for policymakers. Indian policymakers/regulators need to understand the strategies used by banks to meet liquidity standards and, if necessary, revisit the policy framework to achieve better compliance results. The study’s framework establishes a foundation that can be used for conducting similar research in other complex geographies such as India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue International Finance)
Article
Zearalenone Degradation by Dielectric Barrier Discharge Cold Plasma: The Kinetics and Mechanism
Foods 2022, 11(10), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11101494 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
In this study, dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) cold plasma was used to degrade zearalenone and the efficiency of degradation were evaluated. In addition, the degradation kinetics and possible pathway of degradation were investigated. The results showed that zearalenone degradation percentage increased with increasing [...] Read more.
In this study, dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) cold plasma was used to degrade zearalenone and the efficiency of degradation were evaluated. In addition, the degradation kinetics and possible pathway of degradation were investigated. The results showed that zearalenone degradation percentage increased with increasing voltage and time. When it was treated at 50 KV for 120 s, the degradation percentage could reach 98.28%. Kinetics analysis showed that the degradation process followed a first-order reaction, which fitted the exponential function model best (R² = 0.987). Meanwhile, liquid chromatographywith quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (Q-TOF LC/MS) was used to analyze the degradation products, one major compound was identified. In this study, the reactive species generated in cold plasma was analyzed by Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) and the free radicals were detected by Electron Spin Resonance (ESR). This study could provide a theoretical basis for the degradation of zearalenone to a certain extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Contaminants and Food Quality)
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Article
Quantitative Study on Road Traffic Environment Complexity under Car-Following Condition
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6251; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106251 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
With the development of the drive of electronic communication technology, the driving assistance system that perceives the external traffic environment has developed rapidly. However, when quantifying the complexity of the road traffic environment without fully considering the driving characteristics and subjective feelings, the [...] Read more.
With the development of the drive of electronic communication technology, the driving assistance system that perceives the external traffic environment has developed rapidly. However, when quantifying the complexity of the road traffic environment without fully considering the driving characteristics and subjective feelings, the false alarm rate of the driving warning system increases and affects the early warning effect. In order to more accurately quantify the complexity of the road traffic environment, we analyzed the impact of road traffic environment changes on drivers under the condition of car-following. Firstly, we selected the influencing factors of the traffic environment complexity, such as the driving operation indicators, the vehicle driving status indicators and the road environmental indicators. The weight calculation model of each influence factor is established based on the principal component analysis method. Secondly, the driver’s reaction time during car-following is used as the quantitative index of road traffic environment complexity. The quantitative model of road traffic environment complexity is constructed combined with the weight of road traffic environment complexity. Finally, the driving simulation experiment is designed to verify the complexity quantification model of the road traffic environment. The road traffic environment complexity value calculated in our study is better than the TTC, and the early-warning threshold is raised by 2–5%. The research conclusion can provide a basis for the design of the car alarm system. Full article
Article
Biocompatibility and Hemolytic Activity Studies of Synthesized Alginate-Based Polyurethanes
Polymers 2022, 14(10), 2091; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14102091 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Many investigators have focused on the development of biocompatible polyurethanes by chemical reaction of functional groups contained in a spacer and introduced in the PU backbone or by a grafting method on graft polymerization of functional groups. In this study, alginate-based polyurethane (PU) [...] Read more.
Many investigators have focused on the development of biocompatible polyurethanes by chemical reaction of functional groups contained in a spacer and introduced in the PU backbone or by a grafting method on graft polymerization of functional groups. In this study, alginate-based polyurethane (PU) composites were synthesized via step-growth polymerization by the reaction of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) and hexamethylene diisocyanate (HMDI). The polymer chains were further extended with blends of 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BDO) and alginate (ALG) with different mole ratios. The structures of the prepared PU samples were elucidated with FTIR and 1H NMR spectroscopy. The crystallinity of the prepared samples was evaluated with the help of X-ray diffraction (XRD). The XRD results reveal that the crystallinity of the PU samples increases when the concentration of alginate increases. Thermogravimetric (TGA) results show that samples containing a higher amount of alginate possess higher thermal stability. ALG-based PU composite samples show more biocompatibility and less hemolytic activity. Mechanical properties, contact angle, and water absorption (%) were also greatly affected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Chemistry)
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Article
Petri-Net-Based Scheduling of Flexible Manufacturing Systems Using an Estimate Function
Symmetry 2022, 14(5), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14051052 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
In this paper, a novel admissible estimate function is proposed to schedule flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) by using heuristic search. The FMSs to be scheduled are modeled by P-timed Petri nets. The problem is to make the system evolve from the initial marking [...] Read more.
In this paper, a novel admissible estimate function is proposed to schedule flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) by using heuristic search. The FMSs to be scheduled are modeled by P-timed Petri nets. The problem is to make the system evolve from the initial marking to a given final marking by firing a sequence of transitions. The structure of jobs in an FMS is always symmetrical to utilize the shared resources, but the processing time of each job is asymmetrical to reduce the global process time. By utilizing the structural symmetry of a Petri net model of an FMS, a partial reachability graph is generated such that the notorious state explosion problem is mitigated. For each generated marking, the proposed estimate function is used to provide an estimated cost for firing the transition sequence. Then, we can select the marking with the smallest cost from the generated markings and compute its successors. This process is continued until the system reaches the final marking. With the proposed method, the performance is evaluated in terms of the cost of the obtained transition firing sequence and the number of the expanded markings. The cost provided by the proposed estimate function is closer to the optimal cost than the previous work, i.e., the proposed method can find a transition firing sequence with less expanded markings and minimal process time from a marking to the final marking. Experimental results are used to demonstrate and evaluate the proposed approach. Full article
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Article
Development and Application of a Real-Time Flood Forecasting System (RTFlood System) in a Tropical Urban Area: A Case Study of Ramkhamhaeng Polder, Bangkok, Thailand
Water 2022, 14(10), 1641; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14101641 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
In urban areas of Thailand, and especially in Bangkok, recent flash floods have caused severe damage and prompted a renewed focus to manage their impacts. The development of a real-time warning system could provide timely information to initiate flood management protocols, thereby reducing [...] Read more.
In urban areas of Thailand, and especially in Bangkok, recent flash floods have caused severe damage and prompted a renewed focus to manage their impacts. The development of a real-time warning system could provide timely information to initiate flood management protocols, thereby reducing impacts. Therefore, we developed an innovative real-time flood forecasting system (RTFlood system) and applied it to the Ramkhamhaeng polder in Bangkok, which is particularly vulnerable to flash floods. The RTFlood system consists of three modules. The first module prepared rainfall input data for subsequent use by a hydraulic model. This module used radar rainfall data measured by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and developed forecasts using the TITAN (Thunderstorm Identification, Tracking, Analysis, and Nowcasting) rainfall model. The second module provided a real-time task management system that controlled all processes in the RTFlood system, i.e., input data preparation, hydraulic simulation timing, and post-processing of the output data for presentation. The third module provided a model simulation applying the input data from the first and second modules to simulate flash floods. It used a dynamic, conceptual model (PCSWMM, Personal Computer version of the Stormwater Management Model) to represent the drainage systems of the target urban area and predict the inundation areas. The RTFlood system was applied to the Ramkhamhaeng polder to evaluate the system’s accuracy for 116 recent flash floods. The result showed that 61.2% of the flash floods were successfully predicted with accuracy high enough for appropriate pre-warning. Moreover, it indicated that the RTFlood system alerted inundation potential 20 min earlier than separate flood modeling using radar and local rain stations individually. The earlier alert made it possible to decide on explicit flood controls, including pump and canal gate operations. Full article
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Article
Tensile-Tearing Fracture Analysis of U-Notched Spruce Samples
Materials 2022, 15(10), 3661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15103661 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Spruce wood (Picea Mariana) is a highly orthotropic material whose fracture behavior in the presence of U-shaped notches and under combined tensile-tearing loading (so-called mixed-mode I/III loading) is analyzed in this work. Thus, several tests are carried out on U-notched samples [...] Read more.
Spruce wood (Picea Mariana) is a highly orthotropic material whose fracture behavior in the presence of U-shaped notches and under combined tensile-tearing loading (so-called mixed-mode I/III loading) is analyzed in this work. Thus, several tests are carried out on U-notched samples with different notch tip radii (1 mm, 2 mm, and 4 mm) under various combinations of loading modes I and III (pure mode I, pure mode III, and three mixed-mode I/III loadings), from which both the experimental fracture loads and the fracture angles of the specimens are obtained. Because of the linear elastic behavior of the spruce wood, the point stress (PS) and mean stress (MS) methods, both being stress-based criteria, are used in combination with the Virtual Isotropic Material Concept (VIMC) for predicting the fracture loads and the fracture angles. By employing the VIMC, the spruce wood as an orthotropic material is modeled as a homogeneous and isotropic material with linear elastic behavior. The stress components required for calculating the experimental values of notch stress intensity factors are obtained by finite element (FE) analyses of the test configuration using commercial FE software from the fracture loads obtained experimentally. The discrepancies between the experimental and theoretical results of the critical notch stress intensity factors are obtained between −12.1% and −15% for the PS criterion and between −5.9% and −14.6% for the MS criterion, respectively. The discrepancies related to fracture initiation angle range from −1.0% to +12.1% for the PS criterion and from +1.5% to +12.2% for the MS criterion, respectively. Thus, both the PS and MS models have good accuracy when compared with the experimental data. It is also found that both failure criteria underestimate the fracture resistance of spruce wood under mixed-mode I/III loading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fatigue and Fracture of Materials)
Article
Carbon Emission Intensity Characteristics and Spatial Spillover Effects in Counties in Northeast China: Based on a Spatial Econometric Model
Land 2022, 11(5), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050753 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
Under the “double carbon” target, it is important to reduce carbon emissions in each region. Using exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA), the center of gravity method, and spatial econometric models, we analyzed the characteristics and spatial spillover effects of carbon emission intensity in [...] Read more.
Under the “double carbon” target, it is important to reduce carbon emissions in each region. Using exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA), the center of gravity method, and spatial econometric models, we analyzed the characteristics and spatial spillover effects of carbon emission intensity in counties in Northeast China from 2000 to 2020 and made recommendations to the government for more reasonable carbon reduction strategies in order to achieve sustainable development. The results were as follows: (1) Since 2000, the carbon emission intensity in Northeast China has increased after first declining, and the carbon emission intensity in the western and northern regions of Northeast China has increased faster than Northeast China’s average. (2) After 2000, the spatial aggregation of carbon emission intensity has improved in Northeast China. (3) Northeast China’s carbon emission intensity has a positive spatial spillover effect. Through the feedback mechanism, the growth in population size, the rise in economic development level, the level of industrialization as well as the rise in living standard, the land use structure dominated by arable land and construction land, and the increase in urbanization level in the region will cause the carbon emission intensity in the surrounding areas to increase. An increase in public expenditures leads to a decrease in carbon emission intensity in the adjacent area. (4) When the vegetation cover exceeds its threshold value, it can have a larger inhibitory influence on carbon emission intensity. To summarize, each county in Northeast China is a carbon emission reduction community, and policymakers must consider the spatial spillover effect of carbon emission intensity when developing policies. Full article
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Article
Ionic Strength of Methylcellulose-Based Films: An Alternative for Modulating Mechanical Performance and Hydrophobicity for Potential Food Packaging Application
Polysaccharides 2022, 3(2), 426-440; https://doi.org/10.3390/polysaccharides3020026 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
The growing environmental concern with the inappropriate disposal of conventional plastics has driven the development of eco-friendly food packaging. However, the intrinsic characteristics of polymers of a renewable origin, e.g., poor mechanical properties, continue to render their practical application difficult. For this, the [...] Read more.
The growing environmental concern with the inappropriate disposal of conventional plastics has driven the development of eco-friendly food packaging. However, the intrinsic characteristics of polymers of a renewable origin, e.g., poor mechanical properties, continue to render their practical application difficult. For this, the present work studied the influence of ionic strength (IS) from 0 to 500 mM to modulate the physicochemical properties of methylcellulose (MC). Moreover, for protection against biological risks, Nisin-Z was incorporated into MC’s polymeric matrices, providing an active function. The incorporation of salts (LiCl and MgCl2) promoted an increase in the equilibrium moisture content in the polymer matrix, which in turn acted as a plasticizing agent. In this way, films with a hydrophobic surface (98°), high true strain (85%), and low stiffness (1.6 mPa) can be manufactured by addition of salts, modulating the IS to 500 mM. Furthermore, films with an IS of 500 mM, established with LiCl, catalyzed antibacterial activity against E. coli, conferring synergism and extending protection against biological hazards. Therefore, we demonstrated that the IS control of MC dispersion presents a new alternative to achieve films with the synergism of antibacterial activity against Gram-negative bacteria in addition to flexibility, elasticity, and hydrophobicity required in various applications in food packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polysaccharides for Application in Packaging)
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Article
The First Homologous Expression System for the β-Lytic Protease of Lysobacter capsici VKM B-2533T, a Promising Antimicrobial Agent
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(10), 5722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23105722 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
A successful homologous expression system based on Lysobacter capsici VKM B-2533T and the plasmid pBBR1-MCS5 was first developed for a promising bacteriolytic enzyme of this bacterium, β-lytic protease (Blp). In the expression strains, blp gene expression under the regulation of the GroEL(A) [...] Read more.
A successful homologous expression system based on Lysobacter capsici VKM B-2533T and the plasmid pBBR1-MCS5 was first developed for a promising bacteriolytic enzyme of this bacterium, β-lytic protease (Blp). In the expression strains, blp gene expression under the regulation of the GroEL(A) and T5 promoters increased by 247- and 667-fold, respectively, as compared with the wild-type strain. After the cultivation of the expression strains L. capsici PGroEL(A)-blp and L. capsici PT5-blp, the Blp yield increased by 6.7- and 8.5-fold, respectively, with respect to the wild-type strain. The cultivation of the expression strain L. capsici PT5-blp was successfully scaled up. Under fermentation conditions the yield of the enzyme increased by 1.6-fold. The developed homologous system was used to express the gene of the bacteriolytic serine protease (Serp) of L. capsici VKM B-2533T. The expression of the serp gene in L. capsici PT5-serp increased by 585-fold. The developed homologous system for the gene expression of bacteriolytic Lysobacter enzymes is potentially biotechnologically valuable, and is promising for creating highly efficient expression strains. Full article
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Article
Increasing the Efficacy of Seproxetine as an Antidepressant Using Charge–Transfer Complexes
Molecules 2022, 27(10), 3290; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27103290 (registering DOI) - 20 May 2022
Abstract
The charge transfer interactions between the seproxetine (SRX) donor and π-electron acceptors [picric acid (PA), dinitrobenzene (DNB), p-nitrobenzoic acid (p-NBA), 2,6-dichloroquinone-4-chloroimide (DCQ), 2,6-dibromoquinone-4-chloroimide (DBQ), and 7,7′,8,8′-tetracyanoquinodi methane (TCNQ)] were studied in a liquid medium, and the solid form was isolated and characterized. [...] Read more.
The charge transfer interactions between the seproxetine (SRX) donor and π-electron acceptors [picric acid (PA), dinitrobenzene (DNB), p-nitrobenzoic acid (p-NBA), 2,6-dichloroquinone-4-chloroimide (DCQ), 2,6-dibromoquinone-4-chloroimide (DBQ), and 7,7′,8,8′-tetracyanoquinodi methane (TCNQ)] were studied in a liquid medium, and the solid form was isolated and characterized. The spectrophotometric analysis confirmed that the charge–transfer interactions between the electrons of the donor and acceptors were 1:1 (SRX: π-acceptor). To study the comparative interactions between SRX and the other π-electron acceptors, molecular docking calculations were performed between SRX and the charge transfer (CT) complexes against three receptors (serotonin, dopamine, and TrkB kinase receptor). According to molecular docking, the CT complex [(SRX)(TCNQ)] binds with all three receptors more efficiently than SRX alone, and [(SRX)(TCNQ)]-dopamine (CTcD) has the highest binding energy value. The results of AutoDock Vina revealed that the molecular dynamics simulation of the 100 ns run revealed that both the SRX-dopamine and CTcD complexes had a stable conformation; however, the CTcD complex was more stable. The optimized structure of the CT complexes was obtained using density functional theory (B-3LYP/6-311G++) and was compared. Full article

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