Accelerating Open Access.
MDPI is a pioneer in scholarly open access publishing
and has supported academic communities since 1996.
Open AccessArticle
Novel Regulators of Sugar-Mediated Lateral Root Development in Arabidopsis thaliana
Genes 2020, 11(11), 1257; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11111257 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Lateral root development is a complex process regulated by numerous factors. An important role for sugar in lateral root development has been known for a while, but the underlying molecular basis still remains unclear. In this study, we first showed that WOX7, a [...] Read more.
Lateral root development is a complex process regulated by numerous factors. An important role for sugar in lateral root development has been known for a while, but the underlying molecular basis still remains unclear. In this study, we first showed that WOX7, a sugar-inducible negative regulator of lateral root development, acts downstream of the glucose sensor HXK1. Using a transgenic line homozygous for a transgene expressing GFP under the control of the WOX7 promoter, we next performed a genetic screen to identify additional genes in this development pathway. A number of mutants with altered level of WOX7 expression were recovered, and two with increased WOX7 expression, named ewe-1 and ewe-2 (for Enhanced WOX7 Expression), were further characterized. Both mutants manifest delayed lateral root development, and genetic analysis indicates that single recessive mutations are responsible for the observed phenotypes. The mutations were then located to similar regions on chromosome 2 by marker-assisted analyses, and candidate genes were identified through whole genome sequencing. The significance and limitations of this work are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Physical Activity Dimensions and Its Association with Risk of Diabetes in Middle and Older Aged Chinese People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7803; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217803 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Background: Diabetes and physical inactivity are prevalent worldwide. Risk of diabetes is known to be related with insufficient physical activity (PA), but associations with the respective dimensions of PA is unclear. Objective: To describe the patterns of physical activity among Chinese middle- and [...] Read more.
Background: Diabetes and physical inactivity are prevalent worldwide. Risk of diabetes is known to be related with insufficient physical activity (PA), but associations with the respective dimensions of PA is unclear. Objective: To describe the patterns of physical activity among Chinese middle- and older-aged individuals and figure out their associations with diabetes risk in different dimensions. Methods: Extracting self-reported data from China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS, 2015), this study included 6196 participants. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to determine the association between diabetes risk and PA dimensions such as intensity, frequency, duration, and volume. Results: Concerning frequency, lower diabetes risk was associated with performing vigorous PA at any frequency overall. For duration, smaller odds of diabetes were observed in performing vigorous PA 2–4 h/day (OR 0.46, 95%CI 0.30 to 0.71), moderate PA ≥4 h/day (OR 0.59, 95%CI 0.42 to 0.82) and light PA ≥4 h/day (OR 0.59, 95%CI 0.41 to 0.85) overall. For volume, lower diabetes risk was associated with performing moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) ≥2250 METs/week (OR 0.58, 95%CI 0.42 to 0.81) in middle-aged group (45–64 years), whereas no significant associations between MVPA and diabetes risk were found in older aged group (≥65 years). Conclusions: Our results revealed that physical inactivity is prevalent in China, with a greater proportion in the diabetes group. Lower risk of diabetes was associated with higher frequency, longer duration and longer volume of PA at higher intensity in middle-aged respondents and similar associations at lower intensity for the older adults. Additionally, further well-designed prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Sous-Vide as a Technique for Preparing Healthy and High-Quality Vegetable and Seafood Products
Foods 2020, 9(11), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9111537 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Sous-vide is a technique of cooking foods in vacuum bags under strictly controlled temperature, offering improved taste, texture and nutritional values along with extended shelf life as compared to the traditional cooking methods. In addition to other constituents, vegetables and seafood represent important [...] Read more.
Sous-vide is a technique of cooking foods in vacuum bags under strictly controlled temperature, offering improved taste, texture and nutritional values along with extended shelf life as compared to the traditional cooking methods. In addition to other constituents, vegetables and seafood represent important sources of phytochemicals. Thus, by applying sous-vide technology, preservation of such foods can be prolonged with almost full retention of native quality. In this way, sous-vide processing meets customers’ growing demand for the production of safer and healthier foods. Considering the industrial points of view, sous-vide technology has proven to be an adequate substitute for traditional cooking methods. Therefore, its application in various aspects of food production has been increasingly researched. Although sous-vide cooking of meats and vegetables is well explored, the challenges remain with seafoods due to the large differences in structure and quality of marine organisms. Cephalopods (e.g., squid, octopus, etc.) are of particular interest, as the changes of their muscular physical structure during processing have to be carefully considered. Based on all the above, this study summarizes the literature review on the recent sous-vide application on vegetable and seafood products in view of production of high-quality and safe foodstuffs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Functional Food Processing)
Open AccessArticle
GRASP and Iterated Local Search-Based Cellular Processing algorithm for Precedence-Constraint Task List Scheduling on Heterogeneous Systems
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7500; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217500 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
High-Performance Computing systems rely on the software’s capability to be highly parallelized in individual computing tasks. However, even with a high parallelization level, poor scheduling can lead to long runtimes; this scheduling is in itself an NP-hard problem. Therefore, it is our interest [...] Read more.
High-Performance Computing systems rely on the software’s capability to be highly parallelized in individual computing tasks. However, even with a high parallelization level, poor scheduling can lead to long runtimes; this scheduling is in itself an NP-hard problem. Therefore, it is our interest to use a heuristic approach, particularly Cellular Processing Algorithms (CPA), which is a novel metaheuristic framework for optimization. This framework has its foundation in exploring the search space by multiple Processing Cells that communicate to exploit the search and in the individual stagnation detection mechanism in the Processing Cells. In this paper, we proposed using a Greedy Randomized Adaptive Search Procedure (GRASP) to look for promising task execution orders; later, a CPA formed with Iterated Local Search (ILS) Processing Cells is used for the optimization. We assess our approach with a high-performance ILS state-of-the-art approach. Experimental results show that the CPA outperforms the previous ILS in real applications and synthetic instances. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Tectonomagmatic Setting and Cu-Ni Mineralization Potential of the Gayahedonggou Complex, Northern Qinghai, Tibetan Plateau, China
Minerals 2020, 10(11), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10110950 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
The Gayahedonggou magmatic Cu-Ni sulfide deposit was recently discovered in the East Kunlun orogenic belt (Northern Tibetan Plateau, China). The mineralization in this region is associated with mafic–ultramafic intrusions. To date, the formation age and metallogenic model of these ore-bearing intrusions have not [...] Read more.
The Gayahedonggou magmatic Cu-Ni sulfide deposit was recently discovered in the East Kunlun orogenic belt (Northern Tibetan Plateau, China). The mineralization in this region is associated with mafic–ultramafic intrusions. To date, the formation age and metallogenic model of these ore-bearing intrusions have not been studied systematically. In this paper, the petrology, zircon U-Pb chronology, and geochemistry of ore-bearing wehrlite and quartz diorite are investigated. The results show that the zircon U-Pb isotopic age of wehrlite is 419.9 ± 1.5 Ma with an average εHf(t) value of 3.0, indicating that wehrlite originated from a depleted mantle or the asthenosphere. The (La/Yb)N, (La/Sm)N, (Gd/Yb)N, Nb/U, and Ce/Pb ratios of wehrlite are between 3.01–7.14, 1.69–3.91, 1.36–1.51, 2.07–2.93, and 0.55–1.42, respectively, indicating that the parent magma of the wehrlite had been contaminated by the upper crust. The zircon U-Pb isotopic age of quartz diorite is 410.2 ± 3.5 Ma with an average εHf(t) value of 8.0, and the A/CNK and A/NK ratio of quartz diorites ranges from 1.02 to 1.04 and from 2.13 to 2.23, respectively. These features are similar to those of the type I granite, and the quartz diorite was likely derived from the lower crust. Combined with the regional geological evolution, the Gayahedonggou complex formed in a post-collision extensional environment. The pyroxene in the Gayahedonggou complex is mainly clinopyroxene, which is enriched in the CaO content, indicating that the CaO content of the parent magma of the Gayahedonggou complex is high or that the complex has been contaminated by Ca-rich surrounding rocks, which hinders Cu-Ni mineralization. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Usability Evaluation for the Integration of Library Data Analysis and an Interactive Artwork by Sensing Technology
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7499; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217499 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
In this research, we propose innovative ideas for digital art combined with educational applications for the library. It also presents the library’s information services to be more humane and interesting. By taking interactive devices as the basis, this research integrates college library borrowing [...] Read more.
In this research, we propose innovative ideas for digital art combined with educational applications for the library. It also presents the library’s information services to be more humane and interesting. By taking interactive devices as the basis, this research integrates college library borrowing data and an interactive artwork in order to perform an information visualization service for a user in the library by using their own smart phone. This research uses an instant data operation to carry out the information inquiry applications to present three years of library borrowing data, from 2013 to 2015, obtained from the Hsih Shin University library Data Access Protocol. Finally, a usability evaluation for the interactive art is conducted. To testify that this interactive art design meets the principle of user acceptance, a questionnaire survey is used for the statistical verification. The research findings show that a positive explanation value was achieved for user acceptance. The research model proposed by this research acts as a usability evaluation of the integrated application of an interactive artwork and library information service. The research model also corresponded to the user’s emotional feedback in the HCI research field. The value of this research is that we provide usability-verified models for cross-domain applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Lifelong Learning)
Open AccessCase Report
Strategizing Smart, Sustainable, and Knowledge-Based Development of Cities: Insights from Florianópolis, Brazil
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8859; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218859 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Unarguably, smart, sustainable, and knowledge-based development is critical for securing a livable future for our rapidly urbanizing world. The aim of this study is to generate insights into determining effective and efficient strategies to increase sustainability and innovation capabilities of cities to achieve [...] Read more.
Unarguably, smart, sustainable, and knowledge-based development is critical for securing a livable future for our rapidly urbanizing world. The aim of this study is to generate insights into determining effective and efficient strategies to increase sustainability and innovation capabilities of cities to achieve long-term desired urban outcomes. This paper places the city of Florianópolis (Brazil) under the smart, sustainable, and knowledge-based urban development microscope. The methodological approach of the study involves a qualitative analysis through surveys (100 submitted forms, 55 responses received) and interviews (12) with key experts and stakeholders from Florianópolis. The findings of the study reveal that Florianópolis’ innovation ecosystem has high potential to thrive, but the city still has structural issues to deal with first, related to the gap between the potential to grow, and acknowledgement from key actors of the city to support the overall territory development considering the complex dimensions. This issue suggests amplifying the ecosystem’s vision, including different sectors and, especially, addressing innovation for the common good. The insights generated from the investigation of Florianópolis’ case are also invaluable to other cities’ planning for strategizing their transformation, and seeking smart, sustainable, and knowledge-based development pathways. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Human Rights and Precautionary Principle: Limits to Geoengineering, SRM, and IPCC Scenarios
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8858; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218858 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
: Most scenarios on instruments limiting global warming in line with the 1.5 °C temperature limit of the Paris Agreement rely on overshooting the emissions threshold, thus requiring the application of negative emission technologies later on. Subsequently, the debate on carbon dioxide removal [...] Read more.
: Most scenarios on instruments limiting global warming in line with the 1.5 °C temperature limit of the Paris Agreement rely on overshooting the emissions threshold, thus requiring the application of negative emission technologies later on. Subsequently, the debate on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM) (frequently subsumed under “geoengineering”) has been reinforced. Yet, it does not determine normatively whether those are legally valid approaches to climate protection. After taking a closer look at the scope of climate scenarios and SRM methods compiling current research and opinions on SRM, this paper analyses the feasibility of geoengineering and of SRM in particular under international law. It will be shown that from the perspective of human rights, the Paris Agreement, and precautionary principle the phasing-out of fossil fuels and the reduction in consumption of livestock products as well as nature-based approaches such as sustainable—and thus climate and biodiversity-smart—forest, peatland, and agricultural management strongly prevail before geoengineering and atmospheric SRM measures in particular. However, as all of the atmospheric SRM methods are in their development phase, governance options to effectively frame further exploration of SRM technologies are proposed, maintaining that respective technologies thus far are not a viable means of climate protection. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Immune Phenotype of Isolated Lymphoid Structures in Non-Tumorous Colon Mucosa Encrypts the Information on Pathobiology of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3117; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113117 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
The gut-associated lymphoid tissue represents an integral part of the immune system. Among the powerful players of the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue are isolated lymphoid structures (ILSs), which as information centers, drive the local (and systemic) adaptive immune responses. Germinal center reactions, taking place [...] Read more.
The gut-associated lymphoid tissue represents an integral part of the immune system. Among the powerful players of the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue are isolated lymphoid structures (ILSs), which as information centers, drive the local (and systemic) adaptive immune responses. Germinal center reactions, taking place within ILSs, involve the coordinated action of various immune cell types with a central role given to B cells. In the current study, we aimed at dissecting the impact of ILSs within non-tumorous colon tissue (NT) on the pathobiology of colorectal cancer (CRC) with metastasis in the liver (CRCLM). In particular, we focused on the immune phenotypes of ILSs and ectopic lymphoid structures (ELSs), built up at matching primary and metastatic tumor sites. We implemented an integrative analysis strategy on the basis of tissue image cytometry and clonality assessment to explore the immune phenotype of ILS/ELS at three tissue entities: NT, CRC, and CRCLM (69 specimens in total). Applying a panel of lineage markers used for immunostaining, we characterized and compared the anatomical features, the cellular composition, the activation, and proliferation status of ILSs and ELSs, and assessed the clinical relevance of staining-derived data sets. Our major discovery was that ILS characteristics at the NT site predefine the immune phenotype of ELSs at CRC and CRCLM. Thereby, B-cell-enriched (CD20) and highly proliferative (Ki67) ILSs and ELSs were found to be associated with improved clinical outcome in terms of survival and enabled patient stratification into risk groups. Moreover, the data revealed a linkage between B-cell clonality at the NT site and the metastatic characteristics of the tumor in the distant liver tissue. Consolidation of immunostaining-based findings with the results of compendium-wide transcriptomic analysis furthermore proposed CD27 as a novel marker of T follicular helper cells within lymphoid structures. Overall, the study nominates the ILS immune phenotype as a novel prognostic marker for patients with metastatic CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism of Immunotherapy in Cancers)
Open AccessArticle
Martial Arts Tourism of the “Europe—Far East” Direction, in the Opinion of Grand Masters
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218857 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Martial arts tourism is a form of cultural, sports and educational tourism that requires special recognition; particularly important is knowledge about martial arts. The sources of this practical knowledge are especially high-ranking masters. The scientific problem raised here involves the issue of high-ranking [...] Read more.
Martial arts tourism is a form of cultural, sports and educational tourism that requires special recognition; particularly important is knowledge about martial arts. The sources of this practical knowledge are especially high-ranking masters. The scientific problem raised here involves the issue of high-ranking martial arts teachers taking trips for their own studies (to acquire knowledge and skills) and teaching others. Some of the questions addressed include how often the trips occur (single, sporadic, or multiple, regular), what their effects are, and what their meaning is—in the opinion of these experts. The “Martial Arts Tourism” questionnaire was addressed to N = 12 people, masters/teachers of high-rank in martial arts (level 7–10 dan/toan) who live and teach in Europe and the USA, but come from Europe. They are the holders of the highest degrees in Chinese, Japanese and Korean styles. Further questions were asked through direct correspondence. The collected statements were usedby means of qualitative analysis—as in the method of ‘expert courts’/’competent judges’. The respondents in most cases undertook trips from Europe to East Asia for their own learning. They teach themselves mainly in their own countries and in Europe. Stays rarely lasted over two weeks. The respondents are convinced of the legitimacy of this type of trip, and believe that the trips are very helpful on the way to mastery. None of the respondents mentioned the material forms of cultural heritage pertaining to martial arts as motives for the trips. Therefore, the ability to visit historic places is a marginal concern. The trips were directly linked to a career path and self-improvement in martial arts, learning or teaching. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCase Report
SDHx and Non-Chromaffin Tumors: A Mediastinal Germ Cell Tumor Occurring in a Young Man with Germline SDHB Mutation
Medicina 2020, 56(11), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56110561 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Background: Mutations in genes encoding one of the subunits of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) are involved in pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL) development. Over the last few years, such mutations have also been associated with non-chromaffin tumors. However, immunohistochemistry (IHC) on the tumor tissue [...] Read more.
Background: Mutations in genes encoding one of the subunits of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) are involved in pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL) development. Over the last few years, such mutations have also been associated with non-chromaffin tumors. However, immunohistochemistry (IHC) on the tumor tissue and a study on the loss of heterozygosity (LOH) aimed at demonstrating the pathogenic role of SDHx genes have only been employed in a few cases. Case report: We describe the case of a 19-year-old Caucasian man with a germline SDHB mutation, who presented with acne vulgaris resistant to medical treatment. His follow-up for chromaffin tumors was negative, while hormonal tests revealed suppressed gonadotropins with testosterone in the upper range of normality and elevated β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG). At the whole-body enhanced CT scan, a mediastinal lesion suggestive of a germ cell tumor (GCT) was detected. 18FDG-PET (fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography) imaging showed low glucose metabolism at the mediastinal site. Surgical removal of the mass was uneventful. Pathology confirmed the diagnosis of GCT consisting of cystic teratoma (95%) and seminoma (5%). IHC for SDHB showed normal protein expression, and genetic analysis of the tumor tissue revealed the absence of SDHB LOH. Normalization of the hormonal tests and acne attenuation were achieved after surgery. Conclusion: We report an incidental association of a germinal SDHB mutation and mediastinal GCT in a young Caucasian man. Our paper highlights the importance of IHC and genetic analysis in confirming the etiologic role of SDHx genes in nonchromaffin tumors, thus excluding incidental associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Endocrinology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Low-Temperature Meltable Elastomers Based on Linear Polydimethylsiloxane Chains Alpha, Omega-Terminated with Mesogenic Groups as Physical Crosslinkers: A Passive Smart Material with Potential as Viscoelastic Coupling. Part I: Synthesis and Phase Behavior
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2476; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112476 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Physically crosslinked low-temperature elastomers were prepared based on linear polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastic chains terminated on both ends with mesogenic building blocks (LC) of azobenzene type. They are generally (and also structurally) highly different from the well-studied LC polymer networks (light-sensitive actuators). The LC [...] Read more.
Physically crosslinked low-temperature elastomers were prepared based on linear polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastic chains terminated on both ends with mesogenic building blocks (LC) of azobenzene type. They are generally (and also structurally) highly different from the well-studied LC polymer networks (light-sensitive actuators). The LC units also make up only a small volume fraction in our materials and they do not generate elastic energy upon irradiation, but they act as physical crosslinkers with thermotropic properties. Our elastomers lack permanent chemical crosslinks—their structure is fully linear. The aggregation of the relatively rare, small, and spatially separated terminal LC units nevertheless proved to be a considerably strong crosslinking mechanism. The most attractive product displays a rubber plateau extending over 100 °C, melts near 8 °C, and is soluble in organic solvents. The self-assembly (via LC aggregation) of the copolymer molecules leads to a distinctly lamellar structure indicated by X-ray diffraction (XRD). This structure persists also in melt (polarized light microscopy, XRD), where 1–2 thermotropic transitions occur. The interesting effects of the properties of this lamellar structure on viscoelastic and rheological properties in the rubbery and in the melt state are discussed in a follow-up paper (“Part II”). The copolymers might be of interest as passive smart materials, especially as temperature-controlled elastic/viscoelastic mechanical coupling. Our study focuses on the comparison of physical properties and structure–property relationships in three systems with elastic PDMS segments of different length (8.6, 16.3, and 64.4 repeat units). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermoresponsive Polymers)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Wire Arc Deposition Additive Manufacturing and Experimental Study of 316L Stainless Steel by CMT + P Process
Metals 2020, 10(11), 1419; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10111419 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
The cold metal transfer plus pulse (CMT + P) process was performed to produce a 316L vertical wall through the single-channel multi-layer deposition method. The microstructure of different regions on deposited samples was observed by an optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope [...] Read more.
The cold metal transfer plus pulse (CMT + P) process was performed to produce a 316L vertical wall through the single-channel multi-layer deposition method. The microstructure of different regions on deposited samples was observed by an optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The phase composition of the as-deposited wall was checked by X-ray diffraction, and the element distribution in the structure was analyzed by an energy-dispersive spectrometer. The tensile strength and microhardness of samples were tested, and the fracture morphology was observed by an SEM. Finally, the electrochemical corrosion characteristics of the as-deposited wall in different regions along the building direction were tested. Results from the experiments indicated that the microstructure of metallography showed a layer band. The metallurgical bounding between layers was carried out by dendrite remelting and epitaxial growth. Along the building direction, the alloy of different regions solidified in an ferritic-austenitic (FA) manner, and due to having undergone different heat histories, their SEM microstructures were significantly distinct. The ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and yield strength (YS) of the vertical specimens were higher than those of the horizontal specimens, displaying obvious anisotropy. Due to a large amount of precipitation of precipitated phases in terms of intermetallic compounds in the middle and upper regions, the tensile strength and microhardness along the building direction showed a trend of first decreasing and then increasing. In the bottom region, a small amount of ferrite precipitated in the austenite matrix, while in the middle of the as-deposited wall, the amount of ferrite gradually increased and was distributed in the austenite matrix as a network. However, due to the heat accumulation effect, the ferrite dissolved into austenite in large quantities and the austenite showed an obvious increase in size in the top region. A stable passivation film was caused by a relatively low dislocation density and grain boundary number, and the middle region of the arc as-deposited wall had the best corrosion resistance. The large consumption of chromium (Cr) atoms and material stripping in the top region resulted in the integrity of the passivation film in this region being the weakest, resulting in the lowest corrosion resistance. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An Improved Approach for Downscaling Coarse-Resolution Thermal Data by Minimizing the Spatial Averaging Biases in Random Forest
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(21), 3507; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12213507 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Land surface temperature (LST) plays a fundamental role in various geophysical processes at varying spatial and temporal scales. Satellite-based observations of LST provide a viable option for monitoring the spatial-temporal evolution of these processes. Downscaling is a widely adopted approach for solving the [...] Read more.
Land surface temperature (LST) plays a fundamental role in various geophysical processes at varying spatial and temporal scales. Satellite-based observations of LST provide a viable option for monitoring the spatial-temporal evolution of these processes. Downscaling is a widely adopted approach for solving the spatial-temporal trade-off associated with satellite-based observations of LST. However, despite the advances made in the field of LST downscaling, issues related to spatial averaging in the downscaling methodologies greatly hamper the utility of coarse-resolution thermal data for downscaling applications in complex environments. In this study, an improved LST downscaling approach based on random forest (RF) regression is presented. The proposed approach addresses issues related to spatial averaging biases associated with the downscaling model developed at the coarse resolution. The approach was applied to downscale the coarse-resolution Satellite Application Facility on Land Surface Analysis (LSA-SAF) LST product derived from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) sensor aboard the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) weather satellite. The LSA-SAF product was downscaled to a spatial resolution of ~30 m, based on predictor variables derived from Sentinel 2, and the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) digital elevation model (DEM). Quantitatively and qualitatively, better downscaling results were obtained using the proposed approach in comparison to the conventional approach of downscaling LST using RF widely adopted in LST downscaling studies. The enhanced performance indicates that the proposed approach has the ability to reduce the spatial averaging biases inherent in the LST downscaling methodology and thus is more suitable for downscaling applications in complex environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Monitoring of Land Surface Temperature (LST))
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Estimating Time Since the Last Stand-Replacing Disturbance (TSD) from Spaceborne Simulated GEDI Data: A Feasibility Study
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(21), 3506; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12213506 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Stand-level maps of past forest disturbances (expressed as time since disturbance, TSD) are needed to model forest ecosystem processes, but the conventional approaches based on remotely sensed satellite data can only extend as far back as the first available satellite observations. Stand-level analysis [...] Read more.
Stand-level maps of past forest disturbances (expressed as time since disturbance, TSD) are needed to model forest ecosystem processes, but the conventional approaches based on remotely sensed satellite data can only extend as far back as the first available satellite observations. Stand-level analysis of airborne LiDAR data has been demonstrated to accurately estimate long-term TSD (~100 years), but large-scale coverage of airborne LiDAR remains costly. NASA’s spaceborne LiDAR Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) instrument, launched in December 2018, is providing billions of measurements of tropical and temperate forest canopies around the globe. GEDI is a spatial sampling instrument and, as such, does not provide wall-to-wall data. GEDI’s lasers illuminate ground footprints, which are separated by ~600 m across-track and ~60 m along-track, so new approaches are needed to generate wall-to-wall maps from the discrete measurements. In this paper, we studied the feasibility of a data fusion approach between GEDI and Landsat for wall-to-wall mapping of TSD. We tested the methodology on a ~52,500-ha area located in central Idaho (USA), where an extensive record of stand-replacing disturbances is available, starting in 1870. GEDI data were simulated over the nominal two-year planned mission lifetime from airborne LiDAR data and used for TSD estimation using a random forest (RF) classifier. Image segmentation was performed on Landsat-8 data, obtaining image-objects representing forest stands needed for the spatial extrapolation of estimated TSD from the discrete GEDI locations. We quantified the influence of (1) the forest stand map delineation, (2) the sample size of the training dataset, and (3) the number of GEDI footprints per stand on the accuracy of estimated TSD. The results show that GEDI-Landsat data fusion would allow for TSD estimation in stands covering ~95% of the study area, having the potential to reconstruct the long-term disturbance history of temperate even-aged forests with accuracy (median root mean square deviation = 22.14 years, median BIAS = 1.70 years, 60.13% of stands classified within 10 years of the reference disturbance date) comparable to the results obtained in the same study area with airborne LiDAR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Using Elastographic Ultrasound to Assess Plantar Tissue Stiffness after Waking at Different Speeds and Durations
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7498; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217498 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
Exercise has been demonstrated to improve health in people with diabetes. However, exercise may increase risk for foot ulcers because of increased plantar pressure during most weight-bearing physical activities. To date, there is no study investigating the effect of various walking speeds and [...] Read more.
Exercise has been demonstrated to improve health in people with diabetes. However, exercise may increase risk for foot ulcers because of increased plantar pressure during most weight-bearing physical activities. To date, there is no study investigating the effect of various walking speeds and durations (i.e., the most common form of exercise in daily living) on the plantar foot. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of various walking intensities on plantar tissue stiffness. A 3 × 2 factorial design, including three walking speeds (1.8, 3.6 and 5.4 mph) and two durations (10 and 20 min), was tested in 12 healthy participants. B-mode and elastographic ultrasound images were measured from the first metatarsal head to quantify plantar tissue stiffness after walking. Two-way ANOVA was used to examine the results. Our results showed that the walking speed factor caused a significant main effect of planar stiffness of the superficial layers (p = 0.007 and 0.003, respectively). However, the walking duration factor did not significantly affect the plantar stiffness. There was no interaction between the speed and duration factors on plantar tissue stiffness. Regarding the walking speed effect, there was a significant difference in the plantar stiffness between 1.8 and 3.6 mph (56.8 ± 0.8% vs. 53.6 ± 0.9%, p = 0.017) under 20 min walking duration. This finding is significant because moderate-to-fast walking speed (3.6 mph) can decrease plantar stiffness compared to slow walking speed (1.8 mph). This study suggests people at risk for foot ulcers walk at a preferred or fast speed (3.6 mph) rather than walk slowly (1.8 mph). Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessLetter
Deep Transfer Learning for Vulnerable Road Users Detection using Smartphone Sensors Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(21), 3508; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12213508 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
As the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) industry is rapidly advancing, the classification of non-motorized (vulnerable) road users (VRUs) becomes essential to ensure their safety and to smooth operation of road applications. The typical practice of non-motorized road users’ classification usually takes significant training time [...] Read more.
As the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) industry is rapidly advancing, the classification of non-motorized (vulnerable) road users (VRUs) becomes essential to ensure their safety and to smooth operation of road applications. The typical practice of non-motorized road users’ classification usually takes significant training time and ignores the temporal evolution and behavior of the signal. In this research effort, we attempt to detect VRUs with high accuracy be proposing a novel framework that includes using Deep Transfer Learning, which saves training time and cost, to classify images constructed from Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA) that reflect the temporal dynamics and behavior of the signal. Recurrence Plots (RPs) were constructed from low-power smartphone sensors without using GPS data. The resulted RPs were used as inputs for different pre-trained Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) classifiers including constructing 227 × 227 images to be used for AlexNet and SqueezeNet; and constructing 224 × 224 images to be used for VGG16 and VGG19. Results show that the classification accuracy of Convolutional Neural Network Transfer Learning (CNN-TL) reaches 98.70%, 98.62%, 98.71%, and 98.71% for AlexNet, SqueezeNet, VGG16, and VGG19, respectively. Moreover, we trained resnet101 and shufflenet for a very short time using one epoch of data and then used them as weak learners, which yielded 98.49% classification accuracy. The results of the proposed framework outperform other results in the literature (to the best of our knowledge) and show that using CNN-TL is promising for VRUs classification. Because of its relative straightforwardness, ability to be generalized and transferred, and potential high accuracy, we anticipate that this framework might be able to solve various problems related to signal classification.transportation mode classification; vulnerable road users; recurrence plots; computer vision; image classification system Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
Microwave Foaming of Materials: An Emerging Field
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2477; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112477 (registering DOI) - 25 Oct 2020
Abstract
In the last two decades, the application of microwave heating to the processing of materials has to become increasingly widespread. Microwave-assisted foaming processes show promise for industrial commercialization due to the potential advantages that microwaves have shown compared to conventional methods. These include [...] Read more.
In the last two decades, the application of microwave heating to the processing of materials has to become increasingly widespread. Microwave-assisted foaming processes show promise for industrial commercialization due to the potential advantages that microwaves have shown compared to conventional methods. These include reducing process time, improved energy efficiency, solvent-free foaming, reduced processing steps, and improved product quality. However, the interaction of microwave energy with foaming materials, the effects of critical processing factors on microwave foaming behavior, and the foamed product’s final properties are still not well-explored. This article reviews the mechanism and principles of microwave foaming of different materials. The article critically evaluates the impact of influential foaming parameters such as blowing agent, viscosity, precursor properties, microwave conditions, additives, and filler on the interaction of microwave, foaming material, physical (expansion, cellular structure, and density), mechanical, and thermal properties of the resultant foamed product. Finally, the key challenges and opportunities for developing industrial microwave foaming processes are identified, and areas for potential future research works are highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Polymer Foaming Processes)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open Access Journals

Browse by Indexing Browse by Subject Selected Journals
Back to TopTop