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Article
Comparative Characterization of Key Volatile Compounds in Slow- and Fast-Growing Duck Raw Meat Based on Widely Targeted Metabolomics
by , , , , , , and
Foods 2022, 11(24), 3975; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11243975 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The volatile aroma compounds in raw duck meat strongly affect consumers’ purchase decisions and they vary among breeds with different growth rates. In this study, slow-growing (SG) Liancheng White and fast-growing (FG) Cherry Valley ducks were selected, and their volatile compounds were characterized [...] Read more.
The volatile aroma compounds in raw duck meat strongly affect consumers’ purchase decisions and they vary among breeds with different growth rates. In this study, slow-growing (SG) Liancheng White and fast-growing (FG) Cherry Valley ducks were selected, and their volatile compounds were characterized using electric nose and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Furthermore, a widely targeted metabolomics approach was used to investigate the metabolites associated with volatile compounds. The results showed that hexanal, nonanal, octanal, heptanal, and 2-pentylfuran were abundantly present in duck meat, regardless of the breed. The higher nonanal and octanal rates contributed to the fatty and fruity aroma in SG meat than FG meat, while FG meat had a mushroom note resulting from higher octenol. Furthermore, widely targeted metabolomics showed a lower carnitine content in SG meat, which might promote lipid deposition to produce more octanal and nonanal. Higher sugar and amino acid contents led to a meaty aroma, whereas more trimethylamine N-oxide may generate a fishy note in SG meat. Taken together, this study characterized the raw duck meat aroma and provided the basic mechanism of the formation of the key volatile compound. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Meat)
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Article
Synthesis of Gallic Acid-Loaded Chitosan-Grafted-2-Acrylamido-2-Methylpropane Sulfonic Acid Hydrogels for Oral Controlled Drug Delivery: In Vitro Biodegradation, Antioxidant, and Antibacterial Effects
by , , , , , , , and
Gels 2022, 8(12), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels8120806 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
In this study, chitosan (CS) and 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (AMPS)-based hydrogels were formulated by the free radical polymerization technique for the controlled release of gallic acid. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) confirmed the successful preparation and loading of gallic acid within the hydrogel [...] Read more.
In this study, chitosan (CS) and 2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (AMPS)-based hydrogels were formulated by the free radical polymerization technique for the controlled release of gallic acid. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) confirmed the successful preparation and loading of gallic acid within the hydrogel network. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) confirmed the increased thermal stability of the hydrogels following the crosslinking and polymerization of chitosan and AMPS. In X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), the crystallinity of the raw materials decreased, indicating strong crosslinking of the reagents and the formation of a new polymeric network of hydrogels. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that the hydrogel had a rough, dense, and porous surface, which is consistent with the highly polymerized composition of the hydrogel. After 48 h, the hydrogels exhibited higher swelling at pH 1.2 (swelling ratio of 19.93%) than at pH 7.4 (swelling ratio of 15.65%). The drug release was analyzed using ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectrophotometer and demonstrated that after 48 h, gallic acid release was maximum at pH 1.2 (85.27%) compared to pH 7.4 (75.19%). The percent porosity (78.36%) and drug loading increased with the increasing concentration of chitosan and AMPS, while a decrease was observed with the increasing concentration of ethylene glycol dimethyl methacrylate (EGDMA). Crosslinking of the hydrogels increased with concentrations of chitosan and EGDMA but decreased with AMPS. In vitro studies demonstrated that the developed hydrogels were biodegradable (8.6% degradation/week) and had antimicrobial (zone of inhibition of 21 and 16 mm against Gram-positive bacteria Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus as well as 13 mm against Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, respectively) and antioxidant (73% DPPH and 70% ABTS) properties. Therefore, the prepared hydrogels could be used as an effective controlled drug delivery system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Chitin- and Chitosan-Based Hydrogels)
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Editorial
Designed Synthesis of Nanostructured Materials as the Heterogeneous Catalysts
by
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(24), 4374; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12244374 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The development of nanoscale syntheses and innovative characterization tools resulted in the tailored design of nanostructured materials with versatile abilities in many applications [...] Full article
Article
Learners’ Continuous Use Intention of Blended Learning: TAM-SET Model
by , , and
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16428; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416428 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Blended learning (BL) combines online and face-to-face teaching and learning and is thought to be an effective means to cultivate learners’ sustainability literacy. The success of BL relies on learners who take the initiative to participate in the learning process. Therefore, this study [...] Read more.
Blended learning (BL) combines online and face-to-face teaching and learning and is thought to be an effective means to cultivate learners’ sustainability literacy. The success of BL relies on learners who take the initiative to participate in the learning process. Therefore, this study aims to examine learners’ acceptance of the BL system. The technology acceptance model (TAM) and the self-efficacy theory are combined to construct a systematic model to determine the learners’ continuous intention to adopt BL. Seven constructs are identified, i.e., course quality (CQ), technical support (TS), perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), satisfaction (SE), self-efficacy (SE), and behavioral intentions (BI). A survey was conducted using a close-ended questionnaire, and 461 valid responses were collected from Huaqiao University’s undergraduate students. Covariance-based structural equation modelling was performed. The empirical findings show that except for the hypothesis regarding the connection between PU and PEOU, all the other hypotheses are verified. CQ stands out as having the greatest positive effect on PEOU, which highlights the importance of CQ for BL. The study also confirms that PU significantly impacts SA, SE, and BI, and both SA and SE significantly influence BI. Based on these results, some suggestions are provided for educators and administrators as to how to better design BL systems to strengthen sustainability education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable E-learning and Education with Intelligence)
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Article
Structure, Phase Composition, and Properties of Ti3AlC2—Nano-Cu Powder Composites
by and
Coatings 2022, 12(12), 1928; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12121928 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Composites based on the MAX-phases are promising materials for wide range application. Composites MAX-phase–copper can be used in electrical engineering as wear-resistant and durable sliding contact materials. Such composites can be used as coatings on sliding contacts to improve local strength and wear-resistance [...] Read more.
Composites based on the MAX-phases are promising materials for wide range application. Composites MAX-phase–copper can be used in electrical engineering as wear-resistant and durable sliding contact materials. Such composites can be used as coatings on sliding contacts to improve local strength and wear-resistance without a significant increase in production costs. In this work, Ti3AlC2—nano-Cu composites with the ratio Ti3AlC2:Cu = 1:1 by weight or approximately 4:1 by volume were studied. The main task of the study is to obtain a dense structure, as well as to study the effect of the sintering temperature of the samples on their structure, phase composition, mechanical properties, and electrical conductivity. In addition, the sintered specimens were subjected to a hot isostatic pressing to possibly further increase the density. It was found that the best combination of strength, density, and electrical conductivity is achieved after sintering at 1050 °C. A further increase in the sintering temperature leads to an intensification of the MAX phase decomposition process, and at a lower sintering temperature, the copper matrix remains incompletely formed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protective Composite Coatings: Implementation, Structure, Properties)
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Article
Validation of Expanded Trend-to-Trend Cross-Calibration Technique and Its Application to Global Scale
by , , and
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(24), 6216; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14246216 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The expanded Trend-to-Trend (T2T) cross-calibration technique has the potential to calibrate two sensors in much less time and provides trends on a daily assessment basis. The trend obtained from the expanded technique aids in evaluating the differences between satellite sensors. Therefore, this technique [...] Read more.
The expanded Trend-to-Trend (T2T) cross-calibration technique has the potential to calibrate two sensors in much less time and provides trends on a daily assessment basis. The trend obtained from the expanded technique aids in evaluating the differences between satellite sensors. Therefore, this technique was validated with several trusted cross-calibration techniques to evaluate its accuracy. Initially, the expanded T2T technique was validated with three independent RadCaTS RRV, DIMITRI-PICS, and APICS models, and results show a 1% average difference with other models over all bands. Further, this technique was validated with other SDSU techniques to calibrate the newly launched satellite Landsat 9 with 8, demonstrating good agreement in all bands within 0.5%. This technique was also validated for Terra MODIS and ETM+, showing consistency within 1% for all bands compared to four PICS sites. Additionally, the T2T technique was applied to a global scale using EPICS Global sites. The expanded T2T cross-calibration gain result obtained for Landsat 8 versus Landsat 7/8, Sentinel 2A/2B, and Terra/Aqua MODIS presented that the difference between these pairs was within 0.5–1% for most of the spectral bands. Total uncertainty obtained for these pairs of sensors using Monte Carlo Simulation varies from 2.5–4% for all bands except for SWIR2 bands, which vary up to 5%. The difference between EPICS Global and EPICS North Africa was calculated using the ratio of trend gain; the difference among them was within 0.5–1% difference on average for all the sensors and bands within a 0.5% uncertainty level difference. Full article
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Editorial
Bioactive Materials for Next-Generation Dentistry
by
Bioengineering 2022, 9(12), 782; https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering9120782 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Teeth were some of the first organs whose function was effectively restored by inert refilling materials that have become widely known to the general public; amalgams, polymeric resin composites, and gutta-percha are some such examples [...] Full article
Article
Surface Modification of Additively Fabricated Titanium-Based Implants by Means of Bioactive Micro-Arc Oxidation Coatings for Bone Replacement
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and
J. Funct. Biomater. 2022, 13(4), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb13040285 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
In this work, the micro-arc oxidation method is used to fabricate surface-modified complex-structured titanium implant coatings to improve biocompatibility. Depending on the utilized electrolyte solution and micro-arc oxidation process parameters, three different types of coatings (one of them—oxide, another two—calcium phosphates) were obtained, [...] Read more.
In this work, the micro-arc oxidation method is used to fabricate surface-modified complex-structured titanium implant coatings to improve biocompatibility. Depending on the utilized electrolyte solution and micro-arc oxidation process parameters, three different types of coatings (one of them—oxide, another two—calcium phosphates) were obtained, differing in their coating thickness, crystallite phase composition and, thus, with a significantly different biocompatibility. An analytical approach based on X-ray computed tomography utilizing software-aided coating recognition is employed in this work to reveal their structural uniformity. Electrochemical studies prove that the coatings exhibit varying levels of corrosion protection. In vitro and in vivo experiments of the three different micro-arc oxidation coatings prove high biocompatibility towards adult stem cells (investigation of cell adhesion, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation), as well as in vivo biocompatibility (including histological analysis). These results demonstrate superior biological properties compared to unmodified titanium surfaces. The ratio of calcium and phosphorus in coatings, as well as their phase composition, have a great influence on the biological response of the coatings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials for Drug Release and Tissue Engineering)
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Article
Parameter Identification of Electrical Equivalent Circuits including Mass Transfer Parameters for the Selection of the Operating Frequencies of Pulsed PEM Water Electrolysis
by , , , and
Energies 2022, 15(24), 9303; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15249303 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
This paper proposes a parameter identification method for a PEM electrolyzer electrical equivalent circuit for pulse electrolysis. Since general water electrolysis mainly uses DC currents, identifying equivalent circuit parameters using electrical characteristics mostly ignores the operation frequency and unnecessarily adheres to the secondary [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a parameter identification method for a PEM electrolyzer electrical equivalent circuit for pulse electrolysis. Since general water electrolysis mainly uses DC currents, identifying equivalent circuit parameters using electrical characteristics mostly ignores the operation frequency and unnecessarily adheres to the secondary RC model. However, looking at the Nyquist plot of the PEM electrolyzer, it can be confirmed that identifying the operational frequency is necessary, and the secondary RC model correction is essential. Therefore, the proposed method confirms the necessity of reconstructing an electrical equivalent circuit with a primary RC model by analyzing the transient cell voltage using step current inputs and calculating an appropriate operating frequency by identifying the parameters of the reconstructed equivalent circuit. To verify the proposed parameter identification method, a simulation was constructed from the raw test data of a 400 W commercial PEM electrolyzer. In addition, the hydrogen production amount was compared to DC using a pulse electrolysis experiment at the operating frequency obtained by the proposed method. Full article
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Article
Bioactive Amines in Wines. The Assessment of Quality Descriptors by Flow Injection Analysis with Tandem Mass Spectrometry
by , and
Molecules 2022, 27(24), 8690; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27248690 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Biogenic amines (BAs) occur in a wide variety of foodstuffs, mainly from the decomposition of proteins by the action of microorganisms. They are involved in several cellular functions but may become toxic when ingested in high amounts through the diet. In the case [...] Read more.
Biogenic amines (BAs) occur in a wide variety of foodstuffs, mainly from the decomposition of proteins by the action of microorganisms. They are involved in several cellular functions but may become toxic when ingested in high amounts through the diet. In the case of oenological products, BAs are already present in low concentrations in must, and their levels rise dramatically during the fermentation processes. This paper proposes a rapid method for the determination of BAs in wines and related samples based on precolumn derivatization with dansyl chloride and further detection by flow injection analysis with tandem mass spectrometry. Some remarkable analytes such as putrescine, ethanolamine, histamine, and tyramine have been quantified in the samples. Concentrations obtained have shown interesting patterns, pointing out the role of BAs as quality descriptors. Furthermore, it has been found that the BA content also depends on the vinification practices, with malolactic fermentation being a significant step in the formation of BAs. From the point of view of health, concentrations found in the samples are, in general, below 10 mg L−1, so the consumption of these products does not represent any special concern. In conclusion, the proposed method results in a suitable approach for a fast screening of this family of bioactive compounds in wines to evaluate quality and health issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds of Fruits, Vegetables and Mushrooms II)
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Article
Design and Fabrication of an Integrated Hollow Concave Cilium MEMS Cardiac Sound Sensor
by , , , , , , , , and
Micromachines 2022, 13(12), 2174; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13122174 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
In light of a need for low-frequency, high sensitivity and broadband cardiac murmur signal detection, the present work puts forward an integrated MEMS-based heart sound sensor with a hollow concave ciliary micro-structure. The advantages of a hollow MEMS structure, in contrast to planar [...] Read more.
In light of a need for low-frequency, high sensitivity and broadband cardiac murmur signal detection, the present work puts forward an integrated MEMS-based heart sound sensor with a hollow concave ciliary micro-structure. The advantages of a hollow MEMS structure, in contrast to planar ciliated micro-structures, are that it reduces the ciliated mass and enhances the operating bandwidth. Meanwhile, the area of acoustic-wave reception is enlarged by the concave architecture, thereby enhancing the sensitivity at low frequencies. By rationally designing the acoustic encapsulation, the loss of heart acoustic distortion and weak cardiac murmurs is reduced. As demonstrated by experimentation, the proposed hollow MEMS structure cardiac sound sensor has a sensitivity of up to −206.9 dB at 200 Hz, showing 6.5 dB and 170 Hz increases in the sensitivity and operating bandwidth, respectively, in contrast to the planar ciliated MEMS sensor. The SNR of the sensor is 26.471 dB, showing good detectability for cardiac sounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in MEMS Theory and Applications, Volume II)
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Article
Analysis of the Effect of Soil Remediation Processes Contaminated by Heavy Metals in Different Soils
by , , and
Water 2022, 14(24), 4004; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14244004 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Heavy metal pollution in China’s soil is very serious, and soil remediation is urgent. At present, most of the domestic and foreign research is aimed at one soil type for soil heavy metal pollution remediation. However, the distribution of heavy metals and the [...] Read more.
Heavy metal pollution in China’s soil is very serious, and soil remediation is urgent. At present, most of the domestic and foreign research is aimed at one soil type for soil heavy metal pollution remediation. However, the distribution of heavy metals and the effect of remediation with chemical agents are different for different soils. This study is committed to investigating the effect of WTF on the remediation of heavy metal contamination in different soils based on the existing research in the laboratory. The influence of soil quality on remediation efficiency was analyzed by TCLP leaching of heavy metals, and different forms of heavy metals were extracted from the soil using the BCR method. The experimental results showed that the soil environment was alkaline, and the response to a low addition of WTF was more obvious. The Pearson correlation coefficient analysis yielded that the increase in the organic matter content led to an increase in the oxidizable Cd content. The WTF remediation did not change the overall acidity and alkalinity of the soil so that the overall soil environment remained stable; it increased the organic matter content and added fertility to the soil, and it increased the activity of most enzymes in the soil and promoted the circulation of the soil elements, making the soil fertile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Control and Remediation of Contaminants in Soil and Groundwater)
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Article
Effects of Viewing Geometry on Multispectral Lidar-Based Needle-Leaved Tree Species Identification
by , , and
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(24), 6217; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14246217 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Identifying tree species with remote sensing techniques, such as lidar, can improve forest management decision-making, but differences in scan angle may influence classification accuracy. The multispectral Titan lidar (Teledyne Optech Inc., Vaughan, ON, Canada) has three integrated lasers with different wavelengths (1550, 1064 [...] Read more.
Identifying tree species with remote sensing techniques, such as lidar, can improve forest management decision-making, but differences in scan angle may influence classification accuracy. The multispectral Titan lidar (Teledyne Optech Inc., Vaughan, ON, Canada) has three integrated lasers with different wavelengths (1550, 1064 and 532 nm), and with different scan angle planes (respectively tilted at 3.5°, 0° and 7° relative to a vertical plane). The use of multispectral lidar improved tree species separation, compared to mono-spectral lidar, by providing classification features that were computed from intensities in each channel, or from pairs of channels as ratios and normalized indices (NDVIs). The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether scan angle (up to 20°) influences 3D and intensity feature values and if this influence affected species classification accuracy. In Ontario (Canada), six needle-leaf species were sampled to train classifiers with different feature selection. We found the correlation between feature values and scan angle to be poor (mainly below |±0.2|), which led to changes in tree species classification accuracy of 1% (all features) and 8% (3D features only). Intensity normalization for range improved accuracies by 8% for classifications using only single-channel intensities, and 2–4% when features that were unaffected by normalization were added, such as 3D features or NDVIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of LiDAR Point Cloud in Forest Structure)
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Article
Improvement of Emergency Situation Management through an Integrated System Using Mobile Alerts
by , , and
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416424 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The capacity to act as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency is a major concern for all those involved in providing first aid. Responses in due time are crucial for efficient alarm and event management. Currently, in most systems, notifications [...] Read more.
The capacity to act as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency is a major concern for all those involved in providing first aid. Responses in due time are crucial for efficient alarm and event management. Currently, in most systems, notifications regarding alarms and events are sent to a list of recipients. The recipients can be operators, workstations, and/or formations. For a more effective response, it would be advantageous for an alarm or event to be announced to the operators, workstations, and/or the mobile formations closest to the location where the alarm or event occurred. The authors present an innovative solution—an integrated system consisting of a mobile application intended for users and a web application for dispatchers—which aims to reduce the response time and to facilitate the identification of the emergency situation. The proposed applications are validated through usability tests, the results of which demonstrate the ease of use and acceptance of the application by users and dispatchers. It is shown that this tool can have benefits at a large scale, but depends on the involvement of governmental decision-makers for implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Healthcare and Smart City Applications)
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Article
Influence of Varied Ambient Population Distribution on Spatial Pattern of Theft from the Person: The Perspective from Activity Space
by , , , , and
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11(12), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11120615 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The ambient population has been regarded as an important indicator for analyzing or predicting thefts. However, the literature has taken it as a homogenous group and seldom explored the varied impacts of different kinds of ambient populations on thefts. To fill this gap, [...] Read more.
The ambient population has been regarded as an important indicator for analyzing or predicting thefts. However, the literature has taken it as a homogenous group and seldom explored the varied impacts of different kinds of ambient populations on thefts. To fill this gap, supported by mobile phone trajectory data, this research investigated the relationship between ambient populations of different social groups and theft in a major city in China. With the control variables of motivated offenders and guardianship, spatial-lag negative binominal models were built to explore the effects of the ambient populations of different social groups on the distribution of theft. The results found that the influences of ambient populations of different social groups on the spatial distribution of theft are different. Accounting for the difference in the “risk–benefit” characteristics among different activity groups to the offenders, individuals from the migrant population are the most likely to be potential victims, followed by suburban and middle-income groups, while college, affluent, and affordable housing populations are the least likely. The local elderly population had no significant impact. This research has further enriched the studies of time geography and deepened routine activity theory. It suggests that the focus of crime prevention and control strategies developed by police departments should shift from the residential space to the activity space. Full article
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Article
Hydropriming and Osmotic Priming Induce Resistance against Aspergillus niger in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by Activating β-1, 3-glucanase, Chitinase, and Thaumatin-like Protein Genes
Life 2022, 12(12), 2061; https://doi.org/10.3390/life12122061 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Priming is used as a method to improve plant growth and alleviate the detrimental effects of pathogens. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects of different priming methods in the context of resistance to Aspergillus niger in wheat (Triticum aestivum [...] Read more.
Priming is used as a method to improve plant growth and alleviate the detrimental effects of pathogens. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects of different priming methods in the context of resistance to Aspergillus niger in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Here, we show that different priming treatments—viz., hydropriming, osmotic priming, halopriming, and hormonal priming techniques can induce disease resistance by improving the biochemical contents of wheat, including chlorophyll, protein, proline, and sugar. In addition, physiological parameters—such as root length, shoot length, fresh and dry root/shoot ratios, and relative water content were positively affected by these priming methods. In essence, hydropriming and osmotic priming treatments were found to be more potent for enhancing wheat biochemical contents, along with all the physiological parameters, and for reducing disease severity. Hydropriming and osmotic priming significantly decreased disease severity, by 70.59–75.00% and 64.71–88.33%, respectively. RT-PCR and quantitative real-time PCR analyses of potentially important pathogenesis-related (PR)-protein genes (Thaumatin-like protein (TLP), chitinase, and β-1,3-glucanase) in primed plants were evaluated: β-1,3-glucanase was most highly expressed in all primed plants; Chitinase and TLP exhibited higher expression in hormonal-, halo-, osmotic-, and hydro-primed plants, respectively. These results suggest that the higher expression of β-1,3-glucanase, TLP, and chitinase after hydropriming and osmotic priming may increase disease resistance in wheat. Our study demonstrates the greater potential of hydropriming and osmotic priming for alleviating stress caused by A. niger inoculation, and enhancing resistance to it, in addition to significantly improving plant growth. Thus, these priming methods could be beneficial for better plant growth and disease resistance in other plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Biotic and Abiotic Stresses)
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Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Lifestyle and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Their Parents: A Qualitative Study
by , , , , and
Children 2022, 9(12), 1929; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9121929 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Prior studies have shown that changes in daily structure and habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic affected the lifestyle and wellbeing of families. This study aimed to obtain in-depth information on children’s and adolescents’ experiences regarding their lifestyle and wellbeing during the pandemic. [...] Read more.
Prior studies have shown that changes in daily structure and habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic affected the lifestyle and wellbeing of families. This study aimed to obtain in-depth information on children’s and adolescents’ experiences regarding their lifestyle and wellbeing during the pandemic. Semi-structured interviews with fifteen families were carried out between May and November 2021. Directed content analysis was used to analyze the transcripts and fundamental qualitative description to describe the results. Children and adolescents revealed an overall unhealthier lifestyle and decreased wellbeing. These negative effects were even larger in adolescents and children with overweight or psychosocial complaints. Our results revealed that parents were actively involved in maintaining a normal daily structure. Furthermore, diet changes were inconsistent and dependent on food availability. An increase in screen time was experienced as inevitable, and external influences were necessary to keep children and adolescents active. Almost no effects were reported on physical health, whereas negative emotions were experienced in varying degrees. Moreover, the decrease in social interactions was reported as the most negative effect of the pandemic. The above-mentioned insights may contribute to the development of preventive measures to promote a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing of children and adolescents during future pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of COVID-19 in Children)
Article
Partly and Fully Supervised Physical Exercise Effects on Cognitive Functions and Movement Proficiency of Adolescents
by , , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416480 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
This study explored the effects of partly supervised physical exercise program (PSPEP) intervention compared to fully supervised physical exercise program (FSPEP) on cognitive functions, movement proficiency and problematic internet use (PIU) in adolescents presenting combined unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Method: Over a period of [...] Read more.
This study explored the effects of partly supervised physical exercise program (PSPEP) intervention compared to fully supervised physical exercise program (FSPEP) on cognitive functions, movement proficiency and problematic internet use (PIU) in adolescents presenting combined unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Method: Over a period of 16 weeks the PSPEP group (n = 14) engaged in strength, balance and flexibility exercises three times per week with one supervised session and two unsupervised. The FSPEP group (n = 13) practiced dance activities for 2 to 4 days per week including in training sessions the same exercises as for the PSPEP group. Prior and after the study adolescents completed the PIU scale, performed movement proficiency and cognitive function tests. Results: The PSPEP had significant effect on improvement of stress tolerance (p < 0.01, g = 1.08), while the FSPEP had significant effect on contributing general intelligence (p < 0.05, g = 0.90), color-word interference of the reading speed or color recognition (p < 0.01, g = 1.33), short- and long-term memory (p < 0.01, g = 1.72) and stress tolerance (p < 0.05, g = 1.06). The PSPEP had significant effect on improvement of the bilateral coordination (p < 0.01, g = 1.08). None of the two programs had effect on PIU. Conclusions: Engagement in PSPEP selectively contributed bilateral coordination and cognitive skills related to reaction to multiple stimuli. The FSPEP had multiple significant effects in improvement of cognitive outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise, Sedentary Behavior and Health)
Article
Solanum elaeagnifolium Var. Obtusifolium (Dunal) Dunal: Antioxidant, Antibacterial, and Antifungal Activities of Polyphenol-Rich Extracts Chemically Characterized by Use of In Vitro and In Silico Approaches
by , , , , , , , , , , , and
Molecules 2022, 27(24), 8688; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27248688 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The present work was designed to study the chemical composition and the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of fruits (SFr) and leaf (SF) extracts from Solanum elaeagnifolium var. obtusifolium (Dunal) Dunal (S. elaeagnifolium). The chemical composition was determined using HPLC-DAD analysis. Colorimetric methods [...] Read more.
The present work was designed to study the chemical composition and the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of fruits (SFr) and leaf (SF) extracts from Solanum elaeagnifolium var. obtusifolium (Dunal) Dunal (S. elaeagnifolium). The chemical composition was determined using HPLC-DAD analysis. Colorimetric methods were used to determine polyphenols and flavonoids. Antioxidant capacity was assessed with DPPH, TAC, and FRAP assays. Antimicrobial activity was assessed using disk diffusion and microdilution assays against two Gram (+) bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus ATCC-6633 and Bacillus subtilis DSM-6333) and two Gram (-) bacteria (Escherichia coli K-12 and Proteus mirabilis ATCC-29906), while the antifungal effect was tested vs. Candida albicans ATCC-1023. By use of in silico studies, the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the studied extracts were also investigated. HPLC analysis showed that both fruits and leaf extracts from S. elaeagnifolium were rich in luteolin, quercetin, gallic acid, and naringenin. Both SFr and SF generated good antioxidant activity, with IC50 values of 35.15 ± 6.09 μg/mL and 132.46 ± 11.73 μg/mL, respectively. The EC50 of SFr and SF was 35.15 ± 6.09 μg/mL and 132.46 ± 11.73 μg/mL, respectively. SFr and SF also showed a good total antioxidant capacity of 939.66 ± 5.01 μg AAE/and 890.1 ± 7.76 μg AAE/g, respectively. SFr had important antibacterial activity vs. all tested strains—most notably B. subtilis DSM-6333 and E. coli, with MICs values of 2.5 ± 0.00 mg/mL and 2.50 ± 0.00 mg/mL, respectively. SFr demonstrated potent antifungal activity against C. albicans, with an inhibition diameter of 9.00 ± 0.50 mm and an MIC of 0.31 ± 0.00 mg/mL. The in silico approach showed that all compounds detected in SFr and SF had high activity (between −5.368 and 8.416 kcal/mol) against the receptors studied, including NADPH oxidase, human acetylcholinesterase, and beta-ketoacyl-[acyl carrier protein] synthase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antioxidant Activity of Plant Phenolics)
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Review
The Intricate Interplay between the ZNF217 Oncogene and Epigenetic Processes Shapes Tumor Progression
by , , , , , , , , and
Cancers 2022, 14(24), 6043; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14246043 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The oncogenic transcription factor ZNF217 orchestrates several molecular signaling networks to reprogram integrated circuits governing hallmark capabilities within cancer cells. High levels of ZNF217 expression provide advantages to a specific subset of cancer cells to reprogram tumor progression, drug resistance and cancer cell [...] Read more.
The oncogenic transcription factor ZNF217 orchestrates several molecular signaling networks to reprogram integrated circuits governing hallmark capabilities within cancer cells. High levels of ZNF217 expression provide advantages to a specific subset of cancer cells to reprogram tumor progression, drug resistance and cancer cell plasticity. ZNF217 expression level, thus, provides a powerful biomarker of poor prognosis and a predictive biomarker for anticancer therapies. Cancer epigenetic mechanisms are well known to support the acquisition of hallmark characteristics during oncogenesis. However, the complex interactions between ZNF217 and epigenetic processes have been poorly appreciated. Deregulated DNA methylation status at ZNF217 locus or an intricate cross-talk between ZNF217 and noncoding RNA networks could explain aberrant ZNF217 expression levels in a cancer cell context. On the other hand, the ZNF217 protein controls gene expression signatures and molecular signaling for tumor progression by tuning DNA methylation status at key promoters by interfering with noncoding RNAs or by refining the epitranscriptome. Altogether, this review focuses on the recent advances in the understanding of ZNF217 collaboration with epigenetics processes to orchestrate oncogenesis. We also discuss the exciting burgeoning translational medicine and candidate therapeutic strategies emerging from those recent findings connecting ZNF217 to epigenetic deregulation in cancer. Full article
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Article
Systems Biology Analysis of Temporal Dynamics That Govern Endothelial Response to Cyclic Stretch
Biomolecules 2022, 12(12), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12121837 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Endothelial cells in vivo are subjected to a wide array of mechanical stimuli, such as cyclic stretch. Notably, a 10% stretch is associated with an atheroprotective endothelial phenotype, while a 20% stretch is associated with an atheroprone endothelial phenotype. Here, a systems biology-based [...] Read more.
Endothelial cells in vivo are subjected to a wide array of mechanical stimuli, such as cyclic stretch. Notably, a 10% stretch is associated with an atheroprotective endothelial phenotype, while a 20% stretch is associated with an atheroprone endothelial phenotype. Here, a systems biology-based approach is used to present a comprehensive overview of the functional responses and molecular regulatory networks that characterize the transition from an atheroprotective to an atheroprone phenotype in response to cyclic stretch. Using primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), we determined the role of the equibiaxial cyclic stretch in vitro, with changes to the radius of the magnitudes of 10% and 20%, which are representative of physiological and pathological strain, respectively. Following the transcriptome analysis of next-generation sequencing data, we identified four key endothelial responses to pathological cyclic stretch: cell cycle regulation, inflammatory response, fatty acid metabolism, and mTOR signaling, driven by a regulatory network of eight transcription factors. Our study highlights the dynamic regulation of several key stretch-sensitive endothelial functions relevant to the induction of an atheroprone versus an atheroprotective phenotype and lays the foundation for further investigation into the mechanisms governing vascular pathology. This study has significant implications for the development of treatment modalities for vascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Biology and Omics Approaches for Complex Human Disease)
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Article
A Magtein®, Magnesium L-Threonate, -Based Formula Improves Brain Cognitive Functions in Healthy Chinese Adults
Nutrients 2022, 14(24), 5235; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14245235 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Magnesium is one of the most abundant essential minerals in the body. Magnesium supplements mostly have low bioavailability, except magnesium L-threonate. In 2010, a novel magnesium compound, magnesium L-threonate (Magtein®) was identified and was shown to raise the magnesium levels in [...] Read more.
Magnesium is one of the most abundant essential minerals in the body. Magnesium supplements mostly have low bioavailability, except magnesium L-threonate. In 2010, a novel magnesium compound, magnesium L-threonate (Magtein®) was identified and was shown to raise the magnesium levels in the brain and neurons effectively. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Magtein®PS, a magnesium L-threonate (Magtein®)- and phosphatidylserine-based formulation additionally containing vitamins C and D, was tested for its cognitive benefits in 109 healthy Chinese adults aged 18–65 years. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either Magtein®PS or placebo (starch) capsules, at a dose of 2 g/day. “The Clinical Memory Test”, the standard test commonly used in Chinese hospitals and academic institutes for cognitive evaluation, was administered before and 30 days after subjects received the supplement. Subjects receiving Magtein®PS showed significant improvements over the control group in all five subcategories of “The Clinical Memory Test” as well as the overall memory quotient scores. The older participants showed more improvement than younger participants. Results indicated significant benefits of Magtein®PS in improving memory and cognition in healthy Chinese adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Micronutrients and Human Health)
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Article
A Study on the Application of Machine and Deep Learning Using the Impact Response Test to Detect Defects on the Piston Rod and Steering Rack of Automobiles
by , and
Sensors 2022, 22(24), 9623; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22249623 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The main parts of automobiles are the piston rod of the shock absorber and the steering rack of the steering gear, and their quality control is critical in the product process. In the process line, these products are normally inspected through visual inspection, [...] Read more.
The main parts of automobiles are the piston rod of the shock absorber and the steering rack of the steering gear, and their quality control is critical in the product process. In the process line, these products are normally inspected through visual inspection, sampling, and simple tensile tests; however, if there is a problem or abnormality, it is difficult to identify the type and location of the defect. Usually, these defects are likely to cause surface cracks during processing, which in turn accelerate the deterioration of the shock absorber and steering, causing serious problems in automobiles. As a result, the purpose of this study was to present, among non-destructive methods, a shock response test method and an analysis method that can efficiently and accurately determine the defects of the piston rod and steering rack. A test method and excitation frequency range that can measure major changes according to the location and degree of defects were proposed. A defect discrimination model was constructed using machine and deep learning through feature derivation in the time and frequency domains for the collected data. The analysis revealed that it was possible to effectively distinguish the characteristics according to the location as well as the presence or absence of defects in the frequency domain rather than the time domain. The results indicate that it will be possible to quickly and accurately check the presence or absence of defects in the shock absorber and steering in the automobile manufacturing process line in the future. It is expected that this will play an important role as a key factor in building a smart factory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensing and Signal Processing in Nondestructive Evaluation)
Article
No Indices of Increased Type 2 Diabetes Risk in Individuals with Reactive Postprandial Hypoglycemia
by , , and
Metabolites 2022, 12(12), 1232; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo12121232 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Reactive postprandial hypoglycemia (RPH) is an understudied condition that lacks clinical definition, knowledge of future health implications, and an understanding of precise underlying mechanisms. Therefore, our study aimed to assess the glycemic response after glucose ingestion in individuals several years after the initial [...] Read more.
Reactive postprandial hypoglycemia (RPH) is an understudied condition that lacks clinical definition, knowledge of future health implications, and an understanding of precise underlying mechanisms. Therefore, our study aimed to assess the glycemic response after glucose ingestion in individuals several years after the initial evaluation of RPH and to compare glucose regulation in individuals with RPH vs. healthy volunteers. We assessed the inter- and intra-individual differences in glucose, insulin, and C-peptide concentrations during 5-h oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs); the surrogate markers of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR and Matsuda index); and beta-cell function (distribution index and insulinogenic index). The study included 29 subjects with RPH (all females, aged 39 (28, 46) years) and 11 sex-, age-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched controls. No biochemical deterioration of beta-cell secretory capacity and no progression to dysglycemia after 6.4 ± 4.2 years of follow-up were detected. RPH subjects were not insulin resistant, and their insulin sensitivity did not deteriorate. RPH subjects exhibited no differences in concentrations or in the shape of the glucose-insulin curves during the 5-h OGTTs compared to age- and BMI-matched controls. No increased incident type 2 diabetes risk indices were evident in individuals with RPH. This dictates the need for further research to investigate the magnitude of future diabetes risk in individuals experiencing RPH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Foods and Diabetes)
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Article
Acute and Rapid Response of Melissa officinalis and Mentha spicata to Saline Reclaimed Water in Terms of Water Relations, Hormones, Amino Acids and Plant Oxylipins
by , , , , , , , and
Plants 2022, 11(24), 3427; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11243427 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The use of reclaimed water is considered an efficient tool for agricultural irrigation; however, the high salinity associated to this water could compromise plant quality and yields. Balm and spearmint plants were submitted for 15 days to three irrigation treatments in a controlled [...] Read more.
The use of reclaimed water is considered an efficient tool for agricultural irrigation; however, the high salinity associated to this water could compromise plant quality and yields. Balm and spearmint plants were submitted for 15 days to three irrigation treatments in a controlled chamber: control with EC: 1.2 dS m−1 (control), reclaimed water from secondary effluent (EC: 1.6 dS m−1) (S) and water from secondary effluent with brine (EC: 4.4 dS m−1) (SB). The plant water status, stomatal and hormonal regulation, nutritional response, concentration of amino acids and plant oxidative stress-based markers, as well as growth were evaluated. Both species irrigated with saline reclaimed water reduced leaf water potential and gas exchange in comparison with control plants, following 2 days of exposure to irrigation treatments. Nevertheless, spearmint plants recovered photosynthetic activity from the seventh day onwards, maintaining growth. This was attributed to hormonal changes and a greater accumulation of some amino acids and some plant oxylipins (phytoprostanes) in comparison to balm plants, which contributed to the improvement in the organoleptic and health-promoting properties of spearmint. A longer irrigation period with saline reclaimed water would be necessary to assess whether the quality of both species, especially spearmint, could further improve without compromising their growth. Full article
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Article
Licensing Effect in Sustainable Charitable Behaviors
by and
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16431; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416431 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
The theory of licensing effect suggests that consumers tend to perform self-interested or self-indulgent actions after undertaking altruistic behaviors. How do past altruistic experiences affect the willingness of consumers to perform charitable behaviors in the future? Results from an exploratory approach comprising three [...] Read more.
The theory of licensing effect suggests that consumers tend to perform self-interested or self-indulgent actions after undertaking altruistic behaviors. How do past altruistic experiences affect the willingness of consumers to perform charitable behaviors in the future? Results from an exploratory approach comprising three laboratory studies and one field experiment demonstrate the existence of licensing effect in charitable conditions. We find that consumers are more unwilling to undertake charitable activities when they recall past similar experiences. The donation resources (time/money) do not influence the licensing effect. Two other variables moderate the size of the licensing effect: the way in which the initial charitable behavior is recalled (abstract vs. concrete) and the attribution for initial charitable behavior (collective vs. individual). We find that consumers are more reluctant to carry out charitable behavior when: (1) they recall the concrete details rather than the abstract goal of past activity; (2) consumers are praised for individual efforts rather than collective contribution in past activity. These findings offer new theoretical insights into the licensing effect in consumers’ charitable behaviors and set out practical implications for the sustainability of charitable programs. Full article
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Article
Research on Technical Efficiency of Feed Use for Sustainable Beef Cattle Breeding in China: Evidence from 169 Beef Cattle Farmers
by , , , , and
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16430; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416430 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Sustainable green development, cost saving, and efficiency improvement have become the main theme of the high-quality development of China’s animal husbandry and the problem of overuse of feed should be paid more attention. Based on the 3-year input–output data of 169 beef cattle [...] Read more.
Sustainable green development, cost saving, and efficiency improvement have become the main theme of the high-quality development of China’s animal husbandry and the problem of overuse of feed should be paid more attention. Based on the 3-year input–output data of 169 beef cattle farmers, a trans-logarithmic stochastic frontier function was used to study the relationship between feed utilization efficiency and beef cattle breeding scale. The results showed that the average technical efficiency of feed utilization was 0.56, and the technical efficiency of feed utilization increased year by year. Simultaneously, it showed that Chinese beef cattle farmers pay more attention to feed utilization efficiency at this stage; the feed utilization efficiency of retail and medium-sized beef cattle farmers was in the best state in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the feed utilization efficiency of small-scale beef cattle farmers was the best; the technical efficiency of beef cattle breeding will increase with the expansion of scale. The technical efficiency of beef cattle breeding will increase with the expansion of the scale, and the feed utilization efficiency of large-scale farmers is also better than that of retail farmers, and the scale of beef cattle breeding can bring better benefits. However, from the perspective of feed utilization efficiency, it is not the largest scale that represents the best efficiency, and from the perspective of breeding technology efficiency, the gap between various scales is gradually narrowing. This should also prove that under the condition of hard resource constraints, the large-scale development of beef cattle breeding is in line with the basic national conditions of China at this stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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Article
Particle Therapy in Adult Patients with Pelvic Ewing Sarcoma—Tumor and Treatment Characteristics and Early Clinical Outcomes
by , , , , , , , , and
Cancers 2022, 14(24), 6045; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14246045 (registering DOI) - 08 Dec 2022
Abstract
Purpose: To report dosimetric characteristics and early clinical outcomes in patients with pelvic Ewing sarcoma undergoing particle therapy. Methods: Patients ≥ 18 years old with pelvic Ewing sarcoma treated in adjuvant or definitive settings were considered for this retrospective analysis. Proton therapy was [...] Read more.
Purpose: To report dosimetric characteristics and early clinical outcomes in patients with pelvic Ewing sarcoma undergoing particle therapy. Methods: Patients ≥ 18 years old with pelvic Ewing sarcoma treated in adjuvant or definitive settings were considered for this retrospective analysis. Proton therapy was carried out with 45–60 Gy (RBE) (1.5–2 Gy (RBE) per fraction) and carbon ion therapy for recurrent disease with 51 Gy (RBE) (3 Gy (RBE) per fraction). Local control (LC), disease control (DC) and overall survival (OS) were calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Results: For our sample, 21 patients were available, 18 of whom were treated for primary, 3 for locally recurrent and 16 for inoperable disease. The median CTV and PTV were 1215 cm3 and 1630 cm3. Median Dmean values for the PTV, bladder and rectum and median V40 Gy for the bowel for patients undergoing proton therapy were 56 Gy (RBE), 0.6 Gy (RBE), 9 Gy (RBE) and 15 cm3, respectively. At the end of particle therapy, G 1–2 skin reactions (n = 16/21) and fatigue (n = 9/21) were the main reported symptoms. After a median follow-up of 21 months, the 2-year LC, DC and OS were 76%, 56% and 86%, respectively. Conclusions: Particle therapy in adult pelvic Ewing sarcoma is feasible and provides excellent dosimetric results. First clinical outcomes are promising; however, further long-term follow-up is needed. Full article
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