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Open AccessReview
The Processing of Non-Timber Forest Products through Small and Medium Enterprises—A Review of Enabling and Constraining Factors
Forests 2019, 10(11), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10111026 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Research Highlights: This study reviews the available literature on processed non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in order to comprehensively identify relevant factors enabling or constraining their potential to contribute to rural development. Background and Objectives: NTFPs, such as wild foods, medicinal plants, and raw [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: This study reviews the available literature on processed non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in order to comprehensively identify relevant factors enabling or constraining their potential to contribute to rural development. Background and Objectives: NTFPs, such as wild foods, medicinal plants, and raw materials for handicrafts, make significant contributions to rural livelihoods. NTFPs can help fulfil households' subsistence and consumption needs, serve as a safety-net in times of crises, and provide cash income. In particular, the processing of NTFPs has often been suggested to positively influence sustainable economic development in rural areas. However, despite rising interest and recognition of the potential contributions of such industries as key sources of employment and their strategic role in overall growth strategies of developing countries, many NTFP processing enterprises remain in the informal sector and an in-depth understanding of the underlying factors is lacking. This review aims to identify enabling and constraining factors affecting NTFP processing enterprises. Materials and Methods: Using systematic review methodology, studies investigating commercialized, processed NTFPs and their economic impacts have been identified and the current evidence base with regard to NTFP processing and small and medium sized enterprise (SME) development synthesized. Results: Despite the diverse nature of NTFPs, a number of constraining and enabling factors affecting NTFP processing and commercialization were identified. The former includes aspects such as the lack of resource access (finances, skills, technologies, etc.), market information, and basic infrastructure; the latter, amongst others, the role of key entrepreneurs; and cooperation across the value chain, amongst producers, and among members of the institutional environment or an abundant resource base. Moving from small-scale NTFP commercialization in local markets to more mature NTFP value chains reaching export markets, the increasing role of cooperation and having a supportive institutional framework in place, becomes apparent. Conclusions: Overall, successful NTFP processing strongly depends on the socio-economic and environmental context in question, requiring a holistic approach tailored to the respective context and value chain. Full article
Open AccessReview
Updates on the Taxonomy of Mucorales with an Emphasis on Clinically Important Taxa
J. Fungi 2019, 5(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5040106 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Fungi of the order Mucorales colonize all kinds of wet, organic materials and represent a permanent part of the human environment. They are economically important as fermenting agents of soybean products and producers of enzymes, but also as plant parasites and spoilage organisms. [...] Read more.
Fungi of the order Mucorales colonize all kinds of wet, organic materials and represent a permanent part of the human environment. They are economically important as fermenting agents of soybean products and producers of enzymes, but also as plant parasites and spoilage organisms. Several taxa cause life-threatening infections, predominantly in patients with impaired immunity. The order Mucorales has now been assigned to the phylum Mucoromycota and is comprised of 261 species in 55 genera. Of these accepted species, 38 have been reported to cause infections in humans, as a clinical entity known as mucormycosis. Due to molecular phylogenetic studies, the taxonomy of the order has changed widely during the last years. Characteristics such as homothallism, the shape of the suspensors, or the formation of sporangiola are shown to be not taxonomically relevant. Several genera including Absidia, Backusella, Circinella, Mucor, and Rhizomucor have been amended and their revisions are summarized in this review. Medically important species that have been affected by recent changes include Lichtheimia corymbifera, Mucor circinelloides, and Rhizopus microsporus. The species concept of Rhizopus arrhizus (syn. R. oryzae) is still a matter of debate. Currently, species identification of the Mucorales is best performed by sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Ecologically, the Mucorales represent a diverse group but for the majority of taxa, the ecological role and the geographic distribution remain unknown. Understanding the biology of these opportunistic fungal pathogens is a prerequisite for the prevention of infections, and, consequently, studies on the ecology of the Mucorales are urgently needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mucorales and Mucormycosis)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Scheduling Fair Resource Allocation Policies for Cloud Computing through Flow Control
Electronics 2019, 8(11), 1348; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8111348 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
In this short paper, we discuss the problem of resource allocation for cloud computing. The cloud provides a variety of resources for users based on their requirements. Thus, one of the main issues in cloud computing is to design an efficient resource allocation [...] Read more.
In this short paper, we discuss the problem of resource allocation for cloud computing. The cloud provides a variety of resources for users based on their requirements. Thus, one of the main issues in cloud computing is to design an efficient resource allocation scheme. Each job generated by a user in the cloud has some resource requirements. In this work, we propose a resource allocation method which aims at maximizing the resource utilization and distributing the system’s resources in a fast and fair way, by controlling the flow according to the resources available and by analyzing the dominant demands of each job. Moreover, by parallelizing the computations required, the runtime of the proposed strategy increases linearly as the number of jobs N increases. Here, we present some initial experimental results for small sets of users, that have shown that our strategy allocates the available resources among user jobs in a fair manner, while increasing the overall utilization of each resource. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computer Science & Engineering)
Open AccessArticle
A 270-GHz Push-Push Transformer-Based Oscillator Adopting Power Leakage Suppression Technique
Electronics 2019, 8(11), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8111347 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
A push–push transformer-based oscillator (TBO) adopting a power leakage suppression technique has been proposed. The proposed technique reduces the power loss due to unwanted leakage path without additional DC power consumption, hence improving the output power and DC-to-RF efficiency. The measured output power [...] Read more.
A push–push transformer-based oscillator (TBO) adopting a power leakage suppression technique has been proposed. The proposed technique reduces the power loss due to unwanted leakage path without additional DC power consumption, hence improving the output power and DC-to-RF efficiency. The measured output power of the proposed single core oscillator is −4.5 dBm at 270 GHz with 2.1% DC-to-RF efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Electrical Circuits and Systems for Neural Interface)
Open AccessCommunication
Planar Chiral [2.2]Paracyclophane-Based Bisoxazoline Ligands and Their Applications in Cu-Mediated N–H Insertion Reaction
Molecules 2019, 24(22), 4122; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24224122 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
New catalysts for important C–N bond formation are highly sought after. In this work, we demonstrate the synthesis and viability of a new class of planar chiral [2.2]paracyclophane-based bisoxazoline (BOX) ligands for the copper-catalyzed N–H insertion of α-diazocarbonyls into anilines. The reaction features [...] Read more.
New catalysts for important C–N bond formation are highly sought after. In this work, we demonstrate the synthesis and viability of a new class of planar chiral [2.2]paracyclophane-based bisoxazoline (BOX) ligands for the copper-catalyzed N–H insertion of α-diazocarbonyls into anilines. The reaction features a wide substrate scope and moderate to excellent yields, and delivers the valuable products at ambient conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Organic Chemistry)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Lattice-Boltzmann and Eulerian Hybrid for Solid Burning Simulation
Symmetry 2019, 11(11), 1405; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11111405 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
We propose a new hybrid simulation method to model burning solid interactions. Unlike gas fuel, fire and smoke interactions that have been relatively well studied in the past, simulations of solid fuel combustion processes remain largely unaddressed. These include pyrolysis/smoldering, interactions with oxygen [...] Read more.
We propose a new hybrid simulation method to model burning solid interactions. Unlike gas fuel, fire and smoke interactions that have been relatively well studied in the past, simulations of solid fuel combustion processes remain largely unaddressed. These include pyrolysis/smoldering, interactions with oxygen and flow inside porous solid. To advance this simulation problem, we designed a new hybrid of the Lattice-Boltzmann method (LBM) and a Eulerian grid based Navier-Stokes equation (NSE). It uses the LBM, which has symmetrical directions of particle velocities in a cell, for inside the solid fuel and the NSE, which has a representative velocity in a cell, for outside the solid. At the interface where the two methods join, we develop a novel method to exchange physical quantities and show a natural transition between the two methods. Since LBM allows us to directly manage the quantity of exchanges from the microscopic perspective, that is, between lattice points, we can easily simulate the burning speed and the shape change of burning an inhomogeneous solid. Also, we derive an LBM version of the previously proposed porous Navier-Stokes equation to simulate gas flow inside the porous solid. In addition, we use the NS solver outside the solid where macroscopic behavior is much more dominant and, hence, LBM is less efficient than NS solver. Our results show us the physical stability and accuracy and visual realism. Full article
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Open AccessReview
iPSCs-Based Neural 3D Systems: A Multidimensional Approach for Disease Modeling and Drug Discovery
Cells 2019, 8(11), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8111438 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-based two-dimensional (2D) protocols have offered invaluable insights into the pathophysiology of neurological diseases. However, these systems are unable to reproduce complex cytoarchitectural features, cell-cell and tissue-tissue interactions like their in vivo counterpart. Three-dimensional (3D)-based culture protocols, though in [...] Read more.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)-based two-dimensional (2D) protocols have offered invaluable insights into the pathophysiology of neurological diseases. However, these systems are unable to reproduce complex cytoarchitectural features, cell-cell and tissue-tissue interactions like their in vivo counterpart. Three-dimensional (3D)-based culture protocols, though in their infancy, have offered new insights into modeling human diseases. Human neural organoids try to recapitulate the cellular diversity of complex tissues and can be generated from iPSCs to model the pathophysiology of a wide spectrum of pathologies. The engraftment of iPSCs into mice models and the improvement of differentiation protocols towards 3D cultures has enabled the generation of more complex multicellular systems. Consequently, models of neuropsychiatric disorders, infectious diseases, brain cancer and cerebral hypoxic injury can now be investigated from new perspectives. In this review, we consider the advancements made in modeling neuropsychiatric and neurological diseases with iPSC-derived organoids and their potential use to develop new drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue iPS Cells for Disease Modeling)
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Open AccessReview
Breast Cancer in Young Women: Status Quo and Advanced Disease Management by a Predictive, Preventive, and Personalized Approach
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1791; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111791 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Why does healthcare of breast cancer (BC) patients, especially in a young population, matter and why are innovative strategies by predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine (PPPM) strongly recommended to replace current reactive medical approach in BC management? Permanent increase in annual numbers of [...] Read more.
Why does healthcare of breast cancer (BC) patients, especially in a young population, matter and why are innovative strategies by predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine (PPPM) strongly recommended to replace current reactive medical approach in BC management? Permanent increase in annual numbers of new BC cases with particularly quick growth of premenopausal BC patients, an absence of clearly described risk factors for those patients, as well as established screening tools and programs represent important reasons to focus on BC in young women. Moreover, "young" BC cases are frequently "asymptomatic", difficult to diagnose, and to treat effectively on time. The objective of this article is to update the knowledge on BC in young females, its unique molecular signature, newest concepts in diagnostics and therapy, and to highlight the concepts of predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine with a well-acknowledged potential to advance the overall disease management. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Animal Models of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Prevention
Cancers 2019, 11(11), 1792; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111792 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly disease and therapeutic efficacy in advanced HCC is limited. Since progression of chronic liver disease to HCC involves a long latency period of a few decades, a significant window of therapeutic opportunities exists for prevention of HCC [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly disease and therapeutic efficacy in advanced HCC is limited. Since progression of chronic liver disease to HCC involves a long latency period of a few decades, a significant window of therapeutic opportunities exists for prevention of HCC and improve patient prognosis. Nonetheless, there has been no clinical advancement in instituting HCC chemopreventive strategies. Some of the major challenges are heterogenous genetic aberrations of HCC, significant modulation of tumor microenvironment and incomplete understanding of HCC tumorigenesis. To this end, animal models of HCC are valuable tools to evaluate biology of tumor initiation and progression with specific insight into molecular and genetic mechanisms involved. In this review, we describe various animal models of HCC that facilitate effective ways to study therapeutic prevention strategies that have translational potential to be evaluated in a clinical context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Models of Experimental Liver Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Coordination Ring-Opening Polymerization of Cyclic Esters: A Critical Overview of DFT Modeling and Visualization of the Reaction Mechanisms
Molecules 2019, 24(22), 4117; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24224117 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of cyclic esters (lactones, lactides, cyclic carbonates and phosphates) is an effective tool to synthesize biocompatible and biodegradable polymers. Metal complexes effectively catalyze ROP, a remarkable diversity of the ROP mechanisms prompted the use of density functional theory (DFT) methods [...] Read more.
Ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of cyclic esters (lactones, lactides, cyclic carbonates and phosphates) is an effective tool to synthesize biocompatible and biodegradable polymers. Metal complexes effectively catalyze ROP, a remarkable diversity of the ROP mechanisms prompted the use of density functional theory (DFT) methods for simulation and visualization of the ROP pathways. Optimization of the molecular structures of the key reaction intermediates and transition states has allowed to explain the values of catalytic activities and stereocontrol events. DFT computation data sets might be viewed as a sound basis for the design of novel ROP catalysts and cyclic substrates, for the creation of new types of homo- and copolymers with promising properties. In this review, we summarized the results of DFT modeling of coordination ROP of cyclic esters. The importance to understand the difference between initiation and propagation stages, to consider the possibility of polymer–catalyst coordination, to figure out the key transition states, and other aspects of DFT simulation and visualization of ROP have been also discussed in our review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in DFT: Theory, Simulations and Applications)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Transducer Electronic Data Sheets: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyway
Electronics 2019, 8(11), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8111345 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Transducer electronic data sheets (TEDS) are a key element of smart transducers because they support core features such as plug and play, self-calibration, and self-diagnostics. The ISO/IEC/IEEE 21451-4 standard defines templates to describe the most common types of transducers and suggests the use [...] Read more.
Transducer electronic data sheets (TEDS) are a key element of smart transducers because they support core features such as plug and play, self-calibration, and self-diagnostics. The ISO/IEC/IEEE 21451-4 standard defines templates to describe the most common types of transducers and suggests the use of one-wire memories to store the corresponding data. In this paper we explore new ways to store and access TEDS tables, including near field communication (NFC) tags and QR codes. We also present a mobile TEDS parser, compatible with Android, that is capable of reading TEDS data from all supported mediums (one-wire memories, NFC tags, and QR codes) and decoding them as human-readable text. The idea is to make TEDS available in the easiest way possible. We also underline the need to extend the 21451-4 standard by adding support for frequency–time sensors. A new TEDS template is proposed, and filling examples are presented. The main novelties of the paper are (i) the proposal of new ways to store 21451-4 TEDS tables using NFC tags and QR codes; (ii) the release of new tools to access TEDS tables including a mobile parser; and (iii) the definition of a new TEDS template for frequency–time sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Sensor Networks)
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Open AccessReview
Biosensing and Delivery of Nucleic Acids Involving Selected Well-Known and Rising Star Functional Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(11), 1614; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9111614 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
In the last fifteen years, the nucleic acid biosensors and delivery area has seen a breakthrough due to the interrelation between the recognition of nucleic acid’s high specificity, the great sensitivity of electrochemical and optical transduction and the unprecedented opportunities imparted by nanotechnology. [...] Read more.
In the last fifteen years, the nucleic acid biosensors and delivery area has seen a breakthrough due to the interrelation between the recognition of nucleic acid’s high specificity, the great sensitivity of electrochemical and optical transduction and the unprecedented opportunities imparted by nanotechnology. Advances in this area have demonstrated that the assembly of nanoscaled materials allows the performance enhancement, particularly in terms of sensitivity and response time, of functional nucleic acids’ biosensing and delivery to a level suitable for the construction of point-of-care diagnostic tools. Consequently, this has propelled detection methods using nanomaterials to the vanguard of the biosensing and delivery research fields. This review overviews the striking advancement in functional nanomaterials’ assisted biosensing and delivery of nucleic acids. We highlight the advantages demonstrated by selected well-known and rising star functional nanomaterials (metallic, magnetic and Janus nanomaterials) focusing on the literature produced in the past five years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Nanomagnetics and Magneto-Optical Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
The Biological Effects of Complete Gasoline Engine Emissions Exposure in a 3D Human Airway Model (MucilAirTM) and in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(22), 5710; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225710 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
The biological effects induced by complete engine emissions in a 3D model of the human airway (MucilAirTM) and in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) grown at the air–liquid interface were compared. The cells were exposed for one or five days to [...] Read more.
The biological effects induced by complete engine emissions in a 3D model of the human airway (MucilAirTM) and in human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) grown at the air–liquid interface were compared. The cells were exposed for one or five days to emissions generated by a Euro 5 direct injection spark ignition engine. The general condition of the cells was assessed by the measurement of transepithelial electrical resistance and mucin production. The cytotoxic effects were evaluated by adenylate kinase (AK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. Phosphorylation of histone H2AX was used to detect double-stranded DNA breaks. The expression of the selected 370 relevant genes was analyzed using next-generation sequencing. The exposure had minimal effects on integrity and AK leakage in both cell models. LDH activity and mucin production in BEAS-2B cells significantly increased after longer exposures; DNA breaks were also detected. The exposure affected CYP1A1 and HSPA5 expression in MucilAirTM. There were no effects of this kind observed in BEAS-2B cells; in this system gene expression was rather affected by the time of treatment. The type of cell model was the most important factor modulating gene expression. In summary, the biological effects of complete emissions exposure were weak. In the specific conditions used in this study, the effects observed in BEAS-2B cells were induced by the exposure protocol rather than by emissions and thus this cell line seems to be less suitable for analyses of longer treatment than the 3D model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inhalation Toxicology and Biological Response)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Machine Learning, Urban Water Resources Management and Operating Policy
Resources 2019, 8(4), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8040173 (registering DOI) - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Meticulously analyzing all contemporaneous conditions and available options before taking operations decisions regarding the management of the urban water resources is a necessary step owing to water scarcity. More often than not, this analysis is challenging because of the uncertainty regarding inflows to [...] Read more.
Meticulously analyzing all contemporaneous conditions and available options before taking operations decisions regarding the management of the urban water resources is a necessary step owing to water scarcity. More often than not, this analysis is challenging because of the uncertainty regarding inflows to the system. The most common approach to account for this uncertainty is to combine the Bayesian decision theory with the dynamic programming optimization method. However, dynamic programming is plagued by the curse of dimensionality, that is, the complexity of the method is proportional to the number of discretized possible system states raised to the power of the number of reservoirs. Furthermore, classical statistics does not consistently represent the stochastic structure of the inflows (see persistence). To avoid these problems, this study will employ an appropriate stochastic model to produce synthetic time-series with long-term persistence, optimize the system employing a network flow programming modelling, and use the optimization results for training a feedforward neural network (FFN). This trained FFN alone can serve as a decision support tool that describes not only reservoir releases but also how to operate the entire water supply system. This methodology is applied in a simplified representation of the Athens water supply system, and the results suggest that the FFN is capable of successfully operating the system according to a predefined operating policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Urban Water Resources Management and Policy)
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