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Article
Performance Assessment of Using Thermoelectric Generators for Waste Heat Recovery from Vapor Compression Refrigeration Systems
by , , , , and
Energies 2021, 14(23), 8192; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14238192 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
This article reports on an experimental analysis and performance assessment of using thermoelectric generators (TEGs) for waste heat recovery from residential vapor compression refrigeration systems. The analysis shows that there is a good opportunity for waste heat recovery using TEGs by de-superheating refrigerant [...] Read more.
This article reports on an experimental analysis and performance assessment of using thermoelectric generators (TEGs) for waste heat recovery from residential vapor compression refrigeration systems. The analysis shows that there is a good opportunity for waste heat recovery using TEGs by de-superheating refrigerant after the compressor. Design and manufacturing of a de-superheater unit consisting of a tube and plate heat exchanger and thermoelectric generator modules (HE-TEGs) have been performed and integrated in an experimental test rig of R134a refrigeration cycle. Experimental assessment of the performance parameters, as compared to the basic refrigeration system, reveals that the overall coefficient of performance (COP) using HE-TEGs desuperheater unit increases by values ranging from 17% to 32% depending on the condenser and evaporator loads. Exergy analysis shows that the enhancement is attributed to reduction in the exergy destruction in the condenser and compressor due to lower values of condenser pressure and pressure ratio of the compressor. The output power of the HE-TEGs unit is found to be sufficient for driving the TEGs heat sinks air cooling fan, thus providing a passive de-superheating system without an additional external source of electricity. Further enhancement of the refrigeration cycle performance can be achieved by installation of additional HE-TEGs units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waste Heat Recovery Using Thermoelectric Generators)
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Review
Torsion in String-Inspired Cosmologies and the Universe Dark Sector
by
Universe 2021, 7(12), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe7120480 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Several aspects of torsion in string-inspired cosmologies are reviewed. In particular, its connection with fundamental, string-model independent, axion fields associated with the massless gravitational multiplet of the string are discussed. It is argued in favour of the role of primordial gravitational anomalies coupled [...] Read more.
Several aspects of torsion in string-inspired cosmologies are reviewed. In particular, its connection with fundamental, string-model independent, axion fields associated with the massless gravitational multiplet of the string are discussed. It is argued in favour of the role of primordial gravitational anomalies coupled to such axions in inducing inflation of a type encountered in the “Running-Vacuum-Model (RVM)” cosmological framework, without fundamental inflaton fields. The gravitational-anomaly terms owe their existence to the Green–Schwarz mechanism for the (extra-dimensional) anomaly cancellation, and may be non-trivial in such theories in the presence of (primordial) gravitational waves at early stages of the four-dimensional string universe (after compactification). The paper also discusses how the torsion-induced stringy axions can acquire a mass in the post inflationary era, due to non-perturbative effects, thus having the potential to play the role of (a component of) dark matter in such models. Finally, the current-era phenomenology of this model is briefly described with emphasis placed on the possibility of alleviating tensions observed in the current-era cosmological data. A brief phenomenological comparison with other cosmological models in contorted geometries is also made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond Riemannian Geometry in Classical and Quantum Gravity)
Article
Insights into the Anaerobic Hydrolysis Process for Extracting Embedded EPS and Metals from Activated Sludge
by , , , and
Microorganisms 2021, 9(12), 2523; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9122523 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
The amount of sewage sludge generated from wastewater treatment plants globally is unavoidably increasing. In recent years, significant attention has been paid to the biorefinery concept based on the conversion of waste streams to high-value products, material, and energy by microorganisms. However, one [...] Read more.
The amount of sewage sludge generated from wastewater treatment plants globally is unavoidably increasing. In recent years, significant attention has been paid to the biorefinery concept based on the conversion of waste streams to high-value products, material, and energy by microorganisms. However, one of the most significant challenges in the field is the possibility of controlling the microorganisms’ pathways in the anaerobic environment. This study investigated two different anaerobic fermentation tests carried out with real waste activated sludge at high organic loading rate (10 g COD L−1d−1) and short hydraulic retention time (HRT) to comprehensively understand whether this configuration enhances extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) and metal solubilisation. The quantity of EPS recovered increased over time, while the chemical oxygen demand to EPS ratio remained in the range 1.31–1.45. Slightly acidic conditions and sludge floc disintegration promoted EPS matrix disruption and release, combined with the solubilisation of organically bound toxic metals, such as As, Be, Cu, Ni, V, and Zn, thereby increasing the overall metal removal efficiency due to the action of hydrolytic microorganisms. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Chloroflexi were the most abundant phyla observed, indicating that the short HRT imposed on the systems favoured the hydrolytic and acidogenic activity of these taxa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microorganisms and Organic Waste Valorisation)
Article
Application of Absolute Nodal Coordinate Formulation in Calculation of Space Elevator System
by , and
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(23), 11576; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112311576 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
The space elevator system is a space tether system used to solve low-cost space transportation. Its high efficiency, large load, reusability and other characteristics have broad application prospects in the aerospace field. Most of the existing mechanical models are based on “chain-bar” and [...] Read more.
The space elevator system is a space tether system used to solve low-cost space transportation. Its high efficiency, large load, reusability and other characteristics have broad application prospects in the aerospace field. Most of the existing mechanical models are based on “chain-bar” and a lumped mass tether model, which cannot effectively reflect the flexible behaviour of the rope of space elevator system. To establish an accurate mechanical model, the gradient deficient beam elements of the absolute nodal coordinate formulation (ANCF) are used to build the mechanical model of the space elevator system. The universal gravitation and centrifugal force in the model are derived. The calculation results of the ANCF model are compared with the results of the finite element method (FEM) and lumped mass (LM) models. The results show that the calculation results of the ANCF method are not very different from the results of the FEM and LM models in the case of axial loading. In the case of lateral loading, the calculation results of the ANCF method are basically the same as the results of the FEM and LM models, but can better reflect the local flexible deformation of the space elevator rope, and have a better calculation stability than FEM. Under the same calculation accuracy, the ANCF method can use fewer elements, and the speed of convergence is faster than the FEM and LM models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Aerospace Science and Engineering)
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Article
The Effect of Periprocedural Clinical Factors Related to the Course of STEMI in Men and Women Based on the National Registry of Invasive Cardiology Procedures (ORPKI) between 2014 and 2019
by , , , and
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(23), 5716; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10235716 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Background: There are several sex-related differences in the course, management, and outcomes of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). This study aimed to identify the risk factors that may affect the odds of procedure-related death in patients with STEMI. Methods: The observational cohort study group [...] Read more.
Background: There are several sex-related differences in the course, management, and outcomes of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). This study aimed to identify the risk factors that may affect the odds of procedure-related death in patients with STEMI. Methods: The observational cohort study group consisted of 118,601 participants recruited from the National Registry of Invasive Cardiology Procedures (ORPKI). Results: Procedure-related death occurred in 802 (1.0%) men and in 663 (1.7%) women. The odds of procedure-related death among women were significantly higher than among men (OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.59–1.95; p < 0.001). The probability of procedure-related mortality was highest in both men and women with cardiac arrest in the cath lab, critical stenosis of the left main coronary artery, and direct transfer to the cath lab. The factors that reduced the probability of procedure-related mortality in both men and women were thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) flow grade and the use of P2Y12 inhibitors in the peri-infarct period. Psoriasis was associated with increased odds of procedure-related death among men, whereas cigarette smoking reduced the odds among women. Conclusions: Procedure-related deaths occurred more frequently in women than men with STEMI. Additional scrutiny needs to be undertaken to identify factors influencing survival regarding gender differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cardiology)
Article
NS-11021 Modulates Cancer-Associated Processes Independently of BK Channels in Melanoma and Pancreatic Duct Adenocarcinoma Cell Lines
by , , , , , , and
Cancers 2021, 13(23), 6144; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13236144 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Potassium channels have emerged as regulators of carcinogenesis, thus introducing possible new therapeutic strategies in the fight against cancer. In particular, the large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel, often referred to as BK channel, is involved in several cancer-associated processes. Here, we [...] Read more.
Potassium channels have emerged as regulators of carcinogenesis, thus introducing possible new therapeutic strategies in the fight against cancer. In particular, the large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel, often referred to as BK channel, is involved in several cancer-associated processes. Here, we investigated the effects of different BK activators, NS-11021, NS-19504, and BMS-191011, in IGR39 (primary melanoma cell line) and Panc-1 (primary pancreatic duct carcinoma cell line), highly expressing the channel, and in IGR37 (metastatic melanoma cell line) that barely express BK. Our data showed that NS-11021 and NS-19504 potently activated BK channels in IGR39 and Panc-1 cells, while no effect on channel activation was detected in IGR37 cells. On the contrary, BK channel activator BMS-191011 was less effective. However, only NS-11021 showed significant effects in cancer-associated processes, such as cell survival, migration, and proliferation in these cancer cell lines. Moreover, NS-11021 led to an increase of intracellular Ca2+ concentration, independent of BK channel activation, thus complicating any interpretation of its role in the regulation of cancer-associated mechanisms. Overall, we conclude that the activation of the BK channel by itself is not sufficient to produce beneficial anti-cancer effects in the melanoma and PDAC cell lines examined. Importantly, our results raise an alarm flag regarding the use of presumably specific BK channel openers as anti-cancer agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ion Channels in Cancer Therapies)
Article
Design and Analysis of In-Pipe Hydro-Turbine for an Optimized Nearly Zero Energy Building
by , , , , and
Sensors 2021, 21(23), 8154; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21238154 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Pakistan receives Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) exceeding 2000 kWh/m2/annum on approximately 83% of its land, which is very suitable for photovoltaic production. This energy can be easily utilized in conjunction with other renewable energy resources to meet the energy demands and [...] Read more.
Pakistan receives Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) exceeding 2000 kWh/m2/annum on approximately 83% of its land, which is very suitable for photovoltaic production. This energy can be easily utilized in conjunction with other renewable energy resources to meet the energy demands and reduce the carbon footprint of the country. In this research, a hybrid renewable energy solution based on a nearly Zero Energy Building (nZEB) model is proposed for a university facility. The building in consideration has a continuous flow of water through its water delivery vertical pipelines. A horizontal-axis spherical helical turbine is designed in SolidWorks and is analyzed through a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis in ANSYS Fluent 18.1 based on the K-epsilon turbulent model. Results obtained from ANSYS Fluent have shown that a 24 feet vertical channel with a water flow of 0.2309 m3/s and velocity of 12.66 m/s can run the designed hydroelectric turbine, delivering 168 W of mechanical power at 250 r.p.m. Based on the turbine, a hybrid renewable energy system (HRES) comprising photovoltaic and hydroelectric power is modelled and analyzed in HOMER Pro software. Among different architectures, it was found that architecture with hydroelectric and photovoltaic energy provided the best COE of $0.09418. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Energy Harvesting Sensors)
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Article
Effectively Synthesizing SO4/TiO2 Catalyst and Its Performance for Converting Ethanol into Diethyl Ether (DEE)
by , , , , , and
Catalysts 2021, 11(12), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal11121492 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
This SO4/TiO2 catalyst as a heterogeneous acidic catalyst was synthesized in various concentrations of H2SO4. The activity and selectivity of the SO4/TiO2 catalyst on the dehydration reaction of ethanol to diethyl ether were [...] Read more.
This SO4/TiO2 catalyst as a heterogeneous acidic catalyst was synthesized in various concentrations of H2SO4. The activity and selectivity of the SO4/TiO2 catalyst on the dehydration reaction of ethanol to diethyl ether were studied as well. The SO4/TiO2 was prepared from TiO2 powder by wet impregnation method with a various aqueous solution of H2SO4 (1; 2; 3 M H2SO4) and calcination temperature (400, 500, and 600 °C) to obtain a catalyst with optimum acidity. The catalysts were characterized using FTIR, XRD, SEM-EDX, SAA, TGA/DSC, and acidity test gravimetrically with ammonia. The liquid product of DEE was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) to analyze the selectivity of the catalyst. The catalyst TS-3-400 had the highest activity and selectivity in the dehydration reaction of ethanol to diethyl ether at a temperature of 225 °C, with a conversion of 51.83% and a DEE selectivity of 1.72%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Bioreactors: Control, Optimization and Applications)
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Article
Exploiting the Chiral Ligands of Bis(imidazolinyl)- and Bis(oxazolinyl)thiophenes—Synthesis and Application in Cu-Catalyzed Friedel–Crafts Asymmetric Alkylation
by , , , , and
Molecules 2021, 26(23), 7408; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26237408 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Five new C2-symmetric chiral ligands of 2,5-bis(imidazolinyl)thiophene (L1L3) and 2,5-bis(oxazolinyl)thiophene (L4 and L5) were synthesized from thiophene-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (1) with enantiopure amino alcohols (4ac) in [...] Read more.
Five new C2-symmetric chiral ligands of 2,5-bis(imidazolinyl)thiophene (L1L3) and 2,5-bis(oxazolinyl)thiophene (L4 and L5) were synthesized from thiophene-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (1) with enantiopure amino alcohols (4ac) in excellent optical purity and chemical yield. The utility of these new chiral ligands for Friedel–Crafts asymmetric alkylation was explored. Subsequently, the optimized tridentate ligand L5 and Cu(OTf)2 catalyst (15 mol%) in toluene for 48 h promoted Friedel–Crafts asymmetric alkylation in moderate to good yields (up to 76%) and with good enantioselectivity (up to 81% ee). The bis(oxazolinyl)thiophene ligands were more potent than bis(imidazolinyl)thiophene analogues for the asymmetric induction of the Friedel–Crafts asymmetric alkylation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemistry of Indoles)
Review
Treating Bacterial Infections with Bacteriophage-Based Enzybiotics: In Vitro, In Vivo, and Clinical Application
by , and
Antibiotics 2021, 10(12), 1497; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10121497 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a surge around the world in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This global health threat arose mainly due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics as well as a relative lack of new drug classes [...] Read more.
Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a surge around the world in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This global health threat arose mainly due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics as well as a relative lack of new drug classes in development pipelines. Innovative antibacterial therapeutics and strategies are, therefore, in grave need. For the last twenty years, antimicrobial enzymes encoded by bacteriophages, viruses that can lyse and kill bacteria, have gained tremendous interest. There are two classes of these phage-derived enzymes, referred to also as enzybiotics: peptidoglycan hydrolases (lysins), which degrade the bacterial peptidoglycan layer, and polysaccharide depolymerases, which target extracellular or surface polysaccharides, i.e., bacterial capsules, slime layers, biofilm matrix, or lipopolysaccharides. Their features include distinctive modes of action, high efficiency, pathogen specificity, diversity in structure and activity, low possibility of bacterial resistance development, and no observed cross-resistance with currently used antibiotics. Additionally, and unlike antibiotics, enzybiotics can target metabolically inactive persister cells. These phage-derived enzymes have been tested in various animal models to combat both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and in recent years peptidoglycan hydrolases have entered clinical trials. Here, we review the testing and clinical use of these enzymes. Full article
Review
Mechanisms and Regulation of Cellular Senescence
by , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 13173; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222313173 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Cellular senescence entails a state of an essentially irreversible proliferative arrest in which cells remain metabolically active and secrete a range of pro-inflammatory and proteolytic factors as part of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. There are different types of senescent cells, and senescence can [...] Read more.
Cellular senescence entails a state of an essentially irreversible proliferative arrest in which cells remain metabolically active and secrete a range of pro-inflammatory and proteolytic factors as part of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. There are different types of senescent cells, and senescence can be induced in response to many DNA damage signals. Senescent cells accumulate in different tissues and organs where they have distinct physiological and pathological functions. Despite this diversity, all senescent cells must be able to survive in a nondividing state while protecting themselves from positive feedback loops linked to the constant activation of the DNA damage response. This capacity requires changes in core cellular programs. Understanding how different cell types can undergo extensive changes in their transcriptional programs, metabolism, heterochromatin patterns, and cellular structures to induce a common cellular state is crucial to preventing cancer development/progression and to improving health during aging. In this review, we discuss how senescent cells continuously evolve after their initial proliferative arrest and highlight the unifying features that define the senescent state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Senescence 2.0)
Article
Stage 2: Who Are the Best Candidates for Robotic Gait Training Rehabilitation in Hemiparetic Stroke?
by , , and
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(23), 5715; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10235715 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
We aimed to compare the effects of robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) in patients with FAC <2 (low initial functional ambulation category [LFAC]) and FAC ≥2 (high initial functional ambulation category [HFAC]) on sensorimotor and spasticity, balance and trunk stability, the number of steps [...] Read more.
We aimed to compare the effects of robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) in patients with FAC <2 (low initial functional ambulation category [LFAC]) and FAC ≥2 (high initial functional ambulation category [HFAC]) on sensorimotor and spasticity, balance and trunk stability, the number of steps and walking distance in subacute hemiparetic stroke. Fifty-seven patients with subacute hemiparetic stroke (mean age, 63.86 ± 12.72 years; 23 women) were assigned to two groups. All patients received a 30-min Walkbot-assisted gait training session, 3 times/week, for 6 weeks. Clinical outcomes included scores obtained on the Fugl–Meyer Assessment (FMA) scale, Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), trunk impairment scale (TIS), and the number of walking steps and walking distance. Analysis of covariance and analysis of variance were conducted at p < 0.05. Significant main effects of time in both groups on number of walking steps and distance (p < 0.05) were observed, but not in MAS (p > 0.05). Significant changes in FMA, BBS, and TIS scores between groups (p < 0.05) were observed. Significant main effects of time on BBS and TIS were demonstrated (p < 0.05). Our study shows that RAGT can maximize improvement in the functional score of FMA, BBS, TIS, steps, and distance during neurorehabilitation of subacute stroke patients regardless of their FAC level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and Stroke)
Article
Evolution of Temperature Field around Underground Power Cable for Static and Cyclic Heating
by , , , , and
Energies 2021, 14(23), 8191; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14238191 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Power transmission covering long-distances has shifted from overhead high voltage cables to underground power cable systems due to numerous failures under severe weather conditions and electromagnetic pollution. The underground power cable systems are limited by the melting point of the insulator around the [...] Read more.
Power transmission covering long-distances has shifted from overhead high voltage cables to underground power cable systems due to numerous failures under severe weather conditions and electromagnetic pollution. The underground power cable systems are limited by the melting point of the insulator around the conductor, which depends on the surrounding soils’ heat transfer capacity or the thermal conductivity. In the past, numerical and theoretical studies have been conducted based on the mechanistic heat and mass transfer model. However, limited experimental evidence has been provided. Therefore, in this study, we performed a series of experiments for static and cyclic thermal loads with a cylindrical heater embedded in the sand. The results suggest thermal charging of the surrounding dry sand and natural convection within the wet sand. A comparison of heat transfer for dry, unsaturated and fully saturated sand is presented with graphs and colour maps which provide valuable information and insight of heat and mass transfer around an underground power cable. Furthermore, the measurements of thermal conductivity against density, moisture and temperature are presented showing positive nonlinear dependence. Full article
Article
Individual Tree Structural Parameter Extraction and Volume Table Creation Based on Near-Field LiDAR Data: A Case Study in a Subtropical Planted Forest
by , and
Sensors 2021, 21(23), 8162; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21238162 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Individual tree structural parameters are vital for precision silviculture in planted forests. This study used near-field LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data (i.e., unmanned aerial vehicle laser scanning (ULS) and ground backpack laser scanning (BLS)) to extract individual tree structural parameters and fit [...] Read more.
Individual tree structural parameters are vital for precision silviculture in planted forests. This study used near-field LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data (i.e., unmanned aerial vehicle laser scanning (ULS) and ground backpack laser scanning (BLS)) to extract individual tree structural parameters and fit volume models in subtropical planted forests in southeastern China. To do this, firstly, the tree height was acquired from ULS data and the diameter at breast height (DBH) was acquired from BLS data by using individual tree segmentation algorithms. Secondly, point clouds of the complete forest canopy were obtained through the combination of ULS and BLS data. Finally, five tree taper models were fitted using the LiDAR-extracted structural parameters of each tree, and then the optimal taper model was selected. Moreover, standard volume models were used to calculate the stand volume; then, standing timber volume tables were created for dawn redwood and poplar. The extraction of individual tree structural parameters exhibited good performance. The volume model had a good performance in calculating the standing volume for dawn redwood and poplar. Our results demonstrate that near-field LiDAR has a strong capability of extracting tree structural parameters and creating volume tables for subtropical planted forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Radar Sensors)
Article
Hybrid Power System for the Range Extension of Security Robots: Specification Development Phase
by
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(23), 11577; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112311577 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
This paper describes our best practices related to hybrid power system (HPS) development, with a focus on the specification development phase. The HPS specifications are based on the main development goals of our security robot, which place top priority on 24 h continuous [...] Read more.
This paper describes our best practices related to hybrid power system (HPS) development, with a focus on the specification development phase. The HPS specifications are based on the main development goals of our security robot, which place top priority on 24 h continuous operation on a single charge. Similar to human guards, security robots are expected to operate 24 h per day, seven days per week, but existing battery-powered robots cannot meet these goals. For long-duration missions, their operating times are too short, and their charging times are too long. As an effective alternative, hydrogen fuel cells are combined with batteries to hybridize the power systems of security robots. In this study, several HPS structures were comprehensively compared by selecting a one-stage series structure. Component specifications were determined based on the selected structure to achieve the main development goals of our security robot. To verify whether the determined specifications are valid, a HPS simulator was developed. The key operating conditions for the HPS were simulated, including overloading, terminal short-circuiting, and drive cycling. Under critical conditions, the behavior of the entire system and its components was confirmed. The developed specifications will eventually be carried over to the prototyping phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cutting-Edge Technologies of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs))
Article
SoybeanmiR159-GmMYB33 Regulatory Network Involved in Gibberellin-Modulated Resistance to Heterodera glycines
by , , , , , , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 13172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222313172 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Soybean cyst nematode (SCN, Heterodera glycines) is an obligate sedentary biotroph that poses major threats to soybean production globally. Recently, multiple miRNAome studies revealed that miRNAs participate in complicated soybean-SCN interactions by regulating their target genes. However, the functional roles of miRNA [...] Read more.
Soybean cyst nematode (SCN, Heterodera glycines) is an obligate sedentary biotroph that poses major threats to soybean production globally. Recently, multiple miRNAome studies revealed that miRNAs participate in complicated soybean-SCN interactions by regulating their target genes. However, the functional roles of miRNA and target genes regulatory network are still poorly understood. In present study, we firstly investigated the expression patterns of miR159 and targeted GmMYB33 genes. The results showed miR159-3p downregulation during SCN infection; conversely, GmMYB33 genes upregulated. Furthermore, miR159 overexpressing and silencing soybean hairy roots exhibited strong resistance and susceptibility to H. glycines, respectively. In particular, miR159-GAMYB genes are reported to be involve in GA signaling and metabolism. Therefore, we then investigated the effects of GA application on the expression of miR159-GAMYB module and the development of H. glycines. We found that GA directly controls the miR159-GAMYB module, and exogenous GA application enhanced endogenous biologically active GA1 and GA3, the abundance of miR159, lowered the expression of GmMYB33 genes and delayed the development of H. glycines. Moreover, SCN infection also results in endogenous GA content decreased in soybean roots. In summary, the soybean miR159-GmMYB33 module was directly involved in the GA-modulated soybean resistance to H. glycines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small RNA and Hormone Cross Talk in Plants)
Article
Sustaining Inclusive, Quality Education during COVID-19 Lockdowns
by and
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13481; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313481 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
With the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing countries to close schools, the education of students worldwide had become a major challenge. Schools were forced to switch to online education, as that proved to be the only feasible option considering the adverse [...] Read more.
With the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing countries to close schools, the education of students worldwide had become a major challenge. Schools were forced to switch to online education, as that proved to be the only feasible option considering the adverse circumstances. The purpose of this research is to facilitate a quick transition to distance education should another lockdown be implemented. This is achieved by performing a literature review to determine how online education is regarded by students, along with what its advantages and challenges are. A survey has also been administered, with the purpose of assessing the usability of certain web conferencing platforms used in online education. The findings and results indicate an improving attitude towards degrees and courses acquired by online education, whilst also including the pitfalls and challenges teachers currently face during online education. The results of the survey suggest that certain web conferencing platforms appeal to the students more, with Big Blue Button being the platform most respondents rated favourably in the survey. Student feedback indicates that the transition to online education was successful, albeit somewhat challenging. Full article
Article
From a Well-Defined Organozinc Precursor to Diverse Luminescent Coordination Polymers Based on Zn(II)-Quinolinate Building Units Interconnected by Mixed Ligand Systems
by , , , , and
Molecules 2021, 26(23), 7402; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26237402 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Introduction of photoactive building blocks into mixed-ligand coordination polymers appears to be a promising way to produce new advanced luminescent materials. However, rational design and self-assembly of the multi-component supramolecular systems is challenging from both a conceptual and synthetic perspective. Here, we report [...] Read more.
Introduction of photoactive building blocks into mixed-ligand coordination polymers appears to be a promising way to produce new advanced luminescent materials. However, rational design and self-assembly of the multi-component supramolecular systems is challenging from both a conceptual and synthetic perspective. Here, we report exploratory studies that investigate the potential of [Zn(q)2]2[tBuZn(OH)]2 complex (q = deprotonated 8-hydroxyquinoline) as an organozinc precursor as well as a mixed-ligand synthetic strategy for the preparation of new luminescent coordination polymers (CPs). As a result we present three new 2D mixed-ligand Zn(II)-quinolinate coordination polymers which are based on various zinc quinolinate secondary building units interconnected by two different organic linker types, i.e., deprotonated 4,4′-oxybisbenzoic acid (H2obc) as a flexible dicarboxylate linker and/or selected bipyridines (bipy). Remarkably, using the title organozinc precursors in a combination with H2obc and 4,4′-bipyridine, a novel molecular zinc quinolinate building unit, [Zn4(q)6(bipy)2(obc)2], was obtained which self-assembled into a chain-type hydrogen-bonded network. The application of the organometallic precursor allowed for its direct reaction with the selected ligands at ambient temperature, avoiding the use of both solvothermal conditions and additional base reagents. In turn, the reaction involving Zn(NO3)2, as a classical inorganic precursor, in a combination with H2obc and bipy led to a novel 1D coordination polymer [Zn2(q)2(NO3)2(bipy)]. While the presence of H2obc was essential for the formation of this coordination polymer, this ditopic linker was not incorporated into the isolated product, which indicates its templating behavior. The reported compounds were characterized by single-crystal and powder X-ray diffraction, elemental analysis as well as UV-Vis and photoluminescence spectroscopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organometallic Compounds and Their Applications)
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Review
A Review on the Production of Light Olefins Using Steam Cracking of Hydrocarbons
by , , and
Energies 2021, 14(23), 8190; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14238190 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Light olefins are the main building blocks used in the petrochemical and chemical industries for the production of different components such as polymers, synthetic fibers, rubbers, and plastic materials. Currently, steam cracking of hydrocarbons is the main technology for the production of light [...] Read more.
Light olefins are the main building blocks used in the petrochemical and chemical industries for the production of different components such as polymers, synthetic fibers, rubbers, and plastic materials. Currently, steam cracking of hydrocarbons is the main technology for the production of light olefins. In steam cracking, the pyrolysis of feedstocks occurs in the cracking furnace, where hydrocarbon feed and steam are first mixed and preheated in the convection section and then enter the furnace radiation section to crack to the desired products. This paper summarizes olefin production via the steam cracking process; and the reaction mechanism and cracking furnace are also discussed. The effect of different operating parameters, including temperature, residence time, feedstock composition, and the steam-to-hydrocarbon ratio, are also reviewed. Full article
Article
On the Packing Partitioning Problem on Directed Graphs
by and
Mathematics 2021, 9(23), 3148; https://doi.org/10.3390/math9233148 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
This work is aimed to continue studying the packing sets of digraphs via the perspective of partitioning the vertex set of a digraph into packing sets (which can be interpreted as a type of vertex coloring of digraphs) and focused on finding the [...] Read more.
This work is aimed to continue studying the packing sets of digraphs via the perspective of partitioning the vertex set of a digraph into packing sets (which can be interpreted as a type of vertex coloring of digraphs) and focused on finding the minimum cardinality among all packing partitions for a given digraph D, called the packing partition number of D. Some lower and upper bounds on this parameter are proven, and their exact values for directed trees are given in this paper. In the case of directed trees, the proof results in a polynomial-time algorithm for finding a packing partition of minimum cardinality. We also consider this parameter in digraph products. In particular, a complete solution to this case is presented when dealing with the rooted products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mathematics and Computer Science)
Article
Topical Chitosan-Based Thermo-Responsive Scaffold Provides Dexketoprofen Trometamol Controlled Release for 24 h Use
by , , , , , , and
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(12), 2100; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13122100 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Chronic and non-healing wounds demand personalized and more effective therapies for treating complications and improving patient compliance. Concerning that, this work aims to develop a suitable chitosan-based thermo-responsive scaffold to provide 24 h controlled release of Dexketoprofen trometamol (DKT). Three formulation prototypes were [...] Read more.
Chronic and non-healing wounds demand personalized and more effective therapies for treating complications and improving patient compliance. Concerning that, this work aims to develop a suitable chitosan-based thermo-responsive scaffold to provide 24 h controlled release of Dexketoprofen trometamol (DKT). Three formulation prototypes were developed using chitosan (F1), 2:1 chitosan: PVA (F2), and 1:1 chitosan:gelatin (F3). Compatibility tests were done by DSC, TG, and FT-IR. SEM was employed to examine the morphology of the surface and inner layers from the scaffolds. In vitro release studies were performed at 32 °C and 38 °C, and the profiles were later adjusted to different kinetic models for the best formulation. F3 showed the most controlled release of DKT at 32 °C for 24 h (77.75 ± 2.72%) and reduced the burst release in the initial 6 h (40.18 ± 1.00%). The formulation exhibited a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) at 34.96 °C, and due to this phase transition, an increased release was observed at 38 °C (88.52 ± 2.07% at 12 h). The release profile for this formulation fits with Hixson–Crowell and Korsmeyer–Peppas kinetic models at both temperatures. Therefore, the developed scaffold for DKT delivery performs adequate controlled release, thereby; it can potentially overcome adherence issues and complications in wound healing applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Drug Delivery for Wounds Treatment)
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Article
Azobenzene/Tetraethyl Ammonium Photochromic Potassium Channel Blockers: Scope and Limitations for Design of Para-Substituted Derivatives with Specific Absorption Band Maxima and Thermal Isomerization Rate
by , , , , , , , and
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 13171; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222313171 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Azobenzene/tetraethyl ammonium photochromic ligands (ATPLs) are photoactive compounds with a large variety of photopharmacological applications such as nociception control or vision restoration. Absorption band maximum and lifetime of the less stable isomer are important characteristics that determine the applicability of ATPLs. Substituents allow [...] Read more.
Azobenzene/tetraethyl ammonium photochromic ligands (ATPLs) are photoactive compounds with a large variety of photopharmacological applications such as nociception control or vision restoration. Absorption band maximum and lifetime of the less stable isomer are important characteristics that determine the applicability of ATPLs. Substituents allow to adjust these characteristics in a range limited by the azobenzene/tetraethyl ammonium scaffold. The aim of the current study is to find the scope and limitations for the design of ATPLs with specific spectral and kinetic properties by introducing para substituents with different electronic effects. To perform this task we synthesized ATPLs with various electron acceptor and electron donor functional groups and studied their spectral and kinetic properties using flash photolysis and conventional spectroscopy techniques as well as quantum chemical modeling. As a result, we obtained diagrams that describe correlations between spectral and kinetic properties of ATPLs (absorption maxima of E and Z isomers of ATPLs, the thermal lifetime of their Z form) and both the electronic effect of substituents described by Hammett constants and structural parameters obtained from quantum chemical calculations. The provided results can be used for the design of ATPLs with properties that are optimal for photopharmacological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Photopharmacology)
Review
Bacillus velezensis: A Treasure House of Bioactive Compounds of Medicinal, Biocontrol and Environmental Importance
by , , , , , , , and
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1714; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121714 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Bacillus velezensis gram-positive bacterium, is frequently isolated from diverse niches mainly soil, water, plant roots, and fermented foods. B. velezensis is ubiquitous, non-pathogenic and endospore forming. Being frequently isolated from diverse plant holobionts it is considered host adapted microorganism and recognized of high [...] Read more.
Bacillus velezensis gram-positive bacterium, is frequently isolated from diverse niches mainly soil, water, plant roots, and fermented foods. B. velezensis is ubiquitous, non-pathogenic and endospore forming. Being frequently isolated from diverse plant holobionts it is considered host adapted microorganism and recognized of high economic importance given its ability to promote plant growth under diverse biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Additionally, the species suppress many plant diseases, including bacterial, oomycete, and fungal diseases. It is also able after plant host root colonization to induce unique physiological situation of host plant called primed state. Primed host plants are able to respond more rapidly and/or effectively to biotic or abiotic stress. Moreover, B. velezenis have the ability to resist diverse environmental stresses and help host plants to cope with, including metal and xenobiotic stresses. Within species B. velezensis strains have unique abilities allowing them to adopt different life styles. Strain level abilities knowledge is warranted and could be inferred using the ever-expanding new genomes list available in genomes databases. Pangenome analysis and subsequent identification of core, accessory and unique genomes is actually of paramount importance to decipher species full metabolic capacities and fitness across diverse environmental conditions shaping its life style. Despite the crucial importance of the pan genome, its assessment among large number of strains remains sparse and systematic studies still needed. Extensive knowledge of the pan genome is needed to translate genome sequencing efforts into developing more efficient biocontrol agents and bio-fertilizers. In this study, a genome survey of B. velezensis allowed us to (a) highlight B. velezensis species boundaries and show that Bacillus suffers taxonomic imprecision that blurs the debate over species pangenome; (b) identify drivers of their successful acquisition of specific life styles and colonization of new niches; (c) describe strategies they use to promote plant growth and development; (d) reveal the unlocked strain specific orphan secondary metabolite gene clusters (biosynthetic clusters with corresponding metabolites unknown) that product identification is still awaiting to amend our knowledge of their putative role in suppression of pathogens and plant growth promotion, and (e) to describe a dynamic pangenome with a secondary metabolite rich accessory genome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Control in Forests Protection)
Article
UAV Path Planning Based on Multi-Stage Constraint Optimization
by , , , , and
Drones 2021, 5(4), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5040144 (registering DOI) - 06 Dec 2021
Abstract
Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) path planners have been extensively studied for their effectiveness and high concurrency. However, when there are many obstacles, the path can easily violate constraints during the evolutionary process. Even if a single waypoint causes a [...] Read more.
Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) path planners have been extensively studied for their effectiveness and high concurrency. However, when there are many obstacles, the path can easily violate constraints during the evolutionary process. Even if a single waypoint causes a few constraint violations, the algorithm will discard these solutions. In this paper, path planning is constructed as a multi-objective optimization problem with constraints in a three-dimensional terrain scenario. To solve this problem in an effective way, this paper proposes an evolutionary algorithm based on multi-level constraint processing (ANSGA-III-PPS) to plan the shortest collision-free flight path of a gliding UAV. The proposed algorithm uses an adaptive constraint processing mechanism to improve different path constraints in a three-dimensional environment and uses an improved adaptive non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (third edition—ANSGA-III) to enhance the algorithm’s path planning ability in a complex environment. The experimental results show that compared with the other four algorithms, ANSGA-III-PPS achieves the best solution performance. This not only validates the effect of the proposed algorithm, but also enriches and improves the research results of UAV path planning. Full article

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