237 journals awarded Impact Factor
 
 
33 pages, 2716 KiB  
Review
Exploring Purpose-Driven Leadership: Theoretical Foundations, Mechanisms, and Impacts in Organizational Context
by Marco Ferreira Ribeiro, Carla Gomes da Costa and Filipe R. Ramos
Adm. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci14070148 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Leadership has been extensively studied in organizational contexts, with numerous theories examining how leaders influence success and employee engagement. Most recently, integrating organizational purpose—the core reason for an organization’s existence—into leadership has garnered substantial interest, resulting in the underdeveloped concept of Purpose-Driven Leadership. [...] Read more.
Leadership has been extensively studied in organizational contexts, with numerous theories examining how leaders influence success and employee engagement. Most recently, integrating organizational purpose—the core reason for an organization’s existence—into leadership has garnered substantial interest, resulting in the underdeveloped concept of Purpose-Driven Leadership. This paper presents a systematic review of Purpose-Driven Leadership in organizations. We employed the PRISMA guidelines and searched WoS and SCOPUS, identifying 58 relevant research papers for inclusion in our review. The success of Purpose-Driven Leadership, as a nexus of individual and organizational purposes, hinges on defining and implementing an organizational purpose that resonates at all levels, based on the inverted pyramid of purpose, from overarching organization to individual roles. Our review suggests several positive outcomes associated with Purpose-Driven Leadership. These include increased work engagement, where employees are more invested in their roles; enhanced organizational commitment, reflecting stronger loyalty to the organization; improved employee performance, demonstrating higher productivity and effectiveness; and overall organizational performance. Additionally, this leadership approach promotes a cohesive and motivated workforce by aligning individual goals with the broader organizational purpose, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Several moderators were also identified, including effective purpose communication, impact perception, autonomy, and balance of work–life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Leadership)
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15 pages, 6062 KiB  
Article
The Greasy Pole Syndrome in Alliaria petiolata (Brassicaceae): The Pubescence and Wax Coverage on Stems Reduce Invasion by Lasius niger Ants
by Elena V. Gorb and Stanislav N. Gorb
Plants 2024, 13(14), 1932; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13141932 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
To reduce negative effects of floral visitation by ants, which do not serve as reliable cross-pollinators, some plants have developed a non-floral, stem-based defense mechanism called greasy pole syndrome. In the present study, we examined the effects of two surface features (trichomes and [...] Read more.
To reduce negative effects of floral visitation by ants, which do not serve as reliable cross-pollinators, some plants have developed a non-floral, stem-based defense mechanism called greasy pole syndrome. In the present study, we examined the effects of two surface features (trichomes and three-dimensional epicuticular wax coverage) on stems of Alliaria petiolata plants on visiting frequencies, travelled distances, and running velocities of Lasius niger ants. The experiments were performed with stem samples prepared from different (apical and basal) stem portions showing different surface morphologies (smooth control, covered by wax and trichomes + wax, respectively). The control, mechanically wiped stem samples lacking any surface features were significantly more often visited by ants, where they travelled significantly longer distances and moved with significantly higher velocities, compared to the intact stems. The apical and basal stem portions showed no significant differences in the measured parameters. Based on data obtained, we conclude about the main contribution of the wax to the greasy pole function of the A. petiolata stem via reduction of ant adhesion to the wax-bearing stem surface, whereas trichomes presumably serve as the first barrier for ants approaching usually from the ground level and protect the fragile wax coverage from an excessive deterioration. Full article
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21 pages, 2149 KiB  
Article
Sex-Moderated Divergence between Adult Child and Parental Dietary Behavior Patterns in Relation to Body Mass Condition—Evaluating the Mediating Role of Physical Activity: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Jarosław Domaradzki and Małgorzata Renata Słowińska-Lisowska
Nutrients 2024, 16(14), 2256; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16142256 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to explore the dietary behaviors of parents and their adult children, focusing on patterns, potential intrinsic and extrinsic predictors of body mass, and determinants of becoming overweight. Non-probability, cross-sectional sampling was used to select participants from [...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to explore the dietary behaviors of parents and their adult children, focusing on patterns, potential intrinsic and extrinsic predictors of body mass, and determinants of becoming overweight. Non-probability, cross-sectional sampling was used to select participants from a university student population. Young adults (19–21 years of age, n = 144) and their parents were examined. The data of those family pairs with complete sets of results were used. Dietary patterns and physical activity were assessed with questionnaires (QEB and IPAQ), and body height, weight measurements, and body mass indexes were calculated. A cophylogenetic approach with tanglegrams and heatmaps was used to study patterns, while predictors of body mass index were identified using multiple linear regression, stepwise logistic regression, and mediation analysis procedures. Cophenetic statistics confirmed significant incongruence between fathers and sons, confirmed by Baker’s Gamma correlation (rBG = 0.23, p = 0.021), and mothers and daughters (rBG = 0.26, p = 0.030). The relationships between the dietary patterns of the fathers and daughters, as well as mothers and sons, were of medium strength (rBG = 0.33, p = 0.032, rBG = 0.43, p = 0.031; respectively). Most of the patterns were mixed. Fast food, fried meals, alcoholic drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened beverages were associated significantly with being overweight. Significant intrinsic predictors of excessive weight in young adults were sex (b = 2.31, p < 0.001), PA (b = −0.02, p < 0.001), and eating fermented milk and curd cheese (b = −0.55, p = 0.024), while extrinsic (parental) predictors included eating fast food and fried meals (b = −0.44, p = 0.049). Both physical activity and dietary behaviors independently determined the sons’ overweight status (b = −1.25, p = 0.008; b = −0.04, p < 0.001; respectively); while only PA did in daughters (b = −0.04, p < 0.001). No mediating effects of physical activity were observed. Adult children and parental dietary patterns were divergent, reflecting the influence of multiple factors on a child’s dietary habits. However, this divergence is moderated by sex. Reciprocal interactions between dietary intake—particularly positive dyads such as fruits and vegetables, fermented milk, and curd cheese—and physical activity significantly impacted children’s body mass index (BMI). The study of dietary patterns in conjunction with physical activity (both as independent determinants), particularly in relation to the link between overweight/obese children and overweight/obese parents, presents a separate challenge. Full article
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20 pages, 2023 KiB  
Article
Sanguinarine Induces Necroptosis of HCC by Targeting PKM2 Mediated Energy Metabolism
by Rui Kong, Nan Wang, Chunli Zhou, Yuqing Zhou, Xiaoyan Guo, Dongyan Wang, Yihai Shi, Rong Wan, Yuejuan Zheng and Jie Lu
Cancers 2024, 16(14), 2533; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers16142533 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Backgrounds: Abnormal metabolism is the hallmark of hepatocellular carcinoma. Targeting energy metabolism has become the major focus of cancer therapy. The natural product, sanguinarine, displays remarkable anti-tumor properties by disturbing energy homeostasis; however, the underlying mechanism has not yet been elucidated. Methods: The [...] Read more.
Backgrounds: Abnormal metabolism is the hallmark of hepatocellular carcinoma. Targeting energy metabolism has become the major focus of cancer therapy. The natural product, sanguinarine, displays remarkable anti-tumor properties by disturbing energy homeostasis; however, the underlying mechanism has not yet been elucidated. Methods: The anticancer activity of sanguinarine was determined using CCK-8 and colony formation assay. Morphological changes of induced cell death were observed under electron microscopy. Necroptosis and apoptosis related markers were detected using western blotting. PKM2 was identified as the target by transcriptome sequencing. Molecular docking assay was used to evaluate the binding affinity of sanguinarine to the PKM2 molecule. Furthermore, Alb-CreERT2; PKM2loxp/loxp; Rosa26RFP mice was used to construct the model of HCC—through the intervention of sanguinarine in vitro and in vivo—to accurately explore the regulation effect of sanguinarine on cancer energy metabolism. Results: Sanguinarine inhibited tumor proliferation, metastasis and induced two modes of cell death. Molecular docking of sanguinarine with PKM2 showed appreciable binding affinity. PKM2 kinase activity and aerobic glycolysis rate declined, and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation was inhibited by sanguinarine application; these changes result in energy deficits and lead to necroptosis. Additionally, sanguinarine treatment prevents the translocation of PKM2 into the nucleus and suppresses the interaction of PKM2 with β-catenin; the transcriptional activity of PKM2/β-catenin signaling and its downstream genes were decreased. Conclusions: Sanguinarine showed remarkable anti-HCC activity via regulating energy metabolism by PKM2/β-catenin signaling. On the basis of these investigations, we propose that sanguinarine might be considered as a promising compound for discovery of anti-HCC drugs. Full article
19 pages, 1600 KiB  
Review
Multi-Omics Approaches in Oil Palm Research: A Comprehensive Review of Metabolomics, Proteomics, and Transcriptomics Based on Low-Temperature Stress
by Jerome Jeyakumar John Martin, Yuqiao Song, Mingming Hou, Lixia Zhou, Xiaoyu Liu, Xinyu Li, Dengqiang Fu, Qihong Li, Hongxing Cao and Rui Li
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(14), 7695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25147695 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is a typical tropical oil crop with a temperature of 26–28 °C, providing approximately 35% of the total world’s vegetable oil. Growth and productivity are significantly affected by low-temperature stress, resulting in inhibited growth and substantial yield [...] Read more.
Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is a typical tropical oil crop with a temperature of 26–28 °C, providing approximately 35% of the total world’s vegetable oil. Growth and productivity are significantly affected by low-temperature stress, resulting in inhibited growth and substantial yield losses. To comprehend the intricate molecular mechanisms underlying the response and acclimation of oil palm under low-temperature stress, multi-omics approaches, including metabolomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics, have emerged as powerful tools. This comprehensive review aims to provide an in-depth analysis of recent advancements in multi-omics studies on oil palm under low-temperature stress, including the key findings from omics-based research, highlighting changes in metabolite profiles, protein expression, and gene transcription, as well as including the potential of integrating multi-omics data to reveal novel insights into the molecular networks and regulatory pathways involved in the response to low-temperature stress. This review also emphasizes the challenges and prospects of multi-omics approaches in oil palm research, providing a roadmap for future investigations. Overall, a better understanding of the molecular basis of the response of oil palm to low-temperature stress will facilitate the development of effective breeding and biotechnological strategies to improve the crop’s resilience and productivity in changing climate scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Stress Biology and Molecular Breeding: 4th Edition)
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34 pages, 12680 KiB  
Article
Concept of Assessment of Age-Friendly Residential Areas (AFRA): A Case Study of Gdańsk, Poland
by Marta Czaplicka, Małgorzata Dudzińska, Agnieszka Dawidowicz and Adam Senetra
Sustainability 2024, 16(14), 6000; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16146000 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
(1) Background: Local governments are facing a considerable challenge to accurately verify cities, as well as to diagnose the condition of housing estates in the context of their friendliness to life of older people in order to be able to pursue a sustainable [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Local governments are facing a considerable challenge to accurately verify cities, as well as to diagnose the condition of housing estates in the context of their friendliness to life of older people in order to be able to pursue a sustainable pro-ageing policy. In response to these needs, universal methodology for identifying age-friendly residential areas (AFRA) in cities was developed and tested. Thus, the main objective of the research was to develop an innovative methodological approach to the AFRA assessment, taking into account integrated functional-spatial and aesthetic indicators with particular emphasis on the ways of presenting results. (2) Methods: The methodology was based on the general, international assumptions of “ageing in place”, “age-friendly city”, “active ageing”, and an in-depth analysis of contemporary trends in this field, using international guidelines and recommendations, as in the case of survey data from the target international population and information provided by experts. (3) Results: The overall result of the project is a universal methodology for diagnosing housing estates in cities, taking into account infrastructural and landscape determinants in terms of their friendliness to older people, including a presentation of the usefulness of GIS tools to create thematic maps visualising the degree of friendliness. (4) Conclusions: This innovative approach to AFRA visualisation will expand the knowledge about the possibilities of diagnosing age-friendly spaces in the city that are conducted at the level of the city’s settlement units. The developed list of criteria influencing the friendliness of housing estates for older citizens can be useful for public entities in creating city and housing planning policies for private entities to manage their own investment plans and implement the concept of on-site ageing in their planning and for real estate agents to explore the real estate market for the needs of older clients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
26 pages, 2726 KiB  
Review
Topography and Radiological Variables as Ancillary Parameters for Evaluating Tissue Adherence, Hypothalamic–Pituitary Dysfunction, and Recurrence in Craniopharyngioma: An Integrated Multidisciplinary Overview
by Rosalinda Calandrelli, Gabriella D'Apolito, Matia Martucci, Carolina Giordano, Chiara Schiarelli, Giammaria Marziali, Giuseppe Varcasia, Luca Ausili Cefaro, Sabrina Chiloiro, Simone Antonio De Sanctis, Simona Serioli, Francesco Doglietto and Simona Gaudino
Cancers 2024, 16(14), 2532; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers16142532 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
: Craniopharyngiomas continue to present a challenge in clinical practice due to their heterogeneity and unpredictable adherence to vital neurovascular structures, particularly the hypothalamus. This results in different degrees of hypothalamus–pituitary axis dysfunction and a lack of uniform consensus and treatment guidelines regarding [...] Read more.
: Craniopharyngiomas continue to present a challenge in clinical practice due to their heterogeneity and unpredictable adherence to vital neurovascular structures, particularly the hypothalamus. This results in different degrees of hypothalamus–pituitary axis dysfunction and a lack of uniform consensus and treatment guidelines regarding optimal management. MRI and CT are complementary techniques in the preoperative diagnostic phase, enabling the precise definition of craniopharyngioma size, shape, and consistency, as well as guiding classification into histopathological subtypes and topographical categories. Meanwhile, MRI plays a crucial role in the immediate postoperative period and follow-up stages by identifying treatment-related changes and residual tumors. This pictorial essay aims to provide an overview of the role of imaging in identifying variables indicative of the adherence degree to the hypothalamus, hypothalamic–pituitary dysfunction, the extent of surgical excision, and prognosis. For a more comprehensive assessment, we choose to distinguish the following two scenarios: (1) the initial diagnosis phase, where we primarily discuss the role of radiological variables predictive of adhesions to the surrounding neurovascular structures and axis dysfunction which may influence the choice of surgical resection; (2) the early post-treatment follow-up phase, where we discuss the interpretation of treatment-related changes that impact outcomes. Full article
10 pages, 658 KiB  
Article
The Concurrent Validity and Reliability of a Global Positioning System for Measuring Maximum Sprinting Speed and Split Times of Linear and Curvilinear Sprint Tests
by Matic Sašek, Sergio Miras-Moreno, Amador García-Ramos, Oskar Cvjetičanin, Nejc Šarabon, Iztok Kavčič and Darjan Smajla
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(14), 6116; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14146116 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
This study investigated the reliability and validity of linear sprint tests (LS) and curvilinear sprint tests (CS) using a GPS device (GPEXE lt). Twenty-one (21) student athletes completed a 40 m LS as well as a left and right CS. Maximum sprint speed [...] Read more.
This study investigated the reliability and validity of linear sprint tests (LS) and curvilinear sprint tests (CS) using a GPS device (GPEXE lt). Twenty-one (21) student athletes completed a 40 m LS as well as a left and right CS. Maximum sprint speed (MSS) and split times at short (0–10 m), intermediate (0–20 m), and long (0–30 m) distances were determined using the GPEXE lt and single-beam timing gates (TG). Intrasession reliability and concurrent validity of GPEXE lt were assessed. The GPEXE lt consistently showed high reliability for MSS (ICC ≥ 0.95; CV ≤ 1.8%), despite underestimation compared to TG (bias = −2.57 to −0.95%; ICC ≥ 0.87). Acceptable reliability was observed for CS and LS intermediate and long distance split times (ICC ≥ 0.91; CV ≤ 2.1%), with lower reliability for short distances (ICC ≥ 0.70; CV ≤ 3.6%). The GPEXE lt split times for CS and LS showed good agreement with TG (ICC ≥ 0.66), but were overestimated at long distances (5.5–9.7%) and short distances (11.1–14.6%). Although the MSS was found to be the most reliable and valid variable to assess LS and CS speed performance with GPEXE lt, caution is needed due to limited validity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sports Performance Analysis)
21 pages, 4408 KiB  
Article
Can the Ecological Quality of Several Bays in South Korea Be Accurately Assessed Using Multiple Benthic Biotic Indices?
by Jian Liang, Chae-Woo Ma, Kwang-Bae Kim and Dae-Sun Son
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2024, 12(7), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse12071179 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Bays are extensively impacted by human activities, and an accurate assessment of ecological quality is crucial for the environmental management and protection of bays. Most studies indicate that evaluating the ecological quality of bays using a single index presents challenges. In our study, [...] Read more.
Bays are extensively impacted by human activities, and an accurate assessment of ecological quality is crucial for the environmental management and protection of bays. Most studies indicate that evaluating the ecological quality of bays using a single index presents challenges. In our study, we used five benthic biotic indices and a composite index to assess the ecological quality of three bays in South Korea. Our results revealed disparities in the ecological quality status assessment using five benthic biotic indices. The composite index performed better than the other benthic biotic indices in a principal coordinate analysis. Significant differences were observed between the values classifying stations as having an acceptable or unacceptable final ecological quality in terms of species indices (except for the Pielou’s evenness index) and the abundance of opportunist species (p < 0.05). Consequently, we advocate for using a composite index to assess the ecological quality of the bays of the West Sea of South Korea. Furthermore, our study provides valuable information for marine ecological management and policy formulation in Korea and offers recommendations for using the composite index in future research. Full article
30 pages, 8447 KiB  
Article
Phenology and Plant Functional Type Link Optical Properties of Vegetation Canopies to Patterns of Vertical Vegetation Complexity
by Duncan Jurayj, Rebecca Bowers and Jessica V. Fayne
Remote Sens. 2024, 16(14), 2577; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs16142577 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Vegetation vertical complexity influences biodiversity and ecosystem productivity. Rapid warming in the boreal region is altering patterns of vertical complexity. LiDAR sensors offer novel structural metrics for quantifying these changes, but their spatiotemporal limitations and their need for ecological context complicate their application [...] Read more.
Vegetation vertical complexity influences biodiversity and ecosystem productivity. Rapid warming in the boreal region is altering patterns of vertical complexity. LiDAR sensors offer novel structural metrics for quantifying these changes, but their spatiotemporal limitations and their need for ecological context complicate their application and interpretation. Satellite variables can estimate LiDAR metrics, but retrievals of vegetation structure using optical reflectance can lack interpretability and accuracy. We compare vertical complexity from the airborne LiDAR Land Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) in boreal Canada and Alaska to plant functional type, optical, and phenological variables. We show that spring onset and green season length from satellite phenology algorithms are more strongly correlated with vegetation vertical complexity (R = 0.43–0.63) than optical reflectance (R = 0.03–0.43). Median annual temperature explained patterns of vegetation vertical complexity (R = 0.45), but only when paired with plant functional type data. Random forest models effectively learned patterns of vegetation vertical complexity using plant functional type and phenological variables, but the validation performance depended on the validation methodology (R2 = 0.50–0.80). In correlating satellite phenology, plant functional type, and vegetation vertical complexity, we propose new methods of retrieving vertical complexity with satellite data. Full article
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11 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
A Controlled Clinical Trial on the Effects of Aquatic Exercise on Cognitive Functions in Community-Dwelling Older Adults
by Renata Terra de Oliveira, Tayla Borges Lino, Gabriella Simões Scarmagnan, Suzi Rosa Miziara Barbosa, Ana Beatriz Gomes de Souza Pegorare and Gustavo Christofoletti
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(7), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14070703 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Several therapies have been developed to reduce cognitive decline associated with aging. Aquatic exercises, which are widely used to enhance functional capacity, may play a role in stimulating cognitive functions. This study investigated the effects of a 3-month aquatic exercise program on cognitive [...] Read more.
Several therapies have been developed to reduce cognitive decline associated with aging. Aquatic exercises, which are widely used to enhance functional capacity, may play a role in stimulating cognitive functions. This study investigated the effects of a 3-month aquatic exercise program on cognitive functions in community-dwelling older adults. In this prospective, single-blinded, controlled clinical trial, 31 participants were allocated to either the experimental (aquatic exercises) or control (no-exercise) group. The intervention program consisted of exercises conducted twice a week in a 1.2 m deep indoor pool. The main outcome measures were cognitive functions, assessed using Raven’s Progressive Matrices test and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess the impact of the exercise program. The effect sizes (η²p) were reported when a level of significance was achieved (p < 0.05). Compared with the control group, the participants who underwent aquatic exercises showed positive outcomes in Raven’s Progressive Matrices test (p = 0.046; η²p = 0.131) and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.589). Complementary analyses of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test indicated that the benefits of the aquatic exercise were observed in terms of the number of trials (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.478), number of errors (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.458), and number of non-perseverative errors (p = 0.001, η²p = 0.302). The results indicate that a period of three months of aquatic exercise was beneficial for stimulating specific aspects of the cognitive function of community-dwelling older individuals. Aquatic exercise should be prescribed to this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Cognitive Training on Executive Function and Cognition)
28 pages, 3980 KiB  
Review
New Insights into Materials for Pesticide and Other Agricultural Pollutant Remediation
by Afonso Henrique da Silva Júnior, Júlia de Oliveira Martins Müller, Carlos Rafael Silva de Oliveira, Agenor de Noni Junior, Robert Kimutai Tewo, Washington Mhike, Adriano da Silva, António Benjamim Mapossa and Uttandaraman Sundararaj
Materials 2024, 17(14), 3478; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17143478 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The increase in the world population and the intensification of agricultural practices have resulted in the release of several contaminants into the environment, especially pesticides and heavy metals. This article reviews recent advances in using adsorbent and catalytic materials for environmental decontamination. Different [...] Read more.
The increase in the world population and the intensification of agricultural practices have resulted in the release of several contaminants into the environment, especially pesticides and heavy metals. This article reviews recent advances in using adsorbent and catalytic materials for environmental decontamination. Different materials, including clays, carbonaceous, metallic, polymeric, and hybrid materials, are evaluated for their effectiveness in pollutant removal. Adsorption is an effective technique due to its low cost, operational simplicity, and possibility of adsorbent regeneration. Catalytic processes, especially those using metallic nanoparticles, offer high efficiency in degrading complex pesticides. Combining these technologies can enhance the efficiency of remediation processes, promoting a more sustainable and practical approach to mitigate the impacts of pesticides and other agricultural pollutants on the environment. Therefore, this review article aims to present several types of materials used as adsorbents and catalysts for decontaminating ecosystems affected by agricultural pollutants. It discusses recent works in literature and future perspectives on using these materials in environmental remediation. Additionally, it explores the possibilities of using green chemistry principles in producing sustainable materials and using agro-industrial waste as precursors of new materials to remove contaminants from the environment. Full article
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20 pages, 10103 KiB  
Article
An Invariant Filtering Method Based on Frame Transformed for Underwater INS/DVL/PS Navigation
by Can Wang, Chensheng Cheng, Chun Cao, Xinyu Guo, Guang Pan and Feihu Zhang
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2024, 12(7), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse12071178 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Underwater vehicles heavily depend on the integration of inertial navigation with Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) for fusion-based localization. Given the constraints imposed by sensor costs, ensuring the optimization ability and robustness of fusion algorithms is of paramount importance. While filtering-based techniques such as [...] Read more.
Underwater vehicles heavily depend on the integration of inertial navigation with Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) for fusion-based localization. Given the constraints imposed by sensor costs, ensuring the optimization ability and robustness of fusion algorithms is of paramount importance. While filtering-based techniques such as Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) offer mature solutions to nonlinear problems, their reliance on linearization approximation may compromise final accuracy. Recently, Invariant EKF (IEKF) methods based on the concept of smooth manifolds have emerged to address this limitation. However, the optimization by matrix Lie groups must satisfy the “group affine” property to ensure state independence, which constrains the applicability of IEKF to high-precision positioning of underwater multi-sensor fusion. In this study, an alternative state-independent underwater fusion invariant filtering approach based on a two-frame group utilizing DVL, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), and Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed (ECEF) configuration is proposed. This methodology circumvents the necessity for group affine in the presence of biases. We account for inertial biases and DVL pole-arm effects, achieving convergence in an imperfect IEKF by either fixed observation or body observation information. Through simulations and real datasets that are time-synchronized, we demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous Marine Vehicle Operations—2nd Edition)
29 pages, 7143 KiB  
Article
The Variation in the Traits Ameliorated by Inhibitors of JAK1/2, TGF-β, P-Selectin, and CXCR1/CXCR2 in the Gata1low Model Suggests That Myelofibrosis Should Be Treated by These Drugs in Combination
by Francesca Gobbo, Fabrizio Martelli, Antonio Di Virgilio, Elena Demaria, Giuseppe Sarli and Anna Rita Migliaccio
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(14), 7703; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25147703 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Studies conducted on animal models have identified several therapeutic targets for myelofibrosis, the most severe of the myeloproliferative neoplasms. Unfortunately, many of the drugs which were effective in pre-clinical settings had modest efficacy when tested in the clinic. This discrepancy suggests that treatment [...] Read more.
Studies conducted on animal models have identified several therapeutic targets for myelofibrosis, the most severe of the myeloproliferative neoplasms. Unfortunately, many of the drugs which were effective in pre-clinical settings had modest efficacy when tested in the clinic. This discrepancy suggests that treatment for this disease requires combination therapies. To rationalize possible combinations, the efficacy in the Gata1low model of drugs currently used for these patients (the JAK1/2 inhibitor Ruxolitinib) was compared with that of drugs targeting other abnormalities, such as p27kip1 (Aplidin), TGF-β (SB431542, inhibiting ALK5 downstream to transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling and TGF-β trap AVID200), P-selectin (RB40.34), and CXCL1 (Reparixin, inhibiting the CXCL1 receptors CXCR1/2). The comparison was carried out by expressing the endpoints, which had either already been published or had been retrospectively obtained for this study, as the fold change of the values in the corresponding vehicles. In this model, only Ruxolitinib was found to decrease spleen size, only Aplidin and SB431542/AVID200 increased platelet counts, and with the exception of AVID200, all the inhibitors reduced fibrosis and microvessel density. The greatest effects were exerted by Reparixin, which also reduced TGF-β content. None of the drugs reduced osteopetrosis. These results suggest that future therapies for myelofibrosis should consider combining JAK1/2 inhibitors with drugs targeting hematopoietic stem cells (p27Kip1) or the pro-inflammatory milieu (TGF-β or CXCL1). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Myeloproliferative Disorders)
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19 pages, 2405 KiB  
Article
Average Slope vs. Cmax: Which Truly Reflects the Drug-Absorption Rate?
by Maria Kokkali and Vangelis D. Karalis
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(14), 6115; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14146115 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Despite ongoing concerns, the primary metric utilized in bioequivalence studies to quantify absorption rate remains the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax). To more accurately depict absorption rate, the concept of “average slope” (AS) has been recently introduced. The objective of this study is to [...] Read more.
Despite ongoing concerns, the primary metric utilized in bioequivalence studies to quantify absorption rate remains the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax). To more accurately depict absorption rate, the concept of “average slope” (AS) has been recently introduced. The objective of this study is to elucidate and compare the characteristics of AS and Cmax in their representation of the drug-absorption rate. For this purpose, an investigation was conducted on five drugs (nintedanib, methylphenidate, nitrofurantoin, lisdexamfetamine, and theophylline) with different absorption and disposition kinetics. The properties of AS and Cmax, as well as their correlations with other pharmacokinetic parameters, were assessed using supervised and unsupervised machine-learning algorithms, namely principal component analysis, random forest, hierarchical cluster analysis, and artificial neural networks. This study showed that, regardless of the absorption kinetics and across every ML algorithm, AS was more sensitive in reflecting the absorption rate compared to Cmax. In all drugs and methods of analysis, AS demonstrated significantly superior performance in expressing the absorption rate compared to Cmax. The joint use of different techniques complemented each other and verified the findings. Moreover, AS can be easily calculated and has the appropriate units and properties to be used as a metric to express the absorption rate in bioequivalence studies. The adoption of AS by regulatory authorities, as an absorption-rate metric, could significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of BE assessments. Overall, this study focused on addressing the longstanding problem of finding an appropriate absorption-rate metric by demonstrating the desirable properties of AS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering)
14 pages, 6686 KiB  
Article
Imaging Mass Spectrometry and Genome Mining Reveal Antimicrobial Peptides of Novel Pediococcus acidilactici CCFM18
by Yiteng Qiao, Fengwei Tian, Leilei Yu, Jianxin Zhao, Qixiao Zhai and Wei Chen
Foods 2024, 13(14), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13142213 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The mechanism of metabolites produced by lactic acid bacteria in mediating microbial interactions has been difficult to ascertain. This study comparatively evaluated the antimicrobial effect of the novel bacterium Pediococcus acidilactici CCFM18 and explored the global chemical view of its interactions with indicator [...] Read more.
The mechanism of metabolites produced by lactic acid bacteria in mediating microbial interactions has been difficult to ascertain. This study comparatively evaluated the antimicrobial effect of the novel bacterium Pediococcus acidilactici CCFM18 and explored the global chemical view of its interactions with indicator bacteria. P. acidilactici CCFM18 had sufficiently strong antimicrobial activity to effectively inhibit the growth of the indicator bacteria and enhance their intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level. The emerging technique of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) imaging mass spectrometry indicated that P. acidilactici CCFM18 increased the production of pediocin PA-1 and the penocin A profile during its interaction with the indicator bacteria, thus differing from P. acidilactici CCFM28 (a commonly used laboratory strain). Strikingly, the production of coagulin A was triggered only by signaling molecules made by the competing strain L. thermophilus, suggesting an idiosyncratic response from P. acidilactici CCFM18. Bioinformatic mining of the P. acidilactici CCFM18 draft genome sequence revealed gene loci that code for the complex secondary metabolites analyzed via MSI. Taken together, these results illustrate that chemical interactions between P. acidilactici CCFM18 and indicator bacteria exhibit high complexity and specificity and can drive P. acidilactici CCFM18 to produce different secondary metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Microbes and Their Products for Sustainable Human Life)
11 pages, 3484 KiB  
Article
Physical Simulation Experiment for Visualizing Pulverized Coal Transport in Propped Fractures
by Yufang Liu, Longbin Yang, Jinxing Song, Junke Shi and Qian Wang
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(14), 6114; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14146114 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The issue of pulverized coal in coalbed methane wells during the discharge and mining process spans all stages, and it is a key factor constraining the continuous and stable discharge and production capacity of coalbed methane. Among these stages, the single-phase water flow [...] Read more.
The issue of pulverized coal in coalbed methane wells during the discharge and mining process spans all stages, and it is a key factor constraining the continuous and stable discharge and production capacity of coalbed methane. Among these stages, the single-phase water flow stage features a high incidence of pulverized coal. Consequently, this paper presents a physical simulation experiment within the propped fractures during the single-phase water flow stage. The results of this study reveal the following: (1) Within the propped fracture channel, when pulverized coal is deposited along the flow line without causing blockage, the front end of the deposition exhibits a strip-like dispersion, evolving into “block deposition”, “flame-like accumulation”, “linear accumulation”, and “dispersed point-like accumulation”. (2) Agglomerated fracturing fluid can effectively mitigate the permeability damage caused by pulverized coal to the propped fractures. Both the driving speed and particle size of pulverized coal significantly influence pulverized coal transportation. The injury rate of propped fracture conductivity increases with increasing driving speeds, while the output of pulverized coal first increases and then decreases with increasing driving speed. Moreover, larger pulverized coal particle sizes result in notably greater damage to propped fracture conductivity than smaller particle sizes. Correspondingly, larger particles exhibit significantly lower output of pulverized coal compared to smaller particles, and transportation and output time are prolonged for larger particles. These findings underscore the importance of particle size and driving speed in the transportation dynamics of pulverized coal. The research results provide a theoretical basis for developing strategies for the prevention and control of pulverized coal during the single-phase water flow stage, thereby offering substantial scientific and practical value for the economic and efficient development of coalbed methane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Unconventional Natural Gas: Exploration and Development)
18 pages, 3868 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Transducer Elements Based on Different Material Configurations for Aptamer-Based Electrochemical Biosensors
by Ivan Lopez Carrasco, Gianaurelio Cuniberti, Jörg Opitz and Natalia Beshchasna
Biosensors 2024, 14(7), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/bios14070341 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The selection of an appropriate transducer is a key element in biosensor development. Currently, a wide variety of substrates and working electrode materials utilizing different fabrication techniques are used in the field of biosensors. In the frame of this study, the following three [...] Read more.
The selection of an appropriate transducer is a key element in biosensor development. Currently, a wide variety of substrates and working electrode materials utilizing different fabrication techniques are used in the field of biosensors. In the frame of this study, the following three specific material configurations with gold-finish layers were investigated regarding their efficacy to be used as electrochemical (EC) biosensors: (I) a silicone-based sensor substrate with a layer configuration of 50 nm SiO/50 nm SiN/100 nm Au/30–50 nm WTi/140 nm SiO/bulk Si); (II) polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) with a gold inkjet-printed layer; and (III) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with a screen-printed gold layer. Electrodes were characterized using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV) to evaluate their performance as electrochemical transducers in an aptamer-based biosensor for the detection of cardiac troponin I using the redox molecule hexacyanoferrade/hexacyaniferrade (K3[Fe (CN)6]/K4[Fe (CN)6]. Baseline signals were obtained from clean electrodes after a specific cleaning procedure and after functionalization with the thiolate cardiac troponin I aptamers “Tro4” and “Tro6”. With the goal of improving the PEN-based and PET-based performance, sintered PEN-based samples and PET-based samples with a carbon or silver layer under the gold were studied. The effect of a high number of immobilized aptamers will be tested in further work using the PEN-based sample. In this study, the charge-transfer resistance (Rct), anodic peak height (Ipa), cathodic peak height (Ipc) and peak separation (∆E) were determined. The PEN-based electrodes demonstrated better biosensor properties such as lower initial Rct values, a greater change in Rct after the immobilization of the Tro4 aptamer on its surface, higher Ipc and Ipa values and lower ∆E, which correlated with a higher number of immobilized aptamers compared with the other two types of samples functionalized using the same procedure. Full article
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13 pages, 630 KiB  
Article
Effects of Short-Term Gluten-Free Diet on Cardiovascular Biomarkers and Quality of Life in Healthy Individuals: A Prospective Interventional Study
by Simon Lange, Simeon Tsohataridis, Niklas Boland, Lisa Ngo, Omar Hahad, Thomas Münzel, Philipp Wild, Andreas Daiber, Detlef Schuppan, Philipp Lurz, Karin Keppeler and Sebastian Steven
Nutrients 2024, 16(14), 2265; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16142265 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Introduction: The exposome concept includes nutrition as it significantly influences human health, impacting the onset and progression of diseases. Gluten-containing wheat products are an essential source of energy for the world’s population. However, a rising number of non-celiac healthy individuals tend to reduce [...] Read more.
Introduction: The exposome concept includes nutrition as it significantly influences human health, impacting the onset and progression of diseases. Gluten-containing wheat products are an essential source of energy for the world’s population. However, a rising number of non-celiac healthy individuals tend to reduce or completely avoid gluten-containing cereals for health reasons. Aim and Methods: This prospective interventional human study aimed to investigate whether short-term gluten avoidance improves cardiovascular endpoints and quality of life (QoL) in healthy volunteers. A cohort of 27 participants followed a strict gluten-free diet (GFD) for four weeks. Endothelial function measured by flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), blood testing, plasma proteomics (Olink®) and QoL as measured by the World Health Organisation Quality-of-Life (WHOQOL) survey were investigated. Results: GFD resulted in decreased leucocyte count and C-reactive protein levels along with a trend of reduced inflammation biomarkers determined by plasma proteomics. A positive trend indicated improvement in FMD, whereas other cardiovascular endpoints remained unchanged. In addition, no improvement in QoL was observed. Conclusion: In healthy individuals, a short-term GFD demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects but did not result in overall cardiovascular improvement or enhanced quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benefits of Nutrition Compounds on Vascular and Metabolic Health)
16 pages, 3536 KiB  
Article
The Design and Experimentation of a Differential Grain Moisture Detection Device for a Combined Harvester
by Zheng Liu, Tengxiang Yang, Panpan Li, Jin Wang, Jinshan Xu and Chengqian Jin
Sensors 2024, 24(14), 4551; https://doi.org/10.3390/s24144551 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
To conveniently implement the online detection of grain moisture in combined harvesters and the address the influence of the no-load measurement baseline, thereby enhancing detection accuracy and measurement continuity, this study developed a differential grain moisture detection device. For its convenient installation and [...] Read more.
To conveniently implement the online detection of grain moisture in combined harvesters and the address the influence of the no-load measurement baseline, thereby enhancing detection accuracy and measurement continuity, this study developed a differential grain moisture detection device. For its convenient installation and integration on combined harvesters, a single-pole plate measurement element with a 1.6 mm thick epoxy resin coated with a 2-ounce copper film was designed, and a grain moisture detection device was constructed based on the STM32F103 microprocessor (STMicroelectronics International NV, Geneva, Switzerland). To enhance the device’s interference resistance, a differential amplification measurement circuit integrated with high-frequency excitation was designed using a reference capacitance. To improve the resolution of the measurement circuit, Malab simulations were conducted at different excitation frequencies, ultimately selecting 30 kHz as the system’s excitation signal frequency. To validate the effectiveness of the measurement circuit, validity tests were performed on the constructed sensor, which showed that the sensor’s measurement voltage could effectively distinguish the moisture levels in grains, with a determination coefficient (R²) reaching 0.9978. To address the errors in moisture measurement caused by changes in grain temperature, an interaction experiment of the effect of moisture content and temperature on the measurement voltage was conducted using an integrated temperature sensor, resulting in the construction of a moisture content calculation model. Both the indoor static detection and field testing of the moisture detection device were conducted, indicating that the maximum average error in static measurements was 0.3%, with a maximum relative error of 0.47%, and the average relative error in field tests was ≤0.4%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Smart Agriculture)
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23 pages, 659 KiB  
Article
Contextual Relationships of Factors Affecting Sustainability 4.0 in the Textile Industry
by Marcella Fernanda Vieira Ottoni Bezerra Silva, Fagner José Coutinho de Melo, Eryka Fernanda Miranda Sobral, Djalma Silva Guimarães Junior, André Philippi Gonzaga de Albuquerque, Silvio André Vital Junior, Pablo Aurélio Lacerda de Almeida Pinto, Tatyane Veras de Queiroz Ferreira da Cruz, Rômulo César Dias de Andrade and Kliver Lamarthine Alves Confessor
Sustainability 2024, 16(14), 5999; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16145999 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
This study aims to identify the contextual relationships between the impact factors on Sustainability 4.0, through the principles of I4.0 in the textile industry, using interpretive structural modeling (ISM), a qualitative technique that makes it possible to understand the relationship between different factors, [...] Read more.
This study aims to identify the contextual relationships between the impact factors on Sustainability 4.0, through the principles of I4.0 in the textile industry, using interpretive structural modeling (ISM), a qualitative technique that makes it possible to understand the relationship between different factors, classifying them hierarchically based on their interdependencies. The hierarchy of the 16 (sixteen) factors proposed at different levels helps to identify critical areas to focus efforts and investments, providing data to guide strategic business planning. From the result of the Level Partition Chart, four levels were observed for the ISM diagram. The Corporate Social Responsibility factor (FIS7) was considered a dependent variable of all others. The identification of FIS4, FIS10 and FIS14 as factors with high dependence suggests key areas for strategic interventions. Thus, this study provides a solid theoretical basis and practical recommendations that help textile companies adopt sustainable and technologically advanced strategies, promoting an effective transition to Sustainability 4.0. Full article
24 pages, 4171 KiB  
Review
Multiparametric Whole-Body MRI: A Game Changer in Metastatic Prostate Cancer
by Arrigo Cattabriga, Benedetta Renzetti, Francesco Galuppi, Laura Bartalena, Caterina Gaudiano, Stefano Brocchi, Alice Rossi, Riccardo Schiavina, Lorenzo Bianchi, Eugenio Brunocilla, Luca Spinozzi, Calogero Catanzaro, Paolo Castellucci, Andrea Farolfi, Stefano Fanti, Nina Tunariu and Cristina Mosconi
Cancers 2024, 16(14), 2531; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers16142531 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
Prostate cancer ranks among the most prevalent tumours globally. While early detection reduces the likelihood of metastasis, managing advanced cases poses challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Current international guidelines support the concurrent use of 99Tc-Bone Scintigraphy and Contrast-Enhanced Chest and Abdomen CT [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer ranks among the most prevalent tumours globally. While early detection reduces the likelihood of metastasis, managing advanced cases poses challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Current international guidelines support the concurrent use of 99Tc-Bone Scintigraphy and Contrast-Enhanced Chest and Abdomen CT for the staging of metastatic disease and response assessment. However, emerging evidence underscores the superiority of next-generation imaging techniques including PSMA-PET/CT and whole-body MRI (WB-MRI). This review explores the relevant scientific literature on the role of WB-MRI in metastatic prostate cancer. This multiparametric imaging technique, combining the high anatomical resolution of standard MRI sequences with functional sequences such as diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and bone marrow relative fat fraction (rFF%) has proved effective in comprehensive patient assessment, evaluating local disease, most of the nodal involvement, bone metastases and their complications, and detecting the increasing visceral metastases in prostate cancer. It does have the advantage of avoiding the injection of contrast medium/radionuclide administration, spares the patient the exposure to ionizing radiation, and lacks the confounder of FLARE described with nuclear medicine techniques. Up-to-date literature regarding the diagnostic capabilities of WB-MRI, though still limited compared to PSMA-PET/CT, strongly supports its widespread incorporation into standard clinical practice, alongside the latest nuclear medicine techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Outcomes in Urologic Cancers)
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22 pages, 18688 KiB  
Article
Policy-Driven Vegetation Restoration in Qinghai Province: Spatiotemporal Analysis and Policy Evaluation
by Yuchen Zhang, Jianghong Zhu, Lin Wang, Ke Wang and Jianjun Zhang
Land 2024, 13(7), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13071052 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Abstract
The Chinese government has implemented numerous ecological policies in Qinghai Province aimed at protecting and restoring the natural ecosystem. Yet, amid global climate change, the precise effects of these policies on ecological improvement remain ambiguous. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive [...] Read more.
The Chinese government has implemented numerous ecological policies in Qinghai Province aimed at protecting and restoring the natural ecosystem. Yet, amid global climate change, the precise effects of these policies on ecological improvement remain ambiguous. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of these policies at a regional scale and an analysis of the changes in policy implementation stages to optimize the strategic direction of regional ecological policies. In this study, using mathematical statistics and spatial analysis, we analysed the spatial and temporal characteristics of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in Qinghai Province from 2000 to 2023. Further, by systematically reviewing ten major ecological policies currently or previously implemented in the region, we explored the response of vegetation restoration to these policies through both horizontal and vertical evaluations by reasonably delineating the policy study sub-zones. The study identified distinct stages of policy implementation—regreening, stabilizing, and natural recovery—and correlated these stages with the efficacy of policy impacts. Our findings indicate significant vegetation coverage improvements across Qinghai Province over the past two decades, with all ecological policies positively influencing the environment. The main contribution of this study is that it comprehensively evaluates the impact of multiple ecological policies on vegetation restoration at the regional scale, providing a reference for the formulation and adjustment of subsequent ecological policies. Full article

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