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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Membranes in 2019
Membranes 2020, 10(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10010018 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Diseases in 2019
Diseases 2020, 8(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases8010003 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
SNP Diversity in CD14 Gene Promoter Suggests Adaptation Footprints in Trypanosome Tolerant N’Dama (Bos taurus) but not in Susceptible White Fulani (Bos indicus) Cattle
Genes 2020, 11(1), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11010112 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
Immune response to infections has been shown to be mediated by genetic diversity in pattern recognition receptors, leading to disease tolerance or susceptibility. We elucidated naturally occurring variations within the bovine CD14 gene promoter in trypanosome-tolerant (N’Dama) and susceptible (White Fulani) cattle, with [...] Read more.
Immune response to infections has been shown to be mediated by genetic diversity in pattern recognition receptors, leading to disease tolerance or susceptibility. We elucidated naturally occurring variations within the bovine CD14 gene promoter in trypanosome-tolerant (N’Dama) and susceptible (White Fulani) cattle, with genomic and computational approaches. Blood samples were collected from White Fulani and N’Dama cattle, genomic DNA extracted and the entire promoter region of the CD14 gene amplified by PCR. We sequenced this region and performed in silico computation to identify SNP variants, transcription factor binding sites, as well as micro RNAs in the region. CD14 promoter sequences were compared with the reference bovine genome from the Ensembl database to identify various SNPs. Furthermore, we validated three selected N’Dama specific SNPs using custom Taqman SNP genotyping assay for genetic diversity. In all, we identified a total of 54 and 41 SNPs at the CD14 promoter for N’Dama and White Fulani respectively, including 13 unique SNPs present in N’Dama only. The significantly higher SNP density at the CD14 gene promoter region in N’Dama may be responsible for disease tolerance, possibly an evolutionary adaptation. Our genotype analysis of the three loci selected for validation show that mutant alleles (A/A, C/C, and A/A) were adaptation profiles within disease tolerant N’Dama. A similar observation was made for our haplotype analysis revealing that haplotypes H1 (ACA) and H2 (ACG) were significant combinations within the population. The SNP effect prediction revealed 101 and 89 new transcription factor binding sites in N’Dama and White Fulani, respectively. We conclude that disease tolerant N’Dama possessing higher SNP density at the CD14 gene promoter and the preponderance of mutant alleles potentially confirms the significance of this promoter in immune response, which is lacking in susceptible White Fulani. We, therefore, recommend further in vitro and in vivo study of this observation in infected animals, as the next step for understanding genetic diversity relating to varying disease phenotypes in both breeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
Open AccessArticle
Chemoprevention of Experimental Periodontitis in Diabetic Rats with Silk Fibroin Nanoparticles Loaded with Resveratrol
Antioxidants 2020, 9(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010085 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
Objective: the objective of the present work is to study the effectiveness of treatment with silk fibroin nanoparticles loaded with resveratrol in experimental periodontitis in a diabetic rat model. Introduction: Periodontitis is an inflammatory pathology highly related to other diseases, such as type [...] Read more.
Objective: the objective of the present work is to study the effectiveness of treatment with silk fibroin nanoparticles loaded with resveratrol in experimental periodontitis in a diabetic rat model. Introduction: Periodontitis is an inflammatory pathology highly related to other diseases, such as type II diabetes. Both diseases have a specific inflammatory condition, with Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β and Transforming Grow Factor (TGF)-1β being the most relevant proinflammatory factors. Silk fibroin (SF) nanoparticles loaded with resveratrol (Res-SFN) are a new alternative as a treatment. Methods: 40 diabetic Sprague Dawley male rats were used and periodontitis was induced by ligation. The animals were divided into 5 treatment groups, and 1 mL of treatment was administered once a day for 4 weeks. The groups were: I: Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) 0.8%, II: CMC 0.8% + SF 1%, III: CMC 0.8% + RES-SFN 3 mg/mL, IV: CMC 0.8% + SF 1% + RES-SFN 3 mg/mL, V: Water. A peripheral blood sample was taken every week to quantify the inflammatory profile by ELISA (IL-6, IL-1β and TGF-1β). After 4 weeks the sacrifice was carried out and biopsies of the gum were taken. Results: Treatment with SF and RES-SFN reduced the amount of chemical inflammation mediators (with the exception of IL-1β in comparisons I-IV and II-IV (p > 0.05)), as well as the anatomopathological variables linked to it, in a significant way (p < 0.05). Conclusion: treatment with RES-SFN has reduced local inflammation in this experimental periodontitis model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cultural Adaptation and Psychometric Validation of the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire Spanish Version in Musicians
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020653 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
Background: The Standardised Nordic Questionnaire (SNQ) is an instrument to analyse the musculoskeletal symptoms in an ergonomic or occupational health context. We aimed to cross-culturally adapt and evaluate the psychometric properties of the SNQ among Spanish musicians. Methods: Cross-cultural adaptation and psychometric validation [...] Read more.
Background: The Standardised Nordic Questionnaire (SNQ) is an instrument to analyse the musculoskeletal symptoms in an ergonomic or occupational health context. We aimed to cross-culturally adapt and evaluate the psychometric properties of the SNQ among Spanish musicians. Methods: Cross-cultural adaptation and psychometric validation (reliability, validity, and feasibility) was performed. Reliability was analysed by test-retest reliability (Cohen’s Kappa) and internal consistency (Kuder–Richardson). Content and face validity were measured by the Expert Committee and the opinion of participants. Construct validity (Mann–Whitney U test) was measured by comparing with questionnaires used to assess pain and disability in neck, shoulders, upper back, and low back regions. Feasibility was calculated with the average response time. Results: A total of 312 Spanish musicians were included. The Spanish version of SNQ achieved good semantic, conceptual, idiomatic, and content equivalence. For most of the variables, test-retest reliability was good to very good (k = 0.60–0.81). The internal consistency showed good to acceptable (Kuder–Richardson 20 (KR20) = 0.737–0.873). Participants with versus without musculoskeletal problems in a related region showed significantly higher disability/pain, indicating a good construct validity. About the feasibility, the average response time of the questionnaire was 6 min (±2). Conclusions: The results show that the Spanish SNQ is reliable, valid, and feasible screening tool to assess musculoskeletal problems among musicians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Knowledge for a Better Occupational Health and Safety Management)
Open AccessArticle
Trace Metal and Cd Isotope Systematics of the Basal Datangpo Formation, Yangtze Platform (South China) Indicate Restrained (Bio)Geochemical Metal Cycling in Cryogenian Seawater
Geosciences 2020, 10(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10010036 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
The behaviour of bioavailable trace metals and their stable isotopes in the modern oceans is controlled by uptake into phototrophic organisms and adsorption on and incorporation into marine authigenic minerals. Among other bioessential metals, Cd and its stable isotopes have recently been used [...] Read more.
The behaviour of bioavailable trace metals and their stable isotopes in the modern oceans is controlled by uptake into phototrophic organisms and adsorption on and incorporation into marine authigenic minerals. Among other bioessential metals, Cd and its stable isotopes have recently been used in carbonate lithologies as novel tracer for changes in the paleo primary productivity and (bio)geochemical cycling. However, many marine sediments that were deposited during geologically highly relevant episodes and which, thus, urgently require study for a better understanding of the paleo environment are rather composed of a mixture of organic matter (OM), and detrital and authigenic minerals. In this study, we present Cd concentrations and their isotopic compositions as well as trace metal concentrations from sequential leachates of OM-rich shales of the Cryogenian basal Datangpo Formation, Yangtze Platform (South China). Our study shows variable distribution of conservative and bioavailable trace metals as well as Cd isotope compositions between sequential leachates of carbonate, OM, sulphide, and silicate phases. We show that the Cd isotope compositions obtained from OM leachates can be used to calculate the ambient Cryogenian surface seawater of the restricted Nanhua Basin by applying mass balance calculations. By contrast, early diagenetic Mn carbonates and sulphides incorporated the residual Cd from dissolved organic matter that was in isotopic equilibrium with deep/pore waters of the Nanhua Basin. Our model suggests that the Cd isotopic composition of surface seawater at that time reached values of modern oxygenated surface oceans. However, the deep water Cd isotope composition was substantially heavier than that of modern fully oxygenated oceans and rather resembles deep waters with abundant sulphide precipitation typical for modern oxygen minimum zones. This argues for incomplete recycling of Cd and other bioavailable metals shortly after the Sturtian glaciation in the redox stratified Cryogenian Nanhua Basin. Our study highlights the importance of sequential leaching procedures when dealing with impure authigenic sediments such as OM-rich carbonates, mudstones, or shales to achieve reliable trace metal concentrations and Cd isotope compositions as proxies for (bio)geochemical metal cycling in past aquatic systems. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Quarter Century Development of Laser Peening without Coating
Metals 2020, 10(1), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10010152 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
This article summarizes the development of laser peening without coating (LPwC) during the recent quarter century. In the mid-1990s, the study of LPwC was initiated in Japan. The objective at that time was to mitigate stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of structural components in [...] Read more.
This article summarizes the development of laser peening without coating (LPwC) during the recent quarter century. In the mid-1990s, the study of LPwC was initiated in Japan. The objective at that time was to mitigate stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of structural components in operating nuclear power reactors (NPRs) by inducing compressive residual stresses (RSs) on the surface of susceptible components. Since the components in NPRs are radioactive and cooled underwater, full-remote operation must be attained by using lasers of water-penetrable wavelength without any surface preparation. Compressive RS was obtained on the top-surface by reducing pulse energy less than 300 mJ and pulse duration less than 10 ns, and increasing pulse density (number of pulses irradiated on unit area). Since 1999, LPwC has been applied in NPRs as preventive maintenance against SCC using frequency-doubled Q-switched Nd:YAG lasers (λ = 532 nm). To extend the applicability, fiber-delivery of intense laser pulses was developed in parallel and has been used in NPRs since 2002. Early first decade of the 2000s, the effect extending fatigue life was demonstrated even if LPwC increased surface roughness of the components. Several years ago, it was confirmed that 10 to 20 mJ pulse energy is enough to enhance fatigue properties of weld joints of a structural steel. Considering such advances, the development of 20 mJ-class palmtop-sized handheld lasers was initiated in 2014 in a five-year national program, ImPACT under the cabinet office of the Japanese government. Such efforts would pave further applications of LPwC, for example maintenance of infrastructure in the field, beyond the horizons of the present laser systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Shock Processing and Related Phenomena)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Materials in 2019
Materials 2020, 13(2), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020482 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Attempts to Improve the Subsurface Properties of Horizontally-Formed Cementitious Composites Using Tin(II) Fluoride Nanoparticles
Coatings 2020, 10(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10010083 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
This article presents studies that were performed in order to improve the subsurface properties of horizontally-formed cementitious composites using tin(II) fluoride nanoparticles. The main aim of the study was to solve the problem of the decrease in subsurface properties caused by mortar bleeding [...] Read more.
This article presents studies that were performed in order to improve the subsurface properties of horizontally-formed cementitious composites using tin(II) fluoride nanoparticles. The main aim of the study was to solve the problem of the decrease in subsurface properties caused by mortar bleeding and the segregation of the aggregate along the height of the overlay. The article also aims to highlight the patch grabbing difficulties that occur during the process of forming horizontally-formed cementitious composites. Four specimens were analyzed: one reference sample and three samples modified with the addition of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5% of tin(II) fluoride nanoparticles in relation to the cement mass. To analyze the mechanical properties of the specimens, non-destructive (ultrasonic pulse velocity) and destructive tests (flexural tensile strength, compressive strength, abrasion resistance, pull-off strength) were performed. It was indicated that due to the addition of the tin(II) fluoride, it was possible to enhance the subsurface tensile strength and abrasion resistance of the tested cementitious composites. To confirm the obtained macroscopic results, the porosity of the subsurface was measured using SEM. It was also shown that the addition of the tin(II) fluoride nanoparticles did not reduce its flexural and compressive strength. The results show that horizontally-formed cementitious composites with the addition of 1.0% of tin(II) fluoride nanoparticles in relation to the cement mass obtained the most effective mechanical performance, especially with regard to subsurface properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Erosion of Nanostructured Coatings)
Open AccessReview
The Plant-Derived Compound Resveratrol in Brain Cancer: A Review
Biomolecules 2020, 10(1), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10010161 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
Despite intensive research, malignant brain tumors are among the most difficult to treat due to high resistance to conventional therapeutic approaches. High-grade malignant gliomas, including glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma, are among the most devastating and rapidly growing cancers. Despite the ability of standard [...] Read more.
Despite intensive research, malignant brain tumors are among the most difficult to treat due to high resistance to conventional therapeutic approaches. High-grade malignant gliomas, including glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma, are among the most devastating and rapidly growing cancers. Despite the ability of standard treatment agents to achieve therapeutic concentrations in the brain, malignant gliomas are often resistant to alkylating agents. Resveratrol is a plant polyphenol occurring in nuts, berries, grapes, and red wine. Resveratrol crosses the blood‒brain barrier and may influence the central nervous system. Moreover, it influences the enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase and, more importantly, the resistance to standard treatment via various mechanisms, such as O6-methylguanine methyltransferase. This review summarizes the anticancer effects of resveratrol in various types of brain cancer. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have presented promising results; however, further clinical research is necessary to prove the therapeutic efficacy of resveratrol in brain cancer treatment. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Symmetry Group Classification and Conservation Laws of the Nonlinear Fractional Diffusion Equation with the Riesz Potential
Symmetry 2020, 12(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12010178 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
Symmetry properties of a nonlinear two-dimensional space-fractional diffusion equation with the Riesz potential of the order α ( 0 , 1 ) are studied. Lie point symmetry group classification of this equation is performed with respect to diffusivity function. To construct conservation [...] Read more.
Symmetry properties of a nonlinear two-dimensional space-fractional diffusion equation with the Riesz potential of the order α ( 0 , 1 ) are studied. Lie point symmetry group classification of this equation is performed with respect to diffusivity function. To construct conservation laws for the considered equation, the concept of nonlinear self-adjointness is adopted to a certain class of space-fractional differential equations with the Riesz potential. It is proved that the equation in question is nonlinearly self-adjoint. An extension of Ibragimov’s constructive algorithm for finding conservation laws is proposed, and the corresponding Noether operators for fractional differential equations with the Riesz potential are presented in an explicit form. To illustrate the proposed approach, conservation laws for the considered nonlinear space-fractional diffusion equation are constructed by using its Lie point symmetries. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Adhesion Effect on the Hyperfine Frequency Shift of an Alkali Metal Vapor Cell with Paraffin Coating Using Peak-Force Tapping AFM
Coatings 2020, 10(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10010084 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
We have investigated the adhesion effect on the hyperfine frequency shift of an alkali metal vapor cell with paraffin coating using the peak-force tapping AFM (atomic force microscopy) technique by developing a uniform and high-quality paraffin coating method. We observed a relatively uniform [...] Read more.
We have investigated the adhesion effect on the hyperfine frequency shift of an alkali metal vapor cell with paraffin coating using the peak-force tapping AFM (atomic force microscopy) technique by developing a uniform and high-quality paraffin coating method. We observed a relatively uniform temperature field on the substrate can be obtained theoretically and experimentally with the closed-type previse temperature-controlled evaporation method. The roughness and adhesion of the coating surface as low as 0.8 nm and 20 pN were successfully obtained, respectively. Furthermore, the adhesion information dependence of the topography was investigated from the force spectroscopy, which indicates that the adhesion force jumped on the edge of the particles and stepped but remained constant above the particles and steps regardless of their height for paraffin coating. Finally, we can evaluate the relaxation and the hyperfine frequency shift of an alkali metal vapor cell through accurately calculating the surface adsorption energy of the paraffin coating from peak-force tapping information. This finding is crucial for improving the sensitivity of the atomic sensors through directly analyzing the adhesion effect of the paraffin coating films instead of measuring the relaxation times. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On a Continuum Model for Avalanche Flow and Its Simplified Variants
Geosciences 2020, 10(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10010035 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
Mathematical models of different degrees of complexity, describing the motion of a snow avalanche along a path with given center line and spatially varying width, are formulated and compared. The most complete model integrates the balance equations for mass and momentum over the [...] Read more.
Mathematical models of different degrees of complexity, describing the motion of a snow avalanche along a path with given center line and spatially varying width, are formulated and compared. The most complete model integrates the balance equations for mass and momentum over the cross-section and achieves closure through an entrainment function based on shock theory and a modified Voellmy bed friction law where the Coulombic contribution to the bed shear stress is limited by the shear strength of the snow cover. A simplified model results from integrating these balance equations over the (time-dependent) length of the flow and postulating weak similarity of the evolving avalanche shape. On path segments of constant inclination, it can be solved for the flow depth and speed of the front in closed form in terms of the imaginary error function. Finally, the very simplest model assumes constant flow height and length. On an inclined plane, the evolution of flow depth and velocity predicted by the simplified model are close to those from the full model without entrainment and with corresponding parameters, but the simplest model with constant flow depth predicts much higher velocity values. If the friction coefficient is varied in the full model with entrainment, there can be non-monotonous behavior due to the non-linear interplay between entrainment and the limitation on the Coulomb friction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snow Avalanche Dynamics)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Off-Flavours and Unpleasantness Are Cues for the Recognition and Valorization of Organic Wines by Experienced Tasters
Foods 2020, 9(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9010105 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
The drivers of consumer acceptance concerning organic wines are not well understood. In particular, among wine professionals, there are anecdotal evidences claiming that consumers accept off-flavours that would not be tolerated if the wines were conventionally produced. Therefore, the aim of this study [...] Read more.
The drivers of consumer acceptance concerning organic wines are not well understood. In particular, among wine professionals, there are anecdotal evidences claiming that consumers accept off-flavours that would not be tolerated if the wines were conventionally produced. Therefore, the aim of this study was to shed further light on this issue by tasting blind wines of both types of production using a tasting panel comprised by experienced individuals of several nationalities. The tasted wines were both conventional and organic and were with and without off-flavours. The same wines were evaluated in three tasting sessions where the given information was: (1) all wines were conventional, (2) all wines were organic, and (3) tasters were asked to guess the mode of production. A group of untrained tasters also rated the same organic wines in an informed session. The results showed that wines were significantly better scored and were given a higher willingness to pay value in the “organic” session. In addition, the experienced tasting panel produced a list of the most frequent sensory descriptors. When tasters were asked to guess the mode of production, wines that were supposed to be organic received a higher citation of off-flavours, such as “oxidized”, “reductive”, and “animal/undergrowth”. Moreover, an overall emotional response of unpleasantness was associated with the recognition of organic wines in the “guess” session. Untrained tasters rated the same organic wines with lower liking scores and were willing to pay less. In conclusion, off-flavours and their unpleasantness worked as a cue to identify wines supposed to be organic by experienced tasters. Their corresponding higher valorization could be explained by the psychological halo effect induced by the organic label. Contrarily, consumers did not show this halo effect, depreciating wines with unpleasant flavours irrespective of their mode of production Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory and Volatile Flavor Analysis of Beverage)
Open AccessArticle
Formation of Coatings Based on Titanium Dioxide Nanosolson Polyester Fibre Materials
Coatings 2020, 10(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10010082 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
In this paper, we show that functionalization of fibrous materials through coating formation is hindered by the need to preserve the capillary-porous system of the fabric and its drapability. Additionally, such coatings must be resistant to abrasion and washing. We consider ways of [...] Read more.
In this paper, we show that functionalization of fibrous materials through coating formation is hindered by the need to preserve the capillary-porous system of the fabric and its drapability. Additionally, such coatings must be resistant to abrasion and washing. We consider ways of solving these problems by analysing the formation of a stable coating based on photoactive titanium dioxide on a polyester fibre material as an example. The purpose of such coatings is to destroy coloured organic contaminants when the fabric is exposed to sunlight. We show that a polyester fabric with a titanium dioxide coating can become highly photochemically active and capable of inhibiting the vital activity of gram-negative bacteria and remaining soft and breathable at the same time. We also determined that depositing a titanium dioxide coating does not reduce the polyester fabric tensile strength. Polyester fabrics with photoactive properties can be widely used as decorative and trimming materials—for housing decoration, production of curtains and other decorative interior design elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Coatings for Textile Applications)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Cancers in 2019
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010243 (registering DOI) - 19 Jan 2020
Abstract
The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and expertise to the journal’s rigorous editorial process over the past 12 months, regardless of whether the papers are finally published or not.[...] Full article

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