Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Impacts of Aerosol Copper on Marine Phytoplankton: A Review
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070414 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Atmospheric deposition brings both nutrients and toxic components to the surface ocean, resulting in important impacts on phytoplankton. Field and lab studies have been done on the iron (Fe) fertilization on marine phytoplankton. However, studies on other trace metals are limited. Both bioassay [...] Read more.
Atmospheric deposition brings both nutrients and toxic components to the surface ocean, resulting in important impacts on phytoplankton. Field and lab studies have been done on the iron (Fe) fertilization on marine phytoplankton. However, studies on other trace metals are limited. Both bioassay experiments and field observations have suggested that aerosols with high copper (Cu) concentrations can negatively affect the primary productivity and change phytoplankton community structure. Note that with increasing human activities and global environmental changes (e.g., ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation, etc.), the input of aerosol Cu could exceed toxicity thresholds at certain times or in some sensitive oceanic regions. Here, we provide a comprehensive review on aerosol Cu and marine phytoplankton studies by summarizing (1) physiological effects and toxicity thresholds of Cu to various phytoplankton taxa, (2) interactions between Cu and other metals and major nutrients, and (3) global distribution of surface seawater Cu and atmospheric Cu. We suggest that studies on aerosols, seawater chemistry, and phytoplankton should be integrated for understanding the impacts of aerosol Cu on marine phytoplankton, and thereafter the air–sea interaction via biogeochemical processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Polycyclic Compounds Fillers on Electrical Treeing Characteristics in XLPE with DC-Impulse Voltage
Energies 2019, 12(14), 2767; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12142767 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Electrical tree is an important factor in the threat of the safety of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation, eventually leading to the electrical failure of cables. Polycyclic compounds have the potential to suppress electrical treeing growth. In this paper, three types of polycyclic compounds, [...] Read more.
Electrical tree is an important factor in the threat of the safety of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation, eventually leading to the electrical failure of cables. Polycyclic compounds have the potential to suppress electrical treeing growth. In this paper, three types of polycyclic compounds, 2-hydroxy-2-phenylacetophenone, 4-phenylbenzophenone, and 4,4′-difluorobenzophenone are added into XLPE, denoted by A, B, and C. Electrical treeing characteristics are researched with DC-impulse voltage at 30, 60, and 90 °C, and the trap distribution and carrier mobility are characterized. It has been found that although three types of polycyclic compounds can all suppress the electrical tree propagation at different voltages and temperatures, the suppression effect of these polycyclic compounds with the same DC-impulse polarity is worse than with the opposite polarity. As the temperature increases, the suppression effect becomes weak. The energy level and deep trap density are the largest in XLPE-A composite, leading to a decrease in the charge transportation and resulting in the suppression of electrical treeing growth. Experimental results reveal that the polycyclic compound A has great application prospects in high voltage direct current (HVDC) cables. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Physical–Chemical Composition and Quality Related Changes in “Ruaner” Pear (Pyrus ussuriensis) During Freezing–Thawing Period
Molecules 2019, 24(14), 2611; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24142611 -
Abstract
“Ruaner” pear (Pyrus ussuriensis Maxim.) is a fruit crop that is frequently served frozen in China. It is a typical postharvest ripening fruit that needs to ripen after harvest before it can be eaten, and freezing–thawing is one way that pears are [...] Read more.
“Ruaner” pear (Pyrus ussuriensis Maxim.) is a fruit crop that is frequently served frozen in China. It is a typical postharvest ripening fruit that needs to ripen after harvest before it can be eaten, and freezing–thawing is one way that pears are treated during postharvest ripening. In order to study the physical–chemical composition and quality-related changes in “Ruaner” pears that result the freezing–thawing period, “Ruaner” pears were kept in a freezer (−20 °C) for 7 days, after which they were transferred to room temperature for thawing. The color of the peel of the “Ruaner” pears changed from yellow-green to yellow and then brown. The chlorophyll content and titratable acidity (TA) decreased significantly throughout 0–12 h period. The carotenoid content tended to rise and then decrease, peaking at 3 h after thawing (HAT), while the soluble solids content (SSC), firmness, total phenolic content, and total flavonoid content all generally decreased. The composition of soluble sugars and organic acids was examined in “Ruaner” pears, and the major soluble sugars were fructose and glucose, with citric acid being the most abundant organic acid. The data suggest that freezing–thawing significantly changes firmness, water content, SSC, and TA in “Ruaner” pears. At 3–4 HAT, “Ruaner” pears have moderate hardness, high water content, low acid content, and higher total phenolic, total flavonoid, and soluble solids content. Therefore, 3–4 HAT is the best time for pears in terms of both table and processing quality. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Local Interaction Density (LID), a Fast and Efficient Tool to Prioritize Docking Poses
Molecules 2019, 24(14), 2610; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24142610 -
Abstract
Ligand docking at a protein site can be improved by prioritizing poses by similarity to validated binding modes found in the crystal structures of ligand/protein complexes. The interactions formed in the predicted model are searched in each of the reference 3D structures, taken [...] Read more.
Ligand docking at a protein site can be improved by prioritizing poses by similarity to validated binding modes found in the crystal structures of ligand/protein complexes. The interactions formed in the predicted model are searched in each of the reference 3D structures, taken individually. We propose to merge the information provided by all references, creating a single representation of all known binding modes. The method is called LID, an acronym for Local Interaction Density. LID was benchmarked in a pose prediction exercise on 19 proteins and 1382 ligands using PLANTS as docking software. It was also tested in a virtual screening challenge on eight proteins, with a dataset of 140,000 compounds from DUD-E and PubChem. LID significantly improved the performance of the docking program in both pose prediction and virtual screening. The gain is comparable to that obtained with a rescoring approach based on the individual comparison of reference binding modes (the GRIM method). Importantly, LID is effective with a small number of references. LID calculation time is negligible compared to the docking time. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Central Nervous System Infection with Other Endemic Mycoses: Rare Manifestation of Blastomycosis, Paracoccidioidomycosis, Talaromycosis, and Sporotrichosis
J. Fungi 2019, 5(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5030064 -
Abstract
The central nervous system (CNS) is not a major organ involved with infections caused by the endemic mycoses, with the possible exception of meningitis caused by Coccidioides species. When CNS infection does occur, the manifestations vary among the different endemic mycoses; mass-like lesions [...] Read more.
The central nervous system (CNS) is not a major organ involved with infections caused by the endemic mycoses, with the possible exception of meningitis caused by Coccidioides species. When CNS infection does occur, the manifestations vary among the different endemic mycoses; mass-like lesions or diffuse meningeal involvement can occur, and isolated chronic meningitis, as well as widely disseminated acute infection that includes the CNS, are described. This review includes CNS infection caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Talaromyces marneffei, and the Sporothrix species complex. The latter is not geographically restricted, in contrast to the classic endemic mycoses, but it is similar in that it is a dimorphic fungus. CNS infection with B. dermatitidis can present as isolated chronic meningitis or a space-occupying lesion usually in immunocompetent hosts, or as one manifestation of widespread disseminated infection in patients who are immunosuppressed. P. brasiliensis more frequently causes mass-like intracerebral lesions than meningitis, and most often CNS disease is part of disseminated infection found primarily in older patients with the chronic form of paracoccidioidomycosis. T. marneffei is the least likely of the endemic mycoses to cause CNS infection. Almost all reported cases have been in patients with advanced HIV infection and almost all have had widespread disseminated infection. Sporotrichosis is known to cause isolated chronic meningitis, primarily in immunocompetent individuals who do not have Sporothrix involvement of other organs. In contrast, CNS infection in patients with advanced HIV infection occurs as part of widespread disseminated infection. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Museum Photo Archives and the History of the Art Market: A Digital Approach
Arts 2019, 8(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030093 -
Abstract
Digital images with metadata contain unique potential for research into the history of the art market. The embedding of digital images in a database allows for the possibility of an association with their historical context due to the presence of metadata, which includes [...] Read more.
Digital images with metadata contain unique potential for research into the history of the art market. The embedding of digital images in a database allows for the possibility of an association with their historical context due to the presence of metadata, which includes economic data, such as the provenance chain, as well as information about collecting practices. The database becomes a historical reconstruction of context accompanying the reproductions of the works. In this paper, a case study of a museum photo archive of forgeries illustrates the ways in which digital methods can be helpful in analyzing these contexts. The archive was run by the secret “Verband von Museums-Beamten zur Abwehr von Fälschungen und unlauterem Geschäftsgebahren” (Association of Museum Officials for Defense against Fakes and Improper Business Practices). This archive allows the engagement of early 20th century museums in the art market to be traced within specific genres. The goal of the case study and methodology presented here is to learn more about the economic practices of museums. Specifically, this paper reconsiders a study by Timothy Wilson on fake maiolica, with a new focus on the involvement of museums in the art market. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Extraction, Chemical Composition, and Anticancer Potential of Origanum onites L. Essential Oil
Molecules 2019, 24(14), 2612; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24142612 -
Abstract
Origanum species are plants rich in volatile oils that are mainly used for culinary purposes. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the biological activities of their essential oils. Origanum onites L. is a plant mainly found in Greece, Turkey, [...] Read more.
Origanum species are plants rich in volatile oils that are mainly used for culinary purposes. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the biological activities of their essential oils. Origanum onites L. is a plant mainly found in Greece, Turkey, and Sicily, whose oil is rich in carvacrol, a highly bioactive phytochemical. The aim of this study was to analyze the chemical composition of Origanum onites essential oil (OOEO), and investigate its potential anticancer effects in vitro and in vivo. GC/MS analysis identified carvacrol as OOEO’s main constituent. In vitro antiproliferative activity was assayed with the sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay against human cancer cell lines from four tumor types. HT-29, a colorectal cancer cell line, was the most sensitive to the antiproliferative activity of OOEO. Wound-healing assay and Annexin V-PI staining were employed to investigate the antimigratory and the pro-apoptotic potential of OOEO, respectively, against human (HT-29) and murine (CT26) colon cancer cells. Notably, OOEO attenuated migration and induced apoptosis-related morphological changes in both cell lines. Prophylactic oral administration of the oil in a BALB/c experimental mouse model inhibited the growth of syngeneic CT26 colon tumors. As far as we know, this is the first report on the antitumor potential of orally administered OOEO. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pediatric-Adapted Liking Survey (PALS): A Diet and Activity Screener in Pediatric Care
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1641; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071641 -
Abstract
Clinical settings need rapid yet useful methods to screen for diet and activity behaviors for brief interventions and to guide obesity prevention efforts. In an urban pediatric emergency department, these behaviors were screened in children and parents with the 33-item Pediatric-Adapted Liking Survey [...] Read more.
Clinical settings need rapid yet useful methods to screen for diet and activity behaviors for brief interventions and to guide obesity prevention efforts. In an urban pediatric emergency department, these behaviors were screened in children and parents with the 33-item Pediatric-Adapted Liking Survey (PALS) to assess the reliability and validity of a Healthy Behavior Index (HBI) generated from the PALS responses. The PALS was completed by 925 children (average age = 11 ± 4 years, 55% publicly insured, 37% overweight/obese by Body Mass Index Percentile, BMI-P) and 925 parents. Child–parent dyads differed most in liking of vegetables, sweets, sweet drinks, and screen time. Across the sample, child and parent HBIs were variable, normally distributed with adequate internal reliability and construct validity, revealing two dimensions (less healthy—sweet drinks, sweets, sedentary behaviors; healthy—vegetables, fruits, proteins). The HBI showed criterion validity, detecting healthier indexes in parents vs. children, females vs. males, privately- vs. publicly-health insured, and residence in higher- vs. lower-income communities. Parent’s HBI explained some variability in child BMI percentile. Greater liking of sweets/carbohydrates partially mediated the association between low family income and higher BMI percentile. These findings support the utility of PALS as a dietary behavior and activity screener for children and their parents in a clinical setting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficient Implementation of 2D and 3D Sparse Deconvolutional Neural Networks with a Uniform Architecture on FPGAs
Electronics 2019, 8(7), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8070803 -
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) deconvolution is widely used in many computer vision applications. However, most previous works have only focused on accelerating two-dimensional (2D) deconvolutional neural networks (DCNNs) on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), while the acceleration of 3D DCNNs has not been well studied in [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) deconvolution is widely used in many computer vision applications. However, most previous works have only focused on accelerating two-dimensional (2D) deconvolutional neural networks (DCNNs) on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), while the acceleration of 3D DCNNs has not been well studied in depth as they have higher computational complexity and sparsity than 2D DCNNs. In this paper, we focus on the acceleration of both 2D and 3D sparse DCNNs on FPGAs by proposing efficient schemes for mapping 2D and 3D sparse DCNNs on a uniform architecture. Firstly, a pruning method is used to prune unimportant network connections and increase the sparsity of weights. After being pruned, the number of parameters of DCNNs is reduced significantly without accuracy loss. Secondly, the remaining non-zero weights are encoded in coordinate (COO) format, reducing the memory demands of parameters. Finally, to demonstrate the effectiveness of our work, we implement our accelerator design on the Xilinx VC709 evaluation platform for four real-life 2D and 3D DCNNs. After the first two steps, the storage required of DCNNs is reduced up to 3.9×. Results show that the performance of our method on the accelerator outperforms that of the our prior work by 2.5× to 3.6× in latency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Proposal of an Adapted Physical Activity Exercise Protocol for Women with Osteoporosis-Related Vertebral Fractures: A Pilot Study to Evaluate Feasibility, Safety, and Effectiveness
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142562 -
Abstract
A quasi-experimental pilot study was performed to determine the feasibility and safety of an Adapted Physical Activity (APA) protocol and its effect on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), fear of falling, pain, and physical performance in women with osteoporosis-related vertebral fractures. Forty-four post-menopausal [...] Read more.
A quasi-experimental pilot study was performed to determine the feasibility and safety of an Adapted Physical Activity (APA) protocol and its effect on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), fear of falling, pain, and physical performance in women with osteoporosis-related vertebral fractures. Forty-four post-menopausal women (mean age: 67.6 ± 4.6) with osteoporotic vertebral fractures were assigned to an exercise group (APA group = 26) who attended a six-month exercise protocol that included postural and muscular reinforcement exercises, and a control group (CG = 18) who was asked to maintain their current lifestyle. At baseline and six months after baseline, HRQOL was measured as primary outcome by the Assessment of Health Related Quality of Life in Osteoporosis (ECOS-16) questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were fear of falling (Fall Efficacy Scale International, FES-I), lumbar back pain (Visual Analogue Scale-VAS), functional exercise capacity (Six Minutes Walking Test-6MWT, Borg scale), balance and gait (Tinetti Scale), and flexibility of the column (Chair Sit-and-Reach). The effects of the intervention were analyzed by comparison within groups and between groups. Effect sizes (ES) were calculated using Cohen’s d. All the outcomes significantly improved in the APA group, while they remained unchanged in the CG. After adjustment for unbalanced variables, the comparison between groups showed significant effects of the intervention for ECOS-16-score, functional exercise capacity, balance, and gait. The exercise program had big effect sizes on HRQOL (ES = 1.204), fear of falling (ES = 1.007), balance (ES = 0.871), and functional exercise capacity (ES = 1.390). Good adherence (75.8%) and no injuries were observed. Due to its feasibility, safety, and effectiveness, the proposed exercise protocol can be adopted in APA programs addressed to patients with osteoporosis-related vertebral fractures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ischemia Is Related to Tumour Genetics in Uveal Melanoma
Cancers 2019, 11(7), 1004; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11071004 -
Abstract
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF1a) and its regulator von Hippel–Lindau protein (VHL) play an important role in tumour ischemia. Currently, drugs that target HIF1a are being developed to treat malignancies. Although HIF1a is known to be expressed in uveal melanoma (UM), it is as [...] Read more.
Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF1a) and its regulator von Hippel–Lindau protein (VHL) play an important role in tumour ischemia. Currently, drugs that target HIF1a are being developed to treat malignancies. Although HIF1a is known to be expressed in uveal melanoma (UM), it is as yet unknown which factors, such as tumour size or genetics, determine its expression. Therefore, we aimed to determine which tumour characteristics relate to HIF1a expression in UM. Data from 64 patients who were enucleated for UM were analysed. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was determined with the Illumina HT-12 v4 chip. In 54 cases, the status of chromosomes 3 and 8q, and BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) protein expression (immunohistochemistry) were determined. Findings were corroborated using data of 80 patients from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) study. A significantly increased expression of HIF1a, and a decreased expression of VHL were associated with monosomy 3/loss of BAP1 expression. The relationship between BAP1 loss and HIF1a expression was independent of chromosome 3. The largest basal diameter and tumour thickness showed no relationship with HIF1a. HIF1a expression related to an increased presence of infiltrating T cells and macrophages. From this study, we conclude that HIF1a is strongly related to tumour genetics in UM, especially to loss of BAP1 expression, and less to tumour size. Tumour ischemia is furthermore related to the presence of an inflammatory phenotype. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Foreign Tourists’ Nationality from Mobility Traces via LSTM Neural Network and Location Embeddings
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(14), 2861; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9142861 -
Abstract
The interest in human mobility analysis has increased with the rapid growth of positioning technology and motion tracking, leading to a variety of studies based on trajectory recordings. Mapping the routes that people commonly perform was revealed to be very useful for location-based [...] Read more.
The interest in human mobility analysis has increased with the rapid growth of positioning technology and motion tracking, leading to a variety of studies based on trajectory recordings. Mapping the routes that people commonly perform was revealed to be very useful for location-based service applications, where individual mobility behaviors can potentially disclose meaningful information about each customer and be fruitfully used for personalized recommendation systems. This paper tackles a novel trajectory labeling problem related to the context of user profiling in “smart” tourism, inferring the nationality of individual users on the basis of their motion trajectories. In particular, we use large-scale motion traces of short-term foreign visitors as a way of detecting the nationality of individuals. This task is not trivial, relying on the hypothesis that foreign tourists of different nationalities may not only visit different locations, but also move in a different way between the same locations. The problem is defined as a multinomial classification with a few tens of classes (nationalities) and sparse location-based trajectory data. We hereby propose a machine learning-based methodology, consisting of a long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network trained on vector representations of locations, in order to capture the underlying semantics of user mobility patterns. Experiments conducted on a real-world big dataset demonstrate that our method achieves considerably higher performances than baseline and traditional approaches. Full article
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