237 journals awarded Impact Factor
 
 
17 pages, 490 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Protein Quality, In Vitro Intestinal Iron Absorption and Human Faecal Microbiota Impacts of Plant-Based Mince
by Damien P. Belobrajdic, Simone Osborne, Michael Conlon, Henri Brook, Rama Addepalli and Beverly S. Muhlhausler
Nutrients 2024, 16(14), 2339; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16142339 (registering DOI) - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
The nutritional quality of plant-based meat analogues compared to traditional meat products has been questioned in recent commentary, particularly in relation to protein quality and micronutrient bioavailability. However, the attributes of specific products within this category are unclear. We therefore undertook a comprehensive [...] Read more.
The nutritional quality of plant-based meat analogues compared to traditional meat products has been questioned in recent commentary, particularly in relation to protein quality and micronutrient bioavailability. However, the attributes of specific products within this category are unclear. We therefore undertook a comprehensive assessment of the compositional and functional attributes of v2food® (Sydney, Australia) plant-based mince, including an assessment of the effects of reformulation, including the addition of amino acids, ascorbic acid, and different forms of elemental iron. The protein digestibility and protein quality of v2food® plant-based mince were comparable to beef mince in the standardized INFOGEST system, and favourable effects on microbiota composition and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production were demonstrated in an in vitro digestion system. The use of ferrous sulphate as an iron source improved in vitro intestinal iron absorption by ~50% in comparison to other forms of iron (p < 0.05), although levels were ~3-fold lower than beef mince, even in the presence of ascorbic acid. In conclusion, the current study identified some favourable nutritional attributes of plant-based v2food® mince, specifically microbiota and SCFA changes, as well as other areas where further reformulation could be considered to further enhance the bioavailability of key nutrients. Further studies to assess the effect of plant-based meat analogues on health measures in vivo will be important to improve knowledge in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Diet: Benefits and Concerns)
35 pages, 1240 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Resilience in Digital Twins: ASCON-Based Security Solutions for Industry 4.0
by Mohammed El-Hajj and Teklit Haftu Gebremariam
Network 2024, 4(3), 260-294; https://doi.org/10.3390/network4030013 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Persistent security challenges in Industry 4.0 due to the limited resources of IoT devices necessitate innovative solutions. Addressing this, this study introduces the ASCON algorithm for lightweight authenticated encryption with associated data, enhancing confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity within IoT limitations. By integrating Digital [...] Read more.
Persistent security challenges in Industry 4.0 due to the limited resources of IoT devices necessitate innovative solutions. Addressing this, this study introduces the ASCON algorithm for lightweight authenticated encryption with associated data, enhancing confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity within IoT limitations. By integrating Digital Twins, the framework emphasizes the need for robust security in Industry 4.0, with ASCON ensuring secure data transmission and bolstering system resilience against cyber threats. Practical validation using the MQTT protocol confirms ASCON’s efficacy over AES-GCM, highlighting its potential for enhanced security in Industry 4.0. Future research should focus on optimizing ASCON for microprocessors and developing secure remote access tailored to resource-constrained devices, ensuring adaptability in the digital era. Full article
11 pages, 2522 KiB  
Article
Unveiling Bladder Cancer Prognostic Insights by Integrating Patient-Matched Sample and CpG Methylation Analysis
by Chanbyeol Kim, Sangwon Oh, Hamin Im and Jungsoo Gim
Medicina 2024, 60(7), 1175; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina60071175 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Bladder cancer prognosis remains a pressing clinical challenge, necessitating the identification of novel biomarkers for precise survival prediction and improved quality of life outcomes. This study proposes a comprehensive strategy to uncover key prognostic biomarkers in bladder cancer using DNA methylation analysis and [...] Read more.
Bladder cancer prognosis remains a pressing clinical challenge, necessitating the identification of novel biomarkers for precise survival prediction and improved quality of life outcomes. This study proposes a comprehensive strategy to uncover key prognostic biomarkers in bladder cancer using DNA methylation analysis and extreme survival pattern observations in matched pairs of cancer and adjacent normal cells. Unlike traditional approaches that overlook cancer heterogeneity by analyzing entire samples, our methodology leverages patient-matched samples to account for this variability. Specifically, DNA methylation profiles from adjacent normal bladder tissue and bladder cancer tissue collected from the same individuals were analyzed to pinpoint critical methylation changes specific to cancer cells while mitigating confounding effects from individual genetic differences. Utilizing differential threshold settings for methylation levels within cancer-associated pathways enabled the identification of biomarkers that significantly impact patient survival. Our analysis identified distinct survival patterns associated with specific CpG sites, underscoring these sites’ pivotal roles in bladder cancer outcomes. By hypothesizing and testing the influence of methylation levels on survival, we pinpointed CpG biomarkers that profoundly affect the prognosis. Notably, CpG markers, such as cg16269144 (PRKCZ), cg16624272 (PTK2), cg11304234, and cg26534425 (IL18), exhibited critical methylation thresholds that correlate with patient mortality. This study emphasizes the importance of tailored approaches to enhancing prognostic accuracy and refining therapeutic strategies for bladder cancer patients. The identified biomarkers pave the way for personalized prognostication and targeted interventions, promising advancements in bladder cancer management and patient care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Oncology)
26 pages, 6913 KiB  
Article
Traction Force, Sowing Quality, and Deformation Characteristics of the Coulter of a Grain–Fertilizer–Grass Seeder
by Sayakhat Nukeshev, Dinara Kossatbekova, Mikalai Ramaniuk, Almat Sagitov, Yerzhan Akhmetov, Indira Mamyrbayeva, Khozhakeldi Tanbayev and Kaldybek Tleumbetov
AgriEngineering 2024, 6(3), 2326-2351; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering6030136 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
The development of restoration technology and meadows, improvement of run-down pastures, and productivity improvement of old crops of perennial grasses is an urgent problem in agriculture. The tillage traction force in seeder designing and manufacturing is an important indicator of energy efficiency. The [...] Read more.
The development of restoration technology and meadows, improvement of run-down pastures, and productivity improvement of old crops of perennial grasses is an urgent problem in agriculture. The tillage traction force in seeder designing and manufacturing is an important indicator of energy efficiency. The objective of this work is to reduce traction force and ensure seeding depth uniformity by justifying the optimal chisel parameters of a grain–fertilizer–grass seeder for direct seeding in sod. The Box–Behnken method was applied to investigate the traction force dependence on the seeder velocity, seed embedding depth, chisel width, and mounting angle. The obtained optimal parameters of coulters were justified by the finite element method. Structural and technological parameters were checked using the smoothed-particle hydrodynamics method on the deformation and wear of the seeder working body. The revealed optimal coulter parameters were as follows: chisel width was 20–20.97 mm, chisel length was 145–148.9 mm, mounting angle was 75°–81.6°, and achieved minimum traction force was 720 N. These parameters ensure the quality of grass seed embedding in the sod. The theoretical data of traction force (8.27–8.39 kN) are in accordance with the experimental (8.28–8.63 kN) data under field conditions. These findings are efficient in agrotechnical and mechanical predictions regarding the occurrence of chisel residual stresses and the working lifetime of the part. Full article
20 pages, 7604 KiB  
Article
Post-Harvest Fruit Conservation of Eugenia dysenterica DC., Spondias purpurea L., Hancornia speciosa Gomes and Talisia esculenta Radlk
by Raquel Rodrigues Soares Sobral, Gisele Polete Mizobutsi, Edson Hiydu Mizobutsi, Flávia Soares Aguiar, Luciele Barboza de Almeida, Lucicleia Borges Almeida, Rayane Carneiro dos Santos, Lucas Maciel de Oliveira, Diego Batista Souza and Jéfferson de Oliveira Costa
AgriEngineering 2024, 6(3), 2306-2325; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering6030135 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
The high rate of perishability of fruits such as cagaita (Eugenia dysenterica DC.), seriguela (Spondias purpurea L.), mangaba (Hancornia speciosa Gomes) and pitomba (Talisia esculenta Radlk.) makes it necessary to develop adequate conservation techniques to increase post-harvest shelf life. [...] Read more.
The high rate of perishability of fruits such as cagaita (Eugenia dysenterica DC.), seriguela (Spondias purpurea L.), mangaba (Hancornia speciosa Gomes) and pitomba (Talisia esculenta Radlk.) makes it necessary to develop adequate conservation techniques to increase post-harvest shelf life. The aim of this research was to evaluate the post-harvest quality attributes of cagaita, seriguela, mangaba and pitomba fruits stored in different types of packaging during certain periods. The treatments were defined by the combination of three types of packaging (low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and without packaging) and seven storage periods. Total soluble solids, titratable acidity, hydrogen potential (pH), fruit firmness and loss of fresh mass were analyzed. Fruits packaged with LDPE presented the lowest values of fresh mass loss: 2.7, 2.3, 4.2 and 1.1% for cagaita, seriguela, mangaba and pitomba, respectively. Furthermore, LPDE packaging maintained the quality attributes in all fruits analyzed. PVC packaging was more efficient in maintaining fruit firmness, with average values of 0.03 N. Atmospheric modification techniques, such as LDPE and PVC packaging, make it possible to reduce metabolic activity, ensuring better post-harvest quality and increasing the storage period of fruits that occur in the semiarid region of Minas Gerais. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pre and Post-Harvest Engineering in Agriculture)
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18 pages, 1916 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Combustion Phase According to the Premixed Ethanol Ratio Based on the Same Total Lower Heating Value on the Formation and Oxidation of Exhaust Emissions in a Reactivity-Controlled Compression Ignition Engine
by Se-Hun Min and Hyun-Kyu Suh
Fire 2024, 7(7), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/fire7070258 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
A compression ignition engine generates power by using the auto-ignition characteristics of fuel injected into the cylinder. Although it has high fuel efficiency, it discharges a lot of exhaust emissions such as NOX and PM. Therefore, there is much ongoing research aiming [...] Read more.
A compression ignition engine generates power by using the auto-ignition characteristics of fuel injected into the cylinder. Although it has high fuel efficiency, it discharges a lot of exhaust emissions such as NOX and PM. Therefore, there is much ongoing research aiming to reduce the exhaust emissions by using the technologies applied in this regard, such as PCCI, HCCI, etc. However, these methods still discharge large exhaust emissions. The RCCI method, which combines the spark ignition method and compression ignition method, is attracting attention. So, in this work, the objective of this study is to numerically investigate the effect of combustion phase according to the premixed ethanol ratio based on the same total heating value in-cylinder by changing the initial air composition on the formation and oxidation of exhaust emissions in the RCCI engine. The heating value of the premixed ethanol ratio varied from 0% to 40% based on the same total lower heating value in-cylinder in steps of 10%. It was assumed that the ethanol introduced into the cylinder through the premixing chamber was evaporated, and the initial air composition in the cylinder was changed and set. It was revealed that when the premixed ratio based on the same total lower heating value was increased, the introduced fuel amount into the crevice volume with advancing the start of energizing timing was decreased, which increased the peak cylinder pressure. In addition, the ignition delay was also longer due to the low cylinder temperature by the evaporation latent heat of the ethanol, which reduced the compression loss, so the IMEP value was increased. The rich equivalence ratio had a narrow distribution in the cylinder, which caused a reduction in cylinder temperature, so the NO formation amount was reduced. The ISCO value increased the increase in premixed ethanol ratio based on the same total lower heating value in-cylinder because the flame propagation of ethanol by combustion of diesel did not work well, and the CO formed by combustion was slowly oxidized due to the cylinder’s low temperature as a result of the evaporation latent heat of ethanol. From these results, the optimal operating conditions for simultaneously reducing the exhaust emissions and improving the combustion performance were judged such that the start of energizing timing was BTDC 23 deg, and the premixed ethanol ratio based on the same total lower heating value in-cylinder was 40%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ignition Mechanism and Advanced Combustion Technology)
24 pages, 6948 KiB  
Article
Expediting the Convergence of Global Localization of UAVs through Forward-Facing Camera Observation
by Zhenyu Li, Xiangyuan Jiang, Sile Ma, Xiaojing Ma, Zhenyi Lv, Hongliang Ding, Haiyan Ji and Zheng Sun
Drones 2024, 8(7), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8070335 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
In scenarios where the global navigation satellite system is unavailable, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can employ visual algorithms to process aerial images. These images are integrated with satellite maps and digital elevation models (DEMs) to achieve global localization. To address the localization challenge [...] Read more.
In scenarios where the global navigation satellite system is unavailable, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can employ visual algorithms to process aerial images. These images are integrated with satellite maps and digital elevation models (DEMs) to achieve global localization. To address the localization challenge in unfamiliar areas devoid of prior data, an iterative computation-based localization framework is commonly used. This framework iteratively refines its calculations using multiple observations from a downward-facing camera to determine an accurate global location. To improve the rate of convergence for localization, we introduced an innovative observation model. We derived a terrain descriptor from the images captured by a forward-facing camera and integrated it as supplementary observation into a point-mass filter (PMF) framework to enhance the confidence of the observation likelihood distribution. Furthermore, within this framework, the methods for the truncation of the convolution kernel and that of the probability distribution were developed, thereby enhancing the computational efficiency and convergence rate, respectively. The performance of the algorithm was evaluated using real UAV flight sequences, a satellite map, and a DEM in an area measuring 7.7 km × 8 km. The results demonstrate that this method significantly accelerates the localization convergence during both takeoff and ascent phases as well as during cruise flight. Additionally, it increases localization accuracy and robustness in complex environments, such as areas with uneven terrain and ambiguous scenes. The method is applicable to the localization of UAVs in large-scale unknown scenarios, thereby enhancing the flight safety and mission execution capabilities of UAVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drone-Based Information Fusion to Improve Autonomous Navigation)
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15 pages, 1837 KiB  
Article
Multifractal Analysis of 3D Correlated Nanoporous Networks
by Carlos Carrizales-Velazquez, Carlos Felipe, Ariel Guzmán-Vargas, Enrique Lima and Lev Guzmán-Vargas
Fractal Fract. 2024, 8(7), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/fractalfract8070424 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
In this study, we utilize Monte Carlo methods and the Dual Site-Bond Model (DSBM) to simulate 3D nanoporous networks with various degrees of correlation. The construction procedure is robust, involving a random exchange of sites and bonds until the most probable configuration (equilibrium) [...] Read more.
In this study, we utilize Monte Carlo methods and the Dual Site-Bond Model (DSBM) to simulate 3D nanoporous networks with various degrees of correlation. The construction procedure is robust, involving a random exchange of sites and bonds until the most probable configuration (equilibrium) is reached. The resulting networks demonstrate different levels of heterogeneity in the spatial organization of sites and bonds. We then embark on a comprehensive multifractal analysis of these networks, providing a thorough characterization of the effect of the exchanges of nanoporous elements and the correlation of pore sizes on the topology of the porous networks. Our findings present compelling evidence of changes in the multifractality of these nanoporous networks when they display different levels of correlation in the site and bond sizes. Full article
10 pages, 656 KiB  
Article
The Diagnostic Challenge of Cystic Echinococcosis in Humans: First Assessment of Underreporting Rates in Mongolia
by Bolor Bold, Christian Schindler, Uranshagai Narankhuu, Agiimaa Shagj, Erdenebileg Bavuujav, Sonin Sodov, Tsogbadrakh Nyamdorj and Jakob Zinsstag
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(7), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9070163 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Cystic echinococcosis (CE), caused by the larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus, is significantly underreported in Mongolia due to geographical remoteness, a lack of early diagnostics, and poor clinical management. This study aimed to provide a more accurate estimate of CE in Mongolia [...] Read more.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE), caused by the larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus, is significantly underreported in Mongolia due to geographical remoteness, a lack of early diagnostics, and poor clinical management. This study aimed to provide a more accurate estimate of CE in Mongolia by comparing data from surgical (reported) and diagnosed (unreported) cases and assessing the challenges faced by rural doctors in disease management and surveillance. We collected data on surgical cases hospitalized between 2006 and 2016 and newly diagnosed CE cases in 2016 from eight provinces. Using a quasi-Poisson regression model, we extrapolated the collected data to estimate the number of diagnosed cases for the entire country. Additionally, forty health professionals from all 21 provinces rated local clinical management for CE through a questionnaire. The results reveal that surgical cases (2.2 per year) represent only one-eighth of diagnosed cases (15.9 per year). The laboratory facilities, disease reporting, and cyst classification usage scored below 2. These results highlight the significant underreporting of CE in Mongolia and urge human and animal health experts, along with policymakers, to invest in combating CE, particularly in remote provincial areas. This study also emphasizes the need for standard clinical management involving cyst classification according to the WHO-IWGE and seamless integration of CE reporting and monitoring mechanisms, which can significantly contribute to the national and global burden estimation of CE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Echinococcosis: From Parasite–Host Interaction to Rapid Detection)
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33 pages, 4010 KiB  
Review
A Review of Available Solutions for Implementation of Small–Medium Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems
by Cătălina Dobre, Mihnea Costin and Mihaela Constantin
Inventions 2024, 9(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/inventions9040082 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
The transition towards a sustainable and renewable energy future is essential to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Small–medium combined heat and power (CHP) systems are increasingly popular for distributed energy generation, as they offer improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions [...] Read more.
The transition towards a sustainable and renewable energy future is essential to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Small–medium combined heat and power (CHP) systems are increasingly popular for distributed energy generation, as they offer improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions compared to traditional power generation systems. This article reviews recent research articles related to small–medium CHP systems, including their role in renewable energy systems, use of biofuels, steam injection, diagnostics, and carbon capture. Throughout the research, the high potential of coastal regions has been observed and studied as a solid base for the later development of CHP systems. Based on the reviewed literature, the highest potential solutions are proposed to be further investigated as an efficient, economical solution for generating electricity and heat for various small-scale applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Marine Renewable Energy, 2nd Volume)
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24 pages, 1118 KiB  
Review
Tracking Biomarkers for the Health and Welfare of Aquaculture Fish
by Joana Oliveira, Aires Oliva-Teles and Ana Couto
Fishes 2024, 9(7), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes9070289 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Aquaculture production has been growing consistently over the last few decades to meet the increasing animal protein demand of the human population. However, increased production and rearing intensities raise the challenges of guaranteeing fish health and welfare, which is essential to avoid losses [...] Read more.
Aquaculture production has been growing consistently over the last few decades to meet the increasing animal protein demand of the human population. However, increased production and rearing intensities raise the challenges of guaranteeing fish health and welfare, which is essential to avoid losses and ensure product quality. Biomarkers can provide insights into the fish’s nutritional, physiological, and health status, and aid in the evaluation of early nutritional and physiological imbalances, distress conditions, and pathological diagnosis. The discovery and validation of biomarkers rely mostly on the use of information provided by different parameters, including biochemical, metabolic, or immunologic, as well as several omics, from genomics and transcriptomics to proteomics and metabolomics. In this review, a summary of the main biomarkers used in aquaculture is provided along with an overview of the main omics technologies available for further biomarker research. This review also highlights the need to develop non-lethal biomarkers that can easily and quickly be measured to provide a prompt response to producers. Full article
35 pages, 1171 KiB  
Article
Optimization of the Shunt Currents and Pressure Losses of a VRFB by Applying a Discrete PSO Algorithm
by Decebal Aitor Ispas-Gil, Ekaitz Zulueta, Javier Olarte, Asier Zulueta and Unai Fernandez-Gamiz
Batteries 2024, 10(7), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/batteries10070257 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
This paper presents an extensive study on the electrochemical, shunt currents, and hydraulic modeling of a vanadium redox flow battery of m stacks and cells per stack. The shunt currents model of the battery has been developed through the use of Kirchoff’s laws, [...] Read more.
This paper presents an extensive study on the electrochemical, shunt currents, and hydraulic modeling of a vanadium redox flow battery of m stacks and cells per stack. The shunt currents model of the battery has been developed through the use of Kirchoff’s laws, taking into account the different design cases that can occur and enumerating the equations of nodes and meshes specifying them so that the software implementation can be performed in a direct way. The hydraulic model has been developed by numerical methods. These models are put to work simultaneously in order to simulate the behavior of a VRFB battery during charging and discharging, obtaining the pressure losses and shunt currents that occur in the battery. Using these models, and by using a PSO-type optimization algorithm, specifically designed for discrete variables, the battery design is optimized in order to minimize the round-trip efficiency losses due to pressure losses and shunt currents. In the optimization of the battery design, value is given to the number of stacks in which the total number of cells in the battery is distributed and the dimensions of the piping relative to both the stacks and the cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Battery Modelling, Simulation, Management and Application)
34 pages, 23946 KiB  
Article
Impact of the Different Molecular Weights of Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) Coating Agents on the Magnetic Targeting Characteristics of Functionalized Magnetoresponsive Nanoclusters
by Sandor I. Bernad, Alexander Bunge, Maria C. Ioncica, Rodica Turcu, Monica Dan, Vlad Socoliuc, Daniela Susan-Resiga and Elena S. Bernad
Magnetochemistry 2024, 10(7), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/magnetochemistry10070051 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
In this article, we investigated the influence of molecular weight (Mw) on particle deposition efficiency after PEG-functionalized (polyethylene glycol-PEG) magnetoresponsive magnetic cluster targeting. In this work, the clusters were obtained by the solvothermal polyol method using polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a coating agent. [...] Read more.
In this article, we investigated the influence of molecular weight (Mw) on particle deposition efficiency after PEG-functionalized (polyethylene glycol-PEG) magnetoresponsive magnetic cluster targeting. In this work, the clusters were obtained by the solvothermal polyol method using polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a coating agent. So, we investigated three kinds of magnetoresponsive clusters: MNC-2000, MNC-6000, and MNC-10,000. These clusters were coated with PEG, and had molecular weights (Mw) of 2000 Da, 6000 Da, and 10,000 Da, respectively. The authors propose that the key to achieving maximum efficiency in targeted drug delivery is to deposit a thin, uniform layer of medication that covers the vascular wall in the area of interest. We defined a set of efficiency criteria to focus on the most essential characteristics of the targeting results. These are the obstruction degree, which measures the level of vessel obstruction; the magnet coverage degree, which evaluates the quality of particle deposition along the vessel wall; and the proximal deposition degree, which assesses the effect of pulsatile flow on deposition length. We performed several tests to determine how molecular weight affected these efficiency parameters. These tests examined (a) the effect of the injected cluster quantities, (b) the effect of the magnet distance, and (c) the effect of the injection period. Our findings indicate that an increase in PEG’s molar weight significantly impacts magnetic particle targeting efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Magnetic Materials: Synthesis, Structure and Application)
19 pages, 2410 KiB  
Article
Elucidating Key Microbial Drivers for Methane Production during Cold Adaptation and Psychrophilic Anaerobic Digestion of Cattle Manure and Food Waste
by Haripriya Rama, Busiswa Ndaba, Mokhotjwa Simon Dhlamini, Nicolene Cochrane, Malik Maaza and Ashira Roopnarain
Fermentation 2024, 10(7), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/fermentation10070370 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
At psychrophilic temperatures (<20 °C), anaerobic digestion produces less methane (CH4). For psychrophilic anaerobic digestion (PAD) to be successful, investigation of cold-adapted microbial consortia involved in methane production is critical. This study aimed to investigate the microbial community driving enhanced methane [...] Read more.
At psychrophilic temperatures (<20 °C), anaerobic digestion produces less methane (CH4). For psychrophilic anaerobic digestion (PAD) to be successful, investigation of cold-adapted microbial consortia involved in methane production is critical. This study aimed to investigate the microbial community driving enhanced methane production from the cold-adaptation process and bioaugmentation of PAD with cold-adapted inoculum (BI). Microbial consortia in cattle manure (CM) and food waste (FW) were adapted and applied during batch PAD of CM and FW to bioaugment methane production at 15 °C. Cold adaptation and PAD with BI resulted in cumulative specific methane yields of 0.874 ± 0.231 and 0.552 ± 0.089 L CH4 g−1 volatile solids, respectively, after 14 weeks, while the absence of BI (control) led to acidification and no methane production during PAD. Following 16S rRNA V4–V5 amplicon sequencing and metagenomic analyses, Methanosarcina was revealed as a key driver of methanogenesis during cold adaptation and PAD bioaugmentation. Furthermore, based on the predictive functional and metabolic analysis of the communities, possible synergies were proposed in terms of substrate production and utilization by the dominant microbial groups. For instance, during methane production, Bacteroides and Methanobrevibacter were possibly involved in a syntrophic relationship, which promoted methanogenesis by Methanosarcina. These findings provide insight into the prospective microbial synergies that can be harnessed and/or regulated in cold-adapted inoculum for the improvement of methane production during PAD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research on Anaerobic Digestion: Second Edition)
16 pages, 4092 KiB  
Article
Development of Clindamycin-Releasing Polyvinyl Alcohol Hydrogel with Self-Healing Property for the Effective Treatment of Biofilm-Infected Wounds
by Nur Alifah, Juliana Palungan, Kadek Ardayanti, Muneeb Ullah, Andi Nokhaidah Nurkhasanah, Apon Zaenal Mustopa, Subehan Lallo, Rina Agustina, Jin-Wook Yoo and Nurhasni Hasan
Gels 2024, 10(7), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels10070482 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Self-healing hydrogels have good mechanical strength, can endure greater external force, and have the ability to heal independently, resulting in a strong bond between the wound and the material. Bacterial biofilm infections are life-threatening. Clindamycin (Cly) can be produced in the form of [...] Read more.
Self-healing hydrogels have good mechanical strength, can endure greater external force, and have the ability to heal independently, resulting in a strong bond between the wound and the material. Bacterial biofilm infections are life-threatening. Clindamycin (Cly) can be produced in the form of a self-healing hydrogel preparation. It is noteworthy that the antibacterial self-healing hydrogels show great promise as a wound dressing for bacterial biofilm infection. In this study, we developed a polyvinyl alcohol/borax (PVA/B) self-healing hydrogel wound dressing that releases Cly. Four ratios of PVA, B, and Cly were used to make self-healing hydrogels: F1 (4%:0.8%:1%), F2 (4%:1.2%:1%), F3 (1.6%:1%), and F4 (4%:1.6%:0). The results showed that F4 had the best physicochemical properties, including a self-healing duration of 11.81 ± 0.34 min, swelling ratio of 85.99 ± 0.12%, pH value of 7.63 ± 0.32, and drug loading of 98.34 ± 11.47%. The B–O–C cross-linking between PVA and borax caused self-healing, according to FTIR spectra. The F4 formula had a more equal pore structure in the SEM image. The PVA/B-Cly self-healing hydrogel remained stable at 6 ± 2 °C for 28 days throughout the stability test. The Korsmeyer–Peppas model released Cly by Fickian diffusion. In biofilm-infected mouse wounds, PVA/B-Cly enhanced wound healing and re-epithelialization. Our results indicate that the PVA/B-Cly produced in this work has reliable physicochemical properties for biofilm-infected wound therapy. Full article
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20 pages, 1552 KiB  
Article
Transcriptomic and Metabolomic Analyses of Soybean Protein Isolate on Monascus Pigments and Monacolin K Production
by Xueling Qin, Haolan Han, Jiayi Zhang, Bin Xie, Yufan Zhang, Jun Liu, Weiwei Dong, Yuanliang Hu, Xiang Yu and Yanli Feng
J. Fungi 2024, 10(7), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof10070500 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Monascus pigments (MPs) and monacolin K (MK) are important secondary metabolites produced by Monascus spp. This study aimed to investigate the effect of soybean protein isolate (SPI) on the biosynthesis of MPs and MK based on the analysis of physiological indicators, transcriptomes, and [...] Read more.
Monascus pigments (MPs) and monacolin K (MK) are important secondary metabolites produced by Monascus spp. This study aimed to investigate the effect of soybean protein isolate (SPI) on the biosynthesis of MPs and MK based on the analysis of physiological indicators, transcriptomes, and metabolomes. The results indicated that the growth, yellow MPs, and MK production of Monascus pilosus MS-1 were significantly enhanced by SPI, which were 8.20, 8.01, and 1.91 times higher than that of the control, respectively. The utilization of a nitrogen source, protease activity, the production and utilization of soluble protein, polypeptides, and free amino acids were also promoted by SPI. The transcriptomic analysis revealed that the genes mokA, mokB, mokC, mokD, mokE, mokI, and mokH which are involved in MK biosynthesis were significantly up-regulated by SPI. Moreover, the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, pyruvate metabolism, fatty acid degradation, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and amino acid metabolism were effectively up-regulated by SPI. The metabolomic analysis indicated that metabolisms of amino acid, lipid, pyruvate, TCA cycle, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, starch and sucrose, and pentose phosphate pathway were significantly disturbed by SPI. Thus, MPs and MK production promoted by SPI were mainly attributed to the increased biomass, up-regulated gene expression level, and more precursors and energies. Full article
12 pages, 791 KiB  
Article
Germination-Induced Enhancement of Brown Rice Noodle Nutritional Profile and Gut Microbiota Modulation
by Ruiyun Chen, Huibin Zhang, Jiamei Cai, Mingxi Cai, Taotao Dai, Yunfei Liu and Jianyong Wu
Foods 2024, 13(14), 2279; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13142279 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
This study explored how germination influences the starch digestion and intestinal fermentation characteristics of brown rice noodle. The study began with in vitro starch digestion tests to assess how germination affects starch digestibility in brown rice noodles, revealing an increase in rapidly digestible [...] Read more.
This study explored how germination influences the starch digestion and intestinal fermentation characteristics of brown rice noodle. The study began with in vitro starch digestion tests to assess how germination affects starch digestibility in brown rice noodles, revealing an increase in rapidly digestible starch content and a decrease in resistant starch content. Subsequently, an in vitro human fecal fermentation model was used to simulate the human intestinal environment, showing that germination altered pH levels and the production of short-chain fatty acids, particularly by increasing propionate while decreasing acetate and butyrate. Additionally, the study noted a decrease in gut microbiota diversity following fermentation, accompanied by an increase in Megamonas growth and a decrease in Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium. In conclusion, these findings suggest that germination could enhance the nutritional value and intestinal probiotic properties of brown rice noodles. This research contributes valuable insights into the role of germination in improving the nutritional properties of rice-based products and provides a foundation for further exploration into the development of health-promoting rice noodles. Full article
19 pages, 1193 KiB  
Article
A Twice-Open Control Method for a Hydraulic Variable Valve System in a Diesel Engine
by Degaoxuan Guo, Juan Tang, Zongfa Xie, Xiaoxia Li and Xinzheng Cao
Processes 2024, 12(7), 1526; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12071526 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
In order to solve the cold-starting problem and improve the intake and exhaust pipe temperatures of diesel engines under cold-starting and low- and medium-speed conditions, this paper proposes a twice-open control method for a hydraulic variable valve system. First, a hydraulic variable valve [...] Read more.
In order to solve the cold-starting problem and improve the intake and exhaust pipe temperatures of diesel engines under cold-starting and low- and medium-speed conditions, this paper proposes a twice-open control method for a hydraulic variable valve system. First, a hydraulic variable valve system that can realize a fully variable valve lift and phase angle is applied to replace the original intake system in order to meet the air intake requirements of different conditions. Then, a twice-open control method in which the intake valve opens two times at the exhaust stroke and intake stroke is proposed to improve the intake pipe temperature and solve the cold-starting problem. This paper contains a numerical work analysis. A GT-POWER model is constructed to validate the intake valve twice-open control method. The cylinder pressure, cylinder temperature, intake pipe pressure, and intake pipe temperature are obtained and compared between the original intake valve system and the hydraulic variable valve system with the proposed intake valve twice-open control method. The results show that the twice-open control method can increase the intake pipe temperature to 260 K or even higher, which can improve the cold-starting performance and the exhaust temperature at low and medium speeds. At the same time, the performance under low- and medium-speed conditions is improved. Full article
21 pages, 4000 KiB  
Article
Optimized Ultrasonic Extraction of Essential Oil from the Biomass of Lippia graveolens Kunth Using Deep Eutectic Solvents and Their Effect on Colletotrichum asianum
by Juan Pablo Manjarrez-Quintero, Octavio Valdez-Baro, Raymundo Saúl García-Estrada, Laura Aracely Contreras-Angulo, Pedro de Jesús Bastidas-Bastidas, J. Basilio Heredia, Luis Angel Cabanillas-Bojórquez and Erick Paul Gutiérrez-Grijalva
Processes 2024, 12(7), 1525; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12071525 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Essential oils are emerging as alternatives to conventional pest control chemicals. Lippia graveolens Kunth (Mexican oregano) is a source of essential oils and during conventional extraction, the biomass generated is discarded as waste; however, reports show that this biomass is still a rich [...] Read more.
Essential oils are emerging as alternatives to conventional pest control chemicals. Lippia graveolens Kunth (Mexican oregano) is a source of essential oils and during conventional extraction, the biomass generated is discarded as waste; however, reports show that this biomass is still a rich source of essential oils. Conventional essential oil extraction causes contamination and utilizes toxic solvents. Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) offer low toxicity, biodegradability, high selectivity, and yields comparable to organic solvents. This study obtained essential oil from Lippia graveolens biomass via hydrodistillation with ultrasound-assisted DES pretreatment. This research aimed to optimize the extraction of essential oil from Lippia graveolens biomass using ultrasound-assisted DESs and assess its in vitro and in vivo inhibitory effect on C. asianum. The response variables were extraction yield and total reducing capacity. Optimal conditions were determined using a central composite rotatable design, considering solid-to-liquid ratio (0.38 g/mL), ultrasonic amplitude (45.05%), and time (7.47 min). The optimized oil, with thymol (48%) as the predominant component, exhibited more volatile compounds than conventional hydrodistillation. Fungicidal assays highlighted its potential in controlling anthracnose in papaya fruits caused by C. asianum, making ultrasound-assisted DES pretreatment a promising alternative for obtaining essential oil from botanical byproducts. Full article
16 pages, 985 KiB  
Article
Research and Application of Gangue for the Preparation of Polymerized Aluminum Magnesium Chloride Flocculant
by Chaofen Yang, Xiaofeng Ma, Gang Ma, Lunqiu Zhang, Guang Lu, Yifan Zhang, Dantong Geng, Xiaolong You, Huan Liu and Yueyao Tian
Processes 2024, 12(7), 1524; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12071524 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
Polymerized aluminum magnesium chloride (PAMC) flocculant was prepared from gangue as a raw material, and the effects of pH, the polymerization time, and the polymerization temperature on the performance of the PAMC were investigated by a one-factor test, based on which, orthogonal experiments [...] Read more.
Polymerized aluminum magnesium chloride (PAMC) flocculant was prepared from gangue as a raw material, and the effects of pH, the polymerization time, and the polymerization temperature on the performance of the PAMC were investigated by a one-factor test, based on which, orthogonal experiments (three-factor and two-level) were conducted to optimize the relevant parameters. Meanwhile, FTIR and SEM were used to characterize the polymerized aluminum magnesium chloride, and the sample was applied in printing and dyeing wastewater treatment. The results showed that a pH value of 2.2 and a reaction at 60 °C for 4.5 h were the optimal preparation conditions; the characterization analysis showed that the synthesized product was polymerized aluminum magnesium chloride; the turbidity removal rate of the PAMC for printing and dyeing wastewater was increased by 2.1%, the COD removal rate was increased by 3.1%, the ammonia nitrogen removal rate was increased by 2.1%, and the chromaticity removal rate was increased by 9.2% compared with that of PAC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental and Green Processes)
16 pages, 906 KiB  
Article
A Self-Adaption Growth Model for the Burden Packing Process in a Bell-Less Blast Furnace
by Dongling Wu, Fengjie Yao, Duoyong Zhang, Enxue Zu, Ping Zhou and Wei Chen
Processes 2024, 12(7), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12071523 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
The burden structure directly decides the distribution of gas flow inside a blast furnace (BF). Falling, stacking, and descending bulk materials are the three main processes for burden formation, among which the stacking process plays a decisive role. The Discrete Element Method (DEM) [...] Read more.
The burden structure directly decides the distribution of gas flow inside a blast furnace (BF). Falling, stacking, and descending bulk materials are the three main processes for burden formation, among which the stacking process plays a decisive role. The Discrete Element Method (DEM) and theoretical modelling were combined to predict stacking behavior in this study. Falling and stacking behaviors were first simulated based on DEM. The repose angle during the stacking process and mass fraction distribution in the radial direction were analyzed. Then, the upper, centroid, and lower trajectory falling lines were determined, and a polynomial relation was found between the angle and the packing height. The influences of three parameters on the repose angle were investigated. Compared with the natural repose angle and chute inclination angle, the effects of the trajectory line depth appeared trivial. The polynomial relation between the repose angle and the packing height was specified to be a function of the natural angle of repose and the chute inclination angle. A three-trajectory falling model and quadratic expression were embedded in the theoretical model, yielding a self-adaption packing model. The model was proved reliable with a low relative error, below 15%. Full article
17 pages, 1001 KiB  
Article
A Fault Direction Criterion Based on Post-Fault Positive-Sequence Information for Inverter Interfaced Distributed Generators Multi-Point Grid-Connected System
by Fan Yang, Hechong Chen, Gang Han, Huiran Xu, Yang Lei, Wei Hu and Shuxian Fan
Processes 2024, 12(7), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr12071522 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
In response to the poor reliability in identifying fault direction in distribution networks with Inverter Interfaced Distributed Generators (IIDGs), considering the control strategy of low-voltage ride-through, a fault direction criterion based on post-fault positive-sequence steady-state components is proposed. Firstly, the output steady-state characteristics [...] Read more.
In response to the poor reliability in identifying fault direction in distribution networks with Inverter Interfaced Distributed Generators (IIDGs), considering the control strategy of low-voltage ride-through, a fault direction criterion based on post-fault positive-sequence steady-state components is proposed. Firstly, the output steady-state characteristics of IIDGs considering the low-voltage ride-through capability are analyzed during grid failure, and the applicability of existing directional elements in a distribution network with IIDGs connected dispersively is demonstrated. Subsequently, for the typical structure of an active distribution grid operating under flexible modes, the positive-sequence voltage and current are examined in various fault scenarios, and a reliable direction criterion is suggested based on the difference in post-fault positive-sequence impedance angles on different sides of the lines that are suitable whether on the grid side or the IIDG side. Lastly, the reliability of the proposed direction criterion is verified by simulation and the results indicate that the fault direction can be correctly determined, whereas phase-to-phase and three-phase short circuit faults occur in different scenarios, independent of the penetration and grid-connected positions of IIDGs, fault location, and transition resistance. It is suitable for fault direction discrimination of an IIDGs multi-point grid-connected system under a flexible operation mode. Full article
14 pages, 3250 KiB  
Article
Non-Invasive Diagnostic Approach for Diabetes Using Pulse Wave Analysis and Deep Learning
by Hiruni Gunathilaka, Rumesh Rajapaksha, Thosini Kumarika, Dinusha Perera, Uditha Herath, Charith Jayathilaka, Janitha Liyanage and Sudath Kalingamudali
Informatics 2024, 11(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/informatics11030051 - 19 Jul 2024
Abstract
The surging prevalence of diabetes globally necessitates advancements in non-invasive diagnostics, particularly for the early detection of cardiovascular anomalies associated with the condition. This study explores the efficacy of Pulse Wave Analysis (PWA) for distinguishing diabetic from non-diabetic individuals through morphological examination of [...] Read more.
The surging prevalence of diabetes globally necessitates advancements in non-invasive diagnostics, particularly for the early detection of cardiovascular anomalies associated with the condition. This study explores the efficacy of Pulse Wave Analysis (PWA) for distinguishing diabetic from non-diabetic individuals through morphological examination of pressure pulse waveforms. The research unfolds in four phases: data accrual, preprocessing, Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) model construction, and performance evaluation. Data were procured using a multipara patient monitor, resulting in 2000 pulse waves equally divided between healthy individuals and those with diabetes. These were used to train, validate, and test three distinct CNN architectures: the conventional CNN, Visual Geometry Group (VGG16), and Residual Networks (ResNet18). The accuracy, precision, recall, and F1 score gauged each model’s proficiency. The CNN demonstrated a training accuracy of 82.09% and a testing accuracy of 80.6%. The VGG16, with its deeper structure, surpassed the baseline with training and testing accuracies of 90.2% and 86.57%, respectively. ResNet18 excelled, achieving a training accuracy of 92.50% and a testing accuracy of 92.00%, indicating its robustness in pattern recognition within pulse wave data. Deploying deep learning for diabetes screening marks progress, suggesting clinical use and future studies on bigger datasets for refinement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical and Clinical Informatics)
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