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Article
Simulating Soil–Disc Plough Interaction Using Discrete Element Method–Multi-Body Dynamic Coupling
Agriculture 2023, 13(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13020305 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Due to their (a) lower draught force requirements and (b) ability to work at deeper operation depths and faster operation speeds, disc ploughs have gained interest in Australia. A modified version of the disc plough that involves removing every second disc and fitting [...] Read more.
Due to their (a) lower draught force requirements and (b) ability to work at deeper operation depths and faster operation speeds, disc ploughs have gained interest in Australia. A modified version of the disc plough that involves removing every second disc and fitting larger and often more concave discs has become popular. However, the development of the one-way modified disc plough is in its infancy, and a detailed analysis is required, particularly on soil movement. Historically, the soil movement analysis of the soil–tool interactions is conducted using empirical methods. However, the experimental tests are resource and labour intensive. When the soil and tool interaction can be accurately modelled, more efficient tools can be designed without performing expensive field tests, which may only be undertaken at certain times of the year. This study modelled the interaction between soil and a one-way modified disc plough using the discrete element method (DEM). As the disc plough is a passive-driven tool, the rotational speed of the disc plough was modelled using DEM-MBD (multi-body dynamic) coupling. The results of the study show that DEM-MBD coupling can predict the rotational speed of the disc plough with a maximum relative error of 6.9%, and a good correlation was obtained between the DEM-predicted and actual soil movement (R2 = 0.68). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Application of Agricultural Equipment in Tillage System)
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Article
Heteronormative Representations of the Family and Parenting in Public Policies: Implications for LGBTIQ+ Families
by , and
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12020066 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
This research analyzes the discourse of the Chilean State Program: “Chile Crece Contigo”, a program aimed at supporting the upbringing of children. We wonder about representation in the discourses of family and parenting, especially regarding LGBTIQ+ families. To do this, we compiled the [...] Read more.
This research analyzes the discourse of the Chilean State Program: “Chile Crece Contigo”, a program aimed at supporting the upbringing of children. We wonder about representation in the discourses of family and parenting, especially regarding LGBTIQ+ families. To do this, we compiled the materials available on the program website, which are particularly directed at the sphere of family and parenting. We carry out a documentary analysis, based on an approach to the post-structuralist analysis of public policy to identify how and what is the representation of the problem that public policies seek to solve. The results show only heteronormative perspectives to understand families, where sexual diversity within its constitution is almost invisible. At the same time, the exercise of parenting is represented as a materialization of sexist practices that reproduce stereotypes roles. Thus, this reinforces the idea that heteronormativity establishes an articulating axis of public policy that regulates the life of the subjects, maintaining differentiating parameters regarding the consideration of an expected behavior in society based on sex/gender. It is concluded that gender stereotypes supported by heteronormative models cause the marginalization of a significant percentage of families that do not fit into the imaginary of public policies under these heteronormative models, such as LGBTIQ+ families. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gender Studies)
Article
Hydraulic Conditions of Incipient Rill by Raindrop-Induced Overland Flow on Steep Slopes of Sandy Soil
by , , and
Water 2023, 15(3), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15030502 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Hydraulic characteristics of rill incipience on steep slopes with sandy soils are different from those of gentle slopes in the mountainous watersheds. In other to better understand the processes of the incision and expansion of rill, rainfall simulations were conducted in a laboratory [...] Read more.
Hydraulic characteristics of rill incipience on steep slopes with sandy soils are different from those of gentle slopes in the mountainous watersheds. In other to better understand the processes of the incision and expansion of rill, rainfall simulations were conducted in a laboratory soil box with an inflow device installed at the top of the steep slope. The location and shape of the rill incision were tested with respect to different slopes (20, 24, and 28°), rainfall intensity (80 and 100 mm/h), and segment distances with various inflow rates (0.0, 8.8, 17.5, and 26.3 mL/s). The result showed that rills with heatcut were mostly incised on the 2.4 m segments and progressively moved upslope on the 3.2 m segments. The steps of rill evolution with increase of inflow are identified as four stages; (1) sheet flow with impact of raindrops, (2) overland flow with flowpaths, (3) microrill with headcut incision, and (4) rill enhanced by headcut expansion. It appears that incision and headcut of rill is prevalent when the Froude number (Fr) changes from subcritical flow to supercritical flow and the maximum velocity of rill reaches over 0.065 m/s. Unit stream power using the maximum velocity of rill was the best parameter for estimating rill erosion as rill evolution greatly depends on maximum velocity of the local flow enhanced by rill incision and expansion As a result, it was found that critical conditions for rill incipient of sandy soils on steep slope are observed greater than those of loamy soils or gentle slopes. Full article
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Review
A Critical Review of Snail Shell Material Modification for Applications in Wastewater Treatment
by , and
Materials 2023, 16(3), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16031095 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Sea material is becoming increasingly popular and widely used as an adsorbent in wastewater treatment. Snail shell, a low-cost and natural animal waste material, has been shown to have a high calcium content (>99%) and a large potential surface area for the development [...] Read more.
Sea material is becoming increasingly popular and widely used as an adsorbent in wastewater treatment. Snail shell, a low-cost and natural animal waste material, has been shown to have a high calcium content (>99%) and a large potential surface area for the development of sustainable adsorbents. This paper presents a novel synthesis of methods for using snail shell absorbent materials in the treatment of wastewater containing heavy metals, textile dyes, and other organic substances. Modified biochar made from snail shells has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits. This paper discusses and analyzes modification methods, including impregnating with supplements, combining other adsorbents, synthesis of hydroxyapatite, co-precipitation, and the sol–gel method. The analysis of factors influencing adsorption efficiency revealed that pH, contact time, temperature, initial concentration, and adsorbent dose all have a significant impact on the adsorption process. Future research directions are also discussed in this paper as a result of presenting challenges for current snail adsorbents. Full article
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Article
Transesterification and Hydrotreating Reactions of Rice Bran Oil for Bio-Hydrogenated Diesel Production
by , , , and
Energies 2023, 16(3), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16031347 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Two different methods of production of bio-hydrogenated diesel (BHD), simply called green diesel from rice bran oil (RBO), were performed. In the first route, a direct hydrotreating reaction of RBO to BHD catalysed by Pd/Al2O3 was performed in a high-pressure [...] Read more.
Two different methods of production of bio-hydrogenated diesel (BHD), simply called green diesel from rice bran oil (RBO), were performed. In the first route, a direct hydrotreating reaction of RBO to BHD catalysed by Pd/Al2O3 was performed in a high-pressure batch reactor. Operating conditions were investigated as follows: catalyst loading (0.5 to 1.5% wt.), temperature (325 to 400 °C), initial hydrogen (H2) pressure (40 to 60 bar) and reaction time (30 to 90 min). The optimal condition was obtained at 1% wt catalyst loading, 350 °C, 40 bar H2 pressure and 60 min. Yields of crude/refined biofuels and BHD achieved were approximately 98%, 81.71% and 73.71%, respectively. In another route, transesterification together with hydrotreating reactions of rice bran methyl ester (RBME) to BHD was performed using the optimal conditions obtained from the first route. The amount of 98% crude biofuel was obtained and was equivalent to production yields of refined biofuel (85.71%) and BHD (68.51%). Furthermore, physical and chemical properties of both RBO/RBME green diesel were also considered following ASTM standard methods. In summary, both catalytic reactions were achieved in the range of a low-speed industrial diesel and were further recommended for BHD or green diesel production from RBO. Full article
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Article
Development of a Structural Model for Sustainable Environment Training and Knowledge Transfer
by , , and
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2322; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032322 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
The public sector is usually viewed as a formal and hierarchical organization. However, they need to improve the quality of their work to solve community matters satisfactorily. This study examines the mediating role of the motivation to learn in the relationship between sustainable [...] Read more.
The public sector is usually viewed as a formal and hierarchical organization. However, they need to improve the quality of their work to solve community matters satisfactorily. This study examines the mediating role of the motivation to learn in the relationship between sustainable environment training and knowledge transfer. This study is a cross-sectional study, using survey questionnaires to collect data from public servants at different divisions/departments in public organizations. SmartPLS was utilized to evaluate the quality of the study instrument and subsequently test the study hypotheses. The structural equation modeling test indicated that sustainable environment training affects knowledge transfer. Hence, the motivation to learn mediates the effect of sustainable environment training on knowledge transfer. Practitioners can utilize these findings to comprehend the diversity of perspectives on motivation to learn and to design a training program master plan that can increase employee motivation to succeed and maintain organizational strategies and goals in the global competition and organizational sustainability era. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Management)
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Article
Exploring the Co-Crystallization of Kojic Acid with Silver(I), Copper(II), Zinc(II), and Gallium(III) for Potential Antibacterial Applications
by , , , and
Molecules 2023, 28(3), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28031244 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Co-crystallization of kojic acid (HKA) with silver(I), copper(II), zinc(II), or gallium(III) salts yielded three 1D coordination polymers and one 0D complex in which kojic acid was present as a neutral or anionic terminal or bridging ligand. All reactions were conducted mechanochemically via ball [...] Read more.
Co-crystallization of kojic acid (HKA) with silver(I), copper(II), zinc(II), or gallium(III) salts yielded three 1D coordination polymers and one 0D complex in which kojic acid was present as a neutral or anionic terminal or bridging ligand. All reactions were conducted mechanochemically via ball milling and manual grinding, or via slurry. All solids were fully characterized via single-crystal and/or powder X-ray diffraction. As kojic acid is a mild antimicrobial compound that is widely used in cosmetics, and the metal cations possess antibacterial properties, their combinations were tested for potential antibacterial applications. The minimal inhibition concentrations (MICs) and minimal biocidal concentrations (MBCs) for all compounds were measured against standard strains of the bacteria P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and E. coli. All compounds exerted appreciable antimicrobial activity in the order of silver, zinc, copper, and gallium complexes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Applications of Transition Metal Complexes)
Article
Phoneme Representation and Articulatory Impairment: Insights from Adults with Comorbid Motor Coordination Disorder and Dyslexia
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(2), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13020210 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Phonemic processing skills are impaired both in children and adults with dyslexia. Since phoneme representation development is based on articulatory gestures, it is likely that these gestures influence oral reading-related skills as assessed through phonemic awareness tasks. In our study, fifty-two young dyslexic [...] Read more.
Phonemic processing skills are impaired both in children and adults with dyslexia. Since phoneme representation development is based on articulatory gestures, it is likely that these gestures influence oral reading-related skills as assessed through phonemic awareness tasks. In our study, fifty-two young dyslexic adults, with and without motor impairment, and fifty-nine skilled readers performed reading, phonemic awareness, and articulatory tasks. The two dyslexic groups exhibited slower articulatory rates than skilled readers and the comorbid dyslexic group presenting with an additional difficulty in respiratory control (reduced speech proportion and increased pause duration). Two versions of the phoneme awareness task (PAT) with pseudoword strings were administered: a classical version under time pressure and a delayed version in which access to phonemic representations and articulatory programs was facilitated. The two groups with dyslexia were outperformed by the control group in both versions. Although the two groups with dyslexia performed equally well on the classical PAT, the comorbid group performed significantly less efficiently on the delayed PAT, suggesting an additional contribution of articulatory impairment in the task for this group. Overall, our results suggest that impaired phoneme representations in dyslexia may be explained, at least partially, by articulatory deficits affecting access to them. Full article
Article
Intercomparison of NO3 under Humid Conditions with Open-Path and Extractive IBBCEAS in an Atmospheric Reaction Chamber
by , , , , , , , and
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(3), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15030739 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
We report an open-path incoherent broadband cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OP-IBBCEAS) technique for in situ simultaneous optical monitoring of NO2, NO3, and H2O in a reaction chamber. The measurement precision values (1σ) are 2.9 ppbv and [...] Read more.
We report an open-path incoherent broadband cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (OP-IBBCEAS) technique for in situ simultaneous optical monitoring of NO2, NO3, and H2O in a reaction chamber. The measurement precision values (1σ) are 2.9 ppbv and 2.9 pptv for NO2 and NO3 in 2 s, respectively, and the measurement uncertainties are 6% for NO2 and 14% for NO3. Intercomparison of measured concentrations of NO2 and NO3 by open-path and extractive IBBCEAS was carried out in the SAES-ARC reaction chamber during the reaction of NO2 with O3. The measurement accuracy of OP-IBBCEAS is verified by an NO2 intercomparison and the NO3 transmission efficiency of the extractive IBBCEAS is determined by comparison against the in situ NO3 measurement. The relationship between H2O absorption cross section and its mixing ratio at 295 K and 1 atm was analysed. Due to the spectral resolution of IBBCEAS system, the strong and narrow absorption lines of H2O are unresolved and exhibit non-Beer–Lambert Law behaviour. Therefore, a correction method is used to obtain the effective absorption cross section for fitting the H2O structure. An inappropriate H2O absorption cross section can cause an overestimation of NO3 concentration of about 28% in a humid atmosphere (H2O = 1.8%). This spectroscopic correction provides an approach to obtain accurate NO3 concentrations for open-path optical configurations, for example in chamber experiments or field campaigns. The measurement precision values are improved by a factor of 3 to 4 after applying Kalam filtering, achieving sub-ppbv (0.8 ppbv) and sub-pptv (0.9 pptv) performance in 2 s for NO2 and NO3, respectively. Full article
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Article
Shades of Fear—Mental and Physical Health Reactions to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Representative Study of Polish Society
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032245 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
The study was carried out one year after the establishment of the pandemic state in the European Union (EU), the situation at the end of the next wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of [...] Read more.
The study was carried out one year after the establishment of the pandemic state in the European Union (EU), the situation at the end of the next wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of Polish people using Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI), considering several demographic categories, such as sex, age, place of residence, education, and monthly income. The survey’s main objective was to find out whether the respondents feel fear related to pandemics and living in a pandemic, and if so, what the psychological and physiological symptoms of this fear are. Half of the respondents (50.2%) declared that they felt fear about what their life would look like after the pandemic, and every tenth person (10.1%) marked the highest level of fear on the scale. The respondents felt the psychological symptoms of the pandemic much more often than they felt the physical ones. The most common psychological symptoms were fear of the future (38.5% of them gave “often” and “very often” responses, together), despondency (29.2% of them gave “often” and “very often” responses), and mental tension (28.9% of them gave “often” and “very often” responses). A detailed analysis of data from representative studies showed that the responses in a pandemic are strongly determined by demographic categories, mainly sex and age, and they differ depending on the social group to which a person belongs. Full article
Editorial
Advances in Electric Traction System—Special Issue
by and
Energies 2023, 16(3), 1346; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16031346 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Transportation does not produce goods by itself but is a service of moving people or goods that allows societies to thrive and develop [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Electric Transport System)
Communication
Review and Perspectives of Key Decarbonization Drivers to 2030
Energies 2023, 16(3), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16031345 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Global climate policy commitments are encouraging the development of EU energy policies aimed at paving the way for cleaner energy systems. This article reviews key decarbonization drivers for Italy considering higher environmental targets from recent European Union climate policies. Energy efficiency, the electrification [...] Read more.
Global climate policy commitments are encouraging the development of EU energy policies aimed at paving the way for cleaner energy systems. This article reviews key decarbonization drivers for Italy considering higher environmental targets from recent European Union climate policies. Energy efficiency, the electrification of final consumption, the development of green fuels, increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the electric system, and carbon capture and storage are reviewed. A 2030 scenario is designed to forecast the role of decarbonization drivers in future energy systems and to compare their implementation with that in the current situation. Energy efficiency measures will reduce final energy consumption by 15.6%, as primary energy consumption will decrease by 19.8%. The electrification of final consumption is expected to increase by 6.08%. The use of green fuels is estimated to triple as innovative fuels may go to market at scale to uphold the ambitious decarbonization targets set in the transportation sector. The growing trajectory of renewable sources in the energy mix is confirmed, as while power generation is projected to increase by 10%, the share of renewables in that generation is expected to increase from 39.08% to 78.16%. Capture and storage technologies are also expected to play an increasingly important role. This article has policy implications and serves as a regulatory reference in the promotion of decarbonization investments. Full article
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Article
Design and Optimization of a Boost Interface for Magnetostrictive Energy Harvesting
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(3), 1606; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031606 - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Magnetostrictive alloys are very promising for Vibration Energy Harvesting applications to supply power to Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, especially because of their intrinsic robustness. Typically, vibration energy sources are random in nature, usually providing exploitable voltages much [...] Read more.
Magnetostrictive alloys are very promising for Vibration Energy Harvesting applications to supply power to Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, especially because of their intrinsic robustness. Typically, vibration energy sources are random in nature, usually providing exploitable voltages much lower than the electronic standards 1.6, 3.3 and 5 V. Therefore, a Power Electronic Interface (PEI) is needed to improve the conversion to DC output voltage from AC input over a wide range of frequencies and amplitudes. Very few or no conversion techniques are available for magnetostrictive devices, although several have been presented over the years for other smart materials, such as piezoelectrics. For example, hybrid buck–boost converters for piezoelectrics use one or more external inductors with a high-frequency switching technique. However, because of the intrinsic nature of harvesters based on magnetostrictive materials, such energy conversion techniques are proved to be neither efficient nor applicable. An improved AC–DC boost converter seems very promising for our purpose instead. The key feature is represented by the direct exploitation of the active harvester coil as a storage element of the boost circuit, without using other passive inductors as in other switching methods. Experimental tests of such a converter, driven with a real-time operating Arduino controller to detect the polarity of the input voltage, are presented with the aim to assess the potentiality of the scheme with both sinusoidal and impulse-like inputs. Simulations have been performed with LTspice, and the performance and efficiency have been compared with other energy conversion techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art in Energy Harvesting for IoT and WSN)
Article
Semisynthetic Sesquiterpene Lactones Generated by the Sensibility of Glaucolide B to Lewis and Brønsted–Lowry Acids and Bases: Cytotoxicity and Anti-Inflammatory Activities
Molecules 2023, 28(3), 1243; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28031243 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Sesquiterpene lactone (SL) subtypes including hirsutinolide and cadinanolide have a controversial genesis. Metabolites of these classes are either described as natural products or as artifacts produced via the influence of solvents, chromatographic mobile phases, and adsorbents used in phytochemical studies. Based on this [...] Read more.
Sesquiterpene lactone (SL) subtypes including hirsutinolide and cadinanolide have a controversial genesis. Metabolites of these classes are either described as natural products or as artifacts produced via the influence of solvents, chromatographic mobile phases, and adsorbents used in phytochemical studies. Based on this divergence, and to better understand the sensibility of these metabolites, different pH conditions were used to prepare semisynthetic SLs and evaluate the anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative activities. Therefore, glaucolide B (1) was treated with various Brønsted–Lowry and Lewis acids and bases—the same approach was applied to some of its derivatives—allowing us to obtain 14 semisynthetic SL derivatives, 10 of which are hereby reported for the first time. Hirsutinolide derivatives 7a (CC50 = 5.0 µM; SI = 2.5) and 7b (CC50 = 11.2 µM; SI = 2.5) and the germacranolide derivative 8a (CC50 = 3.1 µM; SI = 3.0) revealed significant cytotoxic activity and selectivity against human melanoma SK-MEL-28 cells when compared with that against non-tumoral HUVEC cells. Additionally, compounds 7a and 7c.1 showed strongly reduced interleukin-6 (IL-6) and nitrite (NOx) release in pre-treated M1 macrophages J774A.1 when stimulated with lipopolysaccharide. Despite the fact that hirsutinolide and cadinanolide SLs may be produced via plant metabolism, this study shows that acidic and alkaline extraction and solid-phase purification processes can promote their formation. Full article
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Review
Characteristics and Recent Development of Fluoride Magneto-Optical Crystals
Magnetochemistry 2023, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/magnetochemistry9020041 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Magneto-optical materials are the fundamental component of Faraday isolators; therefore, they are significantly important for solid-state laser systems. Fluoride magneto-optical crystals such as CeF3, KTb3F10 and LiTbF4 exhibit advantages of wide transmittance range, high optical homogeneity, smaller [...] Read more.
Magneto-optical materials are the fundamental component of Faraday isolators; therefore, they are significantly important for solid-state laser systems. Fluoride magneto-optical crystals such as CeF3, KTb3F10 and LiTbF4 exhibit advantages of wide transmittance range, high optical homogeneity, smaller thermal lensing and weaker thermal induced depolarization effect, and thus are promising candidates for Faraday isolators in high-power solid-state lasers. Recent progress in crystal growth and characterizations of these fluoride magneto-optical crystals are introduced. Possible applications of Faraday isolators based on various fluoride crystals are discussed, especially for solid-state lasers in the ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) spectral region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Magneto-Optical Ceramics)
Perspective
Co-Circulation of West Nile, Usutu, and Tick-Borne Encephalitis Viruses in the Same Area: A Great Challenge for Diagnostic and Blood and Organ Safety
Viruses 2023, 15(2), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15020366 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Viral infections caused by viruses from the family Flaviviridae such as Zika (ZIKV), Dengue (DENV), yellow fever (YFV), tick-borne encephalitis (TBEV), West Nile (WNV), and Usutu (USUV) are some of the most challenging diseases for recognition in clinical diagnostics and epidemiological tracking thanks [...] Read more.
Viral infections caused by viruses from the family Flaviviridae such as Zika (ZIKV), Dengue (DENV), yellow fever (YFV), tick-borne encephalitis (TBEV), West Nile (WNV), and Usutu (USUV) are some of the most challenging diseases for recognition in clinical diagnostics and epidemiological tracking thanks to their short viremia, non-specific symptoms, and high cross-reactivity observed in laboratory techniques. In Central Europe, the most relevant endemic flaviviruses are mosquito-borne WNV and USUV, and tick-borne TBEV. All three viruses have been recognised to be responsible for human neuroinvasive diseases. Moreover, they are interrupting the blood and transplantation safety processes, when the great efforts made to save a patient’s life could be defeated by acquired infection from donors. Due to the trend of changing distribution and abundance of flaviviruses and their vectors influenced by global change, the co-circulation of WNV, USUV, and TBEV can be observed in the same area. In this perspective, we discuss the problems of flavivirus diagnostics and epidemiology monitoring in Slovakia as a model area of Central Europe, where co-circulation of WNV, USUV, and TBEV in the same zone has been recently detected. This new situation presents multiple challenges not only for diagnostics or surveillance but particularly also for blood and organ safety. We conclude that the current routinely used laboratory diagnostics and donor screening applied by the European Union (EU) regulations are out of date and the novel methods which have become available in recent years, e.g., next-gene sequencing or urine screening should be implemented immediately. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Usutu, West Nile and Tickborne Encephalitis Viruses)
Article
Fabric Electrode Monitoring of Dynamic and Static ECG Signal and Comfort Performance
Coatings 2023, 13(2), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13020289 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
To monitor dynamic ECG for a long time, fabric electrodes must have excellent comfort and electrical properties. In addition, the quality of the collected ECG should be as free as possible from interference by motion artifacts due to dry skin and body movement. [...] Read more.
To monitor dynamic ECG for a long time, fabric electrodes must have excellent comfort and electrical properties. In addition, the quality of the collected ECG should be as free as possible from interference by motion artifacts due to dry skin and body movement. This study explores the comfort of four different materials and structures of silver-plated fabric electrodes, analyzing the acquisition effect of ECG signals under dynamic and static conditions. To obtain fabric electrodes with good comfort levels and stable ECG signal monitoring under dynamic and static conditions, four kinds of electroless silver-plated conductive fabrics were selected and assembled into fabric electrodes. Permeability, electrochemical impedance spectrum, static opening voltage, and dynamic static electrocardiogram were tested and evaluated for each of the four fabric electrodes; additionally, the comfort of the four fabric electrodes and the mass of ECG monitored under dynamic and static conditions were assessed. The results showed that the highly hygroscopic knitted fabric electrode showed better comfort than the other three samples. The electrochemical impedance spectrum curve of the highly hygroscopic knitted fabric electrode was relatively smooth and stable, and it had lower impedance than the other electrodes; moreover, the static open-circuit voltage changed more stably with the increase of processing time compared to the other samples. The four kinds of fabric electrodes all collected clear and stable ECG in the resting state. However, in dynamic conditions, only the highly hygroscopic knitted fabric electrodes collected stable ECG under the conditions of seven daily life actions, clearly distinguishing between the P-wave, QRS wave group, and T-wave. The knitted fabric electrode has a high correlation with the ECG measured by a disposable gel electrode, meeting the standards needed to monitor ECG during the human body’s daily activities. Full article
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Article
Dynamic Simulation Analysis of the Working Process of the Picking Mechanism of a Sugarcane Leaf Cutting and Returning Machine
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(3), 1620; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031620 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Leaf–device interaction can effectively be modeled with a finite element model when proper finite element model parameters are applied. In order to investigate the contact mechanism of picking up sugarcane leaf during the operation of a sugarcane leaf cutting and returning machine, [...] Read more.
Leaf–device interaction can effectively be modeled with a finite element model when proper finite element model parameters are applied. In order to investigate the contact mechanism of picking up sugarcane leaf during the operation of a sugarcane leaf cutting and returning machine, a geometric solid model of sugarcane leaf picking was established. A finite element numerical model to analyze the large deformation problem of flexible bodies was developed in LS-DYNA to simulate the picking process of the returning machine. A dynamic simulation of the sugarcane leaf-picking process was carried out to obtain the change of stress field and the motion posture of the sugarcane leaf and the elastic teeth. The picking process of the picking mechanism, the change in posture of the sugarcane leaves, the change in stress on the sugarcane leaf, the change in the bending angle of the sugarcane leaf and the change in stress on the elastic teeth were analyzed in detail. The results showed that the picking process can be divided into four stages: picking, lifting, pushing and retrieving. The posture changes of sugarcane leaf are "C", logarithmic curve, wavy shape and "V", in turn. During the picking process, the sugarcane blade showed some breakage, the sugarcane vein remained intact, and the elastic teeth did not fail. During the whole picking cycle, the maximum Von Mises stress of the blade, vein and elastic teeth were 22.8 MPa, 17.5 MPa and 900 MPa, respectively. An evaluation criterion of bending angle was creatively put forward to measure the bending deformation of leaves. The trend in the sugarcane leaf bending angle shows that it is largely variable, gradually decreasing, fluctuating and increasing with interval fluctuations. The working process of the picking mechanism was observed through a quick camera experiment. Comparing the experiment with the simulation, the changing trend of the simulation data and experimental data was generally similar. The experimental and simulation values of the average sugarcane leaf bending angle were 27° and 19°, respectively. The relative error of the average bending angle was 29.6%. It was concluded that the developed finite element model is substantial and could be applied to optimize and improve the picking mechanism. In addition, some references were provided for the contact mechanism between the picking mechanism and the sugarcane leaf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Science and Technology)
Review
Advances in the Study of Probiotics for Immunomodulation and Intervention in Food Allergy
Molecules 2023, 28(3), 1242; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28031242 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Food allergies are a serious food safety and public health issue. Soybean, dairy, aquatic, poultry, and nut products are common allergens inducing allergic reactions and adverse symptoms such as atopic dermatitis, allergic eczema, allergic asthma, and allergic rhinitis. Probiotics are assumed as an [...] Read more.
Food allergies are a serious food safety and public health issue. Soybean, dairy, aquatic, poultry, and nut products are common allergens inducing allergic reactions and adverse symptoms such as atopic dermatitis, allergic eczema, allergic asthma, and allergic rhinitis. Probiotics are assumed as an essential ingredient in maintaining intestinal microorganisms’ composition. They have unique physiological roles and therapeutic effects in maintaining the mucosal barrier, immune function, and gastrointestinal tract, inhibiting the invasion of pathogenic bacteria, and preventing diarrhea and food allergies. Multiple pieces of evidence reveal a significant disruptive effect of probiotics on food allergy pathology and progression mechanisms. Thus, this review describes the allergenic proteins as an entry point and briefly describes the application of probiotics in allergenic foods. Then, the role of probiotics in preventing and curing allergic diseases by regulating human immunity through intestinal flora and intestinal barrier, modulating host immune active cells, and improving host amino acid metabolism are described in detail. The anti-allergic role of probiotics in the function and metabolism of the gastrointestinal tract has been comprehensively explored to furnish insights for relieving food allergy symptoms and preventing food allergy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technology in Nutrition Analysis)
Article
Amh/Amhr2 Signaling Causes Masculinization by Inhibiting Estrogen Synthesis during Gonadal Sex Differentiation in Japanese Flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032480 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
The anti-Müllerian hormone (Amh) is a protein belonging to the TGF-β superfamily, the function of which has been considered important for male sex differentiation in vertebrates. The Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) is a teleost fish that has an XX/XY sex determination [...] Read more.
The anti-Müllerian hormone (Amh) is a protein belonging to the TGF-β superfamily, the function of which has been considered important for male sex differentiation in vertebrates. The Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) is a teleost fish that has an XX/XY sex determination system and temperature-dependent sex determination. In this species, amh expression is up-regulated in genetic males and in temperature-induced masculinization during the sex differentiation period. However, to the best of our knowledge, no reports on the Amh receptor (Amhr2) in flounder have been published, and the details of Amh signaling remain unclear. In this study, we produced amhr2-deficient mutants using the CRISPR/Cas9 system and analyzed the gonadal phenotypes and sex-related genes. The results revealed that the gonads of genetically male amhr2 mutants featured typical ovaries, and the sex differentiation-related genes showed a female expression pattern. Thus, the loss of Amhr2 function causes male-to-female sex reversal in Japanese flounder. Moreover, the treatment of genetically male amhr2 mutants with an aromatase inhibitor fadrozole, which inhibits estrogen synthesis, resulted in testicular formation. These results strongly suggest that Amh/Amhr2 signaling causes masculinization by inhibiting estrogen synthesis during gonadal sex differentiation in the flounder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Hormones and Sex Differentiation)
Communication
Wavelength-Independent Excitation Bessel Beams for High-Resolution and Deep Focus Imaging
Nanomaterials 2023, 13(3), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano13030508 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Bessel beams are attaining keen interest in the current era considering their unique non-diffractive, self-healing nature and their diverse applications spanning over a broad spectral range of microwave to optical frequencies. However, conventional generators are not only bulky and complex but are also [...] Read more.
Bessel beams are attaining keen interest in the current era considering their unique non-diffractive, self-healing nature and their diverse applications spanning over a broad spectral range of microwave to optical frequencies. However, conventional generators are not only bulky and complex but are also limited in terms of numerical aperture (NA) and efficiency. In this study, we experimentally develop a wavelength-independent Bessel beam generator through custom-designed metasurfaces to accomplish high resolution and large depth-of-focus imaging. These meta-axicons exhibit a high NA of up to 0.7 with an ability to generate Bessel beams with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 300 nm (~λ/2) and a depth of focus (DOF) of 153 μm (~261λ) in a broad spectral range of 500–700 nm. This excitation approach can provide a promising avenue for cutting-edge technology and applications related to Bessel beams for imaging along with a high axial resolution and an ultra-large depth of focus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Nanomaterials: From Fundamentals to Application)
Article
Effect of Equipment on the Accuracy of Accelerometer-Based Human Activity Recognition in Extreme Environments
Sensors 2023, 23(3), 1416; https://doi.org/10.3390/s23031416 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
A little explored area of human activity recognition (HAR) is in people operating in relation to extreme environments, e.g., mountaineers. In these contexts, the ability to accurately identify activities, alongside other data streams, has the potential to prevent death and serious negative health [...] Read more.
A little explored area of human activity recognition (HAR) is in people operating in relation to extreme environments, e.g., mountaineers. In these contexts, the ability to accurately identify activities, alongside other data streams, has the potential to prevent death and serious negative health events to the operators. This study aimed to address this user group and investigate factors associated with the placement, number, and combination of accelerometer sensors. Eight participants (age = 25.0 ± 7 years) wore 17 accelerometers simultaneously during lab-based simulated mountaineering activities, under a range of equipment and loading conditions. Initially, a selection of machine learning techniques was tested. Secondly, a comprehensive analysis of all possible combinations of the 17 accelerometers was performed to identify the optimum number of sensors, and their respective body locations. Finally, the impact of activity-specific equipment on the classifier accuracy was explored. The results demonstrated that the support vector machine (SVM) provided the most accurate classifications of the five machine learning algorithms tested. It was found that two sensors provided the optimum balance between complexity, performance, and user compliance. Sensors located on the hip and right tibia produced the most accurate classification of the simulated activities (96.29%). A significant effect associated with the use of mountaineering boots and a 12 kg rucksack was established. Full article
Article
Polarity-Based Sentiment Analysis of Georeferenced Tweets Related to the 2022 Twitter Acquisition
Information 2023, 14(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14020071 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Twitter, one of the most important social media platforms, has been in the headlines regularly since its acquisition by Elon Musk in October 2022. This acquisition has had a strong impact on the employees, functionality, and discourse on Twitter. So far, however, there [...] Read more.
Twitter, one of the most important social media platforms, has been in the headlines regularly since its acquisition by Elon Musk in October 2022. This acquisition has had a strong impact on the employees, functionality, and discourse on Twitter. So far, however, there has been no analysis that examines the perception of the acquisition by the users on the platform itself. For this purpose, in this paper, we use georeferenced Tweets from the US and classify them using a polarity-based sentiment analysis. We find that the number of Tweets about Twitter and Elon Musk has increased significantly, as have negative sentiments on the subject. Using a spatial hot spot analysis, we find distinct centres of discourse, but no clear evidence of their significant change over time. On the West Coast, however, we suspect the first signs of polarisation, which could be an important indication for the future development of discourse on Twitter. Full article
Article
Study of the Process of Destruction of Harmful Microorganisms in Water
Water 2023, 15(3), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15030503 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
In this scientific work, the problem of studying the process of destruction of microorganisms in water by an Etro-03 device based on electric corona discharge is considered. In the research, a special Etro-03 ozonator device was developed for clearing water of biological pollutants. [...] Read more.
In this scientific work, the problem of studying the process of destruction of microorganisms in water by an Etro-03 device based on electric corona discharge is considered. In the research, a special Etro-03 ozonator device was developed for clearing water of biological pollutants. Testing of the installation was carried out in order to disinfect surface water in the Kapshagai reservoir. During the research, various harmful microorganisms were found in the composition of the primary water that did not meet the maximum permissible concentration (MPC). For example, coliphages, coli-indices, and the number of microbes in general came across in large numbers. During the technological process, various amounts of ozone (O3) were released into the water, the amount and effective economic indicators of which were determined. In the same way, the effective time of the decontamination process was determined. During the research process, an algorithm of theoretical calculations was developed, and a mathematical model was given to bring 1m3 of surface water as the indicator for which sanitary rules and norms are approved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Microorganisms in Aquatic Environments)
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Communication
Potential Improvement in a Portable Health Clinic for Community Health Service to Control Non-Communicable Diseases in Indonesia
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(3), 1623; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13031623 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited routine community health services, including screening for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). An adaptive and innovative digital approach is needed in the health technology ecosystem. A portable health clinic (PHC) is a community-based mobile health service equipped with telemonitoring and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited routine community health services, including screening for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). An adaptive and innovative digital approach is needed in the health technology ecosystem. A portable health clinic (PHC) is a community-based mobile health service equipped with telemonitoring and teleconsultation using portable medical devices and an Android application. The aim of this study was to assess the challenges and potential improvement in PHC implementation in Indonesia. This study was conducted in February–April 2021 in three primary health centers, Mlati II in Sleman District, Samigaluh II in Kulon Progo, and Kalikotes in Klaten. In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 health workers and community health workers. At the baseline, 268 patients were examined, and 214 patients were successfully followed-up until the third month. A proportion of 32% of the patients required teleconsultations based on automatic triage. Implementation challenges included technical constraints such as complexity of applications; unstable networks; and non-technical constraints, such as the effectivity of training, the availability of doctors, and the workload at the primary health center. PHCs were perceived as an added value in addition to existing community-based health services. The successful implementation of PHCs should not only be considered with respect to technology but also in terms of human impact, organization, and legality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Intelligence with Interoperability and Standard (APAMI 2022))
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Article
The Role of Emotion Regulation as a Potential Mediator between Secondary Traumatic Stress, Burnout, and Compassion Satisfaction in Professionals Working in the Forced Migration Field
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2266; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032266 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Background: Professionals working with refugees are vicariously exposed to complex traumatic experiences lived by forced migrants, which can lead to the risk of developing secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and a poor compassion satisfaction. The current study aimed to explore the effects of secondary [...] Read more.
Background: Professionals working with refugees are vicariously exposed to complex traumatic experiences lived by forced migrants, which can lead to the risk of developing secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and a poor compassion satisfaction. The current study aimed to explore the effects of secondary traumatic stress on burnout and compassion satisfaction in 264 Italian professionals working with refugees and forced migrants. Moreover, it examined the mediating role of emotion regulation between secondary traumatic stress and both burnout and compassion satisfaction. Methods: A structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed to test the hypothesis. Results: The results showed that increased levels of secondary traumatic stress were associated with an increase of burnout both directly and indirectly through the mediation of emotion regulation. Emotion regulation also totally mediated the relationship between secondary traumatic stress and compassion satisfaction. Conclusions: The results suggested that prevention or interventions programs targeting emotion regulation might be important to improve the professional quality of life of operators working with refugees and forced migrants. Full article
Article
Waiting for a Mathematical Theory of Living Systems from a Critical Review to Research Perspectives
Symmetry 2023, 15(2), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym15020351 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
This paper presents a survey of advanced concepts and research perspectives, of a philosophical-mathematical approach to describe the dynamics of systems of many interacting living entities. The first part introduces the general conceptual framework. Then, a critical analysis of the existing literature is [...] Read more.
This paper presents a survey of advanced concepts and research perspectives, of a philosophical-mathematical approach to describe the dynamics of systems of many interacting living entities. The first part introduces the general conceptual framework. Then, a critical analysis of the existing literature is developed and referred to a multiscale view of a mathematics of living organisms. This paper attempts to understand how far the present state-of-the-art is far from the achievement of such challenging objective. The overall study leads to identify research perspectives and possible hints to deal with them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Active Particle Methods Toward Modelling Living Systems)
Article
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Dissemination in the Wildlife, Livestock, and Water of Maiella National Park, Italy
Animals 2023, 13(3), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13030432 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health concern that has been linked to humans, animals, and the environment. The One Health approach highlights the connection between humans, animals, and the environment and suggests that a multidisciplinary approached be used in studies investigating AMR. [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health concern that has been linked to humans, animals, and the environment. The One Health approach highlights the connection between humans, animals, and the environment and suggests that a multidisciplinary approached be used in studies investigating AMR. The present study was carried out to identify and characterize the antimicrobial resistance profiles of bacteria isolated from wildlife and livestock feces as well as from surface water samples in Maiella National Park, Italy. Ecological and georeferenced data were used to select two sampling locations, one where wildlife was caught within livestock grazing areas (sympatric group) and one where wildlife was caught outside of livestock grazing areas (non-sympatric group). Ninety-nine bacterial isolates from 132 feces samples and seven isolates from five water samples were collected between October and December 2019. The specimens were examined for species identification, antibiotic susceptibility and molecular detection of antibiotic resistance. Forty isolates were identified as Escherichia coli, forty-eight as Enterococcus spp., eight as Streptococcus spp. and ten as other gram-negative bacteria. Phenotypic antibiotic resistance to at least one antimicrobial agent, including some antibiotics that play a critical role in human medicine, was detected in 36/106 (33.9%, 95%CI: 25–43) isolates and multidrug resistance was detected in 9/106 isolates (8.49%, 95%CI: 3.9–15.5). In addition, genes associated with antibiotic resistance were identified in 61/106 (57.55%, 95%CI: 47.5–67) isolates. The samples from sympatric areas were 2.11 (95%CI: 1.2–3.5) times more likely to contain resistant bacterial isolates than the samples from non-sympatric areas. These data suggest that drug resistant bacteria may be transmitted in areas where wildlife and livestock cohabitate. This emphasizes the need for further investigations focusing on the interactions between humans, wildlife, and the environment, the results of which can aid in the early detection of emerging AMR profiles and possible transmission routes. Full article
Article
The Impact of Transmission Line Modeling on Lightning Overvoltage
Energies 2023, 16(3), 1343; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16031343 (registering DOI) - 27 Jan 2023
Abstract
In most of the work that investigates the backflashover phenomenon due to direct lightning strikes, using EMT-type simulators, transmission lines are represented by the J. Marti model and the ground effect is computed employing J. R. Carson’s formulations. Thus, the ground displacement current [...] Read more.
In most of the work that investigates the backflashover phenomenon due to direct lightning strikes, using EMT-type simulators, transmission lines are represented by the J. Marti model and the ground effect is computed employing J. R. Carson’s formulations. Thus, the ground displacement current is neglected, the line voltage definition corresponds to the wire potential formulation, and soil resistivity is considered frequency-independent. These considerations can lead to erroneous measurements of the occurrences of the backflashover phenomenon in the insulator strings of transmission line. In this sense, this paper presents a systematic sensitivity analysis study of lightning overvoltage in insulator strings considering more physically consistent models of the transmission line, which consider the displacement current, ground admittance correction, rigorous voltage definition, and frequency-dependent soil parameters. According to the results, for the case study, transmission line parameters modeling can present a maximum percentual difference of around 71.54%, considering the frequency range of first strokes. This difference leads to a percent difference of around 5.25% in the maximum overvoltage across the insulator strings. These differences confirm that the occurrence or not of backflashover in the insulator strings, including the disruption time, are sensitive to the line model considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Power System Modeling and Control, 2nd Volume)

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