The 2023 MDPI Annual Report has
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14 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
Transitions in Patristic Cosmology: From Cosmophobia to Universe-(Re)Making
by Doru Costache
Religions 2024, 15(6), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060728 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
The field of Patristics, or early Christian and Mediaeval Studies, traditionally works along the lines of historical and literary criticism. But this method is not always useful, especially when it comes to complex objects and circumstances. No wonder the current trend of replacing [...] Read more.
The field of Patristics, or early Christian and Mediaeval Studies, traditionally works along the lines of historical and literary criticism. But this method is not always useful, especially when it comes to complex objects and circumstances. No wonder the current trend of replacing it, more often than not, by interdisciplinary frameworks. The article begins accordingly by reviewing three interdisciplinary frameworks, namely, the “socio-historical method”, “Deep Time”, and archaeological theorist Roland Fletcher’s “transitions”, highlighting their suitability for a comprehensive approach to Patristic cosmology. Here, cosmology should not be taken in the narrow sense of contemporary science. It means both a way of representing reality—a worldview—and a way of inhabiting the world. The present article analyses the evolution of the early Christian and mediaeval perception of the environment and the cosmos in Greek sources, pointing to successive transitions from apprehension (cosmophobia) to a keen interest in understanding nature to the thought that holiness represents a universe-(re)making agency. It addresses relevant historical and social circumstances, but proposes that the above transitions were triggered by internal or existential factors as well, and not only external, thus complementing Fletcher’s outline, which focuses upon external catalysts, such as economy and technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Patristics: Essays from Australia)
11 pages, 3046 KiB  
Article
AI-Assisted Body Composition Assessment Using CT Imaging in Colorectal Cancer Patients: Predictive Capacity for Sarcopenia and Malnutrition Diagnosis
by Virginia Soria-Utrilla, Francisco José Sánchez-Torralvo, Fiorella Ximena Palmas-Candia, Rocío Fernández-Jiménez, Fernanda Mucarzel-Suarez-Arana, Patricia Guirado-Peláez, Gabriel Olveira, José Manuel García-Almeida and Rosa Burgos-Peláez
Nutrients 2024, 16(12), 1869; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16121869 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
(1) Background: The assessment of muscle mass is crucial in the nutritional evaluation of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), as decreased muscle mass is linked to increased complications and poorer prognosis. This study aims to evaluate the utility of AI-assisted L3 CT for [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The assessment of muscle mass is crucial in the nutritional evaluation of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), as decreased muscle mass is linked to increased complications and poorer prognosis. This study aims to evaluate the utility of AI-assisted L3 CT for assessing body composition and determining low muscle mass using both the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria for malnutrition and the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP2) criteria for sarcopenia in CRC patients prior to surgery. Additionally, we aim to establish cutoff points for muscle mass in men and women and propose their application in these diagnostic frameworks. (2) Methods: This retrospective observational study included CRC patients assessed by the Endocrinology and Nutrition services of the Regional University Hospitals of Malaga, Virgen de la Victoria of Malaga, and Vall d’Hebrón of Barcelona from October 2018 to July 2023. A morphofunctional assessment, including anthropometry, bioimpedance analysis (BIA), and handgrip strength, was conducted to apply the GLIM criteria for malnutrition and the EWGSOP2 criteria for sarcopenia. Body composition evaluation was performed through AI-assisted analysis of CT images at the L3 level. ROC analysis was used to determine the predictive capacity of variables derived from the CT analysis regarding the diagnosis of low muscle mass and to describe cutoff points. (3) Results: A total of 586 patients were enrolled, with a mean age of 68.4 ± 10.2 years. Using the GLIM criteria, 245 patients (41.8%) were diagnosed with malnutrition. Applying the EWGSOP2 criteria, 56 patients (9.6%) were diagnosed with sarcopenia. ROC curve analysis for the skeletal muscle index (SMI) showed a strong discriminative capacity of muscle area to detect low fat-free mass index (FFMI) (AUC = 0.82, 95% CI 0.77–0.87, p < 0.001). The identified SMI cutoff for diagnosing low FFMI was 32.75 cm2/m2 (Sn 77%, Sp 64.3%; AUC = 0.79, 95% CI 0.70–0.87, p < 0.001) in women, and 39.9 cm2/m2 (Sn 77%, Sp 72.7%; AUC = 0.85, 95% CI 0.80–0.90, p < 0.001) in men. Additionally, skeletal muscle area (SMA) showed good discriminative capacity for detecting low appendicular skeletal muscle mass (ASMM) (AUC = 0.71, 95% CI 0.65–0.76, p < 0.001). The identified SMA cutoff points for diagnosing low ASMM were 83.2 cm2 (Sn 76.7%, Sp 55.3%; AUC = 0.77, 95% CI 0.69–0.84, p < 0.001) in women and 112.6 cm2 (Sn 82.3%, Sp 58.6%; AUC = 0.79, 95% CI 0.74–0.85, p < 0.001) in men. (4) Conclusions: AI-assisted body composition assessment using CT is a valuable tool in the morphofunctional evaluation of patients with colorectal cancer prior to surgery. CT provides quantitative data on muscle mass for the application of the GLIM criteria for malnutrition and the EWGSOP2 criteria for sarcopenia, with specific cutoff points established for diagnostic use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Insight on Nutrition and Colorectal Cancer)
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18 pages, 1426 KiB  
Article
An Efficient Masked White-Box Implementation of SM4
by Dongyan Zhao, Yubo Wang, Yan Li, Xiaobo Hu, Yanyan Yu, Shi Chen and Shihui Zheng
Electronics 2024, 13(12), 2326; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics13122326 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Differential computation analysis (DCA) is a powerful method for extracting secret information from carefully designed white-box schemes without reverse engineering. Consequently, white-box solutions typically require substantial storage and computing resources to withstand DCAs, as demonstrated by the schemes proposed by Zhang et al. [...] Read more.
Differential computation analysis (DCA) is a powerful method for extracting secret information from carefully designed white-box schemes without reverse engineering. Consequently, white-box solutions typically require substantial storage and computing resources to withstand DCAs, as demonstrated by the schemes proposed by Zhang et al. and Yuan et al. for the ISO/IEC standard algorithm SM4. Our approach employs Boolean masking to obscure the correlation between the key and intermediate states. Additionally, we introduce nonlinear permutations to reuse random mask values, thereby reducing space consumption. Experimental results indicate that DCAs against both the simplified version and the algebraic enhancement version of our scheme fail to retrieve the correct keys. Moreover, the former version can be implemented with approximately 1.62 MB of memory and the latter with 7.8 MB, which is much less than 24.3 MB (Zhang et al.) and 34.5 MB (Yuan et al.). Consequently, our design can thwart first-order DCA with lower overhead. Full article
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14 pages, 1572 KiB  
Article
Precision Medicine for Blood Glutamate Grabbing in Ischemic Stroke
by Pablo Hervella, Ana Sampedro-Viana, Sabela Fernández-Rodicio, Manuel Rodríguez-Yáñez, Iria López-Dequidt, José M. Pumar, Antonio J. Mosqueira, Marcos Bazarra-Barreiros, María Teresa Abengoza-Bello, Sara Ortega-Espina, Alberto Ouro, María Pérez-Mato, Francisco Campos, Tomás Sobrino, José Castillo, Maria Luz Alonso-Alonso and Ramón Iglesias-Rey
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(12), 6554; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25126554 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Glutamate grabbers, such as glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), have been proposed to prevent excitotoxicity secondary to high glutamate levels in stroke patients. However, the efficacy of blood glutamate grabbing by GOT could be dependent on the extent and severity of the disruption of [...] Read more.
Glutamate grabbers, such as glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), have been proposed to prevent excitotoxicity secondary to high glutamate levels in stroke patients. However, the efficacy of blood glutamate grabbing by GOT could be dependent on the extent and severity of the disruption of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Our purpose was to analyze the relationship between GOT and glutamate concentration with the patient’s functional status differentially according to BBB serum markers (soluble tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (sTWEAK) and leukoaraiosis based on neuroimaging). This retrospective observational study includes 906 ischemic stroke patients. We studied the presence of leukoaraiosis and the serum levels of glutamate, GOT, and sTWEAK in blood samples. Functional outcome was assessed using the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at 3 months. A significant negative correlation between GOT and glutamate levels at admission was shown in those patients with sTWEAK levels > 2900 pg/mL (Pearson’s correlation coefficient: −0.249; p < 0.0001). This correlation was also observed in patients with and without leukoaraiosis (Pearson’s correlation coefficients: −0.299; p < 0.001 vs. −0.116; p = 0.024). The logistic regression model confirmed the association of higher levels of GOT with lower odds of poor outcome at 3 months when sTWEAK levels were >2900 pg/mL (OR: 0.41; CI 95%: 0.28–0.68; p < 0.0001) or with leukoaraiosis (OR: 0.75; CI 95%: 0.69–0.82; p < 0.0001). GOT levels are associated with glutamate levels and functional outcomes at 3 months, but only in those patients with leukoaraiosis and elevated sTWEAK levels. Consequently, therapies targeting glutamate grabbing might be more effective in patients with BBB dysfunction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Research on Cerebral Ischemia)
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14 pages, 1796 KiB  
Article
A Surrogate Model of Heat Transfer Mechanism in a Domestic Gas Oven: A Numerical Simulation Approach for Premixed Flames
by Fredy F. Hincapié and Manuel J. García
Appl. Mech. 2024, 5(2), 391-404; https://doi.org/10.3390/applmech5020023 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
This paper introduces an innovative analytical model to compute flame velocities and temperatures within a premix burner in a domestic gas oven. This model significantly streamlines the heat transfer simulation process by simplifying the modeling of the thermo-chemical energy release during combustion, effectively [...] Read more.
This paper introduces an innovative analytical model to compute flame velocities and temperatures within a premix burner in a domestic gas oven. This model significantly streamlines the heat transfer simulation process by simplifying the modeling of the thermo-chemical energy release during combustion, effectively reducing complexity and computation time. Accelerated solutions are essential at the initial design stages when comparing the effect of the oven parameter variation on the overall performance. The validation of the proposed analytical model involved experimental assessments of the temperature of the false bottom plate in a natural gas oven. The resulting data were then compared against CFD simulations performed utilizing the proposed model. The results revealed a marginal discrepancy of 4% between the experimental measurements and the outcomes generated by the model. Simulations were executed under differing conditions, encompassing scenarios with and without radiation effects. This exploration identified natural convection as the predominant heat transfer mechanism, with heat radiation contributing only modestly to the heating of the false bottom plate. Among its advantages, the proposed model offers a notable reduction in the numerical complexity of the modeling of the combustion process. Furthermore, its straightforward integration into numerical simulations involving premixed flames underscores its practical utility and versatility in evaluating design performance at the early stages of the design. Highly accurate models can be left for the final oven configuration validation. Full article
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22 pages, 2641 KiB  
Article
Advances in the Use of Four Synthetic Antioxidants as Food Additives for Enhancing the Oxidative Stability of Refined Sunflower Oil (Helianthus annuus L.)
by Moussa Nid Ahmed, Jamila Gagour, Abderrahim Asbbane, Otmane Hallouch, Lahoucine Atrach, Angelo Maria Giuffrè, Khalid Majourhat and Said Gharby
Analytica 2024, 5(2), 273-294; https://doi.org/10.3390/analytica5020018 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
The present investigation was performed to evaluate the effects of various synthetic antioxidants (vitamin A, vitamin E, β-carotene, and BHT) on the oxidation of sunflower oil subjected to accelerated thermal storage at 60 °C for three months (12 weeks). The performance of the [...] Read more.
The present investigation was performed to evaluate the effects of various synthetic antioxidants (vitamin A, vitamin E, β-carotene, and BHT) on the oxidation of sunflower oil subjected to accelerated thermal storage at 60 °C for three months (12 weeks). The performance of the antioxidants studied was evaluated using several quality parameters: the free fatty acid value (FFA), primary oxidation (via the peroxide value (PV) and K232 value), secondary oxidation products (via the anisidine value (p-AV) and K270 value), and the total oxidation value (TOTOX). The fatty acid composition (FAC), oxidizability value (COX), iodine value (IV), and pigment content (chlorophyll and carotenoid) were also evaluated. The results revealed that the control sample of sunflower oil exhibited higher susceptibility to oxidative deterioration. Antioxidants at 200 ppm were more effective in preserving the oxidative stability of sunflower oil subjected to accelerated storage compared to the control oil. The smallest increases in all stability parameter indexes were recorded for antioxidant-supplemented sunflower oil. However, the IV and chlorophyll and carotenoid contents were reduced. At 200 ppm, vitamin E and β-carotene showed the greatest stability in sunflower oil, while their combination with vitamin A at 100 ppm of each showed the lowest stability. In addition, synthetic antioxidants provided greater protection against the degradation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The highest level of PUFA degradation was recorded in the control oil, followed by the oil containing vitamin A. In conclusion, adding synthetic antioxidants to sunflower oil improves its stability during storage. However, some authors associated these molecules with a health risk due to carcinogenic effects as these molecules have been listed as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS). Full article
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30 pages, 41921 KiB  
Article
Petrographic and Textural Characterization of Beach Sands Contaminated by Asbestos Cement Materials (Cape Peloro, Messina, Italy): Hazardous Human-Environmental Relationships
by Roberta Somma
Geosciences 2024, 14(6), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14060167 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
In the past fifteen years, the contamination of the Italian marine coastal environments by asbestos cement materials (ACMs) represents a known crux mostly reported or denounced by mass media and environmental associations. A recent research reporting compositional and textural data related to ACMs [...] Read more.
In the past fifteen years, the contamination of the Italian marine coastal environments by asbestos cement materials (ACMs) represents a known crux mostly reported or denounced by mass media and environmental associations. A recent research reporting compositional and textural data related to ACMs found in the beach deposits of a protected natural reserve (Cape Peloro, Messina, Italy) induced the author to perform new petrographic and textural analyses on the Cape Peloro beach sands, pebbles, cobbles (BSPC), and technofossils (bricks, tails, slab, concrete), associated with the previously studied ACMs, in order to compare the data with those of the ACMs previously reported in the literature. The petrographic investigations allowed the author to determine that beach sands and weakly gravelly sands were characterized by a quartzo–lithic signature, being mainly composed of metamorphic grains of quartz (50–60%) and metamorphic lithics (40–50%, mainly composed of polymineral quartz + microcline, quartz + plagioclase, quartz + biotite, quartz + muscovite grains, and monomineral opaque minerals, plagioclase, k-feldspar, and almandine garnet grains), whereas the pebbles and cobbles were made of acid intrusive (granitoids) and metamorphic rocks (gneiss, augen gneiss prevailing). Pebbles and cobbles made up of porphyroids could derive from the cannibalization of the underlying lower to middle Pleistocene siliciclastic deposits of the Messina Formation. Differently, the gneiss, augen gneiss, and granitoids forming the beach pebbles and cobbles, being present both in the crystalline rocks of the Aspromonte Unit and in the clasts of the SGMF, could originate from both of them. Textural investigations allowed the author to characterize grain size, shape parameters, and roundness in the beach deposits. These were mostly composed of sands and weakly gravelly sands with medium grains. Parameters, such as elongation and flatness, showed higher values in the BSPC than in the technofossils. The shapes of the BSPC were mostly from oblate to equant, whereas the shapes of the technofossils were mostly from bladed to oblate. The main differences depended on the original shape of the technofossils, being mostly platy, and their softer composition. The roundness was from angular to sub-rounded. In the Ionian coast of the Cape Peloro peninsula, the source areas for the well-rounded ACM found on the beach and in the beach deposits could have at least four different origins: (i) Possible landfills widespread since the 1970s in the intensively urbanized coastal areas. (ii) Direct abandonment in the coastal area. (iii) Direct abandonment in the streams. (iv) Activities to counteract the erosion/lack of sediment using non-conforming materials. Considering the diffused damage caused by the coastal erosion affecting most of the Italian coast and the obvious increasing dispersion of the asbestos fibers from the ACMs over time, effectual counter actions to prevent further contamination and guidelines for clean-up efforts are necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Palaeontology)
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21 pages, 4314 KiB  
Article
RSCAN: Residual Spatial Cross-Attention Network for High-Fidelity Architectural Image Editing by Fusing Multi-Latent Spaces
by Cheng Zhu, Guangzhe Zhao, Benwang Lin, Xueping Wang and Feihu Yan
Electronics 2024, 13(12), 2327; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics13122327 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Image editing technology has brought about revolutionary changes in the field of architectural design, garnering significant attention in both the computer and architectural industries. However, architectural image editing is a challenging task due to the complex hierarchical structure of architectural images, which complicates [...] Read more.
Image editing technology has brought about revolutionary changes in the field of architectural design, garnering significant attention in both the computer and architectural industries. However, architectural image editing is a challenging task due to the complex hierarchical structure of architectural images, which complicates the learning process for the high-dimensional features of architectural images. Some methods invert the images into the latent space of a pre-trained generative adversarial network (GAN) model, completing the editing process by manipulating this latent space. However, the task of striking a balance between reconstruction fidelity and editing efficacy through latent space mapping presents a formidable challenge. To address this issue, we propose a Residual Spatial Cross-Attention Network (RSCAN) for architectural image editing, which is an encoder model integrating multiple latent spaces. Specifically, we introduce the spatial feature extractor, which maps the image to the high-dimensional space F of the synthesis network, to enhance the spatial information retention and preserve the structural consistency of the architectural image. In addition, we propose the residual cross-attention to learn the mapping relationship between the low-dimensional space W and F space, generating modified features corresponding to the latent code and leveraging the benefits of multiple latent spaces to facilitate editing. Extensive experiments are performed on the LSUN Church dataset, and the experimental results indicate that our proposed RSCAN achieves significant improvements over the relevant methods in quantitative analysis metrics including the reconstruction quality, SSIM, FID, L2, LPIPS, PSNR, and editing effect ΔS, with enhancements of 29.49%, 17.29%, 8.81%, 11.43%, 11.26%, and 47.8%, respectively, thereby enhancing the practicality of architectural image editing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Visual Computing and Virtual Reality, 2nd Edition)
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14 pages, 7346 KiB  
Article
The Duality of Psychological and Intrinsic Time in Artworks
by Miloš Milovanović and Nicoletta Saulig
Mathematics 2024, 12(12), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/math12121850 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
The paper investigates the problem of the time arrow in terms of artistic creation. The statistical model of artwork signal processing is established in order to identify a duality relation between psychological and intrinsic time. The intrinsic time is linked to the time [...] Read more.
The paper investigates the problem of the time arrow in terms of artistic creation. The statistical model of artwork signal processing is established in order to identify a duality relation between psychological and intrinsic time. The intrinsic time is linked to the time operator of wavelets, and the psychological one is metaphorically related to the spatial domain of an artwork. The increase of irreducible randomness along the timeline is formulated by the second law of thermodynamics. The dual statement concerns an increase in statistical complexity, which is the definition of self-organization. In that manner, two arrows of time which are opposed and dual to each other are recognized. The authors have indicated a link to the theory of musical forms, the originality issue, and the perspective problem. Some repercussions for art theory, neuroaesthetics, and psychophysics have also been implied. Full article
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28 pages, 11995 KiB  
Article
Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites Integrated Beam–Column Joints with Improved Strength Performance against Seismic Events: Numerical Model Simulation
by Noor Alhuda Sami Aljabbri, Abdulamir Atalla Karim and Fareed Hameed Majeed
Eng 2024, 5(2), 1112-1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/eng5020061 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Strength enhancement of non-seismic concrete beam–column joints (NSCBCJs) via carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composites (CFRPCs) integration has become a viable strategy. However, the implementation of these NSCBCJs without transverse reinforcement shows poor performance during earthquakes in seismic locations. Thus, strengthening the anti-seismic performance of [...] Read more.
Strength enhancement of non-seismic concrete beam–column joints (NSCBCJs) via carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composites (CFRPCs) integration has become a viable strategy. However, the implementation of these NSCBCJs without transverse reinforcement shows poor performance during earthquakes in seismic locations. Thus, strengthening the anti-seismic performance of NSCBCJs to meet the acceptance criteria of ACI 374.1-05 is fundamentally significant. Yet, in addition to limited experimental results, only a few numerical studies based on the finite element model have been performed to determine the anti-seismic behavior of NSCBCJs. Consequently, the stress contribution of CFRPCs to NSCBCJs is not clearly understood. Therefore, we used a finite element model to examine the strength contribution of CFRPCs to NSCBCJs. The performance of the proposed finite element model was validated using the experimental results, demonstrating a good agreement between them. It was shown that the strength of NSCBCJs was improved due to CFRPC incorporation, thereby achieving compliance with the seismic requirements of ACI 374.1-05. In addition, CFRPCs presence could enhance the confinement, reduce the deformation of the NSCBCJs and, thus, decrease their stiffness and strength degradation, while simultaneously improving the energy dissipation. Full article
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12 pages, 1462 KiB  
Review
Pierisin, Cytotoxic and Apoptosis-Inducing DNA ADP-Ribosylating Protein in Cabbage Butterfly
by Azusa Takahashi-Nakaguchi, Yu Horiuchi, Masafumi Yamamoto, Yukari Totsuka and Keiji Wakabayashi
Toxins 2024, 16(6), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins16060270 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Pierisin-1 was serendipitously discovered as a strong cytotoxic and apoptosis-inducing protein from pupae of the cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae against cancer cell lines. This 98-kDa protein consists of the N-terminal region (27 kDa) and C-terminal region (71 kDa), and analysis of their biological [...] Read more.
Pierisin-1 was serendipitously discovered as a strong cytotoxic and apoptosis-inducing protein from pupae of the cabbage butterfly Pieris rapae against cancer cell lines. This 98-kDa protein consists of the N-terminal region (27 kDa) and C-terminal region (71 kDa), and analysis of their biological function revealed that pierisin-1 binds to cell surface glycosphingolipids on the C-terminal side, is taken up into the cell, and is cleaved to N- and C-terminal portions, where the N-terminal portion mono-ADP-ribosylates the guanine base of DNA in the presence of NAD to induce cellular genetic mutation and apoptosis. Unlike other ADP-ribosyltransferases, pieisin-1 was first found to exhibit DNA mono-ADP-ribosylating activity and show anti-cancer activity in vitro and in vivo against various cancer cell lines. Pierisin-1 was most abundantly produced during the transition from the final larval stage to the pupal stage of the cabbage butterfly, and this production was regulated by ecdysteroid hormones. This suggests that pierisn-1 might play a pivotal role in the process of metamorphosis. Moreover, pierisin-1 could contribute as a defense factor against parasitization and microbial infections in the cabbage butterfly. Pierisin-like proteins in butterflies were shown to be present not only among the subtribe Pierina but also among the subtribes Aporiina and Appiadina, and pierisin-2, -3, and -4 were identified in these butterflies. Furthermore, DNA ADP-ribosylating activities were found in six different edible clams. Understanding of the biological nature of pierisin-1 with DNA mono-ADP-ribosylating activity could open up exciting avenues for research and potential therapeutic applications, making it a subject of great interest in the field of molecular biology and biotechnology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ADP-Ribosylation and Beyond)
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15 pages, 7467 KiB  
Article
Fucoxanthin Induces Ferroptosis in Cancer Cells via Downregulation of the Nrf2/HO−1/GPX4 Pathway
by Hao-Fei Du, Jia-Wei Wu, Yu-Shan Zhu, Zheng-Hao Hua, Si-Zhou Jin, Jin-Chao Ji, Cai-Sheng Wang, Guo-Ying Qian, Xu-Dong Jin and Hao-Miao Ding
Molecules 2024, 29(12), 2832; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29122832 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
This study investigated the mechanism by which fucoxanthin acts as a novel ferroptosis inducer to inhibit tongue cancer. The MTT assay was used to detect the inhibitory effects of fucoxanthin on SCC−25 human tongue squamous carcinoma cells. The levels of reactive oxygen species [...] Read more.
This study investigated the mechanism by which fucoxanthin acts as a novel ferroptosis inducer to inhibit tongue cancer. The MTT assay was used to detect the inhibitory effects of fucoxanthin on SCC−25 human tongue squamous carcinoma cells. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), and total iron were measured. Reverse transcription–quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT−qPCR) and Western blotting were used to assess glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), nuclear factor erythroid 2−related factor 2 (Nrf2), Keap1, solute carrier family 7 member 11 (SLC7A11), transferrin receptor protein 1 (TFR1), p53, and heme oxygenase 1 (HO−1) expression. Molecular docking was performed to validate interactions. Compared with the control group, the activity of fucoxanthin−treated SCC−25 cells significantly decreased in a dose− and time−dependent manner. The levels of MMP, GSH, and SOD significantly decreased in fucoxanthin−treated SCC−25 cells; the levels of ROS, MDA, and total iron significantly increased. mRNA and protein expression levels of Keap1, GPX4, Nrf2, and HO−1 in fucoxanthin−treated cells were significantly decreased, whereas levels of TFR1 and p53 were significantly increased, in a concentration−dependent manner. Molecular docking analysis revealed that binding free energies of fucoxanthin with p53, SLC7A11, GPX4, Nrf2, Keap1, HO−1, and TFR1 were below −5 kcal/mol, primarily based on active site hydrogen bonding. Our findings suggest that fucoxanthin can induce ferroptosis in SCC−25 cells, highlighting its potential as a treatment for tongue cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Chemistry in Asia—2nd Edition)
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21 pages, 11142 KiB  
Review
Recent Progress of Floating-Zone Techniques for Bulk Single-Crystal Growth
by Naoki Kikugawa
Crystals 2024, 14(6), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst14060552 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
This review describes the recent progress of floating-zone techniques for bulk single-crystal growth. The most crucial point of the crucible-free technique is to keep the molten zone stable. It has been investigated and reported to yield a steeper temperature gradient at the liquid–solid [...] Read more.
This review describes the recent progress of floating-zone techniques for bulk single-crystal growth. The most crucial point of the crucible-free technique is to keep the molten zone stable. It has been investigated and reported to yield a steeper temperature gradient at the liquid–solid interface along the growth direction and a homogeneous molten liquid along the rotation axis. This article overviews several recent achievements starting from the conventional setup, particularly for lamps equipped in horizontal or vertical configurations, tilting mirrors, shielding the irradiation, and filament sizes for the optical-lamp floating-zone furnaces. Also, the recently advancing laser-heated floating-zone furnaces are described. Throughout the article, the author emphasizes that the floating-zone technique has been a powerful tool for crystal growth since the 1950s with its roots in the zone-melting method, and it has still been advancing for further materials’ growth such as quantum materials with modern scientific concepts. Full article
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12 pages, 579 KiB  
Article
The Effect of the Addition of Selected Juices on the Content of Aluminum in Tea Infusions and Health Risk Assessment in the Polish Population
by Artur Mazurek and Marzena Włodarczyk-Stasiak
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(12), 5173; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14125173 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Tea is a plant rich in compounds that positively impact human health. Still, it also contains large amounts of aluminum, which is toxic to humans and passes into the infusion during brewing. The presented research aims to determine the effect of adding lemon, [...] Read more.
Tea is a plant rich in compounds that positively impact human health. Still, it also contains large amounts of aluminum, which is toxic to humans and passes into the infusion during brewing. The presented research aims to determine the effect of adding lemon, Japanese quince, and quince juice to infusions of various types of teas on their aluminum content. It should be emphasized that research on the impact of Japanese quince and quince juices has not yet been published. Exposure to exceeding the safe level of aluminum consumption from tea infusions was also assessed. It has been shown that adding juices that lower the pH of infusions increases the aluminum content by up to 150%. The main factor influencing the increase in the aluminum content in tea infusions with additives is the lowering of the pH value, and other ingredients present in the juices do not have a significant impact. The health risk assessment indicates the possibility of adverse health effects from aluminum consumption, especially from black and green tea infusions with the addition of Japanese quince and lemon juices. It has been shown that quince juice can be recommended as an addition to tea infusions because it causes the smallest increase in aluminum content in the infusion among the juices tested. Full article
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10 pages, 1310 KiB  
Article
“Back Health 24/7/365”—A Novel, Comprehensive “One Size Fits All” Workplace Health Promotion Intervention for Occupational Back Health among Hospital Employees
by Timothy Hasenoehrl, Margarete Steiner, Felix Ebenberger, Philipp Kull, Julia Sternik, Lukas Reissig, Galateja Jordakieva and Richard Crevenna
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(6), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21060772 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Background: Projects for workplace health promotion (WHP) for back pain traditionally focus exclusively on work-related but not on leisure-time stress on the spine. We developed a comprehensive WHP project on the back health of hospital workers regardless of the physical characteristics of their [...] Read more.
Background: Projects for workplace health promotion (WHP) for back pain traditionally focus exclusively on work-related but not on leisure-time stress on the spine. We developed a comprehensive WHP project on the back health of hospital workers regardless of the physical characteristics of their work and compared its effects on sedentary and physically active hospital workers. Methods: Study assessments were carried out before and six months after participation in the WHP intervention. The primary outcome parameter was back pain (Oswestry Disability Index, ODI). Anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7), work ability (Work Ability Index), depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), stress (Perceived Stress Scale-10), and quality of life (Short Form-36) were assessed via questionnaires as secondary outcome parameters. Physical performance was measured via the 30 s Sit-to-Stand test (30secSTS). Results: Sixty-eight healthcare workers with non-specific back pain were included in the evaluation study of the WHP project “Back Health 24/7/365”. After six months, back pain, physical performance, and self-perceived physical functioning (SF-36 Physical Functioning subscale) improved significantly in both groups. Not a single parameter showed an interaction effect with the group allocation. Conclusions: A comprehensive WHP-intervention showed significant positive effects on hospital workers regardless of the physical characteristics of their work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Health and Wellbeing for Healthcare Providers)
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16 pages, 2961 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Virus-Associated RNA Detection to Monitor Oncolytic Adenovirus Replication
by Tereza Brachtlova, Jing Li, Ida H. van der Meulen-Muileman, Femke Sluiter, Willem von Meijenfeldt, Isabella Witte, Sanne Massaar, Ruben van den Oever, Jeroen de Vrij and Victor W. van Beusechem
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(12), 6551; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25126551 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Oncolytic adenoviruses are in development as immunotherapeutic agents for solid tumors. Their efficacy is in part dependent on their ability to replicate in tumors. It is, however, difficult to obtain evidence for intratumoral oncolytic adenovirus replication if direct access to the tumor is [...] Read more.
Oncolytic adenoviruses are in development as immunotherapeutic agents for solid tumors. Their efficacy is in part dependent on their ability to replicate in tumors. It is, however, difficult to obtain evidence for intratumoral oncolytic adenovirus replication if direct access to the tumor is not possible. Detection of systemic adenovirus DNA, which is sometimes used as a proxy, has limited value because it does not distinguish between the product of intratumoral replication and injected virus that did not replicate. Therefore, we investigated if detection of virus-associated RNA (VA RNA) by RT-qPCR on liquid biopsies could be used as an alternative. We found that VA RNA is expressed in adenovirus-infected cells in a replication-dependent manner and is secreted by these cells in association with extracellular vesicles. This allowed VA RNA detection in the peripheral blood of a preclinical in vivo model carrying adenovirus-injected human tumors and on liquid biopsies from a human clinical trial. Our results confirm that VA RNA detection in liquid biopsies can be used for minimally invasive assessment of oncolytic adenovirus replication in solid tumors in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncolytic Viruses for Cancer Immunotherapy)
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24 pages, 9566 KiB  
Article
Ultrasonography of Testicular Maturation and Correlation with Body Growth and Semen Evaluation in Beagle Dog Model
by Athina P. Venianaki, Mariana S. Barbagianni, George C. Fthenakis, Apostolos D. Galatos and Pagona G. Gouletsou
Vet. Sci. 2024, 11(6), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci11060270 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
This prospective study investigated the ultrasonographic appearance of the canine testis from birth to adulthood. Eight purpose-bred laboratory Beagle-breed dogs were monitored from 4 to 40 weeks of life. The following parameters were evaluated every two weeks: bodyweight and height, scrotal and testicular [...] Read more.
This prospective study investigated the ultrasonographic appearance of the canine testis from birth to adulthood. Eight purpose-bred laboratory Beagle-breed dogs were monitored from 4 to 40 weeks of life. The following parameters were evaluated every two weeks: bodyweight and height, scrotal and testicular volume, ultrasonographically measured testicular volume, echogenicity, heterogeneity, blood-flow score, ratio of the grayscale intensity value of the testis to the capsule, ejaculate volume, motility, viability, and number of spermatozoa. A correlation analysis was carried out between the various measurements obtained. Fertility was achieved in the 36th week of life. The echogenicity of the testicular parenchyma increased with age, and subsequently to the 30th week of life remained constant. The heterogeneity of the testicular parenchyma, as was evaluated by the standard deviation of the values of grayscale intensity of the parenchyma, also increased with age and was >19 at the onset of fertility. The ratio of grayscale intensity of testicular parenchyma had values < 200 at maturity. A colour Doppler evaluation first detected blood flow in the testis in the 22nd week. After the 32nd week, distinct signals were visible. In the 36th week, >80% of the testes imaged had visible vessels. A significant correlation was found between all the evaluation methods. The findings of the study may help clinicians detect the onset of fertility in dogs, especially when semen evaluation is not feasible; however, their applicability in all breeds or individuals might possibly vary due to genetic, physiological, and developmental differences. In summary, the study ultrasonographically explores the testicular maturity in dogs, with the aim to improve clinical assessments and health management in these animals. Full article
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22 pages, 5377 KiB  
Article
An Enhanced Extremum Seeking-Based Energy Management Strategy with Equivalent State for Hybridized-Electric Tramway-Powered by Fuel Cell–Battery–Supercapacitors
by Hoai Vu Anh Truong, Hoai An Trinh, Tri Cuong Do, Manh Hung Nguyen, Van Du Phan and Kyoung Kwan Ahn
Mathematics 2024, 12(12), 1849; https://doi.org/10.3390/math12121849 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
This article proposes a novel real-time optimization-based energy management strategy (EMS) for proton membrane exchange fuel cell (PEMFC)-battery-supercapacitors-driven hybridized-electric tramways (HETs). The proposed algorithm is derived based on an enhanced extremum seeking (ES) algorithm, with a new equivalent state-of-charge (SOC) and a new [...] Read more.
This article proposes a novel real-time optimization-based energy management strategy (EMS) for proton membrane exchange fuel cell (PEMFC)-battery-supercapacitors-driven hybridized-electric tramways (HETs). The proposed algorithm is derived based on an enhanced extremum seeking (ES) algorithm, with a new equivalent state-of-charge (SOC) and a new adaptive co-state introduced. Thereby, optimized reference power for each power source can be distributed appropriately when using three components. The workability and prominent of the proposed technique are demonstrated through comparative simulations with fuzzy-rule-based EMS (FEMS) and equivalent consumption minimization strategy (ECMS) in two case studies: with and without considering the supercapacitors, as an important factor in the EMS design to stabilize the SOC of energy storage devices (ESDs). Briefly, under the proposed ES-based method, the PEMFC power can be regulated such that high-efficiency can be performed, approximately by 46.7%. Subsequently, the hydrogen consumption is reduced about 31.2% compared to a comparative fuzzy-based EMS. Besides, the supplements’ SOCs at the end of a driving cycle are also regulated to be equal to the initial ones. Full article
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13 pages, 1049 KiB  
Review
Molecular Regulatory Mechanisms Affecting Fruit Aroma
by Haifei Lu, Hongfei Zhao, Tailin Zhong, Danwei Chen, Yaqiong Wu and Zhengwan Xie
Foods 2024, 13(12), 1870; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13121870 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Aroma, an important quality characteristic of plant fruits, is produced by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mainly terpenes, aldehydes, alcohols, esters, ketones, and other secondary metabolites, in plant cells. There are significant differences in the VOC profile of various fruits. The main pathways involved [...] Read more.
Aroma, an important quality characteristic of plant fruits, is produced by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mainly terpenes, aldehydes, alcohols, esters, ketones, and other secondary metabolites, in plant cells. There are significant differences in the VOC profile of various fruits. The main pathways involved in the synthesis of VOCs are the terpenoid, phenylalanine, and fatty acid biosynthesis pathways, which involve several key enzyme-encoding genes, transcription factors (TFs), and epigenetic factors. This paper reviews the main synthetic pathways of the main volatile components in fruit, summarizes studies on the regulation of aroma formation by key genes and TFs, summarizes the factors affecting the fruit aroma formation, describes relevant studies on the improvement of fruit flavor quality, and finally proposes potential challenges and prospects for future research directions. This study provides a theoretical basis for the further precise control of fruit aroma quality and variety improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Food Analytical Methods)
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16 pages, 3317 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Strawberry Disease and Quality Detection with Vision Transformers and Attention-Based Convolutional Neural Networks
by Kimia Aghamohammadesmaeilketabforoosh, Soodeh Nikan, Giorgio Antonini and Joshua M. Pearce
Foods 2024, 13(12), 1869; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13121869 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Machine learning and computer vision have proven to be valuable tools for farmers to streamline their resource utilization to lead to more sustainable and efficient agricultural production. These techniques have been applied to strawberry cultivation in the past with limited success. To build [...] Read more.
Machine learning and computer vision have proven to be valuable tools for farmers to streamline their resource utilization to lead to more sustainable and efficient agricultural production. These techniques have been applied to strawberry cultivation in the past with limited success. To build on this past work, in this study, two separate sets of strawberry images, along with their associated diseases, were collected and subjected to resizing and augmentation. Subsequently, a combined dataset consisting of nine classes was utilized to fine-tune three distinct pretrained models: vision transformer (ViT), MobileNetV2, and ResNet18. To address the imbalanced class distribution in the dataset, each class was assigned weights to ensure nearly equal impact during the training process. To enhance the outcomes, new images were generated by removing backgrounds, reducing noise, and flipping them. The performances of ViT, MobileNetV2, and ResNet18 were compared after being selected. Customization specific to the task was applied to all three algorithms, and their performances were assessed. Throughout this experiment, none of the layers were frozen, ensuring all layers remained active during training. Attention heads were incorporated into the first five and last five layers of MobileNetV2 and ResNet18, while the architecture of ViT was modified. The results indicated accuracy factors of 98.4%, 98.1%, and 97.9% for ViT, MobileNetV2, and ResNet18, respectively. Despite the data being imbalanced, the precision, which indicates the proportion of correctly identified positive instances among all predicted positive instances, approached nearly 99% with the ViT. MobileNetV2 and ResNet18 demonstrated similar results. Overall, the analysis revealed that the vision transformer model exhibited superior performance in strawberry ripeness and disease classification. The inclusion of attention heads in the early layers of ResNet18 and MobileNet18, along with the inherent attention mechanism in ViT, improved the accuracy of image identification. These findings offer the potential for farmers to enhance strawberry cultivation through passive camera monitoring alone, promoting the health and well-being of the population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Foods)
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20 pages, 4622 KiB  
Article
Investigation of the Geometric Characteristics of Inhalable Particles Emitted from the Process of Grinding Dental Restorations
by Milana Ilic Micunovic, Igor Budak, Djordje Vukelic, Daniela Djurovic Koprivica, Milos Kuzmanovic, Boris Agarski and Tatjana Puskar
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(12), 5169; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14125169 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
The study concerns measurement and evaluation of the geometric characteristics of the inhalable fraction of particulate matter generated in the process of grinding dental restorations, which is a process that generates a large quantity of particulates. The research is based on measurements taken [...] Read more.
The study concerns measurement and evaluation of the geometric characteristics of the inhalable fraction of particulate matter generated in the process of grinding dental restorations, which is a process that generates a large quantity of particulates. The research is based on measurements taken with a personal sampler, whereby the characteristics of particulates are determined based on the particle mass collected on filters. The collected filters were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and the resulting micrographs were processed through image analysis. The complex geometry of particles was examined through the analysis of 14 parameters, of which 6 define size and 8 describe morphological characteristics. Two software programs were used for the image analysis process to gather a wide range of parameters describing particle geometry. The relationship and dependence between the geometric parameters used to describe particle shape and size were investigated using multivariate analysis methods. Through correlation analysis, principal component analysis, and cluster analysis, parameter selection and reduction were performed to provide an understanding of the particles inhaled by exposed workers, which also influences the biological response of exposed organisms and the burden on the working environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Applied Dentistry and Oral Sciences)
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23 pages, 641 KiB  
Review
Aquaporins: Gatekeepers of Fluid Dynamics in Traumatic Brain Injury
by Wojciech Czyżewski, Jakub Litak, Jan Sobstyl, Tomasz Mandat, Kamil Torres and Grzegorz Staśkiewicz
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(12), 6553; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25126553 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Aquaporins (AQPs), particularly AQP4, play a crucial role in regulating fluid dynamics in the brain, impacting the development and resolution of edema following traumatic brain injury (TBI). This review examines the alterations in AQP expression and localization post-injury, exploring their effects on brain [...] Read more.
Aquaporins (AQPs), particularly AQP4, play a crucial role in regulating fluid dynamics in the brain, impacting the development and resolution of edema following traumatic brain injury (TBI). This review examines the alterations in AQP expression and localization post-injury, exploring their effects on brain edema and overall injury outcomes. We discuss the underlying molecular mechanisms regulating AQP expression, highlighting potential therapeutic strategies to modulate AQP function. These insights provide a comprehensive understanding of AQPs in TBI and suggest novel approaches for improving clinical outcomes through targeted interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Review Papers in Biochemistry 2024)
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19 pages, 2123 KiB  
Article
The Quest for Resilient Sustainable Development and Low-Carbon Energy Transitions: Investigating the Challenges and Success Factors for Mini-Grids in Malawi
by Vincent Mwale, Richard Blanchard, Tiyamike Ngonda, Richard Nkhoma, Chukwudi Ogunna and Long Seng To
Sustainability 2024, 16(12), 5060; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16125060 (registering DOI) - 14 Jun 2024
Abstract
Renewable energy mini-grids are considered a cost-effective way to provide electricity for a large proportion of the population in developing countries who do not have access to it. Compared with standalone home systems and national grid systems, mini-grids can potentially offer a better [...] Read more.
Renewable energy mini-grids are considered a cost-effective way to provide electricity for a large proportion of the population in developing countries who do not have access to it. Compared with standalone home systems and national grid systems, mini-grids can potentially offer a better service. They can be deployed faster, making them essential for sustainable development, especially in rural and semi-urban areas of developing countries. However, mini-grids often face challenges regarding their resilience, and many fail to survive beyond their pilot phases. This paper aims to identify the factors contributing to the success of mini-grids and to identify common themes that can help existing and future mini-grid developments become more resilient and influence policy decision making. To achieve this goal, we developed a database of the status of mini-grids in Malawi, with the energy generation resource(s) of their installed capacity, enabling factors, and challenges. We undertook a more detailed investigation of two hydro mini-grid systems—Bondo and Chipopoma. We collected qualitative and quantitative data through literature reviews, site visits, interviews, and observations. The study identified 19 mini-grids with a combined installed capacity of 26 MW. Of these, seven had been abandoned, and one was under development. Several factors that affect successful mini-grid efficacy in Malawi were identified, including financial resourcefulness, technical resourcefulness, policies and regulations, community engagement and capacity building, cross-sector linkages, and institutional organisational frameworks. These factors need to be integrated into decision making by all stakeholders to ensure the enhancement of resilience and the sustainable development of mini-grids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Poverty, Inequality and Sustainable Development)
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