Special Issue "Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection"

A special issue of Sci (ISSN 2413-4155).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2021) | Viewed by 15079

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Claus Jacob
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Bioorganic Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Saarland University, D-66123 Saarbruecken, Germany
Interests: bioorganic chemistry; catalytic sensor/effector agents; epistemology; intracellular diagnostics; nanotechnology; natural products; reactive sulfur and selenium species; redox regulation via the cellular thiolstat
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Ahmad Yaman Abdin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor Assistant
Division of Bioorganic Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Saarland University, D-66123 Saarbruecken, Germany
Interests: philosophy of science; history of science; scientific communication; philosophy of chemistry; pharmacy; history of pharmacy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our second Special Issue of the annual series of Feature Papers Editors Collection. We intend to focus this year on interdisciplinarity. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated gaps between different scientific disciplines and scientific practices. One way of bridging such gaps is by collaborating across disciplines to tackle the main challenges facing us today, such as energy, food, water, climate, and health. Therefore, in 2021, our Special Issue aims to publish original articles and reviews on the interdisciplinary topics considered by our editors as being actual and highly significant. We, therefore, invite you as an authority in your field of research to contribute a keynote publication aimed at scientific interdisciplinary problem solving. These “Feature Papers” will be collected as part of the annual overview of activities in the areas relevant to Sci and will be published in book format after the Special Issue has been closed.

As always, we welcome high quality contributions falling within the scope of our journal and its various fields of scientific activity. Submitted manuscripts in these areas will gain immediate visibility on Preprints, receive the possibility of undergoing public peer review and will feature prominently on the Sci website.

Prof. Dr. Claus Jacob
Mr. Ahmad Yaman Abdin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sci is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Synthesis, Structural Characterization, and Biological Activities of Organically Templated Cobalt Phosphite (H2DAB)[Co(H2PO3)4]·2H2O
Sci 2022, 4(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci4010005 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 786
Abstract
A novel hybrid cobalt phosphite, (H2DAB)[Co(H2PO3)4] 2H2O, was synthesized by using a slow evaporation method in the presence of cobalt nitrate, phosphorous acid, and 1,4-diaminobutane (DAB = 1,4-diaminobutane) as a structure-directing agent. Single-crystal [...] Read more.
A novel hybrid cobalt phosphite, (H2DAB)[Co(H2PO3)4] 2H2O, was synthesized by using a slow evaporation method in the presence of cobalt nitrate, phosphorous acid, and 1,4-diaminobutane (DAB = 1,4-diaminobutane) as a structure-directing agent. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis showed that the compound crystallizes in the triclinic system (space group P-1(n.2)) with the following unit cell parameters (Å, °) a = 5.4814 (3), b = 7.5515 (4), c = 10.8548 (6), α = 88.001 (4), β = 88.707 (5), γ = 85.126 (5), and V = 447.33 (4) Å3. The crystal structure is built up from corner-sharing [CoO6] octahedra, forming chains parallel to [001], which are interconnected by H2PO3 pseudo-tetrahedral units. The diprotonated cations, residing between the parallel chains, interact with the inorganic moiety via hydrogen bonds, thus leading to the formation of the 3D crystal structure. The Fourier transform infrared spectrum showed characteristic bands corresponding to the phosphite group and the organic amine. The thermal behavior of the compound mainly consisted of the loss of its organic moiety and the water molecules. The biological tests exhibited significant activity against Candida albicans and Escherichia coli strains at different concentrations, while less inhibitory activity was pronounced against Staphylococcus epidermidis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and in the case of multi-cellular organisms, no activity against the nematode model Steinernema feltiae was detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Article
A Practical Approach for Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction, the Gold Standard in Microbiological Diagnosis
Sci 2022, 4(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci4010004 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 822
Abstract
From gene expression studies to identifying microbes, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is widely used in research and medical diagnostics. In transmittable diseases like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014–2016), or the present SARS-CoV2 pandemic qPCR plays a key role in the [...] Read more.
From gene expression studies to identifying microbes, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is widely used in research and medical diagnostics. In transmittable diseases like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014–2016), or the present SARS-CoV2 pandemic qPCR plays a key role in the detection of infected patients. Although the technique itself is decades old with reliable approaches (e.g., TaqMan assay) in the diagnosis of pathogens many people showed distrust in it during the SARS-CoV2 outbreak. This came mainly from not understanding or misunderstanding the principles of qPCR. This situation motivated us to design a simple laboratory practical class, in which students have opportunities to understand the underlying principles of qPCR and its advantages in microbiological diagnosis. Moreover, during the exercise, students can develop skills such as handling experimental assays, and the ability to solve problems, discuss their observations. Finally, this activity brings them closer to the clinical practice and they can see the impact of the science on real life. The class is addressed to undergraduate students of biological sciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Article
Hypergolic Synthesis of Inorganic Materials by the Reaction of Metallocene Dichlorides with Fuming Nitric Acid at Ambient Conditions: The Case of Photocatalytic Titania
Sci 2021, 3(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3040046 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
Hypergolic materials synthesis is a new preparative technique in materials science that allows a wide range of carbon or inorganic solids with useful properties to be obtained. Previously we have demonstrated that metallocenes are versatile reagents in the hypergolic synthesis of inorganic materials, [...] Read more.
Hypergolic materials synthesis is a new preparative technique in materials science that allows a wide range of carbon or inorganic solids with useful properties to be obtained. Previously we have demonstrated that metallocenes are versatile reagents in the hypergolic synthesis of inorganic materials, such as γ-Fe2O3, Cr2O3, Co, Ni and alloy CoNi. Here, we go one step further by using metallocene dichlorides as precursors for the hypergolic synthesis of additional inorganic phases, such as photocatalytic titania. Metallocene dichlorides are closely related to metallocenes, thus expanding the arsenal of organometallic compounds that can be used in hypergolic materials synthesis. In the present case, we show that hypergolic ignition of the titanocene dichloride–fuming nitric acid pair results in the fast and spontaneous formation of titania nanoparticles at ambient conditions in the form of anatase–rutile mixed phases. The obtained titania shows good photocatalytic activity towards Cr(VI) removal (100% within 9 h), with the latter being dramatically enhanced after calcination of the powder at 500 °C (100% within 3 h). Notably, this performance was found to be comparable to that of commercially available P25 TiO2 under identical conditions. The cases of zirconocene, hafnocene and molybdocene dichlorides are discussed in this work, which aims to show the wider applicability of metallocene dichlorides in the hypergolic synthesis of inorganic materials (ZrO2, HfO2, MoO2). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Article
A Novel Approach of Heat Rate Enhancement in Rectangular Channels with Thin Porous Layer at the Channel Walls
Sci 2021, 3(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3040042 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
Heat transfer enhancement is a topic of great interest nowadays due to its different applications in industries. A porous material also known as metallic foam plays a major role in heat enhancement at the expense of pressure drop. The flow in channels demonstrates [...] Read more.
Heat transfer enhancement is a topic of great interest nowadays due to its different applications in industries. A porous material also known as metallic foam plays a major role in heat enhancement at the expense of pressure drop. The flow in channels demonstrates the usefulness of this technology in heat extraction. In our current study, a porous strip attached to the walls of the channels is proposed as an alternative for heat enhancement. The thickness of the porous strip was varied for different Reynolds numbers. By maintaining a laminar regime and using water as a fluid, we determined an optimum thickness of porous material leading to the highest performance evaluation criterion. In our current study, with the aspect ratio being the porous strip thickness over the channel width, an aspect ratio of 0.2 is found to be the alternative. A 40% increase in heat enhancement is detected in the presence of a porous strip when compared to a clear channel case for a Reynolds number equal to 200, which improves further as the Reynolds number increases accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Article
Table in Gradshteyn and Ryzhik: Derivation of Definite Integrals of a Hyperbolic Function
Sci 2021, 3(4), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3040037 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 882
Abstract
We present a method using contour integration to derive definite integrals and their associated infinite sums which can be expressed as a special function. We give a proof of the basic equation and some examples of the method. The advantage of using special [...] Read more.
We present a method using contour integration to derive definite integrals and their associated infinite sums which can be expressed as a special function. We give a proof of the basic equation and some examples of the method. The advantage of using special functions is their analytic continuation, which widens the range of the parameters of the definite integral over which the formula is valid. We give as examples definite integrals of logarithmic functions times a trigonometric function. In various cases these generalizations evaluate to known mathematical constants, such as Catalan’s constant C and π. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
Article
Towards Generic Simulation for Demanding Stochastic Processes
Sci 2021, 3(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3030034 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1526
Abstract
We outline and test a new methodology for genuine simulation of stochastic processes with any dependence structure and any marginal distribution. We reproduce time dependence with a generalized, time symmetric or asymmetric, moving-average scheme. This implements linear filtering of non-Gaussian white noise, with [...] Read more.
We outline and test a new methodology for genuine simulation of stochastic processes with any dependence structure and any marginal distribution. We reproduce time dependence with a generalized, time symmetric or asymmetric, moving-average scheme. This implements linear filtering of non-Gaussian white noise, with the weights of the filter determined by analytical equations, in terms of the autocovariance of the process. We approximate the marginal distribution of the process, irrespective of its type, using a number of its cumulants, which in turn determine the cumulants of white noise, in a manner that can readily support the generation of random numbers from that approximation, so that it be applicable for stochastic simulation. The simulation method is genuine as it uses the process of interest directly, without any transformation (e.g., normalization). We illustrate the method in a number of synthetic and real-world applications, with either persistence or antipersistence, and with non-Gaussian marginal distributions that are bounded, thus making the problem more demanding. These include distributions bounded from both sides, such as uniform, and bounded from below, such as exponential and Pareto, possibly having a discontinuity at the origin (intermittence). All examples studied show the satisfactory performance of the method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Article
Progress in Life Cycle Impact Assessment: Water Vapor Emissions and Respiratory Inorganics
Sci 2021, 3(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3030033 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1307
Abstract
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is being included formally in EcoDesign regulations. Especially product carbon footprint will be mandatory in Europe. However, life cycle impact assessment, including global warming potential (GWP) in LCA, is hampered by several challenges. One of these is a lack [...] Read more.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is being included formally in EcoDesign regulations. Especially product carbon footprint will be mandatory in Europe. However, life cycle impact assessment, including global warming potential (GWP) in LCA, is hampered by several challenges. One of these is a lack of water vapor characterization indexes for GWP. A life cycle inventory profile for air transport fuel, including water vapor emissions, is evaluated with state-of-the-art practice, i.e., Environmental Footprint (EF) Method and International Life Cycle Data (ILCD) 2011 Mid-point+, neglecting water vapor’s high altitude GWP compared to carbon dioxide. Then, the characterization factor in GWP over 100 years (GWP100) for water vapor and alternate normalization for particulates are introduced. The results are compared. The main findings are that the previous EF method and ILCD both generate rather realistic results for Particulate Matter and Respiratory Inorganics mid-point indicators, respectively, but the number of premature deaths should be better allocated to different specific emissions, and that water vapor may dominate the GWP100 result over the usual carbon dioxide. Respiratory inorganics may need one impact category, each starting with particles smaller than 2.5 µm. LCIA mid-points need measurable and understandable bases. The common knowledge of water vapor’s GWP100 should not be neglected in LCIA for air transport and beyond where relevant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Article
Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Cycling Time Trial Performance and Prefrontal Cortex Activation
Sci 2021, 3(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3030032 - 24 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1641
Abstract
Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a neuromodulatory technique that delivers low levels of a constant current via scalp electrodes to specifically targeted areas of the brain. The effects of tDCS on whole-body exercise performance has been of interest in recent literature. [...] Read more.
Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a neuromodulatory technique that delivers low levels of a constant current via scalp electrodes to specifically targeted areas of the brain. The effects of tDCS on whole-body exercise performance has been of interest in recent literature. The purpose of the current investigation was to investigate if tDCS, administered via Halo Sport, influences time trial performance in trained cyclists, and if changes in exercise performance are associated with prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation and/or muscle oxygenation (SmO2). Methods: Twelve recreationally trained cyclists volunteered to participate in a crossover study design involving two 10-kilometer time trials following 20 min of tDCS or a sham condition. Results: t-tests showed there was no significant difference in performance (time to completion) or physiological measures (blood lactate (BL) concentration, heart rate (HR), SmO2, PFC oxygenation) between the Halo and sham conditions. Conclusions: These results indicate that the application of tDCS via Halo Sport does not induce changes in exercise performance or related physiological parameters during a 10-kilometer cycling time trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Review

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Review
Apoptosis and Pharmacological Therapies for Targeting Thereof for Cancer Therapeutics
Sci 2022, 4(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci4020015 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
Apoptosis is an evolutionarily conserved sequential process of cell death to maintain a homeostatic balance between cell formation and cell death. It is a vital process for normal eukaryotic development as it contributes to the renewal of cells and tissues. Further, it plays [...] Read more.
Apoptosis is an evolutionarily conserved sequential process of cell death to maintain a homeostatic balance between cell formation and cell death. It is a vital process for normal eukaryotic development as it contributes to the renewal of cells and tissues. Further, it plays a crucial role in the elimination of unnecessary cells through phagocytosis and prevents undesirable immune responses. Apoptosis is regulated by a complex signaling mechanism, which is driven by interactions among several protein families such as caspases, inhibitors of apoptosis proteins, B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family proteins, and several other proteases such as perforins and granzyme. The signaling pathway consists of both pro-apoptotic and pro-survival members, which stabilize the selection of cellular survival or death. However, any aberration in this pathway can lead to abnormal cell proliferation, ultimately leading to the development of cancer, autoimmune disorders, etc. This review aims to elaborate on apoptotic signaling pathways and mechanisms, interacting members involved in signaling, and how apoptosis is associated with carcinogenesis, along with insights into targeting apoptosis for disease resolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Review
How Could Nanomedicine Improve the Safety of Contrast Agents for MRI during Pregnancy?
Sci 2022, 4(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci4010011 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Pregnancy is a delicate state, during which timely investigation of possible physiological anomalies is essential to reduce the risk of maternal and fetal complications. Medical imaging encompasses different technologies to image the human body for the diagnosis, course of treatment management, and follow-up [...] Read more.
Pregnancy is a delicate state, during which timely investigation of possible physiological anomalies is essential to reduce the risk of maternal and fetal complications. Medical imaging encompasses different technologies to image the human body for the diagnosis, course of treatment management, and follow-up of diseases. Ultrasound (US) is currently the imaging system of choice for pregnant patients. However, sonographic evaluations can be non-effective or give ambiguous results. Therefore, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), due to its excellent tissue penetration, the possibility of acquisition of three-dimensional anatomical information, and its high spatial resolution, is considered a valid diagnostical alternative. Nevertheless, currently employed contrast agents to improve the MRI image quality are harmful to the fetus. Because of their ability to cross the placenta, their use on pregnant patients is avoided. This review will firstly recapitulate the most common non-obstetrical, obstetrical, and fetal indications for magnetic resonance imaging on pregnant women. Fetal safety risks, due to the use of strong magnetic fields and exogenous contrast agents, will be presented. Then, possible advantages of nanostructured contrast agents compared to current molecular ones are explored. Nanosystems’ characteristics affecting contrast efficiency, and their potential for improving contrast-enhanced MRI’s safety in pregnant women, are discussed. Lastly, promising examples of nanoparticles as safer alternatives to current MRI contrast agents in pregnancy are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Review
Analytical Approaches and Trends in the Determination of Psychoactive Drugs in Air
Sci 2022, 4(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci4010001 - 01 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Understanding of the levels of psychoactive drugs in air is important for assessing both occupational and environmental exposure. Intelligence on the usage and manufacture of illegal drugs can also be gained. Environmental analysis and determination of air quality has recently expanded from its [...] Read more.
Understanding of the levels of psychoactive drugs in air is important for assessing both occupational and environmental exposure. Intelligence on the usage and manufacture of illegal drugs can also be gained. Environmental analysis and determination of air quality has recently expanded from its traditional focus to new pollutant categories that include illicit and psychoactive drugs. This is attributed to a greater part on the development of new, advanced techniques, such as liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS), allowing for the trace determination of such compounds down to the parts-per-trillion (ng/L) levels generally reported in air. Studies have also investigated the effects of firsthand and secondhand smoking of drugs, such as cocaine, cannabis and opium. Generally, these have shown secondhand smoke effects to be limited, apart from in the case of opium. Some studies have highlighted ill effects resulting through the exposure of vapors and dusts from the storage of drugs, but this has been shown to result from mould and other fungal contaminates. Investigations into the possible occupational exposures resulting from the use of anesthetic drugs in surgery and accident and emergency have focused on nitrous oxide, sevoflurane, methoxyflurane, isoflurane, propofol and fentanyl. This review focuses on developments and applications for the determination of psychoactive drugs in air. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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Review
Plant-Derived Saponins: A Review of Their Surfactant Properties and Applications
Sci 2021, 3(4), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci3040044 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2120
Abstract
In response to increasing natural surfactant demand and environmental concerns, natural plant-based surfactants have been replacing synthetic ones. Saponins belong to a class of plant metabolites with surfactant properties that are widely distributed in nature. They are eco-friendly because of their natural origin [...] Read more.
In response to increasing natural surfactant demand and environmental concerns, natural plant-based surfactants have been replacing synthetic ones. Saponins belong to a class of plant metabolites with surfactant properties that are widely distributed in nature. They are eco-friendly because of their natural origin and biodegradable. To date, many plant-based saponins have been investigated for their surface activity. An overview of saponins with a particular focus on their surface-active properties is presented in this article. For this purpose, works published in the past few decades, which report better surfactant relevant properties of saponins than synthetic ones, were extensively studied. The investigations on the potential surfactant application of saponins are also documented. Moreover, some biological activities of saponins such as antimicrobial activity, antidiabetic activity, adjuvant potentials, anticancer activity, and others are reported. Plants rich in saponins are widely distributed in nature, offering great potential for the replacement of toxic synthetic surfactants in a variety of modern commercial products and these saponins exhibit excellent surface and biological activities. New opportunities and challenges associated with the development of saponin-based commercial formulations in the future are also discussed in detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers 2021 Editors Collection)
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