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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
An Assessment of Computational Fluid Dynamics as a Tool to Aid the Design of the HCMR-Artificial-ReefsTM Diving Oasis in the Underwater Biotechnological Park of Crete
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4847; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124847 - 13 Jun 2020
Abstract
Since recreational diving activities have increased in recent decades, resulting in additional environmental pressure on the coastal zone, the deployment of artificial reefs as a conservation strategy to divert mass ecotourism from fragile natural reefs has been proposed and realized in many areas [...] Read more.
Since recreational diving activities have increased in recent decades, resulting in additional environmental pressure on the coastal zone, the deployment of artificial reefs as a conservation strategy to divert mass ecotourism from fragile natural reefs has been proposed and realized in many areas of the world. Twelve units of a patented naturoid artificial reef technology developed by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) were deployed in 2015 in the Underwater Biotechnological Park of Crete (UBPC) in order to create an experimental diving oasis and investigate the potential of achieving this aim for the over-exploited coastal ecosystems of this part of the Eastern Mediterranean. Assessment of the degree of establishment of artificial reefs and their ability to mimic natural ecosystems is often monitored through biological surveys and sampling. The measurement of the chemical, physical, and hydrodynamic characteristics of the water mass surrounding artificial reefs is also essential to fully understand their comparison to natural reefs. In particular, the flow field around reefs has been shown to be one of the most important physical factors in determining suitable conditions for the establishment of a number of key species on reef habitats. However, the combination of biological establishment monitoring and realistic flow-field simulation using computational fluid dynamics as a tool to aid in the design improvement of already existing reef installations has not been fully investigated in previous work. They are often reported separately as either ecological or engineering studies. Therefore, this study examined a full-scale numerical simulation of the field flow around individual already installed naturoid reef shapes, and part of their present arrangement on the sea bottom of the UPBC combined with the field-testing of the functionality of the installed artificial reefs concerning fish species aggregation. The results show that the simulated flow characteristics around the HCMR diving oasis artificial reefs were in good general agreement with the results of former studies, both for flows around a single deployed unit and for flows around a cluster of more than one unit. The results also gave good indications of the performance of individual reef units concerning key desirable characteristics such as downstream shadowing and sediment/nutrient upwelling and resuspension. In particular, they confirmed extended low flow levels (less than 0.3 m/s) and in some cases double vortexes on the downstream side of reef units where observed colonization and habitation of some key fish species had taken place. They also showed how the present distribution of units could be optimized to perform better as an integrated reef cluster. The use of computational fluid dynamics, with field survey data, is therefore suggested as a useful design improvement tool for installed reef structures and their deployment arrangement for recreational diving oases that can aid the sustainable development of the coastal zone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of a High-Rise Mass Timber Building with an Equivalent Reinforced Concrete Alternative Using the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4708; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114708 - 09 Jun 2020
Abstract
Buildings consume large amounts of materials and energy, making them one of the highest environmental impactors. Quantifying the impact of building materials can be critical to developing an effective greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. Using Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings (IE4B), this paper compares [...] Read more.
Buildings consume large amounts of materials and energy, making them one of the highest environmental impactors. Quantifying the impact of building materials can be critical to developing an effective greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. Using Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings (IE4B), this paper compares cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment (LCA) results for a 12-story building constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT) and a functionally equivalent reinforced concrete (RC) building. Following EN 15978 framework, environmental impacts for stages A1–A5 (product to construction), B2, B4, and B6 (use), C1–C4 (end of life), and D (beyond the building life) were evaluated in detail along resource efficiency. For material resource efficiency, total mass of the CLT building was 33.2% less than the alternative RC building. For modules A to C and not considering operational energy use (B6), LCA results show a 20.6% reduction in embodied carbon achieved for the CLT building, compared to the RC building. For modules A to D and not considering B6, the embodied carbon assessment revealed that for the CLT building, 6.57 × 105 kg CO2 eq was emitted, whereas for the equivalent RC building, 2.16 × 106 kg CO2 eq was emitted, and emissions from CLT building was 70% lower than that from RC building. Additionally, 1.84 × 106 kg of CO2 eq was stored in the wood material used in the CLT building during its lifetime. Building material selection should be considered for the urgent need to reduce global climate change impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Assessment of Buildings for Deep Impact Reductions)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Monitoring Bioeconomy Transitions with Economic–Environmental and Innovation Indicators: Addressing Data Gaps in the Short Term
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114683 - 08 Jun 2020
Abstract
Monitoring bioeconomy transitions and their effects can be considered a Herculean task, as they cannot be easily captured using current economic statistics. Distinctions are rarely made between bio-based and non-bio-based products when official data is collected. However, production along bioeconomy supply chains and [...] Read more.
Monitoring bioeconomy transitions and their effects can be considered a Herculean task, as they cannot be easily captured using current economic statistics. Distinctions are rarely made between bio-based and non-bio-based products when official data is collected. However, production along bioeconomy supply chains and its implications for sustainability require measurement and assessment to enable considered policymaking. We propose a starting point for monitoring bioeconomy transitions by suggesting an adapted framework, relevant sectors, and indicators that can be observed with existing information and data from many alternative sources, assuming that official data collection methods will not be modified soon. Economic–environmental indicators and innovation indicators are derived for the German surfactant industry based on the premise that combined economic–environmental indicators can show actual developments and trade-offs, while innovation indicators can reveal whether a bioeconomy transition is likely in a sector. Methodological challenges are discussed and low-cost; high-benefit options for further data collection are recommended. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Cumulative Environmental Impacts in the Gwich’in Cultural Landscape
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114667 - 08 Jun 2020
Abstract
Environmental changes are impacting northern environments and human communities. Cumulative impact assessments are vital to understanding the combined effects of regional industrial developments and natural disturbances that affect humans and ecosystems. A gap in cumulative impacts literature includes methods to evaluate impacts in [...] Read more.
Environmental changes are impacting northern environments and human communities. Cumulative impact assessments are vital to understanding the combined effects of regional industrial developments and natural disturbances that affect humans and ecosystems. A gap in cumulative impacts literature includes methods to evaluate impacts in cultural landscapes. In this study, we utilized spatial overlay analysis to assess cumulative environmental impacts in the cultural landscape of northern Canada’s Gwich’in Settlement Region. In three analyses, we quantified and mapped: (1) Cultural feature density, (2) cumulative environmental disturbance, and (3) potential overlap between disturbances and cultural features. Our first analysis depicts the extent and pattern of cultural relationships with regional landscapes and illustrates the Gwich’in cultural landscape, with widespread harvesting trails, named places, traditional use areas, and archaeological sites found in highest densities near important waterways. Our second analysis suggests that spatial overlay can track multiple disturbances, illustrating diffuse, lower intensity cumulative environmental impacts. The final analysis shows that overlaying disturbance and cultural feature data provides a novel way to investigate cumulative impacts in a cultural landscape, indicating relatively low levels of potential overlap between Gwich’in cultural features and disturbances. These methods provide one way to investigate cumulative impacts, relevant for well- documented cultural landscapes. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Actinomycete Strains Isolated from Saline Soils: Plant-Growth-Promoting Traits and Inoculation Effects on Solanum lycopersicum
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4617; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114617 - 05 Jun 2020
Abstract
Excessive use of chemical products in agriculture is causing significant environmental pollution and the loss of lands and fertility of agricultural soils. Plant-growth-promoting bacteria are a valid alternative strategy for sustainable agriculture. The aim of this study was to select actinomycete strains based [...] Read more.
Excessive use of chemical products in agriculture is causing significant environmental pollution and the loss of lands and fertility of agricultural soils. Plant-growth-promoting bacteria are a valid alternative strategy for sustainable agriculture. The aim of this study was to select actinomycete strains based on their plant-growth-promoting traits and to investigate their root association abilities and biostimulant effects on Solanum lycopersicum. The strains were investigated for their phosphate solubilization ability, production of indole-3-acetic acid, hydrocyanic acid, and ammonia, and several enzymatic activities. Bacteria–plant-root associations were studied by scanning electron microscopy. A greenhouse experiment was carried out to assess inoculation effects. Of sixty isolates, fourteen strains showed significant plant-growth-promoting traits. All fourteen strains solubilized phosphate, produced ammonia, and showed several enzymatic activities at different rates. The production of indole-3-acetic acid was shown by nine strains, while hydrocyanic acid production was observed in eleven of them. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that strains have good in vitro plant root association and colonization abilities. In planta inoculation by actinomycete strains positively influenced plant growth parameters. The best results were shown by seven actinomycete strains, suggesting their possible utilization as biofertilizer agents for sustainable agriculture. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Valorization of Banana and Red Beetroot Peels: Determination of Basic Macrocomponent Composition, Application of Novel Extraction Methodology and Assessment of Biological Activity In Vitro
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4539; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114539 - 03 Jun 2020
Abstract
The nutritional and bioactive content of banana and red beetroot peels was investigated. The basic macrocomponent composition was determined using standard AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) methods, while the recovery efficiency of bioactive compounds was investigated using conventional and innovative extraction techniques [...] Read more.
The nutritional and bioactive content of banana and red beetroot peels was investigated. The basic macrocomponent composition was determined using standard AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) methods, while the recovery efficiency of bioactive compounds was investigated using conventional and innovative extraction techniques (subcritical water extraction, ultrasound- and microwave-assisted extraction). Extracts were analyzed for biological effects in vitro on human hepatic, tongue and colon cancer cell lines. A macrocomponent analysis revealed a notable amount of dietary fiber in banana and beetroot peels (39.0 and 33.6% dmb) and a relatively high content of protein in beetroot peel (18.3% dmb). Regarding the micronutrients-minerals, banana and beetroot peels were shown to be a very good source of potassium (75.06 and 41.86 mg g−1 dmb). Both extracts of banana and beetroot peels obtained by conventional extraction - decoction (100 °C, 20 min) exhibited the highest total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity. Additionally, in banana peel, these extracts were the richest in dopamine content (12.63 mg g−1 dmb). Extraction by infusion (80 °C, 30 min) yielded a beetroot peel extract with the highest total betacyanin content (9.80 mg g−1 dmb). Biological effects in vitro were dose- and time-dependent, as well as influenced by the presence of polysaccharides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Processing)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Analysis of Land Cover Change Detection in Gozamin District, Ethiopia: From Remote Sensing and DPSIR Perspectives
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4534; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114534 - 02 Jun 2020
Abstract
Land cover patterns in sub-Saharan Africa are rapidly changing. This study aims to quantify the land cover change and to identify its major determinants by using the Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact, Responses (DPSIR) framework in the Ethiopian Gozamin District over a period of [...] Read more.
Land cover patterns in sub-Saharan Africa are rapidly changing. This study aims to quantify the land cover change and to identify its major determinants by using the Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact, Responses (DPSIR) framework in the Ethiopian Gozamin District over a period of 32 years (1986 to 2018). Satellite images of Landsat 5 (1986), Landsat 7 (2003), and Sentinel-2 (2018) and a supervised image classification methodology were used to assess the dynamics of land cover change. Land cover maps of the three dates, focus group discussions (FGDs), interviews, and farmers’ lived experiences through a household survey were applied to identify the factors for changes based on the DPSIR framework. Results of the investigations revealed that during the last three decades the study area has undergone an extensive land cover change, primarily a shift from cropland and grassland into forests and built-up areas. Thus, quantitative land cover change detection between 1986 and 2018 revealed that cropland, grassland, and bare areas declined by 10.53%, 5.7%, and 2.49%. Forest, built-up, shrub/scattered vegetation, and water bodies expanded by 13.47%, 4.02%, 0.98%, and 0.25%. Household surveys and focus group discussions (FGDs) identified the population growth, the rural land tenure system, the overuse of land, the climate change, and the scarcity of grazing land as drivers of these land cover changes. Major impacts were rural to urban migration, population size change, scarcity of land, and decline in land productivity. The outputs from this study could be used to assure sustainability in resource utilization, proper land use planning, and proper decision-making by the concerned government authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Application for Environmental Sustainability)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Indicators to Measure Efficiency in Circular Economies
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4483; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114483 - 01 Jun 2020
Abstract
In this paper, a number of indicators are shown to measure economic efficiency in terms of circular economy (CE). The European Union affirms the need for a comprehensive model of indicators relating to CE in order to meet the needs of all participants [...] Read more.
In this paper, a number of indicators are shown to measure economic efficiency in terms of circular economy (CE). The European Union affirms the need for a comprehensive model of indicators relating to CE in order to meet the needs of all participants (individual companies and industry, society, and the nation), to be based on three perspectives: environmental impact, economic benefit, and resource scarcity. Therefore, the objective of this work is to define these indicators and establish models for measuring the efficiency of processes and products of CE (through Data Envelopment Analysis, (DEA)) in its different manifestations. The models will be useful for both organizations and external users in relation to CE in order to facilitate the search for indicators for all users. Following the bibliographic review of official reports and different high impact works, our results demonstrate the ability to obtain information concerning the main indicators of CE and how the efficiency of CE models has been measured through the most frequently used inputs and outputs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Building a Composite Indicator to Measure Environmental Sustainability Using Alternative Weighting Methods
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4398; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114398 - 27 May 2020
Abstract
Environmental sustainability in agriculture can be measured through the construction of composite indicators. However, this is a challenging task because these indexes are heavily dependent on how the individual base indicators are weighted. The main aim of this paper is to contribute to [...] Read more.
Environmental sustainability in agriculture can be measured through the construction of composite indicators. However, this is a challenging task because these indexes are heavily dependent on how the individual base indicators are weighted. The main aim of this paper is to contribute to the existing literature regarding the robustness of subjective (based on experts’ opinions) weighting methods when constructing a composite indicator for measuring environmental sustainability at the farm level. In particular, the study analyzes two multi-criteria techniques, the analytic hierarchy process and the recently developed best-worst method, as well as the more straightforward point allocation method. These alternative methods have been implemented to empirically assess the environmental performance of irrigated olive farms in Spain. Data for this case study were collected from a panel of 22 experts and a survey of 99 farms. The results obtained suggest that there are no statistically significant differences in the weights of the individual base indicators derived from the three weighting methods considered. Moreover, the ranking of the sampled farms, in terms of their level of environmental sustainability measured through the composite indicators proposed, is not dependent on the use of the different weighting methods. Thus, the results support the robustness of the three weighting methods considered. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Sustainable Soil and Water Resources Management in Nigeria: The Need for a Data-Driven Policy Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4204; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104204 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
Effective public policies are needed to manage a nation’s natural resources, including soil and water. However, making such policies currently requires a shift from a traditional qualitative approach to a mix of scientific data, evidence and the relevant social elements, termed data-driven policymaking. [...] Read more.
Effective public policies are needed to manage a nation’s natural resources, including soil and water. However, making such policies currently requires a shift from a traditional qualitative approach to a mix of scientific data, evidence and the relevant social elements, termed data-driven policymaking. Nigeria, like most developing countries, falls short of the framework for this approach. Nevertheless, the lack of potable water in some regions and the continuous degradation of farmable lands call for intervention through effective policy formulation and implementation. In this work, we present a conceptual workflow as a strategic step towards developing a framework for a data-driven soil and water resources management policy. A review of the current legal and policy framework and selected scientific literature on soil and water resources in Nigeria is presented. Analysis of the National Water Resources Bill proposed in 2018 is used to highlight existing gaps between policy, scientific data and reality. Modern field techniques and project-based examples for soil and aquifer characterization that can be adapted for local use are presented. While government must take responsibility for the poor policy framework, the research community is challenged on the need for scientific data as a base for effective policy formulation and implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Impacts of Climate Change on the Potential Productivity of Eleven Staple Crops in Rwanda
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4116; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104116 - 18 May 2020
Abstract
This study quantifies the potential responses of 11 staple crop yields to projected changes in temperature and precipitation in Rwanda, using a cross sectional model based on yield data collected across more than 14,000 villages. We incorporated a relatively high spatial resolution dataset [...] Read more.
This study quantifies the potential responses of 11 staple crop yields to projected changes in temperature and precipitation in Rwanda, using a cross sectional model based on yield data collected across more than 14,000 villages. We incorporated a relatively high spatial resolution dataset on crop productivity, considered a broad range of crops relevant to national agricultural production priorities, used environmental data developed specifically for Rwanda, and reported uncertainty both from our estimation model and due to uncertainty in future climate projections. We estimate that future climate change will have the largest impacts on potential productivity of maize, bush bean, and Irish potato. All three crops are likely to experience a reduction in potential yields of at least 10% under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and at least 15% under RCP 8.5 by 2050. Notably, these are important crops nationally, and three of the crops targeted by Rwanda’s Crop Intensification Program. We find that the most severe reductions in potential crop yields will occur in the drier eastern savannah and plateau regions, but that the impacts of climate change could be neutral or even positive in the highlands through mid-century. The refined spatial scale of our analysis allows us to identify potentially vulnerable regions where adaptation investments may need to be prioritized to support food security and climate resilience in Rwanda’s agricultural sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Management Strategies for Wood Fuel Harvesting—Trade-Offs with Biodiversity and Forest Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4089; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104089 - 16 May 2020
Abstract
Bioenergy is expected to contribute to mitigating climate change. One major source for bioenergy is woody biomass from forests, including logging residues, stumps, and whole trees from young dense stands. However, at increased extraction rates of woody biomass, the forest ecosystem, its biodiversity, [...] Read more.
Bioenergy is expected to contribute to mitigating climate change. One major source for bioenergy is woody biomass from forests, including logging residues, stumps, and whole trees from young dense stands. However, at increased extraction rates of woody biomass, the forest ecosystem, its biodiversity, and its ability to contribute to fundamental ecosystem services will be affected. We used simulation and optimization techniques to assess the impact of different management strategies on the supply of bioenergy and the trade-offs between wood fuel harvesting, biodiversity, and three other ecosystem services—reindeer husbandry, carbon storage, and recreation. The projections covered 100 years and a forest area of 3 million ha in northern Sweden. We found that the development of novel and cost-effective management systems for biomass outtake from young dense stands may provide options for a significant supply of bioenergy to the emerging bioeconomy, while at the same time securing biodiversity and important ecosystem values in future stand developments. In addition, there is potential to increase the extraction of harvest residues and stumps while simultaneously improving conditions for biodiversity and the amount of carbon stored in forest ecosystems compared to current levels. However, the projected continuing trend of increased forest density (in terms of basal area) has a negative impact on the potential for reindeer husbandry and recreation, which calls for researching new management strategies on landscape levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Sustainability Assessment of Forest Bioenergy Options)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Seawater Fluorescence Near Oil Occurrence
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4049; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104049 - 15 May 2020
Abstract
Petroleum and its related products pose a serious pollution risk to the world’s seas and require a simple, rapid detection method. This is a difficult task if the pollution is under the water surface. One common approach to oil detection is excitation-emission spectroscopy [...] Read more.
Petroleum and its related products pose a serious pollution risk to the world’s seas and require a simple, rapid detection method. This is a difficult task if the pollution is under the water surface. One common approach to oil detection is excitation-emission spectroscopy (EEMs) of seawater exposed to oil for analyzing the fluorometric index (FIo/w) as a potential indicator of oil presence in the marine environment. In this paper, FIo/w was determined for both natural seawater and samples of the same water, but exposed to a relatively small portion of oil. The water samples were collected from the coastal and port waters of the Gdynia region (Southern Baltic Sea) from five stations, four times at two-week intervals. FIo/w indicates the changes between seawater sampled from the marine environment and the same seawater polluted with oil substances. Moreover, the obtained FIo/w values do not depend on the point and time of sampling. In all cases of seawater exposed to oil, significantly higher FIo/w values were observed than for unpolluted seawater. Moreover, the detection of oil by analyzing the value of FIo/w is efficient if the oil-to-water weight ratio is close to or above 5 × 10−6. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Hepcidin-Expressing Fish Eggs as A Novel Food Supplement to Modulate Immunity against Pathogenic Infection in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4057; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104057 - 15 May 2020
Abstract
Hepcidin antimicrobial peptides are difficult to produce in prokaryotic expression systems due to their complex structure and antimicrobial activity. Although synthetic hepcidin provides an alternative to solve this issue, its high cost limits its practical application in various industries. The present study used [...] Read more.
Hepcidin antimicrobial peptides are difficult to produce in prokaryotic expression systems due to their complex structure and antimicrobial activity. Although synthetic hepcidin provides an alternative to solve this issue, its high cost limits its practical application in various industries. The present study used zebrafish eggs as bioreactors to produce convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) hepcidin (AN-hepc) using the oocyte-specific zona pellucida (zp3) promoter. The expression plasmid pT2-ZP3-AN-hepc-ZP3-EGFP, using EGFP as a reporter of AN-hepc expression, was designed to establish the transgenic line Tg(ZP3:AN-hepc:ZP3:EGFP) for the expression of AN-hepc. The AN-hepc peptide was produced successfully in fertilized eggs, as evidenced by RT-PCR and Western blotting. The AN-hepc-expressing eggs exhibited antimicrobial activity against a variety of aquatic pathogens and antibiotic-resistant pathogens, suggesting that the AN-hepc expressed in fish eggs was bioactive. The immunomodulatory effects of AN-hepc-expressing fertilized eggs on zebrafish innate immunity were evaluated by determining the expression of indicator genes after feeding with AN-hepc-expressing fertilized eggs for two months. Zebrafish supplementation with AN-hepc-expressing fertilized eggs significantly increased the expression of innate immunity-related genes, including IL-1β, IL-6, IL-15, TNF-α, NF-κb, complement C3b, lysozyme and TLR-4a. The zebrafish administered AN-hepc-expressing eggs exhibited higher cumulative survival than fish supplemented with wild-type and control eggs after infection with Aeromonas hydrophila and Streptococcus iniae. In conclusion, the present results showed that supplementation with AN-hepc-expressing fish eggs enhanced zebrafish innate immunity against pathogenic infections, suggesting that fertilized eggs containing AN-hepc have the potential to be developed as a food supplement for improving health status in aquaculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquaculture and Environmental Impacts)
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Review

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Circular Economy Practices and Strategies in Public Sector Organizations: An Integrative Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4181; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104181 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
The concept of the Circular Economy (CE) is an increasingly attractive approach to tackling current sustainability challenges and facilitating a shift away from the linear “take-make-use-dispose” model of production and consumption. The public sector is a major contributor to the CE transition not [...] Read more.
The concept of the Circular Economy (CE) is an increasingly attractive approach to tackling current sustainability challenges and facilitating a shift away from the linear “take-make-use-dispose” model of production and consumption. The public sector is a major contributor to the CE transition not only as a policy-maker but also as a significant purchaser, consumer, and user of goods and services. The circularization of the public sector itself, however, has received very little attention in CE research. In order to explore the current state of knowledge on the implementation of CE practices and strategies within Public Sector Organizations (PSOs), this research aims to develop an overview of the existing literature. The literature review was designed combining a systematic search with a complementary purposive sampling. Using organizational sustainability as a theoretical perspective, the main results showed a scattered landscape, indicating that the limited research on CE practices and strategies in PSOs has focused so far on the areas of public procurement, internal operations and processes, and public service delivery. As a result of this literature review, an organizational CE framework of a PSO is proposed providing a holistic view of a PSO as a system with organizational dimensions that are relevant for the examination and analysis of the integration process of CE practices and strategies. This innovative framework aims to help further CE research and practice to move beyond current sustainability efforts, highlighting that public procurement, strategy and management, internal processes and operations, assessment and communication, public service delivery, human resources dimensions, collaboration with other organizations, and various external contexts are important public sector areas where the implementation of CE has the potential to bring sustainability benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Strategies)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceCommentary
A New ‘Lexicon’ of Land Degradation: Toward a Holistic Thinking for Complex Socioeconomic Issues
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4285; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104285 - 23 May 2020
Abstract
Land degradation is perceived worldwide as a key process of resource depletion, representing a paradigmatic issue in national and supra-national political agendas for the 21st century in both advanced and emerging economies. Trying to delineate a ‘new lexicon of land degradation’, the present [...] Read more.
Land degradation is perceived worldwide as a key process of resource depletion, representing a paradigmatic issue in national and supra-national political agendas for the 21st century in both advanced and emerging economies. Trying to delineate a ‘new lexicon of land degradation’, the present study contributes to a holistic thinking of driving forces in local communities and regional contexts through a refined analysis and discussion of (apparent and latent) factors of land degradation. Rethinking the importance of five notions (time, space, scale, systems, and response) having an intimate linkage with land degradation allows a refined understanding of socio-environmental dynamics and the most appropriate actions to combat (or mitigate) land resource depletion. The conclusions summarize the rationale proposed in this work, and provide a brief outlook on future research addressing land degradation, its drivers and consequences. Full article
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