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Kosmos
Astronomia Astrofizyka
Inne

Kultura
Sztuka dawna i współczesna, muzea i kolekcje

Metoda
Metodologia nauk, Matematyka, Filozofia, Miary i wagi, Pomiary

Materia
Substancje, reakcje, energia
Fizyka, chemia i inżynieria materiałowa

Człowiek
Antropologia kulturowa Socjologia Psychologia Zdrowie i medycyna

Wizje
Przewidywania Kosmologia Religie Ideologia Polityka

Ziemia
Geologia, geofizyka, geochemia, środowisko przyrodnicze

Życie
Biologia, biologia molekularna i genetyka

Cyberprzestrzeń
Technologia cyberprzestrzeni, cyberkultura, media i komunikacja

Działalność
Wiadomości | Gospodarka, biznes, zarządzanie, ekonomia

Technologie
Budownictwo, energetyka, transport, wytwarzanie, technologie informacyjne

Czasopisma z MDPI

Wydawnictwo MDPI publikuje czasopisma Open Access.

Damaging geo-Hydrogeological Events (DHEs) are defined as the occurrence of destructive phenomena (such as landslides and floods) that can cause damage to people and goods during periods of bad weather. These phenomena should be analyzed together as they actually occur because their interactions can both amplify the damage and obstruct emergency management. The occurrence of DHEs depends on the interactions between climatic and geomorphological features: except for long-term climatic changes, these interactions can be considered constant, and for this reason, some areas are systematically affected. However, damage scenarios can change; events that occurred in the past could presently cause different effects depending on the modifications that occurred in the geographical distribution of vulnerable elements. We analyzed a catastrophic DHE that in 1951 affected an area 3700 km2 wide, located in Calabria (southern Italy), with four-day cumulative rainfall exceeding 300 mm and return periods of daily rain exceeding 500 Y. It resulted in 101 victims and 4500 homeless individuals. The probability that a similar event will happen again in the future is assessed using the return period of the triggering rainfall, whereas the different anthropogenic factors are taken into account by means of the population densities at the time of the event and currently. The result is a classification of regional municipalities according to the probability that events such as the one analyzed will occur again in the future and the possible effects of this event on the current situation.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/5/4/1780 2013/11/13 - 16:32

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, many countries are hoping that massive increases in their money supplies will revive their economies. Evaluating the effectiveness of this strategy using traditional statistical methods would require the construction of an extremely complex economic model of the world that showed how each country’s situation affected all other countries. No matter how complex that model was, it would always be subject to the criticism that it had omitted important variables. Omitting important variables from traditional statistical methods ruins all estimates and statistics. This paper uses a relatively new statistical method that solves the omitted variables problem. This technique produces a separate slope estimate for each observation which makes it possible to see how the estimated relationship has changed over time due to omitted variables. I find that the effectiveness of monetary policy has fallen between the first quarter of 2003 and the fourth quarter of 2012 by 14%, 36%, 38%, 32%, 29% and 69% for Japan, the UK, the USA, the Euro area, Brazil, and the Russian Federation respectively. I hypothesize that monetary policy is suffering from diminishing returns because it cannot address the fundamental problem with the world’s economy today; that problem is a global glut of savings that is either sitting idle or funding speculative bubbles.

http://www.mdpi.com/2227-7099/1/3/49 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Recently, highly functional biosensors have been developed in preparation for possible large-scale terrorist attacks using chemical warfare agents. Practically applicable sensors are required to have various abilities, such as high portability and operability, the capability of performing rapid and continuous measurement, as well as high sensitivity and selectivity. We developed the detection method of capsaicinoids, the main component of some lachrymators, using a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) immunosensor as an on-site detection sensor. Homovanillic acid, which has a vanillyl group similar to capsaicinoids such as capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, was bound to Concholepas concholepas hemocyanin (CCH) for use as an immunogen to generate polyclonal antibodies. An indirect competitive assay was carried out to detect capsaicinoids using SPR sensor chips on which different capsaicin analogues were immobilized. For the sensor chip on which 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylamine hydrochloride was immobilized, a detection limit of 150 ppb was achieved. We found that the incubation time was not required and the detection can be completed in five minutes.

http://www.mdpi.com/2079-6374/3/4/374 2013/11/13 - 16:32

The aims of the current study were to explore possible gender differences in weight misperception, self-reported physical fitness, and dieting, and to analyze the relationship between these variables and others, such as self-esteem, body appreciation, general mental health, and eating- and body image-related variables among adolescents. In addition, the specific risk for eating disorders was examined, as well as the possible clusters with respect to the risk status. The sample comprised 655 students, 313 females and 342 males, aged 16.22 ± 4.58. Different scales of perceived overweight, self-reported physical fitness and dieting together with the Body Mass Index (BMI) were considered along with instruments such as the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), Self-Esteem Scale (SES), Body Appreciation Scale (BAS) and Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (EDI-2). Since some gender differences were found with respect to these adolescent groups, it is necessary to design prevention programs that not only focus on traditional factors such as BMI or body image, but also on elements like weight perception, self-reported fitness and nutritional education.

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/11/4486 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Poly(ethlyene terephthalate) waste from a local market was depolymerized by ethylene glycol (EG) in the presence of Lewis acidic ionic liquids [Bmim]ZnCl3 and the qualitative analysis showed that bis(hydroxyethyl) terephthalate was the main product. Compared with ionic liquid [Bmim]Cl, the Lewis acidic ionic liquids showed highly catalytic activity in the glycolysis of poly(ethylene terephthalate) PET. Significantly, the conversion of PET and the yield of bis(hydroxyethyl) terephthalate were achieved at 100% and 83.8% with low catalyst ([Bmim]ZnCl3) loading (0.16 wt %). Investigation also showed that the catalytic activity of [Bmim]ZnCl3 was higher than that of [Bmim]MnCl3. Catalyst [Bmim]ZnCl3 can be reused up to five times and 1H-NMR results show that the recovered catalyst is similar to the fresh one. A mechanism of the glycolysis of PET catalyzed by [Bmim]ZnCl3 was proposed.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4360/5/4/1258 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Water stress is a serious concern in the citrus industry due to its effect on citrus quality and yield. A sensor system for early detection will allow rapid implementation of control measures and management decisions to reduce any adverse effects. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) presents a potentially suitable technique for early stress detection through elemental profile analysis of the citrus leaves. It is anticipated that the physiological change in plants due to stress will induce changes in the element profile. The major goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy as a method of water stress detection for potential use in the citrus industry. In this work, two levels of water stress were applied to Cleopatra (Cleo) mandarin, Carrizo citrange, and Shekwasha seedlings under the controlled conditions of a greenhouse. Leaves collected from the healthy and stressed plants were analyzed using LIBS, as well as with a spectroradiometer (visible-near infrared spectroscopy) and a thermal camera (thermal infrared). Statistical classification of healthy and stressed samples revealed that the LIBS data could be classified with an overall accuracy of 80% using a Naïve-Bayes and bagged decision tree-based classifiers. These accuracies were lower than the classification accuracies acquired from visible-near infrared spectra. An accuracy of 93% and higher was achieved using a bagged decision tree with visible-near infrared spectral reflectance data.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/3/4/747 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Urban growth has had unprecedented consequences on environmental sustainability and anthropogenic activity. The eroding coastlines throughout the world are subject to the massive expansion of urban areas and the accountability of sustainable hinterland landscapes. The Golden Horseshoe is Canada’s fastest growing region extending from the Niagara Peninsula and one of the most active economic regions in North America. This paper adopts a combined assessment of land use change and transitions in the coastal stretches of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Comprising the urban expansion of the region between 1990 and 2011, an integrated assessment was carried out to: (i) detect changes in coastal lines along Lake Ontario; (ii) derive land use changes along the coast through spatial accounting matrices; and (iii) integrate climate change data for a combined assessment of future erosion loci. Visible erosion was found between the decade of 1990 and 2000, while certain areas have shown coastal recession in the southern region. The maximum recession was found to be 30 m, with an increasing urban sprawl of 19.8% between 1990 and 2000. A combined temperature increase of 2 °C over the coming decades brings the increase in urban heat islands leading to the importance of combined land policies to mitigate the common problem of erosion in vulnerable urban stretches and liveability concerning spatial resilience of growing urban regions in North America.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-445X/2/4/595 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Regulators in emerging markets are increasingly curtailing the practice of foreigncurrency lending. In such a move Turkish regulatory authorities banned foreign currencylending to households in 2009. This paper examines the evolution of financial dollarization inTurkey in the 2002–2009 period by looking the currency composition of loans and deposits inthe banking system and the macroeconomic developments. We find that the Turkish bankingsystem was unhedged against currency fluctuations and the regulators acted preemptively inbanning the practice.

http://www.mdpi.com/2227-7072/1/4/137 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Many studies have indicated that computing technology can enable off-site cardiologists to read patients’ electrocardiograph (ECG), echocardiography (ECHO), and relevant images via smart phones during pre-hospital, in-hospital, and post-hospital teleconsultation, which not only identifies emergency cases in need of immediate treatment, but also prevents the unnecessary re-hospitalizations. Meanwhile, several studies have combined cloud computing and mobile computing to facilitate better storage, delivery, retrieval, and management of medical files for telecardiology. In the future, the aggregated ECG and images from hospitals worldwide will become big data, which should be used to develop an e-consultation program helping on-site practitioners deliver appropriate treatment. With information technology, real-time tele-consultation and tele-diagnosis of ECG and images can be practiced via an e-platform for clinical, research, and educational purposes. While being devoted to promote the application of information technology onto telecardiology, we need to resolve several issues: (1) data confidentiality in the cloud, (2) data interoperability among hospitals, and (3) network latency and accessibility. If these challenges are overcome, tele-consultation will be ubiquitous, easy to perform, inexpensive, and beneficial. Most importantly, these services will increase global collaboration and advance clinical practice, education, and scientific research in cardiology.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/10/11/6131 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A new water index for SPOT5 High Resolution Geometrical (HRG) imagery normalized to surface reflectance, called the linear discriminant analysis water index (LDAWI), was created using training data from New South Wales (NSW), Australia and the multivariate statistical method of linear discriminant analysis classification. The index uses all four image bands, and is better at separating water and non-water pixels than the two commonly used variations of the normalized difference water index (NDWI), which each only use two image bands. Compared across 2,400 validation pixels, from six images spanning four years, the LDAWI attained an overall accuracy of 98%, a producer’s accuracy for water of 100%, and a user’s accuracy for water of 97%. These accuracy measures increase to 99%, 100% and 98% if cloud shadow and topographic shadow masks are applied to the imagery. The NDWI achieved consistently lower accuracies, with the NDWI calculated from the green and shortwave infrared (IR) bands performing slightly better (91% overall accuracy) than the NDWI calculated from the green and near IR bands (89% overall accuracy). The LDAWI is now being routinely used on an archive of over 2,000 images from across NSW, as part of an operational environmental monitoring program.

http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/5/11/5907 2013/11/13 - 16:32

We describe similarities in the ontology of quantum physics and of Carl Gustav Jung’s psychology. In spite of the fact that physics and psychology are usually considered as unrelated, in the last century, both of these disciplines have led at the same time to revolutionary changes in the Western understanding of the cosmic order, discovering a non-empirical realm of the universe that doesn’t consist of material things but of forms. These forms are real, even though they are invisible, because they have the potential to appear in the empirical world and act in it. We present arguments that force us to believe, that the empirical world is an emanation out of a cosmic realm of potentiality, whose forms can appear as physical structures in the external world and as archetypal concepts in our mind. Accordingly, the evolution of life now appears no longer as a process of the adaptation of species to their environment, but as the adaptation of minds to increasingly complex forms that exist in the cosmic potentiality. The cosmic connection means that the human mind is a mystical mind.

http://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/3/4/601 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Music and spirituality in a Christian view start with faith in the Word of God in response to the initiative of God who, as personal being through the Word revealed in Christ, seeks out persons even when they do not seek God. This mystery finds its goal in what is beyond expression in music from a variety of musical styles and syntaxes, from various times and places, in praise and prayer, and in relation to all of life. Matters like memory, health, emotion, time, silence, and community are involved. Paradoxes and a dark side are noted.

http://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/4/4/567 2013/11/13 - 16:32

This paper investigates the relationship between the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and extracted rainfall in the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) in Central Africa between latitudes 15°S and 20°N and longitudes 0°E and 31°E. Monthly NDVI and GPCP datasets for the period 1982–2000 have been used. The Index of Segmentation of Fourier Components (ISFC) has been applied on the NDVI dataset to segment Central Africa into four bioclimatic ecoregions (BCERs). In order to compare the differential response of vegetation growth to rainfall, an analysis of the inter-annual, intra-annual and seasonal variability for each BCER has been carried out, and the correlations between NDVI and rainfall have been assessed. The plot of the annual cycles of both variables revealed a coherent onset, peak and decay, with a time lag of 1 month for almost all the zones, except the zones, semi-desert and steppe, where a season of short and intense rainfall was observed. The correlation coefficients computed between the two variables are relatively high, especially in brush-grass savannah, where they reach up to 0.90 at a time lag of 1 month. The phenological transition points and phases show that the range between the +1 and

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/4/4/411 2013/11/13 - 16:32

The variety of natural indicators, associated with weather forecasting and climate prediction, as used by farmers in the South-Western Free State province of South Africa, is described. Most farmers in this area were not familiar with the application of weather forecasts/climate predictions for agricultural production, or with other science-based agrometeorological products. They relied almost fully on their experience and traditional knowledge for farming decision making. The indicators for traditional knowledge are demonstrated here in broad terms, relying on the stories and indications from observations and years of experience of their use by the farmers. These means of engagement with the natural environment, are skills not well understood by most scientists, but useful to the farmers. They range from the constellation of stars, animal behavior, cloud cover and type, blossoming of certain indigenous trees, appearance and disappearance of reptiles, to migration of bird species and many others. It is suggested that some short-term traditional forecasts/predictions may be successfully merged with science-based climate predictions. The traditional knowledge and its use, reported on in this paper, is what scientists learned from farmers. Berkes was right that scholars have wasted too much time and effort on a science versus traditional knowledge debate; we should reframe it instead as a science and traditional knowledge dialogue and partnership. The complications of a changing climate make this even more necessary.

http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/4/4/383 2013/11/13 - 16:32

In thermodynamics, one considers thermal systems and the maximization of entropy subject to the conservation of energy. A consequence is Landauer’s erasure principle, which states that the erasure of one bit of information requires a minimum energy cost equal to kT ln(2), where T is the temperature of a thermal reservoir used in the process and k is Boltzmann’s constant. Jaynes, however, argued that the maximum entropy principle could be applied to any number of conserved quantities, which would suggest that information erasure may have alternative costs. Indeed, we showed recently that by using a reservoir comprising energy degenerate spins and subject to conservation of angular momentum, the cost of information erasure is in terms of angular momentum rather than energy. Here, we extend this analysis and derive the minimum cost of information erasure for systems where different conservation laws operate. We find that, for each conserved quantity, the minimum resource needed to erase one bit of memory is λ-1 ln(2), where λ is related to the average value of the conserved quantity. The costs of erasure depend, fundamentally, on both the nature of the physical memory element and the reservoir with which it is coupled.

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/11/4956 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Reciprocity is a vital feature of social networks, but relatively little is known about its temporal structure or the mechanisms underlying its persistence in real world behavior. In pursuit of these two questions, we study the stationary and dynamical signals of reciprocity in a network of manioc beer (Spanish: chicha; Tsimane’: shocdye’) drinking events in a Tsimane’ village in lowland Bolivia. At the stationary level, our analysis reveals that social exchange within the community is heterogeneously patterned according to kinship and spatial proximity. A positive relationship between the frequencies at which two families host each other, controlling for kinship and proximity, provides evidence for stationary reciprocity. Our analysis of the dynamical structure of this network presents a novel method for the study of conditional, or non-stationary, reciprocity effects. We find evidence that short-timescale reciprocity (within three days) is present among non- and distant-kin pairs; conversely, we find that levels of cooperation among close kin can be accounted for on the stationary hypothesis alone.

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/15/11/4932 2013/11/13 - 16:32

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) suffered considerable upland deforestation during the 1990s, yet its consequences remain relatively unknown. This paper examines this deforestation and resulting land-use change patterns by analysis of Landsat satellite images from 1979, 1992, 2001 and 2006 in Suan County, Hwanghae Province, DPR Korea. Results show that there has been significant closed canopy forest loss and a dramatic expansion of agricultural land during this period. Most forestlands were converted to farmland during 1992 and 2001. Food shortages, along with fuelwood and timber extraction, are considered to be the main drivers of deforestation. Landscape analysis also showed that closed canopy forests have been severely fragmented and degraded. These research findings make a contribution to an insufficient body of literature on environmental issues in DPR Korea and helps to establish a baseline for monitoring land-use and land-cover changes in the country.

http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/4/4/968 2013/11/13 - 16:32

The situation in Karelia, a region in Northwest Russia, is analyzed in the context of forest energy. The annual potential energy available from wood harvesting is about 7 tera watt hours (TWh) (3.6 million m3), which is equal to the total need of Karelia in energy for municipal heating. We point out that the contribution to the municipal economy, the moderate heating cost, the enhanced energy security in the cold Russian climate, the environmental friendliness, the better access to the forests and the utilization of the proven Nordic forest energy solutions (NFES) might have important consequences for strategy-making processes in forest energy development. For this purpose, connecting Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) with SWOT (internal strengths (S) or weaknesses (W) and external opportunities (O) or threats (T)) analysis is proposed to identify local operational strategies and assign priorities. Major threats include lack of government support, an insufficient road network, the dominance of extensive forest management, gasification and financial indiscipline. Analysis indicates that NFES are viewed positively for the Russian conditions. The forest biomass market has virtually unlimited opportunities for growth. Together, with the transition to intensive forest management, favorable policy in terms of forestry development programs can support bioenergy development. The advantageous location of existing power plants next to forests, increasing fossil fuel prices, the improvement of the road network and the availability of new technology are seen as potential opportunities for NFES. However, the results also indicate that there is substantial uncertainty and skepticism concerning how such markets benefit forest leaseholders who would like to adopt forest energy. The lack of bioenergy technology development, high transportation cost, low awareness of NFES, high demands for roads, the requirement for skilled specialists and wood fuel quality are the main weaknesses regarding the transfer of NFES to Karelia.

http://www.mdpi.com/1999-4907/4/4/945 2013/11/13 - 16:32

An advanced elastic-plastic self-consistent polycrystalline model, accounting for intragranular microstructure development and evolution, is coupled with a bifurcation-based localization criterion and applied to the numerical investigation of the impact of microstructural patterns on ductility of single-phase steels. The proposed multiscale model, taking into account essential microstructural aspects, such as initial and induced textures, dislocation densities, and softening mechanisms, allows us to emphasize the relationship between intragranular microstructure of B.C.C. steels and their ductility. A qualitative study in terms of forming limit diagrams for various dislocation networks, during monotonic loading tests, is conducted in order to analyze the impact of intragranular substructure parameters on the formability of single-phase B.C.C. steels.

http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/6/11/5217 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Polymer-clay nanocomposites are highly sought-after materials, mainly due to their applicability in a variety of avenues. From the standpoint of the preparation of these nanocomposites, however, organic compatibility with clay and adherence to “green chemistry” concepts and principles can be limiting factors. As such, the objective was to prepare a biopolymer-modified clay nanocomposite using a simple and environmentally friendly method of preparation, whereby pre-treatment of the clay for organic compatibility was bypassed. Novel montmorillonite nanocomposites were prepared using neutral guar gum and cationic guar gum. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirmed the formation of intercalated structures. A monolayer configuration of cationic guar within the interlayer space was indicated by XRD results, while treatment with neutral guar gum resulted in the observance of both monolayer and bilayer configurations. Additionally, TEM results indicated partial exfoliation. Results attributed from 13C cross polarization/magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (CP/MAS NMR) of the nanocomposites indicated peaks corresponding to the guar constituent, confirming the adsorption of the biopolymer. Inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometry (ICP-ES) results indicated the exchange of cations present in neutral guar gum with the sodium cations of montmorillonite, in the case of the neutral guar nanocomposites.

http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/6/11/5199 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Ionizing radiation triggers diverse responses in human cells encompassing apoptosis, necrosis, stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS), autophagy, and endopolyploidy (e.g., multinucleation). Most of these responses result in loss of colony-forming ability in the clonogenic survival assay. However, not all modes of so-called clonogenic cell “death” are necessarily advantageous for therapeutic outcome in cancer radiotherapy. For example, the crosstalk between SIPS and autophagy is considered to influence the capacity of the tumor cells to maintain a prolonged state of growth inhibition that unfortunately can be succeeded by tumor regrowth and disease recurrence. Likewise, endopolyploid giant cells are able to segregate into near diploid descendants that continue mitotic activities. Herein we review the current knowledge on the roles that the p53 and p21WAF1 tumor suppressors play in determining the fate of human fibroblasts (normal and Li-Fraumeni syndrome) and solid tumor-derived cells after exposure to ionizing radiation. In addition, we discuss the important role of WIP1, a p53-regulated oncogene, in the temporal regulation of the DNA damage response and its contribution to p53 dynamics post-irradiation. This article highlights the complexity of the DNA damage response and provides an impetus for rethinking the nature of cancer cell resistance to therapeutic agents.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22409 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A new benzo[c]phenanthridine, oxynorchelerythrine (1), and two new benzenoid derivatives, methyl 4-(2-hydroxy-4-methoxy-3-methyl-4-oxobutoxy)benzoate (2) and (E)-methyl 4-(4-((Z)-3-methoxy-3-oxoprop-1-enyl)phenoxy)-2-methylbut-2-enoate (3), have been isolated from the twigs of Zanthoxylum ailanthoides, together with 11 known compounds (4–14). The structures of these new compounds were determined through spectroscopic and MS analyses. Among the isolated compounds, decarine (4), (−)-syringaresinol (6), (+)-episesamin (8), glaberide I (9), (−)-dihydrocubebin (10), and xanthyletin (11) exhibited potent inhibition (IC50 values ≤ 4.79 µg/mL) of superoxide anion generation by human nutrophils in response to N-formyl-L-methionyl-L-leucyl-L-phenylalanine/cytochalasin B (fMLP/CB). Compounds 4, 8, and 11 also inhibited fMLP/CB-induced elastase release with IC50 values ≤ 5.48 µg/mL.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22395 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Microalgae have been emerging as an important source for the production of bioactive compounds. Marine diatoms can store high amounts of lipid and grow quite quickly. However, the genetic and biochemical characteristics of fatty acid biosynthesis in diatoms remain unclear. Glycerophospholipids are integral as structural and functional components of cellular membranes, as well as precursors of various lipid mediators. In addition, diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the last step of triacylglyceride (TAG) biosynthesis. However, a comprehensive sequence-structure and functional analysis of DGAT in diatoms is lacking. In this study, an isoform of diacylglycerol acyltransferase type 2 of the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum was characterized. Surprisingly, DGAT2 overexpression in P. tricornutum stimulated more oil bodies, and the neutral lipid content increased by 35%. The fatty acid composition showed a significant increase in the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids; in particular, EPA was increased by 76.2%. Moreover, the growth rate of transgenic microalgae remained similar, thereby maintaining a high biomass. Our results suggest that increased DGAT2 expression could alter fatty acid profile in the diatom, and the results thus represent a valuable strategy for polyunsaturated fatty acid production by genetic manipulation.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/11/11/4558 2013/11/13 - 16:32

New compounds are needed to treat acne and superficial infections caused by Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus due to the reduced effectiveness of agents used at present. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) are attracting attention as potential new topical treatments for Gram-positive infections due to their antimicrobial potency and anti-inflammatory properties. This present study aimed to investigate the antimicrobial effects of six LC-PUFAs against P. acnes and S. aureus to evaluate their potential to treat infections caused by these pathogens. Minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined against P. acnes and S. aureus, and the LC-PUFAs were found to inhibit bacterial growth at 32–1024 mg/L. Generally, P. acnes was more susceptible to the growth inhibitory actions of LC-PUFAs, but these compounds were bactericidal only for S. aureus. This is the first report of antibacterial activity attributed to 15-hydroxyeicosapentaenoic acid (15-OHEPA) and 15-hydroxyeicosatrienoic acid (HETrE), while the anti-P. acnes effects of the six LC-PUFAs used herein are novel observations. During exposure to the LC-PUFAs, S. aureus cells were killed within 15–30 min. Checkerboard assays demonstrated that the LC-PUFAs did not antagonise the antimicrobial potency of clinical agents used presently against P. acnes and S. aureus. However, importantly, synergistic interactions against S. aureus were detected for combinations of benzoyl peroxide with 15-OHEPA, dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA) and HETrE; and neomycin with 15-OHEPA, DGLA, eicosapentaenoic acid, γ-linolenic acid and HETrE. In conclusion, LC-PUFAs warrant further evaluation as possible new agents to treat skin infections caused by P. acnes and S. aureus, especially in synergistic combinations with antimicrobial agents already used clinically.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/11/11/4544 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Oxylipins are a large and diverse family of fatty acid derivatives exhibiting different levels of oxidation of the carbon chain. They are involved in many biological functions in mammals, plants and diatoms. In this last group of organisms, they are suggested to play a role in the reproductive failure of copepod predators, showing clear pro-apoptotic effects on newborn nauplii. In this work, these compounds were tested for the ability to induce mitotic arrest in sea urchin embryos. We show for the first time that oxylipins have an increased efficacy in their corresponding methylated form. Natural oxylipins were also used as an inspiration for the rational design and synthesis of stable chemical analogs with apoptotic activity against tumor cell lines. This approach led to the synthesis of the linear C15-ketol (22) that was shown to induce apoptosis in human leukemia U-937 cells. These results are proof of the concept of the use of eco-physiological considerations as a platform to guide the search for novel drug candidates.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/11/11/4527 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Electronic noses have the benefit of obtaining smell information in a simple and objective manner, therefore, many applications have been developed for broad analysis areas such as food, drinks, cosmetics, medicine, and agriculture. However, measurement values from electronic noses have a tendency to vary under humidity or alcohol exposure conditions, since several types of sensors in the devices are affected by such variables. Consequently, we show three techniques for reducing the variation of sensor values: (1) using a trapping system to reduce the infering components; (2) performing statistical standardization (calculation of z-score); and (3) selecting suitable sensors. With these techniques, we discriminated the volatiles of four types of fresh mushrooms: golden needle (Flammulina velutipes), white mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), shiitake (Lentinus edodes), and eryngii (Pleurotus eryngii) among six fresh mushrooms (hen of the woods (Grifola frondosa), shimeji (Hypsizygus marmoreus) plus the above mushrooms). Additionally, we succeeded in discrimination of white mushroom, only comparing with artificial mushroom flavors, such as champignon flavor and truffle flavor. In conclusion, our techniques will expand the options to reduce variations in sensor values.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15532 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A Kalman/map filtering (KMF)-aided fast normalized cross correlation (FNCC)-based Wi-Fi fingerprinting location sensing system is proposed in this paper. Compared with conventional neighbor selection algorithms that calculate localization results with received signal strength (RSS) mean samples, the proposed FNCC algorithm makes use of all the on-line RSS samples and reference point RSS variations to achieve higher fingerprinting accuracy. The FNCC computes efficiently while maintaining the same accuracy as the basic normalized cross correlation. Additionally, a KMF is also proposed to process fingerprinting localization results. It employs a new map matching algorithm to nonlinearize the linear location prediction process of Kalman filtering (KF) that takes advantage of spatial proximities of consecutive localization results. With a calibration model integrated into an indoor map, the map matching algorithm corrects unreasonable prediction locations of the KF according to the building interior structure. Thus, more accurate prediction locations are obtained. Using these locations, the KMF considerably improves fingerprinting algorithm performance. Experimental results demonstrate that the FNCC algorithm with reduced computational complexity outperforms other neighbor selection algorithms and the KMF effectively improves location sensing accuracy by using indoor map information and spatial proximities of consecutive localization results.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15513 2013/11/13 - 16:32

To accurately detect deformation and extend the component life beyond the original design limits, structural safety monitoring techniques have attracted considerable attention in the power and process industries for decades. In this paper an on-line monitoring system for high temperature pipes in a power plant is developed. The extension-based sensing devices are amounted on straight pipes, T-Joints and elbows of a main steam pipeline. During on-site monitoring for more than two years, most of the sensors worked reliably and steadily. However, the direct strain gauge could not work for long periods because of the high temperature environment. Moreover, it is found that the installation and connection of the extensometers can have a significant influence on the measurement results. The on-line monitoring system has a good alarming function which is demonstrated by detecting a steam leakage of the header.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15504 2013/11/13 - 16:32

The outrigger truss system is one of the most frequently used lateral load resisting structural systems. However, little research has been reported on the effect of installation of outrigger trusses on improvement of lateral stiffness of a high-rise building through full-scale measurements. In this paper, stiffness changes of a high-rise building due to installation of outrigger trusses have been evaluated by measuring lateral displacements using a global positioning system (GPS). To confirm the error range of the GPS measurement system used in the full-scale measurement tests, the GPS displacement monitoring system is investigated through a free vibration test of the experimental model. Then, for the evaluation of lateral stiffness of a high-rise building under construction, the GPS displacement monitoring system is applied to measurements of lateral displacements of a 66-story high-rise building before and after installation of outrigger truss. The stiffness improvement of the building before and after the installation is confirmed through the changes of the natural frequencies and the ratios of the base shear forces to the roof displacements.

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/13/11/15489 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A series of flavonoids 9a–f, 13b, 13d, 13e and 14a–f bearing diverse aliphatic amino moieties were designed, synthesized and evaluated for their cytotoxic activities against the ECA-109, A-549, HL-60, and PC-3 cancer cell lines. Most of the compounds exhibited moderate to good activities. The structure-activity relationships were studied, revealing that the chalcone skeleton is the most preferable for cytotoxic activities. Chalcone 9d was the most promising compound due to its high potency against the examined cancer cell lines (its IC50 values against ECA-109, A549, HL-60 and PC-3 cells were 1.0, 1.5, 0.96 and 3.9 μM, respectively).

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/11/14070 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Despite advances in prevention, risk assessment and treatment, coronary artery disease (CAD) remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Western countries. The lion’s share is due to acute coronary syndromes (ACS), which are predominantly triggered by plaque rupture or erosion and subsequent coronary thrombosis. As the majority of vulnerable plaques does not cause a significant stenosis, due to expansive remodeling, and are rather defined by their composition and biological activity, detection of vulnerable plaques with x-ray angiography has shown little success. Non-invasive vulnerable plaque detection by identifying biological features that have been associated with plaque progression, destabilization and rupture may therefore be more appropriate and may allow earlier detection, more aggressive treatment and monitoring of treatment response. MR molecular imaging with target specific molecular probes has shown great promise for the noninvasive in vivo visualization of biological processes at the molecular and cellular level in animals and humans. Compared to other imaging modalities; MRI can provide excellent spatial resolution; high soft tissue contrast and has the ability to simultaneously image anatomy; function as well as biological tissue composition and activity.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/11/14042 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A series of green dopants based on 2,2-diphenylvinyl end-capped bithiophene and three different arylamine moieties (9-phenylcarbazole, triphenylamine, and N,N’-di-(p-tolyl)benzeneamine) were successfully synthesized by the Suzuki and Wittig coupling reactions. The photophysical properties of these compounds are reported. The strongest PL emitting compound with the 9-phenylcarbazole moiety has been used for fabricating an OLED device with good overall performance.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/11/14033 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Many steroid hormones can be considered as potential biomarkers and their determination in body fluids can create opportunities for the rapid diagnosis of many diseases and disorders of the human body. Most existing methods for the determination of steroids are usually time- and labor-consuming and quite costly. Therefore, the aim of analytical laboratories is to develop a new, relatively low-cost and rapid implementation methodology for their determination in biological samples. Due to the fact that there is little literature data on concentrations of steroid hormones in urine samples, we have made attempts at the electrophoretic determination of these compounds. For this purpose, an extraction procedure for the optimized separation and simultaneous determination of seven steroid hormones in urine samples has been investigated. The isolation of analytes from biological samples was performed by liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) with dichloromethane and compared to solid phase extraction (SPE) with C18 and hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) columns. To separate all the analytes a micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography (MECK) technique was employed. For full separation of all the analytes a running buffer (pH 9.2), composed of 10 mM sodium tetraborate decahydrate (borax), 50 mM sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and 10% methanol was selected. The methodology developed in this work for the determination of steroid hormones meets all the requirements of analytical methods. The applicability of the method has been confirmed for the analysis of urine samples collected from volunteers—both men and women (students, amateur bodybuilders, using and not applying steroid doping). The data obtained during this work can be successfully used for further research on the determination of steroid hormones in urine samples.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/11/14013 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A series of 4β-triazole-linked glucose podophyllotoxin conjugates have been designed and synthesized by employing a click chemistry approach. All the compounds were evaluated for their anticancer activity against a panel of five human cancer cell lines (HL-60, SMMC-7721, A-549, MCF-7, SW480) using MTT assays. Most of these triazole derivatives have good anticancer activity. Among them, compound 35 showed the highest potency against all five cancer cell lines tested, with IC50 values ranging from 0.59 to 2.90 μM, which is significantly more active than the drug etoposide currently in clinical use. Structure-activity relationship analysis reveals that the acyl substitution on the glucose residue, the length of oligoethylene glycol linker, and the 4'-demethylation of podophyllotoxin scaffold can significantly affect the potency of the anticancer activity. Most notably, derivatives with a perbutyrylated glucose residue show much higher activity than their counterparts with either a free glucose or a peracetylated glucose residue.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/11/13992 2013/11/13 - 16:32

In this study, hydroxyapatite (HAP) was surface-modified by the addition of β-alanine (β-Ala), and the ring-opening polymerization of γ-benzyl-L-glutamate-N-carboxy-anhydride (BLG-NCA) was subsequently initiated. HAP containing surface poly-γ-benzyl-L-glutamates (PBLG) was successfully prepared in this way. With the increase of PBLG content in HAP-PBLG, the solubility of HAP-PBLG increased gradually and it was ultimately soluble in chloroform. HAP-PLGA with surface carboxyl groups was obtained by the catalytic hydrogenation of HAP-PBLG. In the process of HAP modification, the morphology changes from rod to sheet and from flake to needle. The effect of BLG-NCA concentration on the character of hydroxyapatite-β-alanine-poly(γ-benzyl-L-glutamate) (HAP-PBLG) was investigated. The existence of amino acids on the HAP surfaces was confirmed in the resulting Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra. The resulting powder X-ray diffraction patterns indicated that the crystallinity of HAP decreased when the ratio of BLG-NCA/HAP-NH2 increased to 20/1. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that the particle size of HAP-PBLG decreased significantly and that the resulting particles appeared less agglomerated relative to that of the HAP-NH2 crystals. Furthermore, 1H-NMR spectra and FTIR spectra revealed that hydroxyapatite-β-alanine-poly (L-glutamic acid) (HAP-PLGA) was able to successfully bear carboxylic acid groups on its side chains.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/11/13979 2013/11/13 - 16:32

A facile method is developed to fabricate nanocomposite double-network (DN) gels with excellent mechanical properties, which do not fracture upon loading up to 78 MPa and a strain above 0.98, by compositing of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) without organic modification. Investigations of swelling behaviors, and compressive and tensile properties indicate that equilibrium swelling ratio, compressive modulus and stress, fracture stress, Young’s modulus, and yield stress are significantly improved in the presence of CNTs. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) reveals that the pore size of nanocomposite DN gels is decreased and some embedded micro-network structures are observed on the fracture surface in comparison to DN gels without CNTs, which leads to the enhancement of mechanical properties. The compressive loading-unloading behaviors show that the area of hysteresis loop, dissipated energy, for the first compressive cycle, increases with addition of CNTs, which is much higher than that for the successive cycles. Furthermore, the energy dissipation mechanism, similar to the Mullins effect observed in filled rubbers, is demonstrated for better understanding the nanocomposite DN polymer gels with CNTs.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22380 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Supramolecular luminescence stems from non-covalent exciton behaviors of active π-segments in supramolecular entities or aggregates via intermolecular forces. Herein, a π-conjugated oligofluorenol, containing self-complementary double hydrogen bonds, was synthesized using Suzuki coupling as a supramolecular semiconductor. Terfluorenol-based random supramolecular polymers were confirmed via concentration-dependent nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The photoluminescent spectra of the TFOH-1 solution exhibit a green emission band (g-band) at approximately ~520 nm with reversible features, as confirmed through titration experiments. Supramolecular luminescence of TFOH-1 thin films serves as robust evidence for the aggregates of g-band. Our results suggest that the presence of polyfluorene ketone defects is a sufficient condition, rather than a sufficient-necessary condition for the g-band. Supramolecular electroluminescence will push organic devices into the fields of supramolecular optoelectronics, spintronics, and mechatronics.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22368 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Volatiles from flowers at three blooming stages of nine citrus cultivars were analyzed by headspace-solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME)-GC-MS. Up to 110 volatiles were detected, with 42 tentatively identified from citrus flowers for the first time. Highest amounts of volatiles were present in fully opened flowers of most citrus, except for pomelos. All cultivars were characterized by a high percentage of either oxygenated monoterpenes or monoterpene hydrocarbons, and the presence of a high percentage of nitrogen containing compounds was also observed. Flower volatiles varied qualitatively and quantitatively among citrus types during blooming. Limonene was the most abundant flower volatile only in citrons; α-citral and β-citral ranked 2nd and 3rd only for Bergamot, and unopened flowers of Ponkan had a higher amount of linalool and β-pinene while much lower amount of γ-terpinene and p-cymene than Satsuma. Taking the average of all cultivars, linalool and limonene were the top two volatiles for all blooming stages; β-pinene ranked 3rd in unopened flowers, while indole ranked 3rd for half opened and fully opened flower volatiles. As flowers bloomed, methyl anthranilate increased while 2-hexenal and p-cymene decreased. In some cases, a volatile could be high in both unopened and fully opened flowers but low in half opened ones. Through multivariate analysis, the nine citrus cultivars were clustered into three groups, consistent with the three true citrus types. Furthermore, an influence of blooming stages on clustering was observed, especially with hybrids Satsuma and Huyou. Altogether, it was suggested that flower volatiles can be suitable markers for revealing the genetic relationships between citrus cultivars but the same blooming stage needs to be strictly controlled.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22346 2013/11/13 - 16:32

Steroidogenic factor 1 (NR5A1/SF1) is a well-known master regulator in controlling adrenal and sexual development, as well as regulating numerous genes involved in adrenal and gonadal steroidogenesis. Several studies including ours have demonstrated that NR5A1 can be SUMOylated on lysine 194 (K194, the major site) and lysine 119 (K119, the minor site), and the cycle of SUMOylation regulates NR5A1’s transcriptional activity. An extended consensus negatively charged amino acid-dependent SUMOylation motif (NDSM) enhances the specificity of substrate modification by SUMO has been reported; however, the mechanism of NDSM for NR5A1 remains to be clarified. In this study, we investigated the functional significance of the acidic residue located downstream from the core consensus SUMO site of NR5A1. Here we report that E199A (glutamic acid was replaced with alanine) of NR5A1 reduced, but not completely abolished, its SUMOylation level. We next characterized the functional role of NR5A1 E199A on target gene expression and protein levels. We found that E199A alone, as well as combination with K194R, increased Mc2r and Cyp19a1 reporter activities. Moreover, E199A alone as well as combination with K194R enhanced NR5A1-mediated STAR protein levels in mouse adrenocortical cancer Y1 cells. We also observed that E199A increased interaction of NR5A1 with CDK7 and SRC1. Overall, we provide the evidence that the acidic residue (E199) located downstream from the core consensus SUMO site of NR5A1 is, at least in part, required for SUMOylation of NR5A1 and for its mediated target gene and protein expression.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22331 2013/11/13 - 16:32

The NO/ONOO-cycle is a primarily local, biochemical vicious cycle mechanism, centered on elevated peroxynitrite and oxidative stress, but also involving 10 additional elements: NF-κB, inflammatory cytokines, iNOS, nitric oxide (NO), superoxide, mitochondrial dysfunction (lowered energy charge, ATP), NMDA activity, intracellular Ca2+, TRP receptors and tetrahydrobiopterin depletion. All 12 of these elements have causal roles in heart failure (HF) and each is linked through a total of 87 studies to specific correlates of HF. Two apparent causal factors of HF, RhoA and endothelin-1, each act as tissue-limited cycle elements. Nineteen stressors that initiate cases of HF, each act to raise multiple cycle elements, potentially initiating the cycle in this way. Different types of HF, left vs. right ventricular HF, with or without arrhythmia, etc., may differ from one another in the regions of the myocardium most impacted by the cycle. None of the elements of the cycle or the mechanisms linking them are original, but they collectively produce the robust nature of the NO/ONOO-cycle which creates a major challenge for treatment of HF or other proposed NO/ONOO-cycle diseases. Elevated peroxynitrite/NO ratio and consequent oxidative stress are essential to both HF and the NO/ONOO-cycle.

http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/14/11/22274 2013/11/13 - 16:32