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Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Pancreatic cancer is a molecularly heterogeneous disease. Epigenetic changes and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms underlie at least some of this heterogeneity and contribute to the evolution of aggressive tumor biology in patients and the tumor’s intrinsic resistance to therapy. Here we review our current understanding of epigenetic dysregulation in pancreatic cancer and how it is contributing to our efforts in early diagnosis, predictive and prognostic biomarker development and new therapeutic approaches in this deadly cancer.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Mathematics, Volume 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/math9192398

Abstract:
This study addresses the complexity of global pandemic (COVID) exposures and explores how sustainable development relates to economic and health risks and food security. Multiple factor analysis (MFA) is applied to compute the links among blocks of variables, and results are validated by random sampling with bootstrapping, exhaustive and split-half techniques, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) to test the differences of the MFA factors within the different stages of competitiveness. Comparing the MFA factors suggests that higher competitiveness is correlated with better food security and natural resilience and the tremendous economic downturn; the most competitive countries have lower exposures to health risks. In addition, the risk of pandemics appears to be lower with well-established public health care (HC) system services and good health for the population. The study also underlines that the economic and health systems are unfortunately inadequate to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. Although the countries least affected by the epidemic are the most competitive, they cannot protect people and the economy effectively. Formulating appropriate global responses is a challenge, but the results may lead to more nuanced findings regarding treatment policies that can be addressed at the country level.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11198983

Abstract:
The authors provide a holistic perspective to enhance BIM working environment for more efficient smart construction settlements. An in-depth survey with 40 questionnaires was distributed to 100 professionals in construction, design, engineering, government. Although 45% of the respondents have received a certain form of BIM education, more than 94% of the respondents have answered that there should be a formal BIM education. Both design and construction experts have reported that the biggest advantage of using BIM is in its error checking ability. It can reduce design errors and increase construction ability. More than 79% of the respondents agreed upon a proper compensation for BIM implementation. The majority of opinions have revealed that there should be an increase in construction and design fees. There are a number issues for a successful BIM application: (1) guidelines and details for BIM work and delivery; (2) more standardized BIM education; and (3) a proper compensation system for BIM work. The results show that BIM professionals are ready to adopt the consequences of using BIM, but administrative and institutional preparations are not available beforehand. There should be a higher level of regulatory concern and provision of administrative solutions for successful BIM applications.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Religions, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100810

Abstract:
This article deals with the strong disaffiliation of Church and Catholic faith we see in the Western world, especially when students go from primary to secondary school, and when leaving the Catholic educational system. Based on empirical data, the hypothesis is formulated that Catholic schools use a pedagogy that is too much concerned with positive theology and psychology, an approach that does not stand the test when life shows its complexities and vulnerabilities. The article presents theologies and pedagogies of responsibility and vulnerability as a complimentary approach, rooted in the Catholic tradition, as a possible way to form more resilient believers and citizens for the future.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
The rising concern of antimicrobial resistance highlights a need for effective alternatives to antibiotics for livestock production. Butyrate, forskolin, and lactose are three natural products known to induce the synthesis of host defense peptides (HDP), which are a critical component of innate immunity. In this study, the synergy among butyrate, forskolin, and lactose in enhancing innate host defense, barrier function, and resistance to necrotic enteritis and coccidiosis was investigated. Our results indicated that the three compounds synergistically augmented the expressions of multiple HDP and barrier function genes in chicken HD11 macrophages. The compounds also showed an obvious synergy in promoting HDP gene expressions in chicken jejunal explants. Dietary supplementation of a combination of 1 g/kg sodium butyrate, 10 mg/kg forskolin-containing plant extract, and 10 g/kg lactose dramatically improved the survival of chickens from 39% to 94% (p< 0.001) in a co-infection model of necrotic enteritis. Furthermore, the three compounds largely reversed growth suppression, significantly alleviated intestinal lesions, and reduced colonization of Clostridium perfringens or Eimeria maxima in chickens with necrotic enteritis and coccidiosis (p< 0.01). Collectively, dietary supplementation of butyrate, forskolin, and lactose is a promising antibiotic alternative approach to disease control and prevention for poultry and possibly other livestock species.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Lebanon has a high annual incidence of birth defects at 63 per 1000 live births, most of which are due to genetic factors. The Catalogue for Transmission Genetics in Arabs (CTGA) database, currently holds data on 642 genetic diseases and 676 related genes, described in Lebanese subjects. A subset of disorders (14/642) has exclusively been described in the Lebanese population, while 24 have only been reported in CTGA and not on OMIM. An analysis of all disorders highlights a preponderance of congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities and demonstrates that 65% of reported disorders follow an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern. In addition, our analysis reveals that at least 58 known genetic disorders were first mapped in Lebanese families. CTGA also hosts 1316 variant records described in Lebanese subjects, 150 of which were not reported on ClinVar or dbSNP. Most variants involved substitutions, followed by deletions, duplications, as well as in-del and insertion variants. This review of genetic data from the CTGA database highlights the need for screening programs, and is, to the best of our knowledge, the most comprehensive report on the status of genetic disorders in Lebanon to date.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Energies, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14196151

Abstract:
In this article, we consider a time evolution equation for solute transport, coupled with a pressure equation in space dimension 2. For the numerical discretization, we combine the generalized finite volume method SUSHI on adaptive meshes with a time semi-implicit scheme. In the first part of this article, we present numerical simulations for two problems: a rotating interface between fresh and salt water and a well-known test case proposed by Henry. In the second part, we also introduce heat transfer and perform simulations for a system from the documentation of the software SEAWAT.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
We studied the reinforcing effects of treated and untreated nanohydroxyapatite (NHA) on poly-lactic acid (PLA). The NHA surface was treated with three different types of chemicals; 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APTES), sodium n-dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and polyethylenimine (PEI). The nanocomposite samples were prepared using melt mixing techniques by blending 5 wt% untreated NHA and 5 wt% surface-treated NHA (mNHA). Based on the FESEM images, the interfacial adhesion between the mNHA filler and PLA matrix was improved upon surface treatment in the order of mNHA (APTES) > mNHA (SDS) > mNHA (PEI). As a result, the PLA-5wt%mNHA (APTES) nanocomposite showed increased viscoelastic properties such as storage modulus, damping parameter, and creep permanent deformation compared to pure PLA. Similarly, PLA-5wt%mNHA (APTES) thermal properties improved, attaining higher Tc and Tm than pure PLA, reflecting the enhanced nucleating effect of the mNHA (APTES) filler.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Basal stem rot (BSR) disease caused by pathogenic fungus Ganoderma boninense is a significant concern in the oil palm industry. G. boninense infection in oil palm induces defense-related genes. To understand oil palm defense mechanisms in response to fungal invasion, we analyzed differentially expressed genes (DEGs) derived from RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) transcriptomic libraries of oil palm roots infected with G. boninense. A total of 126 DEGs were detected from the transcriptomic libraries of G. boninense-infected root tissues at different infection stages. Functional annotation via pathway enrichment analyses revealed that the DEGs were involved in the defense response against the pathogen. The expression of the selected DEGs was further confirmed using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) on independent oil palm seedlings and mature palm samples. Seven putative defense-related DEGs consistently showed upregulation in seedlings and mature plants during G. boninense infection. These seven genes might potentially be developed as biomarkers for the early detection of BSR in oil palm.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid which has a broad spectrum of biological activity. Due to its lower chemical stability, it is usually encapsulated, or a metal–quercetin complex is formed to enhance its biological activity at a lower concentration. Here, our novel approach was to form a quercetin complex to magnesium-doped calcium silicate (CMS) ceramics through a coprecipitation technique so as to take advantage of quercetin’s antibacterial activity within the antibacterial and osteogenic potential of the silicate. Due to quercetin’s inherent metal-chelating ability, (Ca+Mg)/Si increased with quercetin concentration. Quercetin in magnesium-doped calcium silicate ceramic showed concentration-dependent pro-oxidant and antioxidant activity in SaOS-2 with respect to quercetin concentration. By optimizing the relative concentration, we were able to achieve 3-fold higher proliferation and 1.6-fold higher total collagen at day 14, and a 1.7-fold higher alkaline phosphatase production at day 7 with respect to polycaprolactone/polyvinylpyrrolidone (PCL/PVP) scaffold. Quercetin is effective against Gram-positive bacteria such as S. aureus. Quercetin is coupled with CMS provided similar effect with lower quercetin concentration than quercetin alone. Quercetin reduced bacterial adhesion, proliferation and biofilm formation. Therefore, quercetin-coupled magnesium-doped calcium silicate not only enhanced osteogenic potential, but also reduced bacterial adhesion and proliferation.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Much progress has been achieved in the commercialization of solar devices, especially perovskite solar cells, which have shown excellent transport properties and low fabrication costs
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
There have been numerous studies applying iridium oxides in different applications to explore their proton-change-based reactions since the 1980s. Iridium oxide can be fabricated directly by applying electrodeposition, sputter-coating method, or oxidation of iridium wire. Generally, there have been currently two approaches in applying iridium oxide to enable its sensing applications. One was to improve or create different electrolytes with (non-)electrodeposition method for better performance of Nernst Constant with the temperature-related system. The mechanism behind the scenes were summarized herein. The other was to change the structure of iridium oxide through different kinds of templates such as photolithography patterns, or template-assisted direct growth methods, etc. to improve the sensing performance. The detection targets varied widely from intracellular cell pH, glucose in an artificial sample or actual urine sample, and the hydrogen peroxide, glutamate or organophosphate pesticides, metal-ions, etc. This review paper has focused on the mechanism of electrodeposition of iridium oxide in aqueous conditions and the sensing applications towards different biomolecules compounds. Finally, we summarize future trends on Iridium oxide based sensing and predict future work that could be further explored.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Fire management agencies around the world use suppression firing for fire control. Yet, we know little about the extent of its use (e.g., prevalence and spatial coverage) and its impact on containment. We examine the prevalence and practice of suppression firing in Victoria, Australia. We used operational data from five years (2010–2015) to identify and map the incidence of suppression firing on 74 large fires (500+ ha). Suppression firing occurred on half (34) of these fires, 26 of which had data to map firing locations. The area burnt by suppression firing ranged from <1 ha to ~20,000 ha on separate fires. Archetypal suppression firing occurred during intervals of low fire spread and resulted in modest fire behaviour. Ground crews generally conducted the perimeter suppression firing. Aerial ignition was more common on large internal firing operations. For the 26 fires where we mapped the firing locations, firing occurred along 77% of the perimeter-aligned road. Suppression firing was a prominent containment tool used along one-fifth of the total external perimeter of these 74 large fires. Quantification of this practice is a first step towards establishing ignition thresholds, production rates, and integration with containment probability models.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
China has initiated the COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 15–17 years since late July 2020. This study aimed to determine the association between adult vaccine hesitancy and parental acceptance of childhood COVID-19 vaccines in a multi-ethnicity area of northwestern China. A web-based investigation was performed with a convenience sampling strategy to recruit the parents aged 20–49 years. In a total of 13451 valid respondents, 66.1% had received the COVID-19 vaccination, 26.6% were intent to receive, while 7.3% were not intent, with an increasing vaccine hesitancy (p< 0.001). Moreover, vaccination uptake of four common vaccines in their children remained low (29.0% for influenza vaccine, 17.9% for pneumonia vaccine, 10.9% for rotavirus vaccine, 8.0% for Enterovirus-71 vaccine), while overall parental acceptance of childhood COVID-19 vaccines was 50.0% (32.7% for those aged 0–5, 46.6% for 6–10, 73.3% for 11–18; p< 0.001). Vaccination uptake of these four vaccines and parental acceptance of childhood COVID-19 vaccine were negatively associated with adult vaccine hesitancy. In addition, respondents mostly preferred childhood COVID-19 vaccines with weak mild common adverse events (β = 1.993) and no severe adverse events (β = 1.731), demonstrating a positive association with adult vaccine hesitancy. Thus, it warrants specific countermeasures to reduce adult vaccine hesitancy and improve strategies for childhood vaccination.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910402

Abstract:
It is known that both psoriasis (PSO) limited to the skin and psoriatic arthritis (PSA) increase the risk of cardiovascular complications and atherosclerosis progression by inducing systemic inflammatory response. In recent decades, the introduction of biological medications directed initially against TNF-α and, later, different targets in the inflammatory cascade brought a significant breakthrough in the efficacy of PSO/PSA treatment. In this review, we present and discuss the most recent findings related to the interplay between the genetics and immunology mechanisms involved in PSO and PSA, atherosclerosis and the development of cardiac dysfunction, as well as the current PSO/PSA treatment in view of cardiovascular safety and prognosis.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Mathematics, Volume 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/math9192403

Abstract:
The main goal of this paper is to increase the active/reactive power extracted from variable-speed dual-rotor wind power (DRWP) based on doubly-fed induction generators (DFIG) by optimizing its operation using advanced direct vector control. First, the dynamic modeling of different parts of the system is introduced. The DFIG is modeled in the Park reference system. After that, the control techniques are introduced in detail. Direct vector command (DVC) with four-level fuzzy pulse width modulation (FPWM) is used to control the rotor current, thereby controlling the reactive power and active power of the generator. Then, use the neural network design to replace the traditional proportional-integral (PI) controller. Finally, the Matlab/Simulink software is used for simulation to prove the effectiveness of the command strategy using 1.5 MW DRWP. The results show good performance in terms of response time, stability, and precision in following the reference under variable wind speed conditions. In addition, the total harmonic distortion (THD) value of stator current is about 0.13%, being a bit less than other THD values reported in the literature.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
The development of new bone substitutes has become an area of great interest in materials science. In fact, hydroxyapatite is the most commonly used biomaterial in defects that require bone reconstruction, and that is certainly why the discovery of new products with its formulation has been increasing continuously. The aim of this study was to analyze the biological behavior of a xenogeneic hydroxyapatite widely disclosed in the literature and a synthetic nano-hydroxyapatite/Beta tricalcium phosphate in critical defects in the calvaria of Wistar rats. For this, the groups were divided as follows: 24 adult male Wistar rats were used, weighing between 300 and 350 g, in three groups with eight animals each. In the CTRL group (control), only the clot was kept, without material insertion; in the Bioss group (bovine hydroxyapatite), Bio Oss®—Gleistlich® was introduced; and in the Blue Bone group (REG), the defect was filled in with synthetic nano-hydroxyapatite associated with betatriphosphate of calcium, Blue Bone®—Regener®. According to the results in Goldner’s Trichromics, we can observe a higher percentage of newly formed bone matrix in the REG group than in the CTRL and Bioss groups; in the VEGF, we had a more adequate cell modulation for blood vessel formation in the Blue Bone group (REG) compared to the Bioss and CTRL groups, while in osteopontin, a higher percentage of bone formation was observed in the Blue Bone group (REG) and Bioss group when compared to the CTRL group. We conclude that bone formation, mitosis-inducing cell modulation and main osteoblast activity were higher in the Blue Bone group (REG) than in the CTRL and Bioss groups.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101280

Abstract:
Background. Autism Spectrum Disorder is often associated with deficits in executive functions (EFs), which is contributing significantly to individuals with ASD’s difficulties in conducting an independent life, particularly considering social skills. Technologies offer promising opportunities to structure EF intervention programs for children on the autistic spectrum. Methods. This study aimed to review the effectiveness of randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental studies of EF interventions delivered to children and young people (up to 23 years old) with a diagnosis of ASD. A special focus was dedicated to document the effectiveness of computerized and non-computerized cognitive training on (1) EFs and on (2) ASD symptomatology and social skills. Of 2601 studies retrieved, 19 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Results. Most of the interventions identified were effective in enhancing EFs and reducing symptoms in children and young people with ASD. Limited evidence is available on their generalization to untrained skills (i.e., social abilities) as well as long-term effects. Conclusions. There is growing evidence for overall effectiveness of EF training, particularly when computerized. However, caution should be taken when interpreting these findings owing to methodological limitations, the minimal number of papers retrieved, and a small samples of included studies.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910405

Abstract:
Obesity is a risk factor for metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), heart diseases, and cancer. This study aimed to investigate the anti-obesity effect of Polygalin C (PC) isolated from Polygala japonica Houtt. in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Based on Oil Red O assay results, PC significantly decreased lipid accumulation compared to the control. We found that PC suppressed adipogenesis transcription factors including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPAR γ) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) α, and lipogenic factors such as sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP 1c) and fatty acid synthase (FAS), in 3T3-L1 adipocytes using Western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Moreover, PC inhibited the differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells by regulating the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and mitogen-activated protein kinase/protein kinase B (MAPK/Akt) signaling pathways. Additionally, we confirmed that PC inhibited early adipogenesis factors C/EBP β and C/EBP δ. Therefore, PC inhibited adipogenesis and lipogenesis in vitro. Thus, PC appears to exert potential therapeutic effects on obesity by suppressing lipid metabolism.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
(1) Background: Currently, nanomaterials have been broadly used in various applications including engineering, medicine and biology. One of the carbon allotropes such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) implemented for fabrication of nanocomposite materials due to the hypersensitivity. The combined design of nanomaterial with chitosan (CS) and CNT expands the field of exploitation from biosensing and tissue engineering to water desalination. Therefore, the penetration of CS into CNT provides a valuable insight into the interactions between CS and CNT. (2) Methods: We performed molecular dynamics simulations, applying the umbrella sampling method, in order to calculate the potential mean force between CS and CNT. (3) Results: The estimated penetration free energies showed that CS is favorable to the penetration into CNT cavities. However, the penetration nature differs depending on the CNT’s architecture. (4) Conclusions: Our finding revealed the CS penetration process into CNT with nanoscale precision. The investigation results assist in a better understanding of the nanocomposite materials based on CS-CNT.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
(1) Background: Machine learning algorithms are finding fruitful applications in predicting the ADME profile of new molecules, with a particular focus on metabolism predictions. However, the development of comprehensive metabolism predictors is hampered by the lack of highly accurate metabolic resources. Hence, we recently proposed a manually curated metabolic database (MetaQSAR), the level of accuracy of which is well suited to the development of predictive models. (2) Methods: MetaQSAR was used to extract datasets to predict the metabolic reactions subdivided into major classes, classes and subclasses. The collected datasets comprised a total of 3788 first-generation metabolic reactions. Predictive models were developed by using standard random forest algorithms and sets of physicochemical, stereo-electronic and constitutional descriptors. (3) Results: The developed models showed satisfactory performance, especially for hydrolyses and conjugations, while redox reactions were predicted with greater difficulty, which was reasonable as they depend on many complex features that are not properly encoded by the included descriptors. (4) Conclusions: The generated models allowed a precise comparison of the propensity of each metabolic reaction to be predicted and the factors affecting their predictability were discussed in detail. Overall, the study led to the development of a freely downloadable global predictor, MetaClass, which correctly predicts 80% of the reported reactions, as assessed by an explorative validation analysis on an external dataset, with an overall MCC = 0.44.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Sensors, Volume 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21196450

Abstract:
Pico- and nano-satellites, due to their form factor and size, are limited in accommodating multiple or redundant attitude sensors. For such satellites, Murrell’s implementation of the extended Kalman filter (EKF) can be exploited to accommodate multiple sensor configurations from a set of non redundant attitude sensors. The paper describes such an implementation involving a sun sensor suite and a magnetometer as attitude sensors. The implementation exploits Murrell’s EKF to enable three sensor configurations, which can be operationally commanded, for satellite attitude estimation. Among the three attitude estimation schemes, (i) sun sensor suite and magnetometer, (ii) magnetic field vector and its time derivative and (iii) magnetic field vector, it is shown that the third configuration is better suited for attitude estimation in terms of precision and accuracy, but can consume more time to converge than the other two.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Forecasting, Volume 3, pp 695-715; https://doi.org/10.3390/forecast3040043

Abstract:
Forest fires from lightnings create a tense situation in various regions of states with forested areas. It is noted that in mountainous areas this is especially important in view of the geophysical processes of lightning activity. The aim of the study is to develop a deterministic-probabilistic approach to predicting forest fire danger due to lightning activity in mountainous regions. To develop a mathematical model, the main provisions of the theory of probability and mathematical statistics, as well as the general theory of heat transfer, were used. The scientific novelty of the research is due to the complex use of probabilistic criteria and deterministic mathematical models of tree ignition by a cloud-to-ground lightning discharge. The paper presents probabilistic criteria for predicting forest fire danger, taking into account the lightning activity, meteorological data, and forest growth conditions, as well as deterministic mathematical models of ignition of deciduous and coniferous trees by electric current of a cloud-to-ground lightning discharge. The work uses synthetic data on the discharge parameters and characteristics of the forest-covered area, which correspond to the forest fire situation in the Republic of Altay and the Republic of Buryatia (Russian Federation). The dependences of the probability for occurrence of forest fires on various parameters have been obtained.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
The change in feeding regime of dairy herds using summer grazing in mountainous areas has several implications on cows’ productivity and milk composition. The present study quantified the effect of summer grazing on the milk fatty acids (FA) profile of Simmental and crossbred cows in an alpine holding. A total of 616 milk samples of 71 cows were collected 3 days before the onset of the grazing season until 91 days of grazing. Individual and groups of FA were quantified through mid-infrared spectroscopy. Data were analysed using a linear mixed model including the fixed effects of breed, stage of lactation, parity, sampling period, and the random effects of cows nested within breed and the residual. The stage of lactation and the sampling period were the most significant factors associated with milk FA. The variance explained by the random cow effect ranged from 15.10% (C18:1) to 25.31% (medium-chain FA). The concentration of C14:0, C16:0, and short- and medium-chain FA decreased across the summer season. Long-chain FA and polyunsaturated FA concentrations were greater in milk obtained at pasture compared with milk obtained indoors. Given these outcomes, the present study demonstrated the positive effect of grazing on milk FA composition from a nutraceutical point of view.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910412

Abstract:
Long-term use of a single fungicide increases the resistance risk and causes adverse effects on natural ecosystems. Controlled release formulations of dual fungicides with different modes of action can afford a new dimension for addressing the current issues. Based on adjustable aperture and superhigh surface area, metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are ideal candidates as pesticide release carriers. This study used Al3+ as the metal node and 2-aminoterephthalic acid as the organic chain to prepare aluminum-based metal–organic framework material (NH2-Al-MIL-101) with “cauliflower-like” structure and high surface area of 2359.0 m2/g. Fungicides of azoxystrobin (AZOX) and diniconazole (Dini) were simultaneously encapsulated into NH2-Al-MIL-101 with the loading content of 6.71% and 29.72%, respectively. Dual fungicide delivery system of [email protected]@NH2-Al-MIL-101 demonstrated sustained and pH responsive release profiles. When the maximum cumulative release rate of AZOX and Dini both reached about 90%, the release time was 46 and 136 h, respectively. Furthermore, EC50 values as well as the percentage of inhibition revealed that [email protected]@NH2-Al-MIL-101 had enhanced germicidal efficacy against rice sheath blight (Rhizoctonia solani), evidenced by the synergistic ratio of 1.83. The present study demonstrates a potential application prospect in sustainable plant protection through co-delivery fungicides with MOFs as a platform.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Remote Sensing, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13193869

Abstract:
The deep-space (DS) view spectra are used as a cold reference to calibrate the Hyperspectral Infrared Atmospheric Sounder (HIRAS) Earth scene (ES) observations. The DS spectra stability in the moving average window is crucial to the calibration accuracy of ES radiances. While in the winter and spring seasons, the HIRAS detector-3 DS view is susceptible to solar stray light intrusion when the satellite flies towards the tail of every descending orbit, and as a result, the measured DS spectra are contaminated by the stray light pseudo spectra, especially in the short-wave infrared (SWIR) band. The solar light intrusion issue was addressed on 13 December 2019 when the DS view angle of the scene selection mirror (SSM) was adjusted from −77.4° to −87°. As for the historic contaminated data, a correction method is applied to detect the anomalous data by checking the continuity of the DS spectra and then replace them with the proximate normal ones. The historic ES observations are recalibrated after the contaminated DS spectra correction. The effect of the correction is assessed by comparing the recalibrated HIRAS radiances with those measured by the Cross-track Infrared Sounder onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Satellite (SNPP/CrIS) via the extended simultaneous nadir overpasses (SNOx) technique and by checking the consistency among the radiance data from different HIRAS detectors. The results show that the large biases of the radiance brightness temperature (BT) caused by the contamination are ameliorated greatly to the levels observed in the normal conditions.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a disorder of unknown physiopathology with multisystemic repercussions, framed in ICD-11 under the heading of neurology (8E49). There is no specific test to support its clinical diagnosis. Our objective is to review the evidence in neuroimaging and dysautonomia evaluation in order to support the neurological involvement and to find biomarkers serving to identify and/or monitor the pathology. The symptoms typically appear acutely, although they can develop progressively over years; an essential trait for diagnosis is “central” fatigue together with physical and/or mental exhaustion after a small effort. Neuroimaging reveals various morphological, connectivity, metabolic, and functional alterations of low specificity, which can serve to complement the neurological study of the patient. The COMPASS-31 questionnaire is a useful tool to triage patients under suspect of dysautonomia, at which point they may be redirected for deeper evaluation. Recently, alterations in heart rate variability, the Valsalva maneuver, and the tilt table test, together with the presence of serum autoantibodies against adrenergic, cholinergic, and serotonin receptors were shown in a subgroup of patients. This approach provides a way to identify patient phenotypes. Broader studies are needed to establish the level of sensitivity and specificity necessary for their validation. Neuroimaging contributes scarcely to the diagnosis, and this depends on the identification of specific changes. On the other hand, dysautonomia studies, carried out in specialized units, are highly promising in order to support the diagnosis and to identify potential biomarkers. ME/CFS orients towards a functional pathology that mainly involves the autonomic nervous system, although not exclusively.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Meat quality data can only be obtained after slaughter when selection decisions about the live animal are already too late. Carcass estimated breeding values present major precision problems due to low accuracy, and by the time an informed decision on the genetic merit for meat quality is made, the animal is already dead. We report for the first time, a targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of lipid metabolism genes in Tattykeel Australian White (TAW) sheep of the MARGRA lamb brand, utilizing an innovative and minimally invasive muscle biopsy sampling technique for directly quantifying the genetic worth of live lambs for health-beneficial omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA), intramuscular fat (IMF), and fat melting point (FMP). NGS of stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), fatty acid binding protein-4 (FABP4), and fatty acid synthase (FASN) genes identified functional SNP with unique DNA marker signatures for TAW genetics. The SCDg.23881050T>C locus was significantly associated with IMF, C22:6n-3, and C22:5n-3; FASNg.12323864A>G locus with FMP, C18:3n-3, C18:1n-9, C18:0, C16:0, MUFA, and FABP4g.62829478A>T locus with IMF. These add new knowledge, precision, and reliability in directly making early and informed decisions on live sheep selection and breeding for health-beneficial n-3 LC-PUFA, FMP, IMF and superior meat-eating quality at the farmgate level. The findings provide evidence that significant associations exist between SNP of lipid metabolism genes and n-3 LC-PUFA, IMF, and FMP, thus underpinning potential marker-assisted selection for meat-eating quality traits in TAW lambs.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Multifunctional electrocatalysts are vastly sought for their applications in water splitting electrolyzers, metal-air batteries, and regenerative fuel cells because of their ability to catalyze multiple reactions such as hydrogen evolution, oxygen evolution, and oxygen reduction reactions. More specifically, the application of single-atom electrocatalyst in multifunctional catalysis is a promising approach to ensure good atomic efficiency, tunability and additionally benefits simple theoretical treatment. In this review, we provide insights into the variety of single-site metal catalysts and their identification. We also summarize the recent advancements in computational modeling of multifunctional electrocatalysis on single-site catalysts. Furthermore, we explain each modeling step with open-source-based working examples of a standard computational approach.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910153

Abstract:
Office workers (OWs) are prone to insufficient physical activity (PA), which increases their risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and impaired physical health. The Physical Activity-related Health Competence (PAHCO) model holds the potential to facilitate a healthy physically active lifestyle. Therefore, in this study, we investigate the interplay between PAHCO, leisure-time PA, physical health, and MetS in OWs in Germany. In a cross-sectional study, OWs (N = 316, 25% female) completed self-report questionnaires along with an occupational health checkup to examine their Metabolic Syndrome Severity Score (MetSSS) values. Structural equation modeling indicated a strong positive association between PAHCO and leisure-time PA and a small positive association with physical health. PAHCO showed a considerable negative association with the MetSSS. Leisure-time PA was a positive mediator for the PAHCO–physical health association but was not a significant mediator for the association between PAHCO and the MetSSS. These findings underscore the importance of PAHCO in the context of leisure-time PA, physical health, and MetS in OWs. Furthermore, our findings highlight the health-enhancing value of the qualitative aspects of PA, such as motivational and volitional components in PA participation, with respect to physical health and MetS.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
An innovative “domino” process, based on an arene hydrogenation followed by a photocatalytic step, was designed for the remediation of endocrine disrupting compounds, in highly concentrated aqueous effluents. The novelty relies on the use of TiO2-supported zerovalent Rh nanoparticles as multicatalytic materials (MCMs) for this two-step treatment, applied on diethyl phthalate, which is a model aromatic pollutant frequently present in aquatic environments. This nanocomposite advanced material, which was easily prepared by a green, wet impregnation methodology, proved to be active in the successive reactions, the reduction in the aromatic ring, and the photodegradation step. This sustainable approach offers promising alternatives in the case of photoresistive compounds.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Social Sciences, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100358

Abstract:
Past research shows that crises reveal the sensitive spots of established ideologies and practices, thereby providing opportunities for social change. We investigated immigration control amid the pandemic crisis, focusing on potential openings for both challengers and proponents of immigration detention. We asked: How have these groups responded to the pandemic crisis? Have they called for transformative change? We analyzed an original data set of primary content derived from immigrant advocates and stakeholders of the immigration detention industry. We found as the pandemic ravaged the world, it did not appear to result in significant cracks in the industry, as evidenced by the consistency of narratives dating back to pre-pandemic times. The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) criticisms of inhumane conditions in immigration detention resembled those from its pre-pandemic advocacy. Private prison companies, including CoreCivic and GEO Group, emphasized their roles as ordinary businesses rather than detention managers during the pandemic, just as they had before the crisis. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), however, manufactured an alternative storyline, emphasizing “COVID fraud” as the real threat to the “Homeland.” Although it did not call for radical change, it radically shifted its rhetoric in response to the pandemic. We discuss how these organizations’ indifference towards structural racism contributes to racial apathy and how the obliviousness and irresponsibility of industry stakeholders resembles white ignorance.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Antioxidants, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10101529

Abstract:
Non-alcoholic liver injury (NLI) is a common disease worldwide. Since free radical damage in the liver is a crucial initiator leading to diseases, scavenging excess free radicals has become an essential therapeutic strategy. To enhance the antioxidant capacity of histidine, we synthesized a protonated dimeric histidine, H-bihistidine, and investigated its anti-free radical potential in several free-radical-induced NLI. Results showed that H-bihistidine could strongly scavenge free radicals caused by H2O2, fatty acid, and CCl4, respectively, and recover cell viability in cultured hepatocytes. In the animal model of nonalcoholic fatty liver injury caused by high-fat diet, H-bihistidine reduced the contents of transaminases and lipids in serum, eliminated the liver’s fat accumulation, and decreased the oxidative damage. Moreover, H-bihistidine could rescue CCl4-induced liver injury and recover energy supply through scavenging free radicals. Moreover, liver fibrosis prepared by high-fat diet and CCl4 administration was significantly alleviated after H-bihistidine treatment. This study suggests a novel nonenzymatic free radical scavenger against NLI and, potentially, other free-radical-induced diseases.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Sensors, Volume 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21196438

Abstract:
An intriguing challenge in the human–robot interaction field is the prospect of endowing robots with emotional intelligence to make the interaction more genuine, intuitive, and natural. A crucial aspect in achieving this goal is the robot’s capability to infer and interpret human emotions. Thanks to its design and open programming platform, the NAO humanoid robot is one of the most widely used agents for human interaction. As with person-to-person communication, facial expressions are the privileged channel for recognizing the interlocutor’s emotional expressions. Although NAO is equipped with a facial expression recognition module, specific use cases may require additional features and affective computing capabilities that are not currently available. This study proposes a highly accurate convolutional-neural-network-based facial expression recognition model that is able to further enhance the NAO robot’ awareness of human facial expressions and provide the robot with an interlocutor’s arousal level detection capability. Indeed, the model tested during human–robot interactions was 91% and 90% accurate in recognizing happy and sad facial expressions, respectively; 75% accurate in recognizing surprised and scared expressions; and less accurate in recognizing neutral and angry expressions. Finally, the model was successfully integrated into the NAO SDK, thus allowing for high-performing facial expression classification with an inference time of 0.34 ± 0.04 s.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Antioxidants, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10101528

Abstract:
One of the essential injuries caused by moderate to high-intensity and short-duration physical activities is the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), damaging various body tissues such as skeletal muscle (SM). However, ROS is easily controlled by antioxidant defense systems during low to moderate intensity and long-term exercises. In stressful situations, antioxidant supplements are recommended to prevent ROS damage. We examined the response of SM to ROS generation during exercise using an antioxidant supplement treatment strategy in this study. The findings of this review research are paradoxical due to variances in antioxidant supplements dose and duration, intensity, length, frequency, types of exercise activities, and, in general, the lack of a regular exercise and nutrition strategy. As such, further research in this area is still being felt.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910714

Abstract:
This paper used 586 survey data of aquaculturists in the Shandong and Zhejiang provinces of China and built two intermediary effect models by incorporating fishery cooperative support, order fisheries participation, product quality certification, and safety factor input behavior into the same theoretical analysis framework in order to verify the direct influence of fishery cooperative support on safety factor input behavior of aquaculturists, as well as the intermediary effect of order fisheries participation and product quality certification in the relationship between fishery cooperative support and safety factor input behavior of aquaculturists. The research concluded that fishery cooperative support has a significant positive influence on safety factor input behavior. Participation in order fisheries and product quality certification have a partial intermediary effect in the relationship between fishery cooperative support and safety factor input behavior of aquaculturists; their intermediary effect accounts for 10.3% and 33.7% of the total effect. The research conclusions can provide reference and suggestions for China’s fisheries to better carry out green aquaculture.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Nutrients, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103399

Abstract:
Zinc (Zn) deficiency is estimated to affect over one billion (17%) of the world’s population. Zn plays a key role in various cellular processes such as differentiation, apoptosis, and proliferation, and is used for vital biochemical and structural processes in the body. Widely used biomarkers of Zn status include plasma, whole blood, and urine Zn, which decrease in severe Zn deficiency; however, accurate assessment of Zn status, especially in mild to moderate deficiency, is difficult, as studies with these biomarkers are often contradictory and inconsistent. Thus, sensitive and specific biological markers of Zn physiological status are still needed. In this communication, we provide the Zn status index (ZSI) concept, which consists of a three-pillar formula: (1) the LA:DGLA ratio, (2) mRNA gene expression of Zn-related proteins, and (3) gut microbiome profiling to provide a clear assessment of Zn physiological status and degree of Zn deficiency with respect to assessing dietary Zn manipulation. Analysis of five selected studies found that with lower dietary Zn intake, erythrocyte LA:DGLA ratio increased, mRNA gene expression of Zn-related proteins in duodenal and liver tissues was altered, and gut microbiota populations differed, where the ZSI, a statistical model trained on data from these studies, was built to give an accurate estimation of Zn physiological status. However, the ZSI needs to be tested and refined further to determine its full potential.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Materials, Volume 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14195608

Abstract:
The problem with composite rebars in the civil engineering industry is often described as the material’s brittleness while overloaded. To overcome this drawback, researchers pay attention to the pseudo-ductility effect. The paper presents four-point bending tests of pure unidirectional (UD) rods with additional composite layers obtained by filament winding and hand braiding techniques. Two types of core materials, glass FRP (fibre reinforced polymer) and carbon FRP, were used. Regarding the overwrapping material, the filament winding technique utilized carbon and glass roving reinforcement in the epoxy matrix, while in the case of hand braiding, the carbon fibre sleeve was applied with the epoxy matrix. Microstructural analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and computed tomography (CT) was performed to reveal the structural differences between the two proposed methods. Mechanical test results showed good material behaviour exhibiting the pseudo-ductility effect after the point of maximum force. The two applied overwrapping techniques had different influences on the pseudo-ductility effect. Microstructural investigation revealed differences between the groups of specimens that partially explain their different characters during mechanical testing.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Kohlrabi is considered an important dietary vegetable worldwide. In this study, we investigated the growth and accumulation of phenolic compounds (PCs) and glucosinolates in sprouts of pale green and purple kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) in response to light and dark conditions. Pale green kohlrabi presented high fresh weight and root length irrespective of light treatment, whereas under dark conditions, it presented higher fresh weight and shoot length than purple kohlrabi. In contrast, the root length of both kohlrabies increased markedly under light conditions compared to that under dark conditions. Thirteen PCs and eight glucosinolates were detected and quantified in 10-day-old pale green and purple kohlrabies. In both kohlrabies, the individual and total phenolic levels were much higher under the light treatment than under the dark treatment. Under light and dark conditions, the total phenolic content was 6362.13 and 5475.04 µg/g dry weight in the pale green kohlrabi, respectively, whereas in the purple kohlrabi, it was 10,115.76 and 9361.74 µg/g dry weight, respectively. Dark conditions favored higher accumulation of glucosinolates than light conditions. Progoitrin, neoglucobrassicin, glucoerucin, and 4-methoxyglucobrassicin were the predominant glucosinolates in both kohlrabies and were present in much higher amounts in the pale green kohlrabi. In pale green kohlrabi under dark conditions, the total glucosinolates content was 4.75 and 2.62 times higher than that of the purple kohlrabi under light and dark conditions, respectively. Among individual glucosinolates, in the pale green kohlrabi under the dark condition, progoitrin was found to have the highest content, which was 90.28 and 54.51 times higher than that in the purple kohlrabi under light and dark conditions, respectively. These results show that the phenolic and glucosinolates levels varied widely, and these variations between the two types of kohlrabi under both light and dark conditions were significant. Our findings suggest that light and dark conditions enhance the accumulation of PCs and glucosinolates, respectively, during the development of kohlrabi seedlings.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910733

Abstract:
Safety is one of the most important needs of all people, but especially those with limited mobility, who face barriers of all kinds on a daily basis. The article includes a review of organizational and legal solutions for the safety of people with special needs in public transportation, as well as preliminary research aimed at identifying and classifying barriers in public transportation that limit the independent movement of people with special needs. The obtained results will be used in the development of the methodology for assessing the degree of accessibility of the studied objects and will form the basis of guidelines formulated in order to modify the existing and design the future elements of the transport system according to the principles of universal design. The problem of the lack of accessibility of public transport is the center of interest of many entities. Its solution requires a complex approach in the design process, taking into account both engineering knowledge and knowledge of the needs and constraints of different user groups. The results obtained from the study will allow the categorization of public transport modes in terms of their accessibility.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Background: total hip replacement (THR) is a rare surgical option in children and adolescents with disabling hip diseases. The aim of this study is to report results from a retrospective cohort of patients aged 18 years or less who underwent cementless Ceramic-on-Ceramic (CoC) THR at a single institution, investigating clinical and radiographic outcomes, survival rates, and reasons for revision of the implants. Materials and methods: we queried the Registry of Prosthetic Orthopedic Implants (RIPO) to identify all children and adolescents undergoing THR between 2000 and 2019 at a single Institution. Inclusion criteria were patients undergoing cementless CoC THR, aged less than 18 years at surgery, followed for at least 2 years. Sixty-eight patients (74 hips) matched all the inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. We assessed the clinical and radiographic outcomes, the rate of complications, the survival rate, and reasons for revision of the implants. Results: The mean follow-up was 6.6 ± 4.4 years (range 2–20). The most frequent reason for THR was post-traumatic or chemotherapy-induced avascular necrosis (38%). The overall survival rate of the cohort was 97.6% (95% CI: 84.9–99.7%) at 5 years of follow-up, 94.4% (95% CI: 79.8–98.6%) at 10 years and 15 years of follow-up. Two THR in two patients (2.7%) required revision. With the numbers available, Cox regression analysis could not detect any significant interaction between preoperative or intraoperative variables and implant survivorship (p-value 0.242 to 0.989).” The average HOOS was 85 ± 14.3 (range 30.6–100). Overall, 23 patients (48%) reported excellent HOOS scores (>90 points), 21 patients (44%) reported acceptable HOOS scores (60–90 points) while 4 patients (8%) reported poor outcomes (<60 points). Twenty-one patients (43%) were regularly involved into moderate- to high-intensity sport activities (UCLA ≥ 6). Conclusions: Cementless CoC THR is a successful procedure in children and teenagers, having demonstrated high implant survivorship and low rates of complications and failure. A meticulous preoperative planning and implant selection is mandatory, to avoid implant malposition, which is the main reason of failure and revision in these cases. Further studies are needed to assess the impact of the THR on the psychosocial wellbeing of teenagers, as well as risks and benefits and cost-effectiveness in comparison to the hip preserving surgical procedures.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910149

Abstract:
A growing number of policies and programmes in cities aim to increase the time people spend in nature for the health and wellbeing benefits delivered by such interactions. Yet, there is little research investigating the extent to which, and for whom, nature experiences deliver such benefits outside Europe, North America, and Australia. Here, we assessed the relationships between nature dose (frequency, duration, and intensity) and three mental wellbeing (depression, stress, and anxiety) and two physical health (high blood pressure, diabetes) outcomes in Singapore, an intensely urbanised tropical city. Our analyses accounted for individual factors, including socio-economic status, nature connection (nature relatedness), and whether people with poor health are prevented by their condition from visiting green spaces. Our results show that the association between nature dose (specifically duration) and mental wellbeing is moderated by a nature connection. Specifically, people with a stronger nature connection were less likely to be depressed, stressed, and anxious, regardless of the duration of their nature dose. For those with a weaker connection to nature, spending longer in nature was associated with being more depressed, stressed, and anxious. We did not find a relationship between nature dose and high blood pressure or diabetes. Our results highlight that the relationship between nature dose and wellbeing might vary substantially among cities.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910727

Abstract:
The management environment is moving into a new phase with the changing global circumstances. The business ecosystem as a management strategy has been studied for the last 30 years since the concept was introduced. The purpose of this study was to analyze the research trend in business ecosystem by using network next analysis and to understand the concept, being one that is still being actively studied. Network text analysis is a commonly used method to analyze research trends by forming networks based on bibliographic data of the articles, namely, keywords. For the analysis, we collected the data and keywords from 340 research papers published in global academic journals related to business ecosystem on the basis of the Scopus database. Through keywords extraction and cleansing, we found that the keywords of “innovation”, “sustainability”, and “platform” were mentioned most frequently, and the research topics were correlated to each other. Moreover, we conducted degree centrality and betweenness centrality analysis along with clustering analysis by transforming the two-mode network into a one-mode network. Degree centrality involves analyzing the degree to which one keyword links to other keywords, and betweenness centrality shows the mediating effects of a keyword to other keywords. In the centrality analysis results, “innovation”, “sustainability”, “platform”, and “business model” showed the highest degree centrality, and “sustainability”, “innovation”, “China”, and “platform” had the highest betweenness centrality. Then, we classified the clusters of subtopics into five groups. The current study examined accumulated research and suggested a comprehensive understanding of the research trend in business ecosystem by incorporating a method enabling research trend analysis to secure objectivity. This research is expected to help researchers to review the research trend in business ecosystem and identify expandable topics for further studies.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder causing dysfunctional ion transport resulting in accumulation of viscous mucus that fosters chronic bacterial biofilm-associated infection in the airways. Achromobacter xylosoxidans and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia are increasingly prevalent CF pathogens and while Burkholderia cencocepacia is slowly decreasing; all are complicated by multidrug resistance that is enhanced by biofilm formation. This study investigates potential synergy between the antibiotics ciprofloxacin (0.5–128 µg/mL), colistin (0.5–128 µg/mL) and tobramycin (0.5–128 µg/mL) when combined with the neutral pH form of N-Acetylcysteine (NACneutral) (0.5–16.3 mg/mL) against 11 cystic fibrosis strains of Burkholderia, Stenotrophomonas and Achromobacter sp. in planktonic and biofilm cultures. We screened for potential synergism using checkerboard assays from which fraction inhibitory concentration indices (FICI) were calculated. Synergistic (FICI ≤ 0.5) and additive (0.5 > FICI ≥ 1) combinations were tested on irreversibly attached bacteria and 48 h mature biofilms via time-course and colony forming units (CFU/mL) assays. This study suggests that planktonic FICI analysis does not necessarily translate to reduction in bacterial loads in a biofilm model. Future directions include refining synergy testing and determining further mechanisms of action of NAC to understand how it may interact with antibiotics to better predict synergy.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910404

Abstract:
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent and deadliest primary brain cancer in adults, justifying the search for new treatments. Some members of the iron-based ferrocifen family have demonstrated a high cytotoxic effect on various cancer cell lines via innovative mechanisms of action. Here, we evaluated the antiproliferative activity by wst-1 assay of six ferrocifens in 15 molecularly diverse GBM patient-derived cell lines (PDCLs). In five out of six compounds, the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values varied significantly (10 nM < IC50< 29.8 µM) while the remaining one (the tamoxifen-like complex) was highly cytotoxic against all PDCLs (mean IC50 = 1.28 µM). The pattern of response was comparable for the four ferrocifens bearing at least one phenol group and differed widely from those of the tamoxifen-like complex and the complex with no phenol group. An RNA sequencing differential analysis showed that response to the diphenol ferrocifen relied on the activation of the Death Receptor signaling pathway and the modulation of FAS expression. Response to this complex was greater in PDCLs from the Mesenchymal or Proneural transcriptomic subtypes compared to the ones from the Classical subtype. These results provide new information on the mechanisms of action of ferrocifens and highlight a broader diversity of behavior than previously suspected among members of this family. They also support the case for a molecular-based personalized approach to future use of ferrocifens in the treatment of GBM.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910399

Abstract:
The interactions of G–quadruplexes of different topologies with highly fluorescent 9-methoxyluminarine ligand 9-MeLM were investigated by fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopy. The results showed that 9-methoxyluminarine was able to interact and did not destabilize any investigated molecular targets. The studied compound was selectively quenched by parallel c-MYC G-quadruplex DNA, whereas hybrid and antiparallel G4 topology caused only a negligible decrease in the fluorescence of the ligand. A high decrease of fluorescence of the ligand after binding with c-MYC G-quadruplex suggests that this molecule can be used as a selective probe for parallel G-quadruplexes.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Abstract:
The IoT devices deployed in various application scenarios will generate massive data with immeasurable value every day. These data often contain the user’s personal privacy information, so there is an imperative need to guarantee the reliability and security of IoT data sharing. We proposed a new encrypted data storing and sharing architecture by combining proxy re-encryption with blockchain technology. The consensus mechanism based on threshold proxy re-encryption eliminates dependence on the third-party central service providers. Multiple consensus nodes in the blockchain network act as proxy service nodes to re-encrypt data and combine converted ciphertext, and personal information will not be disclosed in the whole procedure. That eliminates the restrictions of using decentralized network to store and distribute private encrypted data safely. We implemented a lot of simulated experiments to evaluate the performance of the proposed framework. The results show that the proposed architecture can meet the extensive data access demands and increase a tolerable time latency. Our scheme is one of the essays to utilize the threshold proxy re-encryption and blockchain consensus algorithm to support IoT data sharing.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910398

Abstract:
Grapevine is one of the most economically important fruit crops due to the high value of its fruit and its importance in winemaking. The current decrease in grape berry quality and production can be seen as the consequence of various abiotic constraints imposed by climate changes. Specifically, produced wines have become too sweet, with a stronger impression of alcohol and fewer aromatic qualities. Potassium is known to play a major role in grapevine growth, as well as grape composition and wine quality. Importantly, potassium ions (K+) are involved in the initiation and maintenance of the berry loading process during ripening. Moreover, K+ has also been implicated in various defense mechanisms against abiotic stress. The first part of this review discusses the main negative consequences of the current climate, how they disturb the quality of grape berries at harvest and thus ultimately compromise the potential to obtain a great wine. In the second part, the essential electrical and osmotic functions of K+, which are intimately dependent on K+ transport systems, membrane energization, and cell K+ homeostasis, are presented. This knowledge will help to select crops that are better adapted to adverse environmental conditions.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Diversity, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13100468

Abstract:
Satyrinae is a 3000-species butterfly subfamily of Nymphalidae. The higher-level classification of this family is still controversial. In this research, we sequenced the complete mitogenomes of three satyrid butterfly species, Hipparchia autonoe, Paroeneis palaearctica, and Oeneis buddha, and studied the phylogeny of Satyrinae with all known complete mitogenomes. The results showed that the lengths of the three satyrid butterfly mitogenomes are 15,435 bp (H. Autonoe), 15,942 bp (P. palaearctica), and 15,259 bp (O. buddha). Gene content and arrangement of newly sequenced mitogenomes are highly conserved and are typical of Lepidoptera. These three mitogenomes were found to have a typical set of 37 genes and an A + T-rich region. The tRNA genes in these three mitogenomes showed a typical clover leaf structure, but the stem of tRNASer (AGN) was lacking dihydroacridine. In these three species, the lengths of the A + T-rich regions were different, which led to differences in mitochondrial genome sizes. The characterizations of the three mitogenomes enrich our knowledge on the Lepidopteran mitogenome and provide us genetic information to reconstruct the phylogenetic tree. Finally, the phylogenetic results confirmed the position of the genus Davidina in the subfamily Satyrini, had a closer phylogenetic relationship with Oeneis, and the phylogenetic analysis supported the formation of Oeneis buddha as an independent taxon in Oeneis.
Published: 27 September 2021
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11198993

Abstract:
Recently, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increasing demand for online education platforms. However, it is challenging to correctly choose course content from among many online education resources due to the differences in users’ knowledge structures. Therefore, a course recommender system has the essential role of improving the learning efficiency of users. At present, many online education platforms have built diverse recommender systems that utilize traditional data mining methods, such as Collaborative Filtering (CF). Despite the development and contributions of many recommender systems based on CF, diverse deep learning models for personalized recommendation are being studied because of problems such as sparsity and scalability. Therefore, to solve traditional recommendation problems, this study proposes a novel deep learning-based course recommender system (DECOR), which elaborately captures high-level user behaviors and course attribute features. The DECOR model can reduce information overload, solve high-dimensional data sparsity problems, and achieve high feature information extraction performance. We perform several experiments utilizing real-world datasets to evaluate the DECOR model’s performance compared with that of traditional recommendation approaches. The experimental results indicate that the DECOR model offers better and more robust recommendation performance than the traditional methods.
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