Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 14

Search results for: Aldo Todaro

14 Production of Functional Crackers Enriched with Olive (Olea europaea L.) Leaf Extract

Authors: Rosa Palmeri, Julieta I. Monteleone, Antonio C. Barbera, Carmelo Maucieri, Aldo Todaro, Virgilio Giannone, Giovanni Spagna


In recent years, considerable interest has been shown in the functional properties of foods, and a relevant role has been played by phenolic compounds, able to scavenge free radicals. A more sustainable agriculture has to emerge to guarantee food supply over the next years. Wheat, corn, and rice are the most common cereals cultivated, but also other cereal species, such as barley can be appreciated for their peculiarities. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is a C3 winter cereal that shows high resistance at drought and salt stresses. There are growing interests in barley as ingredient for the production of functional foods due to its high content of phenolic compounds and Beta-glucans. In this respect, the possibility of separating specific functional fractions from food industry by-products looks very promising. Olive leaves represent a quantitatively significant by-product of olive grove farming, and are an interesting source of phenolic compounds. In particular, oleuropein, which provide important nutritional benefits, is the main phenolic compound in olive leaves and ranges from 17% to 23% depending upon the cultivar and growing season period. Together with oleuropein and its derivatives (e.g. dimethyloleuropein, oleuropein diglucoside), olive leaves further contain tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, and a series of secondary metabolities structurally related to them: verbascoside, ligstroside, hydroxytyrosol glucoside, tyrosol glucoside, oleuroside, oleoside-11-methyl ester, and nuzhenide. Several flavonoids, flavonoid glycosides, and phenolic acids have also described in olive leaves. The aim of this work was the production of functional food with higher content of polyphenols and the evaluation of their shelf life. Organic durum wheat and barley grains contain higher levels of phenolic compounds were used for the production of crackers. Olive leaf extract (OLE) was obtained from cv. ‘Biancolilla’ by aqueous extraction method. Two baked goods trials were performed with both organic durum wheat and barley flours, adding olive leaf extract. Control crackers, made as comparison, were produced with the same formulation replacing OLE with water. Total phenolic compound, moisture content, activity water, and textural properties at different time of storage were determined to evaluate the shelf-life of the products. Our the preliminary results showed that the enriched crackers showed higher phenolic content and antioxidant activity than control. Alternative uses of olive leaf extracts for crackers production could represent a good candidate for the addition of functional ingredients because bakery items are daily consumed, and have long shelf-life.

Keywords: barley, functional foods, olive leaf, polyphenols, shelf life

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13 Virtual Science Hub: An Open Source Platform to Enrich Science Teaching

Authors: Enrique Barra, Aldo Gordillo, Juan Quemada


This paper presents the Virtual Science Hub platform. It is an open source platform that combines a social network, an e-learning authoring tool, a video conference service and a learning object repository for science teaching enrichment. These four main functionalities fit very well together. The platform was released in April 2012 and since then it has not stopped growing. Finally we present the results of the surveys conducted and the statistics gathered to validate this approach.

Keywords: e-learning, platform, authoring tool, science teaching, educational sciences

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12 Design, Development and Evaluation of a Portable Recording System to Capture Dynamic Presentations using the Teacher´s Tablet PC

Authors: Enrique Barra, Abel Carril, Aldo Gordillo, Joaquin Salvachua, Juan Quemada


Computers and multimedia equipment have improved a lot in the last years. They have reduced costs and size while at the same time has increased their capabilities. These improvements allowed us to design and implement a portable recording system that also integrates the teacher´s tablet PC to capture what he/she writes on the slides and all that happens in it. This paper explains this system in detail and the validation of the recordings that we did after using it to record all the lectures of a course in our university called “Communications Software”. The results show that pupils used the recordings for different purposes and consider them useful for a variety of things, especially after missing a lecture.

Keywords: recording system, capture dynamic presentations, lecture recording

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11 3D Model Completion Based on Similarity Search with Slim-Tree

Authors: Alexis Aldo Mendoza Villarroel, Ademir Clemente Villena Zevallos, Cristian Jose Lopez Del Alamo


With the advancement of technology it is now possible to scan entire objects and obtain their digital representation by using point clouds or polygon meshes. However, some objects may be broken or have missing parts; thus, several methods focused on this problem have been proposed based on Geometric Deep Learning, such as GCNN, ACNN, PointNet, among others. In this article an approach from a different paradigm is proposed, using metric data structures to index global descriptors in the spectral domain and allow the recovery of a set of similar models in polynomial time; to later use the Iterative Close Point algorithm and recover the parts of the incomplete model using the geometry and topology of the model with less Hausdorff distance.

Keywords: 3D reconstruction method, point cloud completion, shape completion, similarity search

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10 Improving the Performance of Gas Turbine Power Plant by Modified Axial Turbine

Authors: Hakim T. Kadhim, Faris A. Jabbar, Aldo Rona, Audrius Bagdanaviciu


Computer-based optimization techniques can be employed to improve the efficiency of energy conversions processes, including reducing the aerodynamic loss in a thermal power plant turbomachine. In this paper, towards mitigating secondary flow losses, a design optimization workflow is implemented for the casing geometry of a 1.5 stage axial flow turbine that improves the turbine isentropic efficiency. The improved turbine is used in an open thermodynamic gas cycle with regeneration and cogeneration. Performance estimates are obtained by the commercial software Cycle – Tempo. Design and off design conditions are considered as well as variations in inlet air temperature. Reductions in both the natural gas specific fuel consumption and in CO2 emissions are predicted by using the gas turbine cycle fitted with the new casing design. These gains are attractive towards enhancing the competitiveness and reducing the environmental impact of thermal power plant.

Keywords: axial flow turbine, computational fluid dynamics, gas turbine power plant, optimization

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9 Comparison of Classical Computer Vision vs. Convolutional Neural Networks Approaches for Weed Mapping in Aerial Images

Authors: Paulo Cesar Pereira Junior, Alexandre Monteiro, Rafael da Luz Ribeiro, Antonio Carlos Sobieranski, Aldo von Wangenheim


In this paper, we present a comparison between convolutional neural networks and classical computer vision approaches, for the specific precision agriculture problem of weed mapping on sugarcane fields aerial images. A systematic literature review was conducted to find which computer vision methods are being used on this specific problem. The most cited methods were implemented, as well as four models of convolutional neural networks. All implemented approaches were tested using the same dataset, and their results were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. The obtained results were compared to a human expert made ground truth for validation. The results indicate that the convolutional neural networks present better precision and generalize better than the classical models.

Keywords: convolutional neural networks, deep learning, digital image processing, precision agriculture, semantic segmentation, unmanned aerial vehicles

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8 When Worlds Collide: Clashes of Communication between Italian and Anglophone Cultures in Movies Set in Venice

Authors: Angela Fabris, Joerg Helbig


Our paper deals with feature films set in Venice which focus on the influence of Italian life style on anglophone characters. Usually, these films emphasize the different cultures and mentalities of Italian and British (or American) people. More often than not, these encounters result in a profound change of the anglophone characters' attitude towards romance and sensuality. A case in point is David Lean's Summer Madness (UK 1955). This film recounts the love affair between the American tourist Jane Hudson (Katherine Hepburn) and the Venetian antique shop owner Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi). Jane is a spinster in her mid-forties who longs for love and romance. The chance arrives when she meets Renato who feels attracted to her. Jane's immediate reaction, however, is to reject Renato's advances. What follows is a struggle between the strict morality of a puritan upbringing and the irresitable charm of Mediterranean temptations. Similar conflicts can be found in many other movies. Apart from Summer Madness we will discuss Aldo Lado's Chi l'ha vista morire? (It 1972), Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (UK/It 1973) and Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers (It/UK/USA 1990). Our paper raises the question whether or not these and other films present false stereotypes and chlichés. The paper is part of our large-scale research project which explores the history of erotic cinema in Italy and England.

Keywords: culture clash, erotic cinema, film, Venice

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7 Evaluation of the Impact of Reducing the Traffic Light Cycle for Cars to Improve Non-Vehicular Transportation: A Case of Study in Lima

Authors: Gheyder Concha Bendezu, Rodrigo Lescano Loli, Aldo Bravo Lizano


In big urbanized cities of Latin America, motor vehicles have priority over non-motor vehicles and pedestrians. There is an important problem that affects people's health and quality of life; lack of inclusion towards pedestrians makes it difficult for them to move smoothly and safely since the city has been planned for the transit of motor vehicles. Faced with the new trend for sustainable and economical transport, the city is forced to develop infrastructure in order to incorporate pedestrians and users with non-motorized vehicles in the transport system. The present research aims to study the influence of non-motorized vehicles on an avenue, the optimization of a cycle using traffic lights based on simulation in Synchro software, to improve the flow of non-motor vehicles. The evaluation is of the microscopic type; for this reason, field data was collected, such as vehicular, pedestrian, and non-motor vehicle user demand. With the values of speed and travel time, it is represented in the current scenario that contains the existing problem. These data allow to create a microsimulation model in Vissim software, later to be calibrated and validated so that it has a behavior similar to reality. The results of this model are compared with the efficiency parameters of the proposed model; these parameters are the queue length, the travel speed, and mainly the travel times of the users at this intersection. The results reflect a reduction of 27% in travel time, that is, an improvement between the proposed model and the current one for this great avenue. The tail length of motor vehicles is also reduced by 12.5%, a considerable improvement. All this represents an improvement in the level of service and in the quality of life of users.

Keywords: bikeway, microsimulation, pedestrians, queue length, traffic light cycle, travel time

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6 Multi-Criterial Analysis: Potential Regions and Height of Wind Turbines, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Authors: Claudio L. M. Souza, Milton Erthal, Aldo Shimoya, Elias R. Goncalves, Igor C. Rangel, Allysson R. T. Tavares, Elias G. Figueira


The process of choosing a region for the implementation of wind farms involves factors such as the wind regime, economic viability, land value, topography, and accessibility. This work presents results obtained by multi-criteria decision analysis, and it establishes a hierarchy, regarding the installation of wind farms, among geopolicy regions in the state of ‘Rio de Janeiro’, Brazil: ‘Regiao Norte-RN’, ‘Regiao dos Lagos-RL’ and ‘Regiao Serrana-RS’. The wind regime map indicates only these three possible regions with an average annual wind speed of above of 6.0 m/s. The method applied was the Analytical Hierarchy Process-AHP, designed to prioritize and rank the three regions based on four criteria as follows: 1) potential of the site and average wind speeds of above 6.0 ms-¹, 2) average land value, 3) distribution and interconnection to electric network with the highest number of electricity stations, and 4) accessibility with proximity and quality of highways and flat topography. The values of energy generation were calculated for wind turbines 50, 75, and 100 meters high, considering the production of site (GWh/Km²) and annual production (GWh). The weight of each criterion was attributed by six engineers and by analysis of Road Map, the Map of the Electric System, the Map of Wind Regime and the Annual Land Value Report. The results indicated that in 'RS', the demand was estimated at 2,000 GWh, so a wind farm can operate efficiently in 50 m turbines. This region is mainly mountainous with difficult access and lower land value. With respect to ‘RL’, the wind turbines have to be installed at a height of 75 m high to reach a demand of 6,300 GWh. This region is very flat, with easy access, and low land value. Finally, the ‘NR’ was evaluated as very flat and with expensive lands. In this case, wind turbines with 100 m can reach an annual production of 19,000 GWh. In this Region, the coast area was classified as of greater logistic, productivity and economic potential.

Keywords: AHP, renewable energy, wind energy

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5 Caspase-11 and AIM2 Inflammasome are Involved in Smoking-Induced COPD and Lung Adenocarcinoma

Authors: Chiara Colarusso, Michela Terlizzi, Aldo Pinto, Rosalinda Sorrentino


Cigarette smoking is the main cause and the most common risk factor for both COPD and lung cancer. In our previous studies, we proved that caspase-11 in mice and its human analogue, caspase-4, are involved in lung carcinogenesis and that AIM2 inflammasome might play a pro-cancerous role in lung cancer. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate potential crosstalk between COPD and lung cancer, focusing on AIM2 and caspase-11-dependent inflammasome signaling pathway. To mimic COPD, we took advantage of an experimental first-hand smoking mouse model and, to confirm what was observed in mice, we used human samples of lung adenocarcinoma patients stratified according to the smoking and COPD status. We demonstrated that smoke exposure led to emphysema-like features, bronchial tone impairment, and release of IL-1-like cytokines (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-33, IL-18) in a caspase-1 independent manner in C57Bl/6N. Rather, a dysfunctional caspase-11 in smoke-exposed 129Sv mice was associated to lower bronchial inflammation, collagen deposition, and IL-1-like inflammation. In addition, for the first time, we found that AIM2 inflammasome is involved in lung inflammation in smoking and COPD, in that its expression was higher in smoke-exposed C57Bl/6N compared to 129Sv smoking mice, who instead did not show any alteration of AIM2 in both macrophages and dendritic cells. Moreover, we found that AIM2 expression in the cancerous tissue, albeit higher than non-cancerous tissue, was not statistically different according to the COPD and smoking status. Instead, the higher expression of AIM2 in non-cancerous tissue of smoker COPD patients than smokers who did not have COPD was correlated to a higher hazard ratio of poor survival rate than patients who presented lower levels of AIM2. In conclusion, our data highlight that caspase-11 in mice is associated to smoke-induced lung latent inflammation which could drive the establishment of lung cancer, and that AIM2 inflammasome plays a role at the crosstalk between smoking/COPD and lung adenocarcinoma in that its higher presence is correlated to lower survival rate of smoker COPD adenocarcinoma.

Keywords: COPD, inflammasome, lung cancer, lung inflammation, smoke

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4 MIMO Radar-Based System for Structural Health Monitoring and Geophysical Applications

Authors: Davide D’Aria, Paolo Falcone, Luigi Maggi, Aldo Cero, Giovanni Amoroso


The paper presents a methodology for real-time structural health monitoring and geophysical applications. The key elements of the system are a high performance MIMO RADAR sensor, an optical camera and a dedicated set of software algorithms encompassing interferometry, tomography and photogrammetry. The MIMO Radar sensor proposed in this work, provides an extremely high sensitivity to displacements making the system able to react to tiny deformations (up to tens of microns) with a time scale which spans from milliseconds to hours. The MIMO feature of the system makes the system capable of providing a set of two-dimensional images of the observed scene, each mapped on the azimuth-range directions with noticeably resolution in both the dimensions and with an outstanding repetition rate. The back-scattered energy, which is distributed in the 3D space, is projected on a 2D plane, where each pixel has as coordinates the Line-Of-Sight distance and the cross-range azimuthal angle. At the same time, the high performing processing unit allows to sense the observed scene with remarkable refresh periods (up to milliseconds), thus opening the way for combined static and dynamic structural health monitoring. Thanks to the smart TX/RX antenna array layout, the MIMO data can be processed through a tomographic approach to reconstruct the three-dimensional map of the observed scene. This 3D point cloud is then accurately mapped on a 2D digital optical image through photogrammetric techniques, allowing for easy and straightforward interpretations of the measurements. Once the three-dimensional image is reconstructed, a 'repeat-pass' interferometric approach is exploited to provide the user of the system with high frequency three-dimensional motion/vibration estimation of each point of the reconstructed image. At this stage, the methodology leverages consolidated atmospheric correction algorithms to provide reliable displacement and vibration measurements.

Keywords: interferometry, MIMO RADAR, SAR, tomography

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3 Intracellular Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptor 3 Contributes to Lung Tumor Cell Proliferation

Authors: Michela Terlizzi, Chiara Colarusso, Aldo Pinto, Rosalinda Sorrentino


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a membrane-derived bioactive phospholipid exerting a multitude of effects on respiratory cell physiology and pathology through five S1P receptors (S1PR1-5). Higher levels of S1P have been registered in a broad range of respiratory diseases, including inflammatory disorders and cancer, although its exact role is still elusive. Based on our previous study in which we found that S1P/S1PR3 is involved in an inflammatory pattern via the activation of Toll-like Receptor 9 (TLR9), highly expressed on lung cancer cells, the main goal of the current study was to better understand the involvement of S1P/S1PR3 pathway/signaling during lung carcinogenesis, taking advantage of a mouse model of first-hand smoke exposure and of carcinogen-induced lung cancer. We used human samples of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), a mouse model of first-hand smoking, and of Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)-induced tumor-bearing mice and A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells. We found that the intranuclear, but not the membrane, localization of S1PR3 was associated to the proliferation of lung adenocarcinoma cells, the mechanism that was correlated to human and mouse samples of smoke-exposure and carcinogen-induced lung cancer, which were characterized by higher utilization of S1P. Indeed, the inhibition of the membrane S1PR3 did not alter tumor cell proliferation after TLR9 activation. Instead, according to the nuclear localization of sphingosine kinase (SPHK) II, the enzyme responsible for the catalysis of the S1P last step synthesis, the inhibition of the kinase completely blocked the endogenous S1P-induced tumor cell proliferation. These results prove that the endogenous TLR9-induced S1P can on one side favor pro-inflammatory mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment via the activation of cell surface receptors, but on the other tumor progression via the nuclear S1PR3/SPHK II axis, highlighting a novel molecular mechanism that identifies S1P as one of the crucial mediators for lung carcinogenesis-associated inflammatory processes and that could provide differential therapeutic approaches especially in non-responsive lung cancer patients.

Keywords: sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), S1P Receptor 3 (S1PR3), smoking-mice, lung inflammation, lung cancer

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2 Nanowire Substrate to Control Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Authors: Ainur Sharip, Jose E. Perez, Nouf Alsharif, Aldo I. M. Bandeas, Enzo D. Fabrizio, Timothy Ravasi, Jasmeen S. Merzaban, Jürgen Kosel


Bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are attractive candidates for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, due to their ability to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes or adipocytes. Differentiation is influenced by biochemical and biophysical stimuli provided by the microenvironment of the cell. Thus, altering the mechanical characteristics of a cell culture scaffold can directly influence a cell’s microenvironment and lead to stem cell differentiation. Mesenchymal stem cells were cultured on densely packed, vertically aligned magnetic iron nanowires (NWs) and the effect of NWs on the cell cytoskeleton rearrangement and differentiation were studied. An electrochemical deposition method was employed to fabricate NWs into nanoporous alumina templates, followed by a partial release to reveal the NW array. This created a cell growth substrate with free-standing NWs. The Fe NWs possessed a length of 2-3 µm, with each NW having a diameter of 33 nm on average. Mechanical stimuli generated by the physical movement of these iron NWs, in response to a magnetic field, can stimulate osteogenic differentiation. Induction of osteogenesis was estimated using an osteogenic marker, osteopontin, and a reduction of stem cell markers, CD73 and CD105. MSCs were grown on the NWs, and fluorescent microscopy was employed to monitor the expression of markers. A magnetic field with an intensity of 250 mT and a frequency of 0.1 Hz was applied for 12 hours/day over a period of one week and two weeks. The magnetically activated substrate enhanced the osteogenic differentiation of the MSCs compared to the culture conditions without magnetic field. Quantification of the osteopontin signal revealed approximately a seven-fold increase in the expression of this protein after two weeks of culture. Immunostaining staining against CD73 and CD105 revealed the expression of antibodies at the earlier time point (two days) and a considerable reduction after one-week exposure to a magnetic field. Overall, these results demonstrate the application of a magnetic NW substrate in stimulating the osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. This method significantly decreases the time needed to induce osteogenic differentiation compared to commercial biochemical methods, such as osteogenic differentiation kits, that usually require more than two weeks. Contact-free stimulation of MSC differentiation using a magnetic field has potential uses in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and bone formation therapies.

Keywords: cell substrate, magnetic nanowire, mesenchymal stem cell, stem cell differentiation

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1 In Vitro Assessment of the Genotoxicity of Composite Obtained by Mixture of Natural Rubber and Leather Residues for Textile Application

Authors: Dalita G. S. M. Cavalcante, Elton A. P. dos Reis, Andressa S. Gomes, Caroline S. Danna, Leandra Ernest Kerche-Silva, Eidi Yoshihara, Aldo E. Job


In order to minimize environmental impacts, a composite was developed from mixture of leather shavings (LE) with natural rubber (NR), which patent is already deposited. The new material created can be used in applications such as floors e heels for shoes. Besides these applications, the aim is to use this new material for the production of products for the textile industry, such as boots, gloves and bags. But the question arises, as to biocompatibility of this new material. This is justified because the structure of the leather shavings has chrome. The trivalent chromium is usually not toxic, but the hexavalent chromium can be highly toxic and genotoxic for living beings, causing damage to the DNA molecule and contributing to the formation of cancer. Based on this, the objective of this study is evaluate the possible genotoxic effects of the new composite, using as system - test two cell lines (MRC-5 and CHO-K1) by comet assay. For this, the production of the composite was performed in three proportions: for every 100 grams of NR was added 40 (E40), 50 (E50) or 60 (E60) grams of LE. The latex was collected from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). For vulcanization of the NR, activators and accelerators were used. The two cell lines were exposed to the new composite in its three proportions using elution method, that is, cells exposed to liquid extracts obtained from the composite for 24 hours. For obtaining the liquid extract, each sample of the composite was crushed into pieces and mixed with an extraction solution. The quantification of total chromium and hexavalent chromium in the extracts were performed by Optical Emission Spectrometry by Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP-OES). The levels of DNA damage in cells exposed to both extracts were monitored by alkaline version of the comet assay. The results of the quantification of metals in ICP-OES indicated the presence of total chromium in different extracts, but were not detected presence of hexavalent chromium in any extract. Through the comet assay were not found DNA damage of the CHO-K1 cells exposed to both extracts. As for MRC-5, was found a significant increase in DNA damage in cells exposed to E50 and E60. Based on the above data, it can be asserted that the extracts obtained from the composite were highly genotoxic for MRC-5 cells. These biological responses do not appear to be related to chromium metal, since there was a predominance of trivalent chromium in the extracts, indicating that during the production process of the new composite, there was no formation of hexavalent chromium. In conclusion it can infer that the leather shavings containing chromium can be reused, thereby reducing the environmental impacts of this waste. Already on the composite indicates to its incorporation in applications that do not aim at direct contact with the human skin, and it is suggested the chain of composite production be studied, in an attempt to make it biocompatible so that it may be safely used by the textile industry.

Keywords: cell line, chrome, genotoxicity, leather, natural rubber

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