Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 47

Search results for: Alina P. Colling

47 Waterborne Platooning: Cost and Logistic Analysis of Vessel Trains

Authors: Alina P. Colling, Robert G. Hekkenberg

Abstract:

Recent years have seen extensive technological advancement in truck platooning, as reflected in the literature. Its main benefits are the improvement of traffic stability and the reduction of air drag, resulting in less fuel consumption, in comparison to using individual trucks. Platooning is now being adapted to the waterborne transport sector in the NOVIMAR project through the development of a Vessel Train (VT) concept. The main focus of VT’s, as opposed to the truck platoons, is the decrease in manning on board, ultimately working towards autonomous vessel operations. This crew reduction can prove to be an important selling point in achieving economic competitiveness of the waterborne approach when compared to alternative modes of transport. This paper discusses the expected benefits and drawbacks of the VT concept, in terms of the technical logistic performance and generalized costs. More specifically, VT’s can provide flexibility in destination choices for shippers but also add complexity when performing special manoeuvres in VT formation. In order to quantify the cost and performances, a model is developed and simulations are carried out for various case studies. These compare the application of VT’s in the short sea and inland water transport, with specific sailing regimes and technologies installed on board to allow different levels of autonomy. The results enable the identification of the most important boundary conditions for the successful operation of the waterborne platooning concept. These findings serve as a framework for future business applications of the VT.

Keywords: autonomous vessels, NOVIMAR, vessel trains, waterborne platooning

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46 There Is No Meaningful Opportunity in Meaningless Data: Why It Is Unconstitutional to Use Life Expectancy Tables in Post-Graham Sentences

Authors: Stacie Nelson Colling, Adele Cummings

Abstract:

The United States Supreme Court recently announced that it is unconstitutional to sentence a child to life without parole for non-homicide offenses, and that each child so situated must be afforded a meaningful opportunity for release from prison in his lifetime. The Court also declared that it is unconstitutional to impose a mandatory sentence of life without parole on a child for homicide offenses. Across the United States, attorneys and advocates continue to litigate issues surrounding the implementation of these legal principles. Some states have held that any sentence to a finite term of years, no matter how long, is not the same as ‘life’ and therefore does not violate the constitution. Other states have held that a sentence to a term of years that is less than the expected life of that particular child is not unconstitutional. In Colorado, the courts have routinely looked to life expectancy estimates from governmental organizations to determine how long a particular child is expected to live. They then compare that the date that the child is expected to be eligible for parole, and if the child is expected to still be living when he is eligible for parole, the sentence is deemed constitutional. This paper argues that it is inappropriate, reckless, unconstitutional and not scientifically sound to use such estimates in determining whether a child will have a meaningful opportunity for release from prison and life outside of prison before he dies. This paper argues that the opportunity for release must mean more than a probability that a child will be released before his death, and that it must include an opportunity for a meaningful life outside of prison (not just the opportunity to be released and then die on the outside). The paper further argues that life expectancy estimates cannot guide a court or a legislature in determining whether a sentence is or is not constitutional.

Keywords: life without parole, life expectancy, juvenile sentencing, meaningful opportunity for release from prison

Procedia PDF Downloads 317
45 Role of Renewable Energy in Foreign Policy of China

Authors: Alina Gilmanova

Abstract:

China’s dependency on coal for energy is causing pollution in China and abroad. To supply the increasing energy demand and being under the pressure from international society to reduce the emissions, China was pushed to develop renewable energy. The increasing subsidies in Renewable energy sources (RES) led not only to the price-cutting but also affecting the international trade in green technology sector. In order to evaluate the role of RES in foreign policy of China, I am going to give an (i) overview of RES development in China and examine the cooperation between China and (ii) developed, (ii) developing and emerging countries. The conclusive remarks are intended to address the question of how the present Chinese renewable energy development is impacting its foreign policy and international society.

Keywords: renewable energy, China, foreign affairs, brics, cooperation

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44 Autophagy in the Midgut Epithelium of Spodoptera exigua Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Larvae Exposed to Various Cadmium Concentration - 6-Generational Exposure

Authors: Magdalena Maria Rost-Roszkowska, Alina Chachulska-Żymełka, Monika Tarnawska, Maria Augustyniak, Alina Kafel, Agnieszka Babczyńska

Abstract:

Autophagy is a form of cell remodeling in which an internalization of organelles into vacuoles that are called autophagosomes occur. Autophagosomes are the targets of lysosomes, thus causing digestion of cytoplasmic components. Eventually, it can lead to the death of the entire cell. However, in response to several stress factors, e.g., starvation, heavy metals (e.g., cadmium) autophagy can also act as a pro-survival factor, protecting the cell against its death. The main aim of our studies was to check if the process of autophagy, which could appear in the midgut epithelium after Cd treatment, can be fixed during the following generations of insects. As a model animal, we chose the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a well-known polyphagous pest of many vegetable crops. We analyzed specimens at final larval stage (5th larval stage), due to its hyperfagy, resulting in great amount of cadmium assimilate. The culture consisted of two strains: a control strain (K) fed a standard diet, and a cadmium strain (Cd), fed on standard diet supplemented with cadmium (44 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food) for 146 generations, both strains. In addition, the control insects were transferred to the Cd supplemented diet (5 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food, 10 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food, 20 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food, 44 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food). Therefore, we obtained Cd1, Cd2, Cd3 and KCd experimental groups. Autophagy has been examined using transmission electron microscope. During this process, degenerated organelles were surrounded by a membranous phagophore and enclosed in an autophagosome. Eventually, after the autophagosome fused with a lysosome, an autolysosome was formed and the process of the digestion of organelles began. During the 1st year of the experiment, we analyzed specimens of 6 generations in all the lines. The intensity of autophagy depends significantly on the generation, tissue and cadmium concentration in the insect rearing medium. In the Ist, IInd, IIIrd, IVth, Vth and VIth generation the intensity of autophagy in the midguts from cadmium-exposed strains decreased gradually according to the following order of strains: Cd1, Cd2, Cd3 and KCd. The higher amount of cells with autophagy was observed in Cd1 and Cd2. However, it was still higher than the percentage of cells with autophagy in the same tissues of the insects from the control and multigenerational cadmium strain. This may indicate that during 6-generational exposure to various Cd concentration, a preserved tolerance to cadmium was not maintained. The study has been financed by the National Science Centre Poland, grant no 2016/21/B/NZ8/00831.

Keywords: autophagy, cell death, digestive system, ultrastructure

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43 Reduction of Impulsive Noise in OFDM System using Adaptive Algorithm

Authors: Alina Mirza, Sumrin M. Kabir, Shahzad A. Sheikh

Abstract:

The Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) with high data rate, high spectral efficiency and its ability to mitigate the effects of multipath makes them most suitable in wireless application. Impulsive noise distorts the OFDM transmission and therefore methods must be investigated to suppress this noise. In this paper, a State Space Recursive Least Square (SSRLS) algorithm based adaptive impulsive noise suppressor for OFDM communication system is proposed. And a comparison with another adaptive algorithm is conducted. The state space model-dependent recursive parameters of proposed scheme enables to achieve steady state mean squared error (MSE), low bit error rate (BER), and faster convergence than that of some of existing algorithm.

Keywords: OFDM, impulsive noise, SSRLS, BER

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42 The Influence of Emotional Intelligence Skills on Innovative Start-Ups Coaching: A Neuro-Management Approach

Authors: Alina Parincu, Giuseppe Empoli, Alexandru Capatina

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to identify the most influential predictors of emotional intelligence skills, in the case of 20 business innovation coaches, on the co-creation of knowledge through coaching services delivered to innovative start-ups from Europe, funded through Horizon 2020 – SME Instrument. We considered the emotional intelligence skills (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills) as antecedent conditions of the outcome: the quality of coaching services, perceived by the entrepreneurs who received funding within SME instrument, using fuzzy-sets qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) approach. The findings reveal that emotional intelligence skills, trained with neuro-management techniques, were associated with increased goal-focused business coaching skills.

Keywords: neuro-management, innovative start-ups, business coaching, fsQCA

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41 Innovation as Entrepreneurial Drives in the Romanian Automotive Industry

Authors: Alina Petronela Negrea, Valentin Cojanu

Abstract:

The article examines the synergy between innovation and entrepreneurship by means of a qualitative research on actors in the automotive industry in the Romanian southern region, Muntenia. The region is of particular interest because most of the industry suppliers are located there, as well as because it gathers the full range of key actors involved in the innovation process. The research design aims (1) to reflect entrepreneurs’ approach to and perception on innovation; (2) to underline forces driving or stifling innovation in the automotive industry; and (3) to evaluate the awareness of the existing knowledge database and the communication channels through which it is transferred within and between innovation networks. Empirical evidence results from triangula¬tion of three data collection methods: statistical data and other publicly available materials; semi - structured inter¬views, and experiential visits. The conclusions emphasize the convergent opinion of the entrepreneurs about the vital role of innovation in their investment plans.

Keywords: automotive industry, entrepreneurship, innovation, Romania

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40 A Survey on Lossless Compression of Bayer Color Filter Array Images

Authors: Alina Trifan, António J. R. Neves

Abstract:

Although most digital cameras acquire images in a raw format, based on a Color Filter Array that arranges RGB color filters on a square grid of photosensors, most image compression techniques do not use the raw data; instead, they use the rgb result of an interpolation algorithm of the raw data. This approach is inefficient and by performing a lossless compression of the raw data, followed by pixel interpolation, digital cameras could be more power efficient and provide images with increased resolution given that the interpolation step could be shifted to an external processing unit. In this paper, we conduct a survey on the use of lossless compression algorithms with raw Bayer images. Moreover, in order to reduce the effect of the transition between colors that increase the entropy of the raw Bayer image, we split the image into three new images corresponding to each channel (red, green and blue) and we study the same compression algorithms applied to each one individually. This simple pre-processing stage allows an improvement of more than 15% in predictive based methods.

Keywords: bayer image, CFA, lossless compression, image coding standards

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39 Morphometric Relationships of Unfarmed Puntius sophore, Collected from Chenab River, Punjab, Pakistan

Authors: Alina Zafar

Abstract:

In this particular research, various morphometric characters such as total length (TL), wet weight (WW), standard length (SL), fork length (FL), head length (HL), head width (HW), body depth (BD), body girth (BG), dorsal fin length (DFL), pelvic fin length (PelFL), pectoral fin length (PecFL), anal fin length (AFL), dorsal fin base (DFB), anal fin base (AFB), caudal fin length (CFL) and caudal fin width (CFW) of wild collected Puntius sophore were studied, to know the types of growth patterns and correlations in reference to length and weight, however, high significant relationships were recorded between total length and wet weight, as the correlation coefficient (r) possessed value of 0.989. The growth pattern was observed to be positively allometric as the value of ‘b’ was 3.22 (slightly higher than the ideal value, 3) with 95% confidence intervals ranging from 3.076 to 3.372. Wet weight and total length parameters showed high significant correlations (p < 0.001) with all other morphometric characters.

Keywords: Puntius sophore, length and weight relation, morphometrics, small indigenous species

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38 Activation of Apoptosis in the Midgut Epithelium of Spodoptera exigua Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Exposed to Various Cadmium Concentration

Authors: Magdalena Maria Rost-Roszkowska, Alina Chachulska-Żymełka, Monika Tarnawska, Maria Augustyniak, Alina Kafel, Agnieszka Babczyńska

Abstract:

The digestive system of insects is composed of three distinct regions: fore-, mid- and hingut. The middle region (the midgut) is treated as one of the barriers which protects the organism against any stressors which originate from external environment, e.g. toxic metals. Such factors can activate the cell death in epithelial cells to preserve the entire tissue/organs against the degeneration. Different mechanisms involved in homeostasis maintenance have been described, but the studies of animals under field conditions do not give the opportunity to conclude about potential ability of subsequent generation to inherit the tolerance mechanisms. It is possible only by a multigenerational strain of an animal led under laboratory conditions, exposed to a selected toxic factor, present also in polluted ecosystems. The main purpose of the project was to check if changes, which appear in the midgut epithelium after Cd treatment, can be fixed during the following generations of insects with the special emphasis on apoptosis. As the animal for these studies we chose 5th larval stage of the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), which is one of pest of many vegetable crops. Animals were divided into some experimental groups: K, Cd, KCd, Cd1, Cd2, Cd3. A control group (K) fed a standard diet, and was conducted for XX generations, a cadmium group (Cd), fed on standard diet supplemented with cadmium (44 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food) for XXX generations. A reference Cd group (KCd) has been initiated: control insects were fed with Cd supplemented diet (44 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food). Experimental groups Cd1, Cd2, Cd3 developed from the control one: 5 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food, 10 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food, 20 mg Cd per kg of dry weight of food. We were interested in the activation of apoptosis during following generations in all experimental groups. Therefore, during the 1st year of the experiment, the measurements were done for 6 generations in all experimental group. The intensity and the course of apoptosis have been examined using transmission electron microscope (TEM), confocal microscope and flow cytometry. During apoptosis the cell started to shrink, extracellular spaces appeared between digestive and neighboring cells, the nucleus achieved a lobular shape. Eventually, the apoptotic cells was discharged into the midgut lumen. A quantitative analysis revealed that the number of apoptotic cells depends significantly on the generation, tissue and cadmium concentration in the insect rearing medium. In the following 6 generations, we observed that the percentage of apoptotic cells in the midguts from cadmium-exposed groups decreased gradually according to the following order of strains: Cd1, Cd2, Cd3 and KCd. At the same time, it was still higher than the percentage of apoptotic cells in the same tissues of the insects from the control and multigenerational cadmium strain. The results of our studies suggest that changes caused by cadmium treatment were preserved during 6-generational development of lepidopteran larvae. The study has been financed by the National Science Centre Poland, grant no 2016/21/B/NZ8/00831.

Keywords: cadmium, cell death, digestive system, ultrastructure

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37 Observation of Large-Scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbance over Peninsular Malaysia Using GPS Receivers

Authors: Intan Izafina Idrus, Mardina Abdullah, Alina Marie Hasbi, Asnawi Husin

Abstract:

This paper presents the result of large-scale traveling ionospheric disturbance (LSTID) observation during moderate magnetic storm event on 25 October 2011 with SYM-H ~ -160 nT and Kp ~ 7 over Peninsular Malaysia at equatorial region using vertical total electron content (VTEC) from the Global Positioning System (GPS) observation measurement. The propagation of the LSTID signatures in the TEC measurements over Peninsular Malaysia was also investigated using VTEC map. The LSTID was found to propagate equator-ward during this event. The results showed that the LSTID propagated with an average phase velocity of 526.41 m/s and average periods of 140 min. The occurrence of this LSTID was also found to be the subsequent effects of substorm activities in the auroral region.

Keywords: Global Positioning System (GPS), large-scale traveling ionospheric disturbance (LSTID), moderate geomagnetic storm, vertical total electron content (VTEC)

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36 Quantitative Phase Imaging System Based on a Three-Lens Common-Path Interferometer

Authors: Alexander Machikhin, Olga Polschikova, Vitold Pozhar, Alina Ramazanova

Abstract:

White-light quantitative phase imaging is an effective technique for achieving sub-nanometer phase sensitivity. Highly stable interferometers based on common-path geometry have been developed in recent years to solve this task. Some of these methods also apply multispectral approach. The purpose of this research is to suggest a simple and effective interferometer for such systems. We developed a three-lens common-path interferometer, which can be used for quantitative phase imaging with or without multispectral modality. The lens system consists of two components, the first one of which is a compound lens, consisting of two lenses. A pinhole is placed between the components. The lens-in-lens approach enables effective light transmission and high stability of the interferometer. The multispectrality is easily implemented by placing a tunable filter in front of the interferometer. In our work, we used an acousto-optical tunable filter. Some design considerations are discussed and multispectral quantitative phase retrieval is demonstrated.

Keywords: acousto-optical tunable filter, common-path interferometry, digital holography, multispectral quantitative phase imaging

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35 Object Detection Based on Plane Segmentation and Features Matching for a Service Robot

Authors: António J. R. Neves, Rui Garcia, Paulo Dias, Alina Trifan

Abstract:

With the aging of the world population and the continuous growth in technology, service robots are more and more explored nowadays as alternatives to healthcare givers or personal assistants for the elderly or disabled people. Any service robot should be capable of interacting with the human companion, receive commands, navigate through the environment, either known or unknown, and recognize objects. This paper proposes an approach for object recognition based on the use of depth information and color images for a service robot. We present a study on two of the most used methods for object detection, where 3D data is used to detect the position of objects to classify that are found on horizontal surfaces. Since most of the objects of interest accessible for service robots are on these surfaces, the proposed 3D segmentation reduces the processing time and simplifies the scene for object recognition. The first approach for object recognition is based on color histograms, while the second is based on the use of the SIFT and SURF feature descriptors. We present comparative experimental results obtained with a real service robot.

Keywords: object detection, feature, descriptors, SIFT, SURF, depth images, service robots

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34 Mesoporous Nanocomposites for Sustained Release Applications

Authors: Daniela Istrati, Alina Morosan, Maria Stanca, Bogdan Purcareanu, Adrian Fudulu, Laura Olariu, Alice Buteica, Ion Mindrila, Rodica Cristescu, Dan Eduard Mihaiescu

Abstract:

Our present work is related to the synthesis, characterization and applications of new nanocomposite materials based on silica mesoporous nanocompozites systems. The nanocomposite support was obtained by using a specific step–by–step multilayer structure buildup synthetic route, characterized by XRD (X-Ray Difraction), TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy), FT-IR (Fourier Transform-Infra Red Spectrometry), BET (Brunauer–Emmett–Teller method) and loaded with Salvia officinalis plant extract obtained by a hydro-alcoholic extraction route. The sustained release of the target compounds was studied by a modified LC method, proving low release profiles, as expected for the high specific surface area support. The obtained results were further correlated with the in vitro / in vivo behavior of the nanocomposite material and recommending the silica mesoporous nanocomposites as good candidates for biomedical applications. Acknowledgements: This study has been funded by the Research Project PN-III-P2-2.1-PTE-2016-0160, 49-PTE / 2016 (PROZECHIMED) and Project Number PN-III-P4-ID-PCE-2016-0884 / 2017.

Keywords: biomedical, mesoporous, nanocomposites, natural products, sustained release

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33 Genetic Diversity of Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench Genotypes as Revealed by Microsatellite Markers

Authors: Maletsema Alina Mofokeng, Hussein Shimelis, Mark Laing, Pangirayi Tongoona

Abstract:

Sorghum is one of the most important cereal crops grown for food, feed and bioenergy. Knowledge of genetic diversity is important for conservation of genetic resources and improvement of crop plants through breeding. The objective of this study was to assess the level of genetic diversity among sorghum genotypes using microsatellite markers. A total of 103 accessions of sorghum genotypes obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the African Centre for Crop Improvement and Agricultural Research Council-Grain Crops Institute collections in South Africa were estimated using 30 microsatellite markers. For all the loci analysed, 306 polymorphic alleles were detected with a mean value of 6.4 per locus. The polymorphic information content had an average value of 0.50 with heterozygosity mean value of 0.55 suggesting an important genetic diversity within the sorghum genotypes used. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean clustering based on Euclidian coefficients revealed two major distinct groups without allocating genotypes based on the source of collection or origin. The genotypes 4154.1.1.1, 2055.1.1.1, 4441.1.1.1, 4442.1.1.1, 4722.1.1.1, and 4606.1.1.1 were the most diverse. The sorghum genotypes with high genetic diversity could serve as important sources of novel alleles for breeding and strategic genetic conservation.

Keywords: Genetic Diversity, Genotypes, Microsatellites, Sorghum

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32 Evolution of Approaches to Cost Calculation in the Conditions of the Modern Russian Economy

Authors: Elena Tkachenko, Vladimir Kokh, Alina Osipenko, Vladislav Surkov

Abstract:

The modern period of development of Russian economy is fraught with a number of problems related to limitations in the use of traditional planning and financial management tools. Restrictions in the use of foreign software when performing an order of the Russian Government, on the one hand, and sanctions limiting the support of the major ERP and MRP II systems in the Russian Federation, on the other hand, entail the necessity to appeal to the basics of developing budgeting and analysis systems for industrial enterprises. Thus, cost calculation theory becomes the theoretical foundation for the development of industrial cost management systems. Based on the foregoing, it would be fair to make an assumption that the development of a working managerial accounting model on an industrial enterprise using an automated enterprise resource management system should rest upon the concept of the inevitability of alterations of business processes. On the other hand, optimized business processes make the architecture of financial analytics more transparent and permit the use of all the benefits of data cubes. The metrics and indicator slices provide online assessment of the state of key business processes at a given moment of time, which improves the quality of managerial decisions considerably. Therefore, the bilateral sanctions situation boosted the development of corporate business analytics and took industrial companies to the next level of understanding of business processes.

Keywords: cost culculation, ERP, OLAP, modern Russian economy

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31 In vitro Cytotoxicity Study on Silver Powders Synthesized via Different Routes

Authors: Otilia Ruxandra Vasile, Ecaterina Andronescu, Cristina Daniela Ghitulica, Bogdan Stefan Vasile, Roxana Trusca, Eugeniu Vasile, Alina Maria Holban, Carmen Mariana Chifiriuc, Florin Iordache, Horia Maniu

Abstract:

Engineered powders offer great promise in several applications, but little information is known about cytotoxicity effects. The aim of the current study was the synthesis and cytotoxicity examination of silver powders using pyrosol method at temperatures of 600°C, 650°C and 700°C, respectively sol-gel method and calcinations at 500°C, 600°C, 700°C and 800°C. We have chosen to synthesize and examine silver particles cytotoxicity due to its use in biological applications. The synthesized Ag powders were characterized from the structural, compositional and morphological point of view by using XRD, SEM, and TEM with SAED. In order to determine the influence of the synthesis route on Ag particles cytotoxicity, different sizes of micro and nanosilver synthesized powders were evaluated for their potential toxicity. For the study of their cytotoxicity, cell cycle and apoptosis have been done analysis through flow cytometry on human colon carcinoma cells and mesenchymal stem cells and through the MTT assay, while the viability and the morphological changes of the cells have been evaluated by using cloning studies. The results showed that the synthesized silver nanoparticles have displayed significant cytotoxicity effects on cell cultures. Our synthesized silver powders were found to present toxicity in a synthesis route and time-dependent manners for pyrosol synthesized nanoparticles; whereas a lower cytotoxicity has been measured after cells were treated with silver nanoparticles synthesized through sol-gel method.

Keywords: Ag, cytotoxicity, pyrosol method, sol-gel method

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30 Bacterial Cellulose/Silver-Doped Hydroxyapatite Composites for Tissue Engineering Application

Authors: Adrian Ionut Nicoara, Denisa Ionela Ene, Alina Maria Holban, Cristina Busuioc

Abstract:

At present, the development of materials with biomedical applications is a domain of interest that will produce a full series of benefits in engineering and medicine. In this sense, it is required to use a natural material, and this paper is focused on the development of a composite material based on bacterial cellulose – hydroxyapatite and silver nanoparticles with applications in hard tissue. Bacterial cellulose own features like biocompatibility, non-toxicity character and flexibility. Moreover, the bacterial cellulose can be conjugated with different forms of active silver to possess antimicrobial activity. Hydroxyapatite is well known that can mimic at a significant level the activity of the initial bone. The material was synthesized by using an ultrasound probe and finally characterized by several methods. Thereby, the morphological properties were analyzed by using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Because the synthesized material has medical application in restore the tissue and to fight against microbial invasion, the samples were tested from the biological point of view by evaluating the biodegradability in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and simulated body fluid (SBF) and moreover the antimicrobial effect was performed on Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli, and fungi Candida albicans. The results reveal that the obtained material has specific characteristics for bone regeneration.

Keywords: bacterial cellulose, biomaterials, hydroxyapatite, scaffolds materials

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29 Estimation of Genetic Diversity in Sorghum Accessions Using Agro-Mophological and Nutritional Traits

Authors: Maletsema Alina Mofokeng, Nemera Shargie

Abstract:

Sorghum is one of the most important cereal crops grown as a source of calories for many people in tropics and sub-tropics of the world. Proper characterisation and evaluation of crop germplasm is an important component for effective management of genetic resources and their utilisation in the improvement of the crop through plant breeding. The objective of the study was to estimate the genetic diversity present in sorghum accessions grown in South Africa using agro-morphological traits and some nutritional contents. The experiment was carried out in Potchefstroom. Data were subjected to correlations, principal components analysis, and hierarchical clustering using GenStat statistical software. There were highly significance differences among the accessions based on agro-morphological and nutritional quality traits. Grain yield was highly positively correlated with panicle weight. Plant height was highly significantly correlated with internode length, leaf length, leaf number, stem diameter, the number of nodes and starch content. The Principal component analysis revealed three most important PCs with a total variation of 78.6%. The protein content ranged from 7.7 to 14.7%, and starch ranged from 58.52 to 80.44%. The accessions that had high protein and starch content were AS16cyc and MP4277. There was vast genetic diversity observed among the accessions assessed that can be used by plant breeders to improve yield and nutritional traits.

Keywords: accessions, genetic diversity, nutritional quality, sorghum

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28 Does Indian Intellectual Property Policy Affect the U. S. Pharmaceutical Industry? A Comparative Study of Pfizer and Ranbaxy Laboratories in Regards to Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

Authors: Alina Hamid Bari

Abstract:

Intellectual Property (IP) policies of a country have a huge impact on the pharmaceutical industry as this industry is all about patents. Developed countries have used IP protection to boost their economy; developing countries are concerned about access to medicine for poor people. U.S. company, Pfizer had a monopoly for 14 years for Lipitor and it all came to end when Pfizer decided to operate in India. This research will focus at the effects of Indian IP policies on USA by comparing Pfizer & Ranbaxy with regards to Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. For this research inductive approach has been used. Main source of material is Annual reports, theory based on academic books and articles along with rulings of court, policy statements and decisions, websites and newspaper articles. SWOT analysis is done for both Pfizer & Ranbaxy. The main comparison was done by doing ratio analysis and analyses of annual reports for the year 2011-2012 for Pfizer and Ranbaxy to see the impact on their profitability. This research concludes that Indian intellectual laws do affect the profitability of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry which can in turn have an impact on the US economy. These days India is only granting patents on products which it feels are deserving of it. So the U.S. companies operating in India have to defend their invention to get a patent. Thus, to operate in India and maintain monopoly in market, US firms have to come up with different strategies.

Keywords: atorvastatin, India, intellectual property, lipitor, Pfizer, pharmaceutical industry, Ranbaxy, TRIPs, U.S.

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27 Probabilistic Approach to the Spatial Identification of the Environmental Sources behind Mortality Rates in Europe

Authors: Alina Svechkina, Boris A. Portnov

Abstract:

In line with a rapid increase in pollution sources and enforcement of stricter air pollution regulation, which lowers pollution levels, it becomes more difficult to identify actual risk sources behind the observed morbidity patterns, and new approaches are required to identify potential risks and take preventive actions. In the present study, we discuss a probabilistic approach to the spatial identification of a priori unidentified environmental health hazards. The underlying assumption behind the tested approach is that the observed adverse health patterns (morbidity, mortality) can become a source of information on the geographic location of environmental risk factors that stand behind them. Using this approach, we analyzed sources of environmental exposure using data on mortality rates available for the year 2015 for NUTS 3 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) subdivisions of the European Union. We identified several areas in the southwestern part of Europe as primary risk sources for the observed mortality patterns. Multivariate regressions, controlled by geographical location, climate conditions, GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, dependency ratios, population density, and the level of road freight revealed that mortality rates decline as a function of distance from the identified hazard location. We recommend the proposed approach an exploratory analysis tool for initial investigation of regional patterns of population morbidity patterns and factors behind it.

Keywords: mortality, environmental hazards, air pollution, distance decay gradient, multi regression analysis, Europe, NUTS3

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26 Raman, Atomic Force Microscopy and Mass Spectrometry for Isotopic Ratios Methods Used to Investigate Human Dentine and Enamel

Authors: Nicoleta Simona Vedeanu, Rares Stiufiuc, Dana Alina Magdas

Abstract:

A detailed knowledge of the teeth structure is mandatory to understand and explain the defects and the dental pathology, but especially to take a correct decision regarding dental prophylaxis and treatment. The present work is an alternative study to the traditional investigation methods used in dentistry, a study based on the use of modern, sensitive physical methods to investigate human enamel and dentin. For the present study, several teeth collected from patients of different ages were used for structural and dietary investigation. The samples were investigated by Raman spectroscopy for the molecular structure analysis of dentin and enamel, atomic force microscopy (AFM) to view the dental topography at the micrometric size and mass spectrometry for isotopic ratios as a fingerprint of patients’ personal diet. The obtained Raman spectra and their interpretation are in good correlation with the literature and may give medical information by comparing affected dental structures with healthy ones. AFM technique gave us the possibility to study in details the dentin and enamel surface to collect information about dental hardness or dental structural changes. δ¹³C values obtained for the studied samples can be classified in C4 category specific to young people and children diet (sweets, cereals, juices, pastry). The methods used in this attempt furnished important information about dentin and enamel structure and dietary habits and each of the three proposed methods can be extended at a larger level in the study of the teeth structure.

Keywords: AFM, dentine, enamel, Raman spectroscopy

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25 Role of ABC Transporters in Non-Target Site Herbicide Resistance in Black Grass (Alopecurus myosuroides)

Authors: Alina Goldberg Cavalleri, Sara Franco Ortega, Nawaporn Onkokesung, Richard Dale, Melissa Brazier-Hicks, Robert Edwards

Abstract:

Non-target site based resistance (NTSR) to herbicides in weeds is a polygenic trait associated with the upregulation of proteins involved in xenobiotic detoxification and translocation we have termed the xenome. Among the xenome proteins, ABC transporters play a key role in enhancing herbicide metabolism by effluxing conjugated xenobiotics from the cytoplasm into the vacuole. The importance of ABC transporters is emphasized by the fact that they often contribute to multidrug resistance in human cells and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. They also play a key role in insecticide resistance in major vectors of human diseases and crop pests. By surveying available databases, transcripts encoding ABCs have been identified as being enhanced in populations exhibiting NTSR in several weed species. Based on a transcriptomics data in black grass (Alopecurus myosuroides, Am), we have identified three proteins from the ABC-C subfamily that are upregulated in NTSR populations. ABC-C transporters are poorly characterized proteins in plants, but in Arabidopsis localize to the vacuolar membrane and have functional roles in transporting glutathionylated (GSH)-xenobiotic conjugates. We found that the up-regulation of AmABCs strongly correlates with the up-regulation of a glutathione transferase termed AmGSTU2, which can conjugate GSH to herbicides. The expression profile of the ABC transcripts was profiled in populations of black grass showing different degree of resistance to herbicides. This, together with a phylogenetic analysis, revealed that AmABCs cluster in different groups which might indicate different substrate and roles in the herbicide resistance phenotype in the different populations

Keywords: black grass, herbicide, resistance, transporters

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24 Negative Pressure Wound Therapy in Complex Injuries of the Limbs

Authors: Mihail Nagea, Olivera Lupescu, Nicolae Ciurea, Alexandru Dimitriu, Alina Grosu

Abstract:

Introduction: As severe open injuries are more and more frequent in modern traumatology, threatening not only the integrity of the affected limb but even the life of the patients, new methods desired to cope with the consequences of these traumas were described. Vacuum therapy is one such method which has been described as enhancing healing in trauma with extensive soft-tissue injuries, included those with septic complications. Material and methods: Authors prospectively analyze 15 patients with severe lower limb trauma with MESS less than 6, with considerable soft tissue loss following initial debridement and fracture fixation. The patients needed serial debridements and vacuum therapy was applied after delayed healing due to initial severity of the trauma, for an average period of 12 days (7 - 23 days).In 7 cases vacuum therapy was applied for septic complications. Results: Within the study group, there were no local complications; secondary debridements were performed for all the patients and vacuum system was re-installed after these debridements. No amputations were needed. Medical records were reviewed in order to compare the outcome of the patients: the hospital stay, anti-microbial therapy, time to healing of the bone and soft tissues (there is no standard group to be compared with) and the result showed considerable improvements in the outcome of the patients. Conclusion: Vacuum therapy improves healing of the soft tissues, including those infected; hospital stay and the number of secondary necessary procedures are reduced. Therefore it is considered a valuable support in treating trauma of the limbs with severe soft tissue injuries.

Keywords: complex injuries, negative pressure, open fractures, wound therapy

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23 Analysis of Non-Coding Genome in Streptococcus pneumoniae for Molecular Epidemiology Typing

Authors: Martynova Alina, Lyubov Buzoleva

Abstract:

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the causative agent of pneumonias and meningitids throught all the world. Having high genetic diversity, this microorganism can cause different clinical forms of pneumococcal infections and microbiologically it is really difficult diagnosed by routine methods. Also, epidemiological surveillance requires more developed methods of molecular typing because the recent method of serotyping doesn't allow to distinguish invasive and non-invasive isolates properly. Non-coding genome of bacteria seems to be the interesting source for seeking of highly distinguishable markers to discriminate the subspecies of such a variable bacteria as Streptococcus pneumoniae. Technically, we proposed scheme of discrimination of S.pneumoniae strains with amplification of non-coding region (SP_1932) with the following restriction with 2 types of enzymes of Alu1 and Mn1. Aim: This research aimed to compare different methods of typing and their application for molecular epidemiology purposes. Methods: we analyzed population of 100 strains of S.pneumoniae isolated from different patients by different molecular epidemiology methods such as pulse-field gel electophoresis (PFGE), restriction polymorphism analysis (RFLP) and multilolocus sequence typing (MLST), and all of them were compared with classic typing method as serotyping. The discriminative power was estimated with Simpson Index (SI). Results: We revealed that the most discriminative typing method is RFLP (SI=0,97, there were distinguished 42 genotypes).PFGE was slightly less discriminative (SI=0,95, we identified 35 genotypes). MLST is still the best reference method (SI=1.0). Classic method of serotyping showed quite weak discriminative power (SI=0,93, 24 genotypes). In addition, sensivity of RFLP was 100%, specificity was 97,09%. Conclusion: the most appropriate method for routine epidemiology surveillance is RFLP with non-coding region of Streptococcsu pneumoniae, then PFGE, though in some cases these results should be obligatory confirmed by MLST.

Keywords: molecular epidemiology typing, non-coding genome, Streptococcus pneumoniae, MLST

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22 White Wine Discrimination Based on Deconvoluted Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Signals

Authors: Dana Alina Magdas, Nicoleta Simona Vedeanu, Ioana Feher, Rares Stiufiuc

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Food and beverages authentication using rapid and non-expensive analytical tools represents nowadays an important challenge. In this regard, the potential of vibrational techniques in food authentication has gained an increased attention during the last years. For wines discrimination, Raman spectroscopy appears more feasible to be used as compared with IR (infrared) spectroscopy, because of the relatively weak water bending mode in the vibrational spectroscopy fingerprint range. Despite this, the use of Raman technique in wine discrimination is in an early stage. Taking this into consideration, the wine discrimination potential of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) technique is reported in the present work. The novelty of this study, compared with the previously reported studies, concerning the application of vibrational techniques in wine discrimination consists in the fact that the present work presents the wines differentiation based on the individual signals obtained from deconvoluted spectra. In order to achieve wines classification with respect to variety, geographical origin and vintage, the peaks intensities obtained after spectra deconvolution were compared using supervised chemometric methods like Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA). For this purpose, a set of 20 white Romanian wines from different viticultural Romanian regions four varieties, was considered. Chemometric methods applied directly to row SERS experimental spectra proved their efficiency, but discrimination markers identification found to be very difficult due to the overlapped signals as well as for the band shifts. By using this approach, a better general view related to the differences that appear among the wines in terms of compositional differentiation could be reached.

Keywords: chemometry, SERS, variety, wines discrimination

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21 Comparative Study on Productivity, Chemical Composition and Yield Quality of Some Alternative Crops in Romanian Organic Farming

Authors: Maria Toader, Gheorghe Valentin Roman, Alina Maria Ionescu

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Crops diversity and maintaining and enhancing the fertility of agricultural lands are basic principles of organic farming. With a wider range of crops in agroecosystem can improve the ability to control weeds, pests and diseases, and the performance of crops rotation and food safety. In this sense, the main objective of the research was to study the productivity and chemical composition of some alternative crops and their adaptability to soil and climatic conditions of the agricultural area in Southern Romania and to cultivation in the organic farming system. The alternative crops were: lentil (7 genotypes); five species of grain legumes (5 genotypes); four species of oil crops (5 genotypes). The seed production was, on average: 1343 kg/ha of lentil; 2500 kg/ha of field beans; 2400 kg/ha of chick peas and blackeyed peas; more than 2000 kg/ha of atzuki beans, over 1250 kg/ha of fenugreek; 2200 kg/ha of safflower; 570 kg/ha of oil pumpkin; 2150 kg/ha of oil flax; 1518 kg/ha of camelina. Regarding chemical composition, lentil seeds contained: 22.18% proteins, 3.03% lipids, 33.29% glucides, 4.00% minerals, and 259.97 kcal energy values. For field beans: 21.50% proteins, 4.40% lipids, 63.90% glucides, 5.85% minerals, 395.36 kcal energetic value. For chick peas: 21.23% proteins, 4.55% lipids, 53.00% glucides, 3.67% minerals, 348.22 kcal energetic value. For blackeyed peas: 23.30% proteins, 2.10% lipids, 68.10% glucides, 3.93% minerals, 350.14 kcal energetic value. For adzuki beans: 21.90% proteins, 2.60% lipids, 69.30% glucides, 4.10% minerals, 402.48 kcal energetic value. For fenugreek: 21.30% proteins, 4.65% lipids, 63.83% glucides, 5.69% minerals, 396.54 kcal energetic value. For safflower: 12.60% proteins, 28.37% lipids, 46.41% glucides, 3.60% minerals, 505.78 kcal energetic value. For camelina: 20.29% proteins, 31.68% lipids, 36.28% glucides, 4.29% minerals, 526.63 kcal energetic value. For oil pumpkin: 29.50% proteins, 36.92% lipids, 18.50% glucides, 5.41% minerals, 540.15 kcal energetic value. For oil flax: 22.56% proteins, 34.10% lipids, 27.73% glucides, 5.25% minerals, 558.45 kcal energetic value.

Keywords: adaptability, alternative crops, chemical composition, organic farming productivity

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20 Associations of the FTO Gene Polymorphism with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Lithuanian Adult Population

Authors: Alina Smalinskiene Janina Petkeviciene, Jurate Klumbiene, Vilma Kriaucioniene, Vaiva Lesauskaite

Abstract:

The worldwide prevalence of obesity has been increasing dramatically in the last few decades, and Lithuania is no exception. In 2012, every fifth adult (19% of men and 20.5 % of women) was obese and every third was overweight Association studies have highlighted the influence of SNPs in obesity, with particular focus on FTO rs9939609. Thus far, no data on the possible association of this SNP to obesity in the adult Lithuanian population has been reported. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate an association between the FTO rs9939609 homozygous AA genotype and increased BMI when compared to homozygous TT. Furthermore, a positive association was determined between the FTO rs9939609 variant and risk of metabolic syndrome. Background: This study aimed to examine the associations between the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene rs9939609 variant with obesity and metabolic syndrome in Lithuanian adult population. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional health survey was carried out in randomly selected municipalities of Lithuania. The random sample was obtained from lists of 25–64 year-old inhabitants. The data from 1020 subjects were analysed. The rs9939609 SNP of the FTO gene was assessed using TaqMan assays (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA). The Applied Biosystems 7900HT Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction System was used for detecting the SNPs. Results: The carriers of the AA genotype had the highest mean values of BMI and waist circumference (WC) and the highest risk of obesity. Interactions ‘genotype x age’ and ‘genotype x physical activity’ in determining BMI and WC were shown. Neither lipid and glucose levels, nor blood pressure were associated with the rs9939609 independently of BMI. In the age group of 25-44 years, association between the FTO genotypes and metabolic syndrome was found. Conclusion: The FTO rs9939609 variant was significantly associated with BMI and WC, and with the risk of obesity in Lithuanian population. The FTO polymorphism might have a greater influence on weight status in younger individuals and in subjects with a low level of physical activity.

Keywords: obesity metabolic syndrome, FTO gene, polymorphism, Lithuania

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19 Safeners, Tools for Artificial Manipulation of Herbicide Selectivity: A Zea mays Case Study

Authors: Sara Franco Ortega, Alina Goldberg Cavalleri, Nawaporn Onkokesung, Richard Dale, Melissa Brazier-Hicks, Robert Edwards

Abstract:

Safeners are agrochemicals that enhance the selective chemical control of wild grasses by increasing the ability of the crop to metabolise the herbicide. Although these compounds are widely used, their mode of action is not well understood. It is known that safeners enhance the metabolism of herbicides, by up-regulating the associated detoxification system we have termed the xenome. The xenome proteins involved in herbicide metabolism have been previously divided into four different phases, with cytochrome P450s (CYPs) playing a key role in phase I metabolism by catalysing hydroxylation and dealkylation reactions. Subsequently, glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) and UDP-glucosyltransferases lead to the formation of Phase II conjugates prior to their transport into the vacuole by ABCs transporters (Phase III). Maize (Zea mays), was been treated with different safeners to explore the selective induction of xenome proteins, with a special interest in the regulation of the CYP superfamily. Transcriptome analysis enabled the identification of key safener-inducible CYPs that were then functionally assessed to determine their role in herbicide detoxification. In order to do that, CYP’s were codon optimised, synthesised and inserted into the yeast expression vector pYES3 using in-fusion cloning. CYP’s expressed as recombinant proteins in a strain of yeast engineered to contain the P450 co-enzyme (cytochrome P450 reductase) from Arabidopsis. Microsomes were extracted and treated with herbicides of different chemical classes in the presence of the cofactor NADPH. The reaction products were then analysed by LCMS to identify any herbicide metabolites. The results of these studies will be presented with the key CYPs identified in maize used as the starting point to find orthologs in other crops and weeds to better understand their roles in herbicide selectivity and safening.

Keywords: CYPs, herbicide detoxification, LCMS, RNA-Seq, safeners

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18 Numerical Solution of Portfolio Selecting Semi-Infinite Problem

Authors: Alina Fedossova, Jose Jorge Sierra Molina

Abstract:

SIP problems are part of non-classical optimization. There are problems in which the number of variables is finite, and the number of constraints is infinite. These are semi-infinite programming problems. Most algorithms for semi-infinite programming problems reduce the semi-infinite problem to a finite one and solve it by classical methods of linear or nonlinear programming. Typically, any of the constraints or the objective function is nonlinear, so the problem often involves nonlinear programming. An investment portfolio is a set of instruments used to reach the specific purposes of investors. The risk of the entire portfolio may be less than the risks of individual investment of portfolio. For example, we could make an investment of M euros in N shares for a specified period. Let yi> 0, the return on money invested in stock i for each dollar since the end of the period (i = 1, ..., N). The logical goal here is to determine the amount xi to be invested in stock i, i = 1, ..., N, such that we maximize the period at the end of ytx value, where x = (x1, ..., xn) and y = (y1, ..., yn). For us the optimal portfolio means the best portfolio in the ratio "risk-return" to the investor portfolio that meets your goals and risk ways. Therefore, investment goals and risk appetite are the factors that influence the choice of appropriate portfolio of assets. The investment returns are uncertain. Thus we have a semi-infinite programming problem. We solve a semi-infinite optimization problem of portfolio selection using the outer approximations methods. This approach can be considered as a developed Eaves-Zangwill method applying the multi-start technique in all of the iterations for the search of relevant constraints' parameters. The stochastic outer approximations method, successfully applied previously for robotics problems, Chebyshev approximation problems, air pollution and others, is based on the optimal criteria of quasi-optimal functions. As a result we obtain mathematical model and the optimal investment portfolio when yields are not clear from the beginning. Finally, we apply this algorithm to a specific case of a Colombian bank.

Keywords: outer approximation methods, portfolio problem, semi-infinite programming, numerial solution

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