Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

Search results for: Brenda R. Berca

12 Economic Valuation of Environmental Services Sustained by Flamboyant Park in Goiania-Go, Brazil

Authors: Brenda R. Berca, Jessica S. Vieira, Lucas G. Candido, Matheus C. Ferreira, Paulo S. A. Lopes Filho, Rafaella O. Baracho


This study aims to estimate the economic value environmental services sustained by Flamboyant Lourival Louza Municipal Park in Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil. The Flamboyant Park is one of the most relevant urban parks, and it is located near a stadium, a shopping center, and two supercenters. In order to define the methods used for the valuation of Flamboyant Park, the first step was carrying out bibliographical research with the view to better understand which method is most feasible to valuate the Park. Thus, the following direct methods were selected: travel cost, hedonic pricing, and contingent valuation. In addition, an indirect method (replacement cost) was applied at Flamboyant Park. The second step was creating and applying two surveys. The first survey aimed at the visitors of the park, addressing socio-economic issues, the use of the Park, as well as its importance and the willingness the visitors, had to pay for its existence. The second survey was destined to the existing trade in the Park, in order to collect data regarding the profits obtained by them. In the end, the characterization of the profile of the visitors and the application of the methods of contingent valuation, travel cost, replacement cost and hedonic pricing were obtained, thus monetarily valuing the various ecosystem services sustained by the park. Some services were not valued due to difficulties encountered during the process.

Keywords: contingent valuation, ecosystem services, economic environmental valuation, hedonic pricing, travel cost

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11 Reinventing Smart Tourism via Use of Smart Gamified and Gaming Applications in Greece

Authors: Sofia Maria Poulimenou, Ioannis Deliyannis, Elisavet Filippidou, Stamatella Laboura


Smart technologies are being actively used to improve the experience of travel and promote or demote a destination’s reputation via a wide variety of social media applications and platforms. This paper conceptualises the design and deployment of smart management apps to promote culture, sustainability and accessibility within two destinations in Greece that represent the extremes of visiting scale. One is the densely visited Corfu, which is a UNESCO’s heritage site. The problems caused by the lack of organisation of the visiting experience and infrastructures affect all parties interacting within the site: visitors, citizens, public and private sector. Second is Kilkis, a low tourism destination with high seasonality and mostly inbound tourism. Here the issue faced is that traditional approaches to inform and motivate locals and visitors to explore and taste of the culture have not flourished. The problem is apprehended via the design and development of two systems named “Hologrammatic Corfu” for Corfu old town and “BRENDA” for the area of Kilkis. Although each system is designed independently, featuring different solutions to the problems, both approaches have been designed by the same team and a novel gaming and gamification methodology. The “Hologramatic Corfu” application has been designed, for the exploration of the site covering user requirments before, during and after the trip, with the use of transmedia content such as photos, 360-degree videos, augmented reality and hologrammatic videos. Also, a statistical analysis of travellers’ visits to specific points of interest is actively utilized enabling visitors to dynamically re-rooted during their visit, safeguarding sustainability and accessibility and inclusivity along the entire tourism cycle. “BRENDA” is designed specifically to promote gastronomic and historical tourism. This serious game implements and combines gaming and gamification elements in order to connect local businesses with cultural points of interest. As the environment of the project has a strong touristic orientation, “BRENDA” supports food-related gamified processes and historical games involving active participation of both local communities (content providers) and visitors (players) which are more likely to be successfully performed in the informal environment of travelling and promote sustainable tourism experiences. Finally, the paper presents the ability to re-use existing gaming components within new areas of interest via minimal adaptation and the use of transmedia aspects that enables destinations to be rebranded into smart destinations.

Keywords: smart tourism, gamification, user experience, transmedia content

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10 Agro-Industrial Waste as a Source of Catalyst Production

Authors: Brenda Cecilia Ledesma, Andrea Beltramone


This work deals with the bio-waste valorization approach for catalyst development, the use of products derived from biomass as raw material and the obtaining of biofuels. In this research, activated carbons were synthesized from the orange peel using different synthesis conditions. With the activated carbons obtained with the best structure and texture, PtIr bimetallic catalysts were prepared. Carbon activation was carried out through a chemical process with phosphoric acid as an activating agent, varying the acid concentration, the ratio substrate/activating agent and time of contact between them. The best support was obtained using a carbonization time of 1 h, the temperature of carbonization of 470oC, the phosphoric acid concentration of 50 wt.% and a BET area of 1429 m2/g. Subsequently, the metallic nanoparticles were deposited in the activated carbon to use the solid as a catalytic material for the hydrogenation of HMF to 2,5-DMF. The catalyst presented an excellent performance for biofuels generation.

Keywords: orange peel, bio-waste valorization, platinum, iridium, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural

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9 Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) through Harvesting Encosternum delegorguei Insect (Harurwa) in Nerumedzo, Bikita District, Zimbabwe

Authors: Mkhokheli Sithole, Brenda N. Muchapondwa


Food security is becoming a critical issue for people residing mainly in the rural areas where frequent droughts interrupt food production, reduce income, compromise the ability to save and erode livelihoods. This tends to increase the vulnerability of poor households to food and income insecurity, hence, malnutrition. There is an emerging need for DRR strategies to complement the existing rain fed crop production based livelihoods. One of such strategies employed by the community of Nerumedzo in Bikita district is the harvesting of Encosternum delegorguei insect. This article analyses the livelihood impacts of Encosternum delegorguei insect as a DRR strategy. The research used a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The insect samples were tested in the laboratory for their nutritional composition while surveys were done on a sample of 40 community members. Participatory observations and 5 focus group discussions were also done. The results revealed that harvesting the Encosternum delegorguei insects provides a livelihood for the locals by complementing crop production thereby mitigating potential negative effects of frequent droughts. The insects are now a significant source of income to poor households in the community.

Keywords: disaster risk reduction, livelihoods, human, social sciences

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8 Hydrogels Beads of Alginate/Seaweed Powder for Plants Nutrition

Authors: Brenda O. Mazzola, Adriel Larsen, Romina P. Ollier, Leandro N. Ludueña, Vera A. Alvarez, Jimena S. Gonzalez


Seaweed is a natural renewable resource with great potential that is not being used by the domestic industry. Here, it was used a kind of invasive algae U. Pinnatifida that causes serious ecological damage on the Argentinian coasts. Alginate is one of the most widely used materials for encapsulation, and has the advantage that is a natural polysaccharide derived from a marine plant. It can form thermally stable hydrogel in the presence of calcium cation. In addition, the hydrogel can be easily produced into particulate form by using simple and gentle method. The aim of this work was to obtain and to characterize novel compounds (alginate/seaweed powder) for the soil nutrition. Alginate water solutions were prepared by concentrations of 20, 30, 40 and 50 g/L, in those solutions 10g/L of seaweed powder was added. Then the dispersions were transferred from a beaker to the atomizer by a peristaltic pump (with 0.05 to 0.1 L/h flow). A tank was filled with 1 L of calcium chloride solution (4 g/L), and the solution was agitated with a magnetic stirrer. The beads were analyzed by means TGA, FTIR and swelling determinations. In addition, the improvements in the soil were qualitative measured. It was obtained beads with different diameters depend on the initial concentration and the flow used. A better dispersions of seaweed and optimal diameter for the plant nutrition applications were obtained for 40g/L concentration and 0.1 L/h flow. The beads show thermal stability and high swelling degree. It can be successfully obtained alginate beads with seaweed powder with a novelty application as plant nutrient.

Keywords: biodegradable, characterization, hydrogel, plant nutrition, seaweed

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7 Low-Cost Reusable Thermal Energy Storage Particle for Concentrating Solar Power

Authors: Kyu Bum Han, Eunjin Jeon, Kimberly Watts, Brenda Payan Medina


Gen3 Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) high-temperature thermal systems have the potential to lower the cost of a CSP system. When compared to the other systems (chloride salt blends and supercritical fluids), the particle transport system can avoid many of the issues associated with high fluid temperature systems at high temperature because of its ability to operate at ambient pressure with limited corrosion or thermal stability risk. Furthermore, identifying and demonstrating low-cost particles that have excellent optical properties and durability can significantly reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of particle receivers. The currently available thermal transfer particle in the study and market is oxidized at about 700oC, which reduces its durability, generates particle loss by high friction loads, and causes the color change. To meet the CSP SunShot goal, the durability of particles must be improved by identifying particles that are less abrasive to other structural materials. Furthermore, the particles must be economically affordable and the solar absorptance of the particles must be increased while minimizing thermal emittance. We are studying a novel thermal transfer particle, which has low cost, high durability, and high solar absorptance at high temperatures. The particle minimizes thermal emittance and will be less abrasive to other structural materials. Additionally, the particle demonstrates reusability, which significantly lowers the LCOE. This study will contribute to two principal disciplines of energy science: materials synthesis and manufacturing. Developing this particle for thermal transfer will have a positive impact on the ceramic study and industry as well as the society.

Keywords: concentrating solar power, thermal energy storage, particle, reusability, economics

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6 Heterologous Expression of a Clostridium thermocellum Proteins and Assembly of Cellulosomes 'in vitro' for Biotechnology Applications

Authors: Jessica Pinheiro Silva, Brenda Rabello De Camargo, Daniel Gusmao De Morais, Eliane Ferreira Noronha


The utilization of lignocellulosic biomass as source of polysaccharides for industrial applications requires an arsenal of enzymes with different mode of action able to hydrolyze its complex and recalcitrant structure. Clostridium thermocellum is gram-positive, thermophilic bacterium producing lignocellulosic hydrolyzing enzymes in the form of multi-enzyme complex, termed celulossomes. This complex has several hydrolytic enzymes attached to a large and enzymically inactive protein known as Cellulosome-integrating protein (CipA), which serves as a scaffolding protein for the complex produced. This attachment occurs through specific interactions between cohesin modules of CipA and dockerin modules in enzymes. The present work aims to construct celulosomes in vitro with the structural protein CipA, a xylanase called Xyn10D and a cellulose called CelJ from C.thermocellum. A mini-scafoldin was constructed from modules derived from CipA containing two cohesion modules. This was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The other two genes were cloned under the control of the alcohol oxidase 1 promoter (AOX1) in the vector pPIC9 and integrated into the genome of the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris GS115. Purification of each protein is being carried out. Further studies regarding enzymatic activity of the cellulosome is going to be evaluated. The cellulosome built in vitro and composed of mini-CipA, CelJ and Xyn10D, can be very interesting for application in industrial processes involving the degradation of plant biomass.

Keywords: cellulosome, CipA, Clostridium thermocellum, cohesin, dockerin, yeast

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5 Assessment of Biotic and Abiotic Water Factors of Antiao and Jiabong Rivers for Benthic Algae

Authors: Geno Paul S. Cumla, Jan Mariel M. Gentiles, M. Brenda Gajelan-Samson


Eutrophication is a process where in there is a surplus of nutrients present in a lake or river. Harmful cyanobacteria, hypoxia, and primarily algae, which contain toxins, grow because of the excess nutrients. Algal blooms can cause fish kills, limiting the light penetration which reduces growth of aquatic organisms, causing die-offs of plants and produce conditions that are dangerous to aquatic and human life. The main cause for eutrophication is the presence of excessive amounts of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N). Nitrogen is necessary for the production of the plant tissues and is usually used to synthesize proteins. Nitrate is a compound that contains nitrogen, and at elevated levels it can cause harmful effects. Excessive amounts of phosphorus, displaced through human activity, is the major cause of algae growth and as well as degraded water quality. To accomplish this study the Assessment of Soluble inorganic nitrogen (SIN), Assessment of Soluble reactive phosphate (SRP), Determination of Chlorophyll a (Chl-a) concentration, and Determination of Dominating Taxa were done. The study addresses the high probability of algal blooms in Maqueda Bay by assessing the biotic and abiotic factors of Antiao and Jiabong rivers. The data predicts the overgrowth of algae and to create awareness to prevent the event from taking place. The study assesses the adverse effects that could be prevented by understanding and controlling algae. This should predict future cases of algal blooms and allow government agencies which require data to create programs to prevent and assess these issues.

Keywords: eutrophication, chlorophyll a, nitrogen, phosphorus, red tide, Kjeldahl method, spectrophotometer, assessment of soluble inorganic nitrogen, SIN, assessment of soluble reactive phosphate, SRP

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4 The Role of Social Capital in Community-Based Water Resources Management in Kenya's Polycentric Water Resource Governance System

Authors: Brenda Margaret Behan


Kenya is a water-stressed country with highly varied socio-ecological environments in its devolved county system, and is currently implementing a polycentric water governance system; this paper examines the importance of social capital in community-based natural resource management and its role in supporting good water governance systems in the Kenya context. Through a robust literature review of theory and case studies, specific aspects of social capital are examined to determine their importance in the implementation of local community-based water management arrangements which support and complement the more formal institutions outlined in the 2002 and 2016 Water Acts of Kenya. Water is an increasingly important and scarce resource not only for Kenya, but for many communities across the globe, and lessons learned in the Kenya context can be useful for other countries and communities faced with similar challenges. Changing climates, increasing populations, and increased per capita consumption of water is contributing to a situation in which the management of water resources will be vital to community resilience. Community-based natural resource management is widely recognized as a building block and component of wider water resource management systems, and when properly conducted can provide a way to enable sustainable use of resources and empower communities. Greater attention to the social and cultural norms and traditional institutions associated with a community’s social capital can lead to better results for Kenya’s polycentric governance of water. The key findings and recommendations from this research show that in Kenya, traditional institutions need to be understood and integrated into governance systems; social values and cultural norms have a significant impact on the implementation of community-based water management efforts; and social capital is a dynamic concept which influences and is influenced by policies and practices. The community-based water management approach will continue to be a key cornerstone for Kenya’s polycentric water governance structure, especially in the more remote arid and semi-arid lands; thus, the successful integration of social capital aspects into planning and implementation will contribute to a strengthened, sustainable, and more equitable national water governance system. Specific observations and recommendations from this study will help practitioners and policymakers to better craft community-based interventions.

Keywords: community-based natural resource management, social capital, traditional institutions, water governance

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3 Economic Impact and Benefits of Integrating Augmented Reality Technology in the Healthcare Industry: A Systematic Review

Authors: Brenda Thean I. Lim, Safurah Jaafar


Augmented reality (AR) in the healthcare industry has been gaining popularity in recent years, principally in areas of medical education, patient care and digital health solutions. One of the drivers in deciding to invest in AR technology is the potential economic benefits it could bring for patients and healthcare providers, including the pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors. Works of literature have shown that the benefits and impact of AR technologies have left trails of achievements in improving medical education and patient health outcomes. However, little has been published on the economic impact of AR in healthcare, a very resource-intensive industry. This systematic review was performed on studies focused on the benefits and impact of AR in healthcare to appraise if they meet the founded quality criteria so as to identify relevant publications for an in-depth analysis of the economic impact assessment. The literature search was conducted using multiple databases such as PubMed, Cochrane, Science Direct and Nature. Inclusion criteria include research papers on AR implementation in healthcare, from education to diagnosis and treatment. Only papers written in English language were selected. Studies on AR prototypes were excluded. Although there were many articles that have addressed the benefits of AR in the healthcare industry in the area of medical education, treatment and diagnosis and dental medicine, there were very few publications that identified the specific economic impact of technology within the healthcare industry. There were 13 publications included in the analysis based on the inclusion criteria. Out of the 13 studies, none comprised a systematically comprehensive cost impact evaluation. An outline of the cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit framework was made based on an AR article from another industry as a reference. This systematic review found that while the advancements of AR technology is growing rapidly and industries are starting to adopt them into respective sectors, the technology and its advancements in healthcare were still in their early stages. There are still plenty of room for further advancements and integration of AR into different sectors within the healthcare industry. Future studies will require more comprehensive economic analyses and costing evaluations to enable economic decisions for or against implementing AR technology in healthcare. This systematic review concluded that the current literature lacked detailed examination and conduct of economic impact and benefit analyses. Recommendations for future research would be to include details of the initial investment and operational costs for the AR infrastructure in healthcare settings while comparing the intervention to its conventional counterparts or alternatives so as to provide a comprehensive comparison on impact, benefit and cost differences.

Keywords: augmented reality, benefit, economic impact, healthcare, patient care

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2 The Influence of Gender and Sexual Orientation on Police Decisions in Intimate Partner Violence Cases

Authors: Brenda Russell


Police officers spend a great deal of time responding to domestic violence calls. Recent research has found that men and women in heterosexual and same-sex relationships are equally likely to initiate intimate partner violence IPV) and likewise susceptible to victimization, yet police training tends to focus primarily on male perpetration and female victimization. Criminal justice studies have found that male perpetrators of IPV are blamed more than female perpetrators who commit the same offense. While previous research has examined officer’s response in IPV cases with male and female heterosexual offenders, research has yet to investigate police response in same-sex relationships. This study examined officers’ decisions to arrest, perceptions of blame, perceived danger to others, disrespect, and beliefs in prosecution, guilt and sentencing. Officers in the U.S. (N = 248) were recruited using word of mouth and access to police association websites where a link to an online study was made available. Officers were provided with one of 4 experimentally manipulated scenarios depicting a male or female perpetrator (heterosexual or same-sex) in a clear domestic assault situation. Officer age, experience with IPV and IPV training were examined as possible covariates. Training in IPV was not correlated to any dependent variable of interest. Age was correlated with perpetrator arrest and blame (.14 and .16, respectively) and years of experience was correlated to arrest, offering informal advice, and mediating the incident (.14 to -.17). A 2(perpetrator gender) X 2 (victim gender) factorial design was conducted. Results revealed that officers were more likely to provide informal advice and mediate in gay male relationships, and were less likely to arrest perpetrators in same-sex relationships. When officer age and years of experience with domestic violence were statistically controlled, effects for perpetrator arrest and providing informal advice were no longer significant. Officers perceived heterosexual male perpetrators as more dangerous, blameworthy, disrespectful, and believed they would receive significantly longer sentences than all other conditions. When officer age and experience were included as covariates in the analyses perpetrator blame was no longer statistically significant. Age, experience and training in IPV were not related to perceptions of victims. Police perceived victims as more truthful and believable when the perpetrator was a male. Police also believed victims of female perpetrators were more responsible for their own victimization. Victims were more likely to be perceived as a danger to their family when the perpetrator was female. Female perpetrators in same-sex relationships and heterosexual males were considered to experience more mental illness than heterosexual female or gay male perpetrators. These results replicate previous research suggesting male perpetrators are more blameworthy and responsible for their own victimization, yet expands upon previous research by identifying potential biases in police response to IPV in same-sex relationships. This study brings to the forefront the importance of evidence-based officer training in IPV and provides insight into the need for a gender inclusive approach as well as addressing the necessity of the practical applications for police.

Keywords: domestic violence, heterosexual, intimate partner violence, officer response, police officer, same-sex

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1 Evaluation: Developing An Appropriate Survey Instrument For E-Learning

Authors: Brenda Ravenscroft, Ulemu Luhanga, Bev King


A comprehensive evaluation of online learning needs to include a blend of educational design, technology use, and online instructional practices that integrate technology appropriately for developing and delivering quality online courses. Research shows that classroom-based evaluation tools do not adequately capture the dynamic relationships between content, pedagogy, and technology in online courses. Furthermore, studies suggest that using classroom evaluations for online courses yields lower than normal scores for instructors, and may affect faculty negatively in terms of administrative decisions. In 2014, the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University responded to this evidence by seeking an alternative to the university-mandated evaluation tool, which is designed for classroom learning. The Faculty is deeply engaged in e-learning, offering large variety of online courses and programs in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts. This paper describes the process by which a new student survey instrument for online courses was developed and piloted, the methods used to analyze the data, and the ways in which the instrument was subsequently adapted based on the results. It concludes with a critical reflection on the challenges of evaluating e-learning. The Student Evaluation of Online Teaching Effectiveness (SEOTE), developed by Arthur W. Bangert in 2004 to assess constructivist-compatible online teaching practices, provided the starting point. Modifications were made in order to allow the instrument to serve the two functions required by the university: student survey results provide the instructor with feedback to enhance their teaching, and also provide the institution with evidence of teaching quality in personnel processes. Changes were therefore made to the SEOTE to distinguish more clearly between evaluation of the instructor’s teaching and evaluation of the course design, since, in the online environment, the instructor is not necessarily the course designer. After the first pilot phase, involving 35 courses, the results were analyzed using Stobart's validity framework as a guide. This process included statistical analyses of the data to test for reliability and validity, student and instructor focus groups to ascertain the tool’s usefulness in terms of the feedback it provided, and an assessment of the utility of the results by the Faculty’s e-learning unit responsible for supporting online course design. A set of recommendations led to further modifications to the survey instrument prior to a second pilot phase involving 19 courses. Following the second pilot, statistical analyses were repeated, and more focus groups were used, this time involving deans and other decision makers to determine the usefulness of the survey results in personnel processes. As a result of this inclusive process and robust analysis, the modified SEOTE instrument is currently being considered for adoption as the standard evaluation tool for all online courses at the university. Audience members at this presentation will be stimulated to consider factors that differentiate effective evaluation of online courses from classroom-based teaching. They will gain insight into strategies for introducing a new evaluation tool in a unionized institutional environment, and methodologies for evaluating the tool itself.

Keywords: evaluation, online courses, student survey, teaching effectiveness

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