Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 26

Search results for: Graciela Velasco

26 Random Subspace Neural Classifier for Meteor Recognition in the Night Sky

Authors: Carlos Vera, Tetyana Baydyk, Ernst Kussul, Graciela Velasco, Miguel Aparicio

Abstract:

This article describes the Random Subspace Neural Classifier (RSC) for the recognition of meteors in the night sky. We used images of meteors entering the atmosphere at night between 8:00 p.m.-5: 00 a.m. The objective of this project is to classify meteor and star images (with stars as the image background). The monitoring of the sky and the classification of meteors are made for future applications by scientists. The image database was collected from different websites. We worked with RGB-type images with dimensions of 220x220 pixels stored in the BitMap Protocol (BMP) format. Subsequent window scanning and processing were carried out for each image. The scan window where the characteristics were extracted had the size of 20x20 pixels with a scanning step size of 10 pixels. Brightness, contrast and contour orientation histograms were used as inputs for the RSC. The RSC worked with two classes and classified into: 1) with meteors and 2) without meteors. Different tests were carried out by varying the number of training cycles and the number of images for training and recognition. The percentage error for the neural classifier was calculated. The results show a good RSC classifier response with 89% correct recognition. The results of these experiments are presented and discussed.

Keywords: contour orientation histogram, meteors, night sky, RSC neural classifier, stars

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25 The Use of Microalgae Cultivation for Improving the Effluent Behavior of Anaerobic Digestion of Food Wastes at Psychrophilic Range

Authors: Pedro M. Velasco, Cecilia C. Alday, Oscar C. Avello, Ximena T. Faundez, Luis M. Velasco

Abstract:

Anaerobic digestion (AD) plants of food waste (FW) produced by agro-industry, have been widely developed from last decade to nowadays, because of the advantages over aerobic active sludge systems. Despite several bioreactor configurations and operation modes have been successfully improved and implemented at industrial scale in a wide range of applications, effluent behavior, after AD, does not commonly meet requirements for direct disposal into the environment without further treatments. In addition, literature has rarely shown AD of food waste at psychrophilic range. This temperature range may be of interest for making AD plant operation easier and increasing the stability of digestion. In spite of literature shows several methods for post-treatment, such as the use of microalgae, these have not been cultivated on effluents from AD at psychrophilic range. Hence, with the aim of showing the potential use of AD of FW at the psychrophilic range (25ºC) and the viability of microalgae post-treatment, single batch reactors have been used for methane potential tests at laboratory scale. Afterwards, digestates, derived from this AD of FW sludge, were diluted with fresh water at different ratios (1:0, 1:1; 1:4) and used as culture media for photoautotrophic microalgae. Several parameters, such as pH, biogas production, and chemical oxygen demand, were measured periodically over several months. Results show that methane potential is 150 ml g-1 per volatile solid with up to 57.7 % of methane content. Moreover, microalgae has been successfully cultivated on all tested effluents and in case of 1:1 and 1:4 rates, the resulting effluents meet the quality levels required for irrigation water.

Keywords: anaerobic digestion, biogas, food waste, microalgae, psychrophilic range

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24 Comparative Analysis of VTEC Bank of Rollers Brake Testers versus Maha, Ryme and Dynamometric Platform Testers Used at Ministry of Transport Facilities

Authors: Carolina Senabre, Sergio Valero, Emilio Velasco

Abstract:

This research objective is to compare the differences of brake measurements obtained with the same vehicle when braking on VTEQ Ministry of Transport (MOT) brake testers versus others such as Maha, Ryme and a dynamometric platform. These different types of brake testers have been used and analyzed by the mechanical engineering staffs at the mechanical laboratory at the Miguel Hernández University. Parameters of the vehicle have been controlled to be the same in all tests. Therefore, brake measurements variability will be due to the tester used. Advances and disadvantages of each brake tester have been analyzed.

Keywords: brake tester, Ministry of transport, longitudinal braking, Bank of Rollers

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23 Wheel Diameter and Width Influence in Variability of Brake Data Measurement at Ministry of Transport Facilities

Authors: Carolina Senabre, Sergio Valero, Emilio Velasco

Abstract:

The brake systems of vehicles are tested periodically by a “brake tester” at Ministry of Transport (MOT) stations. This tester measures the effectiveness of vehicle. This parameter is established by the International Committee of Vehicle Inspection (CITA). In this paper, we present an investigation of the influence of the tire size on the measurements of brake force on three MOT brake testers. We performed an analysis of the vehicle braking capacity test at MOT stations. The influence of varying wheel diameter and width on the measurement of braking at MOT stations has been analyzed. Thereby, the MOT brake tester as a verification system for a vehicle has been evaluated.

Keywords: brake tester, ministry of transport facilities, wheel diameter, efficiency

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22 Ceiba Speciosa Nanocellulose Obtained from a Sustainable Method as a Potential Reinforcement for Polymeric Composites

Authors: Heloise Sasso Teixeira, Talita Szlapak Franco, Thais Helena Sydenstricker Flores-Sahagun, Milton Vazquez Lepe, Graciela Bolzon Muñiz

Abstract:

Due to the need to reduce the consumption of materials produced from non-renewable sources, the search for new raw materials of natural origin is growing. In this regard, lignocellulosic fibers have great potential. Ceiba sp fibers are found in the fruit of the tree of the same name and have characteristics that differ from other natural fibers. Ceiba fibers are very light, have a high cellulose content, and are hydrophobic due to the presence of waxes on their surface. In this study, Ceiba fiber was used as raw material to obtain cellulose nanofibers (CNF), with the potential to be used in polymeric matrices. Due to the characteristics of this fiber, no chemical pretreatment was necessary before the mechanical defibrilation process in a colloidal mill, obtaining sustainable nanocellulose. The CNFs were characterized by Fourier infrared (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), analysis of the rmogravimetic (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

Keywords: cellulose nanofibers, nanocellulose, fibers, Brazilian fIbers, lignocellulosic, characterization

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21 Material Failure Process Simulation by Improved Finite Elements with Embedded Discontinuities

Authors: Gelacio Juárez-Luna, Gustavo Ayala, Jaime Retama-Velasco

Abstract:

This paper shows the advantages of the material failure process simulation by improve finite elements with embedded discontinuities, using a new definition of traction vector, dependent on the discontinuity length and the angle. Particularly, two families of this kind of elements are compared: kinematically optimal symmetric and statically and kinematically optimal non-symmetric. The constitutive model to describe the behavior of the material in the symmetric formulation is a traction-displacement jump relationship equipped with softening after reaching the failure surface. To show the validity of this symmetric formulation, representative numerical examples illustrating the performance of the proposed formulation are presented. It is shown that the non-symmetric family may over or underestimate the energy required to create a discontinuity, as this effect is related with the total length of the discontinuity, fact that is not noticed when the discontinuity path is a straight line.

Keywords: variational formulation, strong discontinuity, embedded discontinuities, strain localization

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20 Analysis of an Alternative Data Base for the Estimation of Solar Radiation

Authors: Graciela Soares Marcelli, Elison Eduardo Jardim Bierhals, Luciane Teresa Salvi, Claudineia Brazil, Rafael Haag

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The sun is a source of renewable energy, and its use as both a source of heat and light is one of the most promising energy alternatives for the future. To measure the thermal or photovoltaic systems a solar irradiation database is necessary. Brazil still has a reduced number of meteorological stations that provide frequency tests, as an alternative to the radio data platform, with reanalysis systems, quite significant. ERA-Interim is a global fire reanalysis by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The data assimilation system used for the production of ERA-Interim is based on a 2006 version of the IFS (Cy31r2). The system includes a 4-dimensional variable analysis (4D-Var) with a 12-hour analysis window. The spatial resolution of the dataset is approximately 80 km at 60 vertical levels from the surface to 0.1 hPa. This work aims to make a comparative analysis between the ERA-Interim data and the data observed in the Solarimmetric Atlas of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, to verify its applicability in the absence of an observed data network. The analysis of the results obtained for a study region as an alternative to the energy potential of a given region.

Keywords: energy potential, reanalyses, renewable energy, solar radiation

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19 The Regional Center for Business Quality of the University Center of the Valleys: Transiting to an Entrepreneurial University

Authors: Carlos Alberto Santamaria Velasco

Abstract:

The study object of this chapter analyzes the case of the Centro Regional para la Calidad Empresarial (CreCE) starting from an analysis of the theoretical discussion about the universities as actors of the development and generation of enterprises. As well as the promotion of the entrepreneurial culture that they carry out in their environment of influence as part of the linkage and extension actions that have as one of their substantive functions, in addition to teaching and research. The objective is to know the theoretical discussion and the state of art about the entrepreneurial universities from the institutional theory of Douglas North, carrying out a theoretical analysis of the formal and informal factors from the universities linking the specific case of the CReCE. A literature review was carried out in the main journals in the topic of entrepreneurship, about the factors that influence the creation and development of entrepreneurial universities, complementing research in the study of a particular case, CreCE, and how this affects in the transformation of the CUVALLES(Centro Universitario de los Valles) in its way towards an entrepreneurial university.

Keywords: entrepreneurial university, institutional theory, university, entrepreneurial universities

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18 Optical Properties of a One Dimensional Graded Photonic Structure Based on Material Length Redistribution

Authors: Danny Manuel Calvo Velasco, Robert Sanchez Cano

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By using the transference matrix formalism, in this work, it is presented the study of the optical properties of the 1D graded structure, constructed by multiple bi-layers of dielectric and air, considering a redistribution of the material lengths following an arithmetic progression as a function of two parameters. It is presented a factorization for the transference matrices for the graded structure, which allows the interpretation of their optical properties in terms of the properties of simpler structures. It is shown that the graded structure presents new transmission peaks, which can be controlled by the parameter values located in frequencies for which a periodic system has a photonic bandgap. This result is extended to the case of a photonic crystal for which the unitary cell is the proposed graded structure, showing new transmission bands which are due to the multiple new sub-structures present in the system. Also, for the TE polarization, it is observed transmission bands' low frequencies which present low variation of its width and position with the incidence angle. It is expected that these results could guide a route in the design of new photonic devices.

Keywords: graded, material redistribution, photonic system, transference matrix

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17 Probability of Passing the Brake Test at Ministry of Transport Facilities of Each City at Alicante Region from Spain

Authors: Carolina Senabre Blanes, Sergio Valero Verdú, Emilio Velasco SáNchez

Abstract:

This research objective is to obtain a percentage of success for each Ministry of Transport (MOT) facilities of each city of the Alicante region from Comunidad Valenciana from Spain by comparing results obtained by using different brake testers. It has been studied which types of brake tester are being used at each city nowadays. Different types of brake testers are used at each city, and the mechanical engineering staffs from the Miguel Hernández University have studied differences between all of them, and have obtained measures from each type. A percentage of probability of success will be given to each MOT station when you try to pass the exam with the same car with same characteristics and the same wheels. In other words, parameters of the vehicle have been controlled to be the same at all tests; therefore, brake measurements variability will be due to the type of testers could be used at the MOT station. A percentage of probability to pass the brake exam at each city will be given by comparing results of tests.

Keywords: brake tester, Mot station, probability to pass the exam, brake tester characteristics

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16 Fashion Magazines in Spain: History and Evolution

Authors: Ana María Velasco Molpeceres

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With this work, we try to offer a complete digest of female fashion magazines edited in Spain from the XVIII century to today. During the XIX century Spain developed an important journalistic industry and the feminine press was very popular. In addition, a lot of women wrote and directed fashion magazines which tried to improve women’s status and education. In the XX century, fashion magazines reflected the ideological conflicts and the history of Spain. Before the Civil War (1936-1939), women get many rights and the modernization was clear. In the Franco’s dictatorship, fashion magazines portrayed ideals of a conservative femininity. But, in the sixties, the media helped to connect Spain with the rest of the world, being at the same time under the censorship of the regime. After the dictatorship, fashion was a very important part of the Transition’s culture and the ‘Movida’ (reflected in Almodovar’s films) contributed and expressed the new ideals of citizenship for men and women. Fashion magazines showed the changes of the society. In the XXI century, today, these magazines are a part of a global culture and Vogue or Elle live with Spanish magazines as Telva or Hola. The objective of this research is to study the history, meaning and evolution of the fashion magazines in Spain. And, of course, the ideal of women reflected on them.

Keywords: fashion, Spain, magazines, women

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15 A State-Of-The-Art Review on Web Services Adaptation

Authors: M. Velasco, D. While, P. Raju, J. Krasniewicz, A. Amini, L. Hernandez-Munoz

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Web service adaptation involves the creation of adapters that solve Web services incompatibilities known as mismatches. Since the importance of Web services adaptation is increasing because of the frequent implementation and use of online Web services, this paper presents a literature review of web services to investigate the main methods of adaptation, their theoretical underpinnings and the metrics used to measure adapters performance. Eighteen publications were reviewed independently by two researchers. We found that adaptation techniques are needed to solve different types of problems that may arise due to incompatibilities in Web service interfaces, including protocols, messages, data and semantics that affect the interoperability of the services. Although adapters are non-invasive methods that can improve Web services interoperability and there are current approaches for service adaptation; there is, however, not yet one solution that fits all types of mismatches. Our results also show that only a few research projects incorporate theoretical frameworks and that metrics to measure adapters’ performance are very limited. We conclude that further research on software adaptation should improve current adaptation methods in different layers of the service interoperability and that an adaptation theoretical framework that incorporates a theoretical underpinning and measures of qualitative and quantitative performance needs to be created.

Keywords: Web Services Adapters, software adaptation, web services mismatches, web services interoperability

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14 Taking Learning beyond Kirkpatrick’s Levels: Applying Return on Investment Measurement in Training

Authors: Charles L. Sigmund, M. A. Aed, Lissa Graciela Rivera Picado

Abstract:

One critical component of the training development process is the evaluation of the impact and value of the program. Oftentimes, however, learning organizations bypass this phase either because they are unfamiliar with effective methods for measuring the success or effect of the training or because they believe the effort to be too time-consuming or cumbersome. As a result, most organizations that do conduct evaluation limit their scope to Kirkpatrick L1 (reaction) and L2 (learning), or at most carry through to L4 (results). In 2021 Microsoft made a strategic decision to assess the measurable and monetized impact for all training launches and designed a scalable and program-agnostic tool for providing full-scale L5 return on investment (ROI) estimates for each. In producing this measurement tool, the learning and development organization built a framework for making business prioritizations and resource allocations that is based on the projected ROI of a course. The analysis and measurement posed by this process use a combination of training data and operational metrics to calculate the effective net benefit derived from a given training effort. Business experts in the learning field generally consider a 10% ROI to be an outstanding demonstration of the value of a project. Initial findings from this work applied to a critical customer-facing program yielded an estimated ROI of more than 49%. This information directed the organization to make a more concerted and concentrated effort in this specific line of business and resulted in additional investment in the training methods and technologies being used.

Keywords: evaluation, measurement, return on investment, value

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13 Analysis of the Presence of Alkylglycerols by Gas Chromatography in Ostrich Oil

Authors: Luana N. Cardozo, Debora A. S. Coutinho, Fabiola Lagher, Bruno J. G. Silva, Ivonilce Venture, Mainara Tesser, Graciela Venera

Abstract:

Ostrich oil is used as food in Brazil, and it has been the subject of scientific research because it contains essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9), which provide benefits to human health. Alkylglycerols are lipid ethers consisted of a saturated or unsaturated hydrocarbon chain joined by ether-type bonding to one of the glycerol hydroxyls. It is known that supplementation with alkylglycerols can act significantly on the functioning of immune system cells, both in pathological situations and in homeostasis. Objective: Analyze the presence of alkylglycerols in ostrich oil. Methods: The ostrich oil was bought from an industry that manufactures the product for sale as food, located in Mirante da Serra, northern Brazil. The samples were sent for analysis to the chemistry department of the Federal University of Paraná, where they were analyzed by the gas chromatography method. Results: The analysis of the ostrich oil presented alkylglycerols in area 514505154. Comparison, it is possible to observe that shark liver oil contains the area 26190196, and the difference between both is highly significant. Conclusion: The importance of alkylglycerol supplementation for the immune system is known. The analysis of the results made it possible to verify the presence of alkylglycerols in the ostrich oil, which is five times higher than in the shark liver oil, that would be the largest source food, but was surpassed by the ostrich oil until the present time. The present study emphasizes that ostrich oil can be considered a food source of alkylglycerols and may play a promising role in the immune system because it contains such substance, but further studies are needed to prove its performance in the body.

Keywords: ostrich oil, nutritional composition, alkylglycerols, food

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12 Mixed Effects Models for Short-Term Load Forecasting for the Spanish Regions: Castilla-Leon, Castilla-La Mancha and Andalucia

Authors: C. Senabre, S. Valero, M. Lopez, E. Velasco, M. Sanchez

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This paper focuses on an application of linear mixed models to short-term load forecasting. The challenge of this research is to improve a currently working model at the Spanish Transport System Operator, programmed by us, and based on linear autoregressive techniques and neural networks. The forecasting system currently forecasts each of the regions within the Spanish grid separately, even though the behavior of the load in each region is affected by the same factors in a similar way. A load forecasting system has been verified in this work by using the real data from a utility. In this research it has been used an integration of several regions into a linear mixed model as starting point to obtain the information from other regions. Firstly, the systems to learn general behaviors present in all regions, and secondly, it is identified individual deviation in each regions. The technique can be especially useful when modeling the effect of special days with scarce information from the past. The three most relevant regions of the system have been used to test the model, focusing on special day and improving the performance of both currently working models used as benchmark. A range of comparisons with different forecasting models has been conducted. The forecasting results demonstrate the superiority of the proposed methodology.

Keywords: short-term load forecasting, mixed effects models, neural networks, mixed effects models

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11 Mother Tounge Based Multilingual Education Policy: Voices of Two Cities, 'The Voice of Laguna'

Authors: Cecilia Velasco, Q.

Abstract:

This study was undertaken to find out the perceived efficiency, appropriateness effectiveness, acceptability and relevance, if at all such exist, of the Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education Policy under the K-12 Curriculum, as seen by the stakeholders who are directly affected by this policy. The researcher believed that it is right and fitting to get the views and opinions of the people directly involved and/or concerned about this education policy. The results of the study will hopefully guide lawmakers and/or policymakers to fine-tune educational policy or policies. The locale of the study was the DepEd schools in Laguna, (San Pablo City and other nearby cities). The subjects of the study were the teachers (first phase) from the public schools of Department of Education (San Pablo City), in particular and parents (second phase) from nearby cities who are the direct stakeholders of this Policy. To determine the perception of the teachers toward Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education Policy; its acceptability, efficiency, appropriateness, effectiveness and relevance, factor analysis was used to refine the instrument (questionnaire). To find out the significant difference between the perceptions of the primary and intermediate group of teachers, including those who teach mother tongue and non-mother tongue subjects, t-test of difference between means was employed.

Keywords: DepEd, K12 curriculum, MTBMLE, stakeholders

Procedia PDF Downloads 218
10 Genome Sequencing of the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain 202-3

Authors: Yina A. Cifuentes Triana, Andrés M. Pinzón Velásco, Marío E. Velásquez Lozano

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In this work the sequencing and genome characterization of a natural isolate of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast (strain 202-3), identified with potential for the production of second generation ethanol from sugarcane bagasse hydrolysates is presented. This strain was selected because its capability to consume xylose during the fermentation of sugarcane bagasse hydrolysates, taking into account that many strains of S. cerevisiae are incapable of processing this sugar. This advantage and other prominent positive aspects during fermentation profiles evaluated in bagasse hydrolysates made the strain 202-3 a candidate strain to improve the production of second-generation ethanol, which was proposed as a first step to study the strain at the genomic level. The molecular characterization was carried out by genome sequencing with the Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform paired end; the assembly was performed with different programs, finally choosing the assembler ABYSS with kmer 89. Gene prediction was developed with the approach of hidden Markov models with Augustus. The genes identified were scored based on similarity with public databases of nucleotide and protein. Records were organized from ontological functions at different hierarchical levels, which identified central metabolic functions and roles of the S. cerevisiae strain 202-3, highlighting the presence of four possible new proteins, two of them probably associated with the positive consumption of xylose.

Keywords: cellulosic ethanol, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, genome sequencing, xylose consumption

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9 Analyses of Copper Nanoparticles Impregnated Wood and Its Fungal Degradation Performance

Authors: María Graciela Aguayo, Laura Reyes, Claudia Oviedo, José Navarrete, Liset Gómez, Hugo Torres

Abstract:

Most wood species used in construction deteriorate when exposed to environmental conditions that favor wood-degrading organisms’ growth. Therefore, chemical protection by impregnation allows more efficient use of forest resources extending the wood's useful life. A wood protection treatment which has attracted considerable interest of the scientific community during the last decade is wood impregnation with nanocompounds. Radiata pine is the main wood species used in the Chilean construction industry, with total availability of 8 million m³ sawn timber. According to the requirements of the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) and the Chilean Standards (NCh), radiata pine timber used in construction must be protected due to its low natural durability. In this work, the impregnation with copper nanoparticles (CuNP) was studied in terms of penetration and its protective effect against wood rot fungi. Two concentrations: 1 and 3 g/L of NPCu were applied by impregnation on radiata pine sapwood. Test penetration under AWPA A3-91 standard was carried out, and wood decay tests were performed according to EN 113, with slight modifications. The results of penetration for 1 g/L CuNP showed an irregular total penetration, and the samples impregnated with 3 g/L showed a total penetration with uniform concentration (blue color in all cross-sections). The impregnation wood mass losses due to fungal exposure were significantly reduced, regardless of the concentration of the solution or the fungus. In impregnated wood samples, exposure to G. trabeum resulted in ML values of 2.70% and 1.19% for 1 g/L and 3 g/L CuNP, respectively, and exposure to P. placenta resulted in 4.02% and 0.70%-ML values for 1 g/L and 3 g/L CuNP, respectively. In this study, the penetration analysis confirmed a uniform distribution inside the wood, and both concentrations were effective against the tested fungi, giving mass loss values lower than 5%. Therefore, future research in wood preservatives should focus on new nanomaterials that are more efficient and environmentally friendly. Acknowledgments: CONICYT FONDEF IDeA I+D 2019, grant number ID19I10122.

Keywords: copper nanoparticles, fungal degradation, radiata pine wood, wood preservation

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8 Extraction of Phycocyanin from Spirulina platensis by Isoelectric Point Precipitation and Salting Out for Scale Up Processes

Authors: Velasco-Rendón María Del Carmen, Cuéllar-Bermúdez Sara Paulina, Parra-Saldívar Roberto

Abstract:

Phycocyanin is a blue pigment protein with fluorescent activity produced by cyanobacteria. It has been recently studied to determine its anticancer, antioxidant and antiinflamatory potential. Since 2014 it was approved as a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) proteic pigment for the food industry. Therefore, phycocyanin shows potential for the food, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and diagnostics industry. Conventional phycocyanin extraction includes buffer solutions and ammonium sulphate followed by chromatography or ATPS for protein separation. Therefore, further purification steps are time-requiring, energy intensive and not suitable for scale-up processing. This work presents an alternative to conventional methods that also allows large scale application with commercially available equipment. The extraction was performed by exposing the dry biomass to mechanical cavitation and salting out with NaCl to use an edible reagent. Also, isoelectric point precipitation was used by addition of HCl and neutralization with NaOH. The results were measured and compared in phycocyanin concentration, purity and extraction yield. Results showed that the best extraction condition was the extraction by salting out with 0.20 M NaCl after 30 minutes cavitation, with a concentration in the supernatant of 2.22 mg/ml, a purity of 3.28 and recovery from crude extract of 81.27%. Mechanical cavitation presumably increased the solvent-biomass contact, making the crude extract visibly dark blue after centrifugation. Compared to other systems, our process has less purification steps, similar concentrations in the phycocyanin-rich fraction and higher purity. The contaminants present in our process edible NaCl or low pHs that can be neutralized. It also can be adapted to a semi-continuous process with commercially available equipment. This characteristics make this process an appealing alternative for phycocyanin extraction as a pigment for the food industry.

Keywords: extraction, phycocyanin, precipitation, scale-up

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7 Multi-omics Integrative Analysis with Genome-Scale Metabolic Model Simulation Reveals Reaction Essentiality data in Human Astrocytes Under the Lipotoxic Effect of Palmitic Acid

Authors: Janneth Gonzalez, Andres Pinzon Velasco, Maria Angarita, Nicolas Mendoza

Abstract:

Astrocytes play an important role in various processes in the brain, including pathological conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases. Recent studies have shown that the increase in saturated fatty acids such as palmitic acid (PA) triggers pro-inflammatory pathways in the brain. The use of synthetic neurosteroids such as tibolone has demonstrated neuro-protective mechanisms. However, there are few studies on the neuro-protective mechanisms of tibolone, especially at the systemic (omic) level. In this study, we performed the integration of multi-omic data (transcriptome and proteome) into a human astrocyte genomic scale metabolic model to study the astrocytic response during palmitate treatment. We evaluated metabolic fluxes in three scenarios (healthy, induced inflammation by PA, and tibolone treatment under PA inflammation). We also use control theory to identify those reactions that control the astrocytic system. Our results suggest that PA generates a modulation of central and secondary metabolism, showing a change in energy source use through inhibition of folate cycle and fatty acid β-oxidation and upregulation of ketone bodies formation.We found 25 metabolic switches under PA-mediated cellular regulation, 9 of which were critical only in the inflammatory scenario but not in the protective tibolone one. Within these reactions, inhibitory, total, and directional coupling profiles were key findings, playing a fundamental role in the (de)regulation in metabolic pathways that increase neurotoxicity and represent potential treatment targets. Finally, this study framework facilitates the understanding of metabolic regulation strategies, andit can be used for in silico exploring the mechanisms of astrocytic cell regulation, directing a more complex future experimental work in neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: astrocytes, data integration, palmitic acid, computational model, multi-omics, control theory

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6 Multi-Omics Integrative Analysis Coupled to Control Theory and Computational Simulation of a Genome-Scale Metabolic Model Reveal Controlling Biological Switches in Human Astrocytes under Palmitic Acid-Induced Lipotoxicity

Authors: Janneth Gonzalez, Andrés Pinzon Velasco, Maria Angarita

Abstract:

Astrocytes play an important role in various processes in the brain, including pathological conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases. Recent studies have shown that the increase in saturated fatty acids such as palmitic acid (PA) triggers pro-inflammatorypathways in the brain. The use of synthetic neurosteroids such as tibolone has demonstrated neuro-protective mechanisms. However, broad studies with a systemic point of view on the neurodegenerative role of PA and the neuro-protective mechanisms of tibolone are lacking. In this study, we performed the integration of multi-omic data (transcriptome and proteome) into a human astrocyte genomic scale metabolic model to study the astrocytic response during palmitate treatment. We evaluated metabolic fluxes in three scenarios (healthy, induced inflammation by PA, and tibolone treatment under PA inflammation). We also applied a control theory approach to identify those reactions that exert more control in the astrocytic system. Our results suggest that PA generates a modulation of central and secondary metabolism, showing a switch in energy source use through inhibition of folate cycle and fatty acid β‐oxidation and upregulation of ketone bodies formation. We found 25 metabolic switches under PA‐mediated cellular regulation, 9 of which were critical only in the inflammatory scenario but not in the protective tibolone one. Within these reactions, inhibitory, total, and directional coupling profiles were key findings, playing a fundamental role in the (de)regulation of metabolic pathways that may increase neurotoxicity and represent potential treatment targets. Finally, the overall framework of our approach facilitates the understanding of complex metabolic regulation, and it can be used for in silico exploration of the mechanisms of astrocytic cell regulation, directing a more complex future experimental work in neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: astrocytes, data integration, palmitic acid, computational model, multi-omics

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5 Nanoparticles Modification by Grafting Strategies for the Development of Hybrid Nanocomposites

Authors: Irati Barandiaran, Xabier Velasco-Iza, Galder Kortaberria

Abstract:

Hybrid inorganic/organic nanostructured materials based on block copolymers are of considerable interest in the field of Nanotechnology, taking into account that these nanocomposites combine the properties of polymer matrix and the unique properties of the added nanoparticles. The use of block copolymers as templates offers the opportunity to control the size and the distribution of inorganic nanoparticles. This research is focused on the surface modification of inorganic nanoparticles to reach a good interface between nanoparticles and polymer matrices which hinders the nanoparticle aggregation. The aim of this work is to obtain a good and selective dispersion of Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles into different types of block copolymers such us, poly(styrene-b-methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA), poly(styrene-b-ε-caprolactone) (PS-b-PCL) poly(isoprene-b-methyl methacrylate) (PI-b-PMMA) or poly(styrene-b-butadiene-b-methyl methacrylate) (SBM) by using different grafting strategies. Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles have been surface-modified with polymer or block copolymer brushes following different grafting methods (grafting to, grafting from and grafting through) to achieve a selective location of nanoparticles into desired domains of the block copolymers. Morphology of fabricated hybrid nanocomposites was studied by means of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and with the aim to reach well-ordered nanostructured composites different annealing methods were used. Additionally, nanoparticle amount has been also varied in order to investigate the effect of the nanoparticle content in the morphology of the block copolymer. Nowadays different characterization methods were using in order to investigate magnetic properties of nanometer-scale electronic devices. Particularly, two different techniques have been used with the aim of characterizing synthesized nanocomposites. First, magnetic force microscopy (MFM) was used to investigate qualitatively the magnetic properties taking into account that this technique allows distinguishing magnetic domains on the sample surface. On the other hand, magnetic characterization by vibrating sample magnetometer and superconducting quantum interference device. This technique demonstrated that magnetic properties of nanoparticles have been transferred to the nanocomposites, exhibiting superparamagnetic behavior similar to that of the maghemite nanoparticles at room temperature. Obtained advanced nanostructured materials could found possible applications in the field of dye-sensitized solar cells and electronic nanodevices.

Keywords: atomic force microscopy, block copolymers, grafting techniques, iron oxide nanoparticles

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4 Molecular Detection of Staphylococcus aureus in the Pork Chain Supply and the Potential Anti-Staphylococcal Activity of Natural Compounds

Authors: Valeria Velasco, Ana M. Bonilla, José L. Vergara, Alcides Lofa, Jorge Campos, Pedro Rojas-García

Abstract:

Staphylococcus aureus is both commensal bacterium and opportunistic pathogen that can cause different diseases in humans and can rapidly develop antimicrobial resistance. Since this bacterium has the ability to colonize the nares and skin of humans and animals, there is a risk of contamination of food in different steps of the food chain supply. Emerging strains have been detected in food-producing animals and meat, such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and oxacillin susceptibility of S. aureus in the pork chain supply in Chile and to suggest some natural antimicrobials for control. A total of 487 samples were collected from pigs (n=332), carcasses (n=85), and retail pork meat (n=70). Presumptive S. aureus colonies were isolated by selective enrichment and culture media. The confirmation was carried out by biochemical testing (Api® Staph) and molecular technique PCR (detection of nuc and mecA genes, associated with S. aureus and methicillin resistance, respectively). The oxacillin (β-lactam antibiotic that replaced methicillin) susceptibility was assessed by minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) using the Epsilometer test (Etest). A preliminary assay was carried out to test thymol, carvacrol, oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare L.), Maqui or Chilean wineberry extract (Aristotelia chilensis (Mol.) Stuntz) as anti-staphylococcal agents using the disc diffusion method at different concentrations. The overall prevalence of S. aureus in the pork chain supply reached 33.9%. A higher prevalence of S. aureus was determined in carcasses (56.5%) than in pigs (28.3%) and pork meat (32.9%) (P ≤ 0.05). The prevalence of S. aureus in pigs sampled at farms (40.6%) was higher than in pigs sampled at slaughterhouses (23.3%) (P ≤ 0.05). The contamination of no packaged meat with S. aureus (43.1%) was higher than in packaged meat (5.3%) (P ≤ 0.05). The mecA gene was not detected in S. aureus strains isolated in this study. Two S. aureus strains exhibited oxacillin resistance (MIC ≥ 4µg/mL). Anti-staphylococcal activity was detected in solutions of thymol, carvacrol, and oregano essential oil at all concentrations tested. No anti-staphylococcal activity was detected in Maqui extract. Finally, S. aureus is present in the pork chain supply in Chile. Although the mecA gene was not detected, oxacillin resistance was found in S. aureus and could be attributed to another resistance mechanism. Thymol, carvacrol, and oregano essential oil could be used as anti-staphylococcal agents at low concentrations. Research project Fondecyt No. 11140379.

Keywords: antimicrobials, mecA gen, nuc gen, oxacillin susceptibility, pork meat

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3 Preparation of Biodegradable Methacrylic Nanoparticles by Semicontinuous Heterophase Polymerization for Drugs Loading: The Case of Acetylsalicylic Acid

Authors: J. Roberto Lopez, Hened Saade, Graciela Morales, Javier Enriquez, Raul G. Lopez

Abstract:

Implementation of systems based on nanostructures for drug delivery applications have taken relevance in recent studies focused on biomedical applications. Although there are several nanostructures as drugs carriers, the use of polymeric nanoparticles (PNP) has been widely studied for this purpose, however, the main issue for these nanostructures is the size control below 50 nm with a narrow distribution size, due to they must go through different physiological barriers and avoid to be filtered by kidneys (< 10 nm) or the spleen (> 100 nm). Thus, considering these and other factors, it can be mentioned that drug-loaded nanostructures with sizes varying between 10 and 50 nm are preferred in the development and study of PNP/drugs systems. In this sense, the Semicontinuous Heterophase Polymerization (SHP) offers the possibility to obtain PNP in the desired size range. Considering the above explained, methacrylic copolymer nanoparticles were obtained under SHP. The reactions were carried out in a jacketed glass reactor with the required quantities of water, ammonium persulfate as initiator, sodium dodecyl sulfate/sodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate as surfactants, methyl methacrylate and methacrylic acid as monomers with molar ratio of 2/1, respectively. The monomer solution was dosed dropwise during reaction at 70 °C with a mechanical stirring of 650 rpm. Nanoparticles of poly(methyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid) were loaded with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, aspirin) by a chemical adsorption technique. The purified latex was put in contact with a solution of ASA in dichloromethane (DCM) at 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 or 0.6 wt-%, at 35°C during 12 hours. According to the boiling point of DCM, as well as DCM and water densities, the loading process is completed when the whole DCM is evaporated. The hydrodynamic diameter was measured after polymerization by quasi-elastic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy, before and after loading procedures with ASA. The quantitative and qualitative analyses of PNP loaded with ASA were measured by infrared spectroscopy, differential scattering calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. Also, the molar mass distributions of polymers were determined in a gel permeation chromatograph apparatus. The load capacity and efficiency were determined by gravimetric analysis. The hydrodynamic diameter results for methacrylic PNP without ASA showed a narrow distribution with an average particle size around 10 nm and a composition methyl methacrylate/methacrylic acid molar ratio equal to 2/1, same composition of Eudragit S100, which is a commercial compound widely used as excipient. Moreover, the latex was stabilized in a relative high solids content (around 11 %), a monomer conversion almost 95 % and a number molecular weight around 400 Kg/mol. The average particle size in the PNP/aspirin systems fluctuated between 18 and 24 nm depending on the initial percentage of aspirin in the loading process, being the drug content as high as 24 % with an efficiency loading of 36 %. These average sizes results have not been reported in the literature, thus, the methacrylic nanoparticles here reported are capable to be loaded with a considerable amount of ASA and be used as a drug carrier.

Keywords: aspirin, biocompatibility, biodegradable, Eudragit S100, methacrylic nanoparticles

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2 A Framework for Teaching the Intracranial Pressure Measurement through an Experimental Model

Authors: Christina Klippel, Lucia Pezzi, Silvio Neto, Rafael Bertani, Priscila Mendes, Flavio Machado, Aline Szeliga, Maria Cosendey, Adilson Mariz, Raquel Santos, Lys Bendett, Pedro Velasco, Thalita Rolleigh, Bruna Bellote, Daria Coelho, Bruna Martins, Julia Almeida, Juliana Cerqueira

Abstract:

This project presents a framework for teaching intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP) concepts using a low-cost experimental model in a neurointensive care education program. Data concerning ICP monitoring contribute to the patient's clinical assessment and may dictate the course of action of a health team (nursing, medical staff) and influence decisions to determine the appropriate intervention. This study aims to present a safe method for teaching ICP monitoring to medical students in a Simulation Center. Methodology: Medical school teachers, along with students from the 4th year, built an experimental model for teaching ICP measurement. The model consists of a mannequin's head with a plastic bag inside simulating the cerebral ventricle and an inserted ventricular catheter connected to the ICP monitoring system. The bag simulating the ventricle can also be changed for others containing bloody or infected simulated cerebrospinal fluid. On the mannequin's ear, there is a blue point indicating the right place to set the "zero point" for accurate pressure reading. The educational program includes four steps: 1st - Students receive a script on ICP measurement for reading before training; 2nd - Students watch a video about the subject created in the Simulation Center demonstrating each step of the ICP monitoring and the proper care, such as: correct positioning of the patient, anatomical structures to establish the zero point for ICP measurement and a secure range of ICP; 3rd - Students train the procedure in the model. Teachers help students during training; 4th - Student assessment based on a checklist form. Feedback and correction of wrong actions. Results: Students expressed interest in learning ICP monitoring. Tests concerning the hit rate are still being performed. ICP's final results and video will be shown at the event. Conclusion: The study of intracranial pressure measurement based on an experimental model consists of an effective and controlled method of learning and research, more appropriate for teaching neurointensive care practices. Assessment based on a checklist form helps teachers keep track of student learning progress. This project offers medical students a safe method to develop intensive neurological monitoring skills for clinical assessment of patients with neurological disorders.

Keywords: neurology, intracranial pressure, medical education, simulation

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1 Bicycle Tourism and Sharing Economy (C2C-Tourism): Analysis of the Reciprocity Behavior in the Case of Warmshowers

Authors: Jana Heimel, Franziska Drescher, Lauren Ugur, Graciela Kuchle

Abstract:

Sharing platforms are a widely investigated field. However, there is a research gap with a lack of focus on ‘real’ (non-profit-orientated) sharing platforms. The research project addresses this gap by conducting an empirical study on a private peer-to-peer (P2P) network to investigate cooperative behavior from a socio-psychological perspective. In recent years the conversion from possession to accessing is increasingly influencing different sectors, particularly the traveling industry. The number of people participating in hospitality exchange platforms like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and Warmshowers (WS) is rapidly growing. WS is an increasingly popular online community that is linking cycling tourists and locals. It builds on the idea of the “sharing economy” as a not-for-profit hospitality network for bicycle tourists. Hosts not only provide a sleeping berth and warm shower free of charge but also offer additional services to their guests, such as cooking and washing clothes for them. According to previous studies, they are motivated by the idea of promoting cultural experience and forming new friendships. Trust and reciprocity are supposed to play major roles in the success of such platforms. The objective of this research project is to analyze the reciprocity behavior within the WS community. Reciprocity is the act of giving and taking among each other. Individuals feel obligated to return a favor and often expect to increase their own chances of receiving future benefits for themselves. Consequently, the drivers that incite giving and taking, as well as the motivation for hosts and guests, are examined. Thus, the project investigates a particular tourism offer that contributes to sustainable tourism by analyzing P2P resp. cyclist-to-cyclist, C2C) tourism. C2C tourism is characterized by special hospitality and generosity. To find out what motivations drive the hosts and which determinants drive the sharing cycling economy, an empirical study has been conducted globally through an online survey. The data was gathered through the WS community and comprised responses from more than 10,000 cyclists around the globe. Next to general information mostly comprising quantitative data on bicycle tourism (year/tour distance, duration and budget), qualitative information on traveling with WS as well as hosting was collected. The most important motivations for a traveler is to explore the local culture, to save money, and to make friends. The main reasons to host a guest are to promote the use of bicycles and to make friends, but also to give back and pay forward. WS members prefer to stay with/host cyclists. The results indicate that C2C tourists share homogenous characteristics and a similar philosophy, which is crucial for building mutual trust. Members of WS are generally extremely trustful. The study promotes an ecological form of tourism by combining sustainability, regionality, health, experience and the local communities' cultures. The empirical evidence found and analyzed, despite evident limitations, enabled us to shed light, especially on the issue of motivations and social capital, and on the functioning of ‘sharing’ platforms. Final research results are intended to promote C2C tourism around the globe to further replace conventional by sustainable tourism.

Keywords: bicycle tourism, homogeneity, reciprocity, sharing economy, trust

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