Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 197

Search results for: Juan P. Novoa

17 Persistent Ribosomal In-Frame Mis-Translation of Stop Codons as Amino Acids in Multiple Open Reading Frames of a Human Long Non-Coding RNA

Authors: Leonard Lipovich, Pattaraporn Thepsuwan, Anton-Scott Goustin, Juan Cai, Donghong Ju, James B. Brown

Abstract:

Two-thirds of human genes do not encode any known proteins. Aside from long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes with recently-discovered functions, the ~40,000 non-protein-coding human genes remain poorly understood, and a role for their transcripts as de-facto unconventional messenger RNAs has not been formally excluded. Ribosome profiling (Riboseq) predicts translational potential, but without independent evidence of proteins from lncRNA open reading frames (ORFs), ribosome binding of lncRNAs does not prove translation. Previously, we mass-spectrometrically documented translation of specific lncRNAs in human K562 and GM12878 cells. We now examined lncRNA translation in human MCF7 cells, integrating strand-specific Illumina RNAseq, Riboseq, and deep mass spectrometry in biological quadruplicates performed at two core facilities (BGI, China; City of Hope, USA). We excluded known-protein matches. UCSC Genome Browser-assisted manual annotation of imperfect (tryptic-digest-peptides)-to-(lncRNA-three-frame-translations) alignments revealed three peptides hypothetically explicable by 'stop-to-nonstop' in-frame replacement of stop codons by amino acids in two ORFs of the lncRNA MMP24-AS1. To search for this phenomenon genomewide, we designed and implemented a novel pipeline, matching tryptic-digest spectra to wildcard-instead-of-stop versions of repeat-masked, six-frame, whole-genome translations. Along with singleton putative stop-to-nonstop events affecting four other lncRNAs, we identified 24 additional peptides with stop-to-nonstop in-frame substitutions from multiple positive-strand MMP24-AS1 ORFs. Only UAG and UGA, never UAA, stop codons were impacted. All MMP24-AS1-matching spectra met the same significance thresholds as high-confidence known-protein signatures. Targeted resequencing of MMP24-AS1 genomic DNA and cDNA from the same samples did not reveal any mutations, polymorphisms, or sequencing-detectable RNA editing. This unprecedented apparent gene-specific violation of the genetic code highlights the importance of matching peptides to whole-genome, not known-genes-only, ORFs in mass-spectrometry workflows, and suggests a new mechanism enhancing the combinatorial complexity of the proteome. Funding: NIH Director’s New Innovator Award 1DP2-CA196375 to LL.

Keywords: Mass Spectrometry, Ribosome, proteogenomics, RNAseq, LncRNA, genetic code, long non-coding RNA, ribo-seq

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16 Qualitative Characterization of Proteins in Common and Quality Protein Maize Corn by Mass Spectrometry

Authors: Benito Minjarez, Jesse Haramati, Yury Rodriguez-Yanez, Florencio Recendiz-Hurtado, Juan-Pedro Luna-Arias, Salvador Mena-Munguia

Abstract:

During the last decades, the world has experienced a rapid industrialization and an expanding economy favoring a demographic boom. As a consequence, countries around the world have focused on developing new strategies related to the production of different farm products in order to meet future demands. Consequently, different strategies have been developed seeking to improve the major food products for both humans and livestock. Corn, after wheat and rice, is the third most important crop globally and is the primary food source for both humans and livestock in many regions around the globe. In addition, maize (Zea mays) is an important source of protein accounting for up to 60% of the daily human protein supply. Generally, many of the cereal grains have proteins with relatively low nutritional value, when they are compared with proteins from meat. In the case of corn, much of the protein is found in the endosperm (75 to 85%) and is deficient in two essential amino acids, lysine, and tryptophan. This deficiency results in an imbalance of amino acids and low protein content; normal maize varieties have less than half of the recommended amino acids for human nutrition. In addition, studies have shown that this deficiency has been associated with symptoms of growth impairment, anemia, hypoproteinemia, and fatty liver. Due to the fact that most of the presently available maize varieties do not contain the quality and quantity of proteins necessary for a balanced diet, different countries have focused on the research of quality protein maize (QPM). Researchers have characterized QPM noting that these varieties may contain between 70 to 100% more residues of the amino acids essential for animal and human nutrition, lysine, and tryptophan, than common corn. Several countries in Africa, Latin America, as well as China, have incorporated QPM in their agricultural development plan. Large parts of these countries have chosen a specific QPM variety based on their local needs and climate. Reviews have described the breeding methods of maize and have revealed the lack of studies on genetic and proteomic diversity of proteins in QPM varieties, and their genetic relationships with normal maize varieties. Therefore, molecular marker identification using tools such as mass spectrometry may accelerate the selection of plants that carry the desired proteins with high lysine and tryptophan concentration. To date, QPM maize lines have played a very important role in alleviating the malnutrition, and better characterization of these lines would provide a valuable nutritional enhancement for use in the resource-poor regions of the world. Thus, the objectives of this study were to identify proteins in QPM maize in comparison with a common maize line as a control.

Keywords: Mass Spectrometry, corn, QPM, tryptophan

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15 Carbon Footprint of Educational Establishments: The Case of the University of Alicante

Authors: Juan A. Ferriz-Papi, Maria R. Mula-Molina

Abstract:

Environmental concerns are increasingly obtaining higher priority in sustainability agenda of educational establishments. This is important not only for its environmental performance in its own right as an organization, but also to present a model for its students. On the other hand, universities play an important role on research and innovative solutions for measuring, analyzing and reducing environmental impacts for different activities. The assessment and decision-making process during the activity of educational establishments is linked to the application of robust indicators. In this way, the carbon footprint is a developing indicator for sustainability that helps understand the direct impact on climate change. But it is not easy to implement. There is a large amount of considering factors involved that increases its complexity, such as different uses at the same time (research, lecturing, administration), different users (students, staff) or different levels of activity (lecturing, exam or holidays periods). The aim of this research is to develop a simplified methodology for calculating and comparing carbon emissions per user at university campus considering two main aspects for carbon accountings: Building operations and transport. Different methodologies applied in other Spanish university campuses are analyzed and compared to obtain a final proposal to be developed in this type of establishments. First, building operation calculation considers the different uses and energy sources consumed. Second, for transport calculation, the different users and working hours are calculated separately, as well as their origin and traveling preferences. For every transport, a different conversion factor is used depending on carbon emissions produced. The final result is obtained as an average of carbon emissions produced per user. A case study is applied to the University of Alicante campus in San Vicente del Raspeig (Spain), where the carbon footprint is calculated. While the building operation consumptions are known per building and month, it does not happen with transport. Only one survey about the habit of transport for users was developed in 2009/2010, so no evolution of results can be shown in this case. Besides, building operations are not split per use, as building services are not monitored separately. These results are analyzed in depth considering all factors and limitations. Besides, they are compared to other estimations in other campuses. Finally, the application of the presented methodology is also studied. The recommendations concluded in this study try to enhance carbon emission monitoring and control. A Carbon Action Plan is then a primary solution to be developed. On the other hand, the application developed in the University of Alicante campus cannot only further enhance the methodology itself, but also render the adoption by other educational establishments more readily possible and yet with a considerable degree of flexibility to cater for their specific requirements.

Keywords: Climate Change, Transport, Built Environment, Carbon Footprint, building operations

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14 Cytotoxic Effects of Ag/TiO2 Nanoparticles on the Unicellular Organism Paramecium tetraurelia

Authors: Juan Bernal-Martinez, Zoe Quinones-Jurado, Miguel Waldo-Mendoza, Elias Perez

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Introduction and Objective: Ag-TiO2 nanoparticles (NP) have been characterized as effective antibacterial compounds against E. aureous, E. coli, Salmonella and others. Because these nanoparticles have been used in plastic-food containers, there is a concern about the toxicity of Ag-TiO2 NP for higher organisms from protozoan, invertebrates, and mammals. The objective of this study is to evaluate the cytotoxic effect of Ag-TiO2 NP on the survival and swimming behavior of the unicellular organism Paramecium tetraurelia. Material and Methods: Preparation of metallic silver on TiO2 surface was based on chemical reduction route of AgNO3. Aqueous suspension of TiO2 nanoparticles was preparing by adding 5 g of TiO2 to 250 ml of deionized water and followed by sonication for 10 min. The required amount of AgNO3 solutions was added to TiO2 suspension, maintaining heating and stirring. Silver concentration was 0.5, 1.5, 5.0, 25, 35 and 45 % w/w versus TiO2. Paramecium tetraurelia (Carolina Biological, Cat. # 131560) was used as a biological preparation. It was cultured in artificial culture media made as follows: Stigmasterol 5 mg/ml of ethanol, Caseaminoacids 0.3 gr/lt.; KCl 4mM; CaCl2 1mM; MgCl2 100uM and MOPS 1mM, pH 7.3. This media was inoculated with Enterobacter-sp. Paramecium was concentrated after 24 hours of incubation by centrifugation. The pellet of cells was resuspended in 4.1.1 solution prepared as follows (in mM): KCl, 4 mM; CaCl2, 1mM and Trizma, 1mM; pH 7.3. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies were performed to evaluate the appropriate dispersion and topographic distribution AgNPs deposited on TiO2. The experimental solutions were prepared as follows: 50 mg of Polyvinyhlpirolidone were added to 5 ml of 4.1.1. solution. Then, 50 mg of powder 25-Ag-TiO2 was added, mixing for 10 min and sonicated for 60 min. Survival of Paramecium and possible toxic effects after 25-Ag-TiO2 treatment was observed through an inverted microscope. The Paramecium swimming behavior and possible dead cells were recorded for periods of approximately 20-50 seconds by using a digital USB camera adapted to the microscope. Results and Discussion: TEM micrographs demonstrated the topographic distribution of AgNPs deposited on TiO2. 25Ag-TiO2 NP was efficiently dissolved and dispersed in 4.1.1 solution at concentrations from 0.1, 1 and 10 mg/ml. When Paramecium were treated with 25Ag-TiO2 NP at 100 ug/ml, it was observed that cells started swimming backwards. This backward swimming behavior is the typical avoiding reaction of the ciliate in response to a noxious stimulus. After 10 min of incubation, it was observed that Paramecium stopped swimming backwards and exploited. We can argue that this toxic effect of 25Ag-TiO2 NP is probably due to the calcium influx and calcium accumulation during the long-lasting swimming backwards. Conclusions: Here we have demonstrated that 25Ag-TiO2 NP has a specific toxic effect on an organism higher than bacteria such as the protozoan Paremecium. Probably these toxic phenomena could be expected to be observed in a higher organism such as invertebrates and mammals.

Keywords: Cytotoxicity, Ag-TiO2, calcium permeability, paramecium

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13 Development and Experimental Evaluation of a Semiactive Friction Damper

Authors: Juan S. Mantilla, Peter Thomson

Abstract:

Seismic events may result in discomfort on occupants of the buildings, structural damage or even buildings collapse. Traditional design aims to reduce dynamic response of structures by increasing stiffness, thus increasing the construction costs and the design forces. Structural control systems arise as an alternative to reduce these dynamic responses. A commonly used control systems in buildings are the passive friction dampers, which adds energy dissipation through damping mechanisms induced by sliding friction between their surfaces. Passive friction dampers are usually implemented on the diagonal of braced buildings, but such devices have the disadvantage that are optimal for a range of sliding force and out of that range its efficiency decreases. The above implies that each passive friction damper is designed, built and commercialized for a specific sliding/clamping force, in which the damper shift from a locked state to a slip state, where dissipates energy through friction. The risk of having a variation in the efficiency of the device according to the sliding force is that the dynamic properties of the building can change as result of many factor, even damage caused by a seismic event. In this case the expected forces in the building can change and thus considerably reduce the efficiency of the damper (that is designed for a specific sliding force). It is also evident than when a seismic event occurs the forces in each floor varies in the time what means that the damper's efficiency is not the best at all times. Semi-Active Friction devices adapt its sliding force trying to maintain its motion in the slipping phase as much as possible, because of this, the effectiveness of the device depends on the control strategy used. This paper deals with the development and performance evaluation of a low cost Semiactive Variable Friction Damper (SAVFD) in reduced scale to reduce vibrations of structures subject to earthquakes. The SAVFD consist in a (1) hydraulic brake adapted to (2) a servomotor which is controlled with an (3) Arduino board and acquires accelerations or displacement from (4) sensors in the immediately upper and lower floors and a (5) power supply that can be a pair of common batteries. A test structure, based on a Benchmark structure for structural control, was design and constructed. The SAVFD and the structure are experimentally characterized. A numerical model of the structure and the SAVFD is developed based on the dynamic characterization. Decentralized control algorithms were modeled and later tested experimentally using shaking table test using earthquake and frequency chirp signals. The controlled structure with the SAVFD achieved reductions greater than 80% in relative displacements and accelerations in comparison to the uncontrolled structure.

Keywords: earthquake response, shaking table, friction damper, semiactive control

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12 Control of Belts for Classification of Geometric Figures by Artificial Vision

Authors: Juan Sebastian Huertas Piedrahita, Jaime Arturo Lopez Duque, Eduardo Luis Perez Londoño, Julián S. Rodríguez

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The process of generating computer vision is called artificial vision. The artificial vision is a branch of artificial intelligence that allows the obtaining, processing, and analysis of any type of information especially the ones obtained through digital images. Actually the artificial vision is used in manufacturing areas for quality control and production, as these processes can be realized through counting algorithms, positioning, and recognition of objects that can be measured by a single camera (or more). On the other hand, the companies use assembly lines formed by conveyor systems with actuators on them for moving pieces from one location to another in their production. These devices must be previously programmed for their good performance and must have a programmed logic routine. Nowadays the production is the main target of every industry, quality, and the fast elaboration of the different stages and processes in the chain of production of any product or service being offered. The principal base of this project is to program a computer that recognizes geometric figures (circle, square, and triangle) through a camera, each one with a different color and link it with a group of conveyor systems to organize the mentioned figures in cubicles, which differ from one another also by having different colors. This project bases on artificial vision, therefore the methodology needed to develop this project must be strict, this one is detailed below: 1. Methodology: 1.1 The software used in this project is QT Creator which is linked with Open CV libraries. Together, these tools perform to realize the respective program to identify colors and forms directly from the camera to the computer. 1.2 Imagery acquisition: To start using the libraries of Open CV is necessary to acquire images, which can be captured by a computer’s web camera or a different specialized camera. 1.3 The recognition of RGB colors is realized by code, crossing the matrices of the captured images and comparing pixels, identifying the primary colors which are red, green, and blue. 1.4 To detect forms it is necessary to realize the segmentation of the images, so the first step is converting the image from RGB to grayscale, to work with the dark tones of the image, then the image is binarized which means having the figure of the image in a white tone with a black background. Finally, we find the contours of the figure in the image to detect the quantity of edges to identify which figure it is. 1.5 After the color and figure have been identified, the program links with the conveyor systems, which through the actuators will classify the figures in their respective cubicles. Conclusions: The Open CV library is a useful tool for projects in which an interface between a computer and the environment is required since the camera obtains external characteristics and realizes any process. With the program for this project any type of assembly line can be optimized because images from the environment can be obtained and the process would be more accurate.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Images, RGB, artificial vision, binarized, grayscale

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11 The Importance of Development Evaluation to Preterm Children in Remote Area

Authors: Chung-Yuan Wang, Min Hsu, Bo-Ya Juan, Hsiv Ching Lin, Hsveh Min Lin, Hsiu-Fang Yeh

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The success of Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) system attracts widespread praise from the international society. However, the availability of medical care in a emote area is limited. Without the convenient public transportation system and mature social welfare policy, these people are difficult to regain their health and prevent disability. Preterm children have more risk to get development delay. Preterm children in a remote area have the human right to get rehabilitation resources as those in the city area. Therefore, the aim of this study was to show the importance of development screening to preterm children in a remote area and a tract the government to notice the issue. In Pingtung, children who are suspected development delay would be suggested to take a skillful screening evaluation in our hospital. Those preterm children (within 1-year-old) visited our pediatric clinic would also be referred to take the development evaluation. After the physiatrist’s systemic evaluation, the subjects would be scheduled to take the development evaluation. Gross motor, fine motor, speech comprehension/expression and mental study were included. The evaluation was in-charged by a physical therapist, occupational therapy, speech therapist and pediatric psychologist. The tools were Peabody developmental scale, Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III) and Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R). In 2013, 459 children received the service in our hospital. Among these children, fifty-seven were noted with preterm baby history (gestation within 37 weeks). Thirty-six of these preterm children, who had never receive development evaluation, were included in this study. Thirty-six subjects (twenty-six male and ten female) were included. Nineteen subjects were found development delay. Six subjects were found suspected development delay. In gross motor, six subjects were development delay and eight were suspected development delay. In fine motor, five subjects were development delay and three were suspected development delay. In speech, sixteen subjects were development delay and six were suspected development delay. In our study, through the provision of development evaluation service, 72.2% preterm baby were found their development delay or suspected delay. They need further early intervention rehabilitation service. We made their parents realize that when development delay was recognized at the early stage, they are often reversible. No only the patients but also their families were improved their health status. The number of the subjects was limited in our study. Further study might be needed. Compared with 770 physical therapist (PT) and 370 occupational therapy (OT) in Taipei, there are only 108 PT and 54 OT in Pingtung. Further, there are much fewer therapists working on the field of pediatric rehabilitation. Living healthy is a human's right, no matter where does he live. For those development delay children in remote area, particularly preterm children, early detection, and early intervention rehabilitation service could play an important role in decreasing their disability and improving their quality of life. Through this study, we suggest the government to add more national resources on the development evaluation to preterm children in a remote area.

Keywords: Development, Rehabilitation, Early Intervention, preterm children

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10 Platform Virtual for Joint Amplitude Measurement Based in MEMS

Authors: Mauro Callejas-Cuervo, Andrea C. Alarcon-Aldana, Andres F. Ruiz-Olaya, Juan C. Alvarez

Abstract:

Motion capture (MC) is the construction of a precise and accurate digital representation of a real motion. Systems have been used in the last years in a wide range of applications, from films special effects and animation, interactive entertainment, medicine, to high competitive sport where a maximum performance and low injury risk during training and competition is seeking. This paper presents an inertial and magnetic sensor based technological platform, intended for particular amplitude monitoring and telerehabilitation processes considering an efficient cost/technical considerations compromise. Our platform particularities offer high social impact possibilities by making telerehabilitation accessible to large population sectors in marginal socio-economic sector, especially in underdeveloped countries that in opposition to developed countries specialist are scarce, and high technology is not available or inexistent. This platform integrates high-resolution low-cost inertial and magnetic sensors with adequate user interfaces and communication protocols to perform a web or other communication networks available diagnosis service. The amplitude information is generated by sensors then transferred to a computing device with adequate interfaces to make it accessible to inexperienced personnel, providing a high social value. Amplitude measurements of the platform virtual system presented a good fit to its respective reference system. Analyzing the robotic arm results (estimation error RMSE 1=2.12° and estimation error RMSE 2=2.28°), it can be observed that during arm motion in any sense, the estimation error is negligible; in fact, error appears only during sense inversion what can easily be explained by the nature of inertial sensors and its relation to acceleration. Inertial sensors present a time constant delay which acts as a first order filter attenuating signals at large acceleration values as is the case for a change of sense in motion. It can be seen a damped response of platform virtual in other images where error analysis show that at maximum amplitude an underestimation of amplitude is present whereas at minimum amplitude estimations an overestimation of amplitude is observed. This work presents and describes the platform virtual as a motion capture system suitable for telerehabilitation with the cost - quality and precision - accessibility relations optimized. These particular characteristics achieved by efficiently using the state of the art of accessible generic technology in sensors and hardware, and adequate software for capture, transmission analysis and visualization, provides the capacity to offer good telerehabilitation services, reaching large more or less marginal populations where technologies and specialists are not available but accessible with basic communication networks.

Keywords: MEMS, Telerehabilitation, inertial sensors, joint amplitude measurement

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9 The Impact of a Leadership Change on Individuals' Behaviour and Incentives: Evidence from the Top Tier Italian Football League

Authors: Kaori Narita, Juan de Dios Tena Horrillo, Claudio Detotto

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Decisions on replacement of leaders are of significance and high prevalence in any organization, and concerns many of its stakeholders, whether it is a leader in a political party or a CEO of a firm, as indicated by high media coverage of such events. This merits an investigation into the consequences and implications of a leadership change on the performances and behavior of organizations and their workers. Sport economics provides a fruitful field to explore these issues due to the high frequencies of managerial changes in professional sports clubs and the transparency and regularity of observations of team performance and players’ abilities. Much of the existing research on managerial change focuses on how this affects the performance of an organization. However, there is scarcely attention paid to the consequences of such events on the behavior of individuals within the organization. Changes in behavior and attitudes of a group of workers due to a managerial change could be of great interest in management science, psychology, and operational research. On the other hand, these changes cannot be observed in the final outcome of the organization, as this is affected by many other unobserved shocks, for example, the stress level of workers with the need to deal with a difficult situation. To fill this gap, this study shows the first attempt to evaluate the impact of managerial change on players’ behaviors such as attack intensity, aggressiveness, and efforts. The data used in this study is from the top tier Italian football league (“Serie A”), where an average of 13 within season replacements of head coaches were observed over the period of seasons from 2000/2001 to 2017/18. The preliminary estimation employs Pooled Ordinary Least Square (POLS) and club-season Fixed Effect (FE) in order to assess the marginal effect of having a new manager on the number of shots, corners and red/yellow cards after controlling for a home-field advantage, ex ante abilities and current positions in the league of a team and their opponent. The results from this preliminary estimation suggest that the teams do not show a significant difference in their behaviors before and after the managerial change. To build on these preliminary results, other methods, including propensity score matching and non-linear model estimates, will be used. Moreover, the study will further investigate these issues by considering other measurements of attack intensity, aggressiveness, and efforts, such as possessions, a number of fouls and the athletic performance of players, respectively. Finally, the study is going to investigate whether these results vary over the characteristics of a new head coach, for example, their age and experience as a manager and a player. Thus far, this study suggests that certain behaviours of individuals in an organisation are not immediately affected by a change in leadership. To confirm this preliminary finding and lead to a more solid conclusion, further investigation will be conducted in the aforementioned manner, and the results will be elaborated in the conference.

Keywords: Behaviour, Sport Economics, effort, manager characteristics, managerial change

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8 Influence Study of the Molar Ratio between Solvent and Initiator on the Reaction Rate of Polyether Polyols Synthesis

Authors: María José Carrero, Ana M. Borreguero, Juan F. Rodríguez, María M. Velencoso, Ángel Serrano, María Jesús Ramos

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Flame-retardants are incorporated in different materials in order to reduce the risk of fire, either by providing increased resistance to ignition, or by acting to slow down combustion and thereby delay the spread of flames. In this work, polyether polyols with fire retardant properties were synthesized due to their wide application in the polyurethanes formulation. The combustion of polyurethanes is primarily dependent on the thermal properties of the polymer, the presence of impurities and formulation residue in the polymer as well as the supply of oxygen. There are many types of flame retardants, most of them are phosphorous compounds of different nature and functionality. The addition of these compounds is the most common method for the incorporation of flame retardant properties. The employment of glycerol phosphate sodium salt as initiator for the polyol synthesis allows obtaining polyols with phosphate groups in their structure. However, some of the critical points of the use of glycerol phosphate salt are: the lower reactivity of the salt and the necessity of a solvent (dimethyl sulfoxide, DMSO). Thus, the main aim in the present work was to determine the amount of the solvent needed to get a good solubility of the initiator salt. Although the anionic polymerization mechanism of polyether formation is well known, it seems convenient to clarify the role that DMSO plays at the starting point of the polymerization process. Regarding the fact that the catalyst deprotonizes the hydroxyl groups of the initiator and as a result of this, two water molecules and glycerol phosphate alkoxide are formed. This alkoxide, together with DMSO, has to form a homogeneous mixture where the initiator (solid) and the propylene oxide (PO) are soluble enough to mutually interact. The addition rate of PO increased when the solvent/initiator ratios studied were increased, observing that it also made the initiation step shorter. Furthermore, the molecular weight of the polyol decreased when higher solvent/initiator ratios were used, what revealed that more amount of salt was activated, initiating more chains of lower length but allowing to react more phosphate molecules and to increase the percentage of phosphorous in the final polyol. However, the final phosphorous content was lower than the theoretical one because only a percentage of salt was activated. On the other hand, glycerol phosphate disodium salt was still partially insoluble in DMSO studied proportions, thus, the recovery and reuse of this part of the salt for the synthesis of new flame retardant polyols was evaluated. In the recovered salt case, the rate of addition of PO remained the same than in the commercial salt but a shorter induction period was observed, this is because the recovered salt presents a higher amount of deprotonated hydroxyl groups. Besides, according to molecular weight, polydispersity index, FT-IR spectrum and thermal stability, there were no differences between both synthesized polyols. Thus, it is possible to use the recovered glycerol phosphate disodium salt in the same way that the commercial one.

Keywords: Solvent, fire retardants, DMSO, glycerol phosphate disodium salt, recovered initiator

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7 A Qualitative Study of Newspaper Discourse and Online Discussions of Climate Change in China

Authors: Juan Du

Abstract:

Climate change is one of the most crucial issues of this era, with contentious debates on it among scholars. But there are sparse studies on climate change discourse in China. Including China in the study of climate change is essential for a sociological understanding of climate change. China -- as a developing country and an essential player in tackling climate change -- offers an ideal case for studying climate change for scholars moving beyond developed countries and enriching their understandings of climate change by including diverse social settings. This project contrasts the macro- and micro-level understandings of climate change in China, which helps scholars move beyond a focus on climate skepticism and denialism and enriches sociology of climate change knowledge. The macro-level understanding of climate change is obtained by analyzing over 4,000 newspaper articles from various official outlets in China. State-controlled newspapers play an essential role in transmitting essential and high-quality information and promoting broader public understanding of climate change and its anthropogenic nature. Thus, newspaper articles can be seen as tools employed by governments to mobilize the public in terms of supporting the development of a strategy shift from economy-growth to an ecological civilization. However, media is just one of the significant factors influencing an individual’s climate change concern. Extreme weather events, access to accurate scientific information, elite cues, and movement/countermovement advocacy influence an individual’s perceptions of climate change. Hence, there are differences in the ways that both newspaper articles and the public frame the issues. The online forum is an informative channel for scholars to understand the public’s opinion. The micro-level data comes from Zhihu, which is China’s equivalence of Quora. Users can propose, answer, and comment on questions. This project analyzes the questions related to climate change which have over 20 answers. By open-coding both the macro- and micro-level data, this project will depict the differences between ideology as presented in government-controlled newspapers and how people talk and act with respect to climate change in cyberspace, which may provide an idea about any existing disconnect in public behavior and their willingness to change daily activities to facilitate a greener society. The contemporary Yellow Vest protests in France illustrate that the large gap between governmental policies of climate change mitigation and the public’s understanding may lead to social movement activity and social instability. Effective environmental policy is impossible without the public’s support. Finding existing gaps in understanding may help policy-makers develop effective ways of framing climate change and obtain more supporters of climate change related policies. Overall, this qualitative project provides answers to the following research questions: 1) How do different state-controlled newspapers transmit their ideology on climate change to the public and in what ways? 2) How do individuals frame climate change online? 3) What are the differences between newspapers’ framing and individual’s framing?

Keywords: Climate Change, Media, China, framing theory, public’s climate change concern

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6 On-Farm Biopurification Systems: Fungal Bioaugmentation of Biomixtures For Carbofuran Removal

Authors: Carlos E. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Karla Ruiz-Hidalgo, Kattia Madrigal-Zúñiga, Juan Salvador Chin-Pampillo, Mario Masís-Mora, Elizabeth Carazo-Rojas

Abstract:

One of the main causes of contamination linked to agricultural activities is the spillage and disposal of pesticides, especially during the loading, mixing or cleaning of agricultural spraying equipment. One improvement in the handling of pesticides is the use of biopurification systems (BPS), simple and cheap degradation devices where the pesticides are biologically degraded at accelerated rates. The biologically active core of BPS is the biomixture, which is constituted by soil pre-exposed to the target pesticide, a lignocellulosic substrate to promote the activity of ligninolitic fungi and a humic component (peat or compost), mixed at a volumetric proportion of 50:25:25. Considering the known ability of lignocellulosic fungi to degrade a wide range of organic pollutants, and the high amount of lignocellulosic waste used in biomixture preparation, the bioaugmentation of biomixtures with these fungi represents an interesting approach for improving biomixtures. The present work aimed at evaluating the effect of the bioaugmentation of rice husk based biomixtures with the fungus Trametes versicolor in the removal of the insectice/nematicide carbofuran (CFN) and to optimize the composition of the biomixture to obtain the best performance in terms of CFN removal and mineralization, reduction in formation of transformation products and decrease in residual toxicity of the matrix. The evaluation of several lignocellulosic residues (rice husk, wood chips, coconut fiber, sugarcane bagasse or newspaper print) revealed the best colonization by T. versicolor in rice husk. Pre-colonized rice husk was then used in the bioaugmentation of biomixtures also containing soil pre-exposed to CFN and either peat (GTS biomixture) or compost (GCS biomixture). After spiking with 10 mg/kg CBF, the efficiency of the biomixture was evaluated through a multi-component approach that included: monitoring of CBF removal and production of CBF transformation products, mineralization of radioisotopically labeled carbofuran (14C-CBF) and changes in the toxicity of the matrix after the treatment (Daphnia magna acute immobilization test). Estimated half-lives of CBF in the biomixtures were 3.4 d and 8.1 d in GTS and GCS, respectively. The transformation products 3-hydroxycarbofuran and 3-ketocarbofuran were detected at the moment of CFN application, however their concentration continuously disappeared. Mineralization of 14C-CFN was also faster in GTS than GCS. The toxicological evaluation showed a complete toxicity removal in the biomixtures after 48 d of treatment. The composition of the GCS biomixture was optimized using a central composite design and response surface methodology. The design variables were the volumetric content of fungally pre-colonized rice husk and the volumetric ratio compost/soil. According to the response models, maximization of CFN removal and mineralization rate, and minimization in the accumulation of transformation products were obtained with an optimized biomixture of composition 30:43:27 (pre-colonized rice husk:compost:soil), which differs from the 50:25:25 composition commonly employed in BPS. Results suggest that fungal bioaugmentation may enhance the performance of biomixtures in CFN removal. Optimization reveals the importance of assessing new biomixture formulations in order to maximize their performance.

Keywords: Toxicity, Pesticides, Fungi, Bioaugmentation, degradation, biopurification systems

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5 From Avatars to Humans: A Hybrid World Theory and Human Computer Interaction Experimentations with Virtual Reality Technologies

Authors: Juan Pablo Bertuzzi, Mauro Chiarella

Abstract:

Employing a communication studies perspective and a socio-technological approach, this paper introduces a theoretical framework for understanding the concept of hybrid world; the avatarization phenomena; and the communicational archetype of co-hybridization. This analysis intends to make a contribution to future design of virtual reality experimental applications. Ultimately, this paper presents an ongoing research project that proposes the study of human-avatar interactions in digital educational environments, as well as an innovative reflection on inner digital communication. The aforementioned project presents the analysis of human-avatar interactions, through the development of an interactive experience in virtual reality. The goal is to generate an innovative communicational dimension that could reinforce the hypotheses presented throughout this paper. Being thought for its initial application in educational environments, the analysis and results of this research are dependent and have been prepared in regard of a meticulous planning of: the conception of a 3D digital platform; the interactive game objects; the AI or computer avatars; the human representation as hybrid avatars; and lastly, the potential of immersion, ergonomics and control diversity that can provide the virtual reality system and the game engine that were chosen. The project is divided in two main axes: The first part is the structural one, as it is mandatory for the construction of an original prototype. The 3D model is inspired by the physical space that belongs to an academic institution. The incorporation of smart objects, avatars, game mechanics, game objects, and a dialogue system will be part of the prototype. These elements have all the objective of gamifying the educational environment. To generate a continuous participation and a large amount of interactions, the digital world will be navigable both, in a conventional device and in a virtual reality system. This decision is made, practically, to facilitate the communication between students and teachers; and strategically, because it will help to a faster population of the digital environment. The second part is concentrated to content production and further data analysis. The challenge is to offer a scenario’s diversity that compels users to interact and to question their digital embodiment. The multipath narrative content that is being applied is focused on the subjects covered in this paper. Furthermore, the experience with virtual reality devices proposes users to experiment in a mixture of a seemingly infinite digital world and a small physical area of movement. This combination will lead the narrative content and it will be crucial in order to restrict user’s interactions. The main point is to stimulate and to grow in the user the need of his hybrid avatar’s help. By building an inner communication between user’s physicality and user’s digital extension, the interactions will serve as a self-guide through the gameworld. This is the first attempt to make explicit the avatarization phenomena and to further analyze the communicational archetype of co-hybridization. The challenge of the upcoming years will be to take advantage from these forms of generalized avatarization, in order to create awareness and establish innovative forms of hybridization.

Keywords: Virtual Reality, avatar, hybrid worlds, socio-technology

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4 Combination of Modelling and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment Approach for Demand Driven Biogas Production

Authors: Juan A. Arzate, Funda C. Ertem, M. Nicolas Cruz-Bournazou, Peter Neubauer, Stefan Junne

Abstract:

— One of the biggest challenges the world faces today is global warming that is caused by greenhouse gases (GHGs) coming from the combustion of fossil fuels for energy generation. In order to mitigate climate change, the European Union has committed to reducing GHG emissions to 80–95% below the level of the 1990s by the year 2050. Renewable technologies are vital to diminish energy-related GHG emissions. Since water and biomass are limited resources, the largest contributions to renewable energy (RE) systems will have to come from wind and solar power. Nevertheless, high proportions of fluctuating RE will present a number of challenges, especially regarding the need to balance the variable energy demand with the weather dependent fluctuation of energy supply. Therefore, biogas plants in this content would play an important role, since they are easily adaptable. Feedstock availability varies locally or seasonally; however there is a lack of knowledge in how biogas plants should be operated in a stable manner by local feedstock. This problem may be prevented through suitable control strategies. Such strategies require the development of convenient mathematical models, which fairly describe the main processes. Modelling allows us to predict the system behavior of biogas plants when different feedstocks are used with different loading rates. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique for analyzing several sides from evolution of a product till its disposal in an environmental point of view. It is highly recommend to use as a decision making tool. In order to achieve suitable strategies, the combination of a flexible energy generation provided by biogas plants, a secure production process and the maximization of the environmental benefits can be obtained by the combination of process modelling and LCA approaches. For this reason, this study focuses on the biogas plant which flexibly generates required energy from the co-digestion of maize, grass and cattle manure, while emitting the lowest amount of GHG´s. To achieve this goal AMOCO model was combined with LCA. The program was structured in Matlab to simulate any biogas process based on the AMOCO model and combined with the equations necessary to obtain climate change, acidification and eutrophication potentials of the whole production system based on ReCiPe midpoint v.1.06 methodology. Developed simulation was optimized based on real data from operating biogas plants and existing literature research. The results prove that AMOCO model can successfully imitate the system behavior of biogas plants and the necessary time required for the process to adapt in order to generate demanded energy from available feedstock. Combination with LCA approach provided opportunity to keep the resulting emissions from operation at the lowest possible level. This would allow for a prediction of the process, when the feedstock utilization supports the establishment of closed material circles within a smart bio-production grid – under the constraint of minimal drawbacks for the environment and maximal sustainability.

Keywords: Modelling, Life Cycle Assessment, GHG emissions, AMOCO model

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3 From Modelled Design to Reality through Material and Machinery Lab and Field Tests: Porous Concrete Carparks at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid

Authors: Manuel de Pazos-Liano, Manuel Cifuentes-Antonio, Juan Fisac-Gozalo, Sara Perales-Momparler, Carlos Martinez-Montero

Abstract:

The first-ever game in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, the new home of the Club Atletico de Madrid, was played on September 16, 2017, thanks to the work of a multidisciplinary team that made it possible to combine urban development with sustainability goals. The new football ground sits on a 1.2 km² land owned by the city of Madrid. Its construction has dramatically increased the sealed area of the site (transforming the runoff coefficient from 0.35 to 0.9), and the surrounding sewer network has no capacity for that extra flow. As an alternative to enlarge the existing 2.5 m diameter pipes, it was decided to detain runoff on site by means of an integrated and durable infrastructure that would not blow up the construction cost nor represent a burden on the municipality’s maintenance tasks. Instead of the more conventional option of building a large concrete detention tank, the decision was taken on the use of pervious pavement on the 3013 car parking spaces for sub-surface water storage, a solution aligned with the city water ordinance and the Madrid + Natural project. Making the idea a reality, in only five months and during the summer season (which forced to pour the porous concrete only overnight), was a challenge never faced before in Spain, that required of innovation both at the material as well as the machinery side. The process consisted on: a) defining the characteristics required for the porous concrete (compressive strength of 15 N/mm2 and 20% voids); b) testing of different porous concrete dosages at the construction company laboratory; c) stablishing the cross section in order to provide structural strength and sufficient water detention capacity (20 cm porous concrete over a 5 cm 5/10 gravel, that sits on a 50 cm coarse 40/50 aggregate sub-base separated by a virgin fiber polypropylene geotextile fabric); d) hydraulic computer modelling (using the Full Hydrograph Method based on the Wallingford Procedure) to estimate design peak flows decrease (an average of 69% at the three car parking lots); e) use of a variety of machinery for the application of the porous concrete to achieve both structural strength and permeable surface (including an inverse rotating rolling imported from USA, and the so-called CMI, a sliding concrete paver used in the construction of motorways with rigid pavements); f) full-scale pilots and final construction testing by an accredited laboratory (pavement compressive strength average value of 15 N/mm2 and 0,0032 m/s permeability). The continuous testing and innovating construction process explained in detail within this article, allowed for a growing performance with time, finally proving the use of the CMI valid also for large porous car park applications. All this process resulted in a successful story that converts the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium into a great demonstration site that will help the application of the Spanish Royal Decree 638/2016 (it also counts with rainwater harvesting for grass irrigation).

Keywords: Construction Machinery, SUDS, permeable carpark, porous concrete, sustainable develpoment

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2 The Influence of Screen Translation on Creative Audiovisual Writing: A Corpus-Based Approach

Authors: John D. Sanderson

Abstract:

The popularity of American cinema worldwide has contributed to the development of sociolects related to specific film genres in other cultural contexts by means of screen translation, in many cases eluding norms of usage in the target language, a process whose result has come to be known as 'dubbese'. A consequence for the reception in countries where local audiovisual fiction consumption is far lower than American imported productions is that this linguistic construct is preferred, even though it differs from common everyday speech. The iconography of film genres such as science-fiction, western or sword-and-sandal films, for instance, generates linguistic expectations in international audiences who will accept more easily the sociolects assimilated by the continuous reception of American productions, even if the themes, locations, characters, etc., portrayed on screen may belong in origin to other cultures. And the non-normative language (e.g., calques, semantic loans) used in the preferred mode of linguistic transfer, whether it is translation for dubbing or subtitling, has diachronically evolved in many cases into a status of canonized sociolect, not only accepted but also required, by foreign audiences of American films. However, a remarkable step forward is taken when this typology of artificial linguistic constructs starts being used creatively by nationals of these target cultural contexts. In the case of Spain, the success of American sitcoms such as Friends in the 1990s led Spanish television scriptwriters to include in national productions lexical and syntactical indirect borrowings (Anglicisms not formally identifiable as such because they include elements from their own language) in order to target audiences of the former. However, this commercial strategy had already taken place decades earlier when Spain became a favored location for the shooting of foreign films in the early 1960s. The international popularity of the then newly developed sub-genre known as Spaghetti-Western encouraged Spanish investors to produce their own movies, and local scriptwriters made use of the dubbese developed nationally since the advent of sound in film instead of using normative language. As a result, direct Anglicisms, as well as lexical and syntactical borrowings made up the creative writing of these Spanish productions, which also became commercially successful. Interestingly enough, some of these films were even marketed in English-speaking countries as original westerns (some of the names of actors and directors were anglified to that purpose) dubbed into English. The analysis of these 'back translations' will also foreground some semantic distortions that arose in the process. In order to perform the research on these issues, a wide corpus of American films has been used, which chronologically range from Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939) to Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012), together with a shorter corpus of Spanish films produced during the golden age of Spaghetti Westerns, from una tumba para el sheriff (Mario Caiano; in English lone and angry man, William Hawkins) to tu fosa será la exacta, amigo (Juan Bosch, 1972; in English my horse, my gun, your widow, John Wood). The methodology of analysis and the conclusions reached could be applied to other genres and other cultural contexts.

Keywords: dubbing, Sociolect, film genre, screen translation

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1 Effects of Delphinidin on Lipid Metabolism in HepG2 Cells and Diet-Induced Obese Mice

Authors: Marcela Parra-Vargas, Ana Sandoval-Rodriguez, Roberto Rodriguez-Echevarria, Jose Dominguez-Rosales, Juan Armendariz-Borunda

Abstract:

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by an excess of hepatic lipids, and it is to author’s best knowledge, the most prevalent chronic liver disorder. Anthocyanin-rich food consumption is linked to health benefits in metabolic disorders associated with obesity and NAFLD, although the precise functional role of anthocyanidin delphinidin (Dp) has yet to be established. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the Dp in NAFLD metabolic alterations by evaluating prevention or amelioration of hepatic lipid accumulation, as well as molecular mechanisms in two experimental obesity-related models of NALFD. In vitro: HepG2 cells were incubated with sodium palmitate (PA, 1 mM) to induce lipotoxic damage, and concomitantly treated with Dp (180 uM) for 24 h. Subsequently, total lipid accumulation was measured by colorimetric staining with Oil Red O, and total intrahepatic triglycerides were determined by an enzymatic assay. To assess molecular mechanisms, cells were pre-treated with PA for 24 h and then exposed to Dp for 1 h. In vivo: four-week-old male C57BL/6Nhsd mice were allocated in two main groups. Mice were fed with standard diet (control) or high-fat and high-carbohydrate diet (45% fat, HFD) for 16 wk to induce NAFLD. Then HFD was divided into subgroups: one treated orally with Dp (15 mg/kg bw, HFD-Dp) every day for 4 wk, while HFD group treated with vehicle (DMSO). Weight and fasting glucose were recorded weekly, while dietary ingestion was measured daily. Insulin tolerance test was performed at the end of treatment. Liver histology was evaluated with H&E and Masson’s trichrome stain. RT-PCR was used to evaluate gene expression and Western Blot to determine levels of protein in both experimental models. Parametric data were analyzed with one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s post-hoc test. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test for non-parametric data, and P < 0.5 were considered significant. Dp prevented hepatic lipid accumulation by PA in HepG2 hepatocytes. Furthermore, Dp down-regulated gene expression of SREBP1c, FAS, and CPT1a without modifying AMPK phosphorylation levels. In vivo, Dp oral administration did not ameliorate lipid metabolic alterations raised by HFD. Adiposity, dietary ingestion, fasting glucose, and insulin sensitivity after Dp treatment remained similar to HFD group. Histological analysis showed hepatic damage in HFD groups and no differences between HFD and HFD-Dp groups were found. Hepatic gene expression of ACC and FAS were not altered by HFD. SREBP1c was similar in both HFD and HFD-Dp groups. No significant changes were observed in SREBP1c, ACC, and FAS adipose tissue gene expression by HFD or Dp treatment. Additionally, immunoblotting analysis revealed no changes in pathway SIRT1-LKB-AMPK and PPAR alpha by both HFD groups compared to control. In conclusion, the antioxidant Dp may provoke beneficial effects in the prevention of hepatic lipid accumulation. Nevertheless, the oral dose administrated in mice that simulated the total intake of anthocyanins consumed daily by humans has no effect as a treatment on hepatic lipid metabolic alterations and histological abnormalities associated with exposure to chronic HFD. A healthy lifestyle with regular intake of antioxidants such as anthocyanins may prevent metabolic alterations in NAFLD.

Keywords: Obesity, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Antioxidants, anthocyanins, delphinidin

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