Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 23

Search results for: Karolína Vozková

23 Cost Efficiency of European Cooperative Banks

Authors: Karolína Vozková, Matěj Kuc

Abstract:

This paper analyzes recent trends in cost efficiency of European cooperative banks using efficient frontier analysis. Our methodology is based on stochastic frontier analysis which is run on a set of 649 European cooperative banks using data between 2006 and 2015. Our results show that average inefficiency of European cooperative banks is increasing since 2008, smaller cooperative banks are significantly more efficient than the bigger ones over the whole time period and that share of net fee and commission income to total income surprisingly seems to have no impact on bank cost efficiency.

Keywords: cooperative banks, cost efficiency, efficient frontier analysis, stochastic frontier analysis, net fee and commission income

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22 Net Interest Margin of Cooperative Banks in Low Interest Rate Environment

Authors: Karolína Vozková, Matěj Kuc

Abstract:

This paper deals with the impact of decrease in interest rates on the performance of commercial and cooperative banks in the Eurozone measured by net interest margin. The analysis was performed on balanced dataset of 268 commercial and 726 cooperative banks spanning the 2008-2015 period. We employed Fixed Effects estimation panel method. As expected, we found a negative relationship between market rates and net interest margin. Our results suggest that the impact of negative interest income differs across individual banking business models. More precisely, those cooperative banks were much more hit by the decrease of market interest rates which might be due to their ownership structure and more restrictive business regulation.

Keywords: cooperative banks, performance, negative interest rates, risk management

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21 Net Fee and Commission Income Determinants of European Cooperative Banks

Authors: Karolína Vozková, Matěj Kuc

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Net fee and commission income is one of the key elements of a bank’s core income. In the current low-interest rate environment, this type of income is gaining importance relative to net interest income. This paper analyses the effects of bank and country specific determinants of net fee and commission income on a set of cooperative banks from European countries in the 2007-2014 period. In order to do that, dynamic panel data methods (system Generalized Methods of Moments) were employed. Subsequently, alternative panel data methods were run as robustness checks of the analysis. Strong positive impact of bank concentration on the share of net fee and commission income was found, which proves that cooperative banks tend to display a higher share of fee income in less competitive markets. This is probably connected with the fact that they stick with their traditional deposit-taking and loan-providing model and fees on these services are driven down by the competitors. Moreover, compared to commercial banks, cooperatives do not expand heavily into non-traditional fee bearing services under competition and their overall fee income share is therefore decreasing with the increased competitiveness of the sector.

Keywords: cooperative banking, dynamic panel data models, net fee and commission income, system GMM

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20 The SEMONT Monitoring and Risk Assessment of Environmental EMF Pollution

Authors: Dragan Kljajic, Nikola Djuric, Karolina Kasas-Lazetic, Danka Antic

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Wireless communications have been expanded very fast in recent decades. This technology relies on an extensive network of base stations and antennas, using radio frequency signals to transmit information. Devices that use wireless communication, while offering various services, basically act as sources of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF). Such devices are permanently present in the human vicinity and almost constantly radiate, causing EMF pollution of the environment. This fact has initiated development of modern systems for observation of the EMF pollution, as well as for risk assessment. This paper presents the Serbian electromagnetic field monitoring network – SEMONT, designed for automated, remote and continuous broadband monitoring of EMF in the environment. Measurement results of the SEMONT monitoring at one of the test locations, within the main campus of the University of Novi Sad, are presented and discussed, along with corresponding exposure assessment of the general population, regarding the Serbian legislation.

Keywords: EMF monitoring, exposure assessment, sensor nodes, wireless network

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19 Association of Selected Polymorphisms of BER Pathway with the Risk of Colorectal Cancer in the Polish Population

Authors: Jacek Kabzinski, Karolina Przybylowska, Lukasz Dziki, Adam Dziki, Ireneusz Majsterek

Abstract:

The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing from year to year. Despite intensive research CRC etiology remains unknown. Studies suggest that at the basis of the process of carcinogenesis can lie reduced efficiency of DNA repair mechanisms, often caused by polymorphisms in DNA repair genes. The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between gene polymorphisms Pro242Arg of PolB gene and Arg780His of Lig3 gene and modulation of the risk of colorectal cancer in the Polish population. Determination of the molecular basis of carcinogenesis process and predicting increased risk will allow qualifying patients to increased risk group and including them in preventive program. We used blood collected from 110 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The control group consisted of equal number of healthy people. Genotyping was performed by TaqMan method. The obtained results indicate that the genotype 780Arg/His of Lig3 gene is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. On the basis of these results, we conclude that Lig3 gene polymorphism Arg780His may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Keywords: BER, colorectal cancer, PolB, Lig3, polymorphisms

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18 Prosody of Text Communication: Inducing Synchronization and Coherence in Chat Conversations

Authors: Karolina Ziembowicz, Andrzej Nowak

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In the current study, we examined the consequences of adding prosodic cues to text communication by allowing users to observe the process of message creation while engaged in dyadic conversations. In the first condition, users interacted through a traditional chat that requires pressing ‘enter’ to make a message visible to an interlocutor. In another, text appeared on the screen simultaneously as the sender was writing it, letter after letter (Synchat condition), so that users could observe the varying rhythm of message production, precise timing of message appearance, typos and their corrections. The results show that the ability to observe the dynamics of message production had a twofold effect on the social interaction process. First, it enhanced the relational aspect of communication – interlocutors synchronized their emotional states during the interaction, their communication included more statements on relationship building, and they evaluated the Synchat medium as more personal and emotionally engaging. Second, it increased the coherence of communication, reflected in greater continuity of the topics raised in Synchat conversations. The results are discussed from the interaction design (IxD) perspective.

Keywords: chat communication, online conversation, prosody, social synchronization, interaction incoherence, relationship building

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17 The Influence of Polymorphisms of NER System Genes on the Risk of Colorectal Cancer in the Polish Population

Authors: Ireneusz Majsterek, Karolina Przybylowska, Lukasz Dziki, Adam Dziki, Jacek Kabzinski

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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the deadliest cancers. Every year we see an increase in the number of cases, and in spite of intensive research etiology of the disease remains unknown. For many years, researchers are seeking to associate genetic factors with an increased risk of CRC, so far it has proved to be a compelling link between the MMR system of DNA repair and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancers (HNPCC). Currently, research is focused on finding the relationship between the remaining DNA repair systems and an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between gene polymorphisms Ser835Ser of XPF gene and Gly23Ala of XPA gene–elements of NER DNA repair system, and modulation of the risk of colorectal cancer in the Polish population. Determination of the molecular basis of carcinogenesis process and predicting increased risk will allow qualifying patients to increased risk group and including them in preventive program. We used blood collected from 110 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The control group consisted of equal number of healthy people. Genotyping was performed by TaqMan method. The obtained results indicate that the genotype 23Gly/Ala of XPA gene is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, while 23Ala/Ala as well as TCT allele of Ser835Ser of XPF gene may reduce the risk of CRC.

Keywords: NER, colorectal cancer, XPA, XPF, polymorphisms

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16 Transmission of Values among Polish Young Adults and Their Parents: Pseudo Dyad Analysis and Gender Differences

Authors: Karolina Pietras, Joanna Fryt, Aleksandra Gronostaj, Tomasz Smolen

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Young women and men differ from their parents in preferred values. Those differences enable their adaptability to a new socio-cultural context and help with fulfilling developmental tasks specific to young adulthood. At the same time core values, with special importance to family members, are transmitted within families. Intergenerational similarities in values may thus be both an effect of value transmission within a family and a consequence of sharing the same socio-cultural context. These processes are difficult to separate. In our study we assessed similarities and differences in values within four intergenerational family dyads (mothers-daughters, fathers-daughters, mothers-sons, fathers-sons). Sixty Polish young adults (30 women and 30 men aged 19-25) along with their parents (a total of 180 participants) completed the Schwartz’ Portrait Value Questionnaire (PVQ-21). To determine which values may be transmitted within families, we used a correlation analysis and pseudo dyad analysis that allows for the estimation of a baseline likeness between all tested subjects and consequently makes it possible to determine if similarities between actual family members are greater than chance. We also assessed whether different strategies of measuring similarity between family members render different results, and checked whether resemblances in family dyads are influenced by child’s and parent’s gender. Reported similarities were interpreted in light of the evolutionary and the value salience perspective.

Keywords: intergenerational differences in values, gender differences, pseudo dyad analysis, transmission of values

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15 Effects of Corruption and Logistics Performance Inefficiencies on Container Throughput: The Latin America Case

Authors: Fernando Seabra, Giulia P. Flores, Karolina C. Gomes

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Trade liberalizations measures, as import tariff cuts, are not a sufficient trigger for trade growth. Given that price margins are narrow, traders and cargo operators tend to opt out of markets where the process of goods clearance is slow and costly. Excess paperwork and slow customs dispatch not only lead to institutional breakdowns and corruption but also to increasing transaction cost and trade constraints. The objective of this paper is, therefore, two-fold: First, to evaluate the relationship between institutional and infrastructural performance indexes and trade growth in container throughput; and, second, to investigate the causes for differences in container demurrage and detention fees in Latin American countries (using other emerging countries as benchmarking). The analysis is focused on manufactured goods, typically transported by containers. Institutional and infrastructure bottlenecks and, therefore, the country logistics efficiency – measured by the Logistics Performance Index (LPI, World Bank-WB) – are compared with other indexes, such as the Doing Business index (WB) and the Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International). The main results based on the comparison between Latin American countries and the others emerging countries point out in that the growth in containers trade is directly related to LPI performance. It has also been found that the main hypothesis is valid as aspects that more specifically identify trade facilitation and corruption are significant drivers of logistics performance. The exam of port efficiency (demurrage and detention fees) has demonstrated that not necessarily higher level of efficiency is related to lower charges; however, reductions in fees have been more significant within non-Latin American emerging countries.

Keywords: corruption, logistics performance index, container throughput, Latin America

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14 The Presence of Ochratoxin a in Breast-Milk, Urine and Serum of Lactating Women

Authors: Magdalena Twaruzek, Karolina Ropejko

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Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of molds. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is the most common in the Polish climate. It is produced by fungi of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium. It is produced as a result of improper food storage. It is present in many products that are consumed both by humans and animals: cereals, wheat gluten, coffee, dried fruit, wine, grape juice, spices, beer, and products based on them. OTA is nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, potentially carcinogenic, and teratogenic. OTA mainly enters an organism by oral intake. The aim of the study was to detect the presence of OTA in milk, urine, and serum of lactating women. A survey was also conducted regarding the daily diet of women. The research group consisted of 32 lactating women (11 were the donors from the Milk Bank in Toruń, the other 21 were recruited for this study). Results of the analysis showed the occurrence of OTA only in 3 milk samples (9.38%). The minimum level was 0.01 ng/ml, while the maximum 0.018 ng/ml and the mean 0.0013 ng/ml. Twenty-six urine samples (81.25%) were OTA positive, with minimum level 0.013 ng/ml, maximum level 0.117 ng/ml and mean 0.0192 ng/ml. Also, all 32 serum samples (100%) were contaminated by OTA, with a minimum level of 0.099 ng/ml, a maximum level of 2.38 ng/ml, and a mean of 0.4649 ng/ml. In the case of 3 women, OTA was present in all tested body fluids. Based on the results, the following conclusions can be drawn: the breast-milk of women in the study group is slightly contaminated with ochratoxin A. Ten samples of urine contained ochratoxin A above its average content in tested samples. Moreover, serum of 8 women contains ochratoxin A at a level above the average content of this mycotoxin in tested samples. The average ochratoxin A level in serum in the presented studies was 0.4649 ng/ml, which is much lower than the average serum ochratoxin A level established in several countries in the world, i.e., 0.7 ng/ml. Acknowledgment: This study was supported by the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education under the program 'Regional Initiative of Excellence' in 2019 - 2022 (Grant No. 008/RID/2018/19).

Keywords: breast-milk, urine, serum, contamination, ochratoxin A

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13 Liquidity Risk of Banks in Light of a Dominant Share of Foreign Capital in the Polish Banking Sector

Authors: Karolina Patora

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This article investigates liquidity risk management by banks, which has gained significant importance since the global financial crisis of 2008. The issue is of particular interest for countries like Poland, in which foreign capital plays a dominant role. Such an ownership structure poses certain risks to the local banking sector, which faces an increased probability of the withdrawal of funding or assets’ transfers abroad in case of a crisis. Both these factors can have a detrimental influence on the liquidity position of foreign-owned banks and hence negatively affect the financial stability of the whole banking sector. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a dominating share of foreign investors in the Polish banking sector on the liquidity position of commercial banks. The study hypothesizes that the ownership structure of the Polish banking sector, in which there are banks predominantly controlled by foreign investors, does not pose a threat to the liquidity position of Polish banks. A supplementary research hypothesis is that the liquidity risk profile of foreign-owned banks differs from that of domestic banks. The sample consists of 14 foreign-owned banks and 5 domestic banks owned by local investors, which together constitute approximately 87% of the banking sector’s assets. The data covers the period of 2004–2014. The results of the regression models show no evidence of significant differences in terms of the dynamics of changes of the liquidity buffers between the foreign-owned and domestic banks, although the signs of the coefficients might suggest that the foreign-owned banks were decreasing the holdings of liquid assets at a slower pace over the examined period, compared to the domestic banks. However, no proof of the statistical significance of these findings has been found. The supplementary research hypothesis that the liquidity risk profile of foreign-controlled banks differs from that of domestic banks was rejected.

Keywords: foreign-owned banks, liquidity position, liquidity risk, financial stability

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12 Poly-ε-Caprolactone Nanofibers with Synthetic Growth Factor Enriched Liposomes as Controlled Drug Delivery System

Authors: Vera Sovkova, Andrea Mickova, Matej Buzgo, Karolina Vocetkova, Eva Filova, Evzen Amler

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PCL (poly-ε-caprolactone) nanofibrous scaffolds with adhered liposomes were prepared and tested as a possible drug delivery system for various synthetic growth factors. TGFβ, bFGF, and IGF-I have been shown to increase hMSC (human mesenchymal stem cells) proliferation and to induce hMSC differentiation. Functionalized PCL nanofibers were prepared with synthetic growth factors encapsulated in liposomes adhered to them in three different concentrations. Other samples contained PCL nanofibers with adhered, free synthetic growth factors. The synthetic growth factors free medium served as a control. The interaction of liposomes with the PCL nanofibers was visualized by SEM, and the release kinetics were determined by ELISA testing. The potential of liposomes, immobilized on the biodegradable scaffolds, as a delivery system for synthetic growth factors, and as a suitable system for MSCs adhesion, proliferation and differentiation in vitro was evaluated by MTS assay, dsDNA amount determination, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry and real-time PCR. The results showed that the growth factors adhered to the PCL nanofibers stimulated cell proliferation mainly up to day 11 and that subsequently their effect was lower. By contrast, the release of the lowest concentration of growth factors from liposomes resulted in gradual proliferation of MSCs throughout the experiment. Moreover, liposomes, as well as free growth factors, stimulated type II collagen production, which was confirmed by immunohistochemical staining using monoclonal antibody against type II collagen. The results of this study indicate that growth factors enriched liposomes adhered to surface of PCL nanofibers could be useful as a drug delivery instrument for application in short timescales, be combined with nanofiber scaffolds to promote local and persistent delivery while mimicking the local microenvironment. This work was supported by project LO1508 from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic

Keywords: drug delivery, growth factors, hMSC, liposomes, nanofibres

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11 MR Enterography Findings in Pediatric and Adult Patients with Crohn's Disease

Authors: Karolina Siejka, Monika Piekarska, Monika Zbroja, Weronika Cyranka, Maryla Kuczynska, Magdalena Grzegorczyk, Malgorzata Nowakowska, Agnieszka Brodzisz, Magdalena Maria Wozniak

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Crohn’s disease is one of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. It is increasing in prevalence worldwide, especially with young people. The disease usually occurs in the second to the fourth decade of life. Traditionally is diagnosed by clinical indicates, endoscopic, and histological findings. Magnetic Resonance Enterography (MRE) can demonstrate mural and extramural inflammatory signs and complications, which make it a valuable diagnostic modality. The study included 76 adults and 36 children diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Each patient underwent MRE with intravenous administration of a contrast agent. All the studies were performed using Siemens Aera 1.5T scanner according to a local study protocol. Whenever applicable, MR Enterography findings were verified with endoscopy. Forty adults and all 36 children had an active phase of Crohn’s disease; five adults had a chronic phase of the disease; one adult had both chronic and active inflammatory features. Thirty adults have no sings of pathology. In both adult and pediatric groups the most commonly observed manifestation of active disease was thickened edematous ileum wall (26 adults and 36 children). Adults had Bauhin’s valve edema in 58% cases (n=23) and mesenteric changes in 34% cases (n=9). To compare, 32 children had Bauhin’s valve edema (89%) and, in 23 cases, was found inflammatory infiltration of the peri-intestinal fat (64%). The involvement of the large intestine was more common among children (100%). Complications of Crohn’s disease were found commonly in adults (40% of adults, 22% of children). There were observed 18 fistulas (14 adults, four children) and six abscesses (2 adults, four children). MRE is a reliable method in the evaluation of Crohn’s disease activity, especially of its complications. The lack of radiations makes MRE well-tolerated modality, which can be often repeated, particularly in young patients. The disease had different medical sings depending on age – children often had a more active inflammatory process, but there were more complications in the adult group.

Keywords: Crohn's disease, diagnostics, inflammatory bowel disease, magnetic resonance enterography, MRE

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10 Safe and Scalable Framework for Participation of Nodes in Smart Grid Networks in a P2P Exchange of Short-Term Products

Authors: Maciej Jedrzejczyk, Karolina Marzantowicz

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Traditional utility value chain is being transformed during last few years into unbundled markets. Increased distributed generation of energy is one of considerable challenges faced by Smart Grid networks. New sources of energy introduce volatile demand response which has a considerable impact on traditional middlemen in E&U market. The purpose of this research is to search for ways to allow near-real-time electricity markets to transact with surplus energy based on accurate time synchronous measurements. A proposed framework evaluates the use of secure peer-2-peer (P2P) communication and distributed transaction ledgers to provide flat hierarchy, and allow real-time insights into present and forecasted grid operations, as well as state and health of the network. An objective is to achieve dynamic grid operations with more efficient resource usage, higher security of supply and longer grid infrastructure life cycle. Methods used for this study are based on comparative analysis of different distributed ledger technologies in terms of scalability, transaction performance, pluggability with external data sources, data transparency, privacy, end-to-end security and adaptability to various market topologies. An intended output of this research is a design of a framework for safer, more efficient and scalable Smart Grid network which is bridging a gap between traditional components of the energy network and individual energy producers. Results of this study are ready for detailed measurement testing, a likely follow-up in separate studies. New platforms for Smart Grid achieving measurable efficiencies will allow for development of new types of Grid KPI, multi-smart grid branches, markets, and businesses.

Keywords: autonomous agents, Distributed computing, distributed ledger technologies, large scale systems, micro grids, peer-to-peer networks, Self-organization, self-stabilization, smart grids

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9 Transcriptome Sequencing of the Spleens Reveals Genes Involved in Antiviral Response in Chickens Infected with Castv

Authors: Sajewicz-Krukowska Joanna, Domańska-Blicharz Katarzyna, Tarasiuk Karolina, Marzec-Kotarska Barbara

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Astroviral infections pose a significant problem in the poultry industry, leading to multiple adverse effects such as decreased egg production, breeding disorders, poor weight gain, and even increased mortality. Commonly observed chicken astrovirus (CAstV) was recently reported to be responsible for "white chicks syndrome" associated with increased embryo/chick mortality. The CAstV-mediated pathogenesis in chicken occurs due to complex interactions between the infectious pathogen and the immune system. Many aspects of CAstV-chicken interactions remain unclear, and there is no information available regarding gene expression changes in the chicken's spleen in response to CAstV infection. We aimed to investigate the molecular background triggered by CAstV infection. Ten 21-day-old SPF White Leghorn chickens were divided into two groups of 5 birds each. One group was inoculated with CAstV, and the other was used as the negative control. On 4th dpi, spleen samples were collected and immediately frozen at -70°C for RNA isolation. We analysed transcriptional profiles of the chickens' spleens at the 4th day following infection using RNA-seq to establish differentially expressed genes (DEGs). The RNA-seq findings were verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). A total of 31959 transcripts were identified in response to CAstV infection. Eventually 45 DEGs (p-value<0.05; Log2Foldchange>1)were recognized in the spleen after CAstV infection (26 upregulated DEGs and 19 downregulated DEGs). qRT-PCR performed on 4 genes (IFIT5, OASL, RASD1, DDX60) confirmed RNAseq results. Top differentially expressed genes belonged to novel putative IFN-induced CAstV restriction factors. Most of the DEGs were associated with RIG-I–like signalling pathway or, more generally, with an innate antiviral response(upregulated: BLEC3, CMPK2, IFIT5, OASL, DDX60, IFI6, and downregulated: SPIK5, SELENOP, HSPA2, TMEM158, RASD1, YWHAB). The study provided a global analysis of host transcriptional changes that occur during CAstV infection in vivo and proved the cell cycle in the spleen and immune signalling in chickens were predominantly affected upon CAstV infection.

Keywords: chicken astrovirus, CastV, RNA-seq, transcriptome, spleen

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8 EU Border Externalisation in Conflict Zones: Living at and Migrating Across the Iran-Turkey Border

Authors: Karolína Augustovaá

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Turkey’s eastern borders have been at the center of criticism by the European Commission who condemns restrictions against Kurdish civilians as the result of Turkey’s military operations against terrorist organizations (namely PKK). Yet, the Commission has launched economic and political support for numerous military projects along the Iran-Turkey border to fight cross-border crime (namely “illegal” migration) along its external borders. Whilst border externalization has been extensively examined in the EU’s wide neighborhood, its analysis from the ground in conflict zones is emerging. The existing analysis also rarely considers the impact of external border management beyond international migration - on the local context and its people. However, tough externalization policies at borders, where local wars are fought, are fundamental to scrutinize as they invite us to question the effects of EU’s migration management on diverse communities navigating their life along external borders. To fill this research lacunae, this article examines intersections between the local military operations and international (EU-Turkey) migration management at the Turkey’s border with Iran and questions their impact on the everyday struggles of people living at and migrating across the border. To do so, it applies critical feminist and military literature to border studies. Methodologically, the article draws upon ethnographic research in Van (Eastern Turkey), using participant observations and interviews with sixty participants. This article argues that the EU’s externalization policies add to the violence generated by the local militarized conflict and eventually (re-)produce it in the forms of push-backs and physical violence against people who daily cross the border irregularly for their physical/economic survival. By doing so, I suggest that (inter)national fears of terrorism and migration inter-sect, materialize and affect everyday sites of diverse racialized groups living at and moving across external borders, such as international migrants (Afghans) and the local residents (Kurds) at the Turkey-Iran border. This article highlights the need to analyze the local border context in tandem with international migration management in the EU’s wider neighborhood to understand how conflict and violence evolves there.

Keywords: european union border externalization, eastern turkey, migration, conflict, kurdish question

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7 Synthesis and Catalytic Activity of N-Heterocyclic Carbene Copper Catalysts Supported on Magnetic Nanoparticles

Authors: Iwona Misztalewska-Turkowicz, Agnieszka Z. Wilczewska, Karolina H. Markiewicz

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Carbenes - species which possess neutral carbon atom with two shared and two unshared valence electrons, are known for their high reactivity and instability. Nevertheless, it is also known, that some carbenes i.e. N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs), can form stable crystals. The usability of NHCs in organic synthesis was studied. Due to their exceptional properties (high nucleophilicity) NHCs are commonly used as organocatalysts and also as ligands in transition metal complexes. NHC ligands possess better electron-donating properties than phosphines. Moreover, they exhibit lower toxicity. Due to these features, phosphines are frequently replaced by NHC ligands. In this research is discussed the synthesis of five-membered NHCs which are mainly obtained by deprotonation of azolium salts, e.g., imidazolium or imidazolinium salts. Some of them are immobilized on a solid support what leads to formation of heterogeneous, recyclable catalysts. Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are often used as a solid support for catalysts. MNPs can be easily separated from the reaction mixture using an external magnetic field. Due to their low size and high surface to volume ratio, they are a good choice for immobilization of catalysts. Herein is presented synthesis of N-heterocyclic carbene copper complexes directly on the surface of magnetic nanoparticles. Formation of four different catalysts is discussed. They vary in copper oxidation state (Cu(I) and Cu(II)) and structure of NHC ligand. Catalysts were tested in Huisgen reaction, a type of copper catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reaction. Huisgen reaction represents one of the few universal and highly efficient reactions in which 1,2,3-triazoles can be obtained. The catalytic activity of all synthesized catalysts was compared with activity of commercially available ones. Different reaction conditions (solvent, temperature, the addition of reductant) and reusability of the obtained catalysts were investigated and are discussed. The project was financially supported by National Science Centre, Poland, grant no. 2016/21/N/ST5/01316. Analyses were performed in Centre of Synthesis and Analyses BioNanoTechno of University of Bialystok. The equipment in the Centre of Synthesis and Analysis BioNanoTechno of University of Bialystok was funded by EU, as a part of the Operational Program Development of Eastern Poland 2007-2013, project: POPW.01.03.00-20-034/09-00 and POPW.01.03.00-20-004/11.

Keywords: N-heterocyclic carbenes, click reaction, magnetic nanoparticles, copper catalysts

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6 Assessment of the Change in Strength Properties of Biocomposites Based on PLA and PHA after 4 Years of Storage in a Highly Cooled Condition

Authors: Karolina Mazur, Stanislaw Kuciel

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Polylactides (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are the two groups of biodegradable and biocompatible thermoplastic polymers most commonly utilised in medicine and rehabilitation. The aim of this work is to determine the changes in the strength properties and the microstructures taking place in biodegradable polymer composites during their long-term storage in a highly cooled environment (i.e. a freezer at -24ºC) and to initially assess the durability of such biocomposites when used as single-use elements of rehabilitation or medical equipment. It is difficult to find any information relating to the feasibility of long-term storage of technical products made of PLA or PHA, but nonetheless, when using these materials to make products such as casings of hair dryers, laptops or mobile phones, it is safe to assume that without storing in optimal conditions their degradation time might last even several years. SEM images and the assessment of the strength properties (tensile, bending and impact testing) were carried out and the density and water sorption of two polymers, PLA and PHA (NaturePlast PLE 001 and PHE 001), filled with cellulose fibres (corncob grain – Rehofix MK100, Rettenmaier&Sohne) up to 10 and 20% mass were determined. The biocomposites had been stored at a temperature of -24ºC for 4 years. In order to find out the changes in the strength properties and the microstructure taking place after such a long time of storage, the results of the assessment have been compared with the results of the same research carried out 4 years before. Results shows a significant change in the manner of fractures – from ductile with developed surface for the PHA composite with corncob grain when the tensile testing was performed directly after the injection into a more brittle state after 4 years of storage, which is confirmed by the strength tests, where a decrease of deformation is observed at point of fracture. The research showed that there is a way of storing medical devices made out of PLA or PHA for a reasonably long time, as long as the required temperature of storage is met. The decrease of mechanical properties found during tensile testing and bending for PLA was less than 10% of the tensile strength, while the modulus of elasticity and deformation at fracturing slightly rose, which may implicate the beginning of degradation processes. The strength properties of PHA are even higher after 4 years of storage, although in that case the decrease of deformation at fracturing is significant, reaching even 40%, which suggests its degradation rate is higher than that of PLA. The addition of natural particles in both cases only slightly increases the biodegradation.

Keywords: biocomposites, PLA, PHA, storage

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5 Land Art in Public Spaces Design: Remediation, Prevention of Environmental Risks and Recycling as a Consequence of the Avant-Garde Activity of Landscape Architecture

Authors: Karolina Porada

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Over the last 40 years, there has been a trend in landscape architecture which supporters do not perceive the role of pro-ecological or postmodern solutions in the design of public green spaces as an essential goal, shifting their attention to the 'sculptural' shaping of areas with the use of slopes, hills, embankments, and other forms of terrain. This group of designers can be considered avant-garde, which in its activities refers to land art. Initial research shows that such applications are particularly frequent in places of former post-industrial sites and landfills, utilizing materials such as debris and post-mining waste in their construction. Due to the high degradation of the environment surrounding modern man, the brownfields are a challenge and a field of interest for the representatives of landscape architecture avant-garde, who through their projects try to recover lost lands by means of transformations supported by engineering and ecological knowledge to create places where nature can develop again. The analysis of a dozen or so facilities made it possible to come up with an important conclusion: apart from the cultural aspects (including artistic activities), the green areas formally referring to the land are important in the process of remediation of post-industrial sites and waste recycling (e. g. from construction sites). In these processes, there is also a potential for applying the concept of Natural Based Solutions, i.e. solutions allowing for the natural development of the site in such a way as to use it to cope with environmental problems, such as e.g.  air pollution, soil phytoremediation and climate change. The paper presents examples of modern parks, whose compositions are based on shaping the surface of the terrain in a way referring to the land art, at the same time providing an example of brownfields reuse and application of waste recycling.  For the purposes of object analysis, research methods such as historical-interpretation studies, case studies, qualitative research or the method of logical argumentation were used. The obtained results provide information about the role that landscape architecture can have in the process of remediation of degraded areas, at the same time guaranteeing the benefits, such as the shaping of landscapes attractive in terms of visual appearance, low costs of implementation, and improvement of the natural environment quality.

Keywords: brownfields, contemporary parks, landscape architecture, remediation

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4 Mesoporous BiVO4 Thin Films as Efficient Visible Light Driven Photocatalyst

Authors: Karolina Ordon, Sandrine Coste, Malgorzata Makowska-Janusik, Abdelhadi Kassiba

Abstract:

Photocatalytic processes play key role in the production of a new source of energy (as hydrogen), design of self-cleaning surfaces or for the environment preservation. The most challenging task deals with the purification of water distinguished by high efficiency. In the mentioned process, organic pollutants in solutions are decomposed to the simple, non-toxic compounds as H2O and CO2. The most known photocatalytic materials are ZnO, CdS and TiO2 semiconductors with a particular involvement of TiO2 as an efficient photocatalysts even with a high band gap equal to 3.2 eV which exploit only UV radiation from solar emitted spectrum. However, promising material with visible light induced photoactivity was searched through the monoclinic polytype of BiVO4 which has energy gap about 2.4 eV. As required in heterogeneous photocatalysis, the high contact surface is required. Also, BiVO4 as photocatalyst can be optimized by increasing its surface area by achieving the mesoporous structure synthesize. The main goal of the present work consists in the synthesis and characterization of BiVO4 mesoporous thin film. The synthesis method based on sol-gel was carried out using a standard surfactants such as P123 and F127. The thin film was deposited by spin and dip coating method. Then, the structural analysis of the obtained material was performed thanks to X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy. The surface of resulting structure was investigated using a scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The computer simulations based on modeling the optical and electronic properties of bulk BiVO4 by using DFT (density functional theory) methodology were carried out. The semiempirical parameterized method PM6 was used to compute the physical properties of BiVO4 nanostructures. The Raman and IR absorption spectra were also measured for synthesized mesoporous material, and the results were compared with the theoretical predictions. The simulations of nanostructured BiVO4 have pointed out the occurrence of quantum confinement for nanosized clusters leading to widening of the band gap. This result overcame the relevance of nanosized objects to harvest wide part of the solar spectrum. Also, a balance was searched experimentally through the mesoporous nature of the films devoted to enhancing the contact surface as required for heterogeneous catalysis without to lower the nanocrystallite size under some critical sizes inducing an increased band gap. The present contribution will discuss the relevant features of the mesoporous films with respect to their photocatalytic responses.

Keywords: bismuth vanadate, photocatalysis, thin film, quantum-chemical calculations

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3 Expression of Selected miRNAs in Placenta of the Intrauterine Restricted Growth Fetuses in Cattle

Authors: Karolina Rutkowska, Hubert Pausch, Jolanta Oprzadek, Krzysztof Flisikowski

Abstract:

The placenta is one of the most important organs that plays a crucial role in the fetal growth and development. Placenta dysfunction is one of the primary cause of the intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Cattle have the cotyledonary placenta which consists of two anatomical parts: fetal and maternal. In the case of cattle during the first months of pregnancy, it is very easy to separate maternal caruncle from fetal cotyledon tissue, easier in fact than removing an ordinary glove from one's hand. Which in fact make easier to conduct tissue-specific molecular studies. Typically, animal models for the study of IUGR are created using surgical methods and malnutrition of the pregnant mother or in the case of mice by genetic modifications. However, proposed cattle model with MIMT1Del/WT deletion is unique because it was created without any surgical methods what significantly distinguish it from the other animal models. The primary objective of the study was to identify differential expression of selected miRNAs in the placenta from normal and intrauterine growth restricted fetuses. There was examined the expression of miRNA in the fetal and maternal part of the placenta from 24 fetuses (12 samples from the fetal part of the placenta and 12 samples from maternal part of the placenta). In the study, there was done miRNAs sequencing in the placenta of MIMT1Del/WT fetuses and MIMT1WT/WT fetuses. Then, there were selected miRNAs that are involved in fetal growth and development. Analysis of miRNAs expression was conducted on ABI7500 machine. miRNAs expression was analyzed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). As the reference gene was used SNORD47. The results were expressed as 2ΔΔCt: ΔΔCt = (Ctij − CtSNORD47j) − (Cti1 − CtSNORD471). Where Ctij and CtSNORD47j are the Ct values for gene i and for SNORD47 in a sample (named j); Cti1 and CtSNORD471 are the Ct values in sample 1. Differences between groups were evaluated with analysis of variance by using One-Way ANOVA. Bonferroni’s tests were used for interpretation of the data. All normalised miRNA expression values are expressed on a value of natural logarithm. The data were expressed as least squares mean with standard errors. Significance was declared when P < 0.05. The study shows that miRNAs expression depends on the part of the placenta where they origin (fetal or maternal) and on the genotype of the animal. miRNAs offer a particularly new approach to study IUGR. Corresponding tissue samples were collected according to the standard veterinary protocols according to the European Union Normative for Care and Use of Experimental Animals. All animal experiments were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of the State Provincial Office of Southern Finland (ESAVI-2010-08583/YM-23).

Keywords: placenta, intrauterine growth restriction, miRNA, cattle

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2 Destruction of Colon Cells by Nanocontainers of Ferromagnetic

Authors: Lukasz Szymanski, Zbigniew Kolacinski, Grzegorz Raniszewski, Slawomir Wiak, Lukasz Pietrzak, Dariusz Koza, Karolina Przybylowska-Sygut, Ireneusz Majsterek, Zbigniew Kaminski, Justyna Fraczyk, Malgorzata Walczak, Beata Kolasinska, Adam Bednarek, Joanna Konka

Abstract:

The aim of this work is to investigate the influence of electromagnetic field from the range of radio frequencies on the desired nanoparticles for cancer therapy. In the article, the development and demonstration of the method and the model device for hyperthermic selective destruction of cancer cells are presented. This method was based on the synthesis and functionalization of carbon nanotubes serving as ferromagnetic material nanocontainers. The methodology of the production carbon - ferromagnetic nanocontainers (FNCs) includes: The synthesis of carbon nanotubes, chemical, and physical characterization, increasing the content of a ferromagnetic material and biochemical functionalization involving the attachment of the key addresses. The ferromagnetic nanocontainers were synthesised in CVD and microwave plasma system. Biochemical functionalization of ferromagnetic nanocontainers is necessary in order to increase the binding selectively with receptors presented on the surface of tumour cells. Multi-step modification procedure was finally used to attach folic acid on the surface of ferromagnetic nanocontainers. Pristine ferromagnetic carbon nanotubes are not suitable for application in medicine and biotechnology. Appropriate functionalization of ferromagnetic carbon nanotubes allows to receiving materials useful in medicine. Finally, a product contains folic acids on the surface of FNCs. The folic acid is a ligand of folate receptors – α which is overexpressed on the surface of epithelial tumours cells. It is expected that folic acids will be recognized and selectively bound by receptors presented on the surface of tumour cells. In our research, FNCs were covalently functionalized in a multi-step procedure. Ferromagnetic carbon nanotubes were oxidated using different oxidative agents. For this purpose, strong acids such as HNO3, or mixture HNO3 and H2SO4 were used. Reactive carbonyl and carboxyl groups were formed on the open sides and at the defects on the sidewalls of FNCs. These groups allow further modification of FNCs as a reaction of amidation, reaction of introduction appropriate linkers which separate solid surface of FNCs and ligand (folic acid). In our studies, amino acid and peptide have been applied as ligands. The last step of chemical modification was reaction-condensation with folic acid. In all reaction as coupling reagents were used derivatives of 1,3,5-triazine. The first trials in the device for hyperthermal RF generator have been done. The frequency of RF generator was in the ranges from 10 to 14Mhz and from 265 to 621kHz. Obtained functionalized nanoparticles enabled to reach the temperature of denaturation tumor cells in given frequencies.

Keywords: cancer colon cells, carbon nanotubes, hyperthermia, ligands

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1 The Impact of Efflux Pump Inhibitor on the Activity of Benzosiloxaboroles and Benzoxadiboroles against Gram-Negative Rods

Authors: Agnieszka E. Laudy, Karolina Stępien, Sergiusz Lulinski, Krzysztof Durka, Stefan Tyski

Abstract:

1,3-dihydro-1-hydroxy-2,1-benzoxaborole and its derivatives are a particularly interesting group of synthetic agents and were successfully employed in supramolecular chemistry medicine. The first important compounds, 5-fluoro-1,3-dihydro-1-hydroxy-2,1-benzoxaborole and 5-chloro-1,3-dihydro-1-hydroxy-2,1-benzoxaborole were identified as potent antifungal agents. In contrast, (S)-3-(aminomethyl)-7-(3-hydroxypropoxy)-1-hydroxy-1,3-dihydro-2,1-benzoxaborole hydrochloride is in the second phase of clinical trials as a drug for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections of the Enterobacteriaceae family and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Equally important and difficult task is to search for compounds active against Gram-negative bacilli, which have multi-drug-resistance efflux pumps actively removing many of the antibiotics from bacterial cells. We have examined whether halogen-substituted benzoxaborole-based derivatives and their analogues possess antibacterial activity and are substrates for multi-drug-resistance efflux pumps. The antibacterial activity of 1,3-dihydro-3-hydroxy-1,1-dimethyl-1,2,3-benzosiloxaborole and 10 halogen-substituted its derivatives, as well as 1,2-phenylenediboronic acid and 3 synthesised fluoro-substituted its analogs, were evaluated. The activity against the reference strains of Gram-positive (n=5) and Gram-negative bacteria (n=10) was screened by the disc-diffusion test (0.4 mg of tested compounds was applied onto paper disc). The minimal inhibitory concentration values and the minimal bactericidal concentration values were estimated according to The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute and The European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing recommendations. During the minimal inhibitory concentration values determination with or without phenylalanine-arginine beta-naphthylamide (50 mg/L) efflux pump inhibitor, the concentrations of tested compounds ranged 0.39-400 mg/L in the broth medium supplemented with 1 mM magnesium sulfate. Generally, the studied benzosiloxaboroles and benzoxadiboroles showed a higher activity against Gram-positive cocci than against Gram-negative rods. Moreover, benzosiloxaboroles have the higher activity than benzoxadiboroles compounds. In this study, we demonstrated that substitution (mono-, di- or tetra-) of 1,3-dihydro-3-hydroxy-1,1-dimethyl-1,2,3-benzosiloxaborole with halogen groups resulted in an increase in antimicrobial activity as compared to the parent substance. Interestingly, the 6,7-dichloro-substituted parent substance was found to be the most potent against Gram-positive cocci: Staphylococcus sp. (minimal inhibitory concentration 6.25 mg/L) and Enterococcus sp. (minimal inhibitory concentration 25 mg/L). On the other hand, mono- and dichloro-substituted compounds were the most actively removed by efflux pumps present in Gram-negative bacteria mainly from Enterobacteriaceae family. In the presence of efflux pump inhibitor the minimal inhibitory concentration values of chloro-substituted benzosiloxaboroles decreased from 400 mg/L to 3.12 mg/L. Of note, the highest increase in bacterial susceptibility to tested compounds in the presence of phenylalanine-arginine beta-naphthylamide was observed for 6-chloro-, 6,7-dichloro- and 6,7-difluoro-substituted benzosiloxaboroles. In the case of Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae and P. aeruginosa strains at least a 32-fold decrease in the minimal inhibitory concentration values of these agents were observed. These data demonstrate structure-activity relationships of the tested derivatives and highlight the need for further search for benzoxaboroles and related compounds with significant antimicrobial properties. Moreover, the influence of phenylalanine-arginine beta-naphthylamide on the susceptibility of Gram-negative rods to studied benzosiloxaboroles indicate that some tested agents are substrates for efflux pumps in Gram-negative rods.

Keywords: antibacterial activity, benzosiloxaboroles, efflux pumps, phenylalanine-arginine beta-naphthylamide

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