Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 24

Search results for: Marija Maretić

24 The Role and Effectiveness of Audit Committee in Corporate Governance of Credit Institutions

Authors: Tina Vuko, Marija Maretić, Marko Čular

Abstract:

The aim of this study is to analyze the role and effectiveness of internal mechanism (audit committee) of corporate governance on credit institutions performance in Croatia. Based on research objective, sample of 78 credit institutions listed on Zagreb Stock Exchange, from 2007 to 2012, has been collected and efficiency index of audit committee (EIAC) has been created. Based on the sample and created EIAC, conclusions are as follows: audit committees of credit institutions have medium efficiency, based on EIAC measurement; there is a significant difference in audit committee effectiveness, in observed period; there is no positive relationship between audit committee effectiveness and credit institution performance; there is a significant difference between level of audit committee effectiveness and audit firm type. Future research should contain increased number of elements in EIAC creation and increased sample, for all obligators who need to establish audit committee.

Keywords: corporate governance, audit committee, financial institutions, efficiency index of audit committee

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23 Effect of Packaging Methods and Storage Time on Oxidative Stability of Traditional Fermented Sausage

Authors: Vladimir M. Tomović, Branislav V. Šojić, Predrag M. Ikonić, Ljiljana S. Petrović, Anamarija I. Mandić, Natalija R. Džinić, Snežana B. Škaljac, Tatjana A. Tasić, Marija R. Jokanović

Abstract:

In this paper influence of packaging method (vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging) on lipid oxidative stability and sensory properties of odor and taste of the traditional sausage Petrovská klobása were examined. These parameters were examined during storage period (7 months). In the end of storage period, vacuum packed sausage showed better oxidative stability. Propanal content was significantly lower (P<0.05) in vacuum packed sausage compared to these values in unpacked and modified atmosphere packaging sausage. Hexanal content in vacuum packed sausage was 1.85 µg/g, in MAP sausage 2.98 µg/g and in unpacked sausage 4.94 µg/g. After 2 and 7 months of storage, sausages packed in vacuum had the highest grades for sensory properties of odor and taste.

Keywords: lipid oxidation, MAP, sensory properties, traditional sausage, vacuum

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22 Regulation of the Commercial Credits in the Foreign Exchange Operations

Authors: Marija Vicic

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The purpose of commercial credit regulation in an unified way under Law on Foreign Exchange Operations in Republic of Serbia allows an easier state monitoring of credit operations performed by non-professionals on foreign exchange market. By broadly defining the term “commercial credits“, the state (i.e. National Bank of Serbia) is given the authority to monitor the performance of all obligations under commercial contracts in which the obligations are not performed simultaneously. In the first part of the paper, the author analyses the economic gist of commercial credits with the purpose of giving an insight into their special treatment. The author examines the term „commercial credits“ given in Law on foreign exchange operations and the difference between financial credits and irregular commercial credits (exports and imports of goods and services deemed to be commercial credits) is particularly highlighted. In the second part, the author emphasizes the specifics of commercial credit contracts, especially the effects of special requests for the parties to these contracts to notify National Bank of Serbia and specific regulations regarding maturity of obligations under these commercial credits and the assignment and compensation of the said contracts.

Keywords: commercial credit, foreign exchange operations, commercial transactions, deferred payment, advance payment, (non) resident

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21 The Role of Business Process Management in Driving Digital Transformation: Insurance Company Case Study

Authors: Dalia Suša Vugec, Ana-Marija Stjepić, Darija Ivandić Vidović

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Digital transformation is one of the latest trends on the global market. In order to maintain the competitive advantage and sustainability, increasing number of organizations are conducting digital transformation processes. Those organizations are changing their business processes and creating new business models with the help of digital technologies. In that sense, one should also observe the role of business process management (BPM) and its maturity in driving digital transformation. Therefore, the goal of this paper is to investigate the role of BPM in digital transformation process within one organization. Since experiences from practice show that organizations from financial sector could be observed as leaders in digital transformation, an insurance company has been selected to participate in the study. That company has been selected due to the high level of its BPM maturity and the fact that it has previously been through a digital transformation process. In order to fulfill the goals of the paper, several interviews, as well as questionnaires, have been conducted within the selected company. The results are presented in a form of a case study. Results indicate that digital transformation process within the observed company has been successful, with special focus on the development of digital strategy, BPM and change management. The role of BPM in the digital transformation of the observed company is further discussed in the paper.

Keywords: business process management, case study, Croatia, digital transformation, insurance company

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20 Technology, Organizational and Environmental Determinants of Business Intelligence Systems Adoption in Croatian SME: A Case Study of Medium-Sized Enterprise

Authors: Ana-Marija Stjepić, Luka Sušac, Dalia Suša Vugec

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In the last few years, examples from scientific literature and business practices show that the adoption of technological innovations increases enterprises' performance. Recently, when it comes to the field of information technology innovation, business intelligence systems (BISs) have drawn a significant amount of attention of the scientific circles. BISs can be understood as a form of technological innovation which can bring certain benefits to the organizations that are adopting it. Therefore, the aim of this paper is twofold: (1) to define determinants of successful BISs adoption in small and medium enterprises and thus contribute to this neglected research area and (2) to present the current state of BISs adoption in small and medium-sized companies. In order to do so, determinants are defined and classified into three dimensions, according to the Technology – Organization – Environment (TOE) theoretical framework that describes the impact of each dimension on technological innovations adoption. Moreover, paper brings a case study presenting the adoption of BISs in practice within an organization from tertiary (service) industry sector. Based on the results of the study, guidelines for more efficient, faster and easier BISs adoption are presented.

Keywords: adoption, business intelligence, business intelligence systems, case study, TOE framework

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19 Managing Business Processes in the Age of Digital Transformation: A Literature Review

Authors: Ana-Marija Stjepić, Dalia Suša Vugec

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Today, digital transformation is one of the leading topics that occupy the attention of scientific circles and business experts. Organizational success is most often reflected through the successful managing of business processes. Given the growing market for digital innovations and its ever-increasing impact on business, organizations need to be prepared for organizational changes that come with the digital era. In order to maintain their competitive advantage in the global market, organizations must adapt their processes to new digitalization conditions. The main goal of this study is to point out the link between the digital transformation and the business process management concept. Therefore, in order to contribute to the scientific field that explores the potential relation between business process management concept and digital transformation, a literature review has been conducted. Papers have been searched within the Business Process Management Journal by keywords related to the term digital transformation. Selected papers have been analyzed according to the topic, type of publication, year of publication, keywords, etc. The results reveal a growing number of papers published on the topic of digital transformation to the Business Process Management Journal, but the lack of case studies. This paper contributes to the extension of academic literature in this important, yet insufficiently researched, scientific field that creates the bond between two strong concepts of digital transformation and business process management.

Keywords: business process management, digital transformation, digitalization, process change

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18 Microbiological Activity and Molecular Docking Study of Selected Steroid Derivatives of Biomedical Importance

Authors: Milica Karadzic, Lidija Jevric, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanovic, Strahinja Kovacevic, Sinisa Markov, Aleksandar Okljesa, Andrea Nikolic, Marija Sakac, Katarina Penov Gasi

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This study considered the microbiological activity determination and molecular docking study for selected steroid derivatives of biomedical importance. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined for steroid derivatives against Staphylococcus aureus using macrodilution method. Some of the investigated steroid derivatives express bacteriostatic effect against Staphylococcus aureus. Molecular docking approaches are the most widely used techniques for predicting the binding mode of a ligand. Molecular docking study was done for steroid derivatives for androgen receptor negative prostate cancer cell line (PC-3) toward Human Cytochrome P450 CYP17A1. The molecules that had the smallest experimental IC50 values confirmed their ability to dock into active place using suitable molecular docking procedure. The binding disposition of those molecules was thoroughly investigated. Microbiological analysis and molecular docking study were conducted with aim to additionally characterize selected steroid derivatives for future investigation regarding their biological activity and to estimate the binding-affinities of investigated derivatives. This article is based upon work from COST Action (TD1305), supported by COST (European Cooperation and Science and Technology).

Keywords: binding affinity, minimal inhibitory concentration, molecular docking, pc-3 cell line, staphylococcus aureus, steroids

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17 Non-Linear Assessment of Chromatographic Lipophilicity and Model Ranking of Newly Synthesized Steroid Derivatives

Authors: Milica Karadzic, Lidija Jevric, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanovic, Strahinja Kovacevic, Anamarija Mandic, Katarina Penov Gasi, Marija Sakac, Aleksandar Okljesa, Andrea Nikolic

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The present paper deals with chromatographic lipophilicity prediction of newly synthesized steroid derivatives. The prediction was achieved using in silico generated molecular descriptors and quantitative structure-retention relationship (QSRR) methodology with the artificial neural networks (ANN) approach. Chromatographic lipophilicity of the investigated compounds was expressed as retention factor value logk. For QSRR modeling, a feedforward back-propagation ANN with gradient descent learning algorithm was applied. Using the novel sum of ranking differences (SRD) method generated ANN models were ranked. The aim was to distinguish the most consistent QSRR model that can be found, and similarity or dissimilarity between the models that could be noticed. In this study, SRD was performed with average values of retention factor value logk as reference values. An excellent correlation between experimentally observed retention factor value logk and values predicted by the ANN was obtained with a correlation coefficient higher than 0.9890. Statistical results show that the established ANN models can be applied for required purpose. This article is based upon work from COST Action (TD1305), supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

Keywords: artificial neural networks, liquid chromatography, molecular descriptors, steroids, sum of ranking differences

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16 Non-Linear Assessment of Chromatographic Lipophilicity of Selected Steroid Derivatives

Authors: Milica Karadžić, Lidija Jevrić, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanović, Strahinja Kovačević, Anamarija Mandić, Aleksandar Oklješa, Andrea Nikolić, Marija Sakač, Katarina Penov Gaši

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Using chemometric approach, the relationships between the chromatographic lipophilicity and in silico molecular descriptors for twenty-nine selected steroid derivatives were studied. The chromatographic lipophilicity was predicted using artificial neural networks (ANNs) method. The most important in silico molecular descriptors were selected applying stepwise selection (SS) paired with partial least squares (PLS) method. Molecular descriptors with satisfactory variable importance in projection (VIP) values were selected for ANN modeling. The usefulness of generated models was confirmed by detailed statistical validation. High agreement between experimental and predicted values indicated that obtained models have good quality and high predictive ability. Global sensitivity analysis (GSA) confirmed the importance of each molecular descriptor used as an input variable. High-quality networks indicate a strong non-linear relationship between chromatographic lipophilicity and used in silico molecular descriptors. Applying selected molecular descriptors and generated ANNs the good prediction of chromatographic lipophilicity of the studied steroid derivatives can be obtained. This article is based upon work from COST Actions (CM1306 and CA15222), supported by COST (European Cooperation and Science and Technology).

Keywords: artificial neural networks, chemometrics, global sensitivity analysis, liquid chromatography, steroids

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15 Constructing Masculinity through Images: Content Analysis of Lifestyle Magazines in Croatia

Authors: Marija Lončar, Zorana Šuljug Vučica, Magdalena Nigoević

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Diverse social, cultural and economic trends and changes in contemporary societies influence the ways masculinity is represented in a variety of media. Masculinity is constructed within media images as a dynamic process that changes slowly over time and is shaped by various social factors. In many societies, dominant masculinity is still associated with authority, heterosexuality, marriage, professional and financial success, ethnic dominance and physical strength. But contemporary media depict men in ways that suggest a change in the approach to media images. The number of media images of men, which promote men’s identity through their body, have increased. With the male body more scrutinized and commodified, it is necessary to highlight how the body is represented and which visual elements are crucial since the body has an important role in the construction of masculinities. The study includes content analysis of male body images in the advertisements of different men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines available in Croatia. The main aim was to explore how masculinities are currently being portrayed through body regarding age, physical appearance, fashion, touch and gaze. The findings are also discussed in relation to female images since women are central in many of the processes constructing masculinities and according to the recent conceptualization of masculinity. Although the construction of male images varies through body features, almost all of them convey the message that men’s identity could be managed through manipulation and by enhancing the appearance. Furthermore, they suggest that men should engage in “bodywork” through advertised products, activities and/or practices, in order to achieve their preferred social image.

Keywords: body images, content analysis, lifestyle magazines, masculinity

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14 An Initial Evaluation of Newly Proposed Biomarker of Zinc Status in Humans: The Erythrocyte Linoleic Acid: Dihomo-γ-Linolenic Acid (LA:DGLA) Ratio

Authors: Marija Knez, James C.R. Stangoulis, Manja Zec, Zoran Pavlovic, Jasmina D. Martacic, Mirjana Gurinovic, Maria Glibetic

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Background: Zinc is an essential micronutrient for humans with important physiological functions. A sensitive and specific biomarker for assessing Zn status is still needed. Objective: The major aim of this study was to examine if the changes in the content of plasma phospholipid LA, DGLA and LA: DGLA ratio can be used to efficiently predict the dietary Zn intake and plasma Zn status of humans. Methods: The study was performed on apparently healthy human volunteers. The dietary Zn intake was assessed using 24h recall questionnaires. Plasma phospholipid fatty acid analysis was done by gas chromatography and plasma analysis of minerals by atomic absorption spectrometry. Biochemical, anthropometrical and hematological parameters were assessed. Results: No significant relationship was found between the dietary and plasma zinc status (r=0.07; p=0.6). There is a statistically significant correlation between DGLA and plasma Zn (r=0.39, p=0.00). No relationship was observed between the linoleic acid and plasma Zn, while there was a significant negative correlation between LA: DGLA ratio and plasma Zn status (r=-0.35, p=0.01). Similarly, there were statistically significant difference in DGLA status (p=0.004) and LA: DGLA ratio (p=0.042) between the Zn formed groups. Conclusions: This study is an initial step in evaluating LA: DGLA ratio as a biomarker of Zn status in humans. The results are encouraging as they show that concentration of DGLA is decreased and LA: DGLA ratio increased in people with lower dietary Zn intake. However, additional studies are needed to fully examine the sensitivity of this biomarker.

Keywords: dietary Zn intake Zinc, fatty acid composition, LA: DGLA, healthy population, plasma Zn status, Zn biomarker

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13 Predictors of Social Participation of Children with Cerebral Palsy in Primary Schools in Czech Republic

Authors: Marija Zulić, Vanda Hájková, Nina Brkić-Jovanović, Linda Rathousová, Sanja Tomić

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Cerebral palsy is primarily reflected in the disorder of the development of movement and posture, which may be accompanied by sensory disturbances, disturbances of perception, cognition and communication, behavioural disorders and epilepsy. According to current inclusive attitudes towards people with disabilities implies that full social participation of children with cerebral palsy means inclusion in all activities in family, peer, school and leisure environments in the same scope and to the same extent as is the case with the children of proper development and without physical difficulties. Due to the fact that it has been established that the quality of children's participation in primary school is directly related to their social inclusion in future life, the aim of the paper is to identify predictors of social participation, respectively, and in particular, factors that could to improve the quality of social participation of children with cerebral palsy, in the primary school environment in Czech Republic. The study includes children with cerebral palsy (n = 75) in the Czech Republic, aged between six and 12 years who attend mainstream or special primary schools to the sixth grade. The main instrument used was the first and third part of the School function assessment questionnaire. It will also take into account the type of damage assessed according to a scale the Gross motor function classification system, five–level classification system for cerebral palsy. The research results will provide detailed insight into the degree of social participation of children with cerebral palsy and the factors that would be a potential cause of their levels of participation, in regular and special primary schools, in different socioeconomic environments in Czech Republic.

Keywords: cerebral palsy, Czech republic, social participation, the school function assessment

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12 A Theoretical Framework: The Influence of Luxury Companies' Corporate Social Activities on Consumer Purchase Intention

Authors: Kveta Olsanova, Gina Cook, Marija Zlatic

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This paper discusses the theoretical framework suggesting the dependencies between luxury brands’ CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) variables and the purchase intention of luxury shoppers. The framework is based on a literature review and in-depth individual interviews with a sample of luxury users and buyers. The measures of the model are based on existing research and the authors' qualitative research results. The model suggests that purchase intention in the luxury segment is dependent on the luxury values (symbolic, experiential, functional and social), individual sustainable dimension (composed of societal, environmental and economic variables) and awareness of the brand’s CSR, the last two relationships being potentially moderated by certain conditions such as demographics and general attitudes towards CSR and sustainability. The model’s output is in the formulation of several hypotheses, to be tested in an upcoming quantitative study. The qualitative phase indicated that the perceived symbolic, functional and experiential value dimensions of luxury brands were stronger drivers of purchase intention compared to the sustainable dimension. The contribution of the research consists of highlighting CSR’s impact on customer purchase intent as a potential implication for luxury brand management due to two aspects: (i) consumer awareness of the existing CSR activities of luxury brands is low, and this might be challenged by the demands of Gen Z entrants into the lux industry as they are known for their positive approach to CSR; (ii) the UN’s SDGs will bring CSR to the attention of all industries, including currently 'CSR silent' segments represented by luxury. Our research should contribute to incorporation of strategic CSR into the policies and strategies of the luxury segment by providing evidence that luxury customers do care.

Keywords: CSR, luxury shoppers, purchase intention, sustainability

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11 Speech Disorders as Predictors of Social Participation of Children with Cerebral Palsy in the Primary Schools of the Czech Republic

Authors: Marija Zulić, Vanda Hájková, Nina Brkić–Jovanović, Srećko Potić, Sanja Tomić

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The name cerebral palsy comes from the word cerebrum, which means the brain and the word palsy, which means seizure, and essentially refers to the movement disorder. In the clinical picture of cerebral palsy, basic neuromotor disorders are associated with other various disorders: behavioural, intellectual, speech, sensory, epileptic seizures, and bone and joint deformities. Motor speech disorders are among the most common difficulties present in people with cerebral palsy. Social participation represents an interaction between an individual and their social environment. Quality of social participation of the students with cerebral palsy at school is an important indicator of their successful participation in adulthood. One of the most important skills for the undisturbed social participation is ability of good communication. The aim of the study was to determine relation between social participation of students with cerebral palsy and presence of their speech impairment in primary schools in the Czech Republic. The study was performed in the Czech Republic in mainstream schools and schools established for the pupils with special education needs. We analysed 75 children with cerebral palsy aged between six and twelve years attending up to sixth grade by using the first and the third part of the school function assessment questionnaire as the main instrument. The other instrument we used in the research is the Gross motor function classification system–five–level classification system, which measures degree of motor functions of children and youth with cerebral palsy. Funding for this study was provided by the Grant Agency of Charles University in Prague.

Keywords: cerebral palsy, social participation, speech disorders, The Czech Republic, the school function assessment

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10 Influence оf Viscous Dampers on Seismic Response оf Isolated Bridges Including Soil Structure Interaction

Authors: Marija Vitanova, Aleksandra Bogdanovic, Kemal Edip, Viktor Hristovski, Vlado Micov

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Bridges represent critical structures in lifeline systems. They provide reliable modes of transportation, so their failure can seriously obstruct relief and rehabilitation work. Earthquake ground motions can cause significant damages in bridges, so during the strong earthquakes, they can easily collapse. The base isolation technique has been quite effective in seismic response mitigation of the bridges in reducing the piers base shear. The effect of soil structure interaction on the dynamic responses of seismically isolated three span girder bridge with viscous dampers is investigated. Viscous dampers are installed in the mid span of the bridge to control bearing displacement. The soil surrounding the foundation of piers has been analyzed by applying different soil densities in order to consider the soil stiffness. The soil medium has been assumed as a four layered infill as dense and loose medium. The boundaries in the soil medium are considered as infinite elements in order to absorb the radiating waves. The formulation of infinite elements is the same as for the finite elements in addition to the mapping of the domain. Based on the iso-parametric concept, the infinite element in global coordinate is mapped onto an element in local coordinate system. In the formulation of the infinite element, only the positive direction extends to infinity thus allowing the waves to propagate outside of the soil medium. Dynamic analyses for two levels of earthquake intensity are performed in time domain using direct integration method. In order to specify the effects of the SSI, the responses of the isolated and controlled isolated bridges are compared. It is observed that the soil surrounding the piers has significant effects on the bearing displacement of the isolated RC bridges. In addition, it is observed that the seismic responses of isolated RC bridge reduced significantly with the installation of the viscous dampers.

Keywords: viscous dampers, reinforced concrete girder bridges, seismic response, SSI

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9 Recommendations for Environmental Impact Assessment of Geothermal Projects on Mature Oil Fields

Authors: Daria Karasalihovic Sedlar, Lucija Jukic, Ivan Smajla, Marija Macenic

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This paper analyses possible geothermal energy production from a mature oil reservoir based on exploitation of underlying aquifer thermal energy for the purpose of heating public buildings. Research was conducted based on the case study of the City of Ivanic-Grad public buildings energy demand and Ivanic oil filed that is situated in the same area. Since the City of Ivanic is one of the few cities in the EU where hydrocarbon exploitation has been taking place for decades almost entirely in urban area, decommissioning of oil wells is inevitable; therefore, the research goal was to investigate how to extend the life-time of the reservoir by exploiting geothermal brine beneath the oil reservoir in an environmental friendly manner. This kind of a project is extremely complex in all segments, from documentation preparation, implementation of technological solutions, and providing ecological measures for environmentally acceptable geothermal energy production and utilization. New mining activities that will be needed for the development of geothermal project at the observed Hydrocarbon Exploitation Field Ivanic will be carried out in order to prepare wells for increasing geothermal brine production. These operations involve the conversion of existing wells (well completion for conversion of the observation wells to production ones) along with workover activities, installation of new heat exchangers, and pipelines. Since the wells are in the urban area of the City of Ivanic-Grad in high density populated area, the inhabitants will be exposed to the different environmental impacts during preparation phase of the project. For the purpose of performing workovers, it will be necessary to secure access to wellheads of existing wells. This paper gives guidelines for describing potential impacts on environment components that could occur during geothermal production preparation on existing mature oil filed, recommends possible protection measures to mitigate these impacts, and gives recommendations for environmental monitoring.

Keywords: geothermal energy production, mature oil filed, environmental impact assessment, underlying aquifer thermal energy

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8 Factors Associated with Cytomegalovirus Infection: A Prospective Single Centre Study

Authors: Marko Jankovic, Aleksandra Knezevic, Maja Cupic, Dragana Vujic, Zeljko Zecevic, Borko Gobeljic, Marija Simic, Tanja Jovanovic

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The human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a notorious pathogen in the pediatric transplant setting. Although studies on factors in complicity with CMV infection abound, the role of age, gender, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT) modality, and underlying disease as regards CMV infection and viral load in children are poorly explored. We examined the significance of various factors related to the risk of CMV infection and viral load in Serbian children and adolescents undergoing alloHSCT. This was a prospective single centre study of thirty two pediatric patients in receipt of alloHSCT for various malignant and non-malignant disorders. Screening for active viral infection was performed by regular weekly monitoring. The Real-Time PCR method was used for CMV DNA detection and quantitation. Statistical analysis was performed using the IBM SPSS Statistics v20 software. Chi-square test was used to evaluate categorical variables. Comparison between scalar and nominal data was done by Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test. Pearson correlation was applied for studying the association between patient age and viral load. CMV was detected in 23 (71.9%) patients. Infection occurred significantly more often (p=0.015) in patients with haploidentical donors. The opposite was noted for matched sibling grafts (p=0.006). The viral load was higher in females (p=0.041) and children in the aftermath of alloHSCT with malignant diseases (p=0.019). There was no significant relationship between the viral infection dynamics and overt medical consequences. This is the first study of risk factors for CMV infection in Serbian pediatric alloHSCT patients. Transplanted patients presented with a high incidence of CMV viremia. The HLA compatibility of donated graft is associated with the frequency of CMV positive events. Age, gender, underlying disease, and medically relevant events were not conducive to occurrences of viremia. Notably, substantial viral burdens were evidenced in females and patients with neoplastic diseases. Studies comprising larger populations are clearly needed to scrutinize current results.

Keywords: allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, children, cytomegalovirus, risk factors, viral load

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7 Polyphenol-Rich Aronia Melanocarpa Juice Consumption and Line-1 Dna Methylation in a Cohort at Cardiovascular Risk

Authors: Ljiljana Stojković, Manja Zec, Maja Zivkovic, Maja Bundalo, Marija Glibetić, Dragan Alavantić, Aleksandra Stankovic

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is associated with alterations in DNA methylation, the latter modulated by dietary polyphenols. The present pilot study (part of the original clinical study registered as NCT02800967 at www.clinicaltrials.gov) aimed to investigate the impact of 4-week daily consumption of polyphenol-rich Aronia melanocarpa juice on Long Interspersed Nucleotide Element-1 (LINE-1) methylation in peripheral blood leukocytes, in subjects (n=34, age of 41.1±6.6 years) at moderate CVD risk, including an increased body mass index, central obesity, high normal blood pressure and/or dyslipidemia. The goal was also to examine whether factors known to affect DNA methylation, such as folate intake levels, MTHFR C677T gene variant, as well as the anthropometric and metabolic parameters, modulated the LINE-1 methylation levels upon consumption of polyphenol-rich Aronia juice. The experimental analysis of LINE-1 methylation was done by the MethyLight method. MTHFR C677T genotypes were determined by the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Folate intake was assessed by processing the data from the food frequency questionnaire and repeated 24-hour dietary recalls. Serum lipid profile was determined by using Roche Diagnostics kits. The statistical analyses were performed using the Statistica software package. In women, after vs. before the treatment period, a significant decrease in LINE-1 methylation levels was observed (97.54±1.50% vs. 98.39±0.86%, respectively; P=0.01). The change (after vs. before treatment) in LINE-1 methylation correlated directly with MTHFR 677T allele presence, average daily folate intake and the change in serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, while inversely with the change in serum triacylglycerols (R=0.72, R2=0.52, adjusted R2=0.36, P=0.03). The current results imply potential cardioprotective effects of habitual polyphenol-rich Aronia juice consumption achieved through the modifications of DNA methylation pattern in subjects at CVD risk, which should be further confirmed. Hence, the precision nutrition-driven modulations of DNA methylation may become targets for new approaches in the prevention and treatment of CVD.

Keywords: Aronia melanocarpa, cardiovascular risk, LINE-1, methylation, peripheral blood leukocytes, polyphenol

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6 Some Quality Parameters of Selected Maize Hybrids from Serbia for the Production of Starch, Bioethanol and Animal Feed

Authors: Marija Milašinović-Šeremešić, Valentina Semenčenko, Milica Radosavljević, Dušanka Terzić, Ljiljana Mojović, Ljubica Dokić

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Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal crops, and as such, one of the most significant naturally renewable carbohydrate raw materials for the production of energy and multitude of different products. The main goal of the present study was to investigate a suitability of selected maize hybrids of different genetic background produced in Maize Research Institute ‘Zemun Polje’, Belgrade, Serbia, for starch, bioethanol and animal feed production. All the hybrids are commercial and their detailed characterization is important for the expansion of their different uses. The starches were isolated by using a 100-g laboratory maize wet-milling procedure. Hydrolysis experiments were done in two steps (liquefaction with Termamyl SC, and saccharification with SAN Extra L). Starch hydrolysates obtained by the two-step hydrolysis of the corn flour starch were subjected to fermentation by S. cerevisiae var. ellipsoideus under semi-anaerobic conditions. The digestibility based on enzymatic solubility was performed by the Aufréré method. All investigated ZP maize hybrids had very different physical characteristics and chemical composition which could allow various possibilities of their use. The amount of hard (vitreous) and soft (floury) endosperm in kernel is considered one of the most important parameters that can influence the starch and bioethanol yields. Hybrids with a lower test weight and density and a greater proportion of soft endosperm fraction had a higher yield, recovery and purity of starch. Among the chemical composition parameters only starch content significantly affected the starch yield. Starch yields of studied maize hybrids ranged from 58.8% in ZP 633 to 69.0% in ZP 808. The lowest bioethanol yield of 7.25% w/w was obtained for hybrid ZP 611k and the highest by hybrid ZP 434 (8.96% w/w). A very significant correlation was determined between kernel starch content and the bioethanol yield, as well as volumetric productivity (48h) (r=0.66). Obtained results showed that the NDF, ADF and ADL contents in the whole maize plant of the observed ZP maize hybrids varied from 40.0% to 60.1%, 18.6% to 32.1%, and 1.4% to 3.1%, respectively. The difference in the digestibility of the dry matter of the whole plant among hybrids (ZP 735 and ZP 560) amounted to 18.1%. Moreover, the differences in the contents of the lignocelluloses fraction affected the differences in dry matter digestibility. From the results it can be concluded that genetic background of the selected maize hybrids plays an important part in estimation of the technological value of maize hybrids for various purposes. Obtained results are of an exceptional importance for the breeding programs and selection of potentially most suitable maize hybrids for starch, bioethanol and animal feed production.

Keywords: bioethanol, biomass quality, maize, starch

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5 Identification of ω-3 Fatty Acids Using GC-MS Analysis in Extruded Spelt Product

Authors: Jelena Filipovic, Marija Bodroza-Solarov, Milenko Kosutic, Nebojsa Novkovic, Vladimir Filipovic, Vesna Vucurovic

Abstract:

Spelt wheat is suitable raw material for extruded products such as pasta, special types of bread and other products of altered nutritional characteristics compared to conventional wheat products. During the process of extrusion, spelt is exposed to high temperature and high pressure, during which raw material is also mechanically treated by shear forces. Spelt wheat is growing without the use of pesticides in harsh ecological conditions and in marginal areas of cultivation. So it can be used for organic and health safe food. Pasta is the most popular foodstuff; its consumption has been observed to rise. Pasta quality depends mainly on the properties of flour raw materials, especially protein content and its quality but starch properties are of a lesser importance. Pasta is characterized by significant amounts of complex carbohydrates, low sodium, total fat fiber, minerals, and essential fatty acids and its nutritional value can be improved with additional functional component. Over the past few decades, wheat pasta has been successfully formulated using different ingredients in pasta to cater health-conscious consumers who prefer having a product rich in protein, healthy lipids and other health benefits. Flaxseed flour is used in the production of bakery and pasta products that have properties of functional foods. However, it should be taken into account that food products retain the technological and sensory quality despite the added flax seed. Flaxseed contains important substances in its composition such as vitamins and minerals elements, and it is also an excellent source of fiber and one of the best sources of ω-3 fatty acids and lignin. In this paper, the quality and identification of spelt extruded product with the addition of flax seed, which is positively contributing to the nutritive and technology changes of the product, is investigated. ω-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, and they must be taken with food to satisfy the recommended daily intake. Flaxseed flour is added in the quantity of 10/100 g of sample and 20/100 g of sample on farina. It is shown that the presence of ω-3 fatty acids in pasta can be clearly distinguished from other fatty acids by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. Addition of flax seed flour influence chemical content of pasta. The addition of flax seed flour in spelt pasta in the quantities of 20g/100 g significantly increases the share of ω-3 fatty acids, which results in improved ratio of ω-6/ω-3 1:2.4 and completely satisfies minimum daily needs of ω-3 essential fatty acids (3.8 g/100 g) recommended by FDA. Flex flour influenced the pasta quality by increasing of hardness (2377.8 ± 13.3; 2874.5 ± 7.4; 3076.3 ± 5.9) and work of shear (102.6 ± 11.4; 150.8 ± 11.3; 165.0 ± 18.9) and increasing of adhesiveness (11.8 ± 20.6; 9.,98 ± 0.12; 7.1 ± 12.5) of the final product. Presented data point at good indicators of technological quality of spelt pasta with flax seed and that GC-MS analysis can be used in the quality control for flax seed identification. Acknowledgment: The research was financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia (Project No. III 46005).

Keywords: GC-MS analysis, ω-3 fatty acids, flex seed, spelt wheat, daily needs

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4 Evaluation of Herbal Extracts for Their Potential Application as Skin Prebiotics

Authors: Anja I. Petrov, Milica B. Veljković, Marija M. Ćorović, Ana D. Milivojević, Milica B. Simović, Katarina M. Banjanac, Dejan I. Bezbradica

Abstract:

One of the fundamental requirements for overall human well-being is a stable and balanced microbiome. Aside from the microorganisms that reside within the body, a large number of microorganisms, especially bacteria, swarming the human skin are in homeostasis with the host and represent a skin microbiota. Even though the immune system of the skin is capable of distinguishing between commensal and potentially harmful transient bacteria, the cutaneous microbial balance can be disrupted under certain circumstances. In that case, reduction in the skin microbiota diversity, as well as changes in metabolic activity, result in dermal infections and inflammation. Probiotics and prebiotics have the potential to play a significant role in the treatment of these skin disorders. The most common resident bacteria found on the skin, Staphylococcus epidermidis, can act as a potential skin probiotic, contributing to the protection of healthy skin from pathogen colonization, such as Staphylococcus aureus, which is related to atopic dermatitis exacerbation. However, as it is difficult to meet regulations in cosmetic products, another therapy approach could be topical prebiotic supplementation of the skin microbiota. In recent research, polyphenols are attracting scientists' interest as biomolecules with possible prebiotic effects on the skin microbiota. This research aimed to determine how herbal extracts rich in different polyphenolic compounds (lemon balm, St. John's wort, coltsfoot, pine needle, and yarrow)affected the growth of S. epidermidis and S. aureus. The first part of the study involved screening plants to determine if they could be regarded as probable candidates to be skin prebiotics. The effect of each plant on bacterial growth was examined by supplementing the nutrient medium with their extracts and comparing it with control samples (without extract). The results obtained after 24 h of incubation showed that all tested extracts influenced the growth of the examined bacteria to some extent. Since lemon balm and St. John's wort extracts displayed bactericidal activity against S. epidermidis, whereas coltsfoot inhibited both bacteria equally, they were not explored further. On the other hand, pine needle and yarrow extract led to an increase in S. epidermidis/S. aureus ratio, making them prospective candidates to be used as skin prebiotics. By examining the prebiotic effect of two extracts at different concentrations, it was revealed that, in the case of yarrow, 0.1% of extract dry matter in the fermentation medium was optimal, while for the pine needle extract, aconcentration of 0.05% was preferred, since it selectively stimulated S. epidermidis growth and inhibited S. aureus proliferation. Additionally, total polyphenols and flavonoids content of two extracts were determined, revealing different concentrations and polyphenol profiles. Since yarrow and pine extracts affected the growth of skin bacteria in a dose-dependent manner, by carefully selecting the quantities of these extracts, and thus polyphenols content, it is possible to achieve desirable alterations of skin microbiota composition, which may be suitable forthe treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Keywords: herbal extracts, polyphenols, skin microbiota, skin prebiotics

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3 Sorbitol Galactoside Synthesis Using β-Galactosidase Immobilized on Functionalized Silica Nanoparticles

Authors: Milica Carević, Katarina Banjanac, Marija ĆOrović, Ana Milivojević, Nevena Prlainović, Aleksandar Marinković, Dejan Bezbradica

Abstract:

Nowadays, considering the growing awareness of functional food beneficial effects on human health, due attention is dedicated to the research in the field of obtaining new prominent products exhibiting improved physiological and physicochemical characteristics. Therefore, different approaches to valuable bioactive compounds synthesis have been proposed. β-Galactosidase, for example, although mainly utilized as hydrolytic enzyme, proved to be a promising tool for these purposes. Namely, under the particular conditions, such as high lactose concentration, elevated temperatures and low water activities, reaction of galactose moiety transfer to free hydroxyl group of the alternative acceptor (e.g. different sugars, alcohols or aromatic compounds) can generate a wide range of potentially interesting products. Up to now, galacto-oligosaccharides and lactulose have attracted the most attention due to their inherent prebiotic properties. The goal of this study was to obtain a novel product sorbitol galactoside, using the similar reaction mechanism, namely transgalactosylation reaction catalyzed by β-galactosidase from Aspergillus oryzae. By using sugar alcohol (sorbitol) as alternative acceptor, a diverse mixture of potential prebiotics is produced, enabling its more favorable functional features. Nevertheless, an introduction of alternative acceptor into the reaction mixture contributed to the complexity of reaction scheme, since several potential reaction pathways were introduced. Therefore, the thorough optimization using response surface method (RSM), in order to get an insight into different parameter (lactose concentration, sorbitol to lactose molar ratio, enzyme concentration, NaCl concentration and reaction time) influences, as well as their mutual interactions on product yield and productivity, was performed. In view of product yield maximization, the obtained model predicted optimal lactose concentration 500 mM, the molar ratio of sobitol to lactose 9, enzyme concentration 0.76 mg/ml, concentration of NaCl 0.8M, and the reaction time 7h. From the aspect of productivity, the optimum substrate molar ratio was found to be 1, while the values for other factors coincide. In order to additionally, improve enzyme efficiency and enable its reuse and potential continual application, immobilization of β-galactosidase onto tailored silica nanoparticles was performed. These non-porous fumed silica nanoparticles (FNS)were chosen on the basis of their biocompatibility and non-toxicity, as well as their advantageous mechanical and hydrodinamical properties. However, in order to achieve better compatibility between enzymes and the carrier, modifications of the silica surface using amino functional organosilane (3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane, APTMS) were made. Obtained support with amino functional groups (AFNS) enabled high enzyme loadings and, more importantly, extremely high expressed activities, approximately 230 mg proteins/g and 2100 IU/g, respectively. Moreover, this immobilized preparation showed high affinity towards sorbitol galactoside synthesis. Therefore, the findings of this study could provided a valuable contribution to the efficient production of physiologically active galactosides in immobilized enzyme reactors.

Keywords: β-galactosidase, immobilization, silica nanoparticles, transgalactosylation

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2 Selective Immobilization of Fructosyltransferase onto Glutaraldehyde Modified Support and Its Application in the Production of Fructo-oligosaccharides

Authors: Milica B. Veljković, Milica B. Simović, Marija M. Ćorović, Ana D. Milivojević, Anja I. Petrov, Katarina M. Banjanac, Dejan I. Bezbradica

Abstract:

In recent decades, the scientific community has recognized the growing importance of prebiotics, and therefore, numerous studies are focused on their economical production due to their low presence in natural resources. It has been confirmed that prebiotics are a source of energy for probiotics in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and enable their proliferation, consequently leading to the normal functioning of the intestinal microbiota. Also, products of their fermentation are short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which play a key role in maintaining and improving the health not only of the GIT but also of the whole organism. Among several confirmed prebiotics, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are considered interesting candidates for use in a wide range of products in the food industry. They are characterized as low-calorie and non-cariogenic substances that represent an adequate sugar substitute and can be considered suitable for use in products intended for diabetics. The subject of this research will be the production of FOS by transforming sucrose using a fructosyltransferase (FTase) present in commercial preparation Pectinex® Ultra SP-L, with special emphasis on the development of adequate FTase immobilization method that would enable selective isolation of the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of FOS from the complex enzymatic mixture. This would lead to considerable enzyme purification and allow its direct incorporation into different sucrose-based products, without the fear that action of the other hydrolytic enzymes may adversely affect the products functional characteristics. Accordingly, the possibility of selective immobilization of the enzyme using support with primary amino groups, Purolite® A109, which was previously activated and modified using glutaraldehyde (GA), was investigated. In the initial phase of the research, the effects of individual immobilization parameters such as pH, enzyme concentration, and immobilization time were investigated to optimize the process using support chemically activated with 15% and 0.5% GA to form dimers and monomers, respectively. It was determined that highly active immobilized preparations (371.8 IU/g of support - dimer and 213.8 IU/g of support – monomer) were achieved under acidic conditions (pH 4) provided that an enzyme concentration was 50 mg/g of support after 7 h and 3 h, respectively. Bearing in mind the obtained results of the expressed activity, it is noticeable that the formation of dimers showed higher reactivity compared to the form of monomers. Also, in the case of support modification using 15% GA, the value of the ratio of FTase and pectinase (as dominant enzyme mixture component) activity immobilization yields was 16.45, indicating the high feasibility of selective immobilization of FTase on modified polystyrene resin. After obtaining immobilized preparations of satisfactory features, they were tested in a reaction of FOS synthesis under determined optimal conditions. The maximum FOS yields of approximately 50% of total carbohydrates in the reaction mixture were recorded after 21 h. Finally, it can be concluded that the examined immobilization method yielded highly active, stable, and more importantly refined enzyme preparation that can be further utilized on a larger scale for development of continual processes for FOS synthesis, as well as for modification of different sucrose-based mediums.

Keywords: chemical modification, fructo-oligosaccharides, glutaraldehyde, immobilization of fructosyltransferase

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1 Observing Teaching Practices Through the Lenses of Self-Regulated Learning: A Study Within the String Instrument Individual Context

Authors: Marija Mihajlovic Pereira

Abstract:

Teaching and learning a musical instrument is challenging for both teachers and students. Teachers generally use diverse strategies to resolve students' particular issues in a one-to-one context. Considering individual sessions as a supportive educational context, the teacher can play a decisive role in stimulating and promoting self-regulated learning strategies, especially with beginning learners. The teachers who promote self-controlling behaviors, strategic monitoring, and regulation of actions toward goals could expect their students to practice more qualitatively and consciously. When encouraged to adopt self-regulation habits, students' could benefit from greater productivity on a longer path. Founded on Bary Zimmerman's cyclical model that comprehends three phases - forethought, performance, and self-reflection, this work aims to articulate self-regulated and music learning. Self-regulated learning appeals to the individual's attitude in planning, controlling, and reflecting on their performance. Furthermore, this study aimed to present an observation grid for perceiving teaching instructions that encourage students' controlling cognitive behaviors in light of the belief that conscious promotion of self-regulation may motivate strategic actions toward goals in musical performance. The participants, two teachers, and two students have been involved in the social inclusion project in Lisbon (Portugal). The author and one independent inter-observer analyzed six video-recorded string instrument lessons. The data correspond to three sessions per teacher lectured to one (different) student. Violin (f) and violoncello (m) teachers hold a Master's degree in music education and approximately five years of experience. In their second year of learning an instrument, students have acquired reasonable skills in musical reading, posture, and sound quality until then. The students also manifest positive learning behaviors, interest in learning a musical instrument, although their study habits are still inconsistent. According to the grid's four categories (parent codes), in-class rehearsal frames were coded using MaxQda software, version 20, according to the grid's four categories (parent codes): self-regulated learning, teaching verbalizations, teaching strategies, and students' in-class performance. As a result, selected rehearsal frames qualitatively describe teaching instructions that might promote students' body and hearing awareness, such as "close the eyes while playing" or "sing to internalize the pitch." Another analysis type, coding the short video events according to the observation grid's subcategories (child codes), made it possible to perceive the time teachers dedicate to specific verbal or non-verbal strategies. Furthermore, a coding overlay analysis indicated that teachers tend to stimulate. (i) Forethought – explain tasks, offer feedback and ensure that students identify a goal, (ii) Performance – teach study strategies and encourage students to sing and use vocal abilities to ensure inner audition, (iii) Self-reflection – frequent inquiring and encouraging the student to verbalize their perception of performance. Although developed in the context of individual string instrument lessons, this classroom observation grid brings together essential variables in a one-to-one lesson. It may find utility in a broader context of music education due to the possibility to organize, observe and evaluate teaching practices. Besides that, this study contributes to cognitive development by suggesting a practical approach to fostering self-regulated learning.

Keywords: music education, observation grid, self-regulated learning, string instruments, teaching practices

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