Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 15

Search results for: Matilda Nikolić

15 Moral Reasoning among Croatian Adolescents with Different Levels of Education

Authors: Nataša Šimić, Ljiljana Gregov, Matilda Nikolić, Andrea Tokić, Ana Proroković


Moral development takes place in six phases which can be divided in a pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional level. Moral reasoning, as a key concept of moral development theories, involves a process of discernment/inference in doubtful situations. In research to date, education has proved to be a significant predictor of moral reasoning. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in moral reasoning and Kohlberg's phases of moral development between Croatian adolescents with different levels of education. In Study 1 comparisons between the group of secondary school students aged 17-18 (N=192) and the group of university students aged 21-25 (N=383) were made. Study 2 included comparison between university students group (N=69) and non-students group (N=43) aged from 21 to 24 (these two groups did not differ in age). In both studies, the Croatian Test of Moral Reasoning by Proroković was applied. As a measure of moral reasoning, the Index of Moral Reasoning (IMR) was calculated. This measure has some advantages compared to other measures of moral reasoning, and includes individual assessments of deviations from the ‘optimal profile’. Results of the Study 1 did not show differences in the IMR between secondary school students and university students. Both groups gave higher assessments to the arguments that correspond to higher phases of moral development. However, group differences were found for pre-conventional and conventional phases. As expected, secondary school students gave significantly higher assessments to the arguments that correspond to lower phases of moral development. Results of the Study 2 showed that university students, in relation to non-students, have higher IMR. Respecting to phases of moral development, both groups of participants gave higher assessments to the arguments that correspond to the post-conventional phase. Consistent with expectations and previous findings, results of both studies did not confirm gender differences in moral reasoning.

Keywords: education, index of moral reasoning, Kohlberg's theory of moral development, moral reasoning

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14 An Approach to Noise Variance Estimation in Very Low Signal-to-Noise Ratio Stochastic Signals

Authors: Miljan B. Petrović, Dušan B. Petrović, Goran S. Nikolić


This paper describes a method for AWGN (Additive White Gaussian Noise) variance estimation in noisy stochastic signals, referred to as Multiplicative-Noising Variance Estimation (MNVE). The aim was to develop an estimation algorithm with minimal number of assumptions on the original signal structure. The provided MATLAB simulation and results analysis of the method applied on speech signals showed more accuracy than standardized AR (autoregressive) modeling noise estimation technique. In addition, great performance was observed on very low signal-to-noise ratios, which in general represents the worst case scenario for signal denoising methods. High execution time appears to be the only disadvantage of MNVE. After close examination of all the observed features of the proposed algorithm, it was concluded it is worth of exploring and that with some further adjustments and improvements can be enviably powerful.

Keywords: noise, signal-to-noise ratio, stochastic signals, variance estimation

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13 Numerical Modelling of Dry Stone Masonry Structures Based on Finite-Discrete Element Method

Authors: Ž. Nikolić, H. Smoljanović, N. Živaljić


This paper presents numerical model based on finite-discrete element method for analysis of the structural response of dry stone masonry structures under static and dynamic loads. More precisely, each discrete stone block is discretized by finite elements. Material non-linearity including fracture and fragmentation of discrete elements as well as cyclic behavior during dynamic load are considered through contact elements which are implemented within a finite element mesh. The application of the model was conducted on several examples of these structures. The performed analysis shows high accuracy of the numerical results in comparison with the experimental ones and demonstrates the potential of the finite-discrete element method for modelling of the response of dry stone masonry structures.

Keywords: dry stone masonry structures, dynamic load, finite-discrete element method, static load

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12 Maximizing Customer Service through Logistics Service Support in the Automobile Industry in Ghana

Authors: John M. Frimpong, Matilda K. Owusu-Bio, Caleb Annan


Business today is highly competitive, and the automobile industry is no exception. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the customer value and service quality measures that lead to customer satisfaction which in turn lead to customer loyalty. However, in the automobile industry, the role of logistics service support in these relationships cannot be undermined. It could be inferred that logistics service supports and its management has a direct correlation with customer service and or service quality. But this is not always the same for all industries. Therefore, this study was to investigate how automobile companies implement the concept of customer service through logistics service supports. In order to ascertain this, two automobile companies in Ghana were selected, and these are Toyota Ghana Limited and Mechanical Lloyd Company Ltd. The study developed a conceptual model to depict the study’s objectives from which questionnaires were developed from for data collection. Respondents were made up of customers and staff of the two companies. The findings of the study revealed that the automobile industry partly attributes their customer satisfaction to the customer value, service quality or customer value. It shows a positive relationship between logistics service supports and service quality and customer value. However, the results indicate that customer satisfaction is not predicted by logistics services. This implies that in the automobile industry, it is not always the case that when customer service is implemented through logistics service supports, it leads to customer satisfaction. Therefore, there is the need for all players and stakeholders in the automobile industry investigate other factors which help to increase customer satisfaction in addition to logistics service supports. It is recommended that logistics service supports should be geared towards meeting customer expectations and not just based on the organization’s standards and procedures. It is necessary to listen to the voice of the customer to tailor the service package to suit the needs and expectations of the customer.

Keywords: customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, customer service, customer value, logistics service supports

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11 Microfiltration of the Sugar Refinery Wastewater Using Ceramic Membrane with Kenics Static Mixer

Authors: Zita Šereš, Ljubica Dokić, Nikola Maravić, Dragana Šoronja Simović, Cecilia Hodur, Ivana Nikolić, Biljana Pajin


New environmental regulations and the increasing market preference for companies that respect the ecosystem had encouraged the industry to look after new treatments for its effluents. The sugar industry, one of the largest emitter of environmental pollutants, follows this tendency. Membrane technology is convenient for separation of suspended solids, colloids and high molecular weight materials that are present in a wastewater from the sugar industry. The idea is to microfilter the wastewater, where the permeate passes through the membrane and becomes available for recycle and re-use in the sugar manufacturing process. For microfiltration of this effluent a tubular ceramic membrane was used with a pore size of 200 nm at transmembrane pressure in range of 1 – 3 bars and in range of flow rate of 50 – 150 l/h. Kenics static mixer was used for permeate flux enhancement. Turbidity and suspended solids were removed and the permeate flux was continuously monitored during the microfiltration process. The flux achieved after 90 minutes of microfiltration was in a range of 50-70 L/m2h. The obtained turbidity decrease was in the range of 50-99% and the total amount of suspended solids was removed.

Keywords: ceramic membrane, microfiltration, permeate flux, sugar industry, wastewater

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10 Chromatographic Lipophilicity Determination of Newly Synthesized Steroid Derivatives for Further Biological Analysis

Authors: Milica Z. Karadzic, Lidija R. Jevric, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanovic, Strahinja Z. Kovacevic, Anamarija I. Mandic, Katarina Penov-Gasi, Andrea R. Nikolic, Aleksandar M. Okljesa


In this study, a set of 29 newly synthesized steroid derivatives were investigated using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) as a first step in preselection of drug candidates. This analysis presents an experimental determination of chromatographic lipophilicity, and it was conducted to obtain physicochemical characterization of these molecules. As the most widely used bonded phases in RP-HPLC, octadecyl (C18) and octyl (C8) were used. Binary mixtures of water and acetonitrile or methanol were used as mobile phases. Obtained results were expressed as retention factor values logk and they were correlated with logP values. The results showed that both columns provide good estimations of the chromatographic lipophilicity of the molecules included in this study. This analysis was conducted in order to characterize newly synthesized steroid derivatives for further investigation regarding their antiproliferative and antimicrobial activity. This article is based upon work from COST Action (CM1306), supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

Keywords: antiproliferative activity, chromatographic lipophilicity, liquid chromatography, steroids

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9 The School-to-Work Transition: The Case of NEET Youths from Rural Areas

Authors: Anđelka Stojanović, Ivan Mihajlović, Ivica Nikolić


In the past years, due to the financial crisis and the tightening of conditions on the labor market, young people are facing great challenges in achieving financial independence and finding their place in society. Higher unemployment rates, poorer living conditions, separation from the labor market, and longer school-to-work transitions particularly affect rural youth and make significant differences between youth groups in rural and urban areas. Improving employability skills and development of instruments for further learning among young people “Not in Education, Employment, or Training” (NEET) should not be only the concerns of these people, already adequately be directed and supported by the institutions. According to the World Bank data, the share of youth not in education, employment or training (NEET), in the European Union in the past few years decreases but still shows a significant share in the total percentage of the youth population. In 2017 rate was 10.96% while in 2018 that value was 10.38%. When observing individual countries in Europe, especially those with lower incomes, this rate is much higher. It was concluded that this topic was not sufficiently elaborated and presented in the social and scientific environment. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to identify and systematize the problems of school-to-work transition among young NEETs living in rural areas as well as the initiatives for addressing their problems.

Keywords: NEET youth, risks and initiatives, rural youth, school-to-work transition

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8 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


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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7 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


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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6 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


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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5 Evaluation of Newly Synthesized Steroid Derivatives Using In silico Molecular Descriptors and Chemometric Techniques

Authors: Milica Ž. Karadžić, Lidija R. Jevrić, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanović, Strahinja Z. Kovačević, Anamarija I. Mandić, Katarina Penov-Gaši, Andrea R. Nikolić, Aleksandar M. Oklješa


This study considered selection of the in silico molecular descriptors and the models for newly synthesized steroid derivatives description and their characterization using chemometric techniques. Multiple linear regression (MLR) models were established and gave the best molecular descriptors for quantitative structure-retention relationship (QSRR) modeling of the retention of the investigated molecules. MLR models were without multicollinearity among the selected molecular descriptors according to the variance inflation factor (VIF) values. Used molecular descriptors were ranked using generalized pair correlation method (GPCM). In this method, the significant difference between independent variables can be noticed regardless almost equal correlation between dependent variable. Generated MLR models were statistically and cross-validated and the best models were kept. Models were ranked using sum of ranking differences (SRD) method. According to this method, the most consistent QSRR model can be found and similarity or dissimilarity between the models could be noticed. In this study, SRD was performed using average values of experimentally observed data as a golden standard. Chemometric analysis was conducted in order to characterize newly synthesized steroid derivatives for further investigation regarding their potential biological activity and further synthesis. This article is based upon work from COST Action (CM1105), supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

Keywords: generalized pair correlation method, molecular descriptors, regression analysis, steroids, sum of ranking differences

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4 Response Surface Methodology Approach to Defining Ultrafiltration of Steepwater from Corn Starch Industry

Authors: Zita I. Šereš, Ljubica P. Dokić, Dragana M. Šoronja Simović, Cecilia Hodur, Zsuzsanna Laszlo, Ivana Nikolić, Nikola Maravić


In this work the concentration of steep-water from corn starch industry is monitored using ultrafiltration membrane. The aim was to examine the conditions of ultrafiltration of steep-water by applying the membrane of 2.5nm. The parameters that vary during the course of ultrafiltration, were the transmembrane pressure, flow rate, while the permeate flux and the dry matter content of permeate and retentive were the dependent parameter constantly monitored during the process. Experiments of ultrafiltration are conducted on the samples of steep-water, which were obtained from the starch wet milling plant Jabuka, Pancevo. The procedure of ultrafiltration on a single-channel 250mm length, with inner diameter of 6.8mm and outer diameter of 10mm membrane were carried on. The membrane is made of a-Al2O3 with TiO2 layer obtained from GEA (Germany). The experiments are carried out at a flow rate ranging from 100 to 200lh-1 and transmembrane pressure of 1-3 bars. During the experiments of steep-water ultrafiltration, the change of permeate flux, dry matter content of permeate and retentive, as well as the absorbance changes of the permeate and retentive were monitored. The experimental results showed that the maximum flux reaches about 40lm-2h-1. For responses obtained after experiments, a polynomial model of the second degree is established to evaluate and quantify the influence of the variables. The quadratic equitation fits with the experimental values, where the coefficient of determination for flux is 0.96. The dry matter content of the retentive is increased for about 6%, while the dry matter content of permeate was reduced for about 35-40%, respectively. During steep-water ultrafiltration in permeate stays 40% less dry matter compared to the feed.

Keywords: ultrafiltration, steep-water, starch industry, ceramic membrane

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3 Rheological Properties of Dough and Sensory Quality of Crackers with Dietary Fibers

Authors: Ljubica Dokić, Ivana Nikolić, Dragana Šoronja–Simović, Zita Šereš, Biljana Pajin, Nils Juul, Nikola Maravić


The possibility of application the dietary fibers in production of crackers was observed in this work, as well as their influence on rheological and textural properties on the dough for crackers and influence on sensory properties of obtained crackers. Three different dietary fibers, oat, potato and pea fibers, replaced 10% of wheat flour. Long fermentation process and baking test method were used for crackers production. The changes of dough for crackers were observed by rheological methods of determination the viscoelastic dough properties and by textural measurements. Sensory quality of obtained crackers was described using quantity descriptive method (QDA) by trained members of descriptive panel. Additional analysis of crackers surface was performed by videometer. Based on rheological determination, viscoelastic properties of dough for crackers were reduced by application of dietary fibers. Manipulation of dough with 10% of potato fiber was disabled, thus the recipe modification included increase in water content at 35%. Dough compliance to constant stress for samples with dietary fibers decreased, due to more rigid and stiffer dough consistency compared to control sample. Also, hardness of dough for these samples increased and dough extensibility decreased. Sensory properties of final products, crackers, were reduced compared to control sample. Application of dietary fibers affected mostly hardness, structure and crispness of the crackers. Observed crackers were low marked for flavor and taste, due to influence of fibers specific aroma. The sample with 10% of potato fibers and increased water content was the most adaptable to applied stresses and to production process. Also this sample was close to control sample without dietary fibers by evaluation of sensory properties and by results of videometer method.

Keywords: crackers, dietary fibers, rheology, sensory properties

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2 Evaluation of the Effects of Antiepileptic Therapy on Cognitive and Psychical Functioning and Quality of Life in School-Age Children With New-Onset Epilepsy

Authors: Željka Rogač, Dejan Stevanović, Sara Bečanović, Ljubica Božić, Aleksandar Dimitrijević, Dragana Bogićević, Dimitrije Nikolić


Children with epilepsy face changes in cognitive functioning, the appearance of symptoms of psychopathology and a decline in their quality of life. Factors related to epileptic seizures and the side effects of AEDs are considered to be potential causes of these changes.These changes can be prevented by prompt action, replacement of AEDs, psychological and psychiatric treatment, and social support. However, a review of literature has not yielded a conclusion as to when it is best to react, i.e., when changes in the functioning of children with newly-diagnosed epilepsy appears. The primary goal of this study was to investigate the impact of the most commonly used AEDs on cognitive status, behavior, anxiety and depression, as well as quality of life of children with newly-diagnosed epilepsy, during the first six months of treatment. This is a non-interventional, prospective study involving six-month monitoring of cognitive status, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, as well as quality of life of children with newly-diagnosed epilepsy, and the impact of antiepileptic drugs on these domains. Children with new-onset epilepsy and their parents, immediately after the introduction of antiepileptic drugs as well as six months later, filled out appropriate questionnaires (RCADS, NCBRF, CHEQOL-25, KIDSCREEN-10, AEP). At the same time, a psychologist performed the psychological testing of the child (REVISK). At the very beginning of REVISK treatment, a reduced VIQ was established, while after six months there was a significant decrease in IQ, VIQ and especially PIQ, under the influence of primary cognitive potentials and the development of depressive symptoms. All scores of the RCADS and NCBFR questionnaires were significantly elevated after six months while internalizing and externalizing symptoms affected each other. The development of depressive symptoms was significantly influenced by AED. The scores of the CHEQOL25 and KIDSCREEN10 questionnaires were significantly reduced, influenced by the adverse effects of AED and quality of life at the start of treatment. Side effects of AEDs, were significantly associated with depressive symptoms and reduced quality of life and did not significantly affect cognitive decline, anxiety, ADHD, and behavioral disorders during the first six months.

Keywords: epilepsy, children, AEDs, cognition, behavior, ADHD, anxiety, depression, QOL

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1 Reproductive Biology and Lipid Content of Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) in the Western Indian Ocean

Authors: Zahirah Dhurmeea, Iker Zudaire, Heidi Pethybridge, Emmanuel Chassot, Maria Cedras, Natacha Nikolic, Jerome Bourjea, Wendy West, Chandani Appadoo, Nathalie Bodin


Scientific advice on the status of fish stocks relies on indicators that are based on strong assumptions on biological parameters such as condition, maturity and fecundity. Currently, information on the biology of albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, in the Indian Ocean is scarce. Consequently, many parameters used in stock assessment models for Indian Ocean albacore originate largely from other studied stocks or species of tuna. Inclusion of incorrect biological data in stock assessment models would lead to inappropriate estimates of stock status used by fisheries manager’s to establish future catch allowances. The reproductive biology of albacore tuna in the western Indian Ocean was examined through analysis of the sex ratio, spawning season, length-at-maturity (L50), spawning frequency, fecundity and fish condition. In addition, the total lipid content (TL) and lipid class composition in the gonads, liver and muscle tissues of female albacore during the reproductive cycle was investigated. A total of 923 female and 867 male albacore were sampled from 2013 to 2015. A bias in sex-ratio was found in favour of females with fork length (LF) <100 cm. Using histological analyses and gonadosomatic index, spawning was found to occur between 10°S and 30°S, mainly to the east of Madagascar from October to January. Large females contributed more to reproduction through their longer spawning period compared to small individuals. The L50 (mean ± standard error) of female albacore was estimated at 85.3 ± 0.7 cm LF at the vitellogenic 3 oocyte stage maturity threshold. Albacore spawn on average every 2.2 days within the spawning region and spawning months from November to January. Batch fecundity varied between 0.26 and 2.09 million eggs and the relative batch fecundity (mean  standard deviation) was estimated at 53.4 ± 23.2 oocytes g-1 of somatic-gutted weight. Depending on the maturity stage, TL in ovaries ranged from 7.5 to 577.8 mg g-1 of wet weight (ww) with different proportions of phospholipids (PL), wax esters (WE), triacylglycerol (TAG) and sterol (ST). The highest TL were observed in immature (mostly TAG and PL) and spawning capable ovaries (mostly PL, WE and TAG). Liver TL varied from 21.1 to 294.8 mg g-1 (ww) and acted as an energy (mainly TAG and PL) storage prior to reproduction when the lowest TL was observed. Muscle TL varied from 2.0 to 71.7 g-1 (ww) in mature females without a clear pattern between maturity stages, although higher values of up to 117.3 g-1 (ww) was found in immature females. TL results suggest that albacore could be viewed predominantly as a capital breeder relying mostly on lipids stored before the onset of reproduction and with little additional energy derived from feeding. This study is the first one to provide new information on the reproductive development and classification of albacore in the western Indian Ocean. The reproductive parameters will reduce uncertainty in current stock assessment models which will eventually promote sustainability of the fishery.

Keywords: condition, size-at-maturity, spawning behaviour, temperate tuna, total lipid content

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