Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Search results for: Natasa Hoic-Bozic

19 Cosmic Background Reduction in the Radiocarbon Measurements by Liquid Scintillation Spectrometry

Authors: Natasa Todorovic, Jovana Nikolov


Guard detector efficiency, cosmic background, and its variation were determinate using ultra low-level liquid scintillation spectrometer Quantulus 1220, equipped with an anti-Compton guard detector, in the surface laboratory at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, Atmospheric pressure variation has an observable effect on the anti-Compton guard detector count rate. and the cosmic muon flux is lower during a high-pressure period. Also, the guard detector Compton continuum provides a good view of the level of gamma radiation in the laboratory environment. The efficiency of the guard detector in the channel interval from 750 to 1024 was assessed to 93.45%; efficiency in the entire window (channels 1 to 1024) was 75.23%, which is in good agreement with literature data.

Keywords: cosmic radiation, background reduction, liquid scintillation counting, guard detector efficiency

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18 Differences in Innovative Orientation of the Entrepreneurially Active Adults: The Case of Croatia

Authors: Nataša Šarlija, Sanja Pfeifer


This study analyzes the innovative orientation of the Croatian entrepreneurs. Innovative orientation is represented by the perceived extent to which an entrepreneur’s product or service or technology is new, and no other businesses offer the same product. The sample is extracted from the GEM Croatia Adult Population Survey dataset for the years 2003-2013. We apply descriptive statistics, t-test, Chi-square test and logistic regression. Findings indicate that innovative orientations vary with personal, firm, meso and macro level variables, and between different stages in entrepreneurship process. Significant predictors are occupation of the entrepreneurs, size of the firm and export aspiration for both early stage and established entrepreneurs. In addition, fear of failure, expecting to start a new business and seeing an entrepreneurial career as a desirable choice are predictors of innovative orientation among early stage entrepreneurs.

Keywords: multilevel determinants of the innovative orientation, Croatian early stage entrepreneurs, established businesses, GEM evidence

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17 Student and Group Activity Level Assessment in the ELARS Recommender System

Authors: Martina Holenko Dlab, Natasa Hoic-Bozic


This paper presents an original approach to student and group activity level assessment that relies on certainty factors theory. Activity level is used to represent quantity and continuity of student’s contributions in individual and collaborative e‑learning activities (e‑tivities) and is calculated to assist teachers in assessing quantitative aspects of student's achievements. Calculated activity levels are also used to raise awareness and provide recommendations during the learning process. The proposed approach was implemented within the educational recommender system ELARS and validated using data obtained from e‑tivity realized during a blended learning course. The results showed that the proposed approach can be used to estimate activity level in the context of e-tivities realized using Web 2.0 tools as well as to facilitate the assessment of quantitative aspect of students’ participation in e‑tivities.

Keywords: assessment, ELARS, e-learning, recommender systems, student model

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16 A Design-Based Approach to Developing a Mobile Learning System

Authors: Martina Holenko Dlab, Natasa Hoic-Bozic, Ivica Boticki


This paper presents technologically innovative and scalable mobile learning solution within the SCOLLAm project (“Opening up education through Seamless and COLLAborative mobile learning on tablet computers”). The main research method applied during the development of the SCOLLAm mobile learning system is design-based research. It assumes iterative refinement of the system guided by collaboration between researches and practitioners. Following the identification of requirements, a multiplatform mobile learning system SCOLLAm [in]Form was developed. Several experiments were designed and conducted in the first and second grade of elementary school. SCOLLAm [in]Form system was used to design learning activities for math classes during which students practice calculation. System refinements were based on experience and interaction data gathered during class observations. In addition to implemented improvements, the data were used to outline possible improvements and deficiencies of the system that should be addressed in the next phase of the SCOLLAm [in]Form development.

Keywords: adaptation, collaborative learning, educational technology, mobile learning, tablet computers

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15 Application of Artificial Neural Network for Prediction of Retention Times of Some Secoestrane Derivatives

Authors: Nataša Kalajdžija, Strahinja Kovačević, Davor Lončar, Sanja Podunavac Kuzmanović, Lidija Jevrić


In order to investigate the relationship between retention and structure, a quantitative Structure Retention Relationships (QSRRs) study was applied for the prediction of retention times of a set of 23 secoestrane derivatives in a reversed-phase thin-layer chromatography. After the calculation of molecular descriptors, a suitable set of molecular descriptors was selected by using step-wise multiple linear regressions. Artificial Neural Network (ANN) method was employed to model the nonlinear structure-activity relationships. The ANN technique resulted in 5-6-1 ANN model with the correlation coefficient of 0.98. We found that the following descriptors: Critical pressure, total energy, protease inhibition, distribution coefficient (LogD) and parameter of lipophilicity (miLogP) have a significant effect on the retention times. The prediction results are in very good agreement with the experimental ones. This approach provided a new and effective method for predicting the chromatographic retention index for the secoestrane derivatives investigated.

Keywords: lipophilicity, QSRR, RP TLC retention, secoestranes

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14 Multi-Faceted Growth in Creative Industries

Authors: Sanja Pfeifer, Nataša Šarlija, Marina Jeger, Ana Bilandžić


The purpose of this study is to explore the different facets of growth among micro, small and medium-sized firms in Croatia and to analyze the differences between models designed for all micro, small and medium-sized firms and those in creative industries. Three growth prediction models were designed and tested using the growth of sales, employment and assets of the company as dependent variables. The key drivers of sales growth are: prudent use of cash, industry affiliation and higher share of intangible assets. Growth of assets depends on retained profits, internal and external sources of financing, as well as industry affiliation. Growth in employment is closely related to sources of financing, in particular, debt and it occurs less frequently than growth in sales and assets. The findings confirm the assumption that growth strategies of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in creative industries have specific differences in comparison to SMEs in general. Interestingly, only 2.2% of growing enterprises achieve growth in employment, assets and sales simultaneously.

Keywords: creative industries, growth prediction model, growth determinants, growth measures

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13 Genetic and Non-Genetic Factors Affecting the Response to Clopidogrel Therapy

Authors: Snezana Mugosa, Zoran Todorovic, Zoran Bukumiric, Ivan Radosavljevic, Natasa Djordjevic


Introduction: Various studies have shown that the frequency of clopidogrel resistance ranges from 4-40%. The aim of this study was to provide in depth analysis of genetic and non-genetic factors that influence clopidogrel resistance in cardiology patients. Methods: We have conducted a prospective study in 200 hospitalized patients hospitalized at Cardiology Centre of the Clinical Centre of Montenegro. CYP2C19 genetic testing was conducted, and the PREDICT score was calculated in 102 out of 200 patients treated with clopidogrel in order to determine the influence of genetic and non-genetic factors on outcomes of interest. Adverse cardiovascular events and adverse reactions to clopidogrel were assessed during 12 months follow up period. Results: PREDICT score and CYP2C19 enzymatic activity were found to be statistically significant predictors of expressing lack of therapeutic efficacy of clopidogrel by multivariate logistic regression, without multicollinearity or interaction between the predictors (p = 0.002 and 0.009, respectively). Conclusions: Pharmacogenetics analyses that were done in the Montenegrin population of patients for the first time suggest that these analyses can predict patient response to the certain therapy. Stepwise approach could be used in assessing the clopidogrel resistance in cardiology patients, combining the PREDICT score, platelet aggregation test, and genetic testing for CYP2C19 polymorphism.

Keywords: clopidogrel, pharmacogenetics, pharmacotherapy, PREDICT score

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12 Double Beta Decay Experiments in Novi Sad

Authors: Nataša Todorović, Jovana Nikolov


Despite the great interest in β⁻β⁻ decay, β⁺β⁺ decays are rarely investigated due to the low probability of detecting these processes with available low-level equipment. If β⁺β⁺, β⁺EC, or ECEC decay occurs in a thin sample of a material, the positrons will be stopped and annihilated inside the material, leading to the emission of two or four coincidence gamma photons energy of 511 keV. The paper presents the results of measurements of double beta decay of ⁶⁴Zn, ⁵⁰Cr, and ⁵⁴Fe isotopes. In the first experiment, 511-keV gamma rays originating from the annihilation of positrons in natural zinc were measured by a coincidence technique to obtain a non-zero value for the (0ν+2ν) half-life. In the second experiment, the result of measuring double beta decay of ⁵⁰Cr is presented, which suggests a result other than zero at 95% CL and gives the lowest limit for the half-life of this process. In the third experiment, neutrino-less ECEC decay of ⁵⁴Fe was examined. Under the decay theory, gamma rays are emitted whose energy does not coincide with the energies of gamma rays emitted by nuclei from known discrete excited states. Iron shield of an internal volume of 1 m³ and thickness of 25 cm served as a source for measuring the (0ν+2ν) process in ⁵⁴Fe, whose yield in natural iron is 5.4%. We obtain the lower limit for the half-life for ⁵⁴Fe: T(0ν, K, K)>4.4x10²⁰ yr, T(0ν, K, L)>4.1x10²⁰ yr, and T(0ν, L, L)>5.0x10²⁰ yr. For ⁵⁰Cr limit for the half-life is T(0ν+2ν)>1.3(6)x10¹⁸ yr, and for ⁶⁴Zn T(0ν+2ν, ECβ+)=1.1(0.9)x10⁹ years.

Keywords: neutrinoless double beta decay, half-life, ⁶⁴Zn, ⁵⁰Cr, and, ⁵⁴Fe

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11 Railway Transport as a Potential Source of Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Soil

Authors: Nataša Stojić, Mira Pucarević, Nebojša Ralević, Vojislava Bursić, Gordan Stojić


Surface soil (0 – 10 cm) samples from 52 sampling sites along the length of railway tracks on the territory of Srem (the western part of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, itself part of Serbia) were collected and analyzed for 7 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in order to see how the distance from the railroad on the one hand and dump on the other hand, affect the concentration of PCBs (CPCBs) in the soil. Samples were taken at a distance of 0.03 to 4.19 km from the railway and 0.43 to 3.35 km from the landfills. For the soil extraction the Soxhlet extraction (USEPA 3540S) was used. The extracts were purified on a silica-gel column (USEPA 3630C). The analysis of the extracts was performed by gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. PCBs were not detected only at two locations. Mean total concentration of PCBs for all other sampling locations was 0,0043 ppm dry weight (dw) with a range of 0,0005 to 0,0227 ppm dw. On the part of the data that were interesting for this research with statistical methods (PCA) were isolated factors that affect the concentration of PCBs. Data were also analyzed using the Pearson's chi-squared test which showed that the hypothesis of independence of CPCBs and distance from the railway can be rejected. Hypothesis of independence between CPCB and the percentage of humus in the soil can also be rejected, in contrast to dependence of CPCB and the distance from the landfill where the hypothesis of independence cannot be rejected. Based on these results can be said that railway transport is a potential source of PCBs. The next step in this research is to establish the position of transformers which are located near sampling sites as another important factor that affects the concentration of PCBs in the soil.

Keywords: GC/MS, landfill, PCB, railway, soil

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10 Patient Advocates to Improve Access to Justice in Involuntary Hospitalisation

Authors: Zuzana Durajova, Natasa Diatkova, Shreya Bhardwaj


This paper introduces the project START, its activities, goals, evaluation and final results. Over the past few decades, the legal discourse surrounding mental health has resulted in improvement in patient rights (in Netherlands, etc.), the appointment of Ombudspersons for psychiatric patients (in Austria, Sweden) and facilitating the participation of patients in decision-making processes. Czech legislation already recognizes the position of “patient’s advocate” as a person of trust. However, this instrument is not very widely known and rarely used in practice. In the pilot study of the project, legal training for patient advocacy is provided to persons with experience with mental health problems/psychiatric hospitalization chosen from a Czech-based NGO. These persons (patient advocates) visit patients in involuntary hospitalization in one closed ward in the chosen psychiatric institution. During visits, the patient advocates inform patients about their legal standing, their procedural rights and also offer them individual support in contacting their counsel, family members etc. To understand the effect of the intervention, qualitative interviews and participant observations are conducted with the patients, advocates, the hospital management and staff and other identifiable stakeholders, such as government officials responsible for mental health care reform. The interviews are held before, during and after the intervention (support from patient advocates in hospitals). Given the ethical quandaries arising from using psychiatric wards as a field setting, we assume a participatory approach to ensure respect for patient boundaries and dignity. Through this project, we seek to establish a profession of patient advocates based on professional standards.

Keywords: patient advocacy, involuntary hospitalization, Czech Republic, patient Rights, professionalization

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9 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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8 Synthesis and Optimization of Bio Metal-Organic Framework with Permanent Porosity

Authors: Tia Kristian Tajnšek, Matjaž Mazaj, Nataša Zabukovec Logar


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with their specific properties and the possibility of tuning the structure represent excellent candidates for use in the biomedical field. Their advantage lies in large pore surfaces and volumes, as well as the possibility of using bio-friendly or bioactive constituents. So-called bioMOFs are representatives of MOFs, which are constructed from at least one biomolecule (metal, a small bioactive molecule in metal clusters and/or linker) and are intended for bio-application (usually in the field of medicine; most commonly drug delivery). When designing a bioMOF for biomedical applications, we should adhere to some guidelines for an improved toxicological profile of the material. Such as (i) choosing an endogenous/nontoxic metal, (ii) GRAS (generally recognized as safe) linker, and (iii) nontoxic solvents. Design and synthesis of bioNICS-1 (bioMOF of National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia – 1) consider all these guidelines. Zinc (Zn) was chosen as an endogenous metal with an agreeable recommended daily intake (RDI) and LD50 value, and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) was chosen as a GRAS and active linker. With these building blocks, we have synthesized a bioNICS-1 material. The synthesis was done in ethanol using a solvothermal method. The synthesis protocol was further optimized in three separate ways. Optimization of (i) synthesis parameters to improve the yield of the synthesis, (ii) input reactant ratio and addition of specific modulators for production of larger crystals, and (iii) differing of the heating source (conventional, microwave and ultrasound) to produce nano-crystals. With optimization strategies, the synthesis yield was increased. Larger crystals were prepared for structural analysis with the use of a proper species and amount of modulator. Synthesis protocol was adjusted to different heating sources, resulting in the production of nano-crystals of bioNICS-1 material. BioNICS-1 was further activated in ethanol and structurally characterized, resolving the crystal structure of new material.

Keywords: ascorbic acid, bioMOF, MOF, optimization, synthesis, zinc ascorbate

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7 Evaluation of Different Liquid Scintillation Counting Methods for 222Rn Determination in Waters

Authors: Jovana Nikolov, Natasa Todorovic, Ivana Stojkovic


Monitoring of 222Rn in drinking or surface waters, as well as in groundwater has been performed in connection with geological, hydrogeological and hydrological surveys and health hazard studies. Liquid scintillation counting (LSC) is often preferred analytical method for 222Rn measurements in waters because it allows multiple-sample automatic analysis. LSC method implies mixing of water samples with organic scintillation cocktail, which triggers radon diffusion from the aqueous into organic phase for which it has a much greater affinity, eliminating possibility of radon emanation in that manner. Two direct LSC methods that assume different sample composition have been presented, optimized and evaluated in this study. One-phase method assumed direct mixing of 10 ml sample with 10 ml of emulsifying cocktail (Ultima Gold AB scintillation cocktail is used). Two-phase method involved usage of water-immiscible cocktails (in this study High Efficiency Mineral Oil Scintillator, Opti-Fluor O and Ultima Gold F are used). Calibration samples were prepared with aqueous 226Ra standard in glass 20 ml vials and counted on ultra-low background spectrometer Quantulus 1220TM equipped with PSA (Pulse Shape Analysis) circuit which discriminates alpha/beta spectra. Since calibration procedure is carried out with 226Ra standard, which has both alpha and beta progenies, it is clear that PSA discriminator has vital importance in order to provide reliable and precise spectra separation. Consequentially, calibration procedure was done through investigation of PSA discriminator level influence on 222Rn efficiency detection, using 226Ra calibration standard in wide range of activity concentrations. Evaluation of presented methods was based on obtained efficiency detections and achieved Minimal Detectable Activity (MDA). Comparison of presented methods, accuracy and precision as well as different scintillation cocktail’s performance was considered from results of measurements of 226Ra spiked water samples with known activity and environmental samples.

Keywords: 222Rn in water, Quantulus1220TM, scintillation cocktail, PSA parameter

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6 Investigation of Several New Ionic Liquids’ Behaviour during ²¹⁰PB/²¹⁰BI Cherenkov Counting in Waters

Authors: Nataša Todorović, Jovana Nikolov, Ivana Stojković, Milan Vraneš, Jovana Panić, Slobodan Gadžurić


The detection of ²¹⁰Pb levels in aquatic environments evokes interest in various scientific studies. Its precise determination is important not only for the radiological assessment of drinking waters but also ²¹⁰Pb, and ²¹⁰Po distribution in the marine environment are significant for the assessment of the removal rates of particles from the ocean and particle fluxes during transport along the coast, as well as particulate organic carbon export in the upper ocean. Measurement techniques for ²¹⁰Pb determination, gamma spectrometry, alpha spectrometry, or liquid scintillation counting (LSC) are either time-consuming or demand expensive equipment or complicated chemical pre-treatments. However, one other possibility is to measure ²¹⁰Pb on an LS counter if it is in equilibrium with its progeny ²¹⁰Bi - through the Cherenkov counting method. It is unaffected by the chemical quenching and assumes easy sample preparation but has the drawback of lower counting efficiencies than standard LSC methods, typically from 10% up to 20%. The aim of the presented research in this paper is to investigate the possible increment of detection efficiency of Cherenkov counting during ²¹⁰Pb/²¹⁰Bi detection on an LS counter Quantulus 1220. Considering naturally low levels of ²¹⁰Pb in aqueous samples, the addition of ionic liquids to the counting vials with the analysed samples has the benefit of detection limit’s decrement during ²¹⁰Pb quantification. Our results demonstrated that ionic liquid, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium salicylate, is more efficient in Cherenkov counting efficiency increment than the previously explored 2-hydroxypropan-1-amminium salicylate. Consequently, the impact of a few other ionic liquids that were synthesized with the same cation group (1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium benzoate, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium 3-hydroxybenzoate, and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium 4-hydroxybenzoate) was explored in order to test their potential influence on Cherenkov counting efficiency. It was confirmed that, among the explored ones, only ionic liquids in the form of salicylates exhibit a wavelength shifting effect. Namely, the addition of small amounts (around 0.8 g) of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium salicylate increases the detection efficiency from 16% to >70%, consequently reducing the detection threshold by more than four times. Moreover, the addition of ionic liquids could find application in the quantification of other radionuclides besides ²¹⁰Pb/²¹⁰Bi via Cherenkov counting method.

Keywords: liquid scintillation counting, ionic liquids, Cherenkov counting, ²¹⁰PB/²¹⁰BI in water

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5 Immunocytochemical Stability of Antigens in Cytological Samples Stored in In-house Liquid-Based Medium

Authors: Anamarija Kuhar, Veronika Kloboves Prevodnik, Nataša Nolde, Ulrika Klopčič


The decision for immunocytochemistry (ICC) is usually made in the basis of the findings in Giemsa- and/or Papanicolaou- smears. More demanding diagnostic cases require preparation of additional cytological preparations. Therefore, it is convenient to suspend cytological samples in a liquid based medium (LBM) that preserve antigen and morphological properties. However, the duration of these properties being preserved in the medium is usually unknown. Eventually, cell morphology becomes impaired and altered, as well as antigen properties may be lost or become diffused. In this study, the influence of cytological sample storage length in in-house liquid based medium on antigen properties and cell morphology is evaluated. The question is how long the cytological samples in this medium can be stored so that the results of immunocytochemical reactions are still reliable and can be safely used in routine cytopathological diagnostics. The stability of 6 ICC markers that are most frequently used in everyday routine work were tested; Cytokeratin AE1/AE3, Calretinin, Epithelial specific antigen Ep-CAM (MOC-31), CD 45, Oestrogen receptor (ER), and Melanoma triple cocktail were tested on methanol fixed cytospins prepared from fresh fine needle aspiration biopsies, effusion samples, and disintegrated lymph nodes suspended in in-house cell medium. Cytospins were prepared on the day of the sampling as well as on the second, fourth, fifth, and eight day after sample collection. Next, they were fixed in methanol and immunocytochemically stained. Finally, the percentage of positive stained cells, reaction intensity, counterstaining, and cell morphology were assessed using two assessment methods: the internal assessment and the UK NEQAS ICC scheme assessment. Results show that the antigen properties for Cytokeratin AE1/AE3, MOC-31, CD 45, ER, and Melanoma triple cocktail were preserved even after 8 days of storage in in-house LBM, while the antigen properties for Calretinin remained unchanged only for 4 days. The key parameters for assessing detection of antigen are the proportion of cells with a positive reaction and intensity of staining. Well preserved cell morphology is highly important for reliable interpretation of ICC reaction. Therefore, it would be valuable to perform a similar analysis for other ICC markers to determine the duration in which the antigen and morphological properties are preserved in LBM.

Keywords: cytology samples, cytospins, immunocytochemistry, liquid-based cytology

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4 Methodological Approach to the Elaboration and Implementation of the Spatial-Urban Plan for the Special Purpose Area: Case-Study of Infrastructure Corridor of Highway E-80, Section Nis-Merdare, Serbia

Authors: Nebojsa Stefanovic, Sasa Milijic, Natasa Danilovic Hristic


Spatial plan of the special purpose area constitutes a basic tool in the planning of infrastructure corridor of a highway. The aim of the plan is to define the planning basis and provision of spatial conditions for the construction and operation of the highway, as well as for developing other infrastructure systems in the corridor. This paper presents a methodology and approach to the preparation of the Spatial Plan for the special purpose area for the infrastructure corridor of the highway E-80, Section Niš-Merdare in Serbia. The applied methodological approach is based on the combined application of the integrative and participatory method in the decision-making process on the sustainable development of the highway corridor. It was found that, for the planning and management of the infrastructure corridor, a key problem is coordination of spatial and urban planning, strategic environmental assessment and sectoral traffic planning and designing. Through the development of the plan, special attention is focused on increasing the accessibility of the local and regional surrounding, reducing the adverse impacts on the development of settlements and the economy, protection of natural resources, natural and cultural heritage, and the development of other infrastructure systems in the corridor of the highway. As a result of the applied methodology, this paper analyzes the basic features such as coverage, the concept, protected zones, service facilities and objects, the rules of development and construction, etc. Special emphasis is placed to methodology and results of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Spatial Plan, and to the importance of protection measures, with the special significance of air and noise protection measures. For evaluation in the Strategic Environmental Assessment, a multicriteria expert evaluation (semi-quantitative method) of planned solutions was used in relation to the set of goals and relevant indicators, based on the basic set of indicators of sustainable development. Evaluation of planned solutions encompassed the significance and size, spatial conditions and probability of the impact of planned solutions on the environment, and the defined goals of strategic assessment. The framework of the implementation of the Spatial Plan is presented, which is determined for the simultaneous elaboration of planning solutions at two levels: the strategic level of the spatial plan and detailed urban plan level. It is also analyzed the relationship of the Spatial Plan to other applicable planning documents for the planning area. The effects of this methodological approach relate to enabling integrated planning of the sustainable development of the infrastructure corridor of the highway and its surrounding area, through coordination of spatial, urban and sectoral traffic planning and design, as well as the participation of all key actors in the adoption and implementation of planned decisions. By the conclusions of the paper, it is pointed to the direction for further research, particularly in terms of harmonizing methodology of planning documentation and preparation of technical-design documentation.

Keywords: corridor, environment, highway, impact, methodology, spatial plan, urban

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3 Reduction of Specific Energy Consumption in Microfiltration of Bacillus velezensis Broth by Air Sparging and Turbulence Promoter

Authors: Jovana Grahovac, Ivana Pajcin, Natasa Lukic, Jelena Dodic, Aleksandar Jokic


To obtain purified biomass to be used in the plant pathogen biocontrol or as soil biofertilizer, it is necessary to eliminate residual broth components at the end of the fermentation process. The main drawback of membrane separation techniques is permeate flux decline due to the membrane fouling. Fouling mitigation measures increase the pressure drop along membrane channel due to the increased resistance to flow of the feed suspension, thus increasing the hydraulic power drop. At the same time, these measures lead to an increase in the permeate flux due to the reduced resistance of the filtration cake on the membrane surface. Because of these opposing effects, the energy efficiency of fouling mitigation measures is limited, and the justification of its application is provided by information on a reducing specific energy consumption compared to a case without any measures employed. In this study, the influence of static mixer (Kenics) and air-sparging (two-phase flow) on reduction of specific energy consumption (ER) was investigated. Cultivation Bacillus velezensis was carried out in the 3-L bioreactor (Biostat® Aplus) containing 2 L working volume with two parallel Rushton turbines and without internal baffles. Cultivation was carried out at 28 °C on at 150 rpm with an aeration rate of 0.75 vvm during 96 h. The experiments were carried out in a conventional cross-flow microfiltration unit. During experiments, permeate and retentate were recycled back to the broth vessel to simulate continuous process. The single channel ceramic membrane (TAMI Deutschland) used had a nominal pore size 200 nm with the length of 250 mm and an inner/external diameter of 6/10 mm. The useful membrane channel surface was 4.33×10⁻³ m². Air sparging was brought by the pressurized air connected by a three-way valve to the feed tube by a simple T-connector without diffusor. The different approaches to flux improvement are compared in terms of energy consumption. Reduction of specific energy consumption compared to microfiltration without fouling mitigation is around 49% and 63%, for use of two-phase flow and a static mixer, respectively. In the case of a combination of these two fouling mitigation methods, ER is 60%, i.e., slightly lower compared to the use of turbulence promoter alone. The reason for this result can be found in the fact that flux increase is more affected by the presence of a Kenics static mixer while sparging results in an increase of energy used during microfiltration. By comparing combined method with turbulence promoter flux enhancement method ER is negative (-7%) which can be explained by increased power consumption for air flow with moderate contribution to the flux increase. Another confirmation for this fact can be found by comparing energy consumption values for combined method with energy consumption in the case of two-phase flow. In this instance energy reduction (ER) is 22% that demonstrates that turbulence promoter is more efficient compared to two phase flow. Antimicrobial activity of Bacillus velezensis biomass against phytopathogenic isolates Xanthomonas campestris was preserved under different fouling reduction methods.

Keywords: Bacillus velezensis, microfiltration, static mixer, two-phase flow

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2 Investigation of the Controversial Immunomodulatory Potential of Trichinella spiralis Excretory-Secretory Products versus Extracellular Vesicles Derived from These Products in Vitro

Authors: Natasa Ilic, Alisa Gruden-Movsesijan, Maja Kosanovic, Sofija Glamoclija, Marina Bekic, Ljiljana Sofronic-Milosavljevic, Sergej Tomic


As a very promising candidate for modulation of immune response in the sense of biasing the inflammatory towards the anti-inflammatory type of response, Trichinella spiralis infection was shown to successfully alleviate the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the animal model of human disease multiple sclerosis. This effect is achieved via its excretory-secretory muscle larvae (ES L1) products which affect the maturation status and function of dendritic cells (DCs) by inducing the tolerogenic status of DCs, which leads to the mitigation of Th1 type of response and the activation of a regulatory type of immune response both in vitro and in vivo. ES L1 alone or via treated DCs successfully mitigated EAE in the same manner as the infection itself. On the other hand, it has been shown that T. spiralis infection slows down the tumor growth and significantly reduces the tumor size in the model of mouse melanoma, while ES L1 possesses a pro-apoptotic and anti-survival effect on melanoma cells in vitro. Hence, although the mechanisms still need to be revealed, T. spiralis infection and its ES L1 products have a bit of controversial potential to modulate both inflammatory diseases and malignancies. The recent discovery of T. spiralis extracellular vesicles (TsEVs) suggested that the induction of complex regulation of the immune response requires simultaneous delivery of different signals in nano-sized packages. This study aimed to explore whether TsEVs bare the similar potential as ES L1 to influence the status of DCs in initiation, progression and regulation of immune response, but also to investigate the effect of both ES L1 and TsEVs on myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), which present the regular tumor tissue environment. TsEVs were enriched from the conditioned medium of T. spiralis muscle larvae by differential centrifugation and used for the treatment of human monocyte-derived DCs and MDSC. On DCs, TsEVs induced low expression of HLA DR and CD40, moderate CD83 and CD86 and increased expression of ILT3 and CCR7 on treated DCs, i.e., they induced tolerogenic DCs. Such DCs possess the capacity to polarize T cell immune response towards regulatory type, with an increased proportion of IL-10 and TGF-β producing cells similarly to ES L1. These findings indicated that the ability of TsEVs to induce tolerogenic DCs favoring anti-inflammatory responses might be helpful in coping with diseases that involve Th1/Th17-, but also Th2-mediated inflammation. In MDSC in vitro model, although both ES L1 and TsEVs had the same impact on MDSC phenotype i.e., they acted suppresivelly, ES L1 treated MDSC, unlike TsEVs treated ones, induced T cell response characterized by the increased RoRγT and IFN-γ, while the proportion of regulatory cells were decreased followed by the decrease in IL-10 and TGF-β positive cells proportion within this population. These findings indicate the interesting ability of ES L1 to modulate T cells response via MDSC towards pro-inflammatory type, suggesting that, unlike TsEVs, which consistently demonstrate the suppressive effect on the inflammatory response, it could also be used for the development of new approaches aimed at the treatment of malignant diseases.

Keywords: immunomodulation, dendritic cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, trichinella spiralis

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1 High Purity Germanium Detector Characterization by Means of Monte Carlo Simulation through Application of Geant4 Toolkit

Authors: Milos Travar, Jovana Nikolov, Andrej Vranicar, Natasa Todorovic


Over the years, High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors proved to be an excellent practical tool and, as such, have established their today's wide use in low background γ-spectrometry. One of the advantages of gamma-ray spectrometry is its easy sample preparation as chemical processing and separation of the studied subject are not required. Thus, with a single measurement, one can simultaneously perform both qualitative and quantitative analysis. One of the most prominent features of HPGe detectors, besides their excellent efficiency, is their superior resolution. This feature virtually allows a researcher to perform a thorough analysis by discriminating photons of similar energies in the studied spectra where otherwise they would superimpose within a single-energy peak and, as such, could potentially scathe analysis and produce wrongly assessed results. Naturally, this feature is of great importance when the identification of radionuclides, as well as their activity concentrations, is being practiced where high precision comes as a necessity. In measurements of this nature, in order to be able to reproduce good and trustworthy results, one has to have initially performed an adequate full-energy peak (FEP) efficiency calibration of the used equipment. However, experimental determination of the response, i.e., efficiency curves for a given detector-sample configuration and its geometry, is not always easy and requires a certain set of reference calibration sources in order to account for and cover broader energy ranges of interest. With the goal of overcoming these difficulties, a lot of researches turned towards the application of different software toolkits that implement the Monte Carlo method (e.g., MCNP, FLUKA, PENELOPE, Geant4, etc.), as it has proven time and time again to be a very powerful tool. In the process of creating a reliable model, one has to have well-established and described specifications of the detector. Unfortunately, the documentation that manufacturers provide alongside the equipment is rarely sufficient enough for this purpose. Furthermore, certain parameters tend to evolve and change over time, especially with older equipment. Deterioration of these parameters consequently decreases the active volume of the crystal and can thus affect the efficiencies by a large margin if they are not properly taken into account. In this study, the optimisation method of two HPGe detectors through the implementation of the Geant4 toolkit developed by CERN is described, with the goal of further improving simulation accuracy in calculations of FEP efficiencies by investigating the influence of certain detector variables (e.g., crystal-to-window distance, dead layer thicknesses, inner crystal’s void dimensions, etc.). Detectors on which the optimisation procedures were carried out were a standard traditional co-axial extended range detector (XtRa HPGe, CANBERRA) and a broad energy range planar detector (BEGe, CANBERRA). Optimised models were verified through comparison with experimentally obtained data from measurements of a set of point-like radioactive sources. Acquired results of both detectors displayed good agreement with experimental data that falls under an average statistical uncertainty of ∼ 4.6% for XtRa and ∼ 1.8% for BEGe detector within the energy range of 59.4−1836.1 [keV] and 59.4−1212.9 [keV], respectively.

Keywords: HPGe detector, γ spectrometry, efficiency, Geant4 simulation, Monte Carlo method

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