Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 22

Search results for: Nikola Maravić

22 Edible Oil Industry Wastewater Treatment by Microfiltration with Ceramic Membrane

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


Membrane technology is convenient for separation of suspended solids, colloids and high molecular weight materials that are present. The idea is that the waste stream from edible oil industry, after the separation of oil by using skimmers is subjected to microfiltration and the obtained permeate can be used again in the production process. The wastewater from edible oil industry was used for the microfiltration. For the microfiltration of this effluent a tubular membrane was used with a pore size of 200 nm at transmembrane pressure in range up to 3 bar and in range of flow rate up to 300 L/h. Box–Behnken design was selected for the experimental work and the responses considered were permeate flux and chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction. The reduction of the permeate COD was in the range 40-60% according to the feed. The highest permeate flux achieved during the process of microfiltration was 160 L/m2h.

Keywords: ceramic membrane, edible oil, microfiltration, wastewater

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21 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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20 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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19 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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18 Concept, Modules and Objectives of the Syllabus Course: Small Power Plants and Renewable Energy Sources

Authors: Rade M. Ciric, Nikola L. J. Rajakovic


This paper presents a curriculum of the subject small power plants and renewable energy sources, dealing with the concept of distributed generation, renewable energy sources, hydropower, wind farms, geothermal power plants, cogeneration plants, biogas plants of agriculture and animal origin, solar power and fuel cells. The course is taught the manner of connecting small power plants to the grid, the impact of small generators on the distribution system, as well as economic, environmental and legal aspects of operation of distributed generators.

Keywords: distributed generation, renewable energy sources, energy policy, curriculum

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17 Angular-Coordinate Driven Radial Tree Drawing

Authors: Farshad Ghassemi Toosi, Nikola S. Nikolov


We present a visualization technique for radial drawing of trees consisting of two slightly different algorithms. Both of them make use of node-link diagrams for visual encoding. This visualization creates clear drawings without edge crossing. One of the algorithms is suitable for real-time visualization of large trees, as it requires minimal recalculation of the layout if leaves are inserted or removed from the tree; while the other algorithm makes better utilization of the drawing space. The algorithms are very similar and follow almost the same procedure but with different parameters. Both algorithms assign angular coordinates for all nodes which are then converted into 2D Cartesian coordinates for visualization. We present both algorithms and discuss how they compare to each other.

Keywords: Radial drawing, Visualization, Algorithm, Use of node-link diagrams

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16 The SEMONT Monitoring and Risk Assessment of Environmental EMF Pollution

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


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

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

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15 Customizable Sonic EEG Neurofeedback Environment to Train Self-Regulation of Momentary Mental and Emotional State

Authors: Cyril Kaplan, Nikola Jajcay


We developed purely sonic, musical based, highly customizable EEG neurofeedback environment designed to administer a new neurofeedback training protocol. The training protocol concentrates on improving the ability to switch between several mental states characterized by different levels of arousal, each of them correlated to specific brain wave activity patterns in several specific regions of neocortex. This paper describes the neurofeedback training environment we developed and its specificities, thus can be helpful as a manual to guide other neurofeedback users (both researchers and practitioners) interested in our editable open source program (available to download and usage under CC license). Responses and reaction of first trainees that used our environment are presented in this article. Combination of qualitative methods (thematic analysis of neurophenomenological insights of trainees and post-session semi-structured interviews) and quantitative methods (power spectra analysis of EEG recorded during the training) were employed to obtain a multifaceted view on our new training protocol.

Keywords: EEG neurofeedback, mixed methods, self-regulation, switch-between-states training

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14 Implementing Delivery Drones in Logistics Business Process: Case of Pharmaceutical Industry

Authors: Nikola Vlahovic, Blazenka Knezevic, Petra Batalic


In this paper, we will present a research about feasibility of implementing unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as 'drones', in logistics. Research is based on available information about current incentives and experiments in application of delivery drones in commercial use. Overview of current pilot projects and literature, as well as an overview of detected challenges, will be compiled and presented. Based on these findings, we will present a conceptual model of business process that implements delivery drones in business to business logistic operations. Business scenario is based on a pharmaceutical supply chain. Simulation modeling will be used to create models for running experiments and collecting performance data. Comparative study of the presented conceptual model will be given. The work will outline the main advantages and disadvantages of implementing unmanned aerial vehicles in delivery services as a supplementary distribution channel along the supply chain.

Keywords: business process, delivery drones, logistics, simulation modelling, unmanned aerial vehicles

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13 High-Quality Flavor of Black Belly Pork under Lightning Corona Discharge Using Tesla Coil for High Voltage Education

Authors: Kyung-Hoon Jang, Jae-Hyo Park, Kwang-Yeop Jang, Dongjin Kim


The Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891. It is used to produce high voltage, low current and high frequency alternating current electricity. Tesla experimented with a number of different configurations consisting of two or sometimes three coupled resonant electric circuits. This paper focuses on development and high voltage education to apply a Tesla coil to cuisine for high quality flavor and taste conditioning as well as high voltage education under 50 kV corona discharge. The result revealed that the velocity of roasted black belly pork by Tesla coil is faster than that of conventional methods such as hot grill and steel plate etc. depending on applied voltage level and applied voltage time. Besides, carbohydrate and crude protein increased, whereas natrium and saccharides significantly decreased after lightning surge by Tesla coil. This idea will be useful in high voltage education and high voltage application.

Keywords: corona discharge, Tesla coil, high voltage application, high voltage education

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12 Facility Data Model as Integration and Interoperability Platform

Authors: Nikola Tomasevic, Marko Batic, Sanja Vranes


Emerging Semantic Web technologies can be seen as the next step in evolution of the intelligent facility management systems. Particularly, this considers increased usage of open source and/or standardized concepts for data classification and semantic interpretation. To deliver such facility management systems, providing the comprehensive integration and interoperability platform in from of the facility data model is a prerequisite. In this paper, one of the possible modelling approaches to provide such integrative facility data model which was based on the ontology modelling concept was presented. Complete ontology development process, starting from the input data acquisition, ontology concepts definition and finally ontology concepts population, was described. At the beginning, the core facility ontology was developed representing the generic facility infrastructure comprised of the common facility concepts relevant from the facility management perspective. To develop the data model of a specific facility infrastructure, first extension and then population of the core facility ontology was performed. For the development of the full-blown facility data models, Malpensa and Fiumicino airports in Italy, two major European air-traffic hubs, were chosen as a test-bed platform. Furthermore, the way how these ontology models supported the integration and interoperability of the overall airport energy management system was analyzed as well.

Keywords: airport ontology, energy management, facility data model, ontology modeling

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11 Transforaminal Ligaments of the Lumbar Foramina: An Anatomic Study

Authors: Dušica L. Marić, Mirela Erić, Dušan M. Maić, Nebojša T. Milošević, Dragana Radošević, Nikola Vučinić


The anatomical existence of transforaminal ligaments has been studied widely. The crucial anatomic study of these structures describes the transforaminal ligaments as an anomalous structure. The ligaments associated with the intervertebral foramen were classified in the external, intraforaminal and internal foraminal ligaments. The external ligaments are the most frequently reported type of transforaminal ligaments in adult spine. The purpose of this study was to examine the appearance of the ligaments within the external space of the intervertebral foramen in adult cadavers. External transforaminal ligaments branch out forward from the root of the transverse process toward the vertebral body with superior, transverse and inferior directions. The ligament detected in the study was different from the other reported descriptions of L1 foraminal ligaments. This ligament extends from the root of the pedicle to the inferior border of the vertebral body below the level of the disc and forms the compartment through which pass the ventral root of the spinal nerve and a small branch of the spinal artery. The results of this study show that the external ligaments can be clearly macroscopic visualized, and it is very important to have prior knowledge of the cadaveric specimens, to identify these structures. The presence of these ligaments is clinically important. These ligaments could be the cause of nerve root compression and the low back syndrome.

Keywords: anatomy, ligaments, lumbar spine, spinal nerve roots

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10 CD133 and CD44 - Stem Cell Markers for Prediction of Clinically Aggressive Form of Colorectal Cancer

Authors: Ognen Kostovski, Svetozar Antovic, Rubens Jovanovic, Irena Kostovska, Nikola Jankulovski


Introduction:Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is one of the most common malignancies in the world. The cancer stem cell (CSC) markers are associated with aggressive cancer types and poor prognosis. The aim of study was to determine whether the expression of colorectal cancer stem cell markers CD133 and CD44 could be significant in prediction of clinically aggressive form of CRC. Materials and methods: Our study included ninety patients (n=90) with CRC. Patients were divided into two subgroups: with metatstatic CRC and non-metastatic CRC. Tumor samples were analyzed with standard histopathological methods, than was performed immunohistochemical analysis with monoclonal antibodies against CD133 and CD44 stem cell markers. Results: High coexpression of CD133 and CD44 was observed in 71.4% of patients with metastatic disease, compared to 37.9% in patients without metastases. Discordant expression of both markers was found in 8% of the subgroup with metastatic CRC, and in 13.4% of the subgroup without metastatic CRC. Statistical analyses showed a significant association of increased expression of CD133 and CD44 with the disease stage, T - category and N - nodal status. With multiple regression analysis the stage of disease was designate as a factor with the greatest statistically significant influence on expression of CD133 (p <0.0001) and CD44 (p <0.0001). Conclusion: Our results suggest that the coexpression of CD133 and CD44 have an important role in prediction of clinically aggressive form of CRC. Both stem cell markers can be routinely implemented in standard pathohistological diagnostics and can be useful markers for pre-therapeutic oncology screening.

Keywords: colorectal carcinoma, stem cells, CD133+, CD44+

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9 The Effect of an Infill on the Bearing Capacity and Stiffness of Infilled Frames

Authors: Goran Baloevic, Jure Radnic, Nikola Grgic


The application of frames with masonry or panel infill is common in the engineering practice. In these cases, a frame is often considered to be a primary structure, while an infill is considered to be a secondary structure. In past calculations, the infill was rarely included in the design of frame structures in terms of their bearing capacity and safety. Recent calculations of such structures necessarily include the effect of infill since it contributes to stiffness and bearing capacity of overall system, especially under horizontal loads. In certain cases, if the infill is not included in the seismic design of frame structures, the result can be lower design safety. However, since the different configuration of the infill through the building’s height can be made, it is possible that contribution of such infill to the overall bearing capacity can be lower and seismic forces on the building can be increased due to greater stiffness of the structure. So far, many experimental and numerical researches on the behavior of infilled frames under horizontal static forces and earthquake have been performed. In this paper, several masonry-infilled concrete and steel frames under horizontal static forces and earthquake are analysed. The experimental results by shake-table and numerical results are compared in terms of the bearing capacity of bare and infilled frames. Herein, the stiffness of frames and infill were varied, with different position of the infill and different types of openings. Cases with positive and negative effects of the infill to the bearing capacity of the frames were considered. Finally, main conclusions and recommendations for practical application and design of masonry-infilled concrete and steel frames are given.

Keywords: bearing capacity, infilled frame, numerical model, shake table

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8 Harnessing Earth's Electric Field and Transmission of Electricity

Authors: Vaishakh Medikeri


Energy in this Universe is the most basic characteristic of every particle. Since the birth of life on this planet, there has been a quest undertaken by the living beings to analyze, understand and harness the precious natural facts of the nature. In this quest, one of the greatest undertaken is the process of harnessing the naturally available energy. Scientists around the globe have discovered many ways to harness the freely available energy. But even today we speak of “Power Crisis”. Nikola Tesla once said “Nature has stored up in this universe infinite energy”. Energy is everywhere around us in unlimited quantities; all of it waiting to be harnessed by us. Here in this paper a method has been proposed to harness earth's electric field and transmit the stored electric energy using strong magnetic fields and electric fields. In this paper a new technique has been proposed to harness earth's electric field which is everywhere around the world in infinite quantities. Near the surface of the earth there is an electric field of about 120V/m. This electric field is used to charge a capacitor with high capacitance. Later the energy stored is allowed to pass through a device which converts the DC stored into AC. The AC so produced is then passed through a step down transformer to magnify the incoming current. Later the current passes through the RLC circuit. Later the current can be transmitted wirelessly using the principle of resonant inductive coupling. The proposed apparatus can be placed in most of the required places and any circuit tuned to the frequency of the transmitted current can receive the energy. The new source of renewable energy is of great importance if implemented since the apparatus is not costly and can be situated in most of the required places. And also the receiver which receives the transmitted energy is just an RLC circuit tuned to the resonant frequency of the transmitted energy. By using the proposed apparatus the energy losses can be reduced to a very large extent.

Keywords: capacitor, inductive resonant coupling, RLC circuit, transmission of electricity

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7 Ontology based Fault Detection and Diagnosis system Querying and Reasoning examples

Authors: Marko Batic, Nikola Tomasevic, Sanja Vranes


One of the strongholds in the ubiquitous efforts related to the energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement is represented by the retrofit of high energy consumers in buildings. In general, HVAC systems represent the highest energy consumers in buildings. However they usually suffer from mal-operation and/or malfunction, causing even higher energy consumption than necessary. Various Fault Detection and Diagnosis (FDD) systems can be successfully employed for this purpose, especially when it comes to the application at a single device/unit level. In the case of more complex systems, where multiple devices are operating in the context of the same building, significant energy efficiency improvements can only be achieved through application of comprehensive FDD systems relying on additional higher level knowledge, such as their geographical location, served area, their intra- and inter- system dependencies etc. This paper presents a comprehensive FDD system that relies on the utilization of common knowledge repository that stores all critical information. The discussed system is deployed as a test-bed platform at the two at Fiumicino and Malpensa airports in Italy. This paper aims at presenting advantages of implementation of the knowledge base through the utilization of ontology and offers improved functionalities of such system through examples of typical queries and reasoning that enable derivation of high level energy conservation measures (ECM). Therefore, key SPARQL queries and SWRL rules, based on the two instantiated airport ontologies, are elaborated. The detection of high level irregularities in the operation of airport heating/cooling plants is discussed and estimation of energy savings is reported.

Keywords: airport ontology, knowledge management, ontology modeling, reasoning

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6 Elevated Creatinine Clearance and Normal Glomerular Filtration Rate in Patients with Systemic Lupus erythematosus

Authors: Stoyanka Vladeva, Elena Kirilova, Nikola Kirilov


Background: The creatinine clearance is a widely used value to estimate the GFR. Increased creatinine clearance is often called hyperfiltration and is usually seen during pregnancy, patients with diabetes mellitus preceding the diabetic nephropathy. It may also occur with large dietary protein intake or with plasma volume expansion. Renal injury in lupus nephritis is known to affect the glomerular, tubulointerstitial, and vascular compartment. However high creatinine clearance has not been found in patients with SLE, Target: Follow-up of creatinine clearance values in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus without history of kidney injury. Material and methods: We observed the creatinine, creatinine clearance, GFR and dipstick protein values of 7 women (with a mean age of 42.71 years) with systemic lupus erythematosus. Patients with active lupus have been monthly tested in the period of 13 months. Creatinine clearance has been estimated by Cockcroft-Gault Equation formula in ml/sec. GFR has been estimated by MDRD formula (The Modification of Diet in renal Disease) in ml/min/1.73 m2. Proteinuria has been defined as present when dipstick protein > 1+.Results: In all patients without history of kidney injury we found elevated creatinine clearance levels, but GFRremained within the reference range. Two of the patients were in remission while the other five patients had clinically and immunologically active Lupus. Three of the patients had a permanent presence of high creatinine clearance levels and proteinuria. Two of the patients had periodically elevated creatinine clearance without proteinuria. These results show that kidney disturbances may be caused by the vascular changes typical for SLE. Glomerular hyperfiltration can be result of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis caused by a reduction in renal mass. Probably lupus nephropathy is preceded not only by glomerular vascular changes, but also by tubular vascular changes. Using only the GFR is not a sufficient method to detect these primary functional disturbances. Conclusion: For early detection of kidney injury in patients with SLE we determined that the follow up of creatinine clearance values could be helpful.

Keywords: systemic Lupus erythematosus, kidney injury, elevated creatinine clearance level, normal glomerular filtration rate

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5 Assessment on the Improvement of the Quality of Life after One Year of Regular Physical Activity and Treatment in Patients with Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

Authors: Stoyanka Georgieva Vladeva, Elena Kirilova Kirilova, Nikola Kirilov Kirilov


Summary: WHO (World Health Organization) recommends the elder people a certain amount of regular physical activity in order to prevent some of the health issues. Postmenopausal osteoporosis is one of the chronic diseases which requires the maintaining of regular physical activity. The regular activity combined with an adequate medical treatment greatly improves the quality of life of the patient. Objectives: Assessment of the effect of the regular physical activity recommended by WHO on the quality of life in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Material and methods: For the period of one year 68 female patients treated with Denosumab have been monitored. The bone density has been measured with the DEXA method in accordance to the T-score. No patients having any oncologic diseases and secondary osteoporosis have been included in the study. The subjects have been divided into groups by their age. The first group – women aged under 65 years (27 subjects) and the second group – women aged over 65 years (41 subjects). All patients have been advised to maintain regular physical activity included in the recommendations of the WHO in accordance with the age and the disease. The quality of life has been assessed in the beginning and at the end of the one-year period using the SF 36V2 questionnaire. Results: Only 31% of the subjects have engaged into regular increased physical activities for the whole period. Among them are mostly patients of the second group (aged over 65 years, 71%). The women from the both groups who were engaging into regular activities for this one-year period all experience an improvement of the quality of life. These results show that older patients understand the necessity of the physical activity for their health. The comparison of the output data to the scales of physical activity, durability, body pain, vitality, social activity and emotional stability has found an improvement at the end of the period in all patients. The osteodensitometry showed general improvement of the T-score. Patients with additional visits to their rheumatologist have better results. Conclusion: Combination of regular physical activity in accordance to the recommendations of WHO and medical treatment including anti-osteoporotic drugs improves the quality of life of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Keywords: elderly patients, osteoporosis, physical activity, quality of life

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4 Dragonflies (Odonata) Reflect Climate Warming Driven Changes in High Mountain Invertebrates Populations

Authors: Nikola Góral, Piotr Mikołajczuk, Paweł Buczyński


Much scientific research in the last 20 years has focused on the influence of global warming on the distribution and phenology of living organisms. Three potential responses to climate change are predicted: individual species may become extinct, adapt to new conditions in their existing range or change their range by migrating to places where climatic conditions are more favourable. It means not only migration to areas in other latitudes, but also different altitudes. In the case of dragonflies (Odonata), monitoring in Western Europe has shown that in response to global warming, dragonflies tend to change their range to a more northern one. The strongest response to global warming is observed in arctic and alpine species, as well as in species capable of migrating over long distances. The aim of the research was to assess whether the fauna of aquatic insects in high-mountain habitats has changed as a result of climate change and, if so, how big and what type these changes are. Dragonflies were chosen as a model organism because of their fast reaction to changes in the environment: they have high migration abilities and short life cycle. The state of the populations of boreal-mountain species and the extent to which lowland species entered high altitudes was assessed. The research was carried out on 20 sites in Western Sudetes, Southern Poland. They were located at an altitude of between 850 and 1250 m. The selected sites were representative of many types of valuable alpine habitats (subalpine raised bog, transitional spring bog, habitats associated with rivers and mountain streams). Several sites of anthropogenic origin were also selected. Thanks to this selection, a wide characterization of the fauna of the Karkonosze was made and it was compared whether the studied processes proceeded differently, depending on whether the habitat is primary or secondary. Both imagines and larvae were examined (by taking hydrobiological samples with a kick-net), and exuviae were also collected. Individual species dragonflies were characterized in terms of their reproductive, territorial and foraging behaviour. During each inspection, the basic physicochemical parameters of the water were measured. The population of the high-mountain dragonfly Somatochlora alpestris turned out to be in a good condition. This species was noted at several sites. Some of those sites were situated relatively low (995 m AMSL), which proves that the thermal conditions at the lower altitudes might be still optimal for this species. The protected by polish law species Somatochlora arctica, Aeshna subarctica and Leucorrhinia albifrons, as well as strongly associated with bogs Leucorrhinia dubia and Aeshna juncea bogs were observed. However, they were more frequent and more numerous in habitats of anthropogenic origin, which may suggest minor changes in the habitat preferences of dragonflies. The subject requires further research and observations over a longer time scale.

Keywords: alpine species, bioindication, global warming, habitat preferences, population dynamics

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3 Integrating Non-Psychoactive Phytocannabinoids and Their Cyclodextrin Inclusion Complexes into the Treatment of Glioblastoma

Authors: Kyriaki Hatziagapiou, Konstantinos Bethanis, Olti Nikola, Elias Christoforides, Eleni Koniari, Eleni Kakouri, George Lambrou, Christina Kanaka-Gantenbein


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains a serious health challenge, as current therapeutic modalities continue to yield unsatisfactory results, with the average survival rarely exceeding 1-2 years. Natural compounds still provide some of the most promising approaches for discovering new drugs. The non-psychotropic cannabidiol (CBD) deriving from Cannabis sativa L. provides such promise. CBD is endowed with anticancer, antioxidant, and genoprotective properties as established in vitro and in in vivo experiments. CBD’s selectivity towards cancer cells and its safe profile suggest its usage in cancer therapies. However, the bioavailability of oral CBD is low due to poor aqueous solubility, erratic gastrointestinal absorption, and significant first-pass metabolism, hampering its therapeutic potential and resulting in a variable pharmacokinetic profile. In this context, CBD can take great advantage of nanomedicine-based formulation strategies. Cyclodextrins (CDs) are cyclic oligosaccharides used in the pharmaceutical industry to incorporate apolar molecules inside their hydrophobic cavity, increasing their stability, water solubility, and bioavailability or decreasing their side effects. CBD-inclusion complexes with CDs could be a good strategy to improve its properties, like solubility and stability to harness its full therapeutic potential. The current research aims to study the potential cytotoxic effect of CBD and CBD-CDs complexes CBD-RMβCD (randomly methylated β-cyclodextrin) and CBD-HPβCD (hydroxypropyl-b-CD) on the A172 glioblastoma cell line. CBD is diluted in 10% DMSO, and CBD/CDs solutions are prepared by mixing solid CBD, solid CDs, and dH2O. For the biological assays, A172 cells are incubated at a range of concentrations of CBD, CBD-RMβCD and CBD-HPβCD, RMβCD, and HPβCD (0,03125-4 mg/ml) at 24, 48, and 72 hours. Analysis of cell viability after incubation with the compounds is performed with Alamar Blue viability assay. CBD’s dilution to DMSO 10% was inadequate, as crystals are observed; thus cytotoxicity experiments are not assessed. CBD’s solubility is enhanced in the presence of both CDs. CBD/CDs exert significant cytotoxicity in a dose and time-dependent manner (p < 0.005 for exposed cells to any concentration at 48, 72, and 96 hours versus cells not exposed); as their concentration and time of exposure increases, the reduction of resazurin to resofurin decreases, indicating a reduction in cell viability. The cytotoxic effect is more pronounced in cells exposed to CBD-HPβCD for all concentrations and time-points. RMβCD and HPβCD at the highest concentration of 4 mg/ml also exerted antitumor action per se since manifesting cell growth inhibition. The results of our study could afford the basis of research regarding the use of natural products and their inclusion complexes as anticancer agents and the shift to targeted therapy with higher efficacy and limited toxicity. Acknowledgments: The research is partly funded by ΙΚΥ (State Scholarships Foundation) – Post-doc Scholarships-Partnership Agreement 2014-2020.

Keywords: cannabidiol, cyclodextrins, glioblastoma, hydroxypropyl-b-Cyclodextrin, randomly-methylated-β-cyclodextrin

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2 Poly(Trimethylene Carbonate)/Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Phase-Separated Triblock Copolymers with Advanced Properties

Authors: Nikola Toshikj, Michel Ramonda, Sylvain Catrouillet, Jean-Jacques Robin, Sebastien Blanquer


Biodegradable and biocompatible block copolymers have risen as the golden materials in both medical and environmental applications. Moreover, if their architecture is of controlled manner, higher applications can be foreseen. In the meantime, organocatalytic ROP has been promoted as more rapid and immaculate route, compared to the traditional organometallic catalysis, towards efficient synthesis of block copolymer architectures. Therefore, herein we report novel organocatalytic pathway with guanidine molecules (TBD) for supported synthesis of trimethylene carbonate initiated by poly(caprolactone) as pre-polymer. Pristine PTMC-b-PCL-b-PTMC block copolymer structure, without any residual products and clear desired block proportions, was achieved under 1.5 hours at room temperature and verified by NMR spectroscopies and size-exclusion chromatography. Besides, when elaborating block copolymer films, further stability and amelioration of mechanical properties can be achieved via additional reticulation step of precedently methacrylated block copolymers. Subsequently, stimulated by the insufficient studies on the phase-separation/crystallinity relationship in these semi-crystalline block copolymer systems, their intrinsic thermal and morphology properties were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry and atomic force microscopy. Firstly, by DSC measurements, the block copolymers with χABN values superior to 20 presented two distinct glass transition temperatures, close to the ones of the respecting homopolymers, demonstrating an initial indication of a phase-separated system. In the interim, the existence of the crystalline phase was supported by the presence of melting temperature. As expected, the crystallinity driven phase-separated morphology predominated in the AFM analysis of the block copolymers. Neither crosslinking at melted state, hence creation of a dense polymer network, disturbed the crystallinity phenomena. However, the later revealed as sensible to rapid liquid nitrogen quenching directly from the melted state. Therefore, AFM analysis of liquid nitrogen quenched and crosslinked block copolymer films demonstrated a thermodynamically driven phase-separation clearly predominating over the originally crystalline one. These AFM films remained stable with their morphology unchanged even after 4 months at room temperature. However, as demonstrated by DSC analysis once rising the temperature above the melting temperature of the PCL block, neither the crosslinking nor the liquid nitrogen quenching shattered the semi-crystalline network, while the access to thermodynamical phase-separated structures was possible for temperatures under the poly (caprolactone) melting point. Precisely this coexistence of dual crosslinked/crystalline networks in the same copolymer structure allowed us to establish, for the first time, the shape-memory properties in such materials, as verified by thermomechanical analysis. Moreover, the response temperature to the material original shape depended on the block copolymer emplacement, hence PTMC or PCL as end-block. Therefore, it has been possible to reach a block copolymer with transition temperature around 40°C thus opening potential real-life medical applications. In conclusion, the initial study of phase-separation/crystallinity relationship in PTMC-b-PCL-b-PTMC block copolymers lead to the discovery of novel shape memory materials with superior properties, widely demanded in modern-life applications.

Keywords: biodegradable block copolymers, organocatalytic ROP, self-assembly, shape-memory

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1 Inhibitory Effects of Crocin from Crocus sativus L. on Cell Proliferation of a Medulloblastoma Human Cell Line

Authors: Kyriaki Hatziagapiou, Eleni Kakouri, Konstantinos Bethanis, Alexandra Nikola, Eleni Koniari, Charalabos Kanakis, Elias Christoforides, George Lambrou, Petros Tarantilis


Medulloblastoma is a highly invasive tumour, as it tends to disseminate throughout the central nervous system early in its course. Despite the high 5-year-survival rate, a significant number of patients demonstrate serious long- or short-term sequelae (e.g., myelosuppression, endocrine dysfunction, cardiotoxicity, neurological deficits and cognitive impairment) and higher mortality rates, unrelated to the initial malignancy itself but rather to the aggressive treatment. A strong rationale exists for the use of Crocus sativus L (saffron) and its bioactive constituents (crocin, crocetin, safranal) as pharmaceutical agents, as they exert significant health-promoting properties. Crocins are water soluble carotenoids. Unlike other carotenoids, crocins are highly water-soluble compounds, with relatively low toxicity as they are not stored in adipose and liver tissues. Crocins have attracted wide attention as promising anti-cancer agents, due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects, interference with transduction pathways implicated in tumorigenesis, angiogenesis, and metastasis (disruption of mitotic spindle assembly, inhibition of DNA topoisomerases, cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis or cell differentiation) and sensitization of cancer cells to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The current research aimed to study the potential cytotoxic effect of crocins on TE671 medulloblastoma cell line, which may be useful in the optimization of existing and development of new therapeutic strategies. Crocins were extracted from stigmas of saffron in ultrasonic bath, using petroleum-ether, diethylether and methanol 70%v/v as solvents and the final extract was lyophilized. Identification of crocins according to high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis was determined comparing the UV-vis spectra and the retention time (tR) of the peaks with literature data. For the biological assays crocin was diluted to nuclease and protease free water. TE671 cells were incubated with a range of concentrations of crocins (16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 0.5 and 0.25 mg/ml) for 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours. Analysis of cell viability after incubation with crocins was performed with Alamar Blue viability assay. The active ingredient of Alamar Blue, resazurin, is a blue, nontoxic, cell permeable compound virtually nonfluorescent. Upon entering cells, resazurin is reduced to a pink and fluorescent molecule, resorufin. Viable cells continuously convert resazurin to resorufin, generating a quantitative measure of viability. The colour of resorufin was quantified by measuring the absorbance of the solution at 600 nm with a spectrophotometer. HPLC analysis indicated that the most abundant crocins in our extract were trans-crocin-4 and trans-crocin-3. Crocins exerted significant cytotoxicity in a dose and time-dependent manner (p < 0.005 for exposed cells to any concentration at 48, 72 and 96 hours versus cells not exposed); as their concentration and time of exposure increased, the reduction of resazurin to resofurin decreased, indicating reduction in cell viability. IC50 values for each time point were calculated ~3.738, 1.725, 0.878 and 0.7566 mg/ml at 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours, respectively. The results of our study could afford the basis of research regarding the use of natural carotenoids as anticancer agents and the shift to targeted therapy with higher efficacy and limited toxicity. Acknowledgements: The research was funded by Fellowships of Excellence for Postgraduate Studies IKY-Siemens Programme.

Keywords: crocetin, crocin, medulloblastoma, saffron

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