Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 96

Search results for: Olga Lasaga

6 Advanced Bio-Fuels for Biorefineries: Incorporation of Waste Tires and Calcium-Based Catalysts to the Pyrolysis of Biomass

Authors: Alberto Veses, Olga Sanhauja, María Soledad Callén, Tomás García


The appropriate use of renewable sources emerges as a decisive point to minimize the environmental impact caused by fossil fuels use. Particularly, the use of lignocellulosic biomass becomes one of the best promising alternatives since it is the only carbon-containing renewable source that can produce bioproducts similar to fossil fuels and it does not compete with food market. Among all the processes that can valorize lignocellulosic biomass, pyrolysis is an attractive alternative because it is the only thermochemical process that can produce a liquid biofuel (bio-oil) in a simple way and solid and gas fractions that can be used as energy sources to support the process. However, in order to incorporate bio-oils in current infrastructures and further process in future biorefineries, their quality needs to be improved. Introducing different low-cost catalysts and/or incorporating different polymer residues to the process are some of the new, simple and low-cost strategies that allow the user to directly obtain advanced bio-oils to be used in future biorefineries in an economic way. In this manner, from previous thermogravimetric analyses, local agricultural wastes such as grape seeds (GS) were selected as lignocellulosic biomass while, waste tires (WT) were selected as polymer residue. On the other hand, CaO was selected as low-cost catalyst based on previous experiences by the group. To reach this aim, a specially-designed fixed bed reactor using N₂ as a carrier gas was used. This reactor has the peculiarity to incorporate a vertical mobile liner that allows the user to introduce the feedstock in the oven once the selected temperature (550 ºC) is reached, ensuring higher heating rates needed for the process. Obtaining a well-defined phase distribution in the resulting bio-oil is crucial to ensure the viability to the process. Thus, once experiments were carried out, not only a well-defined two layers was observed introducing several mixtures (reaching values up to 40 wt.% of WT) but also, an upgraded organic phase, which is the one considered to be processed in further biorefineries. Radical interactions between GS and WT released during the pyrolysis process and dehydration reactions enhanced by CaO can promote the formation of better-quality bio-oils. The latter was reflected in a reduction of water and oxygen content of bio-oil and hence, a substantial increase of its heating value and its stability. Moreover, not only sulphur content was reduced from solely WT pyrolysis but also potential and negative issues related to a strong acidic environment of conventional bio-oils were minimized due to its basic pH and lower total acid numbers. Therefore, acidic compounds obtained in the pyrolysis such as CO₂-like substances can react with the CaO and minimize acidic problems related to lignocellulosic bio-oils. Moreover, this CO₂ capture promotes H₂ production from water gas shift reaction favoring hydrogen-transfer reactions, improving the final quality of the bio-oil. These results show the great potential of grapes seeds to carry out the catalytic co-pyrolysis process with different plastic residues in order to produce a liquid bio-oil that can be considered as a high-quality renewable vector.

Keywords: Biorefinery, Lignocellulosic Biomass, advanced bio-oils, catalytic co-pyrolysis of biomass and waste tires

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5 Effect of Non-Thermal Plasma, Chitosan and Polymyxin B on Quorum Sensing Activity and Biofilm of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Authors: Jan Masak, Olga Matatkova, Alena Cejkova, Martina Paldrychova, Jana Michailidu


Increasing the resistance of pathogenic microorganisms to many antibiotics is a serious threat to the treatment of infectious diseases and cleaning medical instruments. It should be added that the resistance of microbial populations growing in biofilms is often up to 1000 times higher compared to planktonic cells. Biofilm formation in a number of microorganisms is largely influenced by the quorum sensing regulatory mechanism. Finding external factors such as natural substances or physical processes that can interfere effectively with quorum sensing signal molecules should reduce the ability of the cell population to form biofilm and increase the effectiveness of antibiotics. The present work is devoted to the effect of chitosan as a representative of natural substances with anti-biofilm activity and non- thermal plasma (NTP) alone or in combination with polymyxin B on biofilm formation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Particular attention was paid to the influence of these agents on the level of quorum sensing signal molecules (acyl-homoserine lactones) during planktonic and biofilm cultivations. Opportunistic pathogenic strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (DBM 3081, DBM 3777, ATCC 10145, ATCC 15442) were used as model microorganisms. Cultivations of planktonic and biofilm populations in 96-well microtiter plates on horizontal shaker were used for determination of antibiotic and anti-biofilm activity of chitosan and polymyxin B. Biofilm-growing cells on titanium alloy, which is used for preparation of joint replacement, were exposed to non-thermal plasma generated by cometary corona with a metallic grid for 15 and 30 minutes. Cultivation followed in fresh LB medium with or without chitosan or polymyxin B for next 24 h. Biofilms were quantified by crystal violet assay. Metabolic activity of the cells in biofilm was measured using MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) colorimetric test based on the reduction of MTT into formazan by the dehydrogenase system of living cells. Activity of N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) compounds involved in the regulation of biofilm formation was determined using Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain harboring a traG::lacZ/traR reporter gene responsive to AHLs. The experiments showed that both chitosan and non-thermal plasma reduce the AHLs level and thus the biofilm formation and stability. The effectiveness of both agents was somewhat strain dependent. During the eradication of P. aeruginosa DBM 3081 biofilm on titanium alloy induced by chitosan (45 mg / l) there was an 80% decrease in AHLs. Applying chitosan or NTP on the P. aeruginosa DBM 3777 biofilm did not cause a significant decrease in AHLs, however, in combination with both (chitosan 55 mg / l and NTP 30 min), resulted in a 70% decrease in AHLs. Combined application of NTP and polymyxin B allowed reduce antibiotic concentration to achieve the same level of AHLs inhibition in P. aeruginosa ATCC 15442. The results shown that non-thermal plasma and chitosan have considerable potential for the eradication of highly resistant P. aeruginosa biofilms, for example on medical instruments or joint implants.

Keywords: chitosan, non-thermal plasma, anti-biofilm activity, opportunistic pathogens

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4 Transparency of Algorithmic Decision-Making: Limits Posed by Intellectual Property Rights

Authors: Olga Kokoulina


Today, algorithms are assuming a leading role in various areas of decision-making. Prompted by a promise to provide increased economic efficiency and fuel solutions for pressing societal challenges, algorithmic decision-making is often celebrated as an impartial and constructive substitute for human adjudication. But in the face of this implied objectivity and efficiency, the application of algorithms is also marred with mounting concerns about embedded biases, discrimination, and exclusion. In Europe, vigorous debates on risks and adverse implications of algorithmic decision-making largely revolve around the potential of data protection laws to tackle some of the related issues. For example, one of the often-cited venues to mitigate the impact of potentially unfair decision-making practice is a so-called 'right to explanation'. In essence, the overall right is derived from the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) ensuring the right of data subjects to access and mandating the obligation of data controllers to provide the relevant information about the existence of automated decision-making and meaningful information about the logic involved. Taking corresponding rights and obligations in the context of the specific provision on automated decision-making in the GDPR, the debates mainly focus on efficacy and the exact scope of the 'right to explanation'. In essence, the underlying logic of the argued remedy lies in a transparency imperative. Allowing data subjects to acquire as much knowledge as possible about the decision-making process means empowering individuals to take control of their data and take action. In other words, forewarned is forearmed. The related discussions and debates are ongoing, comprehensive, and, often, heated. However, they are also frequently misguided and isolated: embracing the data protection law as ultimate and sole lenses are often not sufficient. Mandating the disclosure of technical specifications of employed algorithms in the name of transparency for and empowerment of data subjects potentially encroach on the interests and rights of IPR holders, i.e., business entities behind the algorithms. The study aims at pushing the boundaries of the transparency debate beyond the data protection regime. By systematically analysing legal requirements and current judicial practice, it assesses the limits of the transparency requirement and right to access posed by intellectual property law, namely by copyrights and trade secrets. It is asserted that trade secrets, in particular, present an often-insurmountable obstacle for realising the potential of the transparency requirement. In reaching that conclusion, the study explores the limits of protection afforded by the European Trade Secrets Directive and contrasts them with the scope of respective rights and obligations related to data access and portability enshrined in the GDPR. As shown, the far-reaching scope of the protection under trade secrecy is evidenced both through the assessment of its subject matter as well as through the exceptions from such protection. As a way forward, the study scrutinises several possible legislative solutions, such as flexible interpretation of the public interest exception in trade secrets as well as the introduction of the strict liability regime in case of non-transparent decision-making.

Keywords: Algorithms, Transparency, Trade secrets, public interest

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3 Health Risk Assessment from Potable Water Containing Tritium and Heavy Metals

Authors: Alla A. Oudalova, Olga A. Momot, Boris I. Synzynys


Obninsk is situated in the Kaluga region 100 km southwest of Moscow on the left bank of the Protva River. Several enterprises utilizing nuclear energy are operating in the town. A special attention in the region where radiation-hazardous facilities are located has traditionally been paid to radioactive gas and aerosol releases into the atmosphere; liquid waste discharges into the Protva river and groundwater pollution. Municipal intakes involve 34 wells arranged 15 km apart in a sequence north-south along the foot of the left slope of the Protva river valley. Northern and southern water intakes are upstream and downstream of the town, respectively. They belong to river valley intakes with mixed feeding, i.e. precipitation infiltration is responsible for a smaller part of groundwater, and a greater amount is being formed by overflowing from Protva. Water intakes are maintained by the Protva river runoff, the volume of which depends on the precipitation fallen out and watershed area. Groundwater contamination with tritium was first detected in a sanitary-protective zone of the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (SRC-IPPE) by Roshydromet researchers when realizing the “Program of radiological monitoring in the territory of nuclear industry enterprises”. A comprehensive survey of the SRC-IPPE’s industrial site and adjacent territories has revealed that research nuclear reactors and accelerators where tritium targets are applied as well as radioactive waste storages could be considered as potential sources of technogenic tritium. All the above sources are located within the sanitary controlled area of intakes. Tritium activity in water of springs and wells near the SRC-IPPE is about 17.4 – 3200 Bq/l. The observed values of tritium activity are below the intervention levels (7600 Bq/l for inorganic compounds and 3300 Bq/l for organically bound tritium). The risk has being assessed to estimate possible effect of considered tritium concentrations on human health. Data on tritium concentrations in pipe-line drinking water were used for calculations. The activity of 3H amounted to 10.6 Bq/l and corresponded to the risk of such water consumption of ~ 3·10-7 year-1. The risk value given in magnitude is close to the individual annual death risk for population living near a NPP – 1.6·10-8 year-1 and at the same time corresponds to the level of tolerable risk (10-6) and falls within “risk optimization”, i.e. in the sphere for planning the economically sound measures on exposure risk reduction. To estimate the chemical risk, physical and chemical analysis was made of waters from all springs and wells near the SRC-IPPE. Chemical risk from groundwater contamination was estimated according to the EPA US guidance. The risk of carcinogenic diseases at a drinking water consumption amounts to 5·10-5. According to the classification accepted the health risk in case of spring water consumption is inadmissible. The compared assessments of risk associated with tritium exposure, on the one hand, and the dangerous chemical (e.g. heavy metals) contamination of Obninsk drinking water, on the other hand, have confirmed that just these chemical pollutants are responsible for health risk.

Keywords: health risk, heavy metal, radiation-hazardous facilities, water intakes, tritium

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2 Sheep Pox Virus Recombinant Proteins To Develop Subunit Vaccines

Authors: Olga V. Chervyakova, Elmira T. Tailakova, Vitaliy M. Strochkov, Kulyaisan T. Sultankulova, Nurlan T. Sandybayev, Lev G. Nemchinov, Rosemarie W. Hammond


Sheep pox is a highly contagious infection that OIE regards to be one of the most dangerous animal diseases. It causes enormous economic losses because of death and slaughter of infected animals, lower productivity, cost of veterinary and sanitary as well as quarantine measures. To control spread of sheep pox infection the attenuated vaccines are widely used in the Republic of Kazakhstan and other Former Soviet Union countries. In spite of high efficiency of live vaccines, the possible presence of the residual virulence, potential genetic instability restricts their use in disease-free areas that leads to necessity to exploit new approaches in vaccine development involving recombinant DNA technology. Vaccines on the basis of recombinant proteins are the newest generation of prophylactic preparations. The main advantage of these vaccines is their low reactogenicity and this fact makes them widely used in medical and veterinary practice for vaccination of humans and farm animals. The objective of the study is to produce recombinant immunogenic proteins for development of the high-performance means for sheep pox prophylaxis. The SPV proteins were chosen for their homology with the known immunogenic vaccinia virus proteins. Assay of nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the target SPV protein genes. It has been shown that four proteins SPPV060 (ortholog L1), SPPV074 (ortholog H3), SPPV122 (ortholog A33) and SPPV141 (ortholog B5) possess transmembrane domains at N- or C-terminus while in amino acid sequences of SPPV095 (ortholog А 4) and SPPV117 (ortholog А 27) proteins these domains were absent. On the basis of these findings the primers were constructed. Target genes were amplified and subsequently cloned into the expression vector рЕТ26b(+) or рЕТ28b(+). Six constructions (pSPPV060ΔТМ, pSPPV074ΔТМ, pSPPV095, pSPPV117, pSPPV122ΔТМ and pSPPV141ΔТМ) were obtained for expression of the SPV genes under control of T7 promoter in Escherichia coli. To purify and detect recombinant proteins the amino acid sequences were modified by adding six histidine molecules at C-terminus. Induction of gene expression by IPTG was resulted in production of the proteins with molecular weights corresponding to the estimated values for SPPV060, SPPV074, SPPV095, SPPV117, SPPV122 and SPPV141, i.e. 22, 30, 20, 19, 17 and 22 kDa respectively. Optimal protocol of expression for each gene that ensures high yield of the recombinant protein was identified. Assay of cellular lysates by western blotting confirmed expression of the target proteins. Recombinant proteins bind specifically with antibodies to polyhistidine. Moreover all produced proteins are specifically recognized by the serum from experimentally SPV-infected sheep. The recombinant proteins SPPV060, SPPV074, SPPV117, SPPV122 and SPPV141 were also shown to induce formation of antibodies with virus-neutralizing activity. The results of the research will help to develop a new-generation high-performance means for specific sheep pox prophylaxis that is one of key moments in animal health protection. The research was conducted under the International project ISTC # K-1704 “Development of methods to construct recombinant prophylactic means for sheep pox with use of transgenic plants” and under the Grant Project RK MES G.2015/0115RK01983 "Recombinant vaccine for sheep pox prophylaxis".

Keywords: prophylactic preparation, recombinant protein, sheep pox virus, subunit vaccine

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1 Synthetic Method of Contextual Knowledge Extraction

Authors: Olga Kononova, Sergey Lyapin


Global information society requirements are transparency and reliability of data, as well as ability to manage information resources independently; particularly to search, to analyze, to evaluate information, thereby obtaining new expertise. Moreover, it is satisfying the society information needs that increases the efficiency of the enterprise management and public administration. The study of structurally organized thematic and semantic contexts of different types, automatically extracted from unstructured data, is one of the important tasks for the application of information technologies in education, science, culture, governance and business. The objectives of this study are the contextual knowledge typologization, selection or creation of effective tools for extracting and analyzing contextual knowledge. Explication of various kinds and forms of the contextual knowledge involves the development and use full-text search information systems. For the implementation purposes, the authors use an e-library 'Humanitariana' services such as the contextual search, different types of queries (paragraph-oriented query, frequency-ranked query), automatic extraction of knowledge from the scientific texts. The multifunctional e-library «Humanitariana» is realized in the Internet-architecture in WWS-configuration (Web-browser / Web-server / SQL-server). Advantage of use 'Humanitariana' is in the possibility of combining the resources of several organizations. Scholars and research groups may work in a local network mode and in distributed IT environments with ability to appeal to resources of any participating organizations servers. Paper discusses some specific cases of the contextual knowledge explication with the use of the e-library services and focuses on possibilities of new types of the contextual knowledge. Experimental research base are science texts about 'e-government' and 'computer games'. An analysis of the subject-themed texts trends allowed to propose the content analysis methodology, that combines a full-text search with automatic construction of 'terminogramma' and expert analysis of the selected contexts. 'Terminogramma' is made out as a table that contains a column with a frequency-ranked list of words (nouns), as well as columns with an indication of the absolute frequency (number) and the relative frequency of occurrence of the word (in %% ppm). The analysis of 'e-government' materials showed, that the state takes a dominant position in the processes of the electronic interaction between the authorities and society in modern Russia. The media credited the main role in these processes to the government, which provided public services through specialized portals. Factor analysis revealed two factors statistically describing the used terms: human interaction (the user) and the state (government, processes organizer); interaction management (public officer, processes performer) and technology (infrastructure). Isolation of these factors will lead to changes in the model of electronic interaction between government and society. In this study, the dominant social problems and the prevalence of different categories of subjects of computer gaming in science papers from 2005 to 2015 were identified. Therefore, there is an evident identification of several types of contextual knowledge: micro context; macro context; dynamic context; thematic collection of queries (interactive contextual knowledge expanding a composition of e-library information resources); multimodal context (functional integration of iconographic and full-text resources through hybrid quasi-semantic algorithm of search). Further studies can be pursued both in terms of expanding the resource base on which they are held, and in terms of the development of appropriate tools.

Keywords: contextual knowledge, contextual search, e-library services, frequency-ranked query, paragraph-oriented query, technologies of the contextual knowledge extraction

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