Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 13

Search results for: Petros Roussos

13 Students' Statistical Reasoning and Attitudes towards Statistics in Blended Learning, E-Learning and On-Campus Learning

Authors: Petros Roussos

Abstract:

The present study focused on students' statistical reasoning related to Null Hypothesis Statistical Testing and p-values. Its objective was to test the hypothesis that neither the place (classroom, at a distance, online) nor the medium that actually supports the learning (ICT, internet, books) has an effect on understanding of statistical concepts. In addition, it was expected that students' attitudes towards statistics would not predict understanding of statistical concepts. The sample consisted of 385 undergraduate and postgraduate students from six state and private universities (five in Greece and one in Cyprus). Students were administered two questionnaires: a) the Greek version of the Survey of Attitudes Toward Statistics, and b) a short instrument which measures students' understanding of statistical significance and p-values. Results suggest that attitudes towards statistics do not predict students' understanding of statistical concepts, whereas the medium did not have an effect.

Keywords: attitudes towards statistics, blended learning, e-learning, statistical reasoning

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12 Improving the Analytical Power of Dynamic DEA Models, by the Consideration of the Shape of the Distribution of Inputs/Outputs Data: A Linear Piecewise Decomposition Approach

Authors: Elias K. Maragos, Petros E. Maravelakis

Abstract:

In Dynamic Data Envelopment Analysis (DDEA), which is a subfield of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), the productivity of Decision Making Units (DMUs) is considered in relation to time. In this case, as it is accepted by the most of the researchers, there are outputs, which are produced by a DMU to be used as inputs in a future time. Those outputs are known as intermediates. The common models, in DDEA, do not take into account the shape of the distribution of those inputs, outputs or intermediates data, assuming that the distribution of the virtual value of them does not deviate from linearity. This weakness causes the limitation of the accuracy of the analytical power of the traditional DDEA models. In this paper, the authors, using the concept of piecewise linear inputs and outputs, propose an extended DDEA model. The proposed model increases the flexibility of the traditional DDEA models and improves the measurement of the dynamic performance of DMUs.

Keywords: Dynamic Data Envelopment Analysis, DDEA, piecewise linear inputs, piecewise linear outputs

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11 Screening Some Accessions of Lentil (Lens culinaris M.) for Salt Tolerance at Germination and Early Seedling Stage in Eastern Ethiopia

Authors: Azene Tesfaye, Yohannes Petros, Habtamu Zeleke

Abstract:

To evaluate genetic variation among Ethiopian lentil, laboratory experiment were conducted to screen 12 accessions of lentil (Lens culinaris M.) for salt tolerance. Seeds of 12 Lentil accessions were grown at laboratory (Petri dish) condition with different levels of salinity (0, 2, 4, and 8 dSm-1 NaCl) for 4 weeks. The experimental design was completely randomized design (CRD) in factorial combination with three replications. Data analysis was carried out using SAS software. Average germination time, germination percentage, seedling shoot and root traits, seedling shoot and root weight were evaluated. The two way ANOVA for varieties revealed statistically significant variation among lentil accession, NaCl level and their interactions (p<0.001) with respect to the entire parameters. It was found that salt stress significantly delays germination rate and decreases germination percentage, shoot and root length, seedling shoot and root weight of lentil accessions. The degree of decrement varied with accessions and salinity levels. Accessions 36120, 9235 and 36004 were better salt tolerant than the other accessions. As the result, it is recommended to be used as a genetic resource for the development of lentil accession and other very salt sensitive crop with improved germination under salt stress condition.

Keywords: accession, germination, lentil, NaCl, screening, seedling stage

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10 Evaluating the Performance of 28 EU Member Countries on Health2020: A Data Envelopment Analysis Evaluation of the Successful Implementation of Policies

Authors: Elias K. Maragos, Petros E. Maravelakis, Apostolos I. Linardis

Abstract:

Health2020 is a promising framework of policies provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and aiming to diminish the health and well-being inequalities among the citizens of the European Union (EU) countries. The major demographic, social and environmental changes, in addition to the resent economic crisis prevent the unobstructed and successful implementation of this framework. The unemployment rates and the percentage of people at risk of poverty have increased among the citizens of EU countries. At the same time, the adopted fiscal, economic policies do not help governments to serve their social role and mitigate social and health inequalities. In those circumstances, there is a strong pressure to organize all health system resources efficiently and wisely. In order to provide a unified and value-based framework of valuation, we propose a valuation framework using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and dynamic DEA. We believe that the adopted methodology could provide a robust tool which can capture the degree of success with which policies have been implemented and is capable to determine which of the countries developed the requested policies efficiently and which of the countries have been lagged. Using the proposed methodology, we evaluated the performance of 28 EU member-countries in relation to the Health2020 peripheral targets. We adopted several versions of evaluation, measuring the effectiveness and the efficiency of EU countries from 2011 to 2016. Our results showed stability in technological changes and revealed a group of countries which were benchmarks in most of the years for the inefficient countries.

Keywords: DEA, Health2020, health inequalities, malmquist index, policies evaluation, well-being

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9 Management Prospects of Winery By-Products Based on Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Grape Skins: The Case of Greek Ionian Islands

Authors: Marinos Xagoraris, Iliada K. Lappa, Charalambos Kanakis, Dimitra Daferera, Christina Papadopoulou, Georgios Sourounis, Charilaos Giotis, Pavlos Bouchagier, Christos S. Pappas, Petros A. Tarantilis, Efstathia Skotti

Abstract:

The aim of this work was to recover phenolic compounds from grape skins produced in Greek varieties of the Ionian Islands in order to form the basis of calculations for their further utilization in the context of the circular economy. Isolation and further utilization of phenolic compounds is an important issue in winery by-products. For this purpose, 37 samples were collected, extracted, and analyzed in an attempt to provide the appropriate basis for their sustainable exploitation. Extraction of the bioactive compounds was held using an eco-friendly, non-toxic, and highly effective water-glycerol solvent system. Then, extracts were analyzed using UV-Vis, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), FTIR, and Raman spectroscopy. Also, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were measured. LC-MS chromatography showed qualitative differences between different varieties. Peaks were attributed to monomeric 3-flavanols as well as monomeric, dimeric, and trimeric proanthocyanidins. The FT-IR and Raman spectra agreed with the chromatographic data and contributed to identifying phenolic compounds. Grape skins exhibited high total phenolic content (TPC), and it was proved that during vinification, a large number of polyphenols remained in the pomace. This study confirmed that grape skins from Ionian Islands are a promising source of bioactive compounds, suggesting their utilization under a bio-economic and environmental strategic framework.

Keywords: antioxidant activity, grape skin, phenolic compounds, waste recovery

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8 Solid Phase Micro-Extraction/Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Study of Volatile Compounds from Strawberry Tree and Autumn Heather Honeys

Authors: Marinos Xagoraris, Elisavet Lazarou, Eleftherios Alissandrakis, Christos S. Pappas, Petros A. Tarantilis

Abstract:

Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) and autumn heather (Erica manipuliflora Salisb.) are important beekeeping plants of Greece. Six monofloral honeys (four strawberry tree, two autumn heather) were analyzed by means of Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (SPME, 60 min, 60 oC) followed by Gas Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) for the purpose of assessing the botanical origin. A Divinylbenzene/Carboxen/Polydimethylsiloxane (DVB/CAR/PDMS) fiber was employed, and benzophenone was used as internal standard. The volatile compounds with higher concentration (μg/ g of honey expressed as benzophenone) from strawberry tree honey samples, were α-isophorone (2.50-8.12); 3,4,5-trimethyl-phenol (0.20-4.62); 2-hydroxy-isophorone (0.06-0.53); 4-oxoisophorone (0.38-0.46); and β-isophorone (0.02-0.43). Regarding heather honey samples, the most abundant compounds were 1-methoxy-4-propyl-benzene (1.22-1.40); p-anisaldehyde (0.97-1.28); p-anisic acid (0.35-0.58); 2-furaldehyde (0.52-0.57); and benzaldehyde (0.41-0.56). Norisoprenoids are potent floral markers for strawberry-tree honey. β-isophorone is found exclusively in the volatile fraction of this type of honey, while also α-isophorone, 4-oxoisophorone and 2-hydroxy-isophorone could be considered as additional marker compounds. The analysis of autumn heather honey revealed that phenolic compounds are the most abundant and p-anisaldehyde; 1-methoxy-4-propyl-benzene; and p-anisic acid could serve as potent marker compounds. In conclusion, marker compounds for the determination of the botanical origin for these honeys could be identified as several norisoprenoids and phenolic components were found exclusively or in higher concentrations compared to common Greek honey varieties.

Keywords: SPME/GC-MS, volatile compounds, heather honey, strawberry tree honey

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7 A Comparative Study of Simple and Pre-polymerized Fe Coagulants for Surface Water Treatment

Authors: Petros Gkotsis, Giorgos Stratidis, Manassis Mitrakas, Anastasios Zouboulis

Abstract:

This study investigates the use of original and pre-polymerized iron (Fe) reagents compared to the commonly applied polyaluminum chloride (PACl) coagulant for surface water treatment. Applicable coagulants included both ferric chloride (FeCl₃) and ferric sulfate (Fe₂(SO₄)₃) and their pre-polymerized Fe reagents, such as polyferric sulfate (PFS) and polyferric chloride (PFCl). The efficiency of coagulants was evaluated by the removal of natural organic matter (NOM) and suspended solids (SS), which were determined in terms of reducing the UV absorption at 254 nm and turbidity, respectively. The residual metal concentration (Fe and Al) was also measured. Coagulants were added at five concentrations (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 mg/L) and three pH values (7.0, 7.3 and 7.6). Experiments were conducted in a jar-test device, with two types of synthetic surface water (i.e., of high and low organic strength) which consisted of humic acid (HA) and kaolin at different concentrations (5 mg/L and 50 mg/L). After the coagulation/flocculation process, clean water was separated with filters of pore size 0.45 μm. Filtration was also conducted before the addition of coagulants in order to compare the ‘net’ effect of the coagulation/flocculation process on the examined parameters (UV at 254 nm, turbidity, and residual metal concentration). Results showed that the use of PACl resulted in the highest removal of humics for both types of surface water. For the surface water of high organic strength (humic acid-kaolin, 50 mg/L-50 mg/L), the highest removal of humics was observed at the highest coagulant dosage of 5 mg/L and at pH=7. On the contrary, turbidity was not significantly affected by the coagulant dosage. However, the use of PACl decreased turbidity the most, especially when the surface water of high organic strength was employed. As expected, the application of coagulation/flocculation prior to filtration improved NOM removal but slightly affected turbidity. Finally, the residual Fe concentration (0.01-0.1 mg/L) was much lower than the residual Al concentration (0.1-0.25 mg/L).

Keywords: coagulation/flocculation, iron and aluminum coagulants, metal salts, pre-polymerized coagulants, surface water treatment

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6 Rethinking the Role of Small States in the Hybrid Era: Shifts in the Cypriot Foreign and Defence Policies, 2004-2019

Authors: Constantinos Adamides, Petros Petrikkos

Abstract:

In the era of growing hybrid threats, small states find themselves in need to re-evaluate existing foreign and defense policies. The pressure to establishing or maintain a status of a reliable partner in the community in which they belong to, vis-à-vis their multilateral relations with other organisations and entities, small states may need to shift their policies in the field to accommodate security needs that are not only pertinent to their security, but also to that of the organisations (bloc) in which they interact. Unlike potential shortcomings in a small state’s mainstream security and defence framework where the threat would be limited to the state itself, in more contemporary times with dominating hybrid threats, the small states’ security shortcomings may also become a security problem for the bloc in which these states belong to. An indicative example is small states like Cyprus and Malta, which belong and 'interact' in the European Union. As a result, the nature of hybrid threats can be utilised to hurt bigger states in a bloc by exploiting the small states’ vulnerabilities and security gaps. Inevitably, both the defensive and foreign policy collaborations of small states with bigger states have been and are constantly re-evaluated to tackle and prevent such problems. In essence, the goal of this ‘re-evaluation’ aims to achieve a twofold goal: The first is the small states’ quest to appear as a reliable partner within the bloc, while the second is to avoid being the weakest security link in the bloc’s defence against hybrid threats. Indeed, the hybrid arena is a security area where they can excel in the bloc, despite the potential and expected conventional military deficiencies. This new environment prompts us to think security from the perspective of small states differently and in relation to their role as members or big organisations. The paper focuses on the case of Cyprus following its accession to the European Union and examines how a country that has had a very focused security orientation –not least due to its ongoing security problems– altered its foreign and defence policies within the European Union to ensure compliance with the rest of the bloc, while at the same time maximizing its role as a security player. Specifically, it examines the methods through which the country shifted its policies as well as the challenges and opportunities that emerged from these security shifts.

Keywords: Cyprus, defence, foreign policy, hybrid threats, ontological security, small states

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5 Development of an Integrated Methodology for Fouling Control in Membrane Bioreactors

Authors: Petros Gkotsis, Anastasios Zouboulis, Manasis Mitrakas, Dimitrios Zamboulis, E. Peleka

Abstract:

The most serious drawback in wastewater treatment using membrane bioreactors (MBRs) is membrane fouling which gradually leads to membrane permeability decrease and efficiency deterioration. This work is part of a research project that aims to develop an integrated methodology for membrane fouling control, using specific chemicals which will enhance the coagulation and flocculation of compounds responsible for fouling, hence reducing biofilm formation on the membrane surface and limiting the fouling rate acting as a pre-treatment step. For this purpose, a pilot-scale plant with fully automatic operation achieved by means of programmable logic controller (PLC) has been constructed and tested. The experimental set-up consists of four units: wastewater feed unit, bioreactor, membrane (side-stream) filtration unit and permeate collection unit. Synthetic wastewater was fed as the substrate for the activated sludge. The dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration of the aerobic tank was maintained in the range of 2-3 mg/L during the entire operation by using an aerator below the membrane module. The membranes were operated at a flux of 18 LMH while membrane relaxation steps of 1 min were performed every 10 min. Both commercial and composite coagulants are added in different concentrations in the pilot-scale plant and their effect on the overall performance of the ΜΒR system is presented. Membrane fouling was assessed in terms of TMP, membrane permeability, sludge filterability tests, total resistance and the unified modified fouling index (UMFI). Preliminary tests showed that particular attention should be paid to the addition of the coagulant solution, indicating that pipe flocculation effectively increases hydraulic retention time and leads to voluminous sludge flocs. The most serious drawback in wastewater treatment using MBRs is membrane fouling, which gradually leads to membrane permeability decrease and efficiency deterioration. This results in increased treatment cost, due to high energy consumption and the need for frequent membrane cleaning and replacement. Due to the widespread application of MBR technology over the past few years, it becomes clear that the development of a methodology to mitigate membrane fouling is of paramount importance. The present work aims to develop an integrated technique for membrane fouling control in MBR systems and, thus, contribute to sustainable wastewater treatment.

Keywords: coagulation, membrane bioreactor, membrane fouling, pilot plant

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4 Structural Monitoring of Externally Confined RC Columns with Inadequate Lap-Splices, Using Fibre-Bragg-Grating Sensors

Authors: Petros M. Chronopoulos, Evangelos Z. Astreinidis

Abstract:

A major issue of the structural assessment and rehabilitation of existing RC structures is the inadequate lap-splicing of the longitudinal reinforcement. Although prohibited by modern Design Codes, the practice of arranging lap-splices inside the critical regions of RC elements was commonly applied in the past. Today this practice is still the rule, at least for conventional new buildings. Therefore, a lot of relevant research is ongoing in many earthquake prone countries. The rehabilitation of deficient lap-splices of RC elements by means of external confinement is widely accepted as the most efficient technique. If correctly applied, this versatile technique offers a limited increase of flexural capacity and a considerable increase of local ductility and of axial and shear capacities. Moreover, this intervention does not affect the stiffness of the elements and does not affect the dynamic characteristics of the structure. This technique has been extensively discussed and researched contributing to vast accumulation of technical and scientific knowledge that has been reported in relevant books, reports and papers, and included in recent Design Codes and Guides. These references are mostly dealing with modeling and redesign, covering both the enhanced (axial and) shear capacity (due to the additional external closed hoops or jackets) and the increased ductility (due to the confining action, preventing the unzipping of lap-splices and the buckling of continuous reinforcement). An analytical and experimental program devoted to RC members with lap-splices is completed in the Lab. of RC/NTU of Athens/GR. This program aims at the proposal of a rational and safe theoretical model and the calibration of the relevant Design Codes’ provisions. Tests, on forty two (42) full scale specimens, covering mostly beams and columns (not walls), strengthened or not, with adequate or inadequate lap-splices, have been already performed and evaluated. In this paper, the results of twelve (12) specimens under fully reversed cyclic actions are presented and discussed. In eight (8) specimens the lap-splices were inadequate (splicing length of 20 or 30 bar diameters) and they were retrofitted before testing by means of additional external confinement. The two (2) most commonly applied confining materials were used in this study, namely steel and FRPs. More specifically, jackets made of CFRP wraps or light cages made of mild steel were applied. The main parameters of these tests were (i) the degree of confinement (internal and external), and (ii) the length of lap-splices, equal to 20, 30 or 45 bar diameters. These tests were thoroughly instrumented and monitored, by means of conventional (LVDTs, strain gages, etc.) and innovative (optic fibre-Bragg-grating) sensors. This allowed for a thorough investigation of the most influencing design parameter, namely the hoop-stress developed in the confining material. Based on these test results and on comparisons with the provisions of modern Design Codes, it could be argued that shorter (than the normative) lap-splices, commonly found in old structures, could still be effective and safe (at least for lengths more than an absolute minimum), depending on the required ductility, if a properly arranged and adequately detailed external confinement is applied.

Keywords: concrete, fibre-Bragg-grating sensors, lap-splices, retrofitting / rehabilitation

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3 Efficacy of Acquiring and Transferring of Indigenous Medicinal Knowledge among Its Owners/Practitioners in uMhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Authors: Nokwanda Charity Khanyile, Petros Dlamini

Abstract:

Background: Most of the population in Africa is still dependent on indigenous medicinal knowledge for treating and managing ailments. It is still not yet understood how this valuable knowledge is acquired and transferred from one generation to the next. Indigenous medicinal knowledge owners/practitioners who own the knowledge are consulted, but their knowledge is not known how they got it. Objectives: This study aims to assess the process of acquiring and transferring indigenous medicinal knowledge by traditional medicinal knowledge owners/practitioners in uMhlathuze Municipality in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The study was guided by four research objectives which were to: identify the types of traditional medicinal knowledge owners who possess this knowledge; establish the approach used by indigenous medicinal knowledge owners/healers for acquiring medicinal knowledge; identify the process of transmission of medicinal knowledge by indigenous medicinal knowledge owners/healers; and determine the challenges encountered in transferring the knowledge. Method: The study adopted a qualitative research approach, and a snowball sampling technique was used to identify the study population. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with indigenous medicinal knowledge owners. Results: The findings suggested that uMhlathuze municipality had different types of indigenous medicinal knowledge owners who possess valuable knowledge. These are diviners (Izangoma), faith healers (Abathandazi), and herbalists (Izinyanga). The study demonstrated that indigenous medicinal knowledge is acquired in many different ways, including visions, dreams, and vigorous training. The study also revealed the acquired knowledge is transferred or shared with specially chosen children and trainees. Conclusion: The study concluded that this knowledge is gained through vigorous training, which requires the learner to be attentive and eager to learn. It was recommended that a study of this nature be conducted but at a broader level to enhance an informed conclusion and recommendations. Objectives: This study aims to assess the process of acquiring and transferring indigenous medicinal knowledge by traditional medicinal knowledge owners/practitioners in uMhlathuze Municipality, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The study was guided by four research objectives which were to: identify the types of traditional medicinal knowledge owners who possess this knowledge; establish the approach used by indigenous medicinal knowledge owners/healers for acquiring medicinal knowledge; identify the process of transmission of medicinal knowledge by indigenous medicinal knowledge owners/healers; and determine the challenges encountered in transferring the knowledge. Method: The study adopted a qualitative research approach and a snowball sampling technique was used to identify the study population. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with indigenous medicinal knowledge owners. Results: The findings suggested that uMhlathuze municipality had different types of indigenous medicinal knowledge owners who possess valuable knowledge. These are diviners (Izangoma), faith healers (Abathandazi), and herbalists (Izinyanga). The study demonstrated that indigenous medicinal knowledge is acquired in many different ways including visions, dreams, and vigorous training. The study also revealed the acquired knowledge is transferred or shared with specially chosen children and trainees. Conclusion: The study concluded that this knowledge is gotten through vigorous training which requires the learner to be attentive and eager to learn. It was recommended that a study of this nature be conducted but at a broader level to enhance an informed conclusion and recommendations.

Keywords: indigenous medicinal knowledge, indigenous knowledge, indigenous medicinal knowledge owners/practitioners, acquiring

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2 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

Abstract:

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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1 Extracellular Polymeric Substances Study in an MBR System for Fouling Control

Authors: Dimitra C. Banti, Gesthimani Liona, Petros Samaras, Manasis Mitrakas

Abstract:

Municipal and industrial wastewaters are often treated biologically, by the activated sludge process (ASP). The ASP not only requires large aeration and sedimentation tanks, but also generates large quantities of excess sludge. An alternative technology is the membrane bioreactor (MBR), which replaces two stages of the conventional ASP—clarification and settlement—with a single, integrated biotreatment and clarification step. The advantages offered by the MBR over conventional treatment include reduced footprint and sludge production through maintaining a high biomass concentration in the bioreactor. Notwithstanding these advantages, the widespread application of the MBR process is constrained by membrane fouling. Fouling leads to permeate flux decline, making more frequent membrane cleaning and replacement necessary and resulting to increased operating costs. In general, membrane fouling results from the interaction between the membrane material and the components in the activated sludge liquor. The latter includes substrate components, cells, cell debris and microbial metabolites, such as Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) and Sludge Microbial Products (SMPs). The challenge for effective MBR operation is to minimize the rate of Transmembrane Pressure (TMP) increase. This can be achieved by several ways, one of which is the addition of specific additives, that enhance the coagulation and flocculation of compounds, which are responsible for fouling, hence reducing biofilm formation on the membrane surface and limiting the fouling rate. In this project the effectiveness of a non-commercial composite coagulant was studied as an agent for fouling control in a lab scale MBR system consisting in two aerated tanks. A flat sheet membrane module with 0.40 um pore size was submerged into the second tank. The system was fed by50 L/d of municipal wastewater collected from the effluent of the primary sedimentation basin. The TMP increase rate, which is directly related to fouling growth, was monitored by a PLC system. EPS, MLSS and MLVSS measurements were performed in samples of mixed liquor; in addition, influent and effluent samples were collected for the determination of physicochemical characteristics (COD, BOD5, NO3-N, NH4-N, Total N and PO4-P). The coagulant was added in concentrations 2, 5 and 10mg/L during a period of 2 weeks and the results were compared with the control system (without coagulant addition). EPS fractions were extracted by a three stages physical-thermal treatment allowing the identification of Soluble EPS (SEPS) or SMP, Loosely Bound EPS (LBEPS) and Tightly Bound EPS (TBEPS). Proteins and carbohydrates concentrations were measured in EPS fractions by the modified Lowry method and Dubois method, respectively. Addition of 2 mg/L coagulant concentration did not affect SEPS proteins in comparison with control process and their values varied between 32 to 38mg/g VSS. However a coagulant dosage of 5mg/L resulted in a slight increase of SEPS proteins at 35-40 mg/g VSS while 10mg/L coagulant further increased SEPS to 44-48mg/g VSS. Similar results were obtained for SEPS carbohydrates. Carbohydrates values without coagulant addition were similar to the corresponding values measured for 2mg/L coagulant; the addition of mg/L coagulant resulted to a slight increase of carbohydrates SEPS to 6-7mg/g VSS while a dose of 10 mg/L further increased carbohydrates content to 9-10mg/g VSS. Total LBEPS and TBEPS, consisted of proteins and carbohydrates of LBEPS and TBEPS respectively, presented similar variations by the addition of the coagulant. Total LBEPS at 2mg/L dose were almost equal to 17mg/g VSS, and their values increased to 22 and 29 mg/g VSS during the addition of 5 mg/L and 10 mg/L of coagulant respectively. Total TBEPS were almost 37 mg/g VSS at a coagulant dose of 2 mg/L and increased to 42 and 51 mg/g VSS at 5 mg/L and 10 mg/L doses, respectively. Therefore, it can be concluded that coagulant addition could potentially affect microorganisms activities, excreting EPS in greater amounts. Nevertheless, EPS increase, mainly SEPS increase, resulted to a higher membrane fouling rate, as justified by the corresponding TMP increase rate. However, the addition of the coagulant, although affected the EPS content in the reactor mixed liquor, did not change the filtration process: an effluent of high quality was produced, with COD values as low as 20-30 mg/L.

Keywords: extracellular polymeric substances, MBR, membrane fouling, EPS

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