Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Search results for: Vanja Gilja

8 Photocatalytic Activity of Polypyrrole/ZnO Composites for Degradation of Dye Reactive Red 45 in Wastewater

Authors: Ljerka Kratofil Krehula, Vanja Gilja, Andrea Husak, Sniježana Šuka, Zlata Hrnjak-Murgić


Zinc oxide (ZnO) can be used as photocatalysts for water purification. However, one particular interest is given on the integration of inorganic ZnO nanoclusters with conducting polymers because the resulting nanocomposites may possess unique properties and enhanced photocatalytic activity in comparison to pure ZnO, using UV and also visible light. It is needed to explore the appropriate structure of polypyrrole that can induce activation of ZnO photocatalyst since the synthesis of organic/inorganic hybrid materials can result in a synergistic and complementary feature, increasing ZnO photocatalytic efficiency. In this paper several different composites of polypyrrole/zinc oxide (ZnO) were studied. Composite samples were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), cyclic voltammetry (CV) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The photocatalytic efficiency of prepared samples was studied as a decomposition of Reactive Red 45 (RR 45) dye, which was monitored by UV-Vis spectroscopy as a change in absorbance of characteristic wavelength at 542 nm. Results show good photocatalytic efficiency of all nanocomposite samples.

Keywords: photocatalysis, polypyrrole, wastewater, zinc oxide

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7 The Photocatalytic Degradation of Acid Blue 25 Dye by Polypyrrole/Titanium Dioxide and Polypyrrole/Zinc Oxide Composites

Authors: Ljerka Kratofil Krehula, Martina Perlog, Jasmina Stjepanović, Vanja Gilja, Marijana Kraljić Roković, Zlata Hrnjak-Murgić


The composite preparation of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide photocatalysts with the conductive polymers gives the opportunity to carry out the catalysis reactions not only under UV light but also under visible light. Such processes may efficiently use sunlight in degradation of different organic pollutants and present new design for wastewater treatment. The paper presents the preparation procedure, material characteristics and photocatalytic efficiency of polypyrrole/titanium dioxide and polypyrrole/zinc oxide composites (PPy/TiO2 and PPy/ZnO). The obtained composite samples were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), UV-Vis spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The photocatalytic efficiency of the samples was determined following the decomposition of Acid Blue 25 dye (AB 25) under UV and visible light by UV/Vis spectroscopy. The efficiency of degradation is determined by total organic carbon content (TOC) after photocatalysis processes. The results show enhanced photocatalytic efficiency of the samples under visible light, so the prepared composite samples are recognized as efficient catalysts in degradation process of AB 25 dye. It can be concluded that the preparation of TiO2 or ZnO composites with PPy can serve as a very efficient method for the improvement of TiO2 and ZnO photocatalytic performance under visible light.

Keywords: composite, photocatalysis, polypyrrole, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide

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6 Potential of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) for Phytoremediation of Soils Contaminated with Heavy Metals

Authors: Violina R. Angelova, Vanja I. Akova, Stefan V. Krustev, Krasimir I. Ivanov


A field study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of safflower plant for phytoremediation of contaminated soils. The experiment was performed on an agricultural fields contaminated by the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The concentrations of Pb, Zn and Cd in safflower (roots, stems, leaves and seeds), safflower oil and meal were determined. A correlation was found between the quantity of the mobile forms and the uptake of Pb, Zn and Cd by the safflower seeds. Safflower is a plant which is tolerant to heavy metals and can be grown on contaminated soils, and which can be referred to the hyperaccumulators of cadmium and the accumulators of lead and zinc, and can be successfully used in the phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soils. The processing of seeds to oil and using the obtained oil for nutritional purposes will greatly reduce the cost of phytoremediation. The possibility of further industrial processing will make safflower economically interesting crops for farmers of phytoremediation technology.

Keywords: heavy metals, phytoremediation, polluted soils, safflower

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5 Improving University Operations with Data Mining: Predicting Student Performance

Authors: Mladen Dragičević, Mirjana Pejić Bach, Vanja Šimičević


The purpose of this paper is to develop models that would enable predicting student success. These models could improve allocation of students among colleges and optimize the newly introduced model of government subsidies for higher education. For the purpose of collecting data, an anonymous survey was carried out in the last year of undergraduate degree student population using random sampling method. Decision trees were created of which two have been chosen that were most successful in predicting student success based on two criteria: Grade Point Average (GPA) and time that a student needs to finish the undergraduate program (time-to-degree). Decision trees have been shown as a good method of classification student success and they could be even more improved by increasing survey sample and developing specialized decision trees for each type of college. These types of methods have a big potential for use in decision support systems.

Keywords: data mining, knowledge discovery in databases, prediction models, student success

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4 Role of Endonuclease G in Exogenous DNA Stability in HeLa Cells

Authors: Vanja Misic, Mohamed El-Mogy, Yousef Haj-Ahmad


Endonuclease G (EndoG) is a well conserved mitochondrio-nuclear nuclease with dual lethal and vital roles in the cell. The aim of our study was to examine whether EndoG exerts its nuclease activity on exogenous DNA substrates such as plasmid DNA (pDNA), considering their importance in gene therapy applications. The effects of EndoG knockdown on pDNA stability and levels of encoded reporter gene expression were evaluated in the cervical carcinoma HeLa cells. Transfection of pDNA vectors encoding short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) reduced levels of EndoG mRNA and nuclease activity in HeLa cells. In physiological circumstances, EndoG knockdown did not have an effect on the stability of pDNA or the levels of encoded transgene expression as measured over a four day time-course. However, when endogenous expression of EndoG was induced by an extrinsic stimulus, targeting of EndoG by shRNA improved the perceived stability and transgene expression of pDNA vectors. Therefore, EndoG is not a mediator of exogenous DNA clearance, but in non-physiological circumstances it may non-specifically cleave intracellular DNA regardless of its origin. These findings make it unlikely that targeting of EndoG is a viable strategy for improving the duration and level of transgene expression from non-viral DNA vectors in gene therapy efforts.

Keywords: EndoG, silencing, exogenous DNA stability, HeLa cells

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3 Accounting Propositions for Sustainability Performance Information Systems Introduction: Environmental Attributes from Croatian Hotels

Authors: Vanja Vejzagic, Jackie Brander Brown, Peter Schmidt


Purpose: For some time now, the global hotel industry trends are strongly oriented towards sustainable development and environmental management accounting (EMA) should have the supporting role for hotel’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) management. The aim of this paper is thus to analyse and present data on the key steps leading toward the effective incorporation of EMA within hotel performance information systems. Design/Methodology/Approach: The research study is a continuation of the process carried out on the sample of 20 eco-hotels in the UK, a year ago. Research evidence was obtained via in-depth case studies on sample of 180 hotels (4 and 5 stars hotels) located in Croatia. Research was conducted through interviews with key personnel and an online survey which specifically focused on 10 business areas considered vital for successful EMA integration. Findings: The research results indicate a pattern by which hotels can determine the existing level of their sustainable (environmental) business. Furthermore, the management understanding of the sustainability concept was still proven to lead to a relatively subjective appreciation and presentation of sustainable hotel operations and their performance. It was determined that majority of analysed hotel organisations reflect typical short-term, financially oriented performance information systems. Steps for EMA introduction have been offered. Research Limitations/Implications: CSR is still a broad-set concept. Exploring the effects of EMA on such-like a defined management system may be subject to considerable influence of the respondent’s subjective perception of the concept. Originality/Value: This article should be of interest to higher education academics and careers staff who have an interest in CSR introduction and the ways of implementing its informational support for performance measurement.

Keywords: environmental management accounting, EMA, corporate social responsibility, CSR, sustainability, hotel

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2 Extraction and Encapsulation of Carotenoids from Carrot

Authors: Gordana Ćetković, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanović, Jasna Čanadanović-Brunet, Vesna Tumbas Šaponjac, Vanja Šeregelj, Jelena Vulić, Slađana Stajčić


The color of food is one of the decisive factors for consumers. Potential toxicity of artificial food colorants has led to the consumers' preference for natural products over products with artificial colors. Natural pigments have many bioactive functions, such as antioxidant, provitamin and many other. Having this in mind, the acceptability of natural colorants by the consumers is much higher. Being present in all photosynthetic plant tissues carotenoids are probably most widespread pigments in nature. Carrot (Daucus carota) is a good source of functional food components. Carrot is especially rich in carotenoids, mainly α- and β-carotene and lutein. For this study, carrot was extracted using classical extraction with hexane and ethyl acetate, as well as supercritical CO₂ extraction. The extraction efficiency was evaluated by estimation of carotenoid yield determined spectrophotometrically. Classical extraction using hexane (18.27 mg β-carotene/100 g DM) was the most efficient method for isolation of carotenoids, compared to ethyl acetate classical extraction (15.73 mg β-carotene/100 g DM) and supercritical CO₂ extraction (0.19 mg β-carotene/100 g DM). Three carrot extracts were tested in terms of antioxidant activity using DPPH and reducing power assay as well. Surprisingly, ethyl acetate extract had the best antioxidant activity on DPPH radicals (AADPPH=120.07 μmol TE/100 g) while hexane extract showed the best reducing power (RP=1494.97 μmol TE/100 g). Hexane extract was chosen as the most potent source of carotenoids and was encapsulated in whey protein by freeze-drying. Carotenoid encapsulation efficiency was found to be high (89.33%). Based on our results it can be concluded that carotenoids from carrot can be efficiently extracted using hexane and classical extraction method. This extract has the potential to be applied in encapsulated form due to high encapsulation efficiency and coloring capacity. Therefore it can be used for dietary supplements development and food fortification.

Keywords: carotenoids, carrot, extraction, encapsulation

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1 The Potential of Rhizospheric Bacteria for Mycotoxigenic Fungi Suppression

Authors: Vanja Vlajkov, Ivana PajčIn, Mila Grahovac, Marta Loc, Dragana Budakov, Jovana Grahovac


The rhizosphere soil refers to the plant roots' dynamic environment characterized by their inhabitants' high biological activity. Rhizospheric bacteria are recognized as effective biocontrol agents and considered cardinal in alternative strategies for securing ecological plant diseases management. The need to suppress fungal pathogens is an urgent task, not only because of the direct economic losses caused by infection but also due to their ability to produce mycotoxins with harmful effects on human health. Aspergillus and Fusarium species are well-known producers of toxigenic metabolites with a high capacity to colonize crops and enter the food chain. The bacteria belonging to the Bacillus genus has been conceded as a plant beneficial species in agricultural practice and identified as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). Besides incontestable potential, the full commercialization of microbial biopesticides is in the preliminary phase. Thus, there is a constant need for estimating the suitability of novel strains to be used as a central point of viable bioprocess leading to market-ready product development. In the present study, 76 potential producing strains were isolated from the rhizosphere soil, sampled from different localities in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Republic of Serbia. The selective isolation process of strains started by resuspending 1 g of soil samples in 9 ml of saline and incubating at 28° C for 15 minutes at 150 rpm. After homogenization, thermal treatment at 100° C for 7 minutes was performed. Dilution series (10-1-10-3) were prepared, and 500 µl of each was inoculated on nutrient agar plates and incubated at 28° C for 48 h. The pure cultures of morphologically different strains indicating belonging to the Bacillus genus were obtained by the spread-plate technique. The cultivation of the isolated strains was carried out in an Erlenmeyer flask for 96 h, at 28 °C, 170 rpm. The antagonistic activity screening included two phytopathogenic fungi as test microorganisms: Aspergillus sp. and Fusarium sp. The mycelial growth inhibition was estimated based on the antimicrobial activity testing of cultivation broth by the diffusion method. For the Aspergillus sp., the highest antifungal activity was recorded for the isolates Kro-4a and Mah-1a. In contrast, for the Fusarium sp., following 15 isolates exhibited the highest antagonistic effect Par-1, Par-2, Par-3, Par-4, Kup-4, Paš-1b, Pap-3, Kro-2, Kro-3a, Kro-3b, Kra-1a, Kra-1b, Šar-1, Šar-2b and Šar-4. One-way ANOVA was performed to determine the antagonists' effect statistical significance on inhibition zone diameter. Duncan's multiple range test was conducted to define homogenous groups of antagonists with the same level of statistical significance regarding their effect on antimicrobial activity of the tested cultivation broth against tested pathogens. The study results have pointed out the significant in vitro potential of the isolated strains to be used as biocontrol agents for the suppression of the tested mycotoxigenic fungi. Further research should include the identification and detailed characterization of the most promising isolates and mode of action of the selected strains as biocontrol agents. The following research should also involve bioprocess optimization steps to fully reach the selected strains' potential as microbial biopesticides and design cost-effective biotechnological production.

Keywords: Bacillus, biocontrol, bioprocess, mycotoxigenic fungi

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