Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 5650

Search results for: biogas production

100 Integration of Rapid Generation Technology in Pulse Crop Breeding

Authors: Saeid H. Mobini, Monika Lulsdorf, Thomas D. Warkentin

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The length of the breeding cycle from seed to seed is a limiting factor in the development of improved homozygous lines for breeding or recombinant inbred lines (RILs) for genetic analysis. The objective of this research was to accelerate the production of field pea RILs through application of rapid generation technology (RGT). RGT is based on the principle of growing miniature plants in an artificial medium under controlled conditions, and allowing them to produce a few flowers which develop seeds that are harvested prior to normal seed maturity. We aimed to maintain population size and genetic diversity in regeneration cycles. The effects of flurprimidol (a gibberellin synthesis inhibitor), plant density, hydroponic system, scheduled fertilizer applications, artificial light spectrum, photoperiod, and light/dark temperature were evaluated in the development of RILs from a cross between cultivars CDC Dakota and CDC Amarillo. The main goal was to accelerate flowering while reducing maintenance and space costs. In addition, embryo rescue of immature seeds was tested for shortening the seed fill period. Data collected over seven generations included plant height, the percentage of plant survival, flowering rate, seed setting rate, the number of seeds per plant, and time from seed to seed. Applying 0.6 µM flurprimidol reduced the internode length. Plant height was decreased to approximately 32 cm allowing for higher plant density without a delay in flowering and seed setting rate. The three light systems (T5 fluorescent bulbs, LEDs, and High Pressure Sodium +Metal-halide lamp) evaluated did not differ significantly in terms of flowering time in field pea. Collectively, the combination of 0.6 µM flurprimidol, 217 plant. m-2, 20 h photoperiod, 21/16 oC light/dark temperature in a hydroponic system with vermiculite substrate, applying scheduled fertilizer application based on growth stage, and 500 µmole.m-2.s-1 light intensity using T5 bulbs resulted in 100% of plants flowering within 34 ± 3 days and 96.5% of plants completed seed setting in 68.2 ± 3.6 days, i.e., 30-45 days/generation faster than conventional single seed descent (SSD) methods. These regeneration cycles were reproducible consistently. Hence, RGT could double (5.3) generations per year, using 3% occupying space, compared to SSD (2-3 generation/year). Embryo rescue of immature seeds at 7-8 mm stage, using commercial fertilizer solutions (Holland’s Secret™) showed seed setting rate of 95%, while younger embryos had lower germination rate. Mature embryos had a seed setting rate of 96.5% without either hormones or sugar added. So, considering the higher cost of embryo rescue using a procedure which requires skill, additional materials, and expenses, it could be removed from RGT with a further cost saving, and the process could be stopped between generations if required.

Keywords: field pea, flowering, rapid regeneration, recombinant inbred lines, single seed descent

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99 A Study of Interleukin-1β Genetic Polymorphisms in Gastric Carcinoma and Colorectal Carcinoma in Egyptian Patients

Authors: Mariam Khaled, Noha Farag, Ghada Mohamed Abdel Salam, Khaled Abu-Aisha, Mohamed El-Azizi

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Gastric and colorectal cancers are among the most frequent causes of cancer-associated mortalities in Africa. They have been considered as a global public health concern, as nearly one million new cases are reported per year. IL-1β is a pro-inflammatory cytokine-produced by activated macrophages and monocytes- and a member of the IL-1 family. The inactive IL-1β precursor is cleaved and activated by caspase-1 enzyme, which itself is activated by the assembly of intracellular structures defined as NLRP3 (Nod Like receptor P3) inflammasomes. Activated IL-1β stimulates the Interleukin-1 receptor type-1 (IL-1R1), which is responsible for the initiation of a signal transduction pathway leading to cell proliferation. It has been proven that the IL-1β gene is a highly polymorphic gene in which single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may affect its expression. It has been previously reported that SNPs including base transitions between C and T at positions, -511 (C-T; dbSNP: rs16944) and -31 (C-T; dbSNP: rs1143627), from the transcriptional start site, contribute to the pathogenesis of gastric and colorectal cancers by affecting IL-1β levels. Altered production of IL-1β due to such polymorphisms is suspected to stimulate an amplified inflammatory response and promote Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition leading to malignancy. Allele frequency distribution of the IL-1β-31 and -511 SNPs, in different populations, and their correlation to the incidence of gastric and colorectal cancers, has been intriguing to researchers worldwide. The current study aims to investigate allele distributions of the IL-1β SNPs among gastric and colorectal cancers Egyptian patients. In order to achieve to that, 89 Biopsy and surgical specimens from the antrum and corpus mucosa of chronic gastritis subjects and gastric and colorectal carcinoma patients was collected for DNA extraction followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism polymerase chain reaction (RFLP-PCR). The amplified PCR products of IL-1β-31C > T and IL-1β-511T > C were digested by incubation with the restriction endonuclease enzymes ALu1 and Ava1. Statistical analysis was carried out to determine the allele frequency distribution in the three studied groups. Also, the effect of the IL-1β -31 and -511 SNPs on nuclear factor binding was analyzed using Fluorescence Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA), preceded by nuclear factor extraction from gastric and colorectal tissue samples and LPS stimulated monocytes. The results of this study showed that a significantly higher percentage of Egyptian gastric cancer patients have a homozygous CC genotype at the IL-1β-31 position and a heterozygous TC genotype at the IL-1β-511 position. Moreover, a significantly higher percentage of the colorectal cancer patients have a homozygous CC genotype at the IL-1β-31 and -511 positions as compared to the control group. In addition, the EMSA results showed that IL-1β-31C/T and IL-1β-511T/C SNPs do not affect nuclear factor binding. Results of this study suggest that the IL-1β-31 C/T and IL-1β-511 T/C may be correlated to the incidence of gastric cancer in Egyptian patients; however, similar findings couldn’t be proven in the colorectal cancer patients group for the IL-1β-511 T/C SNP. This is the first study to investigate IL-1β -31 and -511 SNPs in the Egyptian population.

Keywords: colorectal cancer, Egyptian patients, gastric cancer, interleukin-1β, single nucleotide polymorphisms

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98 National Digital Soil Mapping Initiatives in Europe: A Review and Some Examples

Authors: Dominique Arrouays, Songchao Chen, Anne C. Richer-De-Forges

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Soils are at the crossing of many issues such as food and water security, sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity protection, human health and well-being. They deliver many ecosystem services that are essential to life on Earth. Therefore, there is a growing demand for soil information on a national and global scale. Unfortunately, many countries do not have detailed soil maps, and, when existing, these maps are generally based on more or less complex and often non-harmonized soil classifications. An estimate of their uncertainty is also often missing. Thus, there are not easy to understand and often not properly used by end-users. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide end-users with spatially exhaustive grids of essential soil properties, together with an estimate of their uncertainty. One way to achieve this is digital soil mapping (DSM). The concept of DSM relies on the hypothesis that soils and their properties are not randomly distributed, but that they depend on the main soil-forming factors that are climate, organisms, relief, parent material, time (age), and position in space. All these forming factors can be approximated using several exhaustive spatial products such as climatic grids, remote sensing products or vegetation maps, digital elevation models, geological or lithological maps, spatial coordinates of soil information, etc. Thus, DSM generally relies on models calibrated with existing observed soil data (point observations or maps) and so-called “ancillary co-variates” that come from other available spatial products. Then the model is generalized on grids where soil parameters are unknown in order to predict them, and the prediction performances are validated using various methods. With the growing demand for soil information at a national and global scale and the increase of available spatial co-variates national and continental DSM initiatives are continuously increasing. This short review illustrates the main national and continental advances in Europe, the diversity of the approaches and the databases that are used, the validation techniques and the main scientific and other issues. Examples from several countries illustrate the variety of products that were delivered during the last ten years. The scientific production on this topic is continuously increasing and new models and approaches are developed at an incredible speed. Most of the digital soil mapping (DSM) products rely mainly on machine learning (ML) prediction models and/or the use or pedotransfer functions (PTF) in which calibration data come from soil analyses performed in labs or for existing conventional maps. However, some scientific issues remain to be solved and also political and legal ones related, for instance, to data sharing and to different laws in different countries. Other issues related to communication to end-users and education, especially on the use of uncertainty. Overall, the progress is very important and the willingness of institutes and countries to join their efforts is increasing. Harmonization issues are still remaining, mainly due to differences in classifications or in laboratory standards between countries. However numerous initiatives are ongoing at the EU level and also at the global level. All these progress are scientifically stimulating and also promissing to provide tools to improve and monitor soil quality in countries, EU and at the global level.

Keywords: digital soil mapping, global soil mapping, national and European initiatives, global soil mapping products, mini-review

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97 Predictive Maintenance: Machine Condition Real-Time Monitoring and Failure Prediction

Authors: Yan Zhang

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Predictive maintenance is a technique to predict when an in-service machine will fail so that maintenance can be planned in advance. Analytics-driven predictive maintenance is gaining increasing attention in many industries such as manufacturing, utilities, aerospace, etc., along with the emerging demand of Internet of Things (IoT) applications and the maturity of technologies that support Big Data storage and processing. This study aims to build an end-to-end analytics solution that includes both real-time machine condition monitoring and machine learning based predictive analytics capabilities. The goal is to showcase a general predictive maintenance solution architecture, which suggests how the data generated from field machines can be collected, transmitted, stored, and analyzed. We use a publicly available aircraft engine run-to-failure dataset to illustrate the streaming analytics component and the batch failure prediction component. We outline the contributions of this study from four aspects. First, we compare the predictive maintenance problems from the view of the traditional reliability centered maintenance field, and from the view of the IoT applications. When evolving to the IoT era, predictive maintenance has shifted its focus from ensuring reliable machine operations to improve production/maintenance efficiency via any maintenance related tasks. It covers a variety of topics, including but not limited to: failure prediction, fault forecasting, failure detection and diagnosis, and recommendation of maintenance actions after failure. Second, we review the state-of-art technologies that enable a machine/device to transmit data all the way through the Cloud for storage and advanced analytics. These technologies vary drastically mainly based on the power source and functionality of the devices. For example, a consumer machine such as an elevator uses completely different data transmission protocols comparing to the sensor units in an environmental sensor network. The former may transfer data into the Cloud via WiFi directly. The latter usually uses radio communication inherent the network, and the data is stored in a staging data node before it can be transmitted into the Cloud when necessary. Third, we illustrate show to formulate a machine learning problem to predict machine fault/failures. By showing a step-by-step process of data labeling, feature engineering, model construction and evaluation, we share following experiences: (1) what are the specific data quality issues that have crucial impact on predictive maintenance use cases; (2) how to train and evaluate a model when training data contains inter-dependent records. Four, we review the tools available to build such a data pipeline that digests the data and produce insights. We show the tools we use including data injection, streaming data processing, machine learning model training, and the tool that coordinates/schedules different jobs. In addition, we show the visualization tool that creates rich data visualizations for both real-time insights and prediction results. To conclude, there are two key takeaways from this study. (1) It summarizes the landscape and challenges of predictive maintenance applications. (2) It takes an example in aerospace with publicly available data to illustrate each component in the proposed data pipeline and showcases how the solution can be deployed as a live demo.

Keywords: Internet of Things, machine learning, predictive maintenance, streaming data

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96 Asparagus racemosus Willd for Enhanced Medicinal Properties

Authors: Ashok Kumar, Parveen Parveen

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India is bestowed with an extremely high population of plant species with medicinal value and even has two biodiversity hotspots. Indian systems of medicine including Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani have historically been serving humankind across the world since time immemorial. About 1500 plant species have well been documented in Ayurvedic Nighantus as official medicinal plants. Additionally, several hundred species of plants are being routinely used as medicines by local people especially tribes living in and around forests. The natural resources for medicinal plants have unscientifically been over-exploited forcing rapid depletion in their genetic diversity. Moreover, renewed global interest in herbal medicines may even lead to additional depletion of medicinal plant wealth of the country, as about 95% collection of medicinal plants for pharmaceutical preparation is being carried out from natural forests. On the other hand, huge export market of medicinal and aromatic plants needs to be seriously tapped for enhancing inflow of foreign currency. Asparagus racemosus Willd., a member of family Liliaceae, is one of thirty-two plant species that have been identified as priority species for cultivation and conservation by the National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB), Government of India. Though attention is being focused on standardization of agro-techniques and extraction methods, little has been designed on genetic improvement and selection of desired types with higher root production and saponin content, a basic ingredient of medicinal value. The saponin not only improves defense mechanisms and controls diabetes but the roots of this species promote secretion of breast milk, improved lost body weight and considered as an aphrodisiac. There is ample scope for genetic improvement of this species for enhancing productivity substantially, qualitatively and quantitatively. It is emphasized to select desired genotypes with sufficient genetic diversity for important economic traits. Hybridization between two genetically divergent genotypes could result in the synthesis of new F1 hybrids consisting of useful traits of both the parents. The evaluation of twenty seed sources of Asparagus racemosus assembled different geographical locations of India revelled high degree of variability for traits of economic importance. The maximum genotypic and phenotypic variance was observed for shoot height among shoot related traits and for root length among root related traits. The shoot height, genotypic variance, phenotypic variance, genotypic coefficient of variance, the phenotypic coefficient of variance was recorded to be 231.80, 3924.80, 61.26 and 1037.32, respectively, where those of the root length were 9.55, 16.80, 23.46 and 41.27, respectively. The maximum genetic advance and genetic gain were obtained for shoot height among shoot-related traits and root length among root-related traits. Index values were developed for all seed sources based on the four most important traits, and Panthnagar (Uttrakhand), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Dehradun (Uttarakhand), Chandigarh (Punjab), Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir) and Solan (Himachal Pradesh) were found to be promising seed sources.

Keywords: asparagus, genetic, genotypes, variance

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95 Fungal Cellulase/Xylanase Complex and Their Industrial Applications

Authors: L. Kutateldze, T. Urushadze, R. Khvedelidze, N. Zakariashvili, I. Khokhashvili, T. Sadunishvili

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Microbial cellulase/xylanase have shown their potential application in various industries including pulp and paper, textile, laundry, biofuel production, food and feed industry, brewing, and agriculture. Extremophilic micromycetes and their enzymes that are resistant to critical values of temperature and pH, and retaining enzyme activity for a long time are of great industrial interest. Among strains of microscopic fungi from the collection of S. Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, strains isolated from different ecological niches of Southern Caucasus-active producers of cellulase/xylanase have been selected by means of screening under deep cultivation conditions. Extremophilic micromycetes and their enzymes that are resistant to critical values of temperature and pH, and retaining enzyme activity for a long time are of great industrial interest. Among strains of microscopic fungi from the collection of S. Durmishidze Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, strains isolated from different ecological niches of Southern Caucasus-active producers of cellulase/xylanase have been selected by means of screening under deep cultivation conditions. Representatives of the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and Trichoderma are outstanding by relatively high activities of these enzymes. Among the producers were revealed thermophilic strains, representatives of the genus Aspergillus-Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus wentii, also strains of Sporotrichum pulverulentum and Chaetomium thermophile. As a result of optimization of cultivation media and conditions, activities of enzymes produced by the strains have been increased by 4 -189 %. Two strains, active producers of cellulase/xylanase – Penicillium canescence E2 (mesophile) and Aspergillus versicolor Z17 (thermophile) were chosen for further studies. Cellulase/xylanase enzyme preparations from two different genera of microscopic fungi Penicillium canescence E2 and Aspergillus versicolor Z 17 were obtained with activities 220 U/g /1200 U/g and 125 U/g /940 U/g, correspondingly. Main technical characteristics were as follows: the highest enzyme activities were obtained for mesophilic strain Penicillium canescence E2 at 45-500C, while almost the same enzyme activities were fixed for the thermophilic strain Aspergillus versicolor Z 17 at temperature 60-65°C, exceeding the temperature optimum of the mesophile by 150C. Optimum pH of action of the studied cellulase/xylanases from mesophileic and thermophilic strains were similar and equaled to 4.5-5.0 It has been shown that cellulase/xylanase technical preparations from selected strains of Penicillium canescence E2 and Aspergillus versicolor Z17 hydrolyzed cellulose of untreated wheat straw to reducible sugars by 46-52%, and to glucose by 22-27%. However the thermophilic enzyme preparations from the thermophilic A.versicolor strains conducted the process at 600C higher by 100C as compared to mesophlic analogue. Rate of hydrolyses of the pretreated substrate by the same enzyme preparations to reducible sugars and glucose conducted at optimum for their action 60 and 500C was 52-61% and 29-33%, correspondingly. Thus, maximum yield of glucose and reducible sugars form untreated and pretreated wheat straw was achieved at higher temperature (600C) by enzyme preparations from thermophilic strain, which gives advantage for their industrial application.

Keywords: cellulase/xylanase, cellulose hydrolysis, microscopic fungi, thermophilic strain

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94 Effect of Salinity and Heavy Metal Toxicity on Gene Expression, and Morphological Characteristics in Stevia rebaudiana Plants

Authors: Umara Nissar Rafiqi, Irum Gul, Nazima Nasrullah, Monica Saifi, Malik Z. Abdin

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Background: Stevia rebaudiana, a member of Asteraceae family is an important medicinal plant and produces a commercially used non-caloric natural sweetener, which is also an alternate herbal cure for diabetes. Steviol glycosides are the main sweetening compounds present in these plants. Secondary metabolites are crucial to the adaption of plants to the environment and its overcoming stress conditions. In agricultural procedures, the abiotic stresses like salinity, high metal toxicity and drought, in particular, are responsible for the majority of the reduction that differentiates yield potential from harvestable yield. Salt stress and heavy metal toxicity lead to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). To avoid oxidative damage due to ROS and osmotic stress, plants have a system of anti-oxidant enzymes along with several stress induced enzymes. This helps in scavenging the ROS and relieve the osmotic stress in different cell compartments. However, whether stress induced toxicity modulates the activity of these enzymes in Stevia rebaudiana is poorly understood. Aim: The present study focussed on the effect of salinity, heavy metal toxicity (lead and mercury) on physiological traits and transcriptional profiling of Stevia rebaudiana. Method: Stevia rebaudiana plants were collected from the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic plants (CIMAP), Patnagar, India and maintained under controlled conditions in a greenhouse at Hamdard University, Delhi, India. The plants were subjected to different concentrations of salt (0, 25, 50 and 75 mM respectively) and heavy metals, lead and mercury (0, 100, 200 and 300 µM respectively). The physiological traits such as shoot length, root numbers, leaf growth were evaluated. The samples were collected at different developmental stages and analysed for transcription profiling by RT-PCR. Transcriptional studies in stevia rebaudiana involves important antioxidant enzymes: catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (CYP) and stress induced aquaporin (AQU), auxin repressed protein (ARP-1), Ndhc gene. The data was analysed using GraphPad Prism and expressed as mean ± SD. Result: Low salinity and lower metal toxicity did not affect the fresh weight of the plant. However, this was substantially decreased by 55% at high salinity and heavy metal treatment. With increasing salinity and heavy metal toxicity, the values of all studied physiological traits were significantly decreased. Chlorosis in treated plants was also observed which could be due to changes in Fe:Zn ratio. At low concentrations (upto 25 mM) of NaCl and heavy metals, we did not observe any significant difference in the gene expressions of treated plants compared to control plants. Interestingly, at high salt concentration and high metal toxicity, a significant increase in the expression profile of stress induced genes was observed in treated plants compared to control (p < 0.005). Conclusion: Stevia rebaudiana is tolerant to lower salt and heavy metal concentration. This study also suggests that with the increase in concentrations of salt and heavy metals, harvest yield of S. rebaudiana was hampered.

Keywords: Stevia rebaudiana, natural sweetener, salinity, heavy metal toxicity

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93 The Role of Time-Dependent Treatment of Exogenous Salicylic Acid on Endogenous Phytohormone Levels under Salinity Stress

Authors: Hülya Torun, Ondřej Novák, Jaromír Mikulík, Miroslav Strnad, Faik A. Ayaz

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World climate is changing. Millions of people in the world still face chronic undernourishment for conducting a healthy life and the world’s population is growing steadily. To meet this growing demand, agriculture and food systems must adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. From this perspective, to determine tolerant cultivars for undesirable environmental conditions will be necessary food production for sustainable development. Among abiotic stresses, soil salinity is one of the most detrimental global fact restricting plant sources. Development of salt-tolerant lines is required in order to increase the crop productivity and quality in salt-treated lands. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the morphological and physiological responses of barley cultivars accessions to salinity stress by NaCl. For this purpose, it was aimed to determine the crosstalk between some endogenous phytohormones and exogenous salicylic acid (SA) in two different vegetative parts (leaves and roots) of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.; Poaceae; 2n=14; Ince-04) which is detected salt-tolerant. The effects of SA on growth parameters, leaf relative water content (RWC), endogenous phytohormones; including indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), cytokinins (CKs), abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene were investigated in barley cultivars under salinity stress. SA was applied to 17-day-old seedlings of barley in two different ways including before (pre-treated for 24 h) and simultaneously with NaCl stress treatment. NaCl (0, 150, 300 mM) exposure in the hydrophonic system was associated with a rapid decrease in growth parameters and RWC, which is an indicator of plant water status, resulted in a strong up-regulation of ABA as a stress indicator. Roots were more dramatically affected than leaves. Water conservation in 150 mM NaCl treated-barley plants did not change, but decreased in 300 mM NaCl treated plants. Pre- and simultaneously treatment of SA did not significantly alter growth parameters and RWC. ABA, JA and ethylene are known to be related with stress. In the present work, ethylene also increased, similarly to ABA, but not with the same intensity. While ABA and ethylene increased by the increment of salt concentrations, JA levels rapidly decreased especially in roots. Both pre- and simultaneously SA applications alleviated salt-induced decreases in 300 mM NaCl resulted in the increment of ABA levels. CKs and IAA are related to cell growth and development. At high salinity (300 mM NaCl), CKs (cZ+cZR) contents increased in both vegetative organs while IAA levels stayed at the same level with control groups. However, IAA increased and cZ+cZR rapidly decreased in leaves of barley plants with SA treatments before salt applications (in pre- SA treated groups). Simultaneously application of SA decreased CKs levels in both leaves and roots of the cultivar. Due to increasing concentrations of NaCl in association with decreasing ABA, JA and ethylene content and increments in CKs and IAA were recorded with SA treatments. As results of the study, in view of all the phytohormones that we tested, exogenous SA induced greater tolerance to salinity particularly when applied before salinity stress.

Keywords: Barley, Hordeum vulgare, phytohormones, salicylic acid, salinity

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92 Gamification of eHealth Business Cases to Enhance Rich Learning Experience

Authors: Kari Björn

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Introduction of games has expanded the application area of computer-aided learning tools to wide variety of age groups of learners. Serious games engage the learners into a real-world -type of simulation and potentially enrich the learning experience. Institutional background of a Bachelor’s level engineering program in Information and Communication Technology is introduced, with detailed focus on one of its majors, Health Technology. As part of a Customer Oriented Software Application thematic semester, one particular course of “eHealth Business and Solutions” is described and reflected in a gamified framework. Learning a consistent view into vast literature of business management, strategies, marketing and finance in a very limited time enforces selection of topics relevant to the industry. Health Technology is a novel and growing industry with a growing sector in consumer wearable devices and homecare applications. The business sector is attracting new entrepreneurs and impatient investor funds. From engineering education point of view the sector is driven by miniaturizing electronics, sensors and wireless applications. However, the market is highly consumer-driven and usability, safety and data integrity requirements are extremely high. When the same technology is used in analysis or treatment of patients, very strict regulatory measures are enforced. The paper introduces a course structure using gamification as a tool to learn the most essential in a new market: customer value proposition design, followed by a market entry game. Students analyze the existing market size and pricing structure of eHealth web-service market and enter the market as a steering group of their company, competing against the legacy players and with each other. The market is growing but has its rules of demand and supply balance. New products can be developed with an R&D-investment, and targeted to market with unique quality- and price-combinations. Product cost structure can be improved by investing to enhanced production capacity. Investments can be funded optionally by foreign capital. Students make management decisions and face the dynamics of the market competition in form of income statement and balance sheet after each decision cycle. The focus of the learning outcome is to understand customer value creation to be the source of cash flow. The benefit of gamification is to enrich the learning experience on structure and meaning of financial statements. The paper describes the gamification approach and discusses outcomes after two course implementations. Along the case description of learning challenges, some unexpected misconceptions are noted. Improvements of the game or the semi-gamified teaching pedagogy are discussed. The case description serves as an additional support to new game coordinator, as well as helps to improve the method. Overall, the gamified approach has helped to engage engineering student to business studies in an energizing way.

Keywords: engineering education, integrated curriculum, learning experience, learning outcomes

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91 Sorbitol Galactoside Synthesis Using β-Galactosidase Immobilized on Functionalized Silica Nanoparticles

Authors: Milica Carević, Katarina Banjanac, Marija ĆOrović, Ana Milivojević, Nevena Prlainović, Aleksandar Marinković, Dejan Bezbradica

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Nowadays, considering the growing awareness of functional food beneficial effects on human health, due attention is dedicated to the research in the field of obtaining new prominent products exhibiting improved physiological and physicochemical characteristics. Therefore, different approaches to valuable bioactive compounds synthesis have been proposed. β-Galactosidase, for example, although mainly utilized as hydrolytic enzyme, proved to be a promising tool for these purposes. Namely, under the particular conditions, such as high lactose concentration, elevated temperatures and low water activities, reaction of galactose moiety transfer to free hydroxyl group of the alternative acceptor (e.g. different sugars, alcohols or aromatic compounds) can generate a wide range of potentially interesting products. Up to now, galacto-oligosaccharides and lactulose have attracted the most attention due to their inherent prebiotic properties. The goal of this study was to obtain a novel product sorbitol galactoside, using the similar reaction mechanism, namely transgalactosylation reaction catalyzed by β-galactosidase from Aspergillus oryzae. By using sugar alcohol (sorbitol) as alternative acceptor, a diverse mixture of potential prebiotics is produced, enabling its more favorable functional features. Nevertheless, an introduction of alternative acceptor into the reaction mixture contributed to the complexity of reaction scheme, since several potential reaction pathways were introduced. Therefore, the thorough optimization using response surface method (RSM), in order to get an insight into different parameter (lactose concentration, sorbitol to lactose molar ratio, enzyme concentration, NaCl concentration and reaction time) influences, as well as their mutual interactions on product yield and productivity, was performed. In view of product yield maximization, the obtained model predicted optimal lactose concentration 500 mM, the molar ratio of sobitol to lactose 9, enzyme concentration 0.76 mg/ml, concentration of NaCl 0.8M, and the reaction time 7h. From the aspect of productivity, the optimum substrate molar ratio was found to be 1, while the values for other factors coincide. In order to additionally, improve enzyme efficiency and enable its reuse and potential continual application, immobilization of β-galactosidase onto tailored silica nanoparticles was performed. These non-porous fumed silica nanoparticles (FNS)were chosen on the basis of their biocompatibility and non-toxicity, as well as their advantageous mechanical and hydrodinamical properties. However, in order to achieve better compatibility between enzymes and the carrier, modifications of the silica surface using amino functional organosilane (3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane, APTMS) were made. Obtained support with amino functional groups (AFNS) enabled high enzyme loadings and, more importantly, extremely high expressed activities, approximately 230 mg proteins/g and 2100 IU/g, respectively. Moreover, this immobilized preparation showed high affinity towards sorbitol galactoside synthesis. Therefore, the findings of this study could provided a valuable contribution to the efficient production of physiologically active galactosides in immobilized enzyme reactors.

Keywords: β-galactosidase, immobilization, silica nanoparticles, transgalactosylation

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90 An Evaluation of a Prototype System for Harvesting Energy from Pressurized Pipeline Networks

Authors: Nicholas Aerne, John P. Parmigiani

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There is an increasing desire for renewable and sustainable energy sources to replace fossil fuels. This desire is the result of several factors. First, is the role of fossil fuels in climate change. Scientific data clearly shows that global warming is occurring. It has also been concluded that it is highly likely human activity; specifically, the combustion of fossil fuels, is a major cause of this warming. Second, despite the current surplus of petroleum, fossil fuels are a finite resource and will eventually become scarce and alternatives, such as clean or renewable energy will be needed. Third, operations to obtain fossil fuels such as fracking, off-shore oil drilling, and strip mining are expensive and harmful to the environment. Given these environmental impacts, there is a need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources as a primary energy source. Various sources of renewable energy exist. Many familiar sources obtain renewable energy from the sun and natural environments of the earth. Common examples include solar, hydropower, geothermal heat, ocean waves and tides, and wind energy. Often obtaining significant energy from these sources requires physically-large, sophisticated, and expensive equipment (e.g., wind turbines, dams, solar panels, etc.). Other sources of renewable energy are from the man-made environment. An example is municipal water distribution systems. The movement of water through the pipelines of these systems typically requires the reduction of hydraulic pressure through the use of pressure reducing valves. These valves are needed to reduce upstream supply-line pressures to levels suitable downstream users. The energy associated with this reduction of pressure is significant but is currently not harvested and is simply lost. While the integrity of municipal water supplies is of paramount importance, one can certainly envision means by which this lost energy source could be safely accessed. This paper provides a technical description and analysis of one such means by the technology company InPipe Energy to generate hydroelectricity by harvesting energy from municipal water distribution pressure reducing valve stations. Specifically, InPipe Energy proposes to install hydropower turbines in parallel with existing pressure reducing valves in municipal water distribution systems. InPipe Energy in partnership with Oregon State University has evaluated this approach and built a prototype system at the O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Lab. The Oregon State University evaluation showed that the prototype system rapidly and safely initiates, maintains, and ceases power production as directed. The outgoing water pressure remained constant at the specified set point throughout all testing. The system replicates the functionality of the pressure reducing valve and ensures accurate control of down-stream pressure. At a typical water-distribution-system pressure drop of 60 psi the prototype, operating at an efficiency 64%, produced approximately 5 kW of electricity. Based on the results of this study, this proposed method appears to offer a viable means of producing significant amounts of clean renewable energy from existing pressure reducing valves.

Keywords: pressure reducing valve, renewable energy, sustainable energy, water supply

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89 Zinc Oxide Varistor Performance: A 3D Network Model

Authors: Benjamin Kaufmann, Michael Hofstätter, Nadine Raidl, Peter Supancic

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ZnO varistors are the leading overvoltage protection elements in today’s electronic industry. Their highly non-linear current-voltage characteristics, very fast response times, good reliability and attractive cost of production are unique in this field. There are challenges and questions unsolved. Especially, the urge to create even smaller, versatile and reliable parts, that fit industry’s demands, brings manufacturers to the limits of their abilities. Although, the varistor effect of sintered ZnO is known since the 1960’s, and a lot of work was done on this field to explain the sudden exponential increase of conductivity, the strict dependency on sinter parameters, as well as the influence of the complex microstructure, is not sufficiently understood. For further enhancement and down-scaling of varistors, a better understanding of the microscopic processes is needed. This work attempts a microscopic approach to investigate ZnO varistor performance. In order to cope with the polycrystalline varistor ceramic and in order to account for all possible current paths through the material, a preferably realistic model of the microstructure was set up in the form of three-dimensional networks where every grain has a constant electric potential, and voltage drop occurs only at the grain boundaries. The electro-thermal workload, depending on different grain size distributions, was investigated as well as the influence of the metal-semiconductor contact between the electrodes and the ZnO grains. A number of experimental methods are used, firstly, to feed the simulations with realistic parameters and, secondly, to verify the obtained results. These methods are: a micro 4-point probes method system (M4PPS) to investigate the current-voltage characteristics between single ZnO grains and between ZnO grains and the metal electrode inside the varistor, micro lock-in infrared thermography (MLIRT) to detect current paths, electron back scattering diffraction and piezoresponse force microscopy to determine grain orientations, atom probe to determine atomic substituents, Kelvin probe force microscopy for investigating grain surface potentials. The simulations showed that, within a critical voltage range, the current flow is localized along paths which represent only a tiny part of the available volume. This effect could be observed via MLIRT. Furthermore, the simulations exhibit that the electric power density, which is inversely proportional to the number of active current paths, since this number determines the electrical active volume, is dependent on the grain size distribution. M4PPS measurements showed that the electrode-grain contacts behave like Schottky diodes and are crucial for asymmetric current path development. Furthermore, evaluation of actual data suggests that current flow is influenced by grain orientations. The present results deepen the knowledge of influencing microscopic factors on ZnO varistor performance and can give some recommendations on fabrication for obtaining more reliable ZnO varistors.

Keywords: metal-semiconductor contact, Schottky diode, varistor, zinc oxide

Procedia PDF Downloads 179
88 Chemical Synthesis and Microwave Sintering of SnO2-Based Nanoparticles for Varistor Films

Authors: Glauco M. M. M. Lustosa, João Paulo C. Costa, Leinig Antônio Perazolli, Maria Aparecida Zaghete

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SnO2 has electrical conductivity due to the excess of electrons and structural defects, being its electrical behavior highly dependent on sintering temperature and chemical composition. The addition of metals modifiers into the crystalline structure can improve and controlling the behavior of some semiconductor oxides that can therefore develop different applications such as varistors (ceramic with non-ohmic behavior between current and voltage, i.e. conductive during normal operation and resistive during overvoltage). The polymeric precursor method, based on the complexation reaction between metal ion and policarboxylic acid and then polymerized with ethylene glycol, was used to obtain nanopowders ceramic. The metal immobilization reduces its segregation during the decomposition of the polyester resulting in a crystalline oxide with high chemical homogeneity. The preparation of films from ceramics nanoparticles using electrophoretic deposition method (EPD) brings prospects for a new generation of smaller size devices with easy integration technology. EPD allows to control time and current and therefore it can have control of the thickness, surface roughness and the film density, quickly and with low production costs. The sintering process is key to control size and grain boundary density of the film. In this step, there is the diffusion of metals that promote densification and control of intrinsic defects or change these defects which will form and modify the potential barrier in the grain boundary. The use of microwave oven for sintering is an advantageous process due to the fast and homogeneous heating rate, promoting the diffusion and densification without irregular grain growth. This research was done a comparative study of sintering temperature by use of zinc as modifier agent to verify the influence on sintering step aiming to promote densification and grain growth, which influences the potential barrier formation and then changed the electrical behavior. SnO2-nanoparticles were obtained with 1 %mol of ZnO + 0.05 %mol of Nb2O5 (SZN), deposited as film through EPD (voltage 2 kV, time of 10 min) on Si/Pt substrate. Sintering was made in a microwave oven at 800, 900 and 1000 °C. For complete coverage of the substrate by nanoparticles with low surface roughness and uniform thickness was added 0.02 g of solid iodine in alcoholic suspension SnO2 to increase particle surface charge. They were also used magneto in EPD system that improved the deposition rate forming a compact film. Using a scanning electron microscope of high resolution (SEM_FEG) it was observed nanoparticles with average size between 10-20 nm, after sintering the average size was 150 to 200 nm and thickness of 5 µm. Also, it was verified that the temperature at 1000 °C was the most efficient in sintering. The best sintering time was also recorded and determined as 40 minutes. After sintering, the films were recovered with Cr3+ ions layer by EPD, then the films were again thermally treated. The electrical characterizations (nonlinear coefficient of 11.4, voltage rupture of ~60 V and leakage current = 4.8x10−6 A), allow considering the new methodology suitable for prepare SnO2-based varistor applied for development of electrical protection devices for low voltage.

Keywords: chemical synthesis, electrophoretic deposition, microwave sintering, tin dioxide

Procedia PDF Downloads 126
87 Active Filtration of Phosphorus in Ca-Rich Hydrated Oil Shale Ash Filters: The Effect of Organic Loading and Form of Precipitated Phosphatic Material

Authors: Päärn Paiste, Margit Kõiv, Riho Mõtlep, Kalle Kirsimäe

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For small-scale wastewater management, the treatment wetlands (TWs) as a low cost alternative to conventional treatment facilities, can be used. However, P removal capacity of TW systems is usually problematic. P removal in TWs is mainly dependent on the physico–chemical and hydrological properties of the filter material. Highest P removal efficiency has been shown trough Ca-phosphate precipitation (i.e. active filtration) in Ca-rich alkaline filter materials, e.g. industrial by-products like hydrated oil shale ash (HOSA), metallurgical slags. In this contribution we report preliminary results of a full-scale TW system using HOSA material for P removal for a municipal wastewater at Nõo site, Estonia. The main goals of this ongoing project are to evaluate: a) the long-term P removal efficiency of HOSA using real waste water; b) the effect of high organic loading rate; c) variable P-loading effects on the P removal mechanism (adsorption/direct precipitation); and d) the form and composition of phosphate precipitates. Onsite full-scale experiment with two concurrent filter systems for treatment of municipal wastewater was established in September 2013. System’s pretreatment steps include septic tank (2 m2) and vertical down-flow LECA filters (3 m2 each), followed by horizontal subsurface HOSA filters (effective volume 8 m3 each). Overall organic and hydraulic loading rates of both systems are the same. However, the first system is operated in a stable hydraulic loading regime and the second in variable loading regime that imitates the wastewater production in an average household. Piezometers for water and perforated sample containers for filter material sampling were incorporated inside the filter beds to allow for continuous in-situ monitoring. During the 18 months of operation the median removal efficiency (inflow to outflow) of both systems were over 99% for TP, 93% for COD and 57% for TN. However, we observed significant differences in the samples collected in different points inside the filter systems. In both systems, we observed development of preferred flow paths and zones with high and low loadings. The filters show formation and a gradual advance of a “dead” zone along the flow path (zone with saturated filter material characterized by ineffective removal rates), which develops more rapidly in the system working under variable loading regime. The formation of the “dead” zone is accompanied by the growth of organic substances on the filter material particles that evidently inhibit the P removal. Phase analysis of used filter materials using X-ray diffraction method reveals formation of minor amounts of amorphous Ca-phosphate precipitates. This finding is supported by ATR-FTIR and SEM-EDS measurements, which also reveal Ca-phosphate and authigenic carbonate precipitation. Our first experimental results demonstrate that organic pollution and loading regime significantly affect the performance of hydrated ash filters. The material analyses also show that P is incorporated into a carbonate substituted hydroxyapatite phase.

Keywords: active filtration, apatite, hydrated oil shale ash, organic pollution, phosphorus

Procedia PDF Downloads 176
86 Investigation of Pu-238 Heat Source Modifications to Increase Power Output through (α,N) Reaction-Induced Fission

Authors: Alex B. Cusick

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The objective of this study is to improve upon the current ²³⁸PuO₂ fuel technology for space and defense applications. Modern RTGs (radioisotope thermoelectric generators) utilize the heat generated from the radioactive decay of ²³⁸Pu to create heat and electricity for long term and remote missions. Application of RTG technology is limited by the scarcity and expense of producing the isotope, as well as the power output which is limited to only a few hundred watts. The scarcity and expense make the efficient use of ²³⁸Pu absolutely necessary. By utilizing the decay of ²³⁸Pu, not only to produce heat directly but to also indirectly induce fission in ²³⁹Pu (which is already present within currently used fuel), it is possible to see large increases in temperature which allows for a more efficient conversion to electricity and a higher power-to-weight ratio. This concept can reduce the quantity of ²³⁸Pu necessary for these missions, potentially saving millions on investment, while yielding higher power output. Current work investigating radioisotope power systems have focused on improving efficiency of the thermoelectric components and replacing systems which produce heat by virtue of natural decay with fission reactors. The technical feasibility of utilizing (α,n) reactions to induce fission within current radioisotopic fuels has not been investigated in any appreciable detail, and our study aims to thoroughly investigate the performance of many such designs, develop those with highest capabilities, and facilitate experimental testing of these designs. In order to determine the specific design parameters that maximize power output and the efficient use of ²³⁸Pu for future RTG units, MCNP6 simulations have been used to characterize the effects of modifying fuel composition, geometry, and porosity, as well as introducing neutron moderating, reflecting, and shielding materials to the system. Although this project is currently in the preliminary stages, the final deliverables will include sophisticated designs and simulation models that define all characteristics of multiple novel RTG fuels, detailed enough to allow immediate fabrication and testing. Preliminary work has consisted of developing a benchmark model to accurately represent the ²³⁸PuO₂ pellets currently in use by NASA; this model utilizes the alpha transport capabilities of MCNP6 and agrees well with experimental data. In addition, several models have been developed by varying specific parameters to investigate their effect on (α,n) and (n,fi ssion) reaction rates. Current practices in fuel processing are to exchange out the small portion of naturally occurring ¹⁸O and ¹⁷O to limit (α,n) reactions and avoid unnecessary neutron production. However, we have shown that enriching the oxide in ¹⁸O introduces a sufficient (α,n) reaction rate to support significant fission rates. For example, subcritical fission rates above 10⁸ f/cm³-s are easily achievable in cylindrical ²³⁸PuO₂ fuel pellets with a ¹⁸O enrichment of 100%, given an increase in size and a ⁹Be clad. Many viable designs exist and our intent is to discuss current results and future endeavors on this project.

Keywords: radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG), Pu-238, subcritical reactors, (alpha, n) reactions

Procedia PDF Downloads 87
85 Prospects of Low Immune Response Transplants Based on Acellular Organ Scaffolds

Authors: Inna Kornienko, Svetlana Guryeva, Anatoly Shekhter, Elena Petersen

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Transplantation is an effective treatment option for patients suffering from different end-stage diseases. However, it is plagued by a constant shortage of donor organs and the subsequent need of a lifelong immunosuppressive therapy for the patient. Currently some researchers look towards using of pig organs to replace human organs for transplantation since the matrix derived from porcine organs is a convenient substitute for the human matrix. As an initial step to create a new ex vivo tissue engineered model, optimized protocols have been created to obtain organ-specific acellular matrices and evaluated their potential as tissue engineered scaffolds for culture of normal cells and tumor cell lines. These protocols include decellularization by perfusion in a bioreactor system and immersion-agitation on an orbital shaker with use of various detergents (SDS, Triton X-100) and freezing. Complete decellularization – in terms of residual DNA amount – is an important predictor of probability of immune rejection of materials of natural origin. However, the signs of cellular material may still remain within the matrix even after harsh decellularization protocols. In this regard, the matrices obtained from tissues of low-immunogenic pigs with α3Galactosyl-tranferase gene knock out (GalT-KO) may be a promising alternative to native animal sources. The research included a study of induced effect of frozen and fresh fragments of GalT-KO skin on healing of full-thickness plane wounds in 80 rats. Commercially available wound dressings (Ksenoderm, Hyamatrix and Alloderm) as well as allogenic skin were used as a positive control and untreated wounds were analyzed as a negative control. The results were evaluated on the 4th day after grafting, which corresponds to the time of start of normal wound epithelization. It has been shown that a non-specific immune response in models treated with GalT-Ko pig skin was milder than in all the control groups. Research has been performed to measure technical skin characteristics: stiffness and elasticity properties, corneometry, tevametry, and cutometry. These metrics enabled the evaluation of hydratation level, corneous layer husking level, as well as skin elasticity and micro- and macro-landscape. These preliminary data may contribute to development of personalized transplantable organs from GalT-Ko pigs with significantly limited potential of immune rejection. By applying growth factors to a decellularized skin sample it is possible to achieve various regenerative effects based on the particular situation. In this particular research BMP2 and Heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor have been used. Ideally, a bioengineered organ must be biocompatible, non-immunogenic and support cell growth. Porcine organs are attractive for xenotransplantation if severe immunologic concerns can be bypassed. The results indicate that genetically modified pig tissues with knock-outed α3Galactosyl-tranferase gene may be used for production of low-immunogenic matrix suitable for transplantation.

Keywords: decellularization, low-immunogenic, matrix, scaffolds, transplants

Procedia PDF Downloads 156
84 Spinetoram10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG: A Promising Green Chemistry to Manage Pest Complex in Bt Cotton

Authors: Siddharudha B. Patil

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Cotton is a premier commercial fibre crop of India subjected to ravages of insect pests. Sucking pests viz thrips, Thrips tabaci,(lind) leaf hopper Amrsca devastance,(dist) miridbug, Poppiocapsidea beseratense (Dist) and bollworms continue to inflict damage Bt Cotton right from seeding stage. Their infestation impact cotton yield to an extent of 30-40 percent. Chemical control is still adoptable as one of the techniques for combating these pests. Presently, growers have many challenges in selecting effective chemicals which fit in with an integrated pest management. Spinetoram has broad spectrum with excellent insecticidal activity against both sucking pests and bollworms. Hence, it is expected to make a great contribution to stable production and quality improvement of agricultural products. Spinetoram is a derivative of biologically active substances (Spinosyns) produced by soil actinomycetes, Saccharopolypara spinosa which is semi synthetic active ingredient representing Spinosyn chemical class of insecticide and has demonstrated higher level of efficacy with reduced risk on beneficial arthropods. The efforts were made in the present study to test the efficacy of Spinetoram against sucking pests and bollworms in comparison with other insecticides in Bt Cotton under field condition. Field experiment was laid out during 2013-14 and 2014-15 at Agricultural Research station Dharwad (Karnataka-India) in a randomized block design comprising eight treatments and three replications. Bt cotton genotype, Bunny BG-II was sown in a plot size of 5.4 m x5.4 m. Recommend agronomical practices were followed. The Spinetoram 12% SC alone and incombination with sulfaxaflore with varied dosages against pest complex was tested. Performance was compared with Spinosad 45% SC and thiamethoxam 25% WG. The results of consecutive seasons revealed that nonsignificant difference in thrips and leafhopper population and varied significantly after 3 days of imposition. Among the treatments, combiproduct, Spinetoram 10%WG + Sulfoxaflor 30% [email protected] 140 gai/ha registered lowest population of thrips (3.91/3 leaves) and leaf hoppers (1.08/3 leaves) followed by its lower dosages viz 120 gai/ha (4.86/3 leaves and 1.14/3 leaves of thrips and leaf hoppers, respectively) and 100 gai/ha (6.02 and 1.23./3 leaves of thrips and leaf hoppers respectively) being at par, significantly superior to rest of the treatments. On the contrary, the population of thrips, leaf hopper and miridbugs in untreated control was on higher side. Similarly the higher dosage of Spinetoram 10% WG+ Sulfoxaflor 30% WG (140 gai/ha) proved its bioefficacy by registering lowest miridbug incidence of 1.70/25 squares, followed by its lower dosage (1.78 and 1.83/25 squares respectively) Further observation made on bollworms incidence revealed that the higher dosage of Spinetoram 10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG (140 gai/ha) registered lowest percentage of boll damage (7.22%), more number of good opened bolls (36.89/plant) and higher seed cotton yield (19.45q/ha) followed by rest of its lower dosages, Spinetoram 12% SC alone and Spinosad 45% SC being at par significantly superior to rest of the treatments. However, significantly higher boll damage (15.13%) and lower seed cotton yield (14.45 q/ha) was registered in untreated control. Thus Spinetoram10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG can be a promising option for pest management in Bt Cotton.

Keywords: Spinetoram10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG, sucking pests, bollworms, Bt cotton, management

Procedia PDF Downloads 72
83 Force Sensor for Robotic Graspers in Minimally Invasive Surgery

Authors: Naghmeh M. Bandari, Javad Dargahi, Muthukumaran Packirisamy

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Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RMIS) has been widely performed around the world during the last two decades. RMIS demonstrates significant advantages over conventional surgery, e.g., improving the accuracy and dexterity of a surgeon, providing 3D vision, motion scaling, hand-eye coordination, decreasing tremor, and reducing x-ray exposure for surgeons. Despite benefits, surgeons cannot touch the surgical site and perceive tactile information. This happens due to the remote control of robots. The literature survey identified the lack of force feedback as the riskiest limitation in the existing technology. Without the perception of tool-tissue contact force, the surgeon might apply an excessive force causing tissue laceration or insufficient force causing tissue slippage. The primary use of force sensors has been to measure the tool-tissue interaction force in real-time in-situ. Design of a tactile sensor is subjected to a set of design requirements, e.g., biocompatibility, electrical-passivity, MRI-compatibility, miniaturization, ability to measure static and dynamic force. In this study, a planar optical fiber-based sensor was proposed to mount at the surgical grasper. It was developed based on the light intensity modulation principle. The deflectable part of the sensor was a beam modeled as a cantilever Euler-Bernoulli beam on rigid substrates. A semi-cylindrical indenter was attached to the bottom surface the beam at the mid-span. An optical fiber was secured at both ends on the same rigid substrates. The indenter was in contact with the fiber. External force on the sensor caused deflection in the beam and optical fiber simultaneously. The micro-bending of the optical fiber would consequently result in light power loss. The sensor was simulated and studied using finite element methods. A laser light beam with 800nm wavelength and 5mW power was used as the input to the optical fiber. The output power was measured using a photodetector. The voltage from photodetector was calibrated to the external force for a chirp input (0.1-5Hz). The range, resolution, and hysteresis of the sensor were studied under monotonic and harmonic external forces of 0-2.0N with 0 and 5Hz, respectively. The results confirmed the validity of proposed sensing principle. Also, the sensor demonstrated an acceptable linearity (R2 > 0.9). A minimum external force was observed below which no power loss was detectable. It is postulated that this phenomenon is attributed to the critical angle of the optical fiber to observe total internal reflection. The experimental results were of negligible hysteresis (R2 > 0.9) and in fair agreement with the simulations. In conclusion, the suggested planar sensor is assessed to be a cost-effective solution, feasible, and easy to use the sensor for being miniaturized and integrated at the tip of robotic graspers. Geometrical and optical factors affecting the minimum sensible force and the working range of the sensor should be studied and optimized. This design is intrinsically scalable and meets all the design requirements. Therefore, it has a significant potential of industrialization and mass production.

Keywords: force sensor, minimally invasive surgery, optical sensor, robotic surgery, tactile sensor

Procedia PDF Downloads 65
82 The Importance of Value Added Services Provided by Science and Technology Parks to Boost Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Turkey

Authors: Faruk Inaltekin, Imran Gurakan

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This paper will aim to discuss the importance of value-added services provided by Science and Technology Parks for entrepreneurship development in Turkey. Entrepreneurship is vital subject for all countries. It has not only fostered economic development but also promoted innovation at local and international levels. To foster high tech entrepreneurship ecosystem, Technopark (Science and Technology Park/STP) concept was initiated with the establishment of Silicon Valley in the 1950s. The success and rise of Silicon Valley led to the spread of technopark activities. Developed economies have been setting up projects to plan and build STPs since the 1960s and 1970s. To promote the establishment of STPs, necessary legislations were made by Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology in 2001, Technology Development Zones Law (No. 4691) and it has been revised in 2016 to provide more supports. STPs’ basic aim is to provide customers high-quality office spaces with various 'value added services' such as business development, network connections, cooperation programs, investor/customers meetings and internationalization services. For this aim, STPs should help startups deal with difficulties in the early stages and to support mature companies’ export activities in the foreign market. STPs should support the production, commercialization and more significantly internationalization of technology-intensive business and foster growth of companies. Nowadays within this value-added services, internationalization is very popular subject in the world. Most of STPs design clusters or accelerator programs in order to support their companies in the foreign market penetration. If startups are not ready for international competition, STPs should help them to get ready for foreign market with training and mentoring sessions. These training and mentoring sessions should take a goal based approach to working with companies. Each company has different needs and goals. Therefore the definition of ‘success' varies for each company. For this reason, it is very important to create customized value added services to meet the needs of startups. After local supports, STPs should also be able to support their startups in foreign market. Organizing well defined international accelerator program plays an important role in this mission. Turkey is strategically placed between key markets in Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Its population is young and well educated. So both government agencies and the private sectors endeavor to foster and encourage entrepreneurship ecosystem with many supports. In sum, the task of technoparks with these and similar value added services is very important for developing entrepreneurship ecosystem. The priorities of all value added services are to identify the commercialization and growth obstacles faced by entrepreneurs and get rid of them with the one-to-one customized services. Also, in order to have a healthy startup ecosystem and create sustainable entrepreneurship, stakeholders (technoparks, incubators, accelerators, investors, universities, governmental organizations etc.) should fulfill their roles and/or duties and collaborate with each other. STPs play an important role as bridge for these stakeholders & entrepreneurs. STPs always should benchmark and renew services offered to how to help the start-ups to survive, develop their business and benefit from these stakeholders.

Keywords: accelerator, cluster, entrepreneurship, startup, technopark, value added services

Procedia PDF Downloads 47
81 Species Profiling of White Grub Beetles and Evaluation of Pre and Post Sown Application of Insecticides against White Grub Infesting Soybean

Authors: Ajay Kumar Pandey, Mayank Kumar

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White grub (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) is a major destructive pest in western Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. Beetles feed on apple, apricot, plum, walnut etc. during night while, second and third instar grubs feed on live roots of cultivated as well as non-cultivated crops. Collection and identification of scarab beetles through light trap was carried out at Crop Research Centre, Govind Ballab Pant University Pantnagar, Udham Singh Nagar (Uttarakhand) during 2018. Field trials were also conducted in 2018 to evaluate pre and post sown application of different insecticides against the white grub infesting soybean. The insecticides like Carbofuran 3 Granule (G) (750 g a.i./ha), Clothianidin 50 Water Dispersal Granule (WG) (120 g a.i./ha), Fipronil 0.3 G (50 g a.i./ha), Thiamethoxam 25 WG (80 g a.i./ha), Imidacloprid 70 WG (300 g a.i./ha), Chlorantraniliprole 0.4% G(100 g a.i./ha) and mixture of Fipronil 40% and Imidacloprid 40% WG (300 g a.i./ha) were applied at the time of sowing in pre sown experiment while same dosage of insecticides were applied in standing soybean crop during (first fortnight of July). Commutative plant mortality data were recorded after 20, 40, 60 days intervals and compared with untreated control. Total 23 species of white grub beetles recorded on the light trap and Holotrichia serrata Fabricious (Coleoptera: Melolonthinae) was found to be predominant species by recording 20.6% relative abundance out of the total light trap catch (i.e. 1316 beetles) followed by Phyllognathus sp. (14.6% relative abundance). H. rosettae and Heteronychus lioderus occupied third and fourth rank with 11.85% and 9.65% relative abundance, respectively. The emergence of beetles of predominant species started from 15th March, 2018. In April, average light trap catch was 382 white grub beetles, however, peak emergence of most of the white grub species was observed from June to July, 2018 i.e. 336 beetles in June followed by 303 beetles in the July. On the basis of the emergence pattern of white grub beetles, it may be concluded that the Peak Emergence Period (PEP) for the beetles of H. serrata was second fortnight of April for the total period of 15 days. In May, June and July relatively low population of H. serrata was observed. A decreasing trend in light trap catch was observed and went on till September during the study. No single beetle of H. serrata was observed on light trap from September onwards. The cumulative plant mortality data in both the experiments revealed that all the insecticidal treatments were significantly superior in protection-wise (6.49-16.82% cumulative plant mortality) over untreated control where highest plant mortality was 17.28 to 39.65% during study. The mixture of Fipronil 40% and Imidacloprid 40% WG applied at the rate of 300 g a.i. per ha proved to be most effective having lowest plant mortality i.e. 9.29 and 10.94% in pre and post sown crop, followed by Clothianidin 50 WG (120 g a.i. per ha) where the plant mortality was 10.57 and 11.93% in pre and post sown treatments, respectively. Both treatments were found significantly at par among each other. Production-wise, all the insecticidal treatments were found statistically superior (15.00-24.66 q per ha grain yields) over untreated control where the grain yield was 8.25 & 9.13 q per ha. Treatment Fipronil 40% + Imidacloprid 40% WG applied at the rate of 300 g a.i. per ha proved to be most effective and significantly superior over Imidacloprid 70WG applied at the rate of 300 g a.i. per ha.

Keywords: bio efficacy, insecticide, soybean, white grub

Procedia PDF Downloads 21
80 The Preliminary Exposition of Soil Biological Activity, Microbial Diversity and Morpho-Physiological Indexes of Cucumber under Interactive Effect of Allelopathic Garlic Stalk: A Short-Term Dynamic Response in Replanted Alkaline Soil

Authors: Ahmad Ali, Muhammad Imran Ghani, Haiyan Ding, Zhihui Cheng, Muhammad Iqbal

Abstract:

Background and Aims: In recent years, protected cultivation trend, especially in the northern parts of China, spread dynamically where production area, structure, and crops diversity have expanded gradually under plastic greenhouse vegetable cropping (PGVC) system. Under this growing system, continuous monoculture with excessive synthetic fertilizers inputs are common cultivation practices frequently adopted by commercial producers. Such long-term cumulative wild exercise year after year sponsor the continuous cropping obstacles in PGVC soil, which have greatly threatened the regional soil eco-sustainability and further impose the continuous assault on soil ecological diversity leading to the exhaustion of agriculture productivity. The aim of this study was to develop new allelopathic insights by exploiting available biological resources in the favor of sustainable PGVC to illuminate the continuous obstacle factors in plastic greenhouse. Method: A greenhouse study was executed under plastic tunnel located at the Horticulture Experimental Station of the College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi Province, one of the prominent regions for intensive commercial PGVC in China. Post-harvest garlic residues (stalk, leaves) mechanically smashed, homogenized into powder size and incorporated at the ratio of 1:100; 3:100; 5:100 as a soil amendment in a replanted soil that have been used for continuous cucumber monoculture for 7 years (annually double cropping system in a greenhouse). Results: Incorporated C-rich garlic stalk significantly influenced the soil condition through various ways; organic matter decomposition and mineralization, moderately adjusted the soil pH, enhanced the soil nutrient availability, increased enzymatic activities, and promoted 20% more cucumber yield in short-time. Using Illumina MiSeq sequencing analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal 18S rDNA genes, the current study revealed that addition of garlic stalk/residue could also improve the microbial abundance and community composition in extensively exploited soil, and contributed in soil functionality, caused prosper changes in soil characteristics, reinforced to good crop yield. Conclusion: Our study provided evidence that addition of garlic stalk as soil fertility amendment is a feasible, cost-effective and efficient resource utilization way for renovation of degraded soil health, ameliorate soil quality components and improve ecological environment in short duration. Our study may provide a better scientific understanding for efficient crop residue management typically from allelopathic source.

Keywords: garlic stalk, microbial community dynamics, plant growth, soil amendment, soil-plant system

Procedia PDF Downloads 35
79 Digital Holographic Interferometric Microscopy for the Testing of Micro-Optics

Authors: Varun Kumar, Chandra Shakher

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Micro-optical components such as microlenses and microlens array have numerous engineering and industrial applications for collimation of laser diodes, imaging devices for sensor system (CCD/CMOS, document copier machines etc.), for making beam homogeneous for high power lasers, a critical component in Shack-Hartmann sensor, fiber optic coupling and optical switching in communication technology. Also micro-optical components have become an alternative for applications where miniaturization, reduction of alignment and packaging cost are necessary. The compliance with high-quality standards in the manufacturing of micro-optical components is a precondition to be compatible on worldwide markets. Therefore, high demands are put on quality assurance. For quality assurance of these lenses, an economical measurement technique is needed. For cost and time reason, technique should be fast, simple (for production reason), and robust with high resolution. The technique should provide non contact, non-invasive and full field information about the shape of micro- optical component under test. The interferometric techniques are noncontact type and non invasive and provide full field information about the shape of the optical components. The conventional interferometric technique such as holographic interferometry or Mach-Zehnder interferometry is available for characterization of micro-lenses. However, these techniques need more experimental efforts and are also time consuming. Digital holography (DH) overcomes the above described problems. Digital holographic microscopy (DHM) allows one to extract both the amplitude and phase information of a wavefront transmitted through the transparent object (microlens or microlens array) from a single recorded digital hologram by using numerical methods. Also one can reconstruct the complex object wavefront at different depths due to numerical reconstruction. Digital holography provides axial resolution in nanometer range while lateral resolution is limited by diffraction and the size of the sensor. In this paper, Mach-Zehnder based digital holographic interferometric microscope (DHIM) system is used for the testing of transparent microlenses. The advantage of using the DHIM is that the distortions due to aberrations in the optical system are avoided by the interferometric comparison of reconstructed phase with and without the object (microlens array). In the experiment, first a digital hologram is recorded in the absence of sample (microlens array) as a reference hologram. Second hologram is recorded in the presence of microlens array. The presence of transparent microlens array will induce a phase change in the transmitted laser light. Complex amplitude of object wavefront in presence and absence of microlens array is reconstructed by using Fresnel reconstruction method. From the reconstructed complex amplitude, one can evaluate the phase of object wave in presence and absence of microlens array. Phase difference between the two states of object wave will provide the information about the optical path length change due to the shape of the microlens. By the knowledge of the value of the refractive index of microlens array material and air, the surface profile of microlens array is evaluated. The Sag of microlens and radius of curvature of microlens are evaluated and reported. The sag of microlens agrees well within the experimental limit as provided in the specification by the manufacturer.

Keywords: micro-optics, microlens array, phase map, digital holographic interferometric microscopy

Procedia PDF Downloads 377
78 Climate Change Adaptation Success in a Low Income Country Setting, Bangladesh

Authors: Tanveer Ahmed Choudhury

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Background: Bangladesh is one of the largest deltas in the world, with high population density and high rates of poverty and illiteracy. 80% of the country is on low-lying floodplains, leaving the country one of the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change: sea level rise, cyclones and storms, salinity intrusion, rising temperatures and heavy monsoon downpours. Such climatic events already limit Economic Development in the country. Although Bangladesh has had little responsibility in contributing to global climatic change, it is vulnerable to both its direct and indirect impacts. Real threats include reduced agricultural production, worsening food security, increased incidence of flooding and drought, spreading disease and an increased risk of conflict over scarce land and water resources. Currently, 8.3 million Bangladeshis live in cyclone high risk areas. However, by 2050 this is expected to grow to 20.3 million people, if proper adaptive actions are not taken. Under a high emissions scenario, an additional 7.6 million people will be exposed to very high salinity by 2050 compared to current levels. It is also projected that, an average of 7.2 million people will be affected by flooding due to sea level rise every year between 2070-2100 and If global emissions decrease rapidly and adaptation interventions are taken, the population affected by flooding could be limited to only about 14,000 people. To combat the climate change adverse effects, Bangladesh government has initiated many adaptive measures specially in infrastructure and renewable energy sector. Government is investing huge money and initiated many projects which have been proved very success full. Objectives: The objective of this paper is to describe some successful measures initiated by Bangladesh government in its effort to make the country a Climate Resilient. Methodology: Review of operation plan and activities of different relevant Ministries of Bangladesh government. Result: The following initiative projects, programs and activities are considered as best practices for Climate Change adaptation successes for Bangladesh: 1. The Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL); 2. Climate Change and Health Promotion Unit (CCHPU); 3. The Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF); 4. Community Climate Change Project (CCCP); 5. Health, Population, Nutrition Sector Development Program (HPNSDP, 2011-2016)- "Climate Change and Environmental Issues"; 6. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh and WHO Collaboration; - National Adaptation Plan. -"Building adaptation to climate change in health in least developed countries through resilient WASH". 7. COP-21 “Climate and health country profile -2015 Bangladesh. Conclusion: Due to a vast coastline, low-lying land and abundance of rivers, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change. Having extensive experience with facing natural disasters, Bangladesh has developed a successful adaptation program, which led to a significant reduction in casualties from extreme weather events. In a low income country setting, Bangladesh had successfully adapted various projects and initiatives to combat future Climate Change challenges.

Keywords: climate, change, success, Bangladesh

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77 Eco-Politics of Infrastructure Development in and Around Protected Areas in Kenya: The Case of Nairobi National Park

Authors: Teresa Wanjiru Mbatia

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On 7th June 2011, the government Minister of Roads in Kenya announced the proposed construction of a major highway known as a southern bypass to run on the northern border of the Nairobi National Park. The following day on 8th June 2011, the chairperson of the Friends of Nairobi National Park (FONNAP) posted a protest statement on their website, with the heading, ‘Nairobi Park is Not a cake’ alerting its members and conservation groups, with the aim of getting support to the campaign against the government’s intention to hive off a section of the park for road construction. This was the first and earliest statement that led to a series of other events that culminated in conservationists and some other members of the public campaign against the government’s plan to hive off sections of the park to build road and railway infrastructure in or around the park. Together with other non-state actors, mostly non-governmental organisations in conservation/environment and tourism businesses, FoNNAP issued a series of other statements on social, print and electronic media to battle against road and railway construction. This paper examined the strategies, outcomes and interests of actors involved in opposing/proposing the development of transport infrastructure in and around the Nairobi National Park. Specifically, the objectives were to analyse the: (1) Arguments put forward by the eco-warriors to protest infrastructure development; (2) Background and interests of the eco-warriors; (3) Needs/interests and opinions of ordinary common citizens on transport infrastructural development, particularly in and around the urban nature reserve and (4) Final outcomes of the eco-politics surrounding infrastructure development in and around Nairobi National Park. The methodological approach used was environmental history and the social construction of nature. The study collected combined qualitative data using four main approaches, the grounded theory approach, narratives, case studies and a phenomenological approach. The information collected was analysed using critical discourse analysis. The major findings of the study were that under the guise of “public participation,” influential non-state actors have the capacity to perpetuate social-spatial inequalities in the form of curtailing the majority from accessing common public goods. A case in point in this study is how the efforts of powerful conservationists, environmentalists, and tourism businesspersons managed to stall the construction of much-needed road and railway infrastructure severally through litigations in lengthy environmental court processes involving injunctions and stop orders to the government bodies in charge. Moreover, powerful non-state actors were found to have formed informal and sometimes formal coalitions with politicians with selfish interests, which serves to deepen the exclusionary practices and the common good. The study concludes that mostly composed of certain types of elites (NGOs, business communities, politicians and privileged social-cultural groups), non-state actors have used participatory policies to advance their own interests at the expense of the majority whom they claim to represent. These practices are traced to the historically unjust social, political, and economic forces involved in the production of space in Nairobi.

Keywords: eco-politics, exclusion, infrastructure, Nairobi national park, non-state actors, protests

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76 Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor Followed by Dissolved Air Flotation Treating Municipal Sewage

Authors: Priscila Ribeiro dos Santos, Luiz Antonio Daniel

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Inadequate access to clean water and sanitation has become one of the most widespread problems affecting people throughout the developing world, leading to an unceasing need for low-cost and sustainable wastewater treatment systems. The UASB technology has been widely employed as a suitable and economical option for the treatment of sewage in developing countries, which involves low initial investment, low energy requirements, low operation and maintenance costs, high loading capacity, short hydraulic retention times, long solids retention times and low sludge production. Whereas dissolved air flotation process is a good option for the post-treatment of anaerobic effluents, being capable of producing high quality effluents in terms of total suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand, phosphorus, and even pathogens. This work presents an evaluation and monitoring, over a period of 6 months, of one compact full-scale system with this configuration, UASB reactors followed by dissolved air flotation units (DAF), operating in Brazil. It was verified as a successful treatment system, and an issue of relevance since dissolved air flotation process treating UASB reactor effluents is not widely encompassed in the literature. The study covered the removal and behavior of several variables, such as turbidity, total suspend solids (TSS), chemical oxygen demand (COD), Escherichia coli, total coliforms and Clostridium perfringens. The physicochemical variables were analyzed according to the protocols established by the Standard Methods for Examination of Water and Wastewater. For microbiological variables, such as Escherichia coli and total coliforms, it was used the “pour plate” technique with Chromocult Coliform Agar (Merk Cat. No.1.10426) serving as the culture medium, while the microorganism Clostridium perfringens was analyzed through the filtering membrane technique, with the Ágar m-CP (Oxoid Ltda, England) serving as the culture medium. Approximately 74% of total COD was removed in the UASB reactor, and the complementary removal done during the flotation process resulted in 88% of COD removal from the raw sewage, thus the initial concentration of COD of 729 mg.L-1 decreased to 87 mg.L-1. Whereas, in terms of particulate COD, the overall removal efficiency for the whole system was about 94%, decreasing from 375 mg.L-1 in raw sewage to 29 mg.L-1 in final effluent. The UASB reactor removed on average 77% of the TSS from raw sewage. While the dissolved air flotation process did not work as expected, removing only 30% of TSS from the anaerobic effluent. The final effluent presented an average concentration of 38 mg.L-1 of TSS. The turbidity was significantly reduced, leading to an overall efficiency removal of 80% and a final turbidity of 28 NTU.The treated effluent still presented a high concentration of fecal pollution indicators (E. coli, total coliforms, and Clostridium perfringens), showing that the system did not present a good performance in removing pathogens. Clostridium perfringens was the organism which suffered the higher removal by the treatment system. The results can be considered satisfactory for the physicochemical variables, taking into account the simplicity of the system, besides that, it is necessary a post-treatment to improve the microbiological quality of the final effluent.

Keywords: dissolved air flotation, municipal sewage, UASB reactor, treatment

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75 A Next-Generation Pin-On-Plate Tribometer for Use in Arthroplasty Material Performance Research

Authors: Lewis J. Woollin, Robert I. Davidson, Paul Watson, Philip J. Hyde

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Introduction: In-vitro testing of arthroplasty materials is of paramount importance when ensuring that they can withstand the performance requirements encountered in-vivo. One common machine used for in-vitro testing is a pin-on-plate tribometer, an early stage screening device that generates data on the wear characteristics of arthroplasty bearing materials. These devices test vertically loaded rotating cylindrical pins acting against reciprocating plates, representing the bearing surfaces. In this study, a pin-on-plate machine has been developed that provides several improvements over current technology, thereby progressing arthroplasty bearing research. Historically, pin-on-plate tribometers have been used to investigate the performance of arthroplasty bearing materials under conditions commonly encountered during a standard gait cycle; nominal operating pressures of 2-6 MPa and an operating frequency of 1 Hz are typical. There has been increased interest in using pin-on-plate machines to test more representative in-vivo conditions, due to the drive to test 'beyond compliance', as well as their testing speed and economic advantages over hip simulators. Current pin-on-plate machines do not accommodate the increased performance requirements associated with more extreme kinematic conditions, therefore a next-generation pin-on-plate tribometer has been developed to bridge the gap between current technology and future research requirements. Methodology: The design was driven by several physiologically relevant requirements. Firstly, an increased loading capacity was essential to replicate the peak pressures that occur in the natural hip joint during running and chair-rising, as well as increasing the understanding of wear rates in obese patients. Secondly, the introduction of mid-cycle load variation was of paramount importance, as this allows for an approximation of the loads present in a gait cycle to be applied and to test the fatigue properties of materials. Finally, the rig must be validated against previous-generation pin-on-plate and arthroplasty wear data. Results: The resulting machine is a twelve station device that is split into three sets of four stations, providing an increased testing capacity compared to most current pin-on-plate tribometers. The loading of the pins is generated using a pneumatic system, which can produce contact pressures of up to 201 MPa on a 3.2 mm² round pin face. This greatly exceeds currently achievable contact pressures in literature and opens new research avenues such as testing rim wear of mal-positioned hip implants. Additionally, the contact pressure of each set can be changed independently of the others, allowing multiple loading conditions to be tested simultaneously. Using pneumatics also allows the applied pressure to be switched ON/OFF mid-cycle, another feature not currently reported elsewhere, which allows for investigation into intermittent loading and material fatigue. The device is currently undergoing a series of validation tests using Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight-Polyethylene pins and 316L Stainless Steel Plates (polished to a Ra < 0.05 µm). The operating pressures will be between 2-6 MPa, operating at 1 Hz, allowing for validation of the machine against results reported previously in the literature. The successful production of this next-generation pin-on-plate tribometer will, following its validation, unlock multiple previously unavailable research avenues.

Keywords: arthroplasty, mechanical design, pin-on-plate, total joint replacement, wear testing

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74 Genome-Scale Analysis of Streptomyces Caatingaensis CMAA 1322 Metabolism, a New Abiotic Stress-Tolerant Actinomycete

Authors: Suikinai Nobre Santos, Ranko Gacesa, Paul F. Long, Itamar Soares de Melo

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Extremophilic microorganism are adapted to biotopes combining several stress factors (temperature, pressure, radiation, salinity and pH), which indicate the richness valuable resource for the exploitation of novel biotechnological processes and constitute unique models for investigations their biomolecules (1, 2). The above information encourages us investigate bioprospecting synthesized compounds by a noval actinomycete, designated thermotolerant Streptomyces caatingaensis CMAA 1322, isolated from sample soil tropical dry forest (Caatinga) in the Brazilian semiarid region (3-17°S and 35-45°W). This set of constrating physical and climatic factores provide the unique conditions and a diversity of well adapted species, interesting site for biotechnological purposes. Preliminary studies have shown the great potential in the production of cytotoxic, pesticidal and antimicrobial molecules (3). Thus, to extend knowledge of the genes clusters responsible for producing biosynthetic pathways of natural products in strain CMAA1322, whole-genome shotgun (WGS) DNA sequencing was performed using paired-end long sequencing with PacBio RS (Pacific Biosciences). Genomic DNA was extracted from a pure culture grown overnight on LB medium using the PureLink genomic DNA kit (Life Technologies). An approximately 3- to 20-kb-insert PacBio library was constructed and sequenced on an 8 single-molecule real-time (SMRT) cell, yielding 116,269 reads (average length, 7,446 bp), which were allocated into 18 contigs, with 142.11x coverage and N50 value of 20.548 bp (BioProject number PRJNA288757). The assembled data were analyzed by Rapid Annotations using Subsystems Technology (RAST) (4) the genome size was found to be 7.055.077 bp, comprising 6167 open reading frames (ORFs) and 413 subsystems. The G+C content was estimated to be 72 mol%. The closest-neighbors tool, available in RAST through functional comparison of the genome, revealed that strain CMAA1322 is more closely related to Streptomyces hygroscopicus ATCC 53653 (similarity score value, 537), S. violaceusniger Tu 4113 (score value, 483), S. avermitilis MA-4680 (score value, 475), S. albus J1074 (score value, 447). The Streptomyces sp. CMAA1322 genome contains 98 tRNA genes and 135 genes copies related to stress response, mainly osmotic stress (14), heat shock (16), oxidative stress (49). Functional annotation by antiSMASH version 3.0 (5) identified 41 clusters for secondary metabolites (including two clusters for lanthipeptides, ten clusters for nonribosomal peptide synthetases [NRPS], three clusters for siderophores, fourteen for polyketide synthetase [PKS], six clusters encoding a terpene, two clusters encoding a bacteriocin, and one cluster encoding a phenazine). Our work provide in comparative analyse of genome and extract produced (data no published) by lineage CMAA1322, revealing the potential of microorganisms accessed from extreme environments as Caatinga” to produce a wide range of biotechnological relevant compounds.

Keywords: caatinga, streptomyces, environmental stresses, biosynthetic pathways

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73 From Avatars to Humans: A Hybrid World Theory and Human Computer Interaction Experimentations with Virtual Reality Technologies

Authors: Juan Pablo Bertuzzi, Mauro Chiarella

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Employing a communication studies perspective and a socio-technological approach, this paper introduces a theoretical framework for understanding the concept of hybrid world; the avatarization phenomena; and the communicational archetype of co-hybridization. This analysis intends to make a contribution to future design of virtual reality experimental applications. Ultimately, this paper presents an ongoing research project that proposes the study of human-avatar interactions in digital educational environments, as well as an innovative reflection on inner digital communication. The aforementioned project presents the analysis of human-avatar interactions, through the development of an interactive experience in virtual reality. The goal is to generate an innovative communicational dimension that could reinforce the hypotheses presented throughout this paper. Being thought for its initial application in educational environments, the analysis and results of this research are dependent and have been prepared in regard of a meticulous planning of: the conception of a 3D digital platform; the interactive game objects; the AI or computer avatars; the human representation as hybrid avatars; and lastly, the potential of immersion, ergonomics and control diversity that can provide the virtual reality system and the game engine that were chosen. The project is divided in two main axes: The first part is the structural one, as it is mandatory for the construction of an original prototype. The 3D model is inspired by the physical space that belongs to an academic institution. The incorporation of smart objects, avatars, game mechanics, game objects, and a dialogue system will be part of the prototype. These elements have all the objective of gamifying the educational environment. To generate a continuous participation and a large amount of interactions, the digital world will be navigable both, in a conventional device and in a virtual reality system. This decision is made, practically, to facilitate the communication between students and teachers; and strategically, because it will help to a faster population of the digital environment. The second part is concentrated to content production and further data analysis. The challenge is to offer a scenario’s diversity that compels users to interact and to question their digital embodiment. The multipath narrative content that is being applied is focused on the subjects covered in this paper. Furthermore, the experience with virtual reality devices proposes users to experiment in a mixture of a seemingly infinite digital world and a small physical area of movement. This combination will lead the narrative content and it will be crucial in order to restrict user’s interactions. The main point is to stimulate and to grow in the user the need of his hybrid avatar’s help. By building an inner communication between user’s physicality and user’s digital extension, the interactions will serve as a self-guide through the gameworld. This is the first attempt to make explicit the avatarization phenomena and to further analyze the communicational archetype of co-hybridization. The challenge of the upcoming years will be to take advantage from these forms of generalized avatarization, in order to create awareness and establish innovative forms of hybridization.

Keywords: avatar, hybrid worlds, socio-technology, virtual reality

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72 Forming Form, Motivation and Their Biolinguistic Hypothesis: The Case of Consonant Iconicity in Tashelhiyt Amazigh and English

Authors: Noury Bakrim

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When dealing with motivation/arbitrariness, forming form (Forma Formans) and morphodynamics are to be grasped as relevant implications of enunciation/enactment, schematization within the specificity of language as sound/meaning articulation. Thus, the fact that a language is a form does not contradict stasis/dynamic enunciation (reflexivity vs double articulation). Moreover, some languages exemplify the role of the forming form, uttering, and schematization (roots in Semitic languages, the Chinese case). Beyond the evolutionary biosemiotic process (form/substance bifurcation, the split between realization/representation), non-isomorphism/asymmetry between linguistic form/norm and linguistic realization (phonetics for instance) opens up a new horizon problematizing the role of Brain – sensorimotor contribution in the continuous forming form. Therefore, we hypothesize biotization as both process/trace co-constructing motivation/forming form. Henceforth, referring to our findings concerning distribution and motivation patterns within Berber written texts (pulse based obstruents and nasal-lateral levels in poetry) and oral storytelling (consonant intensity clustering in quantitative and semantic/prosodic motivation), we understand consonant clustering, motivation and schematization as a complex phenomenon partaking in patterns of oral/written iconic prosody and reflexive metalinguistic representation opening the stable form. We focus our inquiry on both Amazigh and English clusters (/spl/, /spr/) and iconic consonant iteration in [gnunnuy] (to roll/tumble), [smummuy] (to moan sadly or crankily). For instance, the syllabic structures of /splaeʃ/ and /splaet/ imply an anamorphic representation of the state of the world: splash, impact on aquatic surfaces/splat impact on the ground. The pair has stridency and distribution as distinctive features which specify its phonetic realization (and a part of its meaning) /ʃ/ is [+ strident] and /t/ is [+ distributed] on the vocal tract. Schematization is then a process relating both physiology/code as an arthron vocal/bodily, vocal/practical shaping of the motor-articulatory system, leading to syntactic/semantic thematization (agent/patient roles in /spl/, /sm/ and other clusters or the tense uvular /qq/ at the initial position in Berber). Furthermore, the productivity of serial syllable sequencing in Berber points out different expressivity forms. We postulate two Components of motivated formalization: i) the process of memory paradigmatization relating to sequence modeling under sensorimotor/verbal specific categories (production/perception), ii) the process of phonotactic selection - prosodic unconscious/subconscious distribution by virtue of iconicity. Basing on multiple tests including a questionnaire, phonotactic/visual recognition and oral/written reproduction, we aim at patterning/conceptualizing consonant schematization and motivation among EFL and Amazigh (Berber) learners and speakers integrating biolinguistic hypotheses.

Keywords: consonant motivation and prosody, language and order of life, anamorphic representation, represented representation, biotization, sensori-motor and brain representation, form, formalization and schematization

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71 Transcriptomic Analysis of Acanthamoeba castellanii Virulence Alteration by Epigenetic DNA Methylation

Authors: Yi-Hao Wong, Li-Li Chan, Chee-Onn Leong, Stephen Ambu, Joon-Wah Mak, Priyasashi Sahu

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Background: Acanthamoeba is a genus of amoebae which lives as a free-living in nature or as a human pathogen that causes severe brain and eye infections. Virulence potential of Acanthamoeba is not constant and can change with growth conditions. DNA methylation, an epigenetic process which adds methyl groups to DNA, is used by eukaryotic cells, including several human parasites to control their gene expression. We used qPCR, siRNA gene silencing, and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to study DNA-methyltransferase gene family (DNMT) in order to indicate the possibility of its involvement in programming Acanthamoeba virulence potential. Methods: A virulence-attenuated Acanthamoeba isolate (designation: ATCC; original isolate: ATCC 50492) was subjected to mouse passages to restore its pathogenicity; a virulence-reactivated isolate (designation: AC/5) was generated. Several established factors associated with Acanthamoeba virulence phenotype were examined to confirm the succession of reactivation process. Differential gene expression of DNMT between ATCC and AC/5 isolates was performed by qPCR. Silencing on DNMT gene expression in AC/5 isolate was achieved by siRNA duplex. Total RNAs extracted from ATCC, AC/5, and siRNA-treated (designation: si-146) were subjected to RNA-Seq for comparative transcriptomic analysis in order to identify the genome-wide effect of DNMT in regulating Acanthamoeba gene expression. qPCR was performed to validate the RNA-Seq results. Results: Physiological and cytophatic assays demonstrated an increased in virulence potential of AC/5 isolate after mouse passages. DNMT gene expression was significantly higher in AC/5 compared to ATCC isolate (p ≤ 0.01) by qPCR. si-146 duplex reduced DNMT gene expression in AC/5 isolate by 30%. Comparative transcriptome analysis identified the differentially expressed genes, with 3768 genes in AC/5 vs ATCC isolate; 2102 genes in si-146 vs AC/5 isolate and 3422 genes in si-146 vs ATCC isolate, respectively (fold-change of ≥ 2 or ≤ 0.5, p-value adjusted (padj) < 0.05). Of these, 840 and 1262 genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively, in si-146 vs AC/5 isolate. Eukaryotic orthologous group (KOG) assignments revealed a higher percentage of downregulated gene expression in si-146 compared to AC/5 isolate, were related to posttranslational modification, signal transduction and energy production. Gene Ontology (GO) terms for those downregulated genes shown were associated with transport activity, oxidation-reduction process, and metabolic process. Among these downregulated genes were putative genes encoded for heat shock proteins, transporters, ubiquitin-related proteins, proteins for vesicular trafficking (small GTPases), and oxidoreductases. Functional analysis of similar predicted proteins had been described in other parasitic protozoa for their survival and pathogenicity. Decreased expression of these genes in si146-treated isolate may account in part for Acanthamoeba reduced pathogenicity. qPCR on 6 selected genes upregulated in AC/5 compared to ATCC isolate corroborated the RNA sequencing findings, indicating a good concordance between these two analyses. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and its effects on gene expression in Acanthamoeba spp. The present data indicate that DNA methylation has substantial effect on global gene expression, allowing further dissection of the genome-wide effects of DNA-methyltransferase gene in regulating Acanthamoeba pathogenicity.

Keywords: Acanthamoeba, DNA methylation, RNA sequencing, virulence

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