Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Search results for: biosystems engineering

19 Associations of the FTO Gene Polymorphism with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Lithuanian Adult Population

Authors: Alina Smalinskiene Janina Petkeviciene, Jurate Klumbiene, Vilma Kriaucioniene, Vaiva Lesauskaite


The worldwide prevalence of obesity has been increasing dramatically in the last few decades, and Lithuania is no exception. In 2012, every fifth adult (19% of men and 20.5 % of women) was obese and every third was overweight Association studies have highlighted the influence of SNPs in obesity, with particular focus on FTO rs9939609. Thus far, no data on the possible association of this SNP to obesity in the adult Lithuanian population has been reported. Here, for the first time, we demonstrate an association between the FTO rs9939609 homozygous AA genotype and increased BMI when compared to homozygous TT. Furthermore, a positive association was determined between the FTO rs9939609 variant and risk of metabolic syndrome. Background: This study aimed to examine the associations between the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene rs9939609 variant with obesity and metabolic syndrome in Lithuanian adult population. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional health survey was carried out in randomly selected municipalities of Lithuania. The random sample was obtained from lists of 25–64 year-old inhabitants. The data from 1020 subjects were analysed. The rs9939609 SNP of the FTO gene was assessed using TaqMan assays (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA). The Applied Biosystems 7900HT Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction System was used for detecting the SNPs. Results: The carriers of the AA genotype had the highest mean values of BMI and waist circumference (WC) and the highest risk of obesity. Interactions ‘genotype x age’ and ‘genotype x physical activity’ in determining BMI and WC were shown. Neither lipid and glucose levels, nor blood pressure were associated with the rs9939609 independently of BMI. In the age group of 25-44 years, association between the FTO genotypes and metabolic syndrome was found. Conclusion: The FTO rs9939609 variant was significantly associated with BMI and WC, and with the risk of obesity in Lithuanian population. The FTO polymorphism might have a greater influence on weight status in younger individuals and in subjects with a low level of physical activity.

Keywords: obesity metabolic syndrome, FTO gene, polymorphism, Lithuania

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18 Reliability of Dry Tissues Sampled from Exhumed Bodies in DNA Analysis

Authors: V. Agostini, S. Gino, S. Inturri, A. Piccinini


In cases of corpse identification or parental testing performed on exhumed alleged dead father, usually, we seek and acquire organic samples as bones and/or bone fragments, teeth, nails and muscle’s fragments. The DNA analysis of these cadaveric matrices usually leads to identifying success, but it often happens that the results of the typing are not satisfactory with highly degraded, partial or even non-interpretable genetic profiles. To aggravate the interpretative panorama deriving from the analysis of such 'classical' organic matrices, we must add a long and laborious treatment of the sample that starts from the mechanical fragmentation up to the protracted decalcification phase. These steps greatly increase the chance of sample contamination. In the present work, instead, we want to report the use of 'unusual' cadaveric matrices, demonstrating that their forensic genetics analysis can lead to better results in less time and with lower costs of reagents. We report six case reports, result of on-field experience, in which eyeswabs and cartilage were sampled and analyzed, allowing to obtain clear single genetic profiles, useful for identification purposes. In all cases we used the standard DNA tissue extraction protocols (as reported on the user manuals of the manufacturers such as QIAGEN or Invitrogen- Thermo Fisher Scientific), thus bypassing the long and difficult phases of mechanical fragmentation and decalcification of bones' samples. PCR was carried out using PowerPlex® Fusion System kit (Promega), and capillary electrophoresis was carried out on an ABI PRISM® 310 Genetic Analyzer (Applied Biosystems®), with GeneMapper ID v3.2.1 (Applied Biosystems®) software. The software Familias (version 3.1.3) was employed for kinship analysis. The genetic results achieved have proved to be much better than the analysis of bones or nails, both from the qualitative and quantitative point of view and from the point of view of costs and timing. This way, by using the standard procedure of DNA extraction from tissue, it is possible to obtain, in a shorter time and with maximum efficiency, an excellent genetic profile, which proves to be useful and can be easily decoded for later paternity tests and/or identification of human remains.

Keywords: DNA, eye swabs and cartilage, identification human remains, paternity testing

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17 Optimization Model for Support Decision for Maximizing Production of Mixed Fresh Fruit Farms

Authors: Andrés I. Ávila, Patricia Aros, César San Martín, Elizabeth Kehr, Yovana Leal


Planning models for fresh products is a very useful tool for improving the net profits. To get an efficient supply chain model, several functions should be considered to get a complete simulation of several operational units. We consider a linear programming model to help farmers to decide if it is convenient to choose what area should be planted for three kinds of export fruits considering their future investment. We consider area, investment, water, productivity minimal unit, and harvest restrictions to develop a monthly based model to compute the average income in five years. Also, conditions on the field as area, water availability, and initial investment are required. Using the Chilean costs and dollar-peso exchange rate, we can simulate several scenarios to understand the possible risks associated to this market. Also, this tool help to support decisions for government and individual farmers.

Keywords: mixed integer problem, fresh fruit production, support decision model, agricultural and biosystems engineering

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16 Ceramic Composites and Its Applications for Pb Adsorption

Authors: C. L. Popa, S. L. Iconaru, A. Costescu, C. S. Ciobanu, M. Motelica Heino, R. Guegan, D. Predoi


Surface functionalization of ceramic composites with a special focus on tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) and hydroxyapatite (HAp) is discoursed. Mesoporous ceramic HAp-TEOS composites were prepared by the incorporation of hydroxyapatite into tetraethyl orthosilicate by sol-gel method. The resulting samples were analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy and nitrogen physisorption. The removal of Pb2+ ions from aqueous solutions was evaluated using Atomic Absorbtion Spectroscopy (AAS). Removal experiments of Pb2+ ions were carried out in aqueous solutions with controlled Pb2+ at pH ~ 3 and pH ~ 5. After removal experiment of Pb2+ at pH 3 and pH 5, porous hydroxyapatite nanoparticles is transformed into PbHAp_3 and PbHAp_5 via the adsorption of Pb2+ ions followed by the cation exchange reaction. The diffraction patterns show that THAp nanoparticles were successfully coated with teos without any structural changes. On the other, the AAS analysis showed that THAp can be useful in the removal Pb2+ from water contaminated.

Keywords: teos, hydroxyapatite, environment applications, biosystems engineering

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15 Investigation of Biofilm Formation in Clinical Strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella rhinoscleromatis

Authors: Gulcan Sahal, Nermin Hande Avcioglu, Isil Seyis Bilkay


Klebsiella species which are natural colonizers of human upper respiratory and human gastrointestinal tracts are also responsible for every reoccurring nosocomial infections by means of having ability to form slimy layers known as biofilm on many surfaces. Therefore, in this study, investigation of biofilm formation in K. pneumoniae and K. rhinoscleromatis and examination of each Klebsiella strains’ clinical information in the light of their biofilm formation results were aimed. In this respect, biofilm formation of Klebsiella strains was analyzed via crystal violet binding assay. According to our results, biofilm formation levels of K. pneumoniae and K. rhinoscleromatis strains were different from each other. Additionally, in comparison to K. rhinoscleromatis strains, K. pneumoniae was observed to include higher amounts of strong biofilm forming strains. Besides, it was also seen that clinical information of patients from which strong biofilm forming Klebsiella strains were isolated were similar to each other. Our results indicate that there should be more precautions against K. pneumoniae which includes higher amount of strong biofilm forming strains.

Keywords: biofilm formation, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella rhinoscleromatis, biosystems engineering

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14 Risk Assessment Results in Biogas Production from Agriculture Biomass

Authors: Sandija Zeverte-Rivza, Irina Pilvere, Baiba Rivza


The use of renewable energy sources incl. biogas has become topical in accordance with the increasing demand for energy, decrease of fossil energy resources and the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to increase energy independence from the territories where fossil energy resources are available. As the technologies of biogas production from agricultural biomass develop, risk assessment and risk management become necessary for farms producing such a renewable energy. The need for risk assessments has become particularly topical when discussions on changing the biogas policy in the EU take place, which may influence the development of the sector in the future, as well as the operation of existing biogas facilities and their income level. The current article describes results of the risk assessment for farms producing biomass from agriculture biomass in Latvia, the risk assessment system included 24 risks, that affect the whole biogas production process and the obtained results showed the high significance of political and production risks.

Keywords: biogas production, risks, risk assessment, biosystems engineering

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13 Determination of Biofilm Formation in Different Clinical Candida Species and Investigation of Effects of Some Plant Substances on These Biofilms

Authors: Gulcan Sahal, Isil Seyis Bilkay


Candida species which often exist as commensal microorganisms in healthy individuals are major causes of important infections, especially in AIDS and immunocompromised patients, by means of their biofilm formation abilities. Therefore, in this study, determination of biofilm formation in different clinical strains of Candida species, investigation of strong biofilm forming Candida strains, examination of clinical information of each strong and weak biofilm forming Candida strains and investigation of some plant substances’ effects on biofilm formation of strong biofilm forming strains were aimed. In this respect, biofilm formation of Candida strains was analyzed via crystal violet binding assay. According to our results, biofilm levels of strains belong to different Candida species were different from each other. Additionally, it is also found that some plant substances effect biofilm formation. All these results indicate that, as well as C. albicans strains, other non-albicans Candida species also emerge as causative agents of infections and have biofilm formation abilities. In addition, usage of some plant substances in different concentrations may provide a new treatment against biofilm related Candida infections.

Keywords: anti-biofilm, biofilm formation, Candida species, biosystems engineering

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12 Speciation and Bioavailability of Heavy Metals in Greenhouse Soils

Authors: Bulent Topcuoglu


Repeated amendments of organic matter and intensive use of fertilizers, metal-enriched chemicals and biocides may cause soil and environmental pollution in greenhouses. Specially, the impact of heavy metal pollution of soils on food metal content and underground water quality has become a public concern. Due to potential toxicity of heavy metals to human life and environment, determining the chemical form of heavy metals in greenhouse soils is an important approach of chemical characterization and can provide useful information on its mobility and bioavailability. A sequential extraction procedure was used to estimate the availability of heavy metals (Zn, Cd, Ni, Pb and Cr) in greenhouse soils of Antalya Aksu. Zn was predominantly associated with Fe-Mn oxide fraction, major portion of Cd associated with carbonate and organic matter fraction, a major portion of (>65 %) Ni and Cr were largely associated with Fe-Mn oxide and residual fractions and Pb was largely associated with organic matter and Fe-Mn oxide fractions. Results of the present study suggest that the mobility and bioavailability of metals probably increase in the following order: Cr < Pb < Ni < Cd < Zn. Among the elements studied, Zn and Cd appeared to be the most readily soluble and potentially bioavailable metals and these metals may carry a potential risk for metal transfer in food chain and contamination to ground water.

Keywords: metal speciation, metal mobility, greenhouse soils, biosystems engineering

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11 THRAP2 Gene Identified as a Candidate Susceptibility Gene of Thyroid Autoimmune Diseases Pedigree in Tunisian Population

Authors: Ghazi Chabchoub, Mouna Feki, Mohamed Abid, Hammadi Ayadi


Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs), including Graves’ disease (GD) and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT), are inherited as complex traits. Genetic factors associated with AITDs have been tentatively identified by candidate gene and genome scanning approaches. We analysed three intragenic microsatellite markers in the thyroid hormone receptor associated protein 2 gene (THRAP2), mapped near D12S79 marker, which have a potential role in immune function and inflammation [THRAP2-1(TG)n, THRAP2-2 (AC)n and THRAP2-3 (AC)n]. Our study population concerned 12 patients affected with AITDs belonging to a multiplex Tunisian family with high prevalence of AITDs. Fluorescent genotyping was carried out on ABI 3100 sequencers (Applied Biosystems USA) with the use of GENESCAN for semi-automated fragment sizing and GENOTYPER peak-calling software. Statistical analysis was performed using the non parametric Lod score (NPL) by Merlin software. Merlin outputs non-parametric NPLall (Z) and LOD scores and their corresponding asymptotic P values. The analysis for three intragenic markers in the THRAP2 gene revealed strong evidence for linkage (NPL=3.68, P=0.00012). Our results suggested the possible role of THRAP2 gene in AITDs susceptibility in this family.

Keywords: autoimmunity, autoimmune disease, genetic, linkage analysis

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10 Antibiotic Resistance of Enterococci Isolated from Raw Cow Milk

Authors: Margita Čanigová, Jana Račková, Miroslav Kročko, Viera Ducková, Vladimíra Kňazovická


The aim of the study was to test the milk samples in terms of enterococci presence and their counts. Tested samples were as follows: raw cow milk, raw cow milk stored at 10°C for 16 hours and milk pasteurised at 72°C for 15 seconds. The typical colonies were isolated randomly and identified by classical biochemical test - EN-COCCUS test (Lachema, CR) and by PCR. Isolated strains were tested in terms of antibiotic resistance by well diffusion method. Examined antibiotics were: vancomycin (30 μg/disc), gentamicin (120 μg/disc), erythromycin (15 μg/disc), teicoplanine (30 μg/disc), ampicillin (10 μg/disc) and tetracycline (30 μg/disc). Average value of enterococci counts in raw milk cistern samples (n=30) was 8.25 ± 1.37 ×103 CFU/cm3. Storage tank milk samples (n=30) showed an increase (P > 0.05) and average value was 9.16 ± 1.49 × 103 CFU/cm3. Occurrence of enterococci in pasteurized milk (n=30) was sporadic and their counts were mostly below 10 CFU/cm3. Overall, 96 enterococci strains were isolated. In samples of raw cow milk and stored raw cow milk, Enterococcus faecalis was a dominant species (58.1% and 71.7%, respectively), followed by E. faecium (16.3% and 0%, respectively). Enterococcus mundtii, E. casseliflavus, E. durans and E. gallinarum were isolated, too. Resistances to ampicillin, erythromycin, gentamicin, tetracycline and vancomycin were found in 7.29%, 3.13%, 4.00%, 13.54% and 10.42% of isolated enterococci strains, respectively. Resistance to teicoplanine was not found in any isolated strain. All Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) belonged to E. faecalis. Obtained results confirmed that raw milk is a potential risk of enterococci resistant to antibiotics transmission into the food chain.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance, enterococci, milk, biosystems engineering

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9 Upconversion Nanoparticles for Imaging and Controlled Photothermal Release of Anticancer Drug in Breast Cancer

Authors: Rishav Shrestha, Yong Zhang


The Anti-Stoke upconversion process has been used extensively for bioimaging and is recently being used for photoactivated therapy in cancer utilizing upconversion nanoparticles (UCNs). The UCNs have an excitation band at 980nm; 980nm laser excitation used to produce UV/Visible emissions also produce a heating effect. Light-to-heat conversion has been observed in nanoparticles(NPs) doped with neodymium(Nd) or ytterbium(Yb)/erbium(Er) ions. Despite laser-induced heating in Rare-earth doped NPs being proven to be a relatively efficient process, only few attempts to use them as photothermal agents in biosystems have been made up to now. Gold nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes are the most researched and developed for photothermal applications. Both have large heating efficiency and outstanding biocompatibility. However, they show weak fluorescence which makes them harder to track in vivo. In that regard, UCNs are attractive due to their excellent optical features in addition to their light-to-heat conversion and excitation by NIR, for imaging and spatiotemporally releasing drugs. In this work, we have utilized a simple method to coat Nd doped UCNs with thermoresponsive polymer PNIPAM on which 4-Hydroxytamoxifen (4-OH-T) is loaded. Such UCNs demonstrate a high loading efficiency and low leakage of 4-OH-T. Encouragingly, the release of 4-OH-T can be modulated by varying the power and duration of the NIR. Such UCNs were then used to demonstrate imaging and controlled photothermal release of 4-OH-T in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Keywords: cancer therapy, controlled release, photothermal release, upconversion nanoparticles

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8 Analysis of ZBTB17 Gene rs10927875 Polymorphism in Relation to Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Slovak Population

Authors: I. Boroňová, J. Bernasovská, J. Kmec, E. Petrejčíková


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a primary myocardial disease, it is characterized by progressive systolic dysfunction due to cardiac chamber dilatation and inefficient myocardial contractility with estimated prevalence of 37 in 100 000 people. It is the most frequent cause of heart failure and cardiac transplantation in young adults. About one-third of all patients have a suspected familial disease indicating a genetic basis of DCM. Many candidate gene studies in humans have tested the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in various genes coding for proteins with a known cardiovascular function. In our study we present the results of ZBTB17 gene rs10927875 polymorphism genotyping in relation to dilated cardiomyopathy in Slovak population. The study included 78 individuals, 39 patients with DCM and 39 healthy control persons. The mean age of patients with DCM was 50.7±11.5 years; the mean age of individuals in control group was 51.3±9.8 years. Risk factors detected at baseline in each group included age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, diabetes and blood pressure. Genomic DNA was extracted from leukocytes by a standard methodology and screened for rs10927875 polymorphism in intron of ZBTB17 gene using Real-time PCR method (Step One Applied Biosystems). The distribution of investigated genotypes for rs10927875 polymorphism in the group of patients with DCM was as follows: CC (89.74%), CT (10.26%), TT (0%), and the distribution in the control group: CC (92.31%), CT (5.13%), and TT (2.56%). Using the chi-square (χ2) test we compared genotype and allele frequencies between patients and controls. There was no difference in genotype or allele frequencies in ZBTB17 gene rs10927875 polymorphism between patients and control group (χ2=3.028, p=0.220; χ2=0.264, p=0.608). Our results represent an initial study, it can be considered as preliminary and first of its kind in Slovak population. Further studies of ZBTB17 gene polymorphisms of more numerous files and additional functional investigations are needed to fully understand the role of genetic associations.

Keywords: dilated cardiomyopathy, SNP polymorphism, ZBTB17 gene, bioscience

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7 Anticancer Study of Copper and Zinc Complexes with Doxorubicin

Authors: Grzegorz Swiderski, Agata Jablonska-Trypuc, Natalia Popow, Renata Swislocka, Wlodzimierz Lewandowski


Doxorubicin belongs to the group of anthracycline antitumor antibiotics. Because of the wide spectrum of actions, it is one of the most widely used anthracycline antibiotics, including the treatment of breast, ovary, bladder, lung cancers as well as neuroblastoma, lymphoma, leukemia and myeloid leukemia. Antitumor activity of doxorubicin is based on the same mechanisms as for most anthracyclines. Like the metal ions affect the nucleic acids on many biological processes, so the environment of the metal chelates of antibiotics can have a significant effect on the pharmacological properties of drugs. Complexation of anthracyclines with metal ions may contribute to the production of less toxic compounds. In the framework of this study, the composition of complexes obtained in aqueous solutions of doxorubicin with metal ions (Cu2+ and Zn2+). Complexation was analyzed by spectrophotometric titration in aqueous solution at pH 7.0. The pH was adjusted with 0.02M Tris-HCl buffer. The composition of the complexes found was Cu: doxorubicin (1: 2) and a Zn: doxorubicin (1: 1). The effect of Dox, Dox-Cu and Dox-Zn was examined in MCF-7 breast cancer cell line, which were obtained from American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). The compounds were added to the cultured cells for a final concentration in the range of 0,01µM to 0,5µM. The number of MCF-7 cells with division into living and dead, was determined by direct counts of cells with the use of trypan blue dye using LUNA Logos Biosystems cell counter. ApoTox-Glo Triplex Assay (Promega, Madison, Wisconsin, USA) was used according to the manufacturer’s instructions to measure the MCF-7 cells’ viability, cytotoxicity and apoptosis. We observed a decrease in cells proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. An increase in cytotoxicity and decrease in viability in the ApoTox Triplex assay was also showed for all tested compounds. Apoptosis, showed as caspase 3/7 activation, was observed only in Dox treatment. In Dox-Zn and Dox-Cu caspase 3/7 activation was not observed. This work was financially supported by National Science Centre, Poland, under the research project number 2014/13/B/NZ7/02 352.

Keywords: anticancer properties, anthracycline antibiotic, doxorubicine, metal complexes

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6 Expression of miRNA 335 in Gall Bladder Cancer: A Correlative Study

Authors: Naseem Fatima, A. N. Srivastava, Tasleem Raza, Vijay Kumar


Introduction: Carcinoma gallbladder is third most common gastrointestinal lethal disease with the highest incidence and mortality rate among women in Northern India. Scientists have found several risk factors that make a person more likely to develop gallbladder cancer; among these risk factors, deregulation of miRNAs has been demonstrated to be one of the most crucial factors. The changes in the expression of specific miRNA genes result in the control of inflammation, cell cycle regulation, stress response, proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and invasion thus mediate the process in tumorgenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of MiRNA-335 and may as a molecular marker in early detection of gallbladder cancer in suspected cases. Material and Methods: A total of 20 consecutive patients with gallbladder cancer aged between 30-75 years were registered for the study. Total RNA was extracted from tissue by using the mirVANA MiRNA isolation Kit according to the manufacturer’s protocol. The MiRNA- 335 and U6 snRNA-specific cDNA were reverse-transcribed from total RNA using Taqman microRNA reverse-transcription kit according to the manufacturer’s protocol. TaqMan MiRNA probes hsa-miR-335 and Taqman Master Mix without AmpEase UNG, Individual real-time PCR assays were performed in a 20 μL reaction volume on a Real-Time PCR system (Applied Biosystems StepOnePlus™) to detect MiRNA-335 expression in tissue. Relative quantification of target MiRNA expression was evaluated using the comparative cycle threshold (CT) method. The correlation was done in between cycle threshold (CT Value) of target MiRNA in gallbladder cancer with respect to non-cancerous Cholelithiasis gallbladder. Each sample was examined in triplicate. The Newman-Keuls Multiple Comparison Test was used to determine the expression of miR-335. Results: MiRNA335 was found to be significantly downregulated in the gallbladder cancer tissue (P<0.001), when compared with non-cancerous Cholelithiasis gallbladder cases. Out of 20 cases, 75% showed reduced expression of MiRNA335, were at last stage of disease with low overall survival rate and remaining 25% were showed up-regulated expression of MiRNA335 with high survival rate. Conclusion: The present study showed that reduced expression of MiRNA335 is associated with the advancement of the disease, and its deregulation may provide important clues to understanding it as a prognostic marker and opportunities for future research.

Keywords: carcinoma gallbladder, downregulation, MiRNA-335, RT-PCR assay

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5 Microorganisms in Fresh and Stored Bee Pollen Originated from Slovakia

Authors: Vladimíra Kňazovická, Mária Dovičičová, Miroslava Kačániová, Margita Čanigová


The aim of the study was to test the storage of bee pollen at room temperature and in cold store, and to describe microorganisms originated from it. Fresh bee pollen originating in West Slovakia was collected in May 2010. It was tested for presence of particular microbial groups using dilution plating method, and divided into two parts with different storage (in cold store and at room temperature). Microbial analyses of pollen were repeated after one year of storage. Several bacterial strains were isolated and tested using Gram staining, for catalase and fructose-6-phosphate-phosphoketolase presence, and by rapid ID 32A (BioMérieux, France). Micromycetes were identified at genus level. Fresh pollen contained coliform bacteria, which were not detected after one year of storage in both ways. Total plate count (TPC) of aerobes and anaerobes and of yeasts in fresh bee pollen exceeded 5.00 log CFU/g. TPC of aerobes and anaerobes decreased below 2.00 log CFU/g after one year of storage in both ways. Count of yeasts decreased to 2.32 log CFU/g (at room temperature) and to 3.66 log CFU/g (in cold store). Microscopic filamentous fungi decreased from 3.41 log CFU/g (fresh bee pollen) to 1.13 log CFU/g (at room temperature) and to 1.89 log CFU/g (in cold store). In fresh bee pollen, 12 genera of micromycetes were identified in the following order according to their relative density: Penicillium > Mucor > Absidia > Cladosporium, Fusarium > Alternaria > Eurotium > Aspergillus, Rhizopus > Emericella > Arthrinium and Mycelium sterilium. After one year at room temperature, only three genera were detected in bee pollen (Penicillium > Aspergillus, Mucor) and after one year in cold store, seven genera were detected (Mucor > Penicillium, Emericella > Aspergillus, Absidia > Arthrinium, Eurotium). From the plates designated for anaerobes, eight colonies originating in fresh bee pollen were isolated. Among them, a single yeast isolate occurred. Other isolates were G+ bacteria, with a total of five rod shaped. In three out of these five, catalase was absent and fructose-6-phosphate-phosphoketolase was present. Bacterial isolates originating in fresh pollen belonged probably to genus Bifidobacterium or relative genera, but their identity was not confirmed unequivocally. In general, cold conditions are suitable for maintaining the natural properties of foodstuffs for a longer time. Slight decrease of microscopic fungal number and diversity was recorded in cold temperatures compared with storage at room temperature.

Keywords: bacteria, bee product, microscopic fungi, biosystems engineering

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4 STR and SNP Markers of Y-Chromosome Unveil Similarity between the Gene Pool of Kurds and Yezidis

Authors: M. Chukhryaeva, R. Skhalyakho, J. Kagazegeva, E. Pocheshkhova, L. Yepiskopossyan, O. Balanovsky, E. Balanovska


The Middle East is crossroad of different populations at different times. The Kurds are of particular interest in this region. Historical sources suggested that the origin of the Kurds is associated with Medes. Therefore, it was especially interesting to compare gene pool of Kurds with other supposed descendants of Medes-Tats. Yezidis are ethno confessional group of Kurds. Yezidism as a confessional teaching was formed in the XI-XIII centuries in Iraq. Yezidism has caused reproductively isolation of Yezidis from neighboring populations for centuries. Also, isolation helps to retain Yezidian caste system. It is unknown how the history of Yezidis affected its genу pool because it has never been the object of researching. We have examined the Y-chromosome variation in Yezidis and Kurdish males to understand their gene pool. We collected DNA samples from 90 Yezidi males and 24 Kurdish males together with their pedigrees. We performed Y-STR analysis of 17 loci in the samples collected (Yfiler system from Applied Biosystems) and analysis of 42 Y-SNPs by real-time PCR. We compared our data with published data from other Kurdish groups and from European, Caucasian, and West Asian populations. We found that gene pool of Yezidis contains haplogroups common in the Middle East (J-M172(xM67,M12)- 24%, E-M35(xM78)- 9%) and in South Western Asia (R-M124- 8%) and variant with wide distribution area - R-M198(xM458- 9%). The gene pool of Kurdish has higher genetic diversity than Yezidis. Their dominants haplogroups are R-M198- 20,3 %, E-M35- 9%, J-M172- 9%. Multidimensional scaling also shows that the Kurds and Yezidis are part of the same frontier Asian cluster, which, in addition, included Armenians, Iranians, Turks, and Greeks. At the same time, the peoples of the Caucasus and Europe form isolated clusters that do not overlap with the Asian clusters. It is noteworthy that Kurds from our study gravitate towards Tats, which indicates that most likely these two populations are descendants of ancient Medes population. Multidimensional scaling also reveals similarity between gene pool of Yezidis, Kurds with Armenians and Iranians. The analysis of Yezidis pedigrees and their STR variability did not reveal a reliable connection between genetic diversity and caste system. This indicates that the Yezidis caste system is a social division and not a biological one. Thus, we showed that, despite many years of isolation, the gene pool of Yezidis retained a common layer with the gene pool of Kurds, these populations have common spectrum of haplogroups, but Yezidis have lower genetic diversity than Kurds. This study received primary support from the RSF grant No. 16-36-00122 to MC and grant No. 16-06-00364 to EP.

Keywords: gene pool, haplogroup, Kurds, SNP and STR markers, Yezidis

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3 Mirna Expression Profile is Different in Human Amniotic Mesenchymal Stem Cells Isolated from Obese Respect to Normal Weight Women

Authors: Carmela Nardelli, Laura Iaffaldano, Valentina Capobianco, Antonietta Tafuto, Maddalena Ferrigno, Angela Capone, Giuseppe Maria Maruotti, Maddalena Raia, Rosa Di Noto, Luigi Del Vecchio, Pasquale Martinelli, Lucio Pastore, Lucia Sacchetti


Maternal obesity and nutrient excess in utero increase the risk of future metabolic diseases in the adult life. The mechanisms underlying this process are probably based on genetic, epigenetic alterations and changes in foetal nutrient supply. In mammals, the placenta is the main interface between foetus and mother, it regulates intrauterine development, modulates adaptive responses to sub optimal in uterus conditions and it is also an important source of human amniotic mesenchymal stem cells (hA-MSCs). We previously highlighted a specific microRNA (miRNA) profiling in amnion from obese (Ob) pregnant women, here we compared the miRNA expression profile of hA-MSCs isolated from (Ob) and control (Co) women, aimed to search for any alterations in metabolic pathways that could predispose the new-born to the obese phenotype. Methods: We isolated, at delivery, hA-MSCs from amnion of 16 Ob- and 7 Co-women with pre-pregnancy body mass index (mean/SEM) 40.3/1.8 and 22.4/1.0 kg/m2, respectively. hA-MSCs were phenotyped by flow cytometry. Globally, 384 miRNAs were evaluated by the TaqMan Array Human MicroRNA Panel v 1.0 (Applied Biosystems). By the TargetScan program we selected the target genes of the miRNAs differently expressed in Ob- vs Co-hA-MSCs; further, by KEGG database, we selected the statistical significant biological pathways. Results: The immunophenotype characterization confirmed the mesenchymal origin of the isolated hA-MSCs. A large percentage of the tested miRNAs, about 61.4% (232/378), was expressed in hA-MSCs, whereas 38.6% (146/378) was not. Most of the expressed miRNAs (89.2%, 207/232) did not differ between Ob- and Co-hA-MSCs and were not further investigated. Conversely, 4.8% of miRNAs (11/232) was higher and 6.0% (14/232) was lower in Ob- vs Co-hA-MSCs. Interestingly, 7/232 miRNAs were obesity-specific, being expressed only in hA-MSCs isolated from obese women. Bioinformatics showed that these miRNAs significantly regulated (P<0.001) genes belonging to several metabolic pathways, i.e. MAPK signalling, actin cytoskeleton, focal adhesion, axon guidance, insulin signaling, etc. Conclusions: Our preliminary data highlight an altered miRNA profile in Ob- vs Co-hA-MSCs and suggest that an epigenetic miRNA-based mechanism of gene regulation could affect pathways involved in placental growth and function, thereby potentially increasing the newborn’s risk of metabolic diseases in the adult life.

Keywords: hA-MSCs, obesity, miRNA, biosystem

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2 Multifunctional Janus Microbots for Intracellular Delivery of Therapeutic Agents

Authors: Shilpee Jain, Sachin Latiyan, Kaushik Suneet


Unlike traditional robots, medical microbots are not only smaller in size, but they also possess various unique properties, for example, biocompatibility, stability in the biological fluids, navigation opposite to the bloodstream, wireless control over locomotion, etc. The idea behind their usage in the medical field was to build a minimally invasive method for addressing the post-operative complications, including longer recovery time, infection eruption and pain. Herein, the present study demonstrates the fabrication of dual nature magneto-conducting Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and SU8 derived carbon-based Janus microbots for the efficient intracellular delivery of biomolecules. The low aspect ratio with feature size 2-5 μm microbots were fabricated by using a photolithography technique. These microbots were pyrolyzed at 900°C, which converts SU8 into amorphous carbon. The pyrolyzed microbots have dual properties, i.e., the half part is magneto-conducting and another half is only conducting for sufficing the therapeutic payloads efficiently with the application of external electric/magnetic field stimulations. For the efficient intracellular delivery of the microbots, the size and aspect ratio plays a significant role. However, on a smaller scale, the proper control over movement is difficult to achieve. The dual nature of Janus microbots allowed to control its maneuverability in the complex fluids using external electric as well as the magnetic field. Interestingly, Janus microbots move faster with the application of an external electric field (44 µm/s) as compared to the magnetic field (18 µm/s) application. Furthermore, these Janus microbots exhibit auto-fluorescence behavior that will help to track their pathway during navigation. Typically, the use of MNPs in the microdevices enhances the tendency to agglomerate. However, the incorporation of Fe₃O₄ MNPs in the pyrolyzed carbon reduces the chances of agglomeration of the microbots. The biocompatibility of the medical microbots, which is the essential property of any biosystems, was determined in vitro using HeLa cells. The microbots were found to compatible with HeLa cells. Additionally, the intracellular uptake of microbots was higher in the presence of an external electric field as compared to without electric field stimulation. In summary, the cytocompatible Janus microbots were fabricated successfully. They are stable in the biological fluids, wireless controllable navigation with the help of a few Guess external magnetic fields, their movement can be tracked because of autofluorescence behavior, they are less susceptible to agglomeration and higher cellular uptake could be achieved with the application of the external electric field. Thus, these carriers could offer a versatile platform to suffice the therapeutic payloads under wireless actuation.

Keywords: amorphous carbon, electric/magnetic stimulations, Janus microbots, magnetic nanoparticles, minimally invasive procedures

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1 Detection and Quantification of Viable but Not Culturable Vibrio Parahaemolyticus in Frozen Bivalve Molluscs

Authors: Eleonora Di Salvo, Antonio Panebianco, Graziella Ziino


Background: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a human pathogen that is widely distributed in marine environments. It is frequently isolated from raw seafood, particularly shellfish. Consumption of raw or undercooked seafood contaminated with V. parahaemolyticus may lead to acute gastroenteritis. Vibrio spp. has excellent resistance to low temperatures so it can be found in frozen products for a long time. Recently, the viable but non-culturable state (VBNC) of bacteria has attracted great attention, and more than 85 species of bacteria have been demonstrated to be capable of entering this state. VBNC cells cannot grow in conventional culture medium but are viable and maintain metabolic activity, which may constitute an unrecognized source of food contamination and infection. Also V. parahaemolyticus could exist in VBNC state under nutrient starvation or low-temperature conditions. Aim: The aim of the present study was to optimize methods and investigate V. parahaemolyticus VBNC cells and their presence in frozen bivalve molluscs, regularly marketed. Materials and Methods: propidium monoazide (PMA) was integrated with real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) targeting the tl gene to detect and quantify V. parahaemolyticus in the VBNC state. PMA-qPCR resulted highly specific to V. parahaemolyticus with a limit of detection (LOD) of 10-1 log CFU/mL in pure bacterial culture. A standard curve for V. parahaemolyticus cell concentrations was established with the correlation coefficient of 0.9999 at the linear range of 1.0 to 8.0 log CFU/mL. A total of 77 samples of frozen bivalve molluscs (35 mussels; 42 clams) were subsequently subjected to the qualitative (on alkaline phosphate buffer solution) and quantitative research of V. parahaemolyticus on thiosulfate-citrate-bile salts-sucrose (TCBS) agar (DIFCO) NaCl 2.5%, and incubation at 30°C for 24-48 hours. Real-time PCR was conducted on homogenate samples, in duplicate, with and without propidium monoazide (PMA) dye, and exposed for 45 min under halogen lights (650 W). Total DNA was extracted from cell suspension in homogenate samples according to bolliture protocol. The Real-time PCR was conducted with species-specific primers for V. parahaemolitycus. The RT-PCR was performed in a final volume of 20 µL, containing 10 µL of SYBR Green Mixture (Applied Biosystems), 2 µL of template DNA, 2 µL of each primer (final concentration 0.6 mM), and H2O 4 µL. The qPCR was carried out on CFX96 TouchTM (Bio-Rad, USA). Results: All samples were negative both to the quantitative and qualitative detection of V. parahaemolyticus by the classical culturing technique. The PMA-qPCR let us individuating VBNC V. parahaemolyticus in the 20,78% of the samples evaluated with a value between the Log 10-1 and Log 10-3 CFU/g. Only clams samples were positive for PMA-qPCR detection. Conclusion: The present research is the first evaluating PMA-qPCR assay for detection of VBNC V. parahaemolyticus in bivalve molluscs samples, and the used method was applicable to the rapid control of marketed bivalve molluscs. We strongly recommend to use of PMA-qPCR in order to identify VBNC forms, undetectable by the classic microbiological methods. A precise knowledge of the V.parahaemolyticus in a VBNC form is fundamental for the correct risk assessment not only in bivalve molluscs but also in other seafood.

Keywords: food safety, frozen bivalve molluscs, PMA dye, Real-time PCR, VBNC state, Vibrio parahaemolyticus

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