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Paper Count: 4980

Search results for: volumetric efficiency

60 Understanding New Zealand’s 19th Century Timber Churches: Techniques in Extracting and Applying Underlying Procedural Rules

Authors: Samuel McLennan, Tane Moleta, Andre Brown, Marc Aurel Schnabel

Abstract:

The development of Ecclesiastical buildings within New Zealand has produced some unique design characteristics that take influence from both international styles and local building methods. What this research looks at is how procedural modelling can be used to define such common characteristics and understand how they are shared and developed within different examples of a similar architectural style. This will be achieved through the creation of procedural digital reconstructions of the various timber Gothic Churches built during the 19th century in the city of Wellington, New Zealand. ‘Procedural modelling’ is a digital modelling technique that has been growing in popularity, particularly within the game and film industry, as well as other fields such as industrial design and architecture. Such a design method entails the creation of a parametric ‘ruleset’ that can be easily adjusted to produce many variations of geometry, rather than a single geometry as is typically found in traditional CAD software. Key precedents within this area of digital heritage includes work by Haegler, Müller, and Gool, Nicholas Webb and Andre Brown, and most notably Mark Burry. What these precedents all share is how the forms of the reconstructed architecture have been generated using computational rules and an understanding of the architects’ geometric reasoning. This is also true within this research as Gothic architecture makes use of only a select range of forms (such as the pointed arch) that can be accurately replicated using the same standard geometric techniques originally used by the architect. The methodology of this research involves firstly establishing a sample group of similar buildings, documenting the existing samples, researching any lost samples to find evidence such as architectural plans, photos, and written descriptions, and then culminating all the findings into a single 3D procedural asset within the software ‘Houdini’. The end result will be an adjustable digital model that contains all the architectural components of the sample group, such as the various naves, buttresses, and windows. These components can then be selected and arranged to create visualisations of the sample group. Because timber gothic churches in New Zealand share many details between designs, the created collection of architectural components can also be used to approximate similar designs not included in the sample group, such as designs found beyond the Wellington Region. This creates an initial library of architectural components that can be further expanded on to encapsulate as wide of a sample size as desired. Such a methodology greatly improves upon the efficiency and adjustability of digital modelling compared to current practices found in digital heritage reconstruction. It also gives greater accuracy to speculative design, as a lack of evidence for lost structures can be approximated using components from still existing or better-documented examples. This research will also bring attention to the cultural significance these types of buildings have within the local area, addressing the public’s general unawareness of architectural history that is identified in the Wellington based research ‘Moving Images in Digital Heritage’ by Serdar Aydin et al.

Keywords: digital forensics, digital heritage, gothic architecture, Houdini, procedural modelling

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59 Functional Plasma-Spray Ceramic Coatings for Corrosion Protection of RAFM Steels in Fusion Energy Systems

Authors: Chen Jiang, Eric Jordan, Maurice Gell, Balakrishnan Nair

Abstract:

Nuclear fusion, one of the most promising options for reliably generating large amounts of carbon-free energy in the future, has seen a plethora of ground-breaking technological advances in recent years. An efficient and durable “breeding blanket”, needed to ensure a reactor’s self-sufficiency by maintaining the optimal coolant temperature as well as by minimizing radiation dosage behind the blanket, still remains a technological challenge for the various reactor designs for commercial fusion power plants. A relatively new dual-coolant lead-lithium (DCLL) breeder design has exhibited great potential for high-temperature (>700oC), high-thermal-efficiency (>40%) fusion reactor operation. However, the structural material, namely reduced activation ferritic-martensitic (RAFM) steel, is not chemically stable in contact with molten Pb-17%Li coolant. Thus, to utilize this new promising reactor design, the demand for effective corrosion-resistant coatings on RAFM steels represents a pressing need. Solution Spray Technologies LLC (SST) is developing a double-layer ceramic coating design to address the corrosion protection of RAFM steels, using a novel solution and solution/suspension plasma spray technology through a US Department of Energy-funded project. Plasma spray is a coating deposition method widely used in many energy applications. Novel derivatives of the conventional powder plasma spray process, known as the solution-precursor and solution/suspension-hybrid plasma spray process, are powerful methods to fabricate thin, dense ceramic coatings with complex compositions necessary for the corrosion protection in DCLL breeders. These processes can be used to produce ultra-fine molten splats and to allow fine adjustment of coating chemistry. Thin, dense ceramic coatings with chosen chemistry for superior chemical stability in molten Pb-Li, low activation properties, and good radiation tolerance, is ideal for corrosion-protection of RAFM steels. A key challenge is to accommodate its CTE mismatch with the RAFM substrate through the selection and incorporation of appropriate bond layers, thus allowing for enhanced coating durability and robustness. Systematic process optimization is being used to define the optimal plasma spray conditions for both the topcoat and bond-layer, and X-ray diffraction and SEM-EDS are applied to successfully validate the chemistry and phase composition of the coatings. The plasma-sprayed double-layer corrosion resistant coatings were also deposited onto simulated RAFM steel substrates, which are being tested separately under thermal cycling, high-temperature moist air oxidation as well as molten Pb-Li capsule corrosion conditions. Results from this testing on coated samples, and comparisons with bare RAFM reference samples will be presented and conclusions will be presented assessing the viability of the new ceramic coatings to be viable corrosion prevention systems for DCLL breeders in commercial nuclear fusion reactors.

Keywords: breeding blanket, corrosion protection, coating, plasma spray

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58 Temporal and Spacial Adaptation Strategies in Aerodynamic Simulation of Bluff Bodies Using Vortex Particle Methods

Authors: Dario Milani, Guido Morgenthal

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Fluid dynamic computation of wind caused forces on bluff bodies e.g light flexible civil structures or high incidence of ground approaching airplane wings, is one of the major criteria governing their design. For such structures a significant dynamic response may result, requiring the usage of small scale devices as guide-vanes in bridge design to control these effects. The focus of this paper is on the numerical simulation of the bluff body problem involving multiscale phenomena induced by small scale devices. One of the solution methods for the CFD simulation that is relatively successful in this class of applications is the Vortex Particle Method (VPM). The method is based on a grid free Lagrangian formulation of the Navier-Stokes equations, where the velocity field is modeled by particles representing local vorticity. These vortices are being convected due to the free stream velocity as well as diffused. This representation yields the main advantages of low numerical diffusion, compact discretization as the vorticity is strongly localized, implicitly accounting for the free-space boundary conditions typical for this class of FSI problems, and a natural representation of the vortex creation process inherent in bluff body flows. When the particle resolution reaches the Kolmogorov dissipation length, the method becomes a Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS). However, it is crucial to note that any solution method aims at balancing the computational cost against the accuracy achievable. In the classical VPM method, if the fluid domain is discretized by Np particles, the computational cost is O(Np2). For the coupled FSI problem of interest, for example large structures such as long-span bridges, the aerodynamic behavior may be influenced or even dominated by small structural details such as barriers, handrails or fairings. For such geometrically complex and dimensionally large structures, resolving the complete domain with the conventional VPM particle discretization might become prohibitively expensive to compute even for moderate numbers of particles. It is possible to reduce this cost either by reducing the number of particles or by controlling its local distribution. It is also possible to increase the accuracy of the solution without increasing substantially the global computational cost by computing a correction of the particle-particle interaction in some regions of interest. In this paper different strategies are presented in order to extend the conventional VPM method to reduce the computational cost whilst resolving the required details of the flow. The methods include temporal sub stepping to increase the accuracy of the particles convection in certain regions as well as dynamically re-discretizing the particle map to locally control the global and the local amount of particles. Finally, these methods will be applied on a test case and the improvements in the efficiency as well as the accuracy of the proposed extension to the method are presented. The important benefits in terms of accuracy and computational cost of the combination of these methods will be thus presented as long as their relevant applications.

Keywords: adaptation, fluid dynamic, remeshing, substepping, vortex particle method

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57 Optical Imaging Based Detection of Solder Paste in Printed Circuit Board Jet-Printing Inspection

Authors: D. Heinemann, S. Schramm, S. Knabner, D. Baumgarten

Abstract:

Purpose: Applying solder paste to printed circuit boards (PCB) with stencils has been the method of choice over the past years. A new method uses a jet printer to deposit tiny droplets of solder paste through an ejector mechanism onto the board. This allows for more flexible PCB layouts with smaller components. Due to the viscosity of the solder paste, air blisters can be trapped in the cartridge. This can lead to missing solder joints or deviations in the applied solder volume. Therefore, a built-in and real-time inspection of the printing process is needed to minimize uncertainties and increase the efficiency of the process by immediate correction. The objective of the current study is the design of an optimal imaging system and the development of an automatic algorithm for the detection of applied solder joints from optical from the captured images. Methods: In a first approach, a camera module connected to a microcomputer and LED strips are employed to capture images of the printed circuit board under four different illuminations (white, red, green and blue). Subsequently, an improved system including a ring light, an objective lens, and a monochromatic camera was set up to acquire higher quality images. The obtained images can be divided into three main components: the PCB itself (i.e., the background), the reflections induced by unsoldered positions or screw holes and the solder joints. Non-uniform illumination is corrected by estimating the background using a morphological opening and subtraction from the input image. Image sharpening is applied in order to prevent error pixels in the subsequent segmentation. The intensity thresholds which divide the main components are obtained from the multimodal histogram using three probability density functions. Determining the intersections delivers proper thresholds for the segmentation. Remaining edge gradients produces small error areas which are removed by another morphological opening. For quantitative analysis of the segmentation results, the dice coefficient is used. Results: The obtained PCB images show a significant gradient in all RGB channels, resulting from ambient light. Using different lightings and color channels 12 images of a single PCB are available. A visual inspection and the investigation of 27 specific points show the best differentiation between those points using a red lighting and a green color channel. Estimating two thresholds from analyzing the multimodal histogram of the corrected images and using them for segmentation precisely extracts the solder joints. The comparison of the results to manually segmented images yield high sensitivity and specificity values. Analyzing the overall result delivers a Dice coefficient of 0.89 which varies for single object segmentations between 0.96 for a good segmented solder joints and 0.25 for single negative outliers. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that the presented optical imaging system and the developed algorithm can robustly detect solder joints on printed circuit boards. Future work will comprise a modified lighting system which allows for more precise segmentation results using structure analysis.

Keywords: printed circuit board jet-printing, inspection, segmentation, solder paste detection

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56 Multifunctional Epoxy/Carbon Laminates Containing Carbon Nanotubes-Confined Paraffin for Thermal Energy Storage

Authors: Giulia Fredi, Andrea Dorigato, Luca Fambri, Alessandro Pegoretti

Abstract:

Thermal energy storage (TES) is the storage of heat for later use, thus filling the gap between energy request and supply. The most widely used materials for TES are the organic solid-liquid phase change materials (PCMs), such as paraffin. These materials store/release a high amount of latent heat thanks to their high specific melting enthalpy, operate in a narrow temperature range and have a tunable working temperature. However, they suffer from a low thermal conductivity and need to be confined to prevent leakage. These two issues can be tackled by confining PCMs with carbon nanotubes (CNTs). TES applications include the buildings industry, solar thermal energy collection and thermal management of electronics. In most cases, TES systems are an additional component to be added to the main structure, but if weight and volume savings are key issues, it would be advantageous to embed the TES functionality directly in the structure. Such multifunctional materials could be employed in the automotive industry, where the diffusion of lightweight structures could complicate the thermal management of the cockpit environment or of other temperature sensitive components. This work aims to produce epoxy/carbon structural laminates containing CNT-stabilized paraffin. CNTs were added to molten paraffin in a fraction of 10 wt%, as this was the minimum amount at which no leakage was detected above the melting temperature (45°C). The paraffin/CNT blend was cryogenically milled to obtain particles with an average size of 50 µm. They were added in various percentages (20, 30 and 40 wt%) to an epoxy/hardener formulation, which was used as a matrix to produce laminates through a wet layup technique, by stacking five plies of a plain carbon fiber fabric. The samples were characterized microstructurally, thermally and mechanically. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) tests showed that the paraffin kept its ability to melt and crystallize also in the laminates, and the melting enthalpy was almost proportional to the paraffin weight fraction. These thermal properties were retained after fifty heating/cooling cycles. Laser flash analysis showed that the thermal conductivity through the thickness increased with an increase of the PCM, due to the presence of CNTs. The ability of the developed laminates to contribute to the thermal management was also assessed by monitoring their cooling rates through a thermal camera. Three-point bending tests showed that the flexural modulus was only slightly impaired by the presence of the paraffin/CNT particles, while a more sensible decrease of the stress and strain at break and the interlaminar shear strength was detected. Optical and scanning electron microscope images revealed that these could be attributed to the preferential location of the PCM in the interlaminar region. These results demonstrated the feasibility of multifunctional structural TES composites and highlighted that the PCM size and distribution affect the mechanical properties. In this perspective, this group is working on the encapsulation of paraffin in a sol-gel derived organosilica shell. Submicron spheres have been produced, and the current activity focuses on the optimization of the synthesis parameters to increase the emulsion efficiency.

Keywords: carbon fibers, carbon nanotubes, lightweight materials, multifunctional composites, thermal energy storage

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55 Human Identification and Detection of Suspicious Incidents Based on Outfit Colors: Image Processing Approach in CCTV Videos

Authors: Thilini M. Yatanwala

Abstract:

CCTV (Closed-Circuit-Television) Surveillance System is being used in public places over decades and a large variety of data is being produced every moment. However, most of the CCTV data is stored in isolation without having integrity. As a result, identification of the behavior of suspicious people along with their location has become strenuous. This research was conducted to acquire more accurate and reliable timely information from the CCTV video records. The implemented system can identify human objects in public places based on outfit colors. Inter-process communication technologies were used to implement the CCTV camera network to track people in the premises. The research was conducted in three stages and in the first stage human objects were filtered from other movable objects available in public places. In the second stage people were uniquely identified based on their outfit colors and in the third stage an individual was continuously tracked in the CCTV network. A face detection algorithm was implemented using cascade classifier based on the training model to detect human objects. HAAR feature based two-dimensional convolution operator was introduced to identify features of the human face such as region of eyes, region of nose and bridge of the nose based on darkness and lightness of facial area. In the second stage outfit colors of human objects were analyzed by dividing the area into upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right of the body. Mean color, mod color and standard deviation of each area were extracted as crucial factors to uniquely identify human object using histogram based approach. Color based measurements were written in to XML files and separate directories were maintained to store XML files related to each camera according to time stamp. As the third stage of the approach, inter-process communication techniques were used to implement an acknowledgement based CCTV camera network to continuously track individuals in a network of cameras. Real time analysis of XML files generated in each camera can determine the path of individual to monitor full activity sequence. Higher efficiency was achieved by sending and receiving acknowledgments only among adjacent cameras. Suspicious incidents such as a person staying in a sensitive area for a longer period or a person disappeared from the camera coverage can be detected in this approach. The system was tested for 150 people with the accuracy level of 82%. However, this approach was unable to produce expected results in the presence of group of people wearing similar type of outfits. This approach can be applied to any existing camera network without changing the physical arrangement of CCTV cameras. The study of human identification and suspicious incident detection using outfit color analysis can achieve higher level of accuracy and the project will be continued by integrating motion and gait feature analysis techniques to derive more information from CCTV videos.

Keywords: CCTV surveillance, human detection and identification, image processing, inter-process communication, security, suspicious detection

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54 Synthesis, Growth, Characterization and Quantum Chemical Investigations of an Organic Single Crystal: 2-Amino- 4-Methylpyridinium Quinoline- 2-Carboxylate

Authors: Anitha Kandasamy, Thirumurugan Ramaiah

Abstract:

Interestingly, organic materials exhibit large optical nonlinearity with quick responses and having the flexibility of molecular tailoring using computational modelling and favourable synthetic methodologies. Pyridine based organic compounds and carboxylic acid contained aromatic compounds play a crucial role in crystal engineering of NCS complexes that displays admirable optical nonlinearity with fast response and favourable physicochemical properties such as low dielectric constant, wide optical transparency and large laser damage threshold value requires for optoelectronics device applications. Based on these facts, it was projected to form an acentric molecule of π-conjugated system interaction with appropriately replaced electron donor and acceptor groups for achieving higher SHG activity in which quinoline-2-carboyxlic acid is chosen as an electron acceptor and capable of acting as an acid as well as a base molecule, while 2-amino-4-methylpyridine is used as an electron donor and previously employed in numerous proton transfer complexes for synthesis of NLO materials for optoelectronic applications. 2-amino-4-mehtylpyridinium quinoline-2-carboxylate molecular complex (2AQ) is having π-donor-acceptor groups in which 2-amino-4-methylpyridine donates one of its electron to quinoline -2-carboxylic acid thereby forming a protonated 2-amino-4-methyl pyridinium moiety and mono ionized quinoline-2-carboxylate moiety which are connected via N-H…O intermolecular interactions with non-centrosymmetric crystal packing arrangement at microscopic scale is accountable to the enhancement of macroscopic second order NLO activity. The 2AQ crystal was successfully grown by a slow evaporation solution growth technique and its structure was determined in orthorhombic crystal system with acentric, P212121, space group. Hirshfeld surface analysis reveals that O…H intermolecular interactions primarily contributed with 31.0 % to the structural stabilization of 2AQ. The molecular structure of title compound has been confirmed by 1H and 13C NMR spectral studies. The vibrational modes of functional groups present in 2AQ have been assigned by using FTIR and FT-Raman spectroscopy. The grown 2AQ crystal exhibits high optical transparency with lower cut-off wavelength (275 nm) within the region of 275-1500 nm. The laser study confirmed that 2AQ exhibits high SHG efficiency of 12.6 times greater than that of KDP. TGA-DTA analysis revealed that 2AQ crystal had a thermal stability of 223 °C. The low dielectric constant and low dielectric loss at higher frequencies confirmed good crystalline nature with fewer defects of grown 2AQ crystal. The grown crystal exhibits soft material and positive photoconduction behaviour. Mulliken atomic distribution and FMOs analysis suggested that the strong intermolecular hydrogen bonding which lead to the enhancement of NLO activity. These properties suggest that 2AQ crystal is a suitable material for optoelectronic and laser frequency conversion applications.

Keywords: crystal growth, NLO activity, proton transfer complex, quantum chemical investigation

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53 Formulation of a Submicron Delivery System including a Platelet Lysate to Be Administered in Damaged Skin

Authors: Sergio A. Bernal-Chavez, Sergio Alcalá-Alcalá, Doris A. Cerecedo-Mercado, Adriana Ganem-Rondero

Abstract:

The prevalence of people with chronic wounds has increased dramatically by many factors including smoking, obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, that can slow the healing process and increase the risk of becoming chronic. Because of this situation, the improvement of chronic wound treatments is a necessity, which has led to the scientific community to focus on improving the effectiveness of current therapies and the development of new treatments. The wound formation is a physiological complex process, which is characterized by an inflammatory stage with the presence of proinflammatory cells that create a proteolytic microenvironment during the healing process, which includes the degradation of important growth factors and cytokines. This decrease of growth factors and cytokines provides an interesting strategy for wound healing if they are administered externally. The use of nanometric drug delivery systems, such as polymer nanoparticles (NP), also offers an interesting alternative around dermal systems. An interesting strategy would be to propose a formulation based on a thermosensitive hydrogel loaded with polymeric nanoparticles that allows the inclusion and application of a platelet lysate (PL) on damaged skin, with the aim of promoting wound healing. In this work, NP were prepared by a double emulsion-solvent evaporation technique, using polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) as biodegradable polymer. Firstly, an aqueous solution of PL was emulsified into a PLGA organic solution, previously prepared in dichloromethane (DCM). Then, this disperse system (W/O) was poured into a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) solution to get the double emulsion (W/O/W), finally the DCM was evaporated by magnetic stirring resulting in the NP formation containing PL. Once the NP were obtained, these systems were characterized by morphology, particle size, Z-potential, encapsulation efficiency (%EE), physical stability, infrared spectrum, calorimetric studies (DSC) and in vitro release profile. The optimized nanoparticles were included in a thermosensitive gel formulation of Pluronic® F-127. The gel was prepared by the cold method at 4 °C and 20% of polymer concentration. Viscosity, sol-gel phase transition, time of no flow solid-gel at wound temperature, changes in particle size by temperature-effect using dynamic light scattering (DLS), occlusive effect, gel degradation, infrared spectrum and micellar point by DSC were evaluated in all gel formulations. PLGA NP of 267 ± 10.5 nm and Z-potential of -29.1 ± 1 mV were obtained. TEM micrographs verified the size of NP and evidenced their spherical shape. The %EE for the system was around 99%. Thermograms and in infrared spectra mark the presence of PL in NP. The systems did not show significant changes in the parameters mentioned above, during the stability studies. Regarding the gel formulation, the transition sol-gel occurred at 28 °C with a time of no flow solid-gel of 7 min at 33°C (common wound temperature). Calorimetric, DLS and infrared studies corroborated the physical properties of a thermosensitive gel, such as the micellar point. In conclusion, the thermosensitive gel described in this work, contains therapeutic amounts of PL and fulfills the technological properties to be used in damaged skin, with potential application in wound healing and tissue regeneration.

Keywords: growth factors, polymeric nanoparticles, thermosensitive hydrogels, tissue regeneration

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52 South African Breast Cancer Mutation Spectrum: Pitfalls to Copy Number Variation Detection Using Internationally Designed Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification and Next Generation Sequencing Panels

Authors: Jaco Oosthuizen, Nerina C. Van Der Merwe

Abstract:

The National Health Laboratory Services in Bloemfontien has been the diagnostic testing facility for 1830 patients for familial breast cancer since 1997. From the cohort, 540 were comprehensively screened using High-Resolution Melting Analysis or Next Generation Sequencing for the presence of point mutations and/or indels. Approximately 90% of these patients stil remain undiagnosed as they are BRCA1/2 negative. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification was initially added to screen for copy number variation detection, but with the introduction of next generation sequencing in 2017, was substituted and is currently used as a confirmation assay. The aim was to investigate the viability of utilizing internationally designed copy number variation detection assays based on mostly European/Caucasian genomic data for use within a South African context. The multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification technique is based on the hybridization and subsequent ligation of multiple probes to a targeted exon. The ligated probes are amplified using conventional polymerase chain reaction, followed by fragment analysis by means of capillary electrophoresis. The experimental design of the assay was performed according to the guidelines of MRC-Holland. For BRCA1 (P002-D1) and BRCA2 (P045-B3), both multiplex assays were validated, and results were confirmed using a secondary probe set for each gene. The next generation sequencing technique is based on target amplification via multiplex polymerase chain reaction, where after the amplicons are sequenced parallel on a semiconductor chip. Amplified read counts are visualized as relative copy numbers to determine the median of the absolute values of all pairwise differences. Various experimental parameters such as DNA quality, quantity, and signal intensity or read depth were verified using positive and negative patients previously tested internationally. DNA quality and quantity proved to be the critical factors during the verification of both assays. The quantity influenced the relative copy number frequency directly whereas the quality of the DNA and its salt concentration influenced denaturation consistency in both assays. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification produced false positives due to ligation failure when ligation was inhibited due to a variant present within the ligation site. Next generation sequencing produced false positives due to read dropout when primer sequences did not meet optimal multiplex binding kinetics due to population variants in the primer binding site. The analytical sensitivity and specificity for the South African population have been proven. Verification resulted in repeatable reactions with regards to the detection of relative copy number differences. Both multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and next generation sequencing multiplex panels need to be optimized to accommodate South African polymorphisms present within the genetically diverse ethnic groups to reduce the false copy number variation positive rate and increase performance efficiency.

Keywords: familial breast cancer, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, next generation sequencing, South Africa

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51 Optimized Processing of Neural Sensory Information with Unwanted Artifacts

Authors: John Lachapelle

Abstract:

Introduction: Neural stimulation is increasingly targeted toward treatment of back pain, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, and for sensory perception. Sensory recording during stimulation is important in order to examine neural response to stimulation. Most neural amplifiers (headstages) focus on noise efficiency factor (NEF). Conversely, neural headstages need to handle artifacts from several sources including power lines, movement (EMG), and neural stimulation itself. In this work a layered approach to artifact rejection is used to reduce corruption of the neural ENG signal by 60dBv, resulting in recovery of sensory signals in rats and primates that would previously not be possible. Methods: The approach combines analog techniques to reduce and handle unwanted signal amplitudes. The methods include optimized (1) sensory electrode placement, (2) amplifier configuration, and (3) artifact blanking when necessary. The techniques together are like concentric moats protecting a castle; only the wanted neural signal can penetrate. There are two conditions in which the headstage operates: unwanted artifact < 50mV, linear operation, and artifact > 50mV, fast-settle gain reduction signal limiting (covered in more detail in a separate paper). Unwanted Signals at the headstage input: Consider: (a) EMG signals are by nature < 10mV. (b) 60 Hz power line signals may be > 50mV with poor electrode cable conditions; with careful routing much of the signal is common to both reference and active electrode and rejected in the differential amplifier with <50mV remaining. (c) An unwanted (to the neural recorder) stimulation signal is attenuated from stimulation to sensory electrode. The voltage seen at the sensory electrode can be modeled Φ_m=I_o/4πσr. For a 1 mA stimulation signal, with 1 cm spacing between electrodes, the signal is <20mV at the headstage. Headstage ASIC design: The front end ASIC design is designed to produce < 1% THD at 50mV input; 50 times higher than typical headstage ASICs, with no increase in noise floor. This requires careful balance of amplifier stages in the headstage ASIC, as well as consideration of the electrodes effect on noise. The ASIC is designed to allow extremely small signal extraction on low impedance (< 10kohm) electrodes with configuration of the headstage ASIC noise floor to < 700nV/rt-Hz. Smaller high impedance electrodes (> 100kohm) are typically located closer to neural sources and transduce higher amplitude signals (> 10uV); the ASIC low-power mode conserves power with 2uV/rt-Hz noise. Findings: The enhanced neural processing ASIC has been compared with a commercial neural recording amplifier IC. Chronically implanted primates at MGH demonstrated the presence of commercial neural amplifier saturation as a result of large environmental artifacts. The enhanced artifact suppression headstage ASIC, in the same setup, was able to recover and process the wanted neural signal separately from the suppressed unwanted artifacts. Separately, the enhanced artifact suppression headstage ASIC was able to separate sensory neural signals from unwanted artifacts in mouse-implanted peripheral intrafascicular electrodes. Conclusion: Optimizing headstage ASICs allow observation of neural signals in the presence of large artifacts that will be present in real-life implanted applications, and are targeted toward human implantation in the DARPA HAPTIX program.

Keywords: ASIC, biosensors, biomedical signal processing, biomedical sensors

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50 Metabolic Changes during Reprogramming of Wheat and Triticale Microspores

Authors: Natalia Hordynska, Magdalena Szechynska-Hebda, Miroslaw Sobczak, Elzbieta Rozanska, Joanna Troczynska, Zofia Banaszak, Maria Wedzony

Abstract:

Albinism is a common problem encountered in wheat and triticale breeding programs, which require in vitro culture steps e.g. generation of doubled haploids via androgenesis process. Genetic factor is a major determinant of albinism, however, environmental conditions such as temperature and media composition influence the frequency of albino plant formation. Cold incubation of wheat and triticale spikes induced a switch from gametophytic to sporophytic development. Further, androgenic structures formed from anthers of the genotypes susceptible to androgenesis or treated with cold stress, had a pool of structurally primitive plastids, with small starch granules or swollen thylakoids. High temperature was a factor inducing andro-genesis of wheat and triticale, but at the same time, it was a factor favoring the formation of albino plants. In genotypes susceptible to albinism or after heat stress conditions, cells formed from anthers were vacuolated, and plastids were eliminated. Partial or complete loss of chlorophyll pigments and incomplete differentiation of chloroplast membranes result in formation of tissues or whole plant unable to perform photosynthesis. Indeed, susceptibility to the andro-genesis process was associated with an increase of total concentration of photosynthetic pigments in anthers, spikes and regenerated plants. The proper balance of the synthesis of various pigments, was the starting point for their proper incorporation into photosynthetic membranes. In contrast, genotypes resistant to the androgenesis process and those treated with heat, contained 100 times lower content of photosynthetic pigments. In particular, the synthesis of violaxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein and chlorophyll b was limited. Furthermore, deregulation of starch and lipids synthesis, which led to the formation of very complex starch granules and an increased number of oleosomes, respectively, correlated with the reduction of the efficiency of androgenesis. The content of other sugars varied depending on the genotype and the type of stress. The highest content of various sugars was found for genotypes susceptible to andro-genesis, and highly reduced for genotypes resistant to androgenesis. The most important sugars seem to be glucose and fructose. They are involved in sugar sensing and signaling pathways, which affect the expression of various genes and regulate plant development. Sucrose, on the other hand, seems to have minor effect at each stage of the androgenesis. The sugar metabolism was related to metabolic activity of microspores. The genotypes susceptible to androgenesis process had much faster mitochondrium- and chloroplast-dependent energy conversion and higher heat production by tissues. Thus, the effectiveness of metabolic processes, their balance and the flexibility under the stress was a factor determining the direction of microspore development, and in the later stages of the androgenesis process, a factor supporting the induction of androgenic structures, chloroplast formation and the regeneration of green plants. The work was financed by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development within Program: ‘Biological Progress in Plant Production’, project no HOR.hn.802.15.2018.

Keywords: androgenesis, chloroplast, metabolism, temperature stress

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49 Isolation of Bacterial Species with Potential Capacity for Siloxane Removal in Biogas Upgrading

Authors: Ellana Boada, Eric Santos-Clotas, Alba Cabrera-Codony, Maria Martin, Lluis Baneras, Frederic Gich

Abstract:

Volatile methylsiloxanes (VMS) are a group of manmade silicone compounds widely used in household and industrial applications that end up on the biogas produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in landfills and wastewater treatment plants. The presence of VMS during the biogas energy conversion can cause damage on the engines, reducing the efficiency of this renewable energy source. Non regenerative adsorption onto activated carbon is the most widely used technology to remove siloxanes from biogas, while new trends point out that biotechnology offers a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional technologies. The first objective of this research was to enrich, isolate and identify bacterial species able to grow using siloxane molecules as a sole carbon source: anoxic wastewater sludge was used as initial inoculum in liquid anoxic enrichments, adding D4 (as representative siloxane compound) previously adsorbed on activated carbon. After several months of acclimatization, liquid enrichments were plated onto solid media containing D4 and thirty-four bacterial isolates were obtained. 16S rRNA gene sequencing allowed the identification of strains belonging to the following species: Ciceribacter lividus, Alicycliphilus denitrificans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas citronellolis which are described to be capable to degrade toxic volatile organic compounds. Kinetic assays with 8 representative strains revealed higher cell growth in the presence of D4 compared to the control. Our second objective was to characterize the community composition and diversity of the microbial community present in the enrichments and to elucidate whether the isolated strains were representative members of the community or not. DNA samples were extracted, the 16S rRNA gene was amplified (515F & 806R primer pair), and the microbiome analyzed from sequences obtained with a MiSeq PE250 platform. Results showed that the retrieved isolates only represented a minor fraction of the microorganisms present in the enrichment samples, which were represented by Alpha, Beta, and Gamma proteobacteria as dominant groups in the category class thus suggesting that other microbial species and/or consortia may be important for D4 biodegradation. These results highlight the need of additional protocols for the isolation of relevant D4 degraders. Currently, we are developing molecular tools targeting key genes involved in siloxane biodegradation to identify and quantify the capacity of the isolates to metabolize D4 in batch cultures supplied with a synthetic gas stream of air containing 60 mg m⁻³ of D4 together with other volatile organic compounds found in the biogas mixture (i.e. toluene, hexane and limonene). The isolates were used as inoculum in a biotrickling filter containing lava rocks and activated carbon to assess their capacity for siloxane removal. Preliminary results of biotrickling filter performance showed 35% of siloxane biodegradation in a contact time of 14 minutes, denoting that biological siloxane removal is a promising technology for biogas upgrading.

Keywords: bacterial cultivation, biogas upgrading, microbiome, siloxanes

Procedia PDF Downloads 134
48 Digitization and Morphometric Characterization of Botanical Collection of Indian Arid Zones as Informatics Initiatives Addressing Conservation Issues in Climate Change Scenario

Authors: Dipankar Saha, J. P. Singh, C. B. Pandey

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Indian Thar desert being the seventh largest in the world is the main hot sand desert occupies nearly 385,000km2 and about 9% of the area of the country harbours several species likely the flora of 682 species (63 introduced species) belonging to 352 genera and 87 families. The degree of endemism of plant species in the Thar desert is 6.4 percent, which is relatively higher than the degree of endemism in the Sahara desert which is very significant for the conservationist to envisage. The advent and development of computer technology for digitization and data base management coupled with the rapidly increasing importance of biodiversity conservation resulted in the invention of biodiversity informatics as discipline of basic sciences with multiple applications. Aichi Target 19 as an outcome of Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) specifically mandates the development of an advanced and shared biodiversity knowledge base. Information on species distributions in space is the crux of effective management of biodiversity in the rapidly changing world. The efficiency of biodiversity management is being increased rapidly by various stakeholders like researchers, policymakers, and funding agencies with the knowledge and application of biodiversity informatics. Herbarium specimens being a vital repository for biodiversity conservation especially in climate change scenario the digitization process usually aims to improve access and to preserve delicate specimens and in doing so creating large sets of images as a part of the existing repository as arid plant information facility for long-term future usage. As the leaf characters are important for describing taxa and distinguishing between them and they can be measured from herbarium specimens as well. As a part of this activity, laminar characterization (leaves being the most important characters in assessing climate change impact) initially resulted in classification of more than thousands collections belonging to ten families like Acanthaceae, Aizoaceae, Amaranthaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Anacardeaceae, Apocynaceae, Asteraceae, Aristolochiaceae, Berseraceae and Bignoniaceae etc. Taxonomic diversity indices has also been worked out being one of the important domain of biodiversity informatics approaches. The digitization process also encompasses workflows which incorporate automated systems to enable us to expand and speed up the digitisation process. The digitisation workflows used to be on a modular system which has the potential to be scaled up. As they are being developed with a geo-referencing tool and additional quality control elements and finally placing specimen images and data into a fully searchable, web-accessible database. Our effort in this paper is to elucidate the role of BIs, present effort of database development of the existing botanical collection of institute repository. This effort is expected to be considered as a part of various global initiatives having an effective biodiversity information facility. This will enable access to plant biodiversity data that are fit-for-use by scientists and decision makers working on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the region and iso-climatic situation of the world.

Keywords: biodiversity informatics, climate change, digitization, herbarium, laminar characters, web accessible interface

Procedia PDF Downloads 55
47 Composite Electrospun Aligned PLGA/Curcumin/Heparin Nanofibrous Membranes for Wound Dressing Application

Authors: Jyh-Ping Chen, Yu-Tin Lai

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Wound healing is a complicated process involving overlapping hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation phases. Ideal wound dressings can replace native skin functions in full thickness skin wounds through faster healing rate and also by reducing scar formation. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is an U.S. FDA approved biodegradable polymer to be used as ideal wound dressing material. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin in decreasing the release of inflammatory cytokines, inhibiting enzymes associated with inflammations, and scavenging free radicals that are the major cause of inflammation during wound healing. Heparin has binding affinities to various growth factors. With the unique and beneficial features offered by those molecules toward the complex process of wound healing, we postulate a composite wound dressing constructed from PLGA, curcumin and heparin would be a good candidate to accelerate scarless wound healing. In this work, we use electrospinning to prepare curcumin-loaded aligned PLGA nanofibrous membranes (PC NFMs). PC NFMs were further subject to oxygen plasma modification and surfaced-grafted with heparin through carbodiimide-mediated covalent bond formation to prepare curcumin-loaded PLGA-g-heparin (PCH) NFMs. The nanofibrous membranes could act as three-dimensional scaffolds to attract fibroblast migration, reduce inflammation, and increase wound-healing related growth factors concentrations at wound sites. From scanning electron microscopy analysis, the nanofibers in each NFM are with diameters ranging from 456 to 479 nm and with alignment angles within  0.5°. The NFMs show high tensile strength and good water absorptivity and provide suitable pore size for nutrients/wastes transport. Exposure of human dermal fibroblasts to the extraction medium of PC or PCH NFM showed significant protective effects against hydrogen peroxide than PLGA NFM. In vitro wound healing assays also showed that the extraction medium of PCH NFM showed significantly better migration ability toward fibroblasts than PC NFM, which is further better than PLGA NFM. The in vivo healing efficiency of the NFMs was further evaluated by a full thickness excisional wound healing diabetic rat model. After 14 days, PCH NFMs exhibits 86% wound closure rate, which is significantly different from other groups (79% for PC and 73% for PLGA NFM). Real-time PCR analysis indicated PC and PCH NFMs down regulated anti-oxidative enzymes like glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), which are well-known transcription factors involved in cellular inflammatory responses to stimuli. From histology, the wound area treated with PCH NFMs showed more vascular lumen formation from immunohistochemistry of α-smooth muscle actin. The wound site also had more collagen type III (65.8%) expression and less collagen type I (3.5%) expression, indicating scar-less wound healing. From Western blot analysis, the PCH NFM showed good affinity toward growth factors from increased concentration of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) at the wound site to accelerate wound healing. From the results, we suggest PCH NFM as a promising candidate for wound dressing applications.

Keywords: Curcumin, heparin, nanofibrous membrane, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), wound dressing

Procedia PDF Downloads 61
46 Argos-Linked Fastloc GPS Reveals the Resting Activity of Migrating Sea Turtles

Authors: Gail Schofield, Antoine M. Dujon, Nicole Esteban, Rebecca M. Lester, Graeme C. Hays

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Variation in diel movement patterns during migration provides information on the strategies used by animals to maximize energy efficiency and ensure the successful completion of migration. For instance, many flying and land-based terrestrial species stop to rest and refuel at regular intervals along the migratory route, or at transitory ‘stopover’ sites, depending on resource availability. However, in cases where stopping is not possible (such as over–or through deep–open oceans, or over deserts and mountains), non-stop travel is required, with animals needing to develop strategies to rest while actively traveling. Recent advances in biologging technologies have identified mid-flight micro sleeps by swifts in Africa during the 10-month non-breeding period, and the use of lateralized sleep behavior in orca and bottlenose dolphins during migration. Here, highly accurate locations obtained by Argos-linked Fastloc-GPS transmitters of adult green (n=8 turtles, 9487 locations) and loggerhead (n=46 turtles, 47,588 locations) sea turtles migrating around thousand kilometers (over several weeks) from breeding to foraging grounds across the Indian and Mediterranean oceans were used to identify potential resting strategies. Stopovers were only documented for seven turtles, lasting up to 6 days; thus, this strategy was not commonly used, possibly due to the lack of potential ‘shallow’ ( < 100 m seabed depth) sites along routes. However, observations of the day versus night speed of travel indicated that turtles might use other mechanisms to rest. For instance, turtles traveled an average 31% slower at night compared to day during oceanic crossings. Slower travel speeds at night might be explained by turtles swimming in a less direct line at night and/or deeper dives reducing their forward motion, as indicated through studies using Argos-linked transmitters and accelerometers. Furthermore, within the first 24 h of entering waters shallower than 100 m towards the end of migration (the depth at which sea turtles can swim and rest on the seabed), some individuals travelled 72% slower at night, repeating this behavior intermittently (each time for a one-night duration at 3–6-day intervals) until reaching the foraging grounds. If the turtles were, in fact, resting on the seabed at this point, they could be inactive for up to 8-hours, facilitating protracted periods of rest after several weeks of constant swimming. Turtles might not rest every night once within these shallower depths, due to the time constraints of reaching foraging grounds and restoring depleted energetic reserves (as sea turtles are capital breeders, they tend not to feed for several months during migration to and from the breeding grounds and while breeding). In conclusion, access to data-rich, highly accurate Argos-linked Fastloc-GPS provided information about differences in the day versus night activity at different stages of migration, allowing us, for the first time, to compare the strategies used by a marine vertebrate with terrestrial land-based and flying species. However, the question of what resting strategies are used by individuals that remain in oceanic waters to forage, with combinations of highly accurate Argos-linked Fastloc-GPS transmitters and accelerometry or time-depth recorders being required for sufficient numbers of individuals.

Keywords: argos-linked fastloc GPS, data loggers, migration, resting strategy, telemetry

Procedia PDF Downloads 46
45 Intensification of Wet Air Oxidation of Landfill Leachate Reverse Osmosis Concentrates

Authors: Emilie Gout, Mathias Monnot, Olivier Boutin, Pierre Vanloot, Philippe Moulin

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Water is a precious resource. Treating industrial wastewater remains a considerable technical challenge of our century. The effluent considered for this study is landfill leachate treated by reverse osmosis (RO). Nowadays, in most developed countries, sanitary landfilling is the main method to deal with municipal solid waste. Rainwater percolates through solid waste, generating leachates mostly comprised of organic and inorganic matter. Whilst leachate ages, its composition varies, becoming more and more bio-refractory. RO is already used for landfill leachates as it generates good quality permeate. However, its mains drawback is the production of highly polluted concentrates that cannot be discharged in the environment or reused, which is an important industrial issue. It is against this background that the study of coupling RO with wet air oxidation (WAO) was set to intensify and optimize processes to meet current regulations for water discharge in the environment. WAO is widely studied for effluents containing bio-refractory compounds. Oxidation consists of a destruction reaction capable of mineralizing the recalcitrant organic fraction of pollution into carbon dioxide and water when complete. WAO process in subcritical conditions requires a high-energy consumption, but it can be autothermic in a certain range of chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations (10-100 g.L⁻¹). Appropriate COD concentrations are reached in landfill leachate RO concentrates. Therefore, the purpose of this work is to report the performances of mineralization during WAO on RO concentrates. The coupling of RO/WAO has shown promising results in previous works on both synthetic and real effluents in terms of organic carbon (TOC) reduction by WAO and retention by RO. Non-catalytic WAO with air as oxidizer was performed in a lab-scale stirred autoclave (1 L) on landfill leachates RO concentrates collected in different seasons in a sanitary landfill in southern France. The yield of WAO depends on operating parameters such as total pressure, temperature, and time. Compositions of the effluent are also important aspects for process intensification. An experimental design methodology was used to minimize the number of experiments whilst finding the operating conditions achieving the best pollution reduction. The simulation led to a set of 18 experiments, and the responses to highlight process efficiency are pH, conductivity, turbidity, COD, TOC, and inorganic carbon. A 70% oxygen excess was chosen for all the experiments. First experiments showed that COD and TOC abatements of at least 70% were obtained after 90 min at 300°C and 20 MPa, which attested the possibility to treat RO leachate concentrates with WAO. In order to meet French regulations and validate process intensification with industrial effluents, some continuous experiments in a bubble column are foreseen, and some further analyses will be performed, such as biological oxygen demand and study of gas composition. Meanwhile, other industrial effluents are treated to compare RO-WAO performances. These effluents, coming from pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and tertiary wastewater industries, present different specific pollutants that will provide a better comprehension of the hybrid process and prove the intensification and feasibility of the process at an industrial scale. Acknowledgments: This work has been supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR) for the Project TEMPO under the reference number ANR-19-CE04-0002-01.

Keywords: hybrid process, landfill leachates, process intensification, reverse osmosis, wet air oxidation

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44 Secure Texting Used in a Post-Acute Pediatric Skilled Nursing Inpatient Setting: A Multidisciplinary Care Team Driven Communication System with Alarm & Alert Notification Management

Authors: Bency Ann Massinello, Nancy Day, Janet Fellini

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Background: The use of an appropriate mode of communication among the multidisciplinary care team members regarding coordination of care is an extremely complicated yet important patient safety initiative. Effective communication among the team members(nursing staff, medical staff, respiratory therapists, rehabilitation therapists, patient-family services team…) become essential to develop a culture of trust and collaboration to deliver the highest quality care to patients are their families. The inpatient post-acute pediatrics, where children and their caregivers come for continuity of care, is no exceptions to the increasing use of text messages as a means to communication among clinicians. One such platform is the Vocera Communications (Vocera Smart Mobile App called Vocera Edge) allows the teams to use the application and share sensitive patient information through an encrypted platform using IOS company provided shared and assigned mobile devices. Objective: This paper discusses the quality initiative of implementing the transition from Vocera Smartbage to Vocera Edge Mobile App, technology advantage, use case expansion, and lessons learned about a secure alternative modality that allows sending and receiving secure text messages in a pediatric post-acute setting using an IOS device. This implementation process included all direct care staff, ancillary teams, and administrative teams on the clinical units. Methods: Our institution launched this transition from voice prompted hands-free Vocera Smartbage to Vocera Edge mobile based app for secure care team texting using a big bang approach during the first PDSA cycle. The pre and post implementation data was gathered using a qualitative survey of about 500 multidisciplinary team members to determine the ease of use of the application and its efficiency in care coordination. The technology was further expanded in its use by implementing clinical alerts and alarms notification using middleware integration with patient monitoring (Masimo) and life safety (Nurse call) systems. Additional use of the smart mobile iPhone use include pushing out apps like Lexicomp and Up to Date to have it readily available for users for evident-based practice in medication and disease management. Results: Successful implementation of the communication system in a shared and assigned model with all of the multidisciplinary teams in our pediatric post-acute setting. In just a 3-monthperiod post implementation, we noticed a 14% increase from 7,993 messages in 6 days in December 2020 to 9,116messages in March 2021. This confirmed that all clinical and non-clinical teams were using this mode of communication for coordinating the care for their patients. System generated data analytics used in addition to the pre and post implementation staff survey for process evaluation. Conclusion: A secure texting option using a mobile device is a safe and efficient mode for care team communication and collaboration using technology in real time. This allows for the settings like post-acute pediatric care areas to be in line with the widespread use of mobile apps and technology in our mainstream healthcare.

Keywords: nursing informatics, mobile secure texting, multidisciplinary communication, pediatrics post acute care

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43 The Multiplier Effects of Intelligent Transport System to Nigerian Economy

Authors: Festus Okotie

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Nigeria is the giant of Africa with great and diverse transport potentials yet to be fully tapped into and explored.it is the most populated nation in Africa with nearly 200 million people, the sixth largest oil producer overall and largest oil producer in Africa with proven oil and gas reserves of 37 billion barrels and 192 trillion cubic feet, over 300 square kilometers of arable land and significant deposits of largely untapped minerals. A world bank indicator which measures trading across border ranked Nigeria at 183 out of 185 countries in 2017 and although different governments in the past made efforts through different interventions such as 2007 ports reforms led by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former minister of Finance and world bank managing director also attempted to resolve some of the challenges such as infrastructure shortcomings, policy and regulatory inconsistencies, overlapping functions and duplicated roles among the different MDA’S. It is one of the fundamental structures smart nations and cities are using to improve the living conditions of its citizens and achieving sustainability. Examples of some of its benefits includes tracking high pedestrian areas, traffic patterns, railway stations, planning and scheduling bus times, it also enhances interoperability, creates alerts of transport situation and has swift capacity to share information among the different platforms and transport modes. It also offers a comprehensive approach to risk management, putting emergency procedures and response capabilities in place, identifying dangers, including vandalism or violence, fare evasion, and medical emergencies. The Nigerian transport system is urgently in need of modern infrastructures such as ITS. Smart city transport technology helps cities to function productively, while improving services for businesses and lives of is citizens. This technology has the ability to improve travel across traditional modes of transport, such as cars and buses, with immediate benefits for city dwellers and also helps in managing transport systems such as dangerous weather conditions, heavy traffic, and unsafe speeds which can result in accidents and loss of lives. Intelligent transportation systems help in traffic control such as permitting traffic lights to react to changing traffic patterns, instead of working on a fixed schedule in traffic. Intelligent transportation systems is very important in Nigeria’s transportation sector and so would require trained personnel to drive its efficiency to greater height because the purpose of introducing it is to add value and at the same time reduce motor vehicle miles and traffic congestion which is a major challenge around Tin can island and Apapa Port, a major transportation hub in Nigeria. The need for the federal government, state governments, houses of assembly to organise a national transportation workshop to begin the process of addressing the challenges in our nation’s transport sector is highly expedient and so bills that will facilitate the implementation of policies to promote intelligent transportation systems needs to be sponsored because of its potentials to create thousands of jobs for our citizens, provide farmers with better access to cities and a better living condition for Nigerians.

Keywords: intelligent, transport, system, Nigeria

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42 The Impacts of New Digital Technology Transformation on Singapore Healthcare Sector: Case Study of a Public Hospital in Singapore from a Management Accounting Perspective

Authors: Junqi Zou

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As one of the world’s most tech-ready countries, Singapore has initiated the Smart Nation plan to harness the full power and potential of digital technologies to transform the way people live and work, through the more efficient government and business processes, to make the economy more productive. The key evolutions of digital technology transformation in healthcare and the increasing deployment of Internet of Things (IoTs), Big Data, AI/cognitive, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR), Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMR), Warehouse Management System (WMS in the most recent decade have significantly stepped up the move towards an information-driven healthcare ecosystem. The advances in information technology not only bring benefits to patients but also act as a key force in changing management accounting in healthcare sector. The aim of this study is to investigate the impacts of digital technology transformation on Singapore’s healthcare sector from a management accounting perspective. Adopting a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) analysis approach, this paper conducted an exploratory case study of a newly launched Singapore public hospital, which has been recognized as amongst the most digitally advanced healthcare facilities in Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, this study gains insights on how the new technology is changing healthcare organizations’ management accounting from four perspectives under the Balanced Scorecard approach, 1) Financial Perspective, 2) Customer (Patient) Perspective, 3) Internal Processes Perspective, and 4) Learning and Growth Perspective. Based on a thorough review of archival records from the government and public, and the interview reports with the hospital’s CIO, this study finds the improvements from all the four perspectives under the Balanced Scorecard framework as follows: 1) Learning and Growth Perspective: The Government (Ministry of Health) works with the hospital to open up multiple training pathways to health professionals that upgrade and develops new IT skills among the healthcare workforce to support the transformation of healthcare services. 2) Internal Process Perspective: The hospital achieved digital transformation through Project OneCare to integrate clinical, operational, and administrative information systems (e.g., EHR, EMR, WMS, EPIB, RTLS) that enable the seamless flow of data and the implementation of JIT system to help the hospital operate more effectively and efficiently. 3) Customer Perspective: The fully integrated EMR suite enhances the patient’s experiences by achieving the 5 Rights (Right Patient, Right Data, Right Device, Right Entry and Right Time). 4) Financial Perspective: Cost savings are achieved from improved inventory management and effective supply chain management. The use of process automation also results in a reduction of manpower costs and logistics cost. To summarize, these improvements identified under the Balanced Scorecard framework confirm the success of utilizing the integration of advanced ICT to enhance healthcare organization’s customer service, productivity efficiency, and cost savings. Moreover, the Big Data generated from this integrated EMR system can be particularly useful in aiding management control system to optimize decision making and strategic planning. To conclude, the new digital technology transformation has moved the usefulness of management accounting to both financial and non-financial dimensions with new heights in the area of healthcare management.

Keywords: balanced scorecard, digital technology transformation, healthcare ecosystem, integrated information system

Procedia PDF Downloads 44
41 Improving the Accuracy of Stress Intensity Factors Obtained by Scaled Boundary Finite Element Method on Hybrid Quadtree Meshes

Authors: Adrian W. Egger, Savvas P. Triantafyllou, Eleni N. Chatzi

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The scaled boundary finite element method (SBFEM) is a semi-analytical numerical method, which introduces a scaling center in each element’s domain, thus transitioning from a Cartesian reference frame to one resembling polar coordinates. Consequently, an analytical solution is achieved in radial direction, implying that only the boundary need be discretized. The only limitation imposed on the resulting polygonal elements is that they remain star-convex. Further arbitrary p- or h-refinement may be applied locally in a mesh. The polygonal nature of SBFEM elements has been exploited in quadtree meshes to alleviate all issues conventionally associated with hanging nodes. Furthermore, since in 2D this results in only 16 possible cell configurations, these are precomputed in order to accelerate the forward analysis significantly. Any cells, which are clipped to accommodate the domain geometry, must be computed conventionally. However, since SBFEM permits polygonal elements, significantly coarser meshes at comparable accuracy levels are obtained when compared with conventional quadtree analysis, further increasing the computational efficiency of this scheme. The generalized stress intensity factors (gSIFs) are computed by exploiting the semi-analytical solution in radial direction. This is initiated by placing the scaling center of the element containing the crack at the crack tip. Taking an analytical limit of this element’s stress field as it approaches the crack tip, delivers an expression for the singular stress field. By applying the problem specific boundary conditions, the geometry correction factor is obtained, and the gSIFs are then evaluated based on their formal definition. Since the SBFEM solution is constructed as a power series, not unlike mode superposition in FEM, the two modes contributing to the singular response of the element can be easily identified in post-processing. Compared to the extended finite element method (XFEM) this approach is highly convenient, since neither enrichment terms nor a priori knowledge of the singularity is required. Computation of the gSIFs by SBFEM permits exceptional accuracy, however, when combined with hybrid quadtrees employing linear elements, this does not always hold. Nevertheless, it has been shown that crack propagation schemes are highly effective even given very coarse discretization since they only rely on the ratio of mode one to mode two gSIFs. The absolute values of the gSIFs may still be subject to large errors. Hence, we propose a post-processing scheme, which minimizes the error resulting from the approximation space of the cracked element, thus limiting the error in the gSIFs to the discretization error of the quadtree mesh. This is achieved by h- and/or p-refinement of the cracked element, which elevates the amount of modes present in the solution. The resulting numerical description of the element is highly accurate, with the main error source now stemming from its boundary displacement solution. Numerical examples show that this post-processing procedure can significantly improve the accuracy of the computed gSIFs with negligible computational cost even on coarse meshes resulting from hybrid quadtrees.

Keywords: linear elastic fracture mechanics, generalized stress intensity factors, scaled finite element method, hybrid quadtrees

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40 Will My Home Remain My Castle? Tenants’ Interview Topics regarding an Eco-Friendly Refurbishment Strategy in a Neighborhood in Germany

Authors: Karin Schakib-Ekbatan, Annette Roser

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According to the Federal Government’s plans, the German building stock should be virtually climate neutral by 2050. Thus, the “EnEff.Gebäude.2050” funding initiative was launched, complementing the projects of the Energy Transition Construction research initiative. Beyond the construction and renovation of individual buildings, solutions must be found at the neighborhood level. The subject of the presented pilot project is a building ensemble from the Wilhelminian period in Munich, which is planned to be refurbished based on a socially compatible, energy-saving, innovative-technical modernization concept. The building ensemble, with about 200 apartments, is part of the building cooperative. To create an optimized network and possible synergies between researchers and projects of the funding initiative, a Scientific Accompanying Research was established for cross-project analyses of findings and results in order to identify further research needs and trends. Thus, the project is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach that combines constructional, technical, and socio-scientific expertise based on a participatory understanding of research by involving the tenants at an early stage. The research focus is on getting insights into the tenants’ comfort requirements, attitudes, and energy-related behaviour. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are applied based on the Technology-Acceptance-Model (TAM). The core of the refurbishment strategy is a wall heating system intended to replace conventional radiators. A wall heating provides comfortable and consistent radiant heat instead of convection heat, which often causes drafts and dust turbulence. Besides comfort and health, the advantage of wall heating systems is an energy-saving operation. All apartments would be supplied by a uniform basic temperature control system (around perceived room temperature of 18 °C resp. 64,4 °F), which could be adapted to individual preferences via individual heating options (e. g. infrared heating). The new heating system would affect the furnishing of the walls, in terms of not allowing the wall surface to be covered too much with cupboards or pictures. Measurements and simulations of the energy consumption of an installed wall heating system are currently being carried out in a show apartment in this neighborhood to investigate energy-related, economical aspects as well as thermal comfort. In March, interviews were conducted with a total of 12 people in 10 households. The interviews were analyzed by MAXQDA. The main issue of the interview was the fear of reduced self-efficacy within their own walls (not having sufficient individual control over the room temperature or being very limited in furnishing). Other issues concerned the impact that the construction works might have on their daily life, such as noise or dirt. Despite their basically positive attitude towards a climate-friendly refurbishment concept, tenants were very concerned about the further development of the project and they expressed a great need for information events. The results of the interviews will be used for project-internal discussions on technical and psychological aspects of the refurbishment strategy in order to design accompanying workshops with the tenants as well as to prepare a written survey involving all households of the neighbourhood.

Keywords: energy efficiency, interviews, participation, refurbishment, residential buildings

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39 Expression Profiling of Chlorophyll Biosynthesis Pathways in Chlorophyll B-Lacking Mutants of Rice (Oryza sativa L.)

Authors: Khiem M. Nguyen, Ming C. Yang

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Chloroplast pigments are extremely important during photosynthesis since they play essential roles in light absorption and energy transfer. Therefore, understanding the efficiency of chlorophyll (Chl) biosynthesis could facilitate enhancement in photo-assimilates accumulation, and ultimately, in crop yield. The Chl-deficient mutants have been used extensively to study the Chl biosynthetic pathways and the biogenesis of the photosynthetic apparatus. Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is one of the most leading food crops, serving as staple food for many parts of the world. To author’s best knowledge, Chl b–lacking rice has been found; however the molecular mechanism of Chl biosynthesis still remains unclear compared to wild-type rice. In this study, the ultrastructure analysis, photosynthetic properties, and transcriptome profile of wild-type rice (Norin No.8, N8) and its Chl b-lacking mutant (Chlorina 1, C1) were examined. The finding concluded that total Chl content and Chl b content in the C1 leaves were strongly reduced compared to N8 leaves, suggesting that reduction in the total Chl content contributes to leaf color variation at the physiological level. Plastid ultrastructure of C1 possessed abnormal thylakoid membranes with loss of starch granule, large number of vesicles, and numerous plastoglobuli. The C1 rice also exhibited thinner stacked grana, which was caused by a reduction in the number of thylakoid membranes per granum. Thus, the different Chl a/b ratio of C1 may reflect the abnormal plastid development and function. Transcriptional analysis identified 23 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and 671 transcription factors (TFs) that were involved in Chl metabolism, chloroplast development, cell division, and photosynthesis. The transcriptome profile and DEGs revealed that the gene encoding PsbR (PSII core protein) was down-regulated, therefore suggesting that the lower in light-harvesting complex proteins are responsible for the lower photosynthetic capacity in C1. In addition, expression level of cell division protein (FtsZ) genes were significantly reduced in C1, causing chloroplast division defect. A total of 19 DEGs were identified based on KEGG pathway assignment involving Chl biosynthesis pathway. Among these DEGs, the GluTR gene was down-regulated, whereas the UROD, CPOX, and MgCH genes were up-regulated. Observation through qPCR suggested that later stages of Chl biosynthesis were enhanced in C1, whereas the early stages were inhibited. Plastid structure analysis together with transcriptomic analysis suggested that the Chl a/b ratio was amplified both by the reduction in Chl contents accumulation, owning to abnormal chloroplast development, and by the enhanced conversion of Chl b to Chl a. Moreover, the results indicated the same Chl-cycle pattern in the wild-type and C1 rice, indicating another Chl b degradation pathway. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that normal grana stacking, along with the absence of Chl b and greatly reduced levels of Chl a in C1, provide evidence to support the conclusion that other factors along with LHCII proteins are involved in grana stacking. The findings of this study provide insight into the molecular mechanisms that underlie different Chl a/b ratios in rice.

Keywords: Chl-deficient mutant, grana stacked, photosynthesis, RNA-Seq, transcriptomic analysis

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38 Design and Implementation of an Affordable Electronic Medical Records in a Rural Healthcare Setting: A Qualitative Intrinsic Phenomenon Case Study

Authors: Nitika Sharma, Yogesh Jain

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Introduction: An efficient Information System helps in improving the service delivery as well provides the foundation for policy and regulation of other building blocks of Health System. Health care organizations require an integrated working of its various sub-systems. An efficient EMR software boosts the teamwork amongst the various sub-systems thereby resulting in improved service delivery. Although there has been a huge impetus to EMR under the Digital India initiative, it has still not been mandated in India. It is generally implemented in huge funded public or private healthcare organizations only. Objective: The study was conducted to understand the factors that lead to the successful adoption of an affordable EMR in the low level healthcare organization. It intended to understand the design of the EMR and address the solutions to the challenges faced in adoption of the EMR. Methodology: The study was conducted in a non-profit registered Healthcare organization that has been providing healthcare facilities to more than 2500 villages including certain areas that are difficult to access. The data was collected with help of field notes, in-depth interviews and participant observation. A total of 16 participants using the EMR from different departments were enrolled via purposive sampling technique. The participants included in the study were working in the organization before the implementation of the EMR system. The study was conducted in one month period from 25 June-20 July 2018. The Ethical approval was taken from the institute along with prior approval of the participants. Data analysis: A word document of more than 4000 words was obtained after transcribing and translating the answers of respondents. It was further analyzed by focused coding, a line by line review of the transcripts, underlining words, phrases or sentences that might suggest themes to do thematic narrative analysis. Results: Based on the answers the results were thematically grouped under four headings: 1. governance of organization, 2. architecture and design of the software, 3. features of the software, 4. challenges faced in adoption and the solutions to address them. It was inferred that the successful implementation was attributed to the easy and comprehensive design of the system which has facilitated not only easy data storage and retrieval but contributes in constructing a decision support system for the staff. Portability has lead to increased acceptance by physicians. The proper division of labor, increased efficiency of staff, incorporation of auto-correction features and facilitation of task shifting has lead to increased acceptance amongst the users of various departments. Geographical inhibitions, low computer literacy and high patient load were the major challenges faced during its implementation. Despite of dual efforts made both by the architects and administrators to combat these challenges, there are still certain ongoing challenges faced by organization. Conclusion: Whenever any new technology is adopted there are certain innovators, early adopters, late adopters and laggards. The same pattern was followed in adoption of this software. He challenges were overcome with joint efforts of organization administrators and users as well. Thereby this case study provides a framework of implementing similar systems in public sector of countries that are struggling for digitizing the healthcare in presence of crunch of human and financial resources.

Keywords: EMR, healthcare technology, e-health, EHR

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37 Magnesium Nanoparticles for Photothermal Therapy

Authors: E. Locatelli, I. Monaco, R. C. Martin, Y. Li, R. Pini, M. Chiariello, M. Comes Franchini

Abstract:

Despite the many advantages of application of nanomaterials in the field of nanomedicine, increasing concerns have been expressed on their potential adverse effects on human health. There is urgency for novel green strategies toward novel materials with enhanced biocompatibility using safe reagents. Photothermal ablation therapy, which exploits localized heat increase of a few degrees to kill cancer cells, has appeared recently as a non-invasive and highly efficient therapy against various cancer types; anyway new agents able to generate hyperthermia when irradiated are needed and must have precise biocompatibility in order to avoid damage to healthy tissues and prevent toxicity. Recently, there has been increasing interest in magnesium as a biomaterial: it is the fourth most abundant cation in the human body, and it is essential for human metabolism. However magnesium nanoparticles (Mg NPs) have had limited diffusion due to the high reduction potential of magnesium cations, which makes NPs synthesis challenging. Herein, we report the synthesis of Mg NPs and their surface functionalization for the obtainment of a stable and biocompatible nanomaterial suitable for photothermal ablation therapy against cancer. We synthesized the Mg crystals by reducing MgCl2 with metallic lithium and exploiting naphthalene as an electron carrier: the lithium–naphthalene complex acts as the real reducing agent. Firstly, the nanocrystal particles were coated with the ligand 12-ethoxy ester dodecanehydroxamic acid, and then entrapped into water-dispersible polymeric micelles (PMs) made of the FDA-approved PLGA-b-PEG-COOH copolymer using the oil-in-water emulsion technique. Lately, we developed a more straightforward methodology by introducing chitosan, a highly biocompatible natural product, at the beginning of the process, simultaneously using lithium–naphthalene complex, thus having a one-pot procedure for the formation and surface modification of MgNPs. The obtained MgNPs were purified and fully characterized, showing diameters in the range of 50-300 nm. Notably, when coated with chitosan the particles remained stable as dry powder for more than 10 months. We proved the possibility of generating a temperature rise of a few to several degrees once MgNPs were illuminated using a 810 nm diode laser operating in continuous wave mode: the temperature rise resulted significant (0-15 °C) and concentration dependent. We then investigated potential cytotoxicity of the MgNPs: we used HN13 epithelial cells, derived from a head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and the hepa1-6 cell line, derived from hepatocellular carcinoma and very low toxicity was observed for both nanosystems. Finally, in vivo photothermal therapy was performed on xenograft hepa1-6 tumor bearing mice: the animals were treated with MgNPs coated with chitosan and showed no sign of suffering after the injection. After 12 hours the tumor was exposed to near-infrared laser light. The results clearly showed an extensive damage to tumor tissue after only 2 minutes of laser irradiation at 3Wcm-1, while no damage was reported when the tumor was treated with the laser and saline alone in control group. Despite the lower photothermal efficiency of Mg with respect to Au NPs, we consider MgNPs a promising, safe and green candidate for future clinical translations.

Keywords: chitosan, magnesium nanoparticles, nanomedicine, photothermal therapy

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36 The Optimization of Topical Antineoplastic Therapy Using Controlled Release Systems Based on Amino-functionalized Mesoporous Silica

Authors: Lacramioara Ochiuz, Aurelia Vasile, Iulian Stoleriu, Cristina Ghiciuc, Maria Ignat

Abstract:

Topical administration of chemotherapeutic agents (eg. carmustine, bexarotene, mechlorethamine etc.) in local treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is accompanied by multiple side effects, such as contact hypersensitivity, pruritus, skin atrophy or even secondary malignancies. A known method of reducing the side effects of anticancer agent is the development of modified drug release systems using drug incapsulation in biocompatible nanoporous inorganic matrices, such as mesoporous MCM-41 silica. Mesoporous MCM-41 silica is characterized by large specific surface, high pore volume, uniform porosity, and stable dispersion in aqueous medium, excellent biocompatibility, in vivo biodegradability and capacity to be functionalized with different organic groups. Therefore, MCM-41 is an attractive candidate for a wide range of biomedical applications, such as controlled drug release, bone regeneration, protein immobilization, enzymes, etc. The main advantage of this material lies in its ability to host a large amount of the active substance in uniform pore system with adjustable size in a mesoscopic range. Silanol groups allow surface controlled functionalization leading to control of drug loading and release. This study shows (I) the amino-grafting optimization of mesoporous MCM-41 silica matrix by means of co-condensation during synthesis and post-synthesis using APTES (3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane); (ii) loading the therapeutic agent (carmustine) obtaining a modified drug release systems; (iii) determining the profile of in vitro carmustine release from these systems; (iv) assessment of carmustine release kinetics by fitting on four mathematical models. Obtained powders have been described in terms of structure, texture, morphology thermogravimetric analysis. The concentration of the therapeutic agent in the dissolution medium has been determined by HPLC method. In vitro dissolution tests have been done using cell Enhancer in a 12 hours interval. Analysis of carmustine release kinetics from mesoporous systems was made by fitting to zero-order model, first-order model Higuchi model and Korsmeyer-Peppas model, respectively. Results showed that both types of highly ordered mesoporous silica (amino grafted by co-condensation process or post-synthesis) are thermally stable in aqueous medium. In what regards the degree of loading and efficiency of loading with the therapeutic agent, there has been noticed an increase of around 10% in case of co-condensation method application. This result shows that direct co-condensation leads to even distribution of amino groups on the pore walls while in case of post-synthesis grafting many amino groups are concentrated near the pore opening and/or on external surface. In vitro dissolution tests showed an extended carmustine release (more than 86% m/m) both from systems based on silica functionalized directly by co-condensation and after synthesis. Assessment of carmustine release kinetics revealed a release through diffusion from all studied systems as a result of fitting to Higuchi model. The results of this study proved that amino-functionalized mesoporous silica may be used as a matrix for optimizing the anti-cancer topical therapy by loading carmustine and developing prolonged-release systems.

Keywords: carmustine, silica, controlled, release

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35 Sheep Pox Virus Recombinant Proteins To Develop Subunit Vaccines

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

Abstract:

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

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

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34 A Copula-Based Approach for the Assessment of Severity of Illness and Probability of Mortality: An Exploratory Study Applied to Intensive Care Patients

Authors: Ainura Tursunalieva, Irene Hudson

Abstract:

Continuous improvement of both the quality and safety of health care is an important goal in Australia and internationally. The intensive care unit (ICU) receives patients with a wide variety of and severity of illnesses. Accurately identifying patients at risk of developing complications or dying is crucial to increasing healthcare efficiency. Thus, it is essential for clinicians and researchers to have a robust framework capable of evaluating the risk profile of a patient. ICU scoring systems provide such a framework. The Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III and the Simplified Acute Physiology Score II are ICU scoring systems frequently used for assessing the severity of acute illness. These scoring systems collect multiple risk factors for each patient including physiological measurements then render the assessment outcomes of individual risk factors into a single numerical value. A higher score is related to a more severe patient condition. Furthermore, the Mortality Probability Model II uses logistic regression based on independent risk factors to predict a patient’s probability of mortality. An important overlooked limitation of SAPS II and MPM II is that they do not, to date, include interaction terms between a patient’s vital signs. This is a prominent oversight as it is likely there is an interplay among vital signs. The co-existence of certain conditions may pose a greater health risk than when these conditions exist independently. One barrier to including such interaction terms in predictive models is the dimensionality issue as it becomes difficult to use variable selection. We propose an innovative scoring system which takes into account a dependence structure among patient’s vital signs, such as systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, pulse interval, and peripheral oxygen saturation. Copulas will capture the dependence among normally distributed and skewed variables as some of the vital sign distributions are skewed. The estimated dependence parameter will then be incorporated into the traditional scoring systems to adjust the points allocated for the individual vital sign measurements. The same dependence parameter will also be used to create an alternative copula-based model for predicting a patient’s probability of mortality. The new copula-based approach will accommodate not only a patient’s trajectories of vital signs but also the joint dependence probabilities among the vital signs. We hypothesise that this approach will produce more stable assessments and lead to more time efficient and accurate predictions. We will use two data sets: (1) 250 ICU patients admitted once to the Chui Regional Hospital (Kyrgyzstan) and (2) 37 ICU patients’ agitation-sedation profiles collected by the Hunter Medical Research Institute (Australia). Both the traditional scoring approach and our copula-based approach will be evaluated using the Brier score to indicate overall model performance, the concordance (or c) statistic to indicate the discriminative ability (or area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve), and goodness-of-fit statistics for calibration. We will also report discrimination and calibration values and establish visualization of the copulas and high dimensional regions of risk interrelating two or three vital signs in so-called higher dimensional ROCs.

Keywords: copula, intensive unit scoring system, ROC curves, vital sign dependence

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33 Sensing Study through Resonance Energy and Electron Transfer between Föster Resonance Energy Transfer Pair of Fluorescent Copolymers and Nitro-Compounds

Authors: Vishal Kumar, Soumitra Satapathi

Abstract:

Föster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) is a powerful technique used to probe close-range molecular interactions. Physically, the FRET phenomenon manifests as a dipole–dipole interaction between closely juxtaposed fluorescent molecules (10–100 Å). Our effort is to employ this FRET technique to make a prototype device for highly sensitive detection of environment pollutant. Among the most common environmental pollutants, nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) are of particular interest because of their durability and toxicity. That’s why, sensitive and selective detection of small amounts of nitroaromatic explosives, in particular, 2,4,6-trinitrophenol (TNP), 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT) and 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) has been a critical challenge due to the increasing threat of explosive-based terrorism and the need of environmental monitoring of drinking and waste water. In addition, the excessive utilization of TNP in several other areas such as burn ointment, pesticides, glass and the leather industry resulted in environmental accumulation, and is eventually contaminating the soil and aquatic systems. To the date, high number of elegant methods, including fluorimetry, gas chromatography, mass, ion-mobility and Raman spectrometry have been successfully applied for explosive detection. Among these efforts, fluorescence-quenching methods based on the mechanism of FRET show good assembly flexibility, high selectivity and sensitivity. Here, we report a FRET-based sensor system for the highly selective detection of NACs, such as TNP, DNT and TNT. The sensor system is composed of a copolymer Poly [(N,N-dimethylacrylamide)-co-(Boc-Trp-EMA)] (RP) bearing tryptophan derivative in the side chain as donor and dansyl tagged copolymer P(MMA-co-Dansyl-Ala-HEMA) (DCP) as an acceptor. Initially, the inherent fluorescence of RP copolymer is quenched by non-radiative energy transfer to DCP which only happens once the two molecules are within Förster critical distance (R0). The excellent spectral overlap (Jλ= 6.08×10¹⁴ nm⁴M⁻¹cm⁻¹) between donors’ (RP) emission profile and acceptors’ (DCP) absorption profile makes them an exciting and efficient FRET pair i.e. further confirmed by the high rate of energy transfer from RP to DCP i.e. 0.87 ns⁻¹ and lifetime measurement by time correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) to validate the 64% FRET efficiency. This FRET pair exhibited a specific fluorescence response to NACs such as DNT, TNT and TNP with 5.4, 2.3 and 0.4 µM LODs, respectively. The detection of NACs occurs with high sensitivity by photoluminescence quenching of FRET signal induced by photo-induced electron transfer (PET) from electron-rich FRET pair to electron-deficient NAC molecules. The estimated stern-volmer constant (KSV) values for DNT, TNT and TNP are 6.9 × 10³, 7.0 × 10³ and 1.6 × 104 M⁻¹, respectively. The mechanistic details of molecular interactions are established by time-resolved fluorescence, steady-state fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy confirmed that the sensing process is of mixed type, i.e. both dynamic and static quenching as lifetime of FRET system (0.73 ns) is reduced to 0.55, 0.57 and 0.61 ns DNT, TNT and TNP, respectively. In summary, the simplicity and sensitivity of this novel FRET sensor opens up the possibility of designing optical sensor of various NACs in one single platform for developing multimodal sensor for environmental monitoring and future field based study.

Keywords: FRET, nitroaromatic, stern-Volmer constant, tryptophan and dansyl tagged copolymer

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32 Benchmarking of Petroleum Tanker Discharge Operations at a Nigerian Coastal Terminal and Jetty Facilitates Optimization of the Ship–Shore Interface

Authors: Bassey O. Bassey

Abstract:

Benchmarking has progressively become entrenched as a requisite activity for process improvement and enhancing service delivery at petroleum jetties and terminals, most especially during tanker discharge operations at the ship – shore interface, as avoidable delays result in extra operating costs, non-productive time, high demurrage payments and ultimate product scarcity. The jetty and terminal in focus had been operational for 3 and 8 years respectively, with proper operational and logistic records maintained to evaluate their progress over time in order to plan and implement modifications and review of procedures for greater technical and economic efficiency. Regular and emergency staff meetings were held on a team, departmental and company-wide basis to progressively address major challenges that were encountered during each operation. The process and outcome of the resultant collectively planned changes carried out within the past two years forms the basis of this paper, which mirrors the initiatives effected to enhance operational and maintenance excellence at the affected facilities. Operational modifications included a second cargo receipt line designated for gasoline, product loss control at jetty and shore ends, enhanced product recovery and quality control, and revival of terminal–jetty backloading operations. Logistic improvements were the incorporation of an internal logistics firm and shipping agency, fast tracking of discharge procedures for tankers, optimization of tank vessel selection process, and third party product receipt and throughput. Maintenance excellence was achieved through construction of two new lay barges and refurbishment of the existing one; revamping of existing booster pump and purchasing of a modern one as reserve capacity; extension of Phase 1 of the jetty to accommodate two vessels and construction of Phase 2 for two more vessels; regular inspection, draining, drying and replacement of cargo hoses; corrosion management program for all process facilities; and an improved, properly planned and documented maintenance culture. Safety, environmental and security compliance were enhanced by installing state-of-the-art fire fighting facilities and equipment, seawater intake line construction as backup for borehole at the terminal, remediation of the shoreline and marine structures, modern spill containment equipment, improved housekeeping and accident prevention practices, and installation of hi-technology security enhancements, among others. The end result has been observed over the past two years to include improved tanker turnaround time, higher turnover on product sales, consistent product availability, greater indigenous human capacity utilisation by way of direct hires and contracts, as well as customer loyalty. The lessons learnt from this exercise would, therefore, serve as a model to be adapted by other operators of similar facilities, contractors, academics and consultants in a bid to deliver greater sustainability and profitability of operations at the ship – shore interface to this strategic industry.

Keywords: benchmarking, optimisation, petroleum jetty, petroleum terminal

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31 Laboratory and Numerical Hydraulic Modelling of Annular Pipe Electrocoagulation Reactors

Authors: Alejandra Martin-Dominguez, Javier Canto-Rios, Velitchko Tzatchkov

Abstract:

Electrocoagulation is a water treatment technology that consists of generating coagulant species in situ by electrolytic oxidation of sacrificial anode materials triggered by electric current. It removes suspended solids, heavy metals, emulsified oils, bacteria, colloidal solids and particles, soluble inorganic pollutants and other contaminants from water, offering an alternative to the use of metal salts or polymers and polyelectrolyte addition for breaking stable emulsions and suspensions. The method essentially consists of passing the water being treated through pairs of consumable conductive metal plates in parallel, which act as monopolar electrodes, commonly known as ‘sacrificial electrodes’. Physicochemical, electrochemical and hydraulic processes are involved in the efficiency of this type of treatment. While the physicochemical and electrochemical aspects of the technology have been extensively studied, little is known about the influence of the hydraulics. However, the hydraulic process is fundamental for the reactions that take place at the electrode boundary layers and for the coagulant mixing. Electrocoagulation reactors can be open (with free water surface) and closed (pressurized). Independently of the type of rector, hydraulic head loss is an important factor for its design. The present work focuses on the study of the total hydraulic head loss and flow velocity and pressure distribution in electrocoagulation reactors with single or multiple concentric annular cross sections. An analysis of the head loss produced by hydraulic wall shear friction and accessories (minor head losses) is presented, and compared to the head loss measured on a semi-pilot scale laboratory model for different flow rates through the reactor. The tests included laminar, transitional and turbulent flow. The observed head loss was compared also to the head loss predicted by several known conceptual theoretical and empirical equations, specific for flow in concentric annular pipes. Four single concentric annular cross section and one multiple concentric annular cross section reactor configuration were studied. The theoretical head loss resulted higher than the observed in the laboratory model in some of the tests, and lower in others of them, depending also on the assumed value for the wall roughness. Most of the theoretical models assume that the fluid elements in all annular sections have the same velocity, and that flow is steady, uniform and one-dimensional, with the same pressure and velocity profiles in all reactor sections. To check the validity of such assumptions, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the concentric annular pipe reactor was implemented using the ANSYS Fluent software, demonstrating that pressure and flow velocity distribution inside the reactor actually is not uniform. Based on the analysis, the equations that predict better the head loss in single and multiple annular sections were obtained. Other factors that may impact the head loss, such as the generation of coagulants and gases during the electrochemical reaction, the accumulation of hydroxides inside the reactor, and the change of the electrode material with time, are also discussed. The results can be used as tools for design and scale-up of electrocoagulation reactors, to be integrated into new or existing water treatment plants.

Keywords: electrocoagulation reactors, hydraulic head loss, concentric annular pipes, computational fluid dynamics model

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