Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 21

Search results for: Humberto N. Teixeira

21 A Methodology for Quality Problems Diagnosis in SMEs

Authors: Humberto N. Teixeira, Isabel S. Lopes, Sérgio D. Sousa

Abstract:

This article proposes a new methodology to be used by SMEs (Small and Medium enterprises) to characterize their performance in quality, highlighting weaknesses and area for improvement. The methodology aims to identify the principal causes of quality problems and help to prioritize improvement initiatives. This is a self-assessment methodology that intends to be easy to implement by companies with low maturity level in quality. The methodology is organized in six different steps which includes gathering information about predetermined processes and subprocesses of quality management, defined based on the well-known Juran-s trilogy for quality management (Quality planning, quality control and quality improvement) and, predetermined results categories, defined based on quality concept. A set of tools for data collecting and analysis, such as interviews, flowcharts, process analysis diagrams and Failure Mode and effects Analysis (FMEA) are used. The article also presents the conclusions obtained in the application of the methodology in two cases studies.

Keywords: Continuous improvement, Diagnosis, Quality Management, Self-assessment, SMEs

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20 The Coexistence of Dual Form of Malnutrition among Portuguese Institutionalized Elderly People

Authors: C. Caçador, M. J. Reis Lima, J. Oliveira, M. J. Veiga, M. Teixeira Veríssimo, F. Ramos, M. C. Castilho, E. Teixeira-Lemos

Abstract:

In the present study we evaluated the nutritional status of 214 institutionalized elderly residents of both genders, aged 65 years and older of 11 care homes located in the district of Viseu (center of Portugal). The evaluation was based on anthropometric measurements and the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) score.

The mean age of the subjects was 82.3 ± 6.1 years-old. Most of the elderly residents were female (72.0%). The majority had 4 years of formal education (51.9%) and was widowed (74.3%) or married (14.0%).

Men presented a mean age of 81.2±8.5 years-old, weight 69.3±14.5 kg and BMI 25.33±6.5 kg/m2. In women, the mean age was 84.5±8.2 years-old, weight 61.2±14.7 kg and BMI 27.43±5.6 kg/m2.

The evaluation of the nutritional status using the MNA score showed that 24.0% of the residents show a risk of undernutrition and 76.0% of them were well nourished.

There was a high prevalence of obese (24.8%) and overweight residents (33.2%) according to the BMI. 7.5% were considered underweight.

We also found that according to their waist circumference measurements 88.3% of the residents were at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 64.0% of them presented very high risk for CVD (WC≥88 cm for women and WC ≥102 cm for men).

The present study revealed the coexistence of a dual form of malnutrition (undernourished and overweight) among the institutionalized Portuguese concomitantly with an excess of abdominal adiposity. The high prevalence of residents at high risk for CVD should not be overlooked.

Given the vulnerability of the group of institutionalized elderly, our study highlights the importance of the classification of nutritional status based on both instruments: the BMI and the MNA.

Keywords: Nutritional status, MNA, BMI, elderly.

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19 A Numerical Study of Force-Based Boundary Conditions in Multiparticle Collision Dynamics

Authors: Arturo Ayala-Hernandez, Humberto H´ıjar

Abstract:

We propose a new alternative method for imposing fluid-solid boundary conditions in simulations of Multiparticle Collision Dynamics. Our method is based on the introduction of an explicit potential force acting between the fluid particles and a surface representing a solid boundary. We show that our method can be used in simulations of plane Poiseuille flows. Important quantities characterizing the flow and the fluid-solid interaction like the slip coefficient at the solid boundary and the effective viscosity of the fluid, are measured in terms of the set of independent parameters defining the numerical implementation. We find that our method can be used to simulate the correct hydrodynamic flow within a wide range of values of these parameters.

Keywords: Multiparticle Collision Dynamics, Fluid-Solid Boundary Conditions, Molecular Dynamics.

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18 Video-Based Tracking of Laparoscopic Instruments Using an Orthogonal Webcams System

Authors: Fernando Pérez, Humberto Sossa, Rigoberto Martínez, Daniel Lorias, Arturo Minor

Abstract:

This paper presents a system for tracking the movement of laparoscopic instruments which is based on an orthogonal system of webcams and video image processing. The movements are captured with two webcams placed orthogonally inside of the physical trainer. On the image, the instruments were detected by using color markers placed on the distal tip of each instrument. The 3D position of the tip of the instrument within the work space was obtained by linear triangulation method. Preliminary results showed linearity and repeatability in the motion tracking with a resolution of 0.616 mm in each axis; the accuracy of the system showed a 3D instrument positioning error of 1.009 ± 0.101 mm. This tool is a portable and low-cost alternative to traditional tracking devices and a trustable method for the objective evaluation of the surgeon’s surgical skills.

Keywords: Laparoscopic Surgery, Orthogonal Vision, Tracking Instruments, Triangulation.

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17 National Image in the Age of Mass Self-Communication: An Analysis of Internet Users' Perception of Portugal

Authors: L. Godinho, N. Teixeira

Abstract:

Nowadays, massification of Internet access represents one of the major challenges to the traditional powers of the State, among which the power to control its external image. The virtual world has also sparked the interest of social sciences which consider it a new field of study, an immense open text where sense is expressed. In this paper, that immense text has been accessed to so as to understand the perception Internet users from all over the world have of Portugal. Ours is a quantitative and qualitative approach, as we have resorted to buzz, thematic and category analysis. The results confirm the predominance of sea stereotype in others' vision of the Portuguese people, and evidence that national image has adapted to network communication through processes of individuation and paganization.

Keywords: Internet, national image, perception, web analytics.

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16 Production of High-Content Fructo-Oligosaccharides

Authors: C. Nobre, C. C. Castro, A.-L. Hantson, J. A. Teixeira, L. R. Rodrigues, G. De Weireld

Abstract:

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are produced from sucrose by Aureobasidium pullulans in yields between 40-60% (w/w). To increase the amount of FOS it is necessary to remove the small, non-prebiotic sugars, present. Two methods for producing high-purity FOS have been developed: the use of microorganisms able to consume small saccharides; and the use of continuous chromatography to separate sugars: simulated moving bed (SMB). It is herein proposed the combination of both methods. The aim of this study is to optimize the composition of the fermentative broth (in terms of salts and sugars) that will be further purified by SMB. A yield of 0.63 gFOS.gSucrose^-1 was obtained with A. pullulans using low amounts of salts in the initial fermentative broth. By removing the small sugars, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Zymomonas mobilis increased the percentage of FOS from around 56.0% to 83% (w/w) in average, losing only 10% (w/w) of FOS during the recovery process.

Keywords: Fructo-oligosaccharides, microbial treatment, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Zymomonas mobilis.

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15 Antifungal Activity of Silver Colloidal Nanoparticles against Phytopathogenic Fungus (Phomopsis sp.) in Soybean Seeds

Authors: J. E. Mendes, L.Abrunhosa, J. A. Teixeira, E. R. de Camargo, C. P. de Souza, J. D. C. Pessoa

Abstract:

Among the many promising nanomaterials with antifungal properties, metal nanoparticles (silver nanoparticles) stand out due to their high chemical activity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) against Phomopsis sp. AgNPs were synthesized by silver nitrate reduction with sodium citrate and stabilized with ammonia. The synthesized AgNPs have further been characterized by UV/Visible spectroscopy, Biophysical techniques like Dynamic light scattering (DLS) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The average diameter of the prepared silver colloidal nanoparticles was about 52 nm. Absolute inhibitions (100%) were observed on treated with a 270 and 540 µg ml-1 concentration of AgNPs. The results from the study of the AgNPs antifungal effect are significant and suggest that the synthesized silver nanoparticles may have an advantage compared with conventional fungicides.

Keywords: Antifungal activity, Phomopsis sp., Seeds, Silver Nanoparticles, Soybean.

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14 Consumption Habits of Low-Fat Plant Sterol-Enriched Yoghurt Enriched with Phytosterols

Authors: M. J. Reis Lima, J. Oliveira, A. C. Sousa Pereira, M. C. Castilho, E. Teixeira-Lemos

Abstract:

The increasing interest in plant sterol enriched foods is due to the fact that they reduce blood cholesterol concentrations without adverse side effects. In this context, enriched foods with phytosterols may be helpful in protecting population against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. The aim of the present work was to evaluate in a population of Viseu, Portugal, the consumption habits low-fat, plant sterol-enriched yoghurt. For this study, 577 inquiries were made and the sample was randomly selected for people shopping in various supermarkets. The preliminary results showed that the biggest consumers of these products were women aged 45 to 65 years old. Most of the people who claimed to buy these products consumed them once a day. Also, most of the consumers under antidyslipidemic therapeutics noticed positive effects on hypercholesterolemia.

Keywords: Consumption habits, fermented milk, functional foods, low fat, phytosterols.

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13 Formulation, Analysis and Validation of Takagi-Sugeno Fuzzy Modeling For Robotic Monipulators

Authors: Rafael Jorge Menezes Santos, Ginalber Luiz de Oliveira Serra, Carlos César Teixeira Ferreira

Abstract:

This paper proposes a methodology for analysis of the dynamic behavior of a robotic manipulator in continuous time. Initially this system (nonlinear system) will be decomposed into linear submodels and analyzed in the context of the Linear and Parameter Varying (LPV) Systems. The obtained linear submodels, which represent the local dynamic behavior of the robotic manipulator in some operating points were grouped in a Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy structure. The obtained fuzzy model was analyzed and validated through analog simulation, as universal approximator of the robotic manipulator.

Keywords: modeling of nonlinear dynamic systems, Takagi- Sugeno fuzzy model, Linear and Parameter Varying (LPV) System.

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12 Frozen Fish: Control of Glazing Operation

Authors: Tânia Manso, Luís Teixeira, Paula M. Reis Correia

Abstract:

Glazing is a process used to reduce undesirable drying or dehydration of fish during frozen or cold storage. To evaluate the effect of the time/ temperature binomial of the cryogenic frozen tunnel in the amount of glazing watera Central Composite Rotatable Design was used, with application of the Response Surface Methodology. The results reveal that the time/ temperature obtained for pink cusk-eel in experimental conditions for glazing water are similar to the industrial process, but for red fish and merluza the industrial process needs some adjustments. Control charts were established and implementedto control the amount of glazing water on sardine and merluza. They show that the freezing process was statistically controlled but there were some tendencies that must be analyzed, since the trend of sample mean values approached either of the limits, mainly in merluza. Thus, appropriate actions must be taken, in order to improve the process.

Keywords: Control charts, frozen fish, glazing, RSM.

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11 Comparison of Artificial Neural Network Architectures in the Task of Tourism Time Series Forecast

Authors: João Paulo Teixeira, Paula Odete Fernandes

Abstract:

The authors have been developing several models based on artificial neural networks, linear regression models, Box- Jenkins methodology and ARIMA models to predict the time series of tourism. The time series consist in the “Monthly Number of Guest Nights in the Hotels" of one region. Several comparisons between the different type models have been experimented as well as the features used at the entrance of the models. The Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models have always had their performance at the top of the best models. Usually the feed-forward architecture was used due to their huge application and results. In this paper the author made a comparison between different architectures of the ANNs using simply the same input. Therefore, the traditional feed-forward architecture, the cascade forwards, a recurrent Elman architecture and a radial based architecture were discussed and compared based on the task of predicting the mentioned time series.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Network Architectures, time series forecast, tourism.

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10 Production of Polyurethane Foams from Bark Wastes

Authors: Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, Liliana Rodrigues, Idalina Domingos, José Ferreira, Luís Teixeira de Lemos, Bruno Esteves

Abstract:

Currently, the polyurethanes industry is dependent on fossil resources to obtain their basic raw materials (polyols and isocyanate), as these are obtained from petroleum products. The aim of this work was to use biopolyols from liquefied Pseudotsuga (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) barks for the production of polyurethane foams and optimize the process. Liquefaction was done with glycerol catalyzed by KOH. Foams were produced following different formulations and using biopolyols from both barks. Subsequently, the foams were characterized according to their mechanical properties and the reaction of the foam formation was monitored by FTIR-ATR. The results show that it is possible to produce polyurethane foams using bio-based polyols and the liquefaction conditions are very important because they influence the characteristics of biopolyols and, consequently the characteristics of the foams. However, the process has to be further optimized so that it can obtain better quality foams.

Keywords: Bio-based polyol, mechanical tests, polyurethane foam, Pseudotsuga bark, renewable resources, Turkey oak bark.

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9 Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity Determination in Broccoli and Lamb’s Lettuce

Authors: C. P. Parente, M. J. Reis Lima, E. Teixeira-Lemos, M. M. Moreira, Aquiles A. Barros, Luís F. Guido

Abstract:

Broccoli has been widely recognized as a wealthy vegetable which contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Lamb’s lettuce has been used as food for many centuries but only recently became commercially available and literature is therefore exiguous concerning these vegetables. The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of the extraction conditions on the yield of phenolic compounds and the corresponding antioxidant capacity of broccoli and lamb’s lettuce. The results indicate that lamb’s lettuce, compared to broccoli, contains simultaneously a large amount of total polyphenols as well as high antioxidant activity. It is clearly demonstrated that extraction solvent significantly influences the antioxidant activity. Methanol is the solvent that can globally maximize the antioxidant extraction yield. The results presented herein prove lamb’s lettuce as a very interesting source of polyphenols, and thus a potential health-promoting food.

Keywords: Broccoli, lamb’s lettuce, extraction, antioxidant activity, phenolic compounds.

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8 Evaluation of Bioactive Phenols in Blueberries from Different Cultivars

Authors: Christophe Gonçalves, Raquel P. F. Guiné, Daniela Teixeira, Fernando J. Gonçalves

Abstract:

Blueberries are widely valued for their high content in phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity, and hence beneficial for the human health. In this way, a study was done to determine the phenolic composition (total phenols, anthocyanins and tannins) and antioxidant activity of blueberries from three cultivars (Duke, Bluecrop, and Ozarkblue) grown in two different Portuguese farms. Initially two successive extractions were done with methanol followed by two extractions with aqueous acetone solutions. These extracts obtained were then used to evaluate the amount of phenolic compounds and the antioxidant activity. The total phenols were observed to vary from 4.9 to 8.2 mg GAE/g fresh weight, with anthocyanin’s contents in the range 1.5-2.8 mg EMv3G/g and tannins contents in the range 1.5- 3.8 mg/g. The results for antioxidant activity ranged from 9.3 to 23.2 molTE/g and from 24.7 to 53.4molTE/g, when measured, respectively, by DPPH and ABTS methods. In conclusion it was observed that, in general, the cultivar had a visible effect on the phenols present, and furthermore, the geographical origin showed relevance either in the phenols contents or the antioxidant activity.

Keywords: Anthocyanins, antioxidant activity, blueberry cultivar, geographical origin, phenolic compounds.

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7 Tomato Lycopene: Functional Proprieties and Health Benefits

Authors: C. S. Marques, M. J. Reis Lima, J. Oliveira, E. Teixeira-Lemos

Abstract:

The growing concerns for physical wellbeing and health have been reflected in the way we choose food in our table. Nowadays, we are all more informed consumers and choose healthier foods. On the other hand, stroke, cancer and atherosclerosis may be somehow minimized by the intake of some bioactive compounds present in food, the so-called nutraceuticals and functional foods. The aim of this work was to make a revision of the published studies about the effects of some bioactive compounds, namely lycopene in human health, in the prevention of diseases, thus playing the role of a functional food. Free radical in human body can induce cell damage and consequently can be responsible for the development of some cancers and chronic diseases. Lycopene is one of the most powerful antioxidants known, being the predominant carotenoid in tomato. The respective chemistry, bioavailability, and its functional role in the prevention of several diseases will be object of this work. On the other hand, the inclusion of lycopene in some foods can also be made by biotechnology and represents a way to recover the wastes in the tomato industry with nutritional positive effects in health.

Keywords: Tomato, lycopene, bioavailability, functional foods, carotenoids, cancer and antioxidants.

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6 Fenton’s Oxidation as Post-Treatment of a Mature Municipal Landfill Leachate

Authors: Susana Cortez, Pilar Teixeira, Rosário Oliveira, Manuel Mota

Abstract:

Mature landfill leachates contain some macromolecular organic substances that are resistant to biological degradation. Recently, Fenton-s oxidation has been investigated for chemical treatment or pre-treatment of mature landfill leachates. The aim of this study was to reduce the recalcitrant organic load still remaining after the complete treatment of a mature landfill leachate by Fenton-s oxidation post-treatment. The effect of various parameters such as H2O2 to Fe2+ molar ratio, dosage of Fe2+ reagent, initial pH, reaction time and initial chemical oxygen demand (COD) strength, that have an important role on the oxidation, was analysed. A molar ratio H2O2/Fe2+ = 3, a Fe2+ dosage of 4 mmol·L-1, pH 3, and a reaction time of 40 min were found to achieve better oxidation performances. At these favorable conditions, COD removal efficiency was 60.9% and 31.1% for initial COD of 93 and 743 mg·L-1 respectively (diluted and non diluted leachate). Fenton-s oxidation also presented good results for color removal. In spite of being extremely difficult to treat this leachate, the above results seem rather encouraging on the application of Fenton-s oxidation.

Keywords: Fenton's oxidation, mature landfill leachate, recalcitrant organic matter.

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5 Evaluation of Eating Habits among Portuguese University Students: A Preliminary Study

Authors: T. H. Rodrigues, Maria J. Reis Lima, R. P. F. Guiné, E. Teixeira de Lemos

Abstract:

Portuguese diet has been gradually diverging from the basic principles of healthy eating, leading to an unbalanced dietary pattern which, associated with increasing sedentary lifestyle, has a negative impact on public health. The main objective of this work was to characterize the dietary habits of university students in Viseu, Portugal. The study consisted of a sample of 80 university students, aged between 18 and 28 years. Anthropometric data (weight (kg) and height (m)) were collected and Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated. The dietary habits were assessed through a three-day food record and the software Medpoint was used to convert food into energy and nutrients. The results showed that students present a normal body mass index. Female university students made a higher number of daily meals than male students, and these last skipped breakfast more frequently. The values of average daily intake of energy, macronutrients and calcium were higher in males. The food pattern was characterized by a predominant consumption of meat, cereal, fats and sugar. Dietary intake of dairy products, fruits, vegetables and legumes does not meet the recommendations, revealing inadequate food habits such as hypoglycemic, hyperprotein and hyperlipidemic diet. Our findings suggest that preventive interventions should be focus in promoting healthy eating habits and physical activity in adulthood.

Keywords: Food habits, BMI, fortified foods, nutritional deficiencies, university students.

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4 Phyllantus niruri Protects against Fe2+ and SNP Induced Oxidative Damage in Mitochondrial Enriched Fractions of Rats Brain

Authors: Olusola Olalekan Elekofehinti, Isaac Gbadura Adanlawo, Joao Batista Teixeira Rocha

Abstract:

The potential neuroprotective effect of Phyllantus nuriri against Fe2+ and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) induced oxidative stress in mitochondria of rats brain was evaluated. Cellular viability was assessed by MTT reduction, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was measured using the probe 2,7-dichlorofluoresce indiacetate (DCFH-DA). Glutathione content was measured using dithionitrobenzoic acid (DTNB). Fe2+ (10μM) and SNP (5μM) significantly decreased mitochondrial activity, assessed by MTT reduction assay, in a dose-dependent manner, this occurred in parallel with increased glutathione oxidation, ROS production and lipid peroxidation end-products (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS). The co-incubation with methanolic extract of Phyllantus nuriri (10-200 μg/ml) reduced the disruption of mitochondrial activity, gluthathione oxidation, ROS production as well as the increase in TBARS levels caused by both Fe2+ and SNP in a dose dependent manner. HPLC analysis of the extract revealed the presence of gallic acid (20.540.01), caffeic acid (7.930.02), rutin (25.310.05), quercetin (31.280.03) and kaemferol (14.360.01). This result suggests that these phytochemicals account for the protective actions of P. niruri against Fe2+ and SNP -induced oxidative stress. Our results show that P. nuriri consist important bioactive molecules in the search for an improved therapy against the deleterious effects of Fe2+, an intrinsic producer of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that leads to neuronal oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.

Keywords: Phyllantus niruri, mitochondria, antioxidant, oxidative stress, synaptosome.

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3 Cost Benefit Analysis: Evaluation among the Millimetre Wavebands and SHF Bands of Small Cell 5G Networks

Authors: Emanuel Teixeira, Anderson Ramos, Marisa Lourenço, Fernando J. Velez, Jon M. Peha

Abstract:

This article discusses the benefit cost analysis aspects of millimetre wavebands (mmWaves) and Super High Frequency (SHF). The devaluation along the distance of the carrier-to-noise-plus-interference ratio with the coverage distance is assessed by considering two different path loss models, the two-slope urban micro Line-of-Sight (UMiLoS) for the SHF band and the modified Friis propagation model, for frequencies above 24 GHz. The equivalent supported throughput is estimated at the 5.62, 28, 38, 60 and 73 GHz frequency bands and the influence of carrier-to-noise-plus-interference ratio in the radio and network optimization process is explored. Mostly owing to the lessening caused by the behaviour of the two-slope propagation model for SHF band, the supported throughput at this band is higher than at the millimetre wavebands only for the longest cell lengths. The benefit cost analysis of these pico-cellular networks was analysed for regular cellular topologies, by considering the unlicensed spectrum. For shortest distances, we can distinguish an optimal of the revenue in percentage terms for values of the cell length, R ≈ 10 m for the millimeter wavebands and for longest distances an optimal of the revenue can be observed at R ≈ 550 m for the 5.62 GHz. It is possible to observe that, for the 5.62 GHz band, the profit is slightly inferior than for millimetre wavebands, for the shortest Rs, and starts to increase for cell lengths approximately equal to the ratio between the break-point distance and the co-channel reuse factor, achieving a maximum for values of R approximately equal to 550 m.

Keywords: 5G, millimetre wavebands, super high-frequency band, SINR, signal-to-interference-plus-noise ratio, cost benefit analysis.

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2 Systolic Blood Pressure and Its Determinants: Study in a Population Attending Pharmacies in a Portuguese Coastal City

Authors: M. J. Reis Lima, J. Oliveira, M. Brito, C. Lemos, A. Mascarenhas, E. Teixeira Lemos

Abstract:

Hypertension is a common condition causing cardio and cerebrovascular complications. Portugal has one of the highest mortality rates from stroke and a high prevalence of hypertension. Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) is an important risk factor for cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction and stroke) and premature mortality, particularly in the elderly population. The present study aims to estimate the prevalence of hypertension in a Portuguese population living in a coastal city and to identify some of its determinants (namely gender, age, the body mass index and physical activity frequency). A total of 91 adults who attended three pharmacies of a coastal city in the center of Portugal, between May and August of 2013 were evaluated. Attendants who reported to have diabetes or taking antihypertensive drugs in the 2 previous weeks were excluded from the study. Sociodemographic factors, BMI, habits of exercise and BP were assessed. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg. The majority of the studied population was constituted by women (75.8%), with a mean age of 54.2±1.6 years old, married or living in civil union and that had completed secondary school or had higher education (40%). They presented a mean BMI of 26.2±4.76 Kg/m2., and were sedentary. The mean BP was 127.0±17.77mmHg- 74.69 ± 9.53. In this population we found 4.3% of people with hypertension and 16.1% with normal high blood pressure. Men exhibit a tendency to present higher systolic blood pressure values than women. Of all the factors considered, SBP values also tended to be higher with age and higher BMI values. Despite the fact that the mean values of SBP did not present values higher than 140 mmHg we must be concerned because the studied population is undiagnosed for hypertension. Although this is a preliminary study, it might be a prelude to the upcoming research about the underlying factors responsible for the occurrence of SBP.

Keywords: Hypertension, age, exercise, obesity, gender.

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1 Optimization of Quercus cerris Bark Liquefaction

Authors: Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, Hugo Costa e Silva, Idalina Domingos, José Ferreira, Luís Teixeira de Lemos, Bruno Esteves

Abstract:

The liquefaction process of cork based tree barks has led to an increase of interest due to its potential innovation in the lumber and wood industries. In this particular study the bark of Quercus cerris (Turkish oak) is used due to its appreciable amount of cork tissue, although of inferior quality when compared to the cork provided by other Quercus trees. This study aims to optimize alkaline catalysis liquefaction conditions, regarding several parameters. To better comprehend the possible chemical characteristics of the bark of Quercus cerris, a complete chemical analysis was performed. The liquefaction process was performed in a double-jacket reactor heated with oil, using glycerol and a mixture of glycerol/ethylene glycol as solvents, potassium hydroxide as a catalyst, and varying the temperature, liquefaction time and granulometry. Due to low liquefaction efficiency resulting from the first experimental procedures a study was made regarding different washing techniques after the filtration process using methanol and methanol/water. The chemical analysis stated that the bark of Quercus cerris is mostly composed by suberin (ca. 30%) and lignin (ca. 24%) as well as insolvent hemicelluloses in hot water (ca. 23%). On the liquefaction stage, the results that led to higher yields were: using a mixture of methanol/ethylene glycol as reagents and a time and temperature of 120 minutes and 200 ºC, respectively. It is concluded that using a granulometry of <80 mesh leads to better results, even if this parameter barely influences the liquefaction efficiency. Regarding the filtration stage, washing the residue with methanol and then distilled water leads to a considerable increase on final liquefaction percentages, which proves that this procedure is effective at liquefying suberin content and lignocellulose fraction.

Keywords: Liquefaction, alkaline catalysis, optimization, Quercus cerris bark.

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