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The objectives of this study were: to assess the efficiency of high hydrostatic pressure or ultra-high pressure homogenization against Mycobacterium smegmatis in milk and to discuss whether M. smegmatis can be considered a suitable surrogate for other Mycobacterium spp. in high pressure inactivation trials using milk. Three strains of this specie (CECT 3017, 3020 and 3032) were independently inoculated into both skimmed (0.2% fat) and whole milk (3.4% fat) at an approximate load of 6.5 Log CFU/ml and submitted to HHP treatments at 300, 400 or 500 MPa for 10 m at 6°C and 20°C. Evolution of the surviving cells of the inoculated strains was evaluated analysing milk immediately after the treatments and after 5 and 8 d of storage at 6°C. HHP treatments at 300 MPa were seldom efficient at inactivating M. smegmatis strains, but lethality increased with pressure applied in all cases. Generation of sub-lethal injured cells was observed only after 400 MPa treatments since inactivation at 500 MPa was shown to be complete. Significant differences were not observed due to either temperature of treatment or fat content of milk, except for strain CECT3032, which was shown to be the most sensitive to HHP treatments. Milk inoculated with strain CECT3017 was submitted to ultra-high pressure homogenization (UHPH) treatments at 200, 300 and 400 MPa. Maximum reductions were obtained after 300 and 400 MPa treatments, although less than 3.50 Log CFU/ml were inactivated. UHPH did not cause significant number of injured cells. The usefulness of this species as a marker for pressure-based processing seems limited since it showed greater sensitivity than some pathogenic species including other Mycobacteria reported in previous studies.
Predation by Engytatus varians (Distant) adults on different development stages of the prey species Bactericera cockerelli (Sulcer) (egg, second, and third nymphal instars), Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) and Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (egg, first, and second larval instars) was evaluated using tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) leaflets or plants. These insects are the primary pest of several agriculturally important crops. The influence of E. varians age on the predation capacity was also analysed. Engytatus varians females consumed significantly more B. cockerelli eggs and nymphs than males. Additionally, female predators consumed significantly more second than third instar prey at two predator ages, while males consumed significantly more the second instar than third instar prey at all predator ages. In most of the cases, females also consumed significantly more S. exigua and S. frugiperda eggs than males; however, in terms of larvae consumption, this difference was observed only in some predator ages. Females consumed more the first than second instar S. exigua than males, whereas this behaviour was only observed in males when the predators were 15 and 17 days old. No significant differences were observed in the consumption of first and second instar of S. frugiperda for both sexes of the predators. Predator age did not cause any systematic effects on the predation rates of any prey species. Based on these results, we confirmed that E. varians has potential as a biological control agent for B. cockerelli and also for the Spodoptera species bioassayed.
The authors prepared a micro-structured, thermosensitive hydrogel with N-isopropylacrylamide microgels with a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of 32 °C dispersed on a matrix of N-isopropylacrylamide-co-dimethylacrylamide with an LCST at 40 °C. Incubation of the hydrogel at 33 °C in a solution of fluorescein-albumin induced loading of the protein. The protein was not loaded at a temperature below the LCST of the microgels (4 °C), suggesting that the shrinkage of the microgels followed by the formation of micropores within the hydrogel matrix is a prerequisite for protein loading. A sustained and complete release of the loaded protein was obtained at 37 °C.
Epidemiological studies in humans and animal models (including ruminants and horses) have highlighted the critical role of nutrition on developmental programming. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that the nutritional environment during the periconceptional period and foetal development can altered the postnatal performance of the resultant offspring. This nutritional programming can be exerted by maternal and paternal lineages and can affect offspring beyond the F1 generation. Alterations in epigenetic mechanisms have been proposed as the causative link behind the programming trajectories observed in the offspring. Although a clear cause–effect relationship between epigenetic modifications during early development and later offspring phenotype has not been demonstrated in livestock species, strong associations have been reported for some epigenetic marks (e.g. messenger RNA) that are worth exploring as possible predictors of future offspring phenotype. In this review, we shortly describe the main epigenetic mechanisms studied so far in mammals (i.e. mainly in the mouse) thought to be associated with developmental programming, and discuss the few studies available in mammalian herbivores (e.g. cattle) showing the effect of nutrition on epigenetic marks and the associated phenotype. Clearly, there is a need to develop research on nutritional strategies capable of modulating the epigenetic machinery with positive influence on the phenotype of livestock herbivores. This type of research is needed to alleviate the challenges currently faced by the livestock industry (e.g. impaired fertility of high-yielding dairy cows). This in turn will have a positive influence on animal welfare and productivity of livestock enterprises.
To assess counts of α4 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in nasal polyps of adults with or without long-term exposure to cigarette tobacco smoke.
Twenty-two patients with and 22 patients without exposure to cigarette tobacco smoke participated in the study. After endoscopic polypectomy, the fragments of the nasal polyps were analysed by immunohistochemistry.
Compared to patients with no exposure, patients with exposure showed higher counts of α4 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (t-test, p < 0.05). However, in patients with no exposure, multivariate analysis showed gender dimorphism, with lower counts in males than in females, and no influence from other variables (analysis of covariance, p > 0.05).
Exposure to cigarette tobacco smoke may induce increased counts of α4 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in nasal polyps of adults, with lower counts in males than females without exposure to tobacco smoke.
The use of natural clays for the removal of dyes from wastewater, an important part of environmental remediation, is desirable due, not least, to their low cost. Palygorskite (PAL), a rigid-structure clay, is a good candidate for use in the elimination of industrial effluents, based on its exceptional adsorptive properties. Recently, a new palygorskite deposit has been discovered in Cuba and its use in the adsorption of dyes has not yet been explored in detail. In the present study, the use of unmodified natural Cuban palygorskite as a host for dyes was evaluated. Congo red (CR) and methylene blue (MB) were the anionic and cationic dyes tested, respectively, because of their wide use and toxicity to the environment. Several physical-chemical parameters were studied in order to establish the best experimental conditions under which to achieve the greatest dye load per gram of clay. Natural mixtures with different percentages of montmorillonite were also tested to evaluate their effect on the adsorption of the dyes. The results indicated that at pH values of ~7–9 and an initial dye concentration of 0.1 mg mL–1, the process was efficient. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis proved the surface adsorption of both dyes on the clays. The main interactions involved in the clay-dye system were electrostatic forces and H-bonds. Adsorption of CR seemed to be controlled fundamentally by the palygorskite phase. Such results support the use of this natural clay as an efficient host for the removal of MB and CR from wastewater.
The continuous interest in the synthesis and properties study of materials has permitted the development of semiconductor oxides. Zinc oxide (ZnO) with hexagonal wurzite structure is a wide band gap n-type semiconductor and interesting material over a wide range. Chemically sprayed aluminium-doped zinc oxide thin films (ZnO:Al) were deposited on soda-lime glass substrates starting from zinc pentanedionate and aluminium pentanedionate. The influence of both the dopant concentration in the starting solution and the substrate temperature on the composition, morphology, and transport properties of the ZnO:Al thin films were studied. The structure of all the ZnO:Al thin films was polycrystalline, and variation in the preferential growth with the aluminium content in the solution was observed: from an initial (002) growth in films with low Al content, switching to a predominance of (101) planes for heavily dopant regime. The crystallite size was found to decrease with doping concentration and range from 33 to 20 nm. First-order Raman scattering from ZnO:Al, all having the wurtzite structure . The assignments of the E2 mode in ZnO:Al differ from previous investigations. The film composition and the dopant concentration were determined by Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES); these results showed that the films are almost stoichiometric ZnO. The optimum deposition conditions leading to conductive and transparent ZnO:Al thin films were also found. In this way a resistivity of 0.03 Ω-cm with a (002) preferential growth, were obtained in optimized ZnO:Al thin films.
This paper reports the results of the first three in a series of experiments on tactile perception which form part of a larger project on tactile perceptions and spatial representations and the design of tactile interfaces for mobility devices for blind, partially sighted and deafblind people. The results indicate the potential of tactile interfaces, including to support environmental exploration and mobility. The participants showed reasonably good ability to determine the direction of motion of an arrow, with best recognition rates in the up and right directions. They showed reasonably good ability to use a tactile interface to detect and avoid obstacles after a very short learning period and more limited ability to learn and remember an environmental representation using information from a tactile interface and walking through the environment without specific instructions.
Aluminum titanium oxynitride (TiAlNO) coatings were deposited on 316 steel substrates by the sputtering technique, varying the nitrogen flow from 2.5, 5, 7.5 to 10 sccm, and maintaining constant at 12 sccm the flow argon gas. We used targets of titanium and alumina with 99.995% purity. The hardness and tribological analyses were determined by Vickers microhardness and tribology (tribometer pin-disc), respectively. The results show that the coating with a nitrogen flow of 10 sccm had the lowest volumetric wear (2.047738693 mm3) and the maximum value of hardness (11.2 GPa). Analysis of X-ray diffraction evidenced the presence of three crystalline phases: Ti2N, Al2O3 and TiO2. It can be observed that by increasing the nitrogen flow, the portion of semi-Ti2N phase increases, Al2O3 decreases and TiO2 remains almost constant, and also producing a change in crystallographic orientation with reference to the Ti2N phase. Crystal grain sizes were estimated by X-ray diffraction Fourier line profile analysis using Warren–Averbach method. This analysis showed a grain size between 5 and 15 nm. Raman spectroscopy results show the presence of the TiO2 phase which corroborated the X-ray diffraction results.
The early embryo and periconceptional period is a window during which environmental factors may cause permanent change in the pattern and characteristics of development leading to risk of adult onset disease. This has now been demonstrated across small and large animal models and also in the human. Most evidence of periconceptional ‘programming’ has emerged from maternal nutritional models but also other in vivo and in vitro conditions including assisted reproductive treatments, show consistent outcomes. This short review first reports on the range of environmental in vivo and in vitro periconceptional models and resulting long-term outcomes. Second, it uses the rodent maternal low protein diet model restricted to the preimplantation period and considers the stepwise maternal-embryonic dialogue that comprises the induction of programming. This dialogue leads to cellular and epigenetic responses by the embryo, mainly identified in the extra-embryonic cell lineages, and underpins an apparently permanent change in the growth trajectory during pregnancy and associates with increased cardiometabolic and behavioural disease in adulthood. We recognize the important advice of David Barker some years ago to investigate the sensitivity of the early embryo to developmental programming, an insight for which we are grateful.
A metallurgical by product mostly constituted of Wustita (FeO) was transformed to Magnetite (Fe3O4) spheres using a flame treatment. Then magnetite spheres surface was modified by cold plasma treatment with ethylene, where a thin polyethylene film was deposited on the spheres surface. Finally, HDPE composites with modified spheres were obtained by melt mixing and its thermal conductivity was determined by MDSC. It was found that spheres surface modification helps to increase composites thermal conductivity.
Collagen-covered prostheses can be used as a non-circumferential segmental tracheal replacement. However, the applicability of these implants in young subjects has not yet been reported.
In this experimental, longitudinal study, dogs aged 29–32 days underwent limited segmental tracheal replacement with a polyester prosthesis or were allocated to a control, untreated group. The dogs were evaluated clinically, endoscopically and tomographically for up to one year.
Although there was evidence of tracheal growth in the experimental group, tomographic measurements were significantly smaller in this group than in the control group throughout the observation period. At the end of the study, there was no evidence of implant rejection, stenosis or collapse. Normal respiratory epithelium had grown across the implanted membrane in the experimental group.
The homologous collagen mersylene membrane allowed for limited structural tracheal growth and was functionally integrated into the segmented tracheal wall in growing dogs.
In this work we shed new light in the nature of spiral arm structures in galaxies. We present a disk kinematic and dynamic study of MW like galaxies using complementary approaches: analytical models, test-particle simulations, pure N-body and cosmological N-body plus hydrodynamic simulations. Using collisionless N-body data we have found that models with strong bar present a flat rotation frequency, i.e. rigid body rotation, whereas in the opposite extreme case, i.e. in unbarred systems, spiral arms are disk corotant (Roca-Fàbrega et al. 2013). Complementary to this work, we discuss how the vertex deviation parameter is a good tracer of corotation (CR) and outer Lindblad resonance radius (OLR) (Roca-Fàbrega et al. 2014). We have succeeded to produce MW like models in fully cosmological N-body plus hydrodynamic simulations with a high resolution (Roca-Fàbrega et al., in preparation). First results concerning disk phase space properties in terms of spiral arm nature using these simulations are presented (http://www.am.ub.edu/ sroca/shared/PosterRocaFabrega.pdf).
Scanning electronic microscopy (SEM), X ray diffraction (XRD) and photoluminescence (PL) have been applied to the study of structural and optical properties of ZnO nanocrystals prepared by the ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (USP) at different temperatures. The variation of temperatures and times at the growth of ZnO films permits modifying the ZnO phase from the amorphous to crystalline, to change the size of ZnO nanocrystals (NCs), as well as to vary their photoluminescence spectra. The study has revealed three types of PL bands in ZnO NCs: defect related emission, the near-band-edge (NBE) PL, related to the LO phonon replica of free exciton (FE) recombination, and its second-order diffraction peaks. The PL bands, related to the LO phonon replica of FE, and its second-order diffraction in the room temperature Pl spectrum testify on the high quality of ZnO films prepared by the USP technology.
The increasing use of polymeric reinforcements in concrete structures requires either the development of a new design theory or the adaptation of current designs considering the engineering properties of this type of materials. In this work a method for calculating the deflections of reinforced concrete elements is proposed, which can be used in predicting the flexural behavior of longitudinally reinforced concrete with PET strips in amounts up to 1%. The model theory assumes that concrete has a tensile load capacity different to zero, characterized by a uniaxial tensile stress-strain diagram. A series of tests were conducted to corroborate the validity of the suggested method, showing that the theory also correctly predicts the creep deformation post-cracking. The deflection results of reinforced concrete with recycled PET strips are presented. The tests are carried out by a simple beam with center-point loading, using three different amounts of reinforcement and comparing the experimental results with the theoretical results of the proposed model.
The fabrication of bimetallic magnetic nanoparticles (NPs) smaller than the size of single magnetic domain is very challenging because of the agglomeration, non-uniform size, and possible complex chemistry at nanoscale. In this paper, we present an alloyed ferromagnetic 4 ± 1 nm thiolated Au/Co magnetic NPs with decahedral and icosahedral shape. The NPs were characterized by Cs-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and weretheoretically studied by Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulations. Comparison of Z-contrast imaging and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy used jointly with STEM simulated images from theoretical models uniquely showed an inhomogeneous alloying with minor segregation. The magnetic measurements obtained from superconducting quantum interference device magnetometer exhibited ferromagnetic behavior. This magnetic nanoalloy in the range of single domain is fully magnetized and carries significance as a promising candidate for magnetic data recording, permanent magnetization, and biomedical applications.