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Imidazoles present a tunable, versatile and economical platform for the development of novel liquid solvents and polymer membranes for CO2 capture. An overview of our studies in this area is presented, with emphasis on characterization of structure-property relationships in imidazole-based materials through both experimental and computational studies. To this end, a growing library of systematically varied imidazole compounds has been synthesized using only commercial available starting materials and straightforward reactions. Using this library of compounds, we have sought to understand and develop predictive models for thermophysical properties relating to process design, including: density, viscosity, vapor pressure, pKa and CO2 absorption capacity. Furthermore, we have discovered that imidazoles are stable in the presence of SO2 and can form reversible 1:1 adducts, which can be beneficial as SO2 is typically present at ppm levels alongside CO2 in flue gas from coal-fired power plants.
The Australian continent is large and therefore exhibits a range of very different climatic zones. Broadly, the continent is characterised by arid climatic regimes: four-fifths of the landmass receiving an annual rainfall of less than 600 mm (Figure 12.1) and one-half of the continent receiving less than 300 mm. These arid and semi-arid regions form the greatest proportion of inland Australia, and are fringed by narrow, wet and temperate climatic zones along the southwestern, southern and eastern coastal zones (Figure 12.1). Tropical monsoonal rainfall characterises the northern coastal zones. Compared to other continents on Earth, Australia has by far the lowest average rainfall. This low precipitation rate is coupled with a high evaporation rate meaning that surface water availability is also anomalously low compared to global averages. Average annual temperature also shows significant variation (Figure 12.1) and in most areas there is also a high diurnal variation in temperature.
It is well known, however, that the currently arid areas of inland Australia were significantly wetter in the geological past, from the early Cenozoic (a period of geological time from c. 65 Ma until the present day; Gradstein et al. 2004) until at least the early Miocene (c. 23 Ma) (e.g. Kershaw et al. 1994; Martin 2006). Much of our current knowledge of climate change from the early Cenozoic to the present is deduced from observed variations in the isotopic signature of marine sediments (e.g. deMenocal 1995; Lisiecki and Raymo 2005; Raymo et al. 2006) as well as the distribution, chemistry and palynological assemblages of terrestrial and marine sediments and sedimentary rocks.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is found in many food sources and plays a critical role in the development of the central nervous system. Animal studies have shown that choline status pre- and postnatally can have long-lasting effects on attention and memory; however, effects in human subjects have not been well studied. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between plasma concentrations of free choline and its related metabolites in children and their neurodevelopment in the Seychelles Child Development Nutrition Study, an ongoing longitudinal study assessing the development of children born to mothers with high fish consumption during pregnancy. Plasma concentrations of free choline, betaine, dimethylglycine (DMG), methionine and homocysteine and specific measures of neurodevelopment were measured in 210 children aged 5 years. The children's plasma free choline concentration (9·17 (sd 2·09) μmol/l) was moderately, but significantly, correlated with betaine (r 0·24; P= 0·0006), DMG (r 0·15; P= 0·03), methionine (r 0·24; P= 0·0005) and homocysteine (r 0·19; P= 0·006) concentrations. Adjusted multiple linear regression revealed that betaine concentrations were positively associated with Preschool Language Scale – total language scores (β = 0·066; P= 0·04), but no other associations were evident. We found no indication that free choline concentration or its metabolites, within the normal physiological range, are associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes in children at 5 years of age. As there is considerable animal evidence suggesting that choline status during development is associated with cognitive outcome, the issue deserves further study in other cohorts.
Childhood obesity is a growing problem worldwide. In recent years, out-of-home (OH) eating has been highlighted as one of the many factors contributing to the obesogenic environment. This review seeks to identify a range of existing guidelines for the provision of healthy food options for families who eat OH frequently. Nationally available nutrition policies were identified using targeted and untargeted searches of the internet to identify established strategies for providing food for children in the family eating out sector in America (US), Australia, Canada and the WHO's European Region (EUR). These were categorised on the basis of eleven pre-defined criteria including: family eating out sector included as stakeholder; inclusion of children's food OH; cost strategies for healthier food choices; provision of nutrition information for customers; nutrition training of catering staff; and monitoring and evaluation structures. Fifty-five policies were reviewed, of which 71% addressed children's food served OH, but principally only for food available in schools. Two voluntary programmes, from Colorado and Slovenia, were identified as possible best practice models as they met a majority of the evaluation criteria. The most frequently used strategy by policies to promote healthier eating OH was the provision of nutrition information on menus, while monitoring and evaluation plans were poorly incorporated into any OH strategies, thus raising issues about their effectiveness. This review has identified a range of initiatives that could be employed to make healthier eating OH more accessible for families. However, to establish best practice guidelines for healthier OH food choices further investigations are required.