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  • Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)  (186,415)
  • 1
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Strawberry cropping system relies heavily on proper disease management to maintain high crop yield. Powdery mildew, caused by Sphaerotheca macularis (Wall. Ex Fries) is one of the major leaf diseases in strawberry which can cause significant yield losses up to 70%. Field scouts manually walk beside strawberry fields and visually observe the plants to monitor for powdery mildew disease infection each week during summer months which is a laborious and time-consuming endeavor. The objective of this research was to increase the efficiency of field scouting by automatically detecting powdery mildew disease in strawberry fields by using a real-time machine vision system. A global positioning system, two cameras, a custom image processing program, and a ruggedized laptop computer were utilized for development of the disease detection system. The custom image processing program was developed using color co-occurrence matrix-based texture analysis along with artificial neural network technique to process and classify continuously acquired image data simultaneously. Three commercial strawberry field sites in central Nova Scotia were used to evaluate the performance of the developed system. A total of 36 strawberry rows (~1.06 ha) were tested within three fields and powdery mildew detected points were measured manually followed by automatic detection system. The manually detected points were compared with automatically detected points to ensure the accuracy of the developed system. Results of regression and scatter plots revealed that the system was able to detect disease having mean absolute error values of 4.00, 3.42, and 2.83 per row and root mean square error values of 4.12, 3.71, and 3.00 per row in field site-I, field site-II, and field site-III, respectively. The slight deviation in performance was likely caused by high wind speeds (〉8 km h−1), leaf overlapping, leaf angle, and presence of spider mite disease during field testing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Salt-tolerant plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) could be an alternative to alleviate salinity problems in rice plants grown in the coastal areas. This study was conducted to isolate and characterize salt-tolerant PGPR and observe their effects on the physiological and biochemical properties of rice plants grown under non-saline and saline glasshouse conditions. Three strains were selected based on their salt-tolerance and plant growth-promoting properties under in vitro saline conditions. These strains were identified as Bacillus tequilensis (UPMRB9), Bacillus aryabhattai (UPMRE6), and Providencia stuartii (UPMRG1) using a 16S rRNA technique. The selected strains were inoculated to three different rice varieties, namely BRRI dhan67 (salt-tolerant), Putra-1 (moderate salt-tolerant), and MR297 (salt-susceptible) under glasshouse conditions. Results showed that the MR297 rice variety inoculated with UPMRB9 produced the highest total chlorophyll content, with an increment of 28%, and lowest electrolyte leakage of 92%. The Putra-1 rice variety also showed a 156% total dry matter increase with the inoculation of this bacterial strain. The highest increase of relative water content and reduction of Na/K ratio were found upon inoculation of UPMRE6 and UPMRB9, respectively. The biggest significant effects of these bacterial inoculations were on relative water content, electrolyte leakage, and the Na/K ratio of the BRRI dhan67 rice variety under saline conditions, suggesting a synergistic effect on the mechanisms of plant salt-tolerance. This study has shown that the application of locally-isolated salt-tolerant PGPR strains could be an effective long-term and sustainable solution for rice cultivation in the coastal areas, which are affected by global climate change.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), due to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the daily consumption of table salt should be reduced. To avoid the health consequences of iodine deficiency, it is necessary to include alternative food sources of this trace element in the human diet. One of the most effective ways of improving nutrition is the biofortification of crops with minerals and vitamins. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of iodine biofortification (potassium iodate/KIO3/, 5-iodosalicylic acid/5-ISA/and 3.5-diiodosalicylic acid/3.5-diISA/) on the chemical composition of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. capitata) cv. ‘Melodion’. Plants were cultivated in a hydroponic system NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). We compared the effect of iodine fertilization on the basic chemical composition, fatty acid profile, macro- and micronutrients, content of sugars, nitrogenous compounds, chlorides, and iodine compounds. The results obtained in this research indicate that the application of iodine compounds has an influence on changes of concentration of iodine and other compounds in the treated samples. In lettuce, the main fatty acid was linolenic acid; however, fertilization with iodine did not affect the fatty acid profile in plants, except for concentrations of myristic and arachidic acids. We also found that iodine fortification has positive effects on concentrations of some micro- and micronutrients. Moreover, the application of 3.5-diISA decreased the concentration of nitrates as compared to control and other treatments. Therefore, it may be postulated that the production of lettuce fortified with iodosalicylates is worthy of consideration due to the fact that it may be a good source of iodine and other compounds in the human diet.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Carbonization of cage layer chicken manure (CLCM) can improve its bio-recalcitrance which might improve nitrogen (N) bioavailability in soil. However, temperature(s) to exhibit appropriate variations in the chemical makeup of the manure during carbonization in order to achieve this objective is unknown. In this study, we investigated the alterations in chemical compositions, surface functionalities, and N speciation initiated by different carbonization temperatures (350, 500, and 650 °C) and the effects of these alterations on N bioavailability in soil. The objective was to identify suitable temperature condition(s) for the conversion of CLCM into a carbonized product of appropriate bio-recalcitrance that is capable of improving N bioavailability in soil more than the un-carbonized CLCM. The results showed an increased bio-recalcitrance of the manure with increasing carbonization temperatures due to drastic changes in the chemical makeup and accumulation of heterocyclic aromatic N structures. Subsequently, these alterations in the chemical makeup and state of the organic N species in the manure affected N bioavailability in soil. Notably, N bioavailability of CLCM and benefits on plants were improved when soil was supplied with CLCM that was altered at 350 °C. With these observations, we concluded that alterations in chemical and surface structural compositions and N speciation at 350 °C are optimum for instituting the required bio-recalcitrance to CLCM in order to improve N bioavailability in soil for plants.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Medicago truncatula (barrel medic) and Pisum sativum subsp. elatius (wild pea) accessions originating from variable environmental conditions in the Mediterranean basin were used to study physical seed dormancy (PY) release. The effect of soil burial on PY release was tested on 112 accessions of medic and 46 accessions of pea over the period of 3 months in situ at three common gardens (Hungary, Spain and Greece) from 2017 through 2019. PY release after soil exhumation followed by experimental laboratory germination of remaining dormant seeds (wet, 25 °C, 21 days) were related to the environmental conditions of the common garden and macroclimatic variables of the site of origin of the accessions. Higher PY release was observed in buried seeds under humid rather than under dry and hot environments. Exposure of remaining dormant seeds to experimental laboratory conditions increased total PY release up to 70% and 80% in barrel medic and wild pea, respectively. Wild pea showed higher phenotypic plasticity on PY release than barrel medic, which had higher bet-hedging within-season. Wild pea showed lower bet-hedging among-season (PY 〈 10%) in relation to precipitation than barrel medic, which was more conservative (PY ≈ 20%). Observed variability suggests that these species have the capability to cope with ongoing climate change.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Phosphorus (P) deficiency is one of the major limiting factors for crop productivity. The yield of rice (Oryza sativa L.) is severely limited by phosphorus deficiency. An attempt has been made in this study to identify P deficiency responsive differentially expressed proteins of rice through analysis of leaf proteome of contrasting P-responsive rice cultivars under P deficiency conditions because genetic variability has been found in the rice cultivars for adaptive response to P deficiency and a controlled regulatory system is involved in the P deficiency adaptation response. Phosphorus-efficient (cv. Panvel) and P-inefficient (cv. Nagina 22) rice cultivars were hydroponically grown in the nutrient medium under control environmental conditions at low-P level (2.0 µM) and optimum-P level (320 µM) treatments. Expression patterns of the proteins of the leaves of both the cultivars were analyzed in 30-day-old plants. The identification of these proteins through mass spectrometry and MASCOT software (Matrix Science Inc., Boston, USA) revealed that these differentially expressed proteins were homologous to known functional proteins involved in energy metabolism, biosynthesis, photosynthesis, signaling, protein synthesis, protein folding, phospholipid metabolism, oxidative stress, transcription factors, and phosphorus metabolism. It has been observed that rice cultivars responded differently to low-P treatment through modification in protein expressions pattern to maintain the growth of the plants. Therefore, the expression patterns of proteins were different in both of the cultivars under low-P treatment. Higher potential of protein stability, stress tolerance, osmo-protection, and regulation of phosphorus uptake was observed in cv. Panvel than cv. Nagina 22. This study could help to unravel the complex regulatory process that is involved in adaptation to P deficiency in rice.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Grassland management affects ecosystem services such as the conservation of C stocks. The aim of this study was to analyze the relation between vegetation production and soil C stocks for a set of seven temperate grasslands of various productivity levels. We estimated vegetation production directly through measurements of aboveground biomass (〉5 cm), stubble and root biomass, and indirectly via plant community functioning. Soil C stocks were measured for bulk soil (organic C, SOC) and hot-water-extractable C (HWC) of topsoil. Plant community functioning was characterized by community-weighted mean (CWM) traits and functional diversity index. Results show a negative relation between biomass production and SOCstock. The tradeoff between productivity and SOCstock could be linked to plant community functioning and particularly Leaf Dry Matter content (LDMCCWM) which appeared to be the most relevant descriptor of plant community functioning. High SOCstock could be associated to low productivity, conservative strategy (high LDMCCWM), low soil labile C content and grassland age. Our results show a strong direct effect of management and grassland age on plant community, which in turn affects plant tissue quality and subsequent organic matter mineralization. Old permanent grasslands appeared less productive but represent an occasion for C storage and thus global change mitigation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The increasing intensification of aquaculture systems requires the development of strategies to reduce their environmental impacts such as pollution caused by the discharge of nutrient rich sediments into local water bodies. Recycling of fish pond sediments (FPS) as fertilizer has been proposed as a possible solution that may also reduce the reliance on synthetic fertilizers. With a case study in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, we determined suitable mixtures of striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) pond sediment (PPS) and locally sourced organic amendments of rice straw (RS), or common water hyacinth (WH) to fertilize cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus L.) in an integrated cucumber–giant gourami fish (Osphronemus goramy) farming system. Highest nutrient concentrations were found when mixing 30% PPS with 70% RS or WH. When used in combination with chemical fertilizer, it was found that a 25% to 75% reduction in chemical fertilizer application could be achieved, while also increasing cucumber yields, with the highest yields found when RS was used in organic amendments. In combination with the additional income from fish production, integrated farming systems such as that demonstrated in this study, may increase both farm income and production diversity.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The effect of six edible coatings were investigated on the ability to alleviate shrivel and extend shelf life of plums. Fruit were subjected to a simulated shipping period (−0.5 ± 2 °C and 90 ± 5% relative humidity (RH)) for five weeks and a subsequent shelf life period (20 ± 2 °C and 80 ± 5% RH) for 20 d. Overall, the study showed that it is possible to alleviate shrivel and also extend shelf life of plum (‘African Delight™’) at export and shelf life conditions. Amongst the edible coatings investigated, the findings in fruit coated with gum arabic and the commercial products were comparable and promising for postharvest preservation of the investigated plum cultivar. The coatings showed a moderate delay of fruit ripening, significantly reduced weight loss and shrivel development, allowing for the export of fruit over a long distance (five weeks) and up to 20 d of shelf life.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Water stress in one of the most important abiotic stresses that affects the productivity of many crop species worldwide. In addition, the climate change creates new challenges for crop adaptation especially as water resources become limited and the increase in water stress becomes more pronounced even in areas where there is adequate water supply. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of water stress on physiological characteristics of five cultivars of basil under field conditions. Water stress affected leaf temperature, dry herb yield, leaf water potential, assimilation rate and gas exchange parameters, quantum yield, instantaneous water use efficiency (WUE), and essential oil content. From the physiological characteristics water potential and assimilation rate can be used for the selection of basil cultivars tolerant to water stress. In addition, essential oil content was lower under water stress indicating that essential oil content is correlated with water availability. From the present study it is obvious that there are tolerant basil cultivars to water stress and can be found using physiological traits such as water potential and assimilation rate and can be used to save and use water more sustainable and also conserve the water resources.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: High order convective Cahn-Hilliard type equations describe the faceting of a growing surface, or the dynamics of phase transitions in ternary oil-water-surfactant systems. In this paper, we prove the well-posedness of the classical solutions for the Cauchy problem, associated with this equation.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4893
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Medicinal plants are used worldwide due to their lower risk of side effects and eco-friendly, cost-effective production when compared to chemical drugs, encouraging researchers to further exploit the therapeutic potential of the former. One of the most popular medicinal plants is Vitex agnus-castus L., grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions, to which different health benefits have already been attributed. In this perspective article, the in vitro and in vivo therapeutic properties of V. agnus-castus L. have been analyzed and reviewed with a special focus on its health-promoting effects and potential nutraceutical applications.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: Pure polyethylene (PE) is enriched with several additives to make it a smart application material in protected cultivation, as a cover material for either greenhouses or screenhouses. When this material completely or partially absorbs ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation, then it is called UV blocking material. The current work presents a review on the effects of the UV blocking covering materials on crop growth and development. Despite the passage of several years and the evolution of the design technology of plastic greenhouse covers, UV blocking materials have not ceased to be a rather interesting technique for the protection of several vegetable and ornamental species. Much of the research on UV blocking materials focuses on their indisputable effect on reducing the activity of pests and viral-related diseases, rather than on the effects on the crop physiology itself. In the present paper, representative studies dealing with the effect of the UV blocking materials on the agronomic factors of different crops are presented and discussed. The results reveal that UV blocking materials have mainly positive effects on the different plant physiological functions, such as photosynthesis and transpiration rate, and on growth characteristics, while they might have a negative effect on the production and content of secondary compounds, as anthocyanins and total phenolics.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4395
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Economics
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Slow velocity fluid flow problems in small diameter channels have many important applications in science and industry. Many researchers have modeled the flow through renal tubule, hollow fiber dialyzer and flat plate dialyzer using Navier Stokes equations with suitable simplifying assumptions and boundary conditions. The aim of this article is to investigate the hydrodynamical aspects of steady, axisymmetric and slow flow of a general second-order Rivlin-Ericksen fluid in a porous-walled circular tube with constant wall permeability. The governing compatibility equation have been derived and solved analytically for the stream function by applying Langlois recursive approach for slow viscoelastic flows. Analytical expressions for velocity components, pressure, volume flow rate, fractional reabsorption, wall shear stress and stream function have been obtained correct to third order. The effects of wall Reynolds number and certain non-Newtonian parameters have been studied and presented graphically. The obtained analytical expressions are in agreement with the existing solutions in literature if non-Newtonian parameters approach to zero. The solutions obtained in this article may be considered as a generalization to the existing work. The results indicate that there is a significant dependence of the flow variables on the wall Reynolds number and non-Newtonian parameters.
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-7390
    Topics: Mathematics
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: It is widely accepted that the primordial universe experienced a brief period of accelerated expansion called inflation. This scenario provides a plausible solution to the horizon and flatness problems. However, the particle physics mechanism responsible for inflation remains speculative with, in particular, the assumption of a scalar field called inflaton. Furthermore, the comparison with the most recent data raises new questions that encourage the consideration of alternative hypotheses. Here, we propose a completely different scenario based on a mechanism whose origins lie in the nonlinearities of the Einstein field equations. We use the analytical results of weak gravitational wave turbulence to develop a phenomenological theory of strong gravitational wave turbulence where the inverse cascade of wave action plays a key role. In this scenario, the space-time metric excitation triggers an explosive inverse cascade followed by the formation of a condensate in Fourier space whose growth is interpreted as an expansion of the universe. Contrary to the idea that gravitation can only produce a decelerating expansion, our study reveals that strong gravitational wave turbulence could be a source of inflation. The fossil spectrum that emerges from this scenario is shown to be in agreement with the cosmic microwave background radiation measured by the Planck mission. Direct numerical simulations can be used to check our predictions and to investigate the question of non-Gaussianity through the measure of intermittency.
    Electronic ISSN: 2218-1997
    Topics: Physics
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Over the last few centuries, mapping the ocean seabed has been a major challenge for marine geoscientists. Knowledge of seabed bathymetry and morphology has significantly impacted our understanding of our planet dynamics. The history and scientific trends of seabed mapping can be assessed by data mining prior studies. Here, we have mined the scientific literature using the keyword “seabed mapping” to investigate and provide the evolution of mapping methods and emphasize the main trends and challenges over the last 90 years. An increase in related scientific production was observed in the beginning of the 1970s, together with an increased interest in new mapping technologies. The last two decades have revealed major shift in ocean mapping. Besides the range of applications for seabed mapping, terms like habitat mapping and concepts of seabed classification and backscatter began to appear. This follows the trend of investments in research, science, and technology but is mainly related to national and international demands regarding defining that country’s exclusive economic zone, the interest in marine mineral and renewable energy resources, the need for spatial planning, and the scientific challenge of understanding climate variability. The future of seabed mapping brings high expectations, considering that this is one of the main research and development themes for the United Nations Decade of the Oceans. We may expect a new higher resolution ocean seafloor map that might be as influential as The Floor of the Oceans map.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Spain’s population has changed thanks to recent immigration. Therefore, a new epidemiological and demographic profile has been generated in the country. This study aims to analyze immigrant and native cancer mortality trends in Spain for the period 2000 to 2016. An ecological study of trends was carried out. Age-standardized rates of cancer mortality (ASR) and annual percentage change (APC) between groups and study sub-periods were calculated. Significant decreases in ASR were observed for cancer in both the native and the immigrant populations, in both men and women. However, in 2014–2016, there was an increase in ASR in the immigrant population compared to 2011–2013, due to the increase in ASR among immigrants from European regions. Differences in ASR by cancer between immigrant and native populations residing in Spain have been identified, both in the rate of decline and magnitude as well as by the birth region of the immigrant population. The increase observed in the cancer mortality trend at the end of the period in some immigrant groups indicates the need to monitor these indicators given the demographic, social, and economic changes.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: We aimed to analyze injury profiles and injury severity in Korean youth soccer players. Data on all injuries that occurred in U-15 youth soccer players during the 2019 season were collected from 681 players of 22 teams through a medical questionnaire. The questionnaire was based on injury surveillance procedures of the Federation International de Football Association Medical and Research Centre and International Olympic Committee, and it comprised questions on demographic characteristics, training conditions, and injury information. Among all players, defenders accounted for 33.0%, followed by attackers (30.7%), midfielders (26.8%), and goalkeepers (7.9%). Most players played soccer on artificial grounds (97.4%). Injuries occurred more frequently during training (56.3%) than during matches (43.7%). Recurrent injury rate was 4.4% and average days to return to full activities were 22.58. The ankle (26.6%) and knee joints (14.1%) were the most common injury locations, and ligament sprains (21.0%), contusions (15.6%), and fractures (13.9%) were the most frequent injury types. In conclusion, Korean youth soccer players have a high injury risk. Therefore, researchers and coaching staff need to consider these results as a key to prevent injuries in youth soccer players and injury prevention programs may help decrease injury rate by providing injury management.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Background: Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) remain a common problem, which suggests that standard decontamination procedures are insufficient. Thus, new methods of decontamination are needed in hospitals. Methods: We assessed the effectiveness of a no-touch automated disinfection (NTD) system in the decontamination of 50 surfaces in 10 hospital rooms. Contamination of surfaces was assessed with a microbiological assay and an ATP bioluminescence assay. Unacceptable contamination was defined as 〉 100 colony forming units/100 cm2 in the microbiological assay, and as ≥ 250 relative light units in the ATP assay. Results: When measured with the microbiological assay, 11 of 50 surfaces had unacceptable contamination before NTD, and none of the surfaces had unacceptable contamination after NTD (p 〈 0.001). On the ATP bioluminescence assay, NTD decreased the number of surfaces with unacceptable contamination from 28 to 13, but this effect was non-significant (p = 0.176). On the microbiological assay taken before NTD, the greatest contamination exceeded the acceptable level by more than 11-fold (lamp holder, 1150 CFU/100 cm2). On the ATP bioluminescence assay taken before NTD, the greatest contamination exceeded the acceptable level by more than 43-fold (Ambu bag, 10,874 RLU). Conclusion: NTD effectively reduced microbiological contamination in all hospital rooms. However, when measured with the ATP bioluminescence assay, the reduction of contamination was not significant.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Background and objectives: Stroke is one of the leading causes of morbidity, mortality and long-term adult disability. The aim of this study was to assess the changes in body mass composition in patients after stroke in connection with selected socio-demographic and clinical factors (sex, age, type of stroke and time from the first symptoms) following the rehabilitation process. Materials and Methods: The study group consisted of 100 post-stroke subjects who participated in a comprehensive rehabilitation program for a duration of five weeks. The measurements of body composition by a Tanita MC 780 MA analyser were performed on the day of admission to hospital, on the day of discharge (after 5 weeks) and 12 weeks after discharge from hospital. Results: It was shown that before rehabilitation (Exam I) in the study group there were significant differences in body composition relative to sex, age and time from stroke. The rates of fat mass % and visceral fat level decreased after rehabilitation (Exam II) in both males and females. Exam II, at the end hospital rehabilitation, showed lower levels of fat mass %, visceral fat level, as well as fat-free mass % and higher values of total body water % and muscle mass %. In Exam III, i.e., 12 weeks after discharge, all of the parameters retained their values. Conclusions: The study shows an association between stroke risk factors (primarily age, sex and time from the onset of the first symptoms of stroke) and body mass composition resulting from rehabilitation. The type of stroke and the effects of rehabilitation on body mass components showed no differences. Comprehensive rehabilitation had a positive effect on the body mass components.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: “Food-borne Disease Prevention and Risk Assessment” is a Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on understanding how food-borne disease is still a global threat to health today and to be able to target strategies to reduce its prevalence [...]
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: The presence of an ancient, high-elevation pine forest in the Natural Park of Sierras de Cazorla in southern Spain, including some trees reaching 〉700 years, stimulated efforts to develop high-resolution temperature reconstructions in an otherwise drought-dominated region. Here, we present a reconstruction of spring and fall temperature variability derived from black pine tree ring maximum densities reaching back to 1350 Coefficient of Efficiency (CE). The reconstruction is accompanied by large uncertainties resulting from low interseries correlations among the single trees and a limited number of reliable instrumental stations in the study region. The reconstructed temperature history reveals warm conditions during the early 16th and 19th centuries that were of similar magnitude to the warm temperatures recorded since the late 20th century. A sharp transition from cold conditions in the late 18th century (t1781–1810 = −1.15 °C ± 0.64 °C) to warm conditions in the early 19th century (t1818–1847 = −0.06 °C ± 0.49 °C) is centered around the 1815 Tambora eruption (t1816 = −2.1 °C ± 0.55 °C). The new reconstruction from southern Spain correlates significantly with high-resolution temperature histories from the Pyrenees located ~600 km north of the Cazorla Natural Park, an association that is temporally stable over the past 650 years (r1350–2005 〉 0.3, p 〈 0.0001) and particularly strong in the high-frequency domain (rHF 〉 0.4). Yet, only a few of the reconstructed cold extremes (1453, 1601, 1816) coincide with large volcanic eruptions, suggesting that the severe cooling events in southern Spain are controlled by internal dynamics rather than external (volcanic) forcing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Recently, different biomedical applications of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) and zinc oxide (ZnO) have been studied, and they have displayed good biocompatible behavior. For this reason, this study explores nanolaminates of [Al2O3/ZnO]n obtained by atomic layer deposition (ALD) on silicon (100) and 316L stainless steel substrates with different bilayer periods: n = 1, 2, 5, and 10. The intention is to correlate the structure, chemical bonds, morphology, and electrochemical properties of ZnO and Al2O3 single layers and [Al2O3/ZnO]n nanolaminates with their cytotoxic and biocompatibility behavior, to establish their viability for biomedical applications in implants based on the 316L SS substrate. These nanolaminates have been characterized by grazing incident X-ray diffraction (XRD), finding diffraction planes for wurtzite type structure from zincite. The chemical bonding and composition for both single layers were identified through X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The morphology and roughness were tested with atomic force microscopy (AFM), which showed a reduction in roughness and grain size with a bilayer period increase. The thickness of the samples was measured with scanning electron microscopy, and the results confirmed the value of ~210 nm for the nanolaminate samples. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy analysis with Hank’s balanced salt solution (HBSS) evidenced an evolution of [Al2O3/ZnO]n/316L system corrosion resistance of around 95% in relation with the uncoated steel substrate as function of the increase in the bilayers number. To identify the biocompatibility behavior of these nanolaminate systems, the lactate dehydrogenase test was performed with Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells for a short system of life cell evaluation. This test shows the cytotoxicity of the multilayer compared to the single layers of Al2O3, ZnO, and 316L stainless steel. The lowest cytotoxicity was found in the single layers of ZnO, which leads to cell proliferation easier than Al2O3, obtaining better adhesion and anchoring to its surface.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4352
    Topics: Physics
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Urban air pollution from gaseous pollutants is a growing public health problem in many countries including South Africa. Examining the levels, trends and health risk of exposure to ambient gaseous pollutants will assist in understanding the effectiveness of existing control measures and plan for suitable management strategies. This study determined the concentration levels and non-cancer risk of CO, SO2, NO2, and O3 at an industrial area in Pretoria West, South Africa. We utilised a set of secondary data for CO, NO2, SO2, and O3 that was obtained from a monitoring station. Analysis of the hourly monitored data was done. Their non-cancer risk (HQ) was determined using the human health risk assessment model for different age categories. The annual levels of NO2 (39.442 µg/m3), SO2 (22.464 µg/m3), CO (722.003 µg/m3) and the 8-hour concentration of CO (649.902 µg/m3) and O3 (33.556 µg/m3) did not exceed the South African National Ambient Air Quality Standards for each pollutant. The HQ for each pollutant across exposed groups (except children) was less than 1. This indicates that the recorded levels could not pose non-cancer risk to susceptible individuals.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: A 5-year study evaluated the change in the quantity of soil total C (STC), soil organic C (SOC), and soil inorganic C (SIC) stored in the surface 60 cm of the soil profile on two adjacent blocks of land with a long-term history of cropping (CH) or undisturbed grassland (NH) on similar soil types between 1999 and 2004. The NH area was tilled and a grass-legume species mix was seeded into plots on both the NH and the CH areas. Selected plots of restored grass were established so they could be grazed (GG) by livestock while other plots were left ungrazed (UG). Original undisturbed (and ungrazed) grassland plots within the NH area were used as a control treatment. Initially, STC and SOC in CH were lower than NH when compared under the semi-arid environmental conditions found in southwestern North Dakota. Over the study period, the undisturbed grass control plots had increases in STC and SOC levels in the soil profile of 3.90 kg·m−2 and 3.34 kg·m−2, respectively. Restored grass on the NH area with grazing showed increases in STC and SOC values of 2.11 and 1.26 kg·m−2, respectively, while without grazing, profile STC and SOC had values of 3.80 and 3.28 kg·m−2, respectively. Restored grass on the CH area showed increases in profile STC and SOC values of 0.55 and 1.96 kg·m−2, respectively, for the grazed plots and 0.78 and 2.11 kg·m−2, respectively, when left ungrazed. Soil inorganic C, though present in the soils, did not significantly change during the study. The lower C accumulation in the CH plots may be due to a lag time in the establishment of mycorrhizal associations with the seeded species, the inoculums of which were already present in the NH soils. Changes in STC were likely due to changes in water relationships in the soil profile where management changes affected water infiltration and its movement causing leaching of SIC below the 60 cm depth evaluated. Soils under undisturbed grassland continue to accumulate carbon while soils of the disturbed grassland or cropped prior to re-establishing grass showed losses that occurred due to either accumulating C at a lower rate or perhaps to C loss during the initial establishment period (1–2 years).
    Electronic ISSN: 2571-8789
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition , Physics
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Data from geocryological studies of soil and rock massifs in permafrost zone are very important as a basis for predicting possible negative consequences associated with climate change. A promising technique for studying geocryological structures (various types of underground ice) is the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) method. This paper presents the applications of the GPR method to prospect and evaluate massive ice in a frozen rock mass. To study the features of GPR signals received during sounding of underground ice, a model of a single GPR trace for the structure “frozen rock-ice-frozen rock” was developed. As a result, regularities were established in the kinematic and dynamic characteristics of GPR signals at the upper and lower boundaries of massive ice, depending on its geometric parameters. The established features were confirmed by the results of computer and physical simulation of GPR measurements of a frozen rock mass model. The main result of the study was to obtain a set of criteria for identifying massive ice according to GPR measurements. The developed criteria will allow the use of GPR for a detailed study of the structure of permafrost rocks to prevent the development of dangerous cryogenic processes in undisturbed and urban areas of the Arctic.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: In this article, a multitasking system is investigated for automatic ship berthing in marine practices, based on artificial neural networks (ANNs). First, a neural network with separate structures in hidden layers is developed, based on a head-up coordinate system. This network is trained once with the berthing data of a ship in an original port to conduct berthing tasks in different ports. Then, on the basis of the developed network, an integrated mechanism including three negative signs is linked to achieve an integrated neural controller. This controller can bring the ship to a berth on each side of the ship in different ports. The whole system has the ability to berth for different tasks without retraining the neural network. Finally, to validate the effectiveness of the proposed system for automatic ship berthing, numerical simulations were performed for berthing tasks, such as different ports, and berthing each side of the ship. The results indicate that the proposed system shows a good performance in automatic ship berthing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-7390
    Topics: Mathematics
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: In convergent zones, several parts of the geodynamic system (e.g., continental margins, back-arc regions) can be deformed, uplifted, and eroded through time, each of them potentially delivering clastic sediments to neighboring basins. Tectonically driven events are mostly recorded in syntectonic clastic systems accumulated into different kinds of basins: trench, fore-arc, and back-arc basins in subduction zones and foredeep, thrust-top, and episutural basins in collisional settings. The most widely used tools for provenance analysis of synorogenic sediments and for unraveling the tectonic evolution of convergent zones are sandstone petrography and U–Pb dating of detrital zircon. In this paper, we present a comparison of previously published data discussing how these techniques are used to constrain provenance reconstructions and contribute to a better understanding of the tectonic evolution of (i) the Cretaceous transition from extensional to compressional regimes in the back-arc region of the southern Andean system; and (ii) the involvement of the passive European continental margin in the Western Alps subduction system during impending Alpine collision. In both cases, sediments delivered from the down-bending continental block are significantly involved. Our findings highlight its role as a detrital source, which is generally underestimated or even ignored in current tectonic models.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa remains dependent on high inputs of human labor, a situation associated with direct exposure to daylight heat during critical periods of the agricultural calendar. We ask the question: how is the Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) going to be distributed in the future, and how will this affect the ability of smallholder farmers to perform agricultural activities? Data from general circulation models are used to estimate the distribution of WBGT in 2000, 2050 and 2100, and for high activity periods in the agricultural calendar. The distribution of WBGT is divided into recommended maximum WBGT exposure levels (°C) at different work intensities, and rest/work ratios for an average acclimatized worker wearing light clothing (ISO, 18). High WBGTs are observed during the two periods of the East African. In February to March, eastern and coastal regions of Kenya and Tanzania witness high WBGT values—some necessitating up to 75% rest/hour work intensities in 2050 and 2100. In August to September, eastern and northern Kenya and north and central Uganda are vulnerable to high WBGT values. Designing policies to address this key challenge is a critical element in adaptation methods to address the impact of climate change.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Background: In response to population aging, there is a need for health systems to focus on care for chronic disease, specifically palliative care, while focusing on people-centered care. The objective of this study is to explore the healthcare system enablers and barriers to the provision of quality palliative and end-of-life care from the perspective of healthcare professionals. Materials and Methods: Using purposive sampling, fifteen focus group interviews and nine individual interviews involving 72 healthcare providers were conducted. Primary qualitative data were collected between May 2016 and July 2017. All recorded discussions were transcribed verbatim and analyzed. A thematic framework was developed. Results: The provision of quality palliative and end-of-life care is influenced by the interaction and integration of nine sub-themes under four identified themes: (1) political context; (2) organization setting; (3) support to patients, caregivers, and family members, and (4) healthcare workers and the public. Conclusions: Integration of palliative and end-of-life care is an important pillar of healthcare service to improve quality of life by addressing patients’ values, wishes and preference, and assist their family to handle challenges at the end stage of life. Further improvements to the service framework would be required, specifically in the political framework, multidisciplinary approach, and readiness and competence in healthcare workers and community. These were highlighted in our study as key components in service provision to ensure that patients can receive continuous and integrated care between hospitals and the community as well as dignified care at the end stage of life.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The aim of this study was to explore knowledge, practice of risk and guidelines of the novel corona virus disease (COVID-19) infection among the eye care practitioners and the potential associated factors. A cross-sectional self-administered online survey was distributed via emails and social media networks between 2nd and 18th May 2020 corresponding to the week of the lockdown in Nigeria to eye care practitioners (ECPs). Data for 823 respondents were analyzed. Knowledge and risk practice were categorized as binary outcome and univariate and multivariate linear regression were used to examine the associated factors. The mean score for COVID-19-related knowledge of public health guidelines was high and varied across the ECPs. Ophthalmic Nurses, Ophthalmologists and Optometrists showed higher COVID-19-related knowledge than other ECPs (p 〈 0.001), particularly those working in the private sector. More than 50% of ECPs stated they provided essential services during the COVID-19 lockdown via physical consultation, particularly the Ophthalmologists. Most respondents reported that the guidelines provided by their Association were useful but expressed their lack of confidence in attending to patients during and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Compared to other ECPs in Nigeria, more Ophthalmic Nurses received training in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This survey is the first to assess knowledge, attitudes and practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. ECPs in Nigeria displayed good knowledge about COVID-19 and provided eye care services during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, despite the majority not receiving any training on the use of PPEs with concerns over attending to patients. There is need for the government to strengthen health systems by improving and extending training on standard infection prevention and control measures to ECPs for effective control of the pandemic and in the future as essential health workers.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Artisanal and small-scale mining is a significant economic sector in Rwanda. Mining activities often use a watercourse, in which secondary extraction takes place and minerals are washed. Mining thus greatly affects the geomorphological conditions in the area. The aim of this paper is a digest of environmental impacts of alluvial artisanal and small-scale mining with a focus on anthropogenic influences on topography with regard to the methods used in raw material mining. The author draws on a case study from the mining site of Rutsiro district in Rwanda. Main findings of alluvial artisanal mining in a riverscape are changes in landscape structure, deforestation, intensification of geomorphological processes, new relief shapes (suffosion depressions, check dams, gravel benches, anthropogenic channels) and hydrological river regime, chemical pollution of soil and watercourses. Artisanal and small-scale mining may lead to a significant change and acceleration of fluvial processes. This paper covers a broad understanding of environmental impacts of alluvial artisanal and small-scale mining with a focus on anthropogenic influencing.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The effects of two cardiomyopathy-associated mutations in regulatory sarcomere protein tropomyosin (Tpm) on heart function were studied with a new multiscale model of the cardiovascular system (CVS). They were a Tpm mutation, Ile284Val, associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and an Asp230Asn one associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). When the molecular and cell-level changes in the Ca2+ regulation of cardiac muscle caused by these mutations were introduced into the myocardial model of the left ventricle (LV) while the LV shape remained the same as in the model of the normal heart, the cardiac output and arterial blood pressure reduced. Simulations of LV hypertrophy in the case of the Ile284Val mutation and LV dilatation in the case of the Asp230Asn mutation demonstrated that the LV remodeling partially recovered the stroke volume and arterial blood pressure, confirming that both hypertrophy and dilatation help to preserve the LV function. The possible effects of changes in passive myocardial stiffness in the model according to data reported for HCM and DCM hearts were also simulated. The results of the simulations showed that the end-systolic pressure–volume relation that is often used to characterize heart contractility strongly depends on heart geometry and cannot be used as a characteristic of myocardial contractility.
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-7390
    Topics: Mathematics
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Micrometeorites (MMs) are small particles that account for most of the extraterrestrial material deposited on Earth. Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence and diffraction allowed for chemical and mineral characterization to distinguish MM from atmospheric particulate. The relative components of iron, nickel, and other elements were considered in the identification of ferrous MM while high amounts of titanium were considered an indication that the particles were of atmospheric origin. Out of 100 samples collected by high school students and teachers, eight were taken to a synchrotron for analysis. Of those eight, three exhibited extraterrestrial compositions. X-ray absorption near-edge structure analysis revealed that the same three samples contained sulfide, the main sulfur form constituent in MM. X-ray microdiffraction analysis showed the presence of the minerals pentlandite and forsterite. Collectively, these results support the extraterrestrial nature of the three particles.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The limits of solid solutions and thermal deformations in the L-alanine–L-serine (L-ala–L-ser) amino acid system have been determined. Thirteen amino acid mixtures with various proportions of the components L-ser/L-ala were studied using powder X-ray diffraction techniques. It was found that the regions of solid solutions in the system are rather limited and cover less than 10 mol. % from each component side. The thermal behavior of the components L-ser and L-ala and the composition L-ser/L-ala = 90/10 were studied by temperature-resolved powder X-ray diffraction. The heating of L-ser and L-ala only causes thermal deformations, while two-phase mixtures with the 90/10 L-ser/L-ala ratio form solid solutions at elevated temperatures. Additionally, the parameters of the thermal deformation tensor for L-ser and L-ala were calculated, and the figures of their thermal expansion coefficients were plotted and analyzed. The study conducted is of high applicability, since amino acids are active components of various biological, geological, and technological processes, including those at elevated temperatures, and have numerous applications in life-science industries.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4352
    Topics: Physics
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: We present a statistical model which can be employed to understand the contagion dynamics of the COVID-19, which can heavily impact health, economics and finance. The model is a Poisson autoregression of the daily new observed cases, and can reveal whether contagion has a trend, and where is each country on that trend. Model results are exemplified from some observed series.
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-9091
    Topics: Economics
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The Yiliu tungsten polymetallic deposit, located in the south central portion of the Nanling nonferrous metal metallogenic province in South China, is an area with common Yanshanian tectonothermal events. Early Yanshanian magmatism leads to the emplacement of voluminous tungsten-bearing granite intrusions, such as the Baoshan, Benggangling and Junye plutons, which are considered temporally and spatially associated with W-polymetallic mineralization in the Yiliu region. Here, we investigate the basic geological and petrological characteristics of the Junye granites, and present major and trace element geochemical data and bulk-rock Sr-Nd-Pb-Hf isotopic data to gain insight into the petrogenesis and tectonic setting of granitic intrusions in the region. The Junye granites are high-K calc-alkaline and metaluminous to weakly peraluminous [A/CNK = molar ratios of Al2O3/(CaO + Na2O + K2O) = 0.97–1.02] with enrichment in SiO2 (75.68–76.44 wt.%), relatively high total alkalis (K2O + Na2O = 8.06–8.45 wt.%) with K2O/Na2O ratios ranging from 1.12 to 1.42, and moderate Al2O3 (12.62–13.00 wt.%), but low in P2O5 (
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: We report on the application of the U-Th-He method for the direct dating of pyrite and provide an original methodological approach for measurement of U, Th and He in single grains without loss of parent nuclides during thermal extraction of He. The U-Th-He age of ten samples of high-crystalline stoichiometric pyrite from unoxidized massive ores of the Uzelga volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit, South Urals, is 382 ± 12 Ma (2σ) (U concentrations ~1–5 ppm; 4He ~10−4 cm3 STP g−1). This age is consistent with independent (biostratigraphic) estimations of the age of ore formation (ca, 389–380 Ma) and is remarkably older than the probable age of the regional prehnite-pumpellyite facies metamorphism (~340–345 Ma). Our results indicate that the U-Th-He dating of ~1 mg weight pyrite sample is possible and open new perspectives for the dating of ore deposits. The relative simplicity of U-Th-He dating in comparison with other geochronological methods makes this approach interesting for further application.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Polycrystalline carbonate minerals (including calcite, Mg-calcite, and aragonite) can show distinctive variations in their far-infrared (FIR) spectra. We describe how to identify mixed-phase samples by correlating FIR spectral changes with mid-infrared spectra, X-ray diffraction data, and simple peak overlap simulations. Furthermore, we show how to distinguish portlandite-containing (Ca(OH) 2 ) mixtures that are common in heated calcium carbonate samples. Ultimately, these results could be used for tracking how minerals are formed and how they change during environmental exposure or processing after extraction.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: This article proposes the quality of life (QOL) construct as a framework from which to develop useful indicators to operationalize, measure, and implement the Articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). A systematic review of the scientific literature on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) was carried out, with the aim of identifying personal outcomes that can be translated into specific and measurable items for each of the CRPD Articles aligned to the eight QOL domains. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, the systematic review was conducted across the Web of Science Core Collection, Current Contents Connect (CCC), MEDLINE, KCI-Korean Journal Database, Russian Science Citation Index and SciELO Citation Index, for articles published between 2008 and 2020. A total of 65 articles focusing on people with IDD were selected. The results were grouped into four broad categories: conceptual frameworks used to monitor the CRPD; instruments used to assess the rights set out in the CRPD; recommendations on the use of inclusive research; and indicators or personal outcomes associated with specific rights contained in the CRPD.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: This prospective cohort study aimed to identify the incidence and characteristics of Taekwondo-related injuries according to age, sex, and event type (i.e., practice or competition) based on a web-based injury surveillance system (ISS) with a follow-up period of 12 months. A total of 285 members of the Korea Taekwondo Association who competed in the 2016 season participated. Injury incidence rates (IRs) were calculated per 1000 athlete-exposures (AEs). Injury rate ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated and compared regarding age, sex, and event type. During the season, 336 injuries were reported, resulting in a rate of 6.31/1000 AEs. The most common location, type, and mechanism of injury in Taekwondo athletes were the foot/ankle, ligament sprain, and contact with another player, respectively. The overall injury IRs associated with Taekwondo practicing and competition were 4.79/1000 AEs and 24.86/1000 AEs, respectively. The overall injury RR related to both practice and competition was higher in youth athletes than in adult athletes. However, adult athletes were more likely to sustain more severe injuries. Korean elite Taekwondo athletes were commonly exposed to injury, especially youth and female athletes. Therefore, continuation of the ISS suggests the development of interventions for preventing injuries sustained by Taekwondo athletes.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Many adolescents with type 1 diabetes experience challenges in achieving good glycemic control and have insufficient understanding in executing interventions for glycemic control. This study aimed to understand self-management experiences of adolescents with type 1 diabetes in Taiwan. In this descriptive phenomenological study, we conducted in-depth interviews with 18 adolescents with type 1 diabetes from the pediatric outpatient clinic of a medical center. Data were analyzed using the Colaizzi’s method. Four themes were identified: (1) misconception regarding self-management of blood glucose; (2) conflict between depending on and breaking away from parental assistance for glycemic control; (3) encounter with disruptions in glycemic control regimen due to the presence of schedule changes; and (4) lack of motivation to achieve good glycemic control. The findings indicated that the misconceptions of adolescents with type 1 diabetes about managing glycemic levels resulted from an insufficient understanding of self-management of diabetes. In Taiwan, the heavy emphasis of academic achievement and changes of schedules during breaks tended to disrupt the regimen for glycemic control. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to provide individualized education focusing on the adolescents’ misconceptions regarding self-management of diabetes.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Quantum computation is often limited by environmentally-induced decoherence. We examine the loss of coherence for a two-branch quantum interference device in the presence of multiple witnesses, representing an idealized environment. Interference oscillations are visible in the output as the magnetic flux through the branches is varied. Quantum double-dot witnesses are field-coupled and symmetrically attached to each branch. The global system—device and witnesses—undergoes unitary time evolution with no increase in entropy. Witness states entangle with the device state, but for these blind witnesses, which-path information is not able to be transferred to the quantum state of witnesses—they cannot “see” or make a record of which branch is traversed. The system which-path information leaves no imprint on the environment. Yet, the presence of a multiplicity of witnesses rapidly quenches quantum interference.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: It is critical for organizations to self-assess their Industry 4.0 readiness to survive and thrive in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Thereon, conceptualization or development of an Industry 4.0 readiness model with the fundamental model dimensions is needed. This paper used a systematic literature review (SLR) methodology with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and content analysis strategy to review 97 papers in peer-reviewed academic journals and industry reports published from 2000 to 2019. The review identifies 30 Industry 4.0 readiness models with 158 unique model dimensions. Based on this review, there are two theoretical contributions. First, this paper proposes six dimensions (Technology, People, Strategy, Leadership, Process and Innovation) that can be considered as the most important dimensions for organizations. Second, this review reveals that 70 (44%) out of total 158 total unique dimensions on Industry 4.0 pertain to the assessment of technology alone. This establishes that organizations need to largely improve on their technology readiness, to strengthen their Industry 4.0 readiness. In summary, these six most common dimensions, and in particular, the dominance of the technology dimension provides a research agenda for future research on Industry 4.0 readiness.
    Electronic ISSN: 2078-2489
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Human activity events are often recorded with their geographic locations and temporal stamps, which form spatial patterns of the events during individual time periods. Temporal attributes of these events help us understand the evolution of spatial processes over time. A challenge that researchers still face is that existing methods tend to treat all events as the same when evaluating the spatiotemporal pattern of events that have different properties. This article suggests a method for assessing the level of spatiotemporal clustering or spatiotemporal autocorrelation that may exist in a set of human activity events when they are associated with different categorical attributes. This method extends the Voronoi structure from 2D to 3D and integrates a sliding-window model as an approach to spatiotemporal tessellations of a space-time volume defined by a study area and time period. Furthermore, an index was developed to evaluate the partial spatiotemporal clustering level of one of the two event categories against the other category. The proposed method was applied to simulated data and a real-world dataset as a case study. Experimental results show that the method effectively measures the level of spatiotemporal clustering patterns among human activity events of multiple categories. The method can be applied to the analysis of large volumes of human activity events because of its computational efficiency.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The mechanisms of soil Cd and Pb alterations and distribution following biochar (BC; 0 to 40 t ha−1) amendments applied (in either 2009 [long-term] or in 2016 [short-term]) to a contaminated rice paddy soil, and subsequent plant Cd and Pb tissue distribution over time was investigated. Water-soluble Cd and Pb concentrations decreased by 6.7–76.0% (short-term) and 10.3–88.1% (long-term) with biochar application compared to the control. The soil exchangeable metal fractions (i.e., considered more available) decreased, and the residual metal fractions (i.e., considered less available) increased with short- and long-term biochar amendments, the latter likely a function of biochar increasing pH and forcing Cd and Pb to form crystal mineral lattice associations. Biochar application reduced Cd (16.1–84.1%) and Pb (4.1–40.0%) transfer from root to rice grain, with rice Cd and Pb concentrations lowered to nearly Chinese national food safety standards. Concomitantly, soil organic matter (SOM), pH and soil water content increased by 3.9–49.3%, 0.05–0.35 pH units, and 3.8–77.4%, respectively, with increasing biochar application rate. Following biochar applications, soil microbial diversity (Shannon index) also increased (0.8–46.2%) and soil enzymatic activities were enhanced. Biochar appears to play a pivotal role in forcing Cd and Pb sequestration in contaminated paddy soils, reducing heavy metal transfer to rice grain, and potentially leading to reduced heavy metal consumption by humans.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3298
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Due to the occurrence among musicians of musculoskeletal problems associated with playing a musical instrument, it is necessary to use prophylaxis. The aim of the study was to compare the effectiveness of two physioprophylaxis methods: chair massage and an original set of exercises. The study lasted four weeks and consisted of eight 15-min meetings (chair massage/exercises). The study was conducted on 44 music students assigned to three groups (chair massage/exercise program/control group). The algometric measurements and questionnaire were conducted. Health problems associated with playing an instrument was reported by 86.4% of the participants. The largest changes in pain threshold concerned the trigger points of the muscles with the highest pain sensitivity, i.e., upper part of trapezius ones, and reached 25–34% in relation to the initial values. For the trigger points of the levator scapulae and lower part of trapezius, the increase in the pain threshold was between 20 and 28%. Raising the pain threshold was observed both after each session and meeting by meeting, and these differences were most visible in the massage group. This effect was particularly visible from the fourth treatment. Chair massage and exercise should be used regularly, and significant results can be obtained after two weeks.
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: Both toxicology and epidemiology are used to inform hazard and risk assessment in regulatory settings, particularly for pesticides. While toxicology studies involve controlled, quantifiable exposures that are often administered according to standardized protocols, estimating exposure in observational epidemiology studies is challenging, and there is no established guidance for doing so. However, there are several frameworks for evaluating the quality of published epidemiology studies. We previously developed a preliminary list of methodology and reporting standards for epidemiology studies, called Good Epidemiology Practice (GEP) guidelines, based on a critical review of standardized toxicology protocols and available frameworks for evaluating epidemiology study quality. We determined that exposure characterization is one of the most critical areas for which standards are needed. Here, we propose GEP guidelines for pesticide exposure assessment based on the source of exposure data (i.e., biomonitoring and environmental samples, questionnaire/interview/expert record review, and dietary exposures based on measurements of residues in food and food consumption). It is expected that these GEP guidelines will facilitate the conduct of higher-quality epidemiology studies that can be used as a basis for more scientifically sound regulatory risk assessment and policy making.
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The approaching prospect of obligatory implementation and pursuit of Water Safety Plans forces water companies to reflect on supplies in crisis situations that, for example, relate to the closure of a basic intake, or scarcity of water due to climates changes (droughts). Where supplies are diversified, there can be greater certainty as to the continuity of good quality supply, even in an emergency. As one of each country’s systems of critical infrastructure, the collective water supply system (CWSS) should be protected, with the diversification of supply treated as a basic tool to raise levels of security among consumers. This article, therefore, presents a method from the authors’ by which diversification may be assessed, including by reference to basic and key elements of the CWSS capable of affecting the continuity of water supply. Sample calculations using the proposed method are also presented here for selected Polish cities. In the event, as only one Polish CWSS can be assigned to the category representing excellent diversification, the suggestion is clearly that Poland’s systems must still progress with the diversification of water supply, in order to further reduce the risk of water shortages.
    Electronic ISSN: 2079-9276
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Tetraena mongolica is a rare and endangered species unique to China. The total number and density of Tetraena mongolica shrubs in desertification areas have experienced a sharp decrease with increases in coal mining activities. However, available information on the T. mongolica rhizosphere soil quality and microbial properties is scarce. Here, we investigated the effect of coal mining on the soil bacterial community and its response to the soil environment in the T. mongolica region. The results showed that the closer to the coal mining area, the lower the vegetation coverage and species diversity. The electrical conductivity (EC) in the contaminated area increased, while the total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (AP), available potassium (AK), and soil organic carbon (SOC) decreased. The activity of NAG, sucrose, β-glucosidase, and alkaline phosphatase further decreased. In addition, the mining area could alter the soil’s bacterial abundance and diversity. The organic pollutant degradation bacteria such as Sphingomonas, Gemmatimonas, Nocardioides, and Gaiella were enriched in the soil, and the carbon-nitrogen cycle was changed. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) and Pearson’s correlation coefficients showed that the change in the bacterial community structure was mainly caused by environmental factors such as water content (SWC) and EC. Taken together, these results suggested that open pit mining led to the salinization of the soil, reduction the soil nutrient content and enzyme activity, shifting the rhizosphere soil microbial community structure, and altering the carbon-nitrogen cycle, and the soil quality declined and the growth of T. mongolica was affected in the end. Therefore, the development of green coal mining technology is of great significance to protect the growth of T. mongolica.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: Along with its rapid urban development, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in recent years has suffered a high concentration of air pollutants, especially fine particulate matters or PM2.5. A comprehensive study is required to evaluate the air quality conditions and their health impact in this city. Given the lack of adequate air quality monitoring data over a large area of the size of HCMC, an air quality modeling methodology is adopted to address the requirement. Here, by utilizing a corresponding emission inventory in combination with The Air Pollution Model-Chemical Transport Model (TAPM-CTM), the predicted concentration of air pollutants is first obtained for PM2.5, NOx, and SO2. Then by associating the pollutants exposed with the mortality rate from three causes, namely Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD), cardiopulmonary, and lung cancer, the impact of air pollution on human health is obtained for this purpose. Spatial distribution has shown a high amount of pollutants concentrated in the central city with a high density of combustion vehicles (motorcycles and automobiles). In addition, a significant amount of emissions can be observed from stevedoring and harbor activities, including ferries and cargo handling equipment located along the river. Other sources such as household activities also contribute to an even distribution of emission across the city. The results of air quality modeling showed that the annual average concentrations of NO2 were higher than the standard of Vietnam National Technical Regulation on Ambient Air Quality (QCVN 05: 2013 40 µg/m3) and World Health Organization (WHO) (40 µg/m3). The annual average concentrations of PM2.5 were 23 µg/m3 and were also much higher than the WHO (10 µg/m3) standard by about 2.3 times. In terms of public health impacts, PM2.5 was found to be responsible for about 1136 deaths, while the number of mortalities from exposure to NO2 and SO2 was 172 and 89 deaths, respectively. These figures demand some stringent measures from the authorities to potentially remedy the alarming situation of air pollution in HCM City.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: From a thermodynamic point of view, living cell life is no more than a cyclic process. It starts with the newly separated daughter cells and restarts when the next generations grow as free entities. During this cycle, the cell changes its entropy. In cancer, the growth control is damaged. In this paper, we analyze the role of the volume–area ratio in the cell in relation to the heat exchange between cell and its environment in order to point out its effect on cancer growth. The result holds to a possible control of the cancer growth based on the heat exchanged by the cancer toward its environment and the membrane potential variation, with the consequence of controlling the ions fluxes and the related biochemical reactions. This second law approach could represent a starting point for a possible future support for the anticancer therapies, in order to improve their effectiveness for the untreatable cancers.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Advanced time series analysis and causality detection techniques have been successfully applied to the assessment of synchronization experiments in tokamaks, such as Edge Localized Modes (ELMs) and sawtooth pacing. Lag synchronization is a typical strategy for fusion plasma instability control by pace-making techniques. The major difficulty, in evaluating the efficiency of the pacing methods, is the coexistence of the causal effects with the periodic or quasi-periodic nature of the plasma instabilities. In the present work, a set of methods based on the image representation of time series, are investigated as tools for evaluating the efficiency of the pace-making techniques. The main options rely on the Gramian Angular Field (GAF), the Markov Transition Field (MTF), previously used for time series classification, and the Chaos Game Representation (CGR), employed for the visualization of large collections of long time series. The paper proposes an original variation of the Markov Transition Matrix, defined for a couple of time series. Additionally, a recently proposed method, based on the mapping of time series as cross-visibility networks and their representation as images, is included in this study. The performances of the method are evaluated on synthetic data and applied to JET measurements.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Occupational ergonomics in healthcare is an increasing challenge we have to handle in the near future. Physical assistive systems, so-called exoskeletons, are promising solutions to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Manual handling like pushing, pulling, holding and lifting during healthcare activities require practical and biomechanical effective assistive devices. In this article, a musculoskeletal-model-based development of an assistive exoskeleton is described for manual patient transfer in the surgery waiting room. For that purpose, kinematic data collected with an experimental set-up reproducing real patient transfer conditions are first used to define the kinetic boundary conditions for the model-based development approach. Model-based analysis reveals significant relief potential in the lower back and shoulder area of the musculoskeletal apparatus. This is corroborated by subjective feedback collected during measurements with real surgery assistants. A shoulder–arm exoskeleton design is then proposed, optimized and evaluated within the same simulation framework. The presented results illustrate the potential for the proposed design to reduce significantly joint compressions and muscle activities in the shoulder complex in the considered patient transfer scenarios.
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: During February 2019, two severe storms affected the island of Crete, located in south Greece. Both storms produced excessive rainfall, provoking severe damages, especially in the western part of Crete. The role of the prevailing synoptic patterns and the interaction of the flow with the high mountains of Crete were investigated. For this purpose, a variety of observational and numerical model data were exploited, including data from a dense rain gauge network, satellite imagery, and model analysis of various parameters describing the stability of the impinging flow. The first storm was a long-lasting event, with convective outbreaks embedded in a more stratiform rainfall pattern. The second storm was brief but mostly convection dominated. The analysis of the available data underlined the role of the low-level convergence upstream of the mountains during both storms, highlighting similarities and differences, as well as the role of the stability of the impinging flow. High soil moisture content was also evidenced as a key ingredient for the severe flooding that occurred during the second storm. This work complements similar studies on the role of Mediterranean islands and their topography on the spatial and temporal distribution of extreme rainfall.
    Electronic ISSN: 2225-1154
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Geosciences
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: We propose a portfolio rebalance framework that integrates machine learning models into the mean-risk portfolios in multi-period settings with risk-aversion adjustment. In each period, the risk-aversion coefficient is adjusted automatically according to market trend movements predicted by machine learning models. We employ Gini’s Mean Difference (GMD) to specify the risk of a portfolio and use a set of technical indicators generated from a market index (e.g., S&P 500 index) to feed the machine learning models to predict market movements. Using a rolling-horizon approach, we conduct a series of computational tests with real financial data to evaluate the performance of the machine learning integrated portfolio rebalance framework. The empirical results show that the XGBoost model provides the best prediction of market movement, while the proposed portfolio rebalance strategy generates portfolios with superior out-of-sample performances in terms of average returns, time-series cumulative returns, and annualized returns compared to the benchmarks.
    Print ISSN: 1911-8066
    Electronic ISSN: 1911-8074
    Topics: Economics
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: We used observational data and the results from a high-resolution numerical simulation model to analyze the occurrence and development of an extreme precipitation event in the Ili Valley, Xinjiang, China on 26 June 2015. We analyzed the horizontal wavelength, period, speed, ducting, energy propagation and feedback mechanism of inertial gravity waves. A low-level convergence line was formed in the valley by the northerly and westerly winds as a result of Central Asian vortices and the trumpet-shaped topography of the Ili Valley. There was sufficient water vapor in the valley for the precipitation event to develop. A mesoscale vortex formed and developed on the low-level convergence line and the rainfall was distributed either near the convergence line or the mesoscale vortex. The low-level convergence line and the uplift caused by the terrain triggered convection, and then the convection triggered waves at lower levels. The combination of ascending motion induced by the lower level waves and the mesoscale vortex led to the development of convection, causing the precipitation to intensify. When the convection moved eastward to Gongliu County, it was coupled with the ascending phase of upper level waves, causing both the convection and precipitation to intensify again. We applied spectral analysis methods to verify that the waves were inertial gravity waves. The upper level inertial gravity waves propagated westward at a mean speed of −12 m s−1 with periods of 73–179 min and horizontal wavelengths of 50–55 km. The lower level inertial gravity waves propagated eastward at a mean speed of 8 m s−1 with periods of 73–200 min and a horizontal wavelength of 85 km. The more (less) favorable waveguide conditions determined whether the gravity waves persisted for a long (short) time and propagated for a longer (shorter) distance. Based on the mesoscale Eliassen–Palm flux theory, the wave energy of inertial gravity waves had an important effect on the maintenance and development of convection and precipitation by affecting wind strength and wind divergence. Feedback was mainly through the meridional and vertical transport of zonal momentum and the meridional transport of heat.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Pan evapotranspiration (E) is an important physical parameter in agricultural water resources research. Many climatic factors affect E, and one of the essential challenges is to model or predict E utilizing limited climatic parameters. In this study, the performance of four different artificial neural network (ANN) algorithms i.e., multiple hidden layer back propagation (MBP), generalized regression neural network (GRNN), probabilistic neural networks (PNN), and wavelet neural network (WNN) and one empirical model namely Stephens–Stewart (SS) were employed to predict monthly E. Long-term climatic data (i.e., 1961–2013) was used for the validation of the proposed model in the Henan province of China. It was found that different models had diverse prediction accuracies in various geographical locations, MBP model outperformed other models over almost all stations (maximum R2 = 0.96), and the WNN model was the best over two sites, the accuracies of the five models ranked as MBP, WNN, GRNN, PNN, and SS. The performances of WNN and GRNN were almost the same, five-input ANN models provided better accuracy than the two-input (solar radiation (Ro) and air temperature (T)) SS empirical model (R2 = 0.80). Similarly. the two-input ANN models (maximum R2 = 0.83) also generally performed better than the two-input (Ro and T) SS empirical model. The study could reveal that the above ANN models can be used to predict E successfully in hydrological modeling over Henan Province.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-445X
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: In this paper, we presented a modification of the extragradient method to solve pseudomonotone equilibrium problems involving the Lipschitz-type condition in a real Hilbert space. The method uses an inertial effect and a formula for stepsize evaluation, that is updated for each iteration based on some previous iterations. The key advantage of the algorithm is that it is achieved without previous knowledge of the Lipschitz-type constants and also without any line search procedure. A weak convergence theorem for the proposed method is well established by assuming mild cost bifunction conditions. Many numerical experiments are presented to explain the computational performance of the method and to equate them with others.
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-7390
    Topics: Mathematics
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: The main objective of this paper is to introduce the ( α , β )-type ϑ -contraction, ( α , β )-type rational ϑ -contraction, and cyclic ( α - ϑ ) contraction. Based on these definitions we prove fixed point theorems in the complete metric spaces. These results extend and improve some known results in the literature. As an application of the proved fixed point Theorems, we study the existence of solutions of an integral boundary value problem for scalar nonlinear Caputo fractional differential equations with a fractional order in (1,2).
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-7390
    Topics: Mathematics
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: We consider choice of the regularization parameter in Tikhonov method if the noise level of the data is unknown. One of the best rules for the heuristic parameter choice is the quasi-optimality criterion where the parameter is chosen as the global minimizer of the quasi-optimality function. In some problems this rule fails. We prove that one of the local minimizers of the quasi-optimality function is always a good regularization parameter. For the choice of the proper local minimizer we propose to construct the Q-curve which is the analogue of the L-curve, but on the x-axis we use modified discrepancy instead of discrepancy and on the y-axis the quasi-optimality function instead of the norm of the approximate solution. In the area rule we choose for the regularization parameter such local minimizer of the quasi-optimality function for which the area of the polygon, connecting on Q-curve this minimum point with certain maximum points, is maximal. We also provide a posteriori error estimates of the approximate solution, which allows to check the reliability of the parameter chosen heuristically. Numerical experiments on an extensive set of test problems confirm that the proposed rules give much better results than previous heuristic rules. Results of proposed rules are comparable with results of the discrepancy principle and the monotone error rule, if the last two rules use the exact noise level.
    Electronic ISSN: 2227-7390
    Topics: Mathematics
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: This paper describes a method to predict water recovery rate into and through the foam in a bubble column operating under different gas rates, froth depths, and frother types and concentrations. Three frothers were considered: Metil Isobutil Carbinol (MIBC), a proprietary blend of alcohols, aldehydes, and esters commercialized under the name PINNACLE® 9891, and a PGE-based Dow Froth 1012 (DF1012). The water rate entering into the froth (foam) layer from the bubbly (collection) zone was estimated as the water rate overflowing the column when operating at a thin stable foam layer, i.e., 0.5 cm. It was observed that the rate at which water entered into the froth phase could be modelled as a unique linear function of the gas holdup below the froth, regardless of the frother chemistry. This is a fundamental result not previously found in the literature that also facilitates the calculation of the froth zone water recovery for deeper froths. The water recovery in the froth was found to be an inverse logarithmic function of the average liquid residence time in the froth. Although the same trend was observed for the three frothers tested, they did not converge into a single function, which suggests that frother chemistry plays a role in determining froth structure and then needs to be incorporated when modeling water transport in the froth. Finally, the water overflow rate calculated as the product of the water rate into the froth and froth water recovery predicted the actual measured values fairly well. The water transport model here proposed provides a simple representation of the interactions between collection and froth zone and its relation to easily measure operating variables.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: Statistical methods such as multiple linear regression (MLR) and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis were used to build prediction models for the levels of pollutant concentrations in Macao using meteorological and air quality historical data to three periods: (i) from 2013 to 2016, (ii) from 2015 to 2018, and (iii) from 2013 to 2018. The variables retained by the models were identical for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10), PM2.5, but not for ozone (O3) Air pollution data from 2019 was used for validation purposes. The model for the 2013 to 2018 period was the one that performed best in prediction of the next-day concentrations levels in 2019, with high coefficient of determination (R2), between predicted and observed daily average concentrations (between 0.78 and 0.89 for all pollutants), and low root mean square error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE), and biases (BIAS). To understand if the prediction model was robust to extreme variations in pollutants concentration, a test was performed under the circumstances of a high pollution episode for PM2.5 and O3 during 2019, and the low pollution episode during the period of implementation of the preventive measures for COVID-19 pandemic. Regarding the high pollution episode, the period of the Chinese National Holiday of 2019 was selected, in which high concentration levels were identified for PM2.5 and O3, with peaks of daily concentration exceeding 55 μg/m3 and 400 μg/m3, respectively. The 2013 to 2018 model successfully predicted this high pollution episode with high coefficients of determination (of 0.92 for PM2.5 and 0.82 for O3). The low pollution episode for PM2.5 and O3 was identified during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic period, with a low record of daily concentration for PM2.5 levels at 2 μg/m3 and O3 levels at 50 μg/m3, respectively. The 2013 to 2018 model successfully predicted the low pollution episode for PM2.5 and O3 with a high coefficient of determination (0.86 and 0.84, respectively). Overall, the results demonstrate that the statistical forecast model is robust and able to correctly reproduce extreme air pollution events of both high and low concentration levels.
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: Background: The Spanish population presents higher levels of loneliness than citizens of countries in Northern Europe. Numerous studies have linked loneliness to increased morbidity and mortality, but very few studies have associated loneliness with healthy lifestyles. The objectives of this research are to identify the feeling of unwanted loneliness in various age and gender groups in the city of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, Spain), to determine lifestyle habits in the areas of diet and physical exercise, and to examine the association between lifestyle habits and perceived loneliness. Methods: A cross-sectional, observational and analytical study on the perception of loneliness among men (59.06%) and women (60.06%) in a sample (n = 611) of the general population (N = 198,945), by means of random assignment of a health survey, was conducted. The data were collected using an ad hoc questionnaire. The data were stratified and analyzed with the IBM SSPS® v.25 software package. Results: The frequency of loneliness is stratified by sex and age, and healthy lifestyle habits in terms of diet and physical exercise are analyzed. Conclusions: People with perceived loneliness do not have worse lifestyle habits. However, women living with other people have a higher perception of loneliness than those living alone. Specifically, the perception of loneliness in young adult women could suggest a low level of moderate physical exercise.
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Parental characteristics can influence adolescent obesity. However, the influence of parental characteristics on obesity may differ depending on the adolescent’s sex. This study evaluated parental characteristics that were associated with obesity in male and female adolescents. This study involved the secondary data analysis of cross-sectional survey data that were collected from June to September 2015. The study subjects included 1621 eighth-grade students. The study variables included sex, age, body mass index, household income, parental weight, parental perceptions of the child’s body, parental lifestyle, and parental social support for healthy eating and physical activity. The association between parental factors and adolescent obesity was analyzed via logistic regression analysis for each sex. Among male students, the fathers’ and mothers’ overweight status, fathers’ underestimation and overestimation of male adolescent weight, mothers’ dietary habits, and the mothers’ physical activity level were identified as obesity-associated factors. Among female students, the mothers’ overweight status, underestimation of female adolescent weight by fathers, dietary habits, and the physical activity level of fathers were significantly associated with adolescent obesity. The mothers’ overweight status and the underestimation of weight by fathers were strongly associated with obesity in male and female adolescents. Parental involvement in obesity-intervention programs could help prevent adolescent obesity.
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Low-cost carbon-conductive films were screen-printed on a Plexiglas® substrate, and then, after a standard annealing procedure, subjected to femtosecond (fs) laser treatments at different values of total accumulated laser fluence ΦA. Four-point probe measurements showed that, if ΦA 〉 0.3 kJ/cm2, the sheet resistance of laser-treated films can be reduced down to about 15 Ω/sq, which is a value more than 20% lower than that measured on as-annealed untreated films. Furthermore, as pointed out by a comprehensive Raman spectroscopy analysis, it was found that sheet resistance decreases linearly with ΦA, due to a progressively higher degree of crystallinity and stacking order of the graphitic phase. Results therefore highlight that fs-laser treatment can be profitably used as an additional process for improving the performance of printable carbon electrodes, which have been recently proposed as a valid alternative to metal electrodes for stable and up-scalable perovskite solar cells.
    Electronic ISSN: 2311-5629
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) has been well documented as having substantial health benefits. The 2014 Chinese Fitness Survey Report stated that a lack of physical activity (PA) spaces is the most important non-human factor, leading to 10% of leisure-time physical inactivity in people aged 20 and above. We investigated the provision of sports venues in China and discussed the development of sports venues and national fitness policies in the context of promoting LTPA and public health. We analyzed information from China’s most recent sport venue census, the Sixth National Sports Venues Census, conducted in 2013. The number of sports venues increased between 2000 and 2013, with an inflection point around the year 2008. At the end of 2013, there were 12.45 venues for every 10,000 residents, and the per capita area was 1.46 m2. However, numbers were still small compared with the United States and Japan. The percentages of full-time access, part-time access and membership venues were 51.5%, 14.3% and 34.2% respectively. Only half of sports venues were fully open to the public, meaning that the realized number and area per capita could be even lower. A lack of sports venues forces people who want to engage in PA to occupy other urban spaces that are not planned and designed for PA. Urban parks had 119,750 fitness station facilities (3.32% of the total), and 2366 urban fitness trails (19.24%), with a combined length of 6450 km (32.91%). On average, urban and rural areas had 13.17 and 10.80 venues per 10,000 persons, and 1.83 m2 and 0.97 m2 per capita. The urban-rural gap in sports venues exactly embodies some aspects of the “urban-rural dual structure” in China’s society. Measures to promote PA should focus on new and existing sports venues. In the policy making process, Chinese governments need to pay attention to the potential impact of related, external factors such as the gap between the urban and the rural and the potential advantage of indoor venues against summer heat and air pollution.
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of corporate governance quality and ownership structure on the relationship between the agency cost and firm performance. Both the fixed-effects model and a more robust dynamic panel generalized method of moment estimation are applied to Chinese A-listed firms for the years 2008 to 2016. The results show that the agency–performance relationship is positively moderated by (1) corporate governance quality, (2) ownership concentration, and (3) non-state ownership. State ownership has a negative effect on the agency–performance relationship. Various robust tests of an alternative measure of agency cost confirm our main conclusions. The analysis adds to the empirical literature on agency theory by providing useful insights into how corporate governance and ownership concentration can help mitigate agency–performance relationship. It also highlights the impact of ownership type on the relationship between agency cost and firm performance. Our study supports the literature that agency cost and firm performance are negatively related to the Chinese listed firms. The investors should keep in mind the proxies of agency cost while choosing a specific stock. Secondly; the abuse of managerial appropriation is higher in state-held firms as compared to non-state firms. Policymakers can use these results to devise the investor protection rules so that managerial appropriation can be minimized.
    Print ISSN: 1911-8066
    Electronic ISSN: 1911-8074
    Topics: Economics
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: (1) Background: People with HIV (PWH) may perform more than one type of exercise cumulatively. The objective of this study is to investigate recreational exercise and its association with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and comorbidities in relation to potential covariates. (2) Methods: The HIBES study (HIV-Begleiterkrankungen-Sport) is a cross-sectional study for people with HIV. The differences between non-exercisers versus exercisers (cumulated vs. single type of exercises) were investigated using regression models based on 454 participants. (3) Results: Exercisers showed a higher HRQOL score compared to non-exercisers (Wilcox r = 0.2 to 0.239). Psychological disorders were identified as the main covariate. Participants performing exercise cumulatively showed higher scores in duration, frequency, and intensity when compared to participants performing only one type of exercise. The mental health summary score was higher for the cumulated and single type of exercise if a psychological disorder existed. Duration and intensity were associated with an increase of HRQOL, whilst a stronger association between psychological disorders and exercise variables were evident. Exercise duration (minutes) showed a significant effect on QOL (standardized beta = 0.1) and for participants with psychological disorders (standardized beta = 0.3), respectively. (4) Conclusions: Psychological disorders and other covariates have a prominent effect on HRQOL and its association with exercise. For PWH with a psychological disorder, a stronger relationship between HRQOL with exercise duration and intensity emerged. However, differentiation of high-HRQOL individuals warrants further investigation by considering additional factors.
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections result in a significant public health impact because of the severity of the disease that, in young children especially, can lead to hemolytic–uremic syndrome (HUS). A rise in the number of HUS cases was observed in the Apulia region of Italy from 2013 to 2017, and so, in 2018, a symptom-based surveillance system for children with bloody diarrhea (BD) was initiated in order to detect and manage STEC infections. The objective of the study was to describe the epidemiology of STEC infections in children from June 2018 to August 2019. Children
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: This study introduces a software-based traffic congestion monitoring system. The transportation system controls the traffic between cities all over the world. Traffic congestion happens not only in cities, but also on highways and other places. The current transportation system is not satisfactory in the area without monitoring. In order to improve the limitations of the current traffic system in obtaining road data and expand its visual range, the system uses remote sensing data as the data source for judging congestion. Since some remote sensing data needs to be kept confidential, this is a problem to be solved to effectively protect the safety of remote sensing data during the deep learning training process. Compared with the general deep learning training method, this study provides a federated learning method to identify vehicle targets in remote sensing images to solve the problem of data privacy in the training process of remote sensing data. The experiment takes the remote sensing image data sets of Los Angeles Road and Washington Road as samples for training, and the training results can achieve an accuracy of about 85%, and the estimated processing time of each image can be as low as 0.047 s. In the final experimental results, the system can automatically identify the vehicle targets in the remote sensing images to achieve the purpose of detecting congestion.
    Electronic ISSN: 2078-2489
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2020-07-15
    Description: Very few studies have examined the association between light cigarette smoking (i.e., ≤5 cigarettes per day) and mortality. The aim of this study was to examine the association of light cigarette smoking with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among adults in the United States. Data were from 13 waves of the National Health Interview Survey (1997 to 2009) that were linked to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2011. A total of 329,035 participants aged ≥18 years in the United States were included. Deaths were from all cause, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and respiratory disease and were confirmed by death certification. During a median follow-up of 8.2 years, 34,862 participants died, of which 8415 were from cancer, 9031 from CVD, and 2040 from respiratory disease. Compared with never-smokers, participants who smoked 1–2 (hazard ratios (HR) = 1.94, 95%CI = 1.73–2.16) and 3–5 cigarettes (HR = 1.99, 1.83–2.17) per day were at higher risk of all-cause mortality after adjustment for demographic variables, lifestyle factors and physician-diagnosis of chronic disease. The associations were stronger for respiratory disease-specific mortality, followed by cancer-specific mortality and CVD-specific mortality. For example, the HRs (95% CIs) of smoking 1–2 cigarettes per day were 9.75 (6.15–15.46), 2.28 (1.84–2.84) and 1.93 (1.58–2.36), respectively, for these three cause-specific mortalities. This study indicates that light cigarette smoking increases risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in US adults.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2020-07-16
    Description: Windthrow and storm damage are crucial issues in practical forestry. We propose a method for rapid detection of windthrow hotspots in airborne digital orthophotos. Therefore, we apply Haralick’s texture features on 50 × 50 m cells of the orthophotos and classify the cells with a random forest algorithm. We apply the classification results from a training data set on a validation set. The overall classification accuracy of the proposed method varies between 76% for fine distinction of the cells and 96% for a distinction level that tried to detect only severe damaged cells. The proposed method enables the rapid detection of windthrow hotspots in forests immediately after their occurrence in single-date data. It is not adequate for the determination of areas with only single fallen trees. Future research will investigate the possibilities and limitations when applying the method on other data sources (e.g., optical satellite data).
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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