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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Composite from TPS–EVOH–SBR Reinforced with Coconut Fiber
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197838 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
The aim of this research is to obtain a composite made of coconut fiber, thermoplastic starch (TPS), ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), and styrene–butadiene copolymer (SBR), achieving the most significant criteria/attribute determined by users. The tools used were quality function deployment (QFD) and the [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to obtain a composite made of coconut fiber, thermoplastic starch (TPS), ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), and styrene–butadiene copolymer (SBR), achieving the most significant criteria/attribute determined by users. The tools used were quality function deployment (QFD) and the theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ). The end result indicated that the quality requirement and most representative attribute for users is the toxicity of the material. Four mixtures were made with different percentages of coconut fiber, TPS–EVOH, and SBR, subjecting them to Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The material obtained complies with the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the nontoxicity of synthetic materials (EVOH and SB) to be used in contact with food (packaging and packaging). The spectra IR of the presence of monomers such as methacrylic acid, 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate, itaconic acid, among others, was not detected due to the humidity of the material. On the other hand, the DMA graphs showed that the mixtures achieved high storage modules (from 1500 to 3000 MPa) at temperatures from −90 to −70 °C, and the TGA thermogram showed that the last material to degrade was SBR at temperatures from 400 to 500 °C. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Black-Backed Woodpecker Nest Density in the Sierra Nevada, California
Diversity 2020, 12(10), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12100364 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
In the western U.S., the black-backed woodpecker has been found to be associated with dense montane conifer forests with high snag densities, typically resulting from moderate- to high-severity wildland fires. However, black-backed woodpeckers are occasionally also detected nesting in unburned forests, raising questions [...] Read more.
In the western U.S., the black-backed woodpecker has been found to be associated with dense montane conifer forests with high snag densities, typically resulting from moderate- to high-severity wildland fires. However, black-backed woodpeckers are occasionally also detected nesting in unburned forests, raising questions about the type of habitat in which they nest and the potential abundance of such habitat. We conducted intensive black-backed woodpecker nest density surveys in large plots within the middle/upper-montane conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada, California, within general (undisturbed) forests, snag forest habitat from moderate/high-severity wildland fire, and unburned snag forest habitat from drought and native bark beetles. We found black-backed woodpeckers nesting only in the two snag forest conditions, mostly in burned snag forest, and their preferential selection of burned snag forest was statistically significant. No nest was found in general forests. Our spatial analysis indicates that snag forest is rare in the forests of the Sierra Nevada due to fire suppression and logging, raising concerns regarding small population size, which we estimate to be only 461 to 772 pairs in the Sierra Nevada. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Hydrotalcites from Waste Steel Slag with [Bmim]OH Intercalated for the Transesterification of Glycerol Carbonate
by and
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4355; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25194355 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Ca-Mg-Al hydrotalcites were prepared by coprecipitation from Type S95 steel slag of Shanghai Baosteel Group as supports of ionic liquid in this paper. Five basic ionic liquids [Bmim][CH3COO], [Bmim][HCOO], [Bmim]OH, [Bmim]Br and ChOH were prepared and their catalytic performance on the [...] Read more.
Ca-Mg-Al hydrotalcites were prepared by coprecipitation from Type S95 steel slag of Shanghai Baosteel Group as supports of ionic liquid in this paper. Five basic ionic liquids [Bmim][CH3COO], [Bmim][HCOO], [Bmim]OH, [Bmim]Br and ChOH were prepared and their catalytic performance on the synthesis of glycerol carbonate by transesterification between dimethyl carbonate and glycerol was investigated. The characterization results indicated that [Bmim]OH is the best ionic liquid (IL) for the transesterification reaction of glycerol carbonate. The hydrotalcites before and after intercalation by ionic liquid were characterized by XRD, FTIR, SEM, EDS and the IL were characterized by FT-IR, 13C-NMR and basicity determination via the Hammett method. The analysis results implied that the dispersion of [Bmim]OH in hydrotalcites reduced the alkali density appropriately and facilitated the generation of glycerol carbonate. The yield of glycerol carbonate and the conversion rate of glycerol reached 95.0% and 96.1%, respectively, when the molar ratio of dimethyl carbonate and glycerol was 3:1, the catalyst dosage was 3 wt%, the reaction temperature was 75 °C and the reaction time was 120 min. The layered structure of hydrotalcites increased the stability of ionic liquid intercalated in carriers, thus the glycerol conversion and the GC yield still remained 91.9% and 90.5% in the fifth reaction cycle. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Minimum Entropy Generation Rate and Maximum Yield Optimization of Sulfuric Acid Decomposition Process Using NSGA-II
Entropy 2020, 22(10), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/e22101065 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Based on the theory of finite-time thermodynamics (FTT), the effects of three design parameters, that is, inlet temperature, inlet pressure, and inlet total mole flow rate, of a tubular plug-flow sulfuric acid decomposition reactor on the total entropy generation rate (EGR) and SO [...] Read more.
Based on the theory of finite-time thermodynamics (FTT), the effects of three design parameters, that is, inlet temperature, inlet pressure, and inlet total mole flow rate, of a tubular plug-flow sulfuric acid decomposition reactor on the total entropy generation rate (EGR) and SO2 yield are analyzed firstly. One can find that when the three design parameters are taken as optimization variables, the minimum total EGR and the maximum SO2 yield of the reference reactor restrict each other, i.e., the two different performance objectives cannot achieve the corresponding extremum values at the same time. Then, the second-generation non-dominated solution sequencing genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) is further used to pursue the minimum total EGR and the maximum SO2 yield of the reference reactor by taking the three parameters as optimization design variables. After the multi-objective optimization, the reference reactor can be Pareto improved, and the total EGR can be reduced by 9% and the SO2 yield can be increased by 14% compared to those of the reference reactor. The obtained results could provide certain theoretical guidance for the optimal design of actual sulfuric acid decomposition reactors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
RELIABLE: Resource Allocation Mechanism for 5G Network using Mobile Edge Computing
Sensors 2020, 20(19), 5449; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20195449 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Technological advancement is currently focused on the miniaturization of devices, and integrated circuits allow us to observe the increase in the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Most IoT services and devices require an Internet connection, which needs to provide the minimum [...] Read more.
Technological advancement is currently focused on the miniaturization of devices, and integrated circuits allow us to observe the increase in the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Most IoT services and devices require an Internet connection, which needs to provide the minimum processing, storage and networking requirements to best serve a requested service. One of the main goals of 5G networks is to comply with the user’s various Quality of Service (QoS) requirements in different application scenarios. Fifth-generation networks use Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) concepts to achieve these QoS requirements. However, the computational resource allocation mechanisms required by the services are considered very complex. Thus, in this paper, we propose an allocation and management resources mechanism for 5G networks that uses MEC and simple mathematical methods to reduce the model complexity. The mechanism decides to allocate the resource in MEC to meet the requirements requested by the user. The simulation results show that the proposed mechanism provides a larger amount of services, leading to a reduction in the service lock number and as a reduction in the blocking ratio of services due to the accuracy of the approach and its load balancing in the process of resource allocation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
ODO: Design of Multimodal Chatbot for an Experiential Media System
Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2020, 4(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti4040068 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
This paper presents the design of a multimodal chatbot for use in an interactive theater performance. This chatbot has an architecture consisting of vision and natural language processing capabilities, as well as embodiment in a non-anthropomorphic movable LED array set in a stage. [...] Read more.
This paper presents the design of a multimodal chatbot for use in an interactive theater performance. This chatbot has an architecture consisting of vision and natural language processing capabilities, as well as embodiment in a non-anthropomorphic movable LED array set in a stage. Designed for interaction with up to five users at a time, the system can perform tasks including face detection and emotion classification, tracking of crowd movement through mobile phones, and real-time conversation to guide users through a nonlinear story and interactive games. The final prototype, named ODO, is a tangible embodiment of a distributed multimedia system that solves several technical challenges to provide users with a unique experience through novel interaction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Interactions between Egg Storage Duration and Breeder Age on Selected Egg Quality, Hatching Results, and Chicken Quality
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1719; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101719 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Egg storage duration and breeder age are probably interacting to influence egg quality, hatchability, and hatchling quality. To evaluate this interaction, the impact of breeder age (31, 42, 66 weeks) and storage duration (2, 5, 12, 19 days) was investigated on broiler breeder [...] Read more.
Egg storage duration and breeder age are probably interacting to influence egg quality, hatchability, and hatchling quality. To evaluate this interaction, the impact of breeder age (31, 42, 66 weeks) and storage duration (2, 5, 12, 19 days) was investigated on broiler breeder eggs (Arbor Acres). Thick albumen diameter and pH increased, and yolk dry matter decreased between 2 and 19 days of storage. With the increase of breeder age from 31 to 66 weeks, albumen height, percentage and dry matter and shell percentage decreased and the egg weight and yolk percentage, dry matter and diameter increased. Prolonged egg storage increased the yolk pH in all breeder ages, but earlier and steeper in the oldest breeders. Prolonged egg storage resulted in a lower hatchability of set and fertile eggs due to a higher percentage of embryonic mortality. Early mortality increased earlier and steeper with prolonged egg storage in the oldest compared to younger breeders. Between 5 and 19 days of storage, yolk free body mass, liver and proventriculus + gizzard percentages decreased, as well as hatchling length and yolk efficiency (yolk absorption per initial yolk weight). The latter effects were most pronounced in the younger than in the older breeders. Therefore, eggs are preferably stored shorter than 7 d, but if long storage (≥12 days) cannot be avoided, we recommend to store eggs of older breeders when egg quality and hatchability are most important. In case hatchling quality is most important, it would be better to store eggs of younger breeders (31 weeks) for a prolonged period. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Pediatric Tuberculosis: The Impact of “Omics” on Diagnostics Development
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 6979; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21196979 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health concern for all ages. However, the disease presents a larger challenge in pediatric populations, partially owing to the lack of reliable diagnostic standards for the early identification of infection. Currently, there are no biomarkers that have [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major public health concern for all ages. However, the disease presents a larger challenge in pediatric populations, partially owing to the lack of reliable diagnostic standards for the early identification of infection. Currently, there are no biomarkers that have been clinically validated for use in pediatric TB diagnosis. Identification and validation of biomarkers could provide critical information on prognosis of disease, and response to treatment. In this review, we discuss how the “omics” approach has influenced biomarker discovery and the advancement of a next generation rapid point-of-care diagnostic for TB, with special emphasis on pediatric disease. Limitations of current published studies and the barriers to their implementation into the field will be thoroughly reviewed within this article in hopes of highlighting future avenues and needs for combating the problem of pediatric tuberculosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Infectomics in the Childhood)
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Open AccessArticle
Global Importance of Indigenous and Local Communities’ Managed Lands: Building a Case for Stewardship Schemes
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7839; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197839 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
The role of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in sustainably using and managing natural resources is becoming broadly recognised within some international platforms (e.g., the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). However, the support [...] Read more.
The role of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) in sustainably using and managing natural resources is becoming broadly recognised within some international platforms (e.g., the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). However, the support for IPLCs to continue managing their land is either completely absent or scanty. This paper presents the value of only four ecosystem services, estimated at USD 1.16 trillion per year, that are delivered from IPLCs managed lands alone (excluding coastal, marine, and other resources). These four ecosystem services (ES), i.e., carbon sequestration, biocontrol, air, and water regulation offer offsite benefits to the wider regional and global populations yet without returns to the IPLCs themselves except for facing more climate and natural disaster-related challenges mainly caused by the actions of mainstream society. It further outlines key challenges and advocates for establishing stewardship mechanisms to promote and support IPLCs land management practices that will effectively help in protecting and preserving biodiversity, water, and other natural resources on Earth to sustain and enhance human well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Interactions of Aβ1-42 Peptide and Its Three Fragments (Aβ8-12, Aβ8-13, and Aβ5-16) with Selected Nonsteroidal Drugs and Compounds of Natural Origin
Symmetry 2020, 12(10), 1579; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12101579 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
In the following paper, we present the results of our studies on the interactions of the Aβ1-42 peptide and its three short fragments, namely Aβ5-16 (RHDSGYEVHHQK; HZ1), Aβ8-13 (SGYEVH; HZ2), and Aβ8-12 (SGYEV; HZ3) with selected painkillers (ibuprofen and [...] Read more.
In the following paper, we present the results of our studies on the interactions of the Aβ1-42 peptide and its three short fragments, namely Aβ5-16 (RHDSGYEVHHQK; HZ1), Aβ8-13 (SGYEVH; HZ2), and Aβ8-12 (SGYEV; HZ3) with selected painkillers (ibuprofen and aspirin) and compounds of natural origin (anabasine and epinephrine). Steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy was used to study the binding properties of the selected systems. Additionally, based on molecular dynamics (MD) calculations supported by NMR-derived restrains, we have proposed the most likely area of the interactions of Aβ1-42 and Aβ5-16 peptides with the investigated compounds. The influence of symmetrically oriented side chains of amino acid residues present in the first part of the Aβ1-42 sequence on the stability of the resulting complexes has been discussed. Finally, the changes in the peptide structures on account of complex formation were analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Materials Engineering and Biomolecular Structure)
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Open AccessArticle
Variation of Phenotypic Traits in Twelve Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) Genotypes and Two F2 Bi-Parental Segregating Populations
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1451; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101451 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Underutilised species such as bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) have the potential to contribute significantly to meeting food and nutritional needs worldwide. We evaluated phenotypic traits in twelve bambara groundnut genotypes from East, West and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia and [...] Read more.
Underutilised species such as bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) have the potential to contribute significantly to meeting food and nutritional needs worldwide. We evaluated phenotypic traits in twelve bambara groundnut genotypes from East, West and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia and two F2 bi-parental segregating populations derived from IITA-686 ×Tiga Nicuru and S19-3 ×DodR to determine phenotypic trait variation and their potential contribution to the development of improved crop varieties. All phenotypic traits in twelve genotypes were significantly influenced (p < 0.01) by genotypes. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that PC1 accounted for 97.33% variation and was associated with four genotypes collected from East and Southern Africa. PC2 accounted for 2.48% of the variation and was associated with five genotypes collected from East, West and Southern Africa. Transgressive segregation for a number of traits was observed in the two F2 bi-parental populations, as some individual lines in the segregating populations showed trait values greater or less than their parents. The variability between twelve genotypes and the two F2 bi-parental segregating populations and the negative relationship between plant architectural traits and yield related traits provide resources for development of structured populations and breeding lines for bambara groundnut breeding programme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genotype× Environment Interactions in Crop Breeding)
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Shao-Yu Liu and Yu-Cheng Wang. A Study of Applying Fuzzy Theory in Simulation-Based Education. Appl. Sci. 2019, 9, 1989
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6630; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196630 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
We wish to make the following correction to the published paper [1] as Affiliation 2 is incorrect[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Closer Look at the Role of the Cyprus Low on Dust Events in the Negev Desert
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1020; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101020 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
The Negev Desert in Israel is susceptible to frequent atmospheric events of high dust loading which have been linked with negative human health outcomes, including cardiovascular and respiratory distress. Previous research suggests that the highest levels of dust over the region occur during [...] Read more.
The Negev Desert in Israel is susceptible to frequent atmospheric events of high dust loading which have been linked with negative human health outcomes, including cardiovascular and respiratory distress. Previous research suggests that the highest levels of dust over the region occur during an atmospheric pattern with a cyclone situated over the eastern Mediterranean. This Cyprus Low can bring unsettled weather and strong westerly winds over the Negev. However, while the overall pattern associated with dust events in the Negev Desert is generally well-understood, it remains unclear why days with seemingly similar weather patterns result in different levels of atmospheric dust. Thus, the goal of this study is to better differentiate the atmospheric patterns during dust events over the Negev. Using PM10 data collected in Be’er Sheva, Israel, from 2000 to 2015 in concert with 72-h HYSPLIT back trajectories at three different height levels (surface, 200 m, 500 m), we examine the source region, trajectory groups using a K-Means clustering procedure, and overall synoptic pattern during dust events. Further, we use sea-level pressure data across the region to determine how cyclone strength and location impact dust events in Be’er Sheva. We find that the highest levels of atmospheric dust in the Negev are associated with the Cyprus Low pattern, and air traversing Libya seems to play an especially important role, likely due to the country’s arid surface cover. Cyclone strength is also a critical factor, as lower sea-level pressure results in more severe dust events. A better understanding of the atmospheric features associated with dust events over the Negev Desert will hopefully aid in forecasting these occurrences across the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Desert-Dust Aerosols in the Earth System)
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Open AccessArticle
CFD-DEM Simulation for the Distribution and Motion Feature of Solid Particles in Single-Channel Pump
by and
Energies 2020, 13(19), 4988; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13194988 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Since various foreign bodies can cause clogging and wear in single-channel pumps, considerable attention has been focused on the numerical study of solid-liquid flows in the single-channel pump. However, conventional numerical simulation cannot responsibly assess the significant effect of the particle material properties, [...] Read more.
Since various foreign bodies can cause clogging and wear in single-channel pumps, considerable attention has been focused on the numerical study of solid-liquid flows in the single-channel pump. However, conventional numerical simulation cannot responsibly assess the significant effect of the particle material properties, inter-particle collision, and size on the pump. In consideration of the particle features and behaviors, the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)-Discrete Element Method (DEM) coupling method was applied for the first time to simulate the solid-liquid flows in a single-channel pump. The results showed that the smaller particles possessed a wider velocity distribution range and velocity peak, while the larger particles exerted a greater contact force. Additionally, the pie-shaped particles had the most severe collisions, and spherical particles had the least in total. Furthermore, the hub and shroud wall suffered a minor contact force, but the blade and volute wall both sustained a considerable contact force. This paper could present some supply data for future research on the optimization of a single-channel pump. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mathematical Modelling of Energy Systems and Fluid Machinery)
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Open AccessArticle
Simulated Corn Earworm, Helicoverpa zea, Injury in an Indeterminate Soybean Cultivar at Various Growth Stages under Non-Irrigated Conditions in the Southern United States
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101450 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Soybean is considered one of the most valuable crops in the United States of America. Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) is among several insect pests which are associated with soybean, damaging leaves when infestations occur during the vegetative stages, and flowers and pods during the [...] Read more.
Soybean is considered one of the most valuable crops in the United States of America. Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) is among several insect pests which are associated with soybean, damaging leaves when infestations occur during the vegetative stages, and flowers and pods during the reproductive stages, which can directly impact yield. Artificial fruit removal is a method used to understand insect damage and to adjust action levels for control. The objective of this work was to evaluate the impact of five levels of fruit removal (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%) at four stages (R2, R3, R4 and R5) on maturity and yield of soybean. These methods were used to simulate H. zea damage under controlled conditions in non-irrigated environments, during 2016 and 2017. There was a significant interaction between fruit removal timing and fruit removal level for the percentage of non-senesced main stems and abscised leaves. For soybean yield, there was no significant interaction between fruit removal timing and fruit removal level. Plots that received fruit removal treatments at R5 had significantly lower soybean yields compared to plots that received damage at other growth stages and the nontreated control. Plots with 100% fruit removal had significantly lower yields compared to plots that received any of the other fruit removal treatments. These data demonstrate that indeterminate midmaturity group IV soybeans that are commonly grown in the midsouthern region of the United States may be able to compensate for even severe levels of fruit loss early during the reproductive portion of the growing season if favorable growing conditions occur. Full article
Open AccessReview
Current Pharmacological Treatment Options for Central Serous Chorioretinopathy: A Review
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(10), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13100264 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) is a common cause of visual impairment in patients generally aged 20 to 60 and it is characterized by acute or chronic neurosensory detachments of the retina. Although CSC resolves spontaneously in most cases, in some patients it may [...] Read more.
Central serous chorioretinopathy (CSC) is a common cause of visual impairment in patients generally aged 20 to 60 and it is characterized by acute or chronic neurosensory detachments of the retina. Although CSC resolves spontaneously in most cases, in some patients it may cause permanent visual impairment in the working population; for this reason, several approaches, including photodynamic therapy (PDT), subthreshold micropulse laser treatment and oral mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, have been studied as first-line treatment options for CSC. To date, half-dose PDT has provided the most encouraging results in this regard, supported by large, multicenter, randomized clinical trials such as the “Prospective Randomized Controlled Treatment Trial for Chronic Central Serous Chorioretinopathy” (PLACE) trial; however, the role of novel possible non-invasive treatment options is attracting interest. This review article aims to discuss the current pharmacological treatment options investigated for the management of CSC, including aspirin, ketoconazole, beta blockers, rifampicin and many others. In particular, further evidence about oral mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, firstly seen as promising non-invasive alternatives for treating CSC, will be provided and discussed in light of the recent “Eplerenone for chronic central serous chorioretinopathy in patients with active, previously untreated disease for more than 4 months” (VICI) trial results, which have largely resized their role as possible first-line oral treatment options for treating CSC. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Transcriptomics of the Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) Species Complex
BioTech 2020, 9(4), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/biotech9040019 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), widely known as a herbal tea, is endemic to the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa (SA). It produces a wide range of phenolic compounds that have been associated with diverse health promoting properties of the plant. The [...] Read more.
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), widely known as a herbal tea, is endemic to the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa (SA). It produces a wide range of phenolic compounds that have been associated with diverse health promoting properties of the plant. The species comprises several growth forms that differ in their morphology and biochemical composition, only one of which is cultivated and used commercially. Here, we established methodologies for non-invasive transcriptome research of wild-growing South African plant species, including (1) harvesting and transport of plant material suitable for RNA sequencing; (2) inexpensive, high-throughput biochemical sample screening; (3) extraction of high-quality RNA from recalcitrant, polysaccharide- and polyphenol rich plant material; and (4) biocomputational analysis of Illumina sequencing data, together with the evaluation of programs for transcriptome assembly (Trinity, IDBA-Trans, SOAPdenovo-Trans, CLC), protein prediction, as well as functional and taxonomic transcript annotation. In the process, we established a biochemically characterized sample pool from 44 distinct rooibos ecotypes (1–5 harvests) and generated four in-depth annotated transcriptomes (each comprising on average ≈86,000 transcripts) from rooibos plants that represent distinct growth forms and differ in their biochemical profiles. These resources will serve future rooibos research and plant breeding endeavours. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evolution of Cooperation in Social Dilemmas with Assortative Interactions
Games 2020, 11(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/g11040041 (registering DOI) - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
Cooperation in social dilemmas plays a pivotal role in the formation of systems at all levels of complexity, from replicating molecules to multi-cellular organisms to human and animal societies. In spite of its ubiquity, the origin and stability of cooperation pose an evolutionary [...] Read more.
Cooperation in social dilemmas plays a pivotal role in the formation of systems at all levels of complexity, from replicating molecules to multi-cellular organisms to human and animal societies. In spite of its ubiquity, the origin and stability of cooperation pose an evolutionary conundrum, since cooperation, though beneficial to others, is costly to the individual cooperator. Thus natural selection would be expected to favor selfish behavior in which individuals reap the benefits of cooperation without bearing the costs of cooperating themselves. Many proximate mechanisms have been proposed to account for the origin and maintenance of cooperation, including kin selection, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, and evolution in structured populations. Despite the apparent diversity of these approaches they all share a unified underlying logic: namely, each mechanism results in assortative interactions in which individuals using the same strategy interact with a higher probability than they would at random. Here we study the evolution of cooperation in both discrete strategy and continuous strategy social dilemmas with assortative interactions. For the sake of tractability, assortativity is modeled by an individual interacting with another of the same type with probability r and interacting with a random individual in the population with probability $1−r$, where r is a parameter that characterizes the degree of assortativity in the system. For discrete strategy social dilemmas we use both a generalization of replicator dynamics and individual-based simulations to elucidate the donation, snowdrift, and sculling games with assortative interactions, and determine the analogs of Hamilton’s rule, which govern the evolution of cooperation in these games. For continuous strategy social dilemmas we employ both a generalization of deterministic adaptive dynamics and individual-based simulations to study the donation, snowdrift, and tragedy of the commons games, and determine the effect of assortativity on the emergence and stability of cooperation. Full article
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