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Bio-economy in Greece: Current trends and the road ahead

Abstract

Economic activity that takes environmental protection into account and uses the environmental benefits of an area or country may continuously combine growth with sustainability thereby providing prosperity and societal quality. This paper aims to complement European research on Bioeconomy by reviewing current situation and future trends in Greece. Current data testify that there are significant opportunities for Greece to progress towards a lucrative economy based on renewable resources. The effective growth of such Bioeconomy in Greece depends on the successful cooperation of all stakeholders (state, business, citizens). This is the first study that provides a numerical analysis of the Bio-economy opportunities for Greece and may constitute the foundation for future research, suggestions for policy measures and strategic planning

Open access
Controlling beer filtration process through implementation of enzymatic and microbiological techniques

Abstract

The best practice for filtration optimization process is to control biological and non biological particles at every stage of beer chain production. There are several processes that can be used to control beer filtration process, such as settlement of non-biological and biological particles through sedimentation, centrifugation, extended stabilization periods, addition of flocculants and clarifiers to reduce both, yeast and haze loadings etc. Filtration process is controlled by yeast, proteins and carbohydrates. Cell yeast number in suspension determines which is going to dominate filtration process. If yeast cell number is less than a million, filterability is dependent mainly from physico-chemical beer characteristics, otherwise biological phase control filtration process. In this paper we have proposed some enzymatic and yeast management techniques to improve filtration process. Experiments were carried out in laboratory and industrial scale. There were used free and immobilized enzymes and yeast. It was noticed a good correlation between laboratory and industrial application findings. Immobilized yeast in batch processes not only make easier yeast management but also increase beer filterability, excluding some energy consuming processes like centrifugation and long conditioning time

Open access
Motion artifact detection in colonoscopy images

Abstract

Computer-aided detection is an integral part of medical image evaluation process because examination of each image takes a long time and generally experts’ do not have enough time for the elimination of images with motion artifact (blurred images). Computer-aided detection is required for both increasing accuracy rate and saving experts’ time. Large intestine does not have straight structure thus camera of the colonoscopy should be moved continuously to examine inside of the large intestine and this movement causes motion artifact on colonoscopy images. In this study, images were selected from open-source colonoscopy videos and obtained at Kayseri Training and Research Hospital. Totally 100 images were analyzed half of which were clear. Firstly, a modified version of histogram equalization was applied in the pre-processing step to all images in our dataset, and then, used Laplacian, wavelet transform (WT), and discrete cosine transform-based (DCT) approaches to extract features for the discrimination of images with no artifact (clear) and images with motion artifact. The Laplacian-based feature extraction method was used for the first time in the literature on colonoscopy images. The comparison between Laplacian-based features and previously used methods such as WT and DCT has been performed. In the classification phase of our study, support vector machines (SVM), linear discriminant analysis (LDA), and k nearest neighbors (k-NN) were used as the classifiers. The results showed that Laplacian-based features were more successful in the detection of images with motion artifact when compared to popular methods used in the literature. As a result, a combination of features extracted using already existing approaches (WT and DCT) and the Laplacian-based methods reached 85% accuracy levels with SVM classification approach

Open access
Nanobiotechnology medical applications: Overcoming challenges through innovation

Abstract

Biomedical Nanotechnology (BNT) has rapidly become a revolutionary force that is driving innovation in the medical field. BNT is a subclass of nanotechnology (NT), and often operates in cohort with other subclasses, such as mechanical or electrical NT for the development of diagnostic assays, therapeutic implants, nano-scale imaging systems, and medical machinery. BNT is generating solutions to many conventional challenges through the development of enhanced therapeutic delivery systems, diagnostic techniques, and theranostic therapies. Therapeutically, BNT has generated many novel nanocarriers (NCs) that each express specifically designed physiochemical properties that optimize their desired pharmacokinetic profile. NCs are also being integrated into nanoscale platforms that further enhance their delivery by controlling and prolonging their release profile. Nano-platforms are also proving to be highly efficient in tissue regeneration when combined with the appropriate growth factors. Regarding diagnostics, NCs are being designed to perform targeted delivery of luminescent tags and contrast agents that enhance the NC -aided imaging capabilities and resulting diagnostic accuracy of the presence of diseased cells. This technology has also been advancing the ability for surgeons to practice true precision surgical techniques. Incorporating therapeutic and diagnostic NC-components within a single NC can facilitate both functions, referred to as theranostics, which facilitates real-time in vivo tracking and observation of drug release events via enhanced imaging. Additionally, stimuli-responsive theranostic NCs are quickly developing as vectors for tumor ablation therapies by providing a model that facilitates the location of cancer cells for the application of an external stimulus. Overall, BNT is an interdisciplinary approach towards health care, and has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for humanity by significantly decreasing the treatment burden for patients, and by providing non-invasive therapeutics that confer enhanced therapeutic efficiency and safety

Open access
Retrospective study of 37 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs diagnosed with Chiari-like malformation and Syringomyelia

Abstract

Chiari-like malformation represents a congenital anomaly that affects the bony cranial base and the hindbrain, leading to fluid filled cavities formation in the spinal cord, condition named Syringomyelia. This paper aims to assess the variety of the clinical signs and to evaluate the magnetic resonance imaging findings in thirty- seven Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs. The study was performed over a four-year period, from 2013 to 2017, all cases underwent neurological examination, full diagnostic work-up, including magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brain, cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord. Thirty-seven dogs were included in this study, 23 females and 14 males, with a mean age of 3.6±2.1years. The commonest clinical findings encountered were neuropathic pain and vocalization, seen in all 37 cases, followed by scratching, facial rubbing, paw licking, air licking, tail chasing, seizures and unilateral facial paralysis. Different grades of cerebellar herniation and cervical syrinxes were noted in all cases, other magnetic resonance imaging findings encountered were medullary kinking, presyrinx and ventriculomegaly. In establishing the diagnosis of the Chiari-like malformation and Syringomyelia, the breed, clinical history and the symptomatology are very important, but only magnetic resonance imaging technique can provide quantitative assessment of the nervous system lesions.

Open access
Advanced approaches to produce polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolyesters in a sustainable and economic fashion

Abstract

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), the only group of “bioplastics” sensu stricto, are accumulated by various prokaryotes as intracellular “carbonosomes”. When exposed to exogenous stress or starvation, presence of these microbial polyoxoesters of hydroxyalkanoates assists microbes to survive.

“Bioplastics” such as PHA must be competitive with petrochemically manufactured plastics both in terms of material quality and manufacturing economics. Cost-effectiveness calculations clearly show that PHA production costs, in addition to bioreactor equipment and downstream technology, are mainly due to raw material costs. The reason for this is PHA production on an industrial scale currently relying on expensive, nutritionally relevant “1st-generation feedstocks”, such as like glucose, starch or edible oils. As a way out, carbon-rich industrial waste streams (“2nd-generation feedstocks”) can be used that are not in competition with the supply of food; this strategy not only reduces PHA production costs, but can also make a significant contribution to safeguarding food supplies in various disadvantaged parts of the world. This approach increases the economics of PHA production, improves the sustainability of the entire lifecycle of these materials, and makes them unassailable from an ethical perspective.

In this context, our EU-funded projects ANIMPOL and WHEYPOL, carried out by collaborative consortia of academic and industrial partners, successfully developed PHA production processes, which resort to waste streams amply available in Europe. As real 2nd-generation feedstocks”, waste lipids and crude glycerol from animal-processing and biodiesel industry, and surplus whey from dairy and cheese making industry were used in these processes. Cost estimations made by our project partners determine PHA production prices below 3 € (WHEYPOL) and even less than 2 € (ANIMPOL), respectively, per kg; these values already reach the benchmark of economic feasibility.

The presented studies clearly show that the use of selected high-carbon waste streams of (agro)industrial origin contributes significantly to the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of PHA biopolyester production on an industrial scale.

Open access
Artificial intelligence used in genome analysis studies

Abstract

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) or deep sequencing technology enables parallel reading of multiple individual DNA fragments, thereby enabling the identification of millions of base pairs in several hours. Recent research has clearly shown that machine learning technologies can efficiently analyse large sets of genomic data and help to identify novel gene functions and regulation regions. A deep artificial neural network consists of a group of artificial neurons that mimic the properties of living neurons. These mathematical models, termed Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), can be used to solve artificial intelligence engineering problems in several different technological fields (e.g., biology, genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics). In practical terms, neural networks are non-linear statistical structures that are organized as modelling tools and are used to simulate complex genomic relationships between inputs and outputs. To date, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) have been demonstrated to be the best tools for improving performance in problem solving tasks within the genomic field.

Open access
Can biotechnology contribute to the development of research and innovation smart specialization strategy (RIS3) in Central and East European countries? Reminiscences from the European Workshop

Abstract

The paper presents main results and recommendations of the recent European Workshop dedicated to the evaluation of current state and prospects for Biotechnology with the attention to Central and European countries. The contribution of Biotechnology to the RIS3 strategy is also briefly presented. It is believed that there is still insufficient integration of research and innovation, especially in Central and Eastern European countries. Another problem is the weak interest and lack of mechanisms for the entry of potential investors into biotechnology capital–intensive areas. Series of proposals and recommendations coming from the Workshop on how to increase the regional cooperation in the field of Biotechnology is briefly described together with the potential role of international institutions (JRC-EC, CEI, ICGEB, EBTNA) in such cooperation.

Open access
Fluorescence lifetime imaging of red yeast Cystofilobasidium capitatum during growth

Abstract

Red yeast Cystofilobasidium capitatum autofluorescence was studied by means of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) to reveal distribution of carotenoids inside the cells. Yeasts were cultivated in 2L fermentor on glucose medium at permanent light exposure and aeration. Samples were collected at different times for CLSM, gravimetric determination of biomass and HPLC determination of pigments. To compare FLIM (Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy) images and coupled data (obtained by CLSM) with model systems, FLIM analysis was performed on micelles of SDS:ergosterol and SDS:coenzyme Q with different content of ergosterol and coenzyme Q, respectively, and with constant addition of beta-carotene. Liposomes lecithin:ergosterol:beta-carotene were investigated too. Two different intracellular forms of carotenoids were observed during most of cultivations, with third form appeared at the beginning of stationary phase. Observed behavior is probably due to formation of some kind of carotenoid protective system in membranes of different compartments of yeast cell, especially cytoplasmic membrane.

Open access
Genetic bases of tomatо marker-assisted selection in Belarus

Abstract

To develop tomato hybrids and varieties with a high fruit quality, we gradually solved the following tasks: development of DNA-marking methods for long shelf life genes; the genes modifying the biosynthesis of carotenoids and their composition; testing of the elaborated methods on the developed breeding material; the selection of samples with different allelic composition of fruit quality genes; the development of F1 hybrids using the method of successive crosses and their study; the selection of tomato forms by DNA-typing methods with target genes in F2 populations to develop valuable breeding samples; the study of carotenoids’ accumulation peculiarities and their inheritance.

We used DNA-identification methods for fruit quality genes: nor, rin, norA (long shelf life), B, ogc, hp2dg, gf-3 (carotenoid content). The tomato hybrids, combining two pigment content genes and one long shelf life gene and the model forms with different combinations of fruit quality genes (B/rin/gf-3, B/rin/hp2dg; B /nor/gf-3, B /nor/hp2dg; оgc /rin/gf-3, оgc /rin/hp2dg; оgc /nor/gf-3, оgc /nor/hp2dg) in a homozygous state were developed.

Use of the developed accessions with carotenoid content genes (ogc/hp2dg, B/hp2dg) as maternal forms and the accessions with complex fruit quality genes (ogc/hp2dg/nor, ogc/hp2dg/rin, B/hp2dg/nor, B/hp2dg/rin, ogc/gf-3/nor, ogc/gf-3/rin, B/gf-3/rin, B/gf-3/nor) as paternal forms for hybridization contributes to high accumulation of carotenoids and a lond period of fruit storability.

Open access