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Abstract

In the present research biocomposites based on extracts of collagen and keratin recovered from the leather industry by-products were made and the specific properties for applications in agriculture and industry were studied. To this aim, collagen and keratin have been extracted from bovine leather and sheep wool by-products and have been added and crosslinked with recognized compounds for reduced environmental impact (glycerol, vegetable tanning extract, essential oils with fungicidal properties and insecticides). The biocomposite properties were evaluated on the basis of complex analytical investigations on chemical structure, texture, contact angle, mechanical resistance, water vapor permeability and water absorption, biodegradation, germination and plant biomass growth. The biocomposites have demonstrated pelliculogenic properties and nitrogen controlled release to stimulate germination and nutrition of rape seedlings, which promotes them for agricultural applications, but also other surface properties have been identified, for industrial applications, for example in leather finishing for special destinations. Addition of odorous principles with controlled release recommends this type of biocomposites for environmentally friendly products, maintenance of cleaning, etc.

Abstract

Preventing the corrosion of iron in inaccessible structures requires a coating method that reaches all surface areas and creates a uniform protective layer. An ages old practice to protect iron artefacts is to coat them with animal fat, that is, a mixture of lipids. This “method” is accidentally ingenious: some natural phospholipids found in animal fat have the potential to form a tightly packed self-assembled monolayer on metal oxide surfaces, similar to the surfactant monolayers that have attracted increasing attention lately. Thus, the most primitive corrosion prevention method may point at a way to coat complex iron structures in an industrial environment. Here the ability of phosphatidic acid, a natural lipid, to coat and protect iron surfaces was examined. Iron coated quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensors were used for the experiments, to monitor the deposition of the lipid as well as the acidic corrosion (dissolution) of iron in situ, in real time. The sensors were coated by self-assembled monolayers of di-myristoyl phosphatidic acid using the liposome deposition method. In this process, 50-100 nm vesicles formed by the lipid are delivered in an aqueous solution and spontaneously coat the iron surfaces upon contact. QCM and ellipsometry measurements confirmed that continuous bilayer and monolayer surface coatings can be achieved by this method. QCM measurements also confirmed that the layers were corrosion resistant in 0.01M acetic acid solution that would dissolve the thin iron layer in minutes in the absence of the protective coating. XPS results suggested a chemisorption-based mechanism of phosphatidic acid attachment to the iron surface. Hence, liposome deposition of phosphatidic acid offers a suitable solution to coat iron surfaces in inaccessible structures in situ.

Abstract

Lead (Pb) is a major inorganic pollutant with no biological significance and has been a global concern. Phytotoxicity of lead induces toxic effects by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS), which inhibits most of the cellular processes in plants. Hydro-ponic experiments were performed with Ricinus communis to investigate the toxicity and antioxidant responses by exposing to different concentrations of lead (0, 200 and 400 µM) for 10 days. Pb stress caused a significant increase in electrolyte leakage, non-enzymatic antioxidants (phenols and flavonoids) and a decrease in the elemental profile of the plant. Histochemical visualization clearly indicates the significant increase of H2O2 production in dose-dependent manner under Pb stress. Likewise, an increase in catalase, guaiacol peroxidase and superoxide dismutase activity was also evident. Ascorbate peroxidase and MDAR, on the other hand, responded biphasically to Pb treatments showing a decrease in concentration. The decline in redox ratio GSH/GSSG was imposed by the indirect oxidative stress of Pb. Hence these findings showed the ameliorative potential of R. communis to sustain Pb toxicity under oxidative stress.

Abstract

The Ceratonia siliqua fruits contain several substances known to have high adaptability to environmental conditions. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the changes in physicochemical properties of different Tunisian provenances of carob pulps harvested at three ripening stages. Furthermore, six provenances were investigated during the ripening process in terms of their moisture, ash, minerals, bioactive compounds, antiradical activity and sugar profile. The results demonstrated that all examined parameters are highly influenced by geographic origin. Concerning ripening impact, our data showed that water and ash content significantly decreased during the development of six provenances, as well as the bioactive and mineral contents. Thus, the total polyphenols (TP), total flavonoids (TF) and condensed tannins (CT) contents exhibited the highest levels in the unripe fruits. The antiradical activity trend was positively correlated to the behavior of the bioactive compounds content. Moreover, the sucrose, glucose and fructose were the main sugar qualified and quantified in carob pods at different ripening stages. At the maturity stage, the monosaccharide contents (glucose and fructose) were slightly reduced, while, the sucrose was rapidly accumulated. In conclusion, the ripening process diversely affected the nutritional composition and generally extended the exploitation of carob fruits. The study could provide valuable information about the suitability of carob pods at different maturity stages as potential biomaterials for nutraceutical applications.

Abstract

Serapias vomeracea is an economically important orchid species which is over-collected from nature, because of its glucomannan-rich tubers. Thus, optimization of in vitro culture methodology in this species is required to meet industrial needs and to secure its populations in nature. This study aimed to optimize the surface sterilization protocol for S. vomeracea seeds and to select the optimal seed germination medium by comparing the commonly used media in in vitro orchid culture. During seed surface sterilization, ethyl alcohol (EtOH) pre-treatment prior to sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) treatment increased the disinfection success and viable seed yield when examined using the triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) seed viability test. Also, low-g force centrifugation as an additional step in the surface sterilization method separated the seeds without embryo from the viable seeds and thereby decreased potential counting errors after incubation. Comparison of media showed that solid Knudson C (KN) medium induced the highest number of germinated seeds. However, seed germination success of Lindemann (LN) and Vacin & Went (VW) media was found to be higher when the media was used in liquid form. Half-strength liquid VW was the only medium that induced higher germination success than the other full-strength media. The highest number of ungerminated seeds was found when using KN medium whereas liquid VW medium gave the lowest number. In general, protocorm formation was triggered when the media were used in liquid form. However, rhizoid elongation was suppressed in liquid media. These findings suggest that this optimized seed surface sterilization method offers a simple and effective alternative to classical methods. Additionally, solid KN medium may be considered as a cost-effective and reliable alternative to other commonly-used complex media in S. vomeracea cultures.

Abstract

Microspore embryogenesis is a model system of plant cell reprogramming, totipotency acquisition, stress response and embryogenesis initiation. This in vitro system constitutes an important biotechnological tool for haploid and doubled-haploid plant production, very useful for crop breeding. In this process, microspores (cells that produce pollen grains in planta) are reprogrammed toward embryogenesis by specific stress treatment, but many microspores die after the stress. The occurrence of cell death is a serious limiting problem that greatly reduces microspore embryogenesis yield. In animals, increasing evidence has revealed caspase proteolytic activities as essential executioners of programmed cell death (PCD) processes, however, less is known in plants. Although plant genomes do not contain caspase homologues, caspase-like proteolytic activities have been detected in many plant PCD processes. In the present study, we have analysed caspase 3-like activity and its involvement in stress-induced cell death during initial stages of microspore embryogenesis of Brassica napus. After stress treatment to induce embryogenesis, isolated microspore cultures showed high levels of cell death and caspase 3-like proteolytic activity was induced. Treatments with specific inhibitor of caspase 3-like activity reduced cell death and increased embryogenesis induction efficiency. Our findings indicate the involvement of proteases with caspase 3-like activity in the initiation and/or execution of cell death at early microspore embryogenesis in B. napus, giving new insights into the pathways of stress-induced cell death in plants and opening a new way to improve in vitro embryogenesis efficiency by using chemical modulators of cell death proteases.

Abstract

Background: Recently bismuth-based nanoparticles have attracted increasing attention as a dose amplification agent in radiation therapy due to high atomic number, high photoelectric absorption, low cost, and low toxicity.

Objectives: This study aims to calculate physical aspects of dose enhancement of bismuth-based nanoparticles in the presence of brachytherapy source by Monte Carlo simulation and an analytical method for low mono-energy. Materials and methods: After simulation and validation brachytherapy sources (Iodine-125 and Ytterbium-169) by Monte Carlo code, bismuth-based nanoparticles (bismuth, bismuth oxide, bismuth sulfide, and bismuth ferrite) were modeled in the sizes of 50 nm and 100 nm for two concentrations of 10 and 20 mg/ml. Dose enhancement factors for the bismuth-based nanoparticles were measured at both brachytherapy sources. Furthermore, the dose amplification was calculated with an analytic method at 30 keV mono-energy.

Results: Dose enhancement factor was greatest with pure bismuth nanoparticles, followed by bismuth oxide, bismuth sulfide and bismuth ferrite for both radiation source and simulation methods. The dose amplification for the bismuth-based nanoparticles increased with increasing size and concentration of nanoparticles.

Conclusion: The physical aspect dose enhancement of the nanoparticles was shown by Monte Carlo and analytic method. The results have proved bismuth-based nanoparticles deserve further study as a radiosensitizer.

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of changing phantom thickness on high dose region of interest (HD_ROI) and low dose ROI’s (LW_ROI’s) doses during helical radiotherapy (RT) by utilizing Adaptive RT (ART) technique.

Materials and Methods: The cylindrical phantom (CP) is wrapped with different thickness boluses and scanned in the kilovoltage computed tomography (KVCT). HD_ROI and LW_ROI’s were created in contouring system and nine same plans (1.8 Gy/Fr) were made with images of different thicknesses CP. The point dose measurements were performed using ionization chamber in Helical Tomotherapy (HT) treatment machine. For detecting thickness reduction effect, CP was irradiated using bolus-designed plans and it was irradiated using without bolus plan. The opposite of this scenario was applied to determine the thickness increase. KVCT and megavoltage CT (MVCT) images were used for dose comparison. The HT Planned Adaptive Software was used to see the differences in the planning and verification doses at dose volume histograms (DVH).

Results: Point dose measurements showed a 4.480% dose increase in 0.5 cm depth reduction for HD_ROI. These differences reached 8.508% in 2 cm depth and 15,279% in 5 cm depth. At the same time, a dose reduction of 0.665% was determined for a 0.5cm depth increase, a dose reduction of 1.771% was determined for a 2 cm depth increase, a dose reduction of 5.202% was determined for a 5 cm depth increase for the HD_ROI. The ART plan results show that the dose changes in the HD_ROI was greater than the LW_ROI’s.

Conclusion: Phantom thicknesses change can lead to a serious dose increase or decrease in the HD_ROI and LW_ROI’s.

Abstract

Introduction: Small fields photon dosimetry is associated with many problems. Using the right detector for measurement plays a fundamental role. This study investigated the measurement of relative output for small photon fields with different detectors. It was investigated for three-photon beam energies at SSDs of 90, 95, 100 and 110 cm. As a benchmark, the Monte Carlo simulation was done to calculate the relative output of these small photon beams for the dose in water.

Materials and Methods: 6, 10 and 15 MV beams were delivered from a Synergy LINAC equipped with an Agility 160 multileaf collimator (MLC). A CC01 ion chamber, EFD-3G diode, PTW60019 microdiamond, EBT2 radiochromic film, and EDR2 radiographic film were used to measure the relative output of the linac. Measurements were taken in water for the CC01 ion chamber, EFD-3G diode, and the PTW60019. Films were measured in water equivalent RW3 phantom slabs. Measurements were made for 1 × 1, 2 × 2, 3 × 3, 4 × 4, 5 × 5 and a reference field of 10 × 10 cm2. Field sizes were defined at 100cm SSD. Relative output factors were also compared with Monte Carlo (MC) simulation of the LINAC and a water phantom model. The influence of voxel size was also investigated for relative output measurement. Results and Discussion: The relative output factor (ROF) increased with energy for all fields large enough to have lateral electronic equilibrium (LEE). This relation broke down as the field sizes decreased due to the onset of lateral electronic disequilibrium (LED). The high-density detector, PTW60019 gave the highest ROF for the different energies, with the less dense CC01 giving the lowest ROFs.

Conclusion: These are results compared to MC simulation, higher density detectors give higher ROF values. Relative to water, the ROF measured with the air-chamber remained virtually unchanged. The ROFs, as measured in this study showed little variation due to increased SSDs. The effect of voxel size for the Monte Carlo calculations in water does not lead to significant ROF variation over the small fields studied.

Abstract

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is one of the leading causes of visual impairment. Diabetic Retinopathy is the most recent technique of identifying the intensity of acid secretion in the eye for diabetic patients. The identification of DR is performed by visual analysis of retinal images for exudates (fat deposits) and the main patterns are traced by ophthalmologists. This paper proposes a fully automated Computer Assisted Evaluation (CAE) system which comprises of a set of algorithms for exudates detection and to classify the different stages of Diabetics Retinopathy, which are identified as either normal or mild or moderate or severe. Experimental validation is performed on a real fundus retinal image database. The segmentation of exudates is achieved using fuzzy C-means clustering and entropy filtering. An optimal set obtained from the statistical textural features (GLCM and GLHM) is extracted from the segmented exudates for classifying the different stages of Diabetics Retinopathy. The different stages of Diabetic Retinopathy are classified using three classifiers such as Back Propagation Neural Network (BPN), Probabilistic Neural Network (PNN) and Support Vector Machine (SVM). The experimental results show that the SVM classifiers outperformed other classifiers for the examined fundus retinal image dataset. The results obtained confirm that with new a set of texture features, the proposed methodology provides better performance when compared to the other methods available in the literature. These results suggest that our proposed method in this paper can be useful as a diagnostic aid system for Diabetic Retinopathy.