Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 56400

Chemical and Molecular Engineering

Drug Delivery Cationic Nano-Containers Based on Pseudo-Proteins
The elaboration of effective drug delivery vehicles is still topical nowadays since targeted drug delivery is one of the most important challenges of the modern nanomedicine. The last decade has witnessed enormous research focused on synthetic cationic polymers (CPs) due to their flexible properties, in particular as non-viral gene delivery systems, facile synthesis, robustness, not oncogenic and proven gene delivery efficiency. However, the toxicity is still an obstacle to the application in pharmacotherapy. For overcoming the problem, creation of new cationic compounds including the polymeric nano-size particles – nano-containers (NCs) loading with different pharmaceuticals and biologicals is still relevant. In this regard, a variety of NCs-based drug delivery systems have been developed. We have found that amino acid-based biodegradable polymers called as pseudo-proteins (PPs), which can be cleared from the body after the fulfillment of their function are highly suitable for designing pharmaceutical NCs. Among them, one of the most promising are NCs made of biodegradable Cationic PPs (CPPs). For preparing new cationic NCs (CNCs), we used CPPs composed of positively charged amino acid L-arginine (R). The CNCs were fabricated by two approaches using: (1) R-based homo-CPPs; (2) Blends of R-based CPPs with regular (neutral) PPs. According to the first approach NCs we prepared from CPPs 8R3 (composed of R, sebacic acid and 1,3-propanediol) and 8R6 (composed of R, sebacic acid and 1,6-hexanediol). The NCs prepared from these CPPs were 72-101 nm in size with zeta potential within +30 ÷ +35 mV at a concentration 6 mg/mL. According to the second approach, CPPs 8R6 was blended in organic phase with neutral PPs 8L6 (composed of leucine, sebacic acid and 1,6-hexanediol). The NCs prepared from the blends were 130-140 nm in size with zeta potential within +20 ÷ +28 mV depending on 8R6/8L6 ratio. The stability studies of fabricated NCs showed that no substantial change of the particle size and distribution and no big particles’ formation is observed after three months storage. In vitro biocompatibility study of the obtained NPs with four different stable cell lines: A549 (human), U-937 (human), RAW264.7 (murine), Hepa 1-6 (murine) showed both type cathionic NCs are biocompatible. The obtained data allow concluding that the obtained CNCs are promising for the application as biodegradable drug delivery vehicles. This work was supported by the joint grant from the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine and Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia #6298 'New biodegradable cationic polymers composed of arginine and spermine-versatile biomaterials for various biomedical applications'.
In situ Real-Time Multivariate Analysis of Methanolysis Monitoring of Sunflower Oil Using Fourier Transform Infrared
The combination of world population and the third industrial revolution led to high demand for fuels. On the other hand, the decrease of global fossil fuels deposits and the environmental air pollution caused by these fuels has compounded the challenges the world faces due to its need for energy. Therefore, new forms of environmentally friendly and renewable fuels such as biodiesel are needed. The primary analytical techniques for methanolysis yield monitoring have been chromatography and spectroscopy, these methods have been proven reliable but are more demanding, costly and do not provide real-time monitoring. In this work, the in situ monitoring of biodiesel from sunflower oil using FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) has been studied; the study was performed using EasyMax Mettler Toledo reactor equipped with a DiComp (Diamond) probe. The quantitative monitoring of the methanolysis yield was performed using iC Quant module from iC IR 7.0, by firstly multivariate calibration to build a quantitative model. 15 samples of known concentrations were used for the modelling which were taken in duplicate for model calibration and cross-validation, data were pre-processed using mean centering and variance scale, spectrum math square root, and solvent subtraction. These pre-processing methods improved the performance indexes from 7.98 to 0.0096, 11.2 to 3.41, 6.32 to 2.72, 0.9416 to 0.9999, RMSEC, RMSECV, RMSEP, and R2Cum, respectively. The R² value of 1 (training), 0.9918 (test), 0.9946 (cross-validation) indicated the fitness of the model built. The model was tested against univariate model, small discrepancies were observed at low concentration due to unmodelled intermediates but were quite close at concentrations above 18%. The use of the software elimination the tiredness of the PLS chemometrics. It was concluded that the model obtained could be used to monitor methanol of sunflower oil at industrial and lab scale.
Quantification of Bio-Methane Potential from Digestion of Food Waste at Vaal University of Technology
The global urbanisation and worldwide economic growth have caused a high rate of food waste generation, resulting in environmental pollution. Food waste decomposes to form methane (CH₄), a greenhouse gas when disposed of in landfills. Inadequate waste management practices contribute to food waste polluting the environment. Thus effective organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) management and treatment are attracting widespread attention in many countries. This problem can be minimised by the employment of anaerobic digestion process, since food waste is rich in organic matter and highly biodegradable, resulting in energy generation and waste volume reduction. The current study investigated the Bio-Methane Potential (BMP) of the Vaal University of Technology canteen food waste using anaerobic digestion. Tests were performed on canteen food waste, as a substrate, with total solids (TS) of 22%, volatile solids (VS) of 21% and moisture content of 78%. The tests were performed in batch reactors, at a mesophilic temperature of 37 °C, with two different types of inoculum, primary and digested sludge. The resulting methane yields for both food waste with digested sludge and primary sludge were equal, being 357 Nml/g VS. This indicated that food waste form this canteen is rich in organic and highly biodegradable. Hence it can be used as a substrate for the anaerobic digestion process. They both fitted the first order kinetic model with k for primary sludge inoculated food waste being 0.278 day⁻¹ with R² of 0.98, whereas k for digested sludge inoculated food waste being 0.034 day⁻¹, with R² of 0.847.
Aqueous Hydrogen Sulphide in Slit-Shaped Silica Nano-Pores: Confinement Effects on Solubility, Structural and Dynamical Properties
It is known that confinement in nm-size pores affects many structural and transport properties of water and co-existing volatile species. Of particular interest for fluids in sub-surface systems, in catalysis, and in separations are reports that confinement can enhance the solubility of gases in water. Equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations were performed for aqueous H₂S confined in slit-shaped silica pores at 313K. The effect of pore width on the H₂S solubility in water was investigated. Other properties of interest include the molecular distribution of the various fluid molecules within the pores, the hydration structure for solvated H₂S molecules, and the dynamical properties of the confined fluids. The simulation results demonstrate that confinement reduces the H₂S solubility in water and that the solubility increases with pore size. Analysis of spatial distribution functions suggests that these results are due to perturbations on the coordination of water molecules around H₂S due to confinement. Confinement is found to dampen the dynamical properties of aqueous H₂S as well. Comparing the results obtained for aqueous H₂S to those reported elsewhere for aqueous CH₄, it can be concluded that H₂S permeates hydrated slit-shaped silica nano-pores faster than CH₄. In addition to contributing to better understanding the behavior of fluids in subsurface formations, these observations could also have important implications for developing new natural gas sweetening technologies.
Membrane Permeability of Middle Molecules: A Computational Chemistry Approach
Drug discovery is shifting from small molecule based drugs targeting local active site to middle molecules (MM) targeting large, flat, and groove-shaped binding sites, for example, protein-protein interface because at least half of all targets assumed to be involved in human disease have been classified as “difficult to drug” with traditional small molecules. Hence, MMs such as peptides, natural products, glycans, nucleic acids with various high potent bioactivities become important targets for drug discovery programs in the recent years as they could be used for ‘undruggable” intracellular targets. Cell membrane permeability is one of the key properties of pharmacodynamically active MM drug compounds and so evaluating this property for the potential MMs is crucial. Computational prediction for cell membrane permeability of molecules is very challenging; however, recent advancement in the molecular dynamics simulations help to solve this issue partially. It is expected that MMs with high membrane permeability will enable drug discovery research to expand its borders towards intracellular targets. Further to understand the chemistry behind the permeability of MMs, it is necessary to investigate their conformational changes during the permeation through membrane and for that their interactions with the membrane field should be studied reliably because these interactions involve various non-bonding interactions such as hydrogen bonding, -stacking, charge-transfer, polarization dispersion, and non-classical weak hydrogen bonding. Therefore, parameters-based classical mechanics calculations are hardly sufficient to investigate these interactions rather, quantum mechanical (QM) calculations are essential. Fragment molecular orbital (FMO) method could be used for such purpose as it performs ab initio QM calculations by dividing the system into fragments. The present work is aimed to study the cell permeability of middle molecules using molecular dynamics simulations and FMO-QM calculations. For this purpose, a natural compound syringolin and its analogues were considered in this study. Molecular simulations were performed using NAMD and Gromacs programs with CHARMM force field. FMO calculations were performed using the PAICS program at the correlated Resolution-of-Identity second-order Moller Plesset (RI-MP2) level with the cc-pVDZ basis set. The simulations clearly show that while syringolin could not permeate the membrane, its selected analogues go through the medium in nano second scale. These correlates well with the existing experimental evidences that these syringolin analogues are membrane-permeable compounds. Further analyses indicate that intramolecular -stacking interactions in the syringolin analogues influenced their permeability positively. These intramolecular interactions reduce the polarity of these analogues so that they could permeate the lipophilic cell membrane. Conclusively, the cell membrane permeability of various middle molecules with potent bioactivities is efficiently studied using molecular dynamics simulations. Insight of this behavior is thoroughly investigated using FMO-QM calculations. Results obtained in the present study indicate that non-bonding intramolecular interactions such as hydrogen-bonding and -stacking along with the conformational flexibility of MMs are essential for amicable membrane permeation. These results are interesting and are nice example for this theoretical calculation approach that could be used to study the permeability of other middle molecules. This work was supported by Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) under Grant Number 18ae0101047.
Batch and Dynamic Investigations on Magnesium Separation by Ion Exchange Adsorption: Performance and Cost Evaluation
Ion exchange adsorption has a long standing history of success for seawater softening and selective ion removal from saline sources. Strong, weak and mixed types ion exchange systems could be designed and optimized for target separation. In this paper, different types of adsorbents comprising zeolite 13X and kaolin, in addition to, poly acrylate/zeolite (AZ), poly acrylate/kaolin (AK) and stand-alone poly acrylate (A) hydrogel types were prepared via microwave (M) and ultrasonic (U) irradiation techniques. They were characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The developed adsorbents were evaluated on bench scale level and based on assessment results, a composite bed has been formulated for performance evaluation in pilot scale column investigations. Owing to the hydrogel nature of the partially crosslinked poly acrylate, the developed adsorbents manifested a swelling capacity of about 50 g/g. The pilot trials have been carried out using magnesium enriched Red Seawater to simulate Red Seawater desalination brine. Batch studies indicated varying uptake efficiencies, where Mg adsorption decreases according to the following prepared hydrogel types AU>AM>AKM>AKU>AZM>AZU, being 108, 107, 78, 69, 66 and 63 mg/g, respectively. Composite bed adsorbent tested in the up-flow mode column studies indicated good performance for Mg uptake. For an operating cycle of 12 h, the maximum uptake during the loading cycle approached 92.5-100 mg/g, which is comparable to the performance of some commercial resins. Different regenerants have been explored to maximize regeneration and minimize the quantity of regenerants including 15% NaCl, 0.1 M HCl and sodium carbonate. Best results were obtained by acidified sodium chloride solution. In conclusion, developed cation exchange adsorbents comprising clay or zeolite support indicated adequate performance for Mg recovery under saline environment. Column design operated at the up-flow mode (approaching expanded bed) is appropriate for such type of separation. Preliminary cost indicators for Mg recovery via ion exchange have been developed and analyzed.
Fuel Properties of Distilled Tire Pyrolytic Oil and Its Blends with Biodiesel and Commercial Diesel Fuel
Tires are extremely challenging to recycle due to the available chemically cross-linked polymer which constitutes their nature and therefore, they are neither fusible nor soluble and consequently, cannot be remoulded into other shapes without serious degradation. Pyrolysis of tires produces four valuable products namely; char, steel, tire pyrolytic oil (TPO) and non-condensable gases. TPO has been reported to have similar properties to commercial diesel fuel (CDF). In this study, distillation of TPO was carried out in a batch distillation column and biodiesel was produced from waste cooking oil. FTIR analysis proved that TPO can be used as a fuel due to the available compounds detected and GC analysis displayed 94% biodiesel concentration from waste cooking oil. Different blends of TPO/biodiesel, TPO/CDF and biodiesel/CDF were prepared at different ratios. Fuel properties such as viscosity, density, flash point, and calorific value were studied. Viscosity and density models were also studied to measure the quality of different blends.
Development, Characterization and Performance Evaluation of a Weak Cation Exchange Hydrogel Using Ultrasonic Technique
Heavy metals (HMs) present an increasing threat to aquatic and soil environment. Thus, techniques should be developed for the removal and/or recovery of those HMs from point sources in the generating industries. This paper reports our endeavors concerning the development of in-house developed weak cation exchange polyacrylate hydrogel kaolin composites for heavy metals removal. This type of composite enables desirable characteristics and functions including mechanical strength, bed porosity and cost advantages. This paper emphasizes the effect of varying crosslinker (methylenebis(acrylamide)) concentration. The prepared cation exchanger has been subjected to intensive characterization using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Brunauer Emmett and Teller (BET) method. Moreover, the performance was investigated using synthetic and real wastewater for an industrial complex east of Cairo. Simulated and real wastewater compositions addressed; Cr, Co, Ni, and Pb are in the range of (92-115), (91-103), (86-88) and (99-125), respectively. Adsorption experiments have been conducted in both batch and column modes. In general, batch tests revealed enhanced cation exchange capacities of 70, 72, 78.2 and 99.9 mg/g from single synthetic wastes while, removal efficiencies of 82.2, 86.4, 44.4 and 96% were obtained for Cr, Co, Ni and Pb, respectively from mixed synthetic wastes. It is concluded that the mixed synthetic and real wastewaters have lower adsorption capacities than single solutions. It is worth mentioned that Pb attained higher adsorption capacities with comparable results in all tested concentrations of synthetic and real wastewaters. Pilot scale experiments were also conducted for mixed synthetic waste in a fluidized bed column for 48 hour cycle time which revealed 86.4%, 58.5%, 66.8% and 96.9% removal efficiency for Cr, Co, Ni, and Pb, respectively with maximum regeneration was also conducted using saline and acid regenerants. Maximum regeneration efficiencies for the column studies higher than the batch ones about by about 30% to 60%. Studies are currently under way to enhance the regeneration efficiency to enable successful scaling up of the adsorption column.
Cellular Targeting to Dual Gaseous Microenvironments by Polydimethylsiloxane Microchip
We report a microfluidic chip that can be used to modify the gaseous microenvironment of a cell-culture in ambient atmospheric conditions. The aim of the study is to show the cellular response to nitric oxide (NO) under hypoxic (oxygen < 5%) condition. Simultaneously targeting to hypoxic and nitric oxide will provide an opportunity for NO‑based therapeutics. Studies on cellular responses to lowered oxygen concentration or to gaseous mediators are usually carried out under a specific macro environment, such as hypoxia chambers, or with specific NO donor molecules that may have additional toxic effects. In our study, the chip consists of a microfluidic layer and a cell culture well, separated by a thin gas permeable polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane. The main design goal is to separate the gas oxygen scavenger and NO donor solutions, which are often toxic, from the cell media. Two different types of gas exchangers, titled 'pool' and 'meander' were tested. We find that the pool design allows us to reach a higher level of oxygen depletion than meander (24.32 ± 19.82 %vs -3.21 ± 8.81). Our microchip design can make the cells culture more simple and makes it easy to adapt existing cell culture protocols. Our first application is utilizing the chip to create hypoxic conditions on targeted areas of cell culture. In this study, oxygen scavenger sodium sulfite generates hypoxia and its effect on human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293). The PDMS membrane was coated with fibronectin before initiating cell cultures, and the cells were grown for 48h on the chips before initiating the gas control experiments. The hypoxia experiments were performed by pumping of O₂-depleted H₂O into the microfluidic channel with a flow-rate of 0.5 ml/h. Image-iT® reagent as an oxygen level responser was mixed with HEK-293 cells. The fluorescent signal appears on cells stained with Image-iT® hypoxia reagent (after 6h of pumping oxygen-depleted H₂O through the microfluidic channel in pool area). The exposure to different levels of O₂ can be controlled by varying the thickness of the PDMS membrane. Recently, we improved the design of the microfluidic chip, which can control the microenvironment of two different gases at the same time. The hypoxic response was also improved from the new design of microchip. The cells were grown on the thin PDMS membrane for 30 hours, and with a flowrate of 0.1 ml/h; the oxygen scavenger was pumped into the microfluidic channel. We also show that by pumping sodium nitroprusside (SNP) as a nitric oxide donor activated under light and can generate nitric oxide on top of PDMS membrane. We are aiming to show cellular microenvironment response of HEK-293 cells to both nitric oxide (by pumping SNP) and hypoxia (by pumping oxygen scavenger solution) in separated channels in one microfluidic chip.
Near-Infrared Spectrometry as an Alternative Method for Determination of Oxidation Stability for Biodiesel
Near-infrared spectrometry (NIR) was tested as a rapid and alternative tool for determination of biodiesel oxidation stability. A PetroOxy method is standardly used for the determination, but this method is hazardous due to the possibility of explosion and ignition of flammable fuels. The second disadvantage is time consuming. The near-infrared spectrometry served for the development of the calibration model which was composed of 133 real samples (calibration standards). The reference values of these standards were obtained by PetroOxy method. Many chemometric diagnostics were used for the development of the final NIR model with the aim to have accurate prediction of the oxidation stability. The final NIR model was validated by 30 validation standards. The repeatability was determined as well with the acceptable residual standard deviation (8.59 %). The NIR spectrometry has proved to be an accurate alternative method for the determination of biodiesel oxidation stability with advantages as the time and cost saving, non-destructive character of analyzing and the possibility of online monitoring in safe mode.
Optimization of Biodiesel Production from Sunflower Oil Using Central Composite Design
The current study investigated the effect of catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio on biodiesel production by using central composite design. Biodiesel was produced by transesterification using sodium hydroxide as a homogeneous catalyst, a laboratory scale reactor consisting of flat bottom flask mounts with a reflux condenser, and a heating plate was used to produce biodiesel. Key parameters, including time, temperature, and mixing rate was kept constant at 60 minutes, 60 oC and 600 RPM, respectively. From the results obtained, it was observed that the biodiesel yield depends on catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio. The highest yield of 50.65% was obtained at catalyst ratio of 0.5 wt.% and methanol to oil mole ratio 10.5. The analysis of variances of biodiesel yield showed the R Squared value of 0.8387. A quadratic mathematical model was developed to predict the biodiesel yield in the specified parameters ranges.
Mode of Action of Surface Bound Antimicrobial Peptides Melimine and Mel4 against Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Biomaterial-associated infections are a multi-billion dollar burden globally. Antimicrobial peptide-based coatings may be able to prevent such infections. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of action surface bound peptides (AMPs) against Pseudomonas aeruginosa 6294. Melimine and Mel4 were covalently attached to glass coverslips using azido-benzoic acid. Attachment was confirmed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. P. aeruginosa was allowed to attach to AMP-coated glass for up to 6 hours. The effect of the surface-bound AMPs on bacterial cell membranes was evaluated using the dyes DiSC3-(5), Sytox green, SYTO 9 and propidium iodide with fluorescence microscopy. Release of cytoplasmic materials ATP and DNA/RNA were determined in the surrounding fluid. The amount of cell death was estimated by agar plate counts. The AMPs were successfully covalently bound to the glass as demonstrated by increases in %nitrogen of 3.6% (melimine) and 2.3% (Mel4) compared to controls. Immobilized peptides disrupted the cytoplasmic membrane potential of P. aeruginosa within 10 min. This was followed by the release of ATP after 2 h. Membrane permeabilization started at 3 h of contact with glass coated AMPs. There was a significant number of bacteria (59% for melimine; 36% for Mel-4) with damaged membranes after 4 h of contact. At the 6 h time point, release of DNA occurred with melimine releasing 2 times the amount of DNA/RNA than Mel4 surfaces (p < 0.05). Surface bound AMPs were able to disrupt cell membranes with subsequent release of cytoplasmic materials, and ultimately resulting in bacterial death.
A Study on the Shear-Induced Crystallization of Aliphatic-Aromatic Copolyester
Shear-induced crystallization, originated from orientation of chains along the flow direction, is an inevitable part of most polymer processing technologies. It plays a dominant role in determining the final product properties and is affected by many factors such as shear rate, cooling rate, total strain, etc. Investigation of the shear-induced crystallization process become of great importance for preparation of nanocomposite, which requires crystallization of nanofibrous sheared inclusions at higher temperatures. Thus, the effects of shear time, shear rate, and also thermal condition of cooling on crystallization of two aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters have been investigated. This was performed using Linkam optical shearing system (CSS450) for both Ecoflex® F Blend C1200 produced by BASF and synthesized copolyester of butylene terephthalate and a mixture of butylene esters: adipate, succinate, and glutarate, (PBASGT), containing 60% of aromatic comonomer. Crystallization kinetics of these biodegradable copolyesters was studied at two different conditions of shearing. First, sample with a thickness of 60µm was heated to 60˚C above its melting point and subsequently subjected to different shear rates (100–800 sec-1) while cooling with specific rates. Second, the same type of sample was cooled down when shearing at constant temperature was finished. The intensity of transmitted depolarized light, recorded by a camera attached to the optical microscope, was used as a measure to follow the crystallization. Temperature dependencies of conversion degree of samples during cooling were collected and used to determine the half-temperature (Th), at which 50% conversion degree was reached. Shearing ecoflex films for 45 seconds with a shear rate of 100 sec-1 resulted in significant increase of Th from 56˚C to 70˚C. Moreover, the temperature range for the transition of molten samples to crystallized state decreased from 42˚C to 20˚C. Comparatively low shift of 10˚C in Th towards higher temperature was observed for PBASGT films at shear rate of 600 sec-1 for 45 seconds. However, insufficient melt flow strength and non-laminar flow due to Taylor vortices was a hindrance to reach more elevated Th at very high shear rates (600–800 sec-1). The shift in Th was smaller for the samples sheared at a constant temperature and subsequently cooled down. This may be attributed to the longer time gap between cessation of shearing and the onset of crystallization. The longer this time gap, the more possibility for crystal nucleus to re-melt at temperatures above Tm and for polymer chains to recoil and relax. It is found that the crystallization temperature, crystallization induction time and spherulite growth of aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters are dramatically influenced by both the cooling rate and the shear imposed during the process.
Studies on the Recovery of Calcium and Magnesium from Red Seawater by Nanofiltration Membrane
This paper reports the results of nanofiltration (NF) polymeric membrane for the recovery of divalent ions (calcium and magnesium) from Red Seawater. Pilot plant experiments have been carried out using Alfa-Laval (NF 2517/48) membrane module. System was operated in both total recirculation mode (permeate and brine) and brine recirculation mode under hydraulic pressure of 15 bar. Impacts of some chelating agents on both flux and rejection have been also investigated. Results indicated that pure water permeability ranges from 17 to 85.5 L/m²h at 2-15 bar. Comparison with seawater permeability under the same operating pressure values reveals lower values of 8.9-31 L/m²h manifesting the effect of the osmotic pressure of seawater. Overall total dissolved solids (TDS) reduction was almost constant without incorporation of chelating agents. On the contrary of expectations, the use of chelating agents N-(2-hydroxyethyl) ethylene diamine-N,N´,N´-triacetic acid (HEDTA) and ethylene glycol bis (2-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N´,N´-tetraacetic acid (EGTA) showed flux decline of about 3-15%. Analysis of rejection data of total recirculation mode showed reasonable rejection values of 35%, 59% and 90% for Ca, Mg and SO₄, respectively. Operating under brine recirculation mode only showed a decrease of rejection to 33%, 56% and 86% for Ca, Mg and SO₄, respectively. The use of chelating agents has no substantial effect on NF membrane performance except for increasing the total Ca rejection to 48 and 65% for EGTA and HEDTA, respectively. Results, in general, confirmed the powerful separation of NF technology for softening and recovery of divalent ions from seawater. It is anticipated that increasing operating pressure beyond the limits of our investigations would improve the rejection and flux values. A trade-off should be considered between operating cost (due to higher pressure and marginal benefits as manifested by expected improved performance). The experimental results fit well with the formulated rejection empirical correlations and the published ones.
Reforming of CO₂-Containing Natural Gas by Using an AC Gliding Arc Discharge Plasma System
The increasing in global energy demand has affected the climate change caused by the generation of greenhouse gases. Therefore, the objective of this work was to investigate a direct production of synthesis gas from a CO₂-containing natural gas by using gliding arc discharge plasma technology. In this research, the effects of steam reforming, combined steam reforming and partial oxidation, and using multistage gliding arc discharge system on the process performance have been discussed. The simulated natural gas used in this study contains 70% methane, 5% ethane, 5% propane, and 20% carbon dioxide. In comparison with different plasma reforming processes (under their optimum conditions), the steam reforming provides the highest H₂ selectivity resulting from the cracking reaction of steam. In addition, the combined steam reforming and partial oxidation process gives a very high CO production implying that the addition of both oxygen and steam can offer the acceptably highest synthesis gas production. The stage number of plasma reactor plays an important role in the improvement of CO₂ conversion. Moreover, 3 stage number of plasma reactor is considered as an optimum stage number for the reforming of CO₂-containing natural gas with steam and partial oxidation in term of providing low energy consumption as compared with other plasma reforming processes.
Fabrication of Uniform Nanofibers Using Gas Dynamic Virtual Nozzle Based Microfluidic Liquid Jet System
Here we present a gas dynamic virtual nozzle (GDVN) based microfluidic jetting devices for spinning of nano/microfibers. The device is fabricated by soft lithography techniques and is based on the principle of a GDVN for precise three-dimensional gas focusing of the spinning solution. The nozzle device is used to produce micro/nanofibers of a perfluorinated terpolymer (THV), which were collected on an aluminum substrate for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis. The influences of air pressure, polymer concentration, flow rate and nozzle geometry on the fiber properties were investigated. It was revealed that surface properties are controlled by air pressure and polymer concentration while the diameter and shape of the fibers are influenced mostly by the concentration of the polymer solution and pressure. Alterations of the nozzle geometry had a negligible effect on the fiber properties, however, the jetting stability was affected. Round and flat fibers with differing surface properties from craters, grooves to smooth surfaces could be fabricated by controlling the above-mentioned parameters. Furthermore, the formation of surface roughness was attributed to the fast evaporation rate and velocity (mis)match between the polymer solution jet and the surrounding air stream. The diameter of the fibers could be tuned from ~250 nm to ~15 µm. Because of the simplicity of the setup, the precise control of the fiber properties, access to biocompatible nanofiber fabrication and the easy scale-up of parallel channels for high throughput, this method offers significant benefits compared to existing solution-based fiber production methods.
Photophysics of a Coumarin Molecule in Graphene Oxide Containing Reverse Micelle
Graphene oxide (GO) is the two-dimensional (2D) nanoscale allotrope of carbon having several physiochemical properties such as high mechanical strength, high surface area, strong thermal and electrical conductivity makes it an important candidate in various modern applications such as drug delivery, supercapacitors, sensors etc. GO has been used in the photothermal treatment of cancers and Alzheimer’s disease etc. The main idea to choose GO in our work is that it is a surface active molecule, it has a large number of hydrophilic functional groups such as carboxylic acid, hydroxyl, epoxide on its surface and in basal plane. So it can easily interact with organic fluorophores through hydrogen bonding or any other kind of interaction and easily modulate the photophysics of the probe molecules. We have used different spectroscopic techniques for our work. The Ground-state absorption spectra and steady-state fluorescence emission spectra were measured by using UV-Vis spectrophotometer from Shimadzu (model-UV-2550) and spectrofluorometer from Horiba Jobin Yvon (model-Fluoromax 4P) respectively. All the fluorescence lifetime and anisotropy decays were collected by using time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) setup from Edinburgh instrument (model: LifeSpec-II, U.K.). Herein, we described the photophysics of a hydrophilic molecule 7-(n,n׀-diethylamino) coumarin-3-carboxylic acid (7-DCCA) in the reverse micelles containing GO. It was observed that photophysics of dye is modulated in the presence of GO compared to photophysics of dye in the absence of GO inside the reverse micelles. Here we have reported the solvent relaxation and rotational relaxation time in GO containing reverse micelle and compare our work with normal reverse micelle system by using 7-DCCA molecule. Normal reverse micelle means reverse micelle in the absence of GO. The absorption maxima of 7-DCCA were blue shifted and emission maxima were red shifted in GO containing reverse micelle compared to normal reverse micelle. The rotational relaxation time in GO containing reverse micelle is always faster compare to normal reverse micelle. Solvent relaxation time, at lower w₀ values, is always slower in GO containing reverse micelle compare to normal reverse micelle and at higher w₀ solvent relaxation time of GO containing reverse micelle becomes almost equal to normal reverse micelle. Here emission maximum of 7-DCCA exhibit bathochromic shift in GO containing reverse micelles compared to that in normal reverse micelles because in presence of GO the polarity of the system increases, as polarity increases the emission maxima was red shifted an average decay time of GO containing reverse micelle is less than that of the normal reverse micelle. In GO containing reverse micelle quantum yield, decay time, rotational relaxation time, solvent relaxation time at λₑₓ=375 nm is always higher than λₑₓ=405 nm, shows the excitation wavelength dependent photophysics of 7-DCCA in GO containing reverse micelles.
Photophysics and Torsional Dynamics of Thioflavin T in Deep Eutectic Solvents
Thioflavin-T (ThT) play a key role of an important biologically active fluorescent sensor for amyloid fibrils. ThT molecule has been developed a method to detect the analysis of different type of diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and type II diabetes. ThT was used as a fluorescent marker to detect the formation of amyloid fibril. In the presence of amyloid fibril, ThT becomes highly fluorescent. ThT undergoes twisting motion around C-C bonds of the two adjacent benzothiazole and dimethylaniline aromatic rings, which is predominantly affected by the micro-viscosity of the local environment. The present study articulates photophysics and torsional dynamics of biologically active molecule ThT in the presence of deep-eutectic solvents (DESs). DESs are environment-friendly, low cost and biodegradable alternatives to the ionic liquids. DES resembles ionic liquids, but the constituents of a DES include a hydrogen bond donor and acceptor species, in addition to ions. Due to the presence of the H-bonding network within a DES, it exhibits structural heterogeneity. Herein, we have prepared two different DESs by mixing urea with choline chloride and N, N-diethyl ethanol ammonium chloride at ~ 340 K. It was reported that deep eutectic mixture of choline chloride with urea gave a liquid with a freezing point of 12°C. We have experimented by taking two different concentrations of ThT. It was observed that at higher concentration of ThT (50 µM) it forms aggregates in DES. The photophysics of ThT as a function of temperature have been explored by using steady-state, and picoseconds time-resolved fluorescence emission spectroscopic techniques. From the spectroscopic analysis, we have observed that with rising temperature the fluorescence quantum yields and lifetime values of ThT molecule gradually decreases; this is the cumulative effect of thermal quenching and increase in the rate of the torsional rate constant. The fluorescence quantum yield and fluorescence lifetime decay values were always higher for DES-II (urea & N, N-diethyl ethanol ammonium chloride) than those for DES-I (urea & choline chloride). This was mainly due to the presence of structural heterogeneity of the medium. This was further confirmed by comparison with the activation energy of viscous flow with the activation energy of non-radiative decay. ThT molecule in less viscous media undergoes a very fast twisting process and leads to deactivation from the photoexcited state. In this system, the torsional motion increases with increasing temperature. We have concluded that beside bulk viscosity of the media, structural heterogeneity of the medium play crucial role to guide the photophysics of ThT in DESs. The analysis of the experimental data was carried out in the temperature range 288 ≤ T = 333K. The present articulate is to obtain an insight into the DESs as media for studying various photophysical processes of amyloid fibrils sensing molecule of ThT.
Preparation of Biodegradable Methacrylic Nanoparticles by Semicontinuous Heterophase Polymerization for Drugs Loading: The Case of Acetylsalicylic Acid
Implementation of systems based on nanostructures for drug delivery applications have taken relevance in recent studies focused on biomedical applications. Although there are several nanostructures as drugs carriers, the use of polymeric nanoparticles (PNP) has been widely studied for this purpose, however, the main issue for these nanostructures is the size control below 50 nm with a narrow distribution size, due to they must go through different physiological barriers and avoid to be filtered by kidneys (< 10 nm) or the spleen (> 100 nm). Thus, considering these and other factors, it can be mentioned that drug-loaded nanostructures with sizes varying between 10 and 50 nm are preferred in the development and study of PNP/drugs systems. In this sense, the Semicontinuous Heterophase Polymerization (SHP) offers the possibility to obtain PNP in the desired size range. Considering the above explained, methacrylic copolymer nanoparticles were obtained under SHP. The reactions were carried out in a jacketed glass reactor with the required quantities of water, ammonium persulfate as initiator, sodium dodecyl sulfate/sodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate as surfactants, methyl methacrylate and methacrylic acid as monomers with molar ratio of 2/1, respectively. The monomer solution was dosed dropwise during reaction at 70 °C with a mechanical stirring of 650 rpm. Nanoparticles of poly(methyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid) were loaded with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, aspirin) by a chemical adsorption technique. The purified latex was put in contact with a solution of ASA in dichloromethane (DCM) at 0.1, 0.2, 0.4 or 0.6 wt-%, at 35°C during 12 hours. According to the boiling point of DCM, as well as DCM and water densities, the loading process is completed when the whole DCM is evaporated. The hydrodynamic diameter was measured after polymerization by quasi-elastic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy, before and after loading procedures with ASA. The quantitative and qualitative analyses of PNP loaded with ASA were measured by infrared spectroscopy, differential scattering calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. Also, the molar mass distributions of polymers were determined in a gel permeation chromatograph apparatus. The load capacity and efficiency were determined by gravimetric analysis. The hydrodynamic diameter results for methacrylic PNP without ASA showed a narrow distribution with an average particle size around 10 nm and a composition methyl methacrylate/methacrylic acid molar ratio equal to 2/1, same composition of Eudragit S100, which is a commercial compound widely used as excipient. Moreover, the latex was stabilized in a relative high solids content (around 11 %), a monomer conversion almost 95 % and a number molecular weight around 400 Kg/mol. The average particle size in the PNP/aspirin systems fluctuated between 18 and 24 nm depending on the initial percentage of aspirin in the loading process, being the drug content as high as 24 % with an efficiency loading of 36 %. These average sizes results have not been reported in the literature, thus, the methacrylic nanoparticles here reported are capable to be loaded with a considerable amount of ASA and be used as a drug carrier.
Phytochemical Analysis and Antioxidant Activity of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Leaves
Colocasia esculenta leaves and roots are widely used in Asian countries, such as, India, Srilanka and Pakistan, as food and feed material. The root is high in carbohydrates and rich in zinc. The leaves and stalks are often traditionally preserved to be eaten in dry season. Leaf juice is stimulant, expectorant, astringent, appetizer, and otalgia. Looking at the medicinal uses of the plant leaves; phytochemicals were extracted from the plant leaves and were characterized using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to find the functional groups. Phytochemical analysis of Colocasia esculenta (L.) leaf was studied using three solvents (methanol, chloroform, and ethanol) with soxhlet apparatus. Powder of the leaves was employed to obtain the extracts, which was qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed for phytochemical content using standard methods. Phytochemical constituents were abundant in the leave extract. Leaf was found to have various phytochemicals such as alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, terpenoids, saponins, oxalates and phenols etc., which could have lot of medicinal benefits such as reducing headache, treatment of congestive heart failure, prevent oxidative cell damage etc. These phytochemicals were identified using UV spectrophotometer and results were presented. In order to find the antioxidant activity of the extract, DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) method was employed using ascorbic acid as standard. DPPH scavenging activity of ascorbic acid was found to be 84%, whereas for ethanol it was observed to be 78.92%, for methanol: 76.46% and for chloroform: 72.46%. Looking at the high antioxidant activity, Colocasia esculenta may be recommended for medicinal applications. The characterizations of functional groups were analyzed using FTIR spectroscopy.
Brazilian Brown Propolis as a Natural Source against Leishmania amazonensis
Leishmaniasis is a serious health problem around the world. The treatment of infected individuals with pentavalent antimonial drugs is the main therapeutic strategy. However, they present high toxicity and persistence side effects. Therefore, the discovery of new and safe natural-derived therapeutic agents against leishmaniasis is important. Propolis is a resin of viscous consistency produced by Apis mellifera bees from parts of plants. The main types of Brazilian propolis are green, red, yellow and brown. Thus, the aim of this work was to investigate the chemical composition and leishmanicidal properties of a brown propolis (BP). For this purpose, the hydroalcoholic crude extract of BP was obtained and was fractionated by liquid-liquid chromatography. The chemical profile of the extract and its fractions were obtained by HPLC-UV-DAD. The fractions were submitted to preparative HPLC chromatography for isolation of the major compounds of each fraction. They were analyzed by NMR for structural determination. The volatile compounds were obtained by hydrodistillation and identified by GC/MS. Promastigote forms of Leishmania amazonensis were cultivated in M199 medium and then 2×106 parasites.mL-1 were incubated in 96-well microtiter plates with the samples. The BP was dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and diluted into the medium, to give final concentrations of 1.56, 3.12, 6.25, 12.5, 25 and 50 µg.mL⁻¹. The plates were incubated at 25ºC for 24 h, and the lysis percentage was determined by using a Neubauer chamber. The bioassays were performed in triplicate, using a medium with 0.5% DMSO as a negative control and amphotericin B as a positive control. The leishimnicidal effect against promastigote forms was also evaluated at the same concentrations. Cytotoxicity experiments also were performed in 96-well plates against normal (CHO-k1) and tumor cell lines (AGP01 and HeLa) using XTT colorimetric method. Phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and terpenoids were identified in brown propolis. The major compounds were identified as follows: p-coumaric acid (24.6%) for a methanolic fraction, Artepelin-C (29.2%) for ethyl acetate fraction and the compounds of hexane fraction are in the process of structural elucidation. The major volatile compounds identified were β-caryophyllene (10.9%), germacrene D (9.7%), nerolidol (10.8%) and spathulenol (8.5%). The propolis did not show cytotoxicity against normal cell lines (CHO) with IC₅₀ > 100 μg.mL⁻¹, whereas the IC₅₀ < 10 μg.mL⁻¹ showed a potential against the AGP01 cell line, propolis did not demonstrate cytotoxicity against HeLa cell lines IC₅₀ > 100 μg.mL⁻¹. In the determination of the leishmanicidal activity, the highest (50 μg.mL⁻¹) and lowest (1.56 μg.mL⁻¹) concentrations of the crude extract caused the lysis of 76% and 45% of promastigote forms of L. amazonensis, respectively. To the amastigote form, the highest (50 μg.mL⁻¹) and lowest (1.56 μg.mL⁻¹) concentrations caused the mortality of 89% and 75% of L. amazonensis, respectively. The IC₅₀ was 2.8 μg.mL⁻¹ to amastigote form and 3.9 μg.mL⁻¹ to promastigote form, showing a promising activity against Leishmania amazonensis.
Optimization of Soybean Oil by Modified Supercritical Carbon Dioxide
The content of omega-3 in soybean oil is important in the development of infants and is an alternative for the omega-3 in fish oils. The investigation of extraction of soybean oil is needed to obtain the bioactive compound in the extract. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction is modern and green technology to extract herbs and plants to obtain high quality extract due to high diffusivity and solubility of the solvent. The aim of this study was to obtain the optimum condition of soybean oil extraction by modified supercritical carbon dioxide. The soybean oil was extracted by using modified supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) under the temperatures of 40, 60, 80 &deg;C, pressures of 150, 250, 350 Bar, and constant flow-rate of 10 g/min as the parameters of extraction processes. An experimental design was performed in order to optimize three important parameters of SC-CO2 extraction which are pressure (X1), temperature (X2) to achieve optimum yields of soybean oil. Box Behnken Design was applied for experimental design. From the optimization process, the optimum condition of extraction of soybean oil was obtained at pressure 338 Bar and temperature 80 &deg;C with oil yield of 2.713 g. Effect of pressure is significant on the extraction of soybean oil by modified supercritical carbon dioxide. Increasing of pressure will increase the oil yield of soybean oil.
3D Nanostructured Assembly of 2D Transition Metal Chalcogenide/Graphene as High Performance Electrocatalysts
Design and development of highly efficient, inexpensive, and long-term stable earth-abundant electrocatalysts hold tremendous promise for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in water electrolysis. The 2D transition metal dichalcogenides, especially molybdenum disulfide attracted a great deal of interests due to its high electrocatalytic activity. However, due to its poor electrical conductivity and limited exposed active sites, the performance of these catalysts is limited. In this context, a facile and scalable synthesis method for fabrication nanostructured electrocatalysts composed 3D graphene porous aerogels supported with MoS₂ and WS₂ is highly desired. Here we developed a highly active and stable electrocatalyst catalyst for the HER by growing it into a 3D porous architecture on conducting graphene. The resulting nanohybrids were thoroughly investigated by means of several characterization techniques to understand structure and properties. Moreover, the HER performance of these 3D catalysts is expected to greatly improve in compared to other, well-known catalysts which mainly benefits from the improved electrical conductivity of the by graphene and porous structures of the support. This technologically scalable process can afford efficient electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reactions (HER) and hydrodesulfurization catalysts for sulfur-rich petroleum fuels. Owing to the lower cost and higher performance, the resulting materials holds high potential for various energy and catalysis applications. In typical hydrothermal method, sonicated GO aqueous dispersion (5 mg mL⁻¹) was mixed with ammonium tetrathiomolybdate (ATTM) and tungsten molybdate was treated in a sealed Teflon autoclave at 200 ◦C for 4h. After cooling, a black solid macroporous hydrogel was recovered washed under running de-ionized water to remove any by products and metal ions. The obtained hydrogels were then freeze-dried for 24 h and was further subjected to thermal annealing driven crystallization at 600 ◦C for 2h to ensure complete thermal reduction of RGO into graphene and formation of highly crystalline MoS₂ and WoS₂ phases. The resulting 3D nanohybrids were characterized to understand the structure and properties. The SEM-EDS clearly reveals the formation of highly porous material with a uniform distribution of MoS₂ and WS₂ phases. In conclusion, a novice strategy for fabrication of 3D nanostructured MoS₂-WS₂/graphene is presented. The characterizations revealed that the in-situ formed promoters uniformly dispersed on to few layered MoS₂¬-WS₂ nanosheets that are well-supported on graphene surface. The resulting 3D hybrids hold high promise as potential electrocatalyst and hydrodesulfurization catalyst.
Synthesis of Pyrimidine-Based Polymers Consist of 2-{3-[4,6-Bis-(4-Hexyl-Thiophen-2-yl)-Pyrimidin-2-yl]Phenyl}-Thiazolo[5,4-B]Pyridine as Electron-Deficient Unit for Photovoltaics
Recently, the development of photovoltaics is rapidly accelerating as one of green energy sources. So we designed pyrimidine-based polymers with 2-{3-[4,6-bis-(4-hexyl-thiophen-2-yl)-pyrimidin-2-yl]-phenyl}-thiazolo[5,4-b]pyridine (mPTP), as active layer substances for polymer solar cells. Polymers with push-pull types, mPTPBDT-12, mPTPBDT-EH, mPTPBDTT-EH and mPTPTTI, are comprised of electron pushing unit using benzo[1,2-b;3,4-b’]dithiophene (BDT) or 4,8-bis(5-thiophen-2-yl)benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b']dithiophene (BDTT) or 6-(2-thienyl)-4H-thieno[3,2-b]indole(TTI) and electron pulling unit using mPTP. The device including mPTPTTI-12 indicated a VOC of 0.67 V, a JSC of 2.16 mA/cm², and a fill factor (FF) of 0.30, giving a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 0.43%. The device including mPTPBDT-EH indicated a VOC of 0.56 V, a JSC of 2.64 mA/cm², and an FF of 0.30, giving a PCE of 0.44%. The device including mPTPBDTT-EH indicated a VOC of 0.44 V, a JSC of 2.45 mA/cm², and an FF of 0.29, giving a PCE of 0.31%. The device including mPTPTTI indicated a VOC of 0.72 V, a JSC of 4.95 mA/cm², and an FF of 0.32, giving a PCE of 1.15%. Therefore, mPTPBDT-12, mPTPBDT-EH, mPTPBDTT-EH and mPTPTTI were fabricated by Stille polymerization. Their optical properties were measured and the results show that pyrimidine-based polymers have a great promise to act as donor of active layer.
Synthesis of Pyrimidine-Based Polymers Consist of 2-{4-[4,6-Bis-(4-Hexyl-Thiophen-2-yl)-Pyrimidin-2-yl]-Phenyl}-Thiazolo[5,4-B]Pyridine with Deep HOMO Level for Photovoltaics
Photovoltaics, which have many advantages in cost, easy processing, and light-weight, have attracted attention. We synthesized pyrimidine-based conjugated polymers with 2-{4-[4,6-bis-(4-hexyl-thiophen-2-yl)-pyrimidin-2-yl]-phenyl}-thiazolo[5,4-b]pyridine (pPTP) which have an ability of powerful electron withdrawing and introduced into the PSCs. By Stille polymerization, we designed the conjugated polymers, pPTPBDT-12, pPTPBDT-EH, pPTPBDTT-EH and pPTPTTI. The HOMO energy levels of four polymers (pPTPBDT-12, pPTPBDT-EH, pPTPBDTT-EH and pPTPTTI) were at -5.61 ~ -5.89 eV, their LUMO (Lowest Unoccupied Molecular Orbital) energy levels were at -3.95 ~ -4.09 eV. The device including pPTPBDT-12 and PC71BM (1:2) indicated a V_oc of 0.67 V, a J_sc of 1.33 mA/cm², and a fill factor (FF) of 0.25, giving a power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 0.23%. The device including pPTPBDT-EH and PC71BM (1:2) indicated a V_oc of 0.72 V, a J_sc of 2.56 mA/cm², and a fill factor (FF) of 0.30, giving a power conversion efficiency of 0.56%. The device including pPTPBDTT-EH and PC71BM (1:2) indicated a V_oc of 0.72 V, a J_sc of 3.61 mA/cm², and a fill factor (FF) of 0.29, giving a power conversion efficiency of 0.74%. The device including pPTPTTI and PC71BM (1:2) indicated a V_oc of 0.83 V, a J_sc of 4.41 mA/cm², and a fill factor (FF) of 0.31, giving a power conversion efficiency of 1.13%. Therefore, pPTPBDT-12, pPTPBDT-EH, pPTPBDTT-EH, and pPTPTTI were synthesized by Stille polymerization. And We find one of the best efficiency for these polymers, called pPTPTTI. Their optical properties were measured and the results show that pyrimidine-based polymers especially like pPTPTTI have a great promise to act as the donor of the active layer.
Rapid Biosynthesis of Silver-Montmorillonite Nanocomposite Using Water Extract of Satureja hortensis L. and Evaluation of the Antibacterial Capacities
In this work, facile and green biosynthesis and characterization of silver–montmorillonite (MMT) nanocomposite is reported at room temperature. Silver nanoparticles (Ag–NPs) were synthesized into the interlamellar space of (MMT) by using water extract of Satureja hortensis L as reducing agent. The MMT was suspended in the aqueous AgNO₃ solution, and after the absorption of silver ions, Ag⁺ was reduced using water extract of Satureja hortensis L to Ag°. Evaluation of the antibacterial properties are also reported. The nanocomposite was characterized by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV–Vis), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). TEM study showed the formation of nanocomposite using water extract of Satureja hortensis L in the 4.88 – 26.70 nm range and average particles size were 15.79 nm also the XRD study showed that the particles have a face-centered cubic (fcc) structure. The nanocomposite showed the antibacterial properties against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
Electrolyte Loaded Hexagonal Boron Nitride/Polyacrylonitrile Nanofibers for Lithium Ion Battery Application
In the present work, novel hBN/polyacrylonitrile composite nanofibers were produced via electrospinning approach and loaded with the electrolyte for rechargeable lithium-ion battery applications. The electrospun nanofibers comprising various hBN contents were characterized by using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. The influence of hBN/PAN ratios onto the properties of the porous composite system, such as fiber diameter, porosity, and the liquid electrolyte uptake capability were systematically studied. Ionic conductivities and electrochemical characterizations were evaluated after loading electrospun hBN/PAN composite nanofiber with liquid electrolyte, i.e., 1 M lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6) in ethylene carbonate (EC)/ethyl methyl carbonate (EMC) (1:1 vol). The electrolyte loaded nanofiber has a highest ionic conductivity of 10−3 S cm⁻¹ at room temperature. According to cyclic voltammetry (CV) results it exhibited a high electrochemical stability window up to 4.7 V versus Li+/Li. Li//10 wt% hBN/PAN//LiCO₂ cell was produced which delivered high discharge capacity of 144 mAhg⁻¹ and capacity retention of 92.4%. Considering high safety and low cost properties of the resulting hBN/PAN fiber electrolytes, these materials can be suggested as potential separator materials for lithium-ion batteries.
Protective Role of CoQ10 or L-Carnitine on the Integrity of the Myocardium in Doxorubicin Induced Toxicity
Doxorubicin (DOX) is a chemotherapeutic agent used for the treatment of different cancers and its clinical usage is hindered by the oxidative injury-related cardiotoxicity. This work aims to declare if the harmful effects of DOX on the heart can be alleviated with the use of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or L-carnitine. The study was performed on seventy-two female Wistar albino rats divided into six groups, 12 animals each: Control group; DOX group (10 mg/kg); CoQ10 group (200 mg/kg); L-carnitine group (100 mg/kg); DOX + CoQ10 group; DOX + L-carnitine group. CoQ10 and L-carnitine treatment orally started five days before a single dose of 10 mg/kg DOX that injected intraperitoneally (IP) then the treatment continued for ten days. At the end of the study, serum biochemical parameters of cardiac damage, oxidative stress indices, and histopathological changes were investigated. CoQ10 or L-carnitine showed noticeable effects in improving cardiac functions evidenced reducing serum enzymes as serum interleukin-1 beta (IL-1), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-), leptin, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), Cardiotrophin-1, Troponin-I and Troponin-T. Also, alleviate oxidative stress, decrease of cardiac Malondialdehyde (MDA), Nitric oxide (NO) and restoring cardiac reduced glutathione levels to normal levels. Both corrected the cardiac alterations histologically and ultrastructurally. With visible improvements in -SMA, vimentin and eNOS immunohistochemical markers. CoQ10 or L-carnitine supplementation improves the functional and structural integrity of the myocardium.
Unsteady Three-Dimensional Adaptive Spatial-Temporal Multi-Scale Direct Simulation Monte Carlo Solver to Simulate Rarefied Gas Flows in Micro/Nano Devices
We present an efficient, three-dimensional parallel multi-scale Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) algorithm for the simulation of unsteady rarefied gas flows in micro/nanosystems. The algorithm employs a novel spatiotemporal adaptivity scheme. The scheme performs a fully dynamic multi-level grid adaption based on the gradients of flow macro-parameters and an automatic temporal adaptation. The computational domain consists of a hierarchical octree-based Cartesian grid representation of the flow domain and a triangular mesh for the solid object surfaces. The hybrid mesh, combined with the spatiotemporal adaptivity scheme, allows for increased flexibility and efficient data management, rendering the framework suitable for efficient particle-tracing and dynamic grid refinement and coarsening. The parallel algorithm is optimized to run DSMC simulations of strongly unsteady, non-equilibrium flows over multiple cores. The presented method is validated by comparing with benchmark studies and then employed to improve the design of micro-scale hotwire thermal sensors in rarefied gas flows.
Evaluation of the Performance of ACTIFLO® Clarifier in the Treatment of Mining Wastewaters: Case Study of Costerfield Mining Operations, Victoria, Australia
A pre-treatment stage prior to reverse osmosis (RO) is very important to ensure the long-term performance of the RO membranes in any wastewater treatment using RO. This study aims to evaluate the application of the Actiflo&reg; clarifier as part of a pre-treatment unit in mining operations. It involves performing analytical testing on RO feed water before and after installation of Actiflo&reg; unit. Water samples prior to RO plant stage were obtained on different dates from Costerfield mining operations in Victoria, Australia. Tests were conducted in an independent laboratory to determine the concentration of various compounds in RO feed water before and after installation of Actiflo&reg; unit during the entire evaluated period from December 2015 to June 2018. Water quality analysis shows that the quality of RO feed water has remarkably improved since installation of Actiflo&reg; clarifier. Suspended solids (SS) and turbidity removal efficiencies has been improved by 91 and 85 percent respectively in pre-treatment system since the installation of Actiflo&reg;. The Actiflo&reg; clarifier proved to be a valuable part of pre-treatment system prior to RO. It has the potential to conveniently condition the mining wastewater prior to RO unit, and reduce the risk of RO physical failure and irreversible fouling. Consequently, reliable and durable operation of RO unit with minimum requirement for RO membrane replacement is expected with Actiflo&reg; in use.