Latest Articles

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Reformation Leads to Self-Reliance: The Protestantism of Transcendentalism
Religions 2017, 8(2), 30; doi:10.3390/rel8020030 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This article examines connections between the Protestant Reformation and American literature and argues that Protestantism’s best expression exists in contemporary iterations of self-reliance. The first part focuses on William Ellery Channing’s and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s literary criticism of John Milton, a poet who
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This article examines connections between the Protestant Reformation and American literature and argues that Protestantism’s best expression exists in contemporary iterations of self-reliance. The first part focuses on William Ellery Channing’s and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s literary criticism of John Milton, a poet who represents the Protestant ideals these writers combine with American principles to develop the literary tradition. The second part discusses the trajectory of American literature in the nineteenth century and extends this discussion to current assumptions regarding teaching and learning. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Effect of CO Concentration on the α-Value of Plasma-Synthesized Co/C Catalyst in Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis
Catalysts 2017, 7(2), 69; doi:10.3390/catal7020069 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A plasma-synthesized cobalt catalyst supported on carbon (Co/C) was tested for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) in a 3-phase continuously-stirred tank slurry reactor (3-φ-CSTSR) operated isothermally at 220 °C (493 K), and 2 MPa pressure. Initial syngas feed stream of H2:CO ratio =
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A plasma-synthesized cobalt catalyst supported on carbon (Co/C) was tested for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) in a 3-phase continuously-stirred tank slurry reactor (3-φ-CSTSR) operated isothermally at 220 °C (493 K), and 2 MPa pressure. Initial syngas feed stream of H2:CO ratio = 2 with molar composition of 0.6 L/L (60 vol %) H2 and 0.3 L/L (30 vol %) CO, balanced in 0.1 L/L (10 vol %) Ar was used, flowing at hourly space velocity (GHSV) of 3600 cm3·h−1·g−1 of catalyst. Similarly, other syngas feed compositions of H2:CO ratio = 1.5 and 1.0 were used. Results showed ~40% CO conversion with early catalyst selectivity inclined towards formation of gasoline (C4–C12) and diesel (C13–C20) fractions. With prolonged time-on-stream (TOS), catalyst selectivity escalated towards the heavier molecular-weight fractions such as waxes (C21+). The catalyst’s α-value, which signifies the probability of the hydrocarbon chain growth was empirically determined to be in the range of 0.85–0.87 (at H2:CO ratio = 2), demonstrating prevalence of the hydrocarbon-chain propagation, with particular predisposition for wax production. The inhibiting CO effect towards FTS was noted at molar H2:CO ratio of 1.0 and 1.5, giving only ~10% and ~20% CO conversion respectively, although with a high α-value of 0.93 in both cases, which showed predominant production of the heavier molecular weight fractions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reliability and Robustness Analysis of the Masinga Dam under Uncertainty
Climate 2017, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/cli5010012 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Kenya’s water abstraction must meet the projected growth in municipal and irrigation demand by the end of 2030 in order to achieve the country’s industrial and economic development plan. The Masinga dam, on the Tana River, is the key to meeting this goal
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Kenya’s water abstraction must meet the projected growth in municipal and irrigation demand by the end of 2030 in order to achieve the country’s industrial and economic development plan. The Masinga dam, on the Tana River, is the key to meeting this goal to satisfy the growing demands whilst also continuing to provide hydroelectric power generation. This study quantitatively assesses the reliability and robustness of the Masinga dam system under uncertain future supply and demand using probabilistic climate and population projections, and examines how long-term planning may improve the longevity of the dam. River flow and demand projections are used alongside each other as inputs to the dam system simulation model linked to an optimisation engine to maximise water availability. Water availability after demand satisfaction is assessed for future years, and the projected reliability of the system is calculated for selected years. The analysis shows that maximising power generation on a short-term year-by-year basis achieves 80%, 50% and 1% reliability by 2020, 2025 and 2030 onwards, respectively. Longer term optimal planning, however, has increased system reliability to up to 95% in 2020, 80% in 2025, and more than 40% in 2030 onwards. In addition, increasing the capacity of the reservoir by around 25% can significantly improve the robustness of the system for all future time periods. This study provides a platform for analysing the implication of different planning and management of Masinga dam and suggests that careful consideration should be given to account for growing municipal needs and irrigation schemes in both the immediate and the associated Tana River basin. Full article
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Open AccessReview
CK2 Molecular Targeting—Tumor Cell-Specific Delivery of RNAi in Various Models of Cancer
Pharmaceuticals 2017, 10(1), 25; doi:10.3390/ph10010025 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Protein kinase CK2 demonstrates increased protein expression relative to non-transformed cells in the majority of cancers that have been examined. The elevated levels of CK2 are involved in promoting not only continued proliferation of cancer cells but also their resistance to cell death;
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Protein kinase CK2 demonstrates increased protein expression relative to non-transformed cells in the majority of cancers that have been examined. The elevated levels of CK2 are involved in promoting not only continued proliferation of cancer cells but also their resistance to cell death; thus, CK2 has emerged as a plausible target for cancer therapy. Our focus has been to target CK2 catalytic subunits at the molecular level using RNA interference (RNAi) strategies to achieve their downregulation. The delivery of oligonucleotide therapeutic agents warrants that they are protected and are delivered specifically to cancer cells. The latter is particularly important since CK2 is a ubiquitous signal that is essential for survival. To achieve these goals, we have developed a nanocapsule that has the properties of delivering an anti-CK2 RNAi therapeutic cargo, in a protected manner, specifically to cancer cells. Tenfibgen (TBG) is used as the ligand to target tenascin-C receptors, which are elevated in cancer cells. This strategy is effective for inhibiting growth and inducing death in several types of xenograft tumors, and the nanocapsule elicits no safety concerns in animals. Further investigation of this therapeutic approach for its translation is warranted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Parametric Mathematical Approach on the Selection of Optimum Insulation Thicknesses in Buildings
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 15; doi:10.3390/buildings7010015 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Detailed simulations have indicated optimum insulation thicknesses of walls’ insulation for a variety of cases. Simplified analytical relations have also been proposed to the same aim, allowing the extraction of more general results, with limited accuracy however, as imposed by mathematical simplicity requirements.
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Detailed simulations have indicated optimum insulation thicknesses of walls’ insulation for a variety of cases. Simplified analytical relations have also been proposed to the same aim, allowing the extraction of more general results, with limited accuracy however, as imposed by mathematical simplicity requirements. In this sense, a variety of important parameters are ignored, such as: the existence of any glazing at the wall, the absorptance of the wall, the base temperature of the heated space which the referred to wall belongs to and its variation with insulation, the thermal characteristics (thermal capacitance, total heat losses coefficient) and the heat and solar gains of the heated space. An alternative analytical approach is consequently developed here, incorporating all above parameters and in this context accessing the wall as part of the whole heated space, instead of considering it solely as an isolated fabric element. The approach consists of a set of two implicit equations which are easily solved, and enables the investigation of the effects of all principal and secondary parameters on the optimum thickness. The ignorance even of the secondary of these parameters has proved to lead to significant errors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Metabolic Effects of Glucose-Fructose Co-Ingestion Compared to Glucose Alone during Exercise in Type 1 Diabetes
Nutrients 2017, 9(2), 164; doi:10.3390/nu9020164 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This paper aims to compare the metabolic effects of glucose-fructose co-ingestion (GLUFRU) with glucose alone (GLU) in exercising individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Fifteen male individuals with type 1 diabetes (HbA1c 7.0% ± 0.6% (53 ± 7 mmol/mol)) underwent a 90 min
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This paper aims to compare the metabolic effects of glucose-fructose co-ingestion (GLUFRU) with glucose alone (GLU) in exercising individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Fifteen male individuals with type 1 diabetes (HbA1c 7.0% ± 0.6% (53 ± 7 mmol/mol)) underwent a 90 min iso-energetic continuous cycling session at 50% VO2max while ingesting combined glucose-fructose (GLUFRU) or glucose alone (GLU) to maintain stable glycaemia without insulin adjustment. GLUFRU and GLU were labelled with 13C-fructose and 13C-glucose, respectively. Metabolic assessments included measurements of hormones and metabolites, substrate oxidation, and stable isotopes. Exogenous carbohydrate requirements to maintain stable glycaemia were comparable between GLUFRU and GLU (p = 0.46). Fat oxidation was significantly higher (5.2 ± 0.2 vs. 2.6 ± 1.2 mg·kg−1·min−1, p < 0.001) and carbohydrate oxidation lower (18.1 ± 0.8 vs. 24.5 ± 0.8 mg·kg−1·min−1p < 0.001) in GLUFRU compared to GLU, with decreased muscle glycogen oxidation in GLUFRU (10.2 ± 0.9 vs. 17.5 ± 1.0 mg·kg−1·min−1, p < 0.001). Lactate levels were higher (2.2 ± 0.2 vs. 1.8 ± 0.1 mmol/L, p = 0.012) in GLUFRU, with comparable counter-regulatory hormones between GLUFRU and GLU (p > 0.05 for all). Glucose and insulin levels, and total glucose appearance and disappearance were comparable between interventions. Glucose-fructose co-ingestion may have a beneficial impact on fuel metabolism in exercising individuals with type 1 diabetes without insulin adjustment, by increasing fat oxidation whilst sparing glycogen. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Pathways to Shape the Bioeconomy
Resources 2017, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/resources6010010 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In view of the increasing depletion of fossil fuel resources, the concept “bioeconomy” aims at the gradual replacement of fossil fuels by renewable feedstock. Seen as a comprehensive societal transition, the bioeconomy is a complex field that includes a variety of sectors, actors,
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In view of the increasing depletion of fossil fuel resources, the concept “bioeconomy” aims at the gradual replacement of fossil fuels by renewable feedstock. Seen as a comprehensive societal transition, the bioeconomy is a complex field that includes a variety of sectors, actors, and interests and is related to far-reaching changes in today’s production systems. While the objectives pursued—such as reducing dependence on fossil fuels, mitigating climate change, ensuring global food security, and increasing the industrial use of biogenic resources—are not generally contentious, there is fierce controversy over the possible pathways for achieving these objectives. Based on a thorough literature review, the article identifies major lines of conflict in the current discourse. Criticism of the prevalent concept refers mainly to the strong focus on technology, the lack of consideration given to alternative implementation pathways, the insufficient differentiation of underlying sustainability requirements, and the inadequate participation of societal stakeholders. Since today it cannot be predicted which pathway will be the most expedient—the one already being taken or one of the others proposed—this paper suggests pursuing a strategy of diversity concerning the approaches to shape the bioeconomy, the funding of research topics, and the involvement of stakeholders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Extraction and Identification of Phlorotannins from the Brown Alga, Sargassum fusiforme (Harvey) Setchell
Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(2), 49; doi:10.3390/md15020049 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Phlorotannins are a group of complex polymers of phloroglucinol (1,3,5-trihydroxybenzene), which are unique compounds from marine brown algae. In our present study, a procedure for extraction and enrichment of phlorotannins from S. fusiforme with highly antioxidant potentials was established. After comparison of different
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Phlorotannins are a group of complex polymers of phloroglucinol (1,3,5-trihydroxybenzene), which are unique compounds from marine brown algae. In our present study, a procedure for extraction and enrichment of phlorotannins from S. fusiforme with highly antioxidant potentials was established. After comparison of different extraction methods, the optimal extraction conditions were established as follows. The freeze-dried seaweed powder was extracted with 30% ethanol-water solvent with a solid/liquid ratio of 1:5 at temperature of 25 °C for 30 min. After extraction, the phlorotannins were fractioned by different solvents, among which the ethyl acetate fraction exhibited both the highest total phlorotannin content (88.48 ± 0.30 mg PGE/100 mg extract) and the highest antioxidant activities. The extracts obtained from these locations were further purified and characterized using a modified UHPLC-QQQ-MS method. Compounds with 42 different molecular weights were detected and tentatively identified, among which the fuhalol-type phlorotannins were the dominant compounds, followed by phlorethols and fucophlorethols with diverse degree of polymerization. Eckol-type phlorotannins including some newly discovered carmalol derivatives were detected in Sargassum species for the first time. Our study not only described the complex phlorotannins composition in S. fusiforme, but also highlighted the challenges involved in structural elucidation of these compounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Agricultural Water Use Efficiency: A Quantitative Study of Zhangye City Using the Static CGE Model with a CES Water−Land Resources Account
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 308; doi:10.3390/su9020308 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Water resources play a vital role in human life and agriculture irrigation, especially for agriculture-dominant developing countries and regions. Improving agricultural water use efficiency has consequently become a key strategic choice. This study, based on Zhangye City’s economic characteristics and data, applies a
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Water resources play a vital role in human life and agriculture irrigation, especially for agriculture-dominant developing countries and regions. Improving agricultural water use efficiency has consequently become a key strategic choice. This study, based on Zhangye City’s economic characteristics and data, applies a static Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model with a constant elasticity of substitution (CES) composited water−land resources account to assess the impact of improving agricultural water use efficiency on economy, water conservation and land reallocation. Results reveal that: Zhangye City’s GDP increases by 0.10% owing to an increasing average technical level by improving agricultural water use efficiency; total water consumption decreases by 122 million m3, 69% of which comes from a reduction of surface water use; and land demand increases by 257.43 hectares mainly due to agricultural land demands. With respect to the sectors’ output, export-oriented sectors with higher water intensities in the agricultural sectors benefit most. In contrast, land-intensive sectors contract the most, as the rental price of land rises. Therefore, agricultural water conservation technology should be introduced considering more in surface water. Furthermore, higher demand for agricultural land would reduce land availability for other sectors, thus inhibiting urbanization pace on a small scale. Full article
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