Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Pre-Lithiation Strategies for Rechargeable Energy Storage Technologies: Concepts, Promises and Challenges
Batteries 2018, 4(1), 4; doi:10.3390/batteries4010004 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In order to meet the sophisticated demands for large-scale applications such as electro-mobility, next generation energy storage technologies require advanced electrode active materials with enhanced gravimetric and volumetric capacities to achieve increased gravimetric energy and volumetric energy densities. However, most of these materials
[...] Read more.
In order to meet the sophisticated demands for large-scale applications such as electro-mobility, next generation energy storage technologies require advanced electrode active materials with enhanced gravimetric and volumetric capacities to achieve increased gravimetric energy and volumetric energy densities. However, most of these materials suffer from high 1st cycle active lithium losses, e.g., caused by solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation, which in turn hinder their broad commercial use so far. In general, the loss of active lithium permanently decreases the available energy by the consumption of lithium from the positive electrode material. Pre-lithiation is considered as a highly appealing technique to compensate for active lithium losses and, therefore, to increase the practical energy density. Various pre-lithiation techniques have been evaluated so far, including electrochemical and chemical pre-lithiation, pre-lithiation with the help of additives or the pre-lithiation by direct contact to lithium metal. In this review article, we will give a comprehensive overview about the various concepts for pre lithiation and controversially discuss their advantages and challenges. Furthermore, we will critically discuss possible effects on the cell performance and stability and assess the techniques with regard to their possible commercial exploration. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
Hydroxytyrosol: Health Benefits and Use as Functional Ingredient in Meat
Medicines 2018, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/medicines5010013 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Hydroxytyrosol (HXT) is a phenolic compound drawn from the olive tree and its leaves as a by-product obtained from the manufacturing of olive oil. It is considered the most powerful antioxidant compound after gallic acid and one of the most powerful antioxidant compounds
[...] Read more.
Hydroxytyrosol (HXT) is a phenolic compound drawn from the olive tree and its leaves as a by-product obtained from the manufacturing of olive oil. It is considered the most powerful antioxidant compound after gallic acid and one of the most powerful antioxidant compounds between phenolic compounds from olive tree followed by oleuropein, caffeic and tyrosol. Due to its molecular structure, its regular consumption has several beneficial effects such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and as a protector of skin and eyes, etc. For these reasons, the use of HXT extract is a good strategy for use in meat products to replace synthetics additives. However, this extract has a strong odour and flavour, so it is necessary to previously treat this compound in order to not alter the organoleptic quality of the meat product when is added as ingredient. The present review exposes the health benefits provided by HXT consumption and the latest research about its use on meat. In addition, new trends about the application of HXT in the list of ingredients of healthier meat products will be discussed. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Different Erionite Species Bind Iron into the Structure: A Potential Explanation for Fibrous Erionite Toxicity
Minerals 2018, 8(2), 36; doi:10.3390/min8020036 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this investigation, the crystal chemical characterization of one sample of woolly erionite-K (Lander County, NV, USA) was examined after suspension in a FeCl2 solution, in anaerobic conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the chemical composition
[...] Read more.
In this investigation, the crystal chemical characterization of one sample of woolly erionite-K (Lander County, NV, USA) was examined after suspension in a FeCl2 solution, in anaerobic conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the chemical composition of erionite on its efficiency to bind iron. Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) results showed that the sample bound Fe(II) through an ion-exchange mechanism mainly involving Ca. In addition, chemical and structural data indicated that Fe(II) is fixed at the Ca3 site, six-fold coordinated to water molecules. According to Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) sample surface area the amount of Fe(II) bound by the fibers was comparable with that retrieved for fibrous erionite-Na sample from Rome (OR, USA) for which the ion-exchange process mainly affected Na. This finding provides clear evidence of a strong tendency of Fe(II) to bind to the erionite structure. Furthermore, considering that the woolly erionite-K from Langer County differs markedly from erionite-Na from Rome in the extra-framework cation content, our observations indicate that the Fe binding efficiency is not significantly modulated by the chemical composition. Notably, Fe ion-exchanged and/or accumulated on the fiber surface can generate hydroxyl radicals via the Fenton reaction, thus influencing the potential carcinogenicity of the different erionite species. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Review of Supported Pd-Based Membranes Preparation by Electroless Plating for Ultra-Pure Hydrogen Production
Membranes 2018, 8(1), 5; doi:10.3390/membranes8010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In the last years, hydrogen has been considered as a promising energy vector for the oncoming modification of the current energy sector, mainly based on fossil fuels. Hydrogen can be produced from water with no significant pollutant emissions but in the nearest future
[...] Read more.
In the last years, hydrogen has been considered as a promising energy vector for the oncoming modification of the current energy sector, mainly based on fossil fuels. Hydrogen can be produced from water with no significant pollutant emissions but in the nearest future its production from different hydrocarbon raw materials by thermochemical processes seems to be more feasible. In any case, a mixture of gaseous compounds containing hydrogen is produced, so a further purification step is needed to purify the hydrogen up to required levels accordingly to the final application, i.e., PEM fuel cells. In this mean, membrane technology is one of the available separation options, providing an efficient solution at reasonable cost. Particularly, dense palladium-based membranes have been proposed as an ideal chance in hydrogen purification due to the nearly complete hydrogen selectivity (ideally 100%), high thermal stability and mechanical resistance. Moreover, these membranes can be used in a membrane reactor, offering the possibility to combine both the chemical reaction for hydrogen production and the purification step in a unique device. There are many papers in the literature regarding the preparation of Pd-based membranes, trying to improve the properties of these materials in terms of permeability, thermal and mechanical resistance, poisoning and cost-efficiency. In this review, the most relevant advances in the preparation of supported Pd-based membranes for hydrogen production in recent years are presented. The work is mainly focused in the incorporation of the hydrogen selective layer (palladium or palladium-based alloy) by the electroless plating, since it is one of the most promising alternatives for a real industrial application of these membranes. The information is organized in different sections including: (i) a general introduction; (ii) raw commercial and modified membrane supports; (iii) metal deposition insights by electroless-plating; (iv) trends in preparation of Pd-based alloys, and, finally; (v) some essential concluding remarks in addition to futures perspectives. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Analytical Approaches to Improve Accuracy in Solving the Protein Topology Problem
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 28; doi:10.3390/molecules23020028 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
To take advantage of recent advances in genomics and proteomics it is critical that the three-dimensional physical structure of biological macromolecules be determined. Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) is a promising and improving method for obtaining this data, however resolution is often not sufficient to
[...] Read more.
To take advantage of recent advances in genomics and proteomics it is critical that the three-dimensional physical structure of biological macromolecules be determined. Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) is a promising and improving method for obtaining this data, however resolution is often not sufficient to directly determine the atomic scale structure. Despite this, information for secondary structure locations is detectable. De novo modeling is a computational approach to modeling these macromolecular structures based on cryo-EM derived data. During de novo modeling a mapping between detected secondary structures and the underlying amino acid sequence must be identified. DP-TOSS (Dynamic Programming for determining the Topology Of Secondary Structures) is one tool that attempts to automate the creation of this mapping. By treating the correspondence between the detected structures and the structures predicted from sequence data as a constraint graph problem DP-TOSS achieved good accuracy in its original iteration. In this paper, we propose modifications to the scoring methodology of DP-TOSS to improve its accuracy. Three scoring schemes were applied to DP-TOSS and tested: (i) a skeleton-based scoring function; (ii) a geometry-based analytical function; and (iii) a multi-well potential energy-based function. A test of 25 proteins shows that a combination of these schemes can improve the performance of DP-TOSS to solve the topology determination problem for macromolecule proteins. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Low-Carbon Competitiveness in Asia
Economies 2018, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/economies6010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Environmental degradation and the risks from climate change have strengthened the need for cleaner forms of economic growth. Using patent, trade and output data, we measure the current size of Asia’s low-carbon economy and assess its competitiveness across key sectors. We look at
[...] Read more.
Environmental degradation and the risks from climate change have strengthened the need for cleaner forms of economic growth. Using patent, trade and output data, we measure the current size of Asia’s low-carbon economy and assess its competitiveness across key sectors. We look at three success factors for low-carbon competitiveness at the sector level: the ability to convert to low-carbon products and processes (measured by a specialization in low-carbon innovation), the ability to gain and maintain market share (measured by existing comparative advantages) and a favorable starting point (measured by current output and scale). Using this framework, we identify the ‘climate change mitigation technologies’ that Asian countries specialize in and can potentially scale up. The analysis shows that Asia’s top low-carbon economies are Japan, South Korea and China. The sectors in which Asia is particularly well placed to be globally competitive include efficient lighting, photovoltaics and energy storage. Overall, Asia is a specialist in innovating and exporting climate change mitigation technologies but there are significant regional disparities. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Zearalenone Exposure on the TGF-β1/Smad3 Signaling Pathway and the Expression of Proliferation or Apoptosis Related Genes of Post-Weaning Gilts
Toxins 2018, 10(2), 49; doi:10.3390/toxins10020049 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Zearalenone (ZEA) is an estrogenic toxin produced by Fusarium species, which is widely distributed and posed a great health risk to both humans and farm animals. Reproductive disorders associated with ZEA such as premature puberty, infertility and abortion have plagued the animal husbandry,
[...] Read more.
Zearalenone (ZEA) is an estrogenic toxin produced by Fusarium species, which is widely distributed and posed a great health risk to both humans and farm animals. Reproductive disorders associated with ZEA such as premature puberty, infertility and abortion have plagued the animal husbandry, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. Because transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) signaling pathway is involved in the proliferation and apoptosis of cells, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), B-cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 (BCL-2) and BCL-2 associated X protein (BAX) that all play indispensable roles in the normal development of the uterus, it is hypothesized that ZEA induces reproductive disorders is closely related to the expression of these genes. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of dietary ZEA at the concentrations of 0.5 to 1.5 mg/kg on the mRNA and protein expression of these genes in the uteri of post-weaning gilts and to explore the possible molecular mechanism. Forty healthy post-weaning female piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Large White) aged 38 d were randomly allocated to basal diet supplemented with 0 (Control), 0.5 (ZEA0.5), 1.0 (ZEA1.0), or 1.5 (ZEA1.5) mg/kg purified ZEA, and fed for 35 d. Piglets were euthanized at the end of the experiment and samples were taken and subjected to immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR and Western blot analyses. The relative mRNA expressions of PCNA, BCL-2 and Smad3 in the uteri of post-weaning gilts increased linearly (p < 0.05) and quadratically (p < 0.05) as ZEA concentration increased in the diet. The relative protein expressions of PCNA, BAX, BCL-2, TGF-β1, Smad3, and phosphorylated Smad3 (p-Smad3) in the uteri of post-weaning gilts increased linearly (p < 0.05) and quadratically (p < 0.001) with an increasing level of ZEA. The results showed that uterine cells in the ZEA (0.5–1.5 mg/kg) treatments were in a high proliferation state, indicating that ZEA could accelerate the proliferation of uteri and promote the development of the uteri. At the same time, the results suggested that ZEA activates the TGF-β1/Smad3 signaling pathway, suggesting it plays an important role in accelerating the development of the uterus. Full article

News & Announcements

16 January 2018
New Look MDPI Books

Follow MDPI

loading...

Blog Posts

Selected Special Issues

Selected Collections

Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP)

IOAP participants benefit from discounts and convenient payment options.

Feedback

We are keen to hear what you think about MDPI. To leave us your feedback, suggestions or questions please click here.

See what our authors and guest editors say about us.

About MDPI

MDPI.com is a platform for peer-reviewed, scientific open-access journals operated by MDPI AG, based in Basel, Switzerland. Additional offices are located in Beijing and Wuhan (China) as well as in Barcelona (Spain).

Back to Top