421 research outputs found

    An Analysis of the Role of Management in Nuclear Disasters using Text Mining

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    This study uses text mining as a method of examining the role of management and culture in three disasters in the nuclear energy sector, Three Mile Island nuclear reactor explosion (USA 1979), Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion (Ukraine then USSR 1986) and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (Japan 2011). The findings identify the role of management in shaping the quality of the crisis and disaster mitigation and preparedness management process employed by organisations. The implications of the findings are that it is imperative for organisations to develop and employ effective crisis/disaster management practice

    Copper accumulation in vineyard soils: Rhizosphere processes and agronomic practices to limit its toxicity.

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    Viticulture represents an important agricultural practice in many countries worldwide. Yet, the continuous use of fungicides has caused copper (Cu) accumulation in soils, which represent a major environmental and toxicological concern. Despite being an important micronutrient, Cu can be a potential toxicant at high concentrations since it may cause morphological, anatomical and physiological changes in plants, decreasing both food productivity and quality. Rhizosphere processes can, however, actively control the uptake and translocation of Cu in plants. In particular, root exudates affecting the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the rhizosphere, might reduce the availability of Cu in the soil and hence its absorption. In addition, this review will aim at discussing the advantages and disadvantages of agronomic practices, such as liming, the use of pesticides, the application of organic matter, biochar and coal fly ashes, the inoculation with bacteria and/or mycorrhizal fungi and the intercropping, in alleviating Cu toxicity symptoms

    A smart and sustainable future for viticulture is rooted in soil: How to face cu toxicity

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    In recent decades, agriculture has faced the fundamental challenge of needing to increase food production and quality in order to meet the requirements of a growing global population. Similarly, viticulture has also been undergoing change. Several countries are reducing their vineyard areas, and several others are increasing them. In addition, viticulture is moving towards higher altitudes and latitudes due to climate change. Furthermore, global warming is also exacerbating the incidence of fungal diseases in vineyards, forcing farmers to apply agrochemicals to preserve production yields and quality. The repeated application of copper (Cu)-based fungicides in con-ventional and organic farming has caused a stepwise accumulation of Cu in vineyard soils, posing environmental and toxicological threats. High Cu concentrations in soils can have multiple impacts on agricultural systems. In fact, it can (i) alter the chemical-physical properties of soils, thus com-promising their fertility; (ii) induce toxicity phenomena in plants, producing detrimental effects on growth and productivity; and (iii) affect the microbial biodiversity of soils, thereby influencing some microbial-driven soil processes. However, several indirect (e.g., management of rhizosphere processes through intercropping and/or fertilization strategies) and direct (e.g., exploitation of vine resistant genotypes) strategies have been proposed to restrain Cu accumulation in soils. Furthermore, the application of precision and smart viticulture paradigms and their related technologies could allow a timely, localized and balanced distribution of agrochemicals to achieve the required goals. The present review highlights the necessity of applying multidisciplinary approaches to meet the requisites of sustainability demanded of modern viticulture

    Relationship between pulmonary function and physical activity in daily life in patients with COPD

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    SummaryBackgroundIt remains unclear how closely the physical inactivity observed in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) relates to the severity of their airflow limitation. Furthermore, it is unknown whether spirometric variables such as maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV) and inspiratory capacity (IC) reflect the level of physical activity in daily life better than the forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), the main spirometric variable used to determine the severity of COPD. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between physical activity in daily life and the severity of COPD assessed by different spirometric variables: MVV, IC and FEV1.MethodsForty patients with COPD (21 men; 68±7 years; FEV1 41±14% predicted) were performed spirometry and assessment of the physical activity level in daily life using an accelerometer (SenseWear® Armband).ResultsMVV was significantly correlated to total energy expenditure per day, energy expenditure per day in activities demanding more than 3 metabolic equivalents (METs), number of steps per day and time spent per day in moderate and vigorous activities (0.42≤r≤0.52; p<0.01 for all). Correlation of these variables with IC and especially FEV1 was more modest, borderline or not statistically significant. There was no difference in time spent in vigorous activities among patients classified according to the FEV1-based GOLD stages II, III and IV, differently than that observed when patients were classified in groups according to their MVV.ConclusionIn COPD patients, MVV better reflects the physical activity level in daily life than FEV1 and IC

    Iron fertilization to enhance tolerance mechanisms to copper toxicityof ryegrass plants used as cover crop in vineyards.

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    Ryegrass (Lolium perenneL.) is a plant species that can express mechanisms of tolerance to copper (Cu)toxicity. Therefore, the agronomical approach of intercropping system with ryegrass may represent apromising tool to limit the onset of Cu toxicity symptoms in the other intercropped plants species,particularly when an inadequate nutrient availability like iron (Fe) shortage is also concurrently present.This study aimed at assessing the mechanisms involved in the mitigation of Cu phytotoxicity and thestress effects on plant growth, root morphology and nutrition of ryegrass fertilized with two different Fesources. To this purpose, seedlings of ryegrass were hydroponically grown for 14 days in controlledconditions with 4 different levels of Cu (0.2, 5.0, 25 and 50mM) and with either 100mM Fe-EDDHA or Fe-EDTA. Results show that high levels of Cu availability enhanced the root content of organic anions as wellas the root exudation. Different Fe fertilizations at the condition of 50mM Cu induced changes in rootphenolic compounds, citrate and fumarate contents and the exudation pattern of phenolic compounds.Differences in plant growth were not observed between the two Fe sources, although Cu concentration inplant tissue fed with Fe-EDTA was lower in the condition of 50mM Cu. The enhanced root exudation ofCu-complexing organic compounds (including phenolics) in ryegrass plants when exposed to excessiveCu availability could be at the basis of the ameliorated edaphic rhizosphere conditions (lower Cuavailability). For this reason, from the agronomical point of view ryegrass plants used in intercroppingsystems with crops like vine plants could represent a promising strategy to control Cu toxicity invineyard soils. Further studies under thefield conditions must be taken to support presentfindings.©2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

    Heavy ion irradiation of crystalline water ice

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    Under cosmic irradiation, the interstellar water ice mantles evolve towards a compact amorphous state. Crystalline ice amorphisation was previously monitored mainly in the keV to hundreds of keV ion energies. We experimentally investigate heavy ion irradiation amorphisation of crystalline ice, at high energies closer to true cosmic rays, and explore the water-ice sputtering yield. We irradiated thin crystalline ice films with MeV to GeV swift ion beams, produced at the GANIL accelerator. The ice infrared spectral evolution as a function of fluence is monitored with in-situ infrared spectroscopy (induced amorphisation of the initial crystalline state into a compact amorphous phase). The crystalline ice amorphisation cross-section is measured in the high electronic stopping-power range for different temperatures. At large fluence, the ice sputtering is measured on the infrared spectra, and the fitted sputtering-yield dependence, combined with previous measurements, is quadratic over three decades of electronic stopping power. The final state of cosmic ray irradiation for porous amorphous and crystalline ice, as monitored by infrared spectroscopy, is the same, but with a large difference in cross-section, hence in time scale in an astrophysical context. The cosmic ray water-ice sputtering rates compete with the UV photodesorption yields reported in the literature. The prevalence of direct cosmic ray sputtering over cosmic-ray induced photons photodesorption may be particularly true for ices strongly bonded to the ice mantles surfaces, such as hydrogen-bonded ice structures or more generally the so-called polar ices.Comment: 22pages, 11 figures, accepted in A&
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