76 research outputs found

    Adjustable Functionalization of Hyper-Cross-Linked Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity for Enhanced CO2 Adsorption and Selectivity over N2 and CH4

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    In this paper, we report the design, synthesis, and characterization of a series of hyper-cross-linked polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs), with high CO2 uptake and good CO2/N2 and CO2/CH4 selectivity, which makes them competitive for carbon capture and biogas upgrading. The starting hydrocarbon polymers’ backbones were functionalized with groups such as −NO2, −NH2, and −HSO3, with the aim of tuning their adsorption selectivity toward CO2 over nitrogen and methane. This led to a significant improvement in the performance in the potential separation of these gases. All polymers were characterized via Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and 13C solid-state NMR to confirm their molecular structures and isothermal gas adsorption to assess their porosity, pore size distribution, and selectivity. The insertion of the functional groups resulted in an overall decrease in the porosity of the starting polymers, which was compensated with an improvement in the final CO2 uptake and selectivity over the chosen gases. The best uptakes were achieved with the sulfonated polymers, which reached up to 298 mg g–1 (6.77 mmol g–1), whereas the best CO2/N2 selectivities were recorded by the aminated polymers, which reached 26.5. Regarding CH4, the most interesting selectivities over CO2 were also obtained with the aminated PIMs, with values up to 8.6. The reason for the improvements was ascribed to a synergetic contribution of porosity, choice of the functional group, and optimal isosteric heat of adsorption of the materials

    Using DNA Metabarcoding to Identify the Floral Composition of Honey:A New Tool for Investigating Honey Bee Foraging Preferences

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    Identifying the floral composition of honey provides a method for investigating the plants that honey bees visit. We compared melissopalynology, where pollen grains retrieved from honey are identified morphologically, with a DNA metabarcoding approach using the rbcL DNA barcode marker and 454-pyrosequencing. We compared nine honeys supplied by beekeepers in the UK. DNA metabarcoding and melissopalynology were able to detect the most abundant floral components of honey. There was 92% correspondence for the plant taxa that had an abundance of over 20%. However, the level of similarity when all taxa were compared was lower, ranging from 22–45%, and there was little correspondence between the relative abundance of taxa found using the two techniques. DNA metabarcoding provided much greater repeatability, with a 64% taxa match compared to 28% with melissopalynology. DNA metabarcoding has the advantage over melissopalynology in that it does not require a high level of taxonomic expertise, a greater sample size can be screened and it provides greater resolution for some plant families. However, it does not provide a quantitative approach and pollen present in low levels are less likely to be detected. We investigated the plants that were frequently used by honey bees by examining the results obtained from both techniques. Plants with a broad taxonomic range were detected, covering 46 families and 25 orders, but a relatively small number of plants were consistently seen across multiple honey samples. Frequently found herbaceous species were Rubus fruticosus, Filipendula ulmaria, Taraxacum officinale, Trifolium spp., Brassica spp. and the non-native, invasive, Impatiens glandulifera. Tree pollen was frequently seen belonging to Castanea sativa, Crataegus monogyna and species of Malus, Salix and Quercus. We conclude that although honey bees are considered to be supergeneralists in their foraging choices, there are certain key species or plant groups that are particularly important in the honey bees environment. The reasons for this require further investigation in order to better understand honey bee nutritional requirements. DNA metabarcoding can be easily and widely used to investigate floral visitation in honey bees and can be adapted for use with other insects. It provides a starting point for investigating how we can better provide for the insects that we rely upon for pollination

    Ecosystem Services and Disservices of Mangrove Forests and Salt Marshes

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    Coastal wetlands such as mangrove forests and salt marshes provide a range of important benefits to people, broadly defined as ecosystem services. These include provisioning services such as fuelwood and food, regulating services such as carbon sequestration and wave attenuation, and various tangible and intangible cultural services. However, strong negative perceptions of coastal wetlands also exist, often driven by the perceived or actual ecosystem disservices that they also produce. These can include odour, a sense of danger, and their real or perceived role in vector and disease transmission (e.g. malaria). This review provides an introduction to the ecosystem services and disservices concepts and highlights the broad range of services and disservices provided by mangrove forests and salt marshes. Importantly, we discuss the key implications of ecosystem services and disservices for the management of these coastal ecosystems. Ultimately, a clear binary does not exist between ecosystem services and disservices; an ecosystem service to one stakeholder can be viewed as a disservice to another, or a service can change seasonally into a disservice, and vice versa. It is not enough to only consider the beneficial ecosystem services that coastal wetlands provide: instead, we need to provide a balanced view of coastal wetlands that incorporates the complexities that exist in how humans relate to and interact with them

    Malaria and Dengue mosquito vectors from Lao PDR show a lack of the rdl mutant allele responsible for cyclodiene insecticide resistance

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    The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor, RDL, plays important roles in neuronal signalling and is the target of highly effective insecticides. A mutation in RDL, commonly A296S, underlies resistance to several insecticides such as cyclodienes. Even though the use of cyclodienes has been banned, the occurrence of mutations substituting A296 is notably high in mosquitoes from several countries. Here we report a survey investigating the prevalence of the Rdl mutant allele in mosquitoes from Laos, a country where mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are health concerns. Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes were collected from twelve provinces in Laos. Adult bioassays on Ae. aegypti (Linnaeus) (Diptera: Culicidae) and Ae. albopictus (Skuse) showed that all the populations tested were susceptible to dieldrin (4%) following WHO protocols. Exon 7 from a total of 791 mosquitoes was sequenced to identify the amino acid encoded for at 296 of RDL. Only one of these mosquitoes, Anopheles maculatus rampae (Diptera: Culicidae) from Attapeu, carried the mutant allele being heterozygous for A296S. We therefore found a general lack of the Rdl mutant allele indicating that mosquitoes from Laos are not exposed to insecticides that act on the GABA receptor compared to mosquitoes in several other countries. Identifying the prevalence of the Rdl mutation may help inform the potential use of alternative insecticides that act on the GABA receptor should there be a need to replace pyrethroids in order to prevent/manage resistance

    Cytokines and inflammatory mediators: 25. Certolizumab Pegol has a Different Profile from the other Anti-TNFS, Including Golimumab, in a Variety of in Vitro Assays

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    Background: Activities of the anti-TNFs, certolizumab pegol (CZP), etanercept (ETA), infliximab (IFX) and adalimumab (ADA), have been compared in a range of in vitro assays. CZP is the only licensed PEGylated Fab' anti-TNF; ETA is a fusion protein with an IgG1 Fc, and IFX and ADA are both antibodies with an IgG1 Fc. Golimumab (GLM) is a monoclonal IgG1 TNF inhibitor recently approved for a number of indications; it is thus of interest to assess the in vitro activity of GLM. In vitro assays previously used were neutralisation of TNF in the L929 bioassay, inhibition of LPS-driven cytokine production by monocytes, induction of apoptosis in activated lymphocytes and monocytes, and induction of neutrophil necrosis. Methods: Neutralisation of human TNF was assessed in the L929 bioassay using a range of concentrations of the anti-TNFs and a fixed concentration of TNF (100 pg/mL). Activity of the anti-TNFs at inhibiting LPS-driven IL-1β secretion by monocytes was assessed by incubating peripheral blood monocytes with various concentrations of the anti-TNF for 1 hour (hr) and then washing the cells. LPS was added for 4 hrs, the supernatants collected and the IL-1β level measured by ELISA. To assess induction of apoptosis, peripheral blood lymphocytes were activated for 2 days with 2 μg/mL CD3/CD28 and monocytes with 300 U/mL IL-4 and GMCSF for 3 days. The effect of the anti-TNFs on apoptosis was assessed by Annexin V staining using flow cytometry 24 hrs later. The effect of the anti-TNFs on neutrophil necrosis was determined by measuring myeloperoxidase release after 12 hrs. An isotype-matched control was used in all assays except the L929 bioassay. Results: IC90 neutralisation activity of the anti-TNFs in the L929 bioassay was 0.3 ng/mL for ETA, 4 ng/mL for GLM, 15 ng/mL for ADA, and 20 ng/mL for IFX, compared with 2.5 ng/mL for CZP. CZP was the most potent inhibitor of LPS-driven IL-1β secretion (IC50 ∼0.1 ng/mL), followed by GLM (20 ng/mL) and IFX (50 ng/mL). GLM, ADA, IFX and ETA induced apoptosis of monocytes and lymphocytes to a similar degree reaching a level of 23% and ∼40% at 100 μg/mL, respectively. CZP caused no increase in apoptosis above the levels seen with the isotype-matched control. In the neutrophil necrosis assay, ADA,IFX and GLM caused ∼70% necrosis at 100 μg/mL, and ETA 48%. CZP did not increase the level of necrosis above the level of the control. Conclusions: Bioactivity of the IgG1 molecules GLM, IFX and ADA in neutralising human TNF was inferior to that of CZP and ETA. CZP, the only PEGylated anti-TNF, had a different profile to the other anti-TNFs as it was the most potent at inhibiting LPS-driven IL-1β production by monocytes, did not induce apoptosis of activated monocytes and lymphocytes, and did not cause neutrophil necrosis. The clinical relevance of these in vitro effects is unknown. Nevertheless, these assays show interesting in vitro differences between the anti-TNFs. Disclosure statement: G.F. and A.N. are employees of UC

    Matter-wave Atomic Gradiometer Interferometric Sensor (MAGIS-100)

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    MAGIS-100 is a next-generation quantum sensor under construction at Fermilab that aims to explore fundamental physics with atom interferometry over a 100-meter baseline. This novel detector will search for ultralight dark matter, test quantum mechanics in new regimes, and serve as a technology pathfinder for future gravitational wave detectors in a previously unexplored frequency band. It combines techniques demonstrated in state-of-the-art 10-meter-scale atom interferometers with the latest technological advances of the world's best atomic clocks. MAGIS-100 will provide a development platform for a future kilometer-scale detector that would be sufficiently sensitive to detect gravitational waves from known sources. Here we present the science case for the MAGIS concept, review the operating principles of the detector, describe the instrument design, and study the detector systematics.Comment: 65 pages, 18 figure

    Climate change drives migratory range shift via individual plasticity in shearwaters.

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    How individual animals respond to climate change is key to whether populations will persist or go extinct. Yet, few studies investigate how changes in individual behavior underpin these population-level phenomena. Shifts in the distributions of migratory animals can occur through adaptation in migratory behaviors, but there is little understanding of how selection and plasticity contribute to population range shift. Here, we use long-term geolocator tracking of Balearic shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus) to investigate how year-to-year changes in individual birds' migrations underpin a range shift in the post-breeding migration. We demonstrate a northward shift in the post-breeding range and show that this is brought about by individual plasticity in migratory destination, with individuals migrating further north in response to changes in sea-surface temperature. Furthermore, we find that when individuals migrate further, they return faster, perhaps minimizing delays in return to the breeding area. Birds apparently judge the increased distance that they will need to migrate via memory of the migration route, suggesting that spatial cognitive mechanisms may contribute to this plasticity and the resulting range shift. Our study exemplifies the role that individual behavior plays in populations' responses to environmental change and highlights some of the behavioral mechanisms that might be key to understanding and predicting species persistence in response to climate change

    Act now against new NHS competition regulations: an open letter to the BMA and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges calls on them to make a joint public statement of opposition to the amended section 75 regulations.

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    The development and validation of a scoring tool to predict the operative duration of elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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    Background: The ability to accurately predict operative duration has the potential to optimise theatre efficiency and utilisation, thus reducing costs and increasing staff and patient satisfaction. With laparoscopic cholecystectomy being one of the most commonly performed procedures worldwide, a tool to predict operative duration could be extremely beneficial to healthcare organisations. Methods: Data collected from the CholeS study on patients undergoing cholecystectomy in UK and Irish hospitals between 04/2014 and 05/2014 were used to study operative duration. A multivariable binary logistic regression model was produced in order to identify significant independent predictors of long (> 90 min) operations. The resulting model was converted to a risk score, which was subsequently validated on second cohort of patients using ROC curves. Results: After exclusions, data were available for 7227 patients in the derivation (CholeS) cohort. The median operative duration was 60 min (interquartile range 45–85), with 17.7% of operations lasting longer than 90 min. Ten factors were found to be significant independent predictors of operative durations > 90 min, including ASA, age, previous surgical admissions, BMI, gallbladder wall thickness and CBD diameter. A risk score was then produced from these factors, and applied to a cohort of 2405 patients from a tertiary centre for external validation. This returned an area under the ROC curve of 0.708 (SE = 0.013, p  90 min increasing more than eightfold from 5.1 to 41.8% in the extremes of the score. Conclusion: The scoring tool produced in this study was found to be significantly predictive of long operative durations on validation in an external cohort. As such, the tool may have the potential to enable organisations to better organise theatre lists and deliver greater efficiencies in care

    Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome

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    The sequence of the human genome encodes the genetic instructions for human physiology, as well as rich information about human evolution. In 2001, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium reported a draft sequence of the euchromatic portion of the human genome. Since then, the international collaboration has worked to convert this draft into a genome sequence with high accuracy and nearly complete coverage. Here, we report the result of this finishing process. The current genome sequence (Build 35) contains 2.85 billion nucleotides interrupted by only 341 gaps. It covers ∼99% of the euchromatic genome and is accurate to an error rate of ∼1 event per 100,000 bases. Many of the remaining euchromatic gaps are associated with segmental duplications and will require focused work with new methods. The near-complete sequence, the first for a vertebrate, greatly improves the precision of biological analyses of the human genome including studies of gene number, birth and death. Notably, the human enome seems to encode only 20,000-25,000 protein-coding genes. The genome sequence reported here should serve as a firm foundation for biomedical research in the decades ahead