218 research outputs found

    Optimization of raw ewes’ milk high-pressure pre-treatment for improved production of raw milk cheese

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    Serra da Estrela protected designation of origin (PDO) cheese is manufactured with raw milk from Bordaleira and/or Churra Mondegueira da Serra da Estrela sheep breeds. Several socioenvironmental shortcomings have reduced production capacity; hence, treatments that may contribute to its efficient transformation into cheese are welcome. High-pressure processing (HPP) milk pre-treatment may contribute to a cheese yield increment, yet optimization of processing conditions is warranted. An initial wide-scope screening experiment allowed for pinpointing pressure intensity, holding time under pressure and time after HPP as the most important factors influencing curd yield. Based on this, a more targeted screening experiment allowed for selecting the range of experimental conditions to be used for an experimental design study that revealed an HPP treatment at 121 MPa for 30 min as the optimum for milk processing to improve curd yield (>9%) and effectively maintain the beneficial cheese microbiota; the optimum was validated in a final experimental framework.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Electrochemical applications of electrolytes based on ionic liquids

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    The potential utility of room temperature ionic liquids as electrolytes in current electrochemical applications has been explored. Hence, the electrochemical behavior of [Ni(tmc)]Br2 complex at a glassy carbon electrode in the absence or in the presence of unsaturated halides in the ionic liquids, 1-ethyl-3- methylimidazolium ethylsulfate, [C2mim][C2SO4] and N,N,Ntrimethyl- N-(2-hydroxyethyl) ammonium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide, [N1 1 1 2(OH)][NTf2], has been examined by cyclic voltammetry. It was observed that [Ni(tmc)]2+ complex is reduced in a reversible one-electron step and the electrogenerated [Ni(tmc)]+ complex catalytically reduces the carbon-halogen bond of unsaturated halides. The potencial use of natural ionic conducting polymer matrixes was also investigated. Samples of natural macromolecules-based electrolytes with the ionic liquid 1-ethyl- 3-methylimidazolium ethylsulfate, [C2mim][C2SO4], were prepared and characterized. The preliminary studies carried out with electrochromic devices (ECDs) incorporating optimized compositions have confirmed that these materials may perform as satisfactory multifunctional component layers in the field of ECD-based devices.Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT

    Predicting olive phenology in Portugal in a warming climate

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    Prediction of flowering of olive trees should account for chilling requirements, using an appropriate chilling unit for the accounting of chilling accumulation. After chilling requirements are satisfied, dormancy break takes place. Thereafter, the trees enter the forcing phase, in which the thermal time approach is used, but an appropriate base temperature must be determined. Such a model was developed, calibrated and validated for many olive cultivars (De Melo-Abreu et al., 2004). After flowering, the occurrence of developmental stages may be predicted using a thermal time approach, but for warm regions a saw-tooth model, which is a model that reduces the effect of supra-optimal temperatures, is mandatory (Garcia-Huidobro et al., :1.982). According to the simulations of the model HadCM3, developed by the Hadley Centre, global climate warming will result in average temperature anomalies in winter, in Continental Portugal, of about 2°C, in SRES scenarios 81 and 82, 3°C in scenario A2, and 4 °C in scenario A:tFI, by the end of XXI century. (Miranda et al., 2006). In this study, we discuss the prediction of flowering and subsequent phenological stages and calculate and map the times of occurrence of flowering under three warming scenarios. No flowering or abnormal flowering events are also predicted.Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under Project Futurolive (PTDC/AGR-AAM/:1.04562/2008)

    Quantitative modelling of hip fracture trends in 14 European countries: testing variations of a shared reversal over time

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    Qualitative similarities between hip fracture trends in different countries suggests variations of the same epidemic. We tested a single statistical shape to describe time trends in Europe, while allowing for country-level variability. Using data from 14 countries, we modelled incidence rates over time using linear mixed-effects models, including the fixed effects of calendar year and age. Random effects were tested to quantify country-level variability in background rates, timing of trend reversal and tempo of reversal. Mixture models were applied to identify clusters of countries defined by common behavioural features. A quadratic function of time, with random effects for background rates and timing of trend reversal, adjusted well to the observed data. Predicted trend reversal occurred on average in 1999 in women (peak incidence about 600 per 100 000) and 2000 in men (about 300 per 100 000). Mixture modelling of country-level effects suggested three clusters for women and two for men. In both sexes, Scandinavia showed higher rates but earlier trend reversals, whereas later trend reversals but lower peak incidences were found in Southern Europe and most of Central Europe. Our finding of a similar overall reversal pattern suggests that different countries show variations of a shared hip fracture epidemic

    Unveiling the Influence of Carbon Nanotube Diameter and Surface Modification on the Anchorage of L-Asparaginase

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    L-asparaginase (ASNase, EC 3.5.1.1) is an amidohydrolase enzyme known for its anti-cancer properties, with an ever-increasing commercial value. Immobilization has been studied to improve the enzyme’s efficiency, enabling its recovery and reuse, enhancing its stability and half-life time. In this work, the effect of pH, contact time and enzyme concentration during the ASNase physical adsorption onto pristine and functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs and f-MWCNTs, respectively) with different size diameters was investigated by maximizing ASNase relative recovered activity (RRA) and immobilization yield (IY). Immobilized ASNase reusability and kinetic parameters were also evaluated. The ASNase immobilization onto f-MWCNTs offered higher loading capacities, enhanced reusability, and improved enzyme affinity to the substrate, attaining RRA and IY of 100 and 99%, respectively, at the best immobilization conditions (0.4 mg/mL of ASNase, pH 8, 30 min of contact time). In addition, MWCNTs diameter proved to play a critical role in determining the enzyme binding affinity, as evidenced by the best results attained with f-MWCNTs with diameters of 10–20 nm and 20–40 nm. This study provided essential information on the impact of MWCNTs diameter and their surface functionalization on ASNase efficiency, which may be helpful for the development of innovative biomedical devices or food pre-treatment solutionspublishe

    The prevalence of self-reported underuse of medications due to cost for the elderly: Results from seven European urban communities

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    Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of self-reported underuse of medications due to procurement costs amongst older persons from seven European urban communities. Methods: The data were collected in a cross-sectional study (“ABUEL, Elder abuse: A multinational prevalence survey”) in 2009. Randomly selected people aged 60–84 years (n = 4,467) from seven urban communities: Stuttgart (Germany), Athens (Greece), Ancona (Italy), Kaunas (Lithuania), Porto (Portugal), Granada (Spain) and Stockholm (Sweden) were interviewed. Response rate - 45.2 %. Ethical permission was received in each country. Results: The results indicate that 3.6 % (n = 162) of the respondents self-reported refraining from buying prescribed medications due to cost. The highest prevalence of this problem was identified in Lithuania (15.7 %, n = 99) and Portugal (4.3 %, n = 28). Other countries reported lower percentages of refraining from buying medications (Germany – 2.0 %, Italy – 1.6 %, Sweden – 1.0 %, Greece – 0.6 %, Spain – 0.3 %). Females refrained more often from buying medications than males (2.6 % vs. 4.4 %, p < 0.0001). The prevalence of this refraining tended to increase with economic hardship. Discussion: These differences between countries can be only partly described by the financing of health-care systems. In spite of the presence of cost reimbursement mechanisms, patients need to make co-payments (or in some cases to pay the full price) for prescribed medications. This indicates that the purchasing power of people in 10.1186/s12913-015-1089-4 the particular country can play a major role and be related with the economic situation in the country. Lithuania, which has reported the highest refrain rates, had the lowest gross domestic product (at the time of conducting this study) of all participating countries in the study. Conclusions: Refraining from buying the prescribed medications due to cost is a problem for women and men in respect to ageing people in Europe. Prevalence varies by country, sex, and economic hardship.The ABUEL was supported by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC) (Grant No., A/2007123) and participating institutions

    First Report of 13 Species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Mainland Portugal and Azores by Morphological and Molecular Characterization

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    The genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) contains important vectors of animal and human diseases, including bluetongue, African horse sickness and filariosis. A major outbreak of bluetongue occurred in mainland Portugal in 2004, forty eight years after the last recorded case. A national Entomological Surveillance Plan was initiated in mainland Portugal, Azores and the Madeira archipelagos in 2005 in order to better understand the disease and facilitate policy decisions. During the survey, the most prevalent Culicoides species in mainland Portugal was C. imicola (75.3%) and species belonging to the Obsoletus group (6.5%). The latter were the most prevalent in Azores archipelago, accounting for 96.7% of the total species identified. The Obsoletus group was further characterized by multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction to species level showing that only two species of this group were present: C. obsoletus sensu strictu (69.6%) and C. scoticus (30.4%). Nine species of Culicoides were detected for the first time in mainland Portugal: C. alazanicus, C. bahrainensis, C. deltus, C. lupicaris, C. picturatus, C. santonicus, C. semimaculatus, C. simulator and C. subfagineus. In the Azores, C. newsteadi and C. circumscriptus were identified for the first time from some islands, and bluetongue vectors belonging to the Obsoletus group (C. obsoletus and C. scoticus) were found to be widespread
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