1,914 research outputs found

    Biocrude production by hydrothermal liquefaction of olive residue

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    Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) converts biomass into a crude bio-oil by thermally and hydrolytically decomposing the biomacromolecules into smaller compounds. The crude bio-oil, or biocrude, is an energy dense product that can potentially be used as a substitute for petroleum crudes. Liquefaction also produces gases, solids, and water-soluble compounds that can be converted to obtain valuable chemical species or can be used as energy vectors. The process is usually performed in water at 250°C-370°C and under pressures of 4-22 MPa: depending on the adopted pressure and temperature the process can be carried out in sub-critical or super-critical conditions. In the conditions reached in hydrothermal reactors, water changes its properties and acts as a catalyst for the biomass decomposition reactions. One of the main advantages of this process is that the energy expensive biomass-drying step, required in all the thermochemical processes, is not necessary, allowing the use of biomass with high moisture content such as microalgae or olive residue and grape mark. In this work, the feasibility of a hydrothermal process conducted under sub-critical conditions to obtain a bio-oil from the residue of olive oil production is investigated. The experimental tests were performed at 320°C and about 13 MPa, using a biomass to water weight ratio of 1:5. The influence of two different catalysts on the bio-oil yield and quality was investigated: CaO and a zeolite (faujasite-Na). CaO allows the increase of bio-oil yields, while the selected zeolite enhances the deoxygenation reactions, thus improving the bio-oil quality in terms of heating value

    Use of low-cost materials for tar abatement process

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    In the present work char, olivine and mayenite were used as bed materials to study ability to remove tar produced in biomass thermal processing. The tar gases formed from the pyrolysis reactions of the olive pomace biomass were forced to pass through the bed material. Nitrogen was used as carrier gas. The temperature of the bed was set at 660 °C and no oxidizing agent was added during the tests. The char was produced from the pyrolysis of olive pomace biomass. Olivine was used without any pre-treatment. Mayenite was synthesized in laboratory using CaCO3 and Al2O3 as precursors. Among the tested materials, mayenite showed the best tar removal capacity and stability, with a total tar removal of about 60% after 60 min time on stream, while in the case of char and olivine the attained value was 15%. The measured average nitrogen-free gas flow value in the tests carried out with mayenite was 0.84 NL min-1, whereas in the case of char and olivine the obtained average gas flow values were 0.65 and 0.55 NL min-1, respectively. Accordingly, the higher average hydrogen amount was measured in the tests using mayenite as bed material (36%)

    Bindarit inhibits human coronary artery smooth muscle cell proliferation, migration and phenotypic switching

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    Bindarit, a selective inhibitor of monocyte chemotactic proteins (MCPs) synthesis, reduces neointimal formation in animal models of vascular injury and recently has been shown to inhibit in-stent late loss in a placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial. However, the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of bindarit in controlling neointimal formation/restenosis have not been fully elucidated. Therefore, we investigated the effect of bindarit on human coronary smooth muscle cells activation, drawing attention to the phenotypic modulation process, focusing on contractile proteins expression as well as proliferation and migration. The expression of contractile proteins was evaluated by western blot analysis on cultured human coronary smooth muscle cells stimulated with TNF-α (30 ng/mL) or fetal bovine serum (5%). Bindarit (100-300 µM) reduced the embryonic form of smooth muscle myosin heavy chain while increased smooth muscle α-actin and calponin in both TNF-α- and fetal bovine serum-stimulated cells. These effects were associated with the inhibition of human coronary smooth muscle cell proliferation/migration and both MCP-1 and MCP-3 production. The effect of bindarit on smooth muscle cells phenotypic switching was confirmed in vivo in the rat balloon angioplasty model. Bindarit (200 mg/Kg/day) significantly reduced the expression of the embryonic form of smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, and increased smooth muscle α-actin and calponin in the rat carodid arteries subjected to endothelial denudation. Our results demonstrate that bindarit induces the differentiated state of human coronary smooth muscle cells, suggesting a novel underlying mechanisms by which this drug inhibits neointimal formation

    Ophthalmic Solutions with a Broad Antiviral Action: Evaluation of Their Potential against Ocular Herpetic Infections

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    HSV-1 can be associated with severe and recurrent eye infections characterized by a strong inflammatory response that leads to blepharoconjunctivitis, epithelial and stromal keratitis, and retinal necrosis. The incidence of HSV-1 keratitis is 1.5 million every year worldwide, including more than 40,000 new cases exhibiting serious visual failures. Generally, the therapy uses antiviral drugs to promote healing; however, there are currently no compounds that are able to completely eradicate the virus. In addition, the phenomenon of resistance is rapidly spreading among HSV-1 strains, creating mutants developing resistance to the common antiviral drugs; therefore, deep research on this issue is warranted. The efficacy of different ophthalmic solutions already on the market was evaluated for reducing HSV-1 infection. Different plaque assays were set up on epithelial cells, revealing that two ophthalmic solutions were able to inhibit viral replication in the early stages of infection. The data were further confirmed by molecular tests analyzing the expression levels of the principal genes involved in HSV-1 infection, and a strong reduction was observed after only 1 min of eye-drop treatment. Collectively, these results suggested the use of ophthalmic solutions as potential antiviral options for the treatment of ocular herpetic infection

    Bioaccumulation of dioxin-like substances and selected brominated flame retardant congeners in the fat and livers of black pigs farmed within the Nebrodi Regional Park of Sicily.

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    An observational study was designed to assess the bioaccumulation of polychlorodibenzodioxins (PCDD) and polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDF), dioxin-like polychlorobiphenyls (DL-PCB), and 13 selected polybromodiphenylethers (PBDE) in autochthonous pigs reared in the Nebrodi Park of Sicily (Italy). Perirenal fat and liver samples were drawn from animals representative of three different outdoor farming systems and from wild pigs and then analyzed for the chemicals mentioned previously. The highest concentrations of PCDD + PCDF and DL-PCB were detected in the fat (0.45 and 0.35 pg World Health Organization toxicity equivalents [WHO-TE] per g of fat base [FB], respectively) and livers (12.7 and 3.28 pg WHO-TE per g FB) of the wild group, whereas the free-ranging group showed the lowest levels (0.05 and 0.03 pg WHO-TE per g FB in fat and 0.78 and 0.27 pg WHO-TE per g FB in livers). The sum of PBDE congeners was highest in wild pigs (0.52 ng/g FB in fat and 5.64 ng/g FB in livers) and lowest in the farmed group (0.14 ng/g FB in fat and 0.28 ng/g FB in livers). The contamination levels in fat and livers of outdoor pigs had mean concentration values lower than those levels reported for intensively indoor-farmed animals. In wild pigs, bioaccumulation was associated with their free grazing in areas characterized by bush fires. The results of this study aid to emphasize the quality of the environment as a factor to guarantee food safety in typical processed pig meat products, specifically from outdoor and extensive Nebrodi farming systems

    Treatment with FRAX486 rescues neurobehavioral and metabolic alterations in a female mouse model of CDKL5 deficiency disorder

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    Introduction: CDKL5 deficiency disorder (CDD) is a rare neurodevelopmental condition, primarily affecting girls for which no cure currently exists. Neuronal morphogenesis and plasticity impairments as well as metabolic dysfunctions occur in CDD patients. The present study explored the potential therapeutic value for CDD of FRAX486, a brain-penetrant molecule that was reported to selectively inhibit group I p21-activated kinases (PAKs), serine/threonine kinases critically involved in the regulation of neuronal morphology and glucose homeostasis.Methods: The effects of treatment with FRAX486 on CDD-related alterations were assessed in vitro (100 nM for 48h) on primary hippocampal cultures from Cdkl5-knockout male mice (Cdkl5-KO) and in vivo (20 mg/Kg, s.c. for 5 days) on Cdkl5-KO heterozygous females (Cdkl5-Het).Results: The in vitro treatment with FRAX486 completely rescued the abnormal neuronal maturation and the number of PSD95-positive puncta in Cdkl5-KO mouse neurons. In vivo, FRAX486 normalized the general health status, the hyperactive profile and the fear learning defects of fully symptomatic Cdkl5-Het mice. Systemically, FRAX486 treatment normalized the levels of reactive oxidizing species in the whole blood and the fasting-induced hypoglycemia displayed by CdklS-Het mice. In the hippocampus of Cdkl5-Het mice, treatment with FRAX486 rescued spine maturation and PSD95 expression and restored the abnormal PAKs phosphorylation at sites which are critical for their activation (P-PAK-Ser144/141/139) or for the control cytoskeleton remodeling (P-PAK1-Thr212).Conclusions: Present results provide evidence that PAKs may represent innovative therapeutic targets for CDD

    Coffee prevents fatty liver disease induced by a high-fat diet by modulating pathways of the gut-liver axis

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    Coffee consumption is inversely associated with the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A gap in the literature still exists concerning the intestinal mechanisms that are involved in the protective effect of coffee consumption towards NAFLD. In this study, twenty-four C57BL/6J mice were divided into three groups each receiving a standard diet, a high-fat diet (HFD) or an HFD plus decaffeinated coffee (HFD+COFFEE) for 12 weeks. Coffee supplementation reduced HFD-induced liver macrovesicular steatosis (P\ua0<\ua00\ub701) and serum cholesterol (P\ua0<\ua00\ub7001), alanine aminotransferase and glucose (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705). Accordingly, liver PPAR- \u3b1 (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705) and acyl-CoA oxidase-1 (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705) as well as duodenal ATP-binding cassette (ABC) subfamily A1 (ABCA1) and subfamily G1 (ABCG1) (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705) mRNA expressions increased with coffee consumption. Compared with HFD animals, HFD+COFFEE mice had more undigested lipids in the caecal content and higher free fatty acid receptor-1 mRNA expression in the duodenum and colon. Furthermore, they showed an up-regulation of duodenal and colonic zonulin-1 (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705), duodenal claudin (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705) and duodenal peptide YY (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705) mRNA as well as a higher abundance of Alcaligenaceae in the faeces (P\ua0<\ua00\ub705). HFD+COFFEE mice had an energy intake comparable with HFD-fed mice but starting from the eighth intervention week they gained significantly less weight over time. Data altogether showed that coffee supplementation prevented HFD-induced NAFLD in mice by reducing hepatic fat deposition and metabolic derangement through modification of pathways underpinning liver fat oxidation, intestinal cholesterol efflux, energy metabolism and gut permeability. The hepatic and metabolic benefits induced by coffee were accompanied by changes in the gut microbiota

    Esketamine in treatment-resistant depression patients comorbid with substance-use disorder: A viewpoint on its safety and effectiveness in a subsample of patients from the REAL-ESK study

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    : Esketamine, the S-enantiomer of ketamine, has recently emerged as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), showing both rapid antidepressant action and good efficacy and high safety. It is also indicated for the acute short-term treatment of psychiatric emergency due to major depressive disorder (MDD) and for depressive symptoms in adults with MDD with acute suicidal thoughts/behavior. We here provide preliminary insights on esketamine nasal spray (ESK-NS) effectiveness and safety among patients with a substance use disorder (SUD) within the sample of patients with TRD collected for the observational, retrospective, multicentre REAL-ESK study. Twenty-six subjects were retrospectively selected according to the presence of a SUD in comorbidity. Subjects enrolled completed the three different follow-up phases (T0/baseline, T1/after one month, and T2/after three months) and there were no dropouts. A decrease in Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale (MADRS) scores was recorded, thus highlighting the antidepressant efficacy of ESK-NS (MADRS decreased from T0 to T1, t = 6.533, df=23, p<0.001, and from T1 to T2, t = 2.029, df=20, p = 0.056). Considering tolerability and safety issues, one or more side effects were reported by 19/26 subjects (73%) after treatment administration. All reported side effects were time-dependent and did not cause significant sequelae; among them, dissociative symptoms (38%) and sedation (26%) were the most frequently reported. Finally, no cases of abuse or misuse of ESK-NS were reported. Despite study limitations related to the inherent nature of the study, a limited number of patients, and a short follow-up period, ESK-NS showed to be effective and safe in patients diagnosed with TRD comorbid with a SUD

    The Tracking performance for the IDEA drift chamber

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    The IDEA detector concept for a future e+^{+}e−^{-} collider adopts an ultra-low mass drift chamber as a central tracking system. The He-based ultra-low mass drift chamber is designed to provide efficient tracking, a high-precision momentum measurement, and excellent particle identification by exploiting the cluster counting technique. This paper describes the expected tracking performance, obtained with full and fast simulation, for track reconstruction on detailed simulated physics events. Moreover, the details of the construction parameters of the drift chamber, including the inspection of new material for the wires, new techniques for soldering the wires, the development of an improved schema for the drift cell, and the choice of a gas mixture, will be described
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