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  • 1
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-02-15
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 202: Floating Photocatalysts for Passive Solar Degradation of Naphthenic Acids in Oil Sands Process-Affected Water Water doi: 10.3390/w10020202 Authors: Tim Leshuk Harish Krishnakumar Diogo de Oliveira Livera Frank Gu Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), generated from bitumen extraction in the Canadian oil sands, may require treatment to enable safe discharge to receiving watersheds, as dissolved naphthenic acids (NAs) and other acid extractable organics (AEO), identified as the primary toxic components of OSPW, are environmentally persistent and poorly biodegradable. However, conventional advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are impractically expensive to treat the volumes of OSPW stockpiled in the Athabasca region. Here we prepared floating photocatalysts (FPCs) by immobilizing TiO2 on glass microbubbles, such that the composite particles float at the air-water interface for passive solar photocatalysis. The FPCs were demonstrated to outperform P25 TiO2 nanoparticles in degrading AEO in raw OSPW under natural sunlight and gentle mixing conditions. The FPCs were also found to be recyclable for multiple uses through simple flotation and skimming. This paper thus demonstrates the concept of a fully passive AOP that may be scalable to oil sands water treatment challenges, achieving efficient NA reduction solely through the energy provided by sunlight and natural mixing processes (wind and waves).
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 2
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    Wiley-Blackwell
    Publication Date: 2017-07-22
    Description: It is believed that climate change will influence most of interactions that sustain life on Earth. Among these, the recruitment exerted by plants in their roots vicinity can change, leading to differential assemblages of microbiomes in the rhizosphere. We approached this issue analyzing the variations in the composition of bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of sugarcane cultivated under two concentrations of atmospheric CO 2 (350 or 700 ppm). In addition to the analysis of bacterial community, the use of DNA-SIP allowed the comparison of bacterial groups assimilating roots exudates (based on 13 C-labeled DNA) in both conditions, in a period of 8 days after the CO 2 pulse. The separation of 13 C-DNA indicated the low but increasing frequency of labeling in the rhizosphere, as averages of 0.6, 2.4 and 5.0% of total DNA was labeled after 2, 4 and 8 days after the 13 CO 2 pulse, respectively. Based on large-scale sequencing of the V6 region in the gene 16S rRNA, we found an increase in the bacterial diversity in the 13 C-DNA along the sampling period. We also describe the occurrence of distinct bacterial groups assimilating roots exudates from sugarcane cultivated under each CO 2 concentration. Bacilli, Gammaproteobacteria and Clostridia showed high affinity for the C-sources released by sugarcane under 350 ppm of CO 2 , while under elevated concentration of CO 2 , the assimilation of roots exudates was prevalently made by members of Bacilli and Betaproteobacteria. The communities became more similar along time (4 and 8 days after CO 2 pulse), in both concentrations of CO 2 , electing Actinobacteria, Sphingobacteriia and Alphaproteobacteria as the major cross-feeders on sugarcane exudates. In summary, we described the bacterial groups with higher affinity to assimilate roots exudates in the rhizosphere of sugarcane, and also demonstrated that the rhizosphere community can be differentially assembled in a future scenario with increased contents of CO 2 . This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Print ISSN: 1757-1693
    Electronic ISSN: 1757-1707
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by Wiley-Blackwell
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  • 3
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    Wiley-Blackwell
    Publication Date: 2017-10-05
    Description: Internal organs of ectotherms have melanin-containing cells that confer different degrees of coloration to them. Previous experimental studies analyzed their developmental origin, role in immunity, and hormonal regulation. For example, melanin increases with ultraviolet radiation (UV) and temperature in frogs and fish. However, little is known about how environmental variables influence the amount of coloration on organs among amphibian species over a large spatial extent. Here, we tested how climatic variables (temperature, UV, and photoperiod) influence the coloration of internal organs of anurans. We recorded the level of melanin pigmentation using four categories on 12 internal organs and structures of 388 specimens from 43 species belonging to six anuran families. Then, we tested which climatic variables had the highest covariation with the pigmentation on each organ after controlling for spatial autocorrelation in climatic variables and phylogenetic signal in organ coloration using the extended version of the RLQ ordination. Coloration in all organs was correlated with the phylogeny. However, the coloration of different organs was affected by different variables. Specifically, the coloration of the heart, kidneys, and rectum of hylids, Rhinella schneideri , some Leptodactylus , and Proceratophrys strongly covaried with temperature and photoperiod, whereas that of the testicle, lumbar parietal peritoneum, lungs, and mesenterium of Leiuperinae, Hylodidae, Adenomera , and most Leptodactylus had highest covariation with UV-B and temperature. Our results support the notion that melanin pigmentation on the surface of organs of amphibians has an adaptive function conferred by the protective functions of the pigment. But most importantly, internal melanin seems to respond differently to climatic variables depending on the lineage and locality in which species occur. We tested the influence of UV, temperature, and photoperiod on the degree of coloration of internal organs in anurans. The melanin coloration of each organ is influenced by distinct environmental variables depending on the species and geographical distribution.
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-7758
    Topics: Biology
    Published by Wiley-Blackwell
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  • 4
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2017-07-27
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 14, Pages 838: Thermographic Evaluation of the Hands of Pig Slaughterhouse Workers Exposed to Cold Temperatures International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph14080838 Authors: Adriana Tirloni Diogo Reis Eliane Ramos Antônio Moro Brazil was rated the fourth leading producer and exporter of pork meat in the world. The aim of this study was to evaluate the temperature of the hands of pig slaughterhouse workers and its relation to the thermal sensation of the hands and the use of a cutting tool. The study included 106 workers in a pig slaughterhouse. An infrared camera FlirThermaCAM E320 (Flir Systems, Wilsonville, OR, USA) was used to collect the images of the dorsal and palmar surfaces of both hands. A numerical scale was used to obtain the thermal sensation. Chi-square test, Pearson correlation and Student’s t test or Wilcoxon were used (p ≤ 0.05). The majority of workers felt cold in the hands (66%) and workers who used the knife felt the coldest. There was an association between the thermal sensation and the use of knife (p = 0.001). Workers who used the tool showed correlation between the thermal sensation and the temperatures of the left fingers, with a difference between the temperatures of the right and left hands of those who used the knife (p ≤ 0.05). The hands (left) that manipulated the products presented the lowest temperatures. Findings indicate that employers of pig slaughterhouses should provide gloves with adequate thermal insulation to preserve the health of workers’ hands.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 5
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2017-07-18
    Description: Energies, Vol. 10, Pages 1014: Proposal for an Experimental Methodology for Evaluation of Natural Lighting Systems Applied in Buildings Energies doi: 10.3390/en10071014 Authors: Anderson Diogo Spacek João Mota Neto Luciano Dagostin Biléssimo Oswaldo Hideo Ando Junior Gustavo Pedro De Freitas Neto Rodrigo Da Silva Giansella Marcus Vinícius Ferreira De Santana Celia De Fraga Malfatti This work has the objective of developing a methodology for the evaluation of indoor natural lighting systems, which, with speed and practicality, provides from real conditions of use a reliable result about the quality and performance of the proposed system. The methodology is based on the construction of two real-size test environments, which will be subjected to a natural light system through reflexive tubes made from recycled material, and to a commercial system already certified and consolidated, creating the possibility of comparison. Furthermore, the data acquired in the test environments will be examined in light of the values of solar radiation obtained from a digital meteorological station, such that it is possible to stipulate the lighting capacity of the systems at different times of the year.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 6
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2017-07-03
    Description: Real-time monitoring of torque in a rotating shaft is not easy to implement with technologies such as optic fiber sensors or strain gages. Surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors are wireless and passive and can be used to monitor strain in moving parts. Commercial solutions (sensors, antennas and interrogation unit) can easily be purchased from some companies; however, they are not customized and may not meet the specificity of the measurements. In order to evaluate the adequacy of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, temperature and strain sensors fabricated by SENSeOR (Besançon, France) were mounted on a load cell. The sensors were calibrated using a thermal chamber and a universal testing machine. The load cell was then assembled together with a steel shaft that rotated at different speeds inside an oven. The commercial antennas were replaced with an RF (radio frequency) coupler and the sensors were interrogated with the commercial interrogation unit. The influence of rotation in the accuracy on the measurements, as well as the adequacy of the sensors structure, was evaluated. It can be concluded that SAW sensors can be used to measure temperature or torque in a rotating environment; however, some customization of the components is required in order to overcome the limitations posed by COTS sensing solutions.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 7
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Minerals
    Publication Date: 2012-11-07
    Description: Indium is a typical chalcophile element of the Earth’s crust, with a very low average content that seldom forms specific minerals, occurring mainly as dispersed in polymetallic sulphides. Indium recovery is based primarily on zinc extraction from sphalerite, the prototype of so-called tetrahedral sulphides, wherein metal ions fill half of the available tetrahedral sites within the cubic closest packing of sulphur anions, leaving interstices accessible for further in-filling. Ascertaining the tendency towards the establishment of In-In interactions through an x-ray absorption spectroscopy approach would efficiently contribute to understanding the behavior of indium in the carrier mineral. The successful results of applying such a near-edge absorption (XANES) study at In L3-edge to samples collected at the Lagoa Salgada polymetallic orebody in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) are described and the crystal chemistry of indium is re-evaluated, disclosing a potential clue for the metal binding state in polymetallic sulphides.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 8
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    Wiley-Blackwell
    Publication Date: 2018-02-25
    Description: The effectiveness of conservation plans depends on environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic factors. Global change makes conservation decisions even more challenging. Among others, the components of most concern in modern-day conservation assessments are as follows: the magnitude of climate and land-use changes; species dispersal abilities; competition with harmful socioeconomic activities for land use; the number of threatened species to consider; and, relatedly, the available budget to act. Here, we provide a unified framework that quantifies the relative effects of those factors on conservation. We conducted an area-scheduling work plan in order to identify sets of areas along time in which the persistence expectancies of species are optimized. The approach was illustrated using data of potential distribution of ten nonvolant mammal species in Iberia Peninsula from current time up to 2080. Analyses were conducted considering possible setups among the factors that are likely to critically impact conservation success: three climate/land-use scenarios; four species’ dispersal kernel curves; six land-use layer types; and two planning designs, in which assessments were made independently for each species, or joining all species in a single plan. We identified areas for an array of investments levels capable to circumvent the spatial conflicts with socioeconomic activities. The effect of each factor on the estimated species persistence scores was assessed using linear mixed models. Our results evidence that conservation success is highly reliant on the resources available to abate land-use conflicts. Nonetheless, under the same investment levels, planning design and climate change were the factors that most shaped species persistence scores. The persistence of five species was especially affected by the sole effect of planning design and consequently, larger conservation investments may retard climatic debts. For three species, the negative effects of a changing climate and of multiple-species planning designs added up, making these species especially at risk. Integrated assessments of the factors most likely to limit species persistence are pivotal to achieve effectiveness. There are several factors impinging the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation. In this analysis, we made a contrasting whole-integrated evaluation on the individual effects of planning design, climate, species dispersal ability, land use, and budget available for area acquisition over the persistence of ten conservation-concerning mammal species in Iberia Peninsula up to 2080 within optimal sets of areas enabling species to rearrange their distributions when following their changing suitable climate locations in future times. The effect of budget and planning designs presented the largest effects. The synergestic effects of climate with these ones are detrimental to maintain the persistence of some of the species at a secure level against extinction debts.
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-7758
    Topics: Biology
    Published by Wiley-Blackwell
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  • 9
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-22
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 910: Municipal Sustainability Influence by European Union Investment Programs on the Portuguese Local Government Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10040910 Authors: Paulo Caldas Diogo Cunha Ferreira Brian Dollery Rui Cunha Marques The assessment of the impact of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) on Portuguese local government and which factors determine it is important given the magnitude of funds involved. As part of this larger question, this paper considers whether the holistic sustainability of local authorities—as measured by a Council Sustainability Index—can influence the impact of ESIF on the performance of Portuguese councils and which factors best explain these performance differences. Using a geometric distance function jointly with the Hicks-Moorsteen index, we investigate and present a conclusion on the differential impact of ESIF on sustainable and non-sustainable Portuguese councils over the period 2000 to 2014. Our findings also suggest that ESIF should continue fostering economic and social development at the local level regardless of council size or regional location since overall development will flow from this economic and social structural adjustment strategy.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 10
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    Wiley-Blackwell
    Publication Date: 2017-05-15
    Description: Seasonality causes fluctuations in resource availability, affecting the presence and abundance of animal species. The impacts of these oscillations on wildlife populations can be exacerbated by habitat fragmentation. We assessed differences in bat species abundance between the wet and dry season in a fragmented landscape in the Central Amazon characterized by primary forest fragments embedded in a secondary forest matrix. We also evaluated whether the relative importance of local vegetation structure versus landscape characteristics (composition and configuration) in shaping bat abundance patterns varied between seasons. Our working hypotheses were that abundance responses are species as well as season specific, and that in the wet season, local vegetation structure is a stronger determinant of bat abundance than landscape-scale attributes. Generalized linear mixed-effects models in combination with hierarchical partitioning revealed that relationships between species abundances and local vegetation structure and landscape characteristics were both season specific and scale dependent. Overall, landscape characteristics were more important than local vegetation characteristics, suggesting that landscape structure is likely to play an even more important role in landscapes with higher fragment-matrix contrast. Responses varied between frugivores and animalivores. In the dry season, frugivores responded more to compositional metrics, whereas during the wet season, local and configurational metrics were more important. Animalivores showed similar patterns in both seasons, responding to the same group of metrics in both seasons. Differences in responses likely reflect seasonal differences in the phenology of flowering and fruiting between primary and secondary forests, which affected the foraging behavior and habitat use of bats. Management actions should encompass multiscale approaches to account for the idiosyncratic responses of species to seasonal variation in resource abundance and consequently to local and landscape scale attributes. Fragmentation is one of the most important drivers of global biodiversity loss. In this article we study the effects of seasonality on the responses of Neotropical bats to local- and landscape-scale attributes in a fragmented landscape.
    Electronic ISSN: 2045-7758
    Topics: Biology
    Published by Wiley-Blackwell
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