Friday 16 December 2016

Prediction of biological sensors appearance with ARIMA models as a tool for Integrated Pest Management protocols.

Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 23, 2016, 129-137
DOI: 10.5604/12321966.1196868

Powdery mildew caused by Uncinula necator and Downy mildew produced by Plasmopara viticola are the most common diseases in the North-West Spain vineyards. Knowledge of airborne spore concentrations could be a useful tool in the Integrated Pest Management protocols in order to reduce the number of pesticide treatments, applied only when there is a real risk of infection.The study was carried out in a vineyard of the D. O. Ribeiro, in the North-West Spain, during the grapevine active period 2004-2012. A Hirts-type volumetric spore-trap was used for the aerobiological monitoring.During the study period the annual total U. necator spores amount ranged from the 578 spores registered in 2007 to the 4,145 spores sampled during 2008. The highest annual total P. viticola spores quantity was observed in 2010 (1,548 spores) and the lowest in 2005 (210 spores). In order to forecast the concentration of fungal spores, ARIMA models were elaborated.The most accurate models were an ARIMA (3.1.3) for U. necator and (1.0.3) for P. viticola. The possibility to forecast the spore presence 72 hours in advance open an important horizon for optimizing the organization of the harvest processes in the vineyard.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Fraxinus pollen and allergen concentrations in Ourense (South-western Europe)

Environmental Research, 147, 2016, 241–248

In temperate zones of North-Central Europe the sensitization to ash pollen is a recognized problem, also extended to the Northern areas of the Mediterranean basin. Some observations in Switzerland suggest that ash pollen season could be as important as birch pollen period. The allergenic significance of this pollen has been poorly studied in Southern Europe as the amounts of ash pollen are low. Due to the high degree of family relationship with the olive pollen major allergen (backed by a sequence identity of 88%), the Fraxinus pollen could be a significant cause of early respiratory allergy in sensitized people to olive pollen as consequence of cross-reactivity processes. Ash tree flowers in the Northwestern Spain during the winter months. The atmospheric presence of Ole e 1–like proteins (which could be related with the Fra a 1 presence) can be accurately detected using Ole e 1 antibodies. The correlation analysis showed high Spearman correlation coefficients between pollen content and rainfall (R2=−0.333, p<0.01) or allergen concentration and maximum temperature (R2=−0.271, p<0.01). In addiction CCA analysis showed not significant differences (p<0.05) between the component 1 and 2 variables. PCFA analysis plots showed that the allergen concentrations are related to the presence of the Fraxinus pollen in the air, facilitating the wind speed its submicronic allergen proteins dispersion. In order to forecast the Fraxinus allergy risk periods, two regression equations were developed with Adjusted R2 values around 0.48–0.49. The t-test for dependent samples shows no significant differences between the observed data and the estimated by the equations. The combination of the airborne pollen content and the allergen quantification must be assessed in the epidemiologic study of allergic respiratory diseases.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Salud Ambiental de los parques españoles: Aproximación al potencial alergénico de espacios verdes urbanos.

Los parques urbanos son elementos de la infraestructura verde que deben contribuir a mejorar la calidad de vida y el bienestar ciudadano. En este trabajo se presentan los resultados de la aplicación de un novedoso índice que estima la alergenicidad potencial de las zonas verdes urbanas. Este índice, que contempla parámetros biológicos y biométricos intrínsecos a las especies arbóreas existentes en los parques, genera un resultado cuyo valor está comprendido entre 0 y 1 según el potencial alergénico del parque sea nulo o de riesgo alto para la población. En una primera fase el índice se ha aplicado a parques de diferente tipología, diseño, tamaño, riqueza específica y biodiversidad ubicados en 20 ciudades españolas. Los resultados han mostrado que algunos de los parques estudiados registran un valor de índice superior a 0.30, umbral suficiente para causar síntomas de alergia a la población expuesta, y por tanto, de riesgo moderado o alto. Por el contrario, en la mayoría de los parques se obtuvo un valor inferior a este umbral. También es posible conocer cuáles son las especies que más contribuyen al valor resultante, que son aquellas con estrategia de polinización anemófila, periodos de oración extensos y alta alergenicidad referenciada. Estos requisitos los cumplen todas las especies de las familias Betuláceas, Cupresáceas y Moráceas, y en menor extensión, Oleáceas y Platanáceas. Puede concluirse que el desarrollo de un índice de estimación de alergenicidad de espacios verdes urbanos constituye una herramienta de utilidad para minimizar el impacto de la alergia polínica en la población.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Assessment of the Olea pollen and its major allergen Ole e 1 concentrations in the bioearosol of two biogeographical areas

Atmospheric Environment, 145, 2016, 264–271

The Olea pollen is currently an important allergy source. In some regions of Southern Spain, olive pollen is the main cause of allergic sensitization exceeding 40% of the sensitized individuals. Due to the scarce presence of olive trees in Northern Spain, limited to some cultivated fields in the South of the Galicia region where they also grow wild, only 8% of the sensitized individuals showed positive results for Olea pollen. The aim of the paper was to assess the behaviour pattern of the Olea pollen and its aeroallergens in the atmosphere, as this information could help us to improve the understanding and prevention of clinical symptoms.

Airborne Olea pollen and Ole e 1 allergens were quantified in Cartagena (South-eastern Spain) and Ourense (North-western Spain). A volumetric pollen trap and a Burkard Cyclone sampler were used for pollen and allergen quantification.

The Olea flowering took place in April or May in both biometeorological sampling areas. The higher concentrations were registered in the Southern area of Spain, for both pollen and Ole e 1, with values 8 times higher for pollen concentrations and 40 times higher for allergens. An alternate bearing pattern could be observed, characterized by years with high pollen values and low allergen concentrations and vice versa. Moreover, during some flowering seasons the allergen concentrations did not correspond to the atmospheric pollen values. Variations in weather conditions or Long Distance Transport (LDT) processes could explain the discordance. The back trajectory analysis shows that the most important contributions of pollen and allergens in the atmosphere are coincident with air masses passing through potential source areas. The exposure to olive pollen may not be synonym of antigen exposure.

Monday 12 December 2016

Approach of different properties of alkylammonium surfactants using artificial intelligence and response surface methodology

Tenside, Surfactants, Detergents

Response surface methodology (RSM) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) architectures to predict the density, speed of sound, kinematic viscosity, and surface tension of aqueous solutions were developed. All models implemented using the root mean square error (RMSE) for training and validation phase were evaluated. The ANN models implemented show good values of R2 (upper than 0.974) and low errors in terms of average percentage deviation (APD) (lower than 2.92%). Nevertheless, RSM models present low APD values for density and speed of sound prediction (lower than 0.31%) and higher APD values around 5.18% for kinematic viscosity and 14.73% for surface tension. The results show that the different individual artificial neural networks implemented are a useful tool to predict the density, speed of sound, kinematic viscosity, and surface tension with reasonably accuracy.

Sunday 11 December 2016

Changes on the Phytoavailability of Nutrients in a Mine Soil Reclaimed with Compost and Biochar

Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 2016, 227:453
DOI: 10.1007/s11270-016-3155-x

Mine soils often contain high levels of metals that produce serious environmental problems and poor fertility conditions that limit their reclamation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of a compost and biochar amendment on the nutrient phytoavailability in a mine soil from the depleted copper mine of Touro (Spain). For this purpose, a greenhouse experiment was carried out amending the mine soil with increasing proportions (20, 40, 80 and 100%) of the compost and biochar mixture and planting Brassica juncea plants. The results revealed that the mine soil had an extremely acid pH and low fertility conditions and was affected by copper contamination. The addition of compost and biochar to the mine soil increased soil pH values (from 2.7 to 8.7), total carbon (from undetectable values to 149 g kg−1) and total nitrogen (from undetectable values to 11,130 mg kg−1) contents and phytoavailable concentrations of K, Mg, Na and P and promoted plant growth, since B. juncea plants did not survive in the untreated mine soil. The application of amendment decreased the phytoavailable concentration of Al, Co, Cu, Fe and Ni in the soil, resulting in a reduction of copper toxicity. The use of compost and biochar as a soil amendment combined with B. juncea plants could be an efficient strategy for the reclamation of degraded soils with low fertility conditions.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Effect of chestnuts intake by Celta pigs on lipolytic, oxidative and fatty acid profile changes during ripening and vacuum-packed storage of Galician “chorizo”

Journal of Food Composition and Analysis

The effect of the inclusion of chestnuts in the finishing diet of Celta pig breed on the characteristics of Galician chorizo, a traditional dry-cured sausage, along the ripening process and vacuum-packed storage was studied. In general, no significant differences between diets (chestnut, mixed and concentrate diet) were obtained for weight losses, chemical composition, physico-chemical characteristics, and lipolytic and oxidative parameters. A significant effect of the diet was observed on some fatty acids from total and neutral lipids, obtaining lower contents of C18:2n-6 and C20:2n-6 and higher contents of C18:1n-9, C18:3n-3 and C20:4n-6 when chestnuts where included in the diet. In polar lipids, after dry-ripening, lower contents of C18:2n-6 and total polyunsaturated fatty acids and higher contents of C18:1n-9 and the sum of monounsaturated fatty acids were found in sausages from chestnut diet. Free fatty acids profile during vacuum-packed storage changed to a larger content of C16:0. The distinction between sausages was procured when a discriminant canonical analysis was performed for fatty acid contents.

Friday 9 December 2016

Evaluation of strategies for second generation bioethanol production from fast growing biomass Paulownia within a biorefinery scheme

Applied Energy

Fast-growing and short-rotation biomass is identified as glucan-rich feedstock to be used for bioenergy purposes. For the first time to our knowledge, fast growing biomass (Paulownia tomentosa) was evaluated for bioethanol production in a biorefinery scheme. For that, Paulownia wood was subjected to autohydrolysis pretreatment under severity (S0) conditions in the range of 3.31–5.16. The effect of this treatment on its fractionation was evaluated by means of hemicelluloses solubilization as hemicellulose-derived compounds in liquid phase and enzymatic hydrolysis of glucan (remained in the solid phase) into glucose. A xylose and xylooligosaccharides concentration of 17.5 g/L was obtained at S0 = 3.99 which corresponds to complete xylan solubilization. On the other hand, glucose yield of enzymatic hydrolysis increased up to reach 99% at S0 = 4.82. In addition, separate and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation assays (SHF and SSF) of autohydrolyzed Paulownia were compared for ethanol production. An increase of 47% in ethanol concentration was obtained by SHF in comparison with results achieved by SSF for Paulownia treated at S0 = 4.19. In SSF, Paulownia was successfully converted into ethanol (52.7 g/L which corresponded to 80% of ethanol yield) operating at 20% solid loadings and S0 = 4.72. Energy analysis of results obtained in this work showed that 83% of energy respect to raw material can be recovered considering the ethanol and the combustion of residual lignin. This work provides a feasible process for bioethanol production using fast growing specie which could enrich the feedstock needs for biofuels sector.

Thursday 8 December 2016

Manufacture and evaluation of xylooligosaccharides from corn stover as emerging prebiotic candidates for human health

LWT - Food Science and Technology

Corn stover samples were subjected to hydrothermal treatment in order to solubilize the hemicellulosic fraction, obtaining hemicellulose-derived saccharides with up to 11.7 g/L of xylooligosaccharides (XOS). Oligomers-containing liquors were nanofiltered by two-step membrane-based separation (discontinuous diafiltration and concentration) showing an increase in XOS concentration up to 21.94 g/L, purified by ion-exchange processing and freeze-dried, obtaining final products with up to 89% of purity. The presence of both substituted (with 4-O-methyl-glucuronic acid or acetyl substituents) and unsubstituted oligosaccharides, mainly made up of xylose and with a degree of polymerization in the range of 5–29, was observed in the purified products. The effects of the various XOS substrates on the metabolic activity and on the dynamics of the microbial populations were studied in media inoculated with human fecal sample. Short chain fatty acids generation and changes in the three selected bacterial groups (Bifidobacterium genus, Lactobacillus−Enterococcus and Bacteroides−Prevotella group) confirm the suitability of this work to obtain XOS fractions with potential functional properties for human health.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Effect of long-term frozen storage on the rheological properties of pressurized glucomannan gels

Food Hydrocolloids

Several weakly deacetylated glucomannan gels (pH = 9.1), at a concentration of 5 g/100 mL, were subjected to high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) at 0, 100, 200, 400 and 600 MPa. They were frozen and stored at −20 °C for two years to study the influence of long-term frozen storage on the rheological properties of pressurized samples (FP100, FP200, FP400, FP600) compared with a frozen unpressurized control (FP0) and an unfrozen unpressurized control (P0). In unpressurized gels, frozen storage reduced stress (σmax) and strain (γmax) amplitudes while forming a more solid-like network (FP0 vs P0). Gel FP0 maintained the rubber-like response from temperature (T) > 70 °C as in P0. HHP reduced loss of conformational stability and enhanced cohesiveness in FP100−FP600 vs FP0. Particularly, 400 MPa improved the degree of connectivity in the glucomannan (GM) network producing a better thermoset response at T > 70 °C (FP400).

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Job opportunity: Dean of the College of Science - Purdue University College of Science

College of Science
Mathematical Sciences Building 
150 N. University Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907–2067


Purdue University invites applications and nominations for the position of Frederick L Hovde Dean of the College of Science.

The Purdue University College of Science is made up of seven departments: Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Mathematics; Physics and Astronomy; and Statistics. In addition, there are numerous interdisciplinary programs and centers. The College has 326 faculty, 325 staff, and enrolls approximately 3600 undergraduate students, 1200 graduate students and 110 postdoctoral researchers. The departments in the College have a long history of excellence in research and education. Beyond the College, Purdue’s strengths in Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, and the Health and Human Sciences contribute to a robust research and educational environment. Further information on the College of Science is available on the website at:

The Dean’s primary role is to provide exceptional scientific vision and leadership in the College, and to foster a culture of academic excellence, freedom of expression, and inclusiveness. In addition the Dean will support the College’s interdisciplinary and core missions of learning, discovery, and engagement both internally and externally to the broad community of stakeholders with which the College engages. The Dean reports directly to the Provost, is a member of the Academic Deans’ Council and works with the College’s department heads, faculty and staff to assure that learning and research activities of the highest level of excellence flourish at all levels.

As chief academic and administrative officer of the College, the Dean actively represents the College to a variety of constituencies internal and external to the University. The successful candidate will:

  • have a preeminent scientific record commensurate with the faculty in the College of Science and with the caliber of scholars the College expects to attract to Purdue;
  • be an excellent administrator with a proven record of providing scientific vision and leadership and the ability to set priorities, allocate resources, and achieve specific goals;
  • be an exceptional communicator;
  • have a deep commitment to undergraduate and graduate education;
  • be an effective fundraiser who can secure flexible support for the College;
  • have substantial experience with the national research funding environment;
  • be able to connect with all the constituencies served by the University and be able to articulate and advocate for the goals of the College;
  • have an effective voice for and demonstrated commitment to cultural and ethnic diversity and gender equality.

Qualified candidates will have credentials appropriate for a tenured full professorship and demonstrated excellence in or potential for higher education administration.
Established in 1869, Purdue is Indiana’s land-grant university, a comprehensive educational and research institution which is a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities (AAU). The West Lafayette Campus, located one hour north of Indianapolis and two hours south of downtown Chicago, has ten colleges with an enrollment of ~40,000 students.

Nominations and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. For best consideration, applications should be received by Thursday, January 5, 2017. Applications should include a cover letter that addresses the above criteria and a full CV, and should be sent to Dean Jay Akridge, Chair, College of Science Dean Search Committee, College of Agriculture, 615 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053. Electronic submission is preferred and should be sent to 

Screening of applicants will begin on January 6, 2017 and will continue until the position is filled. A background check will be required for employment in this position.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer. Purdue University is committed to maintaining a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person. In pursuit of its goal of academic excellence, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity. All qualified applicants for employment will receive consideration without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability or status as a veteran.