Logistic Model Tree and Expectation-Maximization for Pollen Recognition and Grouping

Palynology is a field of interest for many disciplines. It has multiple applications such as chronological dating, climatology, allergy treatment, and even honey characterization. Unfortunately, the analysis of a pollen slide is a complicated and time-consuming task that requires the intervention of experts in the field, which is becoming increasingly rare due to economic and social conditions. So, the automation of this task is a necessity. Pollen slides analysis is mainly a visual process as it is carried out with the naked eye. That is the reason why a primary method to automate palynology is the use of digital image processing. This method presents the lowest cost and has relatively good accuracy in pollen retrieval. In this work, we propose a system combining recognition and grouping of pollen. It consists of using a Logistic Model Tree to classify pollen already known by the proposed system while detecting any unknown species. Then, the unknown pollen species are divided using a cluster-based approach. Success rates for the recognition of known species have been achieved, and automated clustering seems to be a promising approach.

Investigating the Thermal Characteristics of Reclaimed Solid Waste from a Landfill Site Using Thermogravimetry

Thermogravimetry has been popularized as a thermal characterization technique since the 1950s. It aims at investigating the weight loss against both reaction time and temperature, whilst being able to characterize the evolved gases from the volatile components of the organic material being tested using an appropriate hyphenated analytical technique. In an effort to characterize and identify the reclaimed waste from an unsanitary landfill site, this approach was initiated. Solid waste (SW) reclaimed from an active landfill site in the State of Kuwait was collected and prepared for characterization in accordance with international protocols. The SW was segregated and its major components were identified after washing and air drying. Shredding and cryomilling was conducted on the plastic solid waste (PSW) component to yield a material that is representative for further testing and characterization. The material was subjected to five heating rates (b) with minimal repeatable weight for high accuracy thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) following the recommendation of the International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC). The TGA yielded thermograms that showed an off-set from typical behavior of commercial grade resin which was attributed to contact of material with soil and thermal/photo-degradation.

Study of Polyphenol Profile and Antioxidant Capacity in Italian Ancient Apple Varieties by Liquid Chromatography

Safeguarding, studying and enhancing biodiversity play an important and indispensable role in re-launching agriculture. The ancient local varieties are therefore a precious resource for genetic and health improvement. In order to protect biodiversity through the recovery and valorization of autochthonous varieties, in this study we analyzed 12 samples of four ancient apple cultivars representative of Friuli Venezia Giulia, selected by local farmers who work on a project for the recovery of ancient apple cultivars. The aim of this study is to evaluate the polyphenolic profile and the antioxidant capacity that characterize the organoleptic and functional qualities of this fruit species, besides having beneficial properties for health. In particular, for each variety, the following compounds were analyzed, both in the skins and in the pulp: gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid, epicatechin, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, rutin, phlorizin, phloretin and quercetin to highlight any differences in the edible parts of the apple. The analysis of individual phenolic compounds was performed by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) coupled with a diode array UV detector (DAD), the antioxidant capacity was estimated using an in vitro essay based on a Free Radical Scavenging Method and the total phenolic compounds was determined using the Folin-Ciocalteau method. From the results, it is evident that the catechins are the most present polyphenols, reaching a value of 140-200 μg/g in the pulp and of 400-500 μg/g in the skin, with the prevalence of epicatechin. Catechins and phlorizin, a dihydrohalcone typical of apples, are always contained in larger quantities in the peel. Total phenolic compounds content was positively correlated with antioxidant activity in apple pulp (r2 = 0,850) and peel (r2 = 0,820). Comparing the results, differences between the varieties analyzed and between the edible parts (pulp and peel) of the apple were highlighted. In particular, apple peel is richer in polyphenolic compounds than pulp and flavonols are exclusively present in the peel. In conclusion, polyphenols, being antioxidant substances, have confirmed the benefits of fruit in the diet, especially as a prevention and treatment for degenerative diseases. They demonstrated to be also a good marker for the characterization of different apple cultivars. The importance of protecting biodiversity in agriculture was also highlighted through the exploitation of native products and ancient varieties of apples now forgotten.

Morphological and Electrical Characterization of Polyacrylonitrile Nanofibers Synthesized Using Electrospinning Method for Electrical Application

Electrospinning is the most widely utilized method to create nanofibers because of the direct setup, the capacity to mass-deliver consistent nanofibers from different polymers, and the ability to produce ultrathin fibers with controllable diameters. Smooth and much arranged ultrafine Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers with diameters going from submicron to nanometer were delivered utilizing Electrospinning technique. PAN powder was used as a precursor to prepare the solution utilized as a part of this process. At the point when the electrostatic repulsion contradicted surface tension, a charged stream of polymer solution was shot out from the head of the spinneret and along these lines ultrathin nonwoven fibers were created. The effect of electrospinning parameter such as applied voltage, feed rate, concentration of polymer solution and tip to collector distance on the morphology of electrospun PAN nanofibers were investigated. The nanofibers were heat treated for carbonization to examine the changes in properties and composition to make for electrical application. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was performed before and after carbonization to study electrical conductivity and morphological characterization. The SEM images have shown the uniform fiber diameter and no beads formation. The average diameter of the PAN fiber observed 365nm and 280nm for flat plat and rotating drum collector respectively. The four probe strategy was utilized to inspect the electrical conductivity of the nanofibers and the electrical conductivity is significantly improved with increase in oxidation temperature exposed.

An Overview of the Porosity Classification in Carbonate Reservoirs and Their Challenges: An Example of Macro-Microporosity Classification from Offshore Miocene Carbonate in Central Luconia, Malaysia

Biological and chemical activities in carbonates are responsible for the complexity of the pore system. Primary porosity is generally of natural origin while secondary porosity is subject to chemical reactivity through diagenetic processes. To understand the integrated part of hydrocarbon exploration, it is necessary to understand the carbonate pore system. However, the current porosity classification scheme is limited to adequately predict the petrophysical properties of different reservoirs having various origins and depositional environments. Rock classification provides a descriptive method for explaining the lithofacies but makes no significant contribution to the application of porosity and permeability (poro-perm) correlation. The Central Luconia carbonate system (Malaysia) represents a good example of pore complexity (in terms of nature and origin) mainly related to diagenetic processes which have altered the original reservoir. For quantitative analysis, 32 high-resolution images of each thin section were taken using transmitted light microscopy. The quantification of grains, matrix, cement, and macroporosity (pore types) was achieved using a petrographic analysis of thin sections and FESEM images. The point counting technique was used to estimate the amount of macroporosity from thin section, which was then subtracted from the total porosity to derive the microporosity. The quantitative observation of thin sections revealed that the mouldic porosity (macroporosity) is the dominant porosity type present, whereas the microporosity seems to correspond to a sum of 40 to 50% of the total porosity. It has been proven that these Miocene carbonates contain a significant amount of microporosity, which significantly complicates the estimation and production of hydrocarbons. Neglecting its impact can increase uncertainty about estimating hydrocarbon reserves. Due to the diversity of geological parameters, the application of existing porosity classifications does not allow a better understanding of the poro-perm relationship. However, the classification can be improved by including the pore types and pore structures where they can be divided into macro- and microporosity. Such studies of microporosity identification/classification represent now a major concern in limestone reservoirs around the world.

Thermal Characterization of Graphene Oxide-Epoxy Nanocomposites Produced by Aqueous Emulsion

The present study desired to obtain a nanocomposite of epoxy resin reinforced with graphene oxide (OG), for aerospace application, produced by aqueous emulsion. It was obtained proof bodies with 0.00 wt%, 0.10 wt%, 0.25 wt% and 0.50 wt% in weight of nanoparticles, to check the influence of it in the final quality of the obtained product. The validation of the results was done by the application thermal characterization by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). It was seen that the nanocomposite reinforced with 0.10 wt% of OG showed the best results, the average glass transition temperature, at 2 °C, compared to the pure resin.

Sampling and Characterization of Fines Created during the Shredding of Non Hazardous Waste

Fines are heterogeneous residues created during the shredding of non-hazardous waste. They are one of the most challenging issues faced by recyclers, because they are at the present time considered as non-sortable and non-reusable mixtures destined to landfill. However, fines contain a large amount of recoverable materials that could be recycled or reused for the production of solid recovered fuel. This research is conducted in relation to a project named ValoRABES. The aim is to characterize fines and establish a suitable sorting process in order to extract the materials contained in the mixture and define their suitable recovery paths. This paper will highlight the importance of a good sampling and will propose a sampling methodology for fines characterization. First results about the characterization will be also presented.

Mechanical Characterization of Extrudable Foamed Concrete: An Experimental Study

This paper is focused on the mechanical characterization of foamed concrete specimens with protein-based foaming agent. Unlike classic foamed concrete, a peculiar property of the analyzed foamed concrete is the extrudability, which is achieved via a specific additive in the concrete mix that significantly improves the cohesion and viscosity of the fresh cementitious paste. A broad experimental campaign was conducted to evaluate the compressive strength and the indirect tensile strength of the specimens. The study has comprised three different cement types, two water/cement ratios, three curing conditions and three target dry densities. The variability of the strength values upon the above mentioned factors is discussed.

ELISA Based hTSH Assessment Using Two Sensitive and Specific Anti-hTSH Polyclonal Antibodies

Production of specific antibody responses against hTSH is a cumbersome process due to the high identity between the hTSH and the other members of the glycoprotein hormone family (FSH, LH and HCG) and the high identity between the human hTSH and host animals for antibody production. Therefore, two polyclonal antibodies were purified against two recombinant proteins. Four possible ELISA tests were designed based on these antibodies. These ELISA tests were checked against hTSH and other glycoprotein hormones, and their sensitivity and specificity were assessed. Bioinformatics tools were used to analyze the immunological properties. After the immunogen region selection from hTSH protein, c terminal of B hTSH was selected and applied. Two recombinant genes, with these cut pieces (first: two repeats of C terminal of B hTSH, second: tetanous toxin+B hTSH C terminal), were designed and sub-cloned into the pET32a expression vector. Standard methods were used for protein expression, purification, and verification. Thereafter, immunizations of the white New Zealand rabbits were performed and the serums of them were used for antibody titration, purification and characterization. Then, four ELISA tests based on two antibodies were employed to assess the hTSH and other glycoprotein hormones. The results of these assessments were compared with standard amounts. The obtained results indicated that the desired antigens were successfully designed, sub-cloned, expressed, confirmed and used for in vivo immunization. The raised antibodies were capable of specific and sensitive hTSH detection, while the cross reactivity with the other members of the glycoprotein hormone family was minimum. Among the four designed tests, the test in which the antibody against first protein was used as capture antibody, and the antibody against second protein was used as detector antibody did not show any hook effect up to 50 miu/l. Both proteins have the ability to induce highly sensitive and specific antibody responses against the hTSH. One of the antibody combinations of these antibodies has the highest sensitivity and specificity in hTSH detection.

An Approach on the Design of a Solar Cell Characterization Device

This paper presents the development of a compact, portable and easy to handle solar cell characterization device. The presented device reduces the effort and cost of single solar cell characterization to a minimum. It enables realistic characterization of cells under sunlight within minutes. In the field of photovoltaic research the common way to characterize a single solar cell or a module is, to measure the current voltage curve. With this characteristic the performance and the degradation rate can be defined which are important for the consumer or developer. The paper consists of the system design description, a summary of the measurement results and an outline for further developments.

Need for Standardization of Manual Inspection in Small and Medium-Scale Manufacturing Industries

In the field of production, characterization of surface roughness plays a vital role in assessing the quality of a manufactured product. The defined parameters for this assessment, each, have their own drawbacks in describing a profile surface. From the purview of small-scale and medium-scale industries, an increase in time spent for manual inspection of a product for various parameters adds to the cost of the product. In order to reduce this, a uniform and established standard is necessary for quantifying a profile of a manufactured product. The inspection procedure in the small and medium-scale manufacturing units at Jigani Industrial area, Bangalore, was observed. The parameters currently in use in those industries are described in the paper and a change in the inspection method is proposed.

Isolation and Screening of Fungal Strains for β-Galactosidase Production

Enzymes are the biocatalysts which catalyze the biochemical processes and thus have a wide variety of applications in the industrial sector. β-Galactosidase (E.C. also known as lactase, is one of the prime enzymes, which has significant potential in the dairy and food processing industries. It has the capability to catalyze both the hydrolytic reaction for the production of lactose hydrolyzed milk and transgalactosylation reaction for the synthesis of prebiotics such as lactulose and galactooligosaccharides. These prebiotics have various nutritional and technological benefits. Although, the enzyme is naturally present in almonds, peaches, apricots and other variety of fruits and animals, the extraction of enzyme from these sources increases the cost of enzyme. Therefore, focus has been shifted towards the production of low cost enzyme from the microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi. As compared to yeast and bacteria, fungal β-galactosidase is generally preferred as being extracellular and thermostable in nature. Keeping the above in view, the present study was carried out for the isolation of the β-galactosidase producing fungal strain from the food as well as the agricultural wastes. A total of more than 100 fungal cultures were examined for their potential in enzyme production. All the fungal strains were screened using X-gal and IPTG as inducers in the modified Czapek Dox Agar medium. Among the various isolated fungal strains, the strain exhibiting the highest enzyme activity was chosen for further phenotypic and genotypic characterization. The strain was identified as Rhizomucor pusillus on the basis of 5.8s RNA gene sequencing data.

A Pull-out Fiber/Matrix Interface Characterization of Vegetal Fibers Reinforced Thermoplastic Polymer Composites: The Influence of the Processing Temperature

This work presents an improved single fiber pull-out test for fiber/matrix interface characterization. This test has been used to study the Inter-Facial Shear Strength ‘IFSS’ of hemp fibers reinforced polypropylene (PP). For this aim, the fiber diameter has been carefully measured using a tomography inspired method. The fiber section contour can then be approximated by a circle or a polygon. The results show that the IFSS is overestimated if the circular approximation is used. The Influence of the molding temperature on the IFSS has also been studied. We find that a molding temperature of 183◦C leads to better interfacial properties. Above or below this temperature the interface strength is reduced.

Influence of the Paint Coating Thickness in Digital Image Correlation Experiments

In the past decade, the use of digital image correlation (DIC) techniques has increased significantly in the area of experimental mechanics, especially for materials behavior characterization. This non-contact tool enables full field displacement and strain measurements over a complete region of interest. The DIC algorithm requires a random contrast pattern on the surface of the specimen in order to perform properly. To create this pattern, the specimen is usually first coated using a white matt paint. Next, a black random speckle pattern is applied using any suitable method. If the applied paint coating is too thick, its top surface may not be able to exactly follow the deformation of the specimen, and consequently, the strain measurement might be underestimated. In the present article, a study of the influence of the paint thickness on the strain underestimation is performed for different strain levels. The results are then compared to typical paint coating thicknesses applied by experienced DIC users. A slight strain underestimation was observed for paint coatings thicker than about 30μm. On the other hand, this value was found to be uncommonly high compared to coating thicknesses applied by DIC users.

Quality Characterization of Burger Affected by Soybean Additives (Natto & Protein Hydrolysate) and Ascorbic Acid

Soy protein is a common ingredient added to processed meats to enhance its functional characteristics. In our study, soybean products (fermented soy Natto and protein hydrolysate) containing hydrolyzed peptides and amino acids, with or without ascorbic acid were added to burger in order to improve its quality characteristics. Results showed that soy additives significantly increased moisture and protein content and reduced (P < 0.05) fat values. Ash content did not affect with Natto additive. Color tools, lightness and yellowness were higher (P

Radionuclides Transport Phenomena in Vadose Zone

Radioactive waste management is fundamental to safeguard population and environment by radiological risks. Environmental assessment of a site, where nuclear activities are located, allows understanding the hydro geological system and the radionuclides transport in groundwater and subsoil. Use of dedicated software is the basis of transport phenomena investigation and for dynamic scenarios prediction; this permits to understand the evolution of accidental contamination events, but at the same time the potentiality of the software itself can be verified. The aim of this paper is to perform a numerical analysis by means of HYDRUS 1D code, so as to evaluate radionuclides transport in a nuclear site in Piedmont region (Italy). In particular, the behavior in vadose zone was investigated. An iterative assessment process was performed for risk assessment of radioactive contamination. The analysis therein developed considers the following aspects: i) hydro geological site characterization; ii) individuation of the main intrinsic and external site factors influencing water flow and radionuclides transport phenomena; iii) software potential for radionuclides leakage simulation purposes.

Behavioral Studies on Multi-Directionally Reinforced 4-D Orthogonal Composites on Various Preform Configurations

The main advantage of multidirectionally reinforced composites is the freedom to orient selected fiber types and hence derives the benefits of varying fibre volume fractions and there by accommodate the design loads of the final structure of composites. This technology provides the means to produce tailored composites with desired properties. Due to the high level of fibre integrity with through thickness reinforcement those composites are expected to exhibit superior load bearing characteristics with capability to carry load even after noticeable and apparent fracture. However, a survey of published literature indicates inadequacy in the design and test data base for the complete characterization of the multidirectional composites. In this paper the research objective is focused on the development and testing of 4-D orthogonal composites with different preform configurations and resin systems. A preform is the skeleton 4D reinforced composite other than the matrix. In 4-D performs fibre bundles are oriented in three directions at 1200 with respect to each other and they are on orthogonal plane with the fibre in 4th direction. This paper addresses the various types of 4-D composite manufacturing processes and the mechanical test methods followed for the material characterization. A composite analysis is also made, experiments on course and fine woven preforms are conducted and the findings of test results are discussed in this paper. The interpretations of the test results reveal several useful and interesting features. This should pave the way for more widespread use of the perform configurations for allied applications.

Molecular Detection and Characterization of Infectious Bronchitis Virus from Libya

Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a very dynamic and evolving virus, causing major economic losses to the global poultry industry. Recently, the Libyan poultry industry faced severe outbreak of respiratory distress associated with high mortality and dramatic drop in egg production. Tracheal and cloacal swabs were analyzed for several poultry viruses. IBV was detected using SYBR Green I real-time PCR detection based on the nucleocapsid (N) gene. Sequence analysis of the partial N gene indicated high similarity (~ 94%) to IBV strain 3382/06 that was isolated from Taiwan. Even though the IBV strain 3382/06 is more similar to that of the Mass type H120, the isolate has been implicated associated with intertypic recombinant of 3 putative parental IBV strains namely H120, Taiwan strain 1171/92 and China strain CK/CH/LDL/97I. Complete sequencing and antigenicity studies of the Libya IBV strains are currently underway to determine the evolution of the virus and its importance in vaccine induced immunity. In this paper we documented for the first time the presence of possibly variant IBV strain from Libya which required dramatic change in vaccination program.

Synthesis, Characterization and Performance Study of Newly Developed Amine Polymeric Membrane (APM) for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Removal

Carbon dioxide has been well associated with greenhouse effect, and due to its corrosive nature it is an undesirable compound. A variety of physical-chemical processes are available for the removal of carbon dioxide. Previous attempts in this field have established alkanolamine group has the capability to remove carbon dioxide. So, this study combined the polymeric membrane and alkanolamine solutions to fabricate the amine polymeric membrane (APM) to remove carbon dioxide (CO2). This study entails the effect of three types of amines, monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and methyldiethanolamine (MDEA). The effect of each alkanolamine group on the morphology and performance of polyether sulfone (PES) polymeric membranes was studied. Flat sheet membranes were fabricated by solvent evaporation method by adding polymer and different alkanolamine solutions in the N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent. The final membranes were characterized by using Field Emission Electron Microscope (FESEM), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), and Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA). The membrane separation performance was studied. The PES-DEA and PES-MDEA membrane has good ability to remove carbon dioxide. 

High Level Characterization and Optimization of Switched-Current Sigma-Delta Modulators with VHDL-AMS

Today, design requirements are extending more and more from electronic (analogue and digital) to multidiscipline design. These current needs imply implementation of methodologies to make the CAD product reliable in order to improve time to market, study costs, reusability and reliability of the design process. This paper proposes a high level design approach applied for the characterization and the optimization of Switched-Current Sigma- Delta Modulators. It uses the new hardware description language VHDL-AMS to help the designers to optimize the characteristics of the modulator at a high level with a considerably reduced CPU time before passing to a transistor level characterization.