The new REACH legislation requires assessment of a large number of chemicals in the European market for several endpoints. Developmental toxicity is one of the most difficult endpoints to assess, on account of the complexity, length and costs of experiments. Following the encouragement of QSAR (in silico) methods provided in the REACH itself, the CAESAR project has developed several models.Two QSAR models for developmental toxicity have been developed, using different statistical/mathematical methods. Both models performed well. The first makes a classification based on a random forest algorithm, while the second is based on an adaptive fuzzy partition algorithm. The first model has been implemented and inserted into the CAESAR on-line application, which is java-based software that allows everyone to freely use the models.The CAESAR QSAR models have been developed with the aim to minimize false negatives in order to make them more usable for REACH. The CAESAR on-line application ensures that both industry and regulators can easily access and use the developmental toxicity model (as well as the models for the other four endpoints).
Graphene oxide composites with photocatalysts may exhibit better properties than pure photocatalysts via improvement of their textural and electronic properties.TiO2-Graphene Oxide (TiO2 - GO) nanocomposite was prepared by thermal hydrolysis of suspension with graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets and titania peroxo-complex. The characterization of graphene oxide nanosheets was provided by using an atomic force microscope and Raman spectroscopy. The prepared nanocomposites samples were characterized by Brunauer–Emmett–Teller surface area and Barrett–Joiner–Halenda porosity, X-ray Diffraction, Infrared Spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy. UV/VIS diffuse reflectance spectroscopy was employed to estimate band-gap energies. From the TiO2 - GO samples, a 300 μm thin layer on a piece of glass 10×15 cm was created. The photocatalytic activity of the prepared layers was assessed from the kinetics of the photocatalytic degradation of butane in the gas phase.The best photocatalytic activity under UV was observed for sample denoted TiGO_100 (k = 0.03012 h-1), while sample labeled TiGO_075 (k = 0.00774 h-1) demonstrated the best activity under visible light.
A review is presented of how one defines emerging contaminants and what can be included in that group of contaminants which is preferably termed “contaminants of emerging concern”. An historical perspective is given on the evolution of the issues surrounding emerging contaminants and how environmental scientists have tackled this issue. This begins with global lead contamination from the Romans two millennia ago, moves on to arsenic-based and DDT issues and more recently to pharmaceuticals, cyanotoxins, personal care products, nanoparticles, flame retardants, etc. Contaminants of emerging concern will remain a moving target as new chemical compounds are continuously being produced and science continuously improves its understanding of current and past contaminants.
Among the 20 natural amino acids histidine is the most active and versatile member that plays the multiple roles in protein interactions, often the key residue in enzyme catalytic reactions. A theoretical and comprehensive study on the structural features and interaction properties of histidine is certainly helpful.Four interaction types of histidine are quantitatively calculated, including: (1) Cation-π interactions, in which the histidine acts as the aromatic π-motif in neutral form (His), or plays the cation role in protonated form (His+); (2) π-π stacking interactions between histidine and other aromatic amino acids; (3) Hydrogen-π interactions between histidine and other aromatic amino acids; (4) Coordinate interactions between histidine and metallic cations. The energies of π-π stacking interactions and hydrogen-π interactions are calculated using CCSD/6-31+G(d,p). The energies of cation-π interactions and coordinate interactions are calculated using B3LYP/6-31+G(d,p) method and adjusted by empirical method for dispersion energy.The coordinate interactions between histidine and metallic cations are the strongest one acting in broad range, followed by the cation-π, hydrogen-π, and π-π stacking interactions. When the histidine is in neutral form, the cation-π interactions are attractive; when it is protonated (His+), the interactions turn to repulsive. The two protonation forms (and pKa values) of histidine are reversibly switched by the attractive and repulsive cation-π interactions. In proteins the π-π stacking interaction between neutral histidine and aromatic amino acids (Phe, Tyr, Trp) are in the range from -3.0 to -4.0 kcal/mol, significantly larger than the van der Waals energies.
This study aims to investigate the influence of different stirring times on antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles in polyethylene glycol (PEG) suspension. The silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) were prepared by green synthesis method using green agents, polyethylene glycol (PEG) under moderate temperature at different stirring times. Silver nitrate (AgNO3) was taken as the metal precursor while PEG was used as the solid support and polymeric stabilizer. The antibacterial activity of different sizes of nanosilver was investigated against Gram–positive [Staphylococcus aureus] and Gram–negative bacteria [Salmonella typhimurium SL1344] by the disk diffusion method using Müeller–Hinton Agar.Formation of Ag-NPs was determined by UV–vis spectroscopy where surface plasmon absorption maxima can be observed at 412–437 nm from the UV–vis spectrum. The synthesized nanoparticles were also characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD). The peaks in the XRD pattern confirmed that the Ag-NPs possessed a face-centered cubic and peaks of contaminated crystalline phases were unable to be located. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that Ag-NPs synthesized were in spherical shape. The optimum stirring time to synthesize smallest particle size was 6 hours with mean diameter of 11.23 nm. Zeta potential results indicate that the stability of the Ag-NPs is increases at the 6 h stirring time of reaction. The Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrum suggested the complexation present between PEG and Ag-NPs. The Ag-NPs in PEG were effective against all bacteria tested. Higher antibacterial activity was observed for Ag-NPs with smaller size. These suggest that Ag-NPs can be employed as an effective bacteria inhibitor and can be applied in medical field.Ag-NPs were successfully synthesized in PEG suspension under moderate temperature at different stirring times. The study clearly showed that the Ag-NPs with different stirring times exhibit inhibition towards the tested gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have numerous industrial applications and may be released to the environment. In the aquatic environment, pristine or functionalized CNT have different dispersion behavior, potentially leading to different risks of exposure along the water column. Data included in this review indicate that CNT do not cross biological barriers readily. When internalized, only a minimal fraction of CNT translocate into organism body compartments. The reported CNT toxicity depends on exposure conditions, model organism, CNT-type, dispersion state and concentration. In the ecotoxicological tests, the aquatic organisms were generally found to be more sensitive than terrestrial organisms. Invertebrates were more sensitive than vertebrates. Single-walled CNT were found to be more toxic than double-/multi-walled CNT. Generally, the effect concentrations documented in literature were above current modeled average environmental concentrations. Measurement data are needed for estimation of environmental no-effect concentrations. Future studies with benchmark materials are needed to generate comparable results. Studies have to include better characterization of the starting materials, of the dispersions and of the biological fate, to obtain better knowledge of the exposure/effect relationships.
Nickel ferrite, a kind of soft magnetic materials is one of the most attracting class of materials due to its interesting and important properties and has many technical applications, such as in catalysis, sensors and so on. In this paper the synthesis of NiFe2O4 nanoparticles by the hydrothermal method is reported and the inhibition of surfactant (Glycerol or Sodium dodecyl sulfate) on the particles growth is investigated.For investigation of the inhibition effect of surfactant on NiFe2O4 particles growth, the samples were prepared in presence of Glycerol and Sodium dodecyl sulfate. The X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES) techniques were used to characterize the samples.The results of XRD and ICP-AES show that the products were pure NiFe2O4 and also nanoparticles grow with increasing the temperature, while surfactant prevents the particle growth under the same condition. The average particle size was determined from the Scherrer's equation and TEM micrographs and found to be in the range of 50-60 nm that decreased up to 10-15 nm in presence of surfactant. The FT-IR results show two absorption bands near to 603 and 490 cm-1 for the tetrahedral and octahedral sites respectively. Furthermore, the saturated magnetization and coercivity of NiFe2O4 nanoparticles were in the range of 39.60 emu/g and 15.67 Qe that decreased for samples prepared in presence of surfactant. As well as, the nanoparticles exhibited a superparamagnetic behavior at room temperature.Nanosized nickel ferrite particles were synthesized with and without surfactant assisted hydrothermal methods. The results show that with increasing of temperature, the crystallinity of nanoparticles is increased. In the presence of surfactants, the crystallinity of NiFe2O4 nanoparticles decreased in comparison with surfactant- free prepared samples. All of the nickel ferrite nanoparticles were superparamagnetic at room temperature.
This study evaluated the effect of the solvent on the extraction of antioxidant compounds from black mulberry (Morus nigra), blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius) and strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). Different extracts of each berry were evaluated from the determination of total phenolic content, anthocyanin content and antioxidant capacity, and data were applied to the principal component analysis (PCA) to gain an overview of the effect of the solvent in extraction method.For all the berries analyzed, acetone/water (70/30, v/v) solvent mixture was more efficient solvent in the extracting of phenolic compounds, and methanol/water/acetic acid (70/29.5/0.5, v/v/v) showed the best values for anthocyanin content. Mixtures of ethanol/water (50/50, v/v), acetone water/acetic acid (70/29.5/0.5, v/v/v) and acetone/water (50/50, v/v) presented the highest antioxidant capacities for black mulberries, blackberries and strawberries, respectively.Antioxidants extractions are extremely affected by the solvent combination used. In addition, the obtained extracts with the organic solvent-water mixtures were distinguished from the extracts obtained with pure organic solvents, through the PCA analysis.
The aim of this study is to measure the levels of heavy metals (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Ni, Cd and Pb) found in common vegetables (parsley, carrot, onion, lettuce, cucumber and green beans) grown in contaminated mining areas compared with those grown in reference clear area and to determine their potential detrimental effects via calculation of the daily metal intake (DImetal) and Target Hazard Quotients (THQ) for normal daily consumption of these vegetables, for male and female gender.Compared with the reference in contaminated areas, soil and plant contents of all analyzed metals are higher, usually over normally content for Mn, Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb. Particularly, in soil, higher values than intervention threshold values (ITV) were found for Cu and Pb and higher than maximum allowable limits (MAL) for Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb for parsley roots and leaves, carrot roots, cabbage, lettuce and cucumber. DImetal and THQ values for male and female were calculated for each vegetable and metal and for which oral reference doses exist. The combined THQ values calculated are concerning in that they are usually below the safe level of THQ<1 for all vegetables grown in reference area. In contaminated Moldova Noua (M) area the combined THQ exceeded the safe level only for parsley roots, while in more contaminated Ruschita (R) area combined THQ exceeded the safe level for parsley and carrot roots, lettuce and cabbage. Cd and Pb, most toxic metals to humans, have an increasing prevalence in the combined THQ for leafy (cabbage and lettuce) and fruit vegetables (cucumber). In the root vegetables only Pb has an increasing prevalence in combined THQ values. In all areas female THQ is higher than male THQ.The results of this study regarding metal contents in soils, vegetables, DImetal and THQ suggest that the consumption of some vegetables (especially parsley, carrot and cabbage and less for lettuce, cucumber and green beans) is not free of risks in these areas. The complex THQ parameter use in health risk assessment of heavy metals provides a better image than using only a simple parameter (contents of metals in soils and vegetables).
Graphene oxide (GO)can be dispersed through functionalization, or chemically converted to make different graphene-based nanocomposites with excellent mechanical and thermal properties. Chitosan, a partially deacetylated derivative of chitin, is extensively used for food packaging, biosensors, water treatment, and drug delivery. GO can be evenly dispersed in chitosan matrix through the formation of amide linkages between them, which is different from previous reports focusing on preparing GO/chitosan nanocomposites through physical mixing.In this study, free-standing graphene oxide-chitosan (GO-chitosan) nanocomposite films have been prepared. The GO-chitosan films are biologically compatible and mechanically reinforced. Through the formation of amide linkages between GO’s carboxylic acid groups and chitosan's amine groups, GO could be evenly dispersed within the chitosan matrix. We also characterized the GO-chitosan composite films using element analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photo electron spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and thermo gravimetric analysis. Compared to pristine chitosan film, the tensile strength of GO-chitosan film is improved by 2.5 folds and Young’s modulus increases by nearly 4.6 folds. The glass transition temperature of GO-chitosan composite film shifts from 118°C to 158°C compared to the pristine chitosan, indicating its enhanced thermal stability. GO-chitosan composite film was also evaluated for its biocompatibility with C3H10T1/2 cells by in vitro fluorescent staining. The graphene oxide-reinforced chitosan composite films could have applications in functional biomaterials.The present study describes a useful and simple method to chemically attach biocompatible chitosan onto graphene oxide. We envision that the GO-chitosan film will open avenues for next-generation graphene applications in the realm of functional biomaterial.
Propolis is a sticky material collected by bees from plants, and used in the hive as building material and defensive substance. It has been popular as a remedy in Europe since ancient times. Nowadays, propolis use in over-the-counter preparations, “bio”-cosmetics and functional foods, etc., increases. Volatile compounds are found in low concentrations in propolis, but their aroma and significant biological activity make them important for propolis characterisation. Propolis is a plant-derived product: its chemical composition depends on the local flora at the site of collection, thus it offers a significant chemical diversity. The role of propolis volatiles in identification of its plant origin is discussed. The available data about chemical composition of propolis volatiles from different geographic regions are reviewed, demonstrating significant chemical variability. The contribution of volatiles and their constituents to the biological activities of propolis is considered. Future perspectives in research on propolis volatiles are outlined, especially in studying activities other than antimicrobial.
The seeds and sprouts of mung bean (Vigna radiata), a common food, contain abundant nutrients with biological activities. This review provides insight into the nutritional value of mung beans and its sprouts, discussing chemical constituents that have been isolated in the past few decades, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, organic acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. Moreover, we also summarize dynamic changes in metabolites during the sprouting process and related biological activities, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, antihypertensive, and antitumor effects, etc., with the goal of providing scientific evidence for better application of this commonly used food as a medicine.
It is imperative to eliminate bacteria present in water in order to avoid problems in healthy. Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi bacteria are two common pollutants and they are developing resistance to some of the most used bactericide. Therefore new biocide materials are being tested. Thus, gold nanoparticles are proposed to inhibit the growth of these two microorganisms.Gold nanoparticles were supported onto clinoptilolite, mordenite and faujasite zeolites. Content of gold in materials varied between 2.3 and 2.8 wt%. The size, dispersion and roughness of gold nanoparticles were highly dependent of the zeolite support. The faujasite support was the support where the 5 nm nanoparticles were highly dispersed. The efficiency of gold-zeolites as bactericides of Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi was determined by the zeolite support.Gold nanoparticles dispersed on zeolites eliminate Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi at short times. The biocidal properties of gold nanoparticles are influenced by the type of support which, indeed, drives key parameters as the size and roughness of nanoparticles. The more actives materials were pointed out Au-faujasite. These materials contained particles sized 5 nm at surface and eliminate 90–95% of Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhi colonies.
Sonchus asper (SA) is traditionally used for the treatment of various ailments associated with liver, lungs and kidneys. This study was aimed to investigate the therapeutic potential of nonpolar (hexane, SAHE; ethyl acetate, SAEE and chloroform, SACE) and polar (methanol, SAME) crude extracts of the whole plant.To achieve these goals, several parameters including free-radical (DPPH•, ABTS•+, H2O2 and •OH) scavenging, iron chelating activity, scavenging of superoxide radicals, total flavonoids and total phenolic content (TPC) were examined.The SA extracts presented a remarkable capacity to scavenge all the tested reactive species with IC50 values being found at the μg ⁄ ml level. The SAME was shown to have the highest TPCs while lowest IC50 values for the DPPH•, ABTS•+ radical scavenging capacities and iron chelating scavenging efficiency, moreover, SAME had best activities in scavenging of superoxide radicals and hydrogen peroxide as well as potently scavenged the hydroxyl radicals.These results suggest the potential of S. asper as a medicine against free-radical-associated oxidative damage.
The increased use of veterinary antibiotics in modern agriculture for therapeutic uses and growth promotion has raised concern regarding the environmental impacts of antibiotic residues in soil and water. The mobility and transport of antibiotics in the environment depends on their sorption behavior, which is typically predicted by extrapolating from an experimentally determined soil-water distribution coefficient (Kd). Accurate determination of Kd values is important in order to better predict the environmental fate of antibiotics. In this paper, we examine different analytical approaches in assessing Kd of two major classes of veterinary antibiotics (sulfonamides and macrolides) and compare the existing literature data with experimental data obtained in our laboratory. While environmental parameters such as soil pH and organic matter content are the most significant factors that affect the sorption of antibiotics in soil, it is important to consider the concentrations used, the analytical method employed, and the transformations that can occur when determining Kd values. Application of solid phase extraction and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry can facilitate accurate determination of Kd at environmentally relevant concentrations. Because the bioavailability of antibiotics in soil depends on their sorption behavior, it is important to examine current practices in assessing their mobility in soil.
Our knowledge of proteins has greatly improved in recent years, driven by new technologies in the fields of molecular biology and proteome research. It has become clear that from a single gene not only one single gene product but many different ones - termed protein species - are generated, all of which may be associated with different functions. Nonetheless, an unambiguous nomenclature for describing individual protein species is still lacking. With the present paper we therefore propose a systematic nomenclature for the comprehensive description of protein species. The protein species nomenclature is flexible and adaptable to every level of knowledge and of experimental data in accordance with the exact chemical composition of individual protein species. As a minimum description the entry name (gene name + species according to the UniProt knowledgebase) can be used, if no analytical data about the target protein species are available.
Manufactured silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are one of the most commonly used nanomaterials in consumer goods and consequently their concentrations in wastewater and hence wastewater treatment plants are predicted to increase. We investigated the fate of AgNPs in sludge that was subjected to aerobic and anaerobic treatment and the impact of AgNPs on microbial processes and communities. The initial identification of AgNPs in sludge was carried out using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis. The solid phase speciation of silver in sludge and wastewater influent was then examined using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). The effects of transformed AgNPs (mainly Ag-S phases) on nitrification, wastewater microbial populations and, for the first time, methanogenesis was investigated.Sequencing batch reactor experiments and anaerobic batch tests, both demonstrated that nitrification rate and methane production were not affected by the addition of AgNPs [at 2.5 mg Ag L-1 (4.9 g L-1 total suspended solids, TSS) and 183.6 mg Ag kg -1 (2.9 g kg-1 total solids, TS), respectively].The low toxicity is most likely due to AgNP sulfidation. XAS analysis showed that sulfur bonded Ag was the dominant Ag species in both aerobic (activated sludge) and anaerobic sludge. In AgNP and AgNO3 spiked aerobic sludge, metallic Ag was detected (~15%). However, after anaerobic digestion, Ag(0) was not detected by XAS analysis. Dominant wastewater microbial populations were not affected by AgNPs as determined by DNA extraction and pyrotag sequencing. However, there was a shift in niche populations in both aerobic and anaerobic sludge, with a shift in AgNP treated sludge compared with controls. This is the first time that the impact of transformed AgNPs (mainly Ag-S phases) on anaerobic digestion has been reported.Silver NPs were transformed to Ag-S phases during activated sludge treatment (prior to anaerobic digestion). Transformed AgNPs, at predicted future Ag wastewater concentrations, did not affect nitrification or methanogenesis. Consequently, AgNPs are very unlikely to affect the efficient functioning of wastewater treatment plants. However, AgNPs may negatively affect sub-dominant wastewater microbial communities.
Identification and evaluation of surface binding-pockets and occluded cavities are initial steps in protein structure-based drug design. Characterizing the active site's shape as well as the distribution of surrounding residues plays an important role for a variety of applications such as automated ligand docking or in situ modeling. Comparing the shape similarity of binding site geometries of related proteins provides further insights into the mechanisms of ligand binding.We present PocketPicker, an automated grid-based technique for the prediction of protein binding pockets that specifies the shape of a potential binding-site with regard to its buriedness. The method was applied to a representative set of protein-ligand complexes and their corresponding apo-protein structures to evaluate the quality of binding-site predictions. The performance of the pocket detection routine was compared to results achieved with the existing methods CAST, LIGSITE, LIGSITEcs, PASS and SURFNET. Success rates PocketPicker were comparable to those of LIGSITEcs and outperformed the other tools. We introduce a descriptor that translates the arrangement of grid points delineating a detected binding-site into a correlation vector. We show that this shape descriptor is suited for comparative analyses of similar binding-site geometry by examining induced-fit phenomena in aldose reductase. This new method uses information derived from calculations of the buriedness of potential binding-sites.The pocket prediction routine of PocketPicker is a useful tool for identification of potential protein binding-pockets. It produces a convenient representation of binding-site shapes including an intuitive description of their accessibility. The shape-descriptor for automated classification of binding-site geometries can be used as an additional tool complementing elaborate manual inspections.
Background: Only a few exposure systems are presently available that enable cigarette smoke exposure of living cells at the air-liquid interface, of which one of the most versatile is the Vitrocell(R) system (Vitrocell(R) Systems GmbH). To assess its performance and optimize the exposure conditions, we characterized a Vitrocell(R) 24/48 system connected to a 30-port carousel smoking machine. The Vitrocell(R) 24/48 system allows for simultaneous exposure of 48 cell culture inserts using dilution airflow rates of 0-3.0 L/min and exposes six inserts per dilution. These flow rates represent cigarette smoke concentrations of 7-100%. Results: By characterizing the exposure inside the Vitrocell(R) 24/48, we verified that (I) the cigarette smoke aerosol distribution is uniform across all inserts, (II) the utility of Vitrocell(R) crystal quartz microbalances for determining the online deposition of particle mass on the inserts, and (III) the amount of particles deposited per surface area and the amounts of trapped carbonyls and nicotine were concentration dependent. At a fixed dilution airflow of 0.5 L/min, the results showed a coefficient of variation of 12.2% between inserts of the Vitrocell(R) 24/48 module, excluding variations caused by different runs. Although nicotine and carbonyl concentrations were linear over the tested dilution range, particle mass deposition increased nonlinearly. The observed effect on cell viability was well-correlated with increasing concentration of cigarette smoke. Conclusions: Overall, the obtained results highlight the suitability of the Vitrocell(R) 24/48 system to assess the effect of cigarette smoke on cells under air-liquid interface exposure conditions, which is closely related to the conditions occurring in human airways.
Boronic acids are increasingly utilised in diverse areas of research. Including the interactions of boronic acids with diols and strong Lewis bases as fluoride or cyanide anions, which leads to their utility in various sensing applications. The sensing applications can be homogeneous assays or heterogeneous detection. Detection can be at the interface of the sensing material or within the bulk sample. Furthermore, the key interaction of boronic acids with diols allows utilisation in various areas ranging from biological labelling, protein manipulation and modification, separation and the development of therapeutics. All the above uses and applications are covered by this mini-review of papers published during 2013.