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News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

Natural products have been used in medicine for many years. Many top-selling pharmaceuticals are natural compounds or their derivatives. These plant- or microorganism-derived compounds have shown potential as therapeutic agents against cancer, microbial infection, inflammation, and other disease conditions. However, their success in clinical trials has been less impressive, partly due to the compounds' low bioavailability. The incorporation of nanoparticles into a delivery system for natural products would be a major advance in the efforts to increase their therapeutic effects. Recently, advances have been made showing that nanoparticles can significantly increase the bioavailability of natural products both in vitro and in vivo. Nanotechnology has demonstrated its capability to manipulate particles in order to target specific areas of the body and control the release of drugs. Although there are many benefits to applying nanotechnology for better delivery of natural products, it is not without issues. Drug targeting remains a challenge and potential nanoparticle toxicity needs to be further investigated, especially if these systems are to be used to treat chronic human diseases. This review aims to summarize recent progress in several key areas relevant to natural products in nanoparticle delivery systems for biomedical applications. 1Department of Biochemistry, 2Program in Nanoscience, 3Center for Drug Discovery, 4Department of Biological Systems Engineering, 5Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, 6Department of Chemical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, USA


Pitts M.,Biological Systems Engineering | Kupferman E.,Washington State University
Journal of Food Quality | Year: 2010

The relationship between compressive forces, tensile forces and sensory perception of apple and pear texture was evaluated over two harvest years. A trained panel assessed the sensory attribute of apple and pear samples. Compressive forces were determined using a Guss Fruit Texture analyzer and Sinclair iQ™. Tensile determinations were obtained using a unique method employing both tensile and compression elastic modulus of the fruit tissue. Results showed that crispness, hardness and fracturability were significantly correlated (r = 0.80-0.90). Sinclair iQ™ System and Guss Fruit Texture measurements on apple (r = 0.78-0.83) and pears (r = 0.83) showed a significant correlation with sensory results for hardness. Tensile determinations predicted crispness in apples (r = 0.88) and pears (r = 0.85). A combination method of compressive and tensile determinations may offer the most accurate prediction of textural properties of apples and pears. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Rosenquist S.E.,Biological Systems Engineering | Hession W.C.,Biological Systems Engineering | Eick M.J.,Crop and Soil Environmental Science | Vaughan D.H.,Biological Systems Engineering
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2010

Various best management practices (BMPs) utilizing sorption processes (SP) have demonstrated effectiveness for phosphorus (P) management in stormwater. However, the widespread use of these BMPs in urban areas has been limited by large land requirements and limited P removal capacity. Central to this study is the development of the urban wetland filter (UWF), a concept intended to overcome these limitations and provide a low-cost, easily implemented BMP that can meet urban P-management goals. Performance variation along with finite sorption capacity has limited the reliability of SP as a primary removal strategy. However, if variability were better understood and capacity made renewable, sorption of P to substrates could provide the option of a more rapid and (with less required retention time) more space-efficient sustainable removal strategy than biological uptake. The goal of this study was to identify and model major sources of variability in P removal by sorption, enabling better prediction and optimization of sorption performance and ultimately the development of a small-footprint stormwater BMP with efficient P removal ability. Experiments were conducted in bench-scale reactors with an iron-oxide sand substrate. Results included a physical-process model developed by considering the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of SP. Significant sources of variability included, by order of importance, magnitude of a solution/substrate concentration gradient, length of the "antecedent dry period" between loadings, and pH. Most importantly, results indicate the critical importance of a thermodynamic gradient between solution P and previously adsorbed P to achieve continued removal. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


News Article | December 12, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

A new survey shows consumers are willing to pay more for second-generation biofuels over conventional fuel. A Washington State University research poll shows consumers will pay a premium of approximately 11 percent over conventional fuel. “We were surprised the premium was that significant,” Jill McCluskey, WSU professor in the School of Economic Sciences, said in a statement. “We wanted to study people in different regions of the country, to make sure we weren’t just getting a local result, and people in all three cities we studied said they would pay more for these fuels.” The surveys were conducted in Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and Boston by McCluskey and study co-author Tongzhe Li, a recent WSU Ph.D. graduate. The participants were asked if they would be willing to pay a certain amount for the product and if they said no, the researchers offered a discount and asked if participants would pay that amount. If the participants said yes, then the researchers would ask if they would pay a little more for the product. Before they survey, half of the respondents were given information about second-generation biofuels. The respondents who received this information were more willing to pay a greater premium, which suggests that marketing the benefits of new biofuels would improve consumers’ perceptions. First generation biofuels use potential food sources like corn, which can cause the price of food to rise., while second-generation biofuels are made from sustainable biological non-food sources. “This new biofuel doesn’t exist commercially yet, so we have to do these studies to make sure there’s a potential market for it,” McCluskey said. “And this shows there clearly is a market.” Alaska Airlines recently flew a plane from Seattle to Washington, D.C., strictly on second-generation biofuel made from wood scraps. The flight took place on Nov. 14 when a Boeing 737-800 departed Seattle-Tacoma International for Washington Reagan National Airport with 163 passengers. The plane was fueled by 1,080 gallons of biofuel, developed in association with the WSU-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance. McCluskey’s study was part of a grant from the National Science Foundation headed by Shulin Chen, WSU professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Chen, who researches new biofuels, asked McCluskey to find out whether people would buy second-generation biofuels. The study, which appeared in Energy Economics, can be viewed here.


Project team: Lord Aeck Sargent (architect); Stroud, Pence & Associates Ltd. (structural engineer); HC YU & Associates (MEP engineer); Draper Aden Associates Inc. (civil engineer); AECOM (landscape architect); Miller, Beam & Paganelli Inc. (A/V & acoustics); Skanska USA Building Inc. (GC). Description: The Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building 1 (HABB1) is the first building within a new Biosciences Precinct at Virginia Tech. It houses faculty and graduate student researchers working to identify solutions to societal issues within the food, health and energy industries. HABB1 contains research space for the departments of Biological Systems Engineering and Food Sciences Technology. Included are offices, lab and support facilities focused on a wide range of microbiological and biochemical research including food safety, sensory/flavor testing, food packaging and processing, environmental quality analysis and bio-fuel cells, along with interdisciplinary collaborative space. Each department also has flexible pilot plant facilities for use in the development of scale-up operations and process/packaging engineering systems. The building’s lower level houses two-story high-bay pilot labs used for large equipment and research. These labs require robust flexibility of utilities and direct loading access for large equipment. The upper two floors house the flexible, open research labs. The design of these floors creates a shared core lab block in the center of the building that provides high degree of efficiency while creating interaction opportunities along two main corridors. All open labs—including the pilot labs—have access to natural light. A three-story collaboration atrium connects the mezzanine level (that overlooks the pilot labs below) with the flexible lab floors above. This space doubles as event/reception space for symposiums and helps foster collaboration across the departments within.


News Article | December 8, 2016
Site: phys.org

"We were surprised the premium was that significant," said Jill McCluskey, WSU professor in the School of Economic Sciences. "We wanted to study people in different regions of the country, to make sure we weren't just getting a local result, and people in all three cities we studied said they would pay more for these fuels." The paper, "Consumer Preferences for Second-Generation Bioethanol," was published in November in the journal Energy Economics. First generation biofuels use potential food sources, like corn, which can cause the price of food to rise. Second generation biofuels, on the other hand, are made from sustainable biological non-food sources. Recently, Alaska Airlines flew a plane from Seattle to Washington, D.C., fueled by second generation biofuel made from wood scraps. McCluskey's study was part of a grant from the National Science Foundation headed by Shulin Chen, WSU professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Chen, who researches new biofuels, asked McCluskey to find out whether people would buy second generation biofuels. "This new biofuel doesn't exist commercially yet, so we have to do these studies to make sure there's a potential market for it," McCluskey said. "And this shows there clearly is a market." McCluskey and her co-author, recent WSU Ph.D. graduate Tongzhe Li, conducted surveys in Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and Boston. In Portland, the average amount participants would pay for second generation biofuel over conventional fuel was 17 percent, while in Minneapolis and Boston the averages were 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. "People in the survey were concerned that the new fuel may put their car at risk, by not running the same as conventional fuel," she said. "But they also saw the added benefit to the environment." The researchers asked participants if they would be willing to pay a certain amount for the product. If they said no, researchers offered a discount and asked if participants would pay that amount. However, if respondents said yes, researchers asked if they would be willing to pay a little more for the product. Before they were surveyed, half of the participants were given information about second generation biofuels. Those participants were more willing to pay a greater premium, which suggests that marketing the benefits of the new biofuels would improve consumers' perceptions, McCluskey said. More information: Tongzhe Li et al, Consumer preferences for second-generation bioethanol, Energy Economics (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2016.10.023


News Article | December 8, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PULLMAN, Wash. - When it comes to second generation biofuels, Washington State University research shows that consumers are willing to pay a premium of approximately 11 percent over conventional fuel. "We were surprised the premium was that significant," said Jill McCluskey, WSU professor in the School of Economic Sciences. "We wanted to study people in different regions of the country, to make sure we weren't just getting a local result, and people in all three cities we studied said they would pay more for these fuels." The paper, "Consumer Preferences for Second-Generation Bioethanol," was published in November in the journal Energy Economics. See http://www. . First generation biofuels use potential food sources, like corn, which can cause the price of food to rise. Second generation biofuels, on the other hand, are made from sustainable biological non-food sources. Recently, Alaska Airlines flew a plane from Seattle to Washington, D.C., fueled by second generation biofuel made from wood scraps. McCluskey's study was part of a grant from the National Science Foundation headed by Shulin Chen, WSU professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Chen, who researches new biofuels, asked McCluskey to find out whether people would buy second generation biofuels. "This new biofuel doesn't exist commercially yet, so we have to do these studies to make sure there's a potential market for it," McCluskey said. "And this shows there clearly is a market." McCluskey and her co-author, recent WSU Ph.D. graduate Tongzhe Li, conducted surveys in Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and Boston. In Portland, the average amount participants would pay for second generation biofuel over conventional fuel was 17 percent, while in Minneapolis and Boston the averages were 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively. "People in the survey were concerned that the new fuel may put their car at risk, by not running the same as conventional fuel," she said. "But they also saw the added benefit to the environment." The researchers asked participants if they would be willing to pay a certain amount for the product. If they said no, researchers offered a discount and asked if participants would pay that amount. However, if respondents said yes, researchers asked if they would be willing to pay a little more for the product. Before they were surveyed, half of the participants were given information about second generation biofuels. Those participants were more willing to pay a greater premium, which suggests that marketing the benefits of the new biofuels would improve consumers' perceptions, McCluskey said.


Choudhury D.,Assam University | Sahu J.K.,Biological Systems Engineering | Sharma G.D.,Assam University
Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research | Year: 2011

This paper reviews fermented bamboo shoots as a brilliant fixing to numerous delicious dishes, of not only the Indian subcontinent but also China, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. Low in calorie and high in carbohydrate, proteins and minerals, bamboo shoots are consumed in raw, canned, boiled, fermented, and stir fried forms. It is anticipated that process optimization with further validation will help to grow an independent bamboo shoot based food industry.


Meyer G.E.,Biological Systems Engineering | Paparazzi E.T.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln | Adams S.A.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln | Voltan D.S.,São Paulo State University
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2014, ASABE 2014 | Year: 2014

It is important for a greenhouse strawberry grower to know that their capillary mat (CapMat™) fertigation system is working correctly and that plants are receiving the correct amounts of water and fertilizer. Pots with soilless mix are not expected to hold more than 70% water on a volumetric basis. Pots with less than 40% water content continuously are not supplied enough water and nutrients to the plants. Typically, pots located near the manifold distribution system get a little more water than those at the other locations, but water use will really vary according to the factors listed above as well as environmental parameters, but should not vary more than 20%. Fertigation is based on the drip tape distribution system, the media density of individual pots, and the spatial energy distribution within the greenhouse. To understand how these factors interact, pot moisture, media temperature, and electrical conductivity were spot checked with a relatively new commercial sensor and also monitored continuously along with greenhouse temperature, humidity, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) using a data logger system. We found that the variance in pot medium moisture and fertilizer was as expected as were fluctuations in air and mix temperatures. Calibrated commercial electrical conductivity and soil moisture sensors for measuring pot moisture and/or electric conductivity were reliable. Having this data may be a key to determining why plants in the UNL greenhouse produced more marketable fruit than plants in the commercial house.


Plummer J.D.,Worcester Polytechnic Institute | Long S.C.,Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene | Liu Z.,Biological Systems Engineering | Charest A.A.,Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Environmental Engineering Science | Year: 2014

Indicator organisms are used to assess pathogen risk in waters, however, indicators often do not correlate with pathogens. Direct pathogen monitoring (e.g., human adenoviruses) may provide data on actual risk from one pathogen but may not be indicative of overall risk. A potential alternative indicator is Torque teno virus (TTV), which may co-locate with pathogenic enteric viruses but has not been associated with any disease. The objective of this research was to determine the value of TTV as a potential indicator of human fecal contamination and viral pathogen risk in the United States. Occurrence of TTV in animal feces, wastewaters, and drinking waters was evaluated by polymerase chain reaction with primers in the highly conserved untranscribed region to detect TTV human genotypes. These data were compared to data on standard indicators and human adenovirus presence. TTV was detected in 4.0% of animal feces, 41.7% of wastewater samples, and 13.9% of drinking water samples. These relatively low positive rates in waters may reflect the relatively low prevalence of serum TTV positivity in the United States. Adenoviruses were detected in a larger percentage (83.3%) of wastewaters (indicative of human fecal contamination) than TTV, and analysis of nonhuman animal feces showed the human adenovirus assay to have a higher degree of specificity. This study adds to the understanding of the global occurrence of TTV. Based on a lack of correlation with fecal indicators and varying prevalence rates in humans, TTV does not appear to be a suitable indicator of fecal contamination. © 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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