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Monteiro-Cardoso V.F.,Royal University | Monteiro-Cardoso V.F.,Animal and Veterinary Research Center | Silva A.M.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Oliveira M.M.,Royal University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes | Year: 2014

Cancer cells can adapt their metabolic activity under nutritional hostile conditions in order to ensure both bioenergetics and biosynthetic requirements to survive. In this study, the effect of glucose deprivation on Caco-2 cells bioenergetics activity and putative relationship with membrane lipid changes were investigated. Glucose deprivation induces a metabolic remodeling characterized at mitochondrial level by an increase of oxygen consumption, arising from an improvement of complex II and complex IV activities and an inhibition of complex I activity. This effect is accompanied by changes in cellular membrane phospholipid profile. Caco-2 cells grown under glucose deprivation show higher phosphatidylethanolamine content and decreased phosphatidic acid content. Considering fatty acid profile of all cell phospholipids, glucose deprivation induces a decrease of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) simultaneously with an increase of n-6 PUFA, with consequent drop of n-3/n-6 ratio. Additionally, glucose deprivation affects significantly the fatty acid profile of all individual phospholipid classes, reflected by an increase of peroxidability index in zwitterionic phospholipids and a decrease in all anionic phospholipids, including mitochondrial cardiolipin. These data indicate that Caco-2 cells metabolic remodeling induced by glucose deprivation actively involves membrane lipid changes associated with a specific bioenergetics profile which ensure cell survival. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Teixeira A.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Teixeira A.,University of Minho | Eiras-Dias J.,National Institute of Agrarian and Veterinary Research INIAV | Castellarin S.D.,University of Udine | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences | Year: 2013

Plant phenolics have been for many years a theme of major scientific and applied interest. Grape berry phenolics contribute to organoleptic properties, color and protection against environmental challenges. Climate change has already caused significant warming in most grape-growing areas of the world, and the climatic conditions determine, to a large degree, the grape varieties that can be cultivated as well as wine quality. In particular, heat, drought and light/UV intensity severely affect phenolic metabolism and, thus, grape composition and development. In the variety Chardonnay, water stress increases the content of flavonols and decreases the expression of genes involved in biosynthesis of stilbene precursors. Also, polyphenolic profile is greatly dependent on genotype and environmental interactions. This review deals with the diversity and biosynthesis of phenolic compounds in the grape berry, from a general overview to a more detailed level, where the influence of environmental challenges on key phenolic metabolism pathways is approached. The full understanding of how and when specific phenolic compounds accumulate in the berry, and how the varietal grape berry metabolism responds to the environment is of utmost importance to adjust agricultural practices and thus, modify wine profile. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Lucas-Borja M.E.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | Fonseca T.F.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Lousada J.L.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Silva-Santos P.,Modelling and Environment | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Research | Year: 2012

Information on plant seed dispersal, natural loss dynamics of seeds and germination are critical for understanding natural regeneration mechanisms. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of different forest stand densities on seedfall, seed predation, and seedling germination of two populations of the endangered Spanish black Pine forests located at lower (Central population) and higher elevation near the limit of the species' range (peripheral population) in the Cuenca Mountains of Central Spain. The seed predation and germination experiment also included a nested site preparation treatment. Seed fall varied significantly between 2006 and 2005 or 2007 in both populations. During the only mast year of 2006, higher seedfall was observed at lower elevation and in higher density stands. Predation rates were influenced by the seed crop since predators consumed more than 75 % of seeds in years with lower production and less than 15 % in a mast year. Seed germination is influenced by forest habitat, stand density and soil scalping. For common habitat types, and in a high seed production year, better seed germination rates were observed in medium and dense stands (25-30 and 35-40 m 2 ha -1, respectively, in terms of basal area). No statistical difference in seed germination rate was found for Spanish black pine forest at its ecological distribution limit between lower and higher densities (15-20 and 35-40 m 2 ha -1, in terms of basal area). In both sites, closed stands with soil scalping exhibited higher germination rates. © 2012 The Ecological Society of Japan.


Silva V.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Rouboa A.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2011

A VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code was developed to determine the exergy associated to the methane combustion. It was considered as the main sub-processes for each stage of reaction: the combined reactant mixing, the fuel oxidation, the internal thermal energy exchange (heat transfer), and the product mixing process. The exergetic efficiency and the temperature of the products were computed as a function of the percentage of the excess air. It was verified that the internal thermal energy exchange is the sub-process where the larger exergy destruction occurs. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.


Monteiro-Cardoso V.F.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Oliveira M.M.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Melo T.,University of Aveiro | Domingues M.R.M.,University of Aveiro | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease | Year: 2014

Brain mitochondria are fundamental to maintaining healthy functional brains, and their dysfunction is involved in age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we conducted a research on how both non-synaptic and synaptic mitochondrial functions are compromised at an early stage of AD-like pathologies and their correlation with putative changes on membranes lipid profile, using 3 month-old nontransgenic and 3xTg-AD mice, a murine model of experimental AD. Bioenergetic dysfunction in 3xTg-AD brains is evidenced by a decrease of brain ATP levels resulting, essentially, from synaptic mitochondria functionality disruption as indicated by declined respiratory control ratio associated with a 50% decreased complex I activity. Lipidomics studies revealed that synaptic bioenergetic deficit of 3xTg-AD brains is accompanied by alterations in the phospholipid composition of synaptic mitochondrial membranes, detected either in phospholipid class distribution or in the phospholipids molecular profile. Globally, diacyl- and lyso-phosphatidylcholine lipids increase while ethanolamine plasmalogens and cardiolipins content drops in relation to nontransgenic background. However, the main lipidomic mark of 3xTg-AD brains is that cardiolipin cluster-organized profile is lost in synaptic mitochondria due to a decline of the most representative molecular species. In contrast to synaptic mitochondria, results support the idea that non-synaptic mitochondria function is preserved at the age of 3 months. Although the genetically construed 3xTg-AD mouse model does not represent the most prevalent form of AD in humans, the present study provides insights into the earliest biochemical events in AD brain, connecting specific lipidomic changes with synaptic bioenergetic deficit that may contribute to the progressive synapses loss and the neurodegenerative process that characterizes AD. © 2015 - IOS Press and the authors.


Sanches Fernandes L.F.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Sanches Fernandes L.F.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Seixas F.J.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Oliveira P.C.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | And 5 more authors.
Fresenius Environmental Bulletin | Year: 2012

The Mike Basin - Water Quality modelling system was applied to the hydrographical basin of Sôrdo river located in the northeast of Portugal, in the region of Trásos-Montes and Alto Douro. This model allows the simulation of diffuse pollution caused by nitrate concentration in a small hydrographical basin (located in the demarcated region of the Port wine). The model allows the creation of a set of scenarios aiming at an effective planning of the basin under study. The available data for the drainages calculation were the monthly average effective rainfall between the years of 1960 and 2008. The Climate-change was predicted by the scenarios created in SIAM II and were simulated with the HadRM3 model. The limit quantities of nitrate present in the water should not contain over 25 mg/1; this is the maximum recommended value, and should not exceed 50 mg/1, this is the maximum allowable value by Portuguese law. We created simulation scenarios using the fertilizers produced by the bovine cattle and change of the agricultural uses or crops in this basin. For 2010 the fertilizers used were comprised between the recommended and the allowable maximum values. For 2071 the fertilizers were above the maximum allowable value. With these scenarios we found a 40% increase in nitrate levels due to climate change between the years 2010 and 2071. ©by PSP.


Monteiro-Cardoso V.F.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Castro M.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Oliveira M.M.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Moreira P.I.,University of Coimbra | And 2 more authors.
Current Alzheimer Research | Year: 2015

The emergence of Alzheimer's disease as a systemic pathology shifted the research paradigm toward a better understanding of the molecular basis of the disease considering the pathophysiological changes in both brain and peripheral tissues. In the present study, we evaluated the impact of disease progression on physiological relevant features of skeletal muscle obtained from 3, 6 and 12 month-old 3xTg-AD mice, a model of Alzheimer's disease, and respective age-matched nonTg mice. Our results showed that skeletal muscle functionality is already affected in 3-month-old 3xTg-AD mice as evidenced by deficient acetylcholinesterase and catalase activities as well as by alterations in fatty acid composition of mitochondrial membranes. Additionally, an age-dependent accumulation of amyloid-p1-40 peptide occurred in skeletal muscle of 3xTg-AD mice, an effect that preceded bioenergetics mitochondrial dysfunction, which was only detected at 12 months of age, characterized by decreased respiratory control ratio and ADP/O index and by an impairment of complex I activity. HPLC-MS/MS analyses revealed significant changes in phospholipid composition of skeletal muscle tissues from 3xTg-AD mice with 12 months of age when compared with age-matched nonTg mice. Increased levels of lyso-phosphatidylcholine associated with a decrease of phosphatidylcholine molecular species containing arachidonic acid were detected in 3xTg-AD mice, indicating an enhancement of phospholipase A2 activity and skeletal muscle inflammation. Additionally, a decrease of phosphatidylethanolamine plasmalogens content and an increase in phosphatidylinositol levels was observed in 3xTg-AD mice when compared with age-matched nonTg mice. Altogether, these observations suggest that the skeletal muscle of 3xTg-AD mice are more prone to oxidative and inflammatory events. © 2015 Bentham Science Publishers.


Fernandes L.F.S.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | Fernandes L.F.S.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Marques M.J.,Water Company | Oliveira P.C.,University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro | And 4 more authors.
Water and Environment Journal | Year: 2014

This paper puts forward the importance of decision support systems (DSS) for the planning and management of water resources. A case study of the Pinhão river basin, in Portugal, is presented. Given the importance of vineyards in the Douro region, it is important to determine if water availability will be enough to meet present and future water demands. In order to answer this question, DSS tools were used to assess different scenarios. The MIKE BASIN software was used in the hydrographical basin of Pinhão river, assisted by a geographic information system, GIS, which allowed the modelling of the basin, both temporally and spatially, facilitating the visualisation and interpretation of results. According to the attained results, it was verified that, at present, the hydrographical basin meets the considered water needs. The DSS proved to be an important tool to assist the decision-making process in the studied river basin. © 2013 CIWEM.


Sanches Fernandes L.F.,Royal University | Sanches Fernandes L.F.,Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science | Terencio D.P.S.,Royal University | Pacheco F.A.L.,UTAD | Pacheco F.A.L.,Chemistry Research Center
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

A rainwater harvesting system (RHS) was designed for a waste treatment facility located near the town of Mirandela (northern Portugal), to be used in the washing of vehicles and other equipment, the cleaning of outside concrete or asphalt floors, and the watering of green areas. Water tank volumes representing 100% efficiency (Vr) were calculated by the Ripple method with different results depending on two consumption scenarios adopted for irrigation. The RHS design was based on a precipitation record spanning a rather long period (3 decades). The calculated storage capacities fulfilled the water demand even when prolonged droughts occurred during that timeframe. However, because the drought events have been rather scarce the Vr values were considered oversized and replaced by optimal volumes. Notwithstanding the new volumes were solely half of the original Vr values, the projected RHS efficiency remained very high (around 90%) while the probability of system failure (efficiency < 100%) stayed very low (in the order of 5%). In both scenarios, the economic savings related to the optimization of Vr were noteworthy, while the investment's return periods decreased substantially from the original to the optimized solutions. A high efficiency with a low storage capacity is typical of low demanding applications of rainwater harvesting, where water availability (Vw) largely exceeds water demand (Cw), that is to say where demand fractions (Cw/. Vw) are very low. Based on the results of a literature review covering an ample geographic distribution and describing a very large number of demand fraction scenarios, a Cw/. Vw=. 0.8 was defined as the threshold to generally distinguish the low from the high demanding RHS applications. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | University of Trás os Montes e Alto Douro, University of Aveiro, Center for the Research and Technology of Agro Environmental and Biological science and University of Coimbra
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD | Year: 2014

Brain mitochondria are fundamental to maintaining healthy functional brains, and their dysfunction is involved in age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers disease (AD). In this study, we conducted a research on how both non-synaptic and synaptic mitochondrial functions are compromised at an early stage of AD-like pathologies and their correlation with putative changes on membranes lipid profile, using 3 month-old nontransgenic and 3xTg-AD mice, a murine model of experimental AD. Bioenergetic dysfunction in 3xTg-AD brains is evidenced by a decrease of brain ATP levels resulting, essentially, from synaptic mitochondria functionality disruption as indicated by declined respiratory control ratio associated with a 50% decreased complex I activity. Lipidomics studies revealed that synaptic bioenergetic deficit of 3xTg-AD brains is accompanied by alterations in the phospholipid composition of synaptic mitochondrial membranes, detected either in phospholipid class distribution or in the phospholipids molecular profile. Globally, diacyl- and lyso-phosphatidylcholine lipids increase while ethanolamine plasmalogens and cardiolipins content drops in relation to nontransgenic background. However, the main lipidomic mark of 3xTg-AD brains is that cardiolipin cluster-organized profile is lost in synaptic mitochondria due to a decline of the most representative molecular species. In contrast to synaptic mitochondria, results support the idea that non-synaptic mitochondria function is preserved at the age of 3 months. Although the genetically construed 3xTg-AD mouse model does not represent the most prevalent form of AD in humans, the present study provides insights into the earliest biochemical events in AD brain, connecting specific lipidomic changes with synaptic bioenergetic deficit that may contribute to the progressive synapses loss and the neurodegenerative process that characterizes AD.

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