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Lee J.S.,University of Tokyo | Mishra G.,The University of Queensland | Hayashi K.,Gunma University | Watanabe E.,University of Tokyo | And 2 more authors.
Eating Behaviors | Year: 2016

Objective: Various eating behaviors have been linked with body weight management. However, combined effects of major eating behaviors are not fully understood. This study aimed to clarify the association of the combination of eating quickly (EQ), late evening meals (LEM), and skipping breakfast (SB) with being overweight. Method: A cross-sectional study with standardized questions for EQ, LEM, and SB was conducted. Stratified random sampling of 5% of residents aged 20 to 80 years was surveyed in a city in northeast Japan in 2011, and 4249 (84.9%) residents were analyzed. Association of combinations of eating behaviors on being overweight (BMI (kg/m2≥25.0)) was estimated by using logistic analysis, and odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidential interval were calculated after adjustment for potential covariates. Results: LEM, SB, or a combination of LEM and SB was not significantly associated with being overweight. However, the combination of EQ or only EQ was significantly associated with being overweight. As the number of eating behavior practices increased, there was a linear increase in OR for being overweight. The OR of all three combined eating behaviors was higher than that of any combined two behaviors or of each behavior. Discussion: This study result supports the evidence that EQ increases the risk of being overweight whether by itself or in combinations with LEM and/or SB. However, only LEM or only SB did not increase the risk of being overweight. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Ho J.C.M.,The University of Queensland | Lai M.H.,University of Hong Kong
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings | Year: 2014

High-strength concrete (HSC) columns are usually provided with heavy confining steel within the potential plastic hinge region to restore flexural ductility. However, as the effectiveness of confining steel decreases with the concrete strength, the required confining steel content for high-strength concrete columns becomes very large, which causes steel congestion in the proximity of beam–column joints. A better method is to adopt a concrete-filled-steel-tube (CFST) column, which uses a hollow steel tube to confine high-strength concrete. Compared with ordinary reinforcement, concrete-filled-steel-tube columns provide a more uniform confining pressure to the concrete core and reduce steel congestion. Nonetheless, a major shortcoming of concrete-filled-steel-tube columns is that the imperfect interface bonding occurs at the elastic stage as steel dilates more than concrete in compression. This adversely affects the confinement of the steel tube and decreases the elastic strength and modulus. To resolve the problem, it is proposed in this study to use external steel confinement in the forms of rings and ties to restrict the dilation of the steel tube. For verification, a series of uniaxial compression tests on externally confined concrete-filled-steel-tube columns was performed. Theoretical models for predicting the uniaxial load-carrying capacity of ring-confined concrete-filled-steel-tube columns were also developed. © 2014, Thomas Telford Services Ltd. All rights reserved.

Liu T.,China University of Mining and Technology | Liu T.,State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining | Lin B.,China University of Mining and Technology | Lin B.,State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering | Year: 2015

Hydraulic slotting is an effective method for enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) recovery, and it has been widely employed in China. Although there have been many studies of this technique, the influence of slot parameters on the strength characteristic of the coal, which is an important factor that affects the permeability enhancement effect, has rarely been studied. Thus, only limited information is available regarding the pressure relief and permeability enhancement mechanisms of this technique. In the current study, the influence of flaw parameters on the compressive strength of a precracked sample under biaxial compression is discussed. The results indicate that an increase in the flaw length and width has a negative effect on the compressive strength, whereas an increase in the flaw inclination angle has a positive effect on the compressive strength. The results of the response surface methodology (RSM) indicate that the interactions among the flaw parameters have a significant influence on the compressive strength. The propagation patterns of cracks are quantified by the fractal dimension, which is used to explore the mechanism of compressive strength variation with changes in the flaw parameters. The study results indicate that the variation in the flaw parameters changes the propagation pattern of cracks, resulting in different compressive strengths. In addition, an opposite variation trend of the compressive strength and fractal dimension with flaw parameters is also observed. The research results are expected to guide the field application of hydraulic slotting. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Jiang S.,University of Queensland | Huang L.,University of Queensland | Nguyen T.A.H.,University of Queensland | Ok Y.S.,Kangwon National University | And 3 more authors.
Chemosphere | Year: 2016

Biochar adsorption may lower concentrations of soluble metals in pore water of sulphidic Cu/Pb-Zn mine tailings. Unlike soil, high levels of salinity and soluble cations are present in tailing pore water, which may affect biochar adsorption of metals from solution. In the present study, removal of soluble copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) ions by soft- (pine) and hard-wood (jarrah) biochars pyrolysed at high temperature (about 700°C) was evaluated under typical ranges of pH and salinity conditions resembling those in pore water of sulphidic tailings, prior to their direct application into the tailings. Surface alkalinity, cation exchange capacity, and negative surface charge of biochars affected Cu and Zn adsorption capacities. Quantitative comparisons were provided by fitting the adsorption equilibrium data with either the homogeneous or heterogeneous surface adsorption models (i.e. Langmuir and Freundlich, respectively). Accordingly, the jarrah biochar showed higher Cu and Zn adsorption capacity (Qmax=4.39 and 2.31mg/g, respectively) than the softwood pine biochar (Qmax=1.47 and 1.00mg/g). Copper and Zn adsorption by the biochars was favoured by high pH conditions under which they carried more negative charges and Cu and Zn ions were predicted undergoing hydrolysis and polymerization. Within the tested range, salinity had relatively weak effects on the adsorption, which perhaps influenced the surface charge and induced competition for negative charged sites between Na+ and exchangeable Ca2+ and/or heavy metal ions. Large amounts of waste wood/timber at many mine sites present a cost-effective opportunity to produce biochars for remediation of sulphidic tailings and seepage water. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Li X.,Hunan University | Zhao J.,Hunan University | Wang D.,Hunan University | Wang D.,The University of Queensland | And 5 more authors.
Chemosphere | Year: 2016

Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production from waste activated sludge (WAS) anaerobic fermentation is often limited by the slow hydrolysis rate and poor substrate availability, thus a long fermentation time is required. This paper reports a new pretreatment approach, i.e., using free nitrous acid (FNA) to pretreat sludge, for significantly enhanced SCFA production. Experimental results showed the highest SCFA production occurred at 1.8 mg FNA/L with time of day 6, which was 3.7-fold of the blank at fermentation time of day 12. Mechanism studies revealed that FNA pretreatment accelerated disruption of both extracellular polymeric substances and cell envelope. It was also found that FNA pretreatment benefited hydrolysis and acidification processes but inhibited the activities of methanogens, thereby promoting the yield of SCFA. In addition, the FNA pretreatment substantially stimulated the activities of key enzymes responsible for hydrolysis and acidification, which were consistent with the improvement of solubilization, hydrolysis and acidification of WAS anaerobic fermentation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Zhao J.,Hunan University | Yang Q.,Hunan University | Li X.,Hunan University | Wang D.,Hunan University | And 6 more authors.
International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation | Year: 2015

Membrane bioreactor (MBR) sludge anaerobic fermentation for short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production has drawn much attention as it can produce value-added product and reduce sludge volume simultaneously. However, SCFA production from sludge is always limited due to the low hydrolysis rate and rapid consumption by methanogens. In this study, an efficient and green strategy was developed by adding biosurfactant alkyl polyglycoside (APG) into MBR sludge to enhance SCFA production. Experimental results showed that the yield of SCFA reached 282.9mg chemical oxygen demand (COD)/g volatile suspended solids (VSS) with the optimum APG dosage of 0.2g/g dry sludge (DS), which was 4.8-fold of the blank. Furthermore, the effect of initial pH ranging from 4 to 12 on SCFA production in the presence of APG was also studied. Results showed SCFA productions from MBR sludge in the presence of APG at initial alkaline pH values were more efficient than those at acidic and near-neutral pH values, and the optimum initial pH was 11. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Hammond N.E.B.,Cooperative Research Center for National Plant Biosecurity | Hammond N.E.B.,Murdoch University | Hardie D.,Cooperative Research Center for National Plant Biosecurity | Hauser C.E.,University of Melbourne | Reid S.A.,The University of Queensland
Crop Protection | Year: 2016

Initial detection of plant pests (includes diseases) is often made by the growers and consultants that work directly with crops; this form of detection is referred to as general surveillance. General surveillance activities have an important role in plant biosecurity for the early detection of pests and for demonstrating area freedom. In the Western Australian grains industry, reports of suspect high priority pests to the state Department of Agriculture and Food is the main form of general surveillance. There is little information on the level of knowledge of high priority pests in the grains industry in Western Australia and the ability of members to detect high priority pests if they were present. This study details a survey of members of the grains industry to determine their knowledge of the signs of high priority grains pests and the likelihood that they would detect a high priority pest if it were present in grain or crops. Knowledge of the signs of the high priority grain diseases, Karnal bunt and Barley stripe rust, were found to be higher than those of the high priority insect pests, Khapra beetle and Russian wheat aphid. A wide range of responses was collected from respondents' self-rated likelihood of detecting each of these pests and diseases in crop or harvested grain. However, respondents were more confident in their ability to detect the two plant diseases than the two insect pests. The results of this study suggest that further training in recognition of the signs and symptoms of high priority grains pests is required to increase the ability of members of the grains industry to confidently detect and differentiate high priority pests from common pests in the course of routine activities. © 2015 .

Lai M.H.,Country Garden Holdings | Ho J.C.M.,The University of Queensland
Engineering Structures | Year: 2016

Concrete-filled-steel-tube (CFST) columns are widely adopted in many structures nowadays attributed to the superior behaviour developed by the composite action. However, the composite action cannot be fully developed because of different dilation properties of steel tube and concrete in the elastic stage. Moreover, due to the inelastic outward buckling of steel tube, CFST columns may suffer serious degradation. To overcome these problems, external confinement, such as rings, ties, spirals and FRP wraps have been studied recently and proven experimentally to have potential in improving the uni-axial behaviour of CFST columns. In this paper, an experimental database containing 422 uni-axial compression test results of unconfined and externally confined CFST columns has been assembled. In addition, a theoretical model has been proposed for predicting the uni-axial behaviour of circular CFST columns. This model consists of mainly three components: (1) Constitutive model of confined concrete modified from Attard and Setunge's actively confined concrete model. (2) Constitutive model of steel tube under complex stress-state using Prandtl-Reuss theory. (3) The interaction among external confinement, steel tube and core concrete based on new a hoop strain equation. The validity of the proposed model has been verified by comparing the predicted results with the experimental database. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

Hammond N.E.B.,Cooperative Research Center for National Plant Biosecurity | Hammond N.E.B.,Murdoch University | Hardie D.,Cooperative Research Center for National Plant Biosecurity | Hauser C.E.,University of Melbourne | Reid S.A.,The University of Queensland
Crop Protection | Year: 2016

General surveillance activities have an important role in plant biosecurity for the early detection of pests (includes diseases) and for demonstrating area freedom. Currently general surveillance information for the grains industry in Western Australia is mainly collected though reports of suspect high priority pests to the state Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA). Little information is available on the likelihood that members of the grains industry would report a suspect high priority pest, where and who they report pests to, and the factors that influence their decisions to report pests. This study details a survey of members of the grains industry conducted to determine the reporting practices relating to plant pest and diseases in the grains industry. Results of the study indicate that growers preferentially report to agricultural consultants and the local DAFWA staff; whereas agricultural consultants and researchers are more likely to report to the DAFWA head office. Factors that influenced participants' reporting of suspect high priority pests included the ability to eradicate the pest or disease, free examination of suspect samples and the desire for more information about high priority pests. The ranking of factors varied with the role the individual had in the grains industry. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Teng J.G.,Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Fernando D.,Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Fernando D.,The University of Queensland | Yu T.,Hong Kong Polytechnic University | Yu T.,University of Wollongong
Engineering Structures | Year: 2015

A steel beam may be strengthened in flexure by bonding a carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) plate to the tension face. Such a beam may fail by debonding of the CFRP plate that initiates at one of the plate ends (i.e. plate end debonding) or by debonding that initiates at a local damage (e.g. a crack or concentrated yielding) away from the plate ends (intermediate debonding). This paper presents the first finite element (FE) approach that is capable of accurate predictions of such debonding failures, with particular attention to plate-end debonding. In the proposed FE approach, a mixed-mode cohesive law is employed to depict interfacial behaviour under a combination of normal stresses (i.e. mode-I loading) and shear stresses (i.e. mode-II loading); the interfacial behaviour under pure mode-I loading or pure mode-II loading is represented by bi-linear traction-separation models. Damage initiation is defined using a quadratic strength criterion, and damage evolution is defined using a linear fracture energy-based criterion. Detailed FE models of steel beams tested by previous researchers are presented, and their predictions are shown to be in close agreement with the test results. Using the proposed FE approach, the behaviour of CFRP-strengthened steel beams is examined, indicating that: (1) if the failure is governed by plate end debonding, the use of a CFRP plate with a higher elastic modulus and/or a larger thickness may lead to a lower ultimate load because plate end debonding may then occur earlier; (2) plate end debonding is more likely to occur when a short CFRP plate is used, as is commonly expected; and (3) the failure mode may change to intermediate debonding or other failure modes such as compression flange buckling if a longer plate is used. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Varnfield M.,CSIRO | Karunanithi M.,CSIRO | Ding H.,CSIRO | Bird D.,The University of Queensland | Oldenburg B.,University of Melbourne
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics | Year: 2014

An increasing number of individuals are living with long term health conditions which they manage most of the time by themselves. This paper evaluates the use of information and communications technology platforms to provide evidence-based programs to help people with chronic disease to self-management these. It describes two different self-management strategies for chronic conditions, and the evaluation of their implementation in clinical trials, specifically in terms of reach, implementation fidelity, adoption and user perceptions. It also discusses the challenges in replicating trial findings in the real world, using the RE-AIM framework. © 2014 The authors and IOS Press.

We review theories of phosphorescence in cyclometalated complexes. We focus primarily on pseudooctahedrally coordinated t2g6 metals (e.g., [Os(II)(bpy)3]2+, Ir(III)(ppy)3 and Ir(III)(ptz)3) as, for reasons that are explored in detail, these show particularly strong phosphorescence. We discuss both first principles approaches and semi-empirical models, e.g., ligand field theory. We show that together these provide a clear understanding of the photophysics and in particular the lowest energy triplet excitation, T1. In order to build a good model relativistic effects need to be included. The role of spin-orbit coupling is well-known, but scalar relativistic effects are also large - and are therefore also introduced and discussed. No expertise in special relativity or relativistic quantum mechanics is assumed and a pedagogical introduction to these subjects is given. Once both scalar relativistic effects and spin-orbit coupling are included, time dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) provides quantitatively accurate predictions of the radiative decay rates of the substates of T1 in phosphorescent organotransition-metal complexes. We describe the pseudo-angular momentum model, and show that it reproduces the key experimental findings. For example, this model provides a simple explanation of the relative radiative rates of the substates of T1, which differ by orders of magnitude. Special emphasis is placed on materials with potential applications as active materials in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and principles for the design of new complexes are identified on the basis of the insights provided by the theories reviewed. We discuss the remaining theoretical challenges, which include deepening our understanding of solvent effects and, vitally, understanding and predicting non-radiative decay rates. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Christensen H.,Black Dog Institute | Christensen H.,University of New South Wales | Mackinnon A.J.,University of Melbourne | Batterham P.J.,Australian National University | And 9 more authors.
Internet Interventions | Year: 2014

Background: Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a high prevalence, chronic disorder that can be treated effectively through a number of web-based programs. However, online web programs for GAD have not been compared to standard pharmacological treatment. The present study compares an Internet Intervention (Active Website) for GAD and a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) (Sertraline), with an online attention placebo condition (Control Website). Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based intervention for GAD in comparison to standard antidepressant medication and an online attention placebo condition over a 10. week period, and with a follow-up at 6 and at 12. months. Methods: The study was part of a larger scale prevention program. 152 people aged 18-30. years who met the criteria for GAD on the MINI received referrals to the treatment sub-study. The primary outcome was anxiety symptoms measured by the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item Scale (GAD-7), and the secondary outcome was depression measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Results: There was very poor uptake to the trial (around 14% of those referred). However, even in this small sample, Sertraline compared to the Control Website was significant at post-test and 6. months, and the Internet Intervention was significant at post-test. Relative to the Control Website condition at post-test, for the GAD-7 and CES-D respectively, the between group effect sizes were d=. 2.43 and d=. 0.68 for the Active Website condition, and 3.00 and 0.20 for the Sertraline condition. The within group effect size for the Control Website from baseline to post-test was -. 0.04 for the GAD-7 and 0.31 for CES-D respectively. Conclusions: The findings will need to be extended and confirmed in a larger trial. However, they do suggest that both standard pharmacological treatment and online interventions for GAD are effective in samples with a diagnosis of GAD recruited via online methods. The low rate of engagement for face-to-face treatment by those who opt first for a web program suggests that treatment preferences are important in help-seeking. © 2014 .

Su G.,Beijing University of Technology | Su G.,Jiangsu Yulong Environmental Protection Company Ltd | Wang S.,Beijing University of Technology | Yuan Z.,Beijing University of Technology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering | Year: 2016

Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) are essential for removing biological nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater treatment plants. The purpose of this work was to investigate whether and how the addition of NaCl could improve the production of VFAs from waste activated sludge (WAS). Sludge solubilization was efficiently improved by the addition of NaCl. Both protein and carbohydrate in the fermentation liquid increased with the dosage of NaCl, and it provided a larger amount of organic compounds for the production of the VFAs. NaCl had inhibitory effects on the production of methane and a high dosage of NaCl could severely suppress the growth of methanogens, which decreased the consumption of the VFAs. Consequently, the production of VFAs was significantly enhanced by the addition of NaCl. The maximum production of VFAs was achieved with the highest dosage of NaCl (3316 mg (COD)/L at the NaCl dosage 0.5 mol/L; 783 mg (COD)/L without the addition of NaCl). Therefore, this study indicates that using NaCl could be an efficient method for improving the production of VFAs from WAS. © 2015 The Society for Biotechnology, Japan.

Haccuria E.,The University of Queensland | Haccuria E.,University of Queensland | Hayes P.C.,University of Queensland | Jak E.,University of Queensland
International Journal of Materials Research | Year: 2014

Phase equilibria in the "MnO"-Al2O3-SiO2 pseudo-ternary system in equilibrium with metallic alloy have been experimentally investigated in the temperature range from 1423 K to 1523 K. This study is a part of a broader research program on the phase equilibria in the Al2O3-CaO-Li2O- "MnO"-SiO2 system, which is of importance to the slags used in a novel pyrometallurgical process for recycling of electric car batteries. The experimental procedures involve equilibration of high purity powder mixtures at high temperatures, rapid quenching, and accurate measurement of phase compositions using electron probe X-ray microanalysis, which allow the slag liquidus temperatures to be determined. This paper is part 1 of a series of two papers and focuses on the improvement of the experimental methodology. A number of elementary reactions taking place in the samples have been identified, including the formation of a tridymite ring around the alloy particles, manganese oxidation and manganese vaporization. This enabled relevant modifications to the experimental methodology to be introduced. The liquidus at 1423 K, 1473 K and 1523 K in the high silica area and the solid solubility data in the tridymite and rhodonite phases have been reported. © Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.

Lee J.-H.,University of Sydney | Richards R.G.,Griffith University | Richards R.G.,The University of Queensland | Birch G.F.,University of Sydney
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2016

Enriched concentrations of metal contaminants have been reported in surficial sediments and tissues of aquatic organisms in Sydney estuary, New South Wales, Australia. Dietary ingestion of contaminated, suspended sediments is potentially a major route of metal exposure to the filter-feeder Saccostrea glomerata. A dynamically coupled biokinetic-equilibrium bioaccumulation model was developed to explore sediment-oyster-metal uptake interactions. The biokinetic component simulated the sediment dynamics and oyster uptake and loss kinetics while the ion equilibrium model accounted for the metal speciation reactions. Results of a laboratory-based mesocosm experiment as well as data from the literature were used to parameterise the model. The model demonstrated a good fit of the experimental data and indicated that dissolved and particulate organic matter were important determinants of metal bioavailability to this species. The model served also as a unique tool to formulate testable hypotheses and help to better explain the bioaccumulation patterns observed from the experiment. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Kato N.,Japan National Institute of Public Health | Yanagawa T.,Wakayama Medical University | Fujiwara T.,National Health Research Institute | Morawska A.,The University of Queensland
Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2015

The prevalence of mental health problems among children and adolescents is of growing importance. Intervening in children's mental health early in life has been shown to be more effective than trying to resolve these problems when children are older. With respect to prevention activities in community settings, the prevalence of problems should be estimated, and the required level of services should be delivered. The prevalence of children's mental health disorders has been reported for many countries. Preventive intervention has emphasized optimizing the environment. Because parents are the primary influence on their children's development, considerable attention has been placed on the development of parent training to strengthen parenting skills. However, a public-health approach is necessary to confirm that the benefits of parent-training interventions lead to an impact at the societal level. This literature review clarifies that the prevalence of mental health problems is measured at the national level in many countries and that population-level parenting interventions can lower the prevalence of mental health problems among children in the community. © 2015 Noriko Kato et al.

Lai M.H.,University of Hong Kong | Ho J.C.M.,The University of Queensland
Earthquake and Structures | Year: 2014

The development of modern concrete technology makes it much easier to produce high-strength concrete (HSC) or ultra-high-strength concrete (UHSC) with high workability. However, the application of this concrete is limited in practical construction of traditional reinforced concrete (RC) structures due to low-ductility performance. To further push up the limit of the design concrete strength, concrete-filled-steel-tube (CFST) columns have been recommended considering its superior strength and ductility performance. However, the beneficial composite action cannot be fully developed at early elastic stage as steel dilates more than concrete and thereby reducing the elastic strength and stiffness of the CFST columns. To resolve this problem, external confinement in the form of steel rings is proposed in this study to restrict the lateral dilation of concrete and steel. In this paper, a total of 29 high-strength CFST (HSCFST) columns of various dimensions cast with concrete strength of 75 to 120 MPa concrete and installed with external steel rings were tested under uni-axial compression. From the results, it can be concluded that the proposed ring installation can further improve both strength and ductility of HSCFST columns by restricting the column dilation. Lastly, an analytical model calculating the uni-axial strength of ring-confined HSCFST columns is proposed and verified based on the Von-Mises and Mohr-Coulomb failure criteria for steel tube and in-filled concrete, respectively. © 2014 Techno-Press, Ltd.

Raninga P.V.,Griffith University | Di Trapani G.,Griffith University | Vuckovic S.,QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute | Vuckovic S.,The University of Queensland | Tonissen K.F.,Griffith University
Redox Biology | Year: 2016

Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by an accumulation of abnormal clonal plasma cells in the bone marrow. Despite recent advancements in anti-myeloma therapies, MM remains an incurable disease. Antioxidant molecules are upregulated in many cancers, correlating with tumor proliferation, survival, and chemoresistance and therefore, have been suggested as potential therapeutic targets. This study investigated the cross-talk between two antioxidant molecules, thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), and their therapeutic implications in MM. We found that although auranofin, a TrxR inhibitor, significantly inhibited TrxR activity by more than 50% at lower concentrations, myeloma cell proliferation was only inhibited at higher concentrations of auranofin. Inhibition of TrxR using lower auranofin concentrations induced HO-1 protein expression in myeloma cells. Using a sub-lethal concentration of auranofin to inhibit TrxR activity in conjunction with HO-1 inhibition significantly decreased myeloma cell growth and induced apoptosis. TrxR was shown to regulate HO-1 via the Nrf2 signaling pathway in a ROS-dependent manner. Increased HO-1 mRNA levels were observed in bortezomib-resistant myeloma cells compared to parent cells and HO-1 inhibition restored the sensitivity to bortezomib in bortezomib-resistant myeloma cells. These findings indicate that concurrent inhibition of HO-1 with either a TrxR inhibitor or with bortezomib would improve therapeutic outcomes in MM patients. Hence, our findings further support the need to target multiple antioxidant systems alone or in combination with other therapeutics to improve therapeutic outcomes in MM patients. © 2016 The Authors.

Li H.,China University of Mining and Technology | Li H.,State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining | Lin B.,China University of Mining and Technology | Lin B.,State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining | And 11 more authors.
International Journal of Coal Geology | Year: 2016

To maximize coalbed methane recovery, the reservoir is often stimulated because of its low permeability. An exploratory study on improving coal porosity and permeability by microwave treatment was proposed. Pore size distribution of four unconstrained coals (lignite, subbituminous, bituminous, and anthracite), before and after microwave treatment, were evaluated using the nuclear magnetic resonance. With continuous exposure to microwaves, the pore size distribution of coals (especially the lignite coal) extends, and the pore volume and connectivity increase. In addition, coal porosity and permeability evaluated based on the Schlumberger Doll Research model increase by 33-72% and 73-181%, respectively. The mechanism was revealed by combining P-wave tests, thermal imaging and X-ray computed tomography scanner. The moisture and minerals bounded in pores are selectively heated and then detached, and, as a result, the pore structure is opened. Continued exposure to microwaves rapidly converts the mobilized moisture into super-heated steam. Under the steam pressure, pores and fractures generally expand. Borrowing from microwave-assist oil recovery, we presented a conceptual design of a CBM extraction borehole with microwave irradiation. © 2015 .

Zhong Y.,Hunan University | Li X.,Hunan University | Yang Q.,Hunan University | Wang D.,Hunan University | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Hazardous Materials | Year: 2016

Simultaneous reduction of bromate and nitrate was investigated using a rotating biofilm-electrode reactor (RBER) with graphite carbon (GC) rods as anode and activated carbon fiber (ACF) bonded with steel ring as cathode. In RBER, the community of denitrifying bacteria immobilized on the cathode surface could completely utilize hydrogen (H2) as the electron donor, which was internally produced by the electrolysis of water. The short-term test confirmed that the RBER system could reduce 150-800μg/L bromate to below 10μg/L under autotrophic conditions. The reduced bromate was considered to be roughly equivalent to the amount of bromide in effluent, indicating that bromate was completely reduced to bromide without accumulation of by-products. The long-term test (over 120 days) showed that the removal fluxes of bromate and nitrate could be improved by increasing the electric current and decreasing the hydraulic retention time (HRT). But nitrite in effluent was significantly accumulated when the electric current was beyond 10mA and the HRT was less than 6h. The maximum bromate reduction rate estimated by the Monod equation was 109.12μg/Lh when the electric current was 10mA and HRT was 12h. It was proposed that the electron transfer process in RBER produced H2 on the surface of the ACF cathode, and the microbial cultures attached closely on the cathode which could completely utilize H2 as electron donors for reduction of bromate and nitrate. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Ramirez-Gomez S.O.I.,Conservation International Suriname | Ramirez-Gomez S.O.I.,University Utrecht | Brown G.,The University of Queensland | Verweij P.A.,University Utrecht | And 2 more authors.
Journal for Nature Conservation | Year: 2016

Large-scale development projects often overlap forest areas that support the livelihoods of indigenous peoples, threatening in situ conservation strategies for the protection of biological and cultural diversity. To address this problem, there is a need to integrate spatially-explicit information on ecosystem services into conservation planning. We present an approach for identifying conservation areas necessary to safeguard the provision of important ecosystem services for indigenous communities. "Community use zones" (CUZs) were generated using participatory mapping methods that identify place values indicating significant hotspots for ecosystem services. Using principles from landscape ecology, these areas are buffered to provide connectivity and to delineate ecosystem service delivery areas. We demonstrate the use of CUZs for five villages in southern Suriname (n = 191 participants) to inform the South Suriname Conservation Corridor project. The mapped data reveal overlapping hotspots for different ecosystem services depicting multifunctional landscapes that provide an empirical foundation for delineating CUZs. In the absence of legal and traditional land rights for indigenous people, CUZs based on the provision of ecosystem services provide a defensible, spatially explicit approach for integrating indigenous needs into regional conservation plans in southern Suriname. We discuss the utility of CUZ maps for promoting land tenure and security and as a basis for collaborative governance in indigenous and community-conserved areas (ICCAs). © 2015 Elsevier GmbH.

Benvenutti M.A.,University of Melbourne | Benvenutti M.A.,The University of Queensland | Coates T.W.,University of Melbourne | Imaz A.,Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria | And 5 more authors.
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2015

This study assessed the application of an image analysis method to accurately determine the number and position of cattle which are critical inputs for enteric methane emission calculations using micrometeorological methods. Animal imagery was collected with three synchronised time-lapse cameras located at 7, 35 and 77. m from a 20. ×. 30. m water point enclosure containing 20 steers, recorded over three consecutive days. Four independent observers counted the number of animals visible in each of 516 images. The counting error increased with distance from the enclosure (0.1%, 3.7% and 15.4% of total animals) as a result of increased overlapping and decreased clarity of the animals on the image. Animal positions were estimated using a polynomial transformation of image coordinates (pixels) to map coordinates. The average location error (distance between estimated and actual position) of independent targets was 0.8. ±. 0.5. m and did not change with distance to the camera. We conclude that the analysis of 12. MP images from time lapse cameras can provide reliable and accurate estimates of the position and the number of animals located within 55. m from the camera. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Hooman K.,The University of Queensland | Li J.,Tianjin University | Li J.,China University of Mining and Technology | Dahari M.,University of Malaya
International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer | Year: 2016

This work presents a theoretical approach, based on momentum and energy or Reynolds analogy, to investigate forced convection in microducts of arbitrary cross-section. H1 boundary condition is assumed for gas flow in the slip-flow regime with further complication of a temperature jump condition assumption. It is shown that applying an analogy concept, one can relate the slip-flow results to those of no-slip/no-jump ones available in the literature. Present results for slip flow in microchannels of parallel plate, circular, triangular, trapezoidal, polygonal, rhombic, and rectangular cross-sections are found to be in close agreement with those in the literature. A further modification, based on Chilton-Colburn analogy is applied to enable the Prandtl number variation effects when the Prandtl number is not equal to unity. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Wang D.,Hunan University | Wang D.,Tongji University | Wang D.,The University of Queensland | Zeng G.,Hunan University | And 2 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2015

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), an intracellular energy and carbon storage polymer, can be accumulated in activated sludge in substantial quantities under wastewater dynamic treatment (i.e., substrate feast-famine) conditions. However, its influence on hydrogen production has never been investigated before. This study therefore evaluated the influences of PHA level and composition in waste activated sludge (WAS) on hydrogen production. The results showed that with the increase of sludge PHA content from 25 to 178mg per gram volatile suspended solids (VSS) hydrogen production from WAS alkaline anaerobic fermentation increased from 26.5 to 58.7mL/g VSS. The composition of PHA was also found to affect hydrogen production. When the dominant composition shifted from polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) to polyhydroxyvalerate (PHV), the amount of generated hydrogen decreased from 51.2 to 41.1mL/g VSS even under the same PHA level (around 130mg/g VSS). The mechanism studies exhibited that the increased PHA content accelerated both the cell solubilization and the hydrolysis process of solubilized substrates. Compared with the PHB-dominant sludge, the increased PHV fraction not only slowed the hydrolysis process but also caused more propionic acid production, with less theoretical hydrogen generation in this fermentation type. It was also found that the increased PHA content enhanced the soluble protein conversion of non-PHA biomass. Further investigations with enzyme analyses showed that both the key hydrolytic enzyme activities and hydrogen-forming enzyme activities were in the sequence of the PHB-dominant sludge>the PHV-dominant sludge>the low PHA sludge, which was in accord with the observed order of hydrogen yield. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Xin P.,Hohai University | Dan H.-C.,Central South University | Zhou T.,Hohai University | Lu C.,Hohai University | And 3 more authors.
Advances in Water Resources | Year: 2016

Subsurface drainage systems have been widely used to deal with soil salinization and waterlogging problems around the world. In this paper, a mathematical model was introduced to quantify the transient behavior of the groundwater table and the seepage from a subsurface drainage system. Based on the assumption of a hydrostatic pressure distribution, the model considered the pore-water flow in both the phreatic and vadose soil zones. An approximate analytical solution for the model was derived to quantify the drainage of soils which were initially water-saturated. The analytical solution was validated against laboratory experiments and a 2-D Richards equation-based model, and found to predict well the transient water seepage from the subsurface drainage system. A saturated flow-based model was also tested and found to over-predict the time required for drainage and the total water seepage by nearly one order of magnitude, in comparison with the experimental results and the present analytical solution. During drainage, a vadose zone with a significant water storage capacity developed above the phreatic surface. A considerable amount of water still remained in the vadose zone at the steady state with the water table situated at the drain bottom. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that effects of the vadose zone were intensified with an increased thickness of capillary fringe, capillary rise and/or burying depth of drains, in terms of the required drainage time and total water seepage. The analytical solution provides guidance for assessing the capillary effects on the effectiveness and efficiency of subsurface drainage systems for combating soil salinization and waterlogging problems. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Eley D.S.,The University of Queensland | Brooks K.D.,University of Minnesota | Zink T.,Wright State University | Cloninger C.R.,University of Washington
Family Medicine | Year: 2015

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Physician workforce projections fuel interest in addressing the shortage of family physicians. Copious research has investigated personality as a variable influencing specialty intention. Medical school rural longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs) nurture interest in family medicine. This study examined whether rural LIC students who intended to and eventually matched into family medicine portrayed a personality trait profile different from rural LIC students who intended or matched to all other specialities. The profiles of four successive cohorts are described in relation to their intended and eventual specialty match. METHODS: A cross-sectional design sampled 145 third-year students from 2008-2011. A survey measured demographics, temperament and character personality traits, and Other-Oriented Empathy. Multivariate analysis compared family medicine versus all other specialty matches and original specialty intention with eventual match. RESULTS: Match groups did not differ in gender, age, or marital status. Rural LIC students who matched in family medicine had lower levels of Harm Avoidance, higher Reward Dependence, and nonsignificant higher levels of every other personality trait in comparison to other matches. Rural LIC students who intended and matched to family medicine showed the highest levels of Reward Dependence (warm sociability) and Other-Oriented Empathy compared to any other specialty. CONCLUSIONS: Lower levels of Harm Avoidance are conducive to less anxiety, more composure and confidence in making decisions, and being relaxed in accepting a degree of risk and uncertainty. Such calm optimism along with higher Reward Dependence showing social warmth and empathy are desirable traits for family physicians regularly confronted with a wide range of presentations from the obvious to complex. Further investigation of what influences sustainability of the intention to enter family medicine may be useful to educators for counseling. © 2015 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

Zou Q.,China University of Mining and Technology | Zou Q.,State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining | Lin B.,China University of Mining and Technology | Lin B.,State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining | And 13 more authors.
Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering | Year: 2015

Coal bed Methane (CBM), a primary component of natural gas, is a relatively clean source of energy. Nevertheless, the impact of considerable coal mine methane emission on climate change in China has gained an increasing attention as coal production has powered the country's economic development. It is well-known that coal bed methane is a typical greenhouse gas, the greenhouse effect index of which is 30 times larger than that of carbon dioxide. Besides, gas disasters such as gas explosive and outburst, etc. pose a great threat to the safety of miners. Therefore, measures must be taken to capture coal mine methane before mining. This helps to enhance safety during mining and extract an environmentally friendly gas as well. However, as a majority of coal seams in China have low-permeability, it is difficult to achieve efficient methane drainage. Enhancing coal permeability is a good choice for high-efficiency drainage of coal mine methane. In this paper, a modified coal-methane co-exploitation model was established and a combination of drilling-slotting-separation-sealing was proposed to enhance coal permeability and CBM recovery. Firstly, rapid drilling assisted by water-jet and significant permeability enhancement via pressure relief were investigated, guiding the fracture network formation around borehole for high efficient gas flow. Secondly, based on the principle of swirl separation, the coal-water-gas separation instrument was developed to eliminate the risk of gas accumulation during slotting and reduce the gas emission from the ventilation air. Thirdly, to improve the performance of sealing material, we developed a novel cement-based composite sealing material based on the microcapsule technique. Additionally, a novel sealing-isolation combination technique was also proposed. Results of field test indicate that gas concentration in slotted boreholes is 1.05-1.91 times higher than that in conventional boreholes. Thus, the proposed novel integrated techniques achieve the goal of high-efficiency coal bed methane recovery. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

News Article
Site: phys.org

PhD student Genevieve Phillips at The University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute said the reef was one of the planet's most visually diverse environments in terms of light availability and the colours and patterns on the animals living there. "We studied the visual systems of the labrids, a large family of fish that includes wrasses – which are mainly predatory – and parrotfish – which tend to eat coral and algae," she said. "Many animals have visual systems that are tuned to the specific wavelengths of light that availablein their environment, so fish that live in rivers 'see' differently from fish living at the bottom of the ocean." Ms Phillips said the team, which includes scientists from The University of Maryland, studied the different types of opsins in fishes' eyes. "Opsins are light-sensitive proteins in the photoreceptors that absorb light at specific wavelengths," she said. This absorption was the first step in the process of "seeing" an image. Researchers could learn which colours an animal could potentially see by studying the different classes and quantities of opsins in its eyes. "Many labrids live in the same environment with similar light availability, so you could expect that their visual systems would be fairly similar," Ms Phillips said. "But we found that the repertoire of opsins they express is actually very different. "In general, most of the opsins found in the fishes' eyes were sensitive to the green-blue region of the spectrum, which is typical of many reef fish, as it is the dominant light available to fish on coral reefs. "However, some of the labrids appeared to have specialised in opsins sensitive to orange-red light." Ms Phillips said this could help these fish find prey against a predominantly red-brown background. "The more we understand about what fish can see, and how this relates to their behaviour, the more we will understand about biodiversity on the Great Barrier Reef," she said. The study is published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Explore further: Capturing an octopus-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef More information: Genevieve A.C. Phillips et al. Multiple Genetic Mechanisms Contribute to Visual Sensitivity Variation in the Labridae, Molecular Biology and Evolution (2015). DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msv213

Gucciardi D.F.,Curtin University | Gucciardi D.F.,The University of Queensland | Hanton S.,Cardiff Metropolitan University | Gordon S.,University of Western Australia | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Personality | Year: 2015

Mental toughness has received increased scholarly attention in recent years, yet conceptual issues related to its (a) dimensionality, (b) nomological network, and (c) traitness remain unresolved. The series of studies reported in this article were designed to examine these three substantive issues across several achievement contexts, including sport, education, military, and the workplace. Five studies were conducted to examine these research aims-Study 1: N=30; Study 2: calibration sample (n=418), tertiary students (n=500), athletes (n=427), and employees (n=550); Study 3: N=497 employees; Study 4: N=203 tertiary students; Study 5: N=115 army candidates. Collectively, the results of these studies revealed that mental toughness may be best conceptualized as a unidimensional rather than a multidimensional concept; plays an important role in performance, goal progress, and thriving despite stress; and can vary and have enduring properties across situations and time. This series of studies provides a foundation for further basic and applied research of mental toughness across various achievement contexts. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Wang Q.,The University of Queensland | Hao X.,Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture | Yuan Z.,The University of Queensland
Chemosphere | Year: 2016

Free nitrous acid (FNA i.e. HNO2) was revealed to be effective in enhancing biodegradability of secondary sludge. Also, nitrite-oxidizing bacteria were found to be more susceptible to FNA than ammonium-oxidizing bacteria. Based on these findings, a novel FNA-based sludge treatment technology is proposed to enhance energy recovery from wastewater/sludge. Energy analysis indicated that the FNA-based technology would make wastewater treatment become an energy generating process (yielding energy at 4 kWh/PE/y; kWh/PE/y: kilowatt hours per population equivalent per year), rather than being a large energy consumer that it is today (consuming energy at 24 kWh/PE/y). Importantly, FNA required for the sludge treatment could be produced as a by-product of wastewater treatment. This proposed FNA-based technology is economically and environmentally attractive, and can be easily implemented in any wastewater treatment plants. It only involves the installation of a simple sludge mixing tank. This article presents the concept of the FNA-based technology. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Yong N.,Kunming University of Science and Technology | Kegang L.,Kunming University of Science and Technology | Deke L.,Kunming University of Science and Technology | Xianglong L.,Kunming University of Science and Technology | Shoujian P.,The University of Queensland
Journal of Engineering Science and Technology Review | Year: 2015

Triaxial impact mechanical performance experiment was performed to study the mechanical properties of red sandstone subjected to three-dimensional (3D) coupled static and dynamic loads, i.e., three confining pressures (0, 5, and 10 MPa) and three axial pressures (11, 27, and 43 MPa). A modified 3D split Hopkinson pressure bar testing system was used. The change trend in the deformation of red sandstone and the strength and failure modes under axial pressures and confining pressures were analyzed. Results show that, when the confining pressure is constant, the compressive strength, secant modulus, and energy absorbed per unit volume of red sandstone initially increases and subsequently decreases, whereas the average strain rate exhibits an opposite trend. When the axial pressure is constant, both the compressive strength and secant modulus of red sandstone are enhanced, but the average strain rate is decreased with increasing confining pressure. The energy absorbed per unit volume is initially increased and subsequently decreased as the confining pressure increases. Red sandstone exhibits a cone-shaped compression-shear failure mode under the 3D coupled static and dynamic loads. The conclusions serve as theoretical basis on the mechanical properties of deep medium-strength rock under a high ground stress and external load disturbance condition. © 2015 Kavala Institute of Technology.

Kang C.W.,The University of Queensland | Huang H.,The University of Queensland
Advanced Materials Research | Year: 2014

The deformation and removal mechanism of a multilayered thin film structure involved in nanoscratching and diamond lapping processes were investigated. The results obtained from the two processes were compared, in terms of deformation characteristics and surface finish. It was found that both nanoscratching and lapping demonstrated similar characteristics. This work provides insight into the deformation and removal of a thin film multilayered structure undermechanical loading, and thus the outcome is of value for developing the efficient machining process for such structures. © (2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.

As-Saber S.,RMIT University | Rahman S.,RMIT University | Rahim M.,Monash University | Cairns G.,RMIT University | And 2 more authors.
Australasian Journal of Information Systems | Year: 2014

Social Media (SM), in recent years, is emerging as a common platform for low cost information exchange, and has attracted a critical mass of users both at corporate and retail levels. Theoretically, SM can thus be used as a tool to strengthen e-procurement in the public sector. Towards this end, we have prepared a conceptual model drawing on literature reviews and some examples while identifying a set of expected benefits and challenges within four stages of e-procurement. Using the framework, a case study has been conducted involving Australian public procurement initiatives and 15 federal government senior officials engaged in e-procurement. They have been interviewed to shed light on the possibilities and challenges of using SM in the public e-procurement context. The findings of the study suggest a limited scope for SM usage in the Australian public sector e-procurement process. The implications of the findings are discussed and some recommendations offered.

Shao W.,The University of Queensland | Shao W.,CSIRO | Li X.S.,CSIRO | Sun Y.,CSIRO | Huang H.,The University of Queensland
Advanced Materials Research | Year: 2014

Application of polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) based cutting tools for hard rock excavation in mining and construction industries has increased significantly in recent years due to their super hardness, superb thermal conductivity and long life durability. Super Material Abrasive Resistant Tool (SMART*CUT) technology has been developed by CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in the last 15 years, which includes the replacement of tungsten carbide (WC) tips of the conventional picks with thermally stable diamond composite (TSDC) tips, attachment of the TSDC tips to steel tool bodies with CSIRO’s worldwide patented bonding technology. The wear characteristics of TSDC cutting elements have been investigated previously. In this paper, the preliminary results of cutter forces and resultant angle of SMART*CUT picks were compared with that of traditional WC picks. A tri-axial force dynamometer and a data acquisition system were used to measure the cutter forces. Besides, the cutting area temperature during cutting process was continuously measured by a FLIR SC7600M thermal infrared camera and the recorded data were processed by Altair Software. © (2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.

Bond N.,New Museum Project | Packer J.,The University of Queensland | Ballantyne R.,The University of Queensland
International Journal of Tourism Research | Year: 2015

This research examines and compares the experiences of visitors (N=534) to three different Christian religious heritage sites: Canterbury Cathedral, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Glastonbury Abbey Christian pilgrimage festival. Employing the activity, setting, experience and benefit framework, the findings indicate that the three religious sites attract visitors who seek different kinds of experiences and report different kinds of benefits. Results indicate that restorative experiences and benefits often overshadow the spiritual or cognitive benefits that many believe to be the primary outcomes of religious tourism. These results challenge traditional ideas about what it means to be a visitor at historical religious sites. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Lo S.H.,University of Hong Kong | Kwan A.K.H.,University of Hong Kong | Ouyang Y.,University of Hong Kong | Ho J.C.M.,The University of Queensland
Engineering Structures | Year: 2015

Fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) offers an effective and convenient means to strengthen existing RC columns. However, classical mechanics could not have an accurate prediction of the lateral strain due to axial load, hence an assessment on the overall confinement effects of the FRP. The finite element (FE) method, on the other hand, can give a full picture of the stress and the strain developed at a typical cross-section from linear elastic to ultimate failure loads. In this paper, a finite element model for the nonlinear analysis of FRP-confined concrete columns is presented, in which concrete elements are formulated based on advanced constitutive models recently developed, and it is verified against specimens with rectangular sections from existing experimental studies. As a result, the non-uniform and anisotropic confinement effects within rectangular sections of different shapes are determined, and their significance on the overall behaviour of axially loaded concrete columns could be assessed. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Kildea S.,University of Queensland | Kildea S.,The University of Queensland | McGhie A.C.,Australian Catholic University | Gao Y.,University of Queensland | And 3 more authors.
Women and Birth | Year: 2015

Background: Evidence suggests the closure of maternity units is associated with an increase in babies born before arrival (BBA). Aim: To explore the association between the number of maternity units in Australia and Queensland by birthing numbers, BBA rate and geographic remoteness of the health district where the mother lives. Methods: A retrospective study utilised routinely collected perinatal data (1992-2011). Pearson correlation tested the relationship between BBA rate and number of maternity units. Linear regression examined this association over time. Findings: During 1992-2011, the absolute numbers (N= 22,814) of women having a BBA each year in Australia increased by 47% (N= 836-1233); and 206% (n= 140-429) in Queensland. This coincided with a 41% reduction in maternity units in Australia (N= 623-368 = 18 per year) and a 28% reduction in Queensland (n= 129-93). BBA rates increased significantly across Australia, r= 0.837, n= 20 years, p< 0.001 and Queensland, r= 0.917, n= 20 years, p< 0.001 and this was negatively correlated with the number of maternity units in Australia, r= -0.804, n= 19 years, p< 0.001 and Queensland, r= -0.906, n= 19 years, p< 0.001. Conclusions: The closure of maternity units over a 20-year period across Australia and Queensland is significantly associated with increased BBA rates. The distribution is not limited to rural and remote areas. Given the high risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes associated with BBA, it is time to revisit the closure of units. © 2015 Australian College of Midwives.

Li M.,Central South University | Li M.,The University of Queensland | Aminossadati S.M.,The University of Queensland | Wu C.,Central South University
Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology | Year: 2016

Recent advancements in engineering technology have enabled the construction of super-large underground engineering projects in China. Currently, the ventilation requirements and standards of normal-size underground spaces are used for super-large underground excavating engineering projects in China. For example, the minimum air velocity of 0.15m/s is the standard velocity for normal-size underground spaces; however, this value is also used as the required air velocity for diluting underground contaminants in super-large underground developments. This paper aims to examine the minimum ventilation requirements for super-large underground developments (S>100m2). A three-dimensional computational domain representing a full-scale underground space has been developed. The pertinent parameters such as dust concentration, smoke density, oxygen concentration and air temperature have been simulated. The results show that at some specific underground conditions, the ventilation air velocity of 0.15m/s is sufficient to control the dust level, provide required oxygen concentration and maintain the air temperature at acceptable levels during development; however, it is not sufficient to bring the CO concentration below an acceptable safe limit. This must be considered by the ventilation system designers of super-large underground developments. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Hinton S.R.,The University of Queensland | Davis T.M.,The University of Queensland | Lidman C.,Australian Astronomical Observatory | Glazebrook K.,Swinburne University of Technology | Lewis G.F.,University of Sydney
Astronomy and Computing | Year: 2016

The Australian Dark Energy Survey (OzDES) is a 100-night spectroscopic survey underway on the Anglo-Australian Telescope using the fibre-fed 2-degree-field (2dF) spectrograph. We have developed a new redshifting application Marz with greater usability, flexibility, and the capacity to analyse a wider range of object types than the runz software package previously used for redshifting spectra from 2dF. Marz is an open-source, client-based, Javascript web-application which provides an intuitive interface and powerful automatic matching capabilities on spectra generated from the AAOmega spectrograph to produce high quality spectroscopic redshift measurements. The software can be run interactively or via the command line, and is easily adaptable to other instruments and pipelines if conforming to the current FITS file standard is not possible. Behind the scenes, a modified version of the autoz cross-correlation algorithm is used to match input spectra against a variety of stellar and galaxy templates, and automatic matching performance for OzDES spectra has increased from 54% (runz) to 91% (Marz). Spectra not matched correctly by the automatic algorithm can be easily redshifted manually by cycling automatic results, manual template comparison, or marking spectral features. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Pizzutto S.J.,Charles Darwin University | Yerkovich S.T.,Charles Darwin University | Yerkovich S.T.,The University of Queensland | Upham J.W.,The University of Queensland | And 4 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2015

Background: Endobronchial infections related to non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) are common in children and adults with suppurative airway disease such as bronchiectasis and COPD. Impaired cell mediated immune responses to NTHi have been described in these patients. Currently there are no interventions known to correct the deficiency in cell mediated immune responses to NTHi. The aim of this study was to determine if receipt of a conjugate vaccine containing protein D from H. influenzae is associated with improvement in NTHi-specific cytokine responses in children with chronic suppurative lung disease. Methods: Blood mononuclear cells from 107 young children with chronic suppurative lung disease and 32 healthy control children were stimulated in vitro with NTHi. We compared the cytokine production of stimulated mononuclear cells from children who had received the pneumococcal H. influenzae protein D conjugate vaccine with cells from children who received pneumococcal vaccines without protein D. Protein D-specific IgG1 was quantified in plasma. Results: Children with chronic suppurative lung disease who received ≥3 doses of the protein D conjugate vaccine produced significantly more IFNγ than children who received the alternative vaccines without protein D (median 939 versus 338. pg/ml; p= 0.007). Importantly, the amount of IFNγ produced by those vaccinated with the conjugate vaccine approached the levels observed in cells from healthy children. The conjugate vaccine was also associated with small but significant increases in IL-13 (p<. 0.001) and IL-5 (p= 0.007). Protein D-specific IgG1 levels correlated with the number of PHiD-CV doses (p= 0.02). Conclusion: Vaccination with PHiD-CV is associated with improvements in NTHi-specific cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in children with chronic suppurative lung disease. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Kang C.W.,The University of Queensland | Hao B.J.,Dalian University of Technology | Huang H.,The University of Queensland
Advanced Materials Research | Year: 2014

This study aimed to investigate the effect of grinding conditions, including depth of cut and grinding direction, on the material removal and surface finish of multilayered thin film structures. It was found that the increase in depth of cut improved the material removal rate, but worsened the ground surface finish. The grinding perpendicular to the thin films caused less damage and produced better surface than that parallel to the films. The characteristics of wheel wear were also studied. Grit pull-out and micro-fracture should be attributed to the wheel wear. © (2014) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.

Kong J.,Hohai University | Xin P.,Hohai University | Hua G.-F.,Hohai University | Luo Z.-Y.,Hohai University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2015

Above a shallow unconfined aquifer, a considerable amount of water is stored in the vadose zone. Through water exchange with the underlying unconfined aquifer, the vadose zone affects the groundwater table dynamics and overall behavior of the aquifer. In this paper, we examine tide-induced groundwater table fluctuations in unconfined aquifers influenced by vadose zone of finite thickness. Under the condition of small aquifer thickness (D) compared with the groundwater wavelength (L) (i.e., μ2=D/L2≪1) and small boundary oscillation amplitude (a) (i.e., ε=a/D≪1) (where μ2 and ε are two parameters), an approximate analytical solution was derived to quantify systematically the vadose zone effects, with a particular consideration of capping by the ground surface, i.e., the upper boundary of the vadose zone. Depending on the extent to which the capillary rise is truncated by the ground surface, the vadose zone enhances the groundwater table fluctuations in an unconfined aquifer. However, the mean groundwater table height and exchange between surface water and groundwater are reduced due to the presence of the vadose zone. These effects are intensified with increased capillary rise, but weakened as the vadose zone thickens. This study provides a criterion for assessing the importance of vadose zone in modulating the response of unconfined aquifers to low-frequency forcing oscillations such as tides. © 2015 Elsevier B.V..

Unal-Imer E.,The University of Queensland | Unal-Imer E.,University of Queensland | Uysal I.T.,University of Queensland | Uysal I.T.,Hacettepe University | And 5 more authors.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta | Year: 2016

Vein and breccia carbonates precipitated in a highly fractured/faulted carbonate bedrock in SW Turkey were investigated through high-resolution U-series geochronology, microstructural and geochemical studies including C-O-Sr isotope and rare-earth element and yttrium (REY) analyses. Petrographical observations and geochronological data are interpreted as evidence that the calcite veins formed through a crack-seal mechanism, mostly accompanied/initiated by intensive hydraulic fracturing of the host limestone in response to high-pressure fluids, which is manifested by multi-stage breccia deposits. Microscale U-series dates (272.6-20.5 kyr) and geochemical compositions of the vein/breccia samples provide information on the timing and mechanism of the vein formation and identify the source of CO2-bearing fluids responsible for the carbonate precipitation. δ18OVPDB and δ13CVPDB values of the calcite veins range between -5.9 and -1.7‰, and -10.6 and -4.6‰, respectively. The isotopic compositions of the veins show highly fluctuating values as calcite grew successively perpendicular to vein walls, which, in combination with microstructural and geochronological constraints, are interpreted to reflect episodic CO2 degassing events associated with seismic and aseismic deformation. Oxygen and Sr isotope compositions (δ18OVPDB: -5.9 to -1.7‰; 87Sr/86Sr: 0.7082 to 0.7085) together with REY concentrations indicate deep infiltration of meteoric waters with various degrees of interactions mostly with the host limestone and siliciclastic parts of the basement rocks. Oxygen and carbon isotope compositions suggest CO2 degassing through intensive limestone dissolution. While majority of the veins display similar Post-Archaean Australian Shale (PAAS)-normalised REY variations, some of the veins show positive EuPAAS anomalies, which could be indicative of contributions from a deeply derived, heated, and reduced fluid component, giving rise to multiple fluid sources for the calcite veins. Vein calcite formed in fault-induced fractures offers insights into structural features, genetic characterisation of the parental fluids, and late Quaternary degassing of subsurface CO2 accumulations. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Xin P.,Hohai University | Yu X.,Hohai University | Lu C.,Hohai University | Lu C.,Monash University | And 2 more authors.
Advances in Water Resources | Year: 2016

Leaching through subsurface drainage systems has been widely adopted to ameliorate saline soils. The application of this method to remove salt from reclaimed lands in the coastal zone, however, may be impacted by macro-pores such as crab burrows, which are commonly distributed in the soils. We developed a three-dimensional model to investigate water flow in subsurface drainage systems affected by macro-pores distributed deterministically and randomly through Monte Carlo simulations. The results showed that, for subsurface drainage systems under the condition of continuous surface ponding, macro-pores increased the hydraulic head in the deep soil, which in turn reduced the hydraulic gradient between the surface and deep soil. As a consequence, water infiltration across the soil surface was inhibited. Since salt transport in the soil is dominated by advection, the flow simulation results indicated that macro-pores decreased the efficiency of salt leaching by one order of magnitude, in terms of both the elapsed time and the amount of water required to remove salt over the designed soil leaching depth (0.6 m). The reduction of the leaching efficiency was even greater in drainage systems with a layered soil stratigraphy. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that with an increased penetration depth or density of macro-pores, the leaching efficiency decreased further. The revealed impact of macro-pores on water flow represents a significant shortcoming of the salt leaching technique when applied to coastal saline soils. Future designs of soil amelioration schemes in the coastal zone should consider and aim to minimize the bypassing effect caused by macro-pores. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Xie G.-J.,Harbin Institute of Technology | Xie G.-J.,The University of Queensland | Liu B.-F.,Harbin Institute of Technology | Wang Q.,The University of Queensland | And 2 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2016

Waste activated sludge is a valuable resource containing multiple nutrients, but is currently treated and disposed of as an important source of pollution. In this work, waste activated sludge after ultrasound pretreatment was reused as multiple nutrients for biofuel production. The nutrients trapped in sludge floc were transferred into liquid medium by ultrasonic disintegration during first 30 min, while further increase of pretreatment time only resulted in slight increase of nutrients release. Hydrogen production by Ethanoligenens harbinense B49 from glucose significantly increased with the concentration of ultrasonic sludge, and reached maximum yield of 1.97 mol H2/mol glucose at sludge concentration of 7.75 g volatile suspended solids/l. Without addition of any other chemicals, waste molasses rich in carbohydrate was efficiently turned into hydrogen with yield of 189.34 ml H2/g total sugar by E. harbinense B49 using ultrasonic sludge as nutrients. The results also showed that hydrogen production using pretreated sludge as multiple nutrients was higher than those using standard nutrients. Acetic acid produced by E. harbinense B49 together with the residual nutrients in the liquid medium were further converted into hydrogen (271.36 ml H2/g total sugar) by Rhodopseudomonas faecalis RLD-53 through photo fermentation, while ethanol was the sole end product with yield of 220.26 mg/g total sugar. Thus, pretreated sludge was an efficient nutrients source for biofuel production, which could replace the standard nutrients. This research provided a novel strategy to achieve environmental friendly sludge disposal and simultaneous efficient biofuel recovery from organic waste. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Cook A.G.,The University of Queensland | Jell P.A.,The University of Queensland
Alcheringa | Year: 2016

Cook, A.G. & Jell, P.A., September 2015. Carboniferous platyceratid gastropods from Western Australia and a possible alternative lifestyle adaptation. Alcheringa 40, XX–XX. ISSN 0311-5518 Platyceratid gastropods, common and in many cases abundant as elements of middle Palaeozoic gastropod faunas worldwide, are rare or absent in Australian Devonian faunas. In Australia, the earliest abundant platyceratids occur in the Lower Carboniferous (Tournaisian) echinoderm-rich Septimus Limestone and Enga Sandstone in the Bonaparte Gulf Basin, Western Australia. Four taxa, each with significant morphological plasticity, are recognized. In Platyceras (Platyceras) tubulosus (de Koninck, 1883), three rows of long radially arranged spines and common pentameral symmetry of re-entrants on the aperture suggest an alternative possibility that a relationship between echinoderms and platyceratids developed, and that this may be with archaeocidaroids that are commonly preserved with the gastropods. Similarly in the singly spinose Platyceras (Platyceras) emmemmjae sp. nov., re-entrants suggest an echinoderm relationship. It is proposed that an echinoderm–Platyceras relationship possibly developed in Australia only after a suitable echinoid host had evolved allowing an alternative way for a gameto- or coprophagous habit to be exploited fully. © 2015 Association of Australasian Palaeontologists.

Bryant D.,The University of Queensland | Dean M.,The University of Queensland
Journal of Combinatorial Theory. Series B | Year: 2015

It is shown that there are infinitely many connected vertex-transitive graphs that have no Hamilton decomposition, including infinitely many Cayley graphs of valency 6, and including Cayley graphs of arbitrarily large valency. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Nicholls A.,Royal Australian Navy | Sharma R.,The University of Queensland | Saha T.K.,The University of Queensland
Applied Energy | Year: 2015

Recent trends in increased public environmental awareness coupled with the introduction of governmental incentives, has resulted in a remarkably rapid growth in rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations at a residential level in Australia. Despite the widely perceived economic and environmental benefits of rooftop PV, the economic and environmental performance of rooftop PV under Australian conditions are yet to be thoroughly examined. Whilst prior studies on the subject of rooftop PV are extensively overseas based, the conditions under which they are performed differ immensely from the Australian conditions. Consequently, this paper focuses on evaluating the life cycle economic and environmental merit of rooftop PV in Australia. By making use of component-wise costs and embedded emissions associated with each component of the rooftop PV generation system, the life cycle cost and emission models have been developed. For this to occur, the Australian costs and, energy and emission intensities have been used. All the life cycle factors relating to the manufacturing, purchasing, installation and operation of rooftop PV are considered. A sensitivity analysis is performed with respect to electricity price, feed-in tariff, battery price, battery lifetime and emission intensities. The results of the cost and emissions analyses are collectively used to estimate the cost of emissions mitigation through the use of rooftop PV for current and potential future scenarios in Australia. The cost payback and the energy payback times are found to range between 11 to more than 25. years and 1.75 to 14. years, respectively. The study also reveals that local load profile can have a significant impact on payback times. For example, the cost payback without battery storage is found to be the least for Tasmania which hosts the least favourable solar insolation conditions and lowest feed-in tariff amongst the Australian states however possesses a high daily load and electricity price. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Agbesi M.P.K.,University of Bath | Naylor S.,The University of Queensland | Perkins E.,The University of Queensland | Borsuk H.S.,University of Bath | And 4 more authors.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology | Year: 2016

Scent detection in an aquatic environment is dependent on the movement of water. We set out to determine the mechanisms for moving water through the olfactory organ of guitarfishes (Rhinobatidae, Chondrichthyes) with open nasal cavities. We found at least two. In the first mechanism, which we identified by observing dye movement in the nasal region of a life-sized physical model of the head of Rhinobatos lentiginosus mounted in a flume, olfactory flow is generated by the guitarfish's motion relative to water, e.g. when it swims. We suggest that the pressure difference responsible for motion-driven olfactory flow is caused by the guitarfish's nasal flaps, which create a region of high pressure at the incurrent nostril, and a region of low pressure in and behind the nasal cavity. Vortical structures in the nasal region associated with motion-driven flow may encourage passage of water through the nasal cavity and its sensory channels, and may also reduce the cost of swimming. The arrangement of vortical structures is reminiscent of aircraft wing vortices. In the second mechanism, which we identified by observing dye movement in the nasal regions of living specimens of Glaucostegus typus, the guitarfish's respiratory pump draws flow through the olfactory organ in a rhythmic (0.5-2 Hz), but continuous, fashion. Consequently, the respiratory pump will maintain olfactory flow whether the guitarfish is swimming or at rest. Based on our results, we propose a model for olfactory flow in guitarfishes with open nasal cavities, and suggest other neoselachians which this model might apply to. © 2016.

Unal-Imer E.,The University of Queensland | Unal-Imer E.,University of Queensland | Shulmeister J.,The University of Queensland | Zhao J.-X.,University of Queensland | And 3 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2016

Multiple climate-sensitive trace element/Ca and stable isotope (O and C) profiles derived from Dim Cave speleothems (S-SW Turkey) provide evidence of climatic changes and define a series of palaeohydrological conditions for the period ~10-90 kyr. Dim Cave speleothem Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, U/Ca, Ba/Ca, and Y/Ca ratios demonstrate similar patterns over glacial-interglacial scales, in agreement with δ18O and δ13C records. Three episodes of more positive moisture balance (71-63 kyr, 51-40 kyr, and 18-10 kyr) were observed based on Y/Ca (and to a lesser extent Zr/Ca), 87Sr/86Sr ratios, calcite micromorphology, and growth rates. Increasing concentrations of Y, Zr (and U) and elevated 87Sr/86Sr ratios are attributed to enhanced levels of terrestrial input during these periods. Correlations between δ13C, δ18O and Mg/Ca during 40-18 kyr (corresponding with the lowest growth rate of ~0.8 mm/kyr), 63-51, and 80-71 kyr (relatively low growth rates), as well as co-varying and enhanced Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, and to a lesser extent Ba/Ca, ratios point to the prior calcite precipitation, wall rock interaction, and preferential dolomite dissolution over calcite in the host dolomitic limestone during these periods. This relationship suggests that water-rock interactions are maximised during episodes of slower drip rates of water through the karst under drier conditions. Chondrite-normalised rare earth element and yttrium (REY) patterns of the stalagmites reveal seawater signatures closely linked to the dolomitic limestone. Excluding the aragonite formation during ~80-75 kyr, which is an autogenic effect, trace element/Ca ratios appear to respond to millennial scale global cooling periods such as Heinrich events. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

News Article | April 5, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

Researchers from The University of Queensland have, for the first time, used laser light to cool a special form of quantum liquid, called a superfluid. Lasers are widely used to cool gases and solid objects, but have never before been applied to cool a quantum liquid. The findings were released April 5, 2016, in the journal Nature Physics. Superfluids are quantum liquids with a strange property—much like electrical currents in superconductors, the flow of a superfluid never stops. Lead author Glen Harris, who is now building on these experiments with a team at Yale University, said this unique property was a key feature for many of the proposed applications of superfluids. “The applications of this research range from improved sensors for navigational systems to the development of quantum devices and fundamental exploration of the quantum physics of turbulence, or the turbulent motion of quantum fluids when cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero,” Harris said. In the experiments, the team created a superfluid helium film on a silicon chip. They then used a bright laser beam to draw energy out of waves on the surface of the superfluid, cooling them. In addition to laser cooling, the research team showed that combining superfluid with microphotonics allows extremely precise measurements of superfluid waves. The project’s chief investigator Professor Warwick Bowen said that this research provides a pathway towards replacing state-of-the-art inertial systems used in navigation systems. “Previous experiments have shown that ultra-precise inertial sensing is possible using superfluid helium. However, these experiments relied upon bulky architectures somewhat akin to a plumbing system for water,” Bowen said. "The ability to cool, measure, and control superfluid waves on a silicon chip brings a new level of scalability and integrability to such sensors," Bowen said. The experiments were performed by an international team of researchers from Australia, New Zealand, France, Belarus and Ireland. They would not have been possible without micro- and nanofabrication infrastructure within Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) supported by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). The project was funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.

Conservation research is not being done in the countries where it is most needed - a situation which is likely to undermine efforts to preserve global biodiversity. That's the conclusion of a new study publishing in the Open Access journal PLOS Biology on 29th March, led by Associate Professor Kerrie Wilson from The University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). "Our analysis revealed that comparatively less conservation research is undertaken in the world's most biodiverse countries such as Indonesia and Ecuador" says Kerrie Wilson. The study analysed over 10,000 conservation science papers from over 1,000 journals published in 2014. The researchers then compared the countries where these studies were done (and by whom) with the world's most important countries for biodiversity conservation. What they found suggested a massive mismatch in terms of need and effort. "If you dig a little deeper, it gets worse. The science conducted in these countries is often not led by scientists based in those countries and these scientists are also underrepresented in important international forums." What this adds up to, says Wilson, is a widespread bias in the field of conservation science. "If research is biased away from the most important areas for biodiversity conservation then this will accentuate the impacts of the global biodiversity crisis and reduce our capacity to protect and manage the natural ecosystems that underpin human well-being," says Wilson. Biases in conservation science will also undermine our ability to meet Target 19 of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). Target 19 states that "By 2020, knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are improved, widely shared and transferred, and applied." "Our comprehensive analysis of publishing trends in conservation science literature suggest we won't meet this target if these biases aren't addressed," says Wilson. The researchers believe that a range of solutions is needed. These include reforming open access publishing policies, enhancing science communication strategies, changing author attribution practices, improving representation in international processes, and strengthening infrastructure and human capacity for research in countries where it is most needed. "We won't change the situation by simply ignoring it," says Wilson."Researchers need to examine their own agendas and focus on areas with the greatest need." More information: Wilson KA, Auerbach NA, Sam K, Magini AG, Moss ASL, Langhans SD, et al. (2016) Conservation Research Is Not Happening Where It Is Most Needed. PLoS Biol 14(3): e1002413.DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002413

News Article | September 12, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Top Scientific Minds You Probably Never Heard Of What sets our home planet apart from others are the lush forests and jungles, grasslands, swamps, expansive deserts and sprawling savannahs that blanket its terrain. However, each year, Earth has lesser and lesser of these natural spots because of human activity and disturbance, a new report has revealed. Earth's wilderness is rapidly eroding. Approximately 10 percent of the planet's wilderness — the biological and ecological landscapes that are typically free of human disturbance — has vanished in the last two decades alone, the new study says. In order to determine the loss of the planet's wilderness, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society evaluated satellite and survey data recorded since the 1990s. By definition, wilderness landscapes begin to cease not when humans settle there, but when human activity disturbs ecosystems via land conversion, large-scale infrastructure projects and land conversion. In the end, researchers discovered that globally, 1.2 million square miles of wilderness — twice the size of the state of Alaska — have been lost in the last 20 years. James Watson, study lead author and an expert from Australia's The University of Queensland, says the amount of wilderness that has vanished in just two decades is staggering. In fact, the greatest loss in wilderness occurred in South America at 30 percent, and in Africa at 14 percent, they found. A few areas such as the Northwestern Congolian Lowland Forests, as well as the Northern New Guinea Lowland Rain and Freshwater Swamp Forests ecoregions, have lost almost all of their former wilderness. Such negative losses on wilderness could have strong impacts on indigenous communities, wildlife and climate change, researchers say. What's more, the destruction of a small chunk of ecosystem could negatively affect the rest, especially because wilderness regions are interdependent and interconnected. When it comes to restoring the lost wilderness, Watson says it cannot be done. Once wilderness areas are gone, the ecological processes behind these ecosystems are also gone. "And it never comes back to the state it was," says Watson. On the other hand, the new study offers good news: much of Earth's remaining wilderness or nearly 80 percent is still made up of large chunks of land. This is crucial for species living in these regions because if habitats become disturbed by clear-cutting or roads, the animals are less likely to survive. And there is still hope to abate further losses. Between 2005 and 2012, statistics show that deforestation rates in Brazil decreased to 70 percent because of conservation and protection efforts by soybean farmers and cattle ranchers in the country. Watson says it is clear that more is required to strengthen the protection of Earth's remaining wilderness. This includes basic conservation, as well as transforming grasslands and forests into reserves and protected areas. Details of the new report are published in the journal Current Biology. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

News Article
Site: news.yahoo.com

Johnny Depp's latest most-watched (and highly critiqued) performance is just a little more personal than his typical thespian challenges. In a video shared on YouTube on April 17 by Australian officials, Depp appeared with his wife, actress Amber Heard, offering words of apology for violating the country's biosecurity regulations last year. Heard had illegally brought the couple's two pet Yorkshire terriers into Australia on April 21, 2015, without an import permit and without first subjecting them to a mandated quarantine — a requirement for all cats and dogs introduced into the country. [See Amazing Images from Australia's 'Lost World'] Though the incident, and apology, may seem trivial, experts say they speak to a larger, very serious issue. Since Australia is isolated geographically and some of its wildlife are found only on that continent, any disruption to the natural balance, such as the introduction of nonnative animals and their associated diseases, could ripple through the ecosystem. The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (ADAWR) was alerted to the dogs' presence on May 13, 2015, after the terriers, Pistol and Boo, sparked media attention following a visit to a Gold Coast dog groomer. On May 14, the ADAWR issued a statement describing the violation, without mentioning the actors by name. Heard and Depp arranged for the dogs to be sent out of the country two days later, on May 15. Heard provided the video at her appearance in Southport Magistrates Court on April 18 this year, where she plead guilty to charges of illegally importing the two dogs by concealing them in her luggage and falsifying information on her Incoming Passenger Card, the ADAWR reported. ADAWR official Lyn O'Connell said in the statement, "We take our responsibilities to the Australian public seriously — and today's court outcome shows we prosecute wrongdoers accordingly, no matter who they are." Australia maintains strict control over animal importation to protect the health of its citizens and native species. Illegally imported animals are subject to immediate quarantine and then are either exported or euthanized, government representatives said. The swift and severe official response to two illegally imported pooches appeared trivial to some, inspiring a sardonic Twitter hashtag, #WarOnTerrier. But Australia's biosecurity is no laughing matter, according to David Adamson, a research fellow at The University of Queensland who investigates environmental threats and their impact on Australia's economy. "We spend a lot of money on combating the biosecurity issues we already have," Adamson said. "New ones have the capacity to destroy some agricultural industries and wipe out species that don't exist elsewhere." Penalties for offenders are so tough because the country's animals — wild and domesticated — are so vulnerable, Adamson told Live Science in an email. Australia's geographically isolated animal species are highly susceptible to visiting animals' contagions because they've never had the chance to develop resistance. Within a defenseless population, infection can spread quickly — and with devastating results, Adamson added. In 1995 and 1998-1999, Australia lost approximately 60 percent of its pilchard — a type of sardine — to a newly introduced virus. Populations stabilized after the fish began developing resistance to the virus, but the damage had already been done. "Australia's geographic isolation allowed a unique ecosystem to develop," Adamson said. "And the strict quarantine standards allowed Australia's agriculture sector to develop in the absence of many trade-restrictive pests and diseases." Heard's and Depp's apology video has currently been watched by more than 4.5 million people. It runs for only 42 seconds, but Adamson hopes that its message will resonate with its many viewers for much longer. "I would suggest it was a timely reminder to people of the serious consequences biosecurity breaches mean for all countries," Adamson said. Follow Mindy Weisberger on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News Article | October 28, 2015
Site: phys.org

In a world first, researchers from The University of Queensland have identified a key gene in barley that enables the plant to access water stored deep in the soil during droughts.

McLean B.J.,The University of Queensland | Hobson-Peters J.,The University of Queensland | Webb C.E.,University of Sydney | Watterson D.,The University of Queensland | And 12 more authors.
Virology | Year: 2015

To date, insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFs) have only been isolated from mosquitoes and increasing evidence suggests that ISFs may affect the transmission of pathogenic flaviviruses. To investigate the diversity and prevalence of ISFs in Australian mosquitoes, samples from various regions were screened for flaviviruses by ELISA and RT-PCR. Thirty-eight pools of Aedes vigilax from Sydney in 2007 yielded isolates of a novel flavivirus, named Parramatta River virus (PaRV). Sequencing of the viral RNA genome revealed it was closely related to Hanko virus with 62.3% nucleotide identity over the open reading frame. PaRV failed to grow in vertebrate cells, with only Aedes-derived mosquito cell lines permissive to replication, suggesting a narrow host range. 2014 collections revealed that PaRV had persisted in A. vigilax populations in Sydney, with 88% of pools positive. Further investigations into its mode of transmission and potential to influence vector competence of A. vigilax for pathogenic viruses are warranted. © 2015.

Liu Y.,The University of Queensland | Sharma K.R.,The University of Queensland | Fluggen M.,The University of Queensland | O'Halloran K.,Gold Coast City CouncilQLD | And 3 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2015

Recent studies using short-term manual sampling of sewage followed by off-line laboratory gas chromatography (GC) measurement have shown that a substantial amount of dissolved methane is produced in sewer systems. However, only limited data has been acquired to date due to the low frequency and short span of this method, which cannot capture the dynamic variations of in-sewer dissolved methane concentrations. In this study, a newly developed online measuring device was used to monitor dissolved methane concentrations at the end of a rising main sewer network, over two periods of three weeks each, in summer and early winter, respectively. This device uses an online gas-phase methane sensor to measure methane under equilibrium conditions after being stripped from the sewage. The data are then converted to liquid-phase methane concentrations according to Henry's Law. The detection limit and range are suitable for sewer application and can be adjusted by varying the ratio of liquid-to-gas phase volume settings. The measurement presented good linearity (R2>0.95) during field application, when compared to off-line measurements. The overall data set showed a wide variation in dissolved methane concentration of 5-15mg/L in summer and 3.5-12mg/L in winter, resulting in a significant average daily production of 24.6 and 19.0kg-CH4/d, respectively, from the network with a daily average sewage flow of 2840m3/day. The dissolved methane concentration demonstrated a clear diurnal pattern coinciding with flow and sulfide fluctuation, implying a relationship with the wastewater hydraulic retention time (HRT). The total dissolved sulfide (TDS) concentration in sewers can be determined simultaneously with the same principle. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Prasse C.,Federal Institute of Hydrology BfG | Prasse C.,University of California at Berkeley | Stalter D.,The University of Queensland | Stalter D.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | And 3 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2015

The knowledge we have gained in recent years on the presence and effects of compounds discharged by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) brings us to a point where we must question the appropriateness of current water quality evaluation methodologies. An increasing number of anthropogenic chemicals is detected in treated wastewater and there is increasing evidence of adverse environmental effects related to WWTP discharges. It has thus become clear that new strategies are needed to assess overall quality of conventional and advanced treated wastewaters. There is an urgent need for multidisciplinary approaches combining expertise from engineering, analytical and environmental chemistry, (eco)toxicology, and microbiology. This review summarizes the current approaches used to assess treated wastewater quality from the chemical and ecotoxicological perspective. Discussed chemical approaches include target, non-target and suspect analysis, sum parameters, identification and monitoring of transformation products, computational modeling as well as effect directed analysis and toxicity identification evaluation. The discussed ecotoxicological methodologies encompass in vitro testing (cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, endocrine disruption, adaptive stress response activation, toxicogenomics) and in vivo tests (single and multi species, biomonitoring). We critically discuss the benefits and limitations of the different methodologies reviewed. Additionally, we provide an overview of the current state of research regarding the chemical and ecotoxicological evaluation of conventional as well as the most widely used advanced wastewater treatment technologies, i.e., ozonation, advanced oxidation processes, chlorination, activated carbon, and membrane filtration. In particular, possible directions for future research activities in this area are provided. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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