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Bellow are some of our most recent scientific releases, enjoy the read.

Bisphenol A Effects in Aqueous Environment on Lemna minor

The link between different plastic waste pollutants and their impact on the natural aquatic environment and food chain remains a constant and growing issue. Bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disruptor produced in large quantities primarily in the industry of polycarbonate plastics, can accumulate in vegetal and animal tissue, thus magnifying through trophic levels.

Maturation of Hydroxyapatite from Biogenic Calcium Source - A Comparative Study 

This research aims to synthesize hydroxyapatite powders from a biogenic calcium source (hen eggshell) and study the effect of two maturation methods (a classical method and a combined short time maturation at 135°C in microwave assisted hydrothermal conditions) on its final properties. The synthesized specimens consist of nanometric polycrystalline particles of carbonated apatite, with enhanced osteogenic effect due to the presence of trace elements, and high crystallinity (up to 72.44%). It was concluded that the maturation conditions impacted the morpho structural and compositional characteristics of the obtained powders, as well as their cytotoxic behavior in contact with mouse osteoblasts MC3T3-E1 culture.

Microbial contamination and survival rate on different types of banknotes

In the COVID-19 pandemic context, numerous concerns have been raised regarding the hygienic status of certain objects we interact with on a daily basis, and especially cash money and their potential to harbor and transmit pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, in the present study, we analyzed different currency bills represented by British pounds (5£, 10£ and 20£), Romanian lei (1 leu, 5 lei and 10 lei), U.S. dollars (1$, 5$ and 10$) and Euros (5€, 10€ and 20€) in order to evaluate the bacterial survival rate and bacterial adherence. We used five reference microorganisms by American Type Culture Collection (ATCC, Manassas, VA, USA): Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538, Escherichia coli ATCC 8739, Enterococcus sp. ATCC 19952, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhi ATCC 6539, Listeria monocytogenes ATCC 7644..

Expansion of the Invasive Plant Species Reynoutria japonica Houtt in the Upper Bistrița Mountain River Basin with a Calculus on the Productive Potential of a Mountain Meadow

Many invasive plant species use interactions with their anthropic environment as a propagation factor and benefit from climate changes, which have become accentuated in the last decade. The way such species interact with climate changes, as well as their high specific ecological plasticity, gives them a consistent advantage over native plant species. This work aims to demonstrate through a simple calculation the quantification of the productive potential of a wet meadow on which populations of an invasive plant species grew. The loss of productive potential induced by Reynoutria japonica Houtt on a mountain meadow in Ciocănești village, Romania, was the main objective. In the case of the productive potential of the meadows, a method for the general calculation of such losses was shown. The degree of anthropization of the studied area was also evaluated, correlating the degree of anthropization with the invasive species’ potential for spreading and affecting the mountain area.

Epithelial Sodium Channel Inhibition by Amiloride Addressed with THz Spectroscopy and Molecular Modeling

THz spectroscopy is important for the study of ion channels because it directly addresses the low frequency collective motions relevant for their function. Here we used THz spectroscopy to investigate the inhibition of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) by its specific blocker, amiloride. Experiments were performed on A6 cells’ suspensions, which are cells overexpressing ENaC derived from Xenopus laevis kidney. THz spectra were investigated with or without amiloride. When ENaC was inhibited by amiloride, a substantial increase in THz absorption was noticed. Molecular modeling methods were used to explain the observed spectroscopic differences. THz spectra were simulated using the structural models of ENaC and ENaC—amiloride complexes built here. The agreement between the experiment and the simulations allowed us to validate the structural models and to describe the amiloride dynamics inside the channel pore. The amiloride binding site validated using THz spectroscopy agrees with previous mutagenesis studies. Altogether, our results show that THz spectroscopy can be successfully used to discriminate between native and inhibited ENaC channels and to characterize the dynamics of channels in the presence of their specific antagonist.

Bringing Life Back into Former Mining Sites: A Mini-Review on Soil Remediation Using Organic Amendments

Former mining sites cause serious environmental problems worldwide as they are contaminated with hazardous levels of metals. Mined lands are characterized by a deserted landscape due to the lack of organic matter in soil. Research analyses confirmed that the structure of soil in abandoned surface mines has affected the occurrence of ecological processes and natural colonization of vegetation cannot take place. Moreover, phytoextraction of metals is possible only in soils with specific parameters. Previously conducted studies proposed the in situ supplementation with biochar, compost or agri-food wastes as a solution to the lack of organic carbon and nitrogen in areas affected by mining. Therefore, the main aim of this review is to investigate what improvements different organic amendments can bring to mining-impacted soils to support plant growth without affecting the bioavailability of metals. We concluded that contaminants are specific to the mining activity, while organic treatments cause the increase of soil pH, which influences, to the greatest extent, the bioavailability of metals.

Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) (Asian Silver Carp) Presence in Danube Delta and Romania—A Review with Data on Natural Reproduction

The Danube River has a large hydrographical basin, being the second largest river in Europe. The main channel flows through seven European countries with many species of fish inhabiting it. In this review we focused on the invasive species silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), which plays an important ecological and economic role in its original habitat, but since introduced in Europe’s rivers, the species has posed a serious ecological risk under global warming. In this review paper, we gathered data regarding silver carp, such as when and how it entered the Danube Delta and the water temperature suitable for its growth and reproduction, mainly in the context of global warming, as well as the nature of nutrition and the ecological risk the species poses.

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