# AIT Austrian Institute of Technology

• Vienna, Austria
Recent publications
Soil fungi, as a major decomposer of organic matter, govern carbon (C) cycle and act as crucial regulators of the soil C and nutrient balance in terrestrial ecosystems. Climate change and parent material alter important environmental conditions that may affect fungal community. However, very little is known about the diversity and community structure of soil fungi along elevation gradients with distinct parent material properties. We investigated the effects of climate and vegetation changes on soil fungal diversity and community structure at two Austrian alpine sites with different bedrock properties (limestone at the Hochschwab site and silicate at the Rauris site), but with similar climatic conditions. At these sites we sampled soils from 0 to 25 cm depth along three elevation gradients ranging from 900 to 2100 m above sea level and examined how the fungal communities vary by using Illumina MiSeq sequencing. Our results show that the fungal community structures at the Hochschwab and the Rauris site were defined by elevation-induced changes in vegetation and associated differences in soil pH. In forest soils, symbiotrophic fungi (mainly belonging to the class Agaricomycetes, phylum Basidiomycota) were dominant at the Hoschwab site, while at the Rauris site the Ascomycota were the most dominant phyla. The change to grass dominated vegetation generally increased the contribution of saprotrophic fungi (mainly belonging to various classes of the phylum Mucoromycota) at both elevational sites. Prevalence of ectomycorrhizal fungi and associated lignolytic enzymes induced soil C loss might explain lower soil organic C stocks at the Rauris site compared to the Hochschwab site. Our results suggest that parent material can modulate fungal communities indirectly via vegetation (e.g., litter quality) adapted to particular soil conditions. Therefore, changes in fungal structural composition might exert important consequences on ecosystem C balances.
Rice is gaining importance for nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, but domestic production can only cover a fraction of the actual needs. Suboptimal fertilization limits production and affordable solutions are needed. It is, however, of utmost importance to minimize negative impacts on the environment and on soil health, which is largely determined by microbial processes. An agronomic field trial was conducted at the KALRO Mwea research site (Central Kenya) to compare mineral and organic fertilization effects on rice plant parameters and on soil microbial abundance and diversity. Abundance of fungi and bacteria was quantified by ddPCR and the community composition was determined by amplicon sequencing of the ITS2- and 16S-regions, respectively. Mineral fertilizer had a strong positive effect on panicle number, spikelet number, grain yield and straw dry weight, but fertilizer type did not significantly influence soil microbial community abundance or composition. The rice development stage shaped fungal communities with differences between the vegetative and the reproductive stages, whereas the bacterial communities were mainly influenced by soil depth in a range from 0 to 30 cm. Additionally, spatial effects between rows of the experimental field were observed, resulting in row-specific differences in soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and certain fungal taxa, notwithstanding that the field was manually ploughed to a depth of 30 cm before the experiment. This study is the first census of soil fungal and bacterial communities in an African paddy rice field and provides insights into similarities and differences to paddy rice fields in other regions. To increase local African rice production, manure application alone might not be sufficient due to the poor nutrient status of traditional farm-yard manure, yet it can be part of a sustainable and more efficient fertilization strategy.
This study investigated the effects of irrigation frequency on N2 and N2O emissions from an intensively managed pasture in the subtropics. Irrigation volumes were estimated to replace evapotranspiration and were applied either once (low frequency) or split into four applications (high frequency). To test for legacy effects, a large rainfall event was simulated at the end of the experiment. Over 15 days, 7.9 ± 2.7 kg N2 + N2O-N ha⁻¹ was emitted on average regardless of irrigation frequency, with N2O accounting for 25% of overall N2 + N2O. Repeated, small amounts of irrigation produced an equal amount of N2 + N2O losses as a single, large irrigation event. The increase in N2O emissions after the large rainfall event was smaller in the high-frequency treatment, shifting the N2O/(N2O + N2) ratio towards N2, indicating a treatment legacy effect. Cumulative losses of N2O and N2 did not differ between treatments, but higher CO2 emissions were observed in the high-frequency treatment. Our results suggest that the increase in microbial activity and related O2 consumption in response to small and repeated wetting events can offset the effects of increased soil gas diffusivity on denitrification, explaining the lack of treatment effect on cumulative N2O and N2 emissions and the abundance of N cycling marker genes. The observed legacy effect may be linked to increased mineralisation and subsequent increased dissolved organic carbon availability, suggesting that increased irrigation frequency can reduce the environmental impact (N2O), but not overall magnitude of N2O and N2 emissions from intensively managed pastures.
The concept of a novel hybrid process which includes local heat treatmentLocal heat treatmentfor springbackSpringback reduction in deep drawingDeep drawingof AHSSAdvanced high-strength steel (AHSS) is presented. In order to demonstrate the feasibility of this process a prototype tool for deep drawingDeep drawing of U-profiles was designed and optimized for integrating an inductive heating coil. Both, cold forming as well as local heat treatmentLocal heat treatment, were performed within a single process step, as the radius zones of the deep-drawn U-profile were heated immediately after completing the forming stroke. To quantify the influence of the local heat treatmentLocal heat treatment on the internal stresses inside the U-profile, a two-dimensional model of the hybrid forming–heating processHybrid forming-heating process was built using the Abaqus finite element (FE) software package. The flow curves required for this model were determined by tensile testing of dual-phase (DP) steel sheets at temperatures between 25 °C and 1000 °C. Both, the experimental and the numerical results, confirm that local heat treatmentLocal heat treatment can significantly reduce the local internal stresses and the springbackSpringback without decreasing the overall strength of the component.
Meaningfulness is a profound aspect of our lives. So far, a concrete reflection of what meaning means in HCI is still rare. To understand users as humans, and thus, the humanity in being a user, we adopt Viktor Frankl’s understanding of users as meaning-seeking subjects. To make the concept of meaningfulness more graspable, we refer to what Frankl calls the three existentials of life: freedom, responsibility, and noos. We elaborate four dimensions, namely the existentials as an outcome, as their embeddedness in technology, their role in interaction, and their (non-)usage. This is followed by a discussion on the interwovenness of the three existentials as well as their potential impact on HCI research. By that, we aim to contribute to a profound understanding of meaning for HCI, from the epistemological to the methodological perspective, to enable meaning-centered design.
Multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1, encoded by the ABCC1 gene) may contribute to the clearance of amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides from the brain into the blood and stimulation of MRP1 transport activity may be a therapeutic approach to enhance brain Aβ clearance. In this study, we assessed the effect of thiethylperazine, an antiemetic drug which was shown to stimulate MRP1 activity in vitro and to decrease Aβ load in a rapid β-amyloidosis mouse model (APP/PS1-21), on MRP1 transport activity by means of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with the MRP1 tracer 6-bromo-7-[11C]methylpurine. Groups of wild-type, APP/PS1-21 and Abcc1(−/−)mice underwent PET scans before and after a 5-day oral treatment period with thiethylperazine (15 mg/kg, once daily). The elimination rate constant of radioactivity (kelim) was calculated from time–activity curves in the brain and the lungs as a measure of tissue MRP1 activity. Treatment with thiethylperazine had no significant effect on MRP1 activity in the brain and the lungs of wild-type and APP/PS1-21 mice. This may either be related to a lack of an MRP1-stimulating effect of thiethylperazine in vivo or to other factors, such as substrate-dependent MRP1 stimulation, insufficient target tissue exposure to thiethylperazine or limited sensitivity of the PET tracer to measure MRP1 stimulation.
Background Oxytocin (OXT) is a neuropeptide and hormone involved in emotional functioning and also seems to play a role in moderating the stress response. Both preclinical and clinical studies point to an increased methylation status of the Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) promoter region with concomitant deficits in social, cognitive and emotional functioning. We hypothesize that methylation levels (%) of the oxytocin receptor promoter region correlate with the severity of depression symptoms and/or with the severity of childhood trauma within this present sample of affective disorder patients. Methodology Eight hundred forty six (846) affective disorder patients of Central European origin were recruited at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Medical University Vienna, the Karl Landsteiner University for Health and Science and Zentren für seelische Gesundheit, BBRZ-Med Leopoldau. Psychiatric assessment included a semi-structured diagnostic interview (Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry), the Hamilton Depression Scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Concomitantly DNA samples of peripheral blood cells were collected for Multiplexed and Sensitive DNA Methylation Testing. Results Our data suggests a positive but not significant association between OXTR promoter Exons 1–3 methylation levels and severity of depression symptoms as well as severity of emotional neglect in affective disorder patients and no association with childhood trauma. Conclusions Our findings contribute to elucidate the role of OXTR in affective disorders, but further longitudinal studies in particular are necessary to broaden the current state of knowledge.
We evaluate the performance of multiple text classification methods used to automate the screening of article abstracts in terms of their relevance to a topic of interest. The aim is to develop a system that can be first trained on a set of manually screened article abstracts before using it to identify additional articles on the same topic. Here the focus is on articles related to the topic “artificial intelligence in nursing”. Eight text classification methods are tested, as well as two simple ensemble systems. The results indicate that it is feasible to use text classification technology to support the manual screening process of article abstracts when conducting a literature review. The best results are achieved by an ensemble system, which achieves a F1-score of 0.41, with a sensitivity of 0.54 and a specificity of 0.96. Future work directions are discussed.
Deep geothermal resources for heat supply and waste heat potentials were assessed and measured for a high-temperature dairy plant. For the industrial waste heat, a borehole heat exchanger (BHE) seasonal storage was configured and simulated after an extensive investigation of shallow geothermal resources. We developed a concept for the subsequent use of the residual and waste heat from the plant in a low-temperature heating and cooling (LTHC) grid for the neighbouring former military camp “Martinek-Kaserne” with a future use as mixed-use urban quarter were investigated in two projects. The modelling of the deep geothermal resources showed that of the three potential reservoirs one is most feasible for geothermal heat supply with temperatures between 129 and 146 °C, which could be used with a high-temperature heat pump for process heat. The waste heat in all sub-processes of the dairy plant were measured over 18 months to identify the most suitable waste heat streams with regard to temperature and continuity. The results showed that 25 % of the waste heat from a sub-process of the plant (fresh products logistics) is sufficient to provide heat for the adjacent LTHC grid with a total energy demand of 3428 MWh per year. The simulation of the BHE field resulted in 96 BHE with 180 m depth for a dis-/charging capacity of 643.7 MWh and 20 decentral heat pumps in the buildings. The BHE field operates quite balanced with only 12.8 MWh of difference in the annual balance. The results of the feasibility study for deep and shallow geothermal resources, and the assessment of the industrial waste heat show that the whole cascade of high-temperature heat for industry to low-temperature heat for the LTHC grid could be realized at the investigated site.
Implementing applicable security measures into system engineering applications is still one of the most challenging processes in building secure infrastructure. This process needs to consider a variety of security attributes to support securing system components against numerous cyberattacks that could exploit vulnerable points in the system. The redundancy in these attributes is also another challenge that could degrade system functionality and impact the availability of the system’s services. Therefore, it is crucial to choose appropriate security properties by considering their ability to address cyber threats with minimal negative impacts on the system’s functionality. This process is still subjected to inconsistencies due to ad- oc determinations by a specialist. In this work, we propose a novel algorithm for optimizing the implementation of security mechanisms in IoT applications for the agricultural domain to ensure the effectiveness of the applied mechanisms against the propagation of potential threats. We demonstrate our proposed algorithm on an IoT application in the farming domain to see how the algorithm helps with optimizing the applied security mechanisms. In addition, we used THREATGET to analyze cyber risks and validate the optimized security attributes against the propagation of cyber threats.
The history of the European cooperation on health technology assessment (HTA) has reached an important milestone with the adoption of the European HTA Regulation (HTA R) 2021/2282 in Dec 2021 (1). Its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union means a lot to those of us who wish to give HTA a stronger role in supporting health policy in favor of sustainable healthcare systems in Europe. The HTA R was prepared well by the European Commission with an impact assessment on policy options for enhanced EU cooperation on HTA (2) in 2017, followed by 3 years of negotiations with Member States. Now the ratified document stipulates that the European Cooperation on HTA will be based on a legal mandate and no longer stay a voluntary project-based initiative. It also means sustainability, since a permanent Secretariat at the European Commission will be set-up under the HTA R.
The aim of the bi-objective multimodal car-sharing problem (BiO-MMCP) is to determine the optimal mode of transport assignment for trips and to schedule the routes of available cars and users whilst minimizing cost and maximizing user satisfaction. We investigate the BiO-MMCP from a user-centred point of view. As user satisfaction is a crucial aspect in shared mobility systems, we consider user preferences in a second objective. Users may choose and rank their preferred modes of transport for different times of the day. In this way, we account for, e.g., different traffic conditions throughout the planning horizon. We study different variants of the problem. In the base problem, the sequence of tasks a user has to fulfil is fixed in advance and travel times as well as preferences are constant over the planning horizon. In variant 2, time-dependent travel times and preferences are introduced. In variant 3, we examine the challenges when allowing additional routing decisions. Variant 4 integrates variants 2 and 3. For this last variant, we develop a branch-and-cut algorithm which is embedded in two bi-objective frameworks, namely the $$\epsilon$$ ϵ -constraint method and a weighting binary search method. Computational experiments show that the branch-and cut algorithm outperforms the MIP formulation and we discuss changing solutions along the Pareto frontier.
Pathogens are a major threat of plant-based production. Expanding restrictions for the use of classical pesticides is increasing the need of alternative applications to control plant diseases. Nanoparticles have recently received increasing research interest as a potential means to protect plants from adverse conditions including pathogen attack. To assess the beneficial potential of silver nanoparticles to protect plants against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, of which numerous economically relevant pathovars are known, we evaluated the effect of silver nanoparticle pre-treatment in the model pathosystem Arabidopsis thaliana–P. syringae. For this purpose, A. thaliana leaves were treated with different silver nanoparticle concentrations prior to P. syringae infection and visible alterations of the leaf tissue in relation to the individual and combined treatments were scored. While treatment with silver nanoparticles in the concentration range between 0.5 and 10 ppm suppressed P. syringae symptom development, concentrations above 5 ppm caused necroses and chloroses in a dose-dependent manner. This indicates that silver nanoparticles affect plant physiological processes related to cell and tissue integrity that are also associated with the development of infection symptoms caused by P. syringae. Therefore, silver nanoparticle treatments in a suitable concentration range support the maintenance of tissue integrity during pathogen infection in combination with their antimicrobial activity, thus preventing loss of biomass. This makes silver nanoparticles a promising tool for integrative crop protection strategies in commercial production.
Formal methods and tools have become well established and widely applied to ensure the correctness of fundamental components of industrial critical systems in domains like railways, avionics and automotive. In this Introduction to the special issue, we outline a number of recent achievements concerning the use of formal methods and tools for the specification and verification of critical systems from a variety of industrial domains. These achievements are represented by eight properly revised and extended versions of papers that were selected from the 24th and 25th International Conference on Formal Methods for Industrial Critical Systems (FMICS 2019 and FMICS 2020).
The effect of different branching types of glycosylation on the structure and dynamics of the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and an engineered split horseradish peroxidase (sHRP) was studied using all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Although tertiary structures of both proteins are stable in the presence, as well as in the absence of glycans, differences in the dynamical properties regarding the presence of glycans were noticed. Fluctuations in the protein structure along both proteins are decreased when glycosylation is introduced. We identified two main regions that are affected the most. The peripheral region is impacted directly by glycans and the central region within the active site with a propagated effect of glycans. Since the mentioned central region in the glycoprotein is not surrounded by glycans and is close to the heme, it is easily approachable to the solvent and substrate. An influence of the glycan presence on the electrostatic potential of the protein and on the heme cofactor was also observed. Altogether, this work presents a global and local analysis of the glycosylation influence on HRP protein’s structural and dynamical properties at a molecular level.
Effective provision of cybersecurity requires practitioners to work collaboratively to solve practical real-world problems. However, the extent to which these skills are supported by current higher education programmes is potentially limited. This paper presents an investigation into the needs of related learners and the educators who support them, examining the provisions within current cybersecurity education at degree level, and the extent to which they go beyond traditional knowledge transmission approaches. The findings illustrate a broad appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of cybersecurity and recognition of the value of using collaborative learning approaches. At the same time, however, these aspects are not represented strongly enough within the current provision.
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698 members
• Center for Health & Bioresources
• Center for Innovation Systems & Policy
• Center for Technology Experience
• Center for Health & Bioresources
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