In view of increasing global population, expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 and of the deriving shortage of natural resources, there is an urgent need to improve food production. Until a few years ago breeding has been limited to a low number of vegetal species, and agronomic technology has been directed mainly to achieve higher production yield and excellent postharvest quality. Nowadays, the increasing awareness of the necessity of a shift to sustainable productions is focusing the attention of researchers to other features (e.g., novel plant sources, drought tolerance, nutrient use efficiency, durable pest and disease resistance, environmental outcomes), all factors now recognized as greatly affecting the biodiversity and the sustainability of food productions. The goal of global food security will be achieved only by improving the qualitative and quantitative traits of crops through exploitation of metabolic pathways involving advanced analytical tools and technologies. This book comprehensively reviews the application of various aspects of rapidly growing omics technologies - including genomics, epigenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics for crop development.
Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is gaining increasing attention in Italy and worldwide due to structural obsolescence and sudden collapses occurring from time to time due to insufficient maintenance or extreme events. On the other hand, the technological progress in the SHM field is making it particularly attractive as a complement to visual inspections and in-situ surveys aimed at assessing the structural safety. Accordingly, several guidelines have been developed with the aim to provide useful recommendations to technician for the design of SHM systems. Nevertheless, because of very case-specific design, so far, a general qualification procedure aimed at assessing the performance of a SHM system is still missing. On the contrary, construction products already share a thorough and well-established harmonized standardization framework since many years, and this resulted in a reliable control of performance. In this study, a preliminary qualification approach for SHM systems is proposed. The qualification scheme is scenario dependent and allows to check the effectiveness of a given SHM system defined in terms of hardware as well as software components. In order to validate the approach, different SHM systems are hypothesized and checked for possible qualification with respect to different scenarios, obtaining encouraging results. The proposed approach, therefore, represents a promising attempt towards a more exhaustive and comprehensive qualification framework for civil SHM applications.
The management process and safety evaluation of existing buildings, which have often overcome their service life, can be properly supported by non-invasive structural monitoring techniques, among which multi-temporal Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (MT-DInSAR) techniques can be included. The paper follows previous works of some of the authors on this topic, giving an insight on the proper use, processing and interpretation of satellite radar interferometry data for the structural analysis, through an application to the “Vittorino da Feltre” school building located in the city centre of Rome (Italy), within the framework of a retrofitting project. After performing a correct positioning of the reflecting targets on the 3D geometry of the structure under investigation, displacement time series, mean deformation velocity values and continuous maps of the vertical and East-West velocity components are presented, by exploiting the COSMO-SkyMed SAR data collected during the 2011–2019 time interval. Finally, a comparison of the obtained results with the on-site detected cracking pattern can be useful to better understand the ongoing phenomena, for a proper damage assessment.
The rice growing district in northwestern Italy, where paddies were traditionally flooded throughout spring, was interested by a general decrease of standing water presence caused by the adoption of dry seeding crop practices, with consequences for water management and for the ecology of breeding waterbirds. This communication analyses changes in flooding dynamics in the last four years, estimating them from MODIS data and comparing results with previous knowledge of the same study area. Results highlighted an intensification of the phenomenon in the north-western regions (–3.3 ± 0.6% per year in the period 2013–2021) and the almost complete loss of flooded surfaces east to the Ticino river (reaching in 2021 5% of the flooded extension estimated in 2000). Such findings highlight the importance of monitoring this phenomenon – considered by other authors as the biggest anthropogenic change in surface water of all Europe since 2000 – in near real time from remotely sensed data to monitor dynamics and support sustainable management of water usage at the district level.
Electron-hole asymmetry is a fundamental property in solids that can determine the nature of quantum phase transitions and the regime of operation for devices. The observation of electron-hole asymmetry in graphene and recently in twisted graphene and moiré heterostructures has spurred interest into whether it stems from single-particle effects or from correlations, which are core to the emergence of intriguing phases in moiré systems. Here, we report an effective way to access electron-hole asymmetry in 2D materials by directly measuring the quasiparticle self-energy in graphene/Boron Nitride field-effect devices. As the chemical potential moves from the hole to the electron-doped side, we see an increased strength of electronic correlations manifested by an increase in the band velocity and inverse quasiparticle lifetime. These results suggest that electronic correlations intrinsically drive the electron-hole asymmetry in graphene and by leveraging this asymmetry can provide alternative avenues to generate exotic phases in twisted moiré heterostructures.
Background Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) and Pseudohypoparathyroidism type 1B (PHP1B) are imprinting disorders (ID) caused by deregulation of the imprinted gene clusters located at 11p15.5 and 20q13.32, respectively. In both of these diseases a subset of the patients is affected by multi-locus imprinting disturbances (MLID). In several families, MLID is associated with damaging variants of maternal-effect genes encoding protein components of the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC). However, frequency, penetrance and recurrence risks of these variants are still undefined. In this study, we screened two cohorts of BWS patients and one cohort of PHP1B patients for the presence of MLID, and analysed the positive cases for the presence of maternal variants in the SCMC genes by whole exome-sequencing and in silico functional studies. Results We identified 10 new cases of MLID associated with the clinical features of either BWS or PHP1B, in which segregate 13 maternal putatively damaging missense variants of the SCMC genes. The affected genes also included KHDC3L that has not been associated with MLID to date. Moreover, we highlight the possible relevance of relatively common variants in the aetiology of MLID. Conclusion Our data further add to the list of the SCMC components and maternal variants that are involved in MLID, as well as of the associated clinical phenotypes. Also, we propose that in addition to rare variants, common variants may play a role in the aetiology of MLID and imprinting disorders by exerting an additive effect in combination with rarer putatively damaging variants. These findings provide useful information for the molecular diagnosis and recurrence risk evaluation of MLID-associated IDs in genetic counselling.
The structural stability of nanoalloys is a challenging research subject due to the complexity of size, shape, composition, and chemical ordering. The genetic algorithm is a popular global optimization method that can efficiently search for the ground-state nanoalloy structure. However, the algorithm suffers from three significant limitations: the efficiency and accuracy of the energy evaluator and the algorithm’s efficiency. Here we describe the construction of a neural network potential intended for rapid and accurate energy predictions of Pt-Ni nanoalloys of various sizes, shapes, and compositions. We further introduce a symmetry-constrained genetic algorithm that significantly improves the efficiency and viability of the algorithm for realistic size nanoalloys. The combination of the two allows us to explore the space of homotops and compositions of Pt-Ni nanoalloys consisting of up to 4033 atoms and quantitatively report the interplay of shape, size, and composition on the dominant chemical ordering patterns.
We report on a room temperature Kerr-lens mode-locked chromium-doped zinc selenide (Cr:ZnSe) laser emitting four optical-cycles pulses in the mid-infrared spectral region in which the laser polycrystal has been treated by hot isostatic pressing (HIP). The laser emits 34 fs pulses at 2.4 μm, with a repetition rate of 171 MHz and average output power capabilities of up to 150 mW. This is the first mode-locking investigation conducted using the HIP treated material and to our knowledge, is the shortest pulse width demonstrated, to date, from polycrystalline Cr:ZnSe. The experimental comparison with respect to an untreated polycrystal indicates that HIP treatment is advantageous for mode-locking action of this active material.
In the mathematical modeling framework, the adoption of multiscale approaches provides a better alternative to the well-known individual-based and continuum ones. From a mathematical point of view, the emerging class of systems is characterized by the coupling of ordinary and partial differential equations. Generalizing the hybrid structure of models of the literature, we prove the existence of a weak solution for the case in which discontinuous functions model the source term of the parabolic equation, and we provide also some regularity properties.
This paper presents a method for Photo Response Non Uniformity (PRNU) pattern noise based camera identification. It takes advantage of the coherence between different PRNU estimations restricted to specific image regions. The main idea is based on the following observations: different methods can be used for estimating PRNU contribution in a given image; the estimation has not the same accuracy in the whole image as a more faithful estimation is expected from flat regions. Hence, two different estimations of the reference PRNU have been considered in the classification procedure, and the coherence of the similarity metric between them, when evaluated in three different image regions, is used as classification feature. More coherence is expected in case of matching, i.e. the image has been acquired by the analysed device, than in the opposite case, where similarity metric is almost noisy and then unpredictable. Presented results show that the proposed approach provides comparable and often better classification results of some state of the art methods, showing to be robust to lack of flat field (FF) images availability, devices of the same brand or model, uploading/downloading from social networks.
Observations of the vertical structure of the turbulent flow in different stability regimes above and within the Amazon Forest at the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) site have been presented in Part I. Here, the influence of stability on the inception and development of coherent structures is investigated. According to the mixing-layer analogy the coherent vortices that dominate the turbulent flows at the canopy-atmosphere interface are generated by hydrodynamical instabilities triggered by an inflection in the vertical profile of the mean wind speed at or near the canopy top. The coherent motions time, Tpeak and separation length scale, Λ, depend on the shear length scale, Ls, close to the canopy top. The present analysis studies the characteristics of Ls, Tpeak and Λ in the five stability regimes defined in Part I. The behaviour of Ls with stability is evaluated and parameterized. Ls increases with decreasing stability, presenting two asymptotes for large unstable and stable stratification and a linear behaviour close to neutral stratification. Coherent structures and their timescale are detected with an original method based on the autocorrelation functions of 5-min subsets of turbulent quantities. The vertical time scale is larger in neutral conditions and decreases for both increasing and decreasing stability. At the canopy top the separation length scale presents a linear dependence on Ls, whose slope is maximum in neutral conditions and decreases departing from neutrality. An original parameterization of the dependence of this slope on h/L, where h is the canopy height and L is the Obukhov length, is shown. Combining the parameterizations, the dependence of the separation length scale is finally presented. Λ has a maximum for slightly unstable conditions, linearly decreases towards neutral and weakly stable stratifications and then it tends to zero for very intense unstable and stable stratifications.
The accuracy and effectiveness of Hermite spectral methods for the numerical discretization of partial differential equations on unbounded domains are strongly affected by the amplitude of the Gaussian weight function employed to describe the approximation space. This is particularly true if the problem is under-resolved, i.e., there are no enough degrees of freedom. The issue becomes even more crucial when the equation under study is time-dependent, forcing in this way the choice of Hermite functions where the corresponding weight depends on time. In order to adapt dynamically the approximation space, it is here proposed an automatic decision-making process that relies on machine learning techniques, such as deep neural networks and support vector machines. The algorithm is numerically tested with success on a simple 1D problem, but the main goal is its exportability in the context of more serious applications. As a matter of fact we also show at the end an application in the framework of plasma physics.
Objective The immune response arises from a fine balance of mechanisms that provide for surveillance, tolerance, and elimination of dangers. Sulfavant A (SULF A) is a sulfolipid with a promising adjuvant activity. Here we studied the mechanism of action of SULF A and addressed the identification of its molecular target in human dendritic cells (hDCs). Methods Adjuvant effect and immunological response to SULF A were assessed on DCs derived from human donors. In addition to testing various reporter cells, target identification and downstream signalling was supported by a reverse pharmacology approach based on antibody blocking and gene silencing, crosstalk with TLR pathways, use of human allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction. Results SULF A binds to the Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells-2 (TREM2) and initiates an unconventional maturation of hDCs leading to enhanced migration activity and up-regulation of MHC and co-stimulatory molecules without release of conventional cytokines. This response involves the SYK-NFAT axis and is compromised by blockade or gene silencing of TREM2. Activation by SULF A preserved the DC functions to excite the allogeneic T cell response, and increased interleukin-10 release after lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Conclusion SULF A is the first synthetic small molecule that binds to TREM2. The receptor engagement drives differentiation of an unprecedented DC phenotype (homeDCs) that contributes to immune homeostasis without compromising lymphocyte activation and immunogenic response. This mechanism fully supports the adjuvant and immunoregulatory activity of SULF A. We also propose that the biological properties of SULF A can be of interest in various physiopathological mechanisms and therapies involving TREM2.
Wearable systems, or even more simply wearables, are a wide variety of body worn objects and accessories that in the last decade have been introduced in our availability. The aim of this paper is to propose a structured methodology to conduct usability analysis with wearables and describe it through its application on a wearable system for water rehabilitation. AQTIVO is a new corset co-design with users (patients and caregivers) and to validate its usability we carried out a test with 30 subjects and 10 caregivers in 2 water rehabilitation sites. The AQTIVO usability was very satisfactory. Young users. Indeed, it allowed new rehabilitation exercises (flotation, prone transfer). In adults, AQTIVO system improved the buoyancy task provided more support in dynamic tasks. Support from the caregiver was also reduced by using the brace in all subjects. Also the aesthetics was positively evaluated.
Focused ion beam induced deposition (FIBID) is a direct‐write technique enabling the growth of individual nanostructures of any shape and dimension with high lateral resolution. Moreover, the fast and reliable writing of periodically arranged nanostructures can be used to fabricate devices for the investigation of collective phenomena and to design novel functional metamaterials. Here, FIBID is employed to prepare dc‐Josephson junction arrays (dc‐JJA) consisting of superconducting NbC dots coupled through the proximity effect via a granular metal layer. The fabrication is straightforward and allows the preparation of dc‐JJA within a few seconds. Microstructure and composition of the arrays are investigated by transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X‐ray spectroscopy. The superconductor‐to‐metal transition of the prepared dc‐JJA is studied in a direct way, by tuning the Josephson junction resistance in 70 nm‐spaced superconducting NbC dots. The observed magnetoresistance oscillations with a period determined by the flux quantum give evidence for the coherent charge transport by paired electrons. Moreover, the measured resistance minima correspond to two fundamental matching configurations of fluxons in the dc‐JJA, caused by magnetic frustration. The robust properties of the prepared dc‐JJA demonstrate the opportunities for a fast preparation of complex device configurations using direct‐write approaches.
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