Spanish National Research Council
Recent publications
The increase in the world population, together with the new trends toward the plant consumption, as well as the concern for the environment and the revolution in the food industry, has made hemp one of the most promising substrates to be used as an ingredient in the upcoming years. Nutritionally, it is very suitable for human consumption, both in macro and micronutrients, and at an environmental level it is a very interesting alternative due to the low impact it has. Currently, very little literature is available on hemp protein, when compared to other commonly used substrates. In this review, we aimed to summarized its definition, origin, nutritional profile, safety issues, technological modification by processing, bioactive peptides derived from it, impact of its inclusion in matrices and market situation among other topics. It is important to mention how the information available on hemp increases every year, and there are already products on the market that include it in their composition, giving relevance to this substrate with much to be exploited today. Not only hemp protein is suitable for human consumption, but also its production is environmentally sustainable, and further research has to be carried out in the near future.
Whole milk products are of particular nutritional interest, although current dietary recommendations have focused on reducing saturated fat consumption as a means of improving the overall health of the population. However, this chapter provides new scientific evidence on the potential benefits of dairy fat consumption. The high presence of short-chain fatty acids and thus medium-chain triacylglycerols, which are not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or obesity, along with a large diversity of bioactive lipid components, such as the presence of conjugated linoleic acid, together with milk fat globule membrane components, and fat-soluble vitamins, suggest that these nutritional recommendations need to be reappraised.
Grapevine cultivation is of historic importance arround the Mediterranean basin. The Spanish Levant is an area of notable grapevine diversity, where ancient varieties destined for producing wine, table grapes and raisins can still be found. For some of these neglected varieties, however, no complete description has ever been made; current legislation does not, therefore, allow their commercial use. The botanical characterization of old varieties is an important step toward their identification and can also help to clarify syno-nymies and homonymies, problems very commonly encountered with this crop. The present work provides ampelographic descriptions of seven genotypes for which microsatellite marker profiles were already available, and discusses the possible origins of their names, as well as instances of syno-nymy and homonymy. Seven accessions of ancient grapevine genotypes from the Spanish Levant were subjected to in situ ampelographic analysis following official methods. The characteristics of their leaves, bunches and berries were recorded. The ampelographic descriptions made in the present work provide insight into the history of cultivation of the examined genotypes and would pave the way for their inclusion in the Spanish national catalog, which would allow their commercial use. The information gathered on the possible origin of these genotypes' names, and instances of synonymy and homonymy, enriches our knowledge of this recovered germplasm. The present results contribute toward our understanding of Europe's grapevine genetic diversity, and highlight the need to conserve it.
Context: Vascular dysfunction is considered a hallmark of ageing that has been associated with altered vasomotor responses, in which nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species participate. The consumption of Spirulina extracts, with antioxidant properties, increased recently. Objective: This study investigates the effect of Spirulina aqueous extract (SAE) on the vascular function of the aorta from aged rats. Materials and methods: Aortic segments from aged male Sprague-Dawley rats (20-22 months old) were exposed to SAE (0.1% w/v, for 3 h) to analyse: (i) the vasodilator response induced by acetylcholine (ACh), by the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP), by the carbon monoxide releasing molecule (CORM) and by the KATP channel opener, cromakalim (CK); (ii) the vasoconstrictor response induced by KCl and noradrenaline (NA); (iii) the production of NO and superoxide anion, and (iv) the expression of the p-eNOS and HO-1 proteins. Results: Incubation with SAE increased the expression of p-eNOS (1.6-fold) and HO-1 (2.0-fold), enhanced NO release (1.4-fold in basal and 1.9-fold in ACh-stimulated conditions) while decreased the production of superoxide (0.7-fold). SAE also increased the sensitivity (measured as pEC50) to ACh (control: -7.06 ± 0.11; SAE: -8.16 ± 0.21), SNP (control: -7.96 ± 0.16; SAE: -9.11 ± 0.14) and CK (control: -7.05 ± 0.39; SAE: -8.29 ± 0.53), and potentiated the response to KCl (1.3-fold) and to NA (1.7-fold). Conclusion: The antioxidant properties of SAE improved the vasomotor responses of aorta from aged rats. These results may support the use of Spirulina as a protection against vascular dysfunction.
Down syndrome (DS) is caused by human chromosome 21 (HSA21) trisomy. It is characterized by a poorly understood intellectual disability (ID). We studied two mouse models of DS, one with an extra copy of the Dyrk1A gene (189N3) and the other with an extra copy of the mouse Chr16 syntenic region (Dp(16)1Yey). RNA-seq analysis of the transcripts deregulated in the embryonic hippocampus revealed an enrichment in genes associated with chromatin for the 189N3 model, and synapses for the Dp(16)1Yey model. A large-scale yeast two-hybrid screen (82 different screens, including 72 HSA21 baits and 10 rebounds) of a human brain library containing at least 10 ⁷ independent fragments identified 1,949 novel protein–protein interactions. The direct interactors of HSA21 baits and rebounds were significantly enriched in ID-related genes ( P -value < 2.29 × 10 ⁻⁸ ). Proximity ligation assays showed that some of the proteins encoded by HSA21 were located at the dendritic spine postsynaptic density, in a protein network at the dendritic spine postsynapse. We located HSA21 DYRK1A and DSCAM, mutations of which increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 20-fold, in this postsynaptic network. We found that an intracellular domain of DSCAM bound either DLGs, which are multimeric scaffolds comprising receptors, ion channels and associated signaling proteins, or DYRK1A. The DYRK1A-DSCAM interaction domain is conserved in Drosophila and humans. The postsynaptic network was found to be enriched in proteins associated with ARC-related synaptic plasticity, ASD, and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. These results highlight links between DS and brain diseases with a complex genetic basis.
Modeling infiltration in water-repellent soils is difficult, as the underlying processes remain poorly quantified. However, recent work has adapted the Beerkan Soil Transfer Parameter (BEST) algorithm to include an exponential correction term for characterizing these types of soils. The original BEST-WR (WR = Water Repellent) method used a two-term approximate expansion of the Haverkamp quasi-exact implicit model. However, the BEST-WR method can have considerable inaccuracy, particularly as the time of infiltration and the soil water repellency increase. Here, we extended the BEST-WR model by adapting a three-term approximation of the Haverkamp quasi-exact implicit model to water-repellent soils. We then tested the new method using analytical data. For highly water-repellent soils, the proposed method had better performance when estimating soil sorp-tivity (S) and soil saturated conductivity (K s), with respective errors of less than 1.5 % and 8 %, compared to relative errors of more than 10 % and 30 % with the two-term BEST-WR method. We also tested both approaches with experimental data. The two methods provided similar estimates for hydraulic parameters, with linear correlations between methods of R 2 = 0.84 for S and R 2 = 0.88 for K s. Initial infiltration was not well modeled by either the two-term or three-term model for 33 tests, thus revealing limitations in the applied exponential model that we used to account for soil repellency. Nonetheless, the proposed three-term expression provided better fits than the two-term model for most of the infiltration runs, meaning that this new approach is more robust when modeling infiltration processes in water-repellent soils.
Impressive Imidacloprid (IMD) degradation and bacterial inactivation were attained through the photocatalytic activation of peroxymonosulfate (PMS) via a novel, N-doped MgO@Fe3O4, under visible light. After complete characterization (XPS, XRD, FT-IR, FE-SEM, EDX, HRTEM, DRS, BET, VSM, and EIS), using [PMS]=75 mg/L, [N-MgO@Fe3O4]=150 mg/L at pH=5.6, around 95% of 10 mg/L IMD was degraded within 60 min; highly synergic interactions between the various catalytic routes were revealed. Extensive scavenger tests and EPR studies revealed that SO4•-, HO•, and ¹O2 are generated and play a key role in IMD degradation. Tap water experiments proceeded unhindered, and only the presence of high HCO3⁻ and PO4³⁻ concentration resulted in a decrease in the IMD degradation efficiency, while negligible leaching, magnetization, notable separation, and reusability properties were well-preserved for six repetitive cycles. Finally, E. coli disinfection was achieved before IMD degradation, possibly affected by its transformation byproducts. The overall efficacy of N-MgO@Fe3O4 indicated the potential for implementation in contaminated waters.
Fire has been an ecosystem process since plants colonized land over 400 million years ago. Many diverse traits provide a fitness benefit following fires, and these adaptive traits vary with the fire regime. Some of these traits enhance fire survival, while others promote recruitment in the postfire environment. Demonstrating that these traits are fire adaptations is challenging, since many arose early in the paleontological record, although increasingly better fossil records and phylogenetic analysis make timing of these trait origins to fire more certain. Resprouting from the base of stems is the most widely distributed fire-adaptive trait, and it is likely to have evolved under a diversity of disturbance types. The origins of other traits like serotiny, thick bark, fire-stimulated germination, and postfire flowering are more tightly linked to fire. Fire-adaptive traits occur in many environments: boreal and temperate forests, Mediterranean-type climate (MTC) shrublands, savannas, and other grasslands. MTC ecosystems are distinct in that many taxa in different regions have lost the resprouting ability and depend solely on postfire recruitment for postfire recovery. This obligate seeding mode is perhaps the most vulnerable fire-adaptive syndrome in the face of current global change, particularly in light of increasing anthropogenic fire frequency. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Volume 53 is November 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) is a non-destructive technique to determine the soil apparent dielectric constant, ε a , the volumetric water content, θ, and bulk electrical conductivity, σ. However, the high cost of TDR devices may limit its use. This study evaluates two different low-cost Vector Network Analyzers (VNA) commercially available (NanoVNA), with 1.5 (VNA1.5) and 3.0 (VNA3.0) GHz maximum operating frequency. NanoVNA can be used for measurements of Frequency Domain Reflectometry (FDR) or, after suitable post-processing, for θ and σ TDR measures. Although FDR and TDR are dual procedures, TDR is easier to interpret for soil experiments. The TDR waveforms and ε a measured with NanoVNA connected to 10 and 20 cm length three-rod probes immersed in air, distilled water, and a soil column with different θ were compared to those measured using a TDR100 (Campbell Sci.) instrument. The capacity of VNAs to measure σ was evaluated by immersing a 10 cm length three-rod probe in different NaCl-water solutions. Measurements obtained with the VNA and TDR100 were compared in a field test using two-rod 22 cm length TDR probes inserted in soil plots with increasing water content. A robust fit was observed between TDR waveforms registered with the two VNAs and the TDR100. Although VNA3.0 doubles the frequency range of VNA1.5, both devices allowed for good estimates of ε a (ε aVNA1.5, 3.0 = 1.001 ε aTDR100-0.2125; R 2 = 0.999). These results indicate that the low-cost VNA devices can measure soil water content with similar accuracy and precision as the TDR100. A good agreement (σ VNA1.5, 3.0 = 0.999 σ CM + 0.0023; R 2 = 0.999) was also observed between the σ measured using a conductivity meter (CM) and that estimated with the VNAs. Finally, a good correlation was also observed between θ measured in the field experiment with TDR100 and the VNA1.5 and VNA3.0 devices.
Current water scarcity scenario has led to the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices intended to improve water use efficiency. The present work evaluates during three agricultural campaigns (2018–2020) the response of a young almond orchard to two management practices in terms by combining remote sensing indexes (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, NDVI; and Soil Adjusted Vegetation Indexes, SAVI) and physiological/morphological measurement (stem water potential, Ψstem; trunk perimeter and canopy diameter). The management practices included (i) sustained deficit irrigation and (ii) soil management. Severe deficit irrigation resulted in lower vegetation indexes (VI) values, Ψstem and tree dimensions (13 %, 23 % and 14 % lower, respectively) than those obtained for full irrigation strategy; whereas moderate deficit irrigation did not affect any of the parameters analysed. The presence of vegetation cover in the inter-row resulted in a VIs increase (19–42 %) and in lower tree dimensions (reductions of 7–8 % for trunk perimeter and 0.34–0.37 m for canopy diameter) when compared to bare soil treatment, but did not have any influence on Ψstem. The present study proves the suitability of remote sensing and physiological measurements for assessing almond response to the different management practices.
Widespread use of plastics poses a serious environmental hazard to our planet and should be substituted by eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives, simultaneously reducing waste of perishable food products and the risk of transmission of pathogenic microbes. In our study, we describe how the water solubility of the antimicrobial surfactant ethyl lauroyl arginate (LAE) can be reduced through complexation with a Keggin-type polyoxometalate (POM), K8[SiW11O39]. The POM-LAE complex, LAE7K[SiW11O39], was effective against Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) with minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 32 and 64 μg/mL, respectively, with the important finding that the concentrations of LAE required to inhibit bacterial growth were as much as two times lower in the POM-LAE complex, compared with LAE on its own. In addition, our results demonstrate that POM-LAE is both an effective inhibitor of biofilm formation and is also able to destroy pre-formed biofilms of L. monocytogenes and E. coli at MIC concentrations. Further, POM-LAE was incorporated into carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) films that were able to reduce 7–8 log (CFU/mL) of L. monocytogenes at concentrations of 5–10% POM-LAE. In vivo assays of the POM-LAE-CMC films with cured ham prevented initialk bacterial growth with a 0.77 log significative reduction in bacterial counts. Overall, this work provides new alternatives for the development of antimicrobial biodegradable films for ready-to-eat (RTE) foods prone to contamination with pathogenic bacteria, such as L. monocytogenes, while also circumventing practical issues related to the incorporation of LAE into active packaging films.
An increase in market concentration (MC), which refers to a large share of few and large firms in a given sector, is a main concern for governments all over the world since it is believed to affect competition levels and, thus, lead to inefficiencies. It has also captured the attention of researchers in the past. A trend towards MC has been observed in many sectors, as they progress through different stages (i.e., what we call “consolidation effect”). This can also be the case in the renewable energy (RE) sectors. On the other hand, the features of RE policy may also influence the entry and exit of firms in RE sectors and, thus, MC, as they affect the revenues, costs and risks of its players (i.e., what we call the “policy effect”). However, despite its academic and policy relevance, the literature on MC in the RE sectors is very tiny and the few analyses have been undertaken without a systematic and comprehensive analytical framework. The aim of this paper is to provide an analytical framework to assess the impact of deployment support on market concentration in the RE sectors. This framework is based on several approaches, i.e. industrial organisation, industry life cycle theory and the literature on renewable energy support. It considers the aforementioned two effects on market concentration in the project ownership stage of the value chain. The empirical analysis illustrates the viability of this framework with a case study of wind energy in Spain, and suggests that it can be applied to other countries and RE sectors. Using primary and secondary data sources, the paper shows that there has been an increase in market concentration, although this has not been monotonic, suggesting the influence of the aforementioned two main effects.
We construct deterministic solutions to the Helmholtz equation in Rm which behave accordingly to the Random Wave Model. We then find the number of their nodal domains, their nodal volume and the topologies and nesting trees of their nodal set in growing balls around the origin. The proof of the pseudo-random behaviour of the functions under consideration hinges on a de-randomisation technique pioneered by Bourgain and proceeds via computing their Lp-norms. The study of their nodal set relies on its stability properties and on the evaluation of their doubling index, in an average sense.
The circadian clock generates rhythms in biological processes including plant development and metabolism. Light synchronizes the circadian clock with the day and night cycle and also triggers developmental transitions such as germination, or flowering. The circadian and light signaling pathways are closely interconnected and understanding their mechanisms of action and regulation requires the integration of both pathways in their complexity. Here, we provide a glimpse into how chromatin remodeling lies at the interface of the circadian and light signaling regulation. We focus on histone acetylation/deacetylation and the generation of permissive or repressive states for transcription. Several chromatin remodelers intervene in both pathways, suggesting that interaction with specific transcription factors might specify the proper timing or light-dependent responses. Deciphering the repertoire of chromatin remodelers and their interacting transcription factors will provide a view on the circadian and light-dependent epigenetic landscape amenable for mechanistic studies and timely regulation of transcription in plants.
The standard problem for the classical heat equation posed in a bounded domain Ω of Rn is the initial and boundary value problem. If the Laplace operator is replaced by a version of the fractional Laplacian, the initial and boundary value problem can still be solved on the condition that the non-zero boundary data must be singular, i.e., the solution u(t, x) blows up as x approaches ∂Ω in a definite way. In this paper we construct a theory of existence and uniqueness of solutions of the parabolic problem with singular data taken in a very precise sense, and also admitting initial data and a forcing term. When the boundary data are zero we recover the standard fractional heat semigroup. A general class of integro-differential operators may replace the classical fractional Laplacian operators, thus enlarging the scope of the work. As further results on the spectral theory of the fractional heat semigroup, we show that a one-sided Weyl-type law holds in the general class, which was previously known for the restricted and spectral fractional Laplacians, but is new for the censored (or regional) fractional Laplacian. This yields bounds on the fractional heat kernel.
The intensification of agricultural systems has caused a noticeable impact on agro-ecosystem services. Thus, the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices such as crop diversification and reduction of external inputs represent an alternative strategy to minimize the impacts of intensive agricultural systems to the environment. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of crop rotation, conservation tillage, and low-input strategies on soil quality and farming performance using a set of 7 indicators based on a fuzzy logic approach. Data were collected from three Mediterranean long-term field experiments (LTEs) mostly oriented on cereal-based and vegetables cropping systems, located in Spain and Italy. The selected agro-environmental indicators clearly discriminated both from a geographical point of view and between monoculture and diversification, showing their suitability for the evaluation of diversified cropping systems. Such indicators highlighted that implementing crop diversification and reducing soil disturbance and chemical inputs enhanced soil quality. In this context, the most significant effects of diversified cropping strategies were the increase of crucial variables such as soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (Pav), and bulk density (BD) maintaining a stability of yields in all the three LTEs. These results provide strong evidence for the benefits of crop diversification in Mediterranean areas, highlighting that diversification represents a very promising strategy for more sustainable land management. Simple and composite indicators calculated using fuzzy method can be proposed as tool to assess the effects of diversification strategies on cropping systems performance. This approach can be used to define local solutions to help the re-design of cropping system through crop diversification transition across Europe.
This study investigates the risk plastic debris ingestion poses to coastal marine taxa in the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean Sea. Here, we use species observations and environmental data to model habitat maps for 42 species of fish. For each species, we then match estimates of habitat suitability against the spatial distribution of plastic debris to quantify plastic exposure, which we further combine with species-wise ingestion rates to map the risk of plastic ingestion. The results indicate that the risk of plastic ingestion is particularly high in the north-west and south-east regions and the risks varied strongly between species, with those at higher trophic levels being the most vulnerable overall. Extending this work to other coastal regions within the Mediterranean Sea and beyond will allow managers and policymakers to target the most appropriate areas and types of interventions for mitigating plastic pollution on coastal diversity in the marine environment.
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Jose Luis Chiara
  • Instituto de Química Orgánica General
Guillem Alenyà
  • Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial
Serrano 117, 28006, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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Presidente CSIC
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