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Noncoding RNAs and Their Potential Therapeutic Applications in Tissue Engineering
Shiying Li, Tianmei Qian, Xinghui Wang, Jie Liu, Xiaosong Gu
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 3-15.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.005
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1142KB)

Tissue engineering is a relatively new but rapidly developing field in the medical sciences. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional RNA molecules without a protein-coding function; they can regulate cellular behavior and change the biological milieu of the tissue. The application of ncRNAs in tissue engineering is starting to attract increasing attention as a means of resolving a large number of unmet healthcare needs, although ncRNA-based approaches have not yet entered clinical practice. In-depth research on the regulation and delivery of ncRNAs may improve their application in tissue engineering. The aim of this review is: to outline essential ncRNAs that are related to tissue engineering for the repair and regeneration of nerve, skin, liver, vascular system, and muscle tissue; to discuss their regulation and delivery; and to anticipate their potential therapeutic applications.

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Regenerative Engineering for Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment: Biomaterials and Cell-Based Technologies
Jorge L. Escobar Ivirico, Maumita Bhattacharjee, Emmanuel Kuyinu, Lakshmi S. Nair, Cato T. Laurencin
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 16-27.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.003
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1352KB)

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis worldwide. The incidence of this disease is rising and its treatment poses an economic burden. Two early targets of knee OA treatment include the predominant symptom of pain, and cartilage damage in the knee joint. Current treatments have been beneficial in treating the disease but none is as effective as total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, while TKA is an end-stage solution of the disease, it is an invasive and expensive procedure. Therefore, innovative regenerative engineering strategies should be established as these could defer or annul the need for a TKA. Several biomaterial and cell-based therapies are currently in development and have shown early promise in both preclinical and clinical studies. The use of advanced biomaterials and stem cells independently or in conjunction to treat knee OA could potentially reduce pain and regenerate focal articular cartilage damage. In this review, we discuss the pathogenesis of pain and cartilage damage in knee OA and explore novel treatment options currently being studied, along with some of their limitations.

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Recent Progress in Cartilage Tissue Engineering—Our Experience and Future Directions
Yu Liu, Guangdong Zhou, Yilin Cao
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 28-35.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.010
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2916KB)

Given the limited spontaneous repair that follows cartilage injury, demand is growing for tissue engineering approaches for cartilage regeneration. There are two major applications for tissue-engineered cartilage. One is in orthopedic surgery, in which the engineered cartilage is usually used to repair cartilage defects or loss in an articular joint or meniscus in order to restore the joint function. The other is for head and neck reconstruction, in which the engineered cartilage is usually applied to repair cartilage defects or loss in an auricle, trachea, nose, larynx, or eyelid. The challenges faced by the engineered cartilage for one application are quite different from those faced by the engineered cartilage for the other application. As a result, the emphases of the engineering strategies to generate cartilage are usually quite different for each application. The statuses of preclinical animal investigations and of the clinical translation of engineered cartilage are also at different levels for each application. The aim of this review is to provide an opinion piece on the challenges, current developments, and future directions for cartilage engineering for both applications.

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Biophysical Regulation of Cell Behavior—Cross Talk between Substrate Stiffness and Nanotopography
Yong Yang, Kai Wang, Xiaosong Gu, Kam W. Leong
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 36-54.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.014
Abstract   HTML   PDF (5075KB)

The stiffness and nanotopographical characteristics of the extracellular matrix (ECM) influence numerous developmental, physiological, and pathological processes in vivo. These biophysical cues have therefore been applied to modulate almost all aspects of cell behavior, from cell adhesion and spreading to proliferation and differentiation. Delineation of the biophysical modulation of cell behavior is critical to the rational design of new biomaterials, implants, and medical devices. The effects of stiffness and topographical cues on cell behavior have previously been reviewed, respectively; however, the interwoven effects of stiffness and nanotopographical cues on cell behavior have not been well described, despite similarities in phenotypic manifestations. Herein, we first review the effects of substrate stiffness and nanotopography on cell behavior, and then focus on intracellular transmission of the biophysical signals from integrins to nucleus. Attempts are made to connect extracellular regulation of cell behavior with the biophysical cues. We then discuss the challenges in dissecting the biophysical regulation of cell behavior and in translating the mechanistic understanding of these cues to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

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Tethering of Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser-Pro-Lys Peptides on Mg-Doped Hydroxyapatite
Alessandro Pistone, Daniela Iannazzo, Claudia Espro, Signorino Galvagno, Anna Tampieri, Monica Montesi, Silvia Panseri, Monica Sandri
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 55-59.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.007
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1209KB)

Stem cell homing, namely the recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to injured tissues, is highly effective for bone regeneration in vivo. In order to explore whether the incorporation of mimetic peptide sequences on magnesium-doped (Mg-doped) hydroxyapatite (HA) may regulate the homing of MSCs, and thus induce cell migration to a specific site, we covalently functionalized MgHA disks with two chemotactic/haptotactic factors: either the fibronectin fragment III1-C human (FF III1-C), or the peptide sequence Gly-Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser-Pro-Lys, a fibronectin analog that is able to bind to integrin transmembrane receptors. Preliminary biological evaluation of MSC viability, analyzed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test, suggested that stem cells migrate to the MgHA disks in response to the grafted haptotaxis stimuli.

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Engineering Solutions for Representative Models of the Gastrointestinal Human-Microbe Interface
Marc Mac Giolla Eain, Joanna Baginska, Kacy Greenhalgh, Joëlle V. Fritz, Frederic Zenhausern, Paul Wilmes
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 60-65.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.011
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1780KB)

Host-microbe interactions at the gastrointestinal interface have emerged as a key component in the governance of human health and disease. Advances in micro-physiological systems are providing researchers with unprecedented access and insights into this complex relationship. These systems combine the benefits of microengineering, microfluidics, and cell culture in a bid to recreate the environmental conditions prevalent in the human gut. Here we present the human-microbial cross talk (HuMiX) platform, one such system that leverages this multidisciplinary approach to provide a representative in vitro model of the human gastrointestinal interface. HuMiX presents a novel and robust means to study the molecular interactions at the host-microbe interface. We summarize our proof-of-concept results obtained using the platform and highlight its potential to greatly enhance our understanding of host-microbe interactions with a potential to greatly impact the pharmaceutical, food, nutrition, and healthcare industries in the future. A number of key questions and challenges facing these technologies are also discussed.

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Emerging Trends for Microbiome Analysis: From Single-Cell Functional Imaging to Microbiome Big Data
Jian Xu, Bo Ma, Xiaoquan Su, Shi Huang, Xin Xu, Xuedong Zhou, Wei Huang, Rob Knight
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 66-70.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.020
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Method development has always been and will continue to be a core driving force of microbiome science. In this perspective, we argue that in the next decade, method development in microbiome analysis will be driven by three key changes in both ways of thinking and technological platforms: ① a shift from dissecting microbiota structureby sequencing to tracking microbiota state, function, and intercellular interaction via imaging; ② a shift from interrogating a consortium or population of cells to probing individual cells; and ③ a shift from microbiome data analysis to microbiome data science. Some of the recent method-development efforts by Chinese microbiome scientists and their international collaborators that underlie these technological trends are highlighted here. It is our belief that the China Microbiome Initiative has the opportunity to deliver outstanding “Made-in-China” tools to the international research community, by building an ambitious, competitive, and collaborative program at the forefront of method development for microbiome science.

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The Human Microbiota in Health and Disease
Baohong Wang, Mingfei Yao, Longxian Lv, Zongxin Ling, Lanjuan Li
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 71-82.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.008
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Trillions of microbes have evolved with and continue to live on and within human beings. A variety of environmental factors can affect intestinal microbial imbalance, which has a close relationship with human health and disease. Here, we focus on the interactions between the human microbiota and the host in order to provide an overview of the microbial role in basic biological processes and in the development and progression of major human diseases such as infectious diseases, liver diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, metabolic diseases, respiratory diseases, mental or psychological diseases, and autoimmune diseases. We also review important advances in techniques associated with microbial research, such as DNA sequencing, metabonomics, and proteomics combined with computation-based bioinformatics. Current research on the human microbiota has become much more sophisticated and more comprehensive. Therefore, we propose that research should focus on the host-microbe interaction and on cause-effect mechanisms, which could pave the way to an understanding of the role of gut microbiota in health and disease. and provide new therapeutic targets and treatment approaches in clinical practice.

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Modulation of Gut Microbiota in Pathological States
Yulan Wang, Baohong Wang, Junfang Wu, Xiangyang Jiang, Huiru Tang, Ole H. Nielsen
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 83-89.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.013
Abstract   HTML   PDF (628KB)

The human microbiota is an aggregate of microorganisms residing in the human body, mostly in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Our gut microbiota evolves with us and plays a pivotal role in human health and disease. In recent years, the microbiota has gained increasing attention due to its impact on host metabolism, physiology, and immune system development, but also because the perturbation of the microbiota may result in a number of diseases. The gut microbiota may be linked to malignancies such as gastric cancer and colorectal cancer. It may also be linked to disorders such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); obesity and diabetes, which are characterized as “lifestyle diseases” of the industrialized world; coronary heart disease; and neurological disorders. Although the revolution in molecular technologies has provided us with the necessary tools to study the gut microbiota more accurately, we need to elucidate the relationships between the gut microbiota and several human pathologies more precisely, as understanding the impact that the microbiota plays in various diseases is fundamental for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Therefore, the aim of this review is to provide the reader with an updated overview of the importance of the gut microbiota for human health and the potential to manipulate gut microbial composition for purposes such as the treatment of antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections. The concept of altering the gut community by microbial intervention in an effort to improve health is currently in its infancy. However, the therapeutic implications appear to be very great. Thus, the removal of harmful organisms and the enrichment of beneficial microbes may protect our health, and such efforts will pave the way for the development of more rational treatment options in the future.

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The Composition of Colonic Commensal Bacteria According to Anatomical Localization in Colorectal Cancer
Liuyang Zhao, Xiang Zhang, Tao Zuo, Jun Yu
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 90-97.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.012
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1097KB)

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a multistage disease resulting from complex factors, including genetic mutations, epigenetic changes, chronic inflammation, diet, and lifestyle. Recent accumulating evidence suggests that the gut microbiota is a new and important player in the development of CRC. Imbalance of the gut microbiota, especially dysregulated gut bacteria, contributes to colon cancer through mechanisms of inflammation, host defense modulations, oxidative stress, and alterations in bacterial-derived metabolism. Gut commensal bacteria are anatomically defined as four populations: luminal commensal bacteria, mucus-resident bacteria, epithelium-resident bacteria, and lymphoid tissue-resident commental bacteria. The bacterial flora that are harbored in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract vary both longitudinally and cross-sectionally by different anatomical localization. It is notable that the translocation of colonic commensal bacteria is closely related to CRC progression. CRC-associated bacteria can serve as a non-invasive and accurate biomarker for CRC diagnosis. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the oncogenic roles of gut bacteria with different anatomical localization in CRC progression.

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From Farming to Engineering: The Microbiota and Allergic Diseases
Dominique Angèle Vuitton, Jean-Charles Dalphin
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 98-109.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.019
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The steady increase of IgE-dependent allergic diseases after the Second World War is a unique phenomenon in the history of humankind. Numerous cross-sectional studies, comprehensive longitudinal cohort studies of children living in various types of environment, and mechanistic experimental studies have pointed to the disappearance of “protective factors” related to major changes in lifestyle and environment. A common unifying concept is that of the immunoregulatory role of the gut microbiota. This review focuses on the protection against allergic disorders that is provided by the farming environment and by exposure to microbial diversity. It also questions whether and how microbial bioengineering will be able in the future to restore an interplay that was beneficial to the proper immunological development of children in the past and that was irreversibly disrupted by changes in lifestyle. The protective “farming environment” includes independent and additional influences: contact with animals, stay in barns/stables, and consumption of unprocessed milk and milk products, by mothers during pregnancy and by children in early life. More than the overall quantity of microbes, the biodiversity of the farm microbial environment appears to be crucial for this protection, as does the biodiversity of the gut microbiota that it may provide. Use of conventional probiotics, especially various species or strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, has not fulfilled the expectations of allergists and pediatricians to prevent allergy. Among the specific organisms present in cowsheds that could be used for prevention, Acinetobacter (A.) lwoffii F78, Lactococcus (L.) lactis G121, and Staphylococcus (S.) sciuri W620 seem to be the most promising, based on experimental studies in mouse models of allergic respiratory diseases. However, the development of a new generation of probiotics based on very productive research on the farming environment faces several obstacles that cannot be overcome without a close collaboration between microbiologists, immunologists, and bioengineers, as well as pediatricians, allergists, specialists of clinical trials, and ethical committees.

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The Gut Microbiota, Tumorigenesis, and Liver Diseases
Guishuai Lv, Ningtao Cheng, Hongyang Wang
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 110-114.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.017
Abstract   HTML   PDF (617KB)

In recent decades, diseases concerning the gut microbiota have presented some of the most serious public health problems worldwide. The human host’s physiological status is influenced by the intestinal microbiome, thus integrating external factors, such as diet, with genetic and immune signals. The notion that chronic inflammation drives carcinogenesis has been widely established for various tissues. It is surprising that the role of the microbiota in tumorigenesis has only recently been recognized, given that the presence of bacteria at tumor sites was first described more than a century ago. Extensive epidemiological studies have revealed that there is a strong link between the gut microbiota and some common cancers. However, the exact molecular mechanisms linking the gut microbiota and cancer are not yet fully understood. Changes to the gut microbiota are instrumental in determining the occurrence and progression of hepatocarcinoma, chronic liver diseases related to alcohol, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and cirrhosis. To be specific, the gut milieu may play an important role in systemic inflammation, endotoxemia, and vasodilation, which leads to complications such as spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and hepatic encephalopathy. Relevant animal studies involving gut microbiota manipulations, combined with observational studies on patients with NAFLD, have provided ample evidence pointing to the contribution of dysbiosis to the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Given the poor prognosis of these clinical events, their prevention and early management are essential. Studies of the composition and function of the gut microbiota could shed some light on understanding the prognosis because the microbiota serves as an essential component of the gut milieu that can impact the aforementioned clinical events. As far as disease management is concerned, probiotics may provide a novel direction for therapeutics for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and NAFLD, given that probiotics function as a type of medicine that can improve human health by regulating the immune system. Here, we provide an overview of the relationships among the gut microbiota, tumors, and liver diseases. In addition, considering the significance of bacterial homeostasis, we discuss probiotics in this article in order to guide treatments for related diseases.

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Whether Probiotic Supplementation Benefits Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Hudan Pan, Runze Li, Ting Li, Jun Wang, Liang Liu
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 115-121.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.006
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Gut and oral microflora are important factors in the pathogenesis and development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recent studies have shown that probiotic supplements have beneficial consequences on experimental arthritis in rats. However, results from randomized clinical trials on the effects of probiotics have not been consistent. The aim of this study was to systematically review the existing evidence for the effects of probiotic intervention in RA. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of RA patients receiving stable treatment with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that: ① were combined with additional probiotic supplements or ② were combined with either no additional supplements or only a placebo treatment. Statistical analysis was performed using Review Manager 5.3.3. Six randomized clinical trials were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis, with 249 participants in total. The results showed that the probiotic intervention treatment has not yet achieved significant improvement in the American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement criteria (ACR20) score and the disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28). The laboratory index C-reactive protein (CRP) (mg·L−1) was significantly reduced in the intervention group. The expression of inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukine (IL)-1β was also significantly reduced, while IL-10 expression increased in the probiotic intervention groups. This article is the first systematic review and meta-analysis providing a comprehensive assessment of the benefits of treating RA with probiotics. We found that probiotic supplementation may show a limited improvement in RA therapy in existing reports because of a lack of sufficiently high-quality work on the part of clinicians. More multi-centered, large-sample RCTs are needed in order to evaluate the benefits of probiotics in RA treatment.

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High-Speed EMU TCMS Design and LCC Technology Research
Hongwei Zhao, Zhiping Huang, Ying Mei
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 122-129.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.004
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This paper introduces the high-speed electrical multiple unit (EMU) life cycle, including the design, manufacturing, testing, and maintenance stages. It also presents the train control and monitoring system (TCMS) software development platform, the TCMS testing and verification bench, the EMU driving simulation platform, and the EMU remote data transmittal and maintenance platform. All these platforms and benches combined together make up the EMU life cycle cost (LCC) system. Each platform facilitates EMU LCC management and is an important part of the system.

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Quality Monitoring of Porous Zein Scaffolds: A Novel Biomaterial
Yue Zhang, Wei-Ying Li, Run Lan, Jin-Ye Wang
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 130-135.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.001
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Our previous studies have shown that zein has good biocompatibility and good mechanical properties. The first product from a porous scaffold of zein, a resorbable bone substitute, has passed the biological evaluation of medical devices (ISO 10993) by the China Food and Drug Administration. However, Class III medical devices need quality monitoring before being placed on the market, and such monitoring includes quality control of raw materials, choice of sterilization method, and evaluation of biocompatibility. In this paper, we investigated four sources of zein through amino acid analysis (AAA) and sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) in order to monitor the composition and purity, and control the quality of raw materials. We studied the effect of three kinds of sterilization method on a porous zein scaffold by SDS-PAGE. We also compared the changes in SDS-PAGE patterns when irradiated with different doses of gamma radiation. We found that polymerization or breakage did not occur on peptide chains of zein during gamma-ray (γ-ray) sterilization in the range of 20–30 kGy, which suggested that γ-ray sterilization is suitable for porous zein scaffolds. Regarding cell compatibility, we found a difference between using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and a cell-counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay to assess cell proliferation on zein film, and concluded that the CCK-8 assay is more suitable, due to its low background optical density.

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Multidecadal Trends in Large-Scale Annual Mean SATa Based on CMIP5 Historical Simulations and Future Projections
Nan Xing, Jianping Li, Lanning Wang
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 136-143.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.011
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Based on observations and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) results, multidecadal variations and trends in annual mean surface air temperature anomalies (SATa) at global, hemispheric, and hemispheric land and ocean scales in the past and under the future scenarios of two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) are analyzed. Fifteen models are selected based on their performances in capturing the temporal variability, long-term trend, multidecadal variations, and trends in global annual mean SATa. Observational data analysis shows that the multidecadal variations in annual mean SATa of the land and ocean in the northern hemisphere (NH) and of the ocean in the southern hemisphere (SH) are similar to those of the global mean, showing an increase during the 1900-1944 and 1971-2000 periods, and flattening or even cooling during the 1945-1970 and 2001-2013 periods. These observed characteristics are basically reproduced by the models. However, SATa over SH land show an increase during the 1945-1970 period, which differs from the other hemispheric scales, and this feature is not captured well by the models. For the recent hiatus period (2001-2013), the projected trends of BCC-CSM1-1-m, CMCC-CM, GFDL-ESM2M, and NorESM1-ME at the global and hemispheric scales are closest to the observations based on RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, suggesting that these four models have better projection capability in SATa. Because these four models are better at simulating and projecting the multidecadal trends of SATa, they are selected to analyze future SATa variations at the global and hemispheric scales during the 2006-2099 period. The selected multi-model ensemble (MME) projected trends in annual mean SATa for the globe, NH, and SH under RCP4.5 (RCP8.5) are 0.17 (0.29) °C, 0.22 (0.36) °C, and 0.11 (0.23) °C·decade-1in the 21st century, respectively. These values are significantly lower than the projections of CMIP5 MME without model selection.

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Dams and Floods
F. Lempérière
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 144-149.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.018
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The possible mitigation of floods by dams and the risk to dams from floods are key problems. The People’s Republic of China is now leading world dam construction with great success and efficiency. This paper is devoted to relevant experiences from other countries, with a particular focus on lessons from accidents over the past two centuries and on new solutions. Accidents from floods are analyzed according to the dam’s height, storage, dam material, and spillway data. Most of the huge accidents that have been reported occurred for embankments storing over 10 hm3. New solutions appear promising for both dam safety and flood mitigation.

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Corrigendum to “High-Speed Railway Train Timetable Conflict Prediction Based on Fuzzy Temporal Knowledge Reasoning” [Engineering (2016) 366–373]
He Zhuang, Liping Feng, Chao Wen, Qiyuan Peng, Qizhi Tang
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 150-.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.002
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Heading toward Artificial Intelligence 2.0
Yunhe Pan
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 409-413.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.018
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With the popularization of the Internet, permeation of sensor networks, emergence of big data, increase in size of the information community, and interlinking and fusion of data and information throughout human society, physical space, and cyberspace, the information environment related to the current development of artificial intelligence (AI) has profoundly changed. AI faces important adjustments, and scientific foundations are confronted with new breakthroughs, as AI enters a new stage: AI 2.0. This paper briefly reviews the 60-year developmental history of AI, analyzes the external environment promoting the formation of AI 2.0 along with changes in goals, and describes both the beginning of the technology and the core idea behind AI 2.0 development. Furthermore, based on combined social demands and the information environment that exists in relation to Chinese development, suggestions on the development of AI 2.0 are given.

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Infrastructure for China’s Ecologically Balanced Civilization
Chris Kennedy, Ma Zhong, Jan Corfee-Morlot
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 414-425.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.014
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China’s green investment needs up to 2020 are ¥1.7 trillion—2.9 trillion CNY ($274 billion—468 billion USD) per year. Estimates of financing requirements are provided for multiple sectors, including sustainable energy, infrastructure (including for environmental protection), environmental remediation, industrial pollution control, energy and water efficiency, and green products. The context to China’s green financing is discussed, covering urbanization, climate change, interactions between infrastructure sectors, and the transformation of industry. Much of the infrastructure financing will occur in cities, with a focus on equity, environmental protection, and quality of life under the National New-Type Urbanization Plan (20142020). China has implemented many successful policies in the building sector, but there is still considerable scope for improvement in the energy efficiency of Chinese buildings. China is currently pursuing low-carbon growth strategies that are consistent with its overall environmental and quality-of-life objectives. Beyond 2020, China’s future as an ecologically balanced civilization will rest on the implementation of a central infrastructure policy: China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study. As exemplified by the Circular Economy Development Strategy and Near-Term Action Plan, an essential part of China’s green industrial transformation involves engineering systems that conserve materials, thereby reducing or even eliminating wastes. To better understand changes to China’s economy under its green transformation and to unlock large potential sources of finance, it is necessary to undertake a fuller examination of all of China’s infrastructure sectors, particularly freight rail infrastructure and ports. Large investments are required to clean up a legacy of environmental contamination of soil and groundwater and to reduce industrial pollution. Transformation of the power sector away from coal will avoid some industrial treatment costs. The contribution of engineers in planning, designing, and constructing China’s new green infrastructure will be furthered by understanding the broad policy context and the interactions between land use, infrastructure, and environmental performance.

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Thermal Treatment of Hydrocarbon-Impacted Soils: A Review of Technology Innovation for Sustainable Remediation
Julia E. Vidonish, Kyriacos Zygourakis, Caroline A. Masiello, Gabriel Sabadell, Pedro J. J. Alvarez
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 426-437.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.005
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Thermal treatment technologies hold an important niche in the remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils and sediments due to their ability to quickly and reliably meet cleanup standards. However, sustained high temperature can be energy intensive and can damage soil properties. Despite the broad applicability and prevalence of thermal remediation, little work has been done to improve the environmental compatibility and sustainability of these technologies. We review several common thermal treatment technologies for hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, assess their potential environmental impacts, and propose frameworks for sustainable and low-impact deployment based on a holistic consideration of energy and water requirements, ecosystem ecology, and soil science. There is no universally appropriate thermal treatment technology. Rather, the appropriate choice depends on the contamination scenario (including the type of hydrocarbons present) and on site-specific considerations such as soil properties, water availability, and the heat sensitivity of contaminated soils. Overall, the convergence of treatment process engineering with soil science, ecosystem ecology, and plant biology research is essential to fill critical knowledge gaps and improve both the removal efficiency and sustainability of thermal technologies.

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Advances in Energy-Producing Anaerobic Biotechnologies for Municipal Wastewater Treatment
Wen-Wei Li, Han-Qing Yu
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 438-446.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.017
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Municipal wastewater treatment has long been known as a high-cost and energy-intensive process that destroys most of the energy-containing molecules by spending energy and that leaves little energy and few nutrients available for reuse. Over the past few years, some wastewater treatment plants have tried to revamp themselves as “resource factories,” enabled by new technologies and the upgrading of old technologies. In particular, there is an renewed interest in anaerobic biotechnologies, which can convert organic matter into usable energy and preserve nutrients for potential reuse. However, considerable technological and economic limitations still exist. Here, we provide an overview of recent advances in several cutting-edge anaerobic biotechnologies for wastewater treatment, including enhanced side-stream anaerobic sludge digestion, anaerobic membrane bioreactors, and microbial electrochemical systems, and discuss future challenges and opportunities for their applications. This review is intended to provide useful information to guide the future design and optimization of municipal wastewater treatment processes.

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Clean Coal Technologies in China: Current Status and Future Perspectives
Shiyan Chang, Jiankun Zhuo, Shuo Meng, Shiyue Qin, Qiang Yao
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 447-459.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.015
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Coal is the dominant primary energy source in China and the major source of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. To facilitate the use of coal in an environmentally satisfactory and economically viable way, clean coal technologies (CCTs) are necessary. This paper presents a review of recent research and development of four kinds of CCTs: coal power generation; coal conversion; pollution control; and carbon capture, utilization, and storage. It also outlines future perspectives on directions for technology research and development (R&D). This review shows that China has made remarkable progress in the R&D of CCTs, and that a number of CCTs have now entered into the commercialization stage.

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Sustainable Application of a Novel Water Cycle Using Seawater for Toilet Flushing
Xiaoming Liu, Ji Dai, Di Wu, Feng Jiang, Guanghao Chen, Ho-Kwong Chui, Mark C. M. van Loosdrecht
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 460-469.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.013
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Global water security is a severe issue that threatens human health and well-being. Finding sustainable alternative water resources has become a matter of great urgency. For coastal urban areas, desalinated seawater could serve as a freshwater supply. However, since 20%–30% of the water supply is used for flushing waste from the city, seawater with simple treatment could also partly replace the use of freshwater. In this work, the freshwater saving potential and environmental impacts of the urban water system (water-wastewater closed loop) adopting seawater desalination, seawater for toilet flushing (SWTF), or reclaimed water for toilet flushing (RWTF) are compared with those of a conventional freshwater system, through a life-cycle assessment and sensitivity analysis. The potential applications of these processes are also assessed. The results support the environmental sustainability of the SWTF approach, but its potential application depends on the coastal distance and effective population density of a city. Developed coastal cities with an effective population density exceeding 3000 persons·km–2 and located less than 30?km from the seashore (for the main pipe supplying seawater to the city) would benefit from applying SWTF, regardless of other impact parameters. By further applying the sulfate reduction, autotrophic denitrification, and nitrification integrated (SANI) process for wastewater treatment, the maximum distance from the seashore can be extended to 60?km. Considering that most modern urbanized cities fulfill these criteria, the next generation of water supply systems could consist of a freshwater supply coupled with a seawater supply for sustainable urban development.

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Water, Air Emissions, and Cost Impacts of Air-Cooled Microturbines for Combined Cooling, Heating, and Power Systems: A Case Study in the Atlanta Region
Jean-Ann James, Valerie M. Thomas, Arka Pandit, Duo Li, John C. Crittenden
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 470-480.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.008
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The increasing pace of urbanization means that cities and global organizations are looking for ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Combined cooling, heating, and power (CCHP) systems have the potential to improve the energy generation efficiency of a city or urban region by providing energy for heating, cooling, and electricity simultaneously. The purpose of this study is to estimate the water consumption for energy generation use, carbon dioxide (CO2) and NOx emissions, and economic impact of implementing CCHP systems for five generic building types within the Atlanta metropolitan region, under various operational scenarios following the building thermal (heating and cooling) demands. Operating the CCHP system to follow the hourly thermal demand reduces CO2 emissions for most building types both with and without net metering. The system can be economically beneficial for all building types depending on the price of natural gas, the implementation of net metering, and the cost structure assumed for the CCHP system. The greatest reduction in water consumption for energy production and NOx emissions occurs when there is net metering and when the system is operated to meet the maximum yearly thermal demand, although this scenario also results in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and, in some cases, cost. CCHP systems are more economical for medium office, large office, and multifamily residential buildings.

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More than Target 6.3: A Systems Approach to Rethinking Sustainable Development Goals in a Resource-Scarce World
Qiong Zhang, Christine Prouty, Julie B. Zimmerman, James R. Mihelcic
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 481-489.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.010
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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines 17 individual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that guide the needs of practice for many professional disciplines around the world, including engineering, research, policy, and development. The SDGs represent commitments to reduce poverty, hunger, ill health, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and lack of access to clean water and sanitation. If a typical reductionist approach is employed to address and optimize individual goals, it may lead to a failure in technological, policy, or managerial development interventions through unintended consequences in other goals. This study uses a systems approach to understand the fundamental dynamics between the SDGs in order to identify potential synergies and antagonisms. A conceptual system model was constructed to illustrate the causal relationships between SDGs, examine system structures using generic system archetypes, and identify leverage points to effectively influence intentional and minimize unintentional changes in the system. The structure of interactions among the SDGs reflects three archetypes of system behavior: Reinforcing Growth, Limits to Growth, and Growth and Underinvestment. The leverage points identified from the conceptual model are gender equality, sustainable management of water and sanitation, alternative resources, sustainable livelihood standards, and global partnerships. Such a conceptual system analysis of SDGs can enhance the likelihood that the development community will broaden its understanding of the potential synergistic benefits of their projects on resource management, environmental sustainability, and climate change. By linking the interactions and feedbacks of those projects with economic gains, women’s empowerment, and educational equality, stakeholders can recognize holistic improvements that can be made to the quality of life of many of the world’s poor.

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The Cemented Material Dam: A New, Environmentally Friendly Type of Dam
Jinsheng Jia, Michel Lino, Feng Jin, Cuiying Zheng
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 490-497.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.003
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The first author proposed the concept of the cemented material dam (CMD) in 2009. This concept was aimed at building an environmentally friendly dam in a safer and more economical way for both the dam and the area downstream. The concept covers the cemented sand, gravel, and rock dam (CSGRD), the rockfill concrete (RFC) dam (or the cemented rockfill dam, CRD), and the cemented soil dam (CSD). This paper summarizes the concept and principles of the CMD based on studies and practices in projects around the world. It also introduces new developments in the CSGRD, CRD, and CSD.

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Major Technologies for Safe Construction of High Earth-Rockfill Dams
Hongqi Ma, Fudong Chi
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 498-509.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.001
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The earth-rockfill dam is one of the primary dam types in the selection of high dams to be constructed in Western China, since it is characterized by favorable adaptability of the dam foundation; full utilization of local earth, rock, and building-excavated materials; low construction cost; and low cement consumption. Many major technical issues regarding earth-rockfill dams with a height of over 250 m were studied and solved successfully in the construction of the 261.5 m Nuozhadu earth core rockfill dam. This paper describes research achievements and basic conclusions; systematically summarizes the accumulated experiences from the construction of the Nuozhadu Dam and other high earth-rockfill dams; and discusses major technical issues, such as deformation control, seepage control, dam slope stability, safety and control of flood discharging, safety and quality control of dam construction, safety assessments, early warning, and other key technical difficulties. This study also provides a reference and technological support for the future construction of 300 m high earth-rockfill dams.

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A Feasibility Study of Power Generation from Sewage Using a Hollowed Pico-Hydraulic Turbine
Tomomi Uchiyama, Satoshi Honda, Tomoko Okayama, Tomohiro Degawa
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 510-517.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.007
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This study is concerned with the feasibility of power generation using a pico-hydraulic turbine from sewage flowing in pipes. First, the sewage flow rate at two connection points to the Toyogawa River-Basin Sewerage, Japan, was explored for over a year to elucidate the hydraulic energy potential of the sewage. Second, the performance of the pico-hydraulic turbine was investigated via laboratory experiments that supposed the turbine to be installed in the sewage pipe at the connection points. This study indicates that the connection points have hydraulic potential that can be used for power generation throughout the year. It also demonstrates that the pico-hydraulic turbine can be usefully employed for power generation from sewage flowing in the pipe at the connection points.

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Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bridge Design in the Netherlands: Architectural Challenges toward Innovative, Sustainable, and Durable Bridges
Joris Smits
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 518-527.   DOI: 10.1016/J.ENG.2016.04.004
Abstract   PDF (7053KB)

This paper reviews the use of fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) in architectural and structural bridge design in the Netherlands. The challenges and opportunities of this relatively new material, both for the architect and the engineer, are discussed. An inventory of recent structural solutions in FRP is included, followed by a discussion on architectural FRP applications derived from the architectural practice of the author and of other pioneers.

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