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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.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.020
Abstract   HTML   PDF (813KB)

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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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.   https://doi.org/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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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.   https://doi.org/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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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.   https://doi.org/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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Fundamental Theories and Key Technologies for Smart and Optimal Manufacturing in the Process Industry
Feng Qian, Weimin Zhong, Wenli Du
Engineering    2017, 3 (2): 154-160.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.02.011
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Given the significant requirements for transforming and promoting the process industry, we present the major limitations of current petrochemical enterprises, including limitations in decision-making, production operation, efficiency and security, information integration, and so forth. To promote a vision of the process industry with efficient, green, and smart production, modern information technology should be utilized throughout the entire optimization process for production, management, and marketing. To focus on smart equipment in manufacturing processes, as well as on the adaptive intelligent optimization of the manufacturing process, operating mode, and supply chain management, we put forward several key scientific problems in engineering in a demand-driven and application-oriented manner, namely: ① intelligent sensing and integration of all process information, including production and management information; ② collaborative decision-making in the supply chain, industry chain, and value chain, driven by knowledge; ③ cooperative control and optimization of plant-wide production processes via human-cyber-physical interaction; and ④life-cycle assessments for safety and environmental footprint monitoring, in addition to tracing analysis and risk control. In order to solve these limitations and core scientific problems, we further present fundamental theories and key technologies for smart and optimal manufacturing in the process industry. Although this paper discusses the process industry in China, the conclusions in this paper can be extended to the process industry around the world.

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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.   https://doi.org/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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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.   https://doi.org/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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High-Speed EMU TCMS Design and LCC Technology Research
Hongwei Zhao, Zhiping Huang, Ying Mei
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 122-129.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.004
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3997KB)

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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The Human Microbiota in Health and Disease
Baohong Wang, Mingfei Yao, Longxian Lv, Zongxin Ling, Lanjuan Li
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 71-82.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.008
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1171KB)

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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Improved Oxygen Evolution Kinetics and Surface States Passivation of Ni-Bi Co-Catalyst for a Hematite Photoanode
Ke Dang,Tuo Wang,Chengcheng Li,Jijie Zhang,Shanshan Liu,Jinlong Gong
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 285-289.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.03.005
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1314KB)

This paper describes the combinational surface kinetics enhancement and surface states passivation of nickel-borate (Ni-Bi) co-catalyst for a hematite (Fe2O3) photoanode. The Ni-Bi-modified Fe2O3 photoanode exhibits a cathodic onset potential shift of 230 mV and a 2.3-fold enhancement of the photocurrent at 1.23 V, versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE). The borate (Bi) in the Ni-Bi film promotes the release of protons for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER).

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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.   https://doi.org/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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Intelligent Manufacturing in the Context of Industry 4.0: A Review
Ray Y. Zhong,Xun Xu,Eberhard Klotz,Stephen T. Newman
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 616-630.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.05.015
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1607KB)

Our next generation of industry—Industry 4.0—holds the promise of increased flexibility in manufacturing, along with mass customization, better quality, and improved productivity. It thus enables companies to cope with the challenges of producing increasingly individualized products with a short lead-time to market and higher quality. Intelligent manufacturing plays an important role in Industry 4.0. Typical resources are converted into intelligent objects so that they are able to sense, act, and behave within a smart environment. In order to fully understand intelligent manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0, this paper provides a comprehensive review of associated topics such as intelligent manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled manufacturing, and cloud manufacturing. Similarities and differences in these topics are highlighted based on our analysis. We also review key technologies such as the IoT, cyber-physical systems (CPSs), cloud computing, big data analytics (BDA), and information and communications technology (ICT) that are used to enable intelligent manufacturing. Next, we describe worldwide movements in intelligent manufacturing, including governmental strategic plans from different countries and strategic plans from major international companies in the European Union, United States, Japan, and China. Finally, we present current challenges and future research directions. The concepts discussed in this paper will spark new ideas in the effort to realize the much-anticipated Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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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.   https://doi.org/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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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.   https://doi.org/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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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.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.01.006
Abstract   HTML   PDF (934KB)

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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Recent Developments in the Crystallization Process: Toward the Pharmaceutical Industry
Zhenguo Gao, Sohrab Rohani, Junbo Gong, Jingkang Wang
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 343-353.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.03.022
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2534KB)

Crystallization is one of the oldest separation and purification unit operations, and has recently contributed to significant improvements in producing higher-value products with specific properties and in building efficient manufacturing processes. In this paper, we review recent developments in crystal engineering and crystallization process design and control in the pharmaceutical industry. We systematically summarize recent methods for understanding and developing new types of crystals such as co-crystals, polymorphs, and solvates, and include several milestones such as the launch of the first co-crystal drug, Entresto (Novartis), and the continuous manufacture of Orkambi (Vertex). Conventional batch and continuous processes, which are becoming increasingly mature, are being coupled with various control strategies and the recently developed crystallizers are thus adapting to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. The development of crystallization process design and control has led to the appearance of several new and innovative crystallizer geometries for continuous operation and improved performance. This paper also reviews major recent progress in the area of process analytical technology.

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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.   https://doi.org/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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Smart Manufacturing for the Oil Refining and Petrochemical Industry
Zhihong Yuan, Weizhong Qin, Jinsong Zhao
Engineering    2017, 3 (2): 179-182.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.02.012
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1178KB)

Smart manufacturing will transform the oil refining and petrochemical sector into a connected, information-driven environment. Using real-time and high-value support systems, smart manufacturing enables a coordinated and performance-oriented manufacturing enterprise that responds quickly to customer demands and minimizes energy and material usage, while radically improving sustainability, productivity, innovation, and economic competitiveness. In this paper, several examples of the application of so-called “smart manufacturing” for the petrochemical sector are demonstrated, such as the fault detection of a catalytic cracking unit driven by big data, advanced optimization for the planning and scheduling of oil refinery sites, and more. Key scientific factors and challenges for the further smart manufacturing of chemical and petrochemical processes are identified.

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Dams and Floods
F. Lempérière
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 144-149.   https://doi.org/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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The Gut Microbiota, Tumorigenesis, and Liver Diseases
Guishuai Lv, Ningtao Cheng, Hongyang Wang
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 110-114.   https://doi.org/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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New Trends in Olefin Production
Ismaël Amghizar, Laurien A. Vandewalle, Kevin M. Van Geem, Guy B. Marin
Engineering    2017, 3 (2): 171-178.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.02.006
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1199KB)

Most olefins (e.g., ethylene and propylene) will continue to be produced through steam cracking (SC) of hydrocarbons in the coming decade. In an uncertain commodity market, the chemical industry is investing very little in alternative technologies and feedstocks because of their current lack of economic viability, despite decreasing crude oil reserves and the recognition of global warming. In this perspective, some of the most promising alternatives are compared with the conventional SC process, and the major bottlenecks of each of the competing processes are highlighted. These technologies emerge especially from the abundance of cheap propane, ethane, and methane from shale gas and stranded gas. From an economic point of view, methane is an interesting starting material, if chemicals can be produced from it. The huge availability of crude oil and the expected substantial decline in the demand for fuels imply that the future for proven technologies such as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) or methanol to gasoline is not bright. The abundance of cheap ethane and the large availability of crude oil, on the other hand, have caused the SC industry to shift to these two extremes, making room for the on-purpose production of light olefins, such as by the catalytic dehydrogenation of propane.

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Artificial versus Natural Reuse of CO2 for DME Production: Are We Any Closer?
Mariano Martín
Engineering    2017, 3 (2): 166-170.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.02.002
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This work uses a mathematical optimization approach to analyze and compare facilities that either capture carbon dioxide (CO2) artificially or use naturally captured CO2 in the form of lignocellulosic biomass toward the production of the same product, dimethyl ether (DME). In nature, plants capture CO2 via photosynthesis in order to grow. The design of the first process discussed here is based on a superstructure optimization approach in order to select technologies that transform lignocellulosic biomass into DME. Biomass is gasified; next, the raw syngas must be purified using reforming, scrubbing, and carbon capture technologies before it can be used to directly produce DME. Alternatively, CO2 can be captured and used to produce DME via hydrogenation. Hydrogen (H2) is produced by splitting water using solar energy. Facilities based on both photovoltaic (PV) solar or concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies have been designed; their monthly operation, which is based on solar availability, is determined using a multi-period approach. The current level of technological development gives biomass an advantage as a carbon capture technology, since both water consumption and economic parameters are in its favor. However, due to the area required for growing biomass and the total amount of water consumed (if plant growing is also accounted for), the decision to use biomass is not a straightforward one.

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Membrane Engineering for Green Process Engineering
Francesca Macedonio, Enrico Drioli
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 290-298.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.03.026
Abstract   HTML   PDF (693KB)

Green process engineering, which is based on the principles of the process intensi?cation strategy, can provide an important contribution toward achieving industrial sustainable development. Green process engineering refers to innovative equipment and process methods that are expected to bring about substantial improvements in chemical and any other manufacturing and processing aspects. It includes decreasing production costs, equipment size, energy consumption, and waste generation, and improving remote control, information ?uxes, and process ?exibility. Membrane-based technology assists in the pursuit of these principles, and the potential of membrane operations has been widely recognized in the last few years. This work starts by presenting an overview of the membrane operations that are utilized in water treatment and in the production of energy and raw materials. Next, it describes the potential advantages of innovative membrane-based integrated systems. A case study on an integrated membrane system (IMS) for seawater desalination coupled with raw materials production is presented. The aim of this work is to show how membrane systems can contribute to the realization of the goals of zero liquid discharge (ZLD), total raw materials utilization, and low energy consumption.

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Integrated and Intelligent Manufacturing: Perspectives and Enablers
Yubao Chen
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 588-595.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.04.009
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With ever-increasing market competition and advances in technology, more and more countries are prioritizing advanced manufacturing technology as their top priority for economic growth. Germany announced the Industry 4.0 strategy in 2013. The US government launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) in 2011 and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) in 2014. Most recently, the Manufacturing USA initiative was officially rolled out to further “leverage existing resources… to nurture manufacturing innovation and accelerate commercialization” by fostering close collaboration between industry, academia, and government partners. In 2015, the Chinese government officially published a 10-year plan and roadmap toward manufacturing: Made in China 2025. In all these national initiatives, the core technology development and implementation is in the area of advanced manufacturing systems. A new manufacturing paradigm is emerging, which can be characterized by two unique features: integrated manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing. This trend is in line with the progress of industrial revolutions, in which higher efficiency in production systems is being continuously pursued. To this end, 10 major technologies can be identified for the new manufacturing paradigm. This paper describes the rationales and needs for integrated and intelligent manufacturing (i2M) systems. Related technologies from different fields are also described. In particular, key technological enablers, such as the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS), cyber-physical systems (CPSs), and cloud computing are discussed. Challenges are addressed with applications that are based on commercially available platforms such as General Electric (GE)’s Predix and PTC’s ThingWorx.

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Simulating Resin Infusion through Textile Reinforcement Materials for the Manufacture of Complex Composite Structures
Robert S. Pierce,Brian G. Falzon
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 596-607.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.04.006
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Increasing demand for weight reduction and greater fuel efficiency continues to spur the use of composite materials in commercial aircraft structures. Subsequently, as composite aerostructures become larger and more complex, traditional autoclave manufacturing methods are becoming prohibitively expensive. This has prompted renewed interest in out-of-autoclave processing techniques in which resins are introduced into a reinforcing preform. However, the success of these resin infusion methods is highly dependent upon operator skill and experience, particularly in the development of new manufacturing strategies for complex parts. Process modeling, as a predictive computational tool, aims to address the issues of reliability and waste that result from traditional trial-and-error approaches. Basic modeling attempts, many of which are still used in industry, generally focus on simulating fluid flow through an isotropic porous reinforcement material. However, recent efforts are beginning to account for the multiscale and multidisciplinary complexity of woven materials, in simulations that can provide greater fidelity. In particular, new multi-physics process models are able to better predict the infusion behavior through textiles by considering the effect of fabric deformation on permeability and porosity properties within the reinforcing material. In addition to reviewing previous research related to process modeling and the current state of the art, this paper highlights the recent validation of a multi-physics process model against the experimental infusion of a complex double dome component. By accounting for deformation-dependent flow behavior, the multi-physics process model was able to predict realistic flow behavior, demonstrating considerable improvement over basic isotropic permeability models.

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Design of Photobioreactors for Mass Cultivation of Photosynthetic Organisms
Qingshan Huang, Fuhua Jiang, Lianzhou Wang, Chao Yang
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 318-329.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.03.020
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Photosynthetic microorganisms are important bioresources for producing desirable and environmentally benign products, and photobioreactors (PBRs) play important roles in these processes. Designing PBRs for photocatalysis is still challenging at present, and most reactors are designed and scaled up using semi-empirical approaches. No appropriate types of PBRs are available for mass cultivation due to the reactors’ high capital and operating costs and short lifespan, which are mainly due to a current lack of deep understanding of the coupling of light, hydrodynamics, mass transfer, and cell growth in efficient reactor design. This review provides a critical overview of the key parameters that influence the performance of the PBRs, including light, mixing, mass transfer, temperature, pH, and capital and operating costs. The lifespan and the costs of cleaning and temperature control are also emphasized for commercial exploitation. Four types of PBRs—tubular, plastic bag, column airlift, and flat-panel airlift reactors are recommended for large-scale operations. In addition, this paper elaborates the modeling of PBRs using the tools of computational fluid dynamics for rational design. It also analyzes the difficulties in the numerical simulation, and presents the prospect for mechanism-based models.

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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.   https://doi.org/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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Two-Way 4D Printing: A Review on the Reversibility of 3D-Printed Shape Memory Materials
Amelia Yilin Lee,Jia An,Chee Kai Chua
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 663-674.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.05.014
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The rapid development of additive manufacturing and advances in shape memory materials have fueled the progress of four-dimensional (4D) printing. With the right external stimulus, the need for human interaction, sensors, and batteries will be eliminated, and by using additive manufacturing, more complex devices and parts can be produced. With the current understanding of shape memory mechanisms and with improved design for additive manufacturing, reversibility in 4D printing has recently been proven to be feasible. Conventional one-way 4D printing requires human interaction in the programming (or shape-setting) phase, but reversible 4D printing, or two-way 4D printing, will fully eliminate the need for human interference, as the programming stage is replaced with another stimulus. This allows reversible 4D printed parts to be fully dependent on external stimuli; parts can also be potentially reused after every recovery, or even used in continuous cycles—an aspect that carries industrial appeal. This paper presents a review on the mechanisms of shape memory materials that have led to 4D printing, current findings regarding 4D printing in alloys and polymers, and their respective limitations. The reversibility of shape memory materials and their feasibility to be fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing are summarized and critically analyzed. For reversible 4D printing, the methods of 3D printing, mechanisms used for actuation, and strategies to achieve reversibility are also highlighted. Finally, prospective future research directions in reversible 4D printing are suggested.

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A Technological Overview of Biogas Production from Biowaste
Spyridon Achinas, Vasileios Achinas, Gerrit Jan Willem Euverink
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 299-307.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.03.002
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The current irrational use of fossil fuels and the impact of greenhouse gases on the environment are driving research into renewable energy production from organic resources and waste. The global energy demand is high, and most of this energy is produced from fossil resources. Recent studies report that anaerobic digestion (AD) is an efficient alternative technology that combines biofuel production with sustainable waste management, and various technological trends exist in the biogas industry that enhance the production and quality of biogas. Further investments in AD are expected to meet with increasing success due to the low cost of available feedstocks and the wide range of uses for biogas (i.e., for heating, electricity, and fuel). Biogas production is growing in the European energy market and offers an economical alternative for bioenergy production. The objective of this work is to provide an overview of biogas production from lignocellulosic waste, thus providing information toward crucial issues in the biogas economy.

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Particle Size and Crystal Phase Effects in Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts
Jin-Xun Liu, Peng Wang, Wayne Xu, Emiel J. M. Hensen
Engineering    2017, 3 (4): 467-476.   https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENG.2017.04.012
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Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) is an increasingly important approach for producing liquid fuels and chemicals via syngas—that is, synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen—generated from coal, natural gas, or biomass. In FTS, dispersed transition metal nanoparticles are used to catalyze the reactions underlying the formation of carbon-carbon bonds. Catalytic activity and selectivity are strongly correlated with the electronic and geometric structure of the nanoparticles, which depend on the particle size, morphology, and crystallographic phase of the nanoparticles. In this article, we review recent works dealing with the aspects of bulk and surface sensitivity of the FTS reaction. Understanding the different catalytic behavior in more detail as a function of these parameters may guide the design of more active, selective, and stable FTS catalysts.

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