• Scaling-up ultrasound standing wave enhanced sedimentation filters

      Prest, Jeff E.; Treves Brown, Bernard J.; Fielden, Peter R.; Wilkinson, Stephen J.; Hawkes, Jeremy J.; Lancaster University ; University of Manchester ; Lancaster University ; University of Chester ; University of Manchester (Elsevier, 2014-08-21)
      Particle concentration and filtration is a key stage in a wide range of processing industries and also one that can be present challenges for high throughput, continuous operation. Here we demonstrate some features which increase the efficiency of ultrasound enhanced sedimentation and could enable the technology the potential to be scaled up. In this work, 20 mm piezoelectric plates were used to drive 100 mm high chambers formed from single structural elements. The coherent structural resonances were able to drive particles (yeast cells) in the water to nodes throughout the chamber. Ultrasound enhanced sedimentation was used to demonstrate the efficiency of the system (>99% particle clearance). Sub-wavelength pin protrusions were used for the contacts between the resonant chamber and other elements. The pins provided support and transferred power, replacing glue which is inefficient for power transfer. Filtration energies of ∼4 J/ml of suspension were measured. A calculation of thermal convection indicates that the circulation could disrupt cell alignment in ducts >35 mm high when a 1K temperature gradient is present; we predict higher efficiencies when this maximum height is observed. For the acoustic design, although modelling was minimal before construction, the very simple construction allowed us to form 3D models of the nodal patterns in the fluid and the duct structure. The models were compared with visual observations of particle movement, Chladni figures and scanning laser vibrometer mapping. This demonstrates that nodal planes in the fluid can be controlled by the position of clamping points and that the contacts could be positioned to increase the efficiency and reliability of particle manipulations in standing waves.
    • Simultaneous determination of dopamine, uric acid and estriol in maternal urine samples based on the synergetic effect of reduced graphene oxide, silver nanowires and silver nanoparticles in their ternary 3D nanocomposite

      Zhao, Qian; Faraj, Yousef; Liu, Lu Yue; Wang, Wei; Xie, Rui; Liu, Zhuang; Ju, Xiao Jie; Wei, Jie; Chu, Liang Yin; University of Chester; Sichuan University
      A facile and efficient electrochemical biosensing platform based on screen printed carbon electrode (SPCE) modified with three-dimensional (3D) nanocomposite consists of reduced graphene oxide (RGO) with the insertion of silver nanowires (AgNWs) followed by the anchoring of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) is constructed as RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs/SPCE for the simultaneous determination of dopamine (DA), uric acid (UA) and estriol (EST). The morphology characteristic and surface elemental composition of RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs nanocomposite are investigated by field-emission scanning electron microscope, transmission electron microscope and X-ray photoelectron spectroscope. Cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, linear sweep voltammetry and differential pulse voltammetry are utilized to explore the electrochemical performances of the constructed electrodes. Due to abundant active sites and excellent electrocatalytic activity of the nanocomposite, the RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs/SPCE sensor exhibits well-resolved oxidation peaks and enhanced oxidation peak currents in the ternary mixture of DA, UA and EST with respective linear response ranges of 0.6 to 50 μM, 1 to 100 μM and 1 to 90 μM and detection limits (S/N = 3) of 0.16 μM, 0.58 μM and 0.58 μM, respectively. Moreover, the constructed biosensor exhibits good selectivity, reproducibility and stability, and excellent performance in determining DA, UA and EST in synthetic urine samples with excellent recovery. The results reveal that the RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs nanocomposite is a promising candidate for advanced electrode material in electrochemical sensing field and possesses great application prospects in further sensing researches.
    • Synergistic carbon metabolism in a fast growing mixotrophic freshwater microalgal species Micractinium inermum

      Smith, Richard T.; Bangert, Krys; Wilkinson, Stephen J.; Gilmour, D. James; University of Sheffield ; University of Sheffield ; University of Sheffield/University of Chester ; University of Sheffield (Elsevier, 2015-05-11)
      In recent years microalgae have attracted significant interest as a potential source of sustainable biofuel. Mixotrophic microalgae are able to simultaneously photosynthesise while assimilating and metabolising organic carbon. By combining autotrophic and heterotrophic metabolic pathways biomass productivity can be significantly increased. In this study, acetate-fed mixotrophic Micractinium inermum cultures were found to have a specific growth rate 1.74 times the sum of autotrophic and heterotrophic growth. It was hypothesised that gas exchange between the two metabolic pathways within mixotrophic cultures may have prevented growth limitation and enhanced growth. To determine the extent of synergistic gas exchange and its influence on metabolic activity, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), dissolved oxygen (DO) and photosynthesis and respiration rates were measured under different trophic conditions. A 32.7 fold and 2.4 fold increase in DIC and DO concentrations, relative to autotrophic and heterotrophic cultures respectively, were coupled with significant increases in rates of photosynthesis and respiration. These data strongly support the hypothesis of mixotrophic gas exchange within M. inermum cultures. In addition to enhanced growth, this phenomenon may provide reductions in aeration and oxygen stripping costs related to microalgae production.
    • Systems Based Mechanisms of Aging

      Proctor, Carole; Morgan, Amy; Mc Auley, Mark; Newcastle University; University of Chester
      The last number of decades have witnessed an unrelenting global rise in the number of older people. This demographic shift is laudable; however, many older people are burdened by poor health. The main reason so many older people have their healthspan compromised is due to the complex biology which underpins ageing and the diseases which are associated with this intriguing phenomenon. Fortunately, however, in recent years there has been a paradigm shift within biological research which has seen the emergence of systems biology. In contrast to a reductionist approach which was commonplace in biological research for many years, systems biology seeks to understand biological systems in an integrated manner. Investigating ageing and age related disease in this way is becoming increasingly effective. In this article we discuss the methods which underpin systems and provide examples of their application to biogerontology research.
    • Systems biology and Nutrition

      Mc Auley, Mark
      Systems biology has established itself as a paradigm which has been adopted in order to integrate a wealth of omics data which has been generated in the last few decades. Nutrition research has gradually embraced the systems biology approach, and this holistic way of investigating biological systems is beginning to pay dividends for our understanding of diet and its relationship with health. This chapter presents an overview of the key strands of systems biology; these include, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics and computational modelling. I discuss how these techniques are being used to gain new insights into nutrition research. Moreover, I reveal how computational modelling is being used to unravel how ageing effects cholesterol and folate metabolism. The chapter concludes by providing an insight into how systems biology will be applied to nutrition research in the future.
    • Systems biology and synthetic biology: A new epoch for toxicology research

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; Choi, Hyunok; Mooney, Kathleen M.; Paul, Emily; Miller, Veronica M.; University of Chester ; SUNY Albany ; Edge Hill University ; New York State Department of Health ; New York State Department of Health (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2015-01-26)
      Systems biology and synthetic biology are emerging disciplines which are becoming increasingly utilised in several areas of bioscience. Toxicology is beginning to benefit from systems biology and we suggest in the future that is will also benefit from synthetic biology. Thus, a new era is on the horizon. This review illustrates how a suite of innovative techniques and tools can be applied to understanding complex health and toxicology issues. We review limitations confronted by the traditional computational approaches to toxicology and epidemiology research, using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their effects on adverse birth outcomes as an illustrative example. We introduce how systems toxicology (and their subdisciplines, genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic toxicology) will help to overcome such limitations. In particular, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of mathematical frameworks that computationally represent biological systems. Finally, we discuss the nascent discipline of synthetic biology and highlight relevant toxicological centred applications of this technique, including improvements in personalised medicine. We conclude this review by presenting a number of opportunities and challenges that could shape the future of these rapidly evolving disciplines.
    • Thermodynamic Analysis and Process System Comparison of the Exhaust Gas Recirculated, Steam Injected and Humidified Micro Gas Turbine

      Ali, Usman; Font Palma, Carolina; Hughes, Kevin J.; Ingham, Derek B.; Ma, Lin; Pourkashanian, Mohamed; University of Leeds (ASME Proceedings, 2015-08-12)
      Stringent environmental emission regulations and continuing efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from the energy sector, in the context of global warming, have promoted interest to improve the efficiency of power generation systems whilst reducing emissions. Further, this has led to the development of innovative gas turbine systems which either result in higher electrical efficiency or the reduction of CO2 emissions. Micro gas turbines are one of the secure, economical and environmentally viable options for power and heat generation. Here, a Turbec T100 micro gas turbine (MGT) is simulated using Aspen HYSYS® V8.4 and validated through experimental data. Due to the consistency and robustness of the steady state model developed, it is further extended to three different innovative cycles: (i) an exhaust gas recirculated (EGR) cycle, in which part of the exhaust gas is dried and re-circulated to the MGT inlet; (ii) a steam injected (STIG) cycle, and (iii) a humid air turbine (HAT) cycle. The steam and hot water are generated through the exhaust of the recuperator for the STIG and HAT cycle, respectively. Further, the steam is directly injected into the recuperator for power augmentation, while for the HAT cycle; the compressed air is saturated with water in the humid tower before entering the recuperator. This study evaluates the impact of the EGR ratio, steam to air ratio, and water to air ratio on the performance and efficiency of the system. The comparative potential for each innovative cycle is assessed by thermodynamic properties estimation of process parameters through the models developed to better understand the behavior of each cycle. The thermodynamic assessment indicates that CO2 enrichment occurs for the three innovative cycles. Further, the results indicate that the electrical efficiency increases for the STIG and HAT cycle while it decreases for the EGR cycle. In conclusion, the innovative cycles indicates the possibilities to improve the system performance and efficiency.
    • Towards sustainable methanol from industrial CO2 sources

      Douven, Sigrid; Benkoussas, Hana; Font Palma, Carolina; Leonard, Gregoire; University of Liege; University of Chester (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2019-10-21)
      This chapter discusses the opportunity of using CO2 from industrial sources to produce sustainable methanol. Some important industrial sectors that could be seen as potential sources of CO2 are reviewed: ammonia, steel, ethanol, ethylene, natural gas, cement and power industries. In most cases, despite a promising potential for CO2 re-use, only few projects have been identified and methanol production from CO2 is still marginal. A model for the CO2-to-methanol process is presented based on CO2-rich gas coming from ammonia production process. This model takes into account the different steps from the CO2 capture to the methanol purification, and heat integration is performed in order to determine the reduction of heat consumption achievable for the global process. Even if the economic relevance of the CO2 re-use into methanol still has to be qualified, it offers an estimation of the process efficiency.
    • Treating wastewater by indigenous microalgae strain in pilot platform located inside a municipal wastewater treatment plant

      Han, Jichang; Laurenz, Thomsen; Pan, Kehou; Wang, Pu; Wawilow, Tatjana; Osundeko, Olumayowa; Wang, Song; Theilen, Ulf; Thomsen, Claudia; Jacob University Bremen, Germany
      Various resources from a municipal wastewater treatment plant (MWTP) are available for microalgae cultivation plants, suggesting that a combination of these technologies can be used to produce microalgae biomass and remove contaminants at a low cost. In this study, the growth performance and nutrient removal efficiency of an indigenous Scenedesmus sp. in various wastewater media with different exchange patterns were investigated firstly, then transferred to a pilot-scale photobioreactor (located inside a MWTP) for bioremediation use. The temperature and pH of the platform were maintained at 15–30°C and 7.6, respectively. The NH+4− N, NO−3− N, and PO3−4− P of the wastewater could be reduced to below 0.05, 0.40, and 0.175 mg L–1, respectively. Our results indicate that microalgae cultivation using the resources of a MWTP can achieve high algal biomass productivity and nutrient removal rate. Our study also suggests that efficient technology for controlling zooplankton needs to be developed.
    • Trion formation in a two-dimensional hole-doped electron gas

      Spink, Graham G.; López Ríos, Pablo; Drummond, Neil D.; Needs, Richard J.; University of Cambridge; University of Chester; Lancaster University (American Physical Society, 2016-07-22)
      The interaction between a single hole and a two-dimensional, paramagnetic, homogeneous electron gas is studied using diffusion quantum Monte Carlo simulations. Electron-hole relaxation energies, pair-correlation functions, and electron-hole center-of-mass momentum densities are reported for a range of electron-hole mass ratios and electron densities. We find numerical evidence of a crossover from a collective excitonic state to a trion-dominated state in a density range in agreement with that found in recent experiments on quantum-well heterostructures.
    • Using Mathematical Modelling and Electrochemical Analysis to Investigate Age‐Associated Disease

      McAuley, Mark; Morgan, Amy (University of Chester, 2019-04-02)
      People are living longer. With this rise in life expectancy, a concomitant rise in morbidity in later life is observed; with conditions including cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer. However, ageing and the pathogenesis of age related disease, can be difficult to study, as the ageing process is a complex process, which affects multiple systems and mechanisms. The aim of this research was two‐fold. The first aim was to use mathematical modelling to investigate the mechanisms underpinning cholesterol metabolism, as aberrations to this system are associated with an increased risk for CVD. To better understand cholesterol from a mechanistic perspective, a curated kinetic model of whole body cholesterol metabolism, from the BioModels database, was expanded in COPASI, to produce a model with a broader range of mechanisms which underpin cholesterol metabolism. A range of time course data, and local and global parameter scans were utilised to examine the effect of cholesterol feeding, saturated fat feeding, ageing, and cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) genotype. These investigations revealed: the model behaved as a hypo‐responder to cholesterol feeding, the robustness of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway, and the impact CETP can have on healthy ageing. The second aim of this work was to use electrochemical techniques to detect DNA methylation within the engrailed homeobox 1 (EN1) gene promoter, which has been implicated in cancer. Hypermethylation of this gene promoter is often observed in a diseased state. Synthetic DNA, designed to represent methylated and unmethylated variants, were adsorbed onto a gold rotating disk electrode for electrochemical analysis by 1) electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), 2) cyclic voltammetry (CV) and 3) differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). The technique was then applied to bisulphite modified and asymmetrically amplified DNA from the breast cancer cell line MCF‐7. Results indicated that electrochemical techniques could detect DNA methylation in both synthetic and cancer derived DNA, with EIS producing superiorresults. These non‐traditional techniques ofstudying age related disease were effective for the investigation of cholesterol metabolism and DNA methylation, and this work highlights how these techniques could be used to elucidate mechanisms or diagnose/monitor disease pathogenesis, to reduce morbidity in older people