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Household and road dust as indicators of airborne particulate matter elemental composition
Klemen Teran, 2020, doktorska disertacija

Opis: Household dust (HD) and road dust (RD) are widespread and easily accessible urban sediments, which are influenced by deposition of airborne particulate matter (PM). Since airborne PM is considered to be one of the most important pollutants in urban areas, with significant adverse effects on human health, a better understanding of its elemental composition and dispersion mechanisms is needed. The present study examines whether the HD and RD elemental composition can be used as a quick alternative method for the determination of corresponding PM elemental composition over a selected area. In summer 2016, HD, RD, and topsoil samples were collected from 249 sampling locations distributed across rural, urban, and industrial areas in Slovenia. The collected samples were sieved for particle diameters below 63 μm and analysed for 53 elements with ICP-MS after aqua regia digestion. SEM/EDS analyses were applied for the determination of characteristic particles at the microlevel. Finally, the elemental composition of HD and RD was compared with the PM10 elemental composition obtained from National Network for Ambient Air Quality Monitoring governed by Slovenian Environmental Agency (ARSO) to determine any potential connection between them. The results show that HD and RD are considerably enriched with a large set of elements compared to the topsoil. Correlations and factor analyses show that spatial distribution of factor scores in RD revealed strong regional trends, connected with soil resuspension (Al, Ce, Ga, K, La, Li, P, Rb, Sc and Y) or with anthropogenic sources such as traffic (Ag, Bi, Cu, Sb and Sn), steel mill emissions (Cr, Mo, Mn, Ni and W) and construction material decomposition (Ca and Sr). In contrast, HD elemental composition was highly variable between sampling locations. Variability was probably caused by indoor sources, such as smoking (Ce and La), biomass combustion (K, P and Rb), construction material decomposition (Ca and Sr) and residents’ professional occupation: dental care employees (Ag, Au, Pd) and employees in the metal-processing industry (Cr, Mo, Ni). Among deposited particles in RD, urbanization processes, such as fossil fuel combustion and traffic emissions, including brake pad abrasion and tyre wear, contributed the largest share of particles with anomalous elemental composition. Brake pad abrasion, for instance, contributed Ba-, Cu-, Sn-, and Zn-enriched irregular, angular and tabular particles, while tyre wear produced elongated rubber particles with traces of Ba, Cu, and Zn. RD from urban areas showed significantly higher elemental levels of Ag, Bi, Ca, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Fe, Mo, Nb, Pb, Pt, Sb, Sn, Sr, Ti, Zn, and W in comparison to the rural environment, indicating the strong impact of urbanization on RD elemental composition. Another important anthropogenic source of deposited particles in RD were steel mills. Strong anomalies of Cr, Mo and Ni were detected in their vicinity. Their elemental levels decreased with distancing from the plan location, reaching urban background levels between 15 and 20 km from the mills. SEM/EDS analyses identified enrichments of Cr, Mn, Mo, Ni, V, and W in spherical particles and particles with partially melted surfaces, which were found only in the proximity of steel mills, indicating their influence of the PM deposition. Comparison of RD and the corresponding PM10 elemental composition showed that the RD fraction with particle diameters below 63 μm reflects PM10 elemental composition for the last 30 to 90 days for Cr, Cu, Mo and Zn and can be used as a predictor for PM10 elemental levels. This is not true for HD, as indoor particle sources prevail over the deposition of ambient PM10.
Ključne besede: household dust, road dust, particulate matter, PM10, pollution, Slovenia, steel mills, topsoil, traffic, urbanization
Objavljeno: 02.12.2020; Ogledov: 332; Prenosov: 32
.pdf Polno besedilo (16,34 MB)

Advantages and disadvantages of experiments with ultrashort two-color pulses
Matija Stupar, doktorska disertacija

Opis: Advances in the development of lasers have led to a new class of radiation sources generating coherent, tunable, ultrashort light pulses in the spectral region ranging from infrared to soft X-rays. This includes high-order harmonics generation in gas (HHG), on which relies the CITIUS facility at University of Nova Gorica (Slovenia), and free-electron lasers (FELs), such as the facility FERMI at Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste (Italy). The distinctive structure of HHG and FEL radiation paved the way to time-resolved experiments, which are performed to investigate events occurring on a short, or very short, temporal scale, from picoseconds to femtoseconds. This work focuses on the advantages and disadvantages of some experimental techniques based on using these novel light sources to investigate the microscopic and/or ultrafast dynamics of matter samples, which have been previously driven out of equilibrium. Advantages rely on the implementation of various applications based on two-color schemes and, more specifically, include the possibility of acquiring two-dimensional frequency maps, measuring electrons’ effective masses, or investigating electronic properties decoupled from the influence of the lattice. Particular focus will be put on experimental methods relying on photoelectric effect and photoelectron spectroscopy. In all experiments, we took advantage of one or more specific properties of HHG and FEL sources, such as controllable chirp, to study laser dressed states in helium, variable polarization, to study electronic properties of iron-based pnictides and ultrashort pulses (< 10 fs) to study the purely electronic dynamics in transition metal dichalcogenides. On the other hand, the study of the interface between a molecule and a topological insulator revealed some intrinsic limitations and physical drawbacks of the technique, such as spurious effects originating from the high power pulses, like multiphoton absorption and the space charge effect, or the reduction of experimental resolution when pushing for shorter and shorter pulse durations. Some disadvantages are also connected to the current state-of-the-art in the field of ultrashort laser systems, where a trade-off needs to be found between repetition rate and laser power. Finally, state-of-the-art experiments based on the ability to generate ultrashort pulses carrying orbital angular momentum in visible, near-infrared as well as extreme UV range will be presented. The use of these pulses opens the door to the investigation of new physical phenomena, such as probing magnetic vortices using extreme ultraviolet light from a free-electron laser or imprinting the spatial distribution of an ultrashort infrared pulse carrying orbital angular momentum onto a photoelectron wave packet.
Ključne besede: ultrafast lasers, two-color experiments, photoemission, high-order harmonic generation, free-electron lasers, hot-electrons dynamics, surface science, pump-probe photoemission, ultraviolet photoemission, orbital angular momentum
Objavljeno: 02.12.2020; Ogledov: 279; Prenosov: 10
.pdf Polno besedilo (19,78 MB)

A study of stellar debris dynamics during a tidal disruption event
Aurora Clerici, 2020, doktorska disertacija

Opis: The number of observed tidal disruption events is increasing rapidly with the advent of new surveys. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to improve TDE models using different stellar and orbital parameters. We study the dynamical behaviour of tidal disruption events produced by a massive black hole like Sgr A* by changing different initial orbital parameters, taking into account the observed orbits of S stars. Investigating different types of orbits and penetration factors is important since their variations lead to different timescales of the tidal disruption event debris dynamics, making mechanisms such as self-crossing and pancaking act strongly or weakly, thus affecting the circularisation and accretion disk formation. We have performed smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations. Each simulation consists in modelling the star with $10^5$ particles, and the density profile is described by a polytrope with $\gamma$ = 5/3. The massive black hole is modelled with a generalised post-Newtonian potential, which takes into account relativistic effects of the Schwarzschild space-time. Our analyses find that mass return rate distributions of solar-like stars and S-like stars with same eccentricity have similar durations, but S-like stars have higher mass return rate, as expected due to their larger mass. Regarding debris circularisation, we identify four types of evolution, related to the mechanisms and processes involved during circularisation: in type 1 the debris does not circularise efficiently, hence a disk is not formed or is formed after relatively long time; in type 2 the debris slowly circularises and eventually forms a disk with no debris falling back; in type 3 the debris relatively quickly circularises and forms a disk while there is still debris falling back; finally, in type 4 the debris quickly and efficiently circularises, mainly through self-crossings and shocks, and forms a disk with no debris falling back. Finally, we find that the standard relation of circularisation radius $r_{\rm circ} = 2r_{\rm t}$ holds only for $\beta = 1$ and eccentricities close to parabolic.
Ključne besede: 07.05.Tp Computer modeling and simulation, 95.30.Lz Hydrodynamics, 98.35.Jk Galactic center, bar, circumnuclear matter, and bulge, 98.62.Js Galactic nuclei (including black holes), circumnuclear matter, and bulges, 98.62.Mw Infall, accretion, and accretion disks
Objavljeno: 29.09.2020; Ogledov: 442; Prenosov: 15
.pdf Polno besedilo (37,55 MB)

Seismic Vulnerability of a Historical Masonry Building: A Critical Comparison of Analytical Methodologies
Marco Boscolo Bielo, 2020, doktorska disertacija

Opis: In these last twenty years a new sensibility for the seismic themes around buildings has emerged from a cultural and technical point of view. As a result of some earthquakes happened in Italy, the promulgation of technical codes has accelerated and, essentially, the standards of Eurocodes were accepted. Consequently, also in the field of historical buildings, a set of specific guidelines have been issued. In the current state of art, designers are faced with many methods of calculation which the technical codes offer for the assessment of the seismic vulnerability of historical buildings. Designers can use simplified or complex approaches which assume different starting hypothesisto obtain different results. This thesis aims to investigate the various aspects that the designer meets during the study of the static behaviour of an historical building and the assessment of its seismic vulnerability. A study case is also proposed which regards a Venetian Villa of the XVIth Century located in “Riviera del Brenta” near Venice, with a critical comparison of the results obtained by the application of the various methods of calculation. The thesis begins with an outline of the historical development of seismic technical codes in Italy and shows how the sensibility has developed in the Italian culture. In particular it is illustrated the difference between the approach of the legislation "a posteriori" (where a “patchy zoning” was generally performed after the occurrence of earthquakes), and the probabilistic approach based on the peaking ground acceleration expected in every Italian site. The Second and the Third Chapters contain the analysis of the current seismic legislations and in particular the guidelines for historical buildings. The Chapter 4 provides a general discussion on the masonry and the definition of the mechanical parameters. There are many critical aspects relating to a characterization of models which can realistically represent the historical masonry. They are due to a heterogeneity of variables such as, for instance, the mechanical parameters, the physiological behaviour, the connections, etc. In the Chapter 5 the basic concepts of seismic behaviour of historical buildings are discussed. In particular the Pagano’s classification of masonry buildings is illustrated with special regard of the following factors: stiffness of horizontal structures; efficiency of “masonry beams”; efficiency of intersection between walls. From the Chapter 6 the analysis of the study case begins. Here we can find the description of the Venetian Villa (historical evolution of the buildings, description of geometrical characteristics, structural behaviour, etc. In the Chapter 7, the first level of analysis is performed for the study-case. The method of calculation is contained in the guidelines for historical buildings. A critical discussion of the results is also illustrated. In the Chapter 8 is performed a linear kinematic analysis based on various possible kinematic mechanisms identified through the study of cracking and the lacks of the structural connections. The Chapter 9 shows a non-linear static analysis (pushover) for the study-case which refers to two limit behaviour models: the first one with infinitely rigid diaphragms and efficient masonry beams; the second one based on infinitely flexible diaphragms and weak masonry beams. The results are compared and critically discussed. In the same way the Chapter 10 and 11 perform a linear static analysis and a linear dynamic analysis for the two models of the Chapter 9, so the results can be compared. In the last Chapter a general discussion about all the results of the performed analysis is conducted. Here the work points out the conceptual limits of each method of calculation and the possibility of use related to the objectives which must be reached. Finally some design indications related to the results of the analysis are illustrated.
Ključne besede: Seismic, Vulneraility, Analitical, Methodologies
Objavljeno: 02.07.2020; Ogledov: 536; Prenosov: 11
.pdf Polno besedilo (128,89 MB)

Sandra Folarin Oloketuyi, 2020, doktorska disertacija

Opis: Early detection and monitoring of toxic microalgae remains a challenge that will be necessary to overcome for understanding harmful algal bloom events and their consequent ecological and environmental impacts. Although there are diagnostic techniques based on microscopy, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), DNA microarrays, real-time PCR, sandwich hybridization assays employed for the detection of harmful algal species, such techniques are not suitable for field monitoring and especially for the quantification of Alexandrium minutum due to abundance of cryptic species that cannot be differentiated based on morphology or genomic traits. These approaches are also time-consuming and laborious, hence there is need for alternative simple, rapid and cost-effective methods. In this study, our aim was to develop different nanobody-based capture strategies for the detection of A. minutum. Nanobodies were successfully displayed on the surface of Escherichia coli to facilitate detection of A. minutum. The method is simple and cost effective as no antibody purification step is necessary. As an alternative, A. minutum was quantified by exploiting the peroxidase activity of a G-quadruplex DNAzyme covalently bound to nanobodies and by means of a label free electrochemical immunosensor which exploit nanobodies bound via an irreversible SpyTag-SpyCatcher system as the specific immunocapture element. Such immunosensor was prepared by immobilizing the SpyTagged anti-A. minutum nanobody (SpyTagged C1) by means of a selfassembled monolayer (SAMs) of L- cysteine (L-Cys) displayed onto a gold nanoparticle-modified glassy carbon electrode. Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) was performed to measure the electrical response of the circuit as the function of A. minutum immunocaptured cells. The results of EIS studies confirmed that the sensing chip detected A. minutum selectively, exhibited a wide dynamic range spanning from 103 to 109 cell L-1 and a limit of detection of 3.1× 103 cell L-1. The immunosensor data can be recorded and then analyzed with a portable potentiostat. Such device can be interfaced with a smart phone, a condition suitable for the rapid A. minutum quantification in situ.
Ključne besede: Alexandrium minutum, nanobodies, bioreagents, immunosensor, toxic microalgae
Objavljeno: 17.06.2020; Ogledov: 836; Prenosov: 39
.pdf Polno besedilo (2,95 MB)

Alice Avian, 2020, doktorska disertacija

Opis: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the causative agent for the invasive cervical cancer and its precancerous lesions, furthermore, there are growing evidences of HPV being a relevant factor in other anogenital cancers as well as head and neck cancers. Most sexually active women become infected with HPV at least once in their lifetime, but less than 10% of women becomes persistently infected, and it is precisely the persistent infection that contributes to the development of cervical cancer. The preventive effect of cervical cancer screening largely depends in the high women participation and coverage; indeed, a large number of cervical cancers diagnoses normally arise among under-screened and unscreened women. Increase in the screening coverage is essential to improve the effectiveness of cervical screening programmes. The main purpose of this PhD project was to solve some of the most relevant problems in the cervical cancer screening programmes, as the increase of cost-effectiveness and the amelioration of the screening coverage. My work was focused on the development and validation of the first Ulisse BioMed S.p.A. product, the HPV Selfy™ test, an innovative PCR-based kit for the direct detection and genotyping of 12 high-risk HPV types (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58 and 59) and 2 possible/probable high-risk (66 and 68), specifically optimized for the analysis of self-collected vaginal specimens. The core of this innovative test is based on high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis, a recently developed technique for fast, high-throughput post-PCR analysis of variance in nucleic acid sequences, that characterizes the amplicons by studying thermal denaturation of double-stranded DNA. Based on this approach and through the design of different HPV type-specific primer pairs and the development of a specific master mix, unique melting peaks in a single fluorescence channel were obtained, allowing the multiple detection and genotyping of 14 HPV types in a single PCR well. Three different clinical studies have been carried out to validate the assay on the vaginal self-collected samples with truly amazing results regarding the assay’s performance, but also for self-sampling acceptability by women. Moreover, data collected in these studies suggest a future possible use of this test for the hard-to-reach women, as an alternative of the conventional clinician-collected sample, in order to increase the cervical cancer screening coverage.
Ključne besede: Human Papillomavirus, HPV test, cervical cancer screening, prevention, diagnostic test, High resolution melting, HRM, genotyping, PCR, Self-sampling, clinical validation.
Objavljeno: 17.06.2020; Ogledov: 598; Prenosov: 14
.pdf Polno besedilo (37,88 MB)

Managing karst in Coastal British Columbia, Canada
Paul Andre Griffiths, 2020, doktorska disertacija

Opis: This thesis provides a detailed description and analysis of the system used for managing karst in the forests of coastal British Columbia (BC), where the major land- use activity is industrial forestry. In 2004, BC shifted from a more prescriptive forest management model (the Forest Practices Code) to a less regulated, results-based approach based primarily on the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). The dissertation examines how this results-based management approach for forest resources has worked – or not worked – with respect to karst. The research focused on the five key realms of an environmental management system as defined by the International Standards Organization (ISO 14001 standard): 1) Legislation and Policy, 2) Planning, 3) Implementation, 4) Checking/Corrective Action, and 5) Management Review. The research also examined the roles of professional reliance (another major foundational element of the FRPA model), karst research, and organizational capacity as external factors which influence on the functioning of the karst management system. A combination of interviews, surveys, document reviews and field observations were used to collect qualitative information relevant to all aspects of the karst management system. This research reveals inadequacies in all five realms of BC’s current karst management framework, including gaps in legislation, a lack of implementation of existing standards and guidelines, and non-existent effectiveness and compliance monitoring. The results suggest that BC’s shift to ‘self-regulation’ has yielded unsatisfactory results so far for karst resources and has hindered progress toward implementing a fully integrated science-based ecosystem approach to karst management in the study area. Professional reliance failures are identified as one of the key factors contributing to a breakdown of the management system for karst. This is the first comprehensive study that examines the systems and processes used for managing karst in coastal BC, and consolidates knowledge for government, industry, and others that wish to study or better understand BC’s approach and methods for managing karst. The findings will be useful for private and public forest sector organizations endeavoring to implement fully-functional and effective systems for managing karst in a forestry context. This information may also have more specific applications for managing karst.
Ključne besede: karst ecosystems, protection and management, legislation, policies, standards and guidelines, environmental degradation, forestry impacts, professional reliance, British Columbia, Canada
Objavljeno: 02.03.2020; Ogledov: 833; Prenosov: 24
.pdf Polno besedilo (136,27 MB)

Dissecting the role of REEP1 in preventing Tau-mediated neurodegeneration in a D.melanogaster Alzheimer's disease model
Alessio Guglielmi, 2019, doktorska disertacija

Opis: Tau is natively an unfolded protein that promotes the assembly and the stability of the axonal microtubules in the central nervous system. Increased formation of Tau protein aggregates has been causatively implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases called tauopathies. In the present study, we used the Drosophila melanogaster system to express the longest isoform of human Tau (2N4R) in the nervous system of adult flies, recreating the main features of the human pathology. Herein, this Tau-mediated neurodegeneration model was used as a platform to perform genetic screenings to identify putative modifiers of Tau toxicity. Our strategy exploited the modulation of genes considered as risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Frontotemporal Dementias and other neurodegenerative diseases by RNA interference in vivo. This approach allowed us to identify a new gene which participates in the neuronal response against Tau induced neurotoxicity in Drosophila: D-Reep1, homologue of human REEP1 gene (h-Reep1). D-Reep1 knockout flies showed no apparent phenotypes in physiological growing and developmental conditions, however, they showed peculiar sensitivity to stress conditions. In addition, D-Reep1 knockout enhanced the neurodegeneration mediated by Tau expression in Drosophila eyes. On the contrary, the overexpression of UAS-D-Reep1 and UAS-h-Reep1 abolished the typical rough eye phenotype induced by the presence of Tau. The Co-expression of D-Reep1 in Tau backgrounds did not alter the phosphorylation pattern of this protein while, the presence of D-Reep1 seemed to prevent the formation of Tau aggregates in vivo. Thus, the data support the idea that D-Reep1 exerts a protective role on Tau induced toxicity which is independent of its phosphorylation status. In this work, I analysed the mechanisms behind the neuroprotective role of D-Reep1 and, in particular, I found that REEP1 is involved in the regulation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) through the PERK-ATF4 cascade within the ER. By the activation of this pathway, the neurotoxic aggregates of Tau are removed from Drosophila neuronal tissues rescuing the normal characteristics of the affected tissues. Evidences also suggest that the activation of autophagy was behind the removal of Tau aggregates, providing new molecular information about the physiological role of D Reep1 in the nervous system.
Ključne besede: AD Alzheimer Disease APP Amyloid precursor protein CNS Central Nervous System DM Drosophila melanogaster HSP Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia LN Lewy’s neurite MT Microtubule MAP Microtubule associated protein MT Microtubule/s MTBD Microtubule binding domain NFT Neurofibrillary tangle NP Neuritic plaques PHF Paired helical filament PS1 Presenilin 1 PS2 Presenilin 2 SPG Spastic Paraplegia ThS Thioflavin S
Objavljeno: 06.12.2019; Ogledov: 910; Prenosov: 38
.pdf Polno besedilo (2,59 MB)

Olena Pliekhova, doktorska disertacija

Opis: This work entitled «Zr/Cu-TiO2 catalysts for photocatalytic water treatment» tackles a problem of tons of dyes discharged everyday mainly from textile industries. This is a huge concern because of dyes persistence, toxicity and potential to the bioaccumulation in living organisms. Here, a small contribution to overall problem is presented. The research work consists of three main parts: Theoretical background, Experimental and Results and discussion. In the Theoretical background chapter the overall problem is identified and discussed. The main water treatment techniques are presented briefly with their advantages and drawbacks. Photocatalysis assisted with TiO2 is shown as an alternative additional technique with its own pros and cons. Further, a cursory overview of TiO2 modification techniques is made and advantages in using copper and zirconium oxides for TiO2 modification are presented. The reason and possible positive effect of using of two oxides simultaneously for TiO2 modification is indicated. Additionally, a positive impact of solar light for overall rate of dyes degradation assisted with TiO2 is discussed. Within the framework of photosensitization effect, the problem of using dyes for assessment of photocatalytic properties of materials under the visible light is touched on. Photothermal methods as possible beneficial techniques for this purpose are proposed. In the Experimental chapter, all experimental techniques used in current research work with the technical details specific for the research work are presented. There are methods of materials preparation, photocatalytic tests under different conditions and varying model pollutants, and physico-chemical characterization techniques. The Results and discussion chapter is divided by three subchapters. Each chapter is dedicated to one hypothesis, which was checked and confirmed or disproved. The first hypothesis is about beneficial loading of copper and zirconium oxides to TiO2. After numerous experiments held, it was concluded that the pair of copper and zirconium oxides is beneficial for simultaneous application on TiO2 surface to promote its performance. The second subchapter is about zirconium distribution and its impact on the activity of studied materials towards the antraquinone dye Reactive Blue 19. Different techniques such as XRD, TEM, EXAFS and many others were used in order to characterize the materials and to understand the details of the processes taking place. The existence of upper limit of copper oxide loading for its beneficial effect on TiO2 performance was demonstrated. It was observed that zirconium species loading leads to improvement in performance of materials with higher copper loading, which otherwise lowers activity of TiO2 – this is in case when copper only above its optimal level is present. It was concluded that zirconium oxide containing species occupy rutile surface sites in mixed phase TiO2 and this way beneficially influence the material performance towards the dye removal. The third subchapter is about the visible light TiO2 assisted dye degradation. It is well known that photosensitization mechanism of dye degradation appears under the visible and as a consequence under the solar light irradiation. This leads to the overall enhancement of dyes degradation, which is positive and may be used as a benefit for faster pollutant destruction. However, this fact leads to mishmash in the determination of real photocatalytic activity of materials towards the dye. It was hypothesized that the impact of photosensitization mechanism on the overall material performance against Reactive blue 19 dye (RB19) descends with the dye concentration lowering. Thermal lens spectrometry (TLS) which is sensitive to chemicals at low concentrations was used for hypothesis evaluation. To summarize the research work achievements, the conclusions of the thesis are given at the end.
Ključne besede: titanium dioxide, photocatalysis, zirconium/copper, surface modification, water treatment, dyes
Objavljeno: 03.12.2019; Ogledov: 1106; Prenosov: 38
.pdf Polno besedilo (3,18 MB)

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