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Federica Papi, 2016, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: The karst ecosystem shows heterogeneity and variability of geology, hydrology, morphology and ecology in space and time. Chemical composition of water in karst plays a crucial role not only in dissolution of karst rocks and deposition but also in ecological processes. The heterogeneous nature of karst aquifers leads to difficulties in predicting groundwater flow and contaminant transport direction and travel times. For its position at the top of karst, epikarst represents the interface between surface and underground. Epikarst ecology, biodiversity and fauna have rarely been systematically studied. The typical absence of enterable passages makes necessary an indirect approach. In this research, epikarst biodiversity in relation to environmental conditions was studied in seven Alpine and Pre-Alpine caves, located at different altitudes, in Slovenia and in Italy: Snežna jama na planini Arto (1556 m a.s.l.), Jama pod Babjim zobom (860 m a.s.l.), Zadlaška jama (300 m a.s.l.) and Pološka jama (500 m a.s.l.), in Slovenian Alps and Pre-alps, and Grotta A del Ponte di Veja (600 m a.s.l.), Covolo della Croce (875 m a.s.l.) and Grotta di Roverè Mille (1005 m a.s.l.) in Lessinian Massif. In these caves, percolating water was monthly monitored for fauna in the period of one year. Temperature, discharge, conductivity and pH were measured at the same time, and water samples for the laboratory analyses of total hardness, concentrations of various ions (calcium, chlorine, nitrate, sulphate and phosphate) and dissolved organic carbon were taken. 66 aquatic and terrestrial, mostly hypogean, species were found. Aquatic fauna was dominant in all caves, with the exception of Covolo della Croce. Caves located at higher elevations harbour less diverse communities. No animals were found when discharge was very low and in correspondence of moonmilk formations. The most abundant and diverse group was Copepoda, with thirteen different species and 776 individuals at different maturity stadia, totally representing 61% of the community (between two and three copepod species per cave in Slovenia and between one and six per cave in Italy). The 62% of copepod species were stygobionts. Some copepod species (e.g. Speocyclops infernus) have wide ecological tolerance to environmental variables, other have more restricted tolerances (e.g. Lessinocamptus insoletus). With regard of copepods, there was a good agreement between the number of observed species and the total number of predicted species, confirming that the sampling method was appropriate and sampling complete. Correlations between the copepod community structure and measured parameters, obtained with Pearson correlation coefficient and principal component analysis (PCA) show different patterns. Presence of copepods was positively correlated with conductivity and dissolved organic carbon in Grotta di Roverè Mille, and with carbonate and nitrate in Pološka jama. In other caves not so high correlations were found between copepod species and measured parameters and between pairs of species. Investigations of the Alpine and Pre-alpine epikarst fauna can help to understand better the ecology of the epikarst fauna and its roles within the large range of different shallow subterranean habitats.
Keywords: Epikarst, Alpine and Pre-Alpine caves, percolating water, speleobiology, fauna.
Published in RUNG: 31.08.2016; Views: 5663; Downloads: 285
.pdf Full text (2,00 MB)

Solar-driven photocatalytic treatment of diclofenac using immobilized TiO2-based zeolite composites
Marin Kovacic, Subhan Salaeh, Hrvoje Kušić, Andraz Suligoj, Marko Kete, Mattia Fanetti, Urška Lavrenčič Štangar, Dionysios D. Dionysiou, Ana Lončarić Božić, 2016, original scientific article

Abstract: The study is aimed at evaluating the potential of immobilized TiO2-based zeolite composite for solar-driven photocatalytic water treatment. In that purpose, TiO2-iron-exchanged zeolite (FeZ) composite was prepared using commercial Aeroxide TiO2 P25 and iron-exchanged zeolite of ZSM5 type, FeZ. The activity of TiO2-FeZ, immobilized on glass support, was evaluated under solar irradiation for removal of diclofenac (DCF) in water. TiO2-FeZ immobilized in a form of thin film was characterized for its morphology, structure, and composition using scanning electron microscopy/energydispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX). Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) was used to determine potential changes in band gaps of prepared TiO2-FeZ in comparison to pure TiO2. The influence of pH, concentration of hydrogen peroxide, FeZ wt% within the composite, and photocatalyst dosage on DCF removal and conversion efficiency by solar/ TiO2-FeZ/H2O2 process was investigated. TiO2-FeZ demonstrated higher photocatalytic activity than pure TiO2 under solar irradiation in acidic conditions and presence of H2O2.
Keywords: Photocatalysis, Thin films, TiO2-FeZ, Solar irradiation, Diclofenac, Water Treatment
Published in RUNG: 22.07.2016; Views: 6437; Downloads: 0
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Highly Sensitive Determination of Pyoverdine in Cloud Water by HPLC-Thermal Lens Spectrometry
Leja Goljat, Mitja Martelanc, Virginie Vinatier, Anne-Marie Delort, Mladen Franko, 2016, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: New method for pyoverdine and Fe(III)-pyoverdine detection was developed. Two isomers of pyoverdine and two isomers of Fe(III)-pyoverdine were separated isocraticaly on reversed-phase (RP)-C18 chromatograhic column and detected by DAD, FLD and TLS. HPLC-TLS method enables separation and determination of pyoverdine and Fe(III)-pyoverdine in a single run and excels in superior sensitivities when compared to conventional HPLC-DAD system.
Keywords: Pyoverdine, Fe(III)-pyoverdine, cloud water, high-performance liquid chromatography, thermal lens spectrometry
Published in RUNG: 04.07.2016; Views: 5905; Downloads: 0

Measurement of the water-Cherenkov detector response to inclined muons using an RPC hodoscope
Pedro Assis, Andrej Filipčič, Gašper Kukec Mezek, Ahmed Saleh, Samo Stanič, Marta Trini, Darko Veberič, Serguei Vorobiov, Lili Yang, Danilo Zavrtanik, Marko Zavrtanik, 2015, published scientific conference contribution

Abstract: The Pierre Auger Observatory operates a hybrid detector composed of a Fluorescence Detector and a Surface Detector array. Water-Cherenkov detectors (WCD) are the building blocks of the array and as such play a key role in the detection of secondary particles at the ground. A good knowledge of the detector response is of paramount importance to lower systematic uncertainties and thus to increase the capability of the experiment in determining the muon content of the extensive air showers with a higher precision. In this work we report on a detailed study of the detector response to single muons as a function of their trajectories in the WCD. A dedicated Resistive Plate Chambers (RPC) hodoscope was built and installed around one of the detectors. The hodoscope is formed by two stand-alone low gas flux segmented RPC detectors with the test water-Cherenkov detector placed in between. The segmentation of the RPC detectors is of the order of 10 cm. The hodoscope is used to trigger and select single muon events in different geometries. The signal recorded in the water-Cherenkov detector and performance estimators were studied as a function of the trajectories of the muons and compared with a dedicated simulation. An agreement at the percent level was found, showing that the simulation correctly describes the tank response.
Keywords: Pierre Auger Observatory, Water-Cherenkov detectors, detector calibration, inclined cosmic ray muons, Resistive Plate Chambers (RPC) hodoscope
Published in RUNG: 03.03.2016; Views: 5075; Downloads: 198
.pdf Full text (1,27 MB)

Biological role of Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV) in winegrowing region of Northern Primorska
Anastazija Jež Krebelj, 2015, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) represent one of the most important crops in the world in terms of both production and economic importance. Grapevines are exposed to many types of abiotic stresses (e.g., drought, flooding, low and high temperature, salinity) and biotic stresses (e.g., viruses, bacteria, phytoplasma, fungal disease) during their life-cycle. Therefore, grapevines elicit the appropriate defence mechanisms. In the first part of this study, we monitored the occurrence of Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV) infection, which causes progressive decline of infected grapevines and lowers their yield. Grapevines were also tested for the presence of other viruses important for grapevines: Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV), Grapevine leafroll associated virus (GLRaV)-1, -2, -3, -4, -9, Grapevine virus A (GVA), Grapevine fleck virus (GFkV) in this study; and by Cigoj (2015): Grapevine virus B (GVB), Tomato black ring virus (TBRV), Grapevine chrome mosaic virus (GCMV), Tomato ringspot virus (ToRSV), Raspberry ringspot virus (RpRSV), Strawberry latent ringspot virus (SLRSV), and Tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV). Using ELISA, the presence of the following grapevine viruses were detected: GFLV, (GFkV), (GVA), and Grapevine leafroll associated viruses- 1, -2, -3,. A wide range of GFLV symptoms caused by grapevine fanleaf disease in naturally infected vineyards were observed, including leaf, shoot and cluster malformations and leaf yellowing. GFLV is disseminated by its biological vector X. index, and through vegetative propagation of virus-infected material. The spread of GFLV in the vineyards was investigated here. We constructed a spatio-temporal study of the GFLV titres during the seasons and throughout the grapevine, for its distribution in different grapevine organs through the season. This study shows that young leaves have high virus titres through the whole vegetative period, while mature leaves, tendrils and flower/ berry clusters only have high titres at the beginning of the vegetative period. The seeds retain high virus titres after berry colouring. Phloem scrapings were shown to contain lower virus titres during the vegetative period, with an increase outside and at the beginning of the vegetative period. In flower/ berry clusters, mature leaves and tendrils, the GFLV titres decrease significantly over the vegetative period. Additionally, different GFLV titres were shown in five different cultivars, and different combinations of mixed infections with other grapevine viruses influenced the GFLV titre differently. Finally, correlation between the magnitude of symptom appearance and GFLV titres was analysed. Grapevines adapt to abiotic stresses and biotic stresses by the expression of a wide range of stress-responsive genes, which are thought to have key roles in stress tolerance and survival. SWP of the infected grapevines through the season was lower than SWP measured for healthy grapevines. For both seasons, there were significant differences in SWP measurements between healthy and GFLV-infected grapevines of ‘Schioppettino’ trained using the single Guyot training system. SWP and RHC of the GFLV-infected grapevines were reduced compared to the healthy controls. The water deficit triggered the production of ABA, which induced the expression of the stress-related gene RD22. Additionally, this study shows that the WRKY gene that is involved in the ABA signalling network is regulated by water deficit. Plant defence responses to water stress also included up-regulation of the F3H2 and LDOX genes, which are involved in anthocyanins synthesis. GFLV infection significant impacted upon the expression of genes involves in ABA biosynthesis, as NCED1 and NCED2, and upon two genes involved in the early stages of anthocyanins synthesis, as CHS2 and F3H1. We also showed that the combination of grapevine cultivar, training system, and environmental conditions impacts on gene expression
Keywords: Vitis vinifera L., grapevine, Grapevine fanleaf virus, GFLV, grapevine disease, virus titre, distribution, fluctuation, ELISA, qPCR, ABA, drought, water status, water deficit, SWP, RHC, anthocyanins, gene expression
Published in RUNG: 27.07.2015; Views: 8727; Downloads: 422
.pdf Full text (4,19 MB)

Do we really need water models in full, when it comes to studies of biopolymer conformations?
Artem Badasyan, 2014, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: water, biopolymers, cold denaturation
Published in RUNG: 22.01.2015; Views: 5525; Downloads: 33
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