ResearchPad - physics https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Crystal structure of <i>Thermus thermophilus</i> methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase and determinants of thermostability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13865 The elucidation of mechanisms behind the thermostability of proteins is extremely important both from the theoretical and applied perspective. Here we report the crystal structure of methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (MTHFD) from Thermus thermophilus HB8, a thermophilic model organism. Molecular dynamics trajectory analysis of this protein at different temperatures (303 K, 333 K and 363 K) was compared with homologous proteins from the less temperature resistant organism Thermoplasma acidophilum and the mesophilic organism Acinetobacter baumannii using several data reduction techniques like principal component analysis (PCA), residue interaction network (RIN) analysis and rotamer analysis. These methods enabled the determination of important residues for the thermostability of this enzyme. The description of rotamer distributions by Gini coefficients and Kullback–Leibler (KL) divergence both revealed significant correlations with temperature. The emerging view seems to indicate that a static salt bridge/charged residue network plays a fundamental role in the temperature resistance of Thermus thermophilus MTHFD by enhancing both electrostatic interactions and entropic energy dispersion. Furthermore, this analysis uncovered a relationship between residue mutations and evolutionary pressure acting on thermophilic organisms and thus could be of use for the design of future thermostable enzymes.

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<![CDATA[Insight into the protein solubility driving forces with neural attention]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13832 The solubility of proteins is a crucial biophysical aspect when it comes to understanding many human diseases and to improve the industrial processes for protein production. Due to its relevance, computational methods have been devised in order to study and possibly optimize the solubility of proteins. In this work we apply a deep-learning technique, called neural attention to predict protein solubility while “opening” the model itself to interpretability, even though Machine Learning models are usually considered black boxes. Thank to the attention mechanism, we show that i) our model implicitly learns complex patterns related to emergent, protein folding-related, aspects such as to recognize β-amyloidosis regions and that ii) the N-and C-termini are the regions with the highes signal fro solubility prediction. When it comes to enhancing the solubility of proteins, we, for the first time, propose to investigate the synergistic effects of tandem mutations instead of “single” mutations, suggesting that this could minimize the number of required proposed mutations.

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<![CDATA[Special footwear designed for pregnant women and its effect on kinematic gait parameters during pregnancy and postpartum period]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13821 During pregnancy, an array of changes occurs in women body to enable the growth and development of the future baby and the consequent delivery. These changes are reflected in the range of motion of trunk, pelvis, lower limbs and other body segments, affect the locomotion and some of these changes may persist to the postpartum period. The aim of this study was to describe the changes affecting the gait during pregnancy and to determine the effect of tested footwear on kinematic gait characteristics during pregnancy as previous studies indicate that special orthopaedic insoles and footwear might be useful in prevention of the common musculoskeletal pain and discomfort related to pregnancy. Participants from the control group (n = 18), without any intervention, and the experimental group (n = 23), which was wearing the tested shoes, were measured at their 14, 28 and 37 gestational weeks and 28 weeks postpartum to capture the complete pregnancy-related changes in gait. The gait 3D kinematic data were obtained using Simi Motion System. The differences between the control and experimental group at the first data collection session in most of the analysed variables, as well as relatively high standard deviations of analysed variables indicate large individual differences in the gait pattern. The effect of tested footwear on kinematic gait pattern changes may be explained by its preventive effect against the foot arches falling. In the control group, changes associated previously with the foot arches falling and hindfoot hyperpronation were observed during advanced phases of pregnancy and postpartum, e.g. increase in knee flexion or increase in spinal curvature. For the comprehensive evaluation of the tested footwear on pregnancy gait pattern, future studies combining the kinematic and dynamic plantographic methods are needed.

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<![CDATA[Mechanical characterization of PVA hydrogels’ rate-dependent response using multi-axial loading]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13820 The time-dependent properties of rubber-like synthesized and biological materials are crucial for their applications. Currently, this behavior is mainly measured using axial tensile test, compression test, or indentation. Limited studies performed on using multi-axial loading measurements of time-dependent material behavior exist in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the viscoelastic response of rubber-like materials under multi-axial loading using cavity expansion and relaxation tests. The tests were performed on PVA hydrogel specimens. Three hyperelasitc models and one term Prony series were used to characterize the viscoelastic response of the hydrogels. Finite element (FE) simulations were performed to verify the validity of the calibrated material coefficients by reproducing the experimental results. The excellent agreement between the experimental, analytical and numerical data proves the capability of the cavity expansion technique to measure the time-dependent behavior of viscoelastic materials.

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<![CDATA[Instigation of indigenous thermophilic bacterial consortia for enhanced oil recovery from high temperature oil reservoirs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13812 The purpose of the study involves the development of an anaerobic, thermophilic microbial consortium TERIK from the high temperature reservoir of Gujarat for enhance oil recovery. To isolate indigenous microbial consortia, anaerobic baltch media were prepared and inoculated with the formation water; incubated at 65°C for 10 days. Further, the microbial metabolites were analyzed by gas chromatography, FTIR and surface tension. The efficiency of isolated consortia towards enhancing oil recovery was analyzed through core flood assay. The novelty of studied consortia was that, it produces biomass (600 mg/l), bio-surfactant (325 mg/l), and volatile fatty acids (250 mg/l) at 65°C in the span of 10 days, that are adequate to alter the surface tension (70 to 34 mNm -1) and sweep efficiency of zones facilitating the displacement of oil. TERIK was identified as Clostridium sp. The FTIR spectra of biosurfactant indicate the presence of N-H stretch, amides and polysaccharide. A core flooding assay was designed to explore the potential of TERIK towards enhancing oil recovery. The results showed an effective reduction in permeability at residual oil saturation from 2.14 ± 0.1 to 1.39 ± 0.05 mD and 19% incremental oil recovery.

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<![CDATA[Examination of the ocean as a source for atmospheric microplastics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13804 Global plastic litter pollution has been increasing alongside demand since plastic products gained commercial popularity in the 1930’s. Current plastic pollutant research has generally assumed that once plastics enter the ocean they are there to stay, retained permanently within the ocean currents, biota or sediment until eventual deposition on the sea floor or become washed up onto the beach. In contrast to this, we suggest it appears that some plastic particles could be leaving the sea and entering the atmosphere along with sea salt, bacteria, virus’ and algae. This occurs via the process of bubble burst ejection and wave action, for example from strong wind or sea state turbulence. In this manuscript we review evidence from the existing literature which is relevant to this theory and follow this with a pilot study which analyses microplastics (MP) in sea spray. Here we show first evidence of MP particles, analysed by μRaman, in marine boundary layer air samples on the French Atlantic coast during both onshore (average of 2.9MP/m3) and offshore (average of 9.6MP/m3) winds. Notably, during sampling, the convergence of sea breeze meant our samples were dominated by sea spray, increasing our capacity to sample MPs if they were released from the sea. Our results indicate a potential for MPs to be released from the marine environment into the atmosphere by sea-spray giving a globally extrapolated figure of 136000 ton/yr blowing on shore.

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<![CDATA[Dynamics of pattern formation and emergence of swarming in <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11937 Many animals collectively form complex patterns to tackle environmental difficulties. Several biological and physical factors, such as animal motility, population densities, and chemical cues, play significant roles in this process. However, very little is known about how sensory information interplays with these factors and controls the dynamics of pattern formation. Here, we study the direct relation between oxygen sensing, pattern formation, and emergence of swarming in active Caenorhabditis elegans aggregates. We find that when thousands of animals gather on food, bacteria-mediated decrease in oxygen level slows down the animals and triggers motility-induced phase separation. Three coupled factors—bacterial accumulation, aerotaxis, and population density—act together and control the entire dynamics. Furthermore, we find that biofilm-forming bacterial lawns including Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strongly alter the collective dynamics due to the limited diffusibility of bacteria. Additionally, our theoretical model captures behavioral differences resulting from genetic variations and oxygen sensitivity.

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<![CDATA[Extending thermotolerance to tomato seedlings by inoculation with SA1 isolate of <i>Bacillus cereus</i> and comparison with exogenous humic acid application]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11229 Heat stress is one of the major abiotic stresses that impair plant growth and crop productivity. Plant growth-promoting endophytic bacteria (PGPEB) and humic acid (HA) are used as bio-stimulants and ecofriendly approaches to improve agriculture crop production and counteract the negative effects of heat stress. Current study aimed to analyze the effect of thermotolerant SA1 an isolate of Bacillus cereus and HA on tomato seedlings. The results showed that combine application of SA1+HA significantly improved the biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence of tomato plants under normal and heat stress conditions. Heat stress increased abscisic acid (ABA) and reduced salicylic acid (SA) content; however, combined application of SA1+HA markedly reduced ABA and increased SA. Antioxidant enzymes activities revealed that SA1 and HA treated plants exhibited increased levels of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and reduced glutathione (GSH). In addition, heat stress markedly reduced the amino acid contents; however, the amino acids were increased with co-application of SA1+HA. Similarly, inductively-coupled plasma mass-spectrometry results showed that plants treated with SA1+HA exhibited significantly higher iron (Fe+), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K+) uptake during heat stress. Heat stress increased the relative expression of SlWRKY33b and autophagy-related (SlATG5) genes, whereas co-application of SA1+HA augmented the heat stress response and reduced SlWRKY33b and SlATG5 expression. The heat stress-responsive transcription factor (SlHsfA1a) and high-affinity potassium transporter (SlHKT1) were upregulated in SA1+HA-treated plants. In conclusion, current findings suggest that co-application with SA1+HA can be used for the mitigation of heat stress damage in tomato plants and can be commercialized as a biofertilizer.

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<![CDATA[Influence of Different Types of Root Canal Irrigation Regimen on Resin-based Sealer Penetration and Pushout Bond Strength]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_10528 Introduction

The main objective of root canal treatment is to eliminate the micro-organism from the root canal system and three-dimensional obturation. The proper cleaning and shaping can be accomplished only by using appropriate instruments and effective irrigants during the root canal treatment.

Aim

To evaluate the influence of three different final irrigation regimen on depth of penetration of root canal sealers and push-out bond strength of obturation material.

Materials and methods

Thirty-six extracted single-rooted mandibular premolar human teeth with straight canals were decoronated and instrumented according to groups. Group I: Root canals were irrigated with 3% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), then irradiated with 980 nm diode laser (n = 12), Group II: Root canals were irrigated with 3% NaOCl, followed by 17% ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) (n = 12), Group III: Root canals were irrigated with 3% NaOCl, followed by 10% citric acid (n = 12). In each sample, single cone obturation was done with gutta-percha using AH plus sealer incorporated with rhodamine B dye. After seven days coronal, middle and apical thin cross sections were made for evaluation of dentinal tubule sealer penetration depth and pushout bond strength using confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) and universal testing machine, respectively. Statistical analysis among the three groups was done by using Kruskal-Wallis and post hoc test.

Results

Mean tubular penetration depth between diode laser (136.57 ± 48 µm), EDTA (130.56 ± 53 µm) and citric acid (113.37 ± 34 µm; P < 0.05) showed statistically highly significant results. Pushout bond strength did not differ significantly between diode laser (1.21 ± 0.48 Mpa), EDTA (1.05 ± 0.45 Mpa) and citric acid (0.93 ± 0.44 Mpa; P > 0.05).

Conclusion

Mean tubular penetration depth of AH plus sealer was better in diode laser than in EDTA and citric acid. Average push-out bond strength of obturation material did not differ significantly between diode laser, EDTA and citric acid.

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<![CDATA[The Language of Innovation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_10245 Predicting innovation is a peculiar problem in data science. Following its definition, an innovation is always a never-seen-before event, leaving no room for traditional supervised learning approaches. Here we propose a strategy to address the problem in the context of innovative patents, by defining innovations as never-seen-before associations of technologies and exploiting self-supervised learning techniques. We think of technological codes present in patents as a vocabulary and the whole technological corpus as written in a specific, evolving language. We leverage such structure with techniques borrowed from Natural Language Processing by embedding technologies in a high dimensional euclidean space where relative positions are representative of learned semantics. Proximity in this space is an effective predictor of specific innovation events, that outperforms a wide range of standard link-prediction metrics. The success of patented innovations follows a complex dynamics characterized by different patterns which we analyze in details with specific examples. The methods proposed in this paper provide a completely new way of understanding and forecasting innovation, by tackling it from a revealing perspective and opening interesting scenarios for a number of applications and further analytic approaches.

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<![CDATA[Thalamic, cortical, and amygdala involvement in the processing of a natural sound cue of danger]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7872 When others stop and silence ensues, animals respond as if threatened. This study highlights the brain areas involved in listening to the dangerous silence.

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<![CDATA[Right ventricular pressure overload directly affects left ventricular torsion mechanics in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8470 This study examined the impact of septal flattening on left ventricular (LV) torsion in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension (PH). Fifty-two patients with proven precapillary PH and 13 healthy controls were included. Ventricular function was assessed including 4D-measurements, tissue velocity imaging, and speckle tracking analysis. Increased eccentricity index (1.39 vs. 1.08, p<0.001), systolic pulmonary artery pressure (64 vs. 29mmHg, p<0.001) and right ventricular Tei index (0.55 vs. 0.28, p = 0.007), and reduced tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (19.0 vs. 26.5mm, p<0.001) were detected in PH patients as compared to controls. With increasing eccentricity of left ventricle, LV torsion was both decreased and delayed. Torsion rate paralleled this pattern of change during systole, but not during diastole. In conclusion, right ventricular pressure overload directly affects LV torsion mechanics. The echocardiographic methodology applied provides novel insights in the interrelation of right- and left ventricular function.

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<![CDATA[The Rho-associated kinase inhibitor fasudil can replace Y-27632 for use in human pluripotent stem cell research]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7829 Poor survival of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) following freezing, thawing, or passaging hinders the maintenance and differentiation of stem cells. Rho-associated kinases (ROCKs) play a crucial role in hPSC survival. To date, a typical ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, has been the primary agent used in hPSC research. Here, we report that another ROCK inhibitor, fasudil, can be used as an alternative and is cheaper than Y-27632. It increased hPSC growth following thawing and passaging, like Y-27632, and did not affect pluripotency, differentiation ability, and chromosome integrity. Furthermore, fasudil promoted retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) differentiation and the survival of neural crest cells (NCCs) during differentiation. It was also useful for single-cell passaging of hPSCs and during aggregation. These findings suggest that fasudil can replace Y-27632 for use in stem research.

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<![CDATA[ArdC, a ssDNA-binding protein with a metalloprotease domain, overpasses the recipient <i>hsdRMS</i> restriction system broadening conjugation host range]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7739 Horizontal gene transfer is the main mechanism by which bacteria acquire and disseminate new traits, such as antibiotic resistance genes, that allow adaptation and evolution. Here we identified a gene, ardC, that enables a plasmid to increase its conjugative host range, and thus positively contributes to plasmid fitness. The crystal structure of the antirestriction protein ArdC revealed a fold different from other antirestriction proteins. Our results have wide implications for understanding how a gene enlarges the environments a plasmid can colonize and point to new targets to harness the bacterial DNA uptake control.

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<![CDATA[Medusa: Software to build and analyze ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7734 Uncertainty in the structure and parameters of networks is ubiquitous across computational biology. In constraint-based reconstruction and analysis of metabolic networks, this uncertainty is present both during the reconstruction of networks and in simulations performed with them. Here, we present Medusa, a Python package for the generation and analysis of ensembles of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions. Medusa builds on the COBRApy package for constraint-based reconstruction and analysis by compressing a set of models into a compact ensemble object, providing functions for the generation of ensembles using experimental data, and extending constraint-based analyses to ensemble scale. We demonstrate how Medusa can be used to generate ensembles and perform ensemble simulations, and how machine learning can be used in conjunction with Medusa to guide the curation of genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions. Medusa is available under the permissive MIT license from the Python Packaging Index (https://pypi.org) and from github (https://github.com/opencobra/Medusa), and comprehensive documentation is available at https://medusa.readthedocs.io/en/latest.

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<![CDATA[Nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of purple sweet corn juice before and after boiling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7720 Sweet corn juice is becoming increasingly popular in China. In order to provide valuable health-related information to consumers, the nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of raw and boiled purple sweet corn juices were herein investigated. Sugars, antinutrients, total free phenols, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity were analyzed by conventional chemical methods. The viscosity and stability of juices were determined by Ubbelohde viscosity meter and centrifugation, respectively. Boiling process could elevate viscosity, stability and sugar content, and reduce antinutrients, total free phenols, anthocyanins, and antioxidant activity in corn juice. In addition, short time boiling efficiently reduced the degradation of anthocyanins during subsequent refrigeration. The content of amino acids, vitamin B1/B2 and E were detected by High Performance Liquid Chromatography. Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry was used for the analysis of fatty acids and aroma compounds. Several aroma compounds not previously reported in corn were identified, including 1-heptanol, 2-methyl-2-butenal, (Z)-3-nonen-1-ol, 3-ethyl-2-methyl-1,3-hexadiene, and 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)phenol. Interestingly, the boiling process had no apparent effect on the amino acids profile, but it caused a 45.8% loss of fatty acids in the juice by promoting the retention of fatty acids in the corn residue. These results provide detailed information that could be used for increasing consumers’ knowledge of sweet corn juice, further development of sweet corn juice by food producers, and maize breeding programs.

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<![CDATA[Image-quality metric system for color filter array evaluation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7704 A modern color filter array (CFA) output is rendered into the final output image using a demosaicing algorithm. During this process, the rendered image is affected by optical and carrier cross talk of the CFA pattern and demosaicing algorithm. Although many CFA patterns have been proposed thus far, an image-quality (IQ) evaluation system capable of comprehensively evaluating the IQ of each CFA pattern has yet to be developed, although IQ evaluation items using local characteristics or specific domain have been created. Hence, we present an IQ metric system to evaluate the IQ performance of CFA patterns. The proposed CFA evaluation system includes proposed metrics such as the moiré robustness using the experimentally determined moiré starting point (MSP) and achromatic reproduction (AR) error, as well as existing metrics such as color accuracy using CIELAB, a color reproduction error using spatial CIELAB, structural information using the structure similarity, the image contrast based on MTF50, structural and color distortion using the mean deviation similarity index (MDSI), and perceptual similarity using Haar wavelet-based perceptual similarity index (HaarPSI). Through our experiment, we confirmed that the proposed CFA evaluation system can assess the IQ for an existing CFA. Moreover, the proposed system can be used to design or evaluate new CFAs by automatically checking the individual performance for the metrics used.

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<![CDATA[Multipurpose chemical liquid sensing applications by microwave approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7700 In this work, a novel sensor based on printed circuit board (PCB) microstrip rectangular patch antenna is proposed to detect different ratios of ethanol alcohol in wines and isopropyl alcohol in disinfectants. The proposed sensor was designed by finite integration technique (FIT) based high-frequency electromagnetic solver (CST) and was fabricated by Proto Mat E33 machine. To implement the numerical investigations, dielectric properties of the samples were first measured by a dielectric probe kit then uploaded into the simulation program. Results showed a linear shifting in the resonant frequency of the sensor when the dielectric constant of the samples were changed due to different concentrations of ethanol alcohol and isopropyl alcohol. A good agreement was observed between the calculated and measured results, emphasizing the usability of dielectric behavior as an input sensing agent. It was concluded that the proposed sensor is viable for multipurpose chemical sensing applications.

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<![CDATA[Effective coupling of rapid freeze-quench to high-frequency electron paramagnetic resonance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7690 We report an easy, efficient and reproducible way to prepare Rapid-Freeze-Quench samples in sub-millimeter capillaries and load these into the probe head of a 275 GHz Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectrometer. Kinetic data obtained for the binding reaction of azide to myoglobin demonstrate the feasibility of the method for high-frequency EPR. Experiments on the same samples at 9.5 GHz show that only a single series of Rapid-Freeze-Quench samples is required for studies at multiple microwave frequencies.

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<![CDATA[Concept of an artificial muscle design on polypyrrole nanofiber scaffolds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8464 Here we present the synthesis and characterization of two new conducting materials having a high electro-chemo-mechanical activity for possible applications as artificial muscles or soft smart actuators in biomimetic structures. Glucose-gelatin nanofiber scaffolds (CFS) were coated with polypyrrole (PPy) first by chemical polymerization followed by electrochemical polymerization doped with dodecylbenzensulfonate (DBS-) forming CFS-PPy/DBS films, or with trifluoromethanesulfonate (CF3SO3-, TF) giving CFS-PPy/TF films. The composition, electronic and ionic conductivity of the materials were determined using different techniques. The electro-chemo-mechanical characterization of the films was carried out by cyclic voltammetry and square wave potential steps in bis(trifluoromethane)sulfonimide lithium solutions of propylene carbonate (LiTFSI-PC). Linear actuation of the CFS-PPy/DBS material exhibited 20% of strain variation with a stress of 0.14 MPa, rather similar to skeletal muscles. After 1000 cycles, the creeping effect was as low as 0,2% having a good long-term stability showing a strain variation per cycle of -1.8% (after 1000 cycles). Those material properties are excellent for future technological applications as artificial muscles, batteries, smart membranes, and so on.

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