ResearchPad - vaporization Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of purple sweet corn juice before and after boiling]]> 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.

<![CDATA[Release of aluminium and thallium ions from uncoated food contact materials made of aluminium alloys into food and food simulant]]>

In order to investigate the release of aluminium ions from food contact materials, three different types of uncoated aluminium menu trays for single use were tested with the foodstuffs sauerkraut juice, apple sauce and tomato puree, as well as with the food simulants 5 g/L citric acid solution and artificial tap water. To mimic a consumer relevant exposure scenario, the aluminium trays were studied using time and temperature gradients according to the Cook & Chill method, also taking into account storage time at elevated temperatures during the delivery period. The release of aluminium was found to exceed the specific release limit (SRL) of 5 mg aluminium per kilogram of food specified by the Council of Europe by up to six times. Furthermore, a release of thallium was also detected unexpectedly.

Kinetic studies showed a comparable behaviour in the release of aluminium, manganese and vanadium as components of the aluminium alloy itself. In contrast, thallium could be identified as a surface contaminant or impurity because of an entirely different kinetic curve. Kinetic studies also allowed activation energy calculations.

Additional camping saucepans were tested as an article for repeated use. In three subsequent release experiments with citric acid (5 g/L), artificial tap water and tomato puree as benchmark foodstuffs, the results were comparable to those of the uncoated wrought alloy aluminium trays.

<![CDATA[An Analysis of Precipitation Isotope Distributions across Namibia Using Historical Data]]>

Global precipitation isoscapes based on the Global Network for Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) network are an important toolset that aid our understanding of global hydrologic cycles. Although the GNIP database is instrumental in developing global isoscapes, data coverage in some regions of hydrological interest (e.g., drylands) is low or non-existent thus the accuracy and relevance of global isoscapes to these regions is debatable. Capitalizing on existing literature isotope data, we generated rainfall isoscapes for Namibia (dryland) using the cokriging method and compared it to a globally fitted isoscape (GFI) downscaled to country level. Results showed weak correlation between observed and predicted isotope values in the GFI model (r2 < 0.20) while the cokriging isoscape showed stronger correlation (r2 = 0.67). The general trend of the local cokriging isoscape is consistent with synoptic weather systems (i.e., influences from Atlantic Ocean maritime vapour, Indian Ocean maritime vapour, Zaire Air Boundary, the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Tropical Temperate Troughs) and topography affecting the region. However, because we used the unweighted approach in this method, due to data scarcity, the absolute values could be improved in future studies. A comparison of local meteoric water lines (LMWL) constructed from the cokriging and GFI suggested that the GFI model still reflects the global average even when downscaled. The cokriging LMWL was however more consistent with expectations for an arid environment. The results indicate that although not ideal, for data deficient regions such as many drylands, the unweighted cokriging approach using historical local data can be an alternative approach to modelling rainfall isoscapes that are more relevant to the local conditions compared to using downscaled global isoscapes.

<![CDATA[Application of the PJ and NPS evaporation duct models over the South China Sea (SCS) in winter]]>

The detection of duct height has a significant effect on marine radar or wireless apparatus applications. The paper presents two models to verify the adaptation of evaporation duct models in the SCS in winter. A meteorological gradient instrument used to measure evaporation ducts was fabricated using hydrological and meteorological sensors at different heights. An experiment on the adaptive characteristics of evaporation duct models was carried out over the SCS. The heights of the evaporation ducts were measured by means of log-linear fit, Paulus-Jeske (PJ) and Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) models. The results showed that NPS model offered significant advantages in stability compared with the PJ model. According the collected data computed by the NPS model, the mean deviation (MD) was -1.7 m, and the Standard Deviation (STD) of the MD was 0.8 m compared with the true value. The NPS model may be more suitable for estimating the evaporation duct height in the SCS in winter due to its simpler system characteristics compared with meteorological gradient instruments.

<![CDATA[Estimations of evapotranspiration in an age sequence of Eucalyptus plantations in subtropical China]]>

Eucalyptus species are widely planted for reforestation in subtropical China. However, the effects of Eucalyptus plantations on the regional water use remain poorly understood. In an age sequence of 2-, 4- and 6-year-old Eucalyptus plantations, the tree water use and soil evaporation were examined by linking model estimations and field observations. Results showed that annual evapotranspiration of each age sequence Eucalyptus plantations was 876.7, 944.1 and 1000.7 mm, respectively, accounting for 49.81%, 53.64% and 56.86% of the annual rainfall. In addition, annual soil evaporations of 2-, 4- and 6-year-old were 318.6, 336.1, and 248.7 mm of the respective Eucalyptus plantations. Our results demonstrated that Eucalyptus plantations would potentially reduce water availability due to high evapotranspiration in subtropical regions. Sustainable management strategies should be implemented to reduce water consumption in Eucalyptus plantations in the context of future climate change scenarios such as drought and warming.

<![CDATA[Insight into runoff characteristics using hydrological modeling in the data-scarce southern Tibetan Plateau: Past, present, and future]]>

Regional hydrological modeling in ungauged regions has attracted growing attention in water resources research. The southern Tibetan Plateau often suffers from data scarcity in watershed hydrological simulation and water resources assessment. This hinders further research characterizing the water cycle and solving international water resource issues in the area. In this study, a multi-spatial data based Distributed Time-Variant Gain Model (MS-DTVGM) is applied to the Yarlung Zangbo River basin, an important international river basin in the southern Tibetan Plateau with limited meteorological data. This model is driven purely by spatial data from multiple sources and is independent of traditional meteorological data. Based on the methods presented in this study, daily snow cover and potential evapotranspiration data in the Yarlung Zangbo River basin in 2050 are obtained. Future (2050) climatic data (precipitation and air temperature) from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR5) are used to study the hydrological response to climate change. The result shows that river runoff will increase due to precipitation and air temperature changes by 2050. Few differences are found between daily runoff simulations from different Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) for 2050. Historical station observations (1960–2000) at Nuxia and model simulations for two periods (2006–2009 and 2050) are combined to study inter-annual and intra-annual runoff distribution and variability. The inter-annual runoff variation is stable and the coefficient of variation (CV) varies from 0.21 to 0.27. In contrast, the intra-annual runoff varies significantly with runoff in summer and autumn accounting for more than 80% of the total amount. Compared to the historical period (1960–2000), the present period (2006–2009) has a slightly uneven intra-annual runoff temporal distribution, and becomes more balanced in the future (2050).

<![CDATA[Influence of irrigation during the growth stage on yield and quality in mango (Mangifera indica L)]]>

Although being one of the few drought-tolerant plants, mango trees are irrigated to ensure optimum and consistent productivity in China. In order to better understand the effects of soil water content on mango yield and fruit quality at fruit growth stage, irrigation experiments were investigated and the object was to determine the soil water content criteria at which growth and quality of mango would be optimal based on soil water measured by RHD-JS water-saving irrigation system through micro-sprinkling irrigation. Five soil water content treatments (relative to the percentage of field water capacity) for irrigation (T1:79%-82%, T2:75%-78%, T3:71%-74%, T4: 65%-70%, T5:63%-66%) were compared in 2013. Amount of applied irrigation water for different treatments varied from 2.93m3 to 1.08 m3. The results showed that mango fruit production and quality at fruit growth stage were significantly affected under different irrigation water amounts. Variation in soil water content not only had effects on fruit size, but also on fruit yield. The highest fruit yield and irrigation water use efficiency were obtained from the T4 treatment. Irrigation water amount also affected fruit quality parameters like fruit total soluble solids, soluble sugar, starch, titratable acid and vitamin C content. Comprehensive evaluation of the effect of indexs of correlation on irrigation treatment by subordinate function showed that when the soil moisture content were controlled at about 65–70% of the field water moisture capacity, water demand in the growth and development of mango could be ensured, and maximum production efficiency of irrigation and the best quality of fruit could be achieved. In conclusion, treatment T4 was the optimum irrigation schedule for growing mango, thus achieving efficient production of mango in consideration of the compromise among mango yield, fruit quality and water use efficiency.

<![CDATA[Responses of Winter Wheat Yield and Water Use Efficiency to Irrigation Frequency and Planting Pattern]]>

A suitable planting pattern and irrigation strategy are essential for optimizing winter wheat yield and water use efficiency (WUE). The study aimed to evaluate the impact of planting pattern and irrigation frequency on grain yield and WUE of winter wheat. During the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 winter wheat growing seasons in the North China Plain, the effects of planting patterns and irrigation frequencies were determined on tiller number, grain yield, and WUE. The two planting patterns tested were wide-precision and conventional-cultivation. Each planting pattern had three irrigation regimes: irrigation (120 mm) at the jointing stage; irrigation (60 mm) at both the jointing and heading stages; and irrigation (40 mm) at the jointing, heading, and milking stages. In our study, tiller number was significantly higher in the wide-precision planting pattern than in the conventional-cultivation planting pattern. Additionally, the highest grain yields and WUE were observed when irrigation was applied at the jointing stage (120 mm) or at the jointing and heading stages (60 mm each) in the wide-precision planting pattern. These results could be attributed to higher tiller numbers as well as reduced water consumption due to reduced irrigation frequency. In both growing seasons, applying 60 mm of water at jointing and heading stages resulted in the highest grain yield among the treatments. Based on our results, for winter wheat production in semi-humid regions, we recommend a wide-precision planting pattern with irrigation (60 mm) at both the jointing and heading stages.

<![CDATA[Is the Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt Sustainable to Long-Term Drip Irrigation with High Saline Groundwater?]]>

Freshwater resources are scarce in desert regions. Highly saline groundwater of different salinity is being used to drip irrigate the Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt with a double-branch-pipe system controlling the irrigation cycles. In this study, to evaluate the dynamics of soil moisture and salinity under the current irrigation system, soil samples were collected to a 2-m depth in the shelterbelt planted for different years and irrigated with different groundwater salinities, and soil moisture and salinity were analyzed. The results showed that both depletion of soil moisture and increase of topsoil salinity occurred simultaneously during one irrigation cycle. Soil moisture decreased from 27.4% to 2.4% for a 15-day irrigation cycle and from 26.4% to 2.7% for a 10-day-cycle, respectively. Topsoil electrical conductivity (EC) increased from 0.64 to 3.32 dS/m and 0.70 to 3.99 dS/m for these two irrigation cycles. With increased shelterbelt age, profiled average soil moisture (0–200 cm) reduced from 12.8% (1-year) to 7.1% (10-year); however, soil moisture in 0–20-cm increased, while topsoil salinity decreased. In addition, irrigation salinity mainly affected soil salinity in the 0–20-cm range. We conclude that water supply with the double-branch-pipe is a feasible irrigation method for the Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt, and our findings provide a model for shelterbelt construction and sustainable management when using highly saline water for irrigation in analogous habitats.

<![CDATA[An Inverse Method to Estimate the Root Water Uptake Source-Sink Term in Soil Water Transport Equation under the Effect of Superabsorbent Polymer]]>

The widespread use of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) in arid regions improves the efficiency of local land and water use. However, SAPs’ repeated absorption and release of water has periodic and unstable effects on both soil’s physical and chemical properties and on the growth of plant roots, which complicates modeling of water movement in SAP-treated soils. In this paper, we proposea model of soil water movement for SAP-treated soils. The residence time of SAP in the soil and the duration of the experiment were considered as the same parameter t. This simplifies previously proposed models in which the residence time of SAP in the soil and the experiment’s duration were considered as two independent parameters. Numerical testing was carried out on the inverse method of estimating the source/sink term of root water uptake in the model of soil water movement under the effect of SAP. The test results show that time interval, hydraulic parameters, test error, and instrument precision had a significant influence on the stability of the inverse method, while time step, layering of soil, and boundary conditions had relatively smaller effects. A comprehensive analysis of the method’s stability, calculation, and accuracy suggests that the proposed inverse method applies if the following conditions are satisfied: the time interval is between 5 d and 17 d; the time step is between 1000 and 10000; the test error is ≥ 0.9; the instrument precision is ≤ 0.03; and the rate of soil surface evaporation is ≤ 0.6 mm/d.

<![CDATA[Revealing Invisible Water: Moisture Recycling as an Ecosystem Service]]>

An ecosystem service is a benefit derived by humanity that can be traced back to an ecological process. Although ecosystem services related to surface water have been thoroughly described, the relationship between atmospheric water and ecosystem services has been mostly neglected, and perhaps misunderstood. Recent advances in land-atmosphere modeling have revealed the importance of terrestrial ecosystems for moisture recycling. In this paper, we analyze the extent to which vegetation sustains the supply of atmospheric moisture and precipitation for downwind beneficiaries, globally. We simulate land-surface evaporation with a global hydrology model and track changes to moisture recycling using an atmospheric moisture budget model, and we define vegetation-regulated moisture recycling as the difference in moisture recycling between current vegetation and a hypothetical desert world. Our results show that nearly a fifth of annual average precipitation falling on land is from vegetation-regulated moisture recycling, but the global variability is large, with many places receiving nearly half their precipitation from this ecosystem service. The largest potential impacts for changes to this ecosystem service are land-use changes across temperate regions in North America and Russia. Likewise, in semi-arid regions reliant on rainfed agricultural production, land-use change that even modestly reduces evaporation and subsequent precipitation, could significantly affect human well-being. We also present a regional case study in the Mato Grosso region of Brazil, where we identify the specific moisture recycling ecosystem services associated with the vegetation in Mato Grosso. We find that Mato Grosso vegetation regulates some internal precipitation, with a diffuse region of benefit downwind, primarily to the south and east, including the La Plata River basin and the megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. We synthesize our global and regional results into a generalized framework for describing moisture recycling as an ecosystem service. We conclude that future work ought to disentangle whether and how this vegetation-regulated moisture recycling interacts with other ecosystem services, so that trade-offs can be assessed in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.

<![CDATA[Numerical Study on the Stomatal Responses to Dry-Hot Wind Episodes and Its Effects on Land-Atmosphere Interactions]]>

The wheat production in midland China is under serious threat by frequent Dry-Hot Wind (DHW) episodes with high temperature, low moisture and specific wind as well as intensive heat transfer and evapotranspiration. The numerical simulations of these episodes are important for monitoring grain yield and estimating agricultural water demand. However, uncertainties still remain despite that enormous experiments and modeling studies have been conducted concerning this issue, due to either inaccurate synoptic situation derived from mesoscale weather models or unrealistic parameterizations of stomatal physiology in land surface models. Hereby, we investigated the synoptic characteristics of DHW with widely-used mesoscale model Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and the effects of leaf physiology on surface evapotranspiration by comparing two land surface models: The Noah land surface model, and Peking University Land Model (PKULM) with stomata processes included. Results show that the WRF model could well replicate the synoptic situations of DHW. Two types of DHW were identified: (1) prevailing heated dry wind stream forces the formation of DHW along with intense sensible heating and (2) dry adiabatic processes overflowing mountains. Under both situations, the PKULM can reasonably model the stomatal closure phenomena, which significantly decreases both evapotranspiration and net ecosystem exchange of canopy, while these phenomena cannot be resolved in the Noah simulations. Therefore, our findings suggest that the WRF-PKULM coupled method may be a more reliable tool to investigate and forecast DHW as well as be instructive to crop models.

<![CDATA[Bioactive Compounds in Potato Tubers: Effects of Farming System, Cooking Method, and Flesh Color]]>

We investigated the effect of cultivation system (conventional or organic), cooking method, and flesh color on the contents of ascorbic acid (AA) and total phenolics (TPs), and on total antioxidant activity (Trolox equivalents, TE) in Solanum tuberosum (potato) tubers. The research material, consisting of 4 potato cultivars, was grown in experimental fields, using organic and conventional systems, at the experimental station in 2012 and 2013. The analysis showed that organically grown potatoes with creamy, light yellow, and yellow flesh had significantly higher TPs than did potatoes grown conventionally. Flesh color and cooking method also affected AA. The greatest losses of AA occurred in yellow-fleshed potatoes grown conventionally and cooked in the microwave; such losses were not observed in potatoes grown organically. A dry cooking method (baking in a microwave) increased the TP contents in potatoes by about 30%, regardless of the flesh color and the production system. TE was significantly higher in organically grown potatoes (raw and cooked in a steamer) than in conventionally grown potatoes. TE and AA contents showed a significant positive correlation, but only in potatoes from the organic system [R2 = 0.686]. By contrast, the positive correlation between TE and TPs was observed regardless of the production system. Therefore, we have identified the effects of farming system, cooking method, and flesh color on the contents of bioactive compounds in potato tubers.

<![CDATA[Water use efficiency and evapotranspiration in maize-soybean relay strip intercrop systems as affected by planting geometries]]>

Optimum planting geometries have been shown to increase crop yields in maize-soybean intercrop systems. However, little is known about whether changes in planting geometry improve the seasonal water use of maize and soybean intercrops. We conducted two different field experiments in 2013 and 2014 to investigate the effects of changes in planting geometry on water use efficiency (WUE) and evapotranspiration (ETc) of maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] relay strip intercrop systems. Our results showed that the leaf area index of maize for both years where intercropping occurred was notably greater compared to sole maize, thus the soil water content (SWC), soil evaporation (E), and throughfall followed a decreasing trend in the following order: central row of maize strip (CRM) < adjacent row between maize and soybean strip (AR) < central row of soybean strip (CRS). When intercropped, the highest grain yield for maize and total yields were recorded for the 40:120 cm and 40:160 cm planting geometries using 160 cm and 200 cm bandwidth, respectively. By contrast, the highest grain yield of intercropped soybean was appeared for the 20:140 cm and 20:180 cm planting geometries. The largest land equivalent ratios were 1.62 for the 40:120 cm planting geometry and 1.79 for the 40:160 cm planting geometry, indicating that both intercropping strategies were advantageous. Changes in planting geometries did not show any significant effect on the ETc of the maize and soybean intercrops. WUEs in the different planting geometries of intercrop systems were lower compared to sole cropping. However, the highest group WUEs of 23.06 and 26.21 kg ha-1 mm-1 for the 40:120 cm and 40:160 cm planting geometries, respectively, were 39% and 23% higher than those for sole cropping. Moreover, the highest water equivalent ratio values of 1.66 and 1.76 also appeared for the 40:120 cm and 40:160 cm planting geometries. We therefore suggest that an optimum planting geometry of 40:160 cm and bandwidth of 200 cm could be a viable planting pattern management method for attaining high group WUE in maize-soybean intercrop systems.

<![CDATA[Evidence for Ventilation through Collective Respiratory Movements in Giant Honeybee (Apis dorsata) Nests]]>

The Asian giant honeybees (Apis dorsata) build single-comb nests in the open, which makes this species particularly susceptible to environmental strains. Long-term infrared (IR) records documented cool nest regions (CNR) at the bee curtain (nCNR = 207, nnests > 20) distinguished by marked negative gradients (ΔTCNR/d < -3°C / 5 cm) at their margins. CNRs develop and recede within minutes, predominantly at higher ambient temperatures in the early afternoon. The differential size (ΔACNR) and temperature (ΔTCNR) values per time unit correlated mostly positively (RAT > 0) displaying the Venturi effect, which evidences funnel properties of CNRs. The air flows inwards through CNRs, which is verified by the negative spatial gradient ΔTCNR/d, by the positive grading of TCNR with Tamb and lastly by fanners which have directed their abdomens towards CNRs. Rare cases of RAT < 0 (< 3%) document closing processes (for ΔACNR/Δt < -0.4 cm2/s) but also suggest ventilation of the bee curtain (for ΔACNR/Δt > +0.4 cm2/s) displaying “inhalation” and “exhalation” cycling. “Inhalation” could be boosted by bees at the inner curtain layers, which stretch their extremities against the comb enlarging the inner nest lumen and thus causing a pressure fall which drives ambient air inwards through CNR funnels. The relaxing of the formerly “activated” bees could then trigger the “exhalation” process, which brings the bee curtain, passively by gravity, close to the comb again. That way, warm, CO2-enriched nest-borne air is pressed outwards through the leaking mesh of the bee curtain. This ventilation hypothesis is supported by IR imaging and laser vibrometry depicting CNRs in at least four aspects as low-resistance convection funnels for maintaining thermoregulation and restoring fresh air in the nest.

<![CDATA[Evaporation kinetics of surfactant solution droplets on rice (Oryza sativa) leaves]]>

The dynamics of evaporating sessile droplets on hydrophilic or hydrophobic surfaces is widely studied, and many models for these processes have been developed based on experimental evidence. However, few research has been explored on the evaporation of sessile droplets of surfactant or pesticide solutions on target crop leaves. Thus, in this paper the impact of surfactant concentrations on contact angle, contact diameter, droplet height, and evolution of the droplets’ evaporative volume on rice leaf surfaces have been investigated. The results indicate that the evaporation kinetics of surfactant droplets on rice leaves were influenced by both the surfactant concentrations and the hydrophobicity of rice leaf surfaces. When the surfactant concentration is lower than the surfactant CMC (critical micelle concentration), the droplet evaporation time is much longer than that of the high surfactant concentration. This is due to the longer existence time of a narrow wedge region under the lower surfactant concentration, and such narrow wedge region further restricts the droplet evaporation. Besides, our experimental data are shown to roughly collapse onto theoretical curves based on the model presented by Popov. This study could supply theoretical data on the evaporation of the adjuvant or pesticide droplets for practical applications in agriculture.

<![CDATA[Boiling histotripsy lesion characterization on a clinical magnetic resonance imaging-guided high intensity focused ultrasound system]]>


High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a non-invasive therapeutic technique that can thermally ablate tumors. Boiling histotripsy (BH) is a HIFU approach that can emulsify tissue in a few milliseconds. Lesion volume and temperature effects for different BH sonication parameters are currently not well characterized. In this work, lesion volume, temperature distribution, and area of lethal thermal dose were characterized for varying BH sonication parameters in tissue-mimicking phantoms (TMP) and demonstrated in ex vivo tissues.


The following BH sonication parameters were varied using a clinical MR-HIFU system (Sonalleve V2, Philips, Vantaa, Finland): acoustic power, number of cycles/pulse, total sonication time, and pulse repetition frequency (PRF). A 3×3×3 pattern was sonicated inside TMP’s and ex vivo tissues. Post sonication, lesion volumes were quantified using 3D ultrasonography and temperature and thermal dose distributions were analyzed offline. Ex vivo tissues were sectioned and stained with H&E post sonication to assess tissue damage.


Significant increase in lesion volume was observed while increasing the number of cycles/pulse and PRF. Other sonication parameters had no significant effect on lesion volume. Temperature full width at half maximum at the end of sonication increased significantly with all parameters except total sonication time. Positive correlation was also found between lethal thermal dose and lesion volume for all parameters except number of cycles/pulse. Gross pathology of ex vivo tissues post sonication displayed either completely or partially damaged tissue at the focal region. Surrounding tissues presented sharp boundaries, with little or no structural damage to adjacent critical structures such as bile duct and nerves.


Our characterization of effects of HIFU sonication parameters on the resulting lesion demonstrates the ability to control lesion morphologic and thermal characteristics with a clinical MR-HIFU system in TMP’s and ex vivo tissues. We demonstrate that this system can produce spatially precise lesions in both phantoms and ex vivo tissues. The results provide guidance on a preliminary set of BH sonication parameters for this system, with a potential to facilitate BH translation to the clinic.

<![CDATA[Pathogen cross-transmission via building sanitary plumbing systems in a full scale pilot test-rig]]>

The WHO Consensus Document on the epidemiology of the SARS epidemic in 2003, included a report on a concentrated outbreak in one Hong Kong housing block which was considered a ‘super-spreading event’. The WHO report conjectured that the sanitary plumbing system was one transmission route for the virus. Empty U-traps allowed the aerosolised virus to enter households from the sewerage system. No biological evidence was presented. This research reports evidence that pathogens can be aerosolised and transported on airstreams within sanitary plumbing systems and enter buildings via empty U-traps. A sanitary plumbing system was built, representing two floors of a building, with simulated toilet flushes on the lower floor and a sterile chamber with extractor fan on the floor above. Cultures of a model organism, Pseudomonas putida at 106–109 cfu ml-1 in 0·85% NaCl were flushed into the system in volumes of 6 to 20 litres to represent single or multiple toilet flushes. Air and surface samples were cultured on agar plates and assessed qualitatively and semi-quantitatively. Flushing from a toilet into a sanitary plumbing system generated enough turbulence to aerosolise pathogens. Typical sanitary plumbing system airflows (between 20–30 ls-1) were sufficient to carry aerosolised pathogens between different floors of a building. Empty U-traps allowed aerosolised pathogens to enter the chamber, encouraging cross-transmission. All parts of the system were found to be contaminated post-flush. Empty U-traps have been observed in many buildings and a risk assessment indicates the potential for high risk cross-transmission under defect conditions in buildings with high pathogen loading such as hospitals. Under defective conditions (which are not uncommon) aerosolised pathogens can be carried on the airflows within sanitary plumbing systems. Our findings show that greater consideration should be given to this mode of pathogen transmission.

<![CDATA[Drought risk assessment under climate change is sensitive to methodological choices for the estimation of evaporative demand]]>

Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM, and standardization of time series influence the estimation of E0. These methodological choices yield different assessments of spatio-temporal variability in E0 and different trends in 21st century drought risk. First, we estimate E0 using three widely used E0 formulations: Penman-Monteith; Hargreaves-Samani; and Priestley-Taylor. Our analysis, which primarily focuses on the May-September warm-season period, shows that E0 climatology and its spatial pattern differ substantially between these three formulations. Overall, we find higher magnitudes of E0 and its interannual variability using Penman-Monteith, in particular for regions like the Great Plains and southwestern US where E0 is strongly influenced by variations in wind and relative humidity. When examining projected changes in E0 during the 21st century, there are also large differences among the three formulations, particularly the Penman-Monteith relative to the other two formulations. The 21st century E0 trends, particularly in percent change and standardized anomalies of E0, are found to be sensitive to the long-term mean value and the amplitude of interannual variability, i.e. if the magnitude of E0 and its interannual variability are relatively low for a particular E0 formulation, then the normalized or standardized 21st century trend based on that formulation is amplified relative to other formulations. This is the case for the use of Hargreaves-Samani and Priestley-Taylor, where future E0 trends are comparatively much larger than for Penman-Monteith. When comparing Penman-Monteith E0 responses between different choices of input variables related to wind speed, surface roughness, and net radiation, we found differences in E0 trends, although these choices had a much smaller influence on E0 trends than did the E0 formulation choices. These methodological choices and specific climate model selection, also have a large influence on the estimation of trends in standardized drought indices used for drought assessment operationally. We find that standardization tends to amplify divergences between the E0 trends calculated using different E0 formulations, because standardization is sensitive to both the climatology and amplitude of interannual variability of E0. For different methodological choices and GCM output considered in estimating E0, we examine potential sources of uncertainty in 21st century trends in the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) over selected regions of the CONUS to demonstrate the practical implications of these methodological choices for the quantification of drought risk under climate change.

<![CDATA[Effect of Tree-to-Shrub Type Conversion in Lower Montane Forests of the Sierra Nevada (USA) on Streamflow]]>

Higher global temperatures and increased levels of disturbance are contributing to greater tree mortality in many forest ecosystems. These same drivers can also limit forest regeneration, leading to vegetation type conversion. For the Sierra Nevada of California, little is known about how type conversion may affect streamflow, a critical source of water supply for urban, agriculture and environmental purposes. In this paper, we examined the effects of tree-to-shrub type conversion, in combination with climate change, on streamflow in two lower montane forest watersheds in the Sierra Nevada. A spatially distributed ecohydrologic model was used to simulate changes in streamflow, evaporation, and transpiration following type conversion, with an explicit focus on the role of vegetation size and aspect. Model results indicated that streamflow may show negligible change or small decreases following type conversion when the difference between tree and shrub leaf areas is small, partly due to the higher stomatal conductivity and the deep rooting depth of shrubs. In contrast, streamflow may increase when post-conversion shrubs have a small leaf area relative to trees. Model estimates also suggested that vegetation change could have a greater impact on streamflow magnitude than the direct hydrologic impacts of increased temperatures. Temperature increases, however, may have a greater impact on streamflow timing. Tree-to-shrub type conversion increased streamflow only marginally during dry years (annual precipitation < 800 mm), with most streamflow change observed during wetter years. These modeling results underscore the importance of accounting for changes in vegetation communities to accurately characterize future hydrologic regimes for the Sierra Nevada.