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Concept: Materials


Man-made mineral fibers are produced using inorganic materials and are widely used as thermal and acoustic insulation. These basically include continuous fiberglass filaments, glass wool (fiberglass insulation), stone wool, slag wool and refractory ceramic fibers. Likewise, in the last two decades nanoscale fibers have also been developed, among these being carbon nanotubes with their high electrical conductivity, mechanical resistance and thermal stability. Both man-made mineral fibers and carbon nanotubes have properties that make them inhalable and potentially harmful, which have led to studies to assess their pathogenicity. The aim of this review is to analyze the knowledge that currently exists about the ability of these fibers to produce respiratory diseases.

Concepts: Magnesium, Materials, Electrical conductivity, Glass, Fiberglass, Building insulation materials, Thermal insulation, Mineral wool


Drug molecules with lack of specificity and solubility lead patients to take high doses of the drug to achieve sufficient therapeutic effects. This is a leading cause of adverse drug reactions, particularly for drugs with narrow therapeutic window or cytotoxic chemotherapeutics. To address these problems, there are various functional biocompatible drug carriers available in the market, which can deliver therapeutic agents to the target site in a controlled manner. Among the carriers developed thus far, mesoporous materials emerged as a promising candidate that can deliver a variety of drug molecules in a controllable and sustainable manner. In particular, mesoporous silica nanoparticles are widely used as a delivery reagent because silica possesses favourable chemical properties, thermal stability and biocompatibility. Currently, sol-gel-derived mesoporous silica nanoparticles in soft conditions are of main interest due to simplicity in production and modification and the capacity to maintain function of bioactive agents. The unique mesoporous structure of silica facilitates effective loading of drugs and their subsequent controlled release. The properties of mesopores, including pore size and porosity as well as the surface properties, can be altered depending on additives used to fabricate mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Active surface enables functionalisation to modify surface properties and link therapeutic molecules. The tuneable mesopore structure and modifiable surface of mesoporous silica nanoparticle allow incorporation of various classes of drug molecules and controlled delivery to the target sites. This review aims to present the state of knowledge of currently available drug delivery system and identify properties of an ideal drug carrier for specific application, focusing on mesoporous silica nanoparticles.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Nanoparticle, Adverse drug reaction, Materials, Mesoporous material, Mesoporous silica, Silicon compounds, Drug carrier


Recent research suggests that variation exists among and between Oldowan stone tool assemblages. Oldowan variation might represent differential constraints on raw materials used to produce these stone implements. Alternatively, variation among Oldowan assemblages could represent different methods that Oldowan producing hominins utilized to produce these lithic implements. Identifying differential patterns of stone tool production within the Oldowan has implications for assessing how stone tool technology evolved, how traditions of lithic production might have been culturally transmitted, and for defining the timing and scope of these evolutionary events. At present there is no null model to predict what morphological variation in the Oldowan should look like. Without such a model, quantifying whether Oldowan assemblages vary due to raw material constraints or whether they vary due to differences in production technique is not possible. This research establishes a null model for Oldowan lithic artifact morphological variation. To establish these expectations this research 1) models the expected range of variation through large scale reduction experiments, 2) develops an algorithm to categorize archaeological flakes based on how they are produced, and 3) statistically assesses the methods of production behavior used by Oldowan producing hominins at the site of DK from Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania via the experimental model. Results indicate that a subset of quartzite flakes deviate from the null expectations in a manner that demonstrates efficiency in flake manufacture, while some basalt flakes deviate from null expectations in a manner that demonstrates inefficiency in flake manufacture. The simultaneous presence of efficiency in stone tool production for one raw material (quartzite) and inefficiency in stone tool production for another raw material (basalt) suggests that Oldowan producing hominins at DK were able to mediate the economic costs associated with stone tool procurement by utilizing high-cost materials more efficiently than is expected and low-cost materials in an inefficient manner.

Concepts: Material, Materials, Economic efficiency, Stone Age, Raw material, Stone tool, Oldowan, Olduvai Gorge


Hagfish slime threads, which make up the fibrous component of the defensive slime of hagfishes, consist primarily of proteins from the intermediate filament family of proteins and possess impressive mechanical properties that make them attractive biomimetic models. To investigate whether solubilized intermediate filament proteins can be used to make high-performance, environmentally sustainable materials, we cast thin films on the surface of electrolyte buffers using solubilized hagfish slime thread proteins. The films were drawn into fibers, and the tensile properties were measured. Fiber mechanics depended on casting conditions and postspinning processing. Postsecondary drawing resulted in fibers with improved material properties similar to those of regenerated silk fibers. Structural analyses of the fibers revealed increased molecular alignment resulting from the second draw, but no increase in crystallinity. Our findings show promise for intermediate filament proteins as an alternative source for the design and production of high performance protein-based fibers.

Concepts: Cytoskeleton, Tensile strength, Fiber, Materials, Dietary fiber, Spider silk, Hagfish, Fibers


Elastin provides structural integrity, biological cues and persistent elasticity to a range of important tissues including the vasculature and lungs. Its critical importance to normal physiology makes it a desirable component of biomaterials that seek to repair or replace these tissues. The recent availability of large quantities of the highly purified elastin monomer, tropoelastin, have allowed for a thorough characterization of the mechanical and biological mechanisms underpinning the benefits of mature elastin. While tropoelastin is a flexible molecule, a combination of optical and structural analyses has defined key regions of the molecule that directly contribute to the elastomeric properties and control the cell interactions of the protein. Insights into the structure and behavior of tropoelastin have translated into increasingly sophisticated elastin-like biomaterials, evolving from classically manufactured hydrogels and fibers to new forms, stabilized in the absence of incorporated cross-linkers. Tropoelastin is also compatible with synthetic and natural co-polymers, expanding the applications of its potential use beyond traditional elastin-rich tissues and facilitating finer control of biomaterial properties and the design of next-generation tailored bioactive materials.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Natural selection, Heart, Materials science, Materials, Elastin


Yohimbine is the major alkaloid found in the stem bark of yohimbe, Pausinystalia johimbe (Rubiaceae), an evergreen tree native to Africa. The objectives of the current study were to provide a detailed anatomy of yohimbe bark, as well as to determine the quantity of yohimbine in the raw yohimbe products sold online. Twelve commercial raw materials of yohimbe were analyzed by microscopic and ultra performance liquid chromatography-UV-MS methods. The study revealed that three samples were probably adulterated and four other samples contained various levels of impurities. Yohimbine was not detected in one sample, whereas its presence in other samples was found to be in the range 0.1-0.91%. The present work also provides a detailed anatomy of the stem bark of yohimbe, with light and scanning electron microscopy images, for proper identification and authentication.

Concepts: Time, Electron, Microscope, Materials, Scanning electron microscope, Yohimbine, Pausinystalia yohimbe, Pausinystalia


Blend miscibility of cellulose acetate (CA) with poly(acryloyl morpholine) (PACMO) was examined by thermal transition measurements and solid-state C NMR spectroscopy, in which CA materials of acetyl DS=1.80-2.95 were used. All the blends prepared gave a single T and formed an amorphous monophase homogeneous within a distance of ∼2.0nm. An Al/Mg-based, layered double hydroxide (LDH) was modified with different ionic oligomers, and an attempt was made to incorporate the respective organophilic LDHs (3-3.5wt%) into blend films of the miscible PACMO/CA pair, via bulk polymerization of an ACMO monomer/organo-LDH mixture and then blending CA with the polymer/inorganic hybrid precursor. Particularly, 12-hydroxystearic acid-modified LDH was well exfoliated and ultimately dispersed in the PACMO/CA matrix on a scale of less than a few tens of nanometers in thickness. This gave rise to a successful reinforcement effect leading to the improvement in thermo-mechanical property of the polymer blends.

Concepts: Chemical bond, Acetic acid, Ester, Sodium hydroxide, Materials, Cellulose acetate, Hydroxides, Layered double hydroxides


The combination of magnetic particles and layered double hydroxide (LDHs) materials leads to the formation of hierarchical composites that can take full advantages of each component; this is an effective approach for achieving multifunctional materials with intriguing properties. This Concept article summarizes several important strategies for the fabrication of magnetic-core/LDH-shell hierarchical nanocomposites, including direct coprecipitation, layer-by-layer assembly, and in situ growth methods. The obtained nanocomposites exhibit excellent performance as multifunctional materials for promising applications in targeted drug delivery, efficient separation, and catalysis. The fabrication and application of magnetic-core/LDH-shell nanocomposite materials represent a new direction in the development of LDH-based multifunctional materials, which will contribute to the progress of chemistry and material science.

Concepts: Chemistry, Engineering, Nanomaterials, Materials science, Material, Materials, In situ, Nanocomposite


Cellulose acetate (CA) has been a material of choice for spectrum of utilities across different domains ranging from high absorbing diapers to membrane filters. Electrospinning has conferred a whole new perspective to polymeric materials including CA in the context of multifarious applications across myriad of niches. In the present review, we try to bring out the recent trend (focussed over last five years' progress) of research on electrospun CA fibers of nanoscale regime in the context of developmental strategies of their blends and nanocomposites for advanced applications. In the realm of biotechnology, electrospun CA fibers have found applications in biomolecule immobilization, tissue engineering, bio-sensing, nutraceutical delivery, bioseparation, crop protection, bioremediation and in the development of anti-counterfeiting and pH sensitive material, photocatalytic self-cleaning textile, temperature-adaptable fabric, and antimicrobial mats, amongst others. The present review discusses these diverse applications of electrospun CA nanofibers.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Nanomaterials, Cotton, Materials, Textile, Cellulose acetate


Abstract Aim. The aim of this study was to compare the osteoconductivity and suitability of three biomaterials used as particulate fillers; S53P4 bioactive glass, allogeneic fresh frozen bone and coral-derived calcium carbonate. Materials and methods. Materials were implanted into drill-holes in the femoral condyles of adult rabbits. Follow-ups were performed at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks. Host-response, osteoconductivity, bonding and filler-effect were evaluated by SEM, EDXA and histology and histomorphometry to evaluate. Results. All three materials were found to be biocompatible and osteoconductive. Defects filled with allograft seemed to have more bone at 24 weeks, although no statistically significant difference in new bone growth was found. In earlier time points, coral, however, was observed to degrade more quickly, leaving more empty space in the defects, thus making it a less suitable filler for cavitary defects. Conclusion. At all time points there was less filler material (i.e. biomaterial and new bone) in coral-filled defects than in BAG or allograft filled defects (p < 0.05).

Concepts: Statistical significance, Calcium, Biomaterial, Biocompatibility, Tissue engineering, Materials science, Calcium carbonate, Materials