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  • Open access
  • 138 Reads
Enhancement of Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)’s properties for advanced industrial applications

Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBHV) is a very promising biodegradable polymer from the family of  Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) with many potential applications in many important industrial fields such as biodegradable packaging, synthetic prosthesis, therapeutic delivery, wound dressing, 3D tissue scaffolds for tissue engineering, etc. due to their excellent biocompatibility, non-toxicity, and suitable large-scale industrial production. However, many of its potential uses required for these applications often are hindered by their low mechanical strength, non-antimicrobial activity, low water sorption and diffusion, biological interactions, porosity, electrical and/or thermal properties, among others. Thus, new advanced PHBHV-based composite materials have been developed as multicomponent systems in the form of composite or nanocomposite materials, which are expected to exhibit superior properties to increase the potential uses of these materials. Even though the great advances achieved so far, much research has to be conducted still in order to find new strategies to fabricate novel materials able to overcome many of these problems. (NEREIS Nº10)

  • Open access
  • 127 Reads
Stochastic model on the mobility of petroleum in the soils of the Ecuadorian Amazon

The Ecuadorian Amazon has an area of ​​1,23 x 107 ha, due to its mega biodiversity and its distribution is classified as a hot spot in the world. The overlap in its territory by oil activities, protected areas, ancestral territories and intangible zones generates a series of environmental conflicts. The oil spills have generated negative impacts on the soil, plants and animals, promoting an increase in the quality of the soils in the region. The objective of this study was to evaluate the oil contamination process in soils of the Northern Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Netlogo 3D software version 5.2.1 was used to simulate the evolution during 24 hours of oil percolation. The simulation scenarios were recorded according to the porosity (%) of the soils of the Northern Region of the Ecuadorian Amazon. The temporal evolution of the occupation of the soil by the oil particles is conditioned by the variables: texture, dynamic pressure, volume, gravity, vegetation cover. The dynamics of oil percolation in the simulations is directly proportional to the existence of porous spaces in the Ecuadorian Amazonian soil. The understanding of this phenomenon allows to define strategies of prevention and to mitigate the potential risks for the ecosystems.

  • Open access
  • 119 Reads
Rural community’s territorial system dynamics at the Anzu river valley in the Kichwa Amazon territory to propose change scenarios

A Kichwa community’s dynamics at the river Anzu valley, in the Ecuadorian Amazon territory, to propose scenarios of change is analyzed. The Anzu valley, populated by sustainable mestizos and Kichwa communities, autonomous, in harmony with nature, visible in the different products that they process from environment resources, live in their legalized territories, where government entities recognized the Kichwa ancestral property. The Kichwa achieved to articulate strategies for the biodiversity resources use, whose beneficial repopulation and processing may permit to obtain their maintenances, the payment of their labor and income families. The knowledge system and the people’s cultural identity in social harmony with nature are revalued. The territory possession and its security, together with the ancestral wisdom recovery, understanding of management systems of the environment resources, which come from a cultural tradition, wisdom in the jungle, associated with new technological forms that provide economic income through the local resources processing, gives communities the opportunity to renew their pride, which contributes to the consistent use of their environment. It recovers and intensifies the agro ecosystem management, gradually increases the promissory species sowing and repopulation, animals and plants. The desired scenario implies a sustainable, autonomous functioning, with alliances and synergies.

  • Open access
  • 58 Reads
Standardization of commercial cinnamon essential oils by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis

The chemical composition of seven Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume essential oils traded as spices and medicinal items has been determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. Eighty-two compounds accounting for 95.39-99.03% of the total essential oil were identified. Qualitative and quantitative differences were found in the essential oils obtained from dried and powdered cinnamon bark purchased at supermarkets and cinnamon leaf essential oil from a pharmacy. The aromatic compound E-cinnamaldehyde (67.84±3.15%; 67.16±5.05%) was the principal component of the essential oil in commercial cinnamon bark employed as a spice; whereas eugenol was the main compound (81.51±0.21%), in commercial cinnamon leaf essential oil for medicinal purposes. The qualitative and quantitative differences in the analyzed essential oils can affect the organoleptic properties, mainly the spice’s flavor as well as the pharmacological properties of the cinnamon (bark and leaf) essential oils.

  • Open access
  • 159 Reads
Multi-scale analysis of structural variability of Caryophyllaceae saponins by a simplex machine learning approach

A mass conservation law-based chemometric approach was developed to extract smoothed processes governing inter- and intra-molecular variability of structural diversity in metabolic pools. The approach consisted of a machine-learning method using simplex rule to calculate a complete set of smoothed barycentric molecules from iterated linear combinations between molecular classes (glycosylation classes). An application to four glycosylation levels (GLs) of Caryophyllaceae saponins highlighted aglycone-dependent variations of glycosylations, especially for gypsogenic acid (GA) which showed high 28-glucosylation levels. Quillaic acid (QA) and gypsogenin (Gyp) showed closer variation ranges of GLs, but differed by relationships between glycosylated carbons toward different sugars. Relative GLs of carbons C3 and C28 showed associative (positive), competitive (negative) or independent (unsensitive) trends conditioned by the aglycone type (GA, Gyp) and molecular (total) GLs (the four classes): 28-glucosylation and 28-xylosylation showed negative global trends in Gyp vs GLs-depending trends in QA. Also, relative levels of 3-galactosylation and 3-xylosylation varied by unsensitive ways in Gyp vs positive trends in QA. These preliminary results revealed higher metabolic tensions (competitions) between considered glycosylations in Gyp vs more associative processes in QA. In conclusion, glycosylations of GA and QA were relatively distant whereas Gyp occupied intermediate position.

  • Open access
  • 98 Reads
The market of Ilex guayusa. Products, stakeholders, prototypes and trends in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region.

Ilex guayusa is an important species for the economy of the Ecuadorian Amazon Region. The plant is well known as a traditional medicine and drink, but is also a promising source of bioactive compounds for functional foods and cosmetic products. The aim of the study is to realize a review regarding the guayusa products, the involved companies and the future trends in the Ecuadorian Amazon Region. For this purpose have been analyzed 55 articles based on international and national studies. Have been identified as relevant topics: innovation, energy drinks, sustainability, natural medicine and market. The study detected 15 products, 32 stakeholders, 5 prototypes. The new trend for I. guayusa is to develop innovative products with added value as phytocosmetics and nutraceuticals. Finally, to improve the I. guayusa value chain can enhance the incomes of local Amazonian communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

  • Open access
  • 45 Reads
Computational Study (In Silico) of the Antimicrobial and Toxicological Potential of Isoeugenol

The search for new compounds with antifungal activity has become very important, mainly due to the large increase of fungal infections and also the appearance of antifungal resistant strains available in the market, as well as for use for pest control. Medicinal plants represent an alternative for the substitution of these synthetic fungicides for natural products, since they have a large quantity and variety of secondary metabolites with biological properties, among them, phenylpropanoids. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the in silico antimicrobial and toxicological potential of 2-Methoxy-4-propenylphenol (isoeugenol) through computational analysis. For this, the Prediction of Activity Spectra for Substances (PASS online), Molinspiration and Osiris software were used. PASS online showed that isoeugenol has the opportunity to present antiseptic (Pa: 0.571 and Pi: 0.009), antifungal (Pa: 0.492 and Pi: 0.032), antibacterial (Pa: 0.379 and Pi: 0.035), antimycobacterial (Pa: and Pi: 0.022) and antihelmintic (Pa: 0.335 and Pi: 0.028), mainly against nematoda (Pi: 0.562 and Pa: 0.009). Molinspiration showed that the phytoconstituent has good potential for oral bioavailability, with nDLH = 1, nALH = 2, mass = 164.2 Da and cLogP = 2.38. In the analysis with the Osiris program, it was demonstrated that isoeugenol has low irritant (1) and tumorigenic risk (1), and high mutagenic risk and high reproductive toxicity. In view of this instilled study, it was possible to verify that the compound is a potential candidate for in vitro and in vivo studies of antimicrobial and toxicological action and to prove the data obtained from the computational analysis.

  • Open access
  • 69 Reads
Estudio de la pradera de Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile del área litoral del municipio de Teulada (Alicante).

Posidonia oceanica, fanerógama endémica del Mediterráneo, forma extensas praderas que están continuamente afectadas por impactos antrópicos. Este fenómeno es más evidente en zonas cercanas a grandes ciudades, puertos o áreas con un gran desarrollo turístico costero.

Durante el siglo XX y en particular a partir de 1950, las praderas de Posidonia oceanica están sufriendo una regresión considerable, sobre todo en los alrededores de grandes centros urbanos y portuarios. Esta disminución en la superficie ocupada tiene su principal origen en las actividades humanas que se llevan a cabo en las costas y que por tanto tienen un impacto directo sobre los ecosistemas.

El presente estudio fue llevado a cabo en Teulada (Alicante) con el objetivo de evaluar las condiciones de la pradera. Se midieron parámetros de cobertura, densidad y densidad global en la pradera así como los parámetros físicoquímicos de la masa de agua circundante durante el mes de julio de 2007. La delimitación del límite superior se realizó mediante fotogrametría aérea de un vuelo realizado en agosto de 2007.

El objetivo de este estudio será caracterizar la pradera de P. oceanica de Teulada-Moraira y realizar, mediante el conteo de embarcaciones, una aproximación a la presión mecánica producida por los fondeos de embarcaciones sobre la pradera.

Para el estudio del estado general de la pradera del municipio se realizaron cuatro transectos perpendiculares a la costa (Figura 1) donde se establecieron 3 estaciones de muestreo en cada uno. Una situada en el límite superior (LS), otra en la zona intermedia de la pradera (M) y un tercero coincidiendo con el límite inferior de la pradera (LI). Uno de los transectos se hizo coincidir con la zona de la playa del “Portet” más frecuentada por las embarcaciones de recreo en el periodo estival (T2).

En cada una de las estaciones se realizaron los muestreos mediante técnicas específicas en inmersión con escafandra autónoma siguiendo el esquema de la figura 3.

En cada punto se procedió a medir los parámetros de densidad, cobertura y densidad global

Los resultados obtenidos revelan una gran alteración de la pradera a lo largo de toda la costa en estudio excepto en la zona situada más al norte. Los valores de los parámetros estudiados en el límite inferior resultaron ser los más bajos de todo el estudio indicando una posible alteración de este límite. Las zonas más afectadas coincidieron con las áreas de mayor afluencia de embarcaciones recreativas, áreas de mayor presión mecánica sobre la pradera y donde ésta se encuentra en un estado de equilibrio inestable. Tanto el valor medio (54,17 ± 11,48) como los máximos de embarcaciones de recreo (81) ponen de manifiesto masificación en la zona de la playa del Portet. El estudio de la estima del impacto del fondeo de embarcaciones en esta zona nos hace pensar que a medio o largo plazo puede ser muy perjudicial para la pradera, ya que solo durante el mes en que se realizó el estudio se estima que fueron arrancados el equivalente a 37,20 m2 de superficie de pradera de Posidonia oceanica. Las actuaciones que se lleven a cabo sobre estas zonas más degradadas determinarán la regresión o recuperación de la pradera.

  • Open access
  • 93 Reads
Design of innovative products from elements of the Ecuadorian Amazon

In the times of the fourth Industrial Revolution, product design reaches a new look. The objective of this work is to develop a methodology for the design of innovative products based on Amazonian elements, and the application of this in two practical case studies. Design methodologies were analyzed, common points were identified between them, a content matrix was constructed for the definition of design elements. The Amazonian raw material used is chontacuro (larvae of R. palmarum), a product rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic), and two products are produced and result in: pâté and sausage with added value for human health. These products analyze the market, use the benchmarking technique, the form of industrial processing (formulations and processes) and define improvement actions. This work has a social value, because the larvae of this insect are part of the basic diet of the communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.