Eva Christine Schitter
Tastes are Different - Genes Too!
Is it genes that influence our sense of taste? This question, which is especially relevant in medicine and the food and drinks industry, has been investigated by the students. They tested the genetics of taste using a molecular-biological experiment. This involved several hundred people tasting defined concentrations of bitter constituent as well as food containing the natural sweetener, Stevia, and the healthy, but bitter tasting, Aronia berry or choke berry. The tasters were also asked which of the samples they preferred and liked least. The research team could then divide the tasters into three groups: people with extreme and average senses of taste and people with literally no sense of taste. After DNA samples had been taken from all the tasters, the students attempted to locate a specific gene among the 25TAS2R genes, which are responsible for the perception of bitterness.
The Efficient Selection of Antagonistic Bacteria of Pear Black Spot Disease and the Effect of Disease Prevention
This study aims at the problems of the resistance, infectivity and harmfulness of Pear Black Spot, and serious environmental pollution caused by chemical control, adopt the prevention by using bacteria and antibacterial substance they secreted. Through the soil microbial separation and purification, early antagonists screening, after antibacterial material screening and living pear prevention measurement, we can screen bacterial strains whose antibacterial material is with high metabolic ability and internal absorbable ability, and preliminarily discuss the properties and preventing mechanism of antibacterial material they produced. Screened bacteria strains have efficient antagonist effect, their antagonist spectrums are broad, and they have high environmental stability. The preliminary experiments indicate that these screened bacterial strains can largely reduce the incidence of Pear Black Spot, effectively control and cure of infected leaves and fruits.
Production of Valuable Sialic Acid from Trashed Chalaza of Hen’S Egg with Sialidase Produced by Newly Isolated Strain LXS6
Humans are genetically unable to produce sialic acid although it plays an important role in the biomedical functionsuch as anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, immunity enhancing. Whereas sialic acid is widely distributed in hen’s egg including yolk, albumen, and chalaza. The rapid developing in egg powder processing produces lots of chalaza. It is possible to apply such wasted chalaza as excellent sources of sialic acid production. In order to prepare the sialic acid from indissoluble chalaza of hen’s egg, one strain capable of dissociating sialic acid from chalaza was isolated from soil sample. This is an effective and environment-friendly process to produce sialic acid from industrial waste of chalaza. Such enzymatic production is an environment-friendly method because the pollution caused by solid waste was overcome and the valuable sialic acid was obtained.
The Abundance and Distribution of the Bristle Worm (Marenzelleria neglecta) and the Factors Influencing the Species in the Pärnu Bay Area
The following research is focused on the invasive species of the bristle worm Marenzelleria neglecta, its distribution, and the factors that affect the species in Estonia in the Pärnu bay area. Brought here probably by the ballast waters of ships, M. neglecta has a great impact on the eco system, increasing the oxygen concentration in sediments and thus causing eutrofication in the area. M. neglecta as an unpretentious worm can displace native species in the zoobenthos. In this research three factors are compared in relation with the abundance of M. neglecta. The results show that M. neglecta prefers eutrophied areas to saltier waters with a lower trophic level. Secondly, the findings of the research show that Pärnu bay area is eutrophied enough to eliminate the competition for food between M. neglecta, M. balthica and H. diversicolor, with a few exceptions in the outer Pärnu bay. Eutrophication in Pärnu bay results in the increase of the biomass of all these species.
Simulation of Development Conditions of the Truffle Fungus in an Electronically Controlled and Automated Indoor Environment
"Simulation of development conditions of the truffle fungus in an electronically controlled and automated indoor environment" is an inquiring and innovative project developed after intense research and experimenting. After research and thorough reading we have established that if we have the ideal conditions in temperature, soil's pH, humidity etc. we can grow the truffle fungus. The thought was simple. "Why look for and not simulate these conditions?"
In closing we present to you today our practical view of a fully protected cultivation in a fully controlled simulated environment of the truffle fungus with no harm being done to our Unprotected and so poorly controlled environment.
Activity of Bats on the Lake Pape during the Autumn Migration Period
Bats are an important part of biodiversity, but such a significant problem like the migration ecology of bats, has not been intensively studied. The research was done above the lake Pape, which is a protected wetland by Ramsar convention. Agnis and Kaspars chose this lake because it is an important feeding place during the migration of birds and they wanted to find out if the lake was an important feeding place for the migratory bat species. The boys worked out their own methodology; altogether they paddled more than 150 km during the practical part of the research. They did more than 140 recordings of bat sonar calls. Analysis was made during the period of three months and it was found what bats did above the lake Pape. This is the first of such a kind investigation not only in Latvia but also in Europe. As United Nations Environment Programme – EUROBATS has declared this year as “Year of the Bat”, special attention has been paid to the research of these animals.
Defense of Garlic against Herbivore and Heavy Metals
During a walk through a closed open-pit mining site in Luxembourg, we were astonished by the diversity of plants growing on a heavy-metal contaminated site. So we asked us if these plants possessed a defense system against different stressors like heavy metals and herbivore. We decided to carry out an experiment in a hydroponic setup, where garlic plants grew in 4 groups: one control group; one with a simulated herbivore (3cm cut from top-leaf); one group with heavy metal treatment (10µM Cu), one receiving both treatments. In regular intervals we measured the growth rate and electrolyte leakage (indicator of cellular damage) of leaves. Results showed that copper inhibits growth. Plants manage a punctual herbivore attack. Most interestingly with the two factors combined, it seemed that the herbivore had a beneficent effect on growth, which was less inhibited than with copper only. Finally, we conclude that heavy metals have a negative impact on ecosystem’s dynamic and productivity.
Tracing Vitamin C. How to Preserve the Valuable Vitamin?
The research on the vitamin C content was carried out on the Polana variety of raspberries. The content level was determined by means of spectrophotometer. The observed vitamin C content depended mainly on the manner of storage. The raspberries in a MaxiFresh bag were characterized by the highest vitamin C level, whereas the raspberries in a traditional plastic box by the lowest one. It was demonstrated that the changes of ascorbic acid depended to a lesser extent on temperature and storage time. The vitamin C losses ranged from 5.91% to 71.94%. Further research material was cucumbers of Krak F1 variety. The influence of two processing methods and storage time on the ascorbic acid content was examined. As a result of pickling, higher vitamin C content was observed in each sample. The pickle temperature and the manner of cutting had a similar effect on the increase of the examined vitamin. The contrary tendency was observed in gherkins.
What does a Bush Cricket Sing About?
Records of Conocephalus discolour’s call indicate that the changes of the ambient air temperature are correlated with overall singing time and the song’s rate (described here as the echeme rate). The other parameters that were studied, i. e. frequency, volume and wing – movement pattern are independent of the air temperature. A description of the stridulatory movement pattern was necessary before its changes could be studied. Focusing on a single echeme oscillogram, I recognized three faint closing movements, each followed by a stronger closing wing move.
Beatriz Gonçalves Crisóstomo Esteves
Daniel José Rodrigues Roque Dos Santos
Marisa Alves Cristovão Paulino
Honey under Investigation
The aim of the project “Honey under Investigation” is to analyse and divulge some biochemical properties of honey to local non-professional beekeepers and clarify a few empirical views about honey’s health benefits. Biochemical analysis on pH, free acidity, antioxidant activity, phenol content, intensity of colour, and electrical conductivity were carried out for several honey samples (home-made/commercial and from different regions of Portugal). The methods used were: spectrophotometry, potenciometric titrations and application of an electrical current in solutions of honey for measuring conductivity. Pollen analyses were performed using optical microscopy observations and antimicrobial activity was tested with the Kirby-Bauer method. We conclude that the home-made and non-manipulated samples exhibited better values of all the studied parameters and, therefore, their health benefit is probably higher than those of the commercially available samples we examined.
Macroscopic Evaluation of Active Substances Content in Saint John's Wort
The objective of this work is the use of the possibility to apply theoretical knowledge in harvesting practice in order to increase active substances in harvested drug. We summarized them into simple procedures, which can be applied during the harvest and so determine the content of Pharmacopeia prescribed substances without chemical analysis. Results of experiments showed the linear relationship between hypericin content and the number of hypericin glands in St. John's wort, which confirmed our assumptions.
Determination of the Mosquito Order Representation and the Possibilities of Preventing their Overgrowth
The main aim of my work was the determination of the mosquito order representation in my town and the production of an effective, natural resource based repellent containing natural plants extracts and oils. For the sake of fulfilment of my main aim, as well as the partial goals, I carried out the collection of the mosquito samples, which were examined microscopically. I also made use of the experimental trial, thank to which I was testing the repellent effectiveness.
Pablo Almuiña Varela
Arachnids Living in Our Skin. Study of Acari of the Genus Demodex
This study was intended to gain a deeper knowledge of certain universal parasites: the so-called Demodex bearing in mind the following objectives: to carry out a study on the prevalence of Demodex in a sample of teachers and students of my high school, and to conduct a study of the specimens found using different microscopy techniques. Sampling was carried out by placing cellophane tape on the nasolabial folds. It has been found out that the presence of Demodex increases with age, and also that males show a higher incidence of these acari. When the samples were taken during the night the number of specimens obtained was very high, thus proving the nocturnal habits of Demodex. The epifluorescence microscopy technique, using the fluorochrome calcofluor White M2R is much better suited to the study of Demodex than the traditional brightfield microscopy. No bibliographical reference has been found describing the use of epifluorescence microscopy to study these acari.
Anna Maria Therese Blum
Erik Anders Rothman
Protein Aggregation in Yeast Cells
We have chosen to look further into the ongoing molecular biology research on the anti-aging mechanisms of common yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), a field of research which in the long run is believed to help unravel the mysteries of aging in all organisms. We exposed a yeast cell mutant, lot6∆ (lacking the gene Lot6) to hydrogen peroxide-induced stress (simulated aging) under different environmental conditions, one being the under-trial medicinal cancer drug β-lapachone. We then observed the effects on the stressed cells during a period of 24 hours. The results of our tests indicate that Lot6 in some way participates in the stress-recovery process that took part during the 24 hours, and also that the mutant lot6∆ more successfully recovered from stress in comparison to the standard yeast wild-type during these 24 hours. Our results also show that the drug β-lapachone, as well as the gene Lot6, did not affect the degradation of hydrogen peroxide after induced stress.
Victoria Maria Jing Welander
An Investigation on the Effects of Fish Predation on the Population Density, Size Distribution and Wariness of Pacifastacus leniusculus Populations
The signal crayfish has been introduced in many Swedish lakes and streams. In most waters they coexist with predators, such as perch and pike, known to feed on signal crayfish. The effects of predators on signal crayfish populations were investigated in two lakes with similar conditions for crayfish, the only exception being no predatory fish present in one of the lakes whereas the other contained both perch and pike. The aim of this investigation was to study the effects of perch and pike on the population density, size distribution and wariness of signal crayfish populations. The population density was found to be much higher in the lake without fish predators. The mean length of the crayfish was significantly longer in the lake with predatory fish, 11.4 cm, compared to 9.8 cm in the lake without predators. A greater wariness of the juvenile crayfish in the water with predators was observed.
Anna Maria Gizilgul Welsapar
Hydrogen from Solar Energy and the Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
The main goal is to one day find an energy source which is environmentally friendly and inexpensive. Since, plants can utilize solar energy through photosynthesis scientists have for a long time tried to figure out how to imitate this process so that solar energy can be obtained. When the green algae C.reinhardtii is Sulphur deprived the algae produces H2 which is an energy carrier of solar power. The reason for this is that Sulfur is an essential component of many amino acids and without Sulfur; no de novo protein synthesis takes place. And as a result the PS11 is inhibited, first (there is no replacement for the old PS11) and that creates anaerobic conditions where hydrogenase can operate. Nevertheless, there are many obstacles to overcome to fully understand how the photosynthesis changes when the alga is sulphur deprived. Hydrogenase is O2 sensitive and the algae stops to produce H2 under aerobic conditions.
Emir Aycan Bedel
Using Enzymatic Biofuel Cells in Photosynthesis to Produce Electrical Energy
The search for cost efficient renewable, eco-friendly, and sustainable energy sources is rampant. In order to contribute to these efforts we integrated biofuel cells into photosynthetic live plant and produced electrical energy. We used new functional polymers and new types of electrodes which decrease the cost and reduce the production time. Additionally, we used a new plant which was not tested before. Our methodology was based on three steps: (i) setup of the original BFC system, (ii) performing experiments in vitro according to various parameters and determination of the optimal conditions of the system (iii) testing the optimised system in a plant in vivo and producing electrical energy from the products of photosynthesis. We achieved to produce and measure 6,804 μW/cm2 (12.6 mA) of energy in vivo conditions, which provides 257,040 times more energy production compared with a same size zinc fibre battery and 756 times more than the highest production from photosynthesis before us.
Investigation into Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation
If scientists were able to safely convert an adult (differentiated) cell into a stem cell and then into a different cell type, medics could use this to replace damaged cells in the body, for example neurons in Alzheimer’s disease patients or βcells in diabetes patients. There would be no tissue rejection or organ donor problems. However, for this to become a reality, researchers must learn how stem cells differentiate and what determines the cell type into which they differentiate. Investigating the factors that cause embryonic stem cells to differentiate or self-renew is a very exciting area of research. My project looks into the effect Wnt signaling protein has on the likelihood of embryonic stem cells differentiating or self renewing by measuring nanog gene expression. The results indicate that Wnt signaling protein causes cells to form 2 discrete categories: one with a high chance of self-renewal and one with a high chance of differentiation.
United States Of America
A Novel Approach to Mapping Protein Interactions during Pilus Biogenesis by using In Vivo Photocrosslinking
By understanding the mechanisms of bacterial attachment to host cells, novel methods for fighting bacterial infection can be developed that are less likely to induce bacterial resistance. In this study, protein interactions of uropathogenic Escherichia coli P pilus secretion were mapped. P pili are external structures that facilitate adhesion to kidney epithelial cells, a crucial step in bacterial pathogenesis. Constructed through the chaperone/usher pathway, they are composed of monomeric proteins that are assembled and secreted at the cell surface by an outer membrane usher. The usher’s N terminus contains a disulfide loop region that is required for catalyzing pilus assembly. To map interactions of the disulfide loop region, a synthetic photocrosslinkable amino acid was incorporated into the usher, scanning throughout the loop region. Interactions were captured upon exposure to UV light. Results indicate that the loop domain serves a structural purpose in catalyzing pilus assembly.