Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering - Research Publications

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    Ultrasonic Processing of Food Waste to Generate Value-Added Products
    Wu, Y ; Yao, S ; Narale, BA ; Shanmugam, A ; Mettu, S ; Ashokkumar, M (MDPI, 2022-07-01)
    Ultrasonic processing has a great potential to transform waste from the food and agriculture industry into value-added products. In this review article, we discuss the use of ultrasound for the valorisation of food and agricultural waste. Ultrasonic processing is considered a green technology as compared to the conventional chemical extraction/processing methods. The influence of ultrasound pre-treatment on the soluble chemical oxygen demand (SCOD), particle size, and cell wall content of food waste is first discussed. The use of ultrasonic processing to produce/extract bioactives such as oil, polyphenolic, polysaccharides, fatty acids, organic acids, protein, lipids, and enzymes is highlighted. Moreover, ultrasonic processing in bioenergy production from food waste such as green methane, hydrogen, biodiesel, and ethanol through anaerobic digestion is also reviewed. The conversion of waste oils into biofuels with the use of ultrasound is presented. The latest developments and future prospective on the use of ultrasound in developing energy-efficient methods to convert food and agricultural waste into value-added products are summarised.
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    Evidence-Based Framework to Manage Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Water and Sludge from Drinking Water Treatment Plants.
    Jalili, F ; Moradinejad, S ; Zamyadi, A ; Dorner, S ; Sauvé, S ; Prévost, M (MDPI AG, 2022-06-15)
    Freshwater bodies and, consequently, drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) sources are increasingly facing toxic cyanobacterial blooms. Even though conventional treatment processes including coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, and filtration can control cyanobacteria and cell-bound cyanotoxins, these processes may encounter challenges such as inefficient removal of dissolved metabolites and cyanobacterial cell breakthrough. Furthermore, conventional treatment processes may lead to the accumulation of cyanobacteria cells and cyanotoxins in sludge. Pre-oxidation can enhance coagulation efficiency as it provides the first barrier against cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins and it decreases cell accumulation in DWTP sludge. This critical review aims to: (i) evaluate the state of the science of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin management throughout DWTPs, as well as their associated sludge, and (ii) develop a decision framework to manage cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in DWTPs and sludge. The review identified that lab-cultured-based pre-oxidation studies may not represent the real bloom pre-oxidation efficacy. Moreover, the application of a common exposure unit CT (residual concentration × contact time) provides a proper understanding of cyanobacteria pre-oxidation efficiency. Recently, reported challenges on cyanobacterial survival and growth in sludge alongside the cell lysis and cyanotoxin release raised health and technical concerns with regards to sludge storage and sludge supernatant recycling to the head of DWTPs. According to the review, oxidation has not been identified as a feasible option to handle cyanobacterial-laden sludge due to low cell and cyanotoxin removal efficacy. Based on the reviewed literature, a decision framework is proposed to manage cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins and their associated sludge in DWTPs.
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    Nebulization of siRNA for inhalation therapy based on a microfluidic surface acoustic wave platform.
    Cortez-Jugo, C ; Masoumi, S ; Chan, PPY ; Friend, J ; Yeo, L (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    The local delivery of therapeutic small interfering RNA or siRNA to the lungs has the potential to improve the prognosis for patients suffering debilitating lung diseases. Recent advances in materials science have been aimed at addressing delivery challenges including biodistribution, bioavailability and cell internalization, but an equally important challenge to overcome is the development of an inhalation device that can deliver the siRNA effectively to the lung, without degrading the therapeutic itself. Here, we report the nebulization of siRNA, either naked siRNA or complexed with polyethyleneimine (PEI) or a commercial transfection agent, using a miniaturizable acoustomicrofluidic nebulization device. The siRNA solution could be nebulised without significant degradation into an aerosol mist with tunable mean aerodynamic diameters of approximately 3 µm, which is appropriate for deep lung deposition via inhalation. The nebulized siRNA was tested for its stability, as well as its toxicity and gene silencing properties using the mammalian lung carcinoma cell line A549, which demonstrated that the gene silencing capability of siRNA is retained after nebulization. This highlights the potential application of the acoustomicrofluidic device for the delivery of efficacious siRNA via inhalation, either for systemic delivery via the alveolar epithelium or local therapeutic delivery to the lung.
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    Advanced Lipidomics in the Modern Meat Industry: Quality Traceability, Processing Requirement, and Health Concerns
    Li, C ; Ozturk-Kerimoglu, B ; He, L ; Zhang, M ; Pan, J ; Liu, Y ; Zhang, Y ; Huang, S ; Wu, Y ; Jin, G (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-05-27)
    Over the latest decade, lipidomics has been extensively developed to give robust strength to the qualitative and quantitative information of lipid molecules derived from physiological animal tissues and edible muscle foods. The main lipidomics analytical platforms include mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), where MS-based approaches [e.g., "shotgun lipidomics," ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS), matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS)] have been widely used due to their good sensitivity, high availability, and accuracy in identification/quantification of basal lipid profiles in complex biological point of view. However, each method has limitations for lipid-species [e.g., fatty acids, triglycerides (TGs), and phospholipids (PLs)] analysis, and necessitating the extension of effective chemometric-resolved modeling and novel bioinformatic strategies toward molecular insights into alterations in the metabolic pathway. This review summarized the latest research advances regarding the application of advanced lipidomics in muscle origin and meat processing. We concisely highlighted and presented how the biosynthesis and decomposition of muscle-derived lipid molecules can be tailored by intrinsic characteristics during meat production (i.e., muscle type, breed, feeding, and freshness). Meanwhile, the consequences of some crucial hurdle techniques from both thermal/non-thermal perspectives were also discussed, as well as the role of salting/fermentation behaviors in postmortem lipid biotransformation. Finally, we proposed the inter-relationship between potential/putative lipid biomarkers in representative physiological muscles and processed meats, their metabolism accessibility, general nutritional uptake, and potency on human health.
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    Material Optimization Engineering toward xLiFePO4·yLi3V2(PO4)3 Composites in Application-Oriented Li-Ion Batteries.
    Pi, Y ; Luo, G ; Wang, P ; Xu, W ; Yu, J ; Zhang, X ; Fu, Z ; Yang, X ; Wang, L ; Ding, Y ; Wang, F (MDPI AG, 2022-05-20)
    The development of LiFePO4 (LFP) in high-power energy storage devices is hampered by its slow Li-ion diffusion kinetics. Constructing the composite electrode materials with vanadium substitution is a scientific endeavor to boost LFP's power capacity. Herein, a series of xLiFePO4·yLi3V2(PO4)3 (xLFP·yLVP) composites were fabricated using a simple spray-drying approach. We propose that 5LFP·LVP is the optimal choice for Li-ion battery promotion, owning to its excellent Li-ion storage capacity (material energy density of 413.6 W·h·kg-1), strong machining capability (compacted density of 1.82 g·cm-3) and lower raw material cost consumption. Furthermore, the 5LFP·LVP||LTO Li-ion pouch cell also presents prominent energy storage capability. After 300 cycles of a constant current test at 400 mA, 75% of the initial capacity (379.1 mA·h) is achieved, with around 100% of Coulombic efficiency. A capacity retention of 60.3% is displayed for the 300th cycle when discharging at 1200 mA, with the capacity fading by 0.15% per cycle. This prototype provides a valid and scientific attempt to accelerate the development of xLFP·yLVP composites in application-oriented Li-ion batteries.
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    Hydrodynamic Cavitation: A Novel Non-Thermal Liquid Food Processing Technology
    Sun, X ; You, W ; Wu, Y ; Tao, Y ; Yoon, JY ; Zhang, X ; Xuan, X (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-03-04)
    Hydrodynamic cavitation (HC), as a novel non-thermal processing technology, has recently shown unique effects on the properties of various liquid foods. The extreme conditions of pressure at ~500 bar, local hotspots with ~5,000 K, and oxidation created by HC can help obtain characteristic products with high quality and special taste. Moreover, compared with other emerging non-thermal approaches, the feature of the HC phenomenon and its generation mechanism helps determine that HC is more suitable for industrial-scale processing. This mini-review summarizes the current knowledge of the recent advances in HC-based liquid food processing. The principle of HC is briefly introduced. The effectiveness of HC on the various physical (e.g., particle size, viscosity, temperature, and stability), chemical (nutrition loss), and biological characteristics (microorganism inactivation) of various liquid foods are evaluated. Finally, several recommendations for future research on the HC technique are provided.
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    Fermentation and Storage Characteristics of "Fuji" Apple Juice Using Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum: Microbial Growth, Metabolism of Bioactives and in vitro Bioactivities
    Yang, J ; Sun, Y ; Gao, T ; Wu, Y ; Sun, H ; Zhu, Q ; Liu, C ; Zhou, C ; Han, Y ; Tao, Y (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-02-09)
    Fruit juices have been widely used as the substrates for probiotic delivery in non-dairy products. In this study, three lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, were selected to ferment apple juice. During 72-h of fermentation, these LAB strains grew well in the apple juice with significant increases in viable cell counts (from 7.5 log CFU/mL to 8.3 log CFU/mL) and lactic acid content (from 0 to 4.2 g/L), and a reduction of pH value (from 5.5 to around 3.8). In addition, the antioxidant and antibacterial capacities of fermented apple juice in vitro were significantly improved through the phenolic and organic acid metabolisms. After storage at 4°C for 30 days, the total amino acid content of fermented apple juice was significantly increased, although the viable cell counts and total phenolic content were decreased (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the stored fermented apple juices still possessed antibacterial and in vitro antioxidant activities. Overall, all the selected LAB strains could be suitable for apple juice fermentation and can effectively improve their biological activities.
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    Self-template construction of nanoporous carbon nanorods from a metal-organic framework for supercapacitor electrodes
    Yang, Y-W ; Liu, X-H ; Gao, E-P ; Feng, T-T ; Jiang, W-J ; Wu, J ; Jiang, H ; Sun, B (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2018-01-01)
    The morphologies and structures of nanostructured carbons generally influence their catalysis, electrochemical performance and adsorption properties. Metal-organic framework (MOF) nanocrystals usually have various morphologies, and can be considered as a template to construct nanostructured carbons with shaped nanocubes, nanorods, and hollow particles by thermal transformation. However, thermal carbonization of MOFs usually leads to collapse of MOF structures. Here, we report shape-preserved carbons (termed as CNRods) by thermal transformation of nickel catecholate framework (Ni-CAT) nanorods. Supercapacitors of CNRods treated at 800 °C were demonstrated to have enhanced performance due to their structural features that facilitate electron conduction and ion transport as well as abundant O content benefiting the wettability of the carbon materials. This may provide a potential way to explore novel carbon materials for supercapacitors with controllable morphologies and high capacitive performance.
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    A modelling approach to assess the long-term stability of a novel microbial/electrochemical system for the treatment of acid mine drainage.
    Brewster, ET ; Pozo, G ; Batstone, DJ ; Freguia, S ; Ledezma, P (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-05-17)
    Microbial electrochemical processes have potential to remediate acid mine drainage (AMD) wastewaters which are highly acidic and rich in sulfate and heavy metals, without the need for extensive chemical dosing. In this manuscript, a novel hybrid microbial/electrochemical remediation process which uses a 3-reactor system - a precipitation vessel, an electrochemical reactor and a microbial electrochemical reactor with a sulfate-reducing biocathode - was modelled. To evaluate the long-term operability of this system, a dynamic model for the fluxes of 140 different ionic species was developed and calibrated using laboratory-scale experimental data. The model identified that when the reactors are operating in the desired state, the coulombic efficiency of sulfate removal from AMD is high (91%). Modelling also identified that a periodic electrolyte purge is required to prevent the build-up of Cl- ions in the microbial electrochemical reactor. The model furthermore studied the fate of sulfate and carbon in the system. For sulfate, it was found that only 29% can be converted into elemental sulfur, with the rest complexating with metals in the precipitation vessel. Finally, the model shows that the flux of inorganic carbon under the current operational strategy is insufficient to maintain the autotrophic sulfate-reducing biomass. The modelling approach demonstrates that a change in system operational strategies plus close monitoring of overlooked ionic species (such as Cl- and HCO3 -) are key towards the scaling-up of this technology.
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    Flexible C-Mo2C fiber film with self-fused junctions as a long cyclability anode material for sodium-ion battery
    Zhang, W ; Guo, Z ; Liang, Q ; Lv, R ; Shen, W ; Kang, F ; Weng, Y ; Huang, Z-H (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2018-01-01)
    Electrospun carbon fiber films have high contact resistance at the fiber junctions, which causes poor cycling stability and limits their further improvement in energy storage performances. To eliminate the contact resistance of the film, we provide a new strategy to fuse the fiber junctions by introducing MoO2 in the fibers, which replaces the C-C interface by a more active C-MoO2-C interface at the fiber junction to promote mass transfer. MoO2 reacts with C matrix to generate Mo2C and form self-fused junctions during the carbonization process. Due to much lower charge transfer and sodium diffusion resistance, the C-Mo2C fiber film with self-fused junctions shows much better cyclability with capacity retention of 90% after 2000 cycles at a constant current density of 1 A g-1. Moreover, the Mo2C particles provide many electrochemically active sites, leading to additional improvement in sodium storage. The C-Mo2C fiber film has a capacity of 134 mA h g-1 at 1 A g-1 and a high capacity of 99 mA h g-1 even at 5 A g-1.