Publications by authors named "Yanfeng Zhang"

405 Publications

Low-noise Kerr frequency comb generation with low temperature deuterated silicon nitride waveguides.

Opt Express 2021 Aug;29(18):29557-29566

We report very low-loss deuterated silicon nitride (SiN:D) micro-ring resonators fabricated by back-end CMOS compatible low-temperature plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) without annealing. Strong confinement micro-ring resonators with a quality factor of > 2 million are achieved, corresponding to a propagation loss in the 1460-1610 nm wavelength range of ∼ 0.17 dB/cm. We further report the generation of low-noise coherent Kerr microcomb states including different perfect soliton crystals (PSC) in PECVD SiN:D micro-ring resonators. These results manifest the promising potential of the back-end CMOS compatible SiN:D platform for linear and nonlinear photonic circuits that can be co-integrated with electronics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.438436DOI Listing
August 2021

Global Analysis of the Genetic Variations in miRNA-Targeted Sites and Their Correlations With Agronomic Traits in Rapeseed.

Front Genet 2021 14;12:741858. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

National Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Shanghai, China.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and their target genes play vital roles in crops. However, the genetic variations in miRNA-targeted sites that affect miRNA cleavage efficiency and their correlations with agronomic traits in crops remain unexplored. On the basis of a genome-wide DNA re-sequencing of 210 elite rapeseed () accessions, we identified the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertions/deletions (INDELs) in miRNA-targeted sites complementary to miRNAs. Variant calling revealed 7.14 million SNPs and 2.89 million INDELs throughout the genomes of 210 rapeseed accessions. Furthermore, we detected 330 SNPs and 79 INDELs in 357 miRNA target sites, of which 33.50% were rare variants. We also analyzed the correlation between the genetic variations in miRNA target sites and 12 rapeseed agronomic traits. Eleven SNPs in miRNA target sites were significantly correlated with phenotypes in three consecutive years. More specifically, three correlated SNPs within the miRNA-binding regions of , , and were in the loci associated with the branch angle, seed weight, and silique number, respectively; expression profiling suggested that the variation at these 3 miRNA target sites significantly affected the expression level of the corresponding target genes. Taken together, the results of this study provide researchers and breeders with a global view of the genetic variations in miRNA-targeted sites in rapeseed and reveal the potential effects of these genetic variations on elite agronomic traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.741858DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8476912PMC
September 2021

The Brassica napus fatty acid exporter FAX1-1 contributes to biological yield, seed oil content, and oil quality.

Biotechnol Biofuels 2021 Sep 29;14(1):190. Epub 2021 Sep 29.

College of Resources and Environment, and Interdisciplinary Research Center for Agriculture Green Development in Yangtze River Basin, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China.

Background: In the oilseed crop Brassica napus (rapeseed), various metabolic processes influence seed oil content, oil quality, and biological yield. However, the role of plastid membrane proteins in these traits has not been explored.

Results: Our genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 520 B. napus accessions identified the chloroplast membrane protein-localized FATTY ACID EXPORTER 1-1 (FAX1-1) as a candidate associated with biological yield. Seed transcript levels of BnaFAX1-1 were higher in a cultivar with high seed oil content relative to a low-oil cultivar. BnaFAX1-1 was localized to the plastid envelope. When expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana, BnaFAX1-1 enhanced biological yield (total plant dry matter), seed yield and seed oil content per plant. Likewise, in the field, B. napus BnaFAX1-1 overexpression lines (BnaFAX1-1-OE) displayed significantly enhanced biological yield, seed yield, and seed oil content compared with the wild type. BnaFAX1-1 overexpression also up-regulated gibberellic acid 4 (GA4) biosynthesis, which may contribute to biological yield improvement. Furthermore, oleic acid (C18:1) significantly increased in BnaFAX1-1 overexpression seeds.

Conclusion: Our results indicated that the putative fatty acid exporter BnaFAX1-1 may simultaneously improve seed oil content, oil quality and biological yield in B. napus, providing new approaches for future molecular breeding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13068-021-02035-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8482660PMC
September 2021

Admission Systolic Blood Pressure Predicts Post-Operative Delirium of Acute Aortic Dissection Patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

Int J Gen Med 2021 21;14:5939-5948. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, People's Republic of China.

Purpose: Post-operative delirium (POD) is a common complication after aortic surgery with poor outcomes. Blood pressure may play a role in the occurrence of POD. The study aimed to identify whether admission systolic blood pressure (SBP) level in the intensive care unit (ICU) is correlated with POD in acute Stanford type A aortic dissection (AAAD) patients undergoing aortic surgery.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective cohort study enrolling consecutive 205 patients with acute type A aortic dissection undergoing aortic surgery. Patients were divided into 3 groups: low, normal, and high SBP level group. Outcomes of interest were POD, 30-day mortality and other complications including acute kidney injury, cardiac complications, spinal cord ischemia, stroke, and pneumonia. Confusion Assessment Method for Intensive Care Unit (CAM-ICU) method was used to assess POD. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression, Cox regression, and subgroup analysis were performed to uncover the association between SBP and POD.

Results: The mean age of these patients was 51±16 years old. Thirty-six patients (17.6%) developed POD. Patients with high admission SBP were more likely to develop POD (P < 0.01). Univariate analysis showed that high admission SBP was associated with a higher risk of POD among AAAD patients (OR, 3.514; 95% CI, 1.478-8.537, P < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression model confirmed that high SBP was an independent predictor of POD. Subgroup analysis indicated that patients with anemia and high admission SBP were at higher risk of POD.

Conclusion: High admission SBP was positively associated with the incidence of POD in AAAD patients who underwent surgical repair in ICU.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S329689DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8464373PMC
September 2021

Development of an artificial zinc finger - Luciferase fusion protein for the rapid detection of Salmonella typhimurium.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2021 Nov 20;579:35-39. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China. Electronic address:

A novel artificial Zinc finger - luciferase fusion protein was successfully developed for rapid detection of Salmonella typhimurium, a worldwide-distributed foodborne pathogen. The designed Zinc finger (ZF) protein bound specifically to a 12 bp region of the Salmonella spp invasion gene invA. While the luciferase from Gaussia princeps called Gaussia luciferase (Gluc) was for the first time fused with the artificial ZF domain to improve the detection sensitivity. The fusion protein successfully recognized and bound to the synthesized invA dsDNA with high specificity and sensitivity. The detection limit was as low as 10 fmol of dsNDA. Then, the bacteria PCR products were subsequently used to assess the zinc finger - luciferase fusion protein. The final results indicated that the ZF-Gluc fusion protein system could detect S. typhimurium as low as 1 CFU/mL in 2 h after the PCR. Therefore, this study provided us with a novel artificial zinc finger fusion protein and an efficient method to accomplish the rapid detection of the major foodborne pathogen S. typhimurium. In addition, the specific artificial ZF proteins that bund to particular dsDNA sequences could be easily designed, the ZF-Gluc might has broad application prospects in the field of rapid pathogenic bacteria detection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2021.09.033DOI Listing
November 2021

Identifying the Intermediate Free-Carrier Dynamics Across the Charge Separation in Monolayer MoS/ReSe Heterostructures.

ACS Nano 2021 Sep 22. Epub 2021 Sep 22.

Key Laboratory of Materials Physics, Institute of Solid State Physics, HFIPS, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China.

Van der Waals heterostructures composed of different two-dimensional films offer a unique platform for engineering and promoting photoelectric performances, which highly demands the understanding of photocarrier dynamics. Herein, large-scale vertically stacked heterostructures with MoS and ReSe monolayers are fabricated. Correspondingly, the carrier dynamics have been thoroughly investigated using different ultrafast spectroscopies, including Terahertz (THz) emission spectroscopy, time-resolved THz spectroscopy (TRTS), and near-infrared optical pump-probe spectroscopy (OPPS), providing complementary dynamic information for the out-of-plane charge separation and in-plane charge transport at different stages. The initial charge transfer (CT) within the first 170 fs, generating a transient directional current, is directly demonstrated by the THz emissions. Furthermore, the TRTS explicitly unveils an intermediate free-carrier relaxation pathway, featuring a pronounced augmentation of THz photoconductivity compared to the isolated ReSe layer, which likely contains the evolution from immigrant hot charged free carriers to bounded interlayer excitons (∼0.7 ps) and the surface defect trapping (∼13 ps). In addition, the OPPS reveals a distinct enhancement in the saturable absorption along with long-lived dynamics (∼365 ps), which originated from the CT and interlayer exciton recombination. Our work provides comprehensive insight into the photocarrier dynamics across the charge separation and will help with the development of optoelectronic devices based on ReSe-MoS heterostructures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c06822DOI Listing
September 2021

Polyvinyl pyrrolidone-coordinated ultrathin bismuth oxybromide nanosheets for boosting photoreduction of carbon dioxide via ligand-to-metal charge transfer.

J Colloid Interface Sci 2021 Aug 19;606(Pt 2):1087-1100. Epub 2021 Aug 19.

Multi-discipline Research Division, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China.

Photoreduction of CO to useful ingredients remains a great challenge due to the high energy barrier of CO activation and poor product selectivity. Herein, Polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) coordinated BiOBr was synthesized by a facile chemical precipitation method at room temperature. The CO photoreduction behaviors of PVP coordinated BiOBr were evaluated with HO without sacrificial agent under the simulated sunlight. The evolution rates of CO and CH are 263.2 µmol gh and 3.3 µmol gh, which are 8 times and 2 times higher than those of pure BiOBr respectively. Furthermore, the coordination of PVP on BiOBr surface enhances greatly the selectivity of product CO, which is close to 100%. Loading PVP onto BiOBr could not only induce and stabilize the oxygen vacancy, but also increase the charge density of BiOBr via the ligand to metal charge transfer (LMCT), which could be beneficial to the adsorption and activation of CO molecule. The photoreduction mechanism of CO for PVP coordinated BiOBr was proposed based on the improved charge density of BiOBr by the experimental results and Density functional theory (DFT) calculations. This finding provides a new pathway to boost the conversion efficiency and selectivity for the activation of CO photoreduction and new molecule insights into the role of PVP in photocatalysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2021.08.116DOI Listing
August 2021

Reconfigurable multi-component micromachines driven by optoelectronic tweezers.

Nat Commun 2021 09 9;12(1):5349. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

There is great interest in the development of micromotors which can convert energy to motion in sub-millimeter dimensions. Micromachines take the micromotor concept a step further, comprising complex systems in which multiple components work in concert to effectively realize complex mechanical tasks. Here we introduce light-driven micromotors and micromachines that rely on optoelectronic tweezers (OET). Using a circular micro-gear as a unit component, we demonstrate a range of new functionalities, including a touchless micro-feed-roller that allows the programming of precise three-dimensional particle trajectories, multi-component micro-gear trains that serve as torque- or velocity-amplifiers, and micro-rack-and-pinion systems that serve as microfluidic valves. These sophisticated systems suggest great potential for complex micromachines in the future, for application in microrobotics, micromanipulation, microfluidics, and beyond.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25582-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8429428PMC
September 2021

Reliability and validity of a modified 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale in patients with chronic pain.

Ann Palliat Med 2021 Aug;10(8):9088-9095

The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China.

Background: The 8-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8) is a simple, economic and easy tool to evaluate the medication compliance of chronic disease. The reliability and validity of the MMAS-8 in patients with chronic pain were unclear. Therefore, we aimed to validate the MMAS-8 for detecting nonadherent patients with chronic pain.

Methods: A modified MMAS-8 was used to assess the medication compliance of patients with chronic pain who were treated at our hospital from July 2018 to October 2018. Cronbach's α was used to evaluate the internal consistency, and a factor analysis was used to examine the construct validity. Convergent validity was assessed by comparing the MMAS-8 and a medication adherence visual analog score (MA-VAS) through Pearson's correlation coefficient.

Results: A total of 113 patients were evaluated. The (t-test) results revealed that there was a significant difference in average scores between the low-score group (who scored less than 5 points) and the high-score group (who scored 8 points or above), indicating that the scale displayed a good degree of discrimination. Except for Items 4 and 5, all the other items exhibited a good correlation with the total score (correlation coefficient >0.5; P<0.05). The Cronbach's α coefficient was 0.625, indicating that the scale's internal consistency was relatively satisfactory. Two common factors, which explained 62.978% of the total variance, were extracted by factor analysis to examine the construct validity of the MMAS-8, and the load of the 6 items was greater than 0.4. The Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.845 (P<0.001); thus, convergent validity was high.

Conclusions: The modified MMAS-8 exhibited acceptable reliability and validity in evaluating medication compliance in patients with chronic pain; thus, it can be applied to detect nonadherent patients with chronic pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/apm-21-1878DOI Listing
August 2021

Combining protein and metabolic engineering strategies for biosynthesis of melatonin in Escherichia coli.

Microb Cell Fact 2021 Aug 28;20(1):170. Epub 2021 Aug 28.

State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. 1 West Beichen Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, People's Republic of China.

Background: Melatonin has attracted substantial attention because of its excellent prospects for both medical applications and crop improvement. The microbial production of melatonin is a safer and more promising alternative to chemical synthesis approaches. Researchers have failed to produce high yields of melatonin in common heterologous hosts due to either the insolubility or low enzyme activity of proteins encoded by gene clusters related to melatonin biosynthesis.

Results: Here, a combinatorial gene pathway for melatonin production was successfully established in Escherichia coli by combining the physostigmine biosynthetic genes from Streptomyces albulus and gene encoding phenylalanine 4-hydroxylase (P4H) from Xanthomonas campestris and caffeic acid 3-O-methyltransferase (COMT) from Oryza sativa. A threefold improvement of melatonin production was achieved by balancing the expression of heterologous proteins and adding 3% glycerol. Further protein engineering and metabolic engineering were conducted to improve the conversion of N-acetylserotonin (NAS) to melatonin. Construction of COMT variant containing C303F and V321T mutations increased the production of melatonin by fivefold. Moreover, the deletion of speD gene increased the supply of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), an indispensable cofactor of COMT, which doubled the yield of melatonin. In the final engineered strain EcMEL8, the production of NAS and melatonin reached 879.38 ± 71.42 mg/L and 136.17 ± 1.33 mg/L in a shake flask. Finally, in a 2-L bioreactor, EcMEL8 produced 1.06 ± 0.07 g/L NAS and 0.65 ± 0.11 g/L melatonin with tryptophan supplementation.

Conclusions: This study established a novel combinatorial pathway for melatonin biosynthesis in E. coli and provided alternative strategies for improvement of melatonin production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12934-021-01662-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8403405PMC
August 2021

Designing New-Generation Piezoelectric Transducers by Embedding Superior Graphene-Based Thermal Regulators.

Adv Mater 2021 Oct 27;33(41):e2103141. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Center for Nanochemistry (CNC), Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, P. R. China.

Cascaded-piezoelectric-transducers (CPETs) is a key component in modern energy-conversion fields, possessing versatile applications in ultrasonic scalpels, acoustic levitation, and sonar. However, serious self-heating inevitably occurs inside high-power CPETs, severely limiting their practical applications in broader fields. To tackle this, multidirectional heat-escape channels of multidimensional (multi-D, 3D/2D) graphene films are introduced in designing new-type thermal regulators. A porous AlN-ceramic thermal-sink is creatively selected as a template for directly synthesizing graphene via a two-step chemical vapor deposition strategy. This perfect combination of 3D/2D-graphene and the AlN ceramic can integrate their complementary advantages in uniformizing, transmitting, and releasing heat. Amazingly, in the new-generation CPETs embedded with these graphene-based thermal regulators, the self-heating-induced temperature rise can be substantially reduced by ≈60% (far exceeding actual demand standard). As another kernel parameter, electroacoustic-energy-conversion efficiency is dramatically improved in the new-generation CPETs. Briefly, this research realizes the first synthesis of a novel multi-D-graphene/AlN-ceramic hybrid, and propels its brand-new application directions in new-generation energy-conversion- and thermal-management-related territories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.202103141DOI Listing
October 2021

Integrated Assembly and Photopreservation of Topographical Micropatterns.

Small 2021 09 12;17(37):e2103702. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3E1, Canada.

Micromanipulation techniques that are capable of assembling nano/micromaterials into usable structures such as topographical micropatterns (TMPs) have proliferated rapidly in recent years, holding great promise in building artificial electronic and photonic microstructures. Here, a method is reported for forming TMPs based on optoelectronic tweezers in either "bottom-up" or "top-down" modes, combined with in situ photopolymerization to form permanent structures. This work demonstrates that the assembled/cured TMPs can be harvested and transferred to alternate substrates, and illustrates that how permanent conductive traces and capacitive circuits can be formed, paving the way toward applications in microelectronics. The integrated, optical assembly/preservation method described here is accessible, versatile, and applicable for a wide range of materials and structures, suggesting utility for myriad microassembly and microfabrication applications in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.202103702DOI Listing
September 2021

Vortices-interaction-induced microstreaming for the pump-free separation of particles.

Opt Lett 2021 Aug;46(15):3629-3632

Microfluidic techniques have emerged as promising strategies for a wide variety of synthetic or biological sorting. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of sorting with automatic and handy operation. In contrast to passively generated vortices, the thermocapillary vortices produced by temperature gradient have the advantages of flexible manipulation, stable strength, and simple integration. In this Letter, we present a device used for the pump-free separation of particles through vortices interaction without external fluidic control systems required for the majority of existing devices. Specifically, the device induces a different flow type upon the actuation of optical power, and the flow functions, such as simultaneous pumping and sorting, agree with stimulation results very well. More importantly, our developed sorting device can achieve separations by means of tunable cutoff diameter size. Therefore, this versatile device can be utilized to sort complex samples with the advantages of portability, user-friendly control, and automation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.430123DOI Listing
August 2021

Insights into the impacts of bioturbation by multiple benthic organisms on the bioavailability and toxic effects of perfluorooctane sulfonate in sediment.

J Hazard Mater 2021 10 17;420:126675. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria of Ministry of Education, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China. Electronic address:

Sediment is an important reservoir for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in the environment, which likely poses adverse effects to benthos. In this study, the impacts of bioturbation of three benthic organisms, i.e. Chironomus kiiensis, Hyalella azteca and Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri, on the release of PFOS from sediment were investigated, and the toxic effects of PFOS to C. kiiensis were explored in the presence of one or two of the other benthic organisms. Among the three organisms, C. kiiensis displayed the weakest effect on the distribution of PFOS between sediment and water (P>0.05). The bioturbation of H. azteca and L. hoffmeisteri distinctly facilitated the suspension of sediment, leading to the enhanced amount of suspended particulate matter (SPM) and the flux of PFOS from sediment to SPM. Consequently, the concentrations of PFOS in the overlying water and pore water decreased significantly. Moreover, both H. azteca and L. hoffmeisteri affected the survival of C. kiiensis, and its mortality increased from 2.8% to 100% and 41.7% respectively. This study provides insights into the influences of bioturbation on the bioavailability of PFOS in sediments, and is helpful for accurately assessing the transport, toxicity and potential risks of PFOS in sediments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126675DOI Listing
October 2021

Changes in Chinese Adults' Physical Activity Behavior and Determinants before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

J Clin Med 2021 Jul 11;10(14). Epub 2021 Jul 11.

School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Purpose: To investigate the changes in Chinese adults' physical activity (PA) behavior and determinants before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: A total of 1028 adults (aged 19-59 years) were recruited from 127 urban and rural neighborhoods in China using stratified three-stage probability sampling. Data collection was conducted in December 2019 and July 2020.

Results: Compared with the data before the pandemic, individuals' weekly moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA) decreased significantly from 139 min to 120 min, seven months after the outbreak ( 0.01), with female and rural populations displaying a more significant decrease ( 0.02). Overall, 13.7% of participants met the PA guidelines (World Health Organization) both before and during the pandemic, while 21.8% met the guidelines only before the pandemic and 18.1% increased their PA and met the PA guidelines during the pandemic. A total of 46.4% did not meet the PA guidelines before or during the pandemic. Determinants of PA behavior change before and during the pandemic included sports skills, self-determined motivation and support from sports organizations.

Conclusions: The Chinese adults' PA levels decreased significantly from before to during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among the female population. It is suggested that the enhancement of self-determined motivation, improvement of sport skills, and support from sports organizations might be effective in facilitating individuals' engagement in PA during the pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10143069DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303329PMC
July 2021

Bandgap control in two-dimensional semiconductors via coherent doping of plasmonic hot electrons.

Nat Commun 2021 Jul 15;12(1):4332. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Key Laboratory of 3D Micro/Nano Fabrication and Characterization of Zhejiang Province, School of Engineering, Westlake University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.

Bandgap control is of central importance for semiconductor technologies. The traditional means of control is to dope the lattice chemically, electrically or optically with charge carriers. Here, we demonstrate a widely tunable bandgap (renormalisation up to 550 meV at room-temperature) in two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors by coherently doping the lattice with plasmonic hot electrons. In particular, we integrate tungsten-disulfide (WS) monolayers into a self-assembled plasmonic crystal, which enables coherent coupling between semiconductor excitons and plasmon resonances. Accompanying this process, the plasmon-induced hot electrons can repeatedly fill the WS conduction band, leading to population inversion and a significant reconstruction in band structures and exciton relaxations. Our findings provide an effective measure to engineer optical responses of 2D semiconductors, allowing flexibilities in design and optimisation of photonic and optoelectronic devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24667-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8282635PMC
July 2021

Effect of earthworm Eisenia fetida epidermal mucus on the vitality and pathogenicity of Beauveria bassiana.

Sci Rep 2021 07 6;11(1):13915. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

School of Life Science, Shanxi University, 92 Wucheng Rd, Taiyuan, 030006, Shanxi, China.

Beauveria bassiana is one of the most widely studied and used entomopathogenic fungus as biopesticide. In the biological control of pests, B. bassiana will persist in the soil after application, and will inevitably contact with earthworms, especially the epigeic earthworm species. So, what are the effects of earthworm and its epidermal mucus on the activity of B. bassiana? We employed the epigeic earthworm Eisenia fetida, B. bassiana TST05 strain, and the insect Atrijuglans hetaohei mature larvae to study the impact of earthworm epidermal mucus on the vitality and pathogenicity of B. bassiana to insect. Methods included scanning electron microscope observation, detection of spore germination, fungal extracellular enzyme activity, and infection testing to A. hetaohei. The results showed that the B. bassiana spores may attach to the cuticle of E. fetida but they could be covered by the epidermal mucus and became rough and shrunken. After treatment with the epidermal mucus, the spore germination and extracellular enzymes of B. bassiana was significantly inhibited. Inoculation of A. hetaohei larvae with a mixture of B. bassiana and mucus showed that the mucus could reduce the pathogenicity of B. bassiana to the insect, resulting in a slower disease course and lower mortality. It was concluded that the epidermal mucus of the earthworm E. fetida can inhibit the activity of B. bassiana, as well as the infectivity and pathogenicity of fungus to target insects. However, after treatment with epidermal mucus the surviving B. bassiana still had certain infectivity to insects. This is of great significance for the application of B. bassiana in biological control of pests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92694-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260715PMC
July 2021

The long non-coding RNA βFaar regulates islet β-cell function and survival during obesity in mice.

Nat Commun 2021 06 28;12(1):3997. Epub 2021 Jun 28.

State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Druggability of Biopharmaceuticals, School of Life Science and Technology, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.

Despite obesity being a predisposing factor for pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and loss, the mechanisms underlying its negative effect on insulin-secreting cells remain poorly understood. In this study, we identify an islet-enriched long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), which we name β-cell function and apoptosis regulator (βFaar). βFaar is dramatically downregulated in the islets of the obese mice, and a low level of βFaar is necessary for the development of obesity-associated β-cell dysfunction and apoptosis. Mechanistically, βFaar promote the synthesis and secretion of insulin by upregulating islet-specific genes Ins2, NeuroD1, and Creb1 through sponging miR-138-5p. In addition, using quantitative mass spectrometry, we identify TRAF3IP2 and SMURF1 as interacting proteins that are specifically associated with βFaar. We demonstrate that SMURF1 ubiquitin ligase activity is essential for TRAF3IP2 ubiquitination and activation of NF-κB-mediate β-cell apoptosis. Our experiments provide direct evidence that dysregulated βFaar contributes to the development of obesity-induced β-cell injury and apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24302-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8238983PMC
June 2021

Construction of diverse peptide structural architectures chemoselective peptide ligation.

Chem Sci 2021 Apr 13;12(20):7091-7097. Epub 2021 Apr 13.

Department of Chemistry, State Key Lab of Synthetic Chemistry, The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong

Herein, we report the development of a facile synthetic strategy for constructing diverse peptide structural architectures chemoselective peptide ligation. The key advancement involved is to utilize the benzofuran moiety as the peptide salicylaldehyde ester surrogate, and Dap-Ser/Lys-Ser dipeptide as the hydroxyl amino functionality, which could be successfully introduced at the side chain of peptides enabling peptide ligation. With this method, the side chain-to-side chain cyclic peptide, branched/bridged peptides, tailed cyclic peptides and multi-cyclic peptides have been designed and successfully synthesized with native peptidic linkages at the ligation sites. This strategy has provided an alternative strategic opportunity for synthetic peptide development. It also serves as an inspiration for the structural design of PPI inhibitors with new modalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1sc01174jDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8153220PMC
April 2021

Genome-Wide Analysis of Coding and Non-coding RNA Reveals a Conserved miR164-NAC-mRNA Regulatory Pathway for Disease Defense in .

Front Genet 2021 28;12:668940. Epub 2021 May 28.

Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) contribute to plant defense responses by increasing the overall genetic diversity; however, their origins and functional importance in plant defense remain unclear. Here, we employed Illumina sequencing technology to assess how miRNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) populations vary in the Chinese white poplar () during a leaf black spot fungus () infection. We sampled RNAs from infective leaves at conidia germinated stage [12 h post-inoculation (hpi)], infective vesicles stage (24 hpi), and intercellular infective hyphae stage (48 hpi), three essential stages associated with plant colonization and biotrophic growth in fungi. In total, 8,938 conserved miRNA-target gene pairs and 3,901 -specific miRNA-target gene pairs were detected. The result showed that specific miRNAs (66%) were more involved in the regulation of the disease resistance genes. By contrast, conserved miRNAs (>80%) target more whole-genome duplication (WGD)-derived transcription factors (TFs). Among the 1,023 WGD-derived TF pairs, 44.9% TF pairs had only one paralog being targeted by a miRNA that could be due to either gain or loss of a miRNA binding site after the WGD. A conserved hierarchical regulatory network combining promoter analyses and hierarchical clustering approach uncovered a miR164-NAM, ATAF, and CUC (NAC) transcription factor-mRNA regulatory module that has potential in defense responses. Furthermore, analyses of the locations of miRNA precursor sequences reveal that pseudogenes and transposon contributed a certain proportion (∼30%) of the miRNA origin. Together, these observations provide evolutionary insights into the origin and potential roles of miRNAs in plant defense and functional innovation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.668940DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8195341PMC
May 2021

Adhesion-Enhanced Vertically Oriented Graphene on Titanium-Covered Quartz Glass toward High-Stability Light-Dimming-Related Applications.

ACS Nano 2021 Jun 26;15(6):10514-10524. Epub 2021 May 26.

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, P.R. China.

Improving the adhesion property of graphene directly grown on an insulating substrate is essential for promoting the reliability and durability of the related applications. However, effective approaches have rarely been reported, especially for vertically oriented graphene (VG) films grown on insulating templates. To tackle this, we have developed a facile synthetic strategy by introducing an ultrathin (10 nm-thick) titanium (Ti) film on a quartz glass substrate as the adhesion layer, for plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) growth of VG films. This synthetic process induces the formation of Ti, oxygen (O), carbon (C)-containing adhesion layer (Ti (O, C)), offering improved interfacial adhesion due to the formation of chemical bonds among Ti and C atoms. Dramatically improved surface and interface stabilities have been achieved, with regard to its counterpart without a Ti adhesion layer. Moreover, we have also realized precise controls of the transparent/conductive property, surface roughness, and hydrophobicity, , by varying the VG film growth time. We have also demonstrated the very intriguing application potentials of the hybrids in light-dimming related fields, that is, electro-heating defogging lenses and neutral density filters toward medical endoscope defogging and camera photography.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c03063DOI Listing
June 2021

Bioactive skin-mimicking hydrogel band-aids for diabetic wound healing and infectious skin incision treatment.

Bioact Mater 2021 Nov 17;6(11):3962-3975. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

School of Chemistry, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, 710049, China.

The treatment of diabetic chronic wounds remains a global challenge due to the up-regulated inflammation response, oxidant stress, and persistent infection during healing process. Developing wound dressing materials with ideal biocompatibility, adequate mechanical strength, considerable under-water adhesion, sufficient anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties is on-demand for clinical applications. In this study, we developed a bioactive skin-mimicking hydrogel band-aid through the combination of tannic acid (TA) and imidazolidinyl urea reinforced polyurethane (PMI) (TAP hydrogel) and explored its potentials in various medical applications, including hemostasis, normal skin incision, full-thickness skin wounds, and bacterial-infection skin incision on diabetic mice. TA was loaded into PMI hydrogel network to enhance the mechanical properties of TAP hydrogels through multiple non-covalent interactions (break strength: 0.28-0.64 MPa; elongation at break: 650-930%), which could resist the local stress and maintain the structural integrity of wound dressings during applications. Moreover, owing to the promising moisture-resistant adhesiveness and organ hemostasis, outstanding anti-inflammation, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, TAP hydrogels could efficiently promote the recovery of skin incision and defects on diabetic mice. To further simulate the practical situation and explore the potential in clinical application, we also verified the treatment efficiency of TAP hydrogel in -infected skin incision model on diabetic mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bioactmat.2021.04.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8079829PMC
November 2021

Identification and Expression Analysis of / Gene Family in L.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Apr 28;22(9). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

College of Natural Resource and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China.

Slow type anion channels (SLAC/SLAHs) play important roles during anion transport, growth and development, abiotic stress responses and hormone responses in plants. However, there is few report on SLAC/SLAHs in rapeseed (). Genome-wide identification and expression analysis of / gene family members were performed in . A total of 23 / genes were identified in . Based on the structural characteristics and phylogenetic analysis of these members, the SLAC/SLAHs could be classified into three main groups. Transcriptome data demonstrated that genes were detected in various tissues of the rapeseed and could be up-regulated by low nitrate treatment in roots. BnSLAC/SLAHs were exclusively localized on the plasma membrane in transient expression of tobacco leaves. These results will increase our understanding of the evolution and expression of the SLAC/SLAHs and provide evidence for further research of biological functions of candidates in .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094671DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125795PMC
April 2021

Bilayer of polyelectrolyte films for spontaneous power generation in air up to an integrated 1,000 V output.

Nat Nanotechnol 2021 Jul 26;16(7):811-819. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Key Laboratory of Organic Optoelectronics & Molecular Engineering, Ministry of Education, Department of Chemistry and State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, P. R. China.

Environmentally adaptive power generation is attractive for the development of next-generation energy sources. Here we develop a heterogeneous moisture-enabled electric generator (HMEG) based on a bilayer of polyelectrolyte films. Through the spontaneous adsorption of water molecules in air and induced diffusion of oppositely charged ions, one single HMEG unit can produce a high voltage of ~0.95 V at low (25%) relative humidity (RH), and even jump to 1.38 V at 85% RH. A sequentially aligned stacking strategy is created for large-scale integration of HMEG units, to offer a voltage of more than 1,000 V under ambient conditions (25% RH, 25 °C). Using origami assembly, a small section of folded HMEGs renders an output of up to 43 V cm. Such integration devices supply sufficient power to illuminate a lamp bulb of 10 W, to drive a dynamic electronic ink screen and to control the gate voltage for a self-powered field effect transistor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-00903-6DOI Listing
July 2021

Trends in complementary feeding practices and caregivers' feeding knowledge among children aged 6-23 months: Repeated cross-sectional surveys in rural Qinghai China 2012-18.

J Glob Health 2021 Apr 3;11:08003. Epub 2021 Apr 3.

Department of Integrated Early Childhood Development, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China.

Background: Appropriate infant and young child feeding is the basis for child survival, growth and development. The aim of this study was to investigate trends in complementary feeding practices and caregivers' feeding knowledge among children from 2012 to 2018 in Huzhu County, Qinghai Province, China.

Methods: This study took place during and after a controlled interventional evaluation trial in Qinghai Province, China, which aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of community-based nutrient-dense complementary food supplements (YingYangBao) combined with dietary counseling on improving 6-23 month-old children's health status. We conducted four representative cross-sectional surveys on caregivers of children aged 6-23 months in Huzhu County, Qinghai Province, China (baseline survey for the trial (N = 1804) in August 2012, end-line survey for the trial (N = 2186) in August 2014, follow-up survey 1 (N = 496) in January 2016, and follow-up survey 2 (N = 754) in July 2018). In all surveys we used the same questionnaire to collect household information, infant feeding practices and caregivers' feeding knowledge.

Results: During the trial period (2012-2014), the proportion of children aged 6-8 months that introduced (semi-) solid food increased from 86.1% to 96.3% ( < 0.0001), however, there was a downward trend from 2014 to 2018 ( = 0.0014 for trend). The prevalence of minimum dietary diversity also increased from 51.4% at 2012 baseline survey to 57.5% at 2014 endline survey ( = 0.0004), but the upward trend did not maintain from 2014 to 2018 ( = 0.7863 for trend). The minimum dietary frequency, the minimum acceptable diet, and continued breastfeeding at one year were nearly unchanged from 2012 to 2018 ( = 0.9529,  = 0.7602 and  = 0.6013 for trend, respectively), remaining around 30%, 10% and 20% respectively in the four surveys. Caregivers' feeding knowledge on the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and introduction of semi or solid foods at 6-8 months increased from 2012 to 2018 (18.6% to 39.5%, 43.2% to 64.3%, respectively).

Conclusion: This study showed that the sustainability of community-based YYB and dietary counseling program was suboptimal. We suggest that multiple information delivery channels such as smartphones and the Internet should be explored as a supplement to existing channels for delivering counseling information.

Trial Registration: ChiCTRPRC12002444.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.11.08003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8021074PMC
April 2021

Optically stimulated synaptic transistor based on MoS/quantum dots mixed-dimensional heterostructure with gate-tunable plasticity.

Opt Lett 2021 Apr;46(7):1748-1751

In this Letter, we report an optically stimulated synaptic transistor based on / dots mixed-dimensional (MD) heterostructure, where the channel conductance shows a non-linear response to the optical stimuli. Paired-pulse facilitation is realized with the index above 200%, and the optical synaptic plasticity can be modulated by adjusting the amplitude, duration time, frequency, and power of light spikes. In addition, the long-term plasticity shows a gate-tunability, which can be attributed to the unique photoelectric coupling in / dots MD heterostructure. This work opens up a new way to explore optically stimulated synaptic devices based on designed device structure and provides a feasible method to achieve plasticity modulation by gate voltage, which plays an important role in developing neuromorphic devices with complicated functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.414820DOI Listing
April 2021

Oxygen vacancy-rich hierarchical BiOBr hollow microspheres with dramatic CO photoreduction activity.

J Colloid Interface Sci 2021 Jul 9;593:231-243. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Multi-discipline Research Division, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, PR China.

Conversion of carbon dioxide into useful chemicals has attracted great attention. However, the significant bottlenecks facing in the field are the poor conversion efficiency of CO and low selectivity of products. Herein, hierarchical BiOBr hollow microspheres are fabricated by a solvothermal method using ethylene glycol (EG) as solvent in presence of polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP). The hollow BiOBr microspheres prepared at 120 °C exhibit the best performance for CO photoreduction. The evolution rates of product CO and CH are up to 88.1 µmol gh and 5.8 µmol gh, which are 8.8 times and 5.8 times higher than that of plate-like BiOBr respectively. The hollow microspheres possess larger specific area and generate multiple reflections of light in the cavity, thus enhancing the utilization efficiency of light. The modulated electronic structure by oxygen vacancy (OVs) is beneficial to the transfer of photogenerated electrons and holes. Especially, the enriched charge density of BiOBr by OVs is conductive to the adsorption and activation of CO, which could lower the overall activation energy barrier of CO photoreduction In summary, the synergistic effect of the hollow structure with OVs plays a vital role in boosting the photoreduction of CO for BiOBr. This work provides a new opportunity for designing the high efficiency catalyst by morphology engineering with defects at the atomic level for CO photoreduction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2021.02.117DOI Listing
July 2021

Feasibility of using WeChat to improve infant and young child feeding in rural areas in China: A mixed quantitative and qualitative study.

PLoS One 2021 25;16(2):e0246942. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Department of Integrated Early Childhood Development, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China.

Background: Appropriate infant and young child feeding practices are the basis for child nutrition. In China, WeChat is gradually changing the channels through which people receive information. The paper aims to explore the feasibility of using WeChat to improve infant and young child feeding in rural China.

Methods: A mixed-methods study was carried out in Huzhu County, Qinghai province, China. We conducted two cross-sectional surveys with children aged 6-23 months and their caregivers in 2012 (N = 1804) and 2018 (N = 754), respectively. Quantitative data were collected on feeding knowledge and practices, caregiver's use of smartphones and WeChat. Qualitative data were from 33 semi-structured interviews with pregnant women and mothers. In addition, we developed a WeChat feeding health education platform and asked women about their experiences with using it.

Results: In both cross-sectional surveys, less than 10% of caregivers knew that breastfeeding can be continued up to two years, less than 50% knew the accurate duration of exclusive breastfeeding, and only around 20% knew meat can be given to children from the age of 6-8 months. Similarly, the feeding practices were suboptimal and most key infant feeding practices did not change over the years. Only around 30% of caregivers ever received feeding information during pregnancy or after delivery in both surveys. Around 50% of caregivers received information from their relatives and friends, followed by 30% from health facilities and communities. More than 80% of mothers were currently using both a smartphone and the WeChat app, and 75.4% of them were willing to receive feeding information from WeChat official accounts. The WeChat feeding health education platform developed by our study team was generally well accepted by women.

Conclusions: There was an absence of accurate information sources on infant feeding and child nutrition. WeChat could be a potential way to deliver infant feeding recommendations to pregnant women and mothers in rural China.

Trial Registration: ChiCTR-PRC-11001446 (The controlled intervention trial for complementary food supplements "Yingyangbao"); ChiCTR1800017364 (the randomized controlled trial for WeChat).
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0246942PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7906387PMC
August 2021

Risk assessment for sediment associated heavy metals using sediment quality guidelines modified by sediment properties.

Environ Pollut 2021 Apr 14;275:115844. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Tianjin Key Laboratory of Remediation & Pollution Control for Urban Ecological Environment, Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria of Ministry of Education, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University, Tianjin, 300350, China. Electronic address:

Sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) are a fundamental component of sediment quality assessment framework, frequently used in the first tier of assessment to predict the potential risks of contaminants in sediment. A recognized weakness of SQGs concerns the bioavailability of sediment contaminants, which may vary considerably with different physical-chemical properties. To better evaluate the ecological risks and predict the toxicity of the heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn) in the sediments of Haihe River of China, the risk quotients derived from total metal concentrations and SQG values were modified using multiple linear regressions with sediment properties, i.e. total organic carbon (TOC), acid-volatile sulfide (AVS), and particle size distribution (PSD). Then, the sediment toxicity was tested with the benthic organisms of chironomids and tubificids, and the relationships between the observed toxicity with the modified risk quotients were investigated. We found that the risk quotient modified with TOC and AVS displayed significantly improved relationship with the toxicity (p < 0.001) compared to the original risk quotient without modification (p = 0.062-0.074 > 0.05). Risk assessment indicated that although the heavy metals in the sediments of Haihe River of China are at a relatively low level, potential ecological risks caused by Ni and Zn still exist in some area, especially in the lower reaches along the estuary. The results indicated that the risk quotient and SQG values modified with sediment properties are promising for risk assessment of the metal contaminants in sediments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115844DOI Listing
April 2021

Combination of Polydopamine Coating and Plasma Pretreatment to Improve Bond Ability Between PEEK and Primary Teeth.

Front Bioeng Biotechnol 2020 29;8:630094. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Key Laboratory of Shaanxi Province for Craniofacial Precision Medicine Research, College of Stomatology, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China.

Preformed crowns are preferred to reduce the failure risk of restoration of primary teeth, but some drawback of conventional material is still a main barrier for their clinical use. Polyether etherketone (PEEK), a tooth colored, high-performance thermoplastic polymer, has been recognized as a promising alternative to manufacture the restoration of primary teeth. However, the hydrophobic surface and low surface energy of PEEK make it hard to establish a strong and durable adhesion. In this study, we have evaluated a modification method of polydopamine (PDA) coating with plasma pretreatment for the PEEK films by physical and chemical characterization, bonding properties, and biocompatibility. The surface properties of PEEK were well-characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The adhesive strength of the PEEK films was greatly improved without significant reduction of the proliferation rate of human gingival fibroblast cells in MTT and Live/Dead assays. Therefore, PDA coating with plasma pretreatment may give a new solution for effective clinical application of PEEK in primary performed crowns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2020.630094DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880054PMC
January 2021
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