Applying Computational Fluid Dynamics in the Development of Smart Ripening Rooms for Traditional Cheeses

Traditional ewe’s cheese producers face certain challenges caused by fluctuating environmental parameters inside the ripening room, which lead to lack of homogeneity in the final product. The present research discusses the application of computer fluid dynamics for simulating the distribution of environmental parameters, predicting the airflow pattern, and identifying critical areas where such parameters could cause reduced cheese quality. A new monitoring system was developed including presence sensors, temperature and humidity dataloggers, pneumatic actuators, microcontrollers, and microcomputers connected remotely for control, data visualization, and processing.
The validation of the computer simulation and monitoring system was made with a batch of 40 ewe’s cheeses distributed in three different zones inside a prototype ripening room and ripened for 35 days. At 35 days, a physical, chemical, and microbiological characterization of cheeses was made for evaluation of the influence of environmental conditions on cheese quality.
The comparison between simulated and local measurements showed close agreement, especially concerning air velocity inside the stacks of cheese. The results of Pearson’s correlation analysis and PCA concluded that temperature affected the Gentaur WiFi Datalogger Monitoring Hygrometer/Thermometer appearance of the rind, hardness, number and area occupied by holes. Humidity affected aw and mFeret. Air velocity affected pH and the circularity of gas holes.

Nocturnal incubation recess and flushing behavior by duck hens

Incubating birds must balance the needs of their developing embryos with their own physiological needs, and many birds accomplish this by taking periodic breaks from incubation. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and gadwall (Mareca strepera) hens typically take incubation recesses in the early morning and late afternoon, but recesses can also take place at night. We examined nocturnal incubation recess behavior for mallard and gadwall hens nesting in Suisun Marsh, California, USA, using iButton temperature dataloggers and continuous video monitoring at nests.
  • Fourteen percent of all detected incubation recesses (N = 13,708) were nocturnal and took place on 20% of nest-days (N = 8,668).
  • Video monitoring showed that hens covered their eggs with down feathers when they initiated a nocturnal recess themselves as they would a diurnal recess, but they left the eggs uncovered in 94% of the nocturnal recesses in which predators appeared at nests.
  • Thus, determining whether or not eggs were left uncovered during a recess can provide strong indication whether the recess was initiated by the hen (eggs covered) or a predator (eggs uncovered). Because nest temperature decreased more rapidly when eggs were left uncovered versus covered, we were able to characterize eggs during nocturnal incubation recesses as covered or uncovered using nest temperature data.
  • Overall, we predicted that 75% of nocturnal recesses were hen-initiated recesses (eggs covered) whereas 25% of nocturnal recesses were predator-initiated recesses (eggs uncovered). Of the predator-initiated nocturnal recesses, 56% were accompanied by evidence of depredation at the nest during the subsequent nest monitoring visit.
  • Hen-initiated nocturnal recesses began later in the night (closer to morning) and were shorter than predator-initiated nocturnal recesses. Our results indicate that nocturnal incubation recesses occur regularly (14% of all recesses) and, similar to diurnal recesses, most nocturnal recesses (75%) are initiated by the hen rather than an approaching predator.

Field Physiology: Studying Organismal Function in the Natural Environment

Continuous physiological measurements collected in field settings are essential to understand baseline, free-ranging physiology, physiological range and variability, and the physiological responses of organisms to disturbances. This article presents a current summary of the available technologies to continuously measure the direct physiological parameters in the field at high-resolution/instantaneous timescales from freely behaving animals.
There is a particular focus on advantages versus disadvantages of available methods as well as emerging technologies “on the horizon” that may have been validated in captive or laboratory-based scenarios but have yet to be applied in the wild. Systems to record physiological variables from free-ranging animals are reviewed, including radio (VHF/UFH) telemetry, acoustic telemetry, and dataloggers.
Physiological parameters that have been continuously measured in the field are addressed in seven sections including heart rate and electrocardiography (ECG); electromyography (EMG); electroencephalography (EEG); body temperature; respiratory, blood, and muscle oxygen; gastric pH and motility; and blood pressure and flow.
The primary focal sections are heart rate and temperature as these can be, and have been, extensively studied in free-ranging organisms. Predicted aspects of future innovation in physiological monitoring are also discussed. The article concludes with an overview of best practices and points to consider regarding experimental designs, cautions, and effects on animals.  American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 11:1979-2015, 2021.

Application of MEMS Sensors for Evaluation of the Dynamics for Cargo Securing on Road Vehicles

Safety is one of the key aspects of the successful transport of cargo. In the case of road transport, the dynamics of a vehicle during normal events such as braking, steering, and evasive maneuver are variable in different places in the vehicle. Several manufacturers provide different dataloggers with acceleration sensors, but the results are not comparable due to different sensor parameters, measurement ranges, sampling frequencies, data filtration, and evaluation of different periods of acceleration.
The position of the sensor in the loading area is also important. The accelerations are not the same at all points in the vehicle. The article deals with the measurement of these dynamic events with MEMS sensors on selected points of a vehicle loaded with cargo and with changes in dynamics after certain events that could occur during regular road transport of cargo to analyze the possibilities for monitoring accelerations and the related forces acting on the cargo during transport. The article uses evaluation times of 80, 300, and 1000 ms for accelerations.
With the measured values, it is possible to determine the places with a higher risk of cargo damage and not only to adjust the packaging and securing of the cargo, but also to modify the transport routes. Concerning the purposes of securing the cargo in relation to EN 12195-1 and the minimum values of forces for securing the cargo, we focused primarily on the places where the acceleration of 0.5 g was exceeded when analyzing the monitored route. There were 32 of these points in total, all of which were measured by a sensor located at the rear of the semi-trailer. In 31 cases, the limit of 0.5 g was exceeded for an 80-ms evaluation time, and in one case, the value of 0.51 g was reached in the transverse direction for a 300-ms evaluation time.

Flexible Hybrid Electrodes for Continuous Measurement of the Local Temperature in Long-Term Wounds

Long-term wounds need a continuous assessment of different biophysical parameters for their treatment, and there is a lack of affordable biocompatible devices capable of obtaining that uninterrupted flow of data. A portable prototype that allows caregivers to know the local temperature behavior of a long-term wound over time and compare it with different reference zones has been developed. Alternative flexible substrates, screen-printing techniques, polymeric inks, and an embedded system have been tested to achieve potential indicators of the status and evolution of chronic wounds.
The final system is formed by temperature sensors attached to a flexible and stretchable medical-grade substrate, where silver conductive tracks have been printed as interconnections with the data-acquisition unit. In addition, a specific datalogger has been developed for this system. The whole set will enable health personnel to acquire the temperature of the wound and its surroundings in order to make decisions regarding the state and evolution of the wound.

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