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Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences
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Greener Strategy for Lupanine Purification from Lupin Bean Wastewaters Using a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer

Greener Strategy for Lupanine Purification from Lupin Bean Wastewaters Using a Molecularly Imprinted Polymer | iBB | Scoop.it

Lupanine is used as a building block in the synthesis of sparteine, a chiral selector in drug synthesis. This alkaloid is found in wastewaters derived from the debittering process that makes lupin beans edible. In a recently published work, carried out by researchers of the Faculty of Sciences and Faculty of Pharmacy from the University of Lisbon, and Teresa Esteves, Frederico Ferreira, Flávio Ferreira and Ana Mota from BERG-iBB, a computational chemistry approach was taken to design molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) selecting itaconic acid, a biobased building block, as a functional monomer that can provide higher affinities for lupanine. In this work, lupanine was concentrated from lupin bean wastewater by nanofiltration, extracted with ethyl acetate, and purified using the synthesized MIP, which was able to selectively recognize lupanine and improve its purity to 88%, with 82% recovery of the alkaloid, showing the potential application of this strategy to render the industrial process more sustainable.

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Piezoelectric Nanofibers for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering

Piezoelectric Nanofibers for Osteochondral Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Osteochondral (OC) tissue disorders, particularly osteoarthritis, number among the most prevalent and debilitating diseases in the adult population worldwide. However, despite the recent achievements in the field, no satisfactory clinical treatments have been developed to date to resolve this unmet medical issue. Notably, while the piezoelectric nature of the OC tissue has been extensively reported in different studies, this feature keep being neglected in the design of novel biomaterial scaffolds for OC regeneration. Thus, piezoelectric electrospun scaffolds capable of both recapitulating the piezoelectric nature of the tissue’s fibrous extracellular matrix and of providing a platform for electrical and mechanical stimulation of cells/tissues are promising platforms to promote OC regeneration. In a recent publication in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, SCERG-iBB researchers MSc Frederico Barbosa, Prof. Frederico Ferreira and Dr. João Silva review and discuss the current state of the art of such piezoelectric biomimetic scaffolds for OC tissue engineering strategies.

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Implementation of Synthetic Pathways towards Microbe-Based Production of Non-Natural Carboxylic Acids

Implementation of Synthetic Pathways towards Microbe-Based Production of Non-Natural Carboxylic Acids | iBB | Scoop.it

Carboxylic acids (CAs) are considered key players in the implementation of more sustainable industrial processes due to their potential to replace a set of oil-derived commodity chemicals and there is growing interest in producing them through microbial processes. While many CAs are intermediates of microbial central carbon metabolism, and therefore envisaging their production in a host of choice is relatively straightforward; for other CAs this approach is difficult. This could be because they do not occur naturally (as is the case for levulinic acid) or because the described production pathway cannot be easily ported (as it is the case for adipic, muconic or glucaric acids). In a review published in Journal of Fungi, Nuno Mira’s team (iBB) reviewed the synthetic biology approaches that have been made towards enabling the production of non-natural CAs in microbes, with a large emphasis on metabolic retrobiosynthesis methodologies. Additionally, the authors also reviewed the pathway prospecting studies towards microbial levulinic, poly-lactic and methacrylic acid production, as two case-studies where there is a need to bridge the gap between natural CAs and their non-natural industrial derivatives.

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Manufacture of Microfibers of Polyhydroxyalkanoate from Cassava Peel Waste by Electrospinning

Manufacture of Microfibers of Polyhydroxyalkanoate from Cassava Peel Waste by Electrospinning | iBB | Scoop.it

Cassava (Manihot esculenta) cultivation is of great importance in many economies, particularly in Colombia. About 630,000 tons of C-rich cassava waste is produced annually and applications to high value products, applying the circular economy concept, must be developed. A recent publication in Journal of Polymers and the Environment assesses the potential use of cassava peel for the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) by Cupriavidus necator. A copolymer of P3HB-3HV was produced and processed into electrospun meshes of random and aligned microfibers, allowing the development of structures that can be applied in the context of tissue engineering. This work involved Manuela Fonseca, Frederico Ferreita and Teresa Cesário form BERG-IBB and has been done in collaboration with researchers from the University of Antioquia, Medellin-Colombia.

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Electrical Stimulation of Neural Stem Cells on Electroconductive Platforms Made of PEDOT:PSS

Electrical Stimulation of Neural Stem Cells on Electroconductive Platforms Made of PEDOT:PSS | iBB | Scoop.it

Many cells in the human body respond to electrical stimuli. The differentiation of neural stem cells into mature neurons, in particular, can be stimulated via electroconductive materials. In a recent publication in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology researchers from SCERG-iBB and IT report on the electrical stimulation of neural stem cells on electroconductive platforms made of  conjugated polymer PEDOT:PSS. In a first stage, the performance of electroconductive platforms made of cross-linked (with GOPS or DVS) PEDOT:PSS was evaluated in terms of conductivity and stability. Three different protocols of electrical stimulation, with 3 different electrical currents (AC, DC and pulsatile DC), were then compared for neural stem cell differentiation. Results show that pulsatile DC assisted best in generating higher number of neurons. This finding is important for future regenerative approaches to treat neurological diseases and highlights the importance of using the correct platform to design scaffolds to regenerate the brain tissue.

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Mitigation of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Losses during Genotoxin Removal

Mitigation of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Losses during Genotoxin Removal | iBB | Scoop.it

Removal of genotoxic impurities (GTI) from active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) is mandatory to deliver safe medicines, but to achieve GTI at ultra-low limit (<1.5 µg/day) implies significative API loss. A recent paper published in the journal Membranes by Flávio Ferreira, Leonor Resina, Teresa Esteves and Frederico Ferreira from BERG-iBB, propose the use of a mathematical model to predict whether adsorption or membrane process is suitable for API purification. Moreover, in cases where none of them have an acceptable API loss, a hybrid process combining both processes was developed, reducing API loss from 24.76% to 9.76%. Furthermore, economic and environmental analyses were also performed.

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Development of Extruded Perfusion Bioreactor Platform for Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Development of Extruded Perfusion Bioreactor Platform for Cartilage Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Bioreactors that provide different biophysical stimuli have been used in tissue engineering approaches aimed at enhancing the quality of the cartilage tissue generated. However, such systems are often highly complex, costly and not very versatile. In a recent study published in Biotechnology Journal, researchers from SCERG-iBB working with colleagues from the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA) developed a novel, cost-effective and customizable perfusion bioreactor fabricated by additive manufacturing (AM) to study of the effect of fluid flow on the chondrogenic differentiation of human bone-marrow mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hBMSCs) in 3D porous poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds. Results suggest that the chondrogenic differentiation of hBMSCs was enhanced in cell-scaffold constructs cultured under perfusion and highlights the potential of customizable AM platforms for developing more reliable in vitro models and improved personalized cartilage repair strategies.

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João Carlos Silva to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

João Carlos Silva to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

João Carlos Fernandes da Silva will be defending his PhD thesis in Bioengineering (Cell Therapies and regenerative Medicine) at Instituto Superior Técnico, friday the 27th september 2019 (14:00 H, room PA-3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Frederico Ferreira from SCERG-iBB and Robert Linhardt from RPI, João focused his efforts on the fabrication of hierarchical and biomimetic cartilage constructs. The title of his thesis is "Bioengineering strategies towards the in vitro fabrication of hierarchical and biomimetic cartilage constructs".

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Moesziomyces antarcticus Production of MEL from Lignocellulose Hydrolysates (JCTB cover)

Moesziomyces antarcticus Production of MEL from Lignocellulose Hydrolysates (JCTB cover) | iBB | Scoop.it

Moesziomyces antarcticus is an efficient producer of mannosylerythritol lipids (MEL), a biosurfactant with a wide range of potential applications. The use of lignocellulosic biomass can contribute to sustainable MEL production. While lignocellulosic sugars (e.g. D-glucose and D-xylose) can be converted to MEL, the required pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass releases by products that are potentially inhibitory for yeasts. A recent publication by Marisa Santos, Nuno Faria and Frederico Ferreira from BERG-iBB , in collaboration with César Fonseca from LNEG, describes a design of experiment (DoE) that was performed to evaluate the effect of furfural, acetate and formate on M. antarcticus and its capacity to produce MEL from lignocellulose hydrolysates. The study provides insight into the conditions required by M. antarcticus for MEL production from lignocellulosic hydrolysates and points towards further process and strain development requirements. The work was published in Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology and made it to the cover of the journal.

 

Image details: JCTB cover,  copyright by Marisa V. Santos, 2018. Acknowledgements: FCT grant CRUISE (PTDC/AAG‐TEC/0696/2014)

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Screening Resins for Simultaneous Removal of Genotoxins from APIs

Screening Resins for Simultaneous Removal of Genotoxins from APIs | iBB | Scoop.it

A detailed investigation on the assessment of commercial resins for genotoxins removal in organic solvent solutions has just been published by Teresa Esteves, Flávio Ferreira and Frederico Ferreira from BERG-iBB, in collaboration with Hovione. The study addresses mitigation of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) loss during purification in recrystallization mother liquors by including a resin adsorption step to remove potential genotoxin impurities (PGTIs). Two resins were identified, AG 50W-X2 and IRA68, to efficiently remove an aromatic amine (4-dimethylaminopyridine) and a sulfonate ester (methyl p-toluenesulfonate) from methanol solutions, respectively, with adsorptions higher than 98% and an API loss lower than 10% using these resins combined in a single adsorption step. The potential for improving the API recrystallization economics, through mitigation of API losses is also suggested. Mometasone furoate (Meta) was used as model active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in the presence of 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) and methyl p-toluenesulfonate (MPTS) as two model PGTIs. The work was published in the journal Separation Science and Technology.

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Compositional and Structural Analysis of GAGs in Cell-Derived ECM

Compositional and Structural Analysis of GAGs in Cell-Derived ECM | iBB | Scoop.it

Cell-derived ECM have emerged as promising materials for regenerative medicine due to their ability to recapitulate the native tissue microenvironment. However, little is known about the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) composition of these cell-derived ECM. In a recent study published in Glycoconjugate Journal, researchers from SCERG-iBB, working in collaboration with colleagues from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, characterized three different cell-derived ECM in terms of their GAG content, composition and sulfation patterns using a highly sensitive LC-MS/MS technique. Distinct GAG compositions and disaccharide sulfation patterns were verified for the different cell-derived ECM. Additionally, the effect of decellularization method on the GAG and disaccharide relative composition was also assessed. The method offers a novel approach to determine the GAG composition of cell-derived ECM, which we believe is critical for a better understanding of ECM role in directing cellular responses and has the potential for generating important knowledge for the development of new ECM-like biomaterials for tissue engineering applications.

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Miriam Sousa Defends PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Miriam Sousa Defends PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences | iBB | Scoop.it

Miriam Sousa will be defending her PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico, wednesday the 19th October 2018 (14:00 H, room PA3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Frederico Ferreira from SCERG-iBB, Miriam developed nanofiber scaffolds for the cultivation of neural stem cells. The title of her thesis is "Ex-Vivo Culture of Neural Stem Cells in Nanofiber Scaffolds: Cellular Organization and Dynamic Systems”.

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Computational Models for Designing Stem Cell Manufacturing Processes

Computational Models for Designing Stem Cell Manufacturing Processes | iBB | Scoop.it

Current stem cell process design is guided by the envisioned demand and compliance with regulatory requirements. However, design of manufacturing processes streamlining for cost efficiency, while preparing a new therapy for approval and reimbursement, is often neglected. In an editorial of RegMedNet, a networking site that unites all members of the diverse regenerative medicine community, the use of computational models for designing stem cell manufacturing processes is discussed by SCERG-iBB researchers led by Joaquim Cabral in collaboration with Stan Finkelstein from MIT. Click on title to learn more.

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Additive Manufactured PCL-Graphene Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Additive Manufactured PCL-Graphene Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Understanding the mechano–biological coupling mechanisms of biomaterials for tissue engineering is of major importance to assure proper scaffold performance in situ. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to establish correlations between biomaterials, their processing conditions, and their mechanical behaviour, as well as their biological performance. In a collaborative work between CDRSP-Politécnico de Leiria and SCERG-iBB  (João C. Silva and Frederico Ferreira), it was possible to infer a correlation between the addition of different concentrations of graphene nanoparticles (GPN) in three-dimensional poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)-based scaffolds, their extrusion-based processing parameters, and the lamellar crystal orientation observed in the different scaffolds through small-angle X-ray scattering experiments. Moreover, in vitro cell culture studies performed at SCERG-iBB demonstrated the suitability and potential of these novel 3D PCL/GPN scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. The results of this study were just published in Polymers.

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Algae2Fish Project Featured in PT Newspaper Público

Algae2Fish Project Featured in PT Newspaper Público | iBB | Scoop.it

"This week in the Portuguese newspaper "Público" you will find a summary of the Algae2Fish project, where you can read about the reasons behind the project and its perspectives for the next two years. The team, composed by professor Frederico Ferreira, Dr. Paola Sanjuan Alberte, Dr. Carlos Rodrigues, and Msc Diana Marques, with the support of The Good Food Institute, is currently working to produce the first cell-cultured sea bass fillet!"

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Seabass Fillets from 3D-Printed Cells

Seabass Fillets from 3D-Printed Cells | iBB | Scoop.it

The project Algae2Fish led by Frederico Ferreira from SCERG-iBB has received funding from the Global Food Institute with the aim of developing a boneless cultivated seabass fillet. 3D printing technology will be used to produce scaffolds that will give the fillet structure, replicating the fibrous texture of fish. The scaffolds will be formed using material from algae and plants, with the algae contributing valuable omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in conventional fish. Read more about the project here.

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Ana Isabel Campos to Defend PhD Thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences

Ana Isabel de Vila-Santa Braga Campos will be defending her PhD thesis in Biotechnology and Biosciences at Instituto Superior Técnico, Friday the 16th of April 2021, at 15:00 am (https://videoconf-colibri.zoom.us/j/81314376867). During the last years, and under the supervision of Nuno Mira and Frederico Ferreira from iBB, and Kristala Prather from MIT, Ana Isabel investigated how pathways for the synthesis of levulinic and itaconic acids can be engineered in yeasts. The title of her thesis is “Synthetic biology approaches to foster yeasts as hosts for the production of carboxylic acids and their derivatives: emphasis on levulinic and itaconic acids”.

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Special Issue on “Advanced Polymeric Scaffolds for Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine”

Special Issue on “Advanced Polymeric Scaffolds for Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine” | iBB | Scoop.it

João Carlos Silva and Frederico Castelo Ferreira from SCERG-iBB are guest-editing a special issue for the open-access journal “Polymers” entitled “Advanced Polymeric Scaffolds for Stem Cell Engineering and Regenerative Medicine”. Polymer scaffolds play a crucial role in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications since they can closely mimic the architecture of a native extracellular matrix (ECM) and improve the biological performance of cells both in vitro and in vivo. This Special Issue welcomes full research papers, communications and reviews on recent exciting developments of polymeric scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.

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Cátia Bandeiras to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Cátia Bandeiras to Defend PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Cátia Filipa Medina Bandeiras will be defending her PhD thesis in Bioengineering (MIT Portugal Program) on Friday the 8th November 2019 (14 H, amphitheater PA-3, Mathematics Building). During the last years, and under the supervision of Frederico Ferreira from SCERG and BERG-IBB and Stan Finkelstein from MIT, Cátia developed an open-source framework for combined bioprocess and health economics modeling, aiming at the evaluation of stem cell engineering innovations towards the commercialization of stem cell-based therapies. She used this framework to evaluate the impact of manufacturing component choices, like culture media and expansion technologies, the scale of manufacturing, and the long-term cost-effectiveness of stem cell-based therapies for type 1 diabetes and cystic fibrosis. This computational approach, based on experimental data, provided cues for additional reductions in the cost of goods, and recommendations for precision medicine of these prospective therapies. The title of the thesis is “TESSEE – Tool for Early Stem Cells Economic Evaluation”

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Catia Bandeiras Wins Best Student Paper at MEDICON 2019

Catia Bandeiras Wins Best Student Paper at MEDICON 2019 | iBB | Scoop.it

Catia Bandeiras from SCERG-iBB was one of the three winners of the “Best Student Paper Track” at the 15th Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (MEDICON). Catia presented a poster about her paper, focused on the methodology developed during her PhD, entitled “TESSEE – Tool for Early Stem Cells Economic Evaluation”. The work involves a collaboration between iBB, IDSS-MIT (Boston, United States), and medical experts in two American hospitals. The PhD thesis is supervised at IST by Frederico Castelo Ferreira and Stan Neil Finkelstein at IDSS-MIT. The conference took place in Coimbra, Portugal, on 26-28 September.

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Towards Cost-effective Stem Cell-based Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes

Towards Cost-effective Stem Cell-based Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes | iBB | Scoop.it

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where patients need to monitor and take insulin daily. Transplantation of encapsulated islet cells is performed in some countries to restore glucose control, but shortage of donors is a major bottleneck. Devices with stem cell-derived beta cells are now in clinical trials. Researchers at SCERG-iBB and Harvard Medical School performed an early health technology assessment modeling study to simulate, based on bioprocess and disease progression modeling, the manufacturing costs of devices containing pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-derived beta cells. This information was combined with medical data to determine cost-effectiveness of the new therapy. The work was published in Biotechnology Journal.

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Tânia Baltazar Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering

Tânia Baltazar Defends PhD Thesis in Bioengineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Tânia Daniela Cavaleiras Baltazar will be defending her PhD thesis in Bioengineering (Cell Therapies and Regenerative Medicine) at Instituto Superior Técnico, thursday the 21st March 2019 (12:30 H, room PA3). During the last years, and under the supervision of Frederico Ferreira from SCERG-iBB and Pankaj Karande from RPI, Tânia focused her efforts on the development of a 3D printed in vitro vascularized human skin model for clinical applications. The title of her thesis is "Design and Fabrication of Full-Thickness Vascularized Human Skin With 3D Bioprinting Technology”.

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Xylanase Production with Unconventional Yeast and Brewery Spent Grains

Xylanase Production with Unconventional Yeast and Brewery Spent Grains | iBB | Scoop.it

Xylanases play a crucial role in the hydrolysis of xylan-rich hemicelluloses and have wide industrial applications in the fuel, food, feed and pulp and paper industries. Obtaining these enzymes at low cost is of paramount importance for their commercial deployment. Their production has been reported mainly from fungi, while low activity levels are typically obtained from yeast. BERG-iBB researchers in collaboration with colleagues from the National Laboratory of Energy and Geology are exploring the potential of the unconventional yeast, Moesziomyces aphidis as a xylanases producer. Brewery spent grain was found as a potent inducer for high xylanase production activity, where extracellular crude extracts presented cellulase-free xylanolytic activity. The work was published in New Biotechnology Journal.    

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Cell-derived Electrospun Microfibrous Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering

Cell-derived Electrospun Microfibrous Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Engineering | iBB | Scoop.it

Cell-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) has been employed as scaffolds for tissue engineering. SCERG-iBB researchers working with colleagues from the Rensselaer Polytechnic developed bioactive cell-derived ECM electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds produced from ECM derived from human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC), human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and their combination based on the hypothesis that the cell-derived ECM incorporated into the PCL fibers would enhance the biofunctionality of the scaffold. The findings show that all cell-derived ECM electrospun scaffolds promoted significant cell proliferation compared to PCL alone, while presenting similar physical/mechanical properties. Additionally, MSC:HUVEC-ECM electrospun scaffolds significantly enhanced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. The study was published in Materials Science and Engineering: C.

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Alginate Encapsulation of Human Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells

Alginate Encapsulation of Human Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells | iBB | Scoop.it
Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) can stimulate tissue regeneration during wound healing. SCERG-iBB researchers Cláudia Lobato Silva, Frederico Ferreira and Joaquim Cabral, working in collaboration with Todd McDevittt from UCSF, propose the use of alginate encapsulation as a strategy to assess the activity of 3D- and 2D-cultured human bone marrow MSC in the setting of wound repair and regeneration processes. The study, published in Journal of Biotechnology, shows that encapsulation within alginate matrices protects MSC from oxidative stress and extends its therapeutic potential. Click on title to learn more.
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