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The aims of the present study were to: (i) evaluate the ultrastructural differences in the zona pellucida (ZP) surface between immature and mature bovine oocytes, and (ii) describe a new objective technique to measure the pores in the outer ZP. Intact cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) obtained from a local abattoir were immediately fixed (immature group) or submitted to in vitro maturation (IVM) at 38.5 °C for 24 h in a humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2 in air (mature group). Oocytes from both groups were morphologically evaluated via Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and the images were processed in the Fiji/ImageJ software using a new objective methodology through the Trainable Weka Segmentation plugin. The average number of pores in ZP was greater (p < 0.05) in the mature group than the immature group. However, the size and circularity of pores in ZP did not differ (p > 0.05) between groups. In conclusion, it has been shown that the number of pores highlighted the main ultrastructural change in the morphology of the ZP surface of bovine oocytes during the IVM process. We have described an objective method that can be used to evaluate ultrastructural modifications of the ZP surface during oocyte maturation and early embryo development.
Zinc borate has long been used as a protector for wood products due to its fungicide, insecticide and flame retardant properties. In this initial study, its capacity as a flame retardant when applied to Eucalyptus grandis wood is evaluated; micronized zinc borate, synthesized from zinc oxide and boric acid in our laboratory was used. The methodology used in the study is the use of the Vandersall tunnel, which allowed analyzing parameters such as the flame spread, the carbonization index, the carbonization area and the wood weight loss. The results show a remarkable improvement in these parameters after the application of micronized zinc borate. For the longest fire exposure time, the percentage decrease of each evaluated parameter is, for tangential and radial plane respectively: 31.27-43.00% for flame spread, 36.66-40.86% for carbonization area, 33.01-52.49% for carbonization index and 19.86-57.80% for mass loss.
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