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Populations of Critically Endangered White-rumped Gyps bengalensis and Slender-billed G. tenuirostris Vultures in Nepal declined rapidly during the 2000s, almost certainly because of the effects of the use in livestock of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, which is nephrotoxic to Gyps vultures. In 2006, veterinary use of diclofenac was banned in Nepal and this was followed by the gradual implementation, over most of the geographical range of the two vulture species in Nepal, of a Vulture Safe Zone (VSZ) programme to advocate vulture conservation, raise awareness about diclofenac, provide vultures with NSAID-free food and encourage the veterinary use in livestock of a vulture-safe alternative NSAID (meloxicam). We report the results of long-term monitoring of vulture populations in Nepal before and after this programme was implemented, by means of road transects. Piecewise regression analysis of the count data indicated that a rapid decline of the White-rumped Vulture population from 2002 up to about 2013 gave way to a partial recovery between about 2013 and 2018. More limited data for the Slender-billed Vulture indicated that a rapid decline also gave way to partial recovery from about 2012 onwards. The rates at which populations were increasing in the 2010s exceeded the upper end of the range of increase rates expected in a closed population under optimal conditions. The possibility that immigration from India is contributing to the changes cannot be excluded. We present evidence from open and undercover pharmacy surveys that the VSZ programme had apparently become effective in reducing the availability of diclofenac in a large part of the range of these species in Nepal by about 2011. Hence, community-based advocacy and awareness-raising actions, and possibly also provisioning of safe food, may have made an important contribution to vulture conservation by augmenting the effects of changes in the regulation of toxic veterinary drugs.
A review of physiology and behaviour–based studies on the function of stereotypic behaviour indicates contradiction and inconsistency within the literature. By considering appropriate neurochemical data alongside an existing model of motivation (Hughes and Duncan, 1988), a greater understanding of the function of stereotypy may be gained. The Hughes and Duncan model (1988), described stereotypies as highly motivated appetitive behaviours performed repeatedly in an environment where consummatory goals are denied. Moreover, appetitive behaviours activate reward circuitry such as the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens and are thus considered to have a reward value associated with their performance (Carr, 2002; Jones et al., 1990). Stress induced sensitisation of reward circuitry may result in appetitive ‘stereotypies’ having increased reward value, perhaps becoming consummatory in their own right. In such a scenario, stereotypic behaviour could function as a coping tool, allowing the animal to counter the effects of an aversive environment.
Approximately 8% of European performance horses engage in cribbiting behaviour (McGreevy et al.,1995, Redbo et al., 1998), a trait which can reduce both financial value and welfare status of the animal. An increase in prevalence to 26% was reported in those families originating from crib-biting sires (Vecchiotti and Galantini 1986), tentatively implying that a genetic component may be involved. Indeed, in a herd of Przewalski's horse, there was an 84% chance of offspring crib-biting if they originated from cribbing parents (Marsden and Henderson 1994). Finally, hereditary transmission has been more reliably demonstrated in the rodent, where stereotypy can be induced following 9 days of food restriction in the highly inbred DBA mouse strain, but not the C57 strain (Cabib and Bonaventura 1997) suggesting 1) propagation of a genetic component within the DBA genotype and 2) the requirement of an environmental stressor for stereotypy development. In the rodent model this genetic pre-disposition manifests physiologically as a facilitation of dopamine transmission within the mesolimbic projection following a period of stress (Cabib et al., 1998).
Myosin is a major contractile protein in skeletal muscle and its different isoforms reflect differences in the properties of fibres, with the major fibre types being named according to the isoform of myosin heavy chain they contain. Four major adult genes encoding isoforms of myosin heavy chain (MHC I, IIA, IIX and IIB) have been identified in skeletal muscle from a variety of species (Pette & Staron, 2000), the expression of these is a characteristic of muscle fibres. Differences in the number, size and proportions of fibres are suggested to affect growth performance and meat quality (Maltin et al., 2003). Conventional myosin ATPase staining characterises individual muscle fibres as slow (MHC type I) or fast (MHC Type IIA, IIX, IIB) based on the activity of myosin ATPase. We previously demonstrated that anti-myosin isoform antibodies could be used to identify muscle fibre compsition by comparing to myosin ATPase staining (Sazili et al 2005). The aim of this study was to develop a quantitative PCR method for determining ovine skeletal muscle fibre composition, based upon the expression of different adult MHC isoform transcripts.
The Upper Mustang region of Nepal holds important breeding populations of Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis. Despite this species being considered ‘Least Concern’ on the IUCN Red List, the population in Upper Mustang had declined substantially in the early to mid-2000s. During that period, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac was commonly used to treat illness and injury in domesticated ungulates throughout Nepal. The timing and magnitude of declines in Himalayan Griffon in Upper Mustang resemble the declines in resident populations of the ‘Critically Endangered’ White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris in Nepal, both of which are also known to be highly sensitive to diclofenac. Since 2006, the veterinary use of diclofenac has been banned in Nepal to prevent further vulture declines. In this paper, we analyse the population trend in Himalayan Griffon in Upper Mustang between 2002 and 2014 and show a partial recovery. We conclude that the decline is now occurring at a slower rate than previously observed and immigration from areas where diclofenac was either not or rarely used the probable explanation for the recovery observed.
Growth hormone (GH) and β agonists increase muscle mass, but the mechanisms for this response are unclear and the magnitude of response is thought to vary with age of animal. To investigate the mechanisms driving the muscle response to these agents, we examined the effects of short-term (6 day) administration of GH or cimaterol (a β2-adrenergic agonist, BA) on skeletal muscle phenotype in both young (day 60) and mature (day 120) lambs. Expression of myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoforms were measured in Longissimus dorsi (LD), Semitendinosus (ST) and Supraspinatus (SS) muscles as markers of fibre type and metabolic enzyme activities were measured in LD. To investigate potential mechanisms regulating the changes in fibre type/metabolism, expression or activity of a number of signalling molecules were examined in LD. There were no effects of GH administration on MyHC isoform expression at either the mRNA or protein level in any of the muscles. However, BA treatment induced a proportional change in MyHC mRNA expression at both ages, with the %MyHCI and/or IIA mRNA being significantly decreased in all three muscles and %MyHCIIX/IIB mRNA significantly increased in the LD and ST. BA treatment induced de novo expression of MyHCIIB mRNA in LD, the fastest isoform not normally expressed in sheep LD, as well as increasing expression in the other two muscles. In the LD, the increased expression of the fastest MyHC isoforms (IIX and IIB) was associated with a decrease in isocitrate dehydrogenase activity, but no change in lactate dehydrogenase activity, indicating a reduced capacity for oxidative metabolism. In both young and mature lambs, changes in expression of metabolic regulatory factors were observed that might induce these changes in muscle metabolism/fibre type. In particular, BA treatment decreased PPAR-γ coactivator-1β mRNA and increased receptor-interacting protein 140 mRNA. The results suggest that the two agents work via different mechanisms or over different timescales, with only BA inducing changes in muscle mass and transitions to a faster, less oxidative fibre type after a 6-day treatment.
Three species of resident Gyps vulture are threatened with extinction in South Asia due to the contamination of domestic ungulate carcasses with the drug diclofenac. Observed rates of population decrease are among the highest recorded for any bird species, leading to total declines in excess of 99.9% for the Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis in India between 1992 and 2007. Vultures have declined in Nepal, but quantitative information on the rate and scale of decreases is unavailable. Road transect surveys for vultures, following the same route, methodology and timing, were undertaken in lowland areas of Nepal for seven years from 2002 to 2011. The seven survey transects followed Nepal’s East-West highway and covered 1,010 km in three years of the survey, and 638 km in the remaining four years. Slender-billed Vultures G. tenuirostris were very scarce, with a maximum of five individuals in 2002 and none recorded in 2010 and 2011. Oriental White-backed Vultures were most commonly recorded, but decreased from 205 to 68 birds over the survey period, with an estimated annual rate of decline of 14% a year. If population decreases commenced in Nepal in the same year as in India, then White-backed Vultures in Nepal have declined by 91% since the mid-1990s. Few resident Gyps vultures remained in Eastern and Central regions of Nepal, with just one, nine and six birds recorded in the three surveys that covered these regions. The majority of threatened Gyps vultures in lowland Nepal are now found in Western and Mid Western regions, where conservation efforts have been focused in the last six years. Removing veterinary diclofenac from across the country and continuing to manage effective “vulture safe zones” are essential to conserve Nepal’s remaining vulture populations.
We report the first UK case of supraglottitis secondary to Neisseria meningitidis.
Case report with review of the current literature on supraglottitis and its aetiology.
An 89-year-old woman was referred with worsening symptoms of dysphagia, hoarseness and neck discomfort. After nasopharyngoscopy and neck X-ray, supraglottitis was diagnosed. Prompt treatment comprised nebulised adrenaline, oxygen therapy and intravenous antibiotics. Microbiology samples grew N meningitidis, a notifiable disease in the UK. Public health officials were informed, and full precautions and prophylactic treatment initiated for those at risk. The patient made excellent progress and was discharged several days later.
Discussion and conclusion:
Supraglottitis occurs in <4 per 100 000 population. Following a successful UK childhood immunisation programme, most cases occur in adults. Supraglottitis secondary to N meningitidis is exceptionally rare, with only seven other reported cases worldwide. Morbidity is exceptionally high; over 60 per cent of patients require airway intervention. To our knowledge, this is the first reported UK case of supraglottitis secondary to N meningitidis. This case highlights the important clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions required to prevent complications associated with this potentially fatal condition.
Morphological, chemical and mineralogical speciation of a low-Ca, high-Fe fly ash from a bituminous coal has been investigated by examination of size, density and magnetic fractions. Fractionation by size revealed little information as to speciation among particle types. However, separation of the ash into eight density fractions and into magnetic and non-magnetic components showed major differences in particle properties. It was found that glasscontaining particles can be divided into three general types: Type 1, being low-Fe content, low-density hollow spheres comprising aluminosilicate/mullite glass ceramics; Type 2, of intermediate density, being ferroaluminosilicate/ mullite glass ceramics; and Type 3, high density composite particles of spinel/hematite crystals embedded in an iron-substituted glass. It is proposed that Type 1 and Type 2 particles are derived from thermal decomposition of clay minerals with a range of Fe contents. Type 3 particles are considered to arise from thermal decomposition of pyrite in the presence of small quantities of aluminosilicate minerals. Two general types of glass were distinguished: Glass I(f), being largely a low-iron aluminosilicate; and Glass II(f), being a ferroaluminosilicate of high Fe-content. XRD and vibrational spectroscopic evidence suggest that, in both glass types, Fe is substituted for Al in an aluminosilicate-type structure.
Significant concentrations (∼6%, as CaS) of sulphides or other reduced-sulphur species in solid residues from a small-scale circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustor have been reported in the literature. The presence of sulphides in similar quantities in residues from a utility-scale combustor would present significant difficulties with handling, disposal or utilization of the residues. This paper discusses the preliminary findings of an investigation of sulphur capture in a small-scale circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) unit using a limestone bed and burning a high-S, high-Fe, Eastern Canadian coal. Data are presented on sulphur capture and chemical speciation for residue samples taken from a number of locations in the circulating bed during operation. The results are discussed in terms of probable mechanisms for the formation of sulphur compounds of reduced oxidation state in the bed and the combustion-gas cleaning system.
A protocol for relatively inexpensive and rapid semi-quantitative x-ray diffraction analysis of fly ash mineralogy by the Reference Intensity Ratio (RIR) method is described. RIR's for the common crystalline phases in fly ashes derived from low rank and bituminous coal are given. The method is semi-quantitative for some phases because of unavoidable overlaps of the stronger peaks suitable for quantitation. Use of the protocol is illustrated with the four fly ash Standard Reference Materials supplied by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Recommendations for implementation of this protocol in other laboratories and for improvements in quantitation of fly ash mineralogy are given.
Detailed mineralogical characterization by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and electron microprobe analysis has been performed on a suite of residues and on three samples of unaltered overburden excavated from a 1983 underground coal gasification (UCG) test conducted at a mine site near Centralia, Washington. The residues were classified into nine zones based on their appearance and location in the burn cavity. Because they were isochemical with the overburden, six of these zones could be identified as altered overburden and proved to be particularly useful for correlations of mineralogy with the temperature and redox atmosphere prevailing in these materials during the UCG process. A previously unrecognized, moderate temperature, reaction between reduced iron phases and clay minerals to form an Al-rich hercynite-spinel solid solution (Al-spinel), (Fe,Mg)Al2O4, was identified. This reaction is a precursor to the well-known formation of Fe-cordierite, (Mg,Fe)2 Al4Si5O18 from SiO2 and the Al-spinel at higher temperatures. The mineralogies of altered overburden were analogous to high-temperature, low pressure, metamorphic rocks of the sanidinite facies, and to thermally altered rocks from natural coal combustion. Modeling of the mineral phase assemblages was successfully performed using a phase diagram for the system (FeO+MgO)-Al2O3-SiO2 constructed from literature diagrams. Melting relations were also modeled with this diagram. Deviations from the assemblages predicted by this diagram were attributed to oxidizing conditions.
The surface and near surface characteristics of alkaline fly ash particles were studied to evaluate the heterogeneous chemistry and structure of ash in order to provide data and understanding of the dissolution behavior of elemental constituents. Fly ash was subjected to a range of chemical weathering intensities in laboratory column experiments. Weathered ash from columns were then analyzed for surface morphology and chemical compositional change. Determinations included chemical characterization by instrumental neutron activation analyses, surface analysis by SEM-EDXA of whole and fractured particles, surface glass analysis by selective dissolution, and mineralogy by powder x-ray diffraction. These data were used to develop a physical model of fly ash particles that describes the heterogeneous distribution of elements on or in a reactive glass hull and in matrix glass and mullite. The model is discussed in terms of elemental partitioning and its application to the mechanistic approach advocated for prediction of leachate composition.
The chemical variation of central North American lignite fly ash can be compared using the major and minor oxide analyses and the distribution pattern of the inter-grain chemistries of the individual fly ash particles. AAS and electron microprobe chemical analysis of nineteen fly ashes have been used to illustrate the variations in bulk sample and individual grain chemistry. This information documents the chemical variability of the lignite fly ashes by geographic region. There is a direct relationship between grains rich in SiO2 and Al2O3 and in the Na2O content of the grains in lignite derived fly ashes. There is also a direct relationship between grains rich in CaP and the MgO and SO3 content of the grains in lignite derived fly ashes.
Scanning electron microscope studies were carried out on concretes obtained from structures in Australia, England and the United States as part of an assessment of their durability performances. The ages of the structures ranged from nine to thirty years. All structures contained fly ash concretes in some sections, and, in a few cases, direct comparison between these concretes and ordinary portland cement (OPC) concretes was possible. Water: cement ratios of the concretes varied from 0.44 to 0.90. The sources of fly ash were identified in each case. The structures chosen had a range of use classifications encompassing building, hydraulic structures, bridge structures, towers and foundations. Deterioration effects of concretes in some structures were more common than in others. Based on observations, conclusions were drawn on the morphological features and hydration characteristics of the concretes.
Ash density fractions, separated from a high-Ca fly ash, were leached with 6M HCl at 105°C. The density fractions (<0.79 and >2.85 g.cm−3) selected for leaching have been shown in previous work to consist largely of two different glass types, designated Glass I and Glass II. It was shown that both Glass I and Glass II are leachable to yield solutions containing Al and modifier cations. Acid attack on Glass I appears to involve hydrolysis of Si–O–Al (silalane) bridges along with ion exchange at available non-bridging oxygen sites. Attack on Glass II is more extensive, with both silalane and siloxane bridges being hydrolysed, and ion-exchange occurring at non-bridging oxygens. The products of leaching are aluminosilicates. In the case of Glass I, these remain as pseudomorphic, hollow spheres; whereas, for Glass II, substantial reprecipitation of silica (alumina) gel was found.
A major consideration in the development of a coal-fueled turbine engine is to minimize the deleterious effect of products of combustion (POC) on the engine components. Characterization of the POC phases is important for understanding and regulating combustion, emissions, deposition, corrosion and erosion behavior. POC phases deposited from the combustion of beneficiated bituminous coal in turbine simulators were characterized using x-ray techniques and electron microscopy. The phase assemblages include plagioclase feldspars, feldspathoids, spinels, anhydrite, hematite and noncrystalline material. The deposits had the form of a partially sintered powder and a slag. Differences in the phase composition of the powder and slag were determined by xray analysis and observed in the feldspar/spinel lattice parameters. The morphology, phase associations, compositional differences of the powder and slag, and heat treatment experiments indicate that the slag is largely formed by fusion of the powder. The hypothetical fusion process decomposes the CaSO4 in the powder and the released calcia is incorporated into the plagioclase solid solution powder phase. The additional alumina required for charge neutrality in the plagioclase comes from the powder's Al-rich spinel which transforms to an Al-poor spinel. These phase characterization results are useful for assessing and optimizing deposit remediation methods.