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During soybean seed germination, the expansive growth potential of the embryonic axes is driven by water uptake while cell wall loosening occurs in cells from the elongation zone (EZ). Expansins are regarded as primary promoters of cell wall remodelling in all plant expansion processes, with the expression profiles of the soybean expansins supporting their cell or tissue specificity. Therefore, we used embryonic axes isolated from whole seed and focused on the EZ to study seed germination. Using a suite of degenerate primers, we amplified an abundantly expressed expansin gene at the EZ during soybean embryonic axis germination, which was identified as EXP1 by in silico analyses. Expression studies showed that EXP1 was induced under germination conditions in distilled water and down-regulated by abscisic acid (ABA), which inhibits soybean germination by physiologically restraining expansion. Moreover, we also identified a time window of ABA responsiveness within the first 6 h of incubation in water, after which ABA lost control of both EXP1 expression and embryonic axis germination, thus confirming the early role of EXP1 in the EZ during this process. By contrast, EXP1 levels in the EZ increased even when germination was impaired by osmotically limiting the water availability required to develop the embryonic axes’ growth potential. We propose that these higher EXP1 levels are involved in the fast germination of soybean embryonic axes as soon as water availability is re-established. Taken together, our results show strong EXP1 expression in the EZ and postulate EXP1 as a target candidate for soybean seed germination control.
Over recent decades, biomass gains in remaining old-growth Amazonia forests have declined due to environmental change. Amazonia’s huge size and complexity makes understanding these changes, drivers, and consequences very challenging. Here, using a network of permanent monitoring plots at the Amazon–Cerrado transition, we quantify recent biomass carbon changes and explore their environmental drivers. Our study area covers 30 plots of upland and riparian forests sampled at least twice between 1996 and 2016 and subject to various levels of fire and drought. Using these plots, we aimed to: (1) estimate the long-term biomass change rate; (2) determine the extent to which forest changes are influenced by forest type; and (3) assess the threat to forests from ongoing environmental change. Overall, there was no net change in biomass, but there was clear variation among different forest types. Burning occurred at least once in 8 of the 12 riparian forests, while only 1 of the 18 upland forests burned, resulting in losses of carbon in burned riparian forests. Net biomass gains prevailed among other riparian and upland forests throughout Amazonia. Our results reveal an unanticipated vulnerability of riparian forests to fire, likely aggravated by drought, and threatening ecosystem conservation at the Amazon southern margins.
Diagnosing delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD) remains challenging because of a lack of specific tools, though motor dysfunction in delirium has been relatively under-explored. This study aimed to use dysfunction in balance and mobility (with the Hierarchical Assessment of Balance And Mobility: HABAM) to identify DSD. This is a cross-sectional multicenter study, recruiting consecutive patients ≥70 years admitted to five acute or rehabilitation hospitals in Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland. Delirium was diagnosed using DSM-5 criteria; dementia was determined by the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Questionnaire of Cognitive Decline in the Elderly. HABAM score was recorded at admission. Out of 114 patients (mean age ± SD = 82 ± 7; 54% female), dementia alone was present in 24.6% (n = 28), delirium alone in 18.4% (n = 21) and DSD in 27.2% (n = 31). Patients with DSD had a mean HABAM score 7 points greater than those with dementia alone (19.8 ± 8.7 vs 12.5 ± 9.5; p < 0.001); 70% of participants with DSD were correctly identified using the HABAM at a cut off of 22 (sensitivity 61%, specificity 79%, AUC = 0.76). Individuals with delirium have worse motor function than those without delirium, even in the context of comorbid dementia. Measuring motor function using the HABAM in older people at admission may help to diagnose DSD.
Recent evidence has shown that most tropical species are declining as a result of global change. Under this scenario, the prevalence of tolerant species to disturbances has driven many biological communities towards biotic homogenization (BH). However, the mechanisms that drive communities towards BH are not yet thoroughly understood. We tested effects of recurring wildfires on woody species richness and composition in six seasonally flooded Amazonian forests and whether these fires reduce species composition (i.e., taxonomic homogenization) over short periods of time. Our results show that these forests are undergoing taxonomic homogenization in response to recurring fire events. Species richness decreased as a result of local extinctions and floristic similarity increased among forest communities. Fire was selecting tolerant (‘winner’) species and eliminating the more sensitive (‘loser’) species. BH leads to biodiversity erosion, which can deeply alter ecosystem processes such as productivity, nutrient cycling and decomposition, resulting in important consequences for conservation.
Clostridia in the milk can lead to late blowing, a cheese defect. Clostridia are ubiquitous, deriving from both the farm environment and the feed ingested by the cows, and are transferred into the milk through faecal contamination. Our aim was to investigate the effect of different in-parlour practices on the content of anaerobic spore-forming bacteria in milk, and to monitor the variation in spore content in the feed and environment. The experiment, conducted in an experimental dairy during autumn, was repeated in exactly the same way for two consecutive years. The experimental design applied three different milking routines in three consecutive 7-d periods: forestripping alone (F); forestripping and post-dipping (F+Post); pre-dipping, wiping, forestripping and post-dipping (Pre+F+Post). Teat skin swabs and samples of feed, faeces, bedding materials and milk were collected for microbiological analyses. The dietary forage of the lactating cows included maize silage, which, in both years, was found to have the highest level of clostridial spore contamination. Pre-dipping with a detergent/emollient solution, and drying with a disposable paper towel, proved much more efficient in reducing spore contamination than forestripping alone, both on the teats (1·30 vs. 2·20 log10 MPN/swab; P < 0·001) and in the milk (1·82 vs. 2·47 log10 MPN/L, P < 0·02), while post-dipping had little influence on spore count. The standard plate count in milk was significantly lower with Pre+F+Post treatment than with F (3·80 vs. 4·51 log10 CFU/mL, P < 0·01). The teat preparation procedure did not influence the lactic acid bacterial levels in the milk, which is very positive in that decreased lactic acid bacterial content can lessen raw milk cheese quality.
Detecting delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD) can be challenging because assessment partly relies on cognitive tests that may be abnormal in both conditions. We hypothesized that a combined arousal and attention testing procedure would accurately detect DSD.
Patients aged ≥70 years were recruited from five hospitals across Europe. Delirium was diagnosed by physicians using DSM-5 criteria using information from nurses, carers, and medical records. Dementia was ascertained by the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly. Arousal was measured using the Observational Scale of Level of Arousal (OSLA), which assesses eye opening, eye contact, posture, movement, and communication. Attention was measured by participants signaling each time an “A” was heard when “S-A-V-E-A-H-A-A-R-T” was read out.
The sample included 114 persons (mean age 82 years (SD 7); 54% women). Dementia alone was present in 25% (n = 28), delirium alone in 18% (n = 21), DSD in 27% (n = 31), and neither in 30% (n = 34). Arousal and attention was assessed in n = 109 (96%). Using OSLA, 83% participants were correctly identified as having delirium (sensitivity 85%, specificity 82%, AUROC 0.92). The attention task correctly classified 76% of participants with delirium (sensitivity 90%, specificity 64%, AUROC 0.80). Combining scores correctly classified 91% of participants with delirium (sensitivity 84%, specificity 92%, AUROC 0.94). Diagnostic accuracy remained high in the subgroup with dementia (93% correctly classified, sensitivity 94%, specificity 92%, AUROC 0.98).
This combined arousal–attention assessment to detect DSD was brief yet had high diagnostic accuracy. Such an approach could have clinical utility for diagnosing DSD.
Oxidation-reduction potential (Eh) is a fundamental physicochemical property of lactic acid bacteria that determines the microenvironment during the cheese manufacture and ripening. For this reason the Eh is of growing interest in dairy research and the dairy industry. The objective of the study was to perform a comprehensive study on the reduction activity of wild lactic acid bacteria strains collected in different periods (from 1960 to 2012) from Italian dairy products. A total of 709 strains belonging to Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus durans, E. faecium, E. faecalis and Streptococcus thermophilus species were studied for their reduction activity in milk. Kinetics of milk reduction were characterised by the minimum redox potential (Eh7) and time of reaching Eh7 (tmin), the maximum difference between two measures (Δmax) and the time at which these maximum differences occurred (t*). Broad diversity in kinetic parameters was observed at both species and strain levels. E. faecalis and L. lactis resulted to be the most reducing species, while S. thermophilus was characterised by the lowest reducing power while the greatest heterogeneity was pointed out among E. durans and E. faecium strains. Considering the period of collection (1960–2012) we observed that the more recently isolated strains generally showed less reducing activity. This trend was particularly evident for the species E. durans, E. faecium and L. lactis while an opposite trend was observed in E. faecalis species. Data reported in this research provide new information for a deeper understanding of redox potential changes during milk fermentation due to bacterial growth. Gain knowledge of the redox potential of the LAB cultures could allow a better control and standardisation of cheesemaking process.
The loss of biodiversity in transitional forests between the Cerrado and Amazonia, the two largest neotropical phytogeographic domains, is an issue of great concern. This extensive region is located within the ‘arc of deforestation’ zone where tropical forests are being lost at the fastest rate on the planet, but floristic diversity and variation among forests here is still poorly understood. We aimed to characterize the floristic composition of forests in this zone and explored the degree and drivers of differentiation within and across Araguaia and Xingu watersheds. In 10 sites we identified all trees with diameter ≥10 cm; these totaled 4944 individuals in 257 species, 107 genera and 52 families. We evaluated the data for multivariate variation using TWINSPAN and DCA to understand the species distribution among sites. There was a larger contribution from the Amazonian flora (169 species) than that of the Cerrado (109) to the transitional forests. Remarkably, 142 species (55%) were restricted to only one sampling site, while 29 species (>16%) are endemic to Brazil, suggesting potentially large loss of species and unique forest communities with the loss and fragmentation of large areas. Our results also suggest that watersheds may be a critical factor driving species distribution among forests in the Amazonian–Cerrado transition zone, and quantifying their role can provide powerful insight into devising better conservation strategies for the remaining forests.
Despite advances in delirium knowledge and the publication of best practice guidelines, uncertainties exist regarding assessment of Delirium Superimposed on Dementia (DSD). An international survey of delirium specialists was undertaken to evaluate current practice.
Invitations to participate in an online survey were distributed by email among members of four international delirium associations with additional publication on their websites. The survey covered the assessment and diagnosis of DSD in clinical practice and research studies. Questions were structured around current practice and attitudes.
The 205 responders were mostly confident that they could detect DSD with 60% rating their confidence at 7 or above on a likert scale of 0 (none) to 10 (excellent). Seventy-six percent felt that Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) was the most challenging dementia subtype in which to diagnose DSD. Several scales were used to assess for the presence of DSD including the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) (54%), DSM-5 criteria (25%) and CAM-ICU (15%). Responders stated that attention (71%), fluctuation in cognitive status (65%), and arousability (41%) were the most clinically useful features to assess when diagnosing DSD. Motor fluctuations were also deemed important but 61% had no specific test to monitor these.
The largest survey of DSD practice to date demonstrates that despite good levels of confidence in recognizing DSD, there exists a lack of consensus concerning assessment and diagnosis globally. These findings suggest the need for the development of more research leading to precise diagnostic criteria and comprehensive guidelines regarding the assessment and diagnosis of DSD.
The occurrence of cerrado (as tree and shrub savanna is called in Brazil) and forest formations side by side is common at the southern margin of the Brazilian Amazonian Forest, and previous studies have demonstrated the advance of forests over cerrado areas. The aim of the present study is to provide an accurate documentation of the transition process between the two major biomes. Tree data (≥ 5 cm diameter at 0.3 m above soil level) from three plots of cerrado sensu stricto lying near three of cerradão (the taller, denser form of cerrado) were inventoried starting in 2002 in an area of 1.5 ha made up of 150 subplots of 10 × 10 m (50 in each area). This showed that the most important species of the cerradão were invading areas previously occupied by smaller, lower forms of cerrado (although it is sometimes difficult to define which are ‘forest’ and which ‘cerrado’ species as many are flexible in size – for instance Emmotum nitens can often be intermediate, establishing in cerrado that develops into cerradão and on to forest). Some typical species such as Eriotheca gracilipes and Emmotum nitens, established since the first inventories, have increased their populations (between 27 and 210%). Tachigali vulgaris, a typical, weedy, adventive species of the Cerrado–Amazonian Forest transition, showed the largest increase in abundance in areas of cerrado sensu stricto (between 100 and 1200%), and is probably the most important pioneer species in the initial advance of the forest into cerrado at the Southern Amazonian border.
This paper presents a preliminary report on the first two seasons of work by The Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project (LoNAP) of Udine University that aims to understand the formation and transformation of the cultural and natural landscape of northern Mesopotamia, (embracing large parts of the governorates of Ninawa and Dohuk) from the Palaeolithic to the Islamic period. Its purpose is to comprehend patterns of settlement, land use and management, based on a regional archaeological surface survey and excavation. These objectives are closely tied to the geoarcheological and bioarchaeological reconstruction of the ancient natural environment and its evolution as a result of global climatic fluctuations and human impact.
Recent advances in X-ray and microwave observations have provided unprecedented insights into the structure and evolution of the hot X-ray emitting plasma from their cores to the virialization region in outskirts of galaxy clusters. Recent Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) surveys (ACT, Planck, SPT) have provided new cluster catalogs, significantly expanding coverage of the mass-redshift plane, while Chandra and XMM-Newton X-ray follow-up programs have improved our understanding of cluster physics and evolution as well as the surveys themselves. However, the current cluster-based cosmological constraints are still limited by uncertainties in cluster astrophysics. In order to exploit the statistical power of the current and upcoming X-ray and microwave cluster surveys, it is critical to improve our understanding of the structure and evolution of the hot X-ray emitting intracluster medium (ICM). In this session, we discussed recent advances in observations and simulations of galaxy clusters, with highlights on (i) the evolution of ICM profiles and scaling relations, (ii) physical processes operating in the outskirts of galaxy clusters, and (iii) impact of mergers on the ICM structure in groups and clusters.
The genus Micipsella comprises three species of filariae to date identified in lagomorphs only, whereas the other genera belonging to the subfamily Splendidofilariinae are described as parasites of birds, reptiles and mammals. In the present study seven specimens of Micipsella numidica (Seurat, 1917), collected from the hare Lepus europaeus in Italy, were characterized genetically by molecular amplification of the mitochondrial genes (12S rDNA; cox1) and the 5S rDNA gene spacer region. Phylogenetic trees inferred using available sequences from filariae and those identified in this study evidenced a close relationship between M. numidica and Splendidofilariinae of other mammals and reptiles (Rumenfilaria andersoni and Madathamugadia hiepei). The present findings, apart from adding new data about the hosts in Italy, support the taxonomic position of M. numidica and highlight the substantial biological and molecular differences existing between Splendidofilariinae and other Onchocercidae. The study also contributes to our knowledge of the molecular/genetic diagnosis of filarial parasites of veterinary and medical concern in any vertebrate or invertebrate host.
There are no studies that have identified the ability to recognize and manage delirium among Italian health providers caring for patients at risk. Therefore, the Italian Association of Psychogeriatrics (AIP) conducted a multicenter survey among doctors, nurses, psychologists and physiotherapists to assess their competence regarding the theme of delirium and its management in the everyday clinical practice.
The survey period was 1st June 2013 to 30th November 2013. The invitation to participate was sent via email, with publication on the AIP website. The survey included 14 questions and two case vignettes.
A total of 648/1,500 responses were collected. Most responders were doctors (n = 322/800), followed by nurses (n = 225/500), psychologists (n = 51/100), and physiotherapists (n = 30/100). Generally, doctors and psychologists correctly defined delirium, while nurses and physiotherapists did not. The most frequently used diagnostic tools were the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV. Delirium intensity was rarely assessed. Hypoactive delirium was generally managed with non-pharmacological approaches, while hyperactive delirium with a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches. However, possible causes of delirium were under-assessed by half of doctors and by the majority of other professionals. Nurses, psychologists and physiotherapists did not answer the case vignettes, while doctors identified the correct answer in most cases.
This is the first Italian survey among health providers caring for patients at risk of delirium. This is also the first survey including doctors, nurses, psychologists and physiotherapists. The results emphasize the importance of training to improve knowledge of this relevant unmet medical need.
Genotypic and technological properties, antibiotic susceptibility and antimicrobial activity of 35 Leuconostoc strains, isolated from different Italian raw milk cheeses, were investigated. RAPD-PCR was used to study genetic variability and to distinguish closely related strains. The results showed a high degree of heterogeneity among isolates. All the strains had weak acidifying activity and showed low proteolytic and lipolytic activities. Reduction activity, was generally low. All the Leuconostoc were susceptible to ampicillin, mupirocin, erythromycin, quinupristin/dalfopristin and tetracycline. Many strains were classified as resistant to oxacillin, ciprofloxacin and nitrofurantonin, while all isolates were found resistant to vancomycin. PCR-based detection did not identify any of the common genetic determinants for vancomycin (vanA, vanB, vanC1, vanC2, vanC3, vanD, vanE, vanG) or erythromycin (ermB and ermC). Tetracycline resistance genes were detected in 25 tetracycline susceptible strains, the most frequent one being tetM. One strain, belonging to Ln. pseudomesenteroides species, was positive for the presence of the int gene of the Tn916/Tn1545 trasposon family. This is the first time the conjugative transposon Tn916 has been detected inside the Leuconostoc species. All strains showed antimicrobial activity against Enterococcus faecalis and Ent. faecium. The presence of genes encoding amino-acid decarboxylases (hdc and tdc) was not detected. Some strains are interesting in view of their use in cheese production as starter and non starter cultures.
There are still substantial uncertainties over best practice in delirium care. The European Delirium Association (EDA) conducted a survey of its members and other interested parties on various aspects of delirium care.
The invitation to participate in the online survey was distributed among the EDA membership. The survey covered assessment, treatment of hyperactive and hypoactive delirium, and organizational management.
A total of 200 responses were collected (United Kingdom 28.6%, Netherlands 25.3%, Italy 15%, Switzerland 9.7%, Germany 7.1%, Spain 3.8%, Portugal 2.5%, Ireland 2.5%, Sweden 0.6%, Denmark 0.6%, Austria 0.6%, and others 3.2%). Most of the responders were doctors (80%), working in geriatrics (45%) or internal medicine (14%). Ninety-two per cent of the responders assessed patients for delirium daily. The most commonly used assessment tools were the Confusion Assessment Method (52%) and the Delirium Observation Screening Scale (30%). The first-line choice in the management of hyperactive delirium was a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches (61%). Conversely, non-pharmacological management was the first-line choice in hypoactive delirium (67%). Delirium awareness (34%), knowledge (33%), and lack of education (13%) were the most commonly reported barriers to improving the detection of delirium. Interestingly, 63% of the responders referred patients after an episode of delirium to a follow-up clinic.
This is the first systematic survey involving an international group of specialists in delirium. Several areas of lack of consensus were found. These results emphasise the importance of further research to improve care of this major unmet medical need.