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Prevention of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) foodborne outbreaks is hampered by its complex epidemiology. We assessed the distribution of virulence genes (VGs), main serogroups/serotypes for public health [haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)-related], antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns in a collection of STEC isolates obtained from cattle hide (n = 149) and faecal (n = 406) samples collected during a national survey conducted in Spain in 2011 and 2013. Isolates were cultured using McConkey and CT-SMAC agar after enrichment, and confirmed as STEC by PCR. STEC prevalence in hides (15·4%) was higher than in faeces (10·7%) and O157:H7 was more frequent in the former (2·7% vs. 0·99%). Non-O157 HUS-related serogroups were present albeit at low frequencies. The non-O157 isolates were more heterogeneous than O157:H7 in their VG patterns, with 25/64 presenting VGs from both STEC and enterotoxigenic pathotypes (hybrid isolates). Of the STEC isolates, 62·5% were resistant at least to one antimicrobial, and no differences in AMR between O157:H7 and non-O157 were detected. All isolates had different profiles by PFGE and did not form a cluster. Overall, our results demonstrated that STEC in the cattle reservoir is still a matter of concern for human health due to the presence of HUS-related serogroups, the occurrence of certain VGs, AMR and the additional risks that hybrid isolates may pose, and thus warrants further investigation.
Recently, new views of the current status of δ Scuti stars have been developed by Rodríguez & Breger (2001) who carried out an excellent review, listing 8 pre-main-sequence (PMS) δ Scuti candidates and examined the possibility of the existence of PMS δ Scuti variable stars. Here we discuss the nature of 4 stars from their list: 2 said to be members of NGC 2264 and 2 of NGC 6823.
HD 200925 is an unusual star: the period is stable on a time scale of many years, yet it shows variations which are either large and irregular, or small, suggesting a possible Blazhko effect (Poretti 1984; Joner & Johnson 1985); it has larger values of Teff and log g derived from uvbyβ than those of dwarf Cepheids of similar period; and it has a somewhat higher metal abundance, [Fe/H], than the Hyades. Furthermore, in conflict to what Joner and McNamara (1983) determined – that m1 index shows no variation with temperature – HD 200925 shows a definite variation, unlike that predicted in Crawford (1979). No explanation of this has yet been found. Johnson & Joner (1986) also derived an unusual and unexpected value of [Fe/H]. Finally, with respect to the pulsation periods of this star, Mantegazza & Poretti (1986) determined the existence of two periods: one definite, 0.26730 d and a possible second one of 0.2138 d which yield a ratio of P2/P1 = 0.800, the theoretical ratio expected between the first and the second overtones, found in other pulsating variables. All of these facts make HD 200925 an interesting star, motivating the present study.
The objectives were to assess the following: (1) the relationship between sward height and chemical composition of four pasture types in association with grazing behaviour and body condition score (BCS) of dairy cows, and (2) the possibility of developing predictive equations of the nutrient intake and grazing behaviour within a continued grazing system. Pasture type had a significant (p < 0.01) effect on nutrient supply from January to June for all pastures investigated. Ryegrass–white clover pasture (RW) had the highest metabolizable protein and metabolizable energy, followed by kikuyu pasture (KP), which was significantly (p < 0.001) higher than native pastures 1 and 2 (NP1 and NP2). The highest values for effective grazing time, bite rate and BCS were found when dairy cows grazed RW followed by KP, NP2 and NP1. The results suggested that pasture type and sward height influenced grazing behaviour and BCS of dairy cows during the dry season. In the same vein, RW showed higher effective grazing time, bite rate, nutrient intake and BCS than the other three pastures suggesting that RW pastures that appear to be more expensive than native pastures could result in superior cow performance.
Porous silicon (PSi) combines the potential of miniaturization with a very large surface area. The PSi surface can be chemically modified resulting in a high sensitivity (low detection threshold) device for chemical and biomolecular sensing. In previous work, we have shown that redox proteins and fluorescent ligands can be infiltrated into PSi (PSiMc) structures. The hybrid devices have shown interesting new properties produced by the coupling of the individual properties of PSi nanostructures and the modifiers. In this work, we have obtained a PSiMc/redox protein bioelectrode, which presents a quasi-reversible electrochemical response. This effect was attributed to the semiconducting nature of the PSi substrate and to the functional groups of the crosslinking molecules (MPTS), which together produce a capacitive effect on the device. On the other hand, the chemical modification of PSiMc with fluorescent ligands allowed us to fabricate fluorescent PSi hybrid nanostructures, which were tested for the detection of environmental pollutants such as heavy metals (specifically Hg2+). We found that the selectivity of this optical device depends on the selected recognizing molecule. The captured metal induces the formation of a metallic complex that shows higher fluorescence compared with the sensor device. These results demonstrate the viability of using porous silicon as optical sensors and electrochemical biosensors. The infiltration of fluorescent recognizing molecules and proteins into the PSi matrix were evaluated by specular reflectance, FTIR spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry.
Stegophorus macronectes (Johnston & Mawson, 1942) is a gastrointestinal parasite found in Antarctic seabirds. The original description of the species, which was based only on females, is poor and fragmented with some unclear diagnostic characters. This study provides new morphometric and molecular data on this previously poorly described parasite. Nuclear rDNA sequences (18S, 5.8S, 28S and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions) were isolated from S. macronectes specimens collected from the chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica Forster on Deception Island, Antarctica. Using 18S rDNA sequences, phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference) of the order Spirurida were performed to determine the phylogenetic location of this species. Primer pairs of the ITS regions were designed for genus-level identification of specimens, regardless of their cycle, as an alternative to coprological methods. The utility of this molecular method for identification of morphologically altered specimens is also discussed.
Huauzontle (Chenopodium berlandieri ssp. nuttalliae) is a locally important vegetable crop native to the highland valleys of Central Mexico and a potential source of genes for improving its Andean sister crop, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa). A previous work involving two huauzontle lines identified one waxy genotype that lacked amylose due to mutations in granule-bound starch synthase I (GBSSI), major amylose-synthesis genes with two constituent subgenomes, A and B. We conducted this study to determine the extent of waxy genotypes and cryptic GBSSI mutations in 11 huauzontle accessions or landrace populations extending from Puebla in the southeast to Jalisco in the northwest. This represents one of the first published studies of genetic variation in C. berlandieri ssp. nuttalliae. Accessions were phenotyped for opaque versus translucent seed morphology and their seed starches were stained with Lugol's Stain. In addition, complete or partial GBSSI genes from their A and B genomes were polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified, cloned and sequenced. Seven accessions were either wholly or partially non-waxy while six were either entirely or partially waxy. All waxy accessions carried the same putatively null alleles, designated gbssIa-tp (A-genome) and gbssIb-del (B-genome). The identification of publicly available genotypes carrying gbssIa-tp and their potential use in breeding waxy grain quinoa is discussed.
Baird's tapir Tapirus bairdii is categorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and is considered rare and locally extirpated from most of its historic range in Costa Rica. We conducted camera-trap and track surveys at 38 forested sites in and around the San Juan–La Selva Biological Corridor in the Northern Zone of Costa Rica. Cameras were set along established game trails and natural funnels and operated for 14–38 days per site. Additionally, we documented tapir tracks at many sites. We used survey photographs and track presence to create detection histories to estimate the habitat and survey-specific variables that influence the probability of detection and the probability of occurrence of Baird's tapir. The two major protected areas within and adjacent to the corridor were most positively associated with tapir occurrence, and forest cover and native and exotic tree plantations were also positively associated with tapirs’ use of sites. Although the Baird's tapir is rare, our findings suggest that it is more resilient and better able to use available habitat in the fragmented corridor than previously thought. This is most likely a consequence of increased forest cover from reforestation and tree plantations and limited hunting pressure. Given its charismatic nature we recommend that Baird's tapir could be used as a flagship species for the San Juan–La Selva Biological Corridor, to raise local awareness about conservation and increase economic growth from ecotourism.
Preterm birth, low birthweight, intrauterine growth retardation and small for gestational age are birth phenotypes that significantly contribute to life-long morbidity and mortality. This review examines the epidemiologic and biologic evidence of folic acid (FA) as a potential population-based intervention to curtail some adverse birth phenotypic expressions, and by extension, their later physical and neurodevelopmental consequences. We outlined a feto-placental adaptation categorization taking into account how prenatal insults may be encoded in fetal development, the adaptive success of the feto-placental response, and subsequent expression in the health of the fetus. Although there are plausible biological pathways that can be implicated, we found that the epidemiological evidence on the role of perinatal FA nutriture and fetal programming of adverse birth phenotypes is still inconclusive. Because biologic and epidemiological considerations alone do not suffice in deciphering the utility of FA in averting adverse birth phenotypes, we proposed a biopsychosocial model that takes into account multi-layered psychosocial contexts for improving subsequent research studies in this area.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have been inconsistently reported in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) but may make an impact on treatment response.
The current study examined the presence of NSS in two independent European samples of OCD patients (combined 85 patients and 88 matched healthy controls) using a standardized instrument and conducted a meta-analysis of all published studies identified in the literature with the aim to provide a more definitive answer to the question of whether OCD patients are characterized by increased NSS.
Both empirical studies found elevated NSS scores in patients compared with matched controls. The results of the meta-analysis, which included 15 studies (combined 498 patients and 520 controls) showed large effect sizes (Hedges' g=1.27, 95% confidence interval 0.80–1.75), indicating that OCD patients have significantly higher rates of NSS than matched controls on both sides of the body and in multiple domains (motor coordination, sensory integration and primitive reflexes). The results were robust and remained largely unchanged in our reliability analyses, which controlled for possible outliers. Meta-regression was employed to examine the role of potential variables of interest including sociodemographic variables, symptom severity, medication effects and the use of different instruments, but none of these variables was clearly associated with NSS.
As a group, OCD patients are characterized by increased rates of NSS, compared with healthy controls. However, their origins and potential clinical importance remain to be clarified. Future directions for research are discussed.
We report the study of the magneto-optical properties of composite multiferroic thin films composed of CoFe2O4 nanopillars embedded in a BiFeO3 matrix. The magneto-optical Kerr rotation and Kerr ellipticity in these films have been measured and are in good agreement with magnetization measurements. The Kerr signal has been studied as a function of film composition and nanopillar diameter confirming that the magneto-optical signal is due solely to the CoFe2O4 nanopillars.
The insertion of alkali metals in W18O49 is governed by size of the cations. In this way, lithium insertion ( rVI = 0.76 Å ) seems to be optimal and a maximum of 23.5 lithium per formula can be reached before the irreversible reduction of W18O49. On the other hand, when sodium is inserted ( rVI = 1.02 Å ) an order of magnitude decrease in the amount inserted is observed and a maximum of only 1.8 sodium per formula can be intercalated. On the basis of the different phases that we have previously detected by electrochemical methods in the Li / W18O49 and Na / W18O49 systems, we have started a structural characterization by electron diffraction techniques. These studies have revealed some lithium and sodium ordering states for certain compositions; this can be explained taking into account the different types of tunnels present in W18O49.
A comparative study of lithium insertion in W4Nb26O77 and W3Nb14O44, two block structure type phases, has been carried out. This process is, in both cases, reversible for a similar number of lithium ions incorporated to total metal atoms ratio (Li/ΣM), 1.15 in W3Nb14O44 and 1.23 in W4Nb26O77. No significant structural changes are seen by X-ray diffraction upon insertion. Sodium insertion in W3Nb14O44 has been also studied observing a substantial reduction on the number of ions incorporated when compared with lithium (Na/ΣM: 0.03).
An immunobinding dot-blot assay (DBA) was developed on nitrocellulose paper for the serodiagnosis of human cysticercosis, using Cysticercus cellulosae as antigen. The DBA had an immunological sensitivity of 0.08 mg of antigen protein/ml; however, it showed cross-reactions with antigens of adult Taenia solium and Echinococcus granulosus, but not with Toxoplasma gondii and Entamoeba histolytica antigens. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used as the gold standard for obtaining the diagnostic validity of the DBA, giving 84.61%, 100.00%, 100.00% and 97.98% for epidemiological sensitivity, epidemiological specificity and positive and negative predictive values, respectively. There were no statistical differences between the two tests (P < 0.05, kappa = 0.907). This study showed that DBA is an alternative method for the serodiagnosis of human cysticercosis.