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The Australian prime lamb industry is seeking to improve lean meat yield (LMY) as a means to increasing efficiency and profitability across the whole value chain. The LMY of prime lambs is affected by genetics and on-farm nutrition from birth to slaughter and is the total muscle weight relative to the total carcass weight. Under the production conditions of south eastern Australia, many ewe flocks experience a moderate reduction in nutrition in mid to late pregnancy due to a decrease in pasture availability and quality. Correcting nutritional deficits throughout gestation requires the feeding of supplements. This enables the pregnant ewe to meet condition score (CS) targets at lambing. However, limited resources on farm often mean it is difficult to effectively manage nutritional supplementation of the pregnant ewe flock. The impact of reduced ewe nutrition in mid to late pregnancy on the body composition of finishing lambs and subsequent carcass composition remains unknown. This study investigated the effect of moderately reducing ewe nutrition in mid to late gestation on the body composition of finishing lambs and carcass composition at slaughter on a commercial scale. Multiple born lambs to CS2.5 target ewes were lighter at birth and weaning, had lower feedlot entry and exit weights with lower pre-slaughter and carcass weights compared with CS3.0 and CS3.5 target ewes. These lambs also had significantly lower eye muscle and fat depth when measured by ultrasound prior to slaughter and carcass subcutaneous fat depth measured 110 mm from the spine along the 12th rib (GR 12th) and at the C-site (C-fat). Although carcasses were ~5% lighter, results showed that male progeny born to ewes with reduced nutrition from day 50 gestation to a target CS2.5 at lambing had a higher percentage of lean tissue mass as measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and a lower percentage of fat during finishing and at slaughter, with the multiple born progeny from CS3.0 and CS3.5 target ewes being similar. These data suggest lambs produced from multiple bearing ewes that have had a moderate reduction in nutrition during pregnancy are less mature. This effect was also independent of lamb finishing system. The 5% reduction in carcass weight observed in this study would have commercially relevant consequences for prime lamb producers, despite a small gain in LMY.
The spread of the Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas led to large outbreaks across the region and most of the Southern hemisphere. Of greatest concern were complications following acute infection during pregnancy. At the beginning of the outbreak, the risk to unborn babies and their clinical presentation was unclear. This report describes the methods and results of the UK surveillance response to assess the risk of ZIKV to children born to returning travellers. Established surveillance systems operating within the UK – the paediatric and obstetric surveillance units for rare diseases, and national laboratory monitoring – enabled rapid assessment of this emerging public health threat. A combined total of 11 women experiencing adverse pregnancy outcomes after possible ZIKV exposure were reported by the three surveillance systems; five miscarriages, two intrauterine deaths and four children with clinical presentations potentially associated with ZIKV infection. Sixteen women were diagnosed with ZIKV during pregnancy in the UK. Amongst the offspring of these women, there was unequivocal laboratory evidence of infection in only one child. In the UK, the number and risk of congenital ZIKV infection for travellers returning from ZIKV-affected countries is very small.
Psychotropic medication use and psychiatric symptoms during pregnancy each are associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring. Commonly, studies considering medication effects do not adequately assess symptoms, nor evaluate children when the effects are believed to occur, the fetal period. This study examined maternal serotonin reuptake inhibitor and polypharmacy use in relation to serial assessments of five indices of fetal neurobehavior and Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 12 months in N = 161 socioeconomically advantaged, non-Hispanic White women with a shared risk phenotype, diagnosed major depressive disorder. On average fetuses showed the expected development over gestation. In contrast, infant average Bayley psychomotor and mental development scores were low (M = 84.10 and M = 89.92, range of normal limits 85–114) with rates of delay more than 2–3 times what would be expected based on this measure's normative data. Controlling for prenatal and postnatal depressive symptoms, prenatal medication effects on neurobehavioral development were largely undetected in the fetus and infant. Mental health care directed primarily at symptoms may not address the additional psychosocial needs of women parenting infants. Speculatively, prenatal serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure may act as a plasticity rather than risk factor, potentially enhancing receptivity to a nonoptimal postnatal environment in some mother–infant dyads.
Highly anomalous platinum-group element (PGE) concentrations in the podiform chromitites at the Cliff and Harold's Grave localities in the Shetland ophiolite complex have been well documented previously. The focus of this study is alluvial platinum-group minerals (PGM) located in small streams that drain from the PGE-rich chromitites. The placer PGM assemblage at Cliff is dominated by Pt-arsenides (64%) and Pd-antimonides (17%), with less irarsite–hollingworthite (11%) and minor Pd-sulfides, Pt–Pd–Cu and Pt–Fe alloys and laurite. Gold also occurs with the PGM. Alluvial PGM have average sizes of 20 µm × 60 µm, with sperrylite the largest grain identified at 110 µm in diameter, matching the range reported for the primary PGM in the source rocks. The placer assemblage contains more Pt-bearing and less Pd-bearing PGM compared with the rocks. The more resistant sperrylite and irarsite–hollingworthite grains which are often euhedral become more rounded further downstream whereas the less resistant Pd-antimonides which are commonly subhedral may become striated and etched. Less stable phases such as Pt- and Pd-oxides and other Ni-Cu-bearing phases located in the rocks (i.e. Ru-pentlandite, PtCu, Pd–Cu alloy) are absent in the placer assemblage. Also the scarce PGM (PdHg, Rh- and Ir-Sb) and Os in the rocks are absent. At Harold's Grave only three alluvial PGM (laurite, Ir, Os) and Au were recovered reflecting the limited release of IPGM from chromite grains in the rocks. In this cold climate with high rainfall, where erosion dominates over weathering, the PGM appear to have been derived directly from the erosion of the adjacent PGE-rich source rocks and there is little evidence of in situ growth of any newly formed PGM. Only the presence of dendritic pure Au and Pd-, Cu-bearing Au covers on the surface of primary minerals may indicate some local reprecipitation of these metals in the surficial conditions.
This review considers the likely impact of changing consumer requirements, political pressure, economics and technological advances on the dairy production industry of the future. The vision is one of diverse strategies of production, the majority of milk being produced from cows managed technologically with much greater regard for welfare, with a number of ‘romantic’ strategies such as organic, extensive or dual-purpose production supplying niche markets. The important novel feature of the technological strategy will be an escape from the intensive twelve-month lactation cycle to extended lactations of, say, eighteen months, since this will reduce the number of times the cow is exposed to metabolic and other stresses associated with parturition, peak lactation and rebreeding.
The strategy most widely adopted to improve milk production efficiency is to increase yield per cow. To date, this has been achieved primarily through genetic selection and improved nutrition. Achievement of very high individual yield has had its down-side, especially in terms of reduced reproductive efficiency and there is now quite widespread concern that the high genetic merit cow is at greater risk of metabolic disease than her unimproved counterpart. To quote from the recent Farm Animal Welfare Council Report on Dairy Cow Welfare (FAWC, 1997): ‘High metabolic turnover in cows can be associated with a greater risk of mastitis, lameness, infertility and other production diseases…’. Whilst there can be little doubt that metabolic turn-over is indeed higher in high merit cows, it is not safe to assume that this necessarily equates with more risk; metabolic turn-over is higher in an elephant than in a mouse but risk is certainly not. Metabolic load might be a better term to use. If we think, simplistically, of this being the ‘strain’ on a system it is logical to expect an inverse relationship between metabolic load and health. The extrapolation to high genetic merit cows being at greater risk then presupposes that they experience an increased metabolic load but there has been no rigorous evaluation of whether this is so. In this review we will consider what is meant by metabolic load, examine in qualitative theoretical terms what degree of load might be expected from different commercial systems and present some recently obtained data which addresses directly the question, is metabolic load greater in high genetic merit cows?
Milk yield is ultimately constrained by the number of mammary secretory cells and the amount produced by each cell; increasing yield during early lactation is associated with increased output per cell, whilst decreasing yield during declining lactation correlates with reduced number of cells. Overall, yield is highly correlated with mass of secretory tissue but strategic control of lactation involves a galactopoietic complex of hormones including GH, prolactin and oxytocin acting to ensure efficient milk ejection and maintenance of secretion. Fine control, on the other hand, is achieved locally within the mammary gland by an autocrine mechanism which matches supply of milk to demand. The feedback inhibitor of lactation (FIL) is a milk protein which is inhibitory to secretion, so as milk accumulates between milkings, secretion rate gradually falls. The more frequently FIL is removed by milking, the greater the overall secretion rate. Storage of milk occurs within secretory tissue (alveolar milk) but also in the cistern (cisternal milk); FIL is effective in alveolar milk but not in cisternal milk, because it is then remote from its site of action. Therefore predictions would be that for a given mass of secretory tissue, large-cisterned cows should produce more milk, be more tolerant of infrequent milking but be less responsive to frequent milking. Methods developed by us for determining cisternal and alveolar milk storage spaces have obtained statistically proven support for the latter two predictions in dairy cows; the first prediction has been proven in goats. It has been shown that cisternal milk fraction increases during the course of lactation and with increasing parity. It is now intended to investigate the feasibility of incorporating storage characteristics into future selection strategies.
Milk synthesis and secretion have a high priority in the metabolism of the lactating cow. At peak lactation the nutrient needs of the mammary gland are of such magnitude relative to total metabolism that the udder has been compared with a parasite. The question arises: has the udder taken control of the cow? The aim of this study was to investigate whether the metabolic restriction point determining maximum milk output is localized at the level of the mammary gland itself or elsewhere in the body. The results indicate that the restriction point determining the maximum metabolic capacity is not localized in the udder as indicated by the ability of the mammary tissue to increase further its rate of milk secretion and therefore the maximum capacity is determined at the level of the whole body.
Mice lacking a functional leptin gene (ob/ob) are obese and sterile. Treatment with exogenous leptin will restore fertility and allow full-term pregnancy, but when leptin is withdrawn at parturition the young die, apparently as a result of total lactation failure (Chehab et al., 1996). From this one could hypothesise that leptin is an essential requirement for mammary development and/or initiation of milk secretion. Since a few of the mice used in this work were subsequently able to rear pups following a second pregnancy and parturition, we decided to re-examine this hypothesis.
Genetic selection has greatly improved individual cow productivity. A high genetic merit Holstein Friesian cow will produce 10,000 of litres of milk in a 305 day lactation, those of lower genetic merit half this amount. Despite major research effort in generating these differences, quantitative biological description of what has been achieved is lacking. The aim of this study was to compare biological variables of relevance to milk synthesis in well defined high genetic merit and lower genetic merit dairy cows.
12 cows of high genetic merit (HGM: top 5% of UK national herd) and 12 of lower genetic merit (LGM: close to UK average) were purchased from the Blythbank and Langhill herds; the ontogeny of these selection lines has been described elsewhere (Woolliams et al, 1993). Mean parity was 3.7±0.3 and was balanced between HGM and LGM. Management of the two groups was identical. Measurements were made over a period of two weeks close to peak lactation. Milk yield was recorded at each milking. Plasma samples were collected and analysed for a variety of hormones by radioimmunoassay and metabolites by established spectrophotometric assays. Udder size was determined by a casting technique (Dewhurst et al., 1993) and mammary biopsies for key enzyme activities were obtained as described by Knight et. al. (1992). Differences between lines were analysed by analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Two medium-depth ice cores were retrieved from Berkner Island by a joint project between the Alfred-Wegener-Institut and the British Antarctic Survey in the 1994/95 field season. A 151m deep core from the northern dome (Reinwarthhöhe) of Berkner Island spans 700 years, while a 181 m deep core from the southern dome (Thyssenhöhe) spans approximately 1200 years. Both cores display clear seasonal cycles in electrical conductivity measurements, allowing dating by annual-layer counting and the calculation of accumulation profiles. Stable-isotope measurements (both δ18O and δD), together with the accumulation data, allow us to estimate changes in climate for most of the past millennium: the data show multi-decadal variability around a generally stable long-termmean. In addition, a full suite of major chemistry measurements is available to define the history of aerosol deposition at these sites: again, there is little evidence that the chemistry of the sites has changed over the past six centuries. Finally, we suggest that the southern dome, with an ice thickness of 950 m, is an ideal site from which to gain a climate history of the late stages of the last glacial and the deglaciation for comparison with the records from the deep Antarctic ice cores, and with other intermediate-depth cores such as Taylor Dome and Siple Dome.
A variety of frost-crystal forms found growing from the vapor in ice caves and tunnels in the Antarctic are described and illustrated. Complex layered structures found within large, skeletal crystals are ascribed to the action of the temperature gradient. Some novel c-axis growth forms and a rare type of bicrystal growth – accelerated growth in a particular direction along a particular grain boundary – are also shown.
In southern Africa, wetlands of different types are an integral part of the drainage network, yet evolve and are sensitive to different combinations of geologic, climatic, geomorphic, edaphic and hydrologic controls. Understanding of these controls can help in the interpretation of environmental and climatic records from different wetland types, given that wetland sensitivity to environmental and climatic changes may vary throughout their ‘life cycle’. The chapter discusses inland wetland records from dated sites in South Africa in order to consider their significance for reconstructing late glacial and Holocene climates; and the relationship of wetlands to preservation of the Pleistocene archaeological record. Wetlands are sensitive to degradation under contemporary environmental and climatic changes, which may impact on their hydrological and ecological function as well as the integrity of associated archaeological sites.