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A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of
in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity
at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of
focused to intensities
A multichannel calorimeter system is designed and constructed which is capable of delivering single-shot and broad-band spectral measurement of terahertz (THz) radiation generated in intense laser–plasma interactions. The generation mechanism of backward THz radiation (BTR) is studied by using the multichannel calorimeter system in an intense picosecond laser–solid interaction experiment. The dependence of the BTR energy and spectrum on laser energy, target thickness and pre-plasma scale length is obtained. These results indicate that coherent transition radiation is responsible for the low-frequency component (
1 THz) of BTR. It is also observed that a large-scale pre-plasma primarily enhances the high-frequency component (
3 THz) of BTR.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
The triplite LiFeSO4F displays both the highest potential ever reported for an Fe-based compound, as well as a comparable specific energy with that of popular LiFePO4. The synthesis is still a challenge because the present approaches are connected with long time, special equipments or organic reagents, etc. In this work, the triplite LiFeSO4F powder was synthesized through an ambient two-step solid-state route. The reaction process and phase purity were analyzed, coupled with structure refinement and electrochemical test.
Louvered cavities are extensively employed in engineering applications. In the configurations of flow past these cavities, self-sustained oscillations will be excited. This can give rise to structure vibrations or noise. Numerical models are established to analyze excitation condition for of these oscillations. Computational results reveal that the excitation condition can be quantitatively described by the ratio of gap width G to the boundary layer thickness δ at the separation edge. When G/δ exceeds a certain critical value G/δc, self-sustained oscillations are excited. Otherwise, disturbances will dissipate and the flow configuration along the louver will be like a parallel plate flow. The critical value G/δc decreases with the ratio of G to the thickness of the louver plate H. This suggests that the excitation condition is more easily satisfied for a louver with sparse fins. The bottom boundary of the cavity restricts the feedback flow and then suppresses the excitation of self-sustained oscillations. With an increasing cavity height Hc, which reflects the distance between the louver and the bottom boundary, the critical value G/δc decreases and the decreasing rate reduces gradually. In contrast, because G/δc is relatively insensitive to the cavity length Lc, the side boundaries have no obvious influence on the excitation condition.
The E2F transcription factor family is distributed widely in eukaryotes and has been well studied among mammals. In the present study, the E2F transcription factor 4 (E2F4) gene was isolated from fat bodies of Antheraea pernyi and sequenced. E2F4 comprised a 795 bp open reading frame encoding a deduced amino acid sequence of 264 amino acid residues. The recombinant protein was expressed in Escherichia coli (Transetta DE3), and anti-E2F4 antibodies were prepared. The deduced amino acid sequence displayed significant homology to an E2F4-like protein from Bombyx mori L. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that E2F4 expression was highest in the integument, followed by the fat body, silk glands, and haemocytes. The expression of E2F4 was upregulated in larvae challenged by bacterial (Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus), viral (nuclear polyhedrosis virus), and fungal (Beauveria bassiana) pathogens. These observations indicated that E2F4 is an inducible protein in the immune response of A. pernyi and probably in other insects.
Lipases are ubiquitous enzymes in nature, which play a crucial role in fat metabolism by catalyzing the hydrolysis of triacylglycerol to free fatty acids and glycerol. However, reports concerning insect lipase are rare. In this study, we studied the expression and activity of a lipase-related protein from Antheraea pernyi (ApLRP). Recombinant ApLRP was expressed in Escherichia coli cells and used to raise rabbit anti-ApLRP polyclonal antibodies. ApLRP mRNA and protein expression were abundant in the midgut and malpighian tubules, respectively. After challenge with four different microorganisms (E. coli, Beauveria bassiana, Micrococcus luteus and nuclear polyhedrosis virus), the expression levels of ApLRP mRNA in midgut were inducted significantly compared with the control. The different pathogens induced different ApLRP gene expression patterns. The optimum temperature and pH for the enzyme's activity were 35°C and 7.0, respectively. ApLRP activity was stimulated in the presence of Mg2+, Na+, Ca2+ and b-mercaptoethanol; while Zn2+, Cu2+ and Fe3+ inhibited its activity. Detergents such as SDS, glycerol and Tween-20 increased the lipase activity by 20–30%. Our results indicated that ApLRP might play an important role in the innate immunity of insects.
Soluble starch synthase II (SSII) plays an important role in the biosynthesis of starch and in rice it consists of three isoforms encoded by SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3. However, the genetic effects of various SSII alleles on grain quality have not been systematically characterized. In the present study, the japonica alleles on SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3 (SSIIa) loci from a japonica cultivar, Suyunuo, were respectively introgressed by molecular marker-assisted selection into a typical indica cultivar, Guichao2, through successive backcrossing, generating three sets of near-isogenic lines (NILs). Grain quality and starch property analysis showed that NIL-SSII-3j exhibited significant decreases in the following parameters: amylose content, average granule size, and setback viscosity and consistency; but increases in peak viscosity, hot paste viscosity, gelatinization temperature and relative crystallinity. Moreover, the proportion of short amylopectin chains and branching degree also increased when compared with those of NIL-SSII-3i (Guochao2). Similar effects were observed in NIL-SSII-1j, and certain alterations in the fine structure of starch (granule size) were revealed. However, NIL-SSII-2j did not exert significant effect on grain quality and starch properties. In brief, among the SSII gene family, the functional diversity occurred on SSII-1 and SSII-3, and not on SSII-2. Therefore, it appears that more attention should be directed to SSII-1 and SSII-3 loci for improving the eating and cooking quality of rice.
Much progress has been made in recent years towards understanding how early-type galaxies (ETGs) form and evolve. SAURON (Bacon et al. 2001) integral-field spectroscopy from the ATLAS3D survey (Cappellari et al. 2011) has suggested that less massive ETGs are linked directly to spirals, whereas the most massive objects appear to form from a series of merging and accretion events (Cappellari et al. 2013). However, the ATLAS3D data typically only extends to about one half-light radius (or effective radius, Re), making it unclear if this picture is truly complete.
We determined the prevalence and seasonality of infections by Fasciola of goats and bovine species (cattle and water buffalo) in Hubei and Anhui provinces of China. Faecal samples were collected at 2- to 3-month intervals from 200 goats in Hubei province and from 152 bovine species in Anhui province. All faecal samples were examined for the presence of parasites. We determined the nucleotide sequences of the first and second internal transcribed spacers (ITS-1 and ITS-2) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) of 39 Fasciola worms from Anhui province. The prevalence of Fasciola infection in goats ranged between 3.5 and 37.0%, with mean eggs per gram (EPG) ranging between 29.0 and 166.0. Prevalence and EPG exhibited downward trends over time with significant differences. The prevalence of Fasciola infection in cattle ranged between 13.3 and 46.2% (mean EPG, 36.4–100.0), and that of water buffalo ranged between 10.3 and 35.4% (mean EPG, 25.0–89.6), with a higher prevalence of infection and EPG from June to October compared with December to March. Analysis of ITS-1 and ITS-2 sequences revealed that F. hepatica and F. gigantica were present in all bovine species of Anhui province and that F. gigantica mainly infected water buffalo. This is the first demonstration of Fasciola infection in Hubei province and detection of F. hepatica and F. gigantica in Anhui province. The present study of Hubei province shows that mass treatment of livestock with closantel sodium injections in April and August/September controlled Fasciola infection effectively.
This study characterized Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C strains in China in order to establish their genetic relatedness and describe the use of multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) to provide useful epidemiological information. A total of 215 N. meningitidis serogroup C strains, obtained from 2003 to 2012 in China, were characterized by MLVA with different published schemes as well as multilocus sequence typing. (i) Based on the MLVA scheme with a combination of five highly variable loci, 203 genotypes were identified; this level of discrimination supports its use for resolving closely related isolates. (ii) Based on a combination of ten low variable loci, clear phylogenetic relationships were established within sequence type complexes. In addition, there was evidence of microevolution of VNTR loci over the decade as strain lineages spread from Anhui to other provinces, the more distant the provinces from Anhui, the higher the genetic variation.
Breastfeeding has been an important survival trait during human history, though it has long been recognized that individuals differ in their exact breastfeeding behavior. Here our aims were, first, to explore to what extent genetic and environmental influences contributed to the individual differences in breastfeeding behavior; second, to detect possible genetic variants related to breastfeeding; and lastly, to test if the genetic variants associated with breastfeeding have been previously found to be related with breast size. Data were collected from a large community-based cohort of Australian twins, with 3,364 women participating in the twin modelling analyses and 1,521 of them included in the genome-wide association study (GWAS). Monozygotic (MZ) twin correlations (rMZ = 0.52, 95% CI 0.46–0.57) were larger than dizygotic (DZ) twin correlations (rDZ = 0.35, 95% CI 0.25–0.43) and the best-fitting model was the one composed by additive genetics and unique environmental factors, explaining 53% and 47% of the variance in breastfeeding behavior, respectively. No breastfeeding-related genetic variants reached genome-wide significance. The polygenic risk score analyses showed no significant results, suggesting breast size does not influence breastfeeding. This study confers a replication of a previous one exploring the sources of variance of breastfeeding and, to our knowledge, is the first one to conduct a GWAS on breastfeeding and look at the overlap with variants for breast size.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Outbreak of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections associated with acupuncture has not been reported. Thirteen patients with a painful swollen lump were referred to our hospital. The index patient received acupuncture and paraspinal muscular injection at a local acupuncture clinic in April 2011 and was diagnosed with M. tuberculosis 1 month later. From May 2011 to August 2011, 12 more patients with a swollen lump on the nuchal region or in the lower back or the buttocks region were referred to our hospital. Tuberculin skin test (TST), T-SPOT.TB, acid-fast stain, M. tuberculosis culture, chest radiograph, and lump magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed and the patients were diagnosed with tuberculous abscess of the lump. All 13 patients received intramuscular injection at the paraspinal muscle by two acupuncturists at a local clinic and reported a swollen lump at the injection site. The needles and syringes were reused after autoclave sterilization. The TST was positive in all patients. Twelve patients had positive acid-fast stains. Mycobacterial cultures of abscess specimens were positive in all 13 patients. T-SPOT.TB tests were positive in all patients who underwent the test. The lesions and biopsies were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gene sequencing by the Disease Control Center of Zhejiang Province, China and the causative agent was identified as M. tuberculosis, Beijing type. In conclusion, physicians should consider the possibility of mycobacterial infections, apart from other bacterial agents, in patients with a swollen paraspinal lump following intramuscular injection.
Animal slurry is separated in order to avoid excessive nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilization of crops in the field. To enhance fertilizer efficiency further, slurry and its separation products may be acidified, for instance in animal houses. The current study quantified the effects of these treatments, both individually and in combination, on fertilizer efficiency, energy production and heavy metal accumulation as a result of manure management. Acidification increased the availability of N to plants in the manure applied, and provided a better match between plant-available NPK in the manure and separation fraction applied to fields and crop need. Total biogas production was not affected by separation, whereas acidification reduced biogas production because the process was inhibited by a low pH and a high sulphur concentration. The amount of copper applied per hectare in the liquid manure to the wheat field was lower than the amount taken up and more zink and copper was applied in the solid fraction to maize field than taken up. The transportation and field application of solids and liquids did not increase management costs when compared to the transportation of slurry alone, but the investment and running costs of separators and manure acidification increased overall management costs.
Two new integral field units (IFUs) were installed recently on the WIYN Observatory's 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak. These unique IFUs contain fibers of different sizes in the same head. This design allows smaller fibers to sample regions of higher surface brightness, providing higher spatial resolution while maintaining adequate signal-to-noise (S/N). Conversely, larger fibers maintain S/N at the expense of spatial resolution in the lower surface brightness regions of galaxies. The new IFUs were built with funds from NSF award ATI-0804576.