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The Rio Grande Cone is a major fanlike depositional feature in the continental slope of the Pelotas Basin, Southern Brazil. Two representative sediment cores collected in the Cone area were retrieved using a piston core device. In this work, the organic matter (OM) in the sediments was characterized for a continental vs. marine origin using chemical proxies to help constrain the origin of gas in hydrates. The main contribution of OM was from marine organic carbon based on the stable carbon isotope (δ13C-org) and total organic carbon/total nitrogen ratio (TOC:TN) analyses. In addition, the 14C data showed important information about the origin of the OM and we suggest some factors that could modify the original organic matter and therefore mask the “real” 14C ages: (1) biological activity that could modify the carbon isotopic composition of bulk terrestrial organic matter values, (2) the existence of younger sediments from mass wasting deposits unconformably overlying older sediments, and (3) the deep-sediment-sourced methane contribution due to the input of “old” (>50 ka) organic compounds from migrating fluids.
The establishment of an invasive species depends on reproductive success and dispersion capability in the new environment. One of the striking examples of invasion in urban environments is the mosquito Aedes aegypti Linnaeus, 1762 (Culicidae). The success of this species is primarily attributed to its ability to colonize urban environments, and some of the important adaptive strategies associated with this ability is the preference for humans as a blood source and intense occupation of residential (indoor) environments. This study evaluated the effects of location (indoor vs. outdoor) and water nutrient level (% organic matter) on the oviposition preference of A. aegypti in an urban environment. We used oviposition choice experiments to evaluate mosquito oviposition in containers holding 1:1 vs 1:0 ratios of water: organic matter placed indoors and outdoors. Eggs were sampled once per week for nine weeks. Our results revealed a strong oviposition preference for outdoor containers, with a significant preference for containers with higher concentrations of organic matter during the fifth to ninth weeks. However, mosquitoes occupying indoor environments did not prefer to lay eggs in containers with lower levels of organic matter. A better understanding of the preferences of A. aegypti regarding the nutrient level and location of oviposition containers can increase our understanding of the behavioral factors allowing mosquitoes to utilize anthropogenic environments.
The effects of growing pinto peanut mixed with elephant grass-based pastures are still little known. The aim of the current research was to evaluate the performance of herbage yield, nutritive value of forage and animal responses to levels of pinto peanut forage mass mixed with elephant grass in low-input systems. Three grazing systems were evaluated: (i) elephant grass-based (control); (ii) pinto peanut, low-density forage yield (63 g/kg of dry matter – DM) + elephant grass; and (iii) pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield (206 g/kg DM) + elephant grass. The experimental design was completely randomized with the three treatments (grazing systems) and three replicates (paddocks) in split-plot grazing cycles. Forage samples were collected to evaluate the pasture and animal responses. Leaf blades of elephant grass and the other companion grasses of pinto peanut were collected to analyse the crude protein, in vitro digestible organic matter and total digestible nutrients. The pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield + elephant grass treatment was found to give the best results in terms of herbage yield, forage intake and stocking rate, as well as having higher crude protein contents for both elephant grass and the other grasses, followed by pinto peanut with low-density forage yield + elephant grass and finally elephant grass alone. Better results were found with the grass–legume system for pasture and animal responses.
The analysis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen has been used as a fingerprint for understanding the trophic interactions of organisms. Most of these studies have been applied to free-living organisms, while parasites have largely been neglected. Studies dealing with parasites so far have assessed the carbon and nitrogen signatures in endoparasites or ectoparasites of different hosts, without showing general trends concerning the nutritional relationships within host–parasite associations. Moreover, in most cases such systems involved a single host and parasite species. The present study is therefore the first to detail the trophic interactions of a freshwater monogenean–host model using δ13C and δ15N, where a single monogenean species infects two distinctly different hosts. Host fishes, Labeobarbus aeneus and Labeobarbus kimberleyensis from the Vaal Dam, South Africa, were assessed for the monogenean parasite Paradiplozoon ichthyoxanthon, individuals of which were removed from the gills of the hosts. The parasites and host muscle samples were analysed for signatures of δ13C and δ15N using an elemental analyser connected to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Host fish appear to use partly different food sources, with L. aeneus having slightly elevated δ13C signatures compared to L. kimberleyensis, and showed only small differences with regard to their nitrogen signatures, suggesting that both species range on the same trophic level. Carbon and nitrogen signatures in P. ichthyoxanthon showed that the parasites mirrored the small differences in dietary carbon sources of the host but, according to δ15N signatures, the parasite ranged on a higher trophic level than the hosts. This relationship resembles predator–prey relationships and therefore suggests that P. ichthyoxanthon might act as a micropredator, similar to blood-sucking arthropods such as mites and fleas.
Parasites of the genus Trypanosoma are microorganisms that display wide morphological, biological and genetic variability. Here we present the first description of an isolate of the genus Trypanosoma naturally infecting the tick Amblyomma brasiliense. The ticks were collected from a specimen of Tayassu pecari (Queixada, white-lipped peccary) from the Itatiaia National Park, Itatiaia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The isolate was characterized by molecular, morphometric and biological analyses. A Trypanosoma culture was isolated from crushed nymphal and adult ticks, propagated in the tick cell line IDE8 and maintained in L15B culture medium, incubated at 32 °C. The isolate grew well in L15B medium at 30, 32 and 34 °C but not at lower or higher temperatures. The culture remained stable in axenic L15B medium at 30 °C. Cryopreserved cultures retained viability after cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen. Growth in axenic medium and developmental forms of the trypanosomes were analysed. Analysis of the 18S rDNA region confirmed the authenticity of this new species and the nucleotide sequence was deposited in Genbank. The species was named Trypanosoma amblyommi sp. nov. strain C1RJ. Characteristics related to pathogenicity, involvement with vertebrate hosts, epidemiology, developmental cycle and transmission mechanisms are still unknown. Therefore, further studies are necessary to understand the aspects of the biological cycle of T. amblyommi sp. nov.
Parasites of the genus Trypanosoma are unicellular flagellated microorganisms of the Trypanosomatidae. This study describes an isolate of the genus Trypanosoma naturally infecting Rhipicephalus microplus ticks, characterized through molecular, morphological and biological analysis. Trypanosome cultures, designated strain P1RJ, were obtained by isolation from R. microplus haemolymph in cultures of the tick cell line IDE8. After isolation, strain P1RJ grew well axenically in L15B medium at temperatures of 30, 32 and 34 °C. The new trypanosome remained stable in axenic culture over 14 passages in L15B at 30 °C and was successfully cryopreserved and resuscitated. Morphometric analysis was performed on randomly selected developmental forms. 18S rRNA and 24Sα rDNA sequence analyses confirmed that strain P1RJ is a new species of the genus Trypanosoma. The nucleotide sequences described were submitted to Genbank. Pathogenicity, involvement in vertebrate hosts, epidemiology, developmental cycle and transmission mechanisms of strain P1RJ are still unknown. Therefore, more studies will be necessary to determine life cycle aspects of this trypanosome, for which we propose the name Trypanosoma rhipicephalis sp. nov.
Ureaplasma urealyticum and U. parvum have been associated with genital infections. The purpose of this study was to detect the presence of ureaplasmas and other sexually transmitted infections in sexually active women from Brazil and relate these data to demographic and sexual health, and cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β. Samples of cervical swab of 302 women were examined at the Family Health Units in Vitória da Conquista. The frequency of detection by conventional PCR was 76·2% for Mollicutes. In qPCR, the frequency found was 16·6% for U. urealyticum and 60·6% U. parvum and the bacterial load of these microorganisms was not significantly associated with signs and symptoms of genital infection. The frequency found for Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Gardnerella vaginalis and Chlamydia trachomatis was 3·0%, 21·5%, 42·4% and 1·7%, respectively. Higher levels of IL-1β were associated with control women colonized by U. urealyticum and U. parvum. Increased levels of IL-6 were associated with women who exhibited U. parvum. Sexually active women, with more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months, living in a rural area were associated with increased odds of certain U. parvum serovar infection.
Background: MRI criteria are used to support multiple sclerosis diagnosis and evolution. However, normal age-related lesions (ARLs) can be cofounded with MS white matter lesion (MSL). Methods: Two Multiparametric 7T MRI scans 4 motnhs apart from 5 relapsing MS (RMS) patients were analyzed and compared to 5 matched healthy controls (HC) aiming to differentiate MSLs from ARLs. Six-echo GRE, FLAIR and MPRAGE sequences were acquired. Results: Average size of ARLs was 51 mm3 and of MSLs was 69 mm3 (p=0.27). Both have the same general appearance on FLAIR and MPRAGE contrasts, but different contrast on the R2* and QS maps. Inter-visit variation on MPRAGE was significantly higher in MSLs. Inter-visit signal change in the other contrasts (QSM, R2* and FLAIR) was not significant. Conclusions: R2*, QS maps and inter-visit variation using MPRAGE allowed differentiating MSLs from ARLs in 5 RMS with mean long term disease duration. This could improve correct early diagnosis and accurate lesion load accumulation evolution.
We compared the relevance of ibuprofen, vitamins C and E to control oxidative/nitrosative stress and heart disease in mice infected by Trypanosoma cruzi. Swiss mice were randomized into five groups: control, uninfected; infected without treatment; and infected treated with vitamins C, E or ibuprofen. Animals were inoculated with 2000 trypomastigote forms of T. cruzi. After 20 days, infected mice presented reduced vitamin C and E tissue levels, high cytokines (interferon gamma, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin 10 and chemokine ligand 2), prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) and nitric oxide (NO) cardiac production, intense myocarditis and reactive tissue damage, which was directly correlated with the intensity of the inflammatory infiltrate and the degree of pathological cardiac remodelling. Vitamins C and E supplementation were irrelevant to counteract reactive tissue damage and myocarditis in infected animals. Conversely, ibuprofen reduced tissue levels of cytokines, PGF2α and NO, as well as lipid and protein oxidation, antioxidant enzyme activity and the cardiac damage, without interfering with heart parasitism. Our results do not support the applicability of vitamin C and E supplementation in the management of acute Chagas cardiomyopathy. By controlling the inflammatory infiltrate, anti-inflammatory-based therapy proved to be a more rational strategy than a direct antioxidant therapy in attenuating oxidative/nitrosative stress and cardiac damage.
The evolution of rotational velocity and magnetic activity with age follows approximately a t−1/2 relation, the famous Skumanich law. Using a large sample of about 80 solar twins with precise ages, we show departures from this law. We found a steep drop in rotational velocity and activity in the first 2-3 Gyr and afterwards there seems to be a shallow decrease. Our inferred rotational periods suggest that the Sun will continue to slow down, validating thus the use of gyrochronology beyond solar age. The Sun displays normal rotational velocity and activity when compared to solar twins of solar age. We also show that stars with exceedingly high stellar activity for their age are spectroscopic binaries that also exhibit enhanced rotational velocities and chemical signatures of mass transfer.
The Vibrant Soundbridge is an active middle-ear implant for hearing rehabilitation that is usually placed in the long process of the incus or round window. This study reports on the unusual implant attachment to the short process of the incus in a patient with ear malformation, and describes their audiological and clinical outcomes.
Case report and literature review.
Audiological evaluation with the Vibrant Soundbridge implant showed a pure tone average of 31 dB. The speech test, at 65 dB HL, revealed correct recognition of 92 per cent of disyllabic words. The Glasgow Hearing Aid Benefit Profile showed high levels of satisfaction, hearing aid use and benefit.
Fixation of the Vibrant Soundbridge implant on the short process of the incus is a feasible option, with good clinical and audiological outcomes. Coupling the floating mass transducer to the short process of the incus is a good surgical option, especially when the long process and the oval or round window are inaccessible.
Obesity and osteoporosis may have their origins in early postnatal life. This study was designed to evaluate whether flaxseed flour use during lactation period bears effect on body adiposity and skeletal structure of male rat pups at weaning. At birth, male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to control and experimental (FF) groups, whose dams were treated with control or flaxseed flour diet, respectively, during lactation. At 21 days of age, pups were weaned to assess body mass, length and composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The animals were then sacrificed to carry out analysis of serum profile, intra-abdominal adipocyte morphology and femur characteristics. Differences were considered significant when P<0.05. The FF group displayed the following characteristics (P<0.05): higher body mass, length, bone mineral content, bone area and concentrations of osteoprotegerin, osteocalcin and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; higher levels of stearic, α-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids and lower levels of arachidonic acid and cholesterol; smaller adipocyte area; and higher mass, epiphysis distance, diaphysis width, maximal load, break load, resilience and stiffness of femur. Flaxseed flour intake during lactation period promoted adipocyte hypertrophy down-regulation and contributed to pup bone quality at weaning.
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.) could play an important role as a feed source for ruminants in arid and semi-arid zones of the world owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. The current paper assessed the agronomic characteristics, ensilability, intake and digestibility of five Brazilian pearl millet cultivars (IPA Bulk1BF, BRS 1501, CMS-03, CMS-01 and BN-2) in a typical Brazilian northeastern semi-arid climate. Forage was harvested at the dough stage of grain maturity (growth stage 86 according to the BBCH scale) and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 25 Santa Inês male lambs. The cultivars CMS-01, CMS-03 and BN-2 out-performed the others in terms of dry matter (DM) and digestible DM yield/ha. At DM partitioning among plant tissues, the cultivar IPA Bulk1BF had a greater DM associated with panicles and one of the greatest concentrations of organic matter, lactic acid and in vitro dry matter digestibility among the five cultivars. The cultivar BRS 1501 had greater butyric acid concentration as well as one of the highest pH values. Silage produced from BN-2 not only contained greater acetic acid concentration, but also showed one of the greatest total volatile fatty acid concentrations. There were no differences in feed intake and digestibility of nutrients and fibre fractions across all cultivars. Silage made from BN-2 resulted in greater urinary excretion of nitrogen than those produced from BRS 1501. Under the conditions of the present study, the results obtained for production of DM and digestible dry matter, and the ratio of plant fractions, indicates the possible use of these cultivars for silage production in the Brazilian semi-arid region.
A retrospective space–time permutation model with non-Euclidean distance criteria was applied within a high-complexity hospital setting to quantitatively explore cluster patterns of 273 patients infected with or colonized by carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae during 4 years. Results were compared to standard nosocomial active-surveillance methods. Two clusters were identified in the period, suggesting that space–time strategies for cluster quantification within confined environments may be useful.
Eutectic fibers consisting of an ordered arrangement of LiF fibrils inside a LiREF4 matrix (RE = Y, Gd) can be grown with the micro-pulling-down method at sufficiently large pulling rate exceeding 120 mm/h. The distance between individual fibrils could be scaled down to 1 µm at 300 mm/h pulling. LiF-LiYF4 has stronger tendency to form facetted eutectic colonies than LiF-LiGdF4, explained by the larger entropy of melting of the former.
We have investigated some diamondoids encapsulation into single walled carbon nanotubes (with diameters ranging from1.0 up to 2.2 nm) using fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. Diamondoids are the smallest hydrogen-terminated nanosized diamond-like molecules. Diamondois have been investigated for a large class of applications, ranging from oil industry to pharmaceuticals. Molecular ordered phases were observed for the encapsulation of adamantane, diamantane, and dihydroxy diamantanes. Chiral ordered phases, such as; double, triple, 4- and 5-stranded helices were also observed for those diamondoids. Our results also indicate that the modification of diamondoids through chemical functionalization with hydroxyl groups can lead to an enhancement of the molecular packing inside the carbon nanotubes in comparison to non-functionalized molecules. For larger diamondoids (such as, adamantane tetramers), we have not observed long-range ordering, but only a tendency of incomplete helical structural formation.
Graphene has been one of the hottest topics in materials science in the last years. Because of its special electronic properties graphene is considered one of the most promising materials for future electronics. However, in its pristine form graphene is a gapless semiconductor, which poses some limitations to its use in some transistor electronics. Many approaches have been tried to create, in a controlled way, a gap in graphene. These approaches have obtained limited successes. Recently, hydrogenated graphene-like structures, the so-called porous graphene, have been synthesized. In this work we show, based on ab initio quantum molecular dynamics calculations, that porous graphene dehydrogenation can lead to a spontaneous formation of a nonzero gap two-dimensional carbon allotrope, called biphenylene carbon (BC). Besides exhibiting an intrinsic nonzero gap value, BC also presents well delocalized frontier orbitals, suggestive of a structure with high electronic mobility. Possible synthetic routes to obtain BC from porous graphene are addressed.
Graphene has been one of the most important subjects in materials science in the last years. Recently, the frictional characteristics of atomically thin sheets were experimentally investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM). A new mechanism to explain the enhanced friction for these materials, based on elastic compliance has been proposed. Here, we have investigated the tribological properties of graphene and boron-nitride (single and multi-layers) membranes using fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. These simulations were carried out using classical force fields, as implemented in the Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator (LAMMPS) code. The used structural models contain typically hundreds of thousands of atoms. In order to mimic the experimental conditions, an artificial AFM tip was moved over the membranes and the tribological characteristics determined in terms of forces and energies. Our results are in good agreement with the available experimental data. They show that the observed enhanced tribological properties can be explained in terms of out-of-plane geometrical distortions and elastic waves propagation. They validate the general features of the model proposed by Lee et al. (Science 328, 76 (2010).
An outbreak of meningococcal disease (MD) with severe morbidity and mortality was investigated in midwestern Brazil in order to identify control measures. A MD case was defined as isolation of Neisseria meningitidis, or detection of polysaccharide antigen in a sterile site, or presence of clinical purpura fulminans, or an epidemiological link with a laboratory-confirmed case-patient, between June and August 2008. In 8 out of 16 MD cases studied, serogroup C ST103 complex was identified. Five (31%) cases had neurological findings and five (31%) died. The attack rate was 12 cases/100 000 town residents and 60 cases/100 000 employees in a large local food-processing plant. We conducted a matched case-control study of eight primary laboratory-confirmed cases (1:4). Factors associated with illness in single variable analysis were work at the processing plant [matched odds ratio (mOR) 22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·3–207·7, P<0·01], and residing <1 year in Rio Verde (mOR 7, 95% CI 1·11–43·9, P<0·02). Mass vaccination (>10 000 plant employees) stopped propagation in the plant, but not in the larger community.