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In recent decades, concern about rabbit welfare and sustainability has increased. The housing system is a very important factor for animal welfare. However, information about how different available housing types for female rabbits affect their health status is scarce, but this is an important factor for their welfare. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the health status of female rabbits in five common housing systems: three different single-housing systems with distinct available surfaces and heights; a single-housing system with a platform; a collective system. Female rabbits in the collective and platform cages had greater cortisol concentrations in hair than those in the single-housing system with no platform. Haptoglobin concentrations and kit mortality rates during lactation were greater for the collective-cage female rabbits. The collective group had more culled females and more lesions than in the other groups. The main reasons for culling in all the groups were reproduction problems and presence of abscesses, and the collective group of females was the most affected. In conclusion, it appears that keeping females together in collective systems negatively affects their health status and welfare, while single-housing systems imply lower kit mortality rates during lactation and cortisol concentrations, and fewer lesions in female rabbits.
Progesterone (P4) plays a key role in pregnancy establishment and maintenance; during early pregnancy, P4 stimulates the production and release of uterine secretions necessary for conceptus growth prior to implantation; therefore, exogenous P4 supplementation may improve embryo development. This study evaluated the effects of supplementation during early pregnancy with long-acting injectable progesterone or altrenogest on embryonic characteristics of sows and gilts. Thus, a total of 32 sows and 16 gilts were used. On day 6 of pregnancy sows and gilts were allocated to one of the following groups: non-supplemented; supplemented with 20 mg of altrenogest, orally, from days 6 to 12 of pregnancy; supplemented with 2.15 mg/kg of long-acting injectable progesterone on day 6 of pregnancy. Animals were killed on day 28 of pregnancy, and ovulation rate, embryo survival, embryo weight, crown-to-rump length, uterine glandular epithelium and endometrial vascularization were assessed. Treatments had no effect on pregnancy rate, embryo survival or endometrial vascular density (P > 0.05). Non-supplemented gilts presented larger and heavier embryos compared to gilts from supplemented groups (P < 0.05). Sows in the altrenogest group presented larger and heavier embryos compared to non-supplemented sows and sows supplemented with long-acting injectable progesterone. In conclusion, supplementation of sows and gilts with progestagen from day 6 of pregnancy can be used as a means to improve embryo survival without deleterious effects.
Europe’s roadmap to a low-carbon economy aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Beef production is an important source of GHG emissions and is expected to increase as the world population grows. LIFE BEEF CARBON is a voluntary European initiative that aims to reduce GHG emissions per unit of beef (carbon footprint) by 15% over a 10-year period on 2172 farms in four large beef-producing countries. Changes in farms beef carbon footprint are normally estimated via simulation modelling, but the methods current models apply differ. Thus, our initial goal was to develop a common modelling framework to estimate beef farms carbon footprint. The framework was developed for a diverse set of Western Europe farms located in Ireland, Spain, Italy and France. Whole farm and life cycle assessment (LCA) models were selected to quantify emissions for the different production contexts and harmonized. Carbon Audit was chosen for Ireland, Bovid-CO2 for Spain and CAP’2ER for France and Italy. All models were tested using 20 case study farms, that is, 5 per country and quantified GHG emissions associated with on-farm live weight gain. The comparison showed the ranking of beef systems gross carbon footprint was consistent across the three models. Suckler to weaning or store systems generally had the highest carbon footprint followed by suckler to beef systems and fattening beef systems. When applied to the same farm, Carbon Audit’s footprint estimates were slightly lower than CAP’2ER, but marginally higher than Bovid-CO2. These differences occurred because the models were adapted to a specific region’s production circumstances, which meant their emission factors for key sources; that is, methane from enteric fermentation and GHG emissions from concentrates were less accurate when used outside their target region. Thus, for the common modelling framework, region-specific LCA models were chosen to estimate beef carbon footprints instead of a single generic model. Additionally, the Carbon Audit and Bovid-CO2 models were updated to include carbon removal by soil and other environmental metrics included in CAP’2ER, for example, acidification. This allows all models to assess the effect carbon mitigation strategies have on other potential pollutants. Several options were identified to reduce beef farms carbon footprint, for example, improving genetic merit. These options were assessed for beef systems, and a mitigation plan was created by each nation. The cumulative mitigation effect of the LIFE BEEF CARBON plan was estimated to exceed the projects reduction target (−15%).
The use of additives such as ractopamine (Rac) in pregnant sows during early-mid pregnancy is an alternative to increase foetal and progeny growth and development. However, Rac supplementation in finishing pigs can lead to behavioural and physiological changes similar to the typical stress responses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with Rac in pregnant sows from day 25 to 50 of gestation (pre-hyperplastic stage) on piglet’s vitality, blood parameters, number, diameter and perimeter of muscle fibres in semitendinosus muscle and developmental characteristics of piglets at birth to weaning. Forty-one hybrid sows were divided into three dietary treatments: (1) control diet without Rac (control), (2) addition of 10 mg/kg of Rac (Rac10) and (3) addition of 20 mg/kg of Rac (Rac20). Higher numbers of low-vitality piglets (P<0.05) were observed in Rac-fed sows, regardless of dose, compared with the control group. Very low-density lipoprotein levels were lower in the Rac10 group when compared with the Rac20 group at day 21. Haematocrit was greater, and the mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration was lower in piglets from Rac-fed sows. No significant statistical differences were detected regarding piglets body weight, average daily gain, blood gasometry, complete blood count and muscle fibre measurements in semitendinosus muscle. The use of Rac in pregnant sows reduced the vitality parameters of piglets but did not improve the performance from birth until weaning and did not negatively influence the haematological parameter and lipid metabolism.
There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
In this work, a poly-Si0.35Ge0.65 microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)- based actuator was designed and fabricated using a CMOS compatible standard process to specifically strain a bi-layered (2L) MoS2 flake and measure its electrical properties. Experimental results of the MEMS-TMDC device show an increase of conductivity up to three orders of magnitude by means of vertical actuation using the substrate as the body terminal. A force balance model of the MEMS-TMDC was used to determine the amount of strain induced in the MoS2 flake. Strains as high as 3.3% is reported using the model fitted to the experimental data.
Some routine handling procedures can produce stress in farm animals, and an adequate control of these stressors is important to avoid the negative effects on animal health and production. The measurement of biomarkers in saliva can be a suitable tool for the evaluation and control of stress. In this report, lipase, butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), total esterase (TEA) and adenosine deaminase (ADA) activities in the saliva of sheep were evaluated as biomarkers of stress. For this purpose, they were measured after inducing stress by facing a dog (experiment 1) and shearing (experiment 2), and comparing them to other stress salivary biomarkers such as α-amylase (sAA) and cortisol, as well as heart rate (HR). Each analyte was measured at the basal time, and during and just after the end of the stressful stimulus, and at various times for the first hour after the period of stress induction. Values were compared with those obtained from a control group. Lipase was the only analyte that showed significant changes between the stress and the control group in both experiments. Although TEA and ADA increased after stress, no significant differences were seen compared with the control group. Lipase was correlated highly with sAA and HR, in experiment 1; and correlated moderately with cortisol and HR in experiment 2. Lipase showed the greatest percentage increase after the stressful stimuli and less overlap with the control group in the two experiments. From the results of this study it can be concluded that lipase, TEA, BChE and ADA are enzymes present in the saliva of sheep and that they can be measured by using simple and fast colorimetric methods. Further studies should be undertaken with regard to the possible application of lipase as a biomarker of stress in sheep.
The Asian chestnut gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus, is an invasive pest causing significant damage to chestnut trees (Castanea spp., Fagaceae). Originating from China, it has recently invaded a wide range of regions in Europe and North America. Understanding the population genetic structure of important invasive pests is very useful for improving the knowledge concerning routes of expansion and colonizing capacity. Despite its economic importance, limited attention has been given to D. kuriphilus origin and spread, or to its genetic structure. In this study, D. kuriphilus populations sampled in eight European countries were screened using both mitochondrial (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1; COI) and nuclear (internal transcribed spacer 2; ITS2) sequences, and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) markers. The molecular markers COI and ITS2 highlighted the presence of a single haplotype in all the studied populations. The recorded mitochondrial haplotype was identical to one of the most widespread haplotypes occurring in the native area (China). AFLP results indicated that D. kuriphilus individuals belong to two genetically distinct clusters without any further geographic clustering. These results suggest that D. kuriphilus populations in Europe could be the result of a single introduction of a Chinese founder population characterized by two genetically distinct lineages that subsequently spread rapidly across Europe. However, the possibility that populations originated from multiple introductions of the same Chinese mitochondrial haplotype cannot be excluded. The reported results provide useful information concerning this invasive species, potentially facilitating integrated pest management.
The Latino population in the United States is rapidly growing and faces profound health disparities; however, engagement of Latinos in biomedical research remains low. Our community-based participatory research partnership has recruited 2083 Spanish-speaking Latinos into 21 studies over 15 years. We sought to identify and describe the strategies we have used to successfully recruit and retain Spanish-speaking Latinos in research.
We abstracted and analyzed data from archived study notes, progress reports, team meeting minutes, and in-depth interviews conducted annually from community-based participatory research partnership members. We used a nominal group process to refine and prioritize strategies.
Overall, 13 recruitment strategies and 12 retention strategies emerged. These strategies relied on the creativity and perseverance of the study team and partners.
It is essential that we develop and disseminate effective recruitment and retention strategies that engage Latinos in biomedical research to reduce health disparities and promote health equity.
Pathological worry is a hallmark feature of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), associated with dysfunctional emotional processing. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is involved in the regulation of such processes, but the link between vmPFC emotional responses and pathological v. adaptive worry has not yet been examined.
To study the association between worry and vmPFC activity evoked by the processing of learned safety and threat signals.
In total, 27 unmedicated patients with GAD and 56 healthy controls (HC) underwent a differential fear conditioning paradigm during functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Compared to HC, the GAD group demonstrated reduced vmPFC activation to safety signals and no safety–threat processing differentiation. This response was positively correlated with worry severity in GAD, whereas the same variables showed a negative and weak correlation in HC.
Poor vmPFC safety–threat differentiation might characterise GAD, and its distinctive association with GAD worries suggests a neural-based qualitative difference between healthy and pathological worries.
In this study, we report the characterization of a 304L stainless steel cylindrical projectile produced by additive manufacturing. The projectile was compressively deformed using a Taylor Anvil Gas Gun, leading to a huge strain gradient along the axis of the deformed cylinder. Spatially resolved neutron diffraction measurements on the HIgh Pressure Preferred Orientation time-of-flight diffractometer (HIPPO) and Spectrometer for Materials Research at Temperature and Stress diffractometer (SMARTS) beamlines at the Los Alamos Neutron Science CEnter (LANSCE) with Rietveld and single-peak analysis were used to quantitatively evaluate the volume fractions of the α, γ, and ε phases as well as residual strain and texture. The texture of the γ phase is consistent with uniaxial compression, while the α texture can be explained by the Kurdjumov–Sachs relationship from the γ texture after deformation. This indicates that the material first deformed in the γ phase and subsequently transformed at larger strains. The ε phase was only found in volumes close to the undeformed material with a texture connected to the γ texture by the Shoji–Nishiyama orientation relationship. This allows us to conclude that the ε phase occurs as an intermediate phase at lower strain, and is superseded by the α phase when strain increases further. We found a proportionality between the root-mean-squared microstrain of the γ phase, dominated by the dislocation density, with the α volume fraction, consistent with strain-induced martensite α formation. Knowledge of the sample volume with the ε phase from the neutron diffraction analysis allowed us to identify the ε phase by electron back scatter diffraction analysis, complementing the neutron diffraction analysis with characterization on the grain level.