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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.
This article analyses the evolution of nutritional inequality in Spain among cohorts born between 1840 and 1964. With male height data (N = 358,253), the secular trend of biological well-being and intergenerational anthropometric inequalities are studied based on the coefficient of variation, height percentiles and socioeconomic categories (students, literate non-students and illiterate). The results reveal that the nutritional inequalities were very large in the mid-19th century. Anthropometric inequalities diminished among those born between 1880 and 1919 and increased again, although only moderately, from the cohorts of the 1920s. From the 1930s there was a cycle of sustained increase in height. Despite nutritional improvement, the data suggest that nutritional inequalities increased during the Franco regime, affecting the low-income population segments particularly.
To evaluate how rearing programmes could affect resources allocation and reproductive performance of primiparous rabbit females, a total of 118 rabbit females were used to evaluate the effects of five rearing feeding programmes on their performance from 1st to 2nd parturition: CAL, fed ad libitum C diet (11.0 MJ digestible energy (DE), 114 g digestible protein (DP) and 358 g NDF/kg dry matter (DM) until 1st parturition; CR, fed ad libitum with C diet until 12 weeks of age and then C diet restricted (140 g/day) until 1st parturition; F, fed ad libitum with F diet (8.7 MJ DE, 88 g DP and 476 NDF/kg DM) until 1st parturition; FC, fed with F diet ad libitum until 16 weeks of age, and C diet ad libitum until 1st parturition; FCF, fed with F diet ad libitum until 16 weeks of age, then C diet ad libitum until 20 weeks and then F diet ad libitum until 1st parturition. From 1st parturition, C diet was ad libitum offered to all the experimental groups until 2nd parturition. CAL females presented lower feed intake than females of F, FC and FCF groups in the 1st week of lactation (on av. −16.6%; P<0.05). During 1st lactation, the perirenal fat thickness change in CAL females was not different from 0 (+0.02 mm), while in the other four groups it increased (on av. +0.44 mm; P<0.05). Plasma of females fed with F diet during rearing (F, FC and FCF) had lower non-esterified fatty acids content than those exclusively fed with C diet (–0.088 and –0.072 mmol/l compared to CAL and CR, respectively; P<0.05). FCF litters had higher weight than F litters at day 21 of lactation (+247 g; P<0.05), but FCF litter had significantly lower weight than FC litters at weaning (+170 g; P<0.05). CR females had the shortest average interval between the 1st and 2nd parturition (49 days) and FCF females the longest (+ 9 days compared to CR; P<0.05). At 2nd parturition, liveborn litters of F females were larger and heavier than litters of FCF females (+2.22 kits and +138 g; P<0.05), probably due to the lower mortality at birth of F litters (–16.5 percentage points; P<0.05). In conclusion, rearing females on fibrous diets seems to increase the ability of primiparous rabbit females to obtain resources, especially at the onset of lactation.
We have developed a technique for determining the atomic elastic constants from measurements of the Debye-Waller factors. The Debye-Waller factors are obtained by Rietveld refinement of time-of-flight neutron diffraction data and interpreted in terms of an atomic Debye-Waller temperature. The method is applicable to powders and to materials that must be encapsulated for safety or environmental reasons. We will illustrate our technique with applications to actinide metals, to metallic hydrides and to high-temperature superconductors.
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.