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There is increasing public concern about poultry welfare; the quality of animal welfare is closely related to the quality of livestock products and the health of consumers. Good animal welfare promotes the healthy growth of poultry, which can reduce the disease rate and improve the production quality and capacity. As behaviour responses are an important expression of welfare, the study of behaviour is a simple and non-invasive method to assess animal welfare. The use of modern technology offers the possibility to monitor the behaviour of broilers and laying hens in a continuous and automated way. This paper reviews the latest technologies used for monitoring the behaviour of broilers and laying hens under both experimental conditions and commercial applications and discusses the potential of developing a precision livestock farming (PLF) system. The techniques that are presented and discussed include sound analysis, which can be an online tool to automatically monitor poultry behaviour non-invasively at the group level; wireless, wearable sensors with radio-frequency identification devices, which can automatically identify individual chickens, track the location and movement of individuals in real time and quantify some behavioural traits accordingly and image processing technology, which can be considered a direct tool for measuring behaviours, especially activity behaviours and disease early warning. All of these technologies can monitor and analyse poultry behaviour, at the group level or individual level, on commercial farms. However, the popularity and adoption of these technologies has been hampered by the logistics of applying them to thousands and tens of thousands of birds on commercial farms. This review discusses the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques in commercial applications and presents evidence that they provide potential tools to automatically monitor the behaviours of broilers and laying hens on commercial farms. However, there still has a long way to go to develop a PLF system to detect and predict abnormal situations.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
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.
Nitrogen (N) application and irrigation to winter wheat may decrease leaf temperature and enhance photosynthesis: as a result, more photosynthates will be allocated to the grains, resulting in higher grain yields. To investigate this hypothesis, a 2-year field study was conducted with three levels of N fertilizer application (no fertilizer, N0; 240 kg N/ha, N1; 360 kg N/ha, N2) and two different water regimes (rainfed with no irrigation, R; irrigation at the over-wintering, stem elongation and grain filling stages, W). The results show that both N application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased grain yield with increases in both grain number/m2 and the 1000-grain weight, viz., WN2>WN1>WN0>RN2>RN1>RN0. In addition, application of N under both water regimes significantly increased flag leaf area, above-ground biomass and single stem productivity and decreased leaf temperature, which led to an increase in net photosynthesis rates and ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylase activity. Moreover, analysis of the chlorophyll α fluorescence transient showed that N fertilizer application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased electron donor and acceptor performance of the photosystem II reaction centre.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
To explore the effects of maternal nutrition on offspring muscle characteristics, a total of 56 sows were assigned to one of the four dietary groups during gestation: control (CON), or control diets supplemented with methyl donor (MET), bisphenol A (BPA), and combined BPA and MET (BPA+MET). Compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed a higher meat redness value, but lower glycogen content in the longissimus thoracis (LT). Moreover, compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed lower LT glycogen synthase (GS) mRNA levels at birth and the finishing stage, and increased methylation at the GS promoter. Prenatal BPA exposure reduced the pH and redness value of meat, but increased the lightness value, lactate content, glycolytic potential and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme activity in the LT muscle. Prenatal BPA exposure increased LDH mRNA levels in the LT muscle at birth and the finishing stage, and reduced methylation at the LDH promoter. Thus, maternal MET affects muscle GS and LDH expression via DNA methylation, thereby resulting in persistent effects on pork quality.
An updated compilation of published and new data of major-ion (Ca, Cl, K, Mg, Na, NO3, SO4) and methylsulfonate (MS) concentrations in snow from 520 Antarctic sites is provided by the national ITASE (International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition) programmes of Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the national Antarctic programme of Finland. The comparison shows that snow chemistry concentrations vary by up to four orders of magnitude across Antarctica and exhibit distinct geographical patterns. The Antarctic-wide comparison of glaciochemical records provides a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of the fundamental factors that ultimately control the chemistry of snow or ice samples. This paper aims to initiate data compilation and administration in order to provide a framework for facilitation of Antarctic-wide snow chemistry discussions across all ITASE nations and other contributing groups. The data are made available through the ITASE web page (http://www2.umaine.edu/itase/content/syngroups/snowchem.html) and will be updated with new data as they are provided. In addition, recommendations for future research efforts are summarized.
This paper presents the bed topography of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland, and Byrd Glacier, Antarctica, derived from sounding these glaciers with high-sensitivity radars. To understand the processes causing the speed-up and retreat of outlet glaciers, and to enable the development of next-generation ice-sheet models, we need information on bed topography and basal conditions. To this end, we performed measurements with the progressively improved Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder/Imager (MCoRDS/I). We processed the data from each antenna-array element using synthetic aperture radar algorithms to improve radar sensitivity and reduce along-track surface clutter. We then applied array and image-processing algorithms to extract the weak bed echoes buried in off-vertical scatter (cross-track surface clutter). At Jakobshavn Isbræ, we observed 2.7 km thick ice ~30 km upstream of the calving front and ~850 m thick ice at the calving front. We also observed echoes from multiple interfaces near the bed. We applied the MUSIC algorithm to the data to derive the direction of arrival of the signals. This analysis revealed that clutter is dominated by the ice surface at Jakobshavn Isbræ. At Byrd Glacier, we found ~3.62 km thick ice, as well as a subglacial trench ~3.05 km below sea level. We used ice thickness information derived from radar data in conjunction with surface elevation data to generate bed maps for these two critical glaciers. The performance of current radars must be improved further by ~15 dB to fully sound the deepest part of Byrd Glacier. Unmanned aerial systems equipped with radars that can be flown over lines spaced as close as 5 m apart in the cross-track direction to synthesize a two-dimensional aperture would be ideal for collecting fine-resolution data over glaciers like Jakobshavn near their grounding lines.
Pig farmers and veterinarians have high prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) due to the occupational livestock exposure, while few reported this association on slaughterhouse workers. We conducted this cross-sectional study to explore the phenotypic and molecular characteristics of S. aureus and MRSA in slaughterhouse pig-related workers and control workers in Guangdong Province, China. Participants were interviewed and provided two nasal swabs. Swabs were tested for S. aureus, and isolates were further tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, virulence genes and multi-locus sequence typing. Compared with control workers, pig-related workers have significantly higher prevalence of MRSA carriage (adjusted odd ratio (aOR) 3·70, 95% CI 1·63–8·40). The proportions of MRSA resistant to clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline or chloromycetin were significantly higher in pig-related workers than in control workers. The predominant phenotypes of S. aureus were resistant to penicillin, clindamycin, erythromycin and tetracycline. Three MRSA CC9 isolates with livestock-associated characteristics (resistance to tetracycline and absence of immune evasion cluster (IEC) genes) were detected in pig-related workers but not in control workers. For human-associated CCs (CC7, CC59, CC6, and CC188), there was no significant difference in IEC profile or antimicrobial resistance between the groups. These findings reveal that there may be a potential risk for livestock-to-human transmission of LA-MRSA and human-to-human transmission of human-associated MRSA.
Bacillary dysentery continues to be a major health issue in developing countries and ambient temperature is a possible environmental determinant. However, evidence about the risk of bacillary dysentery attributable to ambient temperature under climate change scenarios is scarce. We examined the attributable fraction (AF) of temperature-related bacillary dysentery in urban and rural Hefei, China during 2006–2012 and projected its shifting pattern under climate change scenarios using a distributed lag non-linear model. The risk of bacillary dysentery increased with the temperature rise above a threshold (18·4 °C), and the temperature effects appeared to be acute. The proportion of bacillary dysentery attributable to hot temperatures was 18·74% (95 empirical confidence interval (eCI): 8·36–27·44%). Apparent difference of AF was observed between urban and rural areas, with AF varying from 26·87% (95% eCI 16·21–36·68%) in urban area to −1·90% (95 eCI −25·03 to 16·05%) in rural area. Under the climate change scenarios alone (1–4 °C rise), the AF from extreme hot temperatures (>31·2 °C) would rise greatly accompanied by the relatively stable AF from moderate hot temperatures (18·4–31·2 °C). If climate change proceeds, urban area may be more likely to suffer from rapidly increasing burden of disease from extreme hot temperatures in the absence of effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Worldwide 350 million people suffer from major depression, with the majority of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. We examined the patterns, correlates and care-seeking behaviour of adults suffering from major depressive episode (MDE) in China.
A nationwide study recruited 512 891 adults aged 30–79 years from 10 provinces across China during 2004–2008. The 12-month prevalence of MDE was assessed by the Modified Composite International Diagnostic Interview-short form. Logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of MDE associated with socio-economic, lifestyle and health-related factors and major stressful life events.
Overall, 0.7% of participants had MDE and a further 2.4% had major depressive symptoms. Stressful life events were strongly associated with MDE [adjusted OR 14.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7–15.7], with a dose–response relationship with the number of such events experienced. Family conflict had the highest OR for MDE (18.9, 95% CI 16.8–21.2) among the 10 stressful life events. The risk of MDE was also positively associated with rural residency (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4–1.7), low income (OR 2.3, 95% CI 2.1–2.4), living alone (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.3–3.0), smoking (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3–1.6) and certain other mental disorders (e.g. anxiety, phobia). Similar, albeit weaker, associations were observed with depressive symptoms. Among those with MDE, about 15% sought medical help or took psychiatric medication, 15% reported having suicidal ideation and 6% reported attempting suicide.
Among Chinese adults, the patterns and correlates of MDE were generally consistent with those observed in the West. The low rates of seeking professional help and treatment highlight the great gap in mental health services in China.
Nanosecond (ns) pulsed dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) actuator in a laminar flat plate boundary layer is investigated numerically in an attempt to gain some new insights into the understanding of ns DBD actuation mechanism. Special emphasis is put on the examination, separation and comparison of behaviors of discharge induced micro shock wave and residual heat as well as on the investigation of response of external flow to the two effects. The shock wave is found to introduce highly transient, localized perturbation to the flow and be able to significantly alter the flow pattern shortly after its initiation. The main flow tends to quickly recover to close to its undisturbed state due to the transient nature of perturbation. However, with the shock decay and final disappearance, another perturbation source in the vicinity of discharge region, which contains contribution from both residual heat and shock, becomes increasingly pronounced and eventually develops into a perturbation wave train in the boundary layer. The perturbation is relatively weak and may not be a Tollmien-Schlichting (TS) wave and not trigger the laminar-turbulent transition of boundary layer. Instead, it is more likely to manipulate the flow stability to achieve the strong control authority of this kind of actuation in the case of flow separation control. In addition, a parametric study over the different electrical and hydrodynamic parameters is also conducted.