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Our ability to reliably use radiocarbon (14C) dates of mollusk shells to estimate calendar ages may depend on the feeding preference and habitat of a particular species and the geology of the region. Gastropods that feed by scraping are prone to incorporation of carbon from the substrate into their shells as evidenced by studies comparing the radiocarbon dates of shells and flesh from different species on different substrates (Dye 1994; Hogg et al. 1998). Limpet shells (Patella sp.) are commonly found in prehistoric midden deposits in the British Isles and elsewhere, however these shells have largely been avoided for radiocarbon dating in regions of limestone outcrops. Results from limpets (Patella vulgata) collected alive on limestone and volcanic substrates on the coasts of Ireland indicate that the shells were formed in equilibrium with the seawater, with no significant 14C offsets. Limpets collected from the east coast of Northern Ireland have elevated 14C due to the output of Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant. In all locations, the flesh was depleted in 14C compared to the shells. The results will have an important consequence for radiocarbon dating of midden deposits as well as the bone of humans and animals who fed on the limpets.
Successful conservation strategies require that taxa are prioritized because resources for planning and implementation are always limited. In this study, we created a partial checklist of crop wild relatives (CWR) that occur in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and identified the taxa of highest priority for regional conservation planning based on their importance for food and economic security. We found that the region contains over 1900 wild relatives of species cultivated for food, beverages, ornamental, forage/fodder, forestry, medicinal, environmental and other uses. Prioritization of these species was based on two criteria: (i) the value of the related crop for human food and economic security in the region and/or globally, and (ii) the potential or known value of the wild relatives of those crops for crop improvement. The region contains 745 CWR species related to 64 human food and beverage crops that are of high socioeconomic importance and 100 of these are of immediate priority for conservation action. The results of this study show that the SADC region contains a wealth of CWR diversity that is not only of value for food and economic security within the region but also globally. Furthermore, this study represents the first step in developing a CWR conservation and sustainable use strategy for the region, where its implementation would contribute to food security and well-being.
A theory of the Bennett pinch is presented for the case of non-relativistic electrons. In this way the basic physics of the phenomenon can be clearly demonstrated. The magnetic force acting on the electrons is transmitted to the positive ions via an electrostatic field.
The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is an important legacy of the International Polar Year (IPY). APECS continues to foster engagement in education, outreach and communication (EOC) activities relating to the polar regions and provide training for early career researchers (ECRs). We highlight opportunities for training, leadership and skills development, such as the annual Polar Weeks and Antarctica Day celebrations. Participation and engagement in EOC activities actively contributes to career development by enabling ECRs to develop valuable soft skills such as networking, communication and interdisciplinary knowledge. A pilot survey on EOC engagement highlighted that those who organise events also gain leadership skills such as team management. We discuss several factors contributing to the success of APECS in training the next generation of polar leaders. These include the geographical rather than discipline-specific focus of the organisation, utilisation of online resources, including social media, and the strong links with partner organisations. These examples demonstrate how the EOC legacy of IPY has continued due to APECS’ targeted efforts to create EOC opportunities and provide skills and leadership training for ECRs.
Transcatheter right ventricle decompression in neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is technically challenging, with risk of cardiac perforation and death. Further, despite successful right ventricle decompression, re-intervention on the pulmonary valve is common. The association between technical factors during right ventricle decompression and the risks of complications and re-intervention are not well described.
This is a multicentre retrospective study among the participating centres of the Congenital Catheterization Research Collaborative. Between 2005 and 2015, all neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum and attempted transcatheter right ventricle decompression were included. Technical factors evaluated included the use and characteristics of radiofrequency energy, maximal balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, infundibular diameter, and right ventricle systolic pressure pre- and post-valvuloplasty (BPV). The primary end point was cardiac perforation or death; the secondary end point was re-intervention.
A total of 99 neonates underwent transcatheter right ventricle decompression at a median of 3 days (IQR 2–5) of age, including 63 patients by radiofrequency and 32 by wire perforation of the pulmonary valve. There were 32 complications including 10 (10.5%) cardiac perforations, of which two resulted in death. Cardiac perforation was associated with the use of radiofrequency (p=0.047), longer radiofrequency duration (3.5 versus 2.0 seconds, p=0.02), and higher maximal radiofrequency energy (7.5 versus 5.0 J, p<0.01) but not with patient weight (p=0.09), pulmonary valve diameter (p=0.23), or infundibular diameter (p=0.57). Re-intervention was performed in 36 patients and was associated with higher post-intervention right ventricle pressure (median 60 versus 50 mmHg, p=0.041) and residual valve gradient (median 15 versus 10 mmHg, p=0.046), but not with balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, atmospheric pressure used during BPV, or the presence of a residual balloon waist during BPV. Re-intervention was not associated with any right ventricle anatomic characteristics, including pulmonary valve diameter.
Technical factors surrounding transcatheter right ventricle decompression in pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum influence the risk of procedural complications but not the risk of future re-intervention. Cardiac perforation is associated with the use of radiofrequency energy, as well as radiofrequency application characteristics. Re-intervention after right ventricle decompression for pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is common and relates to haemodynamic measures surrounding initial BPV.
The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading scheme has the ability to predict beef eating quality for each ‘cut×cooking method combination’ from animal and carcass traits such as sex, age, breed, marbling, hot carcass weight and fatness, ageing time, etc. Following MSA testing protocols, a total of 22 different muscles, cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, were tasted by over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia. Consumers scored the sensory characteristics (tenderness, flavor liking, juiciness and overall liking) and then allocated samples to one of four quality grades: unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. We observed that 26% of the beef was unsatisfactory. As previously reported, 68% of samples were allocated to the correct quality grades using the MSA grading scheme. Furthermore, only 7% of the beef unsatisfactory to consumers was misclassified as acceptable. Overall, we concluded that an MSA-like grading scheme could be used to predict beef eating quality and hence underpin commercial brands or labels in a number of European countries, and possibly the whole of Europe. In addition, such an eating quality guarantee system may allow the implementation of an MSA genetic index to improve eating quality through genetics as well as through management. Finally, such an eating quality guarantee system is likely to generate economic benefits to be shared along the beef supply chain from farmers to retailors, as consumers are willing to pay more for a better quality product.
Accurately quantifying a consumer’s willingness to pay (WTP) for beef of different eating qualities is intrinsically linked to the development of eating-quality-based meat grading systems, and therefore the delivery of consistent, quality beef to the consumer. Following Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia were asked to detail their willingness to pay for beef from one of four categories that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium quality. These figures were subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP) to allow comparison between different currencies and time periods. Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. Consumer P-WTP was found to be remarkably consistent between different demographic groups. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. This difference was unable to be explained by the other demographic factors examined in this study, such as occupation, gender, frequency of consumption and the importance of beef in the diet. Therefore, we can conclude that the P-WTP for beef is highly transferrable between different consumer groups, but not countries.
We report the discovery in the Greenland ice sheet of a discrete layer of free nanodiamonds (NDs) in very high abundances, implying most likely either an unprecedented influx of extraterrestrial (ET) material or a cosmic impact event that occurred after the last glacial episode. From that layer, we extracted n-diamonds and hexagonal diamonds (lonsdaleite), an accepted ET impact indicator, at abundances of up to about 5×106 times background levels in adjacent younger and older ice. The NDs in the concentrated layer are rounded, suggesting they most likely formed during a cosmic impact through some process similar to carbon-vapor deposition or high-explosive detonation. This morphology has not been reported previously in cosmic material, but has been observed in terrestrial impact material. This is the first highly enriched, discrete layer of NDs observed in glacial ice anywhere, and its presence indicates that ice caps are important archives of ET events of varying magnitudes. Using a preliminary ice chronology based on oxygen isotopes and dust stratigraphy, the ND-rich layer appears to be coeval with ND abundance peaks reported at numerous North American sites in a sedimentary layer, the Younger Dryas boundary layer (YDB), dating to 12.9 ± 0.1 ka. However, more investigation is needed to confirm this association.
In autumn 2014, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) cases presenting with severe respiratory or neurological disease were described in countries worldwide. To describe the epidemiology and virological characteristics of EV-D68 in England, we collected clinical information on laboratory-confirmed EV-D68 cases detected in secondary care (hospitals), between September 2014 and January 2015. In primary care (general practitioners), respiratory swabs collected (September 2013–January 2015) from patients presenting with influenza-like illness were tested for EV-D68. In secondary care 55 EV-D68 cases were detected. Among those, 45 cases had clinical information available and 89% (40/45) presented with severe respiratory symptoms. Detection of EV-D68 among patients in primary care increased from 0.4% (4/1074; 95% CI 0.1–1.0) (September 2013–January 2014) to 0.8% (11/1359; 95% CI 0.4–1.5) (September 2014–January 2015). Characterization of EV-D68 strains circulating in England since 2012 and up to winter 2014/2015 indicated that those strains were genetically similar to those detected in 2014 in USA. We recommend reinforcing enterovirus surveillance through screening respiratory samples of suspected cases.
The beef industry must become more responsive to the changing market place and consumer demands. An essential part of this is quantifying a consumer’s perception of the eating quality of beef and their willingness to pay for that quality, across a broad range of demographics. Over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland and France each tasted seven beef samples and scored them for tenderness, juiciness, flavour liking and overall liking. These scores were weighted and combined to create a fifth score, termed the Meat Quality 4 score (MQ4) (0.3×tenderness, 0.1×juiciness, 0.3×flavour liking and 0.3×overall liking). They also allocated the beef samples into one of four quality grades that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium. After the completion of the tasting panel, consumers were then asked to detail, in their own currency, their willingness to pay for these four categories which was subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP). Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. The four sensory scores, the MQ4 score and the P-WTP were analysed separately, as dependant variables in linear mixed effects models. The answers from the demographic questionnaire were included in the model as fixed effects. Overall, there were only small differences in consumer scores and P-WTP between demographic groups. Consumers who preferred their beef cooked medium or well-done scored beef higher, except in Poland, where the opposite trend was found. This may be because Polish consumers were more likely to prefer their beef cooked well-done, but samples were cooked medium for this group. There was a small positive relationship with the importance of beef in the diet, increasing sensory scores by about 4% in Poland and Northern Ireland. Men also scored beef about 2% higher than women for most sensory scores in most countries. In most countries, consumers were willing to pay between 150 and 200% more for premium beef, and there was a 50% penalty in value for unsatisfactory beef. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. Consumer age also had a small negative relationship with P-WTP. The results indicate that a single quality score could reliably describe the eating quality experienced by all consumers. In addition, if reliable quality information is delivered to consumers they will pay more for better quality beef, which would add value to the beef industry and encourage improvements in quality.
Quantifying consumer responses to beef across a broad range of demographics, nationalities and cooking methods is vitally important for any system evaluating beef eating quality. On the basis of previous work, it was expected that consumer scores would be highly accurate in determining quality grades for beef, thereby providing evidence that such a technique could be used to form the basis of and eating quality grading system for beef. Following the Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia tasted cooked beef samples, then allocated them to a quality grade; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. The consumers also scored beef samples for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking. The beef was sourced from all countries involved in the study and cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, with each experimental group in the study consisting of a single cooking doneness within a cooking method for each country. For each experimental group, and for the data set as a whole, a linear discriminant function was calculated, using the four sensory scores which were used to predict the quality grade. This process was repeated using two conglomerate scores which are derived from weighting and combining the consumer sensory scores for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking, the original meat quality 4 score (oMQ4) (0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3) and current meat quality 4 score (cMQ4) (0.3, 0.1, 0.3, 0.3). From the results of these analyses, the optimal weightings of the sensory scores to generate an ‘ideal meat quality 4 score (MQ4)’ for each country were calculated, and the MQ4 values that reflected the boundaries between the four quality grades were determined. The oMQ4 weightings were far more accurate in categorising European meat samples than the cMQ4 weightings, highlighting that tenderness is more important than flavour to the consumer when determining quality. The accuracy of the discriminant analysis to predict the consumer scored quality grades was similar across all consumer groups, 68%, and similar to previously reported values. These results demonstrate that this technique, as used in the MSA system, could be used to predict consumer assessment of beef eating quality and therefore to underpin a commercial eating quality guarantee for all European consumers.
The proposal that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the source of the unidentified infrared bands has several serious deficiencies that have not been discussed or satisfactorily treated: (1) no collection of neutral PAHs has been found which matches the observed wavelengths; (2) ion or dehydrogenated molecules have been predicted to be the dominant species in some regions, but no infrared spectra of either species have been obtained; (3) the restriction to small grains is based on grain temperatures ∼ 1000-1500 K which in turn followed from the infrared continuum color temperature – there is now a question whether that is thermal emission; if it is, the source cannot be molecules; (4) recent observations of the 12/100 μm flux ratio as a function of stellar temperature do not conform to predictions of the PAH hypotheses; (5) the photon excitation mechanism for infrared emission by neutral molecules should produce strong visible-ultraviolet fluorescence which is not observed – ions may not do this, but their infrared spectra are not known. There does not seem to be a ready explanation for these problems with the PAH hypotheses. Until definitive experimental study and analysis yielding unambiguous results have been carried out for PAHs, hydrogenated amorphous carbon or other forms of carbonaceous material, it is premature to assume any type of grain is the source of the infrared bands.
Bartonellae are blood- and vector-borne Gram-negative bacteria, recognized as emerging pathogens. Whole-blood samples were collected from 58 free-ranging lions (Panthera leo) in South Africa and 17 cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) from Namibia. Blood samples were also collected from 11 cheetahs (more than once for some of them) at the San Diego Wildlife Safari Park. Bacteria were isolated from the blood of three (5%) lions, one (6%) Namibian cheetah and eight (73%) cheetahs from California. The lion Bartonella isolates were identified as B. henselae (two isolates) and B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae. The Namibian cheetah strain was close but distinct from isolates from North American wild felids and clustered between B. henselae and B. koehlerae. It should be considered as a new subspecies of B. koehlerae. All the Californian semi-captive cheetah isolates were different from B. henselae or B. koehlerae subsp. koehlerae and from the Namibian cheetah isolate. They were also distinct from the strains isolated from Californian mountain lions (Felis concolor) and clustered with strains of B. koehlerae subsp. bothieri isolated from free-ranging bobcats (Lynx rufus) in California. Therefore, it is likely that these captive cheetahs became infected by an indigenous strain for which bobcats are the natural reservoir.
Endeavours to control urogenital schistosomiasis on Unguja Island (Zanzibar) have focused on school-aged children. To assess the impact of an associated health education campaign, the supervised use of the comic-strip medical booklet Juma na Kichocho by Class V pupils attending eighteen primary schools was investigated. A validated knowledge and attitudes questionnaire was completed at baseline and repeated one year later following the regular use of the booklet during the calendar year. A scoring system (ranging from 0.0 to 5.0) measured children’s understandings of schistosomiasis and malaria, with the latter being a neutral comparator against specific changes for schistosomiasis. In 2006, the average score from 751 children (328 boys and 423 girls) was 2.39 for schistosomiasis and 3.03 for malaria. One year later, the score was 2.43 for schistosomiasis and 2.70 for malaria from 779 children (351 boys and 428 girls). As might be expected, knowledge and attitudes scores for schistosomiasis increased (+0.05), but not as much as originally hoped, while the score for malaria decreased (−0.33). According to a Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, neither change was statistically significant. Analysis also revealed that 75% of school children misunderstood the importance of reinfection after treatment with praziquantel. These results are disappointing. They demonstrate that it is mistaken to assume that knowledge conveyed in child-friendly booklets will necessarily be interpreted, and acted upon, in the way intended. If long-term sustained behavioural change is to be achieved, health education materials need to engage more closely with local understandings and responses to urogenital schistosomiasis. This, in turn, needs to be part of the development of a more holistic, biosocial approach to the control of schistosomiasis.
We present the results of two imaging surveys for companions to low-luminosity dwarfs, one with Keck to a limiting magnitude of K = 20, and the other with HST to a limiting magnitude of I = 23. No companions were found at separations of 0″.5 to 20″.0, but seven companions were found within 0″.5. Based on sub-stellar evolutionary models, we estimate the companion detection efficiency as a function of mass ratio. This modeling, coupled with the data, place strong upper limits on the mass ratios of unobserved companions. We conclude that no companions exist in the optimal sensitivity regions of both surveys for q > 0.85 (HST), and q > 0.4 (Keck).
X-ray observations over the past several years have led to the discovery of nonthermal X-ray emission arising in the shells of many young supernova remnants, including SN 1006, Cas A, and Tycho. This emission is thought to be synchrotron emission from electrons that have been shock accelerated to hundreds of TeV, and thus represents strong evidence that cosmic rays are accelerated in SNR shocks. The X-ray observations are corroborated by detection of TeV gamma rays from two of these remnants. A systematic investigation of young, shell-like remnants suggests that the nonthermal X-ray emission from shock-accelerated electrons is a common, if not ubiquitous, feature. We review the status of the X-ray observations and describe how they can be used to provide insight into the shock acceleration process.