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We evaluated the differences between the supplementation of urea in rumen and/or abomasum on forage digestion, N metabolism and urea kinetics in cattle fed a low-quality tropical forage. Five Nellore heifers were fitted with rumen and abomasum fistulas and assigned to a Latin square design. The treatments were control, continuous infusion of urea in the abomasum (AC), continuous infusion of urea in the rumen, a pulse dose of urea in the rumen every 12 h (PR) and a combination of PR and AC. The control exhibited the lowest (P < 0·10) faecal and urinary N losses, which were, overall, increased by supplementation. The highest urinary N losses (P < 0·10) were observed when urea was either totally or partially supplied as a ruminal pulse dose. The rumen N balance was negative for the control and when urea was totally supplied in the abomasum. The greatest microbial N production (P < 0·10) was obtained when urea was partially or totally supplied in the abomasum. Urea supplementation increased (P < 0·10) the amount of urea recycled to the gastrointestinal tract and the amount of urea-N returned to the ornithine cycle. The greatest (P < 0·10) amounts of urea-N used for anabolism were observed when urea was totally and continuously infused in the abomasum. The continuous abomasal infusion also resulted in the highest (P < 0·10) assimilation of microbial N from recycling. The continuous releasing of urea throughout day either in the rumen or abomasum is able to improve N accretion in the animal body, despite mechanism responsible for that being different.
An understanding of the processes involved in grazing behaviour is a prerequisite for the design of efficient grassland management systems. The purpose of managing the grazing process is to identify sward structures that can maximize animal forage daily intake and optimize grazing time. Our aim was to evaluate the effect of different grazing management strategies on foraging behaviour and herbage intake by sheep grazing Italian ryegrass under rotational stocking. The experiment was carried out in 2015 in southern Brazil. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with two grazing management strategies and four replicates. The grazing management treatments were a traditional rotational stocking (RT), with pre- and post-grazing sward heights of 25 and 5 cm, respectively, and a ‘Rotatinuous’ stocking (RN) with pre- and post-grazing sward heights of 18 and 11 cm, respectively. Male sheep with an average live weight of 32 ± 2.3 kg were used. As intended, the pre- and post-grazing sward heights were according to the treatments. The pre-grazing leaf/stem ratio of the Italian ryegrass pasture did not differ between treatments (P > 0.05) (~2.87), but the post-grazing leaf/stem ratio was greater (P < 0.001) in the RN than in the RT treatment (1.59 and 0.76, respectively). The percentage of the non-grazed area was greater (P < 0.01) in post-grazing for RN compared with RT treatment, with an average of 29.7% and 3.49%, respectively. Herbage nutritive value was greater for the RN than for the RT treatment, with greater CP and lower ADF and NDF contents. The total time spent grazing, ruminating and resting did not differ between treatments (P > 0.05), with averages of 439, 167 and 85 min, respectively. The bite rate, feeding stations per min and steps per min by sheep were greater (P < 0.05) in the RN than in the RT treatment. The grazing time per hour and the bite rate were greater (P < 0.05) in the afternoon than in the morning in both treatments. The daily herbage intake by sheep grazing Italian ryegrass was greater (P < 0.05) in the RN than in the RT treatment (843.7 and 707.8 g organic matter/sheep, respectively). Our study supports the idea that even though the grazing time was not affected by the grazing management strategies when the animal behaviour responses drive management targets, such as in ‘Rotatinuous’ stocking, the sheep herbage intake is maximized, and the grazing time is optimized.
This study presents two years of characterization of a warm temperate rhodolith bed in order to analyse how certain environmental changes influence the community ecology. The biomass of rhodoliths and associated species were analysed during this period and in situ experiments were conducted to evaluate the primary production, calcification and respiration of the dominant species of rhodoliths and epiphytes. The highest total biomass of rhodoliths occurred during austral winter. Lithothamnion crispatum was the most abundant rhodolith species in austral summer. Epiphytic macroalgae occurred only in January 2015, with Padina gymnospora being the most abundant. Considering associated fauna, the biomass of Mollusca increased from February 2015 to February 2016. Population densities of key reef fish species inside and around the rhodolith beds showed significant variations in time. The densities of grouper (carnivores/piscivores) increased in time, especially from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, grunts (macroinvertebrate feeders) had a modest decrease over time (from 2014 to 2016). Other parameters such as primary production and calcification of L. crispatum were higher under enhanced irradiance, yet decreased in the presence of P. gymnospora. Community structure and physiological responses can be explained by the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors, which are driven by environmental changes over time. Biomass changes can indicate that herbivores play a role in limiting the growth of epiphytes, and this is beneficial to the rhodoliths because it decreases competition for environmental resources with fleshy algae.
Deficits in social functioning are a core feature of schizophrenia and are influenced by both symptomatic and neurocognitive variables.
In the present study we aimed to determine the reliability and validity of the Portuguese version of the Personal and Social Performance (PSP) scale, and possible correlations with measures of cognitive functioning.
One-hundred and four community and inpatients with schizophrenia were assessed using measures of social functioning and symptom severity alongside measures of executive function, processing speed and verbal memory.
The reliability of the PSP was found to be satisfactory, with a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.789. Inter-rater reliability in the four domains of the PSP varied from 0.430 to 0.954. Low-functioning patients (PSP < 70) were older, had longer duration of illness, were more symptomatic and had worse cognitive performances, as compared to high-functioning patients (PSP ≥ 70). In a regression model, deficits in social functioning were strongly predicted both by symptomatic and neurocognitive variables; these together accounted for up to 62% of the variance.
The present study supports the reliability and validity of the Portuguese language version of the PSP and further supports the original measure. The co-administration of brief cognitive assessments with measures of functioning may lead to more focused interventions, possibly improving outcomes in this group.
Eating disorders are characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating behaviour that results in altered consumption of food and that significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning. Treatment of eating disorders is complex and challenging and sometimes patient's hospitalization is needed. The Santa Maria Hospital's Eating Disorders Unit is a specialized multidisciplinary team with long experience in the treatment of such disorders.
To present and discuss the results of the inpatient treatment program for patients with eating disorders held at the Santa Maria Hospital's Eating Disorders Unit.
review of clinical files of all patients hospitalised at Santa Maria Hospital's Eating Disorders Unit during a twelve month period and statistical analysis of data collected using SPSS program.
The sample included mainly female patients with anorexia nervosa with a significantly low body weight. In this presentation we show the results of the statistical analysis performed for sample characterization (both demographic and clinical variables), evaluation of patient's clinical outcome and features associated with good or poor prognosis.
The results of this study show the importance of inpatient care especially for patients with anorexia nervosa with a significantly low body weight.
Research has shown the importance of social support on mental health, however, this investigation has not been done in elder population.
Our aim is to study the relationship between perceived social support, satisfaction with life, anxiety symptoms and depressive symptoms.
We collected a sample of 46 institutionalized elderly aged between 65 and 95 years old. We used the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) to assess anxious and depressive symptoms. To assess social support we used the Older Americans Resources and Services Program (OARS), which evaluated the social resources, and to assess the life satisfaction we used the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).
We found that 91.3% of subjects were illiterate or with low education and only 4 (8.7%) had studied beyond the fourth grade. The elders showed an high average of anxiety and depression symptoms, and dissatisfaction with life. Regarding the perception of social support, the elderly essentially reveal high dissatisfaction with the extent of contact with others and the availability of help. We also found that perceived social support is related with GAI, GDS, and SWLS.
Intervention strategies should involve the integration of elder population in social life.
Relatively few studies have assessed the prevalence, correlates, and independent impact on quality of life (QoL) of trichotillomania (TTM) in large samples.
Consecutive participants (N = 7639) were recruited from a cross-sectional web-based study. Sociodemographic data were collected and several validated self-reported mental health measures were completed (Minnesota Impulsive Disorders Interview, Hypomania checklist, Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Early Trauma Inventory Self Report–Short Form, and the Symptom Checklist-90–Revised Inventory). Health-related QoL was assessed with the World Health Organization QoL abbreviated scale (WHOQOL-Bref). Multivariable models adjusted associations to potential confounders.
The sample was predominantly composed of young females (71.3%; mean age: 27.2 ± 7.9 years). The prevalence of probable TTM was 1.4% (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.2-1.7), and was more common among females. Participants with probable TTM had a greater likelihood of having co-occurring probable depression (adjusted odds ratio [ORadj] = 1.744; 95% CI: 1.187-2.560), tobacco (ORadj = 2.250; 95% CI: 1.191-4.250), and alcohol (ORadj = 1.751; 95% CI: 1.169-2.621) use disorders. Probable TTM was also independently associated with suicidal ideation (ORadj = 1.917; 95% CI: 1.224-3.003) and exposure to childhood sexual abuse (ORadj = 1.221; 95% CI: 1.098-1.358). In addition, a positive screen for TTM had more impaired physical and mental QoL.
TTM was associated with a positive screen for several psychiatric comorbidities as well as impaired physical and psychological QoL. Efforts towards the recognition and treatment of TTM across psycho-dermatology services are warranted.
Although being highly consensual that antipsychotic adherence is an important outcome predictor in psychosis, existing reviews have found mean rates of adherence around 40–60%. Several aspects, such as patient-related, medication-related, environmental-related variables have been described as important predictors.
This study aim is to develop, administer and present preliminary psychometric properties of a new scale for antipsychotic medication adherence that includes different types of predictors (clinical, psychosocial, and practical among others).
The “AMAS” was developed by a multidisciplinary team and was based on recent research on factors influencing antipsychotic adherence. The scale evolved from multiple drafts and experts were contacted in order to improve the final version. Over 50 patients with a diagnosis of a psychotic-spectrum disorder taking antipsychotic medication will be assessed with the “AMAS” and the Medication Adherence Rating Scale. Additionally, each patient's psychiatrist will fill in a form with demographic and clinical variables (such as type of symptoms, previous adherence problems, current adherence, insight and other relevant variables).
This is an ongoing study and the sample is still being collected (scheduled finish date: February/2016). Our statistical analysis’ plan includes: reliability analysis (Chronbach's alpha, alpha if item deleted, inter item correlations and covariances and item-total correlations); validity (convergent validity); factorial analysis.
It is hypothesized that the “AMAS” will be a practical, reliable and valid unidimentional instrument with clinical utility assessing adherence to antipsychotics. The “AMAS” can be also useful in assessing intervention targets (e.g. psychoterapeutical, psychoeducational) to enhance adherence.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
The prevalence of severe mental illness (SMI) is estimated to be 4%. There are increased risk factors for cancer in SMI patients. People with SMI have deficient access and referral to routine cancer screening and psychiatric illness is often associated to late oncological diagnosis.
Characterize the population of SMI patients that undergoes oncological treatment; establish a comparison with the general population in terms of stage at the time of diagnosis and the type of follow-up that ensued; characterize the psychiatric care available to these patients; propose the necessary changes to ensure adequate healthcare for SMI patients.
To assess and improve the quality of oncological care for SMI patients in our hospital.
We analyzed the data from SMI patients suffering from SMI observed by our group during a 12 month period.
Low percentage of SMI patients being treated in our center regarding general rates; surprisingly high referral time to psychiatry unity; good compliance with treatments and appointments; have mostly been submitted to the standard oncological protocols of treatment.
In spite of serious psychiatric co-morbidity and psychosocial deficits, our SMI patients are able for standard cancer treatment and present sufficient compliance. We value the help of family members and social workers. We have to insist in educational sessions and psychiatric screening procedures for oncological teams. It is also fundamental to implement educational programs for mental health centers in Lisbon in order to sensitize for cancer risks among SMI and alert for the pivotal role of mental health staff, namely the psychiatrists.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Dietary protein adjustments can reduce environmental impact and economic losses in production systems. However, we lack information regarding nitrogen (N) metabolism and protein requirements for maintenance of crossbred animals such as Red Norte breed, precluding a precise dietary management. The objective was to evaluate the effect of increasing dietary CP levels (9%, 11%, 13%, 15% and 17%) on intake, digestibility and N balance, as well as to estimate the metabolizable protein requirements for maintenance (MPm) of growing Red Norte bulls. Thirty five animals averaging 280 ± 4.0 kg BW were fed during 45 days in a 60 : 40 forage : concentrate ratio diet in which the last 5 days were used for the digestibility trial. Intakes of CP and non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFCs) and feed efficiency linearly increased (P < 0.05) as CP levels increased, while DM, NDF, nitrogen efficiency use and ether extract were not influenced by CP levels (P > 0.05). Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, ether extract, NFC and CP as well as metabolizable energy intake linearly increased (P < 0.05), and true digestibility of CP was not affected (P > 0.05) by treatments. Urinary N and retained N linearly increased (P < 0.05) with the increase in dietary N. The MPm were estimated as 4.46 g/BW0.75 and the efficiency of use of MPm was 0.673. In conclusion, obtained MPm requirements of growing Red Norte bulls are greater than the values reported in literature for Zebu cattle and dietary CP levels of 15% and 17% exhibited great responses for growing Red Norte cattle. However, a cost-benefit evaluation should be done before its use.
Spineless cactus is a useful feed for various animal species in arid and semiarid regions due to its adaptability to dry and harsh soil, high efficiency of water use and carbohydrates storage. This meta-analysis was carried out to assess the effect of spineless cactus on animal performance, and develop and evaluate equations to predict dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) in meat lambs. Equations for predicting DMI and ADG as a function of animal and diet characteristics were developed using data from eight experiments. The dataset was comprised of 40 treatment means from 289 meat lambs, in which cactus was included from 0 to 75% of the diet dry matter (DM). Accuracy and precision were evaluated by cross-validation using the mean square error of prediction (MSEP), which was decomposed into mean bias, systematic bias and random error; concordance correlation coefficient, which was decomposed into accuracy (Cb) and precision (ρ); and coefficient of determination (R2). In addition, the data set was used to evaluate the predicting accuracy and precision of the main lamb feeding systems (Agricultural and Food Research Council, Small Ruminant Nutritional System, National Research Council and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and also two Brazilian studies. The DMI, CP intake (CPI), metabolizable energy (ME) intake and ADG increased when cactus was included up to 499 g/kg DM (P<0.001). In contrast, animals fed high levels of cactus (>500 g/kg DM) had a decreased DMI, CPI and NDF intake, but increased feed efficiency (P<0.001) and similar ADG compared with those without cactus addition. The DMI was positively correlated with initial BW, final BW, concentrate and ADG, while it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion and ME of the diet. On other hand, ADG was positively correlated with DMI, initial and mean BW and concentrate, and it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion. The two developed equations had high accuracy (Cb of 0.95 for DMI and 0.94 for ADG) and the random error of MSEP was 99% for both equations. The precision of both equations was moderate, with R2 values of 0.53 and 0.50 and ρ values of 0.73 and 0.71 for DMI and ADG, respectively. In conclusion, the developed equation to predict DMI had moderate precision and high accuracy, nonetheless, it was more efficient than those reported in the literature. The proposed equations can be a useful alternative to estimate intake and performance of lambs fed cactus.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
A third of patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Relatively few pharmacological agents have established efficacy for TRD. Therefore, the evaluation of novel treatments for TRD is a pressing priority. Statins are pleiotropic agents and preclinical studies as well as preliminary clinical trials have suggested that these drugs may have antidepressant properties.
To report on a protocol for a 12-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of add-on treatment with simvastatin for patients meeting DSM-5 criteria for MDD who have failed to respond to at least two adequate trials with approved antidepressants. The trial has been registered with Clinicaltrials.gov in (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03435744).
After screening and randomisation to the two parallel arms of the trial, 75 patients will receive simvastatin and 75 patients will receive placebo as adjuncts to treatment as usual. The primary outcome is change in Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores from baseline to week 12 and secondary outcomes include changes in scores on the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Clinical Global Impression scale, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale and change in body mass index from baseline to week 12. Assessments will take place at screening, baseline, and weeks 2, 4, 8 and 12. Checklists for adverse effects will be undertaken at each visit. Simvastatin (20 mg) will be given once daily. Other secondary outcomes include C-reactive protein and plasma lipids measured at baseline and week 12.
This trial will assess simvastatin's efficacy and tolerability as an add-on treatment option for patients with TRD and provide insights into its putative mechanisms of action.
As the first trial investigating the use of simvastatin as an augmentation strategy in patients with TRD, if the results indicate that adjuvant simvastatin is efficacious in reducing depressive symptoms, it will deliver immediate clinical benefit.
Declaration of interest
I.B.C. and N.H. have given lectures and advice to Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Lundbeck, Astra Zeneca and Janssen pharmaceuticals for which they or their employing institution have been reimbursed. R.R. and M.M.H. have received educational grants and support for academic meetings from Pfizer, Roche, Novartis and Nabiqasim. A.H.Y. has been commissioned to provide lectures and advice to all major pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders. A.H.Y. has undertaken investigator-initiated studies from Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Wyeth. None of the companies have a financial interest in this research.
Dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) mediate many ecological functions that are important to maintain the ecosystem functioning of terrestrial environments. Although a large amount of literature explores the dung beetle-mediated ecological processes, little is known about the individual contribution from distinct species. Here, we aimed to examine the intra and interspecific variations in dung burial rates performed by two roller dung beetle species (Canthon smaragdulus Fabricius, 1781 and Canthon sulcatus Castelnau, 1840). Furthermore, we evaluated the relationship between dung beetle biomass and dung burial rates. We set up a laboratorial experiment with three treatments (two males, two females, and a couple) and 10 replicates per treatment for each dung beetle species, and dung burial rates were measured after exposing 100 g of mixed pig and human excrement for 48 hours. Our results demonstrate that dung burial rates of males, females, and couples within each species do not differ. However, C. smaragdulus individuals performed a larger dung burial than C. sulcatus individuals did. In addition, we found no effect of individual biomass on the amount of dung burial on intra and interspecific levels. These findings highlight the need for further research considering that distinct species, even from the same genus, may perform different rates of ecological processes, as well as about the importance for considering the beetle biomass when measuring their ecological functions. We call for studies to fill in the knowledge gap about the individual species’ contribution to the maintenance of different dung beetle-mediated ecological processes.
Effective integrated weed management in agricultural landscapes depends on the ability to identify and manage processes that drive weed dynamics. The current study reports the effects of grazing management and crop rotation strategies on the seedbank and emerged weed flora in an integrated crop-livestock system (ICLS) experiment during a 12-year period under no-tillage in sub-tropical southern Brazil. During winter, Italian ryegrass cover crops were grazed by sheep: grazing management treatments included two stocking methods (continuous and rotational) and two forage allowances (10 and 20 kg of herbage dry matter available per 100 kg animal live weight). During summer, the crop rotation treatments involved either soybean-maize or soybean-soybean in succession with winter-grazed cover crops. The treatments were part of a factorial randomized complete block design. Treatment effects were evaluated on the weed seedbank and emerged weed flora populations during winter-grazed cover crop and summer crop growth as well as during the harvest phase. The current results demonstrate that crop rotation and grazing management exhibited interactive effects on the determination of weed outcomes in an ICLS. However, overall, compared with moderate forage allowance, high forage allowance during the winter-grazed cover crop caused lower emerged weed flora in subsequent crops (20% reduction during crop growth and 90% reduction at crop harvest) and 48% reduction in seedbank size. High forage allowance promoted more residue from winter-grazed cover crop biomass, which remained during the summer crop phases and probably resulted in a physical barrier to weed emergence.
Evidence suggests that skin picking disorder (SPD) could be a prevalent condition associated with comorbidity and psychosocial dysfunction. However, just a few studies have assessed the prevalence and correlates of SPD in samples from low- and middle-income countries. In addition, the impact of SPD on quality of life (QoL) dimension after multivariable adjustment to potential confounders remains unclear.
Data were obtained from a Brazilian anonymous Web-based research platform. Participants provided sociodemographic data and completed the modified Skin Picking–Stanford questionnaire, the Hypomania Checklist (HCL-32), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), Symptom Checklist-90-Revised inventory (SCL-90R), early trauma inventory self report–short form, and the World Health Organization quality of life abbreviated scale (WHOQOL-Bref). Associations were adjusted to potential confounders through multivariable models.
For our survey, 7639 participants took part (71.3% females; age: 27.2±7.9 years). The prevalence of SPD was 3.4% (95% CI: 3.0–3.8%), with a female preponderance (P<0.001). In addition, SPD was associated with a positive screen for a major depressive episode, nicotine dependence, and alcohol dependence, as well as suicidal ideation. Physical and psychological QoL was significantly more impaired in participants with SPD compared to those without SPD, even after adjustment for comorbidity.
In this large sample, SPD was a prevalent condition associated with co-occurring depression, nicotine, and alcohol dependence. In addition, SPD was independently associated with impaired physical and psychological QoL. Public health efforts toward the early recognition and treatment of SPD are warranted.
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of different forms of soybean lipids on enteric methane emission, intake, performance, digestibility and meat quality of 40 young Nellore bulls (initial body weight (BW) 444 ± 10.2 kg and 24 ± 2.1 months). The dietary treatments were as follows: NF = no dietary additional fat (46.0 g ether extract (EE)/kg diet), SO = soybean oil (62.0 g EE/kg diet), SB = soy beans (without any processing; 62.0 g EE/kg diet) and RPF = rumen-protected fat based on soybean oil (62.0 g EE/kg diet). The intake of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) was greater in the SO diet than those fed with NF. The SO diet decreased digestibility of NDF when compared with the NF and RPF diets. The diets did not affect digestibility of DM, OM, CP or emission of enteric methane. Animals fed with SO had greater average daily gain and feed efficiency in relation to the other diets tested. The SO diet increased hot and cold carcass weights and subcutaneous fat thickness of carcasses when compared with the NF diet. The proportions of saturated and unsaturated, mono and polyunsaturated, and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids were not affected significantly by treatments. The SO diets were demonstrated to be more beneficial for animal performance compared with diets without supplemental fat.
The use of forage legumes has been proposed as a means of generating sustainable grazing environments. Their limited use, particularly in tropical pastures, is partially due to the limited knowledge regarding the efficiency of utilization by animals. The present study characterized the sward structure, nutritive value and ingestive behaviour of dairy heifers in pastures of peanut cv. Belmonte under continuous stocking management. Treatments corresponded to sward heights of 5, 10, 15 and 20 cm, according to a randomized complete block design, with four replications. The following response variables were evaluated: vertical distribution of the morphological components within the sward, forage mass, nutritive value (simulated grazing), bite rate (BR), bite mass (BM) and short-term herbage intake rate (STIR). The top half of the sward height was mainly composed of leaves and the bottom half mainly of stolon and dead material regardless of management height. Greater values of neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre were recorded during autumn, while higher values of in-vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility (0·85) occurred during spring regardless of management height for the grazed stratum. In relation to treatments, greater values of crude protein were recorded on swards managed at 5 cm (0·27) and 10 cm (0·26). Bite rate, BM and STIR varied with sward height, but not with a season of the year. The STIR followed a broken line response to sward height, with increasing values up to 13·1 cm (106 g DM/kg body weight). Sward structure played an important role in determining the STIR. To maximize the STIR of dairy heifers under continuous stocking management, swards should be managed at heights of not <13·1 cm.
The objective of this study was to investigate the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with birth weight, weight gain from birth to weaning and from weaning to yearling, yearling height and cow weight in Nelore cattle. Data from 5064 animals participating in the DeltaGen and PAINT breeding programs were used. The animals were genotyped with a panel of 777 962 SNPs (Illumina BovineHD BeadChip) and 412 993 SNPs remained after quality control analysis of the genomic data. A genome-wide association study was performed using a single-step methodology. The analyses were processed with the BLUPF90 family of programs. When applied to a genome-wide association studies, the single-step GBLUP methodology is an iterative process that estimates weights for the SNPs. The weights of SNPs were included in all analyses by iteratively applying the single-step GBLUP methodology and repeated twice so that the effect of the SNP and the effect of the animal were recalculated in order to increase the weight of SNPs with large effects and to reduce the weight of those with small effects. The genome-wide association results are reported based on the proportion of variance explained by windows of 50 adjacent SNPs. Considering the two iterations, only windows with an additive genetic variance >1.5% were presented in the results. Associations were observed with birth weight on BTA 14, with weight gain from birth to weaning on BTA 5 and 29, with weight gain from weaning to yearling on BTA 11, and with yearling height on BTA 8, showing the genes TMEM68 (transmembrane protein 8B) associated with birth weight and yearling height, XKR4 (XK, Kell blood group complex subunit-related family, member 4) associated with birth weight, NPR2 (natriuretic peptide receptor B) associated with yearling height, and REG3G (regenerating islet-derived 3-gamma) associated with weight gain from weaning to yearling. These genes play an important role in feed intake, weight gain and the regulation of skeletal growth.
Primary seed dispersal of many rain-forest seeds occurs through defecation by mammals. Dung beetles are attracted to the defecations and through their dung-processing behaviour these insects change the initial pattern of seed deposition. Final seed deposition patterns, i.e. where and how seeds are deposited after dung beetle activity has taken place, may strongly depend on seed size. In this study we addressed the following question: Do different sizes of seeds have different deposition patterns following dung beetle processing? We conducted a field experiment in lowland Amazonian rain forest in Brazil using 200-g dung-piles containing seed mimics of three sizes: 3.5, 8.6 and 15.5 mm long. Seed deposition condition after dung beetle activity was dependent on seed size. Small seeds were more often buried in beetle tunnels, while medium and large seeds more often remained on the soil surface, either clean or still covered by dung. A low proportion of seeds of all sizes remained on the soil surface covered by loose soil excavated by dung beetles. We speculate that the latter deposition pattern, though not very frequent, might be highly favourable for both seed survival and seedling establishment.