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l-carnitine is essential for mitochondrial β-oxidation and has been used as a lipid-lowering feed additive in humans and farmed animals. d-carnitine is an optical isomer of l-carnitine and dl-carnitine has been widely used in animal feeds. However, the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine are difficult to study because of the endogenous l-carnitine background. In the present study, we developed a low-carnitine Nile tilapia model by treating fish with a carnitine synthesis inhibitor, and used this model to investigate the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine in nutrient metabolism in fish. l- or d-carnitine (0·4 g/kg diet) was fed to the low-carnitine tilapia for 6 weeks. l-carnitine feeding increased the acyl-carnitine concentration from 3522 to 10 822 ng/g and alleviated the lipid deposition from 15·89 to 11·97 % in the liver of low-carnitine tilapia. However, as compared with l-carnitine group, d-carnitine feeding reduced the acyl-carnitine concentration from 10 822 to 5482 ng/g, and increased lipid deposition from 11·97 to 20·21 % and the mRNA expression of the genes involved in β-oxidation and detoxification in the liver. d-carnitine feeding also induced hepatic inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis. A metabolomic investigation further showed that d-carnitine feeding increased glycolysis, protein metabolism and activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, l-carnitine can be physiologically utilised in fish, whereas d-carnitine is metabolised as a xenobiotic and induces lipotoxicity. d-carnitine-fed fish demonstrates increases in peroxisomal β-oxidation, glycolysis and amino acid degradation to maintain energy homeostasis. Therefore, d-carnitine is not recommended for use in farmed animals.
Although the streaked optical pyrometer (SOP) system has been widely adopted in shock temperature measurements, its reliability has always been of concern. Here, two calibrated Planckian radiators with different color temperatures were used to calibrate and verify the SOP system by comparing the two calibration standards using both multi-channel and single-channel methods. A high-color-temperature standard lamp and a multi-channel filter were specifically designed for the measurement system. To verify the reliability of the SOP system, the relative deviation between the measured data and the standard value of less than 5% was calibrated out, which demonstrates the reliability of the SOP system. Furthermore, a method to analyze the uncertainty and sensitivity of the SOP system is proposed. A series of laser-induced shock experiments were conducted at the ‘Shenguang-II’ laser facility to verify the reliability of the SOP system for temperature measurements at tens of thousands of kelvin. The measured temperature of the quartz in our experiments agreed fairly well with previous works, which serves as evidence for the reliability of the SOP system.
Lipid biomarker analysis is a useful tool for characterizing microbial communities in geomicrobiology. Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) are major components of microbial membranes, and analysis of these markers provides insight into microbial biomass, community structure, and metabolic processes. This article reviews the methods for extraction, fractionation, derivatization, and quantification of PLFA, as well as the interpretation of PLFA patterns for microbial community analysis in natural environmental systems. The discussion centers on the development, the subsequent modifications, and the advantages and limitations of the methods. Two case studies are given to illustrate the applications of intact phospholipid profiling (IPP) and PLFA in geomicrobiology. The recent developments and future directions of microbial signature lipid analysis are also discussed.
We identified and characterized a new cosmocercid nematode species, Cosmocercoides wuyiensis n. sp., through microscopic examination and sequencing of the partial small ribosomal RNA gene (18S rDNA), internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) genes. The new species was isolated from the intestine of the Asiatic frog Amolops wuyiensis Liu and Hu, 1975 captured from four localities of the Anhui province in south-east China. Among the 25 recorded species of the Cosmocercoides genus, the morphology of C. wuyiensis n. sp. is closest to that of C. kiliwai and C. malayensis, which were isolated from various Mexican frog and Malaysian lizard species, respectively. However, C. wuyiensis n. sp. displayed several distinguishing features, such as small size of the male body, two spicules of unequal lengths in the male, small gubernaculum, pre-, ad- and post-cloacal caudal rosette papillae in the ratio of 18–24:2:6 and simple papillae in the ratio of 14:multiple:4, circle and number of punctation in each rosette at 1:11–16, sharply conical tail-end and the presence of lateral alae and somatic papillae in both sexes. BLAST and the phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rDNA and ITS sequences indicated that C. wuyiensis n. sp. belonged to the genus Cosmocercoides, while that of the COI gene sequence of C. wuyiensis n. sp. showed 16.36% nucleotide divergence with C. pulcher and 47.99% nucleotide divergence with C. qingtianensis. The morphological and molecular characterization of C. wuyiensis n. sp. provides new taxonomic data for this genus.
In recent years, soft robotics is widely considered as the most promising field for both research and application. First of all, the actuator is fundamental for designing, modeling, and controlling of soft robots. This paper presents a new type of pneumatic trunk-like soft actuator, which contains a chamber for stiffness adjustment in addition to three chambers for driving. Thus, the salient feature of the proposed actuator is the ability of stiffness self-regulation. The structure of the proposed actuator is described in detail. Then the theoretical models for elongation and bending motion of the actuator are established. The elongation as well as single-chamber and multi-chamber driving bending of the actuator were tested to verify the mathematical models. Finally, a dual-segment soft robot based on the proposed trunk-like soft actuator was developed and tested by experiments, which implies its potential application in practice.
A 20-year-resolution speleothem δ18O record from southern China reveals a detailed Asian summer monsoon (ASM) history between 73.6 and 62.3 ka. ASM changes during Interstadial 19 and late MIS 4 matched Greenland temperature variations but were antiphased with Antarctic temperatures. However, long-term strengthening of the ASM in early MIS 4 agrees well with the gradual Antarctic warming, when Greenland remained in a stable cold state. More specifically, the ASM was less variable during peak interstadials in contrast to striking instabilities during stadials. These observations suggest that the factors dominating ASM variability change through time. During early MIS 4, negligible freshwater perturbations occurred in the North Atlantic, and sea-surface temperatures in the low- to midlatitude Pacific Ocean reached the modern level. Thus, an expansion of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) was likely important for the long-term ASM rise. In late MIS 4, the antiphase correlation between ASM and Antarctic temperature could be attributed to freshwater inputs into the North Atlantic and a southerly positioned ITCZ. Consequently, meridional ITCZ shifts, although within a limited latitudinal band, would result in an antiphase relationship between interhemispheric climate changes. Otherwise, an in-phase correlation could be expected if the centroid of ITCZ is stable along the equator.
In this paper a one-dimensional numerical study on the nonlinear behaviour of an electrically charged jet of Oldroyd-B viscoelastic, Taylor–Melcher leaky dielectric liquid is carried out. The effect of surface charge level, axial wavenumber and finite conductivity on the nonlinear evolution of the jet is investigated. Different structures including beads-on-a-string with/without satellite droplets, quasi-spikes and spikes are detected, and their domains in the plane of the non-dimensional axial wavenumber and the electrical Bond number are illustrated. The underlying mechanisms in the formation of the structures are examined. It is found that tangential electrostatic force plays a key role in the formation of a quasi-spike structure. Decreasing liquid conductivity may lead to a decrease in the size of satellite droplets or even the complete removal of them from a beads-on-a-string structure, induce the transition from a beads-on-a-string to a quasi-spike structure or postpone the appearance of a spike. On the other hand, finite conductivity has little influence on filament thinning in a beads-on-a-string structure, owing to the fact that the electrostatic forces are of secondary importance compared with the capillary force. The difference between the finite conductivity, large conductivity and other cases is elucidated. An experiment is carried out to observe spike structures.
The static data obtained from user research are not sufficient to accurately reflect the change of the user's needs and capabilities in different contexts. Not paying enough attention to the economic feasibility of design solutions makes inclusive design face challenges in commercialization. In this paper, the user's demand is regarded as a function of the dynamic interaction between the user's characteristics and the environment. The inclusion problem is defined from an economic perspective. By distinguishing the stages before and after the delivery of a product, different economic properties of the product are defined. Then the two stages are analysed from the perspective of investment and consumption respectively, and the competition criterion of inclusivity distribution and the reasons for exclusion are deduced. According to the causes of different problems in the two stages, the research direction of inclusive solutions is pointed out, and the economical sustainability of inclusive design is analysed. This paper emphasizes that the goal of inclusive design lies not only in the partial and temporary elimination of exclusion, but also in how to distribute the freedom of choice.
Existing data on folate status and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) prognosis are scarce. We prospectively examined whether serum folate concentrations at diagnosis were associated with liver cancer-specific survival (LCSS) and overall survival (OS) among 982 patients with newly diagnosed, previously untreated HCC, who were enrolled in the Guangdong Liver Cancer Cohort (GLCC) study between September 2013 and February 2017. Serum folate concentrations were measured using chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. Cox proportional hazards models were performed to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % CI by sex-specific quartile of serum folate. Compared with patients in the third quartile of serum folate, patients in the lowest quartile had significantly inferior LCSS (HR = 1·48; 95 % CI 1·05, 2·09) and OS (HR = 1·43; 95 % CI 1·03, 1·99) after adjustment for non-clinical and clinical prognostic factors. The associations were not significantly modified by sex, age at diagnosis, alcohol drinking status and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage. However, there were statistically significant interactions on both multiplicative and additive scale between serum folate and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels or smoking status and the associations of lower serum folate with worse LCSS and OS were only evident among patients with CRP > 3·0 mg/l or current smokers. An inverse association with LCSS were also observed among patients with liver damage score ≥3. These results suggest that lower serum folate concentrations at diagnosis are independently associated with worse HCC survival, most prominently among patients with systemic inflammation and current smokers. A future trial of folate supplementation seems to be promising in HCC patients with lower folate status.
We present a study of optical and electronic properties of solutions and films based on the fungi-derived pigment xylindein, extracted from decaying wood and processed without and with a simple purification step (“ethanol wash”). The “post-wash” xylindein solutions exhibited considerably lower absorption in the ultraviolet spectral range and dramatically reduced photoluminescence below 600 nm, due to removal of contaminants most likely to be fungal secondary metabolites. The “post-wash” xylindein-based films were characterized by two orders of magnitude higher charge carrier mobilities as compared to “pre-wash” samples. This underlines the importance of minimizing contaminants that disrupt the conductive xylindein network in xylindein-based electronic devices.
Statistical models are commonly employed in the estimation of influenza-associated excess mortality that, due to various reasons, is often underestimated by laboratory-confirmed influenza deaths reported by healthcare facilities. However, methodology for timely and reliable estimation of that impact remains limited because of the delay in mortality data reporting. We explored real-time estimation of influenza-associated excess mortality by types/subtypes in each year between 2012 and 2018 in Hong Kong using linear regression models fitted to historical mortality and influenza surveillance data. We could predict that during the winter of 2017/2018, there were ~634 (95% confidence interval (CI): (190, 1033)) influenza-associated excess all-cause deaths in Hong Kong in population ⩾18 years, compared to 259 reported laboratory-confirmed deaths. We estimated that influenza was associated with substantial excess deaths in older adults, suggesting the implementation of control measures, such as administration of antivirals and vaccination, in that age group. The approach that we developed appears to provide robust real-time estimates of the impact of influenza circulation and complement surveillance data on laboratory-confirmed deaths. These results improve our understanding of the impact of influenza epidemics and provide a practical approach for a timely estimation of the mortality burden of influenza circulation during an ongoing epidemic.
This study proposes two multimodal frameworks to classify pathological voice samples by combining acoustic signals and medical records. In the first framework, acoustic signals are transformed into static supervectors via Gaussian mixture models; then, a deep neural network (DNN) combines the supervectors with the medical record and classifies the voice signals. In the second framework, both acoustic features and medical data are processed through first-stage DNNs individually; then, a second-stage DNN combines the outputs of the first-stage DNNs and performs classification. Voice samples were recorded in a specific voice clinic of a tertiary teaching hospital, including three common categories of vocal diseases, i.e. glottic neoplasm, phonotraumatic lesions, and vocal paralysis. Experimental results demonstrated that the proposed framework yields significant accuracy and unweighted average recall (UAR) improvements of 2.02–10.32% and 2.48–17.31%, respectively, compared with systems that use only acoustic signals or medical records. The proposed algorithm also provides higher accuracy and UAR than traditional feature-based and model-based combination methods.
Altered heart rate variability (HRV), an index of autonomic nervous system function, has been reported in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but the results have been mixed. Thus, the present study, using a large sample size and better methodology, aims to examine whether GAD is associated with impaired HRV, both at rest and in response to posture challenges.
In total, 1832 participants were recruited in this study, consisting of 682 patients with GAD (including 326 drug- and comorbidity-free GAD patients) and 1150 healthy controls. Short-term HRV was measured during the supine-standing-supine test (5-min per position). Propensity score matching (PSM), a relatively novel method, was used to control for potential confounders.
After PSM algorithm, drug- and comorbidity-free GAD patients had reductions in resting (baseline) high-frequency power (HF), an index for parasympathetic modulation, and increases in the low-frequency/HF ratio (LF/HF), an index for sympathovagal balance as compared to matched controls. Furthermore, the responses of HF and LF/HF to posture changes were all attenuated when compared with matched controls. Effect sizes, given by Cohen's d, for resting HF and HF reactivity were 0.42 and 0.36–0.42, respectively.
GAD is associated with altered sympathovagal balance, characterized by attenuation in both resting vagal modulation and vagal reactivity, with an almost medium effect size (Cohen's d ≈ 0.4), regardless of medication use or comorbidity status.
Fatigue properties of Mo/W multilayers with individual layer thickness (λ) of 5, 20, 50 and 100 nm on flexible polyimide substrates were investigated. The experimental results show that the fatigue resistance increases with decreasing λ from 100 nm to 20 nm, and reaches the maximum at λ=20 nm, and then decreases when further decreasing λ. Fatigue cracks of Mo/W multilayers with different λ were found to propagate along columnar grain boundary in the out-of-plane direction and along the boundary of cluster structures. The enhanced fatigue resistance is attributed to the larger cluster inclination angles and the more tortuous in-plane cracking paths.
In this paper we treat a two-stage grouping procedure of building a k-out-of-n system from several clusters of components. We use a static framework in which the component reliabilities are fixed. Under such a framework, we address the impact of the selecting strategies, the sampling probabilities, and the component reliabilities on the constructed system’s reliability. An interesting finding is that the level of component reliabilities could be identified as a decisive factor in determining how the selecting strategies and the component reliabilities affect the system reliability. The new results generalize and extend those established earlier in the literature such as Di Crescenzo and Pellerey (2011), Hazra and Nanda (2014), Navarro, Pellerey, and Di Crescenzo (2015), and Hazra, Finkelstein, and Cha (2017). Several Monte Carlo simulation experiments are provided to illustrate the theoretical results.
A bottom-feed omni-directional CP (circularly polarized) antenna array is proposed in this letter. The antenna array is composed of four elements (two printed ZPS (zero-phase-shift) line loops and two half-wavelength dipoles). The four elements are fed with the same phase and amplitude. The ZPS line loops provide the horizontal polarization while the dipoles provide the vertical polarization. Therefore, omni-directional circular polarization is formed in the far field. The feeding network consists of a 1–4 T-shaped power divider formed by parallel strip lines. In order to balance the amplitude of the feeding coaxial cable, the structure is used in the bottom to transfer parallel strip line to micro-strip line. Besides, the loops and the dipoles are placed on the different side of the network to guarantee the omni-directional radiation property. The measured impedance bandwidth of the fabricated antenna is 0.13 GHz (2.40–2.53 GHz) and the measured maximum CP gain at 2.45 GHz is 4.8 dBic.
Swelling deformation tests of Kunigel bentonite and its sand mixtures were performed in distilled water and NaCl solution. The salinity of NaCl solution has a significant impact on the swelling properties of bentonite, but not on its surface structure. The surface structure was characterized using the fractal dimension Ds. Based on the fractal dimension, a unique curve of the em–pe relationship (em is the void ratio of montmorillonite and pe is the effective stress) at full saturation was introduced to express the swelling deformation of bentonite–sand mixtures. In mixtures with a large bentonite content, the swelling deformation always followed the em–pe relationship. In mixtures with a small bentonite content, when the effective stress reached a threshold, the void ratio of montmorillonite em deviated from the unique em–pe curve due to the appearance of a sand skeleton. The threshold of vertical pressure for mixtures in different solutions and the maximum swelling strains were estimated using the em–pe relationship. The good agreement between estimates and experimental data suggest that the em–pe relationship might be an alternative method for predicting the swelling deformation of bentonite–sand mixtures in salt solution.