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The Rio Branco is a river with unique biogeographic and ecological features, threatened by the Brazilian Government’s plan to build a major hydroelectric dam and associated hydroway along its course. The river crosses one of Amazonia’s largest rainfall gradients and a major geomorphological boundary along a savanna/forest ecotone, marked by the Bem Querer rapids. Above the rapids, the upper Rio Branco runs through the Boa Vista sedimentary formation and crosses the crystalline rocks of the Guiana Shield, and its margins are flanked by gallery forests. Downriver, it runs through a low-lying sedimentary basin, with Amazonian floodplain forests along its margins. Here, we present the results of ∼ 15 years of ornithological research on the Branco and its major tributaries, providing baseline data and evaluating potential threats to the riverine avifauna. Our surveys included opportunistic observations and standardized surveys along the entire length of the river in 16 systematically distributed localities. We catalogued 439 bird species, 87% of which are documented by physical evidence (specimens, recordings, photographs). Forty-six percent are restricted to single habitats, suggesting a high degree of habitat specialisation. A third of the species are widely distributed along the river, whereas 45% are restricted to either the upper or the lower Rio Branco, including 40 and 30 Indicator Species, respectively. Twenty-five species are threatened at global or national levels, including two ‘Critically Endangered’, nine ‘Vulnerable’, and 14 ‘Near Threatened’. We present a list of 50 bird species that are candidates for monitoring studies. Threats to the avifauna from dam construction include permanent flooding above the dam, eliminating gallery forests, river islands, and sandy beaches, and the disruption of the flood pulse along the river, affecting river island and floodplain forest specialists, many of which are globally threatened with extinction. If built, the Bem Querer dam will wipe out the ecotone region and affect dramatically the river’s avifauna.
Survival and infectivity of trypanosomatids rely on cell-surface and secreted glycoconjugates, many of which contain a variable number of galactose residues. Incorporation of galactose to proteins and lipids occurs along the secretory pathway from UDP-galactose (UDP-Gal). Before being used in glycosylation reactions, however, this activated sugar donor must first be transported across the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi membranes by a specific nucleotide sugar transporter (NST). In this study, we identified an UDP-Gal transporter (named TcNST2 and encoded by the TcCLB.504085.60 gene) from Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease. TcNST2 was identified by heterologous expression of selected putative nucleotide sugar transporters in a mutant Chinese Hamster Ovary cell line. TcNST2 mRNA levels were detected in all T. cruzi life-cycle forms, with an increase in expression in axenic amastigotes. Confocal microscope analysis indicated that the transporter is specifically localized to the Golgi apparatus. A three-dimensional model of TcNST2 suggested an overall structural conservation as compared with members of the metabolite transporter superfamily and also suggested specific features that could be related to its activity. The identification of this transporter is an important step toward a better understanding of glycoconjugate biosynthesis and the role NSTs play in this process in trypanosomatids.
Expression of estrus near timed artificial insemination (TAI) is associated with greater fertility, and estrus detection could improve TAI fertility or direct TAI management, although accurate estrus detection can be difficult and time-consuming using traditional methods. The aim of this study is to evaluate influence of estrus on pregnancy (artificial insemination pregnancy rates (P/AI)) and to validate an alternative method to classify estrus/heat expression using tail chalking (HEATSC) in postpartum Bos indicus cows subjected to TAI in progesterone–estrogen-based protocols. In experiment 1 (Exp. 1), cows (5491) were subjected to visual observation of estrus after progesterone device removal, before TAI, and P/AI was evaluated according to estrus and body condition score (BCS). Cows received a progesterone device and 2 mg estradiol benzoate (EB). After 8 days, the device was removed and 150 μg of d-cloprostenol and 300 IU equine chorionic gonadotrophin was given. Later, animals in Exp. 1 received 1 mg EB and TAI 44 to 48 h. In the Exp. 2 – 3830 cows using similar protocol, received different ovulation inducers: 1 mg EB (n=1624) or 1 mg estradiol cypionate (EC; n=2206) on day 8 (D8). Cows were then marked with chalk, and HEATSC evaluated at TAI on D10 (HEATSC1 – no chalk removal=no estrus expression; HEATSC2 – partial chalk removal=low estrus expression; HEATSC3 – near complete/complete chalk removal=high estrus expression). In Exp. 1, cows showing estrus presented greater P/AI (48.4% v. 40.2%, P<0.05). In Exp. 2, P/AI (HEATSC1 – 40.0%; HEATSC2 – 49.7%; HEATSC3 – 60.9%; P<0.001), and larger follicle timed artificial insemination (LFTAI) (<0.001) varied according to HEATSC. There was no difference in P/AI (P=0.41) or LFTAI (P=0.33) according to ovulation inducer. Cows with greater BCS showed greater P/AI in both experiments (P<0.05). Estrus presence and greater HEATSC improved P/AI, and EC v. EB used promoted differential estrus manifestation (cows showing HEATSC2 and HEATSC3: 79.5% with EB v. 69.98% with EC use, P<0.001), however, with similar P/AI. The use of HEATSC in B. indicus cows subjected to TAI is useful to identify cows with greater estrus expression and consequently improved pregnancy rates in TAI, allowing the cows with low HEATSC to be targeted for additional treatments aimed at improving P/AI.
The mechanisms involved in kidney disturbances during development, induced by vitamin D3 deficiency in female rats, that persist into adulthood were evaluated in this study. Female offspring from mothers fed normal (control group, n=8) or vitamin D-deficient (Vit.D-, n=10) diets were used. Three-month-old rats had their systolic blood pressure (SBP) measured and their blood and urine sampled to quantify vitamin D3 (Vit.D3), creatinine, Na+, Ca+2 and angiotensin II (ANGII) levels. The kidneys were then removed for nitric oxide (NO) quantification and immunohistochemical studies. Vit.D- pups showed higher SBP and plasma ANGII levels in adulthood (P<0.05) as well as decreased urine osmolality associated with increases in urinary volume (P<0.05). Decreased expression of JG12 (renal cortex and glomeruli) and synaptopodin (glomeruli) as well as reduced renal NO was also observed (P<0.05). These findings showed that renal disturbances in development in pups from Vit.D- mothers observed in adulthood may be related to the development of angiogenesis, NO and ANGII alterations.
Cognitive impairment is a core feature of psychotic disorders, but the profile of impairment across adulthood, particularly in African-American populations, remains unclear.
Using cross-sectional data from a case–control study of African-American adults with affective (n = 59) and nonaffective (n = 68) psychotic disorders, we examined cognitive functioning between early and middle adulthood (ages 20–60) on measures of general cognitive ability, language, abstract reasoning, processing speed, executive function, verbal memory, and working memory.
Both affective and nonaffective psychosis patients showed substantial and widespread cognitive impairments. However, comparison of cognitive functioning between controls and psychosis groups throughout early (ages 20–40) and middle (ages 40–60) adulthood also revealed age-associated group differences. During early adulthood, the nonaffective psychosis group showed increasing impairments with age on measures of general cognitive ability and executive function, while the affective psychosis group showed increasing impairment on a measure of language ability. Impairments on other cognitive measures remained mostly stable, although decreasing impairments on measures of processing speed, memory and working memory were also observed.
These findings suggest similarities, but also differences in the profile of cognitive dysfunction in adults with affective and nonaffective psychotic disorders. Both affective and nonaffective patients showed substantial and relatively stable impairments across adulthood. The nonaffective group also showed increasing impairments with age in general and executive functions, and the affective group showed an increasing impairment in verbal functions, possibly suggesting different underlying etiopathogenic mechanisms.
To compare the accuracy of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in tracking mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
A Systematic review of the PubMed, Bireme, Science Direct, Cochrane Library, and PsycInfo databases was conducted. Using inclusion and exclusion criteria and staring with 1,629 articles, 34 articles were selected. The quality of the selected research was evaluated through the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 tool (QUADAS-2).
More than 80% of the articles showed MoCA to be superior to MMSE in discriminating between individuals with mild cognitive impairment and no cognitive impairment. The area under the curve varied from 0.71 to 0.99 for MoCA, and 0.43 to 0.94 for MMSE, when evaluating the ability to discriminate MCI in the cognitively healthy elderly individuals, and 0.87 to 0.99 and 0.67 to 0.99, respectively, when evaluating the detection of AD. The AUC mean value for MoCA was significantly larger compared to the MMSE in discriminating MCI from control [0.883 (CI 95% 0.855-0.912) vs MMSE 0.780 (CI 95% 0.740-0.820) p < 0.001].
The screening tool MoCA is superior to MMSE in the identification of MCI, and both tests were found to be accurate in the detection of AD.
Sugarcane is an important forage source for dairy cows in tropical countries. However, it provides limited digestible fiber and energy intake, and fat supplementation can be a way to increase energy density and decrease dietary, non-fiber carbohydrates concentrations. We aimed to evaluate the performance, digestion and metabolism of dairy cows in early lactation fed different concentrations of soybean oil (SBO) in sugarcane-based diets. Fourteen primiparous (545±17.2 kg of BW) and eight multiparous (629±26.7 kg BW) Holstein dairy cows were used according to a randomized block design. After calving, diets were randomly assigned to cows within the two parity groups. Diets were formulated with increasing concentrations of SBO (g/kg dry matter (DM)): control (0), low (LSBO; 15.7), medium (MSBO; 44.3) and high (HSBO; 73.4). The study was performed from calving until 84 days in milk, divided into three periods of 28 days each. Dry matter intake (DMI) was affected quadratically in response to SBO addition with the greatest and lowest values of 19.0 and 16.0 kg/day for LSBO and HSBO diets, respectively. The digestibility of potentially digestible NDF was quadratically affected by SBO with the greatest value of 623 g/kg for LSBO diet. Both milk and energy-corrected milk (ECM) production were quadratically affected by SBO inclusion, with greatest ECM values of 27.9 and 27.3 for LSBO and MSBO, respectively. Soybean oil inclusion linearly decreased milk fat concentration by 13.2% from control to HSBO. The CLA t10,c12-18:2 was observed in milk fat only for MSBO and HSBO diets. Soybean oil inclusion did not affect plasma glucose or serum concentrations of total proteins, globulins, albumin, urea nitrogen, beta-hydroxybutyrate, non-esterified fatty acids or insulin. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein increased with SBO supplementation. Soybean oil inclusion in sugarcane-based diets for early lactation dairy cows from 15.7 to 44.3 g/kg DM can improve energy intake and performance; however, at 44.3 g/kg DM milk fat concentration and ECM decreased. Soybean oil inclusion at 73.4 g/kg DM adversely affected energy intake, fiber digestion and performance of early lactation dairy cows and is not recommended.
Mullets inhabit a wide range of habitats from tropical to temperate regions and play a critical role in their ecosystems. This commercially important fish group constitutes a significant source of food in several geographic regions, and the production of some species for consumption is an increasing trend. About 64 myxosporean species have been reported in mullets, some of which are cryptic, as is the case of Myxobolus exiguus, and M. muelleri. This paper provides, for the first time, a detailed and critical revision of the data available for myxobolids reported in mullets, determining the species that have bona fide mugiliform fish hosts, in accordance with the original species descriptions, the available molecular data and the currently accepted taxonomic and phylogenetic criteria. Phylogenetic analyses using Bayesian inference and maximum-likelihood methodologies suggest that the evolutionary history of myxobolids with bona fide mugiliform fish hosts reflects that of its vertebrate hosts, while reinforcing known evolutionary factors and old systematic issues of the clade of myxobolids. A comprehensive morphological, ultrastructural and molecular redescription is also provided for the cryptic species M. exiguus, from infections in the visceral peritoneum of the thinlip-grey mullet Chelon ramada in the River Minho, Portugal.
Globally, the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) disease is higher in males. This study examined the effect of sex and age on Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. Demographic and exposure data were collected on household contacts of sputum smear-positive pulmonary TB patients in Brazil. Contacts with tuberculin skin test induration ⩾10 mm at baseline or 12 weeks were considered Mtb infected. The study enrolled 917 household contacts from 160 households; 508 (55.4%) were female, median age was 21.0 years (range 0.30–87.0) and 609 (66.4%) had Mtb infection. The proportion infected increased with age from 63.3% in girls <5 years to 75.4% in women ⩾40 years and from 44.9% in boys <5 years to 73.6% in men ⩾40 years. Multivariable modelling showed the odds of infection increased between age 5 and 14 years among female contacts (OR 1.5 per 5-year age increase; 95% CI 1.1–2.2; P = 0.02) and between ages 0–4 and 15–39 years among male contacts (OR 2.7, 95% CI 0.83–8.9 and 1.1, 95% CI 0.99–1.3 per 5-year age increase; P = 0.10, 0.07, respectively). The study suggests that the age at which Mtb infection increases most is different in females compared with males. Studies are needed to explore whether these findings are due to differences in host susceptibility, exposure outside the household or other factors.
Acinetobacter spp. are important healthcare pathogens, being closely linked to antibiotic resistance and outbreaks worldwide. Although such species are rarely observed in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), we describe the characteristics of 53 strains of Acinetobacter spp. isolated from the sputum of 39 Brazilian patients with CF. The species distribution was A. baumannii (n = 29), A. pittii (n = 13), A. nosocomialis (n = 8), A. seifertii (n = 1), A. soli (n = 1) and A. variabilis (n = 1) determined by partial rpoB gene sequencing. Sixteen strains (10 A. baumannii, 3 A. pittii and 3 A. nosocomialis) were multidrug-resistant (MDR) by disk diffusion test (30%) and eight MDR carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii strains harboured the blaOXA-23-like oxacillinase gene. Thirty-three sequence types (STs) were identified by multilocus sequence typing of which eight were novel (A. baumannii: 843, 844, 845, 847, 848; A. pitti: 643; A. nosocomialis: 862 and A. seifertii: 846); six STs (2 A. baumannii, 3 A. pittii and 1 A. nosocomialis) were found in more than one patient. Four strains of A. baumannii were assigned to two common clonal complexes (CCs), namely, CC1 (ST1, ST20 and ST160), and CC79 (ST79). This study underlines the extensive species diversity of Acinetobacter spp. strains in CF lung infections which may present difficulties for therapy due to significant antimicrobial resistance.
Urban slums provide suitable conditions for infestation by rats, which harbour and shed a wide diversity of zoonotic pathogens including helminths. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with the probability and intensity of infection of helminths of the digestive tract in an urban slum population of Rattus norvegicus. Among 299 rats, eleven species/groups of helminths were identified, of which Strongyloides sp., Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and, the human pathogen, Angiostrongylus cantonensis were the most frequent (97, 41 and 39%, respectively). Sex interactions highlighted behavioural differences between males and females, as eg males were more likely to be infected with N. brasiliensis where rat signs were present, and males presented more intense infections of Strongyloides sp. Moreover, rats in poor body condition had higher intensities of N. brasiliensis. We describe a high global richness of parasites in R. norvegicus, including five species known to cause disease in humans. Among these, A. cantonensis was found in high prevalence and it was ubiquitous in the study area – knowledge which is of public health importance. A variety of environmental, demographic and body condition variables were associated with helminth species infection of rats, suggesting a comparable variety of risk factors for humans.
We performed two different approaches (broth enrichment step prior to culture (BEC) and PCR (BEPCR)) for detecting Streptococcus pneumoniae from nasopharyngeal specimens collected from 242 children aged <6 years attending one hospital (n = 140) and one childcare centre (n = 102) in a major urban area in Brazil. These specimens were collected immediately before the introduction of the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10) and the 13-valent vaccine (PCV13) for routine use in Brazil. Results were compared with previous findings obtained with direct culture (DC) on a selective medium. Colonisation prevalence was 58·3% (n = 141), being higher among children attending the childcare centre (62·7% vs. 55%). The culture-based methods (DC and BEC) enabled the detection of S. pneumoniae in 119 (49·2%) and 115 (47·5%) children, respectively. The PCR-based method (BEPCR) was more sensitive and 137 (56·6%) carriers were identified. Twenty-six serogroups/serotypes were identified, predominantly 6B, 19F, 14, 6A, 15C and 23F. Multiple colonisation was observed in 13 (5·4%) children. The estimated serotypes coverage of available PCVs was 40·4% for the 10-valent (included in the Brazilian immunisation programme) and 55·8% for the 13-valent (only available in private clinics). The use of robust approaches to obtain a more realistic insight about the asymptomatic carrier status is of paramount importance to estimate and assess the impact of vaccine implementation. The combination between culture-based and molecular methods constitutes a suitable strategy.
Leishmaniasis are diseases caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania and transmitted to humans by the bite of infected insects of the subfamily Phlebotominae. Current drug therapy shows high toxicity and severe adverse effects. Recently, two oligopeptidases (OPBs) were identified in Leishmania amazonensis, namely oligopeptidase B (OPB) and oligopeptidase B2 (OPB2). These OPBs could be ideal targets, since both enzymes are expressed in all parasite lifecycle and were not identified in human. This work aimed to identify possible dual inhibitors of OPB and OPB2 from L. amazonensis. The three-dimensional structures of both enzymes were built by comparative modelling and used to perform a virtual screening of ZINC database by DOCK Blaster server. It is the first time that OPB models from L. amazonensis are used to virtual screening approach. Four hundred compounds were identified as possible inhibitors to each enzyme. The top scored compounds were submitted to refinement by AutoDock program. The best results suggest that compounds interact with important residues, as Tyr490, Glu612 and Arg655 (OPB numbers). The identified compounds showed better results than antipain and drugs currently used against leishmaniasis when ADMET in silico were performed. These compounds could be explored in order to find dual inhibitors of OPB and OPB2 from L. amazonensis.
The aim of this study was to analyse whether changes in physical activity and body fatness are related to modifications in cardiovascular risk factors among adolescents.
Material and methods
A sample of 89 healthy adolescents was recruited for this study. We assessed habitual physical activity, body fat percentage, arterial thickness, blood sample, and biological maturation. Multivariate models were used to analyse the relationships between independent and dependent variables.
Physical activity (mean difference: 429.4 steps [95% confidence interval=−427 to 1286]) and body fatness (mean difference: −0.7% [95% confidence interval=−1.6–0.2]) remained stable during the study period. Independent of changes in physical activity, for each percentage increase in body fatness, femoral intima-media thickness increased by 0.007 mm (β=0.007 [95% confidence interval=0.001–0.013]). Longitudinal relationships were found for high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (β=−0.477 mg/dl [95% confidence interval=−0.805 to −0.149]) and triacylglycerol (β=2.329 mg/dl [95% confidence interval=0.275–4.384]).
Changes in body fatness are more important than the amount of physical activity on cardiovascular and metabolic risks.
Controlled irrigation during the dry period associated with adequate nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) fertilization led to the accumulation of biochemical compounds in coffee beans considered as positive precursors of beverage quality. Adult plants of coffee (Coffea arabica ‘Rubi’) were cultivated using different water regimes (WR) and fertilization conditions under the dry climate of the Brazilian Cerrado. Coffee-bean physical characteristics were evaluated as well as biochemical composition by near-infrared analysis. The K treatment mostly affected bean biochemistry, lipid and chlorogenic acid (CGA) contents, which increased with increasing amounts of fertilizer. Caffeine contents increased with higher amounts of N, but no significant effects of P treatment on bean biochemical composition were observed. Sucrose and total lipid contents always appeared higher in beans of non-irrigated plants than those beans from plants grown with continuous irrigation. In contrast, caffeine and CGA contents were higher in beans of irrigated as compared with non-irrigated plants. For the first time, the current results showed that controlled management of irrigation during the dry period associated with reasonable NPK fertilization led to the accumulation of biochemical compounds in coffee beans considered as positive precursors of beverage quality.
Achromobacter spp. are opportunistic pathogens increasingly recovered from adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We report the characterization of 122 Achromobacter spp. isolates recovered from 39 CF patients by multilocus sequence typing, virulence traits, and susceptibility to antimicrobials. Two species, A. xylosoxidans (77%) and A. ruhlandii (23%) were identified. All isolates showed a similar biofilm formation ability, and a positive swimming phenotype. By contrast, 4·3% and 44·4% of A. xylosoxidans and A. ruhlandii, respectively, exhibited a negative swarming phenotype, making the swimming and swarming abilities of A. xylosoxidans significantly higher than those of A. ruhlandii. A. xylosoxidans isolates from an outbreak clone also exhibited significantly higher motility. Both species were generally susceptible to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, imipenem and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole and there was no significant difference in susceptibility between isolates from chronic or sporadic infection. However, A. xylosoxidans isolates from chronic and sporadic cases were significantly more resistant to imipenem and ceftazidime than isolates of the outbreak clone.
We examined functional outcomes and quality of life of whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) with integrated fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy boost (FSRT) for brain metastases treatment. Methods Eighty seven people with 1-3 brain metastases were enrolled on this Phase II trial of WBRT (30Gy/10)+simultaneous FSRT, (60Gy/10). Results Mean (Min-Max) baseline KPS, Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) and FACT-BR quality of life were 83 (70-100), 28 (21-30) and 143 (98-153). Lower baseline MMSE (but not KPS or FACT-Br) was associated with worse survival after adjusting for age, number of metastases, primary and extra-cranial disease status. Crude rates of deterioration (>10 points decrease from baseline for KPS and FACT-Br, MMSE fall to<27) ranged from 26-38% for KPS, 32-59% for FACT-Br and 0-16%for MMSE depending on the time-point assessed with higher rates generally noted at earlier time points (<6months post-treatment). Using a linear mixed models analysis, significant declines from baseline were noted for KPS and FACT-Br (largest effects at 6 weeks to 3 months) with no significant change in MMSE. Conclusions The effects on function and quality of life of this integrated treatment of WBRT+simultaneous FSRT were similar to other published series combining WBRT+SRS.
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. The disease is globally distributed and a major public health concern. The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) is the main reservoir of the pathogen in urban slums of developing and developed countries. The potential routes of intra-specific leptospire transmission in rats are largely unknown. Herein, we identified pathogenic Leptospira spp. in breast tissue and milk of naturally infected rats. We examined kidney, breast tissue and milk from 24 lactating rats for the presence of leptospires using immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and scanning electronic microscopy. All 24 rats had evidence for Leptospira in the kidneys, indicating chronic carriage. The majority of kidney-positive rats had detectable leptospires in milk (18, 75%) and breast tissue (16, 67%), as evidenced by immunofluorescence assay and immunohistochemistry. Four (17%) milk samples and two (8%) breast tissue samples were positive by quantitative real-time PCR. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed the presence of leptospires in breast tissue. No major pathological changes in breast tissue were found. This study, for the first time, identified leptospires in the milk and breast tissue of wild Norway rats, suggesting the possibility of milk-borne transmission of leptospirosis to neonates.
Swartzia langsdorffii seeds have recalcitrant characteristics. Nonetheless, dispersal begins in the month with the lowest precipitation in the studied region, which could lead to seed death by desiccation. Therefore, the objectives of this study were: (1) to characterize the physiological behaviour of S. langsdorffii seeds related to their desiccation sensitivity/tolerance; and (2) to assess the morphophysiological characteristics that enable the seeds to remain viable after dispersal. Fruits and seeds were subjected to biometric evaluation and the anatomical and ultrastructural features of the seeds were determined. Field assessments were performed to determine the capacity of the seeds to maintain viability and to verify the relation between seed viability, diaspore water content and environmental variables. Seeds of this species were found to be recalcitrant and showed pores distributed throughout the seed coat, and contained a large number of stomata in the hypocotyl–radicle axis epidermis. Moreover, phenolic compounds were found throughout the radicle region. Seeds remained viable in the soil for up to 7 months after dispersal without a significant decrease in water content, despite the low precipitation and soil water content. Radicle protrusion began 5 months after dispersal and coincided with partial fruit decomposition at the beginning of the rainy season. Thus, the possible microclimate created by the pericarp, with the moisture content of the aril and the soil, the presence of the structures in the axis, such as the pores and stomata, the chemical composition and the morphology of S. langsdorffii seeds could favour maintenance of their viability until the beginning of the rainy season.
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.) could play an important role as a feed source for ruminants in arid and semi-arid zones of the world owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. The current paper assessed the agronomic characteristics, ensilability, intake and digestibility of five Brazilian pearl millet cultivars (IPA Bulk1BF, BRS 1501, CMS-03, CMS-01 and BN-2) in a typical Brazilian northeastern semi-arid climate. Forage was harvested at the dough stage of grain maturity (growth stage 86 according to the BBCH scale) and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 25 Santa Inês male lambs. The cultivars CMS-01, CMS-03 and BN-2 out-performed the others in terms of dry matter (DM) and digestible DM yield/ha. At DM partitioning among plant tissues, the cultivar IPA Bulk1BF had a greater DM associated with panicles and one of the greatest concentrations of organic matter, lactic acid and in vitro dry matter digestibility among the five cultivars. The cultivar BRS 1501 had greater butyric acid concentration as well as one of the highest pH values. Silage produced from BN-2 not only contained greater acetic acid concentration, but also showed one of the greatest total volatile fatty acid concentrations. There were no differences in feed intake and digestibility of nutrients and fibre fractions across all cultivars. Silage made from BN-2 resulted in greater urinary excretion of nitrogen than those produced from BRS 1501. Under the conditions of the present study, the results obtained for production of DM and digestible dry matter, and the ratio of plant fractions, indicates the possible use of these cultivars for silage production in the Brazilian semi-arid region.