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There is no agreement regarding which solvent is more suitable to obtain sol–gel–derived titania (TiO2) samples with an enhanced photocatalytic behavior. Furthermore, the solvent effect on the preparation of TiO2-RGO (reduced graphene oxide) nanocomposites has not been published yet and could be an attractive experimental strategy to modulate structure and properties. On the basis of these observations, TiO2-RGO nanocomposites were fabricated in this study. It was evaluated for the influence of using either isopropyl (IsoprOH) or ethyl (EtOH) alcohol on the textural and photocatalytic properties of the prepared materials. The use of IsoprOH led to samples with smaller crystallite size, narrower apparent band gap, smaller isoelectric point, larger adsorption capacity, and higher photocatalytic activity. In addition, the incorporation of RGO into TiO2 greatly improved the adsorption capacity and photocatalytic activity of the latter. However, the optimal loading of RGO to prepare composites with enhanced photocatalytic activities was 1 wt%. This finding can be related to the stacking of RGO sheets when concentrations above 1 wt% are used, which could prevent UV light to reach the TiO2 particles and also decrease the photocatalytic capacity of the composites. Moreover, materials with RGO concentration above 1 wt% could exhibit a highly negatively charged surface, which may decrease the separation of the generated electron–hole pairs and lead to faster recombination rates of charge carriers.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death among infectious diseases worldwide. Among the estimated cases of drug-resistant TB, approximately 60% occur in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Among Brazilian states, primary and acquired multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) rates were the highest in Rio Grande do Sul (RS). This study aimed to perform molecular characterisation of MDR-TB in the State of RS, a high-burden Brazilian state. We performed molecular characterisation of MDR-TB cases in RS, defined by drug susceptibility testing, using 131 Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) DNA samples from the Central Laboratory. We carried out MIRU-VNTR 24loci, spoligotyping, sequencing of the katG, inhA and rpoB genes and RDRio sublineage identification. The most frequent families found were LAM (65.6%) and Haarlem (22.1%). RDRio deletion was observed in 42 (32%) of the M.tb isolates. Among MDR-TB cases, eight (6.1%) did not present mutations in the studied genes. In 116 (88.5%) M.tb isolates, we found mutations associated with rifampicin (RIF) resistance in rpoB gene, and in 112 isolates (85.5%), we observed mutations related to isoniazid resistance in katG and inhA genes. An insertion of 12 nucleotides (CCAGAACAACCC) at the 516 codon in the rpoB gene, possibly responsible for a decreased interaction of RIF and RNA polymerase, was found in 19/131 of the isolates, belonging mostly to LAM and Haarlem families. These results enable a better understanding of the dynamics of transmission and evolution of MDR-TB in the region.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a multifactorial syndrome with significant interactions between genetic and environmental factors. This study specifically investigates the association between family history of alcohol problems (FHAP) and family history of depression (FHD), and how these relate to different clusters of depressive symptoms.
Correlations between FHAP and FHD and different clusters of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were studied. We sampled 333 employees from a general hospital who had been receiving a psychiatric consultation between 2005 and 2012. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models were conducted to explore these correlations.
There was a significant positive correlation between FHAP and BDI affective score. This result remained significant even after the adjustment for other variables considered as important factors for MDD, such as gender, age, marital status, education, ethnic group and FHD. More specifically, FHAP was correlated with dissatisfaction and episodes of crying among the affective symptoms. FHAP showed no statistical difference in any of the other clusters score or in the BDI total score. Moreover, as expected, we found a correlation between FHD and BDI total score and Somatic and Cognitive clusters.
FHAP should be routinely investigated in individuals presenting with depressive symptoms. This is especially important in cases presenting with dissatisfaction and episodes of crying in patients who do not endorse criteria for MDD. Due to study limitations, the findings require replication by neurobiological, epidemiological and clinical studies.
Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), a key pest of tomato, is quickly spreading over the world and biological control is considered as one of the control options. Worldwide more than 160 species of natural enemies are associated with this pest, and an important challenge is to quickly find an effective biocontrol agent from this pool of candidate species. Evaluation criteria for control agents are presented, with the advantages they offer for separating potentially useful natural enemies from less promising ones. Next, an aggregate parameter for ranking agents is proposed: the pest kill rate km. We explain why the predator's intrinsic rate of increase cannot be used for comparing the control potential of predators or parasitoids, while km can be used to compare both types of natural enemies. As an example, kill rates for males, females and both sexes combined of three Neotropical mirid species (Campyloneuropsis infumatus (Carvalho), Engytatus varians (Distant) and Macrolophus basicornis (Stål)) were determined, taking all life-history data (developmental times, survival rates, total nymphal and adult predation, sex ratios and adult lifespan) into account. Based on the value for the intrinsic rate of increase (rm) for T. absoluta and for the kill rate km of the predators, we predict that all three predators are potentially able to control the pest, because their km values are all higher than the rm of the pest. Using only km values, we conclude that E. varians is the best candidate for control of T. absoluta on tomato, with C. infumatus ranking second and M. basicornis last.
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.
Phenotypic differentiation among fish populations may be used for management of distinct stocks and helps in conserving biodiversity. We compared morphometric and meristic characters of the anchovy Anchoa januaria from shallow semi-closed bays between the south-eastern (Tropical, 23°S) and southern (Subtropical, 25°S) Brazilian coast. We hypothesized that differences between habitats and environmental conditions result in morphological divergence between conspecific populations. Fish size did not differ significantly between the two areas. Significant differences in the meristic and morphological characters were detected for individuals between the two areas, with specimens from the Subtropical region having significant larger head height, pectoral fin length and eye diameter compared with those from the Tropical region. Conversely, specimens from the Tropical region had significantly larger maxillary length, mouth length and body height than those from the Subtropical region. The number of rays for the dorsal and pectoral fins were higher for the specimens from the Subtropical region, whereas for the anal fin was higher for individuals from the Tropical region. Different morphological groups between the two regions were depicted by principal component analysis and discriminant function analysis, which suggest that morphological divergence is occurring. Local environmental influences and the lack of genetic interchange are likely to be the causes of such divergence. This is facilitated by the low tolerance of this species to marine waters that prevents connectivity between these stocks/populations.
Portugal was one of the European countries most affected by the period of economic recession initiated in 2008. Social inequalities are likely to widen during such periods and disproportionately affect people with mental disorders. The present study aims to compare self-reported changes in indicators of socioeconomic position during the economic recession in Portugal among people with and without mental disorders in the beginning of this period. Three dimensions were assessed, namely employment situation, experiences of financial hardship and subjective social status.
Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative Portugal (2008/2009) and from the National Mental Health Survey Follow-up (2015/2016) were used (n = 911). Multinomial and logistic recession models were performed to examine the association between the presence of any 12-month mood or anxiety mental disorder in 2008/2009 and indicators of socioeconomic position in 2015/2016. All analyses were adjusted for gender, age, presence of any physical disorder and education at the baseline.
Participants that had any mental disorder in the beginning of the economic recession reported 2.20 (95% CI 1.31–3.71; P < 0.01) higher odds of financial hardship related to daily life in 2015/2016, when compared with those without any mental disorder, after adjusting for age, gender, education and presence of any physical disorder. The results may also suggest a pattern of increased socioeconomic disadvantage among people with prior mental disorder, despite not reaching statistical significance.
The results of this study suggest that the economic recession may have contributed to wider social inequalities between people with and without mental disorders. Policies to support these individuals, such as access to treatment and alleviation of financial hardship, should be a priority in times of economic downturn.
Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression.
To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients received a single dose of either ayahuasca or placebo. We assessed changes in depression severity with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating scale at baseline, and at 1 (D1), 2 (D2), and 7 (D7) days after dosing.
We observed significant antidepressant effects of ayahuasca when compared with placebo at all-time points. MADRS scores were significantly lower in the ayahuasca group compared with placebo at D1 and D2 (p = 0.04), and at D7 (p < 0.0001). Between-group effect sizes increased from D1 to D7 (D1: Cohen's d = 0.84; D2: Cohen's d = 0.84; D7: Cohen's d = 1.49). Response rates were high for both groups at D1 and D2, and significantly higher in the ayahuasca group at D7 (64% v. 27%; p = 0.04). Remission rate showed a trend toward significance at D7 (36% v. 7%, p = 0.054).
To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial to test a psychedelic substance in treatment-resistant depression. Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression. This study is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02914769).
Recent evidence has shown that most tropical species are declining as a result of global change. Under this scenario, the prevalence of tolerant species to disturbances has driven many biological communities towards biotic homogenization (BH). However, the mechanisms that drive communities towards BH are not yet thoroughly understood. We tested effects of recurring wildfires on woody species richness and composition in six seasonally flooded Amazonian forests and whether these fires reduce species composition (i.e., taxonomic homogenization) over short periods of time. Our results show that these forests are undergoing taxonomic homogenization in response to recurring fire events. Species richness decreased as a result of local extinctions and floristic similarity increased among forest communities. Fire was selecting tolerant (‘winner’) species and eliminating the more sensitive (‘loser’) species. BH leads to biodiversity erosion, which can deeply alter ecosystem processes such as productivity, nutrient cycling and decomposition, resulting in important consequences for conservation.
The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~ 11Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.
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.
Recent studies with Nile tilapia have shown divergent results regarding the possibility of selecting on morphometric measurements to promote indirect genetic gains in fillet yield (FY). The use of indirect selection for fillet traits is important as these traits are only measurable after harvesting. Random regression models are a powerful tool in association studies to identify the best time point to measure and select animals. Random regression models can also be applied in a multiple trait approach to analyze indirect response to selection, which would avoid the need to sacrifice candidate fish. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the genetic relationships between several body measurements, weight and fillet traits throughout the growth period and to evaluate the possibility of indirect selection for fillet traits in Nile tilapia. Data were collected from 2042 fish and was divided into two subsets. The first subset was used to estimate genetic parameters, including the permanent environmental effect for BW and body measurements (8758 records for each body measurement, as each fish was individually weighed and measured a maximum of six times). The second subset (2042 records for each trait) was used to estimate genetic correlations and heritabilities, which enabled the calculation of correlated response efficiencies between body measurements and the fillet traits. Heritability estimates across ages ranged from 0.05 to 0.5 for height, 0.02 to 0.48 for corrected length (CL), 0.05 to 0.68 for width, 0.08 to 0.57 for fillet weight (FW) and 0.12 to 0.42 for FY. All genetic correlation estimates between body measurements and FW were positive and strong (0.64 to 0.98). The estimates of genetic correlation between body measurements and FY were positive (except for CL at some ages), but weak to moderate (−0.08 to 0.68). These estimates resulted in strong and favorable correlated response efficiencies for FW and positive, but moderate for FY. These results indicate the possibility of achieving indirect genetic gains for FW and by selecting for morphometric traits, but low efficiency for FY when compared with direct selection.
Despite significant advances in therapies against Trypanosoma evansi, its effective elimination from the central nervous system (CNS) remains a difficult task. The incapacity of trypanocidal drugs to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) after systemic administrations makes the brain the main refuge area for T. evansi. Nanotechnology is showing great potential to improve drug efficacy, such as nerolidol-loaded nanospheres (N-NS). Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate whether the treatment with N-NS was able to cross the BBB and to eliminate T. evansi from the CNS. High-performance liquid chromatography revealed that N-NS can cross the BBB of T. evansi-infected mice, while free nerolidol (F-N) neither the trypanocidal drug diminazene aceturate (D.A.) were not detected in the brain tissue. Polymerase chain reaction revealed that 100% of the animals treated with N-NS were negatives for T. evansi in the brain tissue, while all infected animals treated with F-N or D.A. were positives. Thus, we concluded that nanotechnology improves the therapeutic efficacy of nerolidol, and enables the transport of its active principle through the BBB. In summary, N-NS treatment can eliminate the parasite from the CNS, and possesses potential to treat infected animals.
Licuri (Syagrus coronate) cake is a biodiesel by-product used in ruminant feed as a beneficial energy source for supplementation in managed pastures. The objective was to evaluate the performance, digestibility, nitrogen balance, blood metabolites, ingestive behavior and diet profitability of eight crossbred Holstein (3/4)×Gyr (5/8) multiparous cows (480±25 kg BW and 100 days milking) grazing and supplemented with licuri cake partially replacing ground corn and soybean meal in concentrate (0, 200, 400 and 600 g/kg in dry matter (DM)), distributed in an experimental duplicated 4×4 Latin square design. Licuri cake partially replacing ground corn and soybean meal increased (P<0.01) the intake and digestibility of ether extract and decreased the non-fiber carbohydrates; however, there were no influences on the intakes of DM, CP, NDF and total digestible nutrients (TDN). The digestibilities of DM, CP and NDF were not influenced by licuri cake addition. There was a decrease trend on TDN digestibility (P=0.08). Licuri cake replacing ground corn and soybean meal in concentrate did not affect the intake; fecal, urinary and mammary excretions; N balance; and triglycerides concentrations. However, the blood urea nitrogen (P=0.04) concentration decreased with the licuri cakes inclusion in cow supplementation. There was an increasing trend for serum creatinine (P=0.07). Licuri cake inclusion did not affect body condition score, production, yield, protein, lactose, total solids and solid non-fat contents of milk and Minas frescal cheese. There was a linear decrease in average daily weight gain (g/day). The milk fat concentration and cheese fat production (P<0.1) presented a linear increase with partial replacement of ground corn and soybean meal with licuri cakes. The addition of licuri cake did not alter the time spent feeding, ruminating or idling. There was an increasing trend in NDF feeding efficiency (P=0.09). The replacing of ground corn and soybean meal with licuri cake up to 600 g/kg decreased the concentrate cost by US$0.45/cow per day. Licuri cake replacing corn and soybeans (400 g/kg) in concentrate promoted a profit of US$0.07/animal per day. Licuri cake is indicated to concentrate the supplementation of dairy cows with average productions of 10 kg/day at levels up to 400 g/kg in the concentrate supplement because it provides an additional profit of US$0.07/animal per day and increased milk and Minas frescal cheese fat without negative effects on productive parameters.
The Antarctic Roadmap Challenges (ARC) project identified critical requirements to deliver high priority Antarctic research in the 21st century. The ARC project addressed the challenges of enabling technologies, facilitating access, providing logistics and infrastructure, and capitalizing on international co-operation. Technological requirements include: i) innovative automated in situ observing systems, sensors and interoperable platforms (including power demands), ii) realistic and holistic numerical models, iii) enhanced remote sensing and sensors, iv) expanded sample collection and retrieval technologies, and v) greater cyber-infrastructure to process ‘big data’ collection, transmission and analyses while promoting data accessibility. These technologies must be widely available, performance and reliability must be improved and technologies used elsewhere must be applied to the Antarctic. Considerable Antarctic research is field-based, making access to vital geographical targets essential. Future research will require continent- and ocean-wide environmentally responsible access to coastal and interior Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Year-round access is indispensable. The cost of future Antarctic science is great but there are opportunities for all to participate commensurate with national resources, expertise and interests. The scope of future Antarctic research will necessitate enhanced and inventive interdisciplinary and international collaborations. The full promise of Antarctic science will only be realized if nations act together.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of nerolidol free (N-F) and nerolidol-loaded in nanospheres (N-NS) on the hepatic antioxidant/oxidant status of mice experimentally infected by Trypanosoma evansi. In the liver it was measured: reactive oxygen species (ROS), thiobarbituric reactive acid substances (TBARS) and non-protein thiols (NPSH), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and performed histopathological examination. In addition, seric levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were measured. Liver samples from mice infected by T. evansi showed increased (P < 0·05) ROS, TBARS, AST and ALT levels and SOD activity, and decreased NPSH levels and CAT activity (P < 0·05) compared with uninfected animals. N-NS treatment prevented (P < 0·05) ROS and TBARS increase, and increased NPSH levels, and ameliorate CAT and SOD activities on liver of infected mice. Moreover, N-NS treatment reduced (P < 0·05) AST and ALT levels, and prevented histopathological changes caused by the parasite. N-NS protected the liver from the oxidative stress caused by T. evansi, which might be due to its antioxidant properties. Nerolidol might be considered a promising therapeutic agent against oxidative stress, and nanotechnology is an encouraging approach to be explored.
Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate) has a beneficial effect in the management of obesity. Here, we studied the effects of yerba mate on hypothalamic changes in leptin and insulin signalling, oxidative stress and liver morphology and metabolism in postnatal early overfeeding (EO) Wistar rats. To induce EO, the litter size was reduced to three pups per dam, and litters with 10 pups per dam were used as a control (10 litters each). On postnatal day (PN) 150, EO offspring were subdivided into EO and EO+mate groups (10 animals each), which were treated with water or mate tea [1 g/kg body weight (BW)/day, by gavage], respectively, for 30 days. The C offspring received water. On PN180, yerba mate treatment prevented BW gain and reduced total body fat, visceral fat and food intake in comparison with the EO group. Leptin and insulin signalling in the hypothalamus measured by Western blotting was reduced only in the EO group. Yerba mate treatment had a greater impact on insulin signalling normalization. In the liver, yerba mate treatment normalized antioxidant enzyme activities and, consequently, decreased lipid peroxidation, determined by malondialdehyde content. In addition, the steatosis level and the liver triglyceride content were also restored. Thus, for the first time, yerba mate was demonstrated to increase antioxidant defences and improve liver metabolism in adult rats that were overfed during lactation, possibly through improvements in the hypothalamic action of insulin. These findings may be important for the treatment of obesity-related disorders.
There is increasing research interest in potential applications of halloysite as fillers for polymer composites, controlled drug delivery, carriers for the supply and sustained release of active agents for anticorrosion coatings, in nanoreactors or nanotemplates, and for the uptake of contaminants or pollutants and support for catalysts. In this review, recent findings in terms of the prospects and challenges of using halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) in different polymeric matrices targeting a range of old and new applications are discussed and evaluated. The compositions include chitosan/halloysite membranes as bone-tissue scaffolds, polylactic acid (PLA)/halloysite membranes for food-packaging applications and their antimicrobial activities, instrumented impact properties of epoxy/halloysite nanocomposites and the role of halloysite in the self-healing of epoxy composites, polyacryronitrile (PAN)/halloysite membranes for use in water filtration as well as a review of some recent applications of halloysite/alginate beads in the adsorption of contaminants such as lead.
We report Li abundances from the λ6707 line for 19 nearby dwarf and subgiant solar-type stars. The unevolved stars in this sample present high (> 2.00) Li abundances. We found a few cases of subgiant stars which present high Li content. The Sun seems to be part of a population of nearly unevolved stars which have depleted their Li to a high degree: all other metal-normal, near ZAMS stars in our sample show higher than solar Li content. There seems to be no correlation of the degree of Li depletion with mass, atmospheric parameters or state of evolution: as an example we found a star (HR1532) almost identical to the Sun in its state of evolution and atmospheric parameters, but with over ten times the solar Li abundance. We propose that different histories of angular momentum distribution at star birth, and/or post-birth angular momentum evolution, may account for these differences.