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The BW has been largely used as a selection criterion in genetic selection programmes; however, increases in BW can affect animal metabolism and metabolites. The knowledge of how genetic potential for growth affects the metabolites can give a footprint of growth metabolism. This research aimed to evaluate the effect of genetic potential for post-weaning growth (GG) on performance, carcass traits and serum metabolome of non-castrated Nellore males during the finishing phase. Forty-eight Nellore non-castrated males, with divergent potential for post-weaning growth, were selected and divided into two groups: high potential for post-weaning growth (HG; n = 24) and low potential for post-weaning growth (LG; n = 24). Animals were kept and fed for 90 days where performance and ultrasound carcass traits were evaluated. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of feeding period to analyse serum metabolites concentration. The hot carcass weight and dressing percentage were recorded at slaughter. The feedlot performance and carcass traits were not affected by genetic potential. The HG animals had a lower glucose (P = 0.039), glutamate (P = 0.038), glutamine (P = 0.004), greater betaine (P = 0.039) and pyruvate (P = 0.039) compared to the LG group at the beginning of feedlot. In addition, higher creatine phosphate concentrations were observed at the beginning of feeding period, compared to final, for both groups (P = 0.039). In conclusion, the genetic potential for post-weaning growth does not affect performance and carcass traits during the finishing period. Differences in metabolite concentrations can be better found at the beginning of feedlot, providing a footprint of growth metabolism, but similar metabolite concentration at the end of finishing period.
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.
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.
This study evaluated the effects of diet containing taro flour on hormone levels and the seminiferous tubules morphology of rats. After weaning, the male rats were divided into two groups (n=12 each): control group (CG) treated with control diet and taro group (TG), fed with 25% taro flour for 90 days. Food, caloric intake, mass and body length were evaluated at experiment end. Testis followed the standard histological processing. Immunostaining was performed using an anti-vimentin antibody to identify Sertoli cells. In histomorphometry, total diameter, total area, epithelial height, luminal height and luminal area were analyzed. The testosterone levels were performed using the radioimmunoassay method. Group TG presented (P<0.05): increase in mass, body length, testicular weight, histomorphometric parameters and hormonal levels. Food intake, calorie and Sertoli cells not presented statistical differences. The taro promoted increase in the testicles parameters and hormones.
Epidemiological studies have found coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Thus, the aim of this randomised, cross-over single-blind study was to investigate the effects of regular coffee, regular coffee with sugar and decaffeinated coffee consumption on glucose metabolism and incretin hormones. Seventeen healthy men participated in five trials each, during which they consumed coffee (decaffeinated, regular (containing caffeine) or regular with sugar) or water (with or without sugar). After 1 h of each intervention, they received an oral glucose tolerance test with one intravenous dose of [1-13C]glucose. The Oral Dose Intravenous Label Experiment was applied and glucose and insulin levels were interpreted using a stable isotope two-compartment minimal model. A mixed-model procedure (PROC MIXED), with subject as random effect and time as repeated measure, was used to compare the effects of the beverages on glucose metabolism and incretin parameters (glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP)) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)). Insulin sensitivity was higher with decaffeinated coffee than with water (P<0·05). Regular coffee with sugar did not significantly affect glucose, insulin, C-peptide and incretin hormones, compared with water with sugar. Glucose, insulin, C-peptide, GLP-1 and GIP levels were not statistically different after regular and decaffeinated coffee compared with water. Our findings demonstrated that the consumption of decaffeinated coffee improves insulin sensitivity without changing incretin hormones levels. There was no short-term adverse effect on glucose homoeostasis, after an oral glucose challenge, attributable to the consumption of regular coffee with sugar.
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.
The stellar occultation technique is a powerful tool to study distant small solar system bodies. Currently, around 2 500 trans-neptunian objects (TNOs) and Centaurs are known. With the astrometry from Gaia and large surveys like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), accurate predictions of occultation events will be available to tens of thousands of TNOs and Centaurs and boost the knowledge of the outer solar system.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
The multi-object spectroscopic facility FOCAP at the Anglo-Australian Telescope has been used to obtain spectra centred at the Ca II IR triplet of 14 stars in the field of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxy. This satellite of our own Galaxy was recently discovered by Irwin et al. (1990) from APM measures of UK Schmidt Telescope photographic plates.
Obesity and osteoporosis may have their origins in early postnatal life. This study was designed to evaluate whether flaxseed flour use during lactation period bears effect on body adiposity and skeletal structure of male rat pups at weaning. At birth, male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to control and experimental (FF) groups, whose dams were treated with control or flaxseed flour diet, respectively, during lactation. At 21 days of age, pups were weaned to assess body mass, length and composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The animals were then sacrificed to carry out analysis of serum profile, intra-abdominal adipocyte morphology and femur characteristics. Differences were considered significant when P<0.05. The FF group displayed the following characteristics (P<0.05): higher body mass, length, bone mineral content, bone area and concentrations of osteoprotegerin, osteocalcin and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; higher levels of stearic, α-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids and lower levels of arachidonic acid and cholesterol; smaller adipocyte area; and higher mass, epiphysis distance, diaphysis width, maximal load, break load, resilience and stiffness of femur. Flaxseed flour intake during lactation period promoted adipocyte hypertrophy down-regulation and contributed to pup bone quality at weaning.
The aim of this study was analyzed if the flour or flaxseed oil treatment contributes to body composition in male rats subjected to early weaning. Pups were weaned for separation from mother at 14 (early weaning, EW) and 21 days (control, C). At 21 days, part of the pups was evaluated (C21 v. EW21). After 21 days, control (C60) was fed with control diet. EW was divided in control (EWC60); flaxseed flour (EWFF60); flaxseed oil (EWFO60) diets until 60 days. Body mass, length and body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were determined. EW21 (v. C21) and EWC60 (v. C60 and EWFF60) showed lower (P<0.05) mass, length and body composition. EWFO60 (v. C60 and EWFF60) showed lower (P<0.05) body mass and length, body and trunk lean mass, bone mineral density and content and bone area. Flaxseed flour, in comparison with flaxseed oil, contributes to recovery of body composition after early weaning.
In this contribution the hypothesis that the Galactic globular clusters with substantial internal [Fe/H] abundance ranges are the former nuclei of disrupted dwarf galaxies is discussed. Evidence considered includes the form of the metallicity distribution function, the occurrence of large diffuse outer envelopes in cluster density profiles, and the presence of ([s-process/Fe], [Fe/H]) correlations. The hypothesis is shown to be plausible but with the caveat that if significantly more than the current nine clusters known to have [Fe/H] spreads are found, then re-evaluation will be required.
The precocious interruption of lactation is a prime factor for developmental plasticity. Here we analyzed whether flour or flaxseed oil treatment contributes to body and brain mass in male rats subjected to early weaning. Pups were weaned for separation from their mother at 14 (early weaning, EW) and 21 days (control, C). At 21 days, some of the pups were evaluated (C21 v. EW21). After 21 days, control pups (C60) were fed a control diet. EW pups were divided into those fed a control diet (EWC60), those given flaxseed flour (EWFF60), and those given flaxseed oil (EWFO60) until 60 days. EW21 showed lower body and absolute brain mass and higher relative brain mass. At 60 days, EWC60 and EWFO60 had lower body mass. With regard to relative brain mass, EWC60 was heavier; EWFO60 had lower values compared with EWC60 and higher values compared with C60 and EWFF60. These results indicated that flaxseed flour, in comparison with flaxseed oil, contributes to brain development after EW.
We describe the preliminary design of a magnetograph and visible-light imager instrument to study the solar dynamo processes through observations of the solar surface magnetic field distribution. The instrument will provide measurements of the vector magnetic field and of the line-of-sight velocity in the solar photosphere. As the magnetic field anchored at the solar surface produces most of the structures and energetic events in the upper solar atmosphere and significantly influences the heliosphere, the development of this instrument plays an important role in reaching the scientific goals of The Atmospheric and Space Science Coordination (CEA) at the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). In particular, the CEA's space weather program will benefit most from the development of this technology. We expect that this project will be the starting point to establish a strong research program on Solar Physics in Brazil. Our main aim is acquiring progressively the know-how to build state-of-the-art solar vector magnetograph and visible-light imagers for space-based platforms to contribute to the efforts of the solar-terrestrial physics community to address the main unanswered questions on how our nearby Star works.
One of the major science goals of the SkyMapper survey of the Southern Hemisphere sky is the determination of the shape and extent of the halo of the Galaxy. In this paper, we quantify the likely efficiency and completeness of the survey as regards the detection of RR Lyrae variable stars, which are excellent tracers of the halo stellar population. We have accomplished this via observations of the RR Lyrae-rich globular cluster NGC 3201. We find that for single-epoch uvgri observations followed by two further epochs of g, r imaging, as per the intended three-epoch survey strategy, we recover known RR Lyraes with a completeness exceeding 90%. We also investigate boundaries in the gravity-sensitive single-epoch two-colour diagram that yield high completeness and high efficiency (i.e., minimal contamination by non-RR Lyraes) and the general usefulness of this diagram in separating populations.
In the search for tidal structure in Galactic satellite systems, we have conducted a photometric survey over a 10 deg2 area centred on the Fornax dSph galaxy. The survey was made in two colours, and the resulting colour–magnitude data were used as a mask to select candidate Fornax RGB stars, thereby increasing the contrast of Fornax stars to background sources in the outer regions. Previously, we reported the presence of a shell (age 2 Gyr) located towards the centre of Fornax. In this contribution we reveal a second shell, significantly larger than the first, located 1.3° north-west from the centre of Fornax, outside the nominal tidal radius. Moreover, the distribution of Fornax RGB stars reveals two lobes extending to the spatial limit of our survey, and aligned with the minor axis and with the two shells. These results support the hypothesis of a merger between Fornax and a gas-rich companion approximately 2 Gyr ago.
In the present work, the interactions between forsterite-91 with distilled water and forsterite-91 with artificial seawater were studied at two pHs (2.0 and 8.0) using different techniques. A large increase in pH was observed for samples incubated at an initially acidic pH (2.0) due to the dissolution of forsterite-91 in distilled water and artificial seawater. Thus, in acidic hydrothermal vents, an increase in the amount of hydrocarbons and magnetite should be expected due to the release of Fe(II). The pHPZC decreased and the pHIEP increased when forsterite-91 was treated with distilled water and artificial seawater. The ions from the artificial seawater had an effect on zeta potential. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and X-ray diffractograms showed halite in the samples of forsterite-91 mixed with artificial seawater. The presence of halite or adsorption of ions on the surface of forsterite-91 could affect the synthesis of magnetite and hydrocarbons in hydrothermal vents, due to a decrease in the dissolution rates of forsterite-91. The dissolution of forsterite-91 yields low concentrations of Fe(III) and Mn(II) as detected by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Microanalysis of forsterite-91 showed a higher amount of Mn, with an oxidation that was likely not +II, as Mn in supernatant solutions was only detected by EPR spectroscopy after mixing with artificial seawater at pH 2.0. As Fe(III) and Mn(II) are catalyst constituents of magnetite and manganese oxide, respectively, their presence is important for synthesis in hydrothermal vents. Etch pits were observed only in the forsterite-91 sample mixed with distilled water at pH 8.0. Na, Cl, S, Ca and K were detected in the samples mixed with artificial seawater by SEM–EDS. Si, Mg, Fe and Al were detected in almost all supernatant samples due to forsterite-91 dissolution. Cr was not dissolved in the experiments, thus Cr in the mineral could serve as an effective catalyst for Fischer Tropsch Types (FTT) reactions in hydrothermal vent systems. X-ray diffractograms of the original forsterite-91 also showed peaks arising from zeolites and clinochlore. After the samples were treated with artificial seawater, X-ray diffractograms showed the dissolution of zeolite. Experiments should be performed in the natural environment to verify the potential for zeolites to act as a catalyst in hydrothermal vents.
Black vultures (Coragyps atratus) are often present near calving sites, and under this situation they may play a positive role by removing animal carcasses and afterbirth or a negative role by attacking neonate calves or disturbing cow–calf behaviours following parturition. Cow–calf behaviour was recorded over a 4-year study period from a total of 300 births involving 200 Nellore, 54 Guzerat, 20 Gyr and 26 Caracu cows. The calving site in relation to the location of the herd, considering cow–calf pairs within, close or distant to the herd, the presence of vultures and the behaviour of cows and calves were recorded instantaneously, at 5-min interval. On average, vultures were present at 80% of the calving sites. The frequency of vultures present at calving sites was dependent on the years for the Nellore herd, increasing from 1998 to 2003. When vultures were present, the time that the cow was in contact with its calf decreased, and the percentage of time that the cow was standing still increased. Vultures were observed pecking cows and their neonates during 34.1% of all recordings. However, in only two cases pecking injuries were actually observed on calves that were noted to be very weak. The preliminary results suggest that although black vultures cannot be characterized as a predator of neonate calves, they sometimes attack neonate calves and their presence near the calving sites alter the behaviours of cows and calves.
Trypanosoma evansi is the aetiological agent of trypanosomosis in domestic animals. In this pathology, an inflammatory response can be observed and, as a consequence, the increase of extracellular adenine nucleotides such as ATP. These nucleotide concentrations are regulated by ectoenzymes such as NTPDase (EC 220.127.116.11, CD39), which catalyses the hydrolysis of ATP and ADP into AMP. In this study, the activity of NTPDase in lymphocytes of rats experimentally infected with T. evansi was evaluated. The animals were inoculated with the parasite and monitored by blood smear on a daily basis. The animals were then were divided into 4 groups according to the degree of parasitaemia and period of infection. The blood collections for enzyme analysis and lymphocyte count were performed on the 3rd (beginning of infection), 5th (acute infection) and 15th (chronic infection) days post-infection (p.i.). The control group was composed of non-infected animals. In the infected group a decrease in ATP hydrolysis (36%) was observed on the 3rd day p.i. and a decrease in ADP hydrolysis (62%) was observed on the 5th day p.i. when compared to the control. On the 15th day p.i., an increase in ATP (94%) and ADP (50%) hydrolysis was observed in the infected group. Considering these data it is suggested that NTPDase activity is altered on the surface of lymphocytes of rats infected with T. evansi at different time-points of infection.
We studied the stellar populations of Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy using HST/WFPC2 imaging of 7 galaxy fields. Our observations reach the oldest main-sequence turn-off, revealing distinct stars formation episodes and allowing us to address the evolution of this prototype dwarf spheroidal galaxy known to have experienced an extended history of star formation. From our HST data, spatial gradients in the stellar content of Fornax emerge with greater clarity. The outermost fields show only stars with ages between 7–12Gyr, while the intermediate region hosts a stellar population between 4–10Gyr, and stars younger of 2 Gyr are found in the innermost fields. A clearly visible gap in the subgiant branch points to bimodality in the main star formation episode. Our observations also indicate that the inner clump detected by Coleman et al. (2004) is characterized by the presence of young stars with age about 1.8 Gyr.