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The Asian elephant Elephas maximus is at risk of extinction as a result of anthropogenic pressures, and remaining populations are often small and fragmented remnants, occupying a fraction of the species' former range. Once widely distributed across China, only a maximum of 245 elephants are estimated to survive across seven small populations. We assessed the Asian elephant population in Nangunhe National Nature Reserve in Lincang Prefecture, China, using camera traps during May–July 2017, to estimate the population size and structure of this genetically important population. Although detection probability was low (0.31), we estimated a total population size of c. 20 individuals, and an effective density of 0.39 elephants per km2. Social structure indicated a strong sex ratio bias towards females, with only one adult male detected within the population. Most of the elephants associated as one herd but three adult females remained separate from the herd throughout the trapping period. These results highlight the fragility of remnant elephant populations such as Nangunhe and we suggest options such as a managed metapopulation approach for their continued survival in China and more widely.
The partition of the total genetic variance into its additive and non-additive components can differ from trait to trait, and between purebred and crossbred populations. A quantification of these genetic variance components will determine the extent to which it would be of interest to account for dominance in genomic evaluations or to establish mate allocation strategies along different populations and traits. This study aims at assessing the contribution of the additive and dominance genomic variances to the phenotype expression of several purebred Piétrain and crossbred (Piétrain × Large White) pig performances. A total of 636 purebred and 720 crossbred male piglets were phenotyped for 22 traits that can be classified into six groups of traits: growth rate and feed efficiency, carcass composition, meat quality, behaviour, boar taint and puberty. Additive and dominance variances estimated in univariate genotypic models, including additive and dominance genotypic effects, and a genomic inbreeding covariate allowed to retrieve the additive and dominance single nucleotide polymorphism variances for purebred and crossbred performances. These estimated variances were used, together with the allelic frequencies of the parental populations, to obtain additive and dominance variances in terms of genetic breeding values and dominance deviations. Estimates of the Piétrain and Large White allelic contributions to the crossbred variance were of about the same magnitude in all the traits. Estimates of additive genetic variances were similar regardless of the inclusion of dominance. Some traits showed relevant amount of dominance genetic variance with respect to phenotypic variance in both populations (i.e. growth rate 8%, feed conversion ratio 9% to 12%, backfat thickness 14% to 12%, purebreds-crossbreds). Other traits showed higher amount in crossbreds (i.e. ham cut 8% to 13%, loin 7% to 16%, pH semimembranosus 13% to 18%, pH longissimus dorsi 9% to 14%, androstenone 5% to 13% and estradiol 6% to 11%, purebreds-crossbreds). It was not encountered a clear common pattern of dominance expression between groups of analysed traits and between populations. These estimates give initial hints regarding which traits could benefit from accounting for dominance for example to improve genomic estimated breeding value accuracy in genetic evaluations or to boost the total genetic value of progeny by means of assortative mating.
In product design engineering (PDE), ideation involves the generation of technical behaviours and physical structures to address specific functional requirements. This differs from generic creative ideation tasks, which emphasise functional and technical considerations less. To advance knowledge about the neural basis of PDE ideation, we present the first fMRI study on professional product design engineers practising in industry. We aimed to explore brain activation during ideation, and compare activation in open-ended and constrained tasks. Imagery manipulation tasks were contrasted with ideation tasks in a sample of 29 PDE professionals. The key findings were: (1) PDE ideation is associated with greater activity in left cingulate gyrus; (2) there were no significant differences between open-ended and constrained tasks; and (3) a preliminary association with activity in the right superior temporal gyrus was also observed. The results are consistent with existing fMRI work on generic creative ideation, suggesting that PDE ideation may share a number of similarities at the neural level. Future work includes: functional connectivity analysis of open-ended and constrained ideation to further investigate potential differences; investigating the effects of aspects of design expertise/training on processing; and the use of novelty measures directly linked to the designer’s internal processing in fMRI analysis.
FFQ are often used to estimate food and nutrient intakes to rank individuals by their level of intake. We evaluated the relative validity of a semi-quantitative FFQ created for use in Tanzania by comparing it with two 24 h diet recalls.
We measured relative validity of the FFQ with deattenuated energy-adjusted rank correlations for nutrients, deattenuated rank correlations for food groups, and performed a cross-classification analysis of energy-adjusted nutrient quartiles using percentage of agreement and Bland–Altman analysis.
Interviews were conducted in 2014 in participants’ homes in Ukonga, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
We surveyed 317 adults aged 40 years or older from the general public.
Deattenuated energy-adjusted rank correlation coefficients of nutrients ranged from −0·03 for riboflavin to 0·41 for percentage of energy from carbohydrates, with a median correlation of 0·21. Coefficients for food groups ranged from 0·00 for root vegetables to 0·51 for alcohol, with a median of 0·35. Relative to the average of the two 24 h diet recalls, the FFQ overestimated energy intake and intakes of all nutrients and food groups, other than tea, with ratios among nutrients ranging from 1·34 for SFA to 7·08 for vitamin A; and among food groups from 0·92 for tea to 9·00 for fruit. The percentage of participants classified into the same nutrient intake quartile ranged from 23 % for SFA to 32 % for both niacin and pantothenic acid, with a median of 28 %.
The FFQ performed moderately well in urban Tanzanian adults.
The impact of a deep-water plunging breaker on a finite height two-dimensional structure with a vertical front face is studied experimentally. The structure is located at a fixed horizontal position relative to a wave maker and the structure’s bottom surface is located at a range of vertical positions close to the undisturbed water surface. Measurements of the water surface profile history and the pressure distribution on the front surface of the structure are performed. As the vertical position,
axis is positive up and
is the mean water level), of the structure’s bottom surface is varied from one experimental run to another, the water surface evolution during impact can be categorized into three classes of behaviour. In class I, with
in a range of values near
is the nominal wavelength of the breaker, the behaviour of the water surface is similar to the flip-through phenomena first described in studies with shallow water and a structure mounted on the sea bed. In the present work, it is found that the water surface between the front face of the structure and the wave crest is well fitted by arcs of circles with a decreasing radius and downward moving centre as the impact proceeds. A spatially and temporally localized high-pressure region was found on the impact surface of the structure and existing theory is used to explore the physics of this phenomenon. In class II, with
in a range of values near the mean water level, the bottom of the structure exits and re-enters the water phase at least once during the impact process. These air–water transitions generate large-amplitude ripple packets that propagate to the wave crest and modify its behaviour significantly. At
, all sensors submerged during the impact record a nearly in-phase high-frequency pressure oscillation indicating possible air entrainment. In class III, with
in a range of values near
, the bottom of the structure remains in air before the main crest hits the bottom corner of the structure. The subsequent free surface behaviour is strongly influenced by the instantaneous momentum of the local flow just before impact and the highest wall pressures of all experimental conditions are found.
The absence of a dedicated transport for disaccharides in the intestine implicates that the metabolic use of dietary lactose relies on its prior hydrolysis at the intestinal brush border. Consequently, lactose in blood or urine has mostly been associated with specific cases in which the gastrointestinal barrier is damaged. On the other hand, lactose appears in the blood of lactating women and has been detected in the blood and urine of healthy men, indicating that the presence of lactose in the circulation of healthy subjects is not incompatible with normal physiology. In this cross-over study we have characterised the postprandial kinetics of lactose, and its major constituent, galactose, in the serum of fourteen healthy men who consumed a unique dose of 800 g milk or yogurt. Genetic testing for lactase persistence and microbiota profiling of the subjects were also performed. Data revealed that lactose does appear in serum after dairy intake, although with delayed kinetics compared with galactose. Median serum concentrations of approximately 0·02 mmol/l lactose and approximately 0·2 mmol/l galactose were observed after the ingestion of milk and yogurt respectively. The serum concentrations of lactose were inversely correlated with the concentrations of galactose, and the variability observed between the subjects’ responses could not be explained by the presence of the lactase persistence allele. Finally, lactose levels have been associated with the abundance of the Veillonella genus in faecal microbiota. The measurement of systemic lactose following dietary intake could provide information about lactose metabolism and nutrient transport processes under normal or pathological conditions.
Pigs selected for high performance may be more at risk of developing diseases. This study aimed to assess the health and performance of two pig lines divergently selected for residual feed intake (RFI) (low RFI (LRFI) v. high RFI (HRFI)) and housed in two contrasted hygiene conditions (poor v. good) using a 2×2 factorial design (n=40/group). The challenge period (Period 1), started on week zero (W0) when 12-week-old pigs were transferred to good or poor housing conditions. At week 6 (W6), half of the pigs in each group were slaughtered. During a recovery period (Period 2) from W6 to W13 to W14, the remaining pigs (n=20/group) were transferred in good hygiene conditions before being slaughtered. Blood was collected every three (Period 1) or 2 weeks (Period 2) to assess blood indicators of immune and inflammatory responses. Pulmonary lesions at slaughter and performance traits were evaluated. At W6, pneumonia prevalence was greater for pigs housed in poor than in good conditions (51% v. 8%, respectively, P<0.001). Irrespective of hygiene conditions, lung lesion scores were lower for LRFI pigs than for HRFI pigs (P=0.03). At W3, LRFI in poor conditions had the highest number of blood granulocytes (hygiene×line, P=0.03) and at W6, HRFI pigs in poor conditions had the greatest plasma haptoglobin concentrations (hygiene×line, P=0.02). During Period 1, growth rate and growth-to-feed ratio were less affected by poor hygiene in LRFI pigs than in HRFI pigs (hygiene×line, P=0.001 and P=0.02, respectively). Low residual feed intake pigs in poor conditions ate more than the other groups (hygiene×line, P=0.002). Irrespective of the line, fasting plasma glucose concentrations were higher in poor conditions, whereas fasting free fatty acids concentrations were lower than in good conditions. At the end of Period 2, pneumonia prevalence was similar for both housing conditions (39% v. 38%, respectively). During Period 2, plasma protein concentrations were greater for pigs previously housed in poor than in good conditions during Period 1. Immune traits, gain-to-feed ratio, BW gain and feed consumption did not differ during Period 2. Nevertheless, at W12, BW of HRFI previously housed in poor conditions was 13.4 kg lower than BW of HRFI pigs (P<0.001) previously housed in good conditions. In conclusion, health of the most feed efficient LRFI pigs was less impaired by poor hygiene conditions. This line was able to preserve its health, growth performance and its feed ingestion to a greater extent than the less efficient HRFI line.
Introduction: Decreasing readmission rates and return emergency department (ED) visits represent a major challenge for health organizations. Seniors are especially vulnerable to discharge adverse events which can result in unplanned readmissions and loss of physical, functional and/or cognitive capacity. The ACE Collaborative is a national quality improvement initiative that aims to improve care of elderly patients. We aimed to adapt Mount Sinai’s Care Transitions program to our local context in order to decrease avoidable readmissions and ED visits among seniors. Methods: We performed a prospective pre/post implementation cohort study. We recruited frail elderly hospitalized patients (≥50 years old) discharged to home and at risk of readmission (modified LACE index score≥7/12). We excluded patients being discharged to long-term nursing homes or institutions. Our intervention is based on selected strategic ACE Care Transitions best practices: transition coach, telehealth personal response services and a structured discharge checklist. The intervention is offered to selected patients before hospital discharge. Our primary outcome is a 30-day post-discharge composite of hospital readmission and return ED visit rate. Our secondary outcomes are functional autonomy, satisfaction with care transition, quality of life, caregiver strain and healthcare resource use at recruitment and at 30-days follow-up. Hospital-level administrative data is also collected to measure global effect of practice changes. Results: The project is currently ongoing and preliminary results are available for the pre-implementation cohort only. Patients in this cohort (n=33) were mainly men (61%), aged 75±10 years and presented an OARS score (Activities of Daily Living instrument that ranges from 0-28) of 5.6±4.9. At 30 days post-discharge, the patients in our cohort had a 42.4% readmission rate (14 hospitalisations) and a 54.5% return ED visit rate (18 visits). For the same time period, readmission and return ED rates for all patients in the same corresponding age-group at the hospital level were 14.4% and 21.9%, respectively. Further results for our post-intervention cohort will be presented at CAEP 2017. Conclusion: Our cohort of elderly patients have high readmission and return ED visit rates. Our ongoing quality improvement project aims to decrease these readmissions and ED visits.
This article reports on a case study of a decade-long organizing forms response to the need for groundbreaking innovation while maintaining existing operational performance – the explore–exploit conundrum. Employing ‘grounded research,’ data were collected on the experiences of the Asia-Pacific arm of a multinational professional service firm’s key decision-makers, innovators and entrepreneurs. The findings reveal a three-tiered organizing forms response to the explore–exploit paradox, characterized by a novel combination of heavy exploitation-driven actions alongside deep exploration projects. This case suggests that one successful approach to delivering on both explore and exploit focuses on a productive tension that emerges by enacting innovative organizing forms with contextual awareness. This productive tension was sufficiently powerful to impel individuals to innovate, but also sufficiently contained to avoid interfering with commercial outcomes. An explore–exploit framework conceptualizes organizational changes incorporating complexity and contradiction, without the implicit emphasis on removing or denying the existing tension.
This review summarizes the results from the INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) divergent selection experiment on residual feed intake (RFI) in growing Large White pigs during nine generations of selection. It discusses the remaining challenges and perspectives for the improvement of feed efficiency in growing pigs. The impacts on growing pigs raised under standard conditions and in alternative situations such as heat stress, inflammatory challenges or lactation have been studied. After nine generations of selection, the divergent selection for RFI led to highly significant (P<0.001) line differences for RFI (−165 g/day in the low RFI (LRFI) line compared with high RFI line) and daily feed intake (−270 g/day). Low responses were observed on growth rate (−12.8 g/day, P<0.05) and body composition (+0.9 mm backfat thickness, P=0.57; −2.64% lean meat content, P<0.001) with a marked response on feed conversion ratio (−0.32 kg feed/kg gain, P<0.001). Reduced ultimate pH and increased lightness of the meat (P<0.001) were observed in LRFI pigs with minor impact on the sensory quality of the meat. These changes in meat quality were associated with changes of the muscular energy metabolism. Reduced maintenance energy requirements (−10% after five generations of selection) and activity (−21% of time standing after six generations of selection) of LRFI pigs greatly contributed to the gain in energy efficiency. However, the impact of selection for RFI on the protein metabolism of the pig remains unclear. Digestibility of energy and nutrients was not affected by selection, neither for pigs fed conventional diets nor for pigs fed high-fibre diets. A significant improvement of digestive efficiency could likely be achieved by selecting pigs on fibre diets. No convincing genetic or blood biomarker has been identified for explaining the differences in RFI, suggesting that pigs have various ways to achieve an efficient use of feed. No deleterious impact of the selection on the sow reproduction performance was observed. The resource allocation theory states that low RFI may reduce the ability to cope with stressors, via the reduction of a buffer compartment dedicated to responses to stress. None of the experiments focussed on the response of pigs to stress or challenges could confirm this theory. Understanding the relationships between RFI and responses to stress and energy demanding processes, as such immunity and lactation, remains a major challenge for a better understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms of the trait and to reconcile the experimental results with the resource allocation theory.
The chromosphere is a complex region that acts as an intermediary between the magnetic flux emergence in the photosphere and the magnetic features seen in the corona. Large eruptions in the chromosphere of flares and filaments are often accompanied by ejections of coronal mass off the sun. Several studies have observed fast-moving progressive trains of compact bright points (called Sequential Chromospheric Brightenings or SCBs) streaming away from chromospheric flares that also produce a coronal mass ejection (CME). In this work, we review studies of SCBs and search for commonalties between them. We place these findings into a larger context with contemporary chromospheric and coronal observations. SCBs are fleeting indicators of the solar atmospheric environment as it existed before their associated eruption. Since they appear at the very outset of a flare eruption, SCBs are good early indication of a CME measured in the chromosphere.
Benchmarks for antimicrobial consumption measured in antimicrobial days are beginning to emerge. The relationship between the traditional measure of days of therapy and antimicrobial days is unclear. We observed a high intermethod correlation (R2=0.99): antimicrobial days were 1.9-fold lower than days of therapy across agents. Individual institutions should correlate these measures.
Replacing dairy components from milk replacer (MR) with vegetable products has been previously associated with decreased protein and fat digestibility in milk-fed calves resulting in lower live weight gain. In this experiment, the major carbohydrate source in MR, lactose, was partly replaced with gelatinized corn starch (GCS) to determine the effect on protein and fat digestibility in milk-fed calves. In total, 16 male Holstein-Friesian calves received either MR with lactose as the carbohydrate source (control) or 18% GCS at the expense of lactose. In the adaptation period, calves were exposed to an increasing dose of GCS for 14 weeks. The indigestible marker cobalt ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid was incorporated into the MR for calculating apparent nutrient digestibility, whereas a pulse dose of chromium (Cr) chloride was fed with the last MR meal 4 h before slaughter as an indicator of passage rates. The calves were anesthetized and exsanguinated at 30 weeks of age. The small intestine was divided in three; small intestine 1 and 2 (SI1 and SI2, respectively) and the terminal ileum (last ~100 cm of small intestine) and samples of digesta were collected. Small intestinal digesta was analysed for α-amylase, lipase and trypsin activity. Digestibility of protein was determined for SI1, SI2, ileum and total tract, whereas digestibility of fat was determined for SI1, SI2 and total tract. Apparent protein digestibility in the small intestine did not differ between treatments but was higher in control calves at total tract level. Apparent crude fat digestibility tended to be increased in SI1 and SI2 for GCS calves, but no difference was found at total tract level. Activity of α-amylase in SI2 and lipase in both SI1 and SI2 was higher in GCS calves. Activity of trypsin tended to be higher in control calves and was higher in SI1 compared with SI2. A lower recovery of Cr in SI2 and a higher recovery of Cr in the large intestine suggest an increased rate of passage for GCS calves. Including 18% of GCS in a milk replacer at the expense of lactose increased passage rate and decreased apparent total tract protein digestibility. In the small intestine, protein digestion did not decrease when feeding GCS and fat digestion even tended to increase. Overall, effects on digestion might be levelled when partially replacing lactose with GCS, because starch digestion is lower than that of lactose but fat digestion may be slightly increased when feeding GCS.
The epidemiology of laboratory-confirmed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in young children has not recently been described in England, and is an essential step in identifying optimal target groups for future licensed RSV vaccines. We used two laboratory surveillance systems to examine the total number and number of positive RSV tests in children aged <5 years in England from 2010 to 2014. We derived odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing children by birth month, using multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for age, season and sex. Forty-seven percent of RSV tests (29 851/63 827) and 57% (7405/13 034) of positive results in children aged <5 years were in infants aged <6 months. Moreover, 38% (4982/13 034) of positive results were in infants aged <3 months. Infants born in September, October and November had the highest odds of a positive RSV test during their first year of life compared to infants born in January (OR 2·1, 95% CI 1·7–2·7; OR 2·4, 95% CI 2·1–2·8; and OR 2·4, 95% CI 2·1–2·7, respectively). Our results highlight the importance of young age and birth month near the beginning of the RSV season to the risk of laboratory-confirmed RSV infection. Future control measures should consider protection for these groups.
Agricultural intensification has been a major factor in the loss of global biodiversity. Still, agricultural landscapes provide important habitat for many bird species, particularly in the Central Valley of California, USA, where >90% of the natural wildlife habitat has been lost. As wildlife professionals increasingly work with agricultural producers to promote ‘wildlife-friendly’ farming, it is important to understand the relative value of specific crops and field management practices to birds. The value to wintering waterbirds of seven treatments (crop and management practice combinations) across two crops (corn and winter wheat) was assessed at Staten Island in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta of the Central Valley. Significant variation in the relative abundance of waterbirds was found among management practices, and post-harvest flooding and chopping and rolling (mulching) of corn were most beneficial to waterbirds. As expected, most waterbirds were common in flooded treatments, but geese, cranes and long-legged waders also were numerous in some dry treatments. Our data suggest that a greater waterbird species richness and abundance can be achieved by maintaining a mosaic of dry and flooded crop types, varying water depths and continuing the chop-and-roll practice for flooded corn. The observed benefits of particular crops and field management practices in this study should aid in the development of incentive-based programs to improve the habitat value of other working lands both within, and outside, the Delta.
Selection of animals for improved feed efficiency can affect sustainability of animal production because the most efficient animals may face difficulties coping with challenges. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of an inflammatory challenge (using an intravenous injection of complete Freund’s adjuvant – CFA) in piglets from two lines of pigs divergently selected during the fattening period for a low (RFI−) or a high (RFI+) residual feed intake (RFI; difference between actual feed intake and theoretical feed requirements). Nitrogen and energy balances (including heat production – HP – and its components: activity-related HP – AHP, thermic effect of feeding, and resting HP) were measured individually in thirteen 20-kg BW castrated male piglets (six and seven from RFI+ and RFI− line, respectively) fed at the same level (1.72 MJ ME/kg BW0.60 per day) from 3 days before to 3 days after CFA injection. Dynamics of dietary U-13C-glucose oxidation were estimated from measurements of 13CO2 production on the day before and 3 days after the CFA injection. Oxidation of dietary nutrients and lipogenesis were calculated based on HP and O2 consumption and CO2 production. The data were analyzed as repeated measurements within piglets in a mixed model. Before CFA injection, RFI− piglets had a lower resting energy expenditure than RFI+ piglets, which tended to increase energy retention because of a higher energy retention as fat. The CFA injection did not affect feed intake from the day following CFA injection onwards but it increased energy retention (P=0.04). Time to recover 50% of 13C from dietary glucose as expired 13CO2 was higher in RFI+ piglets before inducing inflammation but decreased after to the level of RFI− piglets (P<0.01). Oxidation of U-13C-glucose tended to slightly increased in RFI− piglets and to decreased in RFI+ piglets (P=0.10) because of CFA. Additionally, RFI− piglets had a lower respiratory quotient during the 1st day following the CFA injection whereas RFI+ piglets tended to have a higher respiratory quotient. In conclusion, selection for RFI during the fattening period also affected the energy metabolism of pigs during earlier stages of growth. The effects of CFA injection were moderated in both lines but the most efficient animals (RFI−) exhibited a marked re-orientation of nutrients only during the 1st day after CFA, and seemed to recover thereafter, whereas the less efficient piglets expressed a more prolonged alteration of their metabolism.
Introduction: Smokers unmotivated to quit are neglected by smoking cessation research. Free-text comment analysis is a potentially useful way to gain insight into this group's beliefs.
Aims: To analyse the free-text comments provided by smokers unmotivated to quit as part of a randomized controlled trial of computer-tailored feedback for smoking cessation.
Method: A random sample of 58,660 smokers were sent a smoking behaviour questionnaire (SBQ). The responses and follow-up outcomes of those providing free-text comments were compared to those who did not to assess the representativeness of the former group of smokers. The comments of participants unmotivated to quit (631) were thematically analysed.
Results: Those who provided a comment differed from those who did not on variables including education level and quit attempts at six-month follow-up. Emergent themes included; justification of smoking and restricting smoking instead of quitting.
Conclusions: The findings illustrate the value of free-text comments in identifying issues important to respondents. The identified themes highlight areas for future research in smokers unmotivated to quit including cutting down as a path to quitting and explicit messages regarding the inability of positive health behaviours to balance out the negative impact of smoking on health.
Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN05385712.
Antarctic and Southern Ocean science is vital to understanding natural variability, the processes that govern global change and the role of humans in the Earth and climate system. The potential for new knowledge to be gained from future Antarctic science is substantial. Therefore, the international Antarctic community came together to ‘scan the horizon’ to identify the highest priority scientific questions that researchers should aspire to answer in the next two decades and beyond. Wide consultation was a fundamental principle for the development of a collective, international view of the most important future directions in Antarctic science. From the many possibilities, the horizon scan identified 80 key scientific questions through structured debate, discussion, revision and voting. Questions were clustered into seven topics: i) Antarctic atmosphere and global connections, ii) Southern Ocean and sea ice in a warming world, iii) ice sheet and sea level, iv) the dynamic Earth, v) life on the precipice, vi) near-Earth space and beyond, and vii) human presence in Antarctica. Answering the questions identified by the horizon scan will require innovative experimental designs, novel applications of technology, invention of next-generation field and laboratory approaches, and expanded observing systems and networks. Unbiased, non-contaminating procedures will be required to retrieve the requisite air, biota, sediment, rock, ice and water samples. Sustained year-round access to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will be essential to increase winter-time measurements. Improved models are needed that represent Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the Earth System, and provide predictions at spatial and temporal resolutions useful for decision making. A co-ordinated portfolio of cross-disciplinary science, based on new models of international collaboration, will be essential as no scientist, programme or nation can realize these aspirations alone.
Calf milk replacers (MR) commonly contain 40% to 50% lactose. For economic reasons, starch is of interest as a lactose replacer. Compared with lactose, starch digestion is generally low in calves. It is, however, unknown which enzyme limits the rate of starch digestion. The objectives were to determine which enzyme limits starch digestion and to assess the maximum capacity for starch digestion in milk-fed calves. A within-animal titration study was performed, where lactose was exchanged stepwise for one of four starch products (SP). The four corn-based SP differed in size and branching, therefore requiring different ratios of starch-degrading enzymes for their complete hydrolysis to glucose: gelatinised starch (α-amylase and (iso)maltase); maltodextrin ((iso)maltase and α-amylase); maltodextrin with α-1,6-branching (isomaltase, maltase and α-amylase) and maltose (maltase). When exceeding the animal’s capacity to enzymatically hydrolyse starch, fermentation occurs, leading to a reduced faecal dry matter (DM) content and pH. Forty calves (13 weeks of age) were assigned to either a lactose control diet or one of four titration strategies (n=8 per treatment), each testing the stepwise exchange of lactose for one SP. Dietary inclusion of each SP was increased weekly by 3% at the expense of lactose and faecal samples were collected from the rectum weekly to determine DM content and pH. The increase in SP inclusion was stopped when faecal DM content dropped below 10.6% (i.e. 75% of the average initial faecal DM content) for 3 consecutive weeks. For control calves, faecal DM content and pH did not change over time. For 87% of the SP-fed calves, faecal DM and pH decreased already at low inclusion levels, and linear regression provided a better fit of the data (faecal DM content or pH v. time) than non-linear regression. For all SP treatments, faecal DM content and pH decreased in time (P<0.001) and slopes for faecal DM content and pH in time differed from CON; P<0.001 for all SP), but did not differ between SP treatments. Faecal DM content of SP-fed calves decreased by 0.57% and faecal pH by 0.32 per week. In conclusion, faecal DM content and pH sensitively respond to incremental inclusion of SP in calf MR, independently of SP characteristics. All SP require maltase to achieve complete hydrolysis to glucose. We therefore suggest that maltase activity limits starch digestion and that fermentation may contribute substantially to total tract starch disappearance in milk-fed calves.
Improvement of feed efficiency in pigs has been achieved essentially by increasing lean growth rate, which resulted in lower feed intake (FI). The objective was to evaluate the impact of strategies for improving feed efficiency on the dynamics of FI and growth in growing pigs to revisit nutrient recommendations and strategies for feed efficiency improvement. In 2010, three BWs, at 35±2, 63±9 and 107±7 kg, and daily FI during this period were recorded in three French test stations on 379 Large White and 327 French Landrace from maternal pig populations and 215 Large White from a sire population. Individual growth and FI model parameters were obtained with the InraPorc® software and individual nutrient requirements were computed. The model parameters were explored according to feed efficiency as measured by residual feed intake (RFI) or feed conversion ratio (FCR). Animals were separated in groups of better feed efficiency (RFI− or FCR−), medium feed efficiency and poor feed efficiency. Second, genetic relationships between feed efficiency and model parameters were estimated. Despite similar average daily gains (ADG) during the test for all RFI groups, RFI− pigs had a lower initial growth rate and a higher final growth rate compared with other pigs. The same initial growth rate was found for all FCR groups, but FCR− pigs had significantly higher final growth rates than other pigs, resulting in significantly different ADG. Dynamic of FI also differed between RFI or FCR groups. The calculated digestible lysine requirements, expressed in g/MJ net energy (NE), showed the same trends for RFI or FCR groups: the average requirements for the 25% most efficient animals were 13% higher than that of the 25% least efficient animals during the whole test, reaching 0.90 to 0.95 g/MJ NE at the beginning of the test, which is slightly greater than usual feed recommendations for growing pigs. Model parameters were moderately heritable (0.30±0.13 to 0.56±0.13), except for the precocity of growth (0.06±0.08). The parameter representing the quantity of feed at 50 kg BW showed a relatively high genetic correlation with RFI (0.49±0.14), and average protein deposition between 35 and 110 kg had the highest correlation with FCR (−0.76±0.08). Thus, growth and FI dynamics may be envisaged as breeding tools to improve feed efficiency. Furthermore, improvement of feed efficiency should be envisaged jointly with new feeding strategies.