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The combined addition of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFAs) and folic acid (FA) could improve growth performance and nutrient utilization by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA and FA addition on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, microbial enzyme activity, microflora and excretion of urinary purine derivatives (PDs) in calves. Thirty-six Chinese Holstein weaned calves (60 ± 5.4 days of age and 107 ± 4.7 kg of BW) were assigned to one of four groups in a randomized block design. Treatments were control (without additives), FA (with 10 mg FA/kg dietary DM), BCVFA (with 5 g BCVFA/kg dietary DM) and the combined addition of FA and BCVFA (10 mg/kg DM of FA and 5 g/kg DM of BCVFA). Supplements were hand-mixed into the top one-third of total mixed ration. Dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 on a DM basis. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect dry matter intake but increased average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion efficiency. Ruminal pH and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect acetate proportion but decreased propionate proportion and increased acetate to propionate ratio. Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter, CP and NDF was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition increased activity of carboxymethyl cellulase and cellobiase, population of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Prevotella ruminicola as well as total PD excretion. Ruminal xylanase, pectinase and protease activity and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens population were increased by BCVFA addition, whereas population of protozoa and methanogens was increased by FA addition. The BCVFA × FA interaction was significant for acetate to propionate ratio, cellobiase activity and total PD excretion, and these variables increased more with FA addition in diet without BCVFA than in diet with BCVFA. The data indicated that supplementation with BCVFA or FA increased ADG, nutrient digestibility, ruminal total VFA concentration and microbial protein synthesis by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity in calves.
Muscle fiber characteristics comprise a set of complex traits that influence the meat quality and lean meat production of livestock. However, the genetic and biological mechanisms regulating muscle fiber characteristics are largely unknown in pigs. Based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) performed on 421 Large White × Min pig F2 individuals presenting well-characterized phenotypes, this work aimed to detect genome variations and candidate genes for five muscle fiber characteristics: percentage of type I fibers (FIB1P), percentage of type IIA fibers (FIB2AP), percentage of type IIB fibers (FIB2BP), diameter of muscle fibers (DIAMF) and number of muscle fibers per unit area (NUMMF). The GWAS used the Illumina Porcine SNP60K genotypic data, which were analyzed by a mixed model. Seven and 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were significantly associated with DIAMF and NUMMF, respectively (P < 1.10E-06); no SNP was significantly associated with FIB1P, FIB2AP or FIB2B. For DIAMF, the significant SNPs on chromosome 4 were located in the previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) interval. Because the significant SNPs on chromosome 6 were not mapped in the previously reported QTL interval, a putative novel QTL was suggested for this locus. None of the previously reported QTL intervals on chromosomes 6 and 14 harbored significant SNPs for NUMMF; thus, new potential QTLs on these two chromosomes are suggested in the present work. The most significant SNPs associated with DIAMF (ALGA0025682) and NUMMF (MARC0046984) explained 12.02% and 11.59% of the phenotypic variation of these traits, respectively. In addition, both SNPs were validated as associated with DIAMF and NUMMF in Beijing Black pigs (P < 0.01). Some candidate genes or non-coding RNAs, such as solute carrier family 44 member 5 and miR-124a-1 for DIAMF, and coiled-coil serine rich protein 2 for NUMMF, were identified based on their close location to the significant SNPs. This study revealed some genome-wide association variants for muscle fiber characteristics, and it provides valuable information to discover the genetic mechanisms controlling these traits in pigs.
The co-occurrence of hepatic cystic echinococcosis (CE) and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is extremely rare. Here, we present the clinical manifestations and treatment outcomes of three cases with co-occurring CE and AE in the liver. Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging and 18FFluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography-CT were used for preoperative diagnosis. Specimens were taken intraoperatively and sent for pathological studies to confirm the coexistence of CE and AE by laminated membrane, daughter cysts or germinal layer and infiltration structure. Albendazole was prescribed after operation for 12 months. All patients were completely recovered and showed no recurrence at last follow-up. Therefore, surgical intervention and postoperative application of albendazole are recommended for patients with concurrence of hepatic AE and CE.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
In this paper, a novel single-cavity triangular substrate-integrated waveguide (TSIW) dual-band filter loading a complementary triangular split ring resonator (CTSRR) is proposed, which has three transmission zeros (TZs) in the stopband in total. The dual-band response is achieved by the CTSRR and the degenerate modes of the TSIW cavity. In order to control the TZs, we propose two adjustment techniques, shift feeding technique and adding via perturbation. In addition, the CTSRR etched on the surface can produce a new TZ in the upper first-passband. Finally, a dual-band filter with three TZs is simulated, fabricated, and measured. There is a good agreement between the simulated results and measured ones.
Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
Starch digestion in the small intestines of the dairy cow is low, to a large extent, due to a shortage of syntheses of α-amylase. One strategy to improve the situation is to enhance the synthesis of α-amylase. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway, which acts as a central regulator of protein synthesis, can be activated by leucine. Our objectives were to investigate the effects of leucine on the mTOR signalling pathway and to define the associations between these signalling activities and the synthesis of pancreatic enzymes using an in vitro model of cultured Holstein dairy calf pancreatic tissue. The pancreatic tissue was incubated in culture medium containing l-leucine for 3 h, and samples were collected hourly, with the control being included but not containing l-leucine. The leucine supplementation increased α-amylase and trypsin activities and the messenger RNA expression of their coding genes (P <0.05), and it enhanced the mTOR synthesis and the phosphorylation of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (P <0.05). In addition, rapamycin inhibited the mTOR signal pathway factors during leucine treatment. In sum, the leucine regulates α-amylase and trypsin synthesis in dairy calves through the regulation of the mTOR signal pathways.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
An electromechanical coupling model is established for the space-tethered combination (STC) under microgravity environment after target capture by the tethered robot system (TRS). A linearized dynamic model of the STC is put forward with its controllability and observability as a control system analyzed. A double closed-loop tension control strategy is proposed to mitigate the impact and suing longitudinal vibration caused by the velocity difference between the platform and target. Experiment setup is built on a ground-based flotation platform to investigate the impact of the STC. Results of simulation and experimental validation show that the proposed tension control strategy is responsive and rapid in tension tracking and effectively prevent impact.
Pathogenesis of pregnancy toxemia (PT) is believed to be associated with the disruption of lipid metabolism. The present study aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms of lipid metabolism disorder in the livers of ewes with PT. In total, 10 pregnant ewes were fed normally (control group) whereas another 10 were subjected to 70% level feed restriction for 15 days to establish a pathological model of PT. Results showed that, as compared with the controls, the levels of blood β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and cholesterol were greater (P<0.05) and blood glucose level was lower (P<0.05) in PT ewes. The contents of NEFAs, BHBA, cholesterol and triglyceride were higher (P<0.05) and glycerol content was lower (P<0.05) in hepatic tissues of PT ewes than those of the controls. For ewes with PT, excessive fat vacuoles were observed in liver sections stained with hematoxylin–eosin; furthermore, inner structures of hepatocytes including nuclei, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum were damaged seriously according to the results of transmission electron microscope. Real-time PCR data showed that compared with the controls, the expression of hepatic genes involved in fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and triglyceride synthesis (TGS) was enhanced (P<0.05) whereas that related to acetyl-CoA metabolism (ACM) was repressed (P<0.05) in PT ewes. Generally, our results showed that negative energy balance altered the expression of genes involved in FAO, ACM and TGS, further caused lipid metabolism disorder in livers, resulting in PT of ewes. Our findings may provide the molecular basis for novel therapeutic strategies against this systemic metabolic disease in sheep.
High-precision response of the surrogate model is desired in the process of optimisation. An excessive number of sampling points will increase the cost of the calculation. The appropriate number of sampling points cannot only guarantee the accuracy of the surrogate model but also save the calculation cost. The purpose of this research is to demonstrate the eventuality of using an adaptive surrogate model for optimisation problems. The adaptive surrogate model is built on an adaptive sampling approach and an extended radial basis function (ERBF). The adaptive sampling is an approach that new sampling points are placed in the blank area and all the sampling points are uniformly distributed in the design region using Multi-Island GA. The precision of the ERBF surrogate model is checked using standard error measure to determine whether the surrogate model should be updated or not. This adaptive surrogate model is used to optimise a cruise missile head shape. Aerodynamic and stealthy performance of the cruise missile head shape are considered in this research. Different global objective function and different weight factor are used to research the aerodynamic and stealthy performance in this optimisation process. The results show that the drag is reduced with a slender head shape and the radar-cross section (RCS) value is reduced with a short head shape.
Branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFA) supplements could promote lactation performance and milk quality by improving ruminal fermentation and milk fatty acid synthesis. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA supplementation on milk performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and mRNA expression of genes related to fatty acid synthesis in mammary gland of dairy cows. A total of 36 multiparous Chinese Holstein cows averaging 606±4.7 kg of BW, 65±5.2 day in milk (DIM) with daily milk production of 30.6±0.72 kg were assigned to one of four groups blocked by lactation number, milk yield and DIM. The treatments were control, low-BCVFA (LBCVFA), medium-BCVFA (MBCVFA) and high-BCVFA (HBCVFA) with 0, 30, 60 and 90 g BCVFA per cow per day, respectively. Experimental periods were 105 days with 15 days of adaptation and 90 days of data collection. Dry matter (DM) intake tended to increase, but BW changes were similar among treatments. Yields of actual milk, 4% fat corrected milk, milk fat and true protein linearly increased, but feed conversion ratio (FCR) linearly decreased with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Milk fat content linearly increased, but true protein content tended to increase. Contents of C4:0, C6:0, C8:0, C10:0, C12:0, C14:0 and C15:0 fatty acids in milk fat linearly increased, whereas other fatty acids were not affected with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Ruminal pH, ammonia N concentration and propionate molar proportion linearly decreased, but total VFA production and molar proportions of acetate and butyrate linearly increased with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Consequently, acetate to propionate ratios linearly increased. Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, CP, NDF and ADF also linearly increased. In addition, mRNA expressions of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, sterol regulatory element-binding factor 1 and fatty acid-binding protein 3 linearly increased, mRNA expressions of acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase-α, fatty acid synthase and stearoyl-CoA desaturase quadratically increased. However, lipoprotein lipase mRNA expression was not affected by treatments. The results indicated that lactation performance and milk fat synthesis increased with BCVFA supplementation by improving ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and mRNA expressions of genes related to milk fat synthesis.
The origins and phylogeny of different sheep breeds has been widely studied using polymorphisms within the mitochondrial hypervariable region. However, little is known about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and phylogeny based on mtDNA protein-coding genes. In this study, we assessed the phylogeny and copy number of the mtDNA in eight indigenous (population size, n=184) and three introduced (n=66) sheep breeds in China based on five mitochondrial coding genes (COX1, COX2, ATP8, ATP6 and COX3). The mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities were 0.944 and 0.00322, respectively. We identified a correlation between the lineages distribution and the genetic distance, whereby Valley-type Tibetan sheep had a closer genetic relationship with introduced breeds (Dorper, Poll Dorset and Suffolk) than with other indigenous breeds. Similarly, the Median-joining profile of haplotypes revealed the distribution of clusters according to genetic differences. Moreover, copy number analysis based on the five mitochondrial coding genes was affected by the genetic distance combining with genetic phylogeny; we also identified obvious non-synonymous mutations in ATP6 between the different levels of copy number expressions. These results imply that differences in mitogenomic compositions resulting from geographical separation lead to differences in mitochondrial function.
The dynamic ground effect enhances the swimming of fish. The dynamic ground effect affects the kinematic conditions of fish, causing them to swim more efficiently. However, predicting the degree to which the dynamic ground effect can improve the swimming performance of fish is difficult. The dynamic ground effect can potentially save energy for biomimetic underwater vehicles. Therefore, a theoretical model was developed to investigate the effect of a planar boundary on the swimming performance of a two-dimensional undulating plate. General expressions for the thrust, power input, efficiency, and energy loss of the plate were obtained. As examples, cases in which an undulating plate with linearly varying amplitude swam far from and close to a wall under a range of different kinematic conditions were studied. The dynamic ground effect improved the swimming performance of the plate by reducing the power input while maintaining an almost constant thrust; the degree of improvement depended on the kinematic conditions of the plate. Furthermore, the swimming performance of the plate was improved over a range of distances from the wall; this range of distances also depended on the kinematic conditions of the plate.
The current experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary protein levels and rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) supplementation on ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activity, bacterial populations and urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) in growing beef steers. Low-protein (LP) or high-protein (HP) diets were fed to eight ruminally cannulated first-generation cross-bred (Blonde d'Aquitaine × Simmental) beef steers with or without RPFA supplementation. Steers were fed a total mixed ration, and dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 (dry matter (DM) basis). No interaction between dietary crude protein (CP) levels and RPFA supplementation was observed during the experiment. Ruminal pH was unaffected by RPFA supplementation, but decreased with increasing dietary CP levels. Ruminal total volatile fatty acid concentration increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Molar proportion of acetate increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to decrease with increasing dietary CP levels. The proportion of propionate decreased with RPFA supplementation, but was unaffected by dietary CP levels. As a result, the acetate to propionate ratio increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to be lower for the HP diets than the LP diets. Ammonia-nitrogen content decreased with RPFA supplementation, but increased with increasing dietary CP levels. In situ ruminal degradability of maize straw and concentrate increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Microbial enzyme (carboxymethyl-cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase, α-amylase and protease) activity, bacterial populations (Ruminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus) and urinary PD excretion increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. The current study showed that increasing dietary CP levels from 109·1 to 130·7 g/kg DM or supplementing 75 mg RPFA improved ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis by increasing bacterial population and microbial enzyme activity.
Isovalerate supplements could stimulate rumen development by improving morphology and function of rumen mucosa, and then promote the growth of calves. This study was done to evaluate the effects of isovalerate supplements on morphology and functional gene expression of rumen mucosa in dairy calves. In total, 48 Chinese Holstein male calves with 15 days of age and 45.1±0.36 kg of BW were randomly assigned to four groups. The treatments were: control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate and high-isovalerate with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. Supplementary isovalerate was hand-mixed into milk in pre-weaning calves and into concentrate portion in post-weaning calves. The study consisted of a 15-day-adaptation period and a 60-day-sampling period. Calves were weaned at 60 days of age. Three calves were slaughtered from each of the four treatments at 30, 60 and 90 days of age. The weight of body and stomach were measured, samples of ruminal tissues and blood were analyzed. Total stomach weight, total stomach to BW ratio, rumen wall and keratinized layer thickness, serum growth hormone and IGF-1 for both pre- and post-weaning calves increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplements. Rumen to total stomach weight ratio, the length and width of rumen papillae, and serum β-hydroxybutyrate increased linearly for post-weaning calves. However, abomasum weight to total stomach weight ratio decreased linearly for both pre- and post-weaning calves. The relative messenger RNA expression for growth hormone receptor, IGF-1 receptor and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase 1 in rumen mucosa increased linearly for post-weaning calves. Our results suggested that isovalerate supplements promoted rumen development in a dose-dependent manner. The optimum dose was 6.0 g isovalerate per calf per day.
Little is known about the quantitative relationships between wheat powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici) epidemics and climatic variables at the provincial scale in China, particularly under climate change. The present study assesses the actual disease process and corresponding impact on wheat yield and addresses climatic-driven variables that affect a powdery mildew epidemic. Powdery mildew increased in frequency from 1981 to 2010, and wheat yield decreased in most regions. It was clear that differences in disease and yield loss occurred temporally and spatially. Although particular weather variables were positively or negatively related to the disease, multiple stepwise regression analysis indicated that mostly fewer than three variables affected prevalence and severity of powdery mildew in each province. In most cases, some combination of higher temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind led to higher disease severity. These weather factors had different effects on disease development. The influence of climatic variables on powdery mildew tended to decrease from 1981 to 2010, whereas the effect of non-climatic factors increased and was attributed mainly to the use of fungicides and resistant cultivars. Therefore, the results of the current study suggest that wheat powdery mildew in China will not increase consistently in the future. In addition, the quantitative assessment method used in the current study can generally provide a good way to identify disease epidemics under climate change.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of a Crop Circle sensor-based precision nitrogen (N) management (PNM) strategy in different winter wheat cropping systems under on-farm conditions in North China Plain (NCP). Four farmer’s fields were selected for on-farm experiments in Laoling County, Shandong Province of NCP in 2015-2016. In each field, the PNM strategy was evaluated in two winter wheat cropping systems: farmer’s conventional management (FCM) and regional optimum crop management (ROCM). In each cropping system, there were two N management strategies: 1) FCM or ROCM; 2) PNM. The results indicated that the PNM strategy significantly increased partial factor productivity (PFP) by 29% in the FCM system, but did not have any significant improvement in the ROCM system. The ROCM system, using either regional optimum N management or PNM, significantly increased both grain yield and PFP than the FCM system.