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The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of curcumin on insulin resistance (IR) and hepatic lipid accumulation in intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR). Rats with a normal birth weight (NBW) or IUGR were fed basic diets (NBW and IUGR groups) or basic diets supplemented with curcumin (NBW-C and IUGR-C groups) from 6 to 12 weeks. Rats in the IUGR group showed higher levels of glucose and homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) (P < 0·05) than in the NBW group. The livers of IUGR rats exhibited higher (P < 0·05) concentration of TAG and lower (P < 0·05) activities of lipolysis enzymes compared with the normal rats. In response to dietary curcumin supplementation, concentrations of serum insulin, glucose and HOMA-IR, pyruvate, TAG, total cholesterol and NEFA in the liver were decreased (P < 0·05). The concentrations of glycogen and activities of lipolysis enzymes in the liver were increased (P < 0·05) in the IUGR-C group compared with the IUGR group. These results were associated with lower (P < 0·05) phosphorylated insulin receptor substrate 1, protein kinase B or Akt, glycogen synthase kinase 3β and expressions of sterol regulatory element binding protein 1 and fatty acid synthase (FASN); decreased expressions for Cd36, sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c (Srebf1) and Fasn; increased (P < 0·05) expression of PPARα; and expressions for Ppara and hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver of IUGR-C rats than the IUGR rats. Maternal malnutrition caused IR and lipid accumulation in the liver. Curcumin supplementation prevented IR by regulating insulin signalling pathways and attenuated hepatic lipid accumulation.
Ultra deep desulfurization of liquid fuels such as gasoline/diesel has attracted considerable attention of modern clean fuel research due to strict environmental regulations. Apart from that, SOx produced during combustion, poison the catalytic converter and exhaust emission system. Comparing to conventional catalytic and hydrodesulfurization techniques, adsorptive method for removal of sulfur bearing compounds e.g. thiophene derivatives is a promising approach which does not require hydrogen gas and high temperature. In this study, we used nickel sulfide nanoparticles incorporated poly(methyl methacrylate)-zirconia membranes as potential affinity material for adsorptive extraction of dibenzothiophene from n-hexane. The functionality and surface morphology of synthesized material was examined by Fourier transformation infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) images, respectively. The quantitative data regarding adsorptive removal of dibenzothiophene was determined by monitoring the shift in absorbance values of standard solutions before and after treating with synthesized material under ambient conditions. Nickel sulphide nanoparticles exhibited suitable rebinding response for removal of dibenzothiophene down to 1 ppm due to affinity interactions which is useful concerning ultra deep desulfurization. Finally, nickel sulphide nanoparticles were incorporated in poly(methyl methacrylate)-zirconia membrane which showed potential application for adsorptive desulfurization of dibenzothiophene at ambient conditions.
To verify dose delivery and quality assurance of volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) for head and neck (H&N) cancer.
The Imaging and Radiation Oncology Core Houston (IROC-H) H&N phantom with thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) and films, were imaged with computed tomography scan and the reconstructed image was transferred to pinnacle treatment planning system (TPS). On TPS, the planning target volume (PTV), secondary target volume (STV) and organ at risk (OAR) were delineated manually and a treatment plan was made. The dose constraints were determined for the concerned organs according to IROC-H prescription. The treatment plan was optimised using adoptive convolution algorithm to improve dose homogeneity and conformity. The dose calculation was performed using C.C Convolution algorithm and a Varian True Beam linear accelerator was used to deliver the treatment plan to the H&N phantom. The delivered radiation dose to the phantom was measured through TLDs and GafChromic external beam radiotherapy 2 (EBT2) films. The dosimetric performance of the VMAT delivery was studied by analysing percent dose difference, isodose line profile and gamma analysis of the TPS-computed dose and linac-delivered doses.
The percent dose difference of 3.8% was observed between the planned and measured doses of TLDs and a 1.5-mm distance to agreement (DTA) was observed by comparing isodose line profiles. Passed the gamma criteria of 3%/3 mm was with good percentages.
The dosimetric performance of VMAT delivery for a challenging H&N radiotherapy can be verified using TLDs and films embedded in an anthropomorphic H&N phantom.
Lactoperoxidase (LPO) is an antimicrobial protein present in milk that plays an important role in natural defence mechanisms during neonatal and adult life. The antimicrobial activity of LPO has been commercially adapted for increasing the shelf life of dairy products. Immobilization of LPO on silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) is a promising way to enhance the antimicrobial activity of LPO. In the current study, LPO was immobilized on AgNPs to form LPO/AgNP conjugate. The immobilized LPO/AgNP conjugate was characterized by various biophysical techniques. The enhanced antibacterial activity of the conjugate was tested against E. coli in culture at 2 h intervals for 10 h. The results showed successful synthesis of spherical AgNPs. LPO was immobilized on AgNPs with agglomerate sizes averaging approximately 50 nm. The immobilized conjugate exhibited stronger antibacterial activity against E. coli in comparison to free LPO. This study may help in increasing the efficiency of lactoperoxidase system and will assist in identifying novel avenues to enhance the stability and antimicrobial function of LPO system in dairy and other industries.
Identification of new effective strategies for improving crop yields under environmental stresses such as drought represent key priorities for researchers around the globe. In the present study, the effects of different methods of exogenous selenium (Se) supply viz. Se seed priming, Se fertigation and Se foliar spray on yield of spring wheat under normal and water deficit conditions were investigated. Two field experiments were conducted using one indigenous drought-tolerant genotype (Kohistan-97) and a sensitive genotype (Pasban-90) to understand the role of Se in improving wheat yield. The experiments were laid out in a split-split plot design with three replications during consecutive years (2011/12 and 2012/13) and the plants were exposed to water stress by withholding irrigation at two different wheat growth stages, viz. tillering and anthesis. It was noted that drought stress significantly affected the yield attributes of wheat; however, exogenous Se supply was observed to be helpful in improving the drought tolerance potential and yield of water-stressed wheat plants through maintenance of plant water status. A significant increase in wheat yield by Se supply was also noted under normal conditions. The normal plants fertigated with Se maintained the highest values for number of productive tillers, spike length, number of grains per spike, thousand-grain weight, biological and grain yield with no significant difference from Se foliar spray at the tillering stage, which was found to be the most effective method of exogenous Se supply for improving wheat yield under water deficit conditions. Moreover, Se fertigation and foliar spray resulted in the maximum accumulation of Se in shoots and gave the highest net return and cost-benefit ratio under drought stress conditions. The present study is one of the few reports on the role of Se in alleviating water stress for obtaining maximum profit in field grown spring wheat.
The poultry sector is an important and vibrant segment of agriculture in Pakistan with a significant contribution to the national GDP (1.3%). Commercial poultry production in Pakistan started in the 1960's and has been providing a significant portion of daily proteins to the Pakistani population ever since. During its evolution the industry enjoyed promotional policies of the Government, but has faced several challenges such as disease outbreaks and retail price fluctuations. Despite its important role in the country's economy, not a single scientific study is available on its evolutionary history. The data available in this regard are scattered and lack reliability. This review is an effort to encompass the history of the overall growth of the poultry industry in Pakistan, its present status (2012 statistics) and future directions and challenges. This article may serve as the basic source of information on Pakistan's poultry industry achievements. It will also guide poultry experts and policy makers for developing strategic planning for further growth of the industry.
Composting is the enhanced biological decomposition of organic materials in a primarily aerobic environment. During the process, microorganisms break down organic materials to stable, usable organic substances in a process which consumes oxygen and releases heat, water, and CO2. Under controlled conditions, the composting process is described in two phases, primary and secondary. Chemical and physical properties of the raw wastes affect the rate of composting. Particle size and surface area of the waste material influence the type of microorganisms involved and the degree of biological activity in the composting process. Composting allows safe disposal of birds and manure and reduces environmental degradation. Composting of poultry manure and dead birds is still a debatable topic, however, with some scientists in favour of composting due to its overwhelming advantages while others are against composting due to certain disadvantages/environmental hazards. The present article is an effort to encompass the overall composting process, its applications as well as troubleshooting various associated issues.
Newcastle Disease (ND) is regarded as one of the major diseases of poultry because of the devastating losses that the virulent form of the ND virus can impose on both commercial and domestic chickens. However, the disease can be controlled through the administration of effective vaccines. Almost all the commercially available ND vaccines require refrigeration and begin to deteriorate rapidly after 1-2 hours if left at room temperature (around 25°C). Subsequently, because maintaining an adequate supply of refrigerated facilities may be a difficult task in many countries with unreliable electrical supplies, the development and large scale production of an effective thermostable ND vaccine seems imperative to support the poultry industry. Such vaccines should be resilient to damage associated with either very cold or hot environments so there are no concerns about the viability of the vaccine in response to temperatures fluctuations that can occur in extreme environments when the difference in temperature during cold and warm seasons can vary greatly. In the following review paper, the development of such a vaccine is discussed, including molecular characterisation, organ tropism of vaccine strains, production, as well as administration methods and their efficacy. It addition, the potential payback has been calculated alongside opportunities provided by removing vaccines from cold chain storage.
Intercropping is considered as a promising system having multi-dimensional advantages such as improved yield on sustained basis, effective use of land and other resources and reduction in cost of production. The present study was carried out using pea and three non-legume winter vegetables, i.e. garlic, turnip and cauliflower, by planting as sole crops and in pea–garlic, pea–turnip and pea–cauliflower intercropping systems to determine the competition among these vegetables and economics of each intercropping system. The intercropping systems were assessed on the basis of existing competition and economic indices such as land equivalent ratio (LER), relative crowding coefficient (K), aggressivity (A), competitive ratio (CR), actual yield loss (AYL), intercropping advantage and monetary advantage index (MAI). Yields of individual vegetables were higher when grown as sole crops compared with their intercropping with pea. Harvest index for pea was higher when grown alone or intercropped with garlic and was significantly reduced when intercropped with turnip or cauliflower. Harvest indices for garlic, turnip and cauliflower were statistically similar when grown as sole crops or intercropped with pea. The partial LER, K, A and CR for pea were higher in pea–garlic intercropping. However, partial LER, K, A and CR for intercrop were significantly higher for cauliflower and turnip in pea–cauliflower and pea–turnip intercropping systems respectively. The product of relative K values was greater for pea–garlic intercropping system, indicating a definite yield advantage. A similar trend to LER was followed by AYL. These results indicate that pea was more competitive than garlic, and cauliflower and turnip were more competitive than pea for exploiting the available growth resources. The highest MAI value was recorded for pea–garlic intercropping, reflecting that this intercropping system was more advantageous compared with other intercropping systems, indicating definite yield and economic advantages. However, pea–cauliflower intercropping system resulted in higher net income and benefit cost ratio.
Copper–tin (CuxSn1−x) nanocluster is a promising system for gas sensing applications, mainly because of its sensitivity and selectivity for H2S. In this work, pure Sn and Cu as well as composite CuxSn1−x nanoclusters were synthesized using the dc magnetron sputtering gas condensation technique. Nanoclusters with different Sn to Cu ratios were produced by changing the ratio of Sn and Cu in the target. The dependence of Sn, Cu, and CuxSn1−x nanoclusters’ size distribution on various source parameters, such as the inert gas flow rate and aggregation length, has been investigated in detail. The results show that as the inert gas flow rate increases, the mean nanocluster size increases for Sn, decreases for Cu, while increases and then decreases for CuxSn1−x. The results could be understood in terms of the contribution percentage of the nanocluster formation mechanism. Furthermore, this work demonstrates the ability of tuning the CuxSn1−x nanoclusters’ size and composition by a proper optimization of the source operation conditions.
Intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR) impairs postnatal growth and development of the small intestine (SI) in neonatal pigs and infants. l-Arginine (Arg), a critical amino acid involved in promoting growth and metabolism in young mammals, is more deficient in IUGR fetuses. However, little is known whether dietary Arg supplementation would accelerate the impaired development of the SI induced by IUGR in piglets. In the present study, a total of six litters of newborn piglets were used. In each litter, one normal and two IUGR littermates were obtained. Piglets were fed milk-based diets supplemented with 0 (Normal), 0 (IUGR) and 0·60% Arg (IUGR+Arg) from 7 to 14 d of age, respectively. Compared with Normal piglets at 14 d of age, IUGR decreased (P < 0·05) the growth performance, entire SI weight, and villus height in the jejunum and ileum. IUGR piglets had lower (P < 0·05) mucosal concentrations of Arg, insulin, insulin growth factor 1, as well as phosphorylated Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p70 S6 kinase but higher (P < 0·05) enterocyte apoptosis index (AI). After Arg treatment in IUGR piglets, the growth performance, weight of entire SI and mucosa, and villus height in the jejunum and ileum were increased (P < 0·05). Diet supplemented with Arg also increased (P < 0·05) the levels of Arg, insulin, phosphorylated Akt and mTOR in SI mucosa of IUGR piglets, and decreased (P < 0·05) the AI and caspase-3 activity. In conclusion, Arg has a beneficiary effect in improving the impaired SI development in IUGR piglets via regulating cell apoptosis and activating Akt and mTOR signals in SI mucosa.
Beaked whales are not a commonly encountered species, but Cuvier's beaked whale, Ziphiuscavirostris, is the most cosmopolitan. Nonetheless, little is known of its distribution in the north-eastern Indian Ocean, particularly along the coasts of India, Pakistan and Iran. Here we present the first confirmed record of the species for Pakistan from a stranded specimen that was found during a routine beach survey. None have been seen during inshore boat surveys to date. Considering the level of naval activity and seismic surveys in the waters off Pakistan, incorporation of mitigating measures and monitoring surveys are suggested to avoid potential beaked whale mortality. This is the first confirmed record of Z. cavirostris on the Pakistani coast and is an important finding for the Pakistan Biodiversity Action Plan and their National Conservation Strategy for marine mammals.
Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) occur frequently in stranding records worldwide. However, none have been reported along the Pakistani coastline to date. This paper documents the first reported stranding of a sperm whale on the Pakistani coast. Ultimately, this finding is important in the planning of Pakistan's Biodiversity Action Plan and its National Conservation Strategy for marine mammals.
Nitrogen, a vitally important plant nutrient, is subject to various losses that affect its efficiency. We tested prilled urea (PU), urea supergranules (USG), green manures (GM) and farmyard manure (FYM) in a rice-wheat cropping system to determine which were the most efficient and economical N sources. The maximum rice growth, yield and N-uptake occurred with USG and with GM (Sesbania rostrata) plus PU. Incorporation of GM saved 60 kg N/ha. On the following wheat crop, GM (S. aculeata) plus PU and FYM plus PU had the highest residual effect on the number of tillers per m2, and straw and grain yield. An increase in N recovery efficiency occurred with combined use of PUand organic Igreen manures compared with PU alone. In areas where USG is costly or unavailable and FYM is scarce, green manures can be a cheap N source that allows small-scale farmers to get sustainable yields in a rice-wheat rotation.
The seed of American Cotton, Var. 134, was stressed at 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90°C for 24 or 48 hours before seeding. Stresses at 50 to 70°C had a stimulatory effect on seedling emergence and subsequent performance of the cotton plants, but higher temperatures caused thermal injury or killed the seed.
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