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The coast of Brazil is an important low latitude nursery ground for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). The number of humpback whales in this region has increased and its population is reoccupying areas where it has been depleted during the whaling period. The goal of this study was to conduct land-based observations during 2014 and 2015 to characterize patterns of habitat use and relative abundance of humpback whales that migrate to one of these reoccupation areas: Serra Grande, Bahia state. The observed mean group size was 2.12 ± 0.96 individuals and did not vary through the reproductive season nor between years. Dyads (32.9%) and singletons (26.7%) were more frequently observed, and groups with calves represented 21.2% of the sightings. The mean number of whales counted per hour increased from 2014 (3.44 ± 3.35) to 2015 (5.12 ± 4.18). Habitat use varied during the season; whales used shallower waters closer to shore as the season progressed. The spatial distribution of groups with calves was dependent on the presence and number of escorts. Spatial segregation of groups with calves closer to shore is a key factor in understanding the overall distribution of whales in the area, suggesting that social strategies are affected by environmental factors, as seen in other wintering grounds. Small-scale studies from land-based stations, in areas such as this where there is no previous knowledge about the species, are cost effective. They provide information about the overall behavioural and spatial patterns while anthropogenic activity is still low, allowing habitat protection and management decisions before implementation and increase of human activities.
Benefits to microbial fermentation in the colon and as a consequence less flatulence can be promoted for the health of adult dogs according to the amount and protein source. The present study evaluated different protein sources in dry food for brachycephalic dogs regarding microbial fermentation and nutrient digestibility. Four dry dog foods with similar protein content were formulated for adult maintenance: poultry meal (PM) diet; wheat gluten (WG) diet; PM + WG diet; and PM + WG + hydrolysed protein (HP) diet. Eight French bulldog adult dogs were arranged in a 4 × 4 Latin square design during the 28 d trial. Fresh faeces were collected for assessment of nutrient digestibility and analyses of faecal pH, SCFA, biogenic amines, ammonia and lactate. Means were compared by the PROC MIXED procedure of SAS and by Tukey's test, considering P ≤ 0·05. The animals fed the WG and PM + WG diets showed higher digestibility for DM (P < 0·05), organic matter (P < 0·05), crude protein (P < 0·001) and lower faeces production (P < 0·02) than the PM and PM + WG + HP diets. Feeding diet PM + WG + HP resulted in lower faecal score and pH (P < 0·05) compared with other diets. Concentrations of fermentation metabolites were not statistically significantly different among diets. In conclusion, WG alone or in combination with PM improved protein and DM digestibility. Fermentation products were not affected by protein source.
Neospora caninum is an apicomplexan parasite strongly related to reproductive problems in cattle. The neosporosis control is not well established and several fronts are under development, predominantly based on immune protection, immunomodulation and chemotherapy. The use of anti-malarial drugs as therapeutic sources has, in theory, considerable potential for any apicomplexan. Drugs such as methylene blue (MB) and pyrimethamine (Pyr) represent therapeutic options for malaria; thus, their use for neosporosis should be assessed. In this work, we tested the effects of MB and Pyr on N. caninum proliferation and clearance, using LacZ-tagged tachyzoites. The drugs inhibited at nanomolar dosages and its combination demonstrated an antagonistic interaction in proliferation assays, according to the Chou and Talalay method for drug combination index. However, the drug combination significantly improved the parasite in vitro clearance. The repositioning of well-established drugs opens a short-term strategy to obtain low-cost therapeutics approaches against neosporosis.
We performed a detailed spectroscopic analysis of the fullerene C60-containing planetary nebula (PN) Lin49 in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). Lin49 is a C-rich and metal-deficient PN (Z~0.0006) and its nebular abundances are in agreement with the AGB model for the initially 1.25 M⊙ stars with the metallicity Z = 0.001. By stellar absorption fitting with TLUSTY, we derived stellar abundances, effective temperature, and surface gravity. We constructed the photoionization model with CLOUDY in order to investigate physical conditions of Lin49. The model with the 0.005-0.1 μm radius graphite and a constant hydrogen density shell could not fit the ~1-5 μm spectral energy distribution (SED) owing to the strong near-IR excess. We propose that the near-IR excess indicates (1) the presence of extremely small carbon molecules or (2) the presence of high-density structure surrounding the central star.
We observed the Planetary Nebula NGC 6720 with the Gemini Telescope and the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs. We obtained spatial maps of 36 emission-lines in the wavelength range between 3600 Å and 9400 Å. We derived maps of c(Hβ), electronic densities, electronic temperatures, ionic and elemental abundances, and Ionization Correction Factors (ICFs) in the source and investigated the mass-loss history of the progenitor. The elemental abundance results indicate the need for ICFs based on three-dimensional photoionization models.
Although much research has been done to study the working memory structure in children in their first school years, the relation of cognitive constructs involved in this process remains uncertain. In particular, it is unclear whether working memory is a domain general construct that coordinates separate codes of verbal and visuospatial storage or whether it is a domain-specific construct with distinct resources of verbal and visuospatial information. This paper investigates the structure of working memory, by using the Working Memory Test Battery for Children (WMTB-C) and by doing confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) on a sample of Portuguese children (n = 103) between 8 and 9 years of age. The results of the confirmatory factor analyses that provide the best fit of the data correspond to the model that includes Central Executive and Visuospatial Sketchpad in the same factor, co-varying with a Phonological Loop factor. Moreover, the traditional working memory tripartite structure – based on the Baddeley and Hitch Model – revealed good fit to the data.
Introduction. Plant water stress
indicators have become valuable for moving towards deficit irrigation
strategies and saving water. In this case evapotranspiration (ET)
is below its maximum value for the crop and stage (ETc),
and a stress coefficient (Ks) is applied to obtain
actual ET (ETa). Predawn leaf water
potential (Yp) can be related to relative transpiration
(RT), the ratio between transpiration of a stressed
plot (T) and transpiration of a well-irrigated
plot (Tm). Estimating RT from
Yp allows calculating ETa for
determination of irrigation amounts, if deficit irrigation practices
are used, as RT corresponds approximately to Ks.
Materials and methods. RT and Yp were measured
with the aim of establishing a relationship to estimate RT under
moderate water stress for irrigation scheduling, in a peach orchard
in south Portugal. RT was calculated using sap flow
measurements (heat balance method) in two plots, one well-irrigated
(daily drip irrigation amounts calculated for Tm) and
another temporarily without irrigation. Results and discussion. A
high correlation was found between RT and Yp,
allowing the estimation of RT for the studied conditions.
Significant differences regarding the relationship RT-Y
p obtained for another peach orchard in the same
region and similar soil conditions were found for Yp in
the range between –0.11 and –0.45 MPa. The results suggest that the
differences resulted from the different irrigation systems: drip
and micro-sprinkling, as they determine different temporal and spatial
water distribution and therefore different geometry of root systems.
A formerly proposed equation to estimate RT from
Yp with a general form for different fruit tree
species was tested, proving to be adequate within some limits: when
RT is lowered to 0.7, the error was below 9%. The
threshold value RT = 0.7 was considered a minimum
as it was successfully tested in deficit irrigation practices for peach
During the maturation of dicotyledonous seeds, organic carbon, nitrogen and sulphur are stored in protein storage vacuoles (PSVs) as storage globulins. Several studies point to the coexistence of storage proteins with proteases responsible for their degradation inside PSVs. Different mechanisms have been proposed to explain why there is no proteolysis during this period. Protein aggregation to form large supramolecular structures resistant to proteolytic attack could be the reason. However, during germination, and particularly following its completion, the globulin aggregates must undergo disintegration to allow protease attack for protein reserve mobilization. Based on the well-described concentration-dependent ability of Ca2+ and Mg2+ to promote in vitro aggregation and disaggregation of globulins, we explored a possible role for these alkaline earth cations in globulin packaging and mobilization. Ca2+ and Mg2+ measurements in purified PSVs [6.37 μmol and 43.9 μmol g− 1 dry weight (DW) of cotyledons, respectively] showed the presence of these two alkaline earth cations within this compartment. To our knowledge, this is the first time that Ca2+ and Mg2+ have been quantified in purified PSVs from Lupinus albus seeds. Considering the importance of these two alkaline earth cations inside PSVs, which represent 14.6% and 60.7% of the total seed Mg2+and Ca2+, respectively, globulin aggregation and disaggregation profiles were assayed using experimental conditions closer to those that are physiologically present (proportion of Ca2+ and Mg2+, and acidic pH). Based on: (1) the high in vivo abundance of Ca2+ and Mg2+ inside PSVs; and (2) globulin aggregation and disaggregation profiles, together with structural and physiological evidence already reported in the literature, an important physiological role for Ca2+ and Mg2+ in globulin packaging and mobilization inside PSVs is suggested.
Cows' and donkey milks (raw and thermally processed) and respective whey were analysed for quantification of major proteins. Two different chromatographic approaches, size exclusion (SE-HPLC) and reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) both coupled to UV detection were used. Usefulness of these methods for routine control of the effect of thermal processing was evaluated. The external standard method was used to calibrate the SE-HPLC and RP-HPLC systems. Concerning quantification of β-lactoglobulin (β-lg), α-lactalbumin (α-la), lysozyme (lys), and total casein (cn), no significant differences between results obtained by SE-HPLC and by RP-HPLC (t-test, P>0·05) were observed for raw milks and whey. Heating of cows' milk promoted aggregation of denatured proteins as observed by SE-HPLC, whereas α-la and β-lg from donkey milk were stable to thermal processing at 100°C (5 min). Lys was quantified in donkey raw milk and whey however, in thermally processed donkey milk lys was denatured and could not be quantified by HPLC.
The main objective of this study was to build a model, which includes personal and social factors, that helps to highlight factors that promote health-related quality of Life (HRQoL) in children and in adolescents. A sample of 3195 children and adolescents was acquired from 5th and 7th graders from all five Portuguese regions. In this study three independent latent variables were specified – Physical, Psychological and Social and two dependent latent variables were measured: Health behavior and Quality of Life. The integrative model was composed by different components: (1) health-related quality of life, integrated by 8 dimensions from KIDSCREEN-52; (2) health behavior, (3) variables related to physical health; (4) variables related to social health; (5) variables related to psychological health. As results were found strong correlation between psychological dimensions and self-esteem and other factors and a structural equation model was developed. The model presented a RMSEA index of .08. Similarly, adjustment levels for the CFI, NFI and IFI vary above or around .90, which suggests a good adjustment for the hypothesized model. The model presented significant qui-square.This study showed that in all the samples studied, the psychological variables were those that contributed at a superior level to HRQoL.
Highly textured transparent conducting ZnO:Al thin films have been prepared by r.f. magnetron sputtering. The films were deposited on polyester (Mylar type D, 100 µm thickness) and glass substrates at room temperature. Surface stylus profiling, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscope and Hall effect measurements as a function of temperature have been used to characterize the produced films. The samples are polycrystalline with a hexagonal wurtzite structure and a strong crystallographic c-axis orientation (002) perpendicular to the substrate surface (columnar structure). The ZnO:Al thin films with a resistivity as low as 3.6×10−2 µcm have been obtained, as deposited.
Aluminium doped zinc oxide thin films (ZnO:Al) have been deposited on polyester (Mylar type D, 100 µm thickness) substrates at room temperature by r.f. magnetron sputtering. The structural, morphological, optical and electrical properties of the deposited films have been studied. The samples are polycrystalline with a hexagonal wurtzite structure and a strong crystallographic c-axis orientation (002) perpendicular to the substrate surface. The ZnO:Al thin films with 85% transmittance in the visible and infra-red region and a resistivity as low as 3.6×10−2 ωcm have been obtained, as deposited. The obtained results are comparable to those ones obtained on glass substrates, opening a new field of low cost, light weight, small volume, flexible and unbreakable large area optoelectronic devices.
The role of the deposition pressure (p) and the type of filaments (tungsten, W or tantalum, Ta) used to produce large area (10cm×10cm) n-type Si:H films by hot wire chemical vapour (HW-CVD) deposition technique was investigated. The data show that the electro-optical properties of the films produced are dependent on the gas pressure used. In the pressure range of 1×10-3 Torr to 1.0 Torr, the room dark conductivity (σd) varies from 1×10-8 to 2 S/cm for films produced at the same hydrogen dilution and filament temperature (Tfil.). On the other hand, the hydrogen concentration (CH) decreases from 10% to 2%, while the growth rate (R) shows an exponential increase, from 1 to 9 Å/s. The SIMS analysis, within the detection limits, does not reveal the existence of any significant W or Ta contamination in the films produced.
Large area thin film position sensitive detectors based on amorphous silicon technology have been prepared on polyimide substrates using the conventional plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition technique. The sensors have been characterised by spectral response, illuminated I-V characteristics and position detectability measurements. The obtained one dimensional position sensors with 5 mm wide and 60 mm long present a maximum spectral response at 600 nm, an open circuit voltage of 0.6 V and a position detectability with a correlation of 0.9989 associated to a standard deviation of 1×10−2, comparable to those ones produced on glass substrates. The surface of the sensors at each stage of fabrication was investigated by Atomic Force Microscopy.
In this work, we show results concerning electro-optical properties, composition and morphology of nanocrystalline hydrogenated undoped silicon (nc-Si:H) films produced by hot wire plasma assisted chemical vapour deposition process (HWPA-CVD) and exhibiting a compact granular structure, as revealed by SEM micrographs. This was also inferred by infrared spectra, which does not present the SiO vibration band located at 1050-1200 cm-1, even when samples have long atmospheric exposition. The photoconductivity measured at room temperature also does not change when samples have a long time exposition to the air or to the light irradiation. The influence of hydrogen dilution on the properties of the films was also investigated.
Aluminium doped zinc oxide thin films (ZnO:Al) have been deposited on polyester (Mylar type D, 100 μm thickness) substrates at room temperature by r.f. magnetron sputtering. The structural, morphological, optical and electrical properties of the deposited films have been studied. The samples are polycrystalline with a hexagonal wurtzite structure and a strong crystallographic c-axis orientation (002) perpendicular to the substrate surface. The ZnO:Al thin films with 85% transmittance in the visible and infra-red region and a resistivity as low as 3.6×10−2 ωcm have been obtained, as deposited. The obtained results are comparable to those ones obtained on glass substrates, opening a new field of low cost, light weight, small volume, flexible and unbreakable large area optoelectronic devices.
Highly textured transparent conducting ZnO:Al thin films have been prepared by r.f. magnetron sputtering. The films were deposited on polyester (Mylar type D, 100 μm thickness) and glass substrates at room temperature. Surface stylus profiling, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscope and Hall effect measurements as a function of temperature, using the van der Pauw technique have characterized the films. The samples are polycrystalline with a hexagonal wurtzite structure and a strong crystallographic c-axis orientation (002) perpendicular to the substrate surface (columnar structure). The ZnO:Al thin films with a resistivity as low as 3.6×10−2 ωcm have been obtained, as deposited.
The main objective of this study was to develop a brief versión of the Escala de Satisfação com o Suporte Social for children and adolescents (Ribeiro, 1999). A representative sample of 3195 children and adolescents was obtained from 5th and 7th graders throughout all five Portuguese regions. The results showed a good internal consistency for the social support satisfaction factor, α = 0.84; acceptable for the necessity for activities connected to social support factor, α = 0.69. By using ANOVA, gender, age and socioeconomic status related differences were identified. A confirmatory factorial analysis was done and an adjusted model was found by taking off item 5. The concurrent validity was inspected with measures related to social support, such as optimism, self-worth and perceptions of health related quality of life. With this analysis, we verified that women and younger participants (< 12 years) showed a higher social support satisfaction. Medium-high socioeconomic status participants showed a higher negative social support satisfaction. These results suggest the validity of the scale in assesing perceptions of social support.