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Trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) decreases milk fat synthesis in lactating sows, and involves, at least in part, the downregulation of lipogenic genes. The objective was to evaluate the effect of CLA on milk composition and lipogenic gene expression. Twenty multiparous sows were randomly assigned to one of the two treatments for 18 days (from d 7 through d 25 of lactation): 1) Control (no CLA added) and; 2) 1% of CLA mixed into the ration. CLA treatment decreased milk fat and protein content by 20% (P = 0.004) and 11% (P = 0.0001), respectively. However, piglet weight did not differ between treatments (P = 0.60). Dietary CLA increased the concentration of SFA in milk fat by 16% (P <.0001) and decreased MUFA by 17.6% (P < 0.0001). In the mammary gland, CLA reduced gene expression of ACACAα by 37% (P = 0.003), FASN by 64% (P = 0.002), SCD1 by 52% (P = 0.003), LPL by 26% (P = 0.03), AGPAT6 by 15% (P = 0.02), and DGAT1 by 27% (P = 0.02), whereas the expression of FABP3 was not altered by CLA treatment (P = 0.09). Mammary expression of CSN2 and LALBA were reduced by CLA by 68% (P = 0.0004) and 62% (P = 0.005), respectively. Additionally, CLA had no effect on the expression of lipogenic genes evaluated in adipose tissue. In summary, CLA reduced milk fat content without negatively affecting litter performance, and it affected mammary expression of genes involved in all lipogenic pathways studied.
Sitophilus zeamais is a key pest of stored grains. Its control is made, usually, using synthetic insecticides, despite their negative impacts. Botanical insecticides with fumigant/repellent properties may offer an alternative solution. This work describes the effects of Anethum graveolens, Petroselinum crispum, Foeniculum vulgare and Cuminum cyminum essential oils (EOs) and (S)-carvone, cuminaldehyde, estragole and (+)-fenchone towards adults of S. zeamais. Acute toxicity was assessed by fumigation and topical application. Repellence was evaluated by an area preference bioassay and two-choice test, using maize grains. LC50 determined by fumigation ranged from 51.8 to 535.8 mg L−1 air, with (S)-carvone being the most active. LD50 values for topical applications varied from 23 to 128 µg per adult for (S)-carvone > cuminaldehyde > A. graveolens > C. cyminum > P. crispum. All EOs/standard compounds reduced significantly the percentage of insects attracted to maize grains (65–80%) in the two-choice repellence test, whereas in the area preference bioassay RD50 varied from 1.4 to 45.2 µg cm−2, with cuminaldehyde, (S)-carvone and estragole being strongly repellents. Petroselinum crispum EO and cuminaldehyde affected the nutritional parameters relative growth rate, efficiency conversion index of ingested food and antifeeding effect, displaying antinutritional effects toward S. zeamais. In addition, P. crispum and C. cyminum EOs, as well as cuminaldehyde, showed the highest acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity in vitro (IC50 = 185, 235 and 214.5 µg mL−1, respectively). EOs/standard compounds exhibited acute toxicity, and some treatments showed antinutritional effects towards S. zeamais. Therefore, the tested plant products might be good candidates to be considered to prevent damages caused by this pest.
As life expectancy increases, more people have chronic psychiatric and medical health disorders. Comorbidity may increase the risk of premature mortality, an important challenge for health service delivery.
Population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada of all 11 246 910 residents aged ⩾16 and <105 on 1 April 2012 and alive on 31 March 2014. Secondary analyses included subjects having common medical disorders in 10 separate cohorts. Exposures were psychiatric morbidity categories identified using aggregated diagnosis groups (ADGs) from Johns Hopkins Adjusted Clinical Groups software® (v10.0); ADG 25: Persistent/Recurrent unstable conditions; e.g. acute schizophrenic episode, major depressive disorder (recurrent episode), ADG 24: Persistent/Recurrent stable conditions; e.g. depressive disorder, paranoid personality disorder, ADG 23: Time-limited/minor conditions; e.g. adjustment reaction with brief depressive reaction. The outcome was all-cause mortality (April 2014–March 2016).
Over 2 years' follow-up, there were 188 014 deaths (1.7%). ADG 25 conferred an almost threefold excess mortality after adjustment compared to having no psychiatric morbidity [adjusted hazard ratio 2.94 (95% CI 2.91–2.98, p < 0.0001)]. Adjusted hazard ratios for ADG 24 and ADG 23 were 1.12 (95% CI 1.11–1.14, p < 0.0001) and 1.31 (95% CI 1.26–1.36, p < 0.0001). In all 10 medical disorder cohorts, ADG 25 carried significantly greater mortality risk compared to no psychiatric comorbidity.
Psychiatric disorders, particularly those graded persistent/recurrent and unstable, were associated with excess mortality in the whole population, and in the medical disorder cohorts examined. Future research should examine whether service design accounting for psychiatric disorder comorbidity improves outcomes across the spectrum of medical disorders.
Dirofilariosis caused by Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) is a zoonosis, considered an endemic disease of dogs and cats in several countries of Western Europe, including Portugal. This study assesses the levels of D. immitis exposure in humans from Northern Portugal, to which end, 668 inhabitants of several districts belonging to two different climate areas (Csa: Bragança, Vila Real and Csb: Aveiro, Braga, Porto, Viseu) were tested for anti-D. immitis and anti-Wolbachia surface proteins (WSP) antibodies. The overall prevalence of seropositivity to both anti-D. immitis and WSP antibodies was 6.1%, which demonstrated the risk of infection with D. immitis in humans living in Northern Portugal. This study, carried out in a Western European country, contributes to the characterisation of the risk of infection with D. immitis among human population in this region of the continent. From a One Health point of view, the results of the current work also support the close relationship between dogs and people as a risk factor for human infection
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
A completely randomized experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of α-amylase (AMY) and glucoamylase (GLU) on total losses, fermentative profile, chemical composition and amylolytic activity of rehydrated maize. Eighty-four experimental silos of rehydrated maize [0.33 litres/kg ground maize, 4-mm theoretical particle size, and 625 g/kg dry matter (DM)] were assigned to the following treatments: (1) control (CON), no enzyme addition; (2) GLU added at 300 µl/kg of ground maize (as-fed); and (3) AMY added at 300 µl/kg of ground maize. Seven silos from each treatment were opened after 7, 14, 21 and 28 days. Differences among treatments were evaluated through orthogonal contrasts (CON v. enzymes, and AMY v. GLU). Time effects were decomposed using polynomial regression. Glucoamylase silage exhibited greater total losses than AMY. Enzymes increased acetate and lactic acid concentrations and decreased ethanol concentration. Regardless of treatment, gas, effluent and total fermentative losses linearly increased, whereas DM recovery linearly decreased with higher storage length. Glucoamylase silage had lower ammonia nitrogen and higher lactic acid concentrations than AMY. Enzyme treatments decreased silage neutral detergent fibre content and increased in vitro DM degradation. Glucoamylase silage exhibited a more moderate starch content and greater in vitro DM degradation than AMY. Storage time linearly decreased DM, starch and fibre content of rehydrated maize. In vitro degradation of DM linearly increased as the storage length increased. This study showed evidence that enzymes with amylolytic activity, particularly GLU, improve the fermentative profile and DM degradation of rehydrated maize silage.
Ten new species of Trypetheliaceae are described: Astrothelium bullatothallinum from Venezuela, which is close to A. aeneum but differs by the bullate thallus with a thick cortex, intermixed in a mosaic with the prothallus; A. cayennense from French Guiana, which is similar to A. flavomegaspermum but with a yellow pigment in the pseudostroma near the ostioles; A. diaphanocorticatum from Papua New Guinea, which has a bullate thallus with a thick hyaline cortex and 3-septate ascospores of 25–28×10–12 μm; A. macroeustomum from French Guiana, with joint lateral ostioles, UV+ yellow ostiolar region and 5-septate ascospores of 50–55×12–17 μm; A. minicecidiogenum from Costa Rica, with muriform ascospores of 70–90×20–25 μm, without pseudostromata, with solitary ascomata, lateral ostioles and an inspersed hamathecium; A. palaeoexostemmatis from Thailand, which is similar to A. exostemmatis but with larger, I+ blue ascospores; A. quasimamillanum from Brazil, with muriform ascospores of 30–33×9·5–10·5 μm, without pseudostromata, with solitary ascomata, lateral ostioles and an inspersed hamathecium; A. studerae from Brazil, with astrothelioid ascomata, lichexanthone only in the pseudostromata, 3-septate ascospores of 21·5–23·0×6·5–7·5 μm; A. tanianum from Malaysia, with a bullate thallus, solitary ascomata, covered by the thallus, (9–)11(–15)-septate ascospores, 75–100×20–22 μm; and Pseudopyrenula miniflavida from Brazil, with a yellow-inspersed hamathecium, the inspersion dissolving in KOH without colour change, and 3-septate ascospores, 15–17×5·5–6·5 μm. The unusually thick, hyaline cortical layer of the thallus of Astrothelium diaphanocorticatum, through which the individual algal cells are clearly visible, is discussed. Furthermore, 30 species are reported from 34 countries in which they had previously been unrecorded; one (Astrothelium inspersaeneum) is from a new continent, Asia.
Laser–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
The effects of growing pinto peanut mixed with elephant grass-based pastures are still little known. The aim of the current research was to evaluate the performance of herbage yield, nutritive value of forage and animal responses to levels of pinto peanut forage mass mixed with elephant grass in low-input systems. Three grazing systems were evaluated: (i) elephant grass-based (control); (ii) pinto peanut, low-density forage yield (63 g/kg of dry matter – DM) + elephant grass; and (iii) pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield (206 g/kg DM) + elephant grass. The experimental design was completely randomized with the three treatments (grazing systems) and three replicates (paddocks) in split-plot grazing cycles. Forage samples were collected to evaluate the pasture and animal responses. Leaf blades of elephant grass and the other companion grasses of pinto peanut were collected to analyse the crude protein, in vitro digestible organic matter and total digestible nutrients. The pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield + elephant grass treatment was found to give the best results in terms of herbage yield, forage intake and stocking rate, as well as having higher crude protein contents for both elephant grass and the other grasses, followed by pinto peanut with low-density forage yield + elephant grass and finally elephant grass alone. Better results were found with the grass–legume system for pasture and animal responses.
Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.
Non-decorticated sunflower meal (SFM) is a potential protein source for dairy cows with high-fibre content but high ruminal degradability. The effect of replacement of soybean meal (SBM) and wheat middlings (WM) with SFM on the intake, digestibility, microbial protein synthesis, nitrogen utilization and milk production of dairy cows was evaluated. Twelve Holstein cows were blocked by days in milk and distributed in three 4 × 4 Latin squares. Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and contained 550 g maize silage/kg dry matter (DM). Treatment diets were no SFM (CON) or 70, 140 and 210 g/kg DM of SFM replacing fixed mixture of SBM and WM (536 and 464 g/kg of the mixture, respectively). The inclusion of SFM in diet did not affect DM intake, but intake of rumen degradable protein increased linearly. Inclusion of SFM reduced or tended to reduce total-tract digestibility of non-fibre carbohydrate, total digestible nutrients and excretion of purine derivatives. Milk production, milk protein content and efficiency of nitrogen use for lactation were reduced with increasing levels of SFM in the diet. The use of non-decorticated SFM as a replacement for SBM–WM mixture in diet reduces performance and efficiency of nutrient use in lactating dairy cows. The outcome of the current study is attributed to reduced fibre digestibility in SFM hulls. Therefore, future studies should evaluate the use of decorticated SFM.
In 2017, dicamba-resistant (DR) soybean was commercially available to farmers in the United States. In August and September of 2017, a survey of 312 farmers from 60 Nebraska soybean-producing counties was conducted during extension field days or online. The objective of this survey was to understand farmers’ adoption and perceptions regarding DR soybean technology in Nebraska. The survey contained 16 questions and was divided in three parts: (1) demographics, (2) dicamba application in DR soybean, and (3) dicamba off-target injury to sensitive soybean cultivars. According to the results, 20% of soybean hectares represented by the survey were planted to DR soybean in 2017, and this number would probably double in 2018. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents own a sprayer and apply their own herbicide programs. More than 90% of respondents who adopted DR soybean technology reported significant improvement in weed control. Nearly 60% of respondents used dicamba alone or glyphosate plus dicamba for POST weed control in DR soybean; the remaining 40% added an additional herbicide with an alternative site of action (SOA) to the POST application. All survey respondents used one of the approved dicamba formulations for application in DR soybean. Survey results indicated that late POST dicamba applications (after late June) were more likely to result in injury to non-DR soybean compared to early POST applications (e.g., May and early June) in 2017. According to respondents, off-target dicamba movement resulted both from applications in DR soybean and dicamba-based herbicides applied in corn. Although 51% of respondents noted dicamba injury on non-DR soybean, 7% of those who noted injury filed an official complaint with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Although DR soybean technology allowed farmers to achieve better weed control during 2017 than previous growing seasons, it is apparent that off-target movement and resistance management must be addressed to maintain the viability and effectiveness of the technology in the future.
An experiment was conducted to evaluate whether dietary reduction and sex class affect nutrient intake, digestibility, purine derivative (PD) excretion and heat tolerance coefficient in lambs. Thirty-five hair lambs (14.5 ± 0.89 kg initial body weight (BW), 2 months old) were used in a completely randomized study with a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, three sex classes (11 intact males, 12 castrated males and 12 females) and three levels of feeding (ad libitum, 300 and 600 g/kg/dry matter (DM) feed restriction) for 120 days. Intact and castrated males showed higher intakes of DM and neutral detergent fibre corrected for ash and protein (NDFap) than females. At 300 g/kg/DM feed restriction, NDFap digestibility was lower in intact males than in other classes; however, no differences were found between classes when subjected to ad libitum feeding or 600 g/kg/DM. The basal endogenous nitrogen and endogenous urinary losses were highest in intact males. Allantoin, uric acid and PD excretion, as well as PD absorption and microbial protein production were lowest in the animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. Microbial protein synthesis (MPS) was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The lowest temperatures were observed in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The heat tolerance coefficient was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. In conclusion, feed restriction reduced the time spent on feeding and rumination but increased the digestibility of DM. The restriction level of 600 g/kg/DM maximized MPS and infrared thermography indicated an elevated heat tolerance coefficient.
The current study evaluated the uncertainty of beef cattle supply for slaughter due to the variable climate of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The data included the numbers of cattle slaughtered, local live cattle prices, price and amount of exported beef, and the prices of the Brazilian beef futures market. Data were collected on the beef supply from January 1997 to March 2014. Climate data included El Niño (EN), La Niña (LN), South Atlantic Sub-tropical Dipole (SASD), Negative and Positive Atlantic Dipole (−AD and +AD), Tropical South and North Atlantic indices. Statistical analysis was performed by a multivariate regression of time series. It was observed that EN and SASD climatic variables increased the numbers of beef cattle slaughtered, with a 1 and 4-month lag, respectively. On the other hand, LN and -AD decreased the number of animals slaughtered, with 4 and 0 months’ lag, respectively, meaning that there was an immediate response to −AD, while there was a 4-month delay for LN. The amount of exported beef and live beef cattle prices were explained by the number of animals slaughtered in the state. Data suggested that the beef cattle market in RS was more strongly influenced by the occurrence of climate phenomena with LN and −AD than by economic variables such as the price paid to the producer for beef and the amount exported. The climate changes evaluated in the current study affect the livestock production system and consequently the beef market industry in Southern Brazil.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of incubating semen for different periods (90, 270 or 450 min) with or without Trolox® (100 or 150 µM) on the quality of sperm from Saimiri collinsi. Sperm motility, vigour, and plasma membrane integrity (PMI) were evaluated in both fresh semen and semen incubated for different time periods, i.e. 90, 270 or 450 min of incubation. Supplementation of semen extender with Trolox® 100 µM improved sperm motility, vigour and PMI for up to 270 min of incubation.
The aim of this study was to re-examine the chronic effect (>7 d) of fructose consumption on postprandial TAG, in adolescents and adults. The research was carried out in March 2017 and used different electronic databases, such as Medline® (Pubmed®), Embase® and Cochrane. The review considered clinical trials (parallel or crossed) that evaluated the effect of fructose consumption for a period longer than 7 d, in humans. Two investigators independently performed data extraction. The outcome was the absolute delta of TAG concentration in a 4-h postprandial period. The results were presented with delta mean difference between treatments with 95 % CI. The calculations were made based on random-effect models. Statistical heterogeneity of treatment effects between studies was assessed by Cochrane’s ‘Q Test’ and ‘I2’ inconsistency test. The meta-analysis of the twelve selected interventions (n 318) showed that fructose generated larger variation (δ) of TAG concentrations during the postprandial period, compared with other carbohydrates (mean difference: 8·02 (95 % CI 0·46, 15·58) mg/dl (0·09 (95 % CI 0·01, 0·18) mmol/l); I2: 74 %). High heterogeneity was generated almost exclusively by one study, and its withdrawal did not alter the result. We concluded that chronic consumption of fructose (>7 d) has a negative role on postprandial TAG in healthy adolescents and adults, as well as in overweight/obese individuals, but not in diabetics.
Current feeder space recommendations in laying hen welfare guidelines are inconsistent among and within countries. One determining criterion forming the recommendations (e.g. 12.0 cm/hen for the EU guideline) is that all birds can feed simultaneously. However, if there are other resources in the environment, as in enriched colony housing (ECH), it is unknown whether group-housed hens will choose to feed simultaneously. This study assesses the impact of feeder space on feeding behavior of 60 laying hens (W-36) in ECH using a ultra-high frequency radio-frequency identification-based tracking system. The feeder spaces investigated were 12.0, 9.5, 8.5 and 6.5 cm/hen, achieved by blocking portions of the overall feeder access to keep hens at the same stocking density. Each feeder space treatment, randomly assigned over the course of the experiment, lasted for 7 consecutive days. Feeding behaviors were characterized as daily time spent at the feeder (TS, min/hen-day), daily frequency of visits to the feeder (FV, #/hen-day), and maximum or average percentage of hens feeding simultaneously (MPB, APB, %). Group-average daily feed intake (FI, g/hen-day), water use (WU, g/hen-day), and hen-day egg production (HDEP, %) were also measured. The results revealed that at 12.0 cm/hen, where unoccupied feeder space was present, a maximum of 59.0±1.4% (average of 31.7±0.3%) hens fed simultaneously. No significant differences were detected among 12.0, 9.5 and 8.5 cm/hen in TS (293±10, 286±10 and 281±10 min/hen-day) and MPB (59.0±1.4, 57.3±1.4 and 53.3±1.4%) (P>0.05). The outcome of no significant differences also held true between 12.0 and 9.5 cm/hen in APB (31.7±0.3 v. 30.8±0.3%) and between 9.5 and 8.5 cm/hen in all response variables measured (P>0.05). However, there were significant differences in APB between 6.5 cm/hen and all other treatments; in TS and FV between 6.5 and 9.5 cm/hen; and in MPB between 6.5 and 12 cm/hen (P<0.05). Considerable inter-hen variability was observed in TS (CV varying from 28.0% to 32.1%) and FV (CV varying from 26.5% to 27.8%). All the feeder spaces tested showed no significant impact on FI, WU or HDEP (P>0.05). The results revealed that synchronous feeding of hens in the ECH did not increase with increasing feeder space. However, it is worth noting that lower feeder space may lead to aggression or frustration which was not quantified in the current study.
Forage is the primary feed source for livestock in tropical regions and energy is one of the most important nutrients for ruminant nutrition. The effects of harvest management of Marandu palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations were evaluated. A plot (Experiment 1) and a greenhouse study (Experiment 2) were conducted in 2013–14. In Experiment 1, treatments were the factorial arrangement of two harvest times and two vertical canopy layers (upper and intermediate), distributed in a completely randomized design with five replicates. In Experiment 2, treatments were the factorial arrangement of six harvest times and two morphological fractions (leaf blade and pseudostem). In both experiments, NSC concentration increased during the day. Upper and intermediate canopy layers had greater NSC concentration at 15.00 than 06.00 h during spring and summer. In addition, the magnitude of NSC increase was greater in the upper than intermediate canopy layer and in spring than summer. Marandu palisade grass shows greater digestibility in the afternoon than morning, representing an opportunity to optimize energy concentration through harvest management.
Isotopic composition of leaf carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) is determined by biotic and abiotic factors. In order to determine the influence of leaf habit and site on leaf δ13C and δ15N in the understorey of two Atlantic forests in Brazil that differ in annual precipitation (1200 and 1900 mm), we measured these isotopes in the shaded understorey of 38 tropical tree species (20 in the 1200-mm site and 18 in the 1900-mm site). Mean site values for δ15N were significantly lower at the 1200-mm site (−1.4‰) compared with the 1900-mm site (+3.0‰), and δ13C was significantly greater in the 1200-mm site (−30.4‰) than in the 1900-mm site (−31.6‰). Leaf C concentration was greater and leaf N concentration was lower at 1200-mm than at 1900-mm. Leaf δ15N was negatively correlated with δ13C across the two sites. Leaf δ13C and δ15N of evergreen and deciduous species were not significantly different within a site. No significant phylogenetic signal for any traits among the study species was found. Overall, site differences were the main factor distinguishing traits among species, suggesting strong functional convergence to local climate and soils within each site for individuals in the shaded understorey.