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The use of a field portable XRF analyzer incorporating a semiconductor, mercuric iodide, energy dispersive spectrometer is described with emphasis on the benefits of high resolution x-ray detection for rapid screening of hazardous metallic wastes. Results are presented of “in-situ” and “prepared sample” soil measurement for different sites to show the potential of Fundamental Parameter analysis to obtain acceptable quality data with minimum calibration effort, obviating the need for site-specific standards.
Although food from grazed animals is increasingly sought by consumers because of perceived animal welfare advantages, grazing systems provide the farmer and the animal with unique challenges. The system is dependent almost daily on the climate for feed supply, with the importation of large amounts of feed from off farm, and associated labour and mechanisation costs, sometimes reducing economic viability. Furthermore, the cow may have to walk long distances and be able to harvest feed efficiently in a highly competitive environment because of the need for high levels of pasture utilisation. She must, also, be: (1) highly fertile, with a requirement for pregnancy within ~80 days post-calving; (2) ‘easy care’, because of the need for the management of large herds with limited labour; (3) able to walk long distances; and (4) robust to changes in feed supply and quality, so that short-term nutritional insults do not unduly influence her production and reproduction cycles. These are very different and are in addition to demands placed on cows in housed systems offered pre-made mixed rations. Furthermore, additional demands in environmental sustainability and animal welfare, in conjunction with the need for greater system-level biological efficiency (i.e. ‘sustainable intensification’), will add to the ‘robustness’ requirements of cows in the future. Increasingly, there is evidence that certain genotypes of cows perform better or worse in grazing systems, indicating a genotype×environment interaction. This has led to the development of tailored breeding objectives within countries for important heritable traits to maximise the profitability and sustainability of their production system. To date, these breeding objectives have focussed on the more easily measured traits and those of highest relative economic importance. In the future, there will be greater emphasis on more difficult to measure traits that are important to the quality of life of the animal in each production system and to reduce the system’s environmental footprint.
To characterize the multiple dimensions and benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a sustainable diet, in order to revitalize this intangible food heritage at the country level; and to develop a multidimensional framework – the Med Diet 4.0 – in which four sustainability benefits of the Mediterranean diet are presented in parallel: major health and nutrition benefits, low environmental impacts and richness in biodiversity, high sociocultural food values, and positive local economic returns.
A narrative review was applied at the country level to highlight the multiple sustainable benefits of the Mediterranean diet into a single multidimensional framework: the Med Diet 4.0.
We included studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals that contained data on the characterization of sustainable diets and of the Mediterranean diet. The methodological framework approach was finalized through a series of meetings, workshops and conferences where the framework was presented, discussed and ultimately refined.
The Med Diet 4.0 provides a conceptual multidimensional framework to characterize the Mediterranean diet as a sustainable diet model, by applying principles of sustainability to the Mediterranean diet.
By providing a broader understanding of the many sustainable benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the Med Diet 4.0 can contribute to the revitalization of the Mediterranean diet by improving its current perception not only as a healthy diet but also a sustainable lifestyle model, with country-specific and culturally appropriate variations. It also takes into account the identity and diversity of food cultures and systems, expressed within the notion of the Mediterranean diet, across the Mediterranean region and in other parts of the world. Further multidisciplinary studies are needed for the assessment of the sustainability of the Mediterranean diet to include these new dimensions.
A recent outbreak of Q fever was linked to an intensive goat and sheep dairy farm in Victoria, Australia, 2012-2014. Seventeen employees and one family member were confirmed with Q fever over a 28-month period, including two culture-positive cases. The outbreak investigation and management involved a One Health approach with representation from human, animal, environmental and public health. Seroprevalence in non-pregnant milking goats was 15% [95% confidence interval (CI) 7–27]; active infection was confirmed by positive quantitative PCR on several animal specimens. Genotyping of Coxiella burnetii DNA obtained from goat and human specimens was identical by two typing methods. A number of farming practices probably contributed to the outbreak, with similar precipitating factors to the Netherlands outbreak, 2007-2012. Compared to workers in a high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtered factory, administrative staff in an unfiltered adjoining office and those regularly handling goats and kids had 5·49 (95% CI 1·29–23·4) and 5·65 (95% CI 1·09–29·3) times the risk of infection, respectively; suggesting factory workers were protected from windborne spread of organisms. Reduction in the incidence of human cases was achieved through an intensive human vaccination programme plus environmental and biosecurity interventions. Subsequent non-occupational acquisition of Q fever in the spouse of an employee, indicates that infection remains endemic in the goat herd, and remains a challenge to manage without source control.
Small changes in the availability of liquid water can have profound effects on the water levels, aqueous chemistry and biogeochemical dynamics of the closed-basin, perennially ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. We have compiled the published and unpublished data on dissolved gas, tritium and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for Lake Fryxell and Lake Hoare to determine the effects of a high meltwater year (2001–02 summer) on the lakes. The dissolved gas, tritium and CFC data indicate that the pulse of freshwater that flowed onto the surfaces of the lakes did not mix extensively with the upper water column. At the bottom of Lake Hoare, the measurable CFC and lower dissolved gas values suggest that the recent meltwater may have mixed with bottom waters. The probable mechanism for this transportation is weak density currents with c. 0.1–1.5% surface water being transported downwards in Lake Hoare. This deep water input, while not constant, may have a significant effect on the chemistry of the bottom waters in Lake Hoare over time. In Lake Fryxell, the tritium and CFC data indicate that the recent meltwater did not significantly affect the bottom water chemistry; therefore, weak density currents may not be present in Lake Fryxell.
Genetic selection for milking speed is feasible. The existence of a correlation structure between milking speed and milk yield, however, necessitates a selection strategy to increase milking speed with no repercussion on genetic merit for milk yield. Residual milking duration (RMD) and residual milking duration including somatic cell score (RMDS), defined as the residuals from a regression model of milking duration on milk yield or milk yield plus somatic cell score (SCS) have been advocated. The objective of this study was to undertake a first ever genetic analysis of these novel traits. Data on electronically recorded milking duration and other milking characteristics from 235 005 test-day records on 74 608 cows in 1075 Irish dairy herds were available. Variance components for the milking characteristic traits were estimated using animal linear mixed models and covariances with other performance traits, including udder-related type traits, were estimated using sire models. The heritability of milking duration, RMD and RMDS was 0.20, 0.22 and 0.18, respectively. There were little differences in the heritability of RMD or RMDS when defined using genetic regression. The genetic standard deviation of RMDS defined on the phenotypic or genetic level was 36.8 s and 37.6 s, respectively, clearly indicating considerable exploitable genetic variation in milking duration independent of both milk yield and SCS. The genetic correlation between phenotypically derived RMDS and milk yield was favourable (−0.43), but RMDS was unfavourably genetically correlated with SCS (−0.30); the genetic correlations with both traits when RMDS was defined at a genetic level were zero. RMDS defined at the phenotypic level was negatively (i.e. unfavourable) genetically correlated (−0.35; s.e. = 0.15) with mastitis; however, when defined using genetic regression, shorter RMDS was not associated with greater expected incidence of mastitis. RMDS, defined at the genetic level, is a useful heritable trait with ample genetic variation for inclusion in a national breeding strategy without influencing genetic gain in either milk yield or udder health.
Approximately 10% of all babies worldwide are born preterm, and preterm birth is the leading cause of perinatal mortality in developed countries. Although preterm birth is associated with adverse short- and long-term health outcomes, it is not yet clear whether this relationship is causal. Rather, there is evidence that reduced foetal growth, preterm birth and the long-term health effects of both of these may all arise from a suboptimal intrauterine environment. Further, most infants born preterm also experience suboptimal postnatal growth, with potential adverse effects on long-term health and development. A number of interventions are used widely in the neonatal period to optimise postnatal growth and development. These commonly include supplementation with macronutrients and/or micronutrients, all of which have potential short-term risks and benefits for the preterm infant, whereas the long-term health consequences are largely unknown. Importantly, more rapid postnatal growth trajectory (and the interventions required to achieve this) may result in improved neurological outcomes at the expense of increased cardiovascular risk in later life.
There is evidence that epigenetic changes occur early in breast carcinogenesis. We hypothesized that early-life exposures associated with breast cancer would be associated with epigenetic alterations in breast tumors. In particular, we examined DNA methylation patterns in breast tumors in association with several early-life exposures in a population-based case–control study. Promoter methylation of E-cadherin, p16 and RAR-β2 genes was assessed in archived tumor blocks from 803 cases with real-time methylation-specific PCR. Unconditional logistic regression was used for case–case comparisons of those with and without promoter methylation. We found no differences in the prevalence of DNA methylation of the individual genes by age at menarche, age at first live birth and weight at age 20. In case–case comparisons of premenopausal breast cancer, lower birth weight was associated with increased likelihood of E-cadherin promoter methylation (OR = 2.79, 95% CI, 1.15–6.82, for ⩽2.5 v. 2.6–2.9 kg); higher adult height with RAR-β2 methylation (OR = 3.34, 95% CI, 1.19–9.39, for ⩾1.65 v. <1.60 m); and not having been breastfed with p16 methylation (OR = 2.75, 95% CI, 1.14–6.62). Among postmenopausal breast cancers, birth order was associated with increased likelihood of p16 promoter methylation. Being other than first in the birth order was inversely associated with likelihood of ⩾1 of the three genes being methylated for premenopausal breast cancers, but positively associated with methylation in postmenopausal women. These results suggest that there may be alterations in methylation associated with early-life exposures that persist into adulthood and affect breast cancer risk.
Genome-wide association studies for difficult-to-measure traits are generally limited by the sample population size with accurate phenotypic data. The objective of this study was to utilise data on primiparous Holstein–Friesian cows from experimental farms in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden to identify genomic regions associated with traditional measures of fertility, as well as a fertility phenotype derived from milk progesterone profiles. Traditional fertility measures investigated were days to first heat, days to first service, pregnancy rate to first service, number of services and calving interval (CI); post-partum interval to the commencement of luteal activity (CLA) was derived using routine milk progesterone assays. Phenotypic and genotypic data on 37 590 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were available for up to 1570 primiparous cows. Genetic parameters were estimated using linear animal models, and univariate and bivariate genome-wide association analyses were undertaken using Bayesian stochastic search variable selection performed using Gibbs sampling. Heritability estimates of the traditional fertility traits varied from 0.03 to 0.16; the heritability for CLA was 0.13. The posterior quantitative trait locus (QTL) probabilities, across the genome, for the traditional fertility measures were all <0.021. Posterior QTL probabilities of 0.060 and 0.045 were observed for CLA on SNPs each on chromosome 2 and chromosome 21, respectively, in the univariate analyses; these probabilities increased when CLA was included in the bivariate analyses with the traditional fertility traits. For example, in the bivariate analysis with CI, the posterior QTL probability of the two aforementioned SNPs were 0.662 and 0.123. Candidate genes in the vicinity of these SNPs are discussed. The results from this study suggest that the power of genome-wide association studies in cattle may be increased by sharing of data and also possibly by using physiological measures of the trait under investigation.
The purpose of this paper is to accelerate the pace of material discovery processes by systematically visualizing the huge search space that conventionally needs to be explored. To this end, we demonstrate not only the use of empirical- or crystal chemistry-based physical intuition for decision-making, but also to utilize knowledge-based data mining methodologies in the context of finding p-type delafossite transparent conducting oxides (TCOs). We report on examples using high-dimensional visualizations such as radial visualization combined with machine learning algorithms such as k-nearest neighbor algorithm (k-NN) to better define and visualize the search space (i.e. structure maps) of functional materials design. The vital role of search space generated from these approaches is discussed in the context of crystal chemistry of delafossite crystal structure.
We report an experimental study of photocarrier lifetime, transport, and excitation spectra in silicon-on-insulator doped with sulfur far above thermodynamic saturation. The spectral dependence of photocurrent in coplanar structures is consistent with photocarrier generation throughout the hyperdoped and undoped sub-layers, limited by collection of holes transported along the undoped layer. Holes photoexcited in the hyperdoped layer are able to diffuse to the undoped layer, implying (μτ)h ∼ 5 × 10−9 cm2/V. Although high absorptance of hyperdoped silicon is observed from 1200 to 2000 nm in transmission experiments, the number of collected electrons per absorbed photon is 10−4 of the above-bandgap response of the device, consistent with (μτ)e < 1 × 10−7cm2/V.
In order to investigate the performance of ZnO-based thin film transistors (ZnO-TFTs), we fabricate devices using amorphous hafnium dioxide (HfO2) high-k dielectrics. Sputtered ZnO was used as the active channel layer, and aluminium source/drain electrodes were deposited by thermal evaporation, and the HfO2 high-k dielectrics are deposited by metal-organic chemical vapour deposition (MOCVD). The ZnO-TFTs with high-k HfO2 gate insulators exhibit good performance metrics and effective channel mobility which is appreciably higher in comparison to SiO2-based ZnO TFTs fabricated under similar conditions. The average channel mobility, turn-on voltage, on-off current ratio and subthreshold swing of the high-k TFTs are 31.2 cm2V-1s-1, -4.7 V, ~103, and 2.4 V/dec respectively. We compared the characteristics of a typical device consisting of HfO2 to those of a device consisting of thermally grown SiO2 to examine their potential for use as high-k dielectrics in future TFT devices.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Waste Handling and Packaging Plant is developing a microwave process to reduce and solidify remote-handled transuranic (RH-TRU) liquids and sludges presently stored in large tanks at ORNL. Testing has recently begun on an in-drum microwave process using nonradioactive RH-TRU surrogates. The microwave process development effort has focused on an in-drum process to dry the RH-TRU liquids and sludges in the final storage container and then melt the salt residues to form a solid monolith. A 1/3-scale proprietary microwave applicator was designed, fabricated, and tested to demonstrate the essential features of the microwave design and to provide input into the design of the fullscale applicator. Conductivity cell measurements suggest that the microwave energy heats near the surface of the surrogate over a wide range of temperatures. The final wasteform meets the waste acceptance criteria for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a federal repository for defense transuranic wastes near Carlsbad, New Mexico.
The electrical properties of the SiO2/SiC interface were studied using the conductance vs voltage (G-V) data for the metal-oxide-SiC (MOS) structure. It was found that the dry oxide contained too mjch charge either at the oxide-SiC interface or within the oxide films to obtain useful data. On the other hand the wet oxide invariably resulted in better capacitance and conductance data. The capacitance-voltage data showed that the SiC surface exhibited accumulation, depletion or inversion when the appropriate gate bias was applied. The conductance-voltage data indicate electronic surface states at the oxide-SiC interface. From this conductance data the interface state density has been estimated.
Data is presented on the field test of amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules. The modules have been obtained by SERI under the field test and performance evaluation program to track the changes in performance following the continuing development of improvements in their manufacture. The data have been gathered for up to five years. Procurement time intervals are used to distinguish between the sets of modules under test. The results show that more recent technogies have a more rapid initial loss of performance but that stability sets in at an earlier time than that observed for the earlier modules. Data are presented to show efficiency and fill factor degradation from both the date of deployment and a date selected for post initial degradation(pi). Performance models are presented and compared, including models which account for annual variations in insolation and temperature and, therefore, generation of light induced defects and annealing.
Morphological, chemical and mineralogical speciation of a low-Ca, high-Fe fly ash from a bituminous coal has been investigated by examination of size, density and magnetic fractions. Fractionation by size revealed little information as to speciation among particle types. However, separation of the ash into eight density fractions and into magnetic and non-magnetic components showed major differences in particle properties. It was found that glasscontaining particles can be divided into three general types: Type 1, being low-Fe content, low-density hollow spheres comprising aluminosilicate/mullite glass ceramics; Type 2, of intermediate density, being ferroaluminosilicate/ mullite glass ceramics; and Type 3, high density composite particles of spinel/hematite crystals embedded in an iron-substituted glass. It is proposed that Type 1 and Type 2 particles are derived from thermal decomposition of clay minerals with a range of Fe contents. Type 3 particles are considered to arise from thermal decomposition of pyrite in the presence of small quantities of aluminosilicate minerals. Two general types of glass were distinguished: Glass I(f), being largely a low-iron aluminosilicate; and Glass II(f), being a ferroaluminosilicate of high Fe-content. XRD and vibrational spectroscopic evidence suggest that, in both glass types, Fe is substituted for Al in an aluminosilicate-type structure.
Variations in maternal nutrition during gestation can influence foetal growth, foetal development and permanently ‘programme’ offspring for postnatal life. The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of increased maternal nutrition during different gestation time windows on offspring growth, carcass quality, meat quality and gene expression in skeletal muscle. A total of 64 sows were assigned to the following feeding treatments: a standard control diet at a feed allocation of 2.3 kg/day throughout gestation, increased feed allowance of 4.6 kg/day from 25 to 50 days of gestation (dg), from 50 to 80 dg and from 25 to 80 dg. At weaning, Light, Medium and Heavy pigs of the same gender, within litter, were selected based on birth weight, individually penned and monitored until slaughter at 130 days post weaning. Carcass and meat quality traits of the semimembranosus (SM) muscle were recorded post mortem. A cross section of the semitendinosus (ST) muscle encompassing the deep and superficial regions were harvested from pigs (n = 18 per treatment) for RNA extraction and quantification of gene expression by real-time PCR. The results showed that doubling the feed intake from 25 to 50 dg reduced offspring growth, carcass weight, intramuscular fat content and increased drip loss of the SM muscle. Interestingly, protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit – α-isoform, which codes for the transcription factor calcineurin, was upregulated in the ST muscle of offspring whose mothers received increased feed allowance from 25 to 50 dg. This may provide an explanation for the previous observed increases in Type IIa muscle fibres of these offspring. Increasing the maternal feed intake from 50 to 80 dg negatively impacted pig growth and carcass weight, but produced leaner male pigs. Extending the increased maternal feed intake from 25 to 80 dg had no effect on offspring over the standard control gestation diet. Although intra-litter variation in pig weight is a problem for pig producers, increased maternal feeding offered no improvement throughout life to the lighter birth weight littermates in our study. Indeed, increased maternal nutrition at the three-gestation time windows selected provided no major benefits to the offspring.