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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.
The relationship between epilepsy and the presence of visceral larva migrans caused by Toxocara canis in Mexican children remains uncertain; however, this relationship needs to be elucidated because these parasite larvae can invade the human central nervous system. Accordingly, this study aimed to determine the frequency and specificity of anti-T. canis antibodies in the sera of children with epilepsy to determine the relationship between this parasite and epilepsy. The sera samples of 214 children were examined: 111 children diagnosed with epilepsy and 103 clinically healthy children without neurological disorders. In the sera of each group, the presence and specificity of anti-T. canis and anti-Ascaris lumbricoides antibodies, as well as the cross-reactivity between them, were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting analysis. Among the children with epilepsy, 25.2% exhibited seropositivity to T. canis. Cross-reactivity against the A. lumbricoides antigen was present in 46.8% of the children with epilepsy, whereas 11.7% of the children with epilepsy and anti-T. canis antibodies did not exhibit cross-reactivity against this antigen. The Western blotting analysis of the sera from the children with epilepsy demonstrated the presence of T. canis proteins, with molecular weights of 24, 35, 55, 70, 120 and 210 kDa, and A lumbricoides proteins with molecular weights of 70, 80 and 110 kDa. Our results revealed the presence of anti-T. canis antibodies in the children with epilepsy; furthermore, cross-reactivity tests with A. lumbricoides showed the importance of the presence of anti-T. canis antibodies in revealing the relationship between this parasite and epilepsy in children.
Fermented feeds are being considered as practical alternatives to antimicrobial growth promoters (AGP) supplemented in nursery pig diets. This study aimed to investigate health-promoting effects of fermented barley in weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli K88 +. A total of 37 piglets were weaned at 21 ± 1 day of age (6.41 ± 0.47 kg of BW) and assigned to either of the following five treatment groups: (1) unchallenged control (UCC; n = 7), (2) challenged control (CC; n = 7), (3) AGP (CC + 0.1% AGP; n = 7), (4) Ferm1 (challenged and fed homofermentative Lactobacillus plantarum (Homo)-fermented barley; n = 8) and (5) Ferm2 (challenged and fed heterofermentative L. buchneri (Hetero)-fermented barley; n = 8). The control diet included unfermented barley. Barley was fermented with either Homo or Hetero for 90 days under anaerobic conditions. On day 10, all pigs except those in UCC group were orally inoculated with E. coli K88 + (6 × 109 colony forming units/ml). The pre-planned orthogonal test was performed to compare (1) UCC and CC, (2) CC and AGP, (3) CC and Ferm1 + Ferm2, as well as (4) Ferm1 and Ferm2. Challenged control pigs showed shorter (P < 0.05) villus height (VH) in the duodenum and deeper (P < 0.05) crypt depth (CD) in the jejunum than UCC pigs. The AGP group had higher (P < 0.05) VH and lower (P < 0.05) IL-6 gene expression in the jejunum compared with CC group. Compared to CC, Ferm1 and Ferm2 had decreased (P < 0.05) CD in the duodenum, IL-6 gene expression in the jejunum and rectal temperature at 24 h post-challenge. Pigs fed fermented barley diets showed greater (P < 0.05) faecal abundance of Clostridium Cluster IV and Lactobacilli than those fed UCC diet. Ferm2-fed pigs showed lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of band cells, eosinophils and lymphocytes at 6, 24 and 48 h after challenge, respectively, and lower (P < 0.05) faecal abundance of Enterobacteriaceae 24 h after challenge than the Ferm1-fed pigs. In conclusion, the substitution of unfermented barley with fermented barley in a nursery diet showed similar results as those shown by AGP supplementation in terms of enhancing the intestinal morphology and modulating faecal microbiota composition, as well as down-regulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines; therefore, fermented barley can be a possible nutritional strategy for managing nursery pigs fed diets without in-feed AGP.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
To investigate whether adherence to the adapted Mediterranean Diet Score for Adolescents (MDS_A) and the adapted Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for Adolescents (KIDMED_A) is associated with better food/nutrient intakes and nutritional biomarkers.
The Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study is a cross-sectional study aiming to obtain comparable data on a variety of nutritional and health-related parameters in European adolescents aged 12·5–17·5 years.
Nine European countries.
European adolescents (n 2330) recruited to the HELENA study. Dietary intake was obtained with 24 h dietary recalls, an FFQ and a Food Choices and Preferences questionnaire. MDS_A was calculated as a categorical variable using cut-offs (MDS_A), as a continuous variable (zMDS_A) and with energy adjustments (zEnMDS_A). The KIDMED_A score was also calculated.
Multilevel linear regression analysis showed positive associations for zMDS_A and KIDMED_A with serum levels of vitamin D, vitamin C, plasma folate, holo-transcobalamin, β-carotene and n-3 fatty acids, while negative associations were observed with trans-fatty acid serum levels. For categorical indices, blood biomarkers showed few significant results. zMDS_A and KIDMED_A showed positive associations with vegetables and fruits intake, and negative associations with energy-dense and low-nutritious foods. zMDS_A and KIDMED_A were positively associated with all macronutrients, vitamins and minerals (all P < 0·0001), except with monosaccharides and PUFA for KIDMED_A and cholesterol for both indices (P < 0·05).
zMDS_A and KIDMED_A have shown the strongest associations with the dietary indicators and biomarkers that have been associated with the Mediterranean diet before, and are therefore considered the most appropriate and valid Mediterranean diet scores for European adolescents.
The use of tail chalk and estrus/heat expression scores (HEATSC) evaluation is instrumental in identifying cows with greater estrus expression and greater artificial insemination pregnancy rates (P/AI) in cows submitted to timed artificial insemination (TAI), and cows with low or no estrus expression present lower P/AI. It was intended in this study to improve the pregnancy rates in TAI for Bos indicus beef cows, and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injection was hypothesized to increase pregnancy rates in a TAI program for cows submitted to progesterone–estradiol-based protocols with low or no estrus expression, evaluated by HEATSC. Cows (n= 2284) received a progesterone device and 2 mg estradiol benzoate, after 8 days the device was removed and 1 mg estradiol cypionate, 150 μg of d-cloprostenol and 300 IU equine chorionic gonadotropin was administered. All cows were marked with chalk and HEATSC evaluated (scales 1 to 3) at TAI performed on day 10. Animals with HEATSC1 and HEATSC2 (n= 937) received 100 μg de gonadorelin (GNRH group; n= 470), or 1 ml saline (Control group; n= 467), and cows with HEATSC3 (named HEAT group; n= 1347) received no additional treatment. The larger dominant follicle, evaluated on day 8and at TAI (day 10), was greater in HEAT group (P= 0.0145 and P <0.001, respectively). Corpus luteum (CL) area and progesterone concentration was evaluated on day 17, and CL area was larger in HEAT group, intermediary in Control and lower in GnRH group (Control= 2.68 cm2, GnRH= 2.37 cm2, HEAT group= 3.07 cm2, P <0.001). Greater progesterone concentrations were found in HEAT group than in Control and GnRH groups (Control= 4.74 ng/ml, GnRH= 4.29 ng/ml, HEAT group= 6.08 ng/ml, P<0.001). There was a difference in ovulation rate, greater in HEAT group than GnRH and Control groups (Control= 72.5%; GnRH= 81.25%; HEAT group= 90.71%; P= 0.0024). Artificial insemination pregnancy rates was greater in HEAT group (57.09% (769/1347) than in Control and GNRH groups, with positive effect of GnRH injection at the time of TAI in P/AI (Control= 36.18% (169/467), GnRH= 45.95% (216/470); P<0.0001). In conclusion, GnRH application in cows with low HEATSC (1 and 2) is a simple strategy, requiring no changes in TAI management to increase pregnancy rates in postpartum beef cows submitted to progesterone–estradiol-based TAI protocols, without reaching, however, the pregnancy rates of cows that demonstrate high estrus expression at the TAI.
This work presents the synthesis and characterization of TiO2 nanotubes (NTT) with chitosan (CS). In a first stage, electrochemical anodization of titanium foils was used to generate NTT in a membrane-type arrangement. From these experiments, suitable experimental conditions were selected. In a second stage, the synthesized NTT were detached from the titanium foils by sonication. In the third stage, the detached NTT were dispersed in an acid solution containing CS in various concentrations. Finally, the nanotubes-chitosan (NTT/CS) samples were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FTIR). Our results showed that the NTT presented very regular tube morphology with -OH and Ti-O- functional groups on the surface. The interaction of NTT and chitosan was enhanced by increasing the time of contact during the synthesis of the titanium composites.
To assess counts of α4 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in nasal polyps of adults with or without long-term exposure to cigarette tobacco smoke.
Twenty-two patients with and 22 patients without exposure to cigarette tobacco smoke participated in the study. After endoscopic polypectomy, the fragments of the nasal polyps were analysed by immunohistochemistry.
Compared to patients with no exposure, patients with exposure showed higher counts of α4 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (t-test, p < 0.05). However, in patients with no exposure, multivariate analysis showed gender dimorphism, with lower counts in males than in females, and no influence from other variables (analysis of covariance, p > 0.05).
Exposure to cigarette tobacco smoke may induce increased counts of α4 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in nasal polyps of adults, with lower counts in males than females without exposure to tobacco smoke.
To evaluate the presence of endolymphatic hydrops in patients with immune-mediated inner-ear disease.
The presence of endolymphatic hydrops was prospectively evaluated in 17 patients clinically diagnosed with secondary (n = 5) or primary (n = 12) immune-mediated inner-ear disease, who attended the ENT department of a tertiary care centre for evaluation or treatment over the previous year. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the temporal bone.
Intratympanic gadolinium three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging diagnosed hydrops in 11 of 12 patients with primary immune-mediated inner-ear disease (92 per cent). Of these, seven patients (64 per cent) presented only cochlear (n = 5) or predominantly cochlear (n = 2) hydrops. A positive magnetic resonance imaging result was observed in only one of five patients with secondary immune-mediated inner-ear disease (20 per cent).
This study confirms the presence of endolymphatic hydrops in immune-mediated inner-ear disease patients. The virtual absence of hydrops in patients with secondary immune-mediated inner-ear disease is remarkable, although firm conclusions cannot be drawn; this should be explored in a multicentre study with a larger sample of patients. A different immune reaction without development of endolymphatic hydrops should not be ruled out in secondary immune-mediated inner-ear disease patients.
Several ortho-naphthoquinones (o-NQs) have trypanocidal activity against Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas disease. Previously, we demonstrated that the aldo-keto reductase from this parasite (TcAKR) reduces o-NQs, such as β-lapachone (β-Lap) and 9,10-phenanthrenequinone (9,10-PQ), with concomitant reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Recent characterization of TcAKR activity and expression in two T. cruzi strains, CL Brener and Nicaragua, showed that TcAKR expression is 2.2-fold higher in CL Brener than in Nicaragua. Here, we studied the trypanocidal effect and induction of several death phenotypes by β-Lap and 9,10-PQ in epimastigotes of these two strains. The CL Brener strain was more resistant to both o-NQs than Nicaragua, indicating that greater TcAKR activity is unlikely to be a major influence on o-NQ toxicity. Evaluation of changes in ROS production, mitochondrial membrane potential, phosphatidylserine exposure and monodansylcadaverine labelling evidenced that β-Lap and 9,10-PQ induce different death phenotypes depending on the combination of drug and T. cruzi strain analysed. To study whether TcAKR participates in o-NQ activation in intact parasites, β-Lap and 9,10-PQ trypanocidal effect was next evaluated in TcAKR-overexpressing parasites. Only β-Lap was more effective and induced greater ROS production in TcAKR-overexpressing epimastigotes than in controls, suggesting that TcAKR may participate in β-Lap activation.
Metamaterials offer the possibility to control and manipulate electromagnetic radiation. Spoof surface plasmon metamaterials are the focus of this Element of the Metamaterials Series. The fundamentals of spoof surface plasmons are reviewed, and advances on plasmonic metamaterials based on spoof plasmons are presented. Spoof surface plasmon metamaterials on a wide range of geometries are discussed: from planar platforms to waveguides and localized modes, including cylindrical structures, grooves, wedges, dominos or conformal surface plasmons in ultrathin platforms. The Element closes with a review of recent advances and applications such as Terahertz sensing or integrated devices and circuits.
The EU is the second largest world producer of beef meat, but production is fragmented, consisting of highly variable local systems, compared with homogenous, highly intensive feedlot systems. The current EU agricultural policy requires a reorientation of beef market to take advantage of this diversity by creating meat quality labels relating to geographical areas and with specific genotype and production systems, symbols of guaranteed quality. The aim of this experiment was to analyse the relationships between productive and carcass parameters with some meat quality traits, within breed-production systems in different European countries.
We explore the properties of sound and human sound recognition as a means to enhance and accelerate visual-only data analysis methods. The aim of this work is to enable and improve the analysis of large data sets, data requiring rapid analysis, multi-dimensional data, and signal detection in data with low signal-to-noise ratio. We present a prototype tool, StarSound, to sonify data such as astronomical transient light curves, spectra, and power spectra. Stereophonic sound is used to ‘visualise’ and localise the data under examination, and 3-D sound is discussed in conjunction with virtual reality technology, as a means to enhance analysis efficiency and efficacy, including rapid data assessment and training machine learning software. In addition, we explore the use of higher-order harmonics as a means to examine simultaneously multi-dimensional data sets. Such an approach can allow the data to be interpreted in a holistic manner and facilitates the discovery of previously unseen connections and relationships. Furthermore, we exploit the capability of the human brain for selective or focused hearing that enables the identification of desired signals in noisy data, or amidst similar or more significant signals. Finally, we provide research examples that benefit directly from data sonification. The work presented here aims to help tackle the challenges of the upcoming era of Big Data and help optimise, speed up and expand aspects of data analysis requiring human interaction.
The main limitation for determining feed efficiency of freely grazing ruminants is measurement of daily individual feed intake. This paper describes an investigation that assessed a method for estimating intake of forage based on changes in BW of ewes. A total of 24 dry and non-pregnant Romane ewes (12 hoggets, HOG; mean±SD 51.8±2.8 kg BW; body condition score (BCS) 2.6±0.2; and 12 adults, ADU; 60.4±8.5 kg BW; BCS 2.7±0.8) were selected for the study and moved from their rangeland system to a confined pen with controlled conditions and equipped with individual automatic feeders. The experiment lasted for 28 days (21 days adaptation and 7 days feed intake measurement). Ewes were fed hay and trained to use the electronic feeders (one feeding station per ewe) in which actual daily intake (Hintake24) was measured. The pens were designed to maximize movement of trained ewes through an automated Walk-over-Weighing device, by using water and mineral salts as attractants. Total individual intake of hay measured in the automatic feeder at each meal (Hintake) was compared with indirect estimates of feed intake determined using differences in the BW of the ewes (∆BW) before and 1 h following morning and afternoon feeding at fixed times. The BW, BCS, Hintake, Hintake24, as well as plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), glucose and insulin profiles were determined. The BW was higher in ADU v. HOG but BCS was not affected by parity. The Hintake24 was affected by day of experiment as a consequence of reduced availability and intake of water on one day. Plasma glucose, NEFA and insulin were not affected by parity or day of experiment. The HIntake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in the morning in HOG, whereas Hintake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in ADU at the afternoon meal. Irrespective of parity or feeding time, there was very strong correlation (r2=0.93) between Hintake and ∆BW. This relationship confirms that our indirect method of estimating individual forage intake was reliable within the strictly controlled conditions of the present experiment. The method appears suitable for use in short-term intensive group feeding situations, and has potential to be further developed for longer-term forage intake studies, with a view to developing a method for freely grazing ruminants.
There is a need of more quantitative standardised data to compare local Mental Health Systems (MHSs) across international jurisdictions. Problems related to terminological variability and commensurability in the evaluation of services hamper like-with-like comparisons and hinder the development of work in this area. This study was aimed to provide standard assessment and comparison of MHS in selected local areas in Europe, contributing to a better understanding of MHS and related allocation of resources at local level and to lessen the scarcity in standard service comparison in Europe. This study is part of the Seventh Framework programme REFINEMENT (Research on Financing Systems’ Effect on the Quality of Mental Health Care in Europe) project.
A total of eight study areas from European countries with different systems of care (Austria, England, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Romania, Spain) were analysed using a standard open-access classification system (Description and Evaluation of Services for Long Term Care in Europe, DESDE-LTC). All publicly funded services universally accessible to adults (≥18 years) with a psychiatric disorder were coded. Care availability, diversity and capacity were compared across these eight local MHS.
The comparison of MHS revealed more community-oriented delivery systems in the areas of England (Hampshire) and Southern European countries (Verona – Italy and Girona – Spain). Community-oriented systems with a higher proportion of hospital care were identified in Austria (Industrieviertel) and Scandinavian countries (Sør-Trøndelag in Norway and Helsinki-Uusimaa in Finland), while Loiret (France) was considered as a predominantly hospital-based system. The MHS in Suceava (Romania) was still in transition to community care.
There is a significant variation in care availability and capacity across MHS of local areas in Europe. This information is relevant for understanding the process of implementation of community-oriented mental health care in local areas. Standard comparison of care provision in local areas is important for context analysis and policy planning.
Magnetic fields play a major role in the general dynamics of astronomical phenomena and particularly in the process of star formation. The magnetic field strength in galactic molecular clouds is of the order of few tens of μG. On a smaller scale, OH masers exhibit fields of the order of mG and these can probably be taken as representative of the magnetic field in the dense regions surrounding protostars. The OH molecule has been shown to emit highly circular and linearly polarized radiation. That it was indeed the action of the magnetic field that would give rise to the highly polarized spectrum of OH has been shown by the VLBI observations of Zeeman pairs of the 1720 and 6035 MHz by Lo et. al. and Moran et. al. VLBI observations of W3 (OH) revealed that the OH emission was coming from numerous discrete locations and that all spots fell within the continuum contours of the compact HII region. The most detailed VLBI aperture synthesis experiment of the 1665 MHz emission from W3 (OH) was carried out by Reid et. al. who found several Zeeman pairs and a characteristic maser clump size of 30 mas. In this work, we report the results of a 5 station VLBI aperture synthesis experiment of the 1665 MHz OH emission from W3 (OH) with full polarization information. We produced VLBI synthesis maps of all Stokes parameters of 16 spectral features that showed elliptical polarization. The magnitude and direction of the magnetic field have been obtained by the detection of 7 Zeeman pairs. The three dimensional orientation of the magnetic field can be obtained, following the theoretical arguments of Goldreich et. al., from the observation of π and σ components.