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Livestock farming is criticized for negatively impacting the environment, concerns about animal welfare and the impact of excessive meat consumption on human health. However, livestock farming provides other underappreciated and poorly communicated benefits to society in terms of employment, product quality, cultural landscapes and carbon storage by grasslands. Few attempts have been made so far to simultaneously consider the services and impacts provided by livestock production. Here, we propose an integrated graphical tool, called the ‘barn’ to explicitly summarize the synergies and trade-offs between services and impacts provided by livestock farming. It illustrates livestock farming interacting with its physical, economic and social environment along five interfaces: (i) Markets, (ii) Work and employment, (iii) Inputs, (iv) Environment and climate, (v) Social and cultural factors. This graphical tool was then applied by comparing two contrasting livestock production areas (high livestock density v. grassland-based), and the dominant v. a niche system within a crop-livestock area. We showed the barn could be used for cross-comparisons of services and impacts across livestock production areas, and for multi-level analysis of services and impacts of livestock farming within a given area. The barn graphically summarizes the ecological and socio-economic aspects of livestock farming by explicitly representing multiple services and impacts of different systems in a simple yet informative way. Information for the five interfaces relies on available quantitative assessments from the literature or data sets, and on expert-knowledge for more qualitative factors, such as social and cultural ones. The ‘barn’ can also inform local stakeholders or policy-makers about potential opportunities and threats to the future of livestock farming in specific production areas. It has already been used as a pedagogical tool for teaching the diversity of services and impacts of livestock systems across Europe and is currently developed as a serious game for encouraging knowledge exchange and sharing different viewpoints between stakeholders.
Livestock is a major driver in most rural landscapes and economics, but it also polarises debate over its environmental impacts, animal welfare and human health. Conversely, the various services that livestock farming systems provide to society are often overlooked and have rarely been quantified. The aim of analysing bundles of services is to chart the coexistence and interactions between the various services and impacts provided by livestock farming, and to identify sets of ecosystem services (ES) that appear together repeatedly across sites and through time. We review three types of approaches that analyse associations among impacts and services from local to global scales: (i) detecting ES associations at system or landscape scale, (ii) identifying and mapping bundles of ES and impacts and (iii) exploring potential drivers using prospective scenarios. At a local scale, farming practices interact with landscape heterogeneity in a multi-scale process to shape grassland biodiversity and ES. Production and various ES provided by grasslands to farmers, such as soil fertility, biological regulations and erosion control, benefit to some extent from the functional diversity of grassland species, and length of pasture phase in the crop rotation. Mapping ES from the landscape up to the EU-wide scale reveals a frequent trade-off between livestock production on one side and regulating and cultural services on the other. Maps allow the identification of target areas with higher ecological value or greater sensitivity to risks. Using two key factors (livestock density and the proportion of permanent grassland within utilised agricultural area), we identified six types of European livestock production areas characterised by contrasted bundles of services and impacts. Livestock management also appeared to be a key driver of bundles of services in prospective scenarios. These scenarios simulate a breakaway from current production, legislation (e.g. the use of food waste to fatten pigs) and consumption trends (e.g. halving animal protein consumption across Europe). Overall, strategies that combine a reduction of inputs, of the use of crops from arable land to feed livestock, of food waste and of meat consumption deliver a more sustainable food future. Livestock as part of this sustainable future requires further enhancement, quantification and communication of the services provided by livestock farming to society, which calls for the following: (i) a better targeting of public support, (ii) more precise quantification of bundles of services and (iii) better information to consumers and assessment of their willingness to pay for these services.
Livestock farming systems provide multiple benefits to humans: protein-rich diets that contribute to food security, employment and rural economies, capital stock and draught power in many developing countries and cultural landscape all around the world. Despite these positive contributions to society, livestock is also the centre of many controversies as regards to its environmental impacts, animal welfare and health outcomes related to excessive meat consumption. Here, we review the potentials of sustainable intensification (SI) and agroecology (AE) in the design of sustainable ruminant farming systems. We analyse the two frameworks in a historical perspective and show that they are underpinned by different values and worldviews about food consumption patterns, the role of technology and our relationship with nature. Proponents of SI see the increase in animal protein demand as inevitable and therefore aim at increasing production from existing farmland to limit further encroachment into remaining natural ecosystems. Sustainable intensification can thus be seen as an efficiency-oriented framework that benefits from all forms of technological development. Proponents of AE appear more open to dietary shifts towards less animal protein consumption to rebalance the whole food system. Agroecology promotes system redesign, benefits from functional diversity and aims at providing regulating and cultural services. We analyse the main criticisms of the two frameworks: Is SI sustainable? How much can AE contribute to feeding the world? Indeed, in SI, social justice has long lacked attention notably with respect to resource allocation within and between generations. It is only recently that some of its proponents have indicated that there is room to include more diversified systems and food-system transformation perspectives and to build socially fair governance systems. As no space is available for agricultural land expansion in many areas, agroecological approaches that emphasise the importance of local production should also focus more on yield increases from agricultural land. Our view is that new technologies and strict certifications offer opportunities for scaling-up agroecological systems. We stress that the key issue for making digital science part of the agroecological transition is that it remains at a low cost and is thus accessible to smallholder farmers. We conclude that SI and AE could converge for a better future by adopting transformative approaches in the search for ecologically benign, socially fair and economically viable ruminant farming systems.
The increased accessibility of soft-tissue data through diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT) enables comparative biologists to increase the taxonomic breadth of their studies with museum specimens. However, it is still unclear how soft-tissue measurements from preserved specimens reflect values from freshly collected specimens and whether diceCT preparation may affect these measurements. Here, we document and evaluate the accuracy of diceCT in museum specimens based on the soft-tissue reconstructions of brains and eyes of five bats. Based on proxies, both brains and eyes were roughly 60% of the estimated original sizes when first imaged. However, these structures did not further shrink significantly over a 4-week staining interval, and 1 week in 2.5% iodine-based solution yielded sufficient contrast for differentiating among soft-tissues. Compared to six “fresh” bat specimens imaged shortly after field collection (not fixed in ethanol), the museum specimens had significantly lower relative volumes of the eyes and brains. Variation in field preparation techniques and conditions, and long-term storage in ethanol may be the primary causes of shrinkage in museum specimens rather than diceCT staining methodology. Identifying reliable tissue-specific correction factors to adjust for the shrinkage now documented in museum specimens requires future work with larger samples.
The spread of anthelmintic resistance in equine strongyle nematodes has become a major problem, advocating for the development of alternative control for strongyles. Our study consisted of both in vivo and in vitro experiments. We investigate for the first time the efficacy of a short-term consumption of tannin-rich sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) or extra proteins in naturally infected horses. We used 30 horses allocated into three groups of 10 individuals that received for 18 days either (i) a tannin-rich diet with 70% DM sainfoin pellets (Sd), (ii) a protein-rich diet with 52% DM Italian rye-grass pellets and 18% DM grinded linseed expeller (Pd), or (iii) a control diet with 45% DM barley and 25% DM cereal-based pellets (Cd). The three diets were isoenergetic, covering 94% of animal energy requirements on average, and the Sd and Pd diets were isoproteic and provided extra proteins (227% of protein requirements v. 93% for the Cd diet). Pd and Cd were compared to test for benefits of receiving extra proteins, while Sd and Pd were compared to account for the effect of sainfoin secondary metabolites. There were no between-diet differences in faecal egg counts (FEC) or in worm burden evaluated from worm counts in faeces of drenched horses at the end of the experiment. However, coprocultures from the faeces collected in each group at the beginning and at the end of the experiment suggested a lower rate of strongyle larval development in the Sd group at the end of the experiment (Sd=8.1%, Pd=30.5%, Cd=22.6%). In vitro tests using sainfoin solutions evidenced the influence of sainfoin on strongyle larval development: adding 29% of sainfoin pellets to faeces reduced the strongyle egg development into infective larvae by 82% (P<0.001) and using solutions with sainfoin concentrations higher than 7.5 mg/ml reduced egg hatching by 37% (P<0.05). The short-term use of tannin-rich plants in horse diet could thus constitute a promising strategy to reduce the risk of infection by strongyles at pasture.
Lycopene (LYC) bioavailability is relatively low and highly variable, because of the influence of several factors. Recent in vitro data have suggested that dietary Ca can impair LYC micellarisation, but there is no evidence whether this can lead to decreased LYC absorption efficiency in humans. Our objective was to assess whether a nutritional dose of Ca impairs dietary LYC bioavailability and to study the mechanism(s) involved. First, in a randomised, two-way cross-over study, ten healthy adults consumed either a test meal that provided 19-mg (all-E)-LYC from tomato paste or the same meal plus 500-mg calcium carbonate as a supplement. Plasma LYC concentration was measured at regular time intervals over 7 h postprandially. In a second approach, an in vitro digestion model was used to assess the effect of increasing Ca doses on LYC micellarisation and on the size and zeta potential of the mixed micelles produced during digestion of a complex food matrix. LYC bioavailability was diminished by 83 % following the addition of Ca in the test meal. In vitro, Ca affected neither LYC micellarisation nor mixed micelle size but it decreased the absolute value of their charge by 39 %. In conclusion, a nutritional dose of Ca can impair dietary LYC bioavailability in healthy humans. This inhibition could be due to the fact that Ca diminishes the electrical charge of micelles. These results call for a thorough assessment of the effects of Ca, or other divalent minerals, on the bioavailability of other carotenoids and lipophilic micronutrients.
Agroecology uses ecological processes and local resources rather than chemical inputs to develop productive and resilient livestock and crop production systems. In this context, breeding innovations are necessary to obtain animals that are both productive and adapted to a broad range of local contexts and diversity of systems. Breeding strategies to promote agroecological systems are similar for different animal species. However, current practices differ regarding the breeding of ruminants, pigs and poultry. Ruminant breeding is still an open system where farmers continue to choose their own breeds and strategies. Conversely, pig and poultry breeding is more or less the exclusive domain of international breeding companies which supply farmers with hybrid animals. Innovations in breeding strategies must therefore be adapted to the different species. In developed countries, reorienting current breeding programmes seems to be more effective than developing programmes dedicated to agroecological systems that will struggle to be really effective because of the small size of the populations currently concerned by such systems. Particular attention needs to be paid to determining the respective usefulness of cross-breeding v. straight breeding strategies of well-adapted local breeds. While cross-breeding may offer some immediate benefits in terms of improving certain traits that enable the animals to adapt well to local environmental conditions, it may be difficult to sustain these benefits in the longer term and could also induce an important loss of genetic diversity if the initial pure-bred populations are no longer produced. As well as supporting the value of within-breed diversity, we must preserve between-breed diversity in order to maintain numerous options for adaptation to a variety of production environments and contexts. This may involve specific public policies to maintain and characterize local breeds (in terms of both phenotypes and genotypes), which could be used more effectively if they benefited from the scientific and technical resources currently available for more common breeds. Last but not least, public policies need to enable improved information concerning the genetic resources and breeding tools available for the agroecological management of livestock production systems, and facilitate its assimilation by farmers and farm technicians.
Agroecology uses natural processes and local resources rather than chemical inputs to ensure production while limiting the environmental footprint of livestock and crop production systems. Selecting to achieve a maximization of target production criteria has long proved detrimental to fitness traits. However, since the 1990s, developments in animal breeding have also focussed on animal robustness by balancing production and functional traits within overall breeding goals. We discuss here how an agroecological perspective should further shift breeding goals towards functional traits rather than production traits. Breeding for robustness aims to promote individual adaptive capacities by considering diverse selection criteria which include reproduction, animal health and welfare, and adaptation to rough feed resources, a warm climate or fluctuating environmental conditions. It requires the consideration of genotype×environment interactions in the prediction of breeding values. Animal performance must be evaluated in low-input systems in order to select those animals that are adapted to limiting conditions, including feed and water availability, climate variations and diseases. Finally, we argue that there is no single agroecological animal type, but animals with a variety of profiles that can meet the expectations of agroecology. The standardization of both animals and breeding conditions indeed appears contradictory to the agroecological paradigm that calls for an adaptation of animals to local opportunities and constraints in weakly artificialized systems tied to their physical environment.
The light of the night sky consists of atmospheric components (airglow, light scattered in the atmosphere) and – even in the case of spaceborne observations – of zodiacal, galactic and extragalactic light. Although all components are of similar importance, investigations on zodiacal light have profitted most by the space age since their object of research, the interplanetary dust cloud, became accessible to direct in-situ measurements. Lunar samples and measurements by micrometeoroid detectors provide individual and eventually detailed information on impact events, which however are limited in number and therefore restricted in statistical significance. Zodiacal light investigations involve scattered light of many particles in large volume elements and therefore provide global information about physical properties and spatial distribution of interplanetary dust grains, however just in terms of average values. Therefore both sources of information are complementary and a synthesis can only be achieved by synoptic interpretation of zodiacal light, micrometeoroid, and meteoroid investigations also including dynamical aspects. Measurements of zodiacal light (and emission) from rockets, manned or non manned spacecraft, and deep space probes gained drastically in importance compared to ground based observations. On the other hand investigations on airglow have become more and more a topic of geophysics Caeronomy). They remain relevant however to astronomy as far as photometric features are concerned. These general trends continued in the last triennium and have influenced the activities of our commission.
The different components of the light of the night sky have their origin in different formations of matter in the universe - encompassing a huge scale of distances ranging from a few kilometers in the earth’s atmosphere to the most distant known galaxies and beyond. Correspondingly, the borderlines to other Commissions are not very well defined and thus material relevant to Commission 21 can also be found in the reports of other Commissions on the following topics: zodiacal light and zodiacal IR emission (Comm. 22, 44), integrated starlight (33, 25), diffuse galactic light (34), extragalactic background light (47), airglow and atmospheric scattered light (50), and space-borne observations of the LONS (44). From the Commission 21 point of view the connecting link between these various fields is the special techniques utilized in the surface photometric measurements and reductions of background radiations which extend over the entire sky. One crucial problem is the separation of the LONS into its several components. The approach for solving this task is to utilize the different spatial distributions and different broad and narrow band spectral properties of each of the LONS component. Thus the successful measurement and separation of one of the LONS components requires a knowledge of the properties of all the other components. This situation has become apparent in recent years as the infrared background radiation database, provided by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), has been analyzed: both the zodiacal and galactic dust emissions have to be analyzed hand in hand, and both these components must be very accurately mastered before any conclusions are possible on the extragalactic component. It is also obvious that very similar problems are encountered in the ultraviolet and infrared wavelength regions as in the more traditional optical domain. Thus the techniques developed in one of these wavelength domains are directly applicable in the others.
We describe an investigation of the science potential of the filled Mills cross orbiting, imaging, optical interferometer proposed by Synnott et al. and the constraints that science places on the design of the instrument. Imaging simulations were performed with this design in order to determine its capabilities in the area of spatial resolution, dynamic range, and sensitivity. In addition, specific astronomical objects of high interest were chosen as candidate program sources to determine what science was desired for these objects, what spatial resolution, etc. was needed to perform that science, and whether or not this interferometer design could do the science.
A Powell amaranth population suspected to be resistant (R) to linuron was
discovered in a carrot field in Keswick, Ontario, Canada, in 1999.
Dose–response analysis with different herbicides and DNA sequencing of the
psbA gene encoding the D1 protein of photosystem II were
done to confirm the resistance and identify its basis. A calculated
resistance factor indicated a 12-fold increased resistance when linuron was
applied to an R population compared with a susceptible (S) population.
Moreover, the R population showed 6.4- and 3.1-fold greater resistance to
two other phenylurea herbicides (diuron and monolinuron), 1.8- and 1.4-fold
greater resistance to two triazine herbicides (metribuzin and prometryn),
and 2.6-fold greater resistance to the triazinone metribuzin. R population
was also cross-resistant to bentazon and bromoxynil when compared with S
population, with a calculated resistance factor of 1.4 and 2.2,
respectively. The partial nucleotide sequence of the psbA
gene of R populations differed at two locations when compared with S
populations. The first mutation coded for a Val219Ile
substitution in the deduced amino acid sequence of the D1 protein, and the
second mutation was silent and encoded for a proline at position 279 in both
R and S populations. The Val219Ile substitution in the
psbA gene is most likely the cause of this Powell
amaranth population resistance to linuron and other PSII inhibitors. This is
the first recorded instance of a Val219Ile substitution in an
In July 2013, a Belgian couple were admitted to hospital because of pneumonia. Medical history revealed contact with birds. Eleven days earlier, they had purchased a lovebird in a pet shop in The Netherlands. The bird became ill, with respiratory symptoms. The couple's daughter who accompanied them to the pet shop, reported similar symptoms, but was travelling abroad. On the suspicion of psittacosis, pharyngeal swabs from the couple were taken and sent to the Belgian reference laboratory for psittacosis. Culture and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were positive for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci, and ompA genotyping indicated genotype A in both patients. The patients were treated with doxycycline and the daughter started quinolone therapy; all three recovered promptly. Psittacosis is a notifiable disease in Belgium and therefore local healthcare authorities were informed. They contacted their Dutch colleagues, who visited the pet shop. Seven pooled faecal samples were taken and analysed using PCR by the Dutch national reference laboratory for notifiable animal diseases for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci. Four (57%) samples tested positive, genotyping revealed genotype A. Enquiring about exposure to pet birds is essential when patients present with pneumonia. Reporting to health authorities, even across borders, is warranted to prevent further spread.
Au/GaN and Cu/GaN Schottky contacts have been studied using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES). Clean and stoechiometric GaN samples were obtained using in situ hydrogen plasma treatment and Ga deposition. The growth of Cu and Au follows Stranski-Krastanov and Frank van der Merwe modes respectively. The interfaces are sharp and non-reactive. Schottky barriers of 1.15eV for Au/GaN and 0.85eV for Cu/GaN were measured using XPS.
Agroecology opens up new perspectives for the design of sustainable farming systems by using the stimulation of natural processes to reduce the inputs needed for production. In horse farming systems, the challenge is to maximize the proportion of forages in the diet, and to develop alternatives to synthetic chemical drugs for controlling gastrointestinal nematodes. Lactating saddle mares, with high nutritional requirements, are commonly supplemented with concentrates at pasture, although the influence of energy supplementation on voluntary intake, performance and immune response against parasites has not yet been quantified. In a 4-month study, 16 lactating mares experimentally infected with cyathostome larvae either received a daily supplement of barley (60% of energy requirements for lactation) or were non-supplemented. The mares were rotationally grazed on permanent pastures over three vegetation cycles. All the mares met their energy requirements and maintained their body condition score higher than 3. In both treatments, they produced foals with a satisfying growth rate (cycle 1: 1293 g/day; cycle 2: 1029 g/day; cycle 3: 559 g/day) and conformation (according to measurements of height at withers and cannon bone width at 11 months). Parasite egg excretion by mares increased in both groups during the grazing season (from 150 to 2011 epg), independently of whether they were supplemented or not. This suggests that energy supplementation did not improve mare ability to regulate parasite burden. Under unlimited herbage conditions, grass dry matter intake by supplemented mares remained stable around 22.6 g DM/kg LW per day (i.e. 13.5 kg DM/al per day), whereas non-supplemented mares increased voluntary intake from 22.6 to 28.0 g DM/kg LW per day (13.5 to 17.2 kg DM/al per day) between mid-June and the end of August. Hence total digestible dry matter intake and net energy intake did not significantly differ between supplemented and non-supplemented mares during the second and third cycles. In conclusion, supplementing lactating mares at pasture should not be systematic because their adaptive capacities enable to increase herbage intake and ensure foal growth. Further research is needed to determine the herbage allowance threshold below which supplementation is required.
Agroecology offers a scientific and operational framework for redesigning animal production systems (APS) so that they better cope with the coming challenges. Grounded in the stimulation and valorization of natural processes to reduce inputs and pollutions in agroecosystems, it opens a challenging research agenda for the animal science community. In this paper, we identify key research issues that define this agenda. We first stress the need to assess animal robustness by measurable traits, to analyze trade-offs between production and adaptation traits at within-breed and between-breed level, and to better understand how group selection, epigenetics and animal learning shape performance. Second, we propose research on the nutritive value of alternative feed resources, including the environmental impacts of producing these resources and their associated non-provisioning services. Third, we look at how the design of APS based on agroecological principles valorizes interactions between system components and promotes biological diversity at multiple scales to increase system resilience. Addressing such challenges requires a collection of theories and models (concept–knowledge theory, viability theory, companion modeling, etc.). Acknowledging the ecology of contexts and analyzing the rationales behind traditional small-scale systems will increase our understanding of mechanisms contributing to the success or failure of agroecological practices and systems. Fourth, the large-scale development of agroecological products will require analysis of resistance to change among farmers and other actors in the food chain. Certifications and market-based incentives could be an important lever for the expansion of agroecological alternatives in APS. Finally, we question the suitability of current agriculture extension services and public funding mechanisms for scaling-up agroecological practices and systems.
Animal sociability measurements based on inter-individual distances or nearest-neighbour distributions can be obtained automatically with telemetry collars. So far, all the indices that have been used require the whole group to be observed. Here, we propose an index of the variability in affinity relationships in groups of domestic herbivores, whose definition does not depend on group size and that can be used even if some data are missing. This index and its estimators are based on a function that measures how frequently an animal is closer than another one from a third animal. When no data are missing, we show that our estimator and the variance of the sociability matrix sensu Sibbald (considered as the reference method) are strongly correlated. We then consider two cases of missing data. In the first case, some animals are randomly missing, that is, to account for random breakdown of telemetry collars. Our estimator is unbiased by such missing data and its variance decreases as the number of observation dates increases. In the second case, the same animals are missing at all observation dates, that is, in large herds where there are more individuals to be observed than available telemetry collars. Our estimator of affinity variance within a group is biased by such missing data. Thus, it requires changing animals equipped with telemetry collars regularly during the experiment. Conversely, the estimator remains unbiased at the population level, that is, if several independent groups are being analysed. We finally illustrate how this estimator can be used by investigating changes in the variability of affinities according to group size in grazing heifers.
From a ferrite/martensite cold-rolled microstructure, the interaction between ferrite
recrystallization and austenite formation is investigated. It is observed that a slow
heating rate promotes the ferrite recrystallization and a homogeneous microstructure,
whereas a fast heating rate delays the recrystallization and leads to heterogeneously
distributed austenite islands.