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Since ancient times, lubricants have been used to reduce friction and wear problems of mechanical systems. However, nowadays, there is a constant effort to improve their performance through additives so that they can accomplish properly in this modern world. In that sense, in this study, it was proposed the use of Poly(ε-Caprolactone) (PCL) as a biodegradable additive in Castor oil. The effect that this additive has on the tribological properties of AISI 4140 steel/Al2O3 tribosystem was analyzed. For this purpose, PCL was dissolved in Castor oil at 65 °C for 15 minutes. Later, once the lubricant formulations got into room temperature, friction tests were conducted with a ball-on-disk configuration. Several experiments were systematically carried out in order to study the factors that could influence the performance of the tribological system, for instance: additive concentration, velocity, temperature, and wear track radius. The kinetic friction coefficient was used to analyze the results as an output variable. The parameters in which the best friction behavior was observed were employed again to compare the efficiency of the polymeric additive by profoundly analyzing and comparing the wear response of the system. The PCL additive showed great results by decreasing friction up to 30% compared to the neat Castor oil. Nevertheless, as the opposite effect, this additive increased the steel wear to almost half an order of magnitude. Given the above, this investigation showed that, with further studies, Poly(ε-Caprolactone) could be used as an additive in vegetable oil-based lubricants for the improvement of friction performance.
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.
In this paper, a robust geometric navigation algorithm, designed on the special Euclidean group SE(3), of a quadrotor is proposed. The equations of motion for the quadrotor are obtained using the Newton–Euler formulation. The geometric navigation considers a guidance frame which is designed to perform autonomous flights with a convergence to the contour of the task with small normal velocity. For this purpose, a super twisting algorithm controls the nonlinear rotational and translational dynamics as a cascade structure in order to establish the fast and yet smooth tracking with the typical robustness of sliding modes. In this sense, the controller provides robustness against parameter uncertainty, disturbances, convergence to the sliding manifold in finite time, and asymptotic convergence of the trajectory tracking. The algorithm validation is presented through experimental results showing the feasibility of the proposed approach and illustrating that the tracking errors converge asymptotically to the origin.
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.
The diurnal feeding patterns of dairy cows affects the 24 h robot utilisation of pasture-based automatic milking systems (AMS). A decline in robot utilisation between 2400 and 0600 h currently occurs in pasture-based AMS, as cow feeding activity is greatly reduced during this time. Here, we investigate the effect of a temporal variation in feed quality and quantity on cow feeding behaviour between 2400 and 0600 h as a potential tool to increase voluntary cow trafficking in an AMS at night. The day was allocated into four equal feeding periods (0600 to 1200, 1200 to 1800, 1800 to 2400 and 2400 to 0600 h). Lucerne hay cubes (CP = 19.1%, water soluble carbohydrate = 3.8%) and oat, ryegrass and clover hay cubes with 20% molasses (CP = 11.8%, water soluble carbohydrate = 10.7%) were offered as the ‘standard’ and ‘preferred’ (preference determined previously) feed types, respectively. The four treatments were (1) standard feed offered ad libitum (AL) throughout 24 h; (2) as per AL, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (AL + P); (3) standard feed offered at a restricted rate, with quantity varying between each feeding period (20:10:30:60%, respectively) as a proportion of the (previously) measured daily ad libitum intake (VA); (4) as per VA, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (VA + P). Eight non-lactating dairy cows were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. During each experimental period, treatment cows were fed for 7 days, including 3 days habituation and 4 days data collection. Total daily intake was approximately 8% greater (P < 0.001) for the AL and AL + P treatments (23.1 and 22.9 kg DM/cow) as compared with the VA and VA + P treatments (21.6 and 20.9 kg DM/cow). The AL + P and VA treatments had 21% and 90% greater (P < 0.001) dry matter intake (DMI) between 2400 and 0600 h, respectively, compared with the AL treatment. In contrast, the VA + P treatment had similar DMI to the VA treatment. Our experiment shows ability to increase cow feeding activity at night by varying feed type and quantity, though it is possible that a penalty to total DMI may occur using VA. Further research is required to determine if the implementation of variable feed allocation on pasture-based AMS farms is likely to improve milking robot utilisation by increasing cow feeding activity at night.
The Centro de Laseres Pulsados in Salamanca, Spain has recently started operation phase and the first user access period on the 6 J 30 fs 200 TW system (VEGA 2) already started at the beginning of 2018. In this paper we report on two commissioning experiments recently performed on the VEGA 2 system in preparation for the user campaign. VEGA 2 system has been tested in different configurations depending on the focusing optics and targets used. One configuration (long focal length
cm) is for underdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a low density gas-jet generating electron beams (via laser wake field acceleration mechanism) with maximum energy up to 500 MeV and an X-ray betatron source with a 10 keV critical energy. A second configuration (short focal length
cm) is for overdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a
thick Al target generating a proton beam with a maximum energy of 10 MeV and temperature of 2.5 MeV. In this paper we present preliminary experimental results.
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.
The design of mixed-technology quasi-reflectionless planar bandpass filters (BPFs), bandstop filters (BSFs), and multi-band filters is reported. The proposed quasi-reflectionless filter architectures comprise a main filtering section that determines the power transmission response (bandpass, bandstop, or multi-band type) of the overall circuit network and auxiliary sections that absorb the reflected radio-frequency (RF) signal energy. By loading the input and output ports of the main filtering section with auxiliary filtering sections that exhibit a complementary transfer function with regard to the main one, a symmetric quasi-reflectionless behavior can be obtained at both accesses of the overall filter. The operating principles of the proposed filter concept are shown through synthesized first-order BPF and BSF designs. Selectivity-increase techniques are also described. They are based on: (i) cascading in-series multiple first-order stages and (ii) increasing the order of the filtering sections. Moreover, the RF design of quasi-reflectionless multi-band BPFs and BSFs is discussed. A hybrid integration scheme in which microstrip-type and lumped-elements are effectively combined within the filter volume is investigated for size miniaturization purposes. For experimental validation purposes, two quasi-reflectionless BPF prototypes (one- and two-stage architectures) centered at 2 GHz and a second-order BSF prototype centered at 1 GHz were designed, manufactured, and measured.
After the recent detection, by both morphology and DNA barcodes, of the larval stages of an unknown species of pea crab (Pinnotheres sp.) in European waters, adults of this crab are herein reported and described as a new species. The current known geographic distribution of the species comprises the Gulf of Cádiz in the eastern Atlantic and the adjacent Mediterranean waters of the south of the Iberian Peninsula (Alboran Sea), where this crab is well-established inside the anomiid bivalve Anomia ephippium. In the Gulf of Cádiz, the species displayed a relatively high prevalence: on average, 55.6–77.7%, in A. ephippium samples. The dominant demographic categories of the new species were soft females (61.8–77.0%) with fewer males (17.7–21.10%). Most of the host bivalves carried only one crab; in bivalves harbouring two crabs, heterosexual pairs were collected more frequently than expected by chance, which suggests that they could be mated pairs. A strong correlation between host size and soft female size was found (r = 0.73, P < 0.01) indicating that space availability within hosts seems to be relevant in determining the size of the sedentary phase of the new crab species.
Over the last decade, polymer composites reinforced with natural fibers gained interest, both from the academic world and from various industries. Due to the demanding needs for environmentally friendly composites, the automotive industry is now searching for biodegradable and renewable composite materials and products. There are a wide variety of different natural fibers which can be applied as reinforcement or fillers, showing potential as a replacement for inorganic fibers in automotive components. The fact that plastics are often economical to produce implies an advantage especially in very complex shapes, make them promising for obtaining composite materials, achieving short demolding times, as no chemical reaction is required. Moreover, polymers are used increasingly for stressed tribological components, whereby plastic parts replace metallic bearings, gear wheels or sliding elements. In this regard, the objective of this work was to produce composite materials based on natural fibers and to characterize the influence of the addition of different amounts of filler. To do so, composites of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and peanut shells (PS), at different proportions (2, 4 6, 8 and 10% wt.), were prepared. The composites were produced by injection molding and molded into a particular tension test simple mold. Although the FTIR presented an increment on the O-H vibration and a band around 1600 cm-1, the HDPE structure did not present modification. The mechanical properties of the HDPE were affected with the inclusion of the fibers. The tensile performance of the HDPE decrease with the increment of the fibers inclusion whiles the elastic modulus increases. The sample with 2% of natural fibers presented the lowest wear rate (k) and coefficient of friction (µ).
To date, there are no recent studies identifying the prevalence of parasites of human and veterinary importance in dogs and cats in Ireland. The interaction between pets and wildlife species in the environment is an important source of parasite exposure to canids and felines, and one likely to be heightened in the stray animal population. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of endoparasites in unowned dogs and cats in County Dublin, Ireland. Feces from stray dogs (n = 627) and cats (n = 289) entering a rehoming centre were collected immediately after defecation. The main parasitic agents detected were ascarids (15.52 and 30.26%), Cystoisospora (3.27 and 3.69%), Giardia spp. (6.02 and 1.84%) and lungworms (0.64 and 2.08%), in dogs and cats respectively. Animals younger than 3 months of age were more likely to be infected with ascarids (P < 0.001) and Cystoisospora spp. (P = 0.008 and P = 0.014) than older animals. All lungworms were morphologically identified and dogs were infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum (0.48%) and Crenosoma vulpis (0.16%) whereas cats were only infected with Aelurostrongylus abstrusus (2.08%). This represents the first prevalence study of stray animals in Ireland. Data collected will inform the treatment and in addition, the future monitoring and control studies of parasite populations.
Achieving a consistent level of robot utilisation throughout 24 h maximises automatic milking system (AMS) utilisation. However, levels of robot utilisation in the early morning hours are typically low, caused by the diurnal feeding behaviour of cows, limiting the inherent capacity and total production of pasture-based AMS. Our objective was to determine robot utilisation throughout 24 h by dairy cows, based on milking frequency (MF; milking events per animal per day) in a pasture-based AMS. Milking data were collected from January and February 2013 across 56 days, from a single herd of 186 animals (Bos taurus) utilising three Lely A3 robotic milking units, located in Tasmania, Australia. The dairy herd was categorised into three equal sized groups (n=62 per group) according to the cow’s mean daily MF over the duration of the study. Robot utilisation was characterised by an interaction (P< 0.001) between the three MF groups and time of day, with peak milking time for high MF cows within one h of a fresh pasture allocation becoming available, followed by the medium MF and low MF cows 2 and 4 h later, respectively. Cows in the high MF group also presented for milking between 2400 and 0600 h more frequently (77% of nights), compared to the medium MF group (57%) and low MF group (50%). This study has shown the formation of three distinct groups of cows within a herd, based on their MF levels. Further work is required to determine if this finding is replicated across other pasture-based AMS farms.
The objective was to compare the performance of the updated Charlson comorbidity index (uCCI) and classical CCI (cCCI) in predicting 30-day mortality in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB). All cases of SAB in patients aged ⩾14 years identified at the Microbiology Unit were included prospectively and followed. Comorbidity was evaluated using the cCCI and uCCI. Relevant variables associated with SAB-related mortality, along with cCCI or uCCI scores, were entered into multivariate logistic regression models. Global model fit, model calibration and predictive validity of each model were evaluated and compared. In total, 257 episodes of SAB in 239 patients were included (mean age 74 years; 65% were male). The mean cCCI and uCCI scores were 3.6 (standard deviation, 2.4) and 2.9 (2.3), respectively; 161 (63%) cases had cCCI score ⩾3 and 89 (35%) cases had uCCI score ⩾4. Sixty-five (25%) patients died within 30 days. The cCCI score was not related to mortality in any model, but uCCI score ⩾4 was an independent factor of 30-day mortality (odds ratio, 1.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–3.74). The uCCI is a more up-to-date, refined and parsimonious prognostic mortality score than the cCCI; it may thus serve better than the latter in the identification of patients with SAB with worse prognoses.
A divergent selection experiment on litter size variability (high and low lines) was performed in rabbits over seven generations. The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlated responses to selection in body condition and fat reserves mobilisation. Litter size variability was estimated as phenotypic variance of litter size within female after correcting for the year-season and the parity-lactation status effects. A total of 226 females were used in this study, of which 158 females were used to measure body condition and energy mobilisation. Body condition was measured as BW and perirenal fat thickness. Females were stimulated with the adrenergic isoproterenol. Mobilisation capacity of fat reserves was measured by the lipolytic potential, defined as the increment in non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) levels from basal concentration until adrenergic stimulation at mating, delivery and 10 days after delivery of the second reproductive cycle. Females were classified as survivor or non-survivor when they were culled for sanitary reasons or died before the third kindling. Data were analysed using Bayesian methodology. Survivor females presented higher BW than the non-survivor females at delivery (238 g, P=1.00) and 10 days after delivery (276 g, P=1.00). They also showed higher perirenal fat thickness at 10 days after delivery (0.62 mm, P=1.00). At delivery, basal NEFA levels was lower in survivor than non-survivor females (−0.18 mmol/l, P=1.00), but their lipolytic potential (∆NEFA) was higher (0.08 mmol/l, P=0.94). Body weight was similar between lines in survivor females. Perirenal fat thickness was lower in the high line than in the low line at delivery (−0.23 mm, P=0.90) and 10 days after delivery (−0.28 mm, P=0.92). The high line exhibited higher NEFA (0.10 mmol/l, P=0.93) and lower ∆NEFA (−0.08 mmol/l, P=0.92) than the low line at delivery. The low line showed a favourable correlated response to selection on body condition and fat reserves mobilisation. In conclusion, the low line selected for litter size variability seems to adapt better to adverse conditions, as it has a greater capacity to mobilise energy reserves at delivery than the high line. Females that adequately manage their body reserves and perform energy mobilisation correctly have a lower risk of dying or being culled.