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The in vivo effects of administering free and microencapsulated Lactobacillus plantarum LIP-1 cells (2·0×109 colony-forming units/d) were evaluated in high-fat-diet-induced hyperlipidaemic rats. Results from real-time quantitative PCR targeting to LIP-1 cells showed a higher colon colonisation count of LIP-1 in the rats receiving microencapsulated cells compared with free cells (P<0·05). Moreover, the microencapsulated LIP-1 treatment resulted in a more obvious lipid-lowering effect (P<0·05). Meanwhile, their faecal samples had significantly less lipopolysaccharide-producing bacteria (especially Bilophila, Sutterella and Oscillibacter) and mucosa-damaging bacteria (Bilophila and Akkermansia muciniphila), whereas significantly more SCFA-producing bacteria (P<0·05) (namely Lactobacillus, Alloprevotella, Coprococcus, Eubacterium and Ruminococcus) and bacteria that potentially possessed bile salt hydrolase activity (Bacteroides, Clostridium, Eubacterium and Lactobacillus), and other beneficial bacteria (Alistipes and Turicibacter). Further, Spearman’s correlation analysis showed significant correlations between some of the modulated gut bacteria and the serum lipid levels. These results together confirm that microcapsulation enhanced the colon colonisation of LIP-1 cells, which subsequently exhibited more pronounced effects in improving the gut microbiota composition of hyperlipidaemic rats and lipid reduction.
Field surveys indicate that host population size, rather than density, is the most important determinant of monogenean infection dynamics. To verify this prediction, epidemic parameters were monitored for 70 days at five host population sizes held at constant density using a goldfish – Gyrodactylus kobayashii laboratory model. During the first 20 days, the rate of increase of prevalence and mean abundance was faster in small host populations. Total mean prevalence and total mean abundance throughout the experiment were not significantly affected by host population sizes. Higher transmission rates were detected in larger host populations. However, there were no significant differences in effective contact rates among the five host populations on each sampling day during the first 20 days, implying that contact rates may be saturated at a sufficiently high host density. These results demonstrate that the epidemic occurs more quickly in smaller host populations at the beginning of the experiment. However, the epidemic is independent of the host population size due to the similar effective contact rates in the five population sizes. Significant negative influence of the initial body condition (Kn) of uninfected goldfish on total mean abundance of parasites suggests that susceptibility of hosts is also a determinant of parasite transmission.
White matter (WM) impairments have been reported in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and those at high familial risk of developing BD. However, the distribution of these impairments has not been well characterized. Few studies have examined WM integrity in young people early in the course of illness and in individuals at familial risk who have not yet passed the peak age of onset.
WM integrity was examined in 63 BD subjects, 150 high-risk (HR) individuals and 111 participants with no family history of mental illness (CON). All subjects were aged 12 to 30 years.
This young BD group had significantly lower fractional anisotropy within the genu of the corpus callosum (CC) compared with the CON and HR groups. Moreover, the abnormality in the genu of the CC was also present in HR participants with recurrent major depressive disorder (MDD) (n = 16) compared with CON participants.
Our findings provide important validation of interhemispheric abnormalities in BD patients. The novel finding in HR subjects with recurrent MDD – a group at particular risk of future hypo/manic episodes – suggests that this may potentially represent a trait marker for BD, though this will need to be confirmed in longitudinal follow-up studies.
In order to avoid excess feed consumption during the force-feeding period in foie gras production, a dose-response experiment with seven feed consumption levels (450, 540, 630, 720, 810, 900, 990 g/day per bird) was conducted to evaluate the effects of feed consumption levels on growth performance and carcass composition of male Mule ducks from 91 to 102 days of age. One-day-old Mule ducklings (sterile and artificial hybrid of male Albatre Muscovy duck and female Pekin duck were fed a two-phase commercial diets for ad libitum intake from hatching to 91 days of age, followed by graded feeding levels of a corn diet by force-feeding from 91 to 102 days of age. Fifty-six 91-day-old male Mule ducks with similar BW were randomly assigned to seven treatments, with eight birds per treatment. Birds were housed in individual pens. At 102 days of age, final BW was measured and BW gain and feed conversion ratio of ducks from each treatment were calculated from day 91 to 102, and then all ducks were slaughtered to evaluate the yields of skin with subcutaneous fat, abdominal fat, breast meat (including pectoralis major and pectoralis minor), leg meat (including thigh and drum stick), and liver. Significant differences in BW gain, total liver weight and liver relative weight were observed among the treatments (P<0.001). According to the broken-line regression analysis, the optimal feed consumption levels of male Mule ducks from 91 to 102 days of age for maximum BW gain, total liver weight and liver relative weight were 217, 227 and 216 g feed/kg BW0.75·per day, respectively.
The high-energy emission from blazars and other relativistic jet sources indicates that electrons are accelerated to ultra-relativistic (GeV - TeV) energies in these systems. This paper summarizes recent results from numerical studies of two fundamentally different particle acceleration mechanisms potentially at work in relativistic jets: Magnetic-field generation and relativistic particle acceleration in relativistic shear layers, which are likely to be present in relativistic jets, is studied via Particle-in-Cell (PIC) simulations. Diffusive shock acceleration at relativistic shocks is investigated using Monte-Carlo simulations. The resulting magnetic-field configurations and thermal + non-thermal particle distributions are then used to predict multi-wavelength radiative (synchrotron + Compton) signatures of both acceleration scenarios. In particular, we address how anisotropic shear-layer acceleration may be able to circumvent the well-known Lorentz-factor crisis, and how the self-consistent evaluation of thermal + non-thermal particle populations in diffusive shock acceleration simulations provides tests of the bulk Comptonization model for the Big Blue Bump observed in the SEDs of several blazars.
A ‘pulsar timing array’ (PTA), in which observations of a large sample of pulsars spread across the celestial sphere are combined, allows investigation of ‘global’ phenomena such as a background of gravitational waves or instabilities in atomic timescales that produce correlated timing residuals in the pulsars of the array. The Parkes Pulsar Timing Array (PPTA) is an implementation of the PTA concept based on observations with the Parkes 64-m radio telescope. A sample of 20 ms pulsars is being observed at three radio-frequency bands, 50 cm (~700 MHz), 20 cm (~1400 MHz), and 10 cm (~3100 MHz), with observations at intervals of two to three weeks. Regular observations commenced in early 2005. This paper describes the systems used for the PPTA observations and data processing, including calibration and timing analysis. The strategy behind the choice of pulsars, observing parameters, and analysis methods is discussed. Results are presented for PPTA data in the three bands taken between 2005 March and 2011 March. For 10 of the 20 pulsars, rms timing residuals are less than 1 μs for the best band after fitting for pulse frequency and its first time derivative. Significant ‘red’ timing noise is detected in about half of the sample. We discuss the implications of these results on future projects including the International Pulsar Timing Array and a PTA based on the Square Kilometre Array. We also present an ‘extended PPTA’ data set that combines PPTA data with earlier Parkes timing data for these pulsars.
We are developing a purely commensal survey experiment for fast (<5 s) transient radio sources. Short-timescale transients are associated with the most energetic and brightest single events in the Universe. Our objective is to cover the enormous volume of transients parameter space made available by ASKAP, with an unprecedented combination of sensitivity and field of view. Fast timescale transients open new vistas on the physics of high brightness temperature emission, extreme states of matter and the physics of strong gravitational fields. In addition, the detection of extragalactic objects affords us an entirely new and extremely sensitive probe on the huge reservoir of baryons present in the IGM. We outline here our approach to the considerable challenge involved in detecting fast transients, particularly the development of hardware fast enough to dedisperse and search the ASKAP data stream at or near real-time rates. Through CRAFT, ASKAP will provide the testbed of many of the key technologies and survey modes proposed for high time resolution science with the SKA.
This paper presents the development mechanism of surface plasmas of carbon-fiber-cathode electron beam source and its effects on the operation of a high-power microwave source, reflex triode vircator powered by about 400 kV, 9 kA, about 350 ns pulsed power accelerator. Based on the current and voltage characteristics of diodes using carbon fiber cathode, the axial expansion velocity is 1.2 cm/μs and the delay time of explosive emission is 2 ns. Further, the comparison of carbon fiber and stainless steel cathodes is made. It was found that the threshold electric field for carbon fiber cathode is about 25 kV/cm, and the delay time of explosive emission and threshold electric field for stainless steel cathode is, respectively, 4.5 ns and 40 kV/cm. The radial expansion velocity of individual emitting centers is estimated to be 1.2 cm/μs, equal to the axial expansion velocity, and this shows the cathode plasma spots spherically expand. In the optimal diode gap for microwave irradiation or at the average current density of 230 A/cm2 using carbon fiber cathode, the screening radius was 0.67 cm, the lifetime of cathode emitting centers was about 60 ns, the cathode plasma density was 5 × 1015 cm−3, and the Debye radius of cathode plasma was <3 × 10−5 cm−3. The self-quenching behavior of explosive emission centers occurs, due to the process of cathode surface material release and cooling. The generation and self-quenching of emitting centers, and screening effect of cathode plasmas determine the increase and decrease of cathode emitting area, which is independent of the current density and background pressure. The relation between the lifetime of virtual cathode and background pressure was discussed. It was found, both theoretically and experimentally, that a lower background pressure indicates a longer microwave pulse or a better microwave waveform. It was observed by comparison that the temporary behavior of cathode emitting area is similar to the development process of microwave pulse. The changes of emitting area affects the stability of beam current injected into the virtual cathode region, further leading to the fluctuation of microwave pulse of vircator.
Heterosis breeding is a potential tool for developing coloured cotton hybrids, having good fibre yield and quality. The objective of the present study was to explore the extent of heterosis breeding for the modulation of fibre quality and biochemical traits during fibre development. The performance of 10 interspecific (Gossypium hirsutum L.×Gossypium barbadense L.) and four intraspecific (Gossypium hirsutum L.×Gossypium hirsutum L.) F1 coloured cotton hybrids and their parents was assessed under field conditions in 2008/9. Two interspecific, two intraspecific F1 coloured cotton hybrids and their parents were used to examine the role and changes in the amount of different biochemicals during the different stages of fibre development (2009). Among hybrids, interspecific brown cotton hybrids (ZUC × ZUA) and interspecific green cotton hybrids (ZUF × ZUA) showed high amounts of useful heterosis for yield, yield components and fibre quality attributes. Analysis of various biochemicals depicted a decline in fibre pH value and flavonoid contents among all hybrids and their parents, with maximum decrease in interspecific hybrids (ZUC × ZUA and ZUF × ZUA) at 15 days post anthesis (DPA). Similarly, a significant increase in the amount of cellulose, glucose and fructose was observed in all genotypes. However, the magnitude of increase was greatest in interspecific coloured cotton hybrids as compared to their parents and intraspecific hybrids. The negative correlation of fibre pH with flavonoid contents and the positive correlation of carbohydrates with cellulose contents (particularly at 15 DPA) suggested the significance of these biochemicals controlling fibre quality. In conclusion, heterosis breeding can be efficiently utilized to develop high-quality coloured cotton hybrids by modulating the synthesis of different biochemicals associated with fibre development and its quality.
The aim of this study is to specify the concept of ‘healthy ageing’ from both western and non-western cultural perspectives, and to compare the views of academics and lay older people. Thirty-four published peer-reviewed full papers in English and Chinese (traditional characters) were identified using electronic database searches. The key components of their definitions of healthy ageing were extracted and categorised into 12 domains. The results show that, in general, lay definitions (as described in 11 studies) included more domains (independency, family, adaptation, financial security, personal growth, and spirituality) and more diversity in the healthy ageing concept than academic views (which tend to focus more on physical and mental health and social functioning in later life). Certain domains were valued differently across cultures. As shown in previous studies, the findings affirm that healthy ageing is a multi-dimensional and complex concept and that there are substantial differences in different cultures. Moreover, we found that there are pronounced variations in the conceptualisation of healthy ageing as between academic and older lay people. Generally, older lay people perceive healthy ageing more broadly than the maintenance of physical, mental and social functioning. We suggest that academic researchers should integrate the more holistic perspectives of older lay people and cultural diversity into the classical ‘physical–mental–social’ healthy ageing concept.
In-field critical current Ic variations, detected using a short sample, angular Ic(77K, H=5.2kOe, Angle) measurement on the ends of a 20 m coated conductor tape fabricated by the MOD / RABiTS process, are shown to be variations in the Ic(H) anisotropy that exist on subcentimeter length scales. A Ic(75 K, H, Angle) study was performed on segments cut from the tape where the power law exponent of the field dependence, α, Ic ∼H−α was calculated for Ic(H, Angle) data. Two extrema behaviors, anisotropic and isotropic, were identified. The isotropic material is shown to outperform the anisotropic material for a wide range of fields and angles at T=26 K.
The Older Australian Twins Study (OATS) was recently initiated to investigate genetic and environmental factors and their associations and interactions in healthy brain ageing and ageing-related neurocognitive disorders. The study extends the classic MZ-DZ design to include one or two equivalently aged siblings for each twin pair and utilizes the rich resources of the Australian Twin Registry. The study has a number of distinguishing features including comprehensive psychiatric, neuropsychological, cardiovascular, metabolic, and neuroimaging assessments, a longitudinal design and links with a brain donor program. The study measures many behavioral and environmental factors, but in particular lifetime physical and mental activity, physical and psychological trauma, loss of parent early in life, later losses and life events, early-life socioeconomic environment, alcohol and drug use, occupational exposure, and nutrition. It also includes comprehensive cardiovascular assessment, blood biochemistry, genetics and proteomics. The socio-demographic and health data on the first 172 pairs of twins participating in this study are presented. Prevalence of mild cognitive impairment is 12.8% and of dementia 1.5% in the sample. The target sample size is 1000, with at least 400 pairs of twins aged 65–90 years. The cohort will be assessed every two years, with in-depth assessments being repeated. OATS offers an excellent opportunity for collaboration with other similar studies as well as researchers who share the same interests.
There appear indications of more global activity on the Sun which is larger, much beyond the scale of solar active regions (ARs). These indications include formation, flaring and eruption of the trans-equatorial loops seen in EUV and X-rays, formation and eruption of trans-equatorial filaments, global magnetic connectivity in EUV dimming associated with halo-coronal mass ejections, wide spread of radio burst sources in meter wavelength in the solar corona, and quasi-simultaneous magnetic flux emergence in both hemispheres seen during some major solar events. With examples of a few major events in the last solar cycle we discuss the possibility that there is large or global-scale activity on the Sun. Its spatial scale is many times larger than that of AR and temporal scale is over 10 hours. The exemplified trans-equatorial loops are anchored in ARs and their activity is temporally associated with flares in ARs too. In some sense the flares in ARs appear either as a part of or a precursor of the more global activity. It is likely that the combination of the flares in ARs and the associated global activity is responsible to the major solar-terrestrial events. More efforts in understanding the global activity are undertaken.