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Recently, Echinacea purpurea and its extracts have gained much interest due to their improvement on meat quality, but little information is available on the application of the purified Echinacea purpurea polysaccharide (4-O-methyl-glucuronoarabinoxylan, 4OMG). Thus, this trial aimed at assessing the effects of dietary supplementation of 4OMG on growth performance, thigh meat quality and small intestine development of broilers. A total of 240 1-day-old female broiler chicks were randomly distributed to four groups with three replicates of 20 within each group. Each group received either 0, 15, 20 or 25 g 4OMG/kg DM of diet. During the entire experiment, broilers had ad libitum access to water and feed, and the feed intake was recorded daily. All broilers were weighed before and end of the experiment. For each group, three pens with a total of 20 broilers were randomly selected to slaughter after 30 days. Increasing dietary supplementation of 4OMG linearly increased final live weight and daily body weight gain (P = 0.013) of broilers, Gain-to-Feed ratio (P < 0.001), muscle pH (P = 0.024) and redness (P = 0.001), but decreased drip loss (P = 0.033), shear force value (P = 0.004) and hardness (P = 0.022) of the thigh meat. Broilers fed diet with higher 4OMG had greater weight index, villus height and ratio of villus height to crypt depth in both duodenum and jejunum. These results indicated that increasing dietary supplementation of 4OMG was beneficial for growth performance, meat quality and development of the small intestine of broilers.
Resistant starch (RS) was recently approved to exert a powerful influence on gut health, but the effect of RS on the caecal barrier function in meat ducks has not been well defined. Thus, the effect of raw potato starch (RPS), a widely adopted RS material, on microbial composition and barrier function of caecum for meat ducks was determined. A total of 360 Cherry Valley male ducks of 1-d-old were randomly divided and fed diets with 0 (control), 12, or 24 % RPS for 35 d. Diets supplemented with RPS significantly elevated villus height and villus height:crypt depth ratio in the caecum. The 16S rRNA sequence analysis indicated that the diet with 12 % RPS had a higher relative abundance of Firmicutes and the butyrate-producing bacteria Faecalibacterium, Subdoligranulum, and Erysipelatoclostridium were enriched in all diets. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were significantly increased in the 24 % RPS diet v. the control diet. When compared with the control diet, the diet with 12 % RPS was also found to notably increase acetate, propionate and butyrate contents and up-regulated barrier-related genes including claudin-1, zonula occludens-1, mucin-2 and proglucagon in the caecum. Furthermore, the addition of 12 % RPS significantly reduced plasma TNF-α, IL-1β and endotoxin concentrations. These data revealed that diets supplemented with 12 % RPS partially improved caecal barrier function in meat ducks by enhancing intestinal morphology and barrier markers expression, modulating the microbiota composition and attenuating inflammatory markers.
We develop a theoretical model providing a new rationale for venture capitalist (VC) syndicate formation and empirically test our model predictions. An entrepreneur obtains financing and two different value-adding inputs from a single VC or from two different VCs, each operating in his area of expertise. We characterize the entrepreneur’s equilibrium choice between contracting with a single VC, individually with multiple VCs, or with a VC syndicate. We show that syndicates mitigate VCs’ moral hazard problem in value addition. We also analyze the dynamics of VC syndicate composition. The results of our empirical analysis are consistent with our model’s predictions.
The current experiment aimed at assessing the effects of dietary supplementation of guanidino acetic acid (GAA) on growth performance, thigh meat quality and development of small intestine in broilers. A total of 360 1-day-old female broiler chicks were distributed randomly to four groups of 90 birds each, and each group received GAA dosages of 0, 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 g/kg of feed dry matter. During the whole experiment of 60 days, broilers had ad libitum access to water and feed and the feed intake was recorded daily. All broilers were weighed before and after the experiment, and 30 broilers of each group were selected randomly to slaughter at the end. Increasing dietary supplementation of GAA increased final live weight and daily body weight gain, gain-to-feed ratio, thigh muscle pH value and fibre diameter of broilers, but decreased daily feed intake, drip loss, cooking loss, shear force value, hardness, gumminess and chewiness of thigh meat. In addition, increasing supplementation of GAA quadratically increased duodenal, jejunal and ileal villus height and width and ratio of villus height to crypt depth, but decreased crypt depth. The results indicated that GAA as a feed additive may support better development of small intestine, thereby resulting in improvement of growth performance and meat quality of broilers.
This study was designed to explore the association between undernutrition in the growth period and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-aged Chinese population. A total of 1756 subjects, aged 45–60 years, were invited to participate in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study and divided into three groups according to their self-reported animal food intake in the growth period. Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were defined as undernutrition, nutritional improvement and the good nutrition group, respectively. In the three groups, the subjects in Groups 1 and 2 had more oil and salt intake (P<0.001), and less eggs and milk intake (P<0.001), when compared with the subjects in Group 3. After adjusting for age, education, smoking status and other confounding factors, it was found that male participants who experienced nutritional improvement before age 18 had higher risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05, 2.69] than those with good nutrition, and female participants with undernutrition (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.29) and nutritional improvement (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.69) before age 18 had a higher risk of hypertension than those with good nutrition. For diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, our results did not found difference among the three groups both in male and female. Our findings indicated that nutritional deficiency in childhood was associated with bad dietary behaviors and a significantly increased risk of hypertension in middle age. Therefore, early adequate nutrition is very important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases later.
We study the effect of antitakeover provisions (ATPs) on innovation. To establish causality, we use a regression discontinuity approach that relies on locally exogenous variation generated by shareholder proposal votes. We find a positive, causal effect of ATPs on innovation. This positive effect is more pronounced in firms that are subject to a larger degree of information asymmetry and operate in more competitive product markets. The evidence suggests that ATPs help nurture innovation by insulating managers from short-term pressures arising from equity markets. Finally, the number of ATPs contributes positively to firm value for firms involved in intensive innovation activities.
In vivo and in vitro trials were conducted to assess the effects of tributyrin (TB) supplementation on short-chain fatty acid (SFCA) concentrations, fibrolytic enzyme activity, nutrient digestibility and methanogenesis in adult sheep. Nine 12-month-old ruminally cannulated Small Tail ewes (initial body weight 55 ± 5.0 kg) without pregnancy were used for the in vitro trial. In vitro substrate made to offer TB at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 g/kg on a dry matter (DM) basis was incubated by ruminal microbes for 72 h at 39°C. Forty-five adult Small Tail ewes used for the in vivo trial were randomly assigned to five treatments with nine animals each for an 18-d period according to body weight (55 ± 5.0 kg). Total mixed ration fed to ewes was also used to offer TB at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 g/kg on a DM basis. The in vitro trial showed that TB supplementation linearly increased apparent digestibility of DM, crude protein, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre, and enhanced gas production and methane emissions. The in vivo trial showed that TB supplementation decreased DM intake, but enhanced ruminal fermentation efficiency. Both in vitro and in vivo trials showed that TB supplementation enhanced total SFCA concentrations and carboxymethyl cellulase activity. The results indicate that TB supplementation might exert advantage effects on rumen microbial metabolism, despite having an enhancing effect on methanogenesis.
Cattle manure value chains play important biological and economic roles in smallholder crop–livestock systems in developing countries, but relative to other livestock products our understanding of the nature and impact of manure sales is limited. In regions with an active manure trade, farmers face a choice between manure use on-farm and sales, which affects nutrient flows and participant incomes. We analyzed the manure value chain operating in south-central Vietnam as an example of the function and role of manure trade in crop–livestock systems. Lowland cattle farmers sell manure through a network of chain participants, including small-scale collectors, lowland and highland traders, to pepper, coffee, dragon fruit and rubber farms in the central highlands and southeast coast. We collected and summarized quantitative data (e.g., manure-related labor, manure transactions, and fertilizer and manure use) gathered in semi-structured interviews with value-chain participants [lowland cattle owners (n = 101), traders (n = 27) and end users (n = 72)]. Lowland cattle owners were selected by stratified random sampling, and subsequent participants were identified in preceding interviews. One key finding concerns the seasonality of the manure value chain: most manure flowed between February and August (lowland dry season and period of peak highland demand) from lowland communes to highland coffee and pepper farms for use as organic soil amendments. Fewer sales occurred, at a lower price, to southeast coastal dragon fruit farms and rubber companies. Value addition to manure occurred via drying, bagging, collection, transport and composting. The presence of local traders facilitated market sales for smallholder cattle owners, and prices through the value chain generally reflected costs for value addition. The geographic distribution of cattle relative to agricultural land influenced the flow of manure, with net outflows from regions with higher animal density to regions with lower density and higher value crop production. Manure trade was an important source of supplementary income for farmers and a primary livelihood activity for traders. Value chain participant net incomes ranged from near US$100 yr−1 for lowland farmers to over US$13,000 yr−1 for traders, and returns to labor were just over US$0.50 h−1 for lowland farmers and US$2 h−1 for traders. The quantitative information generated during our descriptive assessment provides an important first step toward manure value chain improvement, indicates survey methods that can be applied in other areas, and identifies next steps necessary to evaluate chain evolution and resilience.
Public health decision makers not only consider health benefits but also economic implications when articulating and issuing lifestyle recommendations. Whereas various estimates exist for the economic burden of physical inactivity, excess body weight and smoking, estimates of the economic burden associated with our diet are rare. In the present study, we estimated the economic burden attributable to the inadequate consumption of vegetables and fruit in Canada.
We accessed the Canadian Community Health Survey to assess the inadequacy in the consumption of vegetables and fruit and published meta-analyses to assemble risk estimates for chronic diseases. Based on these inadequacy and risk estimates, we calculated the population-attributable fraction and avoidable direct and indirect costs to society. Direct costs include those for hospital care, physician services and drugs in 2015.
About 80 % of women and 89 % of men consume inadequate amounts of vegetables and fruit. We estimated this to result in an economic burden of $CAN 3·3 billion per year, of which 30·5 % is direct health-care costs and 69·5 % is indirect costs due to productivity losses. A modest 1 percentage point annual reduction in the prevalence of inadequate vegetables and fruit consumption over the next 20 years would avoid approximately $CAN 10·8 billion, and an increase of one serving of vegetables and fruit per day would avoid approximately $CAN 9·2 billion.
Further investments in the promotion of vegetables and fruit will prevent chronic disease and substantially reduce direct and indirect health-care costs.
Public health bodies in many countries are attempting to increase population-wide habitual consumption of whole grains. Limited data on dietary habits exist in Singaporean children. The present study therefore aimed to assess whole grain consumption patterns in Singaporean children and compare these with dietary intake, physical activity and health parameters. Dietary intake (assessed by duplicate, multipass, 24-h food recalls), physical activity (by questionnaire) and anthropometric measurements were collected from a cross-section of 561 Singaporean children aged 6–12 years. Intake of whole grains was evaluated using estimates of portion size and international food composition data. Only 38·3 % of participants reported consuming whole grains during the dietary data collection days. Median intake of whole grains in consumers was 15·3 (interquartile range 5·4–34·8) g/d. The most commonly consumed whole-grain food groups were rice (29·5 %), wholemeal bread (28·9 %) and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals (18·8 %). A significantly lower proportion of Malay children (seven out of fifty-eight; P < 0·0001) consumed whole grains than children of other ethnicities. Only 6 % of all children consumed the amount of whole grains most commonly associated with improved health outcomes (48 g/d). There was no relationship between whole grain consumption patterns and BMI, waist circumference or physical activity but higher whole grain intake was associated with increased fruit, vegetable and dairy product consumption (P < 0·001). These findings demonstrate that consumption of whole grain foods is low at a population level and infrequent in Singaporean children. Future drives to increase whole-grain food consumption in this population are likely to require input from multiple stakeholders.
The subsurface exploration of other planetary bodies can be used to unravel their geological history and assess their habitability. On Mars in particular, present-day habitable conditions may be restricted to the subsurface. Using a deep subsurface mine, we carried out a program of extraterrestrial analog research – MINe Analog Research (MINAR). MINAR aims to carry out the scientific study of the deep subsurface and test instrumentation designed for planetary surface exploration by investigating deep subsurface geology, whilst establishing the potential this technology has to be transferred into the mining industry. An integrated multi-instrument suite was used to investigate samples of representative evaporite minerals from a subsurface Permian evaporite sequence, in particular to assess mineral and elemental variations which provide small-scale regions of enhanced habitability. The instruments used were the Panoramic Camera emulator, Close-Up Imager, Raman spectrometer, Small Planetary Linear Impulse Tool, Ultrasonic drill and handheld X-ray diffraction (XRD). We present science results from the analog research and show that these instruments can be used to investigate in situ the geological context and mineralogical variations of a deep subsurface environment, and thus habitability, from millimetre to metre scales. We also show that these instruments are complementary. For example, the identification of primary evaporite minerals such as NaCl and KCl, which are difficult to detect by portable Raman spectrometers, can be accomplished with XRD. By contrast, Raman is highly effective at locating and detecting mineral inclusions in primary evaporite minerals. MINAR demonstrates the effective use of a deep subsurface environment for planetary instrument development, understanding the habitability of extreme deep subsurface environments on Earth and other planetary bodies, and advancing the use of space technology in economic mining.
The interferon-inducible transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3), as one of the key genes involved in the interferon pathway, is critical for defending the host against influenza virus, and the rs12252 T>C variant in IFITM3 might be associated with susceptibility to severe influenza. Owing to contradictory and inconclusive results, we performed a meta-analysis to assess the association between rs12252 T>C polymorphism and severe influenza risk. A comprehensive literature search up to 1 August 2014 was conducted in EMBASE, Pubmed, Web of Science, VIP, Wanfang and CNKI databases. Four eligible studies with a total of 445 influenza patients and 3396 controls were included in this meta-analysis. Overall, our results demonstrated a significant association between the IFITM3 rs12252 T>C polymorphism and influenza risk [C vs. T: odds ratio (OR) 1·68, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–2·13; CC vs. CT+TT: OR 2·38, 95% CI 1·52–3·73; CC+CT vs. TT: OR 1·62, 95% CI 1·18–2·22]. Stratification by ethnicity indicated that the variant C allele was associated with an 88% increased risk of influenza in Asians (C vs. T: OR 1·88, 95% CI 1·34–2·62). Moreover, subjects carrying the variant C allele had an increased risk of developing severe illness upon influenza infection (C vs. T: OR 2·70, 95% CI 1·86–3·94). However, no significant association was observed in patients with mild infection (C vs. T: OR 1·26, 95% CI 0·93–1·71). Our meta-analysis suggests that IFITM3 rs12252 T>C polymorphism is significantly associated with increased risk of severe influenza but not with the chance of initial virus infection.
This paper presents the first empirical analysis of the choice of firms regarding whether to release private information (“prepare the market”) in advance of a possible dividend cut and the consequences of such market preparation. We use a hand-collected data set of dividend cutting firms, which allows us to distinguish between prepared and nonprepared dividend cutters and to test the implications of two alternative theories: the “signaling through market preparation” theory and the “stock return volatility reduction” theory. We document several important differences between prepared and nonprepared dividend cutters. Overall, our empirical results are consistent with the signaling theory.
A cross-linked copolymer was designed and synthesized bythe imidation of poly(oxyethylene)-diamine and 4,4’-oxydiphthalic anhydride, and followed by a late-stage curing to generate the cross-linked gels. The copolymers consisting of crosslinking sites and multiple functionalities such aspoly(oxyethylene)-segments, amido-acids, imides, and amine termini, characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. After the self-curing at 80 °C, the gel-like material enabled to absorb liquid form of electrolytesin the medium of propylene carbonate(PC), dimethylformamide(DMF),and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone(NMP).By using a field emission scanning electronic microscope, we observed a 3D interconnected nanochannel microstructure, within which, the liquid electrolytes were absorbed. When the novel polymer gel electrolyte (PGE) was fabricated into a dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC), an extremely high photovoltaic performance was demonstrated. The PGE, absorbed 76.7 wt% of the liquid electrolyte (soaking in the PC solution) based on the polymer’s weight gave rise to a power conversion efficiency of 8.31%, superior to that (7.89%) of the DSSC with liquid electrolytes. It was further demonstrated that the cell had a long-term stabilityduring the test of 1000hat-rest at room temperature or only slightly decreasing in efficiency of 5%.This is the first time demonstration for a PGE exhibiting a higher performance than its liquid counterpart cell. The observation is ascribed to the suppression of the back electron transfer through the unique morphology of the polymer microstructures.
Flexible surface acoustic wave (SAW) based temperature and humidity sensors were fabricated and characterized. ZnO piezoelectric films were deposited on polyimide substrates by DC magnetron sputtering. ZnO films possess (0002) crystal orientation with large grain sizes of 50∼70 nm. SAW devices showed two wave modes, namely the Rayleigh and Lamb modes, with the frequencies at fR ∼132MHz and fL∼427MHz respectively for a wavelength of 12 μm device. The two resonant frequencies have a temperature coefficient of frequency (TCF) of −423ppm/K and −258ppm/K for the Rayleigh and Lamb waves, respectively. The SAW sensors exhibited a good repeatability in responding to cyclic change of humidity. The responses of the sensors increase with the increase in humidity, and the sensitivity increases with the decrease in wavelength. A high sensitivity of 34.7 kHz/10%RH has been obtained from a SAW device without any surface treatment, demonstrated that the flexible SAW humidity sensors are very promising for application in flexible sensors and microsystems.
This paper presents the first theoretical analysis of the choice of firms between “preparing” and not preparing the equity market in advance of a possible dividend cut. In our model, insiders have private information about their firm’s intermediate cash flow as well as about the net present value of its growth opportunity. We show that, in equilibrium, firms in temporary financial difficulties but with good long-term growth prospects are more likely to prepare the market in advance of dividend cuts, while those with permanently declining earnings are less likely to prepare the market. Our model generates several new testable predictions.
Three types of Ganium Nitride (GaN) transistors were studied in this work. The devices were fabricated and exhibited unique characteristics over on-state current and off-state blocking performances. We also compared the performance differences of devices fabricated by multiepitaxial GaN/AlGaN layers on different substrates (Sapphire and Si) and evaluated the correlations among starting substrate, device variation, and manufacturing uniformity. The first device is a normally-on device with Sapphire substrate which shows good drain saturation current (Idsat) and breakdown characteristics, but the gate leakage current is quite large. The second device is a normally-off GaN transistor named metal-insulate-semiconductor (MIS) heterojunction field-effect transistor (MIS-HFET) which exhibits good performance with threshold voltage (Vth) of 3V and breakdown voltage (Vbd) of over 1800V. However the third device is a normally-off GaN metal-oxide-semiconductor field-elect transistor (MOSFET) structure which is rather difficult to exhibit good blocking characteristic due to inadequate doping process control of the reduce-surface-field (RESURF) region.
We present very deep spectroscopic observations of the rich optical recombination line (ORL) spectrum of the bright Saturn nebula NGC 7009. Detailed spectral analyses, combined with systematic emission line identifications, in the whole optical range (3040–11 000 Å) give more than 1000 emission lines, over 80% of which are ORLs. New calculations of the N ii effective recombination coefficients in intermediate coupling scheme are carried out. These N ii atomic data, together with the most recent O ii and Ne ii effective recombination coefficients, are utilized in the spectral analyses of NGC 7009. Departure from LS coupling is noticed. Agreement is found between the observed and predicted relative intensities of ORLs. The elemental abundances of C, N, O, and Ne deduced from ORLs are systematically higher than those from collisionally excited lines (CELs) by a factor of 5–7.
We carry out plasma diagnostic analysis for a number of planetary nebulae (PNe) and H ii regions. We use N ii and O ii optical recombination lines (ORLs) with new effective recombination coefficients calculated under the intermediate coupling scheme, for a range of electron temperatures (Te) and densities (Ne), and fitted against the most reliable measurements. Comparing Te derived from ORLs, collisionally excited lines (CELs), the hydrogen Balmer Jump, and/or He i if available, we find the relation Te (ORLs) < Te (He i) < Te (H i BJ) < Te (CELs), confirming the physical conditions in the bi-abundance model postulated by Liu et al., i.e. the nebula contains another cold, metal-rich and probably H-deficient component.