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We present a broad study of linear, clustered, noble gas puffs irradiated with the frequency doubled (527 nm) Titan laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Pure Ar, Kr, and Xe clustered gas puffs, as well as two mixed-gas puffs consisting of KrAr and XeKrAr gases, make up the targets. Characterization experiments to determine gas-puff density show that varying the experimental parameter gas-delay timing (the delay between gas puff initialization and laser-gas-puff interaction) provides a simple control over the gas-puff density. X-ray emission (>1.4 keV) is studied as a function of gas composition, density, and delay timing. Xe gas puffs produce the strongest peak radiation in the several keV spectral region. The emitted radiation was found to be anisotropic, with smaller X-ray flux observed in the direction perpendicular to both laser beam propagation and polarization directions. The degree of anisotropy is independent of gas target type but increases with photon energy. X-ray spectroscopic measurements estimate plasma parameters and highlight their difference with previous studies. Electron beams with energy in excess of 72 keV are present in the noble gas-puff plasmas and results indicate that Ar plays a key role in their production. A drastic increase in harder X-ray emissions (X-ray flash effect) and multi-MeV electron-beam generation from Xe gas-puff plasma occurred when the laser beam was focused on the front edge of the linear gas puff.
Shortening or omitting the dry period improves the energy balance and metabolic status of dairy cows in early lactation. Metabolic, behaviour and welfare effects throughout lactation, however, are unclear. The current paper reviews long-term metabolic and welfare consequences of short and no dry period, as well as feeding strategies and individual cow characteristics that could support in optimising management of cows with a short or no dry period. The paper will conclude with impacts of short and no dry periods at herd level and in practice. Energy balance after no or a short dry period is more positive during the complete subsequent lactation. After the initial improvement in early lactation, cows after no dry period tend to fatten and may have a too low lactation persistency to be continuously milked until the onset of the subsequent lactation. Reducing dietary energy level for cows with no dry period reduced fattening during the complete lactation but did not improve lactation persistency. Feeding a more lipogenic diet for cows with a short or no dry period did not affect the energy balance or lactation persistency during the complete lactation, although a lipogenic diet resulted in lower plasma insulin and IGF-1 concentration and greater plasma growth hormone concentration, compared with a glucogenic diet. Effects of dry period length on udder health are ambiguous, whereas short and no dry periods improved fertility in most studies. Omission of the dry period changed behaviour of cows both before and after calving, with a longer lying time and greater feed intake after calving, suggesting a better adaptation to a new lactation. Individual cow characteristics like parity, genotype, prepartum body condition score, and milk yield level determined the metabolic response of cows to a short or no dry period. In conclusion, short or no dry periods increase the energy balance in the complete lactation. Feeding strategies can be used to limit fattening of cows with no or short dry period, but the studied feeding strategies did not increase lactation persistency. Improved fertility and behavioural changes around calving suggest a better adaptation to a new lactation in case of no dry period. Customised dry period lengths for individual cows could improve metabolic status of cows at risk of a severe negative energy balance while minimising milk losses.
Temporary excavations during the construction of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland exposed a clay-rich fault gouge in Dalradian Supergroup psammite. The gouge coincides with the mapped trace of the subvertical Sronlairig Fault, a feature related in part to the Great Glen and Ericht–Laidon faults, which had been interpreted to result from brittle deformation during the Caledonian orogeny (c. 420–390 Ma). Exposure of this mica-rich gouge represented an exceptional opportunity to constrain the timing of the gouge-producing movement on the Sronlairig Fault using isotopic analysis to date the growth of authigenic (essentially synkinematic) clay mineralization. A series of fine-size separates was isolated prior to K–Ar analysis. Novel, capillary-encapsulated X-ray diffraction analysis was employed to ensure nearly perfect, random orientation and to facilitate the identification and quantification of mica polytypes. Coarser size fractions are composed of greater proportions of the 2M1 illite polytype. Finer size fractions show increasing proportions of the 1M illite polytype, with no evidence of 2M1 illite in the finest fractions. A series of Illite Age Analysis plots produced excellent R2 values with calculated mean ages of 296 ± 7 Ma (Late Carboniferous–Early Permian) for the oldest (2M1) illite and 145 ± 7 Ma (Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous) for the youngest (1M) illite. The Late Carboniferous–Early Permian (Faulting event 1) age may represent resetting of earlier-formed micas or authigenesis during dextral displacement of the Great Glen Fault Zone (GGFZ). Contemporaneous WNW(NW)–ESE(SE) extension was important for basin development and hydrocarbon migration in the Pentland Firth and Moray Firth regions. The Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous (Faulting event 2) age corresponds with Moray Firth Basin development and indicates that the GGFZ and related structures may have acted to partition the active extension in the Moray Firth region from relative inactivity in the Pentland Firth area at this time. These new age dates demonstrate the long-lived geological activity on the GGFZ, particularly so in post-Caledonian times where other isotopic evidence for younger tectonic overprints is lacking.
The transition period is the most critical period in the lactation cycle of dairy cows. Extended lactations reduce the frequency of transition periods, the number of calves and the related labour for farmers. This study aimed to assess the impact of 2 and 4 months extended lactations on milk yield and net partial cash flow (NPCF) at herd level, and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of fat- and protein-corrected milk (FPCM), using a stochastic simulation model. The model simulated individual lactations for 100 herds of 100 cows with a baseline lactation length (BL), and for 100 herds with lactations extended by 2 or 4 months for all cows (All+2 and All+4), or for heifers only (H+2 and H+4). Baseline lactation length herds produced 887 t (SD: 13) milk/year. The NPCF, based on revenues for milk, surplus calves and culled cows, and costs for feed, artificial insemination, calving management and rearing of youngstock, was k€174 (SD: 4)/BL herd per year. Extended lactations reduced milk yield of the herd by 4.1% for All+2, 6.9% for All+4, 1.1% for H+2 and 2.2% for H+4, and reduced the NPCF per herd per year by k€7 for All+2, k€12 for All+4, k€2 for H+2 and k€4 for H+4 compared with BL herds. Extended lactations increased GHG emissions in CO2-equivalents per t FPCM by 1.0% for All+2, by 1.7% for All+4, by 0.2% for H+2 and by 0.4% for H+4, but this could be compensated by an increase in lifespan of dairy cows. Subsequently, production level and lactation persistency were increased to assess the importance of these aspects for the impact of extended lactations. The increase in production level and lactation persistency increased milk production of BL herds by 30%. Moreover, reductions in milk yield for All+2 and All+4 compared with BL herds were only 0.7% and 1.1% per year, and milk yield in H+2 and H+4 herds was similar to BL herds. The resulting NPCF was equal to BL for All+2 and All+4 and increased by k€1 for H+2 and H+4 due to lower costs for insemination and calving management. Moreover, GHG emissions per t FPCM were equal to BL herds or reduced (0% to −0.3%) when lactations were extended. We concluded that, depending on lactation persistency, extending lactations of dairy cows can have a positive or negative impact on the NPCF and GHG emissions of milk production.
Few studies have investigated the patterns of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom change in prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. In this study, we aimed to understand the patterns of PTSD symptom change in both PE and present-centered therapy (PCT).
Participants were active duty military personnel (N = 326, 89.3% male, 61.2% white, 32.5 years old) randomized to spaced-PE (S-PE; 10 sessions over 8 weeks), PCT (10 sessions over 8 weeks), or massed-PE (M-PE; 10 sessions over 2 weeks). Using latent profile analysis, we determined the optimal number of PTSD symptom change classes over time and analyzed whether baseline and follow-up variables were associated with class membership.
Five classes, namely rapid responder (7–17%), steep linear responder (14–22%), gradual responder (30–34%), non-responder (27–33%), and symptom exacerbation (7–13%) classes, characterized each treatment. No baseline clinical characteristics predicted class membership for S-PE and M-PE; in PCT, more negative baseline trauma cognitions predicted membership in the non-responder v. gradual responder class. Class membership was robustly associated with PTSD, trauma cognitions, and depression up to 6 months after treatment for both S-PE and M-PE but not for PCT.
Distinct profiles of treatment response emerged that were similar across interventions. By and large, no baseline variables predicted responder class. Responder status was a strong predictor of future symptom severity for PE, whereas response to PCT was not as strongly associated with future symptoms.
Blood metabolite and hormone concentrations are indicative of metabolic status, but blood sampling and analysis is invasive and time-consuming. Monitoring behavior can be done automatically, and behaviors may also be used as indicators of metabolic status. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationships between metabolic status and feeding behavior, lying behavior, motion index and steps of dairy cows in week 4 postpartum. Behavioral data from 81 Holstein-Friesian cows were collected using computerized feeders and accelerometers, and blood samples were collected for analysis of free-fatty acid (FFA), β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), glucose, insulin, IGF-1 and growth hormone (GH) concentrations. First, cluster analysis was performed to categorize cows as having poor, average, good or very good metabolic status based on their plasma FFA, BHB, glucose, insulin, IGF-1 and GH concentration. Subsequently, the performance and behavior of cows in clusters with poor, average and good metabolic status were compared using GLM. Cows with a poor or average metabolic status tended to have greater fat-and-protein-corrected milk yield than cows with good metabolic status. Furthermore, cows with a poor metabolic status had a lower energy balance and dry matter intake (DMI) than cows with an average or good metabolic status and had a lower number of meals than cows with good metabolic status. Daily number of visits to the feeder and lying time tended to be positively related with metabolic status. Feeding rate (kg/min), daily meal time (min/day), number of lying bouts per day, steps and motion index were not related with metabolic status. In conclusion, better metabolic status in dairy cows in early lactation was associated with a greater DMI, increased feeding activity and a tendency to more time spent lying, compared with poor metabolic status. These results suggest that compromised metabolic status is reflected in altered cow’s behavior in week 4 of lactation.
In this study we aimed to identify possible causes of within-litter variation in piglet birth weight (birth weight variation) by studying follicular development of sows at weaning in relation to their estimated breeding value (EBV) for birth weight variation. In total, 29 multiparous sows (parity 3 to 5) were selected on their EBV for birth weight variation (SD in grams; High-EBV: 15.8±1.6, N=14 and Low-EBV: −24.7±1.5, N=15). The two groups of sows had similar litter sizes (15.7 v. 16.9). Within 24 h after parturition, piglets were cross-fostered to ensure 13 suckling piglets per sow. Sows weaned 12.8±1.0 and 12.7±1.0 piglets, respectively, at days 26.1±0.2 of lactation. Blood and ovaries were collected within 2 h after weaning. The right ovary was immediately frozen to assess average follicle size and percentage healthy follicles of the 15 largest follicles. The left ovary was used to assess the percentage morphologically healthy cumulus-oocyte complexes (COCs) of the 15 largest follicles. To assess the metabolic state of the sows, body condition and the circulating metabolic markers insulin, IGF1, non-esterified fatty acid, creatinine, leptin, urea and fibroblast growth factor 21 were analysed at weaning. No significant differences were found in any of the measured follicular or metabolic parameters between High-EBV and Low-EBV. A higher weight loss during lactation was related to a lower percentage healthy COCs (β= −0.65, P=0.02). Serum creatinine, a marker for protein breakdown, was negatively related to average follicle size (β= −0.60, P=0.05). Backfat loss during lactation was related to a higher backfat thickness at parturition and to a higher average follicle size (β=0.36, P<0.001) at weaning. In conclusion, we hypothesise that modern hybrid sows with more backfat at the start of lactation are able to mobilise more energy from backfat during lactation and could thereby spare protein reserves to support follicular development.
Toughness is a determinant of meat quality and a common cause of unacceptability in meat products. Calpain proteases are believed to be involved in meat tenderisation by post mortem degradation of myofibrillar proteins (Sensky et al., 2001). However other proteases are likely to contribute to the proteolysis involved in meat-conditioning (Sentandreu et al., 2002). Caspases are proteases involved in protein degradation in apoptosis. Like calpains caspases are activated early in pathological events associated with hypoxia/ischaemia, which is not dissimilar to the hypoxic conditions in muscle after slaughter. Caspases specifically cleave a number of proteins that are also targeted by calpains during post mortem proteolysis and also degrade the calpain-specific inhibitor calpastatin. The caspase system has a hierarchy of initiating isoforms (such as caspases 8 and 12) which activate effector caspases (such as 3 and 7) that cleave specific substrates. Caspases are regulated by inhibitors such as apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC). Our hypothesis is that caspase activity may contribute to early post mortem proteolysis and tenderisation, similar to the calpain system. The aim of this study was to characterise the caspase system in various porcine skeletal muscles.
The low feed intake and stress associated with abrupt weaning in conventional pig farming often result in poor post-weaning performance, which is related to impaired intestinal function. We investigated effects of housing conditions before weaning on performance around weaning of relatively light and heavy piglets. Before weaning, piglets were housed either with five sows and their litters in a multi-suckling (MS) system or in pens with individually housed sows in farrowing crates (FC). After weaning at 4 weeks of age (day 0), 16 groups of four piglets (two light and two heavy litter-mates) were housed under equal conditions in enriched pens. Mannitol (day −5 and day 5) and galactose (day 5) were orally administered as markers for gastrointestinal carbohydrate absorption, and after 20 min a blood sample was taken (sugar absorption test). In addition, BW, feed intake and faecal consistency as an indicator for diarrhoea, were assessed frequently during 2 weeks post-weaning. Pre-weaning housing, weight class and their interaction did not affect post-weaning faecal consistency scores. Weight gain over 2 weeks did not differ between pre-weaning housing treatments, but MS piglets gained more (0.67±0.12 kg) than FC piglets (0.39±0.16 kg) between days 2 and 5 post-weaning, P=0.02), particularly in the ‘heavy’ weight class (interaction, P=0.04), whereas feed intake was similar for both treatments. This indicates a better utilisation of the ingested feed of the MS piglets compared with the FC piglets in the early post-weaning period. Pre-weaning mannitol concentrations were unaffected by pre-weaning housing, weight class and their interaction. On day 5 post-weaning, however, MS piglets had a lower plasma concentration of mannitol (320 v. 592 nmol/ml, SEM=132, P=0.04) and galactose (91 v. 157 nmol/ml, SEM=20, P=0.04) than FC piglets, regardless of weight class. In conclusion, MS and FC piglets differed in aspects of post-weaning gastrointestinal carbohydrate absorption and in weight gain between days 2 and 5 after weaning, but pre-weaning housing did not affect feed intake, weight gain and measures of faecal consistency over the first 2 weeks after weaning.
Unusual speleothems, associated with hyperalkaline (pH > 12) groundwaters
have formed within a shallow, abandoned railway tunnel at Peak Dale,
Derbyshire, UK. The hyperalkaline groundwaters are produced by the leaching
of a thin layer (<2 m) of old lime-kiln waste on the soil-bedrock surface
above the tunnel by rainwater. This results in a different reaction and
chemical process to that more commonly associated with the formation of
calcium carbonate speleothems from Ca-HCO3-type groundwaters and
degassing of CO2. Stalagmites within the Peak Daletunnel have
grown rapidly (averaging 33 mm y–1), following the closure of the
tunnel 70 years ago. They have an unusual morphology comprising a central
sub-horizontally-laminated column of micro- to nano-crystalline calcium
carbonate encompassed by an outer sub-vertical assymetricripple-laminated
layer. The stalagmites are composed largely of secondary calcite forming
pseudomorphs (<1 mm) that we believe to be predominantly after the 'cold
climate' calcium carbonate polymorph, ikaite (calcium carbonate hexahydrate:
CaCO3·6H2O), withminor volumes of small (<5 μm)
pseudomorphs after vaterite. The tunnel has a near constant temperature of
8–9°C, which is slightly above the previously published crystallization
temperatures for ikaite (<6°C). Analysis of a stalagmite actively growing
at the time ofsampling, and preserved immediately within a dry nitrogen
cryogenic vessel, indicates that following crystallization of ikaite,
decomposition to calcite occurs rapidly, if not instantaneously. We believe
this is the first occurrence of this calcium carbonate polymorph observed
Pigs living in commercial husbandry systems may experience both acute stress due to standard management procedures and chronic stress through limitations in their barren housing environment. This might influence their immune status, including antibody responses to neural and danger autoantigens. Levels of natural autoantibody (NAAb)-binding phosphorylcholine-conjugated bovine serum albumin (PC-BSA) and myelin basic protein (MBP) were measured over time in pigs that were kept in environmental enriched v. barren housing, and that underwent a regrouping test. In total, 480 pigs were housed in 80 pens in either barren or straw-enriched pens from 4 through 23 weeks of age. Blood samples were taken from pigs before (week 8), and 3 days after a 24 h regrouping test (week 9), and at 22 weeks of age. Phosphorylcholine-conjugated bovine serum albumin (PC-BSA) and MBP antibody titres in serum were measured using ELISA. Enriched-housed pigs had higher levels of IgM-binding MBP, and tended to have higher levels of IgG-binding MBP and IgA-binding PC-BSA than barren-housed pigs. Each NAAb measured in this study was affected by gender and litter. These results suggest that enriched housing conditions, as well as acute regrouping stress, have an influence on levels of serum NAAb-binding danger and neural antigens in pigs.
Understanding the composition of clay-rich sediments and their transportation into proximal marine basins allows us to better decipher hydroclimatic changes before and within the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). Only a limited number of such studies exists from the North Sea Basin, which was proximal to the volcanic activity and early rifting hypothesized to have triggered the PETM. The present study examines core material from well 22/10a-4, UK North Sea, as it exhibits an exceptionally expanded and almost stratigraphically complete fine-grained sedimentary sequence suitable for high-resolution analysis.
Quantitative Newmod-for-Windows™-modelled clay mineral assemblages, rather than traditional semi-quantitative estimates, are dominated by smectite-rich, interlayered illite-smectite that probably developed from volcanogenic deposits on continental landmasses. Soil development before the PETM is consistent with the existence of a seasonal tropical climate with a prolonged dry season. A striking rise and fall of kaolinite content within the PETM onset, prior to the principal carbon-isotope excursion, is reported here. This variation is interpreted as a signal of an enhanced hydrologic cycle producing an increase in erosionally derived kaolinite, followed by a dampening of this detrital source as sea-levels rose. Global variations in PETM kaolinite concentrations are consistent with a latitudinal shift in patterns of precipitation in models of global warming.
In the radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (14C AMS) analysis of gases obtained in a dry extraction from a 52–m Antarctic ice core, we observed 14CO2 and 14CO concentrations decreasing with depth. The concentrations are explained in terms of in-situ production by neutrons and captured muons in ablating ice. The ratio of the 14CO2 concentration to that of 14CO has been found to be constant at 1.9 ± 0.3. The ablation rates obtained of 42 ± 18 cm.yr−1 and 40 ± 13 cm.yr−1 for the neutron and muon components, respectively, are about three times higher than observed from stake readings. The discrepancy may point to an incomplete extraction of the dry extraction method. Using the constant ratio in 14CO2 and 14CO concentrations we correct for the in-situ component in the trapped 14CO2 and deduce an age of 10,300 ± 900 BP for the ice core.
Radiometric and AMS radiocarbon dating of a 6-m sediment core from Loch Ness, Scotland, indicates that it represents perhaps the very end of the Late Pleistocene, and the first ca. 7500 yr of the Holocene. Counts of laminations observed in the Holocene section of the core suggest that they are present in sufficient number to constitute annual laminations (varves), an hypothesis consistent with the pollen record, which contains a sequence of zones representative of the Early, Middle and part of the Late Holocene regional vegetation history. On the basis of BSEM and X-ray studies of sediments, and modern seston trap data, the laminations are believed to be produced by winter floods, which introduce increased silt loading into the Loch. Sediment for the rest of the year is mostly composed of clay-sized material. This hypothesis is being further tested, however, by continuing sedimentological and microfossil studies.
Time-depth relations for the core based on calibrated 14C dates and lamination counts, respectively, illustrate the close correspondence between the two sets of data. The latter are therefore now being used to develop a varve chronology for the Holocene for Loch Ness. This will then in turn be used for further chronological studies, and for investigations of palaeoclimatic variations over the eastern North Atlantic, to which the signal of lamination thickness in the sediments is thought to be particularly sensitive. They may also eventually be used for calibration studies, employing 14C dating of specific carbon compounds, or groups of compounds extracted from the sediment using modern organic geochemical methods.
We have digitally co-added eight IIIa-J/GG395 UKST plates centred on the IC 4296 cluster of galaxies. The factor of increase in S/N in the co-added array enables galaxy profiles to be followed, and filamentary and diffuse features to be detected, down to bj surface brightnesses of 28 mag arcsec−2. Examples of warped disks, shells, trails, diffuse IGM and extended haloes revealed by this technique are discussed and illustrated.
European legislation states that after stunning regular checks should be performed to guarantee animals are unconscious between the end of the stunning process and death. When animals are killed without prior stunning these checks should be performed before the animal is released from restraint. The validity of certain indicators used to assess unconsciousness under different stunning and slaughter conditions is under debate. The aim of this study was to validate the absence of threat-, withdrawal-, corneal- and eyelid reflex as indicators to assess unconsciousness in calves subjected to different stunning and slaughter methods. Calves (201±22 kg) were randomly assigned to one of the following four treatments: (1) Captive bolt stunning followed by neck cut in an inverted position (n=25); (2) Non-stunned slaughter in an upright position (n=7); (3) Non-stunned slaughter in an inverted position (180° rotation) (n=25); (4) Non-stunned slaughter in an upright position followed by captive bolt stunning 40 s after the neck cut (n=25). Each calf was equipped with non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes before the slaughter procedure. All reflexes were verified once before the slaughter procedure. At the beginning of the procedure (T=0 s) calves were stunned (treatment 1) or neck cut in an upright position (treatment 2, 4) or inverted position (treatment 3). Calves of treatment 4 were captive bolt stunned 34±8 s after the neck cut. Reflexes were assessed every 20 s from T=15 s for all treatments until all reflex tests resulted in a negative response three times in a row and a flat line EEG was observed. In addition, reflexes were assessed 5 s after captive bolt stunning in calves of treatments 1 and 4. Visual assessment of changes in the amplitude and frequency of EEG traces was used to determine loss of consciousness. Timing of loss of consciousness was related to timing of loss of reflexes. After captive bolt stunning, absence of threat-, withdrawal-, corneal- and eyelid reflex indicated unconsciousness as determined by EEG recordings. After non-stunned slaughter, both threat- and withdrawal reflex were on average lost before calves were unconscious based on EEG recordings. The eyelid- and corneal reflex were on average lost after calves had lost consciousness based on EEG recordings and appeared to be distinctly conservative indicators of unconsciousness in non-stunned slaughtered calves since they were observed until 76±50 and 85±45 s (mean±SD), respectively, after EEG-based loss of consciousness.
Feedback learning is essential for behavioral development. We investigated feedback learning in relation to behavior problems after pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Children aged 6–13 years diagnosed with TBI (n = 112; 1.7 years post-injury) were compared with children with traumatic control (TC) injury (n = 52). TBI severity was defined as mild TBI without risk factors for complicated TBI (mildRF− TBI, n = 24), mild TBI with ⩾1 risk factor for complicated TBI (mildRF+ TBI, n = 51) and moderate/severe TBI (n = 37). The Probabilistic Learning Test was used to measure feedback learning, assessing the effects of inconsistent feedback on learning and generalization of learning from the learning context to novel contexts. The relation between feedback learning and behavioral functioning rated by parents and teachers was explored.
No evidence was found for an effect of TBI on learning from inconsistent feedback, while the moderate/severe TBI group showed impaired generalization of learning from the learning context to novel contexts (p = 0.03, d = −0.51). Furthermore, the mildRF+ TBI and moderate/severe TBI groups had higher parent and teacher ratings of internalizing problems (p's ⩽ 0.04, d's ⩾ 0.47) than the TC group, while the moderate/severe TBI group also had higher parent ratings of externalizing problems (p = 0.006, d = 0.58). Importantly, poorer generalization of learning predicted higher parent ratings of externalizing problems in children with TBI (p = 0.03, β = −0.21) and had diagnostic utility for the identification of children with TBI and clinically significant externalizing behavior problems (area under the curve = 0.77, p = 0.001).
Moderate/severe pediatric TBI has a negative impact on generalization of learning, which may contribute to post-injury externalizing problems.
Delayed feed and water access is known to impair growth performance of day old broiler chickens. Although effects of feed access on growth performance and immune function of broilers have been examined before, effects of dietary composition and its potential interaction with feed access are hardly investigated. This experiment aimed to determine whether moment of first feed and water access after hatch and pre-starter composition (0 to 7 days) affect growth rate and humoral immune function in broiler chickens. Direct fed chickens received feed and water directly after placement in the grow-out facility, whilst delayed fed chickens only after 48 h. Direct and delayed fed chickens received a control pre-starter diet, or a diet containing medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) or fish oil. At 21 days, chickens were immunized by injection of sheep red blood cells. The mortality rate depended on an interaction between feed access and pre-starter composition (P=0.014). Chickens with direct feed access fed the control pre-starter diet had a higher risk for mortality than chickens with delayed feed access fed the control pre-starter diet (16.4% v. 4.2%) whereas the other treatment groups were in-between. BW gain and feed intake till 25 days in direct fed chickens were higher compared with delayed fed chickens, whilst gain to feed ratio was lower. Within the direct fed chickens, the control pre-starter diet resulted in the highest BW at 28 days and the MCFA pre-starter diet the lowest (Δ=2.4%), whereas this was opposite for delayed fed chickens (Δ=3.0%; P=0.033). Provision of MCFA resulted in a 4.6% higher BW gain and a higher gain to feed ratio compared with other pre-starter diets, but only during the period it was provided (2 to 7 days). Minor treatment effects were found for humoral immune response by measuring immunoglobulins, agglutination titers, interferon gamma (IFN-γ), and complement activity. Concluding, current inclusion levels of fish oil (5 g/kg) and MCFA (30 g/kg) in the pre-starter diet appear to have limited (carryover) effects on growth and development, as well as on humoral immune function.
The objective of this study was to investigate relationships between ovulation rate (OR) and embryonic and placental development in sows. Topigs Norsvin® sows (n=91, parity 2 to 17) from three different genetic backgrounds were slaughtered at 35 days of pregnancy and the reproductive tract was collected. The corpora lutea (CL) were counted and the number of vital and non-vital embryos, embryonic spacing (distance between two embryos), implantation length, placental length, placental weight and embryonic weight were assessed. The difference between number of CL and total number of embryos was considered as early embryonic mortality. The number of non-vital embryos was considered as late mortality. Relationships between OR and all other variables were investigated using two models: the first considered parity as class effect (n=91) and the second used a subset of sows with parities 4 to 10 (n=47) to analyse the genetic background as class effect. OR was significantly affected by parity (P<0.0001), but was not affected by the genetic background of the sows. Parity and genetic background did not affect embryonic and placental characteristics at 35 days of pregnancy. OR (varying from 17 to 38 CL) was positively related with early embryonic mortality (β=0.49±0.1 n/ovulations, P<0.0001), with late embryonic mortality or number of non-vital embryos (β=0.24±0.1 n/ovulations, P=0.001) and with the number of vital embryos (β=0.26±0.1 n/ovulations, P=0.01). However, dividing OR in four classes, showed that the number of vital embryos was lowest in OR class 1 (17 to 21 CL), but not different for the other OR classes, suggesting a plateau for number of vital embryos for OR above 22. There was a negative linear relationship between OR and vital embryonic spacing (β=−0.45±0.1 cm/ovulation, P=0.001), implantation length (β=−0.35±0.1 cm/ovulation, P=0.003), placental length (β=−0.38±0.2 cm/ovulation, P=0.05) and empty space around embryonic-placental unit (β=−0.4±0.2 cm/ovulation, P=0.02), indicating uterine crowding. Further analyses showed that effects of OR on embryonic and uterine parameters were related with the increase in late mortality and not early embryonic mortality. Therefore, we conclude that a high OR results in an moderate increase in the number of vital embryos at day 35 of pregnancy, but compromises development in the surviving embryonic/placental units, suggesting that the future growth and survival of the embryos might be further compromised.