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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.
Dirofilariosis caused by Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) is a zoonosis, considered an endemic disease of dogs and cats in several countries of Western Europe, including Portugal. This study assesses the levels of D. immitis exposure in humans from Northern Portugal, to which end, 668 inhabitants of several districts belonging to two different climate areas (Csa: Bragança, Vila Real and Csb: Aveiro, Braga, Porto, Viseu) were tested for anti-D. immitis and anti-Wolbachia surface proteins (WSP) antibodies. The overall prevalence of seropositivity to both anti-D. immitis and WSP antibodies was 6.1%, which demonstrated the risk of infection with D. immitis in humans living in Northern Portugal. This study, carried out in a Western European country, contributes to the characterisation of the risk of infection with D. immitis among human population in this region of the continent. From a One Health point of view, the results of the current work also support the close relationship between dogs and people as a risk factor for human infection
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
The effects of growing pinto peanut mixed with elephant grass-based pastures are still little known. The aim of the current research was to evaluate the performance of herbage yield, nutritive value of forage and animal responses to levels of pinto peanut forage mass mixed with elephant grass in low-input systems. Three grazing systems were evaluated: (i) elephant grass-based (control); (ii) pinto peanut, low-density forage yield (63 g/kg of dry matter – DM) + elephant grass; and (iii) pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield (206 g/kg DM) + elephant grass. The experimental design was completely randomized with the three treatments (grazing systems) and three replicates (paddocks) in split-plot grazing cycles. Forage samples were collected to evaluate the pasture and animal responses. Leaf blades of elephant grass and the other companion grasses of pinto peanut were collected to analyse the crude protein, in vitro digestible organic matter and total digestible nutrients. The pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield + elephant grass treatment was found to give the best results in terms of herbage yield, forage intake and stocking rate, as well as having higher crude protein contents for both elephant grass and the other grasses, followed by pinto peanut with low-density forage yield + elephant grass and finally elephant grass alone. Better results were found with the grass–legume system for pasture and animal responses.
Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.
An experiment was conducted to evaluate whether dietary reduction and sex class affect nutrient intake, digestibility, purine derivative (PD) excretion and heat tolerance coefficient in lambs. Thirty-five hair lambs (14.5 ± 0.89 kg initial body weight (BW), 2 months old) were used in a completely randomized study with a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, three sex classes (11 intact males, 12 castrated males and 12 females) and three levels of feeding (ad libitum, 300 and 600 g/kg/dry matter (DM) feed restriction) for 120 days. Intact and castrated males showed higher intakes of DM and neutral detergent fibre corrected for ash and protein (NDFap) than females. At 300 g/kg/DM feed restriction, NDFap digestibility was lower in intact males than in other classes; however, no differences were found between classes when subjected to ad libitum feeding or 600 g/kg/DM. The basal endogenous nitrogen and endogenous urinary losses were highest in intact males. Allantoin, uric acid and PD excretion, as well as PD absorption and microbial protein production were lowest in the animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. Microbial protein synthesis (MPS) was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The lowest temperatures were observed in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The heat tolerance coefficient was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. In conclusion, feed restriction reduced the time spent on feeding and rumination but increased the digestibility of DM. The restriction level of 600 g/kg/DM maximized MPS and infrared thermography indicated an elevated heat tolerance coefficient.
The current study evaluated the uncertainty of beef cattle supply for slaughter due to the variable climate of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The data included the numbers of cattle slaughtered, local live cattle prices, price and amount of exported beef, and the prices of the Brazilian beef futures market. Data were collected on the beef supply from January 1997 to March 2014. Climate data included El Niño (EN), La Niña (LN), South Atlantic Sub-tropical Dipole (SASD), Negative and Positive Atlantic Dipole (−AD and +AD), Tropical South and North Atlantic indices. Statistical analysis was performed by a multivariate regression of time series. It was observed that EN and SASD climatic variables increased the numbers of beef cattle slaughtered, with a 1 and 4-month lag, respectively. On the other hand, LN and -AD decreased the number of animals slaughtered, with 4 and 0 months’ lag, respectively, meaning that there was an immediate response to −AD, while there was a 4-month delay for LN. The amount of exported beef and live beef cattle prices were explained by the number of animals slaughtered in the state. Data suggested that the beef cattle market in RS was more strongly influenced by the occurrence of climate phenomena with LN and −AD than by economic variables such as the price paid to the producer for beef and the amount exported. The climate changes evaluated in the current study affect the livestock production system and consequently the beef market industry in Southern Brazil.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of incubating semen for different periods (90, 270 or 450 min) with or without Trolox® (100 or 150 µM) on the quality of sperm from Saimiri collinsi. Sperm motility, vigour, and plasma membrane integrity (PMI) were evaluated in both fresh semen and semen incubated for different time periods, i.e. 90, 270 or 450 min of incubation. Supplementation of semen extender with Trolox® 100 µM improved sperm motility, vigour and PMI for up to 270 min of incubation.
Current feeder space recommendations in laying hen welfare guidelines are inconsistent among and within countries. One determining criterion forming the recommendations (e.g. 12.0 cm/hen for the EU guideline) is that all birds can feed simultaneously. However, if there are other resources in the environment, as in enriched colony housing (ECH), it is unknown whether group-housed hens will choose to feed simultaneously. This study assesses the impact of feeder space on feeding behavior of 60 laying hens (W-36) in ECH using a ultra-high frequency radio-frequency identification-based tracking system. The feeder spaces investigated were 12.0, 9.5, 8.5 and 6.5 cm/hen, achieved by blocking portions of the overall feeder access to keep hens at the same stocking density. Each feeder space treatment, randomly assigned over the course of the experiment, lasted for 7 consecutive days. Feeding behaviors were characterized as daily time spent at the feeder (TS, min/hen-day), daily frequency of visits to the feeder (FV, #/hen-day), and maximum or average percentage of hens feeding simultaneously (MPB, APB, %). Group-average daily feed intake (FI, g/hen-day), water use (WU, g/hen-day), and hen-day egg production (HDEP, %) were also measured. The results revealed that at 12.0 cm/hen, where unoccupied feeder space was present, a maximum of 59.0±1.4% (average of 31.7±0.3%) hens fed simultaneously. No significant differences were detected among 12.0, 9.5 and 8.5 cm/hen in TS (293±10, 286±10 and 281±10 min/hen-day) and MPB (59.0±1.4, 57.3±1.4 and 53.3±1.4%) (P>0.05). The outcome of no significant differences also held true between 12.0 and 9.5 cm/hen in APB (31.7±0.3 v. 30.8±0.3%) and between 9.5 and 8.5 cm/hen in all response variables measured (P>0.05). However, there were significant differences in APB between 6.5 cm/hen and all other treatments; in TS and FV between 6.5 and 9.5 cm/hen; and in MPB between 6.5 and 12 cm/hen (P<0.05). Considerable inter-hen variability was observed in TS (CV varying from 28.0% to 32.1%) and FV (CV varying from 26.5% to 27.8%). All the feeder spaces tested showed no significant impact on FI, WU or HDEP (P>0.05). The results revealed that synchronous feeding of hens in the ECH did not increase with increasing feeder space. However, it is worth noting that lower feeder space may lead to aggression or frustration which was not quantified in the current study.
Forage is the primary feed source for livestock in tropical regions and energy is one of the most important nutrients for ruminant nutrition. The effects of harvest management of Marandu palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations were evaluated. A plot (Experiment 1) and a greenhouse study (Experiment 2) were conducted in 2013–14. In Experiment 1, treatments were the factorial arrangement of two harvest times and two vertical canopy layers (upper and intermediate), distributed in a completely randomized design with five replicates. In Experiment 2, treatments were the factorial arrangement of six harvest times and two morphological fractions (leaf blade and pseudostem). In both experiments, NSC concentration increased during the day. Upper and intermediate canopy layers had greater NSC concentration at 15.00 than 06.00 h during spring and summer. In addition, the magnitude of NSC increase was greater in the upper than intermediate canopy layer and in spring than summer. Marandu palisade grass shows greater digestibility in the afternoon than morning, representing an opportunity to optimize energy concentration through harvest management.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
If one interprets China's sizable rise in Latin America as an unprecedented phenomenon, it follows that the concurrent story of declining U.S. influence in the region is an event hastily acknowledged at best and ignored at worst. In this article, we ask whether Chinese economic statecraft in Latin America is related to the declining U.S. hegemonic influence in the region and explore how. To do so we analyze foreign direct investments, bank loans, and international trade from 2003 to 2014, when China became a major player in the region. We use data from 21 Latin American countries, and find that an inversely proportional relationship exists between the investments made by Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs), bank loans, manufacturing exports, and the U.S. hegemonic influence exerted in the region. In other words, Beijing has filled the void left by a diminished U.S. presence in the latter's own backyard.
The objective of the current research was to evaluate the fermentative characteristics of silage made with the upper third section of cassava (Manihot esculenta) plants with added condensed tannin levels of 0, 25, 50 and 75 g/kg dry matter (DM). The experimental design was a complete randomized design, with treatments arranged in a 4 × 7 factorial (tannin addition levels × days of ensiling). The loss of gas and the presence of moulds observed in the opening days had increased linearly. Fermentative characteristics were decreased by the addition of tannin. Acetic acid content showed a linear increase. Tannin levels had a quadratic effect on gas production at 28 days of ensiling. After 56 days, however, tannin levels had no significant effect on silage gas production. After 28 days of ensiling, the degradability of potentially degradable fraction ‘b’ demonstrated quadratic effect. The same occurred with the fractions ‘a’, ‘b’ which were undegradable after 56 days of ensiling. The addition of condensed tannin lengthened the fermentative stage and caused the silage to stabilize after 56 days of ensiling.
The main limitation for determining feed efficiency of freely grazing ruminants is measurement of daily individual feed intake. This paper describes an investigation that assessed a method for estimating intake of forage based on changes in BW of ewes. A total of 24 dry and non-pregnant Romane ewes (12 hoggets, HOG; mean±SD 51.8±2.8 kg BW; body condition score (BCS) 2.6±0.2; and 12 adults, ADU; 60.4±8.5 kg BW; BCS 2.7±0.8) were selected for the study and moved from their rangeland system to a confined pen with controlled conditions and equipped with individual automatic feeders. The experiment lasted for 28 days (21 days adaptation and 7 days feed intake measurement). Ewes were fed hay and trained to use the electronic feeders (one feeding station per ewe) in which actual daily intake (Hintake24) was measured. The pens were designed to maximize movement of trained ewes through an automated Walk-over-Weighing device, by using water and mineral salts as attractants. Total individual intake of hay measured in the automatic feeder at each meal (Hintake) was compared with indirect estimates of feed intake determined using differences in the BW of the ewes (∆BW) before and 1 h following morning and afternoon feeding at fixed times. The BW, BCS, Hintake, Hintake24, as well as plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), glucose and insulin profiles were determined. The BW was higher in ADU v. HOG but BCS was not affected by parity. The Hintake24 was affected by day of experiment as a consequence of reduced availability and intake of water on one day. Plasma glucose, NEFA and insulin were not affected by parity or day of experiment. The HIntake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in the morning in HOG, whereas Hintake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in ADU at the afternoon meal. Irrespective of parity or feeding time, there was very strong correlation (r2=0.93) between Hintake and ∆BW. This relationship confirms that our indirect method of estimating individual forage intake was reliable within the strictly controlled conditions of the present experiment. The method appears suitable for use in short-term intensive group feeding situations, and has potential to be further developed for longer-term forage intake studies, with a view to developing a method for freely grazing ruminants.
The aim of this study was to identify genomic regions that associated with beef tenderness in Nellore cattle. Phenotypes were obtained according to the standard USDA Quality Grade (1999). Data from 909 genotyped Nellore bulls were used in the Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) undertaken using a single-step approach including also a pedigree file composed of 6276 animals. The analyses were performed using the Blupf90 software, estimating the effect of genomic windows of 10 consecutive markers. The GWAS results identified 18 genomic regions located on 14 different chromosomes (1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 29), which explained more than 1% of the total additive genetic variance; several candidate genes were located in these regions including SLC2A9, FRAS1, ANXA3, FAM219A, DNAI, AVEN, SHISA7, UBE2S, CDC42EP5, CNTN3, C16orf96, UBALD1, MGRN1 and SNORA1 With the single-step GWAS, it was possible to identify regions and genes related to meat tenderness in Nellore beef cattle.
The objective of this study was to validate an electronic system for monitoring individual feeding and drinking behaviour and intake developed for young cattle housed in group. A total of 35 Holstein–Gyr crossbred heifers (BW: 180±52 kg; age: 121.5±32.5 days), fitted with an ear tag containing a unique passive transponder, were distributed in three groups of 12, 12 and 11 animals per period and had free access to 12 electronic feed bins and two electronic water bins (Intergado® Ltd). The dimensions of feed and water bins, as well as the sensors position were appropriate for young cattle. The system documented the visit frequency and duration, as well as the feed and water intakes, by recording the animal’s identification tag, bin number, initial and final times of visits and the difference of feed/water weight at the start and end of each bin visit. Feed bins were monitored using time-lapse video recording over 4 days and the water bins were monitored over 6 days. For each feed bin, two feeding events were monitored using manual weighings with an external scale immediately before and after the animal’s visit and the difference between them was assumed as feed intake (n=24 observations). For the water bins, 60 manual weighings were made. Video and manual weighing data were regressed on the electronic feeding and drinking behaviour and intake data to evaluate the system’s precision and accuracy. The system showed high specificity (98.98% and 98.56% for the feed and water bins, respectively) and sensitivity (99.25% and 98.74%, respectively) for identifying an animal’s presence or absence. Duration of feed and water bin visits as well as feed and water consumption per visit estimated by the system were highly correlated and precise compared with the observed video and manual weighing data (r2=0.917, 0.963, 0.973 and 0.986, respectively). It was concluded that Intergado® system is a useful tool for monitoring feeding and drinking behaviour as well as water and feed intakes in young cattle housed in groups.
In this study, we assessed the sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy of a previously developed direct agglutination test (DAT) using a freeze-dried antigen derived from Leishmania infantum promastigotes and composed in a prototype kit for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) diagnosis, named DAT-LPC. To evaluate DAT-LPC reproducibility, the kit was used to analyse 207 serum samples from VL patients and 80 serum samples from patients with other parasitic infections or healthy subjects in four laboratories from different public health institutions in Brazil. DAT-LPC showed sensitivity between 96·2 and 99·5% (P = 0·14), specificity ranging from 96·2 to 97·5% (P = 0·95), and diagnostic accuracy ranging from 96·5 to 99% (P = 0·34). The inter-laboratory reproducibility of qualitative results was classified as excellent (κ index: 0·94–0·97). The reproducibility of the end-titre results in relation to the reference laboratory, ranged from 31 to 85%. These results demonstrate an excellent performance of the DAT-LPC, and validate it for the diagnosis of VL that could replace the immunofluorescent antibody test as the routine diagnostic test in the Brazilian public health system.
Endothelial function is a key mechanism in the development of CVD. Arginine and exercise are important non-pharmacological strategies for mitigating the impact of metabolic changes in the metabolic syndrome, but the effect of their combined administration is unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the isolated and combined effects of aerobic training and arginine supplementation on metabolic variables and vascular reactivity in rats at high risk for developing the metabolic syndrome. Wistar rats were divided into two groups: control and fructose (F – water with 10 % fructose). After 2 weeks, the F group was divided into four groups: F, fructose+arginine (FA, 880 mg/kg per d of l-arginine), fructose+training (FT) and fructose+arginine+training (FTA); treatments lasted for 8 weeks, and no difference was observed in body mass gain. Arginine did not improve the body protein content, and both the FA and FT groups show a reversal of the increase in adipose tissue. Insulin increase was prevented by training and arginine, without additive effect, and the increase in serum TAG was prevented only by training. The F group showed impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation and hyperreactivity to phenylephrine, but arginine and training were capable of preventing these effects, even separately. Higher nitric oxide level was observed in the FA and FT groups, and no potentiating effect was detected. Thus, only training was able to prevent the increase in TAG and improve the protein mass, and training and arginine exert similar effects on fat content, insulin and endothelial function, but these effects are not additive.
Ephestia kuehniella (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae) and Sitotroga cerealella (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae) are important factitious hosts used for production of biological control agents. Their differences in terms of biology and behavior require adjustments in their mass production, particularly when using corn or barley as food in grain or in bran. We modeled adult emergence, oviposition period and egg production along time after emergence, as a function of the food source. Significant differences between hosts or food type were found for these variables and for adult weight but not for sex ratio. Our results confirm the possibility of mass production of these hosts using corn or barley as food source. Integrating adult emergence patterns and age specific fecundity patterns into a single model, it is clear that rearing E. kuehniella on barley would result in the highest egg output in much shorter time than E. kuehniella on corn or S. cerealella on barley.