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The plasma channel formation in the focus of a knife-like nanosecond laser pulse irradiating a gas target is studied theoretically, and in gas-dynamics computer simulations. The distribution of the electromagnetic field in the focus region, obtained analytically, is used to calculate the energy deposition in the plasma, which then is implemented in the magnetohydrodynamic computer code. The modelling of the channel evolution shows that the plasma profile, which can guide the laser pulse, is formed by the tightly focused short knife-like lasers. The results of the simulations show that a proper choice of the convergence angle of a knife-like laser beam (determined by the focal length of the last cylindrical lens), and laser pulse duration may provide a sufficient degree of azimuthal symmetry of the formed plasma channel.
In meridional European countries such as Portugal, informal caregivers are almost always close relatives, either key-relatives (those more involved) or not. There are few systematic comparisons between the experience of key-relatives/primary caregivers (PC) and other/secondary caregivers (SC) in psychogeriatrics. We present some preliminary data from the FAMIDEM (Families of People with Dementia) survey.
Non-randomised cross-sectional study comparing two related samples of caregivers (PC versus SC) of 41 patients with DSM-IV dementia from outpatient practices in Lisbon (Portugal). Caregivers’ assessments included: Zarit Burden Interview, Caregiver Activity Survey (CAS), Positive Aspects of Caregiving, GHQ-12, Social Network Questionnaire and Dementia Knowledge Questionnaire.
Patients’ mean age was 78,7 years (SD 7,9). 24 (58,5%) were women and 58,5% had Alzheimer disease.PC were older than SC (p=0,000) and tended to live with the patient (p=0,000). They reported less emocional support (p=0,021) but higher objective burden-CAS (p=0,002). Regarding all other outcome variables, significant differences between groups were not found. Within the global sample, comparing spousals (n=23) and adult children/other relatives (n=59) yielded interestingly different preliminary results, eg higher GHQ-12 levels (p=0,010).
The experience of caregiving is possibly different regarding PC and SC, but further research is warranted in order to define who really is at risk. Being a spouse may be much more determinant, although most spouses are PC as well. for the moment, it seems prudent not to exclude SC from risk assessments. the final FAMIDEM results, even lacking generalizability, will probably provide interesting clues.
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.) is an important crop for rainfed production systems and can play a significant role as a feed source for ruminants owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. It is well-established that the maturity stage can influence the chemical composition as well as the nutritional value of crops traditionally used for silage production, although quantitative evidence that this occurs with pearl millet under rainfed conditions is lacking. The current research assessed the agronomic characteristics, ensilability, intake and digestibility of a Brazilian pearl millet cultivar (IPA BULK1-BF) harvested at four different growth stages. Forage was harvested at 35, 50, 65 and 80 days after sowing and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 24 male lambs. The results showed that dry matter (DM) and panicle and stem proportions increased with the advancement maturity. The silage evaluations showed that DM, total and non-fibrous carbohydrates and lignin concentrations increased, while crude protein, ADF and in vitro DM digestibility decreased with the increase in plant maturity. Additionally, the fermentation characteristics were improved with the increasing maturity. The digestion study showed that intake of DM and N as well as digestibility of DM and fibre fractions decreased, while lignin intake increased. The results obtained for the production of dry and digestible DM, the ratio of plant fractions and fermentation parameters indicate the possibility of harvesting pearl millet forage after 50 days after sowing for silage production in the Brazilian semi-arid region.
To describe the consumption of ultra-processed foods according to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics in three birth cohorts.
Data from the 2004, 1993 and 1982 Pelotas Birth Cohorts were used at 11, 22 and 30 years, respectively, collected between 2012 and 2015. Outcome was the relative contribution of ultra-processed foods from the total daily energy intake. Maternal-independent variables were self-reported skin colour, schooling, age and family income (obtained in the perinatal study), and variables of the cohort member, sex, skin colour, schooling and current family income (the last two obtained at the 11-, 22- and 30-year follow-ups of the respective cohorts). We calculated crude and adjusted means of the outcome for the whole cohorts and according to the independent variables.
11-, 22- and 30-year-old individuals.
Daily energetic contribution from ultra-processed foods was higher in the younger cohort (33·7, 29·8 and 25·1 % at 11, 22 and 30 years, respectively). Maternal schooling and family income at birth showed an inverse dose–response relationship at 11 and 22 years, but a positive dose–response at 30 years. Female sex, lower schooling and family income at 22 years and higher schooling at 30 years were associated to a higher contribution from ultra-processed foods in the daily energy intake.
Information from food and nutrition policies needs a higher dissemination, mostly among women and population groups of lower income and schooling, including its promotion in media and health services, aiming for a decreased consumption of ultra-processed foods.
In the context of untimely access to community formal services, unmet needs of persons with dementia (PwD) and their carers may compromise their quality of life.
The Actifcare EU-JPND project (www.actifcare.eu) focuses on access to and (non) utilization of dementia formal care in eight countries (The Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Italy, Portugal), as related to unmet needs and quality of life. Evaluations included systematic reviews, qualitative explorations, and a European cohort study (PwD in early/intermediate phases and their primary carers; n = 453 days; 1 year follow-up). Preliminary Portuguese results are presented here (FCT-JPND-HC/0001/2012).
(1) extensive systematic searches on access to/utilization of services; (2) focus groups of PwD, carers and health/social professionals; (3) prospective study (n = 66 days from e.g., primary care, hospital outpatient services, Alzheimer Portugal).
In Portugal, nationally representative data is scarce regarding health/social services utilization in dementia. There are important barriers to access to community services, according to users, carers and professionals, whose views not always coincide. The Portuguese cohort participants were 66 PwD (62.1% female, 77.3 ± 6.2 years, 55.5% Alzheimer's/mixed subtypes, MMSE 17.8 ± 4.8, CDR1 89.4%) and 66 carers (66.7% female, 64.9 ± 15.0 years, 56.1% spouses), with considerable unmet needs in some domains.
All Actifcare milestones are being reached. The consortium is now analyzing international differences in (un) timely access to services and its impact on quality of life and needs for care (e.g., formal community support is weaker in Portugal than in many European countries). National best-practice recommendations in dementia are also in preparation.
Abstract submitted on behalf of the Actifcare Eu-JPND consortium.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
There is no suitable vaccine against human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and available drugs are toxic and/or present high cost. In this context, diagnostic tools should be improved for clinical management and epidemiological evaluation of disease. However, the variable sensitivity and/or specificity of the used antigens are limitations, showing the necessity to identify new molecules to be tested in a more sensitive and specific serology. In the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed in Leishmania infantum promastigotes and amastigotes employing sera samples from VL patients. Aiming to avoid undesired cross-reactivity in the serological assays, sera from Chagas disease patients and healthy subjects living in the endemic region of disease were also used in immunoblottings. The most reactive spots for VL samples were selected, and 29 and 21 proteins were identified in the promastigote and amastigote extracts, respectively. Two of them, endonuclease III and GTP-binding protein, were cloned, expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments against a large serological panel, and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the diagnosis of disease. In conclusion, the identified proteins could be considered in future studies as candidate antigens for the serodiagnosis of human VL.
Few personalised medicine investigations have been conducted for mental health. We aimed to generate and validate a risk tool that predicts adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Using logistic regression models, we generated a risk tool in a representative population cohort (ALSPAC – UK, 5113 participants, followed from birth to age 17) using childhood clinical and sociodemographic data with internal validation. Predictors included sex, socioeconomic status, single-parent family, ADHD symptoms, comorbid disruptive disorders, childhood maltreatment, ADHD symptoms, depressive symptoms, mother's depression and intelligence quotient. The outcome was defined as a categorical diagnosis of ADHD in young adulthood without requiring age at onset criteria. We also tested Machine Learning approaches for developing the risk models: Random Forest, Stochastic Gradient Boosting and Artificial Neural Network. The risk tool was externally validated in the E-Risk cohort (UK, 2040 participants, birth to age 18), the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort (Brazil, 3911 participants, birth to age 18) and the MTA clinical sample (USA, 476 children with ADHD and 241 controls followed for 16 years from a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 26 years old).
The overall prevalence of adult ADHD ranged from 8.1 to 12% in the population-based samples, and was 28.6% in the clinical sample. The internal performance of the model in the generating sample was good, with an area under the curve (AUC) for predicting adult ADHD of 0.82 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79–0.83). Calibration plots showed good agreement between predicted and observed event frequencies from 0 to 60% probability. In the UK birth cohort test sample, the AUC was 0.75 (95% CI 0.71–0.78). In the Brazilian birth cohort test sample, the AUC was significantly lower –0.57 (95% CI 0.54–0.60). In the clinical trial test sample, the AUC was 0.76 (95% CI 0.73–0.80). The risk model did not predict adult anxiety or major depressive disorder. Machine Learning approaches did not outperform logistic regression models. An open-source and free risk calculator was generated for clinical use and is available online at https://ufrgs.br/prodah/adhd-calculator/.
The risk tool based on childhood characteristics specifically predicts adult ADHD in European and North-American population-based and clinical samples with comparable discrimination to commonly used clinical tools in internal medicine and higher than most previous attempts for mental and neurological disorders. However, its use in middle-income settings requires caution.
There have been few studies realized that evaluate the effects of adopting
different nutritional systems in more than one phase of cattle production on
carcass and meat characteristics. This study was realized to evaluate carcass
and meat characteristics from bulls submitted to different nutritional systems
during two production phases. The experiment was conducted at
Figueira’s farm during two production phases: I (cow–calf)
– 80 calves (99.6±2.72 days of age and
109.7±2.99 kg of BW) with their mothers were randomly assigned into
two supplemental diets: cow–calf mineral supplement
(n=40) or cow–calf creep-feeding
(n=40); II (stocker) – the same 80
calves (201.2±2.11 days of age and 190.2±3.37 kg of BW)
were redistributed into two production systems: stocker pasture
(n=40) or stocker feedlot (SF;
n=40). After, all 80 animals were kept on a pasture
system (III) for 290 days, and then finished in a feedlot system (IV) for more
33 days. Then, they were slaughtered at an average 764.2±3.06 days of
age and at 499.2±3.33 kg of final BW. After slaughter, the average
daily gain was calculated, and the carcass and meat characteristics were
measured. The statistical model design used was completely randomized in a
2×2 factorial arrangement (two treatment groups on
cow–calf phase and two treatment groups on stocker phase). The single
effects between the groups in each phase and the interactions between both
phases (cow–calf v. stocker) were analyzed. The
results were compared by Fisher’s test, using the R statistical
software. A cow–calf by stocker phases interaction occurred for
carcass conformation and fiber diameter. For single effects, the greatest
influences observed were in the stocker phase. The feedlot group was slaughtered
17 days earlier, with greater final BW (3.8%), hot carcass weight
(5.7%), average daily gain (6.9%), dressing percentage
(1.8%), carcass length (1.8%), carcass width
(1.5%), longissimus muscle area (4.8%)
and muscle depth (2.3%) than pasture group. The SF group also had
influence on fat color; showing higher L* and lower
b* values. These results reveal that bulls
reared in feedlot at the stocker phase have higher muscle development and that
the stocker phase has the greatest potential to influence carcass
characteristics and meat quality.
Keto analogues and amino acids (KAAA) supplementation can reduce blood ammonia concentrations in athletes undergoing high-intensity exercise under both ketogenic and thermoneutral conditions. This study evaluated the acute effects of KAAA supplementation on ammonia metabolism during extenuating endurance exercise in rats fed a ketogenic diet. In all, eighty male Fischer rats at 90 d of age were divided into eight groups, and some were trained using a swimming endurance protocol. A ketogenic diet supplemented with keto analogues was administered for 10 d. Administration of the ketogenic diet ended 3 d before the exhaustion test (extenuating endurance exercise). A ketogenic diet plus KAAA supplementation and extenuating endurance exercise (trained ketogenic diet supplemented with KAAA (TKKa)) increased blood ammonia concentrations by approximately 50 % compared with the control diet (trained control diet supplemented with KAAA (TCKa)) and similar training (effect size=1·33; statistical power=0·50). The KAAA supplementation reduced blood urea concentrations by 4 and 18 % in the control and ketogenic diet groups, respectively, compared with the groups fed the same diets without supplementation. The trained groups had 60 % lower blood urate concentrations after TCKa treatment than after TKKa treatment. Our results suggest that KAAA supplementation can reduce blood ammonia concentrations after extenuating endurance exercise in rats fed a balanced diet but not in rats fed a ketogenic diet.
Forage cactus is an important dry-season feed source for livestock in semi-arid regions, but in north-eastern Brazil, its contribution is limited by susceptibility to the carmine cochineal [Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell)] insect. New cactus germplasm shows superior agronomic performance, but the nutritive value of this material has not been adequately described. The objective of the current study was to assess the divergence in chemical composition and rate and extent of in vitro degradation of these genotypes. The treatments were 13 spineless cactus genotypes, eight of which were insect resistant types, two semi-resistant and three susceptible to the carmine cochineal. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design and were replicated three times. Nutritional divergence was assessed using canonical variate analysis and hierarchical agglomerative clustering, using the variables: crude protein, total and non-fibrous carbohydrates, degradation rate and potential dry matter degradation. Five distinct nutritional groups were identified: Group I (OO), Group II (F-13 and F-15), Group III (OEA, OEM, COP, IPA 20 and GG), Group IV (V-16 and F-08) and Group V (Miuda, IS and F-21). Group II (F-13 and F-15; resistant genotypes) showed a chemical composition degradability in vitro suggesting it may have the greatest nutritive value as ruminant feed, while Group I had the least. Spineless cactus genotypes resistant to the carmine cochineal showed nutritional characteristics similar to or better than traditionally used cactus genotypes, such as Gigante and IPA 20, which can expand the range of options for using this forage.
The species Phytomonas serpens is known to express some molecules displaying similarity to those described in trypanosomatids pathogenic to humans, such as peptidases from Trypanosoma cruzi (cruzipain) and Leishmania spp. (gp63). In this work, a population of P. serpens resistant to the calpain inhibitor MDL28170 at 70 µm (MDLR population) was selected by culturing promastigotes in increasing concentrations of the drug. The only relevant ultrastructural difference between wild-type (WT) and MDLR promastigotes was the presence of microvesicles within the flagellar pocket of the latter. MDLR population also showed an increased reactivity to anti-cruzipain antibody as well as a higher papain-like proteolytic activity, while the expression of calpain-like molecules cross-reactive to anti-Dm-calpain (from Drosophila melanogaster) antibody and calcium-dependent cysteine peptidase activity were decreased. Gp63-like molecules also presented a diminished expression in MDLR population, which is probably correlated to the reduction in the parasite adhesion to the salivary glands of the insect vector Oncopeltus fasciatus. A lower accumulation of Rhodamine 123 was detected in MDLR cells when compared with the WT population, a phenotype that was reversed when MDLR cells were treated with cyclosporin A and verapamil. Collectively, our results may help in the understanding of the roles of calpain inhibitors in trypanosomatids.
By using an experimental model of dexamethasone-induced osteoporosis we investigated the effects of different therapeutic schemes combining sodium alendronate (SA) and simvastatin on bone mineral and protein composition, microstructural and mechanical remodeling. Wistar rats were randomized into eight groups: G1: non-osteoporotic; G2: osteoporotic; G3, G4, and G5: osteoporotic+SA (0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 mg/kg, respectively); G6, G7, and G8: osteoporotic+SA (0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 mg/kg, respectively)+simvastatin (0.4, 0.6, and 1 mg/kg, respectively). Osteoporosis was induced by dexamethasone (7 mg/kg, i.m.) once a week for 5 weeks. All treatments were administered for 8 weeks. Dexamethasone increased serum levels of alkaline phosphatase, calcium, phosphorus, and urea, especially in non-treated animals, which showed severe osteoporosis. Dexamethasone also induced bone microstructural fragility and reduced mechanical resistance, which were associated with a marked depletion in mineral mass, collagenous and non-collagenous protein levels in cortical and cancellous bone. Although SA has attenuated osteoporosis severity, the effectiveness of drug therapy was enhanced combining alendronate and simvastatin. The restoration in serum parameters, organic and inorganic bone mass, and mechanical behavior showed a dose-dependent effect that was potentially related to the complementary mechanisms by which each drug acts to induce bone anabolism, accelerating tissue repair.
The order Chiroptera is considered the second largest group of mammals in the world, hosting important zoonotic virus and bacteria. Bartonella and hemotropic mycoplasmas are bacteria that parasite different mammals’ species, including humans, causing different clinical manifestations. The present work aimed investigating the occurrence and assessing the phylogenetic positioning of Bartonella spp. and Mycoplasma spp. in neotropical bats sampled from Brazil. Between December 2015 and April 2016, 325 blood and/or tissues samples were collected from 162 bats comprising 19 different species sampled in five states of Brazil. Out of 322 bat samples collected, while 17 (5·28%) were positive to quantitative PCR for Bartonella spp. based on nuoG gene, 45 samples (13·97%) were positive to cPCR assays for hemoplasmas based on 16S rRNA gene. While seven sequences were obtained for Bartonella (nuoG) (n = 3), gltA (n = 2), rpoB (n = 1), ftsZ (n = 1), five 16S rRNA sequences were obtained for hemoplasmas. In the phylogenetic analysis, the Bartonella sequences clustered with Bartonella genotypes detected in bats sampled in Latin America countries. All five hemoplasmas sequences clustered together as a monophyletic group by Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses. The present work showed the first evidence of circulation of Bartonella spp. and hemoplasmas among bats in Brazil.
We compared the relevance of ibuprofen, vitamins C and E to control oxidative/nitrosative stress and heart disease in mice infected by Trypanosoma cruzi. Swiss mice were randomized into five groups: control, uninfected; infected without treatment; and infected treated with vitamins C, E or ibuprofen. Animals were inoculated with 2000 trypomastigote forms of T. cruzi. After 20 days, infected mice presented reduced vitamin C and E tissue levels, high cytokines (interferon gamma, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin 10 and chemokine ligand 2), prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) and nitric oxide (NO) cardiac production, intense myocarditis and reactive tissue damage, which was directly correlated with the intensity of the inflammatory infiltrate and the degree of pathological cardiac remodelling. Vitamins C and E supplementation were irrelevant to counteract reactive tissue damage and myocarditis in infected animals. Conversely, ibuprofen reduced tissue levels of cytokines, PGF2α and NO, as well as lipid and protein oxidation, antioxidant enzyme activity and the cardiac damage, without interfering with heart parasitism. Our results do not support the applicability of vitamin C and E supplementation in the management of acute Chagas cardiomyopathy. By controlling the inflammatory infiltrate, anti-inflammatory-based therapy proved to be a more rational strategy than a direct antioxidant therapy in attenuating oxidative/nitrosative stress and cardiac damage.
Blastocystis sp. is a protozoan commonly found in human and animal stool samples. Several pathogenic and zoonotic aspects of this organism are still unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate Blastocystis subtypes (STs) in samples from patients of the Hospital das Clínicas of the Faculdade de Medicina at the Universidade de São Paulo (HC-FMUSP), Brazil. Blastocystis sp.-positive stool samples diagnosed at the Section of Parasitology of the Central Laboratory (HC-FMUSP) were used for DNA isolation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed using specific primers targeting the small-subunit rRNA gene. Direct DNA sequencing of the PCR products was performed and the DNA sequences were then aligned and compared with other sequences obtained from the GenBank database. Phylogenetic analysis was used to identify STs and determine the phylogenetic relationships between the sequences. Four STs were identified: ST1 (22·5%), ST2 (12·5%), ST3 (60%) and ST6 (5%). In conclusion, ST3 was the most prevalent ST among the human isolates followed by ST1. The present study is one of the few providing STs data from the human population in South America. Determining ST prevalence in human samples may contribute to the monitoring of Blastocystis sp. infection transmission in endemic regions.
Strongyloides venezuelensis is a parasitic nematode of rodents that is frequently used to obtain heterologous antigens for immunological diagnosis of human strongyloidiasis. The aim of this study was to identify antigens from filariform larvae of S. venezuelensis for immunodiagnosis of human strongyloidiasis. Soluble and membrane fractions from filariform larvae of S. venezuelensis were obtained in phosphate saline (SS and SM) and in Tris–HCl buffer (TS and TM), and were analysed by Western blotting. Different antigenic components were recognized by IgG antibodies from the sera of strongyloidiasis patients. Highest recognition was observed for a 30–40 kDa mass range present in all antigenic fractions. The band encompassing this mass range was then excised and subjected to mass spectrometry for protein identification. Immunoreactive proteins identified in the soluble fractions corresponded to metabolic enzymes, whereas cytoskeletal proteins and galectins were more abundant in the membrane fractions. These results represent the first approach towards identification of S. venezuelensis antigens for use in immunodiagnostic assays for human strongyloidiasis.
Toxoplasmosis causes complications during pregnancy that have serious effects on fetal development. Thus far, toxocariasis has been reported to spread only via vertical transmission. Nonetheless, the population of pregnant women is also exposed to this infection. Co-infection with both Toxoplasma gondii and Toxocara spp. has been reported in children, but there are no reports of co-infection in the population of pregnant women. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of co-infection with T. gondii and Toxocara spp. in pregnant women at a university hospital in southern Brazil, and to identify the risk factors associated with infection by both parasites. Two hundred pregnant women were tested for the presence of anti-T. gondii and anti-Toxocara spp. antibodies and were asked to complete an epidemiological questionnaire. In this study, the co-infection rate observed in the total population of pregnant women was 8%. In addition, women with a positive result for a serology test for Toxocara spp. were at increased risk of infection by T. gondii (P = 0.019). Co-infection with both parasites in pregnant women was associated with low birth weights in neonates. The similar modes of transmission of both parasites could explain the co-infection. Only a few previous studies have investigated this phenomenon. The findings of the present study emphasize the importance of serological diagnosis during prenatal care and further research in this area to identify risk factors associated with this co-infection, and the possible implications of this co-infection during pregnancy and on the health of newborns.
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.) could play an important role as a feed source for ruminants in arid and semi-arid zones of the world owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. The current paper assessed the agronomic characteristics, ensilability, intake and digestibility of five Brazilian pearl millet cultivars (IPA Bulk1BF, BRS 1501, CMS-03, CMS-01 and BN-2) in a typical Brazilian northeastern semi-arid climate. Forage was harvested at the dough stage of grain maturity (growth stage 86 according to the BBCH scale) and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 25 Santa Inês male lambs. The cultivars CMS-01, CMS-03 and BN-2 out-performed the others in terms of dry matter (DM) and digestible DM yield/ha. At DM partitioning among plant tissues, the cultivar IPA Bulk1BF had a greater DM associated with panicles and one of the greatest concentrations of organic matter, lactic acid and in vitro dry matter digestibility among the five cultivars. The cultivar BRS 1501 had greater butyric acid concentration as well as one of the highest pH values. Silage produced from BN-2 not only contained greater acetic acid concentration, but also showed one of the greatest total volatile fatty acid concentrations. There were no differences in feed intake and digestibility of nutrients and fibre fractions across all cultivars. Silage made from BN-2 resulted in greater urinary excretion of nitrogen than those produced from BRS 1501. Under the conditions of the present study, the results obtained for production of DM and digestible dry matter, and the ratio of plant fractions, indicates the possible use of these cultivars for silage production in the Brazilian semi-arid region.