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This study presents two years of characterization of a warm temperate rhodolith bed in order to analyse how certain environmental changes influence the community ecology. The biomass of rhodoliths and associated species were analysed during this period and in situ experiments were conducted to evaluate the primary production, calcification and respiration of the dominant species of rhodoliths and epiphytes. The highest total biomass of rhodoliths occurred during austral winter. Lithothamnion crispatum was the most abundant rhodolith species in austral summer. Epiphytic macroalgae occurred only in January 2015, with Padina gymnospora being the most abundant. Considering associated fauna, the biomass of Mollusca increased from February 2015 to February 2016. Population densities of key reef fish species inside and around the rhodolith beds showed significant variations in time. The densities of grouper (carnivores/piscivores) increased in time, especially from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, grunts (macroinvertebrate feeders) had a modest decrease over time (from 2014 to 2016). Other parameters such as primary production and calcification of L. crispatum were higher under enhanced irradiance, yet decreased in the presence of P. gymnospora. Community structure and physiological responses can be explained by the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors, which are driven by environmental changes over time. Biomass changes can indicate that herbivores play a role in limiting the growth of epiphytes, and this is beneficial to the rhodoliths because it decreases competition for environmental resources with fleshy algae.
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.
Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression.
To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients received a single dose of either ayahuasca or placebo. We assessed changes in depression severity with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating scale at baseline, and at 1 (D1), 2 (D2), and 7 (D7) days after dosing.
We observed significant antidepressant effects of ayahuasca when compared with placebo at all-time points. MADRS scores were significantly lower in the ayahuasca group compared with placebo at D1 and D2 (p = 0.04), and at D7 (p < 0.0001). Between-group effect sizes increased from D1 to D7 (D1: Cohen's d = 0.84; D2: Cohen's d = 0.84; D7: Cohen's d = 1.49). Response rates were high for both groups at D1 and D2, and significantly higher in the ayahuasca group at D7 (64% v. 27%; p = 0.04). Remission rate showed a trend toward significance at D7 (36% v. 7%, p = 0.054).
To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial to test a psychedelic substance in treatment-resistant depression. Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression. This study is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02914769).
Field trials were conducted in 2013 and 2014 to investigate the tolerance of limpograss to increasing rates of hexazinone. Dose-response curves were generated using linear and quadratic regression models to determine the hexazinone estimated dose (ED) required to provide 10% (ED10) and 20% (ED20) of visual injury and herbage mass reduction. The ED10 and ED20 for visual estimates of injury were estimated to be 0.05 and 0.14 kg ai ha-1 at 60 d after treatment (DAT). Regarding forage herbage mass reduction, the ED10 and ED20 were estimated to be 0.07 and 0.19 kg ai ha-1 in 2013, whereas in 2014, the ED10 and ED20 were estimated to be 0.03 and 0.06 kg ai ha-1, respectively. The significant difference in herbage mass reduction between 2013 and 2014 was likely due to rainfall patterns, which possibly promoted hexazinone leaching in 2013 and consequently, less activity. Overall, hexazinone resulted in high degrees of limpograss injury across all response variables in both years; therefore, smutgrass control in limpograss pastures with hexazinone may not be a viable option. The presence or absence of smutgrass should be considered before limpograss establishment as there is no viable herbicide to selectively remove smutgrass from limpograss swards.
Plants’ ability to rebuild their tiller population is affected by weather changes and management strategies. The hypothesis of the present study was that frequency and severity of defoliation alter Mulato grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis × Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu) sward development, and the proportion of aerial and basal tillers, interfering with sward stability. The objective was to evaluate aerial, basal and total tiller population density and changes in tillering dynamics. Treatments corresponded to strategies of rotational grazing characterized by combinations between two pre-grazing (95% and maximum canopy light interception during regrowth; LI95% and LIMax) and two post-grazing conditions (15 and 20 cm stubble height). The experimental period comprised four seasons of the year: summer 2008 (February–March 2008); autumn–early spring (April to mid-November 2008); late spring (mid-November–December 2008); and summer 2009 (January–March 2009). Density of aerial tillers decreased from summer 2008 to late spring. Tiller death decreased from summer 2008 to autumn–early spring. Aerial and total tiller death increased from late spring to summer 2009, mainly for the LI95% treatment. No differences were observed in the tiller population stability index of aerial tillers for LI treatments or post-grazing heights. The balance between tiller appearance and death for basal tillers remained relatively stable from summer 2008 to late spring. For aerial tillers the balance decreased to negative values from summer 2008 to autumn–early spring for both LI treatments. For total tiller population, the balance decreased to negative values from summer 2008 to autumn–early spring. Results indicated a strong seasonal effect on Mulato grass tillering and growth. Tillering dynamics were affected primarily by grazing frequency, which changed the relative importance of basal and aerial tillers. The results suggested that basal tillering was the predominant perennation pathway.
Upside-down jellyfish (genus Cassiopea) can be found in tropical coastal waters worldwide. Until now reports of the genus from Brazilian waters have been scant. We report here medusae and scyphistomae collected from Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro state. Although we could not unambiguously identify the material using morphological criteria, genetic sequence data (COI) indicate that the Brazilian jellyfishes are genetically similar to those from Bermuda, Hawaii and Florida, which are related to specimens from the Red Sea (Cassiopea andromeda). We hypothesize that the presence of C. andromeda in Brazil is due to an invasion event, as the scyphistomae were found growing over the known invasive ascidian Styela plicata. Estimation of divergence time between Brazil (Cabo Frio) and Florida/Bermuda populations is that it occurred at the beginning of ship movement to South America.
The aim of this study was to analyze the economic viability of producing dairy goat kids fed liquid diets in alternative of goat milk and slaughtered at two different ages. Forty-eight male newborn Saanen and Alpine kids were selected and allocated to four groups using a completely randomized factorial design: goat milk (GM), cow milk (CM), commercial milk replacer (CMR) and fermented cow colostrum (FC). Each group was then divided into two groups: slaughter at 60 and 90 days of age. The animals received Tifton hay and concentrate ad libitum. The values of total costs of liquid and solid feed plus labor, income and average gross margin were calculated. The data were then analyzed using the Monte Carlo techniques with the @Risk 5.5 software, with 1000 iterations of the variables being studied through the model. The kids fed GM and CMR generated negative profitability values when slaughtered at 60 days (US$ −16.4 and US$ −2.17, respectively) and also at 90 days (US$ −30.8 and US$ −0.18, respectively). The risk analysis showed that there is a 98% probability that profitability would be negative when GM is used. In this regard, CM and FC presented low risk when the kids were slaughtered at 60 days (8.5% and 21.2%, respectively) and an even lower risk when animals were slaughtered at 90 days (5.2% and 3.8%, respectively). The kids fed CM and slaughtered at 90 days presented the highest average gross income (US$ 67.88) and also average gross margin (US$ 18.43/animal). For the 60-day rearing regime to be economically viable, the CMR cost should not exceed 11.47% of the animal-selling price. This implies that the replacer cannot cost more than US$ 0.39 and 0.43/kg for the 60- and 90-day feeding regimes, respectively. The sensitivity analysis showed that the variables with the greatest impact on the final model’s results were animal selling price, liquid diet cost, final weight at slaughter and labor. In conclusion, the production of male dairy goat kids can be economically viable when the kids diet consists mainly of either cow milk or fermented colostrum, especially when kids are slaughtered at 90 days of age.
Vinasse and biochar are by-products of biofuel production that can be used as sources of nutrients to crops or soil amendments to improve soil quality. Despite the recent interest in biochar and vinasse effects on soil properties, little is known about their effect on weed communities. We hypothesized that the addition of biochar and vinasse to the soil could affect weed seed germination and growth, and that different weed species would show different responses to these soil amendments. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the effects of vinasse and biochar on the germination and growth of Palmer amaranth, sicklepod, and southern crabgrass. The study was conducted under laboratory and growth chamber conditions. Treatments consisted of four levels of vinasse (0, 10, 20, and 40 L m−2) and biochar (0, 0.5, 2.5, and 12.5 kg m−2) applied to a sandy loam soil. Biochar at 0.5 and 2.5 kg m−2 increased germination of Palmer amaranth but had no effect on sicklepod and southern crabgrass. Vinasse reduced germination of all species. However, sicklepod germination was less affected by vinasse at 10 and 20 L m−2 than the other two species. Vinasse at 40 L m−2 decreased Palmer amaranth, southern crabgrass and sicklepod germination 57, 26 and 87%, respectively. Biochar had no consistent effect on the vegetative growth of the species studied. Vinasse at 10 L m−2 stimulated growth of sicklepod and southern crabgrass compared to the nontreated control. Our results suggested that vinasse used as a soil amendment could affect weed community structure by decreasing germination of susceptible species, but plants and weed species that can get established in vinasse amended soils might show higher growth rates.
Epigenetic studies suggest that diseases that develop in adulthood are related to certain conditions to which the individual is exposed during the initial stages of life. Experimental evidence has demonstrated that offspring born to mothers maintained on high-Na diets during pregnancy have higher mean arterial pressure (MAP) in adulthood. Although these studies have demonstrated the importance of prenatal phases to hypertension development, no evidence regarding the role of high Na intake during postnatal phases in the development of this pathology has been reported. Therefore, in the present study, the effects of Na overload during childhood on induced water and Na intakes and on cardiovascular parameters in adulthood were evaluated. Experiments were carried out in two groups of 21-d-old rats: experimental group, maintained on hypertonic saline (0·3 m-NaCl) solution and food for 60 d, and control group, maintained on tap water and food. Later, both groups were given water and food for 15 d (recovery period). After the recovery period, chronic cannulation of the right femoral artery was performed in unanaesthetised rats to record baseline MAP and heart rate (HR). The experimental group was found to have increased basal MAP (98·6 (sem 2·6) v. 118·3 (sem 2·7) mmHg, P< 0·05) and HR (365·4 (sem 12·2) v. 398·2 (sem 7·5) beats per min, P< 0·05). There was a decrease in the baroreflex index in the experimental group when compared with that in the control group. A water and Na intake test was performed using furosemide. Na depletion was found to induce an increase in Na intake in both the control and experimental groups (12·1 (sem 0·6) ml and 7·8 (sem 1·1), respectively, P< 0·05); however, this increase was of lower magnitude in the experimental group. These results demonstrate that postnatal Na overload alters behavioural and cardiovascular regulation in adulthood.
The silvopastoral system (SPS) has been suggested to ensure sustainability in animal production systems in tropical ecosystems. The objective of this study was to evaluate pasture characteristics, herbage intake, grazing activity and milk yield of Holstein×Zebu cows managed in two grazing systems (treatments): SPS dominated by a graminaceous forage (Brachiaria decumbens) intercropped with different leguminous herbaceous forages (Stylosanthes spp., Pueraria phaseoloides and Calopogonium mucunoides) and legume trees (Acacia mangium, Gliricidia sepium and Leucaena leucocephala), and open pasture (OP) of B. decumbens intercropped only with Stylosanthes spp. Pastures were managed according to the rules for organic cattle production. The study was carried out by following a switch back format with 12 cows, 6 for each treatment, over 3 experimental years. Herbage mass was similar (P>0.05) for both treatments, supporting an average stocking rate of 1.23 AU/ha. Daily dry matter intake did not vary (P>0.05) between treatments (average of 11.3±1.02 kg/cow per day, corresponding to 2.23±0.2% BW). Milk yield was higher (P<0.05; 10.4±0.06 kg/cow per day) in the SPS than in the OP (9.5±0.06 kg/cow per day) during the 1st year, but did not significantly differ (P>0.05) in subsequent years. The highest (P<0.05) values for herbage mass and milk yield were observed during the 3rd year. In the SPS, with moderate shade (19% shade relative to a full-sun condition), the grass CP was higher (P<0.05) than in the OP, although the NDF content and digestibility coefficient were not modified. The animals spent more time (P<0.05) idling in the SPS than in OP. The higher legume proportion in the SPS was associated with the higher CP level in B. decumbens relative to the OP, which could explain the better (P<0.05) performance of the cows in silvopastoral areas during the 1st year. However, during the 2nd and 3rd years, similarities in the legume percentages of both systems resulted in similar (P>0.05) milk yields. Low persistence of Stylosanthes guianensis was observed over the experimental period, indicating that the persistence of forage legumes under grazing could be improved using adapted cultivars that have higher annual seed production. The SPS and a diversified botanical composition of the pasture using legume species mixed with grasses are recommended for organic milk production.
Lear’s Macaw Anodorhynchus leari is currently listed as “Endangered” by IUCN. Although it only breeds on cliffs at two protected sites in Bahia State, Brazil, there is no accurate information on population parameters such as the number of breeding pairs and their breeding performance. Between 2009 and 2010, we sought to quantify, for the first time, breeding population size and the main breeding parameters for the species in the two known breeding sites, by quantifying the number of active nests and monitoring 75 breeding attempts. Overall, 80% of the breeding attempts were successful with 1.33 (± 0.86 SD) fledglings/breeding attempt (productivity) and 1.67 (± 0.60 SD) fledglings/successful nest (brood size). Breeding success and productivity were higher in 2010, while brood size did not vary between years and breeding sites. By adding 73 estimated nests to the 41 nests monitored, 228 individuals were estimated to be reproductively active in 2010, representing c.20% of the population (1,125 individuals). Given that the species is confined to a single population, further population increases could provoke overcrowding and negative density-dependent effects if it does not expand geographically. Therefore, long-term population monitoring focusing on the fraction of the population that is actually breeding and its breeding performance, rather than solely on the whole population size, is important for a better understanding of the population dynamics and conservation of this species.
After 22 yr of the low-level liquid scintillation counting 14C laboratory at the Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA) at São Paulo University (USP), Piracicaba, Brazil, and several collaborative projects with Brazilian and international researchers from distinct scientific areas, the first 14C accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) laboratory in Latin America was installed at the Physics Institute of the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Niterói, Brazil. A 250kV single stage accelerator produced by National Electrostatics Corporation began its operation in 2012. In this work, we compare measurements performed at the AMS Radiocarbon Laboratory at UFF (LAC-UFF) with those performed at CENA and the University of Georgia (UGAMS), Georgia, USA. All the results obtained from distinct inorganic and organic samples were in very good agreement.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that mainly targets the synovial membrane, cartilage and bone. It affects 1 % of the population and is associated with significant morbidity and increased mortality. Se is an essential trace element with antioxidant properties and the ability to modulate the immune responses. Selemax® is an inactive yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) enriched with organic Se. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Selemax® administration in models of an antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) in C57BL/6 mice, and of an adjuvant-induced arthritis (AdIA) in Holtzman rats. As control, the animals were treated with the same inactivated yeast species that was not enriched for Se. In the AIA model, treatment with different doses of Selemax® (0·01, 0·1, 1 and 10 % added to food) significantly decreased the number of inflammatory cells recruited to the knee cavity, essentially by reducing the number of neutrophils. Levels of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-1β and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1/keratinocyte chemoattractant (CXCL1/KC), were also reduced in the peri-articular tissue of mice treated with Selemax® at the tested dose (1 %). In the AdIA model in rats, Selemax® treatment decreased paw oedema and hypernociception. This reduction was associated with inhibition of the influx of proinflammatory cells. Therefore, treatment with Selemax® is associated with amelioration of several inflammatory and functional parameters in models of arthritis, suggesting that this Se-enriched yeast should be evaluated further in patients with RA.
This study describes the results of the health programme implemented in the Valencian Community (Spain) to achieve an early diagnosis of Chagas disease in pregnant Latin American women and their newborns. During 2009 and 2010, 1975 women living in the health districts of three university hospitals were enrolled via midwives or at the time of delivery. Diagnosis of disease was performed using two serological tests with different antigens. Congenital infection was diagnosed by parasitological, molecular or serological methods from blood samples obtained at birth or in subsequent controls. The overall seroprevalence of Chagas infection in pregnant women from 16 different endemic countries was 11·4%. Infection was higher in those from countries in the Gran Chaco Region (Bolivia, 34·1%; Paraguay, 7·4%; Argentina, 5·3%). Eight newborn infants from Bolivian mothers had congenital Chagas which represents a vertical transmission rate of 3·7%. In conclusion, this work supports the benefits of offering an early diagnosis to pregnant women and newborns during routine prenatal healthcare.
To better understand the evolution of spatial and color vision, the number and spatial distributions of cones, rods, and optic nerve axon numbers were assessed in seven New World primates (Cebus apella, Saimiri ustius, Saguinus midas niger, Alouatta caraya, Aotus azarae, Calllithrix jacchus, and Callicebus moloch). The spatial distribution and number of rods and cones was determined from counts of retinal whole mounts. Optic axon number was determined from optic nerve sections by electron microscopy. These data were amassed with existing data on retinal cell number and distribution in Old World primates, and the scaling of relative densities and numbers with respect to retinal area, eye and brain sizes, and foveal specializations were evaluated. Regular scaling of all cell types was observed, with the exceptionally large, rod-enriched retina of the nocturnal owl monkey Aotus azarae, and the unusually high cone density of the fovea of the trichromatic howler monkey Alouatta caraya presenting interesting variations on this basic plan. Over all species, the lawful scaling of rods, cones, and retinal ganglion cell number is hypothesized to result from a conserved sequence of cell generation that defends retinal acuity and sensitivity over a large range of eye sizes.
The studies developed at CST sinter plant in order to point out any factor that may have an effect on plume visibility are reported. Specific software and indexes have been developed. The approach included a retrospective analysis followed by further industrial tests at the sinter plant with different material input (fuels and raw materials). The results are discussed with reference to potential effects on the plume visibility. Further steps are considered to progress the stack plume project.
Ultrasound technology provides a oportunity to quickly and economically estimate carcass atributes on the live animal (Brethour, 2000). In general, this technology has been used to detect variation for fat depth and ribeye area (longissimus dorsi muscle) in performance tested yearling bulls at several countries. In the present study, real time ultrasonography was used to predict the ribeye area (RA) and the subcutaneous fat thickness (FT) in Nellore crossbred.
The tick Boophilus microplus is a 1-host tick that causes important losses to bovine herds, and protective antigens are being investigated in order to develop vaccines that avoid the use of acaricides. Paramyosins are multi-functional invertebrate muscle proteins, whose roles may include host immunomodulation, and seem to be a prominent candidate in a schistosomiasis vaccine. We report here the cloning, expression and characterization of a B. microplus paramyosin (BmPRM). Sequence analysis of the full length coding sequence cDNA shows high identity to other arthropod paramyosin sequences, and the predicted molecular weight, pI and secondary structure are consistent with a typical paramyosin. Western-blot expression analysis indicates the presence of BmPRM in all tissues and developmental stages tested, but not in saliva. The recombinant protein (rBmPRM) was shown to bind both IgG and collagen. Possible implications of these activities with host evasion mechanisms are discussed.
We report the molecular characterization of a middle repetitive
sequence, named C6, isolated from the Trypanosoma
cruzi genome. C6 appears to be a composite repeated element since
subregions may be defined within it on the basis
of sequence similarities with other T. cruzi genomic sequences.
Sequences homologous to C6 are interspersed in the
genome and can be mapped out on most chromosomal bands of different
T. cruzi strains. The copy number of the C6
element is about 1000 per haploid genome. Given the species specificity
different genomic distribution of C6
homologous sequences among the T. cruzi strains the C6 element
be a useful probe for diagnosis and typing of
parasites. C6 is a polymorphic marker with potential as a tool for
physical mapping of the T. cruzi genome.
The distribution of ganglion cells and displaced amacrine cells was determined in whole-mounted Aotus retinae. In contrast to diurnal simians, Aotus has only a rudimentary fovea. Ganglion cell density decreases towards the periphery at approximately the same rate along all meridians, but is 1.2–1.8 times higher in the nasal periphery when compared to temporal region at the same eccentricities. The total number of ganglion cells varied from 421,500 to 508,700. Ganglion cell density peaked at 15,000/mm2 at 0.25 mm dorsal to the fovea. The displaced amacrine cells have a shallow density gradient, their peak density in the central region is about 1500–2000/mm2 and their total number varied from 315,900 to 482,800. Comparison between ganglion cell density and areal cortical magnification factor for the primary visual cortex, area 17, shows that there is not a simple proportional representation of the ganglion cell distribution. There is an overrepresentation of the central 10 deg of the visual field in the visual cortex. The present results for Aotus and the results of a similar analysis of data from other primates indicate that the overrepresentation of the central visual field is a general feature of the visual system of primates.