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The BW has been largely used as a selection criterion in genetic selection programmes; however, increases in BW can affect animal metabolism and metabolites. The knowledge of how genetic potential for growth affects the metabolites can give a footprint of growth metabolism. This research aimed to evaluate the effect of genetic potential for post-weaning growth (GG) on performance, carcass traits and serum metabolome of non-castrated Nellore males during the finishing phase. Forty-eight Nellore non-castrated males, with divergent potential for post-weaning growth, were selected and divided into two groups: high potential for post-weaning growth (HG; n = 24) and low potential for post-weaning growth (LG; n = 24). Animals were kept and fed for 90 days where performance and ultrasound carcass traits were evaluated. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and end of feeding period to analyse serum metabolites concentration. The hot carcass weight and dressing percentage were recorded at slaughter. The feedlot performance and carcass traits were not affected by genetic potential. The HG animals had a lower glucose (P = 0.039), glutamate (P = 0.038), glutamine (P = 0.004), greater betaine (P = 0.039) and pyruvate (P = 0.039) compared to the LG group at the beginning of feedlot. In addition, higher creatine phosphate concentrations were observed at the beginning of feeding period, compared to final, for both groups (P = 0.039). In conclusion, the genetic potential for post-weaning growth does not affect performance and carcass traits during the finishing period. Differences in metabolite concentrations can be better found at the beginning of feedlot, providing a footprint of growth metabolism, but similar metabolite concentration at the end of finishing period.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
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.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death among infectious diseases worldwide. Among the estimated cases of drug-resistant TB, approximately 60% occur in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Among Brazilian states, primary and acquired multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) rates were the highest in Rio Grande do Sul (RS). This study aimed to perform molecular characterisation of MDR-TB in the State of RS, a high-burden Brazilian state. We performed molecular characterisation of MDR-TB cases in RS, defined by drug susceptibility testing, using 131 Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) DNA samples from the Central Laboratory. We carried out MIRU-VNTR 24loci, spoligotyping, sequencing of the katG, inhA and rpoB genes and RDRio sublineage identification. The most frequent families found were LAM (65.6%) and Haarlem (22.1%). RDRio deletion was observed in 42 (32%) of the M.tb isolates. Among MDR-TB cases, eight (6.1%) did not present mutations in the studied genes. In 116 (88.5%) M.tb isolates, we found mutations associated with rifampicin (RIF) resistance in rpoB gene, and in 112 isolates (85.5%), we observed mutations related to isoniazid resistance in katG and inhA genes. An insertion of 12 nucleotides (CCAGAACAACCC) at the 516 codon in the rpoB gene, possibly responsible for a decreased interaction of RIF and RNA polymerase, was found in 19/131 of the isolates, belonging mostly to LAM and Haarlem families. These results enable a better understanding of the dynamics of transmission and evolution of MDR-TB in the region.
Crossbreeding represents an important technique to improve growth, beef quality and adaptability in beef production systems in tropical countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate sire and dam breed effects on performance and carcass traits of crossbred cattle produced in a tropical environment. Heifers and steers were evaluated during the pre-weaning, the post-weaning (n = 173) and the finishing phase (n = 123). Animals were produced by mating Nellore (N_N), Angus × Nellore (A_N) and Caracu × Nellore (C_N) dams with Braford, Charbray and Caracu sires. After weaning, animals were raised grazing on Marandu grass for 12 months; thereafter they were housed in individual pens and finished in a feedlot, receiving a total mixed ration. Ultrasound carcass evaluations were performed to determine ribeye area (R_A), backfat thickness (B_T) and rump fat thickness (R_T). A_N progeny were heavier at birth than N_N (P < 0.05), and Braford progeny had greater birth BW than Caracu (P < 0.05). Greater weaning BW was observed in the A_N and C_N offspring compared to N_N (P < 0.01). Greater average daily gain during the post-weaning period was verified in the N_N progeny compared to C_N (P < 0.05). No dam or sire breed effects were observed for BW at the end of the post-weaning period (P > 0.05). Progeny of N_N cows had greater B_T (P < 0.05) and R_T (P < 0.01) at the end of the post-weaning period in relation to C_N. Greater R_A was observed in the Caracu progeny than in the Braford (P < 0.05), which showed greater R_T than the Charbray progeny at the end of the post-weaning period (P < 0.05). No dam or sire breed effects were verified for final BW at the feedlot or for feed efficiency traits (P > 0.05). A_N progeny were superior in final B_T compared to C_N (P < 0.01), and Braford progeny had greater R_T at the end of finishing than Charbray (P = 0.05). The use of crossbred dams allows an increase in productivity until weaning, but this is not maintained in the post-weaning and finishing periods. The use of Braford sires produces similar growth performance in the different stages of the production system to those seen with Charbray and Caracu sires but generates animals with higher fat thickness at the end of finishing, which may improve carcass quality and commercial value.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
Spineless cactus is a useful feed for various animal species in arid and semiarid regions due to its adaptability to dry and harsh soil, high efficiency of water use and carbohydrates storage. This meta-analysis was carried out to assess the effect of spineless cactus on animal performance, and develop and evaluate equations to predict dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) in meat lambs. Equations for predicting DMI and ADG as a function of animal and diet characteristics were developed using data from eight experiments. The dataset was comprised of 40 treatment means from 289 meat lambs, in which cactus was included from 0 to 75% of the diet dry matter (DM). Accuracy and precision were evaluated by cross-validation using the mean square error of prediction (MSEP), which was decomposed into mean bias, systematic bias and random error; concordance correlation coefficient, which was decomposed into accuracy (Cb) and precision (ρ); and coefficient of determination (R2). In addition, the data set was used to evaluate the predicting accuracy and precision of the main lamb feeding systems (Agricultural and Food Research Council, Small Ruminant Nutritional System, National Research Council and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and also two Brazilian studies. The DMI, CP intake (CPI), metabolizable energy (ME) intake and ADG increased when cactus was included up to 499 g/kg DM (P<0.001). In contrast, animals fed high levels of cactus (>500 g/kg DM) had a decreased DMI, CPI and NDF intake, but increased feed efficiency (P<0.001) and similar ADG compared with those without cactus addition. The DMI was positively correlated with initial BW, final BW, concentrate and ADG, while it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion and ME of the diet. On other hand, ADG was positively correlated with DMI, initial and mean BW and concentrate, and it was negatively correlated with cactus inclusion. The two developed equations had high accuracy (Cb of 0.95 for DMI and 0.94 for ADG) and the random error of MSEP was 99% for both equations. The precision of both equations was moderate, with R2 values of 0.53 and 0.50 and ρ values of 0.73 and 0.71 for DMI and ADG, respectively. In conclusion, the developed equation to predict DMI had moderate precision and high accuracy, nonetheless, it was more efficient than those reported in the literature. The proposed equations can be a useful alternative to estimate intake and performance of lambs fed cactus.
The mechanisms involved in kidney disturbances during development, induced by vitamin D3 deficiency in female rats, that persist into adulthood were evaluated in this study. Female offspring from mothers fed normal (control group, n=8) or vitamin D-deficient (Vit.D-, n=10) diets were used. Three-month-old rats had their systolic blood pressure (SBP) measured and their blood and urine sampled to quantify vitamin D3 (Vit.D3), creatinine, Na+, Ca+2 and angiotensin II (ANGII) levels. The kidneys were then removed for nitric oxide (NO) quantification and immunohistochemical studies. Vit.D- pups showed higher SBP and plasma ANGII levels in adulthood (P<0.05) as well as decreased urine osmolality associated with increases in urinary volume (P<0.05). Decreased expression of JG12 (renal cortex and glomeruli) and synaptopodin (glomeruli) as well as reduced renal NO was also observed (P<0.05). These findings showed that renal disturbances in development in pups from Vit.D- mothers observed in adulthood may be related to the development of angiogenesis, NO and ANGII alterations.
The protein nutrition of dairy cows is of great importance because of its direct influence on milk production, reproductive efficiency, and feeding cost. Eight first-lactation Holstein cows were randomly assigned to two contemporary 4 × 4 Latin squares in a 2 × 2 factorial design to evaluate the effects of replacing soybean meal with yeast-derived microbial protein (YMP) as a protein source (0% or 1.5% of dry matter (DM)) and its combination with slow-release urea (SRU; 0% or 0.75% of DM) on DM intake and milk production and composition, as well as blood parameters and nitrogen balance. Each experimental period lasted 28 days, with 21 days of adaptation and 7 days of data collection. The diets were formulated to attend the nutritional recommendations of the National Research Council and consisted of 49% forage (47% corn silage and 2% Tifton hay) and 51% concentrate, with 16.8% CP and 1.6 Mcal net energy for lactation/kg DM. For diets without YMP, the inclusion of SRU decreased DM intake, milk production as well as N intake and balance, but did not affect efficiency of production, milk composition or most of blood parameters. On the contrary, for diets with YMP, DM intake and milk production were increased by inclusion of SRU, while minor effects were observed for milk efficiency and composition, blood parameters as well as N intake, excretion and balance. When diets with SRU were compared, the inclusion of YMP increased DM intake, 4% fat-corrected milk, and N intake and balance (P<0.05), with no differences in milk production (kg/day), milk energy, efficiency of milk production or most of the blood parameters. For diets without SRU, YMP inclusion decreased DM intake, milk production, milk energy, N intake, fecal N and N balance (P<0.05), with no effects on milk efficiency and composition, or most of blood parameters. In conclusion, the use of YMP, SRU or both as partial substitutes of soybean meal in the diet of lactating cows has no negative effects on productivity parameters.
The objective of the current experiment was to determine the effects of increasing levels of palm kernel cake in a finishing diet on feed intake, digestibility, performance, ingestive behaviour and carcass traits in zebu bulls. Thirty-two Nellore bulls (420 ± 25.0 kg initial body weight [BW] and 24-months-old), were assigned randomly to individual pens with four treatments (0, 70, 140 and 210 g/kg of palm kernel cake by total dry matter [DM]) and eight replicates per treatment. The inclusion of palm kernel cake linearly decreased DM, crude protein and non-fibrous carbohydrate intake and increased ether extraction intake and digestibility. There was a linear decrease in final BW and hot carcass weight (HCW) associated with palm kernel cake inclusion in the bull diet. However, the gain : feed ratio was similar among the diets. Eating and rumination rates (g DM or neutral detergent fibre/h) were reduced, whereas the total chewing time and idling (min/day) were not affected by palm kernel cake inclusion. There were no effects of palm kernel cake inclusion on most quantitative carcass characteristics and qualitative carcass attributes (subcutaneous fat thickness, longissimus muscle area, colour, texture and marbling). The inclusion of palm kernel cake (up to 210 g/kg total DM) in beef cattle finishing diets decreased eating and rumination rates, thereby decreasing average daily gain and, consequently, final BW and HCW. However, qualitative carcass attributes were not affected by the use of palm kernel cake.
The aim of this study was to establish a functional freezing–thawing protocol for epididymal sperm of collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu L., 1758) by comparing different extenders. The epididymal sperm from 12 sexually mature males was recovered by retrograde flushing using Tris-based or coconut water-based (ACP®-116c) extenders. After initial evaluation, samples were diluted and frozen with the same extenders to which 20% egg yolk and 6% glycerol were added. After 2 weeks, thawing was performed at 37°C/60 s and sperm motility, vigour, morphology, functional membrane integrity, sperm viability, sperm plasma membrane integrity, and a computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) were assessed. In addition, to evaluate the survival of frozen–thawed sperm, a thermal resistance test (TRT) was executed. Samples preserved using Tris were in better condition compared with those preserved using ACP®, showing higher values for most assessments performed, including CASA and the TRT (P<0.05). After determining Tris to be the better of the two extenders, additional samples were thawed using different thawing rates (37°C/60 s, 55°C/7 s, 70°C/8 s). Sperm thawed at 37°C/60 s had the greatest preservation (P<0.05) of viability (54.1 ± 5.9%) and functional membrane integrity (43.2 ± 5.4%), and had higher values for various CASA parameters. In conclusion, we suggest the use of a Tris-based extender added to egg yolk and glycerol for the cryopreservation of epididymal sperm obtained from collared peccaries. In order to achieve better post-thawing sperm quality, we suggest that samples should be thawed at 37°C/60 s.
Moringa oleifera seeds are currently being used as a livestock feed across tropical regions of the world due to its availability and palatability. However, limited knowledge exists on the effects of the raw seeds on ruminant metabolism. As such, the rumen stimulation technique was used to evaluate the effects of substituting increasing concentrations of ground Moringa seeds (0, 100, 200 and 400 g/kg concentrate dry matter (DM)) in the diet on rumen fermentation and methane production. Two identical, Rusitec apparatuses, each with eight fermenters were used with the first 8 days used for adaptation and days 9 to 16 used for measurements. Fermenters were fed a total mixed ration with Urochloa brizantha as the forage. Disappearance of DM, CP, NDF and ADF linearly decreased (P<0.01) with increasing concentrations of Moringa seeds in the diet. Total volatile fatty acid production and the acetate to propionate ratio were also linearly decreased (P<0.01). However, only the 400 g/kg (concentrate DM basis) treatment differed (P<0.01) from the control. Methane production (%), total microbial incorporation of 15N and total production of microbial N linearly decreased (P<0.01) as the inclusion of Moringa seeds increased. Though the inclusion of Moringa seeds in the diet decreased CH4 production, this arose from an unfavourable decrease in diet digestibility and rumen fermentation parameters.
Reducing the risk of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission is still a public health priority. The development of effective control strategies relies on the quantification of the effects of prophylactic and therapeutic measures in disease incidence. Although several assays can be used to estimate HIV incidence, these estimates are limited by the poor performance of these assays in distinguishing recent from long-standing infections. To address such limitation, we have developed an assay to titrate p24-specific IgG3 antibodies as a marker of recent infection. The assay is based on a recombinant p24 protein capable to detect total IgG antibodies in sera using a liquid micro array and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Subsequently, the assay was optimised to detect and titrate anti-p24 IgG3 responses in a panel of sequential specimens from seroconverters over 24 months. The kinetics of p24-specific IgG3 titres revealed a transient peak in the 4 to 5-month period after seroconversion. It was followed by a sharp decline, allowing infections with less than 6 months to be distinguished from older ones. The developed assay exhibited a mean duration of recent infection of 144 days and a false-recent rate of ca. 14%. Our findings show that HIV-1 p24-specific IgG3 titres can be used as a tool to evaluate HIV incidence in serosurveys and to monitor the efficacy of vaccines and other transmission control strategies.
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).
The current filamentation instability (CFI) is capable of generating strong magnetic fields relevant to the explanation of radiation processes in astrophysical objects and leads to the onset of particle acceleration in collisionless shocks. Probing such extreme scenarios in the laboratory is still an open challenge. In this work, we investigate the possibility of using neutral
beams to explore the CFI with realistic parameters, by performing two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. We show that CFI can occur unless the rate at which the beam expands due to finite beam emittance is larger than the CFI growth rate and as long as the role of the competing electrostatic two-stream instability (TSI) is negligible. We also show that the longitudinal energy spread, typical of plasma-based accelerated electron–positron fireball beams, plays a minor role in the growth of CFI in these scenarios.
This experiment evaluated the impacts of supplementing a yeast-derived product (Celmanax; Church & Dwight Co., Inc., Princeton, NJ, USA) on productive and health responses of beef steers, and was divided into a preconditioning (days 4 to 30) and feedlot receiving phase (days 31 to 69). In all, 84 Angus × Hereford steers were weaned on day 0 (BW=245±2 kg; age=186±2 days), and maintained in a single group from days 0 to 3. On day 4, steers were allocated according to weaning BW and age to a 21-pen drylot (4 steers/pen). Pens were randomly assigned to (n=7 pens/treatment): (1) no Celmanax supplementation during the study, (2) Celmanax supplementation (14 g/steer daily; as-fed) from days 14 to 69 or (3) Celmanax supplementation (14 g/steer daily; as-fed) from days 31 to 69. Steers had free-choice access to grass-alfalfa hay, and were also offered a corn-based concentrate beginning on day 14. Celmanax was mixed daily with the concentrate. On day 30, steers were road-transported for 1500 km (24 h). On day 31, steers returned to their original pens for the 38-day feedlot receiving. Shrunk BW was recorded on days 4, 31 and 70. Feed intake was evaluated daily (days 14 to 69). Steers were observed daily (days 4 to 69) for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) signs. Blood samples were collected on days 14, 30, 31, 33, 35, 40, 45, 54 and 69, and analyzed for plasma cortisol, haptoglobin, IGF-I, and serum fatty acids. Preconditioning results were analyzed by comparing pens that received (CELM) or not (CONPC) Celmanax during the preconditioning phase. Feedlot receiving results were analyzed by comparing pens that received Celmanax from days 14 to 69 (CELPREC), days 31 to 69 (CELRECV) or no Celmanax supplementation (CON). During preconditioning, BRD incidence was less (P=0.03) in CELM v. CONPC. During feedlot receiving, average daily gain (ADG) (P=0.07) and feed efficiency (P=0.08) tended to be greater in CELPREC and CELRECV v. CON, whereas dry matter intake was similar (P⩾0.29) among treatments. No other treatment effects were detected (P⩾0.20). Collectively, Celmanax supplementation reduced BRD incidence during the 30-day preconditioning. Moreover, supplementing Celmanax tended to improve ADG and feed efficiency during the 38-day feedlot receiving, independently of whether supplementation began during preconditioning or after feedlot entry. These results suggest that Celmanax supplementation benefits preconditioning health and feedlot receiving performance in beef cattle.
Longer-lived cows tend to be more profitable and the stayability trait is a selection criterion correlated to longevity. An alternative to the traditional approach to evaluate stayability is its definition based on consecutive calvings, whose main advantage is the more accurate evaluation of young bulls. However, no study using this alternative approach has been conducted for Zebu breeds. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare linear random regression models to fit stayability to consecutive calvings of Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã cows and to estimate genetic parameters for this trait in the respective breeds. Data up to the eighth calving were used. The models included the fixed effects of age at first calving and year-season of birth of the cow and the random effects of contemporary group, additive genetic, permanent environmental and residual. Random regressions were modeled by orthogonal Legendre polynomials of order 1 to 4 (2 to 5 coefficients) for contemporary group, additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. Using Deviance Information Criterion as the selection criterion, the model with 4 regression coefficients for each effect was the most adequate for the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds and the model with 5 coefficients is recommended for the Guzerá breed. For Guzerá, heritabilities ranged from 0.05 to 0.08, showing a quadratic trend with a peak between the fourth and sixth calving. For the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, the estimates ranged from 0.03 to 0.07 and from 0.03 to 0.08, respectively, and increased with increasing calving number. The additive genetic correlations exhibited a similar trend among breeds and were higher for stayability between closer calvings. Even between more distant calvings (second v. eighth), stayability showed a moderate to high genetic correlation, which was 0.77, 0.57 and 0.79 for the Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, respectively. For Guzerá, when the models with 4 or 5 regression coefficients were compared, the rank correlations between predicted breeding values for the intercept were always higher than 0.99, indicating the possibility of practical application of the least parameterized model. In conclusion, the model with 4 random regression coefficients is recommended for the genetic evaluation of stayability to consecutive calvings in Zebu cattle.
The use of forage legumes has been proposed as a means of generating sustainable grazing environments. Their limited use, particularly in tropical pastures, is partially due to the limited knowledge regarding the efficiency of utilization by animals. The present study characterized the sward structure, nutritive value and ingestive behaviour of dairy heifers in pastures of peanut cv. Belmonte under continuous stocking management. Treatments corresponded to sward heights of 5, 10, 15 and 20 cm, according to a randomized complete block design, with four replications. The following response variables were evaluated: vertical distribution of the morphological components within the sward, forage mass, nutritive value (simulated grazing), bite rate (BR), bite mass (BM) and short-term herbage intake rate (STIR). The top half of the sward height was mainly composed of leaves and the bottom half mainly of stolon and dead material regardless of management height. Greater values of neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre were recorded during autumn, while higher values of in-vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility (0·85) occurred during spring regardless of management height for the grazed stratum. In relation to treatments, greater values of crude protein were recorded on swards managed at 5 cm (0·27) and 10 cm (0·26). Bite rate, BM and STIR varied with sward height, but not with a season of the year. The STIR followed a broken line response to sward height, with increasing values up to 13·1 cm (106 g DM/kg body weight). Sward structure played an important role in determining the STIR. To maximize the STIR of dairy heifers under continuous stocking management, swards should be managed at heights of not <13·1 cm.
The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~ 11Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.