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Prolonged parturition duration has been widely demonstrated to be a risk factor for incidence of stillbirth. This study evaluated the supply of dietary fibre on the parturition duration, gut microbiota and metabolome using sows as a model. A total of 40 Yorkshire sows were randomly given diet containing normal level of dietary fibre (NDF, 17·5 % dietary fibre) or high level of dietary fibre (HDF, 33·5 % dietary fibre). Faecal microbiota profiled with 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, SCFA and metabolome in the faeces and plasma around parturition were compared between the dietary groups. Correlation analysis was conducted to further explore the potential associations between specific bacterial taxa and metabolites. Results showed that HDF diet significantly improved the parturition process as presented by the shorter parturition duration. HDF diet increased the abundance of the phyla Bacteroidetes and Synergistetes and multiple genera. Except for butyrate, SCFA levels in the faeces and plasma of sows at parturition were elevated in HDF group. The abundances of fifteen and twelve metabolites in the faeces and plasma, respectively, markedly differ between HDF and NDF sows. These metabolites are involved in energy metabolism and bacterial metabolism. Correlation analysis also showed associations between specific bacteria taxa and metabolites. Collectively, our study indicates that the improvement of parturition duration by high fibre intake in late gestation is associated with gut microbiota, production of SCFA and other metabolites, potentially serving for energy metabolism.
The effects of early thiamine use on clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) are unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between early thiamine administration and clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with AKI. The data of critically ill patients with AKI within 48 h after ICU admission were extracted from the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care III (MIMIC III) database. PSM was used to match patients early receiving thiamine treatment to those not early receiving thiamine treatment. The association between early thiamine use and in-hospital mortality due to AKI was determined using a logistic regression model. A total of 15 066 AKI patients were eligible for study inclusion. After propensity score matching (PSM), 734 pairs of patients who did and did not receive thiamine treatment in the early stage were established. Early thiamine use was associated with lower in-hospital mortality (OR 0·65; 95 % CI 0·49, 0·87; P < 0·001) and 90-d mortality (OR 0·58; 95 % CI 0·45, 0·74; P < 0·001), and it was also associated with the recovery of renal function (OR 1·26; 95 % CI 1·17, 1·36; P < 0·001). In the subgroup analysis, early thiamine administration was associated with lower in-hospital mortality in patients with stages 1 to 2 AKI. Early thiamine use was associated with improved short-term survival in critically ill patients with AKI. It was possible beneficial role in patients with stages 1 to 2 AKI according to the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes criteria.
Engineered biomaterials provide unique functions to overcome the bottlenecks seen in biomedicine. Hence, a technique for rapid and routine tests of collagen is required, in which the test items commonly include molecular weight, crosslinking degree, purity, and sterilization induced structural change. Among them, the crosslinking degree mainly influences collagen properties. In this study, second harmonic generation (SHG) and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy are used in combination to explore the collagen structure at molecular and macromolecular scales. These measured parameters are applied for the classification and quantification among the different collagen scaffolds, which were verified by other conventional methods. It is demonstrated that the crosslinking status can be analyzed from SHG images and presented as the coherency of collagen organization that is correlated with the mechanical properties. Also, the comparative analyses of SHG signal and relative CARS signal of amide III band at 1,240 cm−1 to δCH2 band at 1,450 cm−1 of these samples provide information regarding the variation of the molecular structure during a crosslinking process, thus serving as nonlinear optical signatures to indicate a successful crosslinking.
Direct numerical simulations have been applied to simulate flows with polymer additives. FENE-P (finite-extensible-nonlinear-elastic-Peterlin) dumbbell model solving for the conformation tensor is adopted to investigate the influence of the polymer on the flowfield. Boundary treatments of the conformation tensor on the flowfield are examined first, where boundary condition based on the linear extrapolation scheme provides more accurate results with second-order accurate error norms. Further simulations of the turbulent channel flow at different Weissenberg numbers are also conducted to investigate the influence on drag reduction. Drag reduction increases in tandem with the increase of Weissenberg number and the increase saturates at Weτ~200, where the drag reduction is close to the maximum drag reduction (MDR) limit. At the regime of y+ > 5, the viscous layer thickens with the increase of the Weissenberg number showing a departure from the traditional log-law profile, and the velocity profiles approach the MDR line at high Weissenberg number. The Reynolds stress decreases in tandem with the increase of Weτ, whereas the levels of laminar stress and polymer stress act adversely. However, as the Weissenberg number increases, the proportion of the laminar stress in the total stress increases, and this contributes to the drag reduction of the polymer flow.
To investigate the effects of dietary fibre on follicular atresia in pigs fed a high-fat diet, we fed thirty-two prepubescent gilts a basal diet (CON) or a CON diet supplemented with 300 g/d dietary fibre (fibre), 240 g/d soya oil (SO) or both (fibre + SO). At the 19th day of the 4th oestrus cycle, gilts fed the SO diet showed 112 % more atretic follicles and greater expression of the apoptotic markers, Bax and caspase-3, and these effects were reversed by the fibre diet. The abundance of SCFA-producing microbes was decreased by the SO diet, but this effect was reversed by fibre treatment. Concentrations of serotonin and melatonin in the serum and follicular fluid were increased by the fibre diet. Overall, dietary fibre protected against high fat feeding-induced follicular atresia at least partly via gut microbiota-related serotonin–melatonin synthesis. These results provide insight into preventing negative effects on fertility in humans consuming a high-energy diet.
A humanoid robot developed to play multievent athletes like human has paved a way for interesting and popular robotics research. One of the great dreams is to develop a humanoid robot being able to challenge human athletes. Therefore, the challenge of humanoid robots to play archery against human is organized at Taichung, Taiwan, in HuroCup, FIRA 2018, on August 7th. The difficulties of developing humanoid robot are not just on playing archery. The humanoid robots for HuroCup must make use of the same hardware for the 10 events. In this paper, the design and implementation of the humanoid robot for archery are proposed under the trade off with other nine events. Therefore, the humanoid robot must have some special design and development on software. More specially, the humanoid robot must use professional bow to challenge human for archery competition. Therefore, in this paper, special shooting posture under constrained arm structure and motion planning of both arms for more torque to play professional bow are proposed. In addition, the further development of humanoid robot to improve archery shooting is summarized.
Bile acids (BA) have emerged as signalling molecules regulating intestinal physiology. The importance of intestinal microbiota in production of secondary BA, for example, lithocholic acid (LCA) which impairs enterocyte proliferation and permeability, triggered us to determine the effects of oral probiotics on intestinal BA metabolism. Piglets were weaned at 28 d of age and allocated into control (CON, n 14) or probiotic (PRO, n 14) group fed 50 mg of Lactobacillus plantarum daily, and gut microbiota and BA profile were determined. To test the potential interaction of LCA with bacteria endotoxins in inducing damage of enterocytes, IPEC-J2 cells were treated with LCA, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and LCA + LPS and expressions of genes related to inflammation, antioxidant capacity and nutrient transport were determined. Compared with the CON group, the PRO group showed lower total LCA level in the ileum and higher relative abundance of the Lactobacillus genus in faeces. In contrast, the relative abundances of Bacteroides, Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1, Parabacteroides and Ruminococcus_1, important bacteria genera in BA biotransformation, were all lower in the PRO than in the CON group. Moreover, PRO piglets had lower postprandial glucagon-like peptide-1 level, while higher glucose level than CON piglets. Co-administration of LPS and LCA led to down-regulated expression of glucose and peptide transporter genes in IPEC-J2 cells. Altogether, oral L. plantarum altered BA profile probably by modulating relative abundances of gut microbial genera that play key roles in BA metabolism and might consequently impact glucose homoeostasis. The detrimental effect of LCA on nutrient transport in enterocytes might be aggravated under LPS challenge.
Malnutrition and acute kidney injury (AKI) are common complications in hospitalised patients, and both increase mortality; however, the relationship between them is unknown. This is a retrospective propensity score matching study enrolling 46 549 inpatients, aimed to investigate the association between Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 (NRS-2002) and AKI and to assess the ability of NRS-2002 and AKI in predicting prognosis. In total, 37 190 (80 %) and 9359 (20 %) patients had NRS-2002 scores <3 and ≥3, respectively. Patients with NRS-2002 scores ≥3 had longer lengths of stay (12·6 (sd 7·8) v. 10·4 (sd 6·2) d, P < 0·05), higher mortality rates (9·6 v. 2·5 %, P < 0·05) and higher incidence of AKI (28 v. 16 %, P < 0·05) than patients with normal nutritional status. The NRS-2002 showed a strong association with AKI, that is, the risk of AKI changed in parallel with the score of the NRS-2002. In short- and long-term survival, patients with a lower NRS-2002 score or who did not have AKI achieved a significantly lower risk of mortality than those with a high NRS-2002 score or AKI. Univariate Cox regression analyses indicated that both the NRS-2002 and AKI were strongly related to long-term survival (AUC 0·79 and 0·71) and that the combination of the two showed better accuracy (AUC 0·80) than the individual variables. In conclusion, malnutrition can increase the risk of AKI and both AKI and malnutrition can worsen the prognosis that the undernourished patients who develop AKI yield far worse prognosis than patients with normal nutritional status.
The condition of caregivers is important to the quality of care received by people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), especially at the late disease stages. This study addresses the distress placed on caregivers by participants’ neuropsychiatric symptoms at different stages of PD in Taiwan
This prospective study enrolled 108 people with PD. All participants were examined with the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI), and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale. Caregiver distress was measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Caregiver Distress Scale (NPI-D). Statistical analysis was used to explore the PD-related factors that contribute to caregiver distress.
The mean follow-up interval in the 108 PD participants were 24.0 ± 10.2 months with no participant lost to follow-up due to death. NPI-distress (the sum of NPI caregiver distress scale across the 12 domains of the NPI) was positively correlated with NPI-sum (the total score across the 12 domains of the NPI) (r = 0.787, p < 0.001), CDR (r = 0.403, p < 0.001), UPRDS (r = 0.276, p = 0.004), and disease duration (r = 0.246, p = 0.002), but negatively correlated with CASI (r = −0.237, p = 0.043) and MMSE (r = −0.281, p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that only NPI-sum and disease duration were independently correlated with NPI-distress.
The disease duration and NPI-sum are independent predictors of caregiver distress in Taiwanese populations with PD. Early detection and reduction of neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with PD can help decrease caregiver distress.
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) can differentiate into bone cells when provided the correct environment, potentially generating cells to repair non-union fractures. Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biocompatible polymer for 3-D printing of scaffolds, but DPSCs do not proliferate well on PLA. With the goal of making PLA more conducive for DPSC growth, Graphene Oxide (GO); partially reduced Graphene Oxide (pRGO); GO with iron nanoparticles (FeGO) or Fe-pRGO were incorporated into PLA and spun cast as thin films onto silicon wafers for DPSC plating. DPSCs on Fe-pRGO displayed the fastest doubling time and the highest cell modulus; Fe-pRGO with exterior magnets produced high cell density. SEM demonstrated DPSC mineralization, whereas PLA-only DPSC cultures showed none. Results suggest that PLA/Fe-pRGO and PLA/pRGO enhance DPSC proliferation and possibly differentiation with the potential for use as a 3-D printed scaffold for tissue engineering.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of dietary live yeast (LY) supplementation on growth, intestinal permeability and immunological parameters of piglets challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli K88 (ETEC). Piglets weaned at 21 d were allocated into three treatments with six pens and six piglets per pen, receiving the control diet (CON), diets supplemented with antibiotics plus zinc oxide (ANT–ZnO) and LY (Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain CNCM I-4407), respectively, for a period of 2 weeks. On day 8, thirty-six piglets were selected as control without ETEC (CON), CON–ETEC, ANT–ZnO–ETEC and LY–ETEC groups challenged with ETEC until day 10 for sample collections. Piglets fed ANT–ZnO diet had the highest average daily gain and average daily feed intake (P<0·05) during the 1st week, but ADG of piglets fed the ANT–ZnO diet was similar as piglets fed LY diet during the second week. Piglets with LY–ETEC or ANT–ZnO–ETEC had markedly lower diarrhoea score (P<0·05) than piglets with CON–ETEC during the 24 h after ETEC challenge. Relative to piglets with CON, the counts of E. coli, urinary ratio of lactulose to mannitol, plasma IL-6 concentration, mRNA abundances of innate immunity-related genes in ileum and mesenteric lymph node tissues were increased (P<0·05), whereas the villous height of jejunum and relative protein expression of ileum claudin-1 were decreased (P<0·05) in piglets with CON–ETEC; however, these parameters did not markedly change in piglets with LY–ETEC or ANT–ZnO–ETEC. In summary, dietary LY supplementation could alleviate the severity of diarrhoea in piglets with ETEC, which may be associated with the improved permeability, innate immunity and bacterial profile.
To explore the effects of maternal nutrition on offspring muscle characteristics, a total of 56 sows were assigned to one of the four dietary groups during gestation: control (CON), or control diets supplemented with methyl donor (MET), bisphenol A (BPA), and combined BPA and MET (BPA+MET). Compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed a higher meat redness value, but lower glycogen content in the longissimus thoracis (LT). Moreover, compared with CON offspring, MET offspring showed lower LT glycogen synthase (GS) mRNA levels at birth and the finishing stage, and increased methylation at the GS promoter. Prenatal BPA exposure reduced the pH and redness value of meat, but increased the lightness value, lactate content, glycolytic potential and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) enzyme activity in the LT muscle. Prenatal BPA exposure increased LDH mRNA levels in the LT muscle at birth and the finishing stage, and reduced methylation at the LDH promoter. Thus, maternal MET affects muscle GS and LDH expression via DNA methylation, thereby resulting in persistent effects on pork quality.
The present study aimed to investigate the effect of maternal malnutrition on offspring glucose tolerance and the epigenetic mechanisms involved. In total, twelve primiparous Landrace×Yorkshire gilts were fed rations providing either 100 % (control (CON)) or 75 % (undernutrition (UN)) nutritional requirements according to the National Research Council recommendations, throughout gestation. Muscle samples of offspring were collected at birth (dpn1), weaning (dpn28) and adulthood (dpn189). Compared with CON pigs, UN pigs showed lower serum glucose concentrations at birth, but showed higher serum glucose and insulin concentrations as well as increased area under the blood glucose curve during intravenous glucose tolerance test at dpn189 (P<0·05). Compared with CON pigs, GLUT-4 gene and protein expressions were decreased at dpn1 and dpn189 in the muscle of UN pigs, which was accompanied by increased methylation at the GLUT4 promoter (P<0·05). These alterations in methylation concurred with increased mRNA levels of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) 1 at dpn1 and dpn28, DNMT3a at dpn189 and DNMT3b at dpn1 in UN pigs compared with CON pigs (P<0·05). Interestingly, although the average methylation levels at the muscle GLUT4 promoter were decreased at dpn189 compared with dpn1 in pigs exposed to a poor maternal diet (P<0·05), the methylation differences in individual CpG sites were more pronounced with age. Our results indicate that in utero undernutrition persists to silence muscle GLUT4 likely through DNA methylation during the ageing process, which may lead to the amplification of age-associated glucose intolerance.
The objective of this study was to determine if a moderate or high reduction of dietary CP, supplemented with indispensable amino acids (IAA), would affect growth, intestinal morphology and immunological parameters of pigs. A total of 40 barrows (initial BW=13.50±0.50 kg, 45±2 day of age) were used in a completely randomized block design, and allocated to four dietary treatments containing CP levels at 20.00%, 17.16%, 15.30% and 13.90%, respectively. Industrial AA were added to meet the IAA requirements of pigs. After 4-week feeding, blood and tissue samples were obtained from pigs. The results showed that reducing dietary CP level decreased average daily gain, plasma urea nitrogen concentration and relative organ weights of liver and pancreas (P<0.01), and increased feed conversion ratio (P<0.01). Pigs fed the 13.90% CP diet had significantly lower growth performance than that of pigs fed higher CP at 20.00%, 17.16% or 15.30%. Moreover, reducing dietary CP level decreased villous height in duodenum (P<0.01) and crypt depth in duodenum, jejunum and ileum (P<0.01). The reduction in the dietary CP level increased plasma concentrations of methionine, alanine (P<0.01) and lysine (P<0.05), and decreased arginine (P<0.05). Intriguingly, reducing dietary CP level from 20.00% to 13.90% resulted in a significant decrease in plasma concentration of IgG (P<0.05), percentage of CD3+T cells of the peripheral blood (P<0.01), also down-regulated the mRNA abundance of innate immunity-related genes on toll-like receptor 4, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (P<0.01) and nuclear factor kappa B (P<0.05) in the ileum. These results indicate that reducing dietary CP level from 20.00% to 15.30%, supplemented with IAA, had no significant effect on growth performance and had a limited effect on immunological parameters. However, a further reduction of dietary CP level up to 13.90% would lead to poor growth performance and organ development, associated with the modifications of intestinal morphology and immune function.
Intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) impairs postnatal growth and skeletal muscle development in neonatal infants. This study evaluated whether dietary β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate Ca (HMB-Ca) supplementation during the early postnatal period could improve muscle growth in IUGR neonates using piglets as a model. A total of twelve pairs of IUGR and normal-birth-weight (NBW) male piglets with average initial weights (1·85 (sem 0·36) and 2·51 (sem 0·39) kg, respectively) were randomly allotted to groups that received milk-based diets (CON) or milk-based diets supplemented with 800 mg/kg HMB-Ca (HMB) during days 7–28 after birth. Blood and longissimus dorsi (LD) samples were collected and analysed for plasma amino acid content, fibre morphology and the expression of genes related to muscle development. The results indicate that, regardless of diet, IUGR piglets had a significantly decreased average daily weight gain (ADG) compared with that of NBW piglets (P<0·05). However, IUGR piglets fed HMB-Ca had a net weight and ADG similar to that of NBW piglets fed the CON diet. Irrespective of body weight (BW), HMB-Ca supplementation markedly increased the type II fibre cross-sectional area and the mRNA expression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), insulin-like growth factor-1 and myosin heavy-chain isoform IIb in the LD of piglets (P<0·05). Moreover, there was a significant interaction between the effects of BW and HMB on mTOR expression in the LD (P<0·05). In conclusion, HMB-Ca supplementation during the early postnatal period could improve skeletal muscle growth and maturity by accelerating fast-twitch glycolytic fibre development in piglets.
A nonlinear programming formulation is introduced to solve infinite-horizon dynamic programming problems. This extends the linear approach to dynamic programming by using ideas from approximation theory to approximate value functions. Our numerical results show that this nonlinear programming is efficient and accurate, and avoids inefficient discretization.
Postnatal rapid growth by excess intake of nutrients has been associated with an increased susceptibility to diseases in neonates with intra-uterine growth restricted (IUGR). The aim of the present study was to determine whether postnatal nutritional restriction could improve intestinal development and immune function of neonates with IUGR using piglets as model. A total of twelve pairs of normal-birth weight (NBW) and IUGR piglets (7 d old) were randomly assigned to receive adequate nutrient intake or restricted nutrient intake (RNI) by artificially liquid feeding for a period of 21 d. Blood samples and intestinal tissues were collected at necropsy and were analysed for morphology, digestive enzyme activities, immune cells and expression of innate immunity-related genes. The results indicated that both IUGR and postnatal nutritional restriction delayed the growth rate during the sucking period. Irrespective of nutrient intake, piglets with IUGR had a significantly lower villous height and crypt depth in the ileum than the NBW piglets. Moreover, IUGR decreased alkaline phosphatase activity while enhanced lactase activity in the jejunum and mRNA expressions of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR-9) and DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) in the ileum of piglets. Irrespective of body weight, RNI significantly decreased the number and/or percentage of peripheral leucocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes of piglets, whereas the percentage of neutrophils and the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ were increased. Furthermore, RNI markedly enhanced the mRNA expression of TLR-9 and DNMT1, but decreased the expression of NOD2 and TRAF-6 in the ileum of piglets. In summary, postnatal nutritional restriction led to abnormal cellular and innate immune response, as well as delayed the growth and intestinal development of IUGR piglets.
The aim of the present study was to determine whether increased consumption of methionine as dl-methionine (DLM) or its hydroxy analogue dl-2-hydroxy-4-methylthiobutanoic acid (HMTBA) could benefit milk synthesis and neonatal growth. For this purpose, eighteen cross-bred (Landrace × Yorkshire) primiparous sows were fed a control (CON), DLM or HMTBA diet (n 6 per diet) from 0 to 14 d post-partum. At postnatal day 14, piglets in the HMTBA group had higher body weight (P= 0·02) than those in the CON group, tended (P= 0·07) to be higher than those in the DLM group, and had higher (P< 0·05) mRNA abundance of jejunal fatty acid-binding protein 2, intestinal than those in the CON and DLM groups. Compared with the CON diet-fed sows, milk protein, non-fat solid, and lysine, histidine and ornithine concentrations decreased in the DLM diet-fed sows (P< 0·05), and milk fat, lactose, and cysteine and taurine concentrations increased in the HMTBA diet-fed sows (P< 0·05). Plasma homocysteine and urea N concentrations that averaged across time were increased (P< 0·05) in sows fed the DLM diet compared with those fed the CON diet. Metabolomic results based on 1H NMR spectroscopy revealed that consumption of the HMTBA and DLM diets increased (P< 0·05) both sow plasma methionine and valine levels; however, consumption of the DLM diet led to lower (P< 0·05) plasma levels of lysine, tyrosine, glucose and acetate and higher (P< 0·05) plasma levels of citrate, lactate, formate, glycerol, myo-inositol and N-acetyl glycoprotein in sows. Collectively, neonatal growth and milk synthesis were regulated by dietary methionine levels and sources, which resulted in marked alterations in amino acid, lipid and glycogen metabolism.
The aim of the present study was to determine whether early weaning-induced growth retardation could be attenuated by increased consumption of methionine as dl-methionine (DLM) or dl-2-hydroxy-4-methylthiobutyrate (HMTBA) in both lactating sows and weaned piglets. Therefore, diets containing DLM and HMTBA at 25 % of the total sulphur-containing amino acids (AA) present in the control (CON) diet were fed to lactating sows and weaned piglets and their responses were evaluated. Compared with the CON diet-fed sows, the HMTBA diet-fed sows exhibited a tendency (P< 0·10) towards higher plasma taurine concentrations and the DLM diet-fed sows had higher (P< 0·05) plasma taurine concentrations, but lower (P< 0·05) isoleucine concentrations. Suckling piglets in the HMTBA treatment group had higher (P< 0·05) intestinal reduced glutathione (GSH) content, lower (P< 0·05) oxidised glutathione (GSSG):GSH ratio, and higher (P< 0·05) plasma cysteine and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity than those in the CON and DLM treatment groups. The feed intake (P< 0·05) and body weight of piglets averaged across post-weaning (PW) days were higher (P< 0·05) in the HMTBA treatment group than in the DLM treatment group and were higher (P< 0·05) and tended (P< 0·10) to be higher, respectively, in the HMTBA treatment group than in the CON treatment group. Increased (P< 0·05) GSSG content and GSSG:GSH ratio and down-regulated (P< 0·05) expression of nutrient transport genes were observed in the jejunum of piglets on PW day 7 than on PW day 0. On PW day 14, the HMTBA diet-fed piglets had higher (P< 0·05) intestinal GSH content than the CON diet-fed piglets and higher (P< 0·05) plasma GPx activity, villus height and goblet cell numbers than the CON diet- and DLM diet-fed piglets. In conclusion, early weaning-induced growth retardation appears to be attenuated through changes in plasma AA profiles and elevation of growth performance and intestinal antioxidant capacity in piglets following increased consumption of methionine as HMTBA.