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There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
Antibiotics have been widely used in piglet diets to promote growth performance and reduce diarrhea incidence. However, the resistance of pathogens to antibiotics and the risk of residues of antibiotics in animal products induced a growing interest in the use of alternatives to in-feed antibiotics. Chito-oligosaccharide (COS), a natural alkaline polymer of glucosamine is currently being tested as a substitute for in-feed antibiotics. In weaned piglets, COS has positive effects on promoting growth, which may be related to its action on intestinal morphology, immune ability and beneficial microbiota. However, previous studies shown variable results with effective doses ranging from 30 mg/kg to 5 g/kg. Therefore, the goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that the use of COS can be an alternative to in-feed antibiotics by improve the intestinal morphology of piglets, using the jejunal explant model. The intestinal explants were exposed for 4 h to following treatments: control – only culture media and culture media with COS in doses of 0.025 mg/ml, 0.05 mg/ml, 0.1 mg/ml and 0.15 mg/ml. After the incubation period the explants were processed for histological and morphometrical analysis. The histological changes were evaluated using an adapted histological score based on the intensity and severity of lesions. Mild histological changes were observed in jejunal explants exposed to different treatments; however, no significant difference in the histological score, villi height, crypt depth or villus : crypt ratio were observed between the COS-groups and the control. In addition, goblet cells density in intestinal explants exposed to COS remained statistically similar to control group. Our results indicate that COS exposure in levels ranging from 0.025 to 0.15 mg/ml induced no effect on intestinal morphology of pig’s explants. The research will provide guidance on the low dosage of COS supplementation on weaning pigs.
The properties of the acoustic modes are sensitive to magnetic activity. The unprecedented long-term Kepler photometry, thus, allows stellar magnetic cycles to be studied through asteroseismology. We search for signatures of magnetic cycles in the seismic data of Kepler solar-type stars. We find evidence for periodic variations in the acoustic properties of about half of the 87 analysed stars. In these proceedings, we highlight the results obtained for two such stars, namely KIC 8006161 and KIC 5184732.
Eight new species of Pyrenulaceae are described as new to science from Brazil, Guyana and Puerto Rico. Pyrenula sanguineomeandrata Aptroot & Mercado Diaz (with a thallus with red, KOH+ purple pigmentation of lines or a reticulum, simple ascomata with vertical ostioles, a deep red inspersed, KOH+ orange hamathecium, and dark brown 3-septate ascospores 25–29×10–12 μm) and P. sanguineostiolata Aptroot & Mercado Diaz (with a thallus with deeply immersed simple ascomata with vertical ostioles, which are superficial and bright red, and 3-septate ascospores 25–28×9–12 μm) are described from submontane evergreen forests in Puerto Rico. Pyrenula biseptata Aptroot & M. Cáceres (with simple ascomata with vertical ostioles, an inspersed hamathecium and 2-septate ascospores 11–12×4·5–5·0 μm) and P. xanthinspersa Aptroot & M. Cáceres (with an ecorticate thallus containing lichexanthone, simple ascomata with vertical ostioles, not inspersed hamathecium and 3-septate ascospores 14–17×6·0–7·5 μm) are described from rainforest in Amazonian Brazil. Pyrenula subvariabilis Aptroot & Sipman (with fused ascomata with lateral ostioles and submuriform ascospores 17–20(–25)×6–9 μm) and Sulcopyrenula biseriata Aptroot & Sipman (with a thallus containing lichexanthone, simple ascomata with lateral ostioles and lozenge-shaped ascospores with 8 locules, (13–)15–17(–20)×8–10 (width)×6–7 (thickness) μm) are described from savannahs in Guyana. Special attention is paid to the genus Pyrgillus: two new species from the 3-septate core group of this small genus are described from Brazil, viz. P. aurantiacus Aptroot & M. Cáceres (with a corticate thallus containing lichexanthone, mazaedium with orange, KOH+ violet, UV+ red pruina and ascospores of 13–16×6·0–7·5 μm) and P. rufus Aptroot & M. Cáceres (with a corticate thallus containing lichexanthone, mazaedium with dark red, KOH+ orange, UV+ red pruina and ascospores of 15·0–17·5×5·0–6·5 μm). An updated key to the 3-septate species of Pyrgillus is provided.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Five species of Urocleidoides (one new) and two new species of Constrictoanchoratus n. gen. are described in this study. All were collected from the gills of Hoplias malabaricus (Characiformes: Erythrinidae) captured in six localities of coastal rivers of the north-eastern sector the State of Pará (Oriental Amazon): Urocleidoides brasiliensis Rosim, Mendoza-Franco & Luque, 2011; Urocleidoides bulbophallus n. sp.; Urocleidoides cuiabai Rosim, Mendoza-Franco & Luque, 2011; Urocleidoides eremitus Kritsky, Thatcher & Boeger, 1986; Urocleidoides malabaricusi Rosim, Mendoza-Franco & Luque, 2011; Constrictoanchoratus lemmyi n. gen. n. sp.; and Constrictoanchoratus ptilonophallus n. gen. n. sp. This is the first reported occurrence of the four previously described species of Urocleidoides parasitizing H. malabaricus from streams in the Oriental Amazon Basin. The analysis of voucher specimens of U. eremitus parasitizing the gills of H. malabaricus from the Upper Paraná River floodplain in the limits of States of Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, indicates that these specimens are members of a new species of Urocleidoides, described here as Urocleidoides paranae n. sp. Constrictoanchoratus n. gen. is proposed for the species with a male copulatory organ sclerotized, coiled, clockwise; ventral anchor with elongate superficial root, inconspicuous deep root; dorsal anchor with inconspicuous roots, and a constriction at the intersection between the shaft and the point. The host–parasite diversity scenario and host specificity of the species of Constrictoanchoratus n. gen. and Urocleidoides from the gills of H. malabaricus are also discussed in this study.
There is an increasing interest in improving neurocysticercosis (NCC) diagnosis through the search of new and alternative antigenic sources, as those obtained from heterologous antigens. The aim of this study was to obtain potential biomarkers for NCC diagnosis after gel filtration chromatography [gel filtration fraction (GFF)] from the total saline extract (SE) from Taenia saginata metacestodes, followed by protein identification and application in immunodiagnostic. SE and GFF proteic profiles were characterized in gel electrophoresis, and diagnostic performance was verified by testing 160 serum samples through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting. Sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp) and other diagnostic parameters were calculated. Polypeptides of interest in the diagnosis of human NCC present at GFF were analysed by mass spectrometry (MS) and B-cell epitopes were predicted. GFF had the best diagnostic parameters: Se 93·3%; Sp 93%; AUC 0·990; LR+ = 13·42 and LR− = 0·07, and proved to be useful reacting with serum samples in immunoblotting. Proteic profile ranged from 64 to 68 kDa and enolase and calcium binding protein calreticulin precursor were identified after MS. The enolase and calcium-binding protein calreticulin precursor showed 18 and 10 predicted B-cell epitopes, respectively. In conclusion we identified important markers in the GFF with high efficiency to diagnose NCC.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
In the present work we develop a theoretical model for roAp stars characterized by the suppression of convection around the magnetic poles. When calculating the growth rates of acoustic oscillations in models of this type we find that most models whose positions in the HR diagram coincide with that of the observed roAp stars are unstable against high-order pulsations.
N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been hypothesised to be protective for depression during pregnancy. However, there are few data and no consensus regarding this association. In this line, we aim to evaluate if the concentration of n-3 and n-6 PUFAs, and their ratio, are associated with depressive symptoms throughout pregnancy.
A prospective cohort of 172 Brazilian women was followed at 5–13th, 20–26th and 30–36th weeks of gestation. The presence of depressive symptoms was evaluated using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at each pregnancy trimester. Depression was defined as an EPDS score ≥11. The concentrations of n-3 [α-linolenic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)] and n-6 PUFAs [linoleic acid; γ linolenic acid; eicosadienoic acid; eicosatrienoic acid; arachidonic acid; docosatetraenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid] were expressed as absolute (μg/ml) values. The total n-6/n-3 ratio was calculated. Statistical analyses were performed using univariate and adjusted random intercept logistic model for each fatty acid (FA) considering the longitudinal nature of data. Covariates were selected as potential confounders based on their biological plausibility of having an association with the concentration of FA and depressive symptoms during pregnancy.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms was high in all pregnancy trimesters (1st = 33.7%; 2nd = 18.9%; 3rd = 17.4%). We did not find differences in means FA concentrations by depressive symptom classification, for each follow-up visit. The women presented a 5% decrease in the odds of having depressive symptoms for each one-week increase in the gestational age. As individual women progressed through pregnancy, higher concentrations of EPA (odds ratio (OR) = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.86–0.99), DHA (OR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.93–0.99), DPA (OR = 0.87; 95% CI: 0.77–0.99) and total n-3 (OR = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.96–0.99) were associated with a lower odds of depressive symptoms, while higher total n-6/n-3 ratio were associated with greater odds of depressive symptoms (OR = 1.40; 95% CI: 1.09–1.79). We detected a decrease in the probability of depressive symptoms as concentrations of total n-3 FA, α-linolenic acid, DPA, and DHA increased. We also observed a sharper decline for women with initial greater chance of depressive symptoms compared with those with lower chance of having these symptoms.
We found a high prevalence of depressive symptoms in low-income Brazilian pregnant women and no significant associations between n-6 FA and depressive symptoms. Lower serum concentrations of DHA, EPA and DPA and a higher n-6/n-3 ratio at each pregnancy trimester were associated with higher odds of depressive symptoms throughout pregnancy.
The aim of this study is to analyse and determine elemental abundances for a large sample of distant B stars in the outer Galactic disk in order to constrain the chemical distribution of the Galactic disk and models of chemical evolution of the Galaxy. Here, we present preliminary results on a few stars along with the adopted methodology based on securing simultaneous O and Si ionization equilibria with consistent NLTE model atmospheres.
The discovery of progesterone (P4) and elucidation of the mechanisms of P4 action have an important place in the history of endocrinology and reproduction. Circulating P4 concentration is determined by a balance between P4 production, primarily by the corpus luteum (CL), and P4 metabolism, primarily by the liver. The volume of luteal tissue and number and function of large luteal cells are primary factors determining P4 production. Rate of P4 metabolism is generally determined by liver blood flow and can be of critical importance in determining circulating P4 concentrations, particularly in dairy cattle. During timed artificial insemination (AI) protocols, elevations in P4 are achieved by increasing number of CL by creating accessory CL or by supplementation with exogenous P4. Dietary manipulations can also alter circulating P4, although practical methods to apply these techniques have not yet been reported. Elevating P4 before the timed AI generally decreases double ovulation and increases fertility to the timed AI. Near the time of AI, slight elevations in circulating P4, possibly due to inadequate luteal regression, can dramatically reduce fertility. After AI, circulating P4 is critical for embryo growth and establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Many studies have attempted to improve fertility by elevating P4 after timed AI. Our recent meta-analysis and manipulative study indicated small fertility benefits (3% to 3.5%) mostly in primiparous cows. Thus, previous research has provided substantial insight into mechanisms regulating circulating P4 concentrations and actions. Understanding this prior research can focus future research on P4 manipulation to improve reproductive success.
Human oocyte dysmorphisms attain a large proportion of retrieved oocytes from assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycles. Extracytoplasmic defects involve abnormal morphology of the zona pellucida (ZP), perivitelline space and first polar body. The aim of the present study was to describe a novel dysmorphism affecting the ZP, indented ZP. We also evaluated the clinical, embryological and ultrastructural features of these cases. We evaluated all ART treatment cycles during 7 consecutive years and found 13 treatment cycles (six patients) with all oocytes presenting an indented ZP. In addition, these oocytes presented total or partial absence of the perivitelline space, absence of resistance to ZP and oolemma penetration during microinjection, and low ooplasm viscosity during aspiration. This novel described dysmorphism was recurrent and attained all oocytes in three cases that had more than one treatment cycle. When compared with controls, data showed significant low oocyte maturity (42% versus 81.6%) and high cycle cancellation (30.8% versus 8.5%) rates, normal degeneration (3.4% versus 6.3%) and fertilization rates (69% versus 69.5%), and low pregnancy (15.4% versus 33.3%) and live-birth delivery (7.7% versus 27.7%) rates per cycle. Ultrastructure analysis revealed a zona pellucida structure with large empty electrolucent regions, an outer ZP layer with an indented surface with protuberances and a thick inner ZP that obliterated the perivitelline space. There was evidence of exocytosis of ZP material by the oocyte. In conclusion, oocytes with this novel described dysmorphism (indented ZP) are associated with low maturity, pregnancy and live-birth delivery rates.
The aim of this study was to fractionate and partially characterize the antigenic extract of filariform larvae of Strongyloides venezuelensis in ion-exchange resin diethylaminoethyl sepharose (DEAE), to obtain antigenic fractions potentially applicable in immunoassays. Somatic antigen (SA) and its fractions DEAE S1 and DEAE S2 - which interacted with the resin - were evaluated by 1-dimensional electrophoresis to obtain protein profiles. SA and its fractions were tested in serum samples for IgG detection by ELISA. Serum samples (n = 155) were analysed: 50 from strongyloidiasis patients (G1), 55 from patients with other parasitic infections (G2) and 50 from healthy volunteers. Sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp), area under curve (AUC) and likelihood ratios (LR) were calculated. The DEAE S2 fraction provided a high diagnostic value for IgG detection (Se 92·0%, Sp 91·4%, AUC 0·981, LR+ 10·75, LR − 0·09). In conclusion, the DEAE S2 fraction would probably be a source of immunodominant polypeptides for IgG detection in human strongyloidiasis serodiagnosis.
In the present study, we investigated the involvement of sulfated glycosaminoglycans in both the in vivo development and adhesion of T. cruzi epimastigotes to the luminal surface of the digestive tract of the insect vector, Rhodnius prolixus. Pre-incubation of T. cruzi, Dm 28c epimastigotes with heparin, chondroitin 4-sulfate, chondroitin 6-sulfate or protamine chloridrate inhibited in vitro attachment of parasites to the insect midgut. Enzymatic removal of heparan sulfate moieties by heparinase I or of chondroitin sulfate moieties by chondroitinase AC from the insect posterior midgut abolished epimastigote attachment in vitro. These treatments also reduced the labelling of anionic sites exposed at the luminal surface of the perimicrovillar membranes in the triatomine midgut epithelial cells. Inclusion of chondroitin 4-sulfate or chondroitin 6-sulfate and to a lesser extent, heparin, in the T. cruzi-infected bloodmeal inhibited the establishment of parasites in R. prolixus. These observations indicate that sulfated glycosaminoglycans are one of the determinants for both adhesion of the T. cruzi epimastigotes to the posterior midgut epithelial cells of the triatomine and the parasite infection in the insect vector, R. prolixus.
Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (CIGS) layers were grown with different vacuum evaporation recipes and the effects of sodium on the grain growth were investigated by scanning electron microscopy. A reduced grain size mainly in the lower part of films grown with the 3-stage process was observed when Na was available during growth. The growth kinetics were found to be influenced during the second stage of the process. In contrast, no clear change in grain size could be observed for CIGS layers grown with constant evaporation rates, with a bi-layer and with an ’extreme’ bi-layer process. A mechanism for the action of Na is proposed, which is based on the assumption that Na passivates CIGS grain boundaries and that this results in a surfactant effect. The mechanism explains the different influences of Na on CIGS growth for different evaporation recipes, the occurrence of reduced grain size in the 3-stage process and the surface smoothing effect observed mainly for CIGS grown with the bi-layer process.
In-diffusion of Na after CIGS growth is shown to be an alternative Na incorporation method that does not reduce the CIGS grain size. A conversion efficiency improvement from 10.4% to 14.2% was achieved due to the post-deposition treatment on CIGS absorbers grown without Na at a maximum substrate temperature of 450°C.
Vitamin D has been shown to be an important immune system regulator. Vitamin D insufficiency during winter may cause increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URIs). To determine whether vitamin D supplementation during the winter season prevents or decreases URI symptoms, 162 adults were randomized to receive 50 μg vitamin D3 (2000 IU) daily or matching placebo for 12 weeks. A bi-weekly questionnaire was used to record the incidence and severity of URI symptoms. There was no difference in the incidence of URIs between the vitamin D and placebo groups (48 URIs vs. 50 URIs, respectively, P=0·57). There was no difference in the duration or severity of URI symptoms between the vitamin D and placebo groups [5·4±4·8 days vs. 5·3±3·1 days, respectively, P=0·86 (95% CI for the difference in duration −1·8 to 2·1)]. The mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D level at baseline was similar in both groups (64·3±25·4 nmol/l in the vitamin D group; 63·0±25·8 nmol/l in the placebo group; n.s.). After 12 weeks, 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased significantly to 88·5±23·2 nmol/l in the vitamin D group, whereas there was no change in vitamin D levels in the placebo group. There was no benefit of vitamin D3 supplementation in decreasing the incidence or severity of symptomatic URIs during winter. Further studies are needed to determine the role of vitamin D in infection.
The members of IAU Commission 29 Stellar Spectra are actively engaged in the quantitative analysis of spectra of various types of stars. With large and medium size telescopes equipped with high resolution spectrographs LTE and Non-LTE analysis of spectra of all types stars are being carried out. Spectra of stars in our Galaxy, in globular and open clusters, stars in LMC and SMC and in nearby galaxies are being studied. Accurate chemical composition analysis of various types of stars has been carried out during the past three years. Now the analysis of stellar spectra covers the wavelength range from X-ray region to IR and sub-millimeter range. Recently stellar spectra are being analysed using time-dependent, 3D, hydrodynamical model atmospheres to derive accurate stellar abundances.