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Both blood- and milk-based biomarkers have been analysed for decades in research settings, although often only in one herd, and without focus on the variation in the biomarkers that are specifically related to herd or diet. Biomarkers can be used to detect physiological imbalance and disease risk and may have a role in precision livestock farming (PLF). For use in PLF, it is important to quantify normal variation in specific biomarkers and the source of this variation. The objective of this study was to estimate the between- and within-herd variation in a number of blood metabolites (β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and serum IGF-1), milk metabolites (free glucose, glucose-6-phosphate, urea, isocitrate, BHB and uric acid), milk enzymes (lactate dehydrogenase and N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase)) and composite indicators for metabolic imbalances (Physiological Imbalance-index and energy balance), to help facilitate their adoption within PLF. Blood and milk were sampled from 234 Holstein dairy cows from 6 experimental herds, each in a different European country, and offered a total of 10 different diets. Blood was sampled on 2 occasions at approximately 14 days-in-milk (DIM) and 35 DIM. Milk samples were collected twice weekly (in total 2750 samples) from DIM 1 to 50. Multilevel random regression models were used to estimate the variance components and to calculate the intraclass correlations (ICCs). The ICCs for the milk metabolites, when adjusted for parity and DIM at sampling, demonstrated that between 12% (glucose-6-phosphate) and 46% (urea) of the variation in the metabolites’ levels could be associated with the herd-diet combination. Intraclass Correlations related to the herd-diet combination were generally higher for blood metabolites, from 17% (cholesterol) to approximately 46% (BHB and urea). The high ICCs for urea suggest that this biomarker can be used for monitoring on herd level. The low variance within cow for NAGase indicates that few samples would be needed to describe the status and potentially a general reference value could be used. The low ICC for most of the biomarkers and larger within cow variation emphasises that multiple samples would be needed - most likely on the individual cows - for making the biomarkers useful for monitoring. The majority of biomarkers were influenced by parity and DIM which indicate that these should be accounted for if the biomarker should be used for monitoring.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Unbalanced metabolic status in the weeks after calving predisposes dairy cows to metabolic and infectious diseases. Blood glucose, IGF-I, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) are used as indicators of the metabolic status of cows. This work aims to (1) evaluate the potential of milk mid-IR spectra to predict these blood components individually and (2) to evaluate the possibility of predicting the metabolic status of cows based on the clustering of these blood components. Blood samples were collected from 241 Holstein cows on six experimental farms, at days 14 and 35 after calving. Blood samples were analyzed by reference analysis and metabolic status was defined by k-means clustering (k=3) based on the four blood components. Milk mid-IR analyses were undertaken on different instruments and the spectra were harmonized into a common standardized format. Quantitative models predicting blood components were developed using partial least squares regression and discriminant models aiming to differentiate the metabolic status were developed with partial least squares discriminant analysis. Cross-validations were performed for both quantitative and discriminant models using four subsets randomly constituted. Blood glucose, IGF-I, NEFA and BHB were predicted with respective R2 of calibration of 0.55, 0.69, 0.49 and 0.77, and R2 of cross-validation of 0.44, 0.61, 0.39 and 0.70. Although these models were not able to provide precise quantitative values, they allow for screening of individual milk samples for high or low values. The clustering methodology led to the sharing out of the data set into three groups of cows representing healthy, moderately impacted and imbalanced metabolic status. The discriminant models allow to fairly classify the three groups, with a global percentage of correct classification up to 74%. When discriminating the cows with imbalanced metabolic status from cows with healthy and moderately impacted metabolic status, the models were able to distinguish imbalanced group with a global percentage of correct classification up to 92%. The performances were satisfactory considering the variables are not present in milk, and consequently predicted indirectly. This work showed the potential of milk mid-IR analysis to provide new metabolic status indicators based on individual blood components or a combination of these variables into a global status. Models have been developed within a standardized spectral format, and although robustness should preferably be improved with additional data integrating different geographic regions, diets and breeds, they constitute rapid, cost-effective and large-scale tools for management and breeding of dairy cows.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
This paper aims to contribute to the development of a cost-effective alternative to expensive on-farm animal-based welfare assessment systems. The objective of the study was to design an animal welfare index based on central database information (DBWI), and to validate it against an animal welfare index based on-farm animal-based measurements (AWI). Data on 63 Danish sow herds with herd-sizes of 80 to 2500 sows and an average herd size of 501 were collected from three central databases containing: Meat inspection data collected at animal level in the abattoir, mortality data at herd level from the rendering plants of DAKA, and medicine records at both herd and animal group level (sow with piglets, weaners or finishers) from the central database Vetstat. Selected measurements taken from these central databases were used to construct the DBWI. The relative welfare impacts of both individual database measurements and the databases overall were assigned in consultation with a panel consisting of 12 experts. The experts were drawn from production advisory activities, animal science and in one case an animal welfare organization. The expert panel weighted each measurement on a scale from 1 (not-important) to 5 (very important). The experts also gave opinions on the relative weightings of measurements for each of the three databases by stating a relative weight of each database in the DBWI. On the basis of this, the aggregated DBWI was normalized. The aggregation of AWI was based on weighted summary of herd prevalence’s of 20 clinical and behavioural measurements originating from a 1 day data collection. AWI did not show linear dependency of DBWI. This suggests that DBWI is not suited to replace an animal welfare index using on-farm animal-based measurements.
Animal slurry is separated in order to avoid excessive nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilization of crops in the field. To enhance fertilizer efficiency further, slurry and its separation products may be acidified, for instance in animal houses. The current study quantified the effects of these treatments, both individually and in combination, on fertilizer efficiency, energy production and heavy metal accumulation as a result of manure management. Acidification increased the availability of N to plants in the manure applied, and provided a better match between plant-available NPK in the manure and separation fraction applied to fields and crop need. Total biogas production was not affected by separation, whereas acidification reduced biogas production because the process was inhibited by a low pH and a high sulphur concentration. The amount of copper applied per hectare in the liquid manure to the wheat field was lower than the amount taken up and more zink and copper was applied in the solid fraction to maize field than taken up. The transportation and field application of solids and liquids did not increase management costs when compared to the transportation of slurry alone, but the investment and running costs of separators and manure acidification increased overall management costs.
Experiments were conducted to determine the effectiveness of controlling vortex breakdown in a confined cylindrical vessel using a small rotating disk, which was flush-mounted into the opposite endwall to the rotating endwall driving the primary recirculating flow. The results show that the control disk, with relatively little power input, can modify the azimuthal and axial flow significantly, changing the entire flow structure in the cylinder. Co-rotation was found to precipitate vortex breakdown onset whereas counter-rotation delays it. Furthermore, for the Reynolds-number range over which breakdown normally exists, co-rotation increases the bubble radial and axial dimensions, while shifting the bubble in the upstream direction. By contrast, counter-rotation tends to reduce the size of the bubble, or completely suppress it, while shifting the bubble in the downstream direction. These effects are amplified substantially by the use of larger control disks and higher rotation ratios. A series of numerical simulations close to the onset Reynolds number reveals that the control disk acts to generate a rotation-rate-invariant local positive or negative azimuthal vorticity source away from the immediate vicinity of the control disk but upstream of breakdown. Advection of this source along streamlines modifies the strength of the azimuthal vorticity ring, which effectively controls whether the flow reverses on the axis, and thus, in turn, whether vortex breakdown occurs. The vorticity source generated by the control disk scales approximately linearly with rotation ratio and cubically with disk diameter; this allows the observed variation of the critical Reynolds number to be approximately predicted.
Lameness in sows is an animal welfare problem which also presents an economic challenge to pig producers. Information about the prevalence of herd lameness in organic sows is relatively scarce. The first objective of this study was to establish the prevalence of lameness and to identify risk factors associated with sow lameness in Danish outdoor organic sow herds by analysing the association between risk factors at both sow and herd level using clinical records of lameness. A total of 1850 sows from nine organic herds were included in the study. Second, the study examined differences in the prevalence of sow lameness between outdoor organic and indoor conventional herds. An additional aim here was to identify risk factors associated with clinical records of sow lameness in Danish sow herds by analysing the association between risk factors with lameness at sow and herd level. One thousand and fifty four gestation sows from 44 indoor conventional and nine organic sow herds were included in this study. The nine organic herds were visited twice: once in summer/autumn 2011, and once in winter/spring 2012. In winter/spring 2011, a total of 44 indoor conventional herds were visited. Risk factors included in the study were clinical parameters and factors related to the production system. Sows were examined visually by one of four trained observers. The organic sows were assigned scores for lameness, body condition, hoof length, bursitis, abscesses and leg wounds, while the conventional sows were assigned scores for lameness, body condition and bursitis. A multivariable analysis was carried out by logistic regression with the herd and observer as random effects. The average herd lameness prevalence in gestation and lactation sows in organic herds was 11% in summer/autumn and 4.6% in winter/spring. ‘Wounds, bursitis and abscess’ on legs (OR=4.7, P<0.001) and body condition score >3 (OR=1.79, P=0.008) were associated with increased risk of lameness in Danish organic sow herds. Season (winter/spring v. summer/autumn) lowered the risk of lameness (OR=0.37, P<0.001). Average prevalence of lameness in gestation sow herds in winter/spring in conventional herds was 24.4%, and in organic herds it was 5.4%. An organic sow had a decreased risk of lameness (OR=0.28, P<0.001) as compared with a conventional sow. Bursitis was associated with increased risk of lameness (OR=2.08, P=0.002) regardless of the production system (i.e. whether the herd was organic or conventional).
A minimally invasive biopsy technique was evaluated for udder tissue collection in dairy cows with Escherichia coli mastitis. Meanwhile, the effect of taking repeated liver and udder biopsies on the systemic and local acute phase response (APR) of the dairy cows was investigated during the disease. The cows were divided into a biopsy group (B) (n = 16) and a no-biopsy group (NB) (n = 16) and were sampled in the acute disease stage and in the recovery stage. The cows’ pre-disease period served as a control period for establishing baseline values for the investigated parameters. A total of 32 Holstein-Friesian cows were inoculated with 20 to 40 colony-forming units (cfu) of E. coli in one front quarter at 0 hour. Liver biopsies were collected at −144, 12, 24 and 192 h, and udder biopsies were collected at 24 and 192 h post E. coli inoculation (PI) using a minimally invasive biopsy technique. Effects of combined biopsying were investigated by recording production traits, clinical response, and measuring inflammatory milk and blood parameters: E. coli, somatic cell count, milk amyloid A (MAA) levels, white blood cell count, polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leukocyte numbers and serum amyloid A levels at several time points. E. coli inoculation changed all production parameters and the clinical and inflammatory response in all cows except one that was not infected. Combined biopsying had no constant or transient effect on the daily feed intake, the clinical responsiveness or the blood parameters, but affected the daily milk yield and some milk parameters transiently, that is, the presence of blood in milk, increased E. coli counts and MAA levels during the acute disease stage. Combined biopsying had no effect on the parameters in the recovery stage apart from the presence of blood in the milk. In conclusion, although, a minimally invasive biopsy technique was used, tissue damages could not be avoided when biopsying and they transiently affected the inflammatory parameters in the mammary gland. Nevertheless, we believe combined biopsying of liver and udder is as an acceptable approach to study the systemic and local APR in dairy cows during E. coli mastitis, if the timing of biopsying and other types of sampling is planned accordingly.
Blood lipid response to a given dietary intervention could be determined by the effect of diet, gene variants or gene–diet interactions. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether variants in presumed nutrient-sensitive genes involved in lipid metabolism modified lipid profile after weight loss and in response to a given diet, among overweight European adults participating in the Diet Obesity and Genes study. By multiple linear regressions, 240 SNPs in twenty-four candidate genes were investigated for SNP main and SNP–diet interaction effects on total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and TAG after an 8-week low-energy diet (only main effect), and a 6-month ad libitum weight maintenance diet, with different contents of dietary protein or glycaemic index. After adjusting for multiple testing, a SNP–dietary protein interaction effect on TAG was identified for lipin 1 (LPIN1) rs4315495, with a decrease in TAG of − 0·26 mmol/l per A-allele/protein unit (95 % CI − 0·38, − 0·14, P= 0·000043). In conclusion, we investigated SNP–diet interactions for blood lipid profiles for 240 SNPs in twenty-four candidate genes, selected for their involvement in lipid metabolism pathways, and identified one significant interaction between LPIN1 rs4315495 and dietary protein for TAG concentration.
Genome-wide association analysis on monozygotic twin-pairs offers a route to discovery of gene–environment interactions through testing for variability loci associated with sensitivity to individual environment/lifestyle. We present a genome-wide scan of loci associated with intra-pair differences in serum lipid and apolipoprotein levels. We report data for 1,720 monozygotic female twin-pairs from GenomEUtwin project with 2.5 million SNPs, imputed or genotyped, and measured serum lipid fractions for both twins. We found one locus associated with intra-pair differences in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, rs2483058 in an intron of SRGAP2, where twins carrying the C allele are more sensitive to environmental factors (P = 3.98 × 10−8). We followed up the association in further genotyped monozygotic twins (N = 1,261), which showed a moderate association for the variant (P = 0.200, same direction of an effect). In addition, we report a new association on the level of apolipoprotein A-II (P = 4.03 × 10−8).
This paper shows that control of foodborne disease outbreaks may be challenging even after establishing the source of infection. An outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium U323 infections occurred in Denmark from March to September 2010, involving 172 cases. Before the detection of human cases, several positive isolates of the outbreak strain had been found in a particular pig slaughterhouse and thus early traceback, investigation and control measures were possible. Several batches of pork and pork products were recalled and the slaughterhouse was closed twice for disinfection. No single common food item was identified as the outbreak source, but repeated isolation of the outbreak strain from the slaughterhouse environment and in pork and products as well as patient interviews strongly suggested different pork products as the source of infection. Furthermore, a matched case-control study identified a specific ready-to-eat spreadable pork sausage (teewurst) as the source of a sub-outbreak (matched odds ratio 17, 95% confidence interval 2·1–130).
The objective of this study was to explore the importance of including genetic progress in milk yield when evaluating different reproductive strategies in a dairy herd by simulation modeling. The model used in this study was SimHerd V, a dynamic and mechanistic Monte Carlo simulation model of a dairy herd including young stock. A daily increasing trend describing genetic milk yield potential of the sire population was included in the model. The inaccuracy of assuming that replacement heifers have the same (milk yield) potential as the cows present in the herd was hereby dealt with. Improving estrus detection rate from 0.45 to 0.80 increased gross margin (GM) per cow-year by €20 when genetic progress was not included in the model. When genetic progress was included in the model, then the same improvement in estrus detection decreased the GM per cow-year by €7.4. This reduced effect was explained by a lower replacement rate in consequence of the improved estrus detection and thereby a slower genetic progress in the herd. There was a reduced effect of including genetic progress on GM when surplus heifers were sold selectively based on breeding values. Repeated insemination with sexed semen on the superior half of all heifers reduced GM by €8 per cow-year when genetic progress was not included and increased the GM by €16 per cow-year when genetic progress was included in the model. Including genetic progress reduced the losses caused by lower conception and estrus detection rates and had a minimal effect with regard to postponing first insemination. This study has proven that it is important to include genetic progress in decisions on reproduction strategies in a dairy herd.
A vapor deposition technique has been used to prepare nano-size particles of Fe, Co and Ni using argon gas. The particles were passivated from further oxidation using a small volume of air. The range of particle size obtained in these systems was 47–200 Å. The saturation magnetization of Fe particles varied between 25–200 emu/g with the higher values corresponding to larger particles and the highest coercivity achieved at room temperature was 1050 Oe. In the case of Co and Ni, the magnetization varied in the range 35–100 emu/g and 14–45 emu/g, respectively. The highest room temperature coercivity was 1200 and 41 Oe for Co and Ni, respectively. A shell-type structure consisting of a metallic core surrounded by an oxide shell has been proposed for the particles.
The dispersion, which expresses the variation with wavelength of the guided-mode group velocity, is one of the most important properties of optical fibers. Photonic crystal fibers (PCFs) offer much larger flexibility than conventional fibers with respect to tailoring of the dispersion curve. This is partly due to the large refractive-index contrast available in silica/air microstructures, and partly due to the possibility of making complex refractive-index structures over the fiber cross section. We discuss the fundamental physical mechanisms determining the dispersion properties of PCFs guiding by either total internal reflection or photonic bandgap effects, and use these insights to outline design principles and generic behaviours of various types of PCFs. A number of examples from recent modeling and experimental work serve to illustrate our general conclusions.
Sows suffering from clinical signs of disease (e.g. lameness, wounds and shoulder ulcers) are often involuntarily culled, affecting the farmer’s economy and the welfare of the animals. In order to investigate the interrelationships between clinical signs of individual pregnant group-housed sows, we performed an explanatory factor analysis to identify factors describing the patterns of variation of clinical signs. Moreover, we investigated how these emerging factors affected the probability of a sow to be either (i) euthanized, (ii) suddenly dead, (iii) sent to slaughter due to clinical signs of disease such as claw lesions or wounds or (iv) involuntarily culled (representing a pool of sows that were either euthanized, dead or sent to slaughter due to disease). Data from 2.989 pregnant sows in group-housing systems from 33 sow herds were included in the study. A thorough clinical examination was performed for each sow by using a protocol including 16 different clinical signs. Farmers recorded all cullings and deaths and the reasons for these actions in a 3-month period after the clinical examination. Among the observed sows, 4.2% were involuntarily culled during the 3-month period. From the explanatory factor analysis, we identified three factors describing the underlying structure of the 16 clinical variables. We interpreted the factors as ‘pressure marks’, ‘wounds’ and ‘lameness’ Logistic analyses were performed to investigate the effect of the three factors and the parity number of each sow on the four outcomes: (i) euthanized, (ii) suddenly dead, (iii) sent to slaughter due to clinical signs of disease and (iv) involuntarily culled. The analyses showed that ‘lameness’ significantly increased the risk of sows to be involuntarily culled (P = 0.016) or sent to slaughter due to clinical signs of disease (P = 0.026). Lameness is generally considered to be an important welfare problem in sows, which could explain the increased risk seen in this study. By contrast, ‘pressure marks’ and ‘wounds’ did not have any significant effect on the four outcomes (P > 0.05).