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Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) can reduce the production efficiency and impair the welfare of cattle, potentially in all production systems. The aim of this study was to characterise measurable postmortem observations from divergently managed intensive beef finishing farms with high rates of concentrate feeding. At the time of slaughter, we obtained samples from 19 to 20 animals on each of 6 beef finishing units (119 animals in total) with diverse feeding practices, which had been subjectively classified as being high risk (three farms) or low risk (three farms) for SARA on the basis of the proportions of barley, silage and straw in the ration. We measured the concentrations of histamine, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lactate and other short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in ruminal fluid, LPS and SCFA in caecal fluid. We also took samples of the ventral blind sac of the rumen for histopathology, immunohistopathology and gene expression. Subjective assessments were made of the presence of lesions on the ruminal wall, the colour of the lining of the ruminal wall and the shape of the ruminal papillae. Almost all variables differed significantly and substantially among farms. Very few pathological changes were detected in any of the rumens examined. The animals on the high-risk diets had lower concentrations of SCFA and higher concentrations of lactate and LPS in the ruminal fluid. Higher LPS concentrations were found in the caecum than the rumen but were not related to the risk status of the farm. The diameters of the stratum granulosum, stratum corneum and of the vasculature of the papillae, and the expression of the gene TLR4 in the ruminal epithelium were all increased on the high-risk farms. The expression of IFN-γ and IL-1β and the counts of cluster of differentiation 3 positive and major histocompatibility complex class two positive cells were lower on the high-risk farms. High among-farm variation and the unbalanced design inherent in this type of study in the field prevented confident assignment of variation in the dependent variables to individual dietary components; however, the CP percentage of the total mixed ration DM was the factor that was most consistently associated with the variables of interest. Despite the strong effect of farm on the measured variables, there was wide inter-animal variation.
Red Supergiant Stars (RSGs) are important probes of stellar and chemical evolution in star-forming environments. They represent the brightest near-IR stellar components of external galaxies and probe the most recent stellar population to provide robust, independent abundance estimates. The Local Group dwarf irregular galaxy, NGC6822, is a reasonably isolated galaxy with an interesting structure and turbulent history. Using RSGs as chemical abundance probes, we estimate metallicities in the central region of NGC6822, finding a suggestion of a metallicity gradient (in broad agreement with nebular tracers), however, this requires further study for confirmation. With intermediate resolution Multi-object spectroscopy (from e.g. KMOS, EMIR, MOSFIRE) combined with state-of-the-art stellar model atmospheres, we demonstrate how RSGs can be used to estimate stellar abundances in external galaxies. In this context, we compare stellar and nebular abundance tracers in NGC 6822 and by combining stellar and nebular tracers we estimate an abundance gradient of −0.18 ± 0.05 dex/kpc.
In ewe lambs, acceleration of growth and accumulation of both muscle and fat leads to earlier sexual maturity and better reproductive performance. The next stage in the development of this theme is to test whether these aspects of growth in young ewes affect milk production in their first lactation and the growth of their first progeny. We studied 75 young Merino ewes that had known phenotypic values for depth of eye muscle (EMD) and fat (FAT), and known Australian Sheep Breeding Values for post-weaning weight (PWT) and depths of eye muscle (PEMD) and fat (PFAT). They lambed for the first time at 1 year of age. Their lambs were weighed weekly from birth to weaning at 10 weeks to determine live weight gain and weaning weight. Progeny birth weight was positively associated with live weight gain and weaning weight (P<0.001). The PWT of the mothers was positively associated with birth weight (P<0.01), live weight gain and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.05); however, these progeny traits were not influenced by EMD, FAT, PEMD, PFAT of the mothers (P>0.05). The PWT of the sire was positively associated with live weight gain (P<0.05) and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.01). At around day 20 postpartum, we measured milk production and milk composition (fat, protein, lactose, total solids). Milk production was influenced positively by birth type (single or twin; P<0.05) and negatively by birth weight (P<0.05), but not by mother phenotype or genotype, sire genotype of the mother or the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). The concentrations of fat, protein, lactose and total solids in the milk were not affected by the phenotype or genotype of the mothers or of the sires of the mothers, or by the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). We conclude that selection of young Merino ewes for better growth, and more rapid accumulation of muscle and fat, will lead to progeny that are heavier at birth, grow faster and are heavier at weaning. Moreover, milk production and composition do not seem to be affected by the genetic merit of the mother for post-weaning live weight or PEMD or PFAT. Therefore, Merino ewes can lamb at 1 year of age without affecting the production objectives of the Merino sheep industry.
Several studies have suggested that maternal lifestyle during pregnancy may influence long-term health of offspring by altering the offspring epigenome. Whether maternal leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during pregnancy might have this effect is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between maternal LTPA during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation. Participants were recruited from the Archive for Research on Child Health study. At enrollment, participants’ demographic information and self-reported LTPA during pregnancy were determined. High active participants (averaged 637.5 min per week of LTPA; n=14) were matched by age and race to low active participants (averaged 59.5 min per week LTPA; n=28). Blood spots were obtained at birth. Pyrosequencing was used to determine methylation levels of long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE-1) (global methylation) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC1-α), insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2), pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, isozyme 4 (PDK4) and transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2). We found no differences between offspring of high active and low active groups for LINE-1 methylation. The only differences in candidate gene methylation between groups were at two CpG sites in the P2 promoter of IGF2; the offspring of low active group had significantly higher DNA methylation (74.70±2.25% methylation for low active v. 72.83±2.85% methylation for high active; P=0.045). Our results suggest no effect of maternal LTPA on offspring global and candidate gene methylation, with the exception of IGF2. IGF2 has been previously associated with regulation of physical activity, suggesting a possible role of maternal LTPA on regulation of offspring physical activity.
The public health threat posed by zoonotic Plasmodium knowlesi appears to be growing: it is increasingly reported across South East Asia, and is the leading cause of malaria in Malaysian Borneo. Plasmodium knowlesi threatens progress towards malaria elimination as aspects of its transmission, such as spillover from wildlife reservoirs and reliance on outdoor-biting vectors, may limit the effectiveness of conventional methods of malaria control. The development of new quantitative approaches that address the ecological complexity of P. knowlesi, particularly through a focus on its primary reservoir hosts, will be required to control it. Here, we review what is known about P. knowlesi transmission, identify key knowledge gaps in the context of current approaches to transmission modelling, and discuss the integration of these approaches with clinical parasitology and geostatistical analysis. We highlight the need to incorporate the influences of fine-scale spatial variation, rapid changes to the landscape, and reservoir population and transmission dynamics. The proposed integrated approach would address the unique challenges posed by malaria as a zoonosis, aid the identification of transmission hotspots, provide insight into the mechanistic links between incidence and land use change and support the design of appropriate interventions.
An experiment was conducted to examine whether increased CLA in milk of dairy cows fed fresh pasture compared with alfalfa and corn silages was because of ruminal or endogenous synthesis. Eight Holsteins were fed a total mixed ration using alfalfa and corn silages as the forage source in confinement or grazed in a replicated crossover design. The proportion of total fatty acids as CLA (primarily c9, t11-18:2) in g/100 g was 0.44 v. 0.28 in ruminal digesta, 0.89 v. 0.53 in omasal digesta and 0.71 v. 1.06 in milk during confinement feeding and grazing, respectively. Blood plasma CLA was 0.54 v. 1.05 mg/l for the two treatments, respectively. The increased concentration of CLA in milk with grazing likely resulted from increased synthesis through desaturation of t11-18:1 in the mammary gland.
Efficient emergency and disaster response is challenged by environmental conditions exceeding test reagent storage and operating specifications. We assessed the effectiveness of vial and foil packaging in preserving point-of-care (POC) glucose and lactate test strip performance in humid conditions.
Glucose and lactate test strips in both packaging were exposed to mean relative humidity of 97.0 ± 1.1% in an environmental chamber for up to 168 hours. At defined time points, stressed strips were removed and tested in pairs with unstressed strips using whole blood samples spiked to glucose concentrations of 60, 100, and 250 mg/dL (n = 20 paired measurements per level). A Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare stressed and unstressed test strip measurements.
Stressed glucose and lactate test strip measurements differed significantly from unstressed strips, and were inconsistent between experimental trials. Median glucose paired difference was as high as 12.5 mg/dL at the high glucose test concentration. Median lactate bias was −0.2 mmol/L. Stressed strips from vial (3) and foil (7) packaging failed to produce results.
Both packaging designs appeared to protect glucose and lactate test strips for at least 1 week of high humidity stress. Documented strip failures revealed the need for improved manufacturing process. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1–7)
To investigate the proportion of foods that are unhealthy to which children are exposed at the checkout of convenience supermarkets.
We performed a cross-sectional survey of foodstuffs displayed at the checkout. Products displayed at or below children's eye-level were designated as healthy, unhealthy or unclassifiable using the Food Standards Agency's scoring criteria.
Thirteen convenience supermarkets from the three leading UK supermarket chains were selected on the basis of proximity to the town hall in Sheffield, England.
Convenience supermarkets were defined as branches of supermarket chains that were identified as being other than superstores on their company's store locator website.
In almost all of the convenience supermarkets surveyed, the main healthy product on display was sugar-free chewing gum. On average, when chewing gum was not included as a foodstuff, 89% of the products on display at the checkouts of convenience supermarkets were unhealthy using the Food Standards Agency's criteria. One store was a notable outlier, providing only fruit and nuts at its checkout.
The overwhelming majority of products to which children are exposed at the convenience supermarket checkout are unhealthy. This is despite all the supermarket chains surveyed having signed up to the UK Government's ‘responsibility deal’.
The application of metabolomics in multi-centre studies is increasing. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of geographical location on the metabolic profiles of individuals with the metabolic syndrome. Blood and urine samples were collected from 219 adults from seven European centres participating in the LIPGENE project (Diet, genomics and the metabolic syndrome: an integrated nutrition, agro-food, social and economic analysis). Nutrient intakes, BMI, waist:hip ratio, blood pressure, and plasma glucose, insulin and blood lipid levels were assessed. Plasma fatty acid levels and urine were assessed using a metabolomic technique. The separation of three European geographical groups (NW, northwest; NE, northeast; SW, southwest) was identified using partial least-squares discriminant analysis models for urine (R2X: 0·33, Q2: 0·39) and plasma fatty acid (R2X: 0·32, Q2: 0·60) data. The NW group was characterised by higher levels of urinary hippurate and N-methylnicotinate. The NE group was characterised by higher levels of urinary creatine and citrate and plasma EPA (20 : 5 n-3). The SW group was characterised by higher levels of urinary trimethylamine oxide and lower levels of plasma EPA. The indicators of metabolic health appeared to be consistent across the groups. The SW group had higher intakes of total fat and MUFA compared with both the NW and NE groups (P≤ 0·001). The NE group had higher intakes of fibre and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids compared with both the NW and SW groups (all P< 0·001). It is likely that differences in dietary intakes contributed to the separation of the three groups. Evaluation of geographical factors including diet should be considered in the interpretation of metabolomic data from multi-centre studies.
Eimeria is a common genus of apicomplexan parasites that infect diverse vertebrates, most notably poultry, causing serious disease and economic loss. Like all apicomplexans, eimerians have a complex life cycle characterized by asexual divisions that amplify the parasite population in preparation for sexual reproduction. This can be divided into three events: gametocytogenesis, producing gametocytes from merozoites; gametogenesis, producing microgametes and macrogametes from gametocytes; and fertilization of macrogametes by microgametes, producing diploid zygotes with ensuing meiosis completing the sexual phase. Sexual development in Eimeria depends on the differential expression of stage-specific genes, rather than presence or absence of sex chromosomes. Thus, it involves the generation of specific structures and, implicitly, storage of proteins and regulation of protein expression in macrogametes, in preparation for fertilization. In Eimeria, the formation of a unique, resilient structure, the oocyst wall, is essential for completion of the sexual phase and parasite transmission. In this review, we piece together the molecular events that underpin sexual reproduction in Eimeria and use additional details from analogous events in Plasmodium to fill current knowledge gaps. The mechanisms governing sexual stage formation and subsequent fertilization may represent targets for counteracting parasite transmission.
In most countries, male pigs are physically castrated soon after birth to reduce the risk of boar taint and to avoid behaviours such as fighting and mounting. However, entire male pigs are more feed efficient and deposit less fat than barrows. In addition, many animal welfare organizations are lobbying for a cessation of castration, with a likelihood that this could lead to inferior pork unless an alternative method is used to control boar taint. An alternative to physical castration is immunization against gonadotrophin releasing factor (GnRF) which allows producers to capitalize on the superior feed efficiency and carcass characteristics of boars without the risk of boar taint. From a physiological perspective, immunized pigs are entire males until shortly after the second dose, typically given 4 to 6 weeks before slaughter. Following full immunization, there is a temporary suppression of testicular function and a hormonal status that resembles that of a barrow. Nutrient requirements will be different in these two phases, before and after full immunization. Given that there have been few published studies comparing the lysine requirements of entire males and barrows in contemporary genotypes, it is useful to use gilt requirements as a benchmark. A series of meta-analyses comparing anti-GnRF immunized boars and physical castrates and use of nutritional models suggest that the lysine requirement of entire males before the second immunization is 5% higher than for gilts, from 25 to 50 kg BW, and by 8% from 50 to 95 kg. Given that the penalty in growth performance for having inadequate dietary lysine is greater in males than in gilts or barrows, it is important to ensure that lysine requirements are met to obtain the maximum benefits of entire male production during this phase. After the second immunization, the lysine requirement of immunized males decreases and may become more like that of barrows. In addition, a consistent effect of full immunization is a marked increase in voluntary feed intake from about 10 days after the second dose. Putting these together, the estimated lysine requirement, expressed in terms of diet composition, falls to 94% of the gilt level. Although general principles can be described now, further research is needed to fully define the lysine requirements of immunized boars. It is important that the temporal pattern of tissue deposition rates and feed intake be explored to be incorporated into models to predict nutrient requirements over the period of rapidly changing metabolism.
The existence of a stream of tidally stripped stars from the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy demonstrates that the Milky Way is still in the process of accreting mass. More recently, an extensive stream of stars has been uncovered in the halo of the Andromeda galaxy (M31), revealing that it too is cannibalising a small companion. This paper reports the recent observations of this stream, determining its spatial and kinematic properties, and tracing its three-dimensional structure, as well as describing future observations and what we may learn about the Andromeda galaxy from this giant tidal stream.
Studies to quantify genetic variation in cassava germplasm, available within the national breeding programmes in Africa, have been limited. Here, we report on the nature and extent of genetic variation that exists within 1401 cassava varieties from seven countries: Tanzania (270 genotypes); Uganda (268); Kenya (234); Rwanda (184); Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC; 177); Madagascar (186); Mozambique (82). The vast majority of these genotypes do not exist within a formal germplasm conservation initiative and were derived from farmers' fields and National Agricultural Research Systems breeding programmes. Genotypes were assayed using 26 simple sequence repeat markers. Moderate genetic variation was observed with evidence of a genetic bottleneck in the region. Some differentiation was observed among countries in both cultivars and landraces. Euclidean distance revealed the pivotal position of Tanzanian landraces in the region, and STRUCTURE analysis revealed subtle and fairly complex relationships among cultivars and among landraces and cultivars analysed together. This is likely to reflect original germplasm introductions, gene flow including farmer exchanges, disease pandemics, past breeding programmes and the introduction of cultivars from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture – Nigeria. Information generated from this study will be useful to justify and guide a regional cassava genetic resource conservation strategy, to identify gaps in cassava diversity in the region and to guide breeding strategies.
The reproductive efficiency of the entire sheep flock could be improved if ewe lambs go through puberty early and produce their first lamb at 1 year of age. The onset of puberty is linked to the attainment of critical body mass, and therefore we tested whether it would be influenced by genetic selection for growth rate or for rate of accumulation of muscle or fat. We studied 136 Merino ewe lambs with phenotypic values for depth of eye muscle (EMD) and fat (FAT) and Australian Sheep Breeding Values at post-weaning age (200 days) for live weight (PWT), eye muscle depth (PEMD) and fat depth (PFAT). First oestrus was detected with testosterone-treated wethers and then entire rams as the ewes progressed from 6 to 10 months of age. Blood concentrations of leptin and IGF-I were measured to test whether they were related to production traits and reproductive performance (puberty, fertility and reproductive rate). In total, 97% of the lambs reached first oestrus at average weight 39.4 ± 0.4 kg (mean ± s.e.m.) and age 219 days (range 163 to 301). Age at first oestrus decreased with increases in values for PWT (P < 0.001), and concentrations of IGF-I (P < 0.05) and leptin (P < 0.01). The proportion of ewe lambs that achieved puberty was positively related with increases in values for EMD (P < 0.01), FAT (P < 0.05) or PWT (P < 0.01), and 75% of the ewe lambs were pregnant at average weight 44.7 ± 0.5 kg and age 263 days (range 219 to 307). Ewe lambs that were heavier at the start of mating were more fertile (P < 0.001) and had a higher reproductive rate (P < 0.001). Fertility and reproductive rate were positively correlated with increases in values for EMD (P < 0.01), FAT (P < 0.05), PWT (P < 0.01) and leptin concentration (P < 0.01). Fertility, but not reproductive rate, increased as values for PFAT increased (P < 0.05). Leptin concentration increased with increases in values for EMD (P < 0.001), FAT (P < 0.001), PWT (P < 0.001), PEMD (P < 0.05) and PFAT (P < 0.05). Many of these relationships became non-significant when PWT or live weight was added to the statistical model. We conclude that selection for genetic potential for growth can accelerate the onset of puberty and increase fertility and reproductive rate of Merino ewe lambs. The metabolic hormones, IGF-I and leptin, might act as a physiological link between the growing tissues and the reproductive axis.