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We recently reported on the radio-frequency attenuation length of cold polar ice at Summit Station, Greenland, based on bi-static radar measurements of radio-frequency bedrock echo strengths taken during the summer of 2021. Those data also allow studies of (a) the relative contributions of coherent (such as discrete internal conducting layers with sub-centimeter transverse scale) vs incoherent (e.g. bulk volumetric) scattering, (b) the magnitude of internal layer reflection coefficients, (c) limits on signal propagation velocity asymmetries (‘birefringence’) and (d) limits on signal dispersion in-ice over a bandwidth of ~100 MHz. We find that (1) attenuation lengths approach 1 km in our band, (2) after averaging 10 000 echo triggers, reflected signals observable over the thermal floor (to depths of ~1500 m) are consistent with being entirely coherent, (3) internal layer reflectivities are ≈–60$\to$–70 dB, (4) birefringent effects for vertically propagating signals are smaller by an order of magnitude relative to South Pole and (5) within our experimental limits, glacial ice is non-dispersive over the frequency band relevant for neutrino detection experiments.
No-till planting organic soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] into roller-crimped cereal rye (Secale cereale L.) can have several advantages over traditional tillage-based organic production. However, suboptimal cereal rye growth in fields with large populations of weeds may result in reduced weed suppression, weed–crop competition, and soybean yield loss. Ecological weed management theory suggests that integrating multiple management practices that may be weakly effective on their own can collectively provide high levels of weed suppression. In 2021 and 2022, a field experiment was conducted in central New York to evaluate the performance of three weed management tactics implemented alone and in combination in organic no-till soybean planted into both cereal rye mulch and no mulch: (1) increasing crop seeding rate, (2) interrow mowing, and (3) weed electrocution. A nontreated control treatment that did not receive any weed management and a weed-free control treatment were also included. Cereal rye was absent from two of the five fields where the experiment was repeated; however, the presence of cereal rye did not differentially affect results, and thus data were pooled across fields. All treatments that included interrow mowing reduced weed biomass by at least 60% and increased soybean yield by 14% compared with the nontreated control. The use of a high seeding rate or weed electrocution, alone or in combination, did not improve weed suppression or soybean yield relative to the nontreated control. Soybean yield across all treatments was at least 22% lower than in the weed-free control plot. Future research should explore the effects of the tactics tested on weed population and community dynamics over an extended period. Indirect effects from interrow mowing and weed electrocution should also be studied, such as the potential for improved harvestability, decreased weed seed production and viability, and the impacts on soil organisms and agroecosystem biodiversity.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are disproportionately affected by severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). To characterize factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 positivity among LTCF HCWs, we performed a retrospective cohort study among HCWs in 32 LTCFs in the Minneapolis–St Paul region.
We analyzed the outcome of SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positivity among LTCF HCWs during weeks 34–52 of 2020. LTCF and HCW-level characteristics, including facility size, facility risk score for resident-HCW contact, and resident-facing job role, were modeled in univariable and multivariable generalized linear regressions to determine their association with SARS-CoV-2 positivity.
Between weeks 34 and 52, 440 (20.7%) of 2,130 unique HCWs tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at least once. In the univariable model, non–resident-facing HCWs had lower odds of infection (odds ratio [OR], 0.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36–0.70). In the multivariable model, the odds remained lower for non–resident-facing HCW (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.36–0.71), and those in medium- versus low-risk facilities experienced higher odds of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.08–2.02).
Our findings suggest that COVID-19 cases are related to contact between HCW and residents in LTCFs. This association should be considered when formulating infection prevention and control policies to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in LTCFs.
Perennial grain crops are emerging as a promising addition to sustainable agricultural systems because of their low-input requirements and delivery of ecosystem services. However, adoption of these crops is expected to bring novel management challenges, including those related to plant diseases. In New York, fungal pathogens of annual grains have a significant impact on crop yield and value and are generally controlled through a combination of host resistances, cultural practices and chemical fungicides. Without the availability of crop rotation and soil tillage practices, disease control in perennial grain systems may be problematic, and little is known about perennial grain crop susceptibility to local plant pathogen populations. During 2017 and 2018, ongoing field trials of two perennial grain crops recently introduced in New York, intermediate wheatgrass (IWG; Thinopyrum intermedium) and perennial cereal rye (PCR; Secale cereale), were assessed for the presence of putative fungal pathogens on actively growing plants, overwintered crop residue and harvested grain. A total of nine potential host–pathogen combinations were recorded based on symptomology, pathogen morphology and DNA sequences. Common annual crop pathogens were recovered most frequently, but, at one site, Phyllachora graminis, causal fungus of tar spot and a pathogen not previously reported on crops in New York, was found on IWG. Residue colonization by an important toxigenic pathogen (Fusarium graminearum) was high in both crops, though mycotoxin levels in associated grain were low, indicating either the hosts or environment were unsuitable for disease development. Seed-borne fungal communities differed across crops and locations, and black point, a condition caused by Alternaria and Bipolaris fungi and indicative of compromised grain quality, was prevalent in PCR under some conditions. Growing PCR with intercropped red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) resulted in less Stagonospora colonization of stem residue, and PCR grown with an oat (Avena sativa L.) nurse crop had a reduced incidence of black point. These alternative cultural practices may prove useful for managing disease in perennial grains. Our results suggest that the incorporation of perennial crops into the agricultural landscape will lead to familiar plant disease problems requiring new solutions as well as new problems that may require significant research investments.
Background: US healthcare facilities experienced significant personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages, including N95 masks, in the spring and summer of 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for extended use, reprocessing, and reuse of N95s. Eskenazi Health (EH) implemented a program to reprocess N95s and other PPE on-site using low-heat decontamination (LHD). EH considered large-scale and small-scale ultraviolet (UV), hydrogen peroxide vapor, and LHD for on-site reprocessing of N95s. All of these methods allowed up to 3 reprocessing cycles according to most literature available at the time. However, each method differed in feasibility and acceptability to staff. EH chose to implement LHD based on both considerations. Methods: Numerous small-group meetings were held in April 2020 to determine the feasibility and acceptability of N95 reprocessing methods. Staff wanted a method that was easy for the end user, had quick turnaround, and allowed them to retrieve their own N95s. They favored a method that could be used for all PPE. EH had deployed numerous small UV machines that individuals could use for N95s. The UV machines could not be scaled up easily. To scale up, a multidisciplinary team comprising infection prevention, biomedical engineering, and sterile processing representatives reviewed available methods and implemented LHD. Biomedical engineers determined that existing blanket warmers could be reprogrammed and repurposed for low-heat decontamination. Food warmers were also available but were not needed. Biomedical engineers reprogrammed the blanket warmers to 70°C and developed a wicking system using a towel and water tray to maintain humidity; decontamination took 30 minutes. Testing runs determined that both N95s and eye protection tolerated LHD without apparent damage. Infection prevention staff developed a workflow in which staff deposited all PPE in a paper bag; the PPE bag was centrally reprocessed, marked (Figure 1), and returned to designated locations (Figure 2) for staff to retrieve their original PPE. Sterile processing staff facilitated the reprocessing workflow, and elective surgeries were canceled during the COVID-19 surge. Results: From April 20, 2020, to July 19, 2020, 7,512 units were decontaminated with LHD. If each N95 was sterilized thrice (4 uses per N95), then LHD reduced the need to purchase 22,536 N95s. Restarting elective surgeries decreased staff and support from sterile processing; the space was needed for other purposes; and N95 availability increased. All of these factors led to the discontinuation of LHD. Conclusions: LHD enables reprocessing of N95s and other PPE using existing assets. LHD is advantageous because of scalability and the capacity to provide staff with their own reprocessed PPE.
The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
Kernza® intermediate wheatgrass [Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & Dewey], the first perennial grain crop to come to market in North America, can provide a number of ecosystem services when integrated into cropping systems that are dominated by annual grain crops. However, grain yield from Kernza is lower than comparable annual cereal crops such as wheat and oats. Also, although Kernza is a long-lived perennial that can persist for decades, grain yield tends to decline over time as Kernza stands age leading most farmers to replant or rotate to a different crop after 3–5 yrs. Increased intraspecific competition as stand density increases with age has been reported to cause grain yield declines. We investigated the effect of strip-tillage applied at two different timings, between the third and fourth grain harvests, from a Kernza stand in upstate New York. Strip-tillage applied in late fall as plants were entering dormancy increased grain yield by 61% when compared to the control treatment without strip-tillage. However, total crop biomass was not reduced resulting in a greater harvest index for the fall strip-tillage treatment. Strip-tillage applied before stem elongation the following spring reduced overall tiller density and total crop biomass but did not impact tiller fertility or grain yield compared to the control treatment without strip-tillage. Increased grain yield in the fall strip-tillage treatment was due to an increase in the percentage of tillers that produced mature seedheads. This suggests that grain yield decline over time is at least partially caused by competition between tillers in dense stands. Results support further research and development of strip-tillage and other forms of managed disturbance as tools for maintaining Kernza grain yield over time.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Weed management is a major challenge in organic crop production, and organic farms generally harbor larger weed populations and more diverse communities compared with conventional farms. However, little research has been conducted on the effects of different organic management practices on weed communities and crop yields. In 2014 and 2015, we measured weed community structure and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] yield in a long-term experiment that compared four organic cropping systems that differed in nutrient inputs, tillage, and weed management intensity: (1) high fertility (HF), (2) low fertility (LF), (3) enhanced weed management (EWM), and (4) reduced tillage (RT). In addition, we created weed-free subplots within each system to assess the impact of weeds on soybean yield. Weed density was greater in the LF and RT systems compared with the EWM system, but weed biomass did not differ among systems. Weed species richness was greater in the RT system compared with the EWM system, and weed community composition differed between RT and other systems. Our results show that differences in weed community structure were primarily related to differences in tillage intensity, rather than nutrient inputs. Soybean yield was lower in the EWM system compared with the HF and RT systems. When averaged across all four cropping systems and both years, soybean yield in weed-free subplots was 10% greater than soybean yield in the ambient weed subplots that received standard management practices for the systems in which they were located. Although weed competition limited soybean yield across all systems, the EWM system, which had the lowest weed density, also had the lowest soybean yield. Future research should aim to overcome such trade-offs between weed control and yield potential, while conserving weed species richness and the ecosystem services associated with increased weed diversity.
White mold caused by the fungus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a devastating disease of soybean (Glycine max) and other leguminous crops, including dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Previous research has demonstrated that no-till planting soybean into rolled–crimped cereal rye residue can enhance weed management, improve soil health and reduce labor requirements in organic production. However, there are limited data on the effects of cereal rye residue on white mold suppression in no-till planted soybean and dry bean. Two field trials were conducted in 2016–2017 (Year 1) and repeated in 2017–2018 (Year 2) to evaluate the potential of cereal rye cover crop residue to suppress white mold in these crops. In each trial (soybean and dry bean), the experimental design was a randomized complete block with two treatments: (1) rolled–crimped cereal rye residue and (2) no cover crop control. Treatment effects on plant population, biomass and yield components varied between the main crops. Compared with the control treatment, cereal rye residue reduced the incidence of white mold in soybean in both years and in dry bean in Year 2. The reduction in white mold in cereal rye residue plots was due to a combination of (1) decreased sclerotial germination (no stipes formed) and (2) increased nonfunctional sclerotial germination defined here as sclerotia that germinated but produced stipes without the expanded cup where asci containing ascospores are formed. Weed density and biomass were lower in cereal rye residue plots in soybean and dry bean, except in Year 1 in soybean when weed biomass was low in both treatments. Our findings indicate that cereal rye residue could help organic and conventional farmers manage white mold in no-till planted soybean and dry bean. Germination of sclerotia resulting in nonfunctional apothecia could potentially exhaust soilborne inoculum in the upper soil profile and reduce infections in subsequent crops.
Invertebrate seed predators (ISPs) are an important component of agroecosystems that help regulate weed populations. Previous research has shown that ISPs' seed preference depends on the plant and ISP species. Although numerous studies have quantified weed seed losses from ISPs, limited research has been conducted on the potential for ISPs to consume cover crop seeds. Cover crops are sometimes broadcast seeded, and because seeds are left on the soil surface, they are susceptible to ISPs. We hypothesized that (1) ISPs will consume cover crop seeds to the same extent as weed seeds, (2) seed preference will vary by plant and ISP species, and (3) seed consumption will be influenced by seed morphology and nutritional characteristics. We conducted seed preference trials with four common ISPs [Pennsylvania dingy ground beetle (Harpalus pensylvanicus), common black ground beetle (Pterostichus melanarius), Allard's ground cricket (Allonemobius allardi) and fall field cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus)] in laboratory no choice and choice feeding assays. We compared seed predation of ten commonly used cover crop species [barley (Hordeum vulgare), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), forage radish (Raphanus sativus), cereal rye (Secale cereale), white mustard (Sinapis alba), crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), triticale (×Triticosecale) and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa)] and three weed species [velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti), common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and giant foxtail (Setaria faberi)]. All four ISPs readily consumed cover crop seeds (P < 0.05), but cover crops with hard seed coats and seed hulls such as hairy vetch and barley were less preferred. Our results suggest that farmers should select cover crop species that are avoided by ISPs if they plan on broadcasting the seed, such as with aerial interseeding.
The need for hollow microneedle arrays is important for both drug delivery and wearable sensor applications; however, their fabrication poses many challenges. Hollow metal microneedle arrays residing on a flexible metal foil substrate were created by combining additive manufacturing, micromolding, and electroplating approaches in a process we refer to as electromolding. A solid microneedle with inward facing ledge was fabricated with a two photon polymerization (2PP) system utilizing laser direct write (LDW) and then molded with polydimethylsiloxane. These molds were then coated with a seed layer of Ti/Au and subsequently electroplated with pulsed deposition to create hollow microneedles. An inward facing ledge provided a physical blocking platform to restrict deposition of the metal seed layer for creation of the microneedle bore. Various ledge sizes were tested and showed that the resulting seed layer void could be controlled via the ledge length. Mechanical properties of the PDMS mold was adjusted via the precursor ratio to create a more ductile mold that eliminated tip damage to the microneedles upon removal from the molds. Master structures were capable of being molded numerous times and molds were able to be reused. SEM/EDX analysis showed that trace amounts of the PDMS mold were transferred to the metal microneedle upon removal. The microneedle substrate showed a degree of flexibility that withstood over 100 cycles of bending from side to side without damaging. Microneedles were tested for their fracture strength and were capable of puncturing porcine skin and injecting a dye.
Most previous research on changes in weed abundance and community composition in cropping systems has focused on field crops. The study presented here examined changes in the weed seedbank and aboveground biomass in four organic vegetable cropping systems over a 10-yr period. The systems included an Intensive system with six crops per 4-yr rotation, an Intermediate system with one cash crop per year, a Bio-extensive system with alternating cash crop and tilled fallow years plus prevention of seed rain, and a Ridge-tillage system with one cash crop per year. Systems also differed in the types and number of cover crops between cash crops. During the course of the experiment, the weed community shifted from one dominated by summer annual broadleaf species that reproduce at the end of their lives to a community dominated by summer and winter annuals that mature rapidly. This shift in community composition can be attributed to the change in land use from conventionally managed corn (Zea mays L.) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) to organic vegetable production. In particular, crop rotations with diverse preplantings and postharvest tillage dates interrupted the life cycle of common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.) and pigweed species (Amaranthus spp.: mostly Powell amaranth [Amaranthus powellii S. Watson], with small numbers of redroot pigweed [Amaranthus retroflexus L.] and smooth pigweed [Amaranthus hybridus L.]), while favoring a diverse assemblage of quickly maturing species. The study thus demonstrates that an appropriate crop rotation can control the seedbank of weeds like C. album that potentially persist well in the soil. The Ridge-tillage system greatly reduced the frequency and depth of tillage relative to other systems while effectively suppressing perennial weeds. The early-reproducing annuals, however, became more abundant in the Ridge-tillage system than in the other systems, primarily due to escapes along the edge of the scraped ridges. The tilled fallow periods coupled with prevention of seed rain in the Bio-extensive system substantially reduced weed abundance through time and relative to the other systems.
The present article addresses design of stiff, elastically isotropic trusses and their mechanical properties. Isotropic trusses are created by combining two or more elementary cubic trusses in appropriate proportions and with their respective nodes lying on a common space lattice. Two isotropic binary compound trusses and many isotropic ternary trusses are identified, all with Young’s moduli equal to the maximal possible value for isotropic strut-based structures. In finite-sized trusses, strain elevations are obtained in struts near the external free boundaries: a consequence of reduced nodal connectivity and thus reduced constraint on strut deformation and rotation. Although the boundary effects persist over distances of only about two unit cell lengths and have minimal effect on elastic properties, their manifestations in failure are more nuanced, especially when failure occurs by modes other than buckling (yielding or fracture). Exhaustive analyses are performed to glean insights into the mechanics of failure of such trusses.
Elemental, chemical, and structural analysis of polycrystalline materials at the micron scale is frequently carried out using microfocused synchrotron X-ray beams, sometimes on multiple instruments. The Maia pixelated energy-dispersive X-ray area detector enables the simultaneous collection of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and diffraction because of the relatively large solid angle and number of pixels when compared with other systems. The large solid angle also permits extraction of surface topography because of changes in self-absorption. This work demonstrates the capability of the Maia detector for simultaneous measurement of XRF and diffraction for mapping the short- and long-range order across the grain structure in a Ni polycrystalline foil.
Cover crop–based, organic rotational no-till (CCORNT) corn and soybean systems have been developed in the mid-Atlantic region to build soil health, increase management flexibility, and reduce labor. In this system, a roller-crimped cover crop mulch provides within-season weed suppression in no-till corn and soybean. A cropping system experiment was conducted in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware to test the cumulative effects of a multitactic weed management approach in a 3-yr hairy vetch/triticale–corn–cereal rye–soybean–winter wheat CCORNT rotation. Treatments included delayed planting dates (early, intermediate, late) and supplemental weed control using high-residue (HR) cultivation in no-till corn and soybean phases. In the no-till corn phase, HR cultivation decreased weed biomass relative to the uncultivated control by 58%, 23%, and 62% in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, respectively. In the no-till soybean phase, HR cultivation decreased weed biomass relative to the uncultivated treatment planted in narrow rows (19 to 38 cm) by 20%, 41%, and 78% in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, respectively. Common ragweed was more dominant in soybean (39% of total biomass) compared with corn (10% of total biomass), whereas giant foxtail and smooth pigweed were more dominant in corn, comprising 46% and 22% of total biomass, respectively. Common ragweed became less abundant as corn and soybean planting dates were delayed, whereas giant foxtail and smooth pigweed increased as a percentage of total biomass as planting dates were delayed. At the Pennsylvania location, inconsistent termination of cover crops with the roller-crimper resulted in volunteer cover crops in other phases of the rotation. Our results indicate that HR cultivation is necessary to achieve adequate weed control in CCORNT systems. Integration of winter grain or perennial forages into CCORNT systems will also be an important management tactic for truncating weed seedbank population increases.
In the mid-Atlantic region, there is increasing interest in the use of intercropping strategies to establish cover crops in corn cropping systems. However, intercropping may be limited by potential injury to cover crops from residual herbicide programs. Field experiments were conducted from 2013 to 2015 at Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York locations (n=8) to evaluate the effect of common residual corn herbicides on interseeded red clover and annual ryegrass. Cover crop establishment and response to herbicide treatments varied across sites and years. S-metolachlor, pyroxasulfone, pendimethalin, and dimethenamid-P reduced annual ryegrass biomass relative to the nontreated check, whereas annual ryegrass biomass in acetochlor treatments was no different compared with the nontreated check. The rank order of observed annual ryegrass biomass reduction among chloroacetamide herbicides was S-metolachlor>pyroxasulfone>dimethenamid-P>acetochlor. Annual ryegrass biomass was not reduced by any of the broadleaf control herbicides. Mesotrione reduced red clover biomass 80% compared to the nontreated check. No differences in red clover biomass were observed between saflufenacil, rimsulfuron and atrazine treatments compared to the nontreated check. Red clover was not reduced by any of the grass control herbicides. This research suggests that annual ryegrass and red clover can be successfully interseeded in silt loam soils of Pennsylvania following use of several shorter-lived residual corn herbicides, but further research is needed in areas with soil types other than silt loam or outside of the mid-Atlantic cropping region.