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Although numerous studies have investigated the individual effects of salinity, irrigation and fertilization on soil microbial communities, relatively less attention has been paid to their combined influences, especially using molecular techniques. Based on the field of orthogonal designed test and deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing technology, the effects of saline water irrigation amount, salinity level of irrigation water and nitrogen (N) fertilizer rate on soil bacterial community structure were investigated. The results showed that the irrigation amount was the most dominant factor in determining the bacterial richness and diversity, followed by the irrigation water salinity and N fertilizer rate. The values of Chao1 estimator, abundance-based coverage estimator and Shannon indices decreased with an increase in irrigation amount while increased and then decreased with an increase in irrigation water salinity and N fertilizer rate. The highest soil bacterial richness and diversity were obtained under the least irrigation amount (25 mm), medium irrigation water salinity (4.75 dS/m) and medium N fertilizer rate (350 kg/ha). However, different bacterial phyla were found to respond distinctively to these three factors: irrigation amount significantly affected the relative abundances of Proteobacteria and Chloroflexi; irrigation water salinity mostly affected the members of Actinobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes and Acidobacteria; and N fertilizer rate mainly influenced the Bacteroidetes' abundance. The results presented here revealed that the assessment of soil microbial processes under combined irrigation and fertilization treatments needed to be more careful as more variable consequences would be established by comparing with the influences based on an individual factor, such as irrigation amount or N fertilizer rate.
The beginning of laminar–turbulent transition is usually associated with a wave-like disturbance, but its evolution and role in precipitating the development of other flow structures are not well understood from a structure-based view. Nonlinear parabolized stability equations (NPSE) were solved numerically to simulate the transition of K-regime, N-regime and O-regime. However, only the K-regime transition was examined experimentally using both hydrogen bubble visualization and time-resolved tomographic particle image velocimetry (tomo-PIV). Based on the ‘NPSE visualization’ and ‘tomographic visualization’, at least four common characteristics of the generic transition process were identified: (i) inflectional regions representing high-shear layers (HSL) that develop in vertical velocity profiles, accompanied by ejection–sweep behaviours; (ii) low-speed streak (LSS) patterns, manifested in horizontal timelines, that seem to consist of several three-dimensional (3-D) waves; (iii) a warped wave front (WWF) pattern, displaying multiple folding processes, which develops adjacent to the LSS in the near-wall region, prior to the appearance of 𝛬-vortices; (iv) a coherent 3-D wave front, similar to a soliton, in the upper boundary layer, accompanied by regions of depression along the flanks of the wave. It was determined that the amplification and lift-up of a 3-D wave causes the development of the HSL, WWF and multiple folding behaviour of material surfaces, that all contribute to the development of a 𝛬-vortex. The amplified 3-D wave is hypothesized as a soliton-like coherent structure. Based on our results, a path to transition is proposed, which hypothesizes the function of the WWF in boundary-layer transition.
Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
To characterise subjective symptoms in patients undergoing surgical repair of superior semicircular canal dehiscence.
Questionnaires assessing symptom severity and impact on function and quality of life were administered to patients before superior semicircular canal dehiscence surgery, between June 2011 and March 2016. Questionnaire sections included general quality of life, internal amplified sounds, dizziness and tinnitus, with scores of 0–100 points.
Twenty-three patients completed the questionnaire before surgery. Section scores (mean±standard deviation) were: 38.2 ± 25.2 for general quality of life, 52.5 ± 23.9 for internal amplified sounds, 35.1 ± 28.8 for dizziness, 33.3 ± 30.7 for tinnitus, and 39.8 ± 22.2 for the composite score. Cronbach's α statistic averaged 0.93 (range, 0.84–0.97) across section scores, and 0.83 for the composite score.
The Gopen–Yang Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Questionnaire provides a holistic, patient-centred characterisation of superior semicircular canal dehiscence symptoms. Internal consistency analysis validated the questionnaire and provided a quantitative framework for further optimisation in the clinical setting.
Tissue engineering aims to grow artificial tissues in vitro to replace those in the body that have been damaged through age, trauma or disease. A recent approach to engineer artificial cartilage involves seeding cells within a scaffold consisting of an interconnected 3D-printed lattice of polymer fibres combined with a cast or printed hydrogel, and subjecting the construct (cell-seeded scaffold) to an applied load in a bioreactor. A key question is to understand how the applied load is distributed throughout the construct. To address this, we employ homogenisation theory to derive equations governing the effective macroscale material properties of a periodic, elastic–poroelastic composite. We treat the fibres as a linear elastic material and the hydrogel as a poroelastic material, and exploit the disparate length scales (small inter-fibre spacing compared with construct dimensions) to derive macroscale equations governing the response of the composite to an applied load. This homogenised description reflects the orthotropic nature of the composite. To validate the model, solutions from finite element simulations of the macroscale, homogenised equations are compared to experimental data describing the unconfined compression of the fibre-reinforced hydrogels. The model is used to derive the bulk mechanical properties of a cylindrical construct of the composite material for a range of fibre spacings and to determine the local mechanical environment experienced by cells embedded within the construct.
Febrile seizure (FS) in children is a common complication of infections with respiratory viruses and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). We conducted a retrospective ecological time-series analysis to determine the temporal relationship between hospital attendances for FS and HFMD or respiratory virus infections. Epilepsy attendance was used as a control. Data from 2004 to 2012 FS and epilepsy hospital attendance, HFMD notifications to the Ministry of Health and from laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections among KK Women's and Children's Hospital inpatients were used. A multivariate linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the relationship between FS and the virus time series. Relative risks of FS by age were calculated using Bayesian statistical methods. Paediatric accident and emergency (A&E) attendances for FS were found to be associated with influenza A (extra 0.47 FS per influenza A case), B (extra 0.32 per influenza B case) and parainfluenza 3 (extra 0.35 per parainfluenza type 3 case). However, other viruses were not significantly associated with FS. None of the viruses were associated with epileptic seizure attendance. Influenza A, B and parainfluenza 3 viruses contributed to the burden of FS resulting in A&E attendance. Children at risk of FS should be advised to receive seasonal influenza vaccination.
To investigate the effects of soybean isoflavone (SI) on immunity in infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)-infected broilers, chicks were fed the same basal diet supplemented with 0 (non-infected control), 0 (infected control), 10, 20 or 40 mg/kg SI for 44 days. At 21 days old, chickens were inoculated with bursal infectious dose causing 50% morbidity of the IBDV BC 6/85 strain by the eye-drop and nasal route (except for non-infected controls). Results showed that, over 1–23 days post-infection (dpi), there was a significant interaction between SI supplementation level and time: high-level SI supplementation increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio, serum concentrations of IgA, IgM and IgG, and IBDV antibody titres. Except for serum IgA and IgM, these variables increased over time with far higher values at 23 dpi than earlier. Compared with non-infected controls, IBDV inoculation decreased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and serum IgG, IgM concentration at 23 dpi, and increased IBDV antibody titres at 7, 15 and 23 dpi. Supplemental SI quadratically increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio and serum IgA concentration at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes at 3 and 23 dpi, and serum IgM concentration and IBDV antibody titres at 23 dpi. These results indicate that dietary SI improved cellular and humoral immunity of IBDV-infected birds and may enhance resistance of Yellow-feathered broilers to infectious diseases.
Charge Exchange (CEX) ion is the main factor causing the plume pollution. The distribution of CEX ions is determined by the distribution of beam ions and neutral atoms. Hence, the primary problem in the study of the plume is how to accurately simulate the distribution of beam ions and neutral atoms. At present, the most commonly used model utilised for the plume simulation is the analytical model proposed by Roy for the plume simulation of the NASA Solar Technology Application Readiness (NSTAR) ion thruster. However, this analytical model can only be applied to the ion beam with small divergence angles. In addition, the analytical model is no longer applicable to the simulation for the plume of a new type of ion thruster that appeared recently, which is called the annular ion thruster. In this paper, a 3D particle model is proposed for the plume simulation of ion thrusters consisting of the particle model for beam ions, the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) model for neutral atoms and the Immersed Finite Element-Particle In Cell-Monte Carlo Collision (IFE-PIC-MCC) model for CEX ions. Then, the plume of the NSTAR ion thruster is simulated by both Roy's model and the 3D particle model. The simulation results of both models are then compared with the experimental results. It is shown that the numerical results of the 3D particle model agree well with those of the analytical model and the experimental data. And this 3D particle model can also be used for other electric thrusters.
Wave loading on marine structures is the major external force to be considered in the design of such structures. The accurate prediction of the nonlinear high-order components of the wave loading has been an unresolved challenging problem. In this paper, the nonlinear harmonic components of hydrodynamic forces on a bottom-mounted vertical cylinder are investigated experimentally. A large number of experiments were conducted in the Danish Hydraulic Institute shallow water wave basin on the cylinder, both on a flat bed and a sloping bed, as part of a European collaborative research project. High-quality data sets for focused wave groups have been collected for a wide range of wave conditions. The high-order harmonic force components are separated by applying the ‘phase-inversion’ method to the measured force time histories for a crest focused wave group and the same wave group inverted. This separation method is found to work well even for locally violent nearly-breaking waves formed from bidirectional wave pairs. It is also found that the
th-harmonic force scales with the
th power of the envelope of both the linear undisturbed free-surface elevation and the linear force component in both time variation and amplitude. This allows estimation of the higher-order harmonic shapes and time histories from knowledge of the linear component alone. The experiments also show that the harmonic structure of the wave loading on the cylinder is virtually unaltered by the introduction of a sloping bed, depending only on the local wave properties at the cylinder. Furthermore, our new experimental results reveal that for certain wave cases the linear loading is actually less than 40 % of the total wave loading and the high-order harmonics contribute more than 60 % of the loading. The significance of this striking new result is that it reveals the importance of high-order nonlinear wave loading on offshore structures and means that such loading should be considered in their design.
The present study aim to explore temporal–spatial patterns of water use (WU) efficiency and its influencing factors of maize production in China during 1998–2010. WU and productivity (WP) were quantified by taking irrigation loss into account and the links between WP and nine selected indicators were revealed by the partial least squares regression (PLSR) model. Results showed that national WU and WP in maize production were 138.56 cubic gigametres (Gm3; 0.755 green and 0.245 blue) and 1.079 kg/m3, respectively. WP was enhanced in the present study due to an increase in irrigated crop yield. Provinces located in the middle–lower part of the Yellow River had high proportions of green water and WP, while high proportions of irrigation water and low WP were found in Northwest China. The dosage of pesticides per unit area, relative humidity, average temperature and precipitation were the dominant factors that affected WP. However, the relationships between WP and solar radiation, fertilizer, agricultural machinery power, irrigation proportion and irrigated efficiency were not significant. Findings of the present research may also provide a reference for regional agricultural water management.
With the rapid development of telescopes, both temporal cadence and the spatial resolution of observations are increasing. This in turn generates vast amount of data, which can be efficiently searched only with automated detections in order to derive the features of interest in the observations. A number of automated detection methods and algorithms have been developed for solar activities, based on the image processing and machine learning techniques. In this paper, after briefly reviewing some automated detection methods, we describe our efficient and versatile automated detection method for solar filaments. It is able not only to recognize filaments, determine the features such as the position, area, spine, and other relevant parameters, but also to trace the daily evolution of the filaments. It is applied to process the full disk Hα data observed in nearly three solar cycles, and some statistic results are presented.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
The objective of the present work is to study the drying of a quasi-two-dimensional model porous medium, hereafter called the micromodel, initially filled with a pure liquid. The micromodel consists of cylinders measuring
in both height and diameter, radially arranged as a set of neighbouring spirals and sandwiched between two horizontal flat plates. As drying proceeds, air invades the pore space and elongated liquid films trapped by capillary forces form along the spirals. These films consist of ‘chains’ of liquid bridges connecting neighbouring cylinders. They provide hydraulic connectivity between the central bulk liquid cluster and the external rim of the cylinder pattern, where evaporation takes place during a first constant-evaporation-rate drying stage. The first goal of the present paper is to describe experimentally the phase distribution during drying, notably the evolution of liquid films, which controls the evaporation kinetics (e.g. the depinning of the films from the external rim signals the end of the constant-evaporation-rate period). Then, a viscocapillary model for the drying process is presented. It is based on numerical simulations of a liquid film capillary shape and viscous flow within a film. The model shows a reasonably good agreement with the experimental data. Thus, the present study is a step towards direct modelling of the effect of films on the drying of more complex porous media (e.g. packing of beads) and should be of interest for multiphase flow applications in porous media, involving transport within liquid films.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
Honeybee foraging can transfer exogenous genes from genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) to closely related plants, which not only induces potential ecological risks but also contaminates non-GM seeds or honey products with GM ingredients. These events may lead to international trade disputes. Chinese honeybees (Apis cerana cerana Fabricius) and a herbicide (glufosinate)-resistant GM strain of B. napus (Z7B10) were studied to examine the effects of honeybee short-range foraging on oilseed rape gene flow and honey ingredients. Results showed variable frequencies of gene flow between GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars, with the highest frequency under nylon net isolation with artificially stocked honeybees, the lowest frequency under nylon net isolation alone, and an intermediate frequency under natural pollination, suggesting the important role of honeybee foraging in gene flow frequency. Additionally, GM pollen grains were found in honey collected from honeybees foraging on both GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars. The phosphinothricin acetyltransferase protein was also detected in both unbroken pollen-containing and pollen-free honey by protein testing strips, suggesting that honeybee foraging on GM oilseed rape could lead to contamination with GM ingredients. Overall, the results provide a direct scientific basis for the ecological risk assessment and safety management of GM oilseed rape.
TAOS II is a next-generation occultation survey with the goal of measuring the size distribution of the small end of the Kuiper Belt (objects with diameters 0.5–30 km). Such objects have magnitudes r > 30, and are thus undetectable by direct imaging. The project will operate three telescopes at San Pedro Mártir Observatory in Baja California, México. Each telescope will be equipped with a custom-built camera comprised of a focal-plane array of CMOS imagers. The cameras will be capable of reading out image data from 10,000 stars at a cadence of 20 Hz. The telescopes will monitor the same set of stars simultaneously to search for coincident occultation detections, thus minimising the false-positive rate. This talk described the project, and reported on the progress of the development of the survey infrastructure.