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Force-feeding was considered as a traditional high-efficiency approach to improve growth performance and accelerate fat deposition of Pekin ducks. However, force-feeding is a serious violation of international advocacy on animal welfare, because it can induce serious injuries to animals, such as damages to the digestive tract, effects on immunity and even severe oxidative stress. Therefore, it is urgent to stop force-feeding. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of force feeding on immune function, digestive function and oxidative stress in the mucosa of duodenum and jejunum of Pekin ducks. A total of 500 ducks were randomly divided into two groups. The control group was allowed to feed freely on a basal diet. The experimental group was force-fed by inserting a plastic feeding tube 8 to 10 inches long down the esophagus for 6 days. Compared with the control group, there was a significant (P<0.05) increase in serum diamine oxidase, d-lactic acid, endotoxin and corticosterone levels in the force-feeding group. The crypt depth in duodenum and jejunum showed significant differences (P<0.05) between the two groups and the intestinal villus epithelium cell was severely damaged in force-feeding group. Similarly, the activities of digestive enzymes as well as the levels of immune function in the duodenal and jejunal mucosa in the force-feeding group were significantly higher than the control group (P<0.05). However, there was a significant decrease in the superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase levels with a marked increase in malondialdehyde level in duodenal and jejunal mucosa (P<0.05). In summary, at the end of the fattening period with force-feeding for 6 days, Pekin ducks experienced an adverse effect on the integrity of their duodenal and jejunal mucosa epithelium cell as well as their immune function and antioxidant capacity of Pekin ducks but also had improvement in digestive enzyme activities.
A study on effective thermal conductivity (ETC) of natural ice in a reservoir with <3% gas content and ∼300 mg L−1 dissolved matter content in the parent water was conducted in a laboratory. Ice sections were prepared to obtain the ice crystal structure, gas bubble content and ice density. Profiles of horizontal and vertical thermal conductivity of ice samples were determined with attention to relatively high temperature spanning 0 to –10°C. A detailed comparative analysis was conducted of the effects on ETC of direction, ice crystal structure, gas bubbles and temperature. Gas inclusions had little impact on the thermal conductivity of natural reservoir ice due to their quite low content (<3%). At high ice temperature the ETC decreases remarkably as ice temperature approaches the melting point, as the ETC of sea ice does due to its brine volume at ice temperature approaching its melting point. The measured conductivities for temperatures higher than –4°C were less than expected from previous work on saline ice. Whether this was due to the measurement techniques or actual properties of the reservoir ice is not clear. The present findings could lead to better understanding of the thermal processes of ice in natural freshwater bodies.
HBsAg reappearance may constitute not only a risk for liver disease but also an infectious source. We aimed to determine whether HBsAg may reappear after spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance. A cohort of 2999 HBsAg-positive subjects aged 30–55 years was recruited in Guangxi, China in 2004. HBsAg was tested every 6 months from July 2004 to June 2007, then, one more time in December 2013. The results showed that spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance occurred in 41 subjects in the first 3 years, giving a 0·54% annual seroclearance rate. Thirteen of the 41 subjects were randomly tested for HBsAg in 2013. Four subjects became HBsAg positive. S gene sequences of HBV were analysed from serum collected before seroclearance and after reappearance, respectively, for subject QS840 (11 and 12 clones), subject TN98 (13 and 13 clones) and subject WX227 (10 and 8 clones). Serotype, subgenotype and amino-acid substitution pattern in each sample collected after reappearance was observed in the sample collected before HBsAg seroclearance. Nucleotide similarity between the two sequences from each subject was >99% and five sequences from subject TN98 were the same. In conclusion, following reactivation, HBsAg may reappear in individuals with spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance many years previously.
Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) transcription is driven by alternative promoters to produce different exon 1 mRNA variants. CpG methylation on GR promoters profoundly affects GR transcription. GR in hippocampus is critical for energy homeostasis and stress responses, yet it remains unclear whether hippocampal expression of GR exon 1 mRNA variants and the methylation status of GR promoters differ between Large White (LW) and Erhualian (EHL) pigs showing distinct metabolic and stress-coping characteristics. EHL pigs had higher hippocampus weight relative to BW (P<0.01), which was associated with higher serum cortisol level compared with LW pigs. Hippocampal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (P<0.05) was significantly higher, while Bax, a pro-apoptotic gene, was significantly lower in EHL pigs (P<0.05). Hippocampal expression of total GR did not differ between breeds, yet GR exon 1 to 11 mRNA was significantly higher (P<0.01) in EHL pigs, which was associated with a trend of increase (P=0.057) in GR protein content. No significant breed difference was detected for the methylation status across the whole region of the proximal GR promoter, while CpG334 and CpG266.267 were differentially methylated, in a reversed manner, between breeds. The methylation status of CpGs 248, 259, 260, 268 and 271 was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with GR exon 1 to 11 mRNA abundance. Our results provide fundamental information on the breed-specific characteristics of GR and its mRNA variants expression and the status of DNA methylation on the proximal GR promoter in the pig hippocampus.
The aim of this study was to investigate changes of stress status in dairy goats induced to subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). The level of acute phase proteins (APPs) including haptoglobin (HP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) in plasma and their mRNA expression in liver, as well as plasma cortisol and genes expression of key factors controlling cortisol synthesis in adrenal cortex were compared between SARA and control goats. SARA was induced by feeding high concentrate diet (60% concentrate of dry matter) for 3 weeks (SARA, n=6), while control goats (Con, n=6) received a low concentrate diet (40% concentrate of dry matter) during the experimental time. SARA goats showed ruminal pH below 5.8 for more than 3 h per day, which was significantly lower than control goats (pH>6.0). SARA goats demonstrated a significant increase of hepatic HP and SAA mRNA expression (P<0.05), and the level of HP but not SAA in plasma was markedly increased compared with control (P<0.05). The level of cortisol in plasma showed a trend to increase in SARA goats (0.05<P<0.1). In adrenal cortex, mRNA expression of 17α-hydroxylase cytochrome (P45017α) (P<0.01) and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) (P<0.05) was significantly increased in SARA goats. The contents of 3β-HSD and P450 side-chain cleavage protein were increased by 58.6% and 39.4%, respectively, but did not reach the statistical significance (P>0.05). These results suggested that SARA goats experienced a certain stress status, exhibiting an increase in HP production and cortisol secretion.
The present work built on a previous study of tillage trials, which found the effectiveness of least limiting water range (LLWR) as an indicator of soil organic carbon (SOC) mineralization under different tillage practices in a black soil of Northeast China in 2009. To improve the understanding of soil structure controls over SOC dynamics, a study was conducted to explore the relationship between LLWR, which was calculated based on soil bulk density and soil pore-size distribution, and the effects of LLWR, which was calculated based on soil bulk density and soil pore-size distribution on SOC mineralization following no tillage (NT) and mouldboard ploughing (MP). In contrast to MP, NT had a significantly greater volume of large macropores (>100 μm) at depths of 0–0·05 and 0·2–0·3 m, but a significantly lower volume of small macropores (30–100 μm) at depths of 0–0·05, 0·05–0·1, 0·1–0·2 and 0·2–0·3 m. The volume of meso- (0·2–30 μm) and micro-pores (<0·2 μm) at different depths under the two tillage practices were similar. Tillage-induced changes in soil bulk density and pore-size volumes affected the ability of soil to fulfil essential soil functions in relation to organic matter turnover. Soil pore-size distribution, especially small macropores greatly affected LLWR and there was a significant correlation between LLWR, which was calculated based on soil bulk density, and the proportion of small macropores. The proportion of small macropores were used to calculate LLWR instead of soil bulk density and the values for NT and MP soils ranged from 0·073 to 0·148 m3 water/m3 soil. Using the proportion of small macropores rather than bulk density in the calculation of LLWR resulted in more sensitive indications of SOC mineralization. Variation in the proportion of small macropores can help characterize the impacts of tillage practices on dynamics of LLWR and SOC sequestration.
In this work, bare and (Fe3+ and Fe2+)-doped ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) have been synthesized in a polyol medium at 180oC. The synthesis in polyol allows a precise control of doping under size-controlled conditions. The Fe concentration varied in the 0-2 at. % range. As-synthesized samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR), Photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy and Vibrational Sample Magnetometry (VSM). XRD measurements confirmed the formation of well crystallized wurtzite ZnO with absence of secondary phases in bare and doped samples; the average crystallite size was estimated at 8.4 ± 0.3 nm for bare ZnO NPs. Systematic shifts in the main diffraction peaks due to the incorporation of the dopant species were observed in the Fe3+ and Fe2+ doped-ZnO samples. FT-IR analyses evidenced the presence of organic moieties on the surface of the nanoparticles that are associated to the functional groups of polyol by-products; these adsorbed species could explain the observed stability of the NPs when suspended in water. PL measurements (excitation wavelength 345 nm) reveled that a tuning in the emission bands of ZnO NPs can be achieved through doping. VSM measurements evidenced a weak but noticeable ferromagnetic response at room temperature (RT) in doped samples.
The Lie symmetry and Hojman conserved quantity of Lagrange equations for a weakly nonholonomic system and its first-degree approximate holonomic system are studied. The differential equations of motion for the system are established. Under the special infinitesimal transformations of group in which the time is invariable, the definition of the Lie symmetry for the weakly nonholonomic system and its first-degree approximate holonomic system are given, and the exact and approximate Hojman conserved quantities deduced directly from the Lie symmetry are obtained. Finally, an example is given to study the exact and approximate Hojman conserved quantity for the system.
Direct printing of functional oxide thin films could provide a new route to low-cost, efficient and scalable fabrications of electronic devices. One challenge that remains open is to design the inks with long term stability for effective deposition of specific oxide materials of industrial importance. In this paper, we introduce a reliable method of producing stable inks for ‘in-situ’ deposition of oxide thin films by inkjet printing. The inks were prepared from metal-acetates solutions and printed on a variety of substrates. The acetate precursors were decomposed into oxide films during the subsequent calcination process to achieve the ‘in-situ’ deposition of the desired oxide films directly on the substrate. By this procedure we have obtained room temperature contamination free ferromagnetic spintronic materials like Fe doped MgO and ZnO films from their acetate(s) solutions. We find that the origin of magnetism in ZnO, MgO and their Fe-doped films to be intrinsic. For a 28 nm thick film of Fe-doped ZnO we observe an enhanced magnetic moment of 16.0 emu/cm3 while it is 5.5 emu/cm3 for the doped MgO film of single pass printed. The origin of magnetism is attributed to cat-ion vacancies. We have also fabricated highly transparent indium tin oxide films with a transparency >95% both in the visible and IR range which is rather unique compared to films grown by any other technique. The films have a nano-porous structure, an added bonus from inkjetting that makes such films advantageous for a broad range of applications.
Ba0.8Sr0.2TiO3/ZrO2 heterostructured thin films with different individual layer ZrO2 thicknesses are deposited on Pt/Ti/SiO2/Si substrates by a sol-gel process. The current versus voltage (I-V) measurements of the above multilayered thin films in metal-insulator-metal (MIM) device structures are taken in the temperature range of 310 to 410K. The electrical conduction mechanisms contributing to the leakage current at different field regions have been studied in this work. Various models are used to know the different conduction mechanisms responsible for the leakage current in these devices. It is observed that Poole-Frenkel mechanism is the dominant conduction process in the high field region with deep electron trap energy levels (φt) whereas space charge limited current (SCLC) mechanism is contributing to the leakage current in the medium field region with shallow electron trap levels (Et). Also, it is seen that Ohmic conduction process is the dominant mechanism in the low field region having activation energy (Ea) for the electrons. The estimated trap level energy varies from 0.2 to 1.31 eV for deep level traps and from 0.08 to 0.18 eV for shallow level traps whereas the activation energy for electrons in ohmic conduction process varies from 0.05 to 0.17 eV with the increase of ZrO2 sub layer thickness. An energy band diagram is given to explain the dominance of the various leakage mechanisms in different field regions for these heterostructured thin films.
The antimicrobial properties of polymer materials are used in a verity of applications. Silver nanoparticles are commonly applied to polyurethane foams to obtain antifungal properties. For this study a series of nanocomposites (PU–Ag) from a urethane-type polymer (PU) were reinforced with various amounts of silver nanoparticles having an average size of 20 nm. The surface morphology and antifungal capacity of the nanocomposites were evaluated. As a result, a different surface morphology from PU was found in PU–Ag nanocomposites. The latter nanocomposite showed enhanced thermal and mechanical properties, when compared with the PU without silver nanoaprticles. The nanocomposite also exhibited good antifungal properties that can be used in a variety of applications.
Hybrid alumina-silicone nanolaminate films were synthesized by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) process. PECVD allows digital control over nanolaminate construction, and may be performed at low temperature for compatibility with flexible substrates. These materials are being considered as dielectrics for application such as capacitors in thin film transistors and memory devices. In this work, we present the temperature dependent current versus voltage (I-V) measurements of the nanolaminate dielectrics in the range of 200- 310 K to better asses their potential in these applications. Various models are used to know the different conduction mechanisms contributing to the leakage current in these nanolaminate films. It is observed that space charge limited current (SCLC) mechanism is the dominant conduction process in the high field region whereas Ohmic conduction process is contributing to the leakage current in the low field region. The shallow electron trap level energy (Et) of 0.16 eV is responsible for SCLC mechanism whereas for Ohmic conduction process the activation energy (Ea) for electrons is about 0.22 eV. An energy band diagram is given to explain the dominance of various conduction mechanisms in different field regions in these nanolaminate films.
We synthesized viscous precursors to indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) using three kinds of alcoholamines, ethanolamine (EA), diethanolamine (DEA), and triethanolamine (TEA), by a simple process. The viscous precursors are obtained just by vigorous stirring of alcoholamine and urea in an aqueous solution containing the metal nitrates during heating at 150-160 °C. The precursor containing EA (EA-precursor) is a pale-orange suspension containing aggregates of the metal hydroxides and shows pseudoplastic flow. The precursors containing DEA (DEA-precursor) and TEA (TEA-precursor) are transparent pale-yellow and dark-orange sols, respectively. They give Newtonian flow in the lower shear rate and pseudoplastic flow in the higher shear rate. Higher concentration of metal salts leads to higher viscosity of the precursors. According to thermogravimetry-differential thermal analysis (TG-DTA) for the EA- and DEA-precursors, evaporation of alcoholamine occurs at around each boiling point and subsequently formation of metal oxides occur at around 300 °C. In the case of the TEA-precursor, formation of metal oxides occurs before pyrolysis of TEA attributed to the higher boiling point of TEA. The thin IGZO film, which is prepared by spin-coating of the diluted DEA-precursor and subsequent sintering at 450 °C for 30 min, shows 0.02 cm2 ·V-1s-1 of the mobility and 10-5 of the on/off ratio. The highly viscous DEA-precursor containing high concentration of metal ions allows patterning in an area of 100 cm2 onto a surface of a silicon wafer with screen printing.
Ordered arrays of crystalline complex oxides nanostructures were synthesized onto single crystal insulating substrates using aqueous polyvinyl alcohol based electron beam resist precursors. The irradiated zones are insoluble in water (negative-tone resist) due to the electron induced cross linking of polyvinyl alcohol. The subsequent high temperature treatment of the developed precursor samples leads to the formation of ordered arrays of nanodots for low irradiation doses. For high irradiation dosages, epitaxially and oriented nanowires are obtained. These same precursors were shown to be nanoimprintable on single crystal substrates. This allows for future dual processing of a single precursor film gaining nano-structuration from both electron beam and nanoimprint lithography methods.
We present a simple, novel procedure to selectively deposit gold nanoparticles using pure water. It enables patterning of nanoparticle monolayers with a remarkably high degree of selectivity on flat as well as microstructured oxide surfaces. We demonstrate that water molecules form a thin ‘capping’ layer on exposed thiol molecules within the mercaptan self-assembled layer. This reversible capping of water molecules locally ‘deactivates’ the thiol groups, therewith inhibiting the binding of metallic gold nanoparticles to these specific areas. In addition, we show that this amazing role of water molecules can be used to selectively metalize the patterned gold nanoparticle arrays. Employing an electroless seeded growth process, the isolated seeds are enlarged past the percolation threshold to deposit conducting metal layers.
Ordered one dimensional polypyrrole conducting polymer structure as a shell over TiO2 nanotube arrays at the core were formed by pulsed current electropolymerization. TiO2 nanotubes with rippled wall structure are designed by action of water in the anodizing medium. This provides open tube structure supporting short diffusion length and increased accessibility of ions involved in redox transition for energy storage. Electrochemical properties evaluated by cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy show specific capacitance of 34-44 mF.cm-2 and extremely low bulk and charge transfer resistances.
The mechanism for the gelation reaction of colloidal silica, Si(OH)4 +Si(OH)3 (O)- ----> Si2O8H5- + H2O, by an anionic pathway was investigated using density functional theory(DFT). Using transition state theory, the rate constants were obtained by analyzing the potential energy surface at the reactants, saddle point, and the products. In addition, reaction rate constants were investigated in the presence of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) and sodium chloride (NaCl). These salts act as catalysts to induce gelation by destabilizing the double layer of colloidal silica to allow for Van der Waal interactions. Furthermore, it was observed that ammonium chloride plays an important role by initiating a hydride transfer allowing the reaction to proceed from the second transition state to the final product.
Titanium (IV) oxide, TiO2, has been the object of intense scrutiny for energy applications. TiO2 is inexpensive, non-toxic, and has excellent corrosion resistance when exposed to electrolytes. A major drawback preventing the widespread use TiO2 for photolysis is its relatively large band gap of ∼3eV. Only light with wavelengths shorter than 400 nm, which is in the ultraviolet portion of the spectrum, has sufficient energy to be absorbed. Less than 14 percent of the solar irradiation reaching the earth’s surface has energy exceeding this band gap. Adding dopants such as transition metals has long been used to reduce the gap and increase photocatalytic activity by accessing the visible part of the solar spectrum. The degree to which the band gap is reduced using transition metals depends in part on the overlap of the d-orbitals of the transition metals with the oxygen p-orbitals. Therefore, doping with anions such as nitrogen to modify the cation-anion orbital overlap is another approach to reduce the gap. Recent studies suggest that using a combination of transition metals and nitrogen as dopants is more effective at introducing intermediate states within the band gap, effectively narrowing it. Here we report the synthesis of mesoporous TiO2 spheres, co-doped with transition metals and nitrogen that exhibit a nearly flat absorbance response across the visible spectrum extending into the near infrared.