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l-carnitine is essential for mitochondrial β-oxidation and has been used as a lipid-lowering feed additive in humans and farmed animals. d-carnitine is an optical isomer of l-carnitine and dl-carnitine has been widely used in animal feeds. However, the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine are difficult to study because of the endogenous l-carnitine background. In the present study, we developed a low-carnitine Nile tilapia model by treating fish with a carnitine synthesis inhibitor, and used this model to investigate the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine in nutrient metabolism in fish. l- or d-carnitine (0·4 g/kg diet) was fed to the low-carnitine tilapia for 6 weeks. l-carnitine feeding increased the acyl-carnitine concentration from 3522 to 10 822 ng/g and alleviated the lipid deposition from 15·89 to 11·97 % in the liver of low-carnitine tilapia. However, as compared with l-carnitine group, d-carnitine feeding reduced the acyl-carnitine concentration from 10 822 to 5482 ng/g, and increased lipid deposition from 11·97 to 20·21 % and the mRNA expression of the genes involved in β-oxidation and detoxification in the liver. d-carnitine feeding also induced hepatic inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis. A metabolomic investigation further showed that d-carnitine feeding increased glycolysis, protein metabolism and activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, l-carnitine can be physiologically utilised in fish, whereas d-carnitine is metabolised as a xenobiotic and induces lipotoxicity. d-carnitine-fed fish demonstrates increases in peroxisomal β-oxidation, glycolysis and amino acid degradation to maintain energy homeostasis. Therefore, d-carnitine is not recommended for use in farmed animals.
Chinese court cases have attained increasing importance in recent studies of Chinese law, but remain insufficiently understood. In this article, I demonstrate why Chinese court cases should be given more weighty consideration in comparative studies involving Chinese law as a comparator, and how such cases, particularly ‘Guiding Cases’ and ‘Gazette Cases’ (which are published in the official Gazette of the Supreme People's Court), should be properly dealt with and assessed in view of the complexity of the court case system in China.
Hierarchically porous poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA)/poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) monolithic composites were fabricated by nonsolvent-induced phase separation (NIPS) method without any template for the first time. A homogeneous hierarchical porous structure with relatively large specific surface area containing both mesopores and macropores was confirmed by pore size distribution plots and scanning electron microscopy images, respectively. Fourier transform infrared analysis (FTIR) revealed that PLLA and PCL were physically blended. Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) analysis further showed that the two components were physically blended but had a slight thermal compatibility. Meanwhile, X-ray diffraction (XRD) tests indicated that the addition of PCL hindered the crystallization of PLLA. Herein, the formation of the mesopores and macropores during the phase separation process was explained from the microscopic point of view according to the results of XRD and DSC. The present monolithic composites with hierarchically porous structures had promising prospect for applications of tissue engineering.
The continental shelf strata provide information regarding sea-level fluctuation and climate changes in the Quaternary period. A 5831.47-km-long high-resolution seismic profile and borehole core (YS01) were acquired to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the strata in South Yellow Sea (SYS) during the late Pleistocene. The strata recorded three transgression events (HI, HII, and HIII) and three stages of paleochannel development (LI, LII, and LIII). Based on the distribution, thickness, and volume of the strata formed in the three transgressions, we concluded that the scale of the three transgressions during the late Pleistocene was HIII, HI, and HII, in descending order. In addition, our data show that the Yellow River extended to the Yellow Sea Trough during the last glacial maximum. The influence of the tectonic framework on sedimentation in the SYS was completely concealed by sea-level changes and sediment supply in the late Pleistocene (~Marine Isotope Stage 5). Since then, the accommodation space, a crucial prerequisite for sedimentation, has been controlled solely by sea-level changes in the SYS. Furthermore, two “source to sink” models of the neritic shelf in the marine and terrestrial environments were established, including high sea-level and shelf-exposure models.
Permian faunal affinity in the Lhasa Block plays a critical role in reconstructing its paleogeographic evolution. Cisuralian and Guadalupian faunas have been described from the Lhasa Block, but very few Lopingian (late Permian) brachiopods have been reported so far. In this paper, a new diverse brachiopod fauna consisting of 17 species of 17 genera and an unidentifiable Orthotetoidea is described from the uppermost part of the Xiala Formation at the Aduogabu section in the central part of the Lhasa Block. The age of this fauna can be assigned to the Changhsingian (late Lopingian) as indicated by the associated foraminifers Colaniella parva (Colani, 1924) and Reichelina pulchra Miklukho-Maklay, 1954. Characteristic brachiopods include Spinomarginifera chengyaoyenensis Huang, 1932, Haydenella wenganensis (Huang, 1932), and Araxathyris cf. dilatatus Shen, He, and Zhu, 1992. They also generally suggest a Changhsingian age. Paleobiogeographically, this fauna is uniformly composed of typical Tethyan elements represented by Spinomarginifera Huang, 1932 and Haydenella Reed, 1944, and some cosmopolitan elements, but no typical cold-water taxa of Gondwanan affinity. This is in contrast to the contemporaneous brachiopod faunas from the Tethys Himalayan region that are characterized by typical cold-water taxa of Gondwanan affinity, e.g., Costiferina indica (Waagen, 1884), Retimarginifera xizangensis Shen et al., 2000, Neospirifer (Quadrospina) tibetensis Ding, 1962. Thus, it is strongly indicative that the Lhasa Block had drifted into a relatively warm-water regime during the Changhsingian. An analysis of the paleobiogeographic change of brachiopods in the Lhasa Block throughout the entire Permian further suggests that the Lhasa Block probably had rifted away from the northern peri-Gondwanan margin between the latest Cisuralian and middle Guadalupian, that is, the Neotethys Ocean had opened before middle Guadalupian.
Image stitching is important for the perception and manipulation of undersea robots. In spite of a well-developed technique, it is still challenging for undersea images because of their inevitable appearance ambiguity caused by the limited light in the undersea environment, and local disturbance caused by moving objects, ocean current, etc. To get a clean and stable background panorama in the undersea environment, this paper proposes an undersea image-stitching method by introducing graph-based registration and blending procedures. Specifically, in the registration procedure, matching the features in each undersea image pair is formulated and solved by graph matching, to incorporate the structural information between features. In the blending procedure, an energy function on the indirect graph Markov random field is proposed, which takes both image consistency and neighboring consistency into consideration. Coincidentally, both graph matching and energy minimization can be mathematically formulated by integer quadratic programming problems with different constraints; the recently proposed graduated nonconvexity and concavity procedure is used to optimize both problems. Experiments on both synthetic images and real-world undersea images witness the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Isolated gametes can be used to investigate fertilization mechanisms, and probe distant hybridization between different species. Pollen grains of wheat and Setaria viridis are tricellular, containing sperm cells at anthesis. Sperm from these plants were isolated by breaking open pollen grains in a osmotic solution. Wheat ovules were digested in an enzyme solution for 20 min, and then transferred to an isolation solution without enzymes to separate egg cells from ovules. The fusion of wheat egg cells with wheat and S. viridis sperm was conducted using an electro-fusion apparatus. Under suitable osmotic pressure (10% mannitol), calcium concentration of 0.001% (CaCl2·2H2O), and a 30–35 V alternating electric field for 15 s, egg cells and sperm adhered to each other and became arranged in a line. Electroporation of the plasma membrane of egg cells and sperm using a 300–500 V direct-current electric field (45 µs amplitude pulse) caused them to fuse.
The non-market values of changes in grassland management stimulated by changes in policies were estimated by choice modeling. Four-hundred twenty-seven residents of Hohhot city in Inner Mongolia were selected using the popular mobile phone application WeChat. Conditional logit (CL) and random parameter logit (RPL) models were estimated to analyze the preference of respondents for environmental and social attributes. Based on the preferred RPL model, the average per household willingness to pay over 10 years for the best policy outcome scenarios was estimated to be CNY892 (US$141). The total willingness to pay for this policy change, extrapolated to the population of Hohhot, was CNY208 million (US$33 million). The findings suggest that environmental and social outcomes are valuable to Chinese residents of a regional urban center. Such values should be viewed as a public financial base for market-based mechanisms for grassland protection both in China and internationally. WeChat proved to be convenient but required the application of extrapolation caveats relating to sample representation.
The oxidation behavior of two percentages of TiB + TiC reinforced Ti–6Al–4V composites derived from Ti–B4C–C and Ti–TiB2–TiC systems was investigated at 873–1073 K for 320 h in air. The oxidation weight gain curves of the (TiB + TiC)/Ti–6Al–4V composites at 973 K basically obey parabolic law, while those at 873 and 1073 K mainly follow linear law and parabolic-linear law, respectively. The oxide layers of the composites are predominately found to be rutile TiO2, Al2O3, and the mixture of V2O3 and V2O5. The oxidation layers turn thinner with increasing the nominal volume fraction of reinforcements in the (TiB + TiC)/Ti–6Al–4V composites. Moreover, according to the calculation results of reaction index (n) and effective activation energy (Qeff) and the analyses of cross-sections of the oxidation layers, the oxidation resistance ability of the composites from Ti–TiB2–TiC system is higher than that from Ti–B4C–C system while employing the same sintering temperature and nominal volume fraction of reinforcement.
The timing of the Holocene summer monsoon maximum (HSMM) in northeastern China has been much debated and more quantitative precipitation records are needed to resolve the issue. In the present study, Holocene precipitation and temperature changes were quantitatively reconstructed from a pollen record from the sediments of Tianchi Crater Lake in northeastern China using a plant functional type-modern analogue technique (PFT-MAT). The reconstructed precipitation record indicates a gradual increase during the early to mid-Holocene and a HSMM at ~5500–3100 cal yr BP, while the temperature record exhibits a divergent pattern with a marked rise in the early Holocene and a decline thereafter. The trend of reconstructed precipitation is consistent with that from other pollen records in northeastern China, confirming the relatively late occurrence of the HSMM in the region. However, differences in the onset of the HSMM within northeastern China are also evident. No single factor appears to be responsible for the late occurrence of the HSMM in northeastern China, pointing to a potentially complex forcing mechanism of regional rainfall in the East Asian monsoon region. We suggest that further studies are needed to understand the spatiotemporal pattern of the HSMM in the region.
With rapid growth of human population and decreasing labefaction of our environment, the usable fresh water is facing severe pollution and global shortage. Bio-inspired engineering and biotemplate-directed engineering thus offer great promise in clean water generation, including desalination, decontamination, and disinfection. This perspective begins with an introduction of solar energy-based interfacial evaporation system inspired by the natural systems of organisms, and then provides a review of the development and recent progress of the interfacial evaporation system for clean water generation. The long-term outlook in this field of clean water generation using bio-inspired interfacial systems is also discussed.
By an assignment we mean a mapping from a Choquet simplex
to probability measure-preserving systems obeying some natural restrictions. We prove that if
is an aperiodic assignment on a Choquet simplex
such that the set of extreme points
is a countable union
, where each set
is compact, zero-dimensional and the restriction of
to the Bauer simplex
can be ‘embedded’ in some topological dynamical system, then
can be ‘realized’ in a zero-dimensional system.
Although parasites and microbial pathogens are both detrimental to insects, little information is currently available on the mechanism involved in how parasitized hosts balance their immune responses to defend against microbial infections. We addressed this in the present study by comparing the immune response between unparasitized and parasitized pupae of the chrysomelid beetle, Octodonta nipae (Maulik), to Escherichia coli invasion. In an in vivo survival assay, a markedly reduced number of E. coli colony-forming units per microliter was detected in parasitized pupae at 12 and 24 h post-parasitism, together with decreased phagocytosis and enhanced bactericidal activity at 12 h post-parasitism. The effects that parasitism had on the mRNA expression level of selected antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of O. nipae pupae showed that nearly all transcripts of AMPs examined were highly upregulated during the early and late parasitism stages except defensin 2B, whose mRNA expression level was downregulated at 24 h post-parasitism. Further elucidation on the main maternal fluids responsible for alteration of the primary immune response against E. coli showed that ovarian fluid increased phagocytosis at 48 h post-injection. These results indicated that the enhanced degradation of E. coli in parasitized pupae resulted mainly from the elevated bactericidal activity without observing the increased transcripts of target AMPs. This study contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the immune responses of a parasitized host to bacterial infections.
Fertilization in higher plants induces many structural and physiological changes in the fertilized egg, and represents the transition from the haploid female gamete to the diploid zygote, the first cell of a sporophyte. Some changes are induced extremely rapidly following fusion with sperm cells and are the preclusions of egg activation. This review focuses on the early changes that occur in the egg after fusion with sperm cells, but before nuclear fusion. Reported changes include cell shrinkage, cell wall formation, polarity change, oscillation in Ca2+ concentration, and DNA synthesis. In addition, the current understanding of egg activation is summarized and the possible functional relevance of the changes is explored.
The giant panda, native to mountains of south-west China, is one of the world's rarest bear species and is subject to considerable conservation effort. In captivity, the proportion of twins accounts for 54% of the total number of births. To date, little is known about zygosity in panda populations — specifically, the proportion of monozygotic and dizygotic twins. In this study, we used 10 microsatellite markers for reliable zygosity testing, and the probability of monozygotic twins was 99.963% when all 10 markers were concordant. Out of 43 studied twin pairs, no MZ twins were found, indicating that there may be no identical panda twins (or the incidence is very low). We speculate that the fertilized eggs of giant pandas do not have the capability to split into two identical embryos, or that this ability is very poor, which is likely due to delayed implantation that is common in bear species. The results of this study deepen our understanding of giant panda breeding, yield insight into panda twins’ likely mechanism of formation, and reduce the uncertainty of individual identity in wild population surveys.