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Biochar has received attention due to its potential for mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration in soil and improving soil quality and crop productivity. This study evaluated the effects of rice straw biochar (RSB) and rice husk ash (RHA) each applied at 5 Mg ha−1 and four N levels (0, 40, 80, and 120 kg ha−1) on soil fertility, growth, and yield of rice and wheat for three consecutive rice–wheat rotations. RSB significantly increased electrical conductivity, dehydrogenase activity, and P and K contents when compared to control (no amendment) up to 7.5 cm soil depth. Both RSB and RHA did not influence shoot N concentration in wheat plant but significantly increased P and K concentrations at 60 days after sowing. Grain yields of both rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB as compared to control (no amendment) and RHA treatments. While the highest grain yields of rice and wheat were observed at 120 kg N ha−1 in RHA and no biochar-treated plots, a significant increase in grain yields was observed at 80 kg N ha−1 in RSB treatment, thereby saving 40 kg N ha−1 in each crop. Both agronomic and recovery N efficiencies in rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB-amended soil compared to control. Significant positive correlations were observed between soil N, P, and K concentrations and total N, P, and K concentrations in aboveground biomass of wheat at 60 days after sowing. This study showed the potential benefits of applying RSB for improving soil fertility and yields of rice and wheat in a rice–wheat system.
This paper presents the design and analysis of a miniaturized, coplanar waveguide-fed ultra-wideband monopole on-chip antenna with band-notch characteristics. By incorporating a “U”-shaped slot in the feedline, a band-notch is realized in the frequency range of 7.9–8.4 GHz to avoid interference from the X-band uplink satellite communication system. The proposed antenna achieved good voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) characteristics with VSWR value <2 for the frequency range of 2.5–20.1 GHz excluding the band-notched frequencies. The fractional bandwidth and bandwidth ratio are obtained as 156% and 8.04:1, respectively. Dominant factors that affect the center frequency and bandwidth of the notched band are thoroughly investigated. This paper addresses both frequency as well as time domain behavior of the proposed structure. Standard 675 µm thick, high resistive silicon substrate (ρ≥8 kΩ-cm, εr = 11.8, and tan δ = 0.01) is used to design the proposed compact antenna structure with a layout area of 8.5 × 11.5 mm2. Fabrication process steps along with simulated and measured data are presented here. A close analogy between simulated and measured data is observed.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2014 to 2017 in 13 organised pig farms located in eight states of India (Northern, North-Eastern and Southern regions) to identify the risk factors, pathotype and antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia coli associated with pre- and post-weaning piglet diarrhoea. The data collected through questionnaire survey were used to identify the risk factors by univariable analysis, in which weaning status, season, altitude, ventilation in the shed, use of heater/cooler for temperature control in the sheds, feed type, water source, and use of disinfectant, were the potential risk factors. In logistic regression model, weaning and source of water were the significant risk factors. The piglet diarrhoea prevalence was almost similar across the regions. Of the 909 faecal samples collected (North – 310, North-East – 194 and South – 405) for isolation of E. coli, pathotyping and antibiotic screening, 531 E. coli were isolated in MacConkey agar added with cefotaxime, where 345 isolates were extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producers and were positive for blaCTX-M-1 (n = 147), bla TEM (n = 151), qnrA (n = 98), qnrB (n = 116), qnrS (n = 53), tetA (n = 46), tetB (n = 48) and sul1 (n = 54) genes. Multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) index revealed that 14 (2.64%) isolates had MAR index of 1. On the virulence screening of E. coli, 174 isolates harboured alone or combination of Stx1, Stx2, eaeA, hlyA genes. The isolates from diarrhoeic and post-weaning samples harboured higher number of virulence genes than non-diarrhoeic and pre-weaning. Alleviating the risk factors might reduce the piglet diarrhoea cases. The presence of multidrug-resistant and ESBL-producing pathogenic E. coli in piglets appears a public health concern.
A cross-sectional study on six dairy farms was conducted to ascertain the occurrence of carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli in calves. Two-hundred and seventy-nine isolates of E. coli were recovered from 90 faecal samples from apparently healthy (45) and diarrhoeal (45) calves. The isolates were screened for phenotypic susceptibility to carbapenems and production of metallo β-lactamase, as well as five carbapenemase resistance genes by PCR, and overexpression of efflux pumps. Eighty-one isolates (29.03%) were resistant to at least one of three carbapenem antibiotics [meropenem (23.30%), imipenem (2.15%) and ertapenem (1.43%)], and one isolate was positive for the blaVIM gene which was located on an Incl1 plasmid of a novel sequence type (ST 297) by multilocus sequence typing. The majority (83.95%) of isolates had an active efflux pump. Calves housed on concrete floors were approximately seven times more likely to acquire meropenem-resistant isolates than those housed on earthen floors (95% CI 1.27–41.54). In India, carbapenem drugs are not used in food animal treatment, hence carbapenem-resistant strains in calves possibly originate from the natural environment or human contact and is of public health importance. To our knowledge, this is the first report of blaVIM carbapenemases gene in calves from India.
Grewia tenax locally known as ‘Gangerun’, is an important multipurpose underutilized shrub and potentially threaten species of the Thar Desert of India. Owing to its importance, naturally available germplasm was collected and evaluated for its sustainable utilization in future. Data on individual mother plant, seed characters and soil profile were investigated. Habitat occurrence of G. tenax was found in patches with dominant association of Euphorbia caducifolia across the four districts of western Rajasthan. Individual plant on unprotected area portrayed far lower average height (0.95 m) and canopy area (1.75 m2) than protected area (2.63 m and 13.89 m2) signifying level of browsing pressure on this species in Jaisalmer. Soil samples belonging to Pali region have high organic carbon and low electrical conductivity content than Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. The statistical analysis of seed characters revealed the presence of high coefficient of variation (%) in 100-seed weight (HSW; 27.36) followed by seed length (SL; 8.06) and least in seed breadth (SB; 5.85). The range and mean values of HSW, SL, SB and length:breadth ratio (LBR) were (2.02–7.00 and 3.34 g), (4.36–6.15 and 5.36 mm), (3.73–4.68 and 4.25 mm) and (1.11–1.44 and 1.27), respectively. Significantly positive correlation was observed between SL and LBR (0.73) followed by HSW and SL (0.66). Along with these findings, its economic importance, utilization and conservation are detailed in this paper as to hasten further research on its various aspects for its successful conservation and utilization.
A simple design for triple-band circularly polarized (CP) wide slot antennas is proposed and experimentally investigated. The proposed antenna having a microstrip-fed rectangular patch with T-shaped notch for triple-band operation and a modified wide square slot on ground plane for CP operation. The measured 10 dB reflection bandwidths are 1.24% (≈340 MHz from 2.56 to 2.9 GHz), 9.63% (≈430 MHz from 4.25 to 4.68 GHz), and 5.34% (≈490 MHz from 8.93 to 9.42 GHz). The generated 3 dB axial ratio bandwidths of the proposed antenna are 7.54, 8.98, and 1.65% at operating frequencies around 2.65, 4.45, and 9.09 GHz, respectively. The measured peak gains within the 3 dB axial ratio bands are 3.03, 3.5, and 5.64 dBi. The simulated and measured results for the return loss, axial ratio, and antenna gain show a good agreement, which validate the antenna design.
Declining pulse production has caused wide concern in recent years. A field experiment was conducted to investigate effects of balance fertilizers based on soil test values and targeted yield equations on soil biological activities, soil quality, nutrient acquisition and grain yield of lentil. Treatments included the use of farmyard manure (FYM), bio-inoculants and inorganic fertilizers at different rates and combinations. The results revealed significant improvement in nodulation, microbial counts, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soil respiration, soil enzymes and soil organic carbon (SOC) with integrated approaches (i.e. fertilizer plus FYM or bio-inoculants); these improvements led to achievement of the specific target yield of 1.50 t/ha. Although the highest yield was achieved with fertilizers applied for a target yield of 2.0 t/ha, there was significant decline in nodulation, microbial counts, MBC, soil respiration, soil enzymes, SOC and soil quality. Correlation between soil quality index (SQI) and grain yield suggested a significant influence of balanced fertilization based on soil tests and target yield. Principal component analysis revealed the average contribution of soil quality indicators towards SQI was in descending order of SOC > acid phosphatase activity > total culturable fungi > available phosphorus > BMC, which are crucial for sustainable lentil production in alluvial soils.
To determine the diagnostic performance of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in the assessment of patients with suspected, but not clinically evident, cholesteatoma.
A retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database of non-echo-planar diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging studies (using a half-Fourier single-shot turbo-spin echo sequence) was conducted. Clinical records were retrospectively reviewed to determine indications for imaging and operative findings. Seventy-eight investigations in 74 patients with suspected cholesteatoma aged 5.7–79.2 years (mean, 41.7 years) were identified. Operative confirmation was available in 44 ears. Diagnostic accuracy of the imaging technique was calculated using operative findings as a ‘gold standard’. Sensitivity of the investigation was examined via comparison with clinically evident cholesteatoma.
The accuracy of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in assessment of suspected cholesteatoma was 63.6 per cent. The imaging technique was significantly less accurate in assessment of suspected cholesteatoma than clinically evident disease (p < 0.001).
Computed tomography and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging may be complementary in assessment of suspected cholesteatoma, but should be used with caution, and clinical judgement is paramount.
The study proposes a semi-analytical model for the pulse compression of two co-propagating intense laser beams having Gaussian intensity profile in the temporal domain. The high power laser beams create the relativistic nonlinearity during propagation in plasma, which leads to the modification of the refractive index profile. The co-propagating laser beams get self- compressed by virtue of group velocity dispersion and induced nonlinearity. The induced nonlinearity in the plasma broadens the frequency spectrum of the pulse via self-phase modulation, turn to shorter the pulse duration and enhancement of laser beam intensity. The nonlinear Schrodinger equations were set up for co-propagating laser beams in plasmas and have been solved in Matlab by considering paraxial approximation. The propagation characteristics of both laser beams inside plasma are divided into three regions through the critical divider curve, which has been plotted between pulse width τ01 and laser beam power P01. Based on the preferred value of critical parameters, these regions are oscillatory compression, oscillatory broadening, and steady broadening. In findings, it is observed that the compression of the laser beam depends on the combined intensity of both beams, plasma density, and initial pulse width.
Immunoactivation depends upon the antigen potential to modulate T-cell repertoires. The present study has enumerated the effect of 61 kDa recombinant Leishmania donovani co-factor-independent phosphoglycerate mutase (rLd-iPGAM) on mononuclear cells of healthy and treated visceral leishmaniasis subjects as well as on THP-1 cell line. rLd-iPGAM stimulation induced higher expression of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in the phagocytic cell, its receptor and CD69 on T-cell subsets. These cellular activations resulted in upregulation of host-protective cytokines IL-2, IL-12, IL-17, tumour necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ, and downregulation of IL-4, IL-10 and tumour growth factor-β. This immune polarization was also evidenced by upregulation of nuclear factor-κ light-chain enhancer of activated B cells p50 and regulated expression of suppressor of mother against decapentaplegic protein-4. rLd-iPGAM stimulation also promoted lymphocyte proliferation and boosted the leishmaniacidal activity of macrophages by upregulating reactive oxygen species. It also induced 1·8-fold higher release of nitric oxide (NO) by promoting the transcription of inducible nitric oxide synthase gene. Besides, in silico analysis suggested the presence of major histocompatibility complex class I and II restricted epitopes, which can proficiently trigger CD8+ and CD4+ cells, respectively. This study reports rLd-iPGAM as an effective immunoprophylactic agent, which can be used in future vaccine design.
Unavailability of irrigation water for early sowing has remained a constant problem in cold arid deserts of Ladakh. In order to get a solution to this problem, a 2-yr farmers’ participatory research trial with best bet agronomic management on artificial glacier water harvesting technology was conducted. The technology involves collecting water from natural glaciers that melt during late December. The water is diverted toward a shed constructed with stone embankments set up at regular intervals. The area is chosen where there is minimum interference of solar radiation, generally between two mountain slopes or ridge that is on the leeward side. The melted water is that melts from the natural glacier impeded by the embankments and get frozen here. This frozen water starts melting in late March and is used for both pre sowing and initial crop water requirement. It also ensures early sowing of wheat by creating additional 45-day window which leads to introduction of long- and medium-duration wheat varieties to replace decades old locally grown short-duration varieties. The work was initiated with a benchmark survey of 100 farmers to get an understanding of present irrigation scenario, crop management practices and date of sowing. Data from 99 farmer participating trial of wheat conducted after or from bench mark survey clearly indicated that the effect of water shortage can be seen on yield and yield attributing characters due to unavailability of pre sowing irrigation and water requirement at imperative growth stages and may also lead to terminal heat stress in wheat crop. Out of total number of irrigations applied, initial two irrigations can be compensated by artificial glacier water harvesting technique, leading to a revolution in the agriculture scenario of the tribal population by introduction of long- and medium-duration wheat varieties in cold arid desert of Ladakh for the very first time. It was observed that wheat seeding done in first fortnight of April gave better yields in comparison to late seeded wheat. Moreover, the long-duration varieties (LDVs) or medium-duration varieties (MDVs) sown under late condition gave better yield in comparison to locally grown short-duration varieties sown at same time. Yield potential of LDVs and MDVs of wheat under late sowing was found quite low in comparison to early-sown wheat, still when compared with the performance of locally grown wheat the yields were more even if the local varieties were sown early. The outcome of this study will help the farmers of tribal, cold arid community in harvesting better wheat yields by timely sowing of the wheat crop accompanied with better bet agronomic management practices. Government initiative is further required to ensure better outreach of complete crop management strategies to the tribal farming community of the region in order to ensure food security and improve their socioeconomic status.
Influenza A(H1N1) viruses of the 2009 pandemic (A(H1N1)pdm09) continue to cause outbreaks in the post-pandemic period. During January to May 2015, an upsurge of influenza was recorded that resulted in high fatality in central India. Genetic lineage, mutations in the hemagglutinin (HA) gene and infection by quasi-species are reported to affect disease severity. The objective of this study is to present the molecular and epidemiological trends during the 2015 influenza outbreak in central India. All the referred samples were subjected to qRT–PCR for diagnosis. HA gene sequencing (23 survivors and 24 non-survivors) and cloning were performed and analyzed using Molecular Evolutionary Genomic Analyzer (MEGA 5·05). Of the 3625 tested samples, 1607 (44·3%) were positive for influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, of which 228 (14·2%) individuals succumbed to death. A significant trend was observed in positivity (P = 0·003) and mortality (P < 0·0001) with increasing age. The circulating A(H1N1)pdm09 virus was characterized as belonging to clade-6B. Clinically significant mutations were detected. Patients infected with the quasi-species of the virus had a greater risk of death (P = 0·009). This study proposes a robust molecular and clinical surveillance program for the detection and characterization of the virus, along with prompt treatment protocols to prevent outbreaks.
Plasmodium knowlesi has risen in importance as a zoonotic parasite that has been causing regular episodes of malaria throughout South East Asia. The P. knowlesi genome sequence generated in 2008 highlighted and confirmed many similarities and differences in Plasmodium species, including a global view of several multigene families, such as the large SICAvar multigene family encoding the variant antigens known as the schizont-infected cell agglutination proteins. However, repetitive DNA sequences are the bane of any genome project, and this and other Plasmodium genome projects have not been immune to the gaps, rearrangements and other pitfalls created by these genomic features. Today, long-read PacBio and chromatin conformation technologies are overcoming such obstacles. Here, based on the use of these technologies, we present a highly refined de novo P. knowlesi genome sequence of the Pk1(A+) clone. This sequence and annotation, referred to as the ‘MaHPIC Pk genome sequence’, includes manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family with 136 full-length members categorized as type I or II. This sequence provides a framework that will permit a better understanding of the SICAvar repertoire, selective pressures acting on this gene family and mechanisms of antigenic variation in this species and other pathogens.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Demodex canis infestation in dogs remains one of the main challenges in veterinary dermatology. The exact pathogenesis of canine demodicosis is unknown but an aberration in immune status is considered very significant. No studies have underpinned the nexus between induction of demodicosis and neural immunosuppressive pathways so far. We have evaluated the involvement of cholinergic pathways in association with cytokines regulation as an insight into the immuno-pathogenesis of canine demodicosis in the present study. Remarkable elevations in circulatory immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-10 and cholinesterase activity were observed in dogs with demodicosis. Simultaneously, remarkable reduction in circulatory pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-alpha level was observed in dogs with demodicosis. Findings of the present study evidently suggest that Demodex mites might be affecting the cholinergic pathways to induce immunosuppression in their host and then proliferate incessantly in skin microenvironment to cause demodicosis.
Adverse psychosocial working environments characterized by job strain (the combination of high demands and low control at work) are associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms among employees, but evidence on clinically diagnosed depression is scarce. We examined job strain as a risk factor for clinical depression.
We identified published cohort studies from a systematic literature search in PubMed and PsycNET and obtained 14 cohort studies with unpublished individual-level data from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium. Summary estimates of the association were obtained using random-effects models. Individual-level data analyses were based on a pre-published study protocol.
We included six published studies with a total of 27 461 individuals and 914 incident cases of clinical depression. From unpublished datasets we included 120 221 individuals and 982 first episodes of hospital-treated clinical depression. Job strain was associated with an increased risk of clinical depression in both published [relative risk (RR) = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47–2.13] and unpublished datasets (RR = 1.27, 95% CI 1.04–1.55). Further individual participant analyses showed a similar association across sociodemographic subgroups and after excluding individuals with baseline somatic disease. The association was unchanged when excluding individuals with baseline depressive symptoms (RR = 1.25, 95% CI 0.94–1.65), but attenuated on adjustment for a continuous depressive symptoms score (RR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.81–1.32).
Job strain may precipitate clinical depression among employees. Future intervention studies should test whether job strain is a modifiable risk factor for depression.
Brain Metastases (BM) represent a leading cause of cancer mortality. While metastatic lesions contain subclones derived from their primary lesion, their functional characterization has been limited by a paucity of preclinical models accurately recapitulating the stages of metastasis. This work describes the isolation of a unique subset of metastatic stem-like cells from primary human patient samples of BM, termed brain metastasis initiating cells (BMICs). Utilizing these BMICs we have established a novel patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model of BM that recapitulates the entire metastatic cascade, from primary tumor initiation to micro-metastasis and macro-metastasis formation in the brain. We then comprehensively interrogated human BM to identify genetic regulators of BMICs using in vitro and in vivo RNA interference screens, and validated hits using both our novel PDX model as well as primary clinical BM specimens. We identified SPOCK1 and TWIST2 as novel BMIC regulators, where in our model SPOCK1 regulated BMIC self-renewal and tumor initiation, and TWIST2 specifically regulated cell migration from lung to brain. A prospective cohort of primary lung cancer specimens was used to establish that SPOCK1 and TWIST2 were only expressed in patients who ultimately developed BM, thus establishing both clinical and functional utility for these gene products. This work offers the first comprehensive preclinical model of human brain metastasis for further characterization of therapeutic targets, identification of predictive biomarkers, and subsequent prophylactic treatment of patients most likely to develop BM. By blocking this process, metastatic lung cancer would effectively become a localized, more manageable disease.
To evaluate the success rate of dry and wet temporalis fascia grafts in type I underlay tympanoplasty.
A prospective, randomised study was conducted. One hundred adult patients (males and females) with chronic suppurative otitis media (mucosal type) were divided into 2 groups of 50 each: one group underwent dry graft tympanoplasty and the other underwent wet graft tympanoplasty. Fibroblast count was calculated in dry and wet grafts.
The dry graft and wet graft groups had overall surgical success rates of 82 and 90 per cent, respectively; this finding was not statistically significant. A statistically significant high fibroblast count was observed in wet grafts, but it did not correlate with surgical success.
A dry or wet temporalis fascia graft does not influence the outcome of tympanoplasty type I.