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Dietary protein adjustments can reduce environmental impact and economic losses in production systems. However, we lack information regarding nitrogen (N) metabolism and protein requirements for maintenance of crossbred animals such as Red Norte breed, precluding a precise dietary management. The objective was to evaluate the effect of increasing dietary CP levels (9%, 11%, 13%, 15% and 17%) on intake, digestibility and N balance, as well as to estimate the metabolizable protein requirements for maintenance (MPm) of growing Red Norte bulls. Thirty five animals averaging 280 ± 4.0 kg BW were fed during 45 days in a 60 : 40 forage : concentrate ratio diet in which the last 5 days were used for the digestibility trial. Intakes of CP and non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFCs) and feed efficiency linearly increased (P < 0.05) as CP levels increased, while DM, NDF, nitrogen efficiency use and ether extract were not influenced by CP levels (P > 0.05). Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, ether extract, NFC and CP as well as metabolizable energy intake linearly increased (P < 0.05), and true digestibility of CP was not affected (P > 0.05) by treatments. Urinary N and retained N linearly increased (P < 0.05) with the increase in dietary N. The MPm were estimated as 4.46 g/BW0.75 and the efficiency of use of MPm was 0.673. In conclusion, obtained MPm requirements of growing Red Norte bulls are greater than the values reported in literature for Zebu cattle and dietary CP levels of 15% and 17% exhibited great responses for growing Red Norte cattle. However, a cost-benefit evaluation should be done before its use.
This study reports the effects of a high-fat (HF) diet on the iron (Fe) status of growing rats over 8 weeks. Tissue Fe levels were analysed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, and whole-body adiposity was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Histopathology and morphometry of adipose tissue were performed. Liver homogenates were used for measuring ferroportin (Fpn)-1 protein levels by immunoblotting, and transcript levels were used for Fe genes measured by real-time PCR. Tissue Fe pools were fit to a compartmental biokinetic model in which Fe was assessed using 14 compartments and 27 transfer constants (kj,i from tissue “i” to tissue “j”) adapted from the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) 69. Ten kj,i were calculated from the experimental data using nonlinear regression, and 17 were estimated by allometry according to the formula kj,i = a · Mb. Validation of the model was carried out by comparing predicted and analysed Fe pool sizes in red blood cells (RBCs), the liver and the spleen. Body adiposity was negatively associated with serum Fe levels and positively associated with liver Fe stores. An inferred increase in Fe transfer from bone marrow to the liver paralleled higher hepatic Fe concentrations and ferritin heavy-chain mRNA levels in the HF diet-fed animals, suggesting that liver Fe accumulation occurred at least in part due to a favoured liver RBC uptake. If this feeding condition were to be prolonged, impaired Fe decompartmentalization may occur, ultimately resulting in dysmetabolic Fe overload.
With still limited information on vitamin requirements and considering that many commercial practices adopt dietary vitamin levels above the values suggested by nutritional tables, this study aimed to assess the effect of administering vitamin supplementation to sows in gestation and lactation and to their litters on the reproductive performance and body condition of the sows and on the performance and immune profile of the litters until slaughter. The trial was split into two phases. The first phase used 104 sows, assigned to be randomized to blocks according to parity, submitted until 21 days of lactation to two treatments: control–standard (standard levels of vitamins) and test–elevated (elevated levels of vitamins). Each sow and its respective farrow were considered an experimental unit. The sows underwent evaluations of body condition score, back fat thickness and reproductive performance. In the second phase, 60 barrows and 60 gilts at 21 days of age and mean initial weight of 5.33 ± 1.5 kg until slaughter at 164 days of age. The piglets were assigned to randomized blocks according to the weight and sex of the animals in a 2 × 2 factorial model, with 10 replicates per treatment, where a pen with three animals represented the experimental unit. Following the same treatments of the first phase, the piglets were evaluated for daily weight gain, daily feed intake, feed conversion, mortality rate and humoral immune response. Vitamin supplementation had no positive effects on the reproductive parameters or body composition of sows. However, it positively impacted the performance of the litters in the early nursery stage, but did not lead to superior effects on the immune responses to vaccination against circovirus or mycoplasma.
Many school-based interventions for obesity prevention have been proposed with positive changes in behaviour, but with unsatisfactory results on weight change. The objective was to verify the effectiveness of a combined school- and home-based obesity prevention programme on excessive weight gain in adolescents. Teachers delivered the school-based primary prevention programme to fifth- and sixth-graders (nine schools, forty-eight control classes, forty-nine intervention classes), which included encouraging healthy eating habits and physical activity. A subgroup of overweight or obese adolescents also received a home-based secondary prevention programme delivered by community health professionals. Schools were randomised to intervention or control group. Intent-to-treat analysis used mixed models for repeated continuous measures and considered the cluster effect. The main outcomes were changes in BMI and percentage body fat (%body fat) after one school-year of intervention and follow-up. Against our hypothesis, BMI increased more in the intervention group than in the control group (Δ = 0·3 kg/m2; P = 0·05) with a greater decrease in %body fat among boys (Δ = –0·6 %; P = 0·03) in the control group. The intervention group increased physical activity by 12·5 min per week compared with the control group. Female adolescents in the intervention group ate healthier items more frequently than in the control group. The subgroup that received both the school and home interventions had an increase in %body fat than in the control group (Δ = 0·89 %; P = 0·01). In the present study, a behavioural change led to a small increase in physical activity and healthy eating habits but also to an overall increase in food intake.
Vitamins play an essential role in broiler nutrition. They are fundamental for normal metabolic and physiological process, and their requirements for poultry are not fixed and can be affected by multiple factors. In contrast, mycotoxins are a challenging issue because they hinder performance and the immune system. Vitamin supplementation above minimum requirements would permit improvement in productive potential, health, bone and meat quality in a situation of mycotoxin challenge. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of optimum vitamin nutrition in diets contaminated with aflatoxin in broilers from 1 to 44 days of age. A total of 1800 Cobb 500 male chicks were randomized to 15 sets of eight treatment groups, each containing 15 birds using a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design (commercial vitamin levels and high vitamin levels, two levels of aflatoxin – 0 and 0.5 ppm with binder levels of 0 and 10 000 mg/kg). The mash diets were corn and soybean meal based, formulated according to commercial practices. Feed intake, weight gain and feed conversion were analyzed for birds from 1 to 44 days of age. To determine carcass characteristics (carcass yield, breast yield and leg yield) and black bone syndrome, two birds were slaughtered from each group at 45 days. Other analyses included breast tenderness, water loss by dripping and malonaldehyde concentrations. The results demonstrated that broilers that were fed high levels of vitamins showed better weight gain, feed conversion, carcass yield and breast yield than broilers that were fed diets with commercial vitamin levels (P < 0.05); also, broilers that were fed diets containing 0.5 ppm aflatoxin had lower weight gain, carcass yield and breast yield (P < 0.05). The use of 10 000 mg/kg of binder improved (P < 0.05) feed conversion throughout the rearing period. We conclude that aflatoxin negatively affects performance and carcass yield; however, feeding optimum vitamin nutrition improved these performance traits.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
Hepatocytes constitute the majority of hepatic cells, and play a key role in controlling systemic innate immunity, via pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) and by synthesizing complement and acute phase proteins. Leishmania infantum, a protozoan parasite that causes human and canine leishmaniasis, infects liver by establishing inside the Kupffer cells. The current study proposes the elucidation of the immune response generated by dog hepatocytes when exposed to L. infantum. Additionally, the impact of adding leishmanicidal compound, meglumine antimoniate (MgA), to parasite-exposed hepatocytes was also addressed. L. infantum presents a high tropism to hepatocytes, establishing strong membrane interactions. The possibility of L. infantum internalization by hepatocytes was raised, but not confirmed. Hepatocytes were able to recognize parasite presence, inducing PRRs [nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)1, NOD2 and Toll-like receptor (TLR)2] gene expression and generating a mix pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine response. Reduction of cytochrome P 450s enzyme activity was also observed concomitant with the inflammatory response. Addition of MgA increased NOD2, TLR4 and interleukin 10 gene expression, indicating an immunomodulatory role for MgA. Hepatocytes seem to have a major role in coordinating liver's innate immune response against L. infantum infection, activating inflammatory mechanisms, but always balancing the inflammatory response in order to avoid cell damage.
Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.
An experiment was conducted to evaluate whether dietary reduction and sex class affect nutrient intake, digestibility, purine derivative (PD) excretion and heat tolerance coefficient in lambs. Thirty-five hair lambs (14.5 ± 0.89 kg initial body weight (BW), 2 months old) were used in a completely randomized study with a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, three sex classes (11 intact males, 12 castrated males and 12 females) and three levels of feeding (ad libitum, 300 and 600 g/kg/dry matter (DM) feed restriction) for 120 days. Intact and castrated males showed higher intakes of DM and neutral detergent fibre corrected for ash and protein (NDFap) than females. At 300 g/kg/DM feed restriction, NDFap digestibility was lower in intact males than in other classes; however, no differences were found between classes when subjected to ad libitum feeding or 600 g/kg/DM. The basal endogenous nitrogen and endogenous urinary losses were highest in intact males. Allantoin, uric acid and PD excretion, as well as PD absorption and microbial protein production were lowest in the animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. Microbial protein synthesis (MPS) was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The lowest temperatures were observed in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. The heat tolerance coefficient was highest in animals subjected to 600 g/kg/DM feed restriction. In conclusion, feed restriction reduced the time spent on feeding and rumination but increased the digestibility of DM. The restriction level of 600 g/kg/DM maximized MPS and infrared thermography indicated an elevated heat tolerance coefficient.
The aim of this study was to characterise changes in lean soft tissue (LST) and examine the contributions of energy intake, physical activity and breast-feeding practices to LST changes at 3 and 9 months postpartum. We examined current weight, LST (via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), dietary intake (3-d food diary), physical activity (Baecke questionnaire) and breast-feeding practices (3-d breast-feeding diary) in forty-nine women aged 32·9 (sd 3·8) years. Changes in LST varied from −2·51 to +2·50 kg with twenty-nine women gaining LST (1·1 (sd 0·7) kg, P<0·001) and twenty women losing LST (−0·9 (sd 0·8) kg, P<0·001). Energy intake (133 (SD 42) v. 109 (SD 33) kJ/kg, P=0·019) and % kJ from fat at 3 months postpartum was higher in women who gained LST at 9 months postpartum (gained LST=34 (sd 5) % kJ; lost LST=29 (sd 4) % kJ, P=0·002). Women who gained LST reported breast-feeding their infants more frequently (gained LST=8 (sd 3) feeds/d; lost LST=5 (sd 1) feeds/d, P=0·014) and for more time per d (gained LST=115 (sd 78) min/d; lost LST=59 (sd 34) min/d, P=0·016) at 9 months postpartum. Energy intake and % kJ from fat at 3 months were significant predictors of LST gain (β=0·08 (se 0·04) and 0·24 (se 0·09), respectively). This suggests that gain in LST may be associated with more frequent and longer episodes of breast-feeding at 9 months postpartum as well as dietary intake early in the postpartum period.
Moringa oleifera seeds are currently being used as a livestock feed across tropical regions of the world due to its availability and palatability. However, limited knowledge exists on the effects of the raw seeds on ruminant metabolism. As such, the rumen stimulation technique was used to evaluate the effects of substituting increasing concentrations of ground Moringa seeds (0, 100, 200 and 400 g/kg concentrate dry matter (DM)) in the diet on rumen fermentation and methane production. Two identical, Rusitec apparatuses, each with eight fermenters were used with the first 8 days used for adaptation and days 9 to 16 used for measurements. Fermenters were fed a total mixed ration with Urochloa brizantha as the forage. Disappearance of DM, CP, NDF and ADF linearly decreased (P<0.01) with increasing concentrations of Moringa seeds in the diet. Total volatile fatty acid production and the acetate to propionate ratio were also linearly decreased (P<0.01). However, only the 400 g/kg (concentrate DM basis) treatment differed (P<0.01) from the control. Methane production (%), total microbial incorporation of 15N and total production of microbial N linearly decreased (P<0.01) as the inclusion of Moringa seeds increased. Though the inclusion of Moringa seeds in the diet decreased CH4 production, this arose from an unfavourable decrease in diet digestibility and rumen fermentation parameters.
Minerals are limiting factors in animal production, and the knowledge of mineral requirements for livestock is crucial to the success of a commercial enterprise. Hair sheep may have different mineral requirements than those presents by the international committees. A study was carried to evaluate the net calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), potassium (K), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu) requirements for the growth and maintenance of Brazilian Somali lambs. A total of 48 hair lambs (13.5±1.8 kg) aged 60±15 days were allocated to individual pens. Eight animals were slaughtered at the beginning of the experiment to serve as a reference group to estimate initial empty BW (EBW) and initial body composition. The remaining lambs (n=40) were assigned to a completely randomized design with eight replications in five levels of metabolizable energy (ME; 4.93, 8.65, 9.41, 10.12 and 11.24 MJ/kg DM). When the lambs of a given treatment reached an average BW of 28 kg, they were slaughtered. Initial body composition was used to calculate the retention of minerals. Mineral body composition was fit using a logarithmic equation in the form of a nonlinear model. The maintenance requirements were estimated from regressions of mineral retention in the empty body on mineral intake. The body mineral concentration decreased in lambs with a BW ranging from 15 to 30 kg. The net mineral requirements (100 g/day of average daily gain (ADG)) decreased from 0.52 to 0.51 g for Ca, 0.28 to 0.23 g for P, 0.02 to 0.02 g for Mg, 0.09 to 0.08 g for Na, 0.11 to 0.09 g for K, 1.30 to 1.08 mg for Zn, 3.77 to 3.22 mg for Fe, 0.08 to 0.06 mg for Mn and 0.09 to 0.08 mg for Cu when BW increased from 15 to 30 kg. The daily net requirements for maintenance per kilogram of BW were 30.13 mg of Ca, 27.58 mg of P, 1.26 mg of Mg, 4.12 mg of Na, 8.11 mg of K, 0.133 mg of Zn, 0.271 mg of Fe, 0.002 mg of Mn and 0.014 mg of Cu. The results of this study indicate that the net mineral requirements for weight gain and maintenance in Brazilian Somali lambs are different than the values that are commonly recommended by the main evaluation systems for feed and nutritional requirements for sheep. These results for the nutritional requirements of minerals may help to optimize mineral supply for hair sheep.
Forage is the primary feed source for livestock in tropical regions and energy is one of the most important nutrients for ruminant nutrition. The effects of harvest management of Marandu palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations were evaluated. A plot (Experiment 1) and a greenhouse study (Experiment 2) were conducted in 2013–14. In Experiment 1, treatments were the factorial arrangement of two harvest times and two vertical canopy layers (upper and intermediate), distributed in a completely randomized design with five replicates. In Experiment 2, treatments were the factorial arrangement of six harvest times and two morphological fractions (leaf blade and pseudostem). In both experiments, NSC concentration increased during the day. Upper and intermediate canopy layers had greater NSC concentration at 15.00 than 06.00 h during spring and summer. In addition, the magnitude of NSC increase was greater in the upper than intermediate canopy layer and in spring than summer. Marandu palisade grass shows greater digestibility in the afternoon than morning, representing an opportunity to optimize energy concentration through harvest management.
This study evaluated the effects of diet containing taro flour on hormone levels and the seminiferous tubules morphology of rats. After weaning, the male rats were divided into two groups (n=12 each): control group (CG) treated with control diet and taro group (TG), fed with 25% taro flour for 90 days. Food, caloric intake, mass and body length were evaluated at experiment end. Testis followed the standard histological processing. Immunostaining was performed using an anti-vimentin antibody to identify Sertoli cells. In histomorphometry, total diameter, total area, epithelial height, luminal height and luminal area were analyzed. The testosterone levels were performed using the radioimmunoassay method. Group TG presented (P<0.05): increase in mass, body length, testicular weight, histomorphometric parameters and hormonal levels. Food intake, calorie and Sertoli cells not presented statistical differences. The taro promoted increase in the testicles parameters and hormones.
Sugar cane and maize silage samples were evaluated by the semi automated in vitro gas production technique. The associations between gas production and dry matter degradation (DMD) were analysed and high coefficients of determination were obtained for all the substrates. The results showed that particles losses could be influencing the DMD, including errors mostly when obtained before 6 hours of incubation. The gas alone could better predict the lag phase than the DMD before 6 hours of incubation.
Longer-lived cows tend to be more profitable and the stayability trait is a selection criterion correlated to longevity. An alternative to the traditional approach to evaluate stayability is its definition based on consecutive calvings, whose main advantage is the more accurate evaluation of young bulls. However, no study using this alternative approach has been conducted for Zebu breeds. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare linear random regression models to fit stayability to consecutive calvings of Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã cows and to estimate genetic parameters for this trait in the respective breeds. Data up to the eighth calving were used. The models included the fixed effects of age at first calving and year-season of birth of the cow and the random effects of contemporary group, additive genetic, permanent environmental and residual. Random regressions were modeled by orthogonal Legendre polynomials of order 1 to 4 (2 to 5 coefficients) for contemporary group, additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. Using Deviance Information Criterion as the selection criterion, the model with 4 regression coefficients for each effect was the most adequate for the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds and the model with 5 coefficients is recommended for the Guzerá breed. For Guzerá, heritabilities ranged from 0.05 to 0.08, showing a quadratic trend with a peak between the fourth and sixth calving. For the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, the estimates ranged from 0.03 to 0.07 and from 0.03 to 0.08, respectively, and increased with increasing calving number. The additive genetic correlations exhibited a similar trend among breeds and were higher for stayability between closer calvings. Even between more distant calvings (second v. eighth), stayability showed a moderate to high genetic correlation, which was 0.77, 0.57 and 0.79 for the Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, respectively. For Guzerá, when the models with 4 or 5 regression coefficients were compared, the rank correlations between predicted breeding values for the intercept were always higher than 0.99, indicating the possibility of practical application of the least parameterized model. In conclusion, the model with 4 random regression coefficients is recommended for the genetic evaluation of stayability to consecutive calvings in Zebu cattle.
This study aimed to evaluate the risk factors for tuberculosis (TB) treatment default in a priority city for disease control in Brazil. A cohort of TB cases diagnosed from 2008 to 2009 was followed up from patients’ entry into three outpatient sites, in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais (Brazil), until the recording of the outcomes. Drug addiction, alcoholism and treatment site appeared to be independently associated with default. Current users of crack as the hardest drug (odds ratio (OR) 12·25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3·04–49·26) were more likely to default than other hard drug users (OR 5·67, 95% CI 1·34–24·03), former users (OR 4·12, 95% CI 1·11–15·20) and those not known to use drugs (reference group). Consumers at high risk of alcoholism (OR 2·94, 95% CI 1·08–7·99) and those treated in an outpatient hospital unit (OR 8·22, 95% CI 2·79–24·21%) also were more likely to default. Our results establish that substance abuse was independently associated with default. National TB programmes might be more likely to achieve their control targets if they include interventions aimed at improving adherence and cure rates, by diagnosing and treating substance abuse concurrently with standard TB therapy.
The present study aimed to (i) assess the appetitive drives evoked by the visual cues of ultra-processed food and drink products and (ii) investigate whether text warnings reduce appetitive drives and consumers’ reported intentions to eat or drink ultra-processed products.
In Study I, a well-established psychometric tool was applied to estimate the appetitive drives associated with ultra-processed products using sixty-four image representations. Sixteen product types with four exemplars of a given product were included. Pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) served as controls. The two exemplars of each product type rated as more appetitive were selected for investigation in the second study. Study II assessed the impact of textual warnings on the appetitive drive towards these thirty-two exemplars. Each participant was exposed to two picture exemplars of the same product type preceded by a text warning or a control text. After viewing each displayed picture, the participants reported their emotional reactions and their intention to consume the product.
Controlled classroom experiments
Undergraduate students (Study I: n 215, 135 women; Study II: n 98, 52 women).
In Study I, the pictures of ultra-processed products prompted an appetitive motivation associated with the products’ nutritional content. In Study II, text warnings were effective in reducing the intention to consume and the appetitive drive evoked by ultra-processed products.
This research provides initial evidence favouring the use of text warnings as a public policy tool to curb the powerful influence of highly appetitive ultra-processed food cues.
Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) widely used in agriculture and may cause toxic effects in non-target organisms. Model organisms, as zebrafish, and analysis of gene expression by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) could be used to better understand the Roundup toxicity. A prerequisite for RT-qPCR is the availability of appropriate reference genes; however, they have not been described for Roundup-exposed fish. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression stability of six reference genes (rpl8, β-act, gapdh, b2m, ef1α, hprt1) and one expressed repetitive element (hatn10) in organs of males (brain, gill, testis) and females (ovary) of zebrafish exposed to Roundup WG at three concentrations (0.065, 0.65 and 6.5 mg N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine/l) for 7 days. Genes were ranked by geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, Delta Ct and RefFinder, and their best combinations were determined by geNorm and NormFinder programs. The two most stable ranked genes were specific to each organ: gill (β-act; rpl8); brain (rpl8; β-act); testis (ef1α; gapdh); and ovary (rpl8; hprt1). The cat transcript level was used to evaluate the effect of normalization with these reference genes. These are the first suitable reference genes described for the analysis of gene expression in organs of Roundup-exposed zebrafish, and will allow investigations of the molecular mechanisms of Roundup toxicity.
The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~ 11Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.