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Contrary to intensive pig production, local pig breeds and their production systems are able to respond to the high criteria and expectations of modern society in regard to some environmental aspects, animal welfare, food quality and healthiness. This study proposes the recovery, study and use of a cross between two local breeds, contributing to animal biodiversity conservation and to the income of local pig producers. This work studied the growth performance and blood, carcass and meat quality traits of Alentejano (AL), Bísaro (BI) and Ribatejano (RI) (AL × BI, BI × AL) castrated male pigs. Raised outdoors, pigs were fed commercial diets ad libitum and killed at ~65 kg (trial 1, n = 10 from each genotype) and ~150 kg BW (trial 2, n = 9 from each genotype). In trial 1, AL and AL × BI attained slaughter weight later than BI and BI × AL pigs, with AL presenting lower average daily gains than the other genotypes (P < 0.001). Alentejano and RI pigs presented higher (P < 0.01) levels of plasma total protein than BI. Overall, carcass traits were affected by genotype, with length (P < 0.01), yield (P = 0.07) and lean cut proportions (P < 0.01) lower in AL than BI, and intermediate values for crossed pigs. Conversely, AL pigs presented higher fat cut proportion (P < 0.01), average backfat thickness (P < 0.001) and ‘zwei punkte’ fat depth (P < 0.01) than BI and RI pigs. Alentejano pigs also presented higher Longissimus lumborum (LL) intramuscular fat (P < 0.05), myoglobin content and ultimate pH (P < 0.01), but lower total collagen (P < 0.05), drip (P < 0.001) and cooking losses (P < 0.01), and shear force (P < 0.001) than all other genotypes. Finally, LL showed a more intense red colour in AL than in BI pigs. In trial 2, AL pigs confirmed to be a slow-growing obese breed with lower bone and lean cut proportions than BI, and higher LL intramuscular fat, richer colour, lower water loss and higher tenderness. In both trials, RI pigs grew faster, with higher lean and lower fat cut proportions and backfat thickness, and with overall LL characteristics comparable to those observed in AL pigs. This work demonstrates some clear differences between AL and BI breeds while showing that their crosses present intermediate characteristics in most studied traits. These data on RI pigs can be useful to breeders’ associations and farmers in order to consider the use of these crosses as an option or complement to pure line breeding.
Over recent decades, biomass gains in remaining old-growth Amazonia forests have declined due to environmental change. Amazonia’s huge size and complexity makes understanding these changes, drivers, and consequences very challenging. Here, using a network of permanent monitoring plots at the Amazon–Cerrado transition, we quantify recent biomass carbon changes and explore their environmental drivers. Our study area covers 30 plots of upland and riparian forests sampled at least twice between 1996 and 2016 and subject to various levels of fire and drought. Using these plots, we aimed to: (1) estimate the long-term biomass change rate; (2) determine the extent to which forest changes are influenced by forest type; and (3) assess the threat to forests from ongoing environmental change. Overall, there was no net change in biomass, but there was clear variation among different forest types. Burning occurred at least once in 8 of the 12 riparian forests, while only 1 of the 18 upland forests burned, resulting in losses of carbon in burned riparian forests. Net biomass gains prevailed among other riparian and upland forests throughout Amazonia. Our results reveal an unanticipated vulnerability of riparian forests to fire, likely aggravated by drought, and threatening ecosystem conservation at the Amazon southern margins.
Determining the predictors of serum retinol at mid-pregnancy is relevant for planning interventions aimed at improving vitamin A status of pregnant women and their offspring. This prospective study assessed predictors of serum retinol at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. We enrolled 442 pregnant women living in the urban area of Cruzeiro do Sul, Western Brazilian Amazon. Demographic, socio-economic, environmental and clinical characteristics as well as obstetric history, anthropometric, dietary and biochemical data, including serum retinol, were gathered between 16 and 20 gestational weeks. Serum retinol also measured at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy (approximately 28 gestational weeks) was the outcome of interest. Multiple linear regression models were used to evaluate associations with the outcome. Overall, the following variables explained serum retinol at the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy in the adjusted model (R2 = 11·1 %): seasonality (winter season – November to April; β=0·134; 95 % CI 0·063, 0·206), weekly consumption of Amazonian fruits (β=0·087; 95 % CI 0·012, 0·162) and retinol concentrations between 16 and 20 gestational weeks (β=0·045; 95 % CI 0·016, 0·074) were positively associated, whereas having a smoker in the house was negatively associated (β=–0·087; 95 % CI: –0·166, –0·009). Consumption of pro-vitamin A-rich fruits by pregnant women should be encouraged. Passive smoking may play a role in decreasing vitamin A status as a proxy of smoking exposure during pregnancy.
Poverty brome (Bromus sterilis L.) [sterile or barren brome, syn. Anisantha sterilis (L.) Nevski] is a problematic UK arable weed. There are currently no confirmed cases of glyphosate resistance in any weed species in the United Kingdom or in B. sterilis worldwide. However, there are reports of poor control by glyphosate in this species. Here, we report experiments to confirm the suspected on-farm resistance of B. sterilis populations to glyphosate. Glyphosate screening and dose–response experiments established that glyphosate sensitivity of three UK B. sterilis populations exhibiting poor field control is outside the normal range of sensitivity of 30 sensitive populations and adjacent unexposed populations. Control of sensitive populations ranged from 49% to 82% and for suspected resistant populations from 21% to 30%. Dose–response ED50 values of sensitive populations ranged between 241 and 313 g ai ha−1; corresponding values of suspected resistant populations ranged between 420 and 810 g ha−1, and resistance indices ranged from 1.55 to 4.5. Suspected resistant populations were incompletely controlled at the recommended field rate of glyphosate (540 g ha−1), while adjacent unexposed populations were completely controlled. We conclude that some UK populations of B. sterilis have reduced glyphosate sensitivity and are in the process of evolving resistance. This is the first reported case of reduced glyphosate sensitivity in any UK weed species and in B. sterilis worldwide. This, coupled with increasing glyphosate use, highlights the need for increased vigilance and monitoring for glyphosate resistance in the United Kingdom.
Forage cactus is an important dry-season feed source for livestock in semi-arid regions, but in north-eastern Brazil, its contribution is limited by susceptibility to the carmine cochineal [Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell)] insect. New cactus germplasm shows superior agronomic performance, but the nutritive value of this material has not been adequately described. The objective of the current study was to assess the divergence in chemical composition and rate and extent of in vitro degradation of these genotypes. The treatments were 13 spineless cactus genotypes, eight of which were insect resistant types, two semi-resistant and three susceptible to the carmine cochineal. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design and were replicated three times. Nutritional divergence was assessed using canonical variate analysis and hierarchical agglomerative clustering, using the variables: crude protein, total and non-fibrous carbohydrates, degradation rate and potential dry matter degradation. Five distinct nutritional groups were identified: Group I (OO), Group II (F-13 and F-15), Group III (OEA, OEM, COP, IPA 20 and GG), Group IV (V-16 and F-08) and Group V (Miuda, IS and F-21). Group II (F-13 and F-15; resistant genotypes) showed a chemical composition degradability in vitro suggesting it may have the greatest nutritive value as ruminant feed, while Group I had the least. Spineless cactus genotypes resistant to the carmine cochineal showed nutritional characteristics similar to or better than traditionally used cactus genotypes, such as Gigante and IPA 20, which can expand the range of options for using this forage.
In Portugal there is an increasing interest in animal welfare studies directed mainly to the improvement of the housing systems. It is recognised that housing is an important factor that affect the behaviour, the production and the health of dairy cattle (Bowell et al., 2003). However, in Portugal few data on the welfare of dairy cattle are available. Therefore this study aimed to determine some housing, health and other welfare indicators in dairy farms in Northwest of Portugal.
We performed two different approaches (broth enrichment step prior to culture (BEC) and PCR (BEPCR)) for detecting Streptococcus pneumoniae from nasopharyngeal specimens collected from 242 children aged <6 years attending one hospital (n = 140) and one childcare centre (n = 102) in a major urban area in Brazil. These specimens were collected immediately before the introduction of the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10) and the 13-valent vaccine (PCV13) for routine use in Brazil. Results were compared with previous findings obtained with direct culture (DC) on a selective medium. Colonisation prevalence was 58·3% (n = 141), being higher among children attending the childcare centre (62·7% vs. 55%). The culture-based methods (DC and BEC) enabled the detection of S. pneumoniae in 119 (49·2%) and 115 (47·5%) children, respectively. The PCR-based method (BEPCR) was more sensitive and 137 (56·6%) carriers were identified. Twenty-six serogroups/serotypes were identified, predominantly 6B, 19F, 14, 6A, 15C and 23F. Multiple colonisation was observed in 13 (5·4%) children. The estimated serotypes coverage of available PCVs was 40·4% for the 10-valent (included in the Brazilian immunisation programme) and 55·8% for the 13-valent (only available in private clinics). The use of robust approaches to obtain a more realistic insight about the asymptomatic carrier status is of paramount importance to estimate and assess the impact of vaccine implementation. The combination between culture-based and molecular methods constitutes a suitable strategy.
In the near future, ruminants may be forced to consume low-quality water since potable drinking water will become increasingly scarce in some regions of the world. A completely randomized design trial was completed to evaluate the effect of increasing concentrations of total dissolved salts (TDS) (640, 3187, 5740 and 8326 mg TDS/l) in drinking water on the performance, diet digestibility, microbial protein synthesis, nitrogen (N) and water balance using 24 Red Sindhi heifers (200 ± 5 kg) that were fed Buffel (Cenchrus ciliaris) grass hay and concentrate in a ratio of 50 : 50. After a 15-day diet adaptation period, the digestion study was completed over a 5-day period and the performance trial was completed over a 56-day period. Dry matter intake, average daily gain, feed:gain, intake and digestibility of most feed components were unaffected by the concentration of salt in the water. However, intake and digestibility of neutral detergent fibre declined linearly as TDS inclusion rate increased. Further, the inclusion of TDS resulted in a linear increase in the intake of drinking water and total (food plus drinking) water intake. Similarly, TDS inclusion levels resulted in a linear increase in total water excretion, with urine being the major route of water excretion. In contrast, increasing concentrations of TDS caused a linear decrease in creatinine and allantoin excretions. Finally, increasing the inclusion rate of TDS resulted in a linear decrease in N retention and a linear increase in urinary N excretion, which may pose a considerable challenge for farmers with respect to the reduction and management of nutrient losses.
Ultramarine pigments were synthesized successfully from Na-A zeolite derived from kaolin waste. Na-A zeolite encapsulates the sulfur species formed and which act as chromophores, which circumvents their oxidation and the subsequent liberation of high levels of toxic gases during the reaction. Different Na-A zeolite matrices with various grain sizes (fine to coarse) were mixed with sulfur and sodium carbonate in various proportions to study the influence of these variables on the pigments’ colours and hues. After calcination at 500°C for 5 h, the products were characterized by X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy and were classified by the Munsell system (colour and hue). Products with colour ranging from blue to green with various hues were obtained. Both colour and hue were affected by the amount of additives and by the particle size.
Pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.) could play an important role as a feed source for ruminants in arid and semi-arid zones of the world owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. The current paper assessed the agronomic characteristics, ensilability, intake and digestibility of five Brazilian pearl millet cultivars (IPA Bulk1BF, BRS 1501, CMS-03, CMS-01 and BN-2) in a typical Brazilian northeastern semi-arid climate. Forage was harvested at the dough stage of grain maturity (growth stage 86 according to the BBCH scale) and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 25 Santa Inês male lambs. The cultivars CMS-01, CMS-03 and BN-2 out-performed the others in terms of dry matter (DM) and digestible DM yield/ha. At DM partitioning among plant tissues, the cultivar IPA Bulk1BF had a greater DM associated with panicles and one of the greatest concentrations of organic matter, lactic acid and in vitro dry matter digestibility among the five cultivars. The cultivar BRS 1501 had greater butyric acid concentration as well as one of the highest pH values. Silage produced from BN-2 not only contained greater acetic acid concentration, but also showed one of the greatest total volatile fatty acid concentrations. There were no differences in feed intake and digestibility of nutrients and fibre fractions across all cultivars. Silage made from BN-2 resulted in greater urinary excretion of nitrogen than those produced from BRS 1501. Under the conditions of the present study, the results obtained for production of DM and digestible dry matter, and the ratio of plant fractions, indicates the possible use of these cultivars for silage production in the Brazilian semi-arid region.
Despite the economic importance of beef cattle production in Brazil, female reproductive performance, which is strongly associated with production efficiency, is not included in the selection index of most breeding programmes due to low heritability and difficulty in measure. The body condition score (BCS) could be used as an indicator of these traits. However, so far little is known about the feasibility of using BCS as a selection tool for reproductive performance in beef cattle. In this study, we investigated the sources of variation in the BCS of Nellore beef cows, quantified its association with reproductive and maternal traits and estimated its heritability. BCS was analysed using a logistic model that included the following effects: contemporary group at weaning, cow weight and hip height, calving order, reconception together with the weight and scores of conformation and early finishing assigned to calves at weaning. In the genetic analysis, variance components of BCS were estimated through Bayesian inference by fitting an animal model that also included the aforementioned effects. The results showed that BCS was significantly associated with all of the reproductive and maternal variables analysed. The estimated posterior mean of heritability of BCS was 0.24 (highest posterior density interval at 95%: 0.093 to 0.385), indicating an involvement of additive gene action in its determination. The present findings show that BCS can be used as a selection criterion for Nellore females.
In order to achieve improvements in production efficiency in livestock, herds of high sexual precocity and good fertility are needed. These traits increase the availability of animals in herd, either for sale or selection, allowing both greater selective intensity and greater genetic progress. This study aimed at estimating genetic parameters for reproductive traits measured directly in females in order to verify whether they could be used as selection criteria for genetic improvement in Nellore cows, as well as estimating the genetic relationship among these traits and scrotal circumference (SC), the traditional selection criterion for sexual precocity in cattle. In addition to SC, stayability (STAY), number of calvings at 53 months (NC53) and heifers rebreeding (HR) were studied. The (co)variances and genetic parameters were estimated using Bayesian inference. STAY, NC53 and HR were analyzed assuming a threshold model, whereas SC was analyzed with a linear model. Heritability estimated for NC53 was 0.22, and this trait was strongly and positively correlated with STAY, meaning selection for NC53 would improve productive longevity of Nellore cows. Correlations estimated between HR and STAY (≈0.97) and between HR and NC53 (≈0.99) allow an improvement on HR rates if selection was applied to traits related to longevity. Genetic correlations among SC and female reproductive traits were positive but weak, suggesting the need to use reproductive traits directly measured in females in order to obtain greater improvements in sexual precocity and longevity.
Two broad aims drive weed science research: improved management and improved
understanding of weed biology and ecology. In recent years, agricultural
weed research addressing these two aims has effectively split into separate
subdisciplines despite repeated calls for greater integration. Although some
excellent work is being done, agricultural weed research has developed a
very high level of repetitiveness, a preponderance of purely descriptive
studies, and has failed to clearly articulate novel hypotheses linked to
established bodies of ecological and evolutionary theory. In contrast,
invasive plant research attracts a diverse cadre of nonweed scientists using
invasions to explore broader and more integrated biological questions
grounded in theory. We propose that although studies focused on weed
management remain vitally important, agricultural weed research would
benefit from deeper theoretical justification, a broader vision, and
increased collaboration across diverse disciplines. To initiate change in
this direction, we call for more emphasis on interdisciplinary training for
weed scientists, and for focused workshops and working groups to develop
specific areas of research and promote interactions among weed scientists
and with the wider scientific community.
Temperament is an important trait for the management and welfare of animals and for reducing accidents involving people who work with cattle. The present study aimed to estimate the genetic parameters related to the temperament score (T) and weaning weight (WW) of Nellore cattle, reared in a beef cattle breeding program in Brazil. Data were analyzed using two different two-trait statistical models, both considering WW and T: (1) a linear-linear model in which variance components (VCs) were estimated using restricted maximum likelihood; and (2) a linear-threshold model in which VCs were estimated via Bayesian inference. WW was included in the analyses of T to minimize any possible effects of sequential selection and to allow for estimation of the genetic correlation between these two traits. The heritability estimates for T were 0.21±0.003 (model 1) and 0.26 (model 2, with a 95% credibility interval (95% CI) of 0.21 to 0.32). The estimated genetic correlations between WW and T were of a moderate magnitude (−0.33±0.01 (model 1) and −0.34 (95% CI: −0.40, −0.28, model 2). The genetic correlations between the estimated breeding values (EBVs) obtained for the animals based on the two models were high (>0.92). The use of different models had little influence on the classification of animals based on EBVs or the accuracy of the EBVs.
Forage sorghum (FS) (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is a key feed source for ruminants owing to its high yield and drought tolerance. The present paper assessed the agronomic characteristics, silage quality, intake and digestibility of five new Brazilian sorghum cultivars (BRS Ponta Negra variety, BRS 655 hybrid, BR 601 hybrid, BRS 506 variety and BRS 610 hybrid). Forages were grown (randomized complete block design) in a typical Brazilian north-eastern semi-arid climate, irrigated with 267 mm water, harvested as plants reached the soft dough stage of grain maturity and ensiled under laboratory and farm conditions. Apparent digestibility of the silages was determined using 25 Santa Inês lambs. BRS 506 outperformed the other cultivars in dry matter (DM) and digestible DM yields/ha. BRS 506 exhibited the lowest neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) contents and the highest in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) of the cultivars examined. BRS 655 produced the lowest level of lactic acid and the highest pH and ammonia-N concentration. There was no difference in intake or digestibility of DM among cultivars. Silages produced from BRS Ponta Negra resulted in higher crude protein (CP) intake than BRS 655. Silages made from BRS 506 and BRS Ponta Negra resulted in a greater digestibility of CP than those produced from BRS 655. Intake of NDF in silages generated from BRS Ponta Negra and BRS 610 was higher than that found in other cultivars. Although an average Brazilian North-eastern FS exhibited similar characteristics to other cultivars grown in dry regions around the world, the results indicated that BRS 506 had a yield advantage and higher nutritive value under Brazilian semi-arid conditions as compared to the other cultivars examined.
Malcolm Roy Clarke (1930–2013) was a British teuthologist who made an important contribution to marine science in the Azores archipelago (Portugal). Malcolm started doing research in the Azores from 1980s onward, settling for residency in 2000 after retirement (in 1987). He kept publishing on Azorean cephalopods collaborating in 20% of the peer reviewed works focusing on two main areas: dietary studies; and the ecology of cephalopods on seamounts. Since his first visit in 1981, he was involved in the description of the dietary ecology of several cetaceans, seabirds, and large pelagic and deep-water fish. Using his own data, Malcolm revised the association of cephalopods with seamounts, updating and enlarging the different cephalopod groups according to species behaviour and ecology. Malcolm taught several students working in the Azores on cephalopods and beak identification, lecturing the Third International Workshop in Faial (2007). He empowered the recently established research community, by providing important contacts with foreign institutes and informal advice. He collaborated in the regional cetacean stranding network (RACA) and was an active member of the advisory board of the journal Arquipelago—Life and Marine Sciences. But the scientific role of Malcolm Clarke in the Azores went beyond his academic activities. In the last 10 years Malcolm and Dot Clarke dedicated themselves to building and running a museum on Pico Island, showing the biology of the sperm whale and its interaction with squid; a cultural and touristic legacy for future generations to enjoy.
Polycystic echinococcosis, caused by the larval stage (metacestode) of the small-sized tapeworm, Echinococcus vogeli, is an emerging parasitic zoonosis of great public health concern in the humid tropical rainforests of South and Central America. Because morphological and morphometric characteristics of the metacestode are not well known, hydatid cysts from the liver and the mesentery were examined from patients following surgical procedures. Whole mounts of protoscoleces with rostellar hooks were examined under light and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Measurements were made of both large and small hooks, including the total area, total length, total width, blade area, blade length, blade width, handle area, handle length and handle width. The results confirmed the 1:1 arrangement of hooks in the rostellar pad and indicated, for the first time, that the morphometry of large and small rostellar hooks varies depending upon the site of infection. Light and confocal microscopy images displayed clusters of calcareous corpuscles in the protoscoleces. In conclusion, morphological features of large and small rostellar hooks of E. vogeli are adapted to a varied environment within the vertebrate host and such morphological changes in calcareous corpuscles occur at different stages in the maturation of metacestodes.
To evaluate the association between weight gain in the first two years of life and the occurrence of wheezing, asthma, serum IgE, skin reactivity and pulmonary function.
The metropolitan region of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
The association was studied between 1997 and 2005 in 669 children up to 11 years of age. Data were collected on asthma and risk factors, both current factors and those present in the first years of life. Weight gain was considered fast when the Z-score was >0·67. Poisson regression was used in the multivariate statistical analysis.
Wheezing was reported in 25·6 % of the children. Weight gain was considered fast (Z-score >0·67) in 29·6 % of the children and slow (Z-score <−0·67) in 13·9 %. Children in the slow weight gain group had 36 % fewer symptoms of asthma (prevalence ratio = 0·65; 95 % CI 0·42, 0·99).
Slower weight gain in the early years of life may constitute a protective factor against symptoms of asthma. The relevance of this finding for public health is not yet certain, since it is known that children with slow and fast weight gain may be more likely to develop adverse health consequences related to both these situations.
This study describes the tree vegetation and soils occurring in a seasonally dry tropical forest (SDTF) and mesotrophic cerradão transition in southwestern Brazil. All trees ≥ 5 cm diameter were measured in 20 plots of 20 × 25 m, 10 in SDTF, and 10 in mesotrophic cerradão. Ten soil samples of 0−20 cm depth were made per plot and mixed in plot groups to produce two composite samples. A total of 71 species was recorded. Anadenanthera colubrina had the highest importance values in both formations. Differences in soil fertility were found between SDTFs (eutrophic soils) and mesotrophic cerradão (mesotrophic soils). A non-metric multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis confirmed the soil fertility segregation, and also showed an agreement between soil fertility and variance in species composition gradients. The mesotrophic cerradão showed higher species richness since it also includes many species typical of more dystrophic and open forms of Cerrado.
Samples were collected from 10 stations distributed through three sectors in Guanabara Bay during two consecutive years, in order to determine factors that influence the spatial pattern of molluscs and to describe the structure and composition of this community in a eutrophic estuarine system on the Brazilian coast. Although only one species, the gastropod Heleobia australis, comprised 77% of mollusc abundance, 59 species were identified in the bay. In addition to H. australis, three other species were dominant: the gastropod Anachis isabellei and the bivalves Americuna besnardi and Ervilia concentrica. The mollusc communities were significantly influenced by the spatial gradient; the outermost sector has marine conditions, and the other sectors are typically estuarine, leading to differences in the composition and abundance of molluscs. The outermost sector showed the highest diversity, which gradually decreased towards the innermost sector where the dominance of a few opportunistic species is favoured by highly organic mud sediments. Sediment type was strongly correlated with mollusc occurrence in the bay. Guanabara Bay showed two indicator species: the bivalve E. concentrica of the outer sector, and the gastropod H. australis of the intermediate sector. Our results suggest that benthic molluscs in Guanabara Bay show characteristics related to levels of environmental impact. A monitoring programme based on this community is needed to evaluate the effects of human impacts on this community and to monitor changes in its biodiversity in Guanabara Bay.