To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several Apriori algorithm implementations for mining association rules have been proposed in the literature using the Hadoop-MapReduce framework and, more recently, Spark. However, none of the works have made a detailed assessment of its performance, for example, comparing it with other implementations in various characteristics of data sets. In this work, we present a review of the main algorithms proposed for Hadoop-MapReduce and compared their implementations in a single environment under several different situations. Moreover, these algorithms had their implementations adapted to Spark, and also compared under the same circumstances. Based on the results of the experiments, we present a framework for recommending the Apriori implementation most appropriate for solving a given problem, according to the data set characteristics and minimum required support. The results show that Spark implementations overcome Hadoop-MapReduce implementations at runtime in most experiments. However, there is no single implementation that is the best in all the evaluated situations.
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.
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.
The olive fly, Bactrocera oleae (Rossi) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is a key-pest in the main olives producing areas worldwide, and displays distinct preference to different olive cultivars. The present work intended to study oviposition preference towards three Portuguese cultivars (Cobrançosa, Madural, and Verdeal Transmontana) at different maturation indexes. Multiple oviposition bioassays (multiple-choice and no-choice) were conducted to assess cultivar preference. No-choice bioassays were conducted to assess the influence of different maturation indexes (MI 2; MI 3, and MI 4) in single cultivars. The longevity of olive fly adults according to the cultivar in which its larvae developed was also evaluated through survival assays.
Cultivar and maturation are crucial aspects in olive fly preference. Field and laboratory assays revealed a preference towards cv. Verdeal Transmontana olives and a lower susceptibility to cv. Cobrançosa olives. A higher preference was observed for olives at MI 2 and MI 3. The slower maturation process in cv. Verdeal Transmontana (still green while the other cultivars are reddish or at black stage) seems to have an attractive effect on olive fly females, thus increasing its infestation levels. Olive fly adults from both sexes live longer if emerged from pupae developed from cv. Verdeal Transmontana fruits and live less if emerged from cv. Cobrançosa. Therefore, olive cultivar and maturation process are crucial aspects in olive fly preference, also influencing the longevity of adults.
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.
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.
Urban slums provide suitable conditions for infestation by rats, which harbour and shed a wide diversity of zoonotic pathogens including helminths. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with the probability and intensity of infection of helminths of the digestive tract in an urban slum population of Rattus norvegicus. Among 299 rats, eleven species/groups of helminths were identified, of which Strongyloides sp., Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and, the human pathogen, Angiostrongylus cantonensis were the most frequent (97, 41 and 39%, respectively). Sex interactions highlighted behavioural differences between males and females, as eg males were more likely to be infected with N. brasiliensis where rat signs were present, and males presented more intense infections of Strongyloides sp. Moreover, rats in poor body condition had higher intensities of N. brasiliensis. We describe a high global richness of parasites in R. norvegicus, including five species known to cause disease in humans. Among these, A. cantonensis was found in high prevalence and it was ubiquitous in the study area – knowledge which is of public health importance. A variety of environmental, demographic and body condition variables were associated with helminth species infection of rats, suggesting a comparable variety of risk factors for humans.
Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs4281084 and rs12155594) within the neuregulin-1 (NRG1) gene have been associated with psychosis transition. However, the neurobiological changes associated with these SNPs remain unclear. We aimed to determine what relationship these two SNPs have on lateral ventricular volume and white matter integrity, as abnormalities in these brain structures are some of the most consistent in schizophrenia.
Structural (n = 370) and diffusion (n = 465) magnetic resonance imaging data were obtained from affected and unaffected individuals predominantly of European descent. The SNPs rs4281084, rs12155594, and their combined allelic load were examined for their effects on lateral ventricular volume, fractional anisotropy (FA) as well as axial (AD) and radial (RD) diffusivity. Additional exploratory analyses assessed NRG1 effects on gray matter volume, cortical thickness, and surface area throughout the brain.
Individuals with a schizophrenia age of onset ⩽25 and a combined allelic load ⩾3 NRG1 risk alleles had significantly larger right (up to 50%, padj = 0.01) and left (up to 45%, padj = 0.05) lateral ventricle volumes compared with those with allelic loads of less than three. Furthermore, carriers of three or more risk alleles, regardless of age of onset and case status, had significantly reduced FA and elevated RD but stable AD in the frontal cortex compared with those carrying fewer than three risk alleles.
Our findings build on a growing body of research supporting the functional importance of genetic variation within the NRG1 gene and complement previous findings implicating the rs4281084 and rs12155594 SNPs as markers for psychosis transition.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the energy restriction of gestation of adult ewes from day 45 to day 115 on lamb live performance parameters, carcass and meat traits. In experiment I, dietary energy was restricted at 70% of the metabolizable energy (ME) requirements, after which ewes were re-fed ad libitum until lambing. In experiment II, dietary energy was restricted at 60% of the ME requirements, and ewes were re-fed to ME requirements until lambing. All ewes grazed together from the end of the restriction periods to weaning. Lambs were weaned and lot fed until slaughter. Feed intake, weight gain and feed efficiency were recorded, and body fat thickness and ribeye area (REA) were measured in the longissimus thoracis muscle. After slaughter, carcass weight and yield, fat depth, carcass and leg length, and frenched rack and leg weights and yields were determined. Muscle fiber type composition, Warner-Bratzler shear force, pH and color were determined in the longissimus lumborum muscle. In experiment I, energy restriction followed by ad libitum feeding affected lamb birth weight (P<0.05); however, no effects (P>0.05) were observed on later BW, REA, BF or carcass traits. Lambs born to non-restricted-fed ewes had higher (P<0.05) weight and yield of the frenched rack cut and their meat tended (P=0.11) to be tender compared with that of lambs from restricted ewes. The percentage of oxidative muscle fibers was lower for lambs born to non-restricted ewes (P<0.05); however, no effects of ewe treatment were observed on other muscle fiber types. For experiment II, energy restriction followed by ME requirements feeding, affected (P<0.01) pre-weaning live weight gain, weaning and final weights. Lambs from restricted ewes had higher (P<0.05) feed intake as % of leg weight and a trend to be less efficient (P=0.16) than lambs from unrestricted dams. Ribeye area and BF were not influenced by treatment. Treatment significantly affected slaughter weight, but had no effects on carcass yield and traits or on meat traits. The results obtained in both experiments indicate submitting ewes to energy restriction during gestation affects the performance of their progeny but the final outcome would depend on the ewe’s re-feeding level during late gestation and the capacity of the offspring to compensate the in utero restriction after birth.
An experiment was carried to evaluate the energy and protein requirements for the growth and maintenance of lambs of different sex classes. In all, 38 hair lambs (13.0±1.49 kg initial BW and 2 months old) were allocated in a factorial design with diet restriction levels (ad libitum, 30% and 60% feed restriction) and sex classes (castrated and non-castrated males). Four animals from each sex class were slaughtered at the beginning of the trial as a reference group to estimate the initial empty BW and body composition. The remaining lambs were weighed weekly to calculate BW gain (BWG), and when the animals fed ad libitum reached an average BW of 30 kg, all of the experimental animals were slaughtered. Before slaughter, fasted BW (FBW) was determined after 18 h without feed and water. Feed restriction induced reductions in body fat and energy concentration, whereas water restriction showed the opposite effect, and the protein concentration was not affected. The increase in BW promoted increases in body fat and energy content, and these increases were greater in castrated lambs, whereas the protein content was similar between classes tending to stabilize. The net energy required for gain (NEg) and the net protein required for gain (NPg) were not affected by sex class; therefore, an equation was generated for the combined results of both castrated and non-castrated lambs. The NEg varied from 1.13 to 2.01 MJ/day for lambs with BW of 15 and 30 kg and BWG of 200 g. The NPg varied from 24.57 to 16.33 g/day for lambs with BW of 15 and 30 kg and BWG of 200 g. The metabolizable energy efficiency for gain (kg) was 0.37, and the metabolizable protein efficiency for gain (kpg) was 0.28. The net energy required for maintenance (NEm) and the net requirement of protein for maintenance (NPm) did not differ between castrated and non-castrated lambs, with values of 0.241 MJ/kg FBW0.75 per day and 1.30 g/kg FBW0.75 per day, respectively. The metabolizable energy efficiency for maintenance (km) was 0.60, and the efficiency of metabolizable protein use for maintenance (kpm) was 0.57. Nutritional requirements for growth and maintenance did not differ between castrated and non-castrated lambs. This study emphasizes the importance of updating the tables of international committees and of including data obtained from studies with sheep breeds raised in tropical conditions, with the purpose of improving the productive efficiency of the animals
Probiotic administration can be a nutritional strategy to improve the immune response and growth performance of fish. The current study aimed to evaluate the effects of a probiotic blend (Bacillus sp., Pediococcus sp., Enterococcus sp., Lactobacillus sp.) as a dietary supplement on growth performance, feed utilization, innate immune and oxidative stress responses and intestinal morphology in juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). The probiotic was incorporated into a basal diet at three concentrations: 0 g/kg (A0: control), 3 g/kg (A1: 1.0×106 colony forming unit (CFU)/g) and 6 g/kg (A2: 2.3×106 CFU/g diet). After 8 weeks of probiotic feeding, weight and specific growth rate where significantly higher in fish-fed A1 diet than in fish-fed A0. Alternative complement in plasma was significantly enhanced in fish-fed A2 when compared with A0. The hepatic antioxidant indicators were not affected by probiotic supplementation. Villi height and goblet cell counts increased significantly in the intestine of fish-fed A1 and A2 diets compared with A0. The dietary probiotic supplementation was maintained until 20 weeks of feeding. Then the selected immune parameters, digestive enzymes and apparent digestibility of diets were studied. No effect of probiotic feeding was observed after that longer period supplementation. The dietary supplementation of mixed species probiotic may constitute a valuable nutritional approach towards a sustainable tilapia aquaculture. The improvement of the immune responses and intestinal morphology play an important role in increasing growth performance, nutrient absorption and disease resistance in fish, important outcomes in such a competitive and developing aquaculture sector.
Achromobacter spp. are opportunistic pathogens increasingly recovered from adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We report the characterization of 122 Achromobacter spp. isolates recovered from 39 CF patients by multilocus sequence typing, virulence traits, and susceptibility to antimicrobials. Two species, A. xylosoxidans (77%) and A. ruhlandii (23%) were identified. All isolates showed a similar biofilm formation ability, and a positive swimming phenotype. By contrast, 4·3% and 44·4% of A. xylosoxidans and A. ruhlandii, respectively, exhibited a negative swarming phenotype, making the swimming and swarming abilities of A. xylosoxidans significantly higher than those of A. ruhlandii. A. xylosoxidans isolates from an outbreak clone also exhibited significantly higher motility. Both species were generally susceptible to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, imipenem and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole and there was no significant difference in susceptibility between isolates from chronic or sporadic infection. However, A. xylosoxidans isolates from chronic and sporadic cases were significantly more resistant to imipenem and ceftazidime than isolates of the outbreak clone.
Urban slum environments in the tropics are conducive to the proliferation and the spread of rodent-borne zoonotic pathogens to humans. Calodium hepaticum (Brancroft, 1893) is a zoonotic nematode known to infect a variety of mammalian hosts, including humans. Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) are considered the most important mammalian host of C. hepaticum and are therefore a potentially useful species to inform estimates of the risk to humans living in urban slum environments. There is a lack of studies systematically evaluating the role of demographic and environmental factors that influence both carriage and intensity of infection of C. hepaticum in rodents from urban slum areas within tropical regions. Carriage and the intensity of infection of C. hepaticum were studied in 402 Norway rats over a 2-year period in an urban slum in Salvador, Brazil. Overall, prevalence in Norway rats was 83% (337/402). Independent risk factors for C. hepaticum carriage in R. norvegicus were age and valley of capture. Of those infected the proportion with gross liver involvement (i.e. >75% of the liver affected, a proxy for a high level intensity of infection), was low (8%, 26/337). Sixty soil samples were collected from ten locations to estimate levels of environmental contamination and provide information on the potential risk to humans of contracting C. hepaticum from the environment. Sixty percent (6/10) of the sites were contaminated with C. hepaticum. High carriage levels of C. hepaticum within Norway rats and sub-standard living conditions within slum areas may increase the risk to humans of exposure to the infective eggs of C. hepaticum. This study supports the need for further studies to assess whether humans are becoming infected within this community and whether C. hepaticum is posing a significant risk to human health.
The Radiocarbon Laboratory of the Universidade Federal Fluminense, in Brazil, has been successfully applying the zinc reduction method for graphitization of carbon samples since the development of its early protocols in 2009. Successive methodological research aiming to improve and, ultimately, optimize the precision and accuracy of our results indicates that graphitization temperatures as low as 460°C promote erratic 13C isotopic fractionation, but an approximately constant fractionation of about –5‰ is achieved at 520°C. In this work, we present isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) δ13C results for 14C reference materials graphitized at 550°C with variable amounts of zinc. Based on the results obtained from the addition of 20, 35, and 50 mg of zinc, we conclude that a slightly lower variation in 13C isotope fractionation during graphitization is obtained with less zinc. Moreover, the average isotopic fractionation is not altered by increasing the graphitization temperature from 520°C to 550°C.