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A completely randomized experiment was designed to evaluate the effects of α-amylase (AMY) and glucoamylase (GLU) on total losses, fermentative profile, chemical composition and amylolytic activity of rehydrated maize. Eighty-four experimental silos of rehydrated maize [0.33 litres/kg ground maize, 4-mm theoretical particle size, and 625 g/kg dry matter (DM)] were assigned to the following treatments: (1) control (CON), no enzyme addition; (2) GLU added at 300 µl/kg of ground maize (as-fed); and (3) AMY added at 300 µl/kg of ground maize. Seven silos from each treatment were opened after 7, 14, 21 and 28 days. Differences among treatments were evaluated through orthogonal contrasts (CON v. enzymes, and AMY v. GLU). Time effects were decomposed using polynomial regression. Glucoamylase silage exhibited greater total losses than AMY. Enzymes increased acetate and lactic acid concentrations and decreased ethanol concentration. Regardless of treatment, gas, effluent and total fermentative losses linearly increased, whereas DM recovery linearly decreased with higher storage length. Glucoamylase silage had lower ammonia nitrogen and higher lactic acid concentrations than AMY. Enzyme treatments decreased silage neutral detergent fibre content and increased in vitro DM degradation. Glucoamylase silage exhibited a more moderate starch content and greater in vitro DM degradation than AMY. Storage time linearly decreased DM, starch and fibre content of rehydrated maize. In vitro degradation of DM linearly increased as the storage length increased. This study showed evidence that enzymes with amylolytic activity, particularly GLU, improve the fermentative profile and DM degradation of rehydrated maize silage.
One of the key factors to improve swine production sustainability is the use of agro-industrial by-products in feeds, such as olive by-products. However, it is necessary to assess its effects on the overall production process, including the animal and the environment. With this aim, an experiment was conducted to determine the effects of including a partially defatted olive cake (PDOC) in pig diets on growth performance, faecal microbiota, carcass quality and gas emission from the slurry. Two finishing diets were formulated, a control (C) diet and a diet with PDOC included at 120 g/kg. Eighty finishing male pigs Duroc-Danbred × (Landrace × Large White) of 60.4 ± 7.00 kg BW were divided between these two treatments. During the finishing period (60 to 110 kg BW, 55 days) average daily gain, average daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio were recorded. Faecal samples from the rectum of 16 animals per treatment were incubated for bacteria enumeration. At the end of finishing period, backfat thickness and loin depth (LD) were measured. Animals were slaughtered to obtain carcass weight and carcass composition parameters, and subcutaneous fat was sampled to analyse the fatty acid (FA) profile. In addition greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions were measured during pig slurry storage using the methodology of dynamic flux chambers. An initial slurry characterisation and biochemical methane potential (B0) were also determined. No significant differences between treatments were found in performance, carcass quality and microbial counts with the exception of LD, which was lower in PDOC compared with C animals (45.5 v. 47.5 mm, SEM: 0.62; P = 0.020). The FA profile of the subcutaneous fat did not differ between treatments, but the monounsaturated FA (MUFA) concentration was higher and the polyunsaturated FA was lower in the animals fed PDOC (50.9 v. 48.3, SEM: 0.48, P < 0.001; 17.6 v. 19.3, SEM: 0.30, P < 0.001 in mg/100 g of Total FA, for PDOC and C animals, respectively). The initial pig slurry characterisation only showed differences in ADF concentration that was higher (P < 0.05) in the slurry from PDOC treatment. Regarding gas emission, slurries from both treatments emitted similar amounts of ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as B0 values. The results obtained suggest that PDOC may be included in balanced pig diets at rates of up to 120 g/kg without negative effects on performance, carcass quality, gut microflora and slurry gas emission, while improving the MUFA concentration of subcutaneous fat.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
All livestock animal species harbour complex microbial communities throughout their digestive tract that support vital biochemical processes, thus sustaining health and productivity. In part as a consequence of the strong and ancient alliance between the host and its associated microbes, the gut microbiota is also closely related to productivity traits such as feed efficiency. This phenomenon can help researchers and producers develop new and more effective microbiome-based interventions using probiotics, also known as direct-fed microbials (DFMs), in Animal Science. Here, we focus on one type of such beneficial microorganisms, the yeast Saccharomyces. Saccharomyces is one of the most widely used microorganisms as a DFM in livestock operations. Numerous studies have investigated the effects of dietary supplementation with different species, strains and doses of Saccharomyces (mostly Saccharomyces cerevisiae) on gut microbial ecology, health, nutrition and productivity traits of several livestock species. However, the possible existence of Saccharomyces which are indigenous to the animals’ digestive tract has received little attention and has never been the subject of a review. We for the first time provide a comprehensive review, with the objective of shedding light into the possible existence of indigenous Saccharomyces of the digestive tract of livestock. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a nomadic yeast able to survive in a broad range of environments including soil, grass and silages. Therefore, it is very likely that cattle and other animals have been in direct contact with this and other types of Saccharomyces throughout their entire existence. However, to date, the majority of animal scientists seem to agree that the presence of Saccharomyces in any section of the gut only reflects dietary contamination; in other words, these are foreign organisms that are only transiently present in the gut. Importantly, this belief (i.e. that Saccharomyces come solely from the diet) is often not well grounded and does not necessarily hold for all the many other groups of microbes in the gut. In addition to summarizing the current body of literature involving Saccharomyces in the digestive tract, we discuss whether the beneficial effects associated with the consumption of Saccharomyces may be related to its foreign origin, though this concept may not necessarily satisfy the theories that have been proposed to explain probiotic efficacy in vivo. This novel review may prove useful for biomedical scientists and others wishing to improve health and productivity using Saccharomyces and other beneficial microorganisms.
The diurnal feeding patterns of dairy cows affects the 24 h robot utilisation of pasture-based automatic milking systems (AMS). A decline in robot utilisation between 2400 and 0600 h currently occurs in pasture-based AMS, as cow feeding activity is greatly reduced during this time. Here, we investigate the effect of a temporal variation in feed quality and quantity on cow feeding behaviour between 2400 and 0600 h as a potential tool to increase voluntary cow trafficking in an AMS at night. The day was allocated into four equal feeding periods (0600 to 1200, 1200 to 1800, 1800 to 2400 and 2400 to 0600 h). Lucerne hay cubes (CP = 19.1%, water soluble carbohydrate = 3.8%) and oat, ryegrass and clover hay cubes with 20% molasses (CP = 11.8%, water soluble carbohydrate = 10.7%) were offered as the ‘standard’ and ‘preferred’ (preference determined previously) feed types, respectively. The four treatments were (1) standard feed offered ad libitum (AL) throughout 24 h; (2) as per AL, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (AL + P); (3) standard feed offered at a restricted rate, with quantity varying between each feeding period (20:10:30:60%, respectively) as a proportion of the (previously) measured daily ad libitum intake (VA); (4) as per VA, with preferred feed replacing standard feed between 2400 and 0600 h (VA + P). Eight non-lactating dairy cows were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. During each experimental period, treatment cows were fed for 7 days, including 3 days habituation and 4 days data collection. Total daily intake was approximately 8% greater (P < 0.001) for the AL and AL + P treatments (23.1 and 22.9 kg DM/cow) as compared with the VA and VA + P treatments (21.6 and 20.9 kg DM/cow). The AL + P and VA treatments had 21% and 90% greater (P < 0.001) dry matter intake (DMI) between 2400 and 0600 h, respectively, compared with the AL treatment. In contrast, the VA + P treatment had similar DMI to the VA treatment. Our experiment shows ability to increase cow feeding activity at night by varying feed type and quantity, though it is possible that a penalty to total DMI may occur using VA. Further research is required to determine if the implementation of variable feed allocation on pasture-based AMS farms is likely to improve milking robot utilisation by increasing cow feeding activity at night.
The Centro de Laseres Pulsados in Salamanca, Spain has recently started operation phase and the first user access period on the 6 J 30 fs 200 TW system (VEGA 2) already started at the beginning of 2018. In this paper we report on two commissioning experiments recently performed on the VEGA 2 system in preparation for the user campaign. VEGA 2 system has been tested in different configurations depending on the focusing optics and targets used. One configuration (long focal length
cm) is for underdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a low density gas-jet generating electron beams (via laser wake field acceleration mechanism) with maximum energy up to 500 MeV and an X-ray betatron source with a 10 keV critical energy. A second configuration (short focal length
cm) is for overdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a
thick Al target generating a proton beam with a maximum energy of 10 MeV and temperature of 2.5 MeV. In this paper we present preliminary experimental results.
The use of tail chalk and estrus/heat expression scores (HEATSC) evaluation is instrumental in identifying cows with greater estrus expression and greater artificial insemination pregnancy rates (P/AI) in cows submitted to timed artificial insemination (TAI), and cows with low or no estrus expression present lower P/AI. It was intended in this study to improve the pregnancy rates in TAI for Bos indicus beef cows, and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injection was hypothesized to increase pregnancy rates in a TAI program for cows submitted to progesterone–estradiol-based protocols with low or no estrus expression, evaluated by HEATSC. Cows (n= 2284) received a progesterone device and 2 mg estradiol benzoate, after 8 days the device was removed and 1 mg estradiol cypionate, 150 μg of d-cloprostenol and 300 IU equine chorionic gonadotropin was administered. All cows were marked with chalk and HEATSC evaluated (scales 1 to 3) at TAI performed on day 10. Animals with HEATSC1 and HEATSC2 (n= 937) received 100 μg de gonadorelin (GNRH group; n= 470), or 1 ml saline (Control group; n= 467), and cows with HEATSC3 (named HEAT group; n= 1347) received no additional treatment. The larger dominant follicle, evaluated on day 8and at TAI (day 10), was greater in HEAT group (P= 0.0145 and P <0.001, respectively). Corpus luteum (CL) area and progesterone concentration was evaluated on day 17, and CL area was larger in HEAT group, intermediary in Control and lower in GnRH group (Control= 2.68 cm2, GnRH= 2.37 cm2, HEAT group= 3.07 cm2, P <0.001). Greater progesterone concentrations were found in HEAT group than in Control and GnRH groups (Control= 4.74 ng/ml, GnRH= 4.29 ng/ml, HEAT group= 6.08 ng/ml, P<0.001). There was a difference in ovulation rate, greater in HEAT group than GnRH and Control groups (Control= 72.5%; GnRH= 81.25%; HEAT group= 90.71%; P= 0.0024). Artificial insemination pregnancy rates was greater in HEAT group (57.09% (769/1347) than in Control and GNRH groups, with positive effect of GnRH injection at the time of TAI in P/AI (Control= 36.18% (169/467), GnRH= 45.95% (216/470); P<0.0001). In conclusion, GnRH application in cows with low HEATSC (1 and 2) is a simple strategy, requiring no changes in TAI management to increase pregnancy rates in postpartum beef cows submitted to progesterone–estradiol-based TAI protocols, without reaching, however, the pregnancy rates of cows that demonstrate high estrus expression at the TAI.
Breeding for resilience requires a better understanding of intra-flock variability and the related mechanisms responsible for robustness traits. Among such traits, the animals’ ability to cope with feed fluctuations by mobilizing or restoring body reserves (BR) is a key mechanism in ruminants. The objective of this work was to characterize individual variability in BR dynamics in productive Romane ewes reared in extensive conditions. The BR dynamics profiles were characterized by combining individual longitudinal measurements of BW and body condition scores (BCS) over several production cycles. Historical data, including up to 2628 records per trait distributed in 1146 ewes, underwent cluster analysis. Two to four trajectories were observed for BW depending on the cycle, while three trajectories were found for BCS, whatever the cycle. Most trajectories suggested that BR dynamics were similar but the level of BR may differ between ewes. Nevertheless, some trajectories suggested that both BR dynamics and levels were different for a proportion of ewes. Clustering on BW and BCS profiles adjusted for individual level trends, resulted in differences only in the level of BW or BCS, rather than differences in trajectories. Thus, the overall shape of trajectories was not changed considering or not the individual level trend across cycles. In addition to individual variability, the ewe’s age at first lambing and litter size contributed to the distribution of the ewes between the trajectories. Regarding the entire productive life, three trajectories were observed for BW and BCS changes over three productive cycles. Increase in BW at each cycle suggested that ewes kept growing up until 3 to 4 years old in our conditions. Similar alternation of BCS gains and losses across cycles suggested BR dynamics might be repeatable. Many individual trajectories remained the same throughout a ewe’s life, whatever the age at first lambing, parity or litter size. Our results demonstrate the relevance of using BW and BCS changes for characterizing the diversity of BR mobilization–accretion profiles in sheep in a long timespan perspective.
Achieving a consistent level of robot utilisation throughout 24 h maximises automatic milking system (AMS) utilisation. However, levels of robot utilisation in the early morning hours are typically low, caused by the diurnal feeding behaviour of cows, limiting the inherent capacity and total production of pasture-based AMS. Our objective was to determine robot utilisation throughout 24 h by dairy cows, based on milking frequency (MF; milking events per animal per day) in a pasture-based AMS. Milking data were collected from January and February 2013 across 56 days, from a single herd of 186 animals (Bos taurus) utilising three Lely A3 robotic milking units, located in Tasmania, Australia. The dairy herd was categorised into three equal sized groups (n=62 per group) according to the cow’s mean daily MF over the duration of the study. Robot utilisation was characterised by an interaction (P< 0.001) between the three MF groups and time of day, with peak milking time for high MF cows within one h of a fresh pasture allocation becoming available, followed by the medium MF and low MF cows 2 and 4 h later, respectively. Cows in the high MF group also presented for milking between 2400 and 0600 h more frequently (77% of nights), compared to the medium MF group (57%) and low MF group (50%). This study has shown the formation of three distinct groups of cows within a herd, based on their MF levels. Further work is required to determine if this finding is replicated across other pasture-based AMS farms.
Better indicators of prognosis are needed to personalise post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatments.
We aimed to evaluate early symptom reduction as a predictor of better outcome and examine predictors of early response.
Patients with PTSD (N = 134) received sertraline or prolonged exposure in a randomised trial. Early response was defined as 20% PTSD symptom reduction by session two and good end-state functioning defined as non-clinical levels of PTSD, depression and anxiety.
Early response rates were similar in prolonged exposure and sertraline (40 and 42%), but in sertraline only, early responders were four times more likely to achieve good end-state functioning at post-treatment (Number Needed to Treat = 1.8, 95% CI 1.28–3.00) and final follow-up (Number Needed to Treat = 3.1, 95% CI 1.68–16.71). Better outcome expectations of sertraline also predicted higher likelihood of early response.
Higher expectancy of sertraline coupled with early response may produce a cascade-like effect for optimal conditions for long-term symptom reduction. Therefore, assessing expectations and providing clear treatment rationales may optimise sertraline effects.
The objective was to compare the performance of the updated Charlson comorbidity index (uCCI) and classical CCI (cCCI) in predicting 30-day mortality in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB). All cases of SAB in patients aged ⩾14 years identified at the Microbiology Unit were included prospectively and followed. Comorbidity was evaluated using the cCCI and uCCI. Relevant variables associated with SAB-related mortality, along with cCCI or uCCI scores, were entered into multivariate logistic regression models. Global model fit, model calibration and predictive validity of each model were evaluated and compared. In total, 257 episodes of SAB in 239 patients were included (mean age 74 years; 65% were male). The mean cCCI and uCCI scores were 3.6 (standard deviation, 2.4) and 2.9 (2.3), respectively; 161 (63%) cases had cCCI score ⩾3 and 89 (35%) cases had uCCI score ⩾4. Sixty-five (25%) patients died within 30 days. The cCCI score was not related to mortality in any model, but uCCI score ⩾4 was an independent factor of 30-day mortality (odds ratio, 1.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–3.74). The uCCI is a more up-to-date, refined and parsimonious prognostic mortality score than the cCCI; it may thus serve better than the latter in the identification of patients with SAB with worse prognoses.
Exposure to armed conflict and forced displacement constitute significant risks for mental health. Existing evidence-based psychological interventions have limitations for scaling-up in low-resource humanitarian settings. The WHO has developed a guided self-help intervention, Self Help Plus (SH+), which is brief, implemented by non-specialists, and designed to be delivered to people with and without specific mental disorders. This paper outlines the study protocol for an evaluation of the SH+ intervention in northern Uganda, with South Sudanese refugee women.
A two-arm, single-blind cluster-randomised controlled trial will be conducted in 14 villages in Rhino Camp refugee settlement, with at least 588 women experiencing psychological distress. Villages will be randomly assigned to receive either SH+ with enhanced usual care (EUC), or EUC alone. SH+ is a five-session guided self-help intervention delivered in workshops with audio-recorded materials and accompanying pictorial guide. The primary outcome is reduction in overall psychological distress over time, with 3 months post-treatment as the primary end-point. Secondary outcomes are self-defined psychosocial concerns, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, hazardous alcohol use, feelings of anger, interethnic relations, psychological flexibility, functional impairment and subjective wellbeing. Psychological flexibility is a hypothesised mediator, and past trauma history and intervention attendance will be explored as potential moderators.
This trial will provide important information on the effectiveness of a scalable, guided self-help intervention for improving psychological health and wellbeing among people affected by adversity.
OBJECTIVES/SPECIFIC AIMS: Responding to the need and interest of students and faculty of the UHSP in learning about CTR, the Title V Cooperative Project between UPR-MSC and UCC, developed and offered a training cycle (TC) in CTR. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: Undergraduate students (US), undergraduate faculty (UF), and graduate students (GS) were invited to register in: Research Education Towards Opportunities (RETO) and Mentorship Offering Training Opportunities for Research (MOTOR), which consisted of 20 hours of training in CTR, with interdisciplinary sessions in: Introduction and preparation of a presentation in CTR; Identify, interview and share a presentation of a CT researcher; participation in conferences and a summer camp in CTR. At the end of the TC, surveys—satisfaction and needs assessment—for training in CTR were administered. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Thirty-three (33) registered in the TC, distributed: 13 (39.39%) US in RETO, 12 (36.36%) GS and 8 (24.24%) UF in MOTOR. Of these, 25 (75.75%) answered and submitted the on-line surveys and received a completion certificate. All (100%) were satisfied with the TC, and for 96% of the respondents, their expectations were fulfilled, and will continue in the TC. They selected critical review, scientific communication, and cultural diversity as thematic areas of interest. In addition, 60% of them selected neuroscience, cancer and medical imaging as main research areas of interest. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: The TC demonstrated to be an effective strategy to provide new knowledge, experiences, and interest in CTR. It also established a pathway for future engagement in CTR.
The objective of this study was to compare five methods of forage preservation (ice, dry ice, liquid-N, drying in newspaper, and sundried) on the concentration of the n-alkane C31 in Medicago sativa cv Puebla 76 (lucerne/alfalfa), Trifolium repens latum (white clover), Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass), Pennisetum clandestinum (kikuyu grass) and Dactylis glomerata (orchardgrass/cocksfoot). The sampled forages in ice and dry ice were kept in hermetically sealed plastic bags in a plastic cooler. The deep frozen samples were put into small plastic bags and submerged in liquid-N. The samples dried in newspaper were placed between sheets of newspaper, and put into hermetically sealed plastic bags. All these samples were taken to the laboratory and freeze-dried approximately 24 h later. The sun-dried samples were taken to the laboratory in newspaper and sun-dried for 48 h. The forage samples were ground and worked on in triplicate, extracted by the Soxhlet method (C34 n-alkane was used as standard and n-heptane as solvent), saponified, separated, purified and injected into a gas chromatograph. The data were analysed for variance as a randomised factorial (n=74). The comparison between means was by the Boneferroni test (P<0.05). The interaction between forage and method of conservation was significant P<0.0001). There were no differences between methods of conservation for white clover (mean 26mg C31/kg DM) or orchardgrass/cocksfoot (mean 31 mgC31/ kgDM). In comparison with liquid-N, (261 mgC31/kgDM), the other methods reduced the concentration of n-alkane in kikuyu grass by 27-35%. Sun and newspaper dried samples increased the concentration of C31 in alfalfa/lucerne by 6 and 15% respectively in comparison with freezing with liquid-N (291 mgC31/kgDM), while that frozen on ice reduced C31 by about 8%. This method, however, increased the ryegrass n-alkane by 12% in relation to liquid-N (169 mgC31/kgDM), but sun drying reduced it by about 40%. It is concluded that drying in liquid-N is the most reliable method for the conservation of samples for n-alkane analysis.
This study assessed milk productivity, demographic characteristics and workload distribution on a single high-yield dairy ewe farm in Spain (Avila, Spain; continental climate, latitude of 40.90 N, altitude of 900 m) over a 7-year period considering a transition from a herd management system involving five lambings per year (5LY) to a system involving 10 lambings per year (10LY). The 5LY system was practiced on the farm from 2010 to 2012 and the 10LY system from 2014 to 2015, with 2009 and 2013 being considered transition years. During this period, 27 415 lactations were recorded from an average of 3746 Lacaune sheep/year. Several productivity parameters were higher in 2014 to 2015 than in 2010 to 2012: milk yield/lactation (370±156 v. 349±185 l), lactation length (218±75 v. 192±75 days) and dry period length (53.5±38.3 v. 69.1±34.8 days) (all P<0.0001). During 2014 to 2015, investment in new lambing facilities was possible, workload was distributed more uniformly throughout the year, workload per worker was smaller, rate of ewe culling was lower (35.39±0.53% v. 42.51±7.51%), ewe longevity was greater and higher-order lactations were more numerous (P<0.0001). On the other hand, during 2010 to 2012, daily production was higher (1.73±1.66 v. 1.70±0.62 l/day; P=0.038), the interlambing period was shorter (283±50 v. 302±44 days; P<0.0001) and lambings/ewe per year were greater (1.42±0.01 v. 1.30±0.01; P<0.05). These results suggest that a 10LY herd management system can be compatible with profitability, productivity and good animal and worker’s welfare on a high-yield dairy farm, and may even be associated with better outcomes than a 5LY system.
Astrobiology seeks to understand the limits of life and to determine the physiology of organisms in order to better assess the habitability of other worlds. To successfully achieve these goals we require microorganisms from environments on Earth that approximate to extraterrestrial environments in terms of physical and/or chemical conditions. The most challenging of these environments with respect to sample collection, isolation and cultivation of microorganisms are anoxic environments. In this paper, an approach to this challenge was implemented within the European Union's MASE (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration) project. In this review paper, we aim to provide a set of methods for future field work and sampling campaigns. A number of anoxic environment based on characteristics that make them analogous to past and present locations on Mars were selected. They included anoxic sulphur-rich springs (Germany), the salt-rich Boulby Mine (UK), a lake in a basaltic context (Iceland), acidic sediments in the Rio Tinto (Spain), glacier samples (Austria) and permafrost samples (Russia and Canada). Samples were collected under strict anoxic conditions to be used for cultivation and genomic community analysis. Using the samples, a culturing approach was implemented to enrich anaerobic organisms using a defined medium that would allow for organisms to be grown under identical conditions in future physiological comparisons. Anaerobic microorganisms were isolated and deposited with the DSMZ (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) culture collection to make them available to other scientists. In MASE, the selected organisms are studied with respect to survival and growth under Mars relevant stresses. They are artificially fossilized and the resulting biosignatures studied and used to investigate the efficacy of life detection instrumentation for planetary missions. Some of the organisms belong to genera with medical and environmental importance such as Yersinia spp., illustrating how astrobiology field research can be used to increase the availability of microbial isolates for applied terrestrial purposes.
The Brangus breed was developed to combine the superior characteristics of both of its founder breeds, Angus and Brahman. It combines the high adaptability to tropical and subtropical environments, disease resistance, and overall hardiness of Zebu cattle with the reproductive potential and carcass quality of Angus. It is known that the major histocompatibility complex (MHC, also known as bovine leucocyte antigen: BoLA), located on chromosome 23, encodes several genes involved in the adaptive immune response and may be responsible for adaptation to harsh environments. The objective of this work was to evaluate whether the local breed ancestry percentages in the BoLA locus of a Brangus population diverged from the estimated genome-wide proportions and to identify signatures of positive selection in this genomic region. For this, 167 animals (100 Brangus, 45 Angus and 22 Brahman) were genotyped using a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism array. The local ancestry analysis showed that more than half of the haplotypes (55.0%) shared a Brahman origin. This value was significantly different from the global genome-wide proportion estimated by cluster analysis (34.7% Brahman), and the proportion expected by pedigree (37.5% Brahman). The analysis of selection signatures by genetic differentiation (Fst) and extended haplotype homozygosity-based methods (iHS and Rsb) revealed 10 and seven candidate regions, respectively. The analysis of the genes located within these candidate regions showed mainly genes involved in immune response-related pathway, while other genes and pathways were also observed (cell surface signalling pathways, membrane proteins and ion-binding proteins). Our results suggest that the BoLA region of Brangus cattle may have been enriched with Brahman haplotypes as a consequence of selection processes to promote adaptation to subtropical environments.
Satellite altimetric time series allow high-precision monitoring of ice-sheet mass balance. Understanding elevation changes in these regions is important because outlet glaciers along ice-sheet margins are critical in controlling flow of inland ice. Here we discuss a new airborne altimetry dataset collected as part of the ICECAP (International Collaborative Exploration of the Cryosphere by Airborne Profiling) project over East Antarctica. Using the ALAMO (Airborne Laser Altimeter with Mapping Optics) system of a scanning photon-counting lidar combined with a laser altimeter, we extend the 2003–09 surface elevation record of NASA’s ICESat satellite, by determining cross-track slope and thus independently correcting for ICESat’s cross-track pointing errors. In areas of high slope, cross-track errors result in measured elevation change that combines surface slope and the actual Δz/Δt signal. Slope corrections are particularly important in coastal ice streams, which often exhibit both rapidly changing elevations and high surface slopes. As a test case (assuming that surface slopes do not change significantly) we observe a lack of ice dynamic change at Cook Ice Shelf, while significant thinning occurred at Totten and Denman Glaciers during 2003–09.