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Transition metal dichalcogenide materials MX2 (M = Mo;W;X = S; Se) are being thoroughly studied due to their novel two-dimensional structure, that is associated with exceptional optical and transport properties. From a computational point of view, Density Functional Theory simulations perform very well in these systems and are an indispensable tool to predict and complement experimental results. However, due to the time and length scales where even the most efficient DFT implementations can reach today, this methodology suffers of stringent limitations to deal with finite temperature simulations or electron-lattice coupling when studying excitation states: the unit cells required to study, for instance, systems with thermal fluctuations or large polarons would require a large computational power. Multi-scale techniques, like the recently proposed Second Principles Density Functional Theory, can go beyond these limitations but require the construction of tight-binding models for the systems under investigation. In this work, we compare two such methods to construct the bands of WSe2. In particular, we compare the result of (i) Wannier-based model construction with (ii) the band fitting method of Liu et al., where the top of the valence band and the bottom of the conduction band are modeled by three bands symmetrized to have mainly Tungsten dz2, dxy and dx2-y2character. Our results emphasize the differences between these two approaches and how band fitting model construction leads to an overestimation of the localization of the real-space basis in a tight-binding representation.
It is estimated that 80% of the world population trusts traditional medicine. A large number of Americans use infusions of Bocconia frutescens L. leaves to treat cough and gastrointestinal disorders. However, phytochemical studies reveal that this plant contains alkaloids and other potentially harmful substances. This study aimed to evaluate the teratogenic effects of B. frutescens L. in an experimental model. Pregnant Wistar rats were administered lyophilized B. frutescens L. extract at 300 mg/kg/day or vehicle by orogastric route during the organogenesis period (gestation days 7–13), and external and internal congenital malformations were analyzed on the progeny on gestational day 20. Bocconia frutescens L. produced a significant increase in the number of different malformations, relative to the control group. We conclude that the consumption of B. frutescens L. during pregnancy at a dose equivalent to that consumed by humans increases the risk of teratogenic effects.
Rotavirus (RV) is the main cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in young children. The San Luis province of Argentina introduced RV vaccination in May 2013. We estimate vaccine impact (RVI) using real-world data. Data on all-cause AGE cases and AGE-related hospitalisations for San Luis and the adjacent Mendoza province (control group) were obtained and analysed by interrupted time-series methods. Regardless of the model used for counterfactual predictions, we estimated a reduction in the number of all-cause AGE cases of 20–25% and a reduction in AGE-related hospitalisations of 55–60%. The vaccine impact was similar for each age group considered (<1 year, <2 years and <5 years). RV vaccination was estimated to have reduced direct medical costs in the province by about 4.5 million pesos from May 2013 to December 2014. Similar to previous studies, we found a higher impact of RV vaccination in preventing severe all-cause AGE cases requiring hospitalisation than in preventing all-cases AGE cases presenting for medical care. An assessment of the economic value of RV vaccination could take other benefits into account in addition to the avoided medical costs and the costs of vaccination.
Life in the terrestrial and marine subsurface has adapted and evolved mechanisms to survive under extremes of energy limitation, temperature, pressure, radiation, and/or water availability. New developments in nucleic acid sequencing, high-pressure biochemistry, and high-pressure biophysics have expanded our understanding of the mechanisms used by deep life. This chapter synthesizes these new developments and highlights remaining gaps in understanding.
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.
Germination ecology was investigated in a natural population of Xyris longiscapa, a perennial herbaceous species endemic to the Brazilian campo rupestre. Seeds were collected over four consecutive years (2014 to 2017) to evaluate germination responses to a range of temperatures (from 15 to 30°C). The light requirement was evaluated in seeds collected in 2014. Seeds collected in 2014 were also buried in soil in the natural habitat of the species to evaluate changes in germinability at different temperatures over the time. Seeds showed an absolute light requirement for germination. Seed germination was affected by temperature, collection year and the interaction between these two factors. Seeds collected in 2014 showed a narrower temperature range for germination (15–20°C), compared with the seeds collected in 2015, 2016 and 2017 that germinated in a temperature range of 15–25°C. Buried seeds remained viable in soil for at least 14 months and exhibited seasonal dormancy cycling. Secondary dormancy was induced during the rainy season and alleviated during the dry season, following a conditional dormancy/dormancy cycle. The degree of primary dormancy appeared to be influenced by the environmental conditions experienced by seeds during maturation. Primary dormancy (when present), seed persistence in soil and seasonal dormancy cycles are strategies of X. longiscapa to enhance regeneration success in the harsh environment of the Brazilian campo rupestre.
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.
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.
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.
Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease, a vector-borne disease. The parasite molecules involved in vector interaction have been little investigated. Metallopeptidases and gp63 molecules have been implicated in parasite adhesion of several trypanosomatids to the insect midgut. Although gp63 homologues are highly expanded in the T. cruzi genome, and are implicated in parasite–mammalian host interaction, its role in the insect vector has never been explored. Here, we showed that divalent metal chelators or anti-Tcgp63-I antibodies impaired T. cruzi adhesion to Rhodnius prolixus midgut. Parasites isolated after insect colonization presented a drastic enhancement in the expression of Tcgp63-I. These data highlight, for the first time, that Tcgp63-I and Zn-dependent enzymes contribute to the interaction of T. cruzi with the insect vector.
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.
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 aim of this investigation was to study castor, canola, and sesame vegetable oils in order to evaluate their potential use as lubricants in steel mechanical components. For this purpose, densities of each oil were evaluated using the pycnometer method, as well as their dynamic viscosities through a Brookfield DV-II rotational viscometer. Both properties were evaluated at temperatures of 25, 40 and 100 °C. Additionally, viscosity indexes were determined according to ASTM D 2270. These rheological properties were used to estimate the lubrication regime considering parameters of real contact conditions in mechanical components. Friction and wear analyses were carried out to investigate the behaviour of the vegetable oil as lubricants. Such tests were carried out at room temperature on a CSM tribometer with pin-on-disk configuration by using castor, canola and sesame oils as lubricants. AISI 4140 hardened steel against AISI 100Cr6 steel pin was used as a mechanical component. From the rheological study, it was observed that canola and sesame oils behave as dilatant fluids at the evaluated temperatures, while castor oil behaves like a Newtonian fluid at 25 and 40 °C. Castor oil showed the highest density value among oils studied, but it also exhibited the lowest value of viscosity index (271). Contrarily, sesame oil was the least dense, but it exhibited the highest viscosity index (545). On the other hand, the lubrication regime study showed that by using castor oil as a lubricant in the mechanical component (4140/100Cr6), the system worked in a mixed lubrication regime while by using canola and sesame oils the system operated in boundary lubrication conditions. Finally, the kinetic friction coefficients were different for each lubricant obtaining the lowest value with castor oil while the highest value of friction coefficient was exhibited by the sesame oil lubricant.