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One of the most debated topics in pig production is the need to study, understand and change the production system in order to improve nutrient efficiency, becoming more environmentally friendly. The nitrogen excretion has highly deleterious effects on the environment, and it is necessary to develop tools that help to reduce the excretion of this compound without compromising productivity. Therefore, two models were generated to estimate the efficiency of weight gain in relation to excreted nitrogen in post-weaning piglets. Data for testing these models were obtained from previous master and PhD studies carried out at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Animal Science Laboratory using piglets in the post-weaning phase with results for performance and digestibility. The database that was constructed was composed of raw data from 10 studies carried out between 2000 and 2016, on a total of 726 piglets weaned at ages between 17 and 28 days, and to which 62 different treatments were applied. An exploratory analysis of the data was done by evaluating scatter plots and histograms, and variables representing different treatments were used in a stepwise multiple linear regression analysis, with the F-test used as the selection criterion. Two models were generated that either considered the nitrogen retained or not, to estimate the ratio between weight gain and excreted nitrogen using generalized linear model procedure. The authors analyzed the behavior of each variable to evaluate whether the equation generated was biologically coherent. Weight gain, dry matter intake, nitrogen intake, metabolizable energy intake, retained nitrogen and urinary nitrogen were all significant (P<0.001) variables in model I, and in model II the variable fecal nitrogen was also included. The models had high coefficients of determination (R2 of model I and II were 0.9013 and 0.8271, respectively), and the nitrogen ingested variable was the one that most strongly influenced growth efficiency. When the retained nitrogen variable was removed from the model, there was a reduction in the fit of the equations. It was possible to conclude that both of the two models generated could be applied and the amount of nitrogen ingested had the greatest influence on growth efficiency related to nitrogen excretion.
This is a copy of the slides presented at the meeting but not formally written up for the volume.
Recently, the telecommunication market experiences an explosion in the subscribers of emergent high-debit services which require bandwidth that exceeds the one provided by actual copper based access networks . To cope with these demands and keep competitive, great efforts have been done to develop access networks based on optical technology, such as passive all-optical networks due to their intrinsic low cost . Sol-gel processing is suitable for the development of organic-inorganic hybrid (OIH) materials for the production of functional integrated optic (IO) devices in a cost effective way. Urea cross-linked OIH show acceptable transparency, mechanical flexibility and thermal stability [3-6]. The control over the refractive index is achieved by zirconium (IV) n-propoxide (ZPO) doping stabilized with methacrylic acid (MA) [3-5]. The combination in a single material of urea cross-linked OIH and ZPO allowed the preparation of UV written low losses planar waveguides  and low rugosity diffraction grating [4,5]. It has been demonstrated that MA acts not only as ZPO stabilizer but impacts directly on the photopolimerization properties as it contains a photopolymerizable group making the OIH easily UV patterned without photoinitiator . Moreover, it also impacts on the OHIs local structure as it forms a complex with ZPO, that originate ordered clusters dispersed within the OIH host [4,5]. Besides the potential of this OIH as IO components, the hybrid hosts are room-temperature efficient white light emitters lacking metal activator ions, presenting quantum yields as higher as 20 % . In this work, a series of OIH, so called di-ureasils, formed of a siliceous skeleton to which oligopolyether chains of different lengths are covalently grafted by means of urea bridges and modified by ZPO and MA will be prepared and characterized by X-ray and small angle X-ray diffractions, Raman, infrared, atomic force and photoluminescence spectroscopies. The use of the proposed OIH in the development of IO functionalities such as optical filters will be evaluated based on waveguide numerical simulation methods (beam propagation method). Waveguides will be written and characterized using the OIH aforementioned. The recording of a Bragg grating in the waveguides allow the implementation of a wavelength discrimination device with applications on optical filtering. The relevant properties of the devices, such as spectral rejection and insertion losses will be characterized.  S-J Park et al. Journal of Lightwave Tech. 22, 2004.  D.J. Shin et al., Journal of Lightwave Tech. 23, 2005.  C. Molina et al., J. Mater. Chem. 15, 3937, 2005.  R.A. Sá Ferreira et al., Proceedings of the International Conference on Telecomunications, 2006.  P.S. André et al. Proceedings ICTON, 1, We.C1.6, 223, 2006.  a) L.D. Carlos et al., Adv. Func. Mater. 11, 111, 2001; b) J. Chem. Phys. B. 108, 14924, 2004. Siemens SA and FCT (POCTI/CTM/59075/2004) is gratefully acknowledged.
There is no suitable vaccine against human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and available drugs are toxic and/or present high cost. In this context, diagnostic tools should be improved for clinical management and epidemiological evaluation of disease. However, the variable sensitivity and/or specificity of the used antigens are limitations, showing the necessity to identify new molecules to be tested in a more sensitive and specific serology. In the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed in Leishmania infantum promastigotes and amastigotes employing sera samples from VL patients. Aiming to avoid undesired cross-reactivity in the serological assays, sera from Chagas disease patients and healthy subjects living in the endemic region of disease were also used in immunoblottings. The most reactive spots for VL samples were selected, and 29 and 21 proteins were identified in the promastigote and amastigote extracts, respectively. Two of them, endonuclease III and GTP-binding protein, were cloned, expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments against a large serological panel, and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the diagnosis of disease. In conclusion, the identified proteins could be considered in future studies as candidate antigens for the serodiagnosis of human VL.
We assessed self-reported drives for alcohol use and their impact on clinical features of alcohol use disorder (AUD) patients. Our prediction was that, in contrast to “affectively” (reward or fear) driven drinking, “habitual” drinking would be associated with worse clinical features in relation to alcohol use and higher occurrence of associated psychiatric symptoms.
Fifty-eight Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) alcohol abuse patients were assessed with a comprehensive battery of reward- and fear-based behavioral tendencies. An 18-item self-report instrument (the Habit, Reward and Fear Scale; HRFS) was employed to quantify affective (fear or reward) and non-affective (habitual) motivations for alcohol use. To characterize clinical and demographic measures associated with habit, reward, and fear, we conducted a partial least squares analysis.
Habitual alcohol use was significantly associated with the severity of alcohol dependence reflected across a range of domains and with lower number of detoxifications across multiple settings. In contrast, reward-driven alcohol use was associated with a single domain of alcohol dependence, reward-related behavioral tendencies, and lower number of detoxifications.
These results seem to be consistent with a shift from goal-directed to habit-driven alcohol use with severity and progression of addiction, complementing preclinical work and informing biological models of addiction. Both reward-related and habit-driven alcohol use were associated with lower number of detoxifications, perhaps stemming from more benign course for the reward-related and lack of treatment engagement for the habit-related alcohol abuse group. Future work should further explore the role of habit in this and other addictive disorders, and in obsessive-compulsive related disorders.
Leaf-cutting ants are dominant herbivores in Neotropical rain forests, and their colony densities increase in disturbed habitats such as forest edges. However, while it is well-established that leaf-cutting ants profit from changes to the food-plant community, the phylogenetic dimension of this ant–plant interaction remains poorly understood in fragmented forests. We studied diet composition of Atta cephalotes in the edge and interior of Atlantic forest in north-east Brazil (8°30′S, 35°50′W). We applied phylogenetic signal analysis to investigate the diet across plant lineages and performed phylogenetic generalized linear models to analyse the diet in both habitats. We found a phylogenetic signal in diet and in leaf mechanical resistance, which means that A. cephalotes selects closely related food plants with less resistant leaves. Most preferred species belong to Malpighiales, Rubiaceae and Melastomataceae. We also found that irrespective of phylogeny, ants select food plants with less resistant leaves, both in edge and interior. However, ants choose more abundant plants only in edges. High abundance of optimal diet facilitates foraging in forest edges and explains why colony densities increase in disturbed habitats. Finally, by favouring or disfavouring specific clades, leaf-cutting ants contribute to changes in the phylogenetic structure of tropical rain forests, e.g. phylogenetic impoverishment.
The goals of this study were to analyze the growth and stability of vocabulary, mean length of the three longest utterances (MLLUw), and sentence complexity in European Portuguese-speaking children aged 1;4–2;6, to explore differences in growth as a function of personal and family-related variables, and to investigate the inter-relationships among the three language dimensions. Fifty-one European Portuguese-speaking toddlers were longitudinally assessed at 1;4, 1;9, 2;1, and 2;6, through parent reports. Exponential growth models best described acquisition patterns during this period, but the vocabulary growth accelerated across the full age-range, whereas the growth of grammar dimensions accelerated mainly after 1;9. High variability was observed in the scores, but the toddlers’ relative positions were mostly stable over time. Gender approached significance as a predictor of vocabulary growth. Maternal educational level did not predict the growth of any of the three language dimensions. Both vocabulary and MLLUw predicted sentence complexity.
Let p be an odd prime and let G be a non-abelian finite p-group of exponent p2 with three distinct characteristic subgroups, namely 1, Gp and G. The quotient group G/Gp gives rise to an anti-commutative 𝔽p-algebra L such that the action of Aut (L) is irreducible on L; we call such an algebra IAC. This paper establishes a duality G ↔ L between such groups and such IAC algebras. We prove that IAC algebras are semisimple and we classify the simple IAC algebras of dimension at most 4 over certain fields. We also give other examples of simple IAC algebras, including a family related to the m-th symmetric power of the natural module of SL(2, 𝔽).
Protein is the most costly nutrient in fish feed, and while diets offered in the early stages of development typically have high levels of CP, they do not always correspond to the real requirements of the animals. Thus, research that seeks to learn the true nutritional requirements of fish is fundamental to improving commercial fish culture. The present study evaluated the protein requirements of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) under larviculture. Fish performance, gene expression for digestive enzymes and their enzymatic activity and stress response to air exposure were analyzed. Four experimental diets differing in CP level were formulated: 30%, 36%, 42% and 48%. Fish larvae were fed the experimental diets during development and sampled 10, 20 and 30 days after the beginning of the experiment for performance, gene expression and enzymatic activity. At sampling time 30, stress resistance was also evaluated by means of an air exposure test. At sampling time 10, CP levels between 36% and 48% could be used for a better performance. During this period, pepsinogen expression was greater for 30% CP, intermediate for 42% and lower for 36% and 48%. After this initial period, diets of between 30% and 42% CP are recommended for better performance. At sampling time 20, gene expression for digestive enzymes and their enzymatic activity were similar for all diets tested. At sampling time 30, the diet of 42% CP induced both greater pepsinogen expression and pepsin activity. Survival after the air exposure test after 30 days of feeding was influenced by CP level in the diet, with the highest survival being for fish fed with 36% CP. Taken together, the present results demonstrate that dietary CP influences digestive enzyme gene expression and activity, and suggest that the best CP levels for Nile tilapia larviculture vary depending on larval stage.
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that was first identified in Brazil in 2014. It causes a febrile illness characterised by severe arthralgia and rash. Our group investigated a suspected CHIKV outbreak in Governador Valadares, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil and from 25 acute-phase patients, 10 had qRT-PCR positive sera samples and had E1 partial sequence amplified and Sanger sequenced. Samples were identified as East/Central/South African (ECSA) genotype by phylogenetic analysis and clustered with CHIKV sequences isolated in the neighbour state of Bahia. Our findings confirm previous predictions that ECSA genotype would spread through northeast and southeast of Brazil.
Direct polycondensation of L-lactic acid with a comonomer allows tailoring the properties of the product from the very first step. The viscous L-lactic acid co-oligomers with star-shaped architectures obtained were modified with three different acrylate monomers. Regardless the functionalization agent, UV curing was fast and all materials were cell compatible and promoted cell adhesion. The physical properties of the three star-shaped films exhibited a consistent trend as swelling capacity, hydrolytic instability, and gel content decreased simultaneously. A higher network density increased crosslinking degree and gel content among the films with an isocyanate group. The methacrylic end group functionalized material, lowest molecular weight, consistently exhibited the higher hydrolytic instability. Comparison of physical properties of these films with the corresponding linear materials reported previously confirmed the influence of precursor molecular architecture on the final material. The methodology developed herein is prone to scale-up and lead to the industrial production of new bioadhesives.
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.
Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine are increasingly taking advantage of active materials, allowing to provide specific clues to the cells. In particular, the use of electroactive polymers that deliver an electrical signal to the cells upon mechanical solicitation, open new scientific and technological opportunities, as they in fact mimic signals and effects that occur in living tissues, allowing the development of suitable microenvironments for tissue regeneration. Thus, a novel overall strategy for bone and muscle tissue engineering was developed based on the fact that these cells type are subjected to mechano-electrical stimuli in their in vivo microenvironment and that piezo- and magnetoelectric polymers, used as scaffolds, are suitable for delivering those cues. The processing and functional characterizations of piezoelectric and magnetoelectric polymers based on poly(vinylindene fluoride) and poly-L-lactic acid in a variety of shapes, from microspheres to electrospun mats and three dimensional scaffolds, are shown as well as their performance in the development of novel bone and muscle tissue engineering.
In this study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyS, was evaluated regarding its antigenicity, immunogenicity and protective efficacy against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Regarding antigenicity, immunoblottings and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using human and canine sera showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the recombinant protein (rLiHyS) in the diagnosis of VL. When evaluating the immunogenicity of LiHyS, which is possibly located in the parasite's flagellar pocket, proliferative assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects or VL patients showed a high proliferative index in both individuals, when compared to the results obtained using rA2 or unstimulated cultures. Later, rLiHyS/saponin was inoculated in BALB/c mice, which were then challenged with Leishmania infantum promastigotes. The vaccine induced an interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production, which was maintained after infection and which was associated with high nitrite and IgG2a antibody levels, as well as low IL-4 and IL-10 production. Significant reductions in the parasite load in liver, spleen, bone marrow and draining lymph nodes were found in these animals. In this context, the present study shows that the rLiHyS has the capacity to be evaluated as a diagnostic marker or vaccine candidate against VL.
Anthropogenic disturbance often results in the proliferation of native species of particular groups that leads to biotic homogenization. Leaf-cutting ants are an example of such winner organisms in tropical rain forests, but their response to disturbance in dry forests is poorly known. We investigated Atta colony density in areas of tropical dry forest in Brazil with different distance to roads and vegetation cover. Atta colonies were surveyed in 59 belt transects of 300 × 20 m, covering a total area of 35.4 ha. We found 224 Atta colonies, 131 of which were active and belonged to Atta opaciceps (87 colonies, 2.45 ha−1), A. sexdens (35 colonies, 0.98 ha−1) and A. laevigata (9 colonies, 0.25 ha−1). The density of active colonies sharply decreased from 15 ± 2.92 ha−1 in the 50-m zone along roads to only 2.55 ± 1.65 ha−1 at distances up to 300 m. The reverse pattern was observed for inactive colonies. Active Atta colonies preferentially occur in areas with low vegetation cover, while inactive colonies prefer areas with high vegetation cover. We demonstrate for the first time that anthropogenic disturbances promote the proliferation of leaf-cutting ants in dry forest in Brazil, which may affect plant regeneration via herbivory and ecosystem engineering as demonstrated for rain forests.
A comprehensive assessment of the effect of disturbances on tropical and subtropical forests is needed to better understand their impacts on forest structure and diversity. Although taxonomic and functional diversity measures have been successfully adopted in this context, phylogenetic diversity metrics are still poorly explored. We compared the phylogenetic structure of the seed rain and regenerating seedling community in patches of an old-growth Atlantic Forest remnant dominated or not by a ruderal bamboo species, Guadua tagoara. We sampled those patches before and after illegal harvesting of the palm Euterpe edulis thus assessing if the harvesting led to changes in the phylogenetic structure of the seed rain and the regenerating community in both patches. Bamboo-dominated patches showed a significantly higher presence of species in the seed rain that were more distantly related to each other in the phylogeny than expected by chance compared with patches without bamboos, but this difference disappeared after palm-heart harvesting. Contrary to what we expected, we did not find significant changes in the phylogenetic structure of seedlings before or after palm-heart harvesting. The phylogenetic structure at the tips of the phylogeny was random overall. The maintenance of a higher presence of far relatives in the phylogeny of the seedling community suggests, assuming trait conservatism, that despite bamboo dominance and palm-heart harvesting, functional diversity is being preserved at least in the early regenerating stages and in the time frame of the study. However, higher presence of pioneer taxa after palm-heart harvest indicates that this disturbance may lead old-growth areas to earlier successional stages.
Lychnophora ericoides Mart. (Asteraceae), popularly known as arnica, is a plant species subjected to non-timber forest products extraction. Evidence is mounting that some local populations are on the brink of extinction. However, demographic studies of Lychnophora ericoides are rare. Therefore, as a step towards conservation, a remnant population of Lychnophora ericoides located in an area of the Cerrado (Brazilian Savanna) in Central Brazil was evaluated from 2010 through 2014. Disturbances such as wildfires and harvesting of Lychnophora ericoides were randomly distributed throughout the study period in this area. Four annual transition matrices (A1, A2, A3 and A4) were constructed, based on life stages. The main results of studies of population dynamics for this species are as follows: 1) population growth rates (λ) with 95% confidence intervals indicated a declining population in all periods from 2010 to 2014; 2) stochastic population growth rate considering the four matrices was < 1 with value λ = 0.358 and CI95% = (0.354–0.362); 3) survival with permanence at the same stage of reproductive adult individuals (46–80%) contributed most to population growth rate, based on elasticity analysis; 4) the population is much less likely to have increases in density, compared with reduction, for all intervals from 2010 to 2014, based on transient indices; 5) the low value of λ in the high-mortality year was caused by lower stasis of individuals in the seedling or sapling and juvenile life stages, as well as fecundity in the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 intervals, as shown by a life table response experiment; and 6) 100% of the population will probably be extinct within 15 years. There is evidence that the main cause for local extinction of Lychnophora ericoides could be the effects of frequent wildfires. Based on these results, it is suggested that the time has come for significant conservation efforts to rescue this population, including monitoring, protection and education as the first steps towards protection of this vulnerable plant species.
The thermomechanical processing of NiTi shape memory alloys usually involves several steps of hot and/or cold deformation. The present work presents the structural characterization of a Ni-rich NiTi alloy bar, produced by vacuum-induced melting and thermomechanical processing in laboratory scale, aiming at massive production in the future. This study focused on the first step of hot working at 800 °C during rotary forging. Microstructural characterization was performed using differential scanning calorimetry, high- and low-temperature X-ray diffraction (XRD) using a laboratory source and synchrotron XRD. Thus, it was possible to obtain the phase transformation characteristics of the material: the transformation temperatures and the transformation sequence. Proposed thermomechanical processing is intended for production of bars and wires that will be subsequently drawn to get thin wires, for different applications, including orthodontic arch wires.
Feline leishmaniasis has been reported in various parts of the world in recent years, occurring mainly in areas where zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is endemic. The purpose of this study was to assess the occurrence of natural infection by Leishmania spp. in domestic cats (Felis catus) in the municipality of Teresina, Piauí state, Brazil, an endemic area of VL in Brazil. The prevalence of infection by Leishmania spp. in the population under study was 4% (3/83) in the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and 4% (3/83) by smear observation and isolation in a culture medium, using popliteal lymphnode sample. Only one of the three infected cats was positive for ELISA, also being positive for feline immunodeficiency virus. In the haematologic parameters, normocytic normochromic anaemia was the most common change, being present in the three infected animals. In the biochemical measurements also were observed alterations in infected animals. The Leishmania spp. strains isolated from the culture medium were characterized as L. infantum. The presence of L. infantum infection in cats in the city of Teresina, an area endemic for VL, suggests the possible involvement of these animals in the epidemiological chain of L. infantum in high-transmission areas.