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Population growth and rising incomes have led to increasing global demand for meat products. Meeting this demand without converting remaining natural ecosystems or further degrading ecosystems is one of the largest global sustainability challenges. A critical step to overcoming this challenge is to increase the productivity of livestock grazing systems, which occupy the largest land area of any type of agriculture globally. Integrated crop−livestock systems (iCL), which re-couple crop and livestock production at the farm scale, have been considered a promising strategy to tackle this challenge by restoring degraded pasturelands and providing supplemental nutrition to livestock. However, few studies have analyzed the economic viability of such systems, especially in Brazil, an important player in global food systems. This paper presents an economic analysis of iCL in Mato Grosso, Brazil, the largest grain and beef producer in the country, which spans the ecologically diverse Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal biomes. We compare the economic performance of an integrated soybean/corn and beef cattle system to a continuous crop (soybean/corn) system and a continuous livestock (beef cattle) production system from 2005 to 2012. We use empirical case study data to characterize a ‘typical’ farm for each production system within the study region. We find that the integrated crop−livestock system has a higher annual net present value (NPV) per hectare (ha) than continuous cropping or livestock under a range of discount rates. However, under a scenario of substantially higher crop prices, the continuous cropping outperforms iCL. While iCL is not feasible in all regions of the Amazon and Cerrado, our results indicate that in places where the biophysical and market conditions are suitable for production, it could be a highly profitable way to intensify cattle production and potentially spare land for other uses, including conservation. Nevertheless, additional credit and technical support may be needed to overcome high upfront costs and informational barriers to increase iCL areas as a sustainable development strategy for agriculture in the Amazon and Cerrado regions.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The bovine whey consists of more than 200 different types of proteins, of which β-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, serum albumin, immunoglobulins and lactoferrin predominate. However, their concentrations are not stable due to the existence of protein dynamics during a transition from colostrum secretion to mature milk. To evaluate the dynamics of whey proteins of Jersey cows during a colostral phase and first month of lactation and an influence of the number of lactations, 268 milk samples from 135 Jersey cows were selected through a clinical evaluation. Whey was obtained by rennet coagulation of the mammary secretion. The concentration of total proteins was determined by the biuret method and their fractions were identified by 12% dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (12% SDS-PAGE). Maximum concentrations of all protein fractions were observed in the first 12 h of lactation, reducing over the course of the study. Modification of the protein predominance was also observed. The transition from colostrum secretion to milk occurred between 24 and 72 h postpartum. There was an influence of the number of lactations on the dynamics of whey proteins, indicating that multiparous cows had better immunological and nutritional quality when compared to primiparous cows.
The use of cactus cladodes in animal feed is well-established in semi-arid areas. The cactus Nopalea cochenillifera (L.) Salm-Dyck cladodes (Nopalea) have high acceptability amongst dairy cows and are resistant to carmine cochineal insects (Dactylopius opuntiae Cockerell), a problem in semi-arid regions, but in regions of prolonged drought, it has lower productivity compared with the cactus Opuntia stricta (Haw.) Haw cladodes (Opuntia), which is also resistant to the insect. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the intake and content of digestible material of dry matter (DM) and its components, feeding behaviour, microbial protein synthesis, nitrogen balance, blood parameters, performance and milk composition of Holstein cows fed a control diet, containing either Nopalea or Opuntia associated with different concentrate levels (225, 275, 325 and 375 g/kg). Ten cows with an initial average milk production of 20 ± 2.1 kg/day were distributed into a double 5 × 5 Latin square design. Diets containing 775 g roughage/kg and 225 g concentrate/kg promoted similar responses to the analysed variables regardless of the cactus cladode used, except for digestibility of neutral detergent fibre. Diets containing higher proportions of concentrate (325 and 375 g/kg) promoted greater DM intake and 3.5% fat-corrected milk yield. The diet containing Opuntia at 775:225 g/kg roughage:concentrate proportion is as effective as the control diet for Holstein cows producing 20 kg of milk/day. To promote greater milk production, higher proportions of concentrate should be added to diets using Opuntia.
Keto analogues and amino acids (KAAA) supplementation can reduce blood ammonia concentrations in athletes undergoing high-intensity exercise under both ketogenic and thermoneutral conditions. This study evaluated the acute effects of KAAA supplementation on ammonia metabolism during extenuating endurance exercise in rats fed a ketogenic diet. In all, eighty male Fischer rats at 90 d of age were divided into eight groups, and some were trained using a swimming endurance protocol. A ketogenic diet supplemented with keto analogues was administered for 10 d. Administration of the ketogenic diet ended 3 d before the exhaustion test (extenuating endurance exercise). A ketogenic diet plus KAAA supplementation and extenuating endurance exercise (trained ketogenic diet supplemented with KAAA (TKKa)) increased blood ammonia concentrations by approximately 50 % compared with the control diet (trained control diet supplemented with KAAA (TCKa)) and similar training (effect size=1·33; statistical power=0·50). The KAAA supplementation reduced blood urea concentrations by 4 and 18 % in the control and ketogenic diet groups, respectively, compared with the groups fed the same diets without supplementation. The trained groups had 60 % lower blood urate concentrations after TCKa treatment than after TKKa treatment. Our results suggest that KAAA supplementation can reduce blood ammonia concentrations after extenuating endurance exercise in rats fed a balanced diet but not in rats fed a ketogenic diet.
Forage cactus is an important dry-season feed source for livestock in semi-arid regions, but in north-eastern Brazil, its contribution is limited by susceptibility to the carmine cochineal [Dactylopius opuntiae (Cockerell)] insect. New cactus germplasm shows superior agronomic performance, but the nutritive value of this material has not been adequately described. The objective of the current study was to assess the divergence in chemical composition and rate and extent of in vitro degradation of these genotypes. The treatments were 13 spineless cactus genotypes, eight of which were insect resistant types, two semi-resistant and three susceptible to the carmine cochineal. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design and were replicated three times. Nutritional divergence was assessed using canonical variate analysis and hierarchical agglomerative clustering, using the variables: crude protein, total and non-fibrous carbohydrates, degradation rate and potential dry matter degradation. Five distinct nutritional groups were identified: Group I (OO), Group II (F-13 and F-15), Group III (OEA, OEM, COP, IPA 20 and GG), Group IV (V-16 and F-08) and Group V (Miuda, IS and F-21). Group II (F-13 and F-15; resistant genotypes) showed a chemical composition degradability in vitro suggesting it may have the greatest nutritive value as ruminant feed, while Group I had the least. Spineless cactus genotypes resistant to the carmine cochineal showed nutritional characteristics similar to or better than traditionally used cactus genotypes, such as Gigante and IPA 20, which can expand the range of options for using this forage.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
Non-fasting hypertriacylglycerolaemia is a risk factor for CVD and the amount of fat in a meal seems to be the main factor influencing postprandial lipaemia. Although several studies suggest that Ca can increase faecal fat excretion, it is not known whether Ca can decrease postprandial TAG. This study aimed to evaluate the influence of dietary Ca (DC) and supplemental Ca (SC) on lipaemia, glucose metabolism, C-reactive protein (CRP) and adiponectin during postprandial period in obese women challenged with a high-fat meal. In this cross-over controlled trial, sixteen obese women aged 20–50 years were randomly assigned to receive three test meals (approximately 2900 kJ; 48 % fat): high DC (547 mg DC), high SC (HSCM; 500 mg SC-calcium carbonate) and low Ca (42 mg DC). Blood samples were collected in the fasting period and at minutes 120 and 240 after meals to evaluate total cholesterol and fractions, TAG, glucose, insulin, high-sensitivity CRP and adiponectin. Serum levels of TAG and insulin increased significantly after all test meals. Only after HSCM total cholesterol did not present a significant increase and LDL-cholesterol had a significant decrease. Postprandial glucose, HDL-cholesterol, CRP and adiponectin did not present significant changes after the three test meals. The comparative analysis of the effects of the three test meals on serum lipids, glucose, insulin, CRP and adiponectin revealed no significant meal-by-time interaction. These results suggest that in obese women challenged with a high-fat meal DC and SC do not interfere with postprandial lipaemia, glucose metabolism, CRP and adiponectin.
Resource partitioning is considered one of the main processes driving diversification in ecological communities because it allows coexistence among closely related and ecologically equivalent species. We combined three complementary approaches, i.e. the evaluation of foraging behaviour, diet composition and nutritional condition (RNA:DNA ratio), to assess feeding by two closely related (sister) butterflyfishes that are syntopic in Puerto Rico. Chaetodon capistratus had a higher abundance and higher bite rate and selected octocorals and hard corals for feeding, whereas Chaetodon striatus fed preferentially on sandy substrates. Cnidarians and polychaetes were the most representative diet items for both species, but C. capistratus preferred the former (Feeding Index of 74.3%) and C. striatus the latter (Feeding Index of 60.4%). Similar RNA:DNA ratios for both species suggest that, although they differ in feeding rates and diet, C. capistratus and C. striatus have similar nutritional fitness. Therefore, these species are both zoobenthivores but show clear differences in their substrate selection. The differences in the use of foraging substrate by C. capistratus and C. striatus, despite their close phylogenetic relationship and similar diets, suggest that these species coexist by resource partitioning.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
Zoonotic diseases are a significant health threat for humans and animals. To better understand the epidemiology, etiology, and pathology of infectious agents affecting humans and animals combined approaches are needed. Here we describe an epidemiological investigation conducted by physicians and veterinarians after a reported case of psittacosis. Upon admission suffering from respiratory distress syndrome in a hospital and with a history of bird contact, a female patient was serologically diagnosed with psittacosis. After the case notification, veterinarians were able to investigate the source of infection by detecting Chlamydia psittaci in her pet cockatiel. The bird was hospitalized and successfully treated. In addition, the establishment where the pet bird was purchased was traced and through molecular techniques other birds intended to be sold as pets tested positive for C. psittaci. As a result, sanitary measures were applied and the establishment then was closed down. The birds intended for the pet commerce were treated and retested with negative molecular results for C. psittaci, thus avoiding disease propagation. Reliable data about zoonotic diseases can only be generated through the application of multidisciplinary approaches which take into account the epidemiological factors and interactions of humans, animals and their environments as an integrated system.
Licuri (Syagrus coronate) cake is a biodiesel by-product used in ruminant feed as a beneficial energy source for supplementation in managed pastures. The objective was to evaluate the performance, digestibility, nitrogen balance, blood metabolites, ingestive behavior and diet profitability of eight crossbred Holstein (3/4)×Gyr (5/8) multiparous cows (480±25 kg BW and 100 days milking) grazing and supplemented with licuri cake partially replacing ground corn and soybean meal in concentrate (0, 200, 400 and 600 g/kg in dry matter (DM)), distributed in an experimental duplicated 4×4 Latin square design. Licuri cake partially replacing ground corn and soybean meal increased (P<0.01) the intake and digestibility of ether extract and decreased the non-fiber carbohydrates; however, there were no influences on the intakes of DM, CP, NDF and total digestible nutrients (TDN). The digestibilities of DM, CP and NDF were not influenced by licuri cake addition. There was a decrease trend on TDN digestibility (P=0.08). Licuri cake replacing ground corn and soybean meal in concentrate did not affect the intake; fecal, urinary and mammary excretions; N balance; and triglycerides concentrations. However, the blood urea nitrogen (P=0.04) concentration decreased with the licuri cakes inclusion in cow supplementation. There was an increasing trend for serum creatinine (P=0.07). Licuri cake inclusion did not affect body condition score, production, yield, protein, lactose, total solids and solid non-fat contents of milk and Minas frescal cheese. There was a linear decrease in average daily weight gain (g/day). The milk fat concentration and cheese fat production (P<0.1) presented a linear increase with partial replacement of ground corn and soybean meal with licuri cakes. The addition of licuri cake did not alter the time spent feeding, ruminating or idling. There was an increasing trend in NDF feeding efficiency (P=0.09). The replacing of ground corn and soybean meal with licuri cake up to 600 g/kg decreased the concentrate cost by US$0.45/cow per day. Licuri cake replacing corn and soybeans (400 g/kg) in concentrate promoted a profit of US$0.07/animal per day. Licuri cake is indicated to concentrate the supplementation of dairy cows with average productions of 10 kg/day at levels up to 400 g/kg in the concentrate supplement because it provides an additional profit of US$0.07/animal per day and increased milk and Minas frescal cheese fat without negative effects on productive parameters.
The aims of the present work were to test the effect of tamoxifen administered topically and the therapeutic efficacy of tamoxifen and pentavalent antimonial combinations in an experimental model of cutaneous leishmaniasis. BALB/c mice infected with a luciferase expressing line of Leishmania amazonensis were treated with topical tamoxifen in two different formulations (ethanol or oil-free cream) as monotherapy or in co-administration with pentavalent antimonial. Treatment efficacy was evaluated by lesion size and parasite burden, quantified through luminescence, at the end of treatment and 4 weeks later. Topical tamoxifen, formulated in ethanol or as a cream, was shown to be effective. The interaction between tamoxifen and pentavalent antimonial was additive in vitro. Treatment with combined schemes containing tamoxifen and pentavalent antimonial was effective in reducing lesion size and parasite burden. Co-administration of tamoxifen and pentavalent antimonial was superior to monotherapy with antimonial.
Cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis are amongst the most devastating infectious diseases of our time, affecting millions of people worldwide. The treatment of these serious diseases rely on a few chemotherapeutic agents, most of which are of parenteral use and induce severe side-effects. Furthermore, rates of treatment failure are high and have been linked to drug resistance in some areas. Here, we reviewed data on current chemotherapy practice in leishmaniasis. Drug resistance and mechanisms of resistance are described as well as the prospects for applying drug combinations for leishmaniasis chemotherapy. It is clear that efforts for discovering new drugs applicable to leishmaniasis chemotherapy are essential. The main aspects on the various steps of drug discovery in the field are discussed.
Bicuspid aortic valve is the most common CHD. Its association with early valvular dysfunction, endocarditis, thoracic aorta dilatation, and aortic dissection is well established.
The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and predictors of cardiac events in adults with bicuspid aortic valve.
We carried out a retrospective analysis of cardiac outcomes in ambulatory adults with bicuspid aortic valve followed-up in a tertiary hospital centre. Outcomes were defined as follows: interventional – intervention on the aortic valve or thoracic aorta; medical – death, aortic dissection, aortic valve endocarditis, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or ischaemic heart disease requiring hospital admission; and a composite end point of both. Kaplan–Meier curves were generated to determine event rates, and predictors of cardiac events were determined by multivariate analysis.
A total of 227 patients were followed-up over 13±9 years; 29% of patients developed severe aortic valve dysfunction and 12.3% reached ascending thoracic aorta dimensions above 45 mm. At least one cardiac outcome occurred in 38.8% of patients, with an incidence rate at 20 years of follow-up of 47±4%; 33% of patients were submitted to an aortic valve or thoracic aorta intervention. Survival 20 years after diagnosis was 94±2%. Independent predictors of the composite end point were baseline moderate–severe aortic valve dysfunction (hazard ratio, 3.19; 95% confidence interval, 1.35–7.54; p<0.01) and aortic valve leaflets calcification (hazard ratio, 4.72; 95% confidence interval, 1.91–11.64; p<0.005).
In this study of bicuspid aortic valve, the long-term survival was excellent but with occurrence of frequent cardiovascular events. Baseline aortic valve calcification and dysfunction were the only independent predictors of events.
The addition of growth factors and vitamins enhances goat embryonic development in vitro. However, few attempts have been reported trying to identify supplementation regimens for oocyte maturation or embryo culture with additive properties. The present report was aimed to evaluate if retinoids [0.3 μM retinyl acetate (RAc) and 0.5 μM 9-cis-retinoic acid (RA)] supplementation during goat oocyte maturation and retinoids and/or 50 ng mL–1 IGF-I during embryo culture synergically enhanced embryonic development while diminishing the incidence of apoptosis. All combinations of RAc and RA treatment produced blastocysts with similar efficiencies, while IGF-I enhanced embryos yields irrespectively of retinoid addition. Moreover, retinoids and IGF-I supplementation showed similar caspase activity or DNA fragmentation indexes in blastocysts. In conclusion, supplementation with retinoids and IGF-I during goat embryo culture enhances blastocysts development without synergic reduction of apoptosis.
We show how estimates of parameters characterizing inflation-based theories of structure formation localized over the past year when large scale structure (LSS) information from galaxy and cluster surveys was combined with the rapidly developing cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, especially from the recent Boomerang and Maxima balloon experiments. All current CMB data plus a relatively weak prior probability on the Hubble constant, age and LSS points to little mean curvature (Ωtot = 1.08±0.06) and nearly scale invariant initial fluctuations (ns = 1.03±0.08), both predictions of (non-baroque) inflation theory. We emphasize the role that degeneracy among parameters in the Lpk = 212 ± 7 position of the (first acoustic) peak plays in defining the Ωtot range upon marginalization over other variables. Though the CDM density is in the expected range (Ωcdmh2 = 0.17 ± 0.02), the baryon density Ωbh2 = 0.030 ± 0.005 is somewhat above the independent 0.019 ± 0.002 nucleosynthesis estimates. CMB+LSS gives independent evidence for dark energy (ΩΛ = 0.66 ± 0.06) at the same level as from supernova (SN1) observations, with a phenomenological quintessence equation of state limited by SN1+CMB+LSS to wQ < −0.7 cf. the wQ=−1 cosmological constant case.