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A greater understanding of the rumen microbiota and its function may help find new strategies to improve feed efficiency in cattle. This study aimed to investigate whether the cattle breed affects specific ruminal taxonomic microbial groups and functions associated with feed conversion ratio (FCR), using two genetically related Angus breeds as a model. Total RNA was extracted from 24 rumen content samples collected from purebred Black and Red Angus bulls fed the same forage diet and then subjected to metatranscriptomic analysis. Multivariate discriminant analysis (sparse partial least square discriminant analysis (sPLS-DA)) and analysis of composition of microbiomes were conducted to identify microbial signatures characterizing Black and Red Angus cattle. Our analyses revealed relationships among bacterial signatures, host breeds and FCR. Although Black and Red Angus are genetically similar, sPLS-DA detected 25 bacterial species and 10 functions that differentiated the rumen microbial signatures between those two breeds. In Black Angus, we identified bacterial taxa Chitinophaga pinensis, Clostridium stercorarium and microbial functions with large and small subunits ribosomal proteins L16 and S7 exhibiting a higher abundance in the rumen microbiome. In Red Angus, nonetheless, we identified the poorly characterized bacterial taxon Oscillibacter valericigenes with a higher abundance and pathways related to carbohydrate metabolism. Analysis of composition of microbiomes revealed that C. pinensis and C. stercorarium exhibited a higher abundance in Black Angus compared to Red Angus associated with FCR, suggesting that these bacterial species may play a key role in the feed conversion efficiency of forage-fed bulls. This study highlights how the discovery of signatures of bacterial taxa and their functions can be used to harness the full potential of the rumen microbiome in Angus cattle.
Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
There is evidence indicating that using the current UK energy feeding system to ration the present sheep flocks may underestimate their nutrient requirements. The objective of the present study was to address this issue by developing updated maintenance energy requirements for the current sheep flocks and evaluating if these requirements were influenced by a range of dietary and animal factors. Data (n = 131) used were collated from five experiments with sheep (5 to 18 months old and 29.0 to 69.8 kg BW) undertaken at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of the UK from 2013 to 2017. The trials were designed to evaluate the effects of dietary type, genotype, physiological stage and sex on nutrient utilization and energetic efficiencies. Energy intake and output data were measured in individual calorimeter chambers. Energy balance (Eg) was calculated as the difference between gross energy intake and a sum of fecal energy, urine energy, methane energy and heat production. Data were analysed using the restricted maximum likelihood analysis to develop the linear relationship between Eg or heat production and metabolizable energy (ME) intake, with the effects of a range of dietary and animal factors removed. The net energy (NEm) and ME (MEm) requirements for maintenance derived from the linear relationship between Eg and ME intake were 0.358 and 0.486 MJ/kg BW0.75, respectively, which are 40% to 53% higher than those recommended in energy feeding systems currently used to ration sheep in the USA and the UK. Further analysis of the current dataset revealed that concentrate supplement, sire type or physiological stage had no significant effect on the derived NEm values. However, female lambs had a significantly higher NEm (0.352 v. 0.306 or 0.288 MJ/kg BW0.75) or MEm (0.507 v. 0.441 or 0.415 MJ/kg BW0.75) than those for male or castrated lambs. The present results indicate that using present energy feeding systems in the UK developed over 40 years ago to ration the current sheep flocks could underestimate maintenance energy requirements. There is an urgent need to update these systems to reflect the higher metabolic rates of the current sheep flocks.
Origami, the ancient paper folding art has inspired the engineering equipment and design for decades. The basic concept of origami is very general, which leads to applications ranging from small scale to large scale. Recently, researchers are interested in being able to create self-folding structures. Such a structure enables kinematic manipulation by external forces or moments without folding and/or unfolding operations. This is a beneficial application for many fields including aerospace systems, robots, small devices and self-assembly systems. In this paper, the investigation and analyses of the previous literatures on the key driving force of the actuation structure, including the heat, light, electricity, gas and other actuation methods. The aims are to provide researchers and practitioners with the support to systematically understand the latest technologies in this important and evolving field, with inspiration and direction for follow-up.
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.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
This work focuses on the temperature (passive scalar) and velocity characteristics within a turbulent Kármán vortex using a phase-averaging technique. The vortices are generated by a circular cylinder, and the three components of the fluctuating velocity and vorticity vectors,
), are simultaneously measured, along with the fluctuating temperature
and the temperature gradient vector, at nominally the same spatial point in the plane of mean shear at
is the streamwise distance from the cylinder axis and
is the cylinder diameter. We believe this is the first time the properties of fluctuating velocity, temperature, vorticity and temperature gradient vectors have been explored simultaneously within the Kármán vortex in detail. The Reynolds number based on
and the free-stream velocity is
. The phase-averaged distributions of
follow closely the Gaussian distribution for
is the distance from the vortex centre), but not for
. The collapse of the distributions of the mean-square streamwise derivative of the velocity fluctuations within the Kármán vortex implies that the velocity field within the vortex tends to be more locally isotropic than the flow field outside the vortex. A possible physical explanation is that the large and small scales of velocity and temperature fields are statistically independent of each other near the Kármán vortex centre, but interact vigorously outside the vortex, especially in the saddle region, due to the action of coherent strain rate.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Although parasites and microbial pathogens are both detrimental to insects, little information is currently available on the mechanism involved in how parasitized hosts balance their immune responses to defend against microbial infections. We addressed this in the present study by comparing the immune response between unparasitized and parasitized pupae of the chrysomelid beetle, Octodonta nipae (Maulik), to Escherichia coli invasion. In an in vivo survival assay, a markedly reduced number of E. coli colony-forming units per microliter was detected in parasitized pupae at 12 and 24 h post-parasitism, together with decreased phagocytosis and enhanced bactericidal activity at 12 h post-parasitism. The effects that parasitism had on the mRNA expression level of selected antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of O. nipae pupae showed that nearly all transcripts of AMPs examined were highly upregulated during the early and late parasitism stages except defensin 2B, whose mRNA expression level was downregulated at 24 h post-parasitism. Further elucidation on the main maternal fluids responsible for alteration of the primary immune response against E. coli showed that ovarian fluid increased phagocytosis at 48 h post-injection. These results indicated that the enhanced degradation of E. coli in parasitized pupae resulted mainly from the elevated bactericidal activity without observing the increased transcripts of target AMPs. This study contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the immune responses of a parasitized host to bacterial infections.
In several lately published studies, the association between single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs12252) of IFITM3 and the risk of influenza is inconsistent. To further understand the association between the SNP of IFITM3 and the risk of influenza, we searched related studies in five databases including PubMed published earlier than 9 November 2017. Ten sets of data from nine studies were included and data were analysed by Revman 5.0 and Stata 12.0 in our updated meta-analysis, which represented 1365 patients and 5425 no-influenza controls from four different ethnicities. Here strong association between rs12252 and influenza was found in all four genetic models. The significant differences in the allelic model (C vs. T: odds ratio (OR) = 1.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.03–1.79), P = 0.03) and homozygote model (CC vs. TT: OR = 10.63, 95% CI (3.39–33.33), P < 0.00001) in the Caucasian subgroup were discovered, which is very novel and striking. Also novel discoveries were found in the allelic model (C vs. T: OR = 1.37, 95% CI (1.08–1.73), P = 0.009), dominant model (CC + CT vs. TT: OR = 1.48, 95% CI (1.08–2.02), P = 0.01) and homozygote model (CC vs. TT: OR = 2.84, 95% CI (1.36–5.92), P = 0.005) when we compared patients with mild influenza with healthy individuals. Our meta-analysis suggests that single-nucleotide T to C polymorphism of IFITM3 associated with increasingly risk of severe and mild influenza in both Asian and Caucasian populations.
Febrile seizure (FS) in children is a common complication of infections with respiratory viruses and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). We conducted a retrospective ecological time-series analysis to determine the temporal relationship between hospital attendances for FS and HFMD or respiratory virus infections. Epilepsy attendance was used as a control. Data from 2004 to 2012 FS and epilepsy hospital attendance, HFMD notifications to the Ministry of Health and from laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections among KK Women's and Children's Hospital inpatients were used. A multivariate linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the relationship between FS and the virus time series. Relative risks of FS by age were calculated using Bayesian statistical methods. Paediatric accident and emergency (A&E) attendances for FS were found to be associated with influenza A (extra 0.47 FS per influenza A case), B (extra 0.32 per influenza B case) and parainfluenza 3 (extra 0.35 per parainfluenza type 3 case). However, other viruses were not significantly associated with FS. None of the viruses were associated with epileptic seizure attendance. Influenza A, B and parainfluenza 3 viruses contributed to the burden of FS resulting in A&E attendance. Children at risk of FS should be advised to receive seasonal influenza vaccination.
Hemostasis, a process which causes bleeding to stop, can be enhanced using chitosan; but the detailed mechanism is unclear. Red blood cells (RBCs) adhere to chitosan because of their opposite charges, but the adhesion force is small, 3.83 pN as measured here using an optical tweezer, such that the direct adhesion cannot be the sole cause for hemostasis. However, it was observed in this study that layer structures of aggregated RBCs were formed next to chitosan objects in both static and flowing environments, but not formed next to cotton and rayon yarns. The layer structure is the clue for the initiation of hemostatsis. Through the supporting measurements of zeta potentials of RBCs and pH's using blood-chitosan mixtures, it is proposed here that the formation of the RBC layer structure next to chitosan objects is due to the reduction of repulsive electric double layer force between RBCs, because of the association of H+ deprotonated from chitosan with COO− on RBC membrane, under the DLVO (Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek) theory. The results are beneficial for designing effective chitosan-based wound dressings, and also for general biomedical applications.
In the recent years, the development of wind turbines has been so hectic in Taiwan. The design of the turbine blades directly impacts power effectiveness. In this study, the effects of manufacturing parameters and environmental factors on the mechanical properties of carbon fiber/epoxy composites that are used in turbine blades are discussed. Parameters of the manufacturing process affect the mechanical properties. Carbon composites made by a different numbers of layers are tested on various aspects of performance such as mechanical strength and corrosion resistance.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
Four complete platysiagid fish specimens are described from the Luoping Biota, Anisian (Middle Triassic), Yunnan Province, southwest China. They are small fishes with bones and scales covered with ganoine. All characters observed, such as nasals meeting in the midline, a keystone-like dermosphenotic, absence of post-rostral bone, two infraorbitals between dermosphenotic and jugal, large antorbital, and two postcleithra, suggest that the new materials belong to a single, new Platysiagum species, P. sinensis sp. nov. Three genera are ascribed to Platysiagidae: Platysiagum, Helmolepis and Caelatichthys. However, most specimens of the first two genera are imprints or fragmentary. The new, well-preserved specimens from the Luoping Biota provide more detailed anatomical information than before, and thus help amend the concept of the Platysiagidae. The Family Platysiagidae was previously classed in the Perleidiformes. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the Platysiagidae is a member of basal Neopterygii, and its origin seems to predate that of Perleidiformes. Moreover, platysiagid fishes are known from the Middle Triassic of the western Tethys region. The newly found specimens of platysiagids from Luoping provide additional evidence that both eastern and western sides of the Tethys Ocean were biogeographically more connected than previously thought.
Fermented soybean meal (FSM), which has lower anti-nutritional factors and higher active enzyme, probiotic and oligosaccharide contents than its unfermented form, has been reported to improve the feeding value of soybean meal, and hence, the growth performance of piglets. However, whether FSM can affect the bacterial and metabolites in the large intestine of piglets remains unknown. This study supplemented wet-FSM (WFSM) or dry-FSM (DFSM) (5% dry matter basis) in the diet of piglets and investigated its effects on carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the piglets’ large intestines. A total of 75 41-day-old Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire piglets with an initial BW of 13.14±0.22 kg were used in a 4-week feeding trial. Our results showed that the average daily gain of piglets in the WFSM and DFSM groups increased by 27.08% and 14.58% and that the feed conversion ratio improved by 18.18% and 7.27%, respectively, compared with the control group. Data from the prediction gene function of Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) based on 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing showed that carbohydrate metabolism function families in the WFSM and DFSM groups increased by 3.46% and 2.68% and that the amino acid metabolism function families decreased by 1.74% and 0.82%, respectively, compared with the control group. These results were consistent with those of other metabolism studies, which showed that dietary supplementation with WFSM and DFSM increased the level of carbohydrate-related metabolites (e.g. 4-aminobutanoate, 5-aminopentanoate, lactic acid, mannitol, threitol and β-alanine) and decreased the levels of those related to protein catabolism (e.g. 1,3-diaminopropane, creatine, glycine and inosine). In conclusion, supplementation with the two forms of FSM improved growth performance, increased metabolites of carbohydrate and reduced metabolites of protein in the large intestine of piglets, and WFSM exhibited a stronger effect than DFSM.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
Athetis lepigone (Möschler) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a new outbreak pest in China. Consequently, it is unclear whether the emergence and spread of the outbreak of this pest are triggered by rapid in situ population size increases in each outbreak area, or by immigrants from a potential source area in China. In order to explore the outbreak process of this pest through a population genetics approach, we developed ten novel polymorphic expressed sequence tags (EST)-derived microsatellites. These new microsatellites had moderately high levels of polymorphism in the tested population. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 3 to 19, with an average of 8.6, and the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.269 to 0.783. A preliminary population genetic analysis using these new microsatellites revealed a lack of population genetic structure in natural populations of A. lepigone. The estimates of recent migration rate revealed strong gene flow among populations. In conclusion, our study developed the first set of EST-microsatellite markers and shed a new light on the population genetic structure of this pest in China.