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We assessed Clostridioides difficile toxin testing and positivity for all patients in Manitoba hospitals during June 2016–November 2018. The testing rate was 30 per 10,000 patient bed days (95% confidence interval [CI], 30–31) and the incidence rate was 3.5 per 10,000 patient bed days (95% CI, 3.3–3.7). The context of testing is essential to the interpretation of data among jurisdictions.
In this paper, the generation of relativistic electron mirrors (REM) and the reflection of an ultra-short laser off the mirrors are discussed, applying two-dimension particle-in-cell simulations. REMs with ultra-high acceleration and expanding velocity can be produced from a solid nanofoil illuminated normally by an ultra-intense femtosecond laser pulse with a sharp rising edge. Chirped attosecond pulse can be produced through the reflection of a counter-propagating probe laser off the accelerating REM. In the electron moving frame, the plasma frequency of the REM keeps decreasing due to its rapid expansion. The laser frequency, on the contrary, keeps increasing due to the acceleration of REM and the relativistic Doppler shift from the lab frame to the electron moving frame. Within an ultra-short time interval, the two frequencies will be equal in the electron moving frame, which leads to the resonance between laser and REM. The reflected radiation near this interval and corresponding spectra will be amplified due to the resonance. Through adjusting the arriving time of the probe laser, a certain part of the reflected field could be selectively amplified or depressed, leading to the selective adjustment of the corresponding spectra.
Reducing dietary CP content is an effective approach to reduce animal nitrogen excretion and save protein feed resources. However, it is not clear how reducing dietary CP content affects the nutrient digestion and absorption in the gut of ruminants, therefore it is difficult to accurately determine how much reduction in dietary CP content is appropriate. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of reduced dietary CP content on N balance, intestinal nutrient digestion and absorption, and rumen microbiota in growing goats. To determine N balance, 18 growing wether goats (25.0 ± 0.5 kg) were randomly assigned to one of three diets: 13.0% (control), 11.5% and 10.0% CP. Another 18 growing wether goats (25.0 ± 0.5 kg) were surgically fitted with ruminal, proximate duodenal, and terminal ileal fistulae and were randomly assigned to one of the three diets to investigate intestinal amino acid (AA) absorption and rumen microbiota. The results showed that fecal and urinary N excretion of goats fed diets containing 11.5% and 10.0% CP were lower than those of goats fed the control diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, N retention was decreased and apparent N digestibility in the entire gastrointestinal tract was increased in goats fed the 10% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the duodenal flow of lysine, tryptophan and phenylalanine was decreased in goats fed the 11.5% CP diet (P < 0.05) and that of lysine, methionine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, leucine, glutamic acid, tyrosine, essential AAs (EAAs) and total AAs (TAAs) was decreased in goats fed the 10.0% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the apparent absorption of TAAs in the small intestine was increased in goats fed the 11.5% CP diet (P < 0.05) and that of isoleucine, serine, cysteine, EAAs, non-essential AAs, and TAAs in the small intestine was increased in goats fed the 10.0% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the relative richness of Bacteroidetes and Fibrobacteres was increased and that of Proteobacteria and Synergistetes was decreased in the rumen of goats fed a diet with 10.0% CP. In conclusion, reducing dietary CP content reduced N excretion and increased nutrient utilization by improving rumen fermentation, enhancing nutrient digestion and absorption, and altering rumen microbiota in growing goats.
Se can enhance lactation performance by improving nutrient utilization and antioxidant status. However, sodium selenite (SS) can be reduced to non-absorbable elemental Se in the rumen, thereby reducing the intestinal availability of Se. The study investigated the impacts of SS and coated SS (CSS) supplementation on lactation performance, nutrient digestibility, ruminal fermentation and microbiota in dairy cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein dairy cows were blocked by parity, daily milk yield and days in milk and randomly assigned to five treatments: control, SS addition (0.3 mg Se/kg DM as SS addition) or CSS addition (0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 mg Se/kg DM as CSS addition for low CSS (LCSS), medium CSS (MCSS) and high CSS (HCSS), respectively). Experiment period was 110 days with 20 days of adaptation and 90 days of sample collection. Dry matter intake was higher for MCSS and HCSS compared with control. Yields of milk, milk fat and milk protein and feed efficiency were higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Digestibility of DM and organic matter was highest for CSS addition, followed by SS addition and then control. Digestibility of CP was higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Higher digestibility of ether extract, NDF and ADF was observed for SS or CSS addition. Ruminal pH decreased with dietary Se addition. Acetate to propionate ratio and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was greater for SS, MCSS and HCSS than control. Ruminal H ion concentration was highest for MCSS and HCSS and lowest for control. Activities of cellobiase, carboxymethyl-cellulase, xylanase and protease and copies of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminococcus amylophilus increased with SS or CSS addition. Activity of α-amylase, copies of protozoa, Ruminococcus albus and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and serum glucose, total protein, albumin and glutathione peroxidase were higher for SS, MCSS and HCSS than for control and LCSS. Dietary SS or CSS supplementation elevated blood Se concentration and total antioxidant capacity activity. The data implied that milk yield was elevated due to the increase in total tract nutrient digestibility, total VFA concentration and microorganism population with 0.2 or 0.3 mg Se/kg DM from CSS supplementation in dairy cows. Compared with SS, HCSS addition was more efficient in promoting lactation performance of dairy cows.
Accretionary orogens contain key evidence for the conversion of oceanic to continental crust. The late tectonic history and closure time of the Palaeo-Asian Ocean are recorded in the Mazongshan subduction–accretion complex in the southern Beishan margin of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. We present new data on the structure, petrology, geochemistry and zircon U–Pb isotope ages of the Mazongshan subduction–accretion complex, which is a tectonic mélange with a block-in-matrix structure. The blocks are of serpentinized peridotite, basalt, gabbro, basaltic andesite, chert and seamount sediments within a matrix that is mainly composed of fore-arc-trench turbidites. U–Pb zircon ages of two gabbros are 454.6 ± 2.5 Ma and 434.1 ± 3.6 Ma, an andesite has a U–Pb zircon age of 451.3 ± 3.5 Ma and a tuffaceous slate has the youngest U–Pb zircon age of 353.6 ± 5.1 Ma. These new isotopic ages, combined with published data on ophiolitic mélanges from central Beishan, indicate that the subduction–accretion of Beishan in the southernmost Central Asian Orogenic Belt lasted until Late Ordovician – Early Carboniferous time. Structure and age data demonstrate that the younging direction of accretion was southwards and that the subduction zone dipped continuously to the north. Accordingly, these results record the conversion of oceanic to continental crust in the southern Beishan accretionary collage.
Most previous researches indicated that impaired inhibition to emotional stimuli could be one of the important cognitive characteristics of depression individuals. The antisaccade tasks which composed of prosaccade task (PS) and antisaccade task (AS) were often used to investigate response inhibition.
This study aimed to investigate the volition inhibition toward emotional stimuli in depressed mood undergraduates (DM).
Subjects were grouped as 21 DM and 25 non-depressed undergraduates (ND) on the Beck Depression Inventory and Self-rating Depression Scale. The antisaccade tasks were conducted to examine the inhibition abilities by varying the arousal level of volition (low and high) of the tasks, with happy, neutral and sad facial expressions as stimuli.
The results showed that at the low volition level in the AS condition, the correct saccade latency in the DM were significant slower than the ND; The DM had reliable higher direction error rates in response to emotional facial expressions, especially for sad expressions. However, all of the differences disappeared in the high volition level antisaccade tasks. The amplitude errors data were not influenced by emotional facial expressions, and there were no group differences across tasks.
These results indicated the DM showed slower speed of cognitive processing and impaired inhibition abilities toward emotional faces than the ND, particularly for sad faces, but these abilities will be repaired in the high arousal level of volition, which enlighten us that training the DM's volition level of inhibition could prove to be an effective strategy to alleviate depression.
Current available antidepressants exhibit low remission rate with a long response lag time. Growing evidence has demonstrated acute sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine exerts rapid, robust, and lasting antidepressant effects. However, a long term use of ketamine tends to elicit its adverse reactions. The present study aimed to investigate the antidepressant-like effects of intermittent and consecutive administrations of ketamine on chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) rats, and to determine whether ketamine can redeem the time lag for treatment response of classic antidepressants. The behavioral responses were assessed by the sucrose preference test, forced swimming test, and open field test. In the first stage of experiments, all the four treatment regimens of ketamine (10 mg/kg ip, once daily for 3 or 7 consecutive days, or once every 7 or 3 days, in a total 21 days) showed robust antidepressant-like effects, with no significant influence on locomotor activity and stereotype behavior in the CUMS rats. The intermittent administration regimens produced longer antidepressant-like effects than the consecutive administration regimens and the administration every 7 days presented similar antidepressant-like effects with less administration times compared with the administration every 3 days. In the second stage of experiments, the combination of ketamine (10 mg/kg ip, once every 7 days) and citalopram (20 mg/kg po, once daily) for 21 days caused more rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects than citalopram administered alone. In summary, repeated sub-anesthestic doses of ketamine can redeem the time lag for the antidepressant-like effects of citalopram, suggesting the combination of ketamine and classic antidepressants is a promising regimen for depression with quick onset time and stable and lasting effects.
The cerebral blood flow (CBF) is an absolute measure that superior to the relative measure of neural activity, blood oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD). The previous studies have reported CBF abnormalities in the adult depressive patients. However, it is not clear whether the abnormal CBF could be improved in the remitted geriatric depression (RGD).
We enrolled 82 RGD patients and 90 age and education matched healthy controls. All the subjects underwent 3-T MRI with pseudo arterial spin labeling (pASL), and the pASL data were analysis voxel-by-voxel with control the gray matter volume.
Compared with the healthy controls, the RGD patients demonstrated higher relative CBF value in left inferior temporal gyrus and left precuneus; while lower relative CBF value in right medial temporal and occipital cortex, right insula operculum (including parts of frontal, temporal and parietal cortex) and insula, right medial frontal cortex. When compared with the remitted early onset depression (EOD), the remitted late onset depression (LOD) showed lowed relative CBF value in right angular gyrus. While there was no significantly different relative CBF value between the RGD patients accompany with MCI and RGD patients with cognitive normal.
The late life depression persists with CBF abnormalities in the remitted state. And it is implicit that hyperperfusion in the left brain cortex and hypoperfusion in the right brain cortex could be the specific form to RGD patients.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Recently, a triple-network model suggested the abnormal interactions between the executive-control network (ECN), default-mode network (DMN) and salience network (SN) are important characteristics of addiction, in which the SN plays a critical role in allocating attentional resources toward the ECN and DMN. Although increasing studies have reported dysfunctions in these brain networks in Internet gaming disorder (IGD), interactions between these networks, particularly in the context of the triple-network model, have not been investigated in IGD. Thus, we aimed to assess alterations in the inter-network interactions of these large-scale networks in IGD, and to associate the alterations with IGD-related behaviors.
DMN, ECN and SN were identified using group-level independent component analysis (gICA) in 39 individuals with IGD and 34 age and gender matched healthy controls (HCs). Then alterations in the SN-ECN and SN-DMN connectivity, as well as in the modulation of ECN versus DMN by SN, using a resource allocation index (RAI) developed and validated previously in nicotine addiction, were assessed. Further, associations between these altered network coupling and clinical assessments were also examined.
Compared with HCs, IGD had significantly increased SN-DMN connectivity and decreased RAI in right hemisphere (rRAI), and the rRAI in IGD was negatively associated with their scores of craving.
These findings suggest that the deficient modulation of ECN versus DMN by SN might provide a mechanistic framework to better understand the neural basis of IGD and might provide novel evidence for the triple-network model in IGD.
Childhoods in urban or rural environments may differentially affect risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. Here, we leveraged on dramatic urbanization and rural-urban migration since the 1980s in China to explore the hypothesis that rural or urban childhoods may differentially influence memory processing and neural responses to neutral and aversive stimuli.
Explore the underlying mechanisms of childhood environment effect on brain function and neuropsychiatric risk.
We examined 420 adult subjects with similar current socioeconomic status and living in Beijing, China, but with differing rural (n = 227) or urban (n = 193) childhoods. In an episodic memory paradigm scanned in a 3 T GE MRI, subjects viewed blocks of neutral or aversive pictures in the encoding and retrieval sessions.
Episodic memory accuracy for neutral stimuli was less than for aversive stimuli (P < 0.001). However, subjects with rural childhoods apparently performed less accurately for memory of aversive but not neutral stimuli (P < 0.01). In subjects with rural childhoods, there was relatively increased engagement of bilateral striatum at encoding, increased engagement of bilateral hippocampus at retrieval of neutral and aversive stimuli, and increased engagement of amygdala at aversive retrieval (P < 0.05 FDR corrected, cluster size > 50).
Rural or urban childhoods appear associated with physiological and behavioural differences, particularly in the neural processing of aversive episodic memory at medial temporal and striatal brain regions. It remains to be explored the extent to which these effects relate to individual risk for neuropsychiatric or stress-related disorders.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
This study evaluated the effects of rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) and betaine (BT) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and blood metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design. BT of 0 or 0·6 g/kg DM was supplemented to diet without or with the addition of 6 mg/kg DM of folic acid from RPFA, respectively. Average daily gain increased by 25·2 and 6·29 % for addition of BT without RPFA and with RPFA, respectively. Digestibility and ruminal total volatile fatty acids of neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased, feed conversion ratio and blood folate decreased with the addition of BT without RPFA, but these parameters were unchanged with BT addition in diet with RPFA. Digestibility of DM, organic matter and crude protein as well as acetate:propionate ratio increased with RPFA or BT addition. Ruminal ammonia-N decreased with RPFA addition. Activity of carboxymethyl cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase and protease as well as population of total bacteria, protozoa, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus increased with RPFA or BT addition. Laccase activity and total fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Prevotella ruminicola population increased with RPFA addition, whereas Ruminococcus albus population increased with BT addition. Blood glucose, total protein, albumin, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 increased with RPFA addition. Addition of RPFA or BT decreased blood homocysteine. The results indicated that addition of BT stimulated growth and nutrient digestion in bulls only when RPFA was not supplemented.
Experimental and simulation data [Moreau et al., Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 62, 014013 (2019); Kaymak et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 035004 (2016)] indicate that self-generated magnetic fields play an important role in enhancing the flux and energy of relativistic electrons accelerated by ultra-intense laser pulse irradiation with nanostructured arrays. A fully relativistic analytical model for the generation of the magnetic field based on electron magneto-hydrodynamic description is presented here. The analytical model shows that this self-generated magnetic field originates in the nonparallel density gradient and fast electron current at the interfaces of a nanolayered target. A general formula for the self-generated magnetic field is found, which closely agrees with the simulation scaling over the relevant intensity range. The result is beneficial to the experimental designs for the interaction of the laser pulse with the nanostructured arrays to improve laser-to-electron energy coupling and the quality of forward hot electrons.
The combined addition of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFAs) and folic acid (FA) could improve growth performance and nutrient utilization by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA and FA addition on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, microbial enzyme activity, microflora and excretion of urinary purine derivatives (PDs) in calves. Thirty-six Chinese Holstein weaned calves (60 ± 5.4 days of age and 107 ± 4.7 kg of BW) were assigned to one of four groups in a randomized block design. Treatments were control (without additives), FA (with 10 mg FA/kg dietary DM), BCVFA (with 5 g BCVFA/kg dietary DM) and the combined addition of FA and BCVFA (10 mg/kg DM of FA and 5 g/kg DM of BCVFA). Supplements were hand-mixed into the top one-third of total mixed ration. Dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 on a DM basis. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect dry matter intake but increased average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion efficiency. Ruminal pH and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect acetate proportion but decreased propionate proportion and increased acetate to propionate ratio. Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter, CP and NDF was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition increased activity of carboxymethyl cellulase and cellobiase, population of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Prevotella ruminicola as well as total PD excretion. Ruminal xylanase, pectinase and protease activity and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens population were increased by BCVFA addition, whereas population of protozoa and methanogens was increased by FA addition. The BCVFA × FA interaction was significant for acetate to propionate ratio, cellobiase activity and total PD excretion, and these variables increased more with FA addition in diet without BCVFA than in diet with BCVFA. The data indicated that supplementation with BCVFA or FA increased ADG, nutrient digestibility, ruminal total VFA concentration and microbial protein synthesis by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity in calves.
Melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats can increase cashmere yield and improve cashmere fibre quality by inducing cashmere growth during cashmere non-growth period, of which time cashmere goats are in the mid and late stages of lactation. However, whether melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats affects their offspring’s growth performance remains unknown. Therefore, the objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats on cashmere and milk production performance in dams and on hair follicle development and subsequent cashmere production in their offspring. Twenty-four lactating Inner Mongolian Cashmere goat dams (50 ± 2 days in milk, mean ± SD) and their single-born female offspring (50 ± 2 days old, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned to one of two groups supplemented with melatonin implants (MEL; n = 12) or without (CON; n = 12). The melatonin implants were subcutaneously implanted behind the ear at a dose of 2 mg/kg live weight on two occasions – 30 April and 30 June 2016. The results demonstrated that melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats increased cashmere production and improved cashmere fibre quality as indicated by greater cashmere yield, longer cashmere fibre staple length, finer cashmere fibre diameter and thicker cashmere fibre density. The milk fat content was higher in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. The daily yields of milk production, milk protein and milk lactose were lower in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. Serum melatonin concentrations were greater, serum prolactin concentrations were lower and milk melatonin concentrations and yields were greater in MEL compared with CON cashmere goats. With regard to offspring, there were no differences in cashmere yield, fibre staple length, fibre diameter and fibre density at yearling combing, and the primary and secondary hair follicles population and maturation between treatments. In conclusion, melatonin treatment in adult cashmere goats during cashmere non-growth period is a practical and an effective way in cashmere industry as indicated by not only increasing cashmere yield and improving cashmere fibre quality in adult cashmere goat dams but also having no impairment in hair follicle development and the subsequent cashmere production in their single-born offspring.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
The co-occurrence of hepatic cystic echinococcosis (CE) and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is extremely rare. Here, we present the clinical manifestations and treatment outcomes of three cases with co-occurring CE and AE in the liver. Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging and 18FFluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography-CT were used for preoperative diagnosis. Specimens were taken intraoperatively and sent for pathological studies to confirm the coexistence of CE and AE by laminated membrane, daughter cysts or germinal layer and infiltration structure. Albendazole was prescribed after operation for 12 months. All patients were completely recovered and showed no recurrence at last follow-up. Therefore, surgical intervention and postoperative application of albendazole are recommended for patients with concurrence of hepatic AE and CE.
Nitroethane (NE), 2-nitroethanol (NEOH) and 2-nitro-1-propanol (NPOH) were investigated in order to determine their inhibitory effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation and methane (CH4) production of a hay-rich substrate (alfalfa hay: maize meal = 4:1, w/w). The rumen liquor collected from cannulated Holstein dairy cows was incubated at 39 °C for 72 h. The addition of NE, NEOH and NPOH slowed down the fermentation process and notably decreased molar CH4 proportion by 96.8, 96.4 and 35.0%, respectively. The abundance of total methanogen and methanogens from the order Methanobacteriales were all decreased with NE, NEOH and NPOH supplementation. Meanwhile, the nitrocompound addition reduced mcrA gene expression, coenzyme F420 and F430 contents. The correlation analysis showed that CH4 production was correlated positively with the population abundance of total methanogens, Methanobacteriales, mcrA gene expression, coenzyme contents of F420 and F430. The nitrocompound addition decreased acetate concentration and increased propionate and butyrate concentrations in the culture fluid. In summary, both NE and NEOH addition presented nearly the same inhibitory effectiveness on in vitro CH4 production; they were more effective than NPOH. The results of the current study provide evidence that NE, NEOH and NPOH can dramatically decrease methanogen population, mcrA gene expression and the coenzyme content of F420 and F430 in ruminal methanogenesis.
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.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Chitinase is responsible for insect chitin hydrolyzation, which is a key process in insect molting and pupation. However, little is known about the chitinase of Spodoptera exigua (SeChi). In this study, based on the SeChi gene (ADI24346) identified in our laboratory, we constructed the recombinant baculovirus P-Chi for the expression of recombinant SeChi (rSeChi) in Hi5 cells. The rSeChi was purified by chelate affinity chromatography, and the purified protein showed activity comparable with that of a commercial SgChi, suggesting that we harvested active SeChi for the first time. The purified protein was subsequently tested for enzymatic properties and revealed to exhibit its highest activity at pH 8 and 40 C. Using homology modeling and molecular docking techniques, the three-dimensional model of SeChi was constructed and screened for inhibitors. In two rounds of screening, twenty compounds were selected. With the purified rSeChi, we tested each of the twenty compounds for inhibitor activity against rSeChi, and seven compounds showed obvious activity. This study provided new information for the chitinase of beet armyworm and for chitinase inhibitor development.