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Feathers play a critical role in thermoregulation and directly influence poultry production. Poor feathering adversely affects living appearance and carcass quality, thus reducing profits. However, producers tend to ignore the importance of feather development and do not know the laws of feather growth and development. The objective of this study was to fit growth curves to describe the growth and development of feathers in yellow-feathered broilers during the embryonic and posthatching periods using different nonlinear functions (Gompertz, logistic and Bertalanffy). Feather mass and length were determined during the embryonic development and posthatching stages to identify which growth model most accurately described the feather growth pattern. The results showed that chick embryos began to grow feathers at approximately embryonic (E) day 10, and the feathers grew rapidly from E13 to E17. There was little change from E17 to the day of hatching (DOH). During the embryonic period, the Gompertz function (Y = 798.48e−203 431exp(−0.87t), Akaike’s information criterion (AIC) = −0.950 × 103, Bayesian information criterion (BIC) = −0.711 × 103 and mean square error (MSE) = 559.308) provided the best fit for the feather growth curve compared with the other two functions. After hatching, feather mass and length changed little from the DOH to day (D) 14, increased rapidly from D21 to D91 and then grew slowly after D91. The first stage of feather molting occurred from 2 to 3 weeks of age when the down feathers were mostly shed and replaced with juvenile feathers, and the second stage occurred at approximately 13 to 15 weeks of age. The three nonlinear functions could overall fit the feather growth curve well, but the Bertalanffy model (Y = 116.88 × (1−0.86e−0.02t)3, AIC = 1.065 × 105, BIC = 1.077 × 105 and MSE = 11.308) showed the highest degree of fit among the models. Therefore, the Gompertz model exhibited the best goodness of fit for the feather growth curve during the embryonic development, while the Bertalanffy model was the most suitable model due to its accurate ability to predict the growth and development of feathers during the growth period, which is an important commercial characteristic of yellow-feathered chickens.
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.
Significant developments in micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based devices have led to the commercialization of windowed gas cells that now enable atomic-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) observation of phenomena occurring during gas-solid interactions at atmospheric pressure. An in situ atmospheric STEM study provides information that is beneficial to correlating the structure-properties relationship of catalytic nanomaterials, particularly under realistic gaseous reaction conditions. In this article, we illustrate the advantages of this tool as applied to our study of two important systems: (1) the CO-induced Pt nanoparticle surface reconstruction at saturation coverage and (2) the ordering and Pt surface enrichment in supported Pt3Co nanoparticles.
Innovation Concept: Ventilator management is an essential skill and a training objective for emergency medicine (EM) specialists in Canada. EM trainees obtain the majority of this training during off-service rotations. Previous attempts to strengthen ventilator knowledge include lectures and simulation – both of which are time and resource intensive. Given the unique features of ventilator management in the ED, we developed an ED-specific ventilator curriculum. The purpose of this study is to 1) identify resident needs regarding ventilator curricula and 2) assess resident response to this pilot curriculum. Methods: A needs-assessment survey administered to RCPSC- and CCFP-EM residents at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) showed the majority of residents (87%, n = 31 respondents) believe there is a need for more ED-focused ventilator management training, and only 13% felt confident in ventilator management. Ten on-line modules were prepared by an EM-Critical Care attending, and distributed on-line to all EM trainees at TOH (n = 52). Mid- and post-implementation surveys are used to assess residents’ confidence in ventilator management, and perceived usefulness of the curriculum. User feedback from focus groups constitutes part of the curriculum evaluation. Curriculum, Tool or Material: Employing a flipped classroom approach, ten on-line modules were distributed to RCPSC- and CCFP-EM trainees at TOH. Each module requires less than ten minutes to complete and focuses on a single aspect of ventilation. The modules are available for residents to complete at their own pace and convenience. At curriculum completion, an EM-Critical Care attending physician facilitates an interactive session. Conclusion: Mid-implementation survey results demonstrate increased confidence in independently managing ventilated patients in the ED (13% pre- vs. 56% mid-implementation), and an increased perception of having sufficient ventilator training (26% pre- vs. 78% mid-implementation). All respondents felt the modules were of appropriate length, content was easy to follow, and that the modules should be part of the residency curriculum. Our ED-specific online ventilator modules area a viable tool to increase residents’ confidence in ventilator management. This novel curriculum could be adopted by other residency programs and continuing professional development initiatives. Future work will include post-implementation data-gathering, and formal curriculum evaluation.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
In this paper we report high voltage MOS and Schottky Diode CV techniques for silicon and SiC power devices. 4H Silicon carbide is a wide bandgap semiconductor suitable for high voltage power electronics and RF applications due to high avalanche breakdown critical electric field, and thermal conductivity. The performance of various power devices, which may include MOSFET and Static Induction Transistor (SIT), can be affected by the deep level traps in the substrate and the oxide interfacial defects. We have characterized deep level trap (High Voltage Schottky Diode HF CV) and oxide interface trap densities (High Voltage HF MOS CV), measured the device channel doping profile for both 4H SiC and silicon, gate metal workfunction, and simulated the effects on DC/AC performance.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
In this study, a micromechanics model has been proposed for predicting the effects of particle size and aggregation on elastic properties of nanocomposites, and the interphase between the particle and matrix is also taken into account. Inherent characteristics of nanoparticle, such as small size and high surface area ratio, make nanoparticle in a state of unstable energy and easy to agglomerate in matrix. The analytical expressions for the effective elastic modulus of nanocomposites are derived, which can consider the effect of particle agglomeration. The dispersion state or degree of agglomeration of nanoparticle and the thickness and stiffness of interphase are known to have a significant influence on nanocomposites. The results show that the increase of particle radius and agglomeration volume fractions reduces the elastic stiffness of nanocomposites. Moreover, the composite reinforcement can be improved by increases of interphase thickness and stiffness.
This study focused on the hypothesis that cognitive decline in aged dogs could be attenuated by dietary supplementation with a nutrient blend consisting of antioxidants, B vitamins, fish oil and l-arginine, referred to hereafter as the Brain Protection Blend (BPB). Baseline cognitive assessment before the start of treatment was used to establish cognitively equivalent control (10·464+2·33 kg) and treatment (12·118+3·386 kg) groups of aged dogs between 9·1 and 11·5 years of age and with body condition score of 5. After an initial wash-in period, all dogs were tested over a 6-month period on cognitive test protocols that assessed four phases of a landmark discrimination learning protocol, which assessed a spatial learning skill based on utilisation of external cues, and egocentric discrimination task, which assessed spatial learning based on internal body-centred cues. The BPB-supplemented group showed significantly better performance than the controls on the landmark 1 (P=0·0446) discrimination learning tasks, and on two egocentric discrimination reversal learning tasks (P=0·005 and P=0·01, respectively). The groups did not differ significantly (P>0·10) on the landmark zero discrimination task and the egocentric discrimination learning task. These results suggest beneficial effects are positively linked to task complexity. Many of the nutrients supplemented in the BPB diet were significantly higher in plasma, including arginine, α-tocopherol, DHA and EPA. These results indicate that long-term supplementation with the BPB can have cognition-improving effects and support the use of nutritional strategies in targeting brain ageing-associated risk factors as an intervention to delay cognitive ageing.
Significant developments in micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based devices for use in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample holders have recently led to the commercialization of windowed gas cells that now enable the atomic-resolution visualization of phenomena occurring during gas-solid interactions at atmospheric pressure. In situ atmospheric TEM study provides unique information that is beneficial to correlating the structure-properties relationship of catalytic nanomaterials, particularly under realistic gaseous reaction conditions. In this paper, we illustrate the capability of this novel in situ device as applied to our study of two catalyst systems: (1) In situ kinetic growth of free standing Pt nanowires as active catalysts toward oxygen reduction reaction (ORR); (2) In situ observation of facet-dependent oxidation of another promising ORR catalyst, Pt3Co nanoparticles.
Significant developments in micro-electrical-mechanical systems-based devices for use in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample holders have recently led to the commercialization of windowed gas cells that now enable the atomic-resolution visualization of phenomena occurring during gas–solid interactions at atmospheric pressure. In situ TEM study under atmospheric pressures provides unique information that is beneficial to correlating the structure–properties relationship of nanomaterials, particularly under real gaseous environments. We here provide a brief introduction of the advanced instrumentation of windowed gas cells and review recent progress of in situ atomic-resolution TEM study under atmospheric pressures, including some application examples of oxidation and reduction processes, dynamic growth of nanomaterials, catalytic reactions, and “operando” TEM.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.
Mycobacterial diseases are prevalent in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, especially those receiving tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor (TNFi). However, the impact of cancer development on the risk of mycobacterial diseases among RA patients is unknown. Data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database were used to conduct a retrospective study to assess the occurrence of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients developing cancer (cancer-positive), those using TNFi (TNFi-exposure), those with cancer and using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-comb), and those without cancer and not using TNFi (cancer-TNFi-free). Cancer and TNFi exposure were time-dependent, and independent risk factors of mycobacterial diseases were assessed by Cox regression. Among 1344 RA patients diagnosed during 2000–2013, 68 (5·1%) developed cancer before their end points. The incidence rates of mycobacterial diseases in the cancer-positive (n = 56), TNFi-exposure (n = 290), cancer-TNFi-comb (n = 12), and cancer-TNFi-free (n = 986) subgroups were 6·7, 2·0, 7·6, and 1·3 per 1000 person-years, respectively. As compared with the cancer-TNFi-free group, the risk for mycobacterial diseases increased for the TNFi-exposure group (adjusted HR = 3·6, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1·1–11·5, P = 0·032) and remained high for cancer-positive (adjusted HR = 14·6, 95% CI 3·3–63·7, P < 0·001) after adjustment. This study suggested that cancer development increased the risk of mycobacterial diseases in RA patients, and risk assessment for this subgroup should be considered.
This cross-sectional study aimed to examine and compare prevalence and correlates of whole blood Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM). Five hundred and four HIV-positive MSM and 504 age-matched HIV-negative MSM were recruited from an HIV counseling and testing clinic in Shanghai, China from November 2014 to November 2015 and were administered with a face-to-face questionnaire interview. Whole blood EBV DNA was tested by nested polymerase chain reaction assays on EBNA-1, EBNA-2, and LMP-1 genes. The prevalence of whole blood EBV DNA was 56·0% (95% CI 51·7–60·3%) among HIV-positive MSM and 26·0% (95% CI 22·4–30·0%) among HIV-negative MSM. Whole blood EBV DNA positivity was significantly associated with HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3·43, 95% CI 2·58–4·57) and frequent intake of pickled, smoked, or salty food (aOR 1·71, 95% CI 1·02–2·86) in the whole sample, and with <200 cells/μl CD4 cell counts (aOR 1·79, 95% CI 1·05–3·05) and pickled, smoked, or salty food intake (aOR 3·14, 95% CI 1·39–7·08) in HIV-positive group. HIV-infected MSM are at higher risk of active EBV replication than HIV-uninfected MSM, underscoring needs of surveillance and research on EBV-related carcinogenesis in this population.
Elderly individuals with tuberculosis (TB) are more likely to have a non-specific clinical presentation of TB and high mortality. However, factors associated with mortality in elderly TB patients have not been extensively studied. This retrospective cohort study aimed to identify factors associated with death among elderly Taiwanese with TB. All elderly patients with TB from 2006 to 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan, were included in a study. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with death in elderly TB patients. The mean age of the 5011 patients was 79·7 years; 74·1% were men; 32·7% had mortality during the study follow-up period. After controlling for potential confounders, age ⩾75 years (reference: 65–74 years), male sex, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), malignancy, acid-fast bacilli-smear positivity, TB-culture positivity, pleural effusion on chest radiograph and notification by an ordinary ward or intensive care unit were associated with a higher risk of all-cause death; while high school, and university or higher education, cavity on chest radiograph and directly observed therapy were associated with a lower risk of all-cause death. This study found that the proportion of death among elderly patients with TB in Taipei, Taiwan, was high. To improve TB treatment outcomes, future control programmes should particularly target individuals with comorbidities (e.g. ESRD and malignancy) and those with a lower socio-economic status (e.g. not educated).
In this paper, the effective properties of particle-reinforced composites with a weakened interphase are investigated. The particle and interphase are regarded as an equivalent-inclusion, and the interphase zone around the particle is modeled as a linear elastic spring layer. A modified micro-mechanics model is proposed to obtain the effective elastic modulus. Moreover, a statistical debonding criterion is proposed to characterize the varying probability of the evolution of interphase debonding. Numerical examples are considered to illustrate the effect of imperfect interphases on the effective properties of particle-reinforced composites. It is found that the effective elastic properties obtained in the present work are in a good agreement with the existing data from the literatures.