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Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic heavy metal that poses a threat to the health of humans and animals. It can cause serious damage to the small intestine, which is the main absorption site of Cd and the primary target organ after oral administration. Our previous study found that zinc chelate of hydroxy analogue of methionine (Zn-HMTB), a new type of feed additive, decreased Cd accumulation in the liver and kidneys. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Zn-HMTB on Cd absorption and Cd-induced toxicity in the small intestine of piglets. Twenty-four piglets (Landrace × Large White, 13.22 ± 0.58 kg BW) were randomly divided into four dietary treatment groups: basal diet, and diets containing 30 mg/kg Cd from CdCl2 and 0, 100 or 200 mg/kg Zn from Zn-HMTB. The experiment lasted 27 days. The feed intake and final BW of each piglet were recorded at the end of the experiment. Gastrointestinal (GI) tract tissue and samples of liver, kidney, spleen, heart, lung and longissimus muscle tissue and faeces were collected. The concentrations of Cd and metal trace elements in the GI tract and organs were analysed, as was the relative messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of inflammatory cytokines and metal element transporters in the small intestine, and epithelial apoptosis in the small intestine. The results showed that, compared with Cd-treated piglets, piglets in the Zn-HMTB and Cd cotreatment groups had less Cd deposition in the stomach, ileum, caecum, colon, liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, heart and muscles (P < 0.05), and lower Cd concentrations in faeces (P < 0.05), suggesting that Zn-HMTB increased Cd absorption and the excretion of Cd in other forms (possibly urine). Zinc chelate of hydroxy analogue of methionine increased Zn deposition in the jejunum and the relative mRNA expression of divalent metal transporters 1 and zinc transporter 5 in the duodenum (P < 0.05), indicating that Zn-HMTB may promote the absorption and transportation of Cd and Zn together by upregulating metal element transporters. Competition between Zn and Cd may be responsible for accelerating Cd excretion. Furthermore, Zn-HMTB reduced Cd-induced apoptosis of enterocytes and inflammatory stimuli in the small intestine, suggesting that Zn-HMTB reduced Cd-induced toxicity to the small intestine. These results suggest that Zn-HMTB can be helpful in decreasing Cd accumulation in the GI tract and organs of piglets and relieving Cd-induced toxicity to the small intestine but cannot reduce the absorption of Cd.
While assessing the environmental impact of nuclear power plants, researchers have focused their attention on radiocarbon (14C) owing to its high mobility in the environment and important radiological impact on human beings. The 10 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China that adopted helium as primary coolant and graphite spheres containing tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) coated particles as fuel elements. A series of experiments on the 14C source terms in HTR-10 was conducted: (1) measurement of the specific activity and distribution of typical nuclides in the irradiated graphite spheres from the core, (2) measurement of the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant, and (3) measurement of the amount of 14C discharged in the effluent from the stack. All experimental data on 14C available for HTR-10 were summarized and analyzed using theoretical calculations. A sensitivity study on the total porosity, open porosity, and percentage of closed pores that became open after irradiating the matrix graphite was performed to illustrate their effects on the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant and activity amount of 14C in various deduction routes.
Force-feeding was considered as a traditional high-efficiency approach to improve growth performance and accelerate fat deposition of Pekin ducks. However, force-feeding is a serious violation of international advocacy on animal welfare, because it can induce serious injuries to animals, such as damages to the digestive tract, effects on immunity and even severe oxidative stress. Therefore, it is urgent to stop force-feeding. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of force feeding on immune function, digestive function and oxidative stress in the mucosa of duodenum and jejunum of Pekin ducks. A total of 500 ducks were randomly divided into two groups. The control group was allowed to feed freely on a basal diet. The experimental group was force-fed by inserting a plastic feeding tube 8 to 10 inches long down the esophagus for 6 days. Compared with the control group, there was a significant (P<0.05) increase in serum diamine oxidase, d-lactic acid, endotoxin and corticosterone levels in the force-feeding group. The crypt depth in duodenum and jejunum showed significant differences (P<0.05) between the two groups and the intestinal villus epithelium cell was severely damaged in force-feeding group. Similarly, the activities of digestive enzymes as well as the levels of immune function in the duodenal and jejunal mucosa in the force-feeding group were significantly higher than the control group (P<0.05). However, there was a significant decrease in the superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase levels with a marked increase in malondialdehyde level in duodenal and jejunal mucosa (P<0.05). In summary, at the end of the fattening period with force-feeding for 6 days, Pekin ducks experienced an adverse effect on the integrity of their duodenal and jejunal mucosa epithelium cell as well as their immune function and antioxidant capacity of Pekin ducks but also had improvement in digestive enzyme activities.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
Although application of organic fertilizers has become a recommended way for developing sustainable agriculture, it is still unclear whether above-ground and below-ground crops have similar responses to chemical fertilizers (CF) and organic manure (OM) under the same farming conditions. The current study investigated soil quality and crop yield response to fertilization of a double-cropping system with rapeseed (above-ground) and sweet potato (below-ground) in an infertile red soil for 2 years (2014–16). Three fertilizer treatments were compared, including CF, OM and organic manure plus chemical fertilizer (MCF). Organic fertilizers (OM and MCF) increased the yield of both above- and below-ground crops and improved soil biochemical properties significantly. The current study also found that soil-chemical properties were the most important and direct factors in increasing crop yields. Also, crop yield was affected indirectly by soil-biological properties, because no significant effects of soil-biological activities on yield were detected after controlling the positive effects of soil-chemical properties. Since organic fertilizers could not only increase crop yield, but also improve soil nutrients and microbial activities efficiently and continuously, OM application is a reliable agricultural practice for both above- and below-ground crops in the red soils of China.
Plant nitrogen (N) links with many physiological progresses of crop growth and yield formation. Accurate simulation is key to predict crop growth and yield correctly. The aim of the current study was to improve the estimation of N uptake and translocation processes in the whole rice plant as well as within plant organs in the RiceGrow model by using plant and organ maximum, critical and minimum N dilution curves. The maximum and critical N (Nc) demand (obtained from the maximum and critical curves) of shoot and root and Nc demand of organs (leaf, stem and panicle) are calculated by N concentration and biomass. Nitrogen distribution among organs is computed differently pre- and post-anthesis. Pre-anthesis distribution is determined by maximum N demand with no priority among organs. In post-anthesis distribution, panicle demands are met first and then the remaining N is allocated to other organs without priority. The amount of plant N uptake depends on plant N demand and N supplied by the soil. Calibration and validation of the established model were performed on field experiments conducted in China and the Philippines with varied N rates and N split applications; results showed that this improved model can simulate the processes of N uptake and translocation well.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.
This study was designed to explore the association between undernutrition in the growth period and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-aged Chinese population. A total of 1756 subjects, aged 45–60 years, were invited to participate in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study and divided into three groups according to their self-reported animal food intake in the growth period. Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were defined as undernutrition, nutritional improvement and the good nutrition group, respectively. In the three groups, the subjects in Groups 1 and 2 had more oil and salt intake (P<0.001), and less eggs and milk intake (P<0.001), when compared with the subjects in Group 3. After adjusting for age, education, smoking status and other confounding factors, it was found that male participants who experienced nutritional improvement before age 18 had higher risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05, 2.69] than those with good nutrition, and female participants with undernutrition (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.29) and nutritional improvement (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.69) before age 18 had a higher risk of hypertension than those with good nutrition. For diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, our results did not found difference among the three groups both in male and female. Our findings indicated that nutritional deficiency in childhood was associated with bad dietary behaviors and a significantly increased risk of hypertension in middle age. Therefore, early adequate nutrition is very important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases later.
Muons produced by the Bethe–Heitler process from laser wakefield accelerated electrons interacting with high
materials have velocities close to the laser wakefield. It is possible to accelerate those muons with laser wakefield directly. Therefore for the first time we propose an all-optical ‘Generator and Booster’ scheme to accelerate the produced muons by another laser wakefield to supply a prompt, compact, low cost and controllable muon source in laser laboratories. The trapping and acceleration of muons are analyzed by one-dimensional analytic model and verified by two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. It is shown that muons can be trapped in a broad energy range and accelerated to higher energy than that of electrons for longer dephasing length. We further extrapolate the dependence of the maximum acceleration energy of muons with the laser wakefield relativistic factor
and the relevant initial energy
. It is shown that a maximum energy up to 15.2 GeV is promising with
on the existing short pulse laser facilities.
The bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) is one of the most important wheat pests with polyphagia and autumn migrants. And, chemosensory genes were thought to play a key role in insect searching their hosts, food and mate. However, a systematic identification of the chemosensory genes in this pest has not been reported. Thus, in this study, we identified 14 odorant-binding proteins, nine chemosensory proteins, one sensory neuron membrane protein, 15 odorant receptors, 19 gustatory receptors and 16 ionotropic receptors from R. padi transcriptomes with a significantly similarity (E-value < 10−5) to known chemosensory genes in Acyrthosiphon pisum and Aphis gossypii. In addition, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was employed to determine the expression profiles of obtained genes. Among these obtained genes, we selected 23 chemosensory genes to analyze their expression patterns in different tissues, wing morphs and host plants. We found that except RpOBP1, RpOBP3, RpOBP4 and RpOBP5, the rest of the selected genes were highly expressed in the head with antennae compared with body without head and antennae. Besides that, the stimulation and depression of chemosensory genes by plant switch indicated that chemosensory genes might be involved in the plant suitability assessment. These results not only provide insights for the potential roles of chemosensory genes in plant search and perception of R. padi but also provide initial background information for the further research on the molecular mechanism of the polyphagia and autumn migrants of it. Furthermore, these chemosensory genes are also the candidate targets for pest management control in future.
Honeybee foraging can transfer exogenous genes from genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) to closely related plants, which not only induces potential ecological risks but also contaminates non-GM seeds or honey products with GM ingredients. These events may lead to international trade disputes. Chinese honeybees (Apis cerana cerana Fabricius) and a herbicide (glufosinate)-resistant GM strain of B. napus (Z7B10) were studied to examine the effects of honeybee short-range foraging on oilseed rape gene flow and honey ingredients. Results showed variable frequencies of gene flow between GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars, with the highest frequency under nylon net isolation with artificially stocked honeybees, the lowest frequency under nylon net isolation alone, and an intermediate frequency under natural pollination, suggesting the important role of honeybee foraging in gene flow frequency. Additionally, GM pollen grains were found in honey collected from honeybees foraging on both GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars. The phosphinothricin acetyltransferase protein was also detected in both unbroken pollen-containing and pollen-free honey by protein testing strips, suggesting that honeybee foraging on GM oilseed rape could lead to contamination with GM ingredients. Overall, the results provide a direct scientific basis for the ecological risk assessment and safety management of GM oilseed rape.
Upgraded heating and current drive (H/CD) systems have been equipped on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST). With the upgraded H/CD systems, the operation space of EAST is extended, and the ability to achieve higher performance is improved. In this paper, a 0.5 dimension transport code named Minute Embedded Tokamak Integrated Simulator (METIS) is applied to predict the EAST operation space and to assess the current drive capability of the 4.6 GHz lower hybrid current drive system. Predictive simulation of several EAST scenarios, including steady-state high confinement mode (H-mode), advanced regime, high normalized beta and high electron temperature, are also performed with the available H/CD systems. The simulation results provide a guidance for forthcoming advanced EAST experiments.
To study the clinical effect of lens cleaning paper patching on traumatic eardrum perforations.
A total of 122 patients were divided into 2 groups, of which 56 patients were treated with lens cleaning paper patching and 66 acted as controls. The closure rate and healing time were compared between the two groups.
The healing rate of small perforations was 96.4 per cent (27 out of 28) in the patching group and 90 per cent (27 out of 30) in the control group. The difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). The healing rate of large perforations was 89.3 per cent (25 out of 28) and 80.6 per cent (29 out of 36) in the two groups, respectively. The difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). The healing time of large perforations was shorter in the patching group than in the control group (p < 0.01).
Patching with lens cleaning paper under an endoscope can accelerate the closure of large traumatic eardrum perforations.
A ground-based hyperspectral imaging system covering the spectral range of 384–1034 nm was used for Sclerotinia Stem Rot (SSR) detection. Two sample sets of oilseed leaves were collected. Four vegetation indices were extracted and evaluated by analysis of variance (ANOVA) combined with linear discriminant analysis (LDA) for the two sample sets. Discriminant models were built using the 4 vegetation indices. The discriminant results of the two sample sets were good with classification accuracies of the calibration set and the prediction set over 85%. The overall results indicated that vegetation indices calculated from ground-based hyperspectral imaging could be used as reliable and accurate indices for SSR detection.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) play a regulatory role in various physiological processes in mammals and act as endogenous ligands for the G protein-coupled receptors (GPR) 41 and 43. The role of GPR41 and GPR43 in mediating SCFA signaling in the rabbit remains unclear. The present study was to investigate the sequence of the GPR41 and GPR43 messenger RNA (mRNA) and their expression pattern in different tissues and developmental stages in New Zealand rabbit. Comparison of genomic sequences in GenBank using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool program suggested that the New Zealand rabbit GPR41 mRNA has high similarities with the human (84%), bovine (84%) and Capra hircus (84%) genes. Similarly, GPR43 mRNA has high similarity with the rat (84%) and mouse (84%) genes. Real-time PCR results indicated that GPR41 and GPR43 mRNA were expressed throughout rabbit’s whole development and were expressed in several tissues. G protein-coupled receptor 41 and GPR43 mRNA were most highly expressed in pancreas (P<0.05) and s.c. adipose tissue (P<0.05), respectively. The expression levels of GPR41 mRNA was down-regulated in duodenum, cecum (P<0.05) and pancreas and up-regulated in jejunum, ileum, adipose tissue and spleen during growth. G protein-coupled receptor 43GPR43 mRNA was highly expressed in the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, cecum and lung at 15th day (P<0.05), whereas the expression levels in the pancreas and spleen increased later after birth, with the highest expression at 60th day (P<0.05).
It is well known that energy plays an important role in sow growth and development. Increasing the utilization of lipids will be beneficial to sows. Emulsifiers are substances which stabilize mixtures and prevent oil and water from separating, thereby enhancing the digestion of lipids. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of dietary emulsifier (lysophospholipids (LPL)) supplementation in diets differing in fat contents on growth performance, nutrient digestibility and milk composition in lactating sows, as well as performance and fecal score in piglets. A total of 32 multiparous sows (Landrace×Yorkshire) were used in a 21-day experiment. On day 110 of gestation, sows were weighed and moved into the farrowing facility, randomly assigned in a 2×2 factorial arrangement according to their BW with two levels of LPL (0 and 30 mg/kg) and two levels of fat (4.75% and 2.38% fat; 13.66 and 13.24 MJ/kg). BW loss and backfat thickness loss were decreased (P<0.05) by LPL supplementation. Backfat thickness at weaning was higher (P<0.05) in sows fed LPL supplementation diets. The apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter, nitrogen, gross energy and crude fat in sows fed LPL diets was increased (P<0.05) compared with those fed non-LPL diets. Sows fed the high-fat diets had higher (P<0.05) milk fat on day 10 and milk lactose on day 20 than those fed the low-fat diets. Milk fat and lactose concentrations in LPL supplementation treatments was increased (P<0.05) compared with non-LPL treatments on day 10 and day 20, respectively. Positive interaction effects (P<0.05) between fat and LPL were observed for milk fat concentration on day 10. In conclusion, LPL addition decreased BW loss and backfat thickness loss, improved nutrient digestibility and milk fat as well as milk lactose concentrations. In addition, there was a complementary positive effect of dietary fat and LPL supplementation on milk fat concentration in lactating sows.
Foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.) is a naturally stress-tolerant plant, a major reserve crop and a model for panicoid grasses. The recent completion of the S. italica genome facilitates identification and characterization of WRKY transcription factor family proteins that are important regulators of major plant processes, including growth, development and stress response. The present study identified 103 WRKY transcription factor-encoding genes in the S. italica genome. The genes were named SiWRKY1–SiWRKY103 according to their order on the chromosomes. A comprehensive expression analysis of SiWRKY genes among four different tissues was performed using publicly available RNA sequencing data. Eighty-four SiWRKY genes were more highly expressed in root tissue than in other tissues and nine genes were only expressed in roots. Additionally, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to comprehensively analyse the expression of all SiWRKY genes in response to dehydration. Results indicated that most SiWRKY genes (over 0.8) were up-regulated by drought stress. In conclusion, genome-wide identification and expression profiling of SiWRKY genes provided a set of candidates for cloning and functional analyses in plants’ response to drought stress.
Outbreaks of acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC) – a rapidly progressing and highly contagious infection – often occur in schools during summer and autumn. We used dynamic modelling to evaluate the efficacy of interventions to control AHC outbreaks in schools. A susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model was built to simulate AHC outbreaks in Chinese schools, with isolation or school closure added into the model. We used outbreak data from the period 2004–2015 in our models to estimate the effective reproduction number and assess the efficacy of interventions. The median effective reproduction number (uncontrolled) of AHC outbreaks was 7·00 (range 1·77–25·87). The median effective reproduction number (controlled) of AHC outbreaks was 0·16 (range 0·00–2·28). Intervention efficacy is affected by the timing of isolation; earlier isolation is associated with a lower morbidity peak and smaller total attack rate (TAR). School closures were not effective; TARs were almost 100% and did not change even when different school closure durations were adopted. Isolation and school closure as a combined intervention strategy was used to simulate outbreak control, but the efficacy was the same as isolation alone. An isolation programme could be an effective primary intervention during AHC outbreaks in schools. However, school closure is not recommended.
The detection of new binary central stars of planetary nebulae is crucial to definitively determine the importance of binary interactions in the nebular morphology. In this context, we are working on a project that aims to increase the low number of binary central stars detected so far. For that, we are first analyzing public archival data in order to discover potential candidates of binary central stars. These candidates will be subsequently followed-up in order to confirm and characterize them. Here we present our ongoing search and some preliminary results.