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The gut is composed of a single layer of intestinal epithelial cells and plays important roles in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, immune and barrier functions and amino acid metabolism. Weaning stress impairs piglet intestinal epithelium structural and functional integrities, which results in reduced feed intake, growth rates and increased morbidity and mortality. Several measures are needed to maintain swine gut development and growth performance after weaning stress. A large body of evidence indicates that, in weaning piglets, glutamine, a functional amino acid, may improve growth performance and intestinal morphology, reduce oxidative damage, stimulate enterocyte proliferation, modulate cell survival and death and enhance intestinal paracellular permeability. This review focuses on the effects of glutamine on intestinal health in piglets. The aim is to provide evidentiary support for using glutamine as a feed additive to alleviate weaning stress.
Treatment of liver fibrosis is very limited as there is currently no effective anti-fibrotic therapy. Spirulina platensis (SP) is a blue-green alga that is widely supplemented in healthy foods. The objective of this study was to determine whether SP supplementation can prevent obesity-induced liver fibrosis in vivo. Male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to a low-fat or a high-fat (HF)/high-sucrose/high-cholesterol diet or an HF diet supplemented with 2·5 % SP (w/w) (HF/SP) for 16 or 20 weeks. There were no significant differences in body weight, activity, energy expenditure, serum lipids or glucose tolerance between mice on HF and HF/SP diets. However, plasma alanine aminotransferase level was significantly reduced by SP at 16 weeks. Expression of fibrotic markers and trichrome stains showed no differences between HF and HF/SP. Splenocytes isolated from HF/SP fed mice had lower inflammatory gene expression and cytokine secretion compared with splenocytes from HF-fed mice. SP supplementation did not attenuate HF-induced liver fibrosis. However, the expression and secretion of inflammatory genes in splenocytes were significantly reduced by SP supplementation, demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effects of SP in vivo. Although SP did not show appreciable effect on the prevention of liver fibrosis in this mouse model, it may be beneficial for other inflammatory conditions.
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.
The current experiment aimed at assessing the effects of dietary supplementation of guanidino acetic acid (GAA) on growth performance, thigh meat quality and development of small intestine in broilers. A total of 360 1-day-old female broiler chicks were distributed randomly to four groups of 90 birds each, and each group received GAA dosages of 0, 0.4, 0.8 and 1.2 g/kg of feed dry matter. During the whole experiment of 60 days, broilers had ad libitum access to water and feed and the feed intake was recorded daily. All broilers were weighed before and after the experiment, and 30 broilers of each group were selected randomly to slaughter at the end. Increasing dietary supplementation of GAA increased final live weight and daily body weight gain, gain-to-feed ratio, thigh muscle pH value and fibre diameter of broilers, but decreased daily feed intake, drip loss, cooking loss, shear force value, hardness, gumminess and chewiness of thigh meat. In addition, increasing supplementation of GAA quadratically increased duodenal, jejunal and ileal villus height and width and ratio of villus height to crypt depth, but decreased crypt depth. The results indicated that GAA as a feed additive may support better development of small intestine, thereby resulting in improvement of growth performance and meat quality of broilers.
Previously, we reported a phylogenetic study of 98 Burkholderia pseudomallei clinical isolates from Hainan, China. Here, we update the B. pseudomallei strain library with 52 strains from newly identified cases dating from 2014 to 2017, analysed by multilocus sequence typing. Twenty-two sequence types (STs) were identified from the 52 cases, illustrating high genetic diversity; five of them (ST1480, ST1481, ST1482, ST1483 and ST1484) were novel. ST46, ST50 and ST58 predominated (34.6%) as was the case in the previous study (35.7%). An e-BURST map of the ST profiles of the two collections of isolates showed their genetic foundation to be largely unchanged. Neighbour-joining tree analysis was suggestive of a close phylogenetic relationship between the novel STs from this series and those first reported from Hainan (ST1105, ST1099, ST55 and ST1095). Moreover, the two novel STs (1481 and 1483) showed close similarity to ST58 which originated in Thailand indicating a close relationship between B. pseudomallei strains from both countries. The previously described allele profiles gmhD-36 and lepA-68 were found for the first time in our strain collections. Our study emphasises the importance of monitoring the epidemiological status and evolutionary trends of B. pseudomallei in China.
Animal and cross-sectional epidemiological studies suggest that prenatal lead exposure is related to delayed menarche, but this has not been confirmed in longitudinal studies. We analyzed this association among 200 girls from Mexico City who were followed since the first trimester of gestation. Maternal blood lead levels were analyzed once during each trimester of pregnancy, and daughters were asked about their first menstrual cycle at a visit between the ages of 9.8 and 18.1 years. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for probability of menarche over the follow-up period using interval-censored Cox models, comparing those with prenatal blood lead level ⩾5 µg/dl to those with prenatal blood lead <5 µg/dl. We also estimated HRs and 95% CI with conventional Cox regression models, which utilized the self-reported age at menarche. In adjusted analyses, we accounted for maternal age, maternal parity, maternal education, and prenatal calcium treatment status. Across trimesters, 36−47% of mothers had blood lead levels ⩾5 µg/dl. Using interval-censored models, we found that during the second trimester only, girls with ⩾5 µg/dl prenatal blood lead had a later age at menarche compared with girls with prenatal blood lead levels <5 µg/dl (confounder-adjusted HR=0.59, 95% CI 0.28–0.90; P=0.05). Associations were in a similar direction, although not statistically significant, in the conventional Cox regression models, potentially indicating measurement error in the self-recalled age at menarche. In summary, higher prenatal lead exposure during the second trimester could be related to later onset of sexual maturation.
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.
An underwater shock loading experimental device is used to simulate underwater explosion shock waves. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of flyer momentum on the response of an aluminium plate to this underwater shock loading experimental device. The simulation accuracy can be verified by comparing theoretical data with the simulation and experimental results. Through simulations, an aluminium plate’s deformation and pressure specific impulse can be determined when flyers impact the piston at different velocities but at the same momentum. The aluminium plate's deformation and pressure specific impulse are constant when the flyers had constant momentum because both are directly proportional to the flyer momentum. The results have an important practical value for understanding and using this type of experimental device.
Monolithic large-aperture diffraction grating tiling is desired to increase the output capability of multi-kilojoule petawatt laser facilities. However, the wavefront errors of input pulse and gratings will degrade the focal spot quality and the compressibility of the output pulse. In this work, the effects of wavefront error of input pulse, deformation and wave aberration of the grating for the large-aperture tiled-grating compressor are investigated theoretically. A series of numerical simulations are presented to discuss the changing trends of focal spot energy caused by wavefront error of input pulse and obtain the error tolerance for specific goals. The influences of coating stress and the wave aberration of holographic exposure gratings on the diffraction wavefront are also discussed. Some advice is proposed for improving the performance of large-aperture tiled-grating. This work paves the way for the design of practical large-aperture tiled-grating compressor for ultrahigh intensity laser facilities in the future.
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.
Compared with conventional identification methods, DNA-based genetic approaches such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and satellites are much more reliable for pig identification and meat traceability. In this study, multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs, incorporating the advantages of both SNPs and microsatellites, were explored for the first time for pig identification and meat traceability. Primer pairs for multiallelic fragments and their optimal SNPs were successfully selected and used for identification of individuals from Suzhong and Duroc populations. Meanwhile, the combined panel of the above mentioned primer pairs together with their optimal SNPs for Suzhong and/or Duroc pigs were validated for identification of the hybrids (Suzhong×Duroc). Therefore, we have successfully selected multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs to identify pigs and their meat samples from Suzhong, Duroc or their hybrids. Our study demonstrates that our method is more powerful for pig identification or meat traceability than SNPs or microsatellites.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
Previous studies in sheep and cattle have demonstrated that the urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) provides an index of the intestinal flow of microbial protein (Chen et al. 1990). Yak is the most important ruminant species in Tibetan Plateau. It was of interest to establish whether the approach of PD excretion to estimate microbial protein supply is applicable in yaks. The objective of this work is to measure the effect of fasting and different levels of feeding on PD excretion in yaks.
The feeding experiments were carried out in Xi-ning, China at an altitude of 3100m and a latitude of 36.8° N. Six 5-year old female yaks were used and 3 experiments were completed.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
Dislocation/grain-boundary (GB) interactions have been studied in situ in polycrystalline ice using synchrotron X-ray topography in the temperature range 0° to –15°C GBs were observed to act both as sources of lattice dislocations and as strong obstacles to dislocation motion. Dislocations were observed to form pile-ups at GBs upon loading. Generally the basal slip system with the highest Schmid factor was found to be the most active, and dislocations were emitted from GB facets as semi-hexagonal loops in order to relieve the stress build-up from GB sliding. When the relative orientation of two adjacent grains and the orientation of the GB between them with respect to the loading direction discouraged GB sliding, thus suppressing dislocation nucleation at the GB, dislocations originating in one grain piled up at the GB and led to slip transmission through the GB The latter geometrical arrangement is rarely encountered, suggesting that slip transmission through grain boundaries in ice is a rare event. When basal slip was suppressed, i.e. when the loading direction lay in the basal plane, slip occurred by the glide of a fast edge segment on non-basal planes.
FI Lyr=IRAS18401+2854 is listed in the GCVS as type of SRb, the spectral type is M. In the IRAS LRS Catalog it is classified as 41, namely having the SiC feature at 11.3μm from a carbon-rich dust shell. We have obtained optical and near infrared spectra in the same period, but they show different chemical natures. We suggest that FI Lyr is a good candidate of a binary system consisting of carbon-rich and oxygen-rich companions.
We analyse a parallel (identical) machine scheduling problem with job delivery to a single customer. For this problem, each job needs to be processed on
parallel machines non-pre-emptively and then transported to a customer by one vehicle with a limited physical capacity. The optimization goal is to minimize the makespan, the time at which all the jobs are processed and delivered and the vehicle returns to the machine. We present an approximation algorithm with a tight worst-case performance ratio of
for the general case,
Pertussis epidemics have displayed substantial spatial heterogeneity in countries with high socioeconomic conditions and high vaccine coverage. This study aims to investigate the relationship between pertussis risk and socio-environmental factors on the spatio-temporal variation underlying pertussis infection. We obtained daily case numbers of pertussis notifications from Queensland Health, Australia by postal area, for the period January 2006 to December 2012. A Bayesian spatio-temporal model was used to quantify the relationship between monthly pertussis incidence and socio-environmental factors. The socio-environmental factors included monthly mean minimum temperature (MIT), monthly mean vapour pressure (VAP), Queensland school calendar pattern (SCP), and socioeconomic index for area (SEIFA). An increase in pertussis incidence was observed from 2006 to 2010 and a slight decrease from 2011 to 2012. Spatial analyses showed pertussis incidence across Queensland postal area to be low and more spatially homogeneous during 2006–2008; incidence was higher and more spatially heterogeneous after 2009. The results also showed that the average decrease in monthly pertussis incidence was 3·1% [95% credible interval (CrI) 1·3–4·8] for each 1 °C increase in monthly MIT, while average increase in monthly pertussis incidences were 6·2% (95% CrI 0·4–12·4) and 2% (95% CrI 1–3) for SCP periods and for each 10-unit increase in SEIFA, respectively. This study demonstrated that pertussis transmission is significantly associated with MIT, SEIFA, and SCP. Mapping derived from this work highlights the potential for future investigation and areas for focusing future control strategies.
Having accurate data for ileal amino acid digestibility of a feed ingredient is one of the ways to enhance protein and nitrogen utilisation, improve poultry feeding efficiency, and mitigate ammonia emission and pollution in the environment. Moreover, the precise estimation of endogenous amino acid losses (EAAL) depends on formulating diets on digestible amino acid (DAA) basis. Numerous methods have been reported to determine the endogenous fractions including the regression method, the protein-free diet, and the total digestible nitrogen diet. The EAAL determined by these techniques can help in calculated corrected values for amino acid digestibility, termed true digestibility. Certain dietary components that can be called ‘specific losses’ could lead to higher losses than the basal calculation would indicate. To determine the basal plus specific losses (total endogenous losses), some researchers suggested the 15N-dilution method, which allows the determination of the actual digestibility. This method needs more studies and evaluations because there are some controversial issues about this methodology, such as the validity of the 15N-dilution technique when applied to any amino acid or to total nitrogen, the reference pool for the estimation of the labelling of endogenous fractions/secretions, anti-nutritional agents, the effect of bird age, mucin, different cereal grains, as well as the marker itself and the proper assessment. This review will be focused on the above issues, finding that the recently reported 15N isotopes single injection method could be an easy, time-saving, consistent, and reliable methodology for EAAL estimation in poultry.