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The association between eosinophil count and cholelithiasis among people with Clonorchis sinensis infection is still uncertain. We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the associations among Clonorchis sinensis infection, eosinophil count and cholelithiasis. The study included 4628 participants from January to December 2018. The levels of eosinophil count were divided into four groups according to the quartiles of eosinophil count. Spearman's rank correlation was performed to assess the association between eosinophil counts and Clonorchis sinensis egg counts. Multiple regression analysis was performed to evaluate the relationships among C. sinensis infection, eosinophil count and cholelithiasis after adjusting for three models. The prevalence of C. sinensis infection was 38.72% (1792/4628), and the prevalence of cholelithiasis was 6.03% (279/4628). The infection rate of C. sinensis was higher in the cholelithiasis group than in the non-cholelithiasis group (63.08% vs. 37.16%, P < 0.001). Significant differences were found among various eosinophil count quartiles for C. sinensis infection, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (γ-GT), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), creatinine (CRE), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), uric acid (UA) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (all P < 0.001). A significant positive correlation was found between eosinophil count and log-transformed C. sinensis egg count (r = 0.9477, P < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that light and moderate intensities of C. sinensis infection were associated with cholelithiasis (P < 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively), and C. sinensis infection with eosinophil count ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 × 109/l were associated with cholelithiasis (P < 0.05). In conclusion, our findings suggest that the light and moderate infections of C. sinensis with eosinophil count ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 × 109/l may be associated with a higher risk of cholelithiasis.
Small intestinal epithelium homeostasis involves four principal cell types: enterocytes, goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to affect enterocyte differentiation. This study determined the effect of dietary EGF on goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglet small intestine and potential mechanisms. Forty-two weaned piglets were used in a 2 × 3 factorial design; the major factors were time post-weaning (days 7 and 14) and dietary treatment (0, 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF supplementation). The numbers of goblet and enteroendocrine cells were generally greater with the increase in time post-weaning. Moreover, the supplementation of 200 µg/kg EGF increased (P < 0.01) the number of goblet and enteroendocrine cells in villus and crypt of the piglet small intestine as compared with the control. Dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of differentiation-related genes atonal homologue 1, mucin 2 and intestinal trefoil factor 3 messenger RNA (mRNA) as compared with the control. Piglets fed 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF diet had increased (P < 0.05) abundances of growth factor-independent 1, SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor and pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 mRNA, but decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of E74 like ETS transcription factor 3 mRNA as compared with the control. Animals receiving 400 µg/kg EGF diets had enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of neurogenin3 and SRY-box containing gene 9 mRNA as compared with the control. The mRNA abundance and protein expression of lysozyme, a marker of Paneth cell, were also increased (P < 0.05) in those animals. As compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF increased the abundance of EGF receptor mRNA and the ratio of non-phospho(p)-β-catenin/β-catenin (P < 0.05) in villus epithelial cells at days 7 and 14. This ratio in crypt epithelial cells was higher (P < 0.05) on the both 200 and 400 µg/kg EGF groups during the same period. Our results demonstrated that dietary EGF stimulated goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglets during the post-weaning period, partly through EGFR and Wnt/β-catenin signalling.
Some studies have shown that the excessive metabolic heat production is the primary cause for dead chicken embryos during late embryonic development. Increasing heat shock protein (HSP) expression and adjusting metabolism are important ways to maintain body homeostasis under heat stress. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of in ovo injection (IOI) of vitamin C (VC) at embryonic age 11th day (E11) on HSP and metabolic genes expression. A total of 320 breeder eggs were randomly divided into normal saline and VC injection groups. We detected plasma VC content and rectal temperature at chick’s age 1st day, and the mRNA levels of HSP and metabolic genes in embryonic livers at E14, 16 and 18, analysed the promoter methylation levels of differentially expressed genes and predicted transcription factors at the promoter regions. The results showed that IOI of VC significantly increased plasma VC content and decreased rectal temperature (P < 0.05). In ovo injection of VC significantly increased heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) genes expression at E16 and PDK4 and secreted frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1) at E18 (P < 0.05). At E16, IOI of VC significantly decreased the methylation levels of total CpG sites and −336 CpG site in HSP60 promoter and −1137 CpG site in PDK4 promoter (P < 0.05). Potential binding sites for nuclear factor-1 were found around −389 and −336 CpG sites in HSP60 promoter and potential binding site for specificity protein 1 was found around −1137 CpG site in PDK4 promoter. Our results suggested that IOI of VC increased HSP60, PDK4 and SFRP1 genes expression at E16 and 18, which may be associated with the demethylation in gene promoters. Whether IOI of VC could improve hatchability needs to be further verified by setting uninjection group.
Structure and optical properties have been successfully determined for a series of niobium- and tantalum-containing layered alkaline-earth silicate compounds, Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 (x = 0.6, 1.8, 3.0, 4.2, 5.4). The structure of this solid solution was found to be hexagonal P-62m (No. 189), with Z = 1. With x increases from 0.6 to 5.4, the lattice parameter a increases from 8.98804(8) to 9.00565(9) Å and c decreases from 7.83721(10) to 7.75212(12) Å. As a result, the volume decreases from 548.304(11) to 544.479(14) Å3. The (Nb/Ta)O6 distorted octahedra form continuous chains along the c-axis. These (Nb/Ta)O6 chains are in turn linked with the Si2O7 groups to form distorted pentagonal channels in which Ba ions were found. These Ba2+ ions have full occupancy and a 13-fold coordination environment with neighboring oxygen sites. Another salient feature of the structure is the linear Si–O–Si chains. When x in Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 increases, the bond valence sum (BVS) values of the Ba sites increase slightly (2.09–2.20), indicating the size of the cage becoming progressively smaller (over-bonding). While SiO cages are also slightly smaller than ideal (BVS range from 4.16 to 4.19), the (Nb/Ta)O6 octahedral cages are slightly larger than ideal (BVS range from 4.87 to 4.90), giving rise to an under-bonding situation. The bandgaps of the solid solution members were measured between 3.39 and 3.59 eV, and the x = 3.0 member was modeled by density functional theory techniques to be 3.07 eV. The bandgaps of these materials indicate that they are potential candidates for ultraviolet photocatalyst.
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.
Triploid and pentaploid breeding is of great importance in agricultural production, but it is not always easy to obtain double ploidy parents. However, in fishes, chromosome ploidy is diversiform, which may provide natural parental resources for triploid and pentaploid breeding. Both tetraploid and hexaploid exist in Schizothorax fishes, which were thought to belong to different subfamilies with tetraploid Percocypris fishes in morphology, but they are sister genera in molecule. Fortunately, the pentaploid hybrid fishes have been successfully obtained by hybridization of Schizothorax wangchiachii (♀, 2n = 6X = 148) × Percocypris pingi (♂, 2n = 4X = 98). To understand the genetic and morphological difference among the hybrid fishes and their parents, four methods were used in this study: morphology, karyotype, red blood cell (RBC) DNA content determination and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR). In morphology, the hybrid fishes were steady, and between their parents with no obvious preference. The chromosome numbers of P. pingi have been reported as 2n = 4X = 98. In this study, the karyotype of S. wangchiachii was 2n = 6X = 148 = 36m + 34sm + 12st + 66t, while that the hybrid fishes was 2n = 5X = 123 = 39m + 28sm + 5st + 51t. Similarly, the RBC DNA content of the hybrid fishes was intermediate among their parents. In ISSR, the within-group genetic diversity of hybrid fishes was higher than that of their parents. Moreover, the genetic distance of hybrid fishes between P. pingi and S.wangchiachii was closely related to that of their parental ploidy, suggesting that parental genetic material stably coexisted in the hybrid fishes. This is the first report to show a stable pentaploid F1 hybrids produced by hybridization of a hexaploid and a tetraploid in aquaculture.
In this paper, a novel single-cavity triangular substrate-integrated waveguide (TSIW) dual-band filter loading a complementary triangular split ring resonator (CTSRR) is proposed, which has three transmission zeros (TZs) in the stopband in total. The dual-band response is achieved by the CTSRR and the degenerate modes of the TSIW cavity. In order to control the TZs, we propose two adjustment techniques, shift feeding technique and adding via perturbation. In addition, the CTSRR etched on the surface can produce a new TZ in the upper first-passband. Finally, a dual-band filter with three TZs is simulated, fabricated, and measured. There is a good agreement between the simulated results and measured ones.
Dietary protein restriction is one of the effective ways to reduce post-weaning diarrhoea and intestinal fermentation in piglets, but it may also reduce growth performance. The compensatory growth induced by subsequent protein realimentation may solve the issue. However, little research has been done on the impact of protein realimentation on the gut. In this study, the effects of protein restriction and realimentation on ileal morphology, ileal microbial composition and metabolites in weaned piglets were investigated. Thirty-six 28-day-old weaned piglets with an average body weight of 6.47 ± 0.04 kg were randomly divided into a control group and a treatment group. The CP level in the diet of the control group was 18.83% for the entire experimental period. The piglets in the treatment group were fed 13.05% CP between days 0 and 14 and restored to a diet of 18.83% CP for days 14 to 28. On day 14 and 28, six pigs from each group were sacrificed and sampled. It was found that the abundance of Lactobacillus and Salmonella in the ileal digesta was significantly lower in the treatment group than the control group on day 14, whereas the abundance of Clostridium sensu stricto 1, Streptococcus, Halomonas and Pseudomonas significantly increased in the ileal digesta of the treatment group on day 14 compared with the control group. In addition, reduced concentrations of lactic acid, total short-chain fatty acids (total SCFAs), total branched chain fatty acids, ammonia and impaired ileal morphology and mucosal barrier were observed in the treatment group on day 14. However, diarrhoea levels decreased in the treatment group throughout the experiment. During the succedent protein realimentation stage, the treatment group demonstrated compensatory growth. Compared with the control group, the treatment group showed increased abundance of Lactobacillus and reduced abundance of Salmonella, Halomonas and Pseudomonas in the ileum on day 28. The concentrations of lactic acid and total SCFAs increased significantly, whereas the concentration of ammonia remained at a lower level in the treatment group on day 28 compared with the control group. Overall, protein realimentation could improve ileal morphology and barrier functions and promote ileal digestive and absorptive functions. In conclusion, ileal microbial composition and metabolites could change according to dietary protein restriction and realimentation and eventually influence ileal morphology and barrier functions.
Globally, human immune deficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) continues to be a major public health issue. With improved survival, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is increasing, with over 2 million among pregnant women. Investigating adverse pregnant outcomes of HIV-infected population and associated factors are of great importance to maternal and infant health. A cross-sectional data collected from hospital delivery records of 4397 mother–infant pairs in southwestern China were analysed. Adverse pregnant outcomes (including low birthweight/preterm delivery/low Apgar score) and maternal HIV status and other characteristics were measured. Two hundred thirteen (4.9%) mothers were HIV positive; maternal HIV infection, rural residence and pregnancy history were associated with all three indicators of adverse pregnancy outcomes. This research suggested that maternal population have high prevalence in HIV infection in this region. HIV-infected women had higher risks of experiencing adverse pregnancy outcomes. Rural residence predisposes adverse pregnancy outcomes. Findings of this study suggest social and medical support for maternal-infant care needed in this region, selectively towards rural areas and HIV-positive mothers.
Hypoimmunity and numerous stresses are two major challenges in broiler industry. Nutrient intervention at the specific time of embryonic stage is a feasible way to improve animal performance. This study was conducted to investigate the possible effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of vitamin C at embryonic age 15th day (E15) on growth performance, antioxidation and immune function of broilers. A total of 240 broiler fertile eggs were randomly divided into two groups (0 and 3 mg injected dose of vitamin C at E15), and new-hatched chicks from each treatment were randomly allocated into six replicates with 10 chicks per replicate after incubation. The results indicated that in ovo vitamin C injection improved the hatchability (P < 0.05) and increased immunoglobulin M (IgM) (at the broiler’s age 1st day, D1), IgG and IgM concentrations (D21), as well as lysozyme activity (D21, P < 0.05) and total antioxidant capacity (D42, P < 0.01) in plasma of broilers. On D21, the splenic expression level of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) was up-regulated in vitamin C (VC) group, whereas interleukin (IL)-6, interferon-γ, ten-eleven translocation protein 1 and thymine-DNA glycosylase were down-regulated (P < 0.05). On D42, in ovo vitamin C injection up-regulated splenic expression levels of DNMT1, DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein beta (P < 0.05), whereas down-regulated splenic expression levels of IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 4 (P < 0.05). Our findings suggested that IOF of 3 mg vitamin C at E15 could improve, to some extent, the antioxidant activity and immune function in plasma, corresponding with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen. However, IOF of vitamin C leading to the changes in the expression of DNA methyltransferases and demethylases may suggest an increased trend of DNA methylation level in spleen and whether DNA methylation variation is associated with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen warrants future study.
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.
To investigate the control effect of the synthetic jet on the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors, a numerical simulation procedure for the rotor flowfield is established. First, a moving-embedded grid method and an unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) solver are established for predicting the complex flowfield of rotors. A velocity jet boundary condition over the jet actuator orifice is constructed, and a numerical method for simulating the active flow control on rotors is developed. Then, the effectiveness of the simulation method is validated by comparing the numerical results of jet control on NACA 0015 aerofoil with the experimental data. At last, the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors with synthetic jet actuators located on the suction surface of the blade in forward flight is calculated. The results indicate that the synthetic jet has the capability of improving the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors, especially in inhibiting the flow separation over the surface. In addition, the increase of the jet momentum coefficient and the jet angle can both enhance the lift coefficient in the retreating side. Compared with a single jet, jet arrays have better control effects on improving the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors in forward flight.
The present study evaluated the effects of isovalerate supplementation on the development of the small intestinal mucosa in dairy calves. Forty-eight Chinese Holstein bull calves at 15 days of age and 45.1 ± 0.36 kg of body weight were assigned randomly to four groups. The treatments were control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate and high-isovalerate with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. The study comprised 75 days with a 15-day adaptation period followed by a 60-day sampling period. Calves were weaned at 60 days of age. Six calves were chosen from each treatment at random and slaughtered at 30 and 90 days of age. The small intestine morphology and activities of amylase and trypsin improved significantly with increasing age. No interaction between treatments and age was observed. The small intestine length, mucosa layer thickness, villus height and crypt depth increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation. However, the ratio of villus height to crypt depth was not affected by treatment. Activities of amylase and trypsin increased linearly. The lactase activity increased linearly during the 75-day period and for pre-weaned calves but was unaltered for post-weaned calves. The relative mRNA expressions of growth hormone receptor, insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and sodium-glucose co-transporter-1 in the small intestine mucosa increased linearly, and a similar pattern was observed for the expression of peptide transporter-1 in the duodenum and proximal jejunum. The results suggested that small intestine development was promoted by isovalerate in a dose-dependent manner.
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.
Nitrogen (N) application and irrigation to winter wheat may decrease leaf temperature and enhance photosynthesis: as a result, more photosynthates will be allocated to the grains, resulting in higher grain yields. To investigate this hypothesis, a 2-year field study was conducted with three levels of N fertilizer application (no fertilizer, N0; 240 kg N/ha, N1; 360 kg N/ha, N2) and two different water regimes (rainfed with no irrigation, R; irrigation at the over-wintering, stem elongation and grain filling stages, W). The results show that both N application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased grain yield with increases in both grain number/m2 and the 1000-grain weight, viz., WN2>WN1>WN0>RN2>RN1>RN0. In addition, application of N under both water regimes significantly increased flag leaf area, above-ground biomass and single stem productivity and decreased leaf temperature, which led to an increase in net photosynthesis rates and ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylase activity. Moreover, analysis of the chlorophyll α fluorescence transient showed that N fertilizer application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased electron donor and acceptor performance of the photosystem II reaction centre.
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.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
The current experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary protein levels and rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) supplementation on ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activity, bacterial populations and urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) in growing beef steers. Low-protein (LP) or high-protein (HP) diets were fed to eight ruminally cannulated first-generation cross-bred (Blonde d'Aquitaine × Simmental) beef steers with or without RPFA supplementation. Steers were fed a total mixed ration, and dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 (dry matter (DM) basis). No interaction between dietary crude protein (CP) levels and RPFA supplementation was observed during the experiment. Ruminal pH was unaffected by RPFA supplementation, but decreased with increasing dietary CP levels. Ruminal total volatile fatty acid concentration increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Molar proportion of acetate increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to decrease with increasing dietary CP levels. The proportion of propionate decreased with RPFA supplementation, but was unaffected by dietary CP levels. As a result, the acetate to propionate ratio increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to be lower for the HP diets than the LP diets. Ammonia-nitrogen content decreased with RPFA supplementation, but increased with increasing dietary CP levels. In situ ruminal degradability of maize straw and concentrate increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Microbial enzyme (carboxymethyl-cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase, α-amylase and protease) activity, bacterial populations (Ruminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus) and urinary PD excretion increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. The current study showed that increasing dietary CP levels from 109·1 to 130·7 g/kg DM or supplementing 75 mg RPFA improved ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis by increasing bacterial population and microbial enzyme activity.
The role of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the pathogenesis of liver disease has recently gained much interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in patients with liver disease from three cities in Shandong and Henan provinces, China. A case–control study was conducted from December 2014 to November 2015 and included 1142 patients with liver disease and 1142 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected from all individuals and were examined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. Information on the demographics, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics of the participants was collected from the medical records and by the use of a questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG was 19·7% in patients with liver disease compared with 12·17% in the controls. Only 13 patients had anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies compared with 12 control individuals (1·14% vs. 1·05%, respectively). The highest seroprevalence was detected in patients with liver cancer (22·13%), followed by hepatitis patients (20·86%), liver cirrhosis patients (20·42%), and steatosis patients (20%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that consumption of raw meat (odds ratio (OR) = 1·32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·01–1·71; P = 0·03) and source of drinking water from wells (OR = 1·56; 95% CI 1·08–2·27; P = 0·01) were independent risk factors for T. gondii infection in liver disease patients. These findings indicate that T. gondii infection is more likely to be present in patients with liver disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed toward health education of populations at high risk of T. gondii infection and measures should be taken to protect vulnerable patients with liver disease.
Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production on the Loess Plateau in China has been threatened by water scarcity and climate change during the last decade. Sustainable crop production in this region requires managerial practices that can provide high yield and high water productivity (WP). A 7-year (2001–2008) study at the Loess Plateau Research Station of Lanzhou University investigated the effects of various conservation tillage practices on grain yield, soil water content (SWC), WP and economic return of winter wheat production. Tillage treatments included: conventional tillage (T), conventional tillage followed by stubble retention (TS), no-till (NT) and no-till followed by stubble retention (NTS). Over the entire experimental period, grain yield and WP of winter wheat ranged from 1279 to 4894 kg/ha and 0·32 to 2·41 kg/m3, respectively. Both were significantly affected by tillage treatment and year, while SWC was only affected by year. Grain yield and WP in TS was increased by 4·9, 12·1, 0·9% and 13·7, 20·4 and 3·9% compared with NTS, NT and T, respectively, over seven growing seasons. Additionally, a multiple linear regression analysis indicated that grain yield is mainly limited by SWC during planting. Despite its lower grain yield, the NTS treatment increased economic benefit by US$ 328, US$ 23 and US$ 87/ha compared with TS, NT and T, respectively. Therefore, it is suggested that increasing soil water storage at wheat sowing time and encouraging the use of NTS could improve economic returns in this region.