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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.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Light colors may affect poultry behaviors, well-being and performance. However, preferences of layer pullets for light colors are not fully understood. This study was conducted to investigate the pullet preferences for four light-emitting diode colors, including white, red, green and blue, in a lighting preference test system. The system contained four identical compartments each provided with a respective light color. The pullets were able to move freely between the adjacent compartments. A total of three groups of 20 Chinese domestic Jingfen layer pullets (54 to 82 days of age) were used for the test. Pullet behaviors were continuously recorded and summarized for each light color/compartment into daily time spent (DTS), daily percentage of time spent (DPTS), daily times of visit (DTV), duration per visit, daily feed intake (DFI), daily feeding time (DFT), feeding rate (FR), distribution of pullet occupancy and hourly time spent. The results showed that the DTS (h/pullet·per day) were 3.9±0.4 under white, 1.4±0.3 under red, 2.2±0.3 under green and 4.5±0.4 under blue light, respectively. The DTS corresponded to 11.7% to 37.6% DPTS in 12-h lighting periods. The DTV (times/pullet·per day) were 84±5 under white, 48±10 under red, 88±10 under green and 94±8 under blue light. Each visit lasted 1.5 to 3.2 min. The DFI (g/pullet·per day) were 27.6±1.7 under white, 7.1±1.6 under red, 15.1±1.1 under green and 23.1±2.0 under blue light. The DFT was 0.18 to 0.65 h/pullet·per day and the FR was 0.57 to 0.75 g/min. For most of the time during the lighting periods, six to 10 birds stayed under white, and one to five birds stayed under red, green and blue light. Pullets preferred to stay under blue light when the light was on and under white light 4 h before the light off. Overall, pullets preferred blue light the most and red light the least. These findings substantiate the preferences of layer pullets for light colors, providing insights for use in the management of light-emitting diode colors to meet pullet needs.
β-Casomorphin is an opioid-like bioactive peptide derived from β-casein of milk that plays a crucial role in modulating animal’s feed intake, growth, nutrient utilization and immunity. However, the effect of β-casomorphin on lipid metabolism in chickens and its mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-casomorphin on fat deposition in broiler chickens and explore its mechanism of action. A total of 120 21-day-old Arbor Acres male broilers (747.94±8.85 g) was chosen and randomly divided into four groups with six replicates of five birds per replicate. Three groups of broilers were injected with 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg BW of β-casomorphin in 1 ml saline for 7 days, whereas the control group received 1 ml saline only. The results showed that subcutaneous administration of β-casomorphin to broiler chickens increased average daily gain, average daily feed intake and fat deposition, and decreased feed : gain ratio (P<0.05). The activity of malate dehydrogenase in the pectoral muscle, liver and abdominal adipose tissue was also increased along with the concentrations of insulin, very-low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in the plasma (P<0.05). The activity of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver and abdominal adipose tissue and the concentration of glucagon in the plasma were decreased by injection with β-casomorphin (P<0.05). Affymetrix gene chip analysis revealed that administering 1.0 mg/kg BW β-casomorphin caused differential expression of 168 genes in the liver with a minimum of fourfold difference. Of those, 37 genes are directly involved in lipid metabolism with 18 up-regulated genes such as very low density lipoprotein receptor gene and fatty acid synthase gene, and 19 down-regulated genes such as lipoprotein lipase gene and low density lipoprotein receptor gene. In conclusion, β-casomorphin increased growth performance and fat deposition of broilers. Regulation of fat deposition by β-casomorphin appears to take place through changes in hormone secretion and enzyme activities by controlling the gene expression of lipid metabolism and feed intake, increasing fat synthesis and deposition.
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.
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.
Dysfunction of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to examine the efficacy and safety of memantine, a non-competitive NMDAR antagonist, in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Standardized/weighted mean differences (SMDs/WMDs), risk ratio (RR), and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and analyzed.
Included in the meta-analysis were eight RCTs (n = 452) of 11.5 ± 2.6 weeks duration, with 229 patients on memantine (20 mg/day) and 223 patients on placebo. Adjunctive memantine outperformed placebo in the measures of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale negative symptoms [SMD: −0.63 (95% CI −1.10 to −0.16), p = 0.009, I2 = 77%], but not in the total, positive and general symptoms [SMD: −0.46 to −0.08 (95% CI −0.93 to 0.22), p = 0.06–0.60, I2 = 0–74%] or the Clinical Global Impression Severity Scale [WMD: 0.04 (95% CI −0.24 to 0.32), p = 0.78]. The negative symptoms remained significant after excluding one outlying RCT [SMD: −0.41 (95% CI −0.72 to −0.11), p = 0.008, I2 = 47%]. Compared with the placebo group, adjunctive memantine was associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) [WMD: 3.09, (95% CI 1.77–4.42), p < 0.00001, I2 = 22%]. There was no significant difference in the discontinuation rate [RR: 1.34 (95% CI 0.76–2.37), p = 0.31, I2 = 0%] and adverse drug reactions between the two groups.
This meta-analysis showed that adjunctive memantine appears to be an efficacious and safe treatment for improving negative symptoms and neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia. Higher quality RCTs with larger samples are warranted to confirm these findings.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
Retreatment of tuberculosis (TB) often fails in China, yet the risk factors associated with the failure remain unclear. To identify risk factors for the treatment failure of retreated pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients, we analyzed the data of 395 retreated PTB patients who received retreatment between July 2009 and July 2011 in China. PTB patients were categorized into ‘success’ and ‘failure’ groups by their treatment outcome. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between treatment outcome and socio-demographic as well as clinical factors. We also created an optimized risk score model to evaluate the predictive values of these risk factors on treatment failure. Of 395 patients, 99 (25·1%) were diagnosed as retreatment failure. Our results showed that risk factors associated with treatment failure included drug resistance, low education level, low body mass index (<18·5), long duration of previous treatment (>6 months), standard treatment regimen, retreatment type, positive culture result after 2 months of treatment, and the place where the first medicine was taken. An Optimized Framingham risk model was then used to calculate the risk scores of these factors. Place where first medicine was taken (temporary living places) received a score of 6, which was highest among all the factors. The predicted probability of treatment failure increases as risk score increases. Ten out of 359 patients had a risk score >9, which corresponded to an estimated probability of treatment failure >70%. In conclusion, we have identified multiple clinical and socio-demographic factors that are associated with treatment failure of retreated PTB patients. We also created an optimized risk score model that was effective in predicting the retreatment failure. These results provide novel insights for the prognosis and improvement of treatment for retreated PTB patients.
We present the optical emission line properties of a sample of 155 bright X-ray selected ROSAT Seyfert 1 type AGN. The measured properties are gathered for correlation analysis. The strong correlations between Hβ redshift, flux ratios of Fe II to Hβ broad component and [O III] to Hβ narrow component are found.
We report, as a part of a long-term study of IR mergers and IR QSOs, detailed spectroscopic evidences for outflow (OF) features in nearby IR mergers/QSOs (with low and extreme velocity OF, LVOF and EVOF, respectively). We found EVOF in IRAS 01003-2238, 11119+3257, 13218+0552, 14394+5332, 15130-1958 and 15462-0450. The low velocity OF components were detected mainly in objects with starburst processes. Meanwhile the EVOF were found mainly in objects with obscured IR QSOs plus strong starbursts.
HST images of IR+BAL+Fe II QSOs show in practically all of these objects “arc or shell” features probably associated to galactic winds (GW) and/or merger processes. We present also new results of a study of the morphology, kinematics and ionized structure of IR mergers/QSOs with GW. This new study is based mainly in INTEGRAL two-dimensional (2D) fibre spectroscopy (obtained at La Palma 4.2 m telescope).
The aphid species Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi are the most important pests in wheat growing regions of many countries. In this study, we investigated the sublethal effects of imidacloprid on fecundity, longevity, and enzyme activity in both aphid species by comparing 3-h exposure for one or three generations. Our results indicated that 3-h exposure to sublethal doses of imidacloprid for one generation had no discernible effect on the survival, fecundity, longevity, or enzyme activity levels of aphids. However, when pulse exposures to imidacloprid were sustained over three generations, both fecundity and longevity were significantly decreased in both S. avenae and R. padi. Interestingly, the fecundity of R. padi had almost recovered by the F5 generation, but its longevity was still deleteriously affected. These results indicated that R. padi laid eggs in shorter time lags and has a more fast resilience. The change in reproduction behavior may be a phenomenon of R. padi to compensate its early death. If this is stable for the next generation, it means that the next generation is more competitive than unexposed populations, which could be the reason underlying population outbreaks that occur after longer-term exposure to an insecticide. This laboratory-based study highlights the sublethal effects of imidacloprid on the longevity and fecundity of descendants and provides an empirical basis from which to consider management decisions for chemical control in the field.
Ten leading varieties of winter wheat released during 1950–2009 in North China were tested in a free-air temperature increase (FATI) facility. The FATI facility mimicked the local air temperature pattern well, with an increase of 1·1 °C in the daily mean temperature. For all the tested varieties, warming caused a significant reduction in the total length of wheat growth period by 5 days and especially in the pre-anthesis period, where it was reduced by 9 days. However, warming increased wheat biomass production and grain yield by 8·4 and 11·4%, respectively, on an average of all the tested varieties. There was no significant difference in the warming-led reduction in the entire growth period among the tested varieties. Interestingly, the warming-led increments in biomass production and grain yield increased along with the variety release year. Significantly higher warming-led increases in post-anthesis biomass production and 1000-grain weight were found in the new varieties compared to the old ones. Meanwhile, a significant improvement in plant productivity was noted due to wheat breeding during the past six decades, while no significant difference in the length of entire growth period was found among the varieties released in different eras. The results demonstrate that historical wheat breeding might have enhanced winter wheat productivity and adaptability through exploiting the positive effects rather than mitigating the negative impacts of warming on wheat growth in North China.
The cadmium chloride annealing treatment is an essential step in the manufacture of efficient thin film CdTe solar cells. In previous work we have shown that the primary effect of the treatment is to remove high densities of stacking faults from the as-deposited material. Use of density functional theory has shown that some of the higher energy stacking faults are hole traps. Removal of these defects dramatically improves cell efficiency. In this study we focus on the effect of the activation treatment on the underlying n-type cadmium sulphide layer. A range of techniques has been used to observe the changes to the microstructure as well as the chemical and crystallographic changes as a function of treatment parameters. Electrical tests that link the device performance with the micro-structural properties of the cells have also been undertaken. Techniques used include High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM) for sub-grain analysis, EDX for chemical analysis and XPS and SIMS for composition-depth profiling. By studying the effect of increasing the treatment time and temperature, we will show that the cadmium sulphide layer depletes to the point of complete dissolution into the absorber layer. We will also show that chlorine penetrates and decorates the grain boundaries in the cadmium sulphide. In addition we will show that chlorine builds up at the heterojunction and concentrates in voids at the cadmium telluride/cadmium sulphide interface. A combination of these effects damages the electrical performance of the solar cell.
Tai'an, a famous cultural tourist district, is a new endemic foci of scrub typhus in northern China. Frequent reports of travel-acquired cases and absence of effective vaccine indicated a significant health problem of scrub typhus in Tai'an. Thus, descriptive epidemiological methods and spatial-temporal scan statistics were used to describe the epidemic characteristics and detect the significant clusters of the high incidence of scrub typhus at the town level in Tai'an. Results of descriptive epidemiological analysis showed a total of 490 cases were reported in Tai'an with the annual average incidence ranging from 0·48 to 2·27/100 000 during 2006–2013. Females, the elderly and farmers are the high-risk groups. Monthly changes of scrub typhus cases indicated an obvious epidemic period in autumn. Spatial-temporal distribution analysis, showed significant clusters of high incidence mainly located in eastern and northern Tai'an. Our study suggests that more effective, targeted measures for local residents should be implemented in the eastern and northern areas of Tai'an in autumn. Meanwhile, it may prove beneficial for health policy makers to advise travellers to take preventive measures in order to minimize the risk of infection of scrub typhus in Tai'an.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
To understand the clinical epidemiology and molecular characteristics of human bocavirus (HBoV) infection in children with diarrhoea in Guangzhou, South China, we collected 1128 faecal specimens from children with diarrhoea from July 2010 to December 2012. HBoV and five other major enteric viruses were examined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Human rotavirus (HRV) was the most prevalent pathogen, detected in 250 (22·2%) cases, followed by enteric adenovirus (EADV) in 76 (6·7%) cases, human astrovirus (HAstV) in 38 (3·4%) cases, HBoV in 17 (1·5%) cases, sapovirus (SaV) in 14 (1·2%) cases, and norovirus (NoV) in 9 (0·8%) cases. Co-infections were identified in 3·7% of the study population and 23·5% of HBoV-positive specimens. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 14 HBoV strains to be clustered into species HBoV1 with only minor variations among them. Overall, the detection of HBoV appears to partially contribute to the overall detection gap for enteric infections, single HBoV infection rarely results in severe clinical outcomes, and HBoV sequencing data appears to support conserved genomes across strains identified in this study.
Muscle development in domesticated animals is important for meat production. Furthermore, intramuscular fat content is an important trait of meat intended for consumption. Here, we examined differences in the expression of factors related to myogenesis, adipogenesis and skeletal muscle growth during fetal muscle development of lean (Yorkshire) and obese (Chenghua) pig breeds. At prenatal days 50 (d50) and 90 (d90), muscles and sera were collected from pig fetuses. Histology revealed larger diameters and numbers of myofibers in Chenghua pig fetuses than those in Yorkshire pig fetuses at d50 and d90. Yorkshire fetuses had higher serum concentrations of myostatin (d90), a negative regulator for muscle development, and higher mRNA expression of the growth hormone receptor Ghr (d90), myogenic MyoG (d90) and adipogenic LPL (d50). By contrast, Chenghua fetuses exhibited higher serum concentration of growth hormone (d90), and higher mRNA expression of myogenic MyoD (d90) as well as adipogenic PPARG and FABP4 (d50). Our results revealed distinct expression patterns in the two pig breeds at each developmental stage before birth. Compared with Chenghua pigs, development and maturation of fetal skeletal muscles may occur earlier in Yorkshire pigs, but the negative regulatory effects of myostatin may suppress muscle development at the later stage.
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of konjac flour (KF) inclusion in gestation diets of sows on nutrients digestibility, lactation feed intake, reproductive performance of sows and preweaning performance of piglets. Two isoenergetic and isonitrogenous gestation diets were formulated: a control diet and a 2.1% KF-supplemented diet (KF diet). Both diets had the same NDF and insoluble fiber (ISF) levels, but the KF diet had higher soluble fiber (SF) level. The day after breeding, 96 multiparous sows were assigned to the two dietary treatments. Restrict-fed during gestation, in contrast, all sows were offered the same lactation diet ad libitum. Response criteria included sow BW, backfat depth, lactation feed intake, weaning-to-estrus interval, litter size and piglet’s weight at parturition and day 21 of lactation. On day 60 of gestation, 20 sows were used to measure nutrient digestibility. Results showed that the digestibility of dry matter, gross energy, crude fiber and ADF were not affected by the dietary treatments. The inclusion of KF in gestation diets increased NDF digestibility (P<0.05) and tended to increase the digestibility of CP (P=0.05) compared with the control diet group. In addition, dietary treatment during gestation did not affect litter size, BW and backfat gain during gestation, lactation weight, backfat loss or weaning-to-estrus interval of sows. However, sows fed the KF diet consumed more (P<0.05) lactation diet per day than sows in the control group. Accordingly, sows fed the KF diet showed greater average piglet weights on day 21 of lactation (P=0.09), and the litter weight of sows fed the KF diet on day 21 of lactation increased by 3.95 kg compared with sows fed the control diet (not significant). In conclusion, the inclusion of KF in gestation diets increased lactation feed intake of sows and tended to improve litter performance.