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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.
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.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
Pathogenesis of pregnancy toxemia (PT) is believed to be associated with the disruption of lipid metabolism. The present study aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms of lipid metabolism disorder in the livers of ewes with PT. In total, 10 pregnant ewes were fed normally (control group) whereas another 10 were subjected to 70% level feed restriction for 15 days to establish a pathological model of PT. Results showed that, as compared with the controls, the levels of blood β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and cholesterol were greater (P<0.05) and blood glucose level was lower (P<0.05) in PT ewes. The contents of NEFAs, BHBA, cholesterol and triglyceride were higher (P<0.05) and glycerol content was lower (P<0.05) in hepatic tissues of PT ewes than those of the controls. For ewes with PT, excessive fat vacuoles were observed in liver sections stained with hematoxylin–eosin; furthermore, inner structures of hepatocytes including nuclei, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum were damaged seriously according to the results of transmission electron microscope. Real-time PCR data showed that compared with the controls, the expression of hepatic genes involved in fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and triglyceride synthesis (TGS) was enhanced (P<0.05) whereas that related to acetyl-CoA metabolism (ACM) was repressed (P<0.05) in PT ewes. Generally, our results showed that negative energy balance altered the expression of genes involved in FAO, ACM and TGS, further caused lipid metabolism disorder in livers, resulting in PT of ewes. Our findings may provide the molecular basis for novel therapeutic strategies against this systemic metabolic disease in sheep.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
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.
Flour whiteness (FW) is an important factor in assessing flour quality and determining the end product quality. It is an integrated sensory indicator reflecting flour colour and is negatively correlated with protein content. In order to dissect the genetic relationship between FW and its five related traits at the quantitative trait locus (QTL)/gene level, a recombinant inbred line population was evaluated under three environments. Quantitative trait loci for FW were analysed by unconditional and conditional QTL mapping. Four unconditional additive QTLs and 16 conditional additive QTLs were detected across the three environments. Of these QTLs, only one major additive QTL (Qfw1D1-1) was consistently identified using both unconditional and conditional QTL analysis. This QTL was independent of flour colour a* (a function of red-green with a positive a* for redness and negative for greenness) and b* (a green-blue value with positive value for yellowness and negative for blueness) and was only slightly affected by flour protein content. A minor additive QTL (Qfw4A-4) was also detected using these two QTL mapping methods, being independent of flour colour a* and b*. Five unconditional and ten conditional epistatic minor QTLs were detected, from which only one pair (Qfw3A-10/Qfw6B-6) was identified by both unconditional and conditional QTL mapping, also independent of flour colour a* and b*. The major QTL (Qfw1D1-1) identified in the current study for the first time can be used for improving wheat FW in marker-assisted breeding.
An outbreak of acute hepatitis recently occurred in a nursing home in Zhejiang Province, China. The objectives of this study were to confirm the outbreak and identify the aetiology, source and transmission patterns. All residents and staff in or near the nursing home during the period from 1 October 2014 to 21 May 2015 were investigated regarding hygiene and for epidemiological information including water and food (eating meat especially pork products). Serum and stool specimens were collected for detection of hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies using ELISA and RNA using RT–PCR. Samples that were RNA positive were genotyped. Of 185 senior residents and 24 staff in the nursing home, there were 37 laboratory-confirmed cases during the outbreak. Of these cases, 12 patients (three deaths) were symptomatic with jaundice, a common clinical symptom for hepatitis E infection. HEV strains were isolated from three cases and they formed a single cluster within genotype 4d. A case-control study was conducted to investigate potential risk factors for the outbreak and the results revealed that cases more often washed their dishes and rinsed their mouths using tap water than the controls (P < 0·05). Based on hygiene investigation and meteorological information, it is likely that HEV-infected sewage and faeces contaminated the water network on rainy days. Collectively, these results suggest that the outbreak of HEV genotype 4 infection was most likely caused by contaminated tap water rather than food.
Pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs) are believed to be involved in the recognition of semiochemicals. In the present study, western blot analysis, fluorescence-binding characteristics and immunolocalization of CmedPBP4 from the rice leaffolder, Cnaphalocrocis medinalis, were investigated. Western blot analysis revealed that CmedPBP4 showed obvious antenna-specific expression patterns in female and male antenna, and made a clearly different sex-biased expression. Immunocytochemical labeling revealed that CmedPBP4 showed specific expression in the trichoid sensilla. Competitive fluorescence binding assays indicated that CmedPBP4 could selectively recognize three sex pheromone components (Z13-18:Ac, Z11-16:Al and Z13-18:OH) and eleven rice plant volatiles, including cyclohexanol, nerolidol, cedrol, dodecanal, ionone, (−)-α-cedrene, (Z)-farnesene, β-myrcene, R-(+)-limonene, (−)-limonene, and (+)-3-carene. Meanwhile the CmedPBP4 detection of sex pheromones and host odorants was pH-dependent. Our results, for the first time, provide further evidence that trichoid sensilla might be play an important role in detecting sex pheromones and host plant volatiles in the C. medinalis moth. Our systematic studies provided further detailed evidence for the function of trichoid sensilla in insect semiochemical perception.
The objective of this study was to determine if a moderate or high reduction of dietary CP, supplemented with indispensable amino acids (IAA), would affect growth, intestinal morphology and immunological parameters of pigs. A total of 40 barrows (initial BW=13.50±0.50 kg, 45±2 day of age) were used in a completely randomized block design, and allocated to four dietary treatments containing CP levels at 20.00%, 17.16%, 15.30% and 13.90%, respectively. Industrial AA were added to meet the IAA requirements of pigs. After 4-week feeding, blood and tissue samples were obtained from pigs. The results showed that reducing dietary CP level decreased average daily gain, plasma urea nitrogen concentration and relative organ weights of liver and pancreas (P<0.01), and increased feed conversion ratio (P<0.01). Pigs fed the 13.90% CP diet had significantly lower growth performance than that of pigs fed higher CP at 20.00%, 17.16% or 15.30%. Moreover, reducing dietary CP level decreased villous height in duodenum (P<0.01) and crypt depth in duodenum, jejunum and ileum (P<0.01). The reduction in the dietary CP level increased plasma concentrations of methionine, alanine (P<0.01) and lysine (P<0.05), and decreased arginine (P<0.05). Intriguingly, reducing dietary CP level from 20.00% to 13.90% resulted in a significant decrease in plasma concentration of IgG (P<0.05), percentage of CD3+T cells of the peripheral blood (P<0.01), also down-regulated the mRNA abundance of innate immunity-related genes on toll-like receptor 4, myeloid differentiation factor 88 (P<0.01) and nuclear factor kappa B (P<0.05) in the ileum. These results indicate that reducing dietary CP level from 20.00% to 15.30%, supplemented with IAA, had no significant effect on growth performance and had a limited effect on immunological parameters. However, a further reduction of dietary CP level up to 13.90% would lead to poor growth performance and organ development, associated with the modifications of intestinal morphology and immune function.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal protein or energy restriction on hormonal and metabolic status of pregnant goats during late gestation and their postnatal male kids. Forty-five pregnant goats were fed a control (CON), 40% protein-restricted (PR) or 40% energy-restricted (ER) diet from 90 days of gestation until parturition. Plasma of mothers (90, 125 and 145 days of gestation) and kids (6 weeks of age) were sampled to determine metabolites and hormones. Glucose concentration for pregnant goats subjected to PR or ER was less (P<0.001) than that of CON goats at 125 and 145 days of gestation. However, plasma nonesterified fatty acids concentration was greater (P<0.01) at 125 and 145 days for PR and ER than CON. Protein restriction increased (P<0.01) maternal cortisol concentration by 145 days of gestation, and ER decreased (P<0.01) maternal insulin concentration at 125 days of gestation. Moreover, maternal amino acid (AA) concentrations were affected by nutritional restriction, with greater (P<0.05) total AA (TAA) and nonessential AA (NEAA) for PR goats but less (P<0.05) TAA and NEAA for ER goats at 125 days of gestation. After 6 weeks of nutritional recovery, plasma concentrations of most metabolic and hormonal parameters in restricted kids were similar to CON kids, except for reduced (P<0.05) insulin concentration in ER, and reduced (P<0.05) Asp concentration in PR and ER kids. These results provide information on potential metabolic mechanisms responsible for fetal programming.
Nanoparticles (NPs) of Indium Antimonide (InSb) were synthesized using a vapor phase synthesis technique known as Inert Gas Condensation. NPs were directly deposited, at room temperature and under high vacuum, on glass cover slides, TEM grid, 1 inch-square (111) p-type Silicon wafer and Sodium Chloride substrates. XRD study revealed the crystalline behavior of these NPs exhibiting a cubic symmetry with preferred growth direction of (111). The average grain size of the NPs obtained using XRD results and the Debye-Scherrer formula was 25.62 nm. TEM studies showed a bimodal distribution of NPs with average NPs size of 13.70 and 33.20 nm. These values are consistent with the value obtained using XRD. 1:1 composition ratio of In:Sb was confirmed by the Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy studies. The band gap of the NPs obtained using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was 0.413 eV at 300 K, which indicates quantum confinement in the band structure of these NPs.
Important to the development of dye-sensitized solar cells is the longevity and photo-conversion efficiency of the dye. To improve cost effectiveness, dyes of superior thermal and chemical stability are desirable to extend device performance. In this study, we examine a series of peripherally fluorinated Zinc-Phthalocyanines (FxZnPc). Introduction of chemically inert fluorine and isopropyl fluoroalkyl groups on the periphery of the Pc improve the dye stability and allow for tunable photo-physical properties. Additionally, introduction of the bulky isopropyl fluoroalkyl groups help mitigate molecular aggregation in thin films which is known to be detrimental to maintaining the desired photo-physical properties of the surface coating. Using molecular dynamics and first principles modeling, various substituent effects on surface adhesion and aggregation over TiO2 surfaces are characterized for both symmetric and asymmetric substitution.
Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas that is a bi-product of industrial approaches to energy production. Forests and nonagricultural lands act as a natural sink for CO2 removal from the atmosphere; however, the amount of emitted CO2 is significantly larger than the capacity of these natural sinks. This is particularly problematic as two cornerstones of our modern world, electricity generation and transportation, hold the largest share in greenhouse gas (such as CO2) emission. This leads to malignant impacts on the natural environment and human life, such as global warming. The obvious approach to reduce the amount of generated CO2 is to limit the use of fossil fuels. However, coal-fired power plants remain the largest source of electricity generation in 2014 and an equally potent and financially reasonable source is yet to be fully developed. Hence, new systems and strategies are crucial for the remediation of CO2. In this work, we present novel TiO2 nanoparticles, synthesized via a facile solution-phase method, which show a significant visible light absorption. The synthesized nanoparticles can be applied towards photoreduction of CO2 for hydrocarbon solar fuels production. A thorough photoemission spectroscopy analysis outlined the energy structure of the materials which uncovered a sub-bandgap absorption in the visible range due to the presence of intragap states. The origins of intragap states were investigated in greater detail using various characterization techniques. An in-depth chemical composition study of the developed material using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) indicated that the synthesized material is considerably un-doped. Further structural analysis using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that distances between visible lattice fringes are matched with ordered crystalline phases of TiO2. The core emission study using XPS revealed that the oxygen vacancy defects in the structure--i.e. likely due the synthesis--are responsible for intragap states formation. Charge dynamics were investigated using Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. EPR spectra were dominated by signals from oxygen-centered surface hole trapping sites with principle g values [2.003, 2.010, 2.023]--i.e. Ti4+ ˗ O2- on anatase. A faint signal was also observed as a function of visible light illumination at 5 K with principle g value of 1.975 that is suggestive of Ti3+ in rutile, a typical product of UV light exposure. In general, this study demonstrates the potential of a relatively inexpensive material for photoreduction of CO2 and generation of solar fuels.
We report the synthesis of Cu2SnS3 (CTS) nanostructures and its incorporation into an inorganic-organic hybrid device to enhance the photoresponse under AM 1.5 G solar illumination. The nanostructures were structurally and optically characterized. From X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) the CTS nanocrystals were found to be tetragonal. Flower like structures of CTS were obtained as seen from Scanning electron microscopy (SEM). A band gap of 1.4 eV was obtained from absorption studies. Two devices have been studied, P3HT: PCBM = 1: 1 and CTS: P3HT: PCBM = 8:1:1. The photocurrent increased from a value of 2.33 mA at dark to 2.5 mA for the P3HT-PCBM blend to 3.36 mA for CTS: P3HT: PCBM = 8:1:1 device. The responsivity, sensitivity, external quantum efficiency and specific detectivity increased from 18.81 mA/W, 1.07, 4.25% and 6.88 × 108 Jones respectively for P3HT:PCBM sample to 189.97 mA/W, 1.44, 42.9% and 6.95 × 109 Jones for CTS: P3HT: PCBM = 8:1:1 sample at 1V bias and 1 Sun illumination intensity. The time dependent photoresponse was stable over different ON-OFF cycles. From the fit to the rise and decay curves, the rise and decay time constants were obtained.
Due to the potential applications to high-efficiency and light-weight solar cells, the growth of CuInGaSe2 (CIGS) nanoparticles is a recent research focus. We have developed a relatively simple solvothermal route to grow high quality CIGS nanoparticles in an autoclave under different temperatures (170 – 280°C). The effect of reaction temperature on the shape of CIGS nanoparticles has been investigated. At lower temperatures, the CIGS particles show plate-like shape. Whereas at higher temperatures, most of them exhibit rod-like feature. The nanoparticle products have been also characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques.
Nanomedicine is fostering significant advances in the development of platforms for early detection and treatment of diseases. Nanoparticles (NPs) like quantum dots (QDs) exhibit size-dependent optical properties for light-driven technologies, which might become important in bio-imaging, sensing and photo-dynamic therapy (PDT) applications. The present research addresses the synthesis of water-stable Cd-based QDs via a Microwave-Assisted synthesis approach using cadmium sulfate salt, and thioglycolic acid as Cd- and S-precursors, respectively. Selenide ions were available by reductive leaching of metallic Selenium in Sodium bisulfite solution. The size control and the tunability of the optical properties were achieved by a suitable control of the reaction temperature (in the 140°C- 190°C range) and reaction time (10 minutes-40 minutes). X-ray diffraction analyses suggested the development of a CdSe,S face cubic centered structure; the broadening of the diffraction peaks indicated the presence of very small nanocrystals in the samples. The average crystallite size was estimated at 5.50 nm ± 1.17nm and 3.72 nm ± 0.04 nm, for nanoparticles synthesized at 180°C after 40 minutes or 10 minutes of reaction, respectively. HRTEM images confirmed the crystalline nature and the small size of the synthesized nanocrystals. In turn, the exciton was red-shifted from 461nm to 549 nm when the reaction temperature was prolonged from 140°C to 190 °C, suggesting the crystal growth. The corresponding band gap values were approximately 2.2 eV, confirming the quantum confinement effect (bulk value 1.74eV). This red shift was also evidenced in PL measurements where the main emission peak was shifted from 507 nm to 564 nm when the samples were excited at 420 nm. A narrow size-tunable emission also was supported by the full width at half maximum (∼ 45 nm) for the synthesized nanocrystals. The reactive oxygen species generation capability of as-synthesized QDs was also investigated. The correlation between the particle size and the generation of (ROS) by the degradation of methylene blue was evident with a reduction of MB concentration from 10μM to 7.5μM and 6.7μM after 15 minutes of UV irradiation for reaction time of 10 min. and 40 min. respectively. No additional degradation was noticed after 60 minutes of irradiation.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an alternative to traditional cancer treatments. This approach involves the use of photosensitizer (PS) agents and their interaction with light. As a consequence, cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated that, in turn will destroy tumors. On the other hand, ZnO is a biocompatible, nontoxic, and biodegradable material with the capability to generate ROS, specifically singlet oxygen (SO), which makes this material a promising candidate for 2-photon PDT. Doping ZnO with Li species is expected to induce defects in the host oxide structure that favors the formation of trap states that should affect the electronic transitions related to the generation of SO. The present work reports the effect of the level of Li-doping on the ZnO structure and its capability to generate SO. Li-doped ZnO nanoparticles were synthesized under size-controlled conditions using a modified version of the polyol method. XRD measurements confirmed the development of well-crystallized ZnO Wurtzite; the average crystallite sizes ranged between 13.3nm and 14.2 nm, with an increase in Li content. The corresponding band gap energy values, estimated from UV-vis measurements, decreased from 3.33 to 3.25 eV. Photoluminescence (PL) measurements of Li-ZnO revealed the presence of emission peaks centered on 363nm, 390nm, and 556 nm; these emission peaks correspond to the exciton emission, transition of shallow donor levels near of the conduction band to valence band such as interstitial Zn, and oxygen vacancies, respectively. The observed increase of the emission intensity of the 390 nm emission peak, relative to the intensity of the main emission peak at 363nm, was attributed to the promote of trap states due to interstitial Zn or Li-incorporation into the host oxide lattice. SO measurements evidenced the enhancing effect of the Li concentration on the capability of the doped ZnO to generate this species. This Li-dependence of SO generation can be attributed to the enhancement of the concentration of trap states in the host ZnO, as suggested by PL measurements. Accordingly, Li-ZnO would become cytotoxic to cancer cells via photo-induced ROS generation enabling this nanomaterial to be considered as a potential direct PS agent for the 2-photon PDT route.
A series of fluorine appended highly conjugated fullerenes were prepared containing fluoro-α-cyanostilbene and aryl ester units. These modified PCBM dyads are fully characterized by NMR, Mass spectrometry, UV-vis, and cyclic voltammetry (Figures 1-4). It was found that the presence of fluoro-α-cyanostilbenes and esters affects the cyclic voltammetry and absorption in the UV-Vis region. The PCBA modified fullerenes significantly influences the HOMO-LUMO energy and wide absorption compared to PCBM.