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A multichannel calorimeter system is designed and constructed which is capable of delivering single-shot and broad-band spectral measurement of terahertz (THz) radiation generated in intense laser–plasma interactions. The generation mechanism of backward THz radiation (BTR) is studied by using the multichannel calorimeter system in an intense picosecond laser–solid interaction experiment. The dependence of the BTR energy and spectrum on laser energy, target thickness and pre-plasma scale length is obtained. These results indicate that coherent transition radiation is responsible for the low-frequency component (
1 THz) of BTR. It is also observed that a large-scale pre-plasma primarily enhances the high-frequency component (
3 THz) of BTR.
Sufficient amino acid (AA) transport is essential to ensure the normal physiological function and growth of growing animals. The processes of AA sensing and transport in humans and murine animals, but rarely in goats, have been arousing great interest recently. This study was conducted to investigate the messenger RNA expression patterns of lysophosphatidic acid receptor 5 (LPAR5), guanine nucleotide-binding protein α-transducing 3 (GNAT3) and important partial AA transporters in digestive tracts, metabolic organs and muscles of growing goats. The results showed that these genes were widely expressed in goats, and had different expression patterns. LPAR5, GNAT3, solute carrier (SLC38A2), SLC7A7, SLC7A1 and SLC3A1 were rarely expressed in the rumen, but were highly expressed in the abomasum and intestine which are the main sites of AA absorption. GNAT3, SLC38A1, SLC38A2, SLC6A19, SLC7A7 and SLC7A1 showed comparatively high expression in the pancreas and the vital digestive glands, and the relatively high expression of these nine genes were noted in the tibialis posterior, the active muscle in energy metabolism. The correlation analysis showed that there were certain positive correlation among most genes. The current results indicate that the AA sensing and transport occur extensively in the abomasum and small intestine, metabolic organs and muscle tissues of ruminants, and that related genes have tissue specificity.
To investigate the effects of soybean isoflavone (SI) on immunity in infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)-infected broilers, chicks were fed the same basal diet supplemented with 0 (non-infected control), 0 (infected control), 10, 20 or 40 mg/kg SI for 44 days. At 21 days old, chickens were inoculated with bursal infectious dose causing 50% morbidity of the IBDV BC 6/85 strain by the eye-drop and nasal route (except for non-infected controls). Results showed that, over 1–23 days post-infection (dpi), there was a significant interaction between SI supplementation level and time: high-level SI supplementation increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio, serum concentrations of IgA, IgM and IgG, and IBDV antibody titres. Except for serum IgA and IgM, these variables increased over time with far higher values at 23 dpi than earlier. Compared with non-infected controls, IBDV inoculation decreased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and serum IgG, IgM concentration at 23 dpi, and increased IBDV antibody titres at 7, 15 and 23 dpi. Supplemental SI quadratically increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio and serum IgA concentration at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes at 3 and 23 dpi, and serum IgM concentration and IBDV antibody titres at 23 dpi. These results indicate that dietary SI improved cellular and humoral immunity of IBDV-infected birds and may enhance resistance of Yellow-feathered broilers to infectious diseases.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
The triplite LiFeSO4F displays both the highest potential ever reported for an Fe-based compound, as well as a comparable specific energy with that of popular LiFePO4. The synthesis is still a challenge because the present approaches are connected with long time, special equipments or organic reagents, etc. In this work, the triplite LiFeSO4F powder was synthesized through an ambient two-step solid-state route. The reaction process and phase purity were analyzed, coupled with structure refinement and electrochemical test.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
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.
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.
It has been demonstrated that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in the control of melanogenesis and hair color in mammals. By comparing miRNA expression profiles between brown and white alpaca skin, we previously identified miR508-3p as a differentially expressed miRNA suggesting its potential role in melanogenesis and hair color formation. The present study was conducted to determine the role of miR508-3p in melanogenesis in alpaca melanocytes. In situ hybridization showed that miR508-3p is abundantly present in the cytoplasma of alpaca melanocytes. miR508-3p was predicted to target the gene encoding microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF) and a luciferase reporter assay indicated that miR508-3p regulates MITF expression by directly targeting its 3′UTR. Overexpression of miR508-3p in alpaca melanocytes down-regulated MITF expression both at the messenger RNA and protein level and resulted in decreased expression of key melanogenic genes including tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 2. Overexpression of miR508-3p in melanocytes also resulted in decreased melanin production including total alkali-soluble melanogenesis, eumelanogenesis and pheomelanogenesis. Results support a functional role of miR508-3p in regulating melanogenesis in alpaca melanocytes by directly targeting MITF.
Laser-driven relativistic electrons can be focused onto a high-Z convertor for generating high-brightness γ-rays, which in turn can be used to induce photonuclear reactions. In this work, photo-transmutation of long-lived radionuclide 135Cs induced by laser–plasma–interaction-driven electron source is demonstrated using Geant4 simulation (Agostinelli et al., 2003 Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A506, 250). High-energy electron generation, bremsstrahlung, as well as photonuclear reaction are observed at four different laser intensities: 1020, 5 × 1020, 1021, and 5 × 1021 W/cm2. The transmutation efficiency depends on the laser intensity and target size. An optimum laser intensity, namely 1021 W/cm2, was found, with the corresponding photonuclear reaction yield reaching 108 J−1 of the laser energy. Laser-generated electrons can therefore be a promising tool for transmutation reactions. Potential application in nuclear waste management is suggested.
Anthrax is still a severe public health problem and threat to human health. A cutaneous anthrax outbreak occurred in Jiangsu Province, a non-endemic anthrax region of eastern China, from July to August 2012. Epidemiological and laboratory investigation were initiated to trace the source of infection and identify the risk factors of the outbreak. On 25 July 2012, 17 persons were exposed to a sick cow, which had been imported from northeast China a few days previously. Of the 17 exposed, eight developed symptoms between 1 and 8 days and were diagnosed as cutaneous anthrax cases. Three main genes of Bacillus anthracis were detected from both human and cow meat samples, indicating that the outbreak was associated with this infected cow. A retrospective cohort study showed that contact with blood and presence of skin damage contributed to the case infection with B. anthracis. The outbreak highlights the need to enhance quarantine for imported livestock, which should have been vaccinated prior to importation, the significance of education for high-risk individuals, and training for primary healthcare workers even in anthrax-free areas.
Soluble starch synthase II (SSII) plays an important role in the biosynthesis of starch and in rice it consists of three isoforms encoded by SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3. However, the genetic effects of various SSII alleles on grain quality have not been systematically characterized. In the present study, the japonica alleles on SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3 (SSIIa) loci from a japonica cultivar, Suyunuo, were respectively introgressed by molecular marker-assisted selection into a typical indica cultivar, Guichao2, through successive backcrossing, generating three sets of near-isogenic lines (NILs). Grain quality and starch property analysis showed that NIL-SSII-3j exhibited significant decreases in the following parameters: amylose content, average granule size, and setback viscosity and consistency; but increases in peak viscosity, hot paste viscosity, gelatinization temperature and relative crystallinity. Moreover, the proportion of short amylopectin chains and branching degree also increased when compared with those of NIL-SSII-3i (Guochao2). Similar effects were observed in NIL-SSII-1j, and certain alterations in the fine structure of starch (granule size) were revealed. However, NIL-SSII-2j did not exert significant effect on grain quality and starch properties. In brief, among the SSII gene family, the functional diversity occurred on SSII-1 and SSII-3, and not on SSII-2. Therefore, it appears that more attention should be directed to SSII-1 and SSII-3 loci for improving the eating and cooking quality of rice.
The phylogenetic and epidemiological relationships of 102 Burkholderia pseudomallei clinical isolates from different geographical and population sources in China were investigated by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The MLST data were analysed using the e-BURST algorithm, and an unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram was constructed based on the pair-wise differences in the allelic profiles of the strains. Forty-one sequence types (STs) were identified, of which eight were novel (ST1341, ST1345, ST1346, ST1347, ST1348, ST1349, ST1350, ST1351). No geographical-specific or host population-specific phylogenetic lineages were identified. ST46, ST50, ST55, ST58, ST70 and ST1095 predominated, but ~44% of isolates were assigned to 45 STs illustrating high genetic diversity in the strain collection. Additionally, the phylogenetic relationships of the dominant STs in China showed significant linkeage with B. pseudomallei isolates from Thailand. Analysis of the gmhD allele suggests high genetic variation in B. pseudomallei in China.
This study aimed to comprehensively evaluate factors that influence the likelihood of syphilis infection from risk-taking behaviours and medical conditions. A retrospective case-control study was conducted by enrolling 664 syphilis inpatients (excluding 11 congenital syphilis patients) and 800 sex- and age-matched controls. Medical histories, clinical data and patient interview data were collected and subjected to logistic regression analyses. The prevalence of syphilis in the study population was 3·9% (675/17 304). By univariate analysis, syphilis infection was associated with migration between cities, marital status, smoking, reproductive history, hypertension, elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) (P < 0·05). A high rate of syphilis-HBV co-infection was observed in HIV-negative patients and further research revealed an association between syphilis and specific HBV serological reactivity. Syphilis was also associated with the frequency, duration and status of tobacco use. Multivariate analysis indicated that syphilis infection was independently associated with migration between cities [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1·368, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·048–1·785], current smoking (aOR 1·607, 95% CI 1·177–2·195), elevated BUN (aOR 1·782, 95% CI 1·188–2·673) and some serological patterns of HBV infection. To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, inpatients and blood donors should be tested for HIV, syphilis, HBV and HCV simultaneously.
Cholera is one of a number of infectious diseases that appears to be influenced by climate, geography and other natural environments. This study analysed the environmental factors of the spatial distribution of cholera in China. It shows that temperature, precipitation, elevation, and distance to the coastline have significant impact on the distribution of cholera. It also reveals the oceanic environmental factors associated with cholera in Zhejiang, which is a coastal province of China, using both remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS). The analysis has validated the correlation between indirect satellite measurements of sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface height (SSH) and ocean chlorophyll concentration (OCC) and the local number of cholera cases based on 8-year monthly data from 2001 to 2008. The results show the number of cholera cases has been strongly affected by the variables of SST, SSH and OCC. Utilizing this information, a cholera prediction model has been established based on the oceanic and climatic environmental factors. The model indicates that RS and GIS have great potential for designing an early warning system for cholera.
This study characterized Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C strains in China in order to establish their genetic relatedness and describe the use of multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) to provide useful epidemiological information. A total of 215 N. meningitidis serogroup C strains, obtained from 2003 to 2012 in China, were characterized by MLVA with different published schemes as well as multilocus sequence typing. (i) Based on the MLVA scheme with a combination of five highly variable loci, 203 genotypes were identified; this level of discrimination supports its use for resolving closely related isolates. (ii) Based on a combination of ten low variable loci, clear phylogenetic relationships were established within sequence type complexes. In addition, there was evidence of microevolution of VNTR loci over the decade as strain lineages spread from Anhui to other provinces, the more distant the provinces from Anhui, the higher the genetic variation.
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.