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Alişar-IV ware is one of the most characteristic ceramic productions of early first-millennium BC central Anatolia and the only one characterised by painted figurative motifs besides geometric decorations. The ongoing excavations at Niğde-Kınık Höyük have uncovered a collection of fragments belonging to 42 Alişar-IV vessels, and this systematic material study of these sherds contributes much to understanding aspects of their production, use and consumption. Petrographic and chemical evidence presented in this study indicates that two-thirds of them were produced locally. Conversely, the study of Alişar-IV fragments from other regions of the Anatolian plateau has shown that they are non-local productions. We thus suggest that Alişar-IV ware is a product of a few centres within south-central Anatolia and that, from there, it circulated among and beyond these centres. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the main period of production of this ware covers the tenth and ninth centuries BC, in agreement with the evidence from Polatlı Yassı Höyük, Kaman-Kalehöyük and Böğazköy-Büyükkaya. The small number of Alişar-IV vessels found at each site is indicative of a limited, exclusive production. A combined study of their shapes and iconography might support the hypothesis that the Alişar-IV ware was primarily associated with wine circulation and consumption.
Issues surrounding the difficult task of correlating archaeological and climatic trajectories are directly impacting the study of human-environmental interaction in Ancient China. We have chosen to focus on the 4.2 ka BP event due to the widespread belief in recent Chinese archaeological publications that it brought about the collapse of Neolithic cultures in multiple regions of China. Following a literature review concerning the many issues surrounding the reconstruction of the 4.2 ka BP event in East Asia, we present three short case studies from the Lower Yangzi, the Shaanxi loess plateau, and the Central Plains detailing a number of problems with Chinese archaeological attempts at using climate change as a causal mechanism for sociopolitical change. We then focus on a common but highly problematic methodology—the growing use of archaeological data compiled in the Atlas of Chinese Cultural Relics to correlate with climate proxies in order to generate linear, causal models explaining sociopolitical collapse. We follow with an example from Northeast China, where work from the past three decades has provided ample data with which to begin answering these questions in a more productive manner, and end with a set of suggestions for archaeologists and climate scientists going forward.
The Neolithic to Bronze Age transition (c. 5000–3500 BP) saw dramatic socio-economic developments in ancient China. Complex polities emerged in many regions, only to decline and collapse by the end of the period. In the Central Plains area, however, these centuries laid the foundations for China's first dynasties. This article presents zooarchaeological, palaeobotanical and isotopic research from key sites of the Central Plains spanning the period c. 5000–3500 BP. The results demonstrate that, contrary to narratives of the climate-induced collapse of these polities, Central Plains agricultural regimes intensified and diversified during the Neolithic to Bronze Age transition.
Milk production intensification has led to several unwanted aspects, such as sustainability issues and environmental pollution. Among these, increased milk outputs that have been achieved over the last 70 years have led to several health and pathophysiological conditions in high yielding dairy animals, including metabolic diseases that were uncommon in the past. Increased occurrence of diverse metabolic diseases in cattle and other domestic animals is a key feature of domestication that not only affects the animals' health and productivity, but also may have important and adverse health impacts on human consumers through the elevated use of drugs and antibiotics. These aspects will influence economical and ethical aspects in the near future. Therefore, finding and establishing proper biomarkers for early detection of metabolic diseases is of great interest. In the present review, recent work on the discovery of fitness, stress and welfare biomarkers in dairy cows is presented, focusing in particular on possible biomarkers of energy balance and oxidative stress in plasma and milk, and biomarkers of production-related diseases and decreased fertility.
Increased animal productivity has reduced animal fitness, resulting in increased susceptibility to infectious and metabolic diseases, locomotion problems and subfertility. Future animal breeding strategies should focus on balancing high production levels with health status monitoring and improved welfare. Additionally, understanding how animals interact with their internal and external environment is essential for improving health, fitness, and welfare. In this context, the continuous validation of existing biomarkers and the discovery and field implementation of new biomarkers will enable us to understand the specific physiological process and regulatory mechanisms used by the organism to adapt to different environmental conditions. Thus, biomarkers may be used to monitor welfare and improve management and breeding strategies. In this article, we describe major achievements in the establishment of biomarkers in dairy cows and small ruminants. This review mainly focuses on the physiological biomarkers used to monitor animal responses to, and recovery from, environmental perturbations. We highlight future avenues for research in this field and present a timely positioning document to the scientific community.
Milk is an important protein source in human diets, providing around 32 g protein/l (for bovine milk, which constitutes some 85% of global consumption). The most abundant milk proteins are α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, αs-casein, β-casein, and κ-casein. Besides their nutritional value, milk proteins play a crucial role in the processing properties of milk, such as solubility, water bonding, heat stability, renneting and foaming, among others. In addition, and most importantly for this review, these proteins are the main source of bioactive components in milk. Due to the wide range of proposed beneficial effects on human health, milk proteins are considered as potential ingredients for the production of health-promoting functional foods. However, most of the evidence for bioactive effects comes from in vitro studies, and there is a need for further research to fully evaluate the true potential of milk-derived bioactive factors. Animal genetics and animal nutrition play an important role in the relative proportions of milk proteins and could be used to manipulate the concentration of specific bioactive peptides in milk from ruminants. Unfortunately, only a few studies in the literature have focused on changes in milk bioactive peptides associated to animal genetics and animal nutrition. The knowledge described in the present review may set the basis for further research and for the development of new dairy products with healthy and beneficial properties for humans.
The Gravettian settlements of Europe are considered as an expression of human adaptation to harsh climates. In Southern Europe, however, favorable vegetation-climate conditions supported hunters-gatherer subsistence and the maintenance of their large-scale networks. This was also the case of the North-Adriatic plain and the Apennine mountain ridge in Italy. Traditionally considered lacking evidence, the northern part of the Apennine ridge has recently yielded the Early Gravettian site of Piovesello, located at 870 m a.s.l. Survey and excavation revealed lithic artifacts in primary position embedded in loamy sediments. Radiocarbon dating, anthracological and extended palynological and microcharcoal analyses have been integrated to reconstruct the palaeoecological context of this camp which was probably positioned above the timberline in an arid rocky landscape, bounding the fronts of local glaciers close to their maximum expansion at the time of Greenland Stadial (GS) 5 (32.04 - 28.9 ka cal BP). Human activity left ephemeral traces represented by lithic artefacts, charcoal, and the introduction of radiolarites from sources in proximity to the site and of chert from very far western sources. Evidence from Piovesello contributes to the reconstruction of human and vegetation ecology during Late Pleistocene glaciations and also provides hints for the historical biogeography of petrophytic plants and their orographic relics in the northern Apennine.
Oxytocin release, milking characteristics, and teat condition were investigated with reduced claw vacuum and pulsation settings compared to milking at regular settings with or without pre-stimulation. The reduced vacuum and pulsation settings during low milk flow are expected to protect the teat tissue before the occurrence of milk ejection at the start of milking, and at the end of milking during a potential overmilking period, i.e. at a milk flow <200 g/min. Seven cows were machine-milked either after a 60 s manual pre-stimulation, or without pre-stimulation and reduced vacuum and pulsation settings, or at full vacuum and normal pulsation during the start of milking. Plasma oxytocin (OT) concentration increased similarly in response to manual pre-stimulation and to both milking with reduced, or with full vacuum and pulsation settings, however delayed by 1 min if the cluster was attached without pre-stimulation. In all treatments OT concentrations remained elevated throughout milking. Milk flow curves were mostly non-bimodal at milkings after manual pre-stimulation and bimodal at milkings without pre-stimulation. The main milking time was shorter and average milk flow was higher during milking after pre-stimulation, but did not differ between treatments without pre-stimulation. Milk yields and peak flow rates were not affected by treatments. Either reduced or full vacuum settings were again applied during an intended overmilking from 200 to 100 g/min of milk flow towards the end of milk harvest. Pre-milking teat ultrasound cross sections were recorded one day before the experiment started. Post-milking ultrasound cross sections were performed at 15 min after each experimental milking. Teat wall thickness was increased after milking as compared to pre-milking but did not differ among treatments. In conclusion, OT release and milking performance are similar if milking is performed with pre-stimulation, or without pre-stimulation but reduced claw vacuum and b-phase during low milk flow.
Goat dairy products are an important source of animal protein in the tropics. During the dry season, pasture scarcity leads animals to lose up to 40% of their body weight, a condition known as Seasonal Weight Loss (SWL) that is one of the major constraints in ruminant production. Breeds with high tolerance to SWL are relevant to understand the physiological responses to pasture scarcity so they could be used in programs for animal breeding. In the Canary Islands there are two dairy goat breeds with different levels of tolerance to SWL: the Palmera, susceptible to SWL; and the Majorera, tolerant to SWL. Fat is one of the milk components most affected by environmental and physiological conditions. This study hypothesises that feed-restriction affects Majorera and Palmera breeds differently, leading to different fatty acid profiles in the mammary gland and milk. An interaction between breed and feed-restriction was observed in the mammary gland. Feed-restriction was associated with an increase in oleic acid and a decrease in palmitic acid percentage in the Palmera breed whereas no differences were observed in the Majorera breed. Palmitic and oleic acids together constituted around 60% of the total fatty acids identified, which suggests that Palmera breed is more susceptible to SWL. In milk, feed-restriction affected both breeds similarly. Regarding the interaction of the breed with the treatment, we also observed similar responses in both breeds, but this influence affects only around 2% of the total fatty acids. In general, Majorera breed is more tolerant to feed-restriction.
Colostrum and milk feeding are key factors for the newborn ruminant survival, affecting the future performance of the animal. Nowadays, there is an increasing interest in the potential of feeding newborn ruminants (mainly goat kids and lambs) with colostrum and milk from other more productive ruminant species (mainly cows). Although some studies regarding differences between colostrum and milk from these three species have been performed, herein we conduct for the first time a comparison using a proteomics 2-Dimensional Electrophoresis gel-based approach between these three ruminant species. In this study colostrum and milk samples from six Holstein cows, six Canarian sheep and six Majorera goats were used to determine the chemical composition, immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM) concentrations and proteomics profiles. Results showed that in general sheep colostrum and milk contained higher fat, protein and lactose percentages compared to bovine and goat samples. Additionally, no differences in the IgG or IgM concentrations were found among any of the three studied species, with the exception of sheep colostrum that showed the highest IgM concentration. With reference to the proteomics-based approach, some high abundant proteins such as serum albumin precursor, beta-caseins or different immunoglobulins components were found in colostrum, milk or even both. Nevertheless, differences in other proteins with immune function such as serotransferrin or lactoperoxidase were detected. This study shows that despite the similar immunoglobulin concentrations in colostrum and milk from the three studied species, differences in several immune components can be detected when these samples are studied using a proteomics approach. Finally, this study also provides a base for future investigation in colostrum and milk proteomics and metabolomics.
Feed restriction, and seasonal weight loss (SWL), are major setbacks for animal production in the tropics and the Mediterranean. They may be solved through the use of autochthonous breeds particularly well adapted to SWL. It is therefore of major importance to determine markers of tolerance to feed restriction of putative use in animal selection. Two indigenous breeds from the Canary Islands, Palmera and Majorera, are commonly used by dairy goat farmers and, interestingly, have different phenotype characteristics albeit with a common ancestry. Indeed, Majorera is well adapted to feed restriction whereas the Palmera is susceptible to feed restriction. In addition, regardless of their importance in dairy production, there are only a limited number of reports relating to these breeds and, to the best of our knowledge, there is no description of their blood metabolite standard values under control conditions or as affected by feed restriction. In this study we analysed the blood metabolite profiles in Majorera and Palmera goats aiming to establish the differential responses to feed restriction between the two breeds and to characterise their metabolite standard values under control conditions. We observed significant differences in creatinine, urea, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), cholesterol, IGF-1 and T3 due to underfeeding. Furthermore, a PCA analysis, revealed that animals submitted to undernutrition could be distinguished from the control groups, with the formation of three separate clusters (Palmera individuals after 22 d of subnutrition (PE22); Majorera individuals after 22 d of subnutrition (ME22) and animals assigned to control conditions (MC0, MC22, PC0 and PC22)), highlighting different responses of the two breeds to undernutrition.
The importance of small ruminants to the dairy industry has increased in recent years, especially in developing countries, where it has a high economic and social impact. Interestingly and despite the fact that the mammary gland is the specialised milk production organ, very few authors studied the modifications occurring in the mammary gland through the lactation period in production animals, particularly in the small ruminants, sheep (Ovis aries) and goat (Capra hircus). Nevertheless, understanding the different mammary gland patterns throughout lactation is essential to improve dairy production. In addition, associating these patterns with different milking frequencies, lactation number or different diets is also of high importance, directly affecting the dairy industry. The mammary gland is commonly composed of parenchyma and stroma, which includes the ductal system, with individual proportions of each changing during the different periods and yields in a lactation cycle. Indeed, during late gestation, as well as during early to mid-lactation, mammary gland expansion occurs, with an increase in the number of epithelial cells and lumen area, which leads to increment of the parenchyma tissue, as well as a reduction of stroma, corresponding macroscopically to the increase in mammary gland volume. Throughout late lactation, the mammary gland volume decreases owing to the regression of the secretory structure. In general, common mammary gland patterns have been shown for both goats and sheep throughout the several lactation stages, although the number of studies is limited. The main objective of this manuscript is to review the colostrogenesis and lactogenesis processes as well as to highlight the mammary gland morphological patterns underlying milk production during the lactation cycle for small ruminants, and to describe potential differences between goats and sheep, hence contributing to a better description of mammary gland development during lactation for these two poorly studied species.
Goats in Canary Islands are milked once a day by tradition, but in most countries with high technology on farms, goats are milked twice a day, which is known to improve milk yield. Therefore it is important to know whether the increase of milking frequency can improve the production without impairing milk quality. The objective of this study was to investigate the short term effects of three milking frequencies on milk yield, milk composition, somatic cell count (SCC) and milk protein profile in dairy goats traditionally milked once a day. Twelve Majorera goats in early lactation (48±4 d in milk) were used. During a 5-week period, goats were milked once a day (X1) in weeks 1 and 5, twice a day (X2) in weeks 2 and 4, and three times a day (X3) in week 3. Milk recording and sampling were done on the last day of each experimental week. Milk yield increased by 26% from X1 to X2. No differences were obtained when goats were switched from X2 to X3, and from X3 to X2. The goats recovered the production level when they returned to X1. Different patterns of changes in the milk constituents due to the milking frequency effect were observed. Fat percentage increased when switched from X1 to X2, then decreased from X2 to X3, and from X3 to X2, whereas it did not show significant differences from X2 to X1. Milking frequency did not affect the protein and lactose percentages. SCC values were unaffected when goats were milked X1, X2 and X3, but then they increased slightly when milking frequency was returned to X2 and X1. Finally, quantitative analysis showed an increase in intensities of milk protein bands from X1 to X2, but the intensities of casein bands (αS1-CN, αS2-CN, β-CN, κ-CN) and major whey proteins (α-La, β-Lg) decreased from X2 to X3.
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