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We carried out experimental and numerical investigations on the axisymmetric spreading evolution of dynamic spin coating with a single drop of ethanol. The results show that the dynamic spreading process consists of two stages: inertial spreading stage and centrifugal thinning stage. These two stages are connected by a transient state in between characterized by the minimum contact line moving velocity. The Weber number determines the spreading in the first stage, similar to the case of the impact of a drop on a static substrate. The rotational Bond number has a marginal effect on the inertia spreading and the radius at the transient state. In the centrifugal thinning stage, the rotational Bond number dominates the flow while the effect of the Weber number is negligible.
The poultry red mite (PRM), Dermanyssus gallinae, is one of the most detrimental ectoparasite on poultry farms worldwide. The blood fed on birds provides the mites with nutrition and energy for their activities, development and reproduction. In the evaluation of the efficacy of novel drugs or vaccines against PRMs, their effects on blood digestion are generally used as a key parameter. The blood digestion of haematophagous arthropods (including D. gallinae) is usually assessed by weighing; however, this method shows some limitations. The main objective of the present study was to develop a scoring method that can quickly and visually evaluate the blood digestion status of PRMs. A 0–4 point scoring criterion was established to describe the blood digestion status of D. gallinae based on the changes in appearance in the intestinal tract of PRMs during the blood digestion process. There was a good consistency between the results obtained by the blood digestion scoring and the weighing, indicating the reliability of this new method. The results obtained from volunteers were consistent with the results from researchers with low coefficient of variation, indicating that the scoring method has good practicability. The applicability of the scoring method was confirmed in an efficacy study, where it was found that doramectin could significantly inhibit the blood digestion of PRMs, lowering the blood digestion score.
To explore whether embryo culture with melatonin (MT) can improve the embryonic development and clinical outcome of patients with repeated cycles after in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) failure, immature oocytes from controlled ovarian superovulation cycles were collected for in vitro maturation (IVM) and ICSI. The obtained embryos were cultured in 0, 10–11, 10–9, 10–7 and 10–5 M MT medium respectively, and 10–9 M was screened out as the optimal concentration. Subsequently, 140 patients who underwent failed IVF/ICSI cycles received 140 cycles of embryo culture in vitro with a medium containing 10–9 M MT, these 140 MT culture cycles were designated as the experimental group (10–9 M group), and the control group was the previous failed cycles of patients (0 M group). The results showed that the fertilization, cleavage, high-quality embryo, blastocyst, and high-quality blastocyst rates of the 10–9 M group were significantly higher than those of the 0 M group (P < 0.01; P < 0.01; P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001). To date, in total, 50 vitrified-warmed cycle transfers have been performed in the 10–9 M group and the implantation rate, biochemical pregnancy rate and clinical pregnancy rate were significantly higher than those in the 0 M group (all P < 0.0001). Two healthy infants were delivered successfully and the other 18 women who achieved clinical pregnancy also had good examination indexes. Therefore the application of 10–9 M MT to embryo cultures in vitro improved embryonic development in patients with repeated cycles after failed IVF/ICSI cycles and had good clinical outcomes.
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is an alternative food marketing model in which community members subscribe to receive regular shares of a farm's harvest. Although CSA has the potential to improve access to fresh produce, certain features of CSA membership may prohibit low-income families from participating. A ‘cost-offset’ CSA (CO-CSA) model provides low-income families with purchasing support with the goal of making CSA more affordable. As a first step toward understanding the potential of CO-CSA to improve access to healthy foods among low-income households, we interviewed 24 CSA farmers and 20 full-pay CSA members about their experiences and perceptions of the cost-offset model and specific mechanisms for offsetting the cost of CSA. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim and coded using a thematic approach. Ensuring that healthy food was accessible to everyone, regardless of income level, was a major theme expressed by both farmers and members. In general, CSA farmers and CSA members favored member donations over other mechanisms for funding the CO-CSA. The potential time burden that could affect CSA farmers when administering a cost-offset was a commonly-mentioned barrier. Future research should investigate various CO-CSA operational models in order to determine which models are most economically viable and sustainable.
This paper investigates global dynamics of an infection age-space structured cholera model. The model describes the vibrio cholerae transmission in human population, where infection-age structure of vibrio cholerae and infectious individuals are incorporated to measure the infectivity during the different stage of disease transmission. The model is described by reaction–diffusion models involving the spatial dispersal of vibrios and the mobility of human populations in the same domain Ω ⊂ ℝn. We first give the well-posedness of the model by converting the model to a reaction–diffusion model and two Volterra integral equations and obtain two constant equilibria. Our result suggest that the basic reproduction number determines the dichotomy of disease persistence and extinction, which is achieved by studying the local stability of equilibria, disease persistence and global attractivity of equilibria.
The Farm Fresh Food Box (F3B) strategy is a hybrid of direct-to-consumer (DTC) and short value chain models that aims to stimulate rural economies, creates an additional sales avenue for small farmers, provides rural grocery stores with increased foot traffic and overcomes barriers for rural consumers who are unable to access local food. The F3B project is a tri-state collaboration of extension and research partners from three states; two on the West Coast and one in the Northeast United States, involving small farmers and retailers from rural communities. This article analyzes F3B consumer surveys from 2 years of project implementation and contributes to the limited body of research on food box models by identifying benefits and barriers of the F3B strategy for consumers, comparing these findings to existing research on food box programs and other DTC market channels, and discussing implications for future model adjustment. Overall, consumers were pleased with all aspects of the F3B. However, the strategy had limited success with reaching a new demographic of local food consumers.
We consider the fractional elliptic problem:
where B1 is the unit ball in ℝN, N ⩾ 3, s ∈ (0, 1) and p > (N + 2s)/(N − 2s). We prove that this problem has infinitely many solutions with slow decay O(|x|−2s/(p−1)) at infinity. In addition, for each s ∈ (0, 1) there exists Ps > (N + 2s)/(N − 2s), for any (N + 2s)/(N − 2s) < p < Ps, the above problem has a solution with fast decay O(|x|2s−N). This result is the extension of the work by Dávila, del Pino, Musso and Wei (2008, Calc. Var. Partial Differ. Equ. 32, no. 4, 453–480) to the fractional case.
This study uses location-specific data to investigate the role of spatially mediated peer effects in farmers’ adoption of conservation agriculture practices. The literature has shown that farmers trust other farmers and one way to increase conservation practice adoption is through identifying feasible conservation practices in neighboring fields. Estimating this effect can help improve our understanding of what influences the adoption and could play a role in improving federal and local conservation program design. The study finds that although spatial peer effects are important in the adoption of conservation tillage and diverse crop rotation, the scale of peer effects are not substantial.
To examine participants’ experiences with nutrition education classes that were implemented with and designed to complement a cost-offset community-supported agriculture (CSA) programme.
Qualitative analysis of data from twenty-eight focus groups with ninety-six participants enrolled in Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK). Transcribed data were coded and analysed by a priori and emergent themes.
Rural and micropolitan communities in New York, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington (USA).
Ninety-six F3HK participants.
Participants found recipes and class activities helpful and reported improvements in nutrition knowledge, food preservation skills and home cooking behaviours for themselves and their children; they also reported that classes promoted a sense of community. Some educators better incorporated CSA produce into lessons, which participants reported as beneficial. Other obligations and class logistics were barriers to attendance; participants recommended that lessons be offered multiple times weekly at different times of day. Other suggestions included lengthening class duration to encourage social engagement; emphasising recipes to incorporate that week’s CSA produce and pantry staples and offering additional strategies to incorporate children in classes.
Complementing a cost-offset CSA with nutrition education may enhance programme benefits to low-income families by improving nutrition knowledge and cooking behaviours. However, future interventions will benefit from ongoing coordination between educators and local growing trajectories to maximise timely coverage of unfamiliar produce in lessons; synchronous scheduling of CSA pick-up and classes for participant convenience and creative strategies to engage children and/or provide childcare.
This paper presents a soft robot which can imitate the crawling locomotion of an earthworm. Locomotion of the robot can be achieved by expanding and contracting the body that is made of flexible material. A link of the earthworm-like robot is combined with three modules, and a multi-cavity earthworm-like soft robot is combined with multiple links. The multiple links of the earthworm-like soft robot are fabricated by silicone in the three-dimensional printed customized molds. Experiments on a single module, two-links, and three-links show that the soft robot can move and bend on condition of modules extension and contraction in a specified gait. The development of the earthworm-like soft robot shows a great prospect in many complicated environments such as pipeline detection.
To explore whether different polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) concentrations affect the results of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a prospective study was conducted for 194 couples undergoing 210 ICSI therapy cycles. These cycles were divided into three groups (10, 7 and 5% groups) using the corresponding concentration of PVP for sperm immobilization. The main outcome measures were analyzed. Results indicated that, with a decrease in PVP concentrations, all of the main outcome measures increased. In particular, the high-quality cleavage embryo rate in the 7% group was significantly lower than in the 5% group (P < 0.01), and the cleavage, high-quality cleavage embryo, and high-quality blastocyst rates in the 5% group were significantly higher than those in the 10% group (all P < 0.001). For high-/intermediate-quality semen, all of the main outcome measures were significantly increased with 5% PVP. For the poor-quality semen, only the high-quality cleavage embryo and high-quality blastocyst rates were significantly higher in the 5% group. Therefore, lowering PVP concentrations greatly promoted the development of embryos in ICSI cycles, with an optimal concentration of 5% for ICSI.
Recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to damaged tissue is a crucial step to modulate tissue regeneration. Here, the migration of human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) responding to thermal and mechanical stimuli was investigated using programmable shape-memory polymer actuator (SMPA) sheets. Changing the temperature repetitively between 10 and 37 °C, the SMPA sheets are capable of reversibly changing between two different pre-defined shapes like an artificial muscle. Compared to non-actuating sheets, the cells cultured on the programmed actuating sheets presented a higher migration velocity (0.32 ± 0.1 vs. 0.57 ± 0.2 μm/min). These results could motivate the next scientific steps, for example, to investigate the MSCs pre-loaded in organoids towards their migration potential.
Cellular senescence, a driver of aging and age-related diseases, is a stable state found in metabolically active cells characterized by irreversible cell growth arrest and dramatic changes in metabolism, gene expression and secretome profile. Endogenous regeneration efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) could be attenuated due to senescence. MSCs can be modulated by not only biochemical signals but also by physical cues such as substrate topography. To provide a cell culture substrate that can prevent MSC senescence over an extended period of in vitro cultivation, here, the cell- and immunocompatible poly(ether imide) (PEI) substrate was used. Two distinct levels of roughness were created on the bottom surfaces of PEI inserts via injection molding: Low-R (similar to the thickness of attached single MSC, Rq: 3.9 ± 0.2 µm) and High-R (larger than single MSC thickness. Rq: 22.7 ± 0.8 µm). Cell expansion, lysosomal enzymatic activity, apoptosis and paracrine effects of senescent MSCs were examined by cell counting, detection of senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA β-gal), Caspase 3/7, and CFSE labeling. MSCs showed high cell viability and similar spindle-shaped morphology on all investigated surfaces. Cells on Low-R presented the highest expansion (80000 ± 1805 cells), as compared to cells on smooth PEI and High-R. The low apoptosis level (0.08 vs 0.12 from smooth PEI) and senescence ratio (35% vs. 54% from smooth PEI) were observed in MSCs cultured on Low-R. The secretome from Low-R effectively prevents senescence and supports the proliferation of neighboring cells (1.5-fold faster) as compared to the smooth PEI secretome. In summary, the Low-R PEI provided a superior surface environment for MSCs, which promoted proliferation, inhibited apoptosis and senescence, and effectively influenced the proliferation of neighboring cells via their paracrine effect. Such microroughness can be considered as a key parameter for improving the therapeutic potential of endogenous regeneration, anti-organismal aging and anti-age-related pathologies via directly promoting cell growth and modulating paracrine effects of the senescence associated secretome.
The dynamic mechanical force transmitted through microenvironments during tissue formation and regeneration continuously impacts the mechanics of cells and thereby regulates gene and protein expression. The mechanical properties are altered during the process of stem cells differentiating into different lineages. At different stages of differentiation, stem cells display different mechanical properties in response to surrounding microenvironments, which depend on the subcellular structures, especially the cytoskeleton and nucleus. The mechanical properties of the cell nucleus affect protein folding and transport as well as the condensation of chromatin, through which the cell fate is regulated. These findings raise the question as to how cell mechanics change during differentiation. In this study, the mechanical properties of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) were determined during adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The cytoskeletal structure and the modification of histone were investigated using laser confocal microscope and flow cytometry. The mechanical properties of cell nuclei at different stages of cell differentiation were compared. The stiffness of nuclei increased with time as osteogenesis was induced in hBMSCs. The H3K27me3 level increased during osteogenesis and adipogenesis according to flow cytometry analysis. Our results show conclusively that AFM is a facile and effective method to monitor stem cell differentiation. The measurement of cell mechanical properties by AFM improves our understanding on the connection between mechanics and stem cell fate.
With their abilities of self-renewal and pluripotency to differentiate into all three germ layers, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are a promising cell source for cell-based drug and implant testing. However, the large-scale expansion and maintenance of hiPSCs requires following strict protocols. There is high demand for advanced cell culture systems capable of generating high-quality hiPSCs to meet application requirements. In this study, we probe the possibility of modifying polymeric substrates for maintaining the self-renewal and pluripotency of hiPSCs. Here, polydopamine (PDA) was employed to immobilize the Laminin 521 (LN521) onto the surface of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). An aqueous solution of dopamine with concentrations ranging from 0 to 2.0 mg/mL was applied on PET surfaces. These PDA-modified surfaces were further functionalized with LN521. Surface wettability was evaluated by measuring the water contact angle (WCA) and surface properties of the modified substrate were analyzed using an atomic force microscope (AFM). Initial hiPSC attachment (1h after seeding) and cell proliferation were evaluated by counting the total cell number. The maintenance of pluripotency was evaluated at designed time points. WCA of the PDA-LN521 surfaces gradually decreased from 62.1°±6.3° to 8.1°±2.9°. The maximum peak-to-valley height roughness (Rt) of those surfaces determined by AFM increased in a dopamine-concentration-dependent manner, ranging from 43.9±1.6 nm to 126.7±7.6 nm. The Young’s modulus of these surfaces was substantially increased from 0.98±0.36 GPa to 4.81±2.41 GPa. There was a significant enhancement (13.0±7.2% and 24.2±8.1%) of hiPSC adhesion on PDA-LN521 (dopamine concentration at 0.125 and 0.25 mg/mL). When increasing the dopamine concentration to 0.5 and 1.0 mg/mL, there was no further increase in hiPSC adhesion on PDA-LN521 surfaces. Moreover, hiPSC proliferation was remarkably enhanced on PDA-LN521 surface (dopamine solution at concentration from 0.125 to 1.0 mg/mL). Pluripotency of hiPSCs was not affected by PDA treatment. In conclusion, PDA-mediated surface modification is an effective approach for the robust expansion and maintenance of hiPSCs on polymer substrates.
Altered gut microbial ecology contributes to the development of metabolic diseases including obesity. However, studies based on different populations have generated conflicting results due to diet, environment, methodologies, etc. The aim of our study was to explore the association between gut microbiota and BMI in Chinese college students. The 16S next-generation sequencing (NGS) was used to test the gut microbiota of nine lean, nine overweight/obesity and ten normal-weight male college students. The differences in gut microbiota distribution among three groups were compared, and the relationship between the richness, diversity, composition of gut microbiota and BMI were analysed. The predominant phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes were further confirmed by real-time PCR. Metagenomic biomarker discovery was conducted by linear discriminant analysis (LDA) effect size (LEfSe). NGS revealed that gut microbiota composition was different among three groups, but there was no difference in the abundance ratio of Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes. Several bacterial taxa were in linear relationship with BMI (positive relationship: uncultured bacterium (Bacteroides genus); negative relationship: Porphyromonadaceae, Acidaminococcaceae, Rikenellaceae, Desulfovibrionaceae, Blautia, Anaerotruncus, Parabacteroides, Alistipes). Moreover, gut microbiota diversity decreased with the increase in BMI. And LEfSe analysis indicated that Blautia, Anaerotruncus and its uncultured species were significantly enriched in the lean group (LDA score ≥ 3), Parasuterella and its uncultured species were significantly enriched in the overweight/obese groups (LDA score ≥ 3). In general, gut microbiota composition and microbial diversity were associated with BMI in Chinese male college students. Our results might enrich the understanding between gut microbiota and obesity.
Surface molecularly imprinted polymer of solanesol (SA-SMIP) was prepared by reversed phase suspension polymerization using modified titanium dioxide (TiO2) as carrier, and operation conditions were investigated and optimized. Structures of modified TiO2 and SA-SMIP obtained at optimal conditions were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectrometer adopting original TiO2 and non-surface molecularly imprinted polymer as reference. The SA-SMIP synthesized under optimal conditions displayed an excellent recognition of SA from the mixture of SA and triacontanol. The maximum separation degree of SA was 2.90. Finally, the adsorption kinetics and isotherm were investigated and analyzed. Adsorption kinetics results indicated that the adsorption of SA-SMIP to SA was a pseudo-second order process, and the adsorption of beginning and later stages was controlled by homogeneous particle diffusion and adsorption reaction process, respectively. Adsorption isotherm results documented hereby were two sorts of bonding sites, complete imprinted cavities and defective imprinted cavities. The adsorption for two bonding sites could be well lined up with the Langmuir model.
In recent years, several initiatives have sought to encourage redemption of food assistance benefits at direct-to-consumer (DTC) market venues such as community supported agriculture programs and farmers’ markets in the USA, with the dual goal of increasing access to healthy foods for low-income families and sales of locally-grown foods for farmers. Proponents of these interventions assert that these programs have a positive impact on local economies yet there is limited evidence to validate this argument. This research project used a customized input-output model to simulate potential economic impacts of programs and policies that enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to shift purchases from traditional food retailers to DTC venues in four states. Two different scenarios were explored: (1) increased outreach to low-income consumers and (2) financial support for using SNAP benefits at DTC market channels. We found a positive, though modest, economic impact at the state level under both scenarios when accounting for (a) business losses in the food retail and wholesale sectors, (b) a shift in acreage from commodity to specialty crops and (c) the cost to taxpayers. Since most of the increased economic activity would be in the produce farming sector, we discuss the opportunities and challenges for this sector along with potential policy implications.
To examine perspectives on food access among low-income families participating in a cost-offset community-supported agriculture (CO-CSA) programme.
Farm Fresh Foods for Healthy Kids (F3HK) is a multicentre randomized intervention trial assessing the effect of CO-CSA on dietary intake and quality among children from low-income families. Focus groups were conducted at the end of the first CO-CSA season. Participants were interviewed about programme experiences, framed by five dimensions of food access: availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptability and accommodation. Transcribed data were coded on these dimensions plus emergent themes.
Nine communities in the US states of New York, North Carolina, Washington and Vermont.
Fifty-three F3HK adults with children.
CSA models were structured by partner farms. Produce quantity was abundant; however, availability was enhanced for participants who were able to select their own produce items. Flexible CSA pick-up times and locations made produce pick-up more accessible. Despite being affordable to most, payment timing was a barrier for some. Unfamiliar foods and quick spoilage hindered acceptability through challenging meal planning, despite accommodations that included preparation advice.
Although CO-CSA may facilitate increased access to fruits and vegetables for low-income families, perceptions of positive diet change may be limited by the ability to incorporate share pick-up into regular travel patterns and meal planning. Food waste concerns may be particularly acute for families with constrained resources. Future research should examine whether CO-CSA with flexible logistics and produce self-selection are sustainable for low-income families and CSA farms.
The therapeutic effect of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been investigated in various clinical applications, in which their functional benefits are mainly attributed to the secretion of soluble factors. The enhancement of their therapeutic potential by physical and chemical properties of cell culture substrate is a safe and effective strategy, since they are highly sensitive to their microenvironment such as the elasticity and surface topography. In this study, we demonstrated that the geometry of polymeric substrate regulated the interleukin-6 (IL-6) secretion of human adipose derived MSCs. Polystyrene substrates comprising arrays of square-shaped (S50) or round-shaped (R50) microwells (side length or diameter of 50 μm and depth of 10 μm) were prepared by injection molding. Cellular apoptototic rate of MSCs was not affected by the microwell geometry, while the upregulated secretion of IL-6 and the enhancement of nuclear transcription factor STAT3 were detected in MSCs seeded on S50 substrate. The geometry-dependent modulatory effect was highly associated with ROCK signaling cascade. The inhibition of ROCK abolished the disparity in IL-6 secretion. These findings highlight the possibility to steer the secretion profile of stem cells via microwell geometry in combination with the manipulation of ROCK signaling pathway.