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The decision of whether to grow old in one's home (also referred to as ageing in place (AIP)) or relocating to an institution is an ongoing negotiation process, which involves residential decisions and adaptation. This research aims to explore how childless older adults in rural China choose between AIP and institutionalisation. Through a qualitative study conducted in rural China among childless older adults, we explored the reasons why they make certain residential choices and how they adapted during the decision process. Twenty-five childless participants (aged 60–83) were interviewed. Findings suggested that they referred to the term ku (literally meaning ‘bitterness’; and a metaphor referring to ‘conducting farming and farm-related activities’) to explain their residential decisions. If a person could endure ku – sustain food and basic living through farming and farm-related activities, they tended to choose to age in place; otherwise, they chose to relocate to institutions. Ku represents a sense of mastery, encompassing the stressfulness and suffering aspect that requires adaptation. Three adaptive strategies were identified: (a) positive reappraising of the negative aspect of ku, (b) routinising ku, and (c) transcending the narrative of ku into a toughness identity. Our findings suggest that childless older adults struggled to achieve residential mastery while making residential decisions, even though a sense of mastery was shaped by the individual and structural constrictions.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
To evaluate the impacts of guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) and coated folic acid (CFA) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and hepatic gene expression, fifty-two Angus bulls were assigned to four groups in a 2 × 2 factor experimental design. The CFA of 0 or 6 mg/kg dietary DM folic acid was supplemented in diets with GAA of 0 (GAA−) or 0·6 g/kg DM (GAA+), respectively. Average daily gain (ADG), feed efficiency and hepatic creatine concentration increased with GAA or CFA addition, and the increased magnitude of these parameters was greater for addition of CFA in GAA− diets than in GAA+ diets. Blood creatine concentration increased with GAA or CFA addition, and greater increase was observed when CFA was supplemented in GAA+ diets than in GAA− diets. DM intake was unchanged, but rumen total SCFA concentration and digestibilities of DM, crude protein, neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased with the addition of GAA or CFA. Acetate:propionate ratio was unaffected by GAA, but increased for CFA addition. Increase in blood concentrations of albumin, total protein and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was observed for GAA or CFA addition. Blood folate concentration was decreased by GAA, but increased with CFA addition. Hepatic expressions of IGF-1, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, protein kinase B, mammalian target of rapamycin and ribosomal protein S6 kinase increased with GAA or CFA addition. Results indicated that the combined supplementation of GAA and CFA could not cause ADG increase more when compared with GAA or CFA addition alone.
Guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) can improve the growth performance of bulls. This study investigated the influences of GAA addition on growth, nutrient digestion, ruminal fermentation and serum metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were randomly allocated to experimental treatments, that is, control, low-GAA (LGAA), medium-GAA (MGAA) and high-GAA (HGAA), with GAA supplementation at 0, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 g/kg DM, respectively. Bulls were fed a basal diet containing 500 g/kg DM concentrate and 500 g/kg DM roughage. The experimental period was 104 days, with 14 days for adaptation and 90 days for data collection. Bulls in the MGAA and HGAA groups had higher DM intake and average daily gain than bulls in the LGAA and control groups. The feed conversion ratio was lowest in MGAA and highest in the control. Bulls receiving 0.9 g/kg DM GAA addition had higher digestibility of DM, organic matter, NDF and ADF than bulls in other groups. The digestibility of CP was higher for HGAA than for LGAA and control. The ruminal pH was lower for MGAA, and the total volatile fatty acid concentration was greater for MGAA and HGAA than for the control. The acetate proportion and acetate-to-propionate ratio were lower for MGAA than for LGAA and control. The propionate proportion was higher for MGAA than for control. Bulls receiving GAA addition showed decreased ruminal ammonia N. Bulls in MGAA and HGAA had higher cellobiase, pectinase and protease activities and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola and Ruminobacter amylophilus populations than bulls in LGAA and control. However, the total protozoan population was lower for MGAA and HGAA than for LGAA and control. The total bacterial and Ruminococcus flavefaciens populations increased with GAA addition. The blood level of creatine was higher for HGAA, and the activity of l-arginine glycine amidine transferase was lower for MGAA and HGAA, than for control. The blood activity of guanidine acetate N-methyltransferase and the level of folate decreased in the GAA addition groups. The results indicated that dietary addition of 0.6 or 0.9 g/kg DM GAA improved growth performance, nutrient digestion and ruminal fermentation in bulls.
Phytase has long been used to decrease the inorganic phosphorus (Pi) input in poultry diet. The current study was conducted to investigate the effects of Pi supplementation on laying performance, egg quality and phosphate–calcium metabolism in Hy-Line Brown laying hens fed phytase. Layers (n = 504, 29 weeks old) were randomly assigned to seven treatments with six replicates of 12 birds. The corn–soybean meal-based diet contained 0.12% non-phytate phosphorus (nPP), 3.8% calcium, 2415 IU/kg vitamin D3 and 2000 FTU/kg phytase. Inorganic phosphorus (in the form of mono-dicalcium phosphate) was added into the basal diet to construct seven experimental diets; the final dietary nPP levels were 0.12%, 0.17%, 0.22%, 0.27%, 0.32%, 0.37% and 0.42%. The feeding trial lasted 12 weeks (hens from 29 to 40 weeks of age). Laying performance (housed laying rate, egg weight, egg mass, daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio) was weekly calculated. Egg quality (egg shape index, shell strength, shell thickness, albumen height, yolk colour and Haugh units), serum parameters (calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, calcitonin and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), tibia quality (breaking strength, and calcium, phosphorus and ash contents), intestinal gene expression (type IIb sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporter, NaPi-IIb) and phosphorus excretion were determined at the end of the trial. No differences were observed on laying performance, egg quality, serum parameters and tibia quality. Hens fed 0.17% nPP had increased (P < 0.01) duodenum NaPi-IIb expression compared to all other treatments. Phosphorus excretion linearly increased with an increase in dietary nPP (phosphorus excretion = 1.7916 × nPP + 0.2157; R2 = 0.9609, P = 0.001). In conclusion, corn–soybean meal-based diets containing 0.12% nPP, 3.8% calcium, 2415 IU/kg vitamin D3 and 2000 FTU/kg phytase would meet the requirements for egg production in Hy-Line Brown laying hens (29 to 40 weeks of age).
White matter abnormalities have been repeatedly reported in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BD) diseases from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies respectively, while the empirical evidences about the diagnostic specificity of white matter abnormalities in these disorders are still limited.
25 patients with paranoid schizophrenia and 18 patients with bipolar mania were recruited from the in-patient unit of the Mental Health Centre, West China Hospital, China.
Patients were diagnosed according to the criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Version IV (DSM- IV). 30 healthy controls were recruited from the community by means of leaflets distributed throughout Chengdu city.
This study sought to investigate the alterations in fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter throughout the entire brain of patients from Chengdu, China with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar mania.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to assess white matter integrity in patients with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar mania, as well as in normal controls. The differences in FA were measured by use of voxel-based analysis.
Reduced FA was found in the left posterior corona radiate (PCR) in patients with bipolar mania and paranoid schizophrenia compared to the controls. Patients with bipolar mania also showed a significant reduction in FA in right posterior corona radiate and in right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR).
Common abnormalities in the left PCR might imply an overlap in white matter pathology of both diseases and might be related to the shared risk factors for both disorders.
Although the deviations of brain volume deficits in sporadic and familial first-episode schizophrenia patients (FEP) had been presented, the difference of brain asymmetries remained unidentified.
To assess the potential differences of volumetric asymmetries of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) between groups.
To find out the different injury alteration of sporadic FEP and familial FEP.
42 sporadic and 30 familiar drug-naïve FEP with and 72 matched normal controls (NC) were recruited. Participants were assessed with neuropsychological tests and scanned by a 3.0T MRI to obtain T1-weighted and DTI images. Lateralization distribution maps of GM and WM volume were generated by employing optimized voxel-based morphometry. The asymmetries were analyzed by comparing calculating Laterality Index (LI) voxel by voxel.
All three groups showed similar overall brain torque. Familiar FEP have more regional extensive GM asymmetry brain lesions compared to sporadic FEP. There was no shared regional lesion between two groups. LIGM and LIWM in right superior temporal were negatively correlated. Significant negative correlations were also found between LIGM of left superior parietal lobule and LIWM of right superior parietal lobule, and between LIGM of right inferior parietal lobule and LIWM of left inferior parietal lobule. The asymmetry in distinct brain regions were related to cognitive deficits especially in the domains of language and memory.
The two patient groups had different alteration in injuries of brain asymmetry. Familiar FEP has more GM extensive asymmetry brain region, which may correlate with their high genetic burdens.
This study evaluated the effects of rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) and betaine (BT) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and blood metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design. BT of 0 or 0·6 g/kg DM was supplemented to diet without or with the addition of 6 mg/kg DM of folic acid from RPFA, respectively. Average daily gain increased by 25·2 and 6·29 % for addition of BT without RPFA and with RPFA, respectively. Digestibility and ruminal total volatile fatty acids of neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased, feed conversion ratio and blood folate decreased with the addition of BT without RPFA, but these parameters were unchanged with BT addition in diet with RPFA. Digestibility of DM, organic matter and crude protein as well as acetate:propionate ratio increased with RPFA or BT addition. Ruminal ammonia-N decreased with RPFA addition. Activity of carboxymethyl cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase and protease as well as population of total bacteria, protozoa, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus increased with RPFA or BT addition. Laccase activity and total fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Prevotella ruminicola population increased with RPFA addition, whereas Ruminococcus albus population increased with BT addition. Blood glucose, total protein, albumin, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 increased with RPFA addition. Addition of RPFA or BT decreased blood homocysteine. The results indicated that addition of BT stimulated growth and nutrient digestion in bulls only when RPFA was not supplemented.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a major public health concern all over the world. Little is known about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population. This study aimed to assess the mental health problems and associated factors among a large sample of college students during the COVID-19 outbreak in China.
This cross-sectional and nation-wide survey of college students was conducted in China from 3 to 10 February 2020. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess psychosocial factors, COVID-19 epidemic related factors and mental health problems. Acute stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured by the Chinese versions of the impact of event scale-6, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, respectively. Univariate and hierarchical logistic regression analyses were performed to examine factors associated with mental health problems.
Among 821 218 students who participated in the survey, 746 217 (90.9%) were included for the analysis. In total, 414 604 (55.6%) of the students were female. About 45% of the participants had mental health problems. The prevalence rates of probable acute stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms were 34.9%, 21.1% and 11.0%, respectively. COVID-19 epidemic factors that were associated with increased risk of mental health problems were having relatives or friends being infected (adjusted odds ratio = 1.72–2.33). Students with exposure to media coverage of the COVID-19 ≥3 h/day were 2.13 times more likely than students with media exposure <1 h/day to have acute stress symptoms. Individuals with low perceived social support were 4.84–5.98 times more likely than individuals with high perceived social support to have anxiety and depressive symptoms. In addition, senior year and prior mental health problems were also significantly associated with anxiety or/and depressive symptoms.
In this large-scale survey of college students in China, acute stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms are prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple epidemic and psychosocial factors, such as family members being infected, massive media exposure, low social support, senior year and prior mental health problems were associated with increased risk of mental health problems. Psychosocial support and mental health services should be provided to those students at risk.
The takeoff-mass of a two-stage-to-orbit Rocket-Based Combined Cycle Engine-Rocket (RBCC-RKT) launch vehicle is a crucial factor in its comprehensive performance. This paper optimizes the takeoff-mass together with the trajectory by reformulating it to a nonlinear optimal control problem. The range of the second stage rocket mass is considered as a process constraint. When the scopes of initial and terminal states are specified, the problem can be solved by using the Gauss pseudo-spectral method (GPM). In order to reduce the convergent difficulty caused by using table data, the data in different stages are utilized by employing an integrated interpolation strategy through the optimization. Simulation results show that the mass can be effectively optimized to meet the inertia mass ratio constraint of the first-stage, and the separation of Mach number and altitude can be optimized at the same time.
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.
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.
Taihu pig breeds are the most prolific breeds of swine in the world, and they also have superior economic traits, including high resistance to disease, superior meat quality, high resistance to crude feed and a docile temperament. The formation of these phenotypic characteristics is largely a result of long-term artificial or natural selection. Therefore, exploring selection signatures in the genomes of the Taihu pigs will help us to identify porcine genes related to productivity traits, disease and behaviour. In this study, we used both intra-population (Relative Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (REHH)) and inter-population (the Cross-Population Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (XPEHH); F-STATISTICS, FST) methods to detect genomic regions that might be under selection process in Taihu pig breeds. As a result, we found 282 (REHH) and 112 (XPEHH) selection signature candidate regions corresponding to 159.78 Mb (6.15%) and 62.29 Mb (2.40%) genomic regions, respectively. Further investigations of the selection candidate regions revealed that many genes under these genomic regions were related to reproductive traits (such as the TLR9 gene), coat colour (such as the KIT gene) and fat metabolism (such as the CPT1A and MAML3 genes). Furthermore, gene enrichment analyses showed that genes under the selection candidate regions were significantly over-represented in pathways related to diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid and asthma diseases. In conclusion, several candidate genes potentially under positive selection were involved in characteristics of Taihu pig. These results will further allow us to better understand the mechanisms of selection in pig breeding.
In the present study, calcium propionate (CaP) was used as feed additive in the diet of calves to investigate their effects on rumen fermentation and the development of rumen epithelium in calves. To elucidate the mechanism in which CaP improves development of calf rumen epithelium via stimulating the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of G protein-coupled receptors, a total of 54 male Jersey calves (age=7±1 days, BW=23.1±1.2 kg) were randomly divided into three treatment groups: control without CaP supplementation (Con), 5% CaP supplementation (5% CaP) and 10% CaP supplementation (10% CaP). The experiment lasted 160 days and was divided into three feeding stages: Stage 1 (days 0 to 30), Stage 2 (days 31 to 90) and Stage 3 (days 91 to 160). Calcium propionate supplementation percentages were calculated on a dry matter basis. In total, six calves from each group were randomly selected and slaughtered on days 30, 90 and 160 at the conclusion of each experimental feeding stage. Rumen fermentation was improved with increasing concentration of CaP supplementation in calves through the first 30 days (Stage 1). No effects of CaP supplementation were observed on rumen fermentation in calves during Stage 2 (days 31 to 90). Supplementation with 5% CaP increased propionate concentration, but not acetate and butyrate in calves during Stage 3 (days 91 to 160). The rumen papillae length of calves in the 5% CaP supplementation group was greater than that of Con groups in calves after 160 days feeding. The mRNA expression of G protein-coupled receptor 41 (GPR41) and GPR43 supplemented with 5% CaP were greater than the control group and 10% CaP group in feeding 160 days calves. 5% CaP supplementation increased the mRNA expression of cyclin D1, whereas did not increase the mRNA expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 compared with the control group in feeding 160-day calves. These results indicate that propionate may act as a signaling molecule to improve rumen epithelium development through stimulating mRNA expression of GPR41 and GPR43.
Four complete platysiagid fish specimens are described from the Luoping Biota, Anisian (Middle Triassic), Yunnan Province, southwest China. They are small fishes with bones and scales covered with ganoine. All characters observed, such as nasals meeting in the midline, a keystone-like dermosphenotic, absence of post-rostral bone, two infraorbitals between dermosphenotic and jugal, large antorbital, and two postcleithra, suggest that the new materials belong to a single, new Platysiagum species, P. sinensis sp. nov. Three genera are ascribed to Platysiagidae: Platysiagum, Helmolepis and Caelatichthys. However, most specimens of the first two genera are imprints or fragmentary. The new, well-preserved specimens from the Luoping Biota provide more detailed anatomical information than before, and thus help amend the concept of the Platysiagidae. The Family Platysiagidae was previously classed in the Perleidiformes. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the Platysiagidae is a member of basal Neopterygii, and its origin seems to predate that of Perleidiformes. Moreover, platysiagid fishes are known from the Middle Triassic of the western Tethys region. The newly found specimens of platysiagids from Luoping provide additional evidence that both eastern and western sides of the Tethys Ocean were biogeographically more connected than previously thought.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
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.
The origins and phylogeny of different sheep breeds has been widely studied using polymorphisms within the mitochondrial hypervariable region. However, little is known about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and phylogeny based on mtDNA protein-coding genes. In this study, we assessed the phylogeny and copy number of the mtDNA in eight indigenous (population size, n=184) and three introduced (n=66) sheep breeds in China based on five mitochondrial coding genes (COX1, COX2, ATP8, ATP6 and COX3). The mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities were 0.944 and 0.00322, respectively. We identified a correlation between the lineages distribution and the genetic distance, whereby Valley-type Tibetan sheep had a closer genetic relationship with introduced breeds (Dorper, Poll Dorset and Suffolk) than with other indigenous breeds. Similarly, the Median-joining profile of haplotypes revealed the distribution of clusters according to genetic differences. Moreover, copy number analysis based on the five mitochondrial coding genes was affected by the genetic distance combining with genetic phylogeny; we also identified obvious non-synonymous mutations in ATP6 between the different levels of copy number expressions. These results imply that differences in mitogenomic compositions resulting from geographical separation lead to differences in mitochondrial function.
Optimal nitrogen (N) management for maize in the film-mulched production systems that are widely used in dryland agriculture is difficult because top-dressing N is impractical. The current research determined how matching N supply and demand was achieved before and after silking stages, when single applications of controlled release urea (CRU) were combined with conventional urea in film-mulched maize production. The CRU: urea mixture was applied in a 1 : 2 or 2 : 1 ratio and all three fertilizer regimes (urea alone and CRU: urea at 1 : 2 or 2 : 1) were applied at N rates of 180 and 240 kg/ha over 2 years. The 1 : 2 CRU: urea mixture, applied once at 180 kg N/ha, was found to synchronize N supply with demand, thereby reducing N losses. The highest grain yields (11·8–12·0 t/ha), N uptake (232–239 kg/ha), N recovery (65·8–67·7%) and high net economic return were achieved with this regime. These results indicate that a single application of a mixture of CRU and urea can synchronize N supply with demand and provide higher yields and profits than conventional N fertilization in film-mulched maize systems.
As lack of forage resource, alternative roughage sources have been developed for ruminant production and their inclusion would exert a great effect on the dietary nutrition, consequently affecting animal performance. Four silages (corn silage (CS), corn stalk silage (SS), inoculated CS and inoculated SS) were separately offered to 60 Bohai Black cattle (15 cattle/group) during a 24-week finishing period, in which the growth performance, carcass trait, beef quality and oxidative stability of steers were determined. Neither silage material nor silage inoculant exerted a significant effect on the growth performance, carcass trait and oxidative stability of beef cattle (P>0.05). As to beef quality, cattle offered CS had higher (P<0.05) contents of intramuscular fat than those offered SS along with a lower moisture content (P<0.05). The contents (mg/g muscle) of C10 : 0, C12 : 0, C14 : 1, C16 : 0, C16 : 1, C18 : 1n9c, C18 : 2n6c, C18 : 3n3, C20 : 1n9, C20 : 2, C20 : 3n6, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and n-6 fatty acids were higher (P<0.05) in the beef muscle of animals offered CS than those offered SS, whereas inoculated treatment made no difference (P>0.05) on the proximate components and fatty acids profile of beef muscle. There was neither an interaction (P>0.05) between inoculated treatment and silage material. There were no differences (P>0.05) in cholesterol content and meat quality traits in animals fed alternative silages. The collective findings suggest that it is not economical to substitute high-quality forage for relative low-quality forage in a high-concentrate finishing ration of beef cattle and silage inoculant inclusion would not exert a direct effect on animal performance.