ResearchPad - fowl https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Development of plasma and whole blood taurine reference ranges and identification of dietary features associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers: A prospective, observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14758 A surge in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumer complaints identified concerns that legume-rich, grain-free diets were associated with nutritionally-mediated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Golden retrievers represent the most reported breed affected by this condition and previous studies documented the disease is responsive to dietary change and taurine supplementation. Although dietary findings across cases are compelling, prospective studies with control groups are lacking. The role of diet in developing taurine deficiency and echocardiographic changes consistent with DCM in healthy dogs is unknown.ObjectivesWe hypothesized that golden retrievers eating non-traditional diets are at a higher risk of having taurine deficiency and nutritionally-mediated DCM compared with those eating traditional commercial diets. We aimed to compare taurine concentrations and echocardiographic indices of systolic function between golden retrievers in each diet group and elucidate associations between diet and these variables. Additionally, we aimed to generate breed-specific reference intervals for whole blood and plasma taurine concentrations.Animals86 golden retrievers.MethodsGolden retrievers eating traditional or non-traditional diets were evaluated and diet history, taurine concentrations and echocardiographic data were collected. Dietary features, taurine concentrations and echocardiographic findings were compared between diet groups. Relative risks were calculated for the likelihood of echocardiographic abnormalities and taurine deficiency in each diet group. Breed-specific reference intervals were constructed for taurine concentrations in dogs from the traditional diet group.ResultsGolden retrievers eating non-traditional diets had significantly lower taurine concentrations and more frequent systolic dysfunction. Breed specific reference intervals are higher than previously reported across breeds.ConclusionsNon-traditional diets, which were typically grain-free and contained legumes in this study, were significantly associated with and have increased relative risk for the identification of taurine deficiency and echocardiographic abnormalities consistent with nutritionally-mediated DCM. These findings were identifiable in the absence of clinical signs and support the findings of multiple previous studies and the ongoing FDA investigation. ]]> <![CDATA[SPOP promotes ubiquitination and degradation of MyD88 to suppress the innate immune response]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14645 MyD88 is a central adaptor that mediates initiation of the innate immune response and production of the proinflammatory cytokines that restrain pathogens and activate adaptive immunity. Although MyD88 is crucial for a host to prevent pathogenic infection, misregulation of its abundance might lead to autoimmune diseases. Thus, degradation of MyD88 is a key canonical mechanism for terminating cytokine production. Here, we characterized a novel E3 ligase, SPOP, that targets MyD88 for degradation. ChSPOP attenuated IL-1β production through K48-linked polyubiquitination and degradation of chMyD88, and thus impaired immune responses. Spop deficient mice showed more susceptibility to infection by Salmonella typhimurium. These findings demonstrate that SPOP is a negative regulator of MyD88-dependent pathway activation triggered by LPS and Salmonella typhimurium, which helps the host to maintain immune homeostasis.

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<![CDATA[Molecular epidemiology, genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance of <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> isolated from chicken and pig carcasses, and carcass handlers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14574 The epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus in food animals, associated products, and their zoonotic potential in Nigeria are poorly understood. This study aimed to provide data on the prevalence, genetic characteristics and antimicrobial resistance of S. aureus isolated from chicken and pig carcasses, and persons in contact with the carcasses at slaughterhouses in Nigeria. Surface swabs were collected randomly from 600 chicken and 600 pig carcasses. Nasal swabs were collected from 45 workers in chicken slaughterhouses and 45 pig slaughterhouse workers. S. aureus isolates were analyzed by spa typing. They were also examined for presence of the Panton-Valentine Leucocidin (PVL) and mecA genes, as well as for antimicrobial resistance phenotype. Overall, 53 S. aureus isolates were recovered (28 from chicken carcasses, 17 from pig carcasses, 5 from chicken carcass handlers and 3 from pig carcass handlers). Among the isolates, 19 (35.8%) were PVL-positive and 12 (22.6%) carried the mecA gene. The 53 isolates belonged to 19 spa types. The Based Upon Repeat Pattern (BURP) algorithm separated the isolates into 2 spa-clonal complexes (spa-CC) and 9 singletons including 2 novel spa types (t18345 and t18346). The clonal complexes (CC) detected were CC1, CC5, CC8, CC15, CC88 and CC152. CC15-related isolates represented by spa type t084 (32.1%) and CC5 represented by spa type t311 (35.3%) predominated among isolates from chicken carcasses/ handlers, and pig carcasses/ handlers, respectively. Multidrug resistance exhibited by all the CC except CC8, was observed among isolates from chicken carcasses (64.3%), pig carcasses (41.2%), handlers of chicken meat (40.0%) and handlers of pork (33.3%). All the CC showed varying degrees of resistance to tetracycline while CC15 and CC5 exhibited the highest resistance to sulphamethoxazole/trimethoprim and erythromycin, respectively. The predominant antimicrobial resistance pattern observed was penicillin-tetracycline-sulphamethoxazole/trimethoprim (PEN-TET-SXT). In conclusion, food animals processed in Enugu State in Southeast Nigeria are potential vehicles for transmission of PVL-positive multiple-drug resistant S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus from farm to slaughterhouse and potentially to the human population. Public health intervention programs at pre- and post-slaughter stages should be considered in Nigerian slaughterhouses.

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<![CDATA[Assessment of the genomic prediction accuracy for feed efficiency traits in meat-type chickens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc4ab

Feed represents the major cost of chicken production. Selection for improving feed utilization is a feasible way to reduce feed cost and greenhouse gas emissions. The objectives of this study were to investigate the efficiency of genomic prediction for feed conversion ratio (FCR), residual feed intake (RFI), average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) and to assess the impact of selection for feed efficiency traits FCR and RFI on eviscerating percentage (EP), breast muscle percentage (BMP) and leg muscle percentage (LMP) in meat-type chickens. Genomic prediction was assessed using a 4-fold cross-validation for two validation scenarios. The first scenario was a random family sampling validation (CVF), and the second scenario was a random individual sampling validation (CVR). Variance components were estimated based on the genomic relationship built with single nucleotide polymorphism markers. Genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) were predicted using a genomic best linear unbiased prediction model. The accuracies of GEBV were evaluated in two ways: the correlation between GEBV and corrected phenotypic value divided by the square root of heritability, i.e., the correlation-based accuracy, and model-based theoretical accuracy. Breeding values were also predicted using a conventional pedigree-based best linear unbiased prediction model in order to compare accuracies of genomic and conventional predictions. The heritability estimates of FCR and RFI were 0.29 and 0.50, respectively. The heritability estimates of ADG, ADFI, EP, BMP and LMP ranged from 0.34 to 0.53. In the CVF scenario, the correlation-based accuracy and the theoretical accuracy of genomic prediction for FCR were slightly higher than those for RFI. The correlation-based accuracies for FCR, RFI, ADG and ADFI were 0.360, 0.284, 0.574 and 0.520, respectively, and the model-based theoretical accuracies were 0.420, 0.414, 0.401 and 0.382, respectively. In the CVR scenario, the correlation-based accuracy and the theoretical accuracy of genomic prediction for FCR was lower than RFI, which was different from the CVF scenario. The correlation-based accuracies for FCR, RFI, ADG and ADFI were 0.449, 0.593, 0.581 and 0.627, respectively, and the model-based theoretical accuracies were 0.577, 0.629, 0.631 and 0.638, respectively. The accuracies of genomic predictions were 0.371 and 0.322 higher than the conventional pedigree-based predictions for the CVF and CVR scenarios, respectively. The genetic correlations of FCR with EP, BMP and LMP were -0.427, -0.156 and -0.338, respectively. The correlations between RFI and the three carcass traits were -0.320, -0.404 and -0.353, respectively. These results indicate that RFI and FCR have a moderate accuracy of genomic prediction. Improving RFI and FCR could be favourable for EP, BMP and LMP. Compared with FCR, which can be improved by selection for ADG in typical meat-type chicken breeding programs, selection for RFI could lead to extra improvement in feed efficiency.

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<![CDATA[MLST-based genetic relatedness of Campylobacter jejuni isolated from chickens and humans in Poland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N2eb0d267-f054-40f4-b445-0c8d9725ee43

Campylobacter jejuni infection is one of the most frequently reported foodborne bacterial diseases worldwide. The main transmission route of these microorganisms to humans is consumption of contaminated food, especially of chicken origin. The aim of this study was to analyze the genetic relatedness of C. jejuni from chicken sources (feces, carcasses, and meat) and from humans with diarrhea as well as to subtype the isolates to gain better insight into their population structure present in Poland. C. jejuni were genotyped using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and sequence types (STs) were assigned in the MLST database. Among 602 isolates tested, a total of 121 different STs, including 70 (57.9%) unique to the isolates' origin, and 32 STs that were not present in the MLST database were identified. The most prevalent STs were ST464 and ST257, with 58 (9.6%) and 52 (8.6%) C. jejuni isolates, respectively. Isolates with some STs (464, 6411, 257, 50) were shown to be common in chickens, whereas others (e.g. ST21 and ST572) were more often identified among human C. jejuni. It was shown that of 47 human sequence types, 26 STs (106 isolates), 23 STs (102 isolates), and 29 STs (100 isolates) were also identified in chicken feces, meat, and carcasses, respectively. These results, together with the high and similar proportional similarity indexes (PSI) calculated for C. jejuni isolated from patients and chickens, may suggest that human campylobacteriosis was associated with contaminated chicken meat or meat products or other kinds of food cross-contaminated with campylobacters of chicken origin. The frequency of various sequence types identified in the present study generally reflects of the prevalence of STs in other countries which may suggest that C. jejuni with some STs have a global distribution, while other genotypes may be more restricted to certain countries.

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<![CDATA[PDIP38/PolDIP2 controls the DNA damage tolerance pathways by increasing the relative usage of translesion DNA synthesis over template switching]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897795d5eed0c4847d30a7

Replicative DNA polymerases are frequently stalled at damaged template strands. Stalled replication forks are restored by the DNA damage tolerance (DDT) pathways, error-prone translesion DNA synthesis (TLS) to cope with excessive DNA damage, and error-free template switching (TS) by homologous DNA recombination. PDIP38 (Pol-delta interacting protein of 38 kDa), also called Pol δ-interacting protein 2 (PolDIP2), physically associates with TLS DNA polymerases, polymerase η (Polη), Polλ, and PrimPol, and activates them in vitro. It remains unclear whether PDIP38 promotes TLS in vivo, since no method allows for measuring individual TLS events in mammalian cells. We disrupted the PDIP38 gene, generating PDIP38-/- cells from the chicken DT40 and human TK6 B cell lines. These PDIP38-/- cells did not show a significant sensitivity to either UV or H2O2, a phenotype not seen in any TLS-polymerase-deficient DT40 or TK6 mutants. DT40 provides a unique opportunity of examining individual TLS and TS events by the nucleotide sequence analysis of the immunoglobulin variable (Ig V) gene as the cells continuously diversify Ig V by TLS (non-templated Ig V hypermutation) and TS (Ig gene conversion) during in vitro culture. PDIP38-/- cells showed a shift in Ig V diversification from TLS to TS. We measured the relative usage of TLS and TS in TK6 cells at a chemically synthesized UV damage (CPD) integrated into genomic DNA. The loss of PDIP38 also caused an increase in the relative usage of TS. The number of UV-induced sister chromatid exchanges, TS events associated with crossover, was increased a few times in PDIP38-/- human and chicken cells. Collectively, the loss of PDIP38 consistently causes a shift in DDT from TLS to TS without enhancing cellular sensitivity to DNA damage. We propose that PDIP38 controls the relative usage of TLS and TS increasing usage of TLS without changing the overall capability of DDT.

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<![CDATA[Contact with adult hen affects development of caecal microbiota in newly hatched chicks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8977aad5eed0c4847d32a0

Chickens in commercial production are hatched in a clean hatchery environment in the absence of any contact with adult hens. However, Gallus gallus evolved to be hatched in a nest in contact with an adult hen which may act as a donor of gut microbiota. In this study, we therefore addressed the issue of microbiota development in newly hatched chickens with or without contact with an adult hen. We found that a mere 24-hour-long contact between a hen and newly hatched chickens was long enough for transfer of hen gut microbiota to chickens. Hens were efficient donors of Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria. However, except for genus Faecalibacterium and bacterial species belonging to class Negativicutes, hens did not act as an important source of Gram-positive Firmicutes. Though common to the chicken intestinal tract, Lactobacilli and isolates from families Erysipelotrichaceae, Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae therefore originated from environmental sources instead of from the hens. These observation may have considerable consequences for the evidence-based design of the new generation of probiotics for poultry.

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<![CDATA[Molecular features of steroid-binding antidins and their use for assaying serum progesterone]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe5fd5eed0c484e5b998

Chicken avidin (Avd) and streptavidin from Streptomyces avidinii are extensively used in bionanotechnology due to their extremely tight binding to biotin (Kd ~ 10−15 M for chicken Avd). We previously reported engineered Avds known as antidins, which have micro- to nanomolar affinities for steroids, non-natural ligands of Avd. Here, we report the 2.8 Å X-ray structure of the sbAvd-2 (I117Y) antidin co-crystallized with progesterone. We describe the creation of new synthetic phage display libraries and report the experimental as well as computational binding analysis of progesterone-binding antidins. We introduce a next-generation antidin with 5 nM binding affinity for progesterone, and demonstrate the use of antidins for measuring progesterone in serum samples. Our data give insights on how to engineer and alter the binding preferences of Avds and to develop better molecular tools for modern bionanotechnological applications.

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<![CDATA[Sensory evaluation of poultry meat: A comparative survey of results from normal sighted and blind people]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52add5eed0c4842bce23

Visual assessment is one of the key criteria in the sensory evaluation of foods. The appearance of food products may affect their perception by other senses, sometimes giving a false picture of their quality. A true assessment of such sensory attributes as aroma, taste, tenderness, and juiciness, which are components of the overall liking of food, without the use of instrumental methods is feasible only by blind people. We have advanced a hypothesis that blindness may modify the impressions perceived through other senses used in food evaluation. To confirm this hypothesis, a sensory testing of cooked breast and leg meat from various poultry species was conducted by normal sighted and blind panelists aged from 18 to 26 years. It has been demonstrated that the lack of sight is compensated by other senses, the intensified perception of which enables a more precise sensory evaluation of food in terms of such parameters as the aroma, tenderness and juiciness. Thus, blind people can be recommended as panelists evaluating the sensory profile of food products. Scores given by the sensory panel allowed the conclusion that the most desirable poultry meat was BM of broiler chicken and capon, followed by Guinea fowl. Lower scores were given by the panelists to meat of water fowl (goose, duck), whereas the lowest ones were assigned to cooked ostrich meat.

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<![CDATA[Isolation and characterization of two Acinetobacter species able to degrade 3-methylindole]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c58d644d5eed0c484031a07

3-Methylindole (3MI) or Skatole is a volatile lipophilic organic compound produced by anoxic metabolism of L-tryptophan and associated with animal farming and industrial processing wastes. Pure cultures of bacteria capable of utilizing 3MI were isolated from chicken manure using enrichment culture techniques. The bacteria were identified as Acinetobacter toweneri NTA1-2A and Acinetobacter guillouiae TAT1-6A, based on 16S rDNA gene amplicon sequence data. The optimal temperature and pH for degradation of 3MI were established using single factor experiments. Strain tolerance was assessed over a range of initial concentrations of 3MI, and the effects of initial concentration on subsequent microbial 3MI degradation were also measured. During the degradation experiment, concentrations of 3MI were quantified by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The strains were capable of degrade initial concentrations of 3MI ranging from 65–200 mg/L. The degradation efficiency was >85% in 6 days for both strains when the initial concentration is less than 200 mg/L. The strains were tested for enzymatic activity using 65 mg/L 3MI. The enzyme extracts of NTA1-2A and TAT1-6A from the 3MI medium degraded 71.46% and 60.71% of 3MI respectively, but no appreciable change in 3MI concentration in the control group was witnessed. Our experiment revealed betaine and choline were identified as 3MI degradation metabolites by both strains while nitroso-pyrrolidine and beta-alaninebetaine formed by NTA1-2A and TAT1-6A strains respectively. The NTA1-2A and TAT1-6A strains removed 84.32% and 81.39% 3MI respectively from chicken manure during fermentation in 8 days and showed a statistically significant difference (P < 0.05) compared with the control group. The optimum temperature and pH were 31°C and 6 respectively, for 3MI degradation by A. toweneri NTA1-2A and A. guillouiae TAT1-6A. We concluded that A. toweneri NTA1-2A and A. guillouiae TAT1-6A are potential strains of interest to degrade 3MI and control odorant in poultry and other livestock industries.

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<![CDATA[Light-dark rhythms during incubation of broiler chicken embryos and their effects on embryonic and post hatch leg bone development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e6cfd5eed0c484ef3e83

There are indications that lighting schedules applied during incubation can affect leg health at hatching and during rearing. The current experiment studied effects of lighting schedule: continuous light (24L), 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of darkness (12L:12D), or continuous darkness (24D) throughout incubation of broiler chicken eggs on the development and strength of leg bones, and the role of selected hormones in bone development. In the tibiatarsus and femur, growth and ossification during incubation and size and microstructure at day (D)0, D21, and D35 post hatching were measured. Plasma melatonin, growth hormone, and IGF-I were determined perinatally. Incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia, a leg pathology resulting from poor ossification at the bone’s epiphyseal plates, was determined at slaughter on D35. 24L resulted in lower embryonic ossification at embryonic day (E)13 and E14, and lower femur length, and lower tibiatarsus weight, length, cortical area, second moment of area around the minor axis, and mean cortical thickness at hatching on D0 compared to 12L:12D especially. Results were long term, with lower femur weight and tibiatarsus length, cortical and medullary area of the tibiatarsus, and second moment of area around the minor axis, and a higher incidence of tibial dyschondroplasia for 24L. Growth hormone at D0 was higher for 24D than for 12L:12D, with 24L intermediate, but plasma melatonin and IGF-I did not differ between treatments, and the role of plasma melatonin, IGF-I, and growth hormone in this process was therefore not clear. To conclude, in the current experiment, 24L during incubation of chicken eggs had a detrimental effect on embryonic leg bone development and later life leg bone strength compared to 24D and 12L:12D, while the light-dark rhythm of 12L:12D may have a stimulating effect on leg health.

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<![CDATA[Genome-wide association study and a post replication analysis revealed a promising genomic region and candidate genes for chicken eggshell blueness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521876d5eed0c4847986a3

The eggshell blueness is an interesting object for chicken genetic studies and blue-shelled chicken industry, especially after the discovery of the causative mutation of chicken blue eggshell. In the present study, genome wide association study (GWAS) was conducted in Chinese Dongxiang blue-shelled chicken underlying four traits of blue eggshell pigments: quantity of biliverdin (QB), quantity of protoporphyrin (QP), quantity of total pigment (QT), and color density trait (CD). A total of 139 individuals were randomly collected for GWAS. We detected two SNPs in genome-wise significance and 35 in suggestive significance, 24 out of the 37 SNP were located either within intron/exon or near 15 genes in a range of ~1.17 Mb on GGA21. For further confirmation of the identified SNP loci by GWAS, the follow-up replication studies were performed in two populations. A total of 146 individuals of the second generation derived from the former GWAS population, as well as 280 individuals from an alternative independent population were employed for genotyping by MALDI-TOF MS in a genotype-phenotype association study. Eighteen SNPs evenly distributed on the GGA21 significant region were successfully genotyped in the two populations, of which 4 and 6 SNP loci were shown significantly associated with QB, QT and QP in the two repeat populations, respectively. Further, the SNPs were narrowed down to a region of ~ 653.819 Kb on GGA21 that harbors five candidate genes: AJAP1, TNFRSF9, C1ORF174, CAMTA1, and CEP104. Shell gland of chickens laying dark and light blue eggshell was chosen for detection of mRNA expression of the five candidate genes. The results showed differential expression levels of these genes in the two groups. The specific function of these genes has not yet been defined clearly in chickens and further in-depth studies are needed to explore the new functional role in chicken eggshell blueness.

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<![CDATA[Seminal plasma amino acid profile in different breeds of chicken: Role of seminal plasma on sperm cryoresistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390b9ed5eed0c48491d873

Seminal plasma is a key biological fluid that modulates sperm function in the reproduction process. However, its role in sperm biotechnologies is scarce in poultry. The aims of the present study were to study the amino acids profile and total proteins of seminal plasma in 12 Spanish chicken breeds and to investigate the role of seminal plasma on cryoresistance of rooster sperm. To investigate the role of seminal plasma on cryoresistance, diluted pooled semen samples were cryopreserved in the presence and absence of seminal plasma. Glutamic acid was the most abundant free amino acid in seminal plasma, followed by alanine, serine, valine, and glycine. There was an influence of breed (P<0.05) on the percentage of viable sperm after freezing-thawing of samples with seminal plasma. Cluster analysis revealed that White Prat, Black Castellana, Blue Andaluza, Quail Castellana, and Red-Barred Vasca returned the best freezing-thawing response (good freezers). There was a positive correlation between seminal plasma concentrations of valine, isoleucine lysine, leucine and post thaw viability. The evaluation of fertilization capacity of frozen-thawed semen from the breeds White Prat (‘good freezer’) and Black-Red Andaluza (‘bad freezer’) showed that good freezer had higher fertility (20/68, 29.4%) compared to bad freezer breed (14/76, 18.4%), even if the difference was not significant (P = 0.08). The TUNEL assay revealed that freezing/thawing procedures in presence of seminal plasma provoked higher DNA fragmentation in most of the breeds, with a positive correlation between seminal alanine, valine, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine concentrations and DNA integrity. DNA fragmentation was lower in absence of seminal plasma and the breed effect on sperm viability was highly reduced. It is concluded that specific seminal plasma amino acids were associated with post-thaw percentage of viable sperm and DNA integrity. The removal of seminal plasma decreases the variability of the results and DNA fragmentation damages.

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<![CDATA[Distinguishing protest responses in contingent valuation: A conceptualization of motivations and attitudes behind them]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3e4f65d5eed0c484d74dbe

The percentage of protesters in contingent valuation surveys is substantial–about 20% across many studies. This paper seeks to clarify the motivations behind protest responses. In addition, the question whether the estimation of willingness to pay (WTP) is more biased by the exclusion or inclusion of protest bids is yet undecided. Methodological improvements are difficult for three reasons: motivations behind protest responses are largely unclear, definitions of protest differ between studies and often only participants who state a zero WTP are asked for their reasons. Our survey on farm animal welfare (n = 1335) provides detailed motivations, two definitions and includes debriefing of all participants for their WTP. We find that protest bids are not a refusal to answer, they are neither irrational nor driven by lack of understanding. Quite the contrary, a large part of participants is directly motivated by moral reasons. Furthermore, protest responses are not coupled to a zero WTP. In our sample, only 8% out of 32% protesting participants had a zero WTP. Only a small fraction of zero bids (0.4%) are true WTP-statements, i.e. respondents were satisfied with the status quo. This finding has important implications for existing WTP-estimates which might be biased. Finally, we provide detailed estimates of the WTP for animal welfare issues by including and excluding different types of protesters and outliers.

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<![CDATA[Are predation rates comparable between natural and artificial open-cup tree nests in boreal forest landscapes?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa59ed5eed0c484ca68cb

Nest predation studies often use artificial nests to secure sample sizes and nest distribution patterns that allow empirically testing differences in predation rates between ecological units of interest. These studies rely on the assumption that natural and artificial nests experience similar or consistent relative predation rates across ecological gradients. As this assumption may depend on several factors (for example differences in predator community, nest construction, parental care patterns), it is important to test whether artificial nests provide adequate and comparable estimates of predation rates to natural nests. In this study, we compare predation rates of above-ground natural open-cup nests, artificial nests and natural nests with artificial eggs along a forest gradient from edge to interior (interior, transition zone and edge) and within two nest visibility classes (visible and concealed). Our aim was to determine whether nest structure affects comparability between nest types along these ecological gradients in boreal forests. Our results indicated important contributions of nest type, nest visibility and location along the forest edge-interior gradient, but no variable had strong significant effects on predation rates, except exposure time that showed lower predation rates at longer exposure times. Predation rates in visible and concealed nests remained similar for all nest types, but not along the forest edge-interior gradient. Here, artificial nests showed much lower predation rates than natural nests, whereas natural nests with artificial eggs tended to have higher predation rates than natural nests. We conclude that artificial nests in boreal forests represent an adequate measure of relative nest predation risk in open-cup natural nests along some ecological gradients, but results on predation rates along forest edge-interior gradients obtained from artificial nests should be interpreted with care.

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<![CDATA[Single species conservation as an umbrella for management of landscape threats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5ded5eed0c484ca984c

Single species conservation unites disparate partners for the conservation of one species. However, there are widespread concerns that single species conservation biases conservation efforts towards charismatic species at the expense of others. Here we investigate the extent to which sage grouse (Centrocercus sp.) conservation, the largest public-private conservation effort for a single species in the US, provides protections for other species from localized and landscape-scale threats. We compared the coverage provided by sage grouse Priority Areas for Conservation (PACs) to 81 sagebrush-associated vertebrate species distributions with potential coverage under multi-species conservation prioritization generated using the decision support tool Zonation. PACs. We found that the current PAC prioritization approach was not statistically different from a diversity-based prioritization approach and covers 23.3% of the landscape, and 24.8%, on average, of the habitat of the 81 species. The proportion of each species distribution at risk was lower inside PACs as compared to the region as a whole, even without management (land use change 30% lower, cheatgrass invasion 19% lower). Whether or not bias away from threat represents the most efficient use of conservation effort is a matter of considerable debate, though may be pragmatic in this landscape where capacity to address these threats is limited. The approach outlined here can be used to evaluate biological equitability of protections provided by flagship species in other settings.

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<![CDATA[Purification, characterization and in vitro and in vivo immune enhancement of polysaccharides from mulberry leaves]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667d0d5eed0c4841a652f

Mulberry leaf polysaccharide (MLP) was extracted and purified by DEAE-52 cellulose and Sephadex G-100 column chromatography to afford two major purified polysaccharides (MLP-1 and MLP-2). The purified polysaccharides were characterized, and their immune-enhancing properties were investigated. MLP-1 had a molecular weight of 9.31×104 Da and was composed of mannose, rhamnose, glucose, galactose, xylose, and arabinose in a molar ratio of 0.71:1.00:2.76:1.13:3.70:2.81. The molecular weight of MLP-2 was 2.22×106 Da, and its monosaccharide constituents were mannose, rhamnose, glucose, galactose, and arabinose in a molar ratio of 1.31:8.45:6.94:1.00:11.96. Infrared spectroscopy showed that each MLP had a typical absorption peak characteristic of sugars, and ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy showed that neither MLP contained nucleic acid or protein components. Then, the abilities of these polysaccharides to stimulate spleen lymphocyte proliferation in mice in vitro were compared by the 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. MLP-2 was more effective than MLP-1; therefore, MLP-2 was chosen for the study of its immune-enhancing effects in vivo. For the in vivo experiments, 14-day-old chickens immunized with Newcastle disease (ND) vaccine were orally administered MLP-2, and Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) was used as the control. Each chicken was orally administered 4 mg or 8 mg of MLP-2 for seven consecutive days starting three days before ND vaccine immunization. MLP-2 significantly improved the ND serum antibody titer and interleukin-2 (IL-2), interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations in tracheal and jejunal wash fluids, and increasing numbers of immune globulin A-positive (IgA+) cells in cecal tonsils and increased body weight. These results indicated that MLP-2 could significantly enhance immune activity and could therefore be utilized as an immunopotentiator drug candidate.

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<![CDATA[Implementation science: Epidemiology and feeding profiles of the Chagas vector Triatoma dimidiata prior to Ecohealth intervention for three locations in Central America]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841dad5eed0c484fcaefe

The Ecohealth strategy is a multidisciplinary data-driven approach used to improve the quality of people’s lives in Chagas disease endemic areas, such as regions of Central America. Chagas is a vector-borne disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. In Central America, the main vector is Triatoma dimidiata. Because successful implementation of the Ecohealth approach reduced home infestation in Jutiapa department, Guatemala, it was scaled-up to three localities, one in each of three Central American countries (Texistepeque, El Salvador; San Marcos de la Sierra, Honduras and Olopa, Guatemala). As a basis for the house improvement phase of the Ecohealth program, we determined if the localities differ in the role of sylvatic, synanthropic and domestic animals in the Chagas transmission cycle by measuring entomological indices, blood meal sources and parasite infection from vectors collected in and around houses. The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) with taxa specific primers to detect both, blood sources and parasite infection, was used to assess 71 T. dimidiata from Texistepeque, 84 from San Marcos de la Sierra and 568 from Olopa. Our results show that infestation (12.98%) and colonization (8.95%) indices were highest in Olopa; whereas T. cruzi prevalence was higher in Texistepeque and San Marcos de la Sierra (>40%) than Olopa (8%). The blood meal source profiles showed that in Olopa, opossum might be important in linking the sylvatic and domestic Chagas transmission cycle, whereas in San Marcos de la Sierra dogs play a major role in maintaining domestic transmission. For Texistepeque, bird was the major blood meal source followed by human. When examining the different life stages, we found that in Olopa, the proportion bugs infected with T. cruzi is higher in adults than nymphs. These findings highlight the importance of location-based recommendations for decreasing human-vector contact in the control of Chagas disease.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of Mycoplasma gallisepticum pyruvate dehydrogenase alpha and beta subunits and their roles in cytoadherence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1813bad5eed0c484775ac6

Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a causative agent of chronic respiratory disease in chickens, typically causing great economic losses. Cytoadherence is the critical stage for mycoplasma infection, and the associated proteins are important for mycoplasma pathogenesis. Many glycolytic enzymes are localized on the cell surface and can bind the extracellular matrix of host cells. In this study, the M. gallisepticum pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 alpha subunit (PDHA) and beta subunit (PDHB) were expressed in Escherichia coli, and their enzymatic activities were identified based on 2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol reduction. When recombinant PDHA (rPDHA) and recombinant PDHB (rPDHB) were mixed at a 1:1 molar ratio, they exhibited strong enzymatic activity. Alone, rPDHA and rPDHB exhibited no or weak enzymatic activity. Further experiments indicated that both PDHA and PDHB were surface-exposed immunogenic proteins of M. gallisepticum. Bactericidal assays showed that the mouse anti-rPDHA and anti-rPDHB sera killed 48.0% and 75.1% of mycoplasmas respectively. A combination of rPDHA and rPDHB antisera had a mean bactericidal rate of 65.2%, indicating that rPDHA and rPDHB were protective antigens, and combining the two sera did not interfere with bactericidal activity. Indirect immunofluorescence and surface display assays showed that both PDHA and PDHB adhered to DF-1 chicken embryo fibroblast cells and adherence was significantly inhibited by antisera against PDHA and PDHB. Adherence inhibition of M. gallisepticum to DF-1 chicken embryo fibroblast cells was 30.2% for mouse anti-rPDHA serum, 45.1% for mouse anti-rPDHB serum and 72.5% for a combination of rPDHA and rPDHB antisera, suggesting that rPDHA and rPDHB antisera may have synergistically interfered with M. gallisepticum cytoadherence. Plasminogen (Plg)-binding assays further demonstrated that both PDHA and PDHB were Plg-binding proteins, which may have contributed to bacterial colonization. Our results clarified the enzymatic activity of M. gallisepticum PDHA and PDHB and demonstrated these compounds as Plg-binding proteins involved in cytoadherence.

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<![CDATA[Antibiotic resistance is lower in Staphylococcus aureus isolated from antibiotic-free raw meat as compared to conventional raw meat]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1813c8d5eed0c484775ce7

The frequent use of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance in bacteria, resulting in an increase in infections that are difficult to treat. Livestock are commonly administered antibiotics in their feed, but there is current interest in raising animals that are only administered antibiotics during active infections. Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a common pathogen of both humans and livestock raised for human consumption. SA has achieved high levels of antibiotic resistance, but the origins and locations of resistance selection are poorly understood. We determined the prevalence of SA and MRSA in conventional and antibiotic-free (AF) meat products, and also measured rates of antibiotic resistance in these isolates. We isolated SA from raw conventional turkey, chicken, beef, and pork samples and also from AF chicken and turkey samples. We found that SA contamination was common, with an overall prevalence of 22.6% (range of 2.8–30.8%) in conventional meats and 13.0% (range of 12.5–13.2%) in AF poultry meats. MRSA was isolated from 15.7% of conventional raw meats (range of 2.8–20.4%) but not from AF-free meats. The degree of antibiotic resistance in conventional poultry products was significantly higher vs AF poultry products for a number of different antibiotics, and while multi-drug resistant strains were relatively common in conventional meats none were detected in AF meats. The use of antibiotics in livestock contributes to high levels of antibiotic resistance in SA found in meat products. Our results support the use of AF conditions for livestock in order to prevent antibiotic resistance development in SA.

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