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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.
Invasions can be genetically diverse, and that diversity may have implications for invasion management in terms of resistance or tolerance to control methods. We analyzed the population genetics of Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.), an ecologically important and common invasive tree found in many western U.S. riparian areas. We found three cpDNA haplotypes and, using 11 microsatellite loci, identified three genetic clusters in the 460 plants from 46 populations in the western United States. We found high levels of polymorphism in the microsatellites (5 to 15 alleles per locus; 106 alleles total). Our native-range sampling was limited, and we did not find a genetic match for the most common cpDNA invasive haplotype or a strong confirmation of origin for the most common microsatellite genetic cluster. We did not find geographic population structure (isolation by distance) across the U.S. invasion, but we did identify invasive populations that had the most diversity, and we suggest these as choices for initial biological control–release monitoring. Accessions from each genetic cluster, which coarsely represent the range of genetic diversity found in the invasion, are now included in potential classical biological control agent efficacy testing.
Congenital and acquired heart diseases are highly prevalent in developing countries despite limited specialised care. Namibia established a paediatric cardiac service in 2009 with significant human resource and infrastructural constraints. Therefore, patients are referred for cardiac interventions to South Africa.
To describe the diagnoses, clinical characteristics, interventions, post-operative morbidity and mortality, and follow-up of patients referred for care.
Demographics, diagnoses, interventions, intra- and post-operative morbidity and mortality, as well as longitudinal follow-up data of all patients referred to South Africa, were recorded and analysed.
The total cohort constituted 193 patients of which 179 (93%) had CHD and 7% acquired heart disease. The majority of patients (78.8%) travelled more than 400 km to Windhoek before transfer. There were 28 percutaneous interventions. Palliative and definitive surgery was performed in 27 and 129 patients, respectively. Out of 156 patients, 80 (51.3%) had post-operative complications, of which 15 (9.6%) were a direct complication of surgery. Surgical mortality was 8/156 (5.1%, 95% confidence interval 2.2–9.8), with a 30-day mortality of 3.2%. Prolonged ICU stay was associated with a 5% increased risk of death with hazard ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 1.02–1.08, p=0.001. Follow-up was complete in 151 (78%) patients for more than 7 years.
Despite the challenges associated with a cardiac programme for referring patients seeking intervention in a neighbouring country and the adverse characteristics of multiple lesions and complexity associated with late presentation, we report good surgical and interventional outcomes. Our goal remains to develop a comprehensive sustainable cardiac service in Namibia.
A third of patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) experience treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Relatively few pharmacological agents have established efficacy for TRD. Therefore, the evaluation of novel treatments for TRD is a pressing priority. Statins are pleiotropic agents and preclinical studies as well as preliminary clinical trials have suggested that these drugs may have antidepressant properties.
To report on a protocol for a 12-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of add-on treatment with simvastatin for patients meeting DSM-5 criteria for MDD who have failed to respond to at least two adequate trials with approved antidepressants. The trial has been registered with Clinicaltrials.gov in (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03435744).
After screening and randomisation to the two parallel arms of the trial, 75 patients will receive simvastatin and 75 patients will receive placebo as adjuncts to treatment as usual. The primary outcome is change in Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores from baseline to week 12 and secondary outcomes include changes in scores on the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Clinical Global Impression scale, the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale and change in body mass index from baseline to week 12. Assessments will take place at screening, baseline, and weeks 2, 4, 8 and 12. Checklists for adverse effects will be undertaken at each visit. Simvastatin (20 mg) will be given once daily. Other secondary outcomes include C-reactive protein and plasma lipids measured at baseline and week 12.
This trial will assess simvastatin's efficacy and tolerability as an add-on treatment option for patients with TRD and provide insights into its putative mechanisms of action.
As the first trial investigating the use of simvastatin as an augmentation strategy in patients with TRD, if the results indicate that adjuvant simvastatin is efficacious in reducing depressive symptoms, it will deliver immediate clinical benefit.
Declaration of interest
I.B.C. and N.H. have given lectures and advice to Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Lundbeck, Astra Zeneca and Janssen pharmaceuticals for which they or their employing institution have been reimbursed. R.R. and M.M.H. have received educational grants and support for academic meetings from Pfizer, Roche, Novartis and Nabiqasim. A.H.Y. has been commissioned to provide lectures and advice to all major pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders. A.H.Y. has undertaken investigator-initiated studies from Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck and Wyeth. None of the companies have a financial interest in this research.
A diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID) is controversial and prone to under- and misdiagnosis. From the moment of seeking treatment for symptoms to the time of an accurate diagnosis of DID individuals received an average of four prior other diagnoses and spent 7 years, with reports of up to 12 years, in mental health services.
To investigate whether data-driven pattern recognition methodologies applied to structural brain images can provide biomarkers to aid DID diagnosis.
Structural brain images of 75 participants were included: 32 female individuals with DID and 43 matched healthy controls. Individuals with DID were recruited from psychiatry and psychotherapy out-patient clinics. Probabilistic pattern classifiers were trained to discriminate cohorts based on measures of brain morphology.
The pattern classifiers were able to accurately discriminate between individuals with DID and healthy controls with high sensitivity (72%) and specificity (74%) on the basis of brain structure. These findings provide evidence for a biological basis for distinguishing between DID-affected and healthy individuals.
We propose a pattern of neuroimaging biomarkers that could be used to inform the identification of individuals with DID from healthy controls at the individual level. This is important and clinically relevant because the DID diagnosis is controversial and individuals with DID are often misdiagnosed. Ultimately, the application of pattern recognition methodologies could prevent unnecessary suffering of individuals with DID because of an earlier accurate diagnosis, which will facilitate faster and targeted interventions.
Declaration of interest
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Although food from grazed animals is increasingly sought by consumers because of perceived animal welfare advantages, grazing systems provide the farmer and the animal with unique challenges. The system is dependent almost daily on the climate for feed supply, with the importation of large amounts of feed from off farm, and associated labour and mechanisation costs, sometimes reducing economic viability. Furthermore, the cow may have to walk long distances and be able to harvest feed efficiently in a highly competitive environment because of the need for high levels of pasture utilisation. She must, also, be: (1) highly fertile, with a requirement for pregnancy within ~80 days post-calving; (2) ‘easy care’, because of the need for the management of large herds with limited labour; (3) able to walk long distances; and (4) robust to changes in feed supply and quality, so that short-term nutritional insults do not unduly influence her production and reproduction cycles. These are very different and are in addition to demands placed on cows in housed systems offered pre-made mixed rations. Furthermore, additional demands in environmental sustainability and animal welfare, in conjunction with the need for greater system-level biological efficiency (i.e. ‘sustainable intensification’), will add to the ‘robustness’ requirements of cows in the future. Increasingly, there is evidence that certain genotypes of cows perform better or worse in grazing systems, indicating a genotype×environment interaction. This has led to the development of tailored breeding objectives within countries for important heritable traits to maximise the profitability and sustainability of their production system. To date, these breeding objectives have focussed on the more easily measured traits and those of highest relative economic importance. In the future, there will be greater emphasis on more difficult to measure traits that are important to the quality of life of the animal in each production system and to reduce the system’s environmental footprint.
The objective of the current experiment was to determine the effects of increasing levels of palm kernel cake in a finishing diet on feed intake, digestibility, performance, ingestive behaviour and carcass traits in zebu bulls. Thirty-two Nellore bulls (420 ± 25.0 kg initial body weight [BW] and 24-months-old), were assigned randomly to individual pens with four treatments (0, 70, 140 and 210 g/kg of palm kernel cake by total dry matter [DM]) and eight replicates per treatment. The inclusion of palm kernel cake linearly decreased DM, crude protein and non-fibrous carbohydrate intake and increased ether extraction intake and digestibility. There was a linear decrease in final BW and hot carcass weight (HCW) associated with palm kernel cake inclusion in the bull diet. However, the gain : feed ratio was similar among the diets. Eating and rumination rates (g DM or neutral detergent fibre/h) were reduced, whereas the total chewing time and idling (min/day) were not affected by palm kernel cake inclusion. There were no effects of palm kernel cake inclusion on most quantitative carcass characteristics and qualitative carcass attributes (subcutaneous fat thickness, longissimus muscle area, colour, texture and marbling). The inclusion of palm kernel cake (up to 210 g/kg total DM) in beef cattle finishing diets decreased eating and rumination rates, thereby decreasing average daily gain and, consequently, final BW and HCW. However, qualitative carcass attributes were not affected by the use of palm kernel cake.
To understand how foraging decisions impact individual fitness of herbivores, nutritional ecologists must consider the complex in vivo dynamics of nutrient–nutrient interactions and nutrient–toxin interactions associated with foraging. Mathematical modeling has long been used to make foraging predictions (e.g. optimal foraging theory) but has largely been restricted to a single currency (e.g. energy) or using simple indices of nutrition (e.g. fecal nitrogen) without full consideration of physiologically based interactions among numerous co-ingested phytochemicals. Here, we describe a physiologically based model (PBM) that provides a mechanistic link between foraging decisions and demographic consequences. Including physiological mechanisms of absorption, digestion and metabolism of phytochemicals in PBMs allows us to estimate concentrations of ingested and interacting phytochemicals in the body. Estimated phytochemical concentrations more accurately link intake of phytochemicals to changes in individual fitness than measures of intake alone. Further, we illustrate how estimated physiological parameters can be integrated with the geometric framework of nutrition and into integral projection models and agent-based models to predict fitness and population responses of vertebrate herbivores to ingested phytochemicals. The PBMs will improve our ability to understand the foraging decisions of vertebrate herbivores and consequences of those decisions and may help identify key physiological mechanisms that underlie diet-based ecological adaptations.
Animal’s feed efficiency in growing cattle (i.e. the animal ability to reach a market or adult BW with the least amount of feed intake), is a key factor in the beef cattle industry. Feeding systems have made huge progress to understand dietary factors influencing the average animal feed efficiency. However, there exists a considerable amount of animal-to-animal variation around the average feed efficiency observed in beef cattle reared in similar conditions, which is still far from being understood. This review aims to identify biological determinants and molecular pathways involved in the between-animal variation in feed efficiency with particular reference to growing beef cattle phenotyped for residual feed intake (RFI). Moreover, the review attempts to distinguish true potential determinants from those revealed through simple associations or indirectly linked to RFI through their association with feed intake. Most representative and studied biological processes which seem to be connected to feed efficiency were reviewed, such as feeding behaviour, digestion and methane production, rumen microbiome structure and functioning, energy metabolism at the whole body and cellular levels, protein turnover, hormone regulation and body composition. In addition, an overall molecular network analysis was conducted for unravelling networks and their linked functions involved in between-animal variation in feed efficiency. The results from this review suggest that feeding and digestive-related mechanisms could be associated with RFI mainly because they co-vary with feed intake. Although much more research is warranted, especially with high-forage diets, the role of feeding and digestive related mechanisms as true determinants of animal variability in feed efficiency could be minor. Concerning the metabolic-related mechanisms, despite the scarcity of studies using reference methods it seems that feed efficient animals have a significantly lower energy metabolic rate independent of the associated intake reduction. This lower heat production in feed efficient animals may result from a decreased protein turnover and a higher efficiency of ATP production in mitochondria, both mechanisms also identified in the molecular network analysis. In contrast, hormones and body composition could not be conclusively related to animal-to-animal variation in feed efficiency. The analysis of potential biological networks underlying RFI variations highlighted other significant pathways such as lipid metabolism and immunity and stress response. Finally, emerging knowledge suggests that metabolic functions underlying genetic variation in feed efficiency could be associated with other important traits in animal production. This emphasizes the relevance of understanding the biological basis of relevant animal traits to better define future balanced breeding programmes.
This study aimed to molecularly survey Bartonella in dogs from Chile. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) for Bartonella spp. based on nuoG gene was performed in 139 blood samples taken from dogs belonging to rural localities of the Valdivia Province, Los Ríos region, southern Chile. nuoG qPCR-positive samples were submitted to conventional PCR assays for ftsZ, gltA, rpoB and nuoG genes and sequencing for speciation and phylogenetic analysis. Based upon qPCR results, Bartonella spp. occurrence in dogs was 4.3% (6/139). Out of six nuoG qPCR-positive samples, six, three, two and none showed positive results in cPCR assays based on gltA, ftsZ, rpoB and nuoG genes, respectively. Consistent sequencing results were obtained only for the ftsZ gene from sample #1532 (GeneBank accession number: MG252491), and gltA gene from samples #1535 (MG252490) and #1532 (148 bp fragment that was not deposited in GenBank). Phylogenetic analysis of ftsZ and gltA genes allowed speciation of two nuoG-positive samples, one as Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii and the other as B. henselae. Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii and B. henselae are detected for the first time in dogs from Chile, highlighting the importance of the canine population as a source of zoonotic agents and potential infection risk to humans.
Bacteria firmly attached to the gastrointestinal epithelium during the pre-weaning phase may show a significant impact on nutrient processing, immunity parameters, health and feed efficiency of lambs during post-weaning phases. Thus, the aim of this study was to describe the differences in the ileal epimural microbiota (e.g. total bacteria, Prevotella spp., Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp.) of fattening lambs promoted by early feed restriction during the suckling phase trying to elucidate some of the underlying mechanisms behind changes in feed efficiency during the fattening period. A total of 24 Merino lambs (average BW 4.81±0.256 kg) were used, 12 of them (ad libitum, ADL) kept permanently in individual pens with their mothers, whereas the other 12 lambs were separated from their dams for 9 h each day to be exposed to milk restriction (RES). After weaning (BW=15 kg) all the animals were penned individually, offered the same complete pelleted diet (35 g/kg BW per day) and slaughtered at a BW of 27 kg. During the fattening period, reduced gain : feed ratio (0.320 v. 0.261, P<0.001) was observed for the RES group. Moreover, increments of Prevotella spp. were detected in the ileal epimural microbiota of RES lambs (P<0.05). There were also higher numbers of infiltrated lymphocytes (T and B cells) in the ileal lamina propria (P<0.05), a higher M-cell labelling intensity in ileal Peyer’s patches domes (P<0.05) and a trend towards a thickening of the submucosa layer when compared with the ADL group (P=0.057). Some other immunological parameters, such as an increased immunoglobulin A (IgA) production (pg IgA/µg total protein) and increments in CD45+ cells were also observed in the ileum of RES group (P<0.05), whereas transforming growth factor β and toll-like receptor gene expression was reduced (P<0.05). In conclusion, early feed restriction during the suckling phase promoted changes in ileal epimural microbiota and several immunity parameters that could be related to differences in feed efficiency traits during the fattening period of Merino lambs.
Excessive salt intake is a common feature of Western dietary patterns, and has been associated with important metabolic changes including cerebral redox state imbalance. Considering that little is known about the effect on progeny of excessive salt intake during pregnancy, the present study investigated the effect of a high-salt diet during pregnancy and lactation on mitochondrial parameters and the redox state of the brains of resulting offspring. Adult female Wistar rats were divided into two dietary groups (n 20 rats/group): control standard chow (0·675 % NaCl) or high-salt chow (7·2 % NaCl), received throughout pregnancy and for 7 d after delivery. On postnatal day 7, the pups were euthanised and their cerebellum, hypothalamus, hippocampus, prefrontal and parietal cortices were dissected. Maternal high-salt diet reduced cerebellar mitochondrial mass and membrane potential, promoted an increase in reactive oxygen species allied to superoxide dismutase activation and decreased offspring cerebellar nitric oxide levels. A significant increase in hypothalamic nitric oxide levels and mitochondrial superoxide in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex was observed in the maternal high-salt group. Antioxidant enzymes were differentially modulated by oxidant increases in each brain area studied. Taken together, our results suggest that a maternal high-salt diet during pregnancy and lactation programmes the brain metabolism of offspring, favouring impaired mitochondrial function and promoting an oxidative environment; this highlights the adverse effect of high-salt intake in the health state of the offspring.
Oxidative stress has been documented in chronic schizophrenia and in the first episode of psychosis, but there are very little data on oxidative stress prior to the disease onset.
This work aimed to compare serum levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in young individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) of developing psychosis with a comparison healthy control group (HC).
Thirteen UHR subjects and 29 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. Clinical assessment included the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States (CAARMS), the Semi-Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis-I (SCID-I) or the Kiddie-SADS-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL), and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale. Activities of SOD and GPx were measured in serum by the spectrophotometric method using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.
After adjusting for age and years of education, there was a significant lower activity of SOD and lower GPX activity in the UHR group compared to the healthy control group (rate ratio [RR]=0.330, 95% CI 0.187; 0.584, p<0.001 and RR=0.509, 95% CI 0.323; 0.803, p=0.004, respectively). There were also positive correlations between GAF functioning scores and GPx and SOD activities.
Our results suggest that oxidative imbalances could be present prior to the onset of full-blown psychosis, including in at-risk stages. Future studies should replicate and expand these results.
Bats are ancient hosts of Trypanosoma species and their flying ability, longevity and adaptability to distinct environments indicate that they are efficient dispersers of parasites. Bats from Acre state (Amazon Biome) were collected in four expeditions conducted in an urban forest (Parque Zoobotânico) and one relatively more preserved area (Seringal Cahoeira) in Rio Branco and Xapuri municipalities. Trypanosoma sp. infection was detected by hemoculture and fresh blood examination. Isolated parasite species were identified by the similarity of the obtained DNA sequence from 18S rDNA polymerase chain reaction and reference strains. Overall, 367 bats from 23 genera and 32 species were examined. Chiropterofauna composition was specific to each municipality, although Artibeus sp. and Carollia sp. prevailed throughout. Trypanosoma sp. infection was detected in 85 bats (23·2%). The most widely distributed and prevalent genotypes were (in order) Trypanosoma cruzi TcI, T. cruzi marinkellei, Trypanosoma dionisii, T. cruzi TcIV and Trypanosoma rangeli. At least one still-undescribed Trypanosoma species was also detected in this study. The detection of T. cruzi TcI and TcIV (the ones associated with Chagas disease in Amazon biome) demonstrates the putative importance of these mammal hosts in the epidemiology of the disease in the Acre State.
Anaplasmataceae agents comprise obligate intracellular bacteria that can cause disease in humans and animals. Between August 2013 and March 2015, 31 Nasua nasua (coati), 78 Cerdocyon thous (crab-eating fox), seven Leopardus pardalis (ocelot), 110 wild rodents, 30 marsupials, and 42 dogs were sampled in the Pantanal wetland, Brazil. In addition, ectoparasites found parasitizing the animals were collected and identified. The present work aimed to investigate the occurrence of Anaplasmataceae agents in wild mammals, domestic dogs and ectoparasites, by molecular and serological techniques. Overall, 14 (17·9%) C. thous, seven (16·6%) dogs and one (3·2%) N. nasua were seroreactive to Ehrlichia canis. Nine dogs, two C. thous, one N. nasua, eight wild rodents, five marsupials, eight Amblyomma sculptum, four Amblyomma parvum, 13 A. sculptum nymphal pools, two Amblyomma larvae pools and one Polygenis (Polygenis) bohlsi bohlsi flea pool were positive for Ehrlichia spp. closely related to E. canis. Seven N. nasua, two dogs, one C. thous, one L. pardalis, four wild rodents, three marsupials, 15 A. sculptum, two Amblyomma ovale, two A. parvum and one Amblyomma spp. larval pools were positive for Anaplasma spp. closely related to A. phagocytophilum or A. bovis. The present study provided evidence that wild animals from Brazilian Pantanal are exposed to Anaplasmataceae agents.
The order Chiroptera is considered the second largest group of mammals in the world, hosting important zoonotic virus and bacteria. Bartonella and hemotropic mycoplasmas are bacteria that parasite different mammals’ species, including humans, causing different clinical manifestations. The present work aimed investigating the occurrence and assessing the phylogenetic positioning of Bartonella spp. and Mycoplasma spp. in neotropical bats sampled from Brazil. Between December 2015 and April 2016, 325 blood and/or tissues samples were collected from 162 bats comprising 19 different species sampled in five states of Brazil. Out of 322 bat samples collected, while 17 (5·28%) were positive to quantitative PCR for Bartonella spp. based on nuoG gene, 45 samples (13·97%) were positive to cPCR assays for hemoplasmas based on 16S rRNA gene. While seven sequences were obtained for Bartonella (nuoG) (n = 3), gltA (n = 2), rpoB (n = 1), ftsZ (n = 1), five 16S rRNA sequences were obtained for hemoplasmas. In the phylogenetic analysis, the Bartonella sequences clustered with Bartonella genotypes detected in bats sampled in Latin America countries. All five hemoplasmas sequences clustered together as a monophyletic group by Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses. The present work showed the first evidence of circulation of Bartonella spp. and hemoplasmas among bats in Brazil.
In0.06Ga0.94N/GaN superlattices (SLs) grown on sapphire (0001) by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition were studied before and after europium (Eu) ion implantation to understand the strain induced-effects in the SL structure. The implanted SLs were investigated as a function of the thermal annealing temperature up to 1000 °C in nitrogen ambient. Temperature dependent photoluminescence spectra showed a red-shift of the SL emission peaks due the quantum confined Stark effect, followed by a blue-shift due to In atoms out-diffusion from the In0.06Ga0.94N quantum well, for both Eu ions implanted and unimplanted SLs. The amplitude of observed spectral shifts was smaller and the line width of the SLs emission peaks were narrower in the SLs:Eu3+ as compared to the unimplanted SLs. It is concluded that Eu3+ ions modified the strain in the SLs acting like impurity and/or defects getter in implantation degraded SLs resulting in material phase purification and improvements of SLs optical properties.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.