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    The Value of Environmental and Health Claims on New Legume Products: A Non-Hypothetical Online Auction 

    Lemken, Dominic; Knigge, Mandy; Meyerding, Stephan; Spiller, Achim
    Sustainability 2017; 9(8): Art. 1340
    Legumes are valued in agricultural systems, as they can contribute to a more sustainable land use. However, their economic value is low. Despite health and environmental benefits, marketers struggle to communicate the worth of legumes to consumers. We evaluate the worth of health and, in particular, environmental claims that would spread consumers’ awareness of ecological advantages. Utilizing a large consumer sample, we execute binding online auctions. Comparing claim-treated and untreated subjects (between design), we model the price premium that potential customers are willing to pay (WTP) for having pasta in a legume instead of a wheat version. We find that claims may increase the WTP, however, a mix of environmental and health claims is superior to individual claims. Effect sizes suggest that the mix of claims increases the WTP by roughly 35% (20 cents). The link of WTP and food attitudes, such as concern for health in eating habits or social reservations towards legumes, varies depending on whether the green-pea or chickpea pasta was evaluated. A critical perception of legumes’ association with flatulence reduces the WTP. Developing the online auction may enable researchers to increase the external validity of consumer samples. We discuss implications for researchers and marketers.
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    A structural variant in the 5'-flanking region of the TWIST2 gene affects melanocyte development in belted cattle. 

    Awasthi Mishra, Nivedita; Drögemüller, Cord; Jagannathan, Vidhya; Keller, Irene; Wüthrich, Daniel; Bruggmann, Rémy; Beck, Julia; Schütz, Ekkehard; Brenig, Bertram; Demmel, Steffi; et al.
    Moser, SimonSigner-Hasler, HeidiPieńkowska-Schelling, AldonaSchelling, ClaudeSande, MarcosRongen, RonaldRieder, StefanKelsh, Robert N.Mercader, NadiaLeeb, Tosso
    PloS one 2017; 12(6): Art. e0180170
    Belted cattle have a circular belt of unpigmented hair and skin around their midsection. The belt is inherited as a monogenic autosomal dominant trait. We mapped the causative variant to a 37 kb segment on bovine chromosome 3. Whole genome sequence data of 2 belted and 130 control cattle yielded only one private genetic variant in the critical interval in the two belted animals. The belt-associated variant was a copy number variant (CNV) involving the quadruplication of a 6 kb non-coding sequence located approximately 16 kb upstream of the TWIST2 gene. Increased copy numbers at this CNV were strongly associated with the belt phenotype in a cohort of 333 cases and 1322 controls. We hypothesized that the CNV causes aberrant expression of TWIST2 during neural crest development, which might negatively affect melanoblasts. Functional studies showed that ectopic expression of bovine TWIST2 in neural crest in transgenic zebrafish led to a decrease in melanocyte numbers. Our results thus implicate an unsuspected involvement of TWIST2 in regulating pigmentation and reveal a non-coding CNV underlying a captivating Mendelian character.
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    Morgagnian cataract resulting from a naturally occurring nonsense mutation elucidates a role of CPAMD8 in mammalian lens development. 

    Hollmann, Anne K.; Dammann, Insa; Wemheuer, Wiebke M.; Wemheuer, Wilhelm E.; Chilla, Almuth; Tipold, Andrea; Schulz-Schaeffer, Walter J.; Beck, Julia; Schütz, Ekkehard; Brenig, Bertram
    PloS one 2017; 12(7): Art. e0180665
    To investigate the genetic basis of hereditary lens opacities we analyzed 31 cases of bilateral congenital cataract in Red Holstein Friesian cattle. A genome-wide association study revealed a significant association on bovine chromosome 7 at positions 6,166,179 and 12,429,691. Whole genome re-sequencing of one case and four relatives showed a nonsense mutation (g.5995966C>T) in the PZP-like, alpha-2-macroglobulin domain containing 8 (CPAMD8) gene leading to a premature stop codon (CPAMD8 p.Gln74*) associated with cataract development in cattle. With immunohistochemistry we confirmed a physiological expression of CPAMD8 in the ciliary body epithelium of the eye in unaffected cattle, while the protein was not detectable in the ciliary body of cattle with cataracts. RNA expression of CPAMD8 was detected in healthy adult, fetal and cataractous lenses.
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    Evaluation of nine genotypes of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) for larval infestation and performance of rape stem weevil (Ceutorhynchus napi Gyll.). 

    Schaefer, Heike L; Brandes, Haiko; Ulber, Bernd; Becker, Heiko C; Vidal, Stefan
    PloS one 2017; 12(7): Art. e0180807
    The rape stem weevil, Ceutorhynchus napi Gyll., is a serious pest of winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) crops in Europe causing severe yield loss. In currently used oilseed rape cultivars no resistance to C. napi has been identified. Resynthesized lines of B. napus have potential to broaden the genetic variability and may improve resistance to insect pests. In this study, the susceptibility to C. napi of three cultivars, one breeding line and five resynthesized lines of oilseed rape was compared in a semi-field plot experiment under multi-choice conditions. Plant acceptance for oviposition was estimated by counting the number of C. napi larvae in stems. The larval instar index and the dry body mass were assessed as indicators of larval performance. The extent of larval feeding within stems was determined by the stem injury coefficient. Morphological stem traits and stem contents of glucosinolates were assessed as potential mediators of resistance. The resynthesized line S30 had significantly fewer larvae than the cultivars Express617 and Visby and the resynthesized lines L122 and L16. The low level of larval infestation in S30 was associated with a low larval instar and stem injury index. Low numbers of larvae were not correlated with the length or diameter of stems, and the level of stem glucosinolates. As indicated by the low larval infestation and slow larval development the resistance of S30 to C. napi is based on both antixenotic and antibiotic properties of the genotypes. The resynthesized line S30 should therefore be introduced into B. napus breeding programs to enhance resistance against C. napi.
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    Rhizosphere hydrophobicity: A positive trait in the competition for water. 

    Zeppenfeld, Thorsten; Balkenhol, Niko; Kóvacs, Kristóf; Carminati, Andrea
    PloS one 2017; 12(7): Art. e0182188
    The ability to acquire water from the soil is a major driver in interspecific plant competition and it depends on several root functional traits. One of these traits is the excretion of gel-like compounds (mucilage) that modify physical soil properties. Mucilage secreted by roots becomes hydrophobic upon drying, impedes the rewetting of the soil close to the root, the so called rhizosphere, and reduces water availability to plants. The function of rhizosphere hydrophobicity is not easily understandable when looking at a single plant, but it may constitute a competitive advantage at the ecosystem level. We hypothesize that by making the top soil hydrophobic, deep-rooted plants avoid competititon with shallow-rooted plants. To test this hypothesis we used an individual-based model to simulate water uptake and growth of two virtual plant species, one deep-rooted plant capable of making the soil hydrophobic and a shallow-rooted plant. We ran scenarios with different precipitation regimes ranging from dry to wet (350, 700, and 1400 mm total annual precipitation) and from high to low precipitation frequencies (1, 7, and 14 days). Plant species abundance and biomass were chosen as indicators for competitiveness of plant species. At constant precipitation frequency mucilage hydrophobicity lead to a benefit in biomass and abundance of the tap-rooted population. Under wet conditions this effect diminished and tap-rooted plants were less productive. Without this trait both species coexisted. The effect of root exudation trait remained constant under different precipitation frequencies. This study shows that mucilage secretion is a competitive trait for the acquisition of water. This advantage is achieved by the modification of the soil hydraulic properties and specifically by inducing water repellency in soil regions which are shared with other species.
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    Rapid Prediction of Moisture Content in Intact Green Coffee Beans Using Near Infrared Spectroscopy 

    Adnan, Adnan; Hörsten, Dieter von; Pawelzik, Elke; Mörlein, Daniel
    Foods 2017; 6(6)
    Moisture content (MC) is one of the most important quality parameters of green coffee beans. Therefore, its fast and reliable measurement is necessary. This study evaluated the feasibility of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and chemometrics for rapid and non-destructive prediction of MC in intact green coffee beans of both Coffea arabica (Arabica) and Coffea canephora (Robusta) species. Diffuse reflectance (log 1/R) spectra of intact beans were acquired using a bench top Fourier transform NIR instrument. MC was determined gravimetrically according to The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 6673. Samples were split into subsets for calibration (n = 64) and independent validation (n = 44). A three-component partial least squares regression (PLSR) model using raw NIR spectra yielded a root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) of 0.80% MC; a four component PLSR model using scatter corrected spectra yielded a RMSEP of 0.57% MC. A simplified PLS model using seven selected wavelengths (1155, 1212, 1340, 1409, 1724, 1908, and 2249 nm) yielded a similar accuracy (RMSEP: 0.77% MC) which opens the possibility of creating cheaper NIR instruments. In conclusion, NIR diffuse reflectance spectroscopy appears to be suitable for rapid and reliable MC prediction in intact green coffee; no separate model for Arabica and Robusta species is needed.
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    The Effects of Cropping Regimes on Fungal and Bacterial Communities of Wheat and Faba Bean in a Greenhouse Pot Experiment Differ between Plant Species and Compartment 

    Granzow, Sandra; Kaiser, Kristin; Wemheuer, Bernd; Pfeiffer, Birgit; Daniel, Rolf; Vidal, Stefan; Wemheuer, Franziska
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2017; 8: Art. 902
    Many bacteria and fungi in the plant rhizosphere and endosphere are beneficial to plant nutrient acquisition, health, and growth. Although playing essential roles in ecosystem functioning, our knowledge about the effects of multiple cropping regimes on the plant microbiome and their interactions is still limited. Here, we designed a pot experiment simulating different cropping regimes. For this purpose, wheat and faba bean plants were grown under controlled greenhouse conditions in monocultures and in two intercropping regimes: row and mixed intercropping. Bacterial and fungal communities in bulk and rhizosphere soils as well as in the roots and aerial plant parts were analyzed using large-scale metabarcoding. We detected differences in microbial richness and diversity between the cropping regimes. Generally, observed effects were attributed to differences between mixed and row intercropping or mixed intercropping and monoculture. Bacterial and fungal diversity were significantly higher in bulk soil samples of wheat and faba bean grown in mixed compared to row intercropping. Moreover, microbial communities varied between crop species and plant compartments resulting in different responses of these communities toward cropping regimes. Leaf endophytes were not affected by cropping regime but bacterial and fungal community structures in bulk and rhizosphere soil as well as fungal community structures in roots. We further recorded highly complex changes in microbial interactions. The number of negative inter-domain correlations between fungi and bacteria decreased in bulk and rhizosphere soil in intercropping regimes compared to monocultures due to beneficial effects. In addition, we observed plant species-dependent differences indicating that intra- and interspecific competition between plants had different effects on the plant species and thus on their associated microbial communities. To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating microbial communities in different plant compartments with respect to multiple cropping regimes using large-scale metabarcoding. Although a simple design simulating different cropping regimes was used, obtained results contribute to the understanding how cropping regimes affect bacterial and fungal communities and their interactions in different plant compartments. Nonetheless, we need field experiments to properly quantify observed effects in natural ecosystems.
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    Microbial Metabolism in Soil at Subzero Temperatures: Adaptation Mechanisms Revealed by Position-Specific 13C Labeling 

    Bore, Ezekiel K.; Apostel, Carolin; Halicki, Sara; Kuzyakov, Yakov; Dippold, Michaela A.
    Frontiers in Microbiology 2017; 8: Art. 946
    Although biogeochemical models designed to simulate carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics in high-latitude ecosystems incorporate extracellular parameters, molecular and biochemical adaptations of microorganisms to freezing remain unclear. This knowledge gap hampers estimations of the C balance and ecosystem feedback in high-latitude regions. To analyze microbial metabolism at subzero temperatures, soils were incubated with isotopomers of position-specifically 13C-labeled glucose at three temperatures: C5 (control), 􀀀5, and 􀀀20 C. 13C was quantified in CO2, bulk soil, microbial biomass, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) after 1, 3, and 10 days and also after 30 days for samples at 􀀀20 C. Compared to C5 C, CO2 decreased 3- and 10-fold at 􀀀5 and 􀀀20 C, respectively. High 13C recovery in CO2 from the C-1 position indicates dominance of the pentose phosphate pathway at C5 C. In contrast, increased oxidation of the C-4 position at subzero temperatures implies a switch to glycolysis. A threefold higher 13C recovery in microbial biomass at 􀀀5 than C5 C points to synthesis of intracellular compounds such as glycerol and ethanol in response to freezing. Less than 0.4% of 13C was recovered in DOC after 1 day, demonstrating complete glucose uptake by microorganisms even at 􀀀20 C. Consequently, we attribute the fivefold higher extracellular 13C in soil than in microbial biomass to secreted antifreeze compounds. This suggests that with decreasing temperature, intracellular antifreeze protection is complemented by extracellular mechanisms to avoid cellular damage by crystallizing water. The knowledge of sustained metabolism at subzero temperatures will not only be useful for modeling global C dynamics in ecosystems with periodically or permanently frozen soils, but will also be important in understanding and controlling the adaptive mechanisms of food spoilage organisms.
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    The crystal structure of Erwinia amylovora AmyR, a member of the YbjN protein family, shows similarity to type III secretion chaperones but suggests different cellular functions 

    Bartho, Joseph D.; Bellini, Dom; Wuerges, Jochen; Demitri, Nicola; Toccafondi, Mirco; Schmitt, Armin O.; Zhao, Youfu; Walsh, Martin A.; Benini, Stefano
    PLOS ONE 2017; 12(4): Art. e0176049
    AmyR is a stress and virulence associated protein from the plant pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae species Erwinia amylovora, and is a functionally conserved ortholog of YbjN from Escherichia coli. The crystal structure of E. amylovora AmyR reveals a class I type III secretion chaperone-like fold, despite the lack of sequence similarity between these two classes of protein and lacking any evidence of a secretion-associated role. The results indicate that AmyR, and YbjN proteins in general, function through protein-protein interactions without any enzymatic action. The YbjN proteins of Enterobacteriaceae show remarkably low sequence similarity with other members of the YbjN protein family in Eubacteria, yet a high level of structural conservation is observed. Across the YbjN protein family sequence conservation is limited to residues stabilising the protein core and dimerization interface, while interacting regions are only conserved between closely related species. This study presents the first structure of a YbjN protein from Enterobacteriaceae, the most highly divergent and well-studied subgroup of YbjN proteins, and an in-depth sequence and structural analysis of this important but poorly understood protein family.
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    Evaluation of three molecular markers for identification of European primary parasitoids of cereal aphids and their hyperparasitoids 

    Ye, Zhengpei; Vollhardt, Ines M. G.; Tomanovic, Zeljko; Traugott, Michael
    PLOS ONE 2017; 12(5): Art. e0177376
    Aphids are major pests of cereal crops and a suite of hymenopteran primary parasitoids play an important role in regulating their populations. However, hyperparasitoids may disrupt the biocontrol services provided by primary parasitoids. As such, understanding cereal aphid-primary parasitoid-hyperparasitoid interactions is vital for a reliable parasitoid-based control of cereal aphids. For this, the ability to identify the different primary and hyperparasitoid species is necessary. Unfortunately, this is often difficult due to a lack of morphologically diagnostic features. DNA sequence-based species identification of parasitoids can overcome these hurdles. However, comprehensive DNA sequence information is lacking for many of these groups, particularly for hyperparasitoids. Here we evaluate three genes [cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), 16S ribosomal RNA (16S) and 18S ribosomal RNA (18S)] for their suitability to identify 24 species of primary parasitoids and 16 species of hyperparasitoids associated with European cereal aphids. To identify aphelinid primary parasitoid species and hyperparasitoids, we found 16S to be more suitable compared to COI sequences. In contrast, the Aphidiinae are best identified using COI due to better species-level resolution and a more comprehensive DNA sequence database compared to 16S. The 18S gene was better suited for group-specific identification of parasitoids, but did not provide resolution at the species level. Our results provide a DNA sequence database for cereal aphid primary parasitoids and their associated hyperparasitoids in Central Europe, which will allow further improvement of our understanding of cereal aphid-primary parasitoid-hyperparasitoid interactions in relation to aphid biological control.
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    Plasma-Based Degradation of Mycotoxins Produced by Fusarium, Aspergillus and Alternaria Species 

    ten Bosch, Lars; Pfohl, Katharina; Avramidis, Georg; Wieneke, Stephan; Viöl, Wolfgang; Karlovsky, Petr
    Toxins 2017; 9(3)
    The efficacy of cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAPP) with ambient air as working gas for the degradation of selected mycotoxins was studied. Deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, enniatins, fumonisin B1, and T2 toxin produced by Fusarium spp., sterigmatocystin produced by Aspergillus spp. and AAL toxin produced by Alternaria alternata were used. The kinetics of the decay of mycotoxins exposed to plasma discharge was monitored. All pure mycotoxins exposed to CAPP were degraded almost completely within 60 s. Degradation rates varied with mycotoxin structure: fumonisin B1 and structurally related AAL toxin were degraded most rapidly while sterigmatocystin exhibited the highest resistance to degradation. As compared to pure compounds, the degradation rates of mycotoxins embedded in extracts of fungal cultures on rice were reduced to a varying extent. Our results show that CAPP efficiently degrades pure mycotoxins, the degradation rates vary with mycotoxin structure, and the presence of matrix slows down yet does not prevent the degradation. CAPP appears promising for the decontamination of food commodities with mycotoxins confined to or enriched on surfaces such as cereal grains.
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    Validation of blood vitamin A concentrations in cattle: comparison of a new cow-side test (iCheck™ FLUORO) with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) 

    Raila, Jens; Kawashima, Chiho; Sauerwein, Helga; Hülsmann, Nadine; Knorr, Christoph; Myamoto, Akio; Schweigert, Florian J.
    BMC Veterinary Research 2017; 13(1): Art. 126
    Abstract Background Plasma concentration of retinol is an accepted indicator to assess the vitamin A (retinol) status in cattle. However, the determination of vitamin A requires a time consuming multi-step procedure, which needs specific equipment to perform extraction, centrifugation or saponification prior to high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Methods The concentrations of retinol in whole blood (n = 10), plasma (n = 132) and serum (n = 61) were measured by a new rapid cow-side test (iCheck™ FLUORO) and compared with those by HPLC in two independent laboratories in Germany (DE) and Japan (JP). Results Retinol concentrations in plasma ranged from 0.033 to 0.532 mg/L, and in serum from 0.043 to 0.360 mg/L (HPLC method). No significant differences in retinol levels were observed between the new rapid cow-side test and HPLC performed in different laboratories (HPLC vs. iCheck™ FLUORO: 0.320 ± 0.047 mg/L vs. 0.333 ± 0.044 mg/L, and 0.240 ± 0.096 mg/L vs. 0.241 ± 0.069 mg/L, lab DE and lab JP, respectively). A similar comparability was observed when whole blood was used (HPLC vs. iCheck™ FLUORO: 0.353 ± 0.084 mg/L vs. 0.341 ± 0.064 mg/L). Results showed a good agreement between both methods based on correlation coefficients of r2 = 0.87 (P < 0.001) and Bland-Altman blots revealed no significant bias for all comparison. Conclusions With the new rapid cow-side test (iCheck™ FLUORO) retinol concentrations in cattle can be reliably assessed within a few minutes and directly in the barn using even whole blood without the necessity of prior centrifugation. The ease of the application of the new rapid cow-side test and its portability can improve the diagnostic of vitamin A status and will help to control vitamin A supplementation in specific vitamin A feeding regimes such as used to optimize health status in calves or meat marbling in Japanese Black cattle.
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    Noise and accustomation: A pilot study of trained assessors’ olfactory performance 

    Trautmann, Johanna; Meier-Dinkel, Lisa; Gertheiss, Jan; Mörlein, Daniel
    PLOS ONE 2017; 12(4): Art. e0174697
    While recent studies suggest an influence of noise on olfactory performance, it is unclear as to what extent the influence varies between subjects who are accustomed to noise and those who are not. Two groups of panelists were selected: a University panel usually working under silent conditions and an abattoir panel usually working on the slaughter line with abattoir noise. Odor discrimination, odor identification, and odor detection thresholds were studied. Furthermore, a sensory quality control task using 40 boar samples was performed. All tests were accomplished both with and without extraneous noise recorded at an abattoir (70 dB) using headphones. Contrary to the researchers' expectations, abattoir noise hardly affected the olfactory tests nor was the quality control task impaired. Abattoir noise did not influence the perceived intensity of boar taint and the classification results of the testers, regardless of whether they were accustomed to such noise or not. The results indicate that sensory quality control can be conducted in a manufacturing environment with constant noise without diminishing the assessors' performance.
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    Targeted endomyocardial biopsy guided by real-time cardiovascular magnetic resonance 

    Unterberg-Buchwald, Christina; Ritter, Christian O.; Reupke, Verena; Wilke, Robin N.; Stadelmann, Christine; Steinmetz, Michael; Schuster, Andreas; Hasenfuß, Gerd; Lotz, Joachim; Uecker, Martin
    Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2017; 19(1): Art. 45
    Abstract Background Endomyocardial biopsies (EMB) are an important diagnostic tool for myocarditis and other infiltrative cardiac diseases. Routinely, biopsies are obtained under fluoroscopic guidance with a substantial radiation burden. Despite procedural success, there is a large sampling error caused by missing the affected myocardium. Therefore, multiple (>6) biopsies are taken in the clinical setting. In cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) depicts areas of affected myocardium in myocarditis or in other infiltrative cardiomyopathies. Thus, targeted biopsy under real-time CMR image guidance might reduce the problem of sampling error. Methods Seven minipigs of the Goettingen strain underwent radiofrequency ablation in the left ventricle. At least two focal lesions were induced on the lateral wall in five and the apex in two animals. Each ablation lesion was created by two consecutive 30 sec ablations (max. 30 W, temperature 60–64 °C). Biopsies were taken immediately after lesion induction using a commercially available 7 F conventional bioptome under fluoroscopic guidance at the ablation site. Afterwards the animals underwent CMR and lesion visualization by LGE at 3T. The lesions were then targeted and biopsied under CMR-guidance using a MR-conditional bioptome guided by a steerable catheter. Interactive real-time (RT) visualization of the intervention on an in-room monitor was based on radial FLASH with nonlinear inverse reconstruction (NLINV) at a temporal resolution of 42 ms. All samples underwent a standard histological evaluation. Results Radiofrequency ablation was successful in all animals. Fluoroscopy-guided biopsies were performed with a success rate of 6/6 minipigs - resulting in a nonlethal pericardial effusion in one animal. Visualization of radiofrequency lesions by CMR was successful in 7/7 minipig, i.e. at least one lesion was clearly visible. Localization and tracking of the catheters and the bioptome using interactive control of the imaging plane was achieved in 6/6 MP; however in the animal with a large pericardial effusion after EMB under fluoroscopy no further EMB was attempted for safety reasons. Biopsies under interactive RT-CMR guidance were successfully performed in 5/6 animals, in one animal the bioptome reached the lesion, however the forceps did not cut out a sample. Specimens obtained under CMR guidance contained part of the lesion in 6/15 (40%) myocardial specimens and in 4/5 (80%) animals in which samples were achieved. Conventional biopsies revealed ablation lesions in 4/17 (23.5%) specimens in 3/6 minipigs (50%). Conclusion Focal lesions induced by radiofrequency ablation in a minipig model are a useful tool for CMR-guided biopsy studies. In contrast to fluoroscopy, CMR provides excellent visualization of lesions. Interactive real-time CMR allows excellent passive tracking of the instruments and EMB provides significantly superior sampling accuracy compared to fluoroscopy-guided biopsies. Nonetheless, further improvements of MR-compatible bioptomes and guiding catheters are essential before applying this method in a clinical setting.
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    A comprehensive evaluation of an ELISA for the diagnosis of the two most common ascarids in chickens using plasma or egg yolks 

    Daş, Gürbüz; Hennies, Mark; Sohnrey, Birgit; Rahimian, Shayan; Wongrak, Kalyakorn; Stehr, Manuel; Gauly, Matthias
    Parasites & Vectors 2017; 10(1): Art. 187
    Abstract Background Classical faecal egg counts (FEC) provide less reliable diagnostic information for nematode infections in chickens. We developed an ELISA based on Ascaridia galli antigens and tested two hypotheses, as follows: (i) IgY antibodies developed against A. galli will also be useful to identify Heterakis gallinarum infections, and (ii) circulating antibodies stored in egg yolks are as good as plasma samples, so a non-invasive diagnosis is possible. The aim of this study, therefore, was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of the ELISA system with FEC, using both plasma and egg yolks from experimentally infected hens. In addition, naturally infected animals were evaluated to validate the assay. Results The assay quantified large differences (P < 0.001) in plasma or in egg-yolk IgY concentrations between infected and uninfected animals in two experiments, each performed with either of the nematode species. The assay performed with high accuracy as quantified with the area under the ROC curve (AUC) values of > 0.90 for both nematodes using either plasma or egg yolks. Sensitivity of the assay was 94 and 93% with plasma and egg yolk samples, respectively, whereas FEC yielded in a sensitivity of 84% in A. galli experiment. Total test accuracy of the assay with plasma samples (AUC = 0.99) tended to be higher (P = 0.0630) than FEC (AUC = 0.92) for A. galli, while the assay with either sample matrix performed similar to FEC (AUC ≥ 0.91) for H. gallinarum. Among the three tests, the FECs correlated better with A. galli burden than the ELISA. Although 90% of naturally infected hens were correctly identified by the ELISA, 45% of the infected hens tested negative with FEC, indicating the validity of the higher test accuracy of the ELISA. Conclusions Antigens of A. galli can be used successfully to identify H. gallinarum-infected animals, indicating that chickens develop cross-reactive antibodies against the two closely related species. Egg yolks are as informative as plasma samples, so that animal welfare-friendly sampling is possible. Although the assay with plasma samples reveals qualitative information of higher quality than FECs on the infection status of naturally infected birds, the latter is still a better tool to assess the intensity of A. galli but not of H. gallinarum infections.
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    Turnover of microbial groups and cell components in soil: 13C analysis of cellular biomarkers 

    Gunina, Anna; Dippold, Michaela; Glaser, Bruno; Kuzyakov, Yakov
    Biogeosciences 2017; 14(2) p.271-283
    Microorganisms regulate the carbon (C) cycle in soil, controlling the utilization and recycling of organic substances. To reveal the contribution of particular microbial groups to C utilization and turnover within the microbial cells, the fate of 13C-labelled glucose was studied under field conditions. Glucose-derived 13C was traced in cytosol, amino sugars and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) pools at intervals of 3, 10 and 50 days after glucose addition into the soil. 13C enrichment in PLFAs ( 1.5% of PLFA C at day 3) was an order of magnitude greater than in cytosol, showing the importance of cell membranes for initial C utilization. The 13C enrichment in amino sugars of living microorganisms at day 3 accounted for 0.57%of total C pool; as a result, we infer that the replacement of C in cell wall components is 3 times slower than that of cell membranes. The C turnover time in the cytosol (150 days) was 3 times longer than in PLFAs (47 days). Consequently, even though the cytosol pool has the fastest processing rates compared to other cellular compartments, intensive recycling of components here leads to a long C turnover time. Both PLFA and amino-sugar profiles indicated that bacteria dominated in glucose utilization. 13C enrichment decreased with time for bacterial cell membrane components, but it remained constant or even increased for filamentous microorganisms. 13C enrichment of muramic acid was the 3.5 times greater than for galactosamine, showing a more rapid turnover of bacterial cell wall components compared to fungal. Thus, bacteria utilize a greater proportion of lowmolecular- weight organic substances, whereas filamentous microorganisms are responsible for further C transformations. Thus, tracing 13C in cellular compounds with contrasting turnover rates elucidated the role of microbial groups and their cellular compartments in C utilization and recycling in soil. The results also reflect that microbial C turnover is not restricted to the death or growth of new cells. Indeed, even within living cells, highly polymeric cell compounds are constantly replaced and renewed. This is especially important for assessing C fluxes in soil and the contribution of C from microbial residues to soil organic matter
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    American and German attitudes towards cow-calf separation on dairy farms 

    Busch, Gesa; Weary, Daniel M.; Spiller, Achim; von Keyserlingk, Marina A. G.
    PLOS ONE 2017; 12(3): Art. e0174013
    Public concerns regarding the quality of life of farm animals are often focused on specific practices such as separating the cow and calf immediately after birth. The available scientific literature provides some evidence in support of this practice (including reduced acute responses to separation when it does occur), as well as evidence of disadvantages (such as increased risk of uterine disease in cows). The aim of this study is to systematically examine public views around this practice. Specifically, this study analyzes the views of American and German citizens to separation of cow and calf at birth using a quantitative segmentation approach. Although the majority of participants opposed early separation, a small proportion of our sample supported the practice. According to participants' preference for early and later separation and their evaluation of different arguments for both practices, three clusters were identified. US participants were more likely to support early separation compared to German participants. The arguments presented for and against both practices caused different reactions in the three clusters, but did not appear to sway the opinions of most participants. The results show considerable opposition to the practice of early separation in large parts of the sample and suggest that the dairy industry should consider approaches to address this concern.
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    Factors Affecting Leaf Selection by Foregut-fermenting Proboscis Monkeys: New Insight from in vitro Digestibility and Toughness of Leaves 

    Matsuda, Ikki; Clauss, Marcus; Tuuga, Augustine; Sugau, John; Hanya, Goro; Yumoto, Takakazu; Bernard, Henry; Hummel, Jürgen
    Scientific Reports 2017; 7
    Free-living animals must make dietary choices in terms of chemical and physical properties, depending on their digestive physiology and availability of food resources. Here we comprehensively evaluated the dietary choices of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) consuming young leaves. We analysed the data for leaf toughness and digestibility measured by an in vitro gas production method, in addition to previously reported data on nutrient composition. Leaf toughness, in general, negatively correlated with the crude protein content, one of the most important nutritional factors affecting food selection by leaf-eating primates. This result suggests that leaf toughness assessed by oral sensation might be a proximate cue for its protein content. We confirmed the importance of the leaf chemical properties in terms of preference shown by N. larvatus; leaves with high protein content and low neutral detergent fibre levels were preferred to those of the common plant species. We also found that these preferred leaves were less tough and more digestible than the alternatives. Our in vitro results also suggested that N. larvatus were little affected by secondary plant compounds. However, the spatial distribution pattern of plant species was the strongest factor explaining the selection of the preferred leaf species.
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    Improvement of Sorghum Crop through Exogenous Application of Natural Growth-Promoting Substances under a Changing Climate 

    Ahmad, Wahid; Noor, Mehmood; Afzal, Irfan; Bakhtavar, Muhammad; Nawaz, Muhammad; Sun, Xuefang; Zhou, Baoyuan; Ma, Wei; Zhao, Ming
    Sustainability 2016; 8(12)
    High temperature during May to July is a major hurdle for production of sorghum as fodder in Pakistan, ultimately resulting in a deficit with respect to the demand of meat and milk for increasing population. A field study was conducted to investigate the impact of exogenous application of natural plant growth-promoting substances on forage yield and quality of sorghum. Seed priming and foliar application (alone or in combination) with 1% sorghum water extract (SWE), 3% moringa leaf extract (MLE) and water were applied. Two foliar applications, the first at one month after sowing and the second at 45 days after sowing were carried out. Untreated seeds were used as control. The results indicated that priming and foliar spray performed best in combination as compared to priming or foliar application alone. All MLE applications (priming plus foliar application, priming alone, foliar spray alone) enhanced growth parameters and chlorophyll contents, which ultimately improved forage yield and total dry matter production of sorghum plants. An increase in crude protein and total ash and decrease in crude fiber was also recorded in plants treated with MLE. The results of this study revealed that exogenous application of MLE at 3% concentration (priming plus foliar application, priming alone, foliar spray alone) significantly enhanced the yield through improvement in sorghum growth.
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    New opportunities for the integration of microorganisms into biological pest control systems in greenhouse crops 

    Gonzalez, Francisco; Tkaczuk, Cezary; Dinu, Mihaela Monica; Fiedler, Żaneta; Vidal, Stefan; Zchori-Fein, Einat; Messelink, Gerben J.
    Journal of Pest Science 2016; 89(2) p.295-311
    Biological pest control with mass-produced arthropod natural enemies is well developed in greenhouse crops and has often resulted in the evolution of complex ecosystems with persistent populations of multiple arthropod natural enemy species. However, there are cases where arthropod natural enemies are either not effective enough, not available, or their use is rather costly. For these reasons, biological control based on microorganisms, also referred to as ‘microbials’, represents a complementary strategy for further development. Although commercially available microbials have been around for quite some time, research on and the applied use of combinations of arthropod natural enemies and microbials have remained relatively under explored. Here, we review current uses of entomopathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses, and their possible direct and indirect effects on arthropod natural enemies in European greenhouses. We discuss how microbials might be combined with arthropod natural enemies in the light of new methodologies and technologies such as conservation biological control, greenhouse climate management, and formulation and delivery. Furthermore, we explore the possibilities of using other microorganisms for biological control, such as endophytes, and the need to understand the effect of insect-associated microorganisms, or symbionts, on the success of biological control. Finally, we suggest future research directions to optimize the combined use of microbials and arthropod natural enemies in greenhouse production.
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