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    Humans can identify reward-related call types of chickens

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    Humans can decode emotional information from vocalizations of animals. However, little is known if these interpretations relate to the ability of humans to identify if calls were made in a rewarded or non-rewarded context. We tested whether humans could identify calls made by chickens (Gallus gallus) in these contexts, and whether demographic factors or experience with chickens affected their correct identification context and the ratings of perceived positive and negative emotions (valence) and excitement (arousal) of chickens. Participants (n = 194) listened to eight calls when chickens were anticipating a reward, and eight calls in non-rewarded contexts, and indicated whether the vocalizing chicken was experiencing pleasure/displeasure, and high/low excitement, using visual analogue scales. Sixty-nine per cent of participants correctly assigned reward and non-reward calls to their respective categories. Participants performed better at categorizing reward-related calls, with 71% of reward calls classified correctly, compared with 67% of non-reward calls. Older people were less accurate in context identification. Older people's ratings of the excitement or arousal levels of reward-related calls were higher than younger people's ratings, while older people rated non-reward calls as representing higher positive emotions or pleasure (higher valence) compared to ratings made by younger people. Our study strengthens evidence that humans perceive emotions across different taxa, and that specific acoustic cues may embody a homologous signalling system among vertebrates. Importantly, humans could identify reward-related calls, and this ability could enhance the management of farmed chickens to improve their welfare

    Back to basics:Nanomodulating calcium silicate hydrate gels to mitigate CO<sub>2</sub> footprint of concrete industry

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    To realize the sustainable development of concrete, it is vital to mitigate its consumption and environmental footprint (especially CO2 footprint) from prolonging the service life through upgrading mechanical and durable performances of concrete. Incorporating nanofillers can effectively tailor the microstructures and performances of bulk cement paste and cement paste at interfacial transition zone in concrete. The hydrated calcium silicate (C–S–H) gels account for half of the volume of hardened Portland cement pastes, and they are the fundamental source of overall properties of concrete. However, the underlying mechanisms of nanofillers on C–S–H gels remains unclear. Herein, this paper underpinned the role of 5 types of representative nanofillers in tailoring the nanostructure of C–S–H gels in cement composites. The research results demonstrated that through the nano-core effect, nanofillers induce the formation of two new C–S–H gels in outer hydration products, namely nano-core-shell element doped low-density C–S–H (NEDLD C–S–H) and nano-core-shell element doped high-density C–S–H (NEDHD C–S–H). The indentation modulus/hardness of NEDLD and NEDHD C–S–H reaches 25.4/0.80 GPa and 46.7/2.72 GPa, respectively. Such superior performances of NEDLD and NEDHD C–S–H derive from the existence of nano-core-shell elements in C–S–H gels rather than the increase in C–S–H packing density. In a short-range, nanofillers form nano-core-shell elements by adsorbing silica tetrahedrons during the hydration process, improving the mechanical properties of C–S–H basic building blocks. In the long-range, the nano-core-shell elements modify the nano-scale performances of C–S–H gels in outer hydration products due to the increase of C–S–H gels’ integrality.</p

    Driving sustainable circular economy in electronics: A comprehensive review on environmental life cycle assessment of e-waste recycling

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    E-waste, encompassing discarded materials from outdated electronic equipment, often ends up intermixed with municipal solid waste, leading to improper disposal through burial and incineration. This improper handling releases hazardous substances into water, soil, and air, posing significant risks to ecosystems and human health, ultimately entering the food chain and water supply. Formal e-waste recycling, guided by circular economy models and zero-discharge principles, offers potential solutions to this critical challenge. However, implementing a circular economy for e-waste management due to chemical and energy consumption may cause environmental impacts. Consequently, advanced sustainability assessment tools, such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), have been applied to investigate e-waste management strategies. While LCA is a standardized methodology, researchers have employed various routes for environmental assessment of different e-waste management methods. However, to the authors’ knowledge, there lacks a comprehensive study focusing on LCA studies to discern the opportunities and limitations of this method in formal e-waste management strategies. Hence, this review aims to survey the existing literature on the LCA of e-waste management under a circular economy, shedding light on the current state of research, identifying research gaps, and proposing future research directions. It first explains various methods of managing e-waste in the circular economy. This review then evaluates and scrutinizes the LCA approach in implementing the circular bioeconomy for e-waste management. Finally, it proposes frameworks and procedures to enhance the applicability of the LCA method to future e-waste management research. The literature on the LCA of e-waste management reveals a wide variation in implementing LCA in formal e-waste management, resulting in diverse results and findings in this field. This paper underscores that LCA can pinpoint the environmental hotspots for various pathways of formal e-waste recycling, particularly focusing on metals. It can help address these concerns and achieve greater sustainability in e-waste recycling, especially in pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical pathways. The recovery of high-value metals is more environmentally justified compared to other metals. However, biometallurgical pathways remain limited in terms of environmental studies. Despite the potential for recycling e-waste into plastic or glass, there is a dearth of robust background in LCA studies within this sector. This review concludes that LCA can offer valuable insights for decision-making and policy processes on e-waste management, promoting environmentally sound e-waste recycling practices. However, the accuracy of LCA results in e-waste recycling, owing to data requirements, subjectivity, impact category weighting, and other factors, remains debatable, emphasizing the need for more uncertainty analysis in this field

    Whole-genome resource sequences of 57 indigenous Ethiopian goats

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    Domestic goats are distributed worldwide, with approximately 35% of the one billion world goat population occurring in Africa. Ethiopia has 52.5 million goats, ~99.9% of which are considered indigenous landraces deriving from animals introduced to the Horn of Africa in the distant past by nomadic herders. They have continued to be managed by smallholder farmers and semi-mobile pastoralists throughout the region. We report here 57 goat genomes from 12 Ethiopian goat populations sampled from different agro-climates. The data were generated through sequencing DNA samples on the Illumina NovaSeq 6000 platform at a mean depth of 9.71x and 150 bp pair-end reads. In total, ~2 terabytes of raw data were generated, and 99.8% of the clean reads mapped successfully against the goat reference genome assembly at a coverage of 99.6%. About 24.76 million SNPs were generated. These SNPs can be used to study the population structure and genome dynamics of goats at the country, regional, and global levels to shed light on the species' evolutionary trajectory.</p

    Unlocking the potential: A paradigm-shifting approach for valorizing lignocellulosic waste biomass of constructed wetland enabling environmental and societal sustainability

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    Constructed wetlands (CWs) are widely recognized as nature-based solutions for wastewater treatment, offering various socio-economic and ecological benefits. However, the sustainable management and disposal of waste biomass generated from CWs have received limited attention. Owing to the rich lignocellulosic proportions, the harvested vegetation can potentially serve as a feedstock for various value-added products, including natural fiber-reinforced polymeric composites (NFRPCs). In this context, for the first time, we present a comprehensive review exploring different valorization routes employed to gainfully utilize waste biomass from CWs. The study discusses various value-added products developed so far from the waste biomass of CW. Biogas generation and bioethanol production are the most commonly explored valorization pathways. However, the commercial implementation of these value-added products is stalled by factors such as growth conditions, pretreatment, moisture content, process conditions, and limited energy recovery efficiency. Furthermore, this article introduces a novel class of sustainable materials, namely NFRPCs, developed for the first time by utilizing waste biomass from CWs as a reinforcement element in the polymeric matrix. A detailed analysis of the physical, mechanical, structural, and crystallographic characteristics of Canna indica (CI)-reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites is also discussed to evaluate their pertinence for structural applications. Additionally, we provide an in-depth review of natural-fiber-reinforced polypropylene composites, comprising single-fiber composites, hybrid fiber composites, and composites reinforced with organic/inorganic fillers. This comprehensive review emphasizes the potential of utilizing waste biomass from CWs as a sustainable feedstock for developing NFRPCs. It also highlights the promising prospects of NFRPCs as a sustainable substitute to synthetic fiber-reinforced composites, contributing to a circular economy and a greener future

    A meta-omics approach to explore the biofuel-producing enzyme potential from extreme environmental conditions

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    Geothermally warmed spring water contaminated with decomposed leaf biomass are unique hot spring ecosystems, are expected to support the recycling of various nutrients and to host lignocellulose degrading thermostable enzymes, genes and bacteria. An attempt is made in the present study to explore CAZymes in a carbohydrate-contaminated unique environment at Deulajhari spring through a multi-omics approach using an indigenous consortium developed from the spring sediment. Co-assembly of shotgun metagenome and metatranscriptome libraries from the Deulajhari hot spring consortia sample recovered seventeen refined, high-quality near-complete genomes. The predominant recovery of thermophilic aerobic chemo-heterotrophic Meiothermus and Rhodothermus has been observed through genome reconstruction. The reported production of an array of enzymes, including xylanase, β-xylosidase, endoglucanase and polysaccharide deacetylase, establishes their lignocellulose-degrading ability. The unexpected strong positive correlation between predominating Meiothermus and less prevailing members of Acetobacteraceae, unclassified Gaiellaceae, unclassified Burkholderiaceae and Tepidimonas of the consortium signifies their unexplored role in biomass degradation. Furthermore, the synergistic involvement of the diverse enzymes represented by a vast gene repertoire is responsible for the degradation of complex plant polysaccharides by the group of bacteria. The novelty of the present study stems from the identification of a diverse range of potential lignocellulose-digesting enzymes expressed by the bacterial consortium. This finding emphasizes the significant potential of these enzymes in facilitating industrial-scale production of biofuel, making it a notable contribution to the field.</p

    Overexpression and nonsynonymous mutations of UDP-glycosyltransferases are potentially associated with pyrethroid resistance in Anopheles funestus

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    UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) enzymes are pivotal in insecticide resistance by transforming hydrophobic substrates into more hydrophilic forms for efficient cell elimination. This study provides the first comprehensive investigation of Anopheles funestus UGT genes, their evolution, and their association with pyrethroid resistance. We employed a genome-wide association study using pooled sequencing (GWAS-PoolSeq) and transcriptomics on pyrethroid-resistant An. funestus, along with deep-targeted sequencing of UGTs in 80 mosquitoes Africa-wide. UGT310B2 was consistently overexpressed Africa-wide and significant gene-wise Fst differentiation was observed between resistant and susceptible populations: UGT301C2 and UGT302A3 in Malawi, and UGT306C2 in Uganda. Additionally, nonsynonymous mutations in UGT genes were identified. Gene-wise Tajima's D density curves provide insights into population structures within populations across these countries, supporting previous observations. These findings have important implications for current An. funestus control strategies facilitating the prediction of cross-resistance to other UGT-metabolised polar insecticides, thereby guiding more effective and targeted insecticide resistance management efforts.</p

    Exploring the role of nanocellulose as potential sustainable material for enhanced oil recovery:New paradigm for a circular economy

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    Presently, due to growing global energy demand and depletion of existing oil reservoirs, oil industry is focussing on development of novel and effective ways to enhance crude oil recovery and exploration of new oil reserves, which are typically found in challenging environment and require deep drilling in high temperature and high-pressure regime. The nanocelluloses with numerous advantages such as high temperature and pressure stability, ecofriendly nature, excellent rheology modifying ability, interfacial tension reduction capability, etc., have shown a huge potential in oil recovery over conventional chemicals and macro/micro sized biopolymers-based approach. In present review, an attempt has been made to thoroughly investigate the potential of nanocellulose (cellulose nanocrystals/nanofibers) in development of drilling fluid and in enhancement of oil recovery. The impact of various factors such as nanocellulose shape, charge density, inter-particle or inter-fibers interactions after surface functionalization, rheometer geometries, additives, post processing techniques, etc., which provides insight into the attributes of nanocellulose suspension and exemplify their behaviour during oil recovery have also been reviewed and discussed. Finally, the conclusion and challenges in utility of nanocellulose for oilfield applications are addressed. Knowing how to adjust/quantify nanocrystals/nanofibers shape and size; and monitor their interactions might promote their utility in oilfield industry.</p

    Das, Saikat Ranjan

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    Monitoring Scottish salmon mortality - Production cycle level DLMs

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    R codes created for monitoring monthly mortality of maricultured Atlantic salmon in Scotland. Environmental variables were added to enhanced the estimates of mortality

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