16 research outputs found

    Looking beyond endotoxin: a comparative study of pyrogen retention by ultrafilters used for the preparation of sterile dialyis fluid

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    Sterile single-use ultrafilters are used in dialysis for the preparation of the substitution fluid given to patients undergoing dialysis treatments with high convective fluid removal. The retention of pyrogenic agents by the ultrafilters is crucial to avoiding inflammatory responses. The performance of a new single-use ultrafilter (NUF) with a positively charged flat sheet membrane of relatively small membrane area and large pore size was compared to a reference ultrafilter (RUF) with a hollow fiber membrane. Filter performance was tested with various pyrogen-contaminated dialysis fluids by direct pyrogen quantification and by measuring inflammatory responses in cell-based bioassays. The NUF completely retained oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN), whereas the RUF was fully permeable. Both filters tended to decrease biological activity of DNA in filtered bacterial lysates. The NUF reduced lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and LPS-induced biological activity by 100%, whereas the RUF produced filtrates with low but detectable levels of LPS in most cases. Peptidoglycans (PGN) were fully retained both by the NUF and the RUF. The new ultrafilter retained biologically active ODN, which has not yet been described for any other device used in dialysis, and it showed better or equal retention of LPS and PGN even with a smaller membrane surface and larger pore size

    The GenTree Platform: growth traits and tree-level environmental data in 12 European forest tree species

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    Background: Progress in the field of evolutionary forest ecology has been hampered by the huge challenge of phenotyping trees across their ranges in their natural environments, and the limitation in high-resolution environmental information. Findings: The GenTree Platform contains phenotypic and environmental data from 4,959 trees from 12 ecologically and economically important European forest tree species: Abies alba Mill. (silver fir), Betula pendula Roth. (silver birch), Fagus sylvatica L. (European beech), Picea abies (L.) H. Karst (Norway spruce), Pinus cembra L. (Swiss stone pine), Pinus halepensis Mill. (Aleppo pine), Pinus nigra Arnold (European black pine), Pinus pinaster Aiton (maritime pine), Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine), Populus nigra L. (European black poplar), Taxus baccata L. (English yew), and Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. (sessile oak). Phenotypic (height, diameter at breast height, crown size, bark thickness, biomass, straightness, forking, branch angle, fructification), regeneration, environmental in situ measurements (soil depth, vegetation cover, competition indices), and environmental modeling data extracted by using bilinear interpolation accounting for surrounding conditions of each tree (precipitation, temperature, insolation, drought indices) were obtained from trees in 194 sites covering the species’ geographic ranges and reflecting local environmental gradients. Conclusion: The GenTree Platform is a new resource for investigating ecological and evolutionary processes in forest trees. The coherent phenotyping and environmental characterization across 12 species in their European ranges allow for a wide range of analyses from forest ecologists, conservationists, and macro-ecologists. Also, the data here presented can be linked to the GenTree Dendroecological collection, the GenTree Leaf Trait collection, and the GenTree Genomic collection presented elsewhere, which together build the largest evolutionary forest ecology data collection available

    Between but not within species variation in the distribution of fitness effects

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    New mutations provide the raw material for evolution and adaptation. The distribution of fitness effects (DFE) describes the spectrum of effects of new mutations that can occur along a genome, and is therefore of vital interest in evolutionary biology. Recent work has uncovered striking similarities in the DFE between closely related species, prompting us to ask whether there is variation in the DFE among populations of the same species, or among species with different degrees of divergence, i.e., whether there is variation in the DFE at different levels of evolution. Using exome capture data from six tree species sampled across Europe we characterised the DFE for multiple species, and for each species, multiple populations, and investigated the factors potentially influencing the DFE, such as demography, population divergence and genetic background. We find statistical support for there being variation in the DFE at the species level, even among relatively closely related species. However, we find very little difference at the population level, suggesting that differences in the DFE are primarily driven by deep features of species biology, and that evolutionarily recent events, such as demographic changes and local adaptation, have little impact

    Methods to describe and predict soil erosion in mountain regions

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    Suitable methods to describe and predict soil degradation in mountain areas with low accessibility, steep topography and extreme climate are urgently needed for suitable planning processes in Alpine regions under global change regime. Aerial photograph mapping has been proven to be a valuable tool in surveying landslide development over time. However, landslides> 10 m(2) as well as sheet erosion have been difficult to detect. Thus, the beginning of potentially heavy soil degradation cannot be tracked with aerial photographs. As an early warning system for soil degradation, we analyzed gradients of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen from upland (erosion source) to wetland soils (erosion sink). Oxic upland soils and anoxic wetlands differ in their isotopic signature, due to differing isotopic fingerprints of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in soils. Gradients of delta N-15 and delta C-13 in soils reflected erosion of material. However, if soils were fertilized with manure, the delta N-15 profiles were obscured. To quantify soil erosion, we noted that existing soil erosion models are generally unsuitable for mountain regions. As a first step, we developed a new modelling concept with a special algorithm for spatial discretization with irregular grids. The latter ensures three-dimensional water flow routing that is controlled by topography and not by the underlying algorithm. Regarding quantification of soil erosion an improvement and validation of existing modelling approaches or development of new models is urgently needed. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved