4 research outputs found

    The Intestinal Microbiota of two Arid-adapted rodents

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    The potential impact of aridity on host-associated microbiomes has been little investigated previously. This study describes the results of bioinformatic and culturing based analysis of a number of faecal samples from two arid-adapted rodent species, Acomys cahirinus and Acomys russatus; from individuals living sympatrically in the Judean Desert, Israel. 81 faecal samples were collected from two sampling points in June and November of 2016, some animals providing a sample on each occasion. These were sequenced and subjected to bioinformatic analysis to determine the taxonomic composition of the faecal microbiota. Metagenomic bins were generated from the reads obtained from the faecal samples and these were used with the faecal reads to determine if there were statistically significant differences between each host species microbiome and within each species between the two sampling months. These bins were also taxonomically identified and functionally annotated to assist with the development of genomic databases by addition of material from a novel host environment. Guided by bioinformatic analysis, targeted isolation of lactic acid bacteria from the Acomys faecal samples was carried out using selective media. From this, 28 distinct lactic acid bacteria isolates were obtained, sequenced and assembled. Putative taxonomic identities for these isolates were obtained, suggesting some are novel species of lactic acid bacteria. 8 of the isolates were also used for halotolerance testing to assess whether an observed host phenotype might also be detected in members of the microbiota. Growth of some isolates on media with 3.5% salinity (comparable to seawater) was observed. Statistically significant differences between the two host species were observed, with limited differences within hosts at each time point. Potentially beneficial functions for the hosts were identified in the faecal microbiome and detected in isolates cultured from faecal samples

    Behavioural regulation of mineral salt intake in the adult worker honey bee, Apis mellifera

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    PhD ThesisHoney bees are important insect pollinators, which social existence displays remarkable physiological and behavioural traits. These are tightly controlled by dietary cues. Detection, selection and ingestion of food entail the regulation of nutrient intake that leads to nutritional homeostasis. This study was motivated by the lack of information on mineral salt feeding preferences and regulation by adult honey bees. Here, in laboratory-based assays, I assessed the behavioural responses associated with feeding behaviour of adult worker honey bees to eight prevalent minerals in pollen (K, Na, Mg, Ca, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn). In Chapter 3, using the classical Proboscis Extension Reflex approach and drinking assays, I tested the gustatory responses of forager bees to single minerals in either water or nectar-like solutions at four levels of concentration. I found that foragers (mixed-age) can detect individual salts/metals mineral salts with responses depending on mineral identity. Overall, bees found low mineral levels in water phagostimulatory. But when in sucrose solutions, only high Mg, Fe and Cu were rejected. In Chapter 4, using choice cohorts, I tested whether newly-emerged bees preferred a “salty” vs. “unsalty” diet and assessed the effects of single minerals on consumption responses and survival over 6 days. I verified that young bees 1) perceived and selected specific minerals in food; 2) showed behavioural regulation of mineral intake, but not all minerals were regulated to the same extent; 3) not all minerals acted as phagostimulants at low levels, but were deterrent at sufficiently high levels. This work is one of the firsts to evaluate gustatory responses of minerals, especially metals, and, to my knowledge, the first to assess the dietary self-selection of salts and metal nutrients in the context of behavioural regulation of intake in adult worker honey bees. The current study lays the groundwork for exploring mineral salt requirements, feeding preferences and regulatory mechanisms of salt intake in honey bees. Keywords: Apis mellifera, workers, taste model, Bertrand’s rule, micronutrients, behavioural regulation, self-selection, gustation.GABBA, Post-Graduate Program in Areas of Basic and Applied Biology (Universidade do Porto) and FCT, Fundação para a Ciênica e Tecnologia (Portugal) for funding my 4-year Scholarshi

    Hypochondriasis : a clinical and nosological study.

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    Shut Up and Take My Money: Engaging Facebook Communities to Build the Brand Narrative

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    Social media is revolutionizing the way firms manage their brands. A broad variety of platforms provide businesses an opportunity to engage in bidirectional dialogue with their customers, the effect of which is to enhance the brand/consumer relationship. This paper contends that virtual brand communities of the type that form through social media have an important role to play in the development of a brand’s personality. Using a case study approach we demonstrate how one firm has adopted Facebook to provide their brand community with a voice which contributes to the development of the brand narrative. We find that by using well-crafted content the firm elicits the support of their community and that this interaction contributes to the development of the brand ethos