21,779 research outputs found

    Association of Staphylococcus aureus genotypes with milk or colonization of extramammary sites in Dutch dairy cattle indicates strain variation in reservoirs for intramammary infections

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    Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a major mastitis pathogen with a detrimental impact on udder health in dairy cattle. Although S. aureus is generally classified as a contagious mastitis pathogen, control measures aimed at preventing contagious transmission are not always effective. Previous studies showed that various extramammary sites can be colonized with S. aureus and could be a reservoir for S. aureus intramammary infections (IMI). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of S. aureus extramammary site colonization in Dutch dairy cattle and to compare the spa genotypes of S. aureus isolates from IMI to spa genotypes of isolates from extramammary sites. Six herds were visited and from cows with a composite milk somatic cell count ≥200,000 cells/mL quarter milk samples and swabs from various extramammary sites (hock, groin, udder cleft, nares, and feces) were taken. Extramammary site samples were processed by a two-step high salt selective culture and presence of S. aureus was confirmed by femA PCR. S. aureus isolates from milk and extramammary sites were compared by spa typing. The cow level colonization varied from 0% to 73%, and the prevalence of IMI in the sampled cows varied from 0% to 61% between herds. The extramammary site with the highest prevalence of colonization was the hock (23%) and the lowest prevalence of colonization was found for the nares (5%) and feces (5%). Spa typing of S. aureus isolates from either extramammary sites or milk showed that in most herds there were one or two predominant S. aureus spa genotypes present. Different S. aureus spa genotypes could be categorized into three groups based on the distribution between milk or extramammary sites: i) predominantly milk associated, ii) associated with both milk and extramammary sites, and iii) associated with extramammary sites. In conclusion, we showed that the prevalence of extramammary site colonization differed significantly between herds and extramammary sites and that specific S. aureus spa genotypes were associated with milk (IMI) or extramammary site colonization. Extramammary S. aureus reservoirs could be a source for IMI that cannot be eradicated by intervention measures aimed at contagious mastitis pathogens

    Food biodiversity: Quantifying the unquantifiable in human diets

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    Dietary diversity is an established public health principle, and its measurement is essential for studies of diet quality and food security. However, conventional between food group scores fail to capture the nutritional variability and ecosystem services delivered by dietary richness and dissimilarity within food groups, or the relative distribution (i.e., evenness or moderation) of e.g., species or varieties across whole diets. Summarizing food biodiversity in an all-encompassing index is problematic. Therefore, various diversity indices have been proposed in ecology, yet these require methodological adaption for integration in dietary assessments. In this narrative review, we summarize the key conceptual issues underlying the measurement of food biodiversity at an edible species level, assess the ecological diversity indices previously applied to food consumption and food supply data, discuss their relative suitability, and potential amendments for use in (quantitative) dietary intake studies. Ecological diversity indices are often used without justification through the lens of nutrition. To illustrate: (i) dietary species richness fails to account for the distribution of foods across the diet or their functional traits; (ii) evenness indices, such as the Gini-Simpson index, require widely accepted relative abundance units (e.g., kcal, g, cups) and evidence-based moderation weighting factors; and (iii) functional dissimilarity indices are constructed based on an arbitrary selection of distance measures, cutoff criteria, and number of phylogenetic, nutritional, and morphological traits. Disregard for these limitations can lead to counterintuitive results and ambiguous or incorrect conclusions about the food biodiversity within diets or food systems. To ensure comparability and robustness of future research, we advocate food biodiversity indices that: (i) satisfy key axioms; (ii) can be extended to account for disparity between edible species; and (iii) are used in combination, rather than in isolation

    Gender relations in the livestock production in Koinadugu district, Sierra Leone

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    Gender relations are how a culture or society defines men’s and women’s rights, obligations, and identities. In rural agricultural contexts, gender dynamics play an integral role in determining who gets what with respect to livestock ownership, decision-making, and distribution of the associated profits. The study aims to assess gender relations in the management, ownership, and decision-making of small-holder livestock in the Koinadugu district, Sierra Leone. Data were collected from six different chiefdoms located within the Koinadugu district. A total of 267 farmers who raised animals participated in the study. Data were obtained using a semi-structured questionnaire. A statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the collected data. The study result shows that men mainly own cattle, goats, and sheep, while women own poultry. Men contributed more to the following tasks: vaccination, Harding, and selling live animals. At the same time, women participate largely in the following activities, such as cleaning gutters and shades, milking animals, processing, selling milk, and selling eggs. The results also show that men make decisions mainly about assigning tasks to family members, purchasing livestock, cultivating grain, and building animal shades. At the same time, the decision to breed animals and feed animals is greatly influenced by women. However, the decision about hiring labor, the treatment of animals, the purchase of feed and concentrate, the sale of live animals, and the size of the herd are influenced by both men and women. Therefore, it is vital to create and enact laws and policies that promote equal rights and opportunities for women so that rural women can contribute significantly to inclusive economic development and the long-term success of the Sierra Leonean livestock industry

    Neuroanatomical and gene expression features of the rabbit accessory olfactory system. Implications of pheromone communication in reproductive behaviour and animal physiology

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    Mainly driven by the vomeronasal system (VNS), pheromone communication is involved in many species-specific fundamental innate socio-sexual behaviors such as mating and fighting, which are essential for animal reproduction and survival. Rabbits are a unique model for studying chemocommunication due to the discovery of the rabbit mammary pheromone, but paradoxically there has been a lack of knowledge regarding its VNS pathway. In this work, we aim at filling this gap by approaching the system from an integrative point of view, providing extensive anatomical and genomic data of the rabbit VNS, as well as pheromone-mediated reproductive and behavioural studies. Our results build strong foundation for further translational studies which aim at implementing the use of pheromones to improve animal production and welfare

    Exploring Potential Domains of Agroecological Transformation in the United States

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    There is now substantial evidence that agroecology constitutes a necessary pathway towards socially just and ecologically resilient agrifood systems. In the United States, however, agroecology remains relegated to the margins of research and policy spaces. This dissertation explores three potential domains of agroecological transformation in the US. Domains of transformation are sites of contestation in which agroecology interfaces with the industrial agrifood system; these material and conceptual spaces may point to important pathways for scaling agroecology. To explore this concept, I examine formal agroecology education (Chapter 1), extension services and statewide discourses around soil health (Chapter 2), and models of farmland access not based on private property (Chapter 3). While these constitute three distinct topics, I seek to demonstrate that they are linked by similar forces that enable and constrain the extent to which these domains can be sites of agroecological transformation. First, I use case study methodology to explore the evolution of an advanced undergraduate agroecology course at the University of Vermont. I examine how course content and pedagogy align with a transformative framing of agroecology as inherently transdisciplinary, participatory, action-oriented, and political. I find that student-centered pedagogies and experiential education on farms successfully promote transformative learning whereby students shift their understanding of agrifood systems and their role(s) within them. In my second chapter, I zoom out to consider soil health discourses amongst farmers and extension professionals in Vermont. Using co-created mental models and participatory analysis, I find that a singular notion of soil health based on biological, chemical, and physical properties fails to capture the diverse ways in which farmers and extension professionals understand soil health. I advocate for a principles-based approach to soil health that includes social factors and may provide a valuable heuristic for mobilizing knowledge towards agroecology transition pathways. My third chapter, conducted in collaboration with the national non-profit organization Agrarian Trust, considers equitable farmland access. Through semi-structured interviews with 13 farmers and growers across the US, I explore both farmer motivations for engaging with alternative land access models (ALAMs) and the potential role(s) these models may play within broader transformation processes. I argue that ALAMs constitute material and conceptual ‘third spaces’ within which the private property regime is challenged and new identities and language around land ownership can emerge; as such, ALAMs may facilitate a (re)imagining of land-based social-ecological relationships. I conclude the dissertation by identifying conceptual and practical linkages across the domains explored in Chapters 1-3. I pay particular attention to processes that challenge neoliberal logics, enact plural ways of knowing, and prefigure just futures. In considering these concepts, I apply an expansive notion of pedagogy to explore how processes of teaching and (un)learning can contribute to cultivating foundational capacities for transition processes

    Does Internet use connect smallholder farmers to a healthy diet? Evidence from rural China

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    IntroductionUndernutrition and micronutrient malnutrition remain problems of significant magnitude among small-scale subsistence farmers, posing a serious threat to their health and well-being. Developing a healthy diet can effectively reduce this threat. Fortunately, the Internet can speed up the process.MethodsBased on survey data from 5,114 farm households in nine provinces in China, this study quantitatively assesses the impact of Internet use on the dietary quality of smallholder farmers using OLS regression models and PSM models.Results/Discussion(1) Internet use can significantly contribute to dietary diversity and dietary rationality among smallholder farmers, thus optimizing their dietary structure. (2) Internet use significantly increased the average consumption amounts of milk and its products (2.9 g), fruits (21.5 g), eggs (7.5 g), and vegetables (27.1 g), while also decreasing the intake of salts (1.5 g) and oil (3.8 g). (3) The pull of internet use to improve diet quality is more significant for smallholder households with lower levels of education, older heads of households, and higher household incomes. (4) A possible mechanism is that Internet use increases household income and information access skills of rural residents, thus improving their dietary quality. In summary, governments should further promote Internet penetration in rural areas for health purposes

    The value of local food partnerships: Covid and beyond

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    The Covid-19 pandemic, and – more recently – soaring food prices have focused attention on how local areas meet the challenges of a fractured food system. This report examines the impacts andachievements of Local Food Partnerships (LFPs) and how LFPs embed and amplify their work to deliver both local and national food priorities. LFPs have been uniquely placed to provide systems leadership and practical solutions through the strategic direction and support of the UK-wide Sustainable Food Places (SFP) programme, established a decade prior to the pandemic. LFPs have been able to pivot to respond with agility to an extended period of national crisis and have moved forward to offer a coherent framework for the transition of local food system. The four dimensions of ‘effectiveness’,‘efficiency’, ‘engagement’, and ‘equity’ highlight the value of LFPs to fill the leadership gap on local food issues

    Characteristics of Buffalo Production and Research Systems in Southern Mexico

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    Background: This research aimed to characterize the production units of water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and review the published scientific literature in southeastern Mexico. Methods: Between May and June 2020, a questionnaire was created in Google forms, distributed through social networks, and emailed to buffalo breeders. In addition, a review of different scientific databases on the experimental studies developed in Mexico on buffalo was performed. Results: Data was collected from 8,867 animals from 13 producers located in southeastern Mexico; dual-purpose (milk-meat) is the primary zootechnical purpose (69.24%), and the rest is meat production. The buffalo herd is mainly composed of females (72.09%). Females are used primarily to repopulate the herd and males for meat production. Mortality in adults remained between 2 to 5%. 30.76% of the producers produce milk (495 females) with 5.1 L/d on average. 100% of the producers stated that they transform the milk into dairy products, mainly cheeses and other products. In the case of meat production, 31.97% of the males are fattened based on pastures with a weight range between 400-600 kg at the age of 22 months (range 18-30 months). Between 2012-and 2021, 19 studies related mainly to herd health (63.15%) were registered. Conclusion: It is concluded that this Mexican species has great productive potential with different areas for improvement. Due to sanitary management and rusticity, mortality is low. It is necessary to develop other lines of research associated with the reproduction, production of milk/meat, health, quality of products, safety, and sustainability of buffalo activity in Mexico

    Annals [...].

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    Pedometrics: innovation in tropics; Legacy data: how turn it useful?; Advances in soil sensing; Pedometric guidelines to systematic soil surveys.Evento online. Coordenado por: Waldir de Carvalho Junior, Helena Saraiva Koenow Pinheiro, Ricardo Simão Diniz Dalmolin
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