132 research outputs found

    Recalculating the global warming impact of italian livestock methane emissions with new metrics

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    The warming impact of methane (CH4) emissions calculated using the metrics proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which measure its global warming potential in 100‚ÄČyears (GWP100) expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), accounts for the greatest impact in animal production chains. This work uses the new metrics, proposed to consider the difference between short living climate pollutants (SLCP), such as CH4, and long living climate pollutants (LLCP), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which measure the warming equivalent (we) effect relative to that of CO2 in a given time frame (GWP*) and expressed as CO2we. The GWP* was applied to CH4 emissions from all Italian livestock supply chains and compared with GWP100 for annual and cumulative assessment from 2010 to 2020 of the impact of this gas on climate change. Using official data published by Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA) from 1990 to 2020, almost all species, except for buffalo (+272.6% of emissions calculated with the new metrics), revealed lower CH4 emissions with the greatest re-dimensioning for non-dairy cattle (-53786‚ÄČkt of CO2we of calculated with GWP* compared to +66437‚ÄČkt of CO2e estimated with the GWP100 method). The total cumulative contribution of Italian livestock production to global warming over the past 10‚ÄČyears, including the nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, has been greatly negative (-48759‚ÄČkt of CO2we) compared to the data calculated using the GWP100 method (+206091‚ÄČkt of CO2e). In conclusion, the application of GWP* metric to CH4 emissions of all Italian livestock supply chains allowed to better identify the role of Italian livestock on climate change. Over the 2010‚Äď2020 time frame, the Italian animal supply chains reduced the warming impact related to its CH4 emission, with the ruminants (expect buffaloes) being the major contributor to this positive effect.HIGHLIGHTS The application of GWP* metric reduced the warming impact of CH4 emissions of Italian dairy cattle, non-dairy cattle, sheep, goats, poultry and rabbits. The reduction of CH4 emission from the major ruminant species is the major contributor to the positive effect on climate change detected over 2010‚Äď2020 time frame. The application of GWP* metric to CH4 emissions of all Italian livestock supply chains allowed to better identify the role of Italian livestock on climate change

    Technology adoption and specialized labor

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    Empirical evidence identifies shortages of specialized labor as one of the main obstacles to technology adoption. In this paper, we explain this phenomenon by developing a model in which firms require specialized labor to produce with a new (more efficient) technology. We assume that the cost of specializing labor increases with the efficiency gains that can be attained through the new technology. This reveals two opposing effects on the endogenous share of specialized labor. On the one hand, there is a wage effect by which efficiency gains widen the wage gap between specialized and unspecialized workers, raising the share of specialized labor. On the other hand, there is a learning effect by which efficiency gains increase specialization costs, reducing the share of specialized labor. We show the learning effect will dominate when products are sufficiently differentiated

    UHPLC-QTOF/MS Untargeted Lipidomics and Caffeine Carry-Over in Milk of Goats under Spent Coffee Ground Enriched Diet

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    Supplementing the diet of ruminants with agro-industrial by-products is a common practice. In this study, we applied an untargeted lipidomics approach to study the changes in the milk lipid metabolite profiles linked to the addition of different doses of spent coffee grounds (SCG) to the diet of lactating goats. The carryover of caffeine from feed to milk was also studied. Compared to controls, the milk of goats on the SCG diet showed higher levels of cholesteryl esters, sphingomyelins, and phospholipids, while nonesterified fatty acids were downregulated. After 12 h from the last SCG dose, the carry-over of caffeine was, on average, 3%. Collectively, our results establish that SCG supplementation induces changes in the milk levels of complex lipid molecules and causes the transfer of caffeine and caffeine metabolites from feed to milk

    Machine learning based analysis for intellectual disability in Down syndrome

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    Down syndrome (DS) or trisomy 21 is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability (ID), but a pathogenic mechanism has not been identified yet. Studying a complex and not monogenic condition such as DS, a clear correlation between cause and effect might be difficult to find through classical analysis methods, thus different approaches need to be used. The increased availability of big data has made the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and in particular machine learning (ML) in the medical field possible.The purpose of this work is the application of ML techniques to provide an analysis of clinical records obtained from subjects with DS and study their association with ID.We have applied two tree-based ML models (random forest and gradient boosting machine) to the research question: how to identify key features likely associated with ID in DS. We analyzed 109 features (or variables) in 106 DS subjects. The outcome of the analysis was the age equivalent (AE) score as indicator of intellectual functioning, impaired in ID. We applied several methods to configure the models: feature selection through Boruta framework to minimize random correlation; data augmentation to overcome the issue of a small dataset; age effect mitigation to take into account the chronological age of the subjects.The results show that ML algorithms can be applied with good accuracy to identify variables likely involved in cognitive impairment in DS. In particular, we show how random forest and gradient boosting machine produce results with low error (MSE <0.12) and an acceptable R2 (0.70 and 0.93). Interestingly, the ranking of the variables point to several features of interest related to hearing, gastrointestinal alterations, thyroid state, immune system and vitamin B12 that can be considered with particular attention for improving care pathways for people with DS.In conclusion, ML-based model may assist researchers in identifying key features likely correlated with ID in DS, and ultimately, may improve research efforts focused on the identification of possible therapeutic targets and new care pathways. We believe this study can be the basis for further testing/validating of our algorithms with multiple and larger datasets

    Linseed supplementation during uterine and early post-natal life markedly affects fatty acid profiles of brain, liver and muscle of lambs

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    This study investigated the effects of maternal linseed supplementation during gestation and lactation on muscle, brain and liver tissues composition and fatty acid (FA) profile in lambs. In a 2‚ÄČ√ó‚ÄČ2 factorial design, a total of 36 Sarda dairy ewes were fed a control diet (CON, n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ18) or a diet containing linseed (LIN, n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ18) during the last 8 weeks of gestation. After lambing, 9 ewes per group changed to the other diet, moving from CON to LIN and vice-versa. The single-born lambs (n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ36) were reared exclusively on milk and were slaughtered at 4 weeks of age and samples of muscle, brain, and liver tissues were collected. Data were analysed with a general linear model to test the effects of mothers‚Äô gestation and lactation diets, their interaction and the effect of lamb sex. Experimental results evidenced that lambs from mothers fed LIN diet during lactation had a greater content of almost all C18:1 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers, both in muscle (P‚ÄČ<‚ÄČ.01) and in the liver (P‚ÄČ<‚ÄČ.05), than those from mothers fed CON. Linseed supplementation during gestation generally increased the content of C22:5n3 (P‚ÄČ<‚ÄČ.01) and C22:6n3 in the brain. In conclusion, experimental results evidenced that the supplementation of ewes‚Äô diet with linseed during lactation strongly affected the muscle and liver FA profile of lambs. The effect of linseed was effective also during gestation, especially on brain tissue, but to a minor extent.Highlights Results of the present work confirm the large impact of maternal diet on the fatty acid composition of lamb tissues Linseed supplementation during gestation generally increased the content of PUFA n3 in the brain of lambs Linseed supplementation of mothers during lactation affects the muscle and liver FA profile of sucking lamb

    Comparison of Milk Odd- and Branched-Chain Fatty Acids among Human, Dairy Species and Artificial Substitutes

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    The aim of the study was to compare odd and branched-chain fatty acids (OBCFA) of milk from sheep, goat, cow, buffalo, donkey, human, and formula milk. Ruminant, monogastric, and human milks have different concentrations of these fatty acids (FA). To highlight the differences on OBCFA, a total of 282 individual milk samples were analyzed by gas chromatography. The OBCFA were found higher in ruminant than non-ruminant milks (p &lt; 0.05). Among ruminants, sheep milk had the highest OBCFA (4.5 g/100 g of total FAME), whereases the lowest values were found in formula milk (0.18 g/100 g of total FAME). Regarding individual linear odd-chain FA (linear-OCFA), C11:0 was found higher in donkey milk than others, while sheep and buffalo milks had the greatest concentration of C15:0. Among BCFA, the iso-BCFA were higher than anteiso-BCFA in all considered milks. The isoC17:0 showed the highest concentration in all milks except for donkey and buffalo, which showed higher concentration of isoC16:0 than others. In conclusion, ruminant milks are different in terms of these FA compared to human milk and its substitutes. However, the greatest differences were found with formula milk, suggesting that this product needs the implementation of these FA to be more similar to human milk composition

    A reassessment of Jackson's checklist and identification of two Down syndrome sub-phenotypes

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    Down syndrome (DS) is characterised by several clinical features including intellectual disability (ID) and craniofacial dysmorphisms. In 1976, Jackson and coll. identified a checklist of signs for clinical diagnosis of DS; the utility of these checklists in improving the accuracy of clinical diagnosis has been recently reaffirmed, but they have rarely been revised. The purpose of this work is to reassess the characteristic phenotypic signs and their frequencies in 233 DS subjects, following Jackson's checklist. 63.77% of the subjects showed more than 12 signs while none showed less than 5, confirming the effectiveness of Jackson's checklist for the clinical diagnosis of DS. An association between three phenotypic signs emerged, allowing us to distinguish two sub-phenotypes: Brachycephaly, short and broad Hands, short Neck (BHN), which is more frequent, and "non-BHN". The strong association of these signs might be interpreted in the context of the growth defects observed in DS children suggesting decreased cell proliferation. Lastly, cognitive assessments were investigated for 114 subjects. The lack of association between the presence of a physical sign or the number of signs present in a subject and cognitive skills disproves the stereotype that physical characteristics are predictive of degree of ID

    From Choice to Performance in Secondary Schools:Evidence from a Disadvantaged Setting in Italy

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    This study employs detailed micro-data to uncover the factors influencing secondary school choice and performance and, ultimately, dropout risks within a multidimensional framework. The findings reveal that young people’s choice of a comprehensive secondary school, characterised by a higher dropout rate, is highly influenced by future expectations and family background. Further, teachers’ role, learning methods and technology positively drive performance. Perceived cognitive skills only affect students’ performance given their choice. Besides, an ANOVA analysis assesses that the interaction between cognitive and non-cognitive skills impacts performance. Peer study is pivotal for success in individuals with perceived cognitive difficulties

    Cocoa husks fed to lactating dairy ewes affect milk fatty acid profile and oxidative status of blood and milk

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    The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of cocoa husks (CH) containing theobromine on milk fatty acids (FA) and on milk and blood oxidative status in dairy ewes. The experiment was carried out with 24 dairy ewes and it lasted 8 weeks with 3 weeks of adaptation period and 5 weeks of experimental period. Animals were divided in three homogeneous groups and all ewes were fed with the same basal diet, composed of a total mix ration (TMR). The first group (CON) was fed with the TMR and a supplementation of 100 g/d per head of soybean hulls, while the second (CH50) and the third groups (CH100) were fed with the TMR and a supplementation of 50 and 100 g/d per head of CH, respectively. Blood samples were analyzed for the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione transferase (GSTS), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), while milk samples were analyzed for SOD, GR and lactoperoxidase (LPO). Total antioxidant capacity and oxidative stress biomarkers in blood and milk samples were determined. Orthogonal polynomial contrasts (linear and quadratic) were used to investigate the effect of the diet on the variables. The C16:0 and MCFA (medium-chain fatty acids) decreased, whereas C18:0 and LCFA (long-chain fatty acids) increased quadratically with the dose of CH. The supplementation of CH decreased linearly the OBCFA (branched-chain fatty acid). Regarding antioxidant results, mean protein carbonyls (PC) decreased linearly and SOD activity tended to increase linearly in blood with increasing CH dose. Meanwhile, antioxidant analysis of milk samples showed that CH supplementation increased quadratically the LPO and tended to decrease quadratically the malondialdehyde level (MDA). In conclusion, the addition of CH as supplement to the diet of ewes could modify the milk FA profile and could improve antioxidant capacity of blood and milk

    Farm Animals Are Long Away from Natural Behavior: Open Questions and Operative Consequences on Animal Welfare

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    The concept of welfare applied to farm animals has undergone a remarkable evolution. The growing awareness of citizens pushes farmers to guarantee the highest possible level of welfare to their animals. New perspectives could be opened for animal welfare reasoning around the concept of domestic, especially farm, animals as partial human artifacts. Therefore, it is important to understand how much a particular behavior of a farm animal is far from the natural one of its ancestors. This paper is a contribution to better understand the role of genetics of the farm animals on their behavior. This means that the na√Įve approach to animal welfare regarding returning animals to their natural state should be challenged and that welfare assessment should be considered
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