Major Part (major + part)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

AMP-activated protein kinase in contraction regulation of skeletal muscle metabolism: necessary and/or sufficient?

T. E. Jensen
Abstract In skeletal muscle, the contraction-activated heterotrimeric 5,-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) protein is proposed to regulate the balance between anabolic and catabolic processes by increasing substrate uptake and turnover in addition to regulating the transcription of proteins involved in mitochondrial biogenesis and other aspects of promoting an oxidative muscle phenotype. Here, the current knowledge on the expression of AMPK subunits in human quadriceps muscle and evidence from rodent studies suggesting distinct AMPK subunit expression pattern in different muscle types is reviewed. Then, the intensity and time dependence of AMPK activation in human quadriceps and rodent muscle are evaluated. Subsequently, a major part of this review critically examines the evidence supporting a necessary and/or sufficient role of AMPK in a broad spectrum of skeletal muscle contraction-relevant processes. These include glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis, post-exercise insulin sensitivity, fatty acid (FA) uptake, intramuscular triacylglyceride hydrolysis, FA oxidation, suppression of protein synthesis, proteolysis, autophagy and transcriptional regulation of genes relevant to promoting an oxidative phenotype. [source]

In vivo and in vitro analysis of the vasculogenic potential of avian proepicardial and epicardial cells,

Juan A. Guadix
Abstract Coronary vessel formation is a special case in the context of embryonic vascular development. A major part of the coronary cellular precursors (endothelial, smooth muscle, and fibroblastic cells) derive from the proepicardium and the epicardium in what can be regarded as a late event of angioblastic and smooth muscle cell differentiation. Thus, coronary morphogenesis is dependent on the epithelial,mesenchymal transformation of the proepicardium and the epicardium. In this study, we present several novel observations about the process of coronary vasculogenesis in avian embryos, namely: (1) The proepicardium displays a high vasculogenic potential, both in vivo (as shown by heterotopic transplants) and in vitro, which is modulated by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor signals; (2) Proepicardial and epicardial cells co-express receptors for platelet-derived growth factor-BB and VEGF; (3) Coronary angioblasts (found all through the epicardial, subepicardial, and compact myocardial layers) express the Wilms' tumor associated transcription factor and the retinoic acid-synthesizing enzyme retinaldehyde-dehydrogenase-2, two markers of the coelomic epithelium involved in coronary endothelium development. All these results contribute to the development of our knowledge on the vascular potential of proepicardial/epicardial cells, the existent interrelationships between the differentiating coronary cell lineages, and the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of coronary morphogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 235:1014,1026, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Olfactory preference for own mother and litter in 1-day-old rabbits and its impairment by thermotaxis

Jessica Serra
Abstract We investigated the ability of rabbit pups to display preferences towards various elements of their postnatal environment during the stage of confinement in the nest. Subjects were submitted to a two-choice test during the first week after birth to assess if they could detect and discriminate between does, litters of pups, or nesting materials of the same developmental stage. On D1 and D7, pups were attracted to any lactating doe, litter, or nest when compared to an empty compartment. When two stimuli were opposed, pups preferred their own nest to an alien one on D1 and D7 but not their mother nor their siblings when opposed to alien does or pups. However, additional tests indicated that this lack of preference for kin conspecifics resulted from a predominant attraction to thermal cues over individual odors. Indeed, pups were strongly attracted to a warm compartment (37°C) than to a cooler one (20°C) and once thermal cues were controlled for in the testing situation, the pups were specifically attracted to odors of their own mother's hair and of their siblings. No preference was observed towards the mother's uterine secretions. In conclusion, pups can recognize olfactory cues emanating from their mother and their siblings the day after birth. The preference for nesting materials would reflect in major part the combined attraction to maternal and sibling odors present in the nest. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 50: 542,553, 2008. [source]


David Bridges
In this essay David Bridges argues that since most families choose to realize their responsibility for the major part of their children's education through state schools, then the way in which the state constructs parents' relation with these schools is one of its primary levers on parenting itself. Bridges then examines the way in which parent-school relations have been defined in England through government and quasi-government interventions over the last forty-five years, tracing these through an awakening interest in the relation between social class and unequal school success in the 1960s, passing through the discourse of accountability in the 1970s, marketization in the 1980s and 1990s, performativity extending from this period into the first decade of the twenty-first century, and, most recently, more direct interventions into parenting itself and the regulation of school relations with parents in the interests of safeguarding children. These have not, however, been entirely discrete policy themes, and the positive and pragmatic employment of the discourse of partnership has run throughout this period, albeit with different points of emphasis on the precise terms of such partnership. [source]

Large-scale distribution and activity patterns of an extremely low-light-adapted population of green sulfur bacteria in the Black Sea

Evelyn Marschall
Summary The Black Sea chemocline represents the largest extant habitat of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria and harbours a monospecific population of Chlorobium phylotype BS-1. High-sensitivity measurements of underwater irradiance and sulfide revealed that the optical properties of the overlying water column were similar across the Black Sea basin, whereas the vertical profiles of sulfide varied strongly between sampling sites and caused a dome-shaped three-dimensional distribution of the green sulfur bacteria. In the centres of the western and eastern basins the population of BS-1 reached upward to depths of 80 and 95 m, respectively, but were detected only at 145 m depth close to the shelf. Using highly concentrated chemocline samples from the centres of the western and eastern basins, the cells were found to be capable of anoxygenic photosynthesis under in situ light conditions and exhibited a photosynthesis,irradiance curve similar to low-light-adapted laboratory cultures of Chlorobium BS-1. Application of a highly specific RT-qPCR method which targets the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the rrn operon of BS-1 demonstrated that only cells at the central station are physiologically active in contrast to those at the Black Sea periphery. Based on the detection of ITS-DNA sequences in the flocculent surface layer of deep-sea sediments across the Black Sea, the population of BS-1 has occupied the major part of the basin for the last decade. The continued presence of intact but non-growing BS-1 cells at the periphery of the Black Sea indicates that the cells can survive long-distant transport and exhibit unusually low maintenance energy requirements. According to laboratory measurements, Chlorobium BS-1 has a maintenance energy requirement of ,1.6,4.9·10,15 kJ cell,1 day,1 which is the lowest value determined for any bacterial culture so far. Chlorobium BS-1 thus is particularly well adapted to survival under the extreme low-light conditions of the Black Sea, and can be used as a laboratory model to elucidate general cellular mechanisms of long-term starvation survival. Because of its adaptation to extreme low-light marine environments, Chlorobium BS-1 also represents a suitable indicator for palaeoceanography studies of deep photic zone anoxia in ancient oceans. [source]

Microbial succession of nitrate-reducing bacteria in the rhizosphere of Poa alpina across a glacier foreland in the Central Alps

K. Deiglmayr
Summary Changes in community structure and activity of the dissimilatory nitrate-reducing community were investigated across a glacier foreland in the Central Alps to gain insight into the successional pattern of this functional group and the driving environmental factors. Bulk soil and rhizosphere soil of Poa alpina was sampled in five replicates in August during the flowering stage and in September after the first snowfalls along a gradient from 25 to 129 years after deglaciation and at a reference site outside the glacier foreland (> 2000 years deglaciated). In a laboratory-based assay, nitrate reductase activity was determined colorimetrically after 24 h of anaerobic incubation. In selected rhizosphere soil samples, the community structure of nitrate-reducing microorganisms was analysed by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis using degenerate primers for the narG gene encoding the active site of the membrane-bound nitrate reductase. Clone libraries of the early (25 years) and late (129 years) succession were constructed and representative clones sequenced. The activity of the nitrate-reducing community increased significantly with age mainly due to higher carbon and nitrate availability in the late succession. The community structure, however, only showed a small shift over the 100 years of soil formation with pH explaining a major part (19%) of the observed variance. Clone library analysis of the early and late succession pointed to a trend of declining diversity with progressing age. Presumably, the pressure of competition on the nitrate reducers was relatively low in the early successional stage due to minor densities of microorganisms compared with the late stage; hence, a higher diversity could persist in this sparse environment. These results suggest that the nitrate reductase activity is regulated by environmental factors other than those shaping the genetic structure of the nitrate-reducing community. [source]

Comparative mechanisms of zearalenone and ochratoxin A toxicities on cultured HepG2 cells: Is oxidative stress a common process?

Emna El Golli Bennour
Abstract Zearalenone (ZEN) and Ochratoxin A (OTA) are structurally diverse fungal metabolites that can contaminate feed and foodstuff and can cause serious health problems for animals as well as for humans. In this study, we get further insight of the molecular aspects of ZEN and OTA toxicities in cultured human HepG2 hepatocytes. In this context, we have monitored the effects of ZEN and OTA on (i) cell viability, (ii) heat shock protein (Hsp) 70 and Hsp 27 gene expressions as a parameter of protective and adaptive response, (iii) oxidative damage, and (iv) cell death pathways. Our results clearly showed that both ZEN and OTA inhibit cell proliferation. For ZEN, a significant induction of Hsp 70 and Hsp 27 was observed. In the same conditions, ZEN generated an important amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidant supplements restored the major part of cell mortality induced by ZEN. However, OTA treatment downregulated Hsp 70 and Hsp 27 protein and mRNA levels and did not induce ROS generation. Antioxidant supplements did not have a significant effect on OTA-induced cell mortality. Using another cell system (Vero monkey kidney cells), we demonstrated that OTA downregulates three members of HSP 70 family: Hsp 70, Hsp 75, and Hsp 78. Our findings showed that oxidative damage seemed to be the predominant toxic effect for ZEN, while OTA toxicity seemed to be rather because of the absence of Hsps protective response. Furthermore, the two mycotoxins induced an apoptotic cell death. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol, 2009. [source]

Copper toxicity in relation to surface water-dissolved organic matter: Biological effects to Daphnia magna

Kees J.M. Kramer
Abstract Water quality standards for copper are usually stated in total element concentrations. It is known, however, that a major part of the copper can be bound in complexes that are biologically not available. Natural organic matter, such as humic and fulvic acids, are strong complexing agents that may affect the bioavailable copper (Cu2+) concentration. The aim of this study was to quantify the relation between the concentration of dissolved natural organic matter and free Cu2+ in surface waters, and the biological effect, as measured in a standardized ecotoxicological test (48 h-median effective concentration [EC50] Daphnia magna, mobility). Six typical Dutch surface waters and an artificial water, ranging from 0.1 to 22 mg/L dissolved organic carbon (DOC), were collected and analyzed quarterly. Chemical speciation modeling was used as supporting evidence to assess bioavailability. The results show clear evidence of a linear relation between the concentration of dissolved organic carbon (in milligrams DOC/L) and the ecotoxicological effect (as effect concentration, EC50, expressed as micrograms Cu/L): 48-h EC50 (Daphnia, mobility) = 17.2 × DOC + 30.2 (r2 = 0.80, n = 22). Except for a brook with atypical water quality characteristics, no differences were observed among water type or season. When ultraviolet (UV)-absorption (380 nm) was used to characterize the dissolved organic carbon, a linear correlation was found as well. The importance of the free copper concentration was demonstrated by speciation calculations: In humic-rich waters the free Cu2+ concentration was estimated at ,10,11 M, whereas in medium to low dissolved organic carbon waters the [Cu2+] was ,10,10 M. Speciation calculations performed for copper concentrations at the effective concentration level (where the biological effect is considered the same) resulted in very similar free copper concentrations (,10,8 M Cu) in these surface waters with different characteristics. These observations consistently show that the presence of organic matter decreases the bioavailability, uptake, and ecotoxicity of copper in the aquatic environment. It demonstrates that the DOC content must be included in site-specific environmental risk assessment for trace metals (at least for copper). It is the quantification of the effects described that allows policy makers to review the criteria for copper in surface waters. [source]

The mouse VPAC2 receptor confers suprachiasmatic nuclei cellular rhythmicity and responsiveness to vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in vitro

David J. Cutler
Abstract Expression of coherent and rhythmic circadian (, 24 h) variation of behaviour, metabolism and other physiological processes in mammals is governed by a dominant biological clock located in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). Photic entrainment of the SCN circadian clock is mediated, in part, by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) acting through the VPAC2 receptor. Here we used mice lacking the VPAC2 receptor (Vipr2,/,) to examine the contribution of this receptor to the electrophysiological actions of VIP on SCN neurons, and to the generation of SCN electrical firing rate rhythms SCN in vitro. Compared with wild-type controls, fewer SCN cells from Vipr2,/, mice responded to VIP and the VPAC2 receptor-selective agonist Ro 25-1553. By contrast, similar proportions of Vipr2,/, and wild-type SCN cells responded to gastrin-releasing peptide, arginine vasopressin or N -methyl- d -aspartate. Moreover, VIP-evoked responses from control SCN neurons were attenuated by the selective VPAC2 receptor antagonist PG 99-465. In firing rate rhythm experiments, the midday peak in activity observed in control SCN cells was lost in Vipr2,/, mice. The loss of electrical activity rhythm in Vipr2,/, mice was mimicked in control SCN slices by chronic treatment with PG 99-465. These results demonstrate that the VPAC2 receptor is necessary for the major part of the electrophysiological actions of VIP on SCN cells in vitro, and is of fundamental importance for the rhythmic and coherent expression of circadian rhythms governed by the SCN clock. These findings suggest a novel role of VPAC2 receptor signalling, and of cell-to-cell communication in general, in the maintenance of core clock function in mammals, impacting on the cellular physiology of SCN neurons. [source]

Routes of zinc entry in mouse cortical neurons: role in zinc-induced neurotoxicity

Philippe Marin
Abstract Exposure of central neurons to Zn2+ triggers neuronal death. The routes of Zn2+ entry were investigated in living cortical neurons from the mouse using the specific Zn2+ fluorescent dye N-(6-methoxy-8-quinolyl)-p-toluene sulphonamide (TSQ), which preferentially detects membrane-bound Zn2+. Exposure of cortical neurons to increasing concentrations of Zn2+ (1,100 ,m) induced a progressive increase in the fluorescence of TSQ. This fluorescence signal was not attenuated by the permeation of plasma membrane with digitonin. Accordingly, the major part of TSQ fluorescence (two-thirds) was associated to the particulate fraction of cortical neurons exposed to Zn2+. These results suggest that Zn2+ detected with TSQ in neurons is mainly bound to membranes. TSQ fluorescence measured in neurons exposed to 3 ,m Zn2+ was enhanced by Na+ -pyrithione, a Zn2+ ionophore, ,-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA), N-methyl- d -aspartate (NMDA) or KCl-induced depolarization. However, in the absence of any treatment, TSQ labelling of neurons exposed to 3 ,m Zn2+ was only decreased by NMDA receptor antagonists, whereas it remained unaltered in the presence of antagonists of AMPA receptors or L-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. Zn2+ entry through NMDA receptors did not contribute to Zn2+ -induced neuronal death, as it was prevented by antagonists of NMDA receptors only when they were added after the Zn2+ exposure. Finally, Zn2+ induced a delayed accumulation of extracellular glutamate which might be responsible for the delayed NMDA receptor activation that leads to neuronal death. [source]

Relationship between thermal conductivity and water content of soils using numerical modelling

P. Cosenza
Summary There is no simple and general relationship between the thermal conductivity of a soil, ,, and its volumetric water content, ,, because the porosity, n, and the thermal conductivity of the solid fraction, ,s, play a major part. Experimental data including measurements of all the variables are scarce. Using a numerical modelling approach, we have shown that the microscopic arrangement of water influences the relation between , and ,. Simulated values for n ranging from 0.4 to 0.6, ,s ranging from 2 to 5 W m,1 K,1 and , from 0.1 to 0.4 can be fitted by a simple linear formula that takes into account n, ,s and ,. The results given by this formula and by the quadratic parallel (QP) model widely used in physical property studies are in satisfactory agreement with published data both for saturated rocks and for unsaturated soils. Consequently, the linear formula and the QP model can be used as practical and efficient tools to investigate the effects of water content and porosity on the thermal conductivity of the soil and hence to optimize the design of thermal in situ techniques for monitoring water content. [source]

Experimental investigations on the growth of small fatigue cracks in naval steel

ABSTRACT The concept of damage tolerance is now largely employed to evaluate the fatigue life of structures. However, part of this fatigue relies on the initiation and growth of small cracks. The fatigue behaviour of a naval structural steel (S355NL) was investigated. In order to characterize the behaviour of short and long cracks, tests were performed under constant amplitude loading for several load ratios between ,1.0 and 0.5. A major part of fatigue life is constituted by short crack initiation and propagation. [source]

The Effects of Moisture in Low-Voltage Organic Field-Effect Transistors Gated with a Hydrous Solid Electrolyte

Nikolai Kaihovirta
Abstract The concept of using ion conducting membranes (50,150 ,m thick) for gating low-voltage (1 V) organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) is attractive due to its low-cost and large-area manufacturing capabilities. Furthermore, the membranes can be tailor-made to be ion conducting in any desired way or pattern. For the electrolyte gated OFETs in general, the key to low-voltage operation is the electrolyte "insulator" (the membrane) that provides a high effective capacitance due to ionic polarization within the insulator. Hydrous ion conducting membranes are easy to process and readily available. However, the role of the water in combination with the polymeric semiconductor has not yet been fully clarified. In this work electrical and optical techniques are utilized to carefully monitor the electrolyte/semiconductor interface in an ion conducting membrane based OFET. The main findings are that 1) moisture plays a major part in the transistor operation and careful control of both the ambient atmosphere and the potential differences between the electrodes are required for stable and consistent device behavior, 2) the obtained maximum effective capacitance (5 ,F cm,2) of the membrane suggests that the electric double layer is distributed over a broad region within the polyelectrolyte, and 3) electromodulation spectroscopy combined with current,voltage characteristics provide a method to determine the threshold gate voltage from an electrostatic field-effect doping to a region of (irreversible) electrochemical perturbation of the polymeric semiconductor. [source]

Membrane orientation of laminin binding protein

FEBS JOURNAL, Issue 18 2003
An extracellular matrix bridging molecule of Leishmania donovani
Earlier we presented several lines of evidence that a 67-kDa laminin binding protein (LBP) in Leishmania donovani, that is different from the putative mammalian 67-kDa laminin receptor, may play an important role in the onset of leishmaniasis, as these parasites invade macrophages in various organs after migrating through the extracellular matrix. Here we describe the membrane orientation of this Leishmania laminin receptor. Flow cytometric analysis using anti-LBP Ig revealed its surface localization, which was further confirmed by enzymatic radiolabeling of Leishmania surface proteins, autoradiography and Western blotting. Efficient incorporation of LBP into artificial lipid bilayer, as well as its presence in the detergent phase after Triton X-114 membrane extraction, suggests that it may be an integral membrane protein. Limited trypsinization of intact parasite and subsequent immunoblotting of trypsin released material using laminin as primary probe revealed that a major part of this protein harbouring the laminin binding site is oriented extracellularly. Carboxypeptidase Y treatment of the whole cell, as well as the membrane preparation, revealed that a small part of the C-terminal is located in the cytosol. A 34-kDa transmembrane part of LBP could be identified using the photoactive probe, 3-(trifluoromethyl)-3-(m -iodophenyl)diazirine (TID). Partial sequence comparison of the intact protein to that with the trypsin-released fragment indicated that N-terminal may be located extracellularly. Together, these results suggest that LBP may be an integral membrane protein, having significant portion of N-terminal end as well as the laminin binding site oriented extracellularly, a membrane spanning domain and a C-terminal cytosolic end. [source]

Distribution of "classic" virulence factors among Salmonella spp.

Alphons J.A.M. van Asten
Abstract Whether an infection with Salmonella spp. leads to a disease largely depends on the virulence of the strain and the constitution of the host. The virulence of the strain is determined by so-called virulence factors. Whereas a number of virulence factors of Salmonella have been identified only recently, others have been studied for decades. These latter virulence factors i.e., virulence-plasmids, toxins, fimbriae and flagella are therefore referred to as "classic" virulence factors. Here we present an overview on the distribution of (genes coding for) these virulence factors among Salmonella spp. The pathogenicity islands of Salmonella are also reviewed, all be it briefly, since they contain a major part of the virulence genes. [source]

Survival of enteric bacteria in seawater

Yael Rozen
Abstract Enteric bacteria exposed to the marine environment simultaneously encounter a variety of abiotic and biotic challenges. Among the former, light appears to be critical in affecting seawater survival; previous growth history plays a major part in preadaptation of the cells, and stationary phase cells are generally more resistant than exponentially growing ones. Predation, mostly by protozoa, is probably the most significant biotic factor. Using Escherichia coli as a model, a surprisingly small number of genes was found that, when mutated, significantly affect seawater sensitivity of this bacterium. Most prominent among those is rpoS, which was also dominant among genes induced upon transfer to seawater. [source]

Mathematical modelling of fire development in cable installations

P. Van Hees
In 1996 DG XII of the European Commission (Research and Development) approved a 3 year project on the fire performance of electrical cables. Within this FIPEC project, a major part of the work involved correlation and mathematical modelling of flame spread and heat release rate in cable installations. The FIPEC project has developed different levels of testing ranging from a small-scale, cone calorimeter test procedures developed for cables and materials, a full-scale-test procedure based on the IEC 60332-3, but utilizing HRR and SPR measurements, and a real scale test conducted on model cable installations. Links through statistical correlations and mathematical fire modelling between these levels were investigated and the findings are presented in this paper. These links could form the scientific foundations for standards upon which fire performance measurements can be based and for new fire engineering techniques within fire performance based codes. Between each testing level correlation, numerical and mathematical models were performed. All of the models were based on the cone calorimeter test method. The complexity of the models varied from correlation models to advanced physical pyrolysis models which can be used in CFD codes. The results will allow advanced prediction of cable fires in the future. Also a bench mark was established for the prediction of cable performance by means of data obtained from the constituent materials. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Deltas in the Abisko area, northern Sweden: the Abiskojokka delta in lake Torneträsk

Hans Andrén
Several small river deltas are found within the Abisko area. This study deals with the Abiskojokka delta in Lake Torneträsk. The aim is to describe the recent delta and its morphological development since the middle 1960s. In the apex of the delta, bars consist of boulders and cobbles while the mouth,bars are built by pebbles, gravel and to some extent sand. Birch vegetation is found on the sandy levées while willows and sedges dominate the interlevée basins. Mouth bars close to the lake generally lack vegetation. A comparison of the map in the present study with a map from 1965 shows comparatively small changes since 1964. Similar results are achieved when comparing aerial photographs from 1959 and 2000. Thus, the growth of the Abiskojokka delta is rather small compared to several other deltas in the Scandinavian mountains. This low growth rate is a result of upstream lakes trapping the major part of the fluvial sediments. Therefore, most of the delta sediment is redistributed old glaciofluvial material from the terraces within the Abiskojokka valley. Some material might also emanate from the Abiskojokka canyon. Formation of the main part of the delta is probably associated with the lowering of the Torneträsk ice,lakes, during and after the deglaciation of the region. Although some extreme rainstorm events have occurred in the area during recent decades, the effects of these on the delta are small. The result of such events is, however, visible as deposition of sand and silt on the levées after flooding. On the other hand, the shoreline and the mouth bars are continuously changing due to rather high wave energy especially during northerly winds. Along several mouth bars, spits are formed and reformed due to wave action. Minor changes of, and within, the two main distributaries have also been noticed, especially as bank erosion and redistribution of bars. The project will continue with a survey of the distal slope (foreset slope) of the delta as well as a study (including X,ray radiography) of the bottom sediments in Lake Torneträsk close to the delta front. The upstream deltas within this drainage basin as well as other deltas within the Torneträsk region will be studied. [source]

Facies development, depositional settings and sequence stratigraphy across the Ordovician,Silurian boundary: a new perspective from the Barrandian area of the Czech Republic

Abstract The Hirnantian and Llandovery sedimentary succession of the Barrandian area has been assigned to middle and outer clastic-shelf depositional settings, respectively. Deposition was influenced by the remote Gondwanan glaciation and subsequent, long-persisting, post-glacial anoxia triggered by a current-driven upwelling system. High-resolution graptolite stratigraphy, based upon 19 formally defined biozones,largely interval zones,and five subzones, enabled a detailed correlation between 42 surface sections and boreholes, and enabled linking of the sedimentary record, graptoloid fauna dynamics, organic-content fluctuations and spectral gamma-ray curves. The Hirnantian and Llandovery succession has been subdivided into four biostratigraphically dated third-order sequences (units 1,4). Time,spatial facies distribution recorded early and late Hirnantian glacio-eustatic sea-level lowstands separated by a remarkable mid-Hirnantian rise in sea-level. A major part of the post-glacial sea-level rise took place within the late Hirnantian. The highstand of Unit 2 is apparently at the base of the Silurian succession. Short-term relative sea-level drawdown and a third-order sequence boundary followed in the early Rhuddanian upper acuminatus Zone. Early Aeronian and late Telychian sea-level highstands and late Aeronian drawdown of likely eustatic origin belong to units 3 and 4. Sea-level rise culminated in the late Telychian, which may also be considered as a highstand episode of a second-order Hirnantian,early Silurian cycle. Facies and sequence-stratigraphic analysis supports recent interpretations on nappe structures in the core part of the Ordovician,Middle Devonian Prague Synform of the Barrandian. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Scattering behaviour at Merapi volcano (Java) revealed from an active seismic experiment

Ulrich Wegler
SUMMARY The seismic structure of the stratovolcano Merapi (Java, Indonesia) was studied using an active seismic experiment. Three 3 km long seismic profiles each consisting of up to 30 three-component seismometers with an interstation distance of 100 m were built up in an altitude range between 1000 and 2000 m above sea level. The detailed study of the seismic properties of the propagation media in active volcanic regions is important to understand the natural seismic signals used for eruption forecasting. The seismic experiment at Merapi therefore concentrates on the heterogeneous structure within a radius of 5 km from the active dome, where the sources of most of the natural volcanic seismic events are located. The cone of Merapi volcano consists of different materials changing on a small scale due to the layering of eruptive material. Additionally, the topography of the erosion valleys leads to an irregular deposition, which cannot be described by a simple 1-D layering. These inhomogeneities have a strong influence on seismic signals. The direct P and S waves are attenuated quickly and show only small amplitudes on seismograms. The energy lost from the direct waves, however, is not changed into heat but scattered and can be observed as seismic coda following the direct waves. The observed seismograms show a spindle-like amplitude increase after the direct P phase. This shape of the envelope can be explained by the diffusion model. According to this model there are so many strong inhomogeneities that the direct wave can be neglected and all energy is concentrated in multiple scattered waves. Besides the envelope, the coherence and polarization properties of the wavefield also indicate strong scattering. Only the first onset shows coherence over a station spacing of 100 m, whereas the late phases carrying the major part of the energy are mainly incoherent. The horizontal components of the seismograms have larger amplitudes than the vertical component, but within the horizontal plane the polarization is almost arbitrary, corresponding to waves arriving from scatterers located arbitrarily in space. As a result of the inversion using the diffusion model we obtain values of the S -wave scattering attenuation coefficient, ,s, and the S -wave intrinsic absorption coefficient, ,i. In the frequency range of 4,20 Hz used in this study the scattering attenuation is at least one order of magnitude larger than the intrinsic absorption (,s,,i). The mean free path of S waves is as low as 100 m (,s,1,100 m). The scattering coefficient is independent of frequency (,s,f0.0), whereas the coefficient of intrinsic attenuation increases with increasing frequency (,i,f1.6). The natural seismic signals at Merapi volcano show similar characteristics to the artificial shots. The first onsets have only small amplitudes and the energy maximum arrives delayed compared to the direct waves. Therefore, these signals appear to be strongly affected by multiple scattering also. [source]

Direct Current Plasma Emission Spectrometric Determination of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in Microwave Oven Acid Leachates of Powdered Whole Coal Samples

Sandro Fadda
DCP-AES; échantillons de charbon; four à micro-ondes; éléments facilement ionisables; effets de matrice. Major concentrations of Al2O3, Fe2O3, MgO, CaO, Na2O and K2O, minor levels of TiO2, P2O5 and thirty petrologically, geochemically and environmentally significant trace elements have been determined in microwave oven acid leachates of whole powdered coal samples by direct current plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (DCP-AES). A single sample preparation procedure was suitable for all the determinations with no additional dilution step for major elements solution. Dried samples (0.5 g) were treated in low-pressure PFA digestion vessels with HF/HCl/HNO3/HClO4 acids to quantitatively extract the analytes from the bulk material, while leaving the major part of organic matrix as a residue. The major constituents of geological samples, in particular the easily ionised elements (EIEs) such as alkali and alkaline earths, may complicate the instrumental determinations in DCP-AES because of differential enhancements of elemental emission intensities and stray light interferences. Taking account of these factors, the coal matrix is considered to have very low major oxide totals as compared to many other common geo-environmental and related materials (rocks, sediments, soil, ashes etc.). The sample size employed here, while yielding a relatively concentrated solution to cover a wide range of elemental determinations, provided a sample matrix that significantly diminished interferences for DCP measurements. The need for closely matching the unknowns and calibrators was eliminated except for overall acidity and an excess quantity of caesium for EIE buffering. Calibration of the spectrometer was accomplished by simple aqueous single element solutions as high concentration calibrators in addition to a reagent blank as a low concentration calibrator. Two point working curves were established to allow for the maximum concentrations of each element expected in the unknowns. The precision of determinations under routine conditions as well as the reproducibility of the leaching and precision of instrumental measurements have been evaluated. Relative standard deviations (RSD) were of 1,2% for those elements whose concentrations in solid samples were well above the limits of quantification. Method detection limits in the buffered solutions were also evaluated. To evaluate the accuracy of the microwave oven-DCP method a suite of eight certified coal reference materials of differing rank, were analysed with good agreement with the certified and/or available published data. Results are presented for the uncertified major oxides in the AR series reference materials. Les concentrations en éléments majeurs: Al2O3, Fe2O3, MgO, CaO, Na2O et K2O, en éléments mineurs TiO2, P2O5 et en 30 éléments en trace dont le comportement est important en Pétrologie, en Géochimie et en Environnement, ont été analysées par spectrométrie d'émission atomique à plasma à courant direct (DCP-AES), dans des lessivages acides effectués dans un four à micro-ondes sur des échantillons de charbon mis en poudre. Ce mode préparatoire unique est adaptéà toutes les déterminations sans qu'il soit nécessaire d'effectuer une dilution supplémentaire pour l'analyse des éléments majeurs. Les échantillons préalablement desséchés (0.5 g) sont traités dans les pots de PFA de basse pression, avec un mélange d'acides HF/HCl/HNO3/HClO4, afin d'extraire quantitativement les analytes du matériel géologique, tout en laissant la plus grande part de la matrice organique sous forme résiduelle. Les constituants majeurs de ces échantillons géologiques, en particulier les éléments facilement ionisables (EIEs) tels que les alcalins et les alcalino-terreux, peuvent compliquer l'analyse en DCP-AES à cause des rendements variables des intensités d'émission élémentaires et des interférences de raies de lumière. Mais là dessus, la matrice de charbon se révèle être bien plus pauvre en oxydes majeurs que les autres matériaux géologiques, environnementaux ou de type proche (roches, sédiments, sols, cendres). La taille d'échantillon retenue ici, tout en fournissant une solution relativement concentrée qui permet la détermination de beaucoup d'éléments, fournit une matrice qui diminue significativement les interférences lors de la mesure par DCP-AES. Le besoin d'avoir les solutions d'échantillons et les solutions de calibration avec des matrices très proches est donc éliminé, mis à part pour l'acidité totale et la quantité excessive de Césium pour tamponner les EIE. La calibration du spectromètre est faite avec des solutions mono- élémentaires aqueuses, pour déterminer les points de concentrations élevées et avec le blanc de réactifs pour le point de concentration basse. Les courbes de calibrations sont déterminées avec 2 points, pour autoriser l'analyse de concentrations maximales pour chaque élément dans les échantillons inconnus. La précision des déterminations en conditions de routine ainsi que la reproductibilité de l'opération de lessivage et la précision instrumentale des analyses ont étéévaluées. Les déviations standards relatives (RSD) sont de 1,2% pour tout élément dont les concentrations dans le solide sont au dessus des limites de quantification. Les limites de détection de la méthode dans les solutions tamponnées ont aussi étéévaluées. Enfin, pour évaluer la justesse de cette méthode "micro-ondes - DCP" huit charbons certifiés matériaux de référence de différents types ont été analysés, et sont en bon accord avec les données certifiées ou seulement disponibles publiées. Les données sur un certain nombre d'oxydes d'éléments majeurs actuellement non certifiés sont présentées pour les matériaux de référence AR. [source]

Climatic signals in growth and its relation to ENSO events of two Prosopis species following a latitudinal gradient in South America

Abstract Semiarid environments throughout the world have lost a major part of their woody vegetation and biodiversity due to the effects of wood cutting, cattle grazing and subsistence agriculture. The resulting state is typically used for cattle production, but the productivity of these systems is often very low, and erosion of the unprotected soil is a common problem. Such dry-land degradation is of great international concern, not only because the resulting state is hardly productive but also because it paves the way to desertification. The natural distribution of the genus Prosopis includes arid and semiarid zones of the Americas, Africa and Asia, but the majority of the Prosopis species are, however, native to the Americas. In order to assess a likely gradient in the response of tree species to precipitation, temperature and their connection to El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO) events, two Prosopis species were chosen along a latitudinal gradient in Latin America, from northern Peru to central Chile: Prosopis pallida from a semi-arid land in northern and southern Peru and P. chilensis from a semiarid land in central Chile. Growth rings of each species were crossdated at each sampling site using classical dendrochronological techniques. Chronologies were related with instrumental climatic records in each site, as well as with SOI and N34 series. Cross-correlation, spectral and wavelet analysis techniques were used to assess the relation of growth with precipitation and temperature. Despite the long distance among sites, the two Prosopis species presented similar responses. Thus, the two species' growth is positively correlated to precipitation, while with temperature it is not. In northern Peru, precipitation and growth of P. pallida present a similar cyclic pattern, with a period of around 3 years. On the other hand, P. pallida in southern Peru, and P. chilensis also present this cyclic pattern, but also another one with lower frequency, coinciding with the pattern of precipitation. Both cycles are within the range of the ENSO band. [source]

Gender differences in smoking behavior

Thomas Bauer
Abstract This paper investigates gender differences in smoking behavior using data from the German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP). We develop a Blinder,Oaxaca decomposition method for count data models, which allows to isolate the part of the gender differential in the number of cigarettes daily smoked that can be explained by differences in observable characteristics from the part attributable to differences in coefficients. Our results reveal that the major part of the gender smoking differential is attributable to differences in coefficients indicating substantial differences in the smoking behavior between men and women. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

A corrected XFEM approximation without problems in blending elements

Thomas-Peter Fries
Abstract The extended finite element method (XFEM) enables local enrichments of approximation spaces. Standard finite elements are used in the major part of the domain and enriched elements are employed where special solution properties such as discontinuities and singularities shall be captured. In elements that blend the enriched areas with the rest of the domain problems arise in general. These blending elements often require a special treatment in order to avoid a decrease in the overall convergence rate. A modification of the XFEM approximation is proposed in this work. The enrichment functions are modified such that they are zero in the standard elements, unchanged in the elements with all their nodes being enriched, and varying continuously in the blending elements. All nodes in the blending elements are enriched. The modified enrichment function can be reproduced exactly everywhere in the domain and no problems arise in the blending elements. The corrected XFEM is applied to problems in linear elasticity and optimal convergence rates are achieved. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The widespread use of skin lightening creams in Senegal: a persistent public health problem in West Africa

Pascal Del Giudice MD
Background The use of skin lightening creams is common in the female population of some African countries. The long-term use of certain products for several months to years may cause cutaneous adverse effects. Methods From 1992 to 1993, we conducted an epidemiologic and clinical study in Dakar, Senegal. Women were questioned about the use of skin lightening creams and examined for potential adverse skin reactions. Six hundred and eighty-five Senegalese women participated in the study. Results Twenty-six per cent of women were using skin lightening creams at the time and 36% had used them at some time. The most common products used were hydroquinone and corticosteroids, but 25% of women had used products of unknown composition. Seventy-five per cent of women using such creams showed cutaneous adverse effects. Facial acne was the most common adverse effect. Conclusions A major part of the female adult population of Senegal used skin lightening creams. The long-term use of these creams is responsible for a high rate of cutaneous adverse effects. This practice has also been reported in other countries from sub-Saharan Africa and suggests a widespread use in the African population. [source]

Success factors for the effective implementation of renewable energy options for rural electrification in India,Potentials of the CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM

Gudrun Elisabeth Benecke
Abstract Developing countries as well as international development assistance have for a long time aspired to combat energy poverty in rural areas of developing countries. However, until now a major part of national and international public and private attempts to provide affordable and stable energy supply have failed due to various economic, political, social and institutional obstacles. This situation is reflected in case of India where in comparison with other South Asian states the status of rural electrification and of energy supply are in a dismal state despite the promotion of renewable energy and rural electrification as early as from the 1960s. Embedded in the global context of the international climate change regime, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol has now emerged as a new option to facilitate investment in climate change mitigating projects. In this respect, promoting the deployment of renewable energy through this project-based mechanism opens new avenues for rural electrification. The main objective of this paper is, hence, to examine the context conditions and factors determining the effective application of renewable energy options for rural electrification in a developing country context, namely India. Understanding contextual requirements for renewable energy investment has proved imminently important in order to appreciate the potentials provided by new market-based mechanisms such as the CDM for rural poverty alleviation. Comparative political science case study research methods are applied to the analysis of CDM biomass projects in the context of the four Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. This allows for the conclusion that socio-political and historic framework conditions matter for the implementation of new renewable energy options. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Modeling an industrial energy system: Perspectives on regional heat cooperation

S. Klugman
Abstract Through energy efficiency measures, it is possible to reduce heat surplus in the pulp and paper industry. Yet pulp and paper mills situated in countries with a heat demand for residential and commercial buildings for the major part of the year are potential heat suppliers. However, striving to utilize the heat within the mills for efficient energy use could conflict with the delivery of excess heat to a district heating system. As part of a project to optimize a regional energy system, a sulfate pulp mill situated in central Sweden is analyzed, focusing on providing heat and electricity to the mill and its surrounding energy systems. An energy system optimization method based on mixed integer linear programming is used for studying energy system measures on an aggregated level. An extended system, where the mill is integrated in a regional heat market (HM), is evaluated in parallel with the present system. The use of either hot sewage or a heat pump for heat deliveries is analyzed along with process integration measures. The benefits of adding a condensing unit to the back-pressure steam turbine are also investigated. The results show that the use of hot sewage or a heat pump for heat deliveries is beneficial only in combination with extended heat deliveries to an HM. Process integration measures are beneficial and even increase the benefit of selling more heat for district heating. Adding a condensing turbine unit is most beneficial in combination with extended heat deliveries and process integration. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Characterization of macrofaunal assemblages associated with sponges and tunicates collected off the southeastern United States

Cara L. Fiore
Abstract. Sponges can serve as hosts to invertebrate assemblages that live and reproduce within them. Sponges also constitute a major part of the benthic epifaunal community on the continental shelf of the southeastern United States; however, little is known about these sponges and the assemblages they harbor. In this study, the associated fauna from a variety of sponges and one species of tunicate collected by submersible from the continental shelf and slope of the southeastern United States at depths in the range 18,875 m were examined. Seventeen sponges, comprising eight species (Ircinia campana, Topsentia sp., Geodia sp., Characella sp., Erylus sp., Apylsina archeri, Cliona sp., and Pheronema carpenteri), and three tunicate colonies (Didemnidae) were fully dissected and all associated organisms were identified and counted. Additionally, the sponges Pheronema annae (951 m) and P. carpenteri (770 m) represent new records for the region. The diversity (H,) and density of associates varied considerably among hosts; the densities of associates ranged 0.4,11,684 per 1 L of host volume. Polychaete worms were the most common organisms found, with one species, Haplosyllis spongicola, being especially abundant in I. campana, Topsentia sp., and Cliona sp. The amphipods Ericthonius punctatus and Leucothoe cf. spinicarpa, as well as decapods such as snapping shrimp (Synalpheus sp.) and crabs (e.g., Pilumnus floridana, Micropanope urinator), were also common. The number of symbiont taxa did not significantly increase as the sponge size increased. However, weak positive trends were found between the diversity of associates and increasing canal diameter. Sponges and tunicates were judged to represent legitimate ecological communities harboring a complete food web as well as gravid and juvenile individuals. [source]

Alpha and beta diversity of arthropods and plants in organically and conventionally managed wheat fields

Summary 1Most studies in applied ecology use measures of ,-diversity measures, i.e. the mean diversity on a site, to compare biodiversity effects of different management schemes. The total or ,-diversity within a region, however, need not be correlated with the mean ,-diversity within any site of the region. Thus, analyses of ,-diversity alone may misrepresent the contributions of other diversity components (,) to total diversity (,). 2We apply a biodiversity-partitioning approach to species richness from a comparison between paired organic and conventional wheat fields in 21 sites from three regions in Germany, where we recorded plants, bees, carabids, staphylinids and spiders in the centre and edge of the fields. 3Relative values of ,- and ,-diversity depended on taxon. Both between-site and between-region ,-diversity were very high (in total 60,85%). ,-Diversity and between-site ,-diversity was larger on the edge than in the centre of fields for all taxa. 4,-Diversity, between-site ,-diversity of plants and bees and between-region ,-diversity of bees were higher in organic than in conventional fields, providing local as well as larger-scale species richness benefits. ,-Diversity did not differ between management types for the epigaeic arthropods. Lower between-site ,-diversity was found for spiders in organic fields than in conventional fields, resulting in higher total species richness in conventionally managed wheat. 5Similarity in composition of landscapes surrounding the study fields was correlated with similarity in species composition for epigaeic arthropods in conventional fields. For this group of organisms the variability of landscapes in the sample contributed to increasing ,-diversity. 6Synthesis and applications.,-Diversity accounts for the major part of species richness in agro-ecosystems. Implementing an agri-environment scheme such as organic agriculture may result in either an additional increase of total diversity, as could be shown for plants and bees, or in a decrease in total diversity as was the case for the spiders. Therefore, ,-diversity needs to be included in the evaluation of different management schemes for conservation. For plant and bees it is recommended to implement agri-environment schemes in contrasting landscapes and in different regions to maximize total species richness benefits. [source]

Crosstalk between Hsp70 molecular chaperone, lysosomes and proteasomes in autophagy-mediated proteolysis in human retinal pigment epithelial cells

Tuomas Ryhänen
Abstract The pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration involves chronic oxidative stress, impaired degradation of membranous discs shed from photoreceptor outer segments and accumulation of lysosomal lipofuscin in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. It has been estimated that a major part of cellular proteolysis occurs in proteasomes, but the importance of proteasomes and the other proteolytic pathways including autophagy in RPE cells is poorly understood. Prior to proteolysis, heat shock proteins (Hsps), agents that function as molecular chaperones, attempt to refold misfolded proteins and thus prevent the accumulation of cytoplasmic protein aggregates. In the present study, the roles of the Hsp70 molecular chaperone and proteasomal and lysosomal proteolytic pathways were evaluated in human RPE cells (ARPE-19). The Hsp70 and ubiquitin protein levels and localization were analysed by Western blotting and immunofluorescense. Confocal and transmission electron microscopy were used to detect cellular organelles and to evaluate the morphological changes. Hsp70 levels were modulated using RNA interference and overexpression techniques. Cell viability was measured by colorimetric assay. The proteasome inhibitor MG-132 evoked the accumulation of perinuclear aggregates positive for Hsp70, ubiquitin-protein conjugates and the lysosomal membrane protein LAMP-2. Interestingly, the hsp70 mRNA depletion significantly increased cell death in conjunction with proteasome inhibition. We found that the accumulation of lysosomes was reversible: a cessation of proteasome inhibition led to clearance of the deposits via a mechanism believed to include autophagy. The molecular chaperone Hsp70, proteasomes and autophagy have an important regulatory role in the protein turnover of human RPE cells and may thus open new avenues for understanding degenerative processes in retinal cells. [source]