Isotopomer ratios of N2O (bulk nitrogen and oxygen isotope ratios, delta N-15(bulk) and delta O-18, and intramolecular N-15 site preference, SP) are useful parameters that characterize sources of this greenhouse gas and also provide insight into production and consumption mechanisms. We measured isotopomer ratios of N2O emitted from typical Japanese agricultural soils (Fluvisols and Andisols) planted with rice, wheat, soybean, and vegetables, and treated with synthetic (urea or ammonium) and organic (poultry manure) fertilizers. The results were analyzed using a previously reported isotopomeric N2O signature produced by nitrifying/denitrifying bacteria and a characteristic relationship between delta N-15(bulk) and SP during N2O reduction by denitrifying bacteria. Relative contributions from nitrification (hydroxylamine oxidation) and denitrification (nitrite reduction) to gross N2O production deduced from the analysis depended on soil type and fertilizer. The contribution from nitrification was relatively high (40%-70%) in Andisols amended with synthetic ammonium fertilizer, while denitrification was dominant (50%-90%) in the same soils amended with poultry manure during the period when N2O production occurred in the surface layer. This information on production processes is in accordance with that obtained from flux/concentration analysis of N2O and soil inorganic nitrogen. However, isotopomer analysis further revealed that partial reduction of N2O was pronounced in high-bulk density, alluvial soil (Fluvisol) compared to low-bulk density, volcanic ash soil (Andisol), and that the observed difference in N2O flux between normal and pelleted manure could have resulted from a similar mechanism with different rates of gross production and gross consumption. The isotopomeric analysis is based on data from pure culture bacteria and would be improved by further studies on in situ biological processes in soils including those by fungi. When flux/concentration-weighted average isotopomer ratios of N2O from various fertilized soils were examined, linear correlations were found between delta N-15(bulk) and delta O-18, and between SP and delta N-15(bulk). These relationships would be useful to parameterize isotopomer ratios of soil-emitted N2O for the modeling of the global N2O isotopomer budget. The results obtained in this study and those from previous firn/ice core studies confirm that the principal source of anthropogenic N2O is fertilized soils.
Weighted arithmetic method of water quality index (WQI) was used to evaluate the water quality of Nile River at Cairo (Egypt) according to drinking, irrigation, and aquatic life water utilization. The aim of the present study was to characterize the physicochemical and bacteriological water quality of about 70 km long of Nile River at Cairo city area. The objective of the index is to transform complex water quality data into understandable and usable information by the public. The general annual average of WQI values of Nile River at Cairo was poor water for drinking (50.71), good for aquatic life (28.87), and it was excellent for irrigation utilizations (7.27). Microbiological results revealed an increases in total bacterial and pollution indicator counts from the collected water samples.
Feces of stray cat are potential sources of gastrointestinal parasites and play a crucial role in spreading and transmitting parasite eggs, larvae, and oocysts through contamination of soil, food, or water. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of Toxocara spp. infection in stray cats in Ahvaz city, southwest Iran. Eggs of Toxocara spp. in feces of stray cats were detected by the sucrose flotation method, and identification was conducted by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing. Of the 140 fecal samples that were randomly collected from public environments during the months of January to May 2012, 45% were found to harbour Toxocara spp. eggs. The highest prevalence of Toxocara spp. eggs was found in the central area of Ahvaz city (28.6%). T. canis eggs were found in 4 (6.34%) of the 63 positive samples. Stray cats are found in parks, playgrounds, and other public places and may be a potential contamination risk. Identification of Toxocara spp. using molecular methods is sufficiently sensitive to detect low levels of parasites and identify the different Toxocara spp. in feces. The relatively high prevalence of Toxocara spp. infection may continue to increase due to lack of effective environmental hygiene control in Iran. Consequently, there is a need to plan adequate programs to detect, identify, and control this infection as well as stray cats in the region.
Between November 2010, and May 2011, eleven cases of cholera, unrelated to a concurrent outbreak on the island of Hispaniola, were recorded, and the causative agent, Vibrio cholerae serogroup O75, was traced to oysters harvested from Apalachicola Bay, Florida. From the 11 diagnosed cases, eight isolates of V. cholerae were isolated and their genomes were sequenced. Genomic analysis demonstrated the presence of a suite of mobile elements previously shown to be involved in the disease process of cholera (ctxAB, VPI-1 and -2, and a VSP-II like variant) and a phylogenomic analysis showed the isolates to be sister taxa to toxigenic V. cholerae V51 serogroup O141, a clinical strain isolated 23 years earlier. Toxigenic V. cholerae O75 has been repeatedly isolated from clinical cases in the southeastern United States and toxigenic V. cholerae O141 isolates have been isolated globally from clinical cases over several decades. Comparative genomics, phenotypic analyses, and a Caenorhabditis elegans model of infection for the isolates were conducted. This analysis coupled with isolation data of V. cholerae O75 and O141 suggests these strains may represent an underappreciated clade of cholera-causing strains responsible for significant disease burden globally.
With the effects of global warming the input of terrigenous material into the oceans is increasing, with unknown consequences for the ecosystem. The Baltic Sea is an ideal research object and observed effects can be transferred to the oceans. This paper combines the influence of biotic and abiotic factors especially for terrigenous dissolved organic matter (tDOM). The study is focused on specific lignin target molecules and reflects the influence of salinity and microbial activity. Samples were taken along the salt gradient. In addition, an incubation experiment, mixing of tDOM-rich river water with Baltic Sea water from three different stations, was carried out. A newly developed pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) method using two different mass selective analyzers in one measurement cycle was established for the analysis of tDOM species. It enables the characterization of natural samples by a universal (electron ionization quadrupole MS) as well as an aromatic fingerprint (resonance-enhanced-multi-photon-ionization time-of-flight MS). By thermal desorption (TD) and subsequent pyrolysis the free volatile and high molecular weight structures are accessible. A huge part of the chemical species exists as high molecular structures. The salt content has a high influence on the composition of DOM. Generally, under TD conditions greater changes were observed, especially for the incubation experiment. Under pyrolysis and the chosen experimental conditions, the lignin apparently is hardly degraded by microorganisms.
Enterococci are part of the normal intestinal flora in a large number of mammals, and these microbes are currently used as indicators of fecal contamination in water and food for human consumption. These organisms are considered one of the primary causes of nosocomial and environmental infections due to their ability to survive in the environment and to their intrinsic resistance to antimicrobials. The aims of this study were to determine the biochemical patterns and antimicrobial susceptibilities of Enterococcus faecalis and E. faecium isolates from clinical samples and from water (groundwater, water from the Xochimilco wetland, and treated water from the Mexico City Metropolitan Area) and to determine the genetic relationships among these isolates. A total of 121 enterococcus strains were studied; 31 and 90 strains were isolated from clinical samples and water (groundwater, water from the Xochimilco wetland, and water for agricultural irrigation), respectively. Identification to the species level was performed using a multiplex PCR assay, and antimicrobial profiles were obtained using a commercial kit. Twenty-eight strains were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). E. faecium strains isolated from water showed an atypical biochemical pattern. The clinical isolates showed higher resistance to antibiotics than those from water. Both the enterococci isolated from humans, and those isolated from water showed high genetic diversity according to the PFGE analysis, although some strains seemed to be closely related. In conclusion, enterococci isolated from humans and water are genetically different. However, water represents a potential route of transmission to the community and a source of antimicrobial resistance genes that may be readily transmitted to other, different bacterial species.
Polyphenol-rich Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL) (Lactuca sativa L.) was developed through somaclonal variation and selection in tissue culture. RSL may contain among the highest reported contents of polyphenols and antioxidants in the category of common fruits and vegetables (95.6 mg/g dry weight and 8.7 mg/g fresh weight gallic acid equivalents and 2721 mu mol/g dry weight and 223 mu mol/g fresh weight Trolox equivalents). Three main compounds accumulate at particularly high levels in RSL: chlorogenic acid, up to 27.6 mg/g dry weight, cyanidin malonyl-glucoside, up to 20.5 mg/g dry weight, and quercetin malonyl-glucoside, up to 35.7 mg/g dry weight. Major polyphenolic constituents of RSL have been associated with health promotion as well as anti-diabetic and/or anti-inflammatory activities. Daily oral administration of RSL (100 or 300 mg/kg) for up to eight days acutely reduced hyperglycemia and improved insulin sensitivity in high fat diet-induced obese hyperglycemic mice compared to vehicle (water) control. Data presented here support possible use of RSL as a functional food for the dietary management of diabetes.
Discharge of waste in general, and food waste, in particular, is considered one of the major environmental problems today, as waste generation increases continuously, reaching values of 32% of all food produced worldwide. There are many different options that can be applied to the management and evaluation of waste treatment, and Anaerobic Digestion seems to be one of the most suitable solutions because of its benefits, including renewable energy generation in form of biogas. Moreover, if FW (food waste) is digested in anaerobic digesters from Waste Water Treatment Plants, a common solution is provided for both residues. Furthermore, co-digestion of food waste and sewage sludge provides benefits in terms of anaerobic process stability enhancing the buffer capacity of ammonia (for example) and biogas formation, which can be increased up to 80% when compared with monodigestion. The present paper reviews food waste anaerobic digestion from its generation, characteristics and different options for its management, and it does focus specifically on the anaerobic digestion and co-digestion process, stages, limiting rates and parameters, utilizing numerous experiences, strictly related to food waste. Pre-treatments are also considered as they are important and innovative for enhancing biogas production and its methane yield. The paper shows an extensive collection of pre-treatments, its basics, improving factors, and numerical data of biogas formation improvements that are related both to substrate modification and to the synergistic effect of co-digestion, which could lead to an increase of methane production from 11% to 180%.
Liver organoids (LOs) are of interest in tissue replacement, hepatotoxicity and pathophysiological studies. However, it is still unclear what triggers LO self-assembly and what the optimal environment is for their culture. Hypothesizing that LO formation occurs as a result of a fine balance between cell-substrate adhesion and cell-cell cohesion, we used 3 cell types (hepatocytes, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells) to investigate LO self-assembly on different substrates keeping the culture parameters (e.g. culture media, cell types/number) and substrate stiffness constant. As cellular spheroids may suffer from oxygen depletion in the core, we also sought to identify the optimal culture conditions for LOs in order to guarantee an adequate supply of oxygen during proliferation and differentiation. The oxygen consumption characteristics of LOs were measured using an O-2 sensor and used to model the O-2 concentration gradient in the organoids. We show that no LO formation occurs on highly adhesive hepatic extra-cellular matrix-based substrates, suggesting that cellular aggregation requires an optimal trade-off between the adhesiveness of a substrate and the cohesive forces between cells and that this balance is modulated by substrate mechanics. Thus, in addition to substrate stiffness, physicochemical properties, which are also critical for cell adhesion, play a role in LO self-assembly.
The STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase (STEP) is a brain-specific phosphatase whose dysregulation in expression and/or activity is associated with several neuropsychiatric disorders. We recently showed that long-term excessive consumption of ethanol induces a sustained inhibition of STEP activity in the dorsomedial striatum (DMS) of mice. We further showed that down-regulation of STEP expression in the DMS, and not in the adjacent dorsolateral striatum, increases ethanol intake, suggesting that the inactivation of STEP in the DMS contributes to the development of ethanol drinking behaviors. Here, we compared the consequence of global deletion of the STEP gene on voluntary ethanol intake to the consumption of an appetitive rewarding substance (saccharin) or an aversive solution (quinine or denatonium). Whereas saccharin intake was similar in STEP knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) littermate mice, the consumption of ethanol as well as quinine and denatonium was increased in STEP KO mice. These results suggested that the aversive taste of these substances was masked upon deletion of the STEP gene. We therefore hypothesized that STEP contributes to the physiological avoidance towards aversive stimuli. To further test this hypothesis, we measured the responses of STEP KO and WT mice to lithium-induced conditioned place aversion (CPA) and found that whereas WT mice developed lithium place aversion, STEP KO mice did not. In contrast, conditioned place preference (CPP) to ethanol was similar in both genotypes. Together, our results indicate that STEP contributes, at least in part, to the protection against the ingestion of aversive agents.