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Authors: Hagen Frickmann, Kerstin Köller, Irina Veil, Mirjam Weise, Alicja Ludyga, Norbert Georg Schwarz, Philipp Warnke and Andreas Podbielski

This study assesses the clinical relevance of vancomycin-susceptible enterococci in bacteremic patients and compares it with bacteremia due to Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

During a 5-year-study interval, clinical and diagnostic features of patients with enterococcal bacteremia were compared to those of patients with E. coli or S. aureus bacteremia. Each patient was only counted once per hospital stay.

During the 5-year study interval, data from 267 patients with enterococcal bacteremia and from 661 patients with bacteremia due to E. coli or S. aureus were evaluated. In spite of a comparable risk of death, patients with enterococci more frequently needed catecholamines and invasive ventilation. Furthermore, enterococci were more frequently associated with a mixed bacterial flora in bloodstream infections. While fatal sepsis due to E. coli and S. aureus was associated with typical shock symptoms, this association was not confirmed for enterococci.

Although enterococcal bacteremia is associated with a risk of dying comparable to that with bacteremia due to E. coli and S. aureus, a lower pathogenic potential of enterococci in bloodstream has to be acknowledged. Enterococci in the bloodstream are more likely to be an epiphenomenon of impending death than its major cause.

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Authors: S. Popov, M. Miličić, I. Diti, O. Marko, D. Sommaggio, Z. Markov and A. Vujić

Spatial and temporal differences in landscape patterns are of considerable interest for understanding ecological processes. In this study, we assessed habitat quality by using the Syrph The Net database and data on decreasing species richness over a 25-year period for the two largest phytophagous hoverfly genera (Merodon and Cheilosia). Furthermore, within this time frame, we explored congruence between ecological responses (species richness and Biodiversity Maintenance Function for these two genera) and landscape structural changes through correlation analysis. Our results indicate that landscapes have experienced changes in aggregation, isolation/connectivity and landscape diversity, with these parameters being significantly correlated with Cheilosia species richness loss and habitat quality. We conclude that the genus Cheilosia is a good bioindicator that can highlight not only the current quality of an area but also temporal changes in landscape patterns.

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Authors: Ali Asghar Ayatollahi, Abolfazl Amini, Somayeh Rahimi, Saeid Rahbar Takrami, Reza Kazemi Darsanaki and Muhammad Sadeqi Nezhad

Nosocomial infections are one of the most common causes of death in hospitals. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of gram-negative bacilli isolated from the equipment in hospital wards of the Golestan province, in the year 2015. In this crosssectional study in 2015, 1980 samples from medical and nonmedical equipment and surfaces were collected from the wards of 13 teaching hospitals, in the Golestan province. Samples were inoculated into eosin methylene blue agar and blood agar culture media and isolated colonies were identified by standard biochemical tests. The obtained results were then analyzed using SPSS 22 software and χ2 test. Among 1980 isolated samples, 601 samples (30.35%) were infected with gram-negative bacilli while Enterobacter aerogenes (37.27%) was responsible for most of the contaminations. The highest rate of infection was observed in the intensive care unit (33.1%), and the highest level of contamination in the medical equipment was associated with laryngoscope and its blade (10.48%), as well as ECG sensor and its monitoring connector (6.65%). Meanwhile, phone (6.32%) and patients’ beds and linen (5.15%) had the highest level of contamination in the nonmedical equipment. Considering the high rates of gram-negative bacilli contamination in the hospital wards of the Golestan province, thorough hand washing as the main action for disinfection and sterilizing the equipment, as well as performing periodic cultivation alongside the use of standard guidelines for prevention and control of nosocomial infections, are recommended to reduce the level of contamination.

Open access

Two simulated coenoclines and a real data set were differently recoded with respect to the Braun-Blanquet coding (including presence/absence) and analysed through the most common multidimensional scaling methods. This way, we aim at contributing to the debate concerning the nature of the Braun-Blanquet coding and the consequent multidimensional scaling methods to be used. Procrustes, Pearson, and Spearman correlation matrices were computed to compare the resulting sets of coordinates and synthesized through their Principal Component Analyses (PCA). In general, both Procrustes and Pearson correlations showed high coherence of the obtained results, whereas Spearman correlation values were much lower. This proves that the main sources of variation are similarly identified by most of used methods/transformations, whereas less agreement results on the continuous variations along the detected gradients. The conclusion is that Correspondence Analysis on presence/absence data seems the most appropriate method to use. Indeed, presence/absence data are not affected by species cover estimation error and Simple Correspondence Analysis performs really well with this coding. As alternative, Multiple Correlation Analysis provides interesting information on the species distribution while showing a pattern of relevés very similar to that issued by PCA.

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Hydroponic studies were conducted to investigate the role of iron plaque on transport and distribution of chromium (Cr) by rice seedlings. Microscopical observations indicate that iron plaque developed quickly at the root surface of rice seedlings, but the distribution of iron plaque was more intense near root base and less towards root tip. Results showed that rice seedlings exposed to Cr(III) depicted significantly higher capacity for Cr accumulation in plant tissues than Cr(VI) in the presence of iron plaque. However, transport of Cr within plant cells was more evident in Cr(VI) treatment with iron plaque than Cr(III) treatment. Results also showed that there are significant impact on transport of K, Mn and Zn in rice seedlings treated with Cr(VI) in the presence of iron plaque, while significant effect on transport of Mn and Zn were observed in Cr(III)-treated rice seedlings. Results from detached root test provide additional evidence to confirm the presence of iron plaque, that had different impact on Cr uptake when Cr(VI) or Cr(III) was supplied.

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Silicon (Si) is reported to improve plant resistance to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses, with consequent yield increases. Silicon plays an important role in providing defense for crops of great economic importance against insect pests attack. In this study, the interaction between plants treated with silicon and reduced insect damage was reviewed. The current review presents the agronomic importance of silicon in plants, the control of insect pests in different major crop plants by silicon treatment, the different mechanisms of silicon- enhanced resistance, and the absence of silicon effects on insect pests. By integrating the data presented in this paper, a good knowledge of the association between silicon treatment, increasing plant resistance, and decreasing insect pest damage could be attainted.

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Authors: Viktória Bőhm, Dávid Fekete, Gábor Balázs, László Gáspár and Noémi Kappel

In order to evaluate the salinity tolerance of grafted watermelon, two sets of experiments were conducted in a growing chamber where ‘Esmeralda’ varieties were grafted onto interspecific squash (Cucurbita maxima Duch. × Cucurbita moschata Duch.) and Lagenaria siceraria rootstocks. Both non-grafted and self-garfted plants were used for control. For salt stress, 2.85 and 4.28 mM/l substrate doses of NaCl were added with each irrigation in 2 day intervals for a duration of 23 days. Interspecific-grafted plants showed the highest salinity tolerance as plant biomass and leaf area were not decreased but improved by salinity in most cases. Furthermore, transpiration and photosynthesis activity did not decrease as much as it did in the case of other grafting combinations. Interspecific and Lagenaria rootstocks showed sodium retention, as elevation of Na+ content in the leaves of these grafting combinations was negligible compared to self-grafted and non-grafted ones. Presumably abiotic stress tolerance can be enhanced by grafting per se considering measured parameters of self-grafted plants did not decrease as much as seen in non-grafted ones.

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Authors: Dora Romero-Salas, Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Gladys Domínguez-Aguilar, Anabel Cruz-Romero, Nelly Ibarra-Priego, Carolina Barrientos-Salcedo, Mariel Aguilar-Domínguez, Rodolfo Canseco-Sedano, Luz Teresa Espín-Iturbe, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco and Adalberto A. Pérez de León

We aimed to determine the seroprevalence of infection with Neospora caninum, Leptospira, and bovine herpesvirus type 1 and risk factors associated with these infections in water buffaloes in Veracruz State, Mexico. Through a cross-sectional study, 144 water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) raised in 5 ranches of Veracruz were examined for anti-N. caninum and anti-bovine herpesvirus type 1 antibodies by enzyme immunoassays, and anti-Leptospira interrogans antibodies by microscopic agglutination test.

Of the 144 buffaloes studied, 35 (24.3%) were positive for N. caninum, 50 (34.7%) for Leptospira, and 83 (57.6%) for bovine herpes virus. The frequencies of leptospiral serovars in buffaloes were as follows: 18.7% for Muenchen (n = 27), 10.4% for Hardjo LT (n = 15), 9.0% for Pyrogenes (n = 13), and 4.8% for Icterohaemorrhagiae (n = 7). Seropositive buffaloes were found in all 5 ranches studied. Logistic regression showed that cohabitation of buffaloes with cows was associated with infection with Leptospira (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–4.5; P = 0.03) and bovine herpesvirus (OR, 12.0; 95% CI, 4.0–36.2; P >; 0.01).

This is the first study that provides serological evidence of N. caninum, Leptospira, and bovine herpesvirus type 1 infections in water buffaloes in Mexico. Our findings could be used to enhance preventive measures against these infections.

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Authors: Raimond Lugert, Uwe Groß, Wycliffe O. Masanta, Gunter Linsel, Astrid Heutelbeck and Andreas E. Zautner

Psittacosis is a zoonotic infectious disease that is caused by Chlamydophila psittaci. To determine the occupational risk of getting the infection, we investigated the seroprevalence of C. psittaci among employees of two German duck farms and two slaughterhouses according to their level of exposure to the pathogen during the years 2010, 2007, and 2004. In summary, we found low seroprevalence (≈ 8%) throughout the study population almost irrespective of the duty of a given worker. Surprisingly, in 2010, the anti-C. psittaci-specific antibody prevalence in the group of slaughterer (38.9%) was significantly increased in comparison to the non-exposed employees (p = 0.00578). This indicates that individuals in the surrounding of slaughterhouses exposed especially to aerosols containing C. psittaci elementary bodies bear a greater occupational risk of getting infected.

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Physiological condition of an animal is flexible and can quickly change in relation to the quality of its environment. This makes it potentially suitable as an estimator of environmental stress. We studied the condition in three predatory ground beetles, Carabus nemoralis, Nebria brevicollis and Pterostichus melanarius along an urbanisation gradient (forest-suburban area - forest fragments in urban park) in Sorø, Denmark to test whether urbanisation-related stress is reflected in body condition. We also considered the interaction between condition and the true asymmetry using a local polynomial regression model. Females showed consistently better condition than males in all studied species. The condition indices in C. nemoralis and N. brevicollis were higher in the urban habitats than the other sites, while P. melanarius showed better condition in the suburban forest fragments than the forest or urban habitats. A significant negative correlation was found between condition and asymmetry for C. nemoralis and N. brevicollis in the suburban as well as urban forest fragments. This indicates a complex interaction between tolerance limits, feeding conditions and stress levels during advancing urbanisation, emphasising the importance of using multiple criteria for assessing its impact on biodiversity.

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A wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) immature spike culture system was used to expeditiously generate mutations for use in wheat improvement programs. Wheat immature spikes in culture were treated with three concentrations of ethylmethane sulphonate (EMS) to generate a spike culture derived variant (SCDV) population. EMS in a concentration dependent manner affected seed development in wheat immature spike cultures. Based on the number of seeds produced, inclusion of EMS (25 mM) for three hours in immature spike culture medium generated variants in wheat cv. AC Nanda. The wheat AC Nanda SCDV population showed variation in several phenotypic characters. Flag leaf (length, angle and sheath length), length of first and second internode, spike length, number of spikes, number of seeds per spike and seed weight, showed variation below and above the non-treated controls. A molecular screening technique combining simple sequence repeat (SSR) oligonucleotide primers with high resolution melt (HRM) PCR with EvaGreen was used to identify the variants. Screening for starch branching enzyme IIb (SbeIIb) revealed 75 lines with point mutations. Combining SSR and SbeIIb, a total of 100 Kbp portion of wheat DNA was screened. The estimated mutation frequency in SbeIIb was one per 20.8 Kbp. The spike culture system utilizes very small amounts of EMS for a brief period, thus needs minimal handling of EMS and saves one generation of plant growth in a greenhouse. The morphological variants observed are similar to those reported for seed-derived variants using EMS.

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Authors: B. Tajthi, R. Horváth, Sz. Mizser, D. D. Nagy and B. Tóthmérész

Urban areas have been growing radically worldwide, causing considerable changes in biodiversity of natural habitats. In floodplain forests, we studied the effects of urbanization on ground-dwelling spider assemblages along a rural–suburban–urban gradient in Hungary. We tested three traditional hypotheses (intermediate disturbance hypothesis, habitat specialist hypothesis and hygrophilous species hypothesis) and two novel expectations (shade-preferring species hypothesis, and disturbance sensitive species hypothesis) on spiders. We found that the total number of species was higher in the suburban habitat than in rural and urban ones, supporting the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. We found a decrease in the species richness of forest specialist and shade-preferring species along the urbanization gradient. We found that the number of hygrophilous and disturbance sensitive species was the lowest in the urban habitat. The spider assemblages of the rural and suburban habitats were clearly separated from the assemblages of urban habitats. Based on our findings we emphasize that low and moderate intensity of forest management contributes to the preservation of the local species richness in floodplain forests.

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Climate changes in Europe, which is characterized by the decrease of rainy days and the higher average temperature at summer, significantly increase the spreading of Aspergillus species and aflatoxin B1 contamination of the staple food and feed materials. The aim of our study was to estimate the possibility of the aflatoxin production of the Aspergilli on crops. From the isolates that were gained from crop samples, higher than 40% of the Aspergillus isolates contained norA, aflR and omtA genes from the aflatoxin genes cluster. Most of these isolates (63%) showed high homology with A. flavus, while three isolates showed high homology to A. tritici/A. candidus, one to A. cristatus/A. amstelodami and one strain showed the highest homology to A. tritici. Six from the A. flavus isolates (85.7%) with norA, aflR and omtA genes could produce aflatoxin B1 on malate extract agar medium. Parallel PCR and toxin measurements are recommended to evaluate the potentiality of aflatoxin production.

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The present faunistic study was performed in East Azarbaijan province, northwest of Iran, in 2015–2016. A total of eleven species belonging to four genera of the subfamily Curculioninae were studied. Rhinusa eversmanni Rosenschoeld, 1838 is recorded for the first time from Iran. Photos of adult habitus of the newly recorded species along with a key to the Iranian species of the snout beetles identified in this study are provided.

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Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Yazmin del Rosario Rico-Almochantaf, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Gerardo Quiñones-Canales, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jorge Torres-González, Björn Schott, Oliver Liesenfeld and Ildiko Rita Dunay

Little is known about the association of Toxoplasma gondii infection and neurological disorders. We performed a case-control study with 344 patients with neurological diseases and 344 neurologically healthy age- and gender-matched subjects. Sera of participants were analyzed for anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies using commercially available immunoassays. Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were detected in 25 (7.3%) cases and in 35 (10.2%) controls (odds ratio [OR] = 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.40–1.18; P = 0.17). Anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found in 5 (14.3%) of the 25 IgG seropositive cases and in 13 (37.1%) of the 35 IgG seropositive controls (P = 0.15). Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in 8 (3.8%) of 213 female cases and in 23 (10.8%) of 213 female controls (OR = 0.32; 95% CI: 0.14–0.73; P = 0.005); and in 17 (13.0%) of 131 male cases and in 12 (9.2%) of 131 male controls (P = 0.32). No direct association between IgG seropositivity and specific neurological disorders was detected. We found no support for a role of latent T. gondii infection in the risk for neurological disorders in this setting. With respect to specific neurological disorders, further studies using larger patient cohorts will be required.

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The geographical patterns of tree species richness in forest communities have been studied widely, but little is known about the geographical variation of the estimated species richness and minimum areas using species-area curves. A differential technique based on the species-area relationships (SAR) was developed for estimating the minimum area (Amin) capturing 60- 80% of the species in each plot, which is an important characteristic of a forest community. The relationship between estimated species richness (ESR) from the SAR and the corresponding minimum area is described by the linear model ESR = 0.0051×Amin (R2 = 0.98, p < 0.0001). Both the ESR and the minimum area exhibit similar geographical variations with a significant increase along altitudinal and a decrease along latitudinal gradients. The spatial variations of the ESR were partitioned into three geographical components and their combined effects. Altitude accounted for 40% and 45% of the total variation in the ESR and the minimum area, respectively. While latitude accounted for 69% and 61% of the total variation in the ESR and the minimum area, respectively. Thus, latitude is the main determinant which influences the geographical variation of the ESR. As far as we know, this study presents the first report of the geographical patterns of the minimum area in temperate forests.

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In intensive irrigated farming systems, the way to improve productive efficiency depends on the proper management of resources. With the implementation of the Alqueva global irrigation system in the southern Portugal region of Alentejo, agricultural intensification is a reality that imposes to farmers the challenge of producing more and more efficiently, ensuring the farming systems sustainability. This work resulted from an on-farm demonstration project carried out in two locations in the Alqueva region. Water use and water productivity were studied during 2012/2013 and 2013/2014, in three double cropping systems: a maize monoculture (MM) and two rotations, barley + maize-barley (BM-B) and sunflower-barley + maize (S-BM). Maize yields were influenced by the length of the crop cycle. In the rotation BM-B, with a predominance of autumn-winter crops, water requirements were lower and the total volume of irrigation applied was approximately half of the monoculture (5930 m3/ha and 13,230 m3/ha, respectively). When the potential crop yield was reached, maize had the higher water productivity (the highest value achieved was of 2.7 kg/m3). Overall, as a result of the lower yields achieved, the water productivity values indicate a less balanced performance of the S-BM rotation.

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Authors: I. Ganopoulos, A. Kapazoglou, I. Bosmali, A. Xanthopoulou, I. Nianiou-Obeidat, A. Tsaftaris and P. Madesis

Molecular taxonomic studies have been performed in the past in order to identify different wheat species and construct a molecular phylogeny. These were based on universal but sufficiently divergent sequences from both the nuclear and chloroplastic genomes of wheat. They included two short plastid sequences from the plastid genes rbcL and matK which have been proposed as the core “barcode” sequences by the “barcoding” guidelines for general plant identification. Historically, in molecular plant taxonomy, plastidic sequences had been favored over nuclear sequences, due to their uniparental inheritance and consequently lower intra-molecular recombination. However recently, the short nuclear sequence from the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) has been used successfully for the accurate identification of many medicinal and other plant species. Herein, we have used the plastidic matK, rbcL trnL, and the nuclear ITS2 region for the identification of different wheat species of Triticum L. and goatgrass species of Aegilops L. We have successfully discriminated all species that were examined from both genera, thus, validating the ITS2 region as a ‘barcode tool’ for accurate distinction of plants in the genus Triticum L. and Aegilops L. The success rate of PCR amplification and sequencing of the ITS2 region was 100%. We report also that matK, rbcL and trnL regions could not discriminate all species in contrast to the ITS2 region which demonstrated full discriminatory capacity.

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Authors: Ádám Simon, János Oláh, István Komlósi, András Jávor, József Németh, Zoltán Szilvássy, Dóra Reglődi, Andrea Tamás and Levente Czeglédi

The list of orexigenic and anorexigenic peptides, those are known to alter feed intake, is continuously growing. However, most of them are studied in mammalian species. We aimed to investigate plasma level and mRNA expression of the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), gene expression of its receptor (PAC1), furthermore the gene expression of galanin (GAL), neuromedin U (NMU), and its two receptors (NMUR1 and NMUR2) in the hypothalamus, proventriculus, and jejunum of hens exposed to 40% calorie restriction. Feed restriction resulted in a 88% increase in mRNA and a 27% increase in peptide level of PACAP in proventriculus measured with qPCR and RIA, respectively. Increases were found in the gene expression of PAC1 (49%) and NMUR1 (63%) in the hypothalamus. Higher expressions of peptide encoding genes (76% for PACAP, 41% for NMU, 301% for NMUR1 and 308% for GAL, P < 0.05) were recorded in the jejunum of hens exposed to restricted nutrition. The results indicate that PACAP level responds to calorie restriction in the proventriculus and jejunum, but not in the hypothalamus and plasma.

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections cause severe CD4+ T cell depletion leading to chronic inflammation and immune activation, impaired barrier function, and microbial translocation. Even under effective antiretroviral therapy, these processes persist, leading to gut microbiome dysbiosis and disturbance of microbiome–host homeostasis. This systematic review aims at analyzing how gut microbiome and host immune system influence each other during HIV pathogenesis. An online search applying the PubMed database was conducted. The number of total results (n = 35) was narrowed down to 5 relevant studies focusing on the interaction between the host and gut microbiome, whereas strict exclusion criteria were applied, thereby assuring that no other comorbidities impacted study results. Our analyses revealed that gut microbiome diversity correlated positively with CD4+ T cell counts and negatively with microbial translocation markers. However, quantitative changes in bacterial richness did not consistently correlate with the numbers of metabolically active bacterial populations. Despite the reported increase in potentially pathogenic bacteria and, conversely, decrease in protective populations, the gut microbiota exhibited immune-modulating qualities given that mucosal inflammatory sequelae were dampened by decreasing pro-inflammatory and accelerating anti-inflammatory cytokine responses. Future research is needed to further elucidate these findings, to gain a deeper insight into host–microbiota interactions and to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

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Micromorphological studies revealed the developmental changes in micropropagated plants of Morinda citrifolia L. from in vitro conditions to field environment. The lower relative humidity, higher light intensity and septic stressful conditions in the field environment could make gradual changes in the micropropagated plants so as to adapt the external environment. Arrested stomatal development, single guard cells and indistinct subsidiaries were observed in vitro with highest stomatal density (52.0±0.11) obtained in the ambient in vitro environment. The development of tissues, epidermal ornamentation, efficient stomatal functionality and vein-islets numbers (12.0±0.0) during in vivo transfer may help in acclimation of micropropagated plants under field conditions. Raphides were observed in the in vitro propagated as well as in vivo transferred plantlets. The gradual acclimatisation and ex vitro rooting technique increased the survival rate of plantlets in the field. The micromorphological changes resulting from in vitro to field environments are important to understand the development of tissues and adaptation of micropropagated plants, which could help in improvement in survivability during field trials.

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In this paper, morphological and anatomical properties of Iris pamphylica and Iris masia were compared and the degrees of relationship among them were determined. Also, morphological and anatomical properties of the two subspecies (I. masia subsp. masia and I. masia subsp. dumaniana) of I. masia were detected. I. pamphylica and subsp. dumaniana are endangered endemic geophytes of Turkey. Morphological properties of various organs of the taxa such as scape, bulb, rhizomes, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds were given. Subsp. dumaniana is separated from subsp. masia with the differences of falls, standards, colour styles and vein colours. In anatomical studies, cross-sections of roots, scapes, leaves and surface sections of the leaves of these taxa were taken. Some different (the structure of pith region and xylem strands numbers in the roots, vascular bundles and micropapilla status in the scapes, leaf outline structure, the presence of sclerenchyma cap at phloem poles of vascular bundles in the scape, extends to both epidermis of sclerenchyma cap, absence and presence of keels, layer numbers of palisade and spongy parenchyma and the presence of bulliform cells in the upper epidermis of leaves) and similar characters (three-sided thickening of the endodermal cells, stomata and mesophyll types, there is sclerenchyma cap in the vascular bundles of leaf and at the corner of the leaf, there is sheath bundle around the vascular bundles, the cells in the centre of mesophyll and crystal types and there are two rows of the vascular bundles in the mesophyll) were found. Length and width of stomata in the upper and lower surfaces of leaves were measured and stomata index were calculated. The leaves of taxa have xeromorphic structure. Many differences were seen in the anatomical and morphological characters of I. masia subsp. dumaniana. So, it was suggested that I. masia subsp. dumaniana might be upgraded to the species category.

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Protein and starch are important in wheat quality and yield. To understand the genetic relationship between protein and starch at the quantitative trait locus (QTL)/gene level, 168 doubled haploid (DH) lines were used at three locations over 2 years. The QTLs for proteinfraction contents and starch content were analyzed by unconditional and conditional QTL mapping. We detected 17 unconditional additive QTLs (four albumin QTLs, three globulin QTLs, six gliadin QTLs, four glutenin QTLs) controlling protein-fraction contents. We detected 19 conditional QTLs (five albumin QTLs, three globulin QTLs, five gliadin QTLs, six glutenin QTLs) based on starch content. Of these QTLs, QAlu1B, QGlo6A, QGli1B, QGli7A, QGlu1B and QGlu1D increased the protein-fraction contents independent of the starch content. These QTLs could regulate the usual inverse relationship between protein and starch in wheat seeds. The results could possibly be used in the simultaneous improvement of grain protein and starch content in wheat breeding.

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Authors: S. Gupta, R. Yadav, K.B. Gaikwad, A. Arora, A. Kumar, A. Kushwah and N.K. Bainsla

Physiological breeding complementing the conventional approach is increasingly being explored in wheat in view of stagnating annual genetic yield gain. Designing improved plant types required knowledge about physiological traits associated with yield gain in the past. Fourteen wheat varieties including 12 historically important and popular (mega) wheat cultivars and two recently registered varieties were observed for various physiological traits for two years. Both breeding period and genotypes within breeding period accounted for significant differences for most of the physiological traits. Regression analysis indicated curvilinear trend for leaf area index (LAI), flag leaf area, and root length and root weight. Near perfect leaf area index (LAI 5.94) with semi-erect leaves and higher flag leaf area was observed in all time mega variety HD 2967 indicated the importance of plant architecture and crop canopy in yield maximization. Linear declining trend was observed for coleoptile length, number of stomata per cm2 and flag leaf length. Increasing trend for total chlorophyll content and normalized difference for vegetative indices (NDVI) at both vegetative and flowering stage indicated the importance of leaf greenness in yield improvement. Root length has continuously declined except for the latest released varieties, however no such trend was observed for root weight. We propose that grain yield stabilization at still higher level can be achieved by increasing photosynthetic capacity, optimizing the crop canopy slightly less than the optimum, and better partitioning to grain yield through directed physiological based breeding.

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This study was to determine the gene expression pattern and phenotypic change of Cheongcheong, Nagdong, TN1, and 8 different pedigrees of the CNDH population when WBPH infestation initiated at the reproductive stage of the crop. WBPH infested plants generally showed higher expression level of defense genes compared with the uninfected plants. LOX transcriptional levels in Nagdong and CNDH42-1 did not increase after WBPH feeding at all-time course. Chlorophyll content declined in infested plants compared to their controls, but still CNDH3, CNDH14-2, and CNDH65 were healthier. Heavy and extensive WBPH feeding affected rice yield and grain quality although the infestation started at the reproductive stage.

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The impact of foliar spray fertilizers (Aton Az) on the resistance of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) against to individual and combined UV-B radiation and drought effects were investigated. Barley seeds were sown in pots prepared with neutral pH peat substrate. When the 2nd true leaf unfolded, i.e. 7 days after germination, the first spray with microelement and free amino acid fertilizers was carried out; two days after this application, the different irradiation (1 and 3 kJm–2 d–1) UV-B doses and drought effects were started. Exposure lasted for 6 days. The main characteristics of all investigated indicators were assessed at the end of exposure. The largest positive effects of fertilizers on the photosynthetic rate and water use efficiency of barley were found solely under the impact of drought. Foliar spray fertilizers decreased oxidative stress injury in the leaves by decreasing the malondialdehyde content under solely effects of drought and UV-B radiation, while under the combined effect of the mentioned stress factors, the changes were statistically insignificant. A stronger positive impact of foliar fertilization was detected on the content of photosynthetic pigments (a and b) at solely UV-B radiation effect than at combined effect of investigated factors, when significant changes were detected only in individual cases.

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This study evaluated the effectiveness of an image sorter to select for kernel color within early generations of segregating hard winter wheat populations. The wheat crosses originated from different combinations of white and red parents. Three generations (F3, F4 and F5) of sorting were applied to six segregating populations. At each generation, samples of whitesorted, red-sorted, and unsorted populations, along with the parents of the populations, were planted in replicated trials at multiple locations. The sorter processed 1kg sized samples in ~30 min and samples were sorted for 108 plots per season. ~10% of the F3 populations were sorted and planted as white-sort population. This resulted in minimal changes in the % of white kernels. ~3% of the F4 and F5 populations were sorted and planted as white-sorted populations and significant advancement occurred. The F6 populations of white-sorted samples from Dakota Lake ranged from 80% to 92% white kernels. The F6 populations from Brookings ranged from 53% to 83% white kernels. Sorting for red seed decreased the frequency of white seed as compared to the unsorted reference populations; however reductions, of white seeds in the red populations, were modest and required three cycles of selection for significant effect. The effectiveness of the image-sorter varied with population and environment and sorting methods.

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Authors: Ali Konaté, René Dembélé, Nathalie K. Guessennd, Fernique Konan Kouadio, Innocent Kouamé Kouadio, Mohamed Baguy Ouattara, Wendpoulomdé A. D. Kaboré, Assèta Kagambèga, Haoua Cissé, Hadiza Bawa Ibrahim, Touwendsida Serge Bagré, Alfred S. Traoré and Nicolas Barro

The emergence and persistence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) causing acute diarrhea is a major public health challenge in developing countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the resistance phenotypes of DEC isolated from stool samples collected from children less than 5 years of age with acute diarrhea living in Ouagadougou/Burkina Faso. From August 2013 to October 2015, this study was carried out on 31 DEC strains of our study conducted in “Centre Médical avec Antenne Chirurgicale (CMA)” Paul VI and CMA of Schiphra. DEC were isolated and identified by standard microbiological methods and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method was used to further characterize them. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was done based on the disk diffusion method. DEC isolates were high resistant to tetracycline (83.9%), amoxicillin (77.4%), amoxicillin clavulanic acid (77.4%), piperacillin (64.5%), and colistin sulfate (61.3%). The most resistant phenotype represented was the extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) phenotype (67.7%). Aminoglycosides were 100% active on enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). All the DEC isolates exhibited absolute (100%) sensitivity to ciprofloxacin. Monitoring and studying the resistance profile of DEC to antibiotics are necessary to guide probabilistic antibiotic therapy, especially in pediatric patients.

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Ascorbic acid is an important antioxidant that plays role both on growth and development and also stress response of the plant. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of ascorbate on physiological and biochemical changes of sunflower that was exposed to multiple stresses. Chlorophyll and carotenoid contents decreased and glutathione, ascorbate and malondialdehyde contents as well as antioxidant enzyme activities increased for sunflower plant that was exposed to 50 mM NaCl and pendimethalin at different concentrations. These changes were found to be more significant in groups simultaneously exposed to both stress factors. While malondialdehyde content decreased, chlorophyll, carotenoid, ascorbate, glutathione contents and antioxidant enzyme activities increased in plants treated exogenously with ascorbate, compared to the untreated samples. According to the findings of our study; compared to individual stress, the effect of stress is more pronounced in sunflower exposed to multiple stresses, and treatment with exogenous ascorbate reduces the negative effects of stress.

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The stress reaction of maize plants was evaluated in relation to drought stress intensity and to growth stages by assessing the transpiration intensity and the expression of two dehydrin genes, DHN1 and DHN2. The maize plants were grown under four different watering conditions: well-watered (control), mild stress, moderate stress and high stress. The sap flow values were taken as an indicator of plant stress reactions at the transpiration level. A significant correlation between the average diurnal values of sap flow and the volumetric soil moisture appeared only for the moderate stress condition (R = 0.528) and for the high stress condition (R = 0.395). Significant increases in the expression of DHN1 and DHN2 (DHN1 = 105-fold and DHN2 = 103-fold) were observed primarily for the high stress condition compared to the control. Differences in the stress reactions at the DHN1 gene expression level were detected for all the experimental drought stress conditions. A relatively close relationship between the levels of expression of both genes and the values of the sap flow was observed during the initial stage of the stress (R = –0.895; R = –0.893). The severity of water stress and transpiration intensity significantly affected certain biometric and yield parameters of maize. Higher DHN genes expression at the ripening stage was related to lower grain and dry biomass yield. The results indicated that DHN gene expression assessment in maize and evaluation of the changes in transpiration expressed by the sap flow could be considered appropriate indicators of stress intensity while the DHN gene expression assessment appeared to be more sensitive than evaluation of the changes in transpiration, mainly in the initial phases of stress response.

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Authors: Luis Antonio Bautista-Hernández, José Luis Gómez-Olivares, Beatriz Buentello-Volante and Victor Manuel Bautista-de Lucio

Fibroblasts are present in all tissues but predominantly in connective tissues. Some of their functions include contractility, locomotion, collagen and elastin fiber production, and the regulation and degradation of the extracellular matrix. Also, fibroblasts act as sentinels to produce inflammatory mediators in response to several microorganisms. There is evidence that fibroblasts can synthesize toll-like receptors (TLRs), antimicrobial peptides, proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, which are important molecules involved in innate immune response against microorganisms. Fibroblasts can express TLRs (TLR-1 to TLR-10) to sense microbial components or microorganisms. They can synthesize antimicrobial peptides, such as LL-37, defensins hBD-1, and hBD-2, molecules that perform antimicrobial activity. Also, they can produce proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα, INFγ, IL-6, IL-12p70, and IL-10; other chemokines, such as CCL1, CCL2, CCL5, CXCL1, CXCL8, CXCL10, and CX3CL1; and the growth factors granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to induce and recruit inflammatory cells. According to their immunological attributes, we can conclude that fibroblasts are sentinel cells that recognize pathogens, induce the recruitment of inflammatory cells via cytokines and growth factors, and release antimicrobial peptides, complying with the characteristics of real sentinels.

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Authors: Zoltán Kern, Miklós Kázmér, Tamás Müller, András Specziár, Alexandra Németh and Tamás Váczi

Microscopic inclusions have been observed in 7 out of 106 European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) sagittae using polarizing microscope and scanning electron microscope meanwhile the annual increments were studied to characterize the age structure of the population living in Lake Balaton. The presence of vaterite, a rare calcium carbonate polymorph was observed in these inclusions using Raman spectroscopy. Vateritic sagittae in wild fish are usually considered as symptom of physiological stress. The observed fusiform inclusions represent a new morphological type of vaterite inclusions in eel otolith. Two alternatives are hypothesized to explain their formation: 1) metabolic disorder, such as erroneous protein synthesis; 2) introduction of an alien protein into the eel’s inner ear. The origin and physiological significance of this new morphological type of vateritic inclusions is still an open question. Same as whether it can be found in other species or specific only to eel otoliths.

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Authors: A. Mikulajová, D. Šedivá, M. Čertík, P. Gereková, K. Németh and E. Hybenová

Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) genotypes with red and yellow colour of grain bran were examined and compared for their content of nutritive components, fatty acids and phenolic compounds profile. Moreover, the antioxidant properties were investigated using three different methods. Foxtail millet genotypes contained 14.2% of protein, 5.0% of fat and 4.3% of soluble sugars, on average. Linoleic acid was the most abundant unsaturated fatty acid and palmitic acid was the most abundant saturated fatty acid. Four hydroxybenzoic acids (gallic, protocatechuic, vanillic and syringic acid) and two hydroxycinnamic acids (ferulic and p-coumaric acid) were identified and quantified. All genotypes exhibited effective inhibition of free radicals. Nevertheless, ferrous ion chelating activity was weak. Antioxidant properties of foxtail millet genotypes were closely associated with the presence of phenolics. A relationship between intensity of grain colour and antioxidant properties as well as phenolic compounds content, was observed. We can conclude that the content of evaluated parameters varied among foxtail millet genotypes, therefore their assessment and selection is desirable in order to cultivate crops and produce foods with advanced nutritional and antioxidant properties.

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Authors: B. Vaezi, A. Pour-Aboughadareh, R. Mohammadi, M. Armion, A. Mehraban, T. Hossein-Pour and M. Dorii

Successful production and development of stable and adaptable cultivars only depend on the positive results achieved from the interaction between genotype and environment that consequently has significant effect on breeding strategies. The objectives of this study were to evaluate genotype by environment interactions for grain yield in barley advanced lines and to determine their stability and general adaptability. For these purposes, 18 advanced lines along with two local cultivars were evaluated at five locations (Gachsaran, Lorestan, Ilam, Moghan and Gonbad) during three consecutive years (2012–2015). The results of the AMMI analysis indicated that main effects due to genotype (G), environment (E) and GE interaction as well as four interaction principal component axes were significant, representing differential responses of the lines to the environments and the need for stability analysis. According to AMMI stability parameters, lines G5 and G7 were the most stable lines across environments. Biplot analysis determined two barley mega-environments in Iran. The first mega-environment contained of Ilam and Gonbad locations, where the recommended G13, G19 and G1 produced the highest yields. The second mega-environment comprised of Lorestan, Gachsarn and Moghan locations, where G2, G9, G5 and G7 were the best adapted lines. Our results revealed that lines G5, G7, G9 and G17 are suggested for further inclusion in the breeding program due to its high grain yield, and among them G5 recommended as the most stable lines for variable semi-warm and warm environments. In addition, our results indicated the efficiency of AMMI and GGE biplot techniques for selecting genotypes that are stable, high yielding, and responsive.

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Authors: Elizabeth M. Marlowe, David Hardy, Mark Krevolin, Peter Gohl, Alexander Bertram, Rodney Arcenas, Britta Seiverth, Tanja Schneider and Oliver Liesenfeld

We compared the analytical and clinical performance of cobas® CT/NG for use on the cobas® 6800/8800 Systems with the cobas® 4800 CT/NG Test from urogenital and extragenital specimens in over 12,000 specimens from both male and female subjects in Germany and the United States. The analytical sensitivity was ≤40 EB/ml for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and ≤1 CFU/ml for Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG). Using clinical specimens, the overall percent agreement with the cobas® 4800 CT/NG Test was >98.5%. Across urogenital specimens, there were 93 discrepant specimens; 76 (93.8%) of 81 CT discrepant specimens were 6800+/4800− and 10 (83.3%) of 12 NG discrepant specimens were 6800+/4800−. Sequencing verified CT results for 45 (61.6%) of 73 samples positive by 6800 and 1 (20%) of 5 positive by 4800. Similarly, 7 (70.0%) of 10 NG samples positive by 6800 and 1 of 2 positive by 4800 were confirmed by sequencing. Among discrepant extragenital specimens (all 6800+/4800−), 7 (50%) of 14 oropharyngeal and 23 (76.7%) of 30 anorectal CT discordant samples were confirmed as CT positive by sequencing; all 8 anorectal and 20 (90.9%) of 22 oropharyngeal NG discordant results were also confirmed as NG positive. In conclusion, cobas® CT/NG for use on the cobas® 6800/8800 Systems provides high-throughput automated solutions for sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening programs.

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Authors: Tünde Dénes, Sámuel Gergely Bartha, Mónika Kerényi, Erzsébet Varga, Viktória Lilla Balázs, Rita Csepregi and Nóra Papp

In this study field restharrow (Ononis arvensis) was investigated for histological and antimicrobial features. The aerial part and the root were embedded in synthetic resin and investigated following sectioning by a rotation microtome. The antimicrobial activity and minimum inhibitory concentration of the solvent fractions of the aerial part were studied against four bacterial strains and one fungus. According to histology, the root covered by rhizodermis contains contiguous vascular elements, which are surrounded by sclerenchyma cells. The epidermis cells are anisodiametric in the stem, sepal, and petal. The bundles of the stem form a Ricinus type thickening. The adaxial side of the heterogeneous leaf is covered by unbranching non-glandular and capitate glandular trichomes. The stipule, petiole, sepals and petals are isolateral having mesomorphic stomata. Pollen grains are tricolpate. The different extracts of the herb showed antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. Data show that the extracts of the leaf contain compounds which may be responsible for the antifungal effect, while extracts obtained from display against the tested bacteria, except Escherichia coli. Further studies are required to complete the phytochemical analysis and identify the antimicrobial compounds of extracts.

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This study investigated the role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the regulation of ascorbateglutathione (AsA-GSH) cycle by exogenous ABA in wheat leaves under osmotic stress. The results showed that osmotic stress significantly increased the activities of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), glutathione reductase (GR), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR) and dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), the ratio of reduced ascorbate to oxidized ascorbate (AsA/DHA) and reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG), the malondialdehyde content and electrolyte leakage, and the H2S content, compared to control. Exogenous ABA significantly increased above indicators under osmotic stress, compared to osmotic stress alone. Above activity increases except MDHAR activity were suppressed by application of H2S scavenger hypotaurine (HT) and synthesis inhibitor aminooxyacetic acid (AOA). Meanwhile, exogenous ABA significantly decreased malondialdehyde content and electrolyte leakage induced by osmotic stress. Application of HT and AOA reversed above effects of application of exogenous ABA. Application of NaHS can reversed above effects of HT and AOA. Our results suggested that H2S induced by exogenous ABA is a signal that leads to the up-regulation of AsA-GSH cycle.

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Authors: Mónika Homa, Kinga Hegedűs, Ádám Fülöp, Vanessza Wolfárt, Shine Kadaikunnan, Jamal M. Khaled, Naiyf S. Alharbi, Csaba Vágvölgyi and László Galgóczy

Despite the current therapeutic options, filamentous fungal infections are associated with high mortality rate especially in immunocompromised patients. In order to find a new potential therapeutic approach, the in vitro inhibitory effect of two antiarrhythmic agents, diltiazem and verapamil hydrochloride were tested against different clinical isolates of ascomycetous and mucoralean filamentous fungi. The in vitro combinations of these non-antifungal drugs with azole and polyene antifungal agents were also examined. Susceptibility tests were carried out using the broth microdilution method according to the instructions of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute document M38-A2. Checkerboard microdilution assay was used to assess the interactions between antifungal and non-antifungal drugs. Compared to antifungal agents, diltiazem and verapamil hydrochloride exerted a relatively low antifungal activity with high minimal inhibitory concentration values (853–2731 μg/ml). Although in combination they could increase the antifungal activity of amphotericin B, itraconazole and voriconazole. Indifferent and synergistic interactions were registered in 33 and 17 cases, respectively. Antagonistic interactions were not revealed between the investigated compounds. However, the observed high MICs suggest that these agents could not be considered as alternative systemic antifungal agents.

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We aimed to study the influence of soil water deficit on gas exchange parameters, dry matter partitioning in leaves, stem and spike and grain yield of durum (Triticum durum Desf.) and bread (Triticum aestivum L.) wheat genotypes in the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 growing seasons. Water stress caused reduction of stomatal conductance, photosynthesis rate, transpiration rate, an increase of intercellular CO2 concentration. Photosynthesis rate positively correlated with growth rate of genotypes. Drought stress caused adaptive changes in dry matter partitioning between leaves, stem and spike of wheat genotypes. Stem dry mass increased until kernel ripening. Drought stress accelerated dry mass reduction in leaves and stem. High growth rate of spike dry mass was revealed in genotypes with late heading time. Spike dry mass positively correlated with photosynthesis rate and grain yield. Generally, bread wheat is more productive and tolerant to drought stress than durum wheat.

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Authors: Markus M. Heimesaat, Gernot Reifenberger, Viktoria Vicena, Anita Illes, Gabriella Horvath, Andrea Tamas, Balazs D. Fulop, Stefan Bereswill and Dora Reglodi

Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypetide (PACAP) constitutes a neuropeptide that is widely distributed in the host exerting essential cytoprotective properties, whereas PACAP−/− mice display increased susceptibility to distinct immunopathological conditions. The orchestrated interplay between the gut microbiota and the host is pivotal in immune homeostasis and resistance to disease. Potential pertubations of the intestinal microbiota in PACAP−/− mice, however, have not been addressed so far. For the first time, we performed a comprehensive survey of the intestinal microbiota composition in PACAP−/− and wildtype (WT) mice starting 2 weeks postpartum until 18 months of age applying quantitative culture-independent techniques. Fecal enterobacteria and enterococci were lower in PACAP−/− than WT mice aged 1 month and ≥6 months, respectively. Whereas Mouse Intestinal Bacteroides were slightly higher in PACAP−/− versus WT mice aged 1 and 6 months, this later in life held true for Bacteroides/Prevotella spp. (≥12 months) and lactobacilli (>15 months of age). Strikingly, health-beneficial bifidobacteria were virtually absent in the intestines of PACAP−/− mice, even when still breastfed. In conclusion, PACAP deficiency is accompanied by distinct changes in fecal microbiota composition with virtually absent bifidobacteria as a major hallmark that might be linked to increased susceptibility to disease.

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Involucropyrenium breussii A. B. Gromakova et S. Y. Kondr., a new lichen species for science, is described from eastern Ukraine, illustrated and compared with closely related taxa. It is similar to I. tremniacense from which it differs in having smaller thalline areoles, narrower rhizohyphae, a medullary layer differentiated in the centre of areoles, and longer ascospores. A short description of plant communities in which Involucropyrenium breussii was found in Ukrainian steppes with chalk outcrops is provided.

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Authors: Eszter Laczkó-Zöld, Péter Forgó, István Zupkó, Eşianu Sigrid and Judit Hohmann

Physalin D was isolated from the methanol extract of Physalis alkekengi L. fruits by combination of different chromatographic methods (CPC, TLC, HPLC). The structure was elucidated based on 1H and 13C NMR spectral analysis with the aid of 2D-correlation spectroscopy (1H, 1H-COSY, HSQC and HMBC) and comparison with literature data. The quantity of physalin D in mature and immature fruits and calyces was determined by RP-HPLC-UV method. Among the studied samples, immature calyx showed the highest content of physalin D (0.7880 ± 0.0612%), while mature calyx contained 4 times less amount (0.2028 ± 0.016%). The physalin D content of the fruit was much lower; immature fruits contained 0.0992 ± 0.0083% physalin D and mature fruits 0.0259 ± 0.0021%. The antiproliferative activity of the CHCl3 extract and its fractions was tested on three cancer cell lines (HeLa, MCF-7 and A431). The antiproliferative activity of physalin D is discussed with regard the published data.

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Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Ada A. Sandoval-Carrillo, Fernando Vazquez-Alaniz, José M. Salas-Pacheco, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano and Elizabeth Irasema Antuna-Salcido

It is not clear whether infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is associated with hypertensive disorders in pregnant women. Through a case-control study design, 146 women suffering from hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (cases) and 146 age-matched normotensive pregnant women (controls) were examined for the presence of anti-CMV IgG and IgM antibodies with enzyme-linked immunoassays. IgM seropositive samples were further assayed by enzyme-linked fluorescent assay (ELFA).

Anti-CMV IgG antibodies were found in 138 (94.5%) controls and in 136 (93.2%) cases (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.30–2.05; P = 0.62). High (>18 IU/ml) levels of anti-CMV IgG antibodies were found in 37.7% of the 138 seropositive controls and in 34.6% of the 136 seropositive cases (OR = 0.87; 95% CI: 0.53–1.43; P = 0.59). Anti-CMV IgM antibodies were found in 1 (0.7%) of the controls but in none of the cases using ELFA (P = 1.0). Seropositivity to CMV was not associated with a previous preeclampsia and was similar among cases regardless their mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and mean arterial blood pressure.

No serological evidence of an association between CMV infection and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy was found. Further research to elucidate the role of CMV in hypertensive disorders in pregnancy should be conducted.

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One hundred and seven taxa of lichens and lichenicolous fungi are recorded from Estremadura (Portugal), six species are new records to Europe (mainland), Anisomeridium macropycnidiatum, Bacidina brittoniana, Graphis striatula, Lichenopeltella physciae, Pyrenula complanata and Thelotrema laurisilvae. An alphabetical species list with collection localities, substrate and occasional further annotations is presented.

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Authors: Laura von Brzezinski, Paula Säring, Peter Landgraf, Clemens Cammann, Ulrike Seifert and Daniela C. Dieterich

Application of the proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib for the treatment of haematopoietic malignancies such as multiple myeloma significantly improves the average overall survival of patients. However, one of the most severe side effects is the development of peripheral neuropathies caused by neurotoxic effects of Bortezomib limiting its therapeutic efficacy. With ONX-0914 a specific inhibitor of the β5i (LMP7)-immunosubunit containing proteasomes was developed that targets exclusively the proteasome subtypes mainly expressed in immune cells including B lymphocytes as the origin of multiple myeloma. Furthermore, immunosubunitspecific inhibitors have been shown to be promising tools for the therapy of autoimmune disorders. In the presented study, we analysed the concentration-dependent impact of both inhibitors on primary neurons regarding survival rate, morphological changes, and overall viability. Our results clearly demonstrate that ONX-0914, compared to Bortezomib, is less neurotoxic suggesting its potential as a putative antineoplastic drug and as a candidate for the treatment of autoimmune disorders affecting the peripheral and/or central nervous system.

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Authors: Ali Konaté, René Dembélé, Assèta Kagambèga, Issiaka Soulama, Wendpoulomdé A. D. Kaboré, Emmanuel Sampo, Haoua Cissé, Antoine Sanou, Samuel Serme, Soumanaba Zongo, Cheikna Zongo, Alio Mahamadou Fody, Nathalie K. Guessennd, Alfred S. Traoré, Amy Gassama-Sow and Nicolas Barro

Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) is important bacteria of children’s endemic and epidemic diarrhea worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of DEC isolated from stool samples collected from children with acute diarrhea living in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. From August 2013 to October 2015, stool samples were collected from 315 children under 5 years of age suffering from diarrhea in the “Centre Médical avec Antenne Chirurgicale (CMA)” Paul VI and the CMA of Schiphra. E. coli were isolated and identified by standard microbiological methods, and the 16-plex PCR method was used to further characterize them. Four hundred and nineteen (419) E. coli strains were characterized, of which 31 (7.4%) DEC pathotypes were identified and classified in five E. coli pathotypes: 15 enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) (48.4%), 8 enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) (25.8%) with 4 typical EPEC and 4 atypical EPEC, 4 enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC) (12.9%), 3 enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) 9.67%, and 1 enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) 3.2%. The use of multiplex PCR as a routine in clinical laboratory for the detection of DEC would be a useful mean for a rapid management of an acute diarrhea in children.

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Authors: László Forró, Judit Nédli, Enikő Csata, Virág Krízsik, Csilla Balogh and László G.-Tóth

Arctodiaptomus spinosus (Daday, 1891) is a characteristic species of the soda pan zooplankton in the Great Hungarian Plain. The biogeographical distribution of the species is interesting, since its range expands from the Pannonian Biogeographic region to the other side of the Carpathians, occurring in saline lakes in Eastern Anatolia, Armenia, Iran and in temporary waters in Ukraine. Our investigations focused on the morphometric characteristics and the COI haplotype diversity of four Hungarian populations in the Kiskunság area. We detected substantial morphological differences between the Böddi-szék population and the rest of the sampling sites, however considerable differences were not observable in the COI haplotypes in the populations. The 20 animals investigated for COI haplotypes belonged to the same haplotype network. Tajima’s D indicated departures from the neutral Wright – Fisher population model and suggested population expansion. The genetic composition of Arctodiaptomus spinosus populations in the Kiskunság area is rather uniform.

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The moss Actinodontium adscendens is added here to the flora of India from the Western Ghats of Peninsular India. It is described and illustrated with notes on its habitat.

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The World Health Organization has rated multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a critical threat to human health. In the present study, we performed a survey of intestinal colonization, and local and systemic immune responses following peroral association of secondary abiotic mice with either a clinical MDR P. aeruginosa or a commensal murine Escherichia coli isolate. Depletion of the intestinal microbiota following antibiotic treatment facilitated stable intestinal colonization of both P. aeruginosa and E. coli that were neither associated with relevant clinical nor histopathological sequelae. Either stable bacterial colonization, however, resulted in distinct innate and adaptive immune cell responses in the intestines, whereas a pronounced increase in macrophages and monocytes could be observed in the small as well as large intestines upon P. aeruginosa challenge only, which also applied to colonic T lymphocytes. In addition, TNF secretion was exclusively elevated in large intestines of P. aeruginosa-colonized mice. Strikingly, association of secondary abiotic mice with MDR P. aeruginosa, but not commensal E. coli, resulted in pronounced systemic pro-inflammatory responses, whereas anti-inflammatory responses were dampened. Hence, intestinal carriage of MDR P. aeruginosa as compared to a mere commensal Gram-negative strain in otherwise healthy individuals results in distinct local and systemic pro-inflammatory sequelae.

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A new lichenicolous fungus Melaspilea nitidochapsae colonising on the thallus of Nitidochapsa leprieurii (Mont.) Parnmen, Lücking et Lumbsch is described from India. The new species differs from other known species colonising lichen family Graphidaceae by having completely carbonised exciple, hyaline to pale brown transversely 1-septate ascospores and a different host.

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The new species Megaspora iranica M. Haji Moniri et S. Y. Kondr. is described from NE Iran, illustrated and compared with closely related taxa. It is similar to the recently described M. rimisorediata, which is known from Eurasia (from SE Europe and Middle Asia (Armenia) to Central Asia, i.e. Iran and China), but differing in having larger thallus, smaller soredia, thicker cortical layer of thallus, thicker hymenium, narrower ascospores and thinner ascospore wall. Megaspora rimisorediata is for the first time recorded from Europe (eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv oblast). Additional data to its diagnosis is given based on extensive collections from Eurasia. The new genus Oxneriaria S. Y. Kondr. et L. Lőkös (for the former Aspicilia mashiginensis group) found to be a member of the Sagedia clade and positioning in distant position from the Aspicilia / Circinaria clade after three gene phylogeny based on nrITS, 28S nrLSU and 12S mtSSU sequences. The members of the genus Oxneriaria mainly distributed in cold polar and high altitude localities of Eurasia and the northern hemisphere. Nine new combinations, i.e.: Oxneriaria dendroplaca (basionym: Lecanora dendroplaca H. Magn.), Oxneriaria haeyrenii (basionym: Lecanora haeyrenii H. Magn.), Oxneriaria mashiginensis (basionym: Lecanora mashiginensis Zahlbr.), Oxneriaria nikrapensis (basionym: Aspicilia nikrapensis Darb.), Oxneriaria permutata (basionym: Lecanora permutata Zahlbr.), Oxneriaria rivulicola (basionym: Lecanora rivulicola H. Magn.), Oxneriaria supertegens (basionym: Aspicilia supertegens Arnold), Oxneriaria verruculosa (basionym: Aspicilia verruculosa Kremp.), and Oxneriaria virginea (basionym: Aspicilia virginea Hue) are proposed.

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Authors: Péter Juhász, Szvetlana Lengyel, Zsolt Udvari, Alex Nagy Sándor and László Stündl

Selenium is an essential microelement for the normal functioning of life processes. Moreover, it is a component of enzymes with antioxidant effects. However, it has the smallest window of any micronutrient between requirement and toxicity. Selenium is a regularly used element in fish feeds; moreover, enriching zooplankton with selenium to rear larvae is also a well-known technology. It is accepted that the most common starter foods of fish larvae, natural rotifers contain the smallest dosage of selenium, but providing selenium enriched Artemia sp. instead could increase survival and growth rate of fish. However, no such references are available for the red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) larvae. Therefore, in this study, Artemia sp. was enriched with nano-selenium of verified low toxicity and easy availability in 5 treatments (1, 5, 10, 50, 100 mg/l Se), and then, fish larvae were fed with four of these enriched Artemia stocks (1, 5, 10, 50 mg/l Se) and a control group. At the end of the 9-day-long experiment, survival rate (S) and growth parameters (SL, W, K-factor, SGR) of fish larvae were calculated as well as their selenium retention and glutathione peroxidase enzyme activity were analysed. It was revealed that a moderate level of selenium enrichment (~4 mg/kg dry matter) of Artemia sp. positively influences the rearing efficiency (i.e. survival and growth) of fish larvae, but higher dosages of selenium could cause adverse effects.

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Pollen of two I. cylindrica genotypes, one having spike with brown anthers (Ic-Pbr) and other with yellow anthers (Ic-Pye) was collected from three collection environments (early, mid and late flowering) and preserved in sealed Petri dishes under three preservation regimes, P1 (4 °C temperature and 60% RH), P2 (–20 °C and 65% RH) and P3 (–80 °C temperature and 45% RH). The pollen viability and germination tests of the preserved pollen were conducted after every 15 days till complete loss of viability. The study revealed that Ic-Pbr was superior to Ic-Pye in terms of the mean absolute pollen viability (APV) under preservation conditions. Among the collection environments, pollen collected just after first anthesis, that is, early flowering was superior in terms of the preservation potential. The preservation regime, P2 was found to be best among the three for better preservation of I. cylindrica pollen. By utilizing the one month old preserved pollen for pollination of wheat spikes, pollen from P2 regime induced haploid embryos to the tune of 25.53%. The study concluded that by preserving I. cylindrica pollen at –20 °C, the period of DH production in wheat can be extended by at least one month. The preserved pollen will also open avenues for exploring the possibilities of inducing haploids in other cereals like rice and maize whose flowering does not coincide with I. cylindrica naturally.

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Alteration of the antioxidant system may be related to lead (Pb) hepatotoxicity. This study was carried out to investigate the possible beneficial effect of thymoquinone (TQ), the major active ingredient of volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds, against Pb-induced liver antioxidant defense system impairment. Adult male rats were randomized into four groups: control group received no treatment, Pb group was exposed to 2000 ppm of Pb acetate in drinking water, Pb-TQ group was cotreated with Pb plus TQ (5 mg/kg/day, per os) and TQ group receiving only TQ. All treatments were applied for five weeks. TQ alone did not induce any significant changes in the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant status. By contrast, Pb exposure significantly decreased not only reduced glutathione level, but also superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase and glutathione reductase activities in the liver tissue. Interestingly, when coadministrated with Pb, TQ significantly improved the affected antioxidant parameters. In conclusion, our results indicate a protective effect of TQ against Pb-induced liver antioxidant capacity impairment and suggest that this component might be a clinically promising alternative in Pb hepatotoxicity.

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Salinity is a major constraint to crop productivity and mechanisms of plant responses to salinity stress are extremely complex. “Hordeum marinum” is a salt tolerant barley species, which could be a good source to evaluate salt-tolerance patterns. Proteomics is a powerful technique to identify proteins involved in plant adaptation to stresses. We applied a proteomic approach to better understanding the mechanism of plant responses to salinity in a salt-tolerant genotype of barley. At the 4-leaf stage, plants were exposed to 0 (control treatment) or 300 mM NaCl (salt treatment). Salt treatment was maintained for 3 weeks. Total proteins of leaf 4 were extracted and separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. More than 290 protein spots were reproducibly detected. Of these, 20 spots showed significant changes to salt treatment compared to the control: 19 spots were upregulated and 1 spot was absent. Using MALDI-TOF/TOF MS, we identified 20 cellular proteins which represented 11 different proteins and were classified into five categories. These proteins were involved in various cellular functions. Upregulation of proteins which involved in protein processing (ribosomal protein, cullin family, cp31AHv protein and RNA recognition motif (RRM) superfamily), photosynthesis (Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rubisco) and Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activase (rubisco activase)), energy metabolism (cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (cyMDH) and fructokinase), oxygen species scavenging and defense (cystatin and thioredoxin) may increase plant adaptation to salt stress.

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