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The pot experiment - carried out in 2000 under greenhouse conditions - was set up with seven soils differing in Cd and Pb contents and three test plants ( Lolium perenne L. cv. Georgikon), lettuce ( Lactuca sativa L. cv. Balatonzöld) and white mustard ( Sinapis alba L. cv. Sirola) with four replicates. From the seven experimental soils five samples (S1-S5) were collected from agricultural areas (arable sites) and two (S6-S7) from spoil-earth, with extremely high Cd and Pb contents.  The pots, each containing 1 kg air-dry soil, were kept at constant soil moisture (60% of maximum water capacity of the experimental soils) by daily watering, while pots were watered to weight once weekly. Before sowing the test plants: 50-50-50 mg N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O was applied to the experimental soils to maintain the same nutrient supply. The above-soil plant parts were cut after four weeks. Fresh and dry weights of plants were determined after harvest. The aim of the experiment was to obtain results of Cd and Pb uptake by different plant species in relation to the heavy metal content and different characteristics of soils. The following conclusions were drawn: No definite correlation was found between the biomass production of the three test plants and the heavy metal content of the soils at early growth stage. The heavy metal concentration range in the soils and plants differed. In the case of Pb the soil concentration interval was broader than that of the plants'. The opposite was observed for Cd, where the plants had a wider concentration interval. Comparing the Pb and Cd concentrations of above-ground plant parts, Pb concentrations varied in a narrower interval. The maximum values of Pb content exceeded the Cd content levels, although the mobility of Pb in the soil-plant system is significantly lower. The comparison of Cd and Pb concentrations of plants and soils proved these differences. The Cd concentration of plants was 8-231% of the total Cd content of soils. The Pb concentration of plants was the 0.8-28% of the total Pb content of the soils, respectively. Comparing the three plants in respect of Cd concentrations the order found was as follows: ryegrass < white mustard < lettuce. In case of Pb, the order depended on the Pb content level (lower or higher) of the experimental soil. Symptoms of phytotoxicity were observed only on lettuce plants grown on the contaminated soils (S6, S7).

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For estimating the lime requirement (LR) in some countries it is accepted to use hydrolytic acidity suggested by Kappen, which is based on a single time extraction of hydrogen- and aluminum ion with calcium acetate. More accurate results could be achieved if we measured the total surface acidity (TSA) of soils. For this reason it is an improvement to use a direct measurement method and equipment, which is suitable to estimate the results of long-term processes and TSA, via investigating the kinetic properties of desorption. The method of measurement: A pH electrode is dipped into continuously stirred soil suspension containing background salt (e.g. KCl), and it isconnected to a computer using an amplifier and A/D converter. A computer program has been developed that controls an automatic burette, which adds the base solution into the system if pH is less than the pre-adjusted value (e.g. pH 6.5 or pH 6.8) and stops adding when pH reaches this value. For evaluation, the amount of added base vs. time data series can be used. With increasing time the amount of added base keeps to a constant (asymptotic) value. The program fits an exponential associate function on measured data, and outputs the asymptotic value connected to infinite time, which can be used to calculate LR.  Supposing that there are two processes with different rates, in this case the function can be created as the addition of two first order kinetic sub-processes:  The faster process that takes place on the outer surfaces features easily removable acidity, and the slower process probably describes processes within the deeper pores. The fitting error of parameters is about 0.3-1%, which means that the TSA value, based on these measured data and method can be estimated with high accuracy.  The measurement is fully automated. The evaluation is based on extrapolation, so the precision of results increases with the number of measurement points and the length of measurement time. Depending on the application, a quick measurement with approximate results or a longer measurement with more precise results can be chosen.

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In six healthy mares and 24 mares showing reproductive disorders swab samples were taken from the fossa clitoridis to isolate Taylorella equigenitalis, and from the uterus to isolate mycoplasmas, ureaplasmas and other aerobic bacteria. Swab samples were also taken from the uterus for Chlamydiaantigen ELISA and ChlamydiaPCR studies. The uterus of 27 mares was examined cytologically, and biopsy samples were taken from the endometrium for histological examinations and for immunohistochemical examinations aimed at the detection of chlamydiae. T. equigenitalis, mycoplasmas, ureaplasmas and chlamydiae could not be detected from any of the mares examined. Aerobic facultative pathogenic bacteria were isolated from mares with endometritis in four cases. In 18 out of 22 mares with endometritis (82%) no infective agents could be demonstrated. Further studies are needed to elucidate the relative importance of non-infectious causes of endometritis and of anaerobic bacteria often detectable in the uterus in the aetiology of the reproductive disorders observed.

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The antagonistic effect of thirteen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and thirteen strains of other Pseudomonas species was studied on the soil-borne phytopathogenic Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium solani fungi.  The inhibition of pathogen colony growth was tested with two different in vitro techniques using the same type of culture media. In case of the spread slant technique the antagonists induced a significantly stronger inhibition on the growth of pathogens than in case of spot transfer. Among the 26 investigated Pseudomonas strains, P. aeruginosa strains were generally more effective against the fungal pathogens. Rhizoctonia solani proved to be affected to a greater extent by the bacterial strains studied than the Fusarium solani representative. The possibility of in vitro strain selection of biocontrol microbes is being further discussed .

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Haematological and biochemical analyses of blood were performed in carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) kept in small ponds. Caught and anaesthetised carp were clinically examined and blood samples were taken at regular intervals during the three years. In the first year of examinations, the haemoglobin and haematocrit values of carp fry significantly increased (P<0.01) from June to September. The intensive growth of carp in the summer period in the second year was accompanied by adequate erythropoiesis. During hibernation haematocrit and haemoglobin significantly decreased (P<0.05) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) increased (P<0.01) in both scaly and mirror carp. MCHC increased also with the age and increasing body weight of the fish. Mirror carp had lower haematocrit and haemoglobin values than scaly carp (P<0.01). Comparative haematological analyses between carp of normal and poor body condition showed that moderate anaemia appeared in those with poor body condition. The results indicate that there is marked seasonal and age-dependent variation in the values of haematocrit and haemoglobin. Pond water quality investigations indicated good environmental conditions. A 50% increase (P<0.05) of glucose concentration was found from June to September in the blood plasma of carp in the third year, accompanied by an even more increased (80%; P<0.01) concentration of total lipids. At the same time, considerable changes of cholesterol and total protein concentrations were not observed. The results suggest that the investigated haematological and biochemical variables could be successfully utilised in monitoring the metabolic balance and health status of fish in intensive culture.

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The present study was designed to investigate whether meat-type rabbits are able to perform treadmill running as a daily routine exercise, and if so, whether the exercise induces specific proportional changes in the fatty acid composition of their muscles. After a four-week training period 8-week-old rabbits were slaughtered and the total activity of plasma lactate dehydrogenase was measured, showing a significant difference between the exercised and control groups (429 ± 126 IU/l vs. 639 ± 203 IU/l). Furthermore the fatty acid composition of m. longissimus dorsi (MLD) and m. vastus lateralis (MVL) was determined by means of gas chromatography. Exercise increased the proportions of oleic acid (C18:1 n-9) in both MLD and MVL as compared to the control group. However, the level of stearic (C18:0) and arachidonic (C20:4 n-6) acids significantly decreased in the MVL after the exercise. Changes in the fatty acid profile resulting from the physically loaded condition were of the same tendency in both muscles, adding that the MVL might have been exposed to the exercise more intensively; alterations there occurred in a more pronounced manner. Based on the inference that the composition of membrane structure was also affected, these alterations may have important consequences on meat quality.

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One of the most serious problems in the chinchilla industry is 'fur-chewing', when the chinchilla bites off areas of its own or some other animal's fur. The condition generally develops in both genders at the age of 6-8 months. In chinchilla farms in Croatia an incidence of 15-20% has been observed. A pathomorphological, microbiological and parasitological investigation was conducted on eleven 6- to 11-month-old chinchillas of both sexes with clinical symptoms of 'fur-chewing' and three chinchillas without such signs. Histopathology of the adrenal glands and of the chewed skin revealed changes typical of Cushing's syndrome in 'fur-chewed' chinchillas, such as hyperkeratinisation of the epidermis, epidermal atrophy, pronounced follicular and sebaceous gland atrophy, hyperkeratinisation of the follicles with comedo formations and the presence of calcium salts in subcutis.

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In the past few years a characteristic, often fatal disease associated with cutaneous lesions and nephropathy has been observed in several large pig herds and household pig stocks of Hungary. In addition to general symptoms and slight fever in several cases, the disease was characterised by cutaneous lesions occurring mostly on the ventral part of the thorax and abdomen, on the extremities and ear pinnae, and in the nasal and perianal region. In the acute phase, circumscribed hyperaemic, confluent, crust-covered areas were seen. Histological examination revealed necrosis of the epithelial layer and lympho-histiocytic vasculitis in the corium, here and there accompanied by thrombosis and fibrinoid degeneration. The kidneys were pale brown and harder to tear, with cortical petechiae in most cases. By histopathological examination, intra- and extracapillary glomerulonephritis accompanied by fibrinoid exudation was seen. Some of the renal tubules were dilated, others were atrophied, and in advanced cases proliferation of the intertubular connective tissue and inflammatory cell infiltration also occurred. Necrotic vasculitis was also observed in some cases. By immunohistochemical examination IgA, IgG and IgM, and in a single case C3 belonging to the complement system were observed in the pathologically changed skin areas and kidneys. By polymerase chain reaction (PCR), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2) was detected. Bacteriological and serological examinations did not reveal infections of aetiological importance.

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Primary human cytomegalovirus infection and the viral reactivation from latency are major complications in organ transplant recipients. In the peripheral blood the replicating virus can be detected either by nucleic acid based tests or by demonstrating the HCMV structural proteins in antigenemia test. We developed a quantitative competitive PCR method to assess the HCMV load in the peripheral blood. The viral load in nine healthy blood donors and in four renal transplant recipients with negative antigenemia test was in the same range: 5-124 (median: 18) HCMV copies/106 b-globin copies for healthy blood donors and 16-48 (median: 37) HCMV copies/106 b-globin copies for the transplant recipients. Three antigenemia positive renal transplant recipients had a HCMV load of 2,2´105/106 b-globin, 1,5´104/106 b-globin and 6,5´103/106 b-globin, respectively. In conclusion, the quantitative measurement of HCMV load in the peripheral blood correlated well with the routine HCMV antigenemia test. The DNA-based test, however can detect earlier the reactivation of the HCMV infection.

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Percutaneous ultrasound-guided cholecystocentesis was performed on 13 healthy beagle dogs to determine whether percutaneous ultrasound-guided cholecystocentesis in the dog was a feasible and safe procedure. Clinical, laboratory and ultrasonographic examinations were done at 0 and 10 minutes, in the 2nd and 16th hour, and on the 7th day. They included a detailed physical examination of the mucous membranes, cardiorespiratory system and abdominal organs. Laboratory examinations of the blood consisted of a complete blood count, determination of packed cell volume (PCV), haemoglobin (Hb), total plasma protein (TPP), parameters of haemostasis including prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), and enzyme activities reflecting hepatobiliary function, i.e. aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT). Ultrasonographic findings of the gallbladder (size, shape, wall, content) and appearance of the biliary tract and the surrounding cranial intraabdominal organs were also evaluated. Percutaneous ultrasound-guided cholecystocentesis was performed easily during the study, and dogs tolerated well the procedure performed without anaesthesia. All laboratory parameters of the blood remained within normal limits throughout the study. However, some follow-up values, i.e. PCV, TPP, APTT and ALT, demonstrated statistically significant differences when compared to baseline measurements, which might reflect the effect of 24-hour fasting before the experiment, as well as day-to-day metabolic fluctuations due to feeding and water supply during the study. There were no visible signs of bleeding from the liver, bile leakage from the gallbladder or accumulation of free peritoneal fluid during repeated ultrasonographic examinations. Percutaneous ultrasound-guided cholecystocentesis seems to be an important diagnostic procedure in canine gallbladder diseases and can be used safely and easily to gain gallbladder bile for diagnosis of bacterial cholecystitis or for investigating hepatobiliary function in the dog.

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