Third Fork Creek is a historically impaired urban stream that flows through the city of Durham, North Carolina. Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) are non-parasitic, soil and aquatic dwelling nematodes that have been used frequently as a biological and ecotoxicity model. We hypothesize that exposure to Third Fork Creek surface water will inhibit the growth and chemotaxis of C. elegans. Using our ring assay model, nematodes were enticed to cross the water samples to reach a bacterial food source which allowed observation of chemotaxis. The total number of nematodes found in the bacterial food source and the middle of the plate with the water source was recorded for 3 days.
Our findings suggest a reduction in chemotaxis and growth on day three in nematodes exposed to Third Fork Creek water samples when compared to the control (p value < 0.05). These exploratory data provide meaningful insight to the quality of Third Fork Creek located near a Historically Black University.
Further studies are necessary to elucidate the concentrations of the water contaminants and implications for human health. The relevance of this study lies within the model C. elegans that has been used in a plethora of human diseases and exposure research but can be utilized as an environmental indicator of water quality impairment.
Gastropods (class Gastropoda) form the largest of the classes in the phylum Mollusca and inhabit terrestrial, fresh water and marine environments. A large number of these species are of major conservation importance and are an essential component of ecosystems. Gastropods may be deemed as pests, having a negative impact in horticulture and agriculture, whereas others may be used as a food source for human consumption and therefore are beneficial. Gastropods are susceptible to primary diseases and also act as intermediate hosts for diseases which affect other animals, including humans. The diseases described include two that are notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE): Xenohaliotis californiensis and Abalone viral ganglioneuritis caused by Haliotid herpesvirus-1 (HaHV-1). Research into the diseases of gastropods has often focused on those species that act as intermediate disease hosts, those that are used in research or those cultured for food. In this paper we review the viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic and miscellaneous conditions that have been reported in gastropods and mention some of the factors that appear to predispose them to disease. The pathogenicity of a number of these conditions has not been fully ascertained and more research is needed into specifying both the etiological agent and significance in some of the diseases reported.
Duckweeds are the smallest flowering plants on Earth. They grow fast on water's surface and produce large amounts of biomass. Further, duckweeds display high adaptability, and species are found around the globe growing under different environmental conditions. In this work, we report the composition of 21 ecotypes of fourteen species of duckweeds belonging to the two sub-families of the group (Lemnoideae and Wolffioideae). It is reported the presence of starch and the composition of soluble sugars, cell walls, amino acids, phenolics, and tannins. These data were combined with literature data recovered from 85 publications to produce a compiled analysis that affords the examination of duckweeds as possible food sources for human consumption. We compare duckweeds compositions with some of the most common food sources and conclude that duckweed, which is already in use as food in Asia, can be an interesting food source anywhere in the world.
What makes cognition “advanced” is an open and not precisely defined question. One perspective involves increasing the complexity of associative learning, from conditioning to learning sequences of events (“chaining”) to representing various cue combinations as “chunks.” Here we develop a weighted graph model to study the mechanism enabling chunking ability and the conditions for its evolution and success, based on the ecology of the cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus. In some environments, cleaners must learn to serve visitor clients before resident clients, because a visitor leaves if not attended while a resident waits for service. This challenge has been captured in various versions of the ephemeral reward task, which has been proven difficult for a range of cognitively capable species. We show that chaining is the minimal requirement for solving this task in its common simplified laboratory format that involves repeated simultaneous exposure to an ephemeral and permanent food source. Adding ephemeral–ephemeral and permanent–permanent combinations, as cleaners face in the wild, requires individuals to have chunking abilities to solve the task. Importantly, chunking parameters need to be calibrated to ecological conditions in order to produce adaptive decisions. Thus, it is the fine-tuning of this ability, which may be the major target of selection during the evolution of advanced associative learning.
Bamboo plays an important role in the animal world, including providing a nutritious food source, shelter, and habitat. Inside of bamboo culm, we discovered a new genus of tarantula, which we describe here as Taksinusgen. nov. (♂♀). Specimens of this new tarantula were collected from Mae Tho, Mueang Tak district, Tak province, in Thailand, making it geographically distant from any other arboreal genera. Genital morphology was used to diagnose its genus, which is supported by distributional data, natural history, morphological characters, and photographic illustrations of the male and female. Diagnosis of the new genus was determined by distinguishing its different characters from those of other arboreal theraphosid spiders distributed throughout Southeast Asia. This tarantula’s specialization is that it lives in the stalks of the Asian bamboo Gigantochloa sp.
Fusarium solani, a soil-borne pathogen of stored potato may be disseminated, and thus, the damage caused by the pathogen may be aggravated by the grazing activities of arthropods. To investigate whether terrestrial woodlice contribute to the spread or, instead, to the control of F. solani, we launched a series of pilot experiments. First, a laboratory feeding trial was set up to find whether and to what extent woodlice consume the mycelia of fungal pathogens, namely, Aspergillus niger, F. solani, Macrophomina phaseolina, and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. This was followed by a second set of experiments to simulate storage conditions where potato tubers, either healthy or infected with F. solani, were offered to woodlice. We found that: (1) F. solani was accepted by woodlice but was not their most preferred food source; (2) the presence of woodlice reduced the spread of F. solani among potato tubers. Our results suggest that the classification of terrestrial woodlice as “storage pests” needs re-evaluation, as isopods have the potential to disinoculate infective plant remnants and, thus, reduce the spread of storage pathogens.
Insects, the most varied group of known organisms on Earth, are arousing great interest also for the possibility to use them as a feed and food source. The mass rearing of some species, defined as “bioconverters”, is spreading worldwide, thanks to their sustainability. At the end of the bioconversion process, breeders obtain eco-friendly biomolecules of high biological and economic value, including proteins and lipids, from larvae of bioconverter insects, in particular Hermetia illucens. Besides the most classical use of insect lipids as food additives, they are also used in the formulation of several products for personal care. The composition of insect lipids depends on the substrate on which the insects are reared but also on the insect species, so the cosmetic producers should consider these features to choose their insect starting point. The most abundant fatty acids detected in H. illucens are lauric, myristic, palmitic, and oleic acids, regardless of feed substrate; its fatty acids composition is favorable for soap composition, while their derivatives are used for detergent and shampoo. Here, we offer an overview of insect lipids, their extraction methods, and their application in cosmetics and personal care products.
Rabbit meat is a component of traditional diets, often incorporated into iconic dishes of regional cuisine. Its consumption can be traced back to the ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean and beyond, well into the Palaeolithic era. Even though it has been representing considerable nutritional and cultural value for millennia, a decline in consumption is now noticeable. Specific categorial dynamics are at play, related to the various superimposed roles of rabbits as livestock, game, pests, laboratory animals and pets. Their perceived cuteness in particular can lead to emotional responses that are hard to reconcile with the sensitivities of the post-domestic paradigm. Such effects compromise the acceptability of rabbit meat in contemporary Western societies that are typified by problematic human-animal interactions and a disconnect from the food chain. Young and urban populations in particular now seem to have difficulties facing the notion that food production requires the killing of animals. As a result, a traditional food source risks becoming irrelevant despite its high nutritional value and potential for sustainable meat production, due to reasons that are emotive rather than rational.
The triple burden of malnutrition in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is partly a result of changing food environments and a shift from traditional diets to high-calorie Western-style diets. Exploring the relationship between food sources and food- and nutrition-related outcomes is important to understanding how changes in food environments may affect nutrition in LMICs. This study examined associations of household food source with household food insecurity, individual dietary diversity and individual body mass index in Western Kenya. Interview-administered questionnaire and anthropometric data from 493 adults living in 376 randomly-selected households were collected in 2019. Adjusted regression analyses were used to assess the association of food source with measures of food insecurity, dietary diversity and body mass index. Notably, participants that reported rearing domesticated animals for consumption (‘own livestock’) had lower odds of moderate or severe household food insecurity (odds ratio (OR) = 0.29 (95% CI: 0.09, 0.96)) and those that reported buying food from supermarkets had lower odds of moderate or severe household food insecurity (borderline significant, OR = 0.37 (95% CI: 0.14, 1.00)), increased dietary diversity scores (Poisson coefficient = 0.17 (95% CI: 0.10, 0.24)) and higher odds of achieving minimum dietary diversity (OR = 2.84 (95% CI: 1.79, 4.49)). Our findings provide insight into the relationship between food environments, dietary patterns and nutrition in Kenya, and suggest that interventions that influence household food source may impact the malnutrition burden in this context.