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Lelievre F.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology | Seddaiu G.,University of Sassari | Ledda L.,University of Sassari | Porqueddu C.,CNR Institute for Animal Production System In Mediterranean Environment | Volaire F.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology
Field Crops Research | Year: 2011

In Mediterranean areas, water use efficiency (WUE) is mainly increased by maximising crop growth during the rainy seasons. Perennial forage species have a number of advantages in comparison to the predominantly used annuals. They can utilize water from autumn to spring, while annuals need to be sown or to germinate from the soil seed bank. Under Mediterranean annual rainfall pattern, perennial plants must grow from autumn to spring and survive under summer aridity. Drought survival can impact water use efficiency through plant mortality and stand recovery after autumn rainfalls. In order to enhance knowledge of physiological and agronomic traits associated with WUE and persistence, a 3-year study was conducted at two Mediterranean sites, comparing a range of accessions of two perennial species, cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata L.) and tall fescue (Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh). Within the accessions of predominantly Mediterranean origin, we defined four major functional types, i.e. groups of accessions with similar response to summer drought. One type (FT1) is represented by the only cultivar of a semi-arid cocksfoot (Kasbah) that is completely summer dormant, with high persistence under the most arid situations but with low WUE. The type FT2 all cocksfoot cultivars (Currie, Delta-1, Jana, Medly, and Ottava) that are not or less summer dormant, with good perenniality and intermediate productivity at rainy seasons. The type FT3 includes the cultivars of tall fescue (Centurion, Flecha, Fraydo, and Tanit) that combine an incomplete summer dormancy, a deep rooting system and the highest WUE from autumn to spring. The type FT4 is represented by a cultivar of tall fescue (Sisa) with no summer dormancy, therefore less persistent and also less productive. Dehydration avoidance in tall fescue and cocksfoot and summer dormancy in cocksfoot were the main strategies contributing to persistence under summer drought. WUE in autumn was highly correlated with sward recovery after drought. Seasonal and total WUE were also highly correlated with biomass production over the same period and with depth and density of the root system. Parameterization of functional types of the major species of forage grasses will enhance future modelling work to test the effects of a range of environments and future climate scenarios. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Maresca B.,University of Naples Federico II | Spagnuolo M.S.,CNR Institute for Animal Production System In Mediterranean Environment | Cigliano L.,University of Naples Federico II
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Accumulation of beta-amyloid (Aβ) in the extracellular space, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), depends on the balance between its synthesis and clearance. The physiological role of extracellular chaperones, capable of affecting early events in the amyloid cascade, is increasingly being investigated by many research groups. Among these proteins, we focused on haptoglobin, which we recently found to form a complex with beta-amyloid in brain tissues or cerebrospinal fluids from patients with AD. We also previously reported that haptoglobin increases with age in rat hippocampus. Major aim of this study was to evaluate whether haptoglobin influences Aβ interaction with astrocytes and its internalization into these cells. Haptoglobin effect on Aβ-induced cell death was also explored. We report here that haptoglobin impairs Aβ uptake by human glioblastoma–astrocytoma cell line U-87 MG and limits the toxicity of this peptide on these cells. Of note, our data also show that Aβ can stimulate haptoglobin release by astrocyte cell lines. The study of the risk of developing AD should be focused not only on the analysis of Aβ but also on the level of critical ligands, such as haptoglobin, able to influence peptide aggregation or clearance. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Iannuzzi L.,CNR Institute for Animal Production System In Mediterranean Environment
Buffalo Bulletin | Year: 2013

Cytogenetics represents one of the modern biotechnologies applied to the genetic improvement of livestock, including the water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), one of the most important economic species raised in the world, especially in the East Countries. Cytogenetics covers several aspects of the genetic improvement. In the present paper, an update on the evolutionary, clinical and molecular cytogenetics of the water buffalo is reported. Evoluzionary cytogenetics: Two main types of buffaloes are present in the world: the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and the Asiatic buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). The latter has two subspecies: the river type (2n=50) and the swamp type (2n=48). These two species diverged by a tandem fusion translocation involving river buffalo chromosomes 4 and 9 (telomere of 4p and centromere of 9). This fusion was accompanied by loss of the nucleolus organizer regions (NORs) present in river buffalo chromosome 4p, and large portions of constitutive heterochromatin (HC) present in river buffalo chromosome 9. River and swamp buffaloes are normally crossbreed, especially to increase milk production in swamp buffaloes. The hybrid (2n=49) could have a lower fertility due to unbalanced chromosome embryos. Further informations differentiating tribe bovinae (cattle and water buffalo) from the remaining ones belonging to bovidae family will be given. Clinical cytogenetics: The study of water buffalo karyotype is very important because several studies have demonstrated that about 20% of females with reproductive problems (lack of oestrus in fertility age or large delay in the return in oestrus) show sex chromosome abnormalities and almost of them have been found to be sterile for serious damages occurring in internal sex adducts. In Italy, in collaboration with the National Buffalo Breeder Association (ANASB), cytogenetic controls of bulls and males addressed to the reproduction, as well as on some females with reproductive problems, have been performed to eliminate the carriers of chromosome abnormalities, adding economic value to river buffalo breeding. These studies are routinely performed by using both CBA- and RBA-banding techniques. Specific cases are also studied by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique and specific molecular markers (generally bovine BAC-clones). Molecular cytogenetics: The availability of specific molecular markers containing coding sequences (generally bovine or ovine BAC-clones) and the use of the FISH-technique have opened the door to the molecular cytogenetics also for water buffalo. Indeed, cytogenetic maps with specific and detailed location of loci containing expressed coding (and no-coding) sequences along the chromosomes, have been performed for this species, although these maps are not particularly dense. However, they are useful: (a) to increase our knowledge on water buffalo genome by detailed physical description of mapped loci per single chromosome and chromosome band; (b) to study such chromosome abnormalities; (c) to anchor genetic maps (linkage, RH-maps) to specific chromosome regions; (d) to delineate the karyotype evolution of river buffalo versus cattle, sheep and related bovids, as well as between bovids and humans, especially to transfer useful information from human to animal genomes.

Ledda L.,University of Sassari | Deligios P.A.,University of Sassari | Farci R.,University of Sassari | Sulas L.,CNR Institute for Animal Production System In Mediterranean Environment
Industrial Crops and Products | Year: 2013

In order to explore complementary biomass sources, field studies were conducted on Cynara cardunculus botanical varieties (globe artichoke and cultivated cardoon) for energy purposes. In addition, the potential of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L. Gaertn.) as a suitable energy crop for Southern Europe countries was investigated. The three different crops were compared over three years (2007-2010) in a Mediterranean environment (Sardinia, Southern Italy) for quantitative and qualitative (calorific value, ultimate and proximate analyses, ash composition) biomass characteristics.Annual biomass production across years averaged about 10, 4, and 16Mgha-1 in cardoon, globe artichoke and milk thistle, respectively. The chemical analysis of biomass showed a similar composition among crops with a mean ash content of 14% and a higher calorific value of about 17MJkg-1. Annual energy yield ranged between 64GJha-1 reached by globe artichoke and 275GJha-1 reached in milk thistle. The exploitation of globe artichoke crop residues for energetic purpose can represent a complementary income for farmers. The present study confirms the good biomass yield of cardoon in cultivation systems characterized by limited water input and indicate milk thistle as a promising crop for biomass production. Future work is necessary in order to investigate different genotypes of the three crops for potential biomass and grain yield and their chemical composition, to detect agronomic practices suitable to optimize qualitative crops performances and to set up specific cropping systems. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Piluzza G.,CNR Institute for Animal Production System In Mediterranean Environment | Bullitta S.,CNR Institute for Animal Production System In Mediterranean Environment
Pharmaceutical Biology | Year: 2011

Context: Scientific information on antioxidant properties and phenolic content of less widely used plants can be useful. Therefore, the assessment of such properties remains an interesting and useful task, particularly for finding new sources for natural antioxidants, functional foods, and nutraceuticals. Objective: As knowledge about antioxidant properties and phenolic content of many plant species used as traditional plant remedies is limited, we determined in vitro the total antioxidant activity and the phenolic content of several plant species traditionally used for ethnoveterinary practices. Materials and methods: For 24 extracts (70% acetone) from wild and cultivated plant species traditionally used for health care of animals we determined the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) by the two assays 1,1-diphenyl-2- picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and the 2,2′-azinobis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6- sulphonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS). The phenolic content was determined by the Folin Ciocalteu method. Results: Total phenolics, calculated as gallic acid equivalent (GAE), showed variation ranging from 3.18 (Allium sativum L. (Liliaceae)) to 147.68 (Pistacia lentiscus L. (Anacardiaceae)) mgGAE/g dry weight (DW). High TEAC values corresponded to high phenolic content, while plants with low antioxidant activity exhibited low total phenolic content. The TEAC determined through each assay and total phenolic content were positively correlated, R 2 = 0.9152 and R 2 = 0.8896, respectively, for DPPH and ABTS assay. Discussion and conclusion: These findings suggest that phenolic content could be used as an indicator of antioxidant properties. The results of this study encourage investigations on Mediterranean plant species as sources of antioxidants. © 2011 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

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