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Environmental Health and Engineering

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News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.intrafish.com

A new study published by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering found that while US federal investments in aquaculture account for a small fraction of all government-funded research spending, they result in a "significant return on investment in terms of production value." The study found US federal agencies awarded nearly $1 billion (€891.9 million) in grants for aquaculture research in the past 25 years -- but that these grants had an estimated 37-fold return on investment since 2000. “Many industries rely on basic and applied science supported by the federal government and conducted at universities, small businesses, and federal research labs -- and the aquaculture industry is no different,” said lead author Dave Love, associate scientists at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “Federal dollars spent on aquaculture R&D appear to be highly impactful.” According to the study, the species that received the most grant support were algae, oysters, salmon, trout, catfish, and shrimp. Federal funding was concentrated in states along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf Coast, and Great Lakes. Grants focused on animal health and disease, improving animal production efficiency, genetics and breeding, animal nutrition, and supporting education and job training opportunities for students. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are the lead US government agencies overseeing aquaculture, and combined they provide $0.80 (€0.71) of every $1 (€0.89) awarded by the federal government for aquaculture research. Researchers said budget cuts to USDA and NOAA for the 2018 fiscal year proposed by the Donald Trump Administration could have an outsized impact on US aquaculture. Researchers said budget cuts to USDA and NOAA for the 2018 fiscal year proposed by the Trump Administration could have an outsized impact on US aquaculture. For instance, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), which makes up two-thirds of NOAA’s funding for aquaculture, would face elimination under the administration’s budget proposal. Congress preserved 2017 funding for the program in a recent spending bill, despite a previous recommendation from the Trump Administration to reduce funding for Sea Grant by $30 million (€26.8 million). “As Congress debates future spending on aquaculture research, we hope this study will provide stakeholders with information they need to help define research priorities and aid in policymaking,” said Love. The study is the first of its kind to examine US federal grants awarded in the field of aquaculture, which includes aquatic organisms raised for food, feed, fuel, and recreation. To conduct this analysis, the researchers compiled a database of nearly 3,000 aquaculture grants awarded from 1990 to 2015. For more seafood news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or sign up for our daily newsletter.


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.undercurrentnews.com

Budget cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the 2018 fiscal year, proposed by the Trump administration, could have an "outsized impact" on US aquaculture. This is according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, who conducted an analysis of federal spending on US aquaculture research. The analysis referred to a database of nearly 3,000 aquaculture grants awarded from 1990 to 2015, worth nearly $1 billion dollars. According to their findings, since 2000, federal spending on aquaculture research over the past quarter century generated an estimated 37-fold return. “Many industries rely on basic and applied science supported by the federal government and conducted at universities, small businesses, and federal research labs—and the aquaculture industry is no different,” said lead author Dave Love, associate scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center. “Federal dollars spent on aquaculture R&D appear to be highly impactful.” Under the Trump administration’s budget proposal, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), which makes up two-thirds of NOAA’s funding for aquaculture, would face elimination. Congress preserved 2017 funding for the program in a recent spending bill, despite a previous recommendation from the Trump Administration to reduce funding for Sea Grant by $30 million. “As Congress debates future spending on aquaculture research, we hope this study will provide stakeholders with information they need to help define research priorities and aid in policymaking,” said Love. According to the study, the species that received the most grant support were algae, oysters, salmon, trout, catfish, and shrimp. Federal funding was concentrated in states along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf Coast, and Great Lakes. Grants focused on animal health and disease, improving animal production efficiency, genetics and breeding, animal nutrition, and supporting education and job training opportunities for students.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future calculated the nutritional value of food wasted in the U.S. at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fiber and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year. These lost nutrients are important for healthy diets, and some -- including, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D -- are currently consumed below recommended levels. Nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, seafood and dairy products are wasted at disproportionately high rates. Previous research estimated that as much as 40 percent of food is wasted nationally, but it wasn't clear before this study how nutritious that food was. While not all wasted food is consumable, a sizeable amount is, leaving researchers and policymakers looking for ways to minimize the amount of good food that gets tossed as millions of Americans go hungry, do not get enough nutrients or do not have access to healthy food options. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency have set a goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. The findings will appear online May 15 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Huge quantities of nutritious foods end up in landfills instead of meeting Americans' dietary needs," says study lead author Marie Spiker, MSPH, RD, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and a doctoral candidate in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Our findings illustrate how food waste exists alongside inadequate intake of many nutrients." For their study, the researchers calculated the nutritional value of the retail- and consumer-level food waste of 213 commodities in 2012, using data from the USDA's Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series. The research team, looking at 27 nutrients in all, found that food wasted in the U.S. food supply that year contained 1,217 calories, 33 grams of protein, 5.9 grams of dietary fiber, 1.7 micrograms of vitamin D, 286 milligrams calcium and 880 milligrams potassium per person, per day. Nutrient loss estimates provided by this study could contribute to a baseline for measuring future progress, the authors say. The study also highlights how the amount of nutrients lost to waste compares to nutritional deficits in the typical American diet. For example, dietary fiber is important for maintaining digestive health and is found in grains, vegetables and fruits. Researchers estimate that, in 2012, food wasted each day contained upwards of 1.8 billion grams of dietary fiber, which is comparable to the full recommended intake for dietary fiber for 73.6 million adult women. American women under-consumed dietary fiber by 8.9 grams per day in 2012. The study found that the daily amount of wasted dietary fiber is equivalent to the amount needed to fill this nutritional gap for as many as 206.6 million adult women. Many factors contribute to food waste at both the retail and consumer levels, including the disposal of food due to aesthetic standards, large portion sizes, and management of perishables in fridges and pantries. There is currently great energy around efforts to address waste of food. Preventing waste at the source is considered to be the optimal approach. Strengthening food recovery efforts that bring surplus food to food banks and pantries is also an important area of effort, innovation and impact. "This study offers us new ways of appreciating the value of wasted food. While not all food that is wasted could or should be recovered, it reminds us that we are dumping a great deal of high quality, nutritious food that people could be enjoying," says Roni Neff, PhD, an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health and Engineering who oversaw the study and directs the CLF's Food System Sustainability & Public Health Program. "We should keep in mind that while food recovery efforts are valuable, food recovery doesn't get to the heart of either the food insecurity problem or the waste problem. We need strategies addressing these challenges at multiple levels." "Wasted Food, Wasted Nutrients: Nutrient loss from wasted food in the US and comparison to gaps in dietary intake" was written by Marie L. Spiker, Hazel A. B. Hiza, Sameer M. Siddiqi and Roni A. Neff. This research was funded by the GRACE Communications Foundation. M. L. Spiker and S. M. Siddiqi were also supported by the CLF-Lerner Fellowship.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

New Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests that some workers at industrial hog production facilities are not only carrying livestock-associated, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their noses, but may also be developing skin infections from these bacteria. The findings are published Nov. 16 in PLOS ONE. "Before this study, we knew that many hog workers were carrying livestock-associated and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains in their noses, but we didn't know what that meant in terms of worker health," says study leader Christopher D. Heaney, PhD, an assistant professor at the Bloomberg School's departments of Environmental Health and Engineering, and Epidemiology. "It wasn't clear whether hog workers carrying these bacteria might be at increased risk of infection. This study suggests that carrying these bacteria may not always be harmless to humans." Because the study was small, the researchers say there is a need to confirm the findings, but the results highlight the need to identify ways to protect workers from being exposed to these bacteria on the job, and to take a fresh look at antibiotic use and resistance in food animal production. Hogs are given antibiotics in order to grow them more quickly for sale, and the overuse of antibiotics has been linked to the development of bacteria that are resistant to many of the drugs used to treat staph infections. The researchers, involving collaborators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help in Warsaw, NC, and the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, enrolled 103 hog workers in North Carolina and 80 members of their households (either children or other adults) to have their noses swabbed to determine whether they were carrying strains of S. aureus in their nasal passages. Each person was also shown pictures of skin and soft tissue infections caused by S. aureus and asked if they had developed those symptoms in the previous three months. The researchers found that 45 of 103 hog workers (44 percent) and 31 of 80 household members (39 percent) carried S. aureus in their noses. Nearly half of the S. aureus strains being carried by hog workers were mutidrug-resistant and nearly a third of S. aureus strains being carried by household members were. Six percent of the hog workers and 11 percent of the children who lived with them reported a recent skin and soft tissue infection (no adult household members reported such infections). Those hog workers who carried livestock-associated S. aureus in their noses were five times as likely to have reported a recent skin or soft tissue infection as those who didn't carry those bacteria in their noses. The association was stronger among hog workers who carried multidrug-resistant S. aureus in their noses, who were nearly nine times as likely to have reported a recent skin or soft tissue infection. Multidrug-resistant S. aureus infections can be difficult to treat because the antibiotic drugs that doctors typically prescribe don't work. Researchers are concerned about what might happen if these bacteria develop the capacity to spread more broadly between animals and humans. While the study is small, Heaney says the findings suggest that more work is needed to figure out how to mitigate S. aureus exposure and the risk of infection among workers and to track the extent to which these livestock-associated bacteria may spread into the community at large. Since the study found that those hog workers who never wore protective masks over their nose and mouth were more likely to be carriers of the bacteria than those who did, Heaney says recommendations about wearing personal protective equipment might be prudent. Heaney says 89 percent of the hog workers in the study were Hispanic and that many are likely without health insurance. Studies like this, he says, can help focus on risks to a population that is vulnerable and may otherwise fall through the cracks. According to a Duke University analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, roughly 327,350 people were employed in hog farming in the United States in 2012. Most evidence about the burden of human infections associated with drug-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization comes from studying strains that circulate in hospital settings, where patients are often tested upon admission so that medical staff can take precautions. Less is known about whether generally healthy people in the community, such as hog workers, are at increased risk of developing S. aureus infections. The rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria - often called superbugs - is a global crisis according to the World Health Organization and the use of antibiotics in food animal production has been highlighted as an important contributor. Roughly 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals, with heavy nontherapeutic uses in food animal production. "This issue isn't going away and there are many more research questions that need to be answered," he says. "Livestock-associated, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage and recent skin and soft tissue infection among industrial hog operation workers" was written by Maya Nadimpalli, Jill R. Stewart, Elizabeth Pierce, Nora Pisanic, David C. Love, Devon Hall, Jesper Larsen, Karen C. Carroll, Tsigereda Tekle, Trish M. Perl and Christopher D. Heaney. Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (1K01OH010193-01A1), the Johns Hopkins NIOSH Education and Research Center, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the Sherrilyn and Ken Fisher Center for Environmental Infectious Diseases Discovery Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (018HEA2013), the National Science Foundation (1316318), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (5T32ES007141-30), the Royster Society fellowship, an Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results fellowship the GRACE Communications Foundation and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (1R01AI101371-01A1).


New Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests that some workers at industrial hog production facilities are not only carrying livestock-associated, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their noses, but may also be developing skin infections from these bacteria. The findings are published Nov. 16 in PLOS ONE. "Before this study, we knew that many hog workers were carrying livestock-associated and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains in their noses, but we didn't know what that meant in terms of worker health," says study leader Christopher D. Heaney, PhD, an assistant professor at the Bloomberg School's departments of Environmental Health and Engineering, and Epidemiology. "It wasn't clear whether hog workers carrying these bacteria might be at increased risk of infection. This study suggests that carrying these bacteria may not always be harmless to humans." Because the study was small, the researchers say there is a need to confirm the findings, but the results highlight the need to identify ways to protect workers from being exposed to these bacteria on the job, and to take a fresh look at antibiotic use and resistance in food animal production. Hogs are given antibiotics in order to grow them more quickly for sale, and the overuse of antibiotics has been linked to the development of bacteria that are resistant to many of the drugs used to treat staph infections. The researchers, involving collaborators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help in Warsaw, NC, and the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, enrolled 103 hog workers in North Carolina and 80 members of their households (either children or other adults) to have their noses swabbed to determine whether they were carrying strains of S. aureus in their nasal passages. Each person was also shown pictures of skin and soft tissue infections caused by S. aureus and asked if they had developed those symptoms in the previous three months. The researchers found that 45 of 103 hog workers (44 percent) and 31 of 80 household members (39 percent) carried S. aureus in their noses. Nearly half of the S. aureus strains being carried by hog workers were mutidrug-resistant and nearly a third of S. aureus strains being carried by household members were. Six percent of the hog workers and 11 percent of the children who lived with them reported a recent skin and soft tissue infection (no adult household members reported such infections). Those hog workers who carried livestock-associated S. aureus in their noses were five times as likely to have reported a recent skin or soft tissue infection as those who didn't carry those bacteria in their noses. The association was stronger among hog workers who carried multidrug-resistant S. aureus in their noses, who were nearly nine times as likely to have reported a recent skin or soft tissue infection. Multidrug-resistant S. aureus infections can be difficult to treat because the antibiotic drugs that doctors typically prescribe don't work. Researchers are concerned about what might happen if these bacteria develop the capacity to spread more broadly between animals and humans. While the study is small, Heaney says the findings suggest that more work is needed to figure out how to mitigate S. aureus exposure and the risk of infection among workers and to track the extent to which these livestock-associated bacteria may spread into the community at large. Since the study found that those hog workers who never wore protective masks over their nose and mouth were more likely to be carriers of the bacteria than those who did, Heaney says recommendations about wearing personal protective equipment might be prudent. Heaney says 89 percent of the hog workers in the study were Hispanic and that many are likely without health insurance. Studies like this, he says, can help focus on risks to a population that is vulnerable and may otherwise fall through the cracks. According to a Duke University analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, roughly 327,350 people were employed in hog farming in the United States in 2012. Most evidence about the burden of human infections associated with drug-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization comes from studying strains that circulate in hospital settings, where patients are often tested upon admission so that medical staff can take precautions. Less is known about whether generally healthy people in the community, such as hog workers, are at increased risk of developing S. aureus infections. The rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria -- often called superbugs -- is a global crisis according to the World Health Organization and the use of antibiotics in food animal production has been highlighted as an important contributor. Roughly 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals, with heavy nontherapeutic uses in food animal production. "This issue isn't going away and there are many more research questions that need to be answered," he says.


Orenstein S.T.C.,Harvard University | Thurston S.W.,University of Rochester | Bellinger D.C.,Harvard University | Schwartz J.D.,Harvard University | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2014

Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, and methylmercury (MeHg) are environmentally persistent with adverse effects on neurodevelopment. However, especially among populations with commonly experienced low levels of exposure, research on neurodevelopmental effects of these toxicants has produced conflicting results.Objectives: We assessed the association of low-level prenatal exposure to these contaminants with memory and learning.Methods: We studied 393 children, born between 1993 and 1998 to mothers residing near a PCB-contaminated harbor in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Cord serum PCB, DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), and maternal peripartum hair mercury (Hg) levels were measured to estimate prenatal exposure. Memory and learning were assessed at 8 years of age (range, 7-11 years) using the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML), age-standardized to a mean ± SD of 100 ± 15. Associations with each WRAML index—Visual.Memory, Verbal Memory, and Learning-were examined with multivariable linear regression, controlling for potential confounders.Results: Although cord serum PCB levels were low (sum of four PCBs: mean, 0.3 ng/g serum; range, 0.01-4.4), hair Hg levels were typical of the U.S. fish-eating population (mean, 0.6 μg/g; range, 0.3-5.1). In multivariable models, each microgram per gram increase in hair Hg was associated with, on average, decrements of -2.8 on Visual Memory (95% CI: -5.0, -0.6, p = 0.01), -2.2 on Learning (95% CI: -4.6, 0.2, p = 0.08), and -1.7 on Verbal Memory (95% CI: -3.9, 0.6, p = 0.14). There were no significant adverse associations of PCBs or DDE with WRAML indices.Conclusions: These results support an adverse relationship between low-level prenatal MeHg exposure and childhood memory and learning, particularly visual memory. © 2014, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All right reserved.


Weisskopf M.G.,Harvard University | Knekt P.,Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare | O'Reilly E.J.,Harvard University | Lyytinen J.,University of Helsinki | And 5 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2012

Evidence suggests possible Parkinson's disease (PD)-relevant neural effects of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls. Limited epidemiological evidence suggests that polychlorinated biphenyl exposure may increase PD risk, but no studies have involved biomarkers of polychlorinated biphenyl exposure before PD onset. We examined the prospective association between serum polychlorinated biphenyls and PD. We conducted a nested case-control study within the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey with serum samples collected during 1968-1972 and analyzed in 2005-2007 for polychlorinated biphenyls. Incident PD cases were identified through the Social Insurance Institution's registry and were confirmed by medical record review (n = 101). Controls (n = 349) were matched on age, sex, municipality, and vital status. We used logistic regression to estimate adjusted odds ratios. There was no evidence of increasing risk of PD with increasing polychlorinated biphenyl exposure in adjusted analyses. Instead, there was a trend toward lower odds of PD with increasing serum polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations, which was most pronounced for the sum of all measured polychlorinated biphenyl congeners and the sum of dioxin-like congeners. Compared with that of those in the lowest quintile, the odds ratio of PD among those in the highest quintile of total polychlorinated biphenyls was 0.29 (95% confidence interval, 0.12-0.70; P trend = 02) and for dioxin-like congeners was 0.34 (95% confidence interval, 0.13-0.90; P trend = 05). These results do not support an increased risk of PD from polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and instead suggest a possible protective effect of polychlorinated biphenyl exposure. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.


Myatt T.A.,Environmental Health and Engineering | Allen J.G.,Environmental Health and Engineering | Minegishi T.,Environmental Health and Engineering | McCarthy W.B.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2010

Humans are continuously exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation. Known sources include radon, soil, cosmic rays, medical treatment, food, and building products such as gypsum board and concrete. Little information exists about radiation emissions and associated doses from natural stone finish materials such as granite countertops in homes. To address this knowledge gap, gross radioactivity, γ ray activity, and dose rate were determined for slabs of granite marketed for use as countertops. Annual effective radiation doses were estimated from measured dose rates and human activity patterns while accounting for the geometry of granite countertops in a model kitchen. Gross radioactivity, γ activity, and dose rate varied significantly among and within slabs of granite with ranges for median levels at the slab surface of ND to 3000 cpm, ND to 98,000 cpm, and ND to 1.5E4 mSv/h, respectively. The maximum activity concentrations of the 40K, 232Th, and 226Ra series were 2715, 231, and 450 Bq/kg, respectively. The estimated annual radiation dose from spending 4 h/day in a hypothetical kitchen ranged from 0.005 to 0.18 mSv/a depending on the type of granite. In summary, our results show that the types of granite characterized in this study contain varying levels of radioactive isotopes and that their observed emissions are consistent with those reported in the scientific literature. We also conclude from our analyses that these emissions are likely to be a minor source of external radiation dose when used as countertop material within the home and present a negligible risk to human health. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.


Allen J.G.,Environmental Health and Engineering | Minegishi T.,Environmental Health and Engineering | Myatt T.A.,Environmental Health and Engineering | Stewart J.H.,Environmental Health and Engineering | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology | Year: 2010

Radon gas (222Rn) is a natural constituent of the environment and a risk factor for lung cancer that we are exposed to as a result of radioactive decay of radium (226Ra) in stone and soil. Granite countertops, in particular, have received recent media attention regarding their potential to emit radon. Radon flux was measured on 39 full slabs of granite from 27 different varieties to evaluate the potential for exposure and examine determinants of radon flux. Flux was measured at up to six pre-selected locations on each slab and also at areas identified as potentially enriched after a full-slab scan using a Geiger-Muller detector. Predicted indoor radon concentrations were estimated from the measured radon flux using the CONTAM indoor air quality model. Whole-slab average emissions ranged from less than limit of detection to 79.4 Bq/m2/h (median 3.9 Bq/m2/h), similar to the range reported in the literature for convenience samples of small granite pieces. Modeled indoor radon concentrations were less than the average outdoor radon concentration (14.8 Bq/m3; 0.4 pCi/l) and average indoor radon concentrations (48 Bq/m3; 1.3 pCi/l) found in the United States. Significant within-slab variability was observed for stones on the higher end of whole slab radon emissions, underscoring the limitations of drawing conclusions from discrete samples. © 2010 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.


PubMed | Environmental Health and Engineering, Brown University and Northeastern University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology | Year: 2014

Long-term exposure to traffic pollution has been associated with adverse health outcomes in children and adolescents. A significant number of schools may be located near major roadways, potentially exposing millions of children to high levels of traffic pollution, but this hypothesis has not been evaluated nationally. We obtained data on the location and characteristics of 114,644 US public and private schools, grades prekindergarten through 12, and calculated their distance to the nearest major roadway. In 2005-2006, 3.2 million students (6.2%) attended 8,424 schools (7.3%) located within 100m of a major roadway, and an additional 3.2 million (6.3%) students attended 8,555 (7.5%) schools located 100-250m from a major roadway. Schools serving predominantly Black students were 18% (95% CI, 13-23%) more likely to be located within 250m of a major roadway. Public schools eligible for Title I programs and those with a majority of students eligible for free/reduced price meals were also more likely to be near major roadways. In conclusion, 6.4 million US children attended schools within 250m of a major roadway and were likely exposed to high levels of traffic pollution. Minority and underprivileged children were disproportionately affected, although some results varied regionally.

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