Latest Articles

  • Section: Animal Science ; Topics: Applied biological sciences, Computer sciences, Health sciences

    Pig herd management and infection transmission dynamics: a challenge for modellers

    10.24072/pcjournal.403 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e52.

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    The control of epidemics requires a thorough understanding of the complex interactions between pathogen transmission, disease impact, and population dynamics and management. Mechanistic epidemiological modelling is an effective way to address this issue, but handling highly structured and dynamic systems, remains challenging. We therefore developed a novel approach that combines Multi-Level Agent-Based Systems (MLABS) with spatial and temporal organization, allowing for a tuned representation of the transmission processes amongst the host population. We applied this method to model the spread of a PRRSv-like virus in pig farms, integrating the clinical consequences (conception and reproduction failures), in terms of animal husbandry practices. Results highlighted the importance to account for spatial and temporal structuring and herd management policies in epidemiological models. Indeed, disease-related abortions, inducing reassignments of sows in different batches, was shown to enhance the transmission process, favouring the persistence of the virus at the herd level. Supported by a declarative Domain-Specific Language (DSL), our approach provides flexible and powerful solutions to address the issues of on-farm epidemics and broader public health concerns. The present application, based on a simple Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered (SEIR) model, opens the way to the representation of more complex epidemiological systems, including more specific features such as maternally derived antibodies, vaccination, or dual infections, along with their respective clinical consequences on the management practices.

  • Section: Ecotoxicology & Environmental Chemistry ; Topics: Environmental sciences, Physiology

    Assimilation efficiencies and elimination rates of silver, cadmium and zinc accumulated by trophic pathway in Gammarus fossarum

    10.24072/pcjournal.426 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e51.

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    To improve the assessment of metal toxicity in aquatic organisms, it is important to consider the different uptake pathways (i.e. trophic or aqueous). The bioaccumulation of dissolved metals such as Cd and Zn in gammarids is beginning to be well described. However, there are very few data on the contribution of the dietary pathway, and its associated toxicokinetic parameters. Among these, the assimilation efficiency (AE) is an essential parameter for the implementation of models that take the trophic pathway into account. This study aims to estimate the assimilation efficiencies and elimination rates of two types of food, i.e. alder leaves and chironomid larvae, contaminated with three metals (Ag, Cd and Zn) of major concern for the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The pulse-chase-feeding method was used. Gammarids were fed with alder leaves or chironomid larvae previously contaminated with 110mAg, 109Cd or 65Zn, for a short period of time (1 to 5 hours), followed by an elimination phase of 14 days. At different time points, the gammarids were placed alive on the gamma detector to individually quantify whole body concentrations of 110mAg, 109Cd or 65Zn. Our results indicate that: i) Cd has the highest assimilation efficiency (39% for leaves and 19% for larvae), followed by Zn (15% for leaves and 9% for larvae) and Ag (5% for leaves); ii) for Cd and Zn, the AE were higher when gammarids were fed with leaves than with larvae; iii) the elimination rates of metals seem to depend more on the food matrix than on the metal assimilated; and thus iv) the biological half-life calculated from the kes is 5.1 days for Ag, between 4.9 and 13 days for Cd and between 3.8 and 13 days for Zn.

  • Shrimp are commonly cultured in earthen aquaculture ponds where organic-rich uneaten feed and faeces accumulate on and in the sediment to form anaerobic zones. Since the pond water is rich in sulphate, these anaerobic conditions eventually lead to the production of sulphide. Sulphides are toxic and even lethal to the shrimp that live on the pond sediment, but physicochemical and microbial reactions that occur during the accumulation of organic waste and the subsequent formation of sulphide in shrimp pond sediments remain unclear. Molybdate treatment is a promising strategy to inhibit sulphate reduction, thus, preventing sulphide accumulation. We used an experimental shrimp pond model to simulate the organic waste accumulation and sulphide formation during the final 61 days of a full shrimp growth cycle. Sodium molybdate (5 and 25 mg/L Na2MoO4.2H2O) was applied as a preventive strategy to control sulphide production before oxygen depletion. Molybdate addition partially mitigated H2S production in the sediment, and delayed its transfer to the bulk liquid by pushing the higher sulphide concentration zone towards deeper sediment layers. Molybdate treatment at 25 mg/L significantly impacted the overall microbial community composition and treated samples (5 and 25 mg/L molybdate) had about 50% higher relative abundance of sulphate reducing bacteria than the control (no molybdate) treatment. In conclusion, molybdate has the potential to work as mitigation strategy against sulphide accumulation in the sediment during shrimp growth by directly steering the microbial community in a shrimp pond system.

  • Section: Microbiology ; Topics: Agricultural sciences, Microbiology, Population biology

    Bacterial pathogens dynamic during multi-species infections

    10.24072/pcjournal.418 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e49.

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    Soft rot Pectobacteriacea (SRP) gathers more than 30 bacterial species that collectively rot a wide range of plants by producing and secreting a large set of plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs). Worldwide potato field surveys identified 15 different SRP species on symptomatic plants and tubers. The abundance of each species observed during outbreaks varies over space and time and the mechanisms driving species shift during outbreak are unknown. Furthermore, multi-species infections are frequently observed and the dynamics of these coinfections are not well understood.

    To understand the dynamics of coinfections, we set up 16 different synthetic communities of 6 SRP strains to mimic coinfections. The bacteria present in each tested community were representative of 2 different species, with 3 strains per species. These communities were inoculated in potato tubers or on synthetic media and their outcome was followed by amplification and Illumina sequencing of the discriminatory housekeeping gene gapA. We also compared disease incidence and bacterial multiplication in potato tubers during mixed-species infection and single-species infection. A species that was unable to induce disease in potato was efficiently maintained and eventually became dominant in some of the communities tested, indicating that cheating can shape dominant species. Modeling indicates that the cost of PCWDEs production and secretion, the rate of potato degradation and the diffusion rate of degraded substrate could favor the cheater species. Interaction outcomes differed between potato tuber and synthetic medium, highlighting the driving effect of environmental conditions, with higher antagonistic interactions observed in potato tubers. Antagonistic interactions were strain specific and not species specific. Toxicity interference was also observed within some communities, allowing the maintenance of strains otherwise sensitive to toxic compounds. Overall, the results indicate that intraspecific competition, cooperation through trophic interaction and toxicity interference contribute to the maintenance of SRP diversity. The implications of these processes for epidemiological surveillance are discussed.

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