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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agricultural, Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel
Phone: +972-(0)8-9489119;
Fax: +972-(0)8-9465763;
Yael Lewitus, Department's Secretary
e-mail: yaellew@savion.huji.ac.il

Publications

2017
Yamin, G. ; Borisover, M. ; Cohen, E. ; van Rijn, J. Accumulation of humic-like and proteinaceous dissolved organic matter in zero-discharge aquaculture systems as revealed by fluorescence EEM spectroscopy. 2017, 108, 412 - 421. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), offering many economic and fish husbandry benefits, are characterized by an accumulation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and, specifically, humic substances (HS). As reported in a number of studies, HS may affect biological activity in both invertebrates and vertebrates. Given the accumulation of HS in RAS, it is therefore of great interest to characterize DOM and, specifically, its HS fraction in the RAS. The present study was aimed at characterizing long-term changes in fluorescent DOM composition in the culture water of RAS systems, which were operated in a novel, zero water exchange mode. Two such zero-discharge recirculating systems (ZDS) were examined: a freshwater system, stocked with hybrid tilapia (Oreochromis aureus x Oreochromis niloticus) and a marine system, stocked with gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata). Excitation-emission matrices (EEMs) of fluorescence, coupled with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC), were used to characterize and quantify the different DOM components in the ZDS. In the culture water, one tryptophan-like and four HS-like components were identified. The fluorescence intensities of three of the HS-like components as well as the tryptophan-like component increased at comparable rates during ZDS operation while a much slower accumulation of these compounds was observed in a parallel operated, flow-through, freshwater aquarium. The ZDS examined in this study comprised a sludge digestion stage where a considerable accumulation of all fluorescent components was detected. A HS-like components and a tryptophan-like component in blood of tilapia from the freshwater ZDS were similar to components found in the culture water. Blood levels of both components were higher in fish cultured in the DOM-rich ZDS than in fish raised in the control, flow-through freshwater aquarium. Fluorescence of the HS-like component found in the fish blood increased also with time of ZDS operation. The finding that fish blood contains a HS-like fluorescent component may have important implications for the understanding of the physiological effects of HS in fish and the possible benefits of these substances in aquaculture.
Azaria, S. ; Nir, S. ; van Rijn, J. Combined adsorption and degradation of the off-flavor compound 2-methylisoborneol in sludge derived from a recirculating aquaculture system. 2017, 169, 69 - 77. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Off-flavor in fish poses a serious threat for the aquaculture industry. In the present study, removal of 2-methylisoborneol (MIB), an off-flavor causing compound, was found to be mediated by adsorption and bacterial degradation in sludge derived from an aquaculture system. A numerical model was developed which augmented Langmuir equations of kinetics of adsorption/desorption of MIB with first order degradation kinetics. When laboratory-scale reactors, containing sludge from the aquaculture system, were operated in a recirculating mode, MIB in solution was depleted to undetectable levels within 6 days in reactors with untreated sludge, while its depletion was incomplete in reactors with sterilized sludge. When operated in an open flow mode, removal of MIB was significantly faster in reactors with untreated sludge. Efficient MIB removal was evident under various conditions, including ambient MIB levels, flow velocities and sludge loads. When operated in an open flow mode, the model successfully predicted steady MIB removal rates with time. During steady state conditions, most of the MIB removal was found to be due to microbial degradation of the adsorbed MIB. Findings obtained in this study can be used in the design of reactors for removal of off-flavor compounds from recirculating aquaculture systems.
Yamin, G. ; Zilberg, D. ; Levy, G. ; van Rijn, J. The protective effect of humic-rich substances from monogenean parasites infecting the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). 2017, 479, 487 - 489. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The exposure of guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata), infected with the monogenea Gyrodactylus turnbulli and Dactylogyrus sp. to humic-rich culture water and feed, reduced both the infection prevalence (% of infected fish) and the infection intensity (parasites per fish) of the two parasites. Specifically, among fish exposed to: (a) humic-rich water and sludge from a recirculating system (RAS) and (b) synthetic humic acid (HA), infection prevalences of Gyrodactylus turnbulli were 17% and 25% respectively, as compared with an infection prevalence of 52% in the control group. The lower infection prevalence was accompanied by a significant reduction in the infection intensity: from 3.8 in the control group to 0.2 and 0.3 parasites per fish in the RAS and HA treated fish respectively. The infection prevalence and intensity of Dactylogyrus sp. were significantly lower (infection prevalence: 2.5%; infection intensity: 0.3 parasites/fish) in guppies exposed to RAS water and sludge than in the control group (infection prevalence: 50%; infection intensity: 0.8 parasites/fish).
Yamin, G. ; Falk, R. ; Avtalion, R. R. ; Shoshana, N. ; Ofek, T. ; Smirnov, R. ; Rubenstein, G. ; van Rijn, J. The protective effect of humic-rich substances on atypical Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida infection in common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). Journal of Fish Diseases 2017, 40, 1783-1790. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Abstract When challenged with atypical Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida, exposure of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) to different humic-rich compounds resulted in a significant reduction in infection rates. Specifically, in fish exposed to (i) humic-rich water and sludge from a recirculating system, (ii) a synthetic humic acid, and (iii) a Leonardite-derived humic-rich extract, infection rates were reduced to 14.9%, 17.0% and 18.8%, respectively, as compared to a 46.8% infection rate in the control treatment. An additional set of experiments was performed to examine the effect of humic-rich components on the growth of the bacterial pathogen. Liquid culture medium supplemented with either humic-rich water from the recirculating system, the synthetic humic acid or the Leonardite humic-rich extract resulted in a growth reduction of 41.1%, 45.2% and 61.6%, respectively, as compared to the growth of the Aeromonas strain in medium devoid of humic substances. Finally, in a third set of experiments it was found that while the innate immune system of the carps was not affected by their exposure to humic-rich substances, their acquired immune system was affected. Fish, immunized against bovine serum albumin, displayed elevated antibody titres as compared to immunized carps which were not exposed to the various sources of humic substances.
Cheled-Shoval, S. ; Behrens, M. ; Korb, A. ; Di Pizio, A. ; Meyerhof, W. ; Uni, Z. ; Niv, M. Y. From Cell to Beak: In-Vitro and In-Vivo Characterization of Chicken Bitter Taste Thresholds. Molecules 2017, 22. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bitter taste elicits an aversive reaction, and is believed to protect against consuming poisons. Bitter molecules are detected by the Tas2r family of G-protein-coupled receptors, with a species-dependent number of subtypes. Chickens demonstrate bitter taste sensitivity despite having only three bitter taste receptors—ggTas2r1, ggTas2r2 and ggTas2r7. This minimalistic bitter taste system in chickens was used to determine relationships between in-vitro (measured in heterologous systems) and in-vivo (behavioral) detection thresholds. ggTas2r-selective ligands, nicotine (ggTas2r1), caffeine (ggTas2r2), erythromycin and (+)-catechin (ggTas2r7), and the Tas2r-promiscuous ligand quinine (all three ggTas2rs) were studied. Ligands of the same receptor had different in-vivo:in-vitro ratios, and the ggTas2r-promiscuous ligand did not exhibit lower in-vivo:in-vitro ratios than ggTas2r-selective ligands. In-vivo thresholds were similar or up to two orders of magnitude higher than the in-vitro ones.
Yair, R. ; Cahaner, A. ; Uni, Z. ; Shahar, R. Maternal and genetic effects on broiler bone properties during incubation period. Poultry Science 2017, 96, 2301 - 2311. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In order to examine the differences in bone properties between fast-growing and slow-growing broiler embryos and to understand the effects of genotype and egg size on these differences, fast- and slow-growing hens and males were reciprocally crossed to create 4 egg groups: FST (laid by fast-growing hens, inseminated by fast-growing males), H-FST (fast-growing hens and slow-growing males), H-SLW (slow-growing hens and fast-growing males), and SLW (slow-growing hens and slow-growing males). Embryos (n = 8) from these 4 groups were sacrificed and weighed, and both tibiae were harvested on embryonic d (E) 17, 19, and 21. Left tibiae were tested for their whole-bone mechanical properties using a micromechanical device. Cortical bone structure and bone mineral density (BMD) were examined by micro-computed tomography of the left tibiae. Bone mineralization was evaluated by measuring BMD and ash content, while the rate and location of mineralization were evaluated by fluorochrome labeling. Osteoclastic activity and osteocyte density were evaluated by histological stains [TRAP (Tartrate resistant acid phosphatase) and H&E (Hematoxylin and Eosin), respectively]. Groups with larger eggs (FST and H-FST) had higher BW and tibia weight than groups with smaller eggs (SLW and H-SLW); however, they had a lower ratio of tibia weight to BW. Between groups with similar egg weight, stiffness, maximal load, and yield load of the bones were higher in the SLW than the H-SLW, while no differences were found between the FST and H-FST. Additionally, the tibiae of the SLW were stiffer and their osteocyte density higher than in the FST on E21 and their periosteal mineralization rate was higher between E19 and E21. No differences were found between the groups in cortical bone structure. This study demonstrates that faster growing hatchlings, especially those that hatch from relatively small eggs, have inferior bone mechanical properties in comparison to slower growing hatchlings, and suggests that fast-growing chicks hatching from small eggs are at a higher risk for developing bone pathologies. Accordingly, selection for increased egg size may lead to improved mechanical performance of the skeleton of fast-growing broilers.
Cheled-Shoval, S. L. ; Reicher, N. ; Niv, M. Y. ; Uni, Z. Detecting thresholds for bitter, umami, and sweet tastants in broiler chicken using a 2-choice test method. Poultry Science 2017, 96, 2206 - 2218. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The sense of taste has a key role in nutrient sensing and food intake in animals. A standardized and simple method for determination of tastant-detection thresholds is required for chemosensory research in poultry. We established a 24-h, 2-alternative, forced-choice solution-consumption method and applied it to measure detection thresholds for 3 G-protein-coupled receptor-mediated taste modalities—bitter, sweet, and umami—in chicken. Four parameters were used to determine a significant response: 1) tastant-solution consumption; 2) water (tasteless) consumption; 3) total consumption (tastant and water together); 4) ratio of tastant consumption to total consumption. Our results showed that assignment of the taste solutions and a water control to 2 bottles on random sides of the pen can be reliably used for broiler chicks, even though 47% of the chicks groups demonstrated a consistently preferred side. The detection thresholds for quinine (bitter), L-monosodium glutamate (MSG) (umami), and sucrose (sweet) were determined to be 0.3 mM, 300 mM, and 1 M, respectively. The threshold results for quinine were similar to those for humans and rodents, but the chicks were found to be less sensitive to sucrose and MSG. The described method is useful for studying detection thresholds for tastants that have the potential to affect feed and water consumption in chickens.
Schlesinger, S. ; Kaffe, B. ; Melcer, S. ; Aguilera, J. D. ; Sivaraman, D. M. ; Kaplan, T. ; Meshorer, E. A hyperdynamic H3.3 nucleosome marks promoter regions in pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Nucleic Acids Research 2017, 45, 12181-12194. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Histone variants and their chaperones are key regulators of eukaryotic transcription, and are critical for normal development. The histone variant H3.3 has been shown to play important roles in pluripotency and differentiation, and although its genome-wide patterns have been investigated, little is known about the role of its dynamic turnover in transcriptional regulation. To elucidate the role of H3.3 dynamics in embryonic stem cell (ESC) biology, we generated mouse ESC lines carrying a single copy of a doxycycline (Dox)-inducible HA-tagged version of H3.3 and monitored the rate of H3.3 incorporation by ChIP-seq at varying time points following Dox induction, before and after RA-induced differentiation. Comparing H3.3 turnover profiles in ESCs and RA-treated cells, we identified a hyperdynamic H3.3-containing nucleosome at the −1 position in promoters of genes expressed in ESCs. This dynamic nucleosome is restricted and shifted downstream into the +1 position following differentiation. We suggest that histone turnover dynamics provides an additional mechanism involved in expression regulation, and that a hyperdynamic −1 nucleosome marks promoters in ESCs. Our data provide evidence for regional regulation of H3.3 turnover in ESC promoters, and calls for testing, in high resolution, the dynamic behavior of additional histone variants and other structural chromatin proteins.
Dishon, L. ; Avital-Cohen, N. ; Malamud, D. ; Heiblum, R. ; Druyan, S. ; Porter, T. E. ; Gumułka, M. ; Rozenboim, I. In-ovo monochromatic green light photostimulation enhances embryonic somatotropic axis activity. Poultry Science 2017, 96, 1884 - 1890. Publisher's VersionAbstract
ABSTRACT Previous studies demonstrated that in ovo photostimulation with monochromatic green light increases body weight and accelerates muscle development in broilers. The mechanism in which in ovo photostimulation accelerates growth and muscle development is not clearly understood. The objective of the current study was to define development of the somatotropic axis in the broiler embryo associated with in ovo green light photostimulation. Two-hundred-forty fertile broiler eggs were divided into 2 groups. The first group was incubated under intermittent monochromatic green light using light-emitting diode (LED) lamps with an intensity of 0.1 W\m2 at shell level, and the second group was incubated under dark conditions and served as control. In ovo green light photostimulation increased plasma growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (PRL) levels, as well as hypothalamic growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH), liver growth hormone receptor (GHR), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA levels. The in ovo photostimulation did not, however, increase embryo's body weight, breast muscle weight, or liver weight. The results of this study suggest that stimulation with monochromatic green light during incubation increases somatotropic axis expression, as well as plasma prolactin levels, during embryonic development.
Gumułka, M. ; Rozenboim, I. Effect of the age of ganders on reproductive behavior and fertility in a competitive mating structure. Annals of Animal Science 2017, 17. Publisher's Version
Dishon, L. ; Avital-Cohen, N. ; Malamud, D. ; Heiblum, R. ; Druyan, S. ; Porter, T. E. ; Gumulka, M. ; Rozenboim, I. In-ovo monochromatic green light photostimulation enhances embryonic somatotropic axis activity. Poult Sci 2017, 96, 1884-1890. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Previous studies demonstrated that in ovo photostimulation with monochromatic green light increases body weight and accelerates muscle development in broilers. The mechanism in which in ovo photostimulation accelerates growth and muscle development is not clearly understood. The objective of the current study was to define development of the somatotropic axis in the broiler embryo associated with in ovo green light photostimulation. Two-hundred-forty fertile broiler eggs were divided into 2 groups. The first group was incubated under intermittent monochromatic green light using light-emitting diode (LED) lamps with an intensity of 0.1 W\m2 at shell level, and the second group was incubated under dark conditions and served as control. In ovo green light photostimulation increased plasma growth hormone (GH) and prolactin (PRL) levels, as well as hypothalamic growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH), liver growth hormone receptor (GHR), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA levels. The in ovo photostimulation did not, however, increase embryo's body weight, breast muscle weight, or liver weight. The results of this study suggest that stimulation with monochromatic green light during incubation increases somatotropic axis expression, as well as plasma prolactin levels, during embryonic development.

    2016
    Cotter, P. F. ; Heller, D. Complex hemograms of isolator raised specific pathogen free (SPF) chicks. International Journal of Poultry Science 2016, 15, 211-217. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    Heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L ratio) statistics and total white blood cell counts (TWBC) determined by light microscopic examination of blood from isolator raised specific pathogen free (SPF) chicks indicated complex hemograms. Brachial vein blood (N =12) obtained at 6 wk was spread into films, air dried, post-fixed in MeOH and Wright’s stained. H/L 1 ratios were calculated by dividing all heterophil types, typical (HT) variant (HV) and classic (HC) by the number of small (resting) lymphocytes (Ls) H/L 1 = (HT + HV + HC)/(Ls). A second ratio (H/L 2) obtained by dividing heterophils by all lymphocytes (resting, reactive and atypical, (HT + HV + HC)/ (Ls + Lm) was calculated; as was the H/L 1-H/L 2 difference (ΔH/L). TWBC’s were determined from the same films. Sorting, non-random distribution of cells and atypia affected all H/L statistics. The mean H/L 1 ratio from standard differential counts (SDC) = 0.17 and H/L 2 = 0.16. Edge based ratios (EB) were  8 times the SDC values. Atypical cells were in all samples and more common in EB counts. The H/L ratios and ΔH/L calculated from SDC and EB values were significantly different (p<0.02). Collectively these observations support earlier conclusions regarding the lack of sensitivity of a single H/L ratio, without a TWBC, or consideration of atypia to estimate welfare. Furthermore, hemograms of SPF chickens reared in isolation may be complex. © Asian Network for Scientific Information, 2016.
    Goldenberg, D. ; Lublin, A. ; Rosenbluth, E. ; Heller, D. ; Pitcovski, J. Optimized polypeptide for a subunit vaccine against avian reovirus. Vaccine 2016, 34, 3178-3183. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    Avian reovirus (ARV) is a disease-causing agent. The disease is prevented by vaccination with a genotype-specific vaccine while many variants of ARV exist in the field worldwide. Production of new attenuated vaccines is a long-term process and in the case of fast-mutating viruses, an impractical one. In the era of molecular biology, vaccines may be produced by using only the relevant protein for induction of neutralizing antibodies, enabling fast adjustment to the emergence of new genetic strains. Sigma C (SC) protein of ARV is a homotrimer that facilitates host-cell attachment and induce the production and secretion of neutralizing antibodies. The aim of this study was to identify the region of SC that will elicit a protective immune response. Full-length (residues 1-326) and two partial fragments of SC (residues 122-326 and 192-326) were produced in Escherichia coli. The SC fragment of residues 122-326 include the globular head, shaft and hinge domains, while eliminating intra-capsular region. This fragment induces significantly higher levels of anti-ARV antibodies than the shorter fragment or full length SC, which neutralized embryos infection by the virulent strain to a higher extent compared with the antibodies produced in response to the whole virus vaccine. Residues 122-326 fragment is assumed to be folded correctly, exposing linear as well as conformational epitopes that are identical to those of the native protein, while possibly excluding suppressor sequences. The results of this study may serve for the development of a recombinant subunit vaccine for ARV. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
    Berman, A. ; Horovitz, T. ; Kaim, M. ; Gacitua, H. A comparison of THI indices leads to a sensible heat-based heat stress index for shaded cattle that aligns temperature and humidity stress. International Journal of Biometeorology 2016, 60, 1453-1462. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    The combined temperature-humidity heat stress is estimated in farm animals by indices derived of an index based on human thermal comfort sensation. The latter index consists of temperature and humidity measures that sum to form the temperature-humidity index (THI). The hitherto unknown relative contribution of temperature and humidity to the THI was examined. A temperature-humidity data set (temperature 20–42 °C and relative humidity 10–70 %) was used to assess by regression procedures the relative weights of temperature and humidity in the variance of THI values produced by six commonly used heat stress indices. The temperature (Ta) effect was predominant (0.82–0.95 of variance) and humidity accounted for only 0.05 to 0.12 of THI variance, half of the variance encountered in animal responses to variable humidity heat stress. Significant difference in THI values was found between indices in the relative weights of temperature and humidity. As in THI indices, temperature and humidity are expressed in different physical units, their sum has no physical attributes, and empirical evaluations assess THI relation to animal responses. A sensible heat THI was created, in which at higher temperatures humidity reaches 0.25 of sensible heat, similarly to evaporative heat loss span in heat stressed animals. It relates to ambient temperature-humidity similarly to present THI; its values are similar to other THI but greater at higher humidity. In warm conditions, mean animal responses are similar in both indices. The higher sensitivity to humidity makes this index preferable for warm-humid conditions. © 2016, ISB.
    Chaiseha, Y. ; Kamkrathok, B. ; Rozenboim, I. Ovarian steroids involvement in maternal care in the native Thai hen (Gallus domesticus). Animal Biology 2016, 66, 111 - 118. Publisher's Version
    Li, Y. ; Kalo, D. ; Zeron, Y. ; Roth, Z. Progressive motility-a potential predictive parameter for semen fertilization capacity in bovines. Zygote 2016, 24, 70 - 82. Publisher's Version
    Meidan, R. ; Girsh, E. ; Mamluk, R. ; Levy, N. ; Farberov, S. Luteolysis in ruminants: Past concepts, new insights, and persisting challenges. In The Life Cycle of the Corpus Luteum; The Life Cycle of the Corpus Luteum; 2016; pp. 159 - 182. Publisher's Version
    Meidan, R. The life cycle of the corpus luteum; The Life Cycle of the Corpus Luteum; 2016; pp. 1 - 283. Publisher's Version
    Shaani, Y. ; Eliyahu, D. ; Mizrahi, I. ; Yosef, E. ; Ben-Meir, Y. ; Nikbachat, M. ; Solomon, R. ; Mabjeesh, S. ; Miron, J. Effect of feeding ensiled mixture of pomegranate pulp and drier feeds on digestibility and milk performance in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Research 2016, 83, 35 - 41. Publisher's Version
    Yom-Din, S. ; Hollander-Cohen, L. ; Aizen, J. ; Boehm, B. ; Shpilman, M. ; Golan, M. ; Hurvitz, A. ; Degani, G. ; Levavi-Sivan, B. Gonadotropins in the Russian sturgeon: Their role in steroid secretion and the effect of hormonal treatment on their secretion. PLoS ONE 2016, 11. Publisher's Version