Destination Area: Global Systems Science (GSS)

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GSS fosters transdisciplinary study of the dynamic interplay between natural and social systems.  Faculty in this area collaborate to discover creative solutions to critical social problems emergent from human activity and environmental change, in areas such as freshwater and coastal water systems, rural environments, infectious disease, and food production and safety. Work in this area also embraces equity in the human condition by seeking the equitable distribution and availability of physical safety and well-being, psychological well-being, respect for human dignity, and access to crucial material and social resources throughout the world’s diverse communities.  


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 616
  • Streamflow and Sediment Yield Analysis of Two Medium-Sized East-Flowing River Basins of India
    Nagireddy, Nageswara Reddy; Keesara, Venkata Reddy; Sridhar, Venkataramana; Srinivasan, Raghavan (MDPI, 2022-09-21)
    With increased demand for water and soil in this Anthropocene era, it is necessary to understand the water balance components and critical source areas of land degradation that lead to soil erosion in agricultural dominant river basins. Two medium-sized east-flowing rivers in India, namely Nagavali and Vamsadhara, play a significant role in supporting water supply and agriculture demands in parts of the Odisha districts of Kalahandi, Koraput and Rayagada, as well as the Andhra Pradesh districts of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram. Floods are more likely in these basins as a result of cyclones and low-pressure depressions in the Bay of Bengal. The water balance components and sediment yield of the Nagavali and Vamsadhara river basins were assessed using a semi-distributed soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) model in this study. The calibrated model performance revealed a high degree of consistency between observed and predicted monthly streamflow and sediment load. The water balance analysis of Nagavali and Vamsadhara river basins showed the evapotranspiration accounted for 63% of the average annual rainfall. SWAT simulated evapotranspiration showed a correlation of 0.78 with FLDAS data. The calibrated SWAT model showed that 26.5% and 49% of watershed area falling under high soil erosion class over Nagavali and Vamsadhara river basins, respectively. These sub watersheds require immediate attention to management practices to improve the soil and water conservation measures.
  • Uncovering Inequalities in Food Accessibility between Koreans and Japanese in 1930s Colonial Seoul Using GIS and Open-Source Transport Analytics Tools
    Ha, Hui Jeong; Lee, Jinhyung; Kim, Junghwan; Kim, Youngjoon (MDPI, 2022-09-20)
    This study aimed to investigate the disparities and inequalities in food accessibility in colonial Seoul (Keijo [京城] in Japanese, and Gyeongseong [경성] in Korean) in the 1930s, using a geographic information system (GIS) and open-source transport analytics tools. We specifically focused on the unique social standing of people in the colonial era, namely colonial rulers (Japanese) vs. subjects (Koreans) and examined whether neighborhoods with larger proportions of colonial rulers had more access to food opportunities. For a comprehensive evaluation, we computed food accessibility by multiple transport modes (e.g., public transit and walking), as well as by different time budgets (e.g., 15 min and 30 min) and considered various sets of food options—including rice, meat, seafood, general groceries, vegetables, and fruits—when measuring and comparing accessibility across neighborhoods in colonial Seoul. We took a novel digital humanities approach by synthesizing historical materials and modern, open-source transport analysis tools to compute cumulative opportunity-based accessibility measures in 1930s colonial Seoul. The results revealed that Japanese-dominant neighborhoods had higher accessibility by both public transit and walking than Korean-dominant neighborhoods. The results further suggest that inequality and disparity in food accessibility is observed not only in contemporary society but also in the 1930s, indicating a historically rooted issue.
  • Probiotic as Adjuvant Significantly Improves Protection of the Lanzhou Trivalent Rotavirus Vaccine against Heterologous Challenge in a Gnotobiotic Pig Model of Human Rotavirus Infection and Disease
    Parreno, Viviana; Bai, Muqun; Liu, Fangning; Jing, Jiqiang; Olney, Erika; Li, Guohua; Wen, Ke; Yang, Xingdong; Castellucc, Tammy Bui; Kocher, Jacob F.; Zhou, Xu; Yuan, Lijuan (MDPI, 2022-09-14)
    This preclinical study in the gnotobiotic (Gn) pig model of human rotavirus (HRV) infection and disease evaluates the effect of probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) as a mucosal adjuvant on the immunogenicity and cross-protective efficacy of the Lanzhou live oral trivalent (G2, G3, G4) vaccine (TLV, aka LLR3). Gn pigs were immunized with three doses of TLV with or without concurrent administration of nine doses of LGG around the time of the first dose of the TLV vaccination, and were challenged orally with the virulent heterotypic Wa G1P[8] HRV. Three doses of TLV were highly immunogenic and conferred partial protection against the heterotypic HRV infection. LGG significantly enhanced the intestinal and systemic immune responses and improved the effectiveness of protection against the heterotypic HRV challenge-induced diarrhea and virus shedding. In conclusion, we demonstrated the immune-stimulating effects of probiotic LGG as a vaccine adjuvant and generated detailed knowledge regarding the cross-reactive and type-specific antibody and effector B and T cell immune responses induced by the TLV. Due to the low cost, ease of distribution and administration, and favorable safety profiles, LGG as an adjuvant has the potential to play a critical role in improving rotavirus vaccine efficacy and making the vaccines more cost-effective.
  • SARS-CoV-2 European resurgence foretold: interplay of introductions and persistence by leveraging genomic and mobility data
    Lemey, Philippe; Ruktanonchai, Nick W.; Hong, Samuel; Colizza, Vittoria; Poletto, Chiara; Van den Broeck, Frederik; Gill, Mandev; Ji, Xiang; Levasseur, Anthony; Sadilek, Adam; Lai, Shengjie; Tatem, Andrew; Baele, Guy; Suchard, Marc; Dellicour, Simon (Springer, 2021-02-10)
    Following the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in spring 2020, Europe experienced a resurgence of the virus starting late summer that was deadlier and more difficult to contain. Relaxed intervention measures and summer travel have been implicated as drivers of the second wave. Here, we build a phylogeographic model to evaluate how newly introduced lineages, as opposed to the rekindling of persistent lineages, contributed to the COVID-19 resurgence in Europe. We inform this model using genomic, mobility and epidemiological data from 10 West European countries and estimate that in many countries more than 50% of the lineages circulating in late summer resulted from new introductions since June 15th. The success in onwards transmission of these lineages is predicted by SARS-CoV-2 incidence during this period. Relatively early introductions from Spain into the United Kingdom contributed to the successful spread of the 20A.EU1/B.1.177 variant. The pervasive spread of variants that have not been associated with an advantage in transmissibility highlights the threat of novel variants of concern that emerged more recently and have been disseminated by holiday travel. Our findings indicate that more effective and coordinated measures are required to contain spread through cross-border travel.
  • Comparison of potential drinking water source contamination across one hundred US cities
    Turner, Sean W. D.; Rice, Jennie S.; Nelson, Kristian D.; Vernon, Chris R.; McManamay, Ryan; Dickson, Kerim; Marston, Landon T. (Nature Portfolio, 2021-12-13)
    In the U.S. today nearly no surface waters are drinkable without treatment. Here, the authors demonstrate that four-fifths of cities that withdraw surface water are supplying water that includes a portion of treated wastewater, concentrated in the Midwest, the South, and Texas. Drinking water supplies of cities are exposed to potential contamination arising from land use and other anthropogenic activities in local and distal source watersheds. Because water quality sampling surveys are often piecemeal, regionally inconsistent, and incomplete with respect to unregulated contaminants, the United States lacks a detailed comparison of potential source water contamination across all of its large cities. Here we combine national-scale geospatial datasets with hydrologic simulations to compute two metrics representing potential contamination of water supplies from point and nonpoint sources for over a hundred U.S. cities. We reveal enormous diversity in anthropogenic activities across watersheds with corresponding disparities in the potential contamination of drinking water supplies to cities. Approximately 5% of large cities rely on water that is composed primarily of runoff from non-pristine lands (e.g., agriculture, residential, industrial), while four-fifths of all large cities that withdraw surface water are exposed to treated wastewater in their supplies.
  • Can interactive data visualizations promote waterfront best management practices?
    Ward, Nicole K.; Sorice, Michael G.; Reynolds, Mikaila S.; Weathers, Kathleen C.; Weng, Weizhe; Carey, Cayelan C. (Taylor & Francis, 2022-01-02)
    Lake water quality management often requires private property owner engagement since land-use change generally occurs on private property. Educational components of lake management outreach must connect current property owner behaviors with future water quality. However, it may be challenging for property owners to associate their current behaviors with water quality outcomes due to the time lag between a behavior (e.g., fertilizer application) and a water quality outcome (e.g., decreased water clarity). Interactive data visualizations, characterized by user-determined selections that change visualization output, may be well suited to help property owners connect current behavior to future water quality. We tested the effectiveness of an online, interactive visualization as an educational intervention to alter property owners' perspectives related to applying lawn fertilizer and installing waterfront buffers. We used cognitive psychology measures to quantify intervention effectiveness. Since property owners' decision making may be driven by connections to their property, we also explored relationships between seasonal and permanent residents and intentions to apply fertilizer or install waterfront buffers and intervention effectiveness. Despite no significant difference in effectiveness between the interactive and noninteractive versions, the combined responses demonstrated a positive shift in behavioral beliefs and intentions related to lawn fertilizer application and waterfront buffer installation. Seasonal residents were less likely than permanent residents to apply lawn fertilizer before the intervention and more likely to shift their intentions after the intervention. This study provides evidence that brief educational interventions-regardless of their interactivity-can shift private property owner beliefs and intentions regarding lakefront property management.
  • Prioritizing climate-smart agriculture: An organizational and temporal review
    Gardezi, Maaz; Michael, Semhar; Stock, Ryan; Vij, Sumit; Ogunyiola, Ayorinde; Ishtiaque, Asif (Wiley, 2022-03)
    Extant systematic literature reviews on the topic of climate smart agriculture (CSA) have mainly focused on two issues: reviewing framing of the CSA discourse in the academic and policy literature; and policy initiatives in the Global South that enhance the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices. Yet, there is little systematic investigation into how international organizations can help smallholder farmers manage agricultural systems to respond to climate change. Analyzing these organization's priorities and highlighting their knowledge gaps are crucial for designing future pathways of CSA. We intend to use this article to identify overarching CSA themes that can guide large international organizations to focus their CSA agenda in the hope of achieving goals associated with food security and sustainable intensification. We specifically ask the following question: How have the key CSA topics and themes emerged in the gray literature of international organizations between 2010 and 2020? We adopted a topic modeling approach to identify how six international organizations engaged with several topics related to CSA. Following the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) approach, we identified eight topics in the documents, representing four overarching themes: gender research, weather and climate, CSA management and food security. We found that there is insufficient discussion on the issues relating to governance measures and gender mainstreaming, with a larger focus on techno-managerial measures of CSA. We conclude that research and training related to CSA must offer opportunities for marginalized and disproportionately vulnerable populations to participate and raise their voices and share innovative ideas at different levels of governance. This article is categorized under: Climate and Development > Social Justice and the Politics of Development Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change > Institutions for Adaptation
  • Auranofin exerts antibacterial activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a female mouse model of genital tract infection
    Elhassanny, Ahmed E. M.; Abutaleb, Nader S.; Seleem, Mohamed N. (PLOS, 2022-04-21)
    Neisseria gonorrhoeae has been classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an urgent threat due to the rapid development of antibiotic resistance to currently available antibiotics. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find new antibiotics to treat gonococcal infections. In our previous study, the gold-containing drug auranofin demonstrated potent in vitro activity against clinical isolates of N. gonorrhoeae, including multidrug-resistant strains. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo activity of auranofin against N. gonorrhoeae using a murine model of vaginal infection. A significant reduction in N. gonorrhoeae recovered from the vagina was observed for infected mice treated with auranofin compared to the vehicle over the course of treatment. Relative to the vehicle, after three and five days of treatment with auranofin, a 1.04 (91%) and 1.40 (96%) average log(10)-reduction of recovered N. gonorrhoeae was observed. In conclusion, auranofin has the potential to be further investigated as a novel, safe anti-gonococcal agent to help meet the urgent need for new antimicrobial agents for N. gonorrhoeae infection.
  • Drone-based water sampling and characterization of three freshwater harmful algal blooms in the United States
    Hanlon, Regina; Jacquemin, Stephen J.; Birbeck, Johnna A.; Westrick, Judy A.; Harb, Charbel; Gruszewski, Hope; Ault, Andrew P.; Scott, Durelle T.; Foroutan, Hosein; Ross, Shane D.; González-Rocha, Javier; Powers, Craig; Pratt, Lowell; Looney, Harry; Baker, Greg; Schmale, David G. III (Frontiers, 2022-08-24)
    Freshwater harmful algal blooms (HABs), caused mostly by toxic cyanobacteria, produce a range of cyanotoxins that threaten the health of humans and domestic animals. Climate conditions and anthropogenic influences such as agricultural run-off can alter the onset and intensity of HABs. Little is known about the distribution and spread of freshwater HABs. Current sampling protocols in some lakes involve teams of researchers that collect samples by hand from a boat and/or from the shoreline. Water samples can be collected from the surface, from discrete-depth collections, and/or from depth-integrated intervals. These collections are often restricted to certain months of the year, and generally are only performed at a limited number of collection sites. In lakes with active HABs, surface samples are generally sufficient for HAB water quality assessments. We used a unique DrOne Water Sampling SystEm (DOWSE) to collect water samples from the surface of three different HABs in Ohio (Grand Lake St Marys, GLSM and Lake Erie) and Virginia (Lake Anna), United States in 2019. The DOWSE consisted of a 3D-printed sampling device tethered to a drone (uncrewed aerial system, or UAS), and was used to collect surface water samples at different distances (10–100 m) from the shore or from an anchored boat. One hundred and eighty water samples (40 at GLSM, 20 at Lake Erie, and 120 at Lake Anna) were collected and analyzed from 18 drone flights. Our methods included testing for cyanotoxins, phycocyanin, and nutrients from surface water samples. Mean concentrations of microcystins (MCs) in drone water samples were 15.00, 1.92, and 0.02 ppb for GLSM, Lake Erie, and Lake Anna, respectively. Lake Anna had low levels of anatoxin in nearly all (111/120) of the drone water samples. Mean concentrations of phycocyanin in drone water samples were 687, 38, and 62 ppb for GLSM, Lake Erie, and Lake Anna, respectively. High levels of total phosphorus were observed in the drone water samples from GLSM (mean of 0.34 mg/L) and Lake Erie (mean of 0.12 mg/L). Lake Anna had the highest variability of total phosphorus with concentrations that ranged from 0.01 mg/L to 0.21 mg/L, with a mean of 0.06 mg/L. Nitrate levels varied greatly across sites, inverse with bloom biomass, ranging from below detection to 3.64 mg/L, with highest mean values in Lake Erie followed by GLSM and Lake Anna, respectively. Drones offer a rapid, targeted collection of water samples from virtually anywhere on a lake with an active HAB without the need for a boat which can disturb the surrounding water. Drones are, however, limited in their ability to operate during inclement weather such as rain and heavy winds. Collectively, our results highlight numerous opportunities for drone-based water sampling technologies to track, predict, and respond to HABs in the future.
  • Diet and Hygiene in Modulating Autoimmunity During the Pandemic Era
    Abdelhamid, Leila; Luo, Xin M. (Frontiers, 2022-01-05)
    The immune system is an efficiently toned machinery that discriminates between friends and foes for achieving both host defense and homeostasis. Deviation of immune recognition from foreign to self and/or long-lasting inflammatory responses results in the breakdown of tolerance. Meanwhile, educating the immune system and developing immunological memory are crucial for mounting defensive immune responses while protecting against autoimmunity. Still to elucidate is how diverse environmental factors could shape autoimmunity. The emergence of a world pandemic such as SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) not only threatens the more vulnerable individuals including those with autoimmune conditions but also promotes an unprecedented shift in people's dietary approaches while urging for extraordinary hygiene measures that likely contribute to the development or exacerbation of autoimmunity. Thus, there is an urgent need to understand how environmental factors modulate systemic autoimmunity to better mitigate the incidence and or severity of COVID-19 among the more vulnerable populations. Here, we discuss the effects of diet (macronutrients and micronutrients) and hygiene (the use of disinfectants) on autoimmunity with a focus on systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Isoquinoline Antimicrobial Agent: Activity against Intracellular Bacteria and Effect on Global Bacterial Proteome
    Karanja, Caroline W.; Naganna, Nimishetti; Abutaleb, Nader S.; Dayal, Neetu; Onyedibe, Kenneth I.; Aryal, Uma; Seleem, Mohamed N.; Sintim, Herman O. (MDPI, 2022-08-10)
    A new class of alkynyl isoquinoline antibacterial compounds, synthesized via Sonogashira coupling, with strong bactericidal activity against a plethora of Gram-positive bacteria including methicillin- and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) strains is presented. HSN584 and HSN739, representative compounds in this class, reduce methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) load in macrophages, whilst vancomycin, a drug of choice for MRSA infections, was unable to clear intracellular MRSA. Additionally, both HSN584 and HSN739 exhibited a low propensity to develop resistance. We utilized comparative global proteomics and macromolecule biosynthesis assays to gain insight into the alkynyl isoquinoline mechanism of action. Our preliminary data show that HSN584 perturb S. aureus cell wall and nucleic acid biosynthesis. The alkynyl isoquinoline moiety is a new scaffold for the development of potent antibacterial agents against fatal multidrug-resistant Gram-positive bacteria.
  • Viral Complexity
    Aylward, Frank O.; Moniruzzaman, Mohammad (MDPI, 2022-07-30)
    Although traditionally viewed as streamlined and simple, discoveries over the last century have revealed that viruses can exhibit surprisingly complex physical structures, genomic organization, ecological interactions, and evolutionary histories. Viruses can have physical dimensions and genome lengths that exceed many cellular lineages, and their infection strategies can involve a remarkable level of physiological remodeling of their host cells. Virus–virus communication and widespread forms of hyperparasitism have been shown to be common in the virosphere, demonstrating that dynamic ecological interactions often shape their success. And the evolutionary histories of viruses are often fraught with complexities, with chimeric genomes including genes derived from numerous distinct sources or evolved de novo. Here we will discuss many aspects of this viral complexity, with particular emphasis on large DNA viruses, and provide an outlook for future research.
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria: Ecology and Impact on Animal and Human Health
    Pavlik, Ivo; Ulmann, Vit; Falkinham, Joseph O. III (MDPI, 2022-07-27)
    Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) represent an important group of environmentally saprophytic and potentially pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious mycobacterioses in humans and animals. The sources of infections often remain undetected except for soil- or water-borne, water-washed, water-based, or water-related infections caused by groups of the Mycobacterium (M.) avium complex; M. fortuitum; and other NTM species, including M. marinum infection, known as fish tank granuloma, and M. ulcerans infection, which is described as a Buruli ulcer. NTM could be considered as water-borne, air-borne, and soil-borne pathogens (sapronoses). A lot of clinically relevant NTM species could be considered due to the enormity of published data on permanent, periodic, transient, and incidental sapronoses. Interest is currently increasing in mycobacterioses diagnosed in humans and husbandry animals (esp. pigs) caused by NTM species present in peat bogs, potting soil, garden peat, bat and bird guano, and other matrices used as garden fertilizers. NTM are present in dust particles and in water aerosols, which represent certain factors during aerogenous infection in immunosuppressed host organisms during hospitalization, speleotherapy, and leisure activities. For this Special Issue, a collection of articles providing a current view of the research on NTM—including the clinical relevance, therapy, prevention of mycobacterioses, epidemiology, and ecology—are addressed.
  • Practical Indicators for Risk of Airborne Transmission in Shared Indoor Environments and Their Application to COVID-19 Outbreaks
    Peng, Z.; Pineda Rojas, A. L.; Kropff, E.; Bahnfleth, W.; Buonanno, G.; Dancer, S. J.; Kurnitski, J.; Li, Y.; Loomans, M. G. L. C.; Marr, Linsey C.; Morawska, L.; Nazaroff, W.; Noakes, C.; Querol, X.; Sekhar, C.; Tellier, R.; Greenhalgh, T.; Bourouiba, L.; Boerstra, A.; Tang, J. W.; Miller, S. L.; Jimenez, J. L. (American Chemical Society, 2022-01-18)
    Some infectious diseases, including COVID-19, can undergo airborne transmission. This may happen at close proximity, but as time indoors increases, infections can occur in shared room air despite distancing. We propose two indicators of infection risk for this situation, that is, relative risk parameter (H-r) and risk parameter (H). They combine the key factors that control airborne disease transmission indoors: virus-containing aerosol generation rate, breathing flow rate, masking and its quality, ventilation and aerosol-removal rates, number of occupants, and duration of exposure. COVID-19 outbreaks show a clear trend that is consistent with airborne infection and enable recommendations to minimize transmission risk. Transmission in typical prepandemic indoor spaces is highly sensitive to mitigation efforts. Previous outbreaks of measles, influenza, and tuberculosis were also assessed. Measles outbreaks occur at much lower risk parameter values than COVID-19, while tuberculosis outbreaks are observed at higher risk parameter values. Because both diseases are accepted as airborne, the fact that COVID-19 is less contagious than measles does not rule out airborne transmission. It is important that future outbreak reports include information on masking, ventilation and aerosol-removal rates, number of occupants, and duration of exposure, to investigate airborne transmission.
  • Both consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators impact mosquito populations and have implications for disease transmission
    Russell, Marie C.; Herzog, Catherine M.; Gajewski, Zachary; Ramsay, Chloe; El Moustaid, Fadoua; Evans, Michelle, V; Desai, Trishna; Gottdenker, Nicole L.; Hermann, Sara L.; Power, Alison G.; McCall, Andrew C. (Elife Sciences, 2022-01-19)
    eLife digest Mosquitoes are often referred to as the deadliest animals on earth because some species spread malaria, West Nile virus or other dangerous diseases when they bite humans and other animals. Adult mosquitoes fly to streams, ponds and other freshwater environments to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the young mosquitoes live in the water until they are ready to grow wings and transform into adults. In the water, the young mosquitoes are particularly vulnerable to being eaten by dragonfly larvae, fish and other predators. When adult females are choosing where to lay their eggs, they can use their sense of smell to detect these predators and attempt to avoid them. Along with eating the mosquitoes, the predators may also reduce mosquito populations in other ways. For example, predators can disrupt feeding among young mosquitoes, which may affect the time that it takes for them to grow into adults or the size of their bodies once they reach the adult stage. Although the impacts of different predators have been tested separately in multiple settings, the overall effects of predators on the ability of mosquitoes to spread diseases to humans remain unclear. To address this question, Russell, Herzog et al. used an approach called meta-analysis on data from previous studies. The analysis found that along with increasing the death rates of mosquitoes, the presence of predators also leads to a reduction in the body size of those mosquitoes that survive, causing them to have shorter lifespans and fewer offspring. Russell, Herzog et al. found that one type of mosquito known as Culex - which carries West Nile virus - avoided laying its eggs near predators. During droughts, increased predation in streams, ponds and other aquatic environments may lead adult female Culex mosquitoes to lay their eggs closer to residential areas with fewer predators. Russell, Herzog et al. propose that this may be one reason why outbreaks of West Nile virus in humans are more likely to occur during droughts. In the future, these findings may help researchers to predict outbreaks of West Nile virus, malaria and other diseases carried by mosquitoes more accurately. Furthermore, the work of Russell, Herzog et al. provides examples of mosquito predators that could be used as biocontrol agents to decrease numbers of mosquitoes in certain regions. Predator-prey interactions influence prey traits through both consumptive and non-consumptive effects, and variation in these traits can shape vector-borne disease dynamics. Meta-analysis methods were employed to generate predation effect sizes by different categories of predators and mosquito prey. This analysis showed that multiple families of aquatic predators are effective in consumptively reducing mosquito survival, and that the survival of Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes is negatively impacted by consumptive effects of predators. Mosquito larval size was found to play a more important role in explaining the heterogeneity of consumptive effects from predators than mosquito genus. Mosquito survival and body size were reduced by non-consumptive effects of predators, but development time was not significantly impacted. In addition, Culex vectors demonstrated predator avoidance behavior during oviposition. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that predators limit disease transmission by reducing both vector survival and vector size, and that associations between drought and human West Nile virus cases could be driven by the vector behavior of predator avoidance during oviposition. These findings are likely to be useful to infectious disease modelers who rely on vector traits as predictors of transmission.
  • Factors Associated With E. coli Levels in and Salmonella Contamination of Agricultural Water Differed Between North and South Florida Waterways
    Murphy, Claire M.; Strawn, Laura K.; Chapin, Travis K.; McEgan, Rachel; Gopidi, Sweeya; Friedrich, Loretta; Goodridge, Lawrence D.; Weller, Daniel L.; Schneider, Keith R.; Danyluk, Michelle D. (Frontiers, 2022-02-02)
    The microbial quality of agricultural water is often assessed using fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) and physicochemical parameters. The presence, direction, and strength of associations between microbial and physicochemical parameters, and the presence of human pathogens in surface water vary across space (e.g., region) and time. This study was undertaken to understand these associations in two produce-growing regions in Florida, USA, and to examine the pathogen ecology in waterways used for produce production. The relationship between Salmonella presence, and microbial and physicochemical water quality; as well as weather and land use factors were evaluated. Water samples were collected from six sites in North Florida (N = 72 samples) and eight sites in South Florida (N = 96 samples) over 12 sampling months. Land use around each sampling site was characterized, and weather and water quality data were collected at each sampling. Salmonella, generic Escherichia coli, total coliform, and aerobic plate count bacteria populations were enumerated in each sample. Univariable and multivariable regression models were then developed to characterize associations between microbial water quality (i.e., E. coli levels and Salmonella presence), and water quality, weather, and land use factors separately for North and South Florida. The E. coli and total coliforms mean concentrations (log(10) MPN/100 mL) were 1.8 +/- 0.6 and >3.0 +/- 0.4 in North and 1.3 +/- 0.6 and >3.3 +/- 0.2 in South Florida waterways, respectively. While Salmonella was detected in 23.6% (17/72) of North Florida and 28.1% (27/96) of South Florida samples, the concentration ranged between <0.48 and 1.4 log(10) MPN/100 mL in North Florida, and E. coli levels, and if a sample was Salmonella-positive. The factors associated with Salmonella presence and log(10) E. coli levels in North Florida differed from those in South Florida; no factors retrained in multivariable regression models were the same for the North and South Florida models. The differences in associations between regions highlight the complexity of understanding pathogen ecology in freshwater environments and suggest substantial differences between intra-state regions in risk factors for Salmonella contamination of agricultural water.
  • Advanced sequencing approaches detected insertions of viral and human origin in the viral genome of chronic hepatitis E virus patients
    Papp, C-Patrick; Biedermann, Paula; Harms, Dominik; Wang, Bo; Kebelmann, Marianne; Choi, Mira; Helmuth, Johannes; Corman, Victor M.; Thuermer, Andrea; Altmann, Britta; Klink, Patrycja; Hofmann, Joerg; Bock, C-Thomas (Nature Portfolio, 2022-02-02)
    The awareness of hepatitis E virus (HEV) increased significantly in the last decade due to its unexpectedly high prevalence in high-income countries. There, infections with HEV-genotype 3 (HEV-3) are predominant which can progress to chronicity in immunocompromised individuals. Persistent infection and antiviral therapy can select HEV-3 variants; however, the spectrum and occurrence of HEV-3 variants is underreported. To gain in-depth insights into the viral population and to perform detailed characterization of viral genomes, we used a new approach combining long-range PCR with next-generation and third-generation sequencing which allowed near full-length sequencing of HEV-3 genomes. Furthermore, we developed a targeted ultra-deep sequencing approach to assess the dynamics of clinically relevant mutations in the RdRp-region and to detect insertions in the HVR-domain in the HEV genomes. Using this new approach, we not only identified several insertions of human (AHNAK, RPL18) and viral origin (RdRp-derived) in the HVR-region isolated from an exemplary sample but detected a variant containing two different insertions simultaneously (AHNAK- and RdRp-derived). This finding is the first HEV-variant recognized as such showing various insertions in the HVR-domain. Thus, this molecular approach will add incrementally to our current knowledge of the HEV-genome organization and pathogenesis in chronic hepatitis E.
  • Validation of DNA marker-assisted selection for forage biomass productivity under deficit irrigation in alfalfa
    Singh, Lovepreet; Pierce, Chris; Santantonio, Nicholas; Steiner, Robert; Miller, Don; Reich, Jon; Ray, Ian (Wiley, 2022-03)
    Drought and limited irrigation resources threaten agricultural sustainability in many regions of the world. Application of genomic-based breeding strategies may benefit crop variety development for these environments. Here, we provide a first report on the effect of deploying DNA marker-assisted selection (MAS) for the drought resilience quantitative trait in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). The goals of this study were to validate the effect of several quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with alfalfa forage and crown-root (CR) biomass during drought and to determine their potential to improve forage yield of elite germplasm under water-limited conditions. Marker assisted selection was employed to introgress favorable or unfavorable DNA marker alleles affiliated with 10 biomass QTL into three elite backgrounds. Thirty-two populations were developed and evaluated for forage productivity over 3 yr under continuous deficit irrigation management in New Mexico, USA. Significant yield differences (ranging from -13 to 26%) were detected among some MAS-derived populations in all three elite backgrounds. Application of QTL MAS generally resulted in expected phenotypic responses within an elite genetic background that was similar to that in which the QTL were originally identified. However, relative performance of the populations varied substantially across the three genetic backgrounds. These outcomes indicate that QTL MAS can significantly affect forage productivity of elite alfalfa germplasm in drought-stressed environments. However, if biomass QTL are detected in donor germplasm that is genetically dissimilar to targeted elite populations, characterization of donor alleles may be warranted within elite backgrounds of interest to confirm their phenotypic effects prior to implementing MAS-based breeding.
  • A Rare Case of Typhoid Fever in the United States Associated With Travel to Mexico
    Kim, Seo Hyun; Bansal, Jash (Cureus, 2022-02-17)
    Typhoid fever is an infectious febrile illness caused by Salmonella typhi that is rare in the United States but is endemic in regions of South Asia and Africa. Typhoid fever initially presents with nonspecific symptoms such as fever, malaise, and abdominal pain. We describe a case of typhoid fever in an adult in the United States with recent travel to Mexico. After a nonspecific presentation, the patient developed Faget sign and computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen revealed mesenteric adenitis, which prompted additional workup. Diagnosis of typhoid fever was established by blood culture and the patient was treated with ciprofloxacin.
  • Bottled and Well Water Quality in a Small Central Appalachian Community: Household-Level Analysis of Enteric Pathogens, Inorganic Chemicals, and Health Outcomes in Rural Southwest Virginia
    Cohen, Alasdair; Rasheduzzaman, Md; Darling, Amanda; Krometis, Leigh-Anne H.; Edwards, Marc A.; Brown, Teresa; Ahmed, Tahmina; Wettstone, Erin; Pholwat, Suporn; Taniuchi, Mami; Rogawski McQuade, Elizabeth T. (MDPI, 2022-07-15)
    Consumption of unsafe drinking water is associated with a substantial burden of disease globally. In the US, ~1.8 million people in rural areas lack reliable access to safe drinking water. Our objective was to characterize and assess household-level water sources, water quality, and associated health outcomes in Central Appalachia. We collected survey data and water samples (tap, source, and bottled water) from consenting households in a small rural community without utility-supplied water in southwest Virginia. Water samples were analyzed for physicochemical parameters, total coliforms, E. coli, nitrate, sulfate, metals (e.g., arsenic, cadmium, lead), and 30+ enteric pathogens. Among the 69% (n = 9) of households that participated, all had piped well water, though 67% (n = 6) used bottled water as their primary drinking water source. Total coliforms were detected in water samples from 44.4% (n = 4) of homes, E. coli in one home, and enteric pathogens (Aeromonas, Campylobacter, Enterobacter) in 33% (n = 3) of homes. Tap water samples from 11% (n = 1) of homes exceeded the EPA MCL for nitrate, and 33% (n = 3) exceeded the EPA SMCL for iron. Among the 19 individuals residing in study households, reported diarrhea was 25% more likely in homes with measured E. coli and/or specific pathogens (risk ratio = 1.25, cluster-robust standard error = 1.64, p = 0.865). Although our sample size was small, our findings suggest that a considerable number of lower-income residents without utility-supplied water in rural areas of southwest Virginia may be exposed to microbiological and/or chemical contaminants in their water, and many, if not most, rely on bottled water as their primary source of drinking water.