Publications by authors named "Olaf Schmidt"

44 Publications

Global data on earthworm abundance, biomass, diversity and corresponding environmental properties.

Sci Data 2021 05 21;8(1):136. Epub 2021 May 21.

Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 1, Göttingen, Germany.

Earthworms are an important soil taxon as ecosystem engineers, providing a variety of crucial ecosystem functions and services. Little is known about their diversity and distribution at large spatial scales, despite the availability of considerable amounts of local-scale data. Earthworm diversity data, obtained from the primary literature or provided directly by authors, were collated with information on site locations, including coordinates, habitat cover, and soil properties. Datasets were required, at a minimum, to include abundance or biomass of earthworms at a site. Where possible, site-level species lists were included, as well as the abundance and biomass of individual species and ecological groups. This global dataset contains 10,840 sites, with 184 species, from 60 countries and all continents except Antarctica. The data were obtained from 182 published articles, published between 1973 and 2017, and 17 unpublished datasets. Amalgamating data into a single global database will assist researchers in investigating and answering a wide variety of pressing questions, for example, jointly assessing aboveground and belowground biodiversity distributions and drivers of biodiversity change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00912-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8140120PMC
May 2021

Use of deep learning for structural analysis of computer tomography images of soil samples.

R Soc Open Sci 2021 Mar 31;8(3):201275. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

ARAID, IPE-CSIC, ES, Department of Biodiversity Conversation and Ecosystem Restoration, Jaca, Spain.

Soil samples from several European countries were scanned using medical computer tomography (CT) device and are now available as CT images. The analysis of these samples was carried out using deep learning methods. For this purpose, a VGG16 network was trained with the CT images (X). For the annotation (y) a new method for automated annotation, 'surrogate' learning, was introduced. The generated neural networks (NNs) were subjected to a detailed analysis. Among other things, transfer learning was used to check whether the NN can also be trained to other y-values. Visually, the NN was verified using a gradient-based class activation mapping (grad-CAM) algorithm. These analyses showed that the NN was able to generalize, i.e. to capture the spatial structure of the soil sample. Possible applications of the models are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8074890PMC
March 2021

German regional variation of acute and high oral corticosteroid use for asthma.

J Asthma 2021 Feb 14:1-10. Epub 2021 Feb 14.

University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ, USA.

Objective: : To improve understanding of real-world asthma treatment and inform physician education, we evaluated regional variation in asthma prevalence and oral corticosteroid (OCS) use across Germany.

Methods: : We developed a machine learning gradient-boosted tree model with IMS® Disease Analyzer electronic medical records, which cover 3% of German patients. This model had a 91% accuracy in predicting the presence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We applied the model to the IMS Longitudinal Prescription database, with 82% national coverage, to classify patients receiving treatment for airflow obstruction from October 2017-September 2018 in 63 regions in Germany.

Results: : Of 2.4 million individuals under statutory health insurance predicted to have asthma, 13.7%, 18.7%, 36.5%, 29.4%, and 1.7% received treatment classified as Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively. Approximately 7-15% of those at GINA Steps 1-4 and 35% at Step 5 treatment received ≥1 acute OCS prescription (duration <10 days). Of patients receiving GINA Steps 1-4 and Step 5 treatments, 1-3% and 86%, respectively, received ≥1 high-dosage OCS prescription. Cumulative OCS dosage and percentages of patients receiving OCS differed substantially across regions, and regions with lower OCS use had greater use of biologic therapies.

Conclusions: : Both acute and high OCS use varied regionally across Germany, with overall use suggesting patients are considerable risk of adverse effects and long-term health consequences.

Supplemental data for this article can be accessed at publisher's website.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02770903.2021.1878532DOI Listing
February 2021

A global database of soil nematode abundance and functional group composition.

Sci Data 2020 03 26;7(1):103. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

J. F. Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

As the most abundant animals on earth, nematodes are a dominant component of the soil community. They play critical roles in regulating biogeochemical cycles and vegetation dynamics within and across landscapes and are an indicator of soil biological activity. Here, we present a comprehensive global dataset of soil nematode abundance and functional group composition. This dataset includes 6,825 georeferenced soil samples from all continents and biomes. For geospatial mapping purposes these samples are aggregated into 1,933 unique 1-km pixels, each of which is linked to 73 global environmental covariate data layers. Altogether, this dataset can help to gain insight into the spatial distribution patterns of soil nematode abundance and community composition, and the environmental drivers shaping these patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0437-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7099023PMC
March 2020

Mechanical and Physical Properties of Oriented Strand Lumber (OSL): The Effect of Fortification Level of Nanowollastonite on UF Resin.

Polymers (Basel) 2019 Nov 14;11(11). Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, International Hellenic University, Laboratory of Wood Chemistry and Technology, GR-661 00 Drama, Greece.

The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of the fortification level of nanowollastonite on urea-formaldehyde resin (UF) and its effect on mechanical and physical properties of oriented strand lumbers (OSL). Two resin contents are applied, namely, 8% and 10%. Nanowollastonite is mixed with the resin at two levels (10% and 20%). It is found that the fortification of UF resin with 10% nanowollastonite can be considered as an optimum level. When nanowollastonite content is higher (that is, 20%), higher volume of UF resin is left over from the process of sticking the strips together, and therefore is absorbed by wollastonite nanofibers. The mechanism involved in the fortification of UF resin with nanowollastonite, which results in an improvement of thickness swelling values, can be attributed to the following two main factors: (i) nanowollastonite compounds making active bonds with the cellulose hydroxyl groups, putting them out of reach for bonding with the water molecules and (ii) high thermal conductivity coefficient of wollastonite improving the transfer of heat to different layers of the OSL mat, facilitating better and more complete resin curing. Since nanowollastonite contributes to making bonds between the wood strips, which consequently improves physical and mechanical properties, its use can be safely recommended in the OSL production process to improve the physical and mechanical properties of the panel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/polym11111884DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6918287PMC
November 2019

Global distribution of earthworm diversity.

Science 2019 10;366(6464):480-485

Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, 639798 Singapore.

Soil organisms, including earthworms, are a key component of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known about their diversity, their distribution, and the threats affecting them. We compiled a global dataset of sampled earthworm communities from 6928 sites in 57 countries as a basis for predicting patterns in earthworm diversity, abundance, and biomass. We found that local species richness and abundance typically peaked at higher latitudes, displaying patterns opposite to those observed in aboveground organisms. However, high species dissimilarity across tropical locations may cause diversity across the entirety of the tropics to be higher than elsewhere. Climate variables were found to be more important in shaping earthworm communities than soil properties or habitat cover. These findings suggest that climate change may have serious implications for earthworm communities and for the functions they provide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aax4851DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7335308PMC
October 2019

Soil properties and earthworm populations associated with bauxite residue rehabilitation strategies.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2020 Sep 18;27(27):33401-33409. Epub 2018 Dec 18.

UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

It is recognised that the establishment and function of soil biota is critical for successful mine residue rehabilitation. Bauxite residues are alkaline, saline and sodic and, whilst methods for establishing vegetation are well studied, little is known about key soil fauna such as earthworms. At a bauxite residue disposal area in Ireland, a 12-year-old rehabilitated residue was examined for evidence of earthworm populations. Five species of earthworm, dominated by Allolobophora chlorotica, were recorded in the rehabilitated residue representing the endogeic, epigeic and epi-anecic ecological groups. To further understand the potential for rehabilitated residues to support earthworm communities, a series of exposure tests was conducted. Whilst unamended residues (pH 10.2, EC 0.629 mS cm, ESP 54) was hostile to A. chlorotica survival, 100% survival was observed after 90 days for gypsum and organic-amended residue at salinity of up to 2.9 mS cm, possibly due to calcium becoming the dominant cation. Survival of earthworms at salinities higher than anticipated tolerance levels suggests that specific ion dominance plays a role in earthworm survival in saline soils. Percent mass change was negatively correlated with pH, EC and sodium content of the residues. Residue from the 12-year-old site also supported the anecic species Aporrectodea longa over 100 days. Percent mass change in residue samples retrieved from the 12-year-old site was significantly greater (p < 0.05) to that observed for a control soil. Capability of the rehabilitated residue to support earthworm populations indicates the development of a functioning soil system in rehabilitated residues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-3973-zDOI Listing
September 2020

Meat provenance: Authentication of geographical origin and dietary background of meat.

Meat Sci 2018 Oct 30;144:2-14. Epub 2018 May 30.

Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Co. Meath, Ireland. Electronic address:

The authenticity of meat is now an important consideration in the multi-step food chain from production of animals on farm to consumer consumption of the final meat product. A range of techniques, involving analysis of elemental and molecular constituents of meat, fingerprint profiling and multivariate statistical analysis exists and these techniques are evolving in the quest to provide robust methods of establishing the dietary background of animals and the geographical origin of the meat derived from them. The potential application to meat authentication of techniques such as stable isotope ratio analysis applied to different animal tissues, measurement in meat of compounds directly derived from the diet of animals, such as fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins, and spectroscopy is explored. Challenges pertaining to the interpretation of data, as they relate to assignment of dietary background or geographical origin, are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2018.05.008DOI Listing
October 2018

Tiotropium add-on therapy improves lung function in children with symptomatic moderate asthma.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2018 Nov - Dec;6(6):2160-2162.e9. Epub 2018 May 8.

Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, Kinderzentrum Bethel, Evangelisches Krankenhaus Bielefeld GmbH, Akademisches Lehrkrankenhaus der Universität Münster, Bielefeld, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2018.04.032DOI Listing
November 2019

Priorities for research in soil ecology.

Pedobiologia (Jena) 2017 Jul;63:1-7

A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS, Leninsky Prospect 33, 119071 Moscow, Russia.

The ecological interactions that occur in and with soil are of consequence in many ecosystems on the planet. These interactions provide numerous essential ecosystem services, and the sustainable management of soils has attracted increasing scientific and public attention. Although soil ecology emerged as an independent field of research many decades ago, and we have gained important insights into the functioning of soils, there still are fundamental aspects that need to be better understood to ensure that the ecosystem services that soils provide are not lost and that soils can be used in a sustainable way. In this perspectives paper, we highlight some of the major knowledge gaps that should be prioritized in soil ecological research. These research priorities were compiled based on an online survey of 32 editors of Pedobiologia - Journal of Soil Ecology. These editors work at universities and research centers in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia.The questions were categorized into four themes: (1) soil biodiversity and biogeography, (2) interactions and the functioning of ecosystems, (3) global change and soil management, and (4) new directions. The respondents identified priorities that may be achievable in the near future, as well as several that are currently achievable but remain open. While some of the identified barriers to progress were technological in nature, many respondents cited a need for substantial leadership and goodwill among members of the soil ecology research community, including the need for multi-institutional partnerships, and had substantial concerns regarding the loss of taxonomic expertise.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675051PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pedobi.2017.05.003DOI Listing
July 2017

Conventional tillage decreases the abundance and biomass of earthworms and alters their community structure in a global meta-analysis.

Glob Chang Biol 2017 10 31;23(10):4396-4419. Epub 2017 May 31.

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, and UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.

The adoption of less intensive soil cultivation practices is expected to increase earthworm populations and their contributions to ecosystem functioning. However, conflicting results have been reported on the effects of tillage intensity on earthworm populations, attributed in narrative reviews to site-dependent differences in soil properties, climatic conditions and agronomic operations (e.g. fertilization, residue management and chemical crop protection). We present a quantitative review based on a global meta-analysis, using paired observations from 165 publications performed over 65 years (1950-2016) across 40 countries on five continents, to elucidate this long-standing unresolved issue. Results showed that disturbing the soil less (e.g. no-tillage and conservation agriculture [CA]) significantly increased earthworm abundance (mean increase of 137% and 127%, respectively) and biomass (196% and 101%, respectively) compared to when the soil is inverted by conventional ploughing. Earthworm population responses were more pronounced when the soil had been under reduced tillage (RT) for a long time (>10 years), in warm temperate zones with fine-textured soils, and in soils with higher clay contents (>35%) and low pH (<5.5). Furthermore, retaining organic harvest residues amplified this positive response to RT, whereas the use of the herbicide glyphosate did not significantly affect earthworm population responses to RT. Additional meta-analyses confirmed that epigeic and, more importantly, the bigger-sized anecic earthworms were the most sensitive ecological groups to conventional tillage. In particular, the deep burrower Lumbricus terrestris exhibited the strongest positive response to RT, increasing in abundance by 124% more than the overall mean of all 13 species analysed individually. The restoration of these two important ecological groups of earthworms and their burrowing, feeding and casting activities under various forms of RT will ensure the provision of ecosystem functions such as soil structure maintenance and nutrient cycling by "nature's plough."
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13744DOI Listing
October 2017

Soil networks become more connected and take up more carbon as nature restoration progresses.

Nat Commun 2017 02 8;8:14349. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

NIOO-KNAW, Microbial Ecology, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, Wageningen 6708 PB, The Netherlands.

Soil organisms have an important role in aboveground community dynamics and ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most studies have considered soil biota as a black box or focussed on specific groups, whereas little is known about entire soil networks. Here we show that during the course of nature restoration on abandoned arable land a compositional shift in soil biota, preceded by tightening of the belowground networks, corresponds with enhanced efficiency of carbon uptake. In mid- and long-term abandoned field soil, carbon uptake by fungi increases without an increase in fungal biomass or shift in bacterial-to-fungal ratio. The implication of our findings is that during nature restoration the efficiency of nutrient cycling and carbon uptake can increase by a shift in fungal composition and/or fungal activity. Therefore, we propose that relationships between soil food web structure and carbon cycling in soils need to be reconsidered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14349DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309817PMC
February 2017

Stable isotope analysis (δ (13)C and δ (15)N) of soil nematodes from four feeding groups.

PeerJ 2016 1;4:e2372. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; UCD Earth Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Soil nematode feeding groups are a long-established trophic categorisation largely based on morphology and are used in ecological indices to monitor and analyse the biological state of soils. Stable isotope ratio analysis ((13)C/(12)C and (15)N/(14)N, expressed as δ (13)C and δ (15)N) has provided verification of, and novel insights into, the feeding ecology of soil animals such as earthworms and mites. However, isotopic studies of soil nematodes have been limited to date as conventional stable isotope ratio analysis needs impractically large numbers of nematodes (up to 1,000) to achieve required minimum sample weights (typically >100 µg C and N). Here, micro-sample near-conventional elemental analysis-isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (μEA-IRMS) of C and N using microgram samples (typically 20 µg dry weight), was employed to compare the trophic position of selected soil nematode taxa from four feeding groups: predators (Anatonchus and Mononchus), bacterial feeders (Plectus and Rhabditis), omnivores (Aporcelaimidae and Qudsianematidae) and plant feeder (Rotylenchus). Free-living nematodes were collected from conventionally and organically managed arable soils. As few as 15 nematodes, for omnivores and predators, were sufficient to reach the 20 µg dry weight target. There was no significant difference in δ (15)N (p = 0.290) or δ (13)C (p = 0.706) between conventional and organic agronomic treatments but, within treatments, there was a significant difference in N and C stable isotope ratios between the plant feeder, Rotylenchus (δ (15)N = 1.08 to 3.22 mUr‰, δ (13)C = -29.58 to -27.87 mUr) and all other groups. There was an average difference of 9.62 mUr in δ (15)N between the plant feeder and the predator group (δ (15)N = 9.89 to 12.79 mUr, δ (13)C = -27.04 to -25.51 mUr). Isotopic niche widths were calculated as Bayesian derived standard ellipse areas and were smallest for the plant feeder (1.37 mUr(2)) and the predators (1.73 mUr(2)), but largest for omnivores (3.83 mUr(2)). These data may reflect more preferential feeding by the plant feeder and predators, as assumed by classical morphology-based feeding groups, and indicate that omnivory may be more widespread across detritivore groups i.e. bacterial feeders (3.81 mUr(2)). Trophic information for soil nematodes derived from stable isotope analysis, scaled as finely as species level in some cases, will complement existing indices for soil biological assessment and monitoring, and can potentially be used to identify new trophic interactions in soils. The isotopic technique used here, to compare nematode feeding group members largely confirm their trophic relations based on morphological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2372DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012319PMC
September 2016

Effects of tiotropium + olodaterol versus tiotropium or placebo by COPD disease severity and previous treatment history in the OTEMTO® studies.

Respir Res 2016 06 18;17(1):73. Epub 2016 Jun 18.

Pulmonary Research Institute of Southeast Michigan, Farmington Hills, MI, USA.

Background: As lung function declines rapidly in the early stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the effects of bronchodilators in patients with moderate disease and those who have not previously received maintenance therapy are of interest. OTEMTO® 1 and 2 were two replicate, 12-week, Phase III studies investigating the benefit of tiotropium + olodaterol on lung function and quality of life in patients with moderate to severe disease. Post hoc analyses were performed to assess the benefits for patients according to disease severity and treatment history.

Methods: Four subgroup analyses were performed: Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2/3, GOLD A/B/C/D, treatment naive/not treatment naive and receiving inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) at baseline/not receiving ICS at baseline. Primary end points were change in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) area under the curve from 0 to 3 h response, change in trough FEV1 and St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score. Transition Dyspnoea Index (TDI) focal score was a secondary end point, and SGRQ and TDI responder analyses were further end points; all were assessed at 12 weeks.

Results: In all subgroups, patients receiving tiotropium + olodaterol responded better overall than those receiving tiotropium monotherapy. Improvements with tiotropium + olodaterol over placebo or tiotropium monotherapy were noted across GOLD 2/3 and GOLD A/B/C/D; however, improvements in SGRQ total score were most evident in the GOLD B subgroup. Moreover, lung-function outcomes were generally greater in those patients who had been receiving previous long-acting bronchodilator and/or ICS maintenance treatment.

Conclusions: These data suggest that tiotropium + olodaterol should be considered as a treatment option in patients with moderate COPD who are initiating maintenance therapy, as well as those with more severe disease.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01964352 and NCT02006732 .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12931-016-0387-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912717PMC
June 2016

Photoautotrophic microorganisms as a carbon source for temperate soil invertebrates.

Biol Lett 2016 Jan;12(1):20150646

Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute-Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, Institute of Biodiversity, Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany.

We tested experimentally if photoautotrophic microorganisms are a carbon source for invertebrates in temperate soils. We exposed forest or arable soils to a (13)CO2-enriched atmosphere and quantified (13)C assimilation by three common animal groups: earthworms (Oligochaeta), springtails (Hexapoda) and slugs (Gastropoda). Endogeic earthworms (Allolobophora chlorotica) and hemiedaphic springtails (Ceratophysella denticulata) were highly (13)C enriched when incubated under light, deriving up to 3.0 and 17.0%, respectively, of their body carbon from the microbial source in 7 days. Earthworms assimilated more (13)C in undisturbed soil than when the microbial material was mixed into the soil, presumably reflecting selective surface grazing. By contrast, neither adult nor newly hatched terrestrial slugs (Deroceras reticulatum) grazed on algal mats. Non-photosynthetic (13)CO2 fixation in the dark was negligible. We conclude from these preliminary laboratory experiments that, in addition to litter and root-derived carbon from vascular plants, photoautotrophic soil surface microorganisms (cyanobacteria, algae) may be an ecologically important carbon input route for temperate soil animals that are traditionally assigned to the decomposer channel in soil food web models and carbon cycling studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0646DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4785913PMC
January 2016

Randomized, Double-Blind, Dose-Finding Study for Tiotropium when Added to Olodaterol, Administered via the Respimat® Inhaler in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Adv Ther 2015 Sep 24;32(9):809-22. Epub 2015 Sep 24.

Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.

Introduction: Combining long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) and long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) is beneficial in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as the two classes of bronchodilator have complementary modes of action. The optimal dose for the fixed-dose combination of the LAMA tiotropium and the LABA olodaterol needed to be determined. In this phase II trial, the dose response of tiotropium on top of olodaterol was investigated in a free-dose combination, while other phase II studies have explored different doses of olodaterol on top of tiotropium, with both drugs delivered using the Respimat(®) inhaler.

Methods: This was a double-blind incomplete crossover trial in which 233 patients with moderate or severe COPD were randomized to receive four out of eight free-dose combinations of olodaterol (5 or 10 µg) and tiotropium (1.25, 2.5, or 5 µg) or placebo for 4 weeks each. Primary end point was trough forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) change from baseline (response) after 4 weeks.

Results: Addition of tiotropium 1.25, 2.5, and 5 µg to olodaterol 5 µg increased mean trough FEV1 response by 0.054, 0.065, and 0.084 L, respectively; addition of tiotropium 1.25, 2.5, and 5 µg to olodaterol 10 µg increased mean trough FEV1 response by 0.051, 0.083, and 0.080 L, respectively. All treatments were well tolerated and incidence of adverse events was similar with all treatments.

Conclusions: Overall, a dose response for tiotropium on top of both doses of olodaterol was observed, with increasing improvements in trough FEV1 compared to olodaterol alone as the tiotropium dose was increased.

Funding: Boehringer Ingelheim.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01040403.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-015-0239-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604503PMC
September 2015

Tiotropium + olodaterol shows clinically meaningful improvements in quality of life.

Respir Med 2015 Oct 12;109(10):1312-9. Epub 2015 Aug 12.

Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Background: Tiotropium + olodaterol improves lung function and symptoms compared to monotherapies in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The OTEMTO 1 and 2 studies investigated the effects of tiotropium + olodaterol on lung function and health-related quality of life compared to placebo in patients with moderate to severe COPD.

Methods: In these two replicate, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trials, patients were randomised to receive tiotropium + olodaterol 5/5 μg, 2.5/5 μg, tiotropium 5 μg or placebo for 12 weeks, via the Respimat(®) inhaler. Primary end points were St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score, forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) area under the curve from 0 to 3 h (AUC0-3) response and trough FEV1 response.

Results: In OTEMTO 1 and 2, tiotropium + olodaterol 5/5 μg improved SGRQ total score by 4.89 (95% confidence interval [CI] -6.90, -2.88) and 4.56 (95% CI -6.50, -2.63) units versus placebo (both p < 0.0001), and 2.49 (95% CI -4.47, -0.51; p < 0.05) and 1.72 (95% CI -3.63, 0.19) units versus tiotropium 5 μg. Tiotropium + olodaterol 2.5/5 μg significantly improved SGRQ score compared to placebo. Both doses significantly improved FEV1 AUC0-3 response compared to placebo and tiotropium 5 μg. Tiotropium + olodaterol 5/5 and 2.5/5 μg also significantly improved trough FEV1 response compared to placebo (both studies) and separated from tiotropium 5 μg in OTEMTO 2. Adverse-event incidence was similar between treatment groups.

Conclusion: Tiotropium + olodaterol improved lung function and quality of life compared to placebo and tiotropium 5 μg.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01964352 and NCT02006732.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rmed.2015.08.002DOI Listing
October 2015

Tiotropium or salmeterol as add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids for patients with moderate symptomatic asthma: two replicate, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, active-comparator, randomised trials.

Lancet Respir Med 2015 May 12;3(5):367-76. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: In patients with severe asthma, tiotropium improves lung function and exacerbation risk when added to high-dose inhaled corticosteroids plus long-acting β2 agonists. We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of tiotropium in patients with moderate asthma who were symptomatic despite treatment with medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids.

Methods: We did two 24-week, replicate, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, active-comparator trials at 233 sites in 14 countries. Eligible patients were aged 18-75 years with symptomatic asthma and a pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) of 60-90% predicted despite use of medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids, and had never smoked or were ex-smokers for 1 year or more with 10 pack-years or less. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1), with computer-generated pseudorandom numbers, to receive once-daily tiotropium 5 μg or 2·5 μg, twice-daily salmeterol 50 μg, or placebo, while maintaining inhaled corticosteroids. Patients and study investigators were masked to treatment allocation. Prespecified co-primary endpoints, assessed at week 24 in the full analysis set, were peak FEV1 response, measured within the first 3 h after evening dosing; trough FEV1 response; and responder rate assessed according to the seven-question Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ-7). These studies are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT01172808 and NCT01172821.

Findings: Between Aug 24, 2010, and Nov 13, 2012, we randomly assigned 2103 patients to the tiotropium 5 μg group (n=519), the tiotropium 2·5 μg group (n=520), the salmeterol group (n=541), or the placebo group (n=523); 1972 (94%) patients completed the study. Peak and trough FEV1 responses were significantly greater with tiotropium and salmeterol than with placebo and were similar in both studies. With pooled data, difference versus placebo in peak FEV1 was 185 mL (95% CI 146-223) in the tiotropium 5 μg group, 223 mL (185-262) in the tiotropium 2·5 μg group, and 196 mL (158-234) in the salmeterol group (all p<0·0001); difference in trough FEV1 was 146 mL (95% CI 105-188), 180 mL (138-221), and 114 mL (73-155; all p<0·0001), respectively. There were more ACQ-7 responders in the tiotropium 5 μg (OR 1·32, 95% CI 1·02-1·71; p=0·035) and 2·5 μg (1·33, 1·03-1·72; p=0·031) groups, and the salmeterol group (1·46, 1·13-1·89; p=0·0039), than in the placebo group. 48 (2%) of 2100 patients had serious adverse events (tiotropium 5 μg n=11, tiotropium 2·5 μg n=12, salmeterol n=11, placebo n=14).

Interpretation: Once-daily tiotropium add-on to medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids reduces airflow obstruction and improves asthma control in patients with moderate symptomatic asthma. Patterns of response with both tiotropium doses were similar to those of salmeterol, and all active compounds had good safety and tolerability. Tiotropium is a safe and effective bronchodilator, and an alternative to salmeterol in this patient population.

Funding: Boehringer Ingelheim.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(15)00031-4DOI Listing
May 2015

Isotopic turnover of carbon and nitrogen in bovine blood fractions and inner organs.

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2014 May;28(9):1011-8

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Rationale: Isotope ratio analysis of bovine tissues is a tool for inferring aspects of the dietary history of cattle. The objective of this experiment was to quantify the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) isotopic turnover in blood (serum and residue) and inner organs (liver, kidney, heart and brain) of beef cattle.

Methods: Growing beef cattle (n = 70 in total) were either switched from a control diet containing barley and urea to an experimental diet containing maize and (15)N-enriched urea, for various intervals prior to slaughter or maintained on the control diet for 168 days pre-slaughter. Samples of blood, liver, kidney, heart and brain were collected at 0, 14, 28, 56, 112 and 168 days and analysed using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry.

Results: After 168 days, C- and N-isotopic equilibrium was reached in the blood serum, liver and kidney, approached in the heart and brain, but not reached in the non-serum component of blood. The estimated C and N half-lives were 16.5 and 20.7 days for liver, 19.2 and 25.5 days for kidney, 29.2 and 35.6 days for blood serum, 37.6 and 49.9 days for heart, 53.3 and 52.2 days for brain and 113.3 and 115.0 days for the non-serum blood residue, respectively. Modelling the C and N turnover in the different tissue combinations revealed that a combined analysis of liver and heart as well as brain and kidney can provide the most accurate estimation of the timing of the diet switch.

Conclusions: Based on the difference in turnover rates, bovine soft tissues can provide isotopic information on short- and long-term dietary changes, which in turn may be linked to the geographic or production origin of beef cattle. This study also provides basic biological data on organ C and N turnover in a large herbivorous mammal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rcm.6872DOI Listing
May 2014

Land-use and land-management change: relationships with earthworm and fungi communities and soil structural properties.

BMC Ecol 2013 Dec 1;13:46. Epub 2013 Dec 1.

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8BB, UK.

Background: Change in land use and management can impact massively on soil ecosystems. Ecosystem engineers and other functional biodiversity in soils can be influenced directly by such change and this in turn can affect key soil functions. Here, we employ meta-analysis to provide a quantitative assessment of the effects of changes in land use and land management across a range of successional/extensification transitions (conventional arable → no or reduced tillage → grassland → wooded land) on community metrics for two functionally important soil taxa, earthworms and fungi. An analysis of the relationships between community change and soil structural properties was also included.

Results: Meta-analysis highlighted a consistent trend of increased earthworm and fungal community abundances and complexity following transitions to lower intensity and later successional land uses. The greatest changes were seen for early stage transitions, such as introduction of reduced tillage regimes and conversion to grassland from arable land. Not all changes, however, result in positive effects on the assessed community metrics. For example, whether woodland conversion positively or negatively affects community size and complexity depends on woodland type and, potentially, the changes in soil properties, such as pH, that may occur during conversion. Alterations in soil communities tended to facilitate subsequent changes in soil structure and hydrology. For example, increasing earthworm abundances and functional group composition were shown to be positively correlated with water infiltration rate (dependent on tillage regime and habitat characteristics); while positive changes in fungal biomass measures were positively associated with soil microaggregate stability.

Conclusions: These findings raise the potential to manage landscapes to increase ecosystem service provision from soil biota in relation to regulation of soil structure and water flow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6785-13-46DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219611PMC
December 2013

Contrasting Cu, Fe, and Zn isotopic patterns in organs and body fluids of mice and sheep, with emphasis on cellular fractionation.

Metallomics 2013 Nov;5(11):1470-82

CNRS UMR 5276 "Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon", Ecole Normale Supérieure. 46, Allée d'Italie, 69634 Lyon, France.

We report Cu, Fe, and Zn natural isotope compositions in organs, body fluids, diets and feces of mice and sheep. Large and systematic isotope variability is observed, notably in the δ(66)Zn in liver and δ(65)Cu in kidneys, but significant differences exist between mice, sheep and humans, especially in the δ(66)Zn value of blood. The results are interpreted with reference to current knowledge of metal trafficking and redox conditions in cells. In general, the light isotopes preferentially fractionate into 'softer' bonds involving sulfur such as cysteine and glutathione, whereas heavy isotopes fractionate into 'harder' bonds involving nitrogen (histidine) and even more oxygen, notably hydroxides, phosphates, and carbonates. Bonds involving the reduced forms Cu(+) and Fe(2+) are enriched in the light isotopes relative to bonds involving the oxidized Cu(2+) and Fe(3+) forms. Differences in blood Zn isotope abundances between mice, sheep and humans may reflect a different prevalence of Zn ZIP transporters. The isotopically heavy Cu in the kidneys may reflect isotope fractionation during redox processes and may be relevant to ascorbate degradation into oxalate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c3mt00151bDOI Listing
November 2013

Beef authentication using dietary markers: chemometric selection and modelling of significant beef biomarkers using concatenated data from multiple analytical methods.

Food Chem 2013 Dec 5;141(3):2795-801. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

This work aimed to identify a combination of isotopic and molecular biomarkers in bovine muscle and adipose tissue for authentication of the diet of beef cattle. Muscle and adipose tissue samples were collected from animals one of four dietary treatments fed over a 1 year period : pasture (P), barley-based concentrate (C), silage followed by pasture (SiP) or silage followed by pasture with concentrate (SiPC). In total, 83 variables were studied including volatile compounds, colour and reflectance measurements, stable isotope ratios, fatty acids, β-carotene, lutein and α-tocopherol. Chemometric models were created for each dietary treatment using the entire and an attenuated variable set. Meat from each dietary treatment was identified with a high level of accuracy (correct classification between 90.8% and 100%) using a discriminant approach. After elimination of insignificant variables, accuracy was maintained or marginally improved. SIMCA class-modelling performed moderately well, especially with the reduced variable set (76.1-100% correct classification).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.05.118DOI Listing
December 2013

Northward range extension of an endemic soil decomposer with a distinct trophic position.

Biol Lett 2012 Dec 25;8(6):956-9. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Agriculture and Food Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland.

Ecological niche theory asserts that invading species become established only if introduced propagules survive stochastic mortality and can exploit resources unconsumed by resident species. Because their transportation is not controlled by plant health or biosecurity regulations, soil macrofauna decomposers, including earthworms are probably introduced frequently into non-native soils. Yet even with climatic change, exotic earthworm species from southern Europe have not been reported to become established in previously glaciated areas of northern Europe that already have trophically differentiated earthworm communities of 'peregrine' species. We discovered established populations of the earthworm Prosellodrilus amplisetosus (Lumbricidae), a member of a genus endemic to southern France, in six habitats of an urban farm in Dublin, Ireland, about 1000 km north of the genus's endemic range. Not only was P. amplisetosus the dominant endogeic (geophagous) earthworm species in two habitats, it also occupied a significantly different trophic position from the resident species, as evinced by stable isotope ratio analysis. The suggested ability of this non-native species to feed on and assimilate isotopically more enriched soil carbon (C) and nitrogen fractions that are inaccessible to resident species portends potential implications of decomposer range expansions for soil functioning including C sequestration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2012.0537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3497118PMC
December 2012

Biochar and earthworm effects on soil nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions.

J Environ Qual 2012 Jul-Aug;41(4):1203-9

University College, Dublin, Ireland.

Biochar is the product of pyrolysis produced from feedstock of biological origin. Due to its aromatic structure and long residence time, biochar may enable long-term carbon sequestration. At the same time, biochar has the potential to improve soil fertility and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soils. However, the effect of biochar application on GHG fluxes from soil must be investigated before recommendations for field-scale biochar application can be made. A laboratory experiment was designed to measure carbon dioxide (CO) and nitrous oxide (NO) emissions from two Irish soils with the addition of two different biochars, along with endogeic (soil-feeding) earthworms and ammonium sulfate, to assist in the overall evaluation of biochar as a GHG-mitigation tool. A significant reduction in NO emissions was observed from both low and high organic matter soils when biochars were applied at rates of 4% (w/w). Earthworms significantly increased NO fluxes in low and high organic matter soils more than 12.6-fold and 7.8-fold, respectively. The large increase in soil NO emissions in the presence of earthworms was significantly reduced by the addition of both biochars. biochar reduced the large earthworm emissions by 91 and 95% in the low organic matter soil and by 56 and 61% in the high organic matter soil (with and without N fertilization), respectively. With peanut hull biochar, the earthworm emissions reduction was 80 and 70% in the low organic matter soil, and only 20 and 10% in the high organic matter soil (with and without N fertilization), respectively. In high organic matter soil, both biochars reduced CO efflux in the absence of earthworms. However, soil CO efflux increased when peanut hull biochar was applied in the presence of earthworms. This study demonstrated that biochar can potentially reduce earthworm-enhanced soil NO and CO emissions. Hence, biochar application combined with endogeic earthworm activity did not reveal unknown risks for GHG emissions at the pot scale, but field-scale experiments are required to confirm this.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2011.0119DOI Listing
August 2012

Natural isotope signatures of host blood are replicated in moulted ticks.

Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2011 Dec 1;2(4):225-7. Epub 2011 Oct 1.

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that stable isotope ratios of nitrogen and carbon (expressed as δ(13)C and δ(15)N) of host blood are faithfully reproduced in unfed nymphal Ixodes ricinus that developed from larvae fed on that host. Measured isotopic discrimination (i.e. the tick-blood spacing) was between -0.1 and 0.7‰ for δ(13)C and 3.8 and 3.9‰ for δ(15)N. Both δ(13)C and δ(15)N increased significantly with tick ageing. The isotopic analysis of unfed ticks has potential for determining the physiological age of unfed ticks, for identifying the season in which the previous stage had fed and for identifying the main hosts utilized by ticks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2011.09.006DOI Listing
December 2011

The plant cell wall-decomposing machinery underlies the functional diversity of forest fungi.

Science 2011 Aug 14;333(6043):762-5. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

College of Science, University of Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK.

Brown rot decay removes cellulose and hemicellulose from wood--residual lignin contributing up to 30% of forest soil carbon--and is derived from an ancestral white rot saprotrophy in which both lignin and cellulose are decomposed. Comparative and functional genomics of the "dry rot" fungus Serpula lacrymans, derived from forest ancestors, demonstrated that the evolution of both ectomycorrhizal biotrophy and brown rot saprotrophy were accompanied by reductions and losses in specific protein families, suggesting adaptation to an intercellular interaction with plant tissue. Transcriptome and proteome analysis also identified differences in wood decomposition in S. lacrymans relative to the brown rot Postia placenta. Furthermore, fungal nutritional mode diversification suggests that the boreal forest biome originated via genetic coevolution of above- and below-ground biota.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1205411DOI Listing
August 2011

A simple method for -labelling with N and C of grassland plant species by foliar brushing.

Methods Ecol Evol 2011 Jun;2(3):326-332

Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna Gregor Mendel Straße 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria.

Labelling plants with N and C stable isotopes usually require cultivation of plants in isotopically enriched soil and gas-tight labelling chambers - both approaches are not suitable if one aims to investigate species interactions in real plant communities. In this greenhouse experiment, we tested a labelling method in which dual-labelled (N, C) urea solution is brushed directly onto leaves of twelve temperate grassland species representing grasses, non-leguminous forbs and legumes. Across all plant species, shoots (N: 0·145; C: 0·090 atom percent excess, APE) and roots (N: 0·051; C: 0·023 APE) were significantly enriched after five daily labelling events. Generally, isotopic enrichments were significantly higher in shoots than in roots. No clear pattern of absolute isotopic enrichment was observed between plant functional groups; however, grasses showed a more even allocation between shoots and roots than forbs and legumes. Isotopic enrichment levels after 4 weeks were lower, higher or unchanged compared to those of week one and varied between species or plant parts. Considering the consistent enrichment levels and simplicity of this method, we conclude that it can be applied widely in ecological studies of above-belowground plant-plant or plant-animal interactions even in real plant communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2010.00072.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573864PMC
June 2011

Beef authentication and retrospective dietary verification using stable isotope ratio analysis of bovine muscle and tail hair.

J Agric Food Chem 2011 Apr 10;59(7):3295-305. Epub 2011 Mar 10.

School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) was used as an analytical tool to verify the preslaughter diet of beef cattle. Muscle and tail hair samples were collected from animals fed either pasture (P), a barley-based concentrate (C), silage followed by pasture (SiP), or silage followed by pasture with concentrate (SiPC) for 1 year (n = 25 animals per treatment). The (13)C/(12)C, (15)N/(14)N, (2)H/(1)H, and (34)S/(32)S isotope ratios in muscle clearly reflected those of the diets consumed by the animals. By applying a stepwise canonical discriminant analysis, a good discrimination of bovine meat according to dietary regimen was obtained. On the basis of the classification success rate, the (13)C/(12)C and (34)S/(32)S ratios in muscle were the best indicators for authentication of beef from animals consuming the different diets. Analysis of (13)C/(12)C and (15)N/(14)N in tail hair sections provided an archival record of changes to the diet of the cattle for periods of over 1 year preslaughter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf1040959DOI Listing
April 2011

Multielement isotope analysis of bovine muscle for determination of international geographical origin of meat.

J Agric Food Chem 2011 Apr 10;59(7):3285-94. Epub 2011 Mar 10.

School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Multielemental (C, N, H, S) stable isotope ratio analysis was used as an analytical tool to verify the geographical origin of beef from several European and non-European countries. Beef samples were collected from nine different countries, and the (13)C/(12)C, (15)N/(14)N, (2)H/(1)H, and (34)S/(32)S ratios of defatted beef were measured using isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). There were highly significant differences in the mean isotopic values of the beef from different countries. The results of discriminant analysis showed that the four isotope ratios were significant for the discrimination of geographical origin and that 84.9% of the samples were correctly assigned to the country of origin (82.2% when cross-validated). Beef was also classified according to geographical origin when additional information on different feeding regimens used in Ireland was included, with 85.0% of the samples correctly allocated and 82.9% cross-validated using the isotopic signatures. All of the Irish beef samples verifiable as pasture-fed beef were correctly classified and then cross-validated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jf1040433DOI Listing
April 2011