Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Recent publications
Apart from chemical pollutants and organic matter, wastewater treatment plants release microorganisms into the environment. This microbial community, released into the environment, may pose a biological risk due to present pathogens or multi-resistant bacteria. The latter is especially dangerous; antibiotic-resistant microorganisms may potentially transfer resistant genes to non-resistant microorganisms. Moreover, the various influent composition (e.g. micropollutants, total dissolved solids, chemical oxygen demand, nitrogen and phosphorous level), operating parameters of water treatment (e.g. pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, hydraulic and sludge retention time) lead to a microbial shift. It may influence the wastewater treatment performance, especially biological treatment. Hence, it is essential to understand the relationship between microbial community and the water treatment process. It would help to recognize the crucial microorganisms to wastewater treatment performance as well as facilitate its optimization. Hence, this chapter aims to characterize the microbial community shift in wastewater treatment plants. The driving factors that affect the shift will also be revised. Moreover, the dynamics of microbial community shift will be discussed.
About 70% of antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine are excreted unmetabolized and subsequently end up in sewage. The presence of antibiotic residues in the environment has led to the selection of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), which have been classified as emerging environmental pollutants. Additionally, ARGs can also be transferred to non-resistant bacteria by horizontal gene transfer (HGT), thus further disseminating resistance. As wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are the point of confluence for sewage and bacteria from various sources, they are believed to be “hotspots” for antibiotic resistance and can act as possible reservoirs for the selection of ARGs. Hence, it is essential to identify the ARGs present in WWTPs. Molecular biology tools such as high-throughput sequencing and metagenomics have been utilized to analyze the resistome in the environmental DNA obtained from the WWTPs, to understand the risk of the spread of antimicrobial resistance. This chapter discusses the prevalence, identification and fate of not only ARGs but also mobile genetic elements (MGEs) present in WWTPs that are responsible for the dissemination of antibiotic resistance. Since current WWTPs are not equipped to remove ARGs completely, the effluent from these can subsequently disseminate antibiotic resistance into water or soil resources. Therefore, upcoming techniques for the reduction and/or inactivation of ARGs in WWTPs have also been reviewed in this chapter. A detailed understanding of the dynamics of antibiotic resistance in WWTPs would guide the development of novel technologies to increase the efficiency of WWTPs, as well as policy implementation for appropriate waste management to control the spread of drug resistance from WWTPs.
Pink salmon have returned to Norwegian rivers at high abundance in recent odd‐numbered years (2017, 2019, 2021, 2023), presenting potential threats to native biodiversity and ecosystem services, including major sport fishing tourism for Atlantic salmon and sea‐run brown trout in Norway. Presently, there exists a knowledge gap on angler perceptions and attitudes towards the presence of pink salmon in Norwegian rivers, resulting in difficulty assessing the socioeconomic repercussions of their invasion. We distributed an online questionnaire to anglers who purchased the national salmon fishing licence in Norway in 2020 to assess their perceptions of pink salmon and the intentions of anglers to modify their fishing practices. There were widespread negative perceptions of pink salmon in Norway. Perceptions were matched with intentions to modify fishing behaviour among some of the anglers, with 41% saying that they would modify fishing to increase the catch of pink salmon to help remove them before they spawned in the rivers. However, anglers were more prone to say they would decrease fishing effort if both pink salmon catches and fishing licence costs were to increase or if pink salmon were to dominate their catch. Salmon anglers in Norway were strongly oriented towards their chosen recreational activity and do not plan to stop fishing their preferred rivers. They also do not want pink salmon to become established in Norway and are prepared to volunteer for stewardship roles that intervene against pink salmon. However, they overwhelmingly reported not wanting to eat pink salmon. Fisheries managers must take into account the widespread desire for management intervention against pink salmon, even though eradication is not likely no matter how intensive removal efforts become. Efforts to change narratives about pink salmon to encourage fishers to harvest pink salmon from the fjords and rivers for consumption might lead to effective population control, relieving native salmon, trout and charr from potential negative impacts of this prolific colonizer. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.
In the last decade, several studies aimed at dissecting the genetic architecture of local small ruminant breeds to discover which variations are involved in the process of adaptation to environmental conditions, a topic that has acquired priority due to climate change. Considering that traditional breeds are a reservoir of such important genetic variation, improving the current knowledge about their genetic diversity and origin is the first step forward in designing sound conservation guidelines. The genetic composition of North-Western European archetypical goat breeds is still poorly exploited. In this study we aimed to fill this gap investigating goat breeds across Ireland and Scandinavia, including also some other potential continental sources of introgression. The PCA and Admixture analyses suggest a well-defined cluster that includes Norwegian and Swedish breeds, while the crossbred Danish landrace is far apart, and there appears to be a close relationship between the Irish and Saanen goats. In addition, both graph representation of historical relationships among populations and f4-ratio statistics suggest a certain degree of gene flow between the Norse and Atlantic landraces. Furthermore, we identify signs of ancient admixture events of Scandinavian origin in the Irish and in the Icelandic goats. The time when these migrations, and consequently the introgression, of Scandinavian-like alleles occurred, can be traced back to the Viking colonisation of these two isles during the Viking Age (793-1066 CE). The demographic analysis indicates a complicated history of these traditional breeds with signatures of bottleneck, inbreeding and crossbreeding with the improved breeds. Despite these recent demographic changes and the historical genetic background shaped by centuries of human-mediated gene flow, most of them maintained their genetic identity, becoming an irreplaceable genetic resource as well as a cultural heritage.
Nitrogen (N) deposition alters plant stoichiometry and the state of nutrient limitation in forest ecosystems. In subtropical forests of China, responses of plants stoichiometry to chronically elevated and recently declined N deposition remain unclear. A 14-year investigation of needle elements, including N, phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and aluminum (Al), was carried out under field N manipulation (10-year N addition and subsequent cessation of N addition) in a typical, subtropical Masson pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb.) forest in southwest China. Needle N and P concentrations were significantly elevated by N addition even after N addition ceased while needle N:P remained constant among treatments. Needle N:K and P:K were significantly elevated by N addition, but were no longer different from reference plots after N addition ceased. Masson pine’s annual relative growth rate (RGR) was significantly decreased by N addition but the differences among treatments became insignificant among treatments after N addition ceased. Additionally, the annual RGR was negatively correlated with needle Al concentration. Needle Al exhibited a trend of first rising and then decreasing over the 14-year experiment. Under the background of high ambient N deposition and Ca deposition, chronic N addition does not aggravate P limitation but can result in K limitation in a N-saturated subtropical forest. With the recovery of subtropical forest from soil acidification and N saturation, the elevated needle N and P induced by N addition will persist for at least four years and most likely for much longer in the future, but the risk of K limitation is expected to diminish.
Meiotic recombination through chromosomal crossovers ensures proper segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis, while also breaking down linkage disequilibrium and shuffling alleles at loci located on the same chromosome. Rates of recombination can vary between species, but also between and within individuals, sex and chromosomes within species. Indeed, the Atlantic salmon genome is known to have clear sex differences in recombination with female biased heterochiasmy and markedly different landscapes of crossovers between males and females. In male meiosis, crossovers occur strictly in the telomeric regions, whereas in female meiosis crossovers tend to occur closer to the centromeres. However, little is known about the genetic control of these patterns and how this differs at the individual level. Here, we investigate genetic variation in individual measures of recombination in > 5000 large full-sib families of a Norwegian Atlantic salmon breeding population with high-density SNP genotypes. We show that females had 1.6 × higher crossover counts (CC) than males, with autosomal linkage maps spanning a total of 2174 cM in females and 1483 cM in males. However, because of the extreme telomeric bias of male crossovers, female recombination is much more important for generation of new haplotypes with 8 × higher intra-chromosomal genetic shuffling than males. CC was heritable in females (h² = 0.11) and males (h² = 0.10), and shuffling was also heritable in both sex but with a lower heritability in females (h² = 0.06) than in males (h² = 0.11). Inter-sex genetic correlations for both traits were close to zero, suggesting that rates and distribution of crossovers are genetically distinct traits in males and females, and that there is a potential for independent genetic change in both sexes in the Atlantic Salmon. Together, these findings give novel insights into the genetic architecture of recombination in salmonids and contribute to a better understanding of how rates and distribution of recombination may evolve in eukaryotes more broadly.
The aim of this study was to characterize the gene expression of host immune- and cellular responses to a Norwegian virulent strain of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the cause of tick-borne fever in sheep. Ten sheep were intravenously inoculated with a live virulent strain of A. phagocytophilum. Clinical-, observational-, hematological data as well as bacterial load, flow cytometric cell count data from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and host’s gene expression post infection was analysed. The transcriptomic data were assessed for pre-set time points over the course of 22 days following the inoculation. Briefly, all inoculated sheep responded with clinical signs of infection 3 days post inoculation and onwards with maximum bacterial load observed on day 6, consistent with tick-borne fever. On days, 3–8, the innate immune responses and effector processes such as IFN1 signaling pathways and cytokine mediated signaling pathways were observed. Several pathways associated with the adaptive immune responses, namely T-cell activation, humoral immune responses, B-cell activation, and T- and B-cell differentiation dominated on the days of 8, 10 and 14. Flow-cytometric analysis of the PBMCs showed a reduction in CD4⁺CD25⁺ cells on day 10 and 14 post-inoculation and a skewed CD4:CD8 ratio indicating a reduced activation and proliferation of CD4-T-cells. The genes of important co-stimulatory molecules such as CD28 and CD40LG, important in T- and B-cell activation and proliferation, did not significantly change or experienced downregulation throughout the study. The absence of upregulation of several co-stimulatory molecules might be one possible explanation for the low activation and proliferation of CD4-T-cells during A. phagocytophilum infection, indicating a suboptimal CD4-T-cell response. The upregulation of T-BET, EOMES and IFN-γ on days 8–14 post inoculation, indicates a favoured CD4 Th1- and CD8-response. The dynamics and interaction between CD4⁺CD25⁺ and co-stimulatory molecules such as CD28, CD80, CD40 and CD40LG during infection with A. phagocytophilum in sheep needs further investigation in the future.
In the context of gravitational objects with spherical symmetry, we derive a solution to Einstein’s field equations using two methods leading to the same result. The first is based on a stress-energy tensor that takes into account both the electric field energy of the charge and the gravitational field energy of the mass. The second is based on the mass-energy equivalence and has more general validity. We show that the metric falls within the Weyl class of metrics, representing a static and axisymmetric solution to Einstein’s field equations. The metric, which has a form similar to that of Reisser-Nordström, is used for predictions in strong fields and possibly shows better agreement with observation in high z quasars.
Background There is little evidence on experiences in psychiatric care treatment among patients with immigrant or ethnic minority background. Knowledge about their experiences is crucial in the development of equal and high-quality services and is needed to validate instruments applied in national patient experience surveys in Norway. The aim of this scoping review is to assess and summarize current evidence on immigrant and ethnic minorities` experiences in psychiatric care treatment in Europe. Methods Guidelines from the Joanna Briggs Institute were followed and the research process adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews. The literature search was carried out in Medline, Cinahl, Web of Science, Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Embase, and APA PsychInfo, up to Dec 2022, for articles on immigrant patients` experiences in psychiatric care. Reference lists of included articles were screened for additional relevant articles. Titles and abstracts were screened, and potentially relevant articles read in full-text, by two researchers. Evidence was extracted using an a priori extraction form and summarized in tables and text. Any disagreement between the reviewers regarding inclusion of articles or extracted information details were resolved through discussion between authors. Results We included eight studies in the scoping review. Immigrant and ethnic minority background patients did not differ from the general population in quantitative satisfaction questionnaires. However, qualitative studies showed that they experience a lack of understanding and respect of own culture and related needs, and difficulties in communication, which do not seem to be captured in questionnaire-based studies. Conclusion Raising awareness about the importance of respect and understanding for patients` cultural background and communication needs for treatment satisfaction should be addressed in future quality improvement work.
This theoretical contribution explores the use of four analytical elements to understand European cities' commonalities and distinctive characteristics in the face of the challenges presented by structural global changes and supra‐national governance mechanisms: sovereignty, policy, politics, context. The article shows how institutional and contextual opportunities mediate globalization's repercussions to varying degrees at the urban level, according to national and regional dynamics and institutional frameworks as well as urban governance structures. Additionally, the article argues that the local policy capacity of cities and their ability to innovate and deal with new social challenges are shaped by the interplay among the four specific elements mentioned before.
With the recent availability of tissue-specific gene expression data, e.g., provided by the GTEx Consortium, there is interest in comparing gene co-expression patterns across tissues. One promising approach to this problem is to use a multilayer network analysis framework and perform multilayer community detection. Communities in gene co-expression networks reveal groups of genes similarly expressed across individuals, potentially involved in related biological processes responding to specific environmental stimuli or sharing common regulatory variations. We construct a multilayer network in which each of the four layers is an exocrine gland tissue-specific gene co-expression network. We develop methods for multilayer community detection with correlation matrix input and an appropriate null model. Our correlation matrix input method identifies five groups of genes that are similarly co-expressed in multiple tissues (a community that spans multiple layers, which we call a generalist community) and two groups of genes that are co-expressed in just one tissue (a community that lies primarily within just one layer, which we call a specialist community). We further found gene co-expression communities where the genes physically cluster across the genome significantly more than expected by chance (on chromosomes 1 and 11). This clustering hints at underlying regulatory elements determining similar expression patterns across individuals and cell types. We suggest that KRTAP3-1 , KRTAP3-3 , and KRTAP3-5 share regulatory elements in skin and pancreas. Furthermore, we find that CELA3A and CELA3B share associated expression quantitative trait loci in the pancreas. The results indicate that our multilayer community detection method for correlation matrix input extracts biologically interesting communities of genes.
Scenario-guided foresight processes are increasingly used to engage a broad range of stakeholders in sharing knowledge, reflecting, and setting priorities to respond to present and future climate change related dynamics. They are particularly useful to inform agricultural policies and planning in the face of a changing climate. Such participatory approaches are key to integrating multidisciplinary expertise, perspectives, and viewpoints, and ensuring that the multi-faceted vulnerabilities and the development needs of diverse groups are addressed in the design, planning, and implementation of climate adaptation policy. However, in practice, ensuring meaningful participation in the policy process is far from straightforward. In this paper, we examine the integration of gender and social inclusion considerations in 15 scenario-guided foresight use cases across Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia to determine the ways in which gender and social inclusion dynamics were considered and integrated at different stages of scenario-guided planning processes. To inform the analysis, we use qualitative data from key informant interviews, interviewing scenario coordinators and a gender and social inclusion expert who was engaged in one of the cases; we also review associated reports and outputs. The results suggest that few scenario-guided planning processes centred gender and social inclusion considerations from an early stage and consistently throughout the interventions, translating often into low diversity of stakeholders and insufficient depth reached in the content produced. A number of common challenges are reported including time, budget, and human resource constraints, as well as existing power and institutional dynamics. The latter includes, for instance, low women’s representation in technical organizations or important hierarchical social norms structuring discussions. While the focus on the future can disrupt established modes of doing, the complexity of foresight methods can also undermine effective participation leading to important trade-offs. Innovations in the modes of engagement and parallel processes with diverse groups can be important leverage points for inclusion within policymaking processes. Key policy insights Gender and social inclusion should be prioritized from the onset and integrated at different stages of scenario-guided planning processes, notably by allocating more time, human, and financial resources to ensure inclusiveness. Parallel consultations among diverse organizations and groups can provide effective spaces for often-sidelined or marginalized groups’ interests and needs to be integrated into policy decision-making given the existing power structures that regulate access to many workshops and related discussions. Multi-scale engagements with different networks also help deepen understanding and reconcile gaps across scales of decision-making (e.g. from local level to national level). Practitioners should further their use of foresight processes and development of tools and methods for integrating gender and social inclusion in these as part of the policy process, as well as strengthen the capacities, expertise, and role of conveners. Promotion and dissemination of existing gender and social inclusion research and documentation as well as support for learning and reflection to refine identified leverage points can lead to improved success.
Survival of juvenile ungulates represents an important demographic parameter that influences population dynamics within ecosystems. In many ecological systems, the mortality of juvenile ungulates is influenced by various factors, including predation by large carnivores, human hunting activities and weather. While wolves Canis lupus are known to prey on moose Alces alces throughout all seasons, brown bears Ursus arctos primarily engage in predation during early summer, while human harvest primarily occurs in autumn and early winter. Hence, understanding the impacts of predation, harvest, and weather on the survival of juvenile moose is crucial for adaptive population management and the determination of sustainable harvest rates. To investigate the summer and autumn-winter survival of moose calves in relation to carnivore occurrence (wolf presence and bear density), summer habitat productivity, winter severity, human harvest, and migratory behaviour (migratory versus resident), we analysed data collected from 39 GPS-collared female moose in south-central Scandinavia. Our findings revealed significant interannual variation in summer survival rates, with areas with relatively higher bear densities exhibiting calf mortality rates twice as high as those in regions with low bear density. During the autumn-winter period, calf survival was lowest in the presence of wolves and deep snow, and it exhibited a negative correlation with the proportion of clearcuts and young forests within the mother's home range. Additionally, calf survival was negatively correlated with the risk of human hunting, and calves of stationary females displayed ten times higher survival rates compared to migratory individuals. Our study provides valuable insights into the survival of moose calves coexisting with two large carnivores and humans. Improving our understanding of the mechanisms causing calf survival to fluctuate has become increasingly important as many local moose populations in Scandinavia are declining and exposed to expanding predator populations, intense hunting pressure, and other threats associated with climate change.
Background Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are iconic mammals that inhabit the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. In these areas, reindeer not only play a vital ecological role, but they also hold cultural and economic significance for indigenous communities. In order to thrive in the harsh conditions of the northernmost areas of the world, reindeer have developed an array of phenotypic adaptations, especially in the ecotypes living in the High Arctic. Therefore, a thorough understanding of population structure, history, and genetic diversity of reindeer is useful for their sustainable management and to guide long-term conservation efforts. Results We conducted whole-genome sequencing of a male R. t. tarandus specimen from Norway's Hardangervidda region, generating a highly continuous and complete genome assembly that can be used as a reference genome for genetic analyses focusing on the Fennoscandian reindeer. We also sequenced reindeer ecotypes from across the globe and generated de novo sequences from two ancient samples. Our analysis suggests an independent evolution of small-sized phenotypes in specific high-arctic ecotypes, such as the Svalbard reindeer (R. t. platyrhynchus) and Peary caribou (R. t. pearyi). We describe how the demographic bottleneck that affected the reindeer in the Svalbard archipelago resulted in reduced genetic variability compared to mainland Norway reindeer. Our data suggests that these two distinct ecotypes were likely independent populations before the last glaciation. Finally, we also observe an enriched number of genes associated with cilium motility and cilium assembly presenting missense variants between these two ecotypes, potentially linked to adaptations in the extreme arctic environment. For instance, some of these genes play a role in respiratory cilia movement, potentially improving respiratory function in cold environments. Conclusions Our findings provide new insights into the genetic basis of small body size adaptations in reindeer ecotypes and highlight the impact of environmental constraints on their populations. Our high-quality reference genome and associated resources will aid in addressing epidemiological, conservation, and management challenges faced by reindeer populations in a rapidly changing world.
Hybrid or organic molecular ferroelectrics hold the potential to serve as lead-free alternatives to conventional inorganic ferroelectrics. In particular, the variants composed of globular, often cage-like molecules can host attractive properties such as multiaxial ferroelectricity, Curie temperatures above room temperature, and orientationally disordered plastic mesophases, in addition to supporting low-temperature synthesis. Here, we present the results of a screening study of the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) leading to the discovery of 54 candidate ferroelectrics, including molecular crystals and molecular salts, many of which are likely to host plastic mesophases, along with 16 previously reported ferroelectrics. With over 1.2 million entries in the CSD, the screening procedure involved many steps, including considerations of molecular geometry and size, space group, and hydrogen bonding pattern. Out of the candidate systems, many of them were identified to be likely to also host plastic mesophases due to their resemblance to highly symmetric close-packed crystal structures. The spontaneous polarization and electronic band gaps were predicted by using density functional theory. Among the candidate ferroelectrics, 17 exhibited a spontaneous polarization greater than 10 μC/cm 2 , with five of them being reported at room temperature.
Background Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most prevalent eating disorder worldwide. BED is often associated with low quality of life and mental health problems. Given the complexity of the disorder, recovery may be challenging. Since BED was only recently specified as a diagnostic category by the World Health Organization (2021), little is known about how patients experience living with BED in everyday life. This study aimed to explore how patients experience living with BED and to investigate factors perceived as facilitating recovery. Method Individual interviews were conducted with six patients in a rehabilitation programme for recovery from BED. Interviews were conducted digitally and verbally transcribed between December 2020 and January 2021. The analysis was based on Malterud’s systematic text condensation. Results Being diagnosed with BED could be experienced as a relief. The participants perceived living with BED as a challenging addiction. They struggled with a low self-image and experienced a lack of understanding from others, resulting in shame. Self-compassion and social support from friends and family and through participation in a rehabilitation programme were important facilitators of recovery. Conclusion Participants perceived living with BED as a challenging addiction. They struggled with low self-esteem and experienced a lack of understanding from others, resulting in shame. Being diagnosed with BED was perceived as a relief. They appreciated that issues related to mental health were addressed during rehabilitation to better understand the complexity of BED. Knowledge about BED, as well as the difficulties of living with BED among family members and friends might help patients with BED feel less ashamed of their disorder and could thus contribute to increased self-compassion.
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4,334 members
Oliver Tomic
  • Department of Mathematical Sciences and Technology (IMT)
Margareth Øverland
  • Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences (IHA)
Rimstad Espen
  • School of Veterinary Science
Ida Beitnes Johansen
  • department of food safety and infection biology
Ullevalsveien 72, 0454, Ås, Norway