Mushrooms are experiencing a kind of renaissance as a part of the contemporary human diet. These valuable organisms are more than food, they fit in perfectly as a novel market group known as nutra-mycoceuticals. Immune-balancing mushroom dietary fibers and secondary metabolites such as polyphenols are the main focus of the healthcare industry. Wellness and cosmetic companies are increasingly using mushroom extracts rich in these ingredients. This review considers the basic molecular immunomodulatory mechanisms of action of the most commonly used mushroom dietary fibers, β-glucans. The literature data on their bioavailability, metabolic transformations, preclinical and human clinical research, and safety are discussed. Immunomodulatory mechanisms of polyphenol ingredients are also considered. These molecules present great potential in the design of the new immunity balancer formulations according to their widespread structural diversity. Finally, we draw attention to the perspectives of modern trends in mushroom nutraceutical and cosmeceutical formulations to strengthen and balance immunity.
Intensive agricultural crop production can lead to a decline in biological soil characteristics and functions, such as soil microbial biomass and activity, carbon and nutrient cycling and soil suppressiveness, important for the sustainable production of food and feed. There is a need to understand how those soil functions can be improved by agricultural practices. In a long-term field study, we assessed whether reduced tillage could enhance soil biological parameters and soil suppressiveness against the plant-pathogenic fungus Rhizoctonia solani AG2-2IIIB and bacterium Streptomyces scabies. Soil suppressiveness was assessed in bioassays with a susceptible crop while adding pathogen inoculum. Undisturbed soil cores (0–12 cm) were used in these bioassays to include the soil structural aspects, which were likely affected by the tillage treatments. Reduced i.e., non-inversion, tillage was compared with conventional ploughing treatment over 6 years. We found that reduced tillage led to an increase in bacterial and fungal biomass, labile carbon and nitrogen and an increase in the abundance of potential bacterial antagonists, compared to conventional tillage in the upper 12 cm. However, the increase of these microbial parameters did not lead to consistent changes in soil suppressiveness against both R. solani and S. scabies in response to the tillage treatment. Rather, disease suppressiveness varied significantly between field and year of sampling but was not correlated to any of the assessed soil parameters. Thus while reduced tillage can be beneficial for soil biology, other measures will have to be investigated for inducing R. solani and S. scabies disease suppressiveness.
Microplastic pollution in terrestrial ecosystems is a growing concern due to its potential influences on soil properties and crop growth. Little is known about the effects of microplastics on the microbiome in the rhizosphere. Here, we studied the effects of two types of microplastics (MPs), low density polyethylene (LDPE-MPs) and biodegradable microplastic (Bio-MPs) of poly-butylene-adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT) mixed with polylactic acid (PLA), on rhizosphere bacterial communities of Phaseolus vulgaris at doses of 0.5 %, 1.0 % and 2.5 % (w/w, dry weight ratio between MPs and soil). Bio-MPs and LDPE-MPs showed significant higher α-diversity (Chao 1, ACE, Shannon and Simpson) than control. For each type of microplastic material, 2.5 % of LDPE-MPs and Bio-MPs showed lowest α-diversity as compared to doses of 0.5 % and 1.0 %, indicating 2.5 % dose of MPs might pose selective effect on rhizosphere bacterial communities. β-Diversity of 1.0 % and 2.5 % Bio-MPs were distinctive from the control and other treatments. Microplastics also affected the relative abundance at family level, i.e. as compared to control, Comamonadaceae was higher in all the MPs treatments, Rhizobiaceae was highest in 2.5 % LDPE-MPs and lowest in 2.5 % Bio-MPs. LefSe results showed, as compared to control, Bio-MPs induced more indictive taxa than LDPE-MPs. Our findings evidenced that LDPE-MPs and Bio-MPs exerted profound effects on rhizosphere bacterial communities, and these effects might have far-reaching effects on soil nutrient cycling and plant health in agroecosystems.
The interest of policymakers in community management of tropical forests is ever growing. Yet, a large research body shows varied levels of success of community conservation initiatives. While policymakers often prioritize legal forest ownership, mostly land titles, consensus exists that success rather depends on a broader set of local institutional arrangements and their fit with the forest context. In this paper, we contribute to building theory on these institutional arrangements and their interaction. We apply a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to case study data on 12 voluntary community conservation initiatives in northern Peru to explore the relationship between local enforcement, legal and alternative property rights, and conservation effectiveness. As recommended for QCA our case selection was intentional and the cases exhibit diverse conservation successes, geographic characteristics, legal and customary property rights, and enforcement mechanisms. We conclude that strong community enforcement mechanisms are indispensable for effective conservation in voluntary initiatives. Furthermore, we find for cases with strong enforcement mechanisms, that some government back-up, i.e., local government support for enforcement and/or legal rights to conserve the forest, significantly increases conservation effectiveness. Strong conservation enforcement tends to be present in communities with strong forest rules, leaders, and pre-existing community institutions. Our findings suggest the importance of paying close attention to community characteristics during project design and refraining from one-size-fits-all-solutions, such as focusing mainly on the presence of legal ownership rights over the forest. Instead, more focus needs to be placed on understanding existing community institutions and supporting communities to strengthen and adapt these for conservation enforcement, rather than imposing new arrangements. Finally, policymakers can help community enforcement institutions become even more effective, by providing them with legal rights to conserve the forest and by strengthening their relationship with local governments so that they receive support in situations they struggle to handle alone.
Application of nitrogen fertilizers to reach high crop production is common practice. However, this has a high environmental cost, irrespectively of the synthetic or organic origin of the fertilizer. In particular, intensively managed arable soils often fail to retain excess nitrogen, which leads to contamination of ground- and surface water. Next to abiotic factors like soil texture, limited nitrogen retention is ascribed to low activity of saprotrophic fungi. It has been shown that amendment of arable soils with cellulose-rich materials can effectively stimulate resident saprotrophic fungi. The current study investigated the relationship between fungal dynamics (biomass, composition) and nitrogen immobilization-remobilization dynamics upon soil amendment with woody materials. Mineral nitrogen pools, ergosterol and ITS2 amplicon sequences were analyzed during a 6-month pot experiment. Carbon-rich amendments included sawdusts of deciduous (beech, willow) and coniferous (Douglas fir, larch) tree species, beech wood chips, wheat straw and combinations of these materials. Excess nitrogen derived from the addition of either mineral or organic fertilizer. Deciduous wood sawdust resulted in rapid stimulation of fungal biomass, mainly consisting of saprotrophic Sordariomycetes. This was accompanied by a reduction in the mineral N pool up to 17 kg N t⁻¹ wood, followed by a gradual remobilization. The intensity of nitrogen immobilization depended on the type of woody materials and of fertilizer. Nitrogen immobilization by single amendments of coniferous sawdust was the lowest, but these materials resulted in a prolonged nitrogen retention when combined with beech sawdust. Our conclusion is that fungus-stimulating woody soil amendments have great potential to reduce nitrogen losses in arable soils.
Most documents addressing the topic of the commercial production of entomopathogenic viruses will concentrate on baculoviruses due to broad knowledge of these viruses and the commercial products available. This chapter is no exception and will concentrate on the production of baculoviruses in vitro using insect cell culture technology in comparison to in vivo production in insects. The point of view taken by this chapter is that wild type baculoviruses have an important role to play in the control of insect pests but a major limitation to their wider use is the lack of a cost-effective in vitro production technology. This point has been well made by a number of previous authors over the past 30 years (Weiss and Vaughn, 1986; Murhammer, 1996; Black et al., 1997; Ravensberg, 2011b). However, while the topic of in vitro production of baculoviruses has been covered in general terms, the specific yield targets and issues still to be addressed for this to become a reality have been poorly addressed and this chapter attempts to address that deficiency in the literature. Following a brief introduction of entomopathogenic viruses and an explanation of why baculoviruses have received the most attention, the status of in vivo production of baculoviruses is described and the point made that some companies have successfully developed products using this mode of manufacturing for baculoviruses (Section 13.2). The current status of in vitro production of baculoviruses and the limitations to its successful application in the market, along with suggestions for further research is then addressed in detail (Sections 13.3–13.5). Finally, some comments are made as to what needs to happen for in vitro production of baculoviruses to be realized (Section 13.6).
Background: Increasing evidence indicates that psychopathological disorders are associated with the gut microbiota. However, data are largely lacking from long-term longitudinal birth cohorts, especially those comprising low-risk healthy individuals. Therefore, this study aims to describe gut microbiota development in healthy children from birth till age 10 years, as well as to investigate potential associations with internalizing and externalizing behavior. Results: Fecal microbial composition of participants in an ongoing longitudinal study (N = 193) was analyzed at 1, 3 and 4 months, and 6 and 10 years of age by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Based on these data, three clusters were identified in infancy, two of which were predominated by Bifidobacterium. In childhood, four clusters were observed, two of which increased in prevalence with age. One of the childhood clusters, similar to an enterotype, was highly enriched in genus-level taxon Prevotella_9. Breastfeeding had marked associations with microbiota composition up till age 10, implying an extended role in shaping gut microbial ecology. Microbial clusters were not associated with behavior. However, Prevotella_9 in childhood was positively related to mother-reported externalizing behavior at age 10; this was validated in child reports. Conclusions: This study validated previous findings on Bifidobacterium-enriched and -depleted clusters in infancy. Importantly, it also mapped continued development of gut microbiota in middle childhood. Novel associations between gut microbial composition in the first 10 years of life (especially Prevotella_9), and externalizing behavior at age 10 were found. Replications in other cohorts, as well as follow-up assessments, will help determine the significance of these findings.
Transgenic human monoclonal antibodies derived from humanized mice against different epitopes of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and chimeric llama-human bispecific heavy chain-only antibodies targeting the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), were produced using a CHO-based transient expression system. Two lead candidates were assessed for each model virus before selecting and progressing one lead molecule. MERS-7.7G6 was used as the model antibody to demonstrate batch-to-batch process consistency and, together with RVFV-107-104, were scaled up to 200 L. Consistent expression titers were obtained in different batches at a 5 L scale for MERS-7.7G6. Although lower expression levels were observed for MERS-7.7G6 and RVFV-107-104 during scale up to 200 L, product quality attributes were consistent at different scales and in different batches. In addition to this, peptide mapping data suggested no detectable sequence variants for any of these candidates. Functional assays demonstrated comparable neutralizing activity for MERS-7.7G6 and RVFV-107-104 generated at different production scales. Similarly, MERS-7.7G6 batches generated at different scales were shown to provide comparable protection in mouse models. Our study demonstrates that a CHO-based transient expression process is capable of generating consistent product quality at different production scales and thereby supports the potential of using transient gene expression to accelerate the manufacturing of early clinical material.
Detrimental consequences of antibiotic treatment may include long-lasting disruption of the gut microbiota. Previous studies found no negative effects of antibiotics on metabolic health, although individualized responses were observed. Here, we aimed to investigate the subject-specific response to vancomycin use in tissue-specific insulin sensitivity by stratifying individuals based on the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) or opportunistic pathogens (OPs) in the baseline fecal microbiota. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) was used to detect ARGs and OPs in DNA isolated from fecal samples of 56 males with overweight/obesity (Body Mass Index: 25-35 kg/m2) and impaired glucose metabolism (fasting plasma glucose ≥5.6 mmol/L and/or 2-hour glucose 7.8-11.1 mmol/L). A two-step hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp was performed to determine tissue-specific insulin sensitivity. Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) gene expression was assessed using Affymetrix microarray. Gut microbial composition was determined using the Human Intestinal Tract Chip (HITChip) microarray. At baseline, the vancomycin resistance gene vanB was present in 60% of our population. In individuals that were vanB-negative at baseline, AT insulin sensitivity (insulin-mediated suppression of plasma free fatty acids) improved during vancomycin use, while it decreased among vanB-positive individuals (% change post versus baseline: 14.1 ± 5.6 vs. -6.7 ± 7.5% (p = .042)). The vancomycin-induced increase in AT insulin sensitivity was accompanied by downregulation of inflammatory pathways and enrichment of extracellular matrix remodeling pathways in AT. In the vanB-positive group, well-known vanB-carrying bacteria, Enterococcus and Streptococcus, expanded in the gut microbiome. In conclusion, microbiome composition and adipose tissue biology were differentially affected by vancomycin treatment based on fecal vanB carriage.
p>Conventional soil tillage creates suitable conditions for plant growth, but it is an energy and labor-intensive technology causing ecologically unfavorable changes in the soil. In order to reduce GHG emissions from agricultural soils, reduced soil tillage and different crops have been proposed. However, the impact of individual practices on GHG emissions is affected by multiple on-site variables and is limited to different soil types and climate zones. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the impact of two soil tillage treatments and four agricultural crops on GHG emissions from clay soil in temperate climate. During the growing seasons from 2018 to 2021, we measured soil flux of N<sub>2</sub>O, CH<sub>4</sub> and CO<sub>2</sub> using a Picarro G2508 on a broad multifaceted field experiment with two tillage treatments. This study shows that winter wheat with conventional tillage treatment may emit significantly lower N<sub>2</sub>O emission (8.3 g ha<sup>−1</sup> day<sup>−1</sup>) and higher CH<sub>4</sub> assimilation (−11.9 g ha<sup>−1</sup> day<sup>−1</sup>) in warmer and drier growing season compared to winter wheat (26.1 g ha<sup>−1</sup> day<sup>−1</sup> and −3.3 CH<sub>4</sub> g ha<sup>−1</sup> day<sup>−1</sup>, respectively) and spring barley (11.1 g ha<sup>−1</sup> day<sup>−1</sup> and −2.9 g ha<sup>−1</sup> day<sup>−1</sup>, respectively) with reduced tillage treatment in cooler and wetter growing season (p<0.05).</p
Background: Tendinopathy is a painful condition that is prevalent in athletes as well as the general human population, and whose management is challenging. Objective: This systematic review aimed to evaluate the impact of nutrition on the prevention and treatment of tendinopathy. Methods: Searches were conducted in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and SPORTDiscus without restriction to year of publication. Studies examining the impact of exposure to nutrient intake in an adult human population on 1) prevalence/incidence of tendinopathy, 2) clinical outcomes of tendinopathy, 3) structural changes in the tendon by imaging modalities. Experimental and observational study designs written in English, Dutch, or German were eligible. Results: Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The effects of the habitual diet were investigated in one study. Four studies examined the effects of exposure to alcohol. Alcohol consumption can be a potential risk factor associated with Achilles tendinopathy and rotator cuff tears, although findings were inconsistent. The use of dietary supplements was examined in fourteen studies. Among these, collagen-derived peptides were most often part of the supplements evaluated. Combining training and dietary supplements seems to induce better clinical and functional outcomes in tendinopathy. Conclusion: This review demonstrates the paucity of high-quality studies and a wide variety among studies regarding nutrients, tendon location, study population, and reported outcome measures. Individual studies showed promising clinical implications for the use of dietary supplements, particularly those containing collagen-derived peptides. However, giving any definitive dietary recommendations on the prevention and treatment of tendinopathy remains elusive.
Morphological traits, such as white patches, floppy ears and curly tails, are ubiquitous in domestic animals and are referred to as the 'domestication syndrome'. A commonly discussed hypothesis that has the potential to provide a unifying explanation for these traits is the 'neural crest/domestication syndrome hypothesis'. Although this hypothesis has the potential to explain most traits of the domestication syndrome, it only has an indirect connection to the reduction of brain size, which is a typical trait of domestic animals. We discuss how the expensive-tissue hypothesis might help explain brain-size reduction in domestication.
Social-ecological systems (SES) research has emerged as an important area of sustainability science, informing and supporting pressing issues of transformation towards more sustainable, just and equitable futures. To date, much SES research has been done in or from the Global North, where the challenges and contexts for supporting sustainability transformations are substantially different from the Global South. This paper synthesises emerging insights on SES dynamics that can inform actions and advance research to support sustainability transformations specifically in the southern African context. The paper draws on work linked to members of the Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (SAPECS), a leading SES research network in the region, synthesizing key insights with respect to the five core themes of SAPECS: (i) transdisciplinary and engaged research, (ii) ecosystem services and human well-being, (iii) governance institutions and management practices, (iv) spatial relationships and cross-scale connections, and (v) regime shifts, traps and transformations. For each theme, we focus on insights that are particularly novel, interesting or important in the southern African context, and reflect on key research gaps and emerging frontiers for SES research in the region going forward. Such place-based insights are important for understanding the variation in SES dynamics around the world, and are crucial for informing a context-sensitive global agenda to foster sustainability transformations at local to global scales.
Hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are caused by failure of pancreatic beta cells. The role of the gut microbiota in T2D has been studied, but causal links remain enigmatic. Obese individuals with or without T2D were included from two independent Dutch cohorts. Human data were translated in vitro and in vivo by using pancreatic islets from C57BL6/J mice and by injecting flagellin into obese mice. Flagellin is part of the bacterial locomotor appendage flagellum, present in gut bacteria including Enterobacteriaceae, which we show to be more abundant in the gut of individuals with T2D. Subsequently, flagellin induces a pro-inflammatory response in pancreatic islets mediated by the Toll-like receptor (TLR)-5 expressed on resident islet macrophages. This inflammatory response is associated with beta-cell dysfunction, characterized by reduced insulin gene expression, impaired proinsulin processing and stress-induced insulin hypersecretion in vitro and in vivo in mice. We postulate that increased systemically disseminated flagellin in T2D is a contributing factor to beta-cell failure in time and represents a novel therapeutic target.
The literature on the adjustment experiences of Pakistani international students is scarce. There is a dire need to fill this gap as almost 50,000 Pakistani students are studying in Western universities. The current study aimed to identify predictors of psychological adjustment of Pakistani international students. The study was conducted on a sample of 309 Pakistani international students. A quantitative approach was utilized. Thus, an acculturative stress scale; a Big 5 personality test; and a Multidimensional scale of perceived social support; were administered to the sample of Pakistani international students, who choose to study abroad. The results of the study highlighted both positive and negative predictors of psychological adjustment. The identified positive predictors were age, perceived cultural distance, and Neuroticism while negative predictors were social support, and personality factors (consciousness and extraversion). The current study serves as an initiative to determine the acculturative stressors faced by Pakistani international students. This study has a significant theoretical contribution to Pakistani international student mobility and the associated challenges and stressors on the part of Pakistani students who decide to study abroad. The data of this study was collected online from HEC scholars only. A replication study is recommended including immigrant and self-financed Pakistani students for better generalizations. The present study would be of great interest to three stakeholders including students, universities in Pakistan, and the host universities that give admission to Pakistani students to study abroad.
CONTEXT Regenerative agriculture is a farming approach that uses soil health as the entry point to contribute to multiple objectives, such as improved nutrient cycling and climate regulation. To reach these objectives farmers can apply different practices. The objectives and practices, however, are not equally relevant or applicable for every farming system and local context. OBJECTIVE The main objective of this paper, therefore, was to find out how tailor-made solutions towards regenerative agriculture can be identified and evaluated as such that they result in meaning-full advice for farmers. METHODS In this study a well-established modelling framework to redesign farming systems was applied to three typical but diverse Dutch farming systems. The modelling framework combined the models Soil Navigator and FarmDESIGN to simultaneously assess five soil functions at field-level and general sustainability indicators (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions) at farm-level. We applied the modelling framework to an arable farm on clay soil, a dairy farm on peat soil, and a mixed farm on sand soil. We subsequently explored a multitude of tailor-made solutions composed of combinations of practices for these farming systems, each showing solutions that contributed in varying degrees towards the objectives of regenerative agriculture. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION In total, we created 4000 alternative solutions per case-study farm. For all farming systems, environmental performance was improved in the solutions dominated by the use of regenerative practices. For example, for the arable, the dairy, and the mixed case-study farm, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 50% (from 4 to 2 Mg CO2 eq. ha⁻¹), 6% (from 30 to 28 Mg CO2 eq. ha⁻¹), and 23% (from 21 to 16 Mg CO2 eq. ha⁻¹), respectively, while maintaining soil functionality at high capacity for four out of the five soil functions. This overall improvement in environmental performance due to the application of regenerative practices, also resulted in reduced farm profitability for all case-study farms by on average 50%. We discuss that a mechanism to incentivize farmers for their tailor-made contribution to regenerative agriculture is for stakeholders to shift focus from solely primary productivity to also other ecosystem services. SIGNIFICANCE This study contributes to the wider implementation of regenerative agriculture, by showing which regenerative objectives and farming practices can contribute to the transition towards regenerative agriculture in contrasting contexts. The modelling framework that is used, can underpin regenerative management for farmers and other stakeholders to help, for example, the valorization of multiple regenerative objectives in business models.
COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to previously settled everyday routines, prompting a period of forced experimentation as people have adjusted to rapid changes in their private and working lives. For discussions regarding consumption, this period of experimentation has been interesting, as the apparent instability has disturbed the ongoing trajectory of consumption practices, and with it has created possibilities for transition toward sustainability. In this article, we examine food practices (e.g., food shopping, preparation, and eating) in seven countries (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, UK, and Vietnam) to assess what we can learn to accelerate transitions toward sustainable consumption. Grounded in a practice theoretical approach, our empirical analysis shows how disruption of everyday routines has generated socio-materially bounded experimentation. We demonstrate commonalities across contexts in how lockdown measures have restricted the performance of previously taken-for-granted practices. We also show diversity in experimentation as food consumption is entangled in other everyday practices. Our study, on one hand, portrays how adaptation of food practices allows disruption to be managed, demonstrating creativity in working within and around restrictions to continue to provide services for everyday life. On the other hand, we reveal that the capacity of experimentation is not evenly distributed among people and this variation helps in identifying the wider socio-material conditions that constrain and enable opportunities for readjustment. Understanding disparities that affect experimentation (e.g., integration of food practices with work and caring practices) is informative when thinking about how to stimulate sustainability transformations in food practices and provides critical reflections on strategies to enable sustainable consumption.
Private actors are essential partners in the sustainability governance of commodity-supply chains such as palm oil. However, their actual contribution to promoting sustainability is also contested. This article assesses the role of private actors in the governance of the palm oil-supply chain in Thailand by comparing supply-chain actors that are certified with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards and non-certified supply-chain actors. The comparison entails input supply and production, collection and sales, processing and storage, and distribution. Building on the concept of (global) value chains, we examine the following governance dimensions in our comparison: the management of contracts and agreements, the role of trust in transactions, the relative power of various actors, and the control over smallholder farmers’ access to the market. Primary data were collected in the Surat Thani and Krabi Provinces in southern Thailand. We found that the RSPO-certified palm-oil chain was shorter, more transparent, and that farmers received higher prices than the non-RSPO-certified chains.
The COVID-19 crisis has led to an unprecedented acceleration in the number of people working from home (WFH). This article applies a practice theoretical lens to expand the pre-pandemic telework literature which often overlooks how WFH is part of complex socio-material arrangements. Based on 56 household interviews in the UK, the United States, and Norway during lockdown in Spring 2020, we reveal the everyday realities of WFH, exploring their implications for the future of work. Developing the concept of boundary traffic, which refers to the additional interaction and collision of a range of everyday practices normally separated in time and space when working outside the home, we provide some insights into how disruption and de- and re-routinization vary by household type, space, and employer’s actions. Much teleworking scholarship highlights technological and spatial flexibility of work, without recognizing the mundane realities of WFH when there is no space for a large computer monitor, preferences to be with children even when a secluded home office is available, or a feeling that important social connections diminish when working on a virtual basis. We discuss the future of work in relation to digitalization, social inequality, and environmental sustainability and conclude by stressing how WFH cannot be understood as merely a technical solution to work-life flexibility. Rather, lockdown-induced WFH has deeply changed the meaning and content of homes as households have resolved the spatial, material, social, and temporal aspects of boundary traffic when embedding work into the domestic practice-bundle.
Although often overlooked, the use of disinfectants can lead to antimicrobial resistance and this may exacerbate resistance to antibiotics. Here, we explain why all antimicrobial agents, including disinfectants, should be used prudently in a way that is guided by evidence. van Dijk et al. discuss the potential for antimicrobial resistance as a consequence of disinfectant use. The authors advocate for the prudent use of disinfectants in all sectors of society.
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