Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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The relationship between the presence of antibodies and direct detection of Toxoplasma gondii in slaughtered calves and cattle in four European countries
Opsteegh, M. ; Spano, F. ; Aubert, D. ; Balea, A. ; Burrells, A. ; Cherchi, S. ; Cornelissen, J.B.W.J. ; Dam-Deisz, C. ; Guitian, J. ; Györke, A. ; Innes, E.A. ; Katzer, F. ; Limon, G. ; Possenti, A. ; Pozio, E. ; Schares, G. ; Villena, I. ; Wisselink, H.J. ; Giessen, J.W.B. van der - \ 2019
International Journal for Parasitology 49 (2019)7. - ISSN 0020-7519 - p. 515 - 522.
Cattle - Detection - Mouse bioassay - PCR - Serology - Toxoplasma gondii

In cattle, antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii infection are frequently detected, but evidence for the presence of T. gondii tissue cysts in cattle is limited. To study the concordance between the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and viable tissue cysts of T. gondii in cattle, serum, liver and diaphragm samples of 167 veal calves and 235 adult cattle were collected in Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the United Kingdom. Serum samples were tested for anti-T. gondii IgG by the modified agglutination test and p30 immunoblot. Samples from liver were analyzed by mouse bioassay and PCR after trypsin digestion. In addition, all diaphragms of cattle that had tested T. gondii-positive (either in bioassay, by PCR on trypsin-digested liver or serologically by MAT) and a selection of diaphragms from cattle that had tested negative were analyzed by magnetic capture quantitative PCR (MC-PCR). Overall, 13 animals were considered positive by a direct detection method: seven out of 151 (4.6%) by MC-PCR and six out of 385 (1.6%) by bioassay, indicating the presence of viable parasites. As cattle that tested positive in the bioassay tested negative by MC-PCR and vice-versa, these results demonstrate a lack of concordance between the presence of viable parasites in liver and the detection of T. gondii DNA in diaphragm. In addition, the probability to detect T. gondii parasites or DNA in seropositive and seronegative cattle was comparable, demonstrating that serological testing by MAT or p30 immunoblot does not provide information about the presence of T. gondii parasites or DNA in cattle and therefore is not a reliable indicator of the risk for consumers.

Strain-specific features of extracellular polysaccharides and their impact on Lactobacillus plantarum-host interactions
Lee, I.C. ; Caggianiello, Graziano ; Swam, Iris I. van; Taverne, Nico ; Meijerink, Marjolein ; Bron, Peter A. ; Spano, Giuseppe ; Kleerebezem, Michiel - \ 2016
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 82 (2016)13. - ISSN 0099-2240 - p. 3959 - 3970.

Lactobacilli are found in diverse environments and are widely applied as probiotic, health-promoting food supplements. Polysaccharides are ubiquitously present on the cell surface of lactobacilli and are considered to contribute to the species- and strainspecific probiotic effects that are typically observed. Two Lactobacillus plantarum strains, SF2A35B and Lp90, have an obvious ropy phenotype, implying high extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) production levels. In this work, we set out to identify the genes involved in EPS production in these L. plantarum strains and to demonstrate their role in EPS production by gene deletion analysis. A model L. plantarum strain, WCFS1, and its previously constructed derivative that produced reduced levels of EPS were included as reference strains. The constructed EPS-reduced derivatives were analyzed for the abundance and sugar compositions of their EPS, revealing cps2-like gene clusters in SF2A35B and Lp90 responsible for major EPS production. Moreover, these mutant strains were tested for phenotypic characteristics that are of relevance for their capacity to interact with the host epithelium in the intestinal tract, including bacterial surface properties as well as survival under the stress conditions encountered in the gastrointestinal tract (acid and bile stress). In addition, the Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) signaling and immunomodulatory capacities of the EPS-negative derivatives and their respective wild-type strains were compared, revealing strain-specific impacts of EPS on the immunomodulatory properties. Taken together, these experiments illustrate the importance of EPS in L. plantarum strains as a strain-specific determinant in host interaction.

Exopolysaccharides produced by lactic acid bacteria : from health-promoting benefits to stress tolerance mechanisms
Caggianiello, Graziano ; Kleerebezem, Michiel ; Spano, Giuseppe - \ 2016
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 100 (2016)9. - ISSN 0175-7598 - p. 3877 - 3886.
Exopolysaccharides - Lactic acid bacteria - Prebiotic - Probiotic - Stress tolerance

A wide range of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is able to produce capsular or extracellular polysaccharides, with various chemical compositions and properties. Polysaccharides produced by LAB alter the rheological properties of the matrix in which they are dispersed, leading to typically viscous and “ropy” products. Polysaccharides are involved in several mechanisms such as prebiosis and probiosis, tolerance to stress associated to food process, and technological properties of food. In this paper, we summarize the beneficial properties of exopolysaccharides (EPS) produced by LAB with particular attention to prebiotic properties and to the effect of exopolysaccharides on the LAB-host interaction mechanisms, such as bacterial tolerance to gastrointestinal tract conditions, ability of ESP-producing probiotics to adhere to intestinal epithelium, their immune-modulatory activity, and their role in biofilm formation. The pro-technological aspect of exopolysaccharides is discussed, focusing on advantageous applications of EPS in the food industry, i.e., yogurt and gluten-free bakery products, since it was found that these microbial biopolymers positively affect the texture of foods. Finally, the involvement of EPS in tolerance to stress conditions that are commonly encountered in fermented beverages such as wine is discussed.

Relationship between seroprevalence in the main livestock species and presence of Toxoplasma gondii in meat
Opsteegh, M. ; Maas, Miriam ; Schares, Gereon ; Giessena, Joke van der; Conraths, F. ; Bangoura, Berit ; Blaga, Radu ; Boireau, Pascal ; Vallee, Isabelle ; Djokic, Vitomir ; Roux, Delphine Le; Perret-Duménil, Catherine ; Ducry, Tamara ; Wisselink, H.J. ; Cornelissen, J.B.W.J. ; Villena, Isabelle ; Aubert, Dominique ; Györke, Adriana ; Cozma, Vasile ; Mircean, Viorica ; Pastiu, Anamaria Ioana ; Balea, Anamaria ; Kalmar, Zsuzsa ; Barburas, Diana ; Pozio, Edoardo ; Spano, Furio ; Limon, Georgina ; Georgiev, Milen ; Blake, Damer ; Guitian, Javier ; Dominguez, Javier ; Katzer, Frank ; Burrells, Alison ; Innes, Lee ; Djurkovic-Djakovic, Olgica ; Klunl, Ivana - \ 2016
Toxoplasma gondii in European slaughtered calves and cattle - serology, mouse bioassay and magnetic capture qPCR
Opsteegh, M. ; Aubert, Dominique ; Balea, Anamaria ; Burrells, Alison ; Cherchi, S. ; Cornelissen, J.B.W.J. ; Dam, C. ; Györke, Adriana ; Kalmar, Zsuzsa ; Katzer, Frank ; Limon, Georgina ; Possenti, A. ; Pozio, Edoardo ; Spano, Furio ; Villena, Isabelle ; Wisselink, H.J. ; Giessen, J. van der - \ 2015
In: ApiCOWplaxa 2015 Proceedings: Apicomplexa in Farm Animals. - Edinburgh : Moredun Research Institute - p. 43 - 43.
Grafting on a Non-Transgenic Tolerant Tomato Variety Confers Resistance to the Infection of a Sw5- Breaking Strain of Tomato spotted wilt virus via RNA Silencing
Spanò, R. ; Mascia, T. ; Kormelink, R.J.M. ; Gallitelli, D. - \ 2015
PLoS ONE 10 (2015)10. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 19 p.
RNA silencing controls endogenous gene expression and drives defensive reactions against invasive nucleic acids like viruses. In plants, it has been demonstrated that RNA silencing can be transmitted through grafting between scions and silenced rootstocks to attenuate virus and viroid accumulation in the scions. This has been obtained mostly using transgenic plants, which may be a drawback in current agriculture. In the present study, we examined the dynamics of infection of a resistance-breaking strain of Tomato spotted wilt virus (RB-TSWV) through the graft between an old Apulian (southern Italy) tomato variety, denoted Sl-Ma, used as a rootstock and commercial tomato varieties used as scions. In tests with non-grafted plants, Sl-Ma showed resistance to the RB-TSWV infection as viral RNA accumulated at low levels and plants recovered from disease symptoms by 21 days post inoculation. The resistance trait was transmitted to the otherwise highly susceptible tomato genotypes grafted onto Sl-Ma. The results from the analysis of small RNAs hallmark genes involved in RNA silencing and virus-induced gene silencing suggest that RNA silencing is involved in the resistance showed by Sl-Ma against RB-TSWV and in scions grafted on this rootstock. The results from self-grafted susceptible tomato varieties suggest also that RNA silencing is enhanced by the graft itself. We can foresee interesting practical implications of the approach described in this paper.
Sustainable urban metabolism as a link between bio-physical sciences and urban planning: The BRIDGE project
Chrysoulakis, N. ; Lopes, M. ; San José, R. ; Grimmond, C.S.B. ; Jones, M.B. ; Magliulo, V. ; Klostermann, J.E.M. ; Synnefa, A. ; Mitraka, Z. ; Castro, E. ; González, A. ; Vogt, R. ; Vesala, T. ; Spano, D. ; Pigeon, G. ; Freer-Smith, P. ; Staszewski, T. ; Hodges, N. ; Mills, G. ; Cartalis, C. - \ 2013
Landscape and Urban Planning 112 (2013). - ISSN 0169-2046 - p. 100 - 117.
parameterization scheme lumps - carbon-dioxide emissions - decision-support - water-balance - air-quality - local-scale - los-angeles - heat-flux - model - energy
Urban metabolism considers a city as a system with flows of energy and material between it and the environment. Recent advances in bio-physical sciences provide methods and models to estimate local scale energy, water, carbon and pollutant fluxes. However, good communication is required to provide this new knowledge and its implications to endusers (such as urban planners, architects and engineers). The FP7 project BRIDGE (sustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism) aimed to address this gap by illustrating the advantages of considering these issues in urban planning. The BRIDGE Decision Support System (DSS) aids the evaluation of the sustainability of urban planning interventions. The Multi Criteria Analysis approach adopted provides a method to cope with the complexity of urban metabolism. In consultation with targeted end-users, objectives were defined in relation to the interactions between the environmental elements (fluxes of energy, water, carbon and pollutants) and socioeconomic components (investment costs, housing, employment, etc.) of urban sustainability. The tool was tested in five case study cities: Helsinki, Athens, London, Florence and Gliwice; and sub-models were evaluated using flux data selected. This overview of the BRIDGE project covers the methods and tools used to measure and model the physical flows, the selected set of sustainability indicators, the methodological framework for evaluating urban planning alternatives and the resulting DSS prototype
Carbon and nitrogen balances for six shrublands across Europe
Beier, C. ; Emmett, B.A. ; Tietema, A. ; Schmidt, I.K. ; Penuelas, J. ; Lang, E.K. ; Duce, P. ; Angelis, P. de; Gorissen, A. ; Estiarte, M. ; Dato, G.D. de; Sowerby, A. ; Kroel-Dulay, G. ; Lellei-Kovacs, E. ; Kull, O. ; Mand, P. ; Petersen, H. ; Gjelstrup, P. ; Spano, D. - \ 2009
Global Biogeochemical Cycles 23 (2009). - ISSN 0886-6236 - 13 p.
microbial biomass-c - climate-change - terrestrial ecosystems - soil respiration - forest ecosystems - extraction method - global patterns - elevated co2 - drought - responses
Shrublands constitute significant and important parts of European landscapes providing a large number of important ecosystem services. Biogeochemical cycles in these ecosystems have gained little attention relative to forests and grassland systems, but data on such cycles are required for developing and testing ecosystem models. As climate change progresses, the potential feedback from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere through changes in carbon stocks, carbon sequestration, and general knowledge on biogeochemical cycles becomes increasingly important. Here we present carbon and nitrogen balances of six shrublands along a climatic gradient across the European continent. The aim of the study was to provide a basis for assessing the range and variability in carbon storage in European shrublands. Across the sites the net carbon storage in the systems ranged from 1,163 g C m(-2) to 18,546 g C m(-2), and the systems ranged from being net sinks (126 g C m(-2) a(-1)) to being net sources (-536 g C m(-2) a(-1)) of carbon with the largest storage and sink of carbon at wet and cold climatic conditions. The soil carbon store dominates the carbon budget at all sites and in particular at the site with a cold and wet climate where soil C constitutes 95% of the total carbon in the ecosystem. Respiration of carbon from the soil organic matter pool dominated the carbon loss at all sites while carbon loss from aboveground litter decomposition appeared less important. Total belowground carbon allocation was more than 5 times aboveground litterfall carbon which is significantly greater than the factor of 2 reported in a global analysis of forest data. Nitrogen storage was also dominated by the soil pools generally showing small losses except when atmospheric N input was high. The study shows that in the future a climate-driven land cover change between grasslands and shrublands in Europe will likely lead to increased ecosystem C where shrublands are promoted and less where grasses are promoted. However, it also emphasizes that if feedbacks on the global carbon cycle are to be predicted it is critically important to quantify and understand belowground carbon allocation and processes as well as soil carbon pools, particularly on wet organic soils, rather than plant functional change as the soil stores dominate the overall budget and fluxes of carbon
The Lactobacillus plantarum ftsH gene is a novel member of the CtsR stress response regulon
Fiocco, D. ; Collins, M. ; Muscariello, L. ; Hols, P. ; Kleerebezem, M. ; Msadek, T. ; Spano, G. - \ 2009
Journal of Bacteriology 191 (2009)5. - ISSN 0021-9193 - p. 1688 - 1694.
escherichia-coli ftsh - transcription quantitative pcr - bacterium oenococcus-oeni - gram-positive bacteria - bacillus-subtilis - lactococcus-lactis - staphylococcus-aureus - environmental-stress - negative regulator - internal control
FtsH proteins have dual chaperone-protease activities and are involved in protein quality control under stress conditions. Although the functional role of FtsH proteins has been clearly established, the regulatory mechanisms controlling ftsH expression in gram-positive bacteria remain largely unknown. Here we show that ftsH of Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 is transiently induced at the transcriptional level upon a temperature upshift. In addition, disruption of ftsH negatively affected the growth of L. plantarum at high temperatures. Sequence analysis and mapping of the ftsH transcriptional start site revealed a potential operator sequence for the CtsR repressor, partially overlapping the -35 sequence of the ftsH promoter. In order to verify whether CtsR is able to recognize and bind the ftsH promoter, CtsR proteins of Bacillus subtilis and L. plantarum were overproduced, purified, and used in DNA binding assays. CtsR from both species bound specifically to the ftsH promoter, generating a single protein-DNA complex, suggesting that CtsR may control the expression of L. plantarum ftsH. In order to confirm this hypothesis, a DeltactsR mutant strain of L. plantarum was generated. Expression of ftsH in the DeltactsR mutant strain was strongly upregulated, indicating that ftsH of L. plantarum is negatively controlled by CtsR. This is the first example of an ftsH gene controlled by the CtsR repressor, and the first of the low-G+C gram-positive bacteria where the regulatory mechanism has been identified
Response of plant species richness and primary productivity in shrublands along a north-south gradient in Europe to seven years of experimental warming and drought: reductions in primary productivity in the heat and drought year of 2003
Penuelas, J. ; Prieto, P. ; Beier, C. ; Cesaraccio, C. ; Angelis, P. de; Dato, G. de; Emmett, B.A. ; Estiarte, M. ; Garadnai, J. ; Gorissen, A. ; Lang, E.K. ; Kroel-Dulay, G. ; Llorens, L. ; Pellizzaro, G. ; Riis-Nielsen, T. ; Schmidt, I.K. ; Sirca, C. ; Sowerby, A. ; Spano, D. ; Tietema, A. - \ 2007
Global Change Biology 13 (2007)12. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 2563 - 2581.
evergreen mediterranean forest - climate-change - quercus-ilex - terrestrial ecosystems - environmental-change - phillyrea-latifolia - arctic ecosystems - cistus-albidus - carbon-cycle - soil
We used a nonintrusive field experiment carried out at six sites - Wales (UK), Denmark (DK), the Netherlands (NL), Hungary (HU), Sardinia (Italy - IT), and Catalonia (Spain - SP) - along a climatic and latitudinal gradient to examine the response of plant species richness and primary productivity to warming and drought in shrubland ecosystems. The warming treatment raised the plot daily temperature by ca. 1 degrees C, while the drought treatment led to a reduction in soil moisture at the peak of the growing season that ranged from 26% at the SP site to 82% in the NL site. During the 7 years the experiment lasted (1999-2005), we used the pin-point method to measure the species composition of plant communities and plant biomass, litterfall, and shoot growth of the dominant plant species at each site. A significantly lower increase in the number of species pin-pointed per transect was found in the drought plots at the SP site, where the plant community was still in a process of recovering from a forest fire in 1994. No changes in species richness were found at the other sites, which were at a more mature and stable state of succession and, thus less liable to recruitment of new species. The relationship between annual biomass accumulation and temperature of the growing season was positive at the coldest site and negative at the warmest site. The warming treatment tended to increase the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) at the northern sites. The relationship between annual biomass accumulation and soil moisture during the growing season was not significant at the wettest sites, but was positive at the driest sites. The drought treatment tended to reduce the ANPP in the NL, HU, IT, and SP sites. The responses to warming were very strongly related to the Gaussen aridity index (stronger responses the lower the aridity), whereas the responses to drought were not. Changes in the annual aboveground biomass accumulation, litterfall, and, thus, the ANPP, mirrored the interannual variation in climate conditions: the most outstanding change was a decrease in biomass accumulation and an increase in litterfall at most sites during the abnormally hot year of 2003. Species richness also tended to decrease in 2003 at all sites except the cold and wet UK site. Species-specific responses to warming were found in shoot growth: at the SP site, Globularia alypum was not affected, while the other dominant species, Erica multiflora, grew 30% more; at the UK site, Calluna vulgaris tended to grow more in the warming plots, while Empetrum nigrum tended to grow less. Drought treatment decreased plant growth in several studied species, although there were some species such as Pinus halepensis at the SP site or C. vulgaris at the UK site that were not affected. The magnitude of responses to warming and drought thus depended greatly on the differences between sites, years, and species and these multiple plant responses may be expected to have consequences at ecosystem and community level. Decreases in biodiversity and the increase in E. multiflora growth at the SP site as a response to warming challenge the assumption that sensitivity to warming may be less well developed at more southerly latitudes; likewise, the fact that one of the studied shrublands presented negative ANPP as a response to the 2003 heat wave also challenges the hypothesis that future climate warming will lead to an enhancement of plant growth and carbon sequestration in temperate ecosystems. Extreme events may thus change the general trend of increased productivity in response to warming n the colder sites.
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