Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 663

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Influence of Nitrogen Fertilization on the Yields and Grain Quality of Winter Wheat under Different Environmental Conditions

In 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, a field experiment was conducted in two locations: Osiny and Wielichowo (Poland). The two-factor experiment was based on the method of randomized subblocks, in three replications. The first factor (A) was dose of nitrogen fertilization (two levels). The second factor (B) was nine winter wheat cultivars. It was found that winter wheat cultivars exhibited different reactions to higher nitrogen fertilization depending on the years and localities. Only KWS Dacanto cultivar under all growing conditions showed a significant increase in grain yield after the application of a higher level of nitrogen fertilization. The increase in nitrogen fertilization influenced the increase in gluten proteins content in wheat grain, but these changes were statistically significant only in the first year of the study. The quality of gluten does not depend on nitrogen fertilization. The quality of wheat grain depends on cultivars.

Technological Value of Selected Spring Wheat Cultivars Depending on the Sowing Date

The grain quality is a decisive factor in its use. In Poland, spring wheat is characterized by more favorable quality parameters in relation to the winter form of this species. In the present study, the effects of three different sowing dates (autumn, delayed autumn, and spring) and cultivar (Tybalt, Cytra, Bombona, Monsun, and Parabola) on the selected technological value parameters of spring wheat over three years were studied. The field trials were carried out in two locations (Bezek, Czesławice) in the Lubelskie Vivodeship, Poland. It was found that the falling number of spring wheat grains from autumn sowing dates was at a similar level to wheat sown in spring. The amount of wet gluten in the grain was variable in years, and its quality was better in wheat sown in spring. Sedimentation index was dependent upon on the cultivar.

Influence of Organic Supplements on Shoot Multiplication Efficiency of Phaius tankervilleae var. alba

The influence of organic supplements on growth and multiplication efficiency of Phaius tankervilleae var. alba seedlings was investigated. 12 week-old seedlings were cultured on half-strength semi-solid Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 30 g/L sucrose, 8 g/L agar and various concentrations of coconut water (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mL/L) combined with potato extract (0, 25 and 50 g/L) and the pH was adjusted to 5.8 prior to autoclaving. The cultures were then kept under constant photoperiod (16 h light: 8 h dark) at 25 ± 2 °C for 12 weeks. The highest number of shoots (3.0 shoots/explant) was obtained when cultured on the medium added with 50 ml/L coconut water and 50 g/L potato extract whereas the highest number of leaves (5.9 leaves/explant) and roots (6.1 roots/explant) could receive on the medium supplemented with 150 ml/L coconut water and 50 g/L potato extract. with 150 ml/L coconut water and 50 g/L potato extract. Additionally, plantlets of P. tankervilleae var. alba were transferred to grow into seven different substrates i.e. soil, sand, coconut husk chip, soil-sand mix (1: 1), soil-coconut husk chip mix (1: 1), sand-coconut husk chip mix (1: 1) and soil-sand-coconut husk chip mix (1: 1: 1) for four weeks. The results found that acclimatized plants showed 100% of survivals when sand, coconut husk chip and sand-coconut husk chip mix are used as substrates. The number of leaves induced by sand-coconut husk chip mix was significantly higher than that planted in other substrates (P > 0.05). Meanwhile, no significant difference in new shoot formation among these substrates was observed (P < 0.05). This precursory developing protocol was likely to be applied for more large scale of plant production as well as conservation of germplasm of this orchid species.

Effects of Intercropping Maize (Zea mays L.) with Jack Beans (Canavalia ensiformis L.) at Different Spacing and Weeding Regimes on Crops Productivity

A field experiment was conducted at Ido town in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo state, Nigeria to determine the effects of intercropping maize (Zea mays L.) with Jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis L.) at different spacing and weeding regimes on crops productivity. The treatments were 2 x 2 x 3 factorial arrangement involving two spatial crop arrangements. Spacing of 75 cm x 50 cm and 90 cm x 42 cm (41.667 cm) with two plants per stand resulted in plant population of approximately 53,000 plants/hectare. Also, Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with two cropping patterns (sole and intercrop), three weeding regimes (weedy check, weeds once, and weed twice) with three replicates was used. Data were analyzed with SAS (Statistical Analysis System) and statistical means separated using Least Significant Difference (LSD) (P ≤ 0.05). Intercropping and crop spacing did not have significant influence on the growth parameters and yield parameters. The maize grain yield of 1.11 t/ha obtained under sole maize was comparable to 1.05 t/ha from maize/jack beans. Weeding regime significantly influenced growth and yields of maize in intercropping with Jack beans. Weeding twice resulted in significantly higher growth than that of the other weeding regimes. Plant height at 6 Weeks After Sowing (WAS) under weeding twice regime (3 and 6 WAS) was 83.9 cm which was significantly different from 67.75 cm and 53.47 cm for weeding once (3 WAS) and no weeding regimes respectively. Moreover, maize grain yield of 1.3 t/ha obtained from plots weeded twice was comparable to that of 1.23 t/ha from single weeding and both were significantly higher than 0.71 t/ha maize grain yield obtained from the no weeding control. The dry matter production of Jack beans reduced at some growth stages due to intercropping of maize with Jack beans though with no significance effect on the other growth parameters of the crop. There was no effect on the growth parameters of Jack beans in maize/jack beans intercrop based on cropping spacing while comparable growth and dry matter production in Jack beans were produced in maize/Jack beans mixture with single weeding.

Matching Farmer Competence and Farm Resources with the Transformation of Agri-Food Marketing Systems

The agri-food market transformation has implied market growth for the fruit industry in Thailand. This article focuses on analysis of farmer competence and farm resources which affect market strategies used by fruit farmers in Chanthaburi province of Thailand. The survey data were collected through the use of face-to-face interviews with structured questionnaires. This study identified 14 drivers related to farmer competence and farm resources of which some had significant effect on the decision to use either high-value markets or traditional markets. The results suggest that farmers who used high-value markets were better educated and they had longer experience and larger sized business. Identifying the important factors that match with the market transformation provides policy with opportunities to support the fruit farmers to increase their market power. Policies that promote business expansion of agricultural cooperatives and knowledge sharing among farmers are recommended to reduce limitations due to limited knowledge, low experience, and small business sizes.

Effects of Multilayer Coating of Chitosan and Polystyrene Sulfonate on Quality of ‘Nam Dok Mai No.4’ Mango
Ripe ‘Nam Dok Mai’ mango (Mangifera indica L.) is an important exported fruit of Thailand, but rapidly declined in the quality attributes mainly by infection of anthracnose and stem end rot diseases. Multilayer coating is considered as a developed technique to maintain the postharvest quality of mangoes. The utilization of alternated coating by matching oppositely electrostatic charges between 0.1% chitosan and 0.1% polystyrene sulfonate (PSS) was studied. A number of the coating layers (layer by layer) were applied on mature green ‘Nam Dok Mai No.4’ mangoes prior to storage at 25 oC, 65-70% relative humidity (RH). There were significant differences in some quality attributes of mangoes coated by 3½ layers, 4½ layers and 5½ layers. In comparison to coated mangoes, uncoated fruits were higher in weight loss, total soluble solids, respiration rate, ethylene production and disease incidence except the titratable acidity. Coating fruit at 3½ layers exhibited the ripening delay and reducing disease infection without off flavour. On the other hand, fruit coated with 5½ layers comprised the lowest acceptable score, caused by exhibiting disorders from fermentation at the end of storage. As a result, multilayer coating between chitosan and PSS could effectively maintain the postharvest quality of mango, but number of coating layers should be thoroughly considered.
Principle Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management Adopting Cotton Cultivators in Irrigated and Rainfed Conditions: A Critical Analysis

In India cotton was the major commercial crop and cultivating all the states. In recent years, area of cotton declined due to pest and disease attack, drought, lower price for the produces etc. The first reason as pest and disease attack will be the challenges and it is of utmost importance that in future the insect problems would have to be tackled through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The present study deals with principle knowledge of IPM adopting cotton cultivators in irrigated and rainfed conditions. Under irrigated conditions, among cultural practices, all respondents had principle knowledge about growing high yielding and pest resistant hybrids, sowing quality and certified seeds and avoiding cotton ratoon cropping. Regarding mechanical practices all respondents had principle knowledge about collecting and destroying egg, larvae and pupae of pests and removing and destroying pest and disease infected cotton squares, flowers and other shed materials. With regard to biological practices, 93% of them had principle knowledge about spraying neem oil, followed by 82% about tying Trichogramma eggcard. Among chemical practices, more than 90% of the respondents had principle knowledge about of spraying herbicide (96%), identifying ETL (Economic Threshold Level) for cotton pests (94%), and applying safe insecticides (90%). Under rainfed condition, among cultural practices, all respondents had principle knowledge about sowing quality and certified seeds and growing high yielding and pest resistant hybrids seeds. Regarding mechanical practices hundred percentage of the respondents had principle knowledge on the mechanical practices viz., collecting and destroying egg, larvae and pupae of pests and removing and destroying pest and disease infected cotton squares, flowers and other shed materials. With regard to biological practices, 96% of the respondents had correct in principle knowledge about spraying neem oil, followed by 89% about tying Trichogramma eggcard. With regard to chemical practices, more than 90% of the respondents had principle knowledge of applying safe insecticides (95%), avoiding repeated use of the same insecticides (95%), identifying ETL for cotton pests (94%) and applying granular insecticides (90%).

Effects of Grape Seed Oil on Postharvest Life and Quality of Some Grape Cultivars

Table grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) are an important crop worldwide. Postharvest problems like berry shattering, decay and stem dehydration are some of the important factors that limit the marketing of table grapes. Edible coatings are an alternative for increasing shelf-life of fruits, protecting fruits from humidity and oxygen effects, thus retarding their deterioration. This study aimed to compare different grape seed oil applications (GSO, 0.5 g L-1, 1 g L-1, 2 g L-1) and SO2 generating pads effects (SO2-1, SO2-2). Treated grapes with GSO and generating pads were packaged into polyethylene trays and stored at 0 ± 1°C and 85-95% moisture. Effects of the applications were investigated by some quality and sensory evaluations with intervals of 15 days. SO2 applications were determined the most effective treatments for minimizing weight loss and changes in TA, pH, color and appearance value. Grape seed oil applications were determined as a good alternative for grape preservation, improving weight losses and °Brix, TA, the color values and sensory analysis. Commercially, ‘Alphonse Lavallée’ clusters were stored for 75 days and ‘Antep Karası’ clusters for 60 days. The data obtained from GSO indicated that it had a similar quality result to SO2 for up to 40 days storage.

The Features of Formation of Russian Agriculture’s Sectoral Structure

The long-term strategy of the economic development of Russia up to 2030 is based on the concept of sustainable growth. The determining factor of such development is complex changes in the economic system which may be achieved by making progressive changes in its structure. The structural changes determine the character and the direction of economic development, as well as they include all elements of this system without exception, and their regulated character ensures the most rapid aim achievement. This article has discussed the industrial structure of the agriculture in Russia. With the use of the system of indexes, the article has determined the directions, intensity, and speed of structural shifts. The influence of structural changes on agricultural production development has been found out. It is noticed that the changes in the industrial structure are synchronized with the changes in the organisation and economic structure. Efficiency assessment of structural changes allowed to trace the efficiency of structural changes and elaborate the main directions for agricultural policy improvement.

A Small-Scale Flexible Test Bench for the Investigation of Fertigation Strategies in Soilless Culture
In soilless culture, the management of the nutrient solution is the most important aspect for crop growing. Fertigation dose, frequency and nutrient concentration must be planned with the objective of reaching an optimal crop growth by limiting the utilized resources and the associated costs. The definition of efficient fertigation strategies is a complex problem since fertigation requirements vary on the basis of different factors, and crops are sensitive to small variations on fertigation parameters. To the best of author knowledge, a small-scale test bench that is flexible for both nutrient solution preparation and precise irrigation is currently missing, limiting the investigations in standard practices for soilless culture. Starting from the analysis of the state of the art, this paper proposes a small-scale system that is potentially able to concurrently test different fertigation strategies. The system will be designed and implemented throughout a three year project started on August 2018. However, due to the importance of the topic within current challenges as food security and climate change, this work is spread considering that may inspire other universities and organizations.
A Risk Assessment for the Small Hive Beetle Based on Meteorological Standard Measurements

The Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) is a parasite for honey bee colonies, Apis mellifera, and was recently introduced to the European continent, accidentally. Based on the literature, a model was developed by using regional meteorological variables (daily values of minimum, maximum and mean air temperature as well as mean soil temperature at 50 mm depth) to calculate the time-point of hive invasion by A. tumida in springtime, the development duration of pupae as well as the number of generations of A. tumida per year. Luxembourg was used as a test region for our model for 2005 to 2013. The model output indicates a successful surviving of the Small Hive Beetle in Luxembourg with two up to three generations per year. Additionally, based on our meteorological data sets a first migration of SHB to apiaries can be expected from mid of March up to April. Our approach can be transferred easily to other countries to estimate the risk potential for a successful introduction and spreading of A. tumida in Western Europe.

Expression of Tissue Plasminogen Activator in Transgenic Tobacco Plants by Signal Peptides Targeting for Delivery to Apoplast, Endoplasmic Reticulum and Cytosol Spaces

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) as a serine protease plays an important role in the fibrinolytic system and the dissolution of fibrin clots in human body. The production of this drug in plants such as tobacco could reduce its production costs. In this study, expression of tPA gene and protein targeting to different plant cell compartments, using various signal peptides has been investigated. For high level of expression, Kozak sequence was used after CaMV35S in the beginning of the gene. In order to design the final construction, Extensin, KDEL (amino acid sequence including Lys-Asp-Glu-Leu) and SP (γ-zein signal peptide coding sequence) were used as leader signals to conduct this protein into apoplast, endoplasmic reticulum and cytosol spaces, respectively. Cloned human tPA gene under the CaMV (Cauliflower mosaic virus) 35S promoter and NOS (Nopaline Synthase) terminator into pBI121 plasmid was transferred into tobacco explants by Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain LBA4404. The presence and copy number of genes in transgenic tobacco was proved by Southern blotting. Enzymatic activity of the rt-PA protein in transgenic plants compared to non-transgenic plants was confirmed by Zymography assay. The presence and amount of rt-PA recombinant protein in plants was estimated by ELISA analysis on crude protein extract of transgenic tobacco using a specific antibody. The yield of recombinant tPA in transgenic tobacco for SP, KDEL, Extensin signals were counted 0.50, 0.68, 0.69 microgram per milligram of total soluble proteins.

Closed Greenhouse Production Systems for Smart Plant Production in Urban Areas

The integration of agricultural production systems into urban areas is a challenge for the coming decades. Because of increasing greenhouse gas emission and rising resource consumption as well as costs in animal husbandry, the dietary habits of people in the 21st century have to focus on herbal foods. Intensive plant cultivation systems in large cities and megacities require a smart coupling of information, material and energy flow with the urban infrastructure in terms of Horticulture 4.0. In recent years, many puzzle pieces have been developed for these closed processes at the Humboldt University. To compile these for an urban plant production, it has to be optimized and networked with urban infrastructure systems. In the field of heat energy production, it was shown that with closed greenhouse technology and patented heat exchange and storage technology energy can be provided for heating and domestic hot water supply in the city. Closed water circuits can be drastically reducing the water requirements of plant production in urban areas. Ion sensitive sensors and new disinfection methods can help keep circulating nutrient solutions in the system for a longer time in urban plant production greenhouses.

Impact of Herbicides on Soil Biology in Rapeseed
Winter oilseed rape, Brassica napus L., is characterized by a high number of herbicide applications. Therefore, its cultivation can lead to massive contamination of ground water and soil by herbicide and their metabolites. A multi-side long-term field experiment (EFFO, Efficient crop rotation) was set-up in Luxembourg to quantify these effects. Based on soil sampling and laboratory analysis, preliminary results showed reduced dehydrogenase activities of several soil organisms due to herbicide treatments. This effect is highly depending on the soil type. Relation between the dehydrogenase activity and the amount of microbial carbon showed higher variability on the test side with loamy Brown Earth, based on Bunter than on those with sandy-loamy Brown Earth, based on calciferous Sandstone.
Problems and Prospects of Agricultural Biotechnology in Nigeria’s Developing Economy

Science offers opportunities for revolutionizing human activities, enriched by input from scientific research and technology. Biotechnology is a major force for development in developing countries such as Nigeria. It is found to contribute to solving human problems like water and food insecurity that impede national development and threaten peace wherever it is applied. This review identified the problems of agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria. On the part of rural farmers, there is a lack of adequate knowledge or awareness of biotechnology despite the fact that they constitute the bulk of Nigerian farmers. On part of the government, the problems include: lack of adequate implementation of government policy on bio-safety and genetically modified products, inadequate funding of education as well as research and development of products related to biotechnology. Other problems include: inadequate infrastructures (including laboratory), poor funding and lack of national strategies needed for development and running of agricultural biotechnology. In spite of all the challenges associated with agricultural biotechnology, its prospects still remain great if Nigeria is to meet with the food needs of the country’s ever increasing population. The introduction of genetically engineered products will lead to the high productivity needed for commercialization and food security. Insect, virus and other related diseases resistant crops and livestock are another viable area of contribution of biotechnology to agricultural production. In conclusion, agricultural biotechnology will not only ensure food security, but, in addition, will ensure that the local farmers utilize appropriate technology needed for large production, leading to the prosperity of the farmers and national economic growth, provided government plays its role of adequate funding and good policy implementation.

Hybridization and Evaluation of Jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.) to Improve High Yield Varieties in Indonesia

Jatropha curcas L. is one of the crops producing non edible oil which is potential for bio-energy. Jatropha cultivation and development program in Indonesia is facing several problems especially low seed yield resulting in inefficient crop cultivation cost. To cope with the problem, development of high yielding varieties is necessary. Development of varieties to improve seed yield was conducted by hybridization and selection, and resulted in 14 potential genotypes. The yield potential of the 14 genotypes were evaluated and compared with two check varieties. The objective of the evaluation was to find Jatropha hybrids with some characters i.e. productivity higher than check varieties, oil content > 40% and harvesting age ≤ 110 days. Hybridization and individual plant selection were carried out from 2010 to 2014. Evaluation of high yield was conducted in Asembagus experimental station, Situbondo, East Java in three years (2015-2017). The experimental designed was Randomized Complete Block Design with three replication and plot size of 10 m x 8 m. The characters observed were number of capsules per plant, dry seed yield (kg/ha) and seed oil content (%). The results of this experiment indicated that all the hybrids evaluated have higher productivity than check variety IP-3A. There were two superior hybrids i.e. HS-49xSP-65/32 and HS-49xSP-19/28 with highest seed yield per hectare and number of capsules per plant during three years.

The Study of Rapeseed Characteristics by Factor Analysis under Normal and Drought Stress Conditions
To understand internal characteristics relationships and determine factors which explain under consideration characteristics in rapeseed varieties, 10 rapeseed genotypes were implemented in complete accidental plot with three-time repetitions under drought stress in 2009-2010 in research field of agriculture college, Islamic Azad University, Karaj branch. In this research, 11 characteristics include of characteristics related to growth, production and functions stages was considered. Variance analysis results showed that there is a significant difference among rapeseed varieties characteristics. By calculating simple correlation coefficient under both conditions, normal and drought stress indicate that seed function characteristics in plant and pod number have positive and significant correlation in 1% probable level with seed function and selection on the base of these characteristics was effective for improving this function. Under normal and drought stress, analyzing the main factors showed that numbers of factors which have more than one amount, had five factors under normal conditions which were 82.72% of total variance totally, but under drought stress four factors diagnosed which were 76.78% of total variance. By considering total results of this research and by assessing effective characteristics for factor analysis and selecting different components of these characteristics, they can be used for modifying works to select applicable and tolerant genotypes in drought stress conditions.
Interaction of between Cd and Zn in Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Plant for Phytoextraction Method

The aim of this research is to remediation of the cadmium (Cd) pollution in agricultural soils by using barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) plant. For this purpose, a pot experiment was done in greenhouse conditions. Cadmium (100 mg/kg) as CdSO4.8H2O forms was applied to each pot and incubated during 30 days. Then Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelate was applied to each pot at five doses (0, 3, 6, 8 and 10 mmol/kg) 20 days before harvesting time of the barley plants. The plants were harvested after two months planting. According to the pot experiment results, Cd and Zn amounts of barley plant increased with increasing EDTA application and Zn and Cd contents of barley 20,13 and 1,35 mg/kg for 0 mmol /kg EDTA; 58,61 and 113,24 mg/kg for 10 mmol/kg EDTA doses, respectively. On the other hand, Cd and Zn concentrations of experiment soil increased with EDTA application to the soil samples. Zinc and Cd concentrations of soil 0,31 and 0,021 mg/kg for 0 mmol /kg EDTA; 2,39 and 67,40 mg/kg for 10 mmol/kg EDTA doses, respectively. These increases were found to be statistically significant at the level of 1 %. According to the results of the pot experiment, some heavy metal especially Cd pollution of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) plant province can be remediated by the phytoextraction method.

Sub-Lethal Effects of Thiamethoxam and Pirimicarb on Life-Table Parameters of Diaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), Parasitoid of Lipaphis erysimi (Hemiptera: Aphididae)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) aims to combine biological and chemical strategies and measures, hence highlighting the study of acute toxicity and sub-lethal effects of pesticides comprehensively. The present research focused on the side effects of thiamethoxam and pirimicarb sub-lethal concentrations on demographic parameters of Diaeretiella rapae (McIntosh Laboratory) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Adult parasitoids were exposed to LC25 of insecticides as well as distilled water as the control. The results showed that thiamethoxam adversely affected population parameters (r, λ, R0, T), adults' longevity, females' oviposition period and mean fecundity, and a similar trend was obtained for pirimicarb with the exception of generation time (T), the latter did not significantly change compared to the control. The intrinsic rate of increase (r) in the control and those treated with pirimicarb and thiamethoxam were 0.2801, 0.2064, 0.1525 days-1, respectively, and the sex ratio was biased toward females in all treatments. Furthermore, none of the insecticides influenced total pre-oviposition period (TPOP) and offspring emergence rate. In general, these results indicated that both insecticides potentially distort the demographic parameters of the parasitoid even at sub-lethal concentrations, and then they should not be considered for IPM program in the presence of D. rapae.

Effects of Selected Plant-Derived Nutraceuticals on the Quality and Shelf-Life Stability of Frankfurter Type Sausages during Storage

The application of natural plant extracts which are rich in promising antioxidants and antimicrobial ingredients in the production of frankfurter-type sausages addresses consumer demands for healthier, more functional meat products. The effects of olive leaves, green tea and Urtica dioica L. extracts on physicochemical, microbiological and sensory characteristic of frankfurter-type sausage were investigated during 45 days of storage at 4 °C. The results revealed that pH and phenolic compounds decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in all samples during storage. Sausages containing 500 ppm green tea extract (1.78 mg/kg) showed the lowest TBARS values compared to olive leaves (2.01 mg/kg), Urtica dioica L. (2.26 mg/kg) extracts and control (2.74 mg/kg). Plant extracts significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the count of total mesophilic bacteria, yeast and mold by at least 2 log cycles (CFU/g) than those of control samples. Sensory characteristics of texture showed no difference (P > 0.05) between sausage samples, but sausage containing Urtica dioica L. extract had the highest score regarding flavor, freshness odor, and overall acceptability. Based on the results, sausage containing plant extracts could have a significant impact on antimicrobial activity, antioxidant capacity, sensory score, and shelf life stability of frankfurter-type sausage.

Interaction of Elevated Carbon Dioxide and Temperature on Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) Growth and Fruit Yield

Increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration [CO2] and ambient temperature associated with changing climatic conditions will have significant impacts on agriculture crop productivity and quality. Independent effects of the above two environmental variables on the growth, yield and quality of strawberry were well documented. Higher temperatures over the optimum range (20-25ºC) lead to crop failures, while elevated [CO2] stimulated plant growth and yield but compromised the physical quality of fruits. However, there is very limited understanding of the interaction between these variables on the plant growth, yield and quality. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the interactive effect of high temperature and elevated [CO2] on growth, yield and quality of strawberries. Strawberry cultivars ‘Albion’ and ‘San Andreas’ were grown under six different combinations of two temperatures (25 and 30ºC) and three [CO2] (400, 650 and 950 µmol mol-1) in controlled-environmental growth chambers. Plant growth measurements such as plant height, canopy area, number of flowers, and fruit yield were measured during phonological development. Photosynthesis and transpiration, the ratio of intercellular to atmospheric [CO2] (Ci/Ca) were measured to estimate the physiological adjustment to climate stress. The impact of temperature and [CO2] interaction on growth and yield of strawberry was significant (p < 0.05). Across both cultivars, highest fruit yields were observed at 650 µmol mol-1 [CO2], which was particularly clear at 25°C. The fruit yield gradually decreased at 30°C under all the treatment combinations. However, photosynthesis rates were highest at 650 µmol mol-1 [CO2] but no increment was found at 900 µmol mol-1 [CO2]. Interestingly, Ci/Ca ratio increased with increasing atmospheric [CO2] which was predominant at high temperature. Similarly, fruit yield was substantially reduced at high [CO2] under high temperature. Our findings suggest that increased Ci/Ca ratio at high temperature is likely reduces the photosynthesis and thus yield response to elevated [CO2].

The Effects of Drought and Nitrogen on Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill) Physiology and Yield

Legume crops are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen by the symbiotic relation with specific bacteria, which allows the use of the mineral nitrogen-fertilizer to be reduced, or even excluded, resulting in more profit for the farmers and less pollution for the environment. Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill) is one of the most important legumes with its high content of both protein and oil. However, it is recommended to combine the two nitrogen sources under stress conditions in order to overcome its negative effects. Drought stress is one of the most important abiotic stresses that increasingly limits soybean yields. A precise rate of mineral nitrogen under drought conditions is not confirmed, as it depends on many factors; soybean yield-potential and soil-nitrogen content to name a few. An experiment was conducted during 2017 growing season in Debrecen, Hungary to investigate the effects of nitrogen source on the physiology and the yield of the soybean cultivar 'Boglár'. Three N-fertilizer rates including no N-fertilizer (0 N), 35 kg ha-1 of N-fertilizer (35 N) and 105 kg ha-1 of N-fertilizer (105 N) were applied under three different irrigation regimes; severe drought stress (SD), moderate drought stress (MD) and control with no drought stress (ND). Half of the seeds in each treatment were pre-inoculated with Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculant. The overall results showed significant differences associated with fertilization and irrigation, but not with inoculation. Increasing N rate was mostly accompanied with increased chlorophyll content and leaf area index, whereas it positively affected the plant height only when the drought was waived off. Plant height was the lowest under severe drought, regardless of inoculation and N-fertilizer application and rate. Inoculation increased the yield when there was no drought, and a low rate of N-fertilizer increased the yield furthermore; however, the high rate of N-fertilizer decreased the yield to a level even less than the inoculated control. On the other hand, the yield of non-inoculated plants increased as the N-fertilizer rate increased. Under drought conditions, adding N-fertilizer increased the yield of the non-inoculated plants compared to their inoculated counterparts; moreover, the high rate of N-fertilizer resulted in the best yield. Regardless of inoculation, the mean yield of the three fertilization rates was better when the water amount increased. It was concluded that applying N-fertilizer to provide the nitrogen needed by soybean plants, with the absence of N2-fixation process, is very important. Moreover, adding relatively high rate of N-fertilizer is very important under severe drought stress to alleviate the drought negative effects. Further research to recommend the best N-fertilizer rate to inoculated soybean under drought stress conditions should be executed.

Sunflower Irrigation with Two Different Types of Soil Moisture Sensors

Irrigation is one of the most important cultivation practices for each crop, especially in areas where rainfall is enough to cover the crop water needs. In such areas, the farmers must irrigate in order to achieve high economical results. The precise irrigation scheduling contributes to irrigation water saving and thus a valuable natural resource is protected. Under this point of view, in the experimental field of the Laboratory of Agricultural Hydraulics of the University of Thessaly, a research was conducted during the growing season of 2012 in order to evaluate the growth, seed and oil production of sunflower as well as the water saving, by applying different methods of irrigation scheduling. Three treatments in four replications were organized. These were: a) surface drip irrigation where the irrigation scheduling based on the Penman-Monteith (PM) method (control); b) surface drip irrigation where the irrigation scheduling based on a soil moisture sensor (SMS); and c) surface drip irrigation, where the irrigation scheduling based on a soil potential sensor (WM).

Effects of Fermentation Techniques on the Quality of Cocoa Beans
Fermentation as an important operation in the processing of cocoa beans is now affected by the recent climate change across the globe. The major requirement for effective fermentation is the ability of the material used to retain sufficient heat for the required microbial activities. Apart from the effects of climate on the rate of heat retention, the materials used for fermentation plays an important role. Most Farmers still restrict fermentation activities to the use of traditional methods. Improving on cocoa fermentation in this era of climate change makes it necessary to work on other materials that can be suitable for cocoa fermentation. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of fermentation techniques on the quality of cocoa beans. The materials used in this fermentation research were heap-leaves (traditional), stainless steel, plastic tin, plastic basket and wooden box. The period of fermentation varies from zero days to 10 days. Physical and chemical tests were carried out for variables in quality determination in the samples. The weight per bean varied from 1.0-1.2 g after drying across the samples and the major color of the dry beans observed was brown except with the samples from stainless steel. The moisture content varied from 5.5-7%. The mineral content and the heavy metals decreased with increase in the fermentation period. A wooden box can conclusively be used as an alternative to heap-leaves as there was no significant difference in the physical features of the samples fermented with the two methods. The use of a wooden box as an alternative for cocoa fermentation is therefore recommended for cocoa farmers.
Accounting for Rice Productivity Heterogeneity in Ghana: The Two-Step Stochastic Metafrontier Approach

Rice yields among agro-ecological zones are heterogeneous. Farmers, researchers and policy makers are making frantic efforts to bridge rice yield gaps between agro-ecological zones through the promotion of improved agricultural technologies (IATs). Farmers are also modifying these IATs and blending them with indigenous farming practices (IFPs) to form farmer innovation systems (FISs). Also, different metafrontier models have been used in estimating productivity performances and their drivers. This study used the two-step stochastic metafrontier model to estimate the productivity performances of rice farmers and their determining factors in GSZ, FSTZ and CSZ. The study used both primary and secondary data. Farmers in CSZ are the most technically efficient. Technical inefficiencies of farmers are negatively influenced by age, sex, household size, education years, extension visits, contract farming, access to improved seeds, access to irrigation, high rainfall amount, less lodging of rice, and well-coordinated and synergized adoption of technologies. Albeit farmers in CSZ are doing well in terms of rice yield, they still have the highest potential of increasing rice yield since they had the lowest TGR. It is recommended that government through the ministry of food and agriculture, development partners and individual private companies promote the adoption of IATs as well as educate farmers on how to coordinate and synergize the adoption of the whole package. Contract farming concept and agricultural extension intensification should be vigorously pursued to the latter.

Analyzing the Impact of Spatio-Temporal Climate Variations on the Rice Crop Calendar in Pakistan

The present study investigates the space-time impact of climate change on the rice crop calendar in tropical Gujranwala, Pakistan. The climate change impact was quantified through the climatic variables, whereas the existing calendar of the rice crop was compared with the phonological stages of the crop, depicted through the time series of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from Landsat data for the decade 2005-2015. Local maxima were applied on the time series of NDVI to compute the rice phonological stages. Panel models with fixed and cross-section fixed effects were used to establish the relation between the climatic parameters and the time-series of NDVI across villages and across rice growing periods. Results show that the climatic parameters have significant impact on the rice crop calendar. Moreover, the fixed effect model is a significant improvement over cross-sectional fixed effect models (R-squared equal to 0.673 vs. 0.0338). We conclude that high inter-annual variability of climatic variables cause high variability of NDVI, and thus, a shift in the rice crop calendar. Moreover, inter-annual (temporal) variability of the rice crop calendar is high compared to the inter-village (spatial) variability. We suggest the local rice farmers to adapt this change in the rice crop calendar.

Jigger Flea (Tunga penetrans) Infestations and Use of Soil-Cow Dung-Ash Mixture as a Flea Control Method in Eastern Uganda

Despite several interventions, jigger flea infestations continue to be reported in the Busoga sub-region in Eastern Uganda. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that expose the indigenous people to jigger flea infestations and evaluate the effectiveness of any indigenous materials used in flea control by the affected communities. Flea compositions in residences were described, factors associated with flea infestation and indigenous materials used in flea control were evaluated. Field surveys were conducted in the affected communities after obtaining preliminary information on jigger infestation from the offices of the District Health Inspectors to identify the affected villages and households. Informed consent was then sought from the local authorities and household heads to conduct the study. Focus group discussions were conducted with key district informants, namely, the District Health Inspectors, District Entomologists and representatives from the District Health Office. A GPS coordinate was taken at central point at every household enrolled. Fleas were trapped inside residences using Kilonzo traps. A Kilonzo Trap comprised a shallow pan, about three centimetres deep, filled to the brim with water. The edges of the pan were smeared with Vaseline to prevent fleas from crawling out. Traps were placed in the evening and checked every morning the following day. The trapped fleas were collected in labelled vials filled with 70% aqueous ethanol and taken to the laboratory for identification. Socio-economic and environmental data were collected. The results indicate that the commonest flea trapped in the residences was the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) (50%), followed by Jigger flea (Tunga penetrans) (46%) and rat flea (Xenopsylla Cheopis) (4%), respectively. The average size of residences was seven squire metres with a mean of six occupants. The residences were generally untidy; with loose dusty floors and the brick walls were not plastered. The majority of the jigger affected households were headed by peasants (86.7%) and artisans (13.3%). The household heads mainly stopped at primary school level (80%) and few at secondary school level (20%). The jigger affected households were mainly headed by peasants of low socioeconomic status. The affected community members use soil-cow dung-ash mixture to smear floors of residences as the only measure to control fleas. This method was found to be ineffective in controlling the insects. The study recommends that home improvement campaigns be continued in the affected communities to improve sanitation and hygiene in residences as one of the interventions to combat flea infestations. Other cheap, available and effective means should be identified to curb jigger flea infestations.

Mesotrione and Tembotrione Applied Alone or in Tank-Mix with Atrazine on Weed Control in Elephant Grass

The experiment was carried out in Valença, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, to evaluate the selectivity and weed control of carotenoid biosynthesis inhibiting herbicides applied alone or in combination with atrazine in elephant grass crop. The treatments were as follows: mesotrione (0.072 and 0.144 kg ha-1 + 0.5% v/v mineral oil - Assist®), tembotrione (0.075 and 0.100 kg ha-1 + 0.5% v/v mineral oil - Aureo®), atrazine + mesotrione (1.25 + 0.072 kg ha-1 + 0.5% v/v mineral oil - Assist®), atrazine + tembotrione (1.25 + 0.100 kg ha-1 + 0.5% v/v mineral oil - Aureo®), atrazine + mesotrione (1.25 + 0.072 kg ha-1), atrazine + tembotrione (1.25 + 0.100 kg ha-1) and two controls (hoed and unhoed check). Two application rates of mesotrione with the addition of mineral oil or the tank mixture of atrazine plus mesotrione, with or without the addition of mineral oil, did not provide injuries capable to reduce elephant grass forage yield. Tembotrione was phytotoxic to elephant grass when applied with mineral oil. Atrazine and tembotrione in a tank-mix, with or without mineral oil, were also phytotoxic to elephant grass. All treatments provided satisfactory weed control.

Life Cycle-Based Analysis of Meat Production: Ecosystem Impacts
Recently, meat production ecosystem impacts initiated many hot discussions and researchers, and it is a difficult implementation to reduce such impacts due to the demand of meat products. It calls for better management and control of ecosystem impacts from every aspects of meat production. This article analyzes the ecosystem impacts of meat production based on meat products life cycle. The analysis shows that considerable ecosystem impacts are caused by different meat production steps: initial establishment phase, animal raising, slaughterhouse processing, meat consumption, and wastes management. Based on this analysis, the impacts are summarized as: leading factor for biodiversity loss; water waste, land use waste and land degradation; greenhouse gases emissions; pollution to air, water, and soil; related major diseases. The article also provides a discussion on a solution-sustainable food system, which could help in reducing ecosystem impacts. The analysis method is based on the life cycle level, it provides a concept of the whole meat industry ecosystem impacts, and the analysis result could be useful to manage or control meat production ecosystem impacts from investor, producer and consumer sides.
Flood Predicting in Karkheh River Basin Using Stochastic ARIMA Model

Floods have huge environmental and economic impact. Therefore, flood prediction is given a lot of attention due to its importance. This study analysed the annual maximum streamflow (discharge) (AMS or AMD) of Karkheh River in Karkheh River Basin for flood predicting using ARIMA model. For this purpose, we use the Box-Jenkins approach, which contains four-stage method model identification, parameter estimation, diagnostic checking and forecasting (predicting). The main tool used in ARIMA modelling was the SAS and SPSS software. Model identification was done by visual inspection on the ACF and PACF. SAS software computed the model parameters using the ML, CLS and ULS methods. The diagnostic checking tests, AIC criterion, RACF graph and RPACF graphs, were used for selected model verification. In this study, the best ARIMA models for Annual Maximum Discharge (AMD) time series was (4,1,1) with their AIC value of 88.87. The RACF and RPACF showed residuals’ independence. To forecast AMD for 10 future years, this model showed the ability of the model to predict floods of the river under study in the Karkheh River Basin. Model accuracy was checked by comparing the predicted and observation series by using coefficient of determination (R2).

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