37,611 research outputs found

    Low-temperature hydrothermally treated Eucalyptus globulus bark: From by-product to horticultural fiber-based growing media viability

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    Worldwide, the circular economy approach increased the need of waste-streams minimization, promoting byproducts re-circulation into the value chain which creates sustainable industrial synergies. Eucalyptus globulus bark fiber is a waste from pulp and paper industry that can be re-used in horticultural applications. This work aims to use low-temperature hydrothermally treated E. globulus bark as a fiber material for growing media formulation. Three types of bark fiber were used: industrial E. globulus fresh bark (IB) ground to output sieve of 6 × 6 mm, and two low-temperature hydrothermally treated barks (TB60: 60 ◦C, 20 min; TB100: 100 ◦C, 40 min). The three fiber materials were blended at 25 and 50% (v v 1) (B25; B50) with peat. IB was phytotoxic for Cress (Lepidum sativum) seeds, causing low germination (91%) and root growth inhibition. TB60 and TB100 reduced significantly phytotoxicity with germination rates of 98 and 100%, and Munoo Liisa index around 90% compared to commercial substrate. A pot experiment using Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis) as a model plant, revealed lower germination (95%) in IB blends than in treated ones and in commercial substrate (CS) (98–100%), reinforcing the IB phytotoxicity. B50 decreased water retention, and reduced plant growth due to nitrogen immobilization inherent to woody biomass. B25 showed shoot weight, and root growth statistically equal or higher than CS, encouraging use of this blending proportion of low-temperature hydrothermally treated bark in future growing media formulation. Circular horticulture approach is applied through the present fiber valorization into substrate componentinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Towards Autonomous Selective Harvesting: A Review of Robot Perception, Robot Design, Motion Planning and Control

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    This paper provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art in selective harvesting robots (SHRs) and their potential for addressing the challenges of global food production. SHRs have the potential to increase productivity, reduce labour costs, and minimise food waste by selectively harvesting only ripe fruits and vegetables. The paper discusses the main components of SHRs, including perception, grasping, cutting, motion planning, and control. It also highlights the challenges in developing SHR technologies, particularly in the areas of robot design, motion planning and control. The paper also discusses the potential benefits of integrating AI and soft robots and data-driven methods to enhance the performance and robustness of SHR systems. Finally, the paper identifies several open research questions in the field and highlights the need for further research and development efforts to advance SHR technologies to meet the challenges of global food production. Overall, this paper provides a starting point for researchers and practitioners interested in developing SHRs and highlights the need for more research in this field.Comment: Preprint: to be appeared in Journal of Field Robotic

    Enhancing Access and Adoption of Improved Seed for Food Security of Ethiopia (A Review)

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    Increasing agricultural productivity is central to accelerate economic growth and improving the wellbeing of both rural and urban people in Ethiopia. Agriculture, particularly crop production, has a greater effect on both the rural and the urban poor who spend more than a half of their incomes on food. Therefore, generation and transfer of improved technologies are critical prerequisites for agricultural development particularly for an agrarian based economy such as of Ethiopian. Seed, especially that of improved varieties, are among the most important productive inputs which can take the lion`s share from other agricultural inputs in affecting productivity, livelihood and assuring food security in Ethiopia. The direct contribution of quality seed alone to the total production is estimated at 15 –20% depending upon the crop and it can be further raised up to 45% with efficient management of the other inputs. Despite the importance of improved seed in increasing crop productivity, their availability on the required amount, quality and time is still limited in Ethiopia. The unavailability of quality seed at the right place and time coupled with the poor promotion system is one key factor accounting for the limited use of improved seed, which further contributing to low crop productivity. Therefore, in order to access quality seed at the required time and amount to the farmers and increase the adoption of improved seed, there is a need to have a robust seed system which can strictly control seed outlets and a strong seed-related extension program. The present paper reviews about enhancing access and adoption of improved seeds for better food security in Ethiopia. Keywords: Adoption, food security, improved seed, seed access DOI: 10.7176/DCS/13-3-02 Publication date:March 31st 202

    Changes in soil fertility and microbial communities following cultivation of native grassland in Horqin Sandy Land, China: a 60-year chronosequence

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    Background: Grassland conversion to cropland is a prevailing change of land use in traditionally nomadic areas, especially in the Mongolian Plateau. We investigated the effects of grassland conversion followed by continuous cultivation on soil properties and microbial community characteristics in Horqin Sandy Land, a typical agro-pastoral transition zone of Northern China. Soil samples were collected from the topsoil (upper 20 cm) across a 60-year cultivation chronosequence (5, 15, 25, 35 and 60 years) and unconverted native grassland. Soil physico-chemical properties were determined and high-throughput sequencing was used to assess microbial community diversity and composition. Results: Grassland cultivation resulted in changes to soil properties in both the short and longer term. Initially, it significantly increased soil bulk density (BD), electrical conductivity (EC), soil total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (AP) and available potassium (AK) concentrations, while reducing soil water content (SWC) and soil organic carbon content (SOC). Over the next 35–55 years of continuous cultivation, the trend for most of these characteristics was of reversion towards values nearer to those of native grassland, except for SOC which remained highly depleted. Cultivation of grassland substantially altered soil microbial communities at phylum level but there was no significant difference in microbial α-diversity between native grassland and any cropland. However, soil bacterial and fungal community structures at phylum level in the croplands of all cultivation years were different from those in the native grasslands. Heatmaps further revealed that bacterial and fungal structures in cropland tended to become more similar to native grassland after 15 and 25 years of cultivation, respectively. Redundancy analysis indicated that SOC, EC and BD were primary determinants of microbial community composition and diversity. Conclusions: These findings suggest that agricultural cultivation of grassland has considerable effects on soil fertility and microbial characteristics of Horqin Sandy Land. Intensive high-yield forage grass production is proposed as an alternative to avoid further native grassland reclamation, while meeting the grazing development needs in the ethnic minority settlements of eco-fragile regions

    Iodate respiration by Azoarcus sp. DN11 and its potential use for removal of radioiodine from contaminated aquifers

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    Azoarcus sp. DN11 was previously isolated from gasoline-contaminated groundwater as an anaerobic benzene-degrading bacterium. Genome analysis of strain DN11 revealed that it contained a putative idr gene cluster (idrABP1P2), which was recently found to be involved in bacterial iodate (IO3−) respiration. In this study, we determined if strain DN11 performed iodate respiration and assessed its potential use to remove and sequester radioactive iodine (129I) from subsurface contaminated aquifers. Strain DN11 coupled acetate oxidation to iodate reduction and grew anaerobically with iodate as the sole electron acceptor. The respiratory iodate reductase (Idr) activity of strain DN11 was visualized on non-denaturing gel electrophoresis, and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analysis of the active band suggested the involvement of IdrA, IdrP1, and IdrP2 in iodate respiration. The transcriptomic analysis also showed that idrA, idrP1, and idrP2 expression was upregulated under iodate-respiring conditions. After the growth of strain DN11 on iodate, silver-impregnated zeolite was added to the spent medium to remove iodide from the aqueous phase. In the presence of 200 μM iodate as the electron acceptor, more than 98% of iodine was successfully removed from the aqueous phase. These results suggest that strain DN11 is potentially helpful for bioaugmentation of 129I-contaminated subsurface aquifers


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    A field experiment was carried out at Agricultural Researchs and the Experiments Station in Wasit province during 2019-2020 season. This study was aimed to investigate the effect of three factors, the first being biofertilizer at three levels (without addition , a combination of Bacillus megaterium + Glomus mosseae and complet combination of G. mosseae, Azotobacter chroococcum, B. megaterium and Azospirillum brasilense). the second factor was three levels of vermicompost (without,3,6 Mg ha-1).The third factor included three levels of triple superphosphate (0, 40 and 80%) of the fertilizer recommendation. The treatment were distributed in a factorial experiment according to a randomized complete block design. Results showed that the bilateral interaction between the biofertilizer added in an integrated form and vermicompost at the level of 6 Mg ha-1 had a significant effect on all studied properties, while the triple interaction between the biofertilization treatments added as an integrated combination with 6 Mg h-1 of vermicompost and 80% of the mineral fertilizer recommendation   showed the highest averages for the studied traits (flower disc weight, disc weight with leaves, pink disc diameter, total yield, nitrogen and phosphorous content of fruits), which reached 2.524 kg, 4.353 kg, 35.10 cm, 75.71 Mg ha-1, 4.237%, 0.727% respectively in comparison  to the control treatment that gave the lowest averages in all the above traits, which amounted to (1.081 kg, 1.624 kg, 25.10 cm, 32.43 Mg ha-1, 1.893%, 0.210% ) on the sequence

    Quantification of Impact of Land Use Systems on Runoff and Soil Loss from Ravine Ecosystem of Western India

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    Ravine and gully formations are both spectacular and also the worst forms of water-induced soil erosion and have in situ and ex situ impact on geomorphology, hydrology, productivity and environmental security, and they are the root causes of degradation of marginal and adjacent land along with reduced production potential. A long-term (2011–2019) study was conducted on marginal land of the Chambal ravine to assess the impact of six land uses, i.e., Agriculture (T1—Rainfed Soybean), Agri-horticulture (T2—Soybean + Manilkara achras), Horti-Pastoral (T3—Emblica officinalis + Cenchurus ciliaris), Pasture (T4—C. ciliaris), Silviculture (T5—Acacia nilotica) and Silvi-pasture (T6—A. nilotica + C. Ciliaris) on soil properties, runoff interception, sediment trapping and soil loss reduction. The lowest average annual soil loss (4.83 ton ha−1 year−1) and runoff (109.52 mm) were recorded under T4, while the highest sediment loss (8.09 ton ha−1 year−1) and runoff (136.07 mm), respectively, were under T5. The runoff coefficient of land uses was in the order of T3 (20.30%) 4 (20.56%) 1 (21.95%) 2 (22.26%) 6 (22.83%) 5 (25.54%). The C. ciliaris improved bulk density and recorded lowest in horti-pasture (1.63 ± 0.04 g cm−3) followed by pasture (1.66 ± 0.03 g cm−3) land use system. The active SOC content in pasture, horti-pasture and silvi-pasture was 0.95, 0.87 and 0.64 times higher, respectively, than agriculture land use. Under pure C. ciliaris cover, resistance to penetration varied from 0.68 to 1.97 MPa, while in silviculture land use, it ranges from 1.19 to 2.90 Mpa. Grass cover had substantial impact on soil loss and runoff reduction, SOC content, soil aggregation and resistance to penetration. In degraded ecosystems, Cenchrus ciliaris can be used alone and in combination with plants for protection of natural resources from water-induced soil erosion, runoff conservation, soil quality improvement and maximization of precipitation water use

    How is triple bottom line thinking included in small-firm decision making? – A study of potato farmers in Östergötland, Sweden

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    Earlier research has shown a lack of studies on waste in agriculture production. Therefore, there is a need for improved screening for the cause of wastage in primary production. In addition, more research is required on how quality requirements and norms affect wastage and how waste can be prevented. Food is lost or wasted through the supply chain; the waste appears from the primary production to the end consumer. The waste in the food chain creates financial losses and unnecessary environmental impacts on how the food chain is structured today. The waste in primary production creates also negative outcomes for producers' finances, cultivatable land, and the climate. This thesis aims to develop an understanding of how triple bottom line thinking is included in management decisions in small businesses. The thesis should explain why wastage occur in the primary production at potato farmers and how the quality norms affect the primary sector of the losses and waste. Decision-theory and Triple bottom line theories should review a potato producer's decisions because of the quality requirement from an economic, social, and environmental value perspective. Two farmers have been interviewed and contributed their perspectives on the prevailing requirements by researching the quality norms in the primary production of the potato sector. The respondents have provided perspective on how they connect economic, social, and environmental values in their decisions. This research has answered the research questions with the help of a qualitative research strategy. Qualitative research enables in-depth contextual understanding and closeness to the respondents who are involved. Therefore, in order to answer the research questions and to provide a deeper understanding of the farmer's connection to TBL, a case study method was selected. Food potatoes that do not meet the quality requirements get out-sorted. Where the potatoes get out-sorted, it is up to the farmer to find alternative ways to sell the potatoes. The farmer needs actively find new solutions and make decisions. It is from planting to when the farmer will sell the potatoes and the timing for selling it. From a farmer's perspective, economic value is essential. According to the farmers, they can produce food potatoes more sustainable if they get the right profitability. It makes the economic value in TBL the key to increasing social and environmental value toward sustainability within the primary production. According to the farmers this means that the Triple bottom line theory is more one bottom line in the context of potato producers. According to the farmers, with an understanding from stakeholders, the market and an increase in economic value, the social and environmental value would increase. In this way, the farmers could provide a more sustainable production. The understanding is needed to see how factors affect production and, by questioning norms, creates a development towards more sustainable food production

    Food biodiversity: Quantifying the unquantifiable in human diets

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    Dietary diversity is an established public health principle, and its measurement is essential for studies of diet quality and food security. However, conventional between food group scores fail to capture the nutritional variability and ecosystem services delivered by dietary richness and dissimilarity within food groups, or the relative distribution (i.e., evenness or moderation) of e.g., species or varieties across whole diets. Summarizing food biodiversity in an all-encompassing index is problematic. Therefore, various diversity indices have been proposed in ecology, yet these require methodological adaption for integration in dietary assessments. In this narrative review, we summarize the key conceptual issues underlying the measurement of food biodiversity at an edible species level, assess the ecological diversity indices previously applied to food consumption and food supply data, discuss their relative suitability, and potential amendments for use in (quantitative) dietary intake studies. Ecological diversity indices are often used without justification through the lens of nutrition. To illustrate: (i) dietary species richness fails to account for the distribution of foods across the diet or their functional traits; (ii) evenness indices, such as the Gini-Simpson index, require widely accepted relative abundance units (e.g., kcal, g, cups) and evidence-based moderation weighting factors; and (iii) functional dissimilarity indices are constructed based on an arbitrary selection of distance measures, cutoff criteria, and number of phylogenetic, nutritional, and morphological traits. Disregard for these limitations can lead to counterintuitive results and ambiguous or incorrect conclusions about the food biodiversity within diets or food systems. To ensure comparability and robustness of future research, we advocate food biodiversity indices that: (i) satisfy key axioms; (ii) can be extended to account for disparity between edible species; and (iii) are used in combination, rather than in isolation
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