Scholarly Research Excellence

Digital Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 652

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

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).

Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in Victoria’s Food Bowl: Optimizing Productivity with the use of Decision-Support Tools

A participatory and engaged approach is key in connecting agricultural managers to sustainable agricultural systems to support and optimize production in Victoria’s food bowl. A sustainable intensification (SI) approach is well documented globally, but participation rates amongst Victorian farmers is fragmentary, and key outcomes and implementation strategies are poorly understood. Improvement in decision-support management tools and a greater understanding of the productivity gains available upon implementation of SI is necessary. This paper reviews the current understanding and uptake of SI practices amongst farmers in one of Victoria’s premier food producing regions, the Goulburn Broken; and it spatially analyses the potential for this region to adapt to climate change and optimize food production. A Geographical Information Systems (GIS) approach is taken to develop an interactive decision-support tool that can be accessible to on-ground agricultural managers. The tool encompasses multiple criteria analysis (MCA) that identifies factors during the construction phase of the tool, using expert witnesses and regional knowledge, framed within an Analytical Hierarchy Process. Given the complexities of the interrelations between each of the key outcomes, this participatory approach, in which local realities and factors inform the key outcomes and help to strategies for a particular region, results in a robust strategy for sustainably intensifying production in key food producing regions. The creation of an interactive, locally embedded, decision-support management and education tool can help to close the gap between farmer knowledge and production, increase on-farm adoption of sustainable farming strategies and techniques, and optimize farm productivity.

A Close Study on the Nitrate Fertilizer Use and Environmental Pollution for Human Health in Iran

Nitrogen accumulates in soils during the process of fertilizer addition to promote the plant growth. When the organic matter decomposes, the form of available nitrogen produced is in the form of nitrate, which is highly mobile. The most significant health effect of nitrate ingestion is methemoglobinemia in infants under six months of age (blue baby syndrome). The mobile nutrients, like nitrate nitrogen, are not stored in the soil as the available forms for the long periods and in large amounts. It depends on the needs for the crops such as vegetables. On the other hand, the vegetables will compete actively for nitrate nitrogen as a mobile nutrient and water. The mobile nutrients must be shared. The fewer the plants, the larger this share is for each plant. Also, this nitrate nitrogen is poisonous for the people who use these vegetables. Nitrate is converted to nitrite by the existing bacteria in the stomach and the Gastro-Intestinal (GI) tract. When nitrite is entered into the blood cells, it converts the hemoglobin to methemoglobin, which causes the anoxemia and cyanosis. The increasing use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, especially the fertilizers with nitrates compounds, which have been common for the increased production of agricultural crops, has caused the nitrate pollution in the (soil, water, and environment). They have caused a lot of damage to humans and animals. In this research, the nitrate accumulation in different kind of vegetables such as; green pepper, tomatoes, egg plants, watermelon, cucumber, and red pepper were observed in the suburbs of Mashhad, Neisabour, and Sabzevar cities. In some of these cities, the information forms of agronomical practices collected were such as; different vegetable crops fertilizer recommendations, varieties, pesticides, irrigation schedules, etc., which were filled out by some of our colleagues in the research areas mentioned above. Analysis of the samples was sent to the soil and water laboratory in our department in Mashhad. The final results from the chemical analysis of samples showed that the mean levels of nitrates from the samples of the fruit crops in the mentioned cities above were all lower than the critical levels. These fruit crop samples were in the order of: 35.91, 8.47, 24.81, 6.03, 46.43, 2.06 mg/kg dry matter, for the following crops such as; tomato, cucumber, eggplant, watermelon, green pepper, and red pepper. Even though, this study was conducted with limited samples and by considering the mean levels, the use of these crops from the nutritional point of view will not cause the poisoning of humans.

Evaluation of Buckwheat Genotypes to Different Planting Geometries and Fertility Levels in Northern Transition Zone of Karnataka

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) is an annual crop belongs to family Poligonaceae. The cultivated buckwheat species are notable for their exceptional nutritive values. It is an important source of carbohydrates, fibre, macro, and microelements such as K, Ca, Mg, Na and Mn, Zn, Se, and Cu. It also contains rutin, flavonoids, riboflavin, pyridoxine and many amino acids which have beneficial effects on human health, including lowering both blood lipid and sugar levels. Rutin, quercetin and some other polyphenols are potent carcinogens against colon and other cancers. Buckwheat has significant nutritive value and plenty of uses. Cultivation of buckwheat in Sothern part of India is very meager. Hence, a study was planned with an objective to know the performance of buckwheat genotypes to different planting geometries and fertility levels. The field experiment was conducted at Main Agriculture Research Station, University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad, India, during 2017 Kharif. The experiment was laid-out in split-plot design with three replications having three planting geometries as main plots, two genotypes as sub plots and three fertility levels as sub-sub plot treatments. The soil of the experimental site was vertisol. The standard procedures are followed to record the observations. The planting geometry of 30*10 cm was recorded significantly higher seed yield (893 kg/ha⁻¹), stover yield (1507 kg ha⁻¹), clusters plant⁻¹ (7.4), seeds clusters⁻¹ (7.9) and 1000 seed weight (26.1 g) as compared to 40*10 cm and 20*10 cm planting geometries. Between the genotypes, significantly higher seed yield (943 kg ha⁻¹) and harvest index (45.1) was observed with genotype IC-79147 as compared to PRB-1 genotype (687 kg ha⁻¹ and 34.2, respectively). However, the genotype PRB-1 recorded significantly higher stover yield (1344 kg ha⁻¹) as compared to genotype IC-79147 (1173 kg ha⁻¹). The genotype IC-79147 was recorded significantly higher clusters plant⁻¹ (7.1), seeds clusters⁻¹ (7.9) and 1000 seed weight (24.5 g) as compared PRB-1 (5.4, 5.8 and 22.3 g, respectively). Among the fertility levels tried, the fertility level of 60:30 NP kg ha⁻¹ recorded significantly higher seed yield (845 kg ha-1) and stover yield (1359 kg ha⁻¹) as compared to 40:20 NP kg ha-1 (808 and 1259 kg ha⁻¹ respectively) and 20:10 NP kg ha-1 (793 and 1144 kg ha⁻¹ respectively). Within the treatment combinations, IC 79147 genotype having 30*10 cm planting geometry with 60:30 NP kg ha⁻¹ recorded significantly higher seed yield (1070 kg ha⁻¹), clusters plant⁻¹ (10.3), seeds clusters⁻¹ (9.9) and 1000 seed weight (27.3 g) compared to other treatment combinations.

Analysis of Fertilizer Effect in the Tilapia Growth of Mozambique (Oreochromis mossambicus)
This paper analyses the effect of fertilizer (organic and inorganic) in the growth of tilapia. An experiment was implemented in the Aquapesca Company of Mozambique; there were considered four different treatments. Each type of fertilizer was applied in two of these treatments; a feed was supplied to the third treatment, and the fourth was taken as control. The weight and length of the tilapia were used as the growth parameters, and to measure the water quality, the physical-chemical parameters were registered. The results show that the weight and length were different for tilapias cultivated in different treatments. These differences were evidenced mainly by organic and feed treatments, where there was the largest and smallest value of these parameters, respectively. In order to prove that these differences were caused only by applied treatment without interference for the aquatic environment, a Fisher discriminant analysis was applied, which confirmed that the treatments were exposed to the same environment condition.
Application of Metarhizium anisopliae against Meloidogyne javanica in Soil Amended with Oak Debris

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the most popular, widely grown and the second most important vegetable crop, after potatoes. Nematodes have been identified as one of the major pests affecting tomato production throughout the world. The most destructive nematodes are the genus Meloidogyne. Most widespread and devastating species of this genus are M. incognita, M. javanica, and M. arenaria. These species can cause complete crop loss under adverse growing conditions. There are several potential methods for management of the root knot nematodes. Although the chemicals are widely used against the phytonematodes, because of hazardous effects of these compounds on non-target organisms and on the environment, there is a need to develop other control strategies. Nowadays, non-chemical measures are widely used to control the plant parasitic nematodes. Biocontrol of phytonematodes is an important method among environment-friendly measures of nematode management. There are some soil-inhabiting fungi that have biocontrol potential on phytonematodes, which can be used in nematode management program. The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, originally is an entomopathogenic bioagent. Biocontrol potential of this fungus on some phytonematodes has been reported earlier. Recently, use of organic soil amendments as well as the use of bioagents is under special attention in sustainable agriculture. This research aimed to reduce the pesticide use in control of root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne javanica in tomato. The effects of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and different levels of oak tree debris on M. javanica were determined. The combination effect of the fungus as well as the different rates of soil amendments was determined. Pots were filled with steam pasteurized soil mixture and the six leaf tomato seedlings were inoculated with 3000 second stage larvae of M. javanica/kg of soil. After eight weeks, plant growth parameters and nematode reproduction factors were compared. Based on the results of our experiment, combination of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and oak debris caused more than 90% reduction in reproduction factor of nematode, at the rates of 100 and 150 g/kg soil (P ≤ 0.05). As compared to control, the reduction in number of galls was 76%. It was 86% for nematode reproduction factor, showing the significance of combined effect of both tested agents. Our results showed that plant debris can increase the biological activity of the tested bioagent. It was also proved that there was no adverse effect of oak debris, which potentially has antimicrobial activity, on antagonistic power of applied bioagent.

Effect of Nanoparticles on Wheat Seed Germination and Seedling Growth

Wheat is an important cereal crop for food security. Boosting the wheat production and productivity is the major challenge across the nation. Good quality of seed is required for maintaining optimum plant stand which ultimately increases grain yield. Ensuring a good germination is one of the key steps to ensure proper plant stand and moisture assurance during seed germination may help to speed up the germination. The tiny size of nanoparticles may help in entry of water into seed without disturbing their internal structure. Considering above, a laboratory experiment was conducted during 2012-13 at G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India. The completely randomized design was used for statistical analysis. The experiment was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the appropriate concentration of nanoparticles for seed treatment was screened. In second phase seed soaking hours of nanoparticles for better seed germination were standardized. Wheat variety UP2526 was taken as test crop. Four nanoparticles (TiO2, ZnO, nickel and chitosan) were taken for study. The crop germination studies were done in petri dishes and standard package and practices were used to raise the seedlings. The germination studies were done by following standard procedure. In first phase of the experiment, seeds were treated with 50 and 300 ppm of nanoparticles and control was also maintained for comparison. In the second phase of experiment, seeds were soaked for 4 hours, 6 hours and 8 hours with 50 ppm nanoparticles of TiO2, ZnO, nickel and chitosan along with control treatment to identify the soaking time for better seed germination. Experiment revealed that the application of nanoparticles help to enhance seed germination. The study revealed that seed treatment with  nanoparticles at 50 ppm concentration increases root length, shoot length, seedling length, shoot dry weight, seedling dry weight, seedling vigour index I and seedling vigour index II as compared to seed soaking at 300 ppm concentration. This experiment showed that seed soaking up to 4 hr was better as compared to 6 and 8 hrs. Seed soaking with nanoparticles specially TiO2, ZnO, and chitosan proved to enhance germination and seedling growth indices of wheat crop.

Fish Catch Composition from Gobind Sagar Reservoir during 2006-2012
Gobind Sagar Reservoir has been created in Himachal Pradesh, India (31° 25´ N and 76 ° 25´E) by damming River Sutlej at village Bhakra in 1963. The average water spread area of this reservoir is 10,000 hectares. Fishermen have organized themselves in the form of co-operative societies. 26 fisheries co-operative societies were working in Gobind Sagar Reservoir up till 2012. June and July months were observed as closed season, no fishing was done during this period. Proper record maintaining of fish catch was done at different levels by the state fisheries department. Different measures like minimum harvestable size, mesh size regulation and prohibition of illegal fishing etc. were taken for fish conservation. Fishermen were actively involved in the management. Gill nets were used for catching fishes from this reservoir. State fisheries department is realizing 15% royalty of the sold fish. Data used in this paper is about the fish catch during 2006-2012 and were obtained from the state fisheries department, Himachal Pradesh. Catla catla, Labeo rohita, Cirrhinus mrigala, Sperata seenghala, Cyprinus carpio, Tor putitora, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, Labeo calbasu, Labeo dero and Ctenopharyngodon idella etc., were the fish species exploited for commercial purposes. Total number of individuals of all species caught was 3141236 weighing 5637108.9 kg during 2006-2012. H. molitrix was introduced accidently in this reservoir and was making a good share of fish catch in this reservoir. The annual catch of this species was varying between 161279.6 kg, caught in 2011 and 788030.8 kg caught in 2009. Total numbers of individuals of C. idella caught were 8966 weighing 64320.2 kg. The catch of Cyprinus carpio was varying between 144826.1 kg caught in 2006 and 214480.1 kg caught in 2010. Total catch of Tor putitora was 180263.2 kg during 2006-2012. Total catch of L. dero, S. seenghala and Catla catla remained 100637.4 kg, 75297.8 kg and 561802.9 kg, respectively, during 2006-2012. Maximum fish catch was observed during the months of August (after observing Closed Season). Maximum catch of exotic carps was from Bhakra area of the reservoir which has fewer fluctuations in water levels. The reservoir has been divided into eight beats for administrative purpose, to avoid conflicts between operating fisheries co-operative societies for area of operation. Fish catch was more by co-operative societies operating in the area of reservoir having fewer fluctuations in water level and catch was less by co-operative societies operating in the area of more fluctuations in water level. Species-wise fish catch by different co-operative societies from their allotted area was studied. This reservoir is one of most scientifically managed reservoirs.
Heavy Metal Contamination of a Dumpsite Environment as Assessed with Pollution Indices
Indiscriminate refuse dumping in and around Ado-Ekiti combined with improper management of few available dumpsites, such as Ilokun dumpsite, posed the threat of heavy metals pollution in the surrounding soils and underground water that needs assessment using pollution indices. Surface soils (0-15 cm) were taken from the centre of Ilokun dumpsite (0 m) and environs at different directions and distances during the dry and wet seasons, as well as a background sample at 1000 m away, adjacent to the dumpsite at Ilokun, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. The concentration of heavy metals used to calculate the pollution indices for the soils were determined using Atomic Adsorption Spectrophotometer. The soils recorded high concentrations of all the heavy metals above the background concentrations irrespective of the season with highest concentrations at the 0 m except Ni and Fe at 50 m during the dry and wet season, respectively. The heavy metals concentration were in the order of Ni > Mn > Pb > Cr > Cu > Cd > Fe during the dry season, and Fe > Cr > Cu > Pb > Ni > Cd > Mn during the wet season. Using the Contamination Factor (CF), the soils were classified to be moderately contaminated with Cd and Fe to very high contamination with other metals during the dry season and low Cd contamination (0.87), moderate contamination with Fe, Pb, Mn and Ni and very high contamination with Cr and Cu during the wet season. At both seasons, the Pollution Load Index (PLI) indicates the soils to be generally polluted with heavy metals and the Geoaccumulation Index (Igeo) calculated shown the soils to be in unpolluted to moderately polluted levels. Enrichment Factor (EF) implied the soils to be deficiently enriched with all the heavy metals except Cr (7.90) and Cu (6.42) that were at significantly enrichment levels during the wet season. Modified Degree of Contamination (mCd) recorded, indicated the soils to be of very high to extremely high degree of contamination during the dry season and moderate degree of contamination during the wet season except 0 m with high degree of contamination. The concentration of heavy metals in the soils combined with some of the pollution indices indicated the soils in and around the Ilokun Dumpsite are being polluted with heavy metals from anthropogenic sources constituted by the indiscriminate refuse dumping.
Heavy Metal Concentration in Gills and Bones of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) from Jega River, Kebbi State, Nigeria

A study was conducted to assess some heavy metal concentration (Cadmium (Cd), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb) and Zinc (Zn)) in the gills and bones of Oreochromis niloticus obtained from Jega river. 30 fish samples were collected from March to July 2014 (fortnightly). Bones and gills were used for the assessment of some heavy metals using Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. Results indicated that Pb was not detected in both gills and bones but Fe, Cd, Zn and Cu were present in both the gills and bones of the fish samples. The concentrations of heavy metals in gills were; Fe 3.37±1.10, Cd 0.62±0.08, Zn 6.21±0.11 and Cu 1.28±0.10 mg/kg. The concentrations of heavy metals in bones: Fe 13.08±1.00 mg/kg, Cd 0.99±0.06 mg/kg, Zn 1.28±0.10 mg/kg and Cu 2.23±0.20 mg/kg. The results were found to be within the internationally acceptable standard limits. However, the consumption of small amounts of the identified heavy metals in fish could lead to gradual accumulation over a long period of time and exert toxic effects to consumers. Efforts should be made by the Government to provide appropriate channels for waste disposal to reduce impact on fish.

Maize Tolerance to Natural and Artificial Infestation with Diabrotica virgifera virgifera Eggs
Western corn rootworm – WCR (Diabrotica virgifera sp.virgifera, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) is economically the most important pest of maize worldwide. WCR natural population is already very abundant on Serbian fields, and keeps increasing each year. Tolerance is recognized by larger root size and bigger root regrowth. Severe larval injuries cause lack of compensatory regrowth and lead to reduction of plant growth and yield. The aim of this research was to evaluate tolerance of commercial Serbian maize hybrid NS 640, under natural WCR infestation and under conditions of artificial infestation, and to obtain the information about its tolerance to WCR larval feeding in two consecutive years. Field experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016, in Bečej (Vojvodina province, Serbia). In experimental field, 96 plants were selected, marked and arranged in 48 pairs. Each pair represented two plants. The first plant was artificially infested with 4 mL WCR egg suspension in agar (550 eggs plant-1) in the root zone (D plant). The second plant represented control plant (C plant) with injection of 4 mL distilled water in root zone. The experimental field was inspected weekly. A hybrid tolerance was assessed based on root injury level and root mass. Root injury was rated using the Node-Injury Scale 1-6, during the last field inspection (September – October). Comparing the root injuries on D and C plants in 2015, more severe damages were recorded on D plants (12 plants - rate 5 and 17 plants - rate 6) compared to C plants (2 plants - rate 5 and 8 plants - rate 6). Also, the highest number of plants with healthy roots (rate 1), was registered in the control (25 plants), while only 4 D plants were rated as injury level 1. In 2016, root injuries caused by WCR larvae on D and C plants did not differ significantly. The reason is the difference in climatic conditions between the years. The 2015 was extremely dry and more suitable for WCR larval development and movement in the soil, compared to 2016. Thus, more severe damages appeared on artificially infested plants (D plants). Root mass was in strong correlation with the level of root injury, but did not differ significantly between D and C plants, in both years.
Aromatic and Medicinal Plants in Morocco: Diversity and Socio-Economic Role
Morocco is characterized by a great richness and diversity in aromatic and medicinal plants and it has an ancestral knowledge in the use of plants for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. In effect, the poverty of riparian, specially, mountain populations have greatly contributed to the development of traditional pharmacopoeia in Morocco. The analysis of the bibliographic data showed that a large number of plants in Morocco are exploited for aromatic and medicinal purposes and several of them are commercialized internationally. However, these potentialities of aromatic and medicinal plants are currently subjected to climate change and strong human pressures: Collecting fruits, agriculture development, harvesting plants, urbanization, overgrazing...

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