Application of Forward Contract and Crop Insurance as Risk Management Tools of Agriculture: A Case Study in Bangladesh
The principal aim of the study is to find out a way to effectively manage the agricultural risks like price volatility, weather risks, and fund shortage. To hedge price volatility, farmers sometimes make contracts with agro-traders but fail to protect themselves effectively due to not having legal framework for such contracts. The study extensively reviews existing literature and find evidence that the majority studies either deal with price volatility or weather risks. If we could address these risks through a single model, it would be more useful to both the farmers and traders. Intrinsically, the authors endeavor in this regard, and the key contribution of this study basically lies in it. Initially, we conduct a small survey aspiring to identify the shortcomings of existing contracts. Later, we propose a model encompassing forward and insurance contracts together where forward contract will be used to hedge price volatility and insurance contract will be used to protect weather risks. Contribution/Originality: The study adds to the existing literature through proposing an integrated model comprising of forward contract and crop insurance which will support both farmers and traders to cope with the agricultural risks like price volatility, weather hazards, and fund shortage. JEL Classifications: O13, Q13
Content of Trace Elements in Agricultural Soils from Central and Eastern Europe
Approximately a dozen trace elements are vital for the development of all plants and some other elements are significant for some species. Heavy metals do not belong to this group of elements that are essential to plants, but some of them such as copper and zinc, have a dual effect on their growth. Concentration levels of these elements in the different regions of the world vary considerably. Their high concentrations in some parts of Central and Eastern Europe cause concern for human health and degrade the quality of agricultural produce from these areas. This study aims to compare the prevalence and levels of the major trace elements in some rural areas of Central and Eastern Europe. Soil samples from different regions of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece far from large industrial centers have been studied. The main methods for their determination are the atomic spectral techniques – atomic absorption and plasma atomic emission. As a result of this study, data on microelements levels in soils of 17 points from the main grain-producing regions of Central and Eastern Europe are presented and systematized. The content of trace elements was in the range of 5.0-84.1 mg.kg⁻¹ for Cu, 0.3-1.4 mg.kg⁻¹ for Cd, 26.1-225.5 mg.kg⁻¹ for Zn, 235.5-788.6 mg.kg⁻¹ for Mn and 4.1-25.8 mg.kg⁻¹ for Pb.
Effect of Chemical Mutagen on Seeds Germination of Lima Bean
Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are a group of free-living bacteria that colonize the rhizosphere, enhance plant growth of many cereals and other important agricultural crops and protect plants from disease and abiotic stresses through a wide variety of mechanisms. The use of PGPR has been proven to be an environmentally sound way of increasing crop yields by facilitating plant growth. In the present study, strain improvement of PGPR isolates were carried out by chemical mutagenesis for the improvement of growth and yield of lima bean. Induced mutagenesis is widely used for the selection of microorganisms producing biologically active substances and further improving their activities. Strain improvement is usually done by classical mutagenesis which involves exposing the microbes to chemical or physical mutagens. The strains of Pseudomonas putida 4/1, Azotobacter chroococcum Р-29 and Bacillus subtilis were subjected to mutation process for strain improvement by treatment with a chemical agent (sodium nitrite) to cause mutation and were observed for its consequent action on the seeds germination and plant growth of lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus). Bacterial mutant strains of Pseudomonas putida M-1, Azotobacter chroococcum M-1 and Bacillus subtilis M-1, treated with sodium nitrite in the concentration of 5 mg/ml for 120 min, were found effective to enhance the germination of lima bean seeds compared to parent strains. Moreover, treatment of the lima bean seeds with a mutant strain of Bacillus subtilis M-1 had a significant stimulation effect on plant growth. The length of the stems and roots of lima bean treated with Bacillus subtilis M-1 increased significantly in comparison with parent strain in 1.6 and 1.3 times, respectively.
The Effect of Durability and Pathogen Strains on the Wheat Induced Resistance against Zymoseptoria tritici as a Response to Paenibacillus sp. Strain B2
Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria are known as potential biofertilizers and plant resistance inducers. The present work aims to study the durability of the resistance induced as a response to wheat seeds inoculation with PB2 and its influence by Z. tritici strains. The internal and external roots colonization have been determined in vitro, seven days post inoculation, by measuring the colony forming unit (CFU). In planta experimentations were done under controlled conditions included four wheat cultivars with different levels of resistance against Septoria Leaf Blotch (SLB) and four Z. tritici strains with high aggressiveness and resistance levels to fungicides. Plantlets were inoculated with PB2 at sowing and infected with Z. tritici at 3 leaves or tillering growth stages. The infection level with SLB was evaluated at 17 days post inoculation using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results showed that PB2 has a high potential of wheat root external colonization (> 10⁶ CFU/g of root). However, the internal colonization seems to be cultivar dependent. Indeed, PB2 has not been observed as endophytic for one cultivar but has a high level of internal colonization with more than 104 CFU/g of root concerning the three others. Two wheat cultivars (susceptible and moderated resistant) were used to investigate PB2-induced resistance (PB2-IR). After the first infection with Z. tritici, results showed that PB2-IR has conferred a high protection efficiency (40-90%) against SLB in the two tested cultivars. Whereas the PB2-IR was effective against all tested strains with the moderate resistant cultivar, it was higher with the susceptible cultivar (> 64%) but against three of the four tested strains. Concerning the durability of the PB2-IR, after the second infection timing, it has been observed a significant decrease (10-59%) depending strains in the moderate resistant cultivar. Contrarily, the susceptible cultivar showed a stable and high protection level (76-84%) but against three of the four tested strains and interestingly, the strain that overcame PB2-IR was not the same as that of the first infection timing. To conclude, PB2 induces a high and durable resistance against Z. tritici. The PB2-IR is pathogen strain, plant growth stage and genotype dependent. These results may explain the loss of the induced resistance effectiveness under field conditions.
Pruning Residue Effects on Symbiotic N₂ Fixation and δ¹³C Isotopic Composition of Sesbania sesban and Cajanus cajan
Despite their potential importance in recycling dinitrogen (N2) fixed in alley cropping systems, the effects of tree pruning residues on symbiotic N2 fixation are poorly studied. A 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of pruning residue management and pruning date on symbiotic performance and
The Response of Soil Biodiversity to Agriculture Practice in Rhizosphere
Soil microbial diversity is one of the important parameters to assess the soil fertility and soil health, even stability of the ecosystem. In this paper, we aim to reveal the soil microbial difference in rhizosphere and root zone, even to pick the special biomarkers influenced by the long term tillage practices, which included four treatments of no-tillage, ridge tillage, continuous cropping with corn and crop rotation with corn and soybean. Here, high-throughput sequencing was performed to investigate the difference of bacteria in rhizosphere and root zone. The results showed a very significant difference of species richness between rhizosphere and root zone soil at the same crop rotation system (p < 0.01), and also significant difference of species richness was found between continuous cropping with corn and corn-soybean rotation treatment in the rhizosphere statement, no-tillage and ridge tillage in root zone soils. Implied by further beta diversity analysis, both tillage methods and crop rotation systems influence the soil microbial diversity and community structure in varying degree. The composition and community structure of microbes in rhizosphere and root zone soils were clustered distinctly by the beta diversity (p < 0.05). Linear discriminant analysis coupled with effect size (LEfSe) analysis of total taxa in rhizosphere picked more than 100 bacterial taxa, which were significantly more abundant than that in root zone soils, whereas the number of biomarkers was lower between the continuous cropping with corn and crop rotation treatment, the same pattern was found at no-tillage and ridge tillage treatment. Bacterial communities were greatly influenced by main environmental factors in large scale, which is the result of biological adaptation and acclimation, hence it is beneficial for optimizing agricultural practices.
Investigation of Xanthomonas euvesicatoria on Seed Germination and Seed to Seedling Transmission in Tomato
Infested tomato seeds were used to investigate the influence of Xanthomonas euvesicatoria on germination and seed to seedling transmission in a controlled environment and greenhouse assays in an effort to develop effective seed treatments and characterize seed borne transmission of bacterial leaf spot of tomato. Bacterial leaf spot of tomato, caused by four distinct Xanthomonas species, X. euvesicatoria, X. gardneri, X. perforans, and X. vesicatoria, is a serious disease worldwide. In the United States, disease prevention is expensive for commercial growers in warm, humid regions of the country, and crop losses can be devastating. In this study, four different infested tomato seed lots were extracted from tomato fruits infected with bacterial leaf spot from a field in New York State in 2017 that had been inoculated with X. euvesicatoria. In addition, vacuum infiltration at 61 kilopascals for 1, 5, 10, and 15 minutes and seed soaking for 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes with different bacterial concentrations were used to artificially infest seed in the laboratory. For controlled environment assays, infested tomato seeds from the field and laboratory were placed othe n moistened blue blotter in square plastic boxes (10 cm x 10 cm) and incubated at 20/30 ˚C with an 8/16 hour light cycle, respectively. Infested tomato seeds from the field and laboratory were also planted in small plastic trays in soil (peat-lite medium) and placed in the greenhouse with 24/18 ˚C day and night temperatures, respectively, with a 14-hour photoperiod. Seed germination was assessed after eight days in the laboratory and 14 days in the greenhouse. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the hrpB7 primers (RST65 [5’- GTCGTCGTTACGGCAAGGTGGTG-3’] and RST69 [5’-TCGCCCAGCGTCATCAGGCCATC-3’]) was performed to confirm presence or absence of the bacterial pathogen in seed lots collected from the field and in germinating seedlings in all experiments. For infested seed lots from the field, germination was lowest (84%) in the seed lot with the highest level of bacterial infestation (55%) and ranged from 84-98%. No adverse effect on germination was observed from artificially infested seeds for any bacterial concentration and method of infiltration when compared to a non-infested control. Germination in laboratory assays for artificially infested seeds ranged from 82-100%. In controlled environment assays, 2.5 % were PCR positive for the pathogen, and in the greenhouse assays, no infected seedlings were detected. From these experiments, X. euvesicatoria does not appear to adversely influence germination. The lowest rate of germination from field collected seed may be due to contamination with multiple pathogens and saprophytic organisms as no effect of artificial bacterial seed infestation in the laboratory on germination was observed. No evidence of systemic movement from seed to seedling was observed in the greenhouse assays; however, in the controlled environment assays, some seedlings were PCR positive. Additional experiments are underway with green fluorescent protein-expressing isolates to further characterize seed to seedling transmission of the bacterial leaf spot pathogen in tomato.
Creating Risk Maps on the Spatiotemporal Occurrence of Agricultural Insecticides in Sub-Saharan Africa
The use of modern inputs for crop protection, such as insecticides, is strongly underestimated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Several studies measured toxic concentrations of insecticides in fruits, vegetables and fish that were cultivated in Sub-Saharan Africa. The use of agricultural insecticides has impact on human and environmental health, but it also has the potential to impact on insecticide resistance in malaria transmitting mosquitos. To analyse associations between historic use of agricultural insecticides and the distribution of insecticide resistance through space and time, the use and environmental fate of agricultural insecticides needs to be mapped through the same time period. However, data on the use and environmental fate of agricultural insecticides in Africa are limited and therefore risk maps on the spatiotemporal occurrence of agricultural insecticides are created using environmental data. Environmental data on crop density and crop type were used to select the areas that most likely receive insecticides. These areas were verified by a literature review and expert knowledge. Pesticide fate models were compared to select most dominant processes that are involved in the environmental fate of insecticides and that can be mapped at a continental scale. The selected processes include: surface runoff, erosion, infiltration, volatilization and the storing and filtering capacity of soils. The processes indicate the risk for insecticide accumulation in soil, water, sediment and air. A compilation of all available data for traces of insecticides in the environment was used to validate the maps. The risk maps can result in space and time specific measures that reduce the risk of insecticide exposure to non-target organisms.
Persistence of Ready Mix (Chlorpyriphos 50% + Cypermethrin 5%), Cypermethrin and Chlorpyriphos in Soil under Okra Fruits
Background and Significance: Residue levels of ready mix (chlorpyriphos 50% and cypermethrin 5%), cypermethrin and chlorpyriphos individually in sandy loam soil under okra fruits (Variety, Varsha Uphar) were determined; a field experiment was conducted at Research Farm of Department of Entomology of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar, Haryana, India. Persistence behavior of cypermethrin and chlorpyriphos was studied following application of a pre-mix formulation of insecticides viz. Action-505EC, chlorpyriphos (Radar 20 EC) and cypermethrin (Cyperkill 10 EC) at the recommended dose and double the recommended dose along with control at fruiting stage. Pesticide application also leads to decline in soil acarine fauna which is instrumental in the breakdown of the litter because of which minerals are released into the soil. So, by this study, one can evaluate the safety of pesticides for the soil health. Methodology: Action-505EC (chlorpyriphos 50% and cypermethrin 5%) at 275 g a .i. ha⁻¹ (single dose) and 550 g a. i. ha⁻¹ (double dose), chlorpyriphos (Radar 20 EC) at 200 g a. i. ha⁻¹ (single dose) and 400 g a. i. ha⁻¹ (double dose) and cypermethrin (Cyperkill 10 EC) at 50 g a. i. ha⁻¹ (single dose) and 100 g a. i. ha⁻¹ (double dose) were applied at the fruiting stage on okra crop. Samples of soils from okra field were collected periodically at 0 (1h after spray), 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15 days and at harvest after application as well of control soil sample. After air drying, adsorbing through Florisil and activated charcoal and eluting with hexane: acetone (9:1) then residues in soils were estimated by a gas chromatograph equipped with a capillary column and electron capture detector. Results: No persistence of cypermethrin in ready-mix in soil under okra fruits at single and double dose was observed. In case of chlorpyriphos in ready-mix, average initial deposits on 0 (1 h after treatment) day was 0.015 mg kg⁻¹ and 0.036 mg kg⁻¹ which persisted up to 5 days and up to 7 days for single and double dose, respectively. After that residues reached below a detectable level of 0.010 mg kg⁻¹. Experimental studies on cypermethrin individually revealed that average initial deposits on 0 (1 h after treatment) were 0.008 mg kg⁻¹ and 0.012 mg kg⁻¹ which persisted up to 3 days and 5 days for single and double dose, respectively after that residues reached to below detectable level. The initial deposits of chlorpyriphos individually in soil were found to be 0.055 mg kg⁻¹ and 0.113 mg kg⁻¹ which persisted up to 7 days and 10 days at a lower dose and higher dose, respectively after that residues reached to below determination level. Conclusion: In soil under okra crop, only individual cypermethrin in both the doses persisted whereas no persistence of cypermethrin in ready-mix was observed. Persistence of chlorpyriphos individually is more as compared to chlorpyriphos in ready-mix in both the doses. Overall, the persistence of chlorpyriphos in soil under okra crop is more than cypermethrin.
Agricultural Land Suitability Analysis of Kampe-Omi Irrigation Scheme Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System
Agricultural land suitability analysis and mapping play an imperative role for sustainable utilization of scarce physical land resources. The objective of this study was to prepare spatial database of physical land resources for irrigated agriculture and to assess land suitability for irrigation and developing suitable area map of the study area. The study was conducted at Kampe-Omi irrigation scheme located at Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria. Temperature and rainfall data of the study area were collected for 10 consecutive years (2005-2014). Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques were used to develop irrigation land suitability map of the study area. Attribute parameters such as the slope, soil properties, topography of the study area were used for the analysis. The available data were arranged, proximity analysis of Arc-GIS was made, and this resulted into five mapping units. The final agricultural land suitability map of the study area was derived after overlay analysis. Based on soil composition, slope, soil properties and topography, it was concluded that; Kampe-Omi has rich sandy loam soil, which is viable for agricultural purpose, the soil composition is made up of 60% sand and 40% loam. The land-use pattern map of Kampe-Omi has vegetal area and water-bodies covering 55.6% and 19.3% of the total assessed area respectively. The landform of Kampe-Omi is made up of 41.2% lowlands, 37.5% normal lands and 21.3% highlands. Kampe-Omi is adequately suitable for agricultural purpose while an extra of 20.2% of the area is highly suitable for agricultural purpose making 72.6% while 18.7% of the area is slightly suitable.
Development of Soil Test Kits to Determine Organic Matter Available Phosphorus and Exchangeable Potassium in Thailand
Soil test kits for rapid analysis of the organic matter, available phosphorus and exchangeable potassium were developed to drive a low-cost field testing kit to farmers. The objective was to provide a decision tool for improving soil fertility. One aspect of soil test kit development was ease of use which is a time requirement for completing organic matter, available phosphorus and exchangeable potassium test in one soil sample. This testing kit required only two extractions and utilized no filtration consuming approximately 15 minutes per sample. Organic matter was principally created by oxidizing carbon KMnO₄ using the standard color chart. In addition, modified single extractant (Mehlich I) was applied to extract available phosphorus and exchangeable potassium. Molybdenum blue method and turbidimetric method using standard color chart were adapted to analyze available phosphorus and exchangeable potassium, respectively. Modified single extractant using in soil test kits were highly significant matching with analytical laboratory results (r=0.959** and 0.945** for available phosphorus and exchangeable potassium, respectively). Linear regressions were statistically calculated between modified single extractant and standard laboratory analysis (y=0.9581x-12.973 for available phosphorus and y=0.5372x+15.283 for exchangeable potassium, respectively). These equations were calibrated to formulate a fertilizer rate recommendation for specific corps. To validate quality, soil test kits were distributed to farmers and extension workers. We found that the accuracy of soil test kits were 71.0%, 63.9% and 65.5% for organic matter, available phosphorus, and exchangeable potassium, respectively. The quantitative survey was also conducted in order to assess their satisfaction with soil test kits. The survey showed that more than 85% of respondents said these testing kits were more convenient, economical and reliable than the other commercial soil test kits. Based upon the finding of this study, soil test kits can be another alternative for providing soil analysis and fertility recommendations when a soil testing laboratory is not available.
Preparation and Evaluation of Citrus hystrix Nanoemulsion Formulation against Rice Weevil, Sitophilus oryzae
Sitophilus oryzae is a primary destructive insect pest. A study on nanoemulsion formulation of C. hystrix peel oil and evaluation of its insecticidal effect on the adults of S. oryzae was held in toxicology laboratory at Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). Three nanoemulsion formulations (F1, F2, and F3) were prepared using C. hystrix peel oil (a.i), Tween 80 (surfactant), AMD 810 (carrier) and deionized water. The selected formulations have undergone stability tests, surface tension, zeta potential and particle size measurements. The formulations were tested for their contact and fumigant activity against the adults of S. oryzae. LC₅₀ values were obtained from Probit regressions using the Polo-PC program. All the formulations showed stability under storage temperature and centrifugation. They were characterized as nanoemulsions as they remained in the range of nanoscale 200 nm. The formulations revealed lower surface tension in the range of 29.5 to 30.4 mN/m. They showed stable of zeta potential values. The formulations showed the highest toxicity against the adults of S. oryzae. The order of decreasing toxicity was F1 > F2 > F3 with LC₅₀ values of 52.1, 58.5, and 61.7 µl/l for contact toxicity, and 71, 75.5, and 76.7 µl/l air for fumigant bioassay after 72 hours. Formulation of C. hystrix peel oil in a nanoemulsion enhance its effectiveness and reduce the amount of applied essential oil.
Evaluation of Yield and Yield Components of Malaysian Palm Oil Board-Senegal Oil Palm Germplasm Using Multivariate Tools
The narrow base of genetic is the main obstacle of breeding and genetic improvement in oil palm industry. In order to broaden the genetic bases, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board has been extensively collected wild germplasm from its original area of 11 African countries which are Nigeria, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Cameroon, Zaire, Angola, Madagascar, and Tanzania. The germplasm collections were established and maintained as a field gene bank in Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) Research Station in Kluang, Johor, Malaysia to conserve a wide range of oil palm genetic resources for genetic improvement of Malaysian oil palm industry. Therefore, assessing the performance and genetic diversity of the wild materials is very important for understanding the genetic structure of natural oil palm population and to explore genetic resources. Principal component analysis (PCA) and Cluster analysis are very efficient multivariate tools in the evaluation of genetic variation of germplasm and have been applied in many crops. In this study, eight populations of MPOB-Senegal oil palm germplasm were studied to explore the genetic variation pattern using PCA and cluster analysis. A total of 20 yield and yield component traits were used to analyze PCA and Ward’s clustering using SAS 9.4 version software. The first four principal components which have eigenvalue >1 accounted for 93% of total variation with the value of 44%, 19%, 18% and 12% respectively for each principal component. PC1 showed highest positive correlation with fresh fruit bunch (0.315), bunch number (0.321), oil yield (0.317), kernel yield (0.326), total economic product (0.324), and total oil (0.324) while PC 2 has the largest positive association with oil to wet mesocarp (0.397) and oil to fruit (0.458). The oil palm population were grouped into four distinct clusters based on 20 evaluated traits, this imply that high genetic variation existed in among the germplasm. Cluster 1 contains two populations which are SEN 12 and SEN 10, while cluster 2 has only one population of SEN 3. Cluster 3 consists of three populations which are SEN 4, SEN 6, and SEN 7 while SEN 2 and SEN 5 were grouped in cluster 4. Cluster 4 showed the highest mean value of fresh fruit bunch, bunch number, oil yield, kernel yield, total economic product, and total oil and Cluster 1 was characterized by high oil to wet mesocarp, and oil to fruit. The desired traits that have the largest positive correlation on extracted PCs could be utilized for the improvement of oil palm breeding program. The populations from different clusters with the highest cluster means could be used for hybridization. The information from this study can be utilized for effective conservation and selection of the MPOB-Senegal oil palm germplasm for the future breeding program.
Automatic Tofu Stick Cutter to Increase the Production Capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises
In the tofu stick production, the manual cutting process takes a half of working day or 4 hours for 21 kg of tofu. This issue has hampered the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to increase the capacity of production to fulfill the market demand. In order to address the issue, the cutting process should be automized to create fast, efficient, and effective tools. This innovation to tackle this problem is an automatic cutter tool that is able to move continuously to cut the tofu into stick size. The tool uses the 78,5-watt electric motor and automatic sensors to drive the cutting tool automatically, resulting faster process time with more uniform size compared to the manual cutter. The component of this tool, i.e., cutting knife and the driver, electric motor, limit switch sensors, riley, Arduino nano, and power supply. The cutting speed cutting speed of this tool is 101,25 mm/s producing 64 tofu sticks. Benefits that can be obtained from the use of automatic tofu stick cutter, i.e. (1) Faster process (2) More uniform cutting result; (3) The quality of the tofu stick is maintained due to minimal contact with humans so that contamination can be suppressed; (4) The cutting knife can be modified to the desired size of the owner.
Effects of Climate Change and Livelihood Diversification on Gendered Productivity Gap of Farmers in Northern Regions of Ghana
In the midst of climate variability and change, the role of gender in ensuring food production remains vital. Therefore, this study analysed the gendered productivity among maize farmers, and the effects of climate change and variability as well as livelihood diversification on gendered productivity gap. This involved a total of 619 farmers selected through a multistage sampling procedure. The data was analysed using Oaxaca Blinder decomposition model. From the result, there is a significant productivity gap of 58.8% and 44.8% between male and female heads, and between male heads and female spouses, respectively. About 87.47% and 98.08% of the variations in gendered productivity were explained by resource endowment. While livelihood diversification significantly influenced gendered productivity through endowment and coefficient effect, climate variables significantly affect productivity gap through only coefficient effects. The study concluded that there is a substantial gendered productivity gap among farmers and this is particularly due to differences in endowment. Generally, there is a high potential of reducing gendered productivity gaps through the provision of equal diversification opportunities and reducing females’ vulnerability to climate change. Among the livelihood activities, off-farm activities such as agro-processing and shea butter processing should be promoted. Similarly, the adoption of on-farm adaptation strategies should be promoted among the farmers.
Physiological and Biochemical Based Analysis to Assess the Efficacy of Mulch under Partial Root Zone Drying in Wheat
Among the various abiotic stresses, drought stress is one of the most challenging for field crops. Wheat is one of the major staple food of the world, which is highly affected by water deficit stress in the current scenario of climate change. In order to ensure food security by depleting water resources, there is an urgent need to adopt technologies which result in sufficient crop yield with less water consumption. Mulching and partial rootzone drying (PRD) are two important management techniques used for water conservation and to mitigate the negative impacts of drought. The experiment was conducted to screen out the best-suited mulch for wheat under PRD system. Two water application techniques (I1= full irrigation I2= PRD irrigation) and four mulch treatments (M0= un-mulched, M1= black plastic mulch, M2= wheat straw mulch and M4= cotton sticks mulch) were conducted in completely randomized design with four replications. The treatment, black plastic mulch was performed the best than other mulch treatments. For irrigation levels, higher values of growth, physiological and water-related parameters were recorded in control treatment while, quality traits and enzymatic activities were higher under partial root zone drying. The current study concluded that adverse effects of drought on wheat can be significantly mitigated by using mulches but black plastic mulch was best suited for partial rootzone drying irrigation system in wheat.
Investigating the Significance of Ground Covers and Partial Root Zone Drying Irrigation for Water Conservation Weed Suppression and Quality Traits of Wheat
One of the main negative effects of climate change is the increasing scarcity of water worldwide, especially for irrigation purpose. In order to ensure food security with less available water, there is a need to adopt easy and economic techniques. Two of the effective techniques are; use of ground covers and partial root zone drying (PRD). A field experiment was arranged to find out the most suitable mulch for PRD irrigation system in wheat. The experiment was comprised of two irrigation methods (I0 = irrigation on both sides of roots and I1= irrigation to only one side of the root as alternate irrigation) and four ground covers (M0= open ground without any cover, M1= black plastic cover, M2= wheat straw cover and M4= cotton sticks cover). More plant height, spike length, number of spikelets and number of grains were found in full irrigation treatment. While water use efficiency and grain nutrient (NPK) contents were more in PRD irrigation. All soil covers suppress the weeds and significantly influenced the yield attributes, final yield as well as the grain nutrient contents. However black plastic cover performed the best. It was concluded that joint use of both techniques was more effective for water conservation and increasing grain yield than their sole application and combination of PRD with black plastic mulch performed the best than other ground covers combination used in the experiment.
A Conceptual Design of Freeze Desalination Using Low Cost Refrigeration
In recent years, seawater desalination has been emerged as a potential resource to circumvent water scarcity, especially in coastal regions. Among the various methods, thermal evaporation or distillation and membrane operations like Reverse Osmosis (RO) has been exploited at commercial scale. However, the energy cost and maintenance expenses associated with these processes remain high. In this context Freeze Desalination (FD), subjected to the availability of low cost refrigeration, offers an exciting alternative. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regasification terminals provide an opportunity to utilize the refrigeration available with regasification of LNG. This work presents the conceptualization and development of a process scheme integrating the ice and hydrate based FD to the LNG regasification process. This integration overcomes the high energy demand associated with FD processes by utilizing the refrigeration associated with LNG regasification. An optimal process scheme was obtained by performing process simulation using ASPEN PLUS simulator. The results indicated the new proposed process requires only 1 kWh/m³ of energy with the utilization of maximum refrigeration. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was also performed to study the effect of various process parameters on water recovery and energy consumption for the proposed process. The results show that the energy consumption decreases by 30% with an increase in water recovery from 30% to 60%. However, due to operational limitations associated with ice and hydrate handling in seawater, the water recovery cannot be maximized but optimized. The proposed process can be potentially used to desalinate seawater in integration with LNG regasification terminal.
A Comparative Study on the Phenolics Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Water Yam Landraces in Kerala, India
Water yam is an underutilized tropical tuber crop and a rich source of polyphenol compounds and acylated anthocyanins. There is an inverse relationship between the risk of chronic human diseases and the consumption of polyphenolic rich diet. Dioscorea alata is a plant species with several undocumented landraces. In this study, several landraces of water yam with distinct morphological features were collected from all over kerala. Distinct variation in morphological feature among landraces was tuber colour and only those landraces which expressed consistent morphological characters for constitutively two growing seasons were included in the study. Plants were categorized according to the L*a*b* colour attributes of tuber extracts. There were five categories, red, pink, orange, yellow and white. Total phenol, flavanoid and anthocyanin content of the tuber extracts were measured spectroscopically and correlated with antioxidant properties determined by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl-hydrate free radical method and ferric reducing antioxidant power assay. Landraces showed statistically significant difference in all the parameters studied and strong correlation were observed between total phenol and antioxidant activity. Out of the five categories orange coloured tubers showed relatively high phenol and flavanoid content.Colour variations of tuber extracts correlated with anthocyanin quantity and polymeric nature of anthocyanins. This study helps to identify and categorize landraces of D.alata with potential health benefits and commercial applications. Distinct colour characteristics of tuber could be useful in the field of natural colorants. This study also aimed to document and preserve landraces of water yams for further study and research in this area.
Disinfestation of Harvest Celery Apium graveolens var. dulce Using Low Temperature as Quarantine Treatment for Springtails Hypogastrura vernalis (Carl) (Collembola: Hypogastruridae)
Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) is grown in Australia for domestic consumption and export markets. Quarantine treatment enables export of celery to the world that enforces quarantine against springtails. In the field, celery bunches become host to the Australian native springtail (Hypogastrura vernalis) (Collembola: Hypogastruridae). Springtails live inside the celery bunch and do not cause damage to the product. Springtails are, however, considered a quarantine pest and have had a significant impact on celery exports. In this experiment, cold treatments were conducted on fresh celery to investigate their effect on springtail mortality. Four low-temperature treatments were used (3, 5, 10, and 15 ºC) over four treatment periods (3, 5, 7, and 14 days). Springtail mortality was not affected by the 3, 5, 10 and 15 ºC treatments for the treatment periods of 3, 5, 7, and 14 days. Low-temperature damage was observed most noticeably on celery in the 3 and 5 ºC treatments.
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.
Effects of Irrigation Intervals on Antioxidant Enzyme Activity in Black Carrot Leaves (Daucus carota L.)
Drought is one of the major abiotic stresses affecting the agricultural production worldwide. In this study, Leaf samples were taken from the carrot plants grown under drought stress conditions during the harvesting period. The plants were irrigated in three irrigation interval (4, 6 and 8 days) and Irrigation water regime was set up in pots. The changes in activities of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione s-transferase (GST), superoxide dismutase (SOD)) in leaves of black carrot were investigated. The activities of antioxidant enzymes (GR, GST, SOD) were varied significantly with irrigation intervals. The highest value of GR, GST and SOD were determined in the irrigation interval of 6 days. All antioxidant activity values were decreased in 8 days of irrigation interval. As a result of the study, it has been suggested that optimum irrigation intervals for plants can be used in antioxidant enzymes.
Quality Evaluation of Grape Seed Oils of the Ionian Islands Based on GC-MS and Other Spectroscopic Techniques
, I. Lappa
, D. Daferera
, C. Kanakis
, L. Kiokakis
, K. Skordilis
, A. Avramouli
, E. Kalli
, C. Pappas
, P. A. Tarantilis
, E. Skotti
Grape seeds are waste products of wineries and often referred to as an important agricultural and industrial waste product with the potential to be used in pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic applications. In this study, grape seed oil from traditional Ionian varieties was examined for the determination of the quality and the characteristics of each variety. Initially, the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles were analyzed using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, after transesterification. Furthermore, other quality parameters of the grape seed oils were determined by Spectroscopy techniques, UV-Vis and Raman included. Moreover, the antioxidant capacity of the oil was measured by 2,2'-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS) and 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays and their antioxidant capacity expressed in Trolox equivalents. K and ΔΚ indices were measured in 232, 268, 270 nm, as an oil quality index. The results indicate that the air-dried grape seed total oil content ranged from 5.26 to 8.77% w/w, which is in accordance with the other grape seed varieties tested in similar studies. The composition of grape seed oil is predominated with linoleic and oleic fatty acids, with the linoleic fatty acid ranging from 53.68 to 69.95% and both the linoleic and oleic fatty acids totaling 78-82% of FAMEs, which is analogous to the fatty acid composition of safflower oil. The antioxidant assays ABTS and DPPH scored high, exhibiting that the oils have potential in the cosmetic and culinary businesses. Above that, our results demonstrate that Ionian grape seed oils have prospects that can go further than cosmetic or culinary use, into the pharmaceuticals industry. Finally, the reclamation of grape seeds from wineries waste stream is in accordance with the bio-economy strategic framework and contributes to environmental protection.
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.
The Influence of Substrate and Temperature on the Growth of Phytophthora palmivora of Cocoa Black Pod Disease
Black pod is the most commonly destructive disease of cacao (Theobroma cacao) which cause major losses to global production of cocoa beans. The genus of Phytophthora is the important pathogen of this disease worldwide. The species of P. megakarya causes black pod disease in West Africa, whereas P. capsici and P. citrophthora cause the incident in Central and South America. In Malaysia, this disease is caused by P. palmivora which infect all stages of pod development including flower cushion, cherelle, immature and mature pods. This pathogen destroys up to 10% of trees yearly through stem cankers and causes 20 to 30% pod damages through black pod rot. Since P. palmivora has a high impact on cocoa yield, it is crucial to identify some of the abiotic factors that can constrain their growth. In an effort to evaluate the effect of different substrates and temperatures to the growth of P. palmivora, a laboratory study was done under a different range of temperatures. Different substrate for the growth of P. palmivora were used which are corn meal agar (CMA) media and detached pod of cocoa. An agar plug of seven days old of P. palmivora growth was transferred on both substrates and incubated at 24, 27, 30, 33 and 36ᵒC, respectively. The diameter of lesion on pod and the cultural growth of pathogen was recorded for 7 consecutive days. The optimum incubation temperature of P. palmivora on both substrates is at 27ᵒC. However, the growth tends to be inhibited as the temperature increases. No lesion developed on pod surface incubated at 36ᵒC and only a small lesion observed at 33ᵒC. The sporulation with the formation of white mycelial growth on pod surface was only visible at optimum temperature, 27ᵒC. On CMA, the pathogen grew over the entire range of temperatures tested. The study is, therefore, concluded that P. palmivora grow the best at temperature of 27ᵒC on both substrates and their growth begin to inhibit when the temperature rises to more than 27ᵒC. The growth pattern of this pathogen is similar on both pod surface and cultural media.
Determination of the Inhibitory Effects of N-Methylpyrrole Derivatives on Glutathione Reductase Enzyme
Glutathione reductase (GR) is a crucial antioxidant enzyme which is responsible for the maintenance of the antioxidant GSH (glutathione) molecule. Antimalarial effects of some chemical molecules are attributed to their inhibition of GR; thus inhibitors of this enzyme are expected to be promising candidates for the treatment of malaria. In this work, GR inhibitory properties of N-Methylpyrrole derivatives are reported. Firstly, GR was purified by means of affinity chromatography using 2’,5’-ADP-Sepharose 4B as ligand. Enzymatic activity was measured by Beutler’s method. Synthesis of the compounds was approved by thin layer chromatography and column chromatography. Different inhibitor concentrations were used and all compounds were tested in triplicate at each concentration used. It was found that all compounds have better inhibitory activity than the strong GR inhibitor N,N-bis(2-chloroethyl)-N-nitrosourea, especially three molecules, 8m, 8n, and 8q, are the best among them with low micromolar I₅₀ values. Findings of our study indicate that these Schiff base derivatives are strong GR inhibitors which can be used as leads for designation of novel antimalaria candidates.
Using Medicinal Herbs in Designing Green Roofs
Today, the use of medicinal herbs in architecture and green space has a significant effect on the process of calming human and increases the reliability coefficient of design and design flexibility. The current research was conducted with the aim to design green roof and investigate the effect of medicinal herbs such as cress, leek, fenugreek, beet, sweet fennel, green basil, purple basil, and purslane on reducing the number of environmental pollutants (copper, zinc, and cadmium). Finally, the weight of the dry plant and the concentration of elements zinc, lead, and cadmium in the herbs was measured. According to the results, the maximum dry weight (88.10 and 73.79 g) was obtained in beet and purslane respectively and the minimum dry weight (24.12 and 25.21) was obtained in purple basil, and green basil respectively. The maximum amount of element zinc (235 and 213 mg/kg) and the maximum amount of lead (143 mg/kg) were seen in sweet fennel and purple basil. In addition, the maximum amount of cadmium (13 mg/kg) was seen in sweet fennel and purple basil and the minimum amount of lead and cadmium (78 and 7 mg/kg) was seen in green basil, and the minimum amount of zinc (110 mg/kg) was seen in leek. On the other hand, the absorption amount of element lead in the herbs beet and purslane was the same and both absorbed 123 mg/kg lead. Environmentally, if green roofs are implemented extensively and in wide dimensions in urban spaces, they will purify and reduce pollution significantly by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
Molecular Cloning of CSP2s, PBP1 and PBP2 Genes of Rhyzopertha dominica
Lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica, is a causing damages of stored grains all tropical and subtropical area in the global, according to the information of antenna cDNA library of R. dominica, three olfactory protein genes, including R.domica CSPs2, R.domica PBPs1, R.domica PBPs2 genes (GenBank accessions are KJ186798.1, KJ186830.1, KJ186831.1 separately.), were successfully cloned. For sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, R.domica CSPs1 and R.domica CSPs2 belonged to Minus-C CSPs showed that have 4 conserved cysteine residues, while R.domica PBPs1 and R.domica PBPs2 showed conserved amino acids in all PBPs six conserved cysteine residues. The results of transcription expression level of PBPs1 and PBPs2 of R. dominica showed that the expression level of R.domnica PBP2 is much higher than that of R.domnica PBP1. The variation transcription level at the different developmental time suggested the PBP1, and PBP2 had their particular job in searching food sources, mates and oviposition sites.
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.
Detection of Powdery Mildew Disease in Strawberry Using Image Texture and Supervised Classifiers
Strawberry powdery mildew (PM) is a serious disease that has a significant impact on strawberry production. Field scouting is still a major way to find PM disease, which is not only labor intensive but also almost impossible to monitor disease severity. To reduce the loss caused by PM disease and achieve faster automatic detection of the disease, this paper proposes an approach for detection of the disease, based on image texture and classified with support vector machines (SVMs) and k-nearest neighbors (kNNs). The methodology of the proposed study is based on image processing which is composed of five main steps including image acquisition, pre-processing, segmentation, features extraction and classification. Two strawberry fields were used in this study. Images of healthy leaves and leaves infected with PM (Sphaerotheca macularis) disease under artificial cloud lighting condition. Colour thresholding was utilized to segment all images before textural analysis. Colour co-occurrence matrix (CCM) was introduced for extraction of textural features. Forty textural features, related to a physiological parameter of leaves were extracted from CCM of National television system committee (NTSC) luminance, hue, saturation and intensity (HSI) images. The normalized feature data were utilized for training and validation, respectively, using developed classifiers. The classifiers have experimented with internal, external and cross-validations. The best classifier was selected based on their performance and accuracy. Experimental results suggested that SVMs classifier showed 98.33%, 85.33%, 87.33%, 93.33% and 95.0% of accuracy on internal, external-I, external-II, 4-fold cross and 5-fold cross-validation, respectively. Whereas, kNNs results represented 90.0%, 72.00%, 74.66%, 89.33% and 90.3% of classification accuracy, respectively. The outcome of this study demonstrated that SVMs classified PM disease with a highest overall accuracy of 91.86% and 1.1211 seconds of processing time. Therefore, overall results concluded that the proposed study can significantly support an accurate and automatic identification and recognition of strawberry PM disease with SVMs classifier.