Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 46035

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Heavy Metal Mobility and Speciation in Coal Ash Reclaimed Hydrophobic Mine Soils
Soil hydrophobicity (soil water repellency) is an important mechanism for sequestration of organic carbon, however it can induce preferential flow and affect contaminant mobilization and transport. Heavy metal mobility and speciation in solutions from acidic (pH 3-4) coal ash reclaimed hydrophobic technogenic soils from a major coal mine region in Eastern Europe were studied with the aim to reveal relationships with soil hydrophobicity and other soil characteristics. The technogenic soils (> 30 years from ash reclamation) from the mine area are heterogeneous materials containing clays and irregularly distributed lignitic particles and exhibit small-scale spatial variability of water repellency. Non-vegetated and pine-afforested spoils-turned soils were studied. The ‘water drop penetration time’ (WDPT) varied from 14-14440 s. Mobility and solubility of metals (1M NH4NO3, 0.01 MCaCI2) were closely related with the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and WDPT. Lead solubility and mobility was less satisfactorily predicted from measured soil characteristics than solubility and mobility of the other heavy metals. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis involving exchangeable and soluble forms of Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Zn and Pb and other soil properties and characteristics (CEC, organic carbon (OC) content, % clay, % sand and WDPT) revealed that soil hydrophobicity and soluble and exchangeable forms of most heavy metals had a similar source. Especially strong was the link between WDPT, OC and soluble and exchangeable Fe. Water extracts of Fe were also significantly correlated with WDPT. All heavy metals (1M NH4NO3, 0.01 MCaCI2), except Pb were positively related with % sand content due to accumulation of coal and ash particulate organic matter in the sand fraction. Ion activity and species distribution based on water solution chemistry data were calculated using Visual Minteq. The majority of heavy metal species in the extremely acidic (pH~3) technogenic soils were represented by free ions (M2+) and sulfate complexes (MSO40). Results obtained in this study suggest that lignitic coal and ash particles are the main source for soluble and mobile fractions of heavy metals. The high share of free and neutral dissolved species has further implications on heavy metal mobility and transport in the reclaimed hydrophobic technogenic soils.
Modelling Agricultural Commodity Price Volatility with Markov-Switching Regression, Single Regime GARCH and Markov-Switching GARCH Models: Empirical Evidence from South Africa
Background: commodity price volatility originating from excessive commodity price fluctuation has been a global problem especially after the recent financial crises. Volatility is a measure of risk or uncertainty in financial analysis. It plays a vital role in risk management, portfolio management, and pricing equity. Objectives: the core objective of this paper is to examine the relationship between the prices of agricultural commodities with oil price, gas price, coal price and exchange rate (USD/Rand). In addition, the paper tries to fit an appropriate model that best describes the log return price volatility and estimate Value-at-Risk and expected shortfall. Data and methods: the data used in this study are the daily returns of agricultural commodity prices from 02 January 2007 to 31st October 2016. The data sets consists of the daily returns of agricultural commodity prices namely: white maize, yellow maize, wheat, sunflower, soya, corn, and sorghum. The paper applies the three-state Markov-switching (MS) regression, the standard single-regime GARCH and the two regime Markov-switching GARCH (MS-GARCH) models. Results: to choose the best fit model, the log-likelihood function, Akaike information criterion (AIC), Bayesian information criterion (BIC) and deviance information criterion (DIC) are employed under three distributions for innovations. The results indicate that: (i) the price of agricultural commodities was found to be significantly associated with the price of coal, price of natural gas, price of oil and exchange rate, (ii) for all agricultural commodities except sunflower, k=3 had higher log-likelihood values and lower AIC and BIC values. Thus, the three-state MS regression model outperformed the two-state MS regression model (iii) MS-GARCH(1,1) with generalized error distribution (ged) innovation performs best for white maize and yellow maize; MS-GARCH(1,1) with student-t distribution (std) innovation performs better for sorghum; MS-gjrGARCH(1,1) with ged innovation performs better for wheat, sunflower and soya and MS-GARCH(1,1) with std innovation performs better for corn. In conclusion, this paper provided a practical guide for modelling agricultural commodity prices by MS regression and MS-GARCH processes. This paper can be good as a reference when facing modelling agricultural commodity price problems.
Seedling Emergence and Initial Growth of Different Plants after Trichoderma sp. Inoculation
The use of plant growth promoting fungi (PGPF) has significantly increased in the last decade mostly due to their multi-level properties, and their expected success as biofertilizers in agriculture. Beneficial fungi with broad-host range undergo long-term interactions with a large variety of plants thereby playing a significant role in managed ecosystems and in the adaptation of crops to global climate changes. Trichoderma spp. are promising fungi toward the development of sustainable agriculture. The aim of our experiment was to investigate the effect of seed inoculation of sunflower, maize, soybean, paprika, melon, and watermelon seeds with Trichoderma sp. on early seed germination energy and initial growth of the plant. The seed inoculation with Trichoderma sp. increased the seedling emergence from 7, 85% in melon to 156,70% in watermelon. The inoculation had the best effect on initial growth of maize shoot (+23,80%) and soybean root (+106,30%). The different response of seed and young plants on Trichoderma sp. inoculation implicate the need for future investigations of successful inoculation systems and modes of their integration in sustainable agriculture production systems.
Rhizobium Leguminosarum: Selecting Strain and Exploring Delivery Systems for White Clover
Leguminous crops can be self-sufficient for their nitrogen requirements when their roots are nodulated with an effective Rhizobium strain and for this reason seed or soil inoculation is practiced worldwide to ensure nodulation and nitrogen fixation in grain and forage legumes. The most widely used method of applying commercially available inoculants is using peat cultures which are coated onto seeds prior to sowing. In general, rhizobia survive well in peat, but some species die rapidly after inoculation onto seeds. The development of improved formulation methodology is essential to achieve extended persistence of rhizobia on seeds, and improved efficacy. Formulations could be solid or liquid. Most popular solid formulations or delivery systems are: wettable powders (WP), water dispersible granules (WG), and granules (DG). Liquid formulation generally are: suspension concentrates (SC) or emulsifiable concentrates (EC). In New Zealand, R. leguminosarum bv. trifolii strain TA1 has been used as a commercial inoculant for white clover over wide areas for many years. Seeds inoculation is carried out by mixing the seeds with inoculated peat, some adherents and lime, but rhizobial populations on stored seeds decline over several weeks due to a number of factors including desiccation and antibacterial compounds produced by the seeds. In order to develop a more stable and suitable delivery system to incorporate rhizobia in pastures, two strains of R. leguminosarum (TA1 and CC275e) and several formulations and processes were explored (peat granules, self-sticky peat for seed coating, emulsions and a powder containing spray dried microcapsules). Emulsions prepared with fresh broth of strain TA1 were very unstable under storage and after seed inoculation. Formulations where inoculated peat was used as the active ingredient were significantly more stable than those prepared with fresh broth. The strain CC275e was more tolerant to stress conditions generated during formulation and seed storage. Peat granules and peat inoculated seeds using strain CC275e maintained an acceptable loading of 108 CFU/g of granules or 105 CFU/g of seeds respectively, during six months of storage at room temperature. Strain CC275e inoculated on peat was also microencapsulated with a natural biopolymer by spray drying and after optimizing operational conditions, microparticles containing 107 CFU/g and a mean particle size between 10 and 30 micrometers were obtained. Survival of rhizobia during storage of the microcapsules is being assessed. The development of a stable product depends on selecting an active ingredient (microorganism), robust enough to tolerate some adverse conditions generated during formulation, storage, and commercialization and after its use in the field. However, the design and development of an adequate formulation, using compatible ingredients, optimization of the formulation process and selecting the appropriate delivery system, is possibly the best tool to overcome the poor survival of rhizobia and provide farmers with better quality inoculants to use.
Design and Developing Infrared Sensor for Detection and Measuring Mass Flow Rate in Seed Drills
Multiple or miss sowing by seed drills is a common problem on the farm. This problem causes overuse of seeds, wasting energy, rising crop treatment cost and reducing crop yield in harvesting. To be informed of mentioned faults and monitoring the performance of seed drills during sowing, developing a seed sensor for detecting seed mass flow rate and monitoring in a delivery tube is essential. In this research, an infrared seed sensor was developed to estimate seed mass flow rate in seed drills. The developed sensor comprised of a pair of spaced apart circuits one acting as an IR transmitter and the other acting as an IR receiver. Optical coverage in the sensing section was obtained by setting IR LEDs and photo-diodes directly on opposite sides. Passing seeds made interruption in radiation beams to the photo-diode which caused output voltages to change. The voltage difference of sensing units summed by a microcontroller and were converted to an analog value by DAC chip. The sensor was tested by using a roller seed metering device with three types of seeds consist of chickpea, wheat, and alfalfa (representing large, medium and fine seed, respectively). The results revealed a good fitting between voltage received from seed sensor and mass flow of seeds in the delivery tube. A linear trend line was set for three seeds collected data as a model of the mass flow of seeds. A final mass flow model was developed for various size seeds based on receiving voltages from the seed sensor, thousand seed weight and equivalent diameter of seeds. The developed infrared seed sensor, besides monitoring mass flow of seeds in field operations, can be used for the assessment of mechanical planter seed metering unit performance in the laboratory and provide an easy calibrating method for seed drills before planting in the field.
The Study of Genetic Diversity in Canola Cultivars of Kashmar-Iran Region
To study the genetic diversity in rapeseeds and agronomic traits, an experiment was conducted using multivariate statistical methods at Agricultural Research Station of Kashmar in 2012-2013.In this experiment, ten genotypes of rapeseed in a Randomized Complete Block designs with three replications were evaluated. The following traits were studied: seed yield, number of days to the fifty percent of flowering, plant height, number of pods on main stem, length of the pod, seed yield per plant, number of seed in pod, harvest index, weight of 100 seeds, number of pods on lateral branch, number of lateral branches. In analyzing the variance, differences between cultivars were significant. The average comparative revealed that the most valuable variety was Licord regarding to the traits while the least valuable variety was Opera. In stepwise regression, harvest index, grain yield per plant and number of pods per lateral branches were entering to model. Correlation analysis showed that the grain yield with the number of pods per lateral branches and seed yield per plant have positive and significant correlation. In the factor analysis, the first five components explained more than 83% of the variance in the data. In the first factor, seed yield and the number of pods per lateral branches were of the highest importance. The traits, seed yield per plant, and pod per main stem were of a great significance in the second factor. Moreover, in the third factor, plant height and the number of lateral branches were more important. In the fourth factor, plant height and one hundred seeds weight were of the highest variance. Finally, days to fifty percent of flowering and one hundred seeds weight were more important in fifth factor.
Effect of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria on the Germination and Early Growth of Onion (Allium Cepa)
Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are a heterogeneous group of bacteria that can be found in the rhizosphere, at root surfaces and in association with roots, enhancing the growth of the plant either directly and/or indirectly. Increased crop productivity associated with the presence of PGPR has been observed in a broad range of plant species, such as raspberry, chickpeas, legumes, cucumber, eggplant, pea, pepper, radish, tobacco, tomato, lettuce, carrot, corn, cotton, millet, bean, cocoa, etc. However, until now there has not been much research about influences of the PGPR on the growth and yield of onion. Onion (Allium cepa L.), of the Liliaceae family, is a species of great economic importance, widely cultivated all over the world. The aim of this research was to examine the influence of plant growth promoting bacteria Pseudomonas sp. Dragana, Pseudomonas sp. Kiš, Bacillus subtillis and Azotobacter sp. on the seed germination and early growth of onion (Allium cepa). PGPR Azotobacter sp., Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas sp. Dragana, Pseudomonas sp. Kiš, from the collection of the Faculty of Agriculture, Novi Sad, Serbia, were used as inoculants. The number of cells in 1 ml of the inoculum was 10⁸ CFU/ml. The control variant was not inoculated. The effect of PGPR on seed germination and hypocotyls length of Allium cepa was evaluated in controlled conditions, on filter paper in the dark at 22°C, while effect on the plant length and mass in semicontrol conditions, in 10 l volume vegetative pots. Seed treated with fungicide and untreated seed were used. After seven days the percentage of germination was determined. After seven and fourteen days hypocotil length was measured. Fourteen days after germination, length and mass of plants were measured. Application of Pseudomonas sp. Dragana and Kiš and Bacillus subtillis had a negative effect on onion seed germination, while the use of Azotobacter sp. gave positive results. On average, application of all investigated inoculants had a positive effect on the measured parameters of plant growth. Azotobacter sp. had the greatest effect on the hypocotyls length, length and mass of the plant. In average, better results were achieved with untreated seeds in compare with treated. Results of this study have shown that PGPR can be used in the production of onion.
Plant Growth and Yield Enhancement of Soybean by Inoculation with Symbiotic and Nonsymbiotic Bacteria
Microbial inoculants from the group of symbiotic-nitrogen-fixing rhizobia are well known and widely used in production of legumes. On the other hand, nonsymbiotic plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are not commonly used in practice. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of soybean inoculation with symbiotic and nonsymbiotic bacteria on plant growth and seed yield of soybean. Microbiological activity in rhizospheric soil was also determined. The experiment was set up using a randomized block system in filed conditions with the following treatments: control-no inoculation; treatment 1-Bradyrhizobium japonicum; treatment 2-Azotobacter sp.; treatment 3-Bacillus sp..In the flowering stage of growth (FS) the number of nodules per plant (NPP), root length (RL), plant height (PH) and weight (PW) were measured. The number of pod per plant (PPP), number of seeds per pod (SPP) and seed weight per plant (SWP) were recorded at the end of vegetation period (EV). Microbiological analyses of soil included the determination of total number of bacteria (TNB), number of fungi (FNG), actinomycetes (ACT) and azotobacters (AZB) as well as the activity of the dehydrogenase enzyme (DHA). The results showed that bacterial inoculation led to the formation of root nodules regardless of the treatments with statistically no significant difference. Strong nodulation was also present in control treatment. RL and PH were positively influenced by inoculation with Azotobacter sp. and Bacillus sp., respectively. Statistical analyses of the number of PPP, SPP, and SWP showed no significant differences among investigated treatments. High average number of microorganisms were determined in all treatments. Most abundant were TNB (log No 8,010) and ACT (log No 6,055) than FNG and AZB with log No 4,867 and log No 4,025, respectively. The highest DHA activity was measured in the FS of soybean in treatment 3. The application of nonsymbiotic bacteria in soybean production can alleviate initial plant growth and help the plant to better overcome different stress conditions caused by abiotic and biotic factors.
The Influence of Lactic Acid Bacteria Combinations on Wheat Bread Quality
Different combinations of appropriate technological properties showing lactic acid bacteria (Pediococcus pentosaceus VLGL183 and Enterococcus pseudoavium VLGL 234, Lactobacillus plantarum VLGL135 and Pediococcus pentosaceus VLGL183, Pediococcus pentosaceus VLGL183 and Lactobacillus brevis VLGL173, Pediococcus pentosaceus VLGL183 and Leuconostoc mesenteroides VLGL242, Pediococcus pentosaceus VLGL183 and Lactobacillus curvatus VLGL51, Lactobacillus plantarum VLGL135 and Lactobacillus curvatus VLGL51) for wheat sourdough production were used, and the influence of different sourdoughs on wheat bread quality parameters was evaluated. The highest overall acceptability (135.8 mm in 140 mm hedonic scale) of the bread produced with L. plantarum VLGL135 and P. pentosaceus VLGL183 sourdough was established. Also, bread produced with above mention sourdough, has the highest specific volume, shape coefficient, moisture content, and porosity, 3.40 ml /g; 2.59, 33.7 %, and 76.6 %, respectively. It was found, that the used sourdoughs reduce acrylamide content in bread (from 29.5 to 67.2%), just, the isolated lactic acid bacteria strains could be recommended for higher quality and safer bread production.
Development of Antimicrobial Properties Nutraceuticals: Gummy Candies with Addition of Bovine Colostrum, Essential Oils and Probiotics
In this study, antimicrobial nutraceuticals; gummy candies (GC) from bovine colostrum (BC), essential oils (EOs), probiotic lactic acid bacteria (PLAB), and their combinations, were developed. For antimicrobial GC preparation, heteropolysaccharide (agar) was used. The antimicrobial properties of EOs (Eugenia caryophyllata, Thymus vulgaris, Citrus reticulata L., Citrus paradisi L.), BC, L. paracasei LUHS244, L. plantarum LUHS135, and their combinations against pathogenic bacteria strains (Streptococcus mutans, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) were evaluated. The highest antimicrobial properties by EO’s (Eugenia caryophyllata and Thymus vulgaris) were established. The optimal ingredients composition for antimicrobial GC preparation was established, which incorporate the BC fermented with L. paracasei LUHS244 in combination with Thymus vulgaris or Eugenia caryophyllata. These ingredients showed high inhibition properties of all tested pathogenic strains (except Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Antimicrobial GC formula consisting of thyme EO (up to 0.2%) and fermented BC (up to 3%), and for taste masking, mandarin or grapefruit EOs (up to 0.2%) was used. Developed GC high overall acceptability and antimicrobial properties, thus, antimicrobial GC could be a preferred form of nutraceuticals. This study was fulfilled with the support of the LSMU-KTU joint project.
Required Knowledge to Promote Glutinous Rice Production Sustainability for Food Sufficiency in Thailand
In Thailand, glutinous rice is a considerable staple food crop, is deeply related to Thai culture and tradition, and also important for the food security of small farm holders. Recent agriculture and economic-region development trend leads to increasing competition between food (rice) and fuel (cassava) crops, posing direct threat to rice production. In total, these problems affected glutinous rice production for sufficiency consumption. Although Thai farmers have been growing glutinous rice for a long time, there are still various problems, involving seed quality, limited area, high cost, and pests’ issues. Therefore one goal was to obtain useful information about glutinous rice production from Thai farmers, which could be used to manage and develop the glutinous rice knowledge of farmers towards glutinous rice production development for future food security. Thus, the purposes of the study were to collect and analyze glutinous rice production of Thai farmers, required knowledge, glutinous rice sufficiency, and attempts to determine how the important glutinous rice production influence the glutinous rice sufficiency. The data were collected from 400 farmers using an interviewing schedule and were statistically analyzed using, percentage, arithmetic mean, multiple- regression, and a Likert scaling. The survey profile of the respondents indicated that most farmers were elderly (50-60 years) and had obtained a basic education that limited their glutinous rice knowledge and their ability to improve their traditional farming procedures. Although the respondents had a lot of experience over a long period in growing glutinous rice (nearly 30 years) and had received knowledge from their ancestors, friends, or extension workers, they still needed to develop their glutinous rice production. The farmers grew glutinous rice on a small scale (1.27 ha), with an average annual yield of 2,367 kg.ha⁻¹. The average annual production per household was 2,805 kg, with the average annual income from glutinous rice being USD 328. The study indicated that the glutinous rice consumption sufficiency of the farmers was more than 86% and a significant relationship between glutinous rice production and glutinous rice sufficiency. For improving glutinous rice production, the farmers required knowledge on pest protection was at the high level, while knowledge on reducing the cost of production and knowledge on seed production were at the moderate level. Although, the study found that most of respondents had glutinous rice sufficiency, approximately 14% of farmers had glutinous rice consumption insufficiency caused by natural disaster, pests, and limited irrigation. Thus, both the policy makers and farmers should strive to solve these issues to improve the quality of farmer life by; 1) increasing the awareness of the importance of glutinous rice for food and job security, 2) support appropriate technology and knowledge focusing on the required knowledge for glutinous rice farming and good standards of glutinous rice production.
Spinetoram10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG: A Promising Green Chemistry to Manage Pest Complex in Bt Cotton
Cotton is a premier commercial fibre crop of India subjected to ravages of insect pests. Sucking pests viz thrips, Thrips tabaci,(lind) leaf hopper Amrsca devastance,(dist) miridbug, Poppiocapsidea beseratense (Dist) and bollworms continue to inflict damage Bt Cotton right from seeding stage. Their infestation impact cotton yield to an extent of 30-40 percent. Chemical control is still adoptable as one of the techniques for combating these pests. Presently, growers have many challenges in selecting effective chemicals which fit in with an integrated pest management. Spinetoram has broad spectrum with excellent insecticidal activity against both sucking pests and bollworms. Hence, it is expected to make a great contribution to stable production and quality improvement of agricultural products. Spinetoram is a derivative of biologically active substances (Spinosyns) produced by soil actinomycetes, Saccharopolypara spinosa which is semi synthetic active ingredient representing Spinosyn chemical class of insecticide and has demonstrated higher level of efficacy with reduced risk on beneficial arthropods. The efforts were made in the present study to test the efficacy of Spinetoram against sucking pests and bollworms in comparison with other insecticides in Bt Cotton under field condition. Field experiment was laid out during 2013-14 and 2014-15 at Agricultural Research station Dharwad (Karnataka-India) in a randomized block design comprising eight treatments and three replications. Bt cotton genotype, Bunny BG-II was sown in a plot size of 5.4 m x5.4 m. Recommend agronomical practices were followed. The Spinetoram 12% SC alone and incombination with sulfaxaflore with varied dosages against pest complex was tested. Performance was compared with Spinosad 45% SC and thiamethoxam 25% WG. The results of consecutive seasons revealed that nonsignificant difference in thrips and leafhopper population and varied significantly after 3 days of imposition. Among the treatments, combiproduct, Spinetoram 10%WG + Sulfoxaflor 30% [email protected] 140 gai/ha registered lowest population of thrips (3.91/3 leaves) and leaf hoppers (1.08/3 leaves) followed by its lower dosages viz 120 gai/ha (4.86/3 leaves and 1.14/3 leaves of thrips and leaf hoppers, respectively) and 100 gai/ha (6.02 and 1.23./3 leaves of thrips and leaf hoppers respectively) being at par, significantly superior to rest of the treatments. On the contrary, the population of thrips, leaf hopper and miridbugs in untreated control was on higher side. Similarly the higher dosage of Spinetoram 10% WG+ Sulfoxaflor 30% WG (140 gai/ha) proved its bioefficacy by registering lowest miridbug incidence of 1.70/25 squares, followed by its lower dosage (1.78 and 1.83/25 squares respectively) Further observation made on bollworms incidence revealed that the higher dosage of Spinetoram 10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG (140 gai/ha) registered lowest percentage of boll damage (7.22%), more number of good opened bolls (36.89/plant) and higher seed cotton yield (19.45q/ha) followed by rest of its lower dosages, Spinetoram 12% SC alone and Spinosad 45% SC being at par significantly superior to rest of the treatments. However, significantly higher boll damage (15.13%) and lower seed cotton yield (14.45 q/ha) was registered in untreated control. Thus Spinetoram10% WG+Sulfoxaflor 30% WG can be a promising option for pest management in Bt Cotton.
Analysis of Eco-Efficiency and the Determinants of Family Agriculture in Southeast Spain
Eco-efficiency is receiving ever-increasing interest as an indicator of sustainability, as it links environmental and economic performances in productive activities. In agriculture, these indicators and their determinants prove relevant due to the close relationships in this activity between the use of natural resources, which is generally limited, and the provision of basic goods to society. In this context, various analyses have focused on eco-efficiency by considering individual family farms as the basic production unit. However, not only must the measure of efficiency be taken into account, but also the existence of a series of factors which constitute socio-economic, political-institutional, and environmental determinants. Said factors have been studied to a lesser extent in the literature. The present work analyzes eco-efficiency at a micro level, focusing on small-scale family farms as the main decision-making units in horticulture in southeast Spain, a sector which represents about 30% of the fresh vegetables produced in the country and about 20% of those consumed in Europe. The objectives of this study are a) to obtain a series of eco-efficiency indicators by estimating several pressure ratios and economic value added in farming, b) to analyze the influence of specific social, economic and environmental variables on the aforementioned eco-efficiency indicators. The present work applies the method of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), which calculates different combinations of environmental pressures (water usage, phytosanitary contamination, waste management, etc.) and aggregate economic value. In a second stage, an analysis is conducted on the influence of the socio-economic and environmental characteristics of family farms on the eco-efficiency indicators, as endogeneous variables, through the use of truncated regression and bootstrapping techniques, following Simar-Wilson methodology. The results reveal considerable inefficiency in aspects such as waste management, while there is relatively little inefficiency in water usage and nitrogen balance. On the other hand, characteristics, such as product specialization, the adoption of quality certifications and belonging to a cooperative do have a positive impact on eco-efficiency. These results are deemed to be of interest to agri-food systems structured on small-scale producers, and they may prove useful to policy-makers as regards managing public environmental programs in agriculture.
Efficacy of Different Plant Extracts against Brevicoryne brassicae and Their Effects on Pollinators
Brevicoryne brassicae (Aphid) is not only the major biotic constraint of rapeseed crop but also transmits 20 different viral pathogens that cause diseases in crucifers. Aphids cause major losses to rapeseed by stunting growth and yield, with real damage being contamination of harvested heads. The misuse of pesticides has led to tremendous economic losses and hazards to human health and environmental pollution. Thus, newer approaches for pest control are continuously being sought. The naturally occurring, biologically active plant-based products seem to have a prominent role in the development of future commercial pesticides not only for increased productivity but their eco-friendly nature. The present experiment was carried out in Research Area of Ayub Agriculture Research Institute, Faisalabad to check the efficacy of different botanicals against rapeseed aphid. The tested botanicals were, neem seed extract, neem leaf extract, dathora seed extract, kaner leaf extract and aak leaf extract. Insecticide, advantage 20 EC served as the positive control in the experiment. Data was recorded before and after 1, 3 and 7 days of treatment application. The results of the experiment revealed that neem seed extract exhibited maximum mortality (48.42%) followed by dathora (45.54%) and kaner leaf extract (40.29%) after 7 days of treatment application. However minimum mortality i.e. 26.64% was observed in case of aak leaf extract. Advantage encountered maximum mortality i.e. 86.14%. All treatments caused maximum mortality after 7 days of treatment application. In case of pollinators maximum population reduction was observed in case of insecticide (74.29%) while minimum reduction was observed in neem leaf extract (11.57%). Hence it was concluded that unlike insecticides, plant based products can be a better option for regulating pests and conserving beneficial insect fauna.
A Review on Silicon Based Induced Resistance in Plants against Insect Pests
Development of resistance in insect pests against various groups of insecticides has prompted the use of alternative integrated pest management approaches. Among these induced host plant resistance represents an important strategy as it offers a practical, cheap and long lasting solution to keep pests populations below economic threshold level (ETL). Silicon (Si) has a major role in regulating plant eco-relationship by providing strength to the plant in the form of anti-stress mechanism which was utilized in coping with the environmental extremes to get a better yield and quality end produce. Among biotic stresses, insect herbivore signifies one class against which Si provide defense. Silicon in its neutral form (H₄SiO₄) is absorbed by the plants via roots through an active process accompanied by the help of different transporters which were located in the plasma membrane of root cells or by a passive process mostly regulated by transpiration stream, which occurs via the xylem cells along with the water. Plants tissues mainly the epidermal cell walls are the sinks of absorbed silicon where it polymerizes in the form of amorphous silica or monosilicic acid. The noteworthy function of this absorbed silicon is to provide structural rigidity to the tissues and strength to the cell walls. Silicon has both direct and indirect effects on insect herbivores. Increased abrasiveness and hardness of epidermal plant tissues and reduced digestibility as a result of deposition of Si primarily as phytoliths within cuticle layer is now the most authenticated mechanisms of Si in enhancing plant resistance to insect herbivores. Moreover, increased Si content in the diet also impedes the efficiency by which insects transformed consumed food into the body mass. The palatability of food material has also been changed by Si application, and it also deters herbivore feeding for food. The production of defensive compounds of plants like silica and phenols have also been amplified by the exogenous application of silicon sources which results in reduction of the probing time of certain insects. Some studies also highlighted the role of silicon at the third trophic level as it also attracts natural enemies of insects attacking the crop. Hence, the inclusion of Si in pest management approaches can be a healthy and eco-friendly tool in future.
Virus Diseases of Edible Seed Squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) in Aksaray Province
Cucurbits (the Cucurbitaceae family) include 119 genera and 825 species distributed primarily in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The major cultivated cucurbit species such as melon (Cucumis melo L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), squash (Cucurbita pepo L.), and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus (Thunb) Matsum.&Nakai) are important vegetable crops worldwide. Squash is grown for fresh consuming, as well as its seeds are used as a snack in Turkey like some Mediterranean countries and Germany, Hungary, Austria and China. Virus diseases are one of the most destructive diseases on squash which is grown for seeds in Aksaray province. In this study, it was aimed to determine the virus infections in major squash growing areas in Aksaray province. Totally 153 plant samples with common virus symptoms like mosaic, curling, blistering, mottling, distortion, shoestring, stunting and vine decline were collected from squash plants during 2014. In this study, DAS-ELISA method is used for identifying the virus infections on the plant samples. According to the results of the DAS-ELISA 84.96 % of plant samples were infected with Zucchini yellow mosaic Potyvirus (ZYMV), Watermelon mosaic Potyvirus-2 (WMV-2), Cucumber mosaic Cucumovirus (CMV), Papaya ringspot Potyvirus-watermelon strain (PRSV-W) and Squash mosaic Comovirus (SqMV). ZYMV was predominant in the research area with the ratio of 66.01 %. WMV-2 was the second important virus disease in the survey area, it was detected on the samples at the ratio of 57.51 %. Also, mixed infections of those virus infections were detected commonly in squash. Especially, ZYMV+WMV-2 mixed infections were common. Cucumber green mottle mosaic Tobamovirus (CGMMV) was not present in the research area.
Adequate Vegetable and Animal Residues Included in the Organic Compound for Horticultural Garden
The objective of this experimental work was of determining the adequate proportions of vegetable as well as animal residues to produce a good quality substrate for organic Garden vegetable production in the University of Minas Gerais (UMG), Passos experimental farm. That substrate will be obtained from the vegetable growing plot as well as the manure obtained from local cattle production activities. The experiment is being carried with residue piles with 1.0 m³ in blocks with six treatments and three replications. The percentages of vegetable and animal residues for each treatment were of 25 and 75% for T1; 35 and 65% for T2; 45 and 55% for T3; 55 and 45% for T4; 65 and 35% for T5; 75 and 25% for T6, respectively. The results obtained from the first treatment bloc presented reduction of piles size at the final stage of compost process noticing that the temperature at the third day after pile setting did not reach values over 50oC and pH stayed around 7.5. Remaining results of dry matter, macro as well as micro nutrients are being under procedure the moment. In the experimental sequence, the substrates are being employed in lettuce nursery production, being analyzed the emergency percentage, emergency velocity index, leaf and seedling numbers as well as aerial part height. It was noticed that after 30 days, only 25% of seedling will be transplanted to the vases. The lettuce plants will be analyzed after 32 days of transplantation to the vases by means of foliar analysis, fresh matter, fresh leaf matter, leaf number, head diameter, head mass and leaf chemical analysis. The statistical analysis will be carried at 1% and 0.5% level of significance by the Tukey test by means of the AgrosEstat® software which will allow to safely defining the treatment with substrate with the mostly desirable characteristics.
Horticultural Garden: A Didactic Resource of Environmental Education at the Fundamental Educational Schools
The organic garden practices are far beyond a pleasant activity, though it exhibits educational content. That issue includes a transversal as well as interdisciplinary subjects in the school, allowing the children to develop new skills. This project aims the valorization of the organic cultivation, emphasizing the organic fertilization as well as plant development. Based on that, two municipal elementary schools located at the city skirts lacking of some social conditions have been selected, integrating around 200 children 6 to 10 years old belonging to the kindergarten of the fundamental school. The Project will include two production phases: the first one is set from May to October and a second one set from October to December; the first production phase was divided into nine periods. The three first periods did not account with children participation set from May to the beginning of August of 2017, reserved to soil preparation, fertility adequation with organic fertilizers and plot setting, nursery setting, vegetable selection as lettuce, carrots, sugar beet, arugula, radish and American lettuce. Two plots were reserved for aromatic vegetables as chives, parsley, mint and basil. The 4th period took place in August and the finalization of that phase will take place at the 9th period. The second phase will include only the 4th and 9th production period. Partial results obtained at this time assure that children appreciated the proposed work; they showed adequate soil and nursery handling. They showed prompt participation and demonstrated skills as well.
Global Climate Change and Insect Pollinators
The foundation of human life on earth relies on many ecosystem services provided by insects of which pollination owes a vital role. The pollination service offered by insects has annual worth of approximately €153 billion. The majority of the flowering plants depends on entomophiles pollination for their reproduction and formation of seeds and fruits. The quantity and quality of insect pollination have multiple implications for stable ecosystem, diverse species level, food security and climate change resilience. The rapidly mounting human population, depletion of natural resources and the global climate change forced us to enter an era of pollination crisis. Climate change not only alters the phenology, population abundance and geographic ranges of different pollinators but also hinders their pollination activities. The successful pollination process relies heavily on the synchronization of biological events of pollinators with the phenological stages of the flowering plants. However, there are possibilities that impending climatic changes may result in asynchrony between plant-pollinators interactions and also mitigate the extent of pollination. The trophic mismatch mostly occurs when pollinators and plants inhabiting the same environment use different environmental cues to regulate their biological events, as these cues are not equally affected by climate change. Synchrony has also been disrupted when one of the interacting species has migratory nature and depend on cues for migration. Moreover, irregular rainfalls and up-surging temperature also disrupts the foraging behaviour of pollinators resulting in reduced flowers visits by insect. Climate change has a direct impact on the behavior and physiology of honey bees, the best known pollinators owing to their extreme floral fidelity. Rising temperature not only alleviates the quantity and quality of floral environment but also alters the bee’s colony harvesting and development ability. Furthermore, a possible earlier decline of flowers is expected in a growing season due to this rising temperature. This may also lead to disrupt the efficiency bumblebee queen that require a constant and adequate nectar and pollen supply throughout the entire growing season for healthy colony production. Considering the role of insect pollination in our ecosystem, their associated risks regarding climate change should be addressed properly for devising a well-focused research needed for their conservation.
Determination of Biological Efficiency Values of Some Pesticide Application Methods under Second Crop Maize Conditions
Maize can be cultivated both under main and second crop conditions in Turkey. Main pests of maize under second crop conditions are Sesamia nonagrioides Lefebvre (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Aerial spraying applications to control these two main maize pests can be carried out until 2006 in Turkey before it was banned due to environmental concerns like drifting of sprayed pestisides and low biological efficiency. In this context, pulverizers which can spray tall maize plants ( > 175 cm) from the ground have begun to be used. However, the biological efficiency of these sprayers is unknown. Some methods have been tested to increase the success of ground spraying in field experiments conducted in second crop maize in 2008 and 2009. For this aim, 6 spraying methods (air assisted spraying with TX cone jet, domestic cone nozzles, twinjet nozzles, air induction nozzles, standard domestic cone nozzles and tail booms) were used at two application rates (150 and 300 l.ha-1) by a sprayer. In the study, biological efficacy evaluations of each methods were measured in each parcel. Biological efficacy evaluations included counts of number of insect damaged plants, number of holes in stems and live larvae and pupa in stems of selected plants. As a result, the highest biological efficacy value (close to 70%) was obtained from Air Assisted Spraying method at 300 l / ha application volume.
Humic Acid and Azadirachtin Derivatives for the Management of Crop Pests
Organic cultivation of crops is gaining importance as consumer awareness towards pesticide residue free food stuff is increasing globally. This is also because of high costs of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, making the conventional farming non-remunerative. In India, organic manures (such as vermicompost) are an important input in organic agriculture. Though vermicompost obtained through earthworm and microbe mediated processes is known to comprise most of the crop nutrients, but they are in small amounts thus necessitating enrichment of nutrients so that crop nourishment is complete. Another characteristic of organic manures is that the pest infestations are kept under check due to induced resistance put up by the crop plants. In the present investigation, azadirachtin, a limonoid obtained from seeds of neem trees distributed abundantly in India is added for enrichment of vermicompost, besides copper ore tailings (COT), a mine waste with micronutrients and microbial consortia. Three enriched vermicompost blends were prepared using vermicompost (at 70, 65 and 60%), deoiled neem cake (at 25, 30 and 35%), microbial consortia and copper ore tailing wastes (at 5%). Enriched vermicompost was thoroughly mixed, moistened (25+5%), packed and incubated for 15 days at room temperature. In the crop response studies, the field trials on chilli (Capscicum annum var. longum) and soybean, (Glycine max cv JS 335) were conducted during Kharif 2015 at the Main Agricultural Research Station, UAS, Dharwad-Karnataka (India). The vermicompost blend enriched with neem cake (known to possess higher amounts of nutrients) and vermicompost were applied to the crops and at two dosages and at two intervals of crop cycle (at sowing and 30 days after sowing) as per the treatment plan along with 50% recommended dose of fertilizer (RDF). Ten plants selected randomly in each plot were studied for pest density and plant damage. At maturity, crops were harvested, and the yields were recorded as per the treatments and the data were analyzed using appropriate statistical tools and procedures. The results clearly indicated that application of neem enriched vermicompost significantly reduced defoliator and pod borer insect pests in soybean, while reduced the leaf curl and fruit damage in chilli. These treatments registered as much yield (16.7 to 19.9 q/ha) as that realized in conventional chemical check (18.2 q/ha) in soybean, while 72 to 77 q/ha of green chilli was harvested in the same treatments, being comparable to the check (74 q/ha). The yield superiority of the treatments was of the order: neem enriched vermicompost > standard check > neem cake > vermicompost > untreated check. The significant features of the result are that it reduces use of inorganic manures by 50% and synthetic chemical insecticides by 100%.
Status and Management of Grape Stem Borer, Celosterna scrabrator with Soil Application of Chlorantraniliprole 0.4 GR
Grape stem borer, Celosterna scrabrator is an important production constraint in grapes in India. Hitherto this pest was a severe menace only on the aged and unmanaged fields but during the recent past it has also started damaging the newly established fields. In India, since Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are the major grape production states, the incidence of stem borer is also restricted and severe in these states. The grubs of the beetle bore in to the main stem and even the branches, which affect the translocation of nutrients to the areal parts of the plant. Since, the grubs bore inside the stem, the chewed material along with its excreta is discharged outside the holes and the frass is found on the ground just below the bored holes. The portion of vines above the damaged part has a sticky appearance. The leaves turn yellow in patches that resemble micronutrient deficiency, which ultimately dry and drop down. The status of the incidence of the grape stem borer in different grape growing districts of Northern Karnataka was carried out during three years. In each taluka five locations were surveyed for the incidence of grape stem borer. Further, the experiment on management of stem borer was carried out in the grape gardens of Vijayapur districts under farmers field during three years. Stem borer infested plants that show live holes were selected per treatments and it was replicated three times. Live holes were identified based on initial reddish sap/gum oozes from the wound. Live and dead holes observed during pre-treatment were closely monitored and only plants with live holes were selected and tagged. Different doses of chlorantraniliprole 0.4% GR were incorporated into the soil around the vine basins near root zone surrounded to trunk region by removing soils up to 5-10 cm with a peripheral distance of 1 to 1.5 feet from the main trunk where feeder roots are present. Irrigation was followed after application of insecticide into the soil to incorporate the chemical into the root zone. Soil application was done targeting the feeder roots which are spread around 1-1.5 feet from the main trunk region of grape. The results indicated that there was sever to moderate incidence of the stem borer in all the grape growing districts of northern Karnataka. Maximum incidence was recorded in Belagavi (11 holes per vine) and minimum was in Gadag district (8.5 holes per vine). The investigations carried out to study the efficacy of chlorantraniliprole on grape stem borer for successive three years under farmers field indicated that chlorantraniliprole @ 15g/vine applied just near the active root zone of the plant followed by irrigation has successfully managed the pest. The insecticide has translocated to all the parts of the plants and hereby stopped the activity of the pest which has resulted in to better growth of the plant and higher berry yield compared to other treatments under investigation. Thus, chlorantraniliprole 0.4 GR @ 15g/vine can be effective means in managing the stem borer.
Radish Sprout Growth Dependency on LED Color in Plant Factory Experiment
Recent rapid progress in ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) has advanced the penetration of sensor networks (SNs) and their attractive applications. Agriculture is one of the fields well able to benefit from ICT. Plant factories, control several parameters related to plant growth in closed areas such as air temperature, humidity, water, culture medium concentration, and artificial lighting by using computers, and AI (artificial intelligence) have drawn attention in order to obtain the stable and safe production of vegetables and medicinal plants all year anywhere, and attain self-sufficiency in food. By providing isolation from the natural environment, a plant factory can achieve higher productivity and safe products. However, the biggest issue with plant factories is the return on investment. Profits are tenuous because of the large initial investments and running costs, i.e., electric power, needed. At present, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are being adopted because they are more energy-efficient and encourage photosynthesis better than the fluorescent lamps used in the past. However, further cost reduction is essential. This presentation introduces experiments that reveal which color of LED lighting best enhances the growth of cultured radish sprouts. Radish sprouts were cultivated in the experimental environment built by a hydroponics kit with three cultivation shelves (28 samples per shelf) each with an artificial lighting rack. Seven LED arrays of different color (blue, green, yellow green, yellow, orange, red, and white) were compared with a fluorescent lamp as the control. Lighting duration was set to 12 hours a day. Normal water with no fertilizer was circulated. Seven days after germination, the length, weight, and area of leaf of each sample were measured. Electrical power consumption for all lighting arrangements was also measured. Results and discussions are as follows: As to average sample length, no clear difference was observed in terms of color. As regards weight, orange LED was less effective and the difference was significant (p < 0.05). As to leaf area, blue, yellow and orange LEDs were significantly less effective. However, all LEDs offered higher productivity per one W consumed than the fluorescent lamp. Of the LEDs, the blue LED array attained the best results in terms of length, weight, and area of leaf per one W consumed. Conclusion and future works are as follows: An experiment on radish sprout cultivation under 7 different color LED arrays showed no clear difference in terms of sample size. However, if electrical power consumption is considered, LEDs offered about twice the growth rate of the fluorescent lamp. Among them, blue LEDs showed the best performance. Further cost reduction, e.g., low power lighting is still a big issue for actual system deployment. An automatic plant monitoring system with sensors is another study target.
Application of Rapid Eye Imagery in Crop Type Classification Using Vegetation Indices
For natural resource management and in other applications about earth observation revolutionary remote sensing technology plays a significant role. One of such application in monitoring and classification of crop types at spatial and temporal scale, as it provides latest, most precise and cost-effective information. Present study emphasizes the use of three different vegetation indices of Rapid Eye imagery on crop type classification. It also analyzed the effect of each indices on classification accuracy. Rapid Eye imagery is highly demanded and preferred for agricultural and forestry sectors as it has red-edge and NIR bands. The three indices used in this study were: the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the Green Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (GNDVI), and the Normalized Difference Red Edge Index (NDRE) and all of these incorporated the Red Edge band. The study area is Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, India and Radial Basis Function (RBF) kernel was used here for the Support Vector Machines (SVMs) classification. Classification was performed with these three vegetation indices. The contribution of each indices on image classification accuracy was also tested with single band classification. Highest classification accuracy of 85% was obtained using three vegetation indices. The study concluded that NDRE has the highest contribution on classification accuracy compared to the other vegetation indices and the Rapid Eye imagery can get satisfactory results of classification accuracy without original bands.
Using Deep Learning Real-Time Object Detection Convolution Neural Networks for Fast Fruit Recognition in the Tree
Image/video processing for fruit in the tree using hard-coded feature extraction algorithms have shown high accuracy during recent years. While accurate, these approaches even with high-end hardware are computationally intensive and too slow for real-time systems. This paper details the use of deep convolution neural networks (CNNs), specifically an algorithm (YOLO - You Only Look Once) with 24+2 convolution layers. Using deep-learning techniques eliminated the need for hard-code specific features for specific fruit shapes, color and/or other attributes. This CNN is trained on more than 5000 images of apple and pear fruits on 960 cores GPU (Graphical Processing Unit). Testing set showed an accuracy of 90%. After this, trained data were transferred to an embedded device (Raspberry Pi gen.3) with camera for more portability. Based on correlation between number of visible fruits or detected fruits on one frame and the real number of fruits on one tree, a model was created to accommodate this error rate. Speed of processing and detection of the whole platform was higher than 40 frames per second. This speed is fast enough for any grasping/harvesting robotic arm or other real-time applications.
Case Study: 3000acres Facilitating Urban Agriculture in Melbourne, Australia
This paper presents a case study of 3000acres, a for-purpose organisation established in 2013 to improve the health of Melbournians by enabling them to grow more of their own food. Over the past four years, the organisation has encountered a number of barriers, both obvious and less obvious, which discourage communities from beginning their own food-growing projects. These include soil contamination, planning policies, public perception and access to land. 3000acres has been working to remove these barriers if possible, or otherwise to find ways around them. Strategies have included the use of removable planter boxes on temporarily vacant land, separating the site soil from above-ground garden beds, writing planning exemptions, developing relationships with land management authorities and recording both the quantitative and qualitative products of food gardens in Melbourne. While creating change in policy and legal requirements will be a gradual process, discernable progress has been made in the attitudes of land management authorities and the establishment of new food gardens is becoming easier. Over the past four years, 3000acres has supported the establishment of 14 food gardens in and around Melbourne, including public community gardens, fenced community gardens and urban farms supplying food to a food relief organisation.
Efficient Sources and Methods of Extracting Water for Irrigation
Due to the increasing water scarcity in South Africa, the prime focus of irrigation in South Africa shifts to creating feasible water sources and the efficient use of these sources. These irrigation systems in South Africa are implemented because of low and erratic rainfall and high evaporative demand. Irrigation contributes significantly to crop production in South Africa, as the mean annual precipitation for the country is usually less than 500mm. This is considered to be the minimum required for rain fed cropping. Even though the rainfall is low, a lot of the water in various areas in South Africa is lost due to runoff into storm water systems that run to the rivers and eventually into the sea. This study reviews the irrigation systems in South Africa which can be vastly improved by creating irrigation dams. A method of which may seem costly at first but rewarding with time. The study investigates the process of creating dam capacity capable of sustaining a suitable area size of land to be irrigated and thus diverting all runoff into these dams. This type of infrastructure method vastly improves various sectors in our irrigation systems. Extensive research is carried out in the surrounding area in which the dam should be constructed. Rainfall patterns and rainfall data is used for calculations of which period the dam will be at its optimum using rainfall. The size of the area irrigated was used to calculate the size of the irrigation dam to be constructed. The location of the dam must be situated as close to the river as possible to minimize the excessive use of pipelines to the dam. This study also investigated all existing resources to alleviate the cost. It was found that irrigation dams could solve the erratic distribution of rainfall in South Africa for irrigation purposes.
An Evaluation of Different Weed Management Techniques in Organic Arable Systems
A range of field experiments have been conducted since 1991 to 2017 on organic land at the Royal Agricultural University’s Harnhill Manor Farm near Cirencester, UK to explore the impact of different management practices on weed infestation in organic winter and spring wheat. The experiments were designed using randomised complete block and some with split plot arrangements. Sowing date, variety choice, crop height and crop establishment technique have all shown a significant impact on weed infestations. Other techniques have also been investigated but with less clear, but, still often significant effects on weed control including grazing with sheep, undersowing with different legumes and mechanical weeding techniques. Tillage treatments included traditional plough based systems, minimum tillage and direct drilling. Direct drilling had significantly higher weed dry matter than the other two techniques. Taller wheat varieties which do not contain Rht1 or Rht2 had higher weed populations than the wheat without dwarfing genes. Early sown winter wheat had greater weed dry matter than later sown wheat. Grazing with sheep interacted strongly with sowing date, with shorter varieties and also late sowing dates providing much less forage but, grazing did reduce weed biomass in June. Undersowing had mixed impacts which were related to the success of establishment of the undersown legume crop. Weeds are most successfully controlled when a range of techniques are implemented to give the wheat crop the greatest chance of competing with weeds.
Educational Institutional Approach for Livelihood Improvement and Sustainable Development
The PNG University of Technology (Unitech) has mandatory access to teaching, research and extension education. Given such function, the Agriculture Department has established the ‘South Pacific Institute of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SPISARD)’ in 2004. SPISARD is established as a vehicle to improve farming systems practiced in selected villages by undertaking pluralistic extension method through ‘Educational Institutional Approach’. Unlike other models, SPISARD’s educational institutional approach stresses on improving the whole farming systems practiced in a holistic manner and has a two-fold focus. The first is to understand the farming communities and improve the productivity of the farming systems in a sustainable way to increase income, improve nutrition and food security as well as livelihood enhancement trainings. The second is to enrich the Department’s curriculum through teaching, research, extension and getting inputs from farming community. SPISARD has established number of model villages in various provinces in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and with many positive outcome and success stories. Adaption of ‘educational institutional approach’ thus binds research, extension and training into one package with the use of students and academic staff through model village establishment in delivering development and extension to communities. This centre (SPISARD) coordinates the activities of the model village programs and linkages. The key to the development of the farming systems is establishing and coordinating linkages, collaboration, and developing partnerships both within and external institutions, organizations and agencies. SPISARD has a six-point step strategy for the development of sustainable agriculture and rural development. These steps are (i) establish contact and identify model villages, (ii) development of model village resource centres for research and trainings, (iii) conduct baseline surveys to identify problems/needs of model villages, (iv) development of solution strategies, (v) implementation and (vi) evaluation of impact of solution programs. SPISARD envisages that the farming systems practiced being improved if the villages can be made the centre of SPISARD activities. Therefore, SPISARD has developed a model village approach to channel rural development. The model village when established become the conduit points where teaching, training, research, and technology transfer takes place. This approach is again different and unique to the existing ones, in that, the development process take place in the farmers’ environment with immediate ‘real time’ feedback mechanisms based on the farmers’ perspective and satisfaction. So far, we have developed 14 model villages and have conducted 75 trainings in 21 different areas/topics in 8 provinces to a total of 2,832 participants of both sex. The aim of these trainings is to directly participate with farmers in the pursuit to improving their farming systems to increase productivity, income and to secure food security and nutrition, thus to improve their livelihood.
Effect of Extraction Methods on the Fatty Acids and Physicochemical Properties of Serendipity Berry Seed Oil
Serendipity berry (Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii diel) is a tropical dioecious rainforest vine and native to tropical Africa. The vine grows during the raining season and is used mainly as sweetener. The sweetener in the berry is known as monellin which is sweeter than sucrose. The sweetener is extracted from the fruits and the seed is discarded. The discarded seeds contain bitter principles but had high yield of oil. Serendipity oil was extracted using three methods (N-hexane, expression and expression/n-hexane). Fatty acids and physicochemical properties of the oil obtained were determined. The oil obtained was clear, liquid and have odour similar to hydrocarbon. The percentage oil yield was 38.59, 12.34 and 49.57% for hexane, expression and expression-hexane method respectively. The seed contained high percentage of oil especially using combination of expression and hexane. Low percentage of oil was obtained using expression method. The refractive index values obtained were 1.443, 1.442 and 1.478 for hexane, expression and expression-hexane methods respectively. Peroxide value obtained for expression-hexane was higher than those for hexane and expression. The viscosities of the oil were 125.8, 128.76 and 126.87 cm³/s for hexane, expression and expression-hexane methods respectively which showed that the oil from expression method was more viscous than the other oils. The major fatty acids in serendipity seed oil were oleic acid (62.81%), linoleic acid (22.65%), linolenic (6.11%), palmitic acid (5.67%), stearic acid (2.21%) in decreasing order. Oleic acid which is monounsaturated fatty acid had the highest value. Total unsaturated fatty acids were 91.574, 92.256 and 90.426% for hexane, expression, and expression-hexane respectively. Combination of expression and hexane for extraction of serendipity oil produced high yield of oil. The oil could be refined for food and non-food application.