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Authors: András Kerchner, Judit Darók, Ivett Bacskay, Attila Felinger, Gábor Jakab and Ágnes Farkas

The family Solanaceae includes several melliferous plants, which tend to produce copious amounts of nectar. Floral nectar is a chemically complex aqueous solution, dominated by sugars, but minor components such as amino acids, proteins, flavonoids and alkaloids are present as well. This study aimed at analysing the protein and alkaloid profile of the nectar in seven solanaceous species. Proteins were examined with SDS-PAGE and alkaloids were analyzed with HPLC. The investigation of protein profile revealed significant differences in nectar-protein patterns not only between different plant genera, but also between the three Nicotiana species investigated. SDS-PAGE suggested the presence of several Nectarin proteins with antimicrobial activity in Nicotiana species. The nectar of all tobacco species contained the alkaloid nicotine, N. tabacum having the highest nicotine content. The nectar of Brugmansia suaveolens, Datura stramonium, Hyoscyamus niger and Lycium barbarum contained scopolamine, the highest content of which was measured in B. suaveolens. The alkaloid concentrations in the nectars of most solanaceous species investigated can cause deterrence in honeybees, and the nectar of N. rustica and N. tabacum can be considered toxic for honeybees.

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New anamorph genus Pseudonadsoniella of dark brown yeast-like fungi similar to the genus Nadsoniella in having very slow growth in culture on all nutrient media but differing in showing better development of ‘colony-like formations’ on Saburo agar medium and potato sections as well as showing a phylogenetic affiliation to the family Meripilaceae (Polyporales, Agaricomycotina) after phylogenetic analysis based on ITS nrDNA sequences is described. The new species Pseudonadsoniella brunnea from Antarctic, Argentina, Galindez Island, is described and illustrated.

The position of some species groups appeared to be polyphyletic genera Rigidoporus, Physisporinus and Phaeococcomyces after ITS nrDNA sequences is discussed. Corrections to identification of some specimens of the genera Phlebia, Elmerina, Physisporinus are provided.

Nomenclature of Issatschenko’s species Nadsoniella nigra and its two infraspecific taxa as well as type and voucher confusion of these taxa in molecular study of the members of the genus Exophiala is discussed. It is shown that the anamorph fungus Exophiala sp. CBS 546.82 (VKM F-2137 or ‘voucher Ruban’s strain 365’), hitherto incorrectly recorded as Nadsoniella nigra var. hesuelica (nom. inval.), is a taxon still waiting for describing.

The conclusion that the original Issatschenko’s collection of Nadsoniella nigra (type strain CBS 535.94) and status of the strain Exophiala sp. CBS 546.82 are in urgent need of the modern revision/re-examination is done.

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Authors: O.V. Babayants, L.T. Babayants, V.A. Traskovetskaya, A.F. Gorash, N.I. Saulyak and A.V. Galaev

The virulence frequency of 750 wheat powdery mildew isolates of wheat genotypes, carrying 23 Pm-genes and gene combinations, was studied over ten consecutive years from 2004 to 2013. Seventy-eight previously known and 39 new pathotypes were identified during this period. The results indicate that the majority of Pm-genes have high level of virulence. Sixty to ninety percent of the isolates were virulent to Pm6, Pm8, Pm8+11, Pm2+4b+8, Pm3g, Pm10+15, Pm10+14+15. The virulence frequency was variable for Pm1a, Pm2, Pm3a, Pm3b, Pm3c, Pm5, Pm7 genes and reached high level in certain years. The virulence frequency to genes Pm20, Pm37, Pm4a+ and to gene combination with Pm3c+5a+35 and breeding lines CN240/06, CN98/06 and CN158/06 ranged from 1 to 8%. Bread wheat lines CN240/06, CN98/06 and CN158/06, derived from interspecific crosses, proved to be highly resistant to powdery mildew.

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The application of commercial rhizobial inoculants to legume crops is proving to be an alternative to synthetic fertilizer use. The challenge for sustainable agriculture resides in the compatibility between crop, inoculants and environmental conditions. The evaluation of symbiotic efficiency and genetic diversity of indigenous rhizobial strains could lead to the development of better inoculants and increased crop production. The genetic variability of 32 wild indigenous rhizobial isolates was assessed by RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA). The strains were isolated from red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) nodules from two distinct geographical regions of Northern and Eastern Romania. Three decamer primers were used to resolve the phylogenetic relationships between the investigated isolates. Cluster analysis revealed a high diversity; most strains clustered together based on their geographical location.

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Authors: Zoltán Gazdag, Timea Stromájer-Rácz, Joseph Belagyi, Richard Y. Zhao, Robert T. Elder, Eszter Virág and Miklós Pesti

The wild-type viral protein R (Vpr) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 exerts multiple effects on cellular activities during infection, including the induction of cell cycle G2 arrest and the death of human cells and cells of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In this study, wild-type Vpr (NL4-3Vpr) integrated as a single copy gene in S. pombe chromosome was used to investigate the molecular impact of Vpr on cellular oxidative stress. NL4-3Vpr triggered an atypical response in early (14-h), and a wellregulated oxidative stress response in late (35-h) log-phase cultures. Specifically, NL4-3Vpr expression induced oxidative stress in the 14-h cultures leading, to decreased levels of superoxide anion (O2 ·−), hydroxyl radical (·OH) and glutathione (GSH), and significantly decreased activities of catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and glutathione S-transferase. In the 35-h cultures, elevated levels of O2 ·− and peroxides were accompanied by increased activities of most antioxidant enzymes, suggesting that the Vpr-induced unbalanced redox state of the cells might contribute to the adverse effects in HIV-infected patients.

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The salinity effects on the germination and the growth of greenhouse grown castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) from three local provenances (Sidi Thabet, Grombalia and Kairouan) were studied. Plants were grown in sand-perlite mixture and irrigated with solution containing 0, 2, 5, and 10 g/l NaCl. The effect of salt stress on germination was weakly pronounced in the case of castor bean for the three provenances compared to control. Moreover, salt stress induced significant differences on plant growth during the experimental period. After 80 stress days, decreases in plant height were observed. 10 g/l NaCl has an intense depressive effect on seedling stage. The seedlings have not completed their development and this is noticed for all provenances. 5 g/l NaCl has also an intense depressive effect only for Grombalia. With regards to the mineral nutrition, hypocotyls are more concentrated in Na+ and Cl than the other organs. Thus, we observed a slight increase in K+ concentration for 2 and 5 g/l NaCl compared to control, especially for Kairouan in stems. Based on the stability of the tolerance to salinity from germinative stage to seedlings stage, the provenance of Kai rouan was identified as the most tolerant and the provenance of Grombalia as the most sensitive to salt toxicity.

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Authors: A. Majzik, V. Hornok, D. Sebők, T. Bartók, L. Szente, K. Tuza and I. Dékány

Due to the warm and favourably humid climate of Southern Hungary, the maize is one of the most important crops. The protection against crop damage caused by fusarium and Aspergillus species is essential. Detection of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) molecules in cereal crops by selective sensors is important, while they can cause serious diseases in humans and animals if they enter the food chain. Our main objective was to develop selective AFB1 sensor with increased sensitivity applying βCD-functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuβCD NPs) in surface plasmon resonance (SPR) measuring apparatus. The nanoparticles ca. 10 nm in diameter were prepared in the presence of thiol-modified cyclodextrin. The adsorption isotherms of AFB1 on bare, thiol-modified cyclodextrin and AuβCD NPs covered Au film surface were calculated using SPR platform. The AFB1 concentration can be quantitatively determined in the 0.001–23.68 ng/mL range. The AuβCD NPs were found to be highly sensitive and exhibited a remarkably low limit of detection (LOD; 1 pg/mL) without using other analytical reagents.

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The validation of two Bouvardia (Rubiaceae) species of Mexico is carried out recommended by Govaerts because the placing of their type materials was not included into the protologues. New names are proposed for a Mexican Bouvardia and a neotropical Uragoga (both Rubiaceae) species having illegitimate names. A correction of author’s name is proposed for a Miconia (Melastomataceae) species of Cuba.

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Flour particle size distribution is a major factor affecting the milling behavior in common wheats (Triticum aestivum L.). Also, a previous study has revealed a relationship between flour yield and median flour particle size of Japanese wheats. However, the genetic base of Japanese common wheat is narrow and will need to be broadened. Therefore, in order to help develop the genetic resource for higher flour yields in Japanese wheat breeding, the flour yield of one hundred and seventy Chinese common wheats were investigated in relation to the median flour particle size and the flour particle size distribution patterns as determined by laser diffraction. The results showed significant differences in the median flour particle size and distribution patterns of Chinese wheats and the Japanese wheats that had been analyzed in a previous study. In particular, 45% of Chinese wheats were categorized as hard wheats, but only 4% as soft wheats. In contrast, the previously analyzed Japanese wheat proportions were 20% and 25%, respectively. The results show that analysis of median flour particle size distribution by laser diffraction is a simple but effective tool for measuring and selecting the good flour milling quality in Chinese wheat genetic resources. In addition, the major differences between the Japanese and Chinese wheats highlighted in this study occurred despite the fact that it is well known that Chinese common wheats contributed to modern Japanese wheat varieties. The differences may be explained by either the founder effect or by a selective bottleneck in Japanese wheat genetic resources.

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Authors: K. Kavousi, Z. Nazari and H. Ejtehadi

A complete, up to date checklist of Alyssum species reported from Iran is presented in this review. The distribution of these species was considered in Iran and in the adjacent countries, too. Additional records were obtained from Flora Iranica, Flora of Turkey and other references. In Iran some species (e. g., Alyssum hezarmasjedensis, A. mozaffarianii, A. persicum, A. polycladum, A. stipitatum, A. turgidum) have very restricted distribution. Iran is the second important locality for the following species: A. anatolicum, A. contemptum, A. filiforme, A. iranicum, A. lycaonicum, A. niveum, A. penjwinense. The other Alyssum species are widespread in Iran and in the adjacent countries.

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Authors: Ting Fu, Eva B. Znalesniak, Thomas Kalinski, Luisa Möhle, Aindrila Biswas, Franz Salm, Ildiko Rita Dunay and Werner Hoffmann

The peptide trefoil factor family 3 (TFF3) is a major constituent of the intestinal mucus, playing an important role in the repair of epithelial surfaces. To further understand the role of TFF3 in the protection of intestinal epithelium, we tested the influence of TFF3 in a murine Toxoplasma gondii-induced ileitis model. Surprisingly, TFF3KO mice showed a reduced immune response in the ileum when compared to wild-type animals. Interleukin-12 and interferon-γ expression levels as well as the number of CD4+ lymphocytes were reduced in the infected TFF3KO mice. These effects were in line with the trend of elevated parasite levels in the ileum. Moreover, TFF1 expression was upregulated in the spleen of infected mice. These initial results indicate that TFF3 is involved in the immune pathology of T. gondii infection-induced intestinal inflammation. Thus far, the mechanisms of how TFF3 influences the immune response are not fully understood. Further studies should identify if TFF3 affects mucus sensing of dendritic cells and how TFF3 is involved in regulating the immune response as an intrinsic secretory peptide of immune cells.

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Authors: S.A. Ghaffari Nejad, G.R. Savaghebi, M. Farahbakhsh, R. Maali Amiri and H. Rezaei

Boron (B) toxicity is an important problem in low rainfall and highly alkaline soils of central and southern part of Iran. We evaluated B toxicity tolerance of 10 Iranian wheat varieties in a greenhouse experiment. Experimental design was factorial Completely Randomized Design (CRD) with 10 wheat varieties × six B levels (0, 2.5, 5, 10, 20 and 40 mg B kg−1 soil) in three replications. The results showed a great range of tolerance among wheat varieties. Arg was the most tolerant one and Chamran showed the least tolerance. It seems that different mechanisms involved in B toxicity tolerance, namely exclusion of B from root, redistribution of B within leaves and integration of these two mechanisms. Significant negative linear correlation observed between shoot B concentration and shoot dry weight (r = 0.85, p < 0.01) and positive linear correlation between shoot B concentration and shoot dry weight reduction percentage (r = 0.82, p < 0.01).

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To identify the adaptive traits responsible for flooding tolerance during the initial growth stages of rice, dry seeds of 53 contrasting genotypes were sown in soil and watered normally (control) or submerged with 10 cm of water for 17 days. Subsequently, the plants were kept under normal rice cultivation conditions for a further 7 days. Cluster analysis showed that 53 genotypes were divided into three groups based on emergence date, percentage of plants reaching the water’s surface, maximum coleoptile length, shoot elongation rate during submergence and increases in shoot dry weight after de-submergence. Twelve genotypes were placed in cluster 1 and characterized by fast emergence, rapid coleoptile elongation, and vigorous shoot growth under control and submergence conditions. The genotypes in cluster 1 attained also a higher increase in shoot dry weight at different time of submergence and de-submergence than the genotypes in clusters 2 and 3. A significant correlation was observed between the increase in shoot dry weight and traits related with fast and vigorous shoot elongation and coleoptile. In conclusion, flooding tolerance during initial growth stages were mainly due to major submergence avoidance or escape mechanisms, and crop establishment of direct-seeded rice in flood-prone areas is accomplished by harnessing reserves for fast shoot elongation.

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A new pyrene type is reported, it is morphologically different from that found in the genera Palicourea and Psychotria. This new type is characterised by being triangulate in transverse section with an elevated central-dorsal crest. It was observed in two species of Palicourea with dissimilar floral characteristics. Based on this finding, we propose to transfer Palicourea tetragona (Donn.-Sm.) C. M. Taylor et Lorence to Mexocarpus gen. nov., and Palicourea seemannii Standl. to Ditrichanthus gen. nov.

Resumen. Se ha detectado un nuevo tipo de pireno morfológicamente distinto de los ampliamente conocidos en los géneros Palicourea y Psychotria. El nuevo tipo se caracteriza por presentar sección transversal triangular y una cresta dorsal-central muy prominente; contrastando con la sección transversal semicircular, dorsalmente lisa o inconspicuamente 3–5 costulada de los géneros ya mencionados. Este tipo de pireno se observó en dos especies de Palicourea con características florales diferentes entre sí. Con base en estos hallazgos se proponen dos géneros nuevos: Mexocarpus basado en Palicourea tetragona (Donn.-Sm.) C. M. Taylor et Lorence y Ditrichanthus apoyado en Palicourea seemannii Standl.

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The present study investigates the protective efficacy of stem bromelain against lead-induced toxicity in male Wistar rats. There were six experimental groups; Group I was negative control, Group II was administered only 20 mg/kg of stem bromelain. Group III and V were orally exposed to 30 mg/kg/day and 60 mg/kg/day of lead acetate, respectively. Group IV and Group VI were exposed to both low and high dose of lead acetate, respectively, and treated with 20 mg/kg stem bromelain. The experimental period was 21 days. The end points evaluated were, lead accumulation in kidney, liver and spleen, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity, serum malonaldehyde (MDA) cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Co-administration of stem bromelain with lead markedly reduced the lead accumulation in the kidney and spleen. The treatment of stem bromelain also reduced the serum MDA levels in the group exposed to lower dose of lead and serum triglyceride level in the group exposed to higher dose of lead. The lead-induced modulated levels of serum ALT and AST were also alleviated by bromelain treatment. Our key findings suggest a chelating potential of stem bromelain for combating lead toxicity and oxidative stress. Bromelain represents a novel approach to the treatment of metal toxicity and metabolic disorders with a limited therapeutic window.

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Physiological male sterility induced by the chemical hybridizing agent (CHA) overcomes problems of maintenance of sterile lines and restorers. However, the mechanism of sterility is unclear. The process of tapetum of CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’ at uninucleate, binucleate and trinucleate were compared with control to determine if tapetum varying differently during developmental stages. Tapetal degradation in CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’ began at late uninucleate stage, somewhat earlier than control plants. Cytological observations indicated that the gradual degradation of the tapetum in CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’ was initiated and terminated earlier than in the control. These findings implied that CHA-induced male sterility was related to abnormally early tapetal degradation. In order to indicate the role of the SKP1 gene in fertility/sterility in wheat, its expression was assessed in anthers at uninucleate, binucleate and trinucleate stages. SKP1 expression was reduced in the later developmental stages, and there was an obvious decrease from the uninucleate to trinucleate stages. Higher expression of the SKP1 gene occurred in ‘Xi’nong 2611’ compared to CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’. This implied that SKP1 gene expression was inhibited during the fertility transformation process and was related to transformation from fertility to sterility. Moreover, the results from this study suggest that SKP1 plays an essential role of conducting fertility in physiological male sterility.

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Using NMR spectroscopy benzene derivatives were detected in mycelia of Fusarium graminearum, a pathogen of wheat and maize. In previous studies F. graminearum was found to cause cancer to humans and benzene derivatives were detected in breath of cancer sufferers. Surprisingly, no study found benzene derivatives to be the cancerous agents in F. graminearum. In this study we detected benzene derivatives in F. graminearum and propose to study their role as cancer agents.

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Survey of aphids on dicotyledonous herbaceous plants along the Hungarian highways on 33 sampling points revealed the presence of four holocyclic Brachycaudus species. The monoecious B. lychnidis L. 1758 was the most frequently collected species. It colonised the perennial Silene alba (Mill.) E. H. L. Krause 1893 on the youngest highway section around Budapest (5 locations). The frequency of this species is due to frequent occurrence of its host plant on this section compared to other host species. New record for the Hungarian fauna is the occurrence of monoecious B. setosus Hille Ris Lambers 1948 on the biennial or perennial Tragopogon orientalis L. 1753 on two locations on the southern part of the country. The heteroecious B. cardui L. 1758 was found on biennial or perennial Senecio jacobaea L. 1753 in one location on north-western part of Hungary. On the north-eastern part of the country the perennial Symphytum officinale subsp. bohemicum (F. W. Schmidt) Čelak 1891 occurred on a damp area. The monoecious B. mordvilkoi Hille Ris Lambers 1931 colonised this Boraginaceae species.

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Authors: Gábor Feigl, Devanand Kumar, Nóra Lehotai, Andrea Pető, Árpád Molnár, Éva Rácz, Attila Ördög, László Erdei, Zsuzsanna Kolbert and Gábor Laskay

Hydroponic experiments were conducted to compare the effects of excess copper (Cu) on growth and photosynthesis in young Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) and oilseed rape (Brassica napus). We compared the effects of excess Cu on the two Brassica species at different physiological levels from antioxidant levels to photosynthetic activity. Nine-day-old plants were treated with Cu (10, 25 and 50 μM CuSO4) for 7 and 14 days. Both species took up Cu from the external solution to a similar degree but showed slight root-to-shoot translocation. Furthermore, after seven days of treatment, excess Cu significantly decreased other microelement content, such as iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn), especially in the shoots of B. napus. As a consequence, the leaves of young Brassica napus plants showed decreased concentrations of photosynthetic pigments and more intense growth inhibition; however, accumulation of highly reactive oxygen species (hROS) were not detected. After 14 days of Cu exposure the reduction of Fe and Mn contents and shoot growth proved to be comparable in the two species. Moreover, a significant Cu-induced hROS accumulation was observed in both Brassica species. The diminution in pigment contents and photosynthetic efficiency were more pronounced in B. napus during prolonged Cu exposure. Based on all the parameters, B. juncea appears to be more resistant to excess Cu than B. napus, rendering it a species with higher potential for phytoremediation.

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Authors: X.R. Yu, L. Zhou, J. Zhang, H. Yu, D.R. Gao, B.Q. Zhang, F. Xiong, Y.J. Gu and Z. Wang

This study was conducted to compare structural development and biochemical accumulation of waxy and non-waxy wheat (NW) caryopses. The caryopses’ microstructure of the waxy wheat (WW) and NW cultivars at different developmental stages were observed under light, fluorescence, and scanning electron microscope. The results were as follows: Compared with NW,WWhad a shorter maturation duration, which was reflected in several following characteristics. Programmed cell death of the pericarp began earlier, and the chlorophyll-containing layer in the pericarp was smaller. Vacuoles in chalazal cells accumulated more tannins at different developmental stages. Starch granules and protein bodies in the endosperm showed a higher accumulation level in developing caryopses, and aleurone cells were larger in size with larger numbers of aleurone grains. An analysis of the element content indicated that the mineral elements Mg, P, K, and Ca exhibited a higher content, while the heavy elements Cr, Cd, and Pb exhibited a lower content in the aleurone layer.

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We compared the performance of an in-house and a commercial malaria polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay using freeze–thawed hemolytic blood samples.

A total of 116 freeze–thawed ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) blood samples of patients with suspicion of malaria were analyzed by an in-house as well as by a commercially available real-time PCR.

Concordant malaria negative PCR results were reported for 39 samples and malaria-positive PCR results for 67 samples. The inhouse assay further detected one case of Plasmodium falciparum infection, which was negative in the commercial assay as well as five cases of P. falciparum malaria and three cases of Plasmodium vivax malaria, which showed sample inhibition in the commercial assay. The commercial malaria assay was positive in spite of a negative in-house PCR result in one case. In all concordant results, cycle threshold values of P. falciparum-positive samples were lower in the commercial PCR than in the in-house assay.

Although Ct values of the commercial PCR kit suggest higher sensitivity in case of concordant results, it is prone to inhibition if it is applied to hemolytic freeze–thawed blood samples. The number of misidentifications was, however, identical for both real-time PCR assays.

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The B(S) genome diploids (2n = 2x = 14) are a unique reservoir of genetic diversity that can provide wheat breeders a rich source of allelic variation for stress traits that limit productivity. Restricted in practical use essentially due to their complex chromosomal behavior, these diploids have been in limited practical usage. The classic utilization example has been the suppression activity of the Ph locus and role in alien genetic transfer aspects that has been a standard in cytogenetic manipulation studies. For applied efforts focusing on Aegilops speltoides researchers in CIMMYT initiated an ambitious program to make AABBBB(SS) synthetics and made progress by generating over 50 such synthetics. Of these 20 were available for this study in which phenology and powdery mildew screening were evaluated. Four of these 20 synthetics appeared to be useful sources for further exploitation in breeding. These were entries 6, 9, 10 and 11 suited for exploitation in pre-breeding, with positive phenological characters particularly high thousand-kernel weight and are cytologically near euploid at 2n = 6x = 42. The subtle hyper (43) and hypoploid number would not negate their applied use potential. Preference however goes to genotypes 9 and 11.

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Authors: L. Rajendran, R. Akila, G. Karthikeyan, T. Raguchander and R. Samiyappan

Endophytic bacteria Bacillus subtilis (EPC 5) was isolated and tested in vitro along with Pseudomonas fluorescens (Pf1) and the fungus Trichoderma viride (Tv1) against Ganoderma lucidum (Leys) Karst, the causal agent of basal stem rot on coconut palm. The endophytic bacterial strains namely EPC 5 and EPC 8 showed higher vigor index (germination percentage, root and shoot length) and more inhibition against G. lucidum over un-inoculated control. These strains were confirmed as Bacillus subtilis by biochemical tests, cloning and sequencing of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The Bacillus subtilis (EPC 5) along with Pseudomonas fluorescens (Pf1) and Trichoderma viride (Tv1) has been tried as bioconsortia against basal stem rot disease under greenhouse conditions. The soil application of bioconsortia enriched with farm yard manure (FYM) enhanced the coconut saplings growth under greenhouse conditions and showed higher induction of defense related enzymes like peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase, phenylalanine ammonia lyase and phenols when challenged with pathogen.

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Authors: Zsolt Spitzmüller, Márton Hajdú, István Pócsi and Tamás Emri

Relative transcriptions of Aspergillus nidulans dug1-3 (orthologes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae DUG — deficient in utilization of glutathione — pathway genes) and ggtA encoding γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were studied under conditions inducing glutathione degradation. GgtA was induced in all cases when glutathione levels decreased, but addition of yeast extract, which moderated glutathione degradation, enhanced its induction. Although dug2 showed constitutive transcription, dug1 and dug3 were induced by carbon and nitrogen starvation and yeast extract did not caused significant changes in their relative transcription. The in silico reconstructed DUG pathway of A. nidulans is a promising candidate for cytosolic GSH degradation induced by carbon/nitrogen stress.

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We examined the response of communities of four groups of organisms (plants, snails, ants and spiders) in a small scale mosaic of 8-years mown and unmown plots in a wet meadow in Central Europe. The experimental setup consisted of 7 unmown and 8 regularly mown 4 m2 plots in checkerboard arrangement. Eight years after the start of the experiment, the plant community structure diverged in response to mowing/nonmowing, both in species composition and structure. Both bryophyte and vascular plant species numbers were significantly higher in the mown plots. In unmown plots, bryophytes nearly disappeared and plots were dominated by the tall tussock grass Molinia caerulea. Both diversity and abundance of snails were higher in unmown plots than in mown ones. Ant nests were more abundant in mown plots and species composition differed between mown and unmown plots. We captured significantly more individuals of spiders in mown plots but we did not find any difference in species composition. We conclude that the 8-years duration of different management of 4 m2 plots was sufficient to establish different communities in low movable organisms, whereas these plots are probably too small to host different assemblages of organisms with good active dispersal abilities.

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Integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for the management of sucking insect pests were disseminated in 36 villages of three districts of Punjab during 2008 to 2010. Adoption of IPM strategies led to reduction in the population of jassid, whitefly and mealybug in IPM villages. Mean population of jassid was 0.62 and 1.60 nymphs per three leaves, whitefly 1.11 and 2.53 adults per three leaves and mealybug 0.53 and 1.03 per 2.5 cm of central shoot in IPM and non-IPM villages, respectively. Mean population of spiders, chrysoperla, coccinellids and predatory bugs was 0.65, 0.13, 0.15 and 0.04 in IPM villages and 0.29, 0.09, 0.06 and 0.00 per plant in non-IPM villages, respectively. IPM strategies resulted in the 47.69 and 50.56 per cent reduction in number of spray and cost of spray in IPM villages over non-IPM villages. The average cost of cultivation was Rs. 21324 ha−1 in IPM villages, as compared to non-IPM villages (Rs. 23774.67 ha−1). Average seed cotton yield in IPM villages was 2333 kg ha−1 in comparison to non-IPM villages (1959.67 kg ha−1) and average net return in IPM villages was Rs. 57194 ha−1, which was Rs. 15709 more than non-IPM villages.

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Effects of CdCl2, NiCl2 or both on superoxide production, viability and membrane potential (EM) of root cells in meristematic (MZ) and differentiation (DZ) zones of two maize cultivars (cv. Premia and cv. Blitz) were studied. Plants were supplied with 10 and 100 μM concentrations of heavy metals (HM). The responses in the studied parameters to HM were concentration- and time-dependent, and were found only in the cells of MZ. The treatment of roots with Cd-stimulated massive superoxide production, although to different extent depending on the cultivar, root zone, and metal concentration. The stimulating effect of Ni on oxidative burst in Cd-treated maize roots was related to an increased Cd-induced superoxide production. The cell death appeared between 24 and 48 h and between 12 and 24 h of the 10 μM and 100 μM metal treatments, respectively. This was in accordance with Cd-induced ROS (superoxide) production and the EM decline in the corresponding time periods. Cell viability, EM changes and partially superoxide production indicate that the impact of the metals on the studied parameters declined in the order Cd+Ni > Cd > Ni and that cv. Blitz tends to respond more sensitively than cv. Premia.

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Authors: B. Hermosillo-Nuñez, F. Rodríguez-Zaragoza, M. Ortiz, C. Galván-Villa, A. Cupul-Magaña and E. Ríos-Jara

The spatial distribution and abundance of the seven most abundant species of echinoderms (Diadema mexicanum, Centrostephanus coronatus, Eucidaris thouarsii, Isostichopus fuscus, Pharia pyramidatus, Phataria unifascialis and Acanthaster ellisii) were evaluated in coral communities of Isla Isabel National Park (Mexico). Biological (corals and other benthic groups) and physical (rocks and boulders) structural elements of the habitat were evaluated to determine their relationship to these species. Our results show that species composition and abundance varied among sampling sites and between seasons. Also were obtained significant differences in the echinoderm assemblage among sites across seasons. Similar results were detected for the environmental variables related to benthic habitat structure. D. mexicanum, P. unifascialis, E. thouarsii and C. coronatus were the main contributors to the species abundance and distribution in Isla Isabel. Most echinoderm species were positively related to the coverage of different coral species, algae and various types of benthic organisms as well as to physical benthic variables. These outcomes suggest that the spatial distribution and abundance of these echinoderms are explained by the habitat structure, which should be used to design conservation and management strategies for coral communities.

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Authors: Robert Lamparski, Maciej Balcerek, Daniel Modnicki, Karol Kotwica and Maria Wawrzyniak

In laboratory conditions, the effect of pro-ecological procedures (application of effective microorganisms and Asahi SL biostimulator) and foraging by insects [cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopa L.) and bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi (L.)] on the total content of phenolic compounds in winter wheat, was studied. Correlations between the total content of phenolic compounds (determined by the Folin-Ciocalteau colorimetric method) expressed as the amount of pyrogallol in wheat plants: undamaged, damaged by O. melanopa, damaged by R. padi, the length of feeding scar left by cereal leaf beetle and the number of pricks made by actively feeding insects of bird cherry-oat aphid were analysed. The wheat was treated by EM inoculant and a biostimulator. The mode of application of the preparations used had a significant effect on level the total phenolic compounds in the undamaged wheat and the wheat exposed to foraging by the above-mentioned insects. The plants not exposed to insects foraging contained greater amounts of phenolic compounds than those exposed to the insects. The correlation between the total content of phenols in the wheat damaged by the insects in the ‘no-choice’ conditions, proved insignificant.

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The influence of sulphur fertilization on plant dry weight, grain yield and quality of wheat grain (var. Mulan) was investigated. Wheat was grown in the small plot field experiments conducted in 2011–2012. At the beginning of tillering, the regenerative sulphur fertilization increased dry plant weight and sulphur concentration in dry matter by 28.1–43.2%. Sulphur application reduced the number of unproductive tillers and increased the number of ears per unit area by 10–70%. The highest grain yield was achieved after the application of solid fertilizers YaraBela SULFAN and fertilizer YaraVita Thiotrac applied in the late growing stages. Sulphur fertilization slightly improved the values of grain specific weight, protein content and Zeleny sedimentation volume, but the effect was not significant. The effect of fertilizer application significantly differed between the studied years.

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Authors: W.F. Song, Z.Y. Ren, Y.B. Zhang, H.B. Zhao, X.B. Lv, J.L. Li, C.H. Guo, Q.J. Song, C.L. Zhang, W.L. Xin and Z.M. Xiao

Two lines, L-19-613 and L-19-626, were produced from the common wheat cultivar Longmai 19 (L-19) by six consecutive backcrosses using biochemical marker-assisted selection. L-19 (Glu-D1a, Glu-A3c/Gli-A1?; Gli-A1? is a gene coding for unnamed gliadin) and L-19-613 (Glu-D1d, Glu-A3c/Gli-A1?) formed a set of near-isogenic lines (NILs) for HMW-GS, while L-19-613 and L-19-626 (Glu-D1d, Glu-A3e/Gli-A1m) constituted another set of NILs for the LMW-GS/gliadins. The three L-19 NILs were grown in the wheat breeding nursery in 2007 and 2008. The field experiments were designed using the three-column contrast arrangement method with four replicates. The three lines were ranked as follows for measurements of gluten strength, which was determined by the gluten index, Zeleny sedimentation, the stability and breakdown time of the farinogram, the maximum resistance and area of the extensogram, and the P andWvalues of the alveogram: L-19-613 > L-19-626 > L-19. The parameters listed above were significantly different between lines at the 0.05 or 0.01 level. The Glu-D1 and Glu-A3/Gli-A1 loci had additive effects on the gluten index, Zeleny sedimentation, stability, breakdown time, maximum resistance, area, P and W values. Although genetic variation at the Glu-A3/Gli-A1 locus had a great influence on wheat quality, the genetic difference between Glu-D1d and Glu-D1a at the Glu-D1 locus was much larger than that of Glu-A3c/Gli-A1? and Glu-A3e/Gli-A1m at the Glu-A3/Gli-A1 locus. Glu-D1d had negative effects on the extensibility and the L value compared with Glu-D1a. In contrast, Glu-A3c/Gli-A1? had a positive effect on these traits compared with Glu-A3e/Gli-A1m.

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Seed samples of four Egyptian broad bean cultivars were tested for seed-borne fungi. The deep freezing method was used to isolate twelve seed-borne fungi viz., Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, Botrytis fabae, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Fusarium oxysporum, F. solani,, Penicillium italicum, Rhizoctonia solani, Rhizopus stolonifer, Stemphylium globuliferum and Trichothecium roseum from the broad bean cultivars viz., Giza 3, Giza 429, Giza 843 and Misr 1. Aspergillus flavus, Botrytis fabae, Fusarium oxysporum and Penicillium italicum were the most predominant fungal species. Aqueous extracts from five wild medicinal plants (Asclepias sinaica, Farsetia aegyptia, Hypericum sinaicum, Phagnalon sinaicum, and Salvia aegyptiaca) which were collected from the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt were tested against the predominant fungal pathogens. All the aqueous plant extracts significantly inhibited the mycelial growth of these fungi, but the extract of Asclepias sinaica exhibited the strongest antifungal activity. The maximum seed germination rate was observed in infested Giza 843 and minimum in Misr 1. Treating seeds with plant extract of Asclepias sinaica (10%) enhanced the percentage of seed germination of all cultivars in both laboratory and pot experiments. Maximum root and shoot lengths of seedlings were recorded in Giza 843 during fungal infestation or treatment by plant extract. In greenhouse experiment, the aqueous A. sinaica extract reduced disease severity and total pigments but increased total phenolics and fruit yield.

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Despite a long history of alpine meadows studies, uncertainty remains about the importance of environmental factors in structuring their assembly. We examined the functional and phylogenetic structure of 170 alpine Tibetan meadow communities in relation to elevation, soil moisture and shade. Functional community structure was estimated with both communityweighted mean (CWM) trait values for specific leaf area (SLA), plant height and seed mass and functional diversity (Rao’s quadratic index) for their traits individually and in combination (multivariate functional diversity). We found that shade induced by woody plants significantly increased the phylogenetic diversity and functional diversity of SLA of co-occurring species, suggesting that woody plants behave as “ecosystem engineers” creating a different environment that allows the existence of shade tolerant species and thereby facilitates the coexistence of plant species with different light resource acquisition strategies. We also found evidence for a clear decrease in phylogenetic diversity, CWM and functional diversity related to plant height in the two extreme, both the dry and wet, soil moisture conditions. This indicates that both drought and excess moisture may act as environmental filters selecting species with close phylogenetic relationships and similar height. Moreover, we detected significant decreases in both CWM and functional diversity for seed mass along elevational gradients, suggesting that low net primary productivity (NPP) limits seed size. Finally, because of different individual trait responses to environmental factors, the multivariate functional diversity did not change across environmental gradients. This lack of multivariate response supports the hypothesis that multiple processes, such as environmental filtering, competition and facilitation, may operate simultaneously and exert opposing effects on community assembly along different niche (e.g., water use, light acquisition) axes, resulting in no overall functional community structure change. This contrast between individual and multivariate trait patterns highlights the importance of examining individual traits linked with different ecological processes to better understand the mechanisms of community assembly.

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The fast evolution of Plasmopara halstedii (downy mildew) remains a major risk for sunflower crop, as new races of the pathogen are bypassing the resistance of sunflower hybrids. In order to understand the processes which led a new virulence to appear in a local P. halstedii population, the genetic relationships were studied using 12 EST (Expressed Sequence Tag)-derived markers between five progeny isolates of races 300, 304, 314, 704 and 714 and two parental ones of races 100 and 710. All genetic analyses were carried out using five single zoosporangium isolates per P. halstedii isolate. There was no intra-isolate genetic variation among the seven pathogen isolates and five multilocus genotypes (MLG) were identified among the 35 P. halstedii single zoosporangium isolates. The single zoosporangium isolates of races 314, 704 and 714 had an intermediary genetic position between the single zoosporangium isolates of two parental isolates. The single zoosporangium isolates of three isolates of races 100, 300 and 304 were localized in the same genetic clade. Two genetic mechanisms could explain the emergence of new virulence in P. halstedii as a recombination between races and mutations in a clonal lineage.

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Authors: Xiaoyan Liu, Md. Asaduzzaman Khan, Jingliang Cheng, Chunli Wei, Lianmei Zhang and Junjiang Fu

Generation of the stable cell lines is a highly efficient tool in functional studies of certain genes or proteins, where the particular genes or proteins are inducibly expressed. The KRAB-associated protein-1 (KAP1) is an important transcription regulatory protein, which is investigated in several molecular biological studies. In this study, we have aimed to generate a stable cell line for inducing KAP1 expression. The recombinant plasmid pcDNA5/FRT/TO-KAP1 was constructed at first, which was then transfected into Flp-In™T-REx™-HEK293 cells to establish an inducible pcDNA5/FRT/TO-KAP1-HEK293 cell line. The Western blot analysis showed that the protein level of KAP1 is over-expressed in the established stable cell line by doxycycline induction, both dose and time dependently. Thus we have successfully established stable pcDNA5/FRT/TO-KAP1-HEK293 cell line, which can express KAP1 inducibly. This inducible cell line might be very useful for KAP1 functional studies.

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The Servo agro spray oil (petroleum based horticulture oil) was evaluated in the laboratory against tea red spider mite, Oligonychus coffeae to determine its effect on adult mortality, viability of eggs, oviposition deterrence and repellent properties. The same was also evaluated in the field to determine its effect on mite population. Direct spray method was used in the laboratory at concentrations of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5%. Mortality of O. coffeae was both concentration and time dependent. Deposition of eggs by adult mites on treated leaf surfaces decreased significantly and the viability of eggs was also significantly reduced. In addition, different concentrations of the Servo agro spray also exhibited repellent properties against adult mites. In the field Servo agro spray oil significantly reduced the mite population and its bio-efficacy was comparable to that of the synthetic pesticide (propargite 57 EC). No phytotoxic effect was observed when tea bushes were sprayed with different doses of Servo agro spray. Tea samples were taint free. Quality (appearance of liquor, flavour, taint and taste) of made tea was not adversely affected by treatments with Servo agro spray oil. Therefore Servo agro spray oil may be a potential agent to be used in the sustainable management of tea red spider mite.

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Phenolic contents, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities were determined by two samples from summer (June) and winter (December) seasons of Ligularia fischeri var. spiciformis Nakai. A total of 24 phenolic compounds were identified by ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) analysis. Myricetin (1964.35 and 1829.12 μg/g) was the most dominant flavonol compared to quercetin and kaempferol. Salicylic acid (222.80 and 215.25 μg/g) was the most important phenolic compound compared to pyrogallol, caffeic acid, gentisic acid, o-coumaric acid, gallic acid, protocatechuic acid and ferulic acid in summer (June) and winter (December) seasons. Phenolic contents and antioxidant capacities were estimated for the various solvent extracts (petroleum ether, butanol, ethyl acetate, methanol and water). Ethyl acetate extract exhibited the highest phenolic (332.64 and 299.44 mg/g gallic acid equivalent) and flavonoid contents (5.72 and 5.29 mg/g quercetin equivalent) and also the strongest antioxidant activity in summer and winter seasons. Due to these metabolic variations, the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities were increased with summer seasons compared to winter seasons. Our study shows that the samples collected in June had higher phenolic compounds, stronger antioxidative and antimicrobial activity than the samples of L. fischeri leaf extracts collected in December.

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Authors: Anna E. Vojtkó, Judit Sonkoly, Balázs András Lukács and Attila Molnár V.

The reproductive success of orchids is traditionally estimated by determining the fruit-set of individuals. Here, we investigated both the fruit and the seed production of three orchid species and the factors that may affect individual fruit-set, like pollination strategy, individual traits or the annual amount of precipitation. The species [Dactylorhiza sambucina (L.) Soó, Dactylorhiza majalis (Rchb.) P. F. Hunt & Summerhayes and Platanthera bifolia (L.) L. C. M. Richard] were studied in three consecutive years (2010–2012) in the Bükk Mountains, Hungary. All three species were proved to be non-autogamous by a bagging experiment. Data analyses showed significant differences between seed numbers but not between fruit-sets of species. There was no statistical difference in individual reproductive success between wet and dry years, however, the effect of the annual amount of precipitation is significant on the population level. Comparison of published fruit-set data revealed accordance with our results in P. bifolia, but not in D. sambucina and D. majalis. We assume that the surprisingly high fruit-set values of the two Dactylorhiza species may be due to the fact that the pollination crisis reported from Western European countries is not an actual problem in the Bükk Mountains, Hungary.

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Authors: M. Swarnalatha, S. Audilakshmi, C.V. Ratnavathi, B. Dayakar Rao and J.V. Patil

Sorghum can be an alternative to corn for industrial uses, especially in drought prone areas of the world. Sorghum cultivars with high potential of grain and starch yields are needed to continuously meet the industrial demands. We have studied the genetics of grain yield and starch content of sorghum to decide the breeding procedure to develop suitable cultivars for starch industry. The genetic material from 8 × 8 diallel (28 F1 and 8 parents) was grown in a randomized complete block design, with three replications at Directorate of Sorghum Research, Hyderabad, India. Observations were recorded on seven agro-morphological and two grain quality traits including grain yield and starch content. Correlation studies revealed that the grain hardness was negatively correlated to starch and positively correlated to grain yield, panicle weight and days to flowering. Variance due to specific combining ability effects was greater in magnitude for both starch content and grain yield. Bi-parental crossing in F2 will help in getting pure lines with high starch content and high grain yield. The parents chosen for breeding program need to be good combiners for starch and grain yields to obtain superior hybrid. One MS line, 422B was a good combiner for grain yield, high starch content and 100 grain weight, and had good per se performance.

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Authors: G. M. Pastur, M. V. Lencinas, E. Gallo, M. de Cruz, M. L. Borla, R. S. Esteban and C. B. Anderson

Biodiversity conservation requires knowledge about the factors that influence the structure and function of biotic assemblages. In southern Patagonian Nothofagus forests, birds are the most abundant and diverse vertebrates and are known to have different requirements for nesting, breeding and feeding. Therefore, we chose this group to analyze key drivers of avian community dynamics; for conservation purposes, this information is requisite to manage Nothofagus forest landscapes and their associated biota. We first characterized forest structure and understory floristic composition in open and closed canopy broadleaved forests of mixed deciduous (MD) and mixed deciduous-evergreen (MDE) species on the southern coast of Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina. For each habitat, bird assemblages were assessed using point counts, checklists and mistnetting. We used ANOVAs and multivariate methods to analyze changes in bird species richness, density, and biomass as a function of habitat and seasonal characteristics. Forest structure and understory plant communities influenced avian assemblage and density; MDE forests had significantly greater species richness, but lower density than MD. Plus, particular species were associated with specific understory conditions, such as Anairetes parulus and Zonotrichia capensis whose presence was related to shrubs. Additionally, variations observed between seasons apparently were related to differential uses of each habitat type during certain times of year. Finally, it was not possible to define a single forest type with greater conservation value for birds; each had a specific bird species assemblage. Consequently, our results suggest the importance of a full representation of habitats to preserve the region’s bird diversity, which also has been described for forest invertebrates and understory plants.

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Adult male albino rats were fed on stored wheat grains (Triticum aestivum L.) treated with malathion and spinosad at both 8 and 16 ppm for 90 consecutive days to evaluate their hepatic and renal toxicity. The activity of serum acetylcholinesterase (AChE) was decreased in rats treated with the higher concentration of both tested pesticides. Biochemical parameters of liver functions [i.e., aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), acid phosphatase (ACP) activity, as well as total protein, albumin, bilirubin and cholesterol levels] were severely affected especially at higher concentration. Malathion and spinosad elevated the activity of ALT, AST, ALP and ACP in rats treated with the higher concentration. Also, total and direct bilirubin levels increased in rats treated with the higher concentration of both pesticides. On the contrary, both pesticides decreased total protein and albumin levels in treated rats in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, malathion was found to be hyperglycemic. Kidney function parameters (i.e., urea and creatinine levels) were increased in treated rats in a concentration-dependent manner. The above mentioned effects were supported by histopathological examination of liver and kidney tissues. The obtained results indicated also that malathion was able to cause a more pronounced hepato- and renal toxicity in rats than spinosad.

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Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been recently found to be a gaseous signaling molecule in plants. In this work, we studied the role of H2S in alleviating salinity stress during wheat grain germination (Triticum aestivum L. Yangmai 158). Pretreatment with NaHS, a H2S donor, during wheat grain imbibition, could significantly attenuate the inhibitory effect of salinity stress on wheat germination. NaHS-pretreated grain showed higher amylase and esterase activities than water control. NaHS pretreatment differentially stimulated the activities of catalase (CAT), guaiacol peroxidase (POD) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), decreased the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced NaCl-induced changes in plasma membrane integrity in the radicle tips of seedlings compared with water control. We conclude that H2S plays an important role in protecting wheat grain from oxidative damage induced by salinity stress.

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The experiments for determining the multiple insect-pest incidence on yield loss in basmati rice was conducted for two crop seasons. Five treatments were, viz. application of imidacloprid in vegetative stage; application of granular insecticide in vegetative stage; application of higher dose of Urea; augmentive releases of yellow stem borer egg mass at vegetative and booting stage; untreated control. During both the years, the correlation between grain yield and dead heart, leaf folder damage and planthopper population at 50 and 65 DAT and white ear at maturity was negative. The analysis of variance of regression analysis of yield Vs damage levels at different crop growth stages during both the years revealed a significant linear relationship. The yield loss was highly related to incidence of stem borer and leaf folder damage at 50 and 65 DAT during both the years. For integrated pest management, effective monitoring of stem borer and leaf folder from 50 to 65 DAT is required, which appeared as a critical crop growth stage. The farmers should remain cautious during this period to prevent yield loss.

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The toxicity of Melissa officinalis L. essential oil and its formulation (Melissacide) were evaluated against eggs and females of two predatory phytoseiid mites, Typhlodromips swirskii (Athias Henriot) and Neoseiulus barkeri (Hughes), using direct spray. Results indicate that both tested materials were potent on predatory females than egg stage. Typhlodromips swirskii was proved to be more sensitive to the oil and formulation than N. barkeri.

Females mortality were (62-100%) in T. swirskii, and (46-69%) in N. barkeri, when both predatory mites were sprayed with LC50 and LC90 of the oil and Melissacide reported on Tetranychus urticae Koch. Females of both predators were suffered from reduction in food consumption when sprayed with two sublethal concentrations of Melissacide, while insignificant differences reported in daily number of eggs deposited by females of T. swirskii, when sprayed with its LC25 value of Melissacide and control.

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The processes of stand structure and yield formation of spring barley were studied under different weather conditions and crop management. The multifactorial small-plot trials focused on the combined effect of variety, sowing density and nitrogen nutrition were carried out in two years with contrast weather conditions for yield formation (2011 and 2013). Evaluation of the above-ground biomass and the segmentation of tillers into three groups was conducted in four growth stages (BBCH 25, 31, 39 and 75). The performed analyses confirmed that for effective use of inputs and high yield, it is important to create a sufficient number of strong tillers at the beginning of vegetation. In year with low proportion of strong tillers at the end of tillering (2013), the differentiation of tillers is delayed and their productivity decreases. In this year therefore, yield formation is shifted from the number of spikes to the number of grains in a spike. The comparison of barley genotypes revealed that high yield plasticity can be obtained especially in the variety Bojos, which is able to compensate effectively the changes in spike number by increased grain number in a spike. This variety is also able to create a high proportion of strong tillers even under unfavourable conditions. This knowledge could help to improve the breeding and management strategy in spring barley for the expected weather conditions in the near future, especially higher temperatures in early spring.

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The objectives of this paper are to discuss stability as an emergent property of ecological systems, as well as promote a common language of network theory that will transfer among socio-ecological systems. Many researchers have understood the relationship between diversity and redundancy of species as network nodes, and even the response/effect trait framework aspect of this (i.e., overlapping traits associated with environmental response and ecosystem-level effects). Many researchers have also made the connections between network architecture and robustness, recognizing species interaction links as important aspects of architecture, but few papers incorporate concepts of diversity and redundancy for both nodes and links into aspects of architecture, and consequently network dynamics and stability. Using a common language framework of network theory and commonalities of network properties across outwardly different network types may reveal the existence of common constraints or determinants on network stability for ecological systems.

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Authors: Jahangir Khan, Zoobia Bashir, Aqeel Ahmad, Wajeeha Tariq, Anam Yousaf and Madiha Gohar

This study mathematically correlates incidence of cotton leaf curl virus (CLCuV), environmental factors (i.e., rainfall, humidity and temperature), and silverleaf whitefly population in agricultural system of Pakistan. It has been concluded that the disease is directly linked with rainfall and humidity. The third most influential factor in defining CLCuV incidence is the vector population, which is also strictly dependent upon monthly mean temperature of Pakistan. Developed mathematical interrelation is capable of predicting disease incidence of future months. Therefore, it will help agriculturists to control disease in agricultural areas of Pakistan. It is strongly advised on the basis of current research that vector population controlling practices should be immediately applied after detecting small elevations in mean monthly temperature.

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Tobacco rattle virus (TRV-K) was first identified in a symptomatic Gladiolus plant cultivated in Korea. We analyzed the TRV-K genome and compared its phylogeny with other TRV isolates. After constructing of a full-length genomic RNA2 strand clone, a complete sequence was generated from several overlapping clones. The cloned genome was 3261 bases in length, identical to TRV-K, and had three open reading frames. TRV-K had the highest sequence identity with the American isolate TRV-ORY. Sequence analysis of the RNA2 genome showed that TRV-K contains an intact 2a, 2b, and 2c coding sequence and an RNA1-related 3′ terminus, which is typical of TRV RNA2. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that TRV-K is in the same cluster as the American isolates and another Korean isolate, TRV-SK; however, it was in a different cluster than the European isolates.

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Authors: H. Peros, G. Dalezios, E. Liakakos, C. Delis, T.B. Lazaridou and I.N. Xynias

The main motive of the present work was to detect and confirm the presence of the 1BL.1RS wheat-rye translocation in elite Hellenic bread wheat germplasm. For this, a molecular method was employed and seven Hellenic bread wheat cultivars (Acheloos, Acheron, Chios, Elisavet, Myconos, Orpheus, and Vergina) were studied. A rye population originated from Florina, and cultivar Kavkaz/Cgn, one of the donors of the 1BL.1RS translocation to bread wheat, were used as positive checks. The polymerase chain reaction was applied and two promoters for bread wheat gene alleles located on short arm of chromosome 1B (GLU-B3, GLI-B3) and one promoter for a rye gene (SEC I) located on short arm of chromosome 1R, were involved. It was demonstrated that cultivars Acheron, Elisavet and Orpheus do carry the 1BL.1RS translocation, whereas the rest of the varieties studied, they do not it. It was concluded that cultivars Acheron, Elisavet and Orpheus that carry the translocation, could be crossed to other elite genotypes lucking the translocation and produce new varieties possessing the advantages of the 1BL.1RS translocation. A special attention should be given to cultivar Acheron since this cultivar, despite the presence of the translocation carries favourable alleles in other gene loci affecting positively the quality of the produced bread.

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Authors: M. Ciuca, D. Cristina, A.G. Turcu, E.L. Contescu, V. Ionescu and N.N. Saulescu

Wheat continues to be one of the most cultivated cereals in the world, and also in Romania. Leaf rust caused by Puccinia triticina reduces the wheat yield and grains quality worldwide. In the context of climate change, leaf rust has become a more important problem for both wheat growers and breeders in our country. Use of genetic resources, carrying rust resistance genes, play an important role in breeding programs leading to resistant varieties, which can have positive impact on environment and economy. Therefore, the identification of resistance genes in modern wheat cultivars and breeding lines, and then selection of the best resistance genes combination(s) are the first steps for a successful breeding program. At present, one of the best known and studied adult plant leaf rust resistance gene is Lr34 that contributes significantly to durable leaf rust resistance. The functional markers that enable early detection of this gene are a major advantage in the wheat breeding.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of the slow rusting resistance gene Lr34 in Romanian wheat germplasm, using cssfr4 and cssfr5 molecular markers. Screening of 47 winter bread wheat cultivars and 47 breeding lines with these markers showed the presence of the Lr34 resistant haplotype in 62% (homozygous genotypes) of the total genotypes. A high frequency (79%) of Lr34 resistance allele was found among 47 breeding lines, suggesting that maintenance of a high frequency of this allele represents a real advantage for the development of adult plant resistance in Romanian breeding programs.

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Authors: L.R. Vemireddy, N. Ranjithkumar, A. Vipparla, M. Surapaneni, G. Choudhary, K.V. Sudhakarrao and E.A. Siddiq

India bred high yielding rice varieties have enriched to a great extent the global rice germplasm since the mid-sixties. Systematic research efforts for development of cultivar-specific DNA fingerprints of major Indian rice cultivars, however, have not received due attention. The present investigation was aimed at development of DNA fingerprints for 90 high yielding rice varieties using hypervariable microsatellite (hvRM) markers. A panel of eight markers, viz. RM11313, RM13584, RM15004, RM5844, RM22250, RM22565, RM24260 and RM8207 was chosen from 52 polymorphic markers based on their highly polymorphic nature, SSR repeat type and number and ability to distinguish genotypes, in order to develop DNA fingerprints of 90 varieties. The remaining high polymorphic hvRM markers could be of immense value in future to distinguish new cultivars, in case they could not be distinguished by the 8 marker panel. Four of the 8 markers, viz. RM22250, RM13584, RM24260 and RM5844 were located in expressed genes and could be of value in DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) testing. Thus we suggested, that this set of 8 loci could be used as standard for DNA fingerprinting of Indian rice cultivars.

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Pheromone traps with different doses of disparlure [(Z)-7,8-epoxy-2-methyloctadecane] were tested for a local strain of the Indian gypsy moth (Lymantria obfuscata) at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (India). Disparlure at 500 µg dose proved to be effective in trapping gypsy moth populations. The first adults were caught on the third week of June in 2007-2009 with peak catches a week later. Catches in disparlure-baited traps at all dosage levels (0.5, 50 and 500 µg) were significantly higher as compared to control traps. The regression equation revealed strong (99%) correlation between moth catches and applied doses. The accumulated degree day model predicted 65.31 to 117.97 heat units for larval hatch and 794.66 to 928.15 heat units for adult emergence. The principal component analysis showed significant variability between weather variables and adult L. obfuscata population.

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Saltol, a major QTL for salt exclusion, was derived from ‘Pokkali’, a salt-tolerant rice cultivar. Apart from Pokkali, many genotypes with wide variation for salinity tolerance offer ample scope for identifying new genes or QTLs underlying various tolerance mechanisms. Such genes could be aggregated into high-yielding backgrounds to reinforce a breeding programme. To identify potential donors for salt tolerance and prospective parental combinations for developing high-yielding salt-tolerant cultivars, ten genotypes were subjected to salt stress and evaluated for morpho-physiological traits and marker-allele polymorphism in the Saltol-QTL region. Although the salt-susceptible high-yielding varieties clustered together in a 3-D plot, principal component analysis showed marked spatial isolation among the tolerant genotypes. Unlike Pokkali and its derivative FL496, Rahspunjar maintained a higher level of K+ despite high Na+ influx in shoots. The wider genetic distances observed at both phenotypic and genotypic levels suggest the possibility of getting transgressive segregants among the offspring of crosses between Rahspunjar and Gayatri or Swarna Sub1. Similarly, SR 26B, which coped with the stress by diluting the Na+ load by maintaining a higher growth rate, differed from Pokkali or Nona Bokra: these two coped with the stress by regulating the transmission of Na+ from roots to photosynthetically active sites. The F2:3 population derived from Savitri × SR 26B showed wide morpho-physiological diversity for salt tolerance. SR 26B was the most distant genotype from Pokkali in the Saltol QTL region and was salt tolerant despite the absence of Pokkali alleles in this region.

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Detection of IgG and IgM antibodies is commonly performed for the diagnosis of infection with Toxoplasma gondii. We determined the accuracy of the Elecsys Toxo IgG and IgM test at four European laboratories compared to local reference methods. Coefficients of variation for reproducibility ranged from 1.0 to 6.5% for IgG and from 0.8 to 3.2% for IgM. Seroconversion panels revealed high overall concordance with the reference tests. The Elecsys test detected IgG antibodies earlier than the Cobas Core IgG test in 19 of 47 panels; persisting IgM antibodies were observed in the VIDAS but not the Elecsys test in five of 47 panels. In 31.4% of latent stage sera with persistent IgM antibodies (positive LIASON IgM), the Elecsys IgM test gave negative results indicating increased “clinical” specificity. Sensitivity and specificity of the Elecsys IgG assay ranged from 99.45 to 100% and 87.50–99.80%, respectively, and 91.11–95.74 and 98.45–99.79% for the Elecsys IgM assay, respectively.

In conclusion, excellent reproducibility and accuracy make the Elecsys Toxo G and M tests highly suitable for the detection of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. The lower detection rates for persistent IgM in the Elecsys IgM test increase “clinical” specificity and decrease the need for follow-up testing.

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Authors: J. Kontschán, A. Ács, G. Q. Wang and A. Neményi

Five different bamboo plantations were investigated on the basis of the leaf litter inhabiting mites. 11 Mesostigmata and 10 Oribatida are listed from the leaf litters, of which three species, e.g. Vulgarogamasus kraepelini (Berlese, 1905), Nothrus parvus Sitnikova, 1975, Metabelba paravulverosa Moritz, 1966 are new to the Hungarian fauna.

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Nitrogen (N) acts as nutrient and signaling molecule in plants all over their development stages. The involvement of various N forms in the regulation of seed germination response to salt stress was assessed in the present work. Nitrogen sources (NO, NO2 , NO3 , NH4 +, glutamine and glutamate) were added at 1mMto the germination medium of barley (Hordeum vulgare, cv Ardhaoui) in combination or not with NaCl stress (14 g.L−1). The application of nitrogen monoxide (NO) alleviated by about 20% the NaCl-induced germination capacity decrease. However, the addition of ammonium ions (NH4 +) and glutamic acid (Glu) accentuated the inhibitory effects of NaCl, decreasing germination capacity by about 50% compared to the control. The levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), which is an indicator of membrane lipid peroxidation by stresses, were increased by salinity in seeds treated with nitrite (NO2 ), NO3 , Glu and Gln. In N-free medium, NaCl stress induced a severe nitrate reductase activity (NR, EC 1.6.1.6) inhibition. Such an effect was alleviated by the application of N treatments. Glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH, EC 1.4.1.2) aminating activity (NADH-GDH) of seedlings was inhibited by NaCl stress in the presence of NO, Glu and Gln. Conversely, there was stimulation by salt stress of NADH-GDH activity in seedlings treated with NaCl and NH4 +. Deaminating GDH activity (NAD-GDH) was found to be enhanced by salt stress in NO2 and NO3 treatments. The differential effects of applied N forms on germination and early seedling development processes in this grass probably underlines different regulatory actions within N mobilization and assimilation.

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We report the case of a nosocomial infection due to Enterococcus cecorum isolated from a blood culture of a 75-year-old septic male patient. Matrix-assisted laser desorption–ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and Vitek 2 succeeded in identification of the isolate.

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In December 2012 then in the following winter season, the occurrence of whitish mycelial coat was observed on the collar of 3- to 6-m high Bucida buceras trees grown in hydrocultures to decorate a spacious indoor community space in Vienna. (This plant [shown in Fig. 1] belongs to Combretaceae, Myrtales and commonly named black olive tree, bullet tree, gregorywood and oxhorn bucida.) The mycelium-infested area of the bark appeared to be water-soaked. Near the surface of the potting mix (earth ball embedded in clay pebbles), the roots were also covered with whitish mycelia (Fig. 2). Over the winter season when the indoor temperature increased from 20 °C to 25 °C, these symptoms were unnoticeable. Regardless of the season, the rhizosphere contained numbers of sclerotia, dark-grey, globose and 8–12 mm in diameter that occasionally developed rhizomorph-like mycelial cords.

Direct plating of mycelium fragments from the bark and sclerotia from the rhizosphere onto potato dextrose agar amended with ampicillin (500 mg/l) eventually yielded pure fungal cultures of similar characteristics. Cultures routinely incubated in the dark developed white and submerged colonies with sparse aerial mycelia. The fungus grew well between 10 °C and 25 °C, and failed to grow at either 5 °C or 32 °C. The optimal growth was measured at 20 °C with an average radial growth rate of 11 mm per day. After 10 to 12 days, a ring of sclerotia begun to develop near the edge of the colonies; they turned dark grey and sized 3–8 mm. Rather misleadingly, neither conidia, nor sexual spores were observed in these cultures. However, when the fungus was cultured in natural light under laboratory conditions at 25 °C, a completely different colony pattern was observed; it was cottony, greyish then dark grey, and produced abundant hyaline conidia borne on grey, branching tree-like conidiophores. Conidia were one-celled and egg-shaped, and their dimensions fell in the range of 9.89–14.63 (11.48±0.31) µm×7.05–10.05 (8.31±0.20) µm. These features concurred with those characterising the polyphagous grey mould fungus Botryotinia fuckeliana (anamorph: Botrytis cinerea) (Elad et al., 2007). The ITS1/ITS2 including the 5.8S subunit of rDNA of one of the isolates were amplified with primers ITS1-F/ITS4, then the PCR products were sequenced. The ITS sequence determined in this way was identical to known sequences of B. fuckeliana strains, e.g. that of CBS 131.28 (GenBank accession number: KF859918), the type material of Botrytis cinerea f. lini, DAOM 231372 (GenBank accession number: KF859924) and so on.

Pathogenicity tests resulted in rapidly (within 2 weeks) developing disease symptoms around the site of wound inoculation with a 5-mm-diametre mycelial agar plug: fruit rot on apple and lemon in the laboratory, and sunken lesions on stems of hydrocultured ornamental plants such as the herbaceous Monstera deliciosa and the woody Dracena marginata. To fulfill Koch’s postulates, the fungus was re-isolated from symptomatic apple fruit, and was found to exhibit the afore-mentioned morpho-physiological characteristics.

Inoculation test on Bucida was not performed because of the costly risk i.e., the sale price of the trees is € 3 to 10 thousand. Consequently, the actual sensitivity of Bucida to grey mould remains uncertain, so much the more because this plant species has not been recorded as a host of the pathogen or other important parasitic fungi in natural (subtropical) environment (e.g. Whelburg et al., 1975). To our knowledge, this report is the first description of Botryotinia fuckeliana on Bucida buceras. In addition to the fact that periodic emergence of fungal mycelia on the trunk impairs the tree’s aesthetic appearance, the sclerotia resting in the potting mix may cause more serious problems in the long term. However, it cannot be precluded that the elevated indoor temperature reduces disease progression and thus the economic importance of the pathogen on this plant.

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Authors: D.A. Urias-Lugo, J.B. Heredia, J.B. Valdez-Torres, M.D. Muy-Rangel, S.O. Serna-Saldivar and S. García-Lara