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Effect of different doses of nitrogen (N) (90, 120, 150 and 180 kg Nha–1) on the activities of aminotransferases and alkaline inorganic pyrophosphatase (AIP) in relation to the accumulation of proteins, amino acids and sugars in roots and internodes at 15 and 40 days post anthesis (DPA) stages was studied in six wheat genotypes namely HD 2967, GLU 1101, PBW 343, BW 9022, PH-132-4840 and PBW 550. Supra-optimal N doses (150 kg Nha–1 and 180 kg Nha–1) accentuated glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), glutamate pyruvate transaminase (GPT) and alkaline inorganic pyrophosphatase activities in correspondence with an increase in amino acid, protein and sugar content in both roots and internodes in all the six genotypes. Activities of analyzed enzymes were significantly high at 15 days post anthesis (DPA) stage and thereafter declined at maturity (40 DPA) in parallel with decrease in amino acid contents. Maximum activity of GOT, GPT and AIP was observed in HD 2967 and GLU 1101 genotypes along with higher build up of proteins and amino acids which resulted in higher grain yield. Activity of GPT was comparatively high over GOT, indicating its major role towards protein synthesis. Grain filling processes in terms of proteins and amino acids were positively correlated with GOT and GPT activities while sugars were correlated to AIP. Thus, nitrogen acquisition and assimilation resulted in favoured utilization of N in form of amino acid and proteins accumulation while sugar content was also stimulated. Due to immense activities of aminotransferases and higher contents of amino acids and proteins in GLU 1101 and HD 2967 genotypes at optimal dose and higher dose of N, these genotypes hold future potential for developing new cultivars with better grain quality characteristics.

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The effect of anthropization on sedentary landbirds occurring in late summer on a small Mediterranean island (San Pietro, SW Sardinia) has been studied comparing abundance and biomass among different ecological guilds. The two specialized insular guilds (Mediterranean warblers and rocky cliff species) represent about half of the total individual abundance (47%) but only 16% in terms of biomass. Although almost all the surface of the island is covered by Mediterranean scrub (maquis), Mediterranean warblers were not as dominant as the guild of strictly synanthropic species. This latter guild was the most represented in frequency both for abundance and biomass. I hypothesize that (i) here the anthropization could be considered a locally relevant process disrupting the resource flow and lowering the trophic level and (ii) the dominance of synanthropic birds in terms of biomass could be a general phenomenon extended to a large set of Mediterranean islands. The three most abundant synanthropic species, linked to highly disturbed habitats, showed a larger body mass when compared to specialized species as Mediterranean warblers: when applying the Abundance/Biomass Comparison (ABC), an early cumulating biomass curve was observed, partially overlapping with abundance curve. This pattern did not match with the classic predictions for the ABC model (i.e., species with higher biomass are typical of undisturbed assemblage) and could be wrongly interpreted. Therefore, I suggest that the ABC assumptions are not universal but limited only to assemblages where high body mass species coincide to species of a higher trophic level.

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Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Agar Ramos-Nevarez, Sergio Estrada-Martínez, Sandra Margarita Cerrillo-Soto, Miriam Alejandra Mijarez-Hernández, Carlos Alberto Guido-Arreola, Alma Rosa Pérez-Álamos, Isabel Beristain-Garcia and Elizabeth Rábago-Sánchez

We determined the association between having a history of surgery and the seroreactivity to T. gondii. An age- and gender-matched case-control study of 391 subjects with a history of surgery and 391 subjects without this history was performed. Sera of subjects were analyzed for detection of anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM) antibodies using enzyme-linked immunoassays. Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in 25 (6.4%) of the 391 cases and in 21 (5.4%) of the 391 controls (odds ratio [OR] = 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66–2.18; P = 0.54). The frequency of cases with high IgG antibody levels (10/25: 40.0%) was equal to that found in controls (8/21: 38.1%) (OR = 1.08; 95% CI: 0.32–3.56; P = 0.89). Of the 25 anti-T. gondii IgG antibody seropositive cases, 5 (16.0%) were also positive for anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies. Meanwhile, of the 21 anti-T. gondii IgG antibody seropositive controls, 4 (19.0%) were also positive for anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies (OR = 0.81; 95% CI: 0.17–3.72; P = 0.80). Logistic regression showed that only the variable “hysterectomy” was associated with T. gondii seropositivity (OR = 4.6; 95% CI: 1.6–13.4; P = 0.005). Results suggest that having a history of surgery is not an important risk factor for infection with T. gondii. However, the link between T. gondii infection and hysterectomy should be further investigated.

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We briefly discuss the relationship between the biological knowledge and the methodological issues related to traitbased ecological analyses. We provide illustrative examples and argue that the biological novelty of trait-based research is generally less than expected - while new information is mostly coming from data management and methodology.

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Authors: Hubert Sytykiewicz, Agnieszka Kozak, Bogumił Leszczyński, Cezary Sempruch, Iwona Łukasik, Iwona Sprawka, Katarzyna Kmieć, Monika Kurowska, Aldona Kopczyńska and Paweł Czerniewicz

The major aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of juglone (JU; 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone) treatments on the expression level of Cat1, Cat2 and Cat3 genes, encoding the respective catalase isozymes in maize (Zea mays L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seeds. In parallel, germination efficiency, catalase (CAT) activity and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content in juglone-exposed cereal seeds were assessed. Juglone applications significantly stimulated abundance of three target catalase transcripts as well as induced CAT activity and generation of H2O2 in both maize and wheat kernels. Furthermore, germination process of juglone-affected maize seeds was more severe suppressed than in case of wheat kernels. The role of juglone in triggering the oxidative stress as well as antioxidative responses in seeds of the studied model cereal species are discussed.

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In order to increase genetic diversity in cereals, interspecific or even intergeneric crosses are worthwhile, especially wheat by rye crosses for triticale production. However, these crosses often fail due to inhibiting genes. To overcome this obstacle, crossability trait, present in a few wheat cultivars, can be transferred into other wheat lines of agronomical interest. Nevertheless, this transfer remains tedious through conventional backcrossing methods because it is a recessive trait, which requires selfing generations and complex evaluation by many crosses. Here, we present a marker-assisted backcrossing method to transfer this trait more quickly and easily. We chose to introduce the recessive crossability skr, located on chromosome 5BS and originating from Asian wheat, into Barok, a non-crossable French wheat cultivar, with good agronomic characteristics. Six molecular markers, close to the Skr locus, were used to check the transfer of the gene at each of the three backcrosses, without selfing generation nor crosses with rye. Finally, we crossed the predicted crossable lines with rye to validate their crossability. We obtained sixteen lines, morphologically similar to Barok, exhibiting high crossability rate (30%). The markers were thus efficient to transfer the skr crossability but they remain too far from the Skr locus to be considered as diagnostic markers. Indeed, genotyping and phenotyping on other wheat cultivars showed some discrepancies. Nevertheless, this opens the way to enhance genetic diversity more easily and to improve traits of agronomic interest in triticale or wheat as well as to study further barriers to intergeneric crosses.

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Authors: F. Nieto-Rabiela, G. Suzán, A. Wiratsudakul and O. Rico-Chávez

One of the main goals of community ecology is to measure the relative importance of environmental filters to understand patterns of species distribution at different temporal and spatial scales. Likewise, the identification of factors that shape symbiont metacommunity structures is important in disease ecology because resulting structures drive disease transmission. We tested the hypothesis that distributions of virus species and viral families from rodents and bats are defined by shared responses to host phylogeny and host functional characteristics, shaping the viral metacommunity structures at four spatial scales (Continental, Biogeographical, Zoogeographical, and Regional). The contribution of host phylogeny and host traits to the metacommunity of viruses at each spatial scale was calculated using a redundant analysis of canonical ordering (RDA). For rodents, at American Continental scale the coherence of viral species metacommunity increased while the spatial scale decreased and Quasi-Clementsian structures were observed. This pattern suggests a restricted distribution of viruses through their hosts, while in the Big Mass (Europe, Africa, and Asia), the coherence decreased as spatial scale decreased. Viral species metacommunities associated with bats was dominated by random structures along all spatial scales. We suggest that this random pattern is a result of the presence of viruses with high occupancy range such as rabies (73%) and coronavirus (27%), that disrupt such structures. At viral family scale, viral metacommunities associated with bats showed coherent structures, with the emergence of Quasi- Clementsian and Checkerboard structures. RDA analysis indicates that the assemblage of viral diversity associated with rodents and bats responds to phylogenetic and functional characteristics, which alternate between spatial scales. Several of these variations could be subject to the spatial scale, in spite of this, we could identify patterns at macro ecological scale. The application of metacommunity theory at symbiont scales is particularly useful for large-scale ecological analysis. Understanding the rules of host-virus association can be useful to take better decisions in epidemiological surveillance, control and even predictions of viral distribution and dissemination.

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Authors: Ahmed Elfiky, Agnes Bonifacius, Joern Pezoldt, Maria Pasztoi, Paweena Chaoprasid, Pooja Sadana, Nagla El-Sherbeeny, Magda Hagras, Andrea Scrima, Petra Dersch and Jochen Huehn

Adaptive immunity is essentially required to control acute infection with enteropathogenic Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (Yptb). We have recently demonstrated that Yptb can directly modulate naïve CD4+ T cell differentiation. However, whether fully differentiated forkhead box protein P3 (Foxp3+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), fundamental key players to maintain immune homeostasis, are targeted by Yptb remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that within the CD4+ T cell compartment Yptb preferentially targets Tregs and injects Yersinia outer proteins (Yops) in a process that depends on the type III secretion system and invasins. Remarkably, Yop-translocation into ex vivo isolated Foxp3+ Tregs resulted in a substantial downregulation of Foxp3 expression and a decreased capacity to express the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). Together, these findings highlight that invasins are critically required to mediate Yptb attachment to Foxp3+ Tregs, which allows efficient Yop-translocation and finally enables the modulation of the Foxp3+ Tregs' suppressive phenotype.

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ABA regulation of antioxidant activity during post-germination desiccation and subsequent rehydration was studied in two wheat cultivars PBW 644 (ABA-higher sensitive and drought tolerant) and PBW 343 (ABA-lesser sensitive and drought susceptible) where 1 d-germinated seeds were exposed to ABA/ PEG- 6000 for next 1 d, desiccated for 4 d and subsequently rehydrated for 4 d. Ascorbate, dehydrascorbate to ascorbate ratio, malondialdehyde (MDA), hydroxyl radicals, and activities of monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), alcohol dehydrogenase (AlcDH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (AldDH) were measured in seedlings just before desiccation (2 d old), desiccated (6 d old) and rehydrated (10 d old) stages. ROS/NO signaling was studied under CT and ABA supply by supplying ROS and NO scavengers. During desiccation, both cultivars showed increase of oxidative stress (dehydroascorbate to ascorbate ratio, MDA, hydroxyl radicals) and antioxidant activity in the form of ascorbate content and AldDH activity while other antioxidant enzymes were not increased. PBW 644 showed higher antioxidant activity thus produced less oxidative stress compared to PBW 343. During rehydration, activities of all antioxidant enzymes and levels of ROS (hydroxyl radicals) were increased in both cultivars and MDA was decreased in PBW 343. ABA supply improved desiccation as well as rehydration by improving all parameters of antioxidant activity tested in this study. PEG supply resembled to ABA-supply for its effects. ABA/PEG improvements were seen higher in PBW 644. ROS/NO-signalling was involved under CT as well as under ABA for increasing antioxidant activity during desiccation as well as rehydration in both cultivars.

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Authors: A. L. Borhidi, M. Fernández Zequeira and R. Oviedo-Prieto

An important molecular-phylogenetic monography appeared about the Chiococceae tribe of the Caribbean region by Paudyal et al. (2018) proposing several new taxonomic modifying decisions concerning also to the monographic treatment of the recently (2017) published Rubiáceas de Cuba, as the confirmation and extension of the genus Solenandra revalidated by Borhidi (2002) and the separation of the new endemic Cuban genus Ramonadoxa Paudyal and Delprete from Chiococca. The molecular-phylogenetic studies did not verify the separation of Ceuthocarpus Aiello from Schmidtottia Urb. neither Phyllacanthus Hook. f. as independent genus from Catesbaea L.

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Pathogenic variation was studied in 16 fungal isolates of four Fusarium head blight (FHB) species on two modern Syrian bread and durum wheat cultivars using an in vitro Petri-dish test. Three aggressiveness criteria: germination rate reduction, standardized area under disease progress curve (AUDPCstandard), and coleoptile length reduction were evaluated. Regarding AUDPCstandard, intra- and inter-species variability in aggressiveness was detected. The other two aggressiveness criteria did not distinguish fungal isolates within and among species. It seems that AUDPCstandard may be used to measure aggressiveness of FHB on wheat at early stages. The three aggressiveness parameters were not significantly correlated. Cultivar-specific aggressiveness has not been detected. It was not possible to cluster the isolates based on their species origins because of similarity in pathogenic level among the 16 fungal isolates. Bread wheat was more resistant to FHB infection than durum wheat in vitro. The two tested modern cultivars were shown to exhibit moderate to high FHB resistance levels.

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Authors: Fatemeh Alipour, Mehdi Jalali, Mohammad Reza Nikravesh, Alireza Fazel, Mojtaba Sankian and Elnaz Khordad

There is an evident relationship between the fertilizing capacity of sperm and the normal morphology, quality chromatin, and motility of sperm. It is well known that thyroid hormones are the important regulators of testicular function. A correlation was found between the hypothyroidism and sperm damages. The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of hypothyroidism on sperm morphology, chromatin quality, and motility. For this purpose, 20 male mice were divided into the control and the hypothyroid groups that received 0.05% 6-n-propyl-2-thiouracil (PTU) for 35 days. Sperm morphology with Papanicolaou staining and sperm chromatin quality with both Aniline Blue (AB) and Toluidine blue (TB) staining were assessed. Besides, immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR were performed to evaluate the changes of cation sperm channel (CatSper) genes. A significant increase in the sperm chromatin condensation was found in the hypothyroid mice compared to the control mice (p < 0.05). Furthermore, a significant decrease was observed in the morphology of normal sperm in hypothyroid mice compared to the controls (p < 0.05). The results showed that Hypothyroidism could downregulate the expression of CatSper genes. Immunohistochemical data confirmed the real time-PCR results. Furthermore, the results showed that hypothyroidism could adversely affect sperm morphology, sperm chromatin condensation, and CatSper gene expression in mice and these abnormalities may be related to the excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a hypothyroid state.

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In recent decades, there has been a growing interest in the use of herbs and herbal medicinal products, both in developing and developed countries. While electronic medium has become a more and more important tool for presenting information about health-related issues, several studies demonstrated that the internet often contains inaccurate and/or misleading information. In our study we assessed 30 Hungarian websites and 2 cellphone applications intended for public use and evaluated the quality and credibility of the information presented about medicinal plants recommended. It was found that websites showed very diverse safety: most websites gave mixed information, that is, some medicinal herbs and their potential hazard were properly described, while others were not. There were, however, websites, which completely missed to give information about any potential hazard. As credibility of public websites can be in most cases questioned, it is strongly recommended for potential users to consult more than one source of information.

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This study was performed to determine the possible ameliorative effect of alpha-lipoic acid (LA) against oxidative stress evoked by lead (Pb) toxicity on 5-d wheat seedlings and elucidate how this ameliorative process was mediated. Pb toxicity caused a significant reduction in early seedling growth as evidenced by stunted root and coleoptile growth. To cope with the Pb toxicity, the activities of antioxidant enzymes were significantly stimulated compared to the control. However, in spite of high activities of these enzymes, contents of reactive oxygen species (ROS), superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide and lipid peroxidation level were significantly high compared with the control. Similarly, Pb toxicity caused a marked decrease in the level of reduced forms of ascorbate and glutathione and thus it changed their reduced/oxidized ratio in favor of oxidized forms. On the other hand, LA supplementation further promoted uptake, accumulation, and transportation of Pb by stimulating tolerance mechanism involving ion uptake/accumulation at a high level. Moreover, ROS content and lipid peroxidation level were recorded as lower than that of the stressed-ones alone. In addition, while Pb toxicity markedly reduced amylase activity by decreasing Ca2+ content in endosperms, LA supplementation mitigated the reduction in amylase activity by increasing Ca2+ content. The changes in amylase activity were supported by isozymes patterns. Taken together, LA carried out its ameliorative effect against Pb toxicity via stimulation of tolerance mechanism, and this mechanism was linked to regeneration of the other main antioxidant compounds due to its own antioxidant property instead of activation of antioxidant enzymes.

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Authors: K. T. Kiss and A Földi
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Authors: Elham Mostafaei, Saeid Zehtab-Salmasi, Yahya Salehi-Lisar and Kazem Ghassemi-Golezani

A pot experiment was performed as factorial based on randomized complete block design with three replications, to assess the effects of 1 mM spermidine (SPD) and 1 mM putrescine (PUT) on Indian mustard (Brassica Juncea L.) under different levels of watering (100, 75, 50 and 25% of field capacity). Chlorophyll a and b contents decreased, but the ratio of Chl a/b and carotenoid content increased with decreasing water supply. Foliar sprays of polyamines improved chlorophylls a and b and carotenoid contents, while the ratio of Chl a/b was reduced by these growth regulators. Relative water content, glycine betaine, proteins and soluble sugars contents were increased, but proline content was decreased by exogenous polyamines under limited water supply. Antioxidant enzyme (POX, CAT, SOD and APX) activities were enhanced by drought stress and polyamine treatments. This resulted in lower electrolyte leakage and lipid peroxidation (less MDA) under stressful conditions. The present results indicate that exogenous polyamines such as putrescine and spermidine can alleviate some of the deleterious impacts of water limitation on Indian mustard.

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Authors: S.F. Dai, D.Y. Xu, Z.J. Wen, Z.P. Song, H.X. Chen, H.Y Li, J.R. Li, L.Z. Kang and Z.H. Yan

A novel 4.0-kb Fy was sequenced and bacterially expressed. This gene, the largest y-type HMW-GS currently reported, is 4,032-bp long and encodes a mature protein with 1,321 amino acid (AA) residues. The 4.0-kb Fy shows novel modifications in all domains. In the N-terminal, it contains only 67 AA residues, as three short peptides are absent. In the repetitive domain, the undecapeptide RYYPSVTSPQQ is completely lost and the dodecapeptide GSYYPGQTSPQQ is partially absent. A novel motif unit, PGQQ, is present in addition to the two standard motif units PGQGQQ and GYYPTSPQQ. Besides, an extra cysteine residue also occurs in the middle of this domain. The large molecular mass of the 4.0-kb Fy is mainly due to the presence of an extra-long repetitive domain with 1,279 AA residues. The novel 4.0-kb Fy gene is of interest in HMW-GS gene evolution as well as to wheat quality improvement with regard to its longest repetitive domain length and extra cysteines residues.

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The genera Coppinsiella and Seawardiella are described based on the combined phylogenetic analysis from ITS nrDNA, 28S nrLSU and 12S mtSSU sequences. The affinities of the new genera Orientophila, Athallia, Flavoplaca and Calogaya are discussed. The former Caloplaca lobulata group (or ‘Xanthoria lobulata-Gruppe’ sensu Steiner et Poelt 1982) found to be positioned in the Calogaya clade based on ITS phylogeny while after a three gene phylogeny (based on ITS nrDNA, nrLSU and mtSSU sequences) two species (i.e.: Seawardiella lobulata and described as new S. tasmaniensis) were located in the Seawardiella clade of the Xanthorioideae. Three other species (i.e. Lazarenkoella zoroasteriorum, L. persica and L. polycarpoides) were positioned in the Lazarenkoella-clade of the Brownlielloideae. The position of all species of the Calogaya clade (after ITS phylogeny) should be re-evaluated based on three gene phylogeny from ITS nrDNA, nrLSU and mtSSU sequences. The new species Seawardiella tasmaniensis is described, illustrated and compared with closely related taxa.

New combinations are suggested for eight taxa (i.e. Athallia inconnexa (for Lecanora inconnexa Nyl.), Calogaya safavidiorum (for Caloplaca safavidiorum S. Y. Kondr., in Kondratyuk et al.), Coppinsiella orbicularis stat. et comb. nov. (for Caloplaca substerilis subsp. orbicularis M. Haji Moniri, Vondrák et Malíček), Coppinsiella substerilis (for Caloplaca substerilis Vondrák, Palice et van den Boom, in Vondrák et al.), Coppinsiella ulcerosa (for Caloplaca ulcerosa Coppins et P. James), Lazarenkoella persica (for Xanthoria polycarpoides var. persica J. Steiner); Lazarenkoella polycarpoides (for Xanthoria polycarpoides J. Steiner), and Seawardiella lobulata (for Lecanora lobulata Flörke)).

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Copper cause oxidative damage in plant cells, and plant extracts are the sources of free radical scavengers. We tested the hypothesis that whether Corchorus olitorius (jute) and Urtica pilulifera (Roman nettle) seed extract treatments of germinated seeds affect copper induced oxidative and genotoxic damage or antioxidant response in tomato. Seedlings were exposed to toxic copper concentration (30 ppm) for 7 days. In one experimental group (treatment 1), extract (100 μg mL–1) was added to media. In the other group (treatment 2), tomato seeds were pre-soaked by the extract (100 μg mL–1) prior to germination and copper application. Malondialdehyde and endogenous H2O2 levels in the groups treated with extract and copper were significantly lower than that of the untreated groups. Pre-soaking seeds with the nettle extract solution significantly enhanced catalase activity under unstressed condition. Jute treatment also enhanced catalase activity under copper stress. Ascorbate peroxidase activity remained at unstressed level in copper treated groups. Extract treatments significantly decreased copper induced DNA damage in root nuclei. Jute seed extract contained salicylic acid and quercetin which can be correlated with the evoked effects. We demonstrated protective effect of plant extract treatments against copper stress of tomato seedlings prior to germination or during seedling development.

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Zymoseptoria tritici is one of the most common and economically important pathogens of winter wheat in Poland. Sexual reproduction of the species requires two opposite strains, MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 and it plays a significant role in the genetic structure of the pathogen population. The aim of the study was to determine the distribution of mating types of Z. tritici in western Poland between 2013 and 2016. In total 296 Z. tritici strains were isolated and analysed by means of multiplex PCR assay to identify the mating type. The ratio between MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 was individually assessed each year and showed bidirectional, but statistically insignificant fluctuations in frequency. For the four years the total ratio between MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 isolates was almost equal (1.18). Balanced distribution of mating types in the Z. tritici population may suggest that sexual reproduction has considerable impact on the pathogen’s population structure.

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Drought stress severely reduces wheat productivity and affects grain quality. In this study the effects of combined application of salicylic acid (SA) and potassium (K) on yield and grain quality of wheat under drought stress condition was investigated. Winter wheat cultivar Minaminokaori was grown in pots in a greenhouse, and subjected to 3 levels of K (50, 100 and 200 kg ha–1) fertilizer applications. The plants were foliar sprayed with SA (0.7 mM) at heading stage, and then imposed to the drought stress until grain maturity. Drought stress decreased grain yield by 41.1%, starch content by 10.2% and water-soluble pentosan content by 3.5% in comparison to well-irrigated control. However, grain crude protein content, total pentosan content and phytate phosphorus content were increased by 33.0%, 17.9%, and 13.4% respectively. Under the same drought condition, the application of combined SA and high K levels has increased grain yield (13.3%), starch (12.2%) and water-soluble pentosan content (20.3%) compared to SA-untreated with low level of K fertilizer. In addition, SA application decreased the percentage of phytate phosphorus to total phosphorus under drought stress. These results suggested that combined treatment of SA foliar application and a higher doses of K fertilizer can partially improve wheat productivity, grain nutritional quality, particularly water-soluble pentosan that influences the bread-making quality, without increasing the anti-nutrient component phytate under drought stress condition.

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Authors: G. Mangini, D. Nigro, B. Margiotta, P. De Vita, A. Gadaleta, R. Simeone and A. Blanco

During the last century wheat landraces were replaced by modern wheat cultivars leading to a gradual process of genetic erosion. Landraces genotyping and phenotyping are strategically useful, as they could broaden the genetic base of modern cultivars. In this research, we explored Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers diversity in a collection of common and durum wheats, including both landraces and Italian elite cultivars. A panel of 6,872 SNP markers was used to analyze the genetic variability among the accessions, using both the Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and the Neighbour Joining clustering method. PCA analysis separated common wheat accessions from durum ones, and allowed to group separately durum landraces from durum elite cultivars. The Neighbour joining clustering validated PCA results, and moreover, separated common wheat landraces from common elite cultivars. The clustering results demonstrated that Italian durum landraces were poorly exploited in modern breeding programs. Combining cluster results with heterozygosity levels observed, it was possible to clarify synonymy and homonymy cases identified for Bianchetta, Risciola, Saragolla, Timilia and Dauno III accessions. The SNP panel was also used to detect the minimum number of markers to discriminate the studied accessions. A set of 33 SNPs were found to be highly informative and used for a molecular barcode, which could be useful for cultivar identification and for the traceability of wheat end-products.

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Authors: Manja Boehm, Daniel Simson, Ulrike Escher, Anna-Maria Schmidt, Stefan Bereswill, Nicole Tegtmeyer, Steffen Backert and Markus M. Heimesaat

Campylobacter jejuni is a major food-borne zoonotic pathogen, responsible for a large proportion of bacterial gastroenteritis cases, as well as Guillian-Barré and Miller-Fisher syndromes. During infection, tissue damage is mainly caused by bacteria invading epithelial cells and traversing the intestinal barrier. C. jejuni is able to enter the lamina propria and the bloodstream and may move into other organs, such as spleen, liver, or mesenteric lymph nodes. However, the involved molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. C. jejuni can transmigrate effectively across polarized intestinal epithelial cells mainly by the paracellular route using the serine protease high-temperature requirement A (HtrA). However, it appears that HtrA has a dual function, as it also acts as a chaperone, interacting with denatured or misfolded periplasmic proteins under stress conditions. Here, we review recent progress on the role of HtrA in C. jejuni pathogenesis. HtrA can be transported into the extracellular space and cleaves cell-to-cell junction factors, such as E-cadherin and probably others, disrupting the epithelial barrier and enabling paracellular transmigration of the bacteria. The secretion of HtrA is a newly discovered strategy also utilized by other pathogens. Thus, secreted HtrA proteases represent highly attractive targets for anti-bacterial treatment and may provide a suitable candidate for vaccine development.

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Authors: Sh. Almerekova, Zs. Lisztes-Szabó, N. Mukhitdinov, M. Kurmanbayeva, K. Abidkulova and G. Sramkó

The central Asian narrow endemic species Oxytropis almaatensis is a highly endangered plant with a very restricted distribution in the Tian Shan Mountains. In this study, we present the basic conservation genetic characteristics of this species based on a DNA fingerprinting approach in order to provide yardsticks for official conservation agencies to develop an informed conservation strategy. The three currently known populations with two allopatric subpopulations at each site were sampled in the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains (S Kazakhstan) and subject to AFLP analysis using four primer combinations. This was supplemented by flow cytometry of plants with remarkably different body sizes to check for possible ploidy differences. The presence or absence of AFLP bands was used in downstream analyses utilising various population genetic approaches. Genetic diversity of O. almaatensis was found to be on the upper end of the spectrum typical for other outcrossing species of similar life-history characteristics. Most of the genetic variation was attributable to within (sub)population variance, and we also found a remarkable gene flow between the populations. However, the geographically closer populations were found to be more close to each other genetically, and population differentiation showed the same pattern with a significant isolation by distance. Similar patterns were not found for subpopulations of the geographically more close populations, and the subpopulations living along the same river valley were found to be genetically more cohesive. Flow cytometry did not reveal any difference in DNA content between the small and large forms of the species. All these results suggest the presence of two separate populations at the three localities of this species. Conservation efforts should focus on these two populations, and, given the relatively high genetic diversity within each population, both ex situ and in situ conservation measures can be effectively carried out based on the currently known populations of this narrow endemic species.

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Authors: S. Sareen, N. Bhusal, G. Singh, B.S. Tyagi, V. Tiwari, G.P. Singh and A.K. Sarial

Heat stress is a matter of a great concern for the wheat crop. Heat stress usually either hastens crop development or shortens the grain filling duration, which severely reduces grain yield. Being a complex trait, understanding the genetics and gene interactions of stress tolerance are the two primary requirements for improving yield levels. Genetic analysis through generation mean analysis helps to find out the nature of gene actions involved in a concerned trait by providing an estimate of main gene effects (additive and dominance) along with their digenic interactions (additive × additive, additive × dominance, and dominance × dominance). In the present investigation, we elucidated the inheritance pattern of different yield contributing traits under heat stress using different cross combinations which could be helpful for selecting a suitable breeding strategy. Thus six generations of five crosses were sown normal (non-stress, TS) and late (heat stress, LS) in a randomized block design with three replications during two crop seasons. The model was not adequate for late sown conditions indicating the expression of epistatic genes under stress conditions. The traits i.e. Days to heading (DH), Days to anthesis (DA), Days to maturity (DM), Grain filling duration (GFD), Grain yield (GY), Thousand grain weight (TGW), Grain weight per spike (GWS) and Heat susceptibility index (HSI) under heat stress conditions were found under the control of additive gene action with dominance × dominance interaction, additive gene action with additive × dominance epistatic effect, dominance gene action with additive × additive interaction effect, additive and dominance gene action with dominance × dominance interaction effect, additive gene action with additive × dominance epistatic effect, additive gene action with additive × additive interaction effect and dominance gene action with additive × additive interaction effect, respectively.

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Wheat kernel morphology is a very important trait for wheat yield improvement. This is the first report of association analysis of kernel morphology traits in wheat breeding lines. In Qinghai, China, the research described here involved genome-wide association analysis in breeding lines derived from synthetic hexaploid wheat with a mixed linear model to identify the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) related to kernel morphology. The 8033 effective Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers produced a genetic map of 5901.84 cM with an average density of 1.36 markers/cM. Population structure analysis classified 507 breeding lines into three groups by Bayesian structure analysis using unlinked markers. Linkage disequilibrium decay was observed with a map coverage of 2.78 cM. Marker-trait association analysis showed that 15 DArT markers for kernel morphology were detected, located on nine chromosomes, and explained 2.6%–4.0% of the phenotypic variation of kernel area (KA), kernel width (KW), kernel length (KL) and thousand-kernel weight (TKW). The marker 1139297 was related to both the KL and KA traits. Only six DArT markers were close to known QTLs. The parent SHW-L1 carried eight favored alleles, while other seven favored alleles were derived from elite common wheat cultivars. These QTLs, identified in elite breeding lines, should help us understand the kernel morphology trait better, and to provide germplasm for breeding new wheat cultivars for Qinghai Province or other regions.

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This study aimed to clarify the genetic mechanisms behind wheat flour color. Flour colorrelated traits (L*, a*, and b*) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity are important parameters that influence the end-use quality of wheat. Dissecting the genetic bases and exploring important chromosomal loci of these traits are extremely important for improving wheat quality. The diverse panel of 205 elite wheat varieties (lines) was genotyped using a highdensity Illumina iSelect 90K single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) assay to disclose the genetic mechanism of flour color-related traits and PPO activity. In 2 different environments and their mean values (MV), 28, 30, 24, and 12 marker-trait associations (MTAs) were identified for L*, a*, b* traits, and PPO activity, respectively. A single locus could explain from 5.52% to 20.01% of the phenotypic variation for all analyzed traits. Among them, 5 highly significant SNPs (P ≤ 0.0001), 11 stable SNPs (detected in all environments) and 25 multitrait MTAs were identified. Especially, BS00000020_51 showed pleiotropic effects on L*, a*, and b*, and was detected in all environments with the highest phenotypic contribution rates. Furthermore, this SNP was also found to be co-associated with wheat grain hardness, ash content, and pasting temperature of starch in previous studies. The identification of these significantly associated SNPs is helpful in revealing the genetic mechanisms of wheat colorrelated traits, and also provides a reference for follow-up molecular marker-assisted selection in wheat breeding.

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The genus Colura (Dumort.) Dumort. sect. Glotta Grolle et R. L. Zhu in Thailand is studied based on herbarium specimens and especially on recent collections. The section is reported from Thailand for the first time. Two species are recognized, namely C. bisvoluta Herzog et Jovet-Ast and C. karstenii K. I. Goebel. Descriptions, illustrations, and a key to species are provided.

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Authors: R. Kiss, J. Sonkoly, P. Török, B. Tóthmérész, B. Deák, K. Tóth, K. Lukács, L. Godó, A. Kelemen, T. Miglécz, Sz. Radócz, E. Tóth, N. Balogh and O. Valkó

Seeds ensure the survival and dispersal of the majority of vascular plant species. Seeds require species-specific germination conditions and display very different germination capacities using different germination methods. Despite the importance of plant generative reproduction, little is known about the germination capacity of the seeds of the Pannonian flora, particularly under field conditions. Our aim was to reduce this knowledge gap by providing original data on the germination capacity of 75 herbaceous species. We reported the germination capacity of 8 species for the first time. We also highlighted the year-to-year differences in the germination capacity of 11 species which could be highly variable between years. The data regarding the germination capacity of target species, as well as weeds and invasive species, can be informative for nature conservation and restoration projects. Our findings support the composition of proper seed mixtures for ecological restoration and also highlight the importance of testing seed germination capacity before sowing.

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Late embryonic proteins (LEA) gene family was abundant mainly in higher plant embryos, which could protect the embryos from the damage caused by abiotic stress, especially drought and salt stresses. In the present study, GmLEA2-1 was cloned from soybean leaf tissue treated by 10% polyethylene glycol 6000 (PEG6000). The results of quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed a variety of expression patterns of GmLEA2-1 in various tissues of soybean (root, stem, leaf, flower, pod, early embryo and late embryo). GmLEA2-1 gene shared a lower sequence similarity with other typical LEA genes of same group from different species, but similar functions. Overexpression of GmLEA2-1 in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana conferred tolerance to drought and salt stresses. The fresh weight and dry weight of seedling, the primary root length and the lateral root density of transgenic Arabidopsis plants were higher than those of wild type Arabidopsis (WT) under drought and salt stresses. Cis-acting regulatory elements in the GmLEA2-1 promoter were also predicted. These data demonstrate that GmLEA2-1 protein play an important role in improving drought and salt tolerance in plants.

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Authors: Markus Krohn, Thomas Wanek, Marie-Claude Menet, Andreas Noack, Xavier Declèves, Oliver Langer, Wolfgang Löscher and Jens Pahnke

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are of major importance for the restricted access of toxins and drugs to the human body. At the body's barrier tissues like the blood–brain barrier, these transporters are highly represented. Especially, ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein) has been a priority target of pharmaceutical research, for instance, to aid chemotherapy of cancers, therapy resistant epilepsy, and lately even neurodegenerative diseases. To improve translational research, the humanization of mouse genes has become a popular tool although, like recently seen for Abcb1, not all approaches were successful. Here, we report the characterization of another unsuccessful commercially available ABCB1 humanized mouse strain. In vivo assessment of transporter activity using positron emission tomography imaging revealed a severe reduction of ABCB1 function in the brain of these mice. Analyses of brain mRNA and protein expression showed that the murine Abcb1a gene is still expressed in homozygous humanized animals while expression of the human gene is minimal. Promoter region analyses underpinned that the introduced human gene might dysregulate normal expression and provided insights into the regulation of both transcription and translation of Abcb1a. We conclude that insertion of the human coding DNA sequence (CDS) into exon 3 instead of exon 2 most probably represents a more promising strategy for Abcb1a humanization.

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Authors: J. Kumari, S. Kumar, N. Singh, S.S. Vaish, S. Das, A. Gupta and J.C. Rana

One thousand four hundred and eighty three spring wheat germplasm (Triticum aestivum L.) lines comprising Indian as well as exotic lines were screened for resistance to spot blotch disease during winter 2014-15 at hot spot locations i.e., Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Cooch Behar. Severity of the disease at different stages beginning from tillering to dough stage was recorded. Location Severity Index (LSI) of Varanasi was higher than Cooch Behar. Twenty eight accessions were resistant or highly resistant at both locations. These 28 accessions were validated during the winter season (2015–2016). These germplasm were also evaluated at four environments for agronomic traits. Out of 28 accessions, seven (IC564121, IC529684, IC443669, IC443652, IC529962, IC548325 and EC178071-331) were highly resistant across the locations and over the years of study. These accessions comprised one exotic and six indigenous accessions belonging to Uttarakhand and Haryana. Two lines (IC529962 and IC443652) had higher yield than the best check at all the locations. These lines showing highly resistant reaction alongwith wider adaptability can be expedited for direct cultivation or for the development of high yielding and disease resistant cultivars. These lines can also be used for identification of novel resistance gene using allele mining tools and their deployment for the development of spot blotch resistant cultivars.

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Authors: Sirinapa Chaipon, Prapaipit Suwitchayanon, Arihiro Iwasaki, Kiyotake Suenaga and Hisashi Kato-Noguchi

Heliotropium indicum L. belongs to the family Boraginaceae. The plant has been used as a folk medicine because it contains substances of various biological activities. It is also identified as a common weed which grows wildly in crop fields in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. However, there is little information on the allelopathic effect in this plant. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate the growth inhibitory effect and to identify the growth inhibitory substances in H. indicum. An aqueous methanol extract of H. indicum inhibited shoot and root growth of barnyard grass, foxtail fescue, timothy, cress, lettuce and rapeseed at concentrations higher than 10 mg dry weight equivalent extract/mL. The concentrations required for 50% growth inhibition (I 50) of those test plants ranged from 3–282 mg dry weight equivalent extract/mL. The extract was then separated using a sequence of chromatographic fractionations and a growth inhibitory substance was isolated and identified by spectral analysis as methyl caffeate. Methyl caffeate inhibited the growth of lettuce and foxtail fescue at concentrations higher than 1.0 mM. The results suggest that methyl caffeate may contribute to the growth inhibitory effect of H. indicum and may play an important role in the allelopathic effect of H. indicum.

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The objectives of this study were to isolate, purify and determine host range of lytic bacteriophages infecting foodborne the pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis. River/stream water, sewage, raw foods, wastewater from food processing plants, slaughterhouse and fish farms and water from troughs were used for the screening of bacteriophages. The richest sources in terms of phages infecting S. Typhimurium and Enteritidis were found to be sewage, wastewaters of slaughterhouse, food processing and fisheries and streams. A total of 33 S. Typhimurium and 56 S. Enteritidis phages were isolated and purified from the samples. It was demostrated that host ranges of the isolated phages were quite wide. The numbers of bacteria types inhibited by S. Typhimurium or Enteritidis phages were changed among 1–15 and 1–19, respectively. It was found that 75.8% (25 out of 33) and 83.93% (47 out of 56) of isolated S. Typhimurium or Enteritidis phages formed clear plaques and were capable of lysing at least six or two Salmonella serovars. Beside Salmonella serovars, some S. Typhimurium (15 out of 33, 45.5%) and S. Enteritidis phages (5 out of 56, 8.93%) were also infective against E. coli strains. The host ranges of S. Typhimurium phages were wider than those of S. Enteritidis.

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Jamaicanthus, a new monotypic endemic genus of the tribe Rondeletieae (Rubiaceae) in the flora of Jamaica is described based on Rondeletia laurifolia Sw. It is interpreted as a new important argument supporting the Gaarlandia theory.

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Foliar micromorphological characters of 17 species of Hypericum L. belonging to five sections, Androsaemum (Duhamel) Godron, Hypericum, Hirtella Stef. (including 2 subsections: Platyadenum N. Robson et Stenadenum N. Robson), Taeniocarpum Jaub. et Spach. and Drosanthe (Spach) Endl. were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Based on the current result three types of epidermal cell shape (irregular polygonal, roughly regular rectangular and irregular elliptical); four types of papilla (triangular, with striate wall, finger and star shapes); two main types and three subtypes of epicuticular wax; seven type classes of outer stomatal and peristomatal rims/stomata ledge aperture; three types of wax distribution on the stomata rims/pore/epidermal cell and three types of inner stomatal rims variations (smooth, sinuolate and sinuolate-erose) were identified. The result revealed that leaf micromorphological evidences of Hypericum are taxonomically informative and can be used for separating different sections and species.

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The fever-inducing effect of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) is well known, and human blood is extremely responsive to this pyrogen. Recently, the safety of LPS-containing food supplements and probiotic drugs as immune-stimulants has been questioned, although these products are orally taken and do not reach the bloodstream undigested. The concerns are understandable, as endotoxaemia is a pathological condition, but the oral uptake of probiotic products containing LPS or Gram-negative bacteria does not pose a health risk, based on the available scientific evidence, as is reviewed here. The available methods developed to detect LPS and other pyrogens are mostly used for quality control of parentally applied therapeuticals. Their outcome varies considerably when applied to food supplements, as demonstrated in a simple comparative experiment. Products containing different Escherichia coli strains can result in vastly different results on their LPS content, depending on the method of testing. This is an inherent complication to pyrogen testing, which hampers the communication that the LPS content of food supplements is not a safety concern.

Open access

Drought is the major cause of durum wheat yield losses in the Mediterranean and many other regions where the crop is not normally irrigated. Over three years (2010–13), 24 durum wheat genotypes representing diverse genetic materials were tested under drought and irrigated conditions. The main objectives were to assess the degree of genotypic variation for drought tolerance, characterize genotypic differences in response to drought, and identify sources of germplasm with greater drought tolerance than old and new cultivars. The percent reduction in average grain yield under drought conditions as compared to irrigated conditions was maximum (69%) during 2012–13, followed by 2010–2011 (33%) and 2011–2012 (15%). The average yields of genotypes under drought conditions differed significantly, which ranged from 1174 (correspond to old variety) to 2086 kg/ha (correspond to breeding line G2). The maximin-minimax approach, yield tolerance index (YTI) and three-dimensional (3-D) plot were used to classify genotypes for drought tolerance and yield productivity. Based on the results, two genotypes were identified as resistant and high yielding (G3 and G20), and eight genotypes (G2, G22, G8, G11, G15, G1, G9 and G5) were found to be high yielding and tolerant to drought conditions. Among the methods, the maximin–minimax approach appears to be more useful in identifying high yielding and drought tolerant genotypes as it seeks to minimize percentage yield loss while maximizing yield potential. In conclusion, considerable variability in yield and drought tolerance was observed for the durum wheat genotypes, which could be exploited at improving drought tolerance in durum wheat breeding program.

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Glutenin and gliadin subunits play a key role in flour processing quality by network formation in dough. Wild relatives of crops have served as a pool of genetic variation for decades. In this study, 180 accessions from 12 domesticated and wild relatives of wheat were characterized for the glutenin and gliadin genes with allele-specific molecular markers. A total of 24 alleles were detected for the Glu-A3 and Gli-2A loci, which out of 19 amplified products identified as new alleles. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated that 90 and 65% of the genetic diversity were partitioned within two Aegilops and Triticum genera and their species, respectively. Furthermore, all glutenin and gliadin analyzed loci were polymorphic, indicating large genetic diversity within and between the wild species. Our results revealed that allelic variation of Glu-3A and Gli-As.2 is linked to genomic constitutions so that, Ae. caudata (C genome), Ae. neglecta (UM genome), Ae. umbellulata (U genome) and T. urartu (Au genome) harbor wide variation in the studied subunits. Hence, these species can be used in wheat quality breeding programs.

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Authors: Kouassi N’Guessan, Timothée Ouassa, Anna S. Dean, Riccardo Alagna, Guy Damien Adagra, Valeri Ibode, Daniela M. Cirillo and Jacquemin Kouakou

Setting: Tuberculosis (TB) drug resistance survey was conducted in 2016–2017 to estimate the burden of drug-resistant TB in Côte d'Ivoire.

Design: A cross-sectional cluster-based survey was conducted. All eligible smear positive patients were interviewed using a structured questionnaire to collect clinical and sociodemographic information and tested by the Xpert Mycobacterium tuberculosis/rifampicin (MTB/RIF) assay. If resistant to rifampicin, solid and liquid cultures were performed. Phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) was conducted in liquid medium for rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol, streptomycin, ofloxacin, and amikacin.

Results: Of the 1105 sputum smear positive patients enrolled, 995 new and 100 previously treated patients were positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex by Xpert. Proportion of patients with rifampicin resistance was 4.6% (95% CI: 2.4–6.7) and 22% (95% CI: 13.7–30.3), respectively, for new and previously treated patients. Second-line DST results were available for most rifampicin-resistant patients. None were resistant to amikacin, only two were ofloxacin-resistant. Apart from the antecedent of previously treatment for TB, no other risk factors for rifampicin resistance were detected.

Conclusion: Prevalence of rifampicin resistance among TB patients in Côte d'Ivoire is higher than that in other countries in the region. Surveillance of drug resistance, through an expanded GeneXpert network, and programmatic management of drug-resistant TB (PMDT) must be strengthened in Côte d'Ivoire.

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Two species was described as new ones and published in the second edition of the monograph: Rubiáceas de México utilized illegitimate names, which turned to be invalid synonyms (Govaerts 2016). These are rectified in the following paper.

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Authors: I. Marcińska, I. Czyczyło-Mysza, E. Skrzypek, M. Warchoł, K. Zieliński and E. Dubas

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of selected factors on rye (Secale cereale L.) haploid embryo production by the wide crossing method. The study was performed on fifteen winter rye genotypes. This is the first time for rye when besides the genotype, on the enlargement of ovaries and haploid embryo production, such factors as: type of auxin analogues 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid (dicamba) and 4-amino-3,5,6-trichloropyridine-2-carboxylic acid (picloram), and the time between florets emasculation and pollination were investigated. All factors had a significant impact on rye ovary enlargement, however the haploid embryo formation depended only on rye genotype, not on kind of auxin and days between emasculation to pollination. In total, twenty one haploid embryos were formed by six genotypes of fifteen tested. On average, 13.86% (after 2,4-D treatment) to 20.05% (after dicamba treatment) enlarged ovaries per emasculated florets were obtained. Most of the ovaries enlarged when florets were pollinated 4 and 6 days after emasculation. Most of the haploid embryos formed when florets were pollinated 6 days after emasculation. The obtained haploid embryos did not germinate.

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Gábor Fekete academician respectfully but affectionately called ‘Master’ (“Tanár Úr” in Hungarian, a version of ‘Professor’ that we used with a specific meaning of being not only a Tutor but Father and Master as well) by generations of vegetation scientists passed away on the 29th November 2016. His death deprived us of an experienced and didactic teacher who was loved by all. This warm regard was expressed in many commemorating writings published since his death. The present paper mainly concentrates on his scholarly work and the importance of his scientific findings also showing how particular publications signify stages in his scientific career.

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Authors: Houneida Attia, K. H. Alamer, Imen Selmi, W. Djebali, Wided Chaïbi and Mouhiba Ben Nasri

Seeds of snail medic (Medicago scutellata L.) were assessed for their response to salt at the germination and seedling stages. NaCl at concentrations 86 and 170 mM decreased the final germination percentage. Embryonic axis length, water content and dry weight of embryonic axis and cotyledons were also reduced by salt treatment. Furthermore, 28-d-old plants were grown hydroponically with different NaCl concentrations (0, 86 and 170 mM). After 7 days of treatment, growth, water content and development of the different organs of M. scutellata plant were affected especially at the highest NaCl concentration (170 mM). However, NaCl did not affect root length and the number of stem shoots but reduced stem length and total leaf area. Salt treatment increased markedly the concentration of Na+ in leaf and root tissues while reduced that of K+ only in root and stem tissues. Lipid peroxidation revealed the damage of the membranes of roots and leaves. Moreover, showed a more intense suberization and lignification at the cambial zone of roots of M. scutellata, were observed under the effect of NaCl.

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This study was aimed to examine the effects of seaweed extract (SW) and humic acid on the fruit yield, dry weight (DW%), protein, proline, lipid peroxidation (LPO) and antioxidative enzyme activity of pepper plants (Capsicum annuum L.) grown under saline conditions (100 mM). The obtained results indicated that salinity stress affected deleteriously plant growth and all other parameters. Besides, the treatment of seaweed (SW) and humic acid (HA) improved vegetative growth in the plant at all concentration levels applied under salinity conditions. Leaf fresh and dry weight was increased by all SW and HA applications in salinity stressed plant compared to those of control. Furthermore, there was a significant improvement in antioxidant enzyme activity, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT) activities in the plant under salt stress and treated with SW and HA compounds. It suggests that seaweed and humic acid can enhance salt stress tolerance and leads to conservation of pepper plant against oxidative stress.

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Authors: N. V. Kapets, O. O. Barsukov, D. S. Vynokurov and I. V. Khomyak

The results of phytosociological studies of pioneer lichen communities of siliceous outcrops carried out in 2014–2016 in Teteriv River basin (Ukraine) are provided. The dataset of 302 relevés was analysed, 6 associations and 1 subassociation from 3 classes were distinguished as a result of the phytosociological survey in the Teteriv River basin. Four associations, i.e.: Aspicilietum contortae Kaiser ex Klement 1955, Cladonietum mitis Krieger 1937, Parmelietum conspersae Hilitzer 1925, Parmelietum somloensis Wirth 1995 and the alliance Aspicilion calcareae Albertson ex Roux 1978 are new for Ukraine, and one new association Aspicilio cinerei-Ramalinetum pollinariae Kapets et Khomyak, ass. nova is described here.

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Authors: N. Zhang, R.Q. Pan, J.J. Liu, X.L. Zhang, Q.N. Su, F. Cui, C.H. Zhao, L.Q. Song, J. Ji and J.M. Li

Plants with deficiency in Gibberellins (GAs) biosynthesis pathway are sensitive to exogenous GA3, while those with deficiency in GAs signaling pathway are insensitive to exogenous GA3. Thus, exogenous GA3 test is often used to verify whether the reduced height (Rht) gene is involved in GAs biosynthesis or signaling pathway. In the present study, we identified the genetic factors responsive to exogenous GA3 at the seedling stage of common wheat and analyzed the response of the plant height related quantitative trait loci (QTL) to GA3 to understand the GAs pathways the Rht participated in. Recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between KN9204 and J411 with different response to exogenous GA3 were used to screen QTL for the sensitivity of coleoptile length (SCL) and the sensitivity of seedling plant height (SSPH) to exogenous GA3. Two additive QTL and two pairs of epistatic QTL for SCL were identified, meanwhile, two additive QTL and three pairs of epistatic QTL for SSPH were detected. For the adult plant height (PH) investigated in two environments, six additive QTL were identified. Three QTL qScl-4B, qSsph-4B and qPh-4B were mapped in one cluster near the functional marker Rht-B1b. When PH were conditional on SSPH, the absolute additive effect value of qPh-4B and qPh-6B were reduced, suggesting that the Rhts in both two QTL were insensitive to exogenous GA3, while the additive effect values of qPh-2B, qPh-3A, qPh-3D and qPh-5A were not significantly changed, indicating that the Rhts in these QTL were sensitive to exogenous GA3, or they were not expressed at the seedling stage.

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Authors: W. Xue, A. Gianinetti, Y. Jiang, Z. Zhan, L. Kuang, G. Zhao, J. Yan and J. Cheng

The cereal endosperm provides nutrients for seedling growth. The effects of seed components in seedling establishments under salt stress are, however, not yet fully explored. In this study, 60 barley recombinant inbred lines derived from Lewis × Karl cross were grown in four different environments, and the seed contents of starch, total soluble protein, phytate, total phenolics, total flavonoids and total inorganic phosphorus were determined in the harvested grains. Seeds of each line from the four environments were also assayed for seedling growth under saline treatments from 0 to 400 mM NaCl. Root and shoot lengths after 7 days decreased with increasing salt concentration. Correlations between seed components and either root or shoot length were established across the four seed sources. ANOVA showed a significant environment/source effect for both seed components and seedling growth, although the latter was less affected by the seed-production environment. Modeling seedling length across multiple salinities for each seed source showed that the environment with the most saline-tolerant root-growth curve was that associated the highest seed phosphorus content. Correlations between seed components and seedling growth traits highlighted phytate and total inorganic phosphorus as key components for seedling growth under moderate salinities. Seed phytate contents benefited seedling growth, even at high salinities, suggesting an additional role for this seed component under stressful growth conditions, possibly linked to its potential function as an osmolyte source.

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Authors: Anabel Cruz-Romero, Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Dora Romero-Salas, Ángel Osvaldo Alvarado-Félix, Sokani Sánchez-Montes, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco and Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano

Purpose: This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence and correlates of Leptospira IgG antibodies in backyard pigs in the northern Mexican state of Durango. We performed a cross-sectional study of 305 backyard pigs. Anti-Leptospira IgG antibodies were detected using microscopic agglutination assay (MAT) with a panel of 12 Leptospira antigens.

Results: Overall, antibodies against Leptospira (any of the 12 Leptospira serovars examined) were found in 186 (61.0%) of the 305 pigs studied. Seropositive pigs were found on 80 (70.2%) of the 114 properties surveyed. The predominant serovar was Leptospira interrogans Pomona (n = 55); followed by Leptospira noguchii Lousiana and Leptospira santarosai Tarassovi (n = 53 each); L. interrogans Bataviae (n = 47); Leptospira biflexa Semaranga and L. interrogans Hebdomadis (n = 36 each); L. interrogans Pyrogenes (n = 30); L. interrogans Djasiman (n = 20); Leptospira borgpetersenii Ballum (n = 11); L. noguchii Panama and L. interrogans Canicola (n = 5 each); and L. borgpetersenii Mini (n = 2). Logistic regression showed that seropositivity was associated with low (<1000 m above sea level) altitude (odds ratio [OR] = 3.24; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.01–5.20; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: This is the first report of Leptospira exposure in backyard pigs in Mexico and of an association between Leptospira exposure in pigs and altitude. Backyard pigs represent a high-risk group for Leptospira exposure.

Open access
Authors: Károly Elekes, László Hiripi, Gábor Balog, Gábor Maász, Izabella Battonyai, Marina Yu. Khabarova, Réka Horváth and Elena E. Voronezhskaya

Hatching is an important phase of the development of pulmonate gastropods followed by the adult-like extracapsular foraging life. Right before hatching the juveniles start to display a rhythmic radula movement, executed by the buccal complex, consisting of the buccal musculature (mass) and a pair of the buccal ganglia. In order to have a detailed insight into this process, we investigated the serotonergic regulation of the buccal (feeding) rhythm in 100% stage embryos of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, applying quantitative immunohistochemistry combined with the pharmacological manipulation of the serotonin (5-HT) synthesis, by either stimulating (by the 5-HT precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP) or inhibiting (by the 5-HT synthesis blocker para-chlorophenylalanine, pCPA) it. Corresponding to the direction of the drug effect, significant changes of the fluorescence intensity could be detected both in the cerebral ganglia and the buccal complex. HPLC-MS assay demonstrated that 5-HTP increased meanwhile pCPA decreased the 5-HT content both of the central ganglia and the buccal complex. As to the feeding activity, 5-HTP induced only a slight (20%) increase, whereas the pCPA resulted in a 20% decrease of the radula protrusion frequency. Inhibition of 5-HT re-uptake by clomipramine reduced the frequency by 75%. The results prove the role of both central and peripheral 5-HTergic processes in the regulation of feeding activity. Application of specific receptor agonists and antagonists revealed that activation of a 5-HT1-like receptor depressed the feeding activity, meanwhile activation of a 5-HT6,7-like receptor enhanced it. Saturation binding plot of [3H]-5-HT to receptor and binding experiments performed on membrane pellets prepared from the buccal mass indicated the presence of a 5-HT6-like receptor positively coupled to cAMP. The results suggest that 5-HT influences the buccal (feeding) rhythmic activity in two ways: an inhibitory action is probably exerted via 5-HT1-like receptors, while an excitatory action is realized through 5-HT6,7-like receptors.

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Authors: S. Mosaferi, M. Sheidai, M. Keshavarzi and Z. Noormohammadi

Persicaria with 70–100 species in the world is distributed in temperate regions of both hemispheres. It has 11 species in Iran growing in moist areas and margins of rivers. Through hybridisation, plasticity and existence of overlapping habitats, species identification shows difficulty. In this study, we aimed to investigate karyotype characters and morphological features, evaluate genetic variability within and among species studied and examine species relationship using ISSR data. Nine annual taxa of Persicaria were gathered from different localities in Iran and used for studies. Our studies showed that combination of karyological, morphological and molecular data can delimit species studied. Based on karyological results, three chromosome counts (P. hydropiper (2n = 2x = 20), P. maculosa (2n = 2x = 22), P. orientalis (2n = 2x = 22)) were the first reports for the Flora of Iran. Analyses of morphological characters showed diagnostic features among taxa. STRUCTURE and AMOVA analyses showed high intraspecific genetic diversity. Our results suggested that phenotypic plasticity and hybridisation may cause genetic diversity within Persicaria species.

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Dracocephalum (dragonhead) with about 60 to 70 species is mostly annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs. These species have medicinal values including anticancer, antioxidant, ant hypoxic and immune modulator activities. Dracocephalum thymiflorum grows in limited areas in Iran and forms few local populations and is extensively used by locals. We have no information on anatomical and morphological features of these medicinal species in the country. Clustering and PCA ordination of the studied populations based on morphological and anatomical data separated some of these populations from the others suggesting the existence 2 varieties within this species.

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Scald (Rhynchosporium secalis; Rs) and spot blotch (Cochliobolus sativus; Cs) are important diseases of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) worldwide. Similar mechanisms and gene transcripts are assumed to be involved in the barley defense response since both these pathogens are necrotrophic fungi. In the current study, the transcriptome in leaves of the same barley genotype WI2291 inoculated with Rs and Cs was compared at different times postinoculation. Comparison of data for barley Rs- and Cs- inoculated plants with mockinoculated plants revealed gene expression changes that included basal defense transcripts and transcripts specific to the establishment of a necrotrophic interaction with associated fungi. During barley–pathogen interaction pathway, WI2291 activated a higher number of genes and pathways in response to Rs infection than in response to Cs invasion. However, families of genes encoding pectin-degrading enzymes, secondary metabolism enzymes, transporters and peptidases are expanded to cover Rs and Cs at an early stage following inoculation. Our results demonstrate differences in the pathways and activated genes of barely cv. WI291challenged by Rs and Cs, and that expression patterns of the same defenseassociated genes were altered in adaptation to different pathogens. Our work provides new insights into the underlying mechanisms related to regulation of different pathways in response to fungal infection.

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Se describe una nueva especie del género Esenbeckia Kunth (Rutaceae) procedente del Istmo de Tehuantepec, México. Esta nueva especie se encontró conviviendo con E. collina Brandegee.

A new species in the genus Esenbeckia (Rutaceae) from the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico – A new species in the genus Esenbeckia Kunth (Rutaceae) is described. This species from the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Mexico is sympatric with E. collina Brandegee.

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Eight cultivars of dry-land wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) historically planted in Shaanxi Province, China, were grown in plots with irrigation and drought treatments during the growing seasons of 2011–2014, so as to characterize the differences in the rate and duration of the grain-filling stage among cultivars. The experimental results showed no obvious change among cultivars with respect to the duration of the grain-filling stage and no significant correlation between duration and grain weight. The filling rates of all three phases (lag, linear, and mature periods) showed significant differences among cultivars and had a greater effect on the grain weight than the duration of the filling stage, even though drought decreased the filling rate in the linear and mature periods. A lower filling rate led to a lighter grain weight in inferior grains than in superior grains. For the superior and inferior grains in the central spikelets, modern cultivars possess faster filling rates, especially in the lag and linear periods, whereas for the whole spike, no significant trend with cultivar replacement was observed. Faster filling rates with stable filling durations will be beneficial in obtaining additional yield increases.

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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a worldwide phenomenon in modern times, in which the dependency on antibiotics for its treatment is increasing. The current study was conducted in order to find alternatives to antibiotics by investigating some commercial fruits for their antimicrobial activity. The fruits in this study included green apple (Malus domestica), papaya (Carica papaya), lemon (Citrus limon), and strawberry (Fragaria ananassa), which were used to prepare methanolic and ethanolic extracts through Soxhlet extraction technique. The extracts were used against bacteria that cause UTI, and five different strains were selected: E. coli (ATCC: 15922), E. coli (ATCC: 25922), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC: 27853), Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC: 29212), and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Antimicrobial tests of the extracts were conducted by following the agar well diffusion method, where ciprofloxacin was used as a positive control, and autoclaved distilled water was used as a negative control. Among the fruits, apple and papaya extracts did not show any zone of inhibition against any of the tested bacteria. However, both lemon and strawberry extracts showed inhibition zone against all of the mentioned bacteria. The ethanolic extracts of lemon and strawberry were more potent than their methanolic extracts. Lemon ethanolic extract showed the highest zone of inhibition against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC: 27853) (18.34 ± 0.58) and lowest one against Klebsiella pneumoniae (16.00 ± 1.00). Strawberry ethanolic extracts showed the highest zone of inhibition against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC: 27853) (16.33 ± 0.58) and the lowest one against Klebsiella pneumoniae (13.33 ± 0.58). As antibiotic resistance is paving the way for multi-drug resistant bacteria, the results of lemon and strawberry can be considered to be used as an antimicrobial agent in treating urinary tract infections.

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Brassinosteroids (BRs) are considered to possess protective activity in plants exposed to various stresses. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects of 24-epibrassinolide (EBL) on salt stressed summer squash cv. Eskandrani seedlings, whether it can alleviate the deleterious effects of salt stress in growing seedlings or not. For this, summer squash seeds were germinated in solidified half strength MS (Murashige and Skoog) medium supplemented with different concentrations and combinations of EBL (0, 5, 10 and 20 μM) and NaCl (0, 50, 100 and 150 mM). The different concentrations (5, 10, 20 μM) of EBL significantly increased germination percentage and seedling growth capacity and the greatest increase was observed at 10 μM EBL. EBL application significantly increased the contents of photosynthetic pigments, the relative water content and the uptake of K and Ca. However, the different concentrations (50, 100 and 150 mM) of NaCl significantly decreased the above-mentioned attributes. The different concentrations (50, 100 and 150 mM) of NaCl significantly increased the electrolyte leakage, the lipid peroxidation and the Na uptake, but the interaction between EBL and NaCl significantly decreased these parameters. The results of this study proved that the application of 24-epibrassinolide to growing squash seedlings under salt stress conditions reduced the deleterious effects of salt stress and increased the tolerance of seedlings to its detrimental effects.

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Genotype by environment interaction distorts genetic analysis, changes relative ranking of genotypes and a major obstruction for varietal release. AMMI model is a quick and relevant tool to judge environmental behaviour and genotypic stability in comparison to ANOVA, multiplicative model and linear regressions. We evaluated 19 barley genotypes grown at 08 diverse locations to identify discriminating environments and ideal genotypes with dynamic stability. In AMMI ANOVA, the locations and genotype by environment interaction exhibited 66% and 14.7% of the total variation. The initial first two principal components showed significant interaction with 36.0 and 28.4% variation, respectively. AMMI1 biplot showed that the environments Bawal, Ludhiana and Durgapura were high yielding with high IPCA1 scores and located far away from the biplot origin. However, in AMMI1and AMMI2 biplots the locations Hisar, Ludhiana, Karnal, Bathinda and Modipuram were found suitable with low IPCA2 scores. Yield stability index (YSI) was highly useful with ASV ranks and the genotypes DWRB150 and BH1013 and checks BH902, DWRUB52 and DWRB101 were selected for high grain yield and wider adaptability across the locations.

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