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The acceleration of grassland loss on the global scale has been reported in many studies, which is often attributed to the combination of land use change and increased variability of climatic processes. Extensive steppe national parks serve as an ideal study site for grassland conservation, especially wilderness areas where the natural effects of grazing on wildlife can still be tracked. In our study we aim to investigate the effects of habitat structure, grazing type and intensity as well as climatic variables on species abundance, species richness and abundance of functional groups of ground-breeding bird species in the largest compact alkali grassland area of central Europe. We applied the information theoretic approach estimating the importance of ecological predictors according models of substantial support. The main result of our study shows that ground-breeding bird communities in steppe areas exhibit highly species-specific responses to the species of grazers, grazing intensity, habitat composition and climatic predictors. Across the most supported models, species-specific habitat composition values were the most supported predictors. Our findings show that although the response of ground-breeding birds to vegetation, grazing and climatic predictors is highly species-specific, consistent patterns of responsiveness to grazing and climatic patterns emerge, which calls for long-term studies on the combined effects of climatic variability and management of grazing systems.

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We examine monitoring data for 28 years of change in a sub-tropical salt marsh where the hydrology had been minimally modified for mosquito control. This extends the work previously published in 2002 for 14 years of data, analysed by Mike Dale (Dale and Dale 2002 Community Ecol. 3: 19–29). The Minimum Message Length method was used in an unsupervised classification to determine the optimum classes, based on the characteristics of the two dominant plant species: Sporobolus virginicus and Sarcocornia quinqueflora. A question at that time was whether the observed changes were only those of state (or condition) or if they were associated with a change in the underlying saltmarsh processes (dynamics). In the 28-year analysis we have been able to address this issue. The classes were generally similar to those in the 2002 analysis. However, class extinctions occurred over the 28 years and only four classes remained: three were stands of Sporobolus and the other was bare mud. The latter, with mangrove pneumatophores, represented the encroachment of Avicennia mangroves into salt marsh. We suggest that the class extinctions and the final loss of most of the plants represent a change in the processes operating in the marsh. The observed changes may be related to sea level and/or climate changes but future research would be needed to assess this

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Essential oil content and oil composition of paclobutrazol treated sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) plant inoculated with Piriformospora indica under salt stress were investigated by GC-MS. The results show a slight increase in essential oil content when basil plants subjected to moderate salinity stress (3 dS m−1 of NaCl). It decreased signifiicantly with increasing salinity level to 9 dS m−1. The findings revealed that leaf area, above ground and leaf dry weights, essential oil content and yield were significantly affected by P. indica inoculation, however paclobutrazol application significantly influenced essential oil yield but not content. Fungal symbiosis as well as paclobutrazol application ameliorated the negative effects of salinity on dry matter and essential oil yield. The main constituents found in the volatile oil of O. basilicum in control treatment were Geranial (26.03%), Neral (24.88%) and Estragole (24.78%). The compounds concentrations showed some differences in P. indica and paclobutrazol treatments. The results demonstrate that micorrhiza-like fungi concomitantly increase essential oil production and biomass in sweet basil, a medicinal herb rich in commercially valuable essential oils.

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Anthyllis vulneraria L., Fuchsia sp., Galium mollugo L., and Veronica beccabunga L. were selected to analyse the phenolic content and the antioxidant activity by ferric ion reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) assays. The highest polyphenol, tannin, and flavonoid contents were measured in Fuchsia species (7.40 ± 0.8, 5.62 ± 0.7 and 0.72 ± 0.1 g/100 g dry weight), while the lowest values were detected in Anthyllis vulneraria (0.68 ± 0.02, 0.17 ± 0.03 and 0.45 ± 0.01 g/100 g dry weight) and Galium mollugo (1.77 ± 0.05, 0.49 ± 0.04 and 0.16 ± 0.06 g/100 g dry weight). The leaf extract of Fuchsia sp. had the highest, while the herb of A. vulneraria had the lowest antioxidant effect measured by both methods, which is probably related to total polyphenol, tannin, and flavonoid contents.

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In this paper the fauna of these beneficial insects is studied in some regions of three provinces Golestan, Mazandaran and Semnan (northern Iran). In total 43 species from 23 genera and 2 subfamilies Milesiinae and Syrphinae were collected and identified.

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Carotenoids are important micronutrients required by humans for growth and development. Yellow maize among cereals possesses sufficient carotenoids, and thus, it is important to genetically dissect such traits for proper utilization in breeding programme. Twenty-one maize hybrids generated using novel inbreds with rare allele of β-carotene hydroxylase (crtRB1) that enhances kernel β-carotene, were evaluated at two diverse maize growing locations. Lutein, zeaxanthin and β-cryptoxanthin were positively correlated, while β-carotene showed negative correlation with other carotenoids. Grain yield did not show association with carotenoids. Preponderance of additive gene action was observed for lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and β-carotene. Experimental hybrids were much superior for kernel β-carotene compared to commercial hybrids. Based on SCA effects, high yielding experimental hybrids were identified for provitamin A and non-provitamin A carotenoids. These novel hybrid combinations of maize possessing rare allele of crtRB1 hold promise in maize biofortification programme to alleviate vitamin A deficiency and degenerative diseases in humans.

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Sorghum is, globally, the fifth most important cereal after maize, rice, wheat and barley. The crop is tolerant to semi-arid and arid climatic conditions. Twenty-five sorghum varieties grown in South Africa were evaluated in the field at two locations with the objective of identifying high yielding, micronutrient dense genotypes. Two clusters were formed based on measured traits. Tx430 (G13), CIMMYT entry 49 (G12), E35-1 (G16), Framida (G19), IS1934 (G7) and IS14380 (G14) formed cluster A. The rest of the sorghum entries formed cluster B. Wide variation was exhibited for grain yield, ranging from 1.12 t ha−1 to 3.96 t ha−1 with a mean grain yield of 2.83 tha−1. Analysis of variance also revealed significant differences among the varieties for protein, total starch, amylose and mineral content. Two varieties, Tx430 and AR-3048 exhibited very high protein content. Fe content ranged from 43.7 mg kg−1 (Kuyuma) to 61.2 mg kg−1 (IS14380) with an average of 50.5 mg kg−1. Zn content ranged from 13.7 mg kg−1 (Macia) to 23.4 mg kg−1 (Tx430) with a mean of 17.4 mg kg−1. Grain yield was significantly positively correlated with plant height, panicle weight and thousand kernel weight. Significant positive correlations were observed between Fe content and Zn, Cu, Mn and P. This data indicated that simultaneous genetic improvement of sorghum varieties for Fe and other important minerals, and starch content in the same genetic background was possible, without a penalty to grain yield.

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Waterlogging is one of the limiting factors influencing durum wheat (Triticum durum L.) production. In this paper we investigated the impact of seven waterlogging durations of 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 40, and 60 days, imposed at 3-leaf and 4-leaf growth stages, on grain yield, grain yield components, straw and root dry weight and nitrogen concentration of grain, straw, and roots of two varieties of durum wheat. Grain yield of both varieties showed a significant reduction only when waterlogging was prolonged to more than 20 days, and 40-d and 60-d waterlogging reduced grain yield by 19% and 30%. Waterlogging depressed grain yield preventing many culms from producing spikes. It slowed down spikelet formation, consequently reducing the number of spikelets per spike, and reduced floret formation per spikelet, thus reducing the number of kernels per spike.

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Ecotones between plant communities have received considerable attention among ecologists in the context of fragmentation, climate change and the management of heterogeneous landscapes. However, the predictability of ecotone dynamics is low and the processes taking place within ecotones are still poorly understood. In this study we aimed to characterize the positional and structural dynamics of thirteen ecotones in an ecotone-rich steppe–wetland landscape of Hungary in relation to the inter-annual fluctuations of water regime and the gradients of elevation and of soil composition. According to our results, the ecotones between steppe and wetland communities were sharp and their positions coincided with those places in the landscape where the rate of change in elevation was the highest, confirming that microtopography is a major determinant of ecotone position. Soil boundaries were also detected, mostly downhill to the ecotones. Interestingly, the fluctuations of the water supply had no effect on the position of the ecotones but significantly influenced a structural ecotone parameter, the compositional contrast bridged by the ecotones. High water supply caused high contrast, while low supply went along with low contrast. We explain these changes by asymmetric sensitivities to edge effects. When the water supply was low, the wetland edges became similar to the steppe edges due to the decrease of wetland specialists and to the increase of steppe specialists, but steppe edges did not exhibit an opposite change in wet years, suggesting that steppe communities dominated over wetland communities. The asymmetry in the interaction between the two communities may have pushed the soil boundaries downhill to the ecotones but the currently steppe-like soil of wetland edges could also make wetland edges more sensitive to edge effects; thus, the cause-effect relationship is difficult to disentangle.

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Authors: M. Tóth, I. Szarukán, A. Nagy, T. Ábri, V. Katona, Sz. Kőrösi, T. Nagy, Á. Szarvas and S. Koczor

The addition of synthetic 4-methoxy-2-phenethyl alcohol to the known attractant phenylacetaldehyde synergized attraction of the European corn borer Ostrinia nubilalis, the blend invariably catching 3 to 5 times more than phenylacetaldehyde on its own. Highest catches were recorded by the 1:1 blend. Both females and males were attracted, supposedly in the natural sex ratio of the local population. This improved bisex O. nubilalis attractant could be more efficient and more suitable for detection and monitoring purposes than previously know lures, making possible to draw more reliable plant protection decisions.

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Fusarium langsethiae is a fungus that has recently been implicated in the contamination of small-grain cereal crops such as oats, wheat and barley with high levels of HT-2 and T-2 toxins in many European countries. The epidemiology of this fungus is not well known and may therefore be a bigger problem than currently thought to be. A study was carried out investigating the in vitro growth characteristics of F. langsethiae isolates from contaminated oats and wheat at various temperatures; 15, 20, 25 and 30 °C. Results indicated similar growth trends of oats and wheat isolates of F. langsethiae. Wheat isolates grew significantly (p<0.001) faster than oat isolates although this difference may have been confounded by the age of cultures, with oat isolates collected one year earlier. The estimated optimum growth temperature for all isolates was 24 °C. Isolates were macro-morphologically categorized as having lobed or entire colony margins, and either possessing one of the following colony colours: white, orange or purple. Since the estimated optimum growth temperature of F. langsethiae is typical in temperate summers when small-grain cereals are flowering, it is possible that this species can infect, colonise and possibly contaminate the developing grains with HT-2 and T-2 toxins which are of food safety concern.

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Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Alma Rosa Pérez-Álamos, Yazmin del Rosario Rico-Almochantaf, Sergio Estrada-Martínez, Raquel Vaquera-Enriquez, Arturo Díaz-Herrera, Agar Ramos-Nevarez, Ada Agustina Sandoval-Carrillo, José Manuel Salas-Pacheco, Sandra Margarita Cerrillo-Soto, Elizabeth Irasema Antuna-Salcido, Oliver Liesenfeld and Carlos Alberto Guido-Arreola

Infection with Toxoplasma gondii in brain may cause some symptoms that resemble those in women with premenstrual syndrome. To determine the association of T. gondii infection with symptoms and signs of premenstrual syndrome, we examined 489 women aged 30–40 years old. Sera of participants were analyzed for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies using enzyme-linked immunoassays (EIA) and T. gondii DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in 38 (7.8%) of the women studied. Anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found in 13 (34.2%) of the 38 IgG seropositive women. Logistic regression showed two variables associated with seropositivity to T. gondii: presence of diarrhea (odds ratio [OR] = 6.10; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.37–27.85; P = 0.01) and weight gain (OR = 2.89; 95% CI: 1.37–6.07; P = 0.005), and two variables associated with high (>150 IU/ml) levels of IgG against T. gondii: presence of diarrhea (OR = 7.40; 95% CI: 1.79–30.46; P = 0.006) and abdominal inflammation (OR = 3.38; 95% CI: 1.13–10.10; P = 0.02). Positivity to EIA IgG and PCR was positively associated with obesity and negatively associated with joint pain by bivariate analysis.

Our study for the first time reveals a potential association of T. gondii infection with clinical manifestations of premenstrual syndrome.

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The present study was carried out to identify parasitoids of bark beetles in the forests of northern Iran, from 2013–2015 (May–August). Four hymenopterans species belonging to 3 families (Eulophidae, Pteromalidae and Braconidae) were identified as Ecphylus silesiacus (Ratzeburg, 1848), Cheiropachus quadrum (Fabricius, 1787), Rhaphitelus maculatus Walker, 1834 and Entedon ergias (Ratzeburg, 1844). Among the identified bark beetles species, T. lenkoranus Reitter, 1913 was recorded as a new host of E. silesiacus for the first time in the world.

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Effects of six commercial tomato cultivars, Super Strain B, Super crystal, Hed rio grande, SUN 6108 f1, Rio grande UG and Cal.JN3 were determined on digestive physiology and life table parameters of Chrysodeixis chalcites (Esper). The highest values of consumed foods were determined in the larvae fed on Rio grande UG and Cal.JN3 while the lowest values were observed on SUN 6108 f1. Statistical difference was found in the pupal weight by the highest value on SUN 6108f1. The highest values of intrinsic rate of increase (r m) and the net reproductive rate (R 0) were obtained on SUN 6108 f1 but the lowest values were obtained on Cal.JN3. Significant differences were also found in activities of digestive enzymes including specific proteases, α-amylase, glucosidases and TAG-lipase. Our findings showed that the highest and the lowest activities of specific proteases and TAG lipase were obtained on Rio grande UG and SUN 6108 f1, respectively. In addition, activities of the carbohydrases were the highest in the larvae fed on Cal.JN3. The demographical and physiological findings here revealed Cal.JN3 and Rio grande UG as the partially unsuitable cultivars for C. chalcites in comparison with other ones which may be recommended in integrated pest management.

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The present research was undertaken to screen for field activity of ethyl-(E,Z)-2,4-decadienoate (pear ester, PE), acetic acid (AA) and the blend of this two components (PEAA) at locations, where high diversity of microlepidopteran species was presumed. By tendency of relative catches, microlepidopterans captured could be divided into two groups: in the first group the PEAA blend resulted in higher catches than single components (Hedya nubiferana, Ypsolopha scabrella and Notocelia trimaculana), while in the second group (Archips rosana, A. xylosteana, Ptycholoma lecheana and Tortrix viridana) only the presence of AA was responsible for attractivity.

In all species, both male and female specimens were caught. This result indicates a potential way to optimise female-targeted lures based on PEAA or AA for all these microlepidopterans that are all recorded as pests. On the other hand, the capture of the above moths in the traps raises the need for some taxonomic knowledge in evaluating captures in PEAA-baited traps currently use in agricultural practice for codling moth monitoring.

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By means of whole mount NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry the distribution pattern of primary sensory cells (PSC) and the pathway of their central processes in the ventral nerve cord (VNC) ganglia were investigated in the lumbricid earthworms, Eisenia fetida and Lumbricus terrestris. The distribution pattern of the stained structures seemed to be the same in both species investigated. Strong labelling occurred in sensory fibre branches of segmental nerves and in each of the sensory longitudinal axon bundles of VNC ganglia. Based on their anatomical location some NADPH-d positive central sensory cells were identified from among which the putative tactile receptors were characterized by constant, strong staining.

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Authors made regular insect collections between 2008 and 2015 especially on ornamental trees and shrubs, also on herbs, on streets, parks, in city greenery, forests, botanical gardens and private gardens, in various localities of Hungary. Trioza ilicina (De Stefani Perez), Ctenarytaina eucalypti (Maskell) and Ctenarytaina peregrina Hodkinson are reported for the first time in Hungary. New host, locality and habitat data are given.

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Authors: T. Standovár, F. Szmorad, B. Kovács, K. Kelemen, M. Plattner, T. Roth and Zs. Pataki

A new forest state assessment methodology to complement existing conservation and forestry data has been developed. The aim is to provide tools for strategic planning including spatial distribution of conservation priorities. The method is point-based using a dense systematic sampling grid and provides more detailed information than vegetation maps or forest subcompartment descriptions, but requires less effort than forest inventories. Indicators include canopy composition and structure, deadwood, herbs, microhabitats, disturbances, shrubs and regeneration. The results can inform managers about the structural and compositional diversity of forest stands in the form of thematic maps and can provide the basis for analysis of habitat suitability for forest-dwelling organisms. A smartphone application has been developed to enable electronic data collection. PostGIS and Python scripts were used in the data flow. In this paper, we outline the development of the assessment protocol, and present the sampling design and the variables recorded. The main advantages of the survey methodology are also shown by case-studies based on data collected during the first field season in 2014. The protocol has been designed for low mountain forests in Hungary, but it can be modified to fit other forest types.

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Assays assessing non-enzymatic hydrogen peroxide antioxidant capacities are often hampered by the high UV absorption of the sample itself. This is a typical problem in studies using plant extracts with high polyphenol content. Our assay is based on comparing the 405 nm absorption of the product of potassium iodine and hydrogen peroxide in the presence and absence of a putative hydrogen peroxide reactive antioxidant. This method is free of interference with either hydrogen peroxide or antioxidant self-absorption and it is also suitable for high-throughput plate reader applications.

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Authors: J. Beck, H. C. Liedtke, S. Widler, F. Altermatt, S. P. Loader, R. Hagmann, S. Lang and K. Fiedler

Bergmann’s rule predicts increasing body sizes at higher elevations. The elevational Rapoport’s rule predicts an increase of elevational range size with higher elevations. Both rules have often been related to effects of temperature. Larger bodies allow more efficient heat preservation at lower temperature, explaining Bergmann’s rule. Higher temperature variability may select for adaptations that allow increased range sizes, explaining Rapoport’s rule. The generality of both rules has been challenged and evidence towards explanatory mechanisms has been equivocal. We investigated temperature and its variability as explanations for Bergmann’s and Rapoport’s rule in moths along an elevation gradient in Switzerland. In particular, we tested for relationships between elevation, temperature and body size across almost 300 species of Macrolepidoptera along a gradient from 600 to 2400 m a.s.l. The gradient was resampled throughout the vegetation season, which allowed assessing temperature effects independently from elevation. We controlled analyses for covariate traits of moths and their phylogeny. We found a positive relationship between body size and elevation, but no link with temperature. Furthermore, there was no positive link between average elevation and elevational range, but there was between temperature variability and elevational range. We conclude that mechanisms other than temperature can lead to increasing body sizes with elevation (supporting Bergmann’s pattern, but not the mechanism). Contrary to that, data support the mechanism for Rapoport’s rule: high temperature variability is associated with large ranges. However, because temperature variability is not necessarily increasing with elevation, it may not always lead to the geographic pattern predicted.

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Authors: Parisa Rahimi Tamandegani, Doustmorad Zafari, Tamás Marik, András Szekeres, Csaba Vágvölgyi and László Kredics

Five Iranian Trichoderma isolates from species T. viride, T. viridescens, T. asperellum, T. longibrachiatum and T. citrinoviride — selected from the Fungal Collection of the Bu Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran — were investigated for their peptaibol production. All examined isolates showed remarkable antibacterial activities during the screening of their extracts for peptaibol content with a Micrococcus luteus test culture. HPLC-ESI-IT MS was used for identification and elucidation of the amino acid sequences of peptaibols. The detected peptaibol compounds contain 20 or 18 amino acid residues and belong to the trichobrachin and trichotoxin groups of peptaibols, respectively. T. longibrachiatum and T. citrinoviride produced trichobrachins, while trichotoxins could be detected in T. viride, T. viridescens and T. asperellum. Out of 37 sequences detetermined, 26 proved to be new, yet undescribed compounds, while others were identified as previously reported trichotoxins (trichotoxin A-50s and T5D2) and trichobrachins (longibrachins AI, AII, AIII, BII and BIII). Compounds within the two groups of detected peptaibols differed from each other only by a single or just a few amino acid changes.

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Aerobic adaptation could be an important modification in the traditional rice to cope up with the increasing water scarcity problem. Identification of stable QTL for traits promoting adaptation to aerobic conditions can facilitate the development of water-efficient aerobic rice varieties with better yields. Filial and backcross populations derived from the crosses between high-yielding low-land (HKR47) and aerobic (MAS26) indica rice varieties, were evaluated for various physio-morphological traits including root traits (in case of net house evaluation). Under aerobic field conditions, grain yield per plant showed significant positive correlation with plant height, effective number of tillers/plant and panicle length in all the populations. Grain yield per plant also showed positive correlation with root length in both filial populations and with fresh and dry root weight in F2 population. Two parental rice varieties displayed polymorphism at 125 of the 803 SSR loci, which were used to map the QTL associated with traits promoting aerobic adaptation. A total of 14 QTL were detected, 10 of them were identified on chromosome 8. Study led to the identification of a number of promising plants with higher grain yield, better root length/biomass under managed aerobic conditions and possessing most of the identified QTL.

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Species richness is a widespread measure to evaluate the effect of different management histories on plant communities and their biodiversity. However, analysing the phylogenetic structure of plant communities could provide new insights into the effects of different management methods on community assemblages and provide further guidance for conservation decisions. Heathlands require permanent management to ensure the existence of such a cultural landscape. While traditional management with grazing is time consuming, mechanical methods are often applied but their consequences on the phylogenetic community assemblages are still unclear. We sampled 60 vegetation plots in dry sandy heathlands (EU habitat type 2310) in northern Germany stratified by five different heathland management histories: fire, plaggen (turf cutting), mowing, deforestation and intensive grazing. Due to the distant relationship of vascular plants and lichens, we assembled two phylogenetic trees, one for vascular plants and one for lichens. We then calculated phylogenetic diversity (PD) and measures of phylogenetic community structure for vascular plant and lichen communities. Deforested areas supported significantly higher PD values for vascular plant communities. We found that PD was strongly correlated with species richness (SR) but the calculation of rarefied PD was uncorrelated to SR leading to a different ranking of management histories. We observed phylogenetic clustering in the lichen communities but not for vascular plants. Thus, management by mowing and intensive grazing promotes habitat filtering of lichens, while management histories that cause greater disturbance such as fire and plaggen do not seem to affect phylogenetic community structure. The set of management strategies fulfilled the goals of the managers in maintaining a healthy heathland community structure. However, management strategies that cause less disturbance can offer an additional range of habitat for other taxonomic groups such as lichen communities.

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Authors: K.J. Deng, J.P. Zhou, X.H. Wu, G. Sun, T. Wang, A.T. Tang, X.L. Zheng and Y. Zhang

It is well demonstrated that wheat-rye 1BL/1RS translocated chromosome leads to some valuable novel traits such as disease resistance, high yield and functional stay-green after anthesis. To understand the physiological mechanism of 1BL/1RS translocation responsible for osmotic stress, two wheat cultivars, CN12 and CN17, carrying the translocated chromosome and MY11 without the translocated chromosome were employed in the study. During 5-day osmotic stress, fresh weight inhibition, chlorophyll content, soluble protein content, MDA concentration, antioxidant enzymes activity and free polyamines content were examined. CN12 and CN17, especially cultivar CN17, registered greater biomass and minor oxidative damage compared with their wheat parent. Meanwhile, the concentration of Spd and Spm in CN17 was significantly higher than the others. In addition, we found a positive correlation of fresh weight inhibition (FWI) and Put concentration, and a negative one with the parameters (Spd + Spm): Put ratio, indicating the importance of higher polyamine (Spd and Spm) accumulation on the adaptation to osmotic stress. Therefore, we proposed that the accumulation of higher polyamines (Spd and Spm) should play an important role on the adaptation of 1BL/1RS translocation lines to osmotic stress and might be important factors for the origin of novel traits introduced by 1BL/1RS.

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The application of naturally occurring biologically active compounds could be an effective method to improve crop productivity under changing environmental conditions. In the present work the effects of priming maize seed with salicylic acid were tested on the grain yield under field conditions, and on the salicylic acid and polyamine metabolism under controlled environmental conditions. The field data suggested that the beneficial effects of pretreating maize seed with salicylic acid were mainly detectable in the yield in the case of early sowing dates. When young maize seedlings were exposed to low temperature stress, priming the seed with salicylic acid only modified the salicylic acid levels in the seed but not in the roots or leaves. The data suggested that salicylic acid was taken up by the seed and was then converted to bound forms. In contrast to salicylic acid, 5 days after sowing there was a substantial increase in the free form of ortho-hydroxy cinnamic acid in the seed, roots and leaves. Priming with salicylic acid also led to an increase in the putrescine content and a slight decrease in spermidine in the seed. The levels of putrescine, spermidine and spermine also increased in the roots of plants treated with salicylic acid under normal growth conditions. The results suggest that polyamines may also contribute to the stress tolerance of plants primed with salicylic acid.

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Authors: Andrea Valasek, Írisz Éva Kiss, István Fodor, Márk Kovács, Péter Urbán, Éva Jámbor, Csaba Fekete and Ildikó Kerepesi

Saccharomonospora azurea SZMC 14600 is a member of the family Pseudonocardiaceae exclusively used for industrial scale production of primycin a large 36-membered non-polyene macrolide lactone antibiotic belonging to the polyketide class of natural products. Even though maximum antibiotic yield has been achieved by empirically optimized two-step fermentation process, little is known about the molecular components and mechanisms underlying the efficient antibiotic production. In order to identify differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) between the pre- and main-fermentation stages of primycin, comparative 2D-PAGE experiments were performed. In total, 98 DEP spots were reproducibly detected, out of which four spots were excised from gels, and identified through MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Peptide mass fingerprint analysis revealed peptide matches to HicB antitoxin for the HicAB toxin-antitoxin system (EHK86651), to a nucleoside diphosphate kinase regulator ((Ndk; EHK81899) and two other proteins with unknown function (EHK88946 and EHK86777).

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Quality of durum wheat is of importance for pasta production. Our aim was to evaluate the quality of released durum wheat at Ethiopia by the use of pheno-quality traits as well as composition and amount and size distribution of proteins; these attributes were also compared with the same ones for Spanish released wheat grown in the same environment. Large variation was obtained among the released durum wheat for all parameters investigated. The evaluation of protein parameters indicated the varieties Klinto, LD-357, Tob-66 and Ude to have suitable protein composition for pasta production, while Tob-66 showed high protein concentration and Tob-66, LD-357 and Yerer showed high gluten strength. The most promising Ethiopian variety for pasta production as to the results from the present study was Tob-66. Also, LD-357 showed promising protein characteristics, although the kernels were white, which is not desired for pasta production. Some of the evaluated varieties might be of interest for production of local leavened bread although the quality is not good enough for pasta production.

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The hypopi of the species Sancassania chelone Oudemans, 1916 were collected from four pest beetle species, namely Melolontha melolontha (Linnaeus, 1758); Melolontha hippocastani Fabricius, 1801; Holochelus aequinoctialis (Herbst, 1790) and Tropinota hirta Poda, 1761. The infestation rate was the highest in H. aequinoctialis (80%), while it was 50%, 28% and 13% in M. hippocastani, M. melolontha and T. hirta, respectively. The majority of the mites were found on wings in case of the two Melolontha species, in contrary, the mites were present on the abdomen of the H. aequinoctialis and T. hirta. Melolontha hippocastani Fabricius, 1801; Holochelus aequinoctialis (Herbst, 1790) and Tropinota hirta (Poda, 1761) are new host species of S. chelone.

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A study on the fauna of snout beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) of East Azerbaijan Province (Northwest Iran) was conducted in 2014 to 2016. A total of 19 species, belonging to 4 subfamilies (Baridinae, Entiminae, Lixinae, and Molytinae) and 18 genera were collected and identified.

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Authors: M. I. Kiseleva, A. V. Ovsyankina, T. M. Kolomiets, N. S. Zhemchuzhina and A. P. Glinushkin

Since 1995 the pathogens of genus Fusarium causing Root Rot, Snow Mold, Fusarium Head Blight of grain crops have been monitored in the Volga-Vyatka, Central, Central Chernozem and North Caucasian regions of the Russian Federation and in there were identified 15 Fusarium spp.: F. culmorum, F. heterosporum, F. sporotrichioides, F. oxysporum, F. nivale, F. graminearum, F. avenacеum, F. gibbosum, F. sambucinum, F. moniliforme, F. semitectum, F. poae, F. lateritium, F. solani, F. redolens. The high uniformity of Fusarium spp. has been revealed for the regions due to the susceptibility of crops to the soil-inhabiting micromycetes. Consistent long-term monitoring of the dynamics and frequency of occurrence of Fusarium spp. in a wide range of climatic areas has made it possible to characterize the state of the species of fungi in the regions and also to study their intraspecific and interspecific variability in toxicity and pathogenicity depended on biotic and abiotic factors. The prevalence of Fusarium spp. in the mycobiota has been determined by their plasticity and viability in the soil, on the weed roots and in the stubble of many crops and high competitive ability expressed pathogenicity and toxicity.

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Authors: K. Tremmel-Bede, P. Mikó, M. Megyeri, G. Kovács, S. Howlett, B. Pearce, M. Wolfe, F. Löschenberger, B. Lorentz, L. Láng, Z. Bedő and M. Rakszegi

Six cropping populations, three variety mixtures and one diversity population were developed from winter wheat varieties and studied for physical, compositional and end-use quality traits for three years (2011–2013) under different European climatic and management conditions in order to study the stability of these traits resulted by the genetic diversity. The beneficial compositional and nutritional properties of the populations were assessed, while variation and stability of the traits were analysed statistically. No significant differences were found among the populations in low-input and organic management farming systems in the physical, compositional and processing properties, but there was a difference in the stability of these traits. Most of the populations showed higher stability than the control wheat variety, and populations developed earlier had higher stability than those developed later. Furthermore, some populations were found to be especially unstable for some traits at certain sites (mostly at Austrian, Swiss and UK organic sites). Protein content of the populations was high (13.0–14.7%) without significant difference among them, but there was significant variation in their gluten content (28–36%) and arabinoxylan content (14.6–20.3 mg/g). The most outstanding population for both protein and arabinoxylan content was a Hungarian cropping population named ELIT-CCP. It was concluded that the diversity found in the mixtures and CCPs have stabilizing effect on the quality parameters, but a higher stability was observed under low-input than under organic conditions. These results could be beneficial not only for breeders but also for the consumers in the long run.

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Authors: K. Stuper-Szablewska, D. Kurasiak-Popowska, J. Nawracała and J. Perkowski

The aim of this study was to determine the profile of fungal metabolites and antioxidant substances from plants on a representative population of wheat cultivars grown in Poland. Tests were conducted on grain of 23 wheat cultivars in three experimental variants: natural infection (control), chemical crop protection, and artificial inoculation with the fungi F. graminearum and F. culmorum. Grains were analysed in terms of infection rate, mycotoxin, ergosterol, free and bound phenolic acid content, as well as antioxidant capacity. Calculated Fusarium head blight index (FHB index) ranged from 0% to 24% in the control, from 0% to 95% after inoculation and from 0 to 3% following chemical crop protection treatments. The highest concentration of ergosterol was detected in seeds from inoculated plots, with a mean value of 26.69 mg/kg. The highest mean concentration calculated for total toxin content was recorded after inoculation (7.833 mg/kg). The mean value for ferulic acid for inoculated samples resulted 2574 mg/kg, while for chemically protected samples 1158 mg/kg was obtained.

Based on of discriminant analysis genotypes can be separated for inoculation 100%, for chemical crop protection 95%, and for natural infection 90%. Amongst 12 analysed phenolic acids the highest discrimination power was found for gallic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and vanillic acid.

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Authors: V. Krstanović, A. Lalić, I. Kosović, N. Velić, Kristina Mastanjević and K. Mastanjević

Although β-glucans in cereals are desirable as healthy diet components, high levels of β-glucans in malting barley are unacceptable because they can cause unsatisfactory degradation of cell walls during malting. The aim of this study was to investigate the β-glucan content in twelve Croatian and two German barley varieties at three representative locations in Eastern Croatia over three consecutive seasons (2012–2014). Total β-glucan content in barley samples was determined using enzymatic method. Most of the investigated barley varieties had total β-glucan content lower or significantly lower than 4%. Furthermore, a distinct and clear genotype influence was noticed. No significant difference was found between years, but between locations Osijek and Tovarnik.

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Six wheat cultivars, namely PBW 343, PBW 550 (stress susceptible), PBW 621, PBW 175 (drought tolerant), C 306 and HD 2967 (heat tolerant), were used in this study to evaluate the effect of heat and drought stress on the activities of peroxidases (POXs), diamine oxidase (DAO), polyamine oxidase (PAO) and arginine decarboxylase (ADC) and ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) in relation to contents of polyamines (PAs), lipid peroxide and lignin. High temperature (HT) elevated activities of syringaldazine peroxidase (SPX), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX) and coniferyl alcohol peroxidase (CPX) in heat tolerant cultivars while, drought stress accentuated ADC/ODC activities in drought tolerant cultivars. Both heat and drought stress enhanced activities of DAO and PAO alongwith contents of H2O2 in PBW 175 and C 306. Amongst studied POXs, SPX activity was relatively more and coincided well with lignin content under HT stress while, the levels of ADC/ODC paralleled with putrescine and spermidine contents under drought stress. Higher build up of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in cultivars PBW 343 and PBW 550 indicated their membrane instability during both the stresses. Our results revealed that SPX mediated lignification leading to higher cell wall rigidity under heat stress and drought increased PAs involved in ROS scavenging due to presence of positive charges which can bind strongly to the negative charges in cellular components such as proteins and phospholipids and thereby stabilize the membranes under stress conditions.

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Authors: V. H. Cruz-Escalona, A. F. Navia, P. A. Mejia-Falla, M. V. Morales-Zárate and C. A. Salinas-Zavala

In this paper, we used two methodological approaches to analyze the structure and function of a trophic web in the temperate coastal lagoon of Bahía Magdalena, Baja California Sur, Mexico, which represents the largest wetland ecosystem along the west coast of the Baja California peninsula. Ecosystem structure was studied using a topological approach, while ecosystem functioning was analyzed using a biomass balance model. Connectance values indicated a low number of functional group interactions, consistent with the range proposed for similar marine trophic webs. This pattern may reflect incorporation of a few functional groups clustered along the trophic web. Results would vary if the model included more functional groups or different levels of aggregation, since aggregation and diversity strongly influence the base of the food web. Topological results suggest that trophic web structure depends primarily on lower and intermediate trophic level organisms like macrobenthic invertebrates, penaeid shrimp and marine turtles. Balance biomass model results suggest that trophic groups positioned on the first level most strongly support Bahía Magdalena trophic web functioning. In particular, the pelagic red crab (Pleurocondes planipes) transfers energy between basal and upper levels of the food web (a wasp-waist energy control). When compared to ecosystems at different latitudes, the results indicate that the Bahía Magdalena ecosystem is still in a developmental phase, wherein trophic web functioning depends largely on the balance between energy flows originating from primary producers and those originating from detrital pathways. While these results are preliminary, they demonstrate the potential of combined topological and biomass approaches in analyzing highly organized ecosystems. The combined approach can make both theoretical and empirical predictions about the functional response of real systems to structural changes, thus enhancing evidence-based methods for ecosystem management.

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Authors: Michael Fehlings, Lea Drobbe, Macarena Beigier-Bompadre, Pablo Renner Viveros, Verena Moos, Thomas Schneider, Thomas F. Meyer, Toni Aebischer and Ralf Ignatius

Direct effects of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) on human CD4+ T-cells hamper disentangling a possible bacterial-mediated interference with major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II)-dependent antigen presentation to these cells. To overcome this limitation, we employed a previously described assay, which enables assessing human antigen-processing cell function by using murine T-cell hybridoma cells restricted by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles. HLA-DR1+ monocyte-derived dendritic cells were exposed to H. pylori and pulsed with the antigen 85B from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). Interleukin-2 (IL-2) secretion by AG85Baa97-112-specific hybridoma cells was then evaluated as an integral reporter of cognate antigen presentation. This methodology enabled revealing of interference of H. pylori with the antigen-presenting capacity of human dendritic cells.

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Authors: Henryk Dębski, Magdalena Szwed, WiesŁaw Wiczkowski, Dorota Szawara-Nowak, Natalia Bączek and Marcin Horbowicz

The impact of short-term UV-B treatment on the content of individual flavonoids and photosynthetic pigments in cotyledons and the growth of common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) seedlings was investigated. Seeds of four common buckwheat cultivars were germinated in darkness over a period of 4 days and acclimatized for 2 days under a 16/8 h light/dark photoperiod at 24/18 °C day/night, and exposure to 100–120 μmol ∙ m−2 ∙ s−1 of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Seedlings were divided into three batches, including two batches subjected to different doses of UV-B (5 W ∙ m−2 and 10 W ∙ m−2, one hour per day) for 5 days, and a control group exposed to PAR only. Exposure to UV-B increased anthocyanin levels in the cotyledons of all examined cultivars, it inhibited hypocotyl elongation, but did not affect the content of photosynthetic pigments. Flavone concentrations increased in cv. Red Corolla and Kora, remained constant in cv. Panda and decreased in cv. Hruszowska. Exposure to UV-B decreased rutin levels in cv. Hruszowska, but not in the remaining cultivars. Cultivars Hruszowska, Panda and Kora appeared to be less resistant to UV-B than Red Corolla. Higher resistance to UV-B radiation in Red Corolla can probably be attributed to its higher content of anthocyanins and rutin in comparison with the remaining cultivars.

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Studies of perennial plants generally search for a seed size vs. seed number trade-off. Surprisingly, the fact that perennials may replace an investment in large seeds by the allocation to vegetative propagation has not yet been investigated as an additional pathway enabling species coexistence. We focused on the mechanisms of coexistence in Carex elata and C. elongata, two co-occurring clonal sedges dominant in European swamp alder forests. We asked the following questions: i) Is the number of germinated seeds a better predictor of species coexistence than the total number of seeds? ii) What recruitment conditions and competition rules determine vegetative sprouting to be an alternative to large, competitively superior seeds? We measured several species functional traits related to the colonisation and fitness of perennials. To examine the competitive hierarchy between species and microsite species preferences, we analysed the effects of environmental factors and plant densities on fitness-related traits using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). Then, using a series of spatially explicit simulations partly parameterised based on the field measurement, we evaluated the importance of seed and ramet propagation and recruitment conditions for long-term species coexistence. SEM indicated a competitive hierarchy and a large overlap in microsite preferences between species. As a response to our initial questions we found that: i) Only differences in the numbers of germinated seeds, allowed the two species to coexist. If we consider only differences in the total number of seeds, the superior competitor (Carex elata) outcompeted the inferior competitor (C. elongata) in all scenarios. This is because the former produced about three-times as many seeds as the latter. ii) We show that vegetative sprouting represents an additional pathway for the seed size-number trade-off when the competitive superiority of species is attributed to vegetative propagation. This is another way that a species deals with the omnipresent seeds of other species. Taken together, our study demonstrates that differences in seed performance, coupled with differences in vegetative propagation related to competitive ability, are an additional mechanism allowing the coexistence of perennial plants.

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In 2013–2015 virulence in the wheat leaf rust population was evaluated on 17 Thatcher near-isogenic lines with leaf rust resistance genes. A total of 110 wheat leaf rust isolates were analyzed. Resistance genes Lr9 and Lr19 were effective to all tested isolates. Genes Lr24 and Lr28 conditioned resistance to 92% of the tested rust isolates. Thirty-seven winter wheat cultivars registered in Slovakia were analyzed for the presence of Lr10, Lr24, Lr26, Lr34 and Lr37 using tightly linked molecular markers. Gene Lr37 was the most common in the tested cultivars. Leaf rust resistance was also tested in 13 wheat cultivars at the seedling stage with representative pathotypes of leaf rust.

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Two Asian mosses Entodontopsis setschwanica (Broth.) W. R. Buck et R. R. Ireland and Mitthyridium cardotii (M. Fleisch.) H. Rob., so far known from the Eastern Himalaya and Northeast India, respectively for India, are added here to the moss flora of Peninsular India from the Western Ghats. Brief descriptions with illustrations are provided.

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Authors: Erika-Beáta Kerekes, Anita Vidács, Julianna Jenei Török, Csilla Gömöri, Tamás Petkovits, Muthusamy Chandrasekaran, Shine Kadaikunnan, Naiyf S. Alharbi, Csaba Vágvölgyi and Judit Krisch

The anti-listerial effect of marjoram, thyme essential oils (EOs) and thymol on Listeria monocytogenes inoculated chicken breast fillets was investigated. Before inoculation the fillets were pretreated by washing or not under running tap water. Inoculated samples were kept at 6 °C for 24 h to allow the growth of L. monocytogenes. After this, the fillets were put in marinating solutions containing salt (5%) and EOs or thymol in MIC/2 concentration established in vitro. Total germ count (TGC) and L. monocytogenes count was monitored on the meat surface and in the marinating solutions following 24 and 48 h storage at 6 °C. Thyme and thymol reduced significantly Listeria cell count (1–3 log CFU) in both samples. They also gave good flavour to the fried meat. The doses of EOs used were optimal for antimicrobial efficiency and had a pleasant flavour effect. Washing was not efficient in reducing total germ count.

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Authors: Huan Zhang, Pan Wang, Ai-Jun Zhang, Xuan Li, Ji-Hong Zhang, Qi-Lian Qin and Yi-Jun Wu

The housefly is an important resource insect and the housefly larvae are ideal source of food additives. The housefly larvae protein hydrolysates were obtained by enzymatic hydrolysis by alcalase and neutral proteinase. Their antioxidant activities were investigated, including the superoxide and hydroxyl radicalscavenging activity, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging activity, reducing power and metal chelating activity. The antioxidant activities of both hydrolysates increased with their increasing concentrations. The alcalase hydrolysate (AH) showed higher scavenging activities against hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion radical at low concentrations and higher metal-chelating activity than the neutral proteinase hydrolysate (NPH). The NPH exhibited higher scavenging activity against DPPH free radical and higher reducing power than the AH. Both hydrolysates showed more than 50% superoxide anion radical-scavenging activity at 10 μg/mL. These results indicate that both housefly larvae protein hydrolysates display high antioxidant activities and they could serve as potential natural antioxidant food additives.

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In this study, isolated hepatocytes of pearl mullet (Alburnus tarichi) were exposed to bisphenol A (BPA) at concentrations of 25, 50, 100, and 200 μM for 24 h. Moreover, an in vitro antioxidant concentration of vitamin C (50 μM) was administrated to the culture medium along with the BPA exposures. Next, the antioxidant defense system parameters were analyzed. According to the results, the highest concentration of BPA (200 μM) proved to be severely toxic for the cells. The increased activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST), the fluctuated activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and the decreased content of reduced glutathione (GSH) were compared to the control group after the BPA exposures. Vitamin C co-administration was found to cause further increases in the SOD, GPx, and GST activities in some of the experimental groups and vitamin C could not restore the GSH content. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were observed to be unaffected in all exposure groups. These results show that BPA causes alterations in the antioxidant defenses of the isolated fish hepatocytes. In addition, vitamin C co-administration along with BPA was found to be non-protective against BPA-induced oxidative stress, consequently, aggravated a negative BPA impact.

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Thirty maize genotypes were characterized for their nutritional, antinutritional and nutraceutical traits for identification of elite germplasm rich in beneficial characteristics. Starch, proteins, lipids, tryptophan, lysine, β-carotene, condensed tannins, protease inhibitor, phytic acid, total phenols, flavonols, o-dihydroxy phenols and DPPH radical scavenging activity were determined in grains of all the genotypes. Correlation coefficient among the various parameters showed that lysine, total phenols, flavonols and o-dihydroxy phenols were negatively correlated with phytic acid content of the genotypes. This showed that the nutritional and the nutraceutical potency of genotypes, rich in lysine and phenolic compounds, is further propounded by a reduction of phytic acid content in them. On the basis of various constituents, the genotypes were divided into three groups. Group-A genotypes had high to moderate levels of both nutritional and nutraceutical traits. Group-B included those genotypes that exhibited high to moderate levels of either nutritional or nutraceutical traits. Group-C was constituted of genotypes that had lower levels of both nutritional and nutraceutical traits. Agglomerative hierarchical clustering showed that the D subcluster of MC-2 was chiefly comprised of genotypes that had high to moderate levels of both nutritional and nutraceutical traits. It may be concluded that CML134, CML266, TOO14601, LM11, CML264, CML321, SE563, LM10, LM18, LM14 and CML32 were nutritionally rich nutraceutical genotypes having low antinutrient potency.

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Genetic diversity was investigated in a set of eleven hexaploid wheat genotypes originated from CIMMYT, Turkey in comparison with some modern European mostly originated from KWS wheat breeding program using 24 wheat SNP markers. The lowest and highest genetic dissimilarities were observed between genotypes Opus and LDO 330/06, KWS Salix and LDO 330/06, respectively. Based on cluster analysis, 38 wheat genotypes were grouped in two main clusters. Although the grouping pattern is very origin heterogeneous in each group, the grouping pattern of some genotypes appeared to be associated, to some extent. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) was used as an alternative way of visualizing the genotypic data. The first, second and third principal components explained 17.79%, 14.39% and 12.24% of the variation, respectively. This study can also be an indicator for breeders to evolve genotypes with diverse genetic background to achieve sustainability in wheat production, to get favorable heterotic combinations in a wheat improvement program.

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Authors: Norah Lynn-Anne Mund, Wycliffe Omurwa Masanta, Anne-Marie Goldschmidt, Raimond Lugert, Uwe Groß and Andreas E. Zautner

Campylobacter jejuni’s flagellar locomotion is controlled by eleven chemoreceptors. Assessment of the distribution of the relevant chemoreceptor genes in the C. jejuni genomes deposited in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database led to the identification of two previously unknown tlp genes and a tlp5 pseudogene. These two chemoreceptor genes share the same locus in the C. jejuni genome with tlp4 and tlp11, but the gene region encoding the periplasmic ligand binding domain differs significantly from other chemoreceptor genes. Hence, they were named tlp12 and tlp13.

Consequently, it was of interest to study their distribution in C. jejuni subpopulations of different clonality, and their cooccurrence with the eleven previously reported chemoreceptor genes. Therefore, the presence of all tlp genes was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 292 multilocus sequence typing (MLST)-typed C. jejuni isolates from different hosts.

The findings show interesting trends: Tlp4, tlp11, tlp12, and tlp13 appeared to be mutually exclusive and cooccur in a minor subset of isolates. Tlp4 was found to be present in only 33.56% of all tested isolates and was significantly less often detected in turkey isolates. Tlp11 was tested positive in only 17.8% of the isolates, while tlp12 was detected in 29.5% of all isolates, and tlp13 was found to be present in 38.7%.

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Authors: A. Abonyi and I. Grigorszky
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Interleukin-8 (IL-8) is a potent neutrophil-activating chemokine which triggers the infiltration and migration of neutrophils into areas of bacterial infection. Helicobacter pylori-infected patient studies as well as animal models have revealed that H. pylori type I strains carrying an intact cytotoxin-associated gene pathogenicity island (cag-PAI) with a functional type IV secretion system (T4SS) induce IL-8 expression and secretion in gastric mucosa. This gastric mucosal IL-8 expression correlates with severe histological changes due to H. pylori infection.

In the present study, we explored a new recognition pattern on the bacterial adhesion protein CagL inducing IL-8 expression in H. pylori-infected host cells. To analyze the secreted IL-8 concentration, we performed IL-8 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). To investigate the H. pylori-induced IL-8 expression on the transcriptional level, we transiently transfected gastric epithelial cells (AGS) with a human IL-8 luciferase reporter construct.

The results of this study demonstrate that specifically the C-terminal coiled-coil region of the H. pylori CagL protein, a protein described to be located on the tip of the T4SS-pilus, is responsible for several in vitro observations: 1) H. pylori-induced IL-8 secretion via the transforming growth factor (TGF)-α activated epidermal growth factor-receptor (EGF-R) signaling pathway; 2) H. pylori-induced elongation of the cells, a typical CagA-induced phenotype; and 3) the bridging of the T4SS to its human target cells. This novel bacterial-host recognition sequence allows a new insight into how H. pylori induces the inflammatory response in gastric epithelial cells and facilitates the development of precancerous conditions.

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The subject of the present study is the monitoring of the hardwood groves at the Martonvásár Manor Park with the involvement of 20 earlier (recorded in 1980–1981) and 20 current (recorded in 2011–2012) phytocoenological relevés. The manor park was created in the first half of the 19th century. Since then the woods along the St László stream have developed into species-rich and semi-natural forests, which can be identified as related to the oak-ash-elm groves (Scillo vindobonensis-Ulmetum) of the Zámoly Basin and the Csepel Island. The results of the current monitoring repeated 30 years after the first survey show momentous changes in forest dynamics such as the ageing-related opening of the upper canopy and an intense closure of the lower canopy and shrub layer. The ratio of the invasive species doubled. Present findings may provide additional information for long-term forest ecology research, however, results could be considered as changes of a semi-natural hardwood forest with minimal human impact.

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High-yield common buckwheat ‘cv. Fengtian 1’ (FT1) and tartary buckwheat ‘cv. Jingqiao 2’ (JQ2) were selected to investigate the characteristics of the grain-filling process and starch accumulation of high-yield buckwheat. FT1 had an average yield that was 43.0% higher than that of the control ‘cv. Tongliaobendixiaoli’ (TLBDXL) in two growing seasons, while JQ2 had an average yield that was 27.3% higher than that of the control ‘cv. Chuanqiao 2’ (CQ2). The Richards equation was utilized to evaluate the grain-filling process of buckwheat. Both FT1 and JQ2 showed higher values of initial growth power and final grain weight and longer linear increase phase, compared with respective control. These values suggest that the higher initial increasing rate and the longer active growth period during grain filling play important roles to increase buckwheat yield. Similar patterns of starch, amylose and amylopectin accumulation were detected in common buckwheat, leading to similar concentration of each constituent at maturity in FT1 and TLBDXL. Tartary buckwheat showed an increasing accumulation pattern of amylose in developing seeds, which differed from that of starch and amylopectin. This pattern led to a significant difference of the concentrations of amylose and amylopectin at maturity between JQ2 and CQ2, the mechanisms of which remained unclear. Nevertheless, both FT1 and JQ2 showed increased starch, amylose, and amylopectin accumulation during the physiological maturity of grains. The results suggest that prolonging the active grain-filling period to increase carbohydrate partitioning from source to seed sink can be an effective strategy to improve buckwheat yield.

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Authors: Neda Haddadderafshi, Tímea Borbála Pósa, Gábor Péter, László Gáspár, Márta Ladányi, Károly Hrotkó, Noémi Lukács and Krisztián Halász

Endophytic fungi have the potential to protect their host plants in stress situations. Characterizing the ecology and complex interaction between these endophytes and their host plants is therefore of great practical importance, particularly in horticultural plants. Among horticultural plants, fruit trees form a special category because of their longevity and because they are composites of rootstock and scion, which often belong to different plant species. Here we present the first characterization of culturable endophytic fungal community of sweet cherry. Samples from the Hungarian cultivar ‘Petrus’ grafted on 11 different rootstocks were collected in autumn and in spring in a bearing orchard and the dependence of colonization rate and endophyte diversity on rootstock, organ and season was analysed. On the basis of their ITS sequences 26 fungal operational taxonomic units were identified at least down to the genus level. The dominant genus, comprising more than 50% of all isolates, was Alternaria, followed by different Fusarium and Epicoccum species. We observed some organ-specificity amongst endophytes, and organs showed more sizeable differences in colonization rates and endophyte diversity than rootstocks. Most dynamic endophyte populations, strongly influenced by environmental conditions and crop management, were observed in leaves. The potential of selected endophytes to confer protection against Monilinia laxa was also analysed and 7 isolates were found to inhibit the growth of this pathogen in vitro.

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Seven synthetic hexaploid wheats (Triticum dicoccum/Aegilops tauschii) were subjected for investigation. Numerical variation of chromosome number in F1 hybrids between three synthetics and common wheat varieties, was recorded. Hexaploid amphiploids (SHW) formed gametes with aneuploid chromosome number at a frequency of 13.2 and 14.8% as male and female parents, respectively. We speculated that the frequency of aneuploids in the generation might depend on variability of BAu- and D-genomes of synthetic parents, and could be used for increasing the genetic diversity in common wheat. The HMW-glutenins analysis divided two lines in SHW530 and 532 due to different genes present in the B-genome, and increased them to 9 synthetic lines. The subunits 1Dx1.5 + 1Dy10 was predominantly observed in the synthetics. Two other allelic variants 1Dx2 + 1Dy11 and 1Dx4 + 1Dy10.1 were found in four lines and appeared as new genes in SHW originated from Aegilops tauschii. The synthetic hexaploid lines could play a significant role as novel germplasm resources for improving the grain quality of bread wheat.

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Endophytic fungal communities are well-recognised entities within plants worldwide. They hold species with potential in medicinal affairs, biological control of pests, industry, and more. Nevertheless, ecological data about structure and dynamics of endophytic communities are scarce. In this study we sampled root, stem and leaf tissues of Colombian vanilla species in order of both, identifying endosymbionts and characterising the community they belong to. An interesting array of endophytic species was found, including taxa that function as pathogens, saprotrophs, and dermatophytes in other plants/scenarios. Ecological parameters show a moderate diversity with a lognormal arrangement of species quite similar to communities of macroorganisms. Many species here reported belong to taxa broadly reported as sources of biologically active compounds, so they are good candidates for bioprospecting research.

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The extraction and further processing of nucleic acids (NA) from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues for microbiological diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approaches is challenging. Here, we assessed the effects of five different commercially available nucleic acid extraction kits on the results of real-time PCR.

FFPE samples from organs of Burkholderia pseudomallei-infected Swiss mice were subjected to processing with five different extraction kits from QIAGEN (FFPE DNA Tissue Kit, EZ1 DNA Tissue Kit, DNA Mini Kit, DNA Blood Mini Kit, and FlexiGene DNA Kit) in combination with three different real-time PCRs targeting B. pseudomallei-specific sequences of varying length after 16 years of storage.

The EZ1 DNA Tissue Kit and the DNA Mini Kit scored best regarding the numbers of successful PCR reactions. In case of positive PCR, differences regarding the cycle-threshold (Ct) values were marginal.

The impact of the applied extraction kits on the reliability of PCR from FFPE material seems to be low. Interfering factors like the quality of the dewaxing procedure or the sample age appear more important than the selection of specialized FFPE kits.

Open access
Authors: T. O. Kondratiuk, S. Y. Kondratyuk, M. V. Khimich, T. V. Beregova and L. I. Ostapchenko

Status of black melanin-containing yeast-like fungus Exophiala alcalophila isolated from microorganism complex of hermetic damaged in conditions of indoor high humidity in Kiev, Ukraine is proved by combined phylogenetic analysis based on sequences of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1), the 5.8S gene and the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) nrDNA, beta-tubulin gene and translation elongation factor 1-alpha gene. Sequences of the mentioned genes of Ukrainian specimen of E. alcalophila are for the first time submitted to the GenBank.

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Authors: Ágota Jónás, Erzsébet Fekete, Zoltán Németh, Michel Flipphi and Levente Karaffa

In this study, we analyzed the expression of the structural genes encoding the five enzymes comprising the Leloir pathway of D-galactose catabolism in the industrial cell factory Penicillium chrysogenum on various carbon sources. The genome of P. chrysogenum contains a putative galactokinase gene at the annotated locus Pc13g10140, the product of which shows strong structural similarity to yeast galactokinase that was expressed on lactose and D-galactose only. The expression profile of the galactose-1-phosphate uridylyl transferase gene at annotated locus Pc15g00140 was essentially similar to that of galactokinase. This is in contrast to the results from other fungi such as Aspergillus nidulans, Trichoderma reesei and A. niger, where the ortholog galactokinase and galactose-1-phosphate uridylyl transferase genes were constitutively expressed. As for the UDP-galactose-4-epimerase encoding gene, five candidates were identified. We could not detect Pc16g12790, Pc21g12170 and Pc20g06140 expression on any of the carbon sources tested, while for the other two loci (Pc21g10370 and Pc18g01080) transcripts were clearly observed under all tested conditions. Like the 4-epimerase specified at locus Pc21g10370, the other two structural Leloir pathway genes – UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (Pc21g12790) and phosphoglucomutase (Pc18g01390) – were expressed constitutively at high levels as can be expected from their indispensable function in fungal cell wall formation.

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The effect of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) was studied in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seedlings under in vitro exposure conditions. To avoid precipitation of nanoparticles, the seedlings were grown in half strength semisolid Murashige and Skoog medium containing 0, 50, 100, 200, 400 and 500 mg L−1 of ZnONPs. Analysis of zinc (Zn) content showed significant increase in roots. In vivo detection using fluorescent probe Zynpyr-1 indicated accumulation of Zn in primary and lateral root tips. All concentrations of ZnONPs significantly reduced root growth. However, significant decrease in shoot growth was observed only after exposure to 400 and 500 mg L−1 of ZnONPs. The reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation levels significantly increased in roots. Significant increase in cell-wall bound peroxidase activity was observed after exposure to 500 mg L−1 of ZnONPs. Histochemical staining with phloroglucinol-HCl showed lignification of root cells upon exposure to 500 mg L−1 of ZnONPs. Treatment with propidium iodide indicated loss of cell viability in root tips of wheat seedlings. These results suggest that redox imbalances, lignification and cell death has resulted in reduction of root growth in wheat seedlings exposed to ZnONPs nanoparticles.

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