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Many taxa show their highest species richness at intermediate elevations, but the underlying reasons for this remain unclear. Here, we suggest that the physiological tolerance hypothesis can explain species richness patterns along elevational gradients, and we used functional diversity to test this hypothesis. We analyzed herb species richness, functional diversity, and environmental conditions along a 1300 m elevational gradient in a temperate forest, Beijing, China. We found that herb richness exhibited a “hump-shaped” relationship with elevation, with peak richness at approximately 1800 m. Functional diversity showed a significant unimodal relationship with elevation. The duration of high temperatures (≥ 300C: DHT) was the best predictor for herb richness and functional diversity along the gradient from 1020 to 1800 m, which suggest richness is limited by high temperature at low elevations. While along the gradient from 1800 to 2300 m, the duration of low temperatures (≤ 0°C: DLT) was the most powerful explanatory variable, which indicated at high elevations, richness reduced due to low temperature. Our analyses showed that the functional diversity of traits related to drought-tolerance (leaf mass per area, leaf area, and leaf hardiness) exhibited negative relationships with DHT, while functional diversity of traits related to freezing-tolerance (leaf thickness and hair density) exhibited negative relationships with DLT. Taken together, our results demonstrated that the richness-elevation relationship is consistent with the physiological tolerance hypothesis: at low elevations, richness is limited by high temperatures, and at high elevations, richness is reduced due to low temperatures. We concluded that our results provide trait-based support for the physiological tolerance hypothesis, suggesting that mid-elevations offer the most suitable environmental conditions, thus higher numbers of species are able to persist.

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Research of cereal glycoproteins is important for understanding of their functional properties, their role during technological processing of cereals and it can serve as a valuable tool for the detection of cereal allergens. The main intention of this study was the screening of profile of water-soluble glycoproteins present in barley (Hordeum vulgare), wheat durum (Triticum durum) and spelt (Triticum spelta). Lectin monolithic HPLC column was used for rapid and effective enrichment of glycoprotein fractions. Captured glycoproteins were electrophoretically separated and analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS. Presented procedure resulted in identification of a group of N-glycoprotein candidates with affinity to lectin concanavalin A (ConA). Such molecules could have, among others, an allergenic potential. Majority of captured low-molecular-weight glycoproteins belong to alpha amylase/trypsin inhibitors family. However, most of the higher-molecular-weight proteins identified in lectin bound fractions have not been described as glycoproteins yet. Obtained results improved the knowledge about (glyco)protein content in cereal grain. The connection of lectin HPLC-GE-MS was proved as a convenient strategy for identification of cereal glycoproteins. Suggested method is universal and can be applied for various cereals and food-stuffs.

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Authors: Omolbanin Jahantigh, Farzaneh Najafi, Hassanali Naghdi Badi, Ramazan Ali Khavari-Nejad and Forough Sanjarian

The relationships between salt stress and antioxidant enzymes activities, proline, phenol and anthocyanine contents in Hyssopus officinalis L. plants in growth stage were investigated. The plants were subjected to five levels of saline irrigation water, 0.37 (tap water as control) with 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 dSm−1 of saline water. After two months the uniform plants were harvested for experimental analysis. Antioxidant enzymes activities and proline, phenol and anthocyanine contents of the plants were examinated. Enhanced activities of peroxidase, catalase and superoxide dismutase were determined by increasing salinity that plays an important protective role in the ROS-scavenging process. Proline, phenol and anthocyanine contents increased significantly with increasing salinity. These results suggest that salinity tolerance of Hyssopus officinalis plants might be closely related with the increased capacity of antioxidative system to scavenge reactive oxygen species and with the accumulation of osmoprotectant proline, phenol and anthocyanine contents under salinity conditions.

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Authors: J. P. Zhou, Y. Cheng, L. L. Zang, E. N. Yang, C. Liu, X. L. Zheng, K. J. Deng, Y. Q. Zhu and Y. Zhang

In this study, a new substitution line, 12-5-1, with 42 chromosomes that was derived from BC3F2 descendants of the hybridization between Triticum aestivum cv. CN19 and Aegilops biuncialis was created and reported. The 12-5-1 was immune to both powdery mildew and stripe rust and has stable fertility. Multi-color fluorescence in situ hybridization indicated that 12-5-1 was a substitution line 1Mb(1B). The seed storage protein electrophoresis showed that 12-5-1 presented high molecular weight glutenin subunits (2 + 12) of CN19 and a new subunit designated as M which apparently originated from parent Ae. biuncialis, and absent 7 + 8 subunits. Additionally, the flour quality parameters showed that the protein content, Zeleny sedimentation value, wet gluten content, and grain hardness and mixing time of 12-5-1 were signifiantly higher than those of its parent CN19. Moreover, 5 pairs of the chromosome 1Mb-specifi polymerase chain reaction-based landmark unique gene markers, TNAC1021, TNAC1026, TNAC1041, TNAC1-02 and TNAC1-04, were also obtained. The new substitution line 1Mb(1B) 12-5-1 could be a valuable source for wheat improvement, especially for wheat end product quality and resistance to disease.

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Fusarium graminearum, a pathogen of wheat and maize, not only reduces grain yield and degrades quality but also produces mycotoxins in the infected grain. Focus has been on mycotoxins because of the human and animal health hazards associated with them. In addition to work done on mycotoxins, chemical profiling of F. graminearum to identify other compounds produced by this fungus remains critical. With chemical profiling of F. graminearum the entire chemistry of this fungus can be understood. The focus of this work was to identify chlorinated compounds produced by F. graminearum. Various chlorinated compounds were detected and their role in F. graminearum is yet to be understood.

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Authors: Markus M. Heimesaat, Ursula Grundmann, Marie E. Alutis, André Fischer, Ulf B. Göbel and Stefan Bereswill

Within 1 week following peroral Campylobacter jejuni infection, infant mice develop acute enteritis resolving thereafter. We here assessed colonic expression profiles of mediators belonging to the IL-23/IL-22/IL-18 axis and of matrix-degrading gelatinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 at day 6 post C. jejuni strain 81-176 infection. Whereas the pathogen readily colonized the intestines of infant IL-18−/− mice only, colonic mucin-2 mRNA, a pivotal mucus constituent, was downregulated in IL-22−/− mice and accompanied by increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IFN-γ, TNF, IL-17A, and IL-1β. Furthermore, in both naive and infected IL-22−/− mice, colonic expression of IL-23p19 and IL-18 was lower as compared to wildtype mice, whereas, conversely, colonic IL-22 mRNA levels were lower in IL-18−/− and colonic IL-18 expression lower in IL-23p19−/− as compared to wildtype mice. Moreover, colonic expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 and their endogenous inhibitor TIMP-1 were lower in IL-22−/− as compared to wildtype mice at day 6 postinfection. In conclusion, mediators belonging of the IL-23/IL-22/IL-18 axis as well as the gelatinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 are involved in mediating campylobacteriosis of infant mice in a differentially regulated fashion.

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The ecological process of community assembly is described as the succession of three phases: colonization, regulation and segregation. Early colonization remains the least studied and quantified phase of assembly. In order to fill this gap, an approach combining in situ experiments and modelling was proposed to study colonization by a benthic macrofauna community in open microcosms containing a single, non-limiting resource. The experiment was three months long. A total of 51 taxa were observed in the microcosms, but data analyses of the species composition and abundances revealed that five species, Capitella spp., Gammaropsis maculata, Erichtionus punctatus, Nereiphylla paretti and Harmothoe mariannae, explained most of the observed variation in the assembly process. The population dynamics of these species were simulated taking into account functional traits that govern individual interactions. The dynamic model simulated a demographic stochasticity due to low population densities that result from the small size of the experimental microcosms. Using this combined approach of experiments and modelling, we showed that predation interactions alone can account for the abundances and species composition of primary consumers during the transient phase of early colonization.

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Recently, there has been considerable interest in genetic differentiation in the Cervidae family. A common tool used to determine genetic variation in different species, breeds and populations is mitochondrial DNA analysis, which can be used to estimate phylogenetic relationships among animal taxa and for molecular phylogenetic evolution analysis. With the development of sequencing technology, more and more mitochondrial sequences have been made available in public databases, including whole mitochondrial DNA sequences. These data have been used for phylogenetic analysis of animal species, and for studies of evolutionary processes.

We determined the complete mitochondrial genome of a Central European red deer, Cervus elaphus hippelaphus, from Hungary by a next generation sequencing technology. The mitochondrial genome is 16 354 bp in length and contains 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes and a control region, all of which are arranged similar as in other vertebrates. We made phylogenetic analyses with the new sequence and 76 available mitochondrial sequences of Cervidae, using Bos taurus mitochondrial sequence as outgroup. We used ‘neighbor joining’ and ‘maximum likelihood’ methods on whole mitochondrial genome sequences; the consensus phylogenetic trees supported monophyly of the family Cervidae; it was divided into two subfamilies, Cervinae and Capreolinae, and five tribes, Cervini, Muntiacini, Alceini, Odocoileini, and Capreolini. The evolutionary structure of the family Cervidae can be reconstructed by phylogenetic analysis based on whole mitochondrial genomes; which method could be used broadly in phylogenetic evolutionary analysis of animal taxa.

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Numerous different agroecosystems (alfalfa, apple, cereals, oilseed rape, maize, sunflower fields and plantations, a pasture and a compost hill) were investigated on the basis of the soil dwelling mites in two parts of Hungary. Twenty-three species of Mesostigmata, 13 Oribatida, one Astigmata and one Prostigmata are listed from these specific ecosystems, of which nine species, Alliphis halleri (G. and R. Canestrini, 1881); Antennoseius avius Karg, 1976; Antennoseius pannonicus Willmann, 1951; Arctoseius eremitus (Berlese, 1918); Cheiroseius bryophilus Karg, 1969; Leioseius insignis (Hirschmann, 1963); Oppiella loksai (Schalk, 1966); Punctodendrolaelaps fimetarius (Karg, 1965); Rhodacarellus perspicuus Halaśkova, 1958 are new to the Hungarian fauna.

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In this study, we employed electron microscopy to investigate the cytogenetic and embryologic mechanisms of parthenogenesis induced in the 1BL/1RS male sterile lines of wheat. Analysis of the root tips and acid polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that all of the male sterile lines and their maintainer lines were 1BL/1RS translocation lines, whereas the restorer lines were non-1BL/1RS translocation lines. Furthermore, the chromosomes of 1BL/1RS wheat lines with T. aestivum cytoplasm and Aegilops cytoplasm (include Ae. kotschyi, Ae. ventricosa, Ae. variabilis) paired abnormally at different rates during meiotic metaphase I (MMI). The translocated segment size of the 1RS chromosome and the specific nuclear–alloplasm interaction impaired the pairing of homologous chromosome in the background of the specific Aegilops cytoplasm at MMI. In addition, the frequency of abnormal chromosomal pairing was directly affected by the frequency of haploid production induced by parthenogenesis. The results of this study provide significant insights into the mechanism of parthenogenesis, which is probably due to the abnormal fertilization of synergid cells in alloplasmic 1BL/1RS wheat.

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Authors: G. Fekete, G. Király and Zs. Molnár

Phytogeographical regions have been set up traditionally on the basis of the flora. Several examples indicate that the potential natural vegetation is also suitable for this purpose although the flora- and vegetation-based boundaries do not necessarily overlap. We define a vegetation region as an area where the physical geographic features are rather uniform, and which consists of landscapes with floristically/structurally similar vegetation and/or their repetitive mosaics. In this paper, we delimited the boundaries of the Pannonian region based on the distribution of characteristic plant communities. The line runs most often on the border between Quercus cerris-Quercus petraea and Carpinus betulus/Fagus sylvatica dominated landscapes. We provided descriptions of the potential vegetation on both sides of the boundary. The region has an area of 167,012 km2. The region is either in direct contact with the neighboring regions (e.g., Western Carpathians), or is separated from them by transitional areas (towards the Eastern Alps), and character-poor areas with non-Pannonian, non-Alpine, non-Dinaric vegetation (in the southwest to the Western Balkan). Often, the boundary does not coincide with the boundary of the Pannonicum floristic province. We found that vegetation region boundaries can help reevaluate long-established floristic region boundaries. The boundary of the ’floristic Pannonian region’ also requires revision based on integrated distribution databases and statistical analyses. We argue that the method applied here is simple, repeatable and falsifiable. Our map provides an opportunity to the European Union to use a scientifically more sound biogeographical circumscription of the Pannonian region in her Natura 2000 and other programs.

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Achillea biebersteinii (Asteraceae) is a perennial medicinal plant and has a wide distributional range in the Mediterranean region. The present study investigated the inhibitory effects of different plant parts of A. biebersteinii on germination characteristics and seedling growth of wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum). Water extracts were prepared by incubating separately five grams of dried powder of roots, stems, leaves and flowers of A. biebersteinii in 100 ml of distilled water for 24 h and distilled water was used as the control. The water extracts from different plant parts of A. biebersteinii differed in their effects on the germination and seedling growth of wild barley. Water extracts prepared from leaves and flowers were more suppressive to germination of wild barley than root and stem extracts. The maximum inhibition in radical and plumule growth of germinating caryopses and in root and shoot growth of greenhouse-grown wild barley was recorded for leaf extract followed by flower extract. The lowest Chl a, Chl b and total chlorophyll and protein contents were resulted after exposure to leaf extracts. According to these results, the inhibitory effects of different A. biebersteinii plant parts can be arranged in the order: leaf > flower > stem > root.

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Authors: Fatma Aly Farghaly, Abeer Ahmed Radi, Dalia Ahmed Abdel-Wahab and Afaf Mohamed Hamada

Soil salinity and sodicity (alkalinity) are serious land degradation issues worldwide that are predicted to increase in the future. The objective of the present study is to distinguish the effects of NaCl and Na2CO3 salinity in two concentrations on the growth, lipoxygenase (LOX) activity, membrane integrity, total lipids, yield parameters and fatty acids (FAs) composition of seeds of sunflower cultivar Sakha 53. Plant growth, LOX activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) content were reduced by salts stresses. On the contrary, salinity and alkalinity stress induced stimulatory effects on membrane permeability, leakage of UV-metabolites from leaves and total lipids of sunflower shoots and roots. Crop yield (plant height, head diameter, seed index and number of seeds for each head) that is known as a hallmark of plant stress was decreased by increasing concentrations of NaCl and Na2CO3 in the growth media. Fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) composition of salt-stressed sunflower seeds varied with different levels of NaCl and Na2CO3.

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Drought is one of most important environmental factors inhibiting photosynthesis and decreasing growth and productivity of plants. The sensitivity of crop plants such as wheat to soil drought is particularly serious during reproductive phase is extremely sensitive to plant water status. The aim of this work was to study the effects of drought stress on photosynthesis, photosynthetic pigments, soluble proteins, a-tocopherol and abscisic acid content in six wheat genotypes, two tolerant (Daric and 92 Zhong), two moderately tolerant (Sabalan and DH-2049-3) and two sensitive (Shark and Tevee’s’). Total chlorophyll content, relative water content and chlorophyll a/b ratio decreased after long-time drought stress, that decrease in sensitive genotypes was higher than others. Net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in flag leaves of our genotypes under drought stress after pollination, that decrease in sensitive genotypes was higher, too. Abscisic acid content, soluble protein content and a-tocopherol increased under drought stress, that increase in tolerant genotypes was higher. There was a significant negative correlation (P < 0.05) between photosynthesis factors and abscisic acid content in flag leaves of all genotypes. It can be concluded that Daric and 92 Zhong had a better photosynthesis factors compared to other genotypes and showed a higher capacity to tolerate drought stress.

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Authors: Györgyi Horváth, Julianna Török Jenei, Csaba Vágvölgyi, Andrea Böszörményi and Judit Krisch

Essential oils (EOs) can be used as alternative or complementary antifungal agents against human pathogenic moulds and yeasts. To reduce the effective dose of antimicrobial agents, EOs are combined which can lead to synergistic or additive effect. In this study the anti-yeast and anti-mould activities of selected EOs were investigated, alone and in combinations, against clinical isolates of Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis, Aspergillus fumigatus, A. terreus, Rhizopus microsporus, Fusarium solani and Lichtheimia corymbifera. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined for the EOs of cinnamon, citronella, clove, spearmint and thyme. To investigate the combination effect of the EOs, fractional inhibitory concentrations (FICs) were defined by the checkerboard method and the type of interaction was determined by the FIC index (FICI). FIC index below 0.5 was considered as synergism and between 0.5 and 1 as additive effect. Strongest antifungal activity was showed by thyme EO with MIC values below 1.0 mg/ml. Combination of EOs resulted in additive or indifferent effect, with occasional “borderline synergism”. The best combination was cinnamon with clove leading to additive effect in all cases.

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Authors: Szabolcs Tamás Nagy, Balázs Kakasi, László Pál, Máté Havasi, Miklós Bercsényi and Ferenc Husvéth

Local extreme climatic conditions occurring as a result of global climate change may interfere with the reproduction of animals. In the present study fish spermatozoa were incubated at different temperatures (20, 25, 30 and 40 °C) for 10 and 30 minutes, respectively and plasma membrane integrity and mitochondrial membrane potential changes were evaluated with flow cytometry using SYBR-14/PI and Mitotracker Deep Red FM fluorescent dyes. No significant differences were found in plasma membrane integrity at either incubation temperatures or time points. Mitotracker Deep Red FM histogram profiles indicating mitochondrial activity showed significant (p < 0.001) alterations in all cases of higher (25, 30 and 40 °C) temperature treatments as compared to the samples incubated at 20 °C. Our results indicate that fish spermatozoa exposed to high temperatures suffer sublethal damage that cannot be detected with conventional, vital staining techniques.

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Wheat is the second most important crop after rice in India and occupies approximately 28.5 million hectare area. Salinity is one of the major factors reducing plant growth and productivity worldwide, and affects about 7% of world’s total land area. In India about 6.73 million hectare land area is salt affected. The aim of this study was to investigate the morpho- physiological and biochemical response of wheat to temporal salinity (ECiw = 10.0 dSm–1) exposures. Ten wheat genotypes were evaluated in two successive growing seasons (2012–2014), with complete randomized design with three replications under both salinity stress and non-stress conditions. The morpho-physiological and biochemical character measured in this investigation, inhibited under both salt stresses (S1 & S2) conditions but much more significantly inhibited under long-term salinity exposure (S2) than S1 because interrupting the metabolic process of plant, resulting in reduced growth and productivity. According to correlation result, selection of high yield genotypes can be done based on plant height (0.649*), tiller plant–1 (0.808**) and leaf area (0.687*). The multivariate morphophysiological and biochemical parameters should be further used to develop salinity tolerance in wheat breeding improvement programmes.

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Evolution of pathogenicity, morphological, and genetic traits were analyzed in a local Plasmopara halstedii (downy mildew) population (including two parental and five progeny isolates) multiplied under sunflower qualitative resistance selection pressure for five years. The two components of pathogenicity developed in response to Pl resistance genes selection pressure. The emergence of new virulence in P. halstedii progeny isolates carrying several levels of aggressiveness was an important consequence of selection pressure. However, appearance of new virulence did get along with evolution of aggressiveness in progeny isolates as compared with parental ones. For progeny P. halstedii isolates, an increase in pathogen virulence had direct consequences on its aggressiveness. There was no influence of selection pressure on morphological traits, but an effect was observed on evolution of genetic architecture. However, arrangement of genetic traits did get along with evolution of pathogenicity. It is clear that qualitative resistance selection pressure plays an important role in the evolution of sunflower downy mildew population.

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Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) functions as a signal molecule in plants under abiotic and biotic stress. In this study, the role of exogenous H2O2 in improving drought tolerance in two soybean cultivars (Glycine max L. Merrill) differing in their tolerance to drought was evaluated. Plants were grown in plastic pots with normal irrigation in a phytotron. Four weeks after radicle emergence, either 1 mM H2O2 or distilled water was sprayed as foliar onto the leaves of each plant, after drought stress was applied. Leaf samples were harvested on the 4th and 7th days of the drought. Antioxidant-related enzyme activity, such as the superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), glutathione reductase (GR), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content was measured during the drought period. Drought stress decreased leaf water potential, relative water content and photosynthetic pigment content but enhanced lipid peroxidation and endogenous H2O2 concentration. By contrast, exogenous low dose H2O2 improved water status, pigment content and lipid peroxidation under drought stress. Endogenous H2O2 concentration was reduced by exogenous H2O2 as compared to drought treatment alone. H2O2 pre-treatment induced all the antioxidant enzyme activities, to a greater extent than the control leaves, during drought. H2O2 pretreatment further enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes in the tolerant cultivar compared to the sensitive cultivar. Results suggested that low dose H2O2 pre-treatment alleviated water loss and H2O2 content and increased drought stress tolerance by inducing the antioxidant system.

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Species of the family Signiphoridae (Chalcidoidea) are primarily hyperparasitoids associated with scale insects, whiteflies and mealybugs through other Chalcidoidea; however, certain species are primary parasitoids of these hosts. Recent collections and a review of the literature indicate that the following five species of the family Signiphoridae are known to occur in Egypt: Chartocerus niger (Ashmead), Chartocerus subaeneus (Főrster), Signiphora fax Girault, Thysanus sp. and Signiphora flavella Girault, the latter newly recorded in Egypt and Palearctic region. A key to the Egyptian signiphorid species is included.

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Changes in species composition during the succession of ecological communities potentially reflect the differential effects of environmental filters and limiting similarity on structuring communities. As ecological succession can represent community assembly in action, understanding how successional time affects the functional and phylogenetic structure of communities can reveal the influence of different factors on the assembly process. We analysed functional patterns of multiple traits related to the succession of tropical forests to answer if there are trait convergence and/or divergence with regeneration age, and if functional and phylogenetic diversity can be predicted by forest age. We compiled checklists from studies of 23 successional forests in Brazilian Atlantic Forest, ranging from 4 to 120 years old. We also compiled functional traits for a total of 355 species. We analysed the data by a method that includes scaling-up trait-based data to the community level and matrix correlations of multiple traits. We built linear models to show the relationship between each trait and diversity (taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic) with successional time. We found no phylogenetic signal at the species pool and metacommunity levels, but significant trait divergence (tree guild, leaf slenderness, leaf area, pollination entomophilous generalist and pollination by vertebrate) and trait convergence (arboreal habitus, tree guild, leaf compoundness, pollination entomophilous generalist) patterns related to the successional gradient. Also, functional diversity increased during succession, with a significant increase in leaf slenderness and zoochoric dispersal and decrease in tree guild. Phylogenetic diversity also increased along the successional gradient. We found that the communities in the studied successional gradient are structured by both environmental (measured by trait convergence) and biotic (measured by trait divergence) filtering. The species turnover and diversification at taxonomic level are followed by well-defined patterns of trait turnover, revealing that community assembly is constrained by environmental filters at the beginning and by limiting similarity at the advanced stages of the succession.

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Authors: I. Prasad, N. Kulshreshtha, A. R. Chinchmalatpure and D. K. Sharma

Soil salinity is one of the major environmental constraints in increasing agricultural crop production, especially wheat production in India. Screening of diverse germplasm in representative growing conditions is prerequisite for exploring traits with stable expression imparting salinity tolerance. A study was undertaken during 2011–2012 for characterizing wheat germplasm in three environments representing growing conditions of crop in Northern parts of India, estimating inter-relationship among traits and evaluating stability of trait conferring salinity tolerance. Significant value of mean square for observed trait across the environments signified presence of large variability in genotypes. Significant yield reduction was recorded in almost all genotypes in saline environment compared to non-saline condition. Ratio of potassium and sodium ion in leaf tissue (KNA); a key salt tolerance traits was found to be significantly correlated with biomass, SPAD value and plant height. Due to the presence of significant genotype × environment interaction (G × E) for KNA, additive main effect and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) model was utilized to study stability of KNA among genotypes and environments. IPCA1 and IPCA2 were found to be significant and explained more than 99 per cent of variation due to G × E. KRICHAUFF was having maximum trait value with specific adaptation while DUCULA 4 and KRL 19 were having general adaptability. AMMI2 biplot revealed high stability of Kharchia 65 and KRL 99 across environments. E1 (timely sown, non-saline soil) recorded maximum site mean while E2 (timely sown, sodic soil) was having minimum interaction with genotypes (AMMI1 = 1.383). Thus, our studies suggest that AMMI model is also useful for estimating adaptability of traits other than yield utilized for breeding salt tolerant wheat varieties.

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Grub density of Lepidiota mansueta beetle was assessed in five ecologically different habitats viz., open grassland; open cultivated land; cultivated field near tree; grassland near stream and cultivated land near stream on the basis of soil sampling carried out in five selected villages of the Majuli river island of Assam. Highest mean density of grub (8.0 and 6.5/m3) was recovered from grasslands near stream, followed by open grassland (4.6 and 4.7/m3), cultivated field near stream (1.8 and 1.4/m3), open cultivated field (1.1 and 1.2/ m3) and cultivated field near tree (1.0 and 1.2/m3) during 2011 and 2012, respectively. Fortnightly soil sampling conducted in grassland and cultivated land revealed that grubs of L. mansueta were confined in the upper most layer of soil (0–20 cm depth) during summer season (April–September) and moved to deeper soil layers during winter season (October–March). Majority of the grubs (81.83 per cent in grassland and 72.73 per cent in cultivated land) were recorded within the top 20 cm of soil. However, no grubs were noticed beyond 40 cm of soil depth.

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Studies of functional diversity can help to understand processes that determine the presence of species in different habitats. Measurement of functional diversity in silviculture areas is important because different functional traits can show different responses to this landscape alteration, and therefore ecological functions can be affected. This study evaluated functional and taxonomic differences in bird assemblages in a native forest and eucalyptus plantations, and also assessed the functional nestedness of the bird species. We censused birds in eucalyptus plantations of four different ages, and also in a native forest. The results showed higher functional and taxonomic diversity of birds in the native forest than in plantations and higher similarity of functional traits between plantations of different ages. The high functional diversity in the native forest indicates a greater variety of functional traits, resulting in greater functional complementarity than in plantations. The association of some traits with the native forest, such as nectarivory and foraging in air, indicates the importance of native habitats in maintaining species and functions related to such traits. Already, species traits in eucalyptus plantations represent a subset of those that were recorded in the native forest, indicating that some functions are maintained in plantations. Our results demonstrate that the species occurrence in the plantations and native forest is determined by species traits. Thus, the maintenance of some functions in plantations is provided, although there is a higher functional diversity in native forest.

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Authors: A. Kokhmetova, A. Madenova, G. Kampitova, R. Urazaliev, M. Yessimbekova, A. Morgounov and L. Purnhauser

Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia recondita f. sp. tritici, is one of the major diseases of wheat in Kazakhstan. To effectively use leaf rust resistance genes (Lr), it is important for breeders to know the resistance genotype in current cultivars. In this study, 30 winter wheat entries grown and/or produced in Kazakhstan were investigated using molecular markers to determine the presence and absence of eight important Lr genes. Molecular screening of these genotypes showed contrasting differences in the frequencies of these genes. Among the 30 entries, 17 carried leaf rust resistance gene Lr1, six had Lr26 and Lr34, and Lr10 and Lr37 were found in three cultivars. Two single cultivars separately carried Lr19 and Lr68, while Lr9 was not detected in any genotypes in this study. Field evaluation demonstrated that two of the most frequent two genes (Lr1 and Lr26) to be ineffective. While Lr34 provided some protection, the remaining effective Lr genes were found only in few genotypes: Lr37 occurred in Kazakh genotypes L-1090 and Krasnovodapadskaya 210 and in the US cultivar Madsen; Lr19 and Lr68 were likely present only in Russian and Kazakh cultivars, Pallada and Yegemen, respectively. The highest resistance over three years of leaf rust testing was found in Kazakh cultivars, Karasay, Krasnovodapadskaya 210, L-1090, Arap and Yegmen, foreign cultivars Madsen, Pallada and the control Parula (Lr68). Data may assist breeders to incorporate effective Lr genes into new cultivars.

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In this study, the effects of 18 different additive formulas constituted with xanthan and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) gums (hydrocolloids) were examined in the manufacture of corn starch based gluten-free bread. The additives used as alone or in combinations in the bread manufacture. It was also added with mono- and diglyceride based gel preparations and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides for improving glutenfree bread characteristics. The volumes and softness of the breads have been measured as maximum when HPMC was used alone in increasing order from 1 to 2%. While HPMC gum improved the volume and softness of bread more than Xanthan gum, Xanthan gum improved the grain structure of crumb more than HPMC. In general, these hydrocolloids gave a good quality of bread in terms of moisture content, grain structure and Neumann baking coefficient values, when they were used with combinations rather than being used individually. Addition of surfactant to all combinations always enhanced the grain structure of bread. In contrast, it either worsened or did not change the volume and softness of the bread.

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In the present work we aimed at comparing the effect of benzothiadiazole (BTH) treatment on defence reactions of sunflower plants to downy mildew and white rot diseases. BTH treatment resulted in reduced disease symptoms in biotrophic and in the early stage of the necrotrophic interactions. To get a better insight into the effect of BTH, changes in the activities of polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase enzymes, as well as the expression of the host response-associated sunflower genes were examined in the plants. Inoculation with Plasmopara halstedii enhanced the polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase enzyme activities, while inoculation with Sclerotinia sclerotiorum did it only at 4 dpi. However, most importantly, in each case extracts from BTH pretreated and inoculated plants showed the highest polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase enzyme activities. Similarly, the accumulation of GST and PDF transcripts was detected following inoculations with both biotrophic and necrotrophic pathogens, and again, BTH pre-treatment enhanced GST and defensine gene activities in the inoculated plants. We suggest that induction of enzyme activities, as well as of the elevated expression of GST, PDF and PR5 genes by BTH pre-treatment may be a significant part of the induced resistance of sunflower to downy mildew and white rot (white mold).

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We studied spatial changes in species composition (i.e., beta diversity) of local assemblages of birds along ∼450 km of the Middle Paraná River, an extensive fluvial system of South America. Point counts were used to survey birds at 60 plots located in shrub swamps and marshes of the floodplain within four sites (15 plots per site). Two sites were surrounded by each of the two upland ecoregions. Beta diversity of bird assemblages was high and was more important than alpha diversity in shaping regional diversity (i.e., gamma diversity) of the fluvial system. Compositional changes were related to species turnover among plots, while nestedness dissimilarity was not important for shaping diversity patterns. Variation-partitioning analysis showed that local conditions (i.e., landscape composition within a radius of 200 m from the center of each plot) accounted for more spatial variation in assemblage composition than did location along the fluvial system. Adjacent upland ecoregions did not account for spatial changes in bird composition within the fluvial system. In conclusion, environmental heterogeneity created by flood pulses is an important factor for sustaining regional diversity of birds within the fluvial system through effects on beta diversity.

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The contribution of local (e.g., competition) and regional (e.g., dispersal) processes in the structure of communities remains an unresolved issue. In general, a tendency to assume local processes to be deterministic and regional to be stochastic dominates, although it is challenged. Fortunately, it can be cast as a testable proposition: if correct, the degree of determinism in the final community structure might indicate which process is more prominent in the control of community structure. However, recent findings have also suggested that stochastic patterns can arise from local processes and that dispersal can homogenize communities, which would make them appear deterministic irrespective of the mechanism involved. To evaluate these competing expectations we conducted an experiment where the initial communities had the same composition and species abundances. We hypothesized that if local processes dominate, then arrays of communities will show divergence of community structures whether connected by dispersal or not (i.e., being fully isolated). Alternatively, if regional processes dominate, the dispersal connected communities should converge while isolated ones should not. We found, however, that both groups of experimental communities showed similar patterns of change - a decline in similarity and a tendency to diverge. This suggests that biological interactions, demographic stochasticity, or both, exert noticeable control over community structure such that they reduce similarity among replicate communities and diversify their final states. We speculate that these mechanisms enhance potential for species additions, particularly in conjunction with factors such as dispersal and the size of the regional species pool.

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Effect of Graphene oxide (GO) was observed on Meloidogyne incognita and Macrophomina phaseolina and on the growth of lentil in pot experiment. Treatment of plants with 10 ml solution of GO with 125, 250 and 500 ppm concentration caused a significant increase in plant dry weight over control. Inoculation of plants with M. incognita or M. phaseolina caused a significant reduction in plant dry weight over uninoculated control. Treatment of plants with 125, 250 and 500 ppm GO and subsequent inoculation with M. incognita or M. phaseolina caused a significant increase in plant dry weight over plants inoculated without GO pretreatment. Treatment of 500 ppm GO caused a greater increase in plant dry weight of M. incognita or M. phaseolina inoculated plants followed by 250 ppm and 125 ppm. Numbers of nodules per root system were high in plants without pathogen. Inoculation of M. incognita or M. phaseolina caused reduction in nodulation. However, treatment of GO in all the three concentrations had no significant effect on nodulation in plants both with and without pathogens. Treatment of GO resulted in reduced galling, nematode multiplication and root-rot index. Greater reduction in galling, nematode multiplication and root-rot index were observed in plants treated with 500 ppm GO followed by 250 ppm and 125 ppm. Indices were reduced to 4, 3 and 2, respectively, when plants with M. phaseolina were treated with 125, 250 and 500 ppm GO. This study shows that the use of GO is useful for the management of M. incognita and M. phaseolina on lentil.

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Authors: Jennifer zur Bruegge, Christina Backes, Greta Gölz, Georg Hemmrich-Stanisak, Lydia Scharek-Tedin, Andre Franke, Thomas Alter, Ralf Einspanier, Andreas Keller and Soroush Sharbati

The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in infectious diseases is becoming more and more apparent, and the use of miRNAs as a diagnostic tool and their therapeutic application has become the major focus of investigation. The aim of this study was to identify miRNAs involved in the immune signaling of macrophages in response to Arcobacter (A.) butzleri infection, an emerging foodborne pathogen causing gastroenteritis. Therefore, primary human macrophages were isolated and infected, and miRNA expression was studied by means of RNAseq. Analysis of the data revealed the expression of several miRNAs, which were previously associated with bacterial infections such as miR-155, miR-125, and miR-212. They were shown to play a key role in Toll-like receptor signaling where they act as fine-tuners to establish a balanced immune response. In addition, miRNAs which have yet not been identified during bacterial infections such as miR-3613, miR-2116, miR-671, miR-30d, and miR-629 were differentially regulated in A. butzleri-infected cells. Targets of these miRNAs accumulated in pathways such as apoptosis and endocytosis — processes that might be involved in A. butzleri pathogenesis. Our study contributes new findings about the interaction of A. butzleri with human innate immune cells helping to understand underlying regulatory mechanisms in macrophages during infection.

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We extend Kenkel’s model for determining the minimal allowable box size s* to be used in computing the box counting dimension of a self-similar geometric fractal. This minimal size s* is defined in terms of a specified parameter ε which is the deviation of a computed slope from the box counting dimension. We derive an exact implicit equation for s* for any ε. We solve the equation using binary search, compare our results to Kenkel’s, and illustrate how s* varies with ε. A listing of the Python code for the binary search is provided. We also derive a closed form estimate for s* having the same functional form as Kenkel’s empirically obtained expression.

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Authors: Z. L. Li, D. D. Wu, H. Y. Li, G. Chen, W. G. Cao, S. Z. Ning, D. C. Liu and L. Q. Zhang

Gliadin is a main component of gluten proteins that affect functional properties of bread making and contributes to the viscous nature of doughs. In this study, thirteen novel ω-gliadin genes were identified in several Triticum species, which encode the ARH-, ATDand ATN-type proteins. Two novel types of ω-gliadins: ATD- and ATN- have not yet been reported. The lengths of 13 sequences were ranged from 927 to 1269 bp and the deduced mature proteins were varied from 309 to 414 residues. All 13 genes were pseudogenes because of the presence of internal stop codons. The primary structure of these ω-gliadin genes included a signal peptide, a conserved N-terminal domain, a repetitive domain and a conserved C-terminus. In this paper, we first characterize ω-gliadin genes from T. timopheevi ssp. timopheevi and T. timopheevi ssp. araraticum. The ω-gliadin gene variation and the evolutionary relationship of ω-gliadin family genes were also discussed.

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Authors: Heike Granzer, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Philipp Warnke, Wolfgang Bock, Tobias Baumann, Norbert Georg Schwarz, Andreas Podbielski, Hagen Frickmann and Thomas Koeller

This study addressed carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii complex (ABC) isolates from patients that were injured during the military conflict in the Eastern Ukraine and treated at German Armed Forces Hospitals in 2014 and 2015. Clonal diversity of the strains and potential ways of transmission were analyzed.

Patients with one or several isolation events of carbapenem-resistant ABC were included. Isolates were characterized by VITEK II-based identification and resistance testing, molecular screening for frequent carbapenemase genes, and DiversiLab rep-PCRbased typing. Available clinical information of the patients was assessed.

From 21 young male Ukrainian patients with battle injuries, 32 carbapenem- and fluoroquinolone-resistant ABC strains were isolated. Four major clonal clusters were detected. From four patients (19%), ABC isolates from more than one clonal cluster were isolated. The composition of the clusters suggested transmission events prior to the admission to the German hospitals.

The infection and colonization pressure in the conflict regions of the Eastern Ukraine with ABC of low clonal diversity is considerable. Respective infection risks have to be considered in case of battle-related injuries in these regions. The low number of local clones makes any molecular exclusion of transmission events difficult.

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Survey of aphids on dicotyledonous herbaceous plants along the Hungarian highways on 33 sampling points revealed the presence of the rare cruciferous feeding aphid species Smiela fusca forming small colony on horse radish (Armoracia rusticana). Smiela fusca is not only a new record for the Hungarian aphid fauna, but we found S. fusca colonizing a new host species, A. rusticana.

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The plasmodiophorid Polymyxa graminis transmits plant viruses to cereal crops such as wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Soil samples from different locations and cereal host plants were analyzed for the presence of P. graminis ribotypes I and II, and tested for the occurrence of soil-borne viruses. P. graminis sequences mainly from fields in Germany used for virus resistance trials, but also from a site each in Poland and Denmark were obtained and deposited in the European Nucleotide Archive. The interactions between the components of the pathogen complex – vector ribotype and virus – and the host are discussed.

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Local plant species richness and composition may vary across habitats and between plant taxonomic groups within temperate deciduous forests. Multi-taxon approach is therefore needed to provide a more detailed insight into determinants affecting vegetation structure. Fifty-four deciduous oak-dominated vegetation plots (20 m × 20 m) were sampled across central Slovakia (Štiavnické vrchy Mts) in order to study the effect of environmental (soil, light, topographic) factors on species richness and composition patterns of two main assemblages of understorey layer (herb-layer vascular plants and ground-dwelling bryophytes). The number of recorded herb-layer vascular plants and ground-dwelling bryophytes was 12–48 (mean 28) and 0–11 (mean 4) species per plot, respectively. Generalized linear model revealed that species richness of herb-layer vascular plants was driven by canopy openness, altitude, soil pH/base saturation gradient and plant-available phosphorus. Canopy openness and heat load index accompanied by soil pH/base saturation gradient determined changes of the ground-dwelling bryophyte richness. Canonical Correspondence Analysis identified soil pH/base saturation gradient, canopy openness, soil silt and topography related predictors (altitude, slope, radiation) as the main drivers of the herb-layer vascular plant compositional variability. Species composition variation of ground-dwelling bryophytes was controlled by radiation and canopy openness.

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Development, survival and reproduction of the generalist predatory mites, Amblyseius largoensis (Muma), Neoseiulus barkeri (Hughes), Typhlodromips swirskii (Athias-Henriot), Proprioseiopsis kadii (El-Halawany and Abdel-Samad) and Cydnosus negevi (Swirski and Amitai) were assessed when fed on eggs of Bactrocera zonata (Saunders) (Diptera: Tephritidae) as a factitious food. For N. barkeri and P. kadii, the development was faster, while the reproduction was higher in N. barkeri and A. largoensis than for P. kadii. Survival of immatures of T. swirskii and C. negevi was low on eggs of B. zonata and all failed to develop beyond the protonymphal stage.

A total of 35.4, 31.2 and 19.6 eggs per female, respectively, were obtained when N. barkeri, A. largoensis and P. kadii were fed B. zonata eggs. A diet of the peach fruit fly eggs provided the longest female longevity and highest mean total fecundity, which resulted in the highest net reproductive rate (Ro=34.61 and 32.78) and doubling time (DT=1.53 and 1.60) for N. barkeri and A. largoensis, respectively.

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Sorghum is a drought tolerant cereal and staple food which is a dietary source of protein and more than 20 minerals. The concentration of the mineral elements and protein content in sorghum varies due to genotypic and environmental influences and genotype by environment interactions. The objective of this study was to determine the contents of eight mineral elements (Ca, Fe, K, Mn, Na, P, Zn and Mg) and protein in sorghum genotypes. The analysis of variance showed significant differences in mineral and protein contents. There was a significant relationship between Zn and Fe and between protein and P and Zn. The principal component (PC) analysis showed that Fe, Mn, P, Zn and protein contributed largely to clustering of the genotypes in PC1; Ca, P and Mg to PC2 and Ca, K and Na to PC3. The presence of a considerable amount of compositional variability of mineral and protein contents among tested genotypes suggests that they can be a valuable source of genes for nutritional quality improvement of sorghum.

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Medial vestibular nucleus neurons show spontaneous repetitive spiking. This spiking activity was reproduced by a Hodgkin–Huxley-type mathematical model, which was developed in a previous study. The present study performed computer simulations of this model to evaluate the contribution of the excitatory ionic conductance to repetitive spiking. The present results revealed the difference in the influence of the transient sodium, persistent sodium, and calcium conductance on spiking activity. The differences between the present and previous results obtained from other neuronal mathematical models were discussed.

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Authors: A. J. Bisigato, L. A. Hardtke, H. F del Valle, P. J. Bouza and R. G. Palacio

Our aim was to describe vegetation heterogeneity at a regional scale in northeastern Patagonia and to identify the environmental variables associated to it. The study area encompasses 13 144 km2 and is characterized by a mixture of species typical of Patagonian steppes and Monte Desert. We performed 48 vegetation relevés, which were randomly assigned to a training set and to a validation set (32 and 16 relevés, respectively). Training set was subjected to cluster analysis, which allowed the identification of two plant communities one related to Patagonian steppes and another to the Monte desert. We derived 3 attributes of the seasonal curve of the NDVI as indicators of ecosystem function: the seasonal amplitude (SA), the date of the maximum (DOM), and the large seasonal integral (LSI). We explored the relationship between NDVI attributes and communities by classification tree analysis. LSI was the strongest predictor among NDVI attributes, separating both communities without misclassification errors. Patagonian steppes occupy areas with higher LSI. The partial RDA analysis explained 38.1% of total data variation, of which 16.5% was ascribed to environment, 7.9% to space, and 13.7% to spatial component of environment. Patagonian steppes are closer to the coast, in areas exhibiting higher annual precipitation and lower annual temperature range than Monte deserts. Our results indicate the occurrence of two plant communities in the study area and highlight the significance of climatic variables to explain their spatial distribution. As most scenarios of future climate predict greater annual thermal amplitude in the study area, the limit between both communities could be displaced eastward.

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Authors: Markus M. Heimesaat, Marie E. Alutis, Ursula Grundmann, André Fischer, Ulf B. Göbel and Stefan Bereswill

We have recently shown that, within 1 week following peroral Campylobacter jejuni infection, conventional infant mice develop self-limiting enteritis. We here investigated the role of IL-23, IL-22, and IL-18 during C. jejuni strain 81-176 infection of infant mice. The pathogen efficiently colonized the intestines of IL-18−/− mice only, but did not translocate to extra-intestinal compartments. At day 13 postinfection (p.i.), IL-22−/− mice displayed lower colonic epithelial apoptotic cell numbers as compared to wildtype mice, whereas, conversely, colonic proliferating cells increased in infected IL-22−/− and IL-18−/− mice. At day 6 p.i., increases in neutrophils, T and B lymphocytes were less pronounced in gene-deficient mice, whereas regulatory T cell numbers were lower in IL-23p19−/− and IL-22−/− as compared to wildtype mice, which was accompanied by increased colonic IL-10 levels in the latter. Until then, colonic pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF, IFN-γ, IL-6, and MCP-1 increased in IL-23p19−/− mice, whereas IL-18−/− mice exhibited decreased cytokine levels and lower colonic numbers of T and B cell as well as of neutrophils, macrophages, and monocytes as compared to wildtype controls. In conclusion, IL-23, IL-22, and IL-18 are differentially involved in mediating C. jejuni-induced immunopathology of conventional infant mice.

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The hypersensitive response (HR), a type of programmed cell death (PCD) during biotic stress is mediated by salicylic acid (SA). The aim of this work was to reveal the role of proteolysis and cysteine proteases in the execution of PCD in response of SA. Tomato plants were treated with sublethal (0.1 mM) and lethal (1 mM) SA concentrations through the root system. Treatment with 1 mM SA increased the electrolyte leakage and proteolytic activity and reduced the total protein content of roots after 6 h, while the proteolytic activity did not change in the leaves and in plants exposed to 0.1 mM SA. The expression of the papain-type cysteine protease SlCYP1, the vacuolar processing enzyme SlVPE1 and the tomato metacaspase SlMCA1 was induced within the first three hours in the leaves and after 0.5 h in the roots in the presence of 1 mM SA but the transcript levels did not increase significantly at sublethal SA. The Bax inhibitor-1 (SlBI-1), an antiapoptotic gene was over-expressed in the roots after SA treatments and it proved to be transient in the presence of sublethal SA. Protease inhibitors, SlPI2 and SlLTC were upregulated in the roots by sublethal SA but their expression remained low at 1 mM SA concentration. It is concluded that in contrast to leaves the SA-induced PCD is associated with increased proteolytic activity in the root tissues resulting from a fast up-regulation of specific cysteine proteases and down-regulation of protease inhibitors.

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Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Rosa Angélica Pulido-Montoya, Guadalupe Acosta-Rojas, Sergio Estrada-Martínez, Alma Rosa Pérez-Álamos, Raquel Vaquera-Enriquez, Arturo Díaz-Herrera, Raúl Segura-Moreno, María de Lourdes Guerrero-Carbajal, Oliver Liesenfeld, Isabel Beristain García and María Guadalupe Rentería-López

Medical certificates are documents that state the health status of a person. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence and risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in applicants of medical certificates and to investigate seroprevalence association with characteristics of these individuals. We examined 404 applicants in a public health center in Durango City, Mexico for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies using enzyme-linked immunoassays. Of the 404 subjects (mean age of 35.94 ± 13.01) studied, 29 (7.2%) were positive for anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies and 9 (31.0%) of them were also positive for anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies. IgG and IgM seropositivities were associated with vision impairment (P = 0.04) and a history of surgery (P = 0.03), respectively. Prevalence of high (>150 IU/ml) IgG antibody levels was associated with hearing impairment (P = 0.03), and histories of lymphadenopathy (P = 0.04) and miscarriages (P = 0.03). Multivariate analysis showed that T. gondii seropositivity was associated with being born out of Durango State (odds ratio [OR] = 4.65; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.25– 17.29; P = 0.02) and soil contact (OR = 4.27; 95% CI: 1.71–10.67; P = 0.002) and negatively associated with consumption of sheep meat (OR = 0.12; 95% CI: 0.02–0.65; P = 0.01). These results could be used for the design of optimal preventive measures against toxoplasmosis and its sequelae.

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Authors: Wycliffe Omurwa Masanta, Raimond Lugert, Uwe Groß, Gunter Linsel, Astrid Heutelbeck and Andreas Erich Zautner

Several studies have shown that about 60–100% of farmed ducks are colonized by Campylobacter species. Because of this, a higher risk of campylobacteriosis among duck farm workers can be assumed.

To estimate the risk of Campylobacter infections in duck farm workers, we investigated the prevalence of Campylobacter spp. in ducks of two duck farms and the seroprevalence of anti-Campylobacter antibodies (IgA and IgG) in two cohorts of workers. The first cohort consisted of high-exposed stable workers and slaughterers, which was compared to a second cohort of non-/low-exposed persons. Duck caecal swabs and serum samples were collected in 2004, 2007, and 2010.

The colonization rate in the examined ducks was found to be 80–90%. The seroprevalence of anti-Campylobacter IgA and IgG antibodies among the non-exposed cohort was found to be 0.00% in all 3 years. In contrast, the exposed cohort demonstrated an IgA seroprevalence of 4.17% in 2004, 5.71% in 2007, and 0.00% in 2010 and an IgG seroprevalence of 8.33% in 2004, 0.00% in 2007, and 4.29% in 2010.

In conclusion, in 2004, we observed a significantly higher anti-Campylobacter antibody seroprevalence in the exposed cohort followed by a steady reduction in 2007 and 2010 under occupational health and safety measures.

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Authors: P. Matušinsky, M. Váňová, L. Tvarůžek, I. Polišenská, M. Janeček and V. Smutný

Fusarium head blight caused by a complex of Fusarium species is widespread across the world and ranks among the most serious diseases in cereals. Long-term field experiments were set up to evaluate the effects of preceding crop and soil management methods on Fusarium mycotoxin (DON, deoxynivalenol) contamination of winter wheat and spring barley grain. Winter wheat and spring barley were cultivated at two locations in the Czech Republic (A: Ivanovice na Hané during 2002–2014, and B: Žabčice during 2007–2014) with preceding crops (A) alfalfa, maize, and pea; and (B) alfalfa (only for wheat), sugar beet (only for barley), and maize. Different soil management methods also were used: (A) 22 cm tillage, 15 cm tillage, 10 cm chisel, and direct drilling; and (B) 22 cm tillage, 10 cm chisel, and direct drilling. Mycotoxin content in harvested grain was analysed using ELISA. At both locations in the experiments with both wheat and barley, year had a significant effect on mycotoxin content in grain. Preceding crop was another significant factor in wheat experiments at both locations, with DON content in grain higher with maize as the preceding crop than in the cases of other preceding crops. Soil management method had a significant effect only on mycotoxin content in wheat grain grown at Žabčice, and the highest DON content was determined in the chisel variant, in which case a large amount of harvest residue remained on the soil surface or was only partially incorporated.

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ERECTA is an ancient family of leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases (RLKs) that coordinate growth and development of plant. TaERECTA, one copy of the ERECTA homologs in wheat, was isolated from bread wheat Chinese Spring. The Ser/Thr kinase of TaERECTA was expressed in E. coli after IPTG induction and confirmed by immunoblot. TaERECTA showed higher expression in younger organs with rapid development, as well as great expression in younger spikes at booting stage. Under exogenous application of gibberellin (GA3) and abscisic acid (ABA), and Mg2+ stress, the expression of TaERECTA was largely suppressed, whereas under exogenous application of indole acetic acid (IAA) and brassinolide (BR), and dehydration stress, its expression was initially suppressed and then up-regulated. Natural variation was apparent in the relative expression of TaERECTA among 9 different bread wheat lines, and its expression level was negatively correlated with the stomatal density. These results suggested that TaERECTA could be exploitable for manipulating agronomical traits important through regulating stomata density, with potential implication for bread wheat improvement.

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Three new species of eriophyoid mite, Aceria cumanorum n. sp., associated with Limonium gmelinii ssp. hungaricum (Plumbaginaceae), Aceria feketeistvani n. sp. associated with Petrorhagia prolifera (Caryophyllaceae) and Aceria belarexi n. sp. on Gypsophila paniculata (Caryophyllaceae) are described and illustrated from Hungary. Morphological differences distinguishing these new species from similar Aceria species are discussed. In addition, new date-locality-host records for 9 eriophyoid species are given.

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Authors: Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Luis Omar Berumen-Segovia, Yazmin Elizabeth Torres-Prieto, Sergio Estrada-Martínez, Alma Rosa Pérez-Álamos, María Nalleli Ortiz-Jurado, Gabriel Molotla-de-León, Isabel Beristain-García, Elizabeth Rábago-Sánchez and Oliver Liesenfeld

We assessed the association of Toxoplasma gondii infection and depression in a sample of psychiatric patients and control subjects without depression. We performed an age- and gender-matched case—control study of 89 patients suffering from depression attended in a public psychiatric hospital in Durango City, Mexico and 356 control subjects without depression from the general population of the same city. Participants were tested for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies using enzymelinked immunoassays. Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in 11 (12.4%) of the 89 cases and in 22 (6.2%) of the 356 controls (OR = 2.14; 95% CI: 1.00–4.59; P = 0.04). Anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found in four (19%) of 21 anti-T. gondii IgG seropositive controls but not in 11 anti-T. gondii IgG seropositive cases (P = 0.27). Patients aged 30 years old and younger had a significantly higher seroprevalence of T. gondii infection than controls of the same age group (P = 0.001). Results of the present study suggest a potential association between T. gondii infection and depression. Furthers studies to confirm our results and to determine the epidemiology of T. gondii in young depressed patients should be conducted.

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Semi-natural grassland islands have a key role in slowing down biodiversity decline in intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes. Assemblages in such habitat patches are not only limited by local habitat quality, but are also influenced by the suitability and distribution of different habitat types in the surrounding landscape. If we want to preserve a functionally diverse Lepidoptera fauna, both local and landscape scale environmental effects, including land use and management, should be considered. In the present study, we describe trait-based characteristics of noctuid dominated macro-moth assemblages (MMAs) in grassland remnants of an intensively cultivated agricultural area. By gathering environmental data from local to landscape scales, we aimed to identify the most influential scales, possible interactions between scales and the role of integrated arable fields in shaping MMAs. We conducted abundance weighted trait-based multivariate analysis of the assemblages based on six trait groups. Both local and landscape scale variables had important influence, acting on different traits of the assemblages. By variance partitioning, we could identify variables that exerted maximal effect at 50 m and 250 m radii circles. Variables describing local vegetation and identity of neighbouring crop were responsible for species richness and rarity status, while the area of arable and wooded habitats within 250 m were responsible for total catch and pest status related traits. There was significant interaction between principal components axes representing local and landscape variables. Rarity, more than other traits, was influenced by the interaction. Integrated fields had no effect on MMAs. The present study highlights the contributions of both local and landscape scales to the shaping of MMAs and suggests that the preservation of both local habitat quality and landscape heterogeneity are important if we would like to maintain species rich and functionally diverse Lepidoptera fauna.

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Authors: F.A. Rodríguez-Zaragoza, M. Ortiz, F. Berrios, L. Campos, A. de Jesús-Navarrete, J. Castro-Pérez, A. Hernández-Flores, M. García-Rivas, F. Fonseca-Peralta and E. Gallegos-Aguilar

Banco Chinchorro is the largest reef in the Mexican Caribbean. Historically, spiny lobster, queen conch and over 20 other reef species have been exploited here. Multispecies intervention management from an ecosystem perspective has been developed in this area; however, an assessment of the effects of such practices on ecosystem health is required. Five quantitative trophic models were constructed using Ecopath with Ecosim. The results show that, in terms of biomass, benthic autotrophs are the dominant group in all communities. Ecosystem Network Analysis indices showed that Cueva de Tiburones was the most mature, developed, complex and healthy subsystem, but, El Colorado and La Baliza were the subsystems most resistant to disturbances. The fisheries mainly concentrate on primary (La Baliza and Cueva de Tiburones sites) and secondary consumers (La Caldera, Chancay, and El Colorado). The greatest propagation of direct and indirect effects, estimated by Mixed Trophic Impacts and Ecosim simulations, were generated by the benthic autotrophs, small benthic epifauna, benthic-pelagic carnivorous fish and benthic carnivorous fish, among others. In contrast, the System Recovery Time showed different patterns among subsystems, indicating several compartments that reduce resilience. Considering the structure, dynamics, trophic functioning and ecosystem health of Banco Chinchorro, its ecological heterogeneity highlights the need for the design of a specific (by subsystem) management strategy, particularly because different species or functional groups present greater sensitivity to human interventions in each community.

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Authors: K. Taibi, F. Bentata, S. Rehman, M. Labhilili, A. El Aissami, R. P. S. Verma and S. Gyawali

Pyrenophora teres f. teres (Ptt), causing net blotch in barley, is an important and frequently isolated leaf pathogen across the globe. The virulence spectrum of Ptt from North Africa including Morocco is poorly understood. Sixteen barley genotypes were challenged, at seedling stage, with 15 Ptt isolates that were collected from different agroecological zones of Morocco. The experiment was conducted in a factorial arrangement of treatments in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. The ANOVA revealed highly significant (P < 0.001) effects of genotype (G), isolate (I) and G×I interaction explaining 23.2, 62.5, and 13.9% of the variation, respectively. Therefore, the current study revealed highly diverse virulence pattern of Moroccan isolates. Furthermore, the results indicated that minor virulence of Ptt isolates dominated over virulence interaction. In addition, Taffa (6-rowed) and Aglou (2 rowed), had the highest level of resistance to Ptt, while Coast and Rabat071 were the most susceptible genotypes. Pt2, Pt7, Pt8 and Pt4 were being the most virulent isolates, while Pt10 and Pt11 were the least virulent isolates. The emergence of the new Ptt pathotypes, which were highly virulent to durable resistance in Rabat071 posed a risk of breaking down the currently deployed resistance to net blotch in Morocco. A careful evaluation and selection of Ptt isolates based on minor virulence pattern to barley genotypes is essential for successful barley breeding program for resistance to net blotch in Morocco.

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Management practices need to be developed for successful cultivation of good quality aerobic basmati rice. Field experiments were conducted at Ludhiana, India during the summer seasons of 2011 and 2012 to ascertain the optimum irrigation schedule and dose and timings of nitrogen application to direct seeded basmati rice cultivar Pusa Basmati 1121. Three irrigation schedules (irrigations at 30, 50 and 70 mm CPE), three nitrogen levels (40, 60 and 80 kg N ha–1) and two modules of nitrogen splits (3 splits, i.e. application at 3, 6 and 9 weeks after sowing and 4 splits, i.e. application at 0, 3, 6 and 9 weeks after sowing) were tested in randomized block design with four replications on a loamy sand soil. The maximum grain yield, protein content, brown, milled and head rice recovery were obtained with irrigations at 30 mm CPE and these were significantly better than 50 and 70 mm CPE irrigation schedules. Among nitrogen levels, the significant increase in grain yield as well as quality parameters, viz. protein content, brown, milled and head rice recovery was recorded only up to a nitrogen dose of 60 kg ha–1. In Indian Punjab, good quality direct seeded basmati rice can be produced by following the irrigation schedule of 30 mm CPE and with the application of 60 kg N ha–1 applied in 3 splits (3, 6 and 9 weeks after sowing).

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Extended research has been carried out to clarify the ecological role of plant secondary metabolites (SMs). Although their primary ecological function is self-defence, bioactive compounds have long been used in alternative medicine or in biological control of pests. One single plant may contain a wide variety of bioactive compounds, making analytics rather costly. The total bactericide capacity can be quantified by either microbiological or ecotoxicological methods. Here, the principle and possible applications of a specific bacterial bioluminescence inhibition based ecotoxicological assay are reviewed.

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Authors: A. Földi, Zs. Trábert and A. Hidas
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Authors: Ilona Pfeiffer, Zoltán Farkas, Judit Kucsera, Muthusamy Chandrasekaran, Shine Kadaikunnan, Naiyf S. Alharbi and Csaba Vágvölgyi

The genetic background of mitochondrial DNA polymorphism in Candida albicans was studied by physical and functional mapping of four haplotypes identified recently in a hospital-population. The restriction patterns revealed considerable differences; however, the size of the mitochondrial DNA did not vary significantly. Sequence data demonstrated that size differences arose by short deletions, while restriction fragment length polymorphisms are caused by nucleotide substitutions in single sites. Gene rearrangement could not be detected; nevertheless, the coincidence of nucleotide substitution pattern in the inverted repeat region suggested the occurrence of homologue recombination.

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Authors: Paul-Satyaseela Maneesh, Murali Sowmiya, Thirunavukkarasu Bharani, Hajib Naraharirao Madhavan and Jambulingam Malathi

Emergence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and fluoroquinolone resistance among ocular Enterobacteriaceae is increasing in higher frequency. Therefore, studies are being carried out to understand their multidrug resistance pattern. A total of 101 Enterobacteriaceae isolates recovered from various ocular diseases in a tertiary eye care center at Chennai, India during the period of January 2011 to June 2014 were studied. Forty one randomly chosen isolates were subjected to antibiotic susceptibility by minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and genotypic analysis. Of them, 16 were ESBL producers, one was carbapenemase producer and four were resistant to ertapenem which could be due to porin loss associated with AmpC production, and 17 were resistant to fluoroquinolones. Sixteen isolates harbored ESBL genes in which 14 had more than one gene and none of them were positive for blaNDM-1 gene. QNR genes were detected in 18 isolates.

ESBL producers were predominantly isolated from conjunctiva. A high degree of ESBL production and fluoroquinolone resistance is seen among the genus Klebsiella sp. Hence, monitoring the rate of ESBL prevalence plays a vital role in the administration of appropriate intravitreal antibiotics to save the vision and also to reduce the development of drug resistance in ocular pathogens.

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Cheilolejeunea obtusifolia, so far known only from Andaman Islands in India, is added here to the flora of the Indian mainland from the Anamalais in the Western Ghats. A brief description with an illustration and a photoplate is provided here since there is none based on any Indian material.