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The plant height and the height of the main ear were studied over two years in twelve single cross maize hybrids sown at three different plant densities (45, 65 and 85 thousand plants/ha) at five locations in Hungary (Keszthely, Gönc, Gyöngyös, Sopronhorpács, Martonvásár). The results revealed that plant height and the height of the main ear are important variety traits and are in close correlation with each other. It was found that the hybrids grew the tallest when the genetic distance between the parental components was greatest (Mv 4, Mv 5). The height of the main ear was also the greatest in these hybrids, and the degree of heterosis was highest (193% for plant height, 194% for the height of the main ear). The shortest hybrids were those developed between related lines (Mv 7, Mv 11). In this case the heterosis effect was the lowest for both plant height (128%) and the height of the main ear (144%). The ratio of the height of the main ear to the plant height was stable, showing little variation between the hybrids (37–44%). As maize is of tropical origin it grows best in a humid, warm, sunny climate. Among the locations tested, the Keszthely site gave the best approximation to these conditions, and it was here that the maize grew tallest. The dry, warm weather in Gyöngyös stunted the development of the plants, which were the shortest at this location. Plant density had an influence on the plant size. The plants were shortest when sown at a plant density of 45,000 plants/ha, and the main ears were situated the lowest in this case. At all the locations the plant and main ear height rose when the plant density was increased to 65,000 plants/ha. At two sites (Gönc and Sopronhorpács) the plants attained their maximum height at the greatest plant density (85,000 plants/ha). In Keszthely there was no significant difference between these two characters at plant densities of 65 and 85 thousand plants/ha, while in Gyöngyös and Martonvásár the greatest plant density led to a decrease in the plant and main ear height. The year had a considerable effect on the characters tested.

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Acta Agronomica Hungarica
Authors:
J. Pintér
,
E. Kósa
,
G. Hadi
,
Z. Hegyi
,
T. Spitkó
,
Z. Tóth
,
Z. Szigeti
,
E. Páldi
, and
L. Marton

The level of UV-B radiation reaching the surface of the earth is increasing due to the thinning of the ozone layer in the stratosphere over recent decades. This has numerous negative effects on living organisms.Some of the Hungarian inbred maize lines examined under the climatic conditions in Chile exhibited an unusually high proportion of pollen mortality, flowering asynchrony and barrenness. The evidence suggests that this can be attributed to the approx. 30% greater UV-B radiation in Chile.The investigation of this problem within the framework of abiotic stress breeding programmes is extremely important in the light of the global rise in UV-B radiation, which may make it necessary to elaborate a selection programme to develop inbred lines with better tolerance of this type of radiation.In the course of the experiment the same ten inbred lines, having different maturity dates and genetic backgrounds, were tested for five years in Chile and Hungary. The tests focussed on anthocyanin, a flavonoid derivative involved in the absorption of damaging UV-B radiation.Averaged over years and varieties, the total anthocyanin content in the leaf samples was significantly higher in Chile than in Hungary. This was presumably a response at the metabolic level to the negative stress represented by higher UV-B radiation.In the five early-maturing flint lines the anthocyanin contents were more than 45% greater than those recorded in Hungary. This suggests that these genotypes, originating from northern regions, were not sufficiently adapted to the higher radiation level. In these samples higher UV-B caused a sharp rise in the quantity of anthocyanin, which absorbs the dangerous radiation. In late-maturing genotypes the initial content of the protective compound anthocyanin was higher at both locations, so in these types the high radiation level was not a problem and did not cause any substantial change.Similar conclusions were drawn from the results of fluorescence imaging. The F440/F690 ratio indicative of the stress level was higher in late lines with a high anthocyanin content, good tolerance and good adaptability.

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The adaptability of twelve single cross maize hybrids was investigated at five different locations in Hungary over a three-year period. The characters examined were individual plant production (total mass of the ears on a single plant), thousand kernel mass, number of kernel rows, ear length, number of kernels per row, shelling % and the assimilating leaf area above the main ear.Among these yield components, the individual plant production, the ear length, the number of kernels per row and the grain-cob ratio (shelling %) were influenced to the greatest extent by the year, followed by the variety and the location. The greatest average yield was achieved by the tested hybrids at all five locations in 1997 (263 g/plant). The average yields in 1998 and 1999 were significantly lower (221 and 203 g/plant, respectively). The outstanding yields achieved in 1997 could be attributed to the favourable ecological conditions, which led to the development of secondary ears in Keszthely and Sopronhorpács. At the other three locations there was only one ear per plant, but these ears were longer than in the following years. The greatest year effect was recorded in Sopronhorpács, where the individual plant production amounted to 305 g/plant in 1997 and 238 g/plant in the worst year, 1999. In Gyöngyös conditions were very dry in all three years, so the year effect was least pronounced at this location (grand mean of 195 g/plant in 1997 and 201 g/plant in 1999). Stability analysis was carried out using the coefficient of variance for individual plant production. Hybrids Mv 3, Mv 5, Mv 9 and Mv 12 were found to have the best adaptability. The shelling % was not significantly influenced by the location; the grain-cob ratio is relatively stable for maize hybrids. A correlation was found between the individual plant production and the leaf area above the main ear (R 2 =0.66). Hybrids with the largest leaf area above the main ear also had the greatest ear mass.

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Acta Alimentaria
Authors:
M.Y. Jiang
,
Z.R. Wang
,
K.W. Chen
,
J.Q. Kan
,
K.T. Wang
,
Zs. Zalán
,
F. Hegyi
,
K. Takács
, and
M.Y. Du

After suffering from mechanical injury and fungal infection, grapes are perishable. Botrytis cinerea, the causal agent of gray mould, is a critical pathogen for grapes. In this study, the inhibitory effect of Pseudomonas fluorescens on the formation of gray mould on grapes during the postharvest storage was investigated on “Kyoho” grape. The results suggest that a living cell suspension of P. fluorescens significantly inhibited spore germination of B. cinerea, and significantly reduced the incidence of grape gray mould. Moreover, compared with the control, the fruit inoculated with P. fluorescens had elevated activities of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), chitinase (CHI), and β-1,3-glucanase (GLU). Increase in enzyme activity correlated with enhanced host resistance. In addition, there was little difference in storage quality between the treated group and control group, indicating no adverse effects of the induced defence response on fruit quality.

Open access

It has been reported that some of the food additives may cause sensitization, inflammation of tissues, and potentially risk factors in the development of several chronic diseases. Thus, we hypothesized that expressions of common inflammatory molecules – known to be involved in the development of various inflammatory conditions and cancers – are affected by these food additives. We investigated the effects of commonly used food preservatives and artificial food colorants based on the expressions of NFκB, GADD45α, and MAPK8 (JNK1) from the tissues of liver. RNA was isolated based on Trizol protocol and the activation levels were compared between the treated and the control groups. Tartrazine alone could elicit effects on the expressions of NFκB (p = 0.013) and MAPK8 (p = 0.022). Azorubine also resulted in apoptosis according to MAPK8 expression (p = 0.009). Preservatives were anti-apoptotic in high dose. Sodium benzoate (from low to high doses) dose-dependently silenced MAPK8 expression (p = 0.004 to p = 0.002). Addition of the two preservatives together elicited significantly greater expression of MAPK8 at half-fold dose (p = 0.002) and at fivefold dose (p = 0.008). This study suggests that some of the food preservatives and colorants can contribute to the activation of inflammatory pathways.

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Acta Alimentaria
Authors:
E. Horvath-Szanics
,
J. Perjéssy
,
A. Klupács
,
K. Takács
,
A. Nagy
,
E. Koppány-Szabó
,
F. Hegyi
,
E. Németh-Szerdahelyi
,
M.Y. Du
,
Z.R. Wang
,
J.Q. Kan
, and
Zs. Zalán

The increasing consumer demand for less processed and more natural food products – while improving those products’ quality, safety, and shelf-life – has raised the necessity of chemical preservative replacement. Biopreservation refers to extended storage life and enhanced safety of foods using the natural microflora and (or) their antibacterial products. Chitinolytic enzymes are of biotechnological interest, since their substrate, chitin, is a major structural component of the cell wall of fungi, which are the main cause of the spoilage of food and raw plant material. Among the several organisms, many bacteria produce chitinolytic enzymes, however, this behaviour is not general. The chitinase activity of the lactic acid bacteria is scarcely known and studied.

The aim of the present study was to select Lactobacillus strains that have genes encoding chitinase, furthermore, to detect expressed enzymes and to characterise their chitinase activity. Taking into consideration the importance of chitin-bindig proteins (CBPs) in the chitinase activity, CBPs were also examined. Five Lactobacillus strains out of 43 strains from 12 different species were selected by their chitinase coding gene. The presence of the chitinase and chitin-biding protein production were confirmed, however, no chitinolytic activity has been identified.

Open access