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The effect of nitrogen (N) fertilisation on the growth of winter wheat varieties was examined in three diverse years using the functional method of growth analysis. The main plot in the two-factorial, split-plot experiment was the N treatment and the subplot the variety. The wheat varieties Mv Toborzó (extra-early), Mv Palotás (early) and Mv Verbunkos (mid-early) were treated with N rates of 0, 80, 160 and 240 kg N ha−1 (N0, N80, N160, N240). The Hunt-Parsons (HP) program fitted a third-degree exponential function to the dry matter and leaf area data. In 2007 and 2008 dry matter accumulation continued up to the N240 rate and in 2009 to the N160 rate. In all three years the highest value was recorded for Mv Verbunkos (4.62 g plant−1 in 2007, 4.63 g in 2008 and 4.51 g in 2009). The highest value of maximum leaf area (237.5 cm2) was found for Mv Verbunkos in the N240 treatment. The maximum values of leaf area in each N treatment, averaged over years and varieties (cm2 plant−1), were as follows: N0: 86.2; N80: 141.0; N160: 164.0; N240: 173.1. The parameter AGRmean exhibited the highest value (8.04 g day−1 102) in the N160 treatment, while among the varieties Mv Verbunkos had the highest mean value (7.18 g day−1 102). The highest value of RGRmean was achieved by Mv Toborzó in the N160 treatment in 2009 (3.94 g g−1 day−1 102). The value of NARmean increased up to fertiliser rates of N160 and N240, with mean values (g m−1 day−1) of N0: 2.35, N80: 2.44, N160: 2.53 and N240: 2.47. The highest value of NAR (3.29 g m−1 day−1) was obtained for Mv Palotás in the N160 treatment in 2008. On average the greatest value of LARmax was recorded in the N160 treatment (172.8 cm2 g−1), while the highest absolute value (213.6 cm2 g−1) was achieved by Mv Toborzó in 2008. The unfavourable effect of the drought in 2007 was clearly reflected in the values of the growth parameters.

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The effect of four rates of nitrogen (N) fertilisation (0, 80, 160, 240 kg ha−1) on the growth and yield components of three winter wheat varieties with different maturity dates (Mv Toborzó — extra early, Mv Palotás — early, Mv Verbunkos — mid-early) was analysed in a long-term experiment laid out in a two-factorial split-plot design with four replications in the years 2007–2009. The dry matter production of the whole plant and of individual plant organs, the maximum leaf area, the area of the flag-leaf and all the yield components except the thousand-kernel weight were significantly the greatest in the N160 or the N240 treatments. Averaged over the varieties and years the grain yield in the N treatments was N0: 5.5, N80: 7.1, N160: 7.3 and N240: 7.5 t ha−1. Averaged over N treatments and years the variety Mv Verbunkos had the highest dry matter production, stem mass, spike mass, number of grains per spike and grain yield. Mv Verbunkos had the greatest leaf area in the favourable years of 2008 and 2009 and the greatest flag-leaf area in 2008. Averaged over N treatments and varieties the dry matter production per plant, the leaf and stem mass, the number of spikes per square metre and the thousand-kernel weight were greatest in 2007. The spike mass was lowest in 2007 and had higher, very similar values in 2008 and 2009. The maximum leaf area per plant, the area of the flag-leaf, the number of grains per spike and the grain yield were highest in 2008. The values and dynamics of the growth parameters gave a good characterisation of the effect of the treatments (N fertilisation, variety, year) on plant production (yield, yield components) in various stages of growth.

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The growth dynamics determining the yield of winter wheat depends partly on genetic determination and partly on environmental factors, including nutrient supplies. Growth and yield responses to nutrient supplies were investigated for three diverse genotypes. In the dry year of 2007 dry matter production and leaf area were influenced chiefly by N supplies, while in the more favourable year of 2008 the genotypic effect was more pronounced, and in most cases N fertiliser only led to a significant increase in yield up to a rate of 80 kg ha −1 . The maximum value of the leaf area index (LAI) was recorded at the 240 kg ha −1 N level for all three varieties in 2007 (11.5; 9.9; 8.1), while in 2008 the maximum was observed at the 160 kg ha −1 N level for Mv Toborzó and Mv Palotás (8.6 and 8.4, respectively), and only in Mv Verbunkos did LAI continue to increase up to 240 kg ha −1 N (9.8). The cumulative BMD and LAD parameters mostly exhibited much higher values in 2007 than in 2008. The maximum grain yield was achieved at 160 kg ha −1 N in 2007 and at 80 kg ha −1 N in 2008. It could be concluded from the results that the manifestation of genotypic traits was enhanced by favourable weather conditions, which also led to the better utilisation of lower rates of N fertiliser.

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The effects of five crop production factors (tillage, fertilisation, plant density, variety, weed control) on the yield and yield stability of maize were examined in Martonvásár (HU) in a polyfactorial experiment and in separate long-term experiments on the effects of Nfertilisation, sowing date and plant density. In the polyfactorial experiment the five crop production factors contributed to the increase in maize yield in the following ratios (%): fertilisation 30.6, variety 32.6, plant density 20.2, weed control 14.2, soil cultivation 2.4. In the N fertilisation, sowing date and plant density experiments the effects of the treatments on the maize yield were examined separately for dry and wet years.Averaged over 40 years, the yields in the long-term N fertilisation experiment were 2.422 t ha−1 lower in the dry years than in the wet years (5.170 vs. 7.592 t ha−1). The optimum N rate was 160 kg ha−1. In the sowing date experiment the yield was 2.533 t ha−1 lower in the dry years than in the wet years (6.54 vs. 9.093 t ha−1), averaged over 19 years. In dry years the yield was highest for the early and optimum sowing dates, and in wet years for the optimum sowing date. Sowing at dates other than the optimum caused reductions in N fertiliser efficiency. Averaged over 22 years, the optimum plant density was 80,000 plants ha−1 in wet years and 50,000 plants ha−1 in dry years. The yield was most stable at a plant density of 60,000 plants ha−1. The clarification of year effects is particularly important in relation to the possible effects of climate change.

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The effect of mineral fertilisation, farmyard manure and their combinations on the yield and yield stability of maize was studied in a long-term maize monoculture experiment set up in Martonvásár, Hungary in 1959. The experiment, laid out as a Latin square, included two fertilisation levels [35 t ha−1 or 70 t ha−1 farmyard manure (FYM) every four years] and seven treatments. The yield results were evaluated using analysis of variance, cumulative yield analysis and stability analysis. The year effect was analysed by dividing the 51 years (1959–2009) into wet (32) and dry (19) years. The rainfall sum for the months Apr.–Sep. averaged 361 mm in the wet years and 232 mm in the dry years.Among the fertiliser treatments the FYM + mineral fertiliser combination and NPK mineral fertilisation alone gave the highest yields. In more than 50% of the years the higher fertiliser level had no significant yield-increasing effect. The yield differences between the two fertiliser levels were twice as high in wet years as in dry years (0.543 vs. 0.274). Averaged over all seven treatments, the maize yield was 3.959 t ha−1 in dry years and 6.250 t ha−1 in wet years, giving a yield increment of 2.291 t ha−1 in favourable years. Yield stability was greatest when the NPK content of 35 t ha−1 FYM was replaced in part (17.5 t ha−1 FYM + N1/2P1/2K1/2) or in full (N1P1K1) by mineral fertiliser, or when 70 t ha−1 FYM was applied. Yield stability is an important indicator of the sustainability of crop production.

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Research indicates that there is considerable potential for a successful switch from high chemical use to lower-input, more sustainable farming practices for maize. The overall objective of the MicroMaize project was to field-test the performance of innovative microbiological management strategies. The effect of microbial consortia on maize growth and grain yield was studied in 2008 and 2009 at Martonvásár (Hungary) in a 50-year-old long-term fertilisation experiment. The experiment was set up in a split-plot design with four replications. The main plots were the fertilisation treatments: A: control, without fertilisation (N 0 P 0 K 0 ), B: N 50 P 24 K 43 , C: N 100 P 48 K 87 , D: N 200 P 96 K 174 , E: N 300 P 144 K 261 . Three microbial inoculation treatments were the sub-plots: C0: control, no microbial consortia, C1: A. lipoferum CRT1 + P. fluorescens Pf153 + G. intraradices JJ 129 , C2: A. lipoferum CRT1 + P. fluorescens F113 + G. intraradices JJ129 . The results indicated that the microbial consortia had no significant effect on maize growth and yield. In the ecophysiological analyses, the microbial consortia were found to have a significant positive effect on the chlorophyll content and on the protein and nitrogen contents of the grain yield in 2009. The long-term results revealed that the mineral fertilisation treatments and the year had a significant influence on the growth, yield and grain quality parameters of maize. The effect of nutrient supplies and year during the vegetative growth phase of maize could be quantified using the mean values of the absolute growth rate (AGR) for maize shoots and roots and with the nutrient stress index calculated from AGR. Further field investigations on productivity and eco-physiological parameters will be needed to estimate the effect of microbial consortia.

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Acta Alimentaria
B. Raposa
E. Antal
J. Macharia
M. Pintér
N. Rozmann
D. Pusztai
M. Sugár
, and
D. Bánáti


Several misconceptions exist about foods and nutrition. Many believe, that the human body can “acidify”, thus, an “alkaline diet” should be followed. The acid-base balance is a characteristic of a normally functioning human body. Throughout our metabolic processes, acids and substances with acidic pH are produced continuously, which, in the case of a healthy person, does not affect the pH of the human body. In those rare cases, when an overall pH imbalance evolves in the human body due to its life-threatening nature, it requires urgent medical intervention. Furthermore, it cannot be influenced by dietary interventions.

This paper highlights evidence regarding acidification and the acid-base balance, with special attention to certain food groups. Foodstuffs have different specific pH value (acid-base character), they can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral in elemental state. Beside their chemical nature, the effect they have on the human body depends on the mechanism of their metabolism, as well. Diet and ingredients have direct and indirect effects on the human body's intracellular and extracellular compartments (especially blood and urine), still they do not influence its pH significantly.

Alkaline diets were born in the absence of evidence-based information and/or the misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of the available and up-to-date scientific facts. The convictions of consumers and the promotion of the alkaline diet lack the scientific basis, so it can be harmful or even dangerous in the long run.

In summary, scientific evidence on the efficacy or prophylactic effects of an alkaline diet is not available.

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