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Forage plants may become contaminated by mycotoxins already on the cropland as a result of mould infection, the degree of which can be diminished by the use of appropriate agrotechnical methods or resistant plant cultivars. During storage, the main goal is to prevent further mould infection and mycotoxin contamination. In that period, the moisture content of feedstuffs and the mould contamination of storage spaces, which can be minimised by the use of fungicidal products, are the most critical factors. Feed manufacturing processes do not substantially decrease the mycotoxin content of feedstuffs, and the efficiency of the recommended chemical and/or heat treatment procedures is also questionable as they are expensive and may reduce the nutrient content. To minimise the adverse effects of mycotoxins on animals, the use of products capable of binding and biologically transforming mycotoxins is also recommended; however, such products have varying efficacy.

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We investigated alfalfa and stinging nettle from the point of view of their potential to supply natural enemies of pests for protecting greenhouse cultures. We carried out a three year long study based on sweepnetting. The most frequent predatory insect was Orius niger (Wolff) in alfalfa and nettle. This species among others has an important potential in the biological control of thrips. Among ladybugs, the most important species in alfalfa and nettle were Propylea quatuordecimpunctata (Linnaeus), Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus and Hippodamia variegata (Goeze), which consume significant amounts of aphids. The most frequent spider family in alfalfa and nettle was Thomisidae and Philodromidae. The dynamics of their prey composition suggests that these taxa present a significant suppressive force on pests. The predator thrips Aeolothrips intermedius Bagnall that feeds on phytophagous thrips, mites and other soft-bodied arthropods was also significant in the arthropod assemblage of alfalfa. Our three-year investigation showed that the abundance and the species richness of the natural enemies of greenhouse crops are suitably high in both alfalfa and nettle stands. The number of generalist predators, natural enemies of pests, the most versatile tools of pest management reached its peak between mid-May to late June in nettle whereas due to mowing, the highest values for alfalfa were recorded from June to mid-August.

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Sticky “cloak” traps (CSALOMON® PAL) baited with the synthetic pheromone racemic 1,7-dioxaspiro[5.5]undecane were most efficient among the trap designs tested for catching male olive fly Bactrocera (Dacus) oleae Gmelin (Diptera, Tephritidae) in field tests in Croatia. Colour cues did not influence male catches. Consequently transparent sticky “cloak” traps baited with pheromone appear to be the best choice for detection and monitoring of males of the olive fly in Croatia. Female flies did not respond to the pheromone, however, were weakly attracted to the visual cues of yellow and fluorescent yellow.

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Theridion impressum is one of the dominant foliage dwelling spider species of maize fields in Hungary. Spider webs were collected from Bt and isogenic maize plots in three successive years. Captured insects in the web were identified. The most frequent prey items were aphids, plant hoppers and beetles. Although the number of captured insects in web samples from isogenic maize was slightly higher than those from Bt maize in the case of almost each insect order, except for two samples (Sternorrhyncha, 2001; Neuroptera, 2002), the differences between Bt and isogenic samples were not significant.

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Benthic diatom investigations of some Hungarian streams have been carried out in order to find reference sites in assistance to the ecological quality analysis of the different river types according to the Hungarian river typology. On the basis of the coevaluation of biological and chemical parameters, among the investigated streams, some part of Kemence stream seems to be the appropriate reference site for the classification of the highland, siliceous rivers of Hungary. However, further invastigations are needed for the selection of reference sites for the other types of Hungarian river typology. This is the most difficult in the case of lowland rivers, which are exposed to more severe anthropogenic impacts. Important is the question which biological parameters should be investigated and considered when assessing the ecological condition of our waters. In the United States, e.g. the assessment of the relative abundance of Achnanthidium minutissimum is quite widespread (Stevenson and Bahls 1999), the extent of which indicates the level of disturbance. The use of this method is hampered, on one hand, by the fact that A. minutissimum is an early coloniser species which means that if we do not take samples from mature periphyton, we might find it dominant simply because of that, and, on the other hand, that distinguishing between the species varieties is not always unambiguous under light microscope because of its small size, and these can have different ecological needs. It is also recommended to calculate species richness, diversity and evenness (Stevenson and Bahls 1999), but based on our investigations these parameters are not in correlation with water quality. Investigation of other diatom features such as tolerance and sensitivity, some autecological parameters (as it was applied and recommended by Fore and Grafe 2002 for investigating the reaction of diatom associations to anthropogenic disturbances) might also be useful in completing the water quality analysis of rivers, however, these methods need further investigations. Some of the indices (EPI-D, IPS, IBD) calculated with the software Omnidia are suitable for the classification of our rivers, but the investigation of more rivers, flowing through different types of stone are necessary to choose the appropriate indices. The reason for this is that the different indices work with a different register of species and obviously those indices will prove to be suitable the species register of which shows the highest similarity to the diatom associations of the certain water type.

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Millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) is more resistant to climatic and soil conditions but the yields are lower than in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), therefore its cultivation was given up for decades in Hungary. Millet is a suitable raw material for the production of pasta products without using eggs and it has other advantageous physiological effects, therefore its cultivation in Hungary is expected again. Millet is a gluten free cereal so it is not able to create viscoelastic protein network. During the biochemical studies the activity of enzymes (peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase) influencing the colour of the flour, flour mixtures (T. aestivum L., Triticum durum L., P. miliaceum L.), and pasta products were examined. Oxidoreductases in wheat flour have always been of interest to cereal chemists. The effects of peroxidase (EC 1.11.1.7) (POX) are much less thoroughly documented, although they are reported to have a relatively high level of activity in different flours. These days there are also insufficient research data on how the millet in dry pasta modifies the enzyme activity and the storage stability and shelf life of dry pasta products.

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Parameters governing the retention and movement of water and chemicals in soils are notorious for the difficulties and high labor costs involved in measuring them. Often, there is a need to resort to estimating these parameters from other, more readily available data, using pedotransfer relationships.

This work is a mini-review that focuses on trends in pedotransfer development across the World, and considers trends regarding data that are in demand, data we have, and methods to build pedotransfer relationships. Recent hot topics are addressed, including estimating the spatial variability of water contents and soil hydraulic properties, which is needed in sensitivity analysis, evaluation of the model performance, multimodel simulations, data assimilation from soil sensor networks and upscaling using Monte Carlo simulations. Ensembles of pedotransfer functions and temporal stability derived from “big data” as a source of soil parameter variability are also described.

Estimating parameter correlation is advocated as the pathway to the improvement of synthetic datasets. Upscaling of pedotransfer relationships is demonstrated for saturated hydraulic conductivity. Pedotransfer at coarse scales requires a different type of input variables as compared with fine scales. Accuracy, reliability, and utility have to be estimated independently. Persistent knowledge gaps in pedotransfer development are outlined, which are related to regional soil degradation, seasonal changes in pedotransfer inputs and outputs, spatial correlations in soil hydraulic properties, and overland flow parameter estimation.

Pedotransfer research is an integral part of addressing grand challenges of the twenty-first century, including carbon stock assessments and forecasts, climate change and related hydrological weather extreme event predictions, and deciphering and managing ecosystem services.

Overall, pedotransfer functions currently serve as an essential instrument in the science-based toolbox for diagnostics, monitoring, predictions, and management of the changing Earth and soil as a life-supporting Earth system.

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Millet has attracted a great deal of interest due to its valuable agricultural, nutritional, and functional properties. In this study the aim was the investigation of millet usability in dry pasta products. Chemical, enzymological, and sensory parameters were measured and monitored in Triticum aestivum, Triticum durum, and millet containing pasta products during a 12-month-long storage period. According to our results, during the storage, millet had a strong effect on different parameters: because of increased acid value, the shelf life was reduced, and millet significantly influenced the pH value and the water soluble polyphenol content. The highest scores were measured in T. durum and T. durum-millet pasta samples in the sensory test, while the T. aestivum-millet mixture pasta got the lowest scores. Also in our experiment we tested how the drying temperature modifies polyphenol oxidase enzyme (PPO) activity right after drying and during storage. The samples containing millet flour had higher PPO activity in all cases after drying, while pasta made with T. durum had the lowest PPO activity. Our results showed that drying temperature has a significant impact on PPO activity.

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Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) is one of the most important pests of greenhouse pepper in Hungary. It has a hidden lifestyle, a short generation interval and a high reproductive rate. Due to these characteristics it is difficult to obtain an effective, environment-friendly and harmless control of the pest. Previous studies have shown that under caged plant conditions, the common crab spider, Xysticus kochi (Thorell) (Araneae: Thomisidae) is effective against western flower thrips. In this study, we examined some of the technological questions of the use of spider larvae.We investigated the necessary amount and number of applications of spider larvae under caged plant conditions. The efficiency of spiders at the whole greenhouse level was also studied. While the ratio of damaged surface of peppers treated with X . kochi was significantly lower than that of non-treated plants, increasing the amount of spider larvae did not improve the effectiveness of thrips control. Although whole greenhouse experiences showed a similar, significant decrease in the rate of damaged surface in the case of peppers treated with spider larvae, when compared to untreated control; the efficiency of spiders remained below the level of economic acceptance.

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The addition of synthetic eugenol and benzyl acetate to the known floral chemical and moth attractant phenylacetaldehyde synergized attraction of the silver Y moth Autographa gamma, an important noctuid pest. Traps baited with the ternary blend caught 2 to 6 times more A. gamma moths than traps baited with phenylac-etaldehyde alone. Both female and male moths were attracted, supposedly in the natural sex ratio of the local population. More A. gamma were caught when the blend was formulated in dispenser types with higher release rates. Traps baited with the ternary lure in polyethylene bag dispensers caught 20% to 34% as many moths as were caught in traps baited with synthetic sex pheromone, suggesting that this improved bisexual lure could be efficient enough to yield a new tool for detection and monitoring of female and male A. gamma, for more reliable plant protection decisions.

The same ternary lure also improved trap catches of moths over phenylacetaldehyde alone for the plusiinae pests MacDunnoughia confusa (in Europe) and Autographa californica (in North America) and for the Noctuinae cutworm Xestia c-nigrum (in North America).

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