The characterization of four types of Indian honeys (Trifolium alexandrinum (berseem clover), Brassica sp. (mustard), Helianthus annuus (sunflower), Eucalyptus lanceolatus) was carried out on the basis of their quality parameters (moisture, pH, free acidity, reducing sugars, sucrose, fructose/glucose ratio, colour, ash content, proline content, invertase activity, diastase activity, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and mineral content (sodium, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, and copper). The source of honey had a significant (P<0.05) effect on moisture content, free acidity, pH, reducing sugar content, fructose/glucose ratio, hydroxymethylfurfural content, invertase and diastase activities, sucrose content, proline, ash content, and mineral content. Pattern recognition methods, such as principal component analysis and linear discriminate analysis, were performed to classify honey on the basis of physicochemical properties and mineral content. The variables calcium, pH, and potassium exhibited higher discrimination power.
A new method is
introduced to agricultural practice for measuring the living active root of the
plants. The measured root capacitance is interpreted in electro-chemical
principles. In addition to the electrochemical interpretation of the
measurements we aimed to find a non-wounding electrode instead of the needle
plant electrode. Another reason for dealing with the tweezer plant electrode
was to decrease the relatively high standard deviation of the root capacitance
readings due to the relatively high uncertainty of hitting the xylem with the
needle plant electrode. To improve and standardize the contact between the
tweezer plant electrode and the stem a high electrical conductivity gel
(UNIGEL) was applied on the stem before clipping the tweezers. Experiments for the root capacitance
measurements were made in temperature and light controlled climate chambers
(Conviron, Canada) in 2 litre plastic pots filled with 4:1 soil:sand mixture
and water culture. Comparison of the root
capacitances of five-week old sunflower plants measured with the needle and the
tweezer plant electrodes proved identical in water culture and capillary water
saturated soil. However, the applicability of the tweezer plant electrode needs
further study for other plants and environmental conditions. The effect of
measurement frequency on root capacitance and resistance with the HP4284A
impedance bridge was also studied to see the effectiveness of polarization
(Figure 1). From Figure 1 it can be seen
that root capacitance decreased at frequencies above 1 kHz, while it increased
up to the dielectric constant of water at lower frequencies. An interpretation
of measurable root capacitance in the soil-plant system is given using separate
measured plant tissue and soil capacitances. We established that root
capacitance in the soil-plant system approximates the capacitance of the root
tissue. Good correlation was found
between root capacitance and the calculated root surface area (RA) for
sunflower plants (Figure 2). The GW
LCR-814 was found suitable for making root capacitance measurements. Finally,
further experimental work is needed to collect information for the more general
and extended applicability of the method before it becomes a routine tool in
ecological and agricultural practice.
Authors:Neelam Upadhyay, Anil Kumar, Ankit Goyal, and Darshan Lal
Reversed-phase thin-layer chromatography (RP-TLC) is a sensitive, reliable, and reproducible technique, which can analyze a number of components simultaneously. This technique was exploited in the present study to identify the adulteration of vegetable oils (groundnut, soybean, and sunflower oil) in ghee, using the fact that β-sitosterol, an unsaponifiable matter, is present in vegetable oils, while absent in pure ghee. For this, RP-TLC of reference standards, unsaponifiable matter of pure ghee (cow and buffalo), pure vegetable oils, and the ghee adulterated with these vegetable oils (≥1%) was carried out on plates with different stationary phases, viz., RP-18, RP-8, and RP-2 plates using solvent system comprising of petroleum ether, acetonitrile, and methanol. The results revealed that adulteration of vegetable oils in ghee can easily be detected at a level of as low as 1 percent on RP-18 and RP-8 plates, while RP-2 plate did not offer any help in detection of adulteration. Thus, with the help of RP-TLC, a robust technique, the purity of ghee can be screened with respect to the presence of vegetable oils.
Authors:Carmen Solcan, Dorina Timofte, Viorel Floristean, Stuart Carter, and Gheorghe Solcan
A study was conducted to evaluate the nephrotoxic effect of ochratoxin A (OTA) in broiler chickens. Forty Ross 308 broilers (6 days old) were divided into two groups: one group received daily, by gavage, ochratoxin A at a daily dose of 50 μg/kg body weight for up to 21 days, while the control group received only diluent (sunflower oil). After 21 days, the chickens were euthanised and the kidneys removed for analysis by histopathology and immunohistochemistry to detect an anti-apoptotic marker (Bcl-2), and by transmission electron microscopy. Macroscopically the kidneys were enlarged, showing degeneration and gout deposits. Histologically, glomerulonephrosis and tubulonephrosis were common lesions in all chicks. In two of the five chicks exposed to OTA for 21 days, focal tubular cell proliferation, multiple adenoma-like structures and Bcl-2-positive epithelial cells were identified in layers of the renal papilla and in convoluted tubules. Transmission electron microscopy of the proximal convoluted tubules identified abnormal forms of mitochondria. The nephrotoxic effect of ochratoxicosis in chickens is probably due to carcinogenic changes induced in the epithelial tissues.
Authors:Erika Tóth, Tamás Tauber, Balázs Wirth, Marcell Nikolausz, Márton Palatinszky, Peter Schumann, and Károly Márialigeti
The effect of several easily degradable substrates, such as protein, starch and sunflower oil was investigated on the bacterial community of a laboratory-scale biogas model system. Besides measuring gas yield, Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE), Phospholipids Fatty Acid Analysis (PLFA) for Bacteria and T-RFLP analysis of the mcrA gene for Archaea were used. The community of the examined biogas reactors adapted to the new substrates through a robust physiological reaction followed by moderate community abundance shifts. Gas yield data clearly demonstrated the physiological adaptation to substrate shifts. Statistical analysis of DNA and chemotaxonomic biomarkers revealed community abundance changes. Sequences gained from DGGE bands showed the dominance of the phyla Bacteroidetes and the presence of Firmicutes (Clostridia) and Thermotogae. This was supported by the detection of large amounts of branched 15-carbon non-hydroxy fatty acids in PLFA profiles, as common PLFA markers of the Bacteroidetes group. Minor abundance ratios changes were observed in the case of Archaea in accordance with changes of the fed substrates.
Authors:A. Tomaz, M. Patanita, I. Guerreiro, L. Boteta, and J.F. Palma
In intensive irrigated farming systems, the way to improve productive efficiency depends on the proper management of resources. With the implementation of the Alqueva global irrigation system in the southern Portugal region of Alentejo, agricultural intensification is a reality that imposes to farmers the challenge of producing more and more efficiently, ensuring the farming systems sustainability. This work resulted from an on-farm demonstration project carried out in two locations in the Alqueva region. Water use and water productivity were studied during 2012/2013 and 2013/2014, in three double cropping systems: a maize monoculture (MM) and two rotations, barley + maize-barley (BM-B) and sunflower-barley + maize (S-BM). Maize yields were influenced by the length of the crop cycle. In the rotation BM-B, with a predominance of autumn-winter crops, water requirements were lower and the total volume of irrigation applied was approximately half of the monoculture (5930 m3/ha and 13,230 m3/ha, respectively). When the potential crop yield was reached, maize had the higher water productivity (the highest value achieved was of 2.7 kg/m3). Overall, as a result of the lower yields achieved, the water productivity values indicate a less balanced performance of the S-BM rotation.