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Freezing tolerance is a quantitative trait, determined by many genes and also influenced by environmental factors. Thus, the development of reliable testing methods is a prerequisite both for the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and for the identification of the genes behind the QTLs. Transformation methods proved to be effective in the direct verification of isolated genes involved in low temperature stress responses. In order to develop freezing tolerance, winter cereals must be adapted through a cold hardening period, which not only influences cold adaptation but also initiates the vernalization process necessary for flowering. Recent and ongoing studies are endeavouring to uncover the relationship between freezing tolerance and vernalization response at the genetic and molecular levels. This review aims to explain cereal freezing tolerance on the basis of recent discoveries in the areas outlined above.

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Authors: F. Tóth, Franciska Tóthné Bogdányi, Renáta Petrikovszki, Anita Gódor, M. Zalai, B. Bálint, P. Sunder and A. Myrta

The effectiveness of dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) to control root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) and weeds was tested for the first time in Hungary in two consecutive protected cucumber crops with application made only before the first crop. The treatments were Accolade EC (DMDS 94.1%) at 400 l/ha applied by driplines, Nemathorin 10 G (fosthiazate) at 30 kg/ha, and an untreated control. During the first cucumber cycle vigour-index, yield, root-gall index, Meloidogyne juveniles in the soil and germination of weeds were evaluated. All considered parameters were significantly improved by using DMDS compared respectively to the chemical standard and untreated control: (i) vigour-index of 7.0, 4.3 and 3.6; (ii) cumulative yield/sample of 45.1 kg, 30.9 kg, and 16.6 kg; root-gall index (RGI) of 1.2, 4.9, and 5.9; (iii) M. incognita J2/25 g soil of 0.25, 48.5 and 78.0, and (iv) number of weed seedlings/sample in the 20–30 cm soil profile of 1.1, 2.6, and 4.2. During the second cucumber crop, only root-gall index was evaluated. Results showed that a single DMDS treatment applied before the first crop had a prolonged beneficial effect on the following crop. In the second crop cycle, root gall indices were 5.58, 9.18, and 8.44 for DMDS treated plots, chemical control and untreated control, respectively.

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The Madaras brickyard section found at the northernmost fringe of the Backa loess plateau is one of the thickest and best-developed last glacial loess sequences of Central Europe. In the present work high-resolution magnetic susceptibility measurements (at 2 cm) were implemented on samples from the 10 m-section corresponding to a period between 29 and 11 KY cal b2K. One aim was to compare the findings with the ice core records of northern Greenland in order to establish a high-resolution paleoclimatic record for the last climatic cycle and with findings documented in other biotic and abiotic proxies so far. Our results revealed a strong variability of loess/paleosol formation during MIS 2. Millennial time-scale climatic events that characterize the North Atlantic during the last climatic cycle have been identified. From 29 ka up to the start of the LGM, the recorded MS values show a weak, negative correlation with the temperature proxy, and a weak positive correlation with the dust concentration of Greenland. A strong correlation was observed with the local paleotemperatures. Local climatic factors must have had a more prominent effect here on loess/paleosol development than the climate shifts over Greenland. During the LGM the same pattern is seen with a stronger correlation with the dust concentrations and a weaker correlation with the local temperature. Local climatic factors, plus dust accumulation, must have had a prominent influence on loess/paleosol development here. From the terminal part of the LGM a strong positive correlation of the MS values with the temperature proxy for Greenland accompanied by a strong negative correlation with the dust concentration values is observed. Correlation with local paleotemperatures is positive and moderate, strong. Here climate shifts over Greenland, as well as local endowments equally had an important role on the development of the MS signal.

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Authors: Á. Tóth, E. Baka, Sz. Luzics, I. Bata-Vidács, I. Nagy, B. Bálint, R. Herczeg, F. Olasz, T. Wilk, T. Nagy, B. Kriszt, I. Nagy and J. Kukolya

Thermobifidas are thermophilic, aerobic, lignocellulose decomposing actinomycetes. The Thermobifida genus includes four species: T. fusca, T. alba, T. cellulosilytica, and T. halotolerans. T. fusca YX is the far best characterized strain of this taxon and several cellulases and hemicellulases have been cloned from it for industrial purposes targeting paper industry, biofuel, and feed applications. Unfortunately, sequence data of such enzymes are almost exclusively restricted to this single species; however, we demonstrated earlier by zymography that other T. alba and T. cellulosilytica strains encode the same enzyme sets. Recently, the advances in whole genome sequencing by the use of next generation genomics platforms accelerated the selection process of valuable hydrolases from uncharacterized bacterial species for cloning purposes. For this purpose T. cellulosilytica TB100T type strain was chosen for de novo genome sequencing. We have assembled the genome of T. cellulosilytica strain TB100T into 168 contigs and 19 scaffolds, with reference length of 4 327 869 bps, 3 589 putative coding sequences, 53 tRNAs, and 4 rRNAs. The analysis of the annotated genome revealed the existence of 27 putative hydrolases belonging to 14 different glycoside hydrolase (GH) families. The investigation of identified, cloned, and heterologously multiple cellulases, mannanases, xylanases, and amylases may result in industrial applications beside gaining useful basic research related information.

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Authors: P. Török, E. Tóth, K. Tóth, O. Valkó, B. Deák, B. Kelbert, P. Bálint, Sz. Radócz, A. Kelemen, J. Sonkoly, T. Miglécz, G. Matus, A. Takács, V. A. Molnár, K. Süveges, L. Papp, L. Papp Jr., Z. Tóth, B. Baktay, G. Málnási Csizmadia, I. Oláh, E. Peti, J. Schellenberger, O. Szalkovszki, R. Kiss and B. TÓthmérész

For understanding local and regional seed dispersal and plant establishment processes and for considering the ecotypes and other forms of specific variability, hard data of locally or regionally measured traits are necessary. We provided newly measured seed weight data of 193 taxa, out of which 24 taxa had not been represented in the SID, LEDA or BiolFlor databases. Our new measurements and formerly published data of locally collected seed weight records together covers over 70% of the Pannonian flora. However, there is still a considerable lack in seed weight data of taxonomically problematic genera, even though they are represented in the Pannonian flora with a relatively high number of species and/or subspecies (e.g. Sorbus, Rosa, Rubus, Crataegus and Hieracium). Our regional database contains very sporadic data on aquatic plants (including also numerous invasive species reported from Hungary and neighbouring countries) and some rare weeds distributed in the southwestern part of the country. These facts indicate the necessity of further seed collection and measurements.

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