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The climatic conditions in Hungary and in the countries to which seed is exported makes the study of maize cold tolerance and constant improvements in the cold tolerance of Martonvásár hybrids especially important. An improvement in the early spring cold tolerance of maize would allow it to be grown in more northern areas with a cooler climate, while on traditional maize-growing areas the profitability of maize production could be improved by earlier sowing, leading to a reduction in transportation and drying costs and in diseases caused by Fusarium sp. The recognition of this fact led Martonvásár researchers to start investigating this subject nearly four decades ago. The phytotron has proved an excellent tool for studying and improving the cold tolerance of maize. The review will give a brief summary of the results achieved in the field of maize cold tolerance in the Martonvásár institute in recent decades.

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The emergence time and emergence percentage of four inbred lines with different degrees of chilling tolerance (Mo 17, HMv 5316, HMv 5301, HMv 5478) and the dry mass of young shoots were examined in a seed dressing experiment carried out in pots and sown early under field conditions, on soil infected with pathogens or free of infection (control). The advantage of seed dressing was manifested for all the traits examined, with the exception of emergence time, and the dressing agents were found to exhibit a certain degree of variety specificity. The time to emergence was determined chiefly by the genotype of the inbred lines. Differences were observed when the inbred lines were ranked on the basis of the emergence time and the emergence percentage. This was in agreement with the fact that no correlation was observed between the emergence percentage and the emergence time. Genotype HMv 5316 proved to be best on the basis of emergence time and HMv 5301 for emergence percentage. The poorest results for all the traits examined were recorded for Mo 17, which is in agreement with the poor chilling tolerance of this inbred line. In summary, the following conclusions can be drawn: if the chilling tolerance and growth vigour of the genotypes are to be satisfactorily described, traits characteristic of initial plant development (dry mass of the shoots, size of the leaf area, etc.) should also be considered in addition to the emergence time and emergence percentage.

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An experiment was set up at five locations in Hungary in 2005, in a randomised block design with four replications. At each location 24 hybrids were tested from each of four maturity groups (FAO 200, FAO 300, FAO 400, FAO 500). Evaluations were made of the yield average (t/ha) and the yield components of the sample ears: ear length, number of kernel rows, thousand-kernel mass and kernel/cob ratio. This was followed by chemical analysis to determine the protein, oil and starch contents of the kernels. The chemical quality parameters were recorded for almost 100 hybrids, and the correlations of the protein, oil and starch contents with yield and yield components were analysed. It was found that in all the maturity groups the yield was closely correlated with the thousand-kernel mass (0.72). In each maturity group the highest yield averages were associated with the greatest average starch contents, except for the FAO 500 group in the Szarvas location, where the development of secondary ears contributed to the achievement of the highest yield average. A very close correlation was found between the starch content and the thousand kernel mass (0.91). The variety caused greater differences in protein content than the location. This was also true for the oil content in the FAO 200 and FAO 400 groups, but only in the FAO 400 group in the case of starch content. More starch was incorporated at wetter locations, where the protein content of the samples was lower.

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Fusarium is globally one of most important genera of fungi, causing an array of plant diseases, producing mycotoxins and adversely affecting human health. Some Fusarium species are associated with grasses, as saprophytes, endophytes or pathogens. A study was carried out on the distribution and diversity of Fusarium species associated with non-agricultural grasses, maize, sorghum and millet in Hungary. Grasses (Poaceae), both agricultural and wild, are important hosts of pathogenic Fusarium species. Little is known, however, about endophytic fusaria in wild grasses in Hungary.The aim of this paper was to present data on the occurrence of fusaria on grass species collected from wild populations. A total of 106 plants belonging to 43 different grass species were collected in different locations in Hungary, and 11 different Fusarium species were isolated from the stems of 62.3% of the plant samples. The most common species were F. compactum (19.1%), F. equiseti (16.2%) and F. graminearum (14.7%). Wild grasses are a rich source of endophytic Fusarium isolates for the production of metabolites with antimicrobial and anticancer activity. This is the first report on the diversity of endophytic Fusarium associated with grasses in Hungary.

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Six single-cross hybrids and their parental lines were inoculated with the FG36 Fusarium graminearum isolate in 2005 and 2006. In both years the degree of infection increased after artificial inoculation for both the hybrids and the inbred lines compared with the level of natural infection. The more severe stalk infection recorded in 2005 than in 2006 could be attributed to the weather conditions during flowering and harvesting.The 18 genotypes examined exhibited different levels of resistance to fusarium stalk rot. It could be concluded from the results that the resistance level of the female parent was decisive in the inheritance of the response to fusarium stalk rot (female component-hybrid r = 0.88, male component-hybrid r = 0.39).Some genotypes may be severely affected in epidemic years, while exhibiting a lower rate of infection in years with lower pathogen pressure. This suggests that successful breeding for resistance can only be carried out efficiently by means of artificial inoculation.

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Kernel samples of two maize hybrids (46308 and 463017) with different levels of resistance to Fusarium ear rot were collected from artificially and naturally infected plants. The spectral characteristics of the samples were analysed with an ASD Fieldspec 3 MAX spectroradiometer in the wavelength range of 350 to 2500 nm using an ex situ method. The different extents of artificial and natural Fusarium infection on the maize kernels resulted in spectral differences detectable with a spectroradiometer. The data showed that for both genotypes the level of Fusarium infection generated by artificial inoculation was significantly higher than that caused by natural infection over a wavelength range of 2030 to 2080 nm. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) on the data set for this range revealed that the first component explained 77.0% of the variability for hybrid 46308 and 97.0% for hybrid 46317.

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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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The European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübn.), which is to be found almost universally in Europe and America, is an extremely important pest from the economic point of view. Losses caused by the pest range from 250-1000 kg/ha depending on the degree of infestation, the year and the yield averages. This fact justifies protection measures in Hungary on the whole of the seed production and sweetcorn fields and on 40% of the commercial maize sowing area. In addition to the direct damage, indirect losses are also considerable, since the injuries caused by the pest facilitate infection by Fusarium species. For the above reasons it is worth reviewing the habits of this pest, the extent of the economic loss resulting from the damage, and ways of controlling it.

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Herbal teas may be effective in adjuvant therapy for the prevention of complications of diabetes mellitus II. Agrimoniae herba, Betulae folium, Bursae pastoris herba, Foenigraeci semen, Galegae herba, Maydis stigma, Taraxaci radix, Phaseoli fructus sine seminibus, Urticae folium, and their teas were analysed by ICP-OES for element content. Concentration of the elements of crude drug samples obtained are in good agreement with the average concentrations of plants, although some significantly high concentration has been found for manganese (893 mg kg-1), zinc (275 mg kg-1) and iron (492 mg kg-1) in Betulae folium, for copper (41.2 mg kg-1) in Galegae herba, for iron (2692 mg kg-1) in Taraxaci radix, for calcium (41210 mg kg-1) and magnesium (6275 mg kg-1) in Urticae folium. The common characteristic feature of crude drugs is the relatively high concentration of chromium (0.8-16.3 mg kg-1). Ion concentrations of teas are relatively low. The quantities of metal ions do not cover the daily needs, nevertheless, they may be important as food supplements. According to U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), the following teas are good sources: Agrimoniae herba for chromium, Betulae folium for manganese, Taraxaci radix for copper and chromium, Urticae folium for potassium and calcium. The dissolution of elements from plant drugs varies: potassium (22.5-74.7%), sodium (1.9-60.5%), calcium (6.6-28.1%), magnesium (12.3-52.5%) and copper (3.7-51.4%) are readily dissolved. The dissolution of manganese (6.8-32.3%) and of zinc (0-31%) is lower. The dissolution of chromium from Agrimoniae herba (9.55%) is significantly higher, while the dissolution ranges from other plant drugs are between 0-5.9%.

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Acta Biologica Hungarica
Authors: Anna Resetár, Zita Demeter, Emese Ficsor, Andrea Balázs, Ágnes Mosolygó, Éva Szőke, S. Gonda, L. Papp, G. Surányi and C. Máthé

In this study, we report on the production of bulb scale-derived tissue cultures capable of efficient shoot and plant regeneration in three genotypes of snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis L., Amaryllidaceae), a protected ornamental plant. For culture line A, high auxin and low cytokinin concentration is required for callus production and plant regeneration. The type of auxin is of key importance: α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) in combination with indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) at concentrations of 2 mg L−1 or 2–10 mg L−1 NAA with 1 mg L−1 N6-benzyladenine (BA), a cytokinin on full-strength media are required for regeneration. Cultures showing regeneration were embryogenic. When lines B and C were induced and maintained with 2 mg L−1 NAA and 1 mg L−1 BA, they produced mature bulblets with shoots, without roots. Line A produced immature bulblets with shoots under the above culture condition. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) analysis showed that (i) genetic differences between line A and its bulb explants were not significant, therefore these tissue cultures are suitable for germplasm preservation, and (ii) different morphogenetic responses of lines A, B and C originated from genetic differences. Culture line A is suitable for field-growing, cultivation and germplasm preservation of G. nivalis and for the production of Amaryllidaceae alkaloids.

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