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In order to improve the isolation rate of Rhodococcus equi from animals and soil, the efficacy of four previously described selective media (CAZ-NB, M3T, NANAT and TINSDALE) and that of four other media (NC, PNP, TCP and TVP) composed by us was compared and evaluated. Two selective plating media proved to be the best for the isolation of R. equi from contaminated samples. One of them was CAZ-NB containing ceftazidime, novobiocin and cycloheximide, while the other was the newly composed TCP containing trimethoprim, cefoperazone, polymyxin B, cycloheximide and potassium tellurite as selective components. These two media allowed the growth of at least 62-72% of R. equi present in the artificially contaminated samples, and the inhibition of unwanted contaminant bacteria and fungi was satisfactory with both media. TCP medium proved to be superior to CAZ-NB since the colony morphology of R. equi was much more characteristic (shiny, smooth, black colonies 3-5 mm in diameter) on it, and it inhibited the unwanted contaminant bacterial and fungal flora more effectively, especially in the case of faecal and soil samples. Therefore, TCP is recommended as a new, highly selective plating medium for the isolation of R. equi from contaminated samples.

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The effect of 10-day zearalenone administration starting 10 days after ovulation was studied in 6 cycling trotter mares in the summer period. After an entire oestrous cycle (Cycle 1), mares were given 7 mg purified zearalenone per os daily (1 mg/ml in ethyl alcohol) beginning on Day 10 of Cycle 2. Toxin exposure was continued until the subsequent ovulation. Luteal function and follicular activity were monitored daily by rectal palpation, ultrasonography and blood sampling for progesterone. During toxin exposure, all animals were in good physical condition. The toxin had no effect on the length of the interovulatory intervals, luteal and follicular phases. It did not influence significantly the plasma progesterone profiles (logistic curve parameters A1 to A6), the follicular activity (growth rate, maximum size of the ovulatory follicles, maximum number and the time of first increase in the number of large follicles) and the uterine oedema. It is concluded that in cyclic mares the methods used in this study could not detect any adverse effect of zearalenone (administered at a low dose similar to natural exposure) on reproduction.

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Acta Agronomica Hungarica
Authors: J. Pintér, E. Kósa, G. Hadi, Z. Hegyi, T. Spitkó, Z. Tóth, Z. Szigeti, E. Páldi, and L. Marton

The level of UV-B radiation reaching the surface of the earth is increasing due to the thinning of the ozone layer in the stratosphere over recent decades. This has numerous negative effects on living organisms.Some of the Hungarian inbred maize lines examined under the climatic conditions in Chile exhibited an unusually high proportion of pollen mortality, flowering asynchrony and barrenness. The evidence suggests that this can be attributed to the approx. 30% greater UV-B radiation in Chile.The investigation of this problem within the framework of abiotic stress breeding programmes is extremely important in the light of the global rise in UV-B radiation, which may make it necessary to elaborate a selection programme to develop inbred lines with better tolerance of this type of radiation.In the course of the experiment the same ten inbred lines, having different maturity dates and genetic backgrounds, were tested for five years in Chile and Hungary. The tests focussed on anthocyanin, a flavonoid derivative involved in the absorption of damaging UV-B radiation.Averaged over years and varieties, the total anthocyanin content in the leaf samples was significantly higher in Chile than in Hungary. This was presumably a response at the metabolic level to the negative stress represented by higher UV-B radiation.In the five early-maturing flint lines the anthocyanin contents were more than 45% greater than those recorded in Hungary. This suggests that these genotypes, originating from northern regions, were not sufficiently adapted to the higher radiation level. In these samples higher UV-B caused a sharp rise in the quantity of anthocyanin, which absorbs the dangerous radiation. In late-maturing genotypes the initial content of the protective compound anthocyanin was higher at both locations, so in these types the high radiation level was not a problem and did not cause any substantial change.Similar conclusions were drawn from the results of fluorescence imaging. The F440/F690 ratio indicative of the stress level was higher in late lines with a high anthocyanin content, good tolerance and good adaptability.

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Acta Alimentaria
Authors: Cs. Dobolyi, F. Sebők, J. Varga, S. Kocsubé, G. Szigeti, N. Baranyi, Á. Szécsi, B. Tóth, M. Varga, B. Kriszt, S. Szoboszlay, C. Krifaton, and J. Kukolya
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Acta Alimentaria
Authors: Cs. Dobolyi, F. Sebők, J. Varga, S. Kocsubé, G. Szigeti, N. Baranyi, Á. Szécsi, B. Tóth, M. Varga, B. Kriszt, S. Szoboszlay, C. Krifaton, and J. Kukolya

Climate change affects the occurrence of fungi and their mycotoxins in foods and feeds. A shift has recently been observed in the presence of aflatoxin producer Aspergillus spp. in Europe, with consequent aflatoxin contamination in agricultural commodities including maize in several European countries that have not faced with this problem before, including, e.g. Northern Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania. Although aflatoxin contamination of agricultural products including maize is not treated as a serious threat to Hungarian agriculture due to climatic conditions, these observations led us to examine the mycobiota of maize kernels collected from Hungarian maize fields. Using a calmodulin sequence-based approach, A. flavus isolates have been identified in 63.5% of the maize fields examined in 2009 and 2010, and 18.8% of these isolates were found to be able to produce aflatoxins above 5 μg kg−1 on maize kernels as determined by ELISA, HPLC-FL, HPLC-MS analyses and SOS-Chromotest. These data indicate that aflatoxin producing Aspergilli are present in Hungarian agricultural fields, consequently climate change with elevated temperatures could lead to aflatoxin contamination of Hungarian agricultural products, too.

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