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Leafy hybrids represent a new direction in the breeding of silage maize. Not only does the increased number of leaves above the ear in these hybrids lead to an increase in dry matter production, but the large quantity of carbohydrates formed and stored in the leaves results in silage with better chemical quality. Many papers have been published abroad on this subject, but few data have been reported in Hungary.The present work aimed to examine the effect of genotype and year on six leafy and non-leafy silage maize hybrids over a period of four years (2002–2005), with special emphasis on the plant height, ear attachment height, leaf number, and fresh and dry matter yield.The results showed that the number of leaves above the ear was much higher for the two leafy hybrids (8.00 and 9.35) than the average of the other hybrids (5.56, averaged over the years). This trait was in close negative correlation (r 2 = −0.7346) with the ratio of ear attachment height to total plant height, a trait with strong genetic determination, little influenced by the year. In leafy hybrids the main ear was located far lower down, but the total plant height was similar to that of the other hybrids. The ratio of ear attachment height to plant height was 0.36 for the leafy hybrids, but ranged from 0.41 to 0.45 for the other hybrids (averaged over the years). In wetter years the hybrids were taller and had greater dry matter production per plant than in the dry year.

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Acta Agronomica Hungarica
Authors: Z. Hegyi, Z. Zsubori-Tóth, J. Pintér and C. Marton

Experiments have been underway in Martonvásár for many years to develop leafy silage hybrids, which have a greater aboveground mass than conventional silage hybrids. The best hybrids for biogas production would be those that produce a large quantity of biomass and are rich in starch. The chief characteristic of leafy hybrids is that they have more leaves than normal hybrids. Due to this enhanced leaf area above the ear, the vegetative period of leafy genotypes is shorter, while the grain-filling period is longer, which has a positive effect on both yield and grain quality. The results of the present experiment show that during the anaerobic fermentation of the silage, leafy hybrids produced more biogas (640 l per 1000 g dry matter) than conventional hybrids (606 l per 1000 g dry matter). There were no significant differences between the methane contents of the leafy and non-leafy hybrids tested in the experiment. A strong positive correlation was found between biogas yield and the starch content of the silage, and a moderate positive correlation between biogas yield and the sugar content. The correlation between biogas yield and the lignin and protein contents was negative, in accordance with other literary data.

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The chemical composition of maize makes it suitable for a wide range of nonconventional uses, including utilisation as a new source of energy for the 21st century as a raw material for biofuel. The aim of the experiments was to amalgamate the application of genetic markers with conventional breeding methods to produce maize hybrids whose starch content and ecostability satisfied the demands of industrial use, while having yield potential and agronomic traits on a par with those of hybrids currently cultivated. The chemical quality of 220 lines was evaluated using the NIR spectrometric technique, and the five maize inbred lines with the lowest and highest starch contents were selected for genetic marker studies. The variety identification of the lines was carried out using the isoenzymes stipulated by UPOV. The following SSR (simple sequences repeat) markers were tested: phi 095, umc 1057, nc 004, phi 096, nc 007, umc 1564, phi 85, y1 SSR, umc 1178, nc 009, phi 070, umc 1066, umc 1741, umc 1069, phi 033, phi 061, wx, phi 032, phi 084 and phi 062. The analysis of the fragment patterns revealed three SSR markers that appeared to be correlated with the starch content of the maize lines. These were the primer pairs y1 SSR, umc 1069 and phi 062 . These results are only of a preliminary nature, however, as the incorporation of starch is probably regulated by several genes, and the studies suggest it is also influenced by several environmental factors. It also appears likely that the bioethanol yield is determined not only by the starch content, but also by other parameters. Further research should thus be expanded to include investigations into the structural and fermentability traits of starch molecules, including the characterisation of these traits using genetic markers.

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Solar UV-B radiation is generally regarded as an environmental stress factor, causing harm to living organisms by damaging DNA, proteins, lipids and membranes. Increased UV-B radiation may affect plant life directly or indirectly, having an influence on photosynthesis and plant biomass. In many plants, including maize (which is one of the most important crops in the world), exposure to increased UV-B radiation causes the induction of UV-B absorbing compounds (e.g. flavonoids), which act as UV-B screens and reduce the dangerous levels and effects of this radiation in plant tissues and cells.This study aimed to reveal how Martonvásár maize inbred lines (bred under Central European environmental conditions) respond to increased UV-B radiation.

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A total of 96 hybrids from four maturity groups (FAO 200, 300, 400, 500) were tested in two years (2006, 2007) at two locations in Hungary (Martonvásár, Szarvas). Considerable differences were found between the years for the grain yield per hectare and for the grain quality parameters. In 2006 record yields were achieved at both locations, averaging 11.61 t/ha in Martonvásár and 12.20 t/ha in Szarvas, due primarily to well-timed irrigation in Martonvásár and to good rainfall supplies in Szarvas. In 2007 both locations suffered from drought, with less rainfall than average during the critical months of the vegetation period, which was partially compensated for by irrigation in Martonvásár, giving a yield average of 5.96 t/ha, while the hybrids grown in Szarvas had a yield average of 5.06 t/ha. The grain quality parameters exhibited a close correlation with the grain yield in the individual FAO maturity groups. Hybrids of the flint type, which have a short vegetation period, had high protein and oil contents, but the yield averages were low due to the slower rate of starch incorporation. Hybrids of the dent type have a longer vegetation period and more intense carbohydrate accumulation, but low protein and oil contents. In wet years and locations there was a higher rate of starch accumulation, while dry years are favourable for protein and oil accumulation. The Bravais correlation coefficient was calculated between the yield and the grain quality parameters (averaged over years, locations and varieties). A positive, moderately strong correlation (0.68) was found between the yield and the starch content, a negative, moderately strong correlation (−0.52) between the yield and the protein content, and a loose negative correlation (−0.19) between the yield and the oil content.

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The effect of varying weather conditions on the moisture content of the maize grain yield was investigated in Martonvásár, Hungary from late August to late September, and from the 3rd third of September to the 1st third of Novemberbetween 1999 and 2002. In every year a close positive correlation (P=0.1%) could be observed between the moisture content in late September and the rate of drying down in October. Linear regression was used each year to determine the equilibrium moisture content, to which the moisture content of kernels returned if they contained less than this quantity of water in late September and harvesting was delayed. In the experimental years this value ranged from 15.24-19.01%.

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A comparison was made of herbicide tolerance results for two years, one dry (2003) and one wet (2004). The maximum permitted dose and twice this rate of the herbicides (mesotrione, mesotrione + atrazine, nicosulfuron, rimsulfuron) were sprayed on inbred maize lines in the 7-8-leaf stage. The effect of the herbicides on 20 inbred lines was evaluated on the basis of visible phytotoxic symptoms. In the dry year the greatest damage, averaged over the inbred lines, was caused by the double rate of rimsulfuron and nicosulfuron, but the plants had overcome this by the end of the vegetation period. In 2004 the cool wet spring weather retarded the metabolic processes of maize, leading to greater phytotoxic damage. The most severe symptoms were observed for the double rate of mesotrione + atrazine. The phytotoxic damage caused by the “normal” rates applied in commercial maize production was overcome by the lines in the wet year, too. Despite the initial visible phytotoxic damage, none of the herbicides caused significant differences in grain yield between the control and the single or double rates of treatment.

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Study was aimed to assess the effect of eating habits on cardiovascular risk factors and the assumed cardiovascular risk among 18–60 years old individuals in Hungary. The 1320 patients were recruited who had not been treated previously because of known cardiovascular risk factors or diseases. Taking questionnaire on eating habits, physical examination, laboratory tests (total cholesterol, LDL-, HDL-cholesterol, triglyceride, fasting blood glucose, OGTT) and cardiovascular risk assessment were carried out.Proportion of involved people who tended to follow healthy diet (determined on the basis of relevant European cardiovascular primary prevention guideline, focusing on the following parameters: total daily calorie-, fat-, cholesterol intake, fruit/vegetable- and salt consumption) was 66%. In “healthy diet” group we found more patients with normal total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride, blood pressure (BP) and body mass index (BMI) levels compared to “unhealthy diet” group and this difference was significant. There was no significant difference between the quality of diet and HDL-cholesterol and glucose levels. The level of cardiovascular risk changed in line with the quality of diet significantly: among those people who tended to follow a healthy diet, the proportion of low risk individuals was higher whereas among those people who did not care the quality of food, this proportion was the opposite.Intention to follow healthy diet is an important part of cardiovascular risk mitigation policy among adult Hungarian people.

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Studies involving morphological description with both dominant (RAPD) and codominant (SSR, isoenzyme) molecular markers were made on 28 maize inbred lines of known genetic background with a final aim of prediction of heterosis. The genetic distance and degree of relationship between the lines was determined using cluster analysis. Only a very limited extent of allele polymorphism could be detected in isoenzyme analyses as the 28 lines formed only 16 gel electrophoretic groups, indicating that certain lines had identical isoenzyme patterns. On the basis of RAPD and gene-specific microsatellite (SSR) markers, however, all the lines could be distinguished from each other. When the lines were grouped according to genetic background it was found that although the individual marker systems only partially reflected the actual relationships between the lines, a joint processing of the data, supplemented with morphological data, revealed a close correlation between the groups formed on the dendrogram and the genetic background.

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Functional role of calcium-activated potassium (KCA) channels on the basal and agonist-elevated arterial tones was investigated in isolated rabbit aorta, porcine and canine coronary arteries as well as in human internal mammary artery. The vascular tones enhanced by contractile agents were increased further by preincubation of these conduit blood vessels with selective (charybdotoxin or iberiotoxin) or non-selective (tetraethylammonium) inhibitors of KCA channels. The basal tone (without an agonist) was increased only in the canine coronary artery. The results indicate a feed-back regulatory role of KCA channels counteracting the vasospasm of conduit arteries.

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