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Agriculture, Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2012), Pages 154-281

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Purification and Phytotoxic Analysis of Botrytis cinerea Virulence Factors: New Avenues for Crop Protection
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 154-164; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030154
Received: 29 April 2012 / Revised: 18 June 2012 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published: 10 July 2012
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Abstract
Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic fungus infecting over 230 plant species worldwide. This highly adaptable pathogen can afflict agricultural products from seed to storage, causing significant economic losses and instability in the food supply. Small protein virulence factors secreted by B. cinerea [...] Read more.
Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic fungus infecting over 230 plant species worldwide. This highly adaptable pathogen can afflict agricultural products from seed to storage, causing significant economic losses and instability in the food supply. Small protein virulence factors secreted by B. cinerea during infection play an important role in initiation and spread of disease. BcSnod1 was found to be abundantly expressed upon exposure to media containing strawberry extract. From sequence similarity, BcSnod2 was also identified and both were recognized as members of the Ceratoplatanin family of small phytotoxic proteins. Recombinant BcSnod1 was shown to have a phytotoxic effect and play an important role in pathogenicity while the role of BcSnod2 remains less clear. Both bacterial and yeast production systems are reported, though the bacterial protein is less toxic and mostly unfolded relative to that made in yeast. Compared to BcSnod1, recombinant bacterial BcSnod2 shows similar, but delayed phytotoxicity on tomato leaves. Further studies of these critical virulence factors and their inhibition promise to provide new avenues for crop protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Plant Disease on Food Security)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Demographics and Attitudes on Willingness-to-Pay for Fuel Import Reductions through Ethanol Purchases
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 165-181; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030165
Received: 22 May 2012 / Revised: 4 July 2012 / Accepted: 6 July 2012 / Published: 10 July 2012
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (297 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One potential means to ameliorate consumer concerns over energy security is to increase the domestic production of alternative fuels. However, in the United States, the public’s attitude toward ethanol, one of the most readily available alternative fuels, has been somewhat ambiguous. This [...] Read more.
One potential means to ameliorate consumer concerns over energy security is to increase the domestic production of alternative fuels. However, in the United States, the public’s attitude toward ethanol, one of the most readily available alternative fuels, has been somewhat ambiguous. This study examines consumer attitudes related to energy security and how import levels influence preferences for ethanol blends using an online survey of fuel consumers across the United States. The results suggest that while consumers generally favor both environmental protection and energy security, they are less clear about how to pursue these goals, with no clear majority agreeing with additional drilling or potential effect of corn ethanol production on food prices. The results do suggest that consumers are willing to pay a premium for fuel blends that contain a lower percentage of imported fuel and that the amount of this premium is influenced by both consumer demographics and views on energy security and environmental issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biofuels, Food Security, and Accompanying Environmental Concerns)
Open AccessArticle Stability of Chokeberry Bioactive Polyphenols during Juice Processing and Stabilization of a Polyphenol-Rich Material from the By-Product
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 244-258; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030244
Received: 7 August 2012 / Revised: 27 August 2012 / Accepted: 7 September 2012 / Published: 20 September 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are nowadays believed to exhibit potential cardioprotective and antidiabetic effects principally due to their high content in bioactive phenolic compounds. The stability of the phenolic compounds was studied during different stages of a juice production line and [...] Read more.
Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are nowadays believed to exhibit potential cardioprotective and antidiabetic effects principally due to their high content in bioactive phenolic compounds. The stability of the phenolic compounds was studied during different stages of a juice production line and a method for the valorization of pomace was evaluated. Samples were taken from a commercial juice production plant, extracted and analyzed for phenolic constituents and antioxidant potential. Prototypes of functional food ingredients were produced from the pomace by wet milling and micro-milling. Alongside juice processing, the contents of phenolic berry constituents did not vary to a great extent and the overall antioxidant activity increased by about 34%. A high quality juice and a by-product still rich in polyphenols resulted from the process. The phenolic compounds content and the overall antioxidant activity remained stable when milling and micro-milling the pomace. During coarse milling, extractability of total phenolic compounds increased significantly (40% to 50%). Nanosized materials with averaged particle sizes (x50,0) of about 90 nm were obtained by micro-milling. These materials showed significantly enhanced extractability of total phenolic compounds (25%) and total phenolic acid (30%), as well as antioxidant activity (35%), with unchanged contents of total procyanidins and anthocyanins contents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Biofuel and Food-Commodity Prices
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 272-281; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030272
Received: 4 August 2012 / Revised: 10 September 2012 / Accepted: 18 September 2012 / Published: 24 September 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (181 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper summarizes key findings of alternative lines of research on the relationship between food and fuel markets, and identifies gaps between two bodies of literature: one that investigates the relationship between food and fuel prices, and another that investigates the impact [...] Read more.
The paper summarizes key findings of alternative lines of research on the relationship between food and fuel markets, and identifies gaps between two bodies of literature: one that investigates the relationship between food and fuel prices, and another that investigates the impact of the introduction of biofuels on commodity-food prices. The former body of literature suggests that biofuel prices do not affect food-commodity prices, but the latter suggests it does. We try to explain this gap, and then show that although biofuel was an important contributor to the recent food-price inflation of 2001–2008, its effect on food-commodity prices declined after the recession of 2008/09. We also show that the introduction of cross-price elasticity is important when explaining soybean price, but less so when explaining corn prices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biofuels, Food Security, and Accompanying Environmental Concerns)

Review

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Open AccessReview Taro Leaf Blight—A Threat to Food Security
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 182-203; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030182
Received: 23 May 2012 / Revised: 15 June 2012 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published: 16 July 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (822 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Taro leaf blight (caused by the Oomycete Phytophthora colocasiae) is a disease of major importance in many regions of the world where taro is grown. Serious outbreaks of taro leaf blight in Samoa in 1993 and in the last few years [...] Read more.
Taro leaf blight (caused by the Oomycete Phytophthora colocasiae) is a disease of major importance in many regions of the world where taro is grown. Serious outbreaks of taro leaf blight in Samoa in 1993 and in the last few years in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria continue to demonstrate the devastating impact of this disease on the livelihoods and food security of small farmers and rural communities dependent on the crop. The spread of the disease to new geographical areas also poses a major threat to neighbouring countries and taro growing regions still free from the disease. Past research, particularly in the Pacific, has demonstrated that management measures such as chemical and cultural control are largely ineffective and that breeding for disease resistance is the most sustainable approach to manage the disease. Recently, the Pacific and South-east Asian regional taro networks have made excellent progress in developing cultivars resistant to taro leaf blight through enhanced utilization of taro genetic resources and close collaboration between farmers and researchers in breeding programs. These programs have secured vital taro genetic resources for future use. This paper provides an overview of the disease, its origin, distribution, biology, epidemiology, management and global impact. The paper will largely focus on breeding strategies to address the disease including challenges, opportunities and constraints. It also discusses how these breeding experiences and outputs can be scaled up to other geographical areas where the disease has been recently introduced or under threat of introduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Plant Disease on Food Security)
Open AccessReview Aromatic Plants as a Source of Bioactive Compounds
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 228-243; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030228
Received: 19 July 2012 / Revised: 29 August 2012 / Accepted: 10 September 2012 / Published: 20 September 2012
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (218 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aromatic plants, also known as herbs and spices, have been used since antiquity as folk medicine and as preservatives in foods. The best known aromatic plants, such as oregano, rosemary, sage, anise, basil, etc., originate from the Mediterranean area. They contain [...] Read more.
Aromatic plants, also known as herbs and spices, have been used since antiquity as folk medicine and as preservatives in foods. The best known aromatic plants, such as oregano, rosemary, sage, anise, basil, etc., originate from the Mediterranean area. They contain many biologically active compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which have been found to possess antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiprotozoal, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Currently, the demand for these plants and their derivatives has increased because they are natural, eco-friendly and generally recognized as safe products. Therefore, aromatic plants and their extracts have the potential to become new generation substances for human and animal nutrition and health. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the literature surrounding the in vivo and in vitro use of aromatic plants. Full article
Open AccessReview An Alternative Use of Horticultural Crops: Stressed Plants as Biofactories of Bioactive Phenolic Compounds
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 259-271; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030259
Received: 1 August 2012 / Revised: 13 September 2012 / Accepted: 14 September 2012 / Published: 24 September 2012
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Plants subjected to abiotic stresses synthesize secondary metabolites with potential application in the functional foods, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and agrochemical markets. This approach can be extended to horticultural crops. This review describes previous reports regarding the effect of different postharvest abiotic [...] Read more.
Plants subjected to abiotic stresses synthesize secondary metabolites with potential application in the functional foods, dietary supplements, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and agrochemical markets. This approach can be extended to horticultural crops. This review describes previous reports regarding the effect of different postharvest abiotic stresses on the accumulation of phenolic compounds. Likewise, the physiological basis for the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds as an abiotic stress response is described. The information presented herein would be useful for growers and the fresh produce market which are interested in finding alternative uses for their crops, especially for those not meeting quality standards and thus are considered as waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture)

Other

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Open AccessShort Note Anti-Obesity Effect of Nepetae spica Extract in High-Fat Mice
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 204-210; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030204
Received: 28 May 2012 / Revised: 31 July 2012 / Accepted: 15 August 2012 / Published: 22 August 2012
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Abstract
In recent years, obesity is the most common metabolic disease emerging as a global problem especially in developed nations. The discovery of bioactive compounds from natural plant extracts is one possible way to control obesity and prevent or reduce the risks of [...] Read more.
In recent years, obesity is the most common metabolic disease emerging as a global problem especially in developed nations. The discovery of bioactive compounds from natural plant extracts is one possible way to control obesity and prevent or reduce the risks of getting various obesity-related diseases. In this study, we elucidated that Nepetae spica extract significantly reduced the body weight gain induced through feeding a high-fat diet to C57BL/6 mice. The treatment of Nepetae spica extract significantly reduced the adipose tissue weight to 1.5/100 g of body weight in high-fat mice. When their adipose tissue morphology was investigated for histochemical staining, the distribution of cell size in the high-fat diet groups was hypertrophied compared with those from Nepetae spica extract-treated mice. In addition, in Nepetae spica extract-treated mice, a significant reduction of serum triglyceride and T-cholesterol was observed at to 13% and 16%, respectively. These results suggest that Nepetae spica extract could be useful for prevention or treatment of obesity. Full article
Open AccessConcept Paper Nonstop Selection for High and Stable Crop Yield by Two Prognostic Equations to Reduce Yield Losses
Agriculture 2012, 2(3), 211-227; doi:10.3390/agriculture2030211
Received: 18 June 2012 / Revised: 21 August 2012 / Accepted: 23 August 2012 / Published: 7 September 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (276 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Yield losses occurring at the field level, whether due to plant diseases or abiotic stresses, reveal reduced stability of the crop yield potential. The paper argues that the stability of crop yield potential is a trait with a clear genetic component, which [...] Read more.
Yield losses occurring at the field level, whether due to plant diseases or abiotic stresses, reveal reduced stability of the crop yield potential. The paper argues that the stability of crop yield potential is a trait with a clear genetic component, which can be successfully selected for at the single-plant level and incorporated into high-yielding cultivars. Two novel selection equations with prognostic power are presented, capable to objectively phenotype and evaluate individual plants in real field conditions in the absence of the masking effects of interplant competition and soil heterogeneity. The equations predict performance at the crop stand through the key concept of coefficient of homeostasis and are equally useful for early generation selection and for nonstop selection within finished cultivars in order to continuously incorporate the adaptive (genetic or epigenetic) responses of plants. Exploitation of adaptive responses acquires particular importance in view of the climate change effects on crop productivity and the changing biotic or abiotic micro-environments. Cotton is used as a case study to highlight the potential of nonstop selection for increasing crop yield and for the gradual build-up of disease resistance. In addition, the paper envisions and proposes the formation of international networks of researchers focusing on specific diseases as, for example, the cereal root-rot or the cotton Verticillium wilt that will concurrently use the proposed strategy in their respective environments to select for resistant genotypes, while gaining a deeper understanding of the nature of the genetic or epigenetic changes at the phenotypic and genomic levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Plant Disease on Food Security)

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