Abstract: Excessive salt rate can adversely influence the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils, mainly in arid and semi-arid world regions. Therefore, salt-affected soils must be reclaimed to maintain satisfactory fertility levels for increasing food production. Different approaches have been suggested to solve these issues. This short review focuses on selected studies that have identified organic materials (e.g., farmyard manures, different agro-industrial by-products, and composts) as effective tools to improve different soil properties (e.g., structural stability and permeability) in salt-affected soils. Organic fertilization is highly sustainable when compared to other options to date when taken into consideration as a solution to the highlighted issues. However, further experimental investigations are needed to validate this approach in a wider range of both saline and sodic soils, also combining waste recycling with other sustainable agronomic practices (crop rotations, cover crops use, etc.).
Abstract: Food production in 2050 will be sufficient, globally, but many of the poor will remain food insecure. The primary cause of food insecurity will continue to be poverty, rather than inadequate food production. Thus, policies and investments that increase the incomes of the poor will remain the best ways to extend food security to all. Investments that promote growth in sustainable agriculture and provide non-farm employment opportunities in rural areas of lower income countries will be most helpful. There will be sufficient water, globally, to achieve food production goals and sustain rural and urban livelihoods, if we allocate and manage the resource wisely. Yet, water shortages will constrain agricultural production and limit incomes and livelihood opportunities in many areas. Policies and investments are needed to extend and ensure access to water for household use and agricultural production. Challenges requiring the attention of policy makers and investors include increasing urbanization and increasing demands for land and water resources. Policy makers must ensure that farmers retain access to the water they need for producing food and sustaining livelihoods, and they must create greater opportunities for women in agriculture. They must also motivate investments in new technologies that will enhance crop and livestock production, particularly for smallholders, and encourage the private sector to invest in activities that create employment opportunities in rural areas.
Abstract: Plants harbor a diverse microbiome existing as bacterial populations on the leaf surface (the phyllosphere) and within plant tissues (endophytes). The composition of this microbiome has been largely unexplored in fresh produce vegetables, where studies have tended to focus on pathogen detection and survival. However, the application of next-generation 16S rRNA gene sequencing approaches is beginning to reveal the diversity of this produce-associated bacterial community. In this article we review what is known about the composition of the microbiome of fresh produce vegetables, placing it in the context of general phyllosphere research. We also demonstrate how next-generation sequencing can be used to assess the bacterial assemblages present on fresh produce, using fresh herbs as an example. That data shows how the use of such culture-independent approaches can detect groups of taxa (anaerobes, psychrophiles) that may be missed by traditional culture-based techniques. Other issues discussed include questions as to whether to determine the microbiome during plant growth or at point of purchase or consumption, and the potential role of the natural bacterial community in mitigating pathogen survival.
Abstract: The efficacy of “gaseous” ozone in reducing numbers and re-growth of food-borne pathogens, (Escherichia coli and Listeria spp.), on leafy salads was investigated using spinach. A preliminary in vivo study showed 1-log reduction in six strains of E. coli and two species of Listeria spp. on spinach exposed to 1 ppm ozone for 10 min. A range of ozone treatments were explored to deliver optimal bacterial inactivation while maintaining the visual appearance (color) of produce. Exposure to a higher ozone concentration for a shorter duration (10 ppm for 2 min) significantly reduced E. coli and Listeria spp. viable counts by 1-log and the pathogens did not re-grow following treatment (over a nine-day storage period). Impacts of 1 and 10 ppm ozone treatments were not significantly different. Approximately 10% of the pathogen population was resistant to ozone treatment. We hypothesized that cell age may be one of several factors responsible for variation in ozone resistance. E. coli cells from older colonies demonstrated higher ozone resistance in subsequent experiments. Overall, we speculate that gaseous ozone treatment constitutes the basis for an alternative customer-friendly method to reduce food pathogen contamination of leafy produce and is worth exploring on a pilot-scale in an industrial setting.
Abstract: Health professionals play an important role in educating the public about food safety risks. However, the ways this important group of educators remains up-to-date on these topics are not well defined. In this study, a national sample of dietitians employed in direct teaching of patients (n = 327) were recruited to complete a web-delivered survey designed to develop a model of factors that promote information processing and teaching in practice about food safety related to fresh vegetables. The resulting mental model demonstrates that dietitians teach fresh vegetable safety using systematic information processing to intellectually understand new information, but this is also associated with a gap in the dietitian’s knowledge of food safety. The juxtaposition of an information processing model with a behavioral model provides valuable new insights about how dietitians seek, acquire and translate/transfer important information to move patients toward a higher goal of food safety. The study also informs food safety educators as they formulate teaching strategies that are more effective than other approaches at promoting behavior change.
Abstract: This paper describes Nepal’s national livestock policies and considers how they can be improved to help meet the pressing national challenges of economic development, equity, poverty alleviation, gender mainstreaming, inclusion of marginalized and underprivileged communities, and climate vulnerability. Nepal is in the process of transforming its government from a unitary system to a federal democratic structure through the new constitution expected by 2015, offering the opportunity to bring a new set of priorities and stakeholders to policymaking. Nepal’s livestock subsector comes most directly within the purview of the National Agricultural Policy 2004, Agro-Business Policy, 2006 and Agricultural Sectoral Operating Policies of the Approach Paper to 13th Plan, 2012/13–2015/16 policy instruments. We systematically review these and other livestock-related national policies through analysis of their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). We conclude with the need to formulate a separate, integrated national livestock policy so that Nepal can sustainably increase livestock productivity and achieve diversification, commercialization and competitiveness of the livestock subsector within the changing national and international contexts.