Abstract: In the United States, corn (Zea mays L.) stover has been targeted for second generation fuel production and other bio-products. Our objective was to characterize sugar and structural composition as a function of vertical distribution of corn stover (leaves and stalk) that was sampled at physiological maturity and about three weeks later from multiple USA locations. A small subset of samples was assessed for thermochemical composition. Concentrations of lignin, glucan, and xylan were about 10% greater at grain harvest than at physiological maturity, but harvestable biomass was about 25% less due to stalk breakage. Gross heating density above the ear averaged 16.3 ± 0.40 MJ kg−1, but with an alkalinity measure of 0.83 g MJ−1, slagging is likely to occur during gasification. Assuming a stover harvest height of 10 cm, the estimated ethanol yield would be >2500 L ha−1, but it would be only 1000 L ha−1 if stover harvest was restricted to the material from above the primary ear. Vertical composition of corn stover is relatively uniform; thus, decision on cutting height may be driven by agronomic, economic and environmental considerations.
Abstract: The Solanum aethiopicum Gilogroup, described as homogeneous, shows a high diversity, at least at the morphological level. In Côte d’Ivoire, farmers distinguish three subgroups, named “N’Drowa”, “Klogbo” and “Gnangnan”, within this group. Data were obtained from 10 quantitative and 14 qualitative morpho-agronomic traits measured in 326 accessions of Gilo eggplants, at flowering and fruiting stages. Univariate and multivariate analyses allowed clearly clustering the studied accessions into the three subgroups. Fruit taste, leaf blade width, fruit diameter, leaf blade length, fruit weight, fruit color at commercial ripeness, petiole length, germination time, plant breadth, fruit position on the plant, fruit length and flowering time were, in decreasing order, the twelve most discriminating traits. Compared to the “Gnangnan” subgroup, the “N’Drowa” subgroup has smaller plant breadth and larger leaves. The fruits of this subgroup were mainly white at commercial ripeness, larger and sweeter. Most of the traits of the “Klogbo” subgroup were intermediate between those of the “N’Drowa” and “Gnangnan” subgroups. Our results could contribute to a better understanding of S. aethiopicum diversity and to the development of a core collection for African eggplant breeding.
Abstract: Hydrothermal carbonization of spent osmotic solution (SOS), a waste generated from osmotic dehydration of fruits, has the potential of transformation into hydrochars, a value-added product, while reducing cost and overall greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste disposal. Osmotic solution (OS) and spent osmotic solution (SOS) generated from the osmotic dehydration of blueberries were compared for their thermo-chemical decomposition behavior and hydrothermal carbonization. OS and SOS samples were characterized for total solids, elemental composition, and thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA). In addition, hydrothermal carbonization was performed at 250 °C and for 30 min to produce hydrochars. The hydrochars were characterized for elemental composition, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area, particle shape and surface morphology. TGA results show that the SOS sample loses more weight in the lower temperature range than the OS sample. Both samples produced, approximately, 40%–42% (wet-feed basis) hydrochar during hydrothermal carbonization but with different properties. The OS sample produced hydrochar, which had spherical particles of 1.79 ± 1.30 μm diameter with a very smooth surface. In contrast, the SOS sample produced hydrochar with no definite particle shape but with a raspberry-like surface.
Abstract: Widespread outbreaks of avian influenza occurred in 2004–2005. The outbreaks resulted in extensive losses for the poultry sector in East and South East Asia. Thailand suffered a tremendous impact from the disease. Later, in 2006, there was another outbreak of the aforementioned disease in poultry production clusters (PPCs) in Nakhon Phanom province in the northeastern region of Thailand. In this study, we conducted an intervention by working together with the Department of Livestock Development officials to improve the biosecurity level of PPCs in this province. The methods employed in the intervention included meetings to build understanding and hear about various ideas and problems among stakeholders; instructions; having the farmers perform self-evaluations of the level of biosecurity on the farms; and measures for motivating farmers, e.g., farm contests and handing out awards. The results revealed the following information: After intervention, attraction to wild bird of poultry farms in PPCs decreased (p < 0.05), because the farmers cut down trees around farm and poultry housing. Moreover, biosecurity system planning inside farms in PPCs increased (p < 0.05). The scores for biosecurity system planning inside farms that increased following the intervention are a positive sign that farmers will continue to develop better biosecurity systems on their farms.
Abstract: Promising energy crops such as Jatropha curcas Linnaeus (JCL), which are planted on marginal lands, or microalgae such as Chlorella, which are cultivated in ponds located on mudflats or deserts, have been regarded with high hopes to solve the shortage of food crops and increase the amount of biodiesel (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, FAME) production. However, the annual yields of biomass and transport fuels (t/ha) of both are still unclear and often exaggerated in the literature. Large portions of JCL biomass, including tree trunks and leaves, can also be used to generate electricity along with FAME, which is produced from seed lipids. Meanwhile, lipid extracted algae (LEA) are composed of proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids other than glycerides which are unable to be esterified to form FAME and much more abundant in the microalgae than oil cake in the oil crops. Therefore, it has been strongly suggested that not only transesterification or esterification but also Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process and bio-electricity generation should be considered as routes to produce biofuels. Otherwise, the yield of biofuel would be extremely low using either JCL or Chlorella as feedstock. The Life-Cycle Inventories (LCI) of the biofuel processes with whole biomass of JCL and Chlorella were compared based on their net energy ratio (NER) and CO2 emission saving (CES). It was shown that the technological improvement of irrigation, cultivation, and processing for either economic-crops or microalgae were all necessary to meet the requirements of commercial biofuel production.
Abstract: Isabgol (Plantago ovata Forsk.) is an important medicinal plant having high pharmacological activity in its seed husk, which is substantially used in the food, beverages and packaging industries. Nevertheless, isabgol lags behind in research, particularly for genomic resources, like molecular markers, genetic maps, etc. Presently, molecular markers can be easily developed through next generation sequencing technologies, more efficiently, cost effectively and in less time than ever before. This study was framed keeping in view the need to develop molecular markers for this economically important crop by employing a microsatellite enrichment protocol using a next generation sequencing platform (ion torrent PGM™) to obtain simple sequence repeats (SSRs) for Plantago ovata for the very first time. A total of 3447 contigs were assembled, which contained 249 SSRs. Thirty seven loci were randomly selected for primer development; of which, 30 loci were successfully amplified. The developed microsatellite markers showed the amplification of the expected size and cross-amplification in another six species of Plantago. The SSR markers were unable to show polymorphism within P. ovata, suggesting that low variability exists within genotypes of P. ovata. This study suggests that PGM™ sequencing is a rapid and cost-effective tool for developing SSR markers for non-model species, and the markers so-observed could be useful in the molecular breeding of P. ovata.