Abstract: The world’s population is facing a water crisis, which is expected to worsen dramatically during the 21st century. Problems due to over exploitation of groundwater, as well as from natural and anthropogenic contamination are major challenges facing humanity. This Special Issue contributes a selection of topics on groundwater quantity and quality issues that face different parts of the world.
Abstract: Most of current life-cycle approaches show an anthropocentric standpoint for the evaluation of human-dominated activities. However, this perspective is insufficient when it comes to assessing the contribution of natural resources to production processes. In this respect, emergy analysis evaluates human-driven systems from a donor-side perspective, accounting for the environmental effort performed to make the resources available. This article presents a novel methodological framework, which combines emergy analysis and dynamic Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) for the ecocentric assessment of multiple resembling entities over an extended period of time. The use of this approach is shown through a case study of wind energy farms. Furthermore, the results obtained are compared with those of previous studies from two different angles. On the one hand, a comparison with results from anthropocentric approaches (combined life cycle assessment and DEA) is drawn. On the other hand, results from similar ecocentric approaches, but without a dynamic model, are also subject to comparison. The combined use of emergy analysis and dynamic DEA is found to be a valid methodological framework for the computation of resource efficiency and the valuation of ecosystem services. It complements traditional anthropocentric assessments while appropriately including relevant time effects.
Abstract: Red grape pomace (RGP) and onion solid wastes (OSW) were used as raw material to produce flavonoid-enriched extracts, using ultrasound-assisted solid-liquid extraction. The extraction medium used was composed of water and glycerol and under the conditions used the extraction of flavonoids from both materials was shown to obey first-order kinetics. Maximum diffusivities (De) values were 4.01 × 10−11 and 2.35 × 10−11 m2·s−1, for RGP and OSW extraction, respectively, while the corresponding activation energies (Ea) were 14.00 and 15.23 kJ·mol−1.
Abstract: Efficient utilization of plant genetic resources for nutrition and crop improvement requires systematic understanding of the important traits. Amaranthus species are distributed worldwide with an interesting diversity of landraces and cultivars whose leaves and seeds are consumed. Despite their potential to enhance food security and economic livelihoods, grain amaranth breeding to improve nutritional quality and adoption by farmers in sub-Saharan Africa is scanty. This study assessed the variation among 29 grain amaranth accessions using 27 phenotypic (10 morphological and 17 nutritional) characters and 16 random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers. Multivariate analysis of phenotypic characters showed the first four principal components contributing 57.53% of observed variability, while cluster analysis yielded five groups at 87.5% similarity coefficient. RAPD primers generated a total of 193 amplicons with an average of 12.06 amplicons per primer, 81% of which were polymorphic. Genetic similarities based on Jaccard’s coefficient ranged from 0.61 to 0.88. The RAPD-based unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram grouped the accessions into nine clusters, with the same species clustering together. RAPD primers distinguished the accessions more effectively than phenotypic markers. Accessions in the different clusters as obtained can be exploited for heterotic gain in desired nutritional traits.
Abstract: The strong economic growth in recent years has led to an intensive use of natural resources, which causes environmental stress as well as restrictions on the availability of resources. Therefore, a more efficient use of resources is necessary as an important contribution to sustainable development. The ESSENZ method presented in this article comprehensively assesses a product’s resource efficiency by going beyond existing approaches and considering the pollution of the environment as well as the physical and socio-economic availability of resources. This paper contains a short description of the ESSENZ methodology as well as a case study of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 205)—comparing the conventional C 250 (petrol engine) with the C 350 e Plug-In Hybrid (electric motor and petrol engine). By applying the ESSENZ method it can be shown that the use of more and different materials for the Plug-In-Hybrid influences the dimensions physical and socio-economic availability significantly. However, for environmental impacts, especially climate change and summer smog, clear advantages of the C 350 e occur due to lower demand of fossil energy carriers. As shown within the case study, the when applying the ESSENZ method a comprehensive evaluation of the used materials and fossil energy carriers can be achieved.