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Agriculture, Volume 5, Issue 1 (March 2015) – 7 articles , Pages 1-154

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Open AccessArticle
Food Safety Information Processing and Teaching Behavior of Dietitians: A Mental Model Approach
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 132-154; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010132 - 18 Mar 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4404
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
National Livestock Policy of Nepal: Needs and Opportunities
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 103-131; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010103 - 17 Mar 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5530
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Contemporary Introduction to Essential Oils: Chemistry, Bioactivity and Prospects for Australian Agriculture
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 48-102; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010048 - 03 Mar 2015
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 6980
Abstract
This review is a comprehensive introduction to pertinent aspects of the extraction methodology, chemistry, analysis and pharmacology of essential oils, whilst providing a background of general organic chemistry concepts to readers from non-chemistry oriented backgrounds. Furthermore, it describes the historical aspects of essential [...] Read more.
This review is a comprehensive introduction to pertinent aspects of the extraction methodology, chemistry, analysis and pharmacology of essential oils, whilst providing a background of general organic chemistry concepts to readers from non-chemistry oriented backgrounds. Furthermore, it describes the historical aspects of essential oil research whilst exploring contentious issues of terminology. This follows with an examination of essential oil producing plants in the Australian context with particular attention to Aboriginal custom use, historical successes and contemporary commercial prospects. Due to the harsh dry environment of the Australian landmass, particularly to the cyclical climatic variation attendant upon repeated glaciation/post-glaciation cycles, the arid regions have evolved a rich assortment of unique endemic essential oil yielding plants. Though some of these aromatic plants (particularly myrtaceous species) have given birth to commercially valuable industries, much remains to be discovered. Given the market potential, it is likely that recent discoveries in our laboratory and elsewhere will lead to new product development. This review concludes with an emphasis on the use of chemotaxonomy in selection of commercially viable cultivar chemotypes from the Australian continent. Finally, drawing largely from our own results we propose a list of Australian endemic species with novel commercial potential. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pine Woodchip Biochar Impact on Soil Nutrient Concentrations and Corn Yield in a Silt Loam in the Mid-Southern U.S.
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 30-47; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010030 - 04 Feb 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3363
Abstract
Biochar has altered plant yields and soil nutrient availability in tropical soils, but less research exists involving biochar additions to temperate cropping systems. Of the existing research, results vary based on soil texture, crop grown, and biochar properties. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
Biochar has altered plant yields and soil nutrient availability in tropical soils, but less research exists involving biochar additions to temperate cropping systems. Of the existing research, results vary based on soil texture, crop grown, and biochar properties. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of pine (Pinus spp.) woodchip biochar at 0, 5, and 10 Mg·ha−1 rates combined with urea nitrogen (N) on soil chemical properties and corn (Zea mays L.) yield under field conditions in the first growing season after biochar addition in a silt-loam alluvial soil. Biochar combined with fertilizer numerically increased corn yields, while biochar alone numerically decreased corn yields, compared to a non-amended control. Corn nitrogen uptake efficiency (NUE) was greater with 10 Mg·ha−1 biochar compared to no biochar. There were limited biochar effects on soil nutrients, but biochar decreased nitrate, total dissolved N, and Mehlich-3 extractable sulfur and manganese concentrations in the top 10 cm. Pine woodchip biochar combined with N fertilizer has the potential to improve corn production when grown in silt-loam soil in the mid-southern U.S. by improving NUE and increasing yield. Further research will be important to determine impacts as biochar ages in the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar on Soil Fertility and Crop Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Provenancing Flower Bulbs by Analytical Fingerprinting: Convallaria Majalis
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 17-29; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010017 - 29 Jan 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3113
Abstract
The origin of agricultural products is gaining in appreciation while often hard to determine for various reasons. Geographical origin may be resolved using a combination of chemical and physical analytical technologies. In the present case of Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis [...] Read more.
The origin of agricultural products is gaining in appreciation while often hard to determine for various reasons. Geographical origin may be resolved using a combination of chemical and physical analytical technologies. In the present case of Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) rhizomes, we investigated an exploratory set of material from The Netherlands, three other European (EU) countries and China. We show that the geographical origin is correlated to patterns of stable isotope ratios (isotope fingerprints) and volatile organic carbon (VOC) compounds (chemical fingerprints). These fingerprints allowed clear distinction using exploratory and supervised statistics. Isotope ratio mass spectrometry of 12C/13C, 14N/15N and 16O/18O isotopes separated materials from Europe and China successfully. The VOC patterns measured by Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) allowed distinction of three groups: material from The Netherlands, the other EU countries and China. This knowledge is expected to help developing a systematic and efficient analytical tool for authenticating the origin of flower bulbs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Community Perspectives on the On-Farm Diversity of Six Major Cereals and Climate Change in Bhutan
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 2-16; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010002 - 27 Jan 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4086
Abstract
Subsistence Bhutanese farmers spread across different agro-ecological zones maintain large species and varietal diversity of different crops in their farm. However, no studies have been undertaken yet to assess why farmers conserve and maintain large agro-biodiversity, the extent of agro-ecological richness, species richness, [...] Read more.
Subsistence Bhutanese farmers spread across different agro-ecological zones maintain large species and varietal diversity of different crops in their farm. However, no studies have been undertaken yet to assess why farmers conserve and maintain large agro-biodiversity, the extent of agro-ecological richness, species richness, estimated loss of traditional varieties and threats to the loss of on-farm agro-biodiversity. Information on the number of varieties cultivated by the farmers for six important staple crops were collected from nine districts and twenty sub-districts spread across six different agro-ecological zones of the country to understand farmers reasons for maintaining on-farm crop diversity, estimate agro-ecological richness, species richness and the overall loss of traditional varieties, to know the famers’ level of awareness on climate change and the different threats to crop diversity. The results from this study indicated that an overwhelming 93% of the respondents manage and use agro-biodiversity for household food security and livelihood. The average agro-ecological richness ranged from 1.17 to 2.26 while the average species richness ranged from 0.50 to 2.66. The average agro-ecological richness indicates a large agro-ecological heterogeneity in terms of the different species of staple crops cultivated. The average species richness on the other hand shows that agro-ecological heterogeneity determines the type and extent of the cultivation of the six different staple cereals under consideration. The overall loss of traditional varieties in a time period of 20 years stands at 28.57%. On climate change, 94% of the farmers recognize that local climate is changing while 86% responded that they are aware of the potential impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. Climate change and associated factors was considered the most imminent threat to the management and loss of on-farm agro-biodiversity. The results from this study indicate that on-farm agro-biodiversity conservation, development and utilization programs have to be more specific to the different agro-ecological zones considering the agro-ecological heterogeneity. Attention has to be given to individual crops that have low average species richness and high percentage of loss of traditional varieties. The impact of climate change could offset the traditional seed system which primarily supports the persistence of on-farm agro-biodiversity in several ways. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Agriculture in 2014
Agriculture 2015, 5(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture5010001 - 07 Jan 2015
Viewed by 3406
Abstract
The editors of Agriculture would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
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