Special Issue "Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Nikola Puvaca
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering Management in Biotechnology, Faculty of Economics and Engineering Management in Novi Sad, University Business Academy in Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
Interests: animal science; nutrition; antimicrobials; antibiotic alternatives; veterinary; biotechnology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Vincenzo Tufarelli
Website1 Website2 SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of DETO, Section of Veterinary Science and Animal Production, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Interests: animal science; nutrition; poultry science; feed science; livestock production
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Developing a sustainable organic agriculture and resilient agribusiness sector is fundamental, keeping in mind the value of the opportunity presented by the growing demand for healthy and safe food on a global level, with the expectation for the global population to reach 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11 billion by 2100.

Lately, the main threats in Europe and worldwide are the increasingly dynamic climate change and economic factors related to currency fluctuations. While the current environment policy provides a number of mechanisms to support agribusinesses in mitigating organic food for daily increasing human population and stability of the currency, it does not contemplate the relative readiness of individuals and businesses to act properly.

Organic farming is the practice that relies more on using sustainable methods to cultivate crops and produce food animals, with avoiding of chemicals and dietary synthetic drug inputs that do not belong to the natural ecosystem. Organic agriculture can also contribute to meaningful socioeconomic, ecologically sustainable development, and significantly in the development of the agribusiness sector, especially in developing countries.

This Special Issue welcomes papers focused on the latest knowledge and innovations on sustainable organic agriculture, rural development, agricultural economy, policy and management, sustainable food technology, and food safety principles. Both review and research papers are welcome to show originality and make a significant contribution to the scope of the Special Issue.

Dr. Nikola Puvača
Dr. Vincenzo Tufarelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Organic farming
  • Economy
  • Business
  • Agribusiness
  • Organic food/feed
  • Sustainable rural development

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Marketing Mix Instruments as Factors of Improvement of Students’ Satisfaction in Higher Education Institutions in Republic of Serbia and Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7802; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187802 - 21 Sep 2020
Abstract
This paper explores the impact of marketing mix instruments on the students’ satisfaction in faculties in the Republic of Serbia and Spain, with the aim of determining how significant the effects of each marketing mix tool and their combinations are in relation to [...] Read more.
This paper explores the impact of marketing mix instruments on the students’ satisfaction in faculties in the Republic of Serbia and Spain, with the aim of determining how significant the effects of each marketing mix tool and their combinations are in relation to satisfaction of students in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The detailed literature review is provided in the theoretical part, which contributes to a better understanding of terms like marketing in higher education, marketing mix instruments in higher education and students’ satisfaction. Data were collected from 896 respondents, who are all students at the faculties in Serbia and Spain, and were obtained using the questionnaire purposefully composed for this research. The methods used to highlight any gaps in this marketing mix practice and the relative customer–student satisfaction in HEIs are statistical analyses (descriptive analysis, correlation analysis, multiple regression analysis and t-independent samples tests), leading to the general conclusions regarding the following: by improving marketing mix instruments (service, distribution, human factor, physical evidence, service process) we can, and by improving (price, promotion) we cannot, improve students’ satisfaction in higher education institutions. The general conclusions clearly highlight what needs to be improved in practice in higher education institutions to improve students’ satisfaction, especially students’ loyalty, students’ choices, students’ satisfaction with the quality of the marketing mix instruments at the faculty, students’ satisfaction with expectation which they had upon enrolment and student satisfaction with the public image of the faculty, which is the main goal of these institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Rearing for Kid Meat Production in Southern Italy Marginal Areas: A Comparison among Three Genotypes
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6922; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176922 - 26 Aug 2020
Abstract
Sustainable goat breeding plays an important role in the economy of marginal areas. The present study aimed to compare performances and meat quality traits in kids of a native Apulian genotype (Garganica) in comparison with two Mediterranean breeds (Maltese and Derivata di Siria). [...] Read more.
Sustainable goat breeding plays an important role in the economy of marginal areas. The present study aimed to compare performances and meat quality traits in kids of a native Apulian genotype (Garganica) in comparison with two Mediterranean breeds (Maltese and Derivata di Siria). Kids suckled dam milk until they were 21 (±2) days old, hence three groups of 12 male kids per each genotype were made. The kids received a pelleted feed ad libitum in addition to dam milk and were slaughtered at 60 days of age. The Maltese kids showed the lowest net cold-dressing percentage, with statistical differences compared to Garganica and Derivata di Siria. Meat obtained from Garganica kids showed a rosy color due to a significantly lower a* index and were also more tender since a lower WBS was recorded in comparison with the other two genotypes. As for the nutritional value of meat, the best n-6/n-3 ratio was found for the Derivata di Siria breed. In conclusion, Garganica kid meat showed the lowest content of SFA and atherogenic index, with potential beneficial effects for human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Water Buffalo Milk and Traditional Milk Products in a Sustainable Production System
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6616; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166616 - 15 Aug 2020
Abstract
Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) conservation in Serbia is under an in situ program, but additional efforts are needed to ensure the development of this animal’s genetic resources biodiversity. This research aims to describe challenges and possible strategies for sustainable water buffalo [...] Read more.
Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) conservation in Serbia is under an in situ program, but additional efforts are needed to ensure the development of this animal’s genetic resources biodiversity. This research aims to describe challenges and possible strategies for sustainable water buffalo milk production. In this study, the physicochemical characteristics of buffalo milk and buffalo dairy products (cheese, butter, and kajmak) were determined. Furthermore, amino and fatty acids composition and the related health lipid indices (atherogenic and thrombogenic) were assessed. The findings support the fact that buffalo milk is a reliable source of high-quality nutrients (dry matter: 16.10%, fat: 6.02%, protein: 4.61%). Leucine, lysine, and valine content were found to be high in buffalo milk and cheese. A substantial quantity of non-essential glutamic and aspartic amino acids was observed in milk, as well as glutamic acid and tyrosine in cheese. It was established that milk protein of buffalo cheese had a favorable proportion of essential and non-essential amino acids (61.76%/38.24%). The results revealed significant differences (p < 0.05) in fatty acid profiles among the three dairy products for saturated short-chain, n-3, and n-6 fatty acids. Conversely, no significant difference (p < 0.05) was observed in monounsaturated fatty acids content. Kajmak showed the most favorable anti-atherogenic and anti-thrombogenic properties due to lower saturated and higher polyunsaturated fatty acid content. These results confirmed that buffalo milk could be successfully used in producing high-quality traditional dairy products with added value and beneficial characteristics from the aspect of a healthy diet. Furthermore, it could actively contribute to the promotion of sustainable production of buffaloes and strengthen the agricultural production of rural areas and their heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Composition and Efficacy of a Natural Phytotherapeutic Blend against Nosemosis in Honey Bees
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5868; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145868 - 21 Jul 2020
Abstract
Honey bees are essential to sustaining ecosystems, contributing to the stability of biodiversity through pollination. Today, it is known that the failure of pollination leads irremediably to the loss of plant cultures and, as a consequence, inducing food security issues. Bees can be [...] Read more.
Honey bees are essential to sustaining ecosystems, contributing to the stability of biodiversity through pollination. Today, it is known that the failure of pollination leads irremediably to the loss of plant cultures and, as a consequence, inducing food security issues. Bees can be affected by various factors, one of these being Nosema spp. which are protozoans specifically affecting adult honey bees and a threat to bee populations around the world. The composition of the phytotherapeutic product (Protofil®) for treating nosemosis was analyzed from a biochemical point of view. The most concentrated soluble parts in the phytotherapeutic association were the flavonoids, most frequently rutin, but quercetin was also detected. Additionally, the main volatile compounds identified were eucalyptol (1.8-cineol) and chavicol-methyl-ether. To evaluate the samples’ similarity–dissimilarity, the PCA multivariate statistical analysis, of the gas-chromatographic data (centered relative percentages of the volatile compounds), was applied. Statistical analysis revealed a significant similarity of Protofil® with the Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) samples and more limited with Thymus vulgaris (Thyme) and Ocimum basilicum (Basil), and, respectively, a meaningful dissimilarity with Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion). The results have shown a high and beneficial active compounds concentration in the analyzed herbs. High similarity with investigated product recommending the Protofil®, as the treatment compatible with producing organic honey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
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Open AccessArticle
Investment in Research and Development and New Technological Adoption for the Sustainable Beekeeping Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5825; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145825 - 20 Jul 2020
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to understand how members of beekeeping associations, with long-standing sustainable traditions and products with registered geographical origins, perceive the investments in research and development (R&D) and new technological adoptions. By means of a binary logistic regression, the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to understand how members of beekeeping associations, with long-standing sustainable traditions and products with registered geographical origins, perceive the investments in research and development (R&D) and new technological adoptions. By means of a binary logistic regression, the socio-demographic factors of the members of beekeeping associations predicting the investments in R&D and new technological adoptions were analyzed. Our findings point out that higher level of education and professional beekeeping experience predicts the willingness of investing in research and development. The higher level of education positively influences the willingness to hire professional consultants or bodies for the research and development of beekeeping practices. Serbian female beekeepers, beekeepers aged more than 41 years and professionally engaged beekeepers are more likely to admit that they need support of scientific and research institutions in the further development of beekeeping practices. A higher education has been shown to significantly predict the value added hive products due to new technology adoption. There is also a positive influence of the education level on new technology adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Plant-Production-Obtained Biomass in Function of Sustainable Energy
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5486; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135486 - 07 Jul 2020
Abstract
This research analyzed the degree of utilization of the agricultural biomass for energy purposes (combustion), in order to indicate the reasons that limit its use. The biomass potential was studied by means of the methodology of the biomass potential, whereas the factors suggesting [...] Read more.
This research analyzed the degree of utilization of the agricultural biomass for energy purposes (combustion), in order to indicate the reasons that limit its use. The biomass potential was studied by means of the methodology of the biomass potential, whereas the factors suggesting a low degree of biomass utilization were identified by means of factor analysis. The research results reveal that there is an enormous potential of the unused agricultural biomass. This dissertation research significantly contributes to the establishment of a genuine mathematical model based on multiple linear regression. The solution obtained by this analysis, in both a mathematical and a scientific manner, conveys the primary reasons for an insufficient utilization of the biomass for energy purposes. Moreover, the paper suggests the measures to be applied for a more substantial use of this renewable source of energy and presents the expected benefits to be gained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Quality of the Employee–Bank Relationship in Urban and Rural Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5448; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135448 - 06 Jul 2020
Abstract
Banking sector performance is directly related to the economic performance of the country. This research is an effort to establish the parameters of job satisfaction among bank employees and to ascertain whether there were differences in job satisfaction between employees in urban and [...] Read more.
Banking sector performance is directly related to the economic performance of the country. This research is an effort to establish the parameters of job satisfaction among bank employees and to ascertain whether there were differences in job satisfaction between employees in urban and rural branches. A randomly selected sample was made of bank employees in the Republic of Serbia. To date, the relative job satisfaction of bank employees in urban and rural areas has not been investigated, and for this reason, it is important to analyze the different facets of job satisfaction such as salaries, cooperation with closest associates, promotion, remuneration policy, cooperation and relationship with superiors, and the nature of the job. The bank employees’ satisfaction with their salaries has a major influence on total job satisfaction. Perceptions of teamwork effectiveness and its relationship to overall job satisfaction were analyzed. Team quality has the greatest influence on the bank employees’ job satisfaction. These insights can offer guidance for future action on building the quality of the employee–organization relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Consumers’ Willingness to Pay for Organic and Local Honey in Serbia
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4686; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114686 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In times of increased concern for human health and care for the environment, it is important to investigate the consumer behavior models in order to better manage the product supply. From the perspective of our research, it is important to learn about consumer [...] Read more.
In times of increased concern for human health and care for the environment, it is important to investigate the consumer behavior models in order to better manage the product supply. From the perspective of our research, it is important to learn about consumer attitudes, of a specific product, such as honey, so as to potentially strengthen the economic position of honey producers. The purpose of this article was to explore the consumers’ perceptions of organic and local honey in the Republic of Serbia and identify factors that contribute to predicting consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for organic and local honey. The ordinal regression was used to determine which factors influence the WTP for organic and local honey, and the findings show that the consumers were WTP more for organic honey than for local honey. Socio-economic characteristics of respondents and honey attributes affect consumers’ WTP. The higher monthly household income positively influences the WTP for organic honey, while on the other hand, the higher level of education has a positive influence on the WTP for local honey. The WTP for organic honey positively affected by the perceived importance of honey attributes, such as food safety and support for the local community. The frequency of the purchase of the local honey, the recommendations for the local honey purchase and the perceived importance of attributes, such as the care for the environment and nutritional properties, have a positive influence on the consumers’ WTP for local honey. From this, we can conclude that our understanding of all the factors that influence a consumer’s decision to allocate budget expenses for honey can help all stakeholders in creating an adequate pricing and promotional strategy for honey products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Using Natural or Biotic Dietary Supplements in Poultry Nutrition on the Effectiveness of Meat Production
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4373; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114373 - 26 May 2020
Abstract
The goal of the research was to investigate the effect of dietary natural or biotic additives such as garlic, black pepper, and chili pepper powder in poultry nutrition on sustainable and economic efficiency of this type of production. A total of eight dietary [...] Read more.
The goal of the research was to investigate the effect of dietary natural or biotic additives such as garlic, black pepper, and chili pepper powder in poultry nutrition on sustainable and economic efficiency of this type of production. A total of eight dietary treatments with 1200 broiler chickens of hybrid line Hubbard were formed, with four replicates. During the experimental period, chickens were fed with three period mixtures diets of different average costs: Starter compound mixture two weeks (0.38 €/kg in all treatments), grower compound mixture next three weeks (0.36, 0.38, 0.40, 0.41, 0.46, 0.39, 0.42, and 0.39 €/kg, respectively), and finisher compound mixture for the final week (0.34, 0.36, 0.38, 0.39, 0.44, 0.37, 0.40, and 0.37 €/kg, respectively). The experiment lasted a total of 42 days. Upon finishing the experiment, results have shown statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences regarding the European broiler index (EBI) as one of the indicators of economic efficacy. The EBI was lowest in the control treatment (220.4) and significantly higher in experimental treatments (298.6), respectively. In cost, a calculation included the cost of feed and used natural or biotic supplements in chicken nutrition. The findings of the study of economic efficiency revealed that the cost per treatment rises depends on the natural additive used. Economic efficiency analysis showed that the most economical natural additive with the lowest cost is garlic (0.68 €/kg), while the most uneconomical is treatment with black pepper with the highest cost of body weight gain (0.82 €/kg). This higher cost of the gained meat is minimal as a consequence of a much healthier and more nutritious food meant for human use, which often promotes sustainable aspects, compared to conventional and industrialized poultry production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) in Laying Hen’s Nutrition on Performance and Egg Fatty Acid Profile as a Promising Sustainable Organic Agricultural Tool
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3420; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083420 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The level of production in a variety of organic production systems is often lower than in other traditional production systems. In poultry production, there is also a direct negative effect of the small scale regarding sustainable organic poultry production. Regardless of differences between [...] Read more.
The level of production in a variety of organic production systems is often lower than in other traditional production systems. In poultry production, there is also a direct negative effect of the small scale regarding sustainable organic poultry production. Regardless of differences between organic and conventional production systems, this experiment aimed to investigate the usage of tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden and Betche) Cheel essential oils as a natural alternative to antibiotics in hen nutrition on productive parameters, table egg quality and eggs fatty acid profile as a promising sustainable organic agricultural tool. A total of 360 Lohmann Brown hens, aged 54 weeks, divided into three different treatment diets, were supplemented with 0 (T1), 40 (T2) and 80 mg/kg (T3) of M. alternifolia essential oil, respectively. Experimental treatments were replicated four times within 30 birds each. The experiment lasted for a total of 56 days (55 to 62 weeks of hens age). A 56-day experimental had two timetable periods of 28 days each: period 1 (55 to 58 weeks of hen age) and period 2 (59 to 62 weeks of hen age). For compound feed supplemented with M. alternifolia essential oil, daily egg production and the efficiency of nutrient utilization (FCR) was improved significantly (p < 0.05) until the end of week 58, with a significant (p < 0.05) increase in the thickness of eggshell, as well as egg production (p < 0.05). However, egg mass, feed consumption, FCR and albumen height, Haugh unit, and eggshell strength did not show any significant (p > 0.05) differences influenced by essential oil feed supplementation. Lower concentrations of saturated fatty acid (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and higher concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), were recorded with M. alternifolia essential oil supplementation, but without significant (p > 0.05) differences. At the end of the experiment, the obtained results showed that the addition of M. alternifolia essential oil to hen nutrition had a positive effect on production parameters and eggs fatty acid profile, with increased eggshell thickness (p < 0.05). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Production and Sales of Organic Products in Ukrainian Agricultural Enterprises
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3416; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083416 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
As organic farming gains more popularity across the world, it is important to discuss the underlying trends of its development in Ukraine, who is an important agricultural producer. Organic farming may have lower environmental pressures—therefore, we seek to identify the major trends in [...] Read more.
As organic farming gains more popularity across the world, it is important to discuss the underlying trends of its development in Ukraine, who is an important agricultural producer. Organic farming may have lower environmental pressures—therefore, we seek to identify the major trends in the production and sales of the organic agricultural products in Ukraine. In this study, data on the production structure, costs, and selling prices from Ukrainian enterprises are analyzed. Conventional and organic enterprises are contrasted in order to identify the possibilities for the development of organic agriculture in Ukraine. Our results suggest that enterprises that use organic farming in Ukraine tend to produce higher output per hectare, as opposed to those engaged in conventional farming. However, labor profitability remains low in labor-intensive organic farming, especially in larger companies, and organic products remain a low percentage of Ukraine’s agricultural exports. This calls for further study into the development of organic production and consumption in the domestic market, as well as the implementation of appropriate certification practices in order to ensure the growth of organic exports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
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Open AccessArticle
The Taxation of Agriculture in the Republic of Serbia as a Factor of Development of Organic Agriculture
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3261; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083261 - 17 Apr 2020
Abstract
Agricultural activity is very important for every country that strives to create a stimulating, stable, abundant, sustainable and equal business environment for all market participants. By striving for sustainable economic development and growth, as well as preservation of the ecosystem, organic agricultural production [...] Read more.
Agricultural activity is very important for every country that strives to create a stimulating, stable, abundant, sustainable and equal business environment for all market participants. By striving for sustainable economic development and growth, as well as preservation of the ecosystem, organic agricultural production aims to produce high-quality food. Within the socio-economic space, the role of the state as a regulator of production and market relations is indispensable. The state often uses fiscal policy as an instrument for the regulation of relations in the sphere of production and trade. The level of the tax burden is of vital importance for achieving a sustainable level of agricultural development. From the aspect of the Serbian economy, the taxation of agriculture in the future period must be based on a system of tax incentives for organic production. In the long run, this can increase the volume of organic production and the use of healthy food in human nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Dietary Supplementation with Moringa oleifera Leaves and/or Seeds Powder on Production, Egg Characteristics, Hatchability and Blood Chemistry of Laying Japanese Quails
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062463 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of dietary Moringa oleifera (M. oleifera) leaves and/or seed powder on laying Japanese quail performance in terms of egg production, egg quality, blood serum characteristics, and reproduction. In total, 168 Japanese quails (120 hens and [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of dietary Moringa oleifera (M. oleifera) leaves and/or seed powder on laying Japanese quail performance in terms of egg production, egg quality, blood serum characteristics, and reproduction. In total, 168 Japanese quails (120 hens and 48 males) at eight weeks of age in laying period were randomly distributed to four treatment groups, with six replicates per group and seven birds (five hens and two males) per replicate. The first group (G1) served as a control group, while G2, G3 and G4 groups were supplemented with M. oleifera leaves (ML) and M. oleifera seeds (MS) and their combination ((1 g/kg ML; 1 g/kg MS; and 1 ML g/kg + 1 MS g/kg (MSL), respectively). From the results, feed consumption, feed conversion ratio, egg weight, fertility and hatchability from fertile eggs, egg and yolk index, and Haugh unit were not affected by dietary treatments. However, egg production, egg mass, eggshell thickness, and hatchability were significantly increased and blood aspartate transaminase (AST) and urea decreased in the MS treatment. Both triglycerides and total cholesterol were reduced (p < 0.05) in all treatments with ML, MS, and MSL, with no significant differences in alanine aminotransferase (ALT), albumin, total protein, globulin, and A/G ratio among dietary treatment. Our results clearly indicated that the inclusion of M. oleifera seeds in Japanese quail diet significantly increased egg production and improved hatchability, along with some egg quality parameters, and also lowered some blood biochemical components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Organic Agriculture for Developing Agribusiness Sector)
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