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Apeldoorn, Netherlands

Holopainen-Mantila U.,VTT Technical Research Center of Finland | Marjamaa K.,VTT Technical Research Center of Finland | Merali Z.,UK Institute of Food Research | Kasper A.,Biogold OU | And 5 more authors.
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

The effect of hydrothermal pretreatment on chemical composition, microscopic structure and enzymatic digestibility of wheat straw was studied. Wheat straw was pretreated with increasing severity to obtain series of samples with altered chemistry and structure. The hydrothermal pretreatment caused solubilisation of arabinoxylan and phenolic acids and their dimers in a temperature dependent manner with minor effects on the cellulose and Klason lignin content. In the cell wall level, the pretreatment intensified staining of cellulose and relocalised xylan in the cell walls. The distribution, properties and content of the cell wall phenolic compounds was altered as observed with phloroglucinol and autofluorescence imaging. In the enzymatic hydrolysis, the highest yields were obtained from the samples with a low xylan and diferulate content. On the cell wall structural level, the sample with the highest digestibility was observed to have intensified cellulose staining, possibly reflecting the increased accessibility of cellulose. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Ipema A.H.,Wageningen UR Livestock Research | De Mol R.M.,Wageningen UR Livestock Research | Hogewerf P.H.,Wageningen UR Livestock Research | Prins B.,Hogeschool VHL | And 4 more authors.
Precision Livestock Farming 2015 - Papers Presented at the 7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015 | Year: 2015

The aim of the Dutch Smart Dairy Farming project is to develop decision support models for operational support in farm management. This project started in 2012 and involves collaboration between several institutions and companies in the dairy chain. The project has three focus areas: animal health, fertility and feeding. The objective of the 'animal health' focus area is to optimise young stock rearing as a basis for extending the life of cows. Lowering the annual replacement rate, which is currently about 30%, has a significant positive impact on financial results. The main objectives of this young stock rearing project were to develop state-of-the-art tools which would help the farmer to optimise growth and development of young stock. Milk feeders and water drinkers combined with weighing scales were used for data collection at individual calf level. Daily data about milk intake, milk feeder visits, water intake and body weight were used to build detection models that generate alerts when measured values deviate and indicate a possible health problem. Body weight measurements were also used to determine the growth rate of a calf and to produce an alert if this deviated too much from a desired growth rate. All alerts were translated into messages with work instructions for the farmer. Weekly feedback from the farmer indicated that almost 60% of the messages were correct. It is suggested that the large number of wrong messages (false positives) can be reduced by applying more advanced analysis techniques.

News Article
Site: phys.org

Yield charts, soil analyses, crop growth information; breeders are collecting an increasing amount of data related to their soil and crops. To link this data in a practical and useful way, Wageningen UR and the Agrifirm cooperative have developed a so-called geo-platform, called Akkerweb where breeders can manage their plot data online and, if linked to GPS coordinates, project them straight onto plot maps. They can also immediately put the data to work via apps. An example is making a task chart for spreaders which adapt the use of fertiliser to specific locations. "Akkerweb is a starting point for precision agriculture", says scientist Leendert Molendijk of Wageningen UR. "It was established as an open source environment and is independent. All knowledge parties can use it to provide apps as long as they are based on valid calculation rules." Akkerweb was developed based on the NemaDecide project, which bundles strengths and knowledge in the approach of harmful nematodes in potato farming. Companies and knowledge institutes from throughout the potato chain facilitate the exchange of information. "This is a fine example of how scientific knowledge is translated in the field," Molendijk adds. Breeders of seed potatoes can use Akkerweb to see the location of infections on their plots at a single glance. Via an app they can exchange data with the sampling institution, which takes samples, analyses them, and then immediately includes the results for each plot. Another app allows breeders to calculate scenarios: how will the nematode population develop when breeding a resistant variety or when a specific control method is applied? Moreover, the app enables breeders who choose to use chemical control methods to limit crop protection products to the exact spot where the infection is located. In this case the onboard computer takes over the data. For Wageningen UR it is important to have a standardised method for exchanging data. "Now that we have the tools to link knowledge to data, we can start focusing on additional applications", explains Thomas Been, scientist at Wageningen UR and technical manager of Akkerweb. "We see a growing number of scientists join the Akkerweb geo-platform to convert their knowledge and calculation rules into applications with an added value to breeders and chain partners. The platform therefore facilitates the knowledge flow into practice. And this is a joint effort: although Wageningen is still a co-owner, we have consciously retained a degree of distance from Akkerweb. The added value of the platform will only increase if other knowledge parties participate." Breeders who register to Akkerweb for free gain access to background maps (public geo-information such as aerial photographs, soil maps, plot demarcations) and can share their information with any party imaginable, such as the government, consultants, suppliers, clients and colleagues. Breeders always remain in full ownership of their own data, and must first provide approval before it can be used. Explore further: How predictive models for flavour levels of vegetables and fruits can benefit breeders

de Greeff A.,Central Veterinary Institute | Bikker P.,Wageningen UR Livestock Research | Smit-Heinsbroek A.,Agrifirm | Bruininx E.,Agrifirm | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition | Year: 2016

The 'developmental origins of health and disease' hypothesis proposes not only that we are what we eat, but also that we could be what our parents ate. Here, we aimed to improve health and performance of young piglets via maternal diets based on the hypothesis that maternal nutritional interventions change metabolic programming in piglets, reflected by differential gene expression early in life. Therefore, sows were fed either a regular diet, based on barley, wheat and wheat by-products, sugar beet pulp, palm oil and oilseed meal, or a high-fat (HF) diet consisting of the regular diet supplemented with an additional amount of 3.5% soybean oil and 1% fish oil at the expense of palm oil and wheat. Performance results, physiological parameters and gene expression in liver of piglets and blood of piglets and sows at day 7 after farrowing from both diet groups were compared. The HF diet tended to enhance growth rate of the offspring in the first week of life. No significant differences in gene expression in liver tissue and blood could be detected between the two groups, neither with whole-genome microarray analysis, nor with gene specific qPCR analysis. In this study, the feeding of a high-fat diet with increased amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) to gestating sows under practical farm settings did not induce significant changes in gene expression in sows and offspring. © 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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