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Biella, Italy

Kumar P.M.,Bharathiar University | Murugan K.,Bharathiar University | Madhiyazhagan P.,Bharathiar University | Kovendan K.,Bharathiar University | And 13 more authors.
Parasitology Research

Aedes albopictus is an important arbovirus vector, including dengue. Currently, there is no specific treatment for dengue. Its prevention solely depends on effective vector control measures. In this study, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were biosynthesized using a cheap leaf extract of Berberis tinctoria as reducing and stabilizing agent and tested against Ae. albopictus and two mosquito natural enemies. AgNPs were characterized by using UV–vis spectrophotometry, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy. In laboratory conditions, the toxicity of AgNPs was evaluated on larvae and pupae of Ae. albopictus. Suitability Index/Predator Safety Factor was assessed on Toxorhynchites splendens and Mesocyclops thermocyclopoides. The leaf extract of B. tinctoria was toxic against larval instars (I–IV) and pupae of Ae. albopictus; LC50 was 182.72 ppm (I instar), 230.99 ppm (II), 269.65 ppm (III), 321.75 ppm (IV), and 359.71 ppm (pupa). B. tinctoria-synthesized AgNPs were highly effective, with LC50 of 4.97 ppm (I instar), 5.97 ppm (II), 7.60 ppm (III), 9.65 ppm (IV), and 14.87 ppm (pupa). Both the leaf extract and AgNPs showed reduced toxicity against the mosquito natural enemies M. thermocyclopoides and T. splendens. Overall, this study firstly shed light on effectiveness of B. tinctoria-synthesized AgNPs as an eco-friendly nanopesticide, highlighting the concrete possibility to employ this newer and safer tool in arbovirus vector control programs. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Novella Benvenuti M.,University of Pisa | Goracci J.,Agronomist | Giuliotti L.,University of Pisa
Large Animal Review

The Zeri ewe is an indigenous Italian breed that is spread throughout the homonymous area located in northwest Tuscany. This article presents the history and evolution of Zerasca sheep, describes the breed's characteristics in terms of somatic and productive traits, managerial and health practices, meat quality; moreover it underlines its contribution to the preservation of the rural land and population of the Zeri district. First documentation on this breed dates back to the 19th Century. Zerasca breed has a medium-large size with white fleece. Males present horns while in females can be absent. Currently Zerasca ovine population totals more than 2,000 heads. Sheep husbandry is currently predominant in Zeri area thanks to the great availability of woody vegetation (oak, chestnut, hazel, alder and beech trees), meadows and pastures. Animals' nutrition depends mostly on grazing pastures, infact flocks are generally supported only with a little nutritional supplementation. The first typical production is the heavy lamb that is gaining more and more relevance thanks to its excellent meat quality, unique in taste; infact, Zeri lamb is included in the list of Slow Food Presidia, reflecting the recognized quality of this product in the world.Most of shepherds jointed in a consortium for the valorization and safeguarding of Zerasca sheep and lambs, whose regulation points towards the implementation of extensive farming systems with an optimal exploitation of local pasture resources. One of the most important problem that Zerasca sheep farmers often complain is represented by gastrointestinal parasitism, almost endemic in sheep husbandry and particularly in sheep raised under extensive systems. Today, "Zeri lamb" has a considerable economic impact on its territory, ensuring increasing profits for shepherds. The aim of this review is to collect information about a native breed in endangered status that it is gaining importance thanks to the high-quality of products. Source

Benvenuti M.N.,University of Pisa | Giuliotti L.,University of Pisa | Pasqua C.,Agronomist | Gatta D.,University of Pisa | Bagliacca M.,University of Pisa
Italian Journal of Animal Science

The effect of partial substitution of corn (-20%) and soybean meal (-10%) with buckwheat bran (+30%) (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) in the diet of ISA-Brown hens was investigated in sixteen 74-week old hens, housed in couple wire cages and submitted to a 16 h light:8 h dark photoperiod. The following traits were measured: body weight, egg production, egg mass, egg quality, feed intake, feed conversion, comparative palatability of ingredients and digestibility of diet. χ 2 and non-parametric tests were used for production rate and yolk color score, respectively. ANOVA was used for all other parameters. Comparative choice of buckwheat, corn and soy was checked under different forms in 3 free choice tests. Results show that egg production rate (43.3% vs 50.5%; P<0.05) and feed intake (78.3±0.68 eggs/hen d vs 87.8±0.68 eggs/hen d; P<0.05) increased with the partial introduction of buckwheat bran in the diet. There was no difference in feed conversion between treatments. Nutrient balance confirmed that AMEn of diet was deeply lowered by the buckwheat bran use (6.5 MJ/kg vs 10.1 MJ/kg), due to the high fibre content of buckwheat bran (263 g/kg). Maize was always the most preferred ingredient, buckwheat bran was consumed more than expected in absence of any preference, and soybean was the food least chosen. Buckwheat bran can be used as an ingredient feed for low-producing laying hens; it induces a feed-intake increase, partially balanced by improved egg-production rates and a tendency to better albumen Haugh units. © M.N. Benvenuti et al., 2012. Source

Mattias J.L.,Ciencias Agro Ambientais UNOCHAPECO | Ceretta C.A.,Federal University of Santa Maria | Nesi C.N.,Agronomist | Girotto E.,Federal University of Santa Maria | And 3 more authors.
Revista Brasileira de Ciencia do Solo

Systematic pig slurry application to crop soils may lead to the accumulation of heavy metals in regions with intensive pig raising. The aim of this study was to evaluate the accumulation of Cu, Zn and Mn in soils under systematic pig slurry application. For this purpose, soil samples were collected from two of the most representative watersheds of Santa Catarina where the predominant activity is pig raising. In each watershed, 12 properties were chosen to evaluate the different systems of pig husbandry (complete cycle (CC), farrowing (FaU) and finishing units (FiU)). Based on information of the producers, soil samples were collected in areas with and without systematic manure application. To determine the total Cu, Zn and Mn content in soils and manure, a methodology proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States (USEPA), method n° 3050B, was used. For the available heavy metal content, Cu and Zn was extracted with HCl 0.1 mol L-1 and Mn with KCl 1 mol L-1. Data were subjected to multivariate analysis, using the canonical discriminant analysis to identify the metals that best differentiate the soils studied within each swine housing system. Successive pig slurry applications cause an increase in Cu, Zn and Mn availability in the soil and this indicates the need for monitoring of the metal concentrations over time. The critical values of Cu in the soil can be reached and exceeded more rapidly than Zn. The results showed that the soil type may be one of the attribute underlying the determination of public policies in pig raising and waste management because soils such as Inceptisols were shown to be more prone to possible contamination since they may more rapidly reach total critical Cu levels. Source

Johnson M.-V.V.,Agronomist | Norfleet M.L.,Soil Scientist | Atwood J.D.,Economist | Behrman K.D.,Research Agronomist | And 4 more authors.
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science

The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) was initiated to quantify the impacts of agricultural conservation practices at the watershed, regional, and national scales across the United States. Representative cropland acres in all major U.S. watersheds were surveyed in 2003-2006 as part of the seminal CEAP Cropland National Assessment. Two process-based models, the Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender(APEX) and the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), were applied to the survey data to provide a quantitative assessment of current conservation practice impacts, establish a benchmark against which future conservation trends and efforts could be measured, and identify outstanding conservation concerns. The flexibility of these models and the unprecedented amount of data on current conservation practices across the country enabled Cropland CEAP to meet its Congressional mandate of quantifying the value of current conservation practices. It also enabled scientifically grounded exploration of a variety of conservation scenarios, empowering CEAP to not only inform on past successes and additional needs, but to also provide a decision support tool to help guide future policy development and conservation practice decision making. The CEAP effort will repeat the national survey in 2015-2016, enabling CEAP to provide analyses of emergent conservation trends, outstanding needs, and potential costs and benefits of pursuing various treatment scenarios for all agricultural watersheds across the United States. © Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd. Source

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