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Holland J.M.,Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust | Bianchi F.J.J.A.,Wageningen University | Entling M.H.,University of Koblenz-Landau | Moonen A.-C.,Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies | And 2 more authors.
Pest Management Science | Year: 2016

Different semi-natural habitats occur on farmland, and it is the vegetation's traits and structure that subsequently determine their ability to support natural enemies and their associated contribution to conservation biocontrol. New habitats can be created and existing ones improved with agri-environment scheme funding in all EU member states. Understanding the contribution of each habitat type can aid the development of conservation control strategies. Here we review the extent to which the predominant habitat types in Europe support natural enemies, whether this results in enhanced natural enemy densities in the adjacent crop and whether this leads to reduced pest densities. Considerable variation exists in the available information for the different habitat types and trophic levels. Natural enemies within each habitat were the most studied, with less information on whether they were enhanced in adjacent fields, while their impact on pests was rarely investigated. Most information was available for woody and herbaceous linear habitats, yet not for woodland which can be the most common semi-natural habitat in many regions. While the management and design of habitats offer potential to stimulate conservation biocontrol, we also identified knowledge gaps. A better understanding of the relationship between resource availability and arthropod communities across habitat types, the spatiotemporal distribution of resources in the landscape and interactions with other factors that play a role in pest regulation could contribute to an informed management of semi-natural habitats for biocontrol. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry


Trnka M.,Mendel University in Brno | Trnka M.,CzechGlobe Center for Global Climate Change Impacts Studies | Olesen J.E.,University of Aarhus | Kersebaum K.C.,Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research | And 25 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2011

To date, projections of European crop yields under climate change have been based almost entirely on the outputs of crop-growth models. While this strategy can provide good estimates of the effects of climatic factors, soil conditions and management on crop yield, these models usually do not capture all of the important aspects related to crop management, or the relevant environmental factors. Moreover, crop-simulation studies often have severe limitations with respect to the number of crops covered or the spatial extent. The present study, based on agroclimatic indices, provides a general picture of agroclimatic conditions in western and central Europe (study area lays between 8.5°W-27°E and 37-63.5°N), which allows for a more general assessment of climate-change impacts. The results obtained from the analysis of data from 86 different sites were clustered according to an environmental stratification of Europe. The analysis was carried for the baseline (1971-2000) and future climate conditions (time horizons of 2030, 2050 and with a global temperature increase of 5°C) based on outputs of three global circulation models. For many environmental zones, there were clear signs of deteriorating agroclimatic condition in terms of increased drought stress and shortening of the active growing season, which in some regions become increasingly squeezed between a cold winter and a hot summer. For most zones the projections show a marked need for adaptive measures to either increase soil water availability or drought resistance of crops. This study concludes that rainfed agriculture is likely to face more climate-related risks, although the analyzed agroclimatic indicators will probably remain at a level that should permit rainfed production. However, results suggests that there is a risk of increasing number of extremely unfavorable years in many climate zones, which might result in higher interannual yield variability and constitute a challenge for proper crop management. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Graves A.R.,Cranfield University | Burgess P.J.,Cranfield University | Palma J.,University of Lisbon | Keesman K.J.,Wageningen University | And 5 more authors.
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2010

Silvoarable agroforestry, the integration of trees and arable crops on the same area, has the potential to offer production, ecological, and societal benefits. However, the uptake of such systems in Europe has been limited by a combination of unsupportive policies and uncertainty concerning their productivity, profitability, and environmental impact. Faced with a lack of experimental data, the parameter-sparse Yield-SAFE model offers one method for generating plausible yield data and improving understanding of production in mixed tree-crop systems under European conditions. The applicability of the model was examined by: (i) selecting two contrasting sites in France and the UK with measured agricultural, silvoarable and/or forestry data, (ii) implementing the model in a software package, and (iii) inputting data and parameters on the climate, soils, management regime, and tree and crop types. Following calibration, Yield-SAFE provided credible descriptions of measured arable and tree (Populus spp.) yields in the monoculture and silvoarable systems at the two sites. An examination of the response of the model to changes in model parameters and environmental and management data showed that silvoarable crop yields were most sensitive to variations in tree parameters. Increased soil depths increased timber yields, and increasing stand density increased stand volume whilst decreasing individual tree volume. In all the simulations, the model predicted greater efficiency in use of land, i.e. greater land equivalent ratios, when trees and crops were combined rather than grown as sole crops. These results, supported by the sparse experimental data available, indicate that agroforestry provides a method of increasing food, timber and biomass production from limited land resources in Europe. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Wageningen University, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station and University of Koblenz-Landau
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Pest management science | Year: 2016

Different semi-natural habitats occur on farmland, and it is the vegetations traits and structure that subsequently determine their ability to support natural enemies and their associated contribution to conservation biocontrol. New habitats can be created and existing ones improved with agri-environment scheme funding in all EU member states. Understanding the contribution of each habitat type can aid the development of conservation control strategies. Here we review the extent to which the predominant habitat types in Europe support natural enemies, whether this results in enhanced natural enemy densities in the adjacent crop and whether this leads to reduced pest densities. Considerable variation exists in the available information for the different habitat types and trophic levels. Natural enemies within each habitat were the most studied, with less information on whether they were enhanced in adjacent fields, while their impact on pests was rarely investigated. Most information was available for woody and herbaceous linear habitats, yet not for woodland which can be the most common semi-natural habitat in many regions. While the management and design of habitats offer potential to stimulate conservation biocontrol, we also identified knowledge gaps. A better understanding of the relationship between resource availability and arthropod communities across habitat types, the spatiotemporal distribution of resources in the landscape and interactions with other factors that play a role in pest regulation could contribute to an informed management of semi-natural habitats for biocontrol. 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.


Carrillo L.,CSIC - Biological Research Center | Carrillo L.,Technical University of Madrid | Martinez M.,Technical University of Madrid | Alvarez-Alfageme F.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Transgenic Research | Year: 2011

Cystatins from plants have been implicated in plant defense towards insects, based on their role as inhibitors of heterologous cysteine-proteinases. We have previously characterized thirteen genes encoding cystatins (HvCPI-1 to HvCPI-13) from barley (Hordeum vulgare), but only HvCPI-1 C68 → G, a variant generated by direct-mutagenesis, has been tested against insects. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of the whole gene family members of barley cystatins against two aphids, Myzus persicae and Acyrthosiphon pisum. All the cystatins, except HvCPI-7, HvCPI-10 and HvCPI-12, inhibited in vitro the activity of cathepsin L- and/or B-like proteinases, with HvCPI-6 being the most effective inhibitor for both aphid species. When administered in artificial diets, HvCPI-6 was toxic to A. pisum nymphs (LC50 = 150 μg/ml), whereas no significant mortality was observed on M. persicae nymphs up to 1000 μg/ml. The effects of HvCPI-6 ingestion on A. pisum were correlated with a decrease of cathepsin B- and L-like proteinase activities. In the case of M. persicae, there was an increase of these proteolytic activities, but also of the aminopeptidase-like activity, suggesting that this species is regulating both target and insensitive enzymes to overcome the effects of the cystatin. To further analyze the potential of barley cystatins as insecticidal proteins against aphids, Arabidopsis plants expressing HvCPI-6 were tested against M. persicae. For A. pisum, which does not feed on Arabidopsis, a combined diet-Vicia faba plant bioassay was performed. A significant delay in the development time to reach the adult stage was observed in both species. The present study demonstrates the potential of barley cystatins to interfere with the performance of two aphid species. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Schader C.,Research Institute of Organic Farming FiBL | Lampkin N.,Organic Research Center | Lampkin N.,Aberystwyth University | Christie M.,Aberystwyth University | And 3 more authors.
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

The economic efficiency of financial support of organic farming has been questioned by economists and policy makers. However, little empirical research has been done in order to evaluate the economic performance of these payments. Thus, the aim of this paper is to calculate the cost-effectiveness of organic farming support in achieving environmental policy targets compared to other agri-environmental measures.The cost-effectiveness of agri-environmental measures can be understood as a function of policy uptake, environmental effects, and public expenditure. Taking the Swiss agricultural sector as an empirical case study, cost-effectiveness of organic farming support and other single agri-environmental measures was calculated. For this purpose, the sector-representative PMP model FARMIS was extended by three modules encompassing: (a) life cycle assessments for fossil energy use, biodiversity and eutrophication according to the SALCA methodology, (b) public expenditure, including policy-related transaction costs, and (c) uptake of agri-environmental measures.The calculations revealed a slightly higher policy cost with organic farming support of 14. CHF/ha for a 1% average improvement in the environmental indicators, compared to a combination of three single agri-environmental measures (11. CHF/ha), including both extensification of arable land and meadows. In view of an average public expenditure on agriculture of 2.5. kCHF/ha in Switzerland, these differences can be considered as marginal. Sensitivity analyses confirm that the cost-effectiveness of organic farming support is very similar to combined agri-environmental measures. Furthermore, the model reveals that the cost-effectiveness of specific agri-environmental measures is higher when implemented on organic farms rather than on non-organic farms. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Kolpin D.W.,U.S. Geological Survey | Schenzel J.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station | Meyer M.T.,U.S. Geological Survey | Phillips P.J.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 3 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

To determine the prevalence of mycotoxins in streams, 116 water samples from 32 streams and three wastewater treatment plant effluents were collected in 2010 providing the broadest investigation on the spatial and temporal occurrence of mycotoxins in streams conducted in the United States to date. Out of the 33 target mycotoxins measured, nine were detected at least once during this study. The detections of mycotoxins were nearly ubiquitous during this study even though the basin size spanned four orders of magnitude. At least one mycotoxin was detected in 94% of the 116 samples collected. Deoxynivalenol was the most frequently detected mycotoxin (77%), followed by nivalenol (59%), beauvericin (43%), zearalenone (26%), β-zearalenol (20%), 3-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (16%), α-zearalenol (10%), diacetoxyscirpenol (5%), and verrucarin A (1%). In addition, one or more of the three known estrogenic compounds (i.e. zearalenone, α-zearalenol, and β-zearalenol) were detected in 43% of the samples, with maximum concentrations substantially higher than observed in previous research. While concentrations were generally low (i.e. <. 50. ng/L) during this study, concentrations exceeding 1000. ng/L were measured during spring snowmelt conditions in agricultural settings and in wastewater treatment plant effluent. Results of this study suggest that both diffuse (e.g. release from infected plants and manure applications from exposed livestock) and point (e.g. wastewater treatment plants and food processing plants) sources are important environmental pathways for mycotoxin transport to streams. The ecotoxicological impacts from the long-term, low-level exposures to mycotoxins alone or in combination with complex chemical mixtures are unknown. © 2013.


PubMed | U.S. Geological Survey and Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2014

To determine the prevalence of mycotoxins in streams, 116 water samples from 32 streams and three wastewater treatment plant effluents were collected in 2010 providing the broadest investigation on the spatial and temporal occurrence of mycotoxins in streams conducted in the United States to date. Out of the 33 target mycotoxins measured, nine were detected at least once during this study. The detections of mycotoxins were nearly ubiquitous during this study even though the basin size spanned four orders of magnitude. At least one mycotoxin was detected in 94% of the 116 samples collected. Deoxynivalenol was the most frequently detected mycotoxin (77%), followed by nivalenol (59%), beauvericin (43%), zearalenone (26%), -zearalenol (20%), 3-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (16%), -zearalenol (10%), diacetoxyscirpenol (5%), and verrucarin A (1%). In addition, one or more of the three known estrogenic compounds (i.e. zearalenone, -zearalenol, and -zearalenol) were detected in 43% of the samples, with maximum concentrations substantially higher than observed in previous research. While concentrations were generally low (i.e. < 50 ng/L) during this study, concentrations exceeding 1,000 ng/L were measured during spring snowmelt conditions in agricultural settings and in wastewater treatment plant effluent. Results of this study suggest that both diffuse (e.g. release from infected plants and manure applications from exposed livestock) and point (e.g. wastewater treatment plants and food processing plants) sources are important environmental pathways for mycotoxin transport to streams. The ecotoxicological impacts from the long-term, low-level exposures to mycotoxins alone or in combination with complex chemical mixtures are unknown.


Davis J.,Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology | Sonesson U.,Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology | Baumgartner D.U.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station | Nemecek T.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station
Food Research International | Year: 2010

The production of food protein has a considerable impact on the environment. This paper investigates the potential environmental benefits of introducing more grain legumes in human nutrition. Four meals with different amounts of soybeans or peas (either used as feed for production of pork or directly consumed) were analysed using life cycle assessment methodology. The results of this analysis demonstrate that it is environmentally favourable to replace meat with peas. In particular, the addition of more legumes to human nutrition potentially aids in the reduction of global warming, eutrophication, acidification, and land use; however, in terms of energy use, a completely vegetarian pea burger meal requires the same amount of energy as other meat-containing meals. Feeding pigs with European-produced peas instead of imported soybeans, in addition to partial replacement (10%) of meat protein with pea protein, failed to reduce the environmental impact of the meal. In summary, peas can be considered 'green', but there remains a significant need for more energy-efficient processing of vegetarian products. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.


Eckard S.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station | Wettstein F.E.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station | Forrer H.-R.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station | Vogelgsang S.,Agroscope Reckenholz Tanikon Research Station
Toxins | Year: 2011

Maize is frequently infected by the Fusarium species producing mycotoxins. Numerous investigations have focused on grain maize, but little is known about the Fusarium species in the entire plant used for silage. Furthermore, mycotoxins persist during the ensiling process and thus endanger feed safety. In the current study, we analyzed 20 Swiss silage maize samples from growers' fields for the incidence of Fusarium species and mycotoxins. The species spectrum was analyzed morphologically and mycotoxins were measured by LC-MS/MS. A pre-harvest visual disease rating showed few disease symptoms. In contrast, the infection rate of two-thirds of the harvest samples ranged from 25 to 75% and twelve different Fusarium species were isolated. The prevailing species were F. sporotrichioides, F. verticillioides and F. graminearum. No infection specificity for certain plant parts was observed. The trichothecene deoxynivalenol (DON) was found in each sample (ranging from 780 to 2990 μg kg-1). Other toxins detected in descending order were zearalenone, further trichothecenes (nivalenol, HT-2 and T-2 toxin, acetylated DON) and fumonisins. A generalized linear regression model containing the three cropping factors harvest date, pre-precrop and seed treatment was established, to explain DON contamination of silage maize. Based on these findings, we suggest a European-wide survey on silage maize. © 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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