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Strahinj, Slovenia

Pogacnik M.,Biotechnical Center Naklo | Znidarcic D.,University of Ljubljana
Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

The main objective of this study was to establish the factors which potentially influence food purchasing of Slovenian consumers. For this study, web survey was carried out between 1 st November and 31 st December 2009. Survey sample consisted of 251 respondents from various parts of Slovenia. The questionnaire was developed to analyse consumers' socio-demographic characteristics, monthly income and food purchase decision-making. The majority of respondents were male (76%) and held university degree (68%). The proportion of respondents with monthly income between 600 and 1,000 EUR was 41%. More than one third of respondents, of which 76% were female, reported their monthly food expenditure of over 200 EUR per family member. The largest share of respondents (43%) spent from 20 to 30% of their monthly income on food. In terms of search for food information, the respondents most frequently chose »friends and acquaintances«, »newspapers and magazines« and »web pages«, whereas option of »in-store food promotions« was chosen less often. In the area of consumers' inquisitiveness concerning food, responses suggested that participants were predominantly interested in food quality. Regarding food purchase decision-making, »familiar« and »Slovenian product« emerged as dominant factors, whereas product price was considered less important. Correlation analysis showed significant positive correlation between organic food production, organic product purchase and searching information on food from television and radio. In regards to searching information on food principle component analysis highlighted three distinct factors which affect food purchase decision-making: labelled awareness, inquisitiveness and loyalty. Source

Pogacnik M.,Biotechnical Center Naklo | Znidarcic D.,University of Ljubljana | Strgar J.,Biotechnical Center Naklo
Archives of Biological Sciences

This study was conducted on a sample of 360 students of biotechnical education aged 15 to 18 with the aim of testing the effectiveness of experiential instruction in a school garden in comparison with traditional instruction in a classroom. The results show that experiential instruction yielded significantly better achievement scores than traditional teaching. The experiential instruction group scored higher in both cognitive domains included in the test, i.e. knowing and applying. Students' knowledge in a post-test was influenced by gender, grade and the educational program that students were enrolled in. Source

Kunstelj N.,Biotechnical Center Naklo | Znidarcic D.,University of Ljubljana | Ster B.,University of Ljubljana
Italian Journal of Food Science

This article analyses factors affecting the reputation of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) among people in Slovenia. The inquiry, which included 7 general questions and 19 questions in particular about sweet potato, was completed by 712 respondents. The aim was to find out which factors impact the knowledge about sweet potato, the relations between answers to various questions regarding sweet potato features and willingness of people to know, to buy and to grow it. The methods applied were the Radial basis function neural networks and multiple linear and logistic regressions. It was established that persons with agricultural education are experts and know sweet potato best. Persons from large families are also familiar with it, but to a smaller degree. The answers to 8 questions about sweet potato features were very consistent, since we found out that every answer can be predicted with 98% probability (on the basis of the answers to the other 7 questions). Significant covariates in regression show that the most likely persons to know/buy/grow sweet potato are the people with agricultural education. Older persons are more interested in curative features of sweet potato, while younger and better educated believe in stronger nutritional values. Female respondents are more likely to grow sweet potato than men. Net income also influences willingness to buy sweet potato, because people living with children are more likely to be willing to attend free lectures about sweet potato. Source

Marinsek A.,Slovenian Forestry Institute | Silc U.,Biotechnical Center Naklo | Manthey M.,University of Greifswald
Plant Ecology

Knowledge about relationships between specialization degree of species, i.e. the width of their realized niche and functional traits, may have important implications for the assessment of future population developments under environmental change. In this study, we used a recently introduced method to calculate ecological niche widths of plant species in mixed broad-leaved deciduous forests and to investigate the dependence between niche widths of plants and their functional traits and Ellenberg indicator values. The research is based on a dataset of 4556 phytosociological relevés of mixed broad-leaved deciduous forests in Slovenia. We calculated theta indices for 326 species, which ranks them along a continuous gradient of habitat specialization. For 272 species, we compiled 26 functional traits and Ellenberg indicator values. We found some significant correlations between theta indices of species and their functional traits and Ellenberg indicator values; habitat specialists thrive primarily on the highest altitudes, on colder, dry sites and achieve the age of first flowering later than generalists. They also have smaller seed diameter, lower leaf dry matter content, lower mean canopy height and bigger specific leaf area than generalists. Two species groups, chamaephytes and spring green species, are particularly characterized as specialist species. The added value of our work is in complementing the knowledge about the niche differentiating along different environmental gradients and species coexistence in mixed broad-leaved deciduous forests. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

Strgar J.,University of Ljubljana | Pilih M.,Secondary Medical School | Pogacnik M.,Biotechnical Center Naklo | Znidarcic D.,University of Ljubljana
Archives of Biological Sciences

The use of medicinal plants has been decreasing gradually. Our main objective was to determine whether young people today are still familiar with medicinal plants, and whether traditional knowledge, which forms part of the cultural heritage, has been lost or is still being passed on to new generations. In our study, we found that the majority of 19-yearolds used medicinal plants occasionally. They mostly buy dried plants or products based on medicinal plants; they rarely grew plants themselves. Their general knowledge concerning the use and effects of using these plants was not satisfactory. Students were only able to identify correctly a few medicinal plants, and most were not able to recognize poisonous plants. It was proposed that more time in school should be devoted to this topic because pupils did show interest in medicinal plants. This could be in the form of an elective module in the frame of an open curriculum that would also include growing plants in a school garden. Source

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