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Olson D.,Crop Protection and Management Research Unit | Rains G.,University of Georgia
Biosensors | Year: 2014

Screening cargo for illicit substances is in need of rapid high-throughput inspection systems that accurately identify suspicious cargo. Here we investigate the ability of a parasitic wasp, Microplitis croceipes to detect and respond to methyl benzoate, the volatile component of cocaine, by examining their response to training concentrations, their sensitivity at low concentrations, and their ability to detect methyl benzoate when two concealment substances (green tea and ground coffee) are added to the testing arena. Utilizing classical associative learning techniques with sucrose as reward, we found that M. croceipes learns individual concentrations of methyl benzoate, and they can generalize this learning to concentrations 100× lower than the training concentration. Their sensitivity to methyl benzoate is very low at an estimated 3 ppb. They are also able to detect methyl benzoate when covered completely by green tea, but were not able to detect methyl benzoate when covered completely by coffee grounds. Habituation to the tea and coffee odors prior to testing improves their responses, resulting in effective detection of methyl benzoate covered by the coffee grounds. With the aid of the portable device called 'the wasp hound', the wasps appear to have potential to be effective on-site biosensors for the detection of cocaine. © 2014 by the authors. Source


Rains G.C.,University of Georgia | Olson D.M.,Crop Protection and Management Research Unit | Lewis W.J.,Crop Protection and Management Research Unit
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2011

Agricultural technology has increased farm production to unprecedented levels. However, return on investment is diminishing and environmental concerns conflict with current input intensive farm practices. Conventional technologies and their application such as crop breeding and management practices have focused on monocultural systems that are dependent on chemical inputs to produce optimum yields. Current profit margins are low or non-existent with these conventional non-sustainable practices and must be changed if the family farm is to survive. We propose an ecologically based approach to farm management that strives to reduce reliance on chemically intensive inputs through better use of multiple attributes inherent within agroecosystems. This approach requires a redirection in the development and application of current and emerging technologies. Examples of redirections in research and development programs for pest management practices, genetic engineering, and precision agriculture necessary to provide a more ecologically-based and sustainable farming approach are illustrated. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Yang L.,Huaiyin Normal University | Yang L.,Crop Protection and Management Research Unit | Yang L.,University of Georgia | Ji J.,Huaiyin Normal University | And 6 more authors.
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2016

To clarify the roles of carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), and auxin in the plant response to iron deficiency (–Fe), and to establish how the signaling molecules interact to enhance Fe acquisition, we conducted physiological, genetic, and molecular analyses that compared the responses of variousArabidopsis mutants, including hy1(CO deficient), noa1 (NO deficient), nia1/nia2 (NO deficient), yuc1 (auxin over-accumulation), and cue1 (NO over-accumulation) to –Fe stress. We also generated a HY1 over-expression line (named HY1-OX) in which CO is over-produced compared to wild-type. We found that the suppression of CO and NO generation using various inhibitors enhanced the sensitivity of wild-type plants to Fe depletion. Similarly, the hy1, noa1, and nia1/nia2 mutants were more sensitive to Fe deficiency. By contrast, the yuc1,cue1, and HY1-OX lines were less sensitive to Fe depletion. The hy1 mutant with low CO content exhibited no induced expression of the Fe uptake-related genes FIT1 and FRO2 as compared to wild-type plants. On the other hand, the treatments of exogenous CO and NO enhanced Fe uptake. Likewise, cue1 and HY1-OX lines with increased endogenous content of NO and CO, respectively, also exhibited enhanced Fe uptake and increased expression of bHLH transcriptional factor FIT1as compared to wild-type plants. Furthermore, we found that CO affected auxin accumulation and transport in the root tip by altering the PIN1 and PIN2 proteins distribution that control lateral root structure under –Fe stress. Our results demonstrated the integration of CO, NO, and auxin signaling to cope with Fe deficiency in Arabidopsis. © 2016 Yang, Ji, Wang, Harris-Shultz, Abd_Allah, Luo, Guan and Hu. Source


Yang L.,Huaiyin Normal University | Yang L.,University of Georgia | Yang L.,Crop Protection and Management Research Unit | Ji J.,Huaiyin Normal University | And 6 more authors.
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2016

The heavy metal cadmium is a common environmental contaminant in soils and has adverse effects on crop growth and development. The signaling processes in plants that initiate cellular responses to environmental stress have been shown to be located in the plasma membrane (PM). A better understanding of the PM proteome in response to environmental stress might provide new insights for improving stress-tolerant crops. Nitric oxide (NO) is reported to be involved in the plant response to cadmium (Cd) stress. To further investigate how NO modulates protein changes in the plasma membrane during Cd stress, a quantitative proteomics approach based on isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ) was used to identify differentially regulated proteins from the rice plasma membrane after Cd or Cd and NO treatment. Sixty-six differentially expressed proteins were identified, of which, many function as transporters, ATPases, kinases, metabolic enzymes, phosphatases, and phospholipases. Among these, the abundance of phospholipase D (PLD) was altered substantially after the treatment of Cd or Cd and NO. Transient expression of the PLD fused with green fluorescent peptide (GFP) in rice protoplasts showed that the Cd and NO treatment promoted the accumulation of PLD in the plasma membrane. Addition of NO also enhanced Cd-induced PLD activity and the accumulation of phosphatidic acid (PA) produced through PLD activity. Meanwhile, NO elevated the activities of antioxidant enzymes and caused the accumulation of glutathione, both which function to reduce Cd-induced H2O2 accumulation. Taken together, we suggest that NO signaling is associated with the accumulation of antioxidant enzymes, glutathione and PA which increases cadmium tolerance in rice via the antioxidant defense system. © 2016, Yang, Ji, Harris-Shultz, Wang, Wang, Abd-Allah, Luo and Hu. Source


Olson D.,Crop Protection and Management Research Unit | Wackers F.,Lancaster University | Haugen J.-E.,Norwegian Institute of Food
Journal of Food Science | Year: 2012

Surgical castration has been long used to prevent consumers from experiencing taint in meat from male pigs, which is a large problem in the pig husbandry industry. Due to obvious animal welfare issues, the EU now wants an alternative for castration, suggesting an urgent need for novel methods of boar taint detection. As boar taint is only a problem when taint chemicals exceed a well-defined threshold, detection methods should be concentration-specific. The wasp, Microplitis croceipes' ability to learn and respond to particular concentrations of the boar taint compounds, skatole, androstenone, and indole was tested. Also tested was the wasps' ability to discriminate between known concentrations of indole, skatole, and androstenone in real boar fat samples at room temperature. Wasps were trained using associative learning by providing food-deprived wasps with sucrose-water in the presence of specific odor concentrations. Trained wasps' responses were tested to a range of concentrations of 3 compounds. Wasps showed unidirectional generalization of learned concentration responses, whereby the direction of concentration generalization was shown to be chemical-dependent. Through both positive (sucrose) and negative feeding experiences (water only) with varying compound concentrations, the wasps can also be conditioned to respond to concentrations exceeding a defined threshold, and they were successful in reporting low, medium, and high concentrations of indole, skatole, and androstenone in boar fat at room temperature. The need for threshold detection rather than simple detection of absence/presence applies to many food quality issues, including the detection of spoilage or pest damage in crops or stored foods. Practical Application: An inexpensive and reliable means of detecting boar tainted pork at slaughter to avoid tainted meat on the market and dissatisfied consumers. © 2012 Institute of Food Technologists®. Source

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