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Toberman H.,Griffith University | Toberman H.,University of Liverpool | Chen C.,Griffith University | Lewis T.,Horticulture and Forestry Science Agri Science Queensland | Elser J.J.,Arizona State University
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Fire is a major driver of ecosystem change and can disproportionately affect the cycling of different nutrients. Thus, a stoichiometric approach to investigate the relationships between nutrient availability and microbial resource use during decomposition is likely to provide insight into the effects of fire on ecosystem functioning. We conducted a field litter bag experiment to investigate the long-term impact of repeated fire on the stoichiometry of leaf litter C, N and P pools, and nutrient-acquiring enzyme activities during decomposition in a wet sclerophyll eucalypt forest in Queensland, Australia. Fire frequency treatments have been maintained since 1972, including burning every 2 years (2yrB), burning every 4 years (4yrB) and no burning (NB). C : N ratios in freshly fallen litter were 29-42% higher and C : P ratios were 6-25% lower for 2yrB than NB during decomposition, with correspondingly lower 2yrB N : P ratios (27-32) than for NB (34-49). Trends in litter soluble and microbial N : P ratios were similar to the overall litter N : P ratios across fire treatments. Consistent with these, the ratio of activities for N-acquiring to P-acquiring enzymes in litter was higher for 2yrB than NB, whereas 4yrB was generally intermediate between 2yrB and NB. Decomposition rates of freshly fallen litter were significantly lower for 2yrB (72 ± 2% mass remaining at the end of experiment) than for 4yrB (59 ± 3%) and NB (62 ± 3%), a difference that may be related to effects of N limitation, lower moisture content, and/or litter C quality. Results for older mixed-age litter were similar to those for freshly fallen litter although treatment differences were less pronounced. Overall, these findings show that frequent fire (2yrB) decoupled N and P cycling, as manifested in litter C : N : P stoichiometry and in microbial biomass N : P ratio and enzymatic activities. Furthermore, these data indicate that fire induced a transient shift to N-limited ecosystem conditions during the postfire recovery phase. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source


Liu X.,Griffith University | Chen C.R.,Griffith University | Wang W.J.,Innovation and the Arts | Hughes J.M.,Griffith University | And 3 more authors.
Soil Biology and Biochemistry | Year: 2013

Production of nitrous oxide (N2O) by anaerobic denitrification is one of the most important processes in the global nitrogen (N) cycle and has attracted recent attention due to its significant impacts on climatic change. Fire is a key driver of many ecosystem processes, however, how fire drives the shift in microbial community and thus alters nutrient cycling is still unclear. In this study, a 35-year-old repeated prescribed burning trial, with three treatments (no burning, 2 yearly burning and 4 yearly burning), was used to explore how the long-term repeated prescribed burning affects N2O flux, key soil properties (inorganic N, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and N, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), moisture), denitrification gene abundance and their interactions. Soil samples were collected in January and April 2011. Quantitative real-time PCR was employed to quantify the gene copy number of target genes, including narG, nirK, nirS and nosZ. In situ N2O fluxes ranged from 0 to 8.8 g N2O-N ha-1 h-1 with an average of 1.47 g N2O-N ha-1 h-1. More frequent fire (2 yearly burning) significantly reduced soil N2O fluxes, availability of C and N substrates and moisture, but increased soil pH and EC compared with no burning and 4 yearly burning treatments. Fire treatments did not significantly affect the abundance of most denitrification genes. There were no significant differences in most parameters measured between the 4 yearly burning and no burning treatments, indicating microbial community function is not affected by less frequent (4 year interval) burning. Variation in the N2O fluxes among the treatments can largely be explained by soil substrate (NO3-, DOC and total soluble nitrogen (TSN)) availability and soil environmental factors (pH, EC, and moisture), while the abundance of most denitrification genes were not related to the N2O fluxes. It is concluded that soil environmental factors rather than denitrification gene abundance control N2O fluxes in this wet sclerophyll forest in response to long-term repeated fires. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Gamage T.V.,CSIRO | Sanguansri P.,CSIRO | Swiergon P.,CSIRO | Eelkema M.,Horticulture and Forestry Science Agri Science Queensland | And 4 more authors.
Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies | Year: 2015

Apples at 24 ± 2 °C were heated in a pilot scale hot air assisted (40 °C) continuous pentagonal microwave system, to evaluate the effectiveness of this treatment on insect mortality (variety Mutsu) and fruit quality (variety Granny Smith). An average temperature of 53.4 ± 1.3 °C at core, bottom and flesh of the apple was recorded at the end of the treatment. One hundred percent mortality of the most tolerant stage of Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni, Froggatt) and Jarvis's fruit fly (Bactrocera jarvisi, Tryon), were observed when the Mortality value (M52, equivalent time of isothermal treatment at 52 °C) at the slowest heating point applicable for each experiment was a 50 min and a 37 min, respectively. Results showed that microwave heat treatment is effective for insect disinfestation without any adverse impact on total soluble solids, flesh or peel firmness of the treated apples. The treated apples recorded a significantly higher pH and lower ion leakage than the untreated apples after 3 or 4 weeks. Therefore, the microwave heat treatment has the potential to be developed as an alternative chemical free quarantine treatment against economically significant insect pests. Industrial relevance Hot air assisted microwave heating of fruits and vegetables, is more cost effective compared to vapour heat treatment and ionising radiation for disinfestation of insects. Microwave treatment is environmentally friendly compared to fumigation and chemical treatments. Hot air assisted microwave disinfestation can be performed at farms or centralised pack houses since the capital cost would be comparatively lower than vapour heat or ionising radiation treatments. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Diczbalis Y.,Horticulture and Forestry Science Agri Science Queensland | Henriod R.,Horticulture and Forestry Science Agri Science Queensland | Sole D.,Horticulture and Forestry Science Agri Science Queensland | Campbell T.,Horticulture and Forestry Science Agri Science Queensland
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Prochloraz as Sportak® at 450 g a.i./L is registered for the control of postharvest diseases in papaya in Australia. A project in far north Queensland in 2011, examined the use patterns of postharvest treatments, evaluated treatment dips and sprays for prochloraz concentrations and evaluated the efficacy of prochloraz at 0, 20, 40, 55 and 70 ml/100 L, fludioxonil as Scholar® at 260 ml/100 L and azoxystrobin as Amistar® at 50 ml/100 L. Results showed that packing shed use of Sportak® varied with recycled and stored solutions showing a depletion of the active ingredient. Measured prochloraz in solution was highly pH dependent with nominal solution values only being measured when the pH was less than 3.0. In the fungicide efficacy trial Sportak® at the label rate of 55 ml/100 L provided more effective disease control than fludioxonil and azoxystrobin. The trial also suggested that fruit from older trees showed a high degree of disease incidence relative to fruit from young trees. Source

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