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Huang C.-J.,Ghent University | Huang C.-J.,National Chiayi University | Pauwelyn E.,Ghent University | Ongena M.,University of Liège | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions | Year: 2015

The lettuce midrib rot pathogen Pseudomonas cichorii SF1-54 produces seven bioactive compounds with biosurfactant properties. Two compounds exhibited necrosis-inducing activity on chicory leaves. The structure of the two phytotoxic compounds, named cichopeptin A and B, was tentatively characterized. They are related cyclic lipopeptides composed of an unsaturated C12-fatty acid chain linked to the Nterminus of a 22-amino acid peptide moiety. Cichopeptin B differs from cichopeptin A only in the last C-terminal amino acid residue, which is probably Val instead of Leu/Ile. Based on peptide sequence similarity, cichopeptins are new cyclic lipopeptides related to corpeptin, produced by the tomato pathogen Pseudomonas corrugata. Production of cichopeptin is stimulated by glycine betaine but not by choline, an upstream precursor of glycine betaine. Furthermore, a gene cluster encoding cichopeptin synthethases, cipABCDEF, is responsible for cichopeptin biosynthesis. A cipA-deletion mutant exhibited significantly less virulence and rotten midribs than the parental strain upon spray inoculation on lettuce. However, the parental and mutant strains multiplied in lettuce leaves at a similar rate. These results demonstrate that cichopeptins contribute to virulence of P. cichorii SF1-54 on lettuce. © 2015 The American Phytopathological Society.

Rugani B.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST | Golkowska K.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST | Vazquez-Rowe I.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST | Vazquez-Rowe I.,Catholic University of Peru | And 4 more authors.
Applied Energy | Year: 2015

The expansion of Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) practices is mainly driven by the viability of SRC wood as an alternative to other renewable and non-renewable fuels in energy production, but also to the capacity of increasing biodiversity and the supply of ecosystem services locally. To delve into these environmental synergies and possible trade-offs, the Life Cycle Assessment method was applied to seven SRC experimental sites recently implemented in Flanders (Belgium). These have differing land use objectives and, thus, present different species proportions and plantation density. For instance, most sites are either planted with willow and poplar clones, or with a mix of the two with local tree species in order to activate temporary unused industrial lands or enhance the local ecosystem functionality. A regular 3 to 7-year rotation was simulated up to year 2033 using CO2FIX given that trees were yet to be harvested at the time of the assessment. Yields were first estimated over time: SRC systems composed by mixed species presented the highest productivity and also the best environmental performance profiles. Overall, the highest environmental impacts were due to consumption of diesel during the cyclic harvests, but also to fertilization activities. Uncertainty distribution ranges were determined for the most critical parameters and a Monte Carlo analysis was performed to obtain average impact scores with variability ranges. While replacing hardwood with wood from SRC chips was not found to be advantageous because of e.g. larger metal, fossil and ozone depletion potentials, benefits were observed for land use reduction and climate change mitigation. Due to frequent rotations, the beneficial trends for the latter seem sufficient to compensate the negative effects of the other impacts on human health and ecosystems quality. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

De Moor S.,Ghent University | Velghe F.,Organic Waste Systems | Wierinck I.,Organic Waste Systems | Michels E.,Ghent University | And 5 more authors.
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

This study investigated the potential of co-digestion of grass clippings in a typical Flemish agro-digester characterized by an input of 30% manure, 30% maize silage and 40% side streams. No significant adverse effects in the microbiological functioning of the reactors were detected when part of the maize input was replaced by 10-20% grass. However at the highest dosage of grass input, dry matter content and the viscosity of the reactor content increased substantially. These parameters could be reduced again by enzyme addition in the form of MethaPlus L100. It can be concluded that co-digestion of 20% grass in an agricultural digester would not pose any problem if dry matter content and viscosity are improved by the use of an enzyme mixture. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Van Hese N.,Ghent University | Huang C.-J.,Ghent University | De Vleesschauwer D.,Ghent University | Delaere I.,Ghent University | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Plant Pathology | Year: 2016

Downy mildew, caused by the oomycete Bremia lactucae, is a devastating disease of lettuce, which is controlled by applying fungicides and/or planting resistant lettuce cultivars. As resistance of lettuce cultivars is based on gene-for-gene interaction and offers mostly short-term protection, a lot of effort is put in breeding new resistant lettuce cultivars. For efficient breeding, it is important to know the virulence characteristics of B. lactucae populations in order to select for lettuce cultivars carrying the most effective resistance genes for production. In this study, 55 isolates of B. lactucae were collected from Belgian lettuce culture and their virulence characteristics were analysed. Results showed that the resistance genes with the highest resistance efficacy to the B. lactucae isolates are Dm 15, Dm 17 and the resistance factors of Balesta, Bedford and Bellissimo, while Dm 1, Dm 4, Dm 5/8, Dm 10 and Dm 12 were least effective. There was a lot of variability in virulence within the B. lactucae populations, with 41 of the 55 characterized isolates having a unique virulence-phenotype. This virulence variability may result from sexual reproduction or asexual genetic variation. Sexual reproduction, however, does not seem to be an important cue for B. lactucae variation in Belgium since oospore formation did not occur frequently and attempts for oospore germination were not successful. In addition, mating type B1 was predominant in the B. lactucae population. Our results provide important information for selection and future breeding of resistant lettuce cultivars, especially for Belgian lettuce producers. © 2015, Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging.

Verheyen K.,Ghent University | Buggenhout M.,Ghent University | Vangansbeke P.,Ghent University | Vangansbeke P.,Flemish Institute for Technological Research | And 3 more authors.
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2014

We compared communities of vascular plants and arthropods in ten Short Rotation Coppice (SRC)-maize pairs, to (1) quantify the difference in diversity and composition between these two alternative land-use types and (2) to assess the potential of SRC plantations to increase functional biodiversity values in agricultural landscapes. In each SRC plantation and maize field, the vegetation was surveyed and arthropods were sampled by applying pitfall and pan trapping. The composition of the vegetation and of the epigeic and vegetation inhabiting arthropod communities strongly differed between the crop types. This differentiation was mainly due to true species turnover and only to a lesser extent to the occurrence of nested subsets. On average, the total cover of the vegetation was 10 times higher in the SRC plantations and taxonomic and trait diversity were also consistently higher in SRC. Arthropod activity densities were significantly higher, sometimes almost double, in SRC plantations. Significantly higher effective species numbers in SRC were only retrieved for Hymenoptera and Coleoptera. Regarding functional groups, the activity densities of omnivores, detritivores, mycophages, phytophages and parasitoids were significantly higher in SRC. While activity densities of predators were not different among the crop types, their effective species number was higher in SRC, indicating a more evenly distributed and diverse predator community. To conclude, we have shown that SRC can significantly increase vegetation and arthropod abundance and/or diversity in agricultural landscapes when replacing annual biomass crops, such as maize. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Pauwelyn E.,Ghent University | Huang C.-J.,Ghent University | Ongena M.,University of Liège | Leclere V.,Lille University of Science and Technology | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions | Year: 2013

Pseudomonas cichorii is the causal agent of lettuce midrib rot, characterized by a dark-brown to green-black discoloration of the midrib. Formation of necrotic lesions by several plant-pathogenic pseudomonads is associated with production of phytotoxic lipopeptides, which contribute to virulence. Therefore, the ability of P. cichorii SF1-54 to produce lipopeptides was investigated. A cell-free culture filtrate of SF1-54 showed surfactant, antimicrobial, and phytotoxic activities which are typical for lipopeptides. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of P. cichorii SF1-54 culture filtrate revealed the presence of seven compounds with lipopeptide characteristics. Two related lipopeptides, named cichofactin A and B, were studied in more detail: they are linear lipopeptides with a decanoic and dodecanoic lipid chain, respectively, connected to the N-terminus of an eight-amino-acid peptide moiety. Both cichofactins are new members of the syringafactin lipopeptide family. Furthermore, two nonribosomal peptide synthethase-encoding genes, cifA and cifB, were identified as responsible for cichofactin biosynthesis. A cifAB deletion mutant no longer produced cichofactins and was impaired in swarming motility but showed enhanced biofilm formation. Upon spray inoculation on lettuce, the cichofactindeficient mutant caused significantly less rotten midribs than the wild type, indicating that cichofactins are involved in pathogenicity of P. cichorii SF1-54. Further analysis revealed that P. cichorii isolates vary greatly in swarming motility and cichofactin production. © 2013 The American Phytopathological Society.

Igos E.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST | Golkowska K.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST | Koster D.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST | Vervisch B.,Inagro vzw | Benetto E.,Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2016

The use of cover crops (CCs) during winter can improve the structure and water retention capacity of the soil. Additionally, the harvested CCs could be used as substrate in an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. This paper aims at assessing the environmental and economic consequences of planting rye as a winter CC (after maize) and its use as co-substrate in an AD plant (Rye scenario) instead of leaving the land fallow during winter and use solely maize for co-digestion with manure (NoRye scenario). The life cycle assessment (LCA) of 1 MJ of produced bioenergy (36% electricity and 64% heat) shows significant benefits for marine eutrophication for the Rye scenario due to reductions in nitrate leaching. However, the lower specific yield of rye and the biogas potential for the Rye scenario resulted in higher total impacts on climate change and resource depletion (higher use of machinery and infrastructures for 1 MJ of produced bioenergy), as compared to the use of maize in the NoRye scenario. Based on the analysis, possible methodological improvements are highlighted, in particular for the simulation of field emissions and regionalization of impacts. From an economic point-of-view, planting rye during winter could generate additional revenues for the farmer. However, the calculation incorporates large uncertainties, linked mainly to price volatility, seasonal weather conditions (and related yield variations), and to the possible influence of CCs on the summer crop yield. In conclusion, this paper presents a first overview of the sustainability performances of using rye as a CC for energy purposes. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

Jacobs B.A.J.G.,42 Technology | Verlinden B.E.,42 Technology | Bobelyn E.,42 Technology | Decombel A.,Inagro vzw | And 6 more authors.
Postharvest Biology and Technology | Year: 2016

Lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta L.) can be stored up to 28 days without being indistinguishable from fresh material by the human eye. However, due to the prior storage period the shelf life potential is limited and this leads to losses in distribution and a lower quality for the consumer. This work aims to develop a rapid and non-destructive methodology using visible/near infrared (Vis/NIR) reflectance spectroscopy to detect and quantify a prior storage period. Vis/NIR reflectance spectra were linked to the time in storage by partial least squares regression (PLS). Different variable selection techniques (interval PLS, Variable Importance in Projection scores, Genetic Algorithms PLS and Monte Carlo Uninformative Variable Elimination PLS) were combined to improve the accuracy and robustness of the prediction model, while decreasing the number of used wavelengths. The final model used only 10% of the original wavelengths, while the root mean squared error of cross validation decreased from 6.0 to 3.6 days. The final model was tested using 2 external test sets and had a maximum root mean square error of prediction of 3.7 days. Vis/NIR reflectance spectroscopy can be a valuable, rapid and non-destructive method for identifying and quantifying a prior storage period of lamb's lettuce. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Jacobs B.A.J.G.,42 Technology | Verlinden B.E.,42 Technology | Bobelyn E.,42 Technology | Decombel A.,Inagro VZW | And 5 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta L.) delivered to the vegetable auctions is not always fresh. The product can be stored for a certain time depending on the time of year. Stored and freshly harvested material is visually not distinguishable, but the shelf life potential of the first is limited. This leads to losses in distribution and a lower quality for consumers. The aim of this work was to develop a fast nondestructive methodology that uses visible/near infrared (Vis/NIR) reflectance spectroscopy that can determine whether lamb's lettuce has been in storage and give an idea about the remaining shelf life potential. The Vis/NIR reflectance spectra were linked to the time in storage and to the quality of the samples at the end of a shelf life holding period by partial least squares regression (PLS). The prediction of the remaining shelf life potential was not successful based on colorimetric quality attributes. There was a better performance when the quality scores given by a panel of experts was used, but for the moment this prediction model lacks accuracy. The detection and quantification of a prior storage period was validated with an external test set and the root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) was 2.5 days. Vis/NIR reflectance spectroscopy was a valid, fast and non-destructive method for determining and quantifying a storage period of lamb's lettuce.

Jacobs B.A.J.G.,42 Technology | Verlinden B.E.,42 Technology | Bobelyn E.,42 Technology | Decombel A.,Inagro Vzw | And 4 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta L.) delivered at the vegetable auctions is not always fresh. The product could have been stored for a certain period of time depending on the season. The prior stored samples cannot be distinguished visually from fresh material but their shelf life potential is reduced compared to that of the latter. Batches with limited shelf life potential lead to losses in distribution and lower consumption quality. The aim of this work was to develop a methodology that could estimate the time that lamb's lettuce has been in storage. Lamb's lettuce samples grown at an experimental garden were stored at 4°C and ca. 92% relative humidity (RH). Visible/near infrared (VIS/NIR) spectra were obtained at harvest and at least once a week during storage on different samples. Lamb's lettuce samples were taken at harvest and after 11 days of storage. Glucose, fructose, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and total carotenoid content were measured to find an explanation for observed changes in spectral data. VIS/NIR reflectance spectra were linked to the time in storage using partial least squares regression (PLS). The resulting PLS-model was able to estimate the stored period of lamb's lettuce (RMSEC=2.2 days; R2=0.92). To validate the model an external test set of a different batch of lamb's lettuce was used (RMSEP=3.4 days). Glucose and fructose content decreased during storage. A reduction of chlorophyll a and b was observed after 11 days in cool storage while total carotenoid content remained stable.

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