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Pecetti L.,Italian Agricultural Research Council | Johnson R.C.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Romani M.,Italian Agricultural Research Council | Bassignana M.,Institute Agricole Regional | Della Marianna G.,Fondazione Fojanini di Studi Superiori
Grass and Forage Science

A collection was carried out in the Italian Alps to gather local genetic resources and acquire information on the ecological adaptation of supina bluegrass (Poa supina Schrad.), a cool-season grass native to the Alpine region in Europe. It has potential for pastures and a growing interest for turfs, owing to excellent traffic, shade and cold tolerance. Available germplasm for research and breeding is scant, and extensive collections are needed to enable further development of adapted materials. Alpine germplasm has already proved valuable for breeding at lower altitude in pioneering selection work carried out in Germany. Extensive exploration throughout different environments, mostly above 1600m elevation, yielded fifty-five novel populations. Collections largely occurred in environments exposed to heavy disturbance by livestock, but it was also frequently found on very poor substrates along mountain paths and dirt roads, or around buildings. Some populations were present locally in shaded environments. Preliminary ex-situ observations indicated likely among-population variation to occur for important traits of breeding relevance such as disease and drought tolerance. Genetic variation for adaptive traits, although unproven, is hypothesized given the diversified habitats where the species was collected across the Italian Alps. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Renna M.,University of Turin | Cornale P.,University of Turin | Lussiana C.,University of Turin | Battaglini L.M.,University of Turin | And 2 more authors.
Animal Science Journal

This study was designed to evaluate the effects of two feeding methods on milk yield, composition and fatty acid (FA) profile obtained from dual-purpose cattle. Twenty-four Aosta Red Pied cows beyond peak of lactation were assigned to two groups and fed hay and concentrates in the proportions 0.69 and 0.31 on a dry matter basis for 10 weeks. Concentrates were offered separately from forages 6 times a day (separate ration, SR) or as a total mixed ration (TMR). The feeding method did not significantly influence dry matter intake (16.8 vs. 16.9kg/head/day for SR- and TMR-fed cows, respectively), milk yield (17.4 vs. 17.5kg/head/day), milk fat, protein and lactose contents (36.4 vs. 35.2, 33.5 vs. 32.8, and 47.3 vs. 47.4g/kg) and yields (607.9 vs. 613.4, 567.4 vs. 572.7 and 805.5 vs. 829.7g/head/day). The overall milk FA profile was very similar between groups. Milk concentrations of FA used as indirect markers of rumen function (C18:2 t10c12, odd- and branched-chain FA) and the extent of ruminal biohydrogenation were comparable (P>0.05) between SR- and TMR-fed cows, suggesting that ruminal pH did not vary considerably as a consequence of the feeding strategy applied. © 2013 Japanese Society of Animal Science. Source

Berard J.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Berard J.,Institute Agricole Regional | Kalbe C.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Losel D.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | And 2 more authors.
Histochemistry and Cell Biology

In pigs, myogenesis is a biphasic phenomenon with the formation of primary and secondary fibres. Hyperplasia was reported to be accomplished around 90 days of gestation. However, some studies suggest a substantial increase in the total fibre number (TFN) from birth to weaning by counting fibre number in the muscle cross sections. The aim of this study was to establish in which way TFN increases after birth and whether this increase is imputable to new (tertiary) myofibres and/or fibre elongation. The semitendinosus muscle of 128 piglets was examined at days 1 (n = 63), 7 (n = 12), 21 (n = 12), and 28 (n = 41) of age. TFN was increased at days 7, 21 and 28 of age when compared with day 1 (P < 0.01). From day 1 to 28, TFN increased from 463 × 10 3 to 825 × 10 3. Microscopy of longitudinal and transversal serial sections revealed that at day 7 of age very small fibres expressing the embryonic myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform were apparent all over the muscle. In addition, intrafascicular terminations of normal-sized fibres expressed the embryonic MyHC isoform. These data suggest that the TFN in the pig muscle is not fixed at birth and its postnatal increase may be related to both elongation of existing muscle fibres and genesis of tertiary myofibres, mainly between birth and 3 weeks of age. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

Vacchiano G.,University of Turin | Barni E.,University of Turin | Lonati M.,University of Turin | Masante D.,University of Turin | And 3 more authors.
Plant Biosystems

We modeled the distribution of the South African alien Senecio inaequidens DC. in the Aosta Valley, Western Italian Alps, using data extracted from the Regional floristic database and from an intensive field survey carried out in years 2009-2010. The aims of the work were (1) to evaluate whether the species is in the introduction, colonization, or establishment stage of invasion, (2) to detect the environmental factors that drive the invasion process, and (3) to highlight the potential range of distribution of the alien species. The modeling framework was a stepwise generalized linear model (GLM), using gridded presence/absence data and environmental predictors such as topography, climate, land use, and anthropogenic and natural disturbances. GLM were fit both with and without an additional independent variable to take into account current dispersal limitations. S. inaequidens displayed a very fast spread in the Aosta Valley in the years 1990-2010. The species was positively associated with roads and rivers, southern slopes, and negatively with elevation. However, it was found at an elevation of 1600 m, showing the ability to reach higher elevations than those observed for other invasive alien species, and confirming to be pre-adapted to mountain conditions. The difference between the species distribution models, with and without dispersal constraints, suggested that the availability of seed sources still limits the potential distribution of the species, rather than the environmental variables, and that the realized regional niche differs to a great extent from the equilibrium niche. When limitations to the seed source cease (i.e., in the establishment stage), the species will likely invade large areas that are currently characterized by pastures and grasslands with native species of high agricultural importance. The invasion of S. inaequidens should therefore be considered a serious threat, due to its potential to invade mountain regions, and in particular to colonize habitats used for grazing and forage, thus leading to a high risk for cattle and human health. We discuss the relevance of the results both concerning communication with the public and to support local eradication and control activities. The inclusion of S. inaequidens in the "black list" of the regional law for the conservation of alpine flora (L.R. 45/2009) will help to transfer the information and support invasion control, in particular at medium elevations. © 2013 © 2013 Società Botanica Italiana. Source

Giordano M.,University of Turin | Zecca O.,Institute Agricole Regional | Belviso S.,University of Turin | Reinotti M.,Institute Agricole Regional | And 2 more authors.
Italian Journal of Food Science

The volatile composition of aromatic grape varieties at harvest is a very important criterion in the choice of vinification technique to yield the optimal quality of the final product. The berry mechanical characteristics are important for assessing resistance to fungal attacks and for the estimation of shattering. In this study the effect of irrigation on the volatile fingerprint and the mechanical properties of the Muscat blanc [Vitis vinifera L.) grapes grown in mountain north-west region of Italy was investigated. Three water regimes were compared: standard irrigation, moderate irrigation and drought. In the meteorological conditions of the considered season, a significant increase in the amounts of the most representative free volatile components of the Muscat blanc variety (linalool and geraniol markers), was observed in standard irrigation treatment. Significantly higher amounts of four C13-norisoprenoid bound compounds were observed in the drought treatment with respect to the standard treatment. Furthermore, no influence of irrigation treatment on berry skin hardness and thickness parameters was noted. Therefore, in the considered alpine environment, on aromatic Muscat blanc variety, the optimum irrigation treatment is an important choose to improve the quality of the grapes. Source

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