Jokioinen, Finland
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Helander M.,University of Turku | Saloniemi I.,University of Turku | Saikkonen K.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Trends in Plant Science | Year: 2012

Glyphosate is the main nonselective, systemic herbicide used against a wide range of weeds. Its worldwide use has expanded because of extensive use of certain agricultural practices such as no-till cropping, and widespread application of glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops. Glyphosate has a reputation of being nontoxic to animals and rapidly inactivated in soils. However, recent evidence has cast doubts on its safety. Glyphosate may be retained and transported in soils, and there may be cascading effects on nontarget organisms. These processes may be especially detrimental in northern ecosystems because they are characterized by long biologically inactive winters and short growing seasons. In this opinion article, we discuss the potential ecological, environmental and agricultural risks of intensive glyphosate use in boreal regions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Kuosmanen T.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland | Johnson A.L.,Texas A&M University
Operations Research | Year: 2010

Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is known as a nonparametric mathematical programming approach to productive effi-ciency analysis. In this paper, we show that DEA can be alternatively interpreted as nonparametric least-squares regression subject to shape constraints on the frontier and sign constraints on residuals. This reinterpretation reveals the classic parametric programming model by Aigner and Chu [Aigner, D., S. Chu. 1968. On estimating the industry production function. Amer. Econom. Rev. 58 826-839] as a constrained special case of DEA. Applying these insights, we develop a nonparametric variant of the corrected ordinary least-squares (COLS) method. We show that this new method, referred to as corrected concave nonparametric least squares (C2NLS), is consistent and asymptotically unbiased. The linkages established in this paper contribute to further integration of the econometric and axiomatic approaches to efficiency analysis. © 2010 INFORMS.

Jalli M.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Annals of Applied Biology | Year: 2011

Knowledge of the virulence of a pathogen population and recognition of the risks of changes in the virulence spectrum are essential in breeding crops for disease resistance. Sexual recombination in a pathogen increases the level of genotypic diversity and can influence the virulence spectrum. This study aimed to determine how sexual recombination can change virulence of the barley pathogen Pyrenophora teres and whether the barley cultivation system, no-tillage or normal tillage, influences P. teres virulence. The inheritance of avirulence/virulence in P. teres following sexual reproduction was studied in three artificially created pathogen populations. The first was a product of crossing two net forms of the pathogen, and the second and the third were products of crossing net and spot forms. None of the progeny generated resembled the parents exactly. The average similarity of the progeny isolates of the net by net cross with the parental type, based on avirulence/virulence tests, was 92%. That for net and spot form progenies was 58% in comparison with the net form parents and 73% with the spot form parents. The virulence reactions of the progeny isolates did not correlate with morphological traits of the isolates: growth rate on agar, spore production, spore width, spore length and numbers of septa per conidium. To study the effect of the barley cultivation method on P. teres virulence, 313 single-spore cultures were obtained from barley fields. Two hundred and seventy-six of the isolates represented the spot form and 37 represented the net form of P. teres. No association was established between the tillage method and virulence for either the net form or the spot form isolates. © 2010 The Author. Annals of Applied Biology © 2010 Association of Applied Biologists.

This study was conducted to examine the performance of growing dairy bulls offered diets based on whole-crop barley silage with or without protein supplementation when compared to a grass silage-based diet. A feeding experiment comprised 36 bulls which were fed a total mixed ration ad libitum. The four dietary treatments were: 1) grass silage (600 g kg-1 dry matter) and rolled barley (400), 2) whole-crop barley silage (600) and rolled barley (400), 3) whole-crop barley silage (600), rolled barley (310) and rapeseed meal-based protein supplementation (90), and 4) whole-crop barley silage (600), rolled barley (330) and rapeseed meal + urea -based protein supplementation (70). Replacing grass silage with whole-crop barley decreased the carcass gain and carcass weight of the bulls due to lower energy intake. Protein supplementation either as rapeseed meal or rapeseed meal + urea of whole-crop barley silage based diets had no effects on animal performance.

Kuosmanen N.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Ecological Economics | Year: 2014

This study elaborates the dynamic nutrient balance model and applies it to analyze nitrogen use and nitrogen efficiency in agriculture. We use publicly available agricultural production data to estimate the net inflows, stocks and outflows of nitrogen for 14 European countries in years 1961-2009. The dynamic model allows us to analyze the trends in the nitrogen stocks and flows over time, and break down the total outflow of nitrogen into flows to water, air and soil. We argue that the nitrogen outflow, modeled as the decay of nitrogen stock, provides a more reliable and robust agri-environmental indicator than the conventional nutrient balance. Mathematically, the nutrient balance is an interval scale measure, whereas the nitrogen stock and the outflow from stock are ratio scale measures. Nitrogen efficiencies, calculated based on the nitrogen stocks, provide useful and insightful information beyond the conventional eco-efficiency measures defined from the nitrogen balances. The results of this paper can be used as input data for more comprehensive eco-efficiency or productivity analysis and for the evaluation and design of agri-environmental policies in Europe. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Luste S.,University of Eastern Finland | Luostarinen S.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2010

Anaerobic co-digestion of a mixture of animal by-products (ABP) from meat-processing industry and of sewage sludge was studied at 35 °C for co-digesting such by-products in digesters at wastewater treatment plants. The three reactors were fed with ABP mixture and sewage sludge (1) in a ratio of 1:7 (v/v), (2) in the same ratio but with hygienization (70 °C, 60 min) and (3) in a ratio of 1:3 (v/v). Hydraulic retention time (HRT) was decreased from 25 to 20 days and finally to 14 days, while organic loading rates (OLR) ranged from 1.8 to 4.0 kg VS/m3 day. The highest specific methane yields were achieved with 20-days-HRT (1) 400 ± 30, (2) 430 ± 40, (3) 410 ± 30 m3 CH4/t VS. Hygienization improved methane production to a level above the highest OLR applied (feed ratio 1:3 (3)), while the quality of the digestate remained similar to the other reactors. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Uimari P.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Genetics, selection, evolution : GSE | Year: 2011

Good genetic progress for pig reproduction traits has been achieved using a quantitative genetics-based multi-trait BLUP evaluation system. At present, whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) panels provide a new tool for pig selection. The purpose of this study was to identify SNP associated with reproduction traits in the Finnish Landrace pig breed using the Illumina PorcineSNP60 BeadChip. Association of each SNP with different traits was tested with a weighted linear model, using SNP genotype as a covariate and animal as a random variable. Deregressed estimated breeding values of the progeny tested boars were used as the dependent variable and weights were based on their reliabilities. Statistical significance of the associations was based on Bonferroni-corrected P-values. Deregressed estimated breeding values were available for 328 genotyped boars. Of the 62,163 SNP in the chip, 57,868 SNP had a call rate > 0.9 and 7,632 SNP were monomorphic. Statistically significant results (P-value < 2.0E-06) were obtained for total number of piglets born in first and later parities and piglet mortality between birth and weaning in later parity, and suggestive associations (P-value < 4.0E-06) for piglet mortality between birth and weaning in first parity, number of stillborn piglets in later parity, first farrowing interval and second farrowing interval. Two of the statistically significant regions for total number of piglets born in first and later parities are located on chromosome 9 around 95 and 79 Mb. The estimated SNP effect in these regions was approximately one piglet between the two homozygote classes. By combining the two most significant SNP in these regions, favourable double homozygote animals are expected to have 1.3 piglets (P-value = 1.69E-08) more than unfavourable double homozygote animals. A region on chromosome 9 (66 Mb) was statistically significant for piglet mortality between birth and weaning in later parity (0.44 piglets between homozygotes, P-value = 6.94E-08). Three separate regions on chromosome 9 gave significant results for litter size and pig mortality. The frequencies of favourable alleles of the significant SNP are moderate in the Finnish Landrace population and these SNP are thus valuable candidates for possible marker-assisted selection.

Maki-Tanila A.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland | Hill W.G.,University of Edinburgh
Genetics | Year: 2014

Although research effort is being expended into determining the importance of epistasis and epistatic variance for complex traits, there is considerable controversy about their importance. Here we undertake an analysis for quantitative traits utilizing a range of multilocus quantitative genetic models and gene frequency distributions, focusing on the potential magnitude of the epistatic variance. All the epistatic terms involving a particular locus appear in its average effect, with the number of two-locus interaction terms increasing in proportion to the square of the number of loci and that of third order as the cube and so on. Hence multilocus epistasis makes substantial contributions to the additive variance and does not, per se, lead to large increases in the nonadditive part of the genotypic variance. Even though this proportion can be high where epistasis is antagonistic to direct effects, it reduces with multiple loci. As the magnitude of the epistatic variance depends critically on the heterozygosity, for models where frequencies are widely dispersed, such as for selectively neutral mutations, contributions of epistatic variance are always small. Epistasis may be important in understanding the genetic architecture, for example, of function or human disease, but that does not imply that loci exhibiting it will contribute much genetic variance. Overall we conclude that theoretical predictions and experimental observations of low amounts of epistatic variance in outbred populations are concordant. It is not a likely source of missing heritability, for example, or major influence on predictions of rates of evolution. © 2014 by the Genetics Society of America.

Heikkurinen P.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management | Year: 2010

This paper analyzes strategic implications of corporate responsibility (CR) and in particular how a firm can differentiate with an environmentally responsible image. A single case study was conducted in the Nordic hospitality industry with semi-structured interviews as the main data collection method. By adopting an environmentally responsible identity through shared values with the firm's key stakeholders, the firm can reflect an environmentally responsible image. This image can enhance the firm's strategic position through internal and external differentiators from competitors - as the firm becomes a more preferred employer, partner and supplier, it results in enhanced employee motivation, cost savings, better reputation, and greater guest loyalty. The amount of CR depends on the micro/meso/macro/global-level drivers, and competitive aims of the firm. The emphasis on stakeholder communication becomes greater as the firm increases its CR-aggressiveness. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Regina K.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland | Alakukku L.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland
Soil and Tillage Research | Year: 2010

Consideration of the environmental effects of the no-tillage practice should be made on the basis of its effects on both carbon and nitrogen cycles. There is a lack of data on the effects of the no-till management in the cool and humid climate and typical soil types of Northern Europe. We measured the fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) on conventionally ploughed agricultural soils and on respective soils that had been under no-till practice for 5-7 years. Ten chamber measurement investigations were carried out during a 10-month period on six pairs of tilled and no-till fields on clayey (Vertic Cambisols, three pairs), coarse (Eutric Regosols, two pairs), and organic (Dystric Histosols, one pair) soils located between latitudes 60° and 62° N. The results suggest that there is a risk of increased N2O emissions in the first years of no-till practice under small grain spring cereal cultivation in Northern European boreal climate. Carbon dioxide emissions measured as total ecosystem respiration were either unchanged, increased or decreased under no-till. Fluxes of CH4 were negligible and not affected by no-till practice. Dry bulk density and soil moisture were higher in no-till soils compared to annually mouldboard ploughed soils. Variation in the greenhouse gas fluxes was best explained by the content of carbon and nitrogen in the topsoil of 0-20cm. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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