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Cabrera-Bosquet L.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Crossa J.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | von Zitzewitz J.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Serret M.D.,University of Barcelona | Luis Araus J.,University of Barcelona
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology | Year: 2012

Genomic selection (GS) and high-throughput phenotyping have recently been captivating the interest of the crop breeding community from both the public and private sectors world-wide. Both approaches promise to revolutionize the prediction of complex traits, including growth, yield and adaptation to stress. Whereas high-throughput phenotyping may help to improve understanding of crop physiology, most powerful techniques for high-throughput field phenotyping are empirical rather than analytical and comparable to genomic selection. Despite the fact that the two methodological approaches represent the extremes of what is understood as the breeding process (phenotype versus genome), they both consider the targeted traits (e.g. grain yield, growth, phenology, plant adaptation to stress) as a black box instead of dissecting them as a set of secondary traits (i.e. physiological) putatively related to the target trait. Both GS and high-throughput phenotyping have in common their empirical approach enabling breeders to use genome profile or phenotype without understanding the underlying biology. This short review discusses the main aspects of both approaches and focuses on the case of genomic selection of maize flowering traits and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and plant spectral reflectance as high-throughput field phenotyping methods for complex traits such as crop growth and yield. © 2012 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Quintans G.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Banchero G.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Baldi F.,National Institute for Agricultural Research
Animal Production Science | Year: 2010

Nutrition and suckling are largely recognised as the most important factors affecting the postpartum period and consequently the reproductive efficiency of beef cattle. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of body condition score (BCS) and suckling restriction with and without the presence of the calf on milk production, reproductive efficiency and calf performance. Sixty-three crossbred (Angus Hereford) multiparous cows were managed to maintain different BCS at calving and thereafter (low vs moderate; L, n ≤ 31 and M, n ≤ 32). Within each group of BCS (L and M) at week 9 postpartum (66 0.88 days postpartum) cows were assigned to three suckling treatments (ST): (i) suckling ad libitum (S, n ≤ 20); (ii) calves fitted with nose plates during 14 days remaining with their dams (NP, n ≤ 22); and (iii) calves were completely removed from their dams for 14 days, and thereafter returned (CR, n ≤ 21). Milk production was assessed by milking procedure at Day 65 (the day before onset of ST) and every 2022 days until the end of the experiment. Cows were bled via jugular venipuncture every 28 days from Day 98 (Day 0 ≤ calving) until Day 66. From Day 66 cows were bled every 7 days until the end of the mating period (Day 128). Concentrations of progesterone, non-esterified fatty acids and -hydroxybutyrate acid and insulin were measured. Presence of corpus luteum (CL) was recorded and maximum follicle diameter was measured in all cows from the onset of the ST (Day 66) and during the following 4 weeks (until Day 94) in a weekly frequency. At Day 94, more cows (P 0.001) in NP and in CR had CL compared with S cows (68, 57 and 21% for NP, CR and S, respectively). At that time, more cows in M-BCS presented CL than cows in L-BCS (77 vs 25; P 0.0001). Within M-BCS, there were no differences in milk production between ST groups, while L-BCS cows with NP or CR produced less milk than S cows. Calf liveweight at weaning was 159.3 3.1, 150.1 2.9 and 147.0 3.1 kg for S, NP and CR, respectively (P 0.001). Suckling restriction with and without the presence of the calf had similar effects on reproductive performance, milk production and calf growth, while BCS interacted with ST to influence milk production. These results indicate that temporary suckling restriction could be an excellent management tool to increase reproductive performance of cows in moderate condition. © 2010 CSIRO.

Lindstrom K.,University of Helsinki | Murwira M.,Soil Productivity Research Laboratory | Willems A.,Ghent University | Altier N.,National Institute for Agricultural Research
Research in Microbiology | Year: 2010

Symbiotic nitrogen fixation is the main route for sustainable input of nitrogen into ecosystems. Nitrogen fixation in agriculture can be improved by inoculation of legume crops with suitable rhizobia. Knowledge of the biodiversity of rhizobia and of local populations is important for the design of successful inoculation strategies. Soybeans are major nitrogen-fixing crops in many parts of the world. Bradyrhizobial inoculants for soybean are very diverse, yet classification and characterization of strains have long been difficult. Recent genetic characterization methods permit more reliable identification and will improve our knowledge of local populations. Forage legumes form another group of agronomically important legumes. Research and extension policies valorizing rhizobial germplasm diversity and preservation, farmer training for proper inoculant use and legal enforcement of commercial inoculant quality have proved a successful approach to promoting the use of forage legumes while enhancing biological N2 fixation. It is worth noting that taxonomically important strains may not necessarily be important reference strains for other uses such as legume inoculation and genomics due to specialization of the different fields. This article points out both current knowledge and gaps remaining to be filled for further interaction and improvement of a rhizobial commons. © 2010.

Hofte M.,Ghent University | Altier N.,National Institute for Agricultural Research
Research in Microbiology | Year: 2010

The highly diverse genus Pseudomonas contains very effective biocontrol agents that can increase plant growth and improve plant health. Biocontrol characteristics, however, are strain-dependent and cannot be clearly linked to phylogenetic variation. Isolate screening remains essential to find suitable strains, which can be done by testing large local collections for disease suppression and plant-growth promotion exemplified in a case study on forage legumes in Uruguay or by targeted screening for Pseudomonas spp. which produce desirable secondary metabolites, as demonstrated in a case study on cocoyam in Cameroon. In both case studies, access to reference strains from public and private collections was essential for identification, phylogenetic studies and metabolite characterization. © 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS.

Salazar F.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Martinez-Lagos J.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Alfaro M.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Misselbrook T.,Rothamsted Research
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2012

Agriculture is the largest source of ammonia (NH 3) emission to the atmosphere, deriving mainly from livestock urine and manures, but fertilizer applications to pastures and crops also represent an important source. In Chile, where agriculture and cattle production are important activities (accounting for 4.5% of GDP along with the forestry sector), there are very few published data regarding NH 3 emissions from pasture and crop fertilization. This study aimed to provide the first empirical field data for Chile on N losses due to NH 3 volatilization following urea application to permanent pasture on a volcanic soil and to assess the influence of environmental conditions on emissions. Four field experiments were carried out on a volcanic acid soil using the micrometeorological integrated horizontal flux (IHF) mass balance method. Measurements were made in winter 2005 and 2007, and spring 2007 and 2008 following urea N fertilization to a permanent pasture at a rate equivalent to 100 kg N ha -1. Cumulative NH 3 emissions over the measurement period were 1.4 and 7.7 kg N ha -1 for winter applications, and 12.2 and 26.7 kg N ha -1 for spring dressings. These N losses due to NH 3 volatilization are within the range of emissions reported elsewhere. Consideration of urea application timing in Chile, with regards to weather and soil conditions, could have important consequences on minimising potential N losses via volatilization with associated financial benefits to farmers. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Martinez-Lagos J.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Salazar F.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Alfaro M.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Misselbrook T.,Rothamsted Research
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2013

Agriculture is the largest source of ammonia (NH3) emission to the atmosphere. Within the agricultural sector, the application of slurry to grasslands as fertilizer is one of the main emission sources. This is a common practice in southern Chile, where most dairy production systems are grazing-based. In Chile, there are few published data of gaseous emissions following slurry application to grassland. The aim of this study was to evaluate NH3 volatilization following dairy slurry application to a permanent grassland on an Andosol soil. Ammonia volatilization was measured in four field experiments (winters of 2009 and 2011 and early and late springs of 2011) using a micrometeorological mass balance method with passive flux samplers following dairy slurry application at a target rate of 100kg total Nha-1. The accumulated N loss was equivalent to 7, 8, 16 and 21% of the total N applied and 22, 34, 88 and 74% of total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN) applied for winters 2009 and 2011, and early and late spring 2011, respectively. Ammonia emission rates were high immediately after application and declined rapidly with time, with more than 50% of the total emissions within the first 24h. Losses were highly influenced by environmental conditions, increasing with temperature and lack of rainfall. Taking into consideration the low N losses via leaching and nitrous oxide emissions reported for the study area, results indicate that NH3 volatilization is the main pathway of N loss in fertilized grasslands of southern Chile. However, dairy slurry application could be an important source of nutrients, if applied at a suitable time, rate and using an appropriate technique, and if soil and climate conditions are taken into consideration. This could improve N use efficiency and reduce N losses to the wider environment. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

De Barbieri I.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Montossi F.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Vinoles C.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Kenyon P.R.,Massey University
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2012

The three experiments investigated the effects on physiology and production parameters of Corriedale ewes shorn in mid pregnancy, either using the cover or "R13" combs or leaving them unshorn. The experiments utilised both ewes and hoggets. In both experiments, the R13 comb left a greater stubble depth than the cover comb (P< 0.05). The rectal post shearing temperature of ewes shorn either by the traditional cover or by R13 comb was lower than that of unshorn ewes (P< 0.05), but between combs did not differ from each other (P> 0.05). Shearing treatment had no effect on ewe live weight (P> 0.05) and only a transitory (P< 0.05) effect on ewe body condition score was observed on some occasions. In general, mid-pregnancy shearing increased lamb birth weight (P< 0.05). In one out of three experiments, birth weight was increased by the R13 compared to the cover comb (P> 0.05). Therefore, under the extensive grazing situations of Uruguay, shearing Corriedale ewes in mid-pregnancy, is a management tool that does not increase lamb birth weight and weaning weight consistently. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Dixon E.R.,Rothamsted Research | Cardenas L.,Rothamsted Research | Alfaro M.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Salazar F.,National Institute for Agricultural Research | Hatch D.J.,Rothamsted Research
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry | Year: 2011

There are over one million hectares of pasture in Chile, and 80% and 50% of the country's milk and meat comes from 72% of this area, situated in the lake region of southern Chile. The soils are volcanic and a major characteristic is that they have very high organic matter (OM) contents with the potential to support plant growth with only moderate levels of added nitrogen (N). To understand better the potential fertility of these soils in order to maximise production and minimise losses of N, we undertook studies using the stable isotope of N (15N) to resolve the rates of the main internal N cycling processes in three soils representing the two main volcanic soil types: Osorno and Chiloé (Andisol) and Cudico (Ultisol). We also assessed the longer-term potential of these soils to sustain N release using anaerobic incubation. Gross rates (μg N g-1 day-1) of mineralisation were 27.9, 27.1 and 15.5 and rates of immobilisation were 5.9, 12.0 and 6.3 for Osorno, Chiloé and Cudico, respectively, implying high rates of net mineralisation in these soils. This was confirmed by anaerobic incubation which gave potential seasonal net mineralisation indices of 1225, 1059 and 450 kg N ha-1 in the top 10 cm soil layers of the three soils. However, plant production may still benefit from added N, as the release of N from organic sources may not be closely synchronised with crop demand. The low rates of nitrification that we found with these acidic soils suggest that the more mobile N (viz. nitrate-N) would be in limited supply and plants would have to compete for the less mobile ammonium-N with the soil microbial biomass. Nitrogen was mineralised in appreciable amounts even down to 60 cm depth, so that leaching could become significant, particularly if the soils were limed, which could enhance nitrification and N mobility through the soil profile. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

The national demand on date palm vitroplants has increased during the last decades. Hence, Moroccan needs in this field, till the year 2020, are about 3 million plants. Those plants will be used to rehabilitate palm groves devastated by Bayoud disease as well as to create new palm plantations. To fulfill this plant demand, the use of all available rapid propagation techniques is of great importance. Furthermore, the multiplication of improved genotypes should be privileged in this program. However, most of the genotypes selected for their best fruit quality and their tolerance to Bayoud disease are represented in the nature by single trees and this makes their micropropagation from offshoots very difficult. To overcome this problem, the use of tissues excised from young inflorescences remains the only way for micropropagation and wide diffusion of such genotypes. Plant material is collected from inflorescences at their emergence and then well disinfected before transferring to culture media for vegetative buds initiation. After many cycles of multiplication, complete plantlets can be regenerated and transferred to the greenhouse for acclimatization under controlled conditions. This process has been developed and applied, to date, to micropropagate more than 14 genotypes, and this method can be used as a powerful technique to propagate rare or selected genotypes that have no more offshoots. Plants produced by this technique and transferred to soil started to produce fruits in 2005. No abnormal growth or development was observed on those plants neither in the lab nor in the field. In the present paper, the entire micropropagation process from inflorescence tissues and the main research achievements will be discussed. © ISHS 2013.

News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: phys.org

The findings in the December 15 edition of the US journal PLOS ONE focused on hundreds of research articles published in international scientific journals. "We found that ties between researchers and the GM crop industry were common, with 40 percent of the articles considered displaying conflicts of interest," said the study. Researchers also found that studies that had a conflict of interest were far more likely to be favorable to GM crop companies than studies that were free of financial interference. The study focused on articles about the efficacy and durability of crops that are modified to be pest resistant with a toxin called Bacillus thuringiensis. Thomas Guillemaud, director of research at France's National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), told AFP that the team originally looked at 672 studies before narrowing down to the pool to 579 that showed clearly whether there was or was not a financial conflict of interest. "Of this total, 404 were American studies and 83 were Chinese," he said. To determine whether there was a conflict, researchers examined the way the studies were financed. Conflicts of interest were defined as studies in which at least one author declared an affiliation to one of the biotech or seed companies, or received funding or payment from them. "The most important point was how we also showed there is a statistical link between the presence of conflicts of interest and a study that comes to a favorable conclusion for GMO crops," Guillemaud said. "When studies had a conflict of interest, this raised the likelihood 49 percent that their conclusions would be favorable to GMO crops." Among the 350 articles without conflicts of interest, 36 percent were favorable to GM crop companies. Among the 229 studies with a conflict of interest, 54 percent were favorable to GM companies. "We thought we would find conflicts of interest, but we did not think we would find so many," Guillemaud said. Explore further: Authors with financial conflicts reporting negative outcomes in major orthopaedic journals

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