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Gasteiz / Vitoria, Spain

Scharf W.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Schauer S.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Freyburger F.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Petrovec M.,University of Ljubljana | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology

Anaplasma phagocytophilum is a Gram-negative, tick-transmitted, obligate intracellular bacterium that elicits acute febrile diseases in humans and domestic animals. In contrast to the United States, human granulocytic anaplasmosis seems to be a rare disease in Europe despite the initial recognition of A. phagocytophilum as the causative agent of tick-borne fever in European sheep and cattle. Considerable strain variation has been suggested to occur within this species, because isolates from humans and animals differed in their pathogenicity for heterologous hosts. In order to explain host preference and epidemiological diversity, molecular characterization of A. phagocytophilum strains has been undertaken. Most often the 16S rRNA gene was used, but it might be not informative enough to delineate distinct genotypes of A. phagocytophilum. Previously, we have shown that A. phagocytophilum strains infecting Ixodes ricinus ticks are highly diverse in their ankA genes. Therefore, we sequenced the 16S rRNA and ankA genes of 194 A. phagocytophilum strains from humans and several animal species. Whereas the phylogenetic analysis using 16S rRNA gene sequences was not meaningful, we showed that distinct host species correlate with A. phagocytophilum ankA gene clusters. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Source

Webb J.,Ricardo PLC | Sorensen P.,University of Aarhus | Velthof G.,Wageningen University | Amon B.,Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering | And 6 more authors.
Advances in Agronomy

Using the nitrogen (N) in organic manures more effectively reduces losses to the environment. A requirement to take allowance of the N conserved by reduced ammonia (NH3)-emission techniques would increase manure-N efficiency by up to 15%. Covering manure stores and land application of slurry by injection beneath the soil surface and by rapid incorporation of both slurries and solid manures into uncropped soil reduce NH3 emissions. Injection of cattle slurry also reduces N immobilization compared with application methods, which mix the slurry with soil and increases manure-N efficiency by ca 10-15%. In growing cereals, NH3 emissions can be reduced by band spreading within the canopy. Anaerobic digestion of slurry may also increase manure-N availability in the season of application by 10-20%, compared with undigested slurry. Slurry acidification may increase manure-N efficiency by 35-65% by reducing total NH3 losses by 70% compared with unacidified slurry stored without cover and not incorporated after spreading. To fully utilize the fertilizer value of manure-N, uptake over more than 1 year needs to be accounted for. This is particularly important for solid manures which provide less-available N in the season after application than slurries but release more N to crops in subsequent years. Using manure-N as a sole N source may limit overall manure-N efficiency. Applying manures at reduced rates over a larger crop area, using N fertilizer at times when crop recovery of manure-N may be limited, may give the greatest overall manure-N efficiency. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Villalba D.,University of Lleida | Ripoll G.,CSIC - Centro de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agroalimentaria | Ruiz R.,Neiker | Bernues A.,CSIC - Centro de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agroalimentaria
Agricultural Systems

A stochastic simulation model was used to assess the effects of diverse management strategies on beef herds under mountain conditions in the Spanish Pyrenees. Animals grazed on different seasonal resources (valley meadows, forest pastures and mountain pastures) and were fed with forages and concentrates during winter. The simulated management strategies were winter calving (WC, weaning at 180 days), autumn calving (AC, weaning at 160 days), 8-month calving (8MC, weaning at 180 days), and two calvings in 3 years, with weaning taking place at either 170 days of age (2C3Y) or at 9 months (2C3Y9 M). Each strategy was tested for two types of production systems: (i) cow-calf farms that market calves just after weaning; and (ii) cow-calf/finishing farms that fatten the animals by means of an intensive feeding system until achieving a suitable weight for slaughter. A herd of 100 cows was simulated over 15 years, but only data obtained after reaching the steady state (year 6) was used in the analysis. The strategies were evaluated by considering reproductive, productive and economic performance. The percentages of pregnant cows at the end of the mating season were highest for 8MC, 2C3Y and 2C3Y9M (between 92% and 94%). The percentage was intermediate for AC (88%) and lowest for WC (78%), which also showed greater variability between years. The two strategies that extensified management (2C3Y, 2C3Y9M) produced, as expected, a lower number of calves weaned per year (59 and 60), whereas this figure was the highest for 8MC (90). Although AC and 8MC resulted in higher productive performances, the increased labour requirements and winter feeding costs resulted in low economic margins for these strategies, which also meant poorer utilization of natural resources. In economic terms, WC was the best strategy for cow-calf/finishing farms, whereas 2C3Y was the worst of the two types of production systems, although it resulted in the most intense utilization of grazing resources. The long lactating period of 2C3Y9M did not affect the reproductive performance of cows, so this strategy yielded the highest economic margin at weaning. The extensification strategies (2C3Y and 2C3Y9M) were less sensitive to changes in the price of feedstuffs. The information obtained from the simulation of the different strategies is useful for evaluating the possible trade-offs between production, economics, use of natural resources and labour requirements. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Velthof G.L.,Wageningen University | Lesschen J.P.,Wageningen University | Webb J.,Aea Environment And Energy | Pietrzak S.,Institute of Technology and Life science ITP | And 4 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment

A series of environmental policies have been implemented in the European Union (EU) to decrease nitrogen (N) emissions from agriculture. The Nitrates Directive (ND) is one of the main policies; it aims to reduce nitrate leaching from agriculture through a number of measures.A study was carried out to quantify the effects of the ND in the EU-27 on the leaching and runoff of nitrate (NO3 -) to groundwater and surface waters, and on the emissions of ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dinitrogen (N2) to the atmosphere. We formulated a scenario with and a scenario without implementation of the ND. The model MITERRA-Europe was used to calculate N emissions on a regional level in the EU-27 for the period 2000-2008. The calculated total N loss from agriculture in the EU-27 was 13Mton N in 2008, with 53% as N2, 22% as NO3, 21% as NH3, 3% as N2O, and 1% as NOx. The N emissions and leaching in the EU-27 slightly decreased in the period 2000-2008. Total emissions in the EU in 2008 were smaller with implementation of the ND than without the ND, by 3% for NH3, 6% for N2O, 9% for NOx, and 16% for N leaching and runoff in 2008. However, regional differences were large. The lower emissions with ND were mainly due to the lower N inputs by fertilizers and manures. In conclusion, implementation of the ND decreased both N leaching losses to ground and surface waters, and gaseous emissions to the atmosphere. It is expected that the ND will result in a further decrease in N emissions in EU-27 in the near future, because the implementation of the measures for the ND is expected to become more strict. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Iturritxa E.,Neiker | Ganley R.J.,Scion Research | Wright J.,University of Pretoria | Heppe E.,Neiker | And 3 more authors.
Fungal Biology

Pitch canker, caused by Fusarium circinatum, is a destructive disease of Pinus species and has recently been shown to represent a substantial threat to natural and commercial forests in northern Spain. The genetic diversity of F. circinatum in the Basque Country of Spain was assessed by characterising 96 isolates based on vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs), mating type assays, polymorphic DNA-markers and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analyses. For this purpose, F. circinatum isolates were collected from diseased Pinus radiata as well as from insects associated with this host. Overall, a low level of diversity was detected in the population. The isolates represented only two VCGs and they were all of the same mating type. AFLP analyses revealed three genotypes and polymorphic DNA-markers specific for F. circinatum showed nine genotypes. The most common genotypes represented 97. % of all isolates for AFLP analysis and 68. % of isolates for the polymorphic DNA-marker sets. Over all, this indicates that pitch canker in the Basque Country of Spain is caused by a clonally propagating population of F. circinatum, typical of a recently introduced pathogen. © 2010 The British Mycological Society. Source

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