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News Article | April 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

Over fifty per cent of our biomass use for energy still comes from traditional biomass, such as firewood, charcoal, animal manure and agricultural residues. On the other hand poses the use of biomass a threat to food security. Increasing food production and shifting towards more and better use of biofuels are challenges that can and should be handled simultaneously. One of the approaches could be increasing land use efficiency by a more effective biomass use. Increasing biomass use can be done by allocating biomass fractions to optimise their values. For instance, allocating more harvest to food, optimising nutrient recycling or reducing losses. In Indonesia, the oil production from the rubber tree, oil palm or Jatropha seeds results in solid waste streams that contain protein. These protein fractions can be utilised for applications to feed stock. Rubber seed was selected by the researchers for its protein and oil contents, as well as its availability in the study area. Rubber seed kernel contains 17 per cent protein. After oil pressing, alkaline extraction and isoelectric precipitation, the researchers managed to increase the percentage of protein to 48. Utilisation of protein fractions from rubber seeds presents opportunities to increase revenue from rubber plantation. The most potential application for the farmers is using the rubber seed protein concentrate for animal feed. The experimental work of Widyarani comprised optimising protein extraction, protein hydrolysis, and separation of free amino acids from hydrolysates. The whole rubber tree chain, including latex and wood production, was analysed for additional options for protein recovery. Next to rubber seeds, leaves from rubber trees appeared to be a promising protein source. Two restrictions to the use of rubber seed proteins for amino acid production apply though. The prize of enzymes and separate amino acid from the mixture. Hydrolysis using protease could achieve high degree of hydrolysis, resulted in hydrolysates that were rich in short peptides and free amino acids. A protease combination that has high selectivity towards hydrophobic amino acids was selected. Ethanol precipitation was used for separation of the hydrolysate, and separation between hydrophobic and hydrophilic amino acids was shown as an alternative tool in amino acids purification process. Widyarani's research took place within the project 'Breakthroughs in biofuels: Mobile technology for biodiesel production from Indonesian resources' of Hero Heeres (RUG). This project is part of the NWO-WOTRO Science for global development research programme 'Agriculture beyond food'. The promotor of Widyarani's PhD research – resulting in her thesis 'Biorefinery of Proteins from Rubber Plantation Residues' - was Johan Sanders (WUR). The Agriculture Beyond Food research programme stimulates long term cooperation between research groups from Indonesia and Netherlands on the potential benefits of biomass and the social, economic and policy impact. Agriculture Beyond Food is divided into three clusters: the introduction of Jatropha as an alternative biofuel, mobile technologies for biodiesel production, and the effects of an increasing production of palm oil. Agriculture Beyond Food started in 2008, and a total of 2.5 million euros is available for the research. The programme is financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-WOTRO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and is carried out in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (formerly RISTEK).

News Article | September 20, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Autonomous Cars - Five Things To Know About Self Driving Cars Self-driving car prototypes are already roaming the streets, and autonomous boats are about to hit the waters next year. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has teamed up with two Dutch universities to start testing a small fleet of self-sailing boats next year. The first tests will be conducted in Amsterdam, ferrying goods and commuters. The project is called Roboat, and it's a five-year, $27 million (€25 million) endeavor. The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute), together with MIT researchers, have already started the "world's first major research program on autonomous floating vessels in metropolitan areas." Researchers from MIT, Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and Delft University of Technology (DUT) will be conducting the five-year Roboat program in the Dutch capital, deploying the first autonomous watercraft in Amsterdam canals next year. According to the press release from the AMS Institute, Roboat will be the first large-scale research of its kind, aiming to test and explore the possibilities of autonomous watercraft. "Imagine a fleet of autonomous boats for the transportation of goods and people," says Carlo Ratti, MIT professor and Roboat principal investigator. "But also think of dynamic and temporary floating infrastructure like on-demand bridges and stages, that can be assembled or disassembled in a matter of hours." Professor Arjan van Timmeren, the scientific director of the AMS Institute, adds that Roboat will open up a world of possibilities. Further research could focus on Roboats cleaning up the canals or underwater robots capable of detecting diseases early on. The Roboat research, while scheduled for Amsterdam, aims to serve as a reference for other urban areas worldwide. The first Roboat prototypes will hit the waters of Amsterdam next year, but no specific timeline is available at this point. The maritime scene could substantially change in the years to come if autonomous shipping becomes a reality. In fact, autonomous ships are seen as the future of the industry, revolutionizing the segment and paving the way to a more robotized maritime future. Rolls-Royce, for instance, already announced earlier this year that it plans to make remote and autonomous cargo vessels to automate navigation and operations. Whether it involves cars or boats, it seems that autonomous is the future. For vehicles, Uber and Lyft see a future dominated by self-driving cars, possibly eliminating the need for car ownership by 2025. The transportation revolution may as well extend to the maritime industry, and autonomous boats may eventually take over human-operated ones as well. Even so, things are still in the early stages at this point, so don't expect the final products to hit the market anytime soon. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

De Cauwer B.,Ghent University | Faes J.,Ghent University | Biesemans N.,Ghent University | Claerhout S.,Ghent University | And 2 more authors.
Weed Research | Year: 2016

Since 2015, chemical weed control on public pavements in Flanders has been banned. This necessitates alternative weed control strategies. In this study, growth chamber experiments evaluated the weed suppressive ability of different joint filling materials under various water regimes. The tested materials comprised five unbound standard fillers (white quartz sand, sea sand, limestone 0/2 mm, limestone 2/6.3 mm and porphyry 2/6.3 mm) and two innovative materials (Dansand® and Eco Fugensand®). Their weed suppressiveness was tested in pure and organically polluted states. Germination and biomass accumulation of two weed species that are abundantly found on public pavements (Lolium perenne and Taraxacum officinale) were investigated. Germination and biomass accumulation were lowest in both innovative materials, irrespective of organic contamination level, plant species and water regime. Weed growth in the standard materials was affected by plant species and water regime. Monthly biomass accumulation increased with increasing monthly water supply and number of irrigation days. Furthermore, the materials best capable of reducing weed growth, under all water regimes, even when organically polluted, were the innovative materials and sea sand. The results of this study show that the implemented water regime can influence weed suppressiveness (absolute as well as relative) of a joint filler. Hence, to fully assess weed suppressive ability, commercially launched joint fillers should be tested under diverging water regimes. © 2016 European Weed Research Society

Sreckov Z.,University of Novi Sad | Nastasic A.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | Bocanski J.,University of Novi Sad | Djalovic I.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | And 2 more authors.
Pakistan Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

One of the goals of this paper was to determine correlation between grain yield, like the most important agronomic trait, and traits of the plant and ear that are influencing on the grain yield, in two test-cross populations, which are formed by crossing progenies of NSU1 population after 17 cycles of phenotypic recurrent selection and two testers, 568/II NS and B73. At 568/II NS testcrosses, grain yield had the highest value of genotypic coefficient of correlations with kernel row number. In second studied population the highest value of coefficient of correlations also was found between grain yield and kernel row number, but that relation was negative. Path coefficient analysis provides more information among variables than do correlation coefficients. Because of that goal of this study also was founding the direct and indirect effects of morphological traits on grain yield. Desirable, high significant influence on grain yield, in path coefficient analysis, was found for ear height, in both studied populations. Plant height, in both testcross populations, kernel row number and oil content, at B73 testcrosses, has high significant undesirable effect on grain yield.

Bocanski J.,University of Novi Sad | Sreckov Z.,University of Novi Sad | Nastasic A.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | Ivanovic M.,Serbian Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops | And 2 more authors.
Genetika | Year: 2010

Utilization of heterosis requires the study of combining abilities of potential parents. In view of this, the objective of this paper was to study combining abilities and determine the mode of inheritance and gene effects for the main agronomic character, grain yield, and its components, kernel row number and kernel number per row. Six inbred lines were used in the study, three of which originated in the U.S., while the other three were developed at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Novi Sad. Kernel row number was inherited by superdominance, partial dominance, complete dominance and intermediacy. The mode of inheritance of kernel number per row and grain yield was superdominance. Additive gene action had the greatest influence on the expression of kernel row number, while the other two traits were influenced the most by nonadditive gene.

Merfield C.N.,The Future Farming Center | Kempenaar C.,WUR
Weed Research | Year: 2016

While machines called weeding robots are now commercially available and many more designs are being actively researched, I contend that current machines are not truly robotic weeders, rather they are essentially self-guiding vehicles carrying weeding tools. I consider true robotic weeders to be a far more difficult objective. While advances in robotics have been outstanding, the weeding component often appears to be an afterthought. I contend that the weeding is as complex as the robotics. A genuine weeding robot should be able to: (i) monitor the crop, weeds, weather and soil, (ii) decide when the crop should be weeded, (iii) choose the optimal weeder, (iv) take the weeder to the field, (v) adjust the weeder for optimal performance, (vi) continuously monitor the entire weeder for blockages and mechanical breakages and fix them in the field, (vii) continuously monitor and adjust the weeder's performance, (viii) return the weeder to the farmyard and (ix) clean, maintain and store the weeder, that is replace all human intervention. This ten-point list both defines and is a guide to what is required for completely autonomous robotic weeding. Currently, this list is far beyond current technology and it may be decades before it is realisable. The aim of this study therefore was not to disparage the achievements of agricultural roboticists, rather it is to highlight the complexity and demands of mechanical weeding and therefore describe what is really required to create a true robotic weeder. I therefore hope it will guide and expedite research and lead to more rapid success for robotic weeding. © 2016 European Weed Research Society

Gengenbach M.F.,WUR | Weikard H.-P.,WUR
Urban Water Journal | Year: 2012

To improve surface water quality in developing countries new approaches to design wastewater treatment schemes have been developed. We identify a compliance problem in these schemes which threatens their success. To analyze this problem, we integrate a compliance game into a model of the urban water chain. We illustrate the model with a numerical example on small scale leather processing. We find that the compliance problem indeed threatens the overall success of the treatment scheme and show under which conditions this is so. With an empirical calibration our model is a ready to use tool to provide quantitative results that can inform planners of urban wastewater treatment schemes. © 2012 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Venus V.,University of Twente | Asare-Kyei D.K.,ACDI VOCA | Tijskens L.M.M.,WUR | Weir M.J.C.,University of Twente | And 6 more authors.
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2013

In an effort to better understand postharvest losses associated with low-cost tomato transport in West Africa we present a spatial-temporal simulation model that links the prevailing outside weather conditions, estimated using satellite meteorology, to the microclimate observed inside truck trailers (cryptoclimate) to determine the deterioration in tomato quality during transport. Tomatoes from Burkina Faso are transported under sub-optimal circumstances to important Ghanaian markets; during a number of these transports conditions for the tomato cargo inside trucks were measured while conditions outside the trucks were monitored by means of weather satellites. The presented tomato quality model analytically combines cryptoclimate, duration since harvest, and kinetic modelling to arrive at estimated firmness. Firmness of tomatoes in transport was monitored with a portable penetrometer in selected trucks, augmented with additional (acoustic firmness) data collected in a climate chamber. Half of these observations were used to calibrate a firmness loss model and the other half to validate the simulation results.Our results indicate that outside weather during transport can be reasonably well estimated using satellite meteorology. The model performance for the estimation of outside global radiation (Rg) and land-surface temperature (LST) were found to be satisfactory, with a RMSE=87.98Wm-2; bias=57.39Wm-2 and RMSE=2.95°C; bias=0.91°C, respectively. Results for the cryptoclimate estimation (conditions inside the trucks) for temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity were as follows: R2=0.77, RMSE=4.18°C (Tincargo); R2=0.84, RMSE=19.59% (RHincargo); and R2=0.9, RMSE=137.31lx (LIincargo). The postharvest loss model that relies on these estimates as its input explained on average 77% of the variance in observed tomatoes firmness, with total product losses ranging from 30% to 50% when integrated over the entire transportation period.With the accuracy of the model quantified and the causality of losses partially demonstrated, we argue that the simulation model can be useful as an economic resistor in transport optimization studies to investigate the cost-benefit of various measures to reduce postharvest losses. Such studies could help to illustrate what net gains can be expected if delays along the transportation route are reduced, cargo conditions are semi-controlled (e.g. pre-cooling treatment), or if a different transport schedule is adopted. The model may also be used to show the impact of different climate change scenarios on postharvest losses. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

PubMed | WUR, Catholic University of Leuven and pcfruit vzw
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of the science of food and agriculture | Year: 2016

Braeburn browning disorder is a storage disease characterised by flesh browning and lens-shaped cavities. The incidence of this postharvest disorder is known to be affected by pre-harvest application of fertilisers and triazole-based fungicides. Recent work has shown that calcium and potassium reduced the incidence of Braeburn browning disorder, while triazoles had the opposite effect. This study addresses the hypothesis of an early proteomic imprint in the apple fruit at harvest induced by the pre-harvest factors applied. If so, this could be used for an early screening of apple fruit at harvest for their postharvest susceptibility to flesh browning.Calcium and triazole had significant effects, while potassium did not. One hundred and thirty protein families were identified, of which 29 were significantly altered after calcium and 63 after triazole treatment. Up-regulation of important antioxidant enzymes was correlated with calcium fertilisation, while triazole induced alterations in the levels of respiration and ethylene biosynthesis related proteins.Pre-harvest fertiliser and fungicide application had considerable effects on the apple proteome at harvest. These changes, together with the applied storage conditions will determine whether or not BBD develops. 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.

DELFT, Netherlands, 11-Nov-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — From Tuesday 8 November two self-driving WEpods named WURby and WElly, are operating as a weekly bus service on the campus of Wageningen University and Research. On Tuesdays from 11:00 to 13:00 passengers are welcome to board the bus on its fixed route with 10 stops. TU Delft is one of the partners in this project, contributing to the software and sensors that enable the vehicle to travel autonomously. The bus service will be tested every Tuesday until the end of the year. During this test phase the WEpods will not be following an official timetable, although they will follow a fixed circular route with ten stops. Each round takes around twenty minutes, depending on how often it has to stop. The service is open to everyone, and each WEpod can carry six people. It is a legal requirement that a steward must be present in the vehicle, so three stewards from WUR and ROC A12 have been trained for this task. Sensor system Researchers at TU Delft worked together with Robot Care Systems to develop the sensor system that enables the WEpod to travel autonomously. The vehicles contain radars, lidars (a type of radar that uses lasers), GPS and six cameras. Lasers scanners are used to examine the surroundings and create a virtual map, so that the WEpod can recognise the surroundings and accurately determine its position. The WEpod slows down or stops for other road users as necessary. WEpods Read more about the WEpods and the bus service at www.wepods.nl You can see the WEPpods at the Symposium ‘The Future of Driving‘ the 25th of November.

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