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    Does the Optimal Dietary Methionine to Cysteine Ratio in Diets for Growing Chickens Respond to High Inclusion Rates of Insect Meal from Hermetia illucens? 

    Brede, Anne; Wecke, Christian; Liebert, Frank
    Animals 2018; 8(11): Art. 187
    The dietary methionine:cysteine (Met:Cys) ratio (MCR) is an important factor influencing the optimal growth of chickens. Therefore, this study aimed to contribute to the assessment of the optimal dietary MCR in diets with the complete replacement of soybean meal (SBM) by a partly defatted larvae meal of Hermetia illucens (HM). A growth study with 240 male meat-type chickens (Ross 308) was conducted, also assessing the body nutrient deposition both at the end of the starter (day 21) and the grower (day 35) period. Birds were fed experimental diets based on wheat, maize, and insect meal (23%/21% HM in starter/grower diets). Sulfur amino acids were created as the limiting AA in diets with graded MCR (40:60; 45:55; 50:50; 55:45; 60:40). The control diet contained SBM instead of HM with a MCR of 50:50. The current results based on growth parameters, dietary protein quality, and Met efficiency data gave support to the previous assumption of an ideal MCR of 50:50, which was also valid in diets with a high proportion of insect meal. The lowest MCR of 40:60 led to significantly impaired feed intake and growth of the birds, while the response to the highest MCR (60:40) was moderate.
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    Analysis of porcine body size variation using re-sequencing data of miniature and large pigs 

    Reimer, C.; Rubin, C.-J.; Sharifi, A. R.; Ha, N.-T.; Weigend, S.; Waldmann, K.-H.; Distl, O.; Pant, S. D.; Fredholm, M.; Schlather, M.; et al.
    Simianer, H.
    BMC Genomics 2018; 19(1): Art. 687
    BACKGROUND: Domestication has led to substantial phenotypic and genetic variation in domestic animals. In pigs, the size of so called minipigs differs by one order of magnitude compared to breeds of large body size. We used biallelic SNPs identified from re-sequencing data to compare various publicly available wild and domestic populations against two minipig breeds to gain better understanding of the genetic background of the extensive body size variation. We combined two complementary measures, expected heterozygosity and the composite likelihood ratio test implemented in "SweepFinder", to identify signatures of selection in Minipigs. We intersected these sweep regions with a measure of differentiation, namely FST, to remove regions of low variation across pigs. An extraordinary large sweep between 52 and 61 Mb on chromosome X was separately analyzed based on SNP-array data of F2 individuals from a cross of Goettingen Minipigs and large pigs. RESULTS: Selective sweep analysis identified putative sweep regions for growth and subsequent gene annotation provided a comprehensive set of putative candidate genes. A long swept haplotype on chromosome X, descending from the Goettingen Minipig founders was associated with a reduction of adult body length by 3% in F2 cross-breds. CONCLUSION: The resulting set of genes in putative sweep regions implies that the genetic background of body size variation in pigs is polygenic rather than mono- or oligogenic. Identified genes suggest alterations in metabolic functions and a possible insulin resistance to contribute to miniaturization. A size QTL located within the sweep on chromosome X, with an estimated effect of 3% on body length, is comparable to the largest known in pigs or other species. The androgen receptor AR, previously known to influence pig performance and carcass traits, is the most obvious potential candidate gene within this region.
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    Does graded substitution of soy protein concentrate by an insect meal respond on growth and N-utilization in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)? 

    Dietz, C.; Liebert, F.
    Aquaculture Reports 2018; 12 p.43-48
    Besides fishmeal, soybean protein is the most common protein source in aquafeed. However, the sustainability of soybean production is criticized. Due to the rapid development of aquaculture, the increasing demand for high value feed proteins has initiated research into alternative and more sustainable proteins for aquafeeds. In order to evaluate one promising alternative protein source, a growth study (56 days) was conducted with juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus, 35 g on average) with a partial substitution of soybean protein by a partly defatted insect meal from black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens). Growth performance, feed utilization and dietary protein quality parameters were evaluated based on analysed body protein deposition. A control feed (8% fish meal, 37% soy protein concentrate (SPC)) and three iso-nitrogenous and iso-energetic experimental feeds with 25, 50 or 100% replacement of SPC by partly defatted Hermetia meal (HM) were formulated. All feeds supplied essential amino acids as recommended for Nile tilapia. Growth response and protein utilization were examined in a semi-closed in-door water recirculation system. A comparative slaughter technique was applied to generate N deposition data for protein quality evaluation based on the standardized net protein utilization (NPUstd) according to the “Goettingen approach”. All feeds were very well accepted. Replacement of SPC by HM up to 50% improved feed protein quality and result in similar specific growth rate and feed conversion ratio, respectively. However, a higher inclusion rate of HM tended to impair growth, but not the observed protein quality. In conclusion, the replacement of SPC by partly defatted HM up to a level of 50% had no negative effect on growth performance and improved the dietary protein quality of tilapia feeds under study. Insect protein from Hermetia illucens could be a promising option to make aquafeed formulation more flexible and sustainable.
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    mRNA expression profiling in cotyledons reveals significant up-regulation of the two bovine pregnancy-associated glycoprotein genes boPAG-8 and boPAG-11 in early gestation 

    Wiedemann, Isabel; Krebs, Tony; Momberg, Niklas; Knorr, Christoph; Tetens, Jens
    Veterinary Medicine and Science
    The multigene family of pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) belongs to a group of aspartic proteases that are exclusively expressed by trophoblast cells in the placenta of even-toed ungulates. In Bovidae, 22 different PAG genes (boPAGs) with a wide range of temporal and spatial expression- and glycosylation patterns have been reported to date. In this study we describe the mRNA expression patterns using real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) for selected modern (boPAG-1, -9, -21) and ancient bovine PAGs (boPAG-2, -8, -10, -11, - 12) in cotyledonary tissue. The highest mean expression was detected in boPAG-8 and lowest in boPAG-10 (P < 0.05). Furthermore, boPAG-8 and -11 were significantly greater expressed in early gestation compared with later pregnancy stages. The characterization of boPAG mRNA-expression levels gives important insights for further protein analyses which will be valuable information for the development of new pregnancy detection systems.
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    N Balance Studies Emphasize the Superior Protein Quality of Pig Diets at High Inclusion Level of Algae Meal (Spirulina platensis) or Insect Meal (Hermetia illucens) when Adequate Amino Acid Supplementation Is Ensured 

    Neumann, Carmen; Velten, Susanne; Liebert, Frank
    Animals 2018; 8(10): Art. 172
    Two age-dependent nitrogen (N) balance studies (average body mass 25 and 60 kg) utilized 16 male castrated piglets and 16 barrows to measure N utilization parameters of diets with complete substitution of SBM by alternative protein sources (SM, HM), but different AA fortifications. Lysine supplementation up to 80% of the recommended lysine (Lys) supply in diets HM (A) and SM (A) yielded similar protein quality data (63.6 ± 2.1 and 63.7 ± 3.4). Surprisingly, only in piglet diet HM (AA) did the extended AA supplementation (Lys, methionine (Met), threonine (Thr)) enhance protein quality (72.8 ± 6.7) significantly (p = 0.004). Similar trends were observed in growing pigs. However, when the level of histidine (His) in diet SM (AA) was increased, feed protein quality (71.8 ± 1.3) was significantly (p < 0.001) improved indicating the importance of adequate His supply in diets with a complete substitution of SBM by the algae meal (SM) under study. AA efficiency data extend the possibilities to explain the observed responses on protein quality. When an adequate AA balancing in the diet is guaranteed, from nutritional point of view both of the alternative proteins may replace SBM in pig diets.
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    Carcass Quality, Meat Quality and Sensory Properties of the Dual-Purpose Chicken Lohmann Dual 

    Siekmann, Lisa; Meier-Dinkel, Lisa; Janisch, Sabine; Altmann, Brianne; Kaltwasser, Claudia; Sürie, Christian; Krischek, Carsten
    Foods 2018; 7(10): Art. 156
    Over 40 million day-old layer line cockerels are culled in Germany each year, due to economic reasons, leading to a recently instigated research focus on the potential of dual-purpose breeds as an alternative to conventional poultry husbandry, especially the practice of culling. This paper aims to explore and assess the dual-purpose chicken breed “Lohmann Dual” (LD) performance (n = 30) and sensory characteristics (n = 48). Carcass and meat quality traits are evaluated, and descriptive sensory analysis of breast muscles is conducted. To define the scope of characteristics, a market sample of “Ross” Line (n = 35) is adducted. LD carcasses are characterized by higher leg than breast yield; carcass, breast and leg weights are higher in Ross. LD meat has a lower pH, differs in color, has higher drip and thawing losses, but lower cooking loss. LD breast muscles are firmer as indicated by shear force measurements, which is confirmed through the sensory analysis. Appearance, odor and flavor differ between the lines. Overall, distinguishable differences are found between both breeds. Further research should focus on the marketing aspect of the dual-purpose line, as some characteristics could draw consumers to this product. Animal welfare and ethical concerns should further be considered when considering dual-purpose breeds as a feasible alternative to culling.
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    Grassland renovation has important consequences for C and N cycling and losses 

    Kayser, Manfred; Müller, Jürgen; Isselstein, Johannes
    Food and Energy Security: Art. e00146
    Sward degradation is a serious threat to the functioning of agricultural grassland and the provision of ecosystem services. Renovation measures are frequently applied to restore degraded swards. The success is highly variable, and substantial trade- offs can be related to the process of renovation. This paper starts with a general classifica- tion of renovation measures and then investigates the processes that are directly re- lated to renovation and lead to a change in botanical composition and affect soil functions and C and N fluxes. These processes are strongly interrelated and depend- ent on site, climate, and management condition as well as on the timescale. The more an existing and degraded sward is deliberately disturbed prior to a renovation meas- ure, for example, by ploughing, the stronger will be the change in sward composi- tion, and the stronger will be the potential yield and quality advantage. However, the risk of a release of soil organic C and N emissions to the environment will also in- crease. These emissions will usually decrease in time, but so will the positive effects on sward composition. This demonstrates that the renovation of swards is normally the second best solution and a proper and well- adapted grassland utilization and management should be adopted to avoid degradation in the first place.
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    Consumer-Oriented Product Development: The Conceptualization of Novel Food Products Based on Spirulina ( Arthrospira platensis ) and Resulting Consumer Expectations 

    Grahl, Stephanie; Strack, Micha; Weinrich, Ramona; Mörlein, Daniel
    Journal of Food Quality 2018; 2018 p.1-11
    The world population is steadily growing and the demand for protein increases along with it, yet our planetary resources are finite. Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) is an underutilized protein source suitable for human nutrition, and little is known about the use of spirulina as a food and the associated consumer opinion. New product development (NPD) requires early and active participation of consumers for the success of new products; therefore, a mixed method approach was applied to conceptualize (sensory profiling of spirulina extrudates and expert interviews) and then evaluate consumer’s willingness to try (consumer survey) three innovative products: pasta filled with spirulina, maki-sushi filled with spirulina, and spirulina jerky. To evaluate the consumer orientation towards novel, spirulina-based products, 1035 consumers from three countries (GER, ; FR, ; NL, ) were surveyed regarding their hedonic opinion about these concepts. A photo of each product was systematically accompanied by a benefit description covering health, sustainability, or innovation. Each consumer sequentially evaluated three combinations thereof (Latin square design). A multilevel model was used to analyze consumers’ responses regarding novelty, interest, overall liking, and expected flavor liking. Overall, spirulina-filled pasta was identified as the most preferred product. Mediation analysis revealed that this could be partly explained by familiarity with products in that category (i.e., pasta more than sushi and jerky). In conclusion, all spirulina product concepts would work equally well, if pasta, sushi, and jerky were similarly familiar to the target consumer population. All tested benefits were equally accepted with each product, with the exception that spirulina jerky would have to be marketed as being innovative. Country differences can be neglected.
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    Influence of Pore Characteristics on the Fate and Distribution of Newly Added Carbon 

    Quigley, Michelle Y.; Negassa, Wakene C.; Guber, Andrey K.; Rivers, Mark L.; Kravchenko, Alexandra N.
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 2018; 6: Art. 51
    Pores create a transportation network within a soil matrix, which controls the flow of air, water, and movement of microorganisms. The flow of air, water, and movement of microbes, in turn, control soil carbon dynamics. Computed microtomography (μCT) allows for the visualization of pore structure at micron scale, but quantitative information on contribution of pores to the fate and protection of soil carbon, essential for modeling, is still lacking. This study uses the natural difference between carbon isotopes of C3 and C4 plants to determine how the presence of pores of different sizes affects spatial distribution patterns of newly added carbon immediately after plant termination and then after 1-month incubation. We considered two contrasting soil structure scenarios: soil with the structure kept intact and soil for which the structure was destroyed via sieving. For the experiment, soil was collected from 0–15 cm depth at a 20-year continuous maize (Zea mays L., C4 plant) experiment into which cereal rye (Secale cereale L., C3 plant) was planted. Intact soil fragments (5–6mm) were procured after 3 months rye growth in a greenhouse. Pore characteristics of the fragments were determined through μCT imaging. Each fragment was sectioned and total carbon, total nitrogen, d13C, and d15N were measured. The results indicate that, prior to incubation, greater presence of 40–90μm pores was associated with higher levels of C3 carbon, pointing to the positive role of these pores in transport of new C inputs. Nevertheless, after incubation, the association became negative, indicating greater losses of newly added C in such pores. These trends were statistically significant in destroyed-structure soil and numerical in intact-structure soil. In soils of intact-structures, after incubation, higher levels of total carbon were associated with greater abundance of 6.5–15 and 15–40μm pores, indicating a lower carbon loss associated with these pores. The results indicate that, in the studied soil, pores of 40–90μm size range are associated with the fast influx of new C followed by its quick decomposition, while pores <40μmtend to be associated with C protection.
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    Cross-Cultural Comparison between German, French and Dutch Consumer Preferences for Meat Substitutes 

    Weinrich, Ramona
    Sustainability 2018; 10(6): Art. 1819
    Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration for consumers when purchasing food. As meat production has a significant impact on the environment, meat substitutes are becoming more and more popular in Europe. However, consumers who regularly buy meat substitutes are still the exception. Although there are some initial results indicating why this proportion is still low, most research has been concentrated in the Netherlands. This paper aims to compare reasons for consuming or not consuming meat substitutes in three European countries—Germany, the Netherlands and France. As very little is known about the underlying reasons, an explorative approach was chosen. Focus group discussions were carried out in all three countries, six altogether. The results show that all participants can enumerate meat substitutes. The main reason for not consuming meat substitutes is the taste of meat. Further, eating habits seem to be fixed and convenience might also be an impediment to reducing meat consumption in favour of meat substitutes, as is confusion regarding healthy eating.
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    Measuring Public Concerns? Developing a Moral Concerns Scale Regarding Non-Product Related Process and Production Methods 

    Sonntag, Winnie; Spiller, Achim
    Sustainability 2018; 10(5): Art. 1375
    In recent years, citizens have been more frequently scrutinizing non-product related process and production methods (npr-PPM) of various products, such as food, out of moral considerations. In 2014, theWorld Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body reached a landmark decision and accepted an European Union (EU)-wide import ban of seal products under the justification of Art. XX (a) General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) due to “public moral concerns”. However, up to now there has been no valid and reliable scale to quantify moral concerns. Therefore, we developed a tool—the Moral Concerns Scale (MCS)—to measure moral concerns of a society about, for example, animal welfare or child labor in a valid and reliable manner for npr-PPM. This scale was developed and tested in two independent studies with German citizens (in 2016 and 2017) using three case studies: hens laying eggs in battery cages, the inhumane killing of seals, and the use of child labor. According to the results of both studies, the reliability and validity of the developed scale can be confirmed.
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    Root Differentiation of Agricultural Plant Cultivars and Proveniences Using FTIR Spectroscopy 

    Legner, Nicole; Meinen, Catharina; Rauber, Rolf
    Frontiers in Plant Science 2018; 9: Art. 748
    The differentiation of roots of agricultural species is desired for a deeper understanding of the belowground root interaction which helps to understand the complex interaction in intercropping and crop-weed systems. The roots can be reliably differentiated via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflection (FTIR-ATR). In two replicated greenhouse experiments, six pea cultivars, five oat cultivars as well as seven maize cultivars and five barnyard grass proveniences (n = 10 plants/cultivar or provenience) were grown under controlled conditions. One root of each plant was harvested and five different root segments of each root were separated, dried and measured with FTIR-ATR spectroscopy. The results showed that, firstly, the root spectra of single pea and single oat cultivars as well as single maize and single barnyard grass cultivars/proveniences separated species-specific in cluster analyses. In the majority of cases the species separation was correct, but in a few cases, the spectra of the root tips had to be omitted to ensure the precise separation between the species. Therefore, species differentiation is possible regardless of the cultivar or provenience. Consequently, all tested cultivars of pea and oat spectra were analyzed together and separated within a cluster analysis according to their affiliated species. The same result was found in a cluster analysis with maize and barnyard grass spectra. Secondly, a cluster analysis with all species (pea, oat, maize and barnyard grass) was performed. The species split up species-specific and formed a dicotyledonous pea cluster and a monocotyledonous cluster subdivided in oat, maize and barnyard grass subclusters. Thirdly, cultivar or provenience differentiations within one species were possible in one of the two replicated experiments. But these separations were less resilient.
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    Patterns and Sources of Spatial Heterogeneity in Soil Matrix From Contrasting Long Term Management Practices 

    Quigley, Michelle Y.; Rivers, Mark L.; Kravchenko, Alexandra N.
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 2018; 6: Art. 28
    With the advent of computed microtomography (μCT), in situ 3D visualization of soil at micron scale became easily achievable. However, most μCT-based research has focused on visualization and quantification of soil pores, roots, and particulate organic matter (POM), while little effort has been put in exploring the soil matrix itself. This study aims to characterize spatial heterogeneity of soil matrix in macroaggregates from three differing long term managements: conventionally managed and biologically based row-crop agricultural systems and primary successional unmanaged system, and explore the utility of using grayscale gradients as a proxy of soil organic matter (SOM). To determine spatial characteristics of the soil matrix, we completed a geostatistical analysis of the aggregate matrix. It demonstrated that, while the treatments had the same range of spatial correlation, there was much greater overall variability in soil from the biologically based system. Since soil from both managements have the same mineralogy and texture, we hypothesized that greater variability is due to differences in SOMdistributions, driven by spatial distribution patterns of soil pores. To test this hypothesis, we applied osmium (Os) staining to intact micro-cores from the biologically based management, and examined Os staining gradients every 4μm from 26 to 213μm from pores of biological or non-biological origin. Biological pores had the highest SOM levels adjacent to the pore, which receded to background levels at distances of 100–130μm. Non-biological pores had lower SOM levels adjacent to the pores and returned to background levels at distances of 30–50μm. This indicates that some of the spatial heterogeneity within the soil matrix can be ascribed to SOM distribution patterns as controlled by pore origins and distributions. Lastly, to determine if the grayscale values could be used as a proxy for SOM levels, gradients of grayscale values from biological and non-biological pores were compared with the Os gradients. Grayscale gradients matched Os gradients for biological pores, but not non-biological pores due to an image processing artifact. Grayscale gradients would, therefore, be a good proxy for SOM gradients near biological origin pores, while their use for non-biological pores should be conducted with caution.
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    Characterization of cocoa production, income diversification and shade tree management along a climate gradient in Ghana. 

    Abdulai, Issaka; Jassogne, Laurence; Graefe, Sophie; Asare, Richard; Van Asten, Piet; Läderach, Peter; Vaast, Philippe
    PLOS ONE 2018; 13(4): Art. e0195777
    Reduced climatic suitability due to climate change in cocoa growing regions of Ghana is expected in the coming decades. This threatens farmers' livelihood and the cocoa sector. Climate change adaptation requires an improved understanding of existing cocoa production systems and farmers' coping strategies. This study characterized current cocoa production, income diversification and shade tree management along a climate gradient within the cocoa belt of Ghana. The objectives were to 1) compare existing production and income diversification between dry, mid and wet climatic regions, and 2) identify shade trees in cocoa agroforestry systems and their distribution along the climatic gradient. Our results showed that current mean cocoa yield level of 288kg ha-1yr-1 in the dry region was significantly lower than in the mid and wet regions with mean yields of 712 and 849 kg ha-1 yr-1, respectively. In the dry region, farmers diversified their income sources with non-cocoa crops and off-farm activities while farmers at the mid and wet regions mainly depended on cocoa (over 80% of annual income). Two shade systems classified as medium and low shade cocoa agroforestry systems were identified across the studied regions. The medium shade system was more abundant in the dry region and associated to adaptation to marginal climatic conditions. The low shade system showed significantly higher yield in the wet region but no difference was observed between the mid and dry regions. This study highlights the need for optimum shade level recommendation to be climatic region specific.
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    The Effects of Diversification Activities on the Technical Efficiency of Organic Farms in Switzerland, Austria, and Southern Germany 

    Lakner, Sebastian; Kirchweger, Stefan; Hoop, Daniel; Brümmer, Bernhard; Kantelhardt, Jochen
    Sustainability 2018; 10(4): Art. 1304
    The diversification of farms can be a result of multifunctional farming, however, in some cases at the cost of lower farm efficiency. In our paper we investigate the influence of para-agricultural diversification on productivity and the technical efficiency of organic farms in Austria, Switzerland, and Southern Germany. We show the benefits and drawbacks of diversification for organic farms, which go beyond the core agricultural production (para-agriculture). We do this by estimating a Stochastic Frontier (SF) combined with a metafrontier model. The data-set consists of bookkeeping data with 1704 observations in the years 2003 to 2005. Para-agricultural diversification activities have a significant effect on both productivity and technical efficiency of organic farms: The farm output in Austria and Switzerland is positively influenced by diversification, whereas we observe a rather small effect in Southern Germany. On the other hand, diversification can reduce farms’ technical efficiency, as it is the case in Switzerland and Germany. Furthermore, our study confirms previous results that agricultural subsidies significantly influence the technical efficiency of organic farms. We also show expected changes of input use driven by increased farm diversification. View Full-Text
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    The effect of the H−1 scaling factors τ and ω on the structure of H in the single-step procedure 

    Martini, Johannes W. R.; Schrauf, Matias F.; Garcia-Baccino, Carolina A.; Pimentel, Eduardo C. G.; Munilla, Sebastian; Rogberg-Muñoz, Andres; Cantet, Rodolfo J. C.; Reimer, Christian; Gao, Ning; Wimmer, Valentin; et al.
    Simianer, Henner
    2018-04-13; 50(1): Art. 16
    Background The single-step covariance matrix H combines the pedigree-based relationship matrix A with the more accurate information on realized relatedness of genotyped individuals represented by the genomic relationship matrix G. In particular, to improve convergence behavior of iterative approaches and to reduce inflation, two weights τ and ω have been introduced in the definition of H−1, which blend the inverse of a part of A with the inverse of G. Since the definition of this blending is based on the equation describing H−1, its impact on the structure of H is not obvious. In a joint discussion, we considered the question of the shape of H for non-trivial τ and ω . Results Here, we present the general matrix H as a function of these parameters and discuss its structure and properties. Moreover, we screen for optimal values of τ and ω with respect to predictive ability, inflation and iterations up to convergence on a well investigated, publicly available wheat data set. Conclusion Our results may help the reader to develop a better understanding for the effects of changes of τ and ω on the covariance model. In particular, we give theoretical arguments that as a general tendency, inflation will be reduced by increasing τ or by decreasing ω.
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    Fertilizer Effect of Phosphorus Recycling Products 

    Römer, Wilhelm; Steingrobe, Bernd
    Sustainability 2018; 10(4) p.1-18: Art. 1166
    Between 2004 and 2011 the German Government funded 17 different projects to develop techniques of phosphorus recycling from wastewater, sewage sludges, and sewage sludge ashes. Several procedures had been tested, such as precipitation, adsorption, crystallization, nano-filtration, electro-dialysis, wet oxidation, pyrolysis, ion exchange, or bioleaching. From these techniques, 32 recycling products were tested by five different institutes for their agronomic efficiency, that is, their plant availability, mainly in pot experiments. This manuscript summarizes and compares these results to evaluate the suitability of different technical approaches to recycle P from wastes into applicable fertilizers. In total, 17 products of recycled sewage sludge ashes (SSA), one meat and bone meal ash, one sinter product of meat and bone meal, one cupola furnace slag, nine Ca phosphates from crystallization or from precipitation, Seaborne-Ca-phosphates, Seaborne-Mg-phosphate, and 3 different struvites were tested in comparison to controls with water soluble P, that is, either single super phosphate (SSP) or triple super phosphate (TSP). Sandy and loamy soils (pH: 4.7–6.8; CAL-P: 33–49 ppm) were used. The dominant test plant was maize. Phosphorus uptake from fertilizer was calculated by the P content of fertilized plants minus P content of unfertilized plants. Calculated uptake from all products was set in relation to uptake from water soluble P fertilizers (SSP or TSP) as a reference value (=100%). The following results were found: (1) plants took up less than 25% P in 65% of all SSA (15 products); (2) 6 products (26%) resulted in P uptake of 25 and 50% relatively to water soluble P. Only one Mg-P product resulted in an uptake of 67%. With cupola furnace slag, 24% P uptake was reached on sandy soil and nearly the same value as TSP on loamy soil. The uptake results of Ca phosphates were between 0 and 50%. Mg-P products from precipitation processes consistently showed a better P supply in relation to comparable Ca-P compounds. With struvite the same P uptake as for water soluble P was reached. The fertilizer effect of the tested P recycling products can clearly be differentiated: TSP = struvite > Mg-P = sinter-P > Ca-P, cupola-slag > thermally treated sewage sludge ashes > meat-and-bone meal ash = Fe-P.
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    Improving market success of animal welfare programs through key stakeholder involvement: heading towards responsible innovation? 

    Purwins, Nina; Schulze-Ehlers, Birgit
    International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 2018; 21(4) p.543-558
    acceptance among both farmers and consumers. We contend that this lock-in originates from a lack of market orientation and consequential neglect of key stakeholders’ preferences in program design. Considering the case of a retailer-owned meat brand, we demonstrate the relevance of stakeholders’ inclusion when establishing animal welfare programs for pigs. Surveys among 62 farming members of a pig trading cooperative and 692 supermarket customers reveal the heterogeneity of beliefs and acceptance within both groups. While a Responsible Innovation approach, including key actors from the initial criteria selection, could be effective for raising acceptance, it would likely lead to lengthy time-to-market, prohibiting first-mover advantages. We suggest instead that beliefs and acceptance among farmers may be influenced through a communication strategy based on survey results and experimental research, as well as facilitating positive word-of-mouth.
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    Using Acceleration Data to Automatically Detect the Onset of Farrowing in Sows. 

    Traulsen, Imke; Scheel, Christoph; Auer, Wolfgang; Burfeind, Onno; Krieter, Joachim
    Sensors 2018; 18(1) p.1-13: Art. 170
    The aim of the present study was to automatically predict the onset of farrowing in crate-confined sows. (1) Background: Automatic tools are appropriate to support animal surveillance under practical farming conditions. (2) Methods: In three batches, sows in one farrowing compartment of the Futterkamp research farm were equipped with an ear sensor to sample acceleration. As a reference video, recordings of the sows were used. A classical CUSUM chart using different acceleration indices of various distribution characteristics with several scenarios were compared. (3) Results: The increase of activity mainly due to nest building behavior before the onset of farrowing could be detected with the sow individual CUSUM chart. The best performance required a statistical distribution characteristic that represented fluctuations in the signal (for example, 1st variation) combined with a transformation of this parameter by cumulating differences in the signal within certain time periods from one day to another. With this transformed signal, farrowing sows could reliably be detected. For 100% or 85% of the sows, an alarm was given within 48 or 12 h before the onset of farrowing. (4) Conclusions: Acceleration measurements in the ear of a sow are suitable for detecting the onset of farrowing in individually housed sows in commercial farrowing crates.
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    Impact of Pore-Scale Wettability on Rhizosphere Rewetting 

    Benard, Pascal; Zarebanadkouki, Mohsen; Carminati, Andrea
    Frontiers in Environmental Science 2018; 6: Art. 16
    Vast amounts of water flow through a thin layer of soil around the roots, the rhizosphere, where high microbial activity takes place—an important hydrological and biological hotspot. The rhizosphere was shown to turn water repellent upon drying, which has been interpreted as the effect of mucilage secreted by roots. The effects of such rhizosphere water dynamics on plant and microbial activity are unclear. Furthermore, our understanding of the biophysical mechanisms controlling the rhizosphere water repellency remains largely speculative. Our hypothesis is that the key to describe the emergence of water repellency lies within the microscopic distribution of wettability on the pore-scale. At a critical mucilage content, a sufficient fraction of pores is blocked and the rhizosphere turns water repellent. Here we tested whether a percolation approach is capable to predict the flow behavior near the critical mucilage content. The wettability of glass beads and sand mixed with chia seed mucilage was quantified by measuring the infiltration rate of water drops. Drop infiltration was simulated using a simple pore-network model in which mucilage was distributed heterogeneously throughout the pore space with a preference for small pores. The model approach proved capable to capture the percolation nature of the process, the sudden transition from wettable to water repellent and the high variability in infiltration rates near the percolation threshold. Our study highlights the importance of pore-scale distribution of mucilage in the emergent flow behavior across the rhizosphere.
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