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    Suitability of traits related to aggression and handleability for integration into pig breeding programmes: Genetic parameters and comparison between Gaussian and binary trait specifications. 

    König von Borstel, Uta; Tönepöhl, Björn; Appel, Anne K.; Voß, Barbara; Brandt, Horst; Naderi, Saeid; Gauly, Matthias
    PLOS ONE 2018; 13(12): Art. e0204211
    Changes in husbandry systems as well as consumers' increasing demands for animal welfare lead to increasing importance of traits such as handleability and aggressiveness in pigs. However, before using such novel traits for selection decisions, information on genetic parameters for these traits for the specific population is required. Therefore, weight gain and behaviour-related traits were recorded in 1004 pigs (814 Pietrain x German Landrace crossbred, 190 German Landrace purebred) at different ages. Behaviour indicators and tests were assessed and conducted, respectively under commercial farm conditions and included scoring of skin lesions (twice) and behaviour during backtests (twice), injections (once), handling (twice) and weighing (three times). Since behaviour scores often exhibit suboptimal statistical properties for parametric analyses, variance components were estimated using an animal model assuming a normal (Gaussian, GA; all traits) and additionally a binary distribution of variables (BI; using a logit-link function for all behaviour traits). Heritabilities for behavioural traits ranged from 0.02 ± 0.04 (finishing pig handling test; BI) to 0.36 ± 0.08 (backtest 2; GA) suggesting that some of the traits are potentially useful for genetic selection (e.g. finishing pig weighing test: h2 (GA) = 0.20 ± 0.07). Only minor differences were observed for results from binary and Gaussian analyses of the same traits suggesting that either approach might yield valid results. However, four-fold cross-validation using correlations between breeding values of a sub-set of animals for the sample trait finishing pig weighing score indicated slight superiority of the logit model (r = 0.85 ± 0.04 vs. r = 0.77 ± 0.03). Generally, only weak to moderate associations were found between behavioural reactions to the same test at different ages (rp ≤ 0.11 for weighing at different ages; rp = 0.30 but rg (GA) = 0.84 ± 0.11 for the backtests) as well as between reactions to different tests. Therefore, for inclusion of behaviour traits into breeding programmes, and considering high labour input required for some tests such as the backtest, it is recommended to assess behaviour during situations that are relevant and identical to practical conditions, while the use of indicator traits generally does not appear to be a very promising alternative.
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    Histological classification of canine ovarian cyst types with reference to medical history 

    Knauf, Yvonne; Köhler, Kernt; Knauf, Sascha; Wehrend, Axel
    Journal of Veterinary Science 2018; 19(6) p.725-734: Art. Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2018
    Ovaries of 21 bitches presented with gynecopathies were surgically removed and histologically examined. Standard histological, as well as immunohistochemical, classification of 193 cystic structures resulted in the classification of 72 cysts of subsurface epithelial structures (SES), 61 follicular cysts (FCs), 38 cystic rete ovarii (CRO), 13 lutein cysts (LCs), and 9 non-classifiable cysts (NCCs). In addition to the histological classification, results were interpreted according to subject medical history, clinical examination outcome, and macroscopic observations during ovariohysterectomy. Dogs with ovarian cysts (OCs) and associated reproductive perturbations were mostly nulliparous, of large breed, and had an average of 9.5 ± 3 years. Prolonged or shortened inter-estrus intervals of past heats, however, seemed to be relatively low-risk factors for the development of OCs in dogs. Furthermore, we provide histological observations of a rarely seen canine LC including a degenerated oocyte in the central cavity.
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    ORCHIMIC (v1.0), a microbe-mediated model for soil organic matter decomposition 

    Huang, Ye; Guenet, Bertrand; Ciais, Philippe; Janssens, Ivan A.; Soong, Jennifer L.; Wang, Yilong; Goll, Daniel; Blagodatskaya, Evgenia; Huang, Yuanyuan
    Geoscientific Model Development 2018; 11(6) p.2111-2138
    The role of soil microorganisms in regulating soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition is of primary importance in the carbon cycle, in particular in the context of global change. Modeling soil microbial community dynamics to simulate its impact on soil gaseous carbon (C) emissions and nitrogen (N) mineralization at large spatial scales is a recent research field with the potential to improve predictions of SOM responses to global climate change. In this study we present a SOM model called ORCHIMIC, which utilizes input data that are consistent with those of global vegetation models. ORCHIMIC simulates the decomposition of SOM by explicitly accounting for enzyme production and distinguishing three different microbial functional groups: fresh organic matter (FOM) specialists, SOM specialists, and generalists, while also implicitly accounting for microbes that do not produce extracellular enzymes, i.e., cheaters. ORCHIMIC and two other organic matter decomposition models, CENTURY (based on first-order kinetics and representative of the structure of most current global soil carbon models) and PRIM (with FOM accelerating the decomposition rate of SOM), were calibrated to reproduce the observed respiration fluxes of FOM and SOM from the incubation experiments of Blagodatskaya et al. (2014). Among the three models, ORCHIMIC was the only one that effectively captured both the temporal dynamics of the respiratory fluxes and the magnitude of the priming effect observed during the incubation experiment. ORCHIMIC also effectively reproduced the temporal dynamics of microbial biomass. We then applied different idealized changes to the model input data, i.e., a 5K stepwise increase of temperature and/or a doubling of plant litter inputs. Under 5K warming conditions, ORCHIMIC predicted a 0.002K−1 decrease in the C use efficiency (defined as the ratio of C allocated to microbial growth to the sum of C allocated to growth and respiration) and a 3% loss of SOC. Under the double litter input scenario, ORCHIMIC predicted a doubling of microbial biomass, while SOC stock increased by less than 1% due to the priming effect. This limited increase in SOC stock contrasted with the proportional increase in SOC stock as modeled by the conventional SOC decomposition model (CENTURY), which can not reproduce the priming effect. If temperature increased by 5K and litter input was doubled, ORCHIMIC predicted almost the same loss of SOC as when only temperature was increased. These tests suggest that the responses of SOC stock to warming and increasing input may differ considerably from those simulated by conventional SOC decomposition models when microbial dynamics are included. The next step is to incorporate the ORCHIMIC model into a global vegetation model to perform simulations for representative sites and future scenarios.
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    Evaluation of rapid extraction and isothermal amplification techniques for the detection of Leishmania donovani DNA from skin lesions of suspected cases at the point of need in Sri Lanka 

    Gunaratna, Gayana; Manamperi, Aresha; Böhlken-Fascher, Susanne; Wickremasinge, Renu; Gunawardena, Kithsiri; Yapa, Bandujith; Pathirana, Nishantha; Pathirana, Hasantha; Silva, Nilanthi de; Sooriyaarachchi, Monica; et al.
    Deerasinghe, ThejaMondal, DineshRanasinghe, ShalindraAbd El Wahed, Ahmed
    2018; 11(1): Art. 665
    Background Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by vector-borne protozoans. In Sri Lanka, the cutaneous form of the disease is predominant, which is usually diagnosed using Giemsa-stained slit skin smear examination and by histology. However, the sensitivity of slit skin smears and histology are reportedly low. Moreover, facilities for the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are available only in a few highly-equipped parasitology laboratories. Therefore, there is a need for low cost, sensitive and specific screening tests for diagnosis of leishmaniasis at the point of need. Results In this study, a mobile suitcase laboratory applying novel extraction (SpeedXtract) and isothermal amplification and detection (recombinase polymerase amplification assay, RPA) methods were evaluated for the diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Sri Lanka. First, the developed assay was applied to three different sample types (punch biopsy, slit skin smears and fine needle aspirates) at a local hospital. The results showed that the 2 mm punch biopsy sample produced the best exponential amplification curve and early fluorescence signal in the RPA assay. Secondly, punch biopsies were collected from 150 suspected cutaneous leishmaniasis cases and screened with SpeedXtract/RPA, RNAlater/PCR and ATL buffer/PCR, in addition to Giemsa-stained slit skin smears. Fifty-seven samples were negative in all detection methods. In total 93 samples were positive with assay sensitivities of 65.5% (SpeedXtract/RPA), 63.4% (RNAlater/PCR) and 92.4% (ATL buffer/PCR). The Giemsa-stained slit skin smear delivered the worst clinical sensitivity (32.2%). Conclusions The SpeedXtract/RPA method under field conditions took 35 min, while almost 8 h were needed to finalize the extraction and detection by PCR in the laboratory. The SpeedXtract/RPA method produced similar sensitivity to samples preserved in RNAlater and subjected to PCR amplification, but both were less sensitive than ATL-preserved samples subjected to PCR amplification. There is a need for a standardization of sample collection and nucleic acid extraction methods.
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    German dairy farmers’ attitudes toward farm animal welfare and their willingness to participate in animal welfare programs: a cluster analysis 

    Heise, Heinke; Theuvsen, Ludwig
    International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 2018; 21(8) p.1121-1136
    Farm animal welfare (FAW) is at the center of a controversial public debate, and the demand for higher farm animal welfare standards is growing. Nevertheless, there are hardly any dairy products from pure animal welfare programs (AWPs) on the market. Although dairy farmers are a very important stakeholder group for the successful implementation of AWPs, very little is known about their attitudes toward the introduction of such programs. For this study, 258 conventional dairy farmers in Germany were questioned about FAW and AWPs via an online survey. We identified five clusters (farmer groups) that significantly differ with regard to their attitudes toward AWPs, FAW, and their own willingness to improve the level of animal welfare or take part in specialized AWPs. Cluster A consists of farmers who strongly oppose AWPs; farmers in this cluster will probably not take part in AWPs, especially because they do not consider it profitable to do so. Farmers in cluster B also view AWPs and the associated market effects with some skepticism; however, they are willing to improve their level of animal welfare and, therefore, may someday become willing to participate in AWPs. Cluster C farmers have diverse attitudes toward AWPs; since they are slightly willing to improve the level of animal welfare on their farms and as they are comparatively most optimistic concerning the market effects of higher animal welfare standards, these farmers could also become AWP participants in the future. Farmers in cluster D have positive attitudes toward AWPs and show the highest willingness among the five clusters to improve animal welfare on their farms. However, when it comes to the market effects of higher national animal welfare standards and the market potential for more animal-friendly products, these farmers are the most skeptical; if the economic security of AWPs were guaranteed, Cluster D farmers would probably constitute an important target group. Farmers in cluster E have positive attitudes toward AWPs, show a high willingness to improve the own FAW, and tend to be less skeptical about the market effects of higher animal welfare standards; these farmers constitute the most important potential target group for AWPs. Our results can provide a starting point for the design of tailor-made AWPs that fulfill the requirements of both dairy farmers and the broader public.
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    Amphibian and reptile communities of upland and riparian sites across Indonesian oil palm, rubber and forest 

    Paoletti, Alessio; Darras, Kevin; Jayanto, Herdhanu; Grass, Ingo; Kusrini, Mirza; Tscharntke, Teja
    Global Ecology and Conservation 2018; 16: Art. e00492
    ndonesia is the largest producer of oil palm and the second largest exporter of rubber worldwide; a significant part of the country's rainforests have been converted to agriculture. Conservation measures are needed to assess and reduce the impact of agricultural intensification on the vertebrate fauna, but limited effort has been put so far in understanding the effects of habitat conversion on reptiles and amphibians. Here we study community composition, species richness and abundance of the herpetofauna of the densely farmed Jambi province, central Sumatra (Indonesia). We compared reptile and amphibian communities of upland and riparian sites of lowland rainforest as well as upland and riparian sites of oil palm and rubber plantations through visual-aural encounter surveys and pitfall trappings. Plantations tended to have lower amphibian abundance when compared to riparian forest, but not compared to upland forest. There is a trend for higher amphibian numbers and species in riparian sites of all habitat types. Rare amphibians were much more abundant in riparian forest and common amphibians were more prevalent in plantations, especially oil palm. Surprisingly, reptile richness and abundance was higher in oil palm plantations than all other habitats. Plantations comprise mostly common reptile and amphibian species of low conservation interest, and communities were markedly different between plantations and forests. Several species were recorded for the first time in the sampled region. We conclude that in our region, riparian sites appear to be important for maintaining amphibian populations, but forest is doubtlessly irreplaceable to conserve rare amphibians. Nevertheless, in our study oil palm monocultures harbored a relatively high reptile density and richness.
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    Consumer Preferences for Superfood Ingredients—the Case of Bread in Germany 

    Meyerding, Stephan; Kürzdörfer, Annemone; Gassler, Birgit
    Sustainability 2018; 10(12)
    Although there is no legal definition of the word ‘superfood’, in recent years exotic foods and ingredients have become popular in German food retailers. The aim of the study was to determine consumer preferences for superfood ingredients in different types of bread; to accomplish this, a choice experiment was set up with a representative sample of 503 German consumers. Respondents had to choose between products with varying attributes such as type of bread, superfood ingredient, nutritional information, production method, durability, and price. The results indicate that consumers value bread that serves a functional purpose through superfood ingredients such as linseed or chia. Using latent class segmentation, the respondents were divided into four segments, of which three groups valued bread with superfood ingredients. All in all, the type of bread is the most important factor when choosing a bread. Further market research could take into account different types of superfoods (processed/unprocessed), as well as regional deviations in Germany and the EU member states to analyze differences regarding the market potential of staple foods such as bread that serve a functional purpose through superfood ingredients.
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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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