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Sustainable agriculture

Cheryl Doss, Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Agnes Quisumbing, Sophie Theis
Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG) on gender equality and women's rights and at least 11 of the 17 SDGs require indicators related to gender dynamics. Despite the need for reliable indicators, stylized facts on women, agriculture, and the environment persist. This paper analyzes four gender myths: 1) 70% of the world's poor are women; 2) Women produce 60 to 80% of the world's food; 3) Women own 1% of the world's land; and 4) Women are better stewards of the environment. After reviewing the conceptual and empirical literature, the paper presents the kernel of truth underlying each myth, questions its underlying assumptions and implications, and examines how it hinders us from developing effective food security policies...
March 2018: Global Food Security
Cássia Oliveira, Lauren Gunderman, Cathryn A Coles, Jason Lochmann, Megan Parks, Ethan Ballard, Galina Glazko, Yasir Rahmatallah, Alan J Tackett, David J Thomas
The microbial diversity within cave ecosystems is largely unknown. Ozark caves maintain a year-round stable temperature (12-14 °C), but most parts of the caves experience complete darkness. The lack of sunlight and geological isolation from surface-energy inputs generate nutrient-poor conditions that may limit species diversity in such environments. Although microorganisms play a crucial role in sustaining life on Earth and impacting human health, little is known about their diversity, ecology, and evolution in community structures...
September 2017: Diversity
Lau Kia Kian, Mohammad Jawaid, Hidayah Ariffin, Zoheb Karim
Roselle fiber is a renewable and sustainable agricultural waste enriched with cellulose polysaccharides. The isolation of Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) from roselle-derived microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) is an alternative approach to recover the agricultural roselle plant residue. In the present study, acid hydrolysis with different reaction time was carried out to degrade the roselle-derived MCC to form NCC. The characterizations of isolated NCC were conducted through Fourier Transform Infrared Ray (FTIR), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)...
March 15, 2018: International Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Paola Fincheira, Andrés Quiroz
Agricultural practices require novel products that allow sustainable development and commercial production according to the needs of farmers and consumers. Therefore, in the last decade, eco-friendly alternatives have been studied, so volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by microorganisms have emerged as a cheaper, effective, efficient, and an eco-friendly alternative. VOCs are lipophilic compounds derived from microbial metabolic pathways with low molecular weight (<300 g mol-1 ), low boiling point, and high vapor pressure that allow them to act as signal molecules over short and long distances...
March 2018: Microbiological Research
Timothy F Vandervoet, Peter C Ellsworth, Yves Carrière, Steven E Naranjo
Conservation biological control can be an effective tactic for minimizing insect-induced damage to agricultural production. In the Arizona cotton system, a suite of generalist arthropod predators provides critical regulation of Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (MEAM1) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) and other pests. Arthropod predator and B. tabaci populations were manipulated with a range of broad-spectrum and selective insecticide exclusions to vary predator to prey interactions in a 2-yr field study. Predator to prey ratios associated with B...
March 13, 2018: Journal of Economic Entomology
Nancy A Scott, Taryn Vian, Jeanette L Kaiser, Thandiwe Ngoma, Kaluba Mataka, Elizabeth G Henry, Godfrey Biemba, Mary Nambao, Davidson H Hamer
BACKGROUND: The WHO recommends maternity waiting homes (MWH) as one intervention to improve maternal and newborn health. However, persistent structural, cultural and financial barriers in their design and implementation have resulted in mixed success in both their uptake and utilization. Guidance is needed on how to design a MWH intervention that is acceptable and sustainable. Using formative research and guided by a sustainability framework for health programs, we systematically collected data from key stakeholders and potential users in order to design a MWH intervention in Zambia that could overcome multi-dimensional barriers to accessing facility delivery, be acceptable to the community and be financially and operationally sustainable...
2018: PloS One
Lisa M Durso, Kimberly L Cook
Agriculture reflects One Health principals, with the job of the farmer being to sustainably balance human, animal, and soil health. It is imperative to include an agricultural perspective when addressing antibiotic resistance (AR) from a One Health perspective, as the farmers, ranchers, and agricultural professionals have an intimate working knowledge of these complex systems, and they will be on the front lines of implementing on-farm control measures. Currently, communication across the One Health triad (humans, animals, environment) regarding agricultural AR is hindered by ambiguous language, complicated by cultural and linguistic differences that can lead to the conclusion that the other participant is not aware of the facts, or has ulterior motives...
March 14, 2018: EcoHealth
John Connolly, Maria-Teresa Sebastià, Laura Kirwan, John Anthony Finn, Rosa Llurba, Matthias Suter, Rosemary P Collins, Claudio Porqueddu, Áslaug Helgadóttir, Ole H Baadshaug, Gilles Bélanger, Alistair Black, Caroline Brophy, Jure Čop, Sigridur Dalmannsdóttir, Ignacio Delgado, Anjo Elgersma, Michael Fothergill, Bodil E Frankow-Lindberg, An Ghesquiere, Piotr Golinski, Philippe Grieu, Anne-Maj Gustavsson, Mats Höglind, Olivier Huguenin-Elie, Marit Jørgensen, Zydre Kadziuliene, Tor Lunnan, Paivi Nykanen-Kurki, Angela Ribas, Friedhelm Taube, Ulrich Thumm, Alex De Vliegher, Andreas Lüscher
Grassland diversity can support sustainable intensification of grassland production through increased yields, reduced inputs and limited weed invasion. We report the effects of diversity on weed suppression from 3 years of a 31-site continental-scale field experiment.At each site, 15 grassland communities comprising four monocultures and 11 four-species mixtures based on a wide range of species' proportions were sown at two densities and managed by cutting. Forage species were selected according to two crossed functional traits, "method of nitrogen acquisition" and "pattern of temporal development"...
March 2018: Journal of Applied Ecology
Tessa Camenzind, Edith C Hammer, Johannes Lehmann, Dawit Solomon, Sebastian Horn, Matthias C Rillig, Stefan Hempel
The socio-economic values of fertile and carbon-rich Dark Earth soils are well described from the Amazon region. Very recently, Dark Earth soils were also identified in tropical West Africa, with comparable beneficial soil properties and plant growth-promoting effects. The impact of this management technique on soil microbial communities, however, is less well understood, especially with respect to the ecologically relevant group of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Thus, we tested the hypotheses that (1) improved soil quality in African Dark Earth (AfDE) will increase soil microbial biomass and shift community composition and (2) concurrently increased nutrient availability will negatively affect AM fungal communities...
April 1, 2018: FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Aakash Chawade, Rita Armoniené, Gunilla Berg, Gintaras Brazauskas, Gunilla Frostgård, Mulatu Geleta, Andrii Gorash, Tina Henriksson, Kristiina Himanen, Anne Ingver, Eva Johansson, Lise Nistrup Jørgensen, Mati Koppel, Reine Koppel, Pirjo Makela, Rodomiro Ortiz, Wieslaw Podyma, Thomas Roitsch, Antanas Ronis, Jan T Svensson, Pernilla Vallenback, Martin Weih
Baltic Sea is one of the largest brackish water bodies in the world. Eutrophication is a major concern in the Baltic Sea due to the leakage of nutrients to the sea with agriculture being the primary source. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the most widely grown crop in the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea and thus promoting sustainable agriculture practices for wheat cultivation will have a major impact on reducing pollution in the Baltic Sea. This approach requires identifying and addressing key challenges for sustainable wheat production in the region...
March 14, 2018: Physiologia Plantarum
V Isoni, D Kumbang, P N Sharratt, H H Khoo
Aligned with Singapore's commitment to sustainable development and investment in renewable resources, cleaner energy and technology (Sustainable Singapore Blueprint), we report a techno-economic analysis of the biorefinery process in Southeast Asia. The considerations in this study provide an overview of the current and future challenges in the biomass-to-chemical processes with life-cycle thinking, linking the land used for agriculture and biomass to the levulinic acid production. 7-8 kg of lignocellulosic feedstock (glucan content 30-35 wt%) from agriculture residues empty fruit bunches (EFB) or rice straw (RS) can be processed to yield 1 kg of levulinic acid...
March 10, 2018: Journal of Environmental Management
Bryony Sands, Neludo Mgidiswa, Casper Nyamukondiwa, Richard Wall
Pyrethroid insecticides are widely used to control ectoparasites of livestock, particularly ticks and biting flies. Their use in African livestock systems is increasing, driven by the need to increase productivity and local food security. However, insecticide residues present in the dung after treatment are toxic to dung-inhabiting insects. In a semiarid agricultural habitat in Botswana, dung beetle adult mortality, brood ball production, and larval survival were compared between untreated cattle dung and cattle dung spiked with deltamethrin, to give concentrations of 0...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kai Fang, Qifeng Zhang, Huajun Yu, Yutao Wang, Liang Dong, Lei Shi
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are limited in their ability to measure progress towards environmental sustainability especially at the city level. The aim of this paper is to provide insights into an integrated assessment of urban sustainability, with emphasis on the significance of the maintenance of natural capital stocks. The use of water and land as critical natural capital in Guiyang, a southeast city in China was investigated by bringing together the ecological footprint (EF), water footprint (WF) and corresponding capacity indicators into an improved three-dimensional (i3D) model...
March 9, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
Erika E Scott, Nicole Krupa, Paul L Jenkins
This article provides an estimate for the economic costs of agricultural injuries sustained in the states of Maine and New Hampshire between the years 2008 and 2010. The authors used a novel dataset of 562 agriculturally related occupational injuries, and cost estimates were generated using the CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Individual cases from the dataset that did not match the query options for WISQARS were excluded. Of the 562 agricultural injuries identified in the dataset, 361 met the WISQARS criteria...
January 29, 2018: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
A E Johnston, P R Poulton
Long-term field experiments that test a range of treatments and are intended to assess the sustainability of crop production, and thus food security, must be managed actively to identify any treatment that is failing to maintain or increase yields. Once identified, carefully considered changes can be made to the treatment or management, and if they are successful yields will change. If suitable changes cannot be made to an experiment to ensure its continued relevance to sustainable crop production, then it should be stopped...
January 2018: European Journal of Soil Science
Federico Ernst, Beatriz Alonso, Marcos Colazzo, Lucia Pareja, Verónica Cesio, Alfredo Pereira, Alejandro Márquez, Eugenia Errico, Angel Manuel Segura, Horacio Heinzen, Andrés Pérez-Parada
Environmental sustainability of South American rainfed agroecosystems is of current concern. In this work, we evaluate the occurrence of multiple pesticide residues in muscle tissue of wild fish species from two large rivers in South America (Uruguay and Negro Rivers). Two sampling campaigns (representing summer and winter crops) were performed during 2015 targeting a wide biodiversity of fish species used for human consumption (ranging from migratory to non-migratory and from detritivorous to top-predators)...
March 7, 2018: Science of the Total Environment
D M S B Dissanayaka, William C Plaxton, Hans Lambers, Meike Siebers, Buddhi Marambe, Jun Wasaki
Orthophosphate (H2 PO4 - , Pi) is an essential macronutrient integral to energy metabolism as well as a component of membrane lipids, nucleic acids, including ribosomal RNA, and therefore essential for protein synthesis. The Pi concentration in the solution of most soils worldwide is usually far too low for maximum growth of crops, including rice. This has prompted the massive use of inefficient, polluting, and non-renewable phosphorus (P) fertilizers in agriculture. We need alternative and more sustainable approaches urgently to decrease complete dependence on Pi fertilizers in agriculture...
March 8, 2018: Plant, Cell & Environment
Xuexin Xu, Yinghua Zhang, Jinpeng Li, Meng Zhang, Xiaonan Zhou, Shunli Zhou, Zhimin Wang
Improving winter wheat grain yield and water use efficiency (WUE) with minimum irrigation is very important for ensuring agricultural and ecological sustainability in the Northern China Plain (NCP). A three-year field experiment was conducted to determine how single irrigation can improve grain yield and WUE by manipulating the "sink-source" relationships. To achieve this, no-irrigation after sowing (W0) as a control, and five single irrigation treatments after sowing (75 mm of each irrigation) were established...
2018: PloS One
Lu Jiang, Graham Ball, Charlie Hodgman, Anne Coules, Han Zhao, Chungui Lu
Nitrogen (N) fertilizer has a major influence on the yield and quality. Understanding and optimising the response of crop plants to nitrogen fertilizer usage is of central importance in enhancing food security and agricultural sustainability. In this study, the analysis of gene regulatory networks reveals multiple genes and biological processes in response to N. Two microarray studies have been used to infer components of the nitrogen-response network. Since they used different array technologies, a map linking the two probe sets to the maize B73 reference genome has been generated to allow comparison...
March 8, 2018: Genes
Arif Ullah, Dilawar Khan, Imran Khan, Shaofeng Zheng
The increasing trend of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is the main cause of harmful anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, which may result in environmental pollution, global warming, and climate change. These issues are expected to adversely affect the agricultural ecosystem and well-being of the society. In order to minimize food insecurity and prevent hunger, a timely adaptation is desirable to reduce potential losses and to seek alternatives for promoting a global knowledge system for agricultural sustainability...
March 7, 2018: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
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