Complexity of ecosystem services in agricultural fields, in particular the biodiversity

Since the Convention on Biological Diversity a lot of papers have been published how to measure and value biodiversity. In the last decades publications on agro-ecosystems become more frequent and play a significant role in the provision of ecosystem services. There is a uniform definition for biodiversity in general, however, in terms of agro-ecosystems and their services (including biodiversity) many weaknesses can be identified. The objective of this paper is to explore some of these problems with special regard to different definitions and terms and to the farmland ecosystem services. One solution could be to adopt a more complex system which has some ecological and environmental components (air, water and soil pollution) and also takes in to consideration the efficiency of agricultural production.

The effects of drought stress on soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) growth, physiology and quality – Review

Abiotic stresses are one of the most limiting factors inhibit plant's growth, leading to a serious production loss. Drought stress is one of the most destructive abiotic stresses and is still increasing year after year resulting in serious yield losses in many regions of the world,
consequently, affecting world’s food security for the increasing world population. Soybean is an important grain legume. It is one of the five major crops in the world, an essential source of oil, protein, macronutrients and minerals, and it is known as the main source of plant oil and protein. Harvested area of soybean is increasing globally year after year. However, soybean is the highest drought stress sensitive crop, the water deficit influences the physiology, production and seed composition of this crop. We introduce a review for literatures concerning the changes of the above traits of soybean exposed to drought stress, with past explanations for these changes.

Evaluation of long term experiments from a new aspect

During our work, we developed a new, simple method to show the effects of fertilization on yield, which can both be applied over the long term as well as in series of independent experiments.
During the testing of this method, at the experimental farm of the Debrecen University Center for Agricultural Sciences at Látókép on a chernozem soil with lime deposits, we examined the fertilizer reaction of maize hybrids between 1989 and 1994. The treatments were: winter tillage, plant density of 70-80 thousand, unfertilized, N 120, N 240 kg/ha fertilized treatments, long term experiments using Dekalb 524 and Volga SC hybrids in long term experiments.
Four parameters are shown in the model. In the examined period TRmax represents the greatest yield in the fertilized treatments, NT the yield in unfertilized treatment, k the „efficiency of fertilizer” to NT and b the depression-coefficient, where the expected value is zero. The expected grain yield of the fertilized treatments (Y), in the function of the unfertilized grain yield (x) is the following:

The parameters were determined using the Monte Carlo method, in the optimizing process the sum of deviation square was minimized. The correct conformation of the functions was determined by the greatness of the R-value and the standard error. We found that during six years of testing, the tendency of fertilization efficiency was similar in the case of both hybrids. There was an unfavorable weather interval and, in these years, the yields were low, fertilization did not have an effect and moreover, in extremely bad conditions resulted in an obvious yield decrease. With the  improvement of conditions, which in the case of our country means an increase in precipitation, the efficiency of fertilization increases and reaches its peak at 13-14 t/ha. At this point, the yield increasing effect of fertilization is 4-4,5 t/ha. If the yield of the unfertilized treatments increases from 8-9 t/ha, then the efficiency of the applied fertilizer decreases.
Most likely, the k and b parameters depend on the soil of the experimental location (nutrient and water management) and on the amount of  pplied fertilizer and the characteristics of the  hybrid. With the increase of fertilizer dosage the k-parameter also increases. The greater value though does not obviously mean a more favorable situation. It is true that in medium and good years this means great fertilizer efficiency, but in low or extreme precipitation conditions it also means greater risk. With the increase of the k-parameter, the yield deviation also increases which, from a cultivation point of view, is quite unfavorable. If the value of the b-parameter is other than, zero then the effect is clearly unfavorable, because with the increase of this value, the yield decrease is also greater. The fertilizer reaction of the two examined hybrids can be well characterized by these two hybrids.
Examining the six years, our created model estimated the effect of fertilization on the yield accurately and with a high degree of safety. Both in highly unfavorable and extremely good years, it gave an exact estimate. In our opinion, it can be used well to evaluate the effects of fertilization on yield in the future.

Element content analyses in the Institute for Food Sciences, Quality Assurance and Microbiology

The role of chemical elements to ensure and promote our health is undisputed. Some of them are essential for plants, animals and human, others can cause diseases. The major source of mineral constituents is food, drinking water has a minor contribution to it, so the knowledge of elemental intake through food is crucial and needs continuous monitoring and by this way it promotes the food quality assurance and dietetics.
With the evolution of spectroscopic methods increasingly lower concentrations could be determined, so the elemental composition of a sample could be more precisely and fully described. Due to the results the gathered knowledge up to the present is supported and new observations can be done helping us to understand such complex systems as biological organisms are.
The quality of a food is determined by the full process of its production, consequently it starts with agricultural production so elemental-analysis usually cover the whole soil – plant – (animal) – food chain, by this way the „Fork-to-Farm” precept is true in elemental analysis field also.
The history of elemental analysis in the University of Debrecen, Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Environmental Management, Institute of Food Processing, Quality Assurance and Microbiology goes back to 1980s when the so called Regional Measurement Central gave the background for research. The continuous deployment resulted in an obtain of an inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES) in 1988, which extended the scope of examinations due to its excellent performance characteristics
compared to flame atom absorption (FAAS) and flame emission spectrometers (FES). The instrumental park retain up to date correlate to the developing analytical techniques due to acquiring a newer ICPAES in 1998 and an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer in 2004 – which sensitivity is three order of magnitude better compared to ICP-AES. The Institute supports the work with its own ICP-AES and ICP-MS since 2011. 

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