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Qualities and origins of out-of-home food products: midday meal in the cities of southeastern Gabon
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The place of local products in out-of-home catering and the growth of non-communicable metabolic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa raise questions. To identify the influence of the economic and social environment on this phenomenon, this study analyzes the foods and consumers concerning the main meal of the day.

A survey of 180 customers from seventy-three catering establishments in the towns of Haut Ogooué in southeastern Gabon was conducted. They were interviewed between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. over a month using a semi-structured questionnaire providing socio-demographic variables, foods, side dishes, cooking methods, prices and food additives consumed in restaurants and at home.

The results show that clients are disadvantaged young people (30.3±9.7 years) who consume animal proteins that are less available at home. Low prices, imported food, proximity, the availability of food additives rich in oils and salts and the possibility of consuming local side foods explain the success of out-of-home catering. Cooking and consumption patterns are conducive to the development at long-term of non-communicable metabolic diseases.

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Cropping system and nitrogen supply interfere in sustainability of maize production in the dry season
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Published: 06 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Crop Production;

Diversification in cropping systems can increase crop production and reduce environmental impacts. The use of tropical grasses intercropped with maize crop during the dry season as a strategy to increase the diversity of plant in tillage and to recover areas of grassland has been adopted in Brazil. Tropical grasses and maize are nitrogen demanding plants, and low nitrogen availability can result in variations in grains production. Thus, we aimed to study the maize production as a functional cropping system and nitrogen rates applied as side-dressing. The experimental design was randomized blocks with four replications in a split-plot scheme. The main plots were: maize monoculture; maize intercropped with Congo grass (Urochloa ruziziensis cv. Comum); and maize intercropped with Aruana Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus cv. Aruana). The subplots were nitrogen rates applied as side-dressing in the maize and grasses rows: 0; 50; 100 and 150 kg/ha. There were evaluated for plant height and height of the first ear of maize, and grain production of maize. Plant height and height of the first ear of maize showed significance for the interaction between maize intercropped with Congo grass and nitrogen rates. While the grain production of maize showed significance for the interaction between maize monoculture and nitrogen rates, and for maize intercropped with Aruana Guinea grass and nitrogen rates. We concluded that the heights of maize intercropped with Congo grass depends on an adequate nitrogen supply and Aruana Guinea grass intercropped with maize associated with the increase in nitrogen supply which promotes the increase in grain production of maize.

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Impact of Planting Techniques and Nutrient Management on Crop Productivity and Profitability of Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Published: 07 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Crop Production;

A field experiment was conducted at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology, Meerut (U.P.), India, during the Kharif season (June-September) 2019 to study the Impact of Planting Techniques and Nutrient Management on Crop Productivity and Profitability of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) The treatment comprised of four planting techniques as main (M) treatments and six fertility levels as subplot (S) treatments in split plot design with three replications. Results of experimentation revealed that the Conventional tillage Transplanted rice and combination of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK) chemical fertilizer with organic nitrogen from FYM (Farm yard manure-Cattle manure) resulted in the highest effective tillers, grains per panicle, and grain yield. Conventional Tillage Transplanted rice (M2) stands out with the highest gross returns ($1151.27 per ha) and net returns ($690.03 per ha) due to its superior yield. Reduce Tillage Transplanted rice (M1) and Unpuddled Transplanted rice (M4) techniques also yield well, with net returns of $564.97 and $634.93 per ha, respectively. Among fertility levels, 75% NPK + 25% N FYM (S5) leads with the highest gross returns ($1257.74 per ha) and net returns ($815.90 per ha). The 100% NPK + 25% N from FYM (S6) also performs well, with net returns of $837.70 per ha, emphasizing the value of combining chemical fertilizers and organic sources for optimal results. All planting techniques (M1, M2, M3, and M4) have Benefit-Cost ratios above 2.0, indicating their economic viability. Similarly, all fertility levels (S1 to S6) show Benefit-Cost ratios above 1.4, confirming their profitability.

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Agriculture Revolutionized by Artificial Intelligence: Harvesting the Future
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According to the United Nations FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation), the world population would expand by another 2 billion in 2050, but extra land area under cultivation will account for only 4% of total land area at that time. In such cases, more efficient farming practises can be achieved by utilising recent technical developments and solutions to current farming bottlenecks. Crop metrics could be constructed over hundreds of acres of cultivable land using remote sensing (RS) techniques and 3D laser scanning. AI-based crops produced a 30% increase in average crop output per ha and provided a rapid GTM (go-to-market plan) approach for crops. This article raise an image of boosting agriculture and analyses the AI-powered concepts in the future and the obstacles that are expected.

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Polymorphism of Bet v 1 homologs generated by BBAP in Citrus sinesis L. Osbeck varieties

Citrus fruits enjoy widespread consumption globally, being among the most popular fruits. They are highly regarded for their nutritional composition, offering a range of beneficial nutrients. However, it's important to acknowledge that they can also elicit allergic reactions in sensitised individuals, which presents a contrasting aspect. Bet v 1 cross reacting allergen is major birch pollen allergen and it the most commonly sensitizing allergen in central Europe. Bet v 1 belongs to the group of PR-10 proteins in the plant kingdom that cause a various allergic reactions. Bet v 1 allergen has a number of isoforms and homologues. These homologues genes are inherited from a common ancestor and subsequent amino acid similarity. It can cause the phenomen cross-reacticity in food allergies. The aim of the study was analysing the length polymorphism variability of the Bet v 1 homologs in orange varieties by using degenerated and nondegenerated primers. A total of 8 varieties of Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck were used in the analysis. BBAP technique (Bet v 1 based amplified polymorphism) was used to detect the length variability of fingerprints of allergen encoding genes of Bet v 1 homologs. Degenerated primer combination and only a one from nondegenerated variant of primers provided fingerprints, that were unique for every individual variety of analysed oranges. In all other primer variants, from 2 up to the 4 varieties generated the same BBAP profile, what indicate the higher degree of Bet v 1 homologs seguentional conservativity when compared to other fruit species.

Funding: This publication was supported by the Operational program Integrated Infrastructure within the project: Demand-driven research for the sustainable and innovative food, Drive4SIFood 313011V336, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

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Calcium Biofortification in Solanum tuberosum L. plants: assessing the influence of calcium nitrate and calcium chloride on yield
Published: 08 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Crop Production;

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is a widely consumed and essential food crop globally, making it an ideal food matrix for biofortification. Agronomic biofortification is one of the strategies used to enhance Ca content in edible parts of crops, considering the adverse health issues associated with Ca deficiency. This study aims to investigate the impact of Ca agronomic biofortification through four foliar applications after the beginning of tuberization, on yield of tubers of Solanum tuberosum L. (Picasso variety) produced in Lourinhã (Portugal) in 2018, focusing on the use of calcium chloride or alternatively, calcium nitrate at different concentrations applied (calcium chloride - 1, 3, 6 and 12 kg/ha or calcium nitrate - 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kg/ha). Control plants and plants submitted to the different Ca treatments were implemented in plots of 20 x 24 m, having been carried out in quadruplicate (compass 60-80 cm). As such, Ca content in tubers was quantified by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in the different treatments. The Ca biofortification index with calcium chloride or calcium nitrate ranged between 5 – 40 %, being the treatment with 6 kg/ha CaCl2 the one which presented the highest Ca content in tubers at harvest and 1 kg/ha CaCl2 the treatment with the lowest Ca biofortification index. However, 6 kg/ha CaCl2 despite presenting the highest Ca content wasn’t the treatment that presented the highest yield. Indeed, all the calcium nitrate treatments demonstrated a substantial increase in tubers yield, which varied between 2.3 (4 kg/ha Ca(NO3)2)– 24.3 % (2 kg/ha Ca(NO3)2). Statistical analysis was carried out in all the analyses using one-way ANOVA to assess differences among treatments in Solanum tuberosum L. (Picasso variety), followed by Tukey’s analysis for mean comparison, with a 95% confidence level. Furthermore, these findings emphasize the potential of Ca biofortification, especially calcium nitrate treatments, in enhancing the yield of Solanum tuberosum L. tubers.

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The potential of organic amendment (Icacina oliviformis tuber compost and animal manure) in savannah ochrosol soil in the era of sustainable agriculture
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Published: 09 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Agricultural Soils;

Soil nutrient levels have decreased due to continuous cultivation. To amend depleted soils, this study explored false yam (Icacina oliviformis) compost mixed with aged topsoil at 12, 14, and 16 weeks (W) in ratios of 1:1, 1:2, and 2:1, with topsoil (T4) serving as the control. After assessing for effectiveness, the best performing aged topsoil to false yam compost was integrated with animal manure (cow dung and pig droppings) as follows: topsoil: false yam: cow dung (FYCD)- (2:1:1), topsoil: false yam: pig droppings (FYPD)- (2:1:1), topsoil: false yam: cow-dung: pig droppings (FYCDPD)- (2:1:1/2:1/2) and topsoil: false yam (FY)- (2:1) as the control. The four treatments were evaluated using cucumber as the test crop and were replicated three times in Completely Randomized Design (CRD). FY and FYCD recorded similar results in the leaf area, followed by FYCDPD, and FYPD. FY and FYCD recorded similarly in plant girth at 2 weeks after planting (2WAP) and 4WAP. FYCD and FY recorded pH values of 5.57 and 5.61 respectively. These indicated that the period of decomposition had a significant effect on the performance on amendment quality. False yam compost aged 12 weeks at 2:1 topsoil to false yam compost ratio performed best. Also, false yam compost combined with cow dung offered positive support to crop performance although not significantly different from false yam compost (12W) only. This indicates that decomposed false yam tuber within 12W with or without cow dung may be used to amend the soil for better performance with enhanced soil properties.

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Biochar production from wastewater sludge for application in sustainable lettuce plant cultivation and climate change mitigation
Published: 09 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Agricultural Soils;

Compared with conventional soil additives, biochar has found successful application as an organic soil amendment to improve crop productivity coupled with climate change mitigation via carbon sequestration. In parallel, huge amounts of sludge are generated from water treatment facilities, requiring appropriate management strategies to avoid environmental deterioration. Utilizing wastage sludge for producing cost-effective biochar for crop cultivation would be an interesting research point to achieve a profitability scenario and meet sustainable development goals. Hence, this study investigated the synthesis of biochar from wastewater sludge, followed by its application for lettuce plant growth. The thermal treatment of sludge at 450 °C peak temperature, 20 °C/min heating rate, and 0.250 L/min nitrogen flowrate obtained a biochar yield of 0.48 kg/kg dry sludge with a fixed carbon content of 34.2%wt. Biochar was added to the soil at three dosages of 2.5%, 5.0%, and 10.0% (w/w) using pot experiments under greenhouse conditions (temperature 26±2 °C, relative humidity 75-88%, and light:dark period 14:10 h) for 35 days. Results showed that applying a biochar dosage of 5.0% significantly (p <0.05) increased plant height, leaf number, shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight, and leaf area by 16.8±0.8%, 17.7±1.1%, 58.9±3.2%, 46.3±2.8%, and 29.4±2.2%, respectively, as compared with the control (0% biochar). Moreover, the biochar amendment dosage of 5.0% produced the optimum marketable lettuce yield of 8.96 t/ha and could fix 8.24 t/ha of CO2. Biochar application demonstrated an economic feasibility scenario by using a low-cost preparation process, selling the produced lettuce, and CO2 fixation, giving an annual income of 495 €/ha. Under this condition, a payback period of 3.2 years was expected to refund the initial investment (1600 €/ha). Hence, the study outcomes would contribute to eco-friendly crop management, soil conservation, and combat climate change, providing a reliable strategy for achieving the targets of SDG 2 “Zero hunger”, SDG 13 “Climate action”, and SDG 15 “Life on land”.

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Evaluating the Synergistic Effects of Foliar Boron and Magnesium Application on Mitigating Drought in Wheat
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Published: 10 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Crop Production;

Grain yield of wheat is primarily limited by water stress. Therefore, to increase the productivity under drought conditions, a pot experiment was carried out at Maru Agricultural Research Station (MARS), Jordan during the year 2021 to investigate the effect of foliar fertilizer by boron and magnesium under drought at either tillering or anthesis stages on some physiological parameters and yield components of two varieties of durum wheat. Foliar application by combined boron and magnesium had improved significantly the transpiration rate by 23% and 28%, and also relative water content (RWC) by 8% and 17% of wheat varieties at tillering and anthesis growth stage, respectively when compared with controls. RWC was significantly the highest (79%) by foliar boron at tillering drought. Meanwhile, total chlorophyll content by SPAD was significantly the highest by combined boron and magnesium during anthesis drought. In general, the results indicated that var. Maru 1 had significantly 66% higher grain yield than var. Hourani may due to differences in genetic makeup. Foliar application by combined boron and magnesium had significantly increased grain weight of wheat varieties at tillering and anthesis drought by 25% and 36%, respectively. However, foliar application did not significantly improve the grain weight under well-watered conditions. Our findings showed the significance of foliar application at anthesis drought rather than at tillering for improvement of grain yield and also the importance of foliar magnesium in increasing total chlorophyll, and thus yield under different drought conditions.

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Assessing the Optimum Harvesting Stage of Tithonia diversifolia as Climate Smart Soil Amendment for Coconut Plantations
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Tithonia diversifolia is often grown as a cover crop or as a green manure crop in climate smart agriculture practices. This plant can be harvest at various growth stages, and the biomass can be incorporated into the soil. The decomposition of plant biomass enhances the soil nutrient, organic matter content and crop productivity. This study aimed to determine the best harvesting stage of T. diversifolia to be used as an efficient soil amendment for coconut plantations. Samples were collected at one, two, three, four, and five months of harvesting stages from an existing T.diversifolia field at Rathmalagara Research Station of the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka. In the study, both plant growth parameters and nutrient composition of each plant part were individually evaluated for every section of the plant. Biochar was prepared from hardwood stems of T.diversifolia using them as the feedstock under five different temperatures 300 ᵒC to 700 ᵒC, and a proximate analysis was done for the characterization of produced biochar. The mean values of measured parameters of T. diversifolia and the properties of biochar were significantly different (P<0.05) at different growth stages and temperatures, respectively. Considering all the measured parameters of T. diversifolia, three months harvesting stage can be suggested as the best growth stage to be used as green manure. According to the proximate analysis results and by observing the half-burning of produced biochar, 500 ᵒC can be proposed as the ideal temperature to produce biochar from hardwood stems.

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