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This special issue brings together a selection of papers that not merely present agronomic research findings, but critically review orientations, methodologies and research practices in agronomy. The focus is on agronomic research as it conducted as component of rural development efforts in the global South or, in short, development-oriented agronomy. Aiming to contribute to development challenges like food security, human welfare and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, a focus on development-oriented agronomy implies a step beyond a narrow understanding of agronomy as the science of crop production and soil management. Doing development-oriented agronomy forefronts the juggling with productivity enhancing, environmental and social developmental goals entailed when doing agronomy. What is more, development-oriented agronomy generally takes place within a complex environment of (inter)national research and development policy organisations, development donor-funded projects, governmental, NGO and private sector agencies and global professional networks and (public–private) partnerships. Consequently, development-oriented agronomy is a field where debate and contestations over goals and direction, research methodologies and findings of agronomic research are first likely to emerge and become apparent.
Characterisation of genetic diversity in a large number of European pig populations has been undertaken with EC support. The populations sampled included local (rare) breeds, national varieties of the major international breeds, commercial lines and the Chinese Meishan breed. A second phase of the project will sample a further 50 Chinese breeds. Neutral genetic markers (AFLP and microsatellites), with individual or bulk typing, were used and compared.
DNA from 59 European pig populations was extracted on samples of about 50 individuals per population. Individuals were typed for 50 microsatellites and for 148 AFLP bands. A subset of 25 populations was typed for 20 microsatellites on pools of DNA. Allele frequencies were estimated by direct allele counting for the co-dominant markers. Frequencies of AFLP negative alleles (absent bands) were obtained by taking the square root of absent band frequencies. Within-breed variability was summarised using standard statistics: expected and observed heterozygosity, mean observed and effective numbers of alleles, and F statistics. Between-breed diversity analysis was based on a bootstrapped Neighbor-Joining (NJ) tree derived from Reynolds distances (DR). The standard distance of Nei (DS) was also calculated.
Literature suggests an association between loneliness and mortality for both males and females. Yet, the linkage of loneliness to mortality is not thoroughly examined, and need to be replicated with a long follow-up time. This study assessed the association between loneliness and mortality, including associations to gender, in 1363 adult swedes.
This community-based prospective cohort study from the Swedish Lundby Study included 1363 individuals of whom 296 individuals (21.7%) were identified as lonely with use of semi-structured interviews in 1997. The cohort was followed until 2011 and survival analyses were used to estimate the relative risk of death.
Death occurred with an incidence rate of 2.63 per 100 person-years and 2.09 per 100 person-years for lonely and non-lonely individuals, respectively. In crude analysis, loneliness was associated with a significant increased mortality risk of 27% compared with non-lonely individuals [hazard ratio (HR) 1.27; 95% CI 1.01–1.60]. Unadjusted, lonely females had a significant increased risk (HR 1.76; 95% CI 1.31–2.34) and adjusted insignificant increased mortality risk of 27% (HR 1.27; 95% CI 0.92–1.74), compared with non-lonely females. Lonely males were found to have an adjusted significant decreased risk of mortality (HR 0.50; 95% CI 0.32–0.80), compared with non-lonely males.
Findings suggest an association between loneliness and increased risk of mortality and that gender differences may exist, which have not been previously reported. If replicated, our results indicate that loneliness may have differential physical implications in some subgroups. Future studies are needed to further investigate the influence of gender on the relationship.
We reanalyzed data from a previously published randomized component study that aimed to test the incremental effect of systematic exposure in an internet-delivered cognitive behavioral treatment (ICBT) for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Three hundred and nine individuals with IBS were randomly assigned to either the full treatment protocol (experimental condition) or the same treatment protocol without systematic exposure (control). Participants were assessed weekly for IBS symptoms over the active treatment phase. We used a complier average causal effect (CACE) analysis, in the growth mixture modeling framework, to (1) examine the specific effect of exposure among those who received the intervention (i.e. compliers), and (2) explore the associations of pre-treatment patient characteristics with compliance status and outcome changes.
Fifty-five per cent of those assigned to the experimental condition were classified as compliers. The CACE analysis that took into account compliance status demonstrated that the magnitude of the incremental effect of systematic exposure on IBS symptoms was larger than the effect observed in an intention-to-treat analysis that ignored compliance status (d = 0.81 v. d = 0.44). Patients with university education showed more improvement during the exposure phase of the treatment. Pre-treatment patient characteristics did not predict compliance status.
The effect of systematic exposure on IBS symptoms is of substantial magnitude among those individuals who actually receive the intervention (CACE). Studying the subsample of individuals who discontinue treatment prematurely and tailoring interventions to improve compliance may increase overall improvement rates in ICBT for IBS.
Zircon ion probe (secondary-ion mass spectrometry or SIMS) data from a set of intrusive rocks emplaced in the vicinity of major ore bodies, as well as from large igneous intrusions in the Gällivare area, gave the following results: (1) the Dundret ultramafic–mafic layered complex (1883±5 Ma), the Aitik granite (1883±5 Ma), the Nautanen diorite (1870±12 Ma), the Vassaravaara ultramafic–mafic layered complex (1798±4 Ma), the Aitik dolerite (1813±9 Ma), the Bergmästergruvan and Sikträsk syenites (1795±4 Ma and 1801±3 Ma, respectively) and the Naalojärvi granite (1782±5 Ma). These data broadly fall within the ranges 1.89–1.87 Ga (early Svecofennian) and 1.80–1.78 Ga (late Svecofennian), but geochronologically allow further subdivision into pulses at 1885–1880, 1875–1870, 1800 and 1780 Ma. During these events, large layered ultramafic–mafic and felsic plutonic rocks were generated with distinct overlap in time suggesting coeval felsic–mafic magmatism. Results also indicate the presence of inherited c. 1.87 Ga zircon crystals in the plutonic rocks at 1.78 Ga, supporting reworking of the previous crust. These data indicate the importance of mantle-derived mafic underplating in the process of crustal magma generation in the region. The c. 1.88 Ga event that generated ultramafic–mafic layered complexes is tentatively suggested to have played an important role in the formation of the Aitik Cu–Au porphyry system. The later event at c. 1.80 Ga, generating voluminous mafic–felsic units, is suggested to be coupled to the regional iron-oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) overprint.
Visual processing problems may be one underlying factor for cognitive impairments related to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We examined associations between ASD-traits (Autism-Spectrum Quotient) and visual processing performance (Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure Test; Block Design task of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III) in young adults (mean age=25.0, s.d.=2.1 years) born preterm at very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g) (n=101) or at term (n=104). A higher level of ASD-traits was associated with slower global visual processing speed among the preterm VLBW, but not among the term-born group (P<0.04 for interaction). Our findings suggest that the associations between ASD-traits and visual processing may be restricted to individuals born preterm, and related specifically to global, not local visual processing. Our findings point to cumulative social and neurocognitive problems in those born preterm at VLBW.
Adaptation to the consequences of climate change has developed into a growing field of concern for the insurance business. However, climate-related risk is not entirely a new field in insurance. Historically, a large number of insurance organisational choices and strategies have been used to mitigate the financial impact of extreme events and uncertainties associated with climate change. Taking the case of forests in Sweden, this article reviews the ways in which climate-related risks such as storm/wind and fire risks have been assured. The study shows that climate-related risks have generally increased over time and that major hazard events have been decisive for strategy and organisation choices. Twentieth-century developments show that corporate insurance coverage increased due to higher levels of anticipated risk, while self-insurance and public insurance were reduced. However, in more recent times the expansion of corporate insurance has stagnated. Increased premiums and tighter terms following historically extreme weather events have led government and forest owners to assume more climate risks.
The incidence of childhood respiratory infections in Greenland is among the highest globally. We performed a population-based study of 352 Greenlandic children aged 0–6 years aiming to describe rates and risk factors for carriage of four key bacteria associated with respiratory infections, their antimicrobial susceptibility and inter-bacterial associations. Nasopharyngeal swabs were tested for Streptococcus pneumoniae grouped by serotypes included (VT) or not included (NVT) in the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, non-typable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi), Staphylococcus aureus and Moraxella catarrhalis. S. pneumoniae was detected from age 2 weeks with a peak carriage rate of 60% in 2-year-olds. Young age and having siblings attending a daycare institution were associated with pneumococcal carriage. Overall co-colonization with ⩾2 of the studied bacteria was 52%. NTHi showed a positive association with NVT pneumococci and M. catarrhalis, respectively, M. catarrhalis was positively associated with S. pneumoniae, particular VT pneumococci, whereas S. aureus were negatively associated with NTHi and M. catarrhalis. Nasopharyngeal bacterial carriage was present unusually early in life and with frequent co-colonization. Domestic crowding increased odds of carriage. Due to important bacterial associations we suggest future surveillance of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine's impact on carriage in Greenland to also include other pathogens.
Results of adulthood mental health of those born late-preterm (34 + 0–36 + 6 weeks + days of gestation) are mixed and based on national registers. We examined if late-preterm birth was associated with a higher risk for common mental disorders in young adulthood when using a diagnostic interview, and if this risk decreased as gestational age increased.
A total of 800 young adults (mean = 25.3, s.d. = 0.62 years), born 1985–1986, participated in a follow-up of the Arvo Ylppö Longitudinal Study. Common mental disorders (mood, anxiety and substance use disorders) during the past 12 months were defined using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (Munich version). Gestational age was extracted from hospital birth records and categorized into early-preterm (<34 + 0, n = 37), late-preterm (34 + 0–36 + 6, n = 106), term (37 + 0–41 + 6, n = 617) and post-term (⩾42 + 0, n = 40).
Those born late-preterm and at term were at a similar risk for any common mental disorder [odds ratio (OR) 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67–1.84], for mood (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.54–2.25), anxiety (OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.40–2.50) and substance use (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.74–2.32) disorders, and co-morbidity of these disorders (p = 0.38). While the mental disorder risk decreased significantly as gestational age increased, the trend was driven by a higher risk in those born early-preterm.
Using a cohort born during the advanced neonatal and early childhood care, we found that not all individuals born preterm are at risk for common mental disorders in young adulthood – those born late-preterm are not, while those born early-preterm are at a higher risk. Available resources for prevention and intervention should be targeted towards the preterm group born the earliest.
On-farm demonstration-trials are a common strategy to introduce new technologies to farmers, while simultaneously evaluating these technologies’ performance under farmer conditions. The current study focuses on conservation agriculture (CA) technology adoption dynamics among a small group of farmers who can be considered increasingly knowledgeable, as they have hosted CA demonstration-trials for at least 7 years. Management and performance of farmers’ fields were compared with the CA demonstration-trials implemented on the same farm, focusing on yield gaps (YGs) between the two and the uptake of CA or some of its principles. Comparisons were made between demonstration-trials and farmers’ fields in three distinct land classification areas: Madziwa Communal Area (est. 1910s), Chavakadzi (est. 1980s) and Hereford (est. 2000s) Resettlement Areas. It was found that closing knowledge gaps on CA did not close YGs and that CA adoption was partial. In the Communal Area, CA principles have barely been taken up, but farmer yields were often as good as on the demonstration-trials. In the Resettlement Areas, farmers did take up reduced tillage (CA principle 1) and practised rotations (CA principle 3), but not residue retention (CA principle 2). Rather than partial CA adoption, lower fertilization rates explained the recorded YGs in the Resettlement Areas. In the three areas, farmers’ interest in CA-based increasing of yields was limited, as circumstances drove them to embark on extensification rather than a land use intensification pathway.
The radiocarbon concentration of different atherosclerotic plaque fragments obtained from 20 patients in Portugal, operated in 2000–2001, has been measured in order to define the year of plaque formation. A difference of 1.8–15 yr was observed, with the mean and median both 9 yr, between the bomb-pulse date estimated with the CALIBomb software and the operation date. Stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) analysis was also performed and provides insight to the diet of the subjects. The wide range of measured stable isotope values could indicate that the subjects' diet varied, including an abundance of marine foodstuffs. It could also mean a different isotope fractionation process for the different plaque fragments (cap, core, interface to media) and a possible difference in tissues in which the various fragments are formed. Analysis of δ13C and δ15N values of each patient separately revealed subjects considered more influenced by marine foodstuffs consumption.
Hybrid organic/silicon heterostructures have become of great interest for photovoltaic application due to their promising features (e.g. easy fabrication in a low-temperature process) for cost-effective photovoltaics. This work is focused on solar cells with a hybrid heterojunction between the polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl) (P3HT) and n-doped monocrystalline silicon. As semi-transparent top contact, a thin (15 nm) Au layer was employed. Devices with different P3HT thicknesses were processed by spin-casting and compared with a reference Au/n-Si Schottky diode solar cell.
The current density-voltage (J-V) measurements of the hybrid devices show a significant increase in open-circuit voltage (VOC) from 0.29 V up to 0.50 V for the best performing hybrid devices compared to the Schottky diode reference, while the short-circuit current density (JSC) does not change significantly. The increased VOC indicates that P3HT effectively reduces the reverse electron current into the gold contact. The wavelength-dependent JSC measurements show a decreased JSC in the wavelength range of P3HT absorption. This is related to the reduced JSC generation in silicon not being compensated by JSC generation in P3HT. It is concluded that the charge generation in P3HT is less efficient than in silicon.
After a thermal annealing of the hybrid P3HT/silicon solar cells, we achieved power conversion efficiencies (PCE) (AM1.5 illumination) up to 6.5% with VOC of 0.52 V, JSC of 18.6 mA/cm² and a fill factor (FF) of 67%. This is more than twice the efficiency of the reference Schottky diode.
Monoclinic Cu2SnS3 was made by solution based processing of the precursor metals after which the samples are annealed in a sulphur environment. XRD and Raman spectra shows that the monoclinic phase was synthesised. One sample was further etched in KCN and HCl to remove possible secondary phases. Transmission spectra show that the material has two optical transitions and in conjunction with reflection data absorption spectra were calculated. The two optical transitions are determined to be 0.91 and 0.98 for the unetched sample and 0.90 and 0.95 eV for the etched sample. The values of the optical transitions are within the error the same and thus etching does not affect the values of these optical transitions. Photoluminescence spectra map show only one luminescence peak with a maximum at 0.95 eV, which is consistent with the values found by absorption spectra. This in combination with the Raman spectra and XRD indicates that the sample contains only one polymorph of Cu2SnS3, which is monoclinic. Therefore the two optical transitions are intrinsic to monoclinic Cu2SnS3.
We have investigated the film morphology and photoluminescence properties of spin-coated CH3NH3PbI3-xClx films on mesoporous and compact TiO2 substrates. We observe that the perovskite film deposited on the mesoporous substrate composed of 20 nm TiO2 nanopaticles exhibits relatively uniform grain size, while the films deposited on the compact TiO2 substrate and the mesoporous substrate with large TiO2 nanoparticles (200 nm) show highly heterogeneous film morphology. The heterogeneity of film morphology has significant effect on the photoluminescence spectra and lifetime of the perovskite films. The result of time-resolved confocal microscopy unveils the relation between film structure and photoluminescence properties.
Long term stability of mixed perovskite compounds is one of the important concerns for prolonged viability and economical use of perovskite based solar cells. Degradation in perovskite films mainly occurs due to exposure to moisture. Hence, a controlled atmospheric condition and lower humidity is preferred for device fabrication and use. Many different strategies such as use of thin and wide band gap semiconductor layer, improvement in pour filling of metal oxide film, and utilization of AgTFSI have been attempted to improve device stability. However, for long term durability, there is an urgent need to increase stability of parent perovskite layer, apart from use of protective layers. In this study we examined water resistant additive, structural modifications, and stoichiometric modification for enhanced film durability. These strategies and preliminary results are discussed in this report.
Flexible copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) solar cells on lightweight substrates can deliver high specific powers. Flexible lightweight CIGS solar cells are also primary candidates for building-integrated panels. In all applications, CIGS cells can greatly benefit from the application of broadband and wide-angle AR coating technology. The AR coatings can significantly improve the transmittance of light over the entire CIGS absorption band spectrum. Increased short-circuit current has been observed after integrating AR coated films onto baseline solar panels. NREL’s System Advisor Model (SAM) has predicted up to 14% higher annual power output on AR integrated vertical or building-integrated panels. The combination of lightweight flexible substrates and advanced device designs employing nanostructured optical coatings together have the potential to achieve flexible CIGS modules with enhanced efficiencies and specific power.