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Maize is the primary staple crop cultivated during the monsoon season in eastern India. However, yield gaps are large because of multiple factors, including low adoption rates of good agronomic management practices. This study aimed to narrow the maize yield gap using diverse agronomic and varietal interventions through field experiments over 2 years (2013–2014) in the rainfed plateau region of Odisha. As a result, maize yield increased by 0.9, 0.74, and 0.17 Mg ha−1 under optimum plant population, fertilizer management, and herbicide-based weed management, respectively, over farmers’ current practices (Check). Moreover, when all three interventions were combined (‘best’ management practice), grain yields increased by 1.7 Mg ha−1 in conservation tillage and 2.2 Mg ha−1 in conventional tillage. We also observed that the combination of long-duration hybrids and best management practices (BMPs) increased grain yield by 4.0 Mg ha−1 and profitability by $888 ha−1 over farmers’ current practices. In addition, Nutrient Expert decision support tool-based fertilizer management along with BMPs increased grain yield by 1.7 Mg ha−1 and profitability by $314 ha−1 over farmers’ fertilizer practices (Check). These results suggest that the combination of maize hybrids and BMPs can improve the productivity and profitability of rainfed maize in the plateau region of Odisha. However, these entry points for intensification need to be placed in the context of varying investment requirements, input and output market conditions, and matched with farmer preferences and risk.
In Bangladesh, weeds in transplanted rice are largely controlled by labor-intensive and costly manual weeding, resulting in inadequate and untimely weed control. Labor scarcity coupled with intensive rice production has triggered increased use of herbicides. These factors warrant a cost-effective and strategic integrated weed management (IWM) approach. On-farm trials with transplanted rice were conducted during monsoon (‘Aman’) season in 2016 and 2017 and winter (‘Boro’) season in 2016 to 2017 in agroecological zones 11 and 12 with ten treatments—seven herbicide-based IWM options, one mechanical weed control-based option, and two checks (farmers’ current weed control practice and weed-free)—to assess effects on weed control, grain yield, labor use, and profitability. Compared to farmers’ practice, herbicide-based IWM options with mefenacet + bensulfuron-methyl as preemergence followed by (fb) either bispyribac-sodium or penoxsulam as postemergence fb one hand-weeding were the most profitable alternatives, with reductions in labor requirement by 11 to 25 person-days ha–1 and in total weed control cost by US$44 to 94 ha–1, resulting in net returns increases by US$54 to 77 ha–1 without compromising on grain yield. In contrast, IWM options with bispyrbac-sodium or penoxsulam as postemergence application fb one hand-weeding reduced yields by 12% to 13% and profits by US$71 to 190 ha–1. The nonchemical option with mechanical weeding fb one hand-weeding performed similarly to farmers’ practice on yield and profitability. We suggest additional research to develop feasible herbicide-free approaches to weed management in transplanted rice that can offer competitive advantages to current practices.
In the rice–wheat (RW) systems of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia, conservation tillage practices, including zero-tillage (ZT), are being promoted to address emerging problems such as (1) shortages of labor and water, (2) declining factor productivity, (3) deterioration of soil health, and (4) climate change. Despite multiple benefits of ZT, weed control remains a major challenge to adoption, resulting in more dependence on herbicides for weed control. Alternative management strategies are needed to reduce dependence on herbicides and minimize risks associated with their overuse, including evolution of herbicide resistance. The objectives of this review are to (1) highlight and synthesize research efforts in nonchemical weed management in ZT RW systems and (2) identify future weed ecology and management research needs to facilitate successful adoption of these systems. In ZT RW systems, crop residue can play a central role in suppressing weeds through mulch effects on emergence and seed predation. In ZT rice, wheat residue mulch (5 t ha−1) reduced weed density by 22 to 76% and promoted predation of RW weeds, including littleseed canarygrass and barnyardgrass seeds. For ZT wheat, rice residue mulch (6 to 10 t ha−1) in combination with early sowing reduced emergence of littleseed canarygrass by over 80%. Other promising nonchemical approaches that can be useful in suppressing weeds in ZT RW systems include use of certified seeds, weed-competitive cultivars, stale seedbed practices, living mulches (e.g., sesbania coculture), and water and nutrient management practices that shift weed–crop competition in favor of the crop. However, more research on emergence characteristics and mulching effects of different crop residues on key weeds under ZT, cover cropping, and breeding crops for weed suppression will strengthen nonchemical weed management programs. Efforts are needed to integrate multiple tactics and to evaluate long-term effects of nonchemical weed management practices on RW cropping system sustainability.
Summer leguminous cover crops can improve soil health and reduce the economic and environmental costs associated with N fertilizers. However, adoption is often constrained by poor weed suppression compared to nonlegume cover crops. In field experiments conducted in organic vegetable cropping systems in north-central New York, two primary hypotheses were tested: (1) mixtures of legume cover crops (cowpea and soybean) with grasses (sorghum–sudangrass and Japanese millet) reduce weed seed production and increase cover crop productivity relative to legume monocultures and (2) higher soil fertility shifts the competitive outcome in favor of weeds and nonlegume cover crops. Cover crops were grown either alone or in grass–legume combinations with or without composted chicken manure. Under hot, dry conditions in 2005, cowpea and soybean cover crops were severely suppressed by weeds in monoculture and by sorghum–sudangrass in mixtures, resulting in low legume biomass, poor nodulation, and high levels of Powell amaranth seed production (> 25,000 seeds m−2). Under more typical temperature and rainfall conditions in 2006, cowpea mixtures with Japanese millet stimulated cowpea biomass production and nodulation compared to monoculture, but soybeans were suppressed in mixtures with both grasses. Composted chicken manure shifted competition in favor of weeds at the expense of cowpea (2005), stimulated weed and grass biomass production (2006), and suppressed nodulation of soybean (2006). In a complementary on-farm trial, cowpea mixtures with sorghum–sudangrass suppressed weed biomass by 99%; however, both common purslane and hairy galinsoga produced sufficient seeds (600 seeds m−2) to replenish the existing weed seedbank. Results suggest that (1) mixtures of cowpeas with grasses can improve nodulation, lower seed costs, and reduce the risk of weed seed production; (2) soybean is not compatible with grasses in mixture; and (3) future costs of weed seed production must be considered when determining optimal cover crop choices.
Field and pot studies were conducted in Central New York to determine the
potential weed-management benefits of a buckwheat cover crop grown before
winter wheat. Specific objectives were to determine buckwheat residue
effects on (1) emergence and growth of winter annual weeds; (2) wheat
establishment and yield; and (3) emergence of summer annual weeds in the
spring following overwinter seed burial. In a field study, buckwheat was
sown at two timings (July or August), mowed, and either incorporated or left
on the soil surface. Winter wheat was drilled into buckwheat residue in
September and weed and crop growth were monitored. In a complementary pot
study, four winter annual weeds were sown in soil removed from buckwheat and
bare-soil plots at 0 or 15 d after incorporation and monitored for emergence
and early growth. To assess buckwheat residue effects on spring emergence
from overwintering seeds, seeds of three weed species were buried in
buckwheat residue and bare-soil plots in the fall, exhumed in April, and
evaluated for emergence. To investigate the mechanism for possible effects
of buckwheat residue on overwintering seeds, two levels each of seed
treatment (none or fungicide) and fertilization (none or 170 kg
ha−1) were applied before burial. Buckwheat residue had no
negative effect on wheat yields but suppressed emergence (22 to 72%) and
growth (0 to 95%) of winter annual weeds, although effects were often small
and inconsistent. Buckwheat residue had no effect on the emergence of buried
weed seeds in spring. However, fungicide treatment enhanced the emergence of
Powell amaranth seeds by 12.5 to 25.5% and of barnyardgrass seeds by 0 to
12%. Our results suggest that buckwheat residue can contribute to weed
management in wheat cropping systems, but that further studies investigating
the mechanistic basis for the inconsistent selective effects of buckwheat
residue on weeds are needed before buckwheat use can be optimized.
Buckwheat residues can suppress both emergence and growth of weeds, but the mechanisms of this suppression are not well understood. The main objectives of this research were to evaluate the possible role of (1) low initial nitrogen (N) availability and (2) fungal pathogens in this suppression for three sensitive weed species: Powell amaranth, shepherd's-purse, and corn chamomile. Growth chamber experiments were conducted comparing weed emergence and growth in bare soil or soil with freshly incorporated buckwheat residue at multiple rates of N fertilization with or without fungicide seed treatment. In the absence of N or fungicide addition, emergence of all weed species was reduced 40 to 70%, and dry weight was reduced 85% in buckwheat residue compared with bare soil. For all three weed species, suppression of growth by buckwheat residue was completely overcome with the addition of N. For shepherd's-purse and corn chamomile (2005 only), suppression of emergence was also overcome with the addition of N. In 2006, treatment of corn chamomile seeds with fungicide resulted in a higher emergence in buckwheat residue than in bare soil. In contrast, suppression of Powell amaranth emergence was not overcome with N fertilization or fungicide treatment. The results suggest that buckwheat-mediated changes in N dynamics account entirely for suppression of weed growth but that the mechanisms responsible for suppression of emergence by buckwheat residue vary by species. Fungal and N effects account for suppression of emergence of corn chamomile and shepherd's-purse, but the mechanism of suppression for Powell amaranth remains obscure.
Previous studies have demonstrated that emergence and growth of Powell amaranth is inhibited in soils where buckwheat has been grown and incorporated. The primary objectives of this research were to (1) evaluate the possible role of allelopathy in explaining that suppression; (2) distinguish between suppression caused by incorporation of fresh buckwheat residues from suppression caused by changes in soil during buckwheat growth; and (3) quantify the relative importance of buckwheat root vs. shoot tissues in suppression. When all buckwheat plant parts were removed from soil in which buckwheat was grown, Powell amaranth emergence was not suppressed, but growth was reduced 70% compared to bare soil. Addition of buckwheat shoots, but not roots to these soils reduced emergence by 80%, and contributed to additional reduction in growth. Addition of chemically activated carbon did not increase emergence or growth in buckwheat-amended soil. However, thermally activated carbon resulted in greater adsorption of phenolics than chemically activated carbon and alleviated suppression of Powell amaranth in buckwheat-amended, high organic-matter soils. However, suppression was not overcome on mineral soils. In addition to adsorbing phenolics, activated carbon changed the nitrogen (N) content and electrical conductivity of soil extracts. Aqueous shoot extracts of buckwheat stimulated Powell amaranth germination slightly, but inhibited radicle growth. Aqueous soil extracts from buckwheat-amended soil inhibited germination of Powell amaranth compared with extracts from unamended soil. Results suggest that emergence suppression of Powell amaranth by buckwheat residues might be due to allelopathic compounds concentrated in the shoot tissues. However, these inhibitory effects appear to depend on interactions of buckwheat residues with soils. In contrast, suppression of growth of Powell amaranth appears to be associated primarily with lower N availability in buckwheat-grown soils.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the anti-hypercholesterolaemic effects of two putative probiotic bile salt hydrolase (Bsh)-producing Lactobacillusplantarum strains, i.e. Lp91 and Lp21, in rats. L. plantarum Lp91 exhibited excellent tolerance to low pH and high bile salt concentrations as well as showed potential Bsh activity, cholesterol assimilation and cholesterol co-precipitation ability along with L. plantarum Lp21 and NCDO82 strains. Furthermore, the potential effect of L. plantarum Lp91 on plasma cholesterol level was evaluated in Sprague–Dawley rats. Five treatment groups of rats (n 6) were fed experimental diets: normal diet, hypercholesterolaemic diet (HD), HD plus L. plantarum Lp91 (HD91) at ≥ 1·0 × 108 colony-forming units (cfu)/g, HD plus microencapsulated L. plantarum Lp91 (HDCap91) at ≥ 1·0 × 108 cfu/g and HD plus L. plantarum Lp21 (HD21) at ≥ 1·0 × 108 cfu/g for 3 weeks. Feed intake and feed efficiency differed significantly among the five groups. After 21 d of dietary treatment, comparative analysis revealed 23·26, 15·71 and 15·01 % reduction in total cholesterol, 21·09, 18·77 and 18·17 % reduction in TAG, 38·13, 23·22 and 21·42 % reduction in LDL-cholesterol, and the corresponding HDL-cholesterol values increased at the rate of 18·94, 10·30 and 7·78 % in treated groups HD91, HDCap91 and HD21, respectively. Faecal excretion of cholic acid and faecal lactobacilli counts were significantly higher in the probiotic treatment groups than in the control groups. In conclusion, these results suggest that the indigenous L. plantarum Lp91 strain has the potential to be explored as a probiotic in the management of hypercholesterolaemia.
The aim of the present prospective study was to detect lactose malabsorption in subjects in northern India infected with Entamoeba histolytica and passing cysts. The study group included forty-one patients with E. histolytica cysts in at least one of three consecutive faecal samples. Lactose malabsorption was detected by a lactose H2 breath test. The results were compared with those of forty controls subjects. Thirty-two of forty-one (78·0%) subjects passing E. histolytica cysts had lactose malabsorbtion compared with seventeen of forty (42·5%) control subjects (P>0·01). In conclusion, the present study shows that lactose malabsorption is significantly more common in individuals infected with E. histolytica and passing cysts compared with control subjects.
An unusual case of Echinococcus oligarthrus infestation of the submandibular salivary gland is reported. Echinococcus oligarthrus is a rare variant of the Echinococcus species affecting humans. To the best of our knowledge only one case of submandibular hydatid cyst caused by Echinococcus oligarthrus has been reported. A 28-year-old female patient was admitted with a progressively increasing swelling in the left submandibular region of four years’ duration. There was no pulmonary or hepatic involvement. The present case of submandibular hydatid cyst caused by Echinococcus oligarthrus is of interest because of the unusual site of the disease.
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