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Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for humans, yet its dietary intake is low, mostly due to the low bioavailability in soils and therefore in edible plant tissues. To overcome Se deficiency, the breeding approach (i.e., genetic biofortification), namely in rice, is largely dependent on available Se pools. To ensure the success of genetic biofortification with Se, agronomic biofortification can be accomplished through foliar Se application. Considering this background, the main hypothesis of this work was centered in the foliar application of Se to attain agronomic biofortification of rice crops. This study also aimed to assess the full potential for increasing grain Se concentrations during rice filling, as well as the types of nutrients deposition. An experimental design applying two foliar fertilizers (sodium selenite and sodium selenate) was developed. As test systems, four rice genotypes (Ariete, Albatros, OP1105 and OP1109) were used and the kinetics of micro- and macro-nutrients accumulation and deposition were assessed. Biofortification was performed in field trials for two years with foliar fertilization ranging between 0 and 300 g Se ha−1. At the end of the plant cycle, selenite applications triggered 427- to 884-fold increases in grain Se concentrations among rice genotypes (Albatros > OP1105 > OP1109 > Ariete). The application of selenate also prompted 128- to 347-fold increases in grain Se concentrations in rice crops (Albatros > OP1105 > Ariete > OP1109). Regardless of the foliar fertilizer applied, Se deposition among genotypes occurred throughout the grain without relevant inhibitory effects on yields. In each genotype, micro and macronutrients varied among crop tissues.
The objects of this study are various local charters (cartas de foral, in Portuguese) granted by Dom Manuel I, King of Portugal (1495–1521), which substituted for medieval ones and were intended to achieve an administrative unification. These are luxuriously illuminated manuscripts, and our study aims at obtaining a better understanding of the gilding and silvering techniques applied to the parchments, in which the forais were written, between 1500 and 1520. The combined use of microscopy and X-ray spectroscopy analyses allowed us to identify the vestigial materials used for making the parchments, including products such as salt (NaCl), lime (CaO), pumice stone (SiO2+Al2O3), and chalk (CaCO3). Chalk was employed as a whitening agent to give the parchment its final color and opacity. Shell-gold and shell-silver mixed in with animal glue or gum binding media were directly applied on type 1 and 3 forais, while very thin gold leaves (<1 µm) were applied over lead-based tempera grounds (50–180 µm thick) in type 2 forais. Silver was always employed in its finest form without a further protective layer (thus its recursive state of corrosion), while gold was used in various alloy grades.
The analysis of a Portuguese “papier-mâché” sculpture depicting Saint Anthony is presented in this case study. Several questions were addressed such as the characteristics of the support, pigments used, and artistic technique in order to establish a possible timeline for its production. Qualitative analyses of the cross-sections and of the paper support were performed by optical microscopy using reflected light. Two polychrome layers from different periods and a rag pulped support were identified on the sculpture. The use of micro X-ray fluorescence and Raman microscopy techniques enabled the differentiation of coloring materials used in both polychromies. Semi-quantitative analyses of the gilded samples were also performed by scanning electron microscopy in combination with energy-dispersive spectroscopy allowing the determination of a common Au–Ag–Cu alloy with differences in the purity of the gold. The identified coloring materials lead us to believe that the sculpture was produced in the 19th century, being overpainted in the first half of the 20th century.
The lactic acid bacteria (LAB) play an important role in the production of fermented foods. The development of concentrated cultures of LAB, for inoculating the production vat directly (bulk starters), has eliminated many problems traditionally involved in their preparation and maintenance by the food industry. For industrial use, LAB are often preserved in a frozen or dried form, the latter preparations having lower transport and storage costs (Kets et al. 1996). Dried cultures, however, lose viability/activity during storage, especially when kept at room temperature (Champagne et al. 1991; Teixeira et al. 1995a,b; Castro et al. 1996). Attempts to improve the survival of LAB during drying have already been tried (Linders et al. 1997b; Gardiner et al. 2000). Previous results indicated a direct relationship between the presence of compatible solutes in LAB and their ability to survive drying conditions. Such solutes include amino acids, amino acid derivatives, quaternary amines, sugars and tetrahydropyrimidines (Kets & De Bont, 1994; Kets et al. 1994, 1996).
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