Day 1 :
MD, ReXil Agro BV, Netherlands
Time : 10:55 - 11:25
Henk-Maarten Laane is a MD starting his professional career in 1967 at the University of Amsterdam in the field of Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology. Worked as GP and Coroner for the City of Amsterdam (1973-2000). Since 1990 involved in medicine research for HIV/AIDS. Degree in Social Medicine. Since 2000 research on the health effects of Silicon on humans and animals, resulting in the registration and introduction of (patented) silicic acid as food supplement. Based on these supplements also experiments were started on plants. The results showed very positive growth stimulating effects due to the as well the soil as foliar application: the Silicic Acid Agro Technology (= SAAT) was ‘born’. Based on ongoing experiments since 2001 we have shown that (stabilized) silicic acid is very effective as biostimulant, next to its effect on biotic and abiotic stress factors resulting in (much) higher yields with higher quality.
For optimal growth all relevant nutrients are needed. Among the nutrients, silicon is an ignored nutrient due to the common opinion that plants do not suffer from Si deficiency. In most soils there is an abundant presence of Ai as silicates, silicon dioxide or biogenic silica. But silicates, SiO2 are hardly/not plant available. Only (mono-) silicic acid is plant available, but its concentration in the soil is very low causing a silicic acid deficiency. This is due to several reasons like the instability of this molecule which polymerizes very fast. Based on patented production processes stabilized, plant available and plant active silicic acid is now used in agriculture: the silicic acid agro technology. SAAT can be used as foliar spray and as soil and hydroponic amendment. In many trials since 2003 this stabilized SA has shown to be very effective on almost any plant. Increases in yield, biomass and quality has been shown in many crops, as well monocots as dicots, like rice, sugarcane, sweet corn, tobacco, okra, watermelon, tomato, chili peppers, grapes, etc. Results on several crops will be presented. SA is speeding up plant growth by a larger root system, longer and thicker tillers/stem, larger leaf surface with higher chlorophyll content, etc. SA decreases as well abiotic as biotic stresses resulting in healthier plants allows reducing the use of pesticides significantly. The shelf life is increased and the post-harvest losses are decreased. SAAT is safe (for the plant, the soil and the consumer), ecofriendly and cost-effective. Silicic acid is a bio-stimulant, a fertilizer as well as a plant protectant.
President of the International Society for Silicon in Agriculture and Related Disciplines
Time : 11:25 - 11:55
Dr. N. B. Prakash, Professor of Soil Science at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India, has dedicated research on Silicon in Agriculture. He has contributed immensely in identifying silicon deficient areas and categorization in different soils of South India. Dr. Prakash organized the Indo US workshop on Silicon in Agriculture during 25-27 February 2010 and the 8thPSILPH at UAS, Bangalore during 18-22 October 2012. He has guided 14 master and 4 PhD students in soil science. He has contributed for release of silicon based technology (Recycling of rice hull ash and foliar silicic acid) in the package of practices of UAS, Bangalore. He has more than 40 publications published in national and international journals to his credit. Being President of the International Society for Silicon in Agriculture and Related Disciplines since 2014, he will be involved in organising 7th International Conference on Silicon in Agriculture in 2017 at UAS, Bangalore, India
Silicon (Si) is found beneficial in many crops and promotes the growth and development of plants under abiotic and biotic stresses. In the past decade, studies have focused on a better understanding of the mechanism involved in the Si transport and confirmed Si uptake by plants at the molecular level. Weathering reactions, leaching and intensive cultivation of high yielding cultivars can reduce the concentration of plant available Si in soil. This emphasizes the need for a good Si source in agricultural and horticultural crops.
The addition of silicate materials to crops started in Japan in the early 1950s and is commonly used in many parts of the world such as Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Brazil, South Africa, USA and other countries. Wollastonite (CaSiO3), iron and steel mill slags or their derivatives, K and Na silicates, foliar/ liquid formulations, Si minerals, calcium silicate hydrate, silica gel, thermo-phosphate, Diatomite, rice straw, rice hull, rice hull ash, sugarcane bagasse and other Si rich crop residues are the commonly used Si sources in different crops. But, for field application an ideal Si source should possess attributes like local availability, cost effectiveness, easy to handle, Si solubility and improve plant available Si and Si bioavailability, environment friendly and improve crop growth and yield. In India, the preliminary experiments using Si fertilization have given promising results in field crops like rice, maize, finger millet, sugarcane and potato and horticultural crops like grapes, tomato, pomegranate and banana. Calcium silicate and rice hull ash applied @ 2 to 4 t Si ha-1 and foliar silicic acid @ 2- 4 ml L-1 were found to improve Si content and crop yield. Application of slag improved the Si and Zn nutrition of rice with a favourable benefit: cost (B:C) ratio over calcite application
- Oral Session
Tea Research Institute- Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China
Liang Chen has completed his PhD on Tea Science at Zhejiang University, China and Post-doctoral studies at Cornell University, USA. Now, he is the Associate Director of National Center for Tea Improvement, TRICAAS. He has published more than 40 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as an Editorial Board Member of repute.
Flavonoids and methylxanthine are key flavor and functional components of tea. To identify the genetic factors underlying the regulation of catechins and caffeine accumulation in the tender shoots of tea plant, quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies were carried out in a pseudo-testcross population derived from an intraspecific cross between two varieties of Camellia sinensis. A high density with more than 6600 SSR/SNP markers interval mapping and restricted multiple QTL model mapping detected a total of 25 QTLs and 13 QTLs associated with catechins and methylxanthine content, respectively. Of the 25 QTL associated with catechins content, nine stable QTLs were validated across years and clustered into four main chromosome regions on LG03, LG11, LG12 and LG15. The population variability explained by each QTL was predominantly at moderate-to-high levels and ranged from 2.4% to 71.0% with an average of 17.7%. The total number of QTL for each trait varied from four to eight, while the total population variability explained by all QTLs for a trait ranged between 38.4% and 79.7%. 13 QTLs associated with methylxanthine content including caffeine content (CAF), theobromine content (TBR), total content of caffeine and theobromine (TC) and caffeine-to-theobromine ratio (CTR) over four measurement years. The QTLs detected clustered onto five linkage groups. Among them, one stable QTL (qCAF1) controlling CAF was mapped on LG1 and validated across all years, explaining an average of 18.9% of the phenotypic variance. The other QTL were identified in only one or two years and of them, there were six, two and four QTL for TBR, TC and CTR, respectively. This study presents the first example of QTL detection for methylxanthine related traits in tea plant. The results presented here provide a foundation for further fine mapping and cloning functional genes and elucidating mechanism of flavonoids and methylxanthine accumulation in tea plant.
Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Germany
Beatrice Berger has her expertise in plant nutrition and plant ecology. She aims to improve the quality and yield of food plants by beneficial bacteria and fungi. Together with Silke Ruppel, that has started to establish the rhizobacteria Kosakonia radicincitans as a model organism, she is investigating the interaction of plant-beneficial bacteria to harness K.radicincitans for agricultural systems. Her research focus is on ecophysiological and molecular aspects of the interaction under abiotic and biotic stresses. The team is complemented by Matthias Becker who is working on the evolution and processing of K. radicincitans.
Statement of the Problem: Conserving arable soils is one of the major challenges in agronomy for our and future generations. Using beneficial native microorganisms such as plant growth-promoting bacteria contributes to sustainability in agricultural systems and helps maintain stable yields and product quality. However, the growth-promoting effects of candidate strains observed in pot trials often disappear under field conditions.
Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: Kosakonia radicincitans was isolated from winter wheat; after establishing cultivation of the strain under laboratory conditions, biological atmospheric nitrogen fixing and phytohormone producing ability was demonstrated. Systemic application of K. radicincitans on glasshouse-grown plants revealed significant growth-promoting effects on various vegetables and crop plants. We evaluated the plant growth potential of K. radicincitans in radish (Raphanus sativus var. sativus L.), maize (Zea mays) and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) when plants were grown under glasshouse and field conditions.
Findings: Leaf- and tuber weights of inoculated radish plants were significantly increased by up to 25%, biomass of maize up to 30% and grain yield gain in winter wheat was demonstrated to be up to 20% after bacterial application under field conditions.
Conclusion & Significance: We demonstrate the capability of K. radicincitans to persist in plants and promote plant growth under field conditions. Therefore, K. radicincitans is a promising candidate for further processing as a growth-promoting product in sustainable agriculture.
Figure 1: Process of isolation, characterization and application of Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria Kosakonia radicincitans.
University of Perugia, Italy
Paolo Benincasa is Associate Professor at the Dept. of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences of the University of Perugia. He has 25-year expertise in Crop Science and Technology. His research activity focused on the evaluation of agronomic aspects affecting crop yield and quality and on the management of crop residues and soil fertility in conventional and organic farming systems. Recently, together with his colleagues of the Materials Engineering group, he has started working on biobased materials looking at the factors (cultivar, environment, cultivation practices, post-harvest manipulation) that may affect the mechanical properties of derived manufactures. Novel findings are reported in articles published or under consideration in high ranked journals.
Statement of the Problem: There is recent literature on the use of wheat flours to obtain bioplastics as an energetically and economically cheap alternative to purified starch (1). Previous researches from our group (2-3) demonstrated that the tensile properties of thermoplastic films depended on wheat grain hardness and baking properties of refined flours, expressed as Chopin’s alveograph parameters (P, L, P/L, W) (4). No research, however, has considered the use of wholegrain flours, while this could be of relevance because the bran could work as reinforcement (5) instead of being a by-product to get rid of when exceeding the need for livestock feeding. The purpose of this study is to describe the mechanical performance of thermoplastics obtained from wheat flours differing for grain hardness, alveographic parameters, and refining and bran grinding level. Methodology: Grains of four common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars (Altamira, Aubusson, Blasco, Bologna) were milled separately with a laboratory mill in order to produce single-cultivar refined (R) or wholegrain flour with fine (F) or gross (G) bran grinding. Grain hardness and alveographic parameters for R flours are reported in Benincasa et al (2). The flours were then plasticized, filmed and tested for tensile properties (strength, s; elongation at break, e) according to Puglia et al (3). Findings: The bran reduced e but increased s for the films derived from any of the four cultivars. The s was higher and e was lower in films from F than G flours. The reasons for the effect of refining and bran grinding levels are discussed based also on SEM microscopy of films, which revealed that bran and its texture affected starch granules exposure to plasticizer. Conclusion & Significance: Both the alveographic parameters and the refining and bran grinding levels of wheat flours represent novel choice factors to consider for tailoring manufactures according to requirements and uses.
Fig: Stress-strain curves for thermoplastic films from four wheat single cultivar (Altamira, Aubusson, Blasco and Bologna), flours, refined (R) or wholegrain with fine (F) or gross (G) bran grinding level.
Assiniboine Community College, Canada
Poonam Singh is a Researcher and Instructor at Assiniboine Community College’s Horticultural Production and Sustainable Food Systems programs. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture; a Bachelor of Education Degree; a Master of Science Degree in Landscaping and Floriculture and; a Doctorate Degree in Horticulture. A majority of her experience relates to teaching, research and outreach within horticultural sciences. Her major research interest includes “Development of technologies/products for sustainable horticultural production, enhancing food security in Canadian First Nation communities, exploration and enrichment of plant germplasm for genetic enhancement and plant physiological studies”.
Western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) are one of the most important greenhouse pests in Canada and throughout the world. They have a wide host range that includes greenhouse vegetable crops, flower crops, ornamentals and nursery crops. Thrips scratch and pierce their mouthparts into plant tissue to suck out the cellular contents. This results in the deformation of flowers, leaves, shoots and fruits. The damage by thrips reduces the photosynthetic area, weakens plant vigour, destroys the plants visual appeal and produce unmarketable thrips also transmit and spread plant viruses. A study was initiated at Assiniboine Community College’s sustainable greenhouse with three conditions; a conventional greenhouse and two solar greenhouses. The objective was to control pests by using biological control agents (living beneficial organisms called natural enemies) and minimize the use of chemical pesticides in the greenhouse. There are a variety of vegetable, nursery and ornamental crops being grown this greenhouse. Before setting up this experiment, a concerted effort was made to control thrips through various pesticide applications with little success. Thrips control was extremely difficult for several reasons. Adult female thrips lay eggs inside the leaf or petal tissue such that the eggs are protected from pesticides. The eggs hatch into larvae which usually remain protected in flower buds or foliage terminals. During the next stage, the insects move down into the growing media to pupate and remain protected from pesticides. Since the two stages (egg and pupal) are completely protected from direct contact with pesticides, successful control with chemicals was limited. The experiments began with regular monitoring the pest population in all three conditions. Amblyseius cucumeris (predatory mite) was applied on plant alone and was applied along with soil applications of Steinernema feltiae (parasitoid nematodes) to reduce number of larvae feeding on plants and the adults emerging from pupation. Our results revealed that these biological controls agents tested were highly effective at controlling thrips. The pest population numbers and crop damage were significantly reduced in the greenhouse. Effectiveness of bio-control agents to control thrips was higher when both A. cucumeris and S. feltiae were used together as compared to when A. cucumeris was used alone. Within a six months’ time period, weekly monitoring revealed that the thrips population in the conventional greenhouse decreased from 132 to 15 per 4 inch2 yellow sticky card. In the first solar greenhouse, thrips decreased from 50 to 5 per 4 inch 2 yellow sticky cards. The second solar greenhouses saw a reduction from 30 thrips to 3 per 4 inch 2 yellow sticky cards. Currently no pesticide has been applied for over a year. The thrips are being successfully managed using only bio-control agents. Bio-control agents have proved to be safe, effective, environment friendly, target specific (in comparison to chemical pesticides) and are providing a long-term solution to the pest problems.