Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering

ISSN 2095-7505 (Print)
ISSN 2095-977X (Online)
CN 10-1204/S
Postal Subscription Code 80-906

Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering has been added to Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) on September 12, 2016.

This journal is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
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Cadmium pollution from phosphate fertilizers in arable soils and crops: an overview
Andrea Giovanna NIÑO-SAVALA, Zhong ZHUANG, Xin MA, Andreas FANGMEIER, Huafen LI, Aohan TANG, Xuejun LIU
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (389KB)

The application of mineral and organic phosphorus fertilizers to arable land has greatly increased crop yield to meet the world food demand. On the other hand, impurities in these fertilizers, such as heavy metals, are being added to agricultural soils, resulting both from the raw materials themselves and the processes used to obtain the final product. Cadmium, a non-essential and toxic heavy metal, has been found in relatively high amounts in common P fertilizers obtained from sediments. This metal poses a high risk for soil fertility, crop cultivation, and plants in general. Furthermore, human health might be compromised by the cadmium concentrations in agricultural and livestock products, due to the bioaccumulation effect in the food web. The accumulation in the different matrixes is the result of the high mobility and flexible availability of this harmful metal. This review summarizes risks to human health, the factors influencing cadmium movement in soils and crop uptake, as well as common plant responses to its toxicity. In addition, it summarizes cadmium balances in soils, trends, long-term experiments, and further studies. Cadmium inputs and outputs in arable soil, together with their calculated concentrations, are compared between two different regions: the European countries (in particular Germany) and China. The comparison appears useful because of the different proportions in the inputs and outputs of cadmium, and the diverse geographical, environmental and social factors. Moreover, these variables and their influences on cadmium contamination improve the understanding of the pollution from phosphate fertilizers and will help to establish future mitigation policies.

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A case for assessing Allocasuarina and Casuarina spp. for use in agroecosystem improvement in semi-arid areas with a focus on Central Anatolia, Turkey
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (13902KB)

Agroecosystems in water-limited contexts— Mediterranean, semi-arid and arid climatic zones—are too frequently degraded systems that will not provide the needed ecosystem services to ensure a future of sustainable agricultural production. The processes that have created this situation continue and are being accelerated by anthropogenic climate change. Increasing arboreal vegetation in these areas through agroforestry is an important strategy to conserve and improve their agroecosystems. Actinorhizal trees and shrubs in the Casurinaceae have a unique set of adaptations for heat and water stress, and/or infertile to hostile soils. Central Anatolia, Turkey is particularly at risk of increasing aridity and further degradation. Therefore, species of Allocasuarina and Casuarina have been evaluated for their potential use in agroecosystem improvement in semi-arid areas with a focus on Central Anatolia. Based on a semiquantitative environmental tolerance index and reported plant stature, eight species were identified as being of high (A. verticillata and C. pauper) to moderate (A. acutivalvis, A. decaisneana, A. dielsiana, A. huegeliana, C. cristata and C. obesa) priority for assessment, with none of these species having been adequately evaluated for agroforestry deployment in semi-arid agroecosystems in any context.

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Optimizing hairy root production from explants of Phyllanthus hainanensis, a shrub used for traditional herbal medicine
Zhaogui YAN, Shengyu LIU, Junlian ZHANG, Guan HUANG, Lijun DUAN, Yaomei YE
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (835KB)

Phyllanthus hainanensis is a shrub that has been used in traditional herbal medicine. It has great pharmaceutical potential for treating diseases such as cancer and diabetes. As a prerequisite for propagation of this species on a large scale, hairy roots in P. hainanensis were induced using Rhizobium rhizogenes and various factors affecting hairy root induction and growth evaluated. Seven factors were tested: (1) type of explant, (2) type of culture medium, (3) duration of pre-culture, (4) R. rhizogenes inoculum cell density, (5) duration of infection, (6) acetosyringone concentration in the culture medium, and (7) duration of incubation. The optimal protocol for hairy root induction and growth was: young shoots, pre-cultured in Y1 for 2 d, inoculated with R. rhizogenes broth with an OD600 of 0.6 for 20 min, and incubated for 3 d. Putative transgenic hairy roots were initially identified by morphology and then confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. Successful and optimal production of hairy roots is a critical prerequisite for industrial scale clonal propagation of P. hainanensis. Being able to cultivate the plant on a large scale will provide rapid and ready supply of the plant materials that can be used in herbal medicine and in scientific and industrial exploitation.

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A comparison of the biological activities of ethyl acetate fractions from the stems and leaves of Penthorum chinense Pursh
Zhaolei WANG, Kai JIANG, Qinchao DING, Shujun LIU, Xiaobing DOU, Bin DING
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (610KB)

Penthorum chinense Pursh (PCP) is a popular traditional medicinal plant in China, widely used for the treatment of a variety of liver diseases. Although it has been long recognized that the main active elements of PCP are contained in ethyl acetate fraction (EAF), little is known so far in terms of the relative effectiveness of EAF derived from the stems versus leaves of this plant. In the current study, we prepared EAF by reflux extraction and sequential extraction from the stems (SEAF) and leaves (LEAF) of PCP and tested their hepatoprotective efficacies. The extract rates and flavonoid contents of LEAF were higher than those of SEAF. EAFs (>50 μg·mL1) prevented lipid accumulation in cells and protected against lipotoxicity injury when the concentration exceeded 25 μg·mL1. More than 95% free radicals released by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) were eliminated by 25 μg·mL1 SEAF and 50 μg·mL1 LEAF, respectively. Further, EAFs (25 μg·mL1) also showed protective antioxidant effects, with the activity of LEAF being significantly higher than that of SEAF. EAFs (10 mg·mL1) also showed similar unspecific bacteriostatic activity. In comparison with SEAF, LEAF contained more flavonoids and had a higher anti-oxidation capability and for these reasons we suggest it should be better for clinical use.

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