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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering

  • Cover Illustration

    2016, Vol.3  No.3

    As an important oil crop and a potential bioenergy crop, Brassica napusL. is becoming a model plant for basic research on seed oil content. This picture describes the regulation model of seed oil content in B. napus, including major organs or factors controlling the seed oil content and their relative regulating pathways.

    Table of Contents

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)

, Volume 3 Issue 3

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LETTER
Transforming the Loess Plateau of China
Yuheng LI,Guoming DU,Yansui LIU
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 181-185.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016110
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2579KB)

This paper aims to show the importance of land consolidation in transforming the Loess Plateau of China. The paper comprehensively analyzes how over recent decades the Grain for Green Project and Gully Land Consolidation Project jointly transformed the ecology and landscape of the Loess Plateau and the livelihood of its residents. The findings show that these two projects have achieved a balance between green protection, new land creation, and improved food security and livelihood of local people in the hilly areas of China. The paper points out that the successful transformation of the Plateau lies in a holistic approach incorporating various components of the human and natural systems. Finally, the paper highlights the necessity of retaining these two land consolidation projects as part of an ongoing policy in the mountain and hilly areas of China, changing agricultural management to suit the new relationship between humans and the land.

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REVIEW
Molecular regulation and genetic improvement of seed oil content in Brassica napus L.
Wei HUA,Jing LIU,Hanzhong WANG
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 186-194.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016107
Abstract   HTML   PDF (369KB)

As an important oil crop and a potential bioenergy crop, Brassica napus L. is becoming a model plant for basic research on seed lipid biosynthesis as well as seed oil content, which has always been the key breeding objective. In this review, we present current progress in understanding of the regulation of oil content in B. napus, including genetics, biosynthesis pathway, transcriptional regulation, maternal effects and QTL analysis. Furthermore, the history of breeding for high oil content in B. napus is summarized and the progress in breeding ultra-high oil content lines is described. Finally, prospects for breeding high oil content B. napus cultivars are outlined.

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Electrolyzed water and its application in animal houses
Weichao ZHENG,Li NI,Baoming LI
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 195-205.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016109
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Electrolyzed water (EW) can be produced by electrolysis of a dilute salt solution. Slightly acidic electrolyzed water (SAEW, pH 5.0–6.5) and neutral electrolyzed water (NEW, pH 6.5–8.5) are considered healthy and environmentally friendly because no hazardous chemicals are added in its production, there is reduced corrosion of surfaces and it minimizes the potential for damage to animal and human health. Over the last decade, EW has become increasingly popular as an alternative disinfectant for decontamination in animal houses. However, there have been some issues related to EW that are not well known, including different mechanisms for generation of SAEW and NEW, and the antimicrobial mechanism of EW. This review covers the definitions of SAEW and NEW, different generation systems for SAEW and NEW, the antimicrobial mecha- nism of EW, and recent developments related to the application of SAEW and NEW in animal houses.

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Information fusion in aquaculture: a state-of the art review
Shahbaz Gul HASSAN,Murtaza HASAN,Daoliang LI
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 206-221.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016111
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Efficient fish feeding is currently one of biggest challenges in aquaculture to enhance the production of fish quality and quantity. In this review, an information fusion approach was used to integrate multi-sensor and computer vision techniques to make fish feeding more efficient and accurate. Information fusion is a well-known technology that has been used in different fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, image processing, computer vision, sensors and wireless sensor networks. Information fusion in aquaculture is a growing field of research that is used to enhance the performance of an “industrialized” ecosystem. This review study surveys different fish feeding systems using multi-sensor data fusion, computer vision technology, and different food intake models. In addition, different fish behavior monitoring techniques are discussed, and the parameters of water, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, temperature etc., necessary for the fish feeding process, are examined. Moreover, the different waste management and fish disease diagnosis techniques using different technologies, expert systems and modeling are also reviewed.

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Autophagy and the nutritional signaling pathway
Long HE,Shabnam ESLAMFAM,Xi MA,Defa LI
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 222-230.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016106
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During their growth and development, animals adapt to tremendous changes in order to survive. These include responses to both environmental and physiological changes and autophagy is one of most important adaptive and regulatory mechanisms. Autophagy is defined as an autolytic process to clear damaged cellular organelles and recycle the nutrients via lysosomic degradation. The process of autophagy responds to special conditions such as nutrient withdrawal. Once autophagy is induced, phagophores form and then elongate and curve to form autophagosomes. Autophagosomes then engulf cargo, fuse with endosomes, and finally fuse with lysosomes for maturation. During the initiation process, the ATG1/ULK1 (unc-51-like kinase 1) and VPS34 (which encodes a class III phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) 3-kinase) complexes are critical in recruitment and assembly of other complexes required for autophagy. The process of autophagy is regulated by autophagy related genes (ATGs). Amino acid and energy starvation mediate autophagy by activating mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is the energy status sensor, the core nutrient signaling component and the metabolic kinase of cells. This review mainly focuses on the mechanism of autophagy regulated by nutrient signaling especially for the two important complexes, ULK1 and VPS34.

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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Utilization threshold of surface water and groundwater based on the system optimization of crop planting structure
Qiang FU,Jiahong LI,Tianxiao LI,Dong LIU,Song CUI
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 231-240.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016101
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Based on the diversity of the agricultural system, this research calculates the planting structures of rice, maize and soybean considering the optimal economic-social-ecological aspects. Then, based on the uncertainty and randomness of the water resources system, the interval two-stage stochastic programming method, which introduces the uncertainty of the interval number, is used to calculate the groundwater exploitation and the use efficiency of surface water. The method considers the minimum cost of water as the objective of the uncertainty model for surface water and groundwater joint scheduling optimization for different planting structures. Finally, by calculating harmonious entropy, the optimal exploitation utilization interval of surface water and groundwater is determined for optimal cultivation in the Sanjiang Plain. The optimal matching of the planting structure under the economic system is suitable when the mining ratio of the surface is in 44.13%–45.45% and the exploitation utilization of groundwater is in 54.82%–66.86%, the optimal planting structure under the social system is suitable when surface water mining ratio is in 47.84%–48.04% and the groundwater exploitation threshold is in 67.07%–72.00%. This article optimizes the economic-social-ecological-water system, which is important for the development of a water- and food-conserving society and providing a more accurate management environment.

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Comparison of the performance of traditional advection-dispersion equation and mobile-immobile model for simulating solute transport in heterogeneous soils
Haizhu HU,Xiaomin MAO
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 241-248.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016108
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The traditional advection-dispersion equation (ADE) and the mobile-immobile model (MIM) are widely used to describe solute transport in heterogeneous porous media. However, the fitness of the two models is case-dependent. In this paper, the transport of conservative, adsorbing and degradable solutes through a 1 m heterogeneous soil column under steady flow condition was simulated by ADE and MIM, and sensitivity analysis was conducted. Results show that MIM tends to prolong the breakthrough process and decrease peak concentration for all three solutes, and tailing and skewness are more pronounced with increasing dispersivity. Breakthrough curves of the adsorbing solute simulated by MIM are less sensitive to the retardation factor compared with the results simulated by ADE. The breakthrough curves of degradable solute obtained by MIM and ADE nearly overlap with a high degradation rate coefficient, indicating that MIM and ADE perform similarly for simulating degradable solute transport when biochemical degradation prevails over the mass exchange between mobile and immobile zones. The results suggest that the physical significance of dispersivity should be carefully considered when MIM is applied to simulate the degradable solute transport and/or ADE is applied to simulate the adsorbing solute transport in highly dispersive soils.

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Coupling of the chemical niche and microbiome in the rhizosphere: implications from watermelon grafting
Yang SONG,Chen ZHU,Waseem RAZA,Dongsheng WANG,Qiwei HUANG,Shiwei GUO,Ning LING,Qirong SHEN
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 249-262.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016105
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Grafting is commonly used to overcome soil-borne diseases. However, its effects on the rhizodeposits as well as the linkages between the rhizosphere chemical niche and microbiome remained unknown. In this paper, significant negative correlations between the bacterial alpha diversity and both the disease incidence (r = −0.832, P = 0.005) and pathogen population (r = −0.786, P = 0.012) were detected. Moreover, our results showed that the chemical diversity not only predicts bacterial alpha diversity but also can impact on overall microbial community structure (beta diversity) in the rhizosphere. Furthermore, some anti-fungal compounds including heptadecane and hexadecane were identified in the rhizosphere of grafted watermelon. We concluded that grafted watermelon can form a distinct rhizosphere chemical niche and thus recruit microbial communities with high diversity. Furthermore, the diverse bacteria and the antifungal compounds in the rhizosphere can potentially serve as biological and chemical barriers, respectively, to hinder pathogen invasion. These results not only lead us toward broadening the view of disease resistance mechanism of grafting, but also provide clues to control the microbial composition by manipulating the rhizosphere chemical niche.

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Analysis of differential expression of genes induced by ethephon in elongating internodes of maize plants
Xiaoyi WEI,Weiqiang ZHANG,Qian ZHANG,Pei SUN,Zhaohu LI,Mingcai ZHANG,Jianmin LI,Liusheng DUAN
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. . 2016, 3 (3): 263-282.  https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2016103
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Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are commonly used in cereal cropping systems to restrict plant height and control lodging. Ethephon has been reported to shorten internodes and increase grain yield of maize. To analyze the transcriptomic profiles of maize internode elongation following ethephon treatment, differentially expressed genes were compared between the treatment and control samples of inbred line Zong 31 using the Affymetrix Maize Genome Array. According to the microarray data, 326 probe sets showed significant change in expression. Further research revealed that the most remarkable effects of ethephon on maize internodes elongation occurred during a 48 h period, when 89 differentially expressed genes were detected. There were dramatic change in transcript levels at 24 h and six Auxin transport genes and four gibberellin biosynthesis pathway genes were differentially expressed in Zong 31 in response to ethephon treatment. In summary, we showed that gaseous ethylene release is involved in internode meristem cell elongation through the regulation of plant hormone signaling in maize. This work provides a platform for studies in which candidate genes will be functionally tested for involvement in internode elongation.

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