The aim of the Teagasc Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme is to develop and transfer cost-effective crop production systems, along with evidence-based knowledge to support and underpin the development of an environmentally sustainable, competitive and profitable agri-food sector.

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  • First Report of Shot Hole Disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland

    Smith, L.; Gibriel, H. A. Y.; Brennan, C.; del Pino de Elias, M.; Twamley, A.; Doohan, F.; Grogan, H.; Feechan, A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/759 (Scientific Societies, 2020-08-13)
    First Report of Shot Hole Disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland
  • Is urban growing of fruit and vegetables associated with better diet quality and what mediates this relationship? Evidence from a cross-sectional survey.

    Mead, Bethan; Christiansen, Paul; Davies, Jessica; Falagán, Natalia; Kourmpetli, Sofia; Liu, Lingxuan; Walsh, Lael; Hardman, Charlotte; Global Food Security's ‘Resilience of the UK Food System Programme’; BBSRC; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-18)
    Urban agriculture (UA), the growing of fruits and vegetables in urban and peri-urban areas, may improve food security and access, public health and dietary quality on both a broad and personal scale. However, there is little research on the relationship between UA and diet, and potential mediating factors are also unclear. This study aimed to investigate if proximity to and engagement with UA is associated with better diet quality, and what accounts for this relationship. UK-based adults (N = 583, 69% Female) completed measures of proximity to and engagement with UA, perceived access to fruits and vegetables, health and ethical food choice motivations, connection with nature, psychological distress and dietary quality in an online survey. Participants were recruited from UA-related groups and the general public. Proposed relationships were analysed using a structural equation model. Greater proximity to and engagement with UA was associated with greater perceived access to fruits and vegetables, more health-related food choice motivations, more ethical-related food choice, feeling more connected with nature, and, surprisingly greater psychological distress. Furthermore, proximity to and engagement with UA was indirectly associated with better diet quality via health-, and ethical-related, food choice motivations. While the direct pathway between proximity to and engagement with UA and diet quality was not significant, UA is associated with better diet quality, partly via healthier and ethical food choice motivations. Upscaling UA may have benefits for dietary quality via these factors, and more research is needed to test causal relationships and understand these complex interactions.
  • Gene Expression Pattern in Olive Tree Organs (Olea europaea L.)

    Ramírez-Tejero, Jorge A.; Jiménez-Ruiz, Jaime; Leyva-Pérez, María de la O; Barroso, Juan Bautista; Luque, Francisco; Regional Government of Andalusia; Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness; Spanish State Research Agency; European Union; AGR-6038; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-05-12)
    The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) was one of the first plant species in history to be domesticated. Throughout olive domestication, gene expression has undergone drastic changes that may affect tissue/organ-specific genes. This is an RNA-seq study of the transcriptomic activity of different tissues/organs from adult olive tree cv. “Picual” under field conditions. This analysis unveiled 53,456 genes with expression in at least one tissue, 32,030 of which were expressed in all organs and 19,575 were found to be potential housekeeping genes. In addition, the specific expression pattern in each plant part was studied. The flower was clearly the organ with the most exclusively expressed genes, 3529, many of which were involved in reproduction. Many of these organ-specific genes are generally involved in regulatory activities and have a nuclear protein localization, except for leaves, where there are also many genes with a plastid localization. This was also observed in stems to a lesser extent. Moreover, pathogen defense and immunity pathways were highly represented in roots. These data show a complex pattern of gene expression in different organs, and provide relevant data about housekeeping and organ-specific genes in cultivated olive.
  • Efficacy of Woodchip Biochar and Brown Coal Waste as Stable Sorbents for Abatement of Bioavailable Cadmium, Lead and Zinc in Soil

    Amoah-Antwi, C.; Kwiatkowska-Malina, J.; Szara, E.; Thornton, S.; Fenton, Owen; Malina, G.; European Union; 675120 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-10-03)
    Organic sorbents alter physicochemical soil properties and mitigate heavy metal (HM) bioavailability. However, some sorbents are labile and, therefore, introduce the risk of HM release into soil after mineralisation. Before field application, new stable organic sorbents such as woodchip biochar (BIO) and brown coal waste (BCW) need to be tested and compared with standard organic amendments like farmyard manure (FYM). An incubated pot experiment was conducted to investigate the efficacy of FYM, BIO and BCW (added to soil in pots at 5 and 10% w/w) to alter soil physicochemical properties and mitigate bioavailability of Cd, Pb and Zn spiked in treatments at different doses (in mg kg−1 ); 0 (not spiked), 1 (1 Cd, 70 Pb, 100 Zn) and 2 (3 Cd, 500 Pb, 700 Zn), and incubated for 9 weeks. At the end of the experiment, the EDTAextractable HM fractions, pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and specific surface area (SSA, to check trends) were determined in all treated soils. Results showed that FYM, BCW and BIO generally improved all soil properties (except reduced pH from BCW and apparent SSA reduction from FYM) and accounted for respective maximum abatements of Cd (50.2, 69.9 and 25.5%), Pb (34.2, 64.3 and 17.4%) and Zn (14.9, 17.7 and 11.8%) bioavailability in soil. FYM and BCW were more effective at 10% w/w especially in the low contaminated soil, whereas the highest efficacy for BIO was at 5% w/w and in the high contaminated soil. The efficacies of sorption by the organic sorbents varied for different HMs and were in the orders: BCW > FYM > BIO for Cd, FYM > BCW > BIO for Pb and BIO > BCW > FYM for Zn. Soil pH and CEC were strongly correlated with HM bioavailability in all treatments and implied that immobilisation of HMs occurred via complex formation, ion exchange and pH-dependent specific adsorption. All three sorbents were beneficial as soil amendments, and in terms of HM mitigation, BCW had the highest efficacy, followed by FYM and then BIO. Considering the documented high soil stability of BCW and BIO, these results are promising for further trialling at field scale.
  • Spatial evaluation and trade‐off analysis of soil functions through Bayesian networks

    Vrebos, Dirk; Jones, Arwyn; Lugato, Emanuele; O’Sullivan, Lillian; Schulte, Rogier; Staes, Jan; Meire, Patrick; European Union; 635201 (Wiley, 2020-08-23)
    There is increasing recognition that soils fulfil many functions for society. Each soil can deliver a range of functions, but some soils are more effective at some functions than others due to their intrinsic properties. In this study we mapped four different soil functions on agricultural lands across the European Union. For each soil function, indicators were developed to evaluate their performance. To calculate the indicators and assess the interdependencies between the soil functions, data from continental long‐term simulation with the DayCent model were used to build crop‐specific Bayesian networks. These Bayesian Networks were then used to calculate the soil functions' performance and trade‐offs between the soil functions under current conditions. For each soil function the maximum potential was estimated across the European Union and changes in trade‐offs were assessed. By deriving current and potential soil function delivery from Bayesian networks a better understanding is gained of how different soil functions and their interdependencies can differ depending on soil, climate and management. Highlights When increasing a soil function, how do trade‐offs affect the other functions under different conditions? Bayesian networks evaluate trade‐offs between soil functions and estimate their maximal delivery. Maximizing a soil function has varied effects on other functions depending on soil, climate and management. Differences in trade‐offs make some locations more suitable for increasing a soil function then others.
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem function: making sense of numerous species interactions in multi-species communities

    Brophy, Caroline; Dooley, Áine; Kirwan, Laura; Finn, John A.; McDonnell, Jack; Bell, Thomas; Cadotte, Marc W.; Connolly, John; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/EOB2546 (Wiley, 2017-06-30)
    Understanding the biodiversity and ecosystem function relationship can be challenging in species‐rich ecosystems. Traditionally, species richness has been relied on heavily to explain changes in ecosystem function across diversity gradients. Diversity–Interactions models can test how ecosystem function is affected by species identity, species interactions, and evenness, in addition to richness. However, in a species‐rich system, there may be too many species interactions to allow estimation of each coefficient, and if all interaction coefficients are estimable, they may be devoid of any sensible biological meaning. Parsimonious descriptions using constraints among interaction coefficients have been developed but important variability may still remain unexplained. Here, we extend Diversity–Interactions models to describe the effects of diversity on ecosystem function using a combination of fixed coefficients and random effects. Our approach provides improved standard errors for testing fixed coefficients and incorporates lack‐of‐fit tests for diversity effects. We illustrate our methods using data from a grassland and a microbial experiment. Our framework considerably reduces the complexities associated with understanding how species interactions contribute to ecosystem function in species‐rich ecosystems.
  • Comparative assessment of ecosystem C exchange in Miscanthusand reed canary grass during early establishment

    Ní Choncubhair, Órlaith; Osborne, Bruce; Finnan, John; Lanigan, Gary; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 07527 (Wiley, 2016-05-12)
    Land‐use change to bioenergy crop production can contribute towards addressing the dual challenges of greenhouse gas mitigation and energy security. Realisation of the mitigation potential of bioenergy crops is, however, dependent on suitable crop selection and full assessment of the carbon (C) emissions associated with land conversion. Using eddy covariance‐based estimates, ecosystem C exchange was studied during the early‐establishment phase of two perennial crops, C3 reed canary grass (RCG) and C4 Miscanthus, planted on former grassland in Ireland. Crop development was the main determinant of net carbon exchange in the Miscanthus crop, restricting significant net C uptake during the first 2 years of establishment. The Miscanthus ecosystem switched from being a net C source in the conversion year to a strong net C sink (−411 ± 63 g C m−2) in the third year, driven by significant above‐ground growth and leaf expansion. For RCG, early establishment and rapid canopy development facilitated a net C sink in the first 2 years of growth (−319 ± 57 (post‐planting) and −397 ± 114 g C m−2, respectively). Peak seasonal C uptake occurred three months earlier in RCG (May) than Miscanthus (August), however Miscanthus sustained net C uptake longer into the autumn and was close to C‐neutral in winter. Leaf longevity is therefore a key advantage of C4 Miscanthus in temperate climates. Further increases in productivity are projected as Miscanthus reaches maturity and are likely to further enhance the C sink potential of Miscanthus relative to RCG.

    Wall, David, P.; Plunkett, Mark (2021-07-21)
    A major responsibility of the research staff at Johnstown Castle has been the publication of leaflets, booklets and manuals giving nutrient and trace element advice for grassland and crops. This began in the 1940s and was the scientific basis for soil analysis (Coulter 2000), since then, further updates were published by Coulter in 2004 (2nd edition), by Coulter and Lalor in 2008 (3rd edition) and by Wall and Plunkett in 2016 (4th edition. This version has now been enhanced and expanded to produce the present volume (5 th edition) published by Wall and Plunkett in 2020. New sections and information and updates based on the latest scientific findings have been made to grassland fertiliser advice section including nitrogen advice for grass–white clover swards. Many of the chapters have been reorganised to make them easier to consult and the advice and tables have been redesigned to be compliant with the latest European and Irish legislation.
  • Physiological and Transcriptional Response to Drought Stress Among Bioenergy Grass Miscanthus Species

    Vega, Jose J. De; Teshome, Abel; Klaas, Manfred; Grant, Jim; Finnan, John; Barth, Susanne; European Union; FP7-KBBE-2011-5-289461; CLNE/2017/364 (Biomed Central, 2020-07-28)
    Background: Miscanthus is a commercial lignocellulosic biomass crop owing to its high biomass productivity, particularly in the temperate regions. This study was conducted to elucidate physiological and molecular responses of four Miscanthus species subjected to well-watered and droughted greenhouse conditions. Results: A signicant biomass loss was observed under drought conditions for all genotypes. A sterile M. x giganteus showed a lower reduction in biomass yield under drought conditions compared to the control than the other species. Under well-watered conditions, biomass yield was as good as or better than control conditions in all species tested. M. sinensis was more tolerant than M. sacchariorus to both water stress conditions. 4,389 of the 67,789 genes (6.4%) in the reference genome were differentially expressed among four Miscanthus species. Most of the genes were differentially expressed in a single species, but the enrichment analysis of gene ontology (GO) terms revealed that the same biological processes were regulated in all the species during stress conditions. Namely, upregulated differentially expressed genes were signicantly involved in sucrose and starch metabolism, redox, and water and glycerol homeostasis and channel activity. Multiple copies of starch metabolic enzymes BAM and waxy GBSS-I were strongly up-regulated in drought stress in all Miscanthus genotypes. Twelve aquaporins (PIP1, PIP2 and NIP2) were also up-regulated in drought stress across genotypes. On the other hand, downregulated differentially expressed genes were signicantly involved in protein kinase activity, cell receptor signalling and phosphorylation. Conclusions: Findings in the present study can assist in implementing molecular breeding approaches of drought resistant Miscanthus and its domestication.
  • The effect of Pulsed Electric Field as a pre-treatment step in Ultrasound Assisted Extraction of phenolic compounds from fresh rosemary and thyme by-products, Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies

    Tzima, Katerina; Brunton, Nigel P.; Lyng, James G.; Frontuto, Daniele; Rai, Dilip K.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2016038 (Elsevier, 2021-02-22)
    Emerging extraction techniques, including pulsed electric field (PEF) and ultrasound (US), are attracting considerable interest in the recovery of bioactives. Though, limited work has focused on PEF application as pre-treatment for US assisted extraction to enhance the release of phenolics from herbs. Hence, the present study investigated the use of an optimized PEF pre-treatment to enhance the recovery of phenolics from fresh rosemary and thyme by-products in a subsequent US assisted extraction step. Total phenolic content (TPC), 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) were assessed as an index of extraction efficacy. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses to evaluate the influence of the methods on individual phenolic compounds and the formation of potential derivatives. The results indicated that in a number of cases PEF pre-treatment enhanced (p < 0.05) the recovery of phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity compared to US individually.
  • Exploring the sensitivity of visual soil evaluation to traffic-induced soil compaction

    Emmet-Booth, J.P.; Holden, N.M.; Fenton, Owen; Bondi, G.; Forristal, P.D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13/S/468 (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
    Visual Soil Evaluation (VSE) techniques are useful for assessing the impact of land management, particularly the identification and remediation of soil compaction. Despite an increasing body of VSE research, comparatively few studies have explored the sensitivity of VSE for capturing experimentally imposed compaction to estimate sensitivity and limit of detection. The aim of this research was to examine the ability of VSE techniques to indicate soil structure at different soil profile depths and to measure the associated soil productive function (yield) response to imposed compaction. A two-year experiment was conducted on sites with loam and sandy soils. Varying levels of wheeled traffic were imposed on plots in a randomised block design, prior to sowing winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Quantitative crop and soil measurements were taken throughout the season in conjunction with VSE techniques, which assessed to 25 cm (VESS), 40 cm (Double Spade) and 80 cm (SubVESS) depth. Graduated changes were observed by soil and some crop quantitative measurements as traffic treatment varied. VESS and Double Spade successfully identified a graduated treatment effect at all sites to 40 cm depth, although diagnosis translated into a yield response for the loam but not the sandy soil. Correlation between VESS Sq scores and crop yield were found. SubVESS gave mixed signals and indicated impacts lower in the profile in certain instances. These impacts were not captured by quantitative soil measurements. This work highlights the capacity for VSE techniques to indicate soil structural damage, which may cause a crop yield response, therefore allowing appropriate soil management strategies to be deployed before yield penalties occur.
  • Genetic regulation of compost and plant degradation mechanisms in Agaricus bisporus

    Dunne, Keith; O' Donoghue, Martin-Timothy; Grogan, Helen; Heneghan, Mary; IT Sligo; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (2021-06-16)
    Agaricus bisporus (common button mushroom) is an economically significant mushroom with an annual global value in excess of $4.7 billion (Eastwood et al, 2015). When commercially grown, A. bisporus mushrooms are mostly picked from the first and second flush. This is due to the third flush resulting in reduced yields (Royse and Sanchez, 2008), which are also often more prone to disease. This occurs despite significant nutrients and nitrogen being available in the compost for A. bisporus to utilise. To further understand why this is occurring, microarray analysis was carried out on compost samples throughout a full commercial growth cycle, with the aim of identifying genes that may be responsible for this reduction in yield.
  • The arrival of a red invasive seaweed to a nutrient over-enriched estuary increases the spatial extent of macroalgal blooms

    Bermejo, Ricardo; MacMonagail, Michéal; Heesch, Svenja; Mendes, Ana; Edwards, Maeve; Fenton, Owen; Knöller, Kay; Daly, Eve; Morrison, Liam; Environmental Protection Agency; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-06)
    The red seaweed Agarophyton vermiculophyllum is an invasive species native to the north-west Pacific, which has proliferated in temperate estuaries of Europe, North America and Africa. Combining molecular identification tools, historical satellite imagery and one-year seasonal monitoring of biomass and environmental conditions, the presence of A. vermiculophyllum was confirmed, and the invasion was assessed and reconstructed. The analysis of satellite imagery identified the first bloom in 2014 and revealed that A. vermiculophyllum is capable of thriving in areas, where native bloom-forming species cannot, increasing the size of blooms (ca. 10%). The high biomass found during the peak bloom (>2 kg m−2) and the observation of anoxic events indicated deleterious effects. The monitoring of environmental conditions and biomass variability suggests an essential role of light, temperature and phosphorous in bloom development. The introduction of this species could be considered a threat for local biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a global change context.
  • Sward composition and soil moisture conditions affect nitrous oxide emissions and soil nitrogen dynamics following urea-nitrogen application

    Bracken, Conor J.; Lanigan, Gary J.; Richards, Karl G.; Müller, Christoph; Tracy, Saoirse R.; Grant, James; Krol, Dominika; Sheridan, Helen; Lynch, Mary Bridget; Grace, Cornelia; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-06)
    Increased emissions of N2O, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), from agricultural soils is a major concern for the sustainability of grassland agriculture. Emissions of N2O are closely associated with the rates and forms of N fertilisers applied as well as prevailing weather and soil conditions. Evidence suggests that multispecies swards require less fertiliser N input, and may cycle N differently, thus reducing N loss to the environment. This study used a restricted simplex-centroid experimental design to investigate N2O emissions and soil N cycling following application of urea-N (40 kg N ha−1) to eight experimental swards (7.8 m2) with differing proportions of three plant functional groups (grass, legume, herb) represented by perennial ryegrass (PRG, Lolium perenne), white clover (WC, Trifolium repens) and ribwort plantain (PLAN, Plantago lanceolata), respectively. Swards were maintained under two contrasting soil moisture conditions to examine the balance between nitrification and denitrification. Two N2O peaks coincided with fertiliser application and heavy rainfall events; 13.4 and 17.7 g N2O-N ha−1 day−1 (ambient soil moisture) and 39.8 and 86.9 g N2O-N ha−1 day−1 (wet soil moisture). Overall, cumulative N2O emissions post-fertiliser application were higher under wet soil conditions. Increasing legume (WC) proportions from 0% to 60% in multispecies swards resulted in model predicted N2O emissions increasing from 22.3 to 96.2 g N2O-N ha−1 (ambient soil conditions) and from 59.0 to 219.3 g N2O-N ha−1 (wet soil conditions), after a uniform N application rate. Soil N dynamics support denitrification as the dominant source of N2O especially under wet soil conditions. Significant interactions of PRG or WC with PLAN on soil mineral N concentrations indicated that multispecies swards containing PLAN potentially inhibit nitrification and could be a useful mitigation strategy for N loss to the environment from grassland agriculture.
  • Nitrogen fertilisers with urease inhibitors reduce nitrous oxide and ammonia losses, while retaining yield in temperate grassland

    Krol, Dominika; Forrestal, P. J.; Wall, David P.; Lanigan, G. J.; Sanz-Gomez, J.; Richards, K. G.; Irish Research Council; EPSPD/2016/54 (Elsevier, 2020-04-02)
    Nitrogen fertilisation, although a cornerstone of modern agricultural production, negatively impacts the environment through gaseous losses of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), and ammonia (NH3), a known air pollutant. The aim of this work was to assess the feasibility of urea treated with urease inhibitors to reduce gaseous N losses in temperate grassland, while maintaining or improving productivity compared to conventional fertiliser formulations. Urease inhibitors were N-(n-butyl)-thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) (urea + NBPT) and N-(n-propyl)-thiophosphoric triamide (NPPT) (urea+ NBPT + NPPT), while conventional fertilisers were urea and calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN). N2O emission factors were 0.06%, 0.07%, 0.09% and 0.58% from urea + NBPT, urea, urea + NBPT + NPPT and CAN, respectively, with CAN significantly higher than all the urea formulations, which were not significantly different from each other. Ammonia loss measured over one fertiliser application was significantly larger from urea, at 43%, compared with other formulations at 13.9%, 13.8% and 5.2% from urea + NBPT, urea + NBPT + NPPT and CAN, respectively. Changing fertiliser formulation had no significant impact on grass yield or N uptake in four out of five harvests. In the last harvest urea + NBPT significantly out-yielded urea, but not CAN or urea + NBPT + NPPT. Overall, urea treated with either one or both urease inhibitors significantly reduced emissions of N2O and NH3, while preserving yield quantity and quality. Therefore, changing fertiliser formulation to these products should be encouraged as a strategy to reduce GHG and air pollution from agricultural practices in temperate climate.
  • Proteomic investigation of interhyphal interactions between strains of Agaricus bisporus

    O’Connor, Eoin; Owens, Rebecca A.; Doyle, Sean; Amini, Aniça; Grogan, Helen; Fitzpatrick, David; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; 10564231; SFI 12/RI/2346(3) (Elsevier BV, 2020-06)
    Hyphae of filamentous fungi undergo polar extension, bifurcation and hyphal fusion to form reticulating networks of mycelia. Hyphal fusion or anastomosis, a ubiquitous process among filamentous fungi, is a vital strategy for how fungi expand over their substrate and interact with or recognise self- and non-self hyphae of neighbouring mycelia in their environment. Morphological and genetic characterisation of anastomosis has been studied in many model fungal species, but little is known of the direct proteomic response of two interacting fungal isolates. Agaricus bisporus, the most widely cultivated edible mushroom crop worldwide, was used as an in vitro model to profile the proteomes of interacting cultures. The globally cultivated strain (A15) was paired with two distinct strains; a commercial hybrid strain and a wild isolate strain. Each co-culture presented a different interaction ranging from complete vegetative compatibility (self), lack of interactions, and antagonistic interactions. These incompatible strains are the focus of research into disease-resistance in commercial crops as the spread of intracellular pathogens, namely mycoviruses, is limited by the lack of interhyphal anastomosis. Unique proteomic responses were detected between all co-cultures. An array of cell wall modifying enzymes, plus fungal growth and morphogenesis proteins were found in significantly (P < 0.05) altered abundances. Nitrogen metabolism dominated in the intracellular proteome, with evidence of nitrogen starvation between competing, non-compatible cultures. Changes in key enzymes of A. bisporus morphogenesis were observed, particularly via increased abundance of glucanosyltransferase in competing interactions and certain chitinases in vegetative compatible interactions only. Carbohydrate-active enzyme arsenals are expanded in antagonistic interactions in A. bisporus. Pathways involved in carbohydrate metabolism and genetic information processing were higher in interacting cultures, most notably during self-recognition. New insights into the differential response of interacting strains of A. bisporus will enhance our understanding of potential barriers to viral transmission through vegetative incompatibility. Our results suggest that a differential proteomic response occurs between A. bisporus at strain-level and findings from this work may guide future proteomic investigation of fungal anastomosis.
  • Exploring Climate‐Smart Land Management for Atlantic Europe

    Schulte, Rogier P. O.; O'Sullivan, Lilian; Coyle, Cait; Farrelly, Niall; Gutzler, Carsten; Lanigan, Gary; Torres‐Sallan, Gemma; Creamer, Rachel E.; Dairy Research Trust; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Wiley, 2016-09)
    Core Ideas Managing soil organic carbon is an essential aspect of climate‐smart agriculture. Combining component research, we derive a soil carbon management concept for Ireland. Optimized soil carbon management is differentiated in accordance with soil type. Existing policy tools can be tailored to incentivize climate‐smart land management. Soils can be a sink or source of carbon, and managing soil carbon has significant potential to partially offset agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. While European Union (EU) member states have not been permitted to account for this offsetting potential in their efforts to meet the EU 2020 reduction targets, this policy is now changing for the period 2020 to 2030, creating a demand for land management plans aimed at maximizing the offsetting potential of land. In this letter, we derive a framework for climate‐smart land management in the Atlantic climate zone of the EU by combining the results from five component research studies on various aspects of the carbon cycle. We show that the options for proactive management of soil organic carbon differ according to soil type and that a spatially tailored approach to land management will be more effective than blanket policies.
  • Combining transcriptomics and genetic linkage based information to identify candidate genes associated with Heterobasidion-resistance in Norway spruce

    Chaudhary, Rajiv; Lundén, Karl; Dalman, Kerstin; Dubey, Mukesh; Nemesio Gorriz, Miguel; Karlsson, Bo; Stenlid, Jan; Elfstrand, Malin; Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning; 2012-1276; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-07-29)
    The Heterobasidion annosum s.l species complex comprises the most damaging forest pathogens to Norway spruce. We revisited previously identified Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) related to Heterobasidion-resistance in Norway spruce to identify candidate genes associated with these QTLs. We identified 329 candidate genes associated with the resistance QTLs using a gene-based composite map for Pinaceae. To evaluate the transcriptional responses of these candidate genes to H. parviporum, we inoculated Norway spruce plants and sequenced the transcriptome of the interaction at 3 and 7 days post inoculation. Out of 298 expressed candidate genes 124 were differentially expressed between inoculation and wounding control treatment. Interestingly, PaNAC04 and two of its paralogs in the subgroup III-3 of the NAC family transcription factors were found to be associated with one of the QTLs and was also highly induced in response to H. parviporum. These genes are possibly involved in the regulation of biosynthesis of flavonoid compounds. Furthermore, several of the differentially expressed candidate genes were associated with the phenylpropanoid pathway including a phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, a cinnamoyl-CoA reductase, a caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase and a PgMYB11-like transcription factor gene. Combining transcriptome and genetic linkage analyses can help identifying candidate genes for functional studies and molecular breeding in non-model species.
  • The elusive role of soil quality in nutrient cycling: a review

    Schröder, J. J.; Schulte, R. P. O.; Creamer, R. E.; Delgado, A.; Leeuwen, J.; Lehtinen, T.; Rutgers, M.; Spiegel, H.; Staes, J.; Tóth, G.; et al. (Wiley, 2016-09-16)
    Cycling of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, is one of the ecosystem services we expect agricultural soils to deliver. Nutrient cycling incorporates the reuse of agricultural, industrial and municipal organic residues that, misleadingly, are often referred to as ‘wastes’. The present review disentangles the processes underlying the cycling of nutrients to better understand which soil properties determine the performance of that function. Four processes are identified (i) the capacity to receive nutrients, (ii) the capacity to make and keep nutrients available to crops, (iii) the capacity to support the uptake of nutrients by crops and (iv) the capacity to support their successful removal in harvested crop. Soil properties matter but it is imperative that, as constituents of ‘soil quality’, they should be evaluated in the context of management options and climate and not as ends in their own right. The effect of a soil property may vary depending on the prevailing climatic and hydrologic conditions and on other soil properties. We recognize that individual soil properties may be enhancing one of the processes underlying the cycling of nutrients but simultaneously weakening others. Competing demands on soil properties are even more obvious when considering other soil functions such as primary production, purification and flow regulation of water, climate modification and habitat provision, as shown by examples. Consequently, evaluations of soil properties and management actions need to be site-specific, taking account of local aspects of their suitability and potential challenges.
  • Data and code: Beneficial effects of multi-species mixtures on N2O emissions from intensively managed grassland swards

    Cummins, Saoirse; Finn, John; Richards, Karl; Lanigan, Gary; Grange, Guylain; Brophy, Caroline; Cardenas, Laura M.; Misselbrook, Tom H.; Reynolds, Chris K.; Krol, Dominika; et al. (2021)
    We provide the data and statistical code that produced the results presented in Cummins et al. (2021). Three files are available to download: - The data file ‘Cummins_etal_2021_N2O.csv’: contains the annual N2O emissions and N2O emissions intensities (see Readme file for details) measured from sown grassland comprising one to six species within one to three functional groups (grass, legume and herb). - An accompanying readme file ‘Readme_Cummins_etal_2021_N2O.txt’: this contains the metadata for the data in ‘Cummins_etal_2021_N2O.csv’. - Statistical code (SAS software) ‘’: SAS code to repeat the analyses as in the final models of the published paper.

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