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Rafal Baranski, Magdalena Klimek-Chodacka and Aneta Lukasiewicz

Abstract

In this review, we present genetically modified (GM) horticultural events that have passed the regulatory process and have been approved for cultivation or food use in different countries. The first authorization or deregulation of a GM horticultural plant issued 25 years ago initiated a fast expansion of GM organisms (GMO) engineered by using gene transfer technology. The list of GM horticultural species comprises representatives of vegetables, fruit plants and ornamentals. We describe their unique characteristics, often not achievable by conventional breeding, and how they were developed, and the approval process. Information on the adoption of GM horticultural cultivars and sale is accessed if commercialization has occurred. The review comprises, among others, Flavr SavrTM and other tomato cultivars with delayed ripening and improved shelf-life, insect-resistant eggplant (or brinjal), as well as virus-resistant squash, melon and the common bean, and also fruit trees, plum and papaya. Cultivation of the latter was particularly valuable to farmers in Hawaii as it ensured restoration of papaya production devastated earlier by the Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV). In contrast, a plum resistant to sharka (Plum pox virus; PPV) deregulated in the USA is still awaiting commercialization. GM events with improved quality include the recently marketed non-browning apple and high-lycopene pineapple. We also present orange petunia, blue ‘Applause’ rose and Moon-series carnations with a modified purple and violet flower colour. Finally, we discuss prospects of GM horticultural plants, including their development using promising new breeding technologies relying on genome editing and considered as an alternative to the transgenic approach.

Open access

Bozena Mrowiec

Abstract

Plastics are used in a great number of applications; therefore, the production of the sector intensively increases. It is estimated that in future, the production of plastics can double by 2035 and almost quadruple by 2050. Still globally, most of the plastic waste is landfilled. Only 9% of plastic waste generated between 1950 and 2015 was recycled. New strategy of European Commission proposes actions designed to make the vision for a more circular plastics economy a reality. The circular economy represents an alternative, more sustainable model to the traditional linear economy. EC has approved new recycling targets for plastics to a minimum of 50% by the end of 2025 and to a minimum of 55% by the end of 2030. Changes that will be introduced in design and production of plastics will contribute to increasing their recycling rates for all key applications. The new strategy will help achieve the priority set by the UE for an energy union with a modern, low-carbon and energy-efficient economy and will make a tangible contribution to reaching the 2030 sustainable development goals.

Open access

Aleksandra Czajkowska

Abstract

This article shows the methods and techniques that are used for cleaning exhaust fumes from dust–gas particles. The pollutants come from a complicated electricity production process in a thermal power station, whose main fuel is a hard coal or a brown coal. In the recent years, using purification installations has been the result of changing regulations in the field of environmental protection and increasing public awareness. The methods are aimed to reduce nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and dust emissions to the environment, not exceeding the emission limit values for individual chemical compounds.

Open access

Katarzyna Szyszko-Podgórska, Marek Kondras, Izabel Dymitryszyn, Anita Matracka, Mirosław Cimoch and Ewa Żyfka-Zagrodzińska

Abstract

Macrofauna plays a very important role in the functioning of the natural environment. It plays an important role in the decomposition of organic matter by mixing and crushing organic matter in soil. Invertebrate faeces influence the development of microorganisms and their dead bodies stimulate mineralization in the soil. They also influence the humification processes. The aim of the study was to determine the influence of macrofauna and litter distribution and the accumulation of organic carbon in soil. The study showed a significant influence of this thick animal on the processes taking place in the soil. Significant correlations were observed between the organic carbon content in the litter and the organic carbon content in the soil, macrofauna activity with litter decomposition and its influence on the organic carbon accumulation.

Open access

Katarzyna Maj-Zajezierska and Piotr Koszelnik

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to determine the level of contamination of the bottom sediments in the Rzeszow reservoir by the selected heavy metals Pb, Cd and Zn, and to identify the potential environmental risks of heavy metals content basing on available assessments and classification of bottom sediments. The Rzeszow reservoir is situated on the Wisłok River in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, southeaster Poland, was constructed on 1974. Nowadays, as a result of silting, the reservoir reduced its surface and depth, which does not have a positive effect on the assumed functions it is to perform. The study was conducted in 2016. The samples of sediment were collected in five locations. Samples were taken twice: in June and in October. The following concentrations have been determined: cadmium - 0.01 ÷ 0.92 mg•kg–1, zinc - 54.39 ÷ 128 mg•kg–1, lead - 2.98 ÷ 25.42 mg•kg–1. The decline trend in the sediment is following: Zn > Pb > Cd. For the assessment of sediment contamination, following methods: aquatic sediment quality classification used by the Polish Geological Institute - I class, Regulation of the Minister of Environment of April 16 2002 on the types and concentrations of substances contaminating the excavated material – unpolluted and LAW sediment classification – Pb - I/I-II, Cd - I/I-II/II and Zn - I/I-II. The obtained results were compared with the results obtained by the other authors in earlier years, which led to the estimated changes in the concentration of the tested metals.

Open access

Paweł Konieczyński, Jan Moszczyński and Marek Wesołowski

Abstract

The aim of the investigation was to assess the utility of spruce needles as a potential material to be used for monitoring the contamination level of the environment of Tricity agglomeration (represented by Gdansk and Gdynia). This aim was realized by determining the levels of selected essential elements indispensable for the life of living organisms, such as Fe, Zn, Mn and Cu, as well as toxic, namely Cd and Pb, in spruce needles collected in the locations in Gdynia and for comparison, in Gdańsk. Due to this, the collected samples of needles were dried, and next digested by microwave technique in order to prepare them for quantitative analysis by atomic absorption spectrometry. Moreover, the same metallic elements were determined in the soil samples collected under the spruces, from which needles were taken for the investigation. The concentrations of the studied elements were found in the range of mg/kg of dry mass in the following order: Fe, Mn, Zn, Pb, Cu and Cd (needles), and Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd (soils). By application of statistical methods (correlation, variance and principal component analyses), the differences in the elemental composition of spruce needles were identified, as well as sources of this differentiation.

Open access

Himangshu Dutta

Abstract

Global warming, light pollution and noise are common human-induced environmental problems that are escalating at a high rate. Their consequences on wildlife have mostly been overlooked, with the exception of a few species with respect to climate change. The problems often occur simultaneously and exert their negative effects together at the same time. In other words, their impacts are combined. Studies have never focused on more than one problem, and so, such combined effects have never been understood properly. The review addresses this lacuna in the case of amphibians, which are a highly vulnerable group. It divides the overall impacts of the problems into seven categories (behaviour, health, movement, distribution, phenology, development and reproductive success) and then assesses their combined impact through statistical analyses. It revealed that amphibian calling is the most vulnerable aspect to the combined impacts. This could provide important input for conservation of amphibians.

Open access

N. Yu. Rubtsova and R. A. Heckmann

Summary

New morphometric data, including details of the copulatory system and attachment structures, as well as inner organs are provided for Ancyrocephalus paradoxus Creplin, 1839. Scanning electron microscopy reveals new information of the body shape, position of the cephalic organs’ openings, and structure of anchors, as well as differences in the in anchors’ structure in adults and sub-adults of A. paradoxus. Energy dispersive analysis for X-ray was conducted for the first time for anchors in Monogenea and revealed structural differences between different parts of the anchors in two age groups.

Open access

D. Nugaraitė, V. Mažeika and A. Paulauskas

Summary

This study presents the helminthological data on three mustelid species with overlapping ecological niches in Lithuania. In general, 14 helminth species or higher taxa were reported from all mustelids: Isthmiophora melis, Strigea strigis metacercariae, Pseudamphistomum truncatum, Alaria alata mesocercariae, Phyllodistomum folium, Opisthorchis felineus, Metametorchis skrjabini, Mesocestoides sp., Taenia martis, Aonchotheca putorii, Crenosoma schachmatovae, Eucoleus aerophilus, Molineus patens, and Nematoda g. sp. The largest number of helminths was detected in M. putorius (11) and N. vison (10) from wetlands; 7 helminths were detected in M. putorius from forests, and 8 in N. vison and 4 in L. lutra from water bodies. Habitat-related differences were found in the abundance and prevalence of E. aerophilus in M. putorius. M. putorius has higher indices of infection by I. melis, S. strigis metacercariae, and E. aerophilus compared to N. vison in wetlands. Differences in the abundance and prevalence of P. truncatum among N. vison and L. lutra in water bodies have been observed. Helminths detected in N. vison in the present study are native European parasites.