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Open access

Zahra Basati, Mansour Rasekh and Yousef Abbaspour-Gilandeh

Abstract

Wheat is one of the most important strategic crops in Iran and in the world. The major component that distinguishes wheat from other grains is the gluten section. In Iran, sunn pest is one of the most important factors influencing the characteristics of wheat gluten and in removing it from a balanced state. The existence of bug-damaged grains in wheat will reduce the quality and price of the product. In addition, damaged grains reduce the enrichment of wheat and the quality of bread products. In this study, after preprocessing and segmentation of images, 25 features including 9 colour features, 10 morphological features, and 6 textual statistical features were extracted so as to classify healthy and bug-damaged wheat grains of Azar cultivar of four levels of moisture content (9, 11.5, 14 and 16.5% w.b.) and two lighting colours (yellow light, the composition of yellow and white lights). Using feature selection methods in the WEKA software and the CfsSubsetEval evaluator, 11 features were chosen as inputs of artificial neural network, decision tree and discriment analysis classifiers. The results showed that the decision tree with the J.48 algorithm had the highest classification accuracy of 90.20%. This was followed by artificial neural network classifier with the topology of 11-19-2 and discrimient analysis classifier at 87.46 and 81.81%, respectively

Open access

Eloisa Di Sipio and David Bertermann

Abstract

In engineering, agricultural and meteorological project design, sediment thermal properties are highly important parameters, and thermal conductivity plays a fundamental role when dimensioning ground heat exchangers, especially in very shallow geothermal systems. Herein, the first 2 m of depth from surface is of critical importance. However, the heat transfer determination in unconsolidated material is difficult to estimate, as it depends on several factors, including particle size, bulk density, water content, mineralogy composition and ground temperature. The performance of a very shallow geothermal system, as a horizontal collector or heat basket, is strongly correlated to the type of sediment at disposal and rapidly decreases in the case of dry-unsaturated conditions. The available experimental data are often scattered, incomplete and do not fully support thermo-active ground structure modeling. The ITER project, funded by the European Union, contributes to a better knowledge of the relationship between thermal conductivity and water content, required for understanding the very shallow geothermal systems behaviour in saturated and unsaturated conditions. So as to enhance the performance of horizontal geothermal heat exchangers, thermally enhanced backfilling material were tested in the laboratory, and an overview of physical-thermal properties variations under several moisture and load conditions for different mixtures of natural material was here presented.

Open access

Maria Isabella Sifola, Linda Carrino, Eugenio Cozzolino, Sara Ianuario, Andrea Lucibelli and Adele Coppola

Summary

Nitrogen (N) fertilization of Kentucky dark fire-cured tobacco can be used to increase weight of high quality cured leaves for cigar manufacture. We conducted field experiments at 11 different locations in the province of Benevento (Southern Italy) where the following four N treatments were compared: 1) unfertilized control (N0); 2) a site-specific N rate, calculated by a N fertilization plan (NFP) based on physical and chemical soil characteristics, which ranged between 113 and 145 kg N ha−1; 3) 200 kg N ha−1 (rate commonly used by farmers, N200); 4) 100 kg N ha−1 (half of the rate commonly used by farmers, N100). Yields of the following five commercial quality categories of cured leaves were measured: i) wrappers, ii) heavy filler (Fh), iii) light filler (Fl), iv) heavy shredded (Sh) and v) light shredded (Sl). Fh cured products of B1, B4, B6 and B10 locations were analyzed for: total alkaloids, reducing sugars, chlorides, total N (Kjeldahl), ammonium-N (NH4-N), nitrate-N (NO3-N), and tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNA). Color parameters: Lightness (L), Chroma (C) and Hue (H) were determined on five cured leaves / plot of both Fh and Fl types at B1, B2, B3, B6, B8 and B10. A blind evaluation of cured leaves collected across locations was conducted by a panel test who considered the main basic characteristics of cured leaves (stalk position, leaf structure, texture, etc.). The total yield of cured products increased with fertilization across locations, up to NFP treatment, without any statistically significant increase at N200 treatment. Fertilization increased yield of wrappers at B1 up to NFP treatment (113.5 kg N ha−1), without any significant increase at N200 treatment. Yield of light filler product was positively influenced by fertilization up to the maximum dose only in 5 out of 11 locations. Total alkaloids significantly increased with increasing fertilization up to 100 kg N ha−1 without any significant changes at higher N rate. Fertilization hardly increased L and C of Fl leaves, which appeared light-brown but brilliant-colored. There was a reduction in the H value of Fh products which indicated a darker tone of those leaves with respect to Fl. Increasing N rate affected production costs more than revenues. According to agronomic results, in most locations the best results in terms of net revenues were obtained by NFP treatment. Considering that N rates above the NFP would disqualify growers from the economic aids provided by EU agrienvironmental measures, by economic point of view the NFP treatment would be recommended over the current grower standard (N200).

Open access

Siemowit Muszyński, Agnieszka Sujak, Andrzej Stępniewski, Krzysztof Kornarzyński, Marta Ejtel, Natalia Kowal, Agnieszka Tomczyk-Warunek, Emil Szcześniak, Marta Tomczyńska-Mleko and Stanisław Mleko

Abstract

This work presents a study on the surface tension, density and wetting behaviour of distilled glycerol, technical grade glycerol and the matter organic non-glycerin fraction. The research was conducted to expand the knowledge about the physical properties of wastes from the rapeseed oil biofuel production. The results show that the densities of technical grade glycerol (1.300 g cm-3) and distilled glycerol (1.267 g cm-3) did not differ and were significantly lower than the density of the matter organic non-glycerin fraction (1.579 g cm-3). Furthermore, the surface tension of distilled glycerol (49.6 mN m-1) was significantly higher than the matter organic non-glycerin fraction (32.7 mN m-1) and technical grade glycerol (29.5 mN m-1). As a result, both technical grade glycerol and the matter organic non-glycerin fraction had lower contact angles than distilled glycerol. The examined physical properties of distilled glycerol were found to be very close to that of the commercially available pure glycerol. The results suggest that technical grade glycerol may have potential application in the production of glycerol/fuel blends or biosurfactants. The presented results indicate that surface tension measurements are more useful when examining the quality of biofuel wastes than is density determination, as they allow for a more accurate analysis of the effects of impurities on the physical properties of the biofuel by-products.

Open access

Marcin Stróżecki, Hanna Silvennoinen, Paweł Strzeliński and Bogdan Heronim Chojnicki

Abstract

It is important to quantify carbon decomposition to assess the reforestation impact on the forest floor C stocks. Estimating the loss of C stock in a short-term perspective requires measuring changes in soil respiration. This is not trivial due to the contribution of both soil microbes and vegetation to the measured CO2 flux. However, C stable isotopes can be used to partition the respiration and potentially to assess how much of the recalcitrant C stock in the forest floor is lost. Here, we measured the soil respiration at two forest sites where different regeneration methods were applied, along with an intact forest soil for reference. In so doing, we used a closed dynamic chamber for measuring respiration and the 13C composition of the emitted CO2. The chamber measurements were then supplemented with the soil organic carbon analysis and its δ13C content. The mean δ13C-CO2 estimates for the source of the CO2 were -26.4, -27.9 and -29.5‰, for the forest, unploughed and ploughed, respectively. The 13C of the soil organic carbon did, not differ significantly between sites. The higher soil respiration rate at the forest, as compared to the unploughed site, could be attributed to the autotrophic respiration by the forest floor vegetation.

Open access

Redmond Ramin Shamshiri, James W. Jones, Kelly R. Thorp, Desa Ahmad, Hasfalina Che Man and Sima Taheri

Abstract

Greenhouse technology is a flexible solution for sustainable year-round cultivation of Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill), particularly in regions with adverse climate conditions or limited land and resources. Accurate knowledge about plant requirements at different growth stages, and under various light conditions, can contribute to the design of adaptive control strategies for a more cost-effective and competitive production. In this context, different scientific publications have recommended different values of microclimate parameters at different tomato growth stages. This paper provides a detailed summary of optimal, marginal and failure air and root-zone temperatures, relative humidity and vapour pressure deficit for successful greenhouse cultivation of tomato. Graphical representations of the membership function model to define the optimality degrees of these three parameters are included with a view to determining how close the greenhouse microclimate is to the optimal condition. Several production constraints have also been discussed to highlight the short and long-term effects of adverse microclimate conditions on the quality and yield of tomato, which are associated with interactions between suboptimal parameters, greenhouse environment and growth responses.

Open access

Beata Biernacka, Dariusz Dziki, Renata Różyło, Monika Wójcik, Antoni Miś, Daria Romankiewicz and Zbigniew Krzysiak

Abstract

The quality of pasta can be evaluated by measuring the characteristics which encompass the most important quality parameters, such as colour, cooking properties and texture. The aim of the study was to suggest new indices which can be used to evaluate the quality of pasta. For the tests, 15 samples of spaghetti (produced from either semolina or common wheat flour) were used. The bending test was performed for the determination of the strength properties of raw pasta, while the pasta colour parameters were evaluated via the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage system. The pasta cooking test included the evaluation of optimum cooking time, weight increase index and cooking loss. The samples of cooked spaghetti were cut, and the parameters describing pasta texture were determined. Statistical analysis showed significant correlations (α = 0.05) between colour parameters (lightness and redness) and pasta ash content (R = -0.90 and 0.84, respectively). The mechanical properties of raw pasta correlated positively with pasta density. The strongest correlation was found between pasta density and flexural strength. The destruction force for raw spaghetti during the bending test correlated significantly and positively with the cutting force of the cooked pasta. The obtained correlations can be helpful in pasta quality evaluation.

Open access

Hanna Kowalska, Agata Marzec, Jolanta Kowalska, Agnieszka Ciurzyńska, Kinga Samborska, Michał Bialik and Andrzej Lenart

Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the impact of osmotic pre-dehydration and drying of fruit on the rehydration properties of dried fruit. Herein, the effect of fruit juice, applied as a natural enriching substance was very important. In addition, the properties of dried fruits obtained through combined air-drying and subsequent microwave-vacuum drying with ‘puffing’ effect were similar to the freeze-dried fruits, but showed other rehydration properties. As raw material, frozen strawberry (Honeoye variety) and fresh apples (Idared variety) were used in the study. The apples and partially defrosted strawberries were prior dehydrated in solutions of sucrose and a mixture of sucrose with chokeberry juice concentrate at 50°C for 2 h. Next, the fruit samples were dried by one of two ways: air-drying (50°C, 5 h) and microwavevacuum drying for about 360 s; and freeze-drying (30°C, 63 Pa, 24 h). The rehydration was carried out in distilled water (20°C, 5 h). The osmotic pre-dehydration hindered fruit drying process. The impact of drying method became particularly evident while examining the kinetics of rehydration. During the rehydration of the pre-dehydrated dried fruit a slower hydration could be observed. Freeze-dried strawberries absorbed 2-3 times more water than those dried by the ‘puffing’ effect.

Open access

Krzysztof Piotrowski and Zdzisława Romanowska-Duda

Abstract

The aim of this research was to evaluate the physiological activity and growth of willow (Salix viminalis L.) plants cultivated under the conditions of adverse temperature and soil moisture content, and to assess the effect of the foliar application of Biojodis (1.0%) and Asahi SL (0.03%) bio-stimulators, or a mixture of Microcistis aeruginosa MKR 0105 and Anabaena PCC 7120 cyanobacteria under such changing growth conditions. The obtained results showed different reactions to the applied constant or periodically changed temperature and soil moisture content. The plants which grew at periodically changed adverse temperature (from -5 to 40oC) or in scantily (20% m.c.) or excessively (60% m.c.) watered soils, grew slowly, in comparison with those growing at 20oC and in optimally moistened soil (30% m.c.). Foliar application of Biojodis and Asahi SL cyanobacteria increased the growth of willow at optimal and adverse temperature or in scantily and excessively moistened soil. The changes in plant growth were associated with the changes in electrolyte leakage, activity of acid or alkaline phosphatases, RNase, index of chlorophyll content in leaves and gas exchange. The above indicates that the foliar application of the studied cyanobacteria and bio-stimulators partly alleviates the harmful impact of adverse temperature and water stress on growth and physiological activity of willow plants

Open access

Linyu Gao, Yi Zhang, Liu Hong, Bingyang Xu, Yaoshuo Sang, Zhengyu Xu, Mingjian Zhang, Songjin Zheng, Xue Yun, Wenqi Li, Xiaoling Tang and Bin Li

Summary

In order to investigate the main factors behind hot coal fallout during cigarette smoking, an in-use behavior survey among smokers was conducted in three locations (Guiyang, Shijiazhuang and Nanchang) in China. In addition, a measuring device was designed to record whether a flicking or tapping force was exerted to remove ash and to record the force applied as well as their characteristic parameters. We found that there was no significant difference among the behavior characteristic parameters of the users in the three locations. The proportion of consumers who applied flicking was higher than the proportion of consumers tapping. There were some differences in the in-use behavior when smoking King Size and Superslim cigarettes. The work could help to develop a suitable hot coal fallout test method.