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Hydrogen sulfide greatly enhances plant growth: Key ingredient in mass extinctions could boost food, biofuel production

TGF-FruitImageApr. 17, 2013 — Hydrogen sulfide, the pungent stuff often referred to as sewer gas, is a deadly substance implicated in several mass extinctions, including one at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago that wiped out more than three-quarters of all species on Earth.

But in low doses, hydrogen sulfide could greatly enhance plant growth, leading to a sharp increase in global food supplies and plentiful stock for biofuel production, new University of Washington research shows.

“We found some very interesting things, including that at the very lowest levels plant health improves. But that’s not what we were looking for,” said Frederick Dooley, a UW doctoral student in biology who led the research.

Dooley started off to examine the toxic effects of hydrogen sulfide on plants but mistakenly used only one-tenth the amount of the toxin he had intended. The results were so unbelievable that he repeated the experiment. Still unconvinced, he repeated it again — and again, and again. In fact, the results have been replicated so often that they are now “a near certainty,” he said.

“Everything else that’s ever been done on plants was looking at hydrogen sulfide in high concentrations,” he said.

The research is published online April 17 in PLOS ONE, a Public Library of Science journal.

At high concentrations — levels of 30 to 100 parts per million in water — hydrogen sulfide can be lethal to humans. At one part per million it emits a telltale rotten-egg smell. Dooley used a concentration of 1 part per billion or less to water seeds of peas, beans and wheat on a weekly basis. Treating the seeds less often reduced the effect, and watering more often typically killed them.

With wheat, all the seeds germinated in one to two days instead of four or five, and with peas and beans the typical 40 percent rate of germination rose to 60 to 70 percent.

“They germinate faster and they produce roots and leaves faster. Basically what we’ve done is accelerate the entire plant process,” he said.

Crop yields nearly doubled, said Peter Ward, Dooley’s doctoral adviser, a UW professor of biology and of Earth and space sciences and an authority on Earth’s mass extinctions.

Hydrogen sulfide, probably produced when sulfates in the oceans were decomposed by sulfur bacteria, is believed to have played a significant role in several extinction events, in particular the “Great Dying” at the end of the Permian period. Ward suggests that the rapid plant growth could be the result of genetic signaling passed down in the wake of mass extinctions.

At high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide killed small plants very easily while larger plants had a better chance at survival, he said, so it is likely that plants carry a defense mechanism that spurs their growth when they sense hydrogen sulfide.

“Mass extinctions kill a lot of stuff, but here’s a legacy that promotes life,” Ward said.

Dooley recently has applied hydrogen sulfide treatment to corn, carrots and soybeans with results that appear to be similar to earlier tests. But it is likely to be some time before he, and the general public, are comfortable with the level of testing to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences of treating food crops with hydrogen sulfide.

The most significant near-term promise, he believes, is in growing algae and other stock for biofuels. Plant lipids are the key to biofuel production, and preliminary tests show that the composition of lipids in hydrogen sulfide-treated plants is the same as in untreated plants, he said.

When plants grow to larger-than-normal size, they typically do not produce more cells but rather elongate their existing cells, Dooley said. However, in the treatment with hydrogen sulfide, he found that the cells actually got smaller and there were vastly more of them. That means the plants contain significantly more biomass for fuel production, he said.

“If you look at a slide of the cells under a microscope, anyone can understand it. It is that big of a difference,” he said.

Ward and Suven Nair, a UW biology undergraduate, are coauthors of the PLOS ONE paper. The work was funded by the UW Astrobiology Program.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Vince Stricherz.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frederick D. Dooley, Suven P. Nair, Peter D. Ward. Increased Growth and Germination Success in Plants following Hydrogen Sulfide Administration. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (4): e62048 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062048

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Health & wellness categories will experience unprecedented growth in 2015

Customers walking through your doors are looking for solutions whether they know it or not. They might be wanting to feed their family healthier options. Some may want to feel better, to have more energy, to improve their performance in their day to day life, to boost their sports performance, and last but not least, to age youthfully. Most of them are tired, stressed out and short on time. Plus, given that our country is in an unprecedented healthcare crisis with diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity on the rise, most of them might be battling an illness…or two as well.

The already “health and wellness enlightened” will only want to continue making healthy choices. How can we make it easier for them to do so? And, everyone is looking to accomplish all of the above on a budget. The bottom line is, we can help.

Opportunity knocks

We have a huge opportunity to impact our customers’ lives for the better in the coming year. Health can be positively impacted with lifestyle change, and with our current health crises, we can all rise to the occasion and be part of the solution for our customers, our children, our country. Together, let’s fuel the solution.

Get real

Stock up on organics and non-GMO whole foods and products. Consumers will be looking for ingredients they recognize and can pronounce while shopping for food. These consumers also want to see the words “real,” “100% real,” “fresh,” “made from scratch” and “natural.” Products made with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors/preservatives, MSG, artificial colors, and growth hormones are not part of a health and wellness solution. It would be beneficial, in the long run, to support companies that support our nation’s health.

Sip on this

The demand for functional and vitality beverages is on the rise. Make sure to have plenty of those beverages to choose from like cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, pressure pasteurized young coconut waters, kombuchas and kefirs. These products contain enzymes, antioxidants and probiotics that are good for you. And, yes — they taste good too. A functional and vitality beverage cooler near the checkout is a great idea.

Fit to eat

A nice assortment of organic grass fed lean meats, plant-based proteins and high-quality protein powders are a must as consumers continue to look for healthy options to build lean muscle and recover from resistance training. Plus, vegetarian and vegan shoppers are always on the lookout for non-animal protein sources that will help them meet their daily requirements for protein in a healthful, ethical and environmentally friendly way.

Food for thought

These are just a few ideas to chew on, and make sure to be on top of your game with nutritional supplementation, super foods and specialty grains as well. Visit the health and wellness trade shows like Expo West to stay on top of these trends. And, make sure to bring a person or two who actually eats and drinks these items, so they can provide firsthand, real world insights for you and your team.

How can we make it easy for customers to shop healthier? How can we band together, buy in quantity, and work with manufacturers to keep prices affordable? Anything is possible.

Beyond 2015

Education on all of the above should be a constant drip. Little nuggets of beneficial information delivered consistently over time to inspire and empower your customer toward health and wellness. Gentle reminders in the right direction will strengthen that customer’s trust in your brand and seal the bond of your relationship. That’s how you win a lifestyle customer, not just for a year, but for a lifetime.

There is always room for improvement. How are you going to resolve to evolve your health and wellness business and capture this market growth in 2015?

Supermarket News

Health & wellness categories will experience unprecedented growth in 2015

Customers walking through your doors are looking for solutions whether they know it or not. They might be wanting to feed their family healthier options. Some may want to feel better, to have more energy, to improve their performance in their day to day life, to boost their sports performance, and last but not least, to age youthfully. Most of them are tired, stressed out and short on time. Plus, given that our country is in an unprecedented healthcare crisis with diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity on the rise, most of them might be battling an illness…or two as well.

The already “health and wellness enlightened” will only want to continue making healthy choices. How can we make it easier for them to do so? And, everyone is looking to accomplish all of the above on a budget. The bottom line is, we can help.

Opportunity knocks

We have a huge opportunity to impact our customers’ lives for the better in the coming year. Health can be positively impacted with lifestyle change, and with our current health crises, we can all rise to the occasion and be part of the solution for our customers, our children, our country. Together, let’s fuel the solution.

Get real

Stock up on organics and non-GMO whole foods and products. Consumers will be looking for ingredients they recognize and can pronounce while shopping for food. These consumers also want to see the words “real,” “100% real,” “fresh,” “made from scratch” and “natural.” Products made with high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors/preservatives, MSG, artificial colors, and growth hormones are not part of a health and wellness solution. It would be beneficial, in the long run, to support companies that support our nation’s health.

Sip on this

The demand for functional and vitality beverages is on the rise. Make sure to have plenty of those beverages to choose from like cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, pressure pasteurized young coconut waters, kombuchas and kefirs. These products contain enzymes, antioxidants and probiotics that are good for you. And, yes — they taste good too. A functional and vitality beverage cooler near the checkout is a great idea.

Fit to eat

A nice assortment of organic grass fed lean meats, plant-based proteins and high-quality protein powders are a must as consumers continue to look for healthy options to build lean muscle and recover from resistance training. Plus, vegetarian and vegan shoppers are always on the lookout for non-animal protein sources that will help them meet their daily requirements for protein in a healthful, ethical and environmentally friendly way.

Food for thought

These are just a few ideas to chew on, and make sure to be on top of your game with nutritional supplementation, super foods and specialty grains as well. Visit the health and wellness trade shows like Expo West to stay on top of these trends. And, make sure to bring a person or two who actually eats and drinks these items, so they can provide firsthand, real world insights for you and your team.

How can we make it easy for customers to shop healthier? How can we band together, buy in quantity, and work with manufacturers to keep prices affordable? Anything is possible.

Beyond 2015

Education on all of the above should be a constant drip. Little nuggets of beneficial information delivered consistently over time to inspire and empower your customer toward health and wellness. Gentle reminders in the right direction will strengthen that customer’s trust in your brand and seal the bond of your relationship. That’s how you win a lifestyle customer, not just for a year, but for a lifetime.

There is always room for improvement. How are you going to resolve to evolve your health and wellness business and capture this market growth in 2015?

Supermarket News

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth

Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.

“Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,” explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.

To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. “Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C),” the researchers wrote. “At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls.”

The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. “Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution,” the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.

The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. “More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement,” they added.

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The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Insights into plant growth could curb need for fertilizers

New insights into how plants regulate their absorption of an essential nutrient could help avoid pollution caused by excess use of fertilizer.

The findings could lead to the development of crop varieties that need less of the primary nutrient — nitrogen — than conventional crops. It could also inform how much nitrogen should be added to plant feed.

This would allow optimum plant growth without producing excess nitrogen in run-off from fields, which is a major source of water pollution.

Agricultural fertilizers typically contain high levels of nitrogen that boost plant growth and yield even on poor soils. This helps plants avoid the typical characteristics of nitrogen deficiency — stunted growth and pale or yellow leaves.

The study, by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Campinas in Brazil, examined how nitrogen is absorbed and converted into cellular building blocks in plants.

They found that when nitrogen is absorbed, plant cells produce nitric oxide, which acts as a signalling molecule. This nitric oxide fine-tunes how much nitrogen is used for growth, by signalling to the plant’s cells when to limit its uptake.

The scientists say that because nitric oxide plays important roles in shaping the development of plants, and how plants respond to environmental stress, these insights highlight key considerations of how nitrogen-based fertilisers should be used in agriculture.

Their study, published in Nature Communications, was funded by the Royal Society and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Dr Steven Spoel of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: “Understanding nitrogen absorption better will ultimately allow us to breed crop varieties that need less fertiliser, and therefore are better for the environment.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Kroger executives tout growth in own brand

From remaking private brands with more “personality,” to burgeoning digital and natural/organic strategies, Kroger’s “to-do” list is longer than its “accomplished” list, officials of the retailer said. “That’s the thing that’s so exciting for us,” CEO Rodney McMullen said in an address to financial analysts and investors late last month in Cincinnati. “The things that we are working on are getting better, and the …

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Kroger executives tout growth in own brand

From remaking private brands with more “personality,” to burgeoning digital and natural/organic strategies, Kroger’s “to-do” list is longer than its “accomplished” list, officials of the retailer said. “That’s the thing that’s so exciting for us,” CEO Rodney McMullen said in an address to financial analysts and investors late last month in Cincinnati. “The things that we are working on are getting better, and the …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Kroger executives tout growth in own brand. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.

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Kroger executives tout growth in own brand

From remaking private brands with more “personality,” to burgeoning digital and natural/organic strategies, Kroger’s “to-do” list is longer than its “accomplished” list, officials of the retailer said. “That’s the thing that’s so exciting for us,” CEO Rodney McMullen said in an address to financial analysts and investors late last month in Cincinnati. “The things that we are working on are getting better, and the …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Kroger executives tout growth in own brand. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)

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Supermarket News

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Experts predict a spike in the price of Florida’s citrus this upcoming harvest season, meaning slightly more revenue for the state’s farmers. But an unexpected increase in orange production could keep retail prices low.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that’s cut Florida’s citrus crops in half since it first struck the state’s trees in 2005. The lower supply has helped farmers fetch higher prices per orange. But, former University of Florida professor of agricultural economics Tom Spreen says farmers are still having a hard time breaking even.

But a bit of relief could come in this upcoming harvest, with the most recent projection showing a slightly higher orange output. That means retail prices on orange products could stabilize, even though wholesale prices might be higher. Florida Department of Citrus economist Marisa Zansler says the increased production is unexpected after several seasons of decline. She adds scientific advances in the fight against citrus greening disease, and a government replanting program, give hope for a revitalization of the industry.

Some remain more cautiously optimistic. Retired UF professor Spreen says the citrus industry is in need of help sooner, rather than later.

“My guess is that a solution will be found, or it may even be solutions,” Spreen says. “There may in fact be a number of tactics that are developed. It’s just the question right now is how soon is it going to come?”

Spreen says some orange juice producers have begun offering subsidies to encourage wary farmers to plant more trees.

Please visit www.wfsu.org for more information.

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Experts predict a spike in the price of Florida’s citrus this upcoming harvest season, meaning slightly more revenue for the state’s farmers. But an unexpected increase in orange production could keep retail prices low.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that’s cut Florida’s citrus crops in half since it first struck the state’s trees in 2005. The lower supply has helped farmers fetch higher prices per orange. But, former University of Florida professor of agricultural economics Tom Spreen says farmers are still having a hard time breaking even.

But a bit of relief could come in this upcoming harvest, with the most recent projection showing a slightly higher orange output. That means retail prices on orange products could stabilize, even though wholesale prices might be higher. Florida Department of Citrus economist Marisa Zansler says the increased production is unexpected after several seasons of decline. She adds scientific advances in the fight against citrus greening disease, and a government replanting program, give hope for a revitalization of the industry.

Some remain more cautiously optimistic. Retired UF professor Spreen says the citrus industry is in need of help sooner, rather than later.

“My guess is that a solution will be found, or it may even be solutions,” Spreen says. “There may in fact be a number of tactics that are developed. It’s just the question right now is how soon is it going to come?”

Spreen says some orange juice producers have begun offering subsidies to encourage wary farmers to plant more trees.

Please visit www.wfsu.org for more information.

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Forecast shows unexpected growth in Florida orange crops

Experts predict a spike in the price of Florida’s citrus this upcoming harvest season, meaning slightly more revenue for the state’s farmers. But an unexpected increase in orange production could keep retail prices low.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that’s cut Florida’s citrus crops in half since it first struck the state’s trees in 2005. The lower supply has helped farmers fetch higher prices per orange. But, former University of Florida professor of agricultural economics Tom Spreen says farmers are still having a hard time breaking even.

But a bit of relief could come in this upcoming harvest, with the most recent projection showing a slightly higher orange output. That means retail prices on orange products could stabilize, even though wholesale prices might be higher. Florida Department of Citrus economist Marisa Zansler says the increased production is unexpected after several seasons of decline. She adds scientific advances in the fight against citrus greening disease, and a government replanting program, give hope for a revitalization of the industry.

Some remain more cautiously optimistic. Retired UF professor Spreen says the citrus industry is in need of help sooner, rather than later.

“My guess is that a solution will be found, or it may even be solutions,” Spreen says. “There may in fact be a number of tactics that are developed. It’s just the question right now is how soon is it going to come?”

Spreen says some orange juice producers have begun offering subsidies to encourage wary farmers to plant more trees.

Please visit www.wfsu.org for more information.

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

UNFI growth prospects looking good, analysts say

United Natural Foods, Inc., is positioned for continued strong growth, especially as it expands the perishables offerings from Tony’s Fine Foods beyond the West Coast while simultaneously reducing warehouse and distribution costs, analysts said Wednesday, a day after UNFI’s annual analyst meeting.

UNFI, based in Providence, R.I., acquired Tony’s Fine Foods, West Sacramento, Calif., last May. The Tony’s offering encompasses specialty cheeses, baked goods, deli, packaged proteins, seafood and prepared foods.

Analysts said UNFI’s effort to expand Tony’s offerings is part of the company’s new “building out the store” strategy — aspiring to have the top share in each category it serves.

“This is a change from the past, where the focus was on acquiring new customers,” Karen Short, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, New York, pointed out. “There could be a significant opportunity if UNFI can convince existing customers of its natural and organic products [who purchase ethnic and gourmet products from other sources] to purchase these specialty categories from UNFI because it could lower the customers’ overall product costs [by consolidating purchases] without sacrificing service.”

The near-term strategy involves rolling out the Tony’s model to Denver; Racine, Wis., which serves Chicago; and UNFI’s Hudson Valley facility in Upstate New York, which serves New York City, with the goal of boosting the company’s 1.5% share of the ethnic/gourmet categories, Short said.

The three facilities, along with Tony’s West Coast operation, will serve as main freight consolidation points where the Tony’s merchandise can flow to the rest of the country, Short said.

According to Andrew Wolf, managing director for BB&T Capital Markets, Boston, rolling out the Tony’s products will require UNFI to secure a major new customer in each region — a process that should take one to five months, he added.

UNFI is also seeking to reduce costs, the analysts said. According to Kelly Bania, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, New York, “UNFI is well positioned to deliver operating margin upside relative to expectations as investments in technology and efficiency initiatives gain critical mass in coming years.

“Importantly, UNFI’s savings from its warehouse management system implementation could accelerate in coming years as only three of its distribution centers are currently on WMS,” Bania said. The company expects WMS to be implemented at a total of nine facilities by next October, with the system operating at all 18 facilities by the end of fiscal 2017, she pointed out.

“While not all cost savings will fall to the bottom line and consolidated operating margin expansion will prove more difficult in coming years as UNFI integrates lower-margin Tony’s, an outlook for a more accelerated pace of implementation could result in more meaningful cost savings in coming years,” Bania added.

Wolf said UNFI “made a convincing case” for its cost-cutting prospects, including plans to lower its cost structure and increase its relevance with customers through use of technology — for example, backhauling to improve logistics and engineered labor standards to improve warehouse operations.

In addition, the company is implementing programs like iUNFI, a mobile order-entry system that has enabled customers to improve their fill rates by 0.7%; and “UNFI arrive,” which helps customers track deliveries more carefully to do a better job of planning in-store labor, Wolf pointed out.

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