Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scientia Agricola]]> vol. 72 num. 6 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Energy embodiment in Brazilian agriculture: an overview of 23 crops]]> The amount of energy required to produce a commodity or to supply a service varies from one production system to another and consequently giving rise to differing levels of environmental efficiency. Moreover, since energy prices have been continuously increasing over time, this energy amount may be a factor that has economic worth. Biomass production has a variety of end-products such as food, energy, and fiber; thus, taking into account the similarity in end-product of different crops (e.g.: sunflower, peanuts, or soybean for oil) it is possible to evaluate which crops require less energy per functional unit, such as starch, oil, and protein. This information can be used in decision-making about policies for food safety or bioenergy. In this study, 23 crops were evaluated allowing for a comparison in terms of energy embodied per functional unit. Crops were grouped as follows: starch, oil, horticultural, perennial and fiber, to provide for a deeper analysis of alternatives for the groups, and subsidize further studies comparing conventional and alternative production systems such as organic or genetically modified organisms, in terms of energy. The best energy balance observed was whole sugarcane (juice, bagasse and straw) with a surplus of 268 GJ ha−1 yr−1; palm shows the highest energy return on investment with a ratio of approximately 30:1. For carbohydrates and protein production, cassava and soybean, respectively, emerged as the crops offering the greatest energy savings in the production of these functional foods. <![CDATA[<em>In-vitro</em> screening of Kalahari browse species for rumen methane mitigation]]> The nutritional value of browse foliage from the Thorny Kalahari Dune Bush veld of South Africa is not characterized. Most of this browse species is rich in tannin, but still palatable, and is consumed by ruminants during the dry season, as well as having a role to play in mitigating enteric methane emission from ruminants. In this study, the rumen methane mitigation potential of 19 browse species foliage collected from the Thorny Kalahari Dune Bush veld, was analyzed in terms of chemical composition, in vitro fermentation, digestibility and methane production. In vitro gas and methane production and organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) were determined by using rumen fluid collected, strained and anaerobically prepared. A semi-automated system was used to measure gas production (GP) from each browse species by incubating 400 mg samples in a shaking incubator at 39 °C with or without inclusion of 400 mg of polyethylene glycol (PEG). Data for all the parameters collected were statistically analyzed using the SAS (9.0) general linear model (GLM) procedure, and differences between foliage species were determined using Duncan’s multiple-range test. Acacia luederitziiand Monechma incanumshowed the best potential for decreasing methane production by up to 90 % after 48 h of incubation. The secondary components (mainly tannins) of the browse species appeared to have a significant effect on volatile fatty acids (VFA), methane and gas production as judged by the comparison of samples incubated with or without PEG inclusion. The substantial amount of crude protein (CP) content coupled with their anti-methanogenic effect during fermentation would make these browses a potential mitigation option for small scale farmers and pastoralists in sub-Sahara Africa. However, it is also very important that systematic and strategic supplementation in a mixed diet should be looked at as the way forward in terms of best utilization. <![CDATA[Xaraés palisadegrass remains productive after the disappearance of stylo in tropical legume-grass pasture]]> Gradual reduction of legumes in mixed tropical pastures requires periodic oversowing. Exploiting the carrying capacity of grass for an extra year after the disappearance of legumes can be economically advantageous to the farmer. This study aimed to evaluate the productivity of Xaraés palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha) pastures in response to its historical association with stylo (Stylosanthes guianensis) under two canopy heights to determine whether different grazing management conditions affect the defoliation pattern left by grazing animals. The split-plot experimental design was used, with the historical botanical composition (HBC) (24, 34, 45 and 52 % legume composition) corresponding to the main plots and the canopy frequency of defoliation determined at heights of 30 and 45 cm for Xaraés palisadegrass corresponding to the subplots with two replicates (500 m2) grazed by Tabapuã cows. Pastures with over 34 % stylo in the botanical composition remained productive for one year after legume disappearance, accumulating more than 8 mg ha−1 of forage per year. Xaraés palisadegrass pastures at a height of 30 cm provided better canopy structure, with 64 % less stem production and 43 % less dead material. The 30-cm pre-grazing canopy height provided a grazing environment conducive to forage intake by animals that resulted in efficient use of the pasture. In response to the improved canopy structure, the cows grazed an average of 60 fewer minutes. A HBC greater than 34 % of legumes in the pastures allows for the postponement of legume oversowing until the next growing season. <![CDATA[Buttonweed emergence as affected by seed burial depth and straw on the soil surface]]> Knowledge of the effects of seed burial depth and the presence of straw on the soil surface on weed seedling emergence provides useful information for the development of weed management tactics. Buttonweed (Borreria densiflora DC.) is a troublesome weed that occurs in large infestations in soybean and sugarcane crops from north-central Brazil. This study investigated buttonweed emergence at different seed burial depths and straw amounts present on the soil surface. The experiment was conducted in greenhouse conditions, under a factorial design between four seed burial depths and four amounts of surface straw. Percent seedling emergence and fresh biomass (g) were evaluated at twenty-five days after installation (DAI). Greater buttonweed emergence occurred in seeds that were placed on the soil surface either without surface straw or with up to 1,000 kg ha−1 of straw on the soil surface. With 4,000 kg ha−1 of surface straw, buttonweed emergence was prevented when seeds were placed at a depth of 0.5 cm or deeper in the soil. These data indicated emergence of this weed species was greater at depths near the soil surface and in soils with the least amounts of surface straw. Information generated in this study provides a starting point for the development of knowledge for understanding the biology of buttonweed emergence and its population dynamics. Such information may be directly transmitted to growers and lays the groundwork for an integrated management approach for this weed species. <![CDATA[Influence of animal fat substitution by vegetal fat on <em>Mortadella-</em>type products formulated with different hydrocolloids]]> Meat has played a crucial role in human evolution and is an important component of a healthy and well-balanced diet on account of its nutritional properties, its high biological value as a source of protein, and the vitamins and minerals it supplies. We studied the effects of animal fat reduction and substitution by hydrogenated vegetal fat, sodium alginate and guar gum. Fatty acid composition, lipid oxidation, color and instrumental texture as well as the sensorial difference between low, substituted-fat and the traditional formulations for mortadella-type products were analyzed. Both substitution and reduction of animal fat decreased the saturated fatty acids percentage from 40% down to 31%. A texture profile analysis showed differences between the formulations. Furthermore, lipid oxidation values were not significant for treatments as regards the type and quantity of fat used while the use of sodium alginate and guar gum reduced the amounts of liquid released after cooking. Animal fat substitution does cause, however, a difference in overall sensorial perception compared with non-substituted products. The results confirm the viability of substituting vegetal fat for animal fat. <![CDATA[Assessing biomass based on canopy height profiles using airborne laser scanning data in eucalypt plantations]]> This study aimed to map the stem biomass of an even-aged eucalyptus plantation in southeastern Brazil based on canopy height profile (CHPs) statistics using wall-to-wall discrete return airborne laser scanning (ALS), and compare the results with alternative maps generated by ordinary kriging interpolation from field-derived measurements. The assessment of stem biomass with ALS data was carried out using regression analysis methods. Initially, CHPs were determined to express the distribution of laser point heights in the ALS cloud for each sample plot. The probability density function (pdf) used was the Weibull distribution, with two parameters that in a secondary task, were used as explanatory variables to model stem biomass. ALS metrics such as height percentiles, dispersion of heights, and proportion of points were also investigated. A simple linear regression model of stem biomass as a function of the Weibull scale parameter showed high correlation (adj.R2 = 0.89). The alternative model considering the 30th percentile and the Weibull shape parameter slightly improved the quality of the estimation (adj.R2 = 0.93). Stem biomass maps based on the Weibull scale parameter doubled the accuracy of the ordinary kriging approach (relative root mean square error = 6 % and 13 %, respectively). <![CDATA[Genetic diversity assessed by microsatellite markers in sweet corn cultivars]]> Information on genetic diversity is essential to the characterization and utilization of germplasm. The genetic diversity of twenty-two sweet corn cultivars (seventeen open-pollinated varieties, OPV, and five hybrids, H) was investigated by applying simple sequence repeat markers. A total of 257 primers were tested, of which 160 were found to be usable in terms of high reproducibility for all the samples tested; 45 were polymorphic loci, of which 30 were used to assess the genetic diversity of sweet corn cultivars. We detected a total of 86 alleles using 30 microsatellite primers. The mean polymorphism was 82 %. The highest heterozygosity values (Ho = 0.20) were found in the PR030-Doce Flor da Serra and BR427 III OPVs, whereas the lowest values (0.14) were recorded in the MG161-Branco Doce and Doce Cubano OPVs. The polymorphism information content ranged from 0.19 (Umc2319) to 0.71 (Umc2205). The analysis of molecular variance revealed that most of the genetic variability was concentrated within the cultivars of sweet corn (75 %), with less variability between them (25 %). The consensus tree derived from the neighbor-joining (NJ) algorithm using 1,000 bootstrapping replicates revealed seven genetically different groups. Nei’s diversity values varied between 0.103 (Doce do Hawai × CNPH-1 cultivars) and 0.645 (Amarelo Doce × Lili cultivars), indicating a narrow genetic basis. The Lili hybrid was the most distant cultivar, as revealed by Principal Coordinates Analysis and the NJ tree. This study on genetic diversity will be useful for planning future studies on sweet corn genetic resources and can complement the breeding programs for this crop. <![CDATA[Molecular-assisted selection for resistance to cassava mosaic disease in Manihot esculenta Crantz]]> The geminivirus complex known as cassava mosaic disease (CMD) is one of the most devastating viruses for cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). The aim of this study was to use molecular-assisted selection (MAS) to identify CMD-resistant accessions and ascertain promising crosses with elite Brazilian varieties. One thousand two hundred twenty-four accessions were genotyped using five molecular markers (NS169, NS158, SSRY028, SSRY040 and RME1) that were associated with resistance to CMD, along with 402 SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphism). The promising crosses were identified using a discriminant analysis of main component (DAPC), and the matrix of genomic relationship was estimated with SNP markers. The CMD1 gene, previously described in M. glaziovii, was not found in M. esculenta. In contrast, the CMD2 gene was found in 5, 4 and 5 % of cassava accessions, with flanking markers NS169+RME1, NS158+RME1 and SSRY28+RME1, respectively. Only seven accessions presented all markers linked to the CMD resistance. The DAPC of the seven accessions along with 17 elite cassava varieties led to the formation of three divergent clusters. Potential sources of resistance to CMD were divided into two groups, while the elite varieties were distributed into three groups. The low estimates of the genomic relationship (ranging from -0.167 to 0.681 with an average of 0.076) contributed to the success in identifying contrasting genotypes. The use of MAS in countries where CMD is a quarantine disease constitutes a successful strategy not only for identifying the resistant accessions but also for determining the promising crosses. <![CDATA[Residual recovery and yield performance of nitrogen fertilizer applied at sugarcane planting]]> ABSTRACTThe low effectiveness of nitrogen fertilizer (N) is a substantial concern that threatens global sugarcane production. The aim of the research reported in this paper was to assess the residual effect of N-fertilizer applied at sugarcane planting over four crop seasons in relation to sugarcane crop yield. Toward this end three field experiments were established in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, during February of 2005 and July of 2009, in a randomized block design with four treatments: 0, 40, 80 and 120 kg ha−1 of N applied as urea during sugarcane planting. Within each plot, a microplot was established to which 15N-labeled urea was applied. The application of N at planting increased plant cane yield in two of the three sites and sucrose content at the other, whereas the only residual effect was higher sucrose content in one of the following ratoons. The combined effect was an increase in sugar yield for three of the 11 crop seasons evaluated. Over the crop cycle of a plant cane and three ratoon crops, only 35 % of the applied N was recovered, split 75, 13, 7 and 5 % in the plant cane, first, second and third ratoons, respectively. These findings document the low efficiency of N recovery by sugarcane, which increases the risk that excessive N fertilization will reduce profitability and have an adverse effect on the environment. <![CDATA[Characterization of potential CO<sub>2</sub> emissions in agricultural areas using magnetic susceptibility]]> ABSTRACTSoil CO2 emissions (fCO2) in agricultural areas have been widely studied in global climate change research, but its characterization and quantification are restricted to small areas. Because spatial and time variability affect emissions, tools need to be developed to predict fCO2 for large areas. This study aimed to investigate soil magnetic susceptibility (MS) and its correlation with fCO2 in an agricultural environment. The experiment was carried out on a Typic Eutrudox located in Guariba-SP, Brazil. Results showed that there was negative spatial correlation between fCO2 and the magnetic susceptibility of Air Dried Soil (MSADS) up to 34.3 m distant. However, the fCO2 had no significant correlation with MSADS, magnetic susceptibility of sand (MSSAND) nor clay (MSCLAY). However, MSADS could be a supplemental mean of identifying regions of high fCO2 potential over large areas. <![CDATA[Tissue culture of ornamental cacti]]> Cacti species are plants that are well adapted to growing in arid and semiarid regions where the main problem is water availability. Cacti have developed a series of adaptations to cope with water scarcity, such as reduced leaf surface via morphological modifications including spines, cereous cuticles, extended root systems and stem tissue modifications to increase water storage, and crassulacean acid metabolism to reduce transpiration and water loss. Furthermore, seeds of these plants very often exhibit dormancy, a phenomenon that helps to prevent germination when the availability of water is reduced. In general, cactus species exhibit a low growth rate that makes their rapid propagation difficult. Cacti are much appreciated as ornamental plants due to their great variety and diversity of forms and their beautiful short-life flowers; however, due to difficulties in propagating them rapidly to meet market demand, they are very often over-collected in their natural habitats, which leads to numerous species being threatened, endangered or becoming extinct. Therefore, plant tissue culture techniques may facilitate their propagation over a shorter time period than conventional techniques used for commercial purposes; or may help to recover populations of endangered or threatened species for their re-introduction in the wild; or may also be of value to the preservation and conservation of the genetic resources of this important family. Herein we present the state-of-the-art of tissue culture techniques used for ornamental cacti and selected suggestions for solving a number of the problems faced by members of the Cactaceae family.