Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scientia Agricola]]> vol. 69 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Association of CSSM066 and ILSTS011 microsatellite markers and thyroglobulin gene SNP with backfat in Canchim cattle</b>]]> Canchim, a synthetic breed of cattle derived from the Charolais and Zebu group has been used in the beef-cattle industry in Brazil as an alternative for intensifying production. One of the main concerns with this breed is its poor fat deposition and consequently, there is an effort to increase the performance for this trait. The thyroglobulin gene is located in a QTL region for fat deposition, and reports describe the influence of a polymorphism in the 5´ leader sequence of that gene on marbling and subcutaneous fat thickness. This study analyzed the association of this polymorphism in the thyroglobulin gene, as well as of two flanking microsatellite markers, CSSM066 and ILSTS011, with backfat thickness in 987 Canchim beef cattle. The CSSM066 and ILSTS011 microsatellite markers have a effect on fat thickness in the studied populations. However, this trait did not have association with the polymorphism of the thyroglobulin gene, which suggests that other genes of bovine chromosome 14 may be responsible for the variation in this trait. <![CDATA[<b>Fractal analysis of agricultural nozzles spray</b>]]> Fractal scaling of the exponential type is used to establish the cumulative volume (V) distribution applied through agricultural spray nozzles in size x droplets, smaller than the characteristic size X. From exponent d, we deduced the fractal dimension (Df) which measures the degree of irregularity of the medium. This property is known as 'self-similarity'. Assuming that the droplet set from a spray nozzle is self-similar, the objectives of this study were to develop a methodology for calculating a Df factor associated with a given nozzle and to determine regression coefficients in order to predict droplet spectra factors from a nozzle, taking into account its own Df and pressure operating. Based on the iterated function system, we developed an algorithm to relate nozzle types to a particular value of Df. Four nozzles and five operating pressure droplet size characteristics were measured using a Phase Doppler Particle Analyser (PDPA). The data input consisted of droplet size spectra factors derived from these measurements. Estimated Df values showed dependence on nozzle type and independence of operating pressure. We developed an exponential model based on the Df to enable us to predict droplet size spectra factors. Significant coefficients of determination were found for the fitted model. This model could prove useful as a means of comparing the behavior of nozzles which only differ in not measurable geometric parameters and it can predict droplet spectra factors of a nozzle operating under different pressures from data measured only in extreme work pressures. <![CDATA[<b><i>Prunus</i></b><b> hybrids rootstocks for flat peach</b>]]> Peach (Prunus persica L.) is the most important stone fruit tree grown in Spain and is the second most important fruit crop in Europe. The influence of eight Prunus rootstocks (GF-677, Krymsk® 86, PADAC 97-36, PADAC 99-05, PADAC 9912-03, PADAC 0024-01, PAC 0021-01 and PAC 0022-01) on vigor, yield and fruit quality traits of 'UFO 3' flat peach cultivar was studied. The highest trunk cross sectional area was exhibited by GF-677 and the lowest by PADAC 99-05, while intermediate values were found on the other rootstocks. The highest yield efficiency was found on PADAC 99-05, PAC 0021-01, PAC 0022-01 and PADAC 0024-01 and the lowest was shown on Krymsk® 86. The fruit quality parameters measured were color, fruit and stone weights, equatorial diameter, pulp thickness, pulp yield, firmness, pH, soluble solids content and titratable acidity. 'UFO 3' grafted on GF-677 resulted in the largest fruit weight, while the smallest was on PADAC 99-05. Fruits of 'UFO 3' showed a tendency to have higher firmness, higher red colored skin and RI when grafted on PADAC 99-05. <![CDATA[<b>Seed-borne pathogens and electrical conductivity of soybean seeds</b>]]> Adequate procedures to evaluate seed vigor are important. Regarding the electrical conductivity test (EC), the interference in the test results caused by seed-borne pathogens has not been clarified. This research was carried out to study the influence of Phomopsis sojae (Leh.) and Colletotrichum dematium (Pers. ex Fr.) Grove var. truncata (Schw.) Arx. fungi on EC results. Soybean seeds (Glycine max L.) were inoculated with those fungi using potato, agar and dextrose (PDA) medium with manitol (-1.0 MPa) and incubated for 20 h at 25 °C. The colony diameter, index of mycelial growth, seed water content, occurrence of seed-borne pathogens, physiological potential of the seeds, measured by germination and vigor tests (seed germination index, cold test, accelerated aging and electrical conductivity), and seedling field emergence were determined. The contents of K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ in the seed and in the soaking solution were also determined. A complete 2 × 4 factorial design with two seed sizes (5.5 and 6.5 mm) and four treatments (control, seeds incubated without fungi, seeds incubated with Phomopsis and seeds incubated with Colletotrichum) were used with eight (5.5 mm large seeds) and six (6.5 mm large seeds) replications. All seeds submitted to PDA medium had their germination reduced in comparison to the control seeds. This reduction was also observed when seed vigor and leached ions were considered. The presence of Phomopsis sojae fungus in soybean seed samples submitted to the EC test may be the cause of misleading results. <![CDATA[<b>Height-diameter relationships of tropical Atlantic moist forest trees in southeastern Brazil</b>]]> Site-specific height-diameter models may be used to improve biomass estimates for forest inventories where only diameter at breast height (DBH) measurements are available. In this study, we fit height-diameter models for vegetation types of a tropical Atlantic forest using field measurements of height across plots along an altitudinal gradient. To fit height-diameter models, we sampled trees by DBH class and measured tree height within 13 one-hectare permanent plots established at four altitude classes. To select the best model we tested the performance of 11 height-diameter models using the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). The Weibull and Chapman-Richards height-diameter models performed better than other models, and regional site-specific models performed better than the general model. In addition, there is a slight variation of height-diameter relationships across the altitudinal gradient and an extensive difference in the stature between the Atlantic and Amazon forests. The results showed the effect of altitude on tree height estimates and emphasize the need for altitude-specific models that produce more accurate results than a general model that encompasses all altitudes. To improve biomass estimation, the development of regional height-diameter models that estimate tree height using a subset of randomly sampled trees presents an approach to supplement surveys where only diameter has been measured. <![CDATA[<b>Horse grazing systems</b>: <b>understory biomass and plant biodiversity of a <i>Pinus radiata</i> stand</b>]]> Horse grazing systems may affect productivity and biodiversity of understory developed under Pinus radiata D. Don silvopastoral systems, while acting as a tool to reduce the risk of fire. This study compared continuous and rotational grazing systems effect upon biomass, fractions of stem, sprouts, leaves and woody parts of Ulex europaeus L. and alpha (Species Richness, Shannon-Wiener) and beta (Jaccard and Magurran) biodiversity for a period of four years in a P. radiata silvopastoral system. The experiment consisted of a randomized block design of two treatments (continuous and rotational grazing). Biomass, and species abundances were measured - biodiversity metrics were calculated based on these results for a two years of grazing and two years of post-grazing periods. Both continuous and rotational grazing systems were useful tools for reducing biomass and, therefore, fire risk. The rotational grazing system caused damage to the U. europaeus shrub, limiting its recovery once grazing was stopped. However, the more intensive grazing of U. europaeus plants under rotational had a positive effect on both alpha and beta biodiversity indexes due to the low capacity of food selection in the whole plot rather than continuous grazing systems. Biomass was not affected by the grazing system; however the rotational grazing system is more appropriate to reduce U. europaeus biomass and therefore forest fire risk at a long term and to enhance pasture biodiversity than the continuous grazing system. <![CDATA[<b>Structure of genetic diversity of <i>Bemisia tabaci</i> (Genn.) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) populations in Brazilian crops and locations</b>]]> Bemisia tabaci (Genn.) represents a complex of cryptic species that causes losses of many valuable crops. Even though there are differences in their ability to colonize hosts, transmit phytovirus and develop resistance to insecticides, the genetic differentiation of the insect populations is important for the adoption of control measures. Therefore, the genetic diversity of B. tabaci populations in economically important crops in Brazilian locations was characterized through a microsatellite analysis. Eight microsatellite markers were used for the analysis of eight populations, three in Solanum tuberosum (States of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Bahia), two in Glycine max (States of São Paulo and Mato Grosso), one in Phaseolus vulgaris and Brassica oleracea var. acephala (States of São Paulo and Distrito Federal, respectively) and a cabbage population from Florida (USA). The number of alleles varied between two and 13 and the average value of F ST was 0.13. The population occurring in beans was genetically different, suggesting that the excessive use of insecticide or the host itself may have caused the modification of its allele frequency. The American population presented a large diversity and small differentiation compared to the Brazilian populations, especially from the Southeast, supporting the hypothesis that the B biotype was probably introduced into Brazil by the trade of plant material between the USA and the State of São Paulo. The genetic diversity found within and among the populations is geographically structured, and the insects from the central region of Brazil had superior genetic divergence when compared to the others Brazilian locations. <![CDATA[<b>Heavy metals in vegetables and potential risk for human health</b>]]> Ingestion of vegetables containing heavy metals is one of the main ways in which these elements enter the human body. Once entered, heavy metals are deposited in bone and fat tissues, overlapping noble minerals. Slowly released into the body, heavy metals can cause an array of diseases. This study aimed to investigate the concentrations of cadmium, nickel, lead, cobalt and chromium in the most frequently consumed foodstuff in the São Paulo State, Brazil and to compare the heavy metal contents with the permissible limits established by the Brazilian legislation. A value of intake of heavy metals in human diets was also calculated to estimate the risk to human health. Vegetable samples were collected at the São Paulo General Warehousing and Centers Company, and the heavy metal content was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. All sampled vegetables presented average concentrations of Cd and Ni lower than the permissible limits established by the Brazilian legislation. Pb and Cr exceeded the limits in 44 % of the analyzed samples. The Brazilian legislation does not establish a permissible limit for Co contents. Regarding the consumption habit of the population in the São Paulo State, the daily ingestion of heavy metals was below the oral dose of reference, therefore, consumption of these vegetables can be considered safe and without risk to human health. <![CDATA[<b>Soil profile, relief features and their relation to structure and distribution of Brazilian Atlantic rain forest trees</b>]]> In tropical forests, the environmental heterogeneity can provide niche partitioning at local scales and determine the diversity and plant species distribution. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the variations of tree species structure and distribution in response to relief and soil profile features in a portion of the largest remnant of Brazilian Atlantic rain forest. All trees ³ 5 cm diameter at breast height were recorded in two 0.99 ha plots. Topographic survey and a soil characterization were accomplished in both plots. Topsoil samples (0-20 cm) were taken from 88 quadrats and analyzed for chemical and particle size properties. Differences for both diversity and tree density were identified among three kinds of soils. A canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated that the specific abundance varied among the three kinds of soils mapped: a shallow Udept - Orthent / Aquent gradient, probably due to differences in soil drainage. Nutrient content was less likely to affect tree species composition and distribution than relief, pH, Al3+, and soil texture. Some species were randomly distributed and did not show restriction to relief and soil properties. However, preferences in niche occupation detected in this study, derived from the catenary environments found, rise up as an important explanation for the high tree species diversity in tropical forests. <![CDATA[<b><i>Cereus jamacaru</i></b><b> seed germination and initial seedling establishment as a function of light and temperature conditions</b>]]> Cereus jamacaru is a widespread Cactaceae of northeast Brazil, largely used as cattle food, and as ornamental and medicinal plant. Despite its distinguished importance, until now, there has been little information about the physiological aspects involved on its germination. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of light and temperature interaction on the seed germination and seedling establishment of this plant. The evaluated variables were germination percentage at 7 (% G7) and at 14 days after imbibition (% G14), germination average time index (GSI), germination average time (GAT), germination accumulated frequency (GAF), seedling dry mass and height. The highest % G14 and GSI were at 25 ºC in white light, whereas the highest GAT values were in darkness for all evaluated temperatures. On the other hand, % G14, GSI and GAF had the lowest values in darkness. Seeds germinated even in darkness, being however stimulated by the presence of light. The combination of white light and temperature of 25 or 30 °C is the most appropriate condition for seed germination tests. <![CDATA[<b>Dairy cow monitoring by RFID</b>]]> Dairy cows identification and monitoring on small cattle farms are usually based on the utilization of barcode technology. This kind of identification technology is unsuitable for dairy cows milking and feeding process automation. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is a better solution in this case. This paper describes the research and implementation of the milking cycle´s automated monitoring with the use of RFID tags conducted on a small cattle farm in the Republic of Serbia. This solution is based on RFID system which consists of two parts. First part includes control box, two Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID readers operating at frequency of 915 MHz and RFID tags glued onto the dairy cow ear labels. Second part includes software modules for acquisition and collecting data from RFID tags to build up an archive due to supervision and analysis of the milking cycle. Reading accuracy of RFID system in the observed period was 99.8 % in average. A group of dairy cows having a settled milking cycle within an interval of 12h ± 5 % had a 1.5 % better yield and a 0.08 better quality in comparison with a group of dairy cows having a milking cycle variance higher than 20 %. RFID system implemented in described way can be easily integrated into a new or existing farm management system in order to have better production results which depend on several factors including settled milking cycles. <![CDATA[<b>Morphological, behavioral and biological aspects of <i>Azya luteipes</i> Mulsant fed on <i>Coccus viridis</i> (Green)</b>]]> One of the major pests of nursery seedlings of coffee (Coffea arabica L.) is the green scale, Coccus viridis (Green) (Hemiptera: Coccidae). The main predators of this species are beetles of the family Coccinellidae, especially Azya luteipes Mulsant. Morphological, behavioral and biological aspects of A. luteipes feeding on C. viridis on coffee plants were examined under laboratory conditions. Tests were conducted in room temperature at 28 ± 2 ºC. A. luteipes oviposits on the underside of the scale's body, laying two to four eggs per insect. The eggs have a subelliptical form and a white-clear color, and the incubation period is 8.3 ± 1.2 days. The number of eggs laid per female per day varies between eight and ten. A. luteipes undergoes four larval instars with durations of 2.0 ± 0, 3.2 ± 0.5, 3.6 ± 0.5 and 4.6 ± 0 days for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th instars, respectively. The average durations of the prepupal and pupal stages were 2.0 ± 0 and 10.9 ± 1.3 days, respectively. The viability of the larvae during each instar was 91.9, 89.3, 90.2 and 96.4 %, respectively, and the viabilities of prepupae and pupae were 99.1 and 98.2 %. The average duration of the egg-adult cycle was 34.3 ± 2.6 days, and the sex ratio was 0.52 %. Females presented a gray-colored head, while males presented a yellow head.