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Potential of using host plant resistance, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers for reduction of Aspergillus flavuscolonization and aflatoxin accumulation in maize in Tanzania

Our latest outputs -

Potential of using host plant resistance, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers for reduction of Aspergillus flavuscolonization and aflatoxin accumulation in maize in Tanzania Manoza, F.S.; Mushongi, A.A.; Harvey, J.; Wainaina, J.; Wanjuki, I.; Ngeno, R.; Darnell, Ross; Gnonlonfin, B.G.J.; Massomo, Said Aflatoxin contamination (AC) in maize, caused by the fungal pathogen Aspergillus flavus(Link), starts at pre-harvest stage. Hence, interventions that reduce entry and development of A. flavus in the field are required. Trials were carried out at Seatondale and Igeri, to evaluate the effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer combinations, hereafter referred to as fertilizers, on A. flavus and AC in maize kernels. The main treatments were four combinations of N and P fertilizers (60 or 120 kg Nha−1 with 15 or 30 kg Pha−1) and sub-treatments were of six popular maize hybrids. Plants at 50% silking were inoculated with the fungus through the silk channels. Grains from inoculated and control ears were analysed for AC using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay, and pathogen content quantified by Quantitative Polymerase Chain reaction. Higher AC (mean 6.51 μg kg−1) occurred at Seatondale than Igeri (mean 0.45 μg kg−1), probably due to low temperatures (8–23 °C) at Igeri. Fertilizers didn't cause significant differences in neither pathogen colonization nor AC at both sites. However, mean A. flavusaccumulation, as measured by pathogen host DNA ratio, was thrice (0.16) as high in sub-optimal fertilizer conditions compared to optimal fertilizer rate (0.05). All hybrids were susceptible to A. flavus and AC, though a difference in AC was noted among the hybrids at both sites. PAN 691 showed the highest AC (14.68 μg kg−1), whereas UHS 5210 had the lowest AC (1.87 μg kg−1). The susceptibility varied among the hybrids and was mostly associated with ear droopiness, husk tightness, days to 50% silking, 50% pollen shed, Anthesis to silking interval, diseased ears, insect damaged ears, kernel texture, dry matter, grain filling, ear height, kernel ash content and kernel moisture content. At Seatondale, A. flavus accumulation was positively correlated with aflatoxin (r = 0.606), and both A. flavus accumulation and AC were positively correlated with diseased ears. Selection and growing of less susceptible varieties under optimal fertilizer regime offer ideal strategy for sustainable reduction of A. flavus and aflatoxin contamination in maize at pre-harvest.

Potential of using host plant resistance, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers for reduction of Aspergillus flavuscolonization and aflatoxin accumulation in maize in Tanzania

BecA outputs -

Potential of using host plant resistance, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers for reduction of Aspergillus flavuscolonization and aflatoxin accumulation in maize in Tanzania Manoza, F.S.; Mushongi, A.A.; Harvey, J.; Wainaina, J.; Wanjuki, I.; Ngeno, R.; Darnell, Ross; Gnonlonfin, B.G.J.; Massomo, Said Aflatoxin contamination (AC) in maize, caused by the fungal pathogen Aspergillus flavus(Link), starts at pre-harvest stage. Hence, interventions that reduce entry and development of A. flavus in the field are required. Trials were carried out at Seatondale and Igeri, to evaluate the effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer combinations, hereafter referred to as fertilizers, on A. flavus and AC in maize kernels. The main treatments were four combinations of N and P fertilizers (60 or 120 kg Nha−1 with 15 or 30 kg Pha−1) and sub-treatments were of six popular maize hybrids. Plants at 50% silking were inoculated with the fungus through the silk channels. Grains from inoculated and control ears were analysed for AC using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay, and pathogen content quantified by Quantitative Polymerase Chain reaction. Higher AC (mean 6.51 μg kg−1) occurred at Seatondale than Igeri (mean 0.45 μg kg−1), probably due to low temperatures (8–23 °C) at Igeri. Fertilizers didn't cause significant differences in neither pathogen colonization nor AC at both sites. However, mean A. flavusaccumulation, as measured by pathogen host DNA ratio, was thrice (0.16) as high in sub-optimal fertilizer conditions compared to optimal fertilizer rate (0.05). All hybrids were susceptible to A. flavus and AC, though a difference in AC was noted among the hybrids at both sites. PAN 691 showed the highest AC (14.68 μg kg−1), whereas UHS 5210 had the lowest AC (1.87 μg kg−1). The susceptibility varied among the hybrids and was mostly associated with ear droopiness, husk tightness, days to 50% silking, 50% pollen shed, Anthesis to silking interval, diseased ears, insect damaged ears, kernel texture, dry matter, grain filling, ear height, kernel ash content and kernel moisture content. At Seatondale, A. flavus accumulation was positively correlated with aflatoxin (r = 0.606), and both A. flavus accumulation and AC were positively correlated with diseased ears. Selection and growing of less susceptible varieties under optimal fertilizer regime offer ideal strategy for sustainable reduction of A. flavus and aflatoxin contamination in maize at pre-harvest.

Modelling cereal crops to assess future climate risk for family food self-sufficiency in southern Mali

Our latest outputs -

Modelling cereal crops to assess future climate risk for family food self-sufficiency in southern Mali Traore, Bouba; descheemaeker, katrien; Wijk, Mark T. van; Corbeels, Marc; Supit, Iwan; Giller, Ken Future climate change will have far reaching consequences for smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Here we assessed the farm-level impact of climate change on family food self-sufficiency and evaluated potential adaptation options of crop management. Using three years of experimental data on maize and millet from an area in southern Mali representing the Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa we calibrated and tested the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) model. Changes in future rainfall, maximum and minimum temperature and their simulated effects on maize and millet yield were analysed for climate change predictions of five Global Circulation Models (GCMs) for the 4.5 Wm−2 and 8.5 Wm−2 radiative forcing scenario (rcp4.5 and rcp8.5). In southern Mali, annual maximum and minimum temperatures will increase by 2.9 °C and 3.3 °C by the mid-century (2040–2069) as compared with the baseline (1980–2009) under the rcp4.5 and rcp8.5 scenario respectively. Predicted changes in the total seasonal rainfall differed between the GCMs, but on average, seasonal rainfall was predicted not to change. By mid-century maize grain yields were predicted to decrease by 51% and 57% under current farmer’s fertilizer practices in the rcp4.5 and rcp8.5 scenarios respectively. APSIM model predictions indicated that the use of mineral fertilizer at recommended rates cannot fully offset the impact of climate change but can buffer the losses in maize yield up to 46% and 51% of the baseline yield. Millet yield losses were predicted to be less severe under current farmer’s fertilizer practices by mid-century i.e. 7% and 12% in the rcp4.5 and rcp8.5 scenario respectively. Use of mineral fertilizer on millet can offset the predicted yield losses resulting in yield increases under both emission scenarios. Under future climate and current cropping practices, food availability is expected to reduce for all farm types in southern Mali. However, large and medium-sized farms can still achieve food self–sufficiency if early planting and recommended rates of fertilizer are applied. Small farms, which are already food insecure, will experience a further decrease in food self-sufficiency, with adaptive measures of early planting and fertilizer use unable to help them achieve food self-sufficiency. By taking into account the diversity in farm households that is typical for the region, we illustrated that crop management strategies must be tailored to the capacity and resource endowment of local farmers. Our place-based findings can support decision making by extension and development agents and policy makers in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa.

A novel mechanism of functional cooperativity regulation by thiol redox status in a dimeric inorganic pyrophosphatase

Our latest outputs -

A novel mechanism of functional cooperativity regulation by thiol redox status in a dimeric inorganic pyrophosphatase Costa, E.P.; Façanha, A.R.; Cruz, C.S.; Silva, J.N.; Machado, J.A.; Carvalho, G.M.; Fernandes, M.R.; Martins, R.; Campos, E.; Romeiro, N.C.; Githaka, N.; Konnai, S.; Ohashi, K.; Vaz, I.S. Jr; Logullo, C. Inorganic PPases are essential metal-dependent enzymes that convert pyrophosphate into orthophosphate. This reaction is quite exergonic and provides a thermodynamic advantage for many ATP-driven biosynthetic reactions. We have previously demonstrated that cytosolic PPase from R. microplus embryos is an atypical Family I PPase. Here, we explored the functional role of the cysteine residues located at the homodimer interface, its redox sensitivity, as well as structural and kinetic parameters related to thiol redox status. Methods In this work, we used prokaryotic expression system for recombinant protein overexpression, biochemical approaches to assess kinetic parameters, ticks embryos and computational approaches to analyze and predict critical amino acids as well as physicochemical properties at the homodimer interface. Results Cysteine 339, located at the homodimer interface, was found to play an important role in stabilizing a functional cooperativity between the two catalytic sites, as indicated by kinetics and Hill coefficient analyses of the WT-rBmPPase. WT-rBmPPase activity was up-regulated by physiological antioxidant molecules such as reduced glutathione and ascorbic acid. On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide at physiological concentrations decreased the affinity of WT-rBmPPase for its substrate (PPi), probably by inducing disulfide bridge formation. Conclusions Our results provide a new angle in understanding redox control by disulfide bonds formation in enzymes from hematophagous arthropods. The reversibility of the down-regulation is dependent on hydrophobic interactions at the dimer interface. General significance This study is the first report on a soluble PPase where dimeric cooperativity is regulated by a redox mechanism, according to cysteine redox status.

Rainwater harvesting for supplemental irrigation of onions in the southern dry lands of Ethiopia

Our latest outputs -

Rainwater harvesting for supplemental irrigation of onions in the southern dry lands of Ethiopia Assefa, S.; Biazin, B.; Muluneh, A.; Yimer, F.; Haileslassie, Amare Agricultural water scarcity is a major limiting factor for crop production in dry land regions of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite notable efforts of developing macro-catchment rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques, few studies have evaluated the performance of RWH for deficit supplemental irrigation of crops. We examine the agro-meteorological risks such as late onset, early cessation, overall low rainfall amounts and long dry spells during the growing season and evaluate the potential of macro-catchment RWH for supplemental irrigation of onion in the southern dry lands of Ethiopia. Field experiments were undertaken during 2012 and 2013 to evaluate the effects of 50% ETc, 75% ETc and 100% ETc irrigation levels on yield and water productivity of onion during dry and wet seasons. The harvestable yield and water productivity of onion under 75% ETc irrigation were not significantly lower than that under 100% ETc irrigation during both the dry and wet seasons. Thus, deficit supplemental irrigation of onion at 75% ETc can be implemented with macro-catchment RWH to reduce the risks of crop failure and significant yield declines in dryland areas.

Facilitating innovation platforms – now available as a mobile ‘serious game’

News from ILRI -

Serious games, seriously?

The two words don’t seem comfortable together, like original copy, or civil war. But games are not as childish as some think, and game based learning have a definite place in the learning landscape. As well as that, you would be surprised by how much learning science actually goes into games, have a look at this 5 minute video about the classic game “Mario Bros” if you want an example.

The intersection of work on Innovation Platforms, instructional design and learning technologies culminated in a blended course on “Understanding, Facilitating and Monitoring Agricultural Innovation Platforms”. The purpose of this course, originally run as a face to face workshop in 2014, and gradually developed into a fully-fledged online and blended learning course, is to harvest this learning into a cost-effective and time-efficient training program that can be used by organizations interested in using the partnership approach to confront complex agricultural problems.

ip_game ILRI has now taken this a step further, and created a mobile game for android users using game mechanics such as points and badges aiming to help innovation platform facilitators become more familiar with case studies.

You are tasked with building an innovation platform, each element is tested through quizzes that earn you badges. When you have shown knowledge and judgement another area will be convinced to join your innovation platform. Add to that the variability of the story where things don’t always go according to plan and the app provides an engaging medium for IP facilitators to sharpen their skills and knowledge.

The app is live on the android play store , so go and check it out.

Although this is ILRI’s first game on the Google Play store, there is little doubt that it won’t be the end of the story of game based learning for ILRI. If you want more information about serious games or just want to give some feedback, which is always appreciated, please contact i.dror@cgiar.org or phil.sambati@cgiar.org.

The game based learning initiative was developed as part of ILRI’s contribution to the Humidtropics CGIAR research program. We thank the CRP, as well as all donors that globally support the work of ILRI and its partners through their contributions to the CGIAR system.

Find out more about game based learning by following these links:

More about innovation platforms

Post by Phil Sambati, ILRI


Ethiopian Airlines update – new platinum frequent flyer level

Latest ILRI announcements -

Ethiopian Airlines is pleased to update all partners about the subject new development on the introduction of FFP Platinum Tier as follows

New Year, New Tier – Platinum!

We would like to announce, effective January 1, 2017, the ShebaMiles Frequent Flyer program will introduce a new tier called Platinum. The Platinum tier will be the highest tier level in the ShebaMiles program and will bring extra benefits to better recognize and reward our high-valued travelers.

Qualification Requirement and Tier Validity:

Ø The qualification requirement for Platinum will be 75,000 status miles or 60 qualifying segments within one calendar year (Jan 1st – Dec 31st).

Ø The validity period for Platinum will be 2 years in addition to the remaining months in the qualification year.

Platinum Benefits: In addition to the existing top tier benefits, the following special benefits will be offered to Platinum members:

Ø Dedicated hotline service at Ethiopian Airlines Global Call Center.

Ø Personal assistance at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for members departing from Addis Ababa airport (Does not include passengers transiting at ADD).

Ø Complimentary (free) upgrade on Ethiopian flights- three complimentary upgrade within the Platinum tier validity period to be redeemed at the request of the member.

Ø 100% tier Bonus Miles on Ethiopian operated flights.

Ø Free rebooking of awards before and after flight commencement within the award validity period.

Ø Free redeposit of miles on award tickets and upgrade awards within the award validity period.

Ø 32 Kgs or 2 Pieces of 23 Kgs. extra baggage allowance in addition to normal allowance only on ET operated flights.

Ø Lounge access including two guests.

Ø Guaranteed seat up to 24 hours before departure in the highest booking class-both in Cloud Nine and Economy Class.

***When traveling with Star Alliance member airlines, ShebaMiles Platinum members will have the Star Alliance Gold benefits.***

 

Best regards,

Kumneger Tilahun | National Liaison and Protocol Manager
International Livestock Research Institute |ilri.org
Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

2017 HR4U leave calendars are now active

POD announcement -

Dear Colleagues

The 2017 Calendars are now active and accessible on HR4U.

Please remember that leave for 2016 must be applied separately from 2017 leave.

If you face any difficulties, please do let us know.

Many thanks

Wachira Jane | People and Organizational Development
International Livestock Research Institute |ilri.org
Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya

Tel: +254 20 4223220| Skype: godsangel2

Email: j.wachira

 

2017 HR4U leave calendars are now active

Latest ILRI announcements -

Dear Colleagues

The 2017 Calendars are now active and accessible on HR4U.

Please remember that leave for 2016 must be applied separately from 2017 leave.

If you face any difficulties, please do let us know.

Many thanks

Wachira Jane | People and Organizational Development
International Livestock Research Institute |ilri.org
Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya

Tel: +254 20 4223220| Skype: godsangel2

Email: j.wachira

 

ILRI Kenya: Stores Unit Closure for 2016 end year stock-take exercise

Latest ILRI announcements -

ILRI Kenya Stores Unit will carry out the 2016 end year stock-take exercise from 19th – 20th December 2016. During this period, only emergency requests will be attended to. You are therefore kindly requested to submit your warehouse order requests through the OCS by mid-day, Friday 16th December 2016. Normal operations will resume on Thursday, 22nd December 2016.

Apologies for any inconveniences this may cause.

 

 David Buluma|Stores Supervisor

The view from Iain’s Office – October-November 2016

Latest ILRI announcements -

IPM

We had a very successful IPM on 4-7 October, with the theme Better Science – Better Lives. It provided a great opportunity for those attending to learn more about what ILRI does across the research programs, to hear about and comment on the new program structure, to clarify the role of all parts of ILRI in fulfilling our mission and to meet old and new colleagues and friends from across the globe. I was really impressed by the quality of the discussion and comments on the new programs. There are many very helpful comments and questions that Program Leaders and their teams need to take into account when developing the strategies for the new programs and operationalizing those strategies. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to the organization of a very successful event.

 

African Agricultural Research Program

FARA (Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa) was recently approached by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to develop a proposal for a new agricultural research program as part of the AfDB-led Feed Africa initiative. Steve Staal, Appolinaire Djikeng and I attended a workshop in Accra, Ghana on 10-11 October to brainstorm ideas for this new program.  Peter Ballantyne worked closely with FARA to prepare the program and facilitated the event. Unfortunately few national research programs could attend but we are now working with FARA to help prepare a concept note for submission to AfDB.

 

With Tom Aziz Chavangi, CEO and secretary of the National Land Commission in Kenya, after signing the ILRI-NLC MoU

With Tom Aziz Chavangi, CEO and secretary of the National Land Commission in Kenya, after signing the ILRI-NLC MoU

Signing of MoU with National Land Commission of Kenya

On 13 October Lance Robinson, Dorine Odongo and I visited the National Land Commission of Kenya (NLC) to finalise the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding between ILRI and the NLC.

Through the MoU, ILRI will work with NLC to develop an annex to the County Spatial Planning Guidelines that deals with rangelands management in the arid and semi-arid northern counties of Kenya – Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana and Wajir.

You can find more on this story here.

 

A4NH Program Management Committee

Delia Grace, Eric Févre and I were in Washinton DC on 18-21 October for a Program Management Meeting of the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health CRP (A4NH). For the second phase of the CRP a new management committee has been formed comprising the flagship leaders, representatives of the partners and representatives from the CRP Directorate. The CRP is led by IFPRI with John McDermott, ILRI’s former DDG-Research. Delia and Eric are both flagship leader and I represent ILRI on the committee.We also attended a meeting of the Independent Advisory Committee which met during the week. One of the members is Emmy Simmons, a former Board Member of ILRI.

Board Meeting

In October I spent some time preparing for the Board Meeting which was on 30 October to 2 November in Nairobi. On the morning of 29 October three new members had an orientation session introducing them to ILRI. As part of that session I described ILRI’s research. I also be updated the Program Committee on 31 October on progress towards the new CRPs and described the new program structure.

Centre of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture in Africa

I made a quick visit to Marrakech to attend a meeting organized on the fringes of the Climate Change COP.  The World Bank and the German Government are planning to establish a Centre of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture in Africa and there is an option of having the centre hosted at ILRI, either in Nairobi or Addis. The side event was organized to seek feedback from stakeholders on what the focus of the Centre should be. There was a lot of support for the centre to be linked to the CGIAR, giving it a strong scientific and technical base and allowing providing support and capacity development to governments to develop climate smart agricultural policies and strategies. Further consultations will be held over the coming months.

That’s all for now

Iain

 

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