Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Relative Humidity on the Performance of Nera Black Hens in a Humid Tropical Environment

M. O. Okpara, C. F. Egbu, A. O. Ani

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-5
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2016/18980

A total of seventy five Nera Black hens in their 4th week of lay were used in a study conducted to determine the effect of different relative humidity conditions on the performance of Nera Black hens under humid tropical environment. Hens were housed individually in separate cages. The hens were supplied with water ad libitum and fed on layers mash containing 16.5% crude protein and 2650 kcal/kg of metabolizable energy for 10 weeks. Relative humidity was recorded 3-hourly at time intervals of 0600 h, 0900 h, 1200 h, 1500 h, and 1800 h using a standard hygrometer and the mean daily relative humidity was noted. The climatic data taken during the period of the experiment showed that the study area had the natural day-length of 13 to 14 hours; mean maximum weekly indoor and outdoor temperatures of 27.90C to 29.20C and 26.80C to 30.50C, respectively; mean minimum weekly indoor and outdoor temperatures of 20.50C to 22.30C and 20.00C to 23.600C, respectively; mean weekly relative humidity of 74.4% to 76.4% and mean total monthly rainfall of 781.33 mm. Results showed that relative humidity significantly affected total egg production, average daily feed intake, egg weight, egg shell weight and Haugh unit. The results of the present study indicate that although relative humidity had effect on performance, Nera Black hens are adapted to humid tropical environment.

Open Access Original Research Article

Flower Yield of Arnica sp. Cultivated in Two Floristic Regions in Bulgaria

Vessela Balabanova, Antonina Vitkova

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-7
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2016/27775

An experiment was conducted to evaluate the impact of climate and soil conditions on arnica plant development with different origin in two floristic regions at Vitosha Mt. and Rhodopi Mts. in Bulgaria and to calculate the yield of Arnicae flos from the studied collections. The measurements were done at Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria, between May 2010 and June 2013. The altitude of the experimental fields was determined by General Positioning System and the exposition was established by compass. Climatic areas and regions were classified and the soil type was defined. The meteorological data for monthly average temperatures and rain falls for the experimental areas during the investigated period were given by National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Bulgarian Academy of Science. The flower head diameter has been measured during the full flowering stage on 50 model plants. The data were statistically processed by Medcalc Program. Harvesting of plant substance Arnicae flos of 3-year old A. montana and A. chamissonis was performed by hand picking at full flowering stage. The results showed a significant difference in the origin of the herbal drug in the carried out study. Regarding to A. montana, advantageously greater yield was obtained from plants originating from Ukraine at both fields. Depending on the methods of propagation, higher values were obtained by in vivo seedlings, up to 268 kg/ha. With regards to the experimental area, on Vitosha Mt. the yield was approximately the same for both origins regardless of the method of propagation while at Rhodopi Mts. significantly greater was the yield of in vivo seedlings compared to in vitro seedlings. Concerning A. chamissonis, there was a predominantly higher yield at Vitosha Mt. compared to Rodopi Mts. (58 kg/ha and 35 kg/ha, respectively) and showed values up to four times less compared to A. montana. Both experimental areas had similar ecological characteristics, but the presence of much air humidity and soil moisture at Rhodopi Mts. implied a better plant development and bigger yield. The cultivation of Arnica sp. in mountainous regions in Bulgaria has been proved to be perspective and the country appears to be a promising source of plant substance Arnicae flos.

Open Access Original Research Article

Germination Limits Survival of Trithrinax campestris (Palm Tree) in Argentina

C. Mendoza, L. Guardia, A. Pagani, G. Ovando, E. Giardina, A. Di Benedetto

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2016/27495

Between 1934 and 2010, the palm tree T. campestris population in Entre Ríos province (Argentina) decreased significantly, mainly due to the advance of the agricultural frontier. The aims of this work were to analyze this dramatic geographic decrease of T. campestris and to study the endogenous and exogenous factors that determine its low germination percentage and limited survival. Our results showed that factors limiting T. campestris population growth even under protected areas destined to field bovine production include the soil chemical properties (fields with T. campestris plants had lower pH, EC and sodium concentration and lower OM, concentrations of minerals and CEC values than those without palm plants) and the solute leakage during seed imbibition. When T. campestris seeds were incubated for germination at both 25° and 35°C for one year, none of this seeds germinated; however, seed viability was significantly high at the end of the imbibition period. The rainfall changes associated with the Global Climate Change occurred since the 1970s would also limit the survival of this palm in its native environment.

Open Access Original Research Article

Characteristics and Appropriateness of Made-in-Ghana Equipment for Safe Processing of Cassava

Gerald K. Ahorbo, Nanam Dziedzoave, Isaac Kojo Arah, Ernest Kodzo Kumah

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2016/24823

Introduction: Cassava contains poisonous hydrogen cyanide. However, when well processed it serves as safe cheap source of edible carbohydrate. This study assessed the appropriateness of the available made-in-Ghana cassava processing equipment, the constraints and bottlenecks of the equipment manufacturers, the opinion of users of the equipment, and the effect of the equipment on safety of processed cassava.

Methodology: Snowball sampling technique was used to select forty-eight (48) cassava processing equipment manufacturers and sixty-three (63) users of the equipment across the country and open ended questionnaires were used to solicit information on the characteristics of the manufactured equipment, the manufacturers’ constraints and bottlenecks, and the users’ opinion of the equipment. Hydrogen cyanide content in cassava dough and pressed cake from the locally manufactured graters were measured and compared statistically.

Results: Eleven categories of made-in-Ghana cassava processing equipment were identified together with their technical specifications. Majority (92% and 77%) of the manufacturers were found to produce cassava graters and screw press respectively and about half of the users (51%) of the cassava processing equipment were satisfied with how they are functioning. The minimum cyanide content found in the cassava dough and pressed cake were 20.92 mg/Kg and 17.08 mg/Kg respectively.

Conclusion: Most of the cassava processing equipment was not made of stainless steel material. A greater number of the users of these equipment were not satisfied with the durability, efficiency, robustness and post-sale services provided by the manufacturers. The cassava processing equipment manufactured in Ghana was in various ranges and their operation facilitated the removal of poisonous hydrogen cyanide from cassava for safe consumption.

Practical Application: The overall outcome of this study will assist processors to select appropriate equipment for processing safe cassava products. It will also help policy makers and researchers to come up with effective interventions that will build the capacity of manufacturers to ensure the manufacture of appropriate equipment to process safe cassava products.

Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of Composting with ‘Spent’ Mushroom Substrate and Sawdust for Remediation of Petroleum Hydrocarbon-Polluted Soil

E. Albert, D. I. Anyanwu

Journal of Agriculture and Ecology Research International, Page 1-9
DOI: 10.9734/JAERI/2016/27080

Aim: To evaluate the capacities of composting ‘spent’ mushroom substrate and sawdust with crude oil polluted soil to enhance degradation of petroleum hydrocarbon.

Study Design: The degradation of petroleum hydrocarbon contents of crude oil polluted treatments composted with ‘spent’ mushroom substrate, sawdust and a mixture of ‘spent’ mushroom substrate and sawdust were compared with that of crude oil polluted-not-composted treatment to determine the influence of the compost amendments. 

Place and Duration of Study: The Centre for Ecological Studies, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, from March - July 2015.

Methodology: Five buckets were each filled with 1500 g of top alluvial soil and labelled T1 – T5. T1 (i.e. control) was not polluted while the other buckets were each polluted with Bonny Light crude oil at 6.7% (v/w). T2 was not composted with any material after pollution. T3 was mixed with 200 g of ‘spent’ mushroom substrate and T4 with 200 g of sawdust while T5 was composted with a mixture of 200 g of ‘spent’ mushroom substrate and 200 g of sawdust.

Results: Final pH of 8.4±0.1 and 6.4±0.2 were recorded in T1 and T5 respectively. The pH of T2 decreased from 8.8±0.1 to 7.1±0.1 and from 8.7±0.1 to 7.1±0.4 in T3, but increased from 5.3±0.0 to 8.5±0.0 in T4. Percentage total petroleum hydrocarbon contents decreased by 75.5% in T3 and T5 and 64.9% in T4. Average phosphorus contents increased from 0.33±0.0 to 52.60±0.23 mg/kg in T5, 0.33±0.03 to 1.81±0.35 mg/kg in T4 and from 0.36±0.01 to 1.34±0.62 mg/kg in T3 but decreased from 0.35±0.01 to 0.14±0.60 mg/kg in T2. Total nitrogen contents recorded reduction in T2, T3, T4 and T5 and total organic carbon increased in T2, decreased in T4 and was constant in T5 during the experiment.

Conclusion: ‘Spent’ mushroom substrate, sawdust and a mixture of ‘spent’ mushroom substrate and sawdust composted with crude oil polluted soil significantly enhanced removal of soil hydrocarbon content.