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  • admin 6:33 pm on July 15, 2013 Permalink  

    Defining a Critical Mass Threshold for Agricultural Support Services 

    The structure of the American agriculture is decidedly changed from that of the previous century. Mechanization and other technological advances have wildly increased the productivity of industrialized operations at the national scale. With downward pressure on commodity prices, incomes to small and medium sized farmers have eroded. Many contemporary family farms now depend on non-farm income to maintain their livelihoods.

    This decline in the economic viability of lower-intensity agriculture is destabilizing many rural communities. Where small farmers once purchased inputs from local suppliers and sold their products in local or regional markets, the vertical integration of industrial operations are closing off important linkages in the agricultural value chain. With dwindling access to critical products and services, smaller farms face increasing costs of production, coupled with suppressed commodity prices, endangering their long-term financial stability.

    This paper poses the hypothesis that there is a threshold, or point of critical mass, in agricultural production, below which a variety of businesses, institutions, and supplier networks that provide support services to agriculture, may be expected to close down or relocate outside the region. Using four counties in western North Carolina as a case study, this paper examines the critical mass threshold for agricultural support services necessary to overcome structural barriers and sustain agriculture in this rural region.

    The research provides local policy makers with evidence for and against the existence of a critical mass threshold and highlights which support service categories may be most at-risk. These techniques, and the challenges faced by western North Carolina, are generalizable to other rural regions, especially those in Appalachia and other mountainous regions.

    The region, in this context, includes the counties of Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania in the western mountains of North Carolina. In western North Carolina, farms are of smaller than average size and face constraints of geography and climate. Steep ridges and narrow valley bottoms limit the cultivatable land area. As a result, many farms achieve subsistence through diversified production; taking advantage of not only the fertile valley floor, but also the grassy slopes for livestock, and timber harvesting on the wooded ridge tops.

    In the past, the mountainous terrain greatly restricted farmers’ access to global markets. With the introduction of the railroad in the 1800’s, and development of the Interstate Highways in the late 1950’s and 60’s, the region is now strategically well situated for the distribution of goods to the highly competitive markets of the Northeast and South. Unfortunately, it appears that the region’s limited capacity to produce high volumes of agricultural goods restrict its ability to capitalize on this comparative advantage.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Aaron J. Nousaine, G. Jason Jolley

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 7:48 pm on July 12, 2013 Permalink  

    Total Factor Productivity and the Bio Economy Effects 

    In Latin America the Bio Economy is a new perception that is being examined by a group of colleagues with the issue “The Bio Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Towards a socio economic research agenda” (Trigo, 2011).During the past three decades, the Bio Economic side effect of economic activities has received increasing attention in public debate where the environmental issues have been highlighting this debate (Hoang and Coelli, 2009).

    This paper intent to contribute to the efforts that other authors have been made to integrate Bio Economy concerns into traditional technical and socio economic performance measure, as well as made it in environmental concerns (Zúniga: 2011; Scheel, 2001; Tyteca, 1996).

    Generally, these environmental performance measures are derived by making adjustments to standard parametric and non-parametric efficiency and productivity analysis techniques (Coelli, et al. 2007). The traditional approach that the majority of these studies have taken is that the environmental effect is modeled as either a bad output or an environmentally detrimental input in production models (e.g. Ball, et al. 1994; Färe, et al. 1989; Reinhard, et al. 2000; Shaik and Perrin 2001; Tyteca 1997). These methods, however, face two criticisms. First, they fail to allow for both increasing desirable output and reducing undesirable output at the same time (Chung, et al. 1997). Secondly, Coelli, et al. (2007) shows that these methods often do not satisfy the materials balances condition.

    Chung, et al. (1997) proposed the use of a directional distance function which allows for simultaneous expansion of desirable output and contraction of undesirable output. While thismethod overcomes the first criticism, this approach also fails to satisfy the materials balancecondition, which we show later in this paper.

    Recently, Coelli, et al. (2007) suggested the use of an alternative modeling approach that usesthe materials balance condition in deriving an environmental efficiency measure. Theyconsider the situation where the environmental pollution is caused by the balance of nutrients, equal to the difference between nutrients in inputs and nutrients in outputs. In order to reducepollution, one could reduce the nutrients balance by, for example, reducing the nutrient amountcontained in the input vector. Compared with the traditional approach, this method does notinvolve the introduction of any extra variables into the production model and satisfies thematerials balance condition.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Carlos Alberto Zuniga Gonzalez

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 3:46 pm on July 11, 2013 Permalink  

    Heritability Studies of Fruit Related Traits in Solanum Lycopersicum L. Germplasm 

    Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is relatively a new addition to the world food crops, used in various forms both fresh and processed. Although tomato does not rank high in terms of caloric value, by virtue of volume consumed in its various forms such as cooked, salad, soup, preserves, pickles, ketchup sauces and many other products, it contributes substantially to dietary intake of vitamin A, B, C and essential minerals (Tigchelaar, 1986). Tomato being a tender perennial crop, it is susceptible to both frost as well as high temperature, and thus it is grown under varying environmental conditions. Since 1961, tomato production in the world has increased 291%, and during the year 2002 production reached 108 million metric tons. The share of Pakistan during 2005-06 in tomato production was 4965.35 tones, fresh or chilled worth US$ 0.829 million (Anonymous, 2006).

    In Pakistan, very little efforts have been made for improving vegetable crops including tomato, because of their secondary importance in the crop husbandry (Shokat et al., 2011). Consequently, very few local varieties of tomato are available for cultivation and most of them are selections from the introduced germplasm. Furthermore, the available varieties are poor in quality traits, and therefore, are unable to get consumer’s attraction. In Pakistan tomato is grown on an area of 44460 hectare with annual production of 491370 tones (Anonymous, 2011). Amongst the several reasons of low production of tomato the two reasons appears to be reasonable, firstly locally developed varieties are not available and secondly the non-existence of local tomato seed industry. Almost the total seed supply of tomato requirement is fulfilled through import of hybrid seed, and during 2005-06 Pakistan imported 72.75 tones of tomato seeds worth 2.09 million US$ (Anonymous, 2006) while it was increased significantly to US$ 5.1 million in 2009 (Anonymous, 2011).

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Sajid Shokat, Faqir Muhammad Azhar, Qumer Iqbal, Ghulam Nabi, Muhammad Muzaffar Raza, Muhammad Saleem

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 3:34 pm on July 10, 2013 Permalink  

    Medicinal Plants Used in Traditional Medicine in Aizawl and Mamit Districts of Mizoram 

    State of Mizoram is located in the north east corner of India of which the areas of the districts under study lies between 210 56’ N-230 E latitude and 920 16’-930 26’N longitude, descending in the south east extremity of North eastern region with the formation of sandwich between Myanmar in the east and Bangladesh in the West by sharing an international boundary of 585 kilo meters with these two countries Remaining part of the state is bounded with the state of Tripura in the West and Assam in the north partially the north eastern boundary of the state is also surrounded by Manipur. The state is divided into 8 districts out of which Aizawl and Mamit covered under studies are located in the northeastern part of the state.

    Information on is available on the use of traditionally used medicines and their distribution in the areas with traditional use of commercially important medicinal plants suitable for developing traditional knowledge for socio- economic upliftment. Information on the medicinal wealth and various aspects of folk lore medicines used by the natives of Mizoram is sufficiently available (Mahati, 1994; Lalramnghinglova, 1996; 1999; Singh et al. 2002; Lalfakzuahla et al., 2007; Rai & Lalramnghinglova, 2010a, b, c). Medico botanical exploration of districts of Kolasib, Aizawl, and Chaphai had also been made (Rama Shankar, 2009).

    However, the details of the medicinal plants used by the traditional healers of Aizawl and Mamit districts are insufficiently known Accordingly, the attempt on medico ethno botanical aspects of Aizawl and Mamit districts have been taken under study where in the medicinal plants belonging to established system of medicine i. e. Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha were used by the traditional folk healers in a crude single or combination of drugs for the cure of different diseases as well as methodology of use in comparison to already reported disease and methodology. In general, traditional healers use crude drug part either in fresh juice or decoction for healing the ailments. In case of joint pains, headache or other types of pain, poultice or paste of fresh plant is externally used. During the study about 37 such medicinal plants used by traditional healers along with their healing practices and methodology from the districts under study have been recorded and discussed in this paper.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Rama Shankar, M.S. Rawat

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 3:40 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink  

    The Effect of Treatment of Alstonia acuminata Bark-Based Active Compound on the Hematology and Histology of Tiger Grouper Fish (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) 

    Tiger grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) was widely distributed in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It was the most favorite seafood with good marketability in the domestic and international markets. It was reasonable to say that the sale value of this seafood was high. Market demand for this commodity was very stable and even increasing from year to year. It was not surprising to say that the cultivation work of tiger grouper was indeed a good prospect. However, main barrier of the cultivation of tiger grouper was its high mortality from rearing stage to harvesting stage. Main causes of high mortality in the cultivation were the high cannibalism and the attack of a certain disease but causing massive death (Ninawe, 2006; Badrelin et al., 2008; Karthupandi et al., 2010).

    Fish might be easily susceptible to disease when the water quality was decreased. As a consequence, poor health was experienced among fishes. Intensive cultivation system might cause this risk especially when the seed exceeded the carrying capacity of the environment. One serious disease in cultivation of tiger grouper was the infection from Vibrio pathogen bacteria, mainly V. harveyi. During the peak of epidemic, fish immune was deprived, and fish was easily stressed, infected and then dead.

    The medication against this fish disease so far had involved medicines and antibiotics, such as oxytetracycline, cananycine, chloramphenicol and terramycin. One earlier research had used other agent, such as tetracycline, for this fish disease (Jun et al., 2010). However, the use of chemicals was instead triggering new problem, respectively environmental pollution (Hameed et al., 2003; Kerry et al,, 1997; Khachatryan, 2006; Rairakhwada et al., 2007). The accumulation of antibiotic residuals in the fish tissue would influence the growth of the fish and its resistance to the agents, and might trigger the presence of immunosuppression (Maqsood et al., 2009).

    The natural material of land-based plant was an environmental-friendly alternative to eradicate V. harveyi. Research attempted to figure out the effect of A. acuminata methanol extract on the hematology change and the survival rate of tiger grouper infected by V. harveyi. Hematology was one effective and sensitive indicator to monitor physiological and pathological changes in the fish (Kori-Siakpere et al., 2005).

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Jane L. Dangeubun, Andayani S., Risjani Y.

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 7:31 pm on July 8, 2013 Permalink  

    Assessment of Faecal Bacteria Contamination in Selected Coastal Waters of Tanzania 

    In many towns around the world, especially those in densely populated rural or urban areas the microbiological quality of waters is frequently threatened by pollution with untreated domestic wastewater. The risk of exposure to pathogens in drinking or recreational waters has been well described in the literature (WHO, 1998; 1999). Water borne diarrheal diseases, including salmonellosis, amoebiasis, shigellosis, cholera, or giardiasis are widespread in areas with contaminated water (Thompson and Khan, 2003; WHO and UNICEF, 2004; Grabow, 1996). In many developing countries, diarrheal diseases remain a major killer in children.

    Estimates by WHO and UNICEF (2004) indicates that 80% of all illnesses in developing countries is related to water and sanitation; and that 15% of all child deaths under the age of 5 years in developing countries are caused by diarrheal diseases” (WHO and UNICEF 2004; Thompson and Khan 2003). In developed countries, protection of water sources and treatment of water are done effectively in such a way that, diarrheal diseases and their incidences have been reduced greatly compared to underdeveloped countries. Many towns and villages in developing countries like in sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to hygienic toilets and large amounts of faecal waste are discharged to the environment without adequate treatment. Outbreaks have been associated with swimming in crowded lakes (Ackman et al., 1997), contaminated drinking water (Olsen et al., 2002) as well as surface water (Effler et al., 2001).

    Detection of pathogens in water samples is very difficult, and the use of indicator organisms to signal the potential presence of organisms that cause gastrointestinal disease concept has been used successfully for a long time. The faecal indicator bacteria such as Total coliform (TC), Faecal coliform (FC), E. coli and enterococci (ENT) or faecal streptococci are most commonly used today (USEPA, 1986; 1999; Griesel and Jagals, 2002; Hysko et al., 2010). Faecal indicator bacteria remains the major and most reliable tool in the assessment of the health risks posed by pathogens in water (Byamukama et al., 2000) as most faecal coliform bacteria do not cause diseases.

    However, a measure of their concentration provides an indication of the degree of faecal contamination and therefore, enlighten on the possibility of being exposed to disease-carrying organisms, which may be present in water. International standards (e.g. UNEP/WHO, EC, USEPA) have been set to regulate the levels of these faecal indicator bacteria as common indices of the suitability of waters (USEPA, 1999; WHO, 1999; 2003). The recommended limits for water to be used for recreation and related purposes, in many standards, are <000 CFU/100 ml for TC and >100 for FC and ENT (WHO 1999). However, among the three indicators, used in this study, ENT has been recommended as the most suitable indicator for fresh and marine water (WHO 1999). Using ENT as standard, water may be classified, with 95th percentile, as (A) excellent, when values are below 10 CFU/100 ml; (B) good, when values are between 11 and 50 CFU/100 ml; (C) fair, between 51 and 200 CFU/100 ml; (D) poor, between 201 and 1000 CFU/100 ml; and (E) very poor, when values above 1000 CFU/100 ml are obtained (WHO, 1999). when the water is classified as generally „poor‟, various management measures must be taken to minimise health risks.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Samson Lazaro’s Mwakalobo, Lucy Namkinga, Thomas Jacob Lyimo, Charles Lugomela

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 5:14 pm on July 5, 2013 Permalink  

    The Debate Over the Relationship Between Income Inequality and Economic Growth: Does Inequality Matter for Growth? 

    Although economic theory has focused traditionally in issues such as productivity and efficiency, the role that income inequality plays in economic dynamics has been present but not manifest in economic literature since a long time. For some, inequality is simply an element of the generally accepted view of a necessary trade-off between efficiency and equality(Note 1), in which both cannot coexist and are mutually exclusive. Others implicitly perceive inequality as a condition that is automatically addressed by the markets and the efficient use of the available resources, in an extremely confident trickle down view. Even modern welfare economics see the process of income distribution as a secondary issue(Note 2) and are more focused on competitive equilibrium and reaching a Pareto optimality, thus abstracting from any judgment over distribution(Note 3).

    While most of the debate over the inequality-growth relationship during the largest part of the XX century was focused on the effects of growth and development over inequality levels, the last twenty years have seen the development of a new debate: this time with the purpose to understand the other side of the relationship, namely the effects that income inequality might have over economic growth. Perhaps a contemporary phenomenon such as globalization, the enormous disparities between countries, or the inconsistencies found with the expected inequality among countries and their development level, have motivated this new approach, in an effort to better understand this phenomenon.

    This paper develops a comprehensive description of the contemporary views that have tried to explain the effects that inequality exerts over growth, as well as the different positions that have shaped the new debate and the way it has developed over the last decades.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Jorge Alberto Charles-Coll

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 3:37 pm on July 4, 2013 Permalink  

    Inoculation of Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria Ochrobactrum intermedium, Brevibacterium sp. and Bacillus cereus Induce Plant Growth Parameters 

    Chromate is one of the poisonous polluting metals, discharged from effluents of various industries like leather tanning, metal finishing industry, alloy preparation (Ozdemir et al., 2005). Attention has increased from different organizations due to the hazardous impact of this metal on the biological life (Zayed & Terry, 2003). Many investigators have reported the deleterious impact of chromate salt on various plant parameters; however, the requirement of chromium for plant growth is still not understood. In nature chromium mainly exists as trivalent and hexavalent form. The mobility and uptake of hexavalent chromium is more in plants and animals as compared to trivalent chromium which is less mobile and bioavailable (Amezcua-Allieri et al., 2005).

    Chromium mostly occurs as Cr (III) and Cr (VI). Cr (VI) is more mobile and permeable to cells and is taken up by plants so enters into the food chain (Bluskov et al., 2005). So there must be some mechanism which limits the hexavalent chromium mobility and permeability. Various bacterial strains are now identified which can convert hexavalent chromium in-to trivalent chromium (Mabbett et al., 2002). Bacterial strains residing in the soil especially near the vicinity (rhizosphere) of plants helps their growth parameters by providing more minerals protection against harmful pathogens and enhancing their plant growth parameters (Kapulnik, 1996). Heavy metals released from the industrial accumulate in the residing agricultural soil which becomes hazardous for living fauna and flora (Bhogal et al., 2003).

    These metals are accumulated in our body when we used crops which are grown in such metal contaminated soil and ultimately cause chronic diseases (Soisungwan et al., 2003). Trivalent chromium is considered as important micronutrient for human body but it is less toxic (Bahijri & Mufti, 2002) as compared to hexavalent chromium which is toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic (Ortegel et al., 2002). Several investigators have reported the positive impact of bacterial inoculation on plant growth. In this study we will check the impact of chromate resistant/reducing bacterial strains was observed on different morphological and biochemical parameters of plant in presence of chromium.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Muhammad Faisal

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 3:59 pm on July 3, 2013 Permalink  

    Hematological Changes in an Ovine Model of Acute Myocardial Infarction 

    To diagnose acute myocardial infarction, selected cardiac markers as well as hematological and biochemical indices have been studied in human being, however, rare investigations were done  on the values of hematologic analysis in an ovine model of myocardial infarction. To observe the change of the values in hematologic parameters in sheep, acute myocardial infarction was induced by ligation of left anterior descending coronary artery. For this purpose, ten healthy sheep were randomly divided into two group (5 each), the control group (group I; thoracotomy without myocardial infarction) and the experimental group (group II; with myocardial infarction).

    Animal in each group subjected for the hematologic analysis 1 week post-myocardial infarction. In comparison of hematologic analysis between two groups, the mean values of hemoglobin, white blood cell, red blood cell, platelets, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration showed a significant increase in myocardial infarction group (P<0.05). In conclusion, we could observe the alterations in early hematologic mean values in an ovine model of experimental acute myocardial infarction.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Ezzatollah Fathi, Raheleh Farahzadi, Elaheh Pishgahzadeh

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

  • admin 3:54 pm on July 3, 2013 Permalink  

    Performances of a Yard-Scale Surface Flow Wetland Vegetated with Echinochloa Crus-Pavonis in the Removal of Nutrients and Faecal Bacteria from Domestic Wastewater 

    Several macrophytes are being tested in experimental wetlands systems in Cameroon, for the treatment of domestic wastewater. The aim of the present research was to assess the performances of a yard scale surface flow wetland vegetated with Echinochloa crus-pavonis, in the removal of nutrients and faecal bacteria from primarily treated effluent. A wetland vegetated with the macrophyte and a non-vegetated wetland (control) were continuously fed with primarily treated domestic wastewater at organic loading rates varying from 20.74 to 27.15 g BOD/m2/day in dry season and the rainy season for two consecutive years.

    Physicochemical and microbiological characteristics of water were monitored at the entries and exits of the wetlands alongside the growth attributes of the young plants during each season. Plant densities in the bed increased with time during each season of the experiment, and not significantly lowered during the following season after harvest. Percentage removal ranges of 89-95 % and 75-93 % were observed for faecal bacteria during the dry and the rainy seasons respectively in the vegetated beds, as compared to ranges of 25-71 % and 24-73 % recorded in the control bed. The same trend was observed for nitrates and orthophosphates with removal rates of up to 62 % and 82 % respectively as compared to 40 % and 47 % recorded in the control. The vegetated bed was significantly more efficient than the control in the reduction of several parameters, but this varied with seasons.

    For full text: click here

    (Author: Théophile Fonkou, Martin Lekeufack, Fabrice Teguimdje

    Published by Macrothink Institute)

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