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Biodiversity of neglected and underutilized fruits of Nepal: a review

Padma Nath Atreya1, Jiban Shrestha2

1Department of Agriculture DoA, Warm Temperate Horticulture Centre WTHC, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development MoALD, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, NEPAL
2Nepal Agricultural Research Council, National Plant Breeding and Genetics Research Centre, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, NEPAL

doi: 10.5455/faa.122860                                                 pp: 470 – 483

Varied climatic conditions, topography and different agro-ecological zones of Nepal are directly associated with the biodiversity of neglected and underutilized fruits. Those fruits play an important role in food, nutrition as well as the economic security of poor people in rural areas. This review has been conducted to assess the diversity of underutilized fruits. This study showed that there were 91 neglected and underutilized fruits from 35 families existed in the country, out of this the highest number of species comes under Rosaceae (19), followed by Rutaceae (12), Moraceae (10), Anacardiaceae (5) while rest families have less than three species. Introduction of high yielding exotic commercial varieties, changing food habit, mono-cropping trends and climate change are major causes of their gradual declination in Nepal. They have multidimensional uses, many formerly neglected commodities have now become globally significant due to consumer awareness. All Governmental, non-governmental and private organizations should be involved in fruit research with collaboration. Research and extension organizations should give emphasis to neglected and underutilized fruit species for diversification, food and nutrition security.  This paper provides current status, importance and potential of neglected and underutilized fruits. This review also addresses the prospects of long-term conservation of neglected and underutilized fruit species in Nepal.

Keywords: Biodiversity, food security, neglected and underutilized fruits

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Postharvest physiological and biochemical alterations in fruits: a review

Md Alamgir Hossain, Md Masudul Karim, Sadiya Arefin Juthee

Department of Crop Botany, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.22077                                                pp: 453 – 469

Fruits are essential components in human diet. Being a basket of nutrients, fruits contain health promoting and disease preventing vitamins, minerals and bioactive molecules like polyphenols, anthocyanins. Fruits are very perishable in nature and are very prone to microbial spoilage as well as physiological and biochemical deteriorations resulting in a shorter shelf-life with a compromised nutritional quality and huge economic loss as well. Progress in the understanding of postharvest factors commanding ripening and quality which includes tissue differentiation, respiration, transpiration and water loss, catabolic activities, color degradation and aroma biosynthesis have been examined in the current review along with challenges lying ahead. Indeed, a series of physiological events, biochemical pathways and molecular alternations are involved in fruit ripening process. During transformation of an unripe fruit into an edible ripe fruit, the above mentioned systematic changes introduce attractive color, taste, aroma and texture of the unripe fruit. Globally practicing different strategies to reduce the post-harvest losses and to enhance quality; microbial safety and shelf-life of fruits are also highlighted in this review. Finally, this review provides an update on complex physiological process and cellular metabolism during the ripening of fruits, discusses their controlling techniques to promote further improvements in fruit ripening regulation, nutritional quality, microbial safety and storage time or extend self-life.

Keywords: Physiological process, Fruits maturation, Fruits ripening, Senescence, Metabolism

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Soil health and human well-being: a review

M Jahiruddin

Department of Soil Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.127472                                                                      pp: 443 – 452

A range of positive and negative impacts of soil on human health are reviewed in this article. Soil has a variety of positive functions that support human health. It supplies nutrients to the plants and eventually to the human body via food intake. Soil helps purification of water and serves as foundation for buildings. Healthy soils impact carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas reduction, adequate nutrient supply, water retention and efficient biodiversity. Both soil macroorganisms (e.g. earthworms) and microorganisms (e.g. N2 fixing bacteria) perform great role on soil health, and soil health in turn has good linkage with human health. Nevertheless, soils can exert negative impact on human health. Negative health effects occur when foods are grown in soils that have nutrient deficiencies or toxicities and when toxic heavy metals (e.g. Cd, As, Pb, Hg) are transferred from soils into the plants and then into the human food chain. People are also exposed to toxic chemical substances (e.g. soil insecticides), radionuclides (e.g. 137Cs), soil pathogens (e.g. saprophytic fungi) and soil parasites (e.g. hookworms). Inhalation of airborne dusts causes respiratory trouble (e.g. asthma). Many of the complex interactions between soil and human health are yet to be unveiled. For thorough understanding of the soil ecosystem and its relation to safe and nutritious food production and broadly human health, multidisciplinary approach is needed. Contributions of experts from agriculture, medical and social science fields are needed to address the whole soil and human health issues.

Keywords: Soil health, degradation, pollution, nutrition, productivity

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Sensitivity of Alternaria blight pathogen (Alternaria brassicicola) to fungicides and its effects on yield contributing parameters of mustard

Md Atikur Rahman 1, Fatema-Tuz-Zohura 2, Islam Hamim 1, Bahadur Miah 1, Muhammed Ali Hossain 1

Department of Plant Pathology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH
Department of Agriculture, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science & Technology University, Gopalganj-8100, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.120733                                                 pp: 435 – 442

Alternaria leaf blight caused by Alternaria brassicicola is an important disease of mustard in Bangladesh. Twelve commercial fungicides were assessed against Alternaria brassicicola Bangladeshi isolate PMIL-5 using poison food technique. Among these fungicides, three fungicides viz. Contaf 5EC (Hexaconazol 50%), Rovral 50 WP (Iprodione 50%) and Autostin 50WP (Carbendazim 50%) showed highly sensitive to A. brassicicola isolate PMIL-5 and inhibited the total mycelial growth at the lowest concentration 0.0125% in in vitro condition. Other fungicides were either partially effective or ineffective. Two fungicides viz. Contaf  5EC and Rovral 50WP were selected based on their in vitro performance sprayed in the field onto foliage of mustard plants in four different concentrations (0.0125%, 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%) to evaluate the Alternaria leaf blight incidence and severity and some yield contributing parameters in treated and control plots. Among the used fungicides, double spray of Contaf 5EC @0.1% concentration at 45 and 55 DAS showed better results in minimizing disease occurrence and frequency of Alternaria leaf blight disease as well as a significant positive impact on the yield parameters of mustard variety BARI Sharisha 14 in the field.

Keywords: Alternaria leaf blight, Fungicide, Mustard, Sensitivity

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Effectiveness of insect egg removal device in controlling insect progeny development in stored grains

Athanase Hategekimana 1, Sarma Mohan 2

Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board RAB, PO Box 5016 Kigali, RWANDA
Department of Agricultural Entomology, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore – 641 003, INDIA

doi: 10.5455/faa.112077                                                    pp: 429 – 434


The side effects of pesticides and fumigants have led to the development of ecofriendly stored grains in insect management methods. Insect egg remover is one of the recent inventions to be used in the management of stored grain insects. The inner brushing arrangement in the device facilitates the crushing of the eggs, if any, in the grains. Investigations were made to determine the effectiveness of the insect egg remover for the management of stored grain insects. The number of times the grains passed in the device (one, two and three times) and the density of insects (10, 20 and 30) were the two factors of the experiment. After rotating the grains with eggs in the machine, they were incubated for 60 days for assessing progeny production and grains damage. The device proved effective in reducing the emergence of Rhyzopertha dominica (F) and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) adults without the influence of the densities of insects artificially introduced in paddy and sorghum grains, respectively. The pattern of emerged adults was significantly less in three passes. In addition, the density of insects did not influence significantly the emergence of adults and grain damage. However, grains damage at 40 and 60 days of incubation was significantly affected by the number of passes in the device. The lowest damage was recorded in three passes and the highest damage was in untreated grains. Most farmers could benefit by using this mechanical device. The design of the device is such that it can facilitate in crushing eggs beside the rapid removal of adult insects from mild and severely infested grains and consequently prevent grains damage and eliminates the possibility of the pests developing resistance over time. However, the machine has the limitations of controlling only external feeding stored insects and this study recommends a cost-benefit analysis.

Keywords: Insect Egg, Insect Egg Remover Device, Progeny Development, Stored Grains

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Effect of non-genetic factors on growth performance of Brahman crossbred cattle of Bangladesh

Mohammad Mahbubul,  Md Azharul Hoque

Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.113271                                                        pp: 421 – 428


The study was conducted to investigate the effects of non-genetic factors (sex, season and agro-ecological zone) on growth performance of Brahman crossbred cattle population of Bangladesh. Data on  5662 Brahman crossbred (50%) calves were collected from the herdbook maintained by the Department of Livestock Services and Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics of Bangladesh Agricultural University across eight location and four agro-ecological zone of the country from January 2014 to November 2018. Least squares means were analyzed using General Linear Model (GLM) of Statistical Analyses System (SAS). Sex had significant (p<0.001) effect on birth weight, weight at one-, three-, nine-, twelve- and twenty-four month, ADG from 6- to 9-month and from 9- to 12-month of age. However, sex effect was non-significant for 6-month body weight, ADG from birth to 3-month and ADG from 3- to 6-month. Season effect was significant (p<0.001) on almost all growth traits considered in this study except 12-month and 24-month body weight. Agro-ecological zones had significant (p<0.001) effect on birth weight, weight at one-, three-, nine-, twelve- and twenty-four month, ADG from 3- to 6-month and ADG from 6- to 9-month of age. In contrary, ADG from birth to 3-month and ADG from 9- to 12-month were not significantly (p<0.001) affected by agro-ecological zones. It revealed from the present study that difference in management practices by farmers and agro-ecological zones in Bangladesh should be taken into account in formulating beef breeding program.

Keywords: Non-genetic factors, Growth performance, Brahman crossbred cattle, Bangladesh

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Effect of nitrogen doses on growth and yield of marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) in subtropical climate of Nepal

Pratiksha Adhikari 1, Kalyani Mishra Tripathi 2, Saras Marasini 1, Ram Chandra Neupane 2, Arjun Kumar Shrestha 2, Jiban Shrestha 3, Subash Subedi 4

1Nepal Polytechnic Institute, Purbanchal University, Bharatpur, Chitwan, NEPAL
2Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan, NEPAL
3Nepal Agricultural Research Council, National Plant Breeding and Genetics Research Centre, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, NEPAL
4Nepal Agricultural Research Council, National Maize Research Program, Rampur, Chitwan, NEPAL

doi: 10.5455/faa.108327                                                             pp: 414 – 420


Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) is a potential commercial flower with increasing demand in Nepal every year. A field experiment was carried out to study the effect of different doses of nitrogen on growth and flower yield of marigold under container gardening at Bharatpur-11, Bhojad, Chitwan, Nepal during autumn 2018. Five treatments including different doses of nitrogen, i.e. (T1-Control (0:90:75) kg NPK/ha; T2-(45:90:75) kg NPK/ha; T3-(90:90:75) kg NPK/ha; T4-(135:90:75) kg NPK/ha; and T5-(180:90:75) kg NPK/ha) were evaluated in Randomized Block Design with four replications. Results showed that plant height, plant spread, and the number of branches were statistically significant. Marigold plant applied with 180 kg/ha nitrogen gave the maximum height (49.47cm), spread (36.40cm), and a number of branches (24.75/plant) in 45 DAT (days after transplanting) while the control plot showed the least. Similarly, nitrogen @ 180 kg/ha was found to be effective for early flowering initiation (32.50 DAT) and days (41.25 DAT) compared to control (39 and 48.75 DAT, respectively) and also resulted in maximum number of flower (34.73/plant), flower diameter (7.03cm) and yield (22.29 t/ha) compared to other treatments. Thus, the overall results suggest that the application of 180 kg N / ha in marigold was the most promising in terms of higher flower production.

Keywords: Flower, growth, Nitrogen, Tagetes erecta L., yield

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Performance of UC Davis chimney dryer: time saving and retention of nutritional quality of carrot and brinjal

Shamsudduha Pias 1, M Tariqul Islam 2, M Abdur Rahim 1, Alamin Sheikh 1, M Ashraful Islam 1

1Department of Horticulture, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh 2202, BANGLADESH
2Department of Agroforestry, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh 2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.102778                                                                 pp: 404 – 413


UC Davis (University of California, Davis) chimney dryer is a low cost technology and has been developed by the expert of UC Davis, USA to dry food products targeting to ensure the nutritional security. Experiments were conducted following completely randomized design with three replications. Slice thickness of carrot (experiment 1) was 1.5 cm with and without skin while thickness of brinjal (experiment 2) was 1 and 2 cm. Overall, less time required to dry both carrot and brinjal under UC Davis chimney dryer compared to sun dryer condition. Carrot drying time was 82 hours under UC Davis chimney dryer whereas 122 hours required to dry under open sun drying condition; so UC Davis saved 34 % time to dry carrot compared to open sun dry condition. Similarly, 21 to 25% time has been saved for brinjal drying under UC Davis chimney dryer compared to open sun dryer condition.  No significant difference of protein, phosphorus and potassium contents of carrot and brinjal found from both systems of dryer indicating the no deterioration of mineral contents due to high temperature in UC Davis chimney dryer. Moisture and dry matter contents were also significantly different from each other. Overall, acceptance of physical appearance of both carrot (without skin) and brinjal (1 cm sliced thickness) was selected as the best under UC Davis chimney dried product compared open sun dried product, considering shape, size and colour of the dried products.  UC Davis chimney dryer can efficiently reduce the duration of drying of vegetables and also avoid noise from birds and dusts compared to open sun dryer condition; and products can be stored for long time, thus ultimately provide nutritional security round the year for the rural people.

Keywords: Brinjal, carrot, nutritional security, UC Davis chimney dryer

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Evaluation of knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of farmers regarding organic farming

Md Shijan Islam, Md Matiul Islam

Agrotechnology Discipline, Khulna University, Khulna-9208, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.102709                                                                 pp: 393 – 403


Organic agricultural products are gaining popularity among the consumers day by day. Farmers are also becoming interested in producing organic agricultural commodities. The production strategy of organic food commodities is environment friendly and of high economic potential. However, the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of farmers regarding organic farming is merely assessed. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate the knowledge, attitude and practice of the farmers regarding organic farming. Data were collected from randomly selected 70 farmers from selected three villages named Ghola, Zoykhali and Shailmary of Jalma union of Batiaghata upazila under Khulna district of Bangladesh, through personal interview using an interview schedule. The eleven characteristics of the farmers which had been selected for the study were age, educational qualification, farming experience, organic farming experience, family size, farm size, monthly family income, organizational participation, cosmopolitanism, extension media contact and training on organic farming. The focus variables were the knowledge, attitude and practice of the farmers on organic farming. The respondents were asked to provide responses regarding the focus issues, and the given responses were recorded against the standard scale, and obtained scores were statistically analyzed for further interpretation. Majority (70%) of the respondents had medium knowledge, most (95.7%) of them had highly favorable attitude while their (51.4%) practice on organic farming was low. Among the ten practices, “application of cow dung in the field” was the highest practiced activity, while the least practiced activity was “regular soil test”. Among the selected eleven characteristics of the respondents, experience in organic farming (R²=0.145) (p<0.05), cosmopolitanism (R²=0.357) (p<0.01), extension media contact (R²=0.265) (p<0.01) and training on organic farming (R²=0.107) (p<0.05) showed significant  positive relationship with knowledge; while experience in farming (R²=0.135) (p<0.05) and experience in organic farming (R²=0.059) (p<0.01) showed significant positive relationship with their attitude towards organic farming; and cosmopolitanism (R²=0.149) showed significant (p<0.01) positive relationship with practice of the farmers. By utilizing the highly favorable attitude of the farmers towards organic farming, the knowledge level of them could be increased through training and extension contact, and as a result the magnitude of practices could be increased in the long run. Necessary agricultural policy strategies should be formulated to enhance the organic farming activities by the farmers.

Keywords: Attitude, Farmer, Knowledge, Practice, Organic farming

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Screening of advance wheat genotypes against spot blotch disease (Bipolaris sorokiniana) under varying sowing dates at Chitwan, Nepal

Narayan Dhakal 1, Sundar Man Shrestha 2, Hira Kaji Manandhar 2, Laxman Aryal 3, Sagar G C 4, Khem Raj Pant 5

1Nepal Polytechnique Institute, Bharatpur, Chitwan, Nepal
2Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
3Grain Legumes Research Program, Khajura, Banke, Nepal
4Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development, Pokhara, Kaski, Nepal
5Nepal Agricultural Research Council, National Wheat Research Program, Bhairahawa, Rupendehi, Nepal

doi: 10.5455/faa.97888                                                               pp: 383 – 392


Spot blotch of wheat caused by Bipolaris sorokiniana is a problematic biotic constraint that causes 15-80% yield abatement in the Indian subcontinent and other parts of the world. The most effective means of managing crop diseases is to develop resistant varieties against crop diseases. 25 wheat genotypes were evaluated against spot blotch (Bipolaris sorokiniana) under natural epiphytotic conditions sown on two dates (26 November and 18 December) at Rampur, Chitwan from November 2015 to April 2016. The experiment was laid out in a split plot design with three replications where dates of sowing were taken as the main plot and wheat genotypes were taken as sub-plots. Genotypes RR-21 and Morocco were taken as a susceptible check. Disease scoring for both sowing date was done 3 times at an interval of seven days. Disease severity and Area Under Disease Progressive Curve (AUDPC) were calculated. Among the tested genotypes, disease severity and AUDPC values varied significantly for both the normal and late sowing dates. The six genotypes were found resistant and eight genotypes were found moderately resistant under normal sowing conditions. None of the genotypes were found to be resistant and moderately resistant under late sowing conditions. This indicates that timely sowing of wheat is important for reducing yield loss caused by spot blotch disease irrespective of wheat genotypes grown. Seed infection percent for normal sowing was lower (25 to 85 percent) than late sowing (31 to 91 percent). This concluded that if farmers have to use the seed for sowing from their own field they should use the seeds harvested from the normal sowing date. The genotypes BL-4350, BL-4463, NL-1094, Aditya, BL-4316 and NL-971 were found resistant to spot blotch under normal sown condition. These genotypes could be used as donor parents for spot blotch resistance in breeding program or could be released as a variety after evaluating the agronomical traits and quality parameters.

Keywords: Sowing time, AUDPC, spot blotch, seed infection, wheat

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Impact of weed control practices on weed suppression and crop performance in boro rice

Sirajam Monira, Mahfuza Begum, Romij Uddin

Department of Agronomy, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.125478                                                 pp: 372 – 382


Weed control is important to prevent yield loss and production costs, and to preserve quality grain. Therefore, a study was conducted during December 2016 to May 2017 to find out appropriate weed management practices in boro rice. Two boro rice varieties namely, BRRI dhan28 and BRRI dhan29 were included in the study. Twelve different combinations of herbicidal weed managements viz., No weeding, Amchlor 5G or Talon 52WP as pre-emergence, Supermix 18WP or Clean master 18WP as post-emergence, Amchlor 5G followed by Supermix 18WP or Clean master 18WP, Talon 52WP followed by Clean master 18WP or Supermix 18WP, Amchlor 5G + Supermix 18WP + Hand weeding at 35 DAT, Talon 52WP + Clean master 18WP + Hand weeding at 42 DAT, and Two hand weeding were included in this experiment following single factor randomized complete block design with three replications. The maximum weed density (74.0 m-2 in BRRI dhan28 and 65.0 m-2 in BRRI dhan29) and biomass (38.2 gm-2 in BRRI dhan28 and 31.25 gm-2 in BRRI dhan29) were found in no weeding treatment and that of the lowest was obtained from Talon 52WP + Clean master 18WP + one hand weeding at 42 DAT. The highest grain yield (5.5 t ha-1 in BRRI dhan28 and 6.23 t ha-1 in BRRI dhan29), net return (58050 Tk. ha-1 in BRRI dhan28 and 61229 Tk. ha-1 in BRRI dhan29) and B:C ratio (1.81 in BRRI dhan28 and 1.86 in BRRI dhan29) were recorded when Talon 52WP + Clean master 18WP + one hand weeding at 42 DAT was applied. The lowest was obtained from the unweeded plots of both varieties. Based on this results Talon 52WP + Clean master 18WP + one hand weeding at 42 DAT was the best weed management practice in terms of efficacy and economics for both boro rice varieties.

Keywords: Weed management, Herbicide, Importance Value of weed, Net return, Benefit Cost Ratio

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Management of brinjal shoot and fruit borer (Leucinodes orbonalis Guenee) using biorational insecticide based IPM packages

Mithun Sarker, Mohammad Mahir Uddin, Mohammad Tofazzal Hossain Howlader

Department of Entomology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.97137                                                   pp: 361 – 371


Brinjal shoot and fruit borer (BSFB) is a serious pest of brinjal which can cause up to 90% yield loss and very difficult to control. An experiment was conducted in the Entomology Field Laboratory, Bangladesh Agricultural University during December 2017 to April 2018 on the management of brinjal shoot and fruit borer using selected biorational insecticide based IPM Packages viz. spinosad + removal of infested shoot and fruit, abamectin + removal of infested shoot and fruit, emamectin benzoate + removal of infested shoot and fruit, cypermethrin + removal of infested shoot and fruit, spinosad + abamectin, spinosad + emamectin benzoate, spinosad + buprofezin, abamectin + buprofezin, emamectin benzoate + buprofezin, abamectin + emamectin benzoate along with an untreated control. The experiment was laid out in Randomized Complete Block Design with three replications. The effectiveness of IPM packages was evaluated based on following parameters viz. percent shoot and fruit infestation, percent protection of shoot and fruit over control, marketable and infested fruit yield (t ha-1), percent increase or decrease of marketable or infested fruit over control. All the IPM packages significantly reduced percent shoot and fruit infestation and significantly increased/decreased the marketable/infested fruit yield, respectively over untreated control at 7 days after spraying (DAS). Among the packages the best results were found in case of spinosad + removal of infested shoot and fruit (73.13% and 72.72% shoot and fruit protection, respectively over control; marketable fruit yield of 5.70 t ha-1 and 65.07% reduction of infested fruit yield) and emamectin benzoate + buprofezin (82.72% and 57.70% shoot and fruit protection, respectively over control; marketable fruit yield of 5.71 t ha-1 and 43.88% reduction of infested fruit yield) treated plots whereas the lowest protection was obtained from abamectin + buprofezin (15.67% and 20.70% shoot and fruit protection, respectively over control; marketable fruit yield of 2.87 t ha-1 and 13.43% reduction of infested fruit yield). Therefore, spinosad + removal of infested shoot and fruit and emamectin benzoate + buprofezin could be recommended as the IPM programme for the sustainable management of BSFB.

Keywords: Solanum melongena, spinosad, abamectin, emamectin, buprofezin, removal, sustainable

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Investigating the in vitro regeneration potential of selected local rice cultivars in Bangladesh

Rashidul Hasan, Mohammed Shafi Ullah Bhuiyan, Goutam Deb, Mst Maiful Akter Dina, Sayeda Sultana

Dept of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet-3100, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.104381                                                                pp: 353 – 360


The study was conducted to establish a suitable protocol for in vitro regeneration of local rice (Oryza sativa) cultivars grown in greater Sylhet region in Bangladesh for further genetic improvement through biotechnological manipulation. To figure out the optimum medium for high frequency callus induction and shoot regeneration, dehusked seeds of O. sativa cv. Lakhai were cultivated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium strengthened with several concentrations of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D), α-Napthalene acetic acid (NAA) and 6-Benzylaminopurine (BA). In response to plant growth regulators, the ranges of callus and shoot induction frequency of cv. Lakhai were 13.33% to 100% and 6.66 to 93.33%, respectively. The highest frequency (100%) of callus initiation was found in MS medium supplemented with 3 mg L-1 NAA and 1 mg L-1 BA and the lowest callus initiation (13.33%) was noticed in MS medium with 1 mg L-1 NAA. The highest shoot regeneration (93.33%) was found in MS medium comprised with 0.5 mg L-1 NAA and 3 mg L-1 BA. Thereafter, the callus and shoot regeneration potentials of five selected local cultivars including cv. Lakhai were evaluated using the most responsive medium standardized to cultivar Lakhai . The cv. Lakhai showed the greatest shoot regeneration frequency (93.33%) and the lowest frequency (53.33 %) was observed in cv. Maloti. MS media fortified with 0.1-0.2 mg L-1 NAA gave the maximum frequency (100%) for root initiation. When the plantlets were grown enough with root, they were acclimatized in pot soil and grown up to maturity stage in field conditions. Thus, the developed protocol for callus induction and regeneration of rice plantlet can be implemented for various biotechnological practices related to genetic improvement of Bangladeshi local rice cultivars.

Keywords: Plant growth regulators, tissue culture, local rice, organogenesis, genotype

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Evaluation of CROPWAT 8.0 model in predicting the yield of east Africa highland banana under different sets of irrigation scheduling

Olivier Ndayitegeye1,3, Japheth Ogalo Onyando1, Romulus Okoth Okwany1 and Johnson Kisera Kwach2

1Department of Agricultural Engineering, Egerton University, KENYA
2School of Agriculture and Food Security, Tom Mboya University College, KENYA
3Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, Kigali, RWANDA

doi: 10.5455/faa.93386                                                           pp: 344 – 352


Simulation models based on plant physiology are used to predict growth and yield of crops. Such models are important because they can be used to pre-evaluate treatments, thus, improving the effectivity of agricultural research and reducing the cost of field experiments. For efficiency purpose, crop models need to be calibrated and validated before using them. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of an existing crop model in predicting the yield of East Africa Highland Banana (EAHB) under deficit irrigation and different irrigation intervals. The model, CROPWAT 8.0, was calibrated, evaluated and applied for banana crop water requirements and estimation of EAHB yield. For calibration of CROPWAT 8.0, monthly climatic data (temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, sunshine hours and rainfall), crop and soil data are were used. Climatic data were provided by the New_LocClim software which is the local climate estimator of FAO, effective rain was set to zero because the experiment was conducted under a rain shelter. Three irrigation levels (IL) (80%, 90% and 100% of Evapotranspiration) were combined with three levels of irrigation intervals (D) (4, 6 and 8 days in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. To evaluate the model for yield estimation, the observed yield was compared with the corresponding simulated values by CROPWAT 8.0 using mean squared deviation (MSD), Nash and Sutcliffe model efficiency (NSE), coefficient of determination (R2) and paired t-test. The predicted banana yield (39.1 ± 2.66 t ha-1) from the calibrated model was very close to the observed yield (38.4 ± 2.37 t ha-1 (p≥0.05, R2 = 0.82 and an NSE of 0.81. MSD analysis showed that the model’s prediction was more accurate at 8 or 6 days irrigation intervals than 4 days irrigation interval. The calibrated CROPWAT 8.0 model can be used efficiently to predict the yield of East Africa Highland Banana.

Keywords: CROPWAT 8.0, banana yield, deficit irrigation, irrigation interval

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Water quality, bacterial load and hematological investigations of three over-wintering catfishes in Mymensingh District of Bangladesh

Mahabuba Shirin1, Tamanna Tabassum1, Drubo Mustofa Evan1, Kamrun Naher Azad1, Mousumi Akter2, Tanvir Rahman1

1Department of Aquaculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

2Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BANGLADESH

doi: 10.5455/faa.86150                                                                      pp: 330 – 343


Studies were conducted to determine the water quality parameters, bacterial load in water and hematology of Pangasianodon hypophthalmus, Heteropneoustes fossilis and Ompok pabda reared in 15 over-wintering catfish ponds located at different upazila under Mymensingh district. Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) technique tools such as personal interview, focus group discussion (FGD) and key informant interview with fish farmers were done to collect preliminary data. Fish and water samples were collected from catfish ponds and were analyzed in the Fish Disease Laboratory, Faculty of Fisheries, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. The microbial loads of pond water (CFU/ mL) were determined by ten-fold serial dilution using Tryptone Soya Agar (TSA) after incubation at 25 °C for 48 h. Hematological analysis of blood samples were done to determine RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, blood glucose level and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) of the over-wintered catfish. It was found that the water temperature, pH, dissolve oxygen, total alkalinity and ammonia ranged from 27 to 20.5°C, 8.2 to 7.0, 7 to 5 ppm, 190 to 120 ppm, 0.03 ppm, respectively during the study period. Among the 15 ponds, the highest and lowest temperature was recorded in P. hypophthalmus ponds. The highest alkalinity was observed in P. hypophthalmus ponds and minimum was found in O. pabda ponds. The ammonia concentration was more or less similar (0.03 ppm) in 15 ponds. Average bacterial load of rearing water was ranged from the highest 2.6 ± 1.60 ×105 CFU/ mL to lowest 2.3 ± 1.93 ×103 CFU/ mL in H. fossilis ponds. The study revealed maximum RBC, WBC contents and the highest glucose level in O. pabda and minimum in H. fossilis and P. hypophthalmus. However, MCH and hemoglobin levels were found higher in P. hypophthalmus and lower in O. pabda. The study revealed preliminary data regarding over-wintering farm condition, bacterial loads of over-winter water, hematology and water quality parameters of three over-wintering catfish which also indicated the unplanned management of over-wintering ponds that sometimes affects water quality and hematology of catfish. The findings may contribute for the proper health management of fish reared under over-wintering condition.

Keywords: Water quality, bacterial load, hematology, over-wintering, catfish

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Farmers’ knowledge and perceptions of virus diseases affecting hot pepper (Capsicum sp.) and their management in Rwanda

Bancy Waithira Waweru1, Dora Chao Kilalo1, John Wangai Kimenju1, Placide Rukundo2, Douglas Watuku Miano1

1Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-0625 Kangemi, Nairobi, KENYA
2Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, P.O. Box 5016, Kigali, RWANDA

doi: 10.5455/faa.113641                                         pp: 319 – 329


Hot pepper (Capsicum spp.) is an important cash crop in Rwanda however, its productivity can only increase after addressing factors that limit its production. This study aimed at revealing the farmers’ knowledge and perceptions of virus diseases and their management in Rwanda. A survey was conducted between February and March 2018 in the main hot pepper growing areas covering low, mid and high-altitude agro-ecological zones (AEZs). Household data were collected using a structured questionnaire from 101 respondents and analysed using descriptive statistics. Majority of farmers (86.1%) indicated that pests and diseases were the main constraints to hot pepper production. Viral diseases were perceived by 71.9% of the farmers as the most serious diseases while 51.4% and 12.9% of them reported that aphids and whiteflies were the major insect pests of hot pepper, respectively. Only 17.8% and 25.7% of the farmers attributed the cause of the viral diseases to insect vectors and the use of infected seeds, respectively. The main method used to control viral diseases was application of synthetic pesticides. About two-thirds of the farmers lacked in knowledge of viral disease symptoms, spread and management across all AEZs. Majority of the farmers (80.2%) did not have access to extension service or training but relied mainly on farmer-interactions for information. Farmers awareness of viral diseases was significantly influenced by training (χ2 = 29.205; P = <0.001) and age (χ2 = 10.421; P = 0.005). Therefore, interventions such as farm-level training to raise the farmers’ awareness of diseases, especially viral diseases and integrated disease management are needed. This study provides baseline information for the development of sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) strategy for hot pepper viral diseases in Rwanda.

Keywords: Capsicum spp., constraints, virus diseases, farmers’ perception, pest management

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First report of jackfruit decline caused by Phytophthora spp. in Bangladesh

Farhana Jenny1, Md Abdul Kader2, Md Abdullahil Baki Bhuiyan2

1Seed Certification Agency (SCA), Gazipur, Bangladesh
2The Department of Plant Pathology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Gazipur,

doi: 10.5455/faa.2194                                          pp: 315 – 318


A survey was conducted at Gazipur, one of the major jackfruit producing districts in Bangladesh where decline syndromes were frequently observed. The characteristic symptoms of jackfruit decline included trunk canker, wilting, dieback of the canopy and in some cases complete death. The disease incidence was increased with the increase of plants age. Among the isolated fungi from the study area, only Phytophthora spp. were found to be pathogenic and caused decline symptoms in artificially inoculated jackfruit seedlings. Based on the morphological data, the isolates were confirmed as Phytophthora spp. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report in Bangladesh.

Keywords: Dieback, wilting, canker, sporangium

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Impacts of nitrogen on plant disease severity and plant defense mechanism

Shishir Sharma

Department of Plant Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University, Rampur, Chitwan, NEPAL

doi: 10.5455/faa.103334                                  pp: 303 – 314


Nitrogen(N) is considered the most important factor to help the growth and development of plants. This is the building block for plant protoplasm and the chlorophyll molecule component for the photosynthesis process as well. Although it is apparent that the availability of N affects disease, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. Many data indicate that the greater use of N fertilizers affected crop disease incidence. In comparison, cases are also recorded in which a decrease in N fertilization increases the severity of the disease, suggesting a complex relationship between them. N plays a significant role in regulating signaling networks that are active in reacting to a broad variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. In terms of physical, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms, the relationship between N and plant defense is considered. N has negative effects on physical defenses and the development of anti-microbial phytoalexins, but positive effects on defense-related enzymes and proteins that influence both local defense and systemic resistance. These all factors are implicated in plant defense signaling pathways but their role in plant defense is less well studied. This review aims to explain current knowledge of pathways connecting plant N status with the plant disease severity and plant defense. While this analysis highlights the crucial role of N nutrition in plant defense, further research is desperately required to provide a thorough overview of how interacting networks affect competing virulence and defense mechanisms.

Keywords: Nitrogen, Disease severity, Plant defense, Physical defense, Biochemical defense, Molecular defense

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Early preparedness: Bangladesh proactive steps towards desert locust invasion in South Asia

Mohammad Shaef Ullah1, Dilruba Sharmin1,2, Malvika Chaudhary3

1Laboratory of Applied Entomology and Acarology, Department of Entomology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, BANGLADESH

2National Pest Management Expert, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Dhaka, BANGLADESH

3Regional Coordinator, CABI-Plantwise, INDIA

doi: 10.5455/faa.123992                            pp: 295 – 302


The desert locust Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) is considered as the most devastating trans-boundary pest of all migratory pest species in the world due to its high reproduction rate, ability to migrate long distances, and destruct the crops. The ongoing spread of locusts in the region of South Asia represents an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods. Although there are many factors involved, change in climate directs unpredictable direction to wind which is responsible for this unusual spread of pest from India towards Nepal. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), even before the cyclone Amphan hit the country, dry conditions prevailing in the west forced immature adult swarms to move eastward in India, crossing the entire northern India as far as Bihar and Orissa. Though the risk posed by desert locust is extremely low in Bangladesh, the chances get much lower because of the monsoon. During the monsoon it gets very humid and the potential of nymphs getting infected by pathogens is high and they die naturally being completely outside of their desert habitat. The rapid and sudden upsurge of the locust population that is unleashing destruction globally can be attributed to aberrant and erratic climatic behaviour triggered by global warming. Therefore, the government of Bangladesh is taking proactive steps to manage different trans-boundary pests to ensure food security and livelihoods.

Keywords: Desert locust, trans-boundary pest, invasion, wind, food security, South Asia

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Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic from Farm to Fork: Hard-won Lessons

Md Parvez Anwar

doi: 10.5455/faa.111527                                          pp: 289 – 294


As evident from the past, although pandemic is a health issue it could lead to food security and economic crises. Since agriculture accounts for more than 3.3% of global gross domestic product and 60% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, COVID-19 pandemic impact on agriculture may result in acute hunger and malnutrition, and the deepest global recession in recent history. Agriculture is experiencing a huge challenge in dealing with both supply and demand shocks. Globally, there is sufficient food to feed the people but the challenge is to make food available to everyone due to logistic bottlenecks and high price. The hard-won lessons from this pandemic is that ‘feeding the world is always a challenging task’ and therefore we should search for a more resilient, sustainable and regenerative food production and supply system to cope with such a crisis. Prompt response and immediate acceleration are needed to support the recovery process and minimize deterioration. Agri-food sector must be reoriented so that it can function more effectively in the post COVID-19 era.

Keywords: Agriculture, Covid-19, food security, pandemic, resilience

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