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Volume 5 Issue 4

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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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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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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