Intercropping is an adapted farming system to optimize resource-use efficiency and crop yield, particularly in low input agricultural systems. Due to the beneficial eco-agricultural effects of grain legumes, their integration in mixed cropping systems such as intercropping systems can be more beneficial to soil fertility, soil functioning, and nutrient cycling. About 16–22% of the world’s food is provided by cropping systems. On smallholder farms in Eastern and Southern Africa, the integration of legumes has the potential to increase maize (Zea mays) production up to 35% (e.g., Maize-pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) intercropping). Legume-based intercropping systems can also promote rhizobacterial community diversity and soil health by enhancing symbiotic and non-symbiotic beneficial population. In the rhizosphere, the bacterial community is required to improve the growth and health of both intercrops due to several “direct and indirect” mechanisms involving plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). This review aims to highlight the importance of both legume-based intercropping and root-associated microorganisms particular emphasis on rhizobacteria; since the whole “crop-crop-microorganism” system has the potential to improve crop agro-physiological performance. This study also discusses the key role of legumes as intercrops being fully synergistic with PGPR contributing to crop yield stability under stressful conditions, notably drought and nutrient deficiency. Thus, intercropping can be used as an agroecological practice to ensure the sustainability of production.
Participatory Design means recognizing that those who will be affected by a future technology should have an active say in its creation. Yet, despite continuous interest in involving people as future users and consumers into designing novel and innovative future technology, participatory approaches in technology design remain relatively underdeveloped in the German HCI community. This article brings together the diversity of voices, domains, perspectives, approaches, and methods that collectively shape Participatory Design in Germany. In the following, we (1) outline our understanding of participatory practice and how it is different from mere user involvement; (2) reflect current issues of participatory and fair technology design within the German Participatory Design community; and (3) discuss tensions relevant to the field, that we expect to arise in the future, and which we derived from our 2021 workshop through a speculative method. We contribute an introduction and an overview of current themes and a speculative outlook on future issues of Participatory Design in Germany. It is meant to inform, provoke, inspire and, ultimately, invite participation within the wider Computer Science community.
The interactions of microalgae and their associated microbiomes have come to the fore of applied phycological research in recent years. However, the functional mechanisms of microalgal interactions remain largely unknown. Here, we examine functional protein patterns of the microalgae Scenedesmus vacuolatus and its associated bacterial community during algal infection by the endoparasite Amoeboaphelidium protococcarum. We performed metaproteomics analyses of non-infected (NI) and aphelid-infected (AI) S.vacuolatus cultures to investigate underlying functional and physiological changes under infectious conditions. We observed an increase in bacterial protein abundance as well as a severe shift of bacterial functional patterns throughout aphelid-infection in comparison to NI treatment. Most of the bacterial proteins (about 55%) upregulated in AI were linked to metabolism and transport of amino acids, lipids, coenzymes, nucleotides and carbohydrates and to energy production. Several proteins associated with pathogenic bacterial-plant interactions showed higher protein abundance levels in AI treatment. These functional shifts indicate that associated bacteria involved in commensalistic or mutualistic interactions in NI switch to opportunistic lifestyles and facilitate pathogenic or saprotrophic traits in AI treatment. In summary, the native bacterial microbiome adapted its metabolism to algal host die off and is able to metabolize nutrients from injured cells or decompose dead cellular material.
Consumers consider food products sold in transparent packaging to be trustworthy and of higher quality, but only if the contained product is visually attractive. However, at points of sale, the appearance of food products can change, which affects their perceived quality and purchase intention. Image analysis could mimic the visual evaluations made by humans, and data processing allows to establish models to predict changes in food quality. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of the image analysis to monitor the perceived quality of table olives during storage as a system model. For this purpose, the brine colour, sensory acceptance and image analysis of table olives packed in transparent pouches were evaluated at two different temperatures. The proposed system was able to predict brine browning and to assess product sensory perception. Therefore, image analysis proved a non-destructive and fast tool to predict consumer acceptance of table olives packed in transparent pouches.
Electrospun nonwovens have great potential for biomedical applications. They can be used, for example, to mimic the structure of the extracellular matrix of biological tissue. In this work, we demonstrate that the surface properties of nanofiber nonwovens made of biocompatible and very slowly biodegrading polyamide can be modified by UV picosecond laser processing. Basically, the nanofiber structure is only slightly changed by the corresponding laser process. Significant laser‐induced material change occurs only along narrow lines determined by the scanning process. The newly formed surface structures resemble a bulk surface. It is shown that the growth of mammalian chondrocyte cells (SW1353) is initially more effective on the laser processed surface. Cell growth occurs preferably along the laser generated lines. After several days of cell growth, an extended layer of cells is formed over the laser modified and unmodified surface sections. Thus, laser‐based surface modification provides another tool to affect cell proliferation on polyamide nanofiber nonwovens. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
α-Synuclein (aSyn) is a protein implicated in physiological functions such as neurotransmitter release at the synapse and the regulation of gene expression in the nucleus. In addition, pathological aSyn assemblies are characteristic for a class of protein aggregation disorders referred to as synucleinopathies, where aSyn aggregates appear as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites. We recently discovered a novel post-translational pyroglutamate (pGlu) modification at Gln79 of N-truncated aSyn that promotes oligomer formation and neurotoxicity in human synucleinopathies. A priori, the appearance of pGlu79-aSyn in vivo involves a two-step process of free N-terminal Gln79 residue generation and subsequent cyclization of Gln79 into pGlu79. Prime candidate enzymes for these processes are matrix metalloproteinase-3 (MMP-3) and glutaminyl cyclase (QC). Here, we analyzed the expression of aSyn, MMP-3, QC and pGlu79-aSyn in brains of two transgenic mouse models for synucleinopathies (BAC-SNCA and ASO) by triple immunofluorescent labellings and confocal laser scanning microscopy. We report a co-localization of these proteins in brain structures typically affected by aSyn pathology, namely hippocampus in BAC-SNCA mice and substantia nigra in ASO mice. In addition, Western blot analyses revealed a high abundance of QC, MMP-3 and transgenic human aSyn in brain stem and thalamus but lower levels in cortex/hippocampus, whereas endogenous mouse aSyn was found to be most abundant in cortex/hippocampus, followed by thalamus and brain stem. During aging of ASO mice, we observed no differences between controls and transgenic mice in MMP-3 levels but higher QC content in thalamus of 6-month-old transgenic mice. Transgenic human aSyn abundance transiently increased and then showed decrease in oldest ASO mice analyzed. Immunohistochemistry revealed a successive increase in intraneuronal and extracellular formation of pGlu79-aSyn in substantia nigra during aging of ASO mice. Together, our data are supportive for a role of MMP-3 and QC in the generation of pGlu79-aSyn in brains affected by aSyn pathology.
Background: Microalgae CO 2 fixation results in the production of biomass rich in high-valuable products, such as fatty acids and carotenoids. Enhanced productivity of valuable compounds can be achieved through the microalgae's ability to capture CO 2 efficiently from sources of high CO 2 contents but is dependent on the species. Although culture collections of microalgae provide a large variety of defined strains, inadequate understanding of which groups of microalgae and strains' origins from habitat offer high productivity under increased CO 2 concentrations hampers exploiting microalgae as a sustainable source in the bioeconomy. Results: Growth under atmospheres of CO 2 levels of 5 - 25 % in air was examined for 12 new microalgae isolates from adverse terrestrial environments and 69 strains from the culture collection of algae of Göttingen University (SAG), preselected from about 200 strains for their phylogenetic diversity and high productivity under ambient CO 2 . Green algae from terrestrial environments, including the new isolates, exhibited enhanced growth up to 25% CO 2 atmosphere. In contrast, in unicellular red algae and stramenopile algae, which originated through the endosymbiotic uptake of a red algal cell, growth at CO 2 concentrations above 5% was suppressed or ceased. While terrestrial stramenopile algae generally tolerated such CO 2 concentrations, their counterparts from marine phytoplankton did not. The tests of four new terrestrial strains in submersed culture revealed enhanced biomass and chlorophyll production under elevated CO 2 levels. The 15% CO 2 aeration increased their total carotenoid and fatty acid contents, which were further stimulated when combined with starvation in macronutrients, i.e., less with phosphate and significantly more with nitrogen-depleted culture media. Conclusion: Isolates of green algae from terrestrial environments, Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae, exhibit enhanced productivity of carotenoids and fatty acids under elevated CO 2 concentrations. This ability supports the economic and sustainable production of valuable compounds of these microalgae using inexpensive sources of high CO 2 concentrations such as industrial exhaust fumes.
Background and Aims Habitat degradation and landscape fragmentation dramatically lower population sizes of rare plant species. Decreasing population sizes may, in turn, negatively affect genetic diversity and reproductive fitness which can ultimately lead to local extinction of populations. Although such extinction vortex dynamics have been postulated in theory and modelling for decades, empirical evidence from local extinctions of plant populations is scarce. In particular, comparisons between current vs. historical genetic diversity and differentiation are lacking despite their potential to guide conservation management. Methods We studied the population genetic signatures of the local extinction of Biscutella laevigata subsp. gracilis populations in Central Germany. We used microsatellites to genotype individuals from 15 current populations, one ex-situ population, and 81 herbarium samples from five extant and 22 extinct populations. In the current populations, we recorded population size and fitness proxies, collected seeds for a germination trial and conducted a vegetation survey. The latter served as surrogate for habitat conditions to study how habitat dissimilarity affects functional connectivity among the current populations. Key Results Bayesian clustering revealed similar gene pool distribution in current and historical samples but also indicated that a distinct genetic cluster was significantly associated with extinction probability. Gene flow was affected by both spatial distance and floristic composition of population sites, highlighting the potential of floristic composition as powerful predictor of functional connectivity which may promote decision making for reintroduction measures. For an extinct population, we found a negative relationship between sampling year and heterozygosity. Inbreeding negatively affected germination. Conclusions Our study illustrates the usefulness of historical DNA to study extinction vortices in threatened species. Our novel combination of classical population genetics together with data from herbarium specimens, an ex-situ population and a germination trial underscores the need for genetic rescue measures to prevent extinction of B. laevigata in Central Germany.
Diel activity patterns are an important aspect of behavioural ecology, yet summarising works on diel activity patterns of fishes are lacking for several regions of the world, including the Mediterranean Sea. Based on a comprehensive review of literature, internet searches, citizen science and personal observations, we compile existing knowledge of diel activity of Mediterranean pelagic and demersal teleosts commonly occurring at depths shallower than 200 m as adults (393 native and 165 newcomer species, representing 124 families), using the categories strictly or mainly diurnal and nocturnal, crepuscular, cathemeral and diel vertical migration. Most of the available data refer to foraging activity patterns of adult fishes, while knowledge of time of reproduction, migratory movements, or territorial defence remains unknown for more than half of the species. Confamilial species often have the same activity pattern, although a high plasticity or diversity in diel activity patterns is seen in some families (Belonidae, Carangidae, Clupeidae, Gadidae, Gobiidae, Scombridae, Scorpaenidae, Sparidae, and Triglidae). We found correlations between adult feeding activity patterns and trophic level, habitat use and depth range: diurnal species have a lower trophic level, prefer shallower depths, and tend to occur over hard bottoms or have multi-habitat use, nocturnal species are mostly carnivorous and prefer soft bottoms in deeper waters, while cathemeral species are commonly carnivorous and pelagic. Our results do not support the hypothesis that nocturnal Indo-Pacific immigrants are more successful colonizers. The present work highlights the perils of over-generalizing activity patterns and shows that several gaps in knowledge of diel activity patterns of fishes remain despite that such knowledge can support conservation efforts.
Roadsides, in particular those being species-rich and of conservation value, are considered to improve landscape permeability by providing corridors among habitat patches and by facilitating species' dispersal. However, little is known about the potential connectivity offered by such high-value roadsides. Using circuit theory, we modelled connectivity provided by high-value roadsides in landscapes with low or high permeability in south-central Sweden, with ‘permeability’ being measured by the area of semi-natural grasslands. We modelled structural connectivity and, for habitat generalists and specialists, potential functional connectivity focusing on butterflies. We further assessed in which landscapes grassland connectivity is best enhanced through measures for expanding the area of high-value roadsides. Structural connectivity provided by high-value roadsides resulted in similar patterns to those of a functional approach, in which we modelled habitat generalists. In landscapes with low permeability, all target species showed higher movements within compared to between grasslands using high-value roadsides. In landscapes with high permeability, grassland generalists and specialists showed the same patterns, whereas for habitat generalists, connectivity provided by high-value roadsides and grasslands was similar. Increasing the ratio of high-value roadsides can thus enhance structural and functional connectivity in landscapes with low permeability. In contrast, in landscapes with high permeability, roadsides only supported movement of specialised species. Continuous segments of high-value roadsides are most efficient to increase connectivity for specialists, whereas generalists can utilize also short segments of high-value roadsides acting as stepping-stones. Thus, land management should focus on the preservation and restoration of existing semi-natural grasslands. Management for enhancing grassland connectivity through high-value roadsides should aim at maintaining and creating high-value roadside vegetation, preferably in long continuous segments, especially in landscapes with low permeability.
Virtual technologies (AR/VR/MR, subsumed as xR) are used in many commercial applications, such as automotive development, medical training, architectural planning, teaching and many more. Usually, existing software products offer either VR, AR or a 2D monitor experience. This limitation can be a hindrance. Let’s draw a simple application example: Users at a university shall join an xR teaching session in a mechanical engineering lecture. They bring their own xR device, join the session and experience the lecture with xR support. But users may ask themselves: Does the choice of my own xR device limit my learning success? In order to investigate multi-platform xR experiences, a software framework was developed and is presented here. This allows one shared xR experience for users of AR smartphones, AR/MR glasses and VR-PCs. The aim is to use this framework to study differences between the platforms and to be able to research for better quality multi-user multi-platform xR experiences. We present results of a first study that made use of our framework. We compared user experience, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use between three different xR device types in a multi-user experience. Results are presented and discussed.
Emerging AR applications for vehicles, and especially for AR HUDs, are current topics for modern assistance systems to support drivers in their driving tasks. Prototyping of AR experiences is presented in current research in immersive authoring tools to overcome complexities and entry barriers for designers and psychologists. However, these are not applicable to navigation displays for AR HUD. This paper presents a qualitative study with concept developers in their domain to determine the characteristics of AR applications that the HUD should possess. The different dimensions of the problems and properties of the required information are presented. The different facets of associated issues and information requirements are also discussed. These facets and its corresponding information are categorized in different levels of complexity of the navigation context, which are not typically part of the development of standard AR applications. Technological entry barriers introduce additional complexity levels for the concept developers. More specifically, the representation of dynamic virtual objects on displays in dynamic environments complicates the development as there is no suitable evaluation platform meeting the requirements of the concept developers.
Over the last decade, the use of computerized three-dimensional (3D) models in a virtual environment has become widespread to enhance medical teaching and learning, particularly in anatomy. Technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) offer large potential to enhance medical training processes. The research focus of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of using predesigned off-the-shelf VR software to teach medical knowledge in comparison with a conventional teaching method. Also investigated was the degree of satisfaction associated with using VR to learn. The teaching example focuses on the anatomy of the human heart because it is one of the most challenging topics to teach and comprehend due to its complex three-dimensional nature. A randomized controlled study was conducted with forty participants. They were equally distributed into two groups: 20 in control (non-VR) and 20 in experimental (VR) group. Two learning methods were used to study the heart. The non-VR group used PowerPoint presentation, whereas the VR group used immersive VR from off-the-shelf software. This study subsequently gives insight on three main aspects: First, there was significant difference in anatomy knowledge within the two groups. Second, the VR group found the learning experience to be significantly more engaging, enjoyable, and useful. Third, non-customizable predesigned software can be suitable and effective for medical training tasks and applications.
Due to severe biodiversity and climate crises, there is now a need for sustainable supply chains. Food supply chains contribute to biodiversity loss, especially through land use and agriculture. In addition, energy-intensive storage for refrigeration and intercontinental transportation lead to high emission along chains due to seasonality. Selecting and prioritizing decarbonization actions is a key task for decision makers along food supply chains this decade. Often, modernizing supply chains by integrating information and digital technologies is seen as beneficial for environmental goals. The aim of this work is to develop a new systematization of sustainability measures based on archetypal sustainability strategies (sufficiency, consistency, and efficiency) that support the prioritization and thus the selection of decarbonization measures. Existing measures will be researched through a structured literature review. At the same time, it is recorded how they are categorized or systematized. Forty-eight different systematizations are analyzed. The majority relate to specific sectors and are not generally transferable. Sustainability is often addressed using the triple bottom line. In particular, efficiency and consistency measures are often included in the categories found but are rarely used for systematization. A new systematization of sustainability measures is proposed and applied to a set of digitalization and logistics 4.0 measures using the example of a fresh apple supply chain. The advantages of the proposed systematization are discussed, and further research directions are given. The presented method has not been examined in the literature so far; this concerns both the width and depth of the consideration of supply chains.
Neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD) and the most frequent, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), represent one of the most urgent medical needs worldwide. Despite a significantly developed understanding of disease development and pathology, treatments that stop AD progression are not yet available. The recent approval of sodium oligomannate (GV-971) for AD treatment in China emphasized the potential value of natural products for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Many current clinical studies include the administration of a natural compound as a single and combination treatment. The most prominent mechanisms of action are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activities, thus preserving cellular survival. Here, we review current natural products that are either approved or are in testing for a treatment of neurodegeneration in AD. In addition to the most important compounds of plant origin, we also put special emphasis on compounds from algae, given their neuroprotective activity and their underlying mechanisms of neuroprotection.
Renewable energy production will require large areas of land; production sites should be designed to include biodiversity conservation. Guidance for decision-makers on reasonable coexistence is needed. We use time-series data alongside a meta-study on birds in solar parks, utilizing succession theory to indicate which bird groups can thrive in solar parks. Using an evidence-based and interdisciplinary approach, we documented biodiversity and conditions at a 6 ha site in the newly created post-mining landscape of Lusatia, Germany, for 16 years, grouping avian species depending on the ecosystem state in which they were observed. In a key mid-period of early succession lasting eight years, the avifauna was characterized by successional groups 2, herbaceous plant-preferring, ground-breeding species; and 3, open shrub-preferring species. The preceding and following groups were: (1) pioneer bird species that prefer open ground; and (4), pre-forest species. Comparison of these data with available bird monitoring in solar parks showed that bird species of groups 2 and 3 can also successfully settle in open-space solar parks that have some natural habitat attributes, whereas this is hardly possible for the preceding and following groups. Using this information, opportunities for habitat improvement are facilitated, and potential conflicts can be addressed more purposefully.
Transitioning to a bio-based economy is widely perceived as a necessary way to tackle climate change and other key environmental challenges. Given the major socio-economic consequences that such a transition entails for people’s everyday lives, it is crucial to take account of citizens’ perceptions and levels of acceptance of these changes. This study applies a holistic approach to gain an understanding of how citizens in Germany assess possible developments associated with transitioning to a bioeconomy. We developed three future scenarios modelling the impacts on people’s day-to-day lives of adopting different elements of a bioeconomy and of replacing fossil resources with biogenic resources to a lesser or greater extent by 2050. German citizens were asked to evaluate the different scenarios through a quantitative online survey. Although the respondents largely preferred the scenario of “Bioeconomy Change” entailing the most substantial changes in resource use, many also expressed concerns about the possible negative socio-economic effects of this scenario, including fears of increased product prices, declining living standards, and greater social injustice. The results show that younger people and women are more in favour of changes towards a bioeconomy than men and older people. Since the acceptance of bio-technical innovations increases with greater knowledge about such innovations and their usefulness, the transformation process must make use of sound communication strategies that involve all societal groups by engaging them in constructive dialogue.
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