As the world faces an array of global challenges, including population growth, climate change, and the need for clean energy, the role of legumes in addressing these issues becomes increasingly significant. The Research Topic, “Legumes for Global Food Security, Volume II” aims to explore the diverse contributions of legumes in promoting sustainable agriculture and enhancing global food security. Legumes play a crucial role in delivering vital services to societies worldwide. One of their primary contributions lies in their capacity to provide a wide range of food crops that serve as essential sources of plant-based proteins, addressing the challenge of food security for a rapidly growing population. Furthermore, grain legumes possess remarkable nutritional properties and act as cost-effective food choices, playing a pivotal role in achieving global food and feed security amid the growing world population. The significance of legumes extends beyond their role as a food source. Through rhizobial symbiosis, legumes have the unique ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, enriching agroecosystems and boosting subsequent crop productivity by enhancing water and nutrient capture and recycling. Moreover, they play a key role in mitigating climate change, offering an alternative to synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers, which is energy-intensive to produce and release greenhouse gases upon breakdown. Furthermore, legumes contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel usage by providing biofuel feedstocks and industrial resources. Given the challenges posed by increasing climatic stresses, legumes’ genetic diversity equips them to thrive in various environments, rendering them resilient and ideal for sustainable intensification on small-scale and resource-constrained farms. Moreover, they play a vital role as biocontrol agents, effectively combating pests and diseases that could otherwise cause significant agricultural losses. This Research Topic aims to explore the multifaceted contributions of legumes in the development of robust and efficient agro-ecosystems, thereby enhancing global food security. Here we summarize some of the highlights derived from the 22 articles published in this Research Topic, dividing them in four main topics, in order to better understand how research on legumes and related crops is contributing to crop improvement, adaptation, and nutrient management, ultimately aiming to address food security challenges and support sustainable agriculture.
The ‘super-station’ approach has been adopted since 1980s as a pragmatic method of improving extreme‑value predictions by grouping short-length datasets from several measurement stations to become a larger dataset to reduce uncertainties due to random sampling variation. El Rafei et al. (2023, https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GL105286) analyzed reanalysis and randomly generated wind extremes datasets and claimed that this technique can introduce unexpected biases in typical situations. We demonstrate by Monte-Carlo simulation, assuming the same number of grouped stations and data lengths used, that applying the grouping technique to samples from homogeneous datasets does not lead to biased prediction of extremes. In addition, the grouping technique effectively reduces the uncertainty and sampling errors that result from short-length datasets from individual stations of consistent meteorology.
Marine foundation species are the biotic basis for many of the world's coastal ecosystems, providing structural habitat, food, and protection for myriad plants and animals as well as many ecosystem services. However, climate change poses a significant threat to foundation species and the ecosystems they support. We review the impacts of climate change on common marine foundation species, including corals, kelps, corals, seagrasses, salt marsh plants, mangroves, and bivalves. It is evident that marine foundation species have already been severely impacted by several climate change drivers, often through interactive effects with other human stressors, such as pollution, overfishing, and coastal development. Despite considerable variation in geographical, environmental, and ecological contexts, direct and indirect effects of gradual warming and subsequent heatwaves have emerged as the most pervasive drivers of observed impact and potent threat across all marine foundation species, but effects from sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increased storminess are expected to increase. Documented impacts include changes in the genetic structures, physiology, abundance, and distribution of the foundation species themselves and changes to their interactions with other species, with flow-on effects to associated communities, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning. We discuss strategies to support marine foundation species into the Anthropocene, in order to increase their resilience and ensure the persistence of the ecosystem services they provide. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Marine Science, Volume 16 is January 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of osseointegration of porous titanium implants in cancellous bone. Our study was designed to (i) investigate the ability of bone ingrowth into 3D-printed porous titanium alloy implant on the cortical bone of rabbits using CT-scan and histology, and (ii) to identify the consistency of the radiology information between clinical Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and Micro Computed Tomography (μCT) in the evaluation of bone ingrowth. The porous titanium alloy implants were 3D-printed employing the Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology with an intended pore size of 600 μm and porosity of approximately 50 percent. Each implant was inserted into tibial diaphysis in one rabbit and its pores were classified as contacting bone or non-contacting bone. Depending on the time of explantation, the rabbits were divided into two groups: group 1 consisting of 6 rabbits between 13 and 20 weeks and group 2 consisting of 6 rabbits between 26 and 32 weeks. Tissue ingrowth into the non-bone contacting pores were evaluated by CBCT and histology. μCT was used to further investigate the bone ingrowth into four implants (two from each group were randomly chosen). The CBCT detected the present of tissue with bone-like density in both bone-contacting pores and non-bone-contacting pores of all implants. The μCT analysis also supported this result. All the bone-like tissues were then histologically confirmed to be mature bone. The analysis of CBCT data to assess bone ingrowth in porous implants had the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of 85, 84, 93 and 70 percent, respectively, when considering μCT assessment as the gold standard. Fully porous titanium alloy implant has great potential to reconstruct diaphyseal bone defect due to its good ability of osseointegration. CBCT is a promising method for evaluation of bone ingrowth into porous implants.
The development of effective pest management strategies for Spodoptera frugiperda is a high priority for crop protection across its invasive ranges. Here, we examined six Beauveria and five Metarhizium fungal isolates against this pest. Two Beauveria isolates (B-0571, B-1311) induced high mortality toward 3rd and 6th instar caterpillars and adults. For B-0571 mortality was 82.81 ± 5.75%, 61.46 ± 6.83%, and 93.75 ± 3.61%, and 73.72 ± 2.51%, 71.88 ± 5.41%, and 97.92 ± 2.08% for B-1311, with deaths in caterpillars largely occurring under 24 h (3rd instar control 0.74 ± 0.33%, B-0571 73.96 ± 7.85% and B-1311 62.08 ± 3.67%; 6th instar control 0%, B-0571 66.67% ± 11.02% and B-1311 62.5% ± 9.55%). Infection from both Beauveria isolates fully prevented reproduction in surviving S. frugiperda females. In contrast, all five Metarhizium isolates tested and the remaining four Beauveria isolates exhibited lower virulence. The discovery of two highly virulent Beauveria fungal isolates to S. frugiperda opens avenues to develop novel biological control tools against this highly invasive pest.
Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia hordei, is one of the most widespread and damaging foliar diseases affecting barley. The barley leaf rust resistance locus Rph7 has been shown to have unusually high sequence and haplotype divergence. In this study, we isolate the Rph7 gene using a fine mapping and RNA-Seq approach that is confirmed by mutational analysis and transgenic complementation. Rph7 is a pathogen-induced, non-canonical resistance gene encoding a protein that is distinct from other known plant disease resistance proteins in the Triticeae. Structural analysis using an AlphaFold2 protein model suggests that Rph7 encodes a putative NAC transcription factor with a zinc-finger BED domain with structural similarity to the N-terminal DNA-binding domain of the NAC transcription factor (ANAC019) from Arabidopsis. A global gene expression analysis suggests Rph7 mediates the activation and strength of the basal defence response. The isolation of Rph7 highlights the diversification of resistance mechanisms available for engineering disease control in crops.
Background Borrelia are important disease-causing tick- and louse-borne spirochaetes than can infect a wide variety of vertebrates, including humans and reptiles. Reptile-associated (REP) Borrelia, once considered a peculiarity, are now recognised as a distinct and important evolutionary lineage, and are increasingly being discovered worldwide in association with novel hosts. Numerous novel Borrelia spp. associated with monitor lizards (Varanus spp.) have been recently identified throughout the Indo-Pacific region; however, there is a lack of genomic data on these Borrelia. Methods We used metagenomic techniques to sequence almost complete genomes of novel Borrelia spp. from Varanus varius and Varanus giganteus from Australia, and used long- and short-read technologies to sequence the complete genomes of two strains of a novel Borrelia sp. previously isolated from ticks infesting Varanus salvator from Indonesia. We investigated intra- and interspecies genomic diversity, including plasmid diversity and relatedness, among Varanus-associated Borrelia and other available REP Borrelia and, based on 712 whole genome orthologues, produced the most complete phylogenetic analysis, to the best of our knowledge, of REP Borrelia to date. Results The genomic architecture of Varanus-associated Borrelia spp. is similar to that of Borrelia spp. that cause relapsing fever (RF), and includes a highly conserved megaplasmid and numerous smaller linear and circular plasmids that lack structural consistency between species. Analysis of PF32 and PF57/62 plasmid partitioning genes indicated that REP Borrelia plasmids fall into at least six distinct plasmid families, some of which are related to previously defined Borrelia plasmid families, whereas the others appear to be unique. REP Borrelia contain immunogenic variable major proteins that are homologous to those found in Borrelia spp. that cause RF, although they are limited in copy number and variability and have low sequence identities to RF variable major proteins. Phylogenetic analyses based on single marker genes and 712 single copy orthologs also definitively demonstrated the monophyly of REP Borrelia as a unique lineage. Conclusions In this work we present four new genomes from three novel Borrelia, and thus double the number of REP Borrelia genomes publicly available. The genomic characterisation of these Borrelia clearly demonstrates their distinctiveness as species, and we propose the names Borrelia salvatorii, ‘Candidatus Borrelia undatumii’, and ‘Candidatus Borrelia rubricentralis’ for them. Graphical Abstract
The applications of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-enabled visual monitoring span the areas of public security, nature resilience, and disaster rescue. Covertness can play an indispensable role in applications demanding UAVs to be unnoticeable by targets, e.g., tailing and interception and police surveillance. This article discusses the types and technical challenges of visual camouflage for UAV-based surveillance. A particular interest is given to an agile disguising method, which adopts both distance keeping and elevation changing and confuses the target by constantly changing its relative position in the target’s view. The path design of the UAV monitor is nonstraightforward under this disguising approach due to nonconvex disguise objectives, UAV propulsion power, and control dynamics. A new control framework is presented to plan and refine the trajectory of the UAV monitor online. The framework employs model predictive control (MPC) to decompose the control decisions between slots, mitigating the impact of the inaccurate prediction of the target’s path and allowing the planned trajectory to be refined online. Simulations validate the merits of the new framework over the benchmark approach with no camouflage and demonstrate the different performances of fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs on a covert video surveillance mission.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been extensively applied to goods delivery and in-situ sensing. It becomes increasingly probable that multiple UAVs are delivering goods and carrying out sensing tasks at the same time. The destinations of the UAVs are usually required to jointly design their trajectories and sensing selections, leading to privacy concerns for the UAVs. This paper presents a new game-theoretic routing framework for joint goods delivery and sensing of multiple cellular-connected UAVs, where the UAVs minimize their energy consumption and connectivity outage, maximize their sensing reward, and ensure timely goods delivery and trajectory privacy by optimizing their trajectories and sensing task selections in a decentralized manner. The key idea is that we unify routing and sensing in a single task selection process, which is further transformed into routing on a task-time graph. Another important aspect is that we design a non-cooperative potential game for the routing on the task-time graph. A distributed strategy is developed, where each UAV only reports its sensing task selections and withholds its destination information and its best response produced by the Bellman-Ford algorithm. By this means, the destination and trajectory privacy of the UAVs are protected. Simulations show that the new game-theoretic approach can ensure timely delivery and achieve close-to-optimal solutions with significantly lower complexity compared to a centralized brute-force approach.
Photon counting is an effective detection technique for weak optical signals in underwater optical wireless communications (UOWC). This paper proposes a new approach for power allocation in an uplink M -ary pulse position modulation (PPM), photo-counting non-orthogonal multiple-access (PhC-NOMA) system. Different from existing techniques in photon-counting systems, the new approach supports consistent duty cycles across underwater devices and adjusts the transmit rates of the devices through their transmit powers, thereby avoiding the delays of duty cycle adjustments and supporting high-speed transmissions. Power allocation is non-trivial in photon-counting systems due to signal-dependent Poisson shot noises. As a key contribution, we derive the exact and asymptotic expressions for the achievable rate of the M -ary PPM PhC-NOMA system with the signal-dependent Poisson shot noise and multiuser interference considered. With the expressions, we reveal the received power at the base station (BS) is minimized when their minimum data rate requirements are delivered and can be solved using an incremental algorithm. We also asymptotically maximize the photon efficiency of the devices while preventing the saturation of the receiving photon detector, using Karush-Kuhn-Tucker (KKT) conditions. Simulations show that our approach can reduce the received power at the BS by up to 25% and double the photon efficiency, as compared to the existing techniques.
The microbiome of the human gut is a complex assemblage of microorganisms that are in a symbiotic relationship with one another and profoundly influence every aspect of human health. According to converging evidence, the human gut is a nodal point for the physiological performance matrixes of the vital organs on several axes (i.e. gut-brain, gut-lung, etc.). As a result of COVID-19, the importance of gut-lung dysbiosis (balance or imbalance) has been realised. In view of this, it is of utmost importance to develop a comprehensive understanding of the microbiome, as well as its dysbiosis. In this review, we provide an overview of the gut-lung axial microbiome and its importance in maintaining optimal health. Human populations have successfully adapted to geophysical conditions through traditional dietary practices from around the world. In this context, a section has been devoted to the traditional Indian system of medicine and its theories and practices regarding the maintenance of optimally customized gut health.
Food choice has long been recognized as an interaction between psychological, social, cultural, economic, and biological forces through life course events and experiences. Adolescence is a particularly sensitive life stage during which personal and external environments influence food decisions and attitudes that can have long-term implications. Young people represent future households, yet little is understood about their perspectives on, and experiences of, their foodscape. To address this, a photovoice study with thirty-two students was undertaken at three state high schools with differing foodscapes in South East Queensland (Australia). Adolescent perspectives on foodscapes highlighted the food in front of them (either common or favourite foods), food routines, their emotional relationship with food, and the important role that family has in shaping their relationship with food (in particular mothers). Adolescents demonstrated an astute awareness of healthy/good and unhealthy/bad foods in relation to ingredients, ways of eating and different types of foods. Yet they expressed noticeable confusion on this matter, referring to some foods as "healthy-ish", or describing a 'balanced' diet as consuming something healthy followed by something unhealthy. We found that adolescents are inundated by discretionary foods on a daily basis, however, are not particularly cognisant of them. These findings have direct implications for preventative health messages targeting adolescents.
Dysregulation of innate immune responses can result in chronic inflammatory conditions. Glucocorticoids, the current frontline therapy, are effective immunosuppressive drugs but come with a trade-off of cumulative and serious side effects. Therefore, alternative drug options with improved safety profiles are urgently needed. Sulforaphane, a phytochemical derived from plants of the brassica family, is a potent inducer of phase II detoxification enzymes via nuclear factor-erythroid factor 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) signaling. Moreover, a growing body of evidence suggests additional diverse anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane through interactions with mediators of key signaling pathways and inflammatory cytokines. Multiple studies support a role for sulforaphane as a negative regulator of nuclear factor kappa-light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation and subsequent cytokine release, inflammasome activation and direct regulation of the activity of macrophage migration inhibitory factor. Significantly, studies have also highlighted potential steroid-sparing activity for sulforaphane, suggesting that it may have potential as an adjunctive therapy for some inflammatory conditions. This review discusses published research on sulforaphane, including proposed mechanisms of action, and poses questions for future studies that might help progress our understanding of the potential clinical applications of this intriguing molecule.
Saponins are a diverse group of naturally occurring plant secondary metabolites present in a wide range of foods ranging from grains, pulses, and green leaves to sea creatures. They consist of a hydrophilic sugar moiety linked to a lipophilic aglycone, resulting in an amphiphilic nature and unique functional properties. Their amphiphilic structures enable saponins to exhibit surface-active properties, resulting in stable foams and complexes with various molecules. In the context of food applications, saponins are utilized as natural emulsifiers, foaming agents, and stabilizers. They contribute to texture and stability in food products and have potential health benefits, including cholesterol-lowering and anticancer effects. Saponins possess additional bioactivities that make them valuable in the pharmaceutical industry as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiparasitic agents to name a few. Saponins can demonstrate cytotoxic activity against cancer cell lines and can also act as adjuvants, enhancing the immune response to vaccines. Their ability to form stable complexes with drugs further expands their potential in drug delivery systems. However, challenges such as bitterness, cytotoxicity, and instability under certain conditions need to be addressed for effective utilization of saponins in foods and related applications. In this paper, we have reviewed the chemistry, functionality, and application aspects of saponins from various plant sources, and have summarized the regulatory aspects of the food-based application of quillaja saponins. Further research to explore the full potential of saponins in improving food quality and human health has been suggested. It is expected that this article will be a useful resource for researchers in food, feed, pharmaceuticals, and material science.
While the role of boron (B) has been thoroughly clarified in titanium (Ti) castings, the microstructural changes triggered in additive manufacturing (AM) are still the subject of debate in the literature. Many contributions have confirmed the B-induced microstructural refinement in Ti-based AM parts. The formation of TiB in titanium matrix composites (TMCs) may increase strength. In some cases, B may also promote the columnar-to-equiaxed transition, thus mitigating the anisotropic effects associated with the strong epitaxial growth of unidirectional columnar grains typical of AM. However, as critically discussed in this review, some pitfalls remain. Due to fast cooling, the microstructural evolution in AM may deviate from equilibrium, leading to a shift of the Ti-B eutectic point and to the formation of out-of-equilibrium phases. Additionally, the growth of TiB may undermine the ductility and the crack propagation resistance of AM parts, which calls for appropriate remediation strategies.
In social animals, success can depend on the outcome of group battles. Theoretical models of warfare predict that group fighting ability is proportional to two key factors: the strength of each soldier in the group and group size. The relative importance of these factors is predicted to vary across environments [F. W. Lanchester, Aircraft in Warfare, the Dawn of the Fourth Arm (1916)]. Here, we provide an empirical validation of the theoretical prediction that open environments should favor superior numbers, whereas complex environments should favor stronger soldiers [R. N. Franks, L. W. Partridge, Anim. Behav. 45, 197-199 (1993)]. We first demonstrate this pattern using simulated battles between relatively strong and weak soldiers in a computer-driven algorithm. We then validate this result in real animals using an ant model system: In battles in which the number of strong native meat ant Iridomyrmex purpureus workers is constant while the number of weak non-native invasive Argentine ant Linepithema humile workers increases across treatments, fatalities of I. purpureus are lower in complex than in simple arenas. Our results provide controlled experimental evidence that investing in stronger soldiers is more effective in complex environments. This is a significant advance in the empirical study of nonhuman warfare and is important for understanding the competitive balance among native and non-native invasive ant species.
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