Triggered by the Russo-Ukrainian war starting early in 2022 and the subsequent movement of refugees toward various European countries, this rapid response paper provides five reflections on the role of social entrepreneurship in light of humanitarian crises. We validate two problems with the help of a problem owner from social entrepreneurial practice and suggest answers to them grounded in existing evidence documented in the academic literature (translational research approach). First, we show how social entrepreneurs can focus on solving the right problems in chaotic and fast-paced crises, and second, we illustrate measures to scale appropriately. Finally, on a meta-level, hope emerges as an additional answer. Even if social entrepreneurs should not address the "right" problems and even if they scale inappropriately, in light of any humanitarian crises, they still contribute value by creating hope for their societies, their stakehold-ers, and for themselves.
In recent years, the notion of a unicorn, a startup exceeding a premarket valuation of one billion USD, has become one of the most prominent concepts in the practical discourse of entrepreneurship. Consequently, entrepreneurs aim to build unicorns, investors want to participate in their success, policymakers strive to support their emergence, and educators present them as an ideal-type entrepreneurial activity. We challenge this view with a provocative critique of the positive mainstream perception of unicorns. First, we characterize unicorns as an ambiguous analytical category with little value for research and evidence-based policy. Second, we point to the danger of neglecting the multifaceted nature of entrepreneurship by focusing solely on extreme outliers. Third, we highlight the potentially unethical consequences of entrepreneurship's obsession with unicorns. Finally, we conclude that focusing on unicorns contributes to a biased picture of entrepreneurship that favors valuation (i.e., the unicorn) over value creation (i.e., productive entrepreneurship).
New biomass crop hybrids for bioeconomic expansion require yield projections to determine their potential for strategic land use planning in the face of global challenges. Our biomass growth simulation incorporates radiation interception and conversion efficiency. Models often use leaf area to predict interception which is demanding to determine accurately, so instead we use low cost rapid light interception measurements using a simple lab‐made line ceptometer and relate the dynamics of canopy closure to thermal time, and to measurements of biomass. We apply the model to project the European biomass potentials of new market‐ready hybrids for 2020‐30. Field measurements are easier to collect, the calibration is seasonally dynamic and reduces influence of weather variation between field sites. The model obtained is conservative, being calibrated by crops of varying establishment and varying maturity on less productive (marginal) land. This results in conservative projections of miscanthus hybrids for 2020‐30 based on 10% land use conversion of the least (productive) grassland and arable for farm diversification, which show a European potential of 80.7‐89.7 Mt y‐1 biomass, with potential for 1.2‐1.3 EJ y‐1 energy and 36.3‐40.3 Mt y‐1 carbon capture, with seeded M sacchariflorus x sinensis displaying highest yield potential. Simulated biomass projections must be viewed in light of the field measurements on less productive land with high soil water deficits. We are attempting to model results from an ambitious and novel project combining new hybrids across Europe with agronomy which has not been perfected on less productive sites. Nevertheless, at a time of energy sourcing issues, seed‐propagated miscanthus hybrids for the upscaled provision of bioenergy offer an alternative source of renewable energy. If European countries provide incentives for growers to invest, seeded hybrids can improve product availability and biomass yields over the current commercial miscanthus variety.
Plain Language Summary Turkey is a major exporter of food for the dry Middle East and North African region, while the goal of the Turkish government is to become more independent of imported livestock products. The government therefore pays different subsidies to encourage production within Turkey's inefficient livestock sector. As part of this strategy, a subsidy is paid to fodder crops that are irrigated with an increasing amount of water, although water resources in Turkey are already under stress. We therefore develop a new methodology that combines an economic model of the Turkish economy with a new water footprint calculation tool. With this method, we assess how different types of subsidies affect water use in Turkey through economic linkages and livestock‐related policies. Our model results show that removal of subsidies which are directly paid to livestock producers would not much reduce irrigation water use. However, the valuable irrigation water would increasingly be used to produce high value export crops such as vegetables, rather than low value fodder crops. Moreover, the abolishment of subsidies directly paid to fodder crop producers and technical measures that spur productivity in the livestock sector can achieve both, a reduction in irrigation water use and better economic outcomes.
There is an urgent need for agri-food system transformation to achieve global sustainability goals. Innovations can play a key role in this transformation but often come with both sustainability synergies and trade-offs. One such innovation is agricultural mechanization, which is spreading rapidly in parts of the Global South and is high on the policy agenda in others. The rapid spread of mechanization is fundamentally changing the character of agri-food systems in the Global South, with both positive and negative effects. However, while some of these effects have been well explored, no study so far has systematically reviewed the sustainability synergies and trade-offs associated with mechanization, undermining necessary accompanying research and policy efforts. This review provides an overview of the progress toward mechanization across the Global South, identifies drivers and barriers, assesses sustainability synergies and trade-offs, and discusses options to maximize sustainability outcomes. The review is the first to holistically assess the potentials and risks of agricultural mechanization for the sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in the Global South, taking into account all pillars of sustainability. The review suggests that agricultural mechanization is needed to make agri-food systems more sustainable concerning various economic and social aspects, such as labor productivity, poverty reduction, food security, and health and well-being. However, there are also sustainability risks concerning environmental aspects such as biodiversity loss and land degradation, and economic and social concerns related to lacking inclusiveness and growing inequalities, among others. A wide range of technological and institutional solutions is identified to harness the potential of agricultural mechanization for sustainable agri-food system transformation, while at the same time minimizing the risks. However, more efforts are needed to implement such solutions at scale and ensure that mechanization contributes to agri-food systems that respect all pillars of sustainability.
Wheat is an important staple crop since its proteins contribute to human and animal nutrition and are important for its end-use quality. However, wheat proteins can also cause adverse human reactions for a large number of people. We performed a genome wide association study (GWAS) on 114 proteins quantified by LC-MS-based proteomics and expressed in an environmentally stable manner in 148 wheat cultivars with a heritability > 0.6. For 54 proteins, we detected quantitative trait loci (QTL) that exceeded the Bonferroni-corrected significance threshold and explained 17.3-84.5% of the genotypic variance. Proteins in the same family often clustered at a very close chromosomal position or the potential homeolog. Major QTLs were found for four well-known glutenin and gliadin subunits, and the QTL segregation pattern in the protein encoding the high molecular weight glutenin subunit Dx5 could be confirmed by SDS gel-electrophoresis. For nine potential allergenic proteins, large QTLs could be identified, and their measured allele frequencies open the possibility to select for low protein abundance by markers as long as their relevance for human health has been conclusively demonstrated. A potential allergen was introduced in the beginning of 1980s that may be linked to the cluster of resistance genes introgressed on chromosome 2AS from Triticum ventricosum. The reported sequence information for the 54 major QTLs can be used to design efficient markers for future wheat breeding.
Key message VCU trials can provide unbiased estimates of post-breeding trends given that all data is used. Dropping data of genotypes tested for up to two years may result in biased post-breeding trend estimates. Abstract Increasing yield trends are seen on-farm in Germany. The increase is based on genetic trend in registered genotypes and changes in agronomic practices and climate. To estimate both genetic and non-genetic trends, historical wheat data from variety trials evaluating a varieties’ value for cultivation und use (VCU) were analyzed. VCU datasets include information on varieties as well as on genotypes that were submitted by breeders and tested in trials but could not make it to registration. Therefore, the population of registered varieties (post-registration population) is a subset of the population of genotypes tested in VCU trials (post-breeding population). To assess post-registration genetic trend, historical VCU trial datasets are often reduced, e.g. to registered varieties only. This kind of drop-out mechanism is statistically informative which affects variance component estimates and which can affect trend estimates. To investigate the effect of this informative drop-out on trend estimates, a simulation study was conducted mimicking the structure of German winter wheat VCU trials. Zero post-breeding trends were simulated. Results showed unbiased estimates of post-breeding trends when using all data. When restricting data to genotypes tested for at least three years, a positive genetic trend of 0.11 dt ha ⁻¹ year ⁻¹ and a negative non-genetic trend (− 0.11 dt ha ⁻¹ year ⁻¹ ) were observed. Bias increased with increasing genotype-by-year variance and disappeared with random selection. We simulated single-trait selection, whereas decisions in VCU trials consider multiple traits, so selection intensity per trait is considerably lower. Hence, our results provide an upper bound for the bias expected in practice.
Transposons are mobile elements that are commonly silenced to protect eukaryotic genome integrity. In plants, transposable element (TE)-derived inverted repeats (IRs) are commonly found near genes, where they affect host gene expression. However, the molecular mechanisms of such regulation are unclear in most cases. Expression of these IRs is associated with production of 24-nt small RNAs, methylation of the IRs, and drastic changes in local 3D chromatin organization. Notably, many of these IRs differ between Arabidopsis thaliana accessions, causing variation in short-range chromatin interactions and gene expression. CRISPR-Cas9-mediated disruption of two IRs leads to a switch in genome topology and gene expression with phenotypic consequences. Our data show that insertion of an IR near a gene provides an anchor point for chromatin interactions that profoundly impact the activity of neighboring loci. This turns IRs into powerful evolutionary agents that can contribute to rapid adaptation.
Labour‐saving technologies are relevant for agricultural development. Yet, as this study shows, they are poorly integrated into agricultural production functions of economy‐wide models. We report a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, which explicitly incorporating field operations (e.g. land preparation, weeding or harvesting) in the context of smallholder agriculture. The field operations approach allows to model technological trade‐offs in organic and conventional production systems at various stages of the agricultural production process. Simulating a structural change scenario, we compare the performance of the field operations approach with published benchmark production structures by assessing how they replicate empirically observed changes in land and agrochemical use. This benchmark analysis shows that incorporating field operations replicates the observed empirical changes most accurately and allows for more realistic modelling of labour‐saving technologies. We use the field operations model to investigate three policy options to mitigate labour shortages in the agricultural sector of Bhutan. Permitting the employment of Indian workers in agriculture has the highest short‐term potential in this respect. We find that subsidising agricultural machinery hiring services and removing import tariffs on agrochemical inputs are found to be less effective. Further options for model developments, such as combining field operations and labour market seasonality, are highlighted.
To assess the efficiency of genetic improvement programs, it is essential to assess the genetic trend in long-term data. The present study estimates the genetic trends for grain yield of rice varieties released between 1970 and 2020 by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. The yield of the varieties was assessed from 2001–2002 to 2020–2021 in multi-locations trials. In such a series of trials, yield may increase over time due to (i) genetic improvement (genetic trend) and (ii) improved management or favorable climate change (agronomic/non-genetic trend). In both the winter and monsoon seasons, we observed positive genetic and non-genetic trends. The annual genetic trend for grain yield in both winter and monsoon rice varieties was 0.01 t ha ⁻¹ , while the non-genetic trend for both seasons was 0.02 t ha ⁻¹ , corresponding to yearly genetic gains of 0.28% and 0.18% in winter and monsoon seasons, respectively. The overall percentage yield change from 1970 until 2020 for winter rice was 40.96%, of which 13.91% was genetic trend and 27.05% was non-genetic. For the monsoon season, the overall percentage change from 1973 until 2020 was 38.39%, of which genetic and non-genetic increases were 8.36% and 30.03%, respectively. Overall, the contribution of non-genetic trend is larger than genetic trend both for winter and monsoon seasons. These results suggest that limited progress has been made in improving yield in Bangladeshi rice breeding programs over the last 50 years. Breeding programs need to be modernized to deliver sufficient genetic gains in the future to sustain Bangladeshi food security.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is an ancient food crop that originated in the Andes. It has good nutritional properties that increasingly attract interest around the world and it is considered as a future crop for food security and climate change adaptation. Currently, there is a great need to develop new quinoa varieties with higher yield, tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and adaptation to new growing areas. Despite the existence of breeding programs, quantitative genetic parameters that are relevant for selection gain have hardly been investigated for quinoa. We estimated these parameters for important agronomic traits in six segregating populations of 96 lines each, derived from crosses of popular traditional Peruvian quinoa varieties. The traits were evaluated in trials at several locations in the Peruvian highlands over 3 years. Maturity was the best phenological stage for trait evaluation because at this stage we obtained high estimates of heritability and high correlation of panicle trait indices with grain yield. Based on these traits, we selected the 18 best lines and characterized them in additional field trials for the same traits. Three lines (HUA × KAN53, SAL × NCO46 and SAL × PAN171) combined advantageous traits of their parents and showed lower plant height, earlier maturity and higher yield. Our work shows that the estimation of variance and variance components in the amphidiploid crop quinoa provides useful information for the design of breeding programs and the selection of improved genotypes for cultivation in the Peruvian highlands.
An increasing number of older adults integrate the Internet in their daily life. Although undertaking a greater range of online activities offers enhanced opportunities to live a self-determined and socially connected life, understanding of the breadth of Internet use is still limited. We address this gap by examining how individual factors representing inequalities between groups of older adults in society are associated with the breadth of their Internet use. The study analyzed survey data collected in 2017 from older adults living in a city in Germany (N = 1,136, age 65–90 years). The group of Internet users comprised of 69.0% (784) of participants, exhibited high levels of autonomy in outdoor activities (87.8%), and reported, on average, 4.92 online activities (SD = 2.31, range 1–8). Linear regression analysis showed positive associations for perceiving higher levels of behavioral control (PBC) in using digital technologies, being male and younger, and holding an academic degree. No associations were found for having medium level of education, living together with someone, and reporting better health. These findings highlight that despite the increased percentage of users, digital inequality regarding the range of online activities prevails. This inequality impedes subgroups of older adults to prepare for future situations in which online activities could substitute outdoor activities that might not be possible anymore. Interventions for these subgroups should emphasize digital skills that facilitate engagement in diverse online activities covering various purposes and life domains.
This study aimed to investigate ruminal and post-ruminal degradation of phytic acid (InsP6) in diets containing either rapeseed meal (RSM) or soybean meal (SBM). In Experiment 1, the effective degradability of crude protein (CPED) and InsP6 (InsP6ED) was evaluated by incubating RSM and SBM in situ in three rumen-fistulated lactating Jersey cows for 2, 4, 6, 8, 16, 24, 48 and 72 h, and calculating effective degradability at rumen passage rates of 2% and 5%/h. In Experiment 2, eight wethers were assigned for 8 weeks to two dietary treatments (Diet RSM and Diet SBM) containing 150 g of either meal and 100 g of maize silage per feeding time and had free access to hay and water. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) was added to the diets for the last 5 days of the study. The wethers were then stunned, exsanguinated and digesta from the reticulo-rumen, omasum, abomasum, jejunum, colon, and rectum were sampled. In Experiment 1, the InsP6ED of RSM (InsP6ED2: 83%; InsP6ED5: 64%) decreased almost identically to that of CPED with increasing passage rate (CPED2: 78%; CPED5: 63%) and was significantly lower than that of SBM (InsP6ED2: 93%; InsP6ED5: 85%). In Experiment 2, ruminal InsP6 disappearance was significantly higher in wethers fed Diet SBM (89%) than in those fed Diet RSM (76%). Total post-ruminal InsP6 degradation was 6% for Diet RSM and 4% for Diet SBM (p = 0.186). The total tract InsP6 disappearance was higher in Diet SBM (93%) than in Diet RSM (82%). Considering higher InsP6 contents in RSM, Diet RSM resulted in significantly higher amounts of ruminally (Diet RSM: 4.5 g/d; Diet SBM: 3.4 g/d) and total tract (Diet RSM: 4.9 g/d; Diet SBM: 3.5 g/d) degraded InsP6. InsP5 was quantified in most of the digesta samples after feeding Diet RSM but was not detectable in the majority of digesta samples for Diet SBM. Concentrations of myo-inositol (MI) tended to be higher (p = 0.060) in the blood plasma of wethers fed Diet RSM. The consistency between ruminal InsP6 disappearance in wethers and in situ calculated InsP6ED2, along with the very low extent of post-ruminal InsP6 degradation, suggests that at a low rumen passage rate, InsP6-P from the feed becoming available to ruminants is almost entirely from InsP6 degradation in the rumen.
Background The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda; J.E. Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is now an economically important pest that causes huge losses to maize productivity in sub-Saharan Africa. Variations in sub-population genetics and the processes of rapid adaptation underpinning the invasion remain unclear. For this, the genetic identity and diversity of FAW populations in Uganda were revealed by sequencing 87 samples (collected across the country). Based on the partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene polymorphisms, we further examined the mitochondrial haplotype configuration and compared the FAW in Uganda with sequences from other parts of the world. The molecular target for organophosphate and carbamate resistance, acetylcholinesterase, was also investigated. Results Analysis of the partial COI gene sequences showed the presence of both rice (predominant) and corn strain haplotypes, with a haplotype diversity of 0.382. Based on the COI marker, pairwise difference distribution analyses, and neutrality tests, showed that the FAW populations in Uganda and the rest of Africa are evolving neutrally, but those in America and Asia are undergoing expansion. Our findings support observations that invasive FAW populations throughout the rest of Africa and Asia share a common origin. Sequencing of the S. frugiperda ace-1 gene revealed four amino acid substitutions, two of which (A201S and F290V) were previously shown to confer organophosphate resistance in both S. frugiperda and several other insect species. The other two previously reported new variations in positions g-396 and g-768, are presumed to be related to the development of insecticide resistance. Conclusions This research has increased our knowledge of the genetics of FAW in Uganda, which is critical for pest surveillance and the detection of resistance. However, due to the low gene polymorphism of COI, more evolutionary studies incorporating the Spodoptera frugiperda whole-genome sequence are required to precisely understand the FAW population dynamics, introduction paths, origin, and subsequent spread.
Ammonium uptake into wheat roots relies primarily on two AMmonium Transporters of subfamily one, while the wheat genome comprises 4 to 6 AMT2 type transporters. Plant AMT2s generally show functions in root‐to‐shoot translocation or pathogenic and symbiotic plant–microorganism interactions. We addressed the activity of TaAMT2s in ammonium transport. Nitrogen‐dependent expression implicated a physiological function in ammonium uptake for TaAMT2;1 and in ammonium distribution for TaAMT2;2‐6.
Methylcellulose is commonly used in meat analogues for binding ingredients. In this study, we compared the binding properties of a methylcellulose hydrogel (5% w/w) to a novel, clean-label binder based on a mixture of pea protein and sugar beet pectin (r = 2:1, 22.5% w/w, pH 6.0) with and without laccase addition in a burger type meat analogue. It was shown that the pea protein-pectin binder glued vegetable protein particles and fat mimic particles together prior to cooking and frying, thereby improving forming of the mass into burger patties. Furthermore, sensory analysis revealed that the cohesiveness of the fried burger patties was better when the protein-pectin binder was used. However, the used binder system did not affect the hardness of the burger patties indicating that the binders rather affected the coherence of the structural elements. Burgers with solid fat particles were rated better in terms of appearance as compared to emulsified fat particles, since the former were not visible. This study is useful to better understand meat analogue product design for a higher acceptance among consumers.
Background: Binders in plant-based meat analogues allow different components such as extrudate and fat particles to stick together. Typically, binders then are solidified to transform the mass into a non-sticky, solid product. As an option for a clean label binder possessing such properties, the solidification behavior of pea protein - pectin mixtures (250 g kg-1 , r = 2:1, pH 6) was investigated upon heating, and upon addition of calcium, transglutaminase, and laccase, or by combinations thereof. Results: Mixtures of (homogenized) pea protein and apple pectin had higher elastic moduli and consistency coefficients and lower frequency dependencies upon calcium addition. This indicated that calcium physically crosslinked pectin chains that formed the continuous phase in the biopolymer matrix. The highest degree of solidification was obtained with a mixture of pea protein and sugar beet pectin upon addition of laccase that covalently crosslinked both involved biopolymers. All solidified mixtures lost their stickiness. A mixture of soluble pea protein and apple pectin solidified only slightly through calcium and transglutaminase, probably due to differences in the microstructural arrangement of the biopolymers. Conclusion: The chemical makeup of the biopolymers and their spatial distribution determines solidification behavior in concentrated biopolymer mixtures. In general, pea protein - pectin mixtures can solidify and therefore have the potential to act as binders in meat analogues. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Cellular differentiation relies on the highly conserved Notch signaling pathway. Notch activity induces gene expression changes that are highly sensitive to chromatin landscape. We address Notch gene regulation using Drosophila as a model, focusing on the genetic and molecular interactions between the Notch antagonist Hairless and the histone chaperone Asf1. Earlier work implied that Asf1 promotes the silencing of Notch target genes via Hairless (H). Here, we generate a novel HΔCT allele by genome engineering. Phenotypically, HΔCT behaves as a Hairless gain of function allele in several developmental contexts, indicating that the conserved CT domain of H has an attenuator role under native biological contexts. Using several independent methods to assay protein–protein interactions, we define the sequences of the CT domain that are involved in Hairless–Asf1 binding. Based on previous models, where Asf1 promotes Notch repression via Hairless, a loss of Asf1 binding should reduce Hairless repressive activity. However, tissue-specific Asf1 overexpression phenotypes are increased, not rescued, in the HΔCT background. Counterintuitively, Hairless protein binding mitigates the repressive activity of Asf1 in the context of eye development. These findings highlight the complex connections of Notch repressors and chromatin modulators during Notch target-gene regulation and open the avenue for further investigations.
Background: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly being used commercially for crop protection in East Asia as a new type of equipment for pesticide applications, which is receiving more and more attention worldwide. A new model of pear cultivation called the ‘Double Primary Branches Along the Row Flat Type’ standard trellised pear orchards (FT orchard) is widely used in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries because it saves manpower and is suitable for mechanization compared to traditional spindle and open-center cultivation. The disease and pest efficacy of the flat-type trellised canopy structure of this cultivation is a great challenge. Therefore, a UAV spraying trial was conducted in an FT orchard, and a four-factor (SV: Spray application volume rate, FS: Flight speed, FH: Flight height, FD: Flight direction) and 3-level orthogonal test were designed. Results: These data were used to analyze the effect, including spray coverage, deposit density, coefficient of variation, and penetration coefficient on the canopy, to determine the optimal operating parameters of the UAV for pest efficacy in FT orchards. The analysis of extremes of variance showed that factor FD had a significant effect on both spray coverage and deposition density. Followed by factor FS, which had a greater effect on spray coverage (p < 0.05), and factor SV, FH, which had a greater effect on deposition density (p < 0.05). The effects of different factors on spray coverage and deposit density were FD > FS > FH > SV, FD > FH > SV > FS, in that order. The SV3-FS1-FH1-FD3, which flight along the row with an application rate of 90 L/ha, a flight speed of 1.5 m/s, and a flight height of 4.5 m, was the optimal combination, which produced the highest deposit density and spray coverage. It was determined through univariate analysis of all experimental groups, using droplet density of 25/cm2 and spray coverage of 1%, and uniformity of 40% as the measurement index, that T4 and T8 performed the best and could meet the control requirements in different horizontal and vertical directions of the pear canopy. The parameters were as follows: flight along the tree rows, application rate not less than 75 L/ha, flight speed no more than 2 m/s, and flight height not higher than 5 m. Conclusion: This article provides ample data to promote innovation in the use of UAVs for crop protection programs in pergola/vertical trellis system orchards such as FT orchards. At the same time, this project provided a comprehensive analysis of canopy deposition methods and associated recommendations for UAV development and applications.
Plasmodesmata (PD) facilitate movement of molecules between plant cells. Regulation of this movement is still not understood. PD are hard to study, being deeply embedded within cell walls and incorporating several membrane types. Thus, structure and protein composition of PD remain enigmatic. Previous studies of PD protein composition identified protein lists with few validations, making functional conclusions difficult. We developed a PD scoring approach in iteration with large-scale systematic localization, defining a high-confidence PD proteome of Physcomitrium patens (HC300). HC300, together with bona fide PD proteins from literature, were placed in PDDB. About 65% of proteins in HC300 were not previously PD-localized. Callose-degrading glycolyl hydrolase 17 family (GHL17) is an abundant protein family with representatives across evolutionary scale. Among GHL17s, we exclusively found members of one phylogenetic clade with PD localization and orthologs occur only in species with developed PD. Phylogenetic comparison was expanded to xyloglucan endotransglucosylases/hydrolases and Exordium-like proteins, which also diversified into PD-localized and non-PD-localized members on distinct phylogenetic clades. Our high-confidence PD proteome HC300 provides insights into diversification of large protein families. Iterative and systematic large-scale localization across plant species strengthens the reliability of HC300 as basis for exploring structure, function and evolution of this important organelle.
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