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See detailImproving Farmers’ Profitability, Soil and Water Conservation through an Adapted Tillage Technique: Experiences from the Cultivation of Potatoes in Bamiléké’s Hills, Cameroon
Djoukeng, Henri Grisseur ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Tankou, Christopher Mubeteneh et al

in International Journal of Agriculture Innovations and Research (in press)

On farms situated on slopes, such as those in the Western Highlands of Cameroon, the implementation of soil and water conservation techniques remains a major concern. The land preparation methods commonly ... [more ▼]

On farms situated on slopes, such as those in the Western Highlands of Cameroon, the implementation of soil and water conservation techniques remains a major concern. The land preparation methods commonly practiced in the Western Highlands agro-ecological zone of Cameroon are ridging along the steepest slopes (RASS) and the flatbed (FB). Field observations showed FB and RASS promote erosion by runoff, thereby compromising some agriculture functions (environmental function, production function and even social function). In order to ensure soil stability and maintain good water quality for rivers, a new land preparation method, tied ridging (TR), was tested. Erosion by runoff tests were conducted with four blocks of three plots on each of the most commonly exploited slopes, namely 11% and 29% gradient. With the main crop in the area (potato, Solanum tuberosum L.), the performance of RASS, FB, and TR were compared during crop years 2013 and 2014. The water runoff and sediments were collected per plot and per block after every rainfall. The results showed a significant difference between the FB or RASS and TR in terms of soil loss (Fmin(2, 2) = 322.7, p = 0.003), yields (F(2, 2) = 287.7, p = 0.003), and runoff water (Fmin(2, 12) = 2.4x106, p < 0.001). The TR technique generated a 7% increase in seedlings density, a 41% increase in the workforce, and an 81% and 100% increase in yields compared to FB in 11% and 29% slopes, respectively. The TR increased farmer’s profitability by 686 US$.ha-1 and 1420 US$.ha-1 over RASS in 11% and 29% slopes, respectively. The TR showed undeniable advantages: for the producer, the stress of additional work was offset by the gain in yields while creating additional job opportunities and improving the conservation of soil and water. Although the technique has several advantages, the provision of financial means for its implementation could be a negative point. Twelve farmers were involved in the experiment. The test results convinced the participants and other curious farmers who adopted the technology during the second experiment. [less ▲]

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See detailHow do Rhizobacterial Volatiles Influence Root System Architecture, Biomass Production and Allocation of the Model Grass Brachypodium distachyon?
Delaplace, Pierre ULg; Ormeño - Lafuente, Elena; Nguyen, Minh ULg et al

Conference (2016, January 12)

Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are increasingly considered as a complement of conventional inputs in agricultural systems. Their effects on their host plants are diverse and include volatile ... [more ▼]

Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are increasingly considered as a complement of conventional inputs in agricultural systems. Their effects on their host plants are diverse and include volatile-mediated growth enhancement. The present study aims at assessing the effects of bacterial volatile production on the biomass production and the root system architecture of Brachypodium distachyon (L.) Beauv. (line Bd-21). An in vitro experimental set-up allowing plant-bacteria interaction through the gaseous phase without any physical contact was used to screen 19 bacterial strains for their growth promotion ability over a 10-day cocultivation period. Using principal component analysis followed by hierarchical clustering and two-way analysis of variance, five groups of bacteria were defined and characterized based on their combined influence on biomass production and root system architecture. The observed effects range from unchanged to highly increased biomass production coupled with increased root length and branching. Primary root length was only increased by the volatile compounds emitted by Enterobacter cloacae JM22 and Bacillus pumilus T4. Overall, the most significant results were obtained with Bacillus subtilis GB03 which induced a 81% increase in total biomass and enhanced total root length, total secondary root length and total adventitious root length by 88, 196 and 473% respectively. The analysis of the emission kinetics of bacterial volatile organic compounds is underway and should lead to the identification of volatile compounds candidates responsible for the observed growth promotion effects. Taking into account the inherent characteristics of our in vitro system, the next experimental steps are identified and discussed from a fundamental and applied viewpoint. [less ▲]

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See detailarchiDART: an R package for the automated computation of plant root architectural traits
Delory, Benjamin ULg; Baudson, Caroline ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg et al

in Plant and Soil (2016), 398(1), 351-365

Background and Aims In order to analyse root system architectures (RSAs) from captured images, a variety of manual (e.g. Data Analysis of Root Tracings, DART), semi-automated and fully automated software ... [more ▼]

Background and Aims In order to analyse root system architectures (RSAs) from captured images, a variety of manual (e.g. Data Analysis of Root Tracings, DART), semi-automated and fully automated software packages have been developed. These tools offer complementary approaches to study RSAs and the use of the Root System Markup Language (RSML) to store RSA data makes the comparison of measurements obtained with different (semi-) automated root imaging platforms easier. The throughput of the data analysis process using exported RSA data, however, should benefit greatly from batch analysis in a generic data analysis environment (R software). Methods We developed an R package (archiDART) with five functions. It computes global RSA traits, root growth rates, root growth directions and trajectories, and lateral root distribution from DART-generated and/or RSML files. It also has specific plotting functions designed to visualise the dynamics of root system growth. Results The results demonstrated the ability of the package’s functions to compute relevant traits for three contrasted RSAs (Brachypodium distachyon [L.] P. Beauv., Hevea brasiliensis Müll. Arg. and Solanum lycopersicum L.). Conclusions This work extends the DART software package and other image analysis tools supporting the RSML format, enabling users to easily calculate a number of RSA traits in a generic data analysis environment. [less ▲]

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See detailarchiDART: Plant Root System Architecture Analysis Using DART and RSML Files
Delory, Benjamin ULg; Baudson, Caroline ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg et al

Computer development (2015)

Analysis of complex plant root system architectures (RSA) using the output files created by Data Analysis of Root Tracings (DART), an open-access software dedicated to the study of plant root architecture ... [more ▼]

Analysis of complex plant root system architectures (RSA) using the output files created by Data Analysis of Root Tracings (DART), an open-access software dedicated to the study of plant root architecture and development across time series (Le Bot et al (2010) DART: a software to analyse root system architecture and development from captured images, Plant and Soil, DOI: 10.1007/s11104-009-0005-2), and RSA data encoded with the Root System Markup Language (RSML) (Lobet et al (2015) Root System Markup Language: toward a unified root architecture description language, Plant Physiology, DOI: 10.1104/pp.114.253625). More information can be found in Delory et al (2015) archiDART: an R package for the automated computation of plant root architectural traits, Plant and Soil, DOI: 10.1007/s11104-015-2673-4. [less ▲]

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See detailDe l'application des mathématiques en biologie : acquis et perspectives
Brostaux, Yves ULg

Conference (2015, October 03)

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See detailInfluence of rhizobacterial volatiles on the root system architecture and the production and allocation of biomass in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv.
Delaplace, Pierre ULg; Delory, Benjamin ULg; Baudson, Caroline ULg et al

in BMC Plant Biology (2015), 15(195),

Background Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are increasingly being seen as a way of complementing conventional inputs in agricultural systems. The effects on their host plants are diverse and include ... [more ▼]

Background Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are increasingly being seen as a way of complementing conventional inputs in agricultural systems. The effects on their host plants are diverse and include volatile-mediated growth enhancement. This study sought to assess the effects of bacterial volatiles on the biomass production and root system architecture of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon (L.) Beauv. Results An in vitro experiment allowing plant-bacteria interaction throughout the gaseous phase without any physical contact was used to screen 19 bacterial strains for their growth-promotion ability over a 10-day co-cultivation period. Five groups of bacteria were defined and characterised based on their combined influence on biomass production and root system architecture. The observed effects ranged from unchanged to greatly increased biomass production coupled with increased root length and branching. Primary root length was increased only by the volatile compounds emitted by Enterobacter cloacae JM22 and Bacillus pumilus T4. Overall, the most significant results were obtained with Bacillus subtilis GB03, which induced an 81% increase in total biomass, as well as enhancing total root length, total secondary root length and total adventitious root length by 88.5, 201.5 and 474.5%, respectively. Conclusions This study is the first report on bacterial volatile-mediated growth promotion of a grass plant. Contrasting modulations of biomass production coupled with changes in root system architecture were observed. Most of the strains that increased total plant biomass also modulated adventitious root growth. Under our screening conditions, total biomass production was strongly correlated with the length and branching of the root system components, except for primary root length. An analysis of the emission kinetics of the bacterial volatile compounds is being undertaken and should lead to the identification of the compounds responsible for the observed growth-promotion effects. Within the context of the inherent characteristics of our in vitro system, this paper identifies the next critical experimental steps and discusses them from both a fundamental and an applied perspective. [less ▲]

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See detailIs western lowland gorilla a good gardener? Effect of fecal matrix and deposition at nest sites on seedling growth
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg et al

Conference (2015, June 25)

The Western lowland gorilla is a key dispersal agent, which disperses viable seeds of various size. In consequence of its nesting behavior, gorilla deposits half of its feces, and therefore about half of ... [more ▼]

The Western lowland gorilla is a key dispersal agent, which disperses viable seeds of various size. In consequence of its nesting behavior, gorilla deposits half of its feces, and therefore about half of dispersed seeds, at nest sites. This study was conducted in a logging concession of southeast Gabon where 78 % of the observed nest sites (n=183) were installed in open canopy terra firma forest. The aim of this research was to assess if seed deposition by gorillas (i) in fecal matrix and (ii) at nest sites is advantageous for seedling growth. To assess the effect of fecal matrix, seeds of Santiria trimera (Burseraceae), Chrysophyllum lacourtianum (Sapotaceae) and Plagiostyles africana (Euphorbiaceae) collected in gorilla feces were sown with and without fecal matrix in a nursery at the study site. The impact of seed deposition at nest sites on seedling growth was evaluated in situ. Seedlings of Santiria trimera and Dacryodes normandii (Burseraceae) were installed at nest sites and at closed canopy terra firma forest sites. For both type of trials, seedling growth was monitored. [less ▲]

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See detailRhizobacterial volatiles influence root system architecture, biomass production and allocation of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv.
Delaplace, Pierre ULg; Ormeño-Lafuente, Elena; Delory, Benjamin ULg et al

Conference (2015, June 18)

Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are increasingly considered as a complement of conventional inputs in agricultural systems. Their effects on their host plants are diverse and include volatile ... [more ▼]

Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are increasingly considered as a complement of conventional inputs in agricultural systems. Their effects on their host plants are diverse and include volatile-mediated growth enhancement. The present study aims at assessing the effects of bacterial volatile production on the biomass production and the root system architecture of Brachypodium distachyon (L.) Beauv. (line Bd-21). An in vitro experimental set-up allowing plant-bacteria interaction through the gaseous phase without any physical contact was used to screen 19 bacterial strains for their growth promotion ability over a 10-day cocultivation period. Using principal component analysis followed by hierarchical clustering and two-way analysis of variance, five groups of bacteria were defined and characterized based on their combined influence on biomass production and root system architecture. The observed effects range from unchanged to highly increased biomass production coupled with increased root length and branching. Primary root length was only increased by the volatile compounds emitted by Enterobacter cloacae JM22 and Bacillus pumilus T4. Overall, the most significant results were obtained with Bacillus subtilis GB03 which induced a 81% increase in total biomass and enhanced total root length, total secondary root length and total adventitious root length by 88, 196 and 473% respectively. The analysis of the emission kinetics of bacterial volatile organic compounds is underway and should lead to the identification of volatile compounds candidates responsible for the observed growth promotion effects. Taking into account the inherent characteristics of our in vitro system, the next experimental steps are identified and discussed from a fundamental and applied viewpoint. [less ▲]

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See detailScreening for interesting elicitors to protect wheat against Zymoseptoria tritici
Le Mire, Géraldine ULg; Siah, Ali; Fauconnier, Marie-Laure ULg et al

Conference (2015, May 19)

Plants face an array of biotic and abiotic stresses in their environment, making it necessary to use various chemical inputs to maintain satisfactory yield. Today, conventional agriculture is evolving ... [more ▼]

Plants face an array of biotic and abiotic stresses in their environment, making it necessary to use various chemical inputs to maintain satisfactory yield. Today, conventional agriculture is evolving towards more sustainable practices, out of respect for human health and the environment. Elicitors are considered as promising biological control tools and draw major interest in IPM strategies. These plant-immunity triggering compounds, also called “stimulators of plant natural defenses”, induce a general and systemic resistance in the plant to various diseases. Although numerous elicitors have already been identified and some of them reached the market since the late 1970s, further investigations are still required to better understand the mode of action of these molecules in the plant and ensure a consistent efficiency under various field conditions. Few elicitors have yet been successfully tested and formulated to protect crop plants such as wheat, which is cultivated over large areas in Europe. This study focuses on the screening of ten potential elicitor products of various origins and structures to protect winter wheat against the fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. Greenhouse trials were carried out to measure the ability of the different products to reduce disease foliar symptoms (necrosis, chlorosis and pycnidia). In addition, the phytotoxicity and biocide activities of these products were evaluated under greenhouse and laboratory conditions, respectively. The corresponding results will be presented and discussed with the perspective to choose the best elicitor candidates and to undertake investigations on the signaling pathway and the influence of environmental parameters on the elicitation capacity. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Tightly Linked Are Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) Patches to Anthropogenic Disturbances in Southeastern Cameroon?
Bourland, Nils; Cerisier, François; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

in Forests (2015), 6(2), 293-310

While most past studies have emphasized the relationships between specific forest stands and edaphic factors, recent observations in Central African moist forests suggested that an increase of slash-and ... [more ▼]

While most past studies have emphasized the relationships between specific forest stands and edaphic factors, recent observations in Central African moist forests suggested that an increase of slash-and-burn agriculture since 3000–2000 BP (Before Present) could be the main driver of the persistence of light-demanding tree species. In order to examine anthropogenic factors in the persistence of such populations, our study focused on Pericopsis elata, an endangered clustered timber species. We used a multidisciplinary approach comprised of botanical, anthracological and archaeobotanical investigations to compare P. elata patches with surrounding stands of mixed forest vegetation (“out-zones”). Charcoal samples were found in both zones, but were significantly more abundant in the soils of patches. Eleven groups of taxa were identified from the charcoals, most of them also present in the current vegetation. Potsherds were detected only inside P. elata patches and at different soil depths, suggesting a long human presence from at least 2150 to 195 BP, as revealed by our charcoal radiocarbon dating. We conclude that current P. elata patches most likely result from shifting cultivation that occurred ca. two centuries ago. The implications of our findings for the dynamics and management of light-demanding tree species are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of 3 different variable selection strategies to improve the predictions of fatty acid profile in bovine milk by mid-infrared spectrometry
Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Dehareng, Frédéric et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98(suppl 2), 804

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See detailMyzus persicae feeding on water stressed Arabidopsis affects the emission profile of plant volatile organic compounds
Truong, Dieu-Hien; Delaplace, Pierre ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg et al

in Journal of Environment and Ecology (2014), 5(2),

Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by water-controlled or water-stressed Arabidopsis thaliana infested or not infested with Myzus persicae were evaluated by headspace solid phase ... [more ▼]

Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by water-controlled or water-stressed Arabidopsis thaliana infested or not infested with Myzus persicae were evaluated by headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The infestations were maintained for 0–24 h, 24–48 h, and 48–72 h, and the emission profile for each time period was determined. Under these controlled conditions, the proportion of 4-methylpentyl isothiocyanate and dimethyl disulfide emitted by aphid-infested, water-stressed Arabidopsis was greater than that for aphid-infested water-controlled Arabidopsis over the 48–72 h sampling period. The proportion of terpene emitted by aphid-infested water-stressed plants also significantly increased compared with the other treatments over the three assayed sampling periods. In contrast, the proportion of 2-ethylhexanal (the only detected aldehyde) and ketones for the water-controlled plants generally remained high following aphid infestation. Taken together, these original data ascertain that abiotic factors can greatly interact to biotic stresses to alter the VOC emission profiles of plants. [less ▲]

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See detailPlutella xylostella (L.) infestations at varying temperatures induce the emission of specific volatile blends by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh
Hien, Truong Thi Dieu ULg; Delory, Benjamin ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg et al

in Plant Signaling & Behavior (2014)

The effect of combined abiotic and biotic factors on plant volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is poorly understood. This study evaluated the VOC emissions produced by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Col ... [more ▼]

The effect of combined abiotic and biotic factors on plant volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is poorly understood. This study evaluated the VOC emissions produced by Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Col-0 subjected to three temperature regimes (17, 22, and 27 °C) in the presence and absence of Plutella xylostella larvae over two time intervals (0–4 and 4–8 h), in comparison to control plants. The analyses of VOCs emitted by Arabidopsis plants were made by headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). It was found that certain volatile groups (e.g., alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, and terpenes) are induced by both single factors (temperature or larval infestation) and combined factors (temperature and larvae interactions), whereas other volatile groups (e.g., isothiocyanates [ITCs] and nitrile) were specific to the experimental conditions. ITCs (mainly 4-methylpentyl isothiocyanate) were emitted from plants subjected to larval infestation at 17 and 27 °C after the two time intervals. The proportions of sulfides (mainly dimethyl disulfide) and 4-(methylthio) butanenitrile were significantly higher on herbivore-infested plants at 22 °C compared to the other treatments. Overall, our findings indicate that changes in all experimental conditions caused significant changes to the VOC emissions of Arabidopsis plants. Therefore, the interaction between temperature and larval feeding may represent an important factor determining the variability of volatile emissions by plants subjected to multiple simultaneous factors. [less ▲]

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See detailLarval development sites of the main Culicoides species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in northern Europe and distribution of coprophilic species larvae in Belgian pastures
Zimmer, Jean-Yves ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Haubruge, Eric ULg et al

in Veterinary Parasitology (2014), 205(3-4), 676-686

Some Culicoides species of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological virus vectors worldwide and have indeed been associated with outbreaks of important epizoonoses in recent years, such as ... [more ▼]

Some Culicoides species of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological virus vectors worldwide and have indeed been associated with outbreaks of important epizoonoses in recent years, such as bluetongue and Schmallenberg disease in northern Europe. These diseases, which affect domestic and wild ruminants, have caused considerable economic losses. Knowledge of substrates suitable for Culicoides larval development is important, particularly for the main vector temperate species. This study, realized during two years, aimed to highlight the larval development sites of these biting midge species in the immediate surroundings of ten Belgian cattle farms. Moreover, spatial distribution of the coprophilic Culicoides larvae (C. chiopterus and C. dewulfi) within pastures was studied with increasing distance from farms along linear transects (farm–pasture–woodland). A total of 4347 adult specimens belonging to 13 Culicoides species were obtained by incubation of 2131 soil samples belonging to 102 different substrates; 18 of these substrates were suitable for larval development. The Obsoletus complex (formed by two species) was observed in a wide range of substrates, including silage residues, components of a chicken coop, dung adhering to walls inside stables, leftover feed along the feed bunk, a compost pile of sugar beet residues, soil of a livestock trampling area, and decaying wood, while the following served as substrates for the other specimens: C. chiopterus, mainly cow dung; C. dewulfi, cow dung and molehill soil; C. circumscriptus, algae; C. festivipennis, algae and soil in stagnant water; C. nubeculosus, algae and silt specifically from the edge of a pond; C. punctatus, mainly wet soil between silage reserves; C. salinarius, algae; and C. stigma, algae and wet soil between silage reserves. We also recorded significantly higher densities of coprophilic larvae within pastures in cow dung located near forests, which is likely due to the localization of potential hosts; the presence of these larvae within cow dung is, however, uninfluenced by relative distance from farms. A better knowledge of the microhabitats of Culicoides biting midges and their spatial distribution may allow the development of targeted species-specific vector control strategies, and may help to prevent the creation of new larval development sites. [less ▲]

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