Publications

NIBIOs employees contribute to several hundred scientific articles and research reports every year. You can browse or search in our collection which contains references and links to these publications as well as other research and dissemination activities. The collection is continously updated with new and historical material.

2022

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Abstract

Sorption of nutrients such as NH4+ is often quoted as a critical property of biochar, explaining its value as a soil amendment and a filter material. However, published values for NH4+ sorption to biochar vary by more than 3 orders of magnitude, without consensus as to the source of this variability. This lack of understanding greatly limits our ability to use quantitative sorption measurements towards product design. Here, our objective was to conduct a quantitative analysis of the sources of variability, and infer which biochar traits are more favourable to high sorption capacity. To do so, we conducted a standardized remodelling exercise of published batch sorption studies using Langmuir sorption isotherm. We excluded studies presenting datasets that either could not be reconciled with the standard Langmuir sorption isotherm or generated clear outliers. Our analysis indicates that the magnitude of sorption capacity of unmodified biochar for NH4+ is lower than previously reported, with a median of 4.2 mg NH4+ g−1 and a maximum reported sorption capacity of 22.8 mg NH4+ g−1. Activation resulted in a significant relative improvement in sorption capacity, but absolute improvements remain modest, with a maximum reported sorption of 27.56 mg NH4+ g−1 for an activated biochar. Methodology appeared to substantially impact sorption estimates, especially practices such as pH control of batch sorption solution and ash removal. Our results highlight some significant challenges in the quantification of NH4+ sorption by biochar and our curated data set provides a potentially valuable scale against which future estimates can be assessed.

Abstract

Management of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Norway requires a forest growth and yield model suitable for describing stand dynamics of even-aged forests under contemporary climatic conditions with and without the effects of silvicultural thinning. A system of equations forming such a stand-level growth and yield model fitted to long-term experimental data is presented here. The growth and yield model consists of component equations for (i) dominant height, (ii) stem density (number of stems per hectare), (iii) total basal area, (iv) and total stem volume fitted simultaneously using seemingly unrelated regression. The component equations for stem density, basal area, and volume include a thinning modifier to forecast stand dynamics in thinned stands. It was shown that thinning significantly increased basal area and volume growth while reducing competition related mortality. No significant effect of thinning was found on dominant height. Model examination by means of various fit statistics indicated no obvious bias and improvement in prediction accuracy in comparison to existing models in general. An application of the developed stand-level model comparing different management scenarios exhibited plausible long-term behavior and we propose this is therefore suitable for national deployment.

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Abstract

Background Eimeria spp. are widespread apicomplexan parasites known to cause coccidiosis in livestock, resulting in reduced animal welfare and productivity, particularly in sheep. The treatment options are limited, and there is an emerging development of resistance against registered pharmaceuticals. Spruce bark is rich in plant secondary metabolites (PSM), such as condensed tannins, which are bioactive compounds previously shown to have antiparasitic activity. Here, we examined the anticoccidial properties of bark extract of Norway spruce (Picea abies) against a field isolate of ovine Eimeria spp. by treating Eimeria-infected pre-ruminant lambs with water-extracted bark daily for 12 days. We hypothesised that the bark extract would reduce the faecal oocyst excretion and, consequently, the severity of diarrhoea. Results Oral administration of spruce bark extract significantly reduced the excretion of Eimeria oocysts in milk-fed lambs post treatment till the end of the trial 22 days post infection. This difference in oocyst excretion between the treated and the untreated infected animals increased with time. Compared to the untreated and the sham-infected control group, the group treated with bark extract had softer faeces and reduced milk intake during the treatment period. After discontinuing the treatment, the treated animals got a more solid and formed faeces compared to that of the untreated control group, and the milk intake increased to the level of the sham-infected, untreated control group. The bark extract treated animals had a lower body weight and a lower mean daily body weight gain throughout the whole duration of the experiment. Conclusions Bark extract from Norway spruce showed marked anticoccidial properties by reducing the faecal oocyst count and associated diarrhoea in young lambs. Simultaneously we experienced detrimental effects of the treatment, displayed as reduced feed intake and daily body weight gain. Therefore, we suggest conducting similar studies with lower bark extract dosage to explore the possibilities of a better trade-off to reduce the negative impact while maintaining the antiparasitic effect. Keywords: Coccidia, Coccidiocide, Eimeria, Industrial by-products, Sheep

Abstract

Fecal contamination of water constitutes a serious health risk to humans and environmental ecosystems. This is mainly due to the fact that fecal material carries a variety of enteropathogens, which can enter and circulate in water bodies through fecal pollution. In this respect, the prompt identification of the polluting source(s) is pivotal to guiding appropriate target-specific remediation actions. Notably, microbial source tracking (MST) is widely applied to determine the host origin(s) contributing to fecal water pollution through the identification of zoogenic and/or anthropogenic sources of fecal environmental DNA (eDNA). A wide array of host-associated molecular markers have been developed and exploited for polluting source attribution in various aquatic ecosystems. This review is intended to provide the most up-to-date overview of genetic marker-based MST studies carried out in different water types, such as freshwaters (including surface and groundwaters) and seawaters (from coasts, beaches, lagoons, and estuaries), as well as drinking water systems. Focusing on the latest scientific progress/achievements, this work aims to gain updated knowledge on the applicability and robustness of using MST for water quality surveillance. Moreover, it also provides a future perspective on advancing MST applications for environmental research.

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Abstract

Compatibility and synchrony between specialized tissues of the pistil, female gametophytes and male gametophytes, are necessary for successful pollination, fertilization, and fruit set in angiosperms. The aim of the present work was to study the development and viability of embryo sacs, as well as fertilization success, in relation to the fruit set of the cultivars ‘Mallard’, ‘Edda’, ‘Jubileum’, and ‘Reeves’, under specific Norwegian climatic conditions. Emasculated, unpollinated, and open-pollinated flowers were collected at the beginning of flowering, and on the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th days after flowering, from all four plum cultivars over two years (2018/2019). Ovaries were dehydrated, embedded in paraffin wax, sectioned, stained, and observed under a light microscope. Results showed the existence of synchronization between successive phases in the development of the embryo sac and individual phases of flowering. All plum cultivars had higher percentages of viable embryo sacs, fertilized embryo sacs, and fruit set in 2018 than in 2019. These differences may be related to the very low temperatures during the post-full-flowering period in 2019, and to the low adaptation of some studied cultivars to unfavorable conditions. In our study, the cultivar ‘Jubileum’ showed the highest percentage of viable embryo sacs, fertilized embryo sacs, and fruit set compared to other cultivars, i.e., the best low-temperature adaptation.