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Browsing by department "Department of Agricultural Sciences"

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  • Naukkarinen, Veera (2019)
    Soil carbon (C) is a key part of the global C cycle. Agricultural soils can be both source and sink of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). In the Mid-Hill region of Nepal, a lot of the historical soil C has been lost in consequence of the conversion of forests into agricultural lands. However, there is huge potential to increase the soil C sink through appropriate farming practices. The region is characterized by mountainous topography with various microclimates found within a short distance. Thus, also the farming systems differ from each other, which further contributes to the altering soil C accumulation in the region. This Master's thesis is linked to the project Building Climate Resilience in Farming Systems in Sloping Lands of South Asia, supported by Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN). The aim of the study was to find out what is the present soil carbon status in two predominant farming systems in the study site in Kavre, located in the Mid-Hill region, and what are the farming practices contributing to soil C. Soil samples from upland and lowland were taken into the analysis complemented with the interviews of the farmers and the field observations. The effect of the farming practices was investigated in three systems, including the both farming systems, upland solely, and lowland solely. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied for studying the effects of the categorically measured farming practices. The effects of the farming practices classified as continuous variables were measured with the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The results showed that the soil C content was significantly higher in the upland system compared with lowlands. Vegetation cover, agroforestry, and the weed management with weed residues left to the fields were associated with higher soil C stocks. Negative relationship between the chemical fertilizer use and soil C sequestration was found. The use of organic fertilizers, tillage method, tilling intensity, crop residue management and irrigation did not show significant effect on soil C. This study suggests that the aboveground vegetation cover is an integral part of the soil C sequestration in the sloping agricultural lands in the Mid-Hill region of Nepal. Nonetheless, further research with replication and a larger sample size is needed in order to fully investigate the farming practices contributing to the greater soil C contents in the region.
  • Suomela, Maria (2013)
    Along with rapid population growth, peri-urban environments have a great potential to improve urban food production. Especially, in developing countries people living in big cities are suffering from food and firewood shortages. Agroforestry could be a sustainable way to produce food and fuel in peri-urban areas, areas surrounding cities. For the development and the analyzing an agroecosystems, various recommendations and guidelines are in place. However, applying these recommendations and guidelines can be complicated and time consuming. The aim of this study was to create an agroforestry system design model which would be simple and easy to use. The model was created based on already existing agroecosystem analyzing and design models. From which publications by Altieri (1983); Agroecology – The scientific basis of alternative agriculture, Nair (1989); Agroforestry systems in the Tropics and Jaenicke et al. (1995); Towards a method to set priorities amongst species for tree improvement research – A case study from West Africa, where chosen to be applied. The study included three different stages: a development of the design model, testing the model and analyzing the model. The testing part was implemented in Dzivaresekwa, a peri-urban area of Harare, Zimbabwe. The data collection for design the agroforestry system consisted interviews of local farmers, project farm characterization and the interview of the project farm manager. Based on the data collected, suitable species and their arrangement were decided. The application of the design model required comprehensive data collection about the project farm’s farming possibilities. About four months was used for the whole design process. This might be too long for most of the farmers depending on agriculture as their only income. However, if the process is done for an entirely new farming system, the time can be found as reasonable. The model can be quite easily modified for each project in question. However, the testing of the model proved that some development should still be carried out. For example determining the suitable species should be simpler.
  • Karjalainen, Satu (2019)
    Sphagnum moss could be used as a substitute for Sphagnum peat as a growing medium. It has the same positive physical properties as peat and it is also a more sustainable option. However, there are some indications that Sphagnum moss may have some inhibitory effects on vascular plant seed germination and seedling development. The aim of this study was to find out whether this is true and due to the low pH of different Sphagnum moss species. The tested moss species were Sphagnum fallax, Sphagnum medium, Sphagnum rubellum and Sphagnum spp. The seed germination on Sphagnum moss substrate was tested with lettuce, radish, basil, pine and ryegrass. Also, two additional seed germination experiments were done with lettuce. Seedling growth experiment on Sphagnum substrate was tested with lettuce. The first germination experiments indicated that the dicotyledon species basil, radish and lettuce are sensitive to the allelopathic effect caused by Sphagnum moss. In the case of ryegrass and pine no indication of seed germination inhibition was found. The two additional germination experiments confirmed that Sphagnum moss and white peat substrates and Sphagnum moss and white peat organic matter/water extracts were inhibiting lettuce seed germination. Added lime didn’t conclusively explain the inhibition in germination percentages of Sphagnum moss substrate when compared to control treatment gauze. Only in the case of radish the raised pH had positive effect on the germination percentage. Therefor it was concluded that the low germination percentage is not explained only by the naturally low pH of Sphagnum mosses and Sphagnum mosses’ other characteristics should be investigated in the future. In the seedling growth experiment done with lettuce on Sphagnum medium growing medium there was no indication of allelopathic effect on seed germination or seedling development. The allelopathic compounds were thought to have been lost in this experiment through leaching when the substrates were watered.
  • Koppelmäki, Kari (2016)
    Rikkakasvit ovat yksi suurimmista luomuviljelyn satoa rajoittavista tekijöistä. Tavallisesti luomutiloilla käytetyllä mekaanisella rikkakasvin torjunnalla on useita negatiivia ympäristövaikutuksia. Peitekasvien viljely on vaihtoehto mekaaniselle rikkakasvien hallinnalle ja samalla se tukee monia muita maataloudelle annettuja ympäristötavoitteita. Pohjoisissa oloissa yleisin tapa toteuttaa peitekasvien viljelyä on kylvää ne satokasvin aluskasviksi. Tässä tutkimuksessa selvitettiin aluskasvien vaikutusta ohran (Hordeum vulgare) ja rikkakasvien kasvuun Jokiosissa sijaitsevilla koekentillä. Lintupajussa oli kaksi erillistä koe-asetelmaa, joista toinen oli lannoittamaton ja toinen naudan lietelannalla lannoitettu (50 N kg/ha) koeasetelma. Kokeessa oli neljä aluskasvikäsittelyä, joita verrattiin aluskasvittomaan käsittelyyn. Lamminkylän lannoittamaton koeasetelma sisälsi viisi eri aluskasvikäsittelyä ja aluskasvittoman käsittelyn. Lisärikkakasviksi koeruutujen päihin kylvettiin rypsiä (Brassica rapa subsp. Oleifera). Aluskasvien vaikutusta selvitettiin koeruuduilta heinä- ja elokuussa otetuista kasvustonäytteistä, joista mitattiin ohran, rikkakasvien ja aluskasvien peittävyyttä, maanpäällistä biomassaa sekä tiheyttä. Aluskasvit tuottivat melko suuren maanpäällisen biomassan, mutta niillä ei ollut vaiku-tusta rikkakasvien maanpäällisen biomassaan. Aluskasviksi kylvetty ruis vähensi ohran sa-toa kolmanneksella, mutta muilla aluskasveilla ei ollut vaikutusta ohran jyväsatoon. Tulosten perusteella palkokasvit soveltuvat suurillakin siemenmäärillä ohran aluskasviksi luonnonmukaisessa viljelyssä. Tarvitaan kuitenkin monivuotisia kenttäkokeita, joista saa-daan tuloksia erilaisista viljelykierroista, maalajeilta ja sääolosuhteista.
  • Tran, Cuong (2018)
    Salicylic acid (SA) is a well-known phytohormone involved in pathogen defense, development and controlling the cellular redox balance. In response to stresses, Arabidopsis thaliana synthesizes SA in the chloroplasts mainly via the isochorismate (IC) pathway: IC synthase (ICS) uses chorismate to produce IC, which is in turn converted to SA. ICS1 is the rate limiting enzyme in SA biosynthesis. The ICS1 protein localizes in the chloroplasts and contains a chloroplast transit peptide sequence, which is the first 45 amino acids in the N-terminus. Under different light conditions, plants employ different stress defense strategies. In a previous study, wild type (WT) Arabidopsis thaliana ecotype Columbia-0 grown under different light conditions [short day (SD; 8h light/16h dark), long day (LD; 16h light/8h dark) and 12h light/12h dark] was exposed to ozone for 1 hour (350 ppb). In a phosphoproteomic approach to study signaling mechanisms, ICS1 has been found as an in vivo phosphoprotein in ozone-treated plants grown under SD condition by mass spectrometry (MS). To analyze the phosphorylation of ICS1 in vitro, WT and phospho-negative ICS1 proteins were produced recombinantly as GST-fusion proteins in E. coli and used as the substrates for targeted kinase assays. Phospho-negative ICS1 protein was generated by mutating the phospho-sites to alanines by site-directed mutagenesis. ICS1 could be phosphorylated either in the cytosol or in the chloroplasts. Therefore, different cytosolic kinases, which are involved in various stress signaling events, and a chloroplast protein kinase that functions as a dominant regulator of chloroplast processes, were selected as the kinases to be tested. In this study, GST-ICS1 could be successfully phosphorylated in vitro. To a similar extent, GST-phospho-negative ICS1 was phosphorylated, indicating that ICS1 was phosphorylated in vitro at sites that were different from the ones found by MS from plant material. In order to study the identified phospho-sites in vivo, transgenic Arabidopsis carrying WT, phospho-positive, and phospho-negative ICS1 proteins were generated. Transgenic plants were confirmed by genotyping. Western blotting was carried out to evaluate ECFP-WT ICS1 protein expression. However, none of the transgenic plants could be confirmed to carry ECFP-WT ICS1. Additionally, an antibody against AtICS1 produced by the company Agrisera was tested for its specificity against the endogenous ICS1 protein. While the antibody could detect recombinant GST-ICS1 protein, ICS1 could not be detected from a total protein extract.
  • Eusuf, Saad Bin (2020)
    Stress response in plants is influenced by several external and internal factors and is executed in a modular way. Environmental stimuli or stress is sensed by cellular receptors and the signal is transduced inside cell via the phospho-activation of highly conserved intracellular signaling cascades like mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. The signal then activates biosynthesis pathways of major stress response hormones like Salicylic acid (SA). In Arabidopsis about 90% SA is synthesized via isochorismate pathway and Isochorismate synthase 1 (ICS1) is a rate limiting enzyme in this pathway. In this study, goal was to select transgenic ICS1 (homozygous) candidate lines from parent ICS1-CFP by selective regeneration. Then, by molecular and physiological characterization of transgenic ICS1-CFP plants, the function of ICS1 phosphorylation, more specifically, impact of different photoperiods (Long day; LD and Short day; SD) and stress conditions on ICS1 activity would have resolved. However, there were no homozygous candidate line from any parent ICS1-CFP plants after several screening. Nevertheless, ozone treated stress sensitivity test was performed with heterozygous ICS1-CFP candidate plants (T2 generation). Ozone treated stress depends on stomata factor because ozone enters into plants through stomata. Therefore, stomata index analysis was performed with sid2 and WT (Col-0) phenotypes and grown in LD and SD conditions. Since, stomata number was different between LD and SD plants of both sid2 and WT phenotypes, a different method named Xanthine-Xanthine oxidase (X/XO) treatment was applied that induce oxidative stress regardless of stomata. Although, WT and sid2 had shown sensitivity to the treatment, the overall cell death percentage was very low. Lastly, our aim was to observe the impact of different photoperiods on the activation of two particular MAPKs i.e MPK3 and MPK6 under stress conditions. The phosphorylated (P-MPK3 and P-MPK6) are found abundantly in ozone treated plants as an early response. In this experiment, plants were grown in both LD and SD, stressed with both ozone and X/XO treatments, the activation of P-MPK3 and P-MPK6 was observed by protein level analysis (western blotting) in detailed time course. Although, the activation was visualized in both LD and SD plants, qualitatively the pattern was similar between day type samples and activation signal was very weak in both stress methods. In addition, anti-ICS1 antibody provided by Agrsera TM was tested for its efficiency to detect endogenous ICS1 protein in plants in two experimental set-up. Although the antibody could detect overexpressed ICS1-CFP protein in samples, it was not that efficient to detect endogenous ICS1 in any of the experiments.
  • Lahtinen, Sonja (2020)
    The purpose of the study was to determine the possibilities of utilizing the by-product streams of fish processing industry in the production of fish oil and silage. In this thesis the effect of different antioxidants on the preservation of salmon scraps was studied and the utilisation of the dregs from which the oil was extracted as feed was considered. The scarps preserved in this study were from farmed salmon and consisted of internal organs and roe. The study had two experiments. The first one lasted for 65 days and in it formic acid was added to the scraps for a final acid content of 3 %. The scraps with only the formic acid acted as the control and the four different antioxidants studied were butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), ethoxyquin mixture (Helmlox) and butylated hydroxytoluene (Ionol). The amount of Ionol was 100 ppm and for BHA, TBHQ and Helmlox there were two different amounts, 50 and 100 ppm. The second experiment lasted for 29 days and the formic acid content was 1 %. BHA and Helmlox antioxidants were used with an amount of 10 ppm. The oil and sediment parts from the experiments were analyzed separately. Based on the analyses the antioxidants or their amounts did not have an effect on the values extracted from the sediment. In the first experiment the analyses from the oil gave mostly highly significant (p<0,001) differences between the control and the antioxidants. There were also clear differences between the antioxidants but the different amounts did not have an effect on the AV-, PV- and TOTOX-values. In the second experiment the analyses from the oil gave only minor differences between the control and the antioxidants, the differences between different antioxidants being larger. The peroxide value of BHA was clearly larger than that of the control and Helmlox and therefore also the TOTOX-value was larger, which contradicts the results of the first experiment. In the second experiment also the measured amino acid contents diminished when the antioxidants were added which contradicts previous research. TBHQ worked best as an antioxidant, then BHA, Ionol and Helmlox in order. The usage of the dregs from the scraps as feed for pigs and chicken is limited by its high fish oil content. However for fur animals salmon scraps are suitable as feed products if the amino acid deficiencies are compensated with other feed products.
  • Raunio, Jussi (2015)
    Automatic measurement of temporally varying soil moisture content could result in benefits both in agriculture and other applications. Mainly due to the ease of automation only electrical methods are suitable for measuring the variability of temporal moisture content. Capacitance technology is one of the most suitable methods for this kind of purpose. When determining soil moisture content by dielectricity means one will face two main properties: soil permittivity and soil electrical conductivity. Moisture measurement is based mainly on the changes of soil permittivity. Instead, changes in the soil electrical conductivity typically hamper the accuracy of moisture measurements. The measurement accuracy can be improved, however, by increasing the measurement frequency. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of sensor’s physical geometry and measuring frequency to the reliability of measurement. Combination of two measurement frequencies and an additional measurement of soil resistance were also determined for improving the accuracy. This study was carried out as part of the SAFETOOL project which aims were to monitor and to develop measurement tools for measuring and monitoring the status of the environment in field conditions. The sampling volume of capacitive sensors was examined in both field and laboratory conditions. To stabilize the weather moisture measurements were done only in laboratory conditions. The study was divided into two parts: pre-study and main-study. During the main-study five different capacitive geometries and the measurement of soil resistance were examined. Capacitance was measured using three frequencies: 5,5, 70 and 95 MHz. A commercial EC-5 capacitance sensor (Decagon Devices, Pullman, WA, USA) was used as control. Measurements were carried out in containers of volume about 3 litres filled with fine sand. Moisture measurements were conducted with volumetric water contents of 5 %, 15 %, 25 % and 35 % while the electrical conductivity varied between 2 and 24. Changes in the physical geometry did not result in remarkable differences of accuracy. The measurement volumes were also similar within the variable geometries. The impact of changes in the electrical conductivity, or salinity, however, was significant. Measuring the resistance of the soil lead typically to better results. However, this could be due to relatively high soil electrical conductivity. While working within the framework of normal field conditions and the right calibration one might expect to get reliable moisture measurements with a capacitance moisture sensor.
  • Zhao, Lei (2016)
    In Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) lignin forms a major part of the xylem cell walls and renders the tracheids water resistant while giving support to the cell walls and the whole tree trunk. In Norway spruce lignin is polymerized mainly from coniferyl alcohol but the origins of this monolignol are not known. In our study, we employed laser capture microdissection (LCMD) system to isolate ray parenchyma cells and xylem tracheids from thin (30-40 μm), tangential cryomicrotome sections of developing xylem of the spruce trunk. We wanted to analyse the monolignol biosynthesis pathway gene expression separately in these cell types. Our aim was to examine the possibility that coniferyl alcohol is produced in the tracheid cells, or whether also the neighboring cells (ray cells) contribute to the biosynthesis of monolignols during the lignification as has been confirmed in angiosperms before. Total RNA extracted from the collected material was used to perform low mRNA input sequencing on the Illumina HiSeq platform to identify transcripts potentially involved in monolignol biosynthesis and secretion. As a control material we used whole cryomicrotome sections containing both xylem tracheids and rays. Deep sequencing was performed to generate quantitative expression data within a particular cell type. Differential gene expression was conducted with a Chipster analysis software by using DESeq2. Altogether, 936 genes were differentially expressed between whole sections and ray cells, and 424 transcripts were more abundant in ray cells, while 512 transcripts were less abundant. Comparison between whole sections and xylem tracheids illustrated that 18 transcripts were more abundant in xylem tracheids and 275 transcripts were less abundant. Our study demonstrated the usefulness of LCMD combined with RNA-Seq to characterize gene expression in specific cell types.
  • Koskenniemi, Petteri (2019)
    Tutkimuksessa selvitettiin ISOBUS-työkonemarkkinoiden nykytilaa. Tutkimuksen pääkysymyksinä olivat yhteensopivuusongelmien yleisyys, ISOBUS-teknologian ja ominaisuuksien tunnettavuus, sekä tulevaisuudennäkymät ISOBUS-työkoneiden osalta. Tunnettavuuden osalta keskityttiin erityisesti työkoneen käyttäjän ja myyjän myyjä-asiakassuhteeseen sekä asiantuntijamyyjän palvelukykyyn uuden teknologian osalta. Tutkimus toteutettiin laadullisena haastattelututkimuksena haastattelemalla työkoneiden käyttäjiä, myyjiä sekä työkonealan asiantuntijoita. Käyttäjien, eli työkonekaupan asiakkaiden osalta keskityttiin erityisesti keskikokoa suurempiin asiakkaisiin. ISOBUS-väylää hyödyntäviä työkoneita on ollut markkinoilla jo melko pitkään, mutta aihealue on vielä kohtuullisen tuntematon laajemmin työkonesektorilla. Tietoisuus väylän toimintatavasta, tai varsinkin sen eri toiminnallisuuksista ja niiden luomista mahdollisuuksista on vasta kehittymässä, jolloin ristiriitoja voi syntyä helposti. Myös markkinoilla olevat, eri vuotiset ja eri ISOBUS-toiminnallisuuksia tukevat työkoneet aiheuttavat haasteita erityisesti käytettyjen työkoneiden kauppiaille. Eri versioiden yhteensovittamisessa esiin nousseista yhteensopivuusongelmista voi myös helposti nousta koko ohjausväylää koskeva epäluotettavuuden leima, vaikka ongelmalle olisikin selkeä syy. ISOBUS-väylää hyödyntävien työkoneiden määrä on kuitenkin jatkuvasti kasvussa, ja samalla myös täsmäviljelyn lisääntyessä laajaa tietomäärää kerääville ja käsitteleville työkoneille on selkeä kysyntä, joka puoltaa ISOBUS-väylän paikkaa ja mahdollisuuksia työkonealalla. ISOBUS-väylä rakentuu tarkasti standardisoidun rakenteen lisäksi myös standardisoituihin toiminnallisuuksiin. Näitä toiminnallisuuksia ovat esimerkiksi työkoneen hallintaan käytetty universaaliterminaali, tai työsuoritteen tietojen keräämiseen ja hallitsemiseen liittyvä tehtäväohjain. Työsuoritteen tietojen keräämisen lisäksi tehtäväohjain on myös oleellisessa roolissa täsmäviljelyssä, sillä esimerkiksi paikkakohtainen määränsäätö rakentuu sen ympärille. Vaikka tuloksissa nousi esille useampia yhteensopivuusongelmia ISOBUS-traktoreiden ja työkoneiden välillä, ei niiden koettu kuitenkaan leimaavan järjestelmää. Useilla loppuasiakkaille nousi tuloksissa esille aiheen vieraus työkonemyyjille, mutta toisaalta myös vaihtelu koettiin suureksi. Vastaavasti kokonaisuudessaan ISOBUS-ominaisuuksia painottavia asiakkaita koettiin olevan vielä vähän kokonaisuuteen nähden. Joka tapauksessa väyläominaisuuksien merkityksen koettiin kasvavan tulevaisuudessa huomattavasti, niin työkoneiden käyttäjien kuin myös myyjien mielestä.
  • Afrane, Yaw (2020)
    The world population is growing and is expected to reach over 9 billion in about 30 years. Climate change is also widely expected to worsen famines in certain regions of the world. This will drastically increase global food demand. Food security efforts should be therefore be geared towards promoting food crops that can thrive in these regions and can withstand the condition likely to be brought about by changing climate. Cassava is a typical example of such a crop. This study investigated the use of digital images to estimate growth parameters of young cassava plants. Cassava was cultivated in pots at the University of Helsinki greenhouse at Viikki. The plants were given different water level (100%, 60% and 30% saturation) and potassium (0.1, 1.0, 4.0, 16.0 and 32.0mM) treatments. Digital red-green-blue (RGB) and multispectral images were taken every other week for 5 consecutive times. The images were processed to obtain leaf area, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and Crop Senescence Index (CSI) and correlated with directly measured growth parameters of the young cassava crops. It was observed that leaf area that was computed from images, and NDVI which was computed from the multispectral images have significant positive correlations with the growth parameters, ie, actual leaf area, chlorophyll content, and plant biomass. CSI however showed weak a correlation between the growth parameters of the young cassava plants. Images leaf area and NDVI were then used to identify the changes in the effects of the water and potassium treatments.
  • Nikkonen, Henri (2014)
    The aim of this study is to observe what kind of environmental impacts are caused by agriculture and what kind of factors causes them. The study is part of ENREFOOD – project, which views the environmental responsibility of food chain. The data was collected from scientific literature and a group interview, where participants were representing experts from different areas of primary production. The experts were shown a draft of the main environmental impacts and their causes basing on life cycle assessment (LCA) impact classes. The chosen main environmental impacts were focusing on climate change, acidification, eutrophication, biodiversity, toxicity and eco-toxicity and natural resources. The experts were supposed to modify this draft in order to achieve their collective perspective. The results were presented as comparing the draft based on scientific literature and perspectives obtained from the experts. Moreover, the terms used when discussing about the causes of the environmental impacts were analysed applying environmental protection process (EPP) framework, which can be used to illustrate how an environmental change is formed. The perspective of experts did not differ much from the scientific literature based on the draft. The names of the main environmental impact classes were slightly modified and one new class was formed. The new class was called landscape change and recreational factors. The terms relating to the causes used by experts were representing different components in the EPP framework. A Part of the terms were more abstract background factors whereas some related direct on farm level action and its emissions. The amount of the environmental impacts of primary production is huge. By more precisely scoping of the chosen environmental themes can result more manageable overall view. For example, as a good starting point the protection areas applied in the end point modelling of the LCA can be recommended. These areas of protection can be, e.g., human health, biodiversity, natural resources and natural environments. Focusing on these areas of protection separately can reduce the causality problem, which makes environmental impact observation challenging.
  • Christersson, Jenni (2015)
    This case study sheds new light on rural water use and related social, aconomic and environmental dimensions and proposes government intervention in order to ensure water rights and protect public value of fairness. The aim is to highlight farmers’ perspectives on irrigation water use and related obstacles, and specifically distinguish if views are connected to farmers’ underlying socioeconomic or agro-ecologic factors. For further considerations adaptive capacity of community for irrigation water fees is explored. The research material consists of semi-structured interviews for farmers (n=63), government organizations (n=3) and agricultural enterprises (n=2). Economic groups were formed via analysis of asset-based economic status. Grouping based on agricultural water use was conducted through categorization. Costs and lack of knowledge were identified as the main barriers for adopting advanced irrigation technology. The study showed prevailing allocation system is in need of reformation. When designing rural policy, farmers’ perceptions should be respected. Water allocation is considered unfair community-wide and social conflicts are largely faced. Those who do not suffer from conflicts are most commonly rich. Technology transfer offer potential benefits, but community needs to be mobilized. Grouping based on irrigation water usage may be used for targeting policies. Economic grouping may be used for distinguishing farmers’ behavior when designing change in economic conditions or conflict resolution strategy. The complementary role of this study is to bring out special focus on development for institutional capacity-building; strengthening the forcing nature of laws and user rights. This may reduce the attractiveness for corruption in the process. Under these conditions, the greatest benefits may be obtained by giving top priority instead of irrigation improvement, but conflict mediation and establishment of water markets.
  • Yrjö-Koskinen, Anneli (2013)
    Most of the organic dairy producers use conventional, non-organic animals to renew their breeding stock due to lack of breeding program for organic production. Milk production and food intake is usually lower amongst organic cows. Conventional production favour cows with great milk performance, which is a trait that is not as beneficial in organic production. Organic feed is often less energetic than the conventional, which easily leads to fertility and metabolic problems in organic cows with large genetic milk performance. The adaptation to different environments depends on the interaction between genotype and environment. Because of this, animals that thrive in one environment do not succeed as well in other environments. This research is based on organic dairy breeders’ opinions, experiences and future objectives. In this study I also draw conclusions on whether the Finnish organic dairy production would be in need of its own breeding program. The results of this paper are based on two questionnaires, which were sent to organic dairy producers in the end of year 2011. The first questionnaire was sent to 124 organic dairy producers and the other questionnaire to all who answered the first one. The first part consisted of basic questions about the producers’ opinions, goals and future plans, as well as a ranking of the most desirable traits in the breeding stock. In the second part the producers were asked, among other things, to rank the seven most desirable traits in a pairwise comparison using a scale of 1 – 9. The returned questionnaires were analysed by using the Analytic Hierarchy Process method (AHP) (Saaty and Vargas 2001). The consistencies of the answers were checked by calculating the matrixes consistency ratios using Microsoft Excel. The results of the AHP analysis showed that the organic producers favoured the following qualities, starting with the most favourable trait: udder health, milk production, temperament, fertility, milking abilities, leg health and body structure. Milk production was considered to be the most important trait amongst production qualities. Protein production came in second place and fat production in third and last place. The producers thought udder conformation to be more important than feet and legs and feet and legs to be more important than body size. The conclusion of the analysis is that organic dairy producers favour production traits differently than what is currently weighted in conventional production. According to organic preferences the organic producers should use local breeds. In practice, however, only 6,5% of the Finnish organic producers reported their herds to consist fully of Finn cattle, while 19,5% had a herd consisting of Finn cattle plus one other breed or several other breeds. This research shows that the majority of the Finnish organic dairy producers have similar breeding goals with the conventional production. Since the largest difference between organic and conventional dairy production is to be found in the environmental conditions, it would be beneficial to breed some of the conventional AI-bulls so that they would adapt better to organic conditions.
  • Hovi, Tiina (2013)
    Finnish agriculture has faced radical changes since the mid-20th century due to intensification of agricultural production. These changes have resulted into considerable wildlife habitat loss and degradation of biodiversity. Open ditches and their boundaries are one such habitat. They were widely replaces by subsurface drainage. This thesis aims to understand the role open ditches for agricultural biodiversity; what kinds of plants live the ditch habitat and can ditches enhance agrobiodiversity? To answer these questions we surveyed the vegetation of ditch slopes and ditch banks. Both vegetation composition and species richness were studied. The survey concerns only vegetation, but it is assumed that plant species diversity supports diversity of other groups of organisms. The data was collected in summers 2008 and 2009 in Lepsämä river catchment in Southern Finland in co-operation with MYTVAS (Significance of the Finnish agri-environment support scheme for biodiversity and landscape) -project. Ditch habitat characterization was done by studying the most common species and their indicative values in the data. Also NMS-ordination graph was created. Environmental variables were analyzed too. According to the literature review ditches can have significant role in maintaining agrobiodiversity, and their existence has probably reduced biodiversity loss. However, the vegetation analysis shows that the study area was species-poor and homogenous. Probable explanations are the habitat’s humidity and high levels of nutrients alongside the dominance of few strong weed species. In order to improve ditches as wildlife habitats their quality should be enhanced. For example fertilizer and herbicide drifts should be reduced and ditch banks could be widened. Also tending the ditch habitat by cutting or grazing are highly recommendable methods to enhance biodiversity.
  • Siipola, Anne (2019)
    Conservation of the genetic diversity enables population adaption to climate and production system changes and prevents harmful consequences of inbreeding. The aim of this study was to investigate the state of genetic diversity in Finnish Ayrshire and Finncattle breeds (Western, Eastern and Northern Finncattle) based on pedigree information. The data were received from FABA co-op. Average inbreeding coefficient and relationships were estimated for animals born between 1970 and 2017. Effective population sizes were estimated separately for each birth-year group. In addition, genetic contribution of the most important ancestors of the population were investigated. The Software packages RelaX2 and R-program were used to estimate the population parameters. Average inbreeding coefficient had either stayed at the same level or decreased for all breeds except Western Finncattle. Average inbreeding coefficient of Western Finncattle has increased 2.2 %-units during the last 20 years. In addition, average relationships between breeding animals has remained stable in other breeds except Western Finncattle. Estimated effective population sizes were 163 (AY), 78 (PSK) 74 (LSK) and 57 (ISK) for animals born between 2015 and 2017. The most important ancestors to animals born between 2015 and 2017 of each breed were A Lier (AY), Opari (LSK), Asa (ISK) and Fager (PSK). Effective population sizes of different Finncattle breeds were larger than the minimum recommendation of 50 and average relationship coefficients between breeding animals have stabilized during the past few years. Despite this, the diversity of all Finncattle breeds needs to be strictly monitored. The genetic diversity of Finnish Ayrshire is at the sustainable level that is partly due to cooperation of the Nordic breeding organizations. In the future, genomic information will hopefully provide more effective tools to estimate and manage population genetic diversity.
  • Holms, Sara (2014)
    The aim of this study was to examine how different enrichment objects affect the behaviour of finishing pigs towards enrichment objects and other pigs and also the occurrence of tail- and ear-biting within the pens. Another aim of this study was to examine the stress level of finishing pigs by two different methods. This experiment was carried out in two piggeries; in Huittinen and Pöytyä. The pens were divided into different treatments depending on which enrichment object was in the pen. There was a straw rack in every pen and in Huittinen there was also a simple metal chain in every pen. In the control pens of both piggeries there were no other objects besides these. The enrichment objects in Huittinen were wooden pieces of young birch in different lengths, polythene pipe, simple metal chain and branching metal chain. In Pöytyä the enrichment objects were wooden pieces of young birch and polythene pipe. Data collected in both piggeries were tail and ear lesions and tear staining under the eyes. Only in Huittinen the pigs were videotaped to observe behaviours during contact with each enrichment object and oral manipulation of other pigs. Only in Pöytyä the pigs were measured the latency to approach an unfamiliar human to assess fear of humans. Statistical analysis was accomplished by SPSS-software. In Huittinen the prevalence of tail- and ear-biting and also tear staining was lower in pens with wooden enrichment objects. The use of enrichment objects was the most active in pens with wood and with polythene pipe. There were no differences between the enrichment objects on the oral manipulation of other pigs. In Pöytyä the prevalence of ear-biting was also lower in pens with wooden enrichment objects. However, in tail-biting there was only a tendency for an improvement. Also in tear staining there was only a tendency for an improvement on the left eye in pens with polythene pipe compared to the control pens and there were no differences on the right eye between the enrichment objects. Pigs in pens with wooden enrichment objects were less fearful than those with other enrichment objects and approached the unfamiliar human faster. According to this study wood had the greatest impact as enrichment object for finishing pigs. Polythene pipe as enrichment object was used as frequently as wooden enrichment objects but its efficacy in lowering the prevalence of tail- and ear-biting and also stress level was less. Metal chain was used by the pigs least and there was no difference in the activity of use when a simple metal chain was compared to a branching metal chain. There was less tail- and ear-biting and also lower stress level in pens with wooden enrichment objects compared to other pens.
  • Bada, Bolajoko (2017)
    This research was conducted to examine the effect of biochar on drought tolerance and growth of a grain crop. Biochar is a multipurpose charcoal that heals the soil and promotes crop yield. The experiment was part of University of Helsinki biochar research during the summer and autumn of 2011. The effect of biochar was studied in a greenhouse experiment to determine how well it can improve sorghum (Sorghum bicolor Moench) yield. The experimental factors were amount of water given at low, intermediate and full watering levels, and the absence or presence of Acacia-biochar at level of 10 t/ha in the pots of soil used. The number of leaves per plant, leaf surface area, number of panicles, number of grains per panicle, plant and panicle height, root biomass, and whole plant (above ground) biomass was obtained. The plants were grown in a high greenhouse temperature to mimic the Sudanese extreme weather temperature according to the Khartoum Sudan weather forecast at the time of the experiment. The plants got same amount of water from cultivation until the emergence of 5 leaves. Early drought was proposed to determine its effect as the plant move from vegetative to reproductive stage and the effect of biochar on the soil water holding capacity (WHC). The drought stress started at 5 leaf stage of the plant life cycle. The data were analyzed using 2-way analysis of variance (Anova) statistical tools in SPSS (version 20.0, SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) software. Drought stress affected panicle development, grain yield, plant height, leaf surface area and overall biomass yield. Grain yield and whole plant biomass weight was higher in non-stressed plants. The results indicated no relief to drought stress by biochar addition. In this experiment, the addition of low biochar might be responsible for it inefficiency.
  • Kyheröinen, Salla (2016)
    Actin is known as abundant cytoplasmic protein, which functions as a component of the cytoskeleton and in cell motility together with motor protein myosins. However, actin is also present in the nucleus, where it has been shown to take part in the control of gene expression, both independently and as part of chromatin remodeling complexes. An important aspect in the study of nuclear actin is to identify other nuclear proteins interacting with actin and to confirm these interactions in biochemical experiments. Through these interactions actin can be linked to various nuclear processes. The aim of this master’s thesis study was to express and purify five nuclear proteins that have been suggested to bind actin and to study the binding in detail both with actin filaments and monomers. The proteins of interest include four actin-related proteins (ARPs) Arp4, Arp5, Arp6 and Arp8 as well as RNA polymerase II subunit Rpb8. Out of the proteins selected for this study, the expression and purification of Arp4 and Rpb8 was successful. Neither one did bind monomeric actin with high affinity, but interestingly Rpb8 did bind actin filaments. On the other hand, Rpb8 did not have any effect on actin polymerization. These results provide new insights into nuclear actin function. It has been suggested earlier that Arp4 would form a heterocomplex with actin, but the results of this study do not support this. The binding between Rpb8 and actin in RNA polymerase II complex has not been extensively studied before, so the results provide new information about the function of actin in the polymerase complex.
  • Islam, Md. Safiqul (2016)
    Mulching, as a cultivation technique, has been adopted since the early twentieth century in agriculture for improving various aspects of crop production. However, the use of mulching was boosted by the introduction of plastic mulch, which has been reported as a harmful substance to the farm environment. Therefore, the need for an environmentally benign mulch material is obvious. The present study investigated the effects of paper and biodegradable plastic mulches on the cucumber yield, soil temperature and moisture content (at 10 cm depth), and the control of weed growth in an agricultural field located at the University of Helsinki in Southern Finland. The degradability of mulches was also investigated. The null hypothesis was that all the mulches would have a similar effect on the abovementioned aspects. Four paper mulches, i.e., BP, KB, CK, and OB, accompanied by biodegradable mulch (BIO) and a bare soil (BG) treatment were under investigation. Each of these treatments had 4 replicates, and a randomized complete block design (RCBD) was adopted. Sensors were installed at 10 cm depth in each study plot to measure the soil temperature and moisture content. In addition, the experimental plots were watered by drip irrigation. All the attained data were analyzed using SPSS statistical software. The results of the study revealed noteworthy positive effects (P<0.05) of mulch application on cucumber yields together with soil temperature, early fruiting, and weed growth regulation compared to the un-mulched bare ground, exclusive of soil moisture content. The daytime soil temperature (DST) was higher than at night (NST), indicating a positive association of the mulch effect with plant growth and crop earliness. However, no suggestive improvement in soil moisture was found through mulch application during the study period. Edge degradation was only found for paper mulches during the study period, suggesting their environment friendliness. The CK and KB papers were the most effective and most environmentally positive mulch materials, and could be a suitable choice for Finnish vegetable growers. The findings of this study could assist paper manufacturers in improving the qualities of mulch papers regarding vegetable production. Future research aims at assessing the effects of mulches on the physiology of plants studied under mulched techniques together with the development of cheaper and more environmentally benign mulch materials.