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Comparability of the biodynamic production system regarding agronomic, environmental and quality parameters
Matjaž Turinek, 2011, dissertation

Abstract: Biodynamic (BD) agriculture became the subject of research efforts during the last decades, whereas a part of the scientific community looks at the BD method with skepticism and marks it as dogmatic. Summarized data of published research studies showed that further research is needed in the field of food quality comparison/determination, food safety and the environmental performance (e.g. foot prints). In this sense, yields, agronomic efficiency (AE) in relation to yields in some crops and the earthworm populations depending on those crops remain to be explored under the BD production system (PS). Therefore wheat, cabbage and oil pumpkins (rotation 1) and spelt, red beet and false flax (rotation 2) were produced in three successive years (2008-2010) under 4 PS (conventional (CON), integrated (INT), organic (ORG) and BD) + control plots in a field trial near Maribor, Slovenia. Earthworms were determined in rotation 1 in October 2009 and 2010 using the „hot“mustard-extraction method. Yields in the BD PS amounted to 99, 113 and 124 percent of the average yields of all PS for wheat, cabbage and oil pumpkin seeds, respectively. Also AE of N, Nmin, P and K of the BD system for the production of all crops studied in rotation 1 was in the upper half of all PS under investigation. Moreover, earthworm populations and biomass were highest and on a similar level in the BD and ORG systems in all three crops investigated, where most were found in oil pumpkins. In the second step the ecological footprint of PS under study was calculated for wheat and spelt production and interpreted using the SPIonExcel tool. Three-year results show a markedly lower ecological footprint of the ORG and BD systems in production of both crops, mainly due to non-use of external production factors. When yields are added to the equation, the ORG and BD systems also have a lower overall footprint per product unit and ecological efficiency of production. Thus, ORG and BD systems present viable alternatives in facing environmental degradation and climate change in cereal production. However, room for improvement exists in the area of machinery use in all systems studied and yield improvement in the ORG farming system. Moreover, the importance of food quality has increased, but there remains a lack of research in this field, including sensory quality. Thus, in the third step, yields and sensory properties of white cabbage and red beet were examined in 2008 and 2009. Yields did not differ significantly among PS. A total of 167 consumers scored four attributes (color, odor, taste, and willingness to buy) using a nine-point hedonic scale. Results show significant differences between PS for both crops, where INT and control cabbage was preferred over CON cabbage samples (BD and ORG in-between), whereas BD and control red beet was preferred over CON and INT samples (ORG in-between). Lastly, the contents of sugars, organic acids, total phenolic content and the antioxidant activity were quantified in the flesh of red beet samples from 2009 using established methods. Significant differences were measured for malic acid, total phenolic content (TPC) and total antioxidant activity, where malic acid content ranged from 2.39 g kg-1 FW (control) to 1.63 g kg-1 FW (CON, ORG and INT). Highest TPC was measured in BD and control samples (0.677 and 0.672 mg GAE g-1, respectively), lowest in CON samples (0.511 mg GAE g-1). Antioxidant activity was positively correlated with TPC (r2=0.6187) and ranged from 0.823 µM TE g-1 FW to 1.270 µM TE g-1 FW in CON and BD samples, respectively, whereas total sugar content ranged from 21.03 g kg-1 FW (CON) to 31.58 g kg-1 FW (BD). The importance of the measured constituents for human health, as well as for plant resilience and health is discussed and put into perspective. Thus, the BD PS presents a viable alternative to the nowadays predominant CON and INT PS for the production of the studied crops under the Slovene subcontinental temperate climate.
Keywords: biodynamic farming, agronomic efficiency, earthworms, ecological footprint, sensory quality, chemical composition
Published: 31.03.2011; Views: 4072; Downloads: 509
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Stimulating integral refurbishment principles in social housing as a challenge for sustainable development : case study
Metka Sitar, Vesna Žegarac Leskovar, Vlasta Krmelj, 2009, published scientific conference contribution

Abstract: Circumstances of climate changes have raised the awareness of the role housingconstruction activity plays in being one of the major stimuli of socio-economic processes in Slovenia. Further encouragement came through corresponding EU-strategies focusing not only on new housing constructions butalso on refurbishment and renewal of the existing stock, which has been rather neglected. Firstly, information on the Slovenian housing system along with institutional and governance changes - having taken place since 1991 - will be presented, particularly in terms of tenure and housing ownership. In the middle of the 1990s, fragmented ownership was regulated by the formation of condominiums as the basis of housing management and maintenance. Further on, special attention will be paid to newly introduced policies concerning energy efficiency of building constructions at the national level. In addition, the paper will concentrate on endeavours to refurbish the existing multi-family housing stock which represents the most problematic financial issue in terms of a long term investment perspective. Slovenia has in fact notdeveloped any special policies regarding refurbishment of the existing housing stock, either at the national, or at the local level. The housing development sector of the Municipality of Maribor is one of the most significant cases in Slovenia, as far as transition consequences to be effected in the social housing sector are concerned. However, the transformation from an old industrial town into a sustainable community was characterized by extreme complexity. Relying upon its own development strategies the local building construction sector succeeded in remaining one of the most dynamic economic activities of the town and the region. As a recommendation, ideas of energy renewal strategies and measures, based on the local energy concept and supported by financial mechanisms of public private partnership, will be discussed.
Keywords: Slovenia, Maribor, housing, refurbishment, energy efficiency, local energy concept, public intermunicipal housing fund
Published: 31.05.2012; Views: 1243; Downloads: 41
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Antimicrobial efficiency of functionalized cellulose fibres as potential medical textiles
Tijana Ristić, Lidija Fras Zemljič, Monika Novak, Marjetka Kralj Kunčič, Silva Sonjak, Nina Gunde-Cimerman, Simona Strnad, 2011, independent scientific component part or a chapter in a monograph

Abstract: This chapter presents an overview of methods for cellulose fibres functionalization in order to introduce antimicrobial activity. In view the need for ecologically friendly textiles antimicrobial finishing is introduced, together with some strategies for the functionalization of fibres using biodegradable polysaccharides such as the use of chitosan. Additionally,the methods used for the microbiological testing of these fibres are discussed and the current disadvantages of these methods indicated. Moreover, a new strategy for a reliable methodology regarding the antimicrobial testing of oriented fibre-based polymers such as cellulose is discussed, which could also be useful within several other polymer industrial fields.
Keywords: anitmicrobial agents, medical textiles, cellulose fibres, microbiological test, antimicrobial efficiency
Published: 01.06.2012; Views: 1318; Downloads: 29
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Modeling of forming efficiency using genetic programming
Miran Brezočnik, Jože Balič, Zlatko Kampuš, 2001, original scientific article

Abstract: This paper proposes new approach for modeling of various processes in metal-forming industry. As an example, we demonstrate the use of genetic programming (GP) for modeling of forming efficiency. The forming efficiency is a basis for determination of yield stress which is the fundamental characteristic of metallic materials. Several different genetically evolved models for forming efficiency on the basis of experimental data for learning were discovered. The obtained models (equations) differ in size, shape, complexity and precision of solutions. In one run out of many runs of our GP system the well-known equation of Siebel was obtained. This fact leads us to opinion that GP is a very powerful evolutionary optimization method appropriate not only for modeling of forming efficiency but also for modeling of many other processes in metal-forming industry.
Keywords: metal forming, yield stress, forming efficiency, mathematical modeling, adaptation, genetic methods, genetic algorithm, genetic programming, artificial intelligence, process optimisation
Published: 01.06.2012; Views: 932; Downloads: 35
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