Συνεργασία αγρότη με ρομπότ!

Γιώργος Αδαμίδης
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών Α’
Κλάδος Αγροτικής Ανάπτυξης

Το Ινστιτούτο Γεωργικών Ερευνών (ΙΓΕ) συμμετείχε σε δύο ερευνητικά προγράμματα, με εξωτερική χρηματοδότηση, και με συνεργάτες από Κύπρο, Ελλάδα και Ισραήλ, όπου εξετάστηκε η περίπτωση αξιοποίησης της ρομποτικής τεχνολογίας στη γεωργία. Συγκεκριμένα στα προγράμματα AgriRobot και SAVSAR, στόχος ήταν η δημιουργία εύχρηστων διεπαφών χρήστη (user interfaces) για επικοινωνία αγρότη με ρομπότ. Σκοπός δεν ήταν η απομάκρυνση του αγρότη από το χωράφι και η διεξαγωγή της εργασίας εξ’ ολοκλήρου από το ρομπότ, αλλά η συνεργασία μεταξύ τους για επίτευξη μιας γεωργικής εργασίας. Συγκεκριμένα στα δύο έργα εξετάστηκε η περίπτωση απομακρυσμένου ψεκασμού των αμπελιών. Το ρομπότ βρισκόταν στο χωράφι ενώ ο αγρότης από ένα πιο ασφαλές και άνετο περιβάλλον μπορούσε να επιβλέπει και να κατευθύνει το ρομπότ στο χωράφι. Αυτό σημαίνει ότι πλέον ο αγρότης δεν εκτίθεται σε αντίξοες καιρικές συνθήκες και σε βλαβερές ουσίες, επικίνδυνες για την υγεία του.

Η συνεργασία (human-robot collaboration) και η αλληλεπίδραση (human-robot interaction) είναι αναδυόμενες ερευνητικές περιοχές όπου επιστήμονες από διάφορες ειδικότητες, όπως επιστήμη ηλεκτρονικών υπολογιστών, ρομποτικής, ψυχολογίας, εργονομίας και άλλων ειδικοτήτων κατά περίπτωση (π.χ. γεωπόνοι), συνεργάζονται προς τη βέλτιστη ανάπτυξη διαφόρων τύπου διεπαφών χρήστη. Από τα δύο προαναφερθέντα έργα έχει πρόσφατα δημοσιευτεί άρθρο του Δρ Γιώργου Αδαμίδη και των συνεργατών του στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Applied Ergonomics με τίτλο «HRI usability evaluation of interaction modes for a teleoperated agricultural robotic sprayer«, Volume 62, July 2017, Pages 237–246, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2017.03.008.

Citation: George Adamides, Christos Katsanos, Yisrael Parmet, Georgios Christou, Michalis Xenos, Thanasis Hadzilacos, Yael Edan, HRI usability evaluation of interaction modes for a teleoperated agricultural robotic sprayer, Applied Ergonomics, Volume 62, July 2017, Pages 237-246, ISSN 0003-6870, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2017.03.008.

Impact assessment of the reuse of two discrete treated wastewatersfor the irrigation of tomato crop on the soil geochemical properties,fruit safety and crop productivity

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου, σε συνεργασία με ερευνητική ομάδα του Τεχνολογικού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου, έχουν πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment με τίτλο ‘Impact assessment of the reuse of two discrete treated wastewatersfor the irrigation of tomato crop on the soil geochemical properties,fruit safety and crop productivity’, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment Volume 192, 1 July 2014, Pages 105–114. Ακολουθεί σύντομη περίληψη, ενώ εδώ μπορείτε να βρείτε ολόκληρο το άρθρο.

Abstract
Advanced tertiary treatment and disinfection technologies have enabled the production of wastewater (WW) with quality complying with the established criteria for reuse in agriculture. This study assessed the impacts of tomato crop irrigation with two qualitatively distinct treated WW effluents, as compared to control tubewell water (TW) irrigation, on the soil geochemical properties, tomato fruit safety and crop productivity. The treated effluents reused for irrigation were produced in two Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (MWTPs) utilizing two discrete tertiary treatment and disinfection technologies, i.e. Slow Sand Filtration and chlorination (MWTP I), and Membrane Bioreactor and UV radiation (MWTP II), respectively. The impacts on soil pH, electrical conductivity, total organic C, Cl−, NO3− and heavy metal (Zn, Mn, Ni, Cu, Co) content were evaluated. In addition, the heavy metal content in tomato fruits and leaves, as well as the microbial load in fruit flesh and peel was determined. Crop productivity was measured by the mean fruit weight and maximum diameter, and by the number of fruits per harvest. Irrigation with either WW did not significantly affect the soil pH, organic C and heavy metal content, as well as crop productivity, in comparison to control TW irrigation. Furthermore, the heavy metal content of tomato fruits and leaves in all irrigation treatments was found to be below the maximum permissible levels set for fruit safety and the critical tissue concentration for phytotoxicity, respectively. Moreover, no microbiological contamination (total coliform, fecal coliform, Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria spp.) of tomato fruits was found from any irrigation treatment. Overall, results obtained with regard to the parameters examined strongly suggest that advanced tertiary treated effluent of good quality might be safely reused, in terms of both environmental sustainability and public health safety, for vegetable irrigation, concurrently promoting water use efficiency in dry areas.

Establishment of a rapid, inexpensive protocol for extraction of high quality RNA from small amounts of strawberry plant tissues and other recalcitrant fruit crops

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου, σε συνεργασία με ερευνητική ομάδα του Τεχνολογικού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου και του Τεχνολογικού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου, έχουν πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Gene, άρθρο με τίτλο ‘Establishment of a rapid, inexpensive protocol for extraction of high quality RNA from small amounts of strawberry plant tissues and other recalcitrant fruit crops’, Gene Volume 537, Issue 1, 1 March 2014, Pages 169–173. Ακολουθεί σύντομη περίληψη, ενώ μπορείτε να βρείτε το άρθρο δημοσιευμένο εδώ.

Abstract
Strawberry plant tissues and particularly fruit material are rich in polysaccharides and polyphenolic compounds, thus rendering the isolation of nucleic acids a difficult task. This work describes the successful modification of a total RNA extraction protocol, which enables the isolation of high quantity and quality of total RNA from small amounts of strawberry leaf, root and fruit tissues. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplification of GAPDH housekeeping gene from isolated RNA further supports the proposed protocol efficiency and its use for downstream molecular applications. This novel procedure was also successfully followed using other fruit tissues, such as olive and kiwifruit. In addition, optional treatment with RNase A following initial nucleic acid extraction can provide sufficient quality and quality of genomic DNA for subsequent PCR analyses, as evidenced from PCR amplification of housekeeping genes using extracted genomic DNA as template. Overall, this optimized protocol allows easy, rapid and economic isolation of high quality RNA from small amounts of an important fruit crop, such as strawberry, with extended applicability to other recalcitrant fruit crops.

Assessment of long-term wastewater irrigation impacts on the soil geochemical properties and the bioaccumulation of heavy metals to the agricultural products

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου, σε συνεργασία με ερευνητική ομάδα του Τεχνολογικού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου, έχουν πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει στο Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, επιστημονικό άρθρο με τίτλο ΄Assessment of long-term wastewater irrigation impacts on the soil geochemical properties and the bioaccumulation of heavy metals to the agricultural products΄, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment August 2014, Volume 186, Issue 8, pp 4857–4870. Ακολουθεί σύντομη περίληψη ενώ ολόκληρο το άρθρο δημοσιευμένο μπορείτε να το βρείτε εδώ

Abstract
An extensive field survey was employed for assessing the impacts of long-term wastewater irrigation of forage crops and orange orchards in three suburban agricultural areas in Cyprus (areas I, II, and III), as compared to rainfed agriculture, on the soil geochemical properties and the bioaccumulation of heavy metals (Zn, Ni, Mn, Cu, Co) to the agricultural products. Both ryegrass fields and orange orchards in areas I and II were continuously wastewater irrigated for 10 years, whereas clover fields in area III for 0.5, 4, and 8 years. The results revealed that wastewater reuse for irrigation caused a slight increase in soil salinity and Cl− content in areas I and II, and a remarkable increase, having strong correlation with the period in which wastewater irrigation was practiced, in area III. Soil salinization in area III was due to the high electrical conductivity (EC) of the wastewater applied for irrigation, attributed to the influx of seawater to the sewage collection network in area III. In addition, the wastewater irrigation practice resulted in a slight decrease of the soil pH values in area III, while a subtle impact was identified regarding the CaCO3, Fe, and heavy metal content in the three areas surveyed. The heavy metal content quantified in the forage plants’ above-ground parts was below the critical levels of phytotoxicity and the maximum acceptable concentration in dairy feed, whereas heavy metals quantified in orange fruit pulp were below the maximum permissible levels (MPLs). Heavy metal phytoavailability was confined due to soil properties (high pH and clay content), as evidenced by the calculated low transfer factor (TF).

Effects of wastewater applied with discrete irrigation techniques onstrawberry plants’ productivity and the safety, quality characteristicsand antioxidant capacity of fruits

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου, σε συνεργασία με ερευνητική ομάδα του Τεχνολογικού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου, έχουν πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει στο Agricultural Water Management, επιστημονικό άρθρο με τίτλο ‘Effects of wastewater applied with discrete irrigation techniques onstrawberry plants’ productivity and the safety, quality characteristicsand antioxidant capacity of fruits’, Agricultural Water Management 173 (2016) 48–54. Ακολουθεί περίληψη του άρθρου, ενώ εδώ μπορείτε να βρείτε ολόκληρο το άρθρο δημοσιευμένο.

Abstract
Water scarcity renders wastewater (WW) reuse for irrigation an increasingly common practice world-wide. Comprehensive guidelines and criteria have been established to secure the safety of WW irrigation,especially for food crops or crops that are eaten raw. The aim of this short-term study was to assess theimpacts of strawberry crop irrigation with tertiary treated wastewater (WW) using common irrigationtechniques (Drip, sprinkler, drip under plastic mulch), as compared to potable water (PW) irrigation, onstrawberry fruits’ quality and safety, and on crops’ productivity. The impacts on fruits’ weight and mar-ketability, as well as on fruits’ taste (soluble solids, titratable acidity and soluble solids/titratable acidityratio), antioxidant capacity (ascorbic acid concentration, FRAP, total phenolics and total anthocyanincontent), heavy metal content (Cu, Zn, Mn, Co, Ni) and microbial contamination (total coliform, E. coli,Salmonella spp., Listeria spp), were evaluated. The results revealed that WW irrigation did not signifi-cantly affect the fruits’ marketability, taste and antioxidant capacity, as well as the heavy metal content,in comparison to controlled irrigation, regardless of the irrigation technique applied. Fruits heavy metalcontent was found to be below the maximum permissible levels (MPLs) set for fruit safety, whereas nomicrobiological contamination (total coliform, E. coli, Salmonella spp., Listeria spp.) of fruits was foundin all irrigation water treatments. Overall, the results obtained with regard to the parameters exam-ined highlight the potential for the reuse of the advanced tertiary treated effluent of good quality as avalid alternative for the irrigation of strawberry crops, even with sprinklers. However, further long-termstudies are needed in order for such a practice to be regulated.

Hydrogen sulphide: a versatile tool for the regulation of growth and defence responses in horticultural crops

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου, σε συνεργασία με ερευνητική ομάδα του Τεχνολογικού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου, έχουν πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει ένα Review Article στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology, με τίτλο ‘Hydrogen sulphide: a versatile tool for the regulation of growth and defence responses in horticultural crops’ (2015) 90 (3) pages 227–234. Ακολουθεί η περίληψη, ενώ μπορείτε να βρείτε ολόκληρο το άρθρο εδώ εδώ

SUMMARY
The improvement of plant growth and productivity under biotic and abiotic stress conditions, as well as the reduction of post-harvest losses, are of paramount significance to meet the increasing demand for food by a growing World population. Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) has recently appeared as a key contributor towards this goal through its bioactive role in the regulation of plant defence responses. In this review, we provide an up-to-date overview of recent literature concerning the biosynthesis and regulation of H2S within plant cells, as well as its involvement in a series of plant physiological processes. More specifically, H2S is actively associated with several horticultural plant growth and developmental processes, tolerance responses following exposure to stress factors, as well as in post-harvest fruit physiology.The H2S-mediated enhancement of tolerance to several abiotic stress factors is highlighted, with particular emphasis on the priming effects of H2S on the anti-oxidant capacity, redox regulation and signalling, and transcriptional regulation of cellular defence components in plants. Moreover,H2S has been reported to be associated with seed germination, increased growth, and root organogenesis, while also enhancing the post-harvest performance nd anti-oxidant capacity of fruit.The present review proposes a practical role for H2S in horticultural crop physiology, further supporting the notion that H2S acts as a key signalling molecule in plants, possibly acting by “cross-talk” with other secondary plant cell messengers.

Long-term wastewater irrigation of vegetables in real agricultural systems: Concentration of pharmaceuticals in soil, uptake and bioaccumulation in tomato fruits and human health risk assessment

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου, σε συνεργασία με ερευνητική ομάδα του Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου, έχουν πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει ερευνητικό άρθρο στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Water Research, με τίτλο ‘Long-term wastewater irrigation of vegetables in real agricultural systems: Concentration of pharmaceuticals in soil, uptake and bioaccumulation in tomato fruits and human health risk assessment’ Water Research 109 (2017) 24e34. Ακολουθεί η περίληψη, ενώ μπορείτε να βρείτε ολόκληρο το άρθρο εδώ

Abstract
Wastewater (WW) reuse for vegetable crops irrigation is regularly applied worldwide. Such a practice has been found to allow the uptake of pharmaceutical active compounds (PhACs) by plants and their subsequent entrance to the food web, representing an important alternative pathway for the exposure of humans to PhACs, with potential health implications. Herein we report the impacts of the long-term (three consecutive years) WW irrigation of a tomato crop with two differently treated effluents under real agricultural conditions, on (1) the soil concentration of selected PhACs (i.e. diclofenac, DCF; sulfamethoxazole, SMX; trimethoprim, TMP), (2) the bioaccumulation of these PhACs in tomato fruits, and (3) the human risks associated with the consumption of WW-irrigated fruits. Results revealed that the concentration of the studied PhACs in both the soil and tomato fruits varied depending on the qualitative characteristics of the treated effluent applied and the duration of WW irrigation. The PhAC with the highest soil concentration throughout the studied period was SMX (0.98 μg kg⁻¹), followed by TMP (0.62 μg kg⁻¹) and DCF (0.35 μg kg⁻¹). DCF was not found in tomato fruits harvested from WW-irrigated plants during the first year of the study. However, DCF displayed the highest fruit concentration (11.63 μg kg⁻¹) throughout the study (as a result of prolonged WW irrigation), followed by SMX (5.26 μg kg⁻¹) and TMP (3.40 μg kg⁻¹). The calculated fruit bioconcentration factors (BCFF) were extremely high for DCF in the 2nd (108) and 3rd year (132) of the experimental period, with the respective values for SMX (0.5–5.4) and TMP (0.2–6.4) being significantly lower. The estimated threshold of toxicity concern (TTC) and hazard quotients (HQ) values revealed that the consumption of fruits harvested from tomato plants irrigated for long period with the WW applied for irrigation under field conditions in this study represent a de minimis risk to human health. However, more studies need to be performed in order to obtain more solid information on the safety of WW reuse for irrigation.

Hydrogen Sulfifi de as a Potent Regulator of Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress Factors

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου έχει πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει κεφάλαιο στο βιβλίο Molecular Approaches in Plant Abiotic Stress, με τίτλο «Hydrogen Sulfifi de as a Potent Regulator of Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress Factors». Ακολουθεί η περίληψη.

Abstract
Adverse abiotic stress conditions such as drought, salinity, cold, heat and heavy metal toxicity are considered to be major concerns of the agricultural industry worldwide, as they can affect crop yield and quality, as well as agriculture sustainability in general. Priming of crop plants for more rapid and robust activation of defence reactions offers a means for the effi cient alleviation of the devastating effects induced as a result of exposure to such adverse environmental conditions. Accumulating reports during the recent years postulate a role for hydrogen sulfi de (H2S) as an emerging signaling molecule involved in the regulation of physiological processes in plants. In this chapter, we provide a brief overview of recent literature concerning H2S biosynthesis and regulation within the plant cell, as well as its involvement in a series of plant physiological processes. Furthermore, the H2S-mediated enhancement of plant tolerance upon exposure to drought, salt, heavy metal and heat stress is highlighted; particular emphasis is given on the priming effect of H2S on antioxidant capacity, redox regulation and signaling, and transcription regulation of specifi c cellular defence components. This up-to-date overview proposes a role for H2S in plant priming, further supporting the notion that H2S is a key player in plant’s tolerance to abiotic stress factors, possibly acting in cross-talk with other secondary messengers.

Polyamines reprogram oxidative and nitrosative status and the proteome of citrus plants exposed to salinity stress

Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Φυσικοί Πόροι και Περιβάλλον

Ο Δρ Αναστάσης Χρίστου έχει πρόσφατα δημοσιεύσει ερευνητικό άρθρο στο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Plant Cell and Environment, με τίτλο ‘Polyamines reprogram oxidative and nitrosative status and the proteome of citrus plants exposed to salinity stress’ (Plant, Cell and Environment (2014) 37, pages 864–885). Ακολουθεί η περίληψη, ενώ μπορείτε να βρείτε ολόκληρο το άρθρο εδώ .

ABSTRACT
The interplay among polyamines (PAs) and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RNS and ROS) is emerging as a key issue in plant responses to salinity. To address this question, we analysed the impact of exogenous PAs [putrescine (Put), spermidine (Spd) and spermine (Spm)] on the oxidative and nitrosative status in citrus plants exposed to salinity. PAs partially reversed the NaCl-induced phenotypic and physiological disturbances. The expression of PA biosynthesis (ADC, SAMDC, SPDS and SPMS) and catabolism (DAO and PAO) genes was systematically up-regulated by PAs. In addition, PAs altered the oxidative status in salt-stressed plants as inferred by changes in ROS production and redox status accompanied by regulation of transcript expression and activities of various antioxidant enzymes. Furthermore, NaCl-induced up-regulation of NO-associated genes, such as NR, NADde, NOS-like and AOX, along with Snitrosoglutathione reductase and nitrate reductase activities, was partially restored by PAs. Protein carbonylation and tyrosine nitration are depressed by specific PAs whereas protein S-nitrosylation was elicited by all PAs. Furthermore, we identified 271 S-nitrosylated proteins that were commonly or preferentially targeted by salinity and individual PAs. This work helps improve our knowledge on the plant’s response to environmental challenge.

Μελέτη της Παραγωγής Χαρτομάζας και της Περιεκτικότητας σε Σάκχαρα τεσσάρων Ποικιλιών Στέβιας

Κωνσταντίνα Σταυρίδου
Λειτουργός Γεωργικών Ερευνών
Κλάδος Βελτίωσης Φυτών

Έχει πρόσφατα ολοκληρωθεί μελέτη με θέμα «ΜΕΛΕΤΗ ΤΗΣ ΠΑΡΑΓΩΓΗΣ ΧΟΡΤΟΜΑΖΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΗΣ ΠΕΡΙΕΚΤΙΚΟΤΗΤΑΣ ΣΕ ΣΑΚΧΑΡΑ ΤΕΣΣΑΡΩΝ ΠΟΙΚΙΛΙΩΝ ΣΤΕΒΙΑΣ». Μπορείτε να βρείτε ολόκληρη την έκθεση αναφοράς στα αποτελέσματα της έρευνας εδώ