ILVO Newsletter April 2018

Hot off the press

For urban agriculture, city policy makes the difference: lessons from Ghent, Philadelphia and Warsaw
urban agricultureUrban agriculture initiatives have a better chance of success if the city provides structural support and if a balance is struck between economic feasibility and improvement of social equality in the urban area. Those are the conclusions drawn from the doctoral research of Charlotte Prové, ILVO-Ghent University researcher, where she compared urban agriculture in Ghent, Philadelphia and Warsaw. The model of food policy councils, popular in the USA but new to Europe, can give urban agriculture a boost – but only with committed participation and a well-thought-out vision appropriate to the individual city.

ILVO Variety List for Maize, 2018

website variety listThe ILVO variety list is now fully digitized and available at Per crop, the website gives the most relevant crop information, the variety list and the list of growers and distributors. For 2018, 10 new silage maize varieties and 5 new grain maize varieties were added.

Nitrogen utilization from cut-carry-fertilizers in relation to mode of application and soil condition

cut-carry-fertilizersILVO, Inagro, PCG and UGent investigated the potential of cut-and-carry fertilizers in connection with soil management strategies in organic agriculture. A cut-and-carry fertilizer is a harvested cover crop – usually a legume or with a leguminous component – that is used to fertilize a main crop on another field. In that way, nutrients inclusive of biologically fixed nitrogen, and organic matter are recycled. It was concluded that a cut-and-carry fertilizer can be an alternative to farmyard manure, with the advantage that nitrogen is bound without supplying phosphorus.

Short supply chains and consumers, hand in hand?

short supply chainsUpscaling short supply chains, from individual consumers to professional users, was the goal of ILVO and the City of Ghent in the project ‘Scaling up of short supply chains’. Actor support was created and three pilot projects were examined with specific attention for logistics, life cycle analysis and cost-benefit analysis.

SmartDots, a flexible open source software tool for fish age reading based on otoliths

SmartDotsThanks to the SmartDots age reading platform age determinations of fish are carried out more efficiently and qualitatively. This software solution was developed by ILVO and is being rolled out at European level.

Ready, set, go!

Modification of the bitterness in industrial chicory and Belgian endive using CRISPR/Cas9 technology

chicory and endiveILVO starts to work with the innovative CRISPR/Cas9 technology for industrial chicory and Belgian endive. Breeding towards more or less bitterness will enable to enter new markets in food industry in the future.

Integrated control of the allium leaf miner Phytomyza gymnostoma

allium leaf minerFrom 2012 onwards, Flemish leek growers have been suffering damage from the allium leaf miner. As a control strategy is needed, PCG, ILVO, Inagro and PSKW have started a research project on the fly’s biology, her natural enemies and potential control strategies against this pest by means of cultivation techniques and insecticides.

Fertilization is not a sideshow

fertilizationIn a new demonstration project, Inagro, ILVO and PCLT want to demonstrate different techniques and measures for a sustainable and thoughtful fertilization, and create awareness among farmers and contractors.

Combining fishing gear adaptations to reduces by-catch rates and improve discard survival

fishingThe aim of the project ‘COMBITUIG’ is to refine and combine both existing and unimplemented fishing gear adaptations to reduce the amount of by-catch and their survival after being discarded. This research in collaboration with fishermen should help our fishery to ease the impact of the upcoming discard ban.

Modelling survival

modelling survivalTo study which species are likely to survive being caught, hauled on-deck, handled and subsequently, if unwanted, thrown back overboard, scientists from ILVO have proposed a Bayesian network approach to make model-based predictions of survival potential. This may assist in setting priorities on which species to focus on in future research relating to the high survival exemption rule of the European discard ban or landing obligation.

From manure to humans ? Antibiotic residues, antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in manure, soil and plants and the possible human exposure.

leekTransfer of antibiotic resistance genes to humans via meat consumption is the most studied exposure route. However, the exposure via the environment is possibly even more important. Soil supplemented with antibiotic residues in realistic concentrations as found in manure will be used to grow leek and corn lettuce. Antibiotic residues, resistant bacteria and resistance genes will be measured in these plants. These results will be used to calculate the risk for humans by the consumption of these vegetables.

Hybrid cold cuts: processed meat products with vegetable proteins.

processed meat productsProduction of ecologically sustainable processed meat products with a balanced, healthy protein profile is the goal of the international MEATHYBRID project. Vegetable proteins from pea, canola and lupine are screened for their protein profile, solubility and compatibility. How the mixtures function in processing, their taste and stability are also examined.