Meeting: International Conference on Industrial Crops and Rural Development September 17-21, 2005 Murcia, Spain

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International Conference on Industrial Crops and Rural Development

September 17-21, 2005
Murcia, Spain


 Program Abstracts

Plenary Session


Soil Bioremediation and Wastewater Treatment

Poster Session 1:
Bioenergy; Soil Bioremediation and Wastewater Treatment


Poster Session 2:

Natural Rubber and Resins

Oils: Part 1

Oils: Part 2

Fibres, Proteins, and Carbohydrates

Poster Session 3:
Natural Rubber & Resins; Oils; Fibres, Proteins, and Carbohydrates

Networking and Panel Discussion


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I.M. Gonzalez

Director, New Mexico Department of Agriculture Las Cruces, NM, USA

and C.A. Bailey

National Program Leader, Agricultural Materials, USDA-CSREES, Washington, DC, USA

Biomass crops, such as willow, poplar, and switch grass, and agricultural waste systems are positioned to become the new feedstocks for electric power, liquid fuel, and chemical production. Advances in technology in farm production and processing offer tremendous market opportunities for the nation's producers and hold the potential of transforming a significant portion of our fossil fuel based economy to a biobased economy for the 21st Century. The objectives for this continuing transition are many and will affect every phase of a new paradigm that includes directed and competitive research, formalization of coordination and cooperation between state and federal agencies, and greater inclusion of the private sector in developing the strategic plan for future implementation of all the component parts for this agenda. The discussion for advancement of these concepts related to bioproducts will focus on research-based approaches that include the private sector in making these products economically viable. Farmers and processors will need to be involved in practical and successful demonstration projects. Demonstration activities will include (a) programs for biofuels and lubricants; (b) agricultural utilization of new crops and new products; (c) biomass initiatives; and (d) biobased industrial product research, development, and commercialization. The development and expansion of a renewable fuel and biobased products industry founded on a strong and viable agricultural and natural resource sector can play an increasingly critical role in enhancing energy security, contributing to a cleaner environment, and promoting farm and rural economic growth and stability. Petroleum and fossil fuel prices, feedstock costs, co-product markets, energy and environmental policies, and advances in science and technology are critical determinants of market growth for biofuels and biobased products from agricultural commodities.



 J. Tomkinson

Chief Executive Officer of the National Non-food Crops Centre, York, UK

Author not available for presentation




 J. Catatrava Requena

Andalusian Institute for Agricultural Research, Granada, Spain

After some thoughts on the genesis and nature of the development processes that are taking place in the rural areas of Mediterranean Europe and the role that agricultural systems are playing in these processes, the paper considers the need for a multifunctional approach to analyse what role agriculture should play in rural development. From a multifunctional viewpoint, it is necessary to bear in mind that agricultural systems fulfill other sociocultural, territorial and environmental functions, apart from production. These functions are often related to the externalities that are generated from farming activities.

Within this new context, not only does agriculture have to produce foods, fibres, energy, etc., efficiently, but it also has to do this by occupying land naturally and aesthetically, and contributing to the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of rural communities.

As source of renewable resources, industrial non-food crops offer specific opportunities for integration in the development processes of many rural areas. These specificities range from productive and agronomic questions to land occupation and the internalisation of some externalities of agricultural systems. Within the context of the CAP Reform, the trends in WTO agreements and the environmental problems induced by global climate change, this paper analyses what features could determine the interest on non-food crops of being better or worse suited for inclusion in sustainable rural development processes.



 M. J. Pascual-Villalobos and E. Correal

Instituto Murciano de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario y Alimentario, Murcia, Spain

The prospects of growing crops to provide industrial feedstocks in Spain are assessed in terms of the benefit to rural communities by creation of new jobs in the agricultural sector and by developing small business activities. Industry has shifted interest to plant-derived natural materials for crop protection, energy, food preservation, fragrances, and pharmaceuticals.

Current conventional industrial crops in Spain are: sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.), cotton (Gossypium herbaceum L.), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.), olive (Olea europaea L.), and sunflower (Helianthus annus L.). European agricultural policies have undergone a period of considerable change that threaten in one-way or another the future viability of these agricultural sectors.

The objective of this paper is to report on the scope for possible alternative industrial crops in Spain by using a combination of literature reviews, European project results, and authors' experiences.

In the Mediterranean region, the potential for crops suited to dryland conditions should be greater, for example oilseeds such as safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), castorbean (Ricinus communis L.), and Ethiopian mustard (Brassica carinata A. Braun); or those providing unique specialty oils: marigold (Calendula officinalis L.), vernola (Euphorbia lagascae L.) and borage (Borago officinalis L.), for new applications in place of established oleochemicals.

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.) which has been extensively researched in many Spanish regions is the most promising biomass energy crop in the Iberian Peninsula. New processing facilities close to the production sites should promote rural development.

Novel fibre crops to Spain such as kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) as well as better known esparto grass (Stipa tenacissima L.), hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), and flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) have potential in paper and board industries or outlets in niche markets: high value hand made carpets, textiles or handicrafts. Development is facilitated if multipurpose crops can be developed, for example, using stems for fibre, the seeds for oil, and the by products for cosmetics or pharmaceutical use.

Popular condiments in Spanish cuisine such as paprika (Capsicum annuum L.), saffron (Crocus sativus L.), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), have worldwide acceptance. Such crops require only a small arable land area, but have good prospects if marketed with a guarantee of country of origin or if organically produced.

Cosmetic products derived from jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis L.) and aloe (Aloe vera L.) are in demand by European consumers. In Southeast Spain, suitable soil and climatic conditions exist for these alternative crops.

Alternative crops also have to be viewed in terms of their benefit to the environment. Plant species useful for: soil biofumigation or phytoremediation (Cruciferae, Compositae), erosion control (Chenopodiaceae), building soil fertility (Leguminosae), biological control of pest enhancement (Umbelliferae), or wastewater treatment (macrophytes) can be used to improve the sustainability of areas of intensive agriculture in Spain.

Waste management is an important problem in the Mediterranean countries. In future, it is likely that greater use and recycling of by-products from the agro-food industries will occur to obtain, for example, biomass for biofuels, organic soil amendments, active antioxidant or medicinal compounds, dietary fibre, and various raw materials for novel bioproducts.

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S. Osowski and H. Fahlenkamp
University of Dortmund, Germany

As a result of shrinking fossil fuels regenerative energies gain importance. Besides hydro power and wind power, biomass is one of the most important regenerative energy sources. Due to the increasing meaning of biomass for energy generation it is essential to investigate convenient thermal procedures. On this evidence an analysis and evaluation of diverse conversion technologies for biomass usage with different boundary conditions is indispensable.

Kind and form of the biomass as well as the type of the plant cause different qualities of energy output as well as compositions of emissions. Conversion plants show differing characteristics concerning the biomass and the produced quality of gas and energy generation, depending on reactor type, kind of heat supply, and the pressure ratio in the gasification reactor. Conversion technology for the combustion of wood is extensively well-engineered, whereas the usage of other biomass like straw or sewage sludge, especially for gasification is insufficiently approved. According to this it is necessary to investigate an appropriate procedure for the use of biomass.



G.A. Holt,1 F.S. Nakayama2 and T.L. Blodgett3
1Cotton Production and Processing Research Unit, USDA-ARS, Lubbock, TX, USA; 2USDA-ARS-USWCL, Phoenix, AZ, USA; 3Alcoa, Rockdale, TX USA

Agricultural plant wastes when properly processed into useful commodities can become an economic asset. It has been estimated that in the United States, there are over 2.04 million Mg of cotton byproducts generated each year. On average, the disposal of these byproducts costs the cotton gin approximately $1.65 (U.S.) per Mg. One means of changing a financial liability into a potential revenue generator is to process the byproducts into renewable, compact pellet-type fuel that can be used at the site or transported to the consumer. Furnace and water heaters that can burn pelletized plant materials have become popular and their safety, low pollution, and reasonable operational costs have been demonstrated. Also, the drastic increases in the price of liquefied fuel and its uncertain supply place a premium for finding and using alternate, low-cost, cellulose-based fuels.

The objectives of our study were to fabricate pellet fuel from cotton gin byproducts using various processing techniques, determine its physical properties, and measure the emissions when fired in a commercial pellet stove used for residential heating.

Byproducts from two cotton gins were collected and processed into fuel pellets. Seven different treatments were evaluated. The treatments resulted from using different material streams from the ginning process as well as varying quantities of starch and/or crude cottonseed oil during the fuel pellet manufacturing process. The fuel pellet density from the various treatments ranged from 488 to 678 kg/m3. The various treatments were burned in a conventional pellet stove (four replications) and the gaseous and particulate emissions measured.

The average calorific value of the pellets ranged from 17.9 to 20.9 MJ/kg (HHV). The ash content for the various treatments ranged from a low of 4.9% to a high of 9.8%. The sodium content indicated concentration ranges from 91 to 282 ppm depending on the treatment.

The emissions from the cotton gin byproduct pellets were higher than for a premium grade wood pellet. The emissions measured during testing were CO, NO, NO2, SO2, and particulates. The pellet stove was setup following the manufacturer's recommendation to burn wood pellets, but was not adjusted for the cotton gin fuel pellets.

By utilizing various additives and processing techniques, cotton gin byproducts could be used to manufacture a pellet fuel that has economic potential. However, work remains to minimize the ash content and determine the optimal settings for maximizing combustion.



C. Jacobs-Young
USDA-CSREES, Washington, USA

Industrial crops provide raw materials for the production of numerous industrial and consumer products such as textile fibers, coatings, adhesives, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. In addition, industrial crops are a plentiful source of fuels that can lessen U.S. dependence on imported energy supplies. Use of agricultural biomaterials for fuels or products provides a renewable alternative to petroleum-based feedstocks along with the potential for reduced emissions and by-products and improved biodegradability of end products.

The National Research Initiative's Biobased Products and Bioenergy Research Program supports innovative research to improve the conversion of biobased materials into value-added industrial products and biofuels. The interplay of various interests include characterizing feedstock, improving/developing catalyst, and improving/designing more efficient processes/reactors for biomass conversion.

Several projects that have served to advance the scientific knowledge base for the production of value added biobased products will be highlighted. Eligibility for NRI support is limited to U.S. citizens; however opportunities for international collaborations are highly encouraged.



E. de Jong, 1 R. van Ree,2 R. van Tuil1 and W. Elbersen1
1Agrotechnology and Food Innovations, Wageningen, The Netherlands; 2ECN-Biomass Dept., Petten, The Netherlands

The Dutch government has defined very ambitious policy targets for biomass in the longer term (2040), namely 30% fossil fuel substitution in the power and transportation sector and 20 to 45% fossil-based raw material substitution in the industrial sector. Biomass is expected to be a major contributor with an anticipated share of more than 50%. Presently, biomass in the Netherlands that is not used for food applications is mainly utilised as animal feed and fuel for power (and heat) production. Biomass is converted mainly by means of direct/indirect co-firing in conventional coal-fired power plants and also by stand-alone combustion plants (Cuijk, Lelystad). To meet the longer-term policy ambitions, biomass has to be applied in additional market sectors of the Dutch economy, using new thermochemical and (bio) chemical conversion/production processes, such as advanced gasification and fermentation technologies. Within this framework, biorefineries are believed to play a major role in the transition to a more sustainable Dutch economy. Realisation of high-efficient biorefining processes at places where biomass can be gathered, grown and/or imported and where the “green” products can be sold to a cluster of chemical and material industries are believed to be key technologies to meet the longer-term policy goals.

The paper will first provide the societal and institutional context for the transition to sustainability in evolving the chemical industry. Second, it reviews various perspectives on the future of a modified chemical industry, partly resulting from emerging technological opportunities. Third, by taking into account these emerging technological opportunities, this presentation will discuss the potential of the use of biomass in the chemical industry of today and tomorrow. The following aspects related towards biomass will be addressed – sustainability issues related towards biomass for the chemical industry, the potentials of biomass refining and pretreatment. The enormous prospective of thermal, chemical and bioconversion technologies, partly as a result of the ever increasing knowledge on thermochemical and biotechnological pathways, for the conversion of biomass into chemical products will be shown. The effect of chemicals and materials design on the chosen processes will be presented. Special emphasis will be given towards the potential that “biorefineries” offer the chemical industries.



 N.G. Danalatos,1,2 S.V. Archontoulis,2,3 L. Geronikolou4 and G. Papadakis4
1University of the Aegean, Mytilini, Greece; 2University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece; 3Wageningen Univ., Wageningen, The Netherlands; 4Agric. University of Athens, Athens, Greece

The growth and the biomass productivity of the kenaf variety Tainnung 2 were investigated under optimal and sub-optimal irrigation and N-fertilization inputs in western Thessaly, Greece, in 2004. A 3×4 factorial completely randomized split-plot design was used in three blocks with the main plots comprising three irrigation treatments, and the subplots comprising four nitrogen dressings. The study soil was a deep, calcareous, fertile clayloam, classified as Aquic Xerofluvent, that represents large areas in the extensive Karditsa plain in central Greece. The crop was harvested periodically during the growing period and in each harvest, plant height, stem diameter, leaf area index, total dry, and stem dry biomass were measured. It was found that fertilization within the studied rates did not affect growth and biomass productivity of the crop, apparently due to the high fertility status of the study soil. Contrary to fertilization, a significant (P=0.05) effect of irrigation was found, with the fully irrigated plants (500 mm) reaching maximum growth rates in excess of 270 kg ha-1d-1 and dry biomass reaching 17.5 t ha-1 and by 9% and 21% lower productivity for irrigation inputs equal to 50% and 25% of the potential evapotranspiration, respectively. Stem biomass contributed to about 90% of the total dry biomass for all treatments by the end of the growing period. The leaf area index reached 4.3 (full irrigation), and remained above 3 (in all treatments) for large parts of the cropping period. Maximum height and stem diameter of the fully irrigated plants were 337 cm, and 2.5 cm, respectively.



 G. Kalmán, M. Gaspar and K. Reczéy

Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Author(s) not present.



 I. del Campo, I. Alegría, M. Zazpe, M. Echeverría and I. Echeverría
CENER, Navarra, Spain

Due to its environmental benefits, bioethanol is considered a promising biofuel for substituting gasoline fuel in transport sector (Portrait, 1999). In order to make it competitive against fossil fuels it is necessary to reduce its production costs by using new alternative biomass feedstocks. Due to its high agricultural potential, Spain has a strong food processing industry that produces approximately 450,000 tons of organic waste per year. The canning industry has to be taken into account because of its increasing development and capacity in Spain. Despite its development, increasing amounts of wastes are being generated by this kind of industries, and solutions have to be developed in order to diminish its environmental effects.

For this study wastes from fresh and processed vegetables have been used as feedstocks for a diluted acid hydrolysis process using sulphuric acid as catalytic agent.

The results obtained from the dilute acid hydrolysis assays regarding simple sugar solubilisation in the liquid fraction have been very successful reaching values of 3.61 and 7.83 g/L for tomato and red pepper residues, respectively. The suitability of this pretreatment has also been evaluated by the low levels of sugar degradation compounds detected in the samples which are significantly lower than the concentrations reported in the literature (Larsson, 1999; Oliva, 2003). In the case of legume residues a subsequent saccharification step is required to maximise sugar solubilisation.

In conclusion, due to the easy accessibility of sugars in fresh and processed vegetable wastes, they can be considered as potential feedstocks for bioethanol production.



 J. Fernández, M.D. Curt and P.L. Aguado
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain

In this work a review of Cynara cardunculus L. is presented. The species can be cultivated as an energy crop and be used for industrial purposes. As an energy crop it is grown according a perennial cultivation system especially developed for producing biomass. For that purpose the economic crop produce is the whole above-ground biomass. As an energy crop two categories of products are cropped: lignocellulosic biomass and oil seeds. The lignocellulosic biomass is regarded as a solid biofuel that can be directly used for generating electricity or for domestic heating. The seeds are also suitable for energy applications since they contain oil that can be used as a raw material of biodiesel. In addition to the energy applications of the crop other applications are reported: green forage, paper-pulp, pharmaceutical compounds and rennet.

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S. Palmieri

Research Institute for Industrial Crops, Bologna, Italy

Over the last decade, the demand is for sustainable, nonpolluting agricultural techniques that are able to provide healthful products safe for the end user. This requirement is crucial also in view of new international regulations that will progressively reduce any agricultural and food treatments that are still being allowed. In this context, possible less dangerous alternative procedures to control soil-borne pathogens, nematodes, and post-harvest storage diseases of fruits and vegetables will become critical in the near future. Biofumigation based on the use of cruciferous-derived materials appears to be suitable as an alternative technology as it shows great promise for improving human health and reducing environmental problems. Thus, in recent years, an increasing interest has developed for natural compounds with high biocidal activities as possible substitute for methyl bromide and other synthetic fungicides. In contrast, conventional chemical treatments to control similar pathogens have become less acceptable by the public as some treatments have become ineffective. One of the most promising emerging technologies makes use of biobased compounds and products derived from plant materials containing the myrosinase-glucosinolate system. This is due to the strong biocidal activity of the biofumigant isothiocyanate-glucosinolate-derived products. To exploit this enzymatic system to control soil-borne and post-harvest fruit pathogens, several vitro and in vivo trails were carried out, including an original and economically sustainable oilseed extraction procedure able to provide an oil with improved protein meal and bioactive molecules. The bioactive, sulfur-containing metabolites were tested against post-harvest pathogens. A pilot-plant facility for fruit treatment and storage was constructed to run the tests. Some important findings and a general overview on the use of biofumigation technology in different fields of application for controlling different plant diseases under real conditions will be presented.



 M. Del Río-Celestino,1 R. Font,2 R. Moreno-Rojas,3 A. De Haro-Bailón2

1CIFA, Córdoba, Spain; 2Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible, CSIC, Córdoba, Spain; 3University of Córdoba, Córdoba , Spain

On 25 April 1998, toxic water and tailings from a pyrite mine in Aznalcollar (Southern Spain) spilled into the Agrio and Guadiamar River basins affecting an area of about 55 km2. Immediately after the spill, the Autonomous Council of Andalusia began soil reclamation activities in order to minimize the potential impact caused by leaching of the toxic heavy metals in the affected area. Even after physically removing sediments, the soils remained polluted with trace elements such as Pb, Cu, Zn, Cd, Tl, Sb, and As. In studies performed in the Aznalcóllar area, several plant species have been identified as not only being able to grow on these polluted soils, but also accumulate high amounts of the pollutants in their shoots. Our objective was to assess the performance of the different wild plant species to extract Pb and Zn as an economically viable alternative to other physical on site methods for detoxifying polluted soils. The implications of these results for phytoremediation are discussed.



 I. Lefèvre,1 G. Marchal,1 E. Correal2 and S. Lutts1

1Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium; 2IMIDA, Murcia, Spain

Current technologies for soil remediation are very expensive, especially in the case of heavy metal contamination. Some plants are able to accumulate high concentrations of toxic ions, but most of them have very low growth rates, and therefore are not suitable for phytoextraction purposes. Plants species that exhibit high growth rates and can spontaneously colonize heavy metal-contaminated areas would be likely candidates for soil remediation.

Mature seeds were collected from plants growing on a contaminated site from the Sierra Minera of Cartagena ("Peña del Aguila", Llano del Beal) in the southeast of Spain. Four species were considered: Atriplex halimus L., Zygophyllum fabago L., Dorycnium pentaphyllum Scop., Piptatherum miliaceum (L.) Cosson. Seedlings from the collection were grown on Hoagland-modified nutrient solution in a fully controlled environment and exposed to various doses of Zn (0-1000 µM), Cd (0-100 µM), Pb (0-50 µM) or to a mixture of those contaminants. Growth kinetics, plant water status, ion accumulation, photosynthesis, and carbon isotope discrimination were quantified for various duration of exposure to the heavy metals (up to 8 months).

Among the analyzed species, both Atriplex halimus and Zygophyllum fabago were able to survive in the presence of high concentrations of heavy metals and to accumulate significant amounts of Cd and Zn in their shoots with only a limited impact on plant metabolism. Heavy metal tolerance was linked to the stimulation of antioxidative defense and to the over-synthesis of osmoprotecting compounds such as proline, glycinebetaine, and polyamines. Both species, however, displayed a high level of intraspecific variability for growth and for heavy metal accumulation. Moreover, salinity may interfere with cadmium absorption and reduce it, probably as a consequence of CdCl+ complex formation in the nutrient solution. In contrast, Dorycnium pentaphyllum was able to resist high levels of external contamination, but did not translocate heavy metals to the shoot. Piptatherum miliaceum was sensitive to Cd and Zn, but highly resistant to Pb.

It is concluded that species from this metalliferous flora may be used either for phytoextraction (Atriplex halimus and Zygophyllum fabago) or phytostabilization (Dorycnium pentaphyllum and Piptatherum miliaceum). These species also constitute an interesting material to identify physiological properties linked with heavy metal resistance in plants.




D.J. Walker, A. de Hoyos, P. Romero and E. Correal

IMIDA, Murcia, Spain

Two species of particular interest to us are Atriplex halimus L. (Chenopodiaceae) (Saltbush) and Bituminaria bituminosa (L.) C.H. Stirton (Fabaceae) (= Psoralea bituminosa L.). A. halimus grows throughout the Mediterranean basin and is tolerant to drought, heat, and salinity. It is used to provide forage in the arid and semiarid areas. Its extensive root system can stabilise degraded soils. However, its geographical distribution is limited by low winter temperatures. It also has potential use in phytoremediation of metal-contaminated sites because of its high tolerance to and accumulation of heavy metals. Interest is also directed to its saponin content with possible biocidal activity and utilisation as a herbal medicine. B. bituminosa is a nitrogen-fixing perennial legume used (after cutting and drying) as a forage plant in the Canary Islands. However, its productivity is limited by cold winters and summer droughts. The plant is also of interest due to its ability to stabilise degraded soils, its possible role in phytoremediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils, its furanocoumarins content (used in cosmetics and photochemotherapy), and its iso-flavanoid derivatives, which have anti-clastogenic activity.

At IMIDA, we have collections of A. halimus and B. bituminaria from a wide geographical range, spanning the Mediterranean Basin countries and the Canary Islands. We wish to select and characterise populations that are tolerant to the prevailing edapho-climatic conditions in the region of Murcia (Southern Spain) with poor soil quality of low organic matter content, low and irregular rainfall (200-500 mm per year, with a summer drought), high potential evapotranspiration (900-1300 mm per year), high summer temperatures, and sub-zero winter temperatures in the upland areas.

We found a clear relationship between the freezing tolerance of the plants in the field and that of the leaves in the laboratory. Initial results show that, for A. halimus, the tested populations from Spain were more cold-tolerant than those from North Africa. The tolerance seemed to be related to osmotic adjustment and salt accumulation in leaves. For B. bituminosa, the plants from the sites with colder winters (high-altitude zones in Tenerife and Murcia), were more cold-tolerant, possibly due to their greater ability to decrease their relative water content in winter.

Based on our observation on cold-tolerance, the intraspecific variability within the two chosen species should allow selection of populations tolerant to the semiarid conditions of Southern Spain. Tolerant lines that can be grown in low- (or no-) input systems will be suitable not only for sustainable livestock rearing and soil stabilisation, but also for other novel uses.



 J. Fernández
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain

This work focuses on the use of aquatic macrophytes for the treatment of wastewaters in constructed wetlands. Types of macrophytes, mechanisms of contaminant removal and systems of wastewater treatment with macrophytes are reviewed. Recently-developed system Floating Macrophytes Filter (FMF) is described. Performance of FMF at a pilot wastewater treatment plant is presented. Finally, EU Life-Environmental demonstration project of the FMF system is reported.



A. Faz,1 J.B. Lobera,2 M. Andújar,3 J.A. Acosta,1 D.M. Carmona,1 M. Llona,1 S. Martínez-Martínez,1
P. Martínez,1 A. Palop,1 V. Plana,3 J.L. Tortosa,1 and A. Zanuzzi1
1Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Spain; 2IMIDA, Murcia, Spain; 3CIFEA, Lorca, Spain

Pig slurry constitutes at the moment a very serious environmental issue mainly due to the change of pig production to a productive system of intensive type what means that slurry doesn't have a territorial area where it can be applied or poured. We show in this paper the results of some projects to determine the sustainable revalorization of the pig slurries for crop production, polluted soil remediation and water recycling. As a consequence, we propose different alternatives of reutilization of those slurries minimising also disposal risks. Those alternatives should be considered among others as solutions to manage safely pig slurries.


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D.B. Turley,1 M.Q. Chaudhry,1 R.W. Watkins1 and J.J.E. Hardy2
Central Science Laboratory, York, UK; 2University of York, York, UK

Forest trees are an integral part of the landscape and rural economy. Unfortunately, the economic returns from timber production have declined significantly in parts of Europe. In some cases it is no longer economically viable to harvest trees for timber or pulping. The challenge is to find alternative uses for, and to add value to the forest resource. Only 25% of felled wood is converted to timber, the remaining material is a rich composite of primary and secondary metabolites and plant fibres, which represents a relatively unexplored and unexploited resource for potentially novel products that could compliment revenue from traditional market outlets. Wood from temperate forest trees has traditionally been used as a source of tannins, terpenes, rosins, and aromatic phenolic compounds. This project set out to collate existing information on such chemical groups to identify the most suitable routes for further research and development.

Information was collated on the primary and secondary metabolites of alder (Alnus glutinosa), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), aspen (Populus tremula), beech (Fagus sylvatica), birch (Betula pendula, Betula pubescens), cherry (Prunus avium), corsican pine (Pinus nigra), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), larch (Larix decidua, Larix kaempferi), oak (Quercus robur, Quercus petraea), poplar (Populus nigra, Populus gileadensis, Populus alba, Populus trichocarpa), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), and willow (Salix alba, Salix fragilis).

Information was extracted from commercial and in-house databases, phytochemical databases, research papers, conference proceedings, books, unpublished reports and company literature. In total, over 37,000 records published over the last three decades were interrogated. Data extracted included, identified metabolites, the tissues from which they were extracted (e.g., bark, leaves, heartwood, roots), reported yields, reported properties, and hazards. Very little data currently exists on the yield or variability in yield of individual metabolites, which currently limits the ability to assess economic potential.

Traditional and new markets for exploitation of tree metabolites were also reviewed along with possible methods of extraction. Computer-aided Quantitative-Structure Activity Relationship Modeling (QSAR) augmented the search for novel applications for the tree metabolites. This tool was then used to model and predict the potency of tree metabolites as anti-microbials. Some monoterpenes with useful anti-microbial properties were identified.

All the information presented and the metabolite database has been made available via the worldwide web at



S. Fischer, M.T. Berti, R. Wilckens and A. Del Pozo
Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Concepcion, Chillan, Chile

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa Nutt., Syn. Cimicifuga racemosa) roots were traditionally used by Native Americans to treat female complaints and today are used to treat menopausal problems. Most roots come from wild harvest in the eastern U.S. of which 95% is exported. Wild populations are declining and there is an urgent need to conduct research in the propagation and cultivation of this specie to supply the increasing demand. The plant is not difficult to grow, but very little information is published for those who want to grow it artificially. The objectives of this research were (i) to characterize black cohosh growth and development under artificial shading, (ii) to determine the minimum root size that can be used for vegetative propagation, and (iii) to determine photosynthetic assimilation and the rates of carbohydrates accumulation during one season of growth. The experiment was conducted in Chillán, Chile. Roots for propagation were imported from North Carolina, U.S. in 2001. They were planted, at 30 × 30 cm distance between plants and 5-cm deep, and shaded with PVC with 80% light absorption in July 2003. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design with four replicates. Different root sizes and root ages were used to obtain seven treatments, that included the whole root (T1), root portion of one-year-old (T2), root portion from the last growing season (T3), one-half of the T2 portion (T4), one-half of the T3 portion (T5), stolon with four buds (T6), and root bud alone (T7). The evaluations included the number of buds and stems, plant height, total leaf area and leaf are index, leaf nitrogen content, CO2 assimilation rate (AR) and stomatal conductance (SC), root weight and root relative growth rate (RGR). Plants derived from the whole roots (T1) and root portions from the last growing season (T3) had greater number of initial buds and produced more stems. A close relationship was found between initial root weight and plant height, total leaf area and root growth. All treatments showed similar AR and SC (6.01 µmol CO2 m-2 s-1 and 1.54 cm s-1, respectively), and leaf nitrogen content. The RGR of roots was significantly different among treatments with the highest value for T5. Vegetative propagation of black cohosh is possible using fragments of rhizomes that include the root portion of one-year-old (T2) or one half of the last growing season roots (T4).



S.R. Mentreddy,1 A.I. Mohamed2 and A.M. Rimando3
1Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL, USA; 2Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA, USA; 3USDA-ARS, University, MS, USA

Diabetes mellitus is one of the major diseases currently affecting an estimated 143 million people worldwide and the number is growing rapidly. In the USA, about 18.2 million or 6.3% of the population suffer from diabetes or related complications. Diabetes is an epidemic among African Americans in general and Native Americans in particular. The estimated direct and indirect costs of diabetes exceed $132 billion annually. Some of the major reasons for the increasing rate of Type 2 diabetes also called non-insulin dependent diabetes are stress, and lack of proper diet and physical exercise.

Plant-based medicinal products have been known since ancient times. About 800 plant species have been reported to possess antidiabetic properties. Several plant species have been used for prevention or managing diabetes by the Native Americans, Chinese, South Americans, and Asian Indians.

A limited number of medicinal plant species have been studied and validated for their hypoglycemic properties using laboratory diabetic animal models and in clinical studies using human subjects. Several medicinal plants and their products (active, natural principles, and crude extracts) have been reported in the literature as having been used to control diabetes in the Indian traditional system of medicine called 'Ayurveda'. Among these species, Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Coccinia indica, Caesalpinia bonducella, Eugenia jambolana, Ficus bengalensis, Gymnema sylvestre, Momordica charantia, Mucuna pruriens, Ocimum sanctum syn. tenuiflorum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Swertia chirayita, Syzigium cumini, Tinospora cordifolia, and Trigonella foenum-graecum are considered the more effective and more extensively studied in relation to diabetes and their complications. Plant species adapted to North America, such as prickly pear (Opuntia robusta), Rosemarinus officinalis, Ocimum gratissimum, and noni (Morinda citrifolia) have also been evaluated for their hypoglycemic properties using laboratory animal models in western countries.

Several oral hypoglycemic agents are the primary forms of treatment for diabetes. However, prominent side-effects of such drugs are the main reason for an increasing number of people seeking alternative therapies that may have less severe or no side-effects. Thus, plant based herbal drugs or botanicals are emerging as the primary components of holistic approaches to diabetes management. In this review, selected species that have been validated for their hypoglycemic or antihyperglycemic properties using laboratory diabetic animal models and in clinical trials using human subjects, and published in refereed journals are presented.



F.A. Tomás-Barberán, F. Ferreres, J.C. Espín
CEBAS, CSIC, Murcia, Spain

Epidemiological studies have related the dietary consumption of plant-derived food products, and particularly fruits and vegetables, with a decrease in the incidence of some cancer types and cardiovascular disease mortality. This diet-related health benefit has been associated with the phytochemicals intake as one of the key factors. Clinical and recently gene expression studies support the role of plant food phytochemicals as health-promoting food constituents. The phytochemicals are preferentially biosynthesised in the external plant tissues. These external parts are the main waste material during handling and processing of fruits and vegetables in the food industry and constitute a good source for extraction of phytochemicals.

Some plant-food industrial residues from production of juices, musts, wine, oli and cider are currently used for the extraction of phytochemicals from oranges, grapes, apples, and industrial residues from olives. In addition, the use of tomato and berry residues for phytochemical recovery (lycopene and anthocyanins) has been recently developed.

In a recent project, we have explored the use of vegetables residues for the preparation of phytochemical extracts and dietary fibre. This study included cauliflower, artichoke, lettuce, broccoli, celery, and onion residues. The amount of wastes generated by the vegetable industry can reach up to 70% of the harvested plant material as in the case of artichokes. A simple extraction method by boiling the fresh plant material with water or methanol-water mixtures, extracting and purifying with filtration through non-ionic polymeric Amberlite resin columns can yield extracts containing large amounts of the polyphenolic antioxidants. The extracts can be used after freeze-drying or spray-drying for the preparation of dietary supplements or ingredients in various types of food products (juices, soups, etc.). The extraction of specific phytochemicals such as folates from leafy vegetable residues, sulphur compounds from onion wastes, and glucosinolates from Brassicaceae residues is also possible. Research on the metabolism, bioavailability, and physiological activities of the phytochemicals present in these extracts in humans are necessary to understand their health-promoting properties, and to support their use as ingredients of functional foods. In addition, it is necessary to evaluate the risk of pesticide residue concentration during the extraction and concentration processes.



D. Lopes,1 M.N. Marianchuk,2 T. McKay2 and P.P. Kolodziejczyk2

1Embrapa Food Technology , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 2 Olds College School of Innovation, Olds, AB, Canada

Essential oils are primarily used in the preparation of fragrances such as soap and perfume. However, there is a growing interest in their application for the food and nutraceutical industries. Hydro-distillates and extracts from aromatic plants are valuable ingredients that might be incorporated into bioproducts to improve their functionality (sensory, shelf-life, nutraceutical value).

Factors such as plant varieties, growing conditions, harvesting, and processing influence the quality and quantity of essential oil production. The Olds College School of Innovation (OCSI) laboratory is conducting a study on the quality of essential oils produced in Western Canada.
Selected essential oils from herbs, medicinal plants, and conifers were analyzed for their components. The GC and GC/MS systems were used for the analyses. Two columns of different polarities, polyethylene glycol (DB-Wax) and 5% phenyl 95% polydimethylsiloxane (HP-5), were utilized to enable the separation of several co-eluting components. Up to 127 compounds were identified that accounted for 78 to 97.6% of the oils.

Red clover extracts were analyzed for isoflavones by HPLC equipped with a laser light scattering and ion trap detectors.

Data for representative samples from commercial producers, farmer associations, and research organizations were entered into a database. The constructed database will contain information on the geographic location, agricultural practices, as well as the chemical composition of the aromatic and medicinal plants grown in Western Canada.

Such a database will be a crucial tool for the development of specifications, trade standards, and quality control processes for the herbal and medicinal plant industry.

Five of the researched plants (juniper, artemisia, chamomile, flax, and red clover) have been selected for a pilot commercialization study that includes test production of cosmetics (soaps, lotions, creams) containing their oils and/or extracts.



M.J. Jordán,1 R.M. Martínez,1 K.L. Goodner,2 E.A. Baldwin2 and J.A. Sotomoayor1
1IMIDA, Murcia, Spain; 2USDA Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory, Winter Haven, FL, USA

Thymus hyemalis L. and Spanish Thymus vulgaris L. shrubs are characterized by a large chemical intraspecific variability among the plants. This fact makes it difficult to detect real changes occurring in their essential oil composition during the vegetative cycle. Based on this, the clones of T. hyemalis and Spanish T. vulgaris were used in this present work to monitor seasonal variations in the composition of the essential oil. Shrubs were harvested at five different phenological stages during the vegetative cycle. The volatile profile of the essential oil samples was determined by capillary GC/MS analyses. This technique identified 99 and 98 components in T. hyemalis and T. vulgaris essential oils, respectively.

For the Spanish T. vulgaris essential oil, the major components quantified were cineol, followed by terpenyl acetate, borneol, linalool, –pinene, –terpineol, and camphor. With respect to the concentrations of some of the most abundant components, the vegetative stage seems to be the most appropriate harvesting time for this species. Cineol, borneol, monoterpenic hydrocarbons, and camphor exhibited their maximum concentrations at this phenological stage. In contrast, terpenyl acetate, –terpineol, and linalool, probably components that are associated with the fresh aroma in the oil, were mostly concentrated from full bloom to advanced fruit formation. Correlations were detected among the concentrations of the most abundant components in this essential oil. Thus, terpenyl acetate and cineol concentrations varied during the entire vegetative cycle. The same behaviour was observed between sabinene and linalool.

For the T. hyemalis, the thymol, which defines the chemical type and the essential oil quality, and its precursors -terpinene and p-cymene, showed synchronized patterns of variation during the entire vegetative cycle. In this way, the maximum relative concentration of -terpinene, a precursor of p-cymene, was achieved at the full bloom (FB) phenological stage that coincided with the minimum concentration detected for p-cymene, a precursor of thymol. However, the maximum relative concentration of thymol was detected at full bloom/at the beginning of fruit maturation (FB-FR). From these observations, we can conclude that between FB and FB-FR stages could be the period beyond which the sequence -terpinene  p-cymene  thymol begins. On the other hand, the essential oil exhibited the highest amount in alcohols, ketones, and esters at the vegetative stage.



K. L. Goodner,1 K. Mahattanatawee,1 A. Plotto,2 M.J. Jordán,2 and J.A. Sotomayor2
1USDA Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory, Winter Haven, FL, USA; 2IMIDA, Murcia, Spain;

Thymus hyemalis L. and Spanish Thymus vulgaris L. shrubs are characterized by a great chemical intraspecific variability among plants. This property makes it difficult to detect real changes occurring in their essential oil composition during the vegetative cycle.

Based on this, clones of T. hyemalis and T. vulgaris were used to monitor seasonal variations in the composition of the essential oil. Shrubs were harvested at five different phenological stages during the plant vegetative cycle. Capillary GC/MS with olfactometry analysis will be used to determine the volatile profiles of the essential oil samples.

GC-Olfactometry analysis will be conducted on each phenological stage for T. hyemalis and T. vulgaris. Aroma extraction dilution analysis (AEDA) will be used to determine the aroma activities of the volatile constituents of the oils. Additionally, the Osme GC-O technique will be used at each dilution step to obtain more subtle information.



R. Cristóbal, M. Fanlo, R. Melero and E. More
Centre Tecnològic Forestal de Cataluña, Solsona, Spain

The Non-Wood Products Department of the Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia has been contributing to the rural development in Catalonia (north Spain) with different projects and tools dealing with MAP production systems in different scales (from home-made to large-scale) and taking into account commercialisation and processing aspects. MAP production systems include both cultivation and sustainable wild harvesting.

The socio-economic situation of rural areas is heterogeneous and changeable and MAP crops are not a traditional activity. Otherwise, the industry demand of MAP raw material is increasing. This situation is a challenge for us to establish these crops in the primary sector.

The presentation of different studies and their analyses would help us to design new strategies to develop the MAP sector.



V. Martínez-Francés and S. Ríos

Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Spirit art and its improvement, overtime and with different cultures, has allowed the development of many alcoholic drinks. In the South of Valencia Community (Spain), it has made characteristic herbal liqueurs by a variable number of plants soaked in sweet or dry anis liquor.

The complexity of the formulation and the diversity of plants used means there is practically one formula for each distiller family.

Yearly, several litres of this liqueur are prepared for their own family use. But, there are not many people who want to buy it and even in this case, the market is very limited.

Local well-known spirits are called “herbero” or “herberet”. Furthermore, the percentage of native species is higher (greater than 80 %), and the foreign species used are mostly old and traditional crops.

The number of species is different in each “herbero”, we can find recipes with about 8 to 27 species (mean 13). This is a substantial number if we compare this traditional liqueur with others which are available in the industrial market.

The quantities of each plant used in these spirits are small, between 10 g and 30 g of dry weight of plant per litre. The taste and flavour in each liqueur depends on the proportions of different essential oils present in the plants and the quantity of plant added. All these plants have traditional uses as local aromatic and medicinal flora. In these formulas some species could be considered a pattern, and they appear in a high percentage of the samples recorded (50-80%). The others can be found only in one or two samples, but these minor groups of species do not seem to be chosen randomly. Generally they are substitutions of similar species that belong to the same botanical families or even to the same genus. Often the local “herbero” makers are highly aware of plant constituents that are able to either enhance flavours in other plants added or even act as antidotes to toxins that other added plants contain.

The objective of the present work is to check and identify the botanical composition and ethnobotany subject related to the traditional making of “herbero” spirits. The promotion and commercialisation of this local product could improve the economy of these little villages, but firstly requires good regulation and management for the long term use of the plants, mainly endemics, to prevent their overexploitation in the absence of controls.

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T.A. Coffelt and F. S. Nakayama
USDA-ARS, U.S.Water Conservation Laboratory, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Guayule (Parthenium argentatum Gray) is a perennial shrub native to the Chihuahuan Desert of Northern Mexico and Southern Texas. New germplasm has shortened harvest time period from 3 to 5 years to 2 to 3 years. One of the most valuable products from guayule is its hypoallergenic latex. However, little research has been done on the optimum harvest time for latex concentration and yield. The objective of this study was to determine the optimum harvest time during the growth cycle for latex content, plant biomass, and latex yield of guayule.

Treatments consisted of three guayule lines (Cal 6, AZR2, and AZ 101) harvested monthly for two years. Plants were transplanted on October 13-14, 1999 at the U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona. Harvesting began in February 2002 and continued each month through January 2004. Samples were analyzed for latex concentration and latex yields were calculated based on the latex concentration and the dry plant biomass. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications.

Results varied among lines. During the first year, peaks in latex concentration generally occurred in March/April, September, and again in December/January. During the second year peaks occurred in February/April, June/July, October, and again in January. Plant biomass was less variable and generally was highest in late summer and fall. Latex yield which is a function of both latex concentration and plant biomass was highest the first year in September and December, and the second year in June and October. These results indicate that for maximum latex a late spring (May/June) or fall (October/November) harvest may be best.

More research must be done to determine whether specific environmental factors can be associated with the optimum harvest time. There appears to be enough differences among lines that planting lines selected for different optimum harvest dates would allow growers to spread the optimum harvest time throughout most of the year.



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