Browsing by Subject "farming"

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  • Öhman, Jenny (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The EC regulations for organic farming (OF), No. 834/2007 and 889/2008, apply in all EU countries but still, different rules are being implemented. Every country in the EU has its own certification bodies and certification systems, and the interpretation of the EC regulations for organic farming is done nationally. The purpose of this research is to fill a gap in the understanding how rules of organic farming differ between three countries in Europe: Finland, Sweden and Austria. In particular, this study aims to examine the role of the national interpretations of the EC regulations for OF at different stages in the food supply chain. The main interest lies in why these differences in interpretation occur, and what interpretations are made at what stage in the system. The methods chosen for answering the research questions is a literature review, a survey with qualitative interviews for gathering relevant topics from the field and finally a comparison of the EC regulations for OF and the national legislations and guidelines in Finland, Sweden and Austria for these topics. This study shows that there are many topics in OF where the EC regulations for OF leave room for variable interpretations and hence, it is unclear to the implementing authorities in the member states how to interpret these. The most significant result is that some of the differences in interpretation lead to the organic farmers being unequal across the countries. Even for statements with clear reasoning and precise instructions there can be significant differences in interpretation between the countries. Based on the results of this research I can state that the farmers in OF would benefit from a more harmonized landscape of OF rules on EU-level, as this would lower the inequality between farmers in OF in the different countries. One mean of doing this would be to reduce the number of statements of qualitative character.
  • Koivuranta, Riina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The concept of ecological management can be seen tackling the relationship of agriculture and environment, not only from the perspective of limiting the negative effects of farming practices, but also promoting positive actions. This notion of managing and maintaining, rather than leaving alone, is currently in the core of biodiversity promotion in agricultural landscapes in Europe. The focus of this thesis are the perceptions Finnish agri-environmental actors have regarding ecological management innovation stemming from the grassroots. In this thesis I assess how i) Finnish agri-environmental actors perceive grassroots innovation, ii) weigh its barriers and enabling factors, as well as iii) envision further needs regarding these innovations. The study is based on a mixed-methods approach using both qualitative and quantitative data; a questionnaire and two focus group discussions conducted during a two-day seminar “Managing Nature - working together” 29.11.-30.11.2016 in Turku. The study was conducted in co-operation with the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), University of Helsinki Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and a Horizon2020 project HNV-Link. I approached the research questions using an iterative approach, and my analysis is guided by Grounded Theory in constant comparative analysis and generating theory. The results indicate that Finnish agricultural actors acknowledge the heterogeneous nature of grassroots actors in agricultural areas. However, several common attributes are linked to innovation stemming from the grassroots such as practical, economic and local. Currently bureaucracy, lack of cooperation and the changes and challenges in the socio-cultural environment of grassroots hinder ecological management grassroots innovation. Finnish agri-environmental actors acknowledge that the challenges biodiversity in agricultural areas face, are of such magnitude that the need is rather to expand, not narrow down the actor-base for innovation.
  • Martikainen, Maria-Viola; Rönkkö, Teemu J.; Schaub, Bianca; Täubel, Martin; Gu, Cheng; Wong, Gary W. K.; Li, Jing; Pekkanen, Juha; Komppula, Mika; Hirvonen, Maija-Riitta; Jalava, Pasi I.; Roponen, Marjut (2018)
    Background Studies conducted in farm environments suggest that diverse microbial exposure promotes children's lung health. The underlying mechanisms are unclear, and the development of asthma-preventive strategies has been delayed. More comprehensive investigation of the environment-induced immunoregulation is required for better understanding of asthma pathogenesis and prevention. Exposure to air pollution, including particulate matter (PM), is a risk factor for asthma, thus providing an excellent counterpoint for the farm-effect research. Lack of comparable data, however, complicates interpretation of the existing information. We aimed to explore the immunoregulatory effects of cattle farm dust (protective, Finland) and urban air PM (high-risk, China) for the first time using identical research methods. Methods We stimulated PBMCs of 4-year-old children (N = 18) with farm dust and size-segregated PM and assessed the expression of immune receptors CD80 and ILT4 on dendritic cells and monocytes as well as cytokine production of PBMCs. Environmental samples were analysed for their composition. Results Farm dust increased the percentage of cells expressing CD80 and the cytokine production of children's immune cells, whereas PM inhibited the expression of important receptors and the production of soluble mediators. Although PM samples induced parallel immune reactions, the size-fraction determined the strength of the effects. Conclusions Our study demonstrates the significance of using the same research framework when disentangling shared and distinctive immune pathways operating in different environments. Observed stimulatory effects of farm dust and inhibitory effects of PM could shape responses towards respiratory pathogens and allergens, and partly explain differences in asthma prevalence between studied environments.
  • Krusche, Johanna; Twardziok, Monika; Rehbach, Katharina; Böck, Andreas; Tsang, Miranda S.; Schröder, Paul C.; Kumbrink, Jörg; Kirchner, Thomas; Xing, Yuhan; Riedler, Josef; Dalphin, Jean-Charles; Pekkanen, Juha; Lauener, Roger; Roponen, Marjut; Li, Jing; Wong, Chun K.; Wong, Gary W.K.; Schaub, Bianca; Ege, Markus; Depner, Martin; Illi, Sabina; Loss, Georg J.; Renz, Harald; Pfefferle, Petra I.; Kabesch, Michael; Genuneit, Jon; Karvonen, Anne M.; Hyvärinen, Anne; Kirjavainen, Pirkka V.; Remes, Sami; Braun-Fahrländer, Charlotte; Roduit, Caroline; Frei, Remo; Kaulek, Vincent; Dalphin, Marie-Laure; Divaret-Chauveau, Amandine; Doekes, Gert (2019)
    Background: Childhood asthma prevalence is significantly greater in urban areas compared with rural/farm environments. Murine studies have shown that TNF-alpha-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3; A20), an anti-inflammatory regulator of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kappa B) signaling, mediates environmentally induced asthma protection. Objective: We aimed to determine the role of TNFAIP3 for asthma development in childhood and the immunomodulatory effects of environmental factors. Methods: In a representative selection of 250 of 2168 children from 2 prospective birth cohorts and 2 cross-sectional studies, we analyzed blood cells of healthy and asthmatic children from urban and rural/farm environments from Europe and China. PBMCs were stimulated ex vivo with dust from "asthma-protective'' farms or LPS. NF-kappa B signaling-related gene and protein expression was assessed in PBMCs and multiplex gene expression assays (NanoString Technologies) in isolated dendritic cells of schoolchildren and in cord blood mononuclear cells from newborns. Results: Anti-inflammatory TNFAIP3 gene and protein expression was consistently decreased, whereas proinflammatory Toll-like receptor 4 expression was increased in urban asthmatic patients (P <.05), reflecting their increased inflammatory status. Ex vivo farm dust or LPS stimulation restored TNFAIP3 expression to healthy levels in asthmatic patients and shifted NF-kappa B signaling-associated gene expression toward an anti-inflammatory state (P <.001). Farm/rural children had lower expression, indicating tolerance induction by continuous environmental exposure. Newborns with asthma at school age had reduced TNFAIP3 expression at birth, suggesting TNFAIP3 as a possible biomarker predicting subsequent asthma. Conclusion: Our data indicate TNFAIP3 as a key regulator during childhood asthma development and its environmentally mediated protection. Because environmental dust exposure conferred the anti-inflammatory effects, it might represent a promising future agent for asthma prevention and treatment.