Browsing by Title

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-20 of 431
  • Venäläinen, Salla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Mining of phosphorus (P) and lead (Pb) ores increases their amounts in biogeochemical cycles and, consequently, their environmental risks. Phosphorus is an important nutrient, but P loading from sewage waters and agricultural activities to watercourses may result in eutrophication, a process eventually detrimental to aquatic ecosystems. Lead, on the other hand, poses a direct risk of intoxication to all living organisms. In addition to technical applications, Pb is used in pellets and shots on shooting ranges, which accounts for a large source of Pb loading to the environment. Prevention and abatement of detrimental impacts of P and Pb require large-scale, cost-effective techniques that do not compromise the environment. This thesis was undertaken to investigate the potential of tailings from apatite ore beneficiation at the Siilinjärvi phosphate mine, Finland, in the dephosphorization of sewage and in the remediation of metal-contaminated areas. The material is a mixture of minerals, mainly phlogopite [KMg3(Si3Al)O10(OH)2] and calcite (CaCO3), accompanied by apatite [Ca5(PO4)3F] residues. Based on the versatile chemical properties, this geomaterial was hypothesized to act as a sorbent for P and Pb, rendering the tailings a potential agent for environmental remediation. A part of the original tailings material was artificially weathered by treating with a strong acid to create reaction-active aluminium (Al) and iron (Fe) (hydr)oxide sites. Some of the acidified material was further subjected to partial neutralization by treating with a strong base to precipitate any metals dissolved from the mineral structure during the acidification. Furthermore, all of the tailings materials were sieved into two particle-size fractions somewhat differing in their mineralogical composition and investigated as separate amendments. The ability of the tailings to retain P and Pb from aqueous solutions as well as the tailings-induced changes in the Pb retention capacity of a mineral soil were studied by means of an isotherm technique. A sequential fractionation procedure was undertaken to investigate (a) the distribution of inherent and added P between various chemical pools in the tailings and (b) the tailings-induced changes in the distribution of Pb between various chemical pools in a mineral soil artificially contaminated with Pb as well as in an organic shooting range soil contaminated with pellet-derived Pb. Because the toxicity of dissolved Pb depends on its chemical speciation, the tailings-induces changes in the chemical speciation of water-extractable Pb in contaminated shooting range soil was tested separately by means of a cation exchange resin. The tailings retained both P and Pb efficiently. The removal of soluble P was primarily due to specific sorption by Al and Fe (hydr)oxides and possibly to retention to calcite. Lead sorption by the untreated tailings was a combination of various sorption mechanisms taking place simultaneously, primarily through precipitation and surface complexation. All tailings materials increased the Pb sorption capacity of a mineral soil and transferred Pb from the NH4NO3-extractable pool to the more strongly bound forms. In a contaminated shooting range soil, the pellets were found to undergo continuous weathering processes that released Pb into the soil. Amending the soil with the untreated tailings (a) reduced the solubility of the pellet-derived Pb through the formation of sparingly soluble fluorpyromorphite and cerussite, (b) reduced the bioavailability of Pb by transferring it from the water-soluble and NH4NO3-extractable pools into the NaOH-extractable one and (c) transferred the most toxic cationic Pb species to the less toxic non-cationic form. The results suggest that the tailings may serve as an agent for dephosphorization of sewage and for Pb immobilization in polluted soil. The sorption properties of the material may be further optimized by chemical and physical pre-treatments. At present, the tailings material represents an uneconomic fraction of the ore deposit, but its components may render it a natural, environmentally sound and cost-effective remediation agent.
  • Korhonen, Silja (The Finnish Forest Research Institute, 2006)
    The purpose of this study was to extend understanding of how large firms pursuing sustained and profitable growth manage organisational renewal. A multiple-case study was conducted in 27 North American and European wood-industry companies, of which 11 were chosen for closer study. The study combined the organisational-capabilities approach to strategic management with corporate-entrepreneurship thinking. It charted the further development of an identification and classification system for capabilities comprising three dimensions: (i) the dynamism between firm-specific and industry-significant capabilities, (ii) hierarchies of capabilities and capability portfolios, and (iii) their internal structure. Capability building was analysed in the context of the organisational design, the technological systems and the type of resource-bundling process (creating new vs. entrenching existing capabilities). The thesis describes the current capability portfolios and the organisational changes in the case companies. It also clarifies the mechanisms through which companies can influence the balance between knowledge search and the efficiency of knowledge transfer and integration in their daily business activities, and consequently the diversity of their capability portfolio and the breadth and novelty of their product/service range. The largest wood-industry companies of today must develop a seemingly dual strategic focus: they have to combine leading-edge, innovative solutions with cost-efficient, large-scale production. The use of modern technology in production was no longer a primary source of competitiveness in the case companies, but rather belonged to the portfolio of basic capabilities. Knowledge and information management had become an industry imperative, on a par with cost effectiveness. Yet, during the period of this research, the case companies were better in supporting growth in volume of the existing activity than growth through new economic activities. Customer-driven, incremental innovation was preferred over firm-driven innovation through experimentation. The three main constraints on organisational renewal were the lack of slack resources, the aim for lean, centralised designs, and the inward-bound communication climate.
  • Makgahlela, Mahlako (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Genomic evaluations of animals in multi-breed and admixed populations tend to ignore the population structure and assume that these populations are homogeneous, which may lead to limited success in the application of this technology. The objective of this thesis was to develop approaches for accounting for the admixed structure of the Nordic Red dairy cattle (RDC) and furthermore, investigate the predictive ability of these methods in the estimation of genomic enhanced breeding values. The Nordic RDC population is a composite of the Finnish Ayrshire, Swedish Red, Norwegian Red, Danish Red, and their crosses with other breeds. The study was carried out using individual breed proportions derived from the pedigree to define the base breeds, dense marker genotypes and phenotypes of progeny tested bulls with reliabilities from traditional evaluations close to one. Two approaches were developed: (1) the multi-trait random regression model, which accounts for the interactions between marker effects and base breed origin of alleles, (2) the adjusted genomic relationship matrices by allele frequencies (AF) estimated within breeds versus across breeds, estimated from the currently genotyped versus the base (founding) population. Then, the predictive ability of genomic relationships accounted for breed composition was investigated in genomic evaluations with GBLUP of genotyped animals only, and GBLUP of both genotyped and ungenotyped animals (single-step GBLUP). Information in all evaluation models were weighted by the reliability of the phenotype (i.e., bull or cow deregressed breeding value). The validation of genomic evaluations for all models was assessed as the regression of phenotype on direct estimated genomic values or genomic enhanced breeding values. Gains in validation reliabilities were 2 and 3% for milk and protein, respectively, and -1% using the multi-trait random regression model in comparison to GBLUP model that assumed a homogeneous population. The use of AF within breeds greatly reduced differences in additive genomic relationship coefficients between populations, when assessed both across and within sub-populations. This was more evident and closer to pedigree relationships when breed-wise AF were estimated from the base population. Whereas the use of AF across breeds increased genomic relationships, especially for individuals that were originating from populations that were further from the mean population AF across breeds. Accounting for the population structure with breed-wise AF also, relaxed assumptions when incorporating pedigree-based relationships for single-step GBLUP. This advantage however, was not achieved in genomic evaluations. The validation reliabilities between GBLUP with breed-wise AF and GBLUP with AF across breed were generally similar at 33% for milk and protein and 43% for fat. The validation reliabilities increased to 37%, 40% and 47% for milk, protein and fat, respectively, but were similar irrespective of AF used to compute genomic relationships in single-step GBLUP. The improvement in at least 5% for all traits with single-step GBLUP shows the benefit of utilizing all the available information into genomic evaluations. From the methods developed, it was concluded that accounting for the population structure overall had marginal advantage in the predictive ability of genomic evaluations. However, as genomic selection is becoming a dominant tool, biased evaluations in multi-breeds from ignoring differences between breeds is clearly to be feared. Therefore, a more reasonable and cautious approach for integrating genomic information in multi-breeds would be from single-step evaluations that utilize cow performance record as phenotype and genomic relationships accounted for varying AF between the breeds founder populations.
  • Lyly, Marika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
  • Karttunen, Kalle (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The aim of this work was to study how process innovation can be applied in forest biomass supply chains for reducing costs to add value compared to traditional supply chains. The work consisted of four articles using alternative data and a variety of methods. The process innovation of forest biomass supply chains contains several possibilities. There is a need to identify which processes should be renewed incrementally or completely. The main innovation types determined by the case articles were divided into incremental, radical and network innovation. Achieving cost reduction was possible by innovating traditional forest biomass supply chain processes in a novel way in all cases. The case of network innovation however, presenting the co-operation of an entire supply chain with stakeholders by linking forest management and logistics business systems together in process innovation, provided the highest cost reduction, which can be seen as added value. This is because network innovation includes several structural holes with close connections between processes and systems that offer the possibility of finding more cost reduction potential for the entire supply chain. The main conclusion of this work is that it is not worth implementing innovation solely inside a company´s own activities, but opening the innovation process for the whole network of a supply chain is crucial. The methods presented in this work could be mainly applied in forest biomass supply chain innovation. The work enhanced the knowledge of innovation usage for forest biomass supply chains.
  • Liedert, Christina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The known natural habitats of Deinococcus geothermalis are geothermal springs and deep ocean subsurfaces. The bacterium has also found its way to manmade environments, including paper machines and drinking water distribution systems, from which it is very difficult to remove due to its resistance towards industrial washing procedures, dehydration and even high doses of ionizing radiation. D. geothermalis attaches tightly on industrial, even microbially repellent, surfaces initiating slime accumulation. We show that the adhesion of D. geothermalis is mediated by outercellular appendages identified as glycosylated type IV pili. D. geothermalis is the first taxon member of the ancient phylum Deinococcus-Thermus, where glycosylated pili are reported. We propose that D. geothermalis is an obligate microaerobic bacterium. Proteomic analysis showed that D. geothermalis, when cultivated aerobically in nutrient limiting medium prevailing in nature, suffered from oxidative stress. Cells did not grow or respire, unless divalent manganese was supplied. As a novel finding, we reported that the cells secreted succinic acid to the medium, possibly as an end product of metabolic pathways directed to battle oxidative stress. The data suggests that D. geothermalis can grow in aerobic habitats, such as the splash areas of paper machines, when divalent manganese is available. Generation of biofilms may be a physiological response of D. geothermalis to escape atmospheric oxygen. Under aerobic conditions D. geothermalis was intolerant to sodium ions beyond 90 mM. Sodium may have inhibitory effect on V-type ATPases, which D. geothermalis uses as its sole mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation. The findings in this thesis offer novel antifouling strategies in processes where D. geothermalis is harmful: (1) destroying the pili by antifouling treatments; (2) promoting dispersal of D. geothermalis from the biofilm by environment-compatible procedures, such as providing process waters with manganese (0.5 mg L-1) or sodium ions (0.5 % w/v), or (3) by reducing dissolved oxygen to levels where D. geothermalis chooses to grow in suspended form rather than biofilms. Alternatively, the description of the D. geothermalis proteome, physiology and biofilm formation may be applied in the development of biotechnological applications where this robust, non-pathogenic and easy-to-culture bacterium is utilized for demanding jobs such as bioremediation of nuclear waste lands or as a resistant host to produce industrially relevant substances.
  • Peltola, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This thesis has two items: biofouling and antifouling in paper industry. Biofouling means unwanted microbial accumulation on surfaces causing e.g. disturbances in industrial processes, contamination of medical devices or of water distribution networks. Antifouling focuses on preventing accumulation of the biofilms in undesired places. Deinococcus geothermalis is a pink-pigmented, thermophilic bacterium, and extremely resistant towards radiation, UV-light and desiccation and known as a biofouler of paper machines forming firm and biocide resistant biofilms on the stainless steel surfaces. The compact structure of biofilm microcolonies of D. geothermalis E50051 and the adhesion into abiotic surfaces were investigated by confocal laser scanning microscope combined with carbohydrate specific fluorescently labelled lectins. The extracellular polymeric substance in D. geothermalis microcolonies was found to be a composite of at least five different glycoconjugates contributing to adhesion, functioning as structural elements, putative storages for water, gliding motility and likely also to protection. The adhesion threads that D. geothermalis seems to use to adhere on an abiotic surface and to anchor itself to the neighbouring cells were shown to be protein. Four protein components of type IV pilin were identified. In addition, the lectin staining showed that the adhesion threads were covered with galactose containing glycoconjugates. The threads were not exposed on planktic cells indicating their primary role in adhesion and in biofilm formation. I investigated by quantitative real-time PCR the presence of D. geothermalis in biofilms, deposits, process waters and paper end products from 24 paper and board mills. The primers designed for doing this were targeted to the 16S rRNA gene of D. geothermalis. We found D. geothermalis DNA from 9 machines, in total 16 samples of the 120 mill samples searched for. The total bacterial content varied in those samples between 107 to 3 ×1010 16S rRNA gene copies g-1. The proportion of D. geothermalis in those same samples was minor, 0.03 1.3 % of the total bacterial content. Nevertheless D. geothermalis may endanger paper quality as its DNA was shown in an end product. As an antifouling method towards biofilms we studied the electrochemical polarization. Two novel instruments were designed for this work. The double biofilm analyzer was designed for search for a polarization program that would eradicate D. geothermalis biofilm or from stainless steel under conditions simulating paper mill environment. The Radbox instrument was designed to study the generation of reactive oxygen species during the polarization that was effective in antifouling of D. geothermalis. We found that cathodic character and a pulsed mode of polarization were required to achieve detaching D. geothermalis biofilm from stainless steel. We also found that the efficiency of polarization was good on submerged, and poor on splash area biofilms. By adding oxidative biocides, bromochloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin, 2,2-dibromo-2-cyanodiacetamide or peracetic acid gave additive value with polarization, being active on splash area biofilms. We showed that the cathodically weighted pulsed polarization that was active in removing D. geothermalis was also effective in generation of reactive oxygen species. It is possible that the antifouling effect relied on the generation of ROS on the polarized steel surfaces. Antifouling method successful towards D. geothermalis that is a tenacious biofouler and possesses a high tolerance to oxidative stressors could be functional also towards other biofoulers and applicable in wet industrial processes elsewhere.
  • Niemi, Jarkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Costs of purchasing new piglets and of feeding them until slaughter are the main variable expenditures in pig fattening. They both depend on slaughter intensity, the nature of feeding patterns and the technological constraints of pig fattening, such as genotype. Therefore, it is of interest to examine the effect of production technology and changes in input and output prices on feeding and slaughter decisions. This study examines the problem by using a dynamic programming model that links genetic characteristics of a pig to feeding decisions and the timing of slaughter and takes into account how these jointly affect the quality-adjusted value of a carcass. The model simulates the growth mechanism of a pig under optional feeding and slaughter patterns and then solves the optimal feeding and slaughter decisions recursively. The state of nature and the genotype of a pig are known in the analysis. The main contribution of this study is the dynamic approach that explicitly takes into account carcass quality while simultaneously optimising feeding and slaughter decisions. The method maximises the internal rate of return to the capacity unit. Hence, the results can have vital impact on competitiveness of pig production, which is known to be quite capital-intensive. The results suggest that producer can significantly benefit from improvements in the pig's genotype, because they improve efficiency of pig production. The annual benefits from obtaining pigs of improved genotype can be more than €20 per capacity unit. The annual net benefits of animal breeding to pig farms can also be considerable. Animals of improved genotype can reach optimal slaughter maturity quicker and produce leaner meat than animals of poor genotype. In order to fully utilise the benefits of animal breeding, the producer must adjust feeding and slaughter patterns on the basis of genotype. The results suggest that the producer can benefit from flexible feeding technology. The flexible feeding technology segregates pigs into groups according to their weight, carcass leanness, genotype and sex and thereafter optimises feeding and slaughter decisions separately for these groups. Typically, such a technology provides incentives to feed piglets with protein-rich feed such that the genetic potential to produce leaner meat is fully utilised. When the pig approaches slaughter maturity, the share of protein-rich feed in the diet gradually decreases and the amount of energy-rich feed increases. Generally, the optimal slaughter weight is within the weight range that pays the highest price per kilogram of pig meat. The optimal feeding pattern and the optimal timing of slaughter depend on price ratios. Particularly, an increase in the price of pig meat provides incentives to increase the growth rates up to the pig's biological maximum by increasing the amount of energy in the feed. Price changes and changes in slaughter premium can also have large income effects. Key words: barley, carcass composition, dynamic programming, feeding, genotypes, lean, pig fattening, precision agriculture, productivity, slaughter weight, soybeans
  • Awuah, Baffour (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Achieving the sustainable goal of using agriculture as a human intervention to alleviate poverty requires a measurement technique that can describe, explain, and predict with optimum accuracy the spatial distribution of social, economic, developmental, and environmental factors driving agriculture and poverty alleviation. The link between poverty and agriculture distributed in space and time is multi-dimensional and complex. It cannot be quantified using a single routine measurement, but by a combined stochastic and deterministic optimization approach. This study seeks to develop a systematic procedure with the capability to inter-relate complex datasets derived from multi-dimensional factors to evaluate an agriculture-based poverty alleviation programme. This project involves utilising geospatial analysis associated with poverty mapping, as well as other known sustainability parameters. The study focus was on ADRA's (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) programme in the Ga West district of the Greater Accra Region in Ghana. A logical grouping of captured data was organised in a broad classification of functions, data, and topological associations and their relationships. This formed the datasets for levels of analysis (Plot, Watershed, Farm household, Developmental). Guided by the reference values, the datasets and the breakdown of sustainable criteria into variables, different modelling procedures and methods were selected from the geospatial analysis regime. A total of 16 attributes derived from the analyses were combined for geoprocessing work-flow, i.e., eight socio-economic and developmental attributes representing the state of human activities or anthropogenic pressures associated with the programme, while the ecological/environmental attributes represented by 8 biophysics environmental state of the study area. Empirical analysis was completed with the development of a Spatial Sustainability Index (SSI), and the eventual creation of a Sustainable Poverty Alleviation Map (SPAM). The results show only 12.5% of the farm households achieved near sustainable level (0.7 - 0.9, out of 10.0). A majority of the problems related to sustainability identified in the research area were based on environmental indicators, which apparently stemmed from socio-economic factors. The study demonstrated that human-environmental interactions (especially using agriculture to alleviate poverty) is complex, and mutually affect each other in diverse ways. For example, increased crop income as revealed by this study adversely affected soil fertility and water quality, which in turn negatively affected human and environmental health that could promote or cause poverty. Therefore, to assess and understand these complex interactions, the study adopted an analytical regime that identified how, why, and what happens where, and makes use of geographical information that links features and phenomena at the study area to their respective locations and relationships. Events, patterns/trend and relationships in time and space were very crucial. This dissertation contributes to the evolving debate on spatial analysis and poverty, agriculture, poverty alleviation, poverty mapping, geospatial and crop management, and sustainable development. The main contributions are the methods used for handling the data that are brought to bear in the debate, i.e., the irregular or noisy dynamics of the processes involved, the random nature of measuring events, the importance of the environmental dimension in poverty mapping, and the effective and efficient use of geospatial analysis to operationalise sustainability. Keywords: agriculture, geodatabase, geospatial analysis, geostatistics, GIS, poverty alleviation, poverty mapping, sensitivity analysis, sustainability.
  • Riesinger, Paul (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    With respect to resource management and environmental impact, organic farming offers rationales for agricultural sustainability. However, agronomic productivity is usually higher with conventional farming. This work aimed at investigating two factors of major importance for the agronomic productivity of organic crop husbandry, nitrogen (N) supply through symbiotic N fixation (SNF) and weed occurrence. Perennial red clover-grass leys and spring cereal crops subjected to regular agricultural practices were studied on 34 organic farms located in the southern and the north-western coastal regions of Finland. Herbage growth, clover content as a proportion of the ley and extent of SNF in perennial leys, and the occurrence of weed species and weed-crop competition in spring cereal stands were related to climate conditions, soil properties, and management measures. The herbage accumulated from the first and the second cut of one- and two-year-old leys averaged 7.5 t DM ha-1 (SD ± 1.7 t DM ha-1); the clover content averaged 43.9% (SD ± 18.8%). Along with the clover content, herbage production decreased with ley age. Radiation use efficiency (RUE) correlated positively with clover proportion but despite low clover contents, three-year-old leys were still productive with regard to RUE. SNF in the accumulated annual growth of one- and two-year-old leys averaged 247.5 kg N ha-1 yr-1 (SD ± 114.4 kg N ha-1 yr-1). It was supposed that if red clover-grass leys constituted 40% of the rotation, then the mean N supply by SNF would be able to sustain two or three succeeding cereal crops (green manure and forage ley, respectively), yielding 3.0 to 4.0 t grain ha-1. Being a function of clover biomass, the SNF increased from the first to the second cut and thereafter declined with ley age. Coefficients of variation of clover contents (and SNF) between and within fields were around 50%, which was about twice as high as those of herbage production. The lower were the clover contents, the higher were the within-field variations of clover as a proportion of the ley. Low clover contents in one-year-old leys and increasing variability with ley age suggested that red clover growth was limited by poor establishment and poor overwintering. The proportions of clover in leys were lower and their variability was higher in the northwest than in the south. Soil properties, primarily texture and structure, had a major impact on clover proportion and herbage production, which largely explained regional differences in ley growth. Within-field variability of soil properties can be amended through site-specific measures, including drainage, liming, and applications of organic manures and mineral fertilizers. Overwintering and the persistence of leys can be improved by the choice of winter-hardy varieties, careful establishment and the appropriate harvest regime. Mean grain yields of spring cereal crops amounted to 3.2 t ha-1 in the south and 3.6 t ha-1 in the northwest. At 570 and 565 m-2 for the south and northwest respectively, mean weed densities did not differ between the regions, whereas the respective mean weed biomass of 697 and 1594 kg dry weight ha-1, respectively did differ. Weed abundance varied remarkably between single fields. The number of weed species was higher in the south than in the northwest. For example, Fumaria officinalis and Lamium spp. were found only in the south. Frequencies and abundances of Lapsana communis, Myosotis arvensis, Polygonum aviculare, Tripleurospermum inodorum, and Vicia spp. were higher in the south, whereas those of Elymus repens, Persicaria spp. and Spergula arvensis were higher in the northwest. The number of years since conversion to organic farming, i.e. long-term management, was one of the variables that explained the abundance of single weed species. E. repens was the weed species whose biomass increased most with the duration of organic farming. Another significant variable was crop biomass, which was affected by short-term management. The presence of different weed species was related to the duration of organic farming and to low crop yield. This finding demonstrated that it was not the organic farming regime per se, which resulted in high weed infestation and low yielding crops, but failures in the understanding and the management of organic farming systems. Successful weed control relies on farm- and field-specific long- and short-term management approaches. The agronomic productivity of ley and spring cereal crops managed by full-time farmers with an interest in organic farming was on the same level as of the mean for conventional farming. Given the many options for further improvements of the agronomic performance of organic arable systems, organic farming offers foundations for the development of sustainable agriculture. The main threat to the sustainability of farming in Finland, both conventional and organic, is the spatial separation of crop production and animal husbandry by region, along with the simplification of associated crop rotations.
  • Keskitalo, Kaisu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Diet is a major player in the maintenance of health and onset of many diseases of public health importance. The food choice is known to be largely influenced by sensory preferences. However, in many cases it is unclear whether these preferences and dietary behaviors are innate or acquired. The aim of this thesis work was to study the extent to which the individual differences in dietary responses, especially in liking for sweet taste, are influenced by genetic factors. Several traits measuring the responses to sweetness and other dietary variables were applied in four studies: in British (TwinsUK) and Finnish (FinnTwin12 and FinnTwin16) twin studies and in a Finnish migraine family study. All the subjects were adults and they participated in chemosensory measurements (taste and smell tests) and filled in food behavior questionnaires. Further, it was studied, whether the correlations among the variables are mediated by genetic or environmental factors and where in the genome the genes influencing the heritable traits are located. A study of young adult Finnish twins (FinnTwin16, n=4388) revealed that around 40% of the food use is attributable to genetic factors and that the common, childhood environment does not affect the food use even shortly after moving from the parents home. Both the family study (n=146) and the twin studies (British twins, n=663) showed that around half of the variation in the liking for sweetness is inherited. The same result was obtained both by the chemosensory measurements (heritability 41-49%) and the questionnaire variables (heritability 31-54%). By contrast, the intensity perception of sweetness or the responses to saltiness were not influenced by genetic factors. Further, a locus influencing the use-frequency of sweet foods was identified on chromosome 16p. A closer examination of the relationships among the variables based on 663 British twins revealed that several genetic and environmental correlations exist among the different measures of liking for sweetness. However, these correlations were not very strong (range 0.06-0.55) implying that the instruments used measure slightly different aspects of the phenomenon. In addition, the assessment of the associations among responses to fatty foods, dieting behaviors, and body mass index in twin populations (TwinsUK n=1027 and FinnTwin12 n=299) showed that the dieting behaviors (cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating, and emotional eating) mediate the relationship between obesity and diet. In conclusion, the work increased the understanding of the background variables of human eating behavior. Genetic effects were shown to underlie the variation of many dietary traits, such as liking for sweet taste, use of sweet foods, and dieting behaviors. However, the responses to salty taste were shown to be mainly determined by environmental factors and thus should more easily be modifiable by dietary education, exposure, and learning than sweet taste preferences. Although additional studies are needed to characterize the genetic element located on chromosome 16 that influences the use-frequency of sweet foods, the results underline the importance of inherited factors on human eating behavior.
  • Mattila, Pasi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Volatilization of ammonia (NH3) from animal manure is a major pathway for nitrogen (N) losses that cause eutrophication, acidification, and other environmental hazards. In this study, the effect of alternative techniques of manure treatment (aeration, separation, addition of peat) and application (broadcast spreading, band spreading, injection, incorporation by harrowing) on ammonia emissions in the field and on nitrogen uptake by ley or cereals was studied. The effect of a mixture of slurry and peat on soil properties was also investigated. The aim of this study was to find ways to improve the utilization of manure nitrogen and reduce its release to the environment. Injection into the soil or incorporation by harrowing clearly reduced ammonia volatilization from slurry more than did the surface application onto a smaller area by band spreading or reduction of the dry matter of slurry by aeration or separation. Surface application showed low ammonia volatilization, when pig slurry was applied to tilled bare clay soil or to spring wheat stands in early growth stages. Apparently, the properties of both slurry and soil enabled the rapid infiltration and absorption of slurry and its ammoniacal nitrogen by the soil. On ley, however, surface-applied cattle slurry lost about half of its ammoniacal nitrogen. The volatilization of ammonia from surface-applied peat manure was slow, but proceeded over a long period of time. After rain or irrigation, the peat manure layer on the soil surface retarded evaporation. Incorporation was less important for the fertilizer effect of peat manure than for pig slurry, but both manures were more effective when incorporated. Peat manure applications increase soil organic matter content and aggregate stability. Stubble mulch tillage hastens the effect in surface soil compared with ploughing. The apparent recovery of ammoniacal manure nitrogen in crop yield was higher with injection and incorporation than with surface applications. This was the case for leys as well as for spring cereals, even though ammonia losses from manures applied to cereals were relatively low with surface applications as well. The ammoniacal nitrogen of surface-applied slurry was obviously adsorbed by the very surface soil and remained mostly unavailable to plant roots in the dry soil. Supplementing manures with inorganic fertilizer nitrogen, which adds plant-available nitrogen to the soil at the start of growth, increased the overall recovery of applied nitrogen in crop yields.
  • Vuorela, Satu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Deegan, Kevin Cárthaigh (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Homogenisation is a physical process which results in the reduction in the size of fat-globules to reduce creaming. It is not generally used in cheesemaking as it allows access of the indigenous enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) to the triacylglycerol core of the fat globule, resulting in uncontrollable lipolysis and rancidity both in the milk and cheese made therefrom. It was hypothesised that the inclusion of low-pressure homogenisation in a controlled fashion could be used to improve the sensory characteristics and consumer acceptability of cheese relative to un-treated cheeses. A pre-processing treatment was developed wherein raw milk was homogenised (at 0, 5 or 10 MPa pressure), incubated for 1 h at 37ºC and either batch pasteurised (63ºC for 30 min) or high-temperature short-time pasteurised (75ºC for 15 s). Control milks were treated similarly, but bypassed the homogenisation step. Cheddar and Emmental cheese were produced from the pre-treated milk and ripened according to respective ripening schemes. Reduced-fat Emmental cheese (20% fat) was also produced, using both homogenisation pressure of 10 MPa in the pre-treatment and with a control milk. Biochemical analyses showed higher moisture and NaCl levels in homogenised milk cheeses, while free fatty acids (FFA) were in some cases twice that of the control cheeses. The difference in amount of FFA can be attributed primarily to the lipolysis experienced in the pre-treatment. No differences were found in levels of bacteria in cheeses in any study. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) showed a greater distribution of smaller homogenised fat globules throughout the cheese matrix. Sensory characteristics of the cheeses produced using the pre-treatment and Emmental cheesemaking were evaluated by descriptive sensory profiling using trained panels. Cheeses produced with homogenisation were rated higher for taste intensity and salty taste and were smoother, fattier and crumblier, lacked characteristic eyes and were less yellow and more colour consistent than those without homogenisation in the pre-treatment. Dynamic sensory characteristics were evaluated with the temporal dominance of sensations (TDS) method, where the evolution of the most dominant sensory attribute during mastication was followed. Homogenisation caused a drastic change in the texture during mastication. The control cheese was dominantly elastic at the start and then crumbly until swallowing while the homogenised milk cheese was experienced as crumbly-fatty-smooth. Evaluation of consumer responses and market positioning was carried out by projective mapping (PM), where respondents (n = 46) positioned the control and homogenised full-fat and reduced-fat test cheeses with six commercial cheeses. Similar cheeses were positioned closer together and different cheeses further apart. Participants were free to use their own criteria to position the cheeses. The reduced-fat homogenised cheese was rated as higher as more pleasant and positioned apart from similar commercial Emmental cheeses and the control cheeses. The full-fat homogenised milk cheese, ripened for 3 months, was rated higher for liking and positioned far from the other test cheeses, close to Gruyère-type (ripened for 7 months) and Gouda (ripened for 8 months) cheeses, described with words like full , tasty , melt-in-mouth and creamy . The positioning close to longer-ripened cheeses suggests a potential saving, through attainment of similar characteristics in a shorter ripening time. The effect of information on the expectations and perceptions of consumers was investigated. Participants (n = 229) completed a questionnaire with demographic and psychographic measures and were divided into four balanced groups based on age, sex, food neophobia and food technology neophobia. Each group received the same cheese sample and a different description, either, traditional , new-type , technology or cheese . Participants rated expected/actual pleasantness and purchase intent, as well as the suitability of descriptive words. Descriptions affected expected purchase intent, where the new-type group reported highest purchase intent, while no effect was found on expected pleasantness. Communication of novelty and technology raised the purchase intent of those with low food neophobia and low food technology neophobia, respectively. The pre-treatment is a viable and valuable addition prior to cheesemaking. Improvements in certain key sensory taste and texture attributes were seen, as well as improved positioning and consumer responses, indicating market potential and potential reduction in ripening costs. Although care should be taken in communication of both novelty and the technological nature of the process, the potential advantages of the pre-treatment are clear. Not only could the pre-treatment be applied prior to the manufacture of other types of cheeses, but potentially to other types of ripened-dairy products
  • Nousiainen, Aura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The use of pesticides has allowed the efficient use of agricultural soil and provided humans with greater yields and agri-food security. Unfortunately, many pesticides have also adverse effects to the environment or human health, and may end up where they were not intended: the precious groundwater reserves. The use of atrazine, a herbicide used for controlling broad-leaf weeds, was banned in the EU for this reason in 2004, but is still globally one of the most widely used herbicides today. Although atrazine can be completely mineralized by microbes, in the subsurface, slow or incomplete degradation of atrazine is often observed. The ability of atrazine degradation by microbes can be utilized in bioremediation, a technique in which contaminants are removed by microbial activity. This study was undertaken to elucidate the potential use of genetic tools, such as quantitative PCR (qPCR), radiorespirometry, microautoradiography (MAR), clone libraries and genetic fingerprinting methods, in atrazine contaminated soils, and to apply them in atrazine bioremediation. Collaboration with our Indian partner permitted comparison between atrazine treated, cropped agricultural soils and boreal subsoil contaminated two decades ago with residual atrazine from weed control in municipal areas. Four different bioremediation methods, natural attenuation, bioaugmentation, biostimulation, and their combination, were used to reduce atrazine concentration in soil. Atrazine degradation copy numbers often reflected the atrazine degradation potential, indicating their robustness as monitoring tools in different soils. The most efficient bioremediation treatment was bioaugmentation by atrazine degrading bacterial strains Pseudomonas citronellolis or Arthrobacter aurescens, or by an atrazine degrading bacterial consortium: in the agricultural soil, up to 90% of atrazine was degraded in less than a week, whereas in the boreal subsoil, 76% of atrazine was mineralized. In the clone library constructed from boreal soil, several clones related to taxa which include known atrazine degraders were found. In this soil, biostimulation with additional carbon was an efficient treatment at reduced temperature. In general, the efficiency of atrazine removal in different treatments was bioaugmentation and biostimulation > bioaugmentation > biostimulation > natural attenuation. Previous exposure to atrazine was the most influential factor in atrazine disappearance from soil, as recent exposure always correlated with faster atrazine degradation, and greatly affected the composition of the microbial community, elucidated by LH-PCR. These results serve as an example on how soil origin, exposure history, organic content and use must be taken into account while choosing the best bioremediation method. Knowledge on the presence of genetic degradation potential can be helpful in choosing the treatment method. While bioaugmentation removed 90% of atrazine from soil, its application in field scale may be challenging. Our results show, that biostimulation alone may serve as the treatment method of choice, even in the challenging subsoil surroundings where atrazine concentrations are low.
  • Kuosmanen, Natalia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Sustainability is a multidimensional concept that encompasses environmental, social and economic dimensions. A large number of qualitative concepts and definitions of sustainability have been suggested. However, quantifying the notion of sustainability as an operational measure has proved challenging due to a variety of meanings attached to this concept. The aim of this dissertation is to contribute to quantitative assessment of sustainability, focusing on agriculture. The thesis consists of an introductory part and five articles, which approach the assessment of sustainability from different angles. The main objective of the first three studies is to develop a general framework for sustainability assessment at different levels of aggregation. The first study demonstrates the critical importance of separating the conceptual definition of sustainability from the questions concerning its empirical assessment. The following two articles apply the generalized framework proposed in the first article to sustainability assessment at farm and sector levels. The proposed approach utilizes existing methods of frontier estimation that are applied for productivity and efficiency analysis. Apart from the conventional nonparametric Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and parametric Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA), a recently developed Stochastic Nonparametric Envelopment of Data (StoNED) approach, is applied in this thesis. The last two articles of the thesis focus on a specific measurement issue within sustainability assessment: how to measure nutrient emissions from agriculture to water, soil, and air. Analyzing stocks and flows of nutrients requires dynamic modeling. The fourth article proposes a new dynamic approach to model the nutrient stocks and flows and demonstrates the advantages of the proposed dynamic model over the conventional static approaches to material balance accounting. The empirical applicability and usefulness of the dynamic model are demonstrated through an empirical application to Finnish agricultural sector where the stocks and flows of nitrogen and phosphorus are estimated for a 48-year period. In the fifth article, the analysis is extended to cover 14 European countries in years 1961 2009. The proposed dynamic material balance approach allows one to analyze the development of nutrient stock over time and decompose the nutrient flows to water, air and soil. The stocks and flows calculated using the dynamic model can be readily utilized in sustainability assessment as indicators of environmental pressure. Apart from the theoretical contribution, last two articles of the thesis open up interesting new avenues for future research; for example, disaggregating nutrient stocks and flows to the level of individual farms or regions presents an interesting but challenging research problem.