Articles publicats (Agrotecnio Center)

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Agrotecnio aims to become a reference in Europe addressing all the key elements of the food production chain in an integrated way focusing on target crops and animals of commercial importance, rather than model systems. This later aspect sets our centre apart from other centers which focus on fundamental science and/or model plant and animal systems. As a result we should be able to address fundamental and important questions in the crop/animal of interest and results from our research will be directly and immediately applicable to our target organism. [Més informació]


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    Open Access
    Assessing human exposure to pesticides and mycotoxins: optimization and validation of a method for multianalyte determination in urine samples
    (Springer Science and Business Media, 2024) Marín-Sáez, Jesús; Hernández-Mesa, Maykel; Ramos Girona, Antonio J.; Gámiz-Gracia, Laura; García-Campaña, Ana M.
    Humans are exposed to an increasing number of contaminants, with diet being one of the most important exposure routes. In this framework, human biomonitoring is considered the gold standard for evaluating human exposure to chemicals. Pesticides and mycotoxins are chemicals of special concern due to their health implications. They constitute the predominant border rejection notifications for food and feed in Europe and the USA. However, current biomonitoring studies are focused on a limited number of compounds and do not evaluate mycotoxins and pesticides together. In this study, an analytical method has been developed for the determination of 30 pesticides and 23 mycotoxins of concern in urine samples. A salting-out liquid–liquid extraction (SALLE) procedure was optimized achieving recoveries between 70 and 120% for almost all the compounds and limits as lower as when QuEChERS was applied. The compounds were then determined by liquid chromatography coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Different chromatographic conditions and analytical columns were tested, selecting a Hypersild gold aQ column as the best option. Finally, the method was applied to the analysis of 45 urine samples, in which organophosphate and pyrethroid pesticides (detection rates (DR) of 82% and 42%, respectively) and ochratoxin A and deoxynivalenol (DR of 51% and 33%, respectively) were the most detected compounds. The proposed analytical method involves the simultaneous determination of a diverse set of pesticides and mycotoxins, including their most relevant metabolites, in human urine. It serves as an essential tool for biomonitoring the presence of highly prevalent contaminants in modern society. Graphical Abstract: (Figure presented.)
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    Open Access
    Climate, host ontogeny and pathogen structural specificity determine forest disease distribution at a regional scale
    (Wiley, 2024) Caballol, Maria; Serradó, Francesc; Barnes, Irene; Julio Camarero J.; Valeriano, Cristina; Colangelo, Michele; Oliva Palau, Jonàs
    Predicting forest health at a regional level is challenging as forests are simultaneously attacked by multiple pathogens. Usually, the impacts of each pathogen are studied separately, however, interactions between them can affect disease dynamics. Pathogens can interact directly by competing for the same niche, but also facilitate or suppress each other via indirect effects through the host. We studied 66 native Mediterranean Pinus nigra stands located in the Pyrenees which were affected by two pathogens with different structural specificity: Dothistroma pini causing Dothistroma needle blight and Diplodia sapinea causing Diplodia shoot blight. We explored the ecology of both pathogens and whether the diseases they caused had an impact on trees and recruits. No signs of competition were found on adult trees. Diplodia shoot blight was restricted to the warmest and driest areas, while no climatic restrictions were identified for Dothistroma needle blight. Both diseases caused additive effects on crown defoliation and defoliated trees showed stagnated growth. In the regeneration layer, signs of disease suppression were found. In the warmest and driest areas, seedling mortality was mainly associated with Diplodia shoot blight, even though both pathogens were detected. Clear signs of D. pini spillover from canopy trees to recruits were found. However, seedling mortality caused by Dothistroma needle blight was only restricted to the coldest and wettest sites where D. sapinea could not survive. Large crowns in adult trees probably allow both pathogens to co-exist and cause additive impacts. The smaller size of recruits and a higher susceptibility to environmental stress compared to adult trees probably facilitates the effects of Diplodia shoot blight which masked those caused by Dothistroma needle blight. By considering climatic constraints, host ontogeny and structural specificity, we could dissect the disease impacts of two different pathogens and successfully explain forest health at a regional scale.
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    Open Access
    Recombination in the wheat stem rust pathogen mediated by an indigenous barberry species in Spain
    (Frontiers Media SA, 2023) Rodriguez-Algaba, Julian; Villegas, Dolors; Cantero-Martínez, Carlos; Patpour, Mehran; Berlin, Anna; Hovmøller, Mogens S.; Jin, Yue; Justesen, Annemarie F.
    The comeback of wheat stem rust in Europe, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, and the prevalence of the alternate (sexual) host in local areas have recently regained attention as a potential threat to European wheat production. The aim of this study was to investigate a potential epidemiological link between the aecia found on an indigenous barberry species and stem rust infections on nearby cereals and grasses. Aecial infections collected from Berberis vulgaris subsp. seroi were inoculated on a panel of susceptible genotypes of major cereal crop species. In total, 67 stem rust progeny isolates were recovered from wheat (51), barley (7), and rye (9), but none from oat, indicating the potential of barberry derived isolates to infect multiple cereals. Molecular genotyping of the progeny isolates and 20 cereal and grass stem rust samples collected at the same locations and year, revealed a clear genetic relatedness between the progeny isolated from barberry and the stem rust infections found on nearby cereal and grass hosts. Analysis of Molecular Variance indicated that variation between the stem rust populations accounted for only 1%. A Principal Components Analysis using the 62 detected multilocus genotypes also demonstrated a low degree of genetic variation among isolates belonging to the two stem rust populations. Lastly, pairwise comparisons based on fixation index (Fst), Nei’s genetic distances and number of effective migrants (Nm) revealed low genetic differentiation and high genetic exchange between the two populations. Our results demonstrated a direct epidemiological link and functionality of an indigenous barberry species as the sexual host of P. graminis in Spain, a factor that should be considered when designing future strategies to prevent stem rust in Europe and beyond. Copyright
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    Open Access
    Constrained trait variation by water availability modulates radial growth in evergreen and deciduous Mediterranean oaks
    (Elsevier, 2024) González de Andrés, Ester, Ester; Serra-Maluquer, Xavier; Gazol, Antonio; Olano, José Miguel; García-Plazaola, José Ignacio; Fernández-Marín, Beatriz; Bosco Imbert, J.; Coll Mir, Lluís; Améztegui González, Aitor
    Spatial and temporal variation in functional traits allows trees to adjust to shifting environmental conditions such as water stress. However, the change of traits, both mean and variances, along water availability gradients and across growing seasons, as well as their covariation with tree performance, have been rarely assessed. We examined intraspecific trait variation in coexisting evergreen (Quercus ilex ssp. ilex and Q. ilex ssp. ballota) and deciduous (Quercus faginea and Quercus humilis) Mediterranean oaks along a wide water availability gradient in northeastern Spain during six years. We measured leaf area (LA), shoot twig mass (Sm), leaf mass per area (LMA) and the ratio of shoot twig to leaf biomass (Sm:Lm). We characterized tree performance through basal area increment (BAI) and drought resilience indices. Higher variation was found within individuals than between individuals across populations and years. Within species, we found trait adjustments toward more conservative water-use (low LA and Sm and high LMA) with increasing drier conditions. Intraspecific trait variation was constrained by water availability, particularly on the deciduous species. In Q. ilex, trait variance of LMA positively covaried with annual BAI, whereas variance of LA, Sm and Sm:Lm was positively related to resistance and resilience against the severe 2012 drought in deciduous oaks. Our results support a tradeoff between the ability to tolerate drought and the capacity to cope with unpredictable changes in the environment through increased intraspecific trait variation, which may have implications on tree performance in the face of increased extreme events.
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    Pre-and post-drought conditions drive resilience of Pinus halepensis across its distribution range
    (Elsevier, 2023) Veuillen, Léa; Prévosto, Bernard; Alfaro-Sánchez, Raquel; Badeau, Vincent; Battipaglia, Giovanna; Beguería, Santiago; Bravo, Felipe; Boivin, Thomas; Camarero, J. Julio; Čufar, Katarina; Davi, Hendrik; Luis, Martin De; Campo, Antonio Del; Miren, Del Rio; Voltas Velasco, Jordi
    Severe droughts limit tree growth and forest productivity worldwide, a phenomenon which is expected to aggravate over the next decades. However, how drought intensity and climatic conditions before and after drought events modulate tree growth resilience remains unclear, especially when considering the range-wide phenotypic variability of a tree species. We gathered 4632 Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) tree-ring width series from 281 sites located in 11 countries across the Mediterranean basin, representing the entire geographic and bioclimatic range of the species. For each site and year of the period 1950–2020, we quantified tree-growth resilience and its two components, resistance and recovery, to account for the impact of drought and the capacity to recover from it. Relative drought intensity of each year was assessed using SPEI (Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index), a climatic water deficit index. Generalized additive mixed models were used to explore the non-linear relationships between resilience and its two components and drought intensity, preceding and following years climatic conditions. We found that P. halepensis radial growth was highly dependent on the SPEI from September of the previous year to June of the current year. Trees growing under more arid bioclimates showed higher inter-annual growth variability and were more sensitive to drought, resulting in an increased response magnitude to pre-, during and post-drought conditions. In contrast to our expectations, drought intensity only slightly affected resilience, which was rather negatively affected by favorable preceding conditions and improved by favorable following conditions. Resilience and its components are highly dependent on preceding and following years climatic conditions, which should always be taken into account when studying growth response to drought. With the observed and predicted increase in drought frequency, duration and intensity, favorable conditions following drought episodes may become rare, thus threatening the future acclimation capacity of P. halepensis in its current distribution.