A 10-year analysis of RASFF notifications for mycotoxins in nuts. Trend in key mycotoxins and impacted countries

The demand for tree nuts has significantly grown in recent years as epidemiological studies and clinical intervention trials demonstrated an inverse relationship between tree nut consumption and chronic diseases. However, mycotoxins are one of the main hazards responsible for increased “Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed” (RASFF) notifications and border rejections on nuts and nut products exported to the E.U. countries in the past few years. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites that present serious threats to human and animal health. The most prevalent, toxic, and carcinogenic mycotoxins observed in human food and animal feed are the aflatoxins (AFs). This work analyzed notifications from the RASFF on nuts and nut products contaminated with mycotoxins, for a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021. A total of 4752 mycotoxin notifications were published on RASFF for food products worldwide, 63% (n = 3000) were notified in “nuts, nut products and seeds”. It was observed that 95% (n = 2669) notifications were due to AFs. Over half of these notifications (52%, n = 1545) were reported for groundnuts, where 29% (n = 441) of the notifications were received for groundnuts from China alone. Border rejection was reported for 91% (n = 2560) of the nuts and nut products which received the notifications from the E.U. countries. This study proffers understanding into the major reasons for RASFF notifications on nuts and nut products exported to E.U. countries. Also, the implications of this issue with some recommendations that could reduce the incidents of notifications for tree nuts have been outlined.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2023.112915


Development of green composites from bio‐benzoxazine and epoxy copolymer reinforced with alkali‐treated pine nut shell particles

In the current study, an isothermal compression molding process was used to develop enhanced green composites made from alkali-treated pine nut shell particles (TPS) reinforced in fully bio-driven benzoxazine (VB) and epoxy (EP) copolymer. Reinforcement with varying weight percent (wt%) of bio-filler enhanced the properties of composites. Composites showed a rise of 75.9 MPa, 5.8 GPa, and 5.1 kJ/m2 in flexural strength, modulus, and impact strength, respectively. Thermal stability shows that composites can endure higher temperatures and hence be classified as flame-retardant materials. The dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) confirms that composites exhibit higher storage modulus, which was elevated to 77.6% compared to the unfilled copolymer. FTIR spectroscopy analyzed the structure of copolymerized composites. Further, finite element analysis (FEA) was observed for the prepared composites. A transversely isotropic composite material model was created with the properties of composites, and stress analysis was observed. FEA outcomes are in good agreement with experimental findings.
https://doi.org/10.1002/pat.6245


Rheological Characteristics of Wheat Dough Containing Powdered Hazelnuts or Walnuts Oil Cakes

This study assessed edible oil industry byproducts, oil cakes (OC) based on hazelnuts and walnuts (HOC, WOC), to replace wheat flour dough (WD) based on farinograph and extensograph parameters and rheological measurements. The research hypothesis of this work is that replacing part of wheat flour with ground nut oil cakes modifies the rheological characteristics of the dough. WF was replaced at the level of 5%, 10% and 15%. It was shown that use of OC in flour mixtures at various levels significantly influenced the rheological properties of the dough. The water absorption of wheat flour and oil cake mixtures was higher than that of the control sample, and the average value of this indicator was 53.4%. The control sample had the lowest dough development time (DDT), and the presence of HOC or WOC in the system resulted in a significant increase in this parameter (p < 0.05). The average DDT of WDHOC cakes was 4.7 min and was lower compared to WDWOC which was 5.9 min. The WDWOC10% and WDWOC15% samples were characterized by the highest dough stability value and the lowest degree of softening (p < 0.05). The presence of OC in the flour mixtures increased the values of the storage and loss moduli, which was reflected in the K′ and K″ values. The values of these parameters also increased as the level of OC addition increased. WDHOC doughs were characterized by higher values of the K′ and K″ parameters compared to WDWOC. The results of the creep and recovery test showed that the dough with the addition of nut OC was less susceptible to deformation compared to the control dough (p < 0.05). The resistance to deformation increased with the increasing share of HOC or WOC in the mixtures. The average value of viscoelastic compliance (J1) of this parameter for WDHOC dough was on average 1.8 × 10−4 Pa−1, and for WDWOC 2.0 × 10−4 Pa−1. Nut oil cakes are an interesting technological addition to the dough. Their use may have a positive impact on the characteristics of the finished product and expand their application possibilities in the food industry. This is because the dough with the addition of nut cakes was more stiff and less flexible and susceptible to deformation.

https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13010140


The Cardioprotective Properties of Selected Nuts: Their Functional Ingredients and Molecular Mechanisms

Nuts have been known as a nutritious food since ancient times and can be considered part of our original diet: they are one of the few foods that have been eaten in the same form for thousands of years. They consist of various dry fruits and seeds, with the most common species being almonds (Prunus dulcis), hazelnuts (Corylus avellana), cashews (cashew nuts, Anacardium occidentale), pistachios (Pistacia vera), walnuts (Italian nuts, Juglans regia), peanuts (Arachia hypogaca), Brazil nuts (Bartholletia excels), pecans (Corya illinoinensis), macadamia nuts (Macademia ternifolia) and pine nuts. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have found nuts to possess a range of bioactive compounds with cardioprotective properties, and hence, their consumption may play a role in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The present work reviews the current state of knowledge regarding the functional ingredients of various nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecan nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts) and the molecular mechanisms of their cardioprotective action. The data indicate that almonds, walnuts and pistachios are the best nut sources of bioactive ingredients with cardioprotective properties.
https://doi.org/10.3390/foods13020242


Effect of walnut consumption on markers of endothelial function in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

The Findings on the effect of walnut consumption on endothelial function are conflicting. Therefore, the present systematic review and meta-analysis summarized available trials in this regard. A systematic search was performed in online databases including PubMed-Medline, Scopus, and ISI Web of Science up to October 2023. Articles that reported the effect of walnut intake on flow-mediated dilation (FMD), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and stimulus-adjusted response measure (SARM) were included. Random effects models for a weighted mean difference (WMD) or standardized mean difference (SMD) were used to test for the overall effect. Six eligible trials were analyzed (250 participants). Walnut intake significantly increased FMD (WMD: 0.94%, 95% CI: 0.12 to 1.75; p = 0.02). However, meta-analysis could not show any beneficial effect of walnut intake on ICAM-1 (SMD: -0.23, 95% CI: -0.68 to 0.22; p = 0.31), VCAM-1 (SMD: -0.02, 95% CI: -1.38 to 1.34; p = 0.97), and SARM (WMD: 0.01%, 95% CI: -0.01 to 0.04; p = 0.28). In conclusion, the present meta-analysis suggests that walnuts may reduce cardiovascular disease risk by improving FMD. However, further studies should be performed on adults to determine the effect of walnut intake on endothelial function.
https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.8109


Influence of macadamia nutshell particles on the apparent density and mechanical behavior of cement-based mortars

The production of cement mortar has resulted in significant environmental issues. Many scientists have attempted to reduce environmental pollution by using agricultural waste as a substitute for mortar raw materials. This study creatively investigated the physical and mechanical properties of the new green cement mortar made from macadamia nutshell(MN), including compressive strength, flexural strength, and apparent density of 7d, 14d, and 28d. The effects of cement-sand ratio (c/s), nutshell particle size, and MN substitution rate on cement mortar's physical properties were studied using three-factor and three-level orthogonal test design methods. The digital image correlation (DIC) technique was used to analyze the crack development of macadamia nutshell cement mortar (MNM) at different loading stages. The analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the cement-sand ratio was the most significant factor affecting the strength of MNM. In addition, adding MN can increase the compressive strength of the mortar compared to the control group. The apparent density of the mortar decreases with the increase of MN addition.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2023.134600


Walnut By-Products and Elderberry Extracts – Sustainable Alternatives for Human and Plant Health

A current alternative for sustainable development through green chemistry is the replacement of synthetic compounds with natural ones through the superior capitalization of natural resources, with numerous applications in different fields. The benefits of walnuts (Juglans regia L.) and elderberries (Sambucus nigra L.) have been known since ancient times, due to the presence of phytochemicals such as flavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids, alkaloids, nitrogen-containing compounds, tannins, steroids, anthocyanins, etc. These active compounds have multiple biological activities for human health, including benefits that are antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antihypertensive, neuroprotective, etc. Like other medicinal plants, the walnut and the elderberry possess important phytosanitary properties (antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal) and their extracts can also be used as environmentally safe biopesticides, with the result that they constitute a viable and cheap alternative to environmentally harmful synthetic products. During recent years, walnut by-products and elderberries have attracted the attention of researchers, and investigations have focused on the species' valuable constituents and active properties. Comparing the information from the literature regarding the phytochemical profile and biological activities, it is highlighted that, apart from the predominant specific compounds, the walnut and the elderberry have common bioactive compounds, which come from six classes (phenols and derivatives, flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, tannins, triterpenoids, and phytosteroids), and act on the same microorganisms. From this perspective, the aim of this review is to provide an overview of the bioactive compounds present in the different constitutive parts of walnut by-products and elderberries, which present a specific or common activity related to human health and the protection of agricultural crops in the context of sustainable development.

https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules29020498


Cashew gum hydrogel as an alternative to minimize the effect of drought stress on soybean

The use of hydrogels helps the production of plants in drought-stress environments. Thus, this work evaluated using different hydrogels to minimize drought stress in soybean cultivation. The treatments employed two different hydrogels, one already commercialized and the other produced with cashew gum (Anacardium occidentale), five levels (0, 30, 60, 120, and 240 mg pot-1) of the hydrogels, and two levels of drought stress in sandy soil. The growth and yield of soybeans and the levels of macro- and micronutrients in soybeans were evaluated. The use of CG hydrogel promoted 12% increase in protein content in the seeds in the when soybean plants were subjected to drought stress. The levels of 30 mg pot-1, corresponding to 7.5 kg ha-1, improved the 'morphological and productive parameters of the soybeans. The increasing levels of hydrogel promoted the increase in P, K, Ca, Mg, and Fe and reduced S and Cu on an exponential scale. The use of cashew gum hydrogel increased the K and Ca contents in soybean seeds compared to commercial hydrogel.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-52509-2


Advancements in peanut mechanization: Implications for sustainable agriculture

Context: Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) hold significant global economic and nutritional importance, positioning them as a crucial crop in the realm of sustainable agriculture. In this comprehensive systematic and meta-analytic review, we thoroughly examine the extensive research and innovative strategies related to mechanizing peanut farming, with a specific focus on activities encompassing tilling, sowing, and harvesting. Objective: Our primary aim is to provide a meticulous and analytical exploration of the far-reaching implications of mechanization in peanut production. We emphasize the urgent need for cost-effective, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable practices. Methods: Through a rigorous analysis of existing literature, we unveil the multifaceted impacts of mechanization on factors such as yield, quality, and losses in peanut cultivation. To ensure a comprehensive analysis, we primarily concentrated on peer-reviewed articles sourced from distinguished databases such as Scopus® and Web of Science™. Specifically, our review encompasses studies published between 1989 and 2022, covering a diverse collection of bibliographic resources. This range spans from the inception of the term “mechanizable peanut” to the most recent publications in these interdisciplinary databases. To refine our search, we developed research-specific search strings by combining relevant keywords, including “PEANUT”, “TILLAGE”, “SOWING”, “DIGGING”, “HARVESTING”, and/or “MATURITY”, along with appropriate Boolean operators. A team of reviewers meticulously evaluated the readability, consistency, and eligibility of papers by scrutinizing titles, highlights, abstracts, keywords, as well as materials and methods sections. We selectively included papers that aligned with our research scope, while excluding studies related to intercropping, rotation systems, fertilization, pests and diseases, and manual labor-related operations. Results and conclusions: Our findings highlight the potential for increased productivity and quality in agricultural systems that embrace mechanization, all while minimizing losses and their environmental impact. To optimize yield and quality while reducing losses, it is imperative for stakeholders to collaborate and endorse conservationist tillage practices, precision sowing techniques, and advanced harvesting methods. Significance: This meta-review serves as a call to action directed at the scientific community, policymakers, and producers, urging them to prioritize the integration of mechanization into peanut farming. This approach not only advances sustainable agricultural practices but also addresses the growing global demand for this essential crop. By examining advancements in conservationist tillage, precision sowing, and harvesting methodologies, we equip stakeholders with the knowledge required to enhance peanut cultivation. We particularly emphasize the importance of harnessing cutting-edge technologies, such as remote sensing for maturity prediction, to facilitate informed decision-making in the field.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2024.103868


Maize/peanut rotation intercropping improves ecosystem carbon budget and economic benefits in the dry farming regions of China

Monoculture is widely practiced to increase crop productivity, but long-term adaptation has drawbacks as it increases the depletion of soil nutrients and reduces soil quality, especially in dryland areas. Conversion from traditional maize monoculture to intercropping improves sustainable production. However, maize/peanut intercropping, especially rotation of planting strips impacts of maize/peanut intercropping in dryland on carbon (C) budgets and economic benefits remain unclear. In this study, a 5-year field experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of maize/peanut intercropping with rotation of planting strips on soil health, indirect CO2-eq greenhouse gas emissions, and ecosystem C inputs. Four intercropping treatments viz. maize monoculture, peanut monoculture, maize/peanut intercropping, and maize/peanut rotation-intercropping were tested from 2018 to 2022. Maize/peanut rotation intercropping significantly improved the land equivalent ratio followed by intercropping and monoculture. Rotation-intercropping also improved economic benefits over intercropping and monoculture which were mainly associated with increased peanut yield where the border rows contributed the maximum, followed by the middle rows. Moreover, rotation-intercropping significantly increased the soil organic C and nitrogen (N) content. Rotation-intercropping decreased indirect CO2-eq greenhouse gas emissions and ecosystem C inputs by 3.11% and 18.04%, whereas increased ecosystem C outputs and net ecosystem C budget by 10.38% and 29.14%, respectively, over the average of monoculture. On average for intercropping and monoculture, rotation-intercropping increased ecosystem C emission efficiency for economic benefits by 51.94% and 227.27% in 2021 and 2022, respectively, showing the highest C utilization efficiency than other treatments. In the long run, maize/peanut rotation-intercropping can be practiced in dryland agriculture to achieve sustainable agriculture goals.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2024.120090