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Title:  Characterization, Classification and Evaluation of Some Wetland Soils of Oguta, Imo State, South-East Nigeria

Affiliation: Soil Science Technology  Department
 School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology
 Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State

Date: June, 2016

Characterization, classification and evaluation of some Wetland soils of Oguta, Imo State
Southeast Nigeria were executed. The aim was to have baseline information that will
assist farmers and other land users in well informed decision making. Four profile pits
was dug on the study area Osse moto Oguta. Free sampling technique was used. With 
the aid of Global Positioning System (GPS) and soil sampling tools. Soil samples were
collected based on the FAO guidelines for profile description. The results revealed that
Loamy Sand is the dominant texture of   the soils of the area. Soil reaction (pH in water)
varied from strongly acid to slightly acid (5.18 to 6.74), organic carbon varied from low
to moderately low (0.02 to 1.12 %) in the study area. Total nitrogen varied from very low
to low (0.003 to 0.050 %), available P varied from very low to low (0.70 to 11.20 ppm),
exchangeable bases (Ca, Mg, k and Na) were generally low (Ca: 0.10 to 2.30 cmol/kg;
Mg: 0.13 to 1.65 cmol/kg;  K: 0.117 to 0.142 Cmol/kg; and Na: 0.174 to 0.255 Cmol/kg).
ECEC varied from very low to low (2.000 to 7.424 cmol/kg). Base saturation varied
from very low to moderately low (13 to 68%). Good and appropriate knowledge of
wetland is important for optimum use of the soils for arable crop production. On the
account of all the soils properties studied, as criteria for the soil classification after
careful examination, the soils were classified as Inceptisols (USDA) or Cambisols
(FAO/WRB). The degree of variability among soil properties was ascertained using
coefficient of variation, while the relationship existing between them was estimated
using correlation matrix. The soils were evaluated to know its suitability for arable crop
production, and was found to be moderately suitable. It was found out that the soil is
suitable for agriculture, but cannot efficiently sustain arable crop production.


Title:  Geotechnical Properties and Classification of Some Soils Formed on two Lithologic Materials in Imo State, Nigeria..

Affiliation: Soil Science Technology  Department
 School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology
 Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State

Date: June, 2016

The study investigated geotechnical soil properties and classified soils derived from two different lithologic materials, namely Coastal Plain Sand (Benin formation) and Imo Clay Shale. Free soil survey technique was used in siting profile pits. Six profile pits were investigated. The profile pits were geo-referenced using hand held Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver. Soil profile pits were described according to FAO guidelines. Soil samples were collected from horizons, starting from the deepest horizon upwards. Samples for the study of geotechnical properties were collected at depth of 100-200cm. Soil samples were air-dried and sieved for standard routine analysis. The mean, percentage coefficient of variation and simple correlation tools were used for soil data analysis. Regression analysis among soil properties with significant relation was investigated. Colour of soils underlain by Coastal Plain Sand ranged from 2.5YR to 5YR while soils underlain by Shale ranged from 2.5YR to 10R. Soil underlain by Shale had higher clay content (159443g/kg) and silt content (40-160g/kg) while soil underlain by Coastal Plain Sand had higher sand content (760.8-906.8g/kg). The bulk density was also higher in soils underlain by Coastal Plain Sand (up to 1.58Mg/m3). Weak structure was observed in soils underlain by Coastal plain sand while shale has moderate to massive structure. Moisture content up to 353g/kg was observed from soil underlain by Shale. Organic matter content was also higher (1.4-3.12g/kg) in soil underlain by Shale. TEB were higher in soils formed from Shale (2.63-5.43cmol/kg) than those from Coastal Plain Sand (1.11-3.97cmol/kg). Results of geotechnical properties revealed the presence of gravel (Amuro-53%, Umuna-19%) in soil underlain by Shale. Higher Atterberg limits (LL≥65% and PI ≥35%), optimum moisture content (≥20%), COLE (≥0.16), volumetric shrinkage (≥56.1) and cohesion (≥14KN/m2) was observed in soils underlain by Shale. Soils underlain by Coastal Plain Sand have higher maximum dry density (≥1.61%), shear strength (≥91KN/m2), angle of internal friction (≥25.40), and ultimate bearing capacity (≥379KN/m2) than soils underlain by Shale. Soil bulk density, porosity, sand and clay content were good predictors (predictive ability = R2≥0.72) of geotechnical properties like shear strength, COLE, and ultimate bearing capacity. The soils on Shale were classified as Vertic Hapludult (Amuro) and Typic Hapludult (Umuna), while the soils on Coastal Plain Sand were classified as Psammentic Hapludult (Ezelu) and Typic Hapludult (Obinze, Umuagwo, Mgbirichi).


Title:  Effect of Temperature and Relative Humidity on Quality and Microbial Growth on Chicken Eggs

Affiliation: Animal Science Technology  Department
 School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology
 Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State

Date: June, 2016


A total of 192 fresh chicken eggs obtained from 34 weeks old Bovan Brown layers were
used to investigate the effect of temperature and relative humidity (RH) interaction on
internal quality and microbial growth on eggs stored for 8 weeks. There were four
storage temperature and relative humidity conditions, namely; storage under ambient
temperature + normal RH, ambient temperature+ high RH, refrigeration + normal RH
and refrigeration +high RH. Eggs were sampled weekly from each treatment group to
measure shell thickness, haugh unit, albumen pH, albumen index and yolk index as well
as to isolate bacteria and fungi cultures from egg shell in the four treatments. Haugh
unit, albumen index and yolk index were significantly higher (P<0.05) in eggs in
refrigeration than ambient temperature storage. Similarly, egg stored at high RH
conditions yielded significantly (P<0.05) higher values for haugh unit, albumen index
and yolk index. At each level of temperature of storage (ambient or refrigeration) egg
quality parameters were higher at high RH than normal RH conditions. Significant
positive correlation (p<0.05) were obtained between albumen pH and length of storage
in eggs stored under ambient temperature +high RH and refrigeration temperature
+normal RH, but not in eggs stored under ambient temperature+ normal RH and
refrigeration + high RH. Significant negative correlation (p<0.05) were observed
between haugh unit and albumen pH in all except in eggs under ambient + normal RH.
Only eggs under refrigeration and normal RH showed significant correlation between
yolk index and albumen pH (p<0.05). Shells of eggs were more contaminated by E. coli,
Pseudomonas spp. , Salmonella spp and Staphylococcus spp. at ambient temperature.
Then on refrigeration temperature, except for Staphylococcus , where contaminations
were higher at normal RH, the levels of RH of storage did not influence rates of
contamination of shells by these isolated bacteria. At both ambient and refrigeration
temperatures shells of eggs were more contaminated by Aspergillusspp and Penicillium
spp at high RH than normal RH during storage. Contaminations of shells by these fungi
were high at ambient temperature than storage at refrigeration temperature. Results
suggest that high RH preserves egg quality under ambient temperature storage.
However prolonged storage under this condition may lead to rapid increase in fungal
growth on eggs. 


Title:  Effects of Some Cultural Practices and Some Plant Extracts on the Wilt Disease of Tomato (Lycopersicon Esculentum Mill) Grown in Owerri Metropolis in Imo State, Nigeria.

Affiliation: Animal Science Technology  Department
 School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology
 Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State

Date: August, 2016


The effects of some cultural practices and some plant extracts on wilt disease of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) in Owerri, were studied. The experiments were conducted in 2010, 2011 and 2015 at the Teaching and Research Farm and in the Crop Science and Technology Laboratory of the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. The investigation consisted of three (3) different experiments and each repeated two times. Experiment one dealt on the effects of some mulching materials and some tomato cultivars on wilt disease of tomato. The design was a 3x4 factorial in randomized complete block design (RCBD) in four (4) replications. Experiment two (2) dealt on the effects of some plant extracts and tomato cultivars on the wilt disease of tomato. The design was a 3x4 factorial in RCBD with three (3) replications. Experiment three (3) studied the effects of plant spacing/ density and inter- cropping on wilt disease of tomato. The design used was a 4x4 factorial in RCBD with 4 replications. Data on growth, flowering, yield, disease incidence and severity on tomato were collected and statistically analysed using Genstat Version 4 analytical software, while the means were separated for difference using Fisher’s Least Significant Difference protocol. Percentage wilt disease incidence was significantly (P<0.05) affected in the 3rd and 5th week after transplanting (WAT) in 2010 and in 6 WAT 2015 due to tomato cultivars. In the 7th week, mulching significantly (P=0.0.5) affected tomato wilt. The wilt incidence was lowest (31.0%) under grass mulch in 7th (WAT) in the 2010 experiment and the wilt severity was also lowest (1.75) at 2 WAT in 2015. Wilt incidence was significantly affected (P<0.05) by interaction between cultivars x plant extracts at 4 WAT in the 2011 experiment, whereas spacing significantly (p<0.05) affected wilt incidence in the last experiment at 2 WAT in 2011 and 8WAT in 2015. In the case of wilt severity, tomato cultivars, spacing, inter cropping, cultivars x mulch interaction, and cultivars x plant extracts interactions, all significantly (p<0.05) affected tomato wilt severity in 2010 and 2011. There was generally a poor yield of the tomato crop in the whole experiments. However, the number of fruits for Rio Grande cultivars significantly (p<0.05)  increased at 8 WAT in the first experiment in 2010 and second experiment in 2015. For effective control of tomato wilt ROMA VF cultivars should be grown under grass mulch; Tropimech tomato cultivars should be left unmulched. Also, Ocimum viride ( Basil plant (Nchuanwu)) with its interaction with Tropimech tomato cultivars significantly (P<0.05) reduced the tomato wilt incidence (20.75) to the lowest in the 2011 trial. Spacing distance of 50 x 25cm under the intercrop of soybean/tomato/okra combination significantly (P<0.05) reduced tomato wilt incidence to the lowest (9.5%) in 2011. More attention should be directed on the effect of plant extracts on the tomato wilt disease in future, to determine the effects of specific rates of Basil plant leaves on tomato wilt disease. 


Title:  Effect of Dietary Inclusion of Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) on Performance of Broilers and Laying Chickens

Affiliation: Animal ScienceTechnology Department
 School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology
 Federal University of Technology, Owerri Imo State

Date: March, 2016


Medicinal spices like ginger contain chemical substances that could be used to enhance the
value of food of animal origin and these substances are responsible for some other health
benefits. This study investigated the effect of ginger on the performance, carcass yield,
organoleptic quality, egg quality, muscle ether extract content, yolk cholesterol and serum
lipid profile  of broilers and layers using one hundred and eight (108) day old broilers and
seventy two (72) laying hens in a 56 and 49 day feeding trials, respectively. Three
experimental diets for starting, finishing broilers and laying chickens were formulated such
that the diets contained 0%, 0.5% and 1% of air dry and milled ginger. The diets were
randomly assigned to three groups of 36 and 24 birds each replicated 3 times to give 12
broilers and 8 layers respectively, in a complete randomized design. Result showed no
significant differences in feed intake and FCR among the treatment groups (P > 0.05) in both
broiler and layer studies. There were significant reductions in final live weights of starter
broilers and layers (P < 0.05). Diet related differences in final live weight of finisher broilers
were not significant (P > 0.05). Dietary treatments had no effect (P > 0.05) on meat
organoleptic quality, carcass and organ weights with the exception of the neck and heart.
Result showed that dietary inclusion of ginger led to significant decrease in serum high
density lipoprotein (HDL) in layers, but increased percentage albumen content in eggs (P <
0.05). Generally egg weight slightly increased with dietary ginger inclusion, whereas egg
laying rate was similar across the various dietary treatments. Results indicated that inclusion
of air-dried ginger at 0.5% and 1.0% levels depressed live weight gain in starter broilers and
layers, but not in finisher broilers. Inclusion of ginger in layer diets apparently resulted to
increased egg size and percentage albumen content, but reduced yolk size.