HEKTOR – Heterogeneous autonomous robotic system in viticulture and mariculture

A heterogeneous robotic system that can perform various tasks in the steep vineyards of the Mediterranean region was developed and tested as part of the HEKTOR—Heterogeneous Autonomous Robotic System in Viticulture and Mariculture—project. This article describes the design of hardware and an easy-to-use method for evaluating the energy consumption of the system, as well as, indirectly, its deployment readiness level. The heterogeneous robotic system itself consisted of a flying robot—a light autonomous aerial robot (LAAR)—and a ground robot—an all-terrain mobile manipulator (ATMM), composed of an all-terrain mobile robot (ATMR) platform and a seven-degrees of-freedom (DoF) torque-controlled robotic arm. A formal approach is presented to describe the topology and parameters of selected vineyards It is shown how Google Earth data can be used to make an initial estimation of energy consumption for a selected vineyard. On this basis, estimates of energy consumption were made for the tasks of protective spraying and bud rubbing. The experiments were conducted in two different vineyards, one with a moderate slope and the other with a much steepest slope, to evaluate the proposed estimation method.

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Anthocyanins from Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet (MD) is becoming a milestone for the prevention of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Ancel Keys in the 1950’s showed a low mortality rate, particularly for coronary heart disease, among people resident in the Mediterranean area. The MD is characterized by the intake of the high amount of vegetables, fruit, and cereals and regular but moderate consumption of wine, fish, and dairy products, while olive oil is the main source of culinary fat. Therefore, it is principally a plant-based diet rich in polyphenols, a heterogeneous category of compounds with different properties and bioavailabilities. Among polyphenols, anthocyanins have been combined into the human food regime for centuries. They have been utilized as traditional herbal remedies for their ability to treat several conditions, as potent anti-oxidants, anti-diabetic and anti-carcinogenic compounds. This review summarizes our knowledge on the health-enhancing component of the anthocyanins-rich diet.

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The relationship between grape ripening rate and wine quality

Grape ripening accelerates under warmer and drier conditions, resulting in the accumulation of sugars (‘technological’ maturity) being decoupled from phenolic and aromatic composition. This study investigated the effect of different rates of ripening on the composition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling wines. By mapping grape and wine metabolites and exploring their relationship, the outcomes of this study demonstrate the importance of ripening rates in determining wine quality.

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Pitted drum-dried olive pomace: A source of healthy phenolics and fiber for food and feed applications

Olive pomace (OP) is the main by-product of olive oil extraction. After pit and skin removal, OP pulp has high concentrations of dietary fiber and phenolics with high antioxidant capacity. This study evaluated mice health benefits of drum-dried pitted OP pulp obtained after first and second oil extraction. Drum-dried pitted olive pomace can be produced from first or second olive oil extraction byproducts to be used as a shelf-stable healthy food or feed supplement.

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Practical alternative for iron removal in organic white wines

This post presents an effective and practical alternative for iron removal in aqueous solutions and organic white wines based on continuous filtration via mechanically prepared filters composed of vegetable fibres from Scirpus californicus (Totora) and Gunnera tinctoria (Nalca) and fibrillated cellulose (CF) extracted from Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalipto). The study results indicate the potential of these natural fibres in the demetallization of organic wines.

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Mediterranean Diet and Breast Cancer

This post reports the results of the first randomized trial finding an effect of a long-term dietary intervention on breast cancer incidence. The results suggest a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil in the primary prevention of breast cancer. These results come from a secondary analysis of a previous trial and are based on few incident cases and, therefore, need to be confirmed in longer-term and larger studies.

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How wine fluorophores dialog with us to evaluate fermentative steps during winemaking practices?

In this study, stationary and time-resolved fluorescence signatures, were statistically and chemometrically analyzed among three typologies of Chardonnay wines with the objectives to evaluate their sensitivity to acidic and polyphenolic changes. The combination of multispectral fluorescence parameters opens a novel routinely implementable methodology to diagnose fermentative processes.

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A weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention improves inflammatory and oxidative stress markers of patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pathophysiology. We aimed at exploring whether the combination of a weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention with OSA standard care, i.e., continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) prescription, can lead to greater improvements in inflammation and oxidative stress, compared to standard care alone. This was a randomized controlled clinical trial in 187 adult, overweight patients with moderate-to-severe OSA. Participants were randomized to a standard care (SCG, n = 65), a Mediterranean diet (MDG, n = 62) or a Mediterranean lifestyle group (MLG, n = 60). All groups received OSA standard care. Intervention arms participated in a 6-month behavioral weight-loss intervention based on the Mediterranean diet, while the MLG also received counselling on physical activity and sleep habits. A weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention on top of CPAP has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in OSA.

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Health warning labels on wine bottles and how they influence perceived risk of consumption

Wine is an essential part of European culture. Unfortunately, the consumption of alcohol, such as wine, can have negative health effects. Health warning labels (HWLs) are increasingly presented as a measure to warn consumers of the threat alcohol poses to their health. At present, only a few countries in Europe have introduced mandatory HWLs on wine bottles. This may be due to the cultural and economic significance of wine and the European public’s refusal to accept HWLs on a product like wine. To investigate this issue, the authors conducted an online experiment in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and assessed the perception of risk in participants who were presented wine bottles featuring different types of HWLs. They also studied how health beliefs and cultural worldviews influence the perception and acceptance of HWLs. The study revealed a small effect of HWLs on consumers’ risk perception. There was no difference between a simple text-only HWL and a label featuring a deterring picture (image-and-text HWL). The major determinants of HWL acceptability were cultural worldviews and health beliefs. That is, participants who opposed government intervention for collective wellbeing and espoused a belief in the health benefits of wine were less likely to accept HWLs on wine. More research is needed to assess the effectiveness of HWLs in real-life situations and the importance of culture to the acceptance of such a public intervention measure.

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Olive mill wastewater as a functional resource of bioactive compounds for Agro-Food Industries

Olive oil production represents an agro-industrial activity of vital economic importance for many Mediterranean countries. However, it is associated with the generation of a huge amount of by-products, both in solid and liquid forms, mainly constituted by olive mill wastewater, olive pomace, wood, leaves, and stones. Although for many years olive by-products have only been considered as a relevant environmental issue, in the last decades, numerous studies have deeply described their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, anticancer, anti-hyperglycemic activities. Therefore, the increasing interest in natural bioactive compounds represents a new challenge for olive mills. Studies have focused on optimizing methods to extract phenols from olive oil by-products for pharmaceutical or cosmetic applications and attempts have been made to describe microorganisms and metabolic activity involved in the treatment of such complex and variable by-products. However, few studies have investigated olive oil by-products in order to produce added-value ingredients and/or preservatives for food industries. This post is based in a review which provides an overview of the prospective of liquid olive oil by-products as a source of high nutritional value compounds to produce new functional additives or ingredients and to explore potential and future research opportunities.

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