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stance, proved by analysis and physical properties to be cinnamic acid. V. H. V.

Composition of Lupines. By TROSCHKE (Bied. Centr., 1887, 101 -103). The following tables show the composition of blue, yellow, and white lupines, also of Lupine cruikshankii at four different periods of growth, namely: I, when main stems began to bloom; II, main stem in full bloom; III, blooming of side shoots; IV, complete formation of all shoots :—

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The total amount of the ash and albumïnoids as produced by 100 plants shows that the blue lupine is vastly inferior to any of the others, that the white during the first period is the best, but that L. cruikshankii, other things considered, is the best, although it is more easily affected by low temperatures. E. W. P.

Composition of the Inner Brown Skin of the Earth-nut. By J. KÖNIG (Bied. Centr., 1887, 141).-This substance contains water, 9:01 per cent.; albuminoïds, 12.68; fat, 11.76; non-nitrogenous matter, 20:46; fibre, 34.90; ash, 11:19. The author considers the price usually charged for this substance (54 marks per centner.) too high; being indigestible, its price ought to be 3 marks.

E. W. P. Effects of Thiocyanates on Vegetation and Fermentation. By E. MEUSEL (Bied. Centr., 1887, 66-69).-The presence of thiocyanate in ammonium sulphate has been proved by various observers to be injurious to vegetation, but exhaustive experiments on the subject have not hitherto been made. The author gives the results of his observations.

Seeds lose their power of germination when steeped in a or per cent. solution of ammonium thiocyanate; they rapidly swell, and in the case of wheat the husks burst; the microscopic appearance of the seeds is unaltered. Potassium, ammonium, barium, calcium, and magnesium thiocyanates immediately convert potato and other starches into pastes when preserved in 20 per cent. solutions, the rapidity of action depending on concentration. The paste so produced was almost transparent, similar in appearance to that produced by weak potash solution. Sodium and calcium chlorides, in presence of thiocyanates, yield a starch-paste from which when treated with alcohol a substance, "fraktose," is precipitated, insoluble in water.

The albumin of beet juice is coagulated by thiocyanates, but that of cereals is dissolved; egg albumin is coagulated; blood serum, with 5 to 10 or 15 per cent. solution of ammonium thiocyanate, acquires an acid reaction, and after a time becomes a transparent jelly, which yields a soluble and an insoluble albumin when treated with water. The effect on the skin of animals is to swell them considerably more than other reagents, but to leave the texture unaltered. After a time the skin again contracts, becomes elastic, and resembles india-rubber, This, however, does not occur in acid solutions. J. F.

Grain of Holcus Sorgho. By BORDAS (Compt. rend., 104, 300 -302). Sorghum is now somewhat largely cultivated in the districts of Vaucluse and Le Gard. The grain as ordinarily gathered contains 40 per cent. of starch, and this proportion would in all probability increase to 50 per cent. if the grain were allowed to ripen on the plant. 100 kilos. of grain were found to yield 26 litres of alcohol of 33°, with a good flavour. The hydration of the grain is best effected. by the action of diastase, and not by the action of acids, since in the latter case the residue cannot be used as cattle food.

The grain is steeped in water for two or three days to remove the husk, then bruised, treated with the smallest possible quantity of

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water, and maintained at 60°, when hydration is soon complete. Hot water is gradually added until the temperature rises to about 70°, liquid is allowed to stand for two or three hours, and is then treated with beer yeast; when the fermentation is complete, the waste is distilled. C. H. B.

Cider Ash. By G. LECHARTIER (Compt. rend., 104, 336-338).The ash left by cider varies from 1.7 to 4.9 grams per litre according to the district in which the apples are grown. In all cases, from 80 to 92 per cent. of the ash is soluble in water, and the soluble portion consists almost entirely of potassium salts; the potassium doubtless exists in the cider in combination with organic acids. The composition of the ash from one litre of the cider from various districts is given in the following table:

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Apples yield from 90 to 95 per cent. of their weight of must, which contains the greater part of the potassium salts existing in the fruit, whilst the greater part of the calcium salts remains behind in the marc. The quantity of ash obtained from apples themselves varies from 2-105 to 4-47 grams per kilo., but the composition of the ash is always of the same general character, about 80 per cent. being soluble in water. The amount of phosphoric anhydride varies from 7.6 to 16.0 per cent.; of potassium oxide from 440 to 580 per cent.; of calcium

and magnesium oxides from 7.3 to 140 per cent. The presence of a large quantity of calcium compounds in the soil has no sensible effect on the proportion of calcium in the apples, the amount and composition of the ash being practically the same whether the soil is calcareous, granitic, or schistose.

The wood and leaves of the apple tree leave about 2 per cent. of ash, about 50 to 75 per cent. of which is insoluble in water, and consists mainly of calcium and magnesium phosphates and carbonates. The soluble part of the ash contains no phosphoric acid.

C. H. B. Silage of Maize. By B. SCHULZE (Bied. Centr., 1887, 96-98). Comparison of the analyses of fresh green maize plants, and of the same when siloed.

Silage of Vegetable Matter. By B. SCHULZE (Bied. Centr., 1887, 98-101).-With the view of ascertaining the influence of the amount of water present on the quality of silage, hay was wetted with different quantities of water, and then, after fermentation had occurred, analysed. It then appeared, as shown in the tables of analyses given, that the more water there was present the greater was the loss of carbohydrates and crude fibre. The albuminoïds were less altered than was expected, but this the author attributes to the albumin being dry, and therefore less easily attacked by the water. The second set of experiments was undertaken with the object of ascertaining the influence of time on the quality of silage, the examinations being made bimonthly. It appeared that the carbohydrates and cellulose were most affected in the first six months, the loss which occurred in the second half year being much less; the albumins were most affected during the second half year; the ether extractive was gradually and continuously reduced. E. W. P.

Diffusion Residues. By MARCKER (Bied. Centr., 1887, 104-106). -These residues from the sugar factories are treated with milk of lime when being made up into "sections." This process, together with the subsequent pressing, reduces the value of the sections as food, to the extent of 612 per cent. dry matter and 592 per cent. nitrogen, due in part to compounds found in the liquid which runs from the presses. The amount of lime generally present varies from 1.25 to 4.5 per cent. of the dry matter, and of this 4 per cent. about 2 per cent. is in the form of carbonate; but this large addition of lime to the food of animals (sheep at least) seems to have no harmful influence on them. It is shown that by reason of the neutralisation by the lime of the acids produced during fermentation, they sometimes do not keep as well as if lime were absent. It is advisable, therefore, to dry them in warm chambers, so as to leave only 15 per cent. of water in them. E. W. P.

Influence of the Physical Properties of a Soil on the Amount of Free Carbonic Anhydride present. By E. WOLLNY (Bied. Centr., 1886, 806--812).—The soil under examination was placed in wooden boxes 1 metre square and 25 cm. deep, and inclined to the 2 m

VOL. LII.

south at an angle of 10°, 20°, and 30° respectively. An iron tube pierced with holes was sunk in the soil so that the air could be withdrawn by its means. In another series of experiments, like boxes were placed facing the four cardinal points at angles of 15° and 30°. The carbonic anhydride was estimated by Pettenkofer's method. During the three years that these experiments lasted (April–September), it was found that an inclination of 20° was most conducive to the formation of carbonic anhydride, but as the quantity of gas produced was so small, it was decided in 1883 to add 600 grams of horsedung to the soil, and also to add another set of boxes, in the soil of which grass was sown. The results confirmed those previously obtained, and in addition showed that less carbonic anhydride was evolved from grass-sown soil than from that which was bare. As regards those boxes exposed to the north, south, east, and west, it appears that a southerly exposure produces most decomposition, a northerly least, as warmth and moisture are the factors which regulate decomposition. These experiments further show that a northerly aspect in dry weather is productive of most carbonic anhydride, but in wet weather, when the soil is thoroughly moist, then the south aspect is most effectual in producing decomposition.

It is well known that dark soils are warmer than the lighter coloured, consequently it was to be supposed that the darker soil would produce more carbonic anhydride. In support of this theory, humous calcareous sand was placed in cylinders 01 sq. m. diameter, some of the soil being darkened on the surface by powdered coal, whilst the rest was whitened by an admixture of coarsely powdered marble. Contrary to expectation, the dark soil proved poorer in gas than the light. The author explains this result by stating that more water, an important factor of decomposition, was evaporated from the dark soil, consequently in wet weather dark soils would be richest in carbonic anhydride.

The air contained in the ridges of a potato and maize field was found to be poorer in carbonic anhydride than the air drawn from the furrows, because although in the ridge decomposition proceeds more rapidly than in the flat, yet the carbonic anhydride is removed more rapidly by wind and diffusion.

The quantities of carbonic anhydride found in soils containing like amounts of organic matter vary with the coarseness of the grain, the finer the grain the greater the percentage, because the gas can more readily pass out into the atmosphere if produced in a coarsegrained soil.

The percentage of carbonic anhydride increases with depth of soil.

The diffusion of carbonic anhydride through layers of soil of various characters is dependent on the character of the grain, diffusing with the greatest difficulty into the fine-grained earth.

Finally, earth shaded by growing plants (grass) contains less carbonic anhydride during warm weather than bare soil, and this again less than soil which is covered by dead plants (straw); in fact the experiments show that the percentage is trebled by a layer of straw 2.5 cm. thick as compared with grass land; moreover, as the layer of

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