Open AccessArticle
Nitrous Oxide Emission from Organic Fertilizer and Controlled Release Fertilizer in Tea Fields
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 29; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030029 -
Abstract
A field experiment was conducted for two years in the Green Tea Laboratory of Saitama Prefectural Agriculture and Forestry Research Center, Iruma, Saitama, Japan from March 2014 to December 2015. Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) or organic fertilizers (ORG), which are a mixture of
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A field experiment was conducted for two years in the Green Tea Laboratory of Saitama Prefectural Agriculture and Forestry Research Center, Iruma, Saitama, Japan from March 2014 to December 2015. Controlled release fertilizers (CRF) or organic fertilizers (ORG), which are a mixture of chicken manure and oil cake, were applied with the amount of 450 kg·N·ha−1·year−1 in 2014 and 397 kg·N·ha−1·year−1 in 2015. Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from soil in green tea fields were measured by the closed chamber method. The results showed that CRF has significantly lower N2O compared to ORG. The cumulative N2O emissions from CRF accounted for 51% of N2O emissions from ORG fields and 138% of control with no fertilizer treatment. The N2O flux from the row was higher than that under the canopy, since fertilizer was applied on the row. However, the total emission from the area between the rows was lower than that under the canopy because the area ratio between the row and canopy was 1:5. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Practice Change on Runoff Water Quality and Vegetable Yield—An On-Farm Case Study
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 30; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030030 -
Abstract
Intensive agricultural practices in farming systems in eastern Australia have been identified as a contributor to the poor runoff water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). A field investigation was carried out to measure the off-farm water quality and productivity in a
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Intensive agricultural practices in farming systems in eastern Australia have been identified as a contributor to the poor runoff water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). A field investigation was carried out to measure the off-farm water quality and productivity in a coastal farming system in northeastern Australia. Two vegetable crops (capsicum and zucchini) were grown in summer 2010–2011 and winter 2011 respectively using four different management practices (Conventional—plastic mulch, bare inter-row conventional tillage and commercial fertilizer inputs; Improved—improved practice with plastic mulch, inter-row vegetative mulch, zonal tillage and reduced fertilizer rates; Trash mulch—improved practice with cane-trash or forage-sorghum mulch with reduced fertilizer rates, minimum or zero tillage; and Vegetable only—improved practice with Rhodes grass or forage-sorghum mulch, minimum or zero tillage, reduced fertilizer rates). Results suggest improved and trash mulch systems reduced sediment and nutrient loads by at least 50% compared to conventional systems. The residual nitrate nitrogen in soil accumulated at the end-of-break crop cycle was lost by deep drainage before the subsequent sugarcane crop could utilize it. These results suggest that future research into establishing the linkages between deep drainage, groundwater quality and lateral movement into adjacent streams is needed. The improvement in runoff water quality was accompanied by yield reductions of up to 55% in capsicum and 57% in zucchini under trash mulch systems, suggesting a commercially unacceptable trade-off between water quality and productivity for a practice change. The current study has shown that variations around improved practice (modified nutrient application strategies under plastic mulch, but with an inter-space mulch to minimize runoff and sediment loss) may be the most practical solution to improve water quality and maintain productivity. However, more work is required to optimize this approach and thus reduce the size of any potential productivity and profitability gap that would necessitate an expensive policy intervention to implement. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Surface and Subsurface Transport of Nitrate Loss from the Selected Bioenergy Crop Fields: Systematic Review, Analysis and Future Directions
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 27; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030027 -
Abstract
Nitrate loss from bioenergy crop fields has attracted considerable attention during the last few years because of its potential negative impact on aquatic and human health. Both controllable and uncontrollable factors for nitrate loss have been the subject of several previous studies. Due
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Nitrate loss from bioenergy crop fields has attracted considerable attention during the last few years because of its potential negative impact on aquatic and human health. Both controllable and uncontrollable factors for nitrate loss have been the subject of several previous studies. Due to differences in climate, biophysical dissimilarities and land management characteristics in different parts of the world the factors affecting nitrate loss are often inconsistent and hence difficult to generalize. Therefore, reanalyzing the experimental field or plot scale studies to understand the nitrate loss factors in crop fields is useful and necessary in developing management strategies for reducing nitrate loss. This research synthesized and investigated 36 peer reviewed scientific journal articles related to selected bioenergy crop fields that included: continuous corn, corn in rotation with soybean, switchgrass and Miscanthus to conduct a meta-analysis of the available research. In this study, factors such as drain tile spacing, tillage practices, type and timing of the fertilization rate, irrigation and various other factors, which are challenging to represent in regression equations, were also systematically analyzed. In addition, various other agronomic characteristics that are attributed too nitrate loss are caused by perennially planted bio energized crops such as Miscanthus and switchgrass. Results indicated that 49% of nitrate loss through surface runoff from corn fields is directly related to the annual precipitation and fertilization rate. Multiple linear regression equations were developed to estimate the annual subsurface nitrate loss for the continuous corn fields with a R2 value of 0.65, 0.58 and 0.26 for sandy loam, silty loam and clay loam, respectively. Our analysis resulted in the conclusion that corn has a 2 to 3 times higher nitrate loss in surface runoff compared to switchgrass. Likewise, continuous corn and corn in rotation with soybean contributed more than 9 times the subsurface loss of nitrate compared to the established subsurface loss attributed to the Miscanthus and switchgrass. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Pectin Extraction Conditions and Polyphenol Profile from Citrus x lantifolia Waste: Potential Application as Functional Ingredients
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 28; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030028 -
Abstract
The citrus by-products pectin and polyphenols were obtained from Citrus x lantifolia residues. The use of acid type, solute-solvent ratio, temperature, and extraction time on pectin yield recovery was evaluated using a factorial design 34; pectin physicochemical characterization, polyphenol profile, and
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The citrus by-products pectin and polyphenols were obtained from Citrus x lantifolia residues. The use of acid type, solute-solvent ratio, temperature, and extraction time on pectin yield recovery was evaluated using a factorial design 34; pectin physicochemical characterization, polyphenol profile, and antioxidant activity were also determined. Results indicated a total polyphenol content of 3.92 ± 0.06 mg Galic Acid Equivalents (GAE)/g of citrus waste flour in dry basis (DB), with antioxidant activity of 74%. The presence of neohesperidin (0.96 ± 0.09 mg/g of citrus flour DB), hesperidin (0.27 ± 0.0 mg/g of citrus flour DB), and ellagic acid (0.18 ± 0.03 mg/g of citrus flour DB) as major polyphenols was observed. All of the factors evaluated in pectin recovery presented significant effects (p < 0.05), nevertheless the acid type and solute-solvent ratio showed the greatest effect. The highest yield of pectin recovery (36%) was obtained at 90 °C for 90 min, at a ratio of 1:80 (w/v) using citric acid. The evaluation of pectin used as a food ingredient in cookies elaboration, resulted in a reduction of 10% of fat material without significant texture differences (p < 0.05). The pectin extraction conditions and characterization from these residues allowed us to determine the future applications of these materials for use in several commercial applications. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Phytochemistry and Agro-Industrial Potential of Native Oilseeds from West Africa: African Grape (Lannea microcarpa), Marula (Sclerocarya birrea), and Butter Tree (Pentadesma butyracea)
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 24; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030024 -
Abstract
Ethnobotanical investigations on local oilseed species in Burkina Faso revealed that oils from tree oilseeds are frequently used for food, cosmetics and traditional medicine by local people. To test the bio-preservative capacity, the effect of the oilseed extracts on the stabilization of Shea
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Ethnobotanical investigations on local oilseed species in Burkina Faso revealed that oils from tree oilseeds are frequently used for food, cosmetics and traditional medicine by local people. To test the bio-preservative capacity, the effect of the oilseed extracts on the stabilization of Shea butter was evaluated. Levels of bioactive phyto-components were evaluated through several methods. Some aspects of the quality of oilcakes were evaluated based on their inhibitory capacity on the endogenous digestive enzymes of cattle. For fat stabilizing quality, the extract from Lannea microcarpa Engl. & K. Krause has showed the largest increase (91.47%) in the Rancimat induction time (TIR) of Shea butter. Using DPPH and FRAP methods for prevention or scavenging of free radicals, the results evidenced the highest activity with extracts of L. microcarpa. With respect to the feed quality of the oilcakes, the IC50 obtained with α-amylase and trypsin have showed that the ethanolic extracts of Pentadesma butyracea Sabine (1824) is less toxic for cattle. These results suggest that phenolic compounds extracted from these native oilseeds, especially those of Lannea microcarpa, can be used as biological antioxidants for bio-preservation of edible fats. In addition, the by-products of the oil-extraction can be valorized as nontoxic and protein-rich oilcakes for livestock feed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Carbon Cycling during Development of Successional Agroforestry
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 25; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030025 -
Abstract
Successional agroforestry systems (SAFS) mimic the structure of natural forests while providing economical outputs. This study clarifies how carbon cycling and carbon sequestration change during successional development of SAFS. In Brazil, three successional stages of SAFS, 6, 12, and 34 years old, were
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Successional agroforestry systems (SAFS) mimic the structure of natural forests while providing economical outputs. This study clarifies how carbon cycling and carbon sequestration change during successional development of SAFS. In Brazil, three successional stages of SAFS, 6, 12, and 34 years old, were compared in terms of carbon balance. Aboveground biomass, fruit harvest, litterfall, soil respiration, and soil organic carbon were measured for two years and analyzed. Carbon sequestration expressed by net primary productivity increased with age of SAFS from 9.8 Mg·C·ha−1·year−1 in 6-year-old system to 13.5 Mg·C·ha−1·year−1 in 34-year-old system. Accumulation of plant biomass and increased internal carbon cycling in SAFS led to an intensive sequestration of carbon. SAFS can be a sustainable way of agricultural production on vulnerable tropical soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Rural Labor Resource Change on the Technical Efficiency of Crop Production in China
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 26; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030026 -
Abstract
This paper probes effects of the evolvement of labor resources on technical efficiency in crop production in rural China. Based on twelve years of data on crop production of 30 provinces in China, a stochastic frontier production function model is used to measure
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This paper probes effects of the evolvement of labor resources on technical efficiency in crop production in rural China. Based on twelve years of data on crop production of 30 provinces in China, a stochastic frontier production function model is used to measure crop production efficiency in three crop-functional areas—the production area, the consumption area, and the balanced area. Then effects of both quantity and quality change in labor force on technical efficiency in different regions of China are analyzed. Results show that rural China generally has an increasing number of employees shifted to non-agricultural sectors and a decreasing trend of the stock of human capital. However, both these two changes in rural labor force have significantly positive effects on improving crop production efficiency. In addition, China’s technical inefficiency is at an average of 22.2%. Dynamically, the technical efficiencies show a tendency to rise steadily throughout China and in three areas, while the consumption area possesses the highest technical efficiency. Those results may lend some experience for other countries that are currently experiencing rural labor force and economic transition. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Development and Evaluation of Poly Herbal Molluscicidal Extracts for Control of Apple Snail (Pomacea maculata)
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 22; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030022 -
Abstract
Golden Apple Snail (GAS) is the most destructive invasive rice pest in Southeast Asia. The cost of synthetic molluscicides, their toxicity to non-target organisms, and their persistence in the environment have propelled the research of plant-derived molluscicides. Most research efforts have focused on
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Golden Apple Snail (GAS) is the most destructive invasive rice pest in Southeast Asia. The cost of synthetic molluscicides, their toxicity to non-target organisms, and their persistence in the environment have propelled the research of plant-derived molluscicides. Most research efforts have focused on individual plant extracts for their molluscicidal potency against GAS and have not been proven to be entirely effective in rice field conditions. Selective combination of synergistically acting molluscicidal compounds from various plant extracts might be an effective alternative. In this direction, ethanolic extracts from six different plants (Neem, Tobacco, Nerium, Pongamia, Zinger, and Piper) were evaluated against Pomacea maculata Perry. Of the various combinations studied, a binary extract (1:1) of nerium and tobacco (LC90 177.71 mg/L, 48 h), and two tri-herbal extract formulations (1:1:1) of (nerium + tobacco + piper) and (nerium + tobacco + neem) were found to be most effective, with LC90 values of 180.35 mg/L and 191.52 mg/L, respectively, in laboratory conditions. The synergistic effect of combined herbal extracts resulted in significant reduction in LC90 values of the individual extracts. The findings of this study demonstrate that the selective combinations of potent molluscicidal herbal extracts are effective for management of P. maculata under laboratory conditions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Fusarium Wilt Affecting Chickpea Crop
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 23; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030023 -
Abstract
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) contributes 18% of the global production of grain legume and serves as an important source of dietary protein. An important decrease in cropping area and production has been recorded during the last two decades. Several biotic and abiotic constraints
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Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) contributes 18% of the global production of grain legume and serves as an important source of dietary protein. An important decrease in cropping area and production has been recorded during the last two decades. Several biotic and abiotic constraints underlie this decrease. Despite the efforts deployed in breeding and selection of several chickpea varieties with high yield potential that are tolerant to diseases, the situation has remained the same for the last decade. Fusarium wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris (Foc) is the major soilborne fungus affecting chickpeas globally. Fusarium wilt epidemics can devastate crops and cause up to 100% loss in highly infested fields and under favorable conditions. To date, eight pathogenic races of Foc (races 0, 1A, 1B/C, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) have been reported worldwide. The development of resistant cultivars is the most effective method to manage this disease and to contribute to stabilizing chickpea yields. Development of resistant varieties to fusarium wilt in different breeding programs is mainly based on conventional selection. This method is time‐consuming and depends on inoculum load and specific environmental factors that influence disease development. The use of molecular tools offers great potential for chickpea improvement, specifically by identifying molecular markers closely linked to genes/QTLs controlling fusarium wilt. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Suppression of CH4 Emission by Rice Straw Removal  and Application of Bio‐Ethanol Production Residue  in a Paddy Field in Akita, Japan
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 21; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030021 -
Abstract
To elucidate the effects of rice straw removal and rice straw‐based bio‐ethanol production residue application on rice growth and methane (CH4) emission from a paddy field, a lysimeter experiment with three treatments (application of rice straw after harvesting (the rice‐straw plot); removal of
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To elucidate the effects of rice straw removal and rice straw‐based bio‐ethanol production residue application on rice growth and methane (CH4) emission from a paddy field, a lysimeter experiment with three treatments (application of rice straw after harvesting (the rice‐straw plot); removal of rice straw and the application of bio‐ethanol production residue (the Et‐residue plot); removal of rice straw (the no‐application plot)) was conducted over three years. Though the grain yields in the Et‐residue and no‐application plots tended to be slightly higher than that in the ricestraw plot, there were no significant differences among the plots (530–546 g∙m−2). Suppression of CH4 emission by the treatments was found clearly in the early part of the growing season. The total CH4 emissions during the rice‐growing season (unit: g∙C∙m−2∙period−1) followed the order of the noapplication plot (11.9) < the Et‐residue plot (14.6) < the rice‐straw plot (25.4), and a significant difference was found between the no‐application and rice‐straw plots. Consequently, bio‐ethanol production from rice straw and a following application of its residue to paddy fields is considered to be a promising technology which can obtain new sustainable energy and suppress CH4 emission without any inhibition on rice growth. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Guest Editorial: Conservation Tillage for Organic Farming
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 19; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030019 -
Abstract
There is interest in reducing or even eliminating tillage in organic production systems. In this special Issue, research teams in Europe and North America summarize recent and on-going efforts to develop conservation-tillage systems that can be used on commercial organic farms. While progress
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There is interest in reducing or even eliminating tillage in organic production systems. In this special Issue, research teams in Europe and North America summarize recent and on-going efforts to develop conservation-tillage systems that can be used on commercial organic farms. While progress is being made in the development of organic no-tillage (no-till) systems, considerable work still needs to be done before there will be wide-spread adoption by organic farmers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of a Warming Micro‐Climate on Muooni  Farmers of Kenya
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 20; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030020 -
Abstract
Rainfed agriculture has become highly vulnerable to the depleting water resources in most arid and semi‐arid tropics (ASATs) under the effect of climate change. The impact has certainly been very high in Muooni catchment where more than 99% of the natural forest has
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Rainfed agriculture has become highly vulnerable to the depleting water resources in most arid and semi‐arid tropics (ASATs) under the effect of climate change. The impact has certainly been very high in Muooni catchment where more than 99% of the natural forest has been cleared. The warming micro‐climate is accelerated by extended deforestation, unsustainable irrigation, and water over‐abstraction in the catchment by eucalyptus and other exotic trees. The dwindling crop yields add to the farmer’s suffering. Farming communities have created various innovative ways of coping with a warming environment to increase their agriculture resiliency. These include, among others, rain water management, reforestation and agro‐forestry. To what extent have these practices been disturbed by the increasing temperatures, and decreasing rainfalls and river discharges in Muooni catchment? This study used statistical forecast techniques to unveil the past, current and future variations of the micro‐climate in Muooni catchment, and relevant factors determining farmers’ vulnerability to drought. Muooni catchment is warming by 0.8 to 1.2 °C in a century as a result of a changing micro‐climate. These changes are mainly driven by deforestation due to the high urbanization rate and agricultural practices in Muooni catchment. Centennial rainfall is subsequently plummeting at 30 to 50 mm while discharges are decreasing from 0.01 to 0.05 m3∙s−1, with unmet water demands of 30% to 95% and above. In view of the current trends of the population growth and urbanization in Muooni, agricultural expansion is seriously threatened if no appropriate policy, extension service and science based emergency measures are put in place by the Government of Kenya. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers on Soil  Properties and the Growth, Yield and Quality of  Tomato in Mymensingh, Bangladesh
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 18; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030018 -
Abstract
Field trials were conducted on tomato for yield and quality of fruits using different types of organic and inorganic fertilizers at the horticulture farm of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh. Fertilizer treatments were tested on two varieties of tomato ca. Roma VF and
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Field trials were conducted on tomato for yield and quality of fruits using different types of organic and inorganic fertilizers at the horticulture farm of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh. Fertilizer treatments were tested on two varieties of tomato ca. Roma VF and BARI 15. The fertilization treatments were T1, vermicompost (12 t/ha); T2, compost (10 t/ha); T3, integrated plant nutrient system (IPNS) or mixed fertilizers (organic 2/3 part and inorganic 1/3 part); T4, inorganic fertilizers; and a control (T5). Results showed growth and yield (20.8 t/ha) in tomato were higher in the IPNS treatment. A higher number of fruits per plant (73.7) and plant height (73.5 cm) were obtained from mixed fertilizers (organic 2/3 + inorganic 1/3) or IPNS (integrated plant nutrient system) in Roma VF than other treatments. Fruit yield and diameter were found statistically significant. No significant difference was observed in the quality (total soluble solids) of tomato fruits in both varieties’ response to the treatments. The electrical conductivity and pH of the soil were improved by the application of organic manure. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Ammonia and Methane Emission Factors from Cattle Operations Expressed as Losses of Dietary Nutrients or Energy
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 16; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030016 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of published literature on ammonia (NH3) and enteric methane (CH4) emissions from beef and dairy cattle operations to obtain statistically representative emission factors based on dietary intakes of
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The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of published literature on ammonia (NH3) and enteric methane (CH4) emissions from beef and dairy cattle operations to obtain statistically representative emission factors based on dietary intakes of nutrients or energy, and to identify major causes of emission variations. NH3 emissions from lagoon or other manure storage facilities were not included in this review. The NH3 and CH4 emission rates, expressed as a percentage losses of dietary nutrients or energy, demonstrated much less variation compared with emission rates expressed in g/animal/day. Air temperature and dietary crude protein (CP) content were identified as two major factors that can affect NH3 emission rates in addition to farm type. Feed digestibility and energy intake were identified as two major factors that can affect CH4 emission rates expressed as a percentage losses of dietary energy. Generally, increasing productivity and feed efficiency represented the greatest opportunity for mitigating NH3 or CH4 emissions per unit of livestock product. Expressing CH4 loss on a digestible energy basis rather than a gross energy intake basis can better represent the large variation among diets and the effects of varying dietary emission mitigation strategies. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Ghasemi, M., et al. The Evaluation of Exogenous Application of Salicylic Acid on Physiological Characteristics, Proline and Essential Oil Content of Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) under Normal and Heat Stress Conditions. Agriculture 2016, 6, 31
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 17; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030017 -
Abstract The authors wish to make the following corrections to their paper [...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Achieving Sustainability: Insights from Biogas Ecosystems in India
Agriculture 2017, 7(2), 15; doi:10.3390/agriculture7020015 -
Abstract
This paper focuses on how the use of renewable energy technologies such as biogas can help to achieve environmental and socio-economic sustainability. It combines research on sustainable consumption and production, natural and industrial ecosystems and renewable energy adoption to develop a framework for
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This paper focuses on how the use of renewable energy technologies such as biogas can help to achieve environmental and socio-economic sustainability. It combines research on sustainable consumption and production, natural and industrial ecosystems and renewable energy adoption to develop a framework for an industrial ecosystem for biogas for bottom-of-the-pyramid and rural populations. The framework suggests that three dimensions of industrial ecosystems and a meta-dimension can be embedded in the design of a new industrial ecosystem for biogas to facilitate environmental and socio-economic sustainability. Case studies of an organization engaged in using biogas to create a sustainable bioenergy ecosystem for rural populations and two organizations producing biogas in urban India provide support for the framework. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Advances in Eco-Efficient Agriculture: The Plant-Soil Mycobiome
Agriculture 2017, 7(2), 14; doi:10.3390/agriculture7020014 -
Abstract
In order to achieve a desirable ecological and sustainable agriculture a thorough understanding of the plant-soil mycobiome is imperative. Commercial industrial agriculture alters greenhouse gas emissions, promotes loss of plant and soil biodiversity, increases pollution by raising atmospheric CO2, and releases
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In order to achieve a desirable ecological and sustainable agriculture a thorough understanding of the plant-soil mycobiome is imperative. Commercial industrial agriculture alters greenhouse gas emissions, promotes loss of plant and soil biodiversity, increases pollution by raising atmospheric CO2, and releases pesticides, thus affecting both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Diversified farming systems, including perennial cultivated pastures, are among worldwide strategies that aim to reduce terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions and deal with threats to global sustainability. Additionally, stimulation of soil microbes and appropriate soil management can influence soil interactions as well as the rates of organic matter decomposition and the release of gases. Agricultural soil microbial communities play a central role in ecosystem processes and are affected by biocontrol agents, biofertilizers, and exposure to pesticides, the extent to which is yet to be fully elucidated. Intercropping different plant species is beneficial, as this can increase carbon fixation by plants, transferring carbon to the soil, especially via mycorrhizas, thus modifying interplant interactions. This review focuses on agro-ecosystems, showing the latest advances in the plant-soil interface (the mycobiome) for an eco-efficient agricultural production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mitigating Global Warming Potential and Greenhouse Gas Intensities by Applying Composted Manure in Cornfield: A 3-Year Field Study in an Andosol Soil
Agriculture 2017, 7(2), 13; doi:10.3390/agriculture7020013 -
Abstract
A 3-year study was conducted in cornfield to evaluate how composted cattle manure application affects net global warming potential (GWP; the sum of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) minus net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB)) and greenhouse gas intensity
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A 3-year study was conducted in cornfield to evaluate how composted cattle manure application affects net global warming potential (GWP; the sum of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) minus net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB)) and greenhouse gas intensity (GHGI; net GWP per unit of plant biomass yield). In the first experiment, conducted from 2010 to 2012, five fertilization strategies that included an unfertilized control plot, inorganic fertilizer-only plot, two plots with inorganic fertilizer plus composted cattle manure, and composted cattle manure-only plot were established. In the second experiment composted cattle manure was applied in autumn 2012 and the field was subdivided into three plots in spring 2013, with one plot receiving additional composted cattle manure, the second plot received additional inorganic fertilizer and the third plot did not receive any additional fertilization. Fluxes of N2O, CH4 and CO2 were measured using the static closed chamber method. NECB was calculated as carbon (C) inputs minus C output (where a negative value indicates net C loss). In experiment 1, manure application significantly increased NECB and reduced net GWP by more than 30% in each of the three years of the study. GHGI in the manure-amended plots was lower than in other plots, except in 2012 when the manure-only plot had higher GHGI than fertilizer-only plot. Application of inorganic fertilizer alone increased GWP by 5% and 20% in 2010 and 2011, but showed a 30% reduction in 2012 relative to the unfertilized control plot. However, due to higher net primary production (NPP), fertilizer-only plot had lower GHGI compared to the control. Application of inorganic fertilizer together with manure showed the greatest potential to reduce GWP and GHGI, while increasing NPP and NECB. In experiment 2, additional manure or inorganic fertilizer application in spring increased NPP by a similar amount, but additional manure application also increased NECB, and decreased GWP and GHGI. Manure application, as a partial substitute or supplemental fertilizer, shows potential to mitigate GWP and GHGI. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Durum Wheat Cover Analysis in the Scope of Policy and Market Price Changes: A Case Study in Southern Italy
Agriculture 2017, 7(2), 12; doi:10.3390/agriculture7020012 -
Abstract
Agricultural land systems are the result of human interactions with the natural environment, and subjective evidence of socio-economic and environmental interactions has been demonstrated. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to analyze empirically the link between agricultural market and policy, as well as the
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Agricultural land systems are the result of human interactions with the natural environment, and subjective evidence of socio-economic and environmental interactions has been demonstrated. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to analyze empirically the link between agricultural market and policy, as well as the environmental response due to changes in crop management by local stakeholders. In this study, we propose a cross investigation and analysis to bring the link between vegetation cover, policy, market and farmer’s behavior to light. Our methodology is a combination of a rational positive and analogical approach between the quantifiable and non-quantifiable agents on a temporal basis. The method is applied to a dominant mono-crop agricultural watershed in Southern Italy that has been dedicated to durum wheat cultivation. In this region, we studied the relationship between the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), durum wheat market price, vegetation cover and land allocation. As a first step, we conducted a separate analysis for each factor, exploiting Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite observed Leaf Area Index (LAI) to analyze the land vegetation space–time distribution over the period 2000–2014 and three Land Satellite (Landsat) validated images as check-points for the agricultural pattern and CAP’s reforms. We used the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) and Eurostat data to investigate the on-farm accountancy and the durum wheat market price changes, respectively. Based on the study period, we developed a storyline of the major relevant CAP’s policy changes. In a second step, we conducted a comparative analysis where the CAP’s reforms were used as interpretational support, the land allocation and the on-farm accountability for CAP’s implementation, the price of durum wheat and the LAI for analytical comparison. We found interesting insights regarding the non-agronomic driving forces of LAI dynamics. The behavior of the individual farmers is influenced by the CAP policy that has been implemented by using profitability as the stimulus for the decision making of the farmer. This explains the correlation of the trend between the market price, the LAI of durum wheat and their associated dynamics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in the Polyphenolic Profile, Carotenoids and Antioxidant Potential of Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) Leaves during Maturation
Agriculture 2017, 7(2), 9; doi:10.3390/agriculture7020009 -
Abstract
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) leaves were studied to assess the potential of apricot leaves for future studies and their applications in nutraceutical and bioactive functional ingredients. The changes in the phenolic profile, carotenoids, pigments and antioxidant potential were studied at four maturation
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Apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) leaves were studied to assess the potential of apricot leaves for future studies and their applications in nutraceutical and bioactive functional ingredients. The changes in the phenolic profile, carotenoids, pigments and antioxidant potential were studied at four maturation stages. Polyphenols and carotenoids were studied using reversed-phase HPLC-DAD. Pigments, total phenolic contents and radical scavenging activity were also measured. Results revealed twelve phenolic compounds in the apricot leaves. The major phenolic compounds were 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid (14.6–49.6 mg/g), 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid (0.56–7.5 mg/g), 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid (5.6–25.7 mg/g) and quercetin-3-O-glucosides (8.6–19.9 mg/g), while others include caffeic acid and derivatives of coumaric acid and kaempferol. Significant changes were observed in polyphenolic compounds during maturation. Lutein (56.7–65.7 µg/g), neoxanthin (0.66–4.79 µg/g), 5,6-epoxy-α-carotene (5.89–7.9 µg/g), and β-carotene (12.3–26.9 µg/g) were the major carotenoids. There were significant variations in the carotenoids, pigment contents, total phenolic contents and radical scavenging activity during maturation. In conclusion, significant variation occurred in the polyphenolic profile, carotenoids contents and antioxidant potential of apricot leaves under the studied conditions. Full article
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