Open AccessArticle
Reducing Severity of Late Blight (Phytophthora infestans) and Improving Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Tuber Yield with Pre-Harvest Application of Calcium Nutrients
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 69; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040069 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The efficiency of pre-harvest application of calcium chloride alone, calcium nitrate alone, and combined application of calcium chloride and calcium nitrate (1:1) was evaluated in reducing the severity of P. infestans and improving potato tuber yield. Pot experiment was conducted in randomized complete
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The efficiency of pre-harvest application of calcium chloride alone, calcium nitrate alone, and combined application of calcium chloride and calcium nitrate (1:1) was evaluated in reducing the severity of P. infestans and improving potato tuber yield. Pot experiment was conducted in randomized complete block design with four replications. The treatments consisted of combination of two potato varieties (Shenkola and Gera) and three types of calcium nutrients (calcium chloride alone, calcium nitrate alone, and calcium chloride mixed with calcium nitrate), each at three levels (5, 10, and 15 g per liter per plant) and the control treatment (0 g of calcium nutrients). In comparison to the control treatment, the application of calcium nutrients significantly decreased the severity of late blight disease and improved potato tuber yield. The effect of calcium nutrients on the severity of late blight disease and potato tuber yield differed among the two potato varieties. The maximum severity reduction (60%) was noticed in the Gera potato variety with the application of calcium chloride mixed with calcium nitrate (1:1), supplied at 15 g per plant. However, the highest average tuber yield was obtained with the application of calcium nitrate at 15 g per plant, and average tuber yield was increased by 77% in both potato varieties. Hence, foliar application of either calcium nitrate alone or calcium nitrate mixed with calcium chloride was found to be more efficient than the application of calcium chloride alone. This result suggests that the nitrate ion present in the calcium nitrate may make a difference in terms of reducing the severity of late blight disease and improving potato tuber yield. The lowered severity of late blight disease and the increased tuber yield in potato plants sprayed with calcium nutrients may be because of the higher accumulation of calcium in the plant tissue. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Performance of Precision Mobile Drip Irrigation in the Texas High Plains Region
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 68; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040068 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Mobile drip irrigation (MDI) technology adapts driplines to the drop hoses of moving sprinkler systems to apply water as the drip lines are pulled across the field. There is interest in this technology among farmers in the Texas High Plains region to help
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Mobile drip irrigation (MDI) technology adapts driplines to the drop hoses of moving sprinkler systems to apply water as the drip lines are pulled across the field. There is interest in this technology among farmers in the Texas High Plains region to help sustain irrigated agriculture. However, information on the performance of this system and its benefits relative to common sprinkler application technologies in the region are limited. A two-year study was conducted in 2015 and 2016 to compare grain yields, crop water use (ETc) and water use efficiency (WUE) of corn (Zea Mays L.) irrigated with MDI, low elevation spray application (LESA) and low energy precision application (LEPA) methods. Irrigation amounts for each application method were based on weekly neutron probe readings. In both years, grain yield and yield components were similar among application treatment methods. Although WUE was similar for the MDI treatment plots compared with LEPA and LESA during the wet growing season (2015), MDI demonstrated improved WUE during the drier year of 2016. Additional studies using crops with less than full canopy cover at maturity (sorghum and cotton) are needed to document the performance of MDI in the Texas High Plains region. Full article
Open AccessReview
Arsenic Accumulation in Rice and Probable Mitigation Approaches: A Review
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 67; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040067 -
Abstract
According to recent reports, millions of people across the globe are suffering from arsenic (As) toxicity. Arsenic is present in different oxidative states in the environment and enters in the food chain through soil and water. In the agricultural field, irrigation with arsenic
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According to recent reports, millions of people across the globe are suffering from arsenic (As) toxicity. Arsenic is present in different oxidative states in the environment and enters in the food chain through soil and water. In the agricultural field, irrigation with arsenic contaminated water, that is, having a higher level of arsenic contamination on the top soil, which may affects the quality of crop production. The major crop like rice (Oryza sativa L.) requires a considerable amount of water to complete its lifecycle. Rice plants potentially accumulate arsenic, particularly inorganic arsenic (iAs) from the field, in different body parts including grains. Different transporters have been reported in assisting the accumulation of arsenic in plant cells; for example, arsenate (AsV) is absorbed with the help of phosphate transporters, and arsenite (AsIII) through nodulin 26-like intrinsic protein (NIP) by the silicon transport pathway and plasma membrane intrinsic protein aquaporins. Researchers and practitioners are trying their level best to mitigate the problem of As contamination in rice. However, the solution strategies vary considerably with various factors, such as cultural practices, soil, water, and environmental/economic conditions, etc. The contemporary work on rice to explain arsenic uptake, transport, and metabolism processes at rhizosphere, may help to formulate better plans. Common agronomical practices like rain water harvesting for crop irrigation, use of natural components that help in arsenic methylation, and biotechnological approaches may explore how to reduce arsenic uptake by food crops. This review will encompass the research advances and practical agronomic strategies on arsenic contamination in rice crop. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Combined Effect of Tillage, Nitrogen Fertilization and Cover Crops on Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Winter Wheat
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 66; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040066 -
Abstract
A field study was conducted in northern France over two consecutive years to evaluate the combined effect of conventional tillage (CT) vs no till (NT) with or without cover crops (cc) and nitrogen (N) fertilization on various agronomic traits related to N use
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A field study was conducted in northern France over two consecutive years to evaluate the combined effect of conventional tillage (CT) vs no till (NT) with or without cover crops (cc) and nitrogen (N) fertilization on various agronomic traits related to N use efficiency in winter wheat. Five years after conversion of CT to NT, significant increases in N use efficiency, N utilization efficiency, N agronomic efficiency, N partial factor productivity, N apparent recovery fraction and N remobilization were observed under three N fertilization regimes (0, 161, 215 kg ha−1). It was also observed that grain yield and grain N content were similar under CT and NT. The N nutrition index was higher under NT at the three rates of N fertilization. Moreover, N use efficiency related traits were increased in the presence of cc both under NT and CT. Thus, agronomic practices based on continuous NT in the presence of cc, appear to be promising strategies to increase N use efficiency in wheat, while reducing both the use and the loss of N-based fertilizers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Vegetative Propagation Materials on Globe Artichoke Production in Semi-Arid Developing Countries: Agronomic, Marketable and Qualitative Traits
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 65; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040065 -
Abstract
In Tunisia, globe artichoke is mainly propagated by underground dormant axillary buds (ovoli), which are removed from the field in August during the quiescence period. The high cost of in vitro-plants and the absence of specialized nurseries were among the reasons for the
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In Tunisia, globe artichoke is mainly propagated by underground dormant axillary buds (ovoli), which are removed from the field in August during the quiescence period. The high cost of in vitro-plants and the absence of specialized nurseries were among the reasons for the rise of heterogeneity and spread of diseases. The aim was to help farmers to improve artichoke yield and quality by ameliorating their vegetative propagation technique with low cost methods. Three plant cuttings management methods were tested: summer ovoli (T0); spring offshoots nursery’s cuttings forced to pass a vegetative rest period by stopping irrigation (T1); and offshoots nursery’s cuttings not forced (T2). The cuttings management can affect both yield and qualitative traits of artichoke. T1 nursery plants produced the heaviest primary heads, 7% and 23% higher than T2 and T0, respectively. T1 plants exhibited the highest yield during the harvest season, with +17.7% and +12.2% compared to T0 and T2, respectively. T0 and T1 showed the highest total antioxidant capacity and inulin content; the propagation method also affected the short-chain sugars ratio. T1 is a viable and sustainable alternative to the traditional one that does not heavily impact on growing costs and improves yield and quality of artichoke. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vegetable Intercropping in a Small-Scale Aquaponic System
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 63; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040063 -
Abstract
This paper reports the results of the first study of an aquaponic system for Pangasianodon hypophthalmus production that uses Lactuca sativa L. (lettuce) and Cichorium intybus L. rubifolium group (red chicory) intercropping in the hydroponic section. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse
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This paper reports the results of the first study of an aquaponic system for Pangasianodon hypophthalmus production that uses Lactuca sativa L. (lettuce) and Cichorium intybus L. rubifolium group (red chicory) intercropping in the hydroponic section. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Wädenswil, Switzerland, using nine small-scale aquaponic systems (each approximately 400 L), with the nutrient film technique (NFT). The intercropping of vegetables did not influence the water temperature, pH, electric conductivity (EC), oxidation–reduction potential, nor O2 content. Intercropping with red chicory increased the lettuce sugar content (+16.0% and +25.3% for glucose and fructose, respectively) and reduced the lettuce caffeic acid content (−16.8%). In regards to bitter taste compounds (sesquiterpene lactones), intercropping reduced the concentrations of dihydro-lactucopicrin + lactucopicrin (−42.0%) in lettuce, and dihydro-lactucopicrin + lactucopicrin (−22.0%) and 8-deoxy–lactucin + dihydro-lactucopicrin oxalate (−18.7%) in red chicory, whereas dihydro-lactucin content increased (+40.6%) in red chicory in regards to monoculture. A significantly higher organic nitrogen content was found in the lettuce (3.9%) than in the red chicory biomass (3.4%), following the intercropping treatment. Anion and cation contents in vegetables were affected by species (Cl, NO3, PO43−, SO42−, and Ca2+), intercropping (K+ and Mg2+), and species × intercropping interactions (NO2 and NH4+). Experimental treatments (monoculture vs intercropping and distance from NFT inlet) did not exert significant effects on leaf SPAD (index of relative chlorophyll content) values, whereas the red coloration of the plants increased from the inlet to the outlet of the NFT channel. Intercropping of lettuce and red chicory affected the typical taste of these vegetables by increasing the sweetness of lettuce and changing the ratio among bitter taste compounds in red chicory. These results suggest intercropping as a possible solution for improving vegetable quality in aquaponics. Although the results are interesting, they have been obtained in a relatively short period, thus investigations for longer periods are necessary to confirm these findings. Further studies are also needed to corroborate the positive effect of the presence of red chicory in the system on fish production parameters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Agricultural Management Effects on Alachlor Availability: Tillage, Green Manure, and Biochar
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 64; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040064 -
Abstract
Agricultural and soil management practices have been reported to affect alachlor sorption–desorption and degradation rates. Though alachlor has been banned in the E.U. since 2006, it is still used in U.S. corn and soybean production. The objectives of this study were to: (a)
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Agricultural and soil management practices have been reported to affect alachlor sorption–desorption and degradation rates. Though alachlor has been banned in the E.U. since 2006, it is still used in U.S. corn and soybean production. The objectives of this study were to: (a) assess differences in alachlor sorption due to tillage treatments (chisel plow and ridge tillage) on soils from three midwestern U.S. locations; and (b) determine the effect of various soil amendments on the sorption–desorption and mineralization of alachlor. Soils were amended at a rate of 10% (w/w) with biochars derived from soybean stover, sugarcane bagasse, and wood chips, as well as the uncharred feedstock materials. Sorption–desorption studies were performed using the batch equilibration method, and alachlor mineralization was evaluated in a 30-day incubation. Tillage management did not affect alachlor sorption to soil across the three sites, despite the fact that the tillage operations were imposed for 4 years (p > 0.05). While the sorption coefficient (Kd) values for alachlor were relatively low in the three unamended soils (Kd = 1.76, 1.73, and 1.15 L·kg−1 for IL, MN, and PA soils, respectively), biochar amendments increased alachlor sorption between 4× and 33× compared to the unamended soil. The amendments also affected alachlor mineralization such that degradation was slower in both biochar- and raw feedstock-amended soils. Based on these results, biochar additions are expected to affect the availability of alachlor for transport and degradation. Furthermore, this study highlights the larger impact of biochar addition than tillage practices on altering immediate alachlor sorption capacities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geographic and Research Center Origins of Rice Resistance to Asian Planthoppers and Leafhoppers: Implications for Rice Breeding and Gene Deployment
Agronomy 2017, 7(4), 62; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040062 -
Abstract
This study examines aspects of virulence to resistant rice varieties among planthoppers and leafhoppers. Using a series of resistant varieties, brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, virulence was assessed in seedlings and early-tillering plants at seven research centers in South and East Asia. Virulence
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This study examines aspects of virulence to resistant rice varieties among planthoppers and leafhoppers. Using a series of resistant varieties, brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, virulence was assessed in seedlings and early-tillering plants at seven research centers in South and East Asia. Virulence of the whitebacked planthopper, Sogatella furcifera, in Taiwan and the Philippines was also assessed. Phylogenetic analysis of the varieties using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) indicated a clade of highly resistant varieties from South Asia with two further South Asian clades of moderate resistance. Greenhouse bioassays indicated that planthoppers can develop virulence against multiple resistance genes including genes introgressed from wild rice species. Nilaparvata lugens populations from Punjab (India) and the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) were highly virulent to a range of key resistance donors irrespective of variety origin. Sogatella furcifera populations were less virulent to donors than N. lugens; however, several genes for resistance to S. furcifera are now ineffective in East Asia. A clade of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-bred varieties and breeding lines, without identified leafhopper-resistance genes, were highly resistant to the green leafhopper, Nephotettix virescens. Routine phenotyping during breeding programs likely maintains high levels of quantitative resistance to leafhoppers. We discuss these results in the light of breeding and deploying resistant rice in Asia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Response of Chlorophyll, Carotenoid and SPAD-502 Measurement to Salinity and Nutrient Stress in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 61; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030061 -
Abstract
Abiotic stress can alter key physiological constituents and functions in green plants. Improving the capacity to monitor this response in a non-destructive manner is of considerable interest, as it would offer a direct means of initiating timely corrective action. Given the vital role
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Abiotic stress can alter key physiological constituents and functions in green plants. Improving the capacity to monitor this response in a non-destructive manner is of considerable interest, as it would offer a direct means of initiating timely corrective action. Given the vital role that plant pigments play in the photosynthetic process and general plant physiological condition, their accurate estimation would provide a means to monitor plant health and indirectly determine stress response. The aim of this work is to evaluate the response of leaf chlorophyll and carotenoid (Ct) content in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to changes in varying application levels of soil salinity and fertilizer applied over a complete growth cycle. The study also seeks to establish and analyze relationships between measurements from a SPAD-502 instrument and the leaf pigments, as extracted at the anthesis stage. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted in triplicate by employing distinct treatments of both soil salinity and fertilizer dose at three levels. Results showed that higher doses of fertilizer increased the content of leaf pigments across all levels of soil salinity. Likewise, increasing the level of soil salinity significantly increased the chlorophyll and Ct content per leaf area at all levels of applied fertilizer. However, as an adaptation process and defense mechanism under salinity stress, leaves were found to be thicker and narrower. Thus, on a per-plant basis, increasing salinity significantly reduced the chlorophyll (Chlt) and Ct produced under each fertilizer treatment. In addition, interaction effects of soil salinity and fertilizer application on the photosynthetic pigment content were found to be significant, as the higher amounts of fertilizer augmented the detrimental effects of salinity. A strong positive (R2 = 0.93) and statistically significant (p < 0.001) relationship between SPAD-502 values and Chlt and between SPAD-502 values and Ct content (R2 = 0.85) was determined based on a large (n = 277) dataset. We demonstrate that the SPAD-502 readings and plant photosynthetic pigment content per-leaf area are profoundly affected by salinity and nutrient stress, but that the general form of their relationship remains largely unaffected by the stress. As such, a generalized regression model can be used for Chlt and Ct estimation, even across a range of salinity and fertilizer gradients. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Glyphosate Efficacy of Different Salt Formulations and Adjuvant Additives on Various Weeds
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 60; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030060 -
Abstract
In many crops, weeds are managed by herbicides, mainly due to the decrease in crop yields and farmers’ incomes caused by them. In general, chemical control of weeds is considered to be an easy, relatively cheap, and highly effective method. However, not all
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In many crops, weeds are managed by herbicides, mainly due to the decrease in crop yields and farmers’ incomes caused by them. In general, chemical control of weeds is considered to be an easy, relatively cheap, and highly effective method. However, not all weeds can be successfully controlled, either because of their natural tolerance or their herbicide resistance. Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It can manage effectively a broad spectrum of weeds, and promotes conservation agriculture by significantly reducing conventional plough tillage. Unfortunately, its extensive use has led to the evolution of glyphosate resistance, which has evolved into a major problem for global crop production. Alternative herbicides are, in some cases, available, but they do not usually control certain weeds as efficiently as glyphosate. The transmission of herbicides to the target site is a complex process, and consists of several stages. Each herbicide is affected and can be manipulated by the product formulation for the optimization of its use. Many experiments have confirmed that different glyphosate salts and adjuvant additives are instrumental in the optimization of herbicide absorption and delivery processes. The objective of this paper is to provide a brief overview of these experiments and summarize the literature related to the effect of various glyphosate formulations and adjuvants on weed control. Determining the differences among formulations and adjuvants may lead to the further optimized long-term use of glyphosate. Full article
Open AccessReview
Farming in Northern Ontario: Untapped Potential for the Future
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 59; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030059 -
Abstract
Farming in Northern Ontario is limited to less than 1% of the total land area available. With over 2000 farms, this is home to about 6% of the province’s population, concentrated in the five major southern border cities of Thunder Bay, Sault Ste.
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Farming in Northern Ontario is limited to less than 1% of the total land area available. With over 2000 farms, this is home to about 6% of the province’s population, concentrated in the five major southern border cities of Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay, with a significant presence of indigenous (i.e., First Nations) and disadvantaged peoples. This review highlights the challenges and opportunities of agriculture in Northern Ontario and offers a few strategies for establishing and sustaining agricultural operations locally. The challenges of farming in this region include the prevalence of adverse climatic conditions, lack of crop/economic diversification, insufficient infrastructure and support services, presence of small local markets, an aging population and youth out-migration, attitudes of dependency on government and limited investment potential. Nevertheless, this region offers much potential for farming as it contains significant amounts of fertile soils, good road networks and affordable land to start up farm businesses. Furthermore, the changing climate could be a boon to improve growing conditions, with expanded cropping options and increased yields in recent years. Production and consumption of local foods, conducting innovative on-farm research that addresses the needs of local producers including First Nations peoples, fostering regional research centres, building relationships through networking, exchange of ideas through effective use of different extension avenues, and collaboration and assisting local producers with market development may help establish a more competitive and sustainable agrifood sector in Northern Ontario. Favourable government policies to support growers who have experienced damage to their crops, forages and livestock due to adverse climatic conditions will further help sustain and expand their agricultural operations. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Volatile Semiochemical Mediated Plant Defense in Cereals: A Novel Strategy for Crop Protection
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 58; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030058 -
Abstract
Plants have evolved highly intriguing ways of defending themselves against insect attacks, including through emission of defense volatiles. These volatiles serve the plant’s defense by directly repelling phytophagous insects and/or indirectly through attracting natural enemies antagonistic to the herbivores. Several laboratory studies established
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Plants have evolved highly intriguing ways of defending themselves against insect attacks, including through emission of defense volatiles. These volatiles serve the plant’s defense by directly repelling phytophagous insects and/or indirectly through attracting natural enemies antagonistic to the herbivores. Several laboratory studies established the potential of improving plant resistance against insect attacks by manipulating the plant-derived volatile semiochemicals emissions. Yet, more efforts need to be conducted to translate the promising laboratory studies to fight economically-important crop pests under real field conditions. This is needed to address an increasing demand for alternative pest control options driven by ecological and environmental costs associated with the use of broad-spectrum insecticides. The practical examples discussed in this review paper demonstrate the real prospect of exploiting an inducible and constitutive plant volatile semiochemicals for developing novel and ecologically-sustainable pest management strategies to protect cereal crops from damaging insect pests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Responses of Fourteen Vietnamese Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Cultivars to High Temperatures during Grain Filling Period under Field Conditions
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 57; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030057 -
Abstract
High temperatures significantly affect rice grain yield and quality. However, little information is known about the response of indica cultivars, especially Vietnamese cultivars, to high temperature. In this study, field experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016 to evaluate the response of Vietnamese
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High temperatures significantly affect rice grain yield and quality. However, little information is known about the response of indica cultivars, especially Vietnamese cultivars, to high temperature. In this study, field experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016 to evaluate the response of Vietnamese cultivars under high temperatures during the grain filling period. The high temperature was applied after the first cultivar started anthesis, by opening two sides of a plastic chamber that housed the cultivar when the temperature reached above 36 °C under field conditions. The difference in the maximum temperature between the control and the high temperature treatment was about 1.3 °C to 10.1 °C in 2015, and 0.73 °C to 10.2 °C in 2016. Decreases in crop growth rate (CGR) and yield were correlated with increased temperature conditions during the grain filling period. The grain yield of 14 Vietnamese cultivars fell to 81.5 and 79.4% of the control in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The variable with the greatest impact on grain yield was spikelet sterility induced by high temperature. Under high temperature conditions during the grain filling period, the percentage of grain chalkiness in the high temperature-treatment group increased compared to the control. Our study showed that Vietnamese rice yield and quality were significantly affected by high temperature. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Understanding Starch Structure: Recent Progress
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 56; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030056 -
Abstract
Starch is a major food supply for humanity. It is produced in seeds, rhizomes, roots and tubers in the form of semi-crystalline granules with unique properties for each plant. Though the size and morphology of the granules is specific for each plant species,
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Starch is a major food supply for humanity. It is produced in seeds, rhizomes, roots and tubers in the form of semi-crystalline granules with unique properties for each plant. Though the size and morphology of the granules is specific for each plant species, their internal structures have remarkably similar architecture, consisting of growth rings, blocklets, and crystalline and amorphous lamellae. The basic components of starch granules are two polyglucans, namely amylose and amylopectin. The molecular structure of amylose is comparatively simple as it consists of glucose residues connected through α-(1,4)-linkages to long chains with a few α-(1,6)-branches. Amylopectin, which is the major component, has the same basic structure, but it has considerably shorter chains and a lot of α-(1,6)-branches. This results in a very complex, three-dimensional structure, the nature of which remains uncertain. Several models of the amylopectin structure have been suggested through the years, and in this review two models are described, namely the “cluster model” and the “building block backbone model”. The structure of the starch granules is discussed in light of both models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Fertilization Type on Soil Microbial Biomass and Nutrient Availability in Two Agroecological Zones of Ghana
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 55; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030055 -
Abstract
The decline in soil productivity amidst efforts to increase crop yield in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) has made it imperative to assess the current fertilization management approaches. This study was conducted in two agroecological zones (i.e., Guinea Savannah (GS) and Deciduous forest (DF))
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The decline in soil productivity amidst efforts to increase crop yield in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) has made it imperative to assess the current fertilization management approaches. This study was conducted in two agroecological zones (i.e., Guinea Savannah (GS) and Deciduous forest (DF)) of Ghana to evaluate how different fertilization schemes in the long term (>5 years) impacted the soil biochemical properties. Soil samples under four fertilization schemes (inorganic fertilizer only, low-to-medium organic residues only, inorganic fertilizers plus low-to-medium organic residues, and no fertilization) from 20 farmers’ field were sampled from March to April 2015. Soil biochemical quality indicators were determined using standard procedures. Overall, the average chemical and microbial biomass contents for most indicators were significantly higher in DF compared to GS. Relative to the reference sites, soil quality improvement were observed under inorganic fertilization in both agroecologies in contrast to significant soil deterioration (26.5%) under sole organic residue application in GS. Furthermore, the results showed that increased inorganic fertilization rate alone or combination with organic residues improved soil quality relative to the reference. The present results suggest the need to raise the current fertilizer application rates, especially in GS in order to enhance optimum soil productivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Combination of Lactic Acid-Based Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) with β-Cyclodextrin: Performance Screening Using Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Polyphenols from Selected Native Greek Medicinal Plants
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 54; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030054 -
Abstract
A series of novel l-lactic acid-based deep eutectic solvents (DES) were tested for polyphenol extraction performance, using organically grown, native Greek medicinal plants. The extractions were ultrasonically-assisted and the effect of the addition of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) as extraction booster was also tested,
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A series of novel l-lactic acid-based deep eutectic solvents (DES) were tested for polyphenol extraction performance, using organically grown, native Greek medicinal plants. The extractions were ultrasonically-assisted and the effect of the addition of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) as extraction booster was also tested, at a concentration of 1.5% (w/v). The estimation of total polyphenol yield (YTP) suggested that DES composed of l-lactic acid and nicotinamide and l-lactic acid and l-alanine, both at a molar ratio of 7:1, are promising solvents giving significantly higher yields compared with 60% (v/v) aqueous ethanol and water. However, when β-CD was combined with DES comprised of l-lactic acid and ammonium acetate (molar ratio 7:1), the extraction yields obtained in some instances were equal of even higher. The pattern was not consistent when the yield in total flavonoids (YTFn) was considered, indicating water, 60% (v/v) aqueous ethanol and l-lactic acid:sodium acetate (molar ratio 7:1) to be the most efficient solvents. In this case, the effect of β-CD was of rather lower magnitude. The examination of the antioxidant activity of the extracts generated showed that there is a close correlation mainly with their concentration in total polyphenols. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterisation of Faba Bean (Vicia faba L.) Transcriptome Using RNA-Seq: Sequencing, De Novo Assembly, Annotation, and Expression Analysis
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 53; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030053 -
Abstract
RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is a deep sequencing method used for transcriptome profiling. RNA-Seq assemblies have successfully been used for a broad variety of applications, such as gene characterisation, functional genomic studies, and gene expression analysis, particularly useful in the absence of a well-studied
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RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is a deep sequencing method used for transcriptome profiling. RNA-Seq assemblies have successfully been used for a broad variety of applications, such as gene characterisation, functional genomic studies, and gene expression analysis, particularly useful in the absence of a well-studied genome reference sequence. This study reports on the development of reference unigene sets from faba bean using RNA-Seq. Two Australian faba bean cultivars (Doza and Farah) that differ in terms of disease resistance, breeding habit, and adaptation characteristics, and have been extensively used in breeding programs, were utilised in this study. The de novo assembly resulted in a total of 58,962 and 53,275 transcripts with approximately 67 Mbp (1588 bp N50) and 61 Mbp (1629 bp N50) for Doza and Farah, respectively. The generated transcripts have been compared to the protein and nucleotide databases of NCBI, as well as to the gene complements of several related legume species such as Medicago truncatula, soybean, and chickpea. Both assemblies were compared to previously-published faba bean transcriptome reference sets for the degree of completeness and utility. Annotation of unigenes has been performed, and patterns of tissue-specific expression identified. The gene complement derived from this comprehensive transcriptome analysis shows that faba bean, despite its complex 13 Gbp genome, compares well to other legumes in expressed gene content. This study in faba bean represents the most comprehensive reference transcriptomes from two different Australian cultivars available to date and it provides a valuable resource for future genomics-assisted breeding activities in this species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variability and Correlations among Groundnut Populations for Early Leaf Spot, Pod Yield, and Agronomic Traits
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 52; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030052 -
Abstract
The present experiment was conducted in Mali to study the genetic variability and correlation of early leaf spot (ELS) resistance parameters and agro-morphological traits in groundnut using two F3 populations from crosses QH243C X NAMA and TS32-1 X NAMA. Estimates of genotypic coefficient
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The present experiment was conducted in Mali to study the genetic variability and correlation of early leaf spot (ELS) resistance parameters and agro-morphological traits in groundnut using two F3 populations from crosses QH243C X NAMA and TS32-1 X NAMA. Estimates of genotypic coefficient of variation and phenotypic coefficient of variation revealed high value for pod yield, kernel yield, and ELS score at 60 and 80 days after sowing for the cross QH243C X NAMA. Low-to-moderate GCV and PCV were obtained for the remaining traits for both crosses. High heritability values coupled with high genetic advance as percentage of mean recorded for ELS_II, defoliation percent, pod yield in cross QH243C X NAMA; shelling percent for the cross TS32-1 X NAMA and ELS_III; and plant height, kernel yield in both crosses, indicate the significant role of additive gene action for inheritance of these traits. Correlation analysis indicated that pod and kernel yield were significant and positively correlated with 100 kernel weight and shelling percent. For cross QH243C X NAMA, kernel yield showed significant positive correlation with all ELS resistance components but the correlation was not significant for the cross TS32-1 X NAMA. Positive and significant correlation was observed between ELS resistance components themselves, suggesting that these components could be controlled by a similar polygenic system. The findings suggest that early generation selection should be effective for days to first flowering, days to 50% flowering, plant height, pod yield, kernel yield, 100 kernel weight and early leaf spot resistance which recorded the highest value of heritability in the two crosses. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Agronomic Traits and Drought Tolerance of Winter Wheat Accessions from the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 51; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030051 -
Abstract
Wheat accessions from the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection (NSGC) are a potential genetic resource for variety improvement. This study assessed the agronomic performance and drought tolerance in 198 winter wheat accessions under irrigated and terminal drought environments in the 2012–2013 season, and
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Wheat accessions from the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection (NSGC) are a potential genetic resource for variety improvement. This study assessed the agronomic performance and drought tolerance in 198 winter wheat accessions under irrigated and terminal drought environments in the 2012–2013 season, and repeated the test under terminal drought only during the 2013–2014 season. The 198 accessions were classified into three maturity groups, early, intermediate, and late based on heading data. In all three environments, the early accessions had the best agronomic performance, produced higher grain yield, thousand-kernel weight and grain volume weight, and had earlier heading date and shorter plant height. The intermediate accessions had similar grain yield and thousand-kernel weight as the early accessions in the irrigated environment, but had lower thousand-kernel weight in the terminal drought environments. Terminal drought had significant effects on grain yield, plant height, thousand-kernel weight, and grain volume weight. The positive correlation between GY and HD suggests that the ‘late early’ types in the early maturity were the most successful. Out of 198 accessions evaluated, twenty-three had high yield stability and drought tolerance according to the drought susceptibility index and membership function value of drought tolerance. The eight of twenty-three accessions identified (four early and four intermediate) had high grain yield in three environments. Some of these accessions have been further used in bi-parental mapping studies and by breeders for grain yield and drought tolerance improvement. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Detection and Response of Sugarcane against the Infection of Sugarcane Mosaic Virus (SCMV) in Indonesia
Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 50; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030050 -
Abstract
Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) is one among many viruses that infect sugarcane, cause yield loss, and become serious disease agents on sugarcane plantations. Since the morphological symptoms of SCMV are similar to other symptoms caused by Sugarcane streak mosaic virus (SCSMV) or nitrogen
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Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) is one among many viruses that infect sugarcane, cause yield loss, and become serious disease agents on sugarcane plantations. Since the morphological symptoms of SCMV are similar to other symptoms caused by Sugarcane streak mosaic virus (SCSMV) or nitrogen deficiency, the detection of SCMV is important through accurate diagnostic-like ELISA or RT-PCR. This research aimed to study the causative mosaic pathogen of SCMV in East Java, Indonesia, including mosaic development. The results showed that the mosaic symptom is present in all sugarcane plantations with 78% and 65% disease incidence and severity, respectively. Moreover, the detection procedure based on an amplification of cDNA of the coat protein gene sequence confirmed that SCMV was the causative agent of mosaic disease on sugarcane. Re-inoculation of healthy sugarcane plants with plant sap from a symptomatic leaf from the field showed similar mosaic or yellowish chlorotic areas on the leaf blade, and appeared on the fourth leaves upward from the inoculation leaf, in addition to showing different levels of peroxidase but not total phenol. Mosaic also correlated with the amount of total chlorophyll. Although Sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) protein accumulation and activity were at a lower level in infected leaves, sucrose accumulation was at a higher level in the same leaves. Full article
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