Abstract: In Mediterranean regions, many tomato plants are grown throughout the hot summer period (May–September) in sheltered cultivation, mainly for plant protection reasons. Most of the shelters that are used are low cost net houses covered with 50 mesh insect proof net. In most cases these net houses have a flat roof and no ventilation or climate control measures. This insufficient ventilation during the hot summer leads to above optimal air temperatures and causes moderate heat stress inside the shelters, which leads to yield reduction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of a simple and inexpensive low pressure fogging system installed in a naturally ventilated net house to lower temperatures and improve the yield during the summer. The study showed that in areas where relative air humidity (RH) during the daytime is less than 60%, tomato plants improved their performance when grown through the summer in net houses under moderate heat stress. Under fogging conditions pollen grain viability and fruit set were significantly improved. This improvement influenced the yield picked during September (104–136 DAP). However, total seasonal yield was not affected by the fogging treatment.
Abstract: Volunteer corn (VC) has reemerged as a problematic weed in corn/soybean rotational cropping systems. This reemergence and increasing prevalence of volunteer corn has been correlated to an increased adoption of herbicide-resistant (HR) corn hybrids and the adoption of conservation tillage. Since the introduction of HR crops, control options, weed/crop competition, and other concerns (i.e., insect resistance management of Bt traits) have increased the amount of attention that volunteer corn is receiving. The objective of this review is to discuss what is known about VC prior to and after the introduction of HR crops, and to discuss new information about this important weed.
Abstract: A suspected glyphosate-resistant goosegrass [Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.] population, found in Washington County, Mississippi, was studied to determine the level of resistance and whether the resistance was due to a point mutation, as was previously identified in a Malaysian population. Whole plant dose response assays indicated a two- to four-fold increase in resistance to glyphosate. Leaf disc bioassays based on a glyphosate-dependent increase in shikimate levels indicated a five- to eight-fold increase in resistance. Sequence comparisons of messenger RNA for epsps, the gene encoding the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase, from resistant and sensitive goosegrass, revealed a cytosine to thymine nucleotide change at position 319 in the resistant accessions. This single nucleotide polymorphism causes a proline to serine amino acid substitution at position 106 in 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase. A real-time polymerase chain reaction assay using DNA probes specific for the nucleotide change at position 319 was developed to detect this polymorphism. Goosegrass from 42 locations were screened, and the results indicated that glyphosate-resistant goosegrass remained localized to where it was discovered. Pendimethalin, s-metolachlor, clethodim, paraquat and fluazifop controlled resistant goosegrass 93% to 100%, indicating that several control options for glyphosate-resistant goosegrass are available.
Abstract: Biochar application to agricultural soils is an interesting emerging technology with promising potential for long-term carbon storage, sustainable waste disposal, and soil fertility enhancement. Extensive information exists in the literature on the highly beneficial properties of biochar. Nevertheless, systematic application of biochar on European agricultural soils may have wide ranging policy implications as well as environmental and public health concerns. In this paper we critically review existing scientific evidence from a European policy perspective and identify research gaps for future comprehensive assessments of the policy, environmental, economic, and health implications of the systematic use of biochar in European agricultural soils.
Abstract: Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is an important legume crop worldwide. However, abiotic and biotic stress limits bean yields to <600 kg ha−1 in low-income countries. Current low yields result in food insecurity, while demands for increased yields to match the rate of population growth combined with the threat of climate change are significant. Novel and significant advances in genetic improvement using untapped genetic diversity available in crop wild relatives and closely related species must be further explored. A meeting was organized by the Global Crop Diversity Trust to consider strategies for common bean improvement. This review resulted from that meeting and considers our current understanding of the genetic resources available for common bean improvement and the progress that has been achieved thus far through introgression of genetic diversity from wild relatives of common bean, and from closely related species, including: P. acutifolius, P. coccineus, P. costaricensis and P. dumosus. Newly developed genomic tools and their potential applications are presented. A broad outline of research for use of these genetic resources for common bean improvement in a ten-year multi-disciplinary effort is presented.
Abstract: Extreme climatic variation is predicted with climate change this century. In many cropping regions, the crop environment will tend to be warmer with more irregular rainfall and spikes in stress levels will be more severe. The challenge is not only to raise agricultural production for an expanding population, but to achieve this under more adverse environmental conditions. It is now possible to systematically explore the genetic variation in historic local landraces by using GPS locators and world climate maps to describe the natural selection for local adaptation, and to identify candidate germplasm for tolerances to extreme stresses. The physiological and biochemical components of these expressions can be genomically investigated with candidate gene approaches and next generation sequencing. Wild relatives of crops have largely untapped genetic variation for abiotic and biotic stress tolerances, and could greatly expand the available domesticated gene pools to assist crops to survive in the predicted extremes of climate change, a survivalomics strategy. Genomic strategies can assist in the introgression of these valuable traits into the domesticated crop gene pools, where they can be better evaluated for crop improvement. The challenge is to increase agricultural productivity despite climate change. This calls for the integration of many disciplines from eco-geographical analyses of genetic resources to new advances in genomics, agronomy and farm management, underpinned by an understanding of how crop adaptation to climate is affected by genotype × environment interaction.