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Agronomy, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2020) – 225 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Irrigation management practices that reduce water use with acceptable impacts on yield are important strategies to cope with diminished water supplies and generate new sources of water. This study was intended to assess the effects of moderate water deficits, to maintain robust alfalfa yields, while conserving on-farm water. Data collection and analysis were conducted at four commercial fields over an 18-month period in the Palo Verde Valley, California. A range of summer deficit irrigation strategies was evaluated including 12.5–33% less irrigation water than farmers’ normal irrigation practices. The findings indicate that the proposed deficit irrigation strategies could provide a reliable amount of water and sustain the economic viability of alfalfa production, while data from multiple irrigation seasons are required to fully certify this conclusion. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Prediction of Rust Resistance in Tetraploid Wheat under Field and Controlled Environment Conditions
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1843; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111843 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 297
Abstract
Genomic selection can increase the rate of genetic gain in crops through accumulation of positive alleles and reduce phenotyping costs by shortening the breeding cycle time. We performed genomic prediction for resistance to wheat rusts in tetraploid wheat accessions using three cross-validation with [...] Read more.
Genomic selection can increase the rate of genetic gain in crops through accumulation of positive alleles and reduce phenotyping costs by shortening the breeding cycle time. We performed genomic prediction for resistance to wheat rusts in tetraploid wheat accessions using three cross-validation with the objective of predicting: (1) rust resistance when individuals are not tested in all environments/locations, (2) the performance of lines across years, and (3) adult plant resistance (APR) of lines with bivariate models. The rationale for the latter is that seedling assays are faster and could increase prediction accuracy for APR. Predictions were derived from adult plant and seedling responses for leaf rust (Lr), stem rust (Sr) and stripe rust (Yr) in a panel of 391 accessions grown across multiple years and locations and genotyped using 16,483 single nucleotide polymorphisms. Different Bayesian models and genomic best linear unbiased prediction yielded similar accuracies for all traits. Site and year prediction accuracies for Lr and Yr ranged between 0.56–0.71 for Lr and 0.51–0.56 for Yr. While prediction accuracy for Sr was variable across different sites, accuracies for Yr were similar across different years and sites. The changes in accuracies can reflect higher genotype × environment (G × E) interactions due to climate or pathogenic variation. The use of seedling assays in genomic prediction was underscored by significant positive genetic correlations between all stage resistance (ASR) and APR (Lr: 0.45, Sr: 0.65, Yr: 0.50). Incorporating seedling phenotypes in the bivariate genomic approach increased prediction accuracy for all three rust diseases. Our work suggests that the underlying plant-host response to pathogens in the field and greenhouse screens is genetically correlated, but likely highly polygenic and therefore difficult to detect at the individual gene level. Overall, genomic prediction accuracies were in the range suitable for selection in early generations of the breeding cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Rust Management for Improving Global Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Within-Field Relationships between Satellite-Derived Vegetation Indices, Grain Yield and Spike Number of Winter Wheat and Triticale
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1842; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111842 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 236
Abstract
The aims of this study were to: (i) evaluate the relationships between vegetation indices (VIs) derived from Sentinel-2 imagery and grain yield (GY) and the number of spikes per square meter (SN) of winter wheat and triticale; (ii) determine the dates and plant [...] Read more.
The aims of this study were to: (i) evaluate the relationships between vegetation indices (VIs) derived from Sentinel-2 imagery and grain yield (GY) and the number of spikes per square meter (SN) of winter wheat and triticale; (ii) determine the dates and plant growth stages when the above relationships were the strongest at individual field scale, thus allowing for accurate yield prediction. Observations of GY and SN were performed at harvest on six fields (three locations in two seasons: 2017 and 2018) in three regions of Poland, i.e., northeastern (A—Brożówka), central (B—Zdziechów) and southeastern Poland (C—Kryłów). Vegetation indices (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), modified SAVI (mSAVI), modified SAVI 2 (mSAVI2), Infrared Percentage Vegetation Index (IPVI), Global Environmental Monitoring Index (GEMI), and Ratio Vegetation Index (RVI)) calculated for sampling points from mid-March until mid-July, covering within-field soil and topographical variability, were included in the analysis. Depending on the location, the highest correlation coefficients (of about 0.6–0.9) for most of VIs with GY and SN were obtained about 4–6 weeks before harvest (from the beginning of shooting to milk maturity). Therefore, satellite-derived VIs are useful for the prediction of within-field cereal GY as well as SN variability. Information on GY, predicted together with the results for soil nutrient availability, is the basis for the formulation of variable fertilize rates in precision agriculture. All examined VIs were similarly correlated with GY and SN via the commonly used NDVI. The increase in NDVI by 0.1 unit was related to an average increase in GY by about 2 t ha−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Site-Specific Nutrient Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Nitrogen Management Regimes on Milling Recovery and Grain Quality of Aromatic Rice in Different Rice Production Systems
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1841; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111841 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 320
Abstract
To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) management regimes on rice quality in different rice production systems, a field experiment was conducted in 2017 and 2018. The experimental treatments comprised of two production systems (transplanted rice: TPR and dry direct-seeded rice: DDSR) and [...] Read more.
To examine the effect of nitrogen (N) management regimes on rice quality in different rice production systems, a field experiment was conducted in 2017 and 2018. The experimental treatments comprised of two production systems (transplanted rice: TPR and dry direct-seeded rice: DDSR) and six N management treatments (0, 50, 100, and 150 kg N ha−1 as basal, and 100 and 150 kg N ha−1 in three splits which were regarded as N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, and N6, respectively). The results revealed that the rice quality attributes, i.e., broken rice recovery, abortive kernel, bursting, and curling were increased by 8%, 14%, 8%, and 14%, respectively, under DDSR than TPR. In the case of N management, split application of N reduced the chalky kernel (44%), abortive kernel (23%), opaque kernel (31%), bursting (24%), and curling (31%), while kernel protein contents, water absorption ratio, cooked grain length, and elongation ratio were increased by 41%, 88%, 25%, and 26%, respectively, as compared to the basal application of N. In short, DDSR cultivation reduced the appearance and cooking quality traits but white head rice recovery and nutritional quality were comparable to TPR. However, N application in splits either in DDSR or in TPR potentially improved the grain quality of rice compared with the basal application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cereal Biofortification: Strategies, Challenges and Benefits)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Nitrogen Fertilization on Production, Chemical Composition and Morphogenesis of Guinea Grass in the Humid Tropics
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1840; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111840 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 346
Abstract
The use of nitrogen fertilization in tropical grasslands is a strategy that may reduce the pressure of livestock production on biome areas with humid forests. The objective of this study was to assess the use of different doses of nitrogen in Guinea grass [...] Read more.
The use of nitrogen fertilization in tropical grasslands is a strategy that may reduce the pressure of livestock production on biome areas with humid forests. The objective of this study was to assess the use of different doses of nitrogen in Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.) con. Mombasa) cultivated in the humid tropics. Doses of 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 kg of N ha−1 application−1 were applied during two consecutive years in experimental plots. The experimental area is located in the northeast of Pará, Brazil, with a predominantly tropical climate according to the Köppen classification. The morphogenic, production, and qualitative characteristics of the forage were evaluated. The morphogenic variables, rate of leaf appearance and rate of leaf elongation, in addition to daily accumulation of forage and crude protein content, increased with increasing doses of nitrogen. The morphological structure of the pasture was not modified. The number of cuts increased, whereas the number of days of recovery decreased, in the rainy season with increasing doses of nitrogen. The use of nitrogen fertilization does not alter the structure of the pasture; however, it improves the morphogenic, production, and chemical characteristics of Guinea grass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Paradigms in Sustainable Forage-Livestock Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
A Look at the Past, Present and Future Research Trends of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1839; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111839 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Technification in agriculture has resulted in the inclusion of more efficient companies that have evolved into a more complex sector focused on production and quality. Artificial intelligence, one of the relevant areas of technology, is transforming the agriculture sector by reducing the consumption [...] Read more.
Technification in agriculture has resulted in the inclusion of more efficient companies that have evolved into a more complex sector focused on production and quality. Artificial intelligence, one of the relevant areas of technology, is transforming the agriculture sector by reducing the consumption and use of resources. This research uses a bibliometric methodology and a fractional counting method of clustering to analyze the scientific literature on the topic, reviewing 2629 related documents recorded on the Web of Science and Scopus databases. The study found significant results regarding the most relevant and prolific authors (Hoogenboom), supporting research organizations (National Natural Science Foundation of China) and countries (U.S., China, India, or Iran). The identification of leaders in this field gives researchers new possibilities for new lines of research based on previous studies. An in-depth examination of authors’ keywords identified different clusters and trends linking Artificial Intelligence and green economy, sustainable development, climate change, and the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worldwide Trends in Agronomy Research: Bibliometric Studies)
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Open AccessReview
Recycling of Organic Wastes through Composting: Process Performance and Compost Application in Agriculture
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1838; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111838 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Composting has become a preferable option to treat organic wastes to obtain a final stable sanitized product that can be used as an organic amendment. From home composting to big municipal waste treatment plants, composting is one of the few technologies that can [...] Read more.
Composting has become a preferable option to treat organic wastes to obtain a final stable sanitized product that can be used as an organic amendment. From home composting to big municipal waste treatment plants, composting is one of the few technologies that can be practically implemented at any scale. This review explores some of the essential issues in the field of composting/compost research: on one hand, the main parameters related to composting performance are compiled, with especial emphasis on the maturity and stability of compost; on the other hand, the main rules of applying compost on crops and other applications are explored in detail, including all the effects that compost can have on agricultural land. Especial attention is paid to aspects such as the improvement of the fertility of soils once compost is applied, the suppressor effect of compost and some negative experiences of massive compost application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Studying Gene Expression in Irradiated Barley Cultivars: PM19L-like and CML31-like Expression as Possible Determinants of Radiation Hormesis Effect
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111837 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Gamma (γ)-irradiation of plants at low doses can provoke a broad range of growth-stimulating effects. In order to reveal universal target genes that are involved in molecular pathways of radiation hormesis establishment, we studied nine barley cultivars for their tolerance to γ-irradiation of [...] Read more.
Gamma (γ)-irradiation of plants at low doses can provoke a broad range of growth-stimulating effects. In order to reveal universal target genes that are involved in molecular pathways of radiation hormesis establishment, we studied nine barley cultivars for their tolerance to γ-irradiation of seeds. Four morphological traits were assessed in barley seedlings after γ-irradiation of seeds at 20 Gy. Nine cultivars were sorted according to the sensitivity to irradiation as γ-stimulated, “no morphological effect”, or γ-inhibited. Gene expression of 17 candidate genes was evaluated for the 7 most contrasting cultivars. Changes in expression of barley homologues of PM19L and CML31 were suggested as possible determinants of radiation hormesis effect. The possible role of jasmonate signaling in roots in radiation growth stimulations was revealed. Morphological analysis and gene expression study showed that the genetic background of a cultivar plays an important role in eustress responses to low-dose γ-irradiation of seeds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Legume Ecotypes and Commercial Cultivars Differ in Performance and Potential Suitability for Use as Permanent Living Mulch in Mediterranean Vegetable Systems
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1836; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111836 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 280
Abstract
Weed control in organic conservative vegetable systems is extremely challenging and the use of legume permanent living mulches (pLM) presents an interesting opportunity. The successful use of pLM is largely determined by the choice of appropriate legumes which are able to combine adequate [...] Read more.
Weed control in organic conservative vegetable systems is extremely challenging and the use of legume permanent living mulches (pLM) presents an interesting opportunity. The successful use of pLM is largely determined by the choice of appropriate legumes which are able to combine adequate weed control with a marginal competitive effect on the cash crop(s). However, the availability of legumes for such systems is limited and their characterization based on growth traits can support the selection of suitable legumes for conservation organic vegetable systems. The current study investigated weed control capacity and variability in morphological and phenological traits relevant in inter-plant competition among a range of 11 commercial cultivars of legumes and seven ecotypes of Medicago polymorpha (bur medic). For commercial cultivars, Lotus corniculatus (bird’s-foot trefoil) and Trifolium repens (white clover) showed the best weed control capacity, while Trifolium subterraneum (subterranean clover) and Medicago polymopha had more suitable characteristics for a rapid and complete establishment of the pLM. Overall, legume mulches appear more effective in dicotyledonous than in monocotyledonous weed control. Trifolium subterraneum cv. Antas and T. repens cv. Haifa were identified as the potentially most suitable legumes for use as pLM and their use in mixtures could be a promising solution. In addition, the ecotypes of Medicago polymorpha Manciano and Talamone proved to be well adapted for local environmental conditions and they showed a better weed suppression than the commercial cultivars of Medicago polymorpha. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Agriculture and Agroecological Weed Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in the Occurrence of Late Spring Frost in Poland
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111835 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 223
Abstract
Trends in the appearance of the last spring frost for three thresholds of minimum daily air temperature at the height of 2 m and near the ground were examined for six meteorological stations located in two agricultural regions in Poland. For most time [...] Read more.
Trends in the appearance of the last spring frost for three thresholds of minimum daily air temperature at the height of 2 m and near the ground were examined for six meteorological stations located in two agricultural regions in Poland. For most time series, the last spring frost, calculated as a consecutive day of the year, showed a statistically significant trend indicating its earlier appearance from 1.6 to about 3.5 days per decade. The date of the last spring frost was also calculated in relation to the ongoing growing season. In this case, few statistically significant changes in the dates of the last frosts were found. The probability of the last spring frost on a specific day of the calendar year and the day of the growing season was also examined for two periods: 1961–1990 and 1991–2020. For low probability levels corresponding to the early dates of the last spring frost, the last frost usually occurred much earlier (6–14 days) in 1991–2020. With the probability levels of 80–90% describing the late occurrence of the last frost with a frequency of once every 5–10 years, at some stations, the last spring frosts occurred at a similar time for both periods. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Consolidated Bioprocessing, an Innovative Strategy towards Sustainability for Biofuels Production from Crop Residues: An Overview
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1834; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111834 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 248
Abstract
Increased energy demands in today’s world have led to the exploitation of fossil resources as fuel. Fossil resources are not only on the verge of extinction but also causing environmental and economic issues. Due to these reasons, scientists have started focusing their interest [...] Read more.
Increased energy demands in today’s world have led to the exploitation of fossil resources as fuel. Fossil resources are not only on the verge of extinction but also causing environmental and economic issues. Due to these reasons, scientists have started focusing their interest on other eco-friendly processes to biofuel and recently, second-generation biorefinery is gaining much more attention. In second-generation biorefinery, the main objective is the valorization of lignocellulosic biomass cost-effectively. Therefore, many scientists started different bioprocessing techniques like Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP) to produce ethanol by using a single or plethora of microorganisms to produce ethanol in a single process. In this review, in-depth study on CBP is assessed as well as biofuel’s socio-economic value and a brief study of biorefineries. The study not only involves innovative approaches used in CBP but their effect on society and economic aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pretreatment and Bioconversion of Crop Residues)
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Open AccessCommunication
Distribution of TiO2 Nanoparticles in Acidic and Alkaline Soil and Their Accumulation by Aspergillus niger
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1833; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111833 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 300
Abstract
The nanoparticles of TiO2 (TiO2 NP) have been used as a plant-growth stimulant or catalyst in pesticide formulas. However, due to high resistance of TiO2 NP to abiotic weathering, dissolved Ti is unlikely to act as an active compound in [...] Read more.
The nanoparticles of TiO2 (TiO2 NP) have been used as a plant-growth stimulant or catalyst in pesticide formulas. However, due to high resistance of TiO2 NP to abiotic weathering, dissolved Ti is unlikely to act as an active compound in these preparations. Even if soil is acidic, TiO2 NP do not dissolve easily and preferably remain as undissolved particles. The low dissolution rates of inorganic nanoparticles in the soil environment make Ti in TiO2 NP largely unavailable for plants and soil microorganisms. To characterize the behavior of TiO2 NP in soil under different pH conditions, we analyzed TiO2 NP-size distribution in two soil materials, an alkaline and acidic one. We also cultivated Aspergillus niger, a fungus ubiquitously found in soils, in the growth medium spiked with TiO2 NP to assess accumulation of the nanoparticles in fungus. In soil suspensions, the dissolved Ti was present in low concentrations (up to 0.010 mg L−1). Most of the TiO2 NP remained in particulate form or appeared as aggregates sized 100–450 nm. In experiment on Ti accumulation by A. niger, TiO2 NP either settled down to the bottom of the flask with growth medium or were actually accumulated by the fungus; about 7.5% of TiO2 NP were accumulated in fungal mycelia. Most of the TiO2 NP remain in particulate form in soil solutions, regardless of soil pH. Filamentous fungus A. niger has the ability to accumulate bioavailable TiO2 NP, which hints at the possibility that some soil fungi can affect spatial distribution of this type of nanoparticles in soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf Response to Different Light Spectrum Compositions during Micropropagation of Gerbera Axillary Shoots
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111832 - 22 Nov 2020
Viewed by 268
Abstract
The experiment evaluated the influence of different light qualities and 6-benzyladenine (BA) concentration in a medium on the leaf response of multiplied Gerbera jamesonii Bolus ex Hook. f.‘Big Apple’ shoots. Three different light-emitting diode (LED) spectra—100% blue (B), 100% red (R) and red [...] Read more.
The experiment evaluated the influence of different light qualities and 6-benzyladenine (BA) concentration in a medium on the leaf response of multiplied Gerbera jamesonii Bolus ex Hook. f.‘Big Apple’ shoots. Three different light-emitting diode (LED) spectra—100% blue (B), 100% red (R) and red and blue mixture (7:3, RB)—were used, and a fluorescent lamp was used as a control (Fl). Concentrations of BA in Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium were 1, 2.5 and 5 µM. Leaves developed under 100% blue light had a lower frequency of stomata and a smaller area as compared with those from plants exposed to light with red in spectrum. Under 100% red light, the leaf area and the frequency of stomata increased along with growing concentration of BA in the medium. The thickest mesophyll was spotted in the cross-section of leaves exposed to the blue LED light. Leaves developed under the 100% red light had the thinnest mesophyll layers. Increasing concentration of BA in the medium resulted in enhanced leaf blade thickness. The cross-section of leaf vascular bundles was only half of that in petioles. The leaves under the LED combinations had larger vascular bundles than those under fluorescent light. The highest level of photosynthetic pigments was noticed in the leaves grown under LED R and RB lights. Our study demonstrated that 2.5 µM BA and a mixture of blue and red light provided by LED improved leaf quality during multiplication of gerbera shoots. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aerobic Rice with or without Strategic Irrigation in the Subtropics
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111831 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Modern rice varieties adapted to aerobic (dryland) conditions have expanded to new rice growing systems thanks to their plasticity in adapting to rainfed and irrigated conditions. This is important because, as water becomes scarce in paddy rice regions (as it is already in [...] Read more.
Modern rice varieties adapted to aerobic (dryland) conditions have expanded to new rice growing systems thanks to their plasticity in adapting to rainfed and irrigated conditions. This is important because, as water becomes scarce in paddy rice regions (as it is already in Australia), there will be a move towards tropical to subtropical dryland rainfed rice with attendant problems of drought and low temperature. To assess rice adaptability in the wet season of the semi-arid subtropical conditions of coastal central Queensland, field experiments were established for a late season (in January) planting in 2014 and early season planting in November 2015 with 13 varieties developed by Australian Agriculture Technologies (AAT) Ltd were seeded in a vertisol soil. This was to assess their adaptation to rainfed conditions and their response to strategic irrigation. Water scarcity and low temperature prior to and at flowering were important factors constraining yield. Early flowering varieties in the late season planting escaped the otherwise cold and drought stress during the reproductive stage and had higher yields. In the second year, earlier planting made possible with strategic irrigation avoided the low temperature constraint on yield, but without follow-up strategic irrigation, yields were still low. The average yield of varieties increased from 1.5 times (AAT 4) to 16.3 times (AAT 15) with strategic irrigation compared with rainfed yields averaged across years. The increase in yield with strategic irrigation was associated with a greater leaf area index, spikelet fertility, and instantaneous water use efficiency during flowering. Strategic irrigation concentrated roots in the top 15 cm, but differences in yield between varieties under rainfed conditions were not related to root properties. It is important to consider variations in flowering time, yield potential, and drought patterns when developing rice varieties for rainfed semi-arid tropical conditions, as well as when quantifying the benefits of strategic irrigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Innovative Cropping Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of a Salicylic Acid Analog on Aphis gossypii and Its Predator Chrysoperla carnea on Melon Plants
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1830; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111830 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 263
Abstract
The salicylic acid analog BTH (benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic-acid S-methyl ester) induces systemic acquired resistance by promoting plant resistance against numerous plant pathogens and some insect pests. The objective of the research was to evaluate the activation of plant defenses with BTH on melon (Cucumis [...] Read more.
The salicylic acid analog BTH (benzo-(1,2,3)-thiadiazole-7-carbothioic-acid S-methyl ester) induces systemic acquired resistance by promoting plant resistance against numerous plant pathogens and some insect pests. The objective of the research was to evaluate the activation of plant defenses with BTH on melon (Cucumis melo L., Cucurbitaceae) and its effects on the herbivore Aphis gossypii Glover, 1877 (Hemiptera: Aphididae) and on the aphid predator Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens, 1836) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Under laboratory conditions, plants were sprayed with BTH (50 g/ha) zero (B0), four (B4), and seven (B7) days prior exposure to insects. B0 treatment resulted in 100% mortality of aphid nymphs and disrupted adult feeding behavior (recorded by electrical-penetration-graphs technique), by prolonging the time to reach the phloem, requiring more probes to first salivation and reducing ingestion activities. There were no effects on feeding behavior of A. gossypii fed on B4 plants but on its life history because fewer nymphs were born, intrinsic rate of natural growth decreased, and mortality increased. There were no effects on biological parameters of aphids reared on B7 plants. Prey consumption by C. carnea larvae when predated A. gossypii fed on BTH-treated plants was not different among treatments. Therefore, BTH enhances the suppression of A. gossypii in the short term, without negative effects on the predatory larva C. carnea, which makes this plant strengthener a useful tool to be considered in integrated pest management programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biorationals as Plant Protectants and Plant Health Strengtheners)
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Open AccessArticle
The Colonization of Grape Bunch Trash by Microorganisms for the Biocontrol of Botrytis cinerea as Influenced by Temperature and Humidity
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1829; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111829 - 21 Nov 2020
Viewed by 233
Abstract
Six commercial biocontrol agents (BCAs: Aureobasidium pullulans, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, B. amyloliquefaciens plantarum, B. subtilis, Metschnikowia fructicola, or Trichoderma atroviride) were applied to bunch trash that was then incubated at one of five temperatures (T, 15, 20, 25, 30, [...] Read more.
Six commercial biocontrol agents (BCAs: Aureobasidium pullulans, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, B. amyloliquefaciens plantarum, B. subtilis, Metschnikowia fructicola, or Trichoderma atroviride) were applied to bunch trash that was then incubated at one of five temperatures (T, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 °C) and one of five relative humidity levels (RH, 60, 80, 90, 95, and 100%). After 1 to 13 days of incubation (BCA colonization period), the number of colony forming units (CFUs) was assessed. The colonization of bunch trash in response to T/RH conditions and BCA colonization period differed among the BCAs; the coefficients of variation among the BCAs ranged from 104.6 to 397.7%. Equations were developed that accounted for the combined effects of the T, RH, and BCA colonization period on BCA colonization of bunch trash. Assuming that the equations, which had an R2 > 0.87, correctly predict BCA growth under field conditions, they would help farmers select the BCA to be used for a specific application based on weather conditions at the time of treatment and in the following days. The equations would also help predict how long an early season BCA application remains effective and thereby help farmers decide whether and when a second BCA application may be needed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact Analysis of Environmental Conditions on Odour Dispersion Emitted from Pig House with Complex Terrain Using CFD
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1828; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111828 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 222
Abstract
With the rise in livestock production, the odour concentration emitted from livestock facilities has significantly increased. For this reason, odour complaints have become a major issue. The dispersion of the odour into the atmosphere is affected by various factors (wind speed, wind direction, [...] Read more.
With the rise in livestock production, the odour concentration emitted from livestock facilities has significantly increased. For this reason, odour complaints have become a major issue. The dispersion of the odour into the atmosphere is affected by various factors (wind speed, wind direction, atmospheric stability, terrain condition, ventilation type, and so on). Thus, a thorough analysis on the factor influencing odour dispersion is necessary to establish regulations and policies for odour management. Therefore, this research aimed to evaluate odour dispersion generated from a pig house with complex terrain using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and to statistically determine the key factor for odour dispersion. By comparing CFD-computed results with field-measured data, an appropriate grid size, time step, and turbulence model of the CFD model were determined. Considering various factors, case studies were performed using the validated CFD model. The CFD-computed results showed that odour dispersion distance at the level of 1 OU m−3 ranged from 129.7 to 1488.1 m. The prediction of odour dispersion distance varies with the change of factor being analysed. Finally, the statistical analysis showed that the most influential factor that affected odour dispersion distance was the wind speed with a t-value: −9.057. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Innovative Controlled-Release Polyurethane-Coated Urea Could Reduce N Leaching in Tomato Crop in Comparison to Conventional and Stabilized Fertilizers
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111827 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 213
Abstract
Large amounts of fertilizers are being used in agriculture to sustain growing demands for food, especially in vegetable production systems. Soluble fertilizers can generally ensure high crop yields, but excessive leaching of nutrients, mainly as nitrate, can be a major cause of water [...] Read more.
Large amounts of fertilizers are being used in agriculture to sustain growing demands for food, especially in vegetable production systems. Soluble fertilizers can generally ensure high crop yields, but excessive leaching of nutrients, mainly as nitrate, can be a major cause of water pollution. Controlled-release fertilizers improve the nutrient use efficiency and lower the environmental hazard, usually without affecting the production. In this study, an innovative controlled-release coated urea fertilizer was compared to conventional nitrogen (N) fertilizers and a soluble ammonium-based fertilizer containing a nitrification inhibitor, in a round table tomato cultivation. Both the water and N balance were evaluated for each treatment, along with the yield and quality of the production. The experiment was repeated in three different seasons (spring, autumn and summer-autumn) in a glasshouse to prevent the effect of uncontrolled rainfall. The results indicated that N leaching decreased by increasing the percentage of coated urea. The application of at least 50% total N as coated urea strongly reduced N leaching and improved N agronomic efficiency in comparison with traditional fertilizers, ensuring at the same time a similar fruit production. Due to reduced leaching, the total N amount commonly applied by growers could be lowered by 25% without detrimental effects on commercial production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Proximal Hyperspectral Sensing to Predict Herbage Nutritive Value for Dairy Farming
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1826; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111826 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 229
Abstract
This study focuses on calibrating and validating models for hyperspectral canopy reflectance data that are useful to predict the nutritive value of ryegrass-white clover mixed herbage available to the grazing cow. Hyperspectral measurements and herbage cuts were collected from 286 sampling plots from [...] Read more.
This study focuses on calibrating and validating models for hyperspectral canopy reflectance data that are useful to predict the nutritive value of ryegrass-white clover mixed herbage available to the grazing cow. Hyperspectral measurements and herbage cuts were collected from 286 sampling plots from a dairy farm from July 2017 to May 2018. Hyperspectral data were pre-treated by applying a Savitzky-Golay filter followed by a Gap-segment derivative algorithm. Herbage samples were analyzed for determination of herbage nutritive value traits, digestible organic matter in dry matter (DOMD), metabolizable energy (ME), crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Partial least squares regression was performed to calibrate the spectra against the five nutritive value traits. Results indicate that accuracy was moderately high for the CP model (R2 = 0.78) and moderate for the DOMD, ME, NDF and ADF models (0.54 < R2 < 0.67). The possibility of being able to use proximal sensing for the estimation of herbage nutritive value in the field could potentially contribute to more efficient grazing management with potential economic benefits for the farm business. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Prediction of Leaf Emergence for Efficacious Crop Protection: Assessing Field Variability in Phyllotherms for Upper Leaves in Winter Wheat and Winter Barley
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1825; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111825 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 342
Abstract
The choice of the phyllotherm value for predicting leaf emergence under field conditions is pivotal to the success of fungicide-based disease risk management in temperate cereals. In this study, we investigated phyllotherm variability for predicting the emergence of the three uppermost leaves (i.e., [...] Read more.
The choice of the phyllotherm value for predicting leaf emergence under field conditions is pivotal to the success of fungicide-based disease risk management in temperate cereals. In this study, we investigated phyllotherm variability for predicting the emergence of the three uppermost leaves (i.e., three last leaves to emerge) in winter wheat and winter barley fields. Data from four sites representative of wheat and barley growing regions in Luxembourg were used within the PROCULTURE model to predict the emergence of F-2, F-1 and F (F being the flag leaf) during the 2014–2019 cropping seasons. The phyllotherms tested ranged between 100 °Cd and 160 °Cd, in 15 °Cd steps, including the current default value of 130 °Cd. The comparisons between the observed and predicted emerged leaf area were qualitatively evaluated using the mean absolute error (MAE), the root mean square error (RMSE) and Willmott’s index (WI). A phyllotherm of 100 °Cd accurately and reliably predicted the emergence of all three upper leaves under the various environmental conditions and crop cultivars of winter wheat and winter barley over the study period. MAE and RMSE were generally <5% and the WI values were most often ≥0.90 for F-1 and F. For phyllotherm values ≥115 °Cd, the prediction errors generally increased for F-1 and F, with MAE and RMSE exceeding 20% in most cases. F-2 agreement between observed and predicted values was generally similar when using 100 °Cd or 115 °Cd. These results tie in valuable, complementary information regarding the variability of phyllotherms within leaf layers in winter wheat and winter barley in Luxembourg. Accurate and reliable leaf emergence prediction from F-2 to F allows for timely fungicide application, which ensures lasting protection against infections by foliar fungal disease pathogens. Hence, understanding phyllotherms can help ensure timely, environmentally sound, and efficacious fungicide application while increasing the likelihood of improved yields of winter wheat and winter barley. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Saline Conditions on Chemical Profile and the Bioactive Properties of Three Red-Colored Basil Cultivars
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1824; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111824 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 277
Abstract
The present study investigated the effect of salinity (Control: 1.8 dS/m, S1: 3.0 dS/m and S2: 4.5 dS/m) on the chemical composition and bioactive properties of three basil cultivars (Red Basil, Dark Opal Red and Basilico Rosso). Crop performance was not affected by [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the effect of salinity (Control: 1.8 dS/m, S1: 3.0 dS/m and S2: 4.5 dS/m) on the chemical composition and bioactive properties of three basil cultivars (Red Basil, Dark Opal Red and Basilico Rosso). Crop performance was not affected by increasing salinity in DoR and BaR. Fat, ash and carbohydrates content increased by salinity in DoR, whereas energetic value was negatively affected. Free sugars (total and individual compounds) increased under saline conditions (S2) in BaR, whereas reducing trends were observed for the main organic acids and tocopherols in all the cultivars. The major fatty acids were α-linolenic, linoleic and palmitic acids with no consistent salinity effects, while the richest polyphenols were sagerinic acid and eriodictyol-O-malonylhexoside. Finally, basil extracts showed moderate antioxidant and strong antifungal activity. In conclusion, salinity showed a genotype dependent effect on the chemical profile and bioactivities of the tested cultivars. Full article
Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Herbicide-Based Weed Management for Soybean Production in the Far Eastern Region of Russia
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1823; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111823 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 218
Abstract
This study was conducted to establish a weed management system based on the sequential application of pre-emergence (PRE) and post-emergence (POST) herbicides for soybean production in Primorsky krai. Field experiments were conducted for two years in a field located in Bogatyrka, Primorsky krai, [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to establish a weed management system based on the sequential application of pre-emergence (PRE) and post-emergence (POST) herbicides for soybean production in Primorsky krai. Field experiments were conducted for two years in a field located in Bogatyrka, Primorsky krai, Russia (N43°49′, E131°36′). No herbicide application resulted in significant soybean yield loss, 0.03–0.3 t ha−1, which is more than 91.6% yield loss compared with that of the weed-free plot. The PRE application of acetochlor showed good weed control efficacy (greater than 90% weed control) with acceptable soybean safety (less than 10% soybean damage), while the other PRE herbicides performed poorly in terms of weed control. The POST application of bentazon + acifluorfen, bentazon, and imazamox at 30 days after soybean sowing (DAS) showed good weed control efficacy with good soybean safety. Neither the PRE nor POST application alone showed a sufficient soybean yield protection, resulting in much lower soybean yield than the weed-free plot. The sequential application of acetochlor (PRE), followed by either bentazon + acifluorfen (POST) at 30 DAS in 2012 or bentazon + imazamox (POST) at 60 DAS in 2013 showed the best performance in soybean yields, 1.7 t and 1.9 t ha−1, respectively, provided with 724.5 US$ and 1155.6 US$ ha−1 of economic returns. For alternative PRE herbicides of acetochlor, which is now banned, our tests of the sequential application of S-metolachlor with other POST herbicides and the sole application of other PRE herbicides revealed that S-metolachlor and clomazone could also be considered. Our results thus demonstrate that the sequential applications of PRE and POST herbicides should be incorporated into the weed management system for soybean production in Primorsky krai, Russia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Weed Science and Weed Management)
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Open AccessReview
Insight into the Microbiological Control Strategies against Botrytis cinerea Using Systemic Plant Resistance Activation
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1822; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111822 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 217
Abstract
Botrytis cinerea is a polyphagous necrotrophic fungus and is the causal agent of grey mold diseases in more than 1400 different hosts. This fungus causes serious economic losses in both preharvest and post-harvest—mainly in grape, strawberry, and tomato crops—and is the second most [...] Read more.
Botrytis cinerea is a polyphagous necrotrophic fungus and is the causal agent of grey mold diseases in more than 1400 different hosts. This fungus causes serious economic losses in both preharvest and post-harvest—mainly in grape, strawberry, and tomato crops—and is the second most important pathogen worldwide, to our knowledge. Beneficial bacteria and fungi are efficient biocontrol agents against B. cinerea through direct mechanisms, such as parasitism, antibiosis, and competition, but also indirectly through the activation of systemic plant resistance. The interaction between plants and these microorganisms can lead to the development of defensive responses in distant plant organs, which are highly effective against foliar, flower, and fruit pathogens, such as B. cinerea. This review aimed to explore the systemic plant defense responses against B. cinerea by compiling all cases reported (to the best of our knowledge) on the use of beneficial bacteria and fungi for agriculture, a subject not yet specifically addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pest and Disease Management)
Open AccessArticle
Identification of Pomegranate as a New Host of Passiflora Edulis Symptomless Virus (PeSV) and Analysis of PeSV Diversity
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111821 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 239
Abstract
Pomegranate is an important crop in the Mediterranean Basin that can be affected by a range of pathogens. With the aim to better understand the impact of viral diseases on pomegranate, two leaf samples from Turkey showing virus-like symptoms such as chlorotic spots [...] Read more.
Pomegranate is an important crop in the Mediterranean Basin that can be affected by a range of pathogens. With the aim to better understand the impact of viral diseases on pomegranate, two leaf samples from Turkey showing virus-like symptoms such as chlorotic spots and oak-leaf patterns were subjected to high throughput sequencing (HTS). Data analysis indicated the presence of passiflora edulis symptomless virus (PeSV: genus Roymovirus, Potyviridae family) in these two pomegranate samples, consistent with the observation by electron microscopy of flexuous filamentous viral particles 760 to 780 nm long. Further analysis of HTS reads revealed the presence of five PeSV variants in one of the samples and another single variant in the other. PeSV occurrence was also identified from publicly available SRA pomegranate RNA-Seq transcriptomic data from India and China. The genome of these PeSV-pomegranate variants share 78.0–86.8% nucleotide identity with that of the reference isolate from passionfruit (MH379332). The presence of PeSV in pomegranate was confirmed by specific RT-PCR assays targeting either the coat protein (CP) or Nla-Pro genes in 37 cultivated and one ornamental pomegranate out of 133 samples collected from the Eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey. To our knowledge, this is the first application of HTS to assess virus occurrence in pomegranate and the first recognition of pomegranate as a new host for PeSV. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical Devices for Mass Distribution Adjustment: Are They Really Convenient?
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1820; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111820 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 216
Abstract
Since the introduction of four-wheel drive (4WD) and especially front wheel assist (FWA), many studies have been conducted on the optimal weight distribution between tractor front and rear axles because this influences traction efficiency. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Since the introduction of four-wheel drive (4WD) and especially front wheel assist (FWA), many studies have been conducted on the optimal weight distribution between tractor front and rear axles because this influences traction efficiency. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the traction and efficiency advantages in the adoption of mechanical ballast position adjustment devices. The tested device is an extendable ballast holder mounted on the front three-point hitch of the tractor, able to displace the ballast up to 1 m away from its original position. An estimation of the fuel consumption during ploughing with the extendable ballast holder in different configurations was performed. Tractive performance was evaluated through drawbar tests, performed on loam soil with a 4WD tractor having a maximum engine power of 191 kW and a ballasted mass of 9590 kg. Results show that changing the tractor weight distribution over the range allowed by the extendable ballast holder produces limited effects in terms of tractive performance and fuel saving. The adoption of such devices is thus ineffective if other fundamental factors such as tyre pressure, choice of the front-to-rear wheel combination and lead of the front wheels are not considered during tractor setup. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Agricultural Machinery)
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Open AccessFeature PaperEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Biomass Performance and Competition Effects in an Established Temperate Agroforestry System of Willow and Grassland—Results of the 2nd Rotation
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111819 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Agroforestry systems (AFSs) are promoted as environmentally friendly and climate-change-resilient cultivation systems with the potential of increasing ecosystem services. Especially under temperate climatic conditions, the implementation in agricultural practice is low so far, inter alia due to the lack of knowledge regarding longer-term [...] Read more.
Agroforestry systems (AFSs) are promoted as environmentally friendly and climate-change-resilient cultivation systems with the potential of increasing ecosystem services. Especially under temperate climatic conditions, the implementation in agricultural practice is low so far, inter alia due to the lack of knowledge regarding longer-term effects of such systems. This study investigated biomass yields and crop development during the second rotation of an alley cropping system with willows (clone “Tordis” ((Salix schwerinii x S. viminalis) x S. vim.)) and grassland that was established in March 2011, as reported in a former study of the authors. Two grassland swards (white clover grass (Lolium perenne L. and Trifolium repens L.) (CG) and a diversity mixture with 32 plant species (DIV)) were proven in an intensive (3/4 cuts per year) and extensive management system (two cuts per year). Total yield (sum of three years) of AFS increased substantially in the second rotation (year four to six after establishment of the AFS). This was particularly due to a fivefold increase in woody biomass. At the same time, yields of grassland biomass decreased slightly. Biomass of CG outperformed DIV, especially in the intensive managed systems with a dry matter (DM) yield of 18 t ha−1, compared to 12.6 t ha−1. However, AFS grassland yields were always lower than yields of reference areas with grassland in pure stand. Nevertheless, lower yields are probably caused by competition effects between woody crops and grassland. Grassland yields along transects across the grassland alleyways showed a strong decrease in the border areas in all treatments. Higher grassland yields in the alley center did not compensate yield reductions in border areas. Furthermore, the botanical composition of grassland was modified in border areas with reduced legume DM contribution and increases of both grasses and forbs. Thus, the width of grassland alleys with 9 m caused strong competition effects by the willows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alley Cropping—Agroforestry Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Phosphorus Fractions and Its Availability Status in Relation to Long Term P Fertilization in Loess Plateau of China
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1818; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111818 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Excessive phosphorus (P) application can alter soil P availability and limit plant growth by compacting soil and fixation of P into different organic and inorganic forms. However, it remains uncertain whether these changes happen after limited fertilization or an excessive rate applied under [...] Read more.
Excessive phosphorus (P) application can alter soil P availability and limit plant growth by compacting soil and fixation of P into different organic and inorganic forms. However, it remains uncertain whether these changes happen after limited fertilization or an excessive rate applied under the winter wheat cropping system. The current study aimed to identify the transformation of P into different organic (Po) and inorganic (Pi) fractions, and their role in the plant P uptake and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production. A long-term study (12 years) was conducted to assess the changes in soil Pi and Po fractions in response to different P rates (0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 kg P2O5 ha−1) applied to winter wheat. Phosphorus fractions were determined using the Hedley modified Tiessen and Moir fractionation scheme. Our findings demonstrated that different P rates significantly increased the available P, particularly NaHCO3-Pi, in the inorganic P fractions compared to P0 treatment. NaHCO3-Pi showed a strong relationship with grain yield (R2 = 0.91) and P uptake (R2 = 0.80). Grain yield was significantly higher in the P100 treatment, but no significant difference was observed between P100 and P200 treatments. The P200 treatment had a maximum grain P content and plant P uptake. Compared with the P0 treatment, all organic fractions yielded the highest Po with the P rate increase, ranging from 27.3 to 75.6 mg kg−1, 27.2 to 35.6 mg kg−1, and 58.8 to 124 mg kg−1 for NaHCO3-Po, NaOH-Po, and HCl-Po, respectively. Among all Pi fractions, the maximum fraction, known as apatite (HClD-Pi), was found in the P200 treatment with the range of 165 to 245.9 mg kg−1. HClD-Pi accounted for 32% of total P, which can be transformed into the available P form with the passage of time. An increase of 78% in residual P was found under the treatment of P200. The residual P fraction was positively correlated with grain yield, P uptake, and other inorganic fractions. It can be concluded that application of P increases P availability and grain yield with an increase in its application rate, but too much use of P can cause soil pollution and higher fixation of P. Consequently, a balanced application of fertilizer is recommended to reduce its fixation and increase its availability for higher crop yield. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Status of Bioactive Compounds from Bran of Pigmented Traditional Rice Varieties and Their Scope in Production of Medicinal Food with Nutraceutical Importance
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1817; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111817 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 247
Abstract
Consumption of pigmented rice as a staple food is rapidly increasing due to their healthy prospective and considered as functional food ingredients. Greater interest has been shown in many color rice varieties due to their multiple biological activities. The phenolic compounds have been [...] Read more.
Consumption of pigmented rice as a staple food is rapidly increasing due to their healthy prospective and considered as functional food ingredients. Greater interest has been shown in many color rice varieties due to their multiple biological activities. The phenolic compounds have been found to consist of anthocyanidins, ferulic acid, diferulates, anthocyanins and polymeric proanthocyanidins. Anthocyanin is located in the bran layers of the rice kernel, while phenolic acids are mainly present in the bran layers of rice, existing as free, conjugated and bound forms. Keeping in view the several health benefits associated with the functional ingredients, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and anticancer effects, pigmented rice is considered as a functional food and food ingredient in many Asian countries. The application and incorporation of bran into food products for the preparation of functional foods is increasing. Within the scope of this review, we highlighted the significant bioactive compounds from pigmented rice varieties and their potentials for medicinal and nutraceutical ingredients. The information provided from this could be of high benefit to the functional food industry and further research advance medicinal products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Effects on Yield, Quality and Physiological Characteristics of Giant Rice
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1816; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111816 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 195
Abstract
In China, the quantity of nitrogen fertilizer applied is large, but as a consequence of a high level of loss, its utilization rate is low. Compared to common rice, the new giant rice has interesting characteristics, namely high biological yield and good efficient [...] Read more.
In China, the quantity of nitrogen fertilizer applied is large, but as a consequence of a high level of loss, its utilization rate is low. Compared to common rice, the new giant rice has interesting characteristics, namely high biological yield and good efficient use of fertilizer. However, it becomes urgent to further consider the appropriate rate of nitrogen fertilizer to be applied. The giant rice varieties Feng5 and Feng6 were set up in a pot experiment and a field experiment under five doses of nitrogen fertilizers, namely, 0 kg·ha−1 (CK), 75 kg·ha−1 (T1), 150 kg·ha−1 (T2), 225 kg·ha−1 (T3) and 300 kg·ha−1 (T4). Parameters such as leaf area index (LAI), lodging index (LI), nitrogen utilization rate, photosynthesis rate and grain yield were measured. The results showed that with the increase of nitrogen dose in a certain range, LAI, plant height, the number of tillers, net photosynthetic rate (NPn), the transpiration rate (Tr), and the grain yield increased while the lodging index (LI), the nitrogen agronomic utilization rate (AE) and nitrogen partial productivity (PFPN) decreased. Additionally, with the increase of nitrogen application, the grain yield index (HI) and nitrogen contribution rate (FCRN) of rice presented a parabolic trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Crops Fertigation)
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Open AccessArticle
Foliar Mineral Treatments for The Reduction of Melon (Cucumis melo L.) Fruit Cracking
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1815; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111815 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 304
Abstract
Fruit cracking affects many types of crops and is a major problem since the breakage of the surface of the fruit produces high economic losses. Numerous studies have looked at different ways to prevent this, mainly in melon, but with a low success [...] Read more.
Fruit cracking affects many types of crops and is a major problem since the breakage of the surface of the fruit produces high economic losses. Numerous studies have looked at different ways to prevent this, mainly in melon, but with a low success rate. In this work, a standardisation of the induction of cracking is proposed that involves changes in the irrigation pattern (high conductivity or double irrigation). The prevention of the appearance of cracking was carried out through different foliar mineral treatments. The incidence of cracking was studied in relation to gas exchange variables and the concentrations of minerals in tissues. Our results show a more pronounced increase in cracking with double irrigation. Multiple elements were found to be associated with cracking such as B, Ca, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, and Zn. Furthermore, foliar application of different microelements (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn) decreased the melon cracking incidence, thus assigning to the appropriate combination of these elements a crucial role in cracking amelioration. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Potential of Novel Bacterial Isolates from Natural Soil for the Control of Brown Rot Disease (Monilinia fructigena) on Apple Fruits
Agronomy 2020, 10(11), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10111814 - 18 Nov 2020
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Monilinia fructigena is one of the most important fungal pathogens causing brown rot on apple and is heavily affecting fruit production. The main objective of this study was to screen for potential bacterial isolates with higher antagonistic activity against M. fructigena. Our [...] Read more.
Monilinia fructigena is one of the most important fungal pathogens causing brown rot on apple and is heavily affecting fruit production. The main objective of this study was to screen for potential bacterial isolates with higher antagonistic activity against M. fructigena. Our study focused on the identification of potential bacterial isolates capable of reducing both the mycelial growth of M. fructigena and the disease severity using in vitro and in planta trials, respectively. To achieve this goal, thirteen bacteria, isolated from natural soil, were evaluated for their abilities to produce lytic enzymes (amylase, cellulase and protease), hydrocyanic acid (HCN) and lipopeptides (bacillomycin, fengycin, iturin and surfactin). Further, results from the dual culture method, volatile and bacterial free-cell filtrate bioassays indicated that tested isolates showed a fungicidal activity against the mycelial growth of M. fructigena. Thus, out of the 13 isolates tested, 12 exhibited significant mycelial inhibition (more than 70%) against M. fructigena, while remaining the last isolate displayed only a partial inhibition (up to 43%). Further, 12 of the bacteria isolates displayed an amylase production, 10 showed cellulase production, 11 revealed protease production, while only 2 displayed HCN production. In addition, most bacterial isolates were found to have genes encoding for different lipopeptides: bacillomycin (10), fengycin (3), iturin (11) and surfactin (1). Interestingly, two bacterial isolates, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens B10W10 and Pseudomonas sp. B11W11 were found to be the most effective and displayed the lowest disease severity in planta trial. These two bacteria reduced the brown rot incidence compared to the synthetic fungicide in a semi-commercial large-scale trial. Therefore, our findings suggest that these two later bacterial isolates provide apple protection against M. fructigena via direct and indirect mechanisms. These isolates may be used, therefore, as potential biological control agents (BCAs) in preventive treatment to control brown rot disease on apple fruits. Full article
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