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Agronomy, Volume 10, Issue 4 (April 2020) – 162 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The growing difficulties in finding good-quality water have led to the compelling necessity of [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Innovation Adoption Behavior for Sustainable Development: The Case of Hungarian Food Sector
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040612 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 398
Abstract
Innovation plays a key role in the success and sustainable development of businesses. The innovation process derives from the combination of personal skills and company resources that influence food company managers in their choices on innovation (the decision-making process). This study is an [...] Read more.
Innovation plays a key role in the success and sustainable development of businesses. The innovation process derives from the combination of personal skills and company resources that influence food company managers in their choices on innovation (the decision-making process). This study is an attempt to try to understand which psychological constructs affect innovation decision-making in the Hungarian food sector, using the empirical data from a 2017 survey conducted in Hungary among the largest food processing companies. Planned behavior theory (TPB) was applied to the study of factors affecting innovation decision-making. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used for data analysis. The results show that the positive attitude of Hungarian food business leaders towards innovation, evaluation of innovation and the strategic intention of placing innovative products and processes on the market have a positive relationship with innovation performance; however, the lack of adequate research skills, plus specific knowledge and skills is hindering the development of the hoped for process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Deep Roots in Sorghum Yield Production under Drought Conditions
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040611 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Root function plays a vital role in maintaining crop production. However, the role of deep roots in yield production and their effects on photosynthetic performance in sorghum remain unclear. This study aimed to provide theoretical supports for establishing highly efficient root systems of [...] Read more.
Root function plays a vital role in maintaining crop production. However, the role of deep roots in yield production and their effects on photosynthetic performance in sorghum remain unclear. This study aimed to provide theoretical supports for establishing highly efficient root systems of sorghum to achieve more yield under certain conditions. In this study, two sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) cultivars, Jiza127 and Jiza305, were cultivated in soil columns as experimental materials. Three treatments (no roots removed, CK; roots removed at 30 cm underground, R30; roots removed at 60 cm underground, R60) were carried out under drought conditions during the filling stage. The root bleeding intensity, endogenous substances in the root bleeding sap, photosynthetic characteristics, dry matter accumulation, and yield were measured. The results showed that R30 and R60 significantly reduced yield in both sorghum cultivars, and the effect of R30 on yield was greater than that of R60. The contributions of roots below 30 cm to the yield of both sorghum hybrids were notably higher than those below 60 cm. R30 significantly reduced the dry matter weights (DMWs) of leaves, stems, sheaths, and panicles. R60 significantly reduced the DMW of panicles but had no significant effect on the DMWs of leaves and stems. R30 significantly reduced the photosynthetic level and PSII reaction center activity; however, the effect of R60 was not significant. Although both R30 and R60 significantly reduced root activity and the soluble sugar, amino acid, gibberellin (GA3), and abscisic acid (ABA) contents of the root bleeding sap, some of the above indicators in R60 were significantly higher than those in R30 during the filling stage, indicating that the deeper roots (below 30 cm) had a critical regulatory effect on the physiological processes of the aerial parts in sorghum, which resulted in a stronger effect on yield, especially under drought conditions. In brief, the deep roots of sorghum played a key role in yield production, but the roots in different soil depths regulated yield production in different ways. Our results indicate that deep roots of sorghum deserve consideration as a potential trait for yield improvement especially under drought conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Main Motivational Factors of Farmers Adopting Precision Farming in Hungary
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040610 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 332
Abstract
The basic question of our research is what crop-producing farmers know about PF (precision farming), and how economic value and social factors motivate the acceptance and implementation of PF. We conducted a cross-sectional survey, using standardized questionnaires, in 2018, that was nationally representative [...] Read more.
The basic question of our research is what crop-producing farmers know about PF (precision farming), and how economic value and social factors motivate the acceptance and implementation of PF. We conducted a cross-sectional survey, using standardized questionnaires, in 2018, that was nationally representative of Hungarian crop producers. Besides this, we conducted 30 semi-structured interviews about the meaning of PF, with the farmers who use PF in practice. They defined it as a tool of strategic planning, to serve input savings, using state-of-the-art technologies. Based on the questionnaire, we found that the farmers currently applying PF do not seem to have such a significant impact on the agricultural society that would make others want to move to precision technology, following their example. As a result of the factor analysis, we could differentiate direct and indirect factors. Potential human resources are undereducated, their willingness to improve their knowledge is low, and the level of cooperation ability is low, making it excessively difficult, or even impossible, to acquire the equipment necessary for a technology switch and to purchase the necessary services. It can be concluded that age, production, and technical usefulness carries greater weight over things like monetary factors, productivity of cultivated land, knowledge capital, and willingness of Hungarian farmers to cooperate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle
Curative and Suppressive Activities of Essential Tea Tree Oil against Fungal Plant Pathogens
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040609 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Timorex Gold based on the essential tea tree oil (TTO) derived from the Australian tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) plant has demonstrated high efficacy and a strong curative activity against black Sigatoka in banana and controlled it in stages 1, 2, 3, [...] Read more.
Timorex Gold based on the essential tea tree oil (TTO) derived from the Australian tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) plant has demonstrated high efficacy and a strong curative activity against black Sigatoka in banana and controlled it in stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of disease development. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) examination of infected leaf sections treated with Timorex Gold revealed disruption of the fungal cell membrane and destruction of the fungal cell wall in disease development stages 4 and 5. Mineral oil and the fungicide difenoconazole, when applied alone, had no curative effect and did not disrupt the fungal cell wall or membrane, similar to the untreated control tissue. A single spray of Timorex Gold effectively controlled and suppressed powdery mildew in cucumber by causing the disappearance of 99% of established colonies recorded 1 or 2 days after the application and was effective for up to 8 days after application. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) examination of infected and Timorex Gold-treated leaves indicated strong shrinkage and disruption of fungal hyphae and conidial cells. The curative and suppressive modes of action of the Timorex Gold may explain its success in controlling both diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pest and Disease Management)
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Open AccessArticle
High Soybean Yield and Drought Adaptation Being Associated with Canopy Architecture, Water Uptake, and Root Traits
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040608 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 280
Abstract
Water stress is the main abiotic factor that limits soybean grain yield. We investigated eight soybean cultivars under well-watered (WW) and terminal drought stress (TDS) conditions to determine the traits associated with water saving and the relationship between water use, root morphology, canopy [...] Read more.
Water stress is the main abiotic factor that limits soybean grain yield. We investigated eight soybean cultivars under well-watered (WW) and terminal drought stress (TDS) conditions to determine the traits associated with water saving and the relationship between water use, root morphology, canopy architecture, flower and tagged-pod number, and yield performance. Under WW conditions, the average grain yield across the new soybean cultivars was significantly higher (18.7 g plant−1 vs. 15.1 g plant−1), but significantly less water was used (36 L plant−1 vs. 47 L plant−1) than in the old soybean cultivars. Under TDS, the four old soybean cultivars failed to produce a measurable grain yield, while the new soybean cultivars Zhonghuang 30 (ZH) and Jindou 19 (J19) produced a measurable grain yield. Water stress significantly reduced the flower numbers and tagged-pod numbers; the four new soybean cultivars on average had low flower and tagged-pod numbers under WW treatment, while they had low flower but high tagged-pod numbers under TDS conditions. ZH and JD exhibited a lower branch number and leaf area under both WW and TDS conditions. Water use during the flowering and podding periods was significantly positively correlated with the flower number and the tagged-pod number under both WW and TDS conditions. Thus, the small canopy size and low root length and root surface area contributed to a water-saving mechanism in the new soybean cultivars and improved the yield under drought conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanism and Improvement of Drought Resistance in Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparison of Moment-Independent and Variance-Based Global Sensitivity Analysis Approaches for Wheat Yield Estimation with the Aquacrop-OS Model
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040607 - 24 Apr 2020
Viewed by 448
Abstract
The present work reports the global sensitivity analysis of the Aquacrop Open Source (AOS) model, which is the open-source version of the original Aquacrop model developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Analysis for identifying the most influential parameters was based on [...] Read more.
The present work reports the global sensitivity analysis of the Aquacrop Open Source (AOS) model, which is the open-source version of the original Aquacrop model developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Analysis for identifying the most influential parameters was based on different strategies of global SA, density-based and variance-based, for the wheat crop in two different geographical locations and climates. The main objectives were to distinguish the model’s influential and non-influential parameters and to examine the yield output sensitivity. We compared two different methods of global sensitivity analysis: the most commonly used variance-based method, EFAST, and the moment independent density-based PAWN method developed in recent years. We have also identified non-influential parameters using Morris screening method, so to provide an idea of the use of non-influential parameters with a dummy parameter approach. For both the study areas (located in Italy and in China) and climates, a similar set of influential parameters was found, although with varying sensitivity. When compared with different probability distribution functions, the probability distribution function of yield was found to be best approximated by a Generalized Extreme Values distribution with Kolmogorov–Smirnov statistic of 0.030 and lowest Anderson–Darling statistic of 0.164, as compared to normal distribution function with Kolmogorov–Smirnov statistic of 0.122 and Anderson–Darling statistic of 4.099. This indicates that yield output is not normally distributed but has a rather skewed distribution function. In this case, a variance-based approach was not the best choice, and the density-based method performed better. The dummy parameter approach avoids to use a threshold as it is a subjective question; it advances the approach to setting up a threshold and gives an optimal way to set up a threshold and use it to distinguish between influential and non-influential parameters. The highly sensitive parameters to crop yield were specifically canopy and phenological development parameters, parameters that govern biomass/yield production and temperature stress parameters rather than root development and water stress parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Management Intensity Controls Nitrogen-Use-Efficiency and Flows in Grasslands—A 15N Tracing Experiment
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040606 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The consequences of land use intensification and climate warming on productivity, fates of fertilizer nitrogen (N) and the overall soil N balance of montane grasslands remain poorly understood. Here, we report findings of a 15N slurry-tracing experiment on large grassland plant–soil lysimeters [...] Read more.
The consequences of land use intensification and climate warming on productivity, fates of fertilizer nitrogen (N) and the overall soil N balance of montane grasslands remain poorly understood. Here, we report findings of a 15N slurry-tracing experiment on large grassland plant–soil lysimeters exposed to different management intensities (extensive vs. intensive) and climates (control; translocation: +2 °C, reduced precipitation). Surface-applied cattle slurry was enriched with both 15NH4+ and 15N-urea in order to trace its fate in the plant–soil system. Recovery of 15N tracer in plants was low (7–17%), while it was considerably higher in the soil N pool (32–42%), indicating N stabilization in soil organic nitrogen (SON). Total 15N recovery was only 49% ± 7% indicating substantial fertilizer N losses to the environment. With harvest N exports exceeding N fertilization rates, the N balance was negative for all climate and management treatments. Intensive management had an increased deficit relative to extensive management. In contrast, simulated climate change had no significant effects on the grassland N balance. These results suggest a risk of soil N mining in montane grasslands under land use intensification based on broadcast liquid slurry application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Grassland and Pasture Science)
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Open AccessCommunication
Innovative Pro-Smallholder Farmers’ Permanent Mulch for Better Soil Quality and Food Security Under Conservation Agriculture
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 605; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040605 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Soil degradation is the greatest threat to agricultural production globally. The practice of applying or retaining crop residues in the field as mulch is imperative to prevent soil erosion, maintain soil quality and improve crop productivity. However, smallholder farmers resort to maximizing profit [...] Read more.
Soil degradation is the greatest threat to agricultural production globally. The practice of applying or retaining crop residues in the field as mulch is imperative to prevent soil erosion, maintain soil quality and improve crop productivity. However, smallholder farmers resort to maximizing profit by removing crop residues after harvest to sell or use them as feed for livestock. Agrimats are innovative pro-smallholder farming mulching materials that are manufactured using cheap or freely available organic waste materials. These materials include forestry waste, grasses, etc., therefore allowing smallholder farmers to make more profit through improved crop productivity for better food security. The most notable attributes of agrimats include their ability to prevent soil erosion, increase and sustain soil organic matter, suppress weeds, and conserve soil moisture. Food security challenge can be addressed by adopting agrimat technology as a sustainable permanent soil cover to improve soil quality and crop productivity. Agrimat incorporation in conservation agriculture practice could produce more food from less input resources (chemical fertilizers, water, etc.) with minimal or no adverse effect on the environment. This study aims to advocate permanent soil cover using agrimat as an innovative pro-smallholder farmer technology to improve soil quality for better food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroecology and Organic Agriculture for Sustainable Crop Production)
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Open AccessArticle
A Rice Model System for Determining Suitable Sowing and Transplanting Dates
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040604 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 252
Abstract
Sowing and transplanting dates are important cultivation factors for rice production. Therefore, the present study focused on developing a rice model system that would be able to determine sowing and transplanting dates for diverse cultivars and planting methods in different agro-ecological zones. Different [...] Read more.
Sowing and transplanting dates are important cultivation factors for rice production. Therefore, the present study focused on developing a rice model system that would be able to determine sowing and transplanting dates for diverse cultivars and planting methods in different agro-ecological zones. Different model parameters were integrated into a rice model system on the basis of their interaction effects in this study. The results showed that sowing and transplanting dates designed by the rice model system were approached to the planting dates recommended by local agricultural experts for high yield practices, with root mean squared error (RMSE) of 5.3 to 14.74 days. The model system accurately simulated suitable sowing and transplanting dates under most scenarios with relatively low RMSE, high linear correlation coefficient (R2), and model efficiency (EF). Using the model system recommendations, rice yield under manual transplanting in low fertility soil was increased the most (5.5%), while for direct sowing in high fertility soil, yield increase was modest (0.8%). The newly-developed rice model system can act as a technical approach to design suitable sowing and transplanting dates for achieving high yield and effective crop production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Innovative Cropping Systems)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Deep Phenotyping of Yield-Related Traits in Wheat
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040603 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 820
Abstract
The complex formation of grain yield (GY) is related to multiple dry matter (DM) traits; however, due to their time-consuming determination, they are not readily accessible. In winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), both agronomic treatments and genotypic variation influence GY in interaction [...] Read more.
The complex formation of grain yield (GY) is related to multiple dry matter (DM) traits; however, due to their time-consuming determination, they are not readily accessible. In winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), both agronomic treatments and genotypic variation influence GY in interaction with the environment. Spectral proximal sensing is promising for high-throughput non-destructive phenotyping but was rarely evaluated systematically for dissecting yield-related variation in DM traits. Aiming at a temporal, spectral and organ-level optimization, 48 vegetation indices were evaluated in a high-yielding environment in 10 growth stages for the estimation of 31 previously compared traits related to GY formation—influenced by sowing time, fungicide, N fertilization, and cultivar. A quantitative index ranking was evaluated to assess the stage-independent index suitability. GY showed close linear relationships with spectral vegetation indices across and within agronomic treatments (R2 = 0.47–0.67 ***). Water band indices, followed by red edge-based indices, best used at milk or early dough ripeness, were better suited than the widely used normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Index rankings for many organ-level DM traits were comparable, but the relationships were often less close. Among yield components, grain number per spike (R2 = 0.24–0.34 ***) and spike density (R2 = 0.23–0.46 ***) were moderately estimated. GY was mainly estimated by detecting total DM rather than the harvest index. Across agronomic treatments and cultivars, seasonal index rankings were the most stable for GY and total DM, whereas traits related to DM allocation and translocation demanded specific index selection. The results suggest using indices with water bands, near infrared/red edge and visible light bands to increase the accuracy of in-season spectral phenotyping for GY, contributing organ-level traits, and yield components, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
SNP in DFR1 Coding Sequence Is Tightly Associated with Anthocyanin Accumulation in Cabbage (B. oleracea var. capitata f. alba) at Low Temperature
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 602; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040602 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Keeping green leaf color at the time of harvest is one of the important traits for breeding of Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba, and this trait is related to low anthocyanin contents. To understand the differential accumulation of anthocyanins in cabbage, [...] Read more.
Keeping green leaf color at the time of harvest is one of the important traits for breeding of Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba, and this trait is related to low anthocyanin contents. To understand the differential accumulation of anthocyanins in cabbage, we selected high anthocyanin accumulators (HAAs) and low anthocyanin accumulator (LAAs) of cabbages and examined the anthocyanin content and the expression of anthocyanin biosynthesis-related genes. Among many genes investigated, BoDFR1 was found to be closely related to anthocyanin accumulation, even under low temperature (LT) conditions. BoDFR1 sequence analyses between HAAs and LAAs revealed that there is a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (1118T/A) in the coding sequence, which substitutes one amino acid from Leu261 to His261; we named BoDFR1 with His261 substitution as BoDFR1v. This amino acid substitution did not affect dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) activity and substrate specificity, but the polymorphism showed tight association to the BoDFR1 expression, i.e., high level expression of BoDFR1 and low level expression of BoDFR1v under LT conditions. The high levels of BoDFR1 expression were due to the high levels of BoMYB114 and BobHLH expressions combined with low level expression of BoMYBL2, a repressor MYB. On the other hand, low levels of BoDFR1v expression seemed to be related to very low level expressions of BoMYB114 and BobHLH combined with a high level expression of BoMYBL2. It seems that different expression levels of these regulatory genes for MBW (MYB-bHLH-WD40) complex between HAAs and LAAs regulate BoDFR expression and anthocyanin accumulation. Using a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) between BoDFR1 and BoDFR1v, molecular markers for PCR and high resolution melt analyses were developed and validated to distinguish between HAAs and LAAs. Combined use of the BoDFR1 SNP marker with other stress markers, such as a cold tolerant marker, will greatly improve cabbage breeding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of the Transverse Distribution of Fertilizer in Coffee Plantations
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 601; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040601 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Considering the impact of fertilizers on coffee production costs, the search for greater efficiency in the use of these inputs has an important role. Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to evaluate the transverse distribution of fertilizer by a centrifugal spreader [...] Read more.
Considering the impact of fertilizers on coffee production costs, the search for greater efficiency in the use of these inputs has an important role. Accordingly, the aim of the present study is to evaluate the transverse distribution of fertilizer by a centrifugal spreader in a coffee plantation and to compare two operating modes: fertilizer application on one side (FA1), or both sides (FA2) of the coffee plants. In addition, three doses (200, 300 and 400 kg ha−1) of monoammonium phosphate and three spreading disk rotation speeds (240, 375 and 750 rpm) were tested. To characterize fertilizer distribution profiles, collectors were placed under the canopy of coffee plants, and the collected fertilizer was weighed. From the data obtained, distribution profile histograms were constructed, and coefficients of variation were calculated for each treatment. Distribution profiles with higher uniformity were related to the morphologic characteristics of the coffee plants. Regarding the operating modes evaluated, FA1 presented better results with a disk rotation speed of 750 rpm (FA1-W3); FA2 produced the best results with a disk rotation speed of 240 rpm. By relating these results with information on root morphology, FA1-W3 was found to be the most appropriate application method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Agriculture for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Plastic Film Mulching Sustains High Maize (Zea mays L.) Grain Yield and Maintains Soil Water Balance in Semiarid Environment
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040600 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 278
Abstract
Ridge–furrow cultivation with plastic film mulching has been widely used for many years to increase crop yields in semiarid regions. The long-term effects of plastic mulching on crop yield and soil water balance need to be seriously considered to assess the sustainability of [...] Read more.
Ridge–furrow cultivation with plastic film mulching has been widely used for many years to increase crop yields in semiarid regions. The long-term effects of plastic mulching on crop yield and soil water balance need to be seriously considered to assess the sustainability of this widely used field management technique. A seven-year maize field experiment was conducted during 2012–2018 to estimate the yield sustainability and soil water balance with two treatments—mulching (yes; no) and nitrogen fertilization (yes; no). This resulted in the following four groups—no film mulching, no N application (M0N0); film mulching, no N application (M1N0); no film mulching, N application (M0N1); film mulching and N application (M1N1). Our results show that plastic mulching significantly increased maize yield. A combination of mulching and nitrogen application had the highest sustainability yield index (SYI) of 0.75, which was higher than the other three treatments, with SYI values of 0.31, 0.33, and 0.39, respectively. Plastic film mulching increased soil water content and water storage in both the sowing and harvesting periods and did not cause the formation of dry soil layers. Precipitation storage efficiency (PSE) in the nongrowing season played a key role in maintaining the soil water balance and it was positively affected by plastic film mulching. Our research indicates that plastic mulching and N application could maintain maize yield sustainability and the soil water balance of agriculture in semiarid regions. In addition, we highlight the importance of nongrowing season precipitation, and thus, we suggest that mulching the field land with plastic film throughout the whole year should be adopted by farmers to store more precipitation, which is important to crop growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide on Plant Growth, Mineral Accumulation, as Well as Biological and Chemical Properties of Ficus deltoidea
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040599 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 284
Abstract
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is defined as a reactive oxygen species (ROS), able to cause damage to a variety of cellular structures. On the other hand, recent work has demonstrated that H2O2 can also act as a [...] Read more.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is defined as a reactive oxygen species (ROS), able to cause damage to a variety of cellular structures. On the other hand, recent work has demonstrated that H2O2 can also act as a potent signaling molecule that mediates various physiological and biochemical processes in plants. This study was carried out to investigate the effects of H2O2 on the growth, mineral nutrient accumulation, as well as the biologic and chemical properties of Ficus deltoidea var. deltoidea. F. deltoidea plants were spray-treated with 0- (control), 8-, 16-, 30- and 60-mM H2O2 under field conditions. Plant height, leaf area, chlorophyll content, net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and quantum yield of the F. deltoidea plants significantly increased after treatment with 16 and 30-mM H2O2. The results indicate that 60-mM H2O2 increased the accumulation of arsenic, iron and sodium content in the leaves of F. deltoidea. On the other hand, 8-mM H2O2 significantly enhanced the accumulation of arsenic, iron, calcium and potassium content in the syconium of F. deltoidea plants. In addition, H2O2 treatment did not produce any significant effects on antimony and magnesium accumulation in the leaves or the syconium of F. deltoidea plants. The results show that the F. deltoidea plant has strong antidiabetic properties and its α-glucosidase activity increased in treated plants compared to standard acarbose. Hydrogen peroxide, particularly in concentrations of 16 and 30 mM, increased the antioxidant activity, total phenolic and flavonoid content and the vitexin and isovitexin content. There was a positive correlation between antioxidant activity with total phenol and total flavonoid content in H2O2-treated plants. The quantitative analysis by HPTLC indicates that the amount of vitexin and isovitexin increased with the higher concentrations of H2O2. From this study, it can be concluded that spraying 16 and 30-mM H2O2 once a week enhances growth, mineral accumulation and stimulates bioactive compounds of the F. deltoidea plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Selection of Experimental Hybrids of Strawberry Using Multivariate Analysis
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040598 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 521
Abstract
The selection of superior strawberry genotypes is a complex process due to the high variability after hybridization that is caused by the octoploid nature and the heterozygosis, making the selection of multiple traits difficult. This study aimed to select strawberry hybrids with the [...] Read more.
The selection of superior strawberry genotypes is a complex process due to the high variability after hybridization that is caused by the octoploid nature and the heterozygosis, making the selection of multiple traits difficult. This study aimed to select strawberry hybrids with the potential for fresh consumption and/or processing by applying multivariate analysis to obtain traits of interest simultaneously. Hybrids were obtained from the crossing among seven commercial cultivars, defining a selection of 10% of them. The experimental design consisted of an augmented block design, with two commercial cultivars, Camarosa and Camino Real, as the controls. Different variables, including the number and average mass of commercial fruits, total fruit mass, pH, soluble solids (SS), titratable acidity (TA), SS/TA ratio, reducing sugars, pectin, ascorbic acid, phenolic compounds, and anthocyanin’s, were assessed. The selection of hybrids was based on the Mulamba and Mock rank-summation index, principal component analysis, and Ward’s hierarchical cluster analysis. The selection index was based on different weights being adopted for fresh market and processing. The assessed traits had high variability between hybrids. The highest selection gains were obtained for production traits, but the different weight assignment resulted in different classifications of hybrids for both fresh consumption and processing. Most of the hybrids selected by the index remained in the same group in the principal component and hierarchical cluster analyses, which indicates that multivariate analysis is a valuable tool for assisting in the selection of superior hybrids in the strawberry crop. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Paecilomyces variotii as A Plant-Growth Promoter in Horticulture
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040597 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 375
Abstract
In the present study, P. variotii, an endophytic fungus isolated from plant roots from the Cabo de Gata Natural Park (Parque Nacional Cabo de Gata—Spain), was tested to determine the effect on the growth promotion of tomato and pepper seeds and seedlings. [...] Read more.
In the present study, P. variotii, an endophytic fungus isolated from plant roots from the Cabo de Gata Natural Park (Parque Nacional Cabo de Gata—Spain), was tested to determine the effect on the growth promotion of tomato and pepper seeds and seedlings. For these purposes, germination trials in a laboratory and two experiments in a commercial nursery and greenhouse conditions were performed. The P. variotii isolate has shown a high ability to produce siderophores and IAA, but low ability to solubilize P. High values for germination percentage, seedling vigor, root and shoot length were obtained by P. variotii on tomato and pepper against control. P. variotii applications resulted in improved most of the growth parameters evaluated, for both horticultural crops, with the best results in the development of pepper seedlings. The application of a higher dose of P. variotii improved most of the morphological parameters and the Dickson quality index (DQI) value in tomato in seedlings and plants. The establishment of the endophytic fungus at the root enabled its biostimulant effects to persist after transplantation without any additional application. Few studies have analyzed this species as a biostimulant. The positive results from the tests showed its high potential. The application of this isolate can be of enormous benefit to horticultural crops for its high reproductive and establishment capacity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Planting Date for Soybean Growth, Development, and Yield in the Southern USA
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040596 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 270
Abstract
As fluctuating commodity prices change the agriculture landscape on a yearly basis, soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) has become the predominant crop in the southern USA, accounting for 65 percent of the total row crop production in the state. To accommodate increased [...] Read more.
As fluctuating commodity prices change the agriculture landscape on a yearly basis, soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) has become the predominant crop in the southern USA, accounting for 65 percent of the total row crop production in the state. To accommodate increased soybean production, planting dates have expanded, spanning from late March through July. To determine the impact of this expanded planting window on soybean development and yield, field experiments were conducted at Starkville and Stoneville, MS, in 2013 and 2014. Treatments included seven planting dates ranging from 25 March to 15 July and two soybean cultivars (one Maturity Group IV and one Maturity Group V cultivar). These studies were conducted in irrigated high––yielding environments. Experimental units were sampled weekly for insect pests and insecticides were applied when populations exceeded the levels at which applications were recommended. Planting date had a significant impact on crop development, plant height, canopy closure, and yield. As planting date was delayed, the time required for crop development decreased from 122 total days for plantings on 25 March to 83 days for plantings on 15 July. For plantings after 2 June, plant height decreased by 1.1 cm per day. Canopy closure decreased by 1.01% per day after 27 May. Soybean yield decreased 26.7 kg/ha per day when soybean was planted after 20 April. This research demonstrates the importance of early planting dates for soybean producers in the southern US to ensure profitability by maximizing yield potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Pest Management into Agricultural Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Establishment of a Cultivation Mode of Glycine soja, the Bridge of Phytoremediation and Industrial Utilization
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 595; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040595 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 240
Abstract
Soil salinity is a growing challenge for today’s agriculture. It is one of the most brutal abiotic factors limiting crop productivity globally. Millions of hectares of agricultural land throughout the world are too saline to produce economic crop yields and the area affected [...] Read more.
Soil salinity is a growing challenge for today’s agriculture. It is one of the most brutal abiotic factors limiting crop productivity globally. Millions of hectares of agricultural land throughout the world are too saline to produce economic crop yields and the area affected by salt accumulation is increasing day by day. Saline soils could however be a potential land resource with utilization value under the process of phytoremediation. Wild soybean (Glycine soja) is a salt-tolerant plant widely used in the cosmetic and pharmaceuticals industries as well as in crop improvement programs. This crop shows potential value for saline soil phytoremediation. However, due to its procumbent growth habit, accumulation of biomass is reduced and consequently reducing its value in phytoremediation. In this study, artificial facilities were used to make wild soybeans grow upright. Compared to the control plants, which yielded 1629.74 kg/ha of seed and 6075.76 kg/ha above ground biomass, erect wild soybean plants yielded 2608.10 kg/ha of seed and 10,286.40 kg/ha of above ground biomass (dry weight). The potential phytoremediation ability of wild soybean was also studied. The wild soybean could absorb up to 264.57 kg soluble salt/ha/year with an average of 25.72‰ salt content. The soluble salt content in the wild soybean rhizosphere was 1.50‰ higher than that in the bulk soil, suggesting that the rhizosphere of wild soybean can enrich soluble salt. The K–Na ratio of seed, leaf, shoot, and capsule were all greater than 1 suggesting that the wild soybean has a good salt tolerance capacity. Additionally, the bioaccumulation factor (BF) value of Na in roots was >1 suggesting that the root of wild soybean was the main organ for Na+ storage and suitable for Na phytostabilization. Furthermore, wild soybean could be potentially play an important role in Ca and Mg phytostabilization due to their corresponding BF values, which were greater than 1 in different organs. In other words, the establishment of a cultivation mode of wild soybean, as demonstrated in this study, will be a bridge towards phytoremediation of saline soils and better industrial utilization of the crop. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Electromagnetic Stimulation of Seeds on the Photosynthetic Indicators in Medicago sativa L. Leaves at Various Stages of Development
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040594 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 344
Abstract
The paper explores the impact of electromagnetic stimulation of Ulstar alfalfa seeds on fresh mass yield, the quantum efficiency of the plants’ photochemical reactions, and the content of photosynthetic pigments in leaves. Before sowing, seeds were subjected to electromagnetic stimulation in the following [...] Read more.
The paper explores the impact of electromagnetic stimulation of Ulstar alfalfa seeds on fresh mass yield, the quantum efficiency of the plants’ photochemical reactions, and the content of photosynthetic pigments in leaves. Before sowing, seeds were subjected to electromagnetic stimulation in the following configurations: control (C), no stimulation; stimulation with He–Ne laser light with the wavelength of 632.8 nm, surface power density of 3 mW·cm−2 and exposition time of 1 min (L1) or 5 min (L5); stimulation with alternating magnetic field with the induction of 30 mT and exposition time of 1 min (F1) or 5 min (F5). It was established that the variability of alfalfa yields at the onset of anthesis was dependent on weather conditions as well as, above all, on the electromagnetic stimulation employed. At the same time, the values of fresh mass yield of alfalfa and photosynthetic efficiency were higher in the first year of cultivation (2014) compared to the last year (2016). In terms of photosynthetic efficiency, the best results were observed for L1 and F5, respectively: 0.801 and 0.800. The significantly highest values in terms of chlorophyll a and b and carotenoid content were observed in 2014 at the onset of budding in the combination involving alternating magnetic field stimulation (F5), and were, respectively, 30%, 28% and 73% relative to the control. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bioinformatic Extraction of Functional Genetic Diversity from Heterogeneous Germplasm Collections for Crop Improvement
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 593; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040593 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 283
Abstract
Efficient utilization of genetic variation in plant germplasm collections is impeded by large collection size, uneven characterization of traits, and unpredictable apportionment of allelic diversity among heterogeneous accessions. Distributing compact subsets of the complete collection that contain maximum allelic diversity at functional loci [...] Read more.
Efficient utilization of genetic variation in plant germplasm collections is impeded by large collection size, uneven characterization of traits, and unpredictable apportionment of allelic diversity among heterogeneous accessions. Distributing compact subsets of the complete collection that contain maximum allelic diversity at functional loci of interest could streamline conventional and precision breeding. Using heterogeneous population samples from Arabidopsis, Populus and sorghum, we show that genomewide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data permits the capture of 3–78 fold more haplotypic diversity in subsets than geographic or environmental data, which are commonly used surrogate predictors of genetic diversity. Using a large genomewide SNP data set from landrace sorghum, we demonstrate three bioinformatic approaches to extract functional genetic diversity. First, in a “candidate gene” approach, we assembled subsets that maximized haplotypic diversity at 135 putative lignin biosynthetic loci, relevant to biomass breeding programs. Secondly, we applied a keyword search against the Gene Ontology to identify 1040 regulatory loci and assembled subsets capturing genomewide regulatory gene diversity, a general source of phenotypic variation. Third, we developed a machine-learning approach to rank semantic similarity between Gene Ontology term definitions and the textual content of scientific publications on crop adaptation to climate, a complex breeding objective. We identified 505 sorghum loci whose defined function is semantically-related to climate adaptation concepts. The assembled subsets could be used to address climatic pressures on sorghum production. To face impending agricultural challenges and foster rapid extraction and use of novel genetic diversity resident in heterogeneous germplasm collections, whole genome resequencing efforts should be prioritized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinformatics Applied to Genetic Improvement of Crop Species)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Characterization of Flowering Time and Pollen Production in Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) towards a Strategy for the Selection of Elite Male Genotypes
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 592; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040592 - 22 Apr 2020
Viewed by 229
Abstract
The seeds of the dioecious shrub jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) Schneider) yield a liquid wax that is in high demand for the cosmetics industry. While elite female cultivars of this species are currently clonally propagated, male plants are grown from seed, resulting [...] Read more.
The seeds of the dioecious shrub jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) Schneider) yield a liquid wax that is in high demand for the cosmetics industry. While elite female cultivars of this species are currently clonally propagated, male plants are grown from seed, resulting in large variations in both the flowering period and the pollen viability, and hence large variation in yields. We characterized the existing male plant material in a local plantation as a platform for future selection of elite male cultivars that would produce sufficient amounts of viable pollen throughout the extended flowering period of the female cultivars. Using as a guide the number of viable pollen grains per 1-m branch, defined here as the calculated effective pollen productivity (EPP), we identified plants with an elevated EPP that flower concurrently with the female cultivars. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Abscission of Orange Fruit (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.) in the Mediterranean Basin Depends More on Environmental Conditions Than on Fruit Ripeness
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040591 - 21 Apr 2020
Viewed by 314
Abstract
Orange fruit abscission usually occurs at the final stage of fruit maturation but in some areas of citrus production, in advance of the usual harvest period, and sometimes suddenly and intensely. The reasons for this precocious citrus fruit abscission remains unclear. Therefore, the [...] Read more.
Orange fruit abscission usually occurs at the final stage of fruit maturation but in some areas of citrus production, in advance of the usual harvest period, and sometimes suddenly and intensely. The reasons for this precocious citrus fruit abscission remains unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to try to clarify what the determinants of this phenomenon are. A multi-site experimentation was carried out on six orange cultivars, in Corsica, Spain and Tunisia where the phenomenon of early massive fruit drop varies. Climatic parameters, fruit maturity parameters and fruit detachment force (FDF) were recorded along the fruit maturation period. Respectively to the fruit drop, the FDF decreased in Tunisia and in Spain until the fruit falls, whereas in Corsica, it remained relatively constant throughout fruit maturation. Although data on fruit maturity parameters (rind color, acidity and total soluble solids) differed at the three sites, their evolution was similar during the period of maturation. FDF was not related to changes in any fruit maturity parameters, and more likely depended on changes in temperatures on days when the mean temperature was above 13 °C. Massive fruit abscission could be linked to the earlier more rapid restart of vegetative growth in Tunisia and Spain than in Corsica. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cut-Edge Detection Method for Rice Harvesting Based on Machine Vision
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 590; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040590 - 20 Apr 2020
Viewed by 314
Abstract
A cut-edge detection method based on machine vision was developed for obtaining the navigation path of a combine harvester. First, the Cr component in the YCbCr color model was selected as the grayscale feature factor. Then, by detecting the end of the crop [...] Read more.
A cut-edge detection method based on machine vision was developed for obtaining the navigation path of a combine harvester. First, the Cr component in the YCbCr color model was selected as the grayscale feature factor. Then, by detecting the end of the crop row, judging the target demarcation and getting the feature points, the region of interest (ROI) was automatically gained. Subsequently, the vertical projection was applied to reduce the noise. All the points in the ROI were calculated, and a dividing point was found in each row. The hierarchical clustering method was used to extract the outliers. At last, the polynomial fitting method was used to acquire the straight or curved cut-edge. The results gained from the samples showed that the average error for locating the cut-edge was 2.84 cm. The method was capable of providing support for the automatic navigation of a combine harvester. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Agriculture for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Nutrients Effects on the Performance of Durum Wheat Inoculated with Entomopathogenic Fungi
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 589; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040589 - 20 Apr 2020
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Entomopathogenic fungi (EFs) are widely used as biological control agents. However, some strains of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum can also promote plant growth and increase nutrient uptake. We examined the effects of soil properties on the performance of Triticum durum inoculated by [...] Read more.
Entomopathogenic fungi (EFs) are widely used as biological control agents. However, some strains of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum can also promote plant growth and increase nutrient uptake. We examined the effects of soil properties on the performance of Triticum durum inoculated by seed dressing with these EFs and grown on 12 agricultural soils. The plants were supplied with all nutrients except P and Zn (essential for yield and the grain quality of wheat). Fungal inoculation increased the grain yield and harvest index significantly with B. bassiana (17% and 14%, respectively) but not with M. brunneum (6% and 6%, respectively). The increase in grain yield was positively and moderately correlated with the soil available phosphorus (POlsen) in plants inoculated with B. bassiana and with the soil content in poorly crystalline Fe oxides with M. brunneum. In addition, the increase in aerial dry matter resulting from inoculation with B. bassiana was negatively correlated with soil available Zn. Furthermore, the observed increase in grain yields due to fungal inoculation resulted in P and Zn grain dilution (grain nutrient concentrations decrease). Inoculation with B. bassiana increased grain Zn uptake and the proportion of Zn in grain relative to that in aerial dry matter. Success in the mutualistic relationship between EF and wheat plants depends on the fungal strain and soil properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Healthy in Agro-ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Phenolic Content, Color Development, and Pigment−Related Gene Expression: A Comparative Analysis in Different Cultivars of Strawberry during the Ripening Process
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040588 - 20 Apr 2020
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Globally, the strawberry is one of the most widely consumed fruits, but under certain environmental conditions, it exhibits inadequate red color development, causing economic losses due to lower product quality. In order to evaluate if changes in color are cultivar-specific and environmentally dependent, [...] Read more.
Globally, the strawberry is one of the most widely consumed fruits, but under certain environmental conditions, it exhibits inadequate red color development, causing economic losses due to lower product quality. In order to evaluate if changes in color are cultivar-specific and environmentally dependent, a comparative study of anthocyanin accumulation, total phenolic, total flavonoid content analysis and additionally a transcriptional profile of pigment-related genes in “Camarosa,” “Cristal,” “Monterey,” and “Portola” (four strawberry cultivars) was performed. These showed an increase in their red coloration during fruit development. The anthocyanin accumulation in the four cultivars was related to the particular progress of the transcriptional activity of genes involved in the biosynthesis of flavonoid pigments. The greatest increase was observed in “Monterey” and “Camarosa”; thus, we have found a correlation between fruit color redness and total anthocyanins only in these cultivars. However, a positive correlation between the mRNA abundance of FaF3′H and FaFLS and the total flavonoids content was found in all cultivars at early stages of ripening. Finally, we found correlations between color and other important physiological properties such as SSC/TA, weight, and aroma expressed as total esters. These results could be useful in making decisions in future breeding programs to improve the content of healthy compound content in strawberry fruit. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trifluralin and Atrazine Sensitivity to Selected Cereal and Legume Crops
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040587 - 20 Apr 2020
Viewed by 643
Abstract
Soil-applied herbicides can persist in sufficient concentrations to affect the growth of crops in rotations. The sensitivity of wheat, barley, oat, lucerne and lentil to trifluralin and atrazine residues were investigated with three glasshouse experiments in 2018 and 2019. Each bioassay crop species [...] Read more.
Soil-applied herbicides can persist in sufficient concentrations to affect the growth of crops in rotations. The sensitivity of wheat, barley, oat, lucerne and lentil to trifluralin and atrazine residues were investigated with three glasshouse experiments in 2018 and 2019. Each bioassay crop species was tested against different concentrations of trifluralin and atrazine in sandy soil using a full factorial design. Shoot and root parameters of the tested crop species were fitted in logistic equations against herbicide concentrations to calculate effective doses for 50% growth inhibition (ED50). Results revealed that both shoot and root parameters of all the test crop species were significantly affected by trifluralin and atrazine. Trifluralin delayed crop emergence at the lower concentrations examined, while higher concentrations prevented emergence entirely. Low concentrations of atrazine did not affect emergence but significantly reduced plant height, soil–plant analyses development (SPAD) index, shoot dry weight, root length, root dry weight and number of nodules of all the crop species. At high concentration, atrazine resulted in plant death. Legumes were found to be more sensitive than cereals when exposed to both trifluralin and atrazine treatments, with lucerne being the most sensitive to both herbicides, ED50 ranging from 0.01 to 0.07 mg/kg soil for trifluralin; and from 0.004 to 0.01 mg/kg for atrazine. Barley was the most tolerant species observed in terms of the two herbicides tested. Lucerne can be used to develop a simple but reliable bioassay technique to estimate herbicide residues in the soil so that a sound crop rotation strategy can be implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Management and Pesticide Application Technology)
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Open AccessCommunication
Do Long-Term Continuous Cropping and Pesticides Affect Earthworm Communities?
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040586 - 20 Apr 2020
Viewed by 286
Abstract
Earthworm species composition, the density of individuals, and their biomass were investigated in spring barley and faba bean fields in a long-term (52-year) experiment conducted at the Production and Experimental Station in Bałcyny, in north-eastern Poland (53°40′ N; 19°50′ E). Additionally, post-harvest residues [...] Read more.
Earthworm species composition, the density of individuals, and their biomass were investigated in spring barley and faba bean fields in a long-term (52-year) experiment conducted at the Production and Experimental Station in Bałcyny, in north-eastern Poland (53°40′ N; 19°50′ E). Additionally, post-harvest residues biomass, soil organic matter (SOM), and soil pH were recorded. The above traits were investigated using two experimental factors: I. cropping system—continuous cropping (CC) vs. crop rotation (CR) and II. pesticide plant protection: herbicide + fungicide (HF+) vs. no plant protection (HF−). A total of three species of Lumbricidae were found: Aporrectodea caliginosa (Sav.) in both crops, Aporrectodea rosea (Sav.) in spring barley, and Lumbricus terrestris (L.) in faba bean. The density and biomass of earthworms were unaffected by experimental treatments in spring barley fields, whereas in faba bean CC increased and HF+ decreased earthworm density and biomass in comparison with CR and HF− respectively. Total post-harvest residues in faba bean fields were higher under CC in relation to CR and under HF+ compared with HF− treatment in both crops. Compared to CR, CC increased soil pH in spring barley fields and decreased in faba bean fields. Experimental factors did not affect SOM. Earthworm density and biomass were positively correlated with SOM content. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Accelerating Genetic Gain in Sugarcane Breeding Using Genomic Selection
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040585 - 19 Apr 2020
Viewed by 760
Abstract
Sugarcane is a major industrial crop cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is the primary source of sugar worldwide, accounting for more than 70% of world sugar consumption. Additionally, sugarcane is emerging as a source of sustainable bioenergy. However, [...] Read more.
Sugarcane is a major industrial crop cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is the primary source of sugar worldwide, accounting for more than 70% of world sugar consumption. Additionally, sugarcane is emerging as a source of sustainable bioenergy. However, the increase in productivity from sugarcane has been small compared to other major crops, and the rate of genetic gains from current breeding programs tends to be plateauing. In this review, some of the main contributors for the relatively slow rates of genetic gain are discussed, including (i) breeding cycle length and (ii) low narrow-sense heritability for major commercial traits, possibly reflecting strong non-additive genetic effects involved in quantitative trait expression. A general overview of genomic selection (GS), a modern breeding tool that has been very successfully applied in animal and plant breeding, is given. This review discusses key elements of GS and its potential to significantly increase the rate of genetic gain in sugarcane, mainly by (i) reducing the breeding cycle length, (ii) increasing the prediction accuracy for clonal performance, and (iii) increasing the accuracy of breeding values for parent selection. GS approaches that can accurately capture non-additive genetic effects and potentially improve the accuracy of genomic estimated breeding values are particularly promising for the adoption of GS in sugarcane breeding. Finally, different strategies for the efficient incorporation of GS in a practical sugarcane breeding context are presented. These proposed strategies hold the potential to substantially increase the rate of genetic gain in future sugarcane breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Herbaceous Field Crops Cultivation)
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Open AccessCommunication
Initial Experimental Experience with a Sprayable Biodegradable Polymer Membrane (SBPM) Technology in Cotton
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040584 - 19 Apr 2020
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Preformed biodegradable and next generation sprayable biodegradable polymer membrane (SBPM) formulations, which biodegrade to non-harmful products (water, carbon dioxide and microbial biomass), have been introduced as an alternative to plastic mulch films in order to mitigate plastic pollution of the environment. In this [...] Read more.
Preformed biodegradable and next generation sprayable biodegradable polymer membrane (SBPM) formulations, which biodegrade to non-harmful products (water, carbon dioxide and microbial biomass), have been introduced as an alternative to plastic mulch films in order to mitigate plastic pollution of the environment. In this preliminary field study on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), a novel SBPM technology was compared to preformed slotted oxo-degradable plastic (ODP) mulch film and no mulch control (CON) in terms of yield, crop water productivity (CWP), and soil temperature. The first results showed higher CWP and crop yield, and increased soil water content under the SBPM cover. This study indicates that SBPM technology could perform at similar level as ODP or comparable films under field conditions and, at the same time, provide environmentally sustainable agricultural cropping practices. Additionally, the fully treated, non-replicated SBPM plot had a wetter soil profile throughout the entire crop season. This innovative technology has shown a high potential even at this early stage of development, indicating that advances in formulation and further testing can lead to significant improvements and thus increased use in crop production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Plant Water Use Efficiency for a Sustainable Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of 16 Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) CSSLs Derived from an Interspecific Cross for Yield and Yield Component Traits: QTL Validation
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040583 - 18 Apr 2020
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid (2n = 4× = 40) with narrow genetic diversity. In previous studies, we developed an advanced backcross quantitative trait loci (AB-QTL) population from the cross between the synthetic allotetraploid ((Arachis ipaensis × Arachis duranensis) [...] Read more.
Cultivated peanut is an allotetraploid (2n = 4× = 40) with narrow genetic diversity. In previous studies, we developed an advanced backcross quantitative trait loci (AB-QTL) population from the cross between the synthetic allotetraploid ((Arachis ipaensis × Arachis duranensis)) and the cultivated variety Fleur11, and mapped several quantitative trait loci (QTLs) involved in yield and yield components. We also developed a chromosome segment substitution line (CSSL) population as a way to mendelize the QTLs and analyzing their effects. In this study, 16 CSSLs were used for assessing the contribution of wild alleles in yield performance and stability across environments, as well as validating QTLs for pod and seed size. The CSSLs and the recurrent parent Fleur11, used as a check, were assessed using an alpha lattice design in three locations during two consecutive rainy seasons in Senegal, totaling six environments. Our results showed that the chromosome segments from the wild species, in general, have no yield disadvantage and contributed positive variation to yield-related traits. Most of the QTLs detected for pod and seed size in the AB-QTL on linkage groups A07, A08, A09, and B06 were also found in the CSSLs, showing that the CSSLs used in this study are accurate material for QTL validation. Several new QTLs have also been identified. Two CSSLs (12CS_031 and 12CS_069) showed consistently higher pod and seed size than Fleur11 in all environments, suggesting that the QTLs were consistent and stable. Our study opens the way for pyramiding these QTLs for peanut improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
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