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Agronomy, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2015) – 12 articles , Pages 262-475

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Article
Differential Evolution’s Application to Estimation of Soil Water Retention Parameters
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 464-475; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030464 - 18 Sep 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2040
Abstract
A Differential Evolution (DE) is introduced to predict the parameters of the soil water retention curve (SWRC) and it is configured for reliability and efficiency with the Unsaturated Soil Hydraulic Property Database (UNSODA). The main investigated dataset is 235 samples from lab_drying_h-t table [...] Read more.
A Differential Evolution (DE) is introduced to predict the parameters of the soil water retention curve (SWRC) and it is configured for reliability and efficiency with the Unsaturated Soil Hydraulic Property Database (UNSODA). The main investigated dataset is 235 samples from lab_drying_h-t table and the testing shows that the data resource is reliable and steady. Some specific statistical computations are designed to investigate the convergence speed and the fitness precision of DE, different measurements of hydraulic data, and parametric characteristics of textural groups. The statistical results on UNSODA show that DE has higher performance in parameter fitness and time saving than some previous optimization methods and the statistical values of soil water retention parameters (SWRP) can be directly applied in the agricultural research and practice. Full article
Review
Heavy Metals in Crop Plants: Transport and Redistribution Processes on the Whole Plant Level
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 447-463; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030447 - 09 Sep 2015
Cited by 75 | Viewed by 7649
Abstract
Copper, zinc, manganese, iron, nickel and molybdenum are essential micronutrients for plants. However, when present in excess they may damage the plant or decrease the quality of harvested plant products. Some other heavy metals such as cadmium, lead or mercury are not needed [...] Read more.
Copper, zinc, manganese, iron, nickel and molybdenum are essential micronutrients for plants. However, when present in excess they may damage the plant or decrease the quality of harvested plant products. Some other heavy metals such as cadmium, lead or mercury are not needed by plants and represent pollutants. The uptake into the roots, the loading into the xylem, the acropetal transport to the shoot with the transpiration stream and the further redistribution in the phloem are crucial for the distribution in aerial plant parts. This review is focused on long-distance transport of heavy metals via xylem and phloem and on interactions between the two transport systems. Phloem transport is the basis for the redistribution within the shoot and for the accumulation in fruits and seeds. Solutes may be transferred from the xylem to the phloem (e.g., in the small bundles in stems of cereals, in minor leaf veins). Nickel is highly phloem-mobile and directed to expanding plant parts. Zinc and to a lesser degree also cadmium are also mobile in the phloem and accumulate in meristems (root tips, shoot apex, axillary buds). Iron and manganese are characterized by poor phloem mobility and are retained in older leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Accumulation and Distribution of Elements in Crop Plants)
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Article
Interactive Role of Fungicides and Plant Growth Regulator (Trinexapac) on Seed Yield and Oil Quality of Winter Rapeseed
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 435-446; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030435 - 09 Sep 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2686
Abstract
This study was designed to evaluate the role of growth regulator trinexapac and fungicides on growth, yield, and quality of winter rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). The experiment was conducted simultaneously at different locations in Germany using two cultivars of rapeseed. Five different [...] Read more.
This study was designed to evaluate the role of growth regulator trinexapac and fungicides on growth, yield, and quality of winter rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). The experiment was conducted simultaneously at different locations in Germany using two cultivars of rapeseed. Five different fungicides belonging to the triazole and strobilurin groups, as well as a growth regulator trinexapac, were tested in this study. A total of seven combinations of these fungicides and growth regulator trinexapac were applied at two growth stages of rapeseed. These two stages include green floral bud stage (BBCH 53) and the course of pod development stage (BBCH 65). The results showed that plant height and leaf area index were affected significantly by the application of fungicides. Treatments exhibited induced photosynthetic ability and delayed senescence, which improved the morphological characters and yield components of rape plants at both locations. Triazole, in combination with strobilurin, led to the highest seed yield over other treatments at both experimental locations. Significant effects of fungicides on unsaturated fatty acids of rapeseed oil were observed. Fungicides did not cause any apparent variation in the values of free fatty acids and peroxide of rapeseed oil. Results of our study demonstrate that judicious use of fungicides in rapeseed may help to achieve sustainable farming to obtain higher yield and better quality of rapeseed. Full article
Article
Differences in Aluminium Accumulation and Resistance between Genotypes of the Genus Fagopyrum
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 418-434; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030418 - 28 Aug 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2528
Abstract
Aluminium (Al) toxicity is a major factor reducing crop productivity worldwide. There is a broad variation in intra- and inter-specific Al resistance. Whereas the Al resistance mechanisms have generally been well explored in Al-excluding plant species, Al resistance through Al accumulation and Al [...] Read more.
Aluminium (Al) toxicity is a major factor reducing crop productivity worldwide. There is a broad variation in intra- and inter-specific Al resistance. Whereas the Al resistance mechanisms have generally been well explored in Al-excluding plant species, Al resistance through Al accumulation and Al tolerance is not yet well understood. Therefore, a set of 94 genotypes from three Fagopyrum species with special emphasis on F. esculentum Moench were screened, with the objective of identifying genotypes with greatly differing Al accumulation capacity. The genotypes were grown in Al-enriched peat-based substrate for 21 days. Based on the Al concentration of the xylem sap, which varied by a factor of five, only quantitative but not qualitative genotypic differences in Al accumulation could be identified. Aluminium and citrate and Al and Fe concentrations in the xylem sap were positively correlated suggesting that Fe and Al are loaded into and transported in the xylem through related mechanisms. In a nutrient solution experiment using six selected F. esculentum genotypes differing in Al and citrate concentrations in the xylem sap the significant correlation between Al and iron transport in the xylem could be confirmed. Inhibition of root elongation by Al was highly significantly correlated with root oxalate-exudation and leaf Al accumulation. This suggests that Al-activated oxalate exudation and rapid transport of Al to the shoot are prerequisites for the protection of the root apoplast from Al injury and thus overall Al resistance and Al accumulation in buckwheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Accumulation and Distribution of Elements in Crop Plants)
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Article
Response of Table Grape to Irrigation Water in the Aconcagua Valley, Chile
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 405-417; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030405 - 24 Aug 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2592
Abstract
The irrigation water available for agriculture will be scarce in the future due to increased competition for water with other sectors, and the issue may become more serious due to climate change. In Chile, the table grape is only cultivated under irrigation. A [...] Read more.
The irrigation water available for agriculture will be scarce in the future due to increased competition for water with other sectors, and the issue may become more serious due to climate change. In Chile, the table grape is only cultivated under irrigation. A five-year research program (2007–2012) was carried out in the Aconcagua Valley, the central area of grapes in Chile, to evaluate the response of table grape vines (Vitis vinifera L., cv Thompson Seedless) to different volumes of irrigation water. Four irrigation treatments were applied: 60, 88, 120 and 157% of crop evapotranspiration (ETc) during the first four years, and 40, 54, 92 and 108% of ETc in the last year. Irrigation over 90%–100% of ETc did not increase fruit yield, whereas the application of water below 90% ETc decreased exportable yield, berry size and pruning weight. For example, 60% ETc applied water reduced exportable yield by 20%, and only 40% of the berries were in the extra and large category size, while pruning weight was 30% lower in comparison to the treatment receiving more water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Agronomy with Impact for Food Security)
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Review
Trace Element Management in Rice
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 374-404; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030374 - 18 Aug 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4841
Abstract
Trace elements (TEs) are vital for the operation of metabolic pathways that promote growth and structural integrity. Paddy soils are often prone to TE limitation due to intensive cultivation and irrigation practices. Apart from this, rice paddies are potentially contaminated with transition metals [...] Read more.
Trace elements (TEs) are vital for the operation of metabolic pathways that promote growth and structural integrity. Paddy soils are often prone to TE limitation due to intensive cultivation and irrigation practices. Apart from this, rice paddies are potentially contaminated with transition metals such as Cd, which are often referred to as toxic TEs. Deficiency of TEs in the soil not only delays plant growth but also causes exposure of plant roots to toxic TEs. Fine-tuning of nutrient cycling in the rice field is a practical solution to cope with TEs deficiency. Adjustment of soil physicochemical properties, biological process such as microbial activities, and fertilization helps to control TEs mobilization in soil. Modifications in root architecture, metal transporters activity, and physiological processes are also promising approaches to enhance TEs accumulation in grains. Through genetic manipulation, these modifications help to increase TE mining capacity of rice plants as well as transport and trafficking of TEs into the grains. The present review summarizes that regulation of TE mobilization in soil, and the genetic improvement of TE acquisition traits help to boost essential TE content in rice grain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Accumulation and Distribution of Elements in Crop Plants)
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Article
Cotton Water Use Efficiency under Two Different Deficit Irrigation Scheduling Methods
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 363-373; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030363 - 13 Aug 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2818
Abstract
Declines in Ogallala aquifer levels used for irrigation has prompted research to identify methods for optimizing water use efficiency (WUE) of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L). In this experiment, conducted at Lubbock, TX, USA in 2014, our objective was to test two canopy [...] Read more.
Declines in Ogallala aquifer levels used for irrigation has prompted research to identify methods for optimizing water use efficiency (WUE) of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L). In this experiment, conducted at Lubbock, TX, USA in 2014, our objective was to test two canopy temperature based stress indices, each at two different irrigation trigger set points: the Stress Time (ST) method with irrigation triggers set at 5.5 (ST_5.5) and 8.5 h (ST_8.5) and the Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI) method with irrigation triggers set at 0.3 (CWSI_0.3) and 0.6 (CWSI_0.6). When these irrigation triggers were exceeded on a given day, the crop was deficit irrigated with 5 mm of water via subsurface drip tape. Also included in the experimental design were a well-watered (WW) control irrigated at 110% of potential evapotranspiration and a dry land (DL) treatment that relied on rainfall only. Seasonal crop water use ranged from 353 to 625 mm across these six treatments. As expected, cotton lint yield increased with increasing crop water use but lint yield WUE displayed asignificant (p ≤ 0.05) peak near 3.6 to 3.7 kg ha−1 mm−1 for the ST_5.5 and CWSI_0.3 treatments, respectively. Our results suggest that WUE may be optimized in cotton with less water than that needed for maximum lint yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Agronomy with Impact for Food Security)
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Article
Screening for Sugarcane Brown Rust in the First Clonal Stage of the Canal Point Sugarcane Breeding Program
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 341-362; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030341 - 31 Jul 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3089
Abstract
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) brown rust (caused by Puccinia melanocephala Syd. & P. Syd.) was first reported in the United States in 1978 and is still one of the great challenges for sugarcane production. A better understanding of sugarcane genotypic variation in response [...] Read more.
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) brown rust (caused by Puccinia melanocephala Syd. & P. Syd.) was first reported in the United States in 1978 and is still one of the great challenges for sugarcane production. A better understanding of sugarcane genotypic variation in response to brown rust will help optimize breeding and selection strategies for disease resistance. Brown rust ratings were scaled from non-infection (0) to severe infection (4) with intervals of 0.5 and routinely recorded for genotypes in the first clonal selection stage of the Canal Point sugarcane breeding program in Florida. Data were collected from 14,272 and 12,661 genotypes and replicated check cultivars in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Mean rust rating, % infection, and severity in each family and progeny of female parent were determined, and their coefficients of variation (CV) within and among families (females) were estimated. Considerable variation exists in rust ratings among families or females. The families and female parents with high susceptibility or resistance to brown rust were identified and ranked. The findings of this study can help scientists to evaluate sugarcane crosses and parents for brown rust disease, to use desirable parents for crossing, and to improve genetic resistance to brown rust in breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breeding for Disease Resistance)
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Review
The Electrochemical Properties of Biochars and How They Affect Soil Redox Properties and Processes
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 322-340; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030322 - 21 Jul 2015
Cited by 75 | Viewed by 5816
Abstract
Biochars are complex heterogeneous materials that consist of mineral phases, amorphous C, graphitic C, and labile organic molecules, many of which can be either electron donors or acceptors when placed in soil. Biochar is a reductant, but its electrical and electrochemical properties are [...] Read more.
Biochars are complex heterogeneous materials that consist of mineral phases, amorphous C, graphitic C, and labile organic molecules, many of which can be either electron donors or acceptors when placed in soil. Biochar is a reductant, but its electrical and electrochemical properties are a function of both the temperature of production and the concentration and composition of the various redox active mineral and organic phases present. When biochars are added to soils, they interact with plant roots and root hairs, micro-organisms, soil organic matter, proteins and the nutrient-rich water to form complex organo-mineral-biochar complexes Redox reactions can play an important role in the development of these complexes, and can also result in significant changes in the original C matrix. This paper reviews the redox processes that take place in soil and how they may be affected by the addition of biochar. It reviews the available literature on the redox properties of different biochars. It also reviews how biochar redox properties have been measured and presents new methods and data for determining redox properties of fresh biochars and for biochar/soil systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reactions of Biochar in Soil from Modified Redox Properties)
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Review
Minichromosomes: Vectors for Crop Improvement
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 309-321; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030309 - 06 Jul 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4008
Abstract
Minichromosome technology has the potential to offer a number of possibilities for expanding current biofortification strategies. While conventional genome manipulations rely on random integration of one or a few genes, engineered minichromosomes would enable researchers to concatenate several gene aggregates into a single [...] Read more.
Minichromosome technology has the potential to offer a number of possibilities for expanding current biofortification strategies. While conventional genome manipulations rely on random integration of one or a few genes, engineered minichromosomes would enable researchers to concatenate several gene aggregates into a single independent chromosome. These engineered minichromosomes can be rapidly transferred as a unit to other lines through the utilization of doubled haploid breeding. If used in conjunction with other biofortification methods, it may be possible to significantly increase the nutritional value of crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Accumulation and Distribution of Elements in Crop Plants)
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Article
Response of Snap Bean Cultivars to Rhizobium Inoculation under Dryland Agriculture in Ethiopia
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 291-308; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030291 - 02 Jul 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2871
Abstract
High yield in snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) production requires relatively high nitrogen (N) inputs. However, little information is available on whether the use of rhizobial inoculants for enhanced biological dinitrogen fixation can provide adequate N to support green pod yield. The [...] Read more.
High yield in snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) production requires relatively high nitrogen (N) inputs. However, little information is available on whether the use of rhizobial inoculants for enhanced biological dinitrogen fixation can provide adequate N to support green pod yield. The objectives of this study were to test the use of rhizobia inoculation as an alternative N source for snap bean production under rain fed conditions, and to identify suitable cultivars and appropriate agro-ecology for high pod yield and N2 fixation in Ethiopia. The study was conducted in 2011 and 2012 during the main rainy season at three locations. The treatments were factorial combinations of three N treatments (0 and 100 kg·N·ha−1, and Rhizobium etli (HB 429)) and eight snap bean cultivars. Rhizobial inoculation and applied N increased the total yield of snap bean pod by 18% and 42%, respectively. Cultivar Melkassa 1 was the most suitable for a reduced input production system due to its greatest N2 fixation and high pod yield. The greatest amount of fixed N was found at Debre Zeit location. We concluded that N2 fixation achieved through rhizobial inoculation can support the production of snap bean under rain fed conditions in Ethiopia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Agronomy with Impact for Food Security)
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Review
A Review of Nutrient Management Studies Involving Finger Millet in the Semi-Arid Tropics of Asia and Africa
Agronomy 2015, 5(3), 262-290; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5030262 - 30 Jun 2015
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 4901
Abstract
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn) is a staple food crop grown by subsistence farmers in the semi-arid tropics of South Asia and Africa. It remains highly valued by traditional farmers as it is nutritious, drought tolerant, short duration, and requires low [...] Read more.
Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn) is a staple food crop grown by subsistence farmers in the semi-arid tropics of South Asia and Africa. It remains highly valued by traditional farmers as it is nutritious, drought tolerant, short duration, and requires low inputs. Its continued propagation may help vulnerable farmers mitigate climate change. Unfortunately, the land area cultivated with this crop has decreased, displaced by maize and rice. Reversing this trend will involve achieving higher yields, including through improvements in crop nutrition. The objective of this paper is to comprehensively review the literature concerning yield responses of finger millet to inorganic fertilizers (macronutrients and micronutrients), farmyard manure (FYM), green manures, organic by-products, and biofertilizers. The review also describes the impact of these inputs on soils, as well as the impact of diverse cropping systems and finger millet varieties, on nutrient responses. The review critically evaluates the benefits and challenges associated with integrated nutrient management, appreciating that most finger millet farmers are economically poor and primarily use farmyard manure. We conclude by identifying research gaps related to nutrient management in finger millet, and provide recommendations to increase the yield and sustainability of this crop as a guide for subsistence farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Agronomy with Impact for Food Security)
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