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Agronomy, Volume 8, Issue 10 (October 2018) – 38 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) We developed a method for the direct measurement of leaf Eh (redox potential) and pH, which [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Genetic Background on the Leaf-Protective Enzyme Activity and Hormone Levels of Maize
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100234 - 22 Oct 2018
Viewed by 847
Abstract
The delay of leaf senescence, also known as the stay-green (SG) phenotype, is a trait closely associated with yield gain and resistance to many biotic/abiotic stresses. In order to increase the stress tolerance in maize, eight genetic background types were compared against the [...] Read more.
The delay of leaf senescence, also known as the stay-green (SG) phenotype, is a trait closely associated with yield gain and resistance to many biotic/abiotic stresses. In order to increase the stress tolerance in maize, eight genetic background types were compared against the hallmarks of delayed senescence. The plant redox status and hormonal levels were tested among widespread SG and non-SG (NSG) maize lines in northern China. We found that SG maize lines showed greater activity of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging apparatus including leaf superoxide dismutases (SOD), peroxidases (POD), and catalases (CAT). Moreover, the concentration of malonaldehyde (MDA), a membrane lipid peroxidation marker, was significantly lower in SG than in NSG plants. For the hormone content, SG maize lines showed higher zeatin (ZR) and lower abscisic acid (ABA) after silking, resulting in a higher ZR/ABA ratio. Understanding the correlation between the stay-green trait and the corresponding hallmarks of delayed senescence is an important step in promoting SG to increase yield and stress tolerance. Our findings provide valuable insight into how to promote the SG trait in specific maize lines to increase yield and stress tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Innovative Cropping Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Unlocking the Genetic Diversity within A Middle-East Panel of Durum Wheat Landraces for Adaptation to Semi-arid Climate
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100233 - 21 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
Drought is the major environmental factor limiting wheat production worldwide. Developing novel cultivars with greater drought tolerance is the most viable solution to ensure sustainable agricultural production and alleviating threats to food-security. Here we established a core-collection of landraces and modern durum wheat [...] Read more.
Drought is the major environmental factor limiting wheat production worldwide. Developing novel cultivars with greater drought tolerance is the most viable solution to ensure sustainable agricultural production and alleviating threats to food-security. Here we established a core-collection of landraces and modern durum wheat cultivars (WheatME, n = 36), from the Middle East region (Jordan, Palestine and Israel) aiming at unlocking the genetic and morpho-physiological adaptation to semi-arid environment conditions. Interestingly, genetic analysis of the WheatME core-collection could not distinguish the landraces according to their country of origin. Field-based evaluation of the core-collection conducted across range of contrasting environmental conditions: Til-Palestine, Bet-Dagan-Israel and Irbid-Jordan with annual precipitation of 500 mm, 360 mm and 315 mm, respectively. The Til environment showed highest grain yield while the Irbid environment showed the lowest values. Analysis of variance showed a significant Genotype × Environment interaction for plant phenology traits (plant height and heading date) and productivity traits (1000-kernel weight, and grain yield). Principal component analysis showed three main cultivar groups: High yielding lines (modern durum cultivars, and landraces), tall late flowering landraces, and landraces with high grain weight. This knowledge could serve as basis for future breeding efforts to develop new elite cultivars adapted to the Mediterranean Basin’s semi-arid conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization for Drought Tolerance and Physiological Efficiency in Novel Cytoplasmic Male Sterile Sources of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.)
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100232 - 19 Oct 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1501
Abstract
Sunflower is sensitive to drought, and furthermore, sunflower hybrids display limited cytoplasmic diversity. In addition, the wild cytoplasmic sources of sunflower are not well explored for their potential to introduce drought tolerance into newly developed hybrids. Therefore here, we carried out a Line [...] Read more.
Sunflower is sensitive to drought, and furthermore, sunflower hybrids display limited cytoplasmic diversity. In addition, the wild cytoplasmic sources of sunflower are not well explored for their potential to introduce drought tolerance into newly developed hybrids. Therefore here, we carried out a Line × Tester-based genetic study using 19 sunflower genotypes representing, 13 cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) lines from wild and conventional sources, 2 maintainer lines, and 4 restorer lines. The CMS and maintainer lines were crossed with restorer lines to develop sixty F1 hybrids. The parents and their hybrids were evaluated under two water regimes, normal irrigation and drought stress (i.e., withholding water). A total of twelve important plant descriptors were studied over a period of two years and the significant differences between parents and hybrids are reported here. More specifically, hybrid lines were higher in average values for all the descriptors. The contribution of female parent was more prominent in the expression of traits in hybrids as compared to male parents. The CMS sources varied significantly regarding seed yield per plant and other physiological traits. Proline content in the leaves of all the genotypes was three times higher in the water stress regime. Accession CMS-PKU-2A was identified as the best general combiner for leaf area and specific leaf weight., whereas CMS-234A was the best general combiner for biological yield and photosynthetic efficiency under both conditions. The cross combinations CMS-ARG-2A × RCR-8297, CMS-234A × P124R, and CMS-38A × P124R were found significant for biological yield, seed yield and oil content under both environments. Overall, this study provides useful information about the cytoplasmic effects on important sunflower traits and drought stress tolerance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seedling Growth and Transcriptional Responses to Salt Shock and Stress in Medicago sativa L., Medicago arborea L., and Their Hybrid (Alborea)
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100231 - 18 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1102
Abstract
Salinity is a major limiting factor in crop productivity worldwide. Medicago sativa L. is an important fodder crop, broadly cultivated in different environments, and it is moderately tolerant of salinity. Medicago arborea L. is considered a stress-tolerant species and could be an important [...] Read more.
Salinity is a major limiting factor in crop productivity worldwide. Medicago sativa L. is an important fodder crop, broadly cultivated in different environments, and it is moderately tolerant of salinity. Medicago arborea L. is considered a stress-tolerant species and could be an important genetic resource for the improvement of M. sativa’s salt tolerance. The aim of the study was to evaluate the seedling response of M. sativa, M. arborea, and their hybrid (Alborea) to salt shock and salt stress treatments. Salt treatments were applied as follows: salt stress treatment at low dose (50 mM NaCl), gradual acclimatization at 50–100 and 50–100–150 mM NaCl, and two salt shock treatments at 100 and 150 mM NaCl. Growth rates were evaluated in addition to transcriptional profiles of representative genes that control salt uptake and transport (NHX1 and RCI2A), have an osmotic function (P5CS1), and participate in signaling pathways and control cell growth and leaf function (SIMKK, ZFN, and AP2/EREB). Results showed that the studied population of M. sativa and M. arborea performed equally well under salt stress, whereas that of M. sativa performed better under salt shock. The productivity of the studied population of Alborea exceeded that of its parents under normal conditions. Nevertheless, Alborea was extremely sensitive to all initial salt treatments except the low dose (50 mM NaCl). In addition, significantly higher expression levels of all the studied genes were observed in the population of M. arborea under both salt shock and salt stress. On the other hand, in the population of M. sativa, NHX1, P5CS1, and AP2/EREB were highly upregulated under salt shock but to a lesser extent under salt stress. Thus, the populations of M. sativa and M. arborea appear to regulate different components of salt tolerance mechanisms. Knowledge of the different parental mechanisms of salt tolerance could be important when incorporating both mechanisms in Alborea populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics, Genomics, and Breeding of Legume Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Threshold Tolerance of New Genotypes of Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br. to Salinity and Drought
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100230 - 18 Oct 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 929
Abstract
With continued population growth, increasing staple crop production is necessary. However, in dryland areas, this is negatively affected by various abiotic stresses, such as drought and salinity. The field screening of 10 improved genetic lines of pear millet originating from African dryland areas [...] Read more.
With continued population growth, increasing staple crop production is necessary. However, in dryland areas, this is negatively affected by various abiotic stresses, such as drought and salinity. The field screening of 10 improved genetic lines of pear millet originating from African dryland areas was conducted based on a set of agrobiological traits (i.e., germination rate, plant density, plant maturity rate, forage, and grain yields) in order to understand plant growth and its yield potential responses under saline environments. Our findings demonstrated that genotype had a significant impact on the accumulation of green biomass (64.4% based on two-way ANOVA), while salinity caused reduction in grain yield value. HHVBC Tall and IP 19586 were selected as the best-performing and high-yielding genotypes. HHVBC Tall is a dual purpose (i.e., forage and grain) line which produced high grain yields on marginal lands, with soil salinization up to electrical conductivity (EC) 6–8 dS m−1 (approximately 60–80 mM NaCl). Meanwhile, IP 19586, grown under similar conditions, showed a rapid accumulation of green biomass with a significant decrease in grain yield. Both lines were tolerant to drought and sensitive to high salinity (above 200 mM NaCl). The threshold salinity of HHVBC Tall calculated at the seedling stage was lower than that of IP 19586. Seedling viability of these lines was affected by oxidative stress and membrane peroxidation, and they had decreased chlorophyll and carotenoid biosynthesis. This study demonstrated that ionic stress is more detrimental for the accumulation of green and dry biomass, in combination with increasing the proline and malonic dialdehyde (MDA) contents of both best-performing pearl millet lines, as compared with osmotic stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Plant Responses to an Integrated Cropping System Designed to Maintain Yield Whilst Enhancing Soil Properties and Biodiversity
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100229 - 17 Oct 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1926
Abstract
The intensification of arable production since the 1950s has resulted in increases in yield but only at significant cost to the environment, raising serious concerns about long-term consequences for the sustainability of food production systems. While a range of policies and practices have [...] Read more.
The intensification of arable production since the 1950s has resulted in increases in yield but only at significant cost to the environment, raising serious concerns about long-term consequences for the sustainability of food production systems. While a range of policies and practices have been put in place to mitigate negative effects in terms of pollution, soil degradation and loss of biodiversity, their efficacy has not been properly quantified. Whole-system effects of management change are rarely studied and so trade-offs and conflicts between different components of the agricultural system are poorly understood. A long-term field platform was therefore established in which conventional arable management was compared with a low-input, integrated cropping system designed with the goal to maintain yields whilst enhancing biodiversity and minimizing environmental impact. Over the first rotation, only winter wheat yielded less under integrated management; yield was maintained for the remaining five crops (spring and winter barley, winter oilseed rape, potato and field beans), suggesting a negligible impact on economic returns. Beneficial broad-leaved weeds were significantly more abundant in the integrated management system across all crops whereas grass weeds showed no overall response to treatment. Soil carbon, pH and soil concentrations of the main plant growth-limiting macronutrients were enhanced under the integrated management system. The integrated system was therefore successful in meeting the goals to enhance biodiversity and reduce environmental impact without jeopardizing crop yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Selection and Agronomic Management to Lessen the Continuous Corn Yield Penalty
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100228 - 16 Oct 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1084
Abstract
Yield reductions occur when corn (Zea mays L.) is continuously grown compared to when it is rotated with soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]; primarily due to soil nitrogen availability, corn residue accumulation, and the weather. This study was conducted to determine [...] Read more.
Yield reductions occur when corn (Zea mays L.) is continuously grown compared to when it is rotated with soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]; primarily due to soil nitrogen availability, corn residue accumulation, and the weather. This study was conducted to determine if a combination of agronomic practices could help overcome these causative factors of the continuous corn yield penalty (CCYP) to obtain increased corn yields. Field experiments conducted during 2014 and 2015 at Champaign, IL, U.S.A. assessed the yield penalty associated with continuous corn verses long-term corn following soybean. Agronomic management was assessed at a standard level receiving only a base rate of nitrogen fertilizer, and compared to an intensive level, which consisted of additional N, P, K, S, Zn, and B fertility at planting, sidedressed nitrogen fertilizer, and a foliar fungicide application. Two levels of plant population (79,000 verses 111,000 plants ha−1) and eight different commercially-available hybrids were evaluated each year. Across all treatments, the CCYP was 1.53 and 2.72 Mg ha−1 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Intensive agronomic management improved grain yield across rotations (2.17 Mg ha−1 in 2014 and 2.28 Mg ha−1 in 2015), and there was a 40 to 60% greater yield response to intensive management in continuous corn verses the corn-soybean rotation, suggesting intensified management as a method to mitigate the CCYP. With select hybrids, intensive management reduced the CCYP by 30 to 80%. Agronomic management and hybrid selection helped alleviate the CCYP demonstrating continuous corn can be managed for better productivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Remote Detection of Growth Dynamics in Red Lettuce Using a Novel Chlorophyll a Fluorometer
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100227 - 16 Oct 2018
Viewed by 1671
Abstract
The production of food crops in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) can help mitigate food insecurity that may result from increasingly frequent and severe weather events in agricultural areas. Lighting is an absolute requirement for crop growth in CEA, and is undergoing rapid advances [...] Read more.
The production of food crops in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) can help mitigate food insecurity that may result from increasingly frequent and severe weather events in agricultural areas. Lighting is an absolute requirement for crop growth in CEA, and is undergoing rapid advances with the advent of tunable, light emitting diode (LED) systems. The integration of these systems into existing CEA environmental control architectures is in its infancy and would benefit from a non-invasive, rapid, real-time, remote sensor that could track crop growth under different lighting regimes. A newly-developed remote chlorophyll a fluorescence (ChlF) sensing device is described herein that provides direct, remote, real-time physiological data collection for integration into tunable LED lighting control systems, thereby enabling better control of crop growth and energy efficiency. Data collected by this device can be used to accurately model growth of red lettuce plants. In addition to monitoring growth, this system can predict relative growth rates (RGR), net assimilation rates (NAR), plant area (PA), and leaf area ratio (LAR). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensing and Automated Systems for Improved Crop Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Screening of EMS-Induced Drought-Tolerant Sugarcane Mutants Employing Physiological, Molecular and Enzymatic Approaches
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100226 - 15 Oct 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1093
Abstract
Drought stress is one of the major agronomic concerns that lead towards a sharp decline in sugarcane yield. An urgent demand to overcome drought is critical to ensure sugarcane production. Mutation breeding is one of the promising tools available to produce stress-resistant plants, [...] Read more.
Drought stress is one of the major agronomic concerns that lead towards a sharp decline in sugarcane yield. An urgent demand to overcome drought is critical to ensure sugarcane production. Mutation breeding is one of the promising tools available to produce stress-resistant plants, with the induction of new alleles due to point mutation within existing sugarcane germplasm. The current study was directed to chemically mutagenize the calli of two sugarcane cultivars (ROC22 and FN39) via 0.1% EMS, with focus on inducing mutations in their genome. The 1644 regenerated plants of ROC22 and 1398 of FN39 were exposed to 28% PEG-6000 stimulated osmotic stress. Eighteen plants of ROC22 and 2 plants of FN39, that survived after in vitro osmotic stress treatment, were then subjected to preliminary greenhouse pot trials to confirm drought tolerance by analyzing them using various physiological parameters, including photosystem II (PSII) photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm), leaf chlorophyll content, and photosynthetic rate. The genetic diversity among drought-resistant mutant lines was further assessed by 15 pairs of simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers amplification and CEL (Celery) I endonuclease digestion, to investigate the mutated sites. Mutant lines of ROC22 (i.e., MR22-15 and MR22-20) were found to be promising for future drought resistance breeding, due to better physiological adaptation under drought stress. Full article
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Open AccessHypothesis
Towards the Understanding of Important Coconut Endosperm Phenotypes: Is there an Epigenetic Control?
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100225 - 13 Oct 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
The coconut is a major crop of many tropical countries, with the endosperm being one of its main products. The coconut soft-endosperm variants, the Makapuno and the Lono, are emerging as economically important. This review describes this crop, its salient endosperm phenotypes and [...] Read more.
The coconut is a major crop of many tropical countries, with the endosperm being one of its main products. The coconut soft-endosperm variants, the Makapuno and the Lono, are emerging as economically important. This review describes this crop, its salient endosperm phenotypes and the prevailing hypotheses associated with these. We also collate the literature on the Makapuno and provide a comprehensive review of the scarce information on the Lono. We review the current tenets of plant DNA methylation and provide examples of altered phenotypes associated with such methylation changes. We explore how the changes in the methylome affect endosperm development and the tissue culture process. We further cite the epigenetic basis of an altered endosperm phenotype of a closely related species to the coconut, the oil palm. We discuss how such modifications could affect coconut endosperm development, yielding the Makapuno and Lono phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Regulatory Functions of Epigenetic Mechanisms in Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Moisture Mapping Using Multi-Frequency and Multi-Coil Electromagnetic Induction Sensors on Managed Podzols
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100224 - 10 Oct 2018
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1344
Abstract
Precision agriculture (PA) involves the management of agricultural fields including spatial information of soil properties derived from apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) measurements. While this approach is gaining much attention in agricultural management, farmed podzolic soils are under-represented in the relevant [...] Read more.
Precision agriculture (PA) involves the management of agricultural fields including spatial information of soil properties derived from apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) measurements. While this approach is gaining much attention in agricultural management, farmed podzolic soils are under-represented in the relevant literature. This study: (i) established the relationship between ECa and soil moisture content (SMC) measured using time domain reflectometry (TDR); and (ii) evaluated the estimated SMC with ECa measurements obtained with two electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensors, i.e., multi-coil and multi-frequency, using TDR measured SMC. Measurements were taken on several plots at Pynn’s Brook Research Station, Pasadena, Newfoundland, Canada. The means of ECa measurements were calculated for the same sampling location in each plot. The linear regression models generated for SMC using the CMD-MINIEXPLORER were statistically significant with the highest R2 of 0.79 and the lowest RMSE (root mean square error) of 0.015 m3 m−3 but were not significant for GEM-2 with the lowest R2 of 0.17 and RMSE of 0.045 m3 m−3; this was due to the difference in the depth of investigation between the two EMI sensors. The validation of the SMC regression models for the two EMI sensors produced the highest R2 = 0.54 with the lowest RMSE prediction = 0.031 m3 m−3 given by CMD-MINIEXPLORER. The result demonstrated that the CMD-MINIEXPLORER based measurements better predicted shallow SMC, while deeper SMC was better predicted by GEM-2 measurements. In addition, the ECa measurements obtained through either multi-coil or multi-frequency sensors have the potential to be successfully employed for SMC mapping at the field scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Water Use and Irrigation)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Soil-Applied Fungicides on Sugarcane Root and Shoot Growth, Rhizosphere Microbial Communities, and Nutrient Uptake
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100223 - 09 Oct 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1391
Abstract
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) successive planting (also called monoculture) causes serious yield losses and its management is not well studied in Histosols. Based on very few studies in other sugarcane regions, root colonization by harmful soil fungi is considered as a major [...] Read more.
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) successive planting (also called monoculture) causes serious yield losses and its management is not well studied in Histosols. Based on very few studies in other sugarcane regions, root colonization by harmful soil fungi is considered as a major cause of this yield decline, but there is lack of knowledge on its management in Histosols. A two-year greenhouse study was conducted with soil-drench application of mancozeb, mefenoxam, and azoxystrobin fungicides to determine their effects on early root and shoot growth, soil microbial communities, and nutrient uptake by plants. The study indicated that mancozeb soil application improved sugarcane-shoot and -root dry matter by 3–4 times and shoot-root length, fine-root length, and root surface area by 2–3 times compared to untreated soil. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analyses of sugarcane rhizosphere soil showed significant reduction in fungal-biomarker abundance with mancozeb and azoxystrobin in comparison to the untreated check or mefenoxam treatments. Bacterial functional-group abundance was reduced by mancozeb and mefenoxam. All fungicides significantly reduced mycorrhizal colonization but not mycorrhizal spore counts. There was a functional relationship between fine-root systems and higher tissue concentration of nitrogen and silicon. The study indicated that application of fungicides to the soil may improve early root and shoot growth and plant-cane establishment that can potentially reduce the yield decline in successively planted sugarcane in histosols. Additional field research is needed in the future to determine the fungicide soil application method, sugarcane growth response in whole crop cycles, and any environmental effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Overexpression of Soybean Transcription Factors GmDof4 and GmDof11 Significantly Increase the Oleic Acid Content in Seed of Brassica napus L.
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100222 - 09 Oct 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) with substantial lipid and oleic acid content is of great interest to rapeseed breeders. Overexpression of Glycine max transcription factors Dof4 and Dof11 increased lipid accumulation in Arabidopsis and microalgae, in addition to modifying the quantity of certain [...] Read more.
Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) with substantial lipid and oleic acid content is of great interest to rapeseed breeders. Overexpression of Glycine max transcription factors Dof4 and Dof11 increased lipid accumulation in Arabidopsis and microalgae, in addition to modifying the quantity of certain fatty acid components. Here, we report the involvement of GmDof4 and GmDof11 in regulating fatty acid composition in rapeseeds. Overexpression of GmDof4 and GmDof11 in rapeseed increased oleic acid content and reduced linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Both qPCR and the yeast one-hybrid assay indicated that GmDof4 activated the expression of FAB2 by directly binding to the cis-DNA element on its promoters, while GmDof11 directly inhibited the expression of FAD2. Thus, GmDof4 and GmDof11 might modify the oleic acid content in rapeseed by directly regulating the genes that are associated with fatty acid biosynthesis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water-Yield Relationship Responses of Maize to Ridge-Furrow Planting Systems Coupled with Multiple Irrigation Levels in China’s Horqin Sandy Land
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100221 - 09 Oct 2018
Viewed by 1211
Abstract
Water scarcity threatens the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in semi-arid regions, and ridge-furrow planting systems (RFPS) can be a prospective rainwater harvesting approach. In this study, we aimed to develop a promising water-saving strategy to boost maize productivity and water use efficiency (WUE). [...] Read more.
Water scarcity threatens the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in semi-arid regions, and ridge-furrow planting systems (RFPS) can be a prospective rainwater harvesting approach. In this study, we aimed to develop a promising water-saving strategy to boost maize productivity and water use efficiency (WUE). In 2017, we carried out a field experiment to study the effects of various RFPS with multiple irrigation levels on the yield-water relationship of maize (Zea mays L.). Eleven treatments were set up: RFPS with film mulching on both ridges and furrows and without water supply after seed emergence, abbreviated as QF; RFPS with film mulching on continuous ridges, abbreviated as MD, including SMD, MMD, and LMD (S, M, and L—three water supply (irrigation plus precipitation) levels of 650 mm, 500 mm, and 350 mm during the whole growing season); RFPS without film mulching, abbreviated as DD, including SDD, MDD, and LDD; conventional flat planting with no film mulching, abbreviated as GG, including SGG, MGG, and LGG; localized full irrigation (actual amount of irrigation excessively exceeding the quantity needed), abbreviated as NM. A positive linear relationship (R2 = 0.95–1), a quadratic curve, and a negative linear relationship were observed between the irrigation water level and actual crop evapotranspiration (ETc), grain yield, and WUE, respectively. The ETc of QF (292 mm) was substantially lower than that of the other treatments (p < 0.01), saving 649 mm of irrigation water and increasing the yield by 2.24% compared with those of NM. Meanwhile, the WUE and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) of QF reached maximums of 6.3 and 47.36 kg m−3, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of other treatments (p < 0.001). The results showed that planting in an RFPS with film mulching on both ridges and furrows (a ridge-to-furrow ratio of 50:30, with a 38 mm irrigation level) is suitable for maize to obtain high yield and reduce irrigation water use significantly. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity Analysis of Alisma plantago-aquatica L., Cyperus difformis L. and Schoenoplectus mucronatus (L.) Palla to Penoxsulam
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100220 - 08 Oct 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1234
Abstract
Determining the intra-specific variability of response to a given herbicide is important for monitoring the possible shifts in the sensitivity of weed populations. This study describes the responses of populations of Alisma plantago-aquatica, Cyperus difformis, and Schoenoplectus mucronatus from Italy, Greece, Portugal, [...] Read more.
Determining the intra-specific variability of response to a given herbicide is important for monitoring the possible shifts in the sensitivity of weed populations. This study describes the responses of populations of Alisma plantago-aquatica, Cyperus difformis, and Schoenoplectus mucronatus from Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain to penoxsulam, an acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor widely used in rice. To evaluate previously evolved resistance to ALS inhibitors, sensitivity to azimsulfuron and bensulfuron-methyl was assessed. Dose-response experiments with penoxsulam were performed in a greenhouse simulating paddy rice field conditions. Log-logistic dose-response curves were used to estimate the ED50, ED80, ED90 and GR50, GR80, and GR90. To calculate the average ED and GR and assess the intra-specific variability, an artificial resampling method was performed. Populations ALSPA 0364, 0365, 0469, 0470, 0471; SCPMU 0371, 0475, 0267; CYPDI 0013, 0431, 0432, 0433 appeared to be resistant to sulfonylureas, while a higher sensitivity to penoxsulam was observed, while populations ALSPA 0363, CYPDI 0223 and SCPMU 9719 proved to be cross-resistant. Regardless of species, ED90 of susceptible populations were below penoxsulam label dose (40 g ai ha−1) while they reached values higher than 320 g ai ha−1 for resistant populations. Average GR50 were generally lower than ED50. Sensitivity variability among susceptible populations is relatively low, allowing for discrimination between susceptible and resistant populations, and previously evolved resistance to sulfonylureas can influence sensitivity to penoxsulam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Management & New Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
The Adoption of Good Practices for Pesticides and Veterinary Drugs Use among Peasant Family Farmers of Chile
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100219 - 06 Oct 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Improvements and good practices (GPs) in rural environments are often developed by peasants themselves and shared among trust-based networks. The level of adoption of GPs by peasant family farmers (PFF) has been poorly studied. This paper describes the performance and results of the [...] Read more.
Improvements and good practices (GPs) in rural environments are often developed by peasants themselves and shared among trust-based networks. The level of adoption of GPs by peasant family farmers (PFF) has been poorly studied. This paper describes the performance and results of the innovation adoption index (InAI) and rate (InAR) which were used to estimate the adoption of GPs for pesticide and veterinary drug use by PFF from eight different regions of Chile. Surveys were conducted among 257 farmers to find out about the adoption (yes/no) of a set of GPs in the adequate handling, use and storage of these chemical products, as well as some identifying information. The farmers in this study are producers of berries, dairy cows, honey and vegetables. The results of the survey showed an average of 57.33% GPs were adopted by farmers. Group averages of 55.23–61.32% were observed in the numbers of practices adopted by farmers. This survey data collection was part of a wider study intended to design a national plan to reduce chemical residues in food produced by PFF in Chile, with a focus on organizing practical workshops with extension officers and farmers. Full article
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Open AccessShort Note
Tipburn Severity and Calcium Distribution in Lisianthus (Eustoma Grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn.) Cultivars under Different Relative Air Humidity Conditions
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100218 - 05 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Tipburn is a major problem for the production of lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn.) cultivars. Relative air humidity is regarded as a key environmental factor affecting tipburn severity in commercial crops. However, there are limited studies comparing the occurrence of tipburn and [...] Read more.
Tipburn is a major problem for the production of lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn.) cultivars. Relative air humidity is regarded as a key environmental factor affecting tipburn severity in commercial crops. However, there are limited studies comparing the occurrence of tipburn and calcium (Ca) distribution in lisianthus cultivars under different relative air humidity conditions. Accordingly, we investigated the effect of relative air humidity on tipburn severity, transpiration rate, and Ca content in seven lisianthus cultivars. Under a high humidity treatment (70%), only two cultivars (“Voyage pink” (VP) and “Azuma-no-kaori” (AK)) showed significantly higher tipburn severity than those under a low humidity treatment (50%), which suggests that high humidity conditions do not always increase tipburn severity in lisianthus. Transpiration rates of all cultivars, except for AK, were either significantly lower under the high humidity treatment than under the low humidity treatment, or did not vary significantly between the treatments. In contrast, total Ca concentrations in all cultivars, except for “Piccolosa snow” (PS), were significantly higher under the high humidity treatment than under the low humidity treatment. These results suggest that Ca acquisition and distribution in lisianthus cultivars are strongly influenced by Ca uptake from root pressure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Growing Degree Days during the Late Reproductive Phase Determine Spike Density and Cognate Yield Traits
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100217 - 04 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1019
Abstract
Drought has become more frequent in central Asia causing large losses in cereal yield. To surmount the existing problem, it is imperative to emphasize early maturing varietal development. However, the impact of heat units on spike morphology and its relationship with yield potential [...] Read more.
Drought has become more frequent in central Asia causing large losses in cereal yield. To surmount the existing problem, it is imperative to emphasize early maturing varietal development. However, the impact of heat units on spike morphology and its relationship with yield potential is still unclear. Thus, the current investigation was carried out to test wheat lines and varieties for variation in total heat unit’s accretion for anthesis and maturity and to understand the manipulating impact of sunlight on spike morphology, grain yield and its cognate traits. Furthermore, the gene action controlling major traits inheritance, combining ability effects, heritability, and association studies were also estimated. Following the Half Sib/Full Sib approach 27 hybrids along with 12 parents were tested. Results depicted broad variation in genetic stock. Correlation study demonstrated that earliness negatively affects the yield, while positively influencing spike density. Genetic variances were greater than variances due to environment, pointing to higher heritability (>50%) for all the characters except for grain’s weight spike−1. The degree of dominance revealed that the partial and over-dominant type of gene action conditioned inheritance of investigated traits. Thus, earliness can be used as an indirect selection criterion for yield advance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bacillus Pumilus Strain TUAT-1 and Nitrogen Application in Nursery Phase Promote Growth of Rice Plants under Field Conditions
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100216 - 04 Oct 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1685
Abstract
The aims of this study were to boost growth attributes, yield, and nutrient uptake of rice in paddy fields using a combination of Bacillus pumilus strain TUAT-1 biofertilizer and different nitrogen (N) application rates in nursery boxes. Bacillus pumilus strain TUAT-1 was applied [...] Read more.
The aims of this study were to boost growth attributes, yield, and nutrient uptake of rice in paddy fields using a combination of Bacillus pumilus strain TUAT-1 biofertilizer and different nitrogen (N) application rates in nursery boxes. Bacillus pumilus strain TUAT-1 was applied as an inoculant biofertilizer in conjunction with different rates of N fertilizer to rice seedlings in a nursery. Plant growth and yield parameters were evaluated at two stages: in 21-day-old nursery seedlings and in mature rice plants growing in a paddy field. Inoculation with TUAT-1 significantly increased the seedling growth and root morphology of 21-day-old nursery seedlings. There was a marked increase in chlorophyll content, plant height, number of tillers, and tiller biomass of rice plants with the use of TUAT-1 and N fertilizers alone, and their combinations, at the maximum tillering stage in the field. The combination of TUAT-1 and 100% N (farmer recommended rate of N) resulted in the greatest tiller number and biomass at the maximum tillering stage, and positively affected other growth attributes and yield. The growth and yield were similar in the TUAT-1 + 50% N and 100% N (uninoculated) treatments, because TUAT-1 promoted root development, which increased nutrient uptake from the soil. These results suggest that the B. pumilus strain TUAT-1 has a potential to enhance the nutritional uptake of rice by promoting the growth and development of roots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fertilizer Application on Crop Yield) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Boosts Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Capsicum annuum L. during Germination
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100215 - 03 Oct 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2050
Abstract
The effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on seed germination and seedling growth of Capsicum annuum L. were determined in this research. Total phenols content, total flavonoids, and condensed tannins, as well as 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) antioxidant capacity was determined. Results indicated that treatment with [...] Read more.
The effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on seed germination and seedling growth of Capsicum annuum L. were determined in this research. Total phenols content, total flavonoids, and condensed tannins, as well as 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) antioxidant capacity was determined. Results indicated that treatment with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) improved seed germination rate during the first seven days. The seed vigor germination increased 123.50%, 129.40% and 94.17% by treatment with ZnO-NPs suspensions at 100, 200 and 500 ppm, respectively. The morphological parameters tested revealed that ZnO-NPs treatments did not significantly affect plumule development, but they had a significant impact (p ≤ 0.01) on radicle length. Suspensions at 100, 200 and 500 ppm of ZnO-NPs inhibited seedling radicle growth and promoted accumulation of phenolic compounds, with a phytotoxic effect in this organ. Results suggested that zinc oxide nanoparticles influence seed vigor and seedling development and promoted the accumulation of desirable phenolic compounds in the radicle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceReview
Can Organic Sources of Nutrients Increase Crop Yields to Meet Global Food Demand?
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100214 - 03 Oct 2018
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 2456
Abstract
Meeting global demand of safe and healthy food for the ever-increasing population now and into the future is currently a crucial challenge. Increasing crop production by preserving environment and mitigating climate change should thus be the main goal of today’s agriculture. Conventional farming [...] Read more.
Meeting global demand of safe and healthy food for the ever-increasing population now and into the future is currently a crucial challenge. Increasing crop production by preserving environment and mitigating climate change should thus be the main goal of today’s agriculture. Conventional farming is characterized by use of high-yielding varieties, irrigation water, chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides to increase yields. However, due to either over- or misuse of chemical fertilizers or pesticides in many agro-ecosystems, such farming is often blamed for land degradation and environmental pollution and for adversely affecting the health of humans, plants, animals and aquatic ecosystems. Of all inputs required for increased agricultural production, nutrients are considered to be the most important ones. Organic farming, with use of organic sources of nutrients, is proposed as a sustainable strategy for producing safe, healthy and cheaper food and for restoring soil fertility and mitigating climate change. However, there are several myths and controversies surrounding the use of organic versus inorganic sources of nutrients. The objectives of this paper are: (i) to clarify some of the myths or misconceptions about organic versus inorganic sources of nutrients and (ii) to propose alternative solutions to increase on-farm biomass production for use as organic inputs for improving soil fertility and increasing crop yields. Common myths identified by this review include that organic materials/fertilizers can: (i) supply all required macro- and micro-nutrients for plants; (ii) improve physical, chemical and microbiological properties of soils; (iii) be applied universally on all soils; (iv) always produce quality products; (v) be cheaper and affordable; and (vi) build-up of large amount of soil organic matter. Other related myths are: “legumes can use entire amount of N2 fixed from atmosphere” and “bio-fertilizers increase nutrient content of soil.” Common myths regarding chemical fertilizers are that they: (i) are not easily available and affordable, (ii) degrade land, (iii) pollute environment and (iv) adversely affect health of humans, animals and agro-ecosystems. The review reveals that, except in some cases where higher yields (and higher profits) can be found from organic farming, their yields are generally 20–50% lower than that from conventional farming. The paper demonstrates that considering the current organic sources of nutrients in the developing countries, organic nutrients alone are not enough to increase crop yields to meet global food demand and that nutrients from inorganic and organic sources should preferably be applied at 75:25 ratio. The review identifies a new and alternative concept of Evergreen Agriculture (an extension of Agroforestry System), which has potential to supply organic nutrients in much higher amounts, improve on-farm soil fertility and meet nutrient demand of high-yielding crops, sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, provide fodder for livestock and fuelwood for farmers and has potential to meet global food demand. Evergreen Agriculture has been widely adapted by tens of millions of farmers in several African countries and the review proposes for evaluation and scaling-up of such technology in Asian and Latin American countries too. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fertilizer Application on Crop Yield) Printed Edition available
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Soil Type-Dependent Interactions of P-Solubilizing Microorganisms with Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers Mediate Plant Growth Promotion in Tomato
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100213 - 01 Oct 2018
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2757
Abstract
The use of plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) as bio-effectors (BEs) to improve the nutrient acquisition of crops has a long history. However, limited reproducibility of the expected effects still remains a major challenge for practical applications. Based on the hypothesis that the expression [...] Read more.
The use of plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) as bio-effectors (BEs) to improve the nutrient acquisition of crops has a long history. However, limited reproducibility of the expected effects still remains a major challenge for practical applications. Based on the hypothesis that the expression of PGPM effects depends on soil type and the properties of the applied fertilizers, in this study, the performance of selected microbial inoculants was investigated for two contrasting low-fertility soils supplied with different organic and inorganic fertilizers. Greenhouse experiments were conducted with tomato on an alkaline sandy loam of pH 7.8 and an acidic loamy sand of pH 5.6 with limited phosphate (P) availability. Municipal waste compost, with and without poultry manure (PM), rock phosphate (RP), stabilized ammonium, and mineral nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilization were tested as fertilizer variants. Selected strains of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (Priest et al. 1987) Borriss et al. 2011 (FZB42) and Trichoderma harzianum Rifai (OMG16) with proven plant growth-promoting potential were used as inoculants. On both soils, P was identified as a major limiting nutrient. Microbial inoculation selectively increased the P utilization in the PM-compost variants by 116% and 56% on the alkaline and acidic soil, while RP utilization was increased by 24%. This was associated with significantly increased shoot biomass production by 37–42%. Plant growth promotion coincided with a corresponding stimulation of root growth, suggesting improved spatial acquisition of soluble soil P fractions, associated also with improved acquisition of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca). There was no indication for mobilization of sparingly soluble Ca phosphates via rhizosphere acidification on the alkaline soil, and only mineral NPK fertilization reached a sufficient P status and maximum biomass production. However, on the moderately acidic soil, FZB42 significantly stimulated plant growth of the variants supplied with Ca–P in the form of RP + stabilized ammonium and PM compost, which was equivalent to NPK fertilization; however, the P nutritional status was sufficient only in the RP and NPK variants. The results suggest that successful application of microbial biofertilizers requires more targeted application strategies, considering the soil properties and compatible fertilizer combinations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen at the Farm Scale Using Quantitative Color Sensor Measurements
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100212 - 01 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1089
Abstract
Sensor technology can be a reliable and inexpensive means of gathering soils data for soil health assessment at the farm scale. This study demonstrates the use of color system readings from the Nix ProTM color sensor (Nix Sensor Ltd., Hamilton, ON, Canada) [...] Read more.
Sensor technology can be a reliable and inexpensive means of gathering soils data for soil health assessment at the farm scale. This study demonstrates the use of color system readings from the Nix ProTM color sensor (Nix Sensor Ltd., Hamilton, ON, Canada) to predict soil organic carbon (SOC) as well as total nitrogen (TN) in variable, glacial till soils at the 147 ha Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm, located in Upstate New York, USA. Regression analysis was conducted using the natural log of SOC (lnSOC) and the natural log of TN (lnTN) as dependent variables, and sample depth and color data were used as predictors for 155 air dried soil samples. Analysis was conducted for combined samples, Alfisols, and Entisols as separate sample sets and separate models were developed using depth and color variables, and color variables only. Depth and L* were significant predictors of lnSOC and lnTN for all sample sets. The color variable b* was not a significant predictor of lnSOC for any soil sample set, but it was for lnTN for all sample sets. The lnSOC prediction model for Alfisols, which included depth, had the highest R2 value (0.81, p-value < 0.001). The lnSOC model for Entisols, which contained only color variables, had the lowest R2 (0.62, p-value < 0.001). The results suggest that the Nix ProTM color sensor is an effective tool for the rapid assessment of SOC and TN content for these soils. With the accuracy and low cost of this sensor technology, it will be possible to greatly increase the spatial and temporal density of SOC and TN estimates, which is critical for soil management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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Open AccessReview
Sensing and Automation in Pruning of Apple Trees: A Review
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100211 - 30 Sep 2018
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1679
Abstract
Pruning is one of the most important tree fruit production activities, which is highly dependent on human labor. Skilled labor is in short supply, and the increasing cost of labor is becoming a big issue for the tree fruit industry. Meanwhile, worker safety [...] Read more.
Pruning is one of the most important tree fruit production activities, which is highly dependent on human labor. Skilled labor is in short supply, and the increasing cost of labor is becoming a big issue for the tree fruit industry. Meanwhile, worker safety is another issue in the manual pruning. Growers are motivated to seek mechanical or robotic solutions for reducing the amount of hand labor required for pruning. Identifying tree branches/canopies with sensors as well as automated operating pruning activity are the important components in the automated pruning system. This paper reviews the research and development of sensing and automated systems for branch pruning in apple production. Tree training systems, pruning strategies, 3D structure reconstruction of tree branches, and practice mechanisms or robotics are some of the developments that need to be addressed for an effective tree branch pruning system. Our study summarizes the potential opportunities for automatic pruning with machine-friendly modern tree architectures, previous studies on sensor development, and efforts to develop and deploy mechanical/robotic systems for automated branch pruning. We also describe two examples of qualified pruning strategies that could potentially simplify the automated pruning decision and pruning end-effector design. Finally, the limitations of current pruning technologies and other challenges for automated branch pruning are described, and possible solutions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensing and Automated Systems for Improved Crop Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of TaPHS1 and TaMKK3-A Genes on Wheat Pre-Harvest Sprouting Resistance
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100210 - 30 Sep 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) constrains wheat production worldwide by reducing both wheat grain yield and end-use quality. TaPHS1 on wheat chromosome 3AS and TaMKK3-A on chromosome 4AL are two cloned genes with major effects on PHS resistance and they are independent from grain color [...] Read more.
Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) constrains wheat production worldwide by reducing both wheat grain yield and end-use quality. TaPHS1 on wheat chromosome 3AS and TaMKK3-A on chromosome 4AL are two cloned genes with major effects on PHS resistance and they are independent from grain color (GC). In this study, we used marker-assisted backcrossing (MAB) to introgress TaPHS1 and TaMKK3-A from two PHS resistant sources—‘Tutoumai A’ and ‘AUS1408′—into a sprouting-susceptible white wheat line, NW97S186. Progeny were tested in four environments to investigate individual and combined effects of those two genes. TaPHS1 significantly reduced PHS and its effect on PHS varied with environments and gene sources. In contrast, the TaMKK3-A gene also significantly reduced PHS but its effectiveness was influenced by environments. The two genes had additive effects on PHS resistance, indicating pyramiding those two quantitative trait lici (QTLs) could increase PHS resistance. The additive effects were greater in a mild environment, such as a greenhouse, than in a dry and hot environment during maturation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leaf Eh and pH: A Novel Indicator of Plant Stress. Spatial, Temporal and Genotypic Variability in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100209 - 29 Sep 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
A wealth of knowledge has been published in the last decade on redox regulations in plants. However, these works remained largely at cellular and organelle levels. Simple indicators of oxidative stress at the plant level are still missing. We developed a method for [...] Read more.
A wealth of knowledge has been published in the last decade on redox regulations in plants. However, these works remained largely at cellular and organelle levels. Simple indicators of oxidative stress at the plant level are still missing. We developed a method for direct measurement of leaf Eh and pH, which revealed spatial, temporal, and genotypic variations in rice. Eh (redox potential) and [email protected] (redox potential corrected to pH 7) of the last fully expanded leaf decreased after sunrise. Leaf Eh was high in the youngest leaf and in the oldest leaves, and minimum for the last fully expanded leaf. Leaf pH decreased from youngest to oldest leaves. The same gradients in Eh-pH were measured for various varieties, hydric conditions, and cropping seasons. Rice varieties differed in Eh, pH, and/or [email protected] Leaf Eh increases and leaf pH decreases with plant age. These patterns and dynamics in leaf Eh-pH are in accordance with the pattern and dynamics of disease infections. Leaf Eh-pH can bring new insight on redox processes at plant level and is proposed as a novel indicator of plant stress/health. It could be used by agronomists, breeders, and pathologists to accelerate the development of crop cultivation methods leading to agroecological crop protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Irrigation and Nitrogen Fertilization Strategies on Silage Corn Grown in Semi-Arid Conditions
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100208 - 28 Sep 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
In water-scarce regions, high yield and improved water use efficiency (WUE) of crops can be obtained if water and nitrogen (N) are properly applied. While water and N have been the subject of research worldwide, studies are needed to advance our understanding on [...] Read more.
In water-scarce regions, high yield and improved water use efficiency (WUE) of crops can be obtained if water and nitrogen (N) are properly applied. While water and N have been the subject of research worldwide, studies are needed to advance our understanding on the complexity of their interaction. A field experiment was conducted at the University of Wyoming Powell Research and Extension Center in 2014 and 2015 growing seasons to determine the effect of irrigation water and N on growth, dry matter (DM) yield, and WUE of silage corn (Zea mays L.) grown under on-surface drip irrigation (ODI). The experiment was laid out as a randomized complete block design in split-plot arrangement with three replications. Irrigation was the main treatment and included 100ETc (100% crop evapotranspiration), 80ETc, and 60ETc. Nitrogen was the sub-treatment and included 0, 90, 180, 270, and 360 kg N ha−1 as urea-ammonium-nitrate solution Results showed that irrigation water, N, and application timing significantly affected growth and DM yield, especially at late vegetative and mid reproductive growth stages. At harvest (R4), no significant difference was observed between 180 kg N ha−1 and 270 kg N ha−1 on DM yield and WUE. However, significant differences of DM yield were observed between irrigation treatments, and 100ETc and 80ETc did not differ in WUE. Our findings suggest that 100ETc and 180 kg N ha−1 is the best combination for high yielding corn for silage grown in a semi-arid climate under ODI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Evapotranspiration)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Supplementary Light Source on Quality of Grafted Tomato Seedlings and Expression of Two Photosynthetic Genes
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100207 - 28 Sep 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1184
Abstract
Supplementary lighting is commonly used in high-quality seedling production. In this study, grafted tomato seedlings were grown for 10 days in a glasshouse with 16-h daily supplementary lighting at 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 PPFD (Photosynthetic photon flux density) from either high-pressure sodium [...] Read more.
Supplementary lighting is commonly used in high-quality seedling production. In this study, grafted tomato seedlings were grown for 10 days in a glasshouse with 16-h daily supplementary lighting at 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 PPFD (Photosynthetic photon flux density) from either high-pressure sodium (HPS), metal halide (MH), far-red (FR), white LEDs (Light emitting diodes) (W), or mixed LEDs (W1R2B1, where the subscript numbers indicate the ratio of the LED chips) to determine which light sources improve the seedling quality. The control seedlings did not receive any supplementary light. Physiological parameters and the expression of genes related to photosynthesis were analyzed. The results showed that root length, biomass, number of leaves, chlorophyll (SPAD), scion dry weight to height ratio (WHR), and specific leaf weight (SLW) were the greatest for grafted seedlings grown in W1R2B1. The level of root ball formation was the greatest for seedlings grown in W1R2B1, followed by those grown in W, HPS, and MH. Seedlings grown in FR did not fare well, as they were very thin and weak. Moreover, the expression of two photosynthetic genes (PsaA and PsbA) was significantly increased by W1R2B1 and W, which suggests that the plastid or nuclear genes might be regulated. The overall results suggest that W1R2B1 was the most suitable light source to enhance the quality of grafted tomato seedlings. The results of this study could be used as a reference for seedling production in glasshouses, and may provide new insights in the research on lights affecting the development of plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Characterization of the Glutathione Peroxidase (GPX) Gene Family in Watermelon and Its Expression under Various Abiotic Stresses
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100206 - 26 Sep 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Plant glutathione peroxidase (GPX) is an important antioxidant enzyme to maintain H2O2 homeostasis and regulate plant response to abiotic stress. In this paper, we present the first report of a genome-wide identification of GPX genes in watermelon. A total of [...] Read more.
Plant glutathione peroxidase (GPX) is an important antioxidant enzyme to maintain H2O2 homeostasis and regulate plant response to abiotic stress. In this paper, we present the first report of a genome-wide identification of GPX genes in watermelon. A total of six genes (ClGPX1ClGPX6) were identified, which were unevenly located on four chromosomes of the watermelon genome. Based on phylogenetic analysis, the GPX genes of Arabidopsis, rice, cucumber, and sorghum were classified into four groups. Through analyzing the promoter regions of ClGPX genes, many development-, stress-, and hormone-responsive cis-acting regulatory elements were also identified. Expression pattern analysis by qRT-PCR indicated that all ClGPX genes were actively expressed in flowers and fruits, and exhibited relatively lower expression in other tissues, particularly roots and stems. In addition, the expression of ClGPX genes was significantly induced by salt, drought, and cold stresses, as well as abscisic acid (ABA) treatment at different time points, suggesting that they may be involved in response to abiotic stress and ABA. Taken together, our findings demonstrated that ClGPX genes might function in watermelon development, especially in flower and fruit tissue, as well as in response to abiotic stress and hormones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Screening and Evaluation of Saline–Alkaline Tolerant Germplasm of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) in Soda Saline–Alkali Soil
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100205 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
The improvement and development of saline–alkali land is of great significance for promoting food production and sustainable development. It is necessary to study the mechanism of saline–alkaline tolerance and breed saline–alkaline tolerant crops to improve the utilization of saline–alkali land. For this study, [...] Read more.
The improvement and development of saline–alkali land is of great significance for promoting food production and sustainable development. It is necessary to study the mechanism of saline–alkaline tolerance and breed saline–alkaline tolerant crops to improve the utilization of saline–alkali land. For this study, we conducted a three-year pot experiment to screen the saline–alkaline tolerant germplasm of 72 rice genotypes from hundreds of elite cultivars during the whole growth period using a certain proportion of soda saline–alkali soil. The selected salt-tolerant variety was combined with a salt-sensitive variety to analyze the saline–alkaline tolerance mechanism by using the saline–alkaline soil leachate. We eliminated 36 genotypes with low seedling survival rates under salt–alkali stress, and the salt-tolerant Jiudao-66 (D68) variety had a higher survival rate than most varieties. The membership degree of Jiudao-66, according to the salt tolerance index of multiple agronomic traits, is higher than that of 34 varieties, with a higher survival rate except when compared to D36. The survival rate and these salt tolerance indexes of Jiudao-66 were significantly higher than those of Kitaake (salt-sensitive). Under the stress of leachate, the content of proline and soluble sugars in the shoots of Jiudao-66 were higher than that of Kitaake, and the total antioxidant capacity was stronger than that of Kitaake. However, the content of malondialdehyde was lower than that of Kitaake. Additionally, the Na+/K+ ratios in shoots and roots were not significantly differently between Kitaake and Jiudao-66. The results showed that Jiudao-66, as a salt-tolerant variety, is more tolerant to salt and alkali in a near-natural state due to its stronger tolerance of osmotic stress, and it can accumulate more proline and soluble sugars under stress. At the same time, Jiudao-66 also has a stronger antioxidant capacity. Its ion regulation ability has no obvious advantage. Full article
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