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Agronomy, Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Knowledge of crop water use in irrigated agriculture is important for farmers, water districts, and [...] Read more.
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Variability for Nitrogen Management in Genetically-Distant Maize (Zea mays L.) Lines: Impact of Post-Silking Nitrogen Limiting Conditions
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120309
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
The impact of nitrogen (N)-limiting conditions after silking on kernel yield (KY)-related traits and whole plant N management was investigated using fifteen maize lines representative of plant genetic diversity in Europe and America. A large level of genetic variability of these traits was
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The impact of nitrogen (N)-limiting conditions after silking on kernel yield (KY)-related traits and whole plant N management was investigated using fifteen maize lines representative of plant genetic diversity in Europe and America. A large level of genetic variability of these traits was observed in the different lines when post-silking fertilization of N was strongly reduced. Under such N-fertilization conditions, four different groups of lines were identified on the basis of KY and kernel N content. Although the pattern of N management, including N uptake and N use was variable in the four groups of lines, a number of them were able to maintain both a high yield and a high kernel N content by increasing shoot N remobilization. No obvious relationship between the genetic background of the lines and their mode of N management was found. When N was limiting after silking, N remobilization appeared to be a good predictive marker for identifying maize lines that were able to maintain a high yield and a high kernel N content irrespective of their female flowering date. The use of N remobilization as a trait to select maize genotypes adapted to low N input is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Management Factor Contributions to Maize Yield)
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Open AccessArticle Hydraulic Redistribution in Slender Wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus Link Malte) and Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis L.): Potential Benefits for Land Reclamation
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120308
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
Hydraulic redistribution (HR) by plant roots can increase moisture content in the dry, mostly upper, parts of the soil. HR helps maintain the viability of fine roots, root hydraulic conductivity, microbial activity and facilitate nutrient uptake. Plants can supply water to other surrounding
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Hydraulic redistribution (HR) by plant roots can increase moisture content in the dry, mostly upper, parts of the soil. HR helps maintain the viability of fine roots, root hydraulic conductivity, microbial activity and facilitate nutrient uptake. Plants can supply water to other surrounding plants by HR under drought conditions. In oil sands reclamation areas in Northeastern Alberta, Canada, reconstructed soils commonly suffer from the problems of drought, high pH, salinity, and compaction, which often impact revegetation success. In this study, we investigated the HR potential of two herbaceous plants that are frequently present in oil sands reclamation sites: slender wheatgrass (Elymus trachycaulus Link Malte) and yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis L.), using a vertically split-root growth setup and treatments with deuterium-enriched water. Our objective was to test the potential benefits of HR on drought responses of seedlings of the commonly used plant species for oil sand reclamation, balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.), when these plants were grown together under controlled environment conditions. We found that both wheatgrass and yellow sweet clover could redistribute water in the upward and downward directions. However, the amount of water released by the roots was not sufficient to alleviate the effects of drought stress on the associated balsam poplar seedlings. Longer-term field studies should be carried out in order to examine, under different environmental conditions, the potential benefits of HR in these herbaceous plants to the establishment and growth of other plant species that are used for land reclamation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Intercropping and Plastic Mulch as Tools to Manage Heat Stress, Productivity and Quality of Jalapeño Pepper
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120307
Received: 17 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
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Abstract
Under a global warming scenario, it is important to adopt practices that favor soil water conservation, such as plant intercropping systems and the use of plastic mulching. The objective of this study was to determine how microenvironment, morphology, productivity and quality of jalapeño
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Under a global warming scenario, it is important to adopt practices that favor soil water conservation, such as plant intercropping systems and the use of plastic mulching. The objective of this study was to determine how microenvironment, morphology, productivity and quality of jalapeño peppers were affected by corn intercropping and the use of plastic mulching. Two experiments were conducted during 2015 and 2016 in the Valley of Mexicali, Mexico, a region characterized by its extreme aridity, soil salinity, hot temperatures and high radiation during the summer. Four treatments were tested: jalapeño peppers grown on bare soil (BS); on bare soil intercropped with corn (BS+IC); on plastic mulch (PMu); and on plastic mulch intercropped with corn (PMu+IC). The response variables measured were yield, fruit quality attributes, microclimatic variables, and morphology of the pepper crop. PMu treatment produced the tallest pepper plants and yields, while the BS+IC treatment produced the smallest plants and the lowest yields. A possible explanation for the higher biomass and crop yield of the PMu treatment is the lack of competition from corn and the effect of plastic mulching in reducing soil salinity. It is concluded that competition from corn on jalapeño pepper dramatically affected the pepper’s productivity, particularly under high soil salinity and extremely high temperature conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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Open AccessArticle Quantitative Analysis by HPLC and FT-MIR Prediction of Individual Sugars from the Plum Fruit Harvested during Growth and Fruit Development
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120306
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 9 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
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Abstract
Individual sugars were analyzed by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) in plum juice samples obtained from “Stanley”, “Vânăt de Italia”, and “Tuleu Gras”. The samples were harvested from the inside and periphery of the crown during six development phases. The aim of the
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Individual sugars were analyzed by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) in plum juice samples obtained from “Stanley”, “Vânăt de Italia”, and “Tuleu Gras”. The samples were harvested from the inside and periphery of the crown during six development phases. The aim of the present study was to determine the individual sugars in plum juice by the HPLC and Fourier transform mid-infrared spectroscopy (FT-MIR) methods and to validate them. Our findings were as follows: levels between 0.26–3.73% for fructose, 1.43–1.10% for glucose, and 0.01–10.19% for sucrose. The FT-MIR analyses confirmed the differences between the juice samples, mainly in the spectral region characteristic to sugars which ranged from 900 to 1500 cm−1. FT-MIR coupled with Partial least squares (PLS) was used to develop calibration models for estimating individual plum juice sugars, the predictive characteristics being assessed. The optimal regions and spectral pretreatments were 800–1600 cm−1 and Savitzky Golay first derivative (d1) for fructose, 800–1600 cm−1 for glucose, and 915–1145 cm−1 and second derivative (d2) for sucrose. The selection of optimal spectral zones and pre-treatments led to PLS calibration models with acceptable predictive abilities for glucose, very good for sucrose, and less satisfactory for fructose. Moreover, the FT-MIR results were compared to the HPLC results in external validation tests and reference values included. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Genome Resequencing Reveals Genetic Variation between the Parents of An Elite Hybrid Upland Cotton
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120305
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
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Abstract
Cotton is one of the most important economic crops worldwide. As the global demands rising, cotton yield improvement is the most important goal of cotton breeding. Hybrids have great potential for increasing yield, however, the genetic mechanism of hybrids is still not clear.
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Cotton is one of the most important economic crops worldwide. As the global demands rising, cotton yield improvement is the most important goal of cotton breeding. Hybrids have great potential for increasing yield, however, the genetic mechanism of hybrids is still not clear. To investigate the genetic basis of cotton hybrids, we resequenced 9053 and sGK9708 with 62.13x coverage depth, the parents of the elite hybrid cotton CCRI63 that has obvious heterosis in lint percentage (LP) and boll weight (BW). Based on the cotton reference genome (TM-1), 1,287,661 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 152,479 insertions/deletions (InDels) were identified in 9053, and 1,482,784 SNPs and 152,985 InDels in sGK9708. Among them, 8649 SNPs and 629 InDels in the gene coding regions showed polymorphism between parents. Moreover, these variations involved 5092 genes, and 3835 of these genes were divided into 10 clusters based on the gene expression profiles. The genes in Cluster 3 and 7 were specifically expressed in the ovule and fiber development stage, suggesting that they might relate to LP and BW. We further co-localized the polymorphic SNPs and InDels with the reported quantitative trait loci (QTLs) of LP and BW, and identified 68 genes containing the polymorphic SNPs or InDels within these QTL intervals and as being related to fiber development. This suggested that the outstanding traits of CCRI63 such as LP and BW might be generated by accumulating the favorable variations from the parents. The results generated herein provide a genetic basis for cotton hybrids and genetic markers for marker-assisted selection breeding of cotton. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cotton Breeding, Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Fertilizer Management Strategies Aiming to Increase Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Wheat Grown Under Conservation Agriculture
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120304
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 16 December 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable crop production systems can be attained by using inputs efficiently and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) parameters are indirect measurements of sustainability of production systems. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of selected nitrogen (N) management treatments on wheat
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Sustainable crop production systems can be attained by using inputs efficiently and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) parameters are indirect measurements of sustainability of production systems. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of selected nitrogen (N) management treatments on wheat yields, grain and straw N concentration, and NUE parameters, under conservation agriculture (CA). The present study was conducted at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in northwest, Mexico. Seventeen treatments were tested which included urea sources, timing, and methods of fertilizer application. Orthogonal contrasts were used to compare groups of treatments and correlation and regression analyses were used to look at the relationships between wheat yields and NUE parameters. Contrasts run to compare wheat yields or agronomic efficiency of N (AEN) performed similarly. Sources of urea or timing of fertilizer application had a significant effect on yields or AEN (p > 0.050). However, methods of application resulted in a highly significant (p < 0.0001) difference on wheat yields and agronomic efficiency of N. NUE parameters recorded in this study were average but the productivity associated to NUE levels was high. Results in this study indicate that wheat grew under non-critically limiting N supply levels, suggesting that N mineralization and reduced N losses from the soil under CA contributed to this favorable nutritional condition, thus minimizing the importance of N management practices under stable, mature CA systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fertilizer Application on Crop Yield)
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Open AccessCommunication Soil Properties for Predicting Soil Mineral Nitrogen Dynamics Throughout a Wheat Growing Cycle in Calcareous Soils
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120303
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 15 December 2018
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Abstract
A better understanding of the capacity of soils to supply nitrogen (N) to wheat can enhance fertilizer recommendations. The aim of this study was to assess the soil mineral N (Nmin) dynamics throughout the wheat growing season in crucial stages for
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A better understanding of the capacity of soils to supply nitrogen (N) to wheat can enhance fertilizer recommendations. The aim of this study was to assess the soil mineral N (Nmin) dynamics throughout the wheat growing season in crucial stages for the plant yield and grain protein content (GPC). To this aim, we evaluated the utility of different soil properties analyzed before sowing: (i) commonly used soil physicochemical properties, (ii) potentially mineralizable N or No (aerobic incubation), and (iii) different extraction methods for estimating No. A greenhouse experiment was established using samples from 16 field soils from northern Spain. Wheat N uptake and soil Nmin concentrations were determined at following growing stages (GS): sowing, GS30, GS37, GS60, harvest, post-harvest, and pre-sowing. Pearson’s correlation analysis of the soil properties, aerobic incubations and chemical extractions with the soil Nmin dynamics and N uptake, yield and GPC was performed. In addition, correlations were performed between Nmin and the N uptake, yield, and GPC. The dynamics of soil Nmin throughout the cropping season were variable, and thus, the crop N necessities were variable. The soil Nmin values in the early wheat growth stages were well correlated with the yield, and in the late stages, they were well correlated with GPC. N0 was correlated with the late N uptake and GPC. However, the chemical methods that avoid the long periods required for N0 determinations were not correlated with the N uptake in the late wheat growth stages or GPC. Conversely, clay was positively correlated with the late Nmin values and GPC. Chemical methods were unable to estimate the available soil N in the later stages of the growing cycle. Consequently, as incubation methods are too laborious for their widespread use, further research must be conducted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fertilizer Application on Crop Yield)
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Open AccessArticle Carbohydrate Dynamics in Maize Leaves and Developing Ears in Response to Nitrogen Application
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120302
Received: 4 November 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 15 December 2018
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Abstract
Maize grain yield is considered to be highly associated with ear and leaf carbohydrate dynamics during the critical period bracketing silking and during the fast grain filling phase. However, a full understanding of how differences in N availability/plant N status influence carbohydrate dynamics
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Maize grain yield is considered to be highly associated with ear and leaf carbohydrate dynamics during the critical period bracketing silking and during the fast grain filling phase. However, a full understanding of how differences in N availability/plant N status influence carbohydrate dynamics and processes underlying yield formation remains elusive. Two field experiments were conducted to examine maize ear development, grain yield and the dynamics of carbohydrates in maize ear leaves and developing ears in response to differences in N availability. Increasing N availability stimulated ear growth during the critical two weeks bracketing silking and during the fast grain-filling phase, consequently resulting in greater maize grain yield. In ear leaves, sucrose and starch concentrations exhibited an obvious diurnal pattern at both silking and 20 days after silking, and N fertilization led to more carbon flux to sucrose biosynthesis than to starch accumulation. The elevated transcript abundance of key genes involved in starch biosynthesis and maltose export, as well as the sugar transporters (SWEETs) important for phloem loading, indicated greater starch turnover and sucrose export from leaves under N-fertilized conditions. In developing ears, N fertilization likely enhanced the cleavage of sucrose to glucose and fructose in the cob prior to and at silking and the synthesis from glucose and fructose to sucrose in the kernels after silking, and thus increasing kernel setting and filling. At the end, we propose a source-sink carbon partitioning framework to illustrates how N application influences carbon assimilation in leaves, transport, and conversions in developing reproductive tissues, ultimately leading to greater yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Management Factor Contributions to Maize Yield)
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Open AccessArticle Diversity of Colletotrichum Species Associated with Olive Anthracnose and New Perspectives on Controlling the Disease in Portugal
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120301
Received: 16 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract
Olive anthracnose is a very common and severe disease caused by diverse species of fungi belonging to Colletotrichum acutatum and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides complexes. To understand aspects of the Colletotrichum colonization and primary infection in olives, Colletotrichum spp. were isolated from the interior of
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Olive anthracnose is a very common and severe disease caused by diverse species of fungi belonging to Colletotrichum acutatum and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides complexes. To understand aspects of the Colletotrichum colonization and primary infection in olives, Colletotrichum spp. were isolated from the interior of 2-year stems, flower buds, and immature fruits of three important olive cultivars, Galega vulgar, Cobrançosa, and Azeiteira, from different sites within Alentejo, a major olive-producing region in Portugal. A total of 270 trees was sampled, and 68 Colletotrichum spp. isolates were obtained from 46 olive trees. DNA extraction and amplification of β-tubulin and GADPH genes through PCR revealed that the vast majority of the isolates showed high similarity to Colletotrichum nymphaeae, and only three isolates showed high similarity to Colletotrichum godetiae. The highest number of Colletotrichum spp. isolates was detected in olive trees from Galega vulgar and in immature fruits. No significant differences in the number of Colletotrichum spp. isolates were found in trees from different sites. The highest percentages of infected immature fruits were obtained in trees that also presented a high percentage of 2-year stem infections, which may indicate that 2-year stems serve as important sources of inoculum, and the fungus may travel from the stems to other parts of the plant. Another indication of such possibility is that one isolate of C. nymphaeae (C. nymphaeae 2), characterized by a unique nucleotide mutation within the beta tubulin gene, was present in different organs of the same tree, both in 2-year stems and in recently formed vegetative organs as flower buds and immature fruits, which seem to suggest that it may be the same isolate, which has moved systemically inside the plant. The results presented here can play an important role in working out strategies for the effective and timely management of the disease and in reducing the number of unnecessary fungicide applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Etiology and Control of Crop Diseases)
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Open AccessReview Tallgrass Prairie Responses to Management Practices and Disturbances: A Review
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120300
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract
Adoption of better management practices is crucial to lessen the impact of anthropogenic disturbances on tallgrass prairie systems that contribute heavily for livestock production in several states of the United States. This article reviews the impacts of different common management practices and disturbances
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Adoption of better management practices is crucial to lessen the impact of anthropogenic disturbances on tallgrass prairie systems that contribute heavily for livestock production in several states of the United States. This article reviews the impacts of different common management practices and disturbances (e.g., fertilization, grazing, burning) and tallgrass prairie restoration on plant growth and development, plant species composition, water and nutrient cycles, and microbial activities in tallgrass prairie. Although nitrogen (N) fertilization increases aboveground productivity of prairie systems, several factors greatly influence the range of stimulation across sites. For example, response to N fertilization was more evident on frequently or annually burnt sites (N limiting) than infrequently burnt and unburnt sites (light limiting). Frequent burning increased density of C4 grasses and decreased plant species richness and diversity, while plant diversity was maximized under infrequent burning and grazing. Grazing increased diversity and richness of native plant species by reducing aboveground biomass of dominant grasses and increasing light availability for other species. Restored prairies showed lower levels of species richness and soil quality compared to native remnants. Infrequent burning, regular grazing, and additional inputs can promote species richness and soil quality in restored prairies. However, this literature review indicated that all prairie systems might not show similar responses to treatments as the response might be influenced by another treatment, timing of treatments, and duration of treatments (i.e., short-term vs. long-term). Thus, it is necessary to examine the long-term responses of tallgrass prairie systems to main and interacting effects of combination of management practices under diverse plant community and climatic conditions for a holistic assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grassland Management for Sustainable Agroecosystems)
Open AccessArticle Seed Germination in Relation to Total Sugar and Starch in Endosperm Mutant of Sweet Corn Genotypes
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120299
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 9 December 2018
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Abstract
The use of combinations of two or more genes controlling carbohydrate characters of corn is an attractive way to improve table quality of sweet corn. Poor seed quality of the inbred lines hinders the progress of this strategy for hybrid seed production. The
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The use of combinations of two or more genes controlling carbohydrate characters of corn is an attractive way to improve table quality of sweet corn. Poor seed quality of the inbred lines hinders the progress of this strategy for hybrid seed production. The objective of this study was to evaluate sweet corn inbred lines with combinations of double and triple recessive genes for germination percentage, seed vigor, total sugar content, and starch content. Eleven sweet corn genotypes including seven inbred lines (F6 generation) with different combinations of genes controlling carbohydrate characters and four F1 hybrids were used. The germination experiment was conducted under standard test between papers (BP) and accelerated aging (AA) test. The data were recorded for germination percentage, germination speed, normal and abnormal seedling, seedling length, and seedling dry weight. The seeds were analyzed for total sugar and starch content in endosperm at maturity stage. The results showed that single recessive genotype (sh2sh2) had high germination percentage and seedling vigor. The combinations of bt or sh2 gene with wx gene resulted in low germination percentage and poor seedling vigor. However, combinations of triple recessive genes (btbt sh2sh2 wxwx) had good germination in BP test but they performed poorly in AA test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breeding and Genetics of Sugarcane and Other Sugar Crops)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial and Temporal Trends of Irrigated Cotton Yield in the Southern High Plains
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120298
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 8 December 2018
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Understanding spatial and temporal variability patterns of crop yield and their relationship with soil properties can provide decision support to optimize crop management. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the spatial and temporal variability of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)
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Understanding spatial and temporal variability patterns of crop yield and their relationship with soil properties can provide decision support to optimize crop management. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the spatial and temporal variability of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) lint yield over different growing seasons; (2) evaluate the relationship between spatial and temporal yield patterns and apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa). This study was conducted in eight production fields, six with 50 ha and two with 25 ha, on the Southern High Plains (SHP) from 2000 to 2003. Cotton yield and ECa data were collected using a yield monitor and an ECa mapping system, respectively. The amount and pattern of spatial and temporal yield variability varied with the field. Fields with high variability in ECa exhibited a stronger association between spatial and temporal yield patterns and ECa, indicating that soil properties related to ECa were major factors influencing yield variability. The application of ECa for site-specific management is limited to fields with high spatial variability and with a strong association between yield spatial and temporal patterns and ECa variation patterns. For fields with low variability in yield, spatial and temporal yield patterns might be more influenced by weather or other factors in different growing seasons. Fields with high spatial variability and a clear temporal stability pattern have great potential for long-term site-specific management of crop inputs. For unstable yield, however, long-term management practices are difficult to implement. For these fields with unstable yield patterns, within season site-specific management can be a better choice. Variable rate application of water, plant growth regulators, nitrogen, harvest aids may be implemented based on the spatial variability of crop growth conditions at specific times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technologies for Precision Plant and Crop Protection)
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Open AccessArticle Seasonal Variation in Starch Accumulation and Starch Granule Size in Cassava Genotypes in a Tropical Savanna Climate
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120297
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 25 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
The information on genotypic responses to the seasonal variation in the starch content, starch yield, and starch quality of cassava is limited. The objective of this research was to investigate the seasonal variation of starch characteristics of three cassava genotypes grown under irrigation.
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The information on genotypic responses to the seasonal variation in the starch content, starch yield, and starch quality of cassava is limited. The objective of this research was to investigate the seasonal variation of starch characteristics of three cassava genotypes grown under irrigation. The experiment was conducted at four planting dates (20 April, 30 June, 5 October, and 15 December 2015). Three cassava genotypes (CMR38-125-77, Kasetsart 50, and Rayong 11) were evaluated in a randomized complete block design with four replications and the plants were harvested at 12 months. The planting date contributed the largest portion of the total variation in the starch content, starch yield, and starch granule size. The amylose content variability was heavily influenced by genotype. Cassava planted on 5 October or 15 December had greater starch content, starch yield, and starch granule in most genotypes. This was likely due to a higher temperature and solar radiation during the 3–9 months post-planting. CMR38-125-77 showed a consistently high starch content, starch yield, and high amylose content for most planting dates except for the starch yield on 20 April, of which Rayong 11 was the best. These findings will be useful for choosing suitable cassava genotypes for different growing seasons and for facilitating breeding efforts for high starch-yielding and high-quality cassava starch in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle An Evaluation of the Variation in the Morphometric Parameters of Grain of Six Triticum Species with the Use of Digital Image Analysis
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120296
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Kernel images of six wheat species were subjected to shape and color analyses to determine variations in the morphometric parameters of grain. The values of kernel shape descriptors (area, perimeter, Feret diameter, minimal Feret diameter, circularity, aspect ratio, roundness, solidity) and color descriptors
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Kernel images of six wheat species were subjected to shape and color analyses to determine variations in the morphometric parameters of grain. The values of kernel shape descriptors (area, perimeter, Feret diameter, minimal Feret diameter, circularity, aspect ratio, roundness, solidity) and color descriptors (H, S, I and L*a*b*) were investigated. The influence of grain colonization by endophytic fungi on the color of the seed coat was also evaluated. Polish wheat grain was characterized by the highest intraspecific variation in shape and color. Bread wheat was most homogeneous in terms of the studied shape and color descriptors. An analysis of variations in wheat lines revealed greater differences in phenotypic traits of relict wheats, which have a larger gene pool. The grain of ancient wheat species was characterized by low roundness values and relatively low solidity. Shape and color descriptors were strongly discriminating components in the studied wheat species. Their discriminatory power was determined mainly by genotype. A method that supports rapid discrimination of cereal species and admixtures of other cereals in grain batches is required to guarantee the quality and safety of grain. The results of this study indicate that digital image analysis can be effectively used for this purpose. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Bird Management in Blueberries and Grapes
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120295
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 1 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Bird damage to fruit is a long-standing challenge for growers that imposes significant costs because of yield losses and grower efforts to manage birds. We measured bird damage in ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry fields and Pinot noir vineyards in 2012–2014 in Michigan to investigate how
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Bird damage to fruit is a long-standing challenge for growers that imposes significant costs because of yield losses and grower efforts to manage birds. We measured bird damage in ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry fields and Pinot noir vineyards in 2012–2014 in Michigan to investigate how year, grower, and forest cover influenced the proportions of bird damage. We tested whether inflatable tubemen (2013–2014) and a methyl anthranilate spray (2015) reduced bird damage in blueberries, and tested the deterrent effect of inflatable tubemen in grapes (2014). Years when crop yield was lower tended to have a higher damage percentage; for blueberries, bird damage was highest in 2012, and in grapes, damage was highest in 2012 and 2014. Neither blueberry fields nor vineyards with inflatable tubemen showed significantly reduced bird damage, although the blueberry fields showed a non-significant trend toward lower damage in the tubemen blocks. Blueberry field halves treated with the methyl anthranilate spray had equivalent bird damage to untreated halves. Our results correspond to previous work showing that percent bird damage varies by year, which was likely because bird consumption of fruit is relatively constant over time, while fruit yield varies. Fruit growers should expect a higher proportion of bird damage in low-fruit contexts, such as low-yield years, and prepare to invest more in bird management at those times. Investigating patterns of bird damage and testing deterrent strategies remain challenges. Bird activity is spatially and temporally variable, and birds’ mobility necessitates tests at large scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Asparagine Concentration as an Indicator of the Acrylamide Formation in Cereals Grown under Organic Farming Conditions
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120294
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 4 December 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated the impact of organically grown cereals on the level of free asparagine (Asn) with simultaneous consideration of grain yields and flour qualities over three growing seasons in Germany. Additionally, the relation of free Asn and acrylamide (AA) was investigated. By
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This study investigated the impact of organically grown cereals on the level of free asparagine (Asn) with simultaneous consideration of grain yields and flour qualities over three growing seasons in Germany. Additionally, the relation of free Asn and acrylamide (AA) was investigated. By including free Asn results of a second trial site, heritability of the trait free Asn was calculated. Free Asn was significantly influenced by species and within species by cultivars. Rye showed the highest free Asn amount, followed by einkorn, emmer, wheat, and spelt. Replacing rye with spelt would reduce free Asn by 85%. Cultivars differed in free Asn by up to 67% (wheat), 55% (spelt), and 33% (rye). Year significantly influenced free Asn levels. Heritability was high for wheat and spelt concerning locations, but regarding years, heritability was low for wheat but high for spelt and rye. For organically grown cereals, the relation between free Asn and AA formation has never been investigated. Across species and years, a correlation of R2 = 0.69 *** was found. Thus, free Asn can serve as an indicator for AA formation. In conclusion, the level of free Asn can be highly influenced by proper selection of species and cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming: Impacts on Food Quality and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Apparent Accumulated Nitrogen Fertilizer Recovery in Long-Term Wheat–Maize Cropping Systems in China
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120293
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
Recovery efficiency of nitrogen fertilizers has always been an important issue, especially for N fertilizer recommendation rate in cropping systems. Based on the equilibrium of N in the soil–plant system, apparent accumulated N fertilizer recovery (NREac) was determined for long-term (15-years)
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Recovery efficiency of nitrogen fertilizers has always been an important issue, especially for N fertilizer recommendation rate in cropping systems. Based on the equilibrium of N in the soil–plant system, apparent accumulated N fertilizer recovery (NREac) was determined for long-term (15-years) experiments in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and maize (Zea mays L.) rotations at five field sites with various soils and climate characteristics in China. The result showed that the frequency of cropping and the content of soil clay affected NREac positively and negatively, respectively. In the absence of nutrient deficiencies and other soil constraints (from NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) in S2-CP (site2-Changping) in Beijing, S3-ZZ (site3-Zhengzhou) in Henan province and S4-YL (site4-Yangling) in Shaanxi province), NREac had a narrow range from 70% to 78% with the highest average of 75% in wheat and maize cropping system. Meanwhile, the value 75% of NERac is a rational value proved by 3414 experiments. Additionally, the nitrate-N approach suggested that nitrate-N could be utilized by subsequent crops, the amount of which is calculated by the equation −1.23 × [(NO3-N) − 87]. Furthermore, another simpler and feasible method was proposed to maintain basic soil fertility while achieving a rational grain yield and maintaining a safe environmental upper threshold of nitrate. The present study provided a suit of methods for N fertilizer recommendations for the optimization of N applications in wheat and maize cropping system in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optimizing Potassium Application for Hybrid Rice (Oryza sativa L.) in Coastal Saline Soils of West Bengal, India
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120292
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
The present study assesses the response of hybrid rice (variety Arize 6444) to potassium (K) application during rainy (wet) seasons of 2016 and 2017 in coastal saline soils of West Bengal, India. The study was conducted at the Regional Research Farm, Bidhan Chandra
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The present study assesses the response of hybrid rice (variety Arize 6444) to potassium (K) application during rainy (wet) seasons of 2016 and 2017 in coastal saline soils of West Bengal, India. The study was conducted at the Regional Research Farm, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Kakdwip, West Bengal. The soil is clayeywith acidic pH (5.91), saline (Electrical conductivity/EC 1.53 dS m−1) and of high K fertility (366 kg ha−1). The experimental plots were laid out in a randomized complete block design with five (5) K treatments (0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 kg K2O ha−1) with four replications. Plant height, dry matter (DM) in different plant parts, number of tillers, and grain yield were measured in each treatment for the determination of optimum K dose. The study revealed that the stem, leaf, and grain dry matter production at 60 days after transplanting (DAT) and harvest were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher at 90 kg K2O ha−1 application. The number of tillers hill−1 was also higher (p ≤ 0.05) in plants fertilized with 90 kg K2O ha−1 over K omission. At harvest, grain K concentration improved (p ≤ 0.05) with K fertilization at 90 kg K2O ha−1, 116% more than the zero-K. Omission of K application from the best treatment (90 kg K2O ha−1) reduced grain yield by 3.5 t ha−1 even though the available K content was high. Potassium uptake restriction due to higher Mg content in the soil may have caused reduced uptake of K leading to yield losses. The present study also showed higher profits with 90 kg K2O ha−1 with higher net returns (US$ 452 ha−1) and benefit:cost ratio (1.75) over other treatments from hybrid rice (var. Arize 6444). From the regression equation, the economic optimum level of K (Kopt) was derived as 101.5 kg K2O ha−1 that could improve productivity of hybrid rice during the wet season in coastal saline soils of West Bengal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fertilizer Application on Crop Yield)
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Open AccessReview Role of Modelling in International Crop Research: Overview and Some Case Studies
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120291
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 4 December 2018
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Abstract
Crop modelling has the potential to contribute to global food and nutrition security. This paper briefly examines the history of crop modelling by international crop research centres of the CGIAR (formerly Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research but now known simply as CGIAR),
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Crop modelling has the potential to contribute to global food and nutrition security. This paper briefly examines the history of crop modelling by international crop research centres of the CGIAR (formerly Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research but now known simply as CGIAR), whose primary focus is on less developed countries. Basic principles of crop modelling building up to a Genotype × Environment × Management × Socioeconomic (G × E × M × S) paradigm, are explained. Modelling has contributed to better understanding of crop performance and yield gaps, better prediction of pest and insect outbreaks, and improving the efficiency of crop management including irrigation systems and optimization of planting dates. New developments include, for example, use of remote sensed data and mobile phone technology linked to crop management decision support models, data sharing in the new era of big data, and the use of genomic selection and crop simulation models linked to environmental data to help make crop breeding decisions. Socio-economic applications include foresight analysis of agricultural systems under global change scenarios, and the consequences of potential food system shocks are also described. These approaches are discussed in this paper which also calls for closer collaboration among disciplines in order to better serve the crop research and development communities by providing model based recommendations ranging from policy development at the level of governmental agencies to direct crop management support for resource poor farmers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of High Yielding Glutinous Cytoplasmic Male Sterile Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Lines through CRISPR/Cas9 Based Mutagenesis of Wx and TGW6 and Proteomic Analysis of Anther
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120290
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
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Abstract
Development of high yielding and more palatable glutinous rice is an important goal in breeding and long-standing cultural interaction in Asia. In this study, the TGW6 and Wx, major genes conferring 1000 grain weight (GW) and amylose content (AC), were edited in
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Development of high yielding and more palatable glutinous rice is an important goal in breeding and long-standing cultural interaction in Asia. In this study, the TGW6 and Wx, major genes conferring 1000 grain weight (GW) and amylose content (AC), were edited in a maintainer line by CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Four targets were assembled in pYLCRISPR/Cas9Pubi-H vector and T0 mutant plants were obtained through Agrobacterium mediated transformation with 90% mutation frequency having 28% homozygous mutations without off-target effects in three most likely sites of each target and expression level of target genes in mutant lines was significantly decreased (P < 0.01), the GW and gel consistency (GC) were increased, and the AC and gelatinization temperature (GT) were decreased significantly and grain appearance was opaque, while there was no change in starch content (SC) and other agronomic traits. Mutations were inheritable and some T1 plants were re-edited but T2 generation was completely stable. The pollen fertility status was randomly distributed, and the mutant maintainer lines were hybridized with Cytoplasmic Male Sterile (CMS) line 209A and after subsequent backcrossing the two glutinous CMS lines were obtained in BC2F1. The identified proteins from anthers of CMS and maintainer line were closely associated with transcription, metabolism, signal transduction, and protein biosynthesis. Putative mitochondrial NAD+-dependent malic enzyme was absent in CMS line which caused the pollen sterility because of insufficient energy, while upregulation of putative acetyl-CoA synthetase and Isoamylase in both lines might have strong relationship with CMS and amylose content. High yielding glutinous CMS lines will facilitate hybrid rice breeding and investigations of proteins linked to male sterility will provide the insights to complicated metabolic network in anther development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Nitrogen Transfer and Transformation in Traditional Farming and the Rice–Duck Farming System by 15N Tracer Method
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120289
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 2 December 2018
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Abstract
A field experiment was conducted in Ninghe, Tianjin, China, using the 15N isotope method to determine the fate of N sources, application effect of organic fertilizer on the growth of rice plant organs, N uptake by rice, and N use efficiency. The
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A field experiment was conducted in Ninghe, Tianjin, China, using the 15N isotope method to determine the fate of N sources, application effect of organic fertilizer on the growth of rice plant organs, N uptake by rice, and N use efficiency. The experiment included eight treatments: CK-N (control + no-duck), CK-D (control + ducks), CF-N (chemical fertilizer + no-ducks), CF-D (chemical fertilizer + ducks), CM-N (chemical fertilizer + organic fertilizer + no-ducks), CM-D (chemical fertilizer + organic fertilizer + ducks), CD-N (chemical fertilizer 30% off + organic fertilizer + no-ducks), and CD-D (chemical fertilizer 30% off + organic fertilizer + ducks). The results showed that the application of organic fertilizer whether CM or CD in grain and leaf significantly increased N concentration; leaf and root P concentrations over control (CK) and chemical fertilizer (CF). In contrast, straw and root N concentrations, including grain and straw P concentrations did not show any difference between duck and no-duck treatment. Moreover, non-significant differences were found in 15N fresh grain and husk concentration. Both organs ranged from 14.2–14.4 g·kg−1 and 6.2–6.3 g·kg−1, respectively. Likewise, N uptake and N use efficiency in fresh grain and husk were not significantly differed within duck and without duck treatment. However, N uptake in fresh grain and husk ranged at the rates of 54.90–93.69 and 6.43–11.04 kg ha−1 with duck and without duck treatment. N use efficiency in fresh grain and husk ranged from 21.55%–34.61% and 2.61%–4.24%, respectively. Overall organic fertilizer has a significant influence on rice growth and promotes crop productivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mapping of Olive Trees Using Pansharpened QuickBird Images: An Evaluation of Pixel- and Object-Based Analyses
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120288
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 2 December 2018
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Abstract
This study sought to verify whether remote sensing offers the ability to efficiently delineate olive tree canopies using QuickBird (QB) satellite imagery. This paper compares four classification algorithms performed in pixel- and object-based analyses. To increase the spectral and spatial resolution of the
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This study sought to verify whether remote sensing offers the ability to efficiently delineate olive tree canopies using QuickBird (QB) satellite imagery. This paper compares four classification algorithms performed in pixel- and object-based analyses. To increase the spectral and spatial resolution of the standard QB image, three different pansharpened images were obtained based on variations in the weight of the red and near infrared bands. The results showed slight differences between classifiers. Maximum Likelihood algorithm yielded the highest results in pixel-based classifications with an average overall accuracy (OA) of 94.2%. In object-based analyses, Maximum Likelihood and Decision Tree classifiers offered the highest precisions with average OA of 95.3% and 96.6%, respectively. Between pixel- and object-based analyses no clear difference was observed, showing an increase of average OA values of approximately 1% for all classifiers except Decision Tree, which improved up to 4.5%. The alteration of the weight of different bands in the pansharpen process exhibited satisfactory results with a general performance improvement of up to 9% and 11% in pixel- and object-based analyses, respectively. Thus, object-based analyses with the DT algorithm and the pansharpened imagery with the near-infrared band altered would be highly recommended to obtain accurate maps for site-specific management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications for Agriculture and Crop Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle Response of Yellow Quality Protein Maize Inbred Lines to Drought stress at Seedling Stage
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120287
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 29 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
This study seeks to evaluate the response of 17 yellow Quality Protein Maize (QPM) inbred line seedlings to drought stress (DS), using different morphophysiological traits (plant height (PH), chlorophyll content (CC), stem diameter (SD), proline content (Pro), photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PS
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This study seeks to evaluate the response of 17 yellow Quality Protein Maize (QPM) inbred line seedlings to drought stress (DS), using different morphophysiological traits (plant height (PH), chlorophyll content (CC), stem diameter (SD), proline content (Pro), photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PS II), canopy temperature (CT) and substomatal carbon dioxide concentration (Ci). The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) and replicated three times in a growth chamber. The seedlings were exposed to DS treatment by growing them at 20% field capacity. The control/well-watered (WW) treatments were kept at 80% field capacity throughout the experiment. Highly significant differences (p < 0.001) were observed for PH, SD, and Pro across environments. On the other hand, significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed for CC and PS II, while DS had no significant effects on Ci and CT. Proline content increased under DS compared to WW conditions. Inbred lines L34, L7, L5, L2, L16, and L6 had approximately equal or more Pro than the drought tolerant check (ZM1523). As such, these lines were regarded as drought tolerant. Taking all measured parameters into consideration, L7 performed notably better than the other inbred lines under DS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dynamics of Glyphosate Resistance in Lolium perenne: Pollen-Mediated Gene Flow under Field Conditions in Argentina
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120286
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 18 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
The genus Lolium has shown a high tendency to evolve resistance to herbicides. Considering the high level of allogamy of L. perenne and the importance of the wind as an agent for pollen dispersion, the aim of this work was to assess and
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The genus Lolium has shown a high tendency to evolve resistance to herbicides. Considering the high level of allogamy of L. perenne and the importance of the wind as an agent for pollen dispersion, the aim of this work was to assess and quantify the effective glyphosate-resistant gene flow by pollen in L. perenne under field conditions. Pollen-mediated gene flow from glyphosate-resistant to -susceptible plants was studied using a donor–receptor design. The results indicate that the effective gene flow reached trap plants distanced ≤35 m downwind from the source of pollen. The progeny of receptor plants growing 0 m from the pollen donors showed 13% of individuals with low glyphosate sensitivity. This represents a seven-fold increase in the frequency of glyphosate-resistant individuals found in the progeny of plants isolated during the flowering period (negative control). Similarly, the progenies of plants grown at 15 and 25 m from the source of glyphosate resistance showed an increase in the frequency of resistant plants by about four- and two-fold, respectively. When the receptor plants were located at >35 m, no glyphosate-resistant plants were detected in their progenies. Management should aim for prevention or delay of flowering of glyphosate-resistant plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Weed Science and Weed Management)
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Open AccessReview Nanotechnology for Plant Disease Management
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120285
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
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Abstract
Each year, 20%–40% of crops are lost due to plant pests and pathogens. Existing plant disease management relies predominantly on toxic pesticides that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment. Nanotechnology can offer advantages to pesticides, like reducing toxicity, improving the shelf-life,
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Each year, 20%–40% of crops are lost due to plant pests and pathogens. Existing plant disease management relies predominantly on toxic pesticides that are potentially harmful to humans and the environment. Nanotechnology can offer advantages to pesticides, like reducing toxicity, improving the shelf-life, and increasing the solubility of poorly water-soluble pesticides, all of which could have positive environmental impacts. This review explores the two directions in which nanoparticles can be utilized for plant disease management: either as nanoparticles alone, acting as protectants; or as nanocarriers for insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and RNA-interference molecules. Despite the several potential advantages associated with the use of nanoparticles, not many nanoparticle-based products have been commercialized for agricultural application. The scarcity of commercial applications could be explained by several factors, such as an insufficient number of field trials and underutilization of pest–crop host systems. In other industries, nanotechnology has progressed rapidly, and the only way to keep up with this advancement for agricultural applications is by understanding the fundamental questions of the research and addressing the scientific gaps to provide a rational and facilitate the development of commercial nanoproducts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotechnology Applications in Agriculture System)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Nitrogen and Sulfur Supply on the Potential of Acrylamide Formation in Organically and Conventionally Grown Winter Wheat
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120284
Received: 21 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
In a two-year field trial, the effect of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) fertilization was investigated on grain yield, grain quality parameters, formation of acrylamide (AA), and the precursor free asparagine (Asn) in organically and conventionally produced winter wheat cultivars. In both production
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In a two-year field trial, the effect of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) fertilization was investigated on grain yield, grain quality parameters, formation of acrylamide (AA), and the precursor free asparagine (Asn) in organically and conventionally produced winter wheat cultivars. In both production systems, different types, amounts, and temporal distributions of N were tested. The the effect of S fertilizer types and amounts on free Asn was only tested in the conventional farming system. Within both cropping systems, grain yield and baking quality were significantly influenced by N treatment while the effect on free Asn was only minor. Especially within the organic farming system, increasing N fertilization levels did not increase free Asn significantly. A slight trend of increasing free Asn levels with an intensified N supply was observed, especially in the presence of crude protein contents of 14% or higher. However, only N amounts of 180 kg N ha−1 or higher increased the probability of high free Asn contents considerably, while N supply below that amount led to free Asn values similar to the unfertilized controls. The results indicated that good baking quality can be achieved without significantly increasing free Asn levels. In addition, cultivars affected the levels of free Asn significantly. Compared to cv. Bussard and Naturastar, cv. Capo exhibited the lowest AA formation potential at an N supply of 180 kg N ha−1 while simultaneously reaching a crude protein content > 15% (conventional) and > 12% (organic). Thus, it seems that cultivars differ in their ability to store and incorporate free Asn into proteins. Over all trials, a relation of free Asn and AA was shown by R2 = 0.77, while a relation of free Asn and protein was only R2 = 0.36. Thus, lowering free Asn by adjusting N treatments should not necessarily affect baking quality. S fertilization within conventional farming did not change the free Asn amount or crude protein significantly, probably due to the fact that soil was not sulfate-deficient. In summary, it was evident that free Asn amounts in wheat varied widely both within cultivars and between cropping systems. In order to clearly unravel genotypic differences and their interaction with environmental factors and especially N fertilization, further research is needed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Phosphate Sources and Their Placement Affecting Soil Phosphorus Pools in Sugarcane
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120283
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
Phosphate fertilizer placement at sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) establishment can strongly influence the distribution of soil P pools over crop cycles, and has a great influence in the availability of this nutrient to plant uptake. Our main objective was to evaluate sugarcane yield
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Phosphate fertilizer placement at sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) establishment can strongly influence the distribution of soil P pools over crop cycles, and has a great influence in the availability of this nutrient to plant uptake. Our main objective was to evaluate sugarcane yield as well as changes in the distribution of soil P pools, under phosphate fertilizer sources and their management, over two years of sugarcane cultivation. The experiment was established in August 2013 with two phosphate sources (TSP (triple superphosphate) and RP (Bayovar rock phosphate)) and three application methods: as broadcast, at planting furrow and combining half broadcast/half plant furrow, all at the rate of 180 kg ha−1 soluble P2O5 being applied at crop establishment. Sugarcane yield and P uptake was evaluated, and soil was sampled after harvest in August 2015 to analyze P fractions. Substantial amounts of P derived from fertilizers were accumulated as inorganic and/or organic moderately labile P. Broadcast application of TSP was not able to enhance total P in 0–40 cm layer compared to control treatment. In general, TSP was more effective to supply P for sugarcane and keep more of this nutrient in all labile fractions in the soil. However, the potential residual effect of RP (Ca-P) is expected in the following years, slowly solubilizing over the time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Phosphorus Dynamics: Agronomic and Environmental Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle Responses of Soybean Dry Matter Production, Phosphorus Accumulation, and Seed Yield to Sowing Time under Relay Intercropping with Maize
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120282
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
Soybean production under maize–soybean relay-intercropping system (MSICS) is vulnerable to shading. A study was initiated to investigate the effects of three sowing-times: ST1, 90; ST2, 70; and ST3, 50 days of co-growth period and two phosphorus-rates: P
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Soybean production under maize–soybean relay-intercropping system (MSICS) is vulnerable to shading. A study was initiated to investigate the effects of three sowing-times: ST1, 90; ST2, 70; and ST3, 50 days of co-growth period and two phosphorus-rates: P0, 0; and P60, 60 kg P ha−1 on soybean under MSICS. Results revealed that ST3 significantly increased the photosynthetically active radiations, leaf area index, and photosynthetic rate by 72% and 58%, and 61% and 38%, and 6% and 8%, respectively, at full-flowering and full-pod stage of soybean than ST1. Treatment ST3, increased the total dry-matter (TDM) and the highest TDM was reached at full-seed (R6) stage. Similarly, ST3 considerably increased the dry-matter partitioning to pods and seeds, relative to ST1, soybean under ST3 at R6 had 35% and 30% higher pod and seed dry-matter, respectively. Moreover, ST3 exhibited the maximum seed-yield (mean 1829.5 kg ha−1) for both years of this study. Soybean under ST3 with P60 accumulated 38% higher P, and increased the P content in pods and seeds by 36% and 33%, respectively at R6 than ST1. These results imply that by selecting the appropriate sowing-time and phosphorus-rate for soybean, we can increase the TDM and seed-yield of soybean under MSICS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Combining Ability of Sixteen USA Maize Inbred Lines and Their Outbreeding Prospects in China
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120281
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 18 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
In China, there is an increasing need for greater genetic diversity in maize (Zea mays L.) germplasm and hybrids appropriate for mechanical harvesting. In order to test and distinguish American maize inbred lines with exceptional combining ability, four Chinese maize inbred lines
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In China, there is an increasing need for greater genetic diversity in maize (Zea mays L.) germplasm and hybrids appropriate for mechanical harvesting. In order to test and distinguish American maize inbred lines with exceptional combining ability, four Chinese maize inbred lines (Chang7-2, Zheng 58, four-144 and four-287) were used to judge the combining ability and heterosis of 16 USA inbred lines by a NCII genetic mating method. The results showed that among the American inbred lines, 6M502A, LH208, NL001, LH212Ht, PHW51, FBLA and LH181 expressed good GCA for yield characteristics; while RS710, PHP76, FBLA, and PHJ89 showed excellent GCA for machine harvesting characteristics. Five hybrids (NL001 × Chang7-2, LH212Ht × Chang7-2, FBLA × four-144, LH181 × four-287, PHK93 × four-287) had better SCA values for yield characteristics, at 1.69, 1.07, 1.48, 1.84 and 1.05, respectively; while NL001 × Chang 7-2, 6M502A × Chang7-2, LH212Ht × Chang7-2, LH181 × four-287, PHW51 × Chang7-2 had better TCA values for yield characteristics, at 3.03, 2.80, 2.41, 2.19 and 1.91, respectively; NL001 × Chang7-2, 6M502A × Chang7-2, LH212Ht × Chang7-2, LH181 × four-287, PHW51 × Chang7-2 showed excellent Control Heterosis values, with 21.48%, 19.64%, 15.93%, 14.05% and 11.60% increases, respectively, compared to the check and potential for future utilization in Inner Mongolian corn production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental and Management Factor Contributions to Maize Yield)
Open AccessArticle Variation of Fine Roots Distribution in Apple (Malus pumila M.)–Crop Intercropping Systems on the Loess Plateau of China
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120280
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 18 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
In arid and semi-arid areas, interspecific below-ground competition is prominent in agroforestry systems. To provide theoretical and technical guidance for the scientific management of apple–crop intercropping systems, a field study was conducted in the Loess Plateau of China to examine the variation of
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In arid and semi-arid areas, interspecific below-ground competition is prominent in agroforestry systems. To provide theoretical and technical guidance for the scientific management of apple–crop intercropping systems, a field study was conducted in the Loess Plateau of China to examine the variation of fine roots distribution in apple–crop intercropping systems. The fine roots of apple trees and crops (soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) or peanuts (Arachis hypogaea Linn.)) were sampled to 100 cm depth at ten distances from the tree row using the stratified excavation method. The results showed that the vertical distribution of fine roots between intercropped apple trees and intercropped crops were skewed and overlapped. Apple–crop intercropping inhibited the fine roots of apple trees in the 0–60 cm soil depth, but promoted their growth in the 60–100 cm soil depth. However, apple–crop intercropping inhibited the fine roots of intercropped crops in the 0–100 cm soil depth. For the fine roots of each component of the apple–crop intercropping systems, variation in the vertical distribution was much greater than variation in the horizontal distribution. Compared with monocropped systems, apple–crop intercropping caused the fine roots of intercropped apple trees to move to deeper soil, and those of intercropped crops to move to shallower soil. Additionally, apple–crop intercropping slightly inhibited the horizontal extension of the fine-root horizontal barycentre (FRHB) of intercropped apple trees and caused the FRHB of intercropped crops to be slightly biased towards the north of the apple tree row. Variation of the fine roots distribution of each component of the apple–soybean intercropping system was greater than that of the apple–peanut intercropping system. Thus, the interspecific below-ground competition of the apple–peanut intercropping system was weaker than that of the apple–soybean intercropping system. Intense competition occurred in the apple–peanut intercropping system and the apple–soybean intercropping system was in sections whose distance ranged from 0.5–1.3 and 0.5–1.7 m from the tree row, respectively. The interspecific below-ground competition was fiercer on the south side of the apple tree row than on the north side. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
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