Next Issue
Volume 9, September
Previous Issue
Volume 9, July

Table of Contents

Agronomy, Volume 9, Issue 8 (August 2019)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) Heirloom crop cultivars are traditional cultivars that have been grown for a long time (>50 years), [...] Read more.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
Maize Silage Digestate Application Affecting Germination and Early Growth of Maize Modulated by Soil Type
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080473 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 479
Abstract
During biogas production anaerobic digestion of plant material produces a nutrient-rich residue called digestate. The application of the nutrients present in the digestate should improve soil fertility, particularly in nutrient poor soils, and thus crop yield, promoting the closure of the nutrient cycle. [...] Read more.
During biogas production anaerobic digestion of plant material produces a nutrient-rich residue called digestate. The application of the nutrients present in the digestate should improve soil fertility, particularly in nutrient poor soils, and thus crop yield, promoting the closure of the nutrient cycle. This study evaluated the effect of digestate application on the germination and early stages of plant development since these are the first steps to be considered when studying the benefits on plant growth in low fertility substrates. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of three substrates of different texture and fertility (field loam, field sand, sand), as well as type and amount of fertilizer (pure maize digestate vs. inorganic nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium (NPK) fertilizer) on both germination and early plant performance of maize (Zea mays L. subsp. mays). While digestate and NPK fertilizer applications had no significant effect on germination in the two field soils, digestate applications significantly decreased the germination rate in sand (36–82% reduction) due to an increase of surface water repellency. In contrast, for aboveground biomass yield, the most positive fertilization effects of digestate application were found on sand (up to 3.5 times the biomass of the unamended control) followed by field sand (1.5 times), compared to no effect for field loam. Our findings suggest that digestate application have positive fertilization effects in low-fertility substrates, similar to NPK, even though digestate application may have a negative impact on the permeability in sandy substrates that could interfere with germination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioenergy Crops: Current Status and Future Prospects)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genetic Identity Based on Whole-Genome SNP Array Data of Weedy Rice in Nagano, Japan
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080472 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 407
Abstract
The rice production system in Japan is changing due to the aging of rice farmers, shortage of labor, mechanization, and increase of large-scale rice fields and increased application of direct sowing, all of which contribute to the lack of sophisticated weed management practices. [...] Read more.
The rice production system in Japan is changing due to the aging of rice farmers, shortage of labor, mechanization, and increase of large-scale rice fields and increased application of direct sowing, all of which contribute to the lack of sophisticated weed management practices. Because the changing production system has not improved and likely worsened weed management practices, weedy rice (Oryza sativa L.) has become a serious threat to rice production in Japan. We analyzed weedy rice accessions from Nagano, the central part of Japan, and other rice accessions to elucidate the origin of this weedy rice using a whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. For developing sustainable weedy rice management practices, the elucidation of the origin of re-emerging weedy rice is crucial. Population genetic analysis indicated that weedy rice in Nagano was phylogenetically independent from the local red rice cultivar with low genetic diversity. Past and recently re-emerging weedy rice ecotypes in Nagano shared a similar genetic background which implies the evolution of weedy rice by severe natural selection. Window-based FST and selection sweep analysis revealed the divergence of some of the known key domestication-related genes, such as shattering gene sh4 and qsh1, of weedy rice from domesticated rice cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Weed Science and Weed Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Seed Coating with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi for Improved Field Production of Chickpea
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080471 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Although arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are known to promote growth and yield of agricultural crops, inoculation methods for effective scaling up from greenhouse to the field are still underexplored. The application of single or mixed beneficial AM fungal isolates is hindered by the [...] Read more.
Although arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are known to promote growth and yield of agricultural crops, inoculation methods for effective scaling up from greenhouse to the field are still underexplored. The application of single or mixed beneficial AM fungal isolates is hindered by the lack of experimental reproducibility of findings at different scales and the cost-effectivity of inoculation methods. Seed coating has been considered a feasible delivery system of AM fungal inocula for agricultural crops. In this study, the impact of single and multiple AM fungal isolates applied via seed coating on chickpea productivity was evaluated under greenhouse and field conditions. Overall, plants inoculated with multiple AM fungal isolates had better performance than those inoculated with single AM isolate under greenhouse and field conditions. While plants in greenhouse displayed higher shoot dry weight (14%) and seed individual weight (21%), in field, inoculation with multiple AM isolates increased pod (160%), and seed (148%) numbers, and grain yield (140%). Under field conditions, mycorrhizal root colonization was significantly higher in chickpea plants inoculated with multiple AM fungal isolates compared to other treatments. These findings highlight the potential of field-inoculation with multiple AM fungal isolates via seed coating as a sustainable agricultural practice for chickpea production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Endophyte Bacillus velezensis Isolated from Citrus spp. Controls Streptomycin-Resistant Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri That Causes Citrus Bacterial Canker
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080470 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Citrus bacterial canker (CBC), caused by the plant pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc), is a devastating disease in many commercial citrus cultivars. Every year, CBC causes a substantial reduction in fruit quality and quantity that corresponds to significant economic [...] Read more.
Citrus bacterial canker (CBC), caused by the plant pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc), is a devastating disease in many commercial citrus cultivars. Every year, CBC causes a substantial reduction in fruit quality and quantity that corresponds to significant economic losses worldwide. Endophytic microorganisms produce numerous bioactive secondary metabolites that can control plant pathogens. We investigated the antagonistic activities of 66 endophytic bacteria isolated from nine citrus cultivars to control streptomycin-resistant Xcc. The suspension of Endophytic Bacteria-39 (EB-39), identified as Bacillus velezensis, exhibited the highest antibacterial activity against three wild-type and six streptomycin-resistant Xcc strains, with the inhibition zones between 39.47 ± 1.6 and 45.31 ± 1.6 mm. The ethyl acetate extract of EB-39 also controlled both wild-type and streptomycin-resistant Xcc strains, with the inhibition zones between 29.28 ± 0.6 and 33.88 ± 1.3 mm. Scanning electron microscopy indicated the ethyl acetate extract of EB-39-induced membrane damage and lysis. The experiments using the detached leaves of a susceptible Citrus species showed that EB-39 significantly reduced the incidence of canker on the infected leaves by 38%. These results strongly suggest that our newly isolated EB-39 is a novel biocontrol agent against CBC caused by wild-type and streptomycin-resistant Xcc strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Breeding and Production of Citrus)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Biostimulants and Microorganisms Boost the Nutritional Composition of Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) Sprouts
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080469 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 405
Abstract
This study investigated the influence of biological control agents and plant growth promoters on the chemical composition of the cultivars Panda and Kora buckwheat sprouts. Before sowing, seeds were soaked in solutions containing Bacillus subtilis bacteria, Pythium oligandrum oospores, Ecklonia maxima algae extract, [...] Read more.
This study investigated the influence of biological control agents and plant growth promoters on the chemical composition of the cultivars Panda and Kora buckwheat sprouts. Before sowing, seeds were soaked in solutions containing Bacillus subtilis bacteria, Pythium oligandrum oospores, Ecklonia maxima algae extract, and/or nitrophenols. The sprouts of the Panda displayed higher levels of protein, fat, and dietary fiber fractions than the Kora. Measurable effects of biological control agents (BCAs) and plant growth promoters (PGPs) on the chemical composition of sprouts were also confirmed. Soaking the seeds in a solution containing P. oligandrum oospores resulted in a decrease in the level of crude ash in sprouts, while the addition of nitrophenols increased the level of both crude ash and protein. We also found statistically significant effects of interactions between the cultivar and BCA and/or PGP for each of the examined components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agro-biosystem Engineering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An Agronomic Evaluation of New Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) Germplasm for Seed and Oil Yields under Mediterranean Climate Conditions
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080468 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Interest in oilseed crops for agro-industrial research and development projects has increased in the Mediterranean area, in recent years. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is of potential interest for agriculture mainly due to fatty acid content variability in the seed oil. The aim [...] Read more.
Interest in oilseed crops for agro-industrial research and development projects has increased in the Mediterranean area, in recent years. Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is of potential interest for agriculture mainly due to fatty acid content variability in the seed oil. The aim of this study was to assess the agronomic performance of 16 new safflower accessions together with safflower variety Montola 2000, used as a reference, in a semi-arid environment. Research was carried out in Sicily (Italy) from 2013–2014. Hierarchical cluster analysis carried out on the fatty acid composition of safflower accessions resulted in their division into four main groups. Linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids were the main fatty acids present in the accessions. Seed yield was 1.11 t ha−1 on average and seed oil content was found to be approximately 35.01% of dry matter on average. Positive and significant relationships between seed/oil yield and other tested traits were found. The carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen content as a percentage of dry matter varied greatly both for the above- and belowground plant parts on average. This study confirms the interest of safflower for both food and non-food applications, offering interesting prospects in semi-arid regions. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Metabolic Changes and Increased Levels of Bioactive Compounds in White Radish (Raphanus sativus L. cv. 01) Sprouts Elicited by Oligochitosan
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080467 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 416
Abstract
The effect of oligochitosan O-80 treatment on metabolic changes in white radish (Raphanus sativus L.) sprouts (WRS) was investigated for its potential to enhance bioactive compounds accumulation. The seeds were germinated in deionized water containing different concentrations of oligochitosan O-80 (0 (control), [...] Read more.
The effect of oligochitosan O-80 treatment on metabolic changes in white radish (Raphanus sativus L.) sprouts (WRS) was investigated for its potential to enhance bioactive compounds accumulation. The seeds were germinated in deionized water containing different concentrations of oligochitosan O-80 (0 (control), 5, 10, 20 and 40 ppm). Seven-day old sprouts were harvested for metabolome analysis using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for phenolic compounds and glucosinolate analysis, respectively, and spectrophotometric assays to determine the total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity. Partial least squares discriminant analysis was adopted to model the data from the LC-MS and revealed that O-80 at all tested concentrations affected the metabolite profiles of the treated WRS samples. The UV chromatogram at 320 nm showed increased levels of most sinapoyl derivatives, consistent with the increased total phenolic contents. Interestingly, glucoraphasatin (4-methylthio-3-butenyl glucosinolate), a major glucosinolate detected by HPLC, was increased by 40% in the sprouts treated with 10 ppm O-80. Our results provide compelling evidence regarding the exogenous application of oligochitosan O-80 as an elicitor of bioactive metabolites in WRS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Metabolism in Crops/Agronomy)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Monoculture Negatively Regulates Fungal Community Composition and Abundance of Tea Orchards
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080466 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Continuous cropping frequently leads to soil acidification and major soil-borne diseases in tea plants, resulting in low tea yield. We have limited knowledge about the effects of continuous tea monoculture on soil properties and the fungal community. Here, we selected three replanted tea [...] Read more.
Continuous cropping frequently leads to soil acidification and major soil-borne diseases in tea plants, resulting in low tea yield. We have limited knowledge about the effects of continuous tea monoculture on soil properties and the fungal community. Here, we selected three replanted tea fields with 2, 15, and 30 years of monoculture history to assess the influence of continuous cropping on fungal communities and soil physiochemical attributes. The results showed that continuous tea monoculture significantly reduced soil pH and tea yield. Alpha diversity analysis showed that species richness declined significantly as the tea planting years increased and the results based on diversity indicated inconsistency. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) revealed that monoculture duration had the highest loading in structuring fungal communities. The relative abundance of Ascomycota, Glomeromycota, and Chytridiomycota decreased and Zygomycota and Basidiomycota increased with increasing cropping time. Continuous tea cropping not only decreased some beneficial fungal species such as Mortierella alpina and Mortierella elongatula, but also promoted potentially pathogenic fungal species such as Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium solani, and Microidium phyllanthi over time. Overall, continuous tea cropping decreased soil pH and potentially beneficial microbes and increased soil pathogenic microbes, which could be the reason for reducing tea yield. Thus, developing sustainable tea farming to improve soil pH, microbial activity, and enhanced beneficial soil microbes under a continuous cropping system is vital for tea production. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of Genotype, Direct Sowing and Plant Spacing on Field Performance of Jatropha curcas L.
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080465 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 462
Abstract
The tropical multiuse tree Jatropha curcas L. (jatropha) is highly promoted as oilseed crop for biodiesel production and for climate change mitigation, but cultivation practices require further research. The objectives of this study were to assess the effects of varying plant spacings (2.0 [...] Read more.
The tropical multiuse tree Jatropha curcas L. (jatropha) is highly promoted as oilseed crop for biodiesel production and for climate change mitigation, but cultivation practices require further research. The objectives of this study were to assess the effects of varying plant spacings (2.0 m × 4 m compared to 1.5 m × 4 m), crop establishment methods (raising plantlets in a nursery prior to planting to the field compared to direct sowing) and genotypes on seed yield, seed quality and plant height, recorded at a dry-subhumid location in Madagascar (Ihosy) and at a humid location in Cameroon (Batchenga). Averaged across treatment variants and genotypes, seed yield and seed oil content were higher at the dry-subhumid site and in particular the narrower spacing reached higher seed yields per unit area than the wider spacing. At the humid site, plant growth was characterized by strong accumulation of biomass. The establishment method tested at the dry-subhumid site showed no significant differences in the recorded parameters. Our results encourage to re-think common practices in jatropha cultivation and underpin the importance of the correct choice of location, genotype and agronomic practices considering the interactions between all factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Micronutrients in the Soil and Wheat: Impact of 84 Years of Organic or Synthetic Fertilization and Crop Residue Management
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080464 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 488
Abstract
Crop residues are an important source of plant nutrients. However, information on the various methods of residue management on micronutrients in soil and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) over time is limited. A long-term (84-year) agroecosystem experiment was assessed to determine the impact [...] Read more.
Crop residues are an important source of plant nutrients. However, information on the various methods of residue management on micronutrients in soil and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) over time is limited. A long-term (84-year) agroecosystem experiment was assessed to determine the impact of fertilizer type and methods of crop residue management on micronutrients over time under dryland winter wheat-fallow rotation. The treatments were: no N application with residue burning in fall (FB), spring (SB), and no residue burn (NB); 45 kg N ha−1 with SB and NB; 90 kg N ha−1 with SB and NB; pea vines; and farmyard manure (FYM) and a nearby undisturbed grass pasture (GP). Wheat grain, straw, and soil samples from 1995, 2005, and 2015 were used to determine tissue total and soil Mehlich III extractable Mn, Cu, B, Fe, and Zn, and soil pH. After 84 years, extractable Mn and B in the top 10 cm of soil decreased in all plots, except for B in FYM and SB. The FYM plots had the highest extractable Mn (114 mg kg−1) in the top 10 cm soil; however, it declined by 33% compared to the GP (171 mg kg−1). Extractable Zn in the top 10 cm of soil increased with FYM while it decreased with inorganic N application in 2015; however, total Zn in grain increased by 7% with inorganic N (90 kg ha−1) application compared to FYM application. The results suggest that residue management had similar impact on soil micronutrients. Inorganic N and FYM application can be integrated to reduce micronutrient losses from cultivation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Distillery Anaerobic Digestion Residues as Fertilizers for Field Vegetable Crops: Performance and Efficiency in Mid-term Successions
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080463 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Understanding nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of crops plays an important role in achieving sustainable production. Intensive agriculture has adversely affected social and environmental issues worldwide over the past few decades. Anaerobic digested residues from the distillery industry (DADRs) can be used in agriculture, [...] Read more.
Understanding nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of crops plays an important role in achieving sustainable production. Intensive agriculture has adversely affected social and environmental issues worldwide over the past few decades. Anaerobic digested residues from the distillery industry (DADRs) can be used in agriculture, thereby recycling valuable organic materials that can supply organic N. An experiment using DADRs in horticulture was conducted to evaluate the performance of different treatments on yield and NUE. The experiment was conducted for five years, growing lettuce, cauliflower, chicory, potato, Swiss chard, catalogna chicory, tomato, pepper, and melon in two different succession schemes. Five fertilization treatments were designed, including a mineral fertilization control, in which nitrogen (N) was supplied according to standard recommendations in the area. The other treatments were an unfertilized control and three treatments in which 50%, 75%, and 100% of the N were supplied by DADRs and the remaining with common chemical fertilizer. Major findings were: (1) Spring–summer crops showed the lowest N-uptake and N recovery, during this period high chemical fertilization can cause environmental problems such as N leaching, and fertilization with 100% DADRs is a viable alternative; (2) fall–winter crops can be fertilized by combining 50% mineral N and 50% organic N, supplying the nutrients required by the crops during the growing cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrogen Fertilization in Vegetable Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Rapid Estimation of Wheat Straw Decomposition Constituents Using Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080462 - 16 Aug 2019
Viewed by 493
Abstract
Adoption of no-till systems in Eastern Washington has been slow due to the difficulty of managing wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) straw residue and the unknown decomposition potential of cultivars. We hypothesize that by analyzing wheat straw with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), calibration models [...] Read more.
Adoption of no-till systems in Eastern Washington has been slow due to the difficulty of managing wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) straw residue and the unknown decomposition potential of cultivars. We hypothesize that by analyzing wheat straw with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), calibration models can be developed to accurately predict fiber and chemical constituents of wheat, determining straw decomposition potential. Straw from a panel of 480 soft winter wheat cultivars adapted to the Pacific Northwest are analyzed for neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), cellulose, hemicellulose, carbon (C), and nitrogen (N). Using modified partial least squares regression and cross validation techniques, specific environment and broad-based NIRS models are calibrated and predictive ability is validated. R2cal values from broad models are better than the specific models, and are 0.85 (NDF), 0.86 (ADF), 0.65 (ADL), 0.88 (cellulose), 0.42 (hemicellulose), 0.67 (C), and 0.73 (N). The corresponding SEP values are 1.68% (NDF), 1.54% (ADF), 0.62% (ADL), 1.14% (cellulose), 1.11% (hemicellulose), 1.23% (C), and 0.06% (N). A Finch × Eltan breeding population is used to further validate models and prediction accuracies for variety selection within a breeding program scenario. The broad NIRS models prove useful for estimating high and low ranges of NDF, ADF, and cellulose in wheat cultivars which translate into characteristics of slow and fast decomposition potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Allelopathic Activity of Spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) and Peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.) Reduces Yield, Growth, and Photosynthetic Rate in a Succeeding Crop of Maize (Zea mays L.)
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080461 - 16 Aug 2019
Viewed by 482
Abstract
The inclusion of species with allelopathic activity in crop rotation systems may have benefits for crop management such as weed control, but less is understood about their wider impacts on succeeding crops. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects [...] Read more.
The inclusion of species with allelopathic activity in crop rotation systems may have benefits for crop management such as weed control, but less is understood about their wider impacts on succeeding crops. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of two allelopathic species (spearmint and peppermint) on growth, physiological characteristics, and yield of a following maize crop. Thus, field experiments were carried out at two sites, according to a randomized complete block design, while the examined treatments were: (a) fallow–fallow–maize crop rotation system (FFM), (b) spearmint–spearmint–maize crop rotation system (SSM), and (c) peppermint–peppermint–maize crop rotation system (PPM). Our results indicated that the inclusion of spearmint or peppermint in crop rotation systems negatively affect the growth of maize plants. The highest plant height was recorded for FFM rotation system where no allelopathic species were used. At both sites and for four sampling dates, the aboveground dry biomass was also affected by the implemented crop rotation system. In particular, dry biomass was significantly lower in the PPM and SSM crop rotation systems comparing to the FFM system, whereas there were no significant differences between these two crop rotation systems. Similar to the maize biomass, the highest values of photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, and relative chlorophyll content were observed for the FFM rotation system. Additionally, differences in grain yield were observed among the tested crop rotation systems. Grain yield ranged from 10,200 to 13,346 kg ha−1 and from 11,773 to 14,106 kg ha−1 at site A and B, respectively, while it was reduced by 16.54–23.58% and 12.16–17.83% in the SSP and PPM rotation systems comparing to the FFM system. In conclusion, our results indicate that the inclusion of peppermint or spearmint in crop rotation may inhibit plant growth and reduce grain yield of maize as successive crop, an effect that could be attributed to the allelopathic activity of spearmint and peppermint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influence of Crop Rotation on Crop Yields)
Open AccessArticle
Biochar or Biochar-Compost Amendment to a Peat-Based Substrate Improves Growth of Syngonium podophyllum
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080460 - 16 Aug 2019
Viewed by 586
Abstract
Increasing demand for sustainable and low-cost alternatives to peat is a challenge in the production of container-grown plants. Biochar (BC) and compost, as eco-friendly materials, could be used to completely or partially substitute for peat. However, information regarding plant responses to the substitution [...] Read more.
Increasing demand for sustainable and low-cost alternatives to peat is a challenge in the production of container-grown plants. Biochar (BC) and compost, as eco-friendly materials, could be used to completely or partially substitute for peat. However, information regarding plant responses to the substitution is limited. This study evaluated effects of the amendment of a BC or a BC-compost mixture (BioComp) to a peat-based substrate at 20% by volume on the growth of Syngonium podophyllum. BC was pyrolyzed from wheat straw at 350 °C. Compost was made from farm green waste. BC or BioComp amendment elevated the pH and electrical conductivity of formulated substrates and improved plant growth. Concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and chlorophyll in leaves and the net photosynthetic rate of plants grown in BC or BioComp amended substrates were significantly higher than those grown in the control substrate. Total soluble protein and total phenolic contents were greater in plants grown in BC- or BioComp-amended substrates as well, but no significant difference occurred in reactive oxygen-related enzymatic activities, reducing power or proline contents across substrates. Our results show that BC or BioComp can be used to replace 20% of peat by volume, and such replacement enhanced S. podophyllum growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interaction of Biochar on Organic Waste Composting)
Open AccessArticle
An Integrated Decision Support System for Environmentally-Friendly Management of the Ethiopian Fruit Fly in Greenhouse Crops
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080459 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 581
Abstract
The Ethiopian fruit fly (EFF), Dacus ciliatus, is a key, invasive pest of melons in the Middle East. We developed and implemented a novel decision support system (DSS) to manage this pest in a greenhouse environment in Southern Israel. Dacus ciliatus is [...] Read more.
The Ethiopian fruit fly (EFF), Dacus ciliatus, is a key, invasive pest of melons in the Middle East. We developed and implemented a novel decision support system (DSS) to manage this pest in a greenhouse environment in Southern Israel. Dacus ciliatus is commonly controlled in Israel with repeated calendar-sprayings (every 15 days) of pyrethroid pesticides. The current study compares the performance of a DSS against calendar-spraying management (CSM). DSS was based on EFF population monitoring and infestation. DSS took into consideration concerns and observations of expert managers and farmers. During 2014, EFF damage was concentrated in the spring melon production season. Fall and winter production did not show important damage. Damage during the spring of 2014 started to increase when average EFF/trap/day reached 0.3. This value was suggested as the threshold to implement pesticide spraying in DSS greenhouses. EFF/trap/day trends were derived from monitoring with conventional traps and a novel electronic remote sensing trap, developed by our group. CSM during the spring of 2015 included 3 EFF control sprays, while DSS-managed greenhouses were only sprayed once. At the end of the spring season, damage was slightly higher in DSS greenhouses (1.5%), but not significantly different to that found in CSM greenhouses (0.5%). Results support continuing DSS research and optimization to reduce/remove pesticide use against EFF in melon greenhouses. Interactions with farmers and managers is suggested as essential to increase adoption of DSS in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technologies for Precision Plant and Crop Protection)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Regenerating Agricultural Landscapes with Perennial Groundcover for Intensive Crop Production
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080458 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 676
Abstract
The Midwestern U.S. landscape is one of the most highly altered and intensively managed ecosystems in the country. The predominant crops grown are maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr]. They are typically grown as monocrops in a [...] Read more.
The Midwestern U.S. landscape is one of the most highly altered and intensively managed ecosystems in the country. The predominant crops grown are maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr]. They are typically grown as monocrops in a simple yearly rotation or with multiple years of maize (2 to 3) followed by a single year of soybean. This system is highly productive because the crops and management systems have been well adapted to the regional growing conditions through substantial public and private investment. Furthermore, markets and supporting infrastructure are highly developed for both crops. As maize and soybean production have intensified, a number of concerns have arisen due to the unintended environmental impacts on the ecosystem. Many areas across the Midwest are experiencing negative impacts on water quality, soil degradation, and increased flood risk due to changes in regional hydrology. The water quality impacts extend even further downstream. We propose the development of an innovative system for growing maize and soybean with perennial groundcover to recover ecosystem services historically provided naturally by predominantly perennial native plant communities. Reincorporating perennial plants into annual cropping systems has the potential of restoring ecosystem services without negatively impacting grain crop production and offers the prospect of increasing grain crop productivity through improving the biological functioning of the system. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Straw Biochar on Soil Properties and Wheat Production under Saline Water Irrigation
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080457 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Use of saline water for irrigation is essential to mitigate increasing agricultural water demands in arid and semi-arid regions. The objective of this study is to address the potential of using straw biochar as a soil amendment to promote wheat production under saline [...] Read more.
Use of saline water for irrigation is essential to mitigate increasing agricultural water demands in arid and semi-arid regions. The objective of this study is to address the potential of using straw biochar as a soil amendment to promote wheat production under saline water irrigation. A field experiment was conducted in a clay loam soil from eastern China during 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 winter wheat season. There were five treatments: freshwater irrigation (0.3 dS m−1), saline water irrigation (10 dS m−1), saline water irrigation (10 dS m−1) combined with biochar of 10, 20, 30 t ha−1. Saline water irrigation alone caused soil salinization and decreased wheat growth and yield. The incorporation of biochar decreased soil bulk density by 5.5%–11.6% and increased permeability by 35.4%–49.5%, and improved soil nutrient status. Biochar also reduced soil sodium adsorption ratio by 25.7%–32.6% under saline water irrigation. Furthermore, biochar alleviated salt stress by maintaining higher leaf relative water content and lower Na+/K+ ratio, and further enhanced photosynthesis and relieved leaf senescence during reproductive stages, leading to better grain formation. Compared to saline water irrigation alone, biochar application of 10 and 20 t ha−1 significantly increased wheat grain yield by 8.6 and 8.4%, respectively. High dose of biochar might increase soil salinity and limit N availability. In the study, biochar amendment at 10 t ha−1 would be a proper practice at least over two years to facilitate saline water irrigation for wheat production. Long-term studies are recommended to advance the understanding of the sustainable use of straw biochar. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Ultrasound-Assisted Extraction of Two Types of Antioxidant Compounds (TPC and TA) from Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa L.): Optimization of the Individual and Simultaneous Extraction Methods
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080456 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa L.) contains a large number of bioactive compounds, which make of it a highly nutritional and antioxidant food with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been recently seen its consumption increased because of its interesting composition and properties as [...] Read more.
Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa L.) contains a large number of bioactive compounds, which make of it a highly nutritional and antioxidant food with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been recently seen its consumption increased because of its interesting composition and properties as a functional food. The ultrasound-assisted extraction method has been optimized, since it is a simple and fast technique to extract phenolic compounds, as well as anthocyanins, not only separately but also simultaneously. Multiple response has been optimized and demonstrated an effectiveness level similar to the individual ones. This represents a considerable reduction in costs, time and work. The optimal conditions for simultaneous extractions were: 54% methanol as extraction solvent at pH 2.72 and 69.4 °C temperature, 70% amplitude, 0.7 s cycle, and 0.5:18.2 g:mL sample mass/solvent volume ratio. The developed methods showed a high precision level with coefficients of variation lower than 5%. The methods were successfully applied to commercial samples. Additionally, the extraction of other compounds of biological interest, such as organic acids and sugars, was also studied. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Short-term Conservation Tillage Effects on Corn Silage Yield and Soil Quality in an Irrigated, Arid Agroecosystem
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080455 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 494
Abstract
A study was conducted in an irrigated arid agroecosystem in southwestern USA, to compare two conservation tillage systems (strip tillage (ST) and no-tillage (NT)) to conventional, plow-based tillage (PT) system. Corn silage (Zea mays L.) was planted in this trial. Growth parameters [...] Read more.
A study was conducted in an irrigated arid agroecosystem in southwestern USA, to compare two conservation tillage systems (strip tillage (ST) and no-tillage (NT)) to conventional, plow-based tillage (PT) system. Corn silage (Zea mays L.) was planted in this trial. Growth parameters (plant population and height) of corn silage were measured during the season and yield was evaluated at harvest. Soil physical measurements assessed included mean weight diameter of dry aggregates, wet aggregate stability, and penetrometer resistance. While soil biological measurements included total microbial biomass, diversity index (DI), total bacteria biomass, total fungi biomass (TFB), arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi (AMF), and total saprophytes. Results showed that plant population and silage yield at 65% moisture content were not significant with tillage during both trial years. Soil physical parameters were mostly not significant with tillage, while three out of the six biological measurements (DI, TF, and AM) were significant with tillage at p ≤ 0.05. No-tillage had higher DI and TFB than the ST, but not different from PT, while AMF was significantly higher in PT than ST, but not different from NT. The study demonstrates that farmers in the study region can adopt conservation tillage without yield losses during the early years of transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genetic Advance of Durum Wheat Under High Yielding Conditions: The Case of Chile
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080454 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 427
Abstract
In Chile, durum wheat is cultivated in high-yielding Mediterranean environments, therefore breeding programs have selected cultivars with high yield potential in addition to grain quality. The genetic progress in grain yield (GY) between 1964 and 2010 was 72.8 kg ha−1 per year. [...] Read more.
In Chile, durum wheat is cultivated in high-yielding Mediterranean environments, therefore breeding programs have selected cultivars with high yield potential in addition to grain quality. The genetic progress in grain yield (GY) between 1964 and 2010 was 72.8 kg ha−1 per year. GY showed a positive and significant correlation with days to heading, kernels per unit ground area and thousand kernel weight. The gluten and protein content tended to decrease with the year of cultivar release. The correlation between the δ13C of kernels and GY was negative and significant (−0.62, p < 0.05, for all cultivars; and −0.97, p < 0.001, excluding the two oldest cultivars). The yield progress (genetic plus agronomic improvements) of a set of 40–46 advanced lines evaluated between 2006 and 2015 was 569 kg ha−1 per year. Unlike other Mediterranean agro-environments, a longer growing cycle together with taller plants seems to be related to the increase in the GY of Chilean durum wheat during recent decades. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durum Wheat Breeding and Genetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Tamarix (L.) Litter and Mycorrhizal Amendments on Baccharis salicifolia (Ruiz & Pav.) Pers. Competitiveness and Mycorrhizal Colonization
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080453 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 564
Abstract
Tamarix spp. are ecological threats in the Southwest U.S.A. because they displace native vegetation, increase soil salinity, and negatively affect soil microbial communities. After Tamarix L. removal, legacy effects often necessitate restoration to improve ecosystem services of Tamarix-impacted communities. Commercial mycorrhizae fungal [...] Read more.
Tamarix spp. are ecological threats in the Southwest U.S.A. because they displace native vegetation, increase soil salinity, and negatively affect soil microbial communities. After Tamarix L. removal, legacy effects often necessitate restoration to improve ecosystem services of Tamarix-impacted communities. Commercial mycorrhizae fungal inoculation has been recommended to improve restoration success, although inoculation treatments are rarely tested on lesser-known facultative riparian species. Our study asked two questions: (1) Can a commercial mycorrhizal fungal inoculant increase native Baccharis salicifolia (Ruiz & Pav.) Pers. (mule-fat) performance against Tamarix chinensis Lour. (i.e., tamarisk) and is this influenced by tamarisk leaf litter? (2) Is mycorrhizal colonization of mule-fat roots influenced by tamarisk stem density and leaf litter? A greenhouse experiment was performed with mule-fat cuttings in soil collected from a tamarisk monoculture. Treatments were factorial combinations of tamarisk stem densities (0, 1, 2, 3, 4 stems pot−1) with or without mycorrhizal inoculation and tamarisk litter. There were five replications and two greenhouse runs. The total biomass of both species was determined and mule-fat arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization rates were determined via the magnified intersection method. Increasing tamarisk biomass negatively affected mule-fat biomass, but there were interactions with tamarisk biomass, litter and mycorrhizal inoculation, with litter and inoculation increasing mule-fat growth at high tamarisk biomass. Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization was high in all treatments, yet at higher tamarisk stem densities, inoculation and litter improved colonization. Interestingly, litter did not negatively impact mule-fat as predicted. Moreover, litter and mycorrhizal inoculum interacted with tamarisk to improve mule-fat growth at higher tamarisk biomass, suggesting an opportunity to improve restoration success when in competition with tamarisk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management and Control Methods for Invasive Plants in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effect of the Push-Pull Cropping System on Maize Yield, Stem Borer Infestation and Farmers’ Perception
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080452 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 383
Abstract
The productivity of maize in Ethiopia has remained lower than the world average because of several biotic and abiotic factors. Stemborers and poor soil fertility are among the main factors that contribute to this poor maize productivity. A novel cropping strategy, such as [...] Read more.
The productivity of maize in Ethiopia has remained lower than the world average because of several biotic and abiotic factors. Stemborers and poor soil fertility are among the main factors that contribute to this poor maize productivity. A novel cropping strategy, such as the use of push-pull technology, is one of the methods known to solve both challenges at once. A push-pull technology targeting the management of maize stemborers was implemented in the Hawassa district of Ethiopia with the ultimate goal of increased food security among smallholder farmers. This study evaluated farmers’ perception of push-pull technology based on their experiences and observations of the demonstration plots that were established on-farm in Dore Bafano, Jara Gelelcha and Lebu Koremo village of the Hawasa district in 2016 and 2017. This study examined farmers’ perception of the importance of push-pull technology in controlling stemborers and improving soil fertility and access to livestock feed. In both cropping seasons, except for Jara Gelelcha, the maize grain yields were significantly higher in the climate-adapted push-pull plots compared to the maize monocrop plots. The majority (89%) of push-pull technology-practising farmers rated the technology better than their maize production methods on attributes such as access to new livestock feed and the control of stemborer damage. As a result, approximately 96% of the interviewed farmers were interested in adopting the technology starting in the upcoming crop season. Awareness through training and effective dissemination strategies should be strengthened among stakeholders and policymakers for the sustainable use and scaling-up of push-pull technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cropping Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Rice Blast: A Disease with Implications for Global Food Security
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080451 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Rice blast is a serious fungal disease of rice (Oryza sativa L.) that is threatening global food security. It has been extensively studied due to the importance of rice production and consumption, and because of its vast distribution and destructiveness across the [...] Read more.
Rice blast is a serious fungal disease of rice (Oryza sativa L.) that is threatening global food security. It has been extensively studied due to the importance of rice production and consumption, and because of its vast distribution and destructiveness across the world. Rice blast, caused by Pyricularia oryzae Cavara 1892 (A), can infect aboveground tissues of rice plants at any growth stage and cause total crop failure. The pathogen produces lesions on leaves (leaf blast), leaf collars (collar blast), culms, culm nodes, panicle neck nodes (neck rot), and panicles (panicle blast), which vary in color and shape depending on varietal resistance, environmental conditions, and age. Understanding how rice blast is affected by environmental conditions at the cellular and genetic level will provide critical insight into incidence of the disease in future climates for effective decision-making and management. Integrative strategies are required for successful control of rice blast, including chemical use, biocontrol, selection of advanced breeding lines and cultivars with resistance genes, investigating genetic diversity and virulence of the pathogen, forecasting and mapping distribution of the disease and pathogen races, and examining the role of wild rice and weeds in rice blast epidemics. These tactics should be integrated with agronomic practices including the removal of crop residues to decrease pathogen survival, crop and land rotations, avoiding broadcast planting and double cropping, water management, and removal of yield-limiting factors for rice production. Such an approach, where chemical use is based on crop injury and estimated yield and economic losses, is fundamental for the sustainable control of rice blast to improve rice production for global food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Crop Disease and Pesticide on Crop Production)
Open AccessArticle
Morphological and Physiological Responses Induced by Protein Hydrolysate-Based Biostimulant and Nitrogen Rates in Greenhouse Spinach
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080450 - 14 Aug 2019
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Plant-derived protein hydrolysates (PHs) are gaining prominence as biostimulants due to their potential to improve yield and nutritional quality even under suboptimal nutrient regimens. In this study, we investigated the effects of foliar application of a legume-derived PH (0 or 4 mL L [...] Read more.
Plant-derived protein hydrolysates (PHs) are gaining prominence as biostimulants due to their potential to improve yield and nutritional quality even under suboptimal nutrient regimens. In this study, we investigated the effects of foliar application of a legume-derived PH (0 or 4 mL L−1) on greenhouse baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) under four nitrogen (N) fertilization levels (0, 15, 30, or 45 kg ha−1) by evaluating morphological and colorimetric parameters, mineral composition, carbohydrates, proteins, and amino acids. The fresh yield in untreated and biostimulant-treated spinach plants increased in response to an increase in N fertilization from 1 up to 30 kg ha−1, reaching a plateau thereafter indicating the luxury consumption of N at 45 kg ha−1. Increasing N fertilization rate, independently of PH, lead to a significant increase of all amino acids with the exception of alanine, GABA, leucine, lysine, methionine, and ornithine but decreased the polyphenols content. Interestingly, the fresh yield at 0 and 15 kg ha−1 was clearly greater in PH-treated plants compared to untreated plants by 33.3% and 24.9%, respectively. This was associated with the presence in of amino acids and small peptides PH ‘Trainer®’, which act as signaling molecules eliciting auxin- and/or gibberellin-like activities on both leaves and roots and thus inducing a “nutrient acquisition response” that enhances nutrients acquisition and assimilation (high P, Ca, and Mg accumulation) as well as an increase in the photochemical efficiency and activity of photosystem II (higher SPAD index). Foliar applications of the commercial PH decreased the polyphenols content, but on the other hand strongly increased total amino acid content (+45%, +82%, and +59% at 0, 15, and 30 kg ha−1, respectively) but not at a 45-kg ha−1-rate. Overall, the use of PH could represent a sustainable tool for boosting yield and nitrogen use efficiency and coping with soil fertility problems under low input regimens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrogen Fertilization in Vegetable Crops)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
SSR Marker-Assisted Management of Parental Germplasm in Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) Breeding Programs
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080449 - 14 Aug 2019
Viewed by 433
Abstract
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) is an important sugar and bioenergy crop with a high aneuploidy, complex genomes and extreme heterozygosity. A good understanding of genetic diversity and population structure among sugarcane parental lines is a prerequisite for sugarcane improvement through breeding. In [...] Read more.
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) is an important sugar and bioenergy crop with a high aneuploidy, complex genomes and extreme heterozygosity. A good understanding of genetic diversity and population structure among sugarcane parental lines is a prerequisite for sugarcane improvement through breeding. In order to understand genetic characteristics of parental lines used in sugarcane breeding programs in China, 150 of the most popular accessions were analyzed with 21 fluorescence-labeled simple sequence repeats (SSR) markers and high-performance capillary electrophoresis (HPCE). A total of 226 SSR alleles of high-resolution capacity were identified. Among the series obtained from different origins, the YC-series, which contained eight unique alleles, had the highest genetic diversity. Based on the population structure analysis, the principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) and phylogenetic analysis, the 150 accessions were clustered into two distinct sub-populations (Pop1 and Pop2). Pop1 contained the majority of clones introduced to China (including 28/29 CP-series accessions) while accessions native to China clustered in Pop2. The analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA), fixation index (Fst) value and gene flow (Nm) value all indicated the very low genetic differentiation between the two groups. This study illustrated that fluorescence-labeled SSR markers combined with high-performance capillary electrophoresis (HPCE) could be a very useful tool for genotyping of the polyploidy sugarcane. The results provided valuable information for sugarcane breeders to better manage the parental germplasm, choose the best parents to cross, and produce the best progeny to evaluate and select for new cultivar(s). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Marker Technology for Crop Improvement)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Weed Management in New Zealand Pastures
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080448 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 429
Abstract
In New Zealand, pastoral farming for dairy and meat production is the major land use. As with any agricultural production system, weeds are a threat to efficient pasture production in New Zealand. In this review, we outline the problems caused by weeds in [...] Read more.
In New Zealand, pastoral farming for dairy and meat production is the major land use. As with any agricultural production system, weeds are a threat to efficient pasture production in New Zealand. In this review, we outline the problems caused by weeds in New Zealand pastures, and the management strategies being used to control them. There are currently 245 plant species from 40 plant families that are considered to be troublesome weeds in New Zealand pastures. The application of herbicides is an important approach to manage weeds in New Zealand pastures; however, a key to the success of these pastures is the use of clovers in combination with the grasses, so the challenge is to find herbicides that selectively control weeds without damaging these legumes. The use of spot spraying and weed wiping are often required to ensure selective control of some weed species in these pastures. Non-chemical agronomic approaches such as grazing management and using competitive pasture species often play a more important role than herbicides for weed management in many New Zealand pastures. Thus, integrated weed management using a combination of herbicides and good pasture management strategies leads to the most cost-effective and efficient control of pasture weeds in New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Management & New Approaches)
Open AccessReview
Physiological Responses of Selected Vegetable Crop Species to Water Stress
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080447 - 13 Aug 2019
Viewed by 429
Abstract
The frequency of drought periods influences the yield potential of crops under field conditions. The change in morphology and anatomy of plants has been tested during drought stress under controlled conditions but the change in physiological processes has not been adequately studied in [...] Read more.
The frequency of drought periods influences the yield potential of crops under field conditions. The change in morphology and anatomy of plants has been tested during drought stress under controlled conditions but the change in physiological processes has not been adequately studied in separate studies but needs to be reviewed collectively. This review presents the responses of green peas, snap beans, tomatoes and sweet corn to water stress based on their stomatal behaviour, canopy temperature, chlorophyll fluorescence and the chlorophyll content of leaves. These stress markers can be used for screening the drought tolerance of genotypes, the irrigation schedules or prediction of yield. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Soil Cultivated with Vegetables in Crop Rotation under Integrated, Organic and Organic Conservation Management in a Mediterranean Environment
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080446 - 13 Aug 2019
Viewed by 445
Abstract
A combination of organic and conservation approaches have not been widely tested, neither considering agronomic implications nor the impacts on the environment. Focussing on the effect of agricultural practices on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soil, the hypothesis of this research is that [...] Read more.
A combination of organic and conservation approaches have not been widely tested, neither considering agronomic implications nor the impacts on the environment. Focussing on the effect of agricultural practices on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soil, the hypothesis of this research is that the organic conservation system (ORG+) may reduce emissions of N2O, CH4 and CO2 from soil, compared to an integrated farming system (INT) and an organic (ORG) system in a two-year irrigated vegetable crop rotation set up in 2014, in a Mediterranean environment. The crop rotation included: Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. sabauda L. cv. Famosa), spring lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Justine), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill. cv. Montebianco) and summer lettuce (L. sativa cv. Ballerina). Fluxes from soil of N2O, CH4 and CO2 were measured from October 2014 to July 2016 with the flow-through non-steady state chamber technique using a mobile instrument equipped with high precision analysers. Both cumulative and daily N2O emissions were mainly lower in ORG+ than in INT and ORG. All the cropping systems acted as a sink of CH4, with no significant differences among treatments. The ORG and ORG+ systems accounted for higher cumulative and daily CO2 emissions than INT, maybe due to the stimulating effect on soil respiration of organic material (fertilizers/plant biomass) supplied in ORG and ORG+. Overall, the integration of conservation and organic agriculture showed a tendency for higher CO2 emissions and lower N2O emissions than the other treatments, without any clear results on its potential for mitigating GHG emissions from soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Management of Conservative, Organic and Integrated Agriculture)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Metabolite-Targeted Analysis and Physiological Traits of Zea mays L. in Response to Application of a Leonardite-Humate and Lignosulfonate-Based Products for Their Evaluation as Potential Biostimulants
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080445 - 12 Aug 2019
Viewed by 430
Abstract
The main aim of this study is to identify and investigate specific humates (Hs) as potential biostimulants. Five specialty lignosulfonates (LS1-5), one commercial leonardite-humate (PH), and one commercial lignosulfonate (LH), were analyzed for their carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur contents, and the distribution of [...] Read more.
The main aim of this study is to identify and investigate specific humates (Hs) as potential biostimulants. Five specialty lignosulfonates (LS1-5), one commercial leonardite-humate (PH), and one commercial lignosulfonate (LH), were analyzed for their carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur contents, and the distribution of functional groups using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopies. Hs were further supplied for two days to Zea mays L. in hydroponics to test their capacity to trigger changes in physiological target-responses. LS1, LS2, LS3, and LS5 determined the most pronounced effects on plant growth and accumulation of proteins and phenolics, perhaps because of their chemical and spectroscopic features. Root growth was more increased (+51–140%) than leaf growth (+5–35%). This effect was ascribed to higher stimulation of N metabolism in roots according to the increased activity of N-assimilation enzymes (GS and GOGAT) and high consumption of sugars for energy-dependent processes. Increased values of RuBisCO, SPAD (Soil Plant Analysis Development values), and leaf sugar accumulation refer to enhanced photosynthesis attributed to Hs. We conclude that Hs tested in this study functioned as biostimulants, but the specialty lignosulfonates were more efficient in this role, possibly because of the type of starting material and process used for their production, which may have influenced their chemical properties. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication
Greater Nitrogen Availability, Nitrous Oxide Emissions, and Vegetable Yields with Fall-Applied Chicken Relative to Horse Manure
Agronomy 2019, 9(8), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9080444 - 12 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 454
Abstract
Optimal manure management can maximize agronomic benefits and minimize environmental impacts. Field experiments were conducted in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Canada) to determine how chicken and horse manures that were fall-applied to meet nitrogen crop demand affect soil ammonium (NH4+) [...] Read more.
Optimal manure management can maximize agronomic benefits and minimize environmental impacts. Field experiments were conducted in the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver, Canada) to determine how chicken and horse manures that were fall-applied to meet nitrogen crop demand affect soil ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3), apparent net mineralization (ANM) and nitrification (ANN), crop biomass and nutrient concentration, and fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4). Relative to horse manure, chicken manure increased soil NH4+ by 60-fold, ANM by 2-fold, and ANN by 4-fold. Emissions of N2O (+600%) and CO2 (+45%) were greater and growing season CO2 emissions (−40%) were lower after application of chicken than horse manure. Productivity of cover crop (+30%), legume cover crop (−25%), and squash cash crop (+20%) were affected by chicken relative to horse manure. Overall, fall-applied chicken manure increased yields, N availability, and environmental impacts relative to horse manure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop