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Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 12 (December 2020) – 78 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Globally, local small farms are on the rise due to consumer demands for locally grown produce. These farms often use small walk-behind tractors. They need to adopt no-till conservation agriculture farming systems that can sequester carbon, reduce runoff, soil erosion, and floods; increase fertility, yield, infiltration, and water holding capacity; and improve weed control and drought resilience. However, lack of specialized equipment inhibits widespread adoption of conservation agriculture farming systems. To enable adoption, equipment such as no-till drill, powered roller/crimper, and no-till transplanters have been designed, tested, and patented for walk-behind tractors. A field test was conducted, and results indicated that the equipment can be a practical solution for small farms globally to adopt no-till conservation agriculture farming system operations. View this paper
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Article
Precision and Digital Agriculture: Adoption of Technologies and Perception of Brazilian Farmers
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120653 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2107
Abstract
The rapid population growth has driven the demand for more food, fiber, energy, and water, which is associated to an increase in the need to use natural resources in a more sustainable way. The use of precision agriculture machinery and equipment since the [...] Read more.
The rapid population growth has driven the demand for more food, fiber, energy, and water, which is associated to an increase in the need to use natural resources in a more sustainable way. The use of precision agriculture machinery and equipment since the 1990s has provided important productive gains and maximized the use of agricultural inputs. The growing connectivity in the rural environment, in addition to its greater integration with data from sensor systems, remote sensors, equipment, and smartphones have paved the way for new concepts from the so-called Agriculture 4.0 or Digital Agriculture. This article presents the results of a survey carried out with 504 Brazilian farmers about the digital technologies in use, as well as current and future applications, perceived benefits, and challenges. The questionnaire was prepared, organized, and made available to the public through the online platform LimeSurvey and was available from 17 April to 2 June 2020. The primary data obtained for each question previously defined were consolidated and analyzed statistically. The results indicate that 84% of the interviewed farmers use at least one digital technology in their production system that differs according to technological complexity level. The main perceived benefit refers to the perception of increased productivity and the main challenges are the acquisition costs of machines, equipment, software, and connectivity. It is also noteworthy that 95% of farmers would like to learn more about new technologies to strengthen the agricultural development in their properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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Article
Phenolics and Antioxidant Activity of Green and Red Sweet Peppers from Organic and Conventional Agriculture: A Comparative Study
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120652 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1032
Abstract
Today, consumers are very concerned regarding food quality, nutritional composition and positive health effects of consumed foods. In this context, the preference and consumption of organic products has been increasing worldwide. In the present work, sweet peppers in two maturation stages (i.e., green [...] Read more.
Today, consumers are very concerned regarding food quality, nutritional composition and positive health effects of consumed foods. In this context, the preference and consumption of organic products has been increasing worldwide. In the present work, sweet peppers in two maturation stages (i.e., green and red peppers) from organic and conventional production systems were evaluated in regards to phenolic composition and antioxidant activity. Nine phenolic compounds were identified and quantified by a high-performance liquid chromatography-diode-array detector (HPLC-DAD), namely resveratrol, meta-coumaric acid, ortho-coumaric acid, clorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, rutin, luteolin-7-O-glucoside and quercitin-3-O-rhamnoside. In contrast to the production system, the maturation stage showed a pronounced significant effect on the phenolic composition of the studied sweet peppers; in general, green peppers possessed higher contents than red ones. Meta-coumaric acid, ortho-coumaric acid and quercitin-3-O-rhamnoside were more abundant in green conventional peppers and chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and rutin were found in higher levels in red organic peppers. Regarding the antioxidant activity, green conventional peppers showed the highest DPPH, ABTS•+ and total reducing capacities, while red conventional peppers had higher TEAC values. Finally, principal component analysis showed that the phenolic composition together with the antioxidant capacities could be used to differentiate the production system and the maturation stage of sweet peppers. This finding confirmed that both factors influenced the peppers’ phenolic composition and antioxidant capacity, allowing their possible use as maturation–production biomarkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Traits of Agriculture/Food Quality Interface)
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Article
Adaptation, Biometric Traits and Performances of Guayule Lines Grown in Two Mediterranean Environments
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120651 - 20 Dec 2020
Viewed by 696
Abstract
The perennial shrub guayule (Parthenium argentatum A. Gray) has gained interest as a potential source of natural and hypoallergenic rubber in Southern Europe. Although, native to northern Mexico, it is suited to semi-arid and Mediterranean environments. A research study was conducted in [...] Read more.
The perennial shrub guayule (Parthenium argentatum A. Gray) has gained interest as a potential source of natural and hypoallergenic rubber in Southern Europe. Although, native to northern Mexico, it is suited to semi-arid and Mediterranean environments. A research study was conducted in Sardinia (Italy) to evaluate adaptation and biometric traits of introduced guayule lines and to determine the contents and yields of rubber and resin obtainable from its aboveground biomass. Seedlings of the accessions AZ-1, AZ-2, P803, and 11591 were field transplanted in 2015 at two locations of southern, and northern Sardinia, respectively, differing for annual precipitation. Plant survival rate, height and width, trunk diameter, leaf chlorophyll concentration and photosystem photochemical efficiency were monitored. Shoots were harvested at 30 months after transplanting and were partitioned into twigs and remaining stems and its rubber and resin contents were determined. Location markedly affected plant survival rates and biometric traits. Dry matter yield of aboveground components as well as contents of rubber and resin and plant rubber and resin yields differed significantly among accessions under comparison. We found that AZ1 and 11591 were the most successful accessions at southern Sardinia site, whereas 11591 was the only accession exhibiting a satisfactory plant survival rate in the northern location. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Root Growth of Hordeum vulgare and Vicia faba in the Biopore Sheath
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120650 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 649
Abstract
Biopores provide nutrients from root debris and earthworm casts. Inside large biopores, root function is limited due to the lack of root–soil contact. However, the immediate surroundings of biopores may hold a key function as “hotspots” for root growth in the subsoil. To [...] Read more.
Biopores provide nutrients from root debris and earthworm casts. Inside large biopores, root function is limited due to the lack of root–soil contact. However, the immediate surroundings of biopores may hold a key function as “hotspots” for root growth in the subsoil. To date, sufficient quantitative information on the distribution of roots and nutrients around biopores is missing. In this field study, the biopore sheath was sampled at distances of 0–2, 2–4, 4–8, and 8–12 mm from the surface of the pore wall. The results show a laterally decreasing gradient from the pore towards 8–12 mm distance in root length density (RLD) of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and faba bean (Vicia faba L.), as well as in total nitrogen (Nt)- and total carbon (Ct)-content. In the biopore sheath (2–12 mm), the share of roots with a diameter of less than 0.4 mm was 92% for barley and 89% for faba bean. The findings support the view that roots can utilize biopores to gain access to deeper soil layers and may use the sheath for nutrient uptake and entrance through to the bulk soil. However, especially for barley, the inner layer of the biopore sheath appeared to be more important for root growth than the sheath of farer distance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions in Organic Farming)
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Review
Conservation of Ecosystem Services in Argiudolls of Argentina
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120649 - 19 Dec 2020
Viewed by 715
Abstract
Mollisols are a fundamental component of global agricultural production. In the Argentine Pampas region, 65% of the Mollisols belong to Argiudoll great group. These soils have an agricultural aptitude, with limitations given mainly by varying thickness of the top horizon A as a [...] Read more.
Mollisols are a fundamental component of global agricultural production. In the Argentine Pampas region, 65% of the Mollisols belong to Argiudoll great group. These soils have an agricultural aptitude, with limitations given mainly by varying thickness of the top horizon A as a result of the severity of water erosion depending on its site in the landscape layered on an argillic B horizon. Over the last three decades, Pampean agriculture has been widespread because of a modern technological matrix characterized by transgenic crops, and increasing use of fertilizers and pesticides. Large changes have taken place in crop sequence composition, toward the disappearance of pastures and the rapid expansion of soybean monoculture due to the upward trend of the international price of this commodity. This review contributes to an alertness regarding the significance of the soil degradation problem, in terms of decline in soil fertility and structural condition, decrease in size of soil aggregates, surface and subsurface compaction, decrease in organic carbon content, soil and water contamination, reduction of infiltration rate and structure stability, causing an increase in water losses through surface runoff and water erosion and lost ecosystem services. Additionally, a set of sustainable land management practices and legal aspects is shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Agriculture for Ecosystem Services)
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Review
Ground Beetles (Carabidae) in the Short-Rotation Coppice Willow and Poplar Plants—Synergistic Benefits System
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120648 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 706
Abstract
In a short period, we have observed the rapid expansion of bioenergy, resulting in growth in the area of energy crops. In Europe, willow and poplar growing in short-rotation coppices (SRC) are popular bioenergy crops. Their potential impact on biodiversity has not yet [...] Read more.
In a short period, we have observed the rapid expansion of bioenergy, resulting in growth in the area of energy crops. In Europe, willow and poplar growing in short-rotation coppices (SRC) are popular bioenergy crops. Their potential impact on biodiversity has not yet been fully investigated. Therefore, there are many uncertainties regarding whether commercial production can cause environmental degradation and biodiversity impoverishment. One of the aspects examined is the impact of these crops on entomofauna and ecosystem services. The best-studied insect group is ground beetles from the Carabidae family. This work gathers data on biodiversity and the functions of carabids in willow and poplar energy plants. The results of these investigations show that energy SRC plants and Carabidae communities can create a synergistic system of mutual benefits. Willow and poplar plants can be a valuable habitat due to the increased biodiversity of entomofauna. Additionally, SRC creates a transitional environment that allows insect migration between isolated populations. On the other hand, ground beetles are suppliers of ecosystem services and make a significant contribution to the building of sustainable agriculture by pest control, thereby ameliorating damage to field crops. Full article
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Article
In Vivo Pollen Tube Growth and Evidence of Self-Pollination and Prefloral Anthesis in cv. Macabeo (Vitis vinifera L.)
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120647 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 695
Abstract
Cultivar Macabeo is one of the most planted white grape varieties of northern Spain. A general agreement supports many Vitis vinifera cultivars possibly being self-fertile, although this seems to be a variety-dependent characteristic. No previous information about the mating system of cv. Macabeo [...] Read more.
Cultivar Macabeo is one of the most planted white grape varieties of northern Spain. A general agreement supports many Vitis vinifera cultivars possibly being self-fertile, although this seems to be a variety-dependent characteristic. No previous information about the mating system of cv. Macabeo was found. This study aimed to analyze its mating system and to compare the in vivo fertilization process with and without artificial cross-pollination. Two treatments were performed: emasculation and cross-pollination. The seed number was counted, and pollen tube growth was observed by microscopy. The results showed that cv. Macabeo is self-fertile and selfing probably occurs before the flower opens. Pollen was found over the stigma of flowers before capfall and ovule fertilization was observed even in emasculated flowers, which suggests that germination and pollen tube growth happened in a very early flower development stage. Cross-pollination increased the presence of the pollen tubes growing inside flowers but was not necessary for fruit set. Ovule fertilization was very fast as 24 h (h) were enough for pollen tubes to reach the end of stylar canals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Perspective
The Typical Farm Approach and Its Application by the Agri Benchmark Network
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120646 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1227
Abstract
Global agricultural production is dynamic and complex as various factors impact it. Understanding global agricultural production systems and farmers’ decisions requires an internationally standardized and scientifically sound approach. The agribenchmark Network is a global, non-profit network of producers and agricultural experts which [...] Read more.
Global agricultural production is dynamic and complex as various factors impact it. Understanding global agricultural production systems and farmers’ decisions requires an internationally standardized and scientifically sound approach. The agribenchmark Network is a global, non-profit network of producers and agricultural experts which aims to analyze and understand the key drivers of current and future trends and developments in global agriculture. The Network combines its in-depth knowledge of production systems with its expertise in analyzing international commodity markets and value chains to provide scientifically sound advice to policymakers, producers and agribusinesses. This paper details the agribenchmark Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which is the step-by-step method of establishing typical farm information and quantifying their data. The paper also illustrates how the typical farm approach is applied by the agribenchmark Network to analyze and understand global agriculture, production systems and adaptation strategies. The paper provides examples of how the Network applies the approach in analyzing the status-quo of production systems, benchmarking, practice change analysis and policy analysis. The paper concludes that although the typical farm approach and the institutional settings (agri benchmark) present some limitations, the approach and the Network provide comprehensive, consistent and coherent data on farm economics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Systems and Management)
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Article
Zinc Finger Protein 1 (ZFP1) Is Involved in Trichome Initiation in Arabidopsis thaliana
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120645 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 593
Abstract
Arabidopsis trichome is specialized structure that develops from epidermal cells, and is an excellent model system for studying various aspects of plant cell development and cell differentiation. Our previous studies have shown that C2H2 zinc finger protein family genes, including GIS, GIS2 [...] Read more.
Arabidopsis trichome is specialized structure that develops from epidermal cells, and is an excellent model system for studying various aspects of plant cell development and cell differentiation. Our previous studies have shown that C2H2 zinc finger protein family genes, including GIS, GIS2, GIS3, ZFP5, ZFP6 and ZFP8, play an important role in controlling trichome initiation in Arabidopsis. Here, our novel results showed a C2H2 zinc finger protein, ZFP1, which also plays an important role in trichome initiation in Arabidopsis. ZFP1 over-expression lines display significantly increased trichome number on cauline leaves, lateral branches and main stems in comparison with wild type plants. ZFP1 RNAi lines and loss-of-function mutants showed the opposite phenotype. Furthermore, our study also found that ZFP1 mediates the regulation of trichome initiation by cytokinin signaling. The molecular and genetic analyses reveal that ZFP1 acts upstream of key trichome initiation factors, GL3 and TRY. Full article
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Article
Seasonal Phenology of the Major Insect Pests of Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) and Their Natural Enemies in a Traditional Zone and Two New Production Zones of Peru
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120644 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 701
Abstract
Over the last decade, the sown area of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) has been increasingly expanding in Peru, and new production fields have emerged, stretching from the Andes to coastal areas. The fields at low altitudes have the potential to produce higher [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, the sown area of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) has been increasingly expanding in Peru, and new production fields have emerged, stretching from the Andes to coastal areas. The fields at low altitudes have the potential to produce higher yields than those in the highlands. This study investigated the occurrence of insect pests and the natural enemies of quinoa in a traditional production zone, San Lorenzo (in the Andes), and in two new zones at lower altitudes, La Molina (on the coast) and Majes (in the “Maritime Yunga” ecoregion), by plant sampling and pitfall trapping. Our data indicated that the pest pressure in quinoa was higher at lower elevations than in the highlands. The major insect pest infesting quinoa at high densities in San Lorenzo was Eurysacca melanocampta; in La Molina, the major pests were E. melanocampta, Macrosiphum euphorbiae and Liriomyza huidobrensis; and in Majes, Frankliniella occidentalis was the most abundant pest. The natural enemy complex played an important role in controlling M. euphorbiae and L. huidobrensis by preventing pest resurgence. The findings of this study may assist quinoa producers (from the Andes and from regions at lower altitudes) in establishing better farming practices in the framework of integrated pest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Pest Management of Field Crops)
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Review
A Survey of Endophytic Fungi Associated with High-Risk Plants Imported for Ornamental Purposes
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120643 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
An extensive literature search was performed to review current knowledge about endophytic fungi isolated from plants included in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) dossier. The selected genera of plants were Acacia, Albizia, Bauhinia, Berberis, Caesalpinia, Cassia, [...] Read more.
An extensive literature search was performed to review current knowledge about endophytic fungi isolated from plants included in the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) dossier. The selected genera of plants were Acacia, Albizia, Bauhinia, Berberis, Caesalpinia, Cassia, Cornus, Hamamelis, Jasminus, Ligustrum, Lonicera, Nerium, and Robinia. A total of 120 fungal genera have been found in plant tissues originating from several countries. Bauhinia and Cornus showed the highest diversity of endophytes, whereas Hamamelis, Jasminus, Lonicera, and Robinia exhibited the lowest. The most frequently detected fungi were Aspergillus, Colletotrichum, Fusarium, Penicillium, Phyllosticta, and Alternaria. Plants and plant products represent an inoculum source of several mutualistic or pathogenic fungi, including quarantine pathogens. Thus, the movement of living organisms across continents during international trade represents a serious threat to ecosystems and biosecurity measures should be taken at a global level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence and Functions of Endophytic Fungi in Crop Species)
Article
Evaluation of Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.) Aqueous Extract as a Potential Bioherbicide to Control Amaranthus retroflexus L. in Maize
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120642 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
The allelopathic plant extracts can be applied as soil or foliar bioherbicides and are capable of suppressing germination and growth of several weeds, some of which are herbicide resistant. This study evaluated the allelopathic activity of the aqueous extract of aerial biomass of [...] Read more.
The allelopathic plant extracts can be applied as soil or foliar bioherbicides and are capable of suppressing germination and growth of several weeds, some of which are herbicide resistant. This study evaluated the allelopathic activity of the aqueous extract of aerial biomass of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris L.) on seed germination and seedling growth of redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) and maize (Zea mays L.), in order to be applied as a potential bioherbicide. The aqueous extract of mugwort was qualitatively examined for the presence of bioactive compounds and it was applied in a Petri dish and pot bioassays quantifying its effects on redroot pigweed and maize by non-linear regression analyses according the log-logistic model. The aqueous extract of mugwort showed the presence of several bioactive compounds with allelopathic activity, such as polysaccharides, organic acids, flavonoids and terpenoids. The aqueous extract of mugwort, at the concentrations from 7.5% to 10% w/v, were found to be the optimal concentration range since it is able to inhibit seed germination, seedling emergence and plant growth of redroot pigweed, without affecting seed germination and seedling emergence of maize, or rather, stimulating its radicle, mesocotyl and plant’s growth. EC90 values for the seed germination, radicle and hypocotyl length of redroot pigweed were in the order: 6.1% and 8.1%, 3.2% and 6.2%, 3.8% and 5.7% w/v of aqueous extract in the two repeated bioassays, respectively. Due to potential herbicidal activity against weeds and biostimulant action on the crops, this extract could be the ideal solution in an integrated weed management program, in order to suppress weeds, increasing competitive ability of crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Weed Management Systems)
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Article
Microclimate-Based Pest and Disease Management through a Forewarning System for Sustainable Cotton Production
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120641 - 17 Dec 2020
Viewed by 804
Abstract
Cotton is an essential commercial crop. Unfortunately, this crop is affected by many pests and diseases, which can cause considerable loss in yield. Climate has a strong correlation with the occurrence of pests and diseases in crops. Currently, weather forecasting services are available [...] Read more.
Cotton is an essential commercial crop. Unfortunately, this crop is affected by many pests and diseases, which can cause considerable loss in yield. Climate has a strong correlation with the occurrence of pests and diseases in crops. Currently, weather forecasting services are available to the farmers, which help with weather-based planning of farm operations. Still, weather-based pest and disease forewarning services are not available to all the farmers. Unfortunately, cotton cultivation consumes about one-third of total pesticide consumption, which increases the cost of production apart from polluting the environment. An information and communication technology (ICT) based intelligent pest and disease forewarning system for cotton is an innovative system for providing forewarning on pests and diseases. It aims at improving farm productivity through better crop management. In this paper, the proposed method aims to predict the occurrence of pests and diseases based on microclimatic parameters. This pest and disease forewarning information and appropriate crop management practices will be disseminated to the farmers using electronic media through short message service (SMS), the Internet, etc. In this way, both livelihood security and environmental security are achieved. The proposed model shows a higher optimal performance then the two related works in terms of the average root mean square error rate, average accuracy rate, average percentage error rate, and prediction accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture)
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Review
Silphium perfoliatum—A Herbaceous Crop with Increased Interest in Recent Years for Multi-Purpose Use
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120640 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
Silphium perfoliatum is a perennial crop native to North America that has been the subject of increased scientific interest in recent years, especially in Europe. It is drought- and frost-resistant, which makes it suitable for cultivation in Europe on marginal lands that are [...] Read more.
Silphium perfoliatum is a perennial crop native to North America that has been the subject of increased scientific interest in recent years, especially in Europe. It is drought- and frost-resistant, which makes it suitable for cultivation in Europe on marginal lands that are not used for growing other crops. This review analyzed the distribution and purposes of the cultivation of Silphium perfoliatum worldwide, as well as its biomass yields and characteristics as a feedstock for biogas production and other purposes. A total of 121 scientific publications on Silphium perfoliatum were identified, with the highest number (20 papers) published in 2019. It was found that higher biomass yields can be obtained at higher precipitation levels, with the use of fertilizers and an adequate type of plantation. The mean dry matter yield of Silphium perfoliatum was 13.3 Mg ha−1 DM (dry matter), and it ranged from 2 to over 32 Mg ha−1 DM. In some countries, Silphium is used as a forage crop mainly due to its high crude protein content (from 4.9% to 15% DM), depending on the vegetation phase. Silphium perfoliatum is a promising perennial crop in terms of energy and other benefits for biodiversity, soil quality and applications in medicine and pharmacology. Full article
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Article
Vaccination of Sows against Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) in a Subclinically Infected Herd Does Not Impact Reproductive Performance
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120639 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 892
Abstract
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) vaccination in piglets has become one of the crucial and indisputable procedures in modern swine production. The role of PCV2 vaccination in breeding animals is less explored. In the present study, the evaluation of the impact of sow [...] Read more.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) vaccination in piglets has become one of the crucial and indisputable procedures in modern swine production. The role of PCV2 vaccination in breeding animals is less explored. In the present study, the evaluation of the impact of sow vaccination on reproductive parameters was performed in a high health status, PCV2 subclinically infected herd of 3200 sows. The comparison of the number of liveborn, stillborn, and weak born piglets between groups of sows vaccinated on 1 or 28 days after weaning, or nonvaccinated, did not show any statistically significant differences. Although in the tested farm the vaccination of sows appeared to have no effect on reproductive performance, the results should not be generalized. Careful and individualized analysis of diagnostic and production data is crucial in economizing infectious disease control programs in sow herds and pig populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Swine Diseases: Prevention, Control and Food Safety)
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Article
Artificial Neural Networks in the Prediction of Genetic Merit to Flowering Traits in Bean Cultivars
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120638 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 971
Abstract
Flowering is an important agronomic trait that presents non-additive gene action. Genome-enabled prediction allow incorporating molecular information into the prediction of individual genetic merit. Artificial neural networks (ANN) recognize patterns of data and represent an alternative as a universal approximation of complex functions. [...] Read more.
Flowering is an important agronomic trait that presents non-additive gene action. Genome-enabled prediction allow incorporating molecular information into the prediction of individual genetic merit. Artificial neural networks (ANN) recognize patterns of data and represent an alternative as a universal approximation of complex functions. In a Genomic Selection (GS) context, the ANN allows automatically to capture complicated factors such as epistasis and dominance. The objectives of this study were to predict the individual genetic merits of the traits associated with the flowering time in the common bean using the ANN approach, and to compare the predictive abilities obtained for ANN and Ridge Regression Best Linear Unbiased Predictor (RR-BLUP). We used a set of 80 bean cultivars and genotyping was performed with a set of 384 SNPs. The higher accuracy of the selective process of phenotypic values based on ANN output values resulted in a greater efficacy of the genomic estimated breeding value (GEBV). Through the root mean square error computational intelligence approaches via ANN, GEBV were shown to have greater efficacy than GS via RR-BLUP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genotype Evaluation and Breeding)
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Article
Evaluation of Behavioral Aspects after Intradermal and Intramuscular Vaccine Application in Suckling Piglets
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120637 - 15 Dec 2020
Viewed by 700
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyse the behavioral aspects of suckling piglets after an intradermal vaccination method in comparison to an intramuscular vaccination applied on the seventh day of life. Possible effects on piglet welfare should be evaluated. Under field conditions, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyse the behavioral aspects of suckling piglets after an intradermal vaccination method in comparison to an intramuscular vaccination applied on the seventh day of life. Possible effects on piglet welfare should be evaluated. Under field conditions, 135 suckling piglets from 12 litters were vaccinated against Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae—64 of those intradermally and 71 intramuscularly, from six litters each. For behavioral analyses, videos were recorded per pen, starting three days before the vaccination and ending three days after the vaccination. In the video analyses, the observation periods 6.00–10.00, 13.00–17.00, and 19.00–21.00 were analysed via scan sampling for the behaviors lying, standing, walking, suckling, and social contact. In the behavioral observations, in all piglets, the most frequent behavior was lying, followed by suckling at the sow’s teats. After vaccination, less lying behavior and more suckling behavior were assessed in intradermally vaccinated piglets compared to intramuscularly vaccinated piglets, which indicates that the piglets were not impaired by stress following vaccination. The results of this study showed that intradermal needle-free vaccination has clear advantages, as it caused fewer vaccination-associated behavior changes in suckling piglets than the intramuscular vaccination method with a needle. Full article
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Article
Biodiversity of Weeds and Arthropods in Five Different Perennial Industrial Crops in Eastern Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120636 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 716
Abstract
A growing interest in the cultivation of non-food crops on marginal lands has been observed in recent years in Poland. Marginal lands are a refuge of agroecosystems biodiversity. The impact of the cultivation of perennial industrial plants on the biodiversity of weeds and [...] Read more.
A growing interest in the cultivation of non-food crops on marginal lands has been observed in recent years in Poland. Marginal lands are a refuge of agroecosystems biodiversity. The impact of the cultivation of perennial industrial plants on the biodiversity of weeds and arthropods have been assessed in this study. The biodiversity monitoring study, carried out for three years, included five perennial crops: miscanthus Miscanthus × giganteus, cup plant Silphium perfoliatum, black locust Robinia pseudoacacia, poplar Populus × maximowiczii, and willow Salix viminalis. As a control area, uncultivated fallow land was chosen. The experiment was set up in eastern Poland. A decrease in plant diversity was found for miscanthus and black locust. The diversity of arthropods was the lowest for the cup plant. No decrease in the number of melliferous plants and pollinators was observed, except for the miscanthus. The biodiversity of plants and arthropods was affected by the intensity of mechanical treatments, the fertilization dose, and the use of herbicides. The biodiversity also decreased with the age of plantation. Full article
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Article
Segetal Diversity in Selected Legume Crops Depending on Soil Tillage
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120635 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 565
Abstract
The aim of the paper was to determine weed infestation expressed by weeds number and weed weight and other index under a three different tillage system: no-tillage (NT), reduced tillage (RT), and ploughing tillage (CT) in two legume species crops: pea and narrowed-leaved [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper was to determine weed infestation expressed by weeds number and weed weight and other index under a three different tillage system: no-tillage (NT), reduced tillage (RT), and ploughing tillage (CT) in two legume species crops: pea and narrowed-leaved lupine. The research proved that growing legume under no-tillage conditions caused the increasing weed infestation. Weather conditions in each of the study years were shown to influence the weed infestation. The dry weight of weeds was higher in narrow-leaved lupine by 7% in flowering stage assessment and by 6% before harvest than in pea crop. The weeds number in the conventional tillage system in the flowering stage in pea and lupine crops was 24 and 26 plants·m−2, respectively, under the reduced tillage conditions it was 33 and 29% higher, while under no-tillage it was 58 and 67% higher. In all tillage systems the dominant species were Chenopodium album L., Viola arvensis L., Anthemis arvensis L., and Cirsium arvense L. The results prove that soil tillage system affect weed infestation of legume crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management)
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Article
Biopore-Induced Deep Root Traits of Two Winter Crops
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120634 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 725
Abstract
Deeper root growth can be induced by increased biopore density. In this study, we aimed to compare deep root traits of two winter crops in field conditions in response to altered biopore density as affected by crop sequence. Two fodder crop species—chicory and [...] Read more.
Deeper root growth can be induced by increased biopore density. In this study, we aimed to compare deep root traits of two winter crops in field conditions in response to altered biopore density as affected by crop sequence. Two fodder crop species—chicory and tall fescue—were grown for two consecutive years as preceding crops (pre-crops). Root traits of two winter crops—barley and canola, which were grown as subsequent crops (post-crops)—were measured using the profile wall and soil monolith method. While barley and canola differed greatly in deep root traits, they both significantly increased rooting density inside biopores by two-fold at soil depths shallower than 100 cm. A similar increase in rooting density in the bulk soil was observed below 100 cm soil depth. As a result, rooting depth significantly increased (>5 cm) under biopore-rich conditions throughout the season of the winter crops. Morphological root traits revealed species-wise variation in response to altered biopore density, in which only barley increased root size under biopore-rich conditions. We concluded that large-sized biopores induce deeper rooting of winter crops that can increase soil resource acquisition potential, which is considered to be important for agricultural systems with less outsourced farm resources, e.g., Organic Agriculture. Crops with contrasting root systems can respond differently to varying biopore density, especially root morphology, which should be taken into account upon exploiting biopore-rich conditions in arable fields. Our results also indicate the need for further detailed research with a greater number of species, varieties and genotypes for functional classification of root plasticity against the altered subsoil structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions in Organic Farming)
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Article
Measuring and Comparing Forces Acting on Moldboard Plow and Para-Plow with Wing to Replace Moldboard Plow with Para-Plow for Tillage and Modeling It Using Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Interface System (ANFIS)
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120633 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 660
Abstract
The objective of this study was to measure the draft, vertical, and lateral forces acting on the moldboard plow, para-plow without a wing, para-plow with forward-bent wing, and para-plow with a backward-bent wing at three working depths and three forward speeds in clay [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to measure the draft, vertical, and lateral forces acting on the moldboard plow, para-plow without a wing, para-plow with forward-bent wing, and para-plow with a backward-bent wing at three working depths and three forward speeds in clay loam soil to investigate the use of a suitable para-plow instead of the moldboard plow. Also, modeling the draft, vertical, and lateral forces acting on the implements using Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Interface System (ANFIS) was another objective of this research. To measure the draft, vertical, and lateral forces, a three-point hitch dynamometer was used. The results showed that, with the increment of the forward speed and working depth, the draft force required by the used implements increased. This increase was also true for vertical and lateral forces acting on the implements. Modeling of the draft, vertical, and lateral forces acting on the implements was performed using the effective parameters of the implements, working depth, and forward traveling speed using the (ANFIS) fuzzy neural system model. The root mean square error (RMSE) for the draft, vertical, and lateral forces for the above models were obtained equal to 0.121, 0.014, and 0.016, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Article
Secondary Metabolite Differences between Naturally Grown and Conventional Coarse Green Tea
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120632 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1591
Abstract
Crop culture conditions are one of the important interfaces between food, the environment, and health, and an essential research area for maintaining social-ecological integrity. In recent years, it has been reported that the difference in culture conditions between monoculture with external inputs ( [...] Read more.
Crop culture conditions are one of the important interfaces between food, the environment, and health, and an essential research area for maintaining social-ecological integrity. In recent years, it has been reported that the difference in culture conditions between monoculture with external inputs (in cultura) and self-organized ecological niches (in natura) is significant for the resulting physiological property of plants. It has also been suggested that there exist metabolic proxies in various foods that can separate these two culture conditions, which does not depend on a single component but on the distribution of various compounds. However, little has been studied in a time series of replicated production to quantify the reproducibility of these metabolomic features associated with culture conditions. In this study, we obtained metabolome data of coarse green tea (Camellia sinensis) grown in the same region in Japan under both in cultura and in natura culture conditions over the course of six years, and constructed a list of multiple components that separated the effects of culture conditions by statistical analysis, and estimated the metabolic functions of the compounds that contributed to the separation. The results suggest that naturally grown samples are rich in allelochemicals, such as phytochemicals, alkaloids, phenylpropanoids, steroids, as well as the compounds related to microorganisms and vitamin B6 that imply the interactions with the soil microbiome. The estimated physiological functions of the distinctive compounds suggest that the in natura crop production is not only beneficial with known properties of maintaining ecosystem health such as soil functions and pathogen control, but also for the augmentation of the plant secondary metabolites that support long-term health protective effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Secondary Metabolites in Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Article
Fabrication and Evaluation of a Cabbage Harvester Prototype
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120631 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
A cabbage harvester prototype was fabricated and tested to save time, cost, and labor for harvesting. This harvester was designed for harvesting operations to drive the prototype and control the harvester. The single-row prototype harvesting meets the functional requirements of the physical properties [...] Read more.
A cabbage harvester prototype was fabricated and tested to save time, cost, and labor for harvesting. This harvester was designed for harvesting operations to drive the prototype and control the harvester. The single-row prototype harvesting meets the functional requirements of the physical properties of the Egyptian cabbage. The performance of the harvester prototype was evaluated on two shapes of cutter disc, four cutter disc speeds, and four cutter disc angles; these parameters were assessed at 88% moisture content of the cabbage head and average forward speed of 1.5 km/h. The results demonstrated that the serrated edge cutter discs and 900 rpm disc speed produced actual productivity of 12.56 ton/h, 2.28 kW power requirements, 0.18 kW h/ton specific energy requirement, and of 3.66 $/h operating cost. It turns out that the harvester did not do major harm to the cabbage and less than 4% damage. Operating the harvester at the optimum parameters saves cost and time compared with manual harvesting. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Early Basal Leaf Removal at Different Sides of the Canopy on Aglianico Grape Quality
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120630 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 771
Abstract
It is known that early removal of basal leaves improves the exposure of cluster to direct sunlight and UV radiation, which positively influence the phenolic compounds and anthocyanin concentration of berries. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of leaf removal [...] Read more.
It is known that early removal of basal leaves improves the exposure of cluster to direct sunlight and UV radiation, which positively influence the phenolic compounds and anthocyanin concentration of berries. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of leaf removal applied before flowering to the basal zone of the canopy at different sides (fruit-zone north canopy side, south canopy side and north–south canopy side, respectively) of Aglianico vines trained to vertical shoot position system and row oriented to east–west (EW). The study was conducted in the controlled and guaranteed designation of origin (CGDO) Castel del Monte area (Apulia region, Italy). The treatment did not affect yield per vine, and nor sugar, pH, and total acidity of grapes. When it was applied to the basal south canopy side, the concentration of proanthocyanidins and total polyphenols of grapes increased, as well as antioxidant activity. In particular, anthocyanins content, determined by HPLC, increased by 20% with respect to control when treatment was applied to south and north–south canopy sides. Interaction between season period and treatment was found for all anthocyanins except for petunidin-3-coumaroyl-glucoside. Basal leaf removal applied to the north canopy side caused an increase in malvidin-3-O-glucoside content in grapes in 2016 and 2018, but not in 2017. Our results indicate that basal leaf removal (six basal leaves removed from the base of the shoots) before flowering (BBCH 57) can be used as an effective strategy to improve grape total polyphenols, anthocyanins concentration and antioxidant activity in vineyards cultivated under warm climate conditions. The treatment could represent a sustainable alternative to manual cluster thinning since it does not reduce yield per vine and can be performed mechanically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Viticulture)
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Article
Effects of Social Network on Herder Livestock Production Income and the Mediation by Fund Loans
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120629 - 13 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 703
Abstract
Due to its alpine geography and harsh environment, the pastoral region of Qinghai Province is widely recognized as one of China’s concentrated and contiguous poverty-stricken regions, while climate change, market competition and grazing control exert further pressure on the income security of herders. [...] Read more.
Due to its alpine geography and harsh environment, the pastoral region of Qinghai Province is widely recognized as one of China’s concentrated and contiguous poverty-stricken regions, while climate change, market competition and grazing control exert further pressure on the income security of herders. After more than 1000 years of nomadic practice, cooperation and reciprocity have been entrenched in the culture of pastoral ethnic minorities, in which a well-developed social network may play a crucial role in herders’ social and economic activities, including their financial and production behaviors. Based on a questionnaire survey of 278 households in two counties of Qinghai, this study empirically examined the effects of herders’ social network on their livestock production income and the mediation function of fund loans therein. The social network was found to exert a significant positive impact on household income, and loans had a positive mediation effect. By comparison, the mediation effect of formal borrowing channels was statistically significant while that of informal channels was not, which may be attributed to the relative degree of maturity of the two disparate financial markets. It is suggested that a closer and more inclusive social network should be fostered, the quality of bank financial services should be improved, and the regulation on informal credit activities should be reinforced, so as to fully exploit the positive roles of the social network and fund loans for income growth of herder households in vast pastoral areas of China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Farm and Agribusiness Management)
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Article
Enteric Methane Emissions of Dairy Cattle Considering Breed Composition, Pasture Management, Housing Conditions and Feeding Characteristics along a Rural-Urban Gradient in a Rising Megacity
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120628 - 13 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming and in particular enteric methane (CH4) from ruminants are criticized for being one of the main contributors to climate change. Different breeding, feeding and management strategies are tested to decrease these emissions, but a status [...] Read more.
Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming and in particular enteric methane (CH4) from ruminants are criticized for being one of the main contributors to climate change. Different breeding, feeding and management strategies are tested to decrease these emissions, but a status quo analysis is also relevant to implement such measures. The present study aimed to analyze the concentration of CH4 in air exhaled by dairy cows along a rural-urban gradient of Bangalore, India. Urban, mixed and rural areas were defined based on a survey stratification index (SSI) comprising build-up density and distance to the city center. Using a laser methane detector (LMD), CH4 concentration was determined in 2-min spot measurements of exhaled air of 448 cows at three equally spaced visits between June 2017 and April 2018. Mean, maximum and CH4 concentration per duration of the overall measurement, eructation and respiration bouts were calculated. For the overall mean and respiration bouts, CH4 concentration was higher in cows from urban areas, which had also higher milk yield than cows from mixed and rural areas. Although no differences were found in terms of the intake level of fibrous diet components, the type of measurement location (indoor, half-outdoor or outdoor) and pasture access had an impact on CH4 concentration. To our knowledge, this is the first study using the LMD on-farm and in an urbanizing environment. The LMD measurements show variations in enteric CH4 emissions along the rural-urban gradient of Bangalore that reflect differences in dairy husbandry systems governed by the social-ecological context. Full article
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Article
Kinematic Analysis of a Clamp-Type Picking Device for an Automatic Pepper Transplanter
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120627 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1068
Abstract
Pepper is one of the most vital agricultural products with high economic value, and pepper production needs to satisfy the growing worldwide population by introducing automatic seedling transplantation techniques. Optimal design and dimensioning of picking device components for an automatic pepper transplanter are [...] Read more.
Pepper is one of the most vital agricultural products with high economic value, and pepper production needs to satisfy the growing worldwide population by introducing automatic seedling transplantation techniques. Optimal design and dimensioning of picking device components for an automatic pepper transplanter are crucial for efficient and effective seedling transplantation. Therefore, kinematic analysis, virtual model simulation, and validation testing of a prototype were conducted to propose a best-suited dimension for a clamp-type picking device. The proposed picking device mainly consisted of a manipulator with five grippers and a picking stand. To analyze the influence of design variables through kinematic analysis, 250- to 500-mm length combinations were considered to meet the trajectory requirements and suit the picking workspace. Virtual model simulation and high-speed photography tests were conducted to obtain the kinematic characteristics of the picking device. According to the kinematic analysis, a 350-mm picking stand and a 380-mm manipulator were selected within the range of the considered combinations. The maximum velocity and acceleration of the grippers were recorded as 1.1, 2.2 m/s and 1.3, 23.7 m/s2, along the x- and y-axes, respectively, for 30 to 90 rpm operating conditions. A suitable picking device dimension was identified and validated based on the suitability of the picking device working trajectory, velocity, and acceleration of the grippers, and no significant difference (p ≤ 0.05) occurred between the simulation and validation tests. This study indicated that the picking device under development would increase the pepper seedling picking accuracy and motion safety by reducing the operational time, gripper velocity, acceleration, and mechanical damage. Full article
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Article
Environmental Effects on Yield and Composition of Essential Oil in Wild Populations of Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia Medik.)
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120626 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Spike lavender, Lavandula latifolia Medik., is a species of economic importance for its essential oil (EO). The purpose of this study was to estimate the effect of the variable climate and fixed factors such as soil and geographic location on EO yield and [...] Read more.
Spike lavender, Lavandula latifolia Medik., is a species of economic importance for its essential oil (EO). The purpose of this study was to estimate the effect of the variable climate and fixed factors such as soil and geographic location on EO yield and quality. The study material was collected in 34 populations from four different Spanish bioregions for three years. The EO extraction from spike lavender leaves and flowers was done with simple hydrodistillation, in Clevenger. Soil samples were also collected. Climate data were provided by the State Meteorological Agency. The EO average yield was obtained for the bioregion mean and in each bioregion. The higher EO yield is related clearly to the climate condition. A greater amount of annual rainfall produced a higher EO yield in the four bioregions and of better quality. Soils richer in organic matter and minerals produced higher EO yield but with less quality. The altitude had little effect on EO yield. Higher altitude favored obtaining higher EO quality. At lower latitude, further south, the populations obtained a higher EO yield. The evaluation of the environmental effect on the EO yield and quality could allow better natural conservation and more accurate selection of the best populations for breeding and spike lavender cultivation protocols. Full article
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Article
Transplanting Date Estimation Using Sentinel-1 Satellite Data for Paddy Rice Damage Assessment in Indonesia
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120625 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
In Indonesia, there is a need to improve the efficiency of damage assessments of the agricultural insurance system for paddy rice producers affected by floods, droughts, pests, and diseases. In this study, we develop a method to estimate the transplanting date required for [...] Read more.
In Indonesia, there is a need to improve the efficiency of damage assessments of the agricultural insurance system for paddy rice producers affected by floods, droughts, pests, and diseases. In this study, we develop a method to estimate the transplanting date required for damage assessments of paddy rice fields. The study area is the Cihea irrigation district in West Java, Republic of Indonesia. Backscattering coefficients of VH polarization measured by a synthetic aperture radar onboard the Sentinel-1 satellite were used for the estimations. We investigated the accuracy of the estimations of the proposed method by smoothing out the time-series data, applying a speckle filter, and by signal synthesis of the surrounding fields. It was found that these variations effectively improved the estimation accuracy. To further improve the estimation accuracy, the data for all incident angles were used after correcting the incident angle dependence of the backscattering coefficients for three types of data with different incident angles (32°, 41°, and 45°) obtained in the study area. The estimated transplanting date for each field in the test site was compared with the transplanting date obtained through interviews. The standard deviations of the estimation errors for the four cropping periods from March 2018 to February 2020 were found to be ~5–6 days, and the percentages of estimation errors in transplanting dates within 5, 10, and 15 days were estimated to be 69%, 92%, and 97%, respectively. It was confirmed that a sufficiently reliable transplanting date estimation can be obtained ~10–15 days after transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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Review
Mechanism of Plant Growth Promotion and Disease Suppression by Chitosan Biopolymer
Agriculture 2020, 10(12), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10120624 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2192
Abstract
The chitosan (CHT) biopolymer is a de-acetylated chitin derivative that exists in the outer shell of shrimp, shellfish, lobster or crabs, as well as fungal cell walls. Because of its biodegradability, environmental non-toxicity, and biocompatibility, it is an ideal resource for sustainable agriculture. [...] Read more.
The chitosan (CHT) biopolymer is a de-acetylated chitin derivative that exists in the outer shell of shrimp, shellfish, lobster or crabs, as well as fungal cell walls. Because of its biodegradability, environmental non-toxicity, and biocompatibility, it is an ideal resource for sustainable agriculture. The CHT emerged as a promising agent used as a plant growth promoter and also as an antimicrobial agent. It induces plant growth by influencing plant physiological processes like nutrient uptake, cell division, cell elongation, enzymatic activation and synthesis of protein that can eventually lead to increased yield. It also acts as a catalyst to inhibit the growth of plant pathogens, and alter plant defense responses by triggering multiple useful metabolic pathways. This review emphasizes the role and mechanisms of CHT as a plant growth promoter and disease suppressor, and its future implications in agriculture. Full article
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