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Agriculture, Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In Ethiopian rural marketplaces, farmers trade products using heterogeneous local units of [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Screening for Salt Tolerance in Four Local Varieties of Phaseolus lunatus from Spain
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120201
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 15 December 2018
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Abstract
This study assessed the responses of four local Spanish cultivars of Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean) to moderate salinity. For three weeks, plants were exposed to increasing salinity (50–150 mM NaCl) under greenhouse conditions. At the end of the experiment, several growth and biochemical
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This study assessed the responses of four local Spanish cultivars of Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean) to moderate salinity. For three weeks, plants were exposed to increasing salinity (50–150 mM NaCl) under greenhouse conditions. At the end of the experiment, several growth and biochemical parameters were determined. Salt stress reduced the fresh weight of aerial organs, allowing us to rank the four genotypes according to their tolerance to salinity. The concentration of most photosynthetic pigments remained unaltered, except carotenoids that were reduced in the least salt-tolerant cv. (cultivar) VPH-79. Leaf Na+ and Cl concentrations increased with increased salt concentration of irrigation water, but K+ either remained constant, as in the most tolerant ‘BGV-15410’, or increased in the other cultivars, resulting in an unchanged K+/Na+ ratio under stress in two of the selected cultivars. Moreover, proline increased in all cultivars, most notably in cv. VPH-79, with the highest absolute concentrations registered in the more salt tolerant cultivars. Interestingly, these cultivars already had a relatively higher proline concentration in non-stressed plants. These findings indicate that P. lunatus is moderately salt tolerant and that its main mechanisms to adjust to salinity stress are the maintenance of high concentrations of K+ and proline accumulation in leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Response and Tolerance of Agricultural Crops to Salinity Stress)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Recent Contributions of Agricultural Economics Research in the Field of Sustainable Development
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120200
Received: 3 November 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable development is more often considered by media, public opinion, and politicians to be the main goal our society should attempt to pursue in the coming years. To this aim, academic researchers have made sustainability one of the main objects of their studies.
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Sustainable development is more often considered by media, public opinion, and politicians to be the main goal our society should attempt to pursue in the coming years. To this aim, academic researchers have made sustainability one of the main objects of their studies. This work focuses on environmental sustainability and presents a brief overview of how it is taken into consideration in the agricultural economics field by considering this topic from different perspectives and thus highlighting how this field is gradually broadening its scope to include sustainable development objectives. Our analysis shows that the path towards sustainable development is strongly correlated to the protection of the environment. Therefore, agricultural policies aimed at protecting and preserving the environment, and, more in general, innovation along the agri-food chain, together with consumer attention towards environmental issues, can play an important role in achieving this objective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Heat Recovery Systems for Agricultural Vehicles: Utilization Ways and Their Efficiency
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120199
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 8 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract
The focus of today’s agriculture is to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emission. More than 50% of the fuel energy is lost with the exhaust gas and coolant of diesel engines. Therefore, waste heat recovery systems are a promising concept to meet economical
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The focus of today’s agriculture is to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emission. More than 50% of the fuel energy is lost with the exhaust gas and coolant of diesel engines. Therefore, waste heat recovery systems are a promising concept to meet economical and ecological requirements. Agricultural vehicles have an operating cycle that is quite different from on-road trucks (higher engine load factor and less annual utilization). This has influence on the efficiency of waste heat recovery. The purpose of this paper was to analyze different waste heat recovery technologies to be used in agricultural applications. In the study, technical and economic indicators have been used. According to suggested classification, four pathways for utilization were studied. Turbocompounding, electric turbocompounding, and heating of transmission oil for hydraulic clutch gearboxes have proved to be effective for agricultural vehicles. For the economical conditions of the European Union (EU), a turbocompounding diesel engine is acceptable if agricultural tractor rated power is more than 275 kW, and combine harvester rated power is more than 310 kW. In cold climates, heat recovery transmission warm-up may be recommended. Waste heat absorption refrigerators have proven to be a viable technology for air conditioning and intake air cooling systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agriculture Mechanization)
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Open AccessArticle Breaking Dormancy and Effects of Shade Level and NPK Fertilizer Rates on Yield of Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Smith (Lempoyang)
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120198
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 30 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract
Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Smith, known as Lempoyang in Malaysia, belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Previous studies on Lempoyang mainly focused on the chemical properties and biological activities of the rhizome extracts of this plant. Despite the tremendous demand for the rhizomes of Z.
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Zingiber zerumbet (L.) Smith, known as Lempoyang in Malaysia, belongs to the family Zingiberaceae. Previous studies on Lempoyang mainly focused on the chemical properties and biological activities of the rhizome extracts of this plant. Despite the tremendous demand for the rhizomes of Z. zerumbet, there is a lack of information on cultivation practices and a scarcity of planting materials. By using the pre-soaked technique, the challenges posed by Z. zerumbet dormancy can be overcome, obtaining good quality and uniform planting material throughout the year. Besides that, it is also crucial to determine the optimum shade level and NPK fertilizer rates to obtain a high yield and good quality rhizomes of Lempoyang. Six concentrations of 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP, 0, 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 mg/L) and ethephon (0, 150, 300, 450, 600, and 750 mg/L) were tested to evaluate their effects on breaking rhizome dormancy. Three different shade levels (full sun, 30%, and 50% shade levels) and four combinations of Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) (NPK) fertilizer at different rates were evaluated to study their effects on plant growth and yield performance. The results showed that BAP at 100 mg/L and ethephon at 300 mg/L performed better than the other compound concentrations tested in promoting the breaking of bud dormancy. A significant interaction effect was observed between shade levels and NPK fertilizer rates in all the growth parameters examined, except for the number of tillers per plant. Plants grown under 30% shade with NPK 4 produced the highest rhizome fresh weight, dry weight, and yield, but plants grown under 50% shade with NPK 4 showed the highest plant height and number of tillers per plant. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Detecting Long-Term Dry Matter Yield Trend of Sorghum-Sudangrass Hybrid and Climatic Factors Using Time Series Analysis in the Republic of Korea
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120197
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
Despite the gradual increase in livestock feed demands, the supply faces enormous challenges due to extreme climatic conditions. As the presence of these climatic condition has the potential to affect the yield of sorghum-sudangrass hybrid (SSH), understanding the yield variation in relation to
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Despite the gradual increase in livestock feed demands, the supply faces enormous challenges due to extreme climatic conditions. As the presence of these climatic condition has the potential to affect the yield of sorghum-sudangrass hybrid (SSH), understanding the yield variation in relation to the climatic conditions provides the ability to come up with proper mitigation strategies. This study was designed to detect the effect of climatic factors on the long-term dry matter yield (DMY) trend of SSH using time series analysis in the Republic of Korea. The collected data consisted of DMY, seeding-harvesting dates, the location where the cultivation took place, cultivars, and climatic factors related to cultivation of SSH. Based on the assumption of normality, the final data set (n = 420) was generated after outliers had been removed using Box-plot analysis. To evaluate the seasonality of DMY, an augmented Dickey Fuller (ADF) test and a correlogram of Autocorrelation Function (ACF) were used. Prior to detecting the effect of climatic factors on the DMY trend, the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) model was fitted to non-seasonal DMY series, and ARIMA (2, 1, 1) was found to be the optimal model to describe the long-term DMY trend of SSH. ARIMA with climatic factors (ARIMAX) detected significance (p < 0.05) of Seeding-Harvesting Precipitation Amount (SHPA) and Seeding-Harvesting Accumulated Temperature (SHAMT) on DMY trend. This does not mean that the average temperature and duration of exposure to sunshine do not affect the growth and development of SSH. The result underlines the impact of the precipitation model as a major factor for the seasonality of long-term DMY of SSH in the Republic of Korea. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Detection of Key Organs in Tomato Based on Deep Migration Learning in a Complex Background
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120196
Received: 21 October 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
In the current natural environment, due to the complexity of the background and the high similarity of the color between immature green tomatoes and the plant, the occlusion of the key organs (flower and fruit) by the leaves and stems will lead to
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In the current natural environment, due to the complexity of the background and the high similarity of the color between immature green tomatoes and the plant, the occlusion of the key organs (flower and fruit) by the leaves and stems will lead to low recognition rates and poor generalizations of the detection model. Therefore, an improved tomato organ detection method based on convolutional neural network (CNN) has been proposed in this paper. Based on the original Faster R-CNN algorithm, Resnet-50 with residual blocks was used to replace the traditional vgg16 feature extraction network, and a K-means clustering method was used to adjust more appropriate anchor sizes than manual setting, to improve detection accuracy. The test results showed that the mean average precision (mAP) was significantly improved compared with the traditional Faster R-CNN model. The training model can be transplanted to the embedded system, which lays a theoretical foundation for the development of a precise targeting pesticide application system and an automatic picking device. Full article
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Open AccessReview Methods for the Diagnosis of Grapevine Viral Infections: A Review
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120195
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 28 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 9 December 2018
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Abstract
The yielding capacity of grapevine growth and the quality of the resulting product heavily depend on the health of the cultivated plants. The phytopathogens affecting the vineyards can cause a significant reduction in the yield and quality of the product. For this reason,
[...] Read more.
The yielding capacity of grapevine growth and the quality of the resulting product heavily depend on the health of the cultivated plants. The phytopathogens affecting the vineyards can cause a significant reduction in the yield and quality of the product. For this reason, it is extremely important to use diagnostic methods that make it possible to identify the pathogens, and to choose the correct method of plant protection. This review considers the main viral grapevine pathogens, and the existing methods of their diagnosis. The limitations of conventional diagnostic methods that are based either on the visual assessment of symptoms, or on bio-testing, are analyzed. A major focus is placed on two intensively developed approaches of diagnosis, molecular genetic and immunochemical methods. Applications of amplification techniques and DNA chips are presented, as well as opportunities for next-generation sequencing. A reduction of assay duration and labor intensity in combination with the assay shifts from specialized laboratories toward the places of sampling are considered as the main factors influencing the development of immunodiagnostic techniques. The potential place of diagnostic tests in vine-growing practices, and the requirements for their most efficient applications for early disease diagnosis is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pesticides in Agriculture System)
Open AccessArticle The Determinants of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLAs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): A Case Study
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120194
Received: 12 November 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 8 December 2018
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Abstract
The determinants of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) are, in most cases, outside the traditional sales–buying land market, as they are often rented lands for long periods of time or exploitation licenses. Sub-Saharan Africa is among the most affected regions by this phenomenon for
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The determinants of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) are, in most cases, outside the traditional sales–buying land market, as they are often rented lands for long periods of time or exploitation licenses. Sub-Saharan Africa is among the most affected regions by this phenomenon for reasons related to its land policy, and includes 37% of the total LSLAs cases. The paper develops an econometric model based on a logarithmic OLS regression to identify the determinants of LSLAs in sub-Saharan Africa. As suggested by the literature, this analysis poses the total agricultural area acquired by country as dependent variable. Results show that investors prefer a country offering a sufficiently free trade economic context with a good level of agricultural productivity, thus allowing an easy investment process. Moreover, a country with a formal recognition of land rights is preferred, to have guarantees on their investment. The availability of water is also one of the main LSLAs drivers, as a natural limit of agricultural investments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Design and Implementation of a Rainfed Matrix for Cotton
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120193
Received: 4 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Global production of agricultural products must continue to increase if shortages are to be avoided. While irrigated production is substantial since water available for both current and future production is limited, rainfed production will become increasingly important. In-season weather variability results in instability
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Global production of agricultural products must continue to increase if shortages are to be avoided. While irrigated production is substantial since water available for both current and future production is limited, rainfed production will become increasingly important. In-season weather variability results in instability in rainfed production and in order to gain information on the mechanisms involved and their potential mitigation, it is important to monitor production over a range of possible environmental scenarios. We designed and implemented a rain matrix experimental approach for cotton based on a series of sequential plantings coupled with a rain-simulation protocol. The rain matrix in two years produced 56 growing environments with rain and thermal variability and 44 yield:environment comparisons. The yield:rain relationship was not strong (R2 = 0.35) Analysis of heat units over the matrix indicated (1) heat units varied with planting date and (2) heat units were sufficient to achieve maturity. Plantings reached maturity with <1250 heat units and reached maturity before a lethal freeze. The rain matrix design increased the number of yield:environment comparisons in a single year and though it is subject to undefined thermal interactions, may prove useful in understanding rainfed cotton production. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Differential Gene Expression in the Model Actinomycete Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) Supports Nitrogen Mining Dependent on the Plant Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120192
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
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Abstract
Nitrogen mining is the process whereby microbial communities catabolise recalcitrant long-term organic matter (OM) to meet nutritional requirements that are not ensured by labile OM. Microbial degradation of recalcitrant OM impacts soil fertility and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural systems. Here
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Nitrogen mining is the process whereby microbial communities catabolise recalcitrant long-term organic matter (OM) to meet nutritional requirements that are not ensured by labile OM. Microbial degradation of recalcitrant OM impacts soil fertility and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural systems. Here we conducted a transcriptomics study to track differential gene expression in the model soil Actinomycete Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) during the decomposition of mung bean (Vigna radiata L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) residues of relatively low and high carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratios (17.3 and 35.7, respectively) at 1, 7, and 14 days of incubation. A negative binomial general linear model showed that plant variety predominantly affected transcription (p < 0.001), although time of incubation also had an effect (p = 0.01). In the high C:N ratio treatment, the expression of cellulases, chitinase, N-acetylglucosaminidase, secreted peptidases, and mineral nitrogen (N) metabolism were increased after 24 h. The low C:N ratio treatment demonstrated preferential expression of glutamate dehydrogenase, transporters involved in glutamate uptake and glycolysis, indicating more efficient N and carbon (C) assimilation. After 14 days, the low C:N ratio treatment showed increased transcription of extracellular enzymes, glutamate dehydrogenase, and glutamate transport. These results show an important role for added plant organic N content in determining when the transcription of genes associated with N mining occurs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Microbial Function in Agricultural Management)
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Open AccessArticle Detecting Market Power Along Food Supply Chains: Evidence and Methodological Insights from the Fluid Milk Sector in Italy
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120191
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 30 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
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Abstract
Concerns about the functioning of food supply chains have been raised by the European Commission over past years, calling for more effective and coordinated action by National Competition Authorities (NCAs). To fill this knowledge gap, an equilibrium displacement model is used to screen
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Concerns about the functioning of food supply chains have been raised by the European Commission over past years, calling for more effective and coordinated action by National Competition Authorities (NCAs). To fill this knowledge gap, an equilibrium displacement model is used to screen conduct along the supply chain, combining the advantages of asymmetric price transmission (APT) studies and structural models. The test was carried out on the Italian fluid milk supply chain following market monitoring action by the NCA. Three periods (1996–2003; 2000–2008 and 1996–2008) have been examined, finding imperfect competition over 1996–2008 and 2000–2008, while no conclusions may be drawn over the time span 1996–2003. In the testing process, the model’s peculiarities and certain limitations emerged, and related suggestions for its improvement are discussed. This approach may be used as a preliminary “fast” test for competition policy screening, as a complement to other methodologies. However, further theoretical and empirical model validation is necessary. Full article
Open AccessArticle Planting Fruits and Vegetables in Homegarden as a Way to Improve Livelihoods and Conserve Plant Biodiversity
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120190
Received: 24 September 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 12 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
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Abstract
Multi-story cropping systems are used to grow fruits and vegetables in rural homegardens, and it has been argued that they are crucial for the food and nutrition safety of rural populations. They also are considered as refuges for a number of plant species,
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Multi-story cropping systems are used to grow fruits and vegetables in rural homegardens, and it has been argued that they are crucial for the food and nutrition safety of rural populations. They also are considered as refuges for a number of plant species, and as one way to reduce pressure on the surrounding ecosystem by providing resources such as food, fiber, and firewood to farmers on their own farmland. This study was conducted to assess the contribution of fruits and vegetables in homegardens to household livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in the Yayo biosphere reserve in southwestern Ethiopia. The role of fruits and vegetables was evaluated for 96 households that were selected randomly from both fruit and vegetable users and only vegetable-user strata. To collect socioeconomic data, semi-structured interviews, direct observation, and focus group discussions were employed. A complete enumeration of plant species was done for diversity assessment in 48 homegardens from four kebeles (the smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia) in the Yayo and Hurumu districts and analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square, independent t-test, and one-way ANOVA. The results indicated the highest plant diversity, with a total of 76 species identified from 38 families. Fruit and vegetable users were found to harbor more diversity in their homegardens compared to only vegetable-user homegardens. Homegarden size correlated significantly with species richness. Fruits and vegetables in homegardens were found to considerably contribute to household food consumption and total annual income independent of wealth categories. We also found a significant negative relationship between fruit and vegetable use and forest product harvesting, indicating the reduction of pressures on nearby forest ecosystems. This study supports the idea that fruits and vegetables contribute to biodiversity conservation directly as the entity of homegarden agrobiodiversity and indirectly through minimizing households’ demand for forest harvesting by providing food and generating income. Nevertheless, fruits and vegetables were not contributing at their full potential, which was mainly due to disease problems, pests, and a lack of better market access. Therefore, further research and interventions are needed to help farmers confront these challenges affecting fruit and vegetable production and productivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fatty Acids Produced by Neofusicoccum vitifusiforme and N. parvum, Fungi Associated with Grapevine Botryosphaeria Dieback
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120189
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
There is evidence that secondary metabolites are involved in the fungal pathogenicity and virulence of Neofusicoccum spp. Fatty acids may also influence the plant–pathogen interaction but, so far, no information is available on their production by species of Neofusicoccum associated with Botryosphaeria dieback,
[...] Read more.
There is evidence that secondary metabolites are involved in the fungal pathogenicity and virulence of Neofusicoccum spp. Fatty acids may also influence the plant–pathogen interaction but, so far, no information is available on their production by species of Neofusicoccum associated with Botryosphaeria dieback, which is a well-known syndrome of several plants with a complex etiology. In the present paper, the production of fatty acids in liquid medium, by strains of N. vitifusiforme and N. parvum associated with declining Sicilian vine plants, was evaluated. Data, acquired via gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC/MS), show the presence of linoleic acid as the most abundant fatty acid produced by both examined strains. In addition, the pathogenicity of N. vitifusiforme was tested on 2-year-old grapevine plants of cv. Inzolia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cereal Commodity Trading in Ethiopian Local Marketplace: Examining Farmers’ Quantity Measurement Behaviors
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120188
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 1 December 2018
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Abstract
Local marketplaces are remarkable organizations for agricultural product transactions in Ethiopia. However, little is known concerning measurement practices in these micro-trading zones. Thus, this study intended to examine the cereal commodity quantity measurement behaviors of farmers in the local marketplaces of Ethiopia. A
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Local marketplaces are remarkable organizations for agricultural product transactions in Ethiopia. However, little is known concerning measurement practices in these micro-trading zones. Thus, this study intended to examine the cereal commodity quantity measurement behaviors of farmers in the local marketplaces of Ethiopia. A survey was conducted in four districts marketplaces (N = 382) of the Oromia Region. The χ2 test was employed to evaluate the association between farmers’ perception of the accuracy of local units and measuring instruments related to immoral buyers’ behaviors. According to the findings, farmers’ cereals quantity measurement behaviors proved the presence of unreliability which created transaction, measurement, social capital, and two-hand palm cereals gift costs. The χ2 test results indicated that farmers’ perceptions of the accuracy of local units and measuring tools related to buyers’ unethical behaviors had significant relationships with bowl, glass, sack, and can local units, except for weight balance in Dendi and Bako Tibe, and for cans in the Gimbichu area. This study demonstrates that standardization of tools and measurements, together with institutional support, would have a huge potential for economizing transaction costs and making equitable cereals exchanges and efficient markets. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Recovery of Phosphorus and other Nutrients during Pyrolysis of Chicken Manure
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120187
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 22 November 2018 / Accepted: 27 November 2018 / Published: 30 November 2018
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Abstract
Feedstock recycling of secondary raw materials is the backbone of the Circular Economy (CE). The efficient recovery of resources, energy, along with achieving minimal environmental impact is mandatory for the successful realization of CE. Chicken manure is an interesting waste stream due to
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Feedstock recycling of secondary raw materials is the backbone of the Circular Economy (CE). The efficient recovery of resources, energy, along with achieving minimal environmental impact is mandatory for the successful realization of CE. Chicken manure is an interesting waste stream due to its content of nutrients, in particular of phosphorus, which makes it a suitable feedstock for fertilizer applications. However, the contamination caused by antibiotics, organic pollutants, and sanitary aspects demand the manures treatment before further recycling. Thermochemical treatment based on intermediate pyrolysis targets decentral application to produce carbonized solids for fertilizer application. This work evaluated pyrolysis char from the pyrolysis of chicken manure in comparison to the original feedstock using state-of-the-art thermal treatment, i.e., combustion in grate furnaces. The samples were evaluated in terms of chemical and mineralogical composition by applying several analytical techniques. Bio-availability of the main nutrients (NPK) was assessed by adopting standard methods. Additionally, the effect on toxicity was discussed by means of heavy metals analysis, as well as of pot tests. Results showed, that pyrolysis had a far more positive effect on nutrient availability compared to combustion, and it provided a suitable method for the thermal treatment of contaminated feedstocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phosphorus in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle Definition of Reference Models for Power, Weight, Working Width, and Price for Seeding Machines
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120186
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 29 November 2018
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Abstract
Machine functional parameters define fleet composition and management and, thus, play an important role in economic and environmental performance. Large availability of programming methods and decision support systems are available in the market, however, there is still a lack of applicative tools to
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Machine functional parameters define fleet composition and management and, thus, play an important role in economic and environmental performance. Large availability of programming methods and decision support systems are available in the market, however, there is still a lack of applicative tools to forecast the perceived and necessary technical parameters and machinery price options to complete tasks. In the current research, most correlated functional parameters for four group of seeding machines were determined with the application of linear and multiple linear regression analyses. Power, weight, working width, number of rows, and list price were studied, and reference equations were developed for seed drills, precision, combined and no-tillage planters. Two statistical analyses models were, therefore, developed for each of the groups in order to allow evaluation and prediction of performance and cost, thus contributing to the selection process optimisation and perceived choice of the needed implement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agriculture Mechanization)
Open AccessArticle Norms in Community-Based Organic Farming
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120185
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
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Abstract
In integrated organic farming, smallholder farmers tend to work collectively in a group with the norms that bind their behaviours. This study aims to explore norms among the farmers with the case of organic rice farming in Ketapang Village, Susukan Sub district, Semarang,
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In integrated organic farming, smallholder farmers tend to work collectively in a group with the norms that bind their behaviours. This study aims to explore norms among the farmers with the case of organic rice farming in Ketapang Village, Susukan Sub district, Semarang, Indonesia. The study employed the qualitative case study method and applied Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development framework. The norms among these farmers included only planting local varieties, using natural pest repellent, jointly cultivating the land, fairness in water distribution and prioritising rice consumption for farming families rather than profiting from the sale of rice products. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Soil-Applied Chemical Fungicide and Biofungicide for Control of the Fusarium Wilt of Chrysanthemum and Their Effects on Rhizosphere Soil Microbiota
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120184
Received: 20 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
Chemical fungicides are a frequently used intervention for the control of the Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum, but are no longer considered environmentally friendly. However, the biofungicides offer one of the best alternatives to reduce the use of chemical fungicides. In this study, a
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Chemical fungicides are a frequently used intervention for the control of the Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum, but are no longer considered environmentally friendly. However, the biofungicides offer one of the best alternatives to reduce the use of chemical fungicides. In this study, a series of two-year greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate the soil-applied chemical fungicide (dazomet, DZ) and biofungicide (biocontrol agent combined with B. subtilis NCD-2, BF) for controlling the Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum and its effects on rhizosphere soil microbiota. The results indicated that DZ and BF showed good control efficacy of Fusarium wilt of chrysanthemum in the two-year application evaluation. However, the DZ treatment significantly decreased the soil catalase and urease activities compared with the control, while BF showed a significant increase in bacterium/fungus ratios (B/F), soil urease and acid phosphatase activities. Abundances of potential plant pathogens F. oxysporum, Rhizoctonia zeae and Rhizoctonia solani were also lower, while potential plant-growth-promoting micro-organisms like the Rhizobiales bacterium and Mariniflexile sp. were higher in the BF treatment than in the control. Our findings suggested that the overall effect of the soil biota on chrysanthemum growth was more positive and stronger in the BF treatment than in the DZ treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle Total Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity of Yacon (Smallanthus Sonchifolius Poepp. and Endl.) Chips: Effect of Cultivar, Pre-Treatment and Drying
Agriculture 2018, 8(12), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8120183
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
Recent studies have associated the consumption of yacon root as a functional plant food with reduced glycemic index and, due to its considerable phenolic acid levels, a protection of cell membranes against free radical damage. This study examined the effect of four different
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Recent studies have associated the consumption of yacon root as a functional plant food with reduced glycemic index and, due to its considerable phenolic acid levels, a protection of cell membranes against free radical damage. This study examined the effect of four different treatments including: (1) storage duration after harvest (one and three weeks after harvest); (2) pre-treatment before drying (untreated, pre-treatment with diluted lime juice); (3) drying method (freeze drying (FD) and convective hot air drying (CHAD)); and (4) cultivar (white and red), on the quality of yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp. and Endl.) chips in terms of their total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity (AA) (ABTS (2,2′-Azino-Bis (3-Ethylbenzothiazoline-6-Sulfonic Acid) Diammonium Salt) radical scavenging activity, DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) radical scavenging activity and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP)). Overall, the chips that were produced using pre-treatment with diluted lime juice and FD had the highest amounts of TPC and AA. Regarding the chips produced by means of CHAD, retention of higher TPC and AA was possible with lime-juice pre-treatment and use of higher hot air temperatures. Moreover, chips produced from the white cultivar had higher TPC and AA than chips produced from the red cultivar. Full article
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