The Influence of Pre-Harvest Factors on the Product Quality of Field Crops

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 100660

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: agronomy; biochemistry; nutraceuticals
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A), University of Catania, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: biodiversity; phytochemicals; organic agriculture; crop quality; agronomic management of field crops
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Satisfying the increasing number of consumer demands for the enhancement and stabilization of quality of produce is one of the most imperative challenges of modern agriculture. In this view, it is essential to remember that the product quality of field crops does not improve after harvest and, therefore, a deeper understanding of how to manipulate the pre-harvest factors with the aim to maintain and/or maximize the quality of produce going into storage is of crucial importance. The effects of pre-harvest factors on the ultimate quality of harvested products are often overlooked and underestimated, although a wide spectrum of pre-harvest factors, including environmental conditions and field management practices, directly or indirectly impacts the qualitative traits of field crops produce. Particularly seasonal climatic conditions, soil fertility, variety selection, fertilization, irrigation, pest control, and harvest time play a crucial role in determining post-harvest quality attributes (such as color, flavor, texture, and nutritional value of the harvested product), deterioration, and, subsequently, consumers’ decision to purchase the product in the marketplace.

This Special Issue focuses on the role of pre-harvest factors in determining the product quality of field crops, with a major emphasis on the best agronomic practices, and enabling tools for obtaining products with high and stable quality. This issue will lend to highly interdisciplinary studies embracing disciplines from agriculture and biology, to chemistry and human nutrition. All types of articles, such as original research, opinions, and reviews are welcome.

Dr. Sara Lombardo
Dr. Gaetano Pandino
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Product quality
  • Field crops
  • Environment
  • Soil characteristics
  • Variety selection
  • Fertilization
  • Irrigation
  • Pest management

Published Papers (21 papers)

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13 pages, 1716 KiB  
Article
Mycorrhizal Inoculation Improves Mineral Content of Organic Potatoes Grown under Calcareous Soil
by Sara Lombardo, Aurelio Scavo, Cristina Abbate, Gaetano Pandino, Bruno Parisi and Giovanni Mauromicale
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040333 - 8 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2244
Abstract
Soil mycorrhization can play an important role for the qualitative improvement of organically grown “early” potato tubers especially in low fertility soils (such as calcareous ones), by ameliorating plant uptake of limiting mineral nutrients in the soil. Hence, the objective of the present [...] Read more.
Soil mycorrhization can play an important role for the qualitative improvement of organically grown “early” potato tubers especially in low fertility soils (such as calcareous ones), by ameliorating plant uptake of limiting mineral nutrients in the soil. Hence, the objective of the present research was to elucidate the impact of soil mycorrhization on the tuber minerals content of three potato cultivars organically grown in two locations with different soil characteristics. Our data revealed the keyrole of soil mycorrhization on the tuber accumulation of Na, Cu, Mn, and P and on reducing the Na/K ratio, although the effects of soil mycorrhization were cultivar- and location-dependent. Accordingly, soil mycorrhization was able to enhance the levels of K and Ca in ‘Arizona’ and that of Mn in ‘Universa’, while it increased the Zn amount in all the cultivars under study. Additionally, soil mycorrhization significantly improved the levels of Cu and Mn in tubers in the location characterized by an initial higher soil level of these micro-minerals. This work highlighted the possibility to fortify organic early potato tubers, in terms of macro- and micro-mineral elements, by applying an eco-sustainable tool such as soil mycorrhization, provided that specific consideration is given to cultivar choice and soil characteristics. Full article
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12 pages, 38479 KiB  
Article
Responses of Branch Number and Yield Component of Soybean Cultivars Tested in Different Planting Densities
by Cailong Xu, Ruidong Li, Wenwen Song, Tingting Wu, Shi Sun, Shuixiu Hu, Tianfu Han and Cunxiang Wu
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010069 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4725
Abstract
Increasing planting density is one of the key management practices to enhance soybean yield. A 2-yr field experiment was conducted in 2018 and 2019 including six planting densities and two soybean cultivars to determine the effects of planting density on branch number and [...] Read more.
Increasing planting density is one of the key management practices to enhance soybean yield. A 2-yr field experiment was conducted in 2018 and 2019 including six planting densities and two soybean cultivars to determine the effects of planting density on branch number and yield, and analyze the contribution of branches to yield. The yield of ZZXA12938 was 4389 kg ha−1, which was significantly higher than that of ZH13 (+22.4%). In combination with planting year and cultivar, the soybean yield increased significantly by 16.2%, 31.4%, 41.4%, and 46.7% for every increase in density of 45,000 plants ha−1. Yield will not increase when planting density exceeds 315,000 plants ha−1. A correlation analysis showed that pod number per plant increased with the increased branch number, while pod number per unit area decreased; thus, soybean yield decreased. With the increase of branch number, the branch contribution to yield increased first, and then plateaued. ZH13 could produce a high yield under a lower planting density due to more branches, while ZZXA12938 had a higher yield potential under a higher planting density due to the smaller branch number and higher tolerance to close planting. Therefore, seed yield can be increased by selecting cultivars with a little branching capacity under moderately close planting. Full article
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12 pages, 4151 KiB  
Article
Effects of Reduced Nitrogen Fertilization and Irrigation on Structure and Physicochemical Properties of Starch in Two Bread Wheat Cultivars
by Jingyang Tong, Shujun Wang, Zhonghu He and Yan Zhang
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010026 - 2 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2640
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) fertilization and irrigation are significant agronomic factors affecting wheat production, but little information is available on the effects of reduced N fertilization and irrigation on internal starch structure and physicochemical properties associated with the quality of wheat-based foods. In this study, [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) fertilization and irrigation are significant agronomic factors affecting wheat production, but little information is available on the effects of reduced N fertilization and irrigation on internal starch structure and physicochemical properties associated with the quality of wheat-based foods. In this study, reduced N fertilization and irrigation were separately applied to investigate their effects on composition and morphological changes, crystalline and external region structure features, swelling power, and gelatinization characteristics of starch granules in bread wheat, with a high N-use-efficiency and water-saving wheat cultivar Zhongmai 175 and a widely grown cultivar Jingdong 17. Compared with a non-N control, reduced N fertilization did not change the crystallinity type and short-range ordered degree of starch; however, it significantly increased relative crystallinity, swelling power and gelatinization enthalpy, whereas amylose content and transition temperatures were decreased. Under reduced irrigation, more small starch granules with compact arrangements appeared in comparison with non-water control. Relative crystallinity, swelling power and gelatinization enthalpy of starch were increased, whereas short-range ordered degree and transition temperatures were decreased. Moreover, the starch of the two cultivars appeared to differ in response to both the N and water treatments. The findings indicated that reduced N fertilization or irrigation markedly influenced the structure and physicochemical characteristics of wheat starch, providing important information for developing elite cultivars with high N and water use efficiency and outstanding starch quality. Full article
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14 pages, 273 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Pigments, Phenolic and Volatile Compounds, and Antioxidant Activity of a Spontaneous Population of Portulaca oleracea L. Grown in Tunisia
by Samia Dabbou, Karima Lahbib, Gaetano Pandino, Sihem Dabbou and Sara Lombardo
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080353 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3647
Abstract
Portulaca oleracea L., commonly known as purslane, is a weed with worldwide distribution and considerable medicinal uses due to its high levels of phytochemical compounds. However, until now, few studies have been conducted on the biochemical characterization of P. oleracea grown in Tunisia, [...] Read more.
Portulaca oleracea L., commonly known as purslane, is a weed with worldwide distribution and considerable medicinal uses due to its high levels of phytochemical compounds. However, until now, few studies have been conducted on the biochemical characterization of P. oleracea grown in Tunisia, a possible area of its origin as other North African countries. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine the phytochemical composition and antioxidant potential of leaves and stems from a Tunisian spontaneous population of purslane. Particularly, samples were analyzed for their proximate composition, pigments, and volatiles, whereas ethanolic and aqueous extracts were evaluated for their composition in phenolic compounds and in vitro antioxidant activities. Stems showed higher content of moisture (89.9%) and anthocyanins (4.61 µg g−1 dry matter, DM), whereas leaves revealed higher chlorophyll concentrations (7.42 mg g−1 DM). Significantly higher levels of phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacities (p < 0.05) were obtained in ethanolic extracts, compared with water extracts, irrespective of the analyzed plant part. A high antioxidant activity of stems was obtained, especially when extracted with ethanol. Headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses revealed six volatile classes with monoterpene hydrocarbons, oxygenated monoterpenes, and non-terpene derivatives as the highly represented compounds. Limonene (17.3–32.2%), carvone (38–46%), 2,6-dimethylcyclohexanol (2.2–6.4%), and nonanal (3.4–3.8%) were the most abundant volatiles. Based on the results of the present study, Tunisian purslane should deserve major consideration as an edible vegetable due to its richness in phytochemical compounds and, hence, for its potential health effects. Full article
15 pages, 4027 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Tuber Yield and Marketable Quality of Newly Developed Thirty-Two Potato Varieties Grown in Three Different Ecological Zones in South Korea
by Jahirul Islam, Sun Phil Choi, Obyedul Kalam Azad, Ji Woong Kim and Young-Seok Lim
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080327 - 3 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3753
Abstract
The yield and quality of potato in South Korea vary with different environmental conditions and all induced varieties do not perform well in every location. There are many suggested reasons for this problem; they include soil topography, temperature, rainfall pattern, etc. This study [...] Read more.
The yield and quality of potato in South Korea vary with different environmental conditions and all induced varieties do not perform well in every location. There are many suggested reasons for this problem; they include soil topography, temperature, rainfall pattern, etc. This study focused on finding certain potato genotypes based on high yield and quality (marketable rate, uniformity, less physiological disorders, resistance to diseases), and suitability for processing in three agro-ecological regions in South Korea. Thirty-two potato genotypes were cultivated in three regions i.e., Chuncheon (low altitude), Yang-gu (middle altitude), and Pyeong-chang (alpine), along with three major cultivars (Atlantic, Shepody, and Superior) as control. All the potato lines were evaluated for three consecutive years. The results showed that a higher tuber yield was obtained from the genotypes Gangwon Valley, Valley 11, Valley 13, and Valley 92 in Chuncheon; while Valley 13, Valley 43, and Valley 92 in Yang-gu; and Valley 43, Gui Valley and Valley 92 in Pyeong-chang region with a high marketable quality, and lower infection rates and physiological disorders. The results also showed that higher chip lightness was manifested by the genotypes Juice Valley, Gangwon Valley, Rose Valley, Valley 43, and Valley 91 among the high yielding genotypes. Besides, Pyeong-chang (alpine), a high-altitude region with longer maturation time was found more suitable for potato cultivation, especially for higher tuber yield and higher quality products for potato chip processing. Full article
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13 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Hulled Wheat Productivity and Quality in Modern Agriculture Against Conventional Wheat Species
by Leszek Rachoń, Aneta Bobryk-Mamczarz and Anna Kiełtyka-Dadasiewicz
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070275 - 7 Jul 2020
Cited by 37 | Viewed by 3447
Abstract
The objective of this study is to compare the yields and qualities of the hulled wheats emmer (Triticum dicoccum Schübl.) and spelt (Triticum aestivum L. ssp. spelta) with the commonly cultivated naked wheats common wheat (Triticum aestivum L. ssp. [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to compare the yields and qualities of the hulled wheats emmer (Triticum dicoccum Schübl.) and spelt (Triticum aestivum L. ssp. spelta) with the commonly cultivated naked wheats common wheat (Triticum aestivum L. ssp. vulgare) and durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). Three years of field experiments were carried out from 2015 to 2017 in the Lubelskie province (Poland) on rendzina soils. The experimental results indicate that the hulled wheats, even when cultivated with advanced technology, produced lower yields compared to the common and durum wheats (reduced by 30–56%). In spite of their lower yields, emmer and spelt retained appropriate technological parameters. Higher ash, protein, and wet gluten yields were characteristic of the hulled wheats; however, the high gluten spread of emmer (13.3 mm) may limit its application as a raw material in some food processes. In summary, hulled wheat species can be recommended for modern agricultural production as an alternative source of high-quality materials for the agricultural and food industries. Full article
8 pages, 217 KiB  
Article
The Polyphenol Content in Three Edible Potato Cultivars Depending on the Biostimulants Used
by Iwona Mystkowska, Krystyna Zarzecka, Marek Gugała and Anna Sikorska
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070269 - 4 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2224
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess the polyphenol content in tubers of three edible potato cultivars depending on the biostimulants used. Field research was carried out in the years 2016–2018 with an application of biostimulants in individual farm in Poland. The [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to assess the polyphenol content in tubers of three edible potato cultivars depending on the biostimulants used. Field research was carried out in the years 2016–2018 with an application of biostimulants in individual farm in Poland. The experiment was led by means of a split-plot method. The impact of two factors was tested. The first-order factor were the three cultivars of edible potato: Jelly, Honorata, Tajfun, while of the second–order four variants of applying biostimulants: Kelpak SL, Titanit, GreenOk, BrunatneBio Złoto. Potato plants were treated with biostimulators three times (beginning of flowering, full flowering and after plant flowering). The polyphenol content was determined by spectrophotometric method with Folin–Ciocâlteu reagent in fresh potato tuber mass. The content of polyphenols in tubers depended on the cultivars and biostimulants. Among the studied cultivars, Jelly accumulated the most polyphenols and Tajfun the least. Biostimulants increased the concentration of phenolic compounds compared to tubers from the control treatment. Full article
17 pages, 613 KiB  
Article
Effects of Hybrid and Grain Maturity Stage on the Ruminal Degradation and the Nutritive Value of Maize Forage for Silage
by Egon Henrique Horst, Secundino López, Mikael Neumann, Francisco Javier Giráldez and Valter Harry Bumbieris Junior
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070251 - 1 Jul 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2648
Abstract
The study aimed to examine the effects of harvesting three maize hybrids at different maturity stages on the ruminal fermentation kinetics, fermentation end-products (volatile fatty acid, ammonia and methane) output, and digestibility of maize plant fractions, as well as the degradability of the [...] Read more.
The study aimed to examine the effects of harvesting three maize hybrids at different maturity stages on the ruminal fermentation kinetics, fermentation end-products (volatile fatty acid, ammonia and methane) output, and digestibility of maize plant fractions, as well as the degradability of the resulting silage. Three hybrids were compared (Maximus VIP3, Defender VIP and Feroz VIP) harvested at three grain maturity stages (milk (R3), dough (R4) and dent (R5) grain), while silage samples were collected only at the dent grain stage (R5). Grain digestibility tended to decrease as the maturity stage progressed (p < 0.05), while the whole-plant digestibility increased with increasing maturity for the three evaluated hybrids (p < 0.05). The gas production of whole-plant at 24 h of incubation was higher for the Maximus hybrid than for the others (p < 0.05), with average values of 188, 196 and 207 mL g−1 dry matter at stages R3, R4 and R5, respectively. For the in situ ruminal degradation kinetics of silage, instantly degradable dry matter and fiber potential degradability were greater with Maximus maize forage than with the other two hybrids. From the perspective of in vitro results, the Maximus VIP3 hybrid seems to be the most suitable for silage production when harvested between the dough and the dent grain stage of maturity. Full article
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12 pages, 1391 KiB  
Article
New Interspecific Brassica Hybrids with High Levels of Heterosis for Fatty Acids Composition
by Janetta Niemann, Jan Bocianowski, Kinga Stuper-Szablewska and Tomasz Wojciechowski
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060221 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2549
Abstract
Winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is the most important oil crop in Europe. Optimizing the profile and quantity of fatty acids in rapeseed is critical for maximizing the value of edible oil. Although the utilization of crop heterosis for hybrid breeding [...] Read more.
Winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is the most important oil crop in Europe. Optimizing the profile and quantity of fatty acids in rapeseed is critical for maximizing the value of edible oil. Although the utilization of crop heterosis for hybrid breeding in rapeseed is limited by the relatively narrow genetic basis of adapted germplasm, an up-to-date significant effort has been made to broaden the rapeseed gene pool using different strategies. The present study was aimed to estimate heterosis for oil quality of the newly developed Brassica interspecific hybrids, using selected parental lines. For this purpose, five parental genotypes and twenty-two interspecific cross-derived Brassica lines were evaluated in a randomized complete block design with three replications in the Greater Poland region during 2009, 2010 and 2011. Generally, the variation among genotypes was evident for most of the tested fatty acids mean values, but the differences between genotypes were not always statistically significant when based on individual fatty acids (FAs). However, the highest number of significant heterosis effects was observed for behenic and lignoceric acids and for Brassica hybrid line H1. Based on obtained results it was possible to select one genotype—the hybrid line H5, which is recommended for further inclusion in the breeding programs. Full article
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10 pages, 1868 KiB  
Article
Impact of Pre-Sowing Red Light Treatment of Sweet Corn Seeds on the Quality and Quantity of Yield
by Agata Dziwulska-Hunek, Mariusz Szymanek and Joanna Stadnik
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050165 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3488
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a study on the effects of red light treatment of sweet corn seeds on the quantity and quality of the subsequent yield (total and marketable), as well as the length of cobs and thousand kernel weight. The [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a study on the effects of red light treatment of sweet corn seeds on the quantity and quality of the subsequent yield (total and marketable), as well as the length of cobs and thousand kernel weight. The respective groups of kernels were exposed to light: 1—once (K1), 2—twice (K2), and 3—thrice (K3); the control seeds were untreated. The light treatment had a positive impact on the analyzed values. Relative to the control, we observed a yield increase of approx. 5% for the Basin cultivar and approx. 25% for the Shaker and Powerhouse cultivars under the K2 mode. We also recorded an increase in the percentage of marketable yield of approx. 20%, 45%, and 48%, respectively for the Shaker, Powerhouse, and Basin cultivars. Positive effects were also observed in terms of cob length and thousand kernel weight for all treatment modes and cultivars analyzed. The obtained results support the inclusion of this method in the scope of recommendable agrotechnical practices aimed at improving the quantity and quality of yields of various crops and vegetables. Full article
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11 pages, 1549 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Light Exposures on the Content of Harmful Substances in Edible Potato Tuber
by Katarzyna Rymuza, Marek Gugała, Krystyna Zarzecka, Anna Sikorska, Pavol Findura, Urszula Malaga-Toboła, Krzysztof Kapela and Elżbieta Radzka
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050139 - 27 Apr 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3003
Abstract
Background: The impact of light on the content of undesirable substances is particularly important in the case of potatoes available in store where the tubers are exposed to continuous light access. Both washed and unwashed potatoes are available, hence the hypothesis that the [...] Read more.
Background: The impact of light on the content of undesirable substances is particularly important in the case of potatoes available in store where the tubers are exposed to continuous light access. Both washed and unwashed potatoes are available, hence the hypothesis that the amount of harmful substances stored in tubers depends not only on the time of their exposure to light, but also on whether they were washed or not. Methods: In order to verify the hypothesis, laboratory tests were carried out on the tubers of five potato varieties originating from a univariate field experiment. The aim of the study was to analyse the change in the content of total glycoalkaloids (TGA) and nitrates (V) in tubers of five potato varieties depending on the time of light exposition (0, 7, 14 days) and pretreatment of tubers. Results: It has been demonstrated that the content of glycoalkaloids and nitrates in potato tubers depended significantly on the variety, time of exposure to light and pretreatment. Most glycoalkaloids were accumulated in the tubers of the Lord (89.67 mg·kg−1) and Irga (89.05 mg·kg−1) varieties. The time of light exposure significantly influenced the increase in glycoalkaloids and nitrates in the studied potato tubers. The increase in TGA after 14 days ranged from 20.67 mg∙kg−1 for variety Vinieta to 54.67 mg∙kg−1 for variety Irga. The increase in nitrates ranged from 11.67 mg∙kg−1 for variety Bellarosa to 27.50 mg∙kg−1 for variety Irga. Exposure time affected the content of glycoalkaloids in a parabolic manner and the content of nitrates in a linear manner. Full article
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14 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
Influence of Catch Crops on Yield and Chemical Composition of Winter Garlic Grown for Bunch Harvesting
by Andrzej Sałata, Gaetano Pandino, Halina Buczkowska and Sara Lombardo
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040134 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3436
Abstract
The cultivation of catch crops left on the surface of the field in the form of mulch promotes sustainable farming practices, while protecting the biodiversity of agricultural landscape. The paper presents results of research from 2013–2016, aimed at determining the usefulness of catch [...] Read more.
The cultivation of catch crops left on the surface of the field in the form of mulch promotes sustainable farming practices, while protecting the biodiversity of agricultural landscape. The paper presents results of research from 2013–2016, aimed at determining the usefulness of catch crops of millet, buckwheat, white mustard, bird’s-foot and Egyptian clover for soil mulching in winter garlic cultivation. The effect of soil litter on the amount of garlic crop in cultivation for bunch harvest and nutritional value determined by chemical composition of edible parts was determined. In the edible part of garlic, the content of dry matter, total and reducing sugars, L-ascorbic acid, total ash, crude fiber, phenolic acids and essential oil was evaluated. The control consisted of plots without mulch plants. In the cultivation of garlic under organic mulch, there was no decrease in commercial yield and no negative competitive effect on yielding. Garlic plants cultivated with mulch plants were characterized by increased height and developed more leaves. The catch crops used in the form of mulch did not affect the dry matter and total ash content in garlic bulbs. In the cultivation with plant litter, the concentration of phenolic acids and essential oil in the leaves was higher and the content of crude fiber was lower, compared to the cultivation without litter. Biomass from catch crops from clover and mustard increased the content of L-ascorbic acid, at the same time reducing the content of total and reducing sugars in the edible part of garlic, except for mulch plants of the bean family. The chemical composition of garlic was affected by different thermal and precipitation conditions in the years of research. In 2016, the year with the highest total rainfall, plants accumulated more dry matter, L-ascorbic acid as well as total and reducing sugars than in 2014 and 2015, years with less rainfall. Our research indicates that there are prospects for practical application of catch crops in the form of mulch for garlic cultivation to enhance the level of nutrients, without compromising the yield. Full article
16 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
Effects of Pre-Harvest Glyphosate Application on Spring Wheat Quality Characteristics
by Maneka Malalgoda, Jae-Bom Ohm, Joel K. Ransom, Kirk Howatt and Senay Simsek
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040111 - 4 Apr 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3868
Abstract
This study was conducted to determine the effect of pre-harvest glyphosate application on spring wheat quality characteristics, ranging from kernel quality to baking quality. Two wheat cultivars were grown in three locations, and glyphosate was applied at the recommended rate at the soft [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to determine the effect of pre-harvest glyphosate application on spring wheat quality characteristics, ranging from kernel quality to baking quality. Two wheat cultivars were grown in three locations, and glyphosate was applied at the recommended rate at the soft dough stage (early application) and the ripe stage (recommended application time). When glyphosate was applied at the soft dough stage, kernel weight, wheat protein and wet gluten decreased significantly (p ≤ 0.05), however, gluten index significantly increased (p ≤ 0.05). Dough quality, farinograph stability, and quality number were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher when glyphosate was applied at the soft dough stage, and absorption and the mixing tolerance index were lower. As for baking quality, loaf volume and mix time were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher in the treated samples in comparison to the untreated control, and other baking quality characteristics did not show any significant difference. Overall, the results indicate that spring wheat quality characteristics are impacted to the greatest degree when glyphosate is applied earlier than recommended at the soft dough stage, as opposed to the recommended application at the ripe stage of physiological development. Full article
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14 pages, 2060 KiB  
Article
Biochemical, Physiological and Yield Characteristics of Red Basil as Affected by Cultivar and Fertilization
by Gabriel-Ciprian Teliban, Vasile Stoleru, Marian Burducea, Andrei Lobiuc, Neculai Munteanu, Lorena-Diana Popa and Gianluca Caruso
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020048 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4375
Abstract
Unconventional fertilizers can act as elicitors to encourage the synthesis of phyto-pharmaceuticals in aromatic plants. In the present research, the effects of factorial combination between two red basil cultivars, ‘Opal’ and ‘De Buzau’, and four fertilization types, biosolids, organic, microorganisms and chemical, plus [...] Read more.
Unconventional fertilizers can act as elicitors to encourage the synthesis of phyto-pharmaceuticals in aromatic plants. In the present research, the effects of factorial combination between two red basil cultivars, ‘Opal’ and ‘De Buzau’, and four fertilization types, biosolids, organic, microorganisms and chemical, plus an unfertilized control, were assessed on fresh and dry yield, biometrical parameters, soil plant analysis development (SPAD) and antioxidant compounds and activity. Chemical fertilization increased fresh yield compared with the control, with no difference in organic and microorganism fertilization regarding dry weight. ‘De Buzau’ enhanced the number of lateral stems and plant height, the latter being better affected by chemical and microorganisms compared to the control. Chemical fertilization showed the highest leaf dry matter, nitrate content and SPAD, whereas the control showed the lowest. Compared to the unfertilized control, biosolids increased total phenolics in ‘Opal’; microorganisms, organic and biosolids enhanced total flavonoids in ‘Opal’, with the same effect under microorganisms and organic treatments in ‘De Buzau’. Total anthocyanins showed the highest content in ‘Opal’ under organic fertilization. The highest antioxidant activity in the basil extracts was detected under microorganisms and organic applications in ‘Opal’. The present investigation results demonstrate that unconventional fertilizers increase the synthesis of antioxidants and represent a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilization for growing red basil. Full article
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14 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Organic Cropping System Affects Grain Chemical Composition, Rheological and Agronomic Performance of Durum Wheat
by Gaetano Pandino, Emanuela Mattiolo, Sara Lombardo, Grazia Maria Lombardo and Giovanni Mauromicale
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020046 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3367
Abstract
Durum wheat plays a central role for Italy, a country characterized by an historical tradition of pasta making. This crop is one of the major sources of starch in the Mediterranean diet, also providing substantial amounts of nutrients, either essential or healthy, such [...] Read more.
Durum wheat plays a central role for Italy, a country characterized by an historical tradition of pasta making. This crop is one of the major sources of starch in the Mediterranean diet, also providing substantial amounts of nutrients, either essential or healthy, such as minerals and phytochemicals. In this study, the effect of cropping system (organic (ORG) and conventional (CONV)) on the content of proteins, wet gluten, minerals, and total polyphenols (TPC), as well as on the antioxidant activity (AA) and yield characteristics were evaluated in nine genotypes of whole durum wheat. The analysis of variance confirmed the key role of cropping system, which explained more than 50% of the total variation for some minerals (Na, K, and Fe), and more than 80% for proteins, wet gluten, and TPC. The CONV reported the highest levels of proteins, wet gluten, and ash, whereas the TPC and AA were statistically higher in the ORG ones. The quality traits under study were also genotype dependent. For instance, ‘Ramirez’ had a higher ash content under ORG than CONV, while ‘Core’ had an opposite behavior. This study provides a better understanding about the effect of both cropping system (ORG vs. CONV) and genotype on the yield and qualitative traits of the whole grain durum wheat. Full article
11 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Impact of Weather Conditions and Farming Systems on Size Distribution of Starch Granules and Flour Yield of Winter Wheat
by Indrek Keres, Maarika Alaru, Liina Talgre, Anne Luik, Viacheslav Eremeev, Andres Sats, Ivi Jõudu, Anu Riisalu and Evelin Loit
Agriculture 2020, 10(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10010022 - 18 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3710
Abstract
The size distribution of wheat-grain starch granules has an impact on the yield of fine flour. The aim of the study was to compare the impact of conventional (mineral fertilizers, pesticides) and organic farming treatments (cover crops, composted cattle manure) on (i) the [...] Read more.
The size distribution of wheat-grain starch granules has an impact on the yield of fine flour. The aim of the study was to compare the impact of conventional (mineral fertilizers, pesticides) and organic farming treatments (cover crops, composted cattle manure) on (i) the size distribution of starch granules, (ii) the level of the first break whole and fine flour yield. The grain samples of winter wheat cv Fredis were taken from a long-term field crop rotation experiment established in 2008 at the Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu County (58°22′ N, 26°40′ E) on Stagnic Luvisol soil. The weather conditions during the grain filling period of winter wheat had a strong impact (p < 0.001) on the grain starch granule size distribution. The proportion of starch granules with a smaller diameter (C-type granules) was higher in years with a longer grain filling period. The size distribution of starch granules was not influenced by farming system. The increased proportion of C-type granules increased the fine flour yield significantly. Fertilisation with organic manure and twice with mineral nitrogen increased significantly the mean diameter value of different starch granules. Full article
11 pages, 1292 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) Mutation on Enhancing the Yield and Quality of Rice
by Kifayatullah Kakar, Tran Dang Xuan, Nguyen Van Quan, Imran Khan Wafa, Hoang-Dung Tran, Tran Dang Khanh and Tran Dang Dat
Agriculture 2019, 9(10), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9100212 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4955
Abstract
Mutation technology has been applied more in recent decades to achieve novel products that are not commonly found in nature. An experiment was conducted to examine the effects of an N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) mutation on the growth, yield, and physicochemical properties [...] Read more.
Mutation technology has been applied more in recent decades to achieve novel products that are not commonly found in nature. An experiment was conducted to examine the effects of an N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) mutation on the growth, yield, and physicochemical properties of rice. Seeds of two rice cultivars (K1: DT84, and K3: Q5), along with their mutant lines (K2: mutated DT84, and K4: mutated Q5), were sown, and the established seedlings were transplanted to an open field. Ten hills per plot were randomly selected to evaluate growth parameters, yield, and components. Physicochemical attributes, including protein, amylose, and lipid contents, as well as taste score were measured by a quality tester device. The results showed that plant length, tiller number, and panicle length were higher in mutant lines than those of their cultivars. Furthermore, mutant lines took longer to reach heading and maturity stage. The highest panicle number, spikelet number, repined ratio, 1000 grain weight, 1000 brown rice weight, and grain yield were obtained in mutant lines, as compared to cultivars. The greatest grain yield was obtained in the K4 mutant line (11.6 t/ha), while the lowest was recorded in the K1 cultivar (7.7 t/ha). Lower amylose, protein, and lipid contents were observed in mutant lines compared to those in cultivars. The taste score, which increased from 67.7 to 73.7, was found to be correlated with lower amylose, protein, and lipid contents. The mutation approach increased the grain length but decreased the grain width of tested varieties. This study highlights and suggests the importance of MNU mutation in terms of rice yield improvement with preferable quality. Full article
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13 pages, 2215 KiB  
Article
Morphological Observation and Correlation of Growth and Yield Characteristics with Grain Quality and Antioxidant Activities in Exotic Rice Varieties of Afghanistan
by Kifayatullah Kakar, Tran Dang Xuan, Saidajan Abdiani, Imran Khan Wafa, Zubair Noori, Shakeib Attai, Tran Dang Khanh and Hoang-Dung Tran
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080167 - 1 Aug 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5932
Abstract
Rice is an important staple food for Afghans. Its production has been increased, and attention is needed to improve grain quality. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the growth, yield, physicochemical properties, antioxidant activity, and morphological structures of four exotic rice varieties widely grown [...] Read more.
Rice is an important staple food for Afghans. Its production has been increased, and attention is needed to improve grain quality. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the growth, yield, physicochemical properties, antioxidant activity, and morphological structures of four exotic rice varieties widely grown in Afghanistan (Attai-1, Jalalabad-14, Shishambagh-14, and Zodrass). Antioxidant activities, including 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS), of rice grain were determined. A scanning electron microscopic observation was conducted on the cross-cut section of dehulled rice grains. The results showed a wide variation among four rice varieties for growth, grain yield, physicochemical properties, antioxidant activities, and morphology. Tiller and panicle number per hill, 1000-grain weight, grain yield, and antioxidant activities were found to be highest in Jalalabad-14. Attai-1 showed lower amylose, protein, and lipid contents with a high number of perfect grains, consequently enhanced taste point (score of quality). Grain yield, protein, and amylose contents showed a negative correlation with antioxidant activities. Accumulated structures in Attai-1, Shishambagh-14, and Zodrass were normal; however, Jalalabad-14 increased protein bodies and its traces in the amyloplasts. Information on yield potential, grain quality, and nutritional value of these exotic rice varieties may useful for sustainable food provision and nutritional improvement of rice in Afghanistan. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

15 pages, 686 KiB  
Review
A Review on the Current State of Knowledge of Growing Conditions, Agronomic Soil Health Practices and Utilities of Hemp in the United States
by Ifeoluwa Adesina, Arnab Bhowmik, Harmandeep Sharma and Abolghasem Shahbazi
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040129 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 154 | Viewed by 24333
Abstract
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is an emerging high-value specialty crop that can be cultivated for either fiber, seed, or cannabidiol (CBD). The demand for hemp and its products has been consistently on the rise in the 21st century. The United States of [...] Read more.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is an emerging high-value specialty crop that can be cultivated for either fiber, seed, or cannabidiol (CBD). The demand for hemp and its products has been consistently on the rise in the 21st century. The United States of America (USA) has reintroduced hemp and legalized its production as an agricultural commodity through the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. Although there is a renewed interest in the adoption of hemp due to the emerging market, its production in the United States (US) remains limited partly because of unclear agronomic guidance and fertilization recommendations. This review article provides information on the current agronomic management practices that are available in the literature and identifies the future research needs for cultivating this multipurpose crop to address the growing market demands. Hemp production could be beneficial if managed properly. Hemp fertilizer requirements vary in accordance with the type of hemp grown (seed, fiber, or CBD), soil, environmental conditions and requires a wide range of macro- and micronutrients. Integrating management practices in hemp cultivation intended to build soil health is promising since the hemp cropping system is suitable for crop rotation, cover cropping, and livestock integration through animal waste applications. Hemp also has significant environmental benefits since it has the potential to remediate contaminated soils through phytoremediation, convert high amounts of atmospheric CO2 to biomass through bio-sequestration, and hemp biomass for bioenergy production. This review identifies that most of the agronomic research in the past has been limited to hemp fiber and, to some extent, hemp seed but not CBD hemp. With the increase in the global markets for hemp products, more research needs to be conducted to provide agronomic guidelines for sustainable hemp production. Full article
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17 pages, 3111 KiB  
Review
Allometries in Plants as Drivers of Forage Nutritive Value: A Review
by Gilles Lemaire and Gilles Belanger
Agriculture 2020, 10(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10010005 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 6059
Abstract
The nutritive value of forage for herbivores has been for a long time determined by the concentration in protein and, hence in nitrogen (N), the concentration in different minerals (P, K, Ca, Mg, and oligo-elements), and the in vivo dry matter (DM) digestibility. [...] Read more.
The nutritive value of forage for herbivores has been for a long time determined by the concentration in protein and, hence in nitrogen (N), the concentration in different minerals (P, K, Ca, Mg, and oligo-elements), and the in vivo dry matter (DM) digestibility. Forage DM digestibility, the proportion of ingested DM being metabolized by ruminant animals has been related to different components of plant tissue composition such as Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) and Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF); the NDF concentration represents an estimate of cell wall content while the ADF concentration is an estimate of the more lignified cell wall content. Forage nutritive value is generally analyzed by relating the attributes of nutritive value to plant phenology, in order to predict the decline of these attributes with plant age. A more functional approach, initially developed for the analysis of N concentration dynamic analysis (Lemaire et al. 2008 and Lemaire et al. 2019), and extended for digestibility for this review, is based on the assumption that above-ground plant mass (W) is composed of two compartments: (i) the metabolic compartment (Wm), associated with plant growth process scaling with leaf area, having a high N concentration (%N), and a high Digestibility (%D); (ii) the structural compartment (Ws) associated with architectural plant development, scaling with plant height and thickness and having low %N and %D. With the postulate that Wm is allometrically related to W (Wm = c × Wα with α < 1), the ontogenetic decline of both %N and %D as the plant gets bigger and forage mass increases can be explained, and the purely empirical statistical approach of forage quality based on plant phenology can be replaced by a more mechanistic and comprehensive analysis linking forage production and forage quality dynamics within the same functional approach for a better understanding of genotype-environment-management interactions. Full article
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20 pages, 1293 KiB  
Review
Evaluation of the Risks of Contaminating Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed with High Erucic Rapeseed and Identification of Mitigation Strategies
by Douglas J. Warner and Kathleen A. Lewis
Agriculture 2019, 9(9), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9090190 - 4 Sep 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4342
Abstract
High erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) oil is under increasing demand for various industrial applications. However, many growers are concerned that if they grow the crop, they will not be able to revert to other rapeseed varieties in the future due to the risk [...] Read more.
High erucic acid rapeseed (HEAR) oil is under increasing demand for various industrial applications. However, many growers are concerned that if they grow the crop, they will not be able to revert to other rapeseed varieties in the future due to the risk of erucic acid (EA) contamination of the harvested seed and inability to maintain acceptable erucic acid thresholds. This review considered published literature and, using the same criteria as that used to contain transgenic crops, aimed to identify the key risks of erucic acid contamination, broadly prioritise them and identify pragmatic mitigation options. Oilseed rape has a number of traits that increase the risk of low erucic acid rapeseed (LEAR) crops being contaminated with EA from HEAR varieties. The quantity of seed produced and the potential for seed dormancy coupled with partial autogamy (self-fertilisation) facilitate the establishment and persistence of volunteer and feral populations. The large quantities of pollen produced when the crop is in flower mean there is also a high potential for cross-pollination. Self-sown volunteer plants represent the highest potential contamination risk, followed by the presence of arable weeds (e.g., wild mustard) whose seeds are also high in EA. Other risks arise from the cross-pollination of compatible wild relatives and the mixing of seed prior to sowing. It is important that both HEAR and LEAR varieties are appropriately managed since risks and their potential for mitigation arise throughout the entire LEAR crop production process. The length of rotation, type of tillage, cultivar choice, buffer zones, effective weed management and basic machinery hygiene are all factors that can reduce the risk of erucic acid contamination of LEAR crops and maintain the required thresholds. Full article
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