Special Issue "Food for Future"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Stanislav Kopriva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Botanical Institute, Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Interests: regulatory mechanisms of nutrient uptake and assimilation; control of nutrient homeostasis; role of microorganisms in plant nutrition; sulfur metabolism; metabolic fluxes; integration of nutrient assimilation in general plant metabolism
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Rumen Ivanov
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Düsseldorf
Interests: Iron nutrition, plant stress response, nutrient transport, plant membrane protein trafficking, crop improvement
Dr. Richard Jacoby
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Cologne
Interests: Plant microbe interactions, exometabolomics, nitrogen metabolic networks, proteomics
Dr. Mara Schuler Bermann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Düsseldorf
Interests: C4 photosynthesis, stomata, leaf development, C4 rice
Dr. Antonella Succurro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Cologne
Interests: Mathematical modelling, metabolic networks, modeling microbial ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues

Today, the growth of the global population accompanied by drastic changes in dietary styles are leading to an increased demand for food. To meet this demand, food production has to be increased by 70% by 2050. However, limited global resources and climate change make the goal of ensuring global food and nutritional security one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. About 815 million people are chronically undernourished, and malnutrition affects around one in three people on the planet.

Hence, food security has become one of the biggest challenges to be faced in the near future and many researchers are advancing in this regard, using interdisciplinary approaches. Plant science, as part of a highly complex, integrative food system, plays a key role in optimizing crops to raise their productivity in a resource-efficient way.

This Special Issue aims to contribute further knowledge and advancements on diverse aspects of food production to ensure food security. It collects contributions to the “1st Cologne Conference on Food for Future”, held in Cologne on 5–7 September 2018, and it is open to external submissions. In particular, we encourage contributions focused on three research areas:

  • Functional food: Quality and nutritional enhancement of crops.
    Diets have become less diverse and 90% of the world´s calorie intake is provided by only 15 crops. Furthermore, the nutritional content of modern high-yield staples is declining, leading to deficiency diseases, particularly in developing countries, dependent on a few calorie-rich but nutritionally poor staple crops. To prevent these diseases, the improvement of the nutritional quality of staple crops is a promising approach. The population of developed countries could profit by improving the concentration of phytonutrients in their diet to reduce chronic diseases based on phytonutrient-poor diets.
  • Orphan crops: Potential of alternative crops for modern plant breeding.
    Orphan, or underutilized, crops have not been the focus of plant breeders and farmers over the last century due to their limited importance in the global market. The fact that they are highly nutritious, resilient in natural and agricultural conditions and provide economic and environmental benefits for local farmers is drawing more and more attention to their high potential contribution to diversifying agricultural systems and food sources.
  • Innovative food sources and production systems.
    The increasing demand for grains and meat in the next 30 years will require the search for alternative protein sources and more environmentally-sustainable, cost-effective production systems. Possible approaches are the more intensive use of insects or microalgae either for direct or indirect human consumption or as a protein source into feedstock mixtures, helping to make feedstock production more sustainable.

“1st Cologne Conference on Food for Future” from 05–07 September 2018 in Cologne.

www.food-for-future.eu

Prof. Dr. Stanislav Kopriva
Dr. Rumen Ivanov
Dr. Richard Jacoby
Dr. Mara Schuler Bermann
Dr. Antonella Succurro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Functional food,
  • health benefits of plant products,
  • enhancing crop nutritional quality,
  • orphan crops,
  • millets,
  • plant breeding,
  • insect protein production,
  • macroalgae as food/feed source

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Chemical, Organic and Biological Fertilizers on Agrobiological and Antioxidant Properties of Syrian Cephalaria (Cephalaria Syriaca L.)
Agriculture 2019, 9(6), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9060122 - 10 Jun 2019
Abstract
Since chemical fertilizers pollute soil, water and crops, conscientious agricultural producers seek alternatives to chemical fertilizers. Biological fertilizers are considered a reliable alternative for improving soil productivity and plant growth in sustainable agriculture. The response of some agrobiological and antioxidant properties of Syrian [...] Read more.
Since chemical fertilizers pollute soil, water and crops, conscientious agricultural producers seek alternatives to chemical fertilizers. Biological fertilizers are considered a reliable alternative for improving soil productivity and plant growth in sustainable agriculture. The response of some agrobiological and antioxidant properties of Syrian cephalaria (Cephalaria syriaca L.) to different fertilizer sources was explored in an experiment which included: (i) mycorrhiza + manure; (ii) mycorrhiza + vermicompost; (iii) mycorrhiza + Azotobacter; (iv) mycorrhiza + chemical fertilizer; (v) mycorrhiza; and (vi) control. The results showed that the highest seed yield, biological yield, oil percentage yield, were observed in plants treated with mycorrhiza + vermicompost, whereas the highest 1000-seed weight was obtained from the application of mycorrhiza + manure. With respect to photosynthesizing pigments, the application of mycorrhiza + vermicompost increased chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total chlorophyll, carotenoid content as well as total phenols, total flavonoids and DPPH antioxidant activity as compared to control (unfertilized) plants. The mixed application of different fertilizer sources influenced the uptake of trace elements (Fe, Zn and Cu) optimally. In the light of the obtained results for the agrobiological and antioxidant properties of Syrian cephalaria, in most of the measured traits, there is no significant difference between manure, vermicompost and chemical fertilizers in combination with mycorrhiza. Hence the use of organic and biological inputs instead of chemical fertilizer for improving crop efficiency and quality with the aim of alleviating pollution and accomplishing sustainable agriculture is highly encouraging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food for Future)
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Open AccessArticle
Australian Consumers’ Response to Insects as Food
Agriculture 2019, 9(5), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9050108 - 22 May 2019
Abstract
Many research articles have been published about people’s perceptions and acceptance of eating insects as novel foods in Western countries; however, only a few studies have focused on Australian consumers. The aim of this work is to explore attitudes towards edible insects of [...] Read more.
Many research articles have been published about people’s perceptions and acceptance of eating insects as novel foods in Western countries; however, only a few studies have focused on Australian consumers. The aim of this work is to explore attitudes towards edible insects of younger Australians (Millennials and Generation Z) with data collection carried out in Sydney, Australia. Two representative surveys were conducted in 2018 and 2019 using open-ended questions. The main findings suggest that there is low willingness to accept edible insects as a meat substitute among Australian consumers, due mainly to the strong psychological barriers such as neophobia and disgust, combined with a perception about threats to masculinity. Environmental and nutritional benefits, even when recognised, do not seem to influence consumers to consider insects as a food alternative. In the near future, as young people become more aware of sustainability and climate change issues related to food production, the impact of the potential benefits of insects might grow. Furthermore, a positive sensory experience might improve the acceptability of insects as food. Introducing new processed, insect-based products may help establish familiarity with such novel food options and open up new business opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food for Future)
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 - 23 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
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 [...] Read more.
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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food for Future)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Color for Life: Biosynthesis and Distribution of Phenolic Compounds in Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
Agriculture 2019, 9(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9040081 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
Fruits and vegetables are an important supplier of biological active substances, such as vitamins and secondary metabolites (SM) for human nutrition, but also for further industrial applications. Pepper (Capsicum annuum) is grown and consumed all over the world as a fresh [...] Read more.
Fruits and vegetables are an important supplier of biological active substances, such as vitamins and secondary metabolites (SM) for human nutrition, but also for further industrial applications. Pepper (Capsicum annuum) is grown and consumed all over the world as a fresh vegetable or dried as a spice. It is also used as a coloring agent, as well for medical purposes. Pepper fruits are considered as an attractive source of health-related compounds, but other organs like the leaves and stem also contain considerable amounts of antioxidants, e.g., phenolic compounds. This indicates potential for valorization of residual biomass from horticultural production by using innovative bioeconomic concepts. Herein, we present an overview about the biosynthesis of phenolic compounds, with a special focus on flavonoids and their regulation in pepper, the current knowledge of amounts and distribution of these valuable substances, as well as possible strategies for: (1) increasing flavonoid contents in pepper, (2) improving the nutritional value of fruits, and (3) new concepts for utilization of residual biomass from horticultural production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food for Future)
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