Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 April 2024) | Viewed by 10615

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Vegetable Crops, University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: vegetables; functional food; sustainable and organic and soilless production; hydroponics; nutritive value; microgreens; introduction of new species, cultivars and technologies in vegetable crops production; medicinal and aromatic plants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Plant Nutrition, Division for Agroecology, Nutrition Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: plant nutrition; mineral composition of fruits and vegetables; horticulture; organic, mineral and foliar fertilization; macro and microelements; fertilizers; soil fertility; soil analysis
Department of Pomology, Division for Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: postharvest handling and fruit storage; postharvest treatments; postharvest physiological disorders; fruit quality; preharvest factors and storage potential of fruits; chilling injuries of fruits
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable agricultural production is expected to effectively manage natural resources to produce a sufficient amount of nutritionally valuable food, while maximizing the preservation of biodiversity and environmental quality and ensuring economic sustainability. However, in addition to ensuring a balance in food production and environmental protection, many challenges of agricultural production are also related to increasingly pronounced climate change.

Sustainable and innovative agricultural practices in the production of vegetables, fruits, grapes, ornamental, aromatic, and medicinal plants can increase resource use efficiency, improve adaptability and abiotic/biotic stress tolerance, and enhance soil biodiversity while reducing production inputs.

This Special Issue will cover a various research manuscripts aimed at highlighting various sustainable practices in the production of different horticultural crops and the positive impact on overall sustainability. Therefore, you are welcome to share your scientific achievements and contribute to our common goal of sustainable development of the agricultural system.

Dr. Sanja Fabek Uher
Dr. Marko Petek
Dr. Goran Fruk
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2600 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

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • viticulture
  • ornamental plants
  • medicinal and aromatic plants
  • food production
  • nutritional value
  • biodiversity
  • agricultural techniques
  • innovative cultivation techniques
  • stress tolerance
  • soil fertility
  • resource efficiency

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 3463 KiB  
Article
Opportunities to Breed Diverse Sweetpotato Varieties for California Organic Production
by Travis Parker, Kristyn Leach, C. Scott Stoddard, Laura Roser, Antonia Palkovic, Troy Williams, Sassoum Lo, Paul Gepts, Don La Bonte, Ga Young Chung and E. Charles Brummer
Agriculture 2023, 13(12), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13122191 - 23 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1124
Abstract
Sweetpotatoes are a major crop in California, ranking sixth in value among organic commodities in the state. In recent years, there has been growing consumer interest in diverse specialty varieties, particularly purple types and those associated with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) [...] Read more.
Sweetpotatoes are a major crop in California, ranking sixth in value among organic commodities in the state. In recent years, there has been growing consumer interest in diverse specialty varieties, particularly purple types and those associated with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, some of which are currently imported into the state. In this study, we screened 45 diverse sweetpotato varieties and breeding lines under California organic conditions in a preliminary characterization of their agronomic performance. We then conducted culinary evaluations with a tasting panel of students primarily identifying as Asian/Asian American to determine the preference for each type in terms of flavor and culinary appeal. Our results indicated that major tradeoffs exist among existing germplasm, with no variety or line excelling across all agronomic and culinary traits. These results suggest that sweetpotato breeding could be an effective mechanism to combine superior agronomic traits of major commercial classes with the high culinary quality of diverse materials that are not adapted to California organic production. These results provide a strong justification for the value of sweetpotato breeding to ultimately promote a more profitable, sustainable, and just food system in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops)
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28 pages, 899 KiB  
Article
Modulation of the Irrigation Practices in Croatia for More Sustainable Olive Growing
by Zoran Šikić, Šime Marcelić, Karolina Brkić Bubola, Maja Jukić Špika, Ana Gašparović Pinto, Marko Zorica, Šimun Kolega, Igor Pasković, Anja Novoselić, Dora Klisović and Tomislav Kos
Agriculture 2023, 13(9), 1854; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13091854 - 21 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1413
Abstract
Olive groves in the Mediterranean may lose production sustainability because of their vulnerability to climatic change. Irrigation is an important measure that could significantly affect fruit yield, olive fruit fly infestation, and oil characteristics. The aim of paper was to compare the regulated [...] Read more.
Olive groves in the Mediterranean may lose production sustainability because of their vulnerability to climatic change. Irrigation is an important measure that could significantly affect fruit yield, olive fruit fly infestation, and oil characteristics. The aim of paper was to compare the regulated deficit irrigation with different water management practices, in consecutive years, in two locations in Zadar County (Croatia), affecting fruit morphology, olive fruit fly infestation, and quantity and quality of the extracted Coratina cultivar oil. Treatments, namely C—rainfed, T1—deficit irrigation (produce’s practice), T2—regulated deficit irrigation, and T3—full irrigation (100% ECTO), were established. Irrigated treatments had a positive effect on all morphological characteristics of the fruit. The pulp mass, independently of the year, increased in irrigated treatment (ranging from 1.04 to 1.65 in C to 2.25 and 2.30 in the irrigated treatments) and resulted in a higher oil content on a fresh weight basis (ranging from 16.39% to 17.85% in C to 19.48% to 23.26% in the irrigated treatments). However, fruit yield per tree was only location-dependent. When olive fruit fly presence was high, fruit infestation was greatest in the irrigated compared to the rainfed treatment. According to quality parameters, all oils were classified as EVOO. Individual phenols were influenced by irrigation, while the composition of fatty acids was more influenced by location than treatment. The sensory characteristics of the resulting oil were slightly reduced compared to rainfed treatment. The results indicate that regulated deficit irrigation benefits water use sustainability without compromising the quality of the oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops)
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12 pages, 1279 KiB  
Article
Pruning and Fruit Thinning of Psidium guajava cv. Paluma under a Seasonal Tropical Climate
by Adaniel Sousa dos Santos, Jonathan Candido Thomaz Dalzot, Gustavo Alves Pereira, Jenilton Gomes da Cunha, Thamyres Yara Lima Evangelista, Wéverson Lima Fonseca, Murilo de Sousa Almeida, Julian Junior de Jesus Lacerda, Júlio Ferreira de Souza Filho, Alan Mario Zuffo, Ricardo Mezzomo, Jorge González Aguilera, Luis Morales-Aranibar, Mohammad K. Okla, Ibrahim A. Saleh and Hamada AbdElgawad
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081537 - 1 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
Maintaining the plant architecture of Psidium guajava L. (guava tree) is essential for enhancing capture and distribution in the plant, directly affecting the fruit quality. The lifespan of the harvest period can be extended by proper pruning. Both timeliness and proper pruning play [...] Read more.
Maintaining the plant architecture of Psidium guajava L. (guava tree) is essential for enhancing capture and distribution in the plant, directly affecting the fruit quality. The lifespan of the harvest period can be extended by proper pruning. Both timeliness and proper pruning play crucial roles in achieving high-quality fruit production and in maintaining a consistent fruit size while stimulating ascorbic acid levels, sugar content, total soluble solids (TSS), and titratable acidity. From this perspective, this study aimed to characterize the influence of different intensities of fruit pruning and thinning on guava trees grown under a seasonal tropical climate in two growing seasons in Currais, Piauí, Brazil. The experiment was set up in a randomized block design with a 3 × 3 × 2 factorial arrangement corresponding to short, medium, and long pruning intensities and 0%, 10%, and 20% thinning intensities during the two growth seasons, respectively. An analysis was performed to discriminate the treatment groups according to the physicochemical variables of the guava tree cv. Paluma and canonical discriminant analysis. There was significant variation in the SS, titratable acidity, ascorbic acid, and pH contents. Cluster analysis of all treatments allowed division into five different groups for the two pruning times. Canonical discriminant analysis showed that the first two canonical variables explained 91% of the total variance. The fruits of the second harvest exhibited a lower level of acidity, higher levels of soluble solids, and higher levels of ascorbic acid contents. In addition, these fruits also obtained better nutrient contents. Short pruning with up to 20% thinning, medium pruning with up to 10%, and long pruning without thinning favored better levels of macronutrients and micronutrients and, consequently, better fruit quality. Medium or long pruning with up to 20% thinning resulted in higher average fruit weights and nutrient contents (especially of Fe and Cu), lower acidity, and higher ascorbic acid contents. Thus, in general, the importance of production pruning in guava plants is evidenced and thinning of 20% is recommended to improve the fruit quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops)
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13 pages, 1307 KiB  
Article
Growth and Quality of Leaf and Romaine Lettuce Grown on a Vertical Farm in an Aquaponics System: Results of Farm Research
by Bożena Matysiak, Stanisław Kaniszewski and Monika Mieszczakowska-Frąc
Agriculture 2023, 13(4), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13040897 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4127
Abstract
The integration of indoor vertical cultivation with a recirculating aquaculture system into an aquaponic system has the potential to become one of the most effective sustainable production systems for fish and leafy vegetables. In this study, lettuce was produced on rafts in a [...] Read more.
The integration of indoor vertical cultivation with a recirculating aquaculture system into an aquaponic system has the potential to become one of the most effective sustainable production systems for fish and leafy vegetables. In this study, lettuce was produced on rafts in a coupled recirculation aquaponic system in the plant factory under controlled environmental conditions. The aims of this study were to evaluate the yield, mineral status, and health-promoting bioactive compounds of leaf and romaine lettuce cultivars grown in a recirculating aquaponic system. The yield and biometric parameters and quality parameters of lettuce leaves (nitrate, mineral, L-ascorbic acid, carotenoid, phenolic compound, and total polyphenolic contents) were examined. Monitoring of the water in the aquaponic system showed a low concentration of nitrates, phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg), but the proportion of mineral nutrients as well as pH were stable throughout the lettuce cultivation period. The heads of romaine lettuce ‘Yakina’, ‘Pivotal’, and ‘Waygo’ reached a fresh weight of 86 g, on average, 23% higher than the leaf lettuce ‘Nordice’ over a three-week cultivation period. Despite the low nutrient concentration in the aquaponic solution, the nutrient status of the romaine lettuces ‘Yakina’ and ‘Pivotal’ was within the optimal range. The concentrations of chlorophyll a and carotenoids in ‘Yakina’ and ‘Pivotal’ were higher than those in ‘Nordice’ and ‘Waygo’. The nitrate, phosphorus, and potassium contents in the leaves of ‘Nordice’ and ‘Waygo’ were below the optimal range; however, their polyphenol concentrations were the highest. Our results indicate that the effectiveness of aquaponic cultivation of lettuce in terms of biomass production and the nutritional and health-promoting value of lettuce depends on the plant genotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops)
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Review

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17 pages, 1567 KiB  
Review
Use of Biostimulants to Alleviate Anoxic Stress in Waterlogged Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)—A Review
by Nadya Buga and Marko Petek
Agriculture 2023, 13(12), 2223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13122223 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1331
Abstract
In Europe, the intensity and frequency of flooding events are expected to increase due to climate change, adding additional challenges to agricultural production and creating the need for new plant products and adaptation tools. Cabbage is one economically important vegetable that is likely [...] Read more.
In Europe, the intensity and frequency of flooding events are expected to increase due to climate change, adding additional challenges to agricultural production and creating the need for new plant products and adaptation tools. Cabbage is one economically important vegetable that is likely to be affected by increased flooding in Europe. This review investigates the potential of biostimulant applications based on algae extracts, amino acids, microorganisms, and nano-CaCO3 to assist cabbage plants subjected to waterlogged conditions. The overall findings from the studies reviewed indicate that these biostimulants could aid plants suffering from anoxic stress due to waterlogging through their ability to improve nutrient availability and plant nutrient status, modulate phytohormones and phytohormone signalling, increase compatible solutes, and enhance the antioxidant system. The effect of biostimulants is influenced by multiple factors; therefore, field studies are required to determine the most valuable biostimulant combination and application dose, type, and timing for cabbage, as well as any economic benefits that could arise. More precise information would benefit food producers by providing them with additional adaptation tools to use in a changing climate as well as natural products that are compatible with the agriculture sector’s transition to more sustainable and ecological management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Production of Horticultural Crops)
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