Sustainability Practices to Improve the Agri-Food Chains

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 April 2024 | Viewed by 3914

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Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Interests: agritourism sector; agri-food sector; food waste; consumer behavior; impact of agriculture on natural resources; rural development
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability practices at all stages of agricultural food chains (production, processing, distribution, consumption) are becoming important requirements to meet consumer expectations; therefore, they represent a competitive advantage for firms that can guarantee the monitoring of the environmental performance of processes. In fact, sustainability schemes are able to achieve a more sustainable supply chain and create value for stakeholders. The sustainability of agri-food systems is most often defined in reference to the three classic pillars of sustainability (ecological, economic, and social). Hence, agricultural activities and the production, distribution, and consumption of food have a direct impact on the quality of natural resources and human life. For instance, the demand for food for a growing population should respond to the need for safe and healthy products obtained in production environments that respect workers' rights. This is due to the fact that many agricultural food chains are unsustainable. In this regard, new and complex challenges to world agriculture are necessary. The introduction of new innovative and sustainable practices into the agricultural system is possible if detailed studies of different aspects provide practical tools, including an appropriate set of indicators for assessing the impact of agricultural practices on the environment, evaluation of the sustainability of the agri-food system, and the role of agriculture policies to promote sustainable development models.

In the context of this Special Issue, the features of different agricultural systems around the world are important to understand trends toward more sustainable practices along food supply chains.

The principal aim of this Special Issue is to exchange knowledge on any aspect related to the balance between the ecological, economic, and social impacts of the agricultural practices in agricultural food chains.

Prof. Dr. Rosa Maria Fanelli
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • agri-environmental indicators
  • agriculture policies to promote sustainable development models
  • corporate social responsibility
  • green food production
  • food quality
  • innovative and sustainable practices
  • reduction in food losses
  • reduction in food waste
  • social sustainability
  • the sustainability of logistic processes in food chains

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 2370 KiB  
Article
Environmental Consequences of Shelf Life Extension: Conventional versus Active Packaging for Fresh-Cut Salads
by Raquel Villanova-Estors, Diana Alexandra Murcia-Velasco, Adriana Correa-Guimarães, Gracia López-Carballo, Pilar Hernández-Muñoz, Rafael Gavara and Luis Manuel Navas-Gracia
Agronomy 2023, 13(11), 2749; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13112749 - 31 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
The use of active coatings in fresh food packaging is an innovative technique that optimizes the functional properties of films, resulting in a longer product shelf life and reduced food waste. But, which is more sustainable, active packaging (AP) or conventional packaging (CP) [...] Read more.
The use of active coatings in fresh food packaging is an innovative technique that optimizes the functional properties of films, resulting in a longer product shelf life and reduced food waste. But, which is more sustainable, active packaging (AP) or conventional packaging (CP) for the packaging of fresh-cut products? To answer this research question, this study analyzes the environmental performance of AP during its life cycle for packaging a minimally processed fresh salad mix compared with CP, in terms of its manufacture and use. The AP is a bag that includes a bioactive component, oregano essential oil (OEO), which is an inhibitor of microbial growth, incorporated into an ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) coating on a conventional polypropylene (PP) film. To this end, a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was carried out based on ISO 14040 and 14044, using the ReCiPe methodology. The results showed that using active packaging has a beneficial affect, reducing the amount of produced food by 30% compared with conventional packaging over the same period. The reductions in the studied impact categories were greater than 50% in most of them, with a 62% reduction in global warming. The proposed sensitivity analysis showed the difference between the disposal or treatment of waste generated by the packaging production process and the packaged product, indicating that this step is of great importance for the environmental impacts and sustainability of this process. In 80% of the scenarios analyzed, the AP achieved better results than the CP in terms of damage categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices to Improve the Agri-Food Chains)
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21 pages, 1549 KiB  
Article
Strategic, Economic, and Potency Assessment of Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) Development in the Tidal Swamplands of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
by Susilawati Susilawati, Yanto Surdianto, Erythrina Erythrina, Andy Bhermana, Twenty Liana, Syafruddin Syafruddin, Arif Anshori, Wahyu Adi Nugroho, Muhamad Hidayanto, Dwi P. Widiastuti, Nana Sutrisna, Baharudin Baharudin, Bambang Susanto, Muhamad Sabran, Khojin Supriadi, Retna Qomariah, Yanti Rina Darsani, Susi Lesmayati and Eka Nor Taufik
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2559; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102559 - 04 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1136
Abstract
The potency and challenges of sorghum development in tidal swamplands in Indonesia have yet to be well studied. Thus, our study is the first to evaluate the land suitability, economic performance, and strategies for developing sorghum in the tidal swamplands in Central Kalimantan. [...] Read more.
The potency and challenges of sorghum development in tidal swamplands in Indonesia have yet to be well studied. Thus, our study is the first to evaluate the land suitability, economic performance, and strategies for developing sorghum in the tidal swamplands in Central Kalimantan. We use the land suitability evaluation method, a gross margin and profit analysis, a break-even analysis, and a competitive analysis as the methods for assessing the potency and utilization of sorghum in this study. As a tool for decision-making, SWOT was also used, followed by a quantitative strategic planning matrix (QSPM) analysis. The results show that 578,511 ha of arable land is suitable for sorghum development. Economically, sorghum farming can generate IDR 12,894,000 per ha with a revenue-cost ratio of 1.72; the break-even price would be IDR 2447 per kg, around 42% lower than the current market price. Sorghum is also more competitive than cassava (Q = 0.76), sweet potato (Q = 0.58), and soybeans (Q = 0.61) and less competitive than maize (Q = 1.33). Based on the QSPM analysis, five alternative strategies were obtained for developing sorghum in tidal swamplands: (1) optimization of productivity; (2) improvement in the quality of human resources for farmers; (3) facilitation of partnership cooperation; (4) application of site-specific technology; and (5) optimization of waste utilization. These strategies show that the expansion of sorghum planting has potential in the tidal swamplands and economic value for the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices to Improve the Agri-Food Chains)
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18 pages, 2633 KiB  
Article
Mixed Fermentations of Yeasts and Lactic Acid Bacteria as Sustainable Processes to Enhance the Chemical Composition of Cider Made of Topaz and Red Topaz Apple Varieties
by Paul Cristian Călugăr, Teodora Emilia Coldea, Carmen Rodica Pop, Laura Stan, Emese Gal, Floricuța Ranga, Simona Codruța Hegheș and Elena Mudura
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2485; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102485 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 944
Abstract
This study examined the effect of simultaneous fermentations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia kluyveri, Lactobacillus plantarum and Oenococcus oeni on the chemical composition of apple cider from two apple varieties—Topaz and Red Topaz. Analytical techniques (HPLC-RID, HPLC-VWD, GC/MS, GC/FID, HPLC-DAD ESI+) were [...] Read more.
This study examined the effect of simultaneous fermentations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia kluyveri, Lactobacillus plantarum and Oenococcus oeni on the chemical composition of apple cider from two apple varieties—Topaz and Red Topaz. Analytical techniques (HPLC-RID, HPLC-VWD, GC/MS, GC/FID, HPLC-DAD ESI+) were employed to analyze glucides, organic acids, volatile compounds, amino acids and phenolic compounds, respectively. Statistical analysis and and PCA were conducted to assess the correlations among samples based on the compounds identified. In the mixed fermentations, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae + Lactobacillus plantarum and Saccharomyces cerevisiae + Oenococcus oeni, the amount of lactic acid was higher compared to the other samples, thus proving the effectiveness of malolactic fermentation simultaneous to alcoholic fermentation. The fermentation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae + Pichia kluyveri resulted in the formation of greater amounts of certain volatile compounds. Moreover, the sensory analysis revealed that Saccharomyces cerevisiae + Pichia kluyveri distinguished apple-like, fruity and floral notes. This study suggests that the simultaneous inoculation of Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces yeasts results in a more complex-flavored cider. The mixed fermentation of yeast and lactic acid bacteria is a sustainable method given the shortened fermentation duration and can be successfully applied in the cider industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices to Improve the Agri-Food Chains)
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