Special Issue "Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Asher Bar-Tal

Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Israel
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 972-506220310
Interests: soil chemistry, plant nutrition, irrigation with treated waste-water and desalinated water, soilless culture, greenhouse gases emissions from soil
Guest Editor
Dr. Avner Silber

Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, The volcani Center, Agricultural Research Organization, Bet Dagan, Israel
Website | E-Mail
Interests: rhizosphere; phosphorus reactions; soilless culture; nutrition of plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Optimizing the mineral nutrition of crops has always been an important challenge for human civilizations, from the first steps of agriculture at the dawn of history to the present. Current agriculture technologies are certainly different from those of ancient hominids; however, fundamental questions, such as: (i) the specific role of each nutrient; (ii) optimal scheduling and mode of nutrient application (quantity, timing and placement), (iii) water and fertilization relationships; and (iv) efficient control tools are still valid. The large increase in human population imposes additional challenges for agricultural industries, such as reducing environmental damage and contamination of soil and water resources.

This Special Issue will focus on “Plant Mineral Nutrition”. Novel research, reviews and opinion pieces, covering all related topics, including mechanisms of plant responses to nutrient deficiency and toxicity, soil and foliar nutrient application, soil chemistry, methods of soil and plant analyses, interrelationships between microorganism activity and soil nutrient availability, environmental risks induced by fertilization, management solutions, modelling, case studies from the field, and policy positions are welcomed.

Dr. Asher Bar-Tal
Dr. Avner Silber
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. Agronomy 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

  • Fertilization management
  • Fertigation
  • P acquisition
  • NH4/NO3 ratio
  • Micronutrients
  • Soil and plant analyses
  • salinity and nutrients interaction
  • pH
  • oxygen concentration
  • redox potential
  • rhizosphere
  • plant and microorganisms exudates
  • Biostimulants
  • soil fertility
  • soil properties

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Improving High-Latitude Rice Nitrogen Management with the CERES-Rice Crop Model
Agronomy 2018, 8(11), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8110263 (registering DOI)
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 November 2018 / Published: 15 November 2018
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Abstract
Efficient use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is critically important for China’s food security and sustainable development. Crop models have been widely used to analyze yield variability, assist in N prescriptions, and determine optimum N rates. The objectives of this study were to use
[...] Read more.
Efficient use of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is critically important for China’s food security and sustainable development. Crop models have been widely used to analyze yield variability, assist in N prescriptions, and determine optimum N rates. The objectives of this study were to use the CERES-Rice model to simulate the N response of different high-latitude, adapted flooded rice varieties to different types of weather seasons, and to explore different optimum rice N management strategies with the combinations of rice varieties and types of weather seasons. Field experiments conducted for five N rates and three varieties in Northeast China during 2011–2016 were used to calibrate and evaluate the CERES-Rice model. Historical weather data (1960–2014) were classified into three weather types (cool/normal/warm) based on cumulative growing degree days during the normal growing season for rice. After calibrating the CERES-Rice model for three varieties and five N rates, the model gave good simulations for evaluation seasons for top weight (R2 ≥ 0.96), leaf area index (R2 ≥ 0.64), yield (R2 ≥ 0.71), and plant N uptake (R2 ≥ 0.83). The simulated optimum N rates for the combinations of varieties and weather types ranged from 91 to 119 kg N ha−1 over 55 seasons of weather data and were in agreement with the reported values of the region. Five different N management strategies were evaluated based on farmer practice, regional optimum N rates, and optimum N rates simulated for different combinations of varieties and weather season types over 20 seasons of weather data. The simulated optimum N rate, marginal net return, and N partial factor productivity were sensitive to both variety and type of weather year. Based on the simulations, climate warming would favor the selection of the 12-leaf variety, Longjing 21, which would produce higher yield and marginal returns than the 11-leaf varieties under all the management strategies evaluated. The 12-leaf variety with a longer growing season and higher yield potential would require higher N rates than the 11-leaf varieties. In summary, under warm weather conditions, all the rice varieties would produce higher yield, and thus require higher rates of N fertilizers. Based on simulation results using the past 20 years of weather data, variety-specific N management was a practical strategy to improve N management and N partial factor productivity compared with farmer practice and regional optimum N management in the study region. The CERES-Rice crop growth model can be a useful tool to help farmers select suitable precision N management strategies to improve N-use efficiency and economic returns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Soil Type-Dependent Interactions of P-Solubilizing Microorganisms with Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers Mediate Plant Growth Promotion in Tomato
Agronomy 2018, 8(10), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8100213
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 14 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
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Abstract
The use of plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) as bio-effectors (BEs) to improve the nutrient acquisition of crops has a long history. However, limited reproducibility of the expected effects still remains a major challenge for practical applications. Based on the hypothesis that the expression
[...] Read more.
The use of plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) as bio-effectors (BEs) to improve the nutrient acquisition of crops has a long history. However, limited reproducibility of the expected effects still remains a major challenge for practical applications. Based on the hypothesis that the expression of PGPM effects depends on soil type and the properties of the applied fertilizers, in this study, the performance of selected microbial inoculants was investigated for two contrasting low-fertility soils supplied with different organic and inorganic fertilizers. Greenhouse experiments were conducted with tomato on an alkaline sandy loam of pH 7.8 and an acidic loamy sand of pH 5.6 with limited phosphate (P) availability. Municipal waste compost, with and without poultry manure (PM), rock phosphate (RP), stabilized ammonium, and mineral nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) fertilization were tested as fertilizer variants. Selected strains of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (Priest et al. 1987) Borriss et al. 2011 (FZB42) and Trichoderma harzianum Rifai (OMG16) with proven plant growth-promoting potential were used as inoculants. On both soils, P was identified as a major limiting nutrient. Microbial inoculation selectively increased the P utilization in the PM-compost variants by 116% and 56% on the alkaline and acidic soil, while RP utilization was increased by 24%. This was associated with significantly increased shoot biomass production by 37–42%. Plant growth promotion coincided with a corresponding stimulation of root growth, suggesting improved spatial acquisition of soluble soil P fractions, associated also with improved acquisition of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), and calcium (Ca). There was no indication for mobilization of sparingly soluble Ca phosphates via rhizosphere acidification on the alkaline soil, and only mineral NPK fertilization reached a sufficient P status and maximum biomass production. However, on the moderately acidic soil, FZB42 significantly stimulated plant growth of the variants supplied with Ca–P in the form of RP + stabilized ammonium and PM compost, which was equivalent to NPK fertilization; however, the P nutritional status was sufficient only in the RP and NPK variants. The results suggest that successful application of microbial biofertilizers requires more targeted application strategies, considering the soil properties and compatible fertilizer combinations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Phosphorus and Nitrogen Yield Response Models for Dynamic Bio-Economic Optimization: An Empirical Approach
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 31 March 2018
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Abstract
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are both essential plant nutrients. However, their joint response to plant growth is seldom described by models. This study provides an approach for modeling the joint impact of inorganic N and P fertilization on crop production, considering the
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Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are both essential plant nutrients. However, their joint response to plant growth is seldom described by models. This study provides an approach for modeling the joint impact of inorganic N and P fertilization on crop production, considering the P supplied by the soil, which was approximated using the soil test P (STP). We developed yield response models for Finnish spring barley crops (Hordeum vulgare L.) for clay and coarse-textured soils by using existing extensive experimental datasets and nonlinear estimation techniques. Model selection was based on iterative elimination from a wide diversity of plausible model formulations. The Cobb−Douglas type model specification, consisting of multiplicative elements, performed well against independent validation data, suggesting that the key relationships that determine crop responses are captured by the models. The estimated models were extended to dynamic economic optimization of fertilization inputs. According to the results, a fair STP level should be maintained on both coarse-textured soils (9.9 mg L−1 a−1) and clay soils (3.9 mg L−1 a−1). For coarse soils, a higher steady-state P fertilization rate is required (21.7 kg ha−1 a−1) compared with clay soils (6.75 kg ha−1 a−1). The steady-state N fertilization rate was slightly higher for clay soils (102.4 kg ha−1 a−1) than for coarse soils (95.8 kg ha−1 a−1). This study shows that the iterative elimination of plausible functional forms is a suitable method for reducing the effects of structural uncertainty on model output and optimal fertilization decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Similarities and Differences in the Acquisition of Fe and P by Dicot Plants
Agronomy 2018, 8(8), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8080148
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
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Abstract
This review deals with two essential plant mineral nutrients, iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P); the acquisition of both has important environmental and economic implications. Both elements are abundant in soils but are scarcely available to plants. To prevent deficiency, dicot plants develop physiological
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This review deals with two essential plant mineral nutrients, iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P); the acquisition of both has important environmental and economic implications. Both elements are abundant in soils but are scarcely available to plants. To prevent deficiency, dicot plants develop physiological and morphological responses in their roots to specifically acquire Fe or P. Hormones and signalling substances, like ethylene, auxin and nitric oxide (NO), are involved in the activation of nutrient-deficiency responses. The existence of common inducers suggests that they must act in conjunction with nutrient-specific signals in order to develop nutrient-specific deficiency responses. There is evidence suggesting that P- or Fe-related phloem signals could interact with ethylene and NO to confer specificity to the responses to Fe- or P-deficiency, avoiding their induction when ethylene and NO increase due to other nutrient deficiency or stress. The mechanisms responsible for such interaction are not clearly determined, and thus, the regulatory networks that allow or prevent cross talk between P and Fe deficiency responses remain obscure. Here, fragmented information is drawn together to provide a clearer overview of the mechanisms and molecular players involved in the regulation of the responses to Fe or P deficiency and their interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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Open AccessReview A Case Study of Potential Reasons of Increased Soil Phosphorus Levels in the Northeast United States
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3035 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent phosphorus (P) pollution in the United States, mainly in Maine, has raised some severe concerns over the use of P fertilizer application rates in agriculture. Phosphorus is the second most limiting nutrient after nitrogen and has damaging impacts on crop yield if
[...] Read more.
Recent phosphorus (P) pollution in the United States, mainly in Maine, has raised some severe concerns over the use of P fertilizer application rates in agriculture. Phosphorus is the second most limiting nutrient after nitrogen and has damaging impacts on crop yield if found to be deficient. Therefore, farmers tend to apply more P than is required to satisfy any P loss after its application at planting. Several important questions were raised in this study to improve P efficiency and reduce its pollution. The objective of this study was to find potential reasons for P pollution in water bodies despite a decrease in potato acreage. Historically, the potato was found to be responsible for P water contamination due to its high P sensitivity and low P removal (25–30 kg ha−1) from the soil. Despite University of Maine recommended rate of 56 kg ha−1 P, if soil tests reveal that P is below 50 kg ha−1, growers tend to apply P fertilizer at the rate of 182 kg ha−1 to compensate for any loss. The second key reason for excessive P application is its tendency to get fixed by aluminum (Al) in the soil. Soil sampling data from UMaine Soil Testing Laboratory confirmed that in Maine reactive Al levels have remained high over the last ten years and are increasing further. Likewise, P application to non-responsive sites, soil variability, pH change, and soil testing methods were found to be other possible reasons that might have led to increases in soil P levels resulting in P erosion to water streams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Mineral Nutrition: Principles and Perspectives)
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