Special Issue "Novel Growing Media, Soilless Culture and Sustainable Agriculture"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Claudio De Pasquale
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Forest Sciences (SAAF), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 13 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: plant biology; soil chemistry; soil science; sustainable agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Leo Sabatino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 5, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: vegetable production; vegetable grafting; soilless cultivation; nutritional and nutraceutical vegetable fruit quality linked to cultivation condition and practices; biofortification of leafy and fruiting vegetable crops, propagation of ornamental plants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Unfavorable conditions for sustainable agriculture, such as decreasing arable land, increasing urbanization, water shortages, and climate change, exert pressure on farmers and may represent a deplored disadvantage for human and environmental health safety. One of the most promising approaches to undertake this challenge is called “sustainable intensification”, which attempts to combine increased production without damaging its supporting ecosystem by following innovative procedures. Examples for this approach are soilless culture systems and combined sustainable growing ecosystems, defined as the cultivation of plants in systems without soil, but instead using growing media characterized by different constituents or stand-alone substrates, which represent fundamental materials for plant growth, development, and yield.

Of all of the organic materials, peat is one of the most used substrate constituents in horticulture and floriculture. Nevertheless, peat is a limited resource with a huge demand, and the extraction of peat bogs determines deleterious environmental impacts. Different organic materials might play an imperative function in decreasing the carbon footprint of the horticultural and floricultural farms by completely or partially replacing peat-based substrates. Also, inorganic substrates might play an important role as support materials in integrated growing closed ecosystems. For instance, coir, wood fiber, and compost are some large-scale organic materials that are already used as an alternative to peat, whereas innovative organic materials, such as waste and digestates, Sphagnum moss, biochars, and hydrochars are still in their examination stage. Thus, increased knowledge on the new materials and relivable closed growing ecosystems used as potential growing media constituents, stand-alone substrates, or innovative growing procedures is crucial in order to improve the environmental sustainability of the horticulture and floriculture sectors.

The general idea of this Special Issue is to afford an international base for revealing the underlying physico-chemical, agronomic, physiological, and ecological mechanisms of the new organic and inorganic materials used as growing media constituents or stand-alone substrates for horticulture and floriculture productions, with the aim of improving their productive, qualitative, and human–environmental health and safety traits. Thus, submissions of research articles, reviews, short notes, and opinion articles reporting novel scientific findings on the aforesaid topics are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Claudio De Pasquale
Dr. Leo Sabatino
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. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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.


  • growing media organic
  • biodynamic
  • sustainable agriculture
  • soilless culture
  • horticulture
  • floriculture

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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