Special Issue "Feature Papers in Horticulturae"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Douglas D. Archbold
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Horticulture, University of Kentucky, N318 Agricultural Sciences North, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
Interests: fruit set and development, polyol metabolism, ripening and senescence, aroma volatiles
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For this Special Issue of ‘Feature Papers in Horticulturae’, high-quality mini-reviews, reviews, and original papers on select topics in the research areas of our Editorial Board members are being sought. The goal of this SI is to highlight, through selected works, frontier research in basic to applied horticulture. Horticultural research at the plant level has been undergoing fundamental changes to improve crop plants due to the emergence of new biochemical and molecular techniques. In addition, integration of new technologies with the desire to develop more sustainable production systems has also spurred production level research. We encourage Editorial Board members of Horticulturae to contribute papers reflecting the latest progress as well as new opportunities in their research field, or to identify and/or invite relevant experts and colleagues to contribute. In addition, contributed manuscripts from those not on the Editorial Board are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Douglas D. Archbold
Guest Editor

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. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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

  • genomics
  • metabolomics
  • genome editing
  • protected culture
  • sustainable systems
  • precision agriculture
  • digital technologies
  • robotics

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Stem Branching of Cycad Plants Informs Horticulture and Conservation Decisions
Horticulturae 2020, 6(4), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6040065 - 08 Oct 2020
Abstract
The number of branches in male and female plants of Cycas micronesica K.D. Hill, Cycas edentata de Laub., Cycas wadei Merr., and Zamia encephalartoides D.W. Stev. were counted in Guam, Philippines, and Colombia, to confirm earlier reports that female plants develop fewer branches [...] Read more.
The number of branches in male and female plants of Cycas micronesica K.D. Hill, Cycas edentata de Laub., Cycas wadei Merr., and Zamia encephalartoides D.W. Stev. were counted in Guam, Philippines, and Colombia, to confirm earlier reports that female plants develop fewer branches than males. Cycas plants produce determinate male strobili and indeterminate female strobili, but Zamia plants produce determinate strobili for both sexes. More than 80% of the female trees for each of the Cycas species were unbranched with a single stem, but more than 80% of the male trees exhibited two or more branches. The mean number of branches on male plants was more than double that of female plants. The number of branches of the Zamia male plants was almost triple that of female plants. Moreover, the Zamia plants produced 2.8-fold greater numbers of branches than the mean of the Cycas plants. Most of Guam’s unsexed C. micronesica trees in 2004 were unbranched, but after 15 years of damage from non-native insect herbivores, most of the remaining live trees in 2020 contained three or more branches. The results confirm that male Cycas and Zamia plants produce more branches than female plants and suggest cycad species with determinate female strobili produce more branches on female plants than species with indeterminate female strobili. Our results indicate that the years of plant mortality on Guam due to non-native insect herbivores have selectively killed more female C. micronesica trees. Horticulture and conservation decisions may be improved with this sexual dimorphism knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical Crop Load Management (CLM) Improves Fruit Quality and Reduces Fruit Drop and Alternate Bearing in European Plum (Prunus domestica L.)
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030052 - 02 Sep 2020
Abstract
(1) Background: With ca. 10 million tons of annual production worldwide, the plum (Prunus ssp.) ranks as a major fruit crop and can suffer from small fruit size, premature fruit drop and alternate bearing, which are addressed in this paper using [...] Read more.
(1) Background: With ca. 10 million tons of annual production worldwide, the plum (Prunus ssp.) ranks as a major fruit crop and can suffer from small fruit size, premature fruit drop and alternate bearing, which are addressed in this paper using a range of crop load management (CLM) tools. (2) Methods: Sixty 10-year-old European plum cv. “Ortenauer” trees on dwarfing St. Julien INRA GF 655/2 rootstock (slender spindle; 4.25 × 2.80 m) in a commercial orchard near Bonn (50°N), Germany, were thinned in 2 years and flower intensity assessed in the following year. Thinning was performed either mechanically (type Bonn/Baum) or chemically, with ATS (ammonium thiosulfate) or ethephon (Flordimex), or by a combination of mechanical and chemical methods, to improve fruit quality and the proportion of Class 1 fruit. Adjacent un-thinned trees served as controls. (3) Results: Natural fruit drop in June was reduced from 290 fruits per tree in the un-thinned controls to 265 fruits after ATS blossom treatment, and to 148 fruits after mechanical thinning at 380 rpm at a 5 km/h tractor speed at full bloom. The un-thinned control trees developed a large number of small, undersized fruits. The yield of Class 1 fruits increased per tree from 47% in the un-thinned controls, up to 69% after crop load management. Sugar content and fruit firmness were unaffected. (4) Conclusions: The study has shown that fruit quality (i.e., fruit size) and financial returns could be improved by either mechanical (380 rpm at 5 km/h) or chemical thinning, or a combination of both. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessArticle
Rapid In Vitro Multiplication of Non-Runnering Fragaria vesca Genotypes from Seedling Shoot Axillary Bud Explants
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030051 - 01 Sep 2020
Abstract
Fragaria vesca L. has become a model species for genomic studies relevant to important crop plant species in the Rosaceae family, but generating large numbers of plants from non-runner-producing genotypes is slow. To develop a protocol for the rapid generation of plants, leaf [...] Read more.
Fragaria vesca L. has become a model species for genomic studies relevant to important crop plant species in the Rosaceae family, but generating large numbers of plants from non-runner-producing genotypes is slow. To develop a protocol for the rapid generation of plants, leaf explants were compared to single axillary bud shoot explants, both from in vitro-grown Fragaria vesca seedlings, as sources of shoots for new plant production in response to benzyladenine (BA) or thidiazuron (TDZ) combined with indolebutyric acid (IBA) on Murashige and Skoog’s Basal Salt (MS) medium. BA at 2.0 and 4.0 mg L−1 and TDZ at 1.5 mg L−1 promoted the greatest number of shoots produced per shoot explant. There were no IBA effects or IBA interactions with BA or TDZ. Significant interactions between BA and IBA, but not TDZ and IBA, occurred in leaf explant callus formation and % explants with callus at 6 and 9 weeks of culture and on shoots per leaf explant at 9 weeks. TDZ treatments produced uniformly high levels of callus but low numbers of shoots. The treatment generating the most shoot production was BA at 4.0 mg L−1 plus IBA at 0.50 mg L−1. After 9 weeks of culture, leaf explants of the non-runner-producing genotype Baron Solemacher had generated 4.6 shoots per explant with the best treatment, while axillary bud explants had generated 30.8 shoots with the best treatment. Thus, in vitro culture of shoot axillary bud explants can generate high numbers of clonal shoots from a single seedling plant in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessArticle
An Appraisal of Biodegradable Mulch Films with Respect to Strawberry Crop Performance and Fruit Quality
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030048 - 21 Aug 2020
Abstract
Fragaria × ananassa is a fruit grown all over the world, appreciated for its organoleptic and nutraceutical properties. Together with other berry fruits, it is rich in bioactive molecules that make it a beneficial fruit for human health. However, strawberry cultivation is influenced [...] Read more.
Fragaria × ananassa is a fruit grown all over the world, appreciated for its organoleptic and nutraceutical properties. Together with other berry fruits, it is rich in bioactive molecules that make it a beneficial fruit for human health. However, strawberry cultivation is influenced by pre- and post-harvest factors. Being a small plant, its fruit comes into direct contact with the soil and, as such, can quickly decompose. To reduce this inconvenience, farmers have used different strategies to mulch the soil, and the most useful method is polyethylene mulch films that are not biodegradable. The focus on environmentally sustainable agriculture can be represented by a transition to biodegradable mulch films. In our study, ten biodegradable mulch films were used to understand their effectiveness in covering the soil during the cultivation cycle of strawberry cv. Rociera. Polyethylene film was considered the control. The best yield and the highest number of fruits with greatest size and quality were obtained on polyethylene, BioFlex® (P2), Bio 6, and Bio 7 films. On BioFlex® (P2) and Bio 3 biodegradable films, strawberries showed a higher calcium and magnesium content, respectively. These results may encourage growers toward the use of eco-sustainable agricultural practices, such as biodegradable mulch films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
Open AccessArticle
Plant Extract Treatments Induce Resistance to Bacterial Spot by Tomato Plants for a Sustainable System
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020036 - 22 Jun 2020
Abstract
The aim of this study is to assess the effect of extracts of Nerium oleander, Eucalyptus chamadulonsis and Citrullus colocynthis against bacterial spot disease of tomato and to investigate the induction of resistance by tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in order to [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to assess the effect of extracts of Nerium oleander, Eucalyptus chamadulonsis and Citrullus colocynthis against bacterial spot disease of tomato and to investigate the induction of resistance by tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in order to promote a sustainable management system. The antibacterial activity of aqueous and ethanol plant extracts was tested against Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria, isolate PHYXV3, in vitro and in vivo. The highest antibacterial activity in vitro was obtained with C. colocynthis, N. oleander and E. chamadulonsis, respectively. In vivo, ethanol extracts of N. oleander and E. chamadulonsis were more effective than aqueous extracts in reducing pathogen populations on tomato leaves. Under greenhouse conditions, application of the plant extracts at 15% (v/v) to tomato plants significantly reduced disease severity and increased the shoot weight of ‘Super Marmande’ tomato. In most cases, plant extracts significantly increased total phenol and salicylic acid content of tomato plants compared to either healthy or infected ones. In addition, C. colocynthis and E. chamadulonsis extracts significantly increased peroxidase activity while only E. chamadulonsis increased polyphenol oxidase after infection with the causal agent. The results indicated that the plant extracts showed promising antibacterial activity and could be considered an effective tool in integrated management programs for a sustainable system of tomato bacterial spot control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessArticle
Tomato Breeding for Sustainable Crop Systems: High Levels of Zingiberene Providing Resistance to Multiple Arthropods
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020034 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In sustainable cropping systems, the management of herbivorous arthropods is a challenge for the high performance of the tomato crop. One way to reduce the damage caused by these pests is the use of resistant cultivars within a sustainable integrated management system. The [...] Read more.
In sustainable cropping systems, the management of herbivorous arthropods is a challenge for the high performance of the tomato crop. One way to reduce the damage caused by these pests is the use of resistant cultivars within a sustainable integrated management system. The host selection of Tetranychus urticae, Bemisia tabaci, and Tuta absoluta was evaluated, characterizing their preference among the tomato genotypes RVTZ2011-79-503-143, RVTZ2011-79-335-164, RVTZ2011-79-185-250 (high zingiberene content—HZC), and RVTZ2011-79-117-273 (low zingiberene content—LZC). Such genotypes were selected in the F2BC2 generation (the F2 generation of the 2th backcross towards Solanum lycopersicum after the inicial interspecific cross S. lycopersicum × S. habrochaites var. hirsutum), resulting from crossing Solanum habrochaites var. hirsutum PI-127826 (HZC and resistant to mites) and the commercial cv. Redenção (S. lycopersicum) (LZC and susceptible to mites). In choice and no-choice bioassays by T. urticae, and in choice bioassays by B. tabaci and T. absoluta, arthropods preferred to stay and oviposit in an LZC genotype. In contrast, genotypes with HZC showed repellency to pests and induced a non-preference for oviposition. The F2BC2 genotypes selected for HZC are considered sources of resistance genes to these pests for tomato breeding programs, and therefore have excellent potential for sustainable cropping systems. These results represent an advance in obtaining tomato genetic materials which can be used in sustainable production systems with less loss from pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Strategic Approach to Value Chain Upgrading—Adopting Innovations and Their Impacts on Farm Households in Tanzania
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020032 - 02 Jun 2020
Abstract
The level of agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa remains far below the global average. This is partly due to the scarce use of production- and process-enhancing technologies. This study aims to explore the driving forces and effects of adopting innovative agricultural technologies in [...] Read more.
The level of agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa remains far below the global average. This is partly due to the scarce use of production- and process-enhancing technologies. This study aims to explore the driving forces and effects of adopting innovative agricultural technologies in food value chains (FVC). These enhancing FVC technologies are referred to as upgrading strategies (UPS) and are designed to improve specific aspects of crop production, postharvest processing, market interaction, and consumption. Based on cross-sectional data collected from 820 Tanzanian farm households, this study utilized the adaptive lasso to analyse the determinants of UPS. To measure the impact of their adoption on well-being, this study applied the propensity score matching approach (PSM). Results from the adaptive lasso suggested that access to credit, experience of environmental shocks and social capital were the main drivers of UPS adoption. In contrast, the engagement in off-farm wage employment impeded adoption. The results from the PSM suggested that UPS adoption has a positive and significant impact on well-being among sampled households, especially with respect to their total value of durable goods and commercialization. The paper suggests that the promotion of social capital and access to financial capital is pivotal in enhancing the adoption of innovative UPS in the farming sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Premature Apple Fruit Drop: Associated Fungal Species and Attempted Management Solutions
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020031 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The aim of this research was to determine the incidence and possible causal pathogen(s) of premature apple fruit drop (PAFD), and also to assess some fungicides for controlling the disease organisms, in order to promote a sustainable system in orchards. The prevalence and [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to determine the incidence and possible causal pathogen(s) of premature apple fruit drop (PAFD), and also to assess some fungicides for controlling the disease organisms, in order to promote a sustainable system in orchards. The prevalence and natural incidence of apple fruit drop in cv. Anna was assessed during the 2017–2018 growing seasons in Nubaria and Cairo–Alexandria regions, Egypt. Phytopathogenic fungi were isolated from dropped fruit, and four fungicides, pyraclostrobin + boscalid, difenoconazole, carbendazim, and thiophanate methyl, were tested against the diseases in vitro and under naturally occurring infections in the field. Several phytopathogenic fungi, including Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Fusarium semitectum, and Penicillium spp., were associated with apple fruit drop. A. alternata was the most frequently isolated fungus occurring during the investigation. Pathogenicity tests confirmed that the maximum percentage of apple fruit drop was noted when petioles and fruits were inoculated with mixed fungal pathogens using branch sections with fruit. In vitro tests showed that the fungicides had a variable effect against the fungal isolates depending on the concentration used. All fungicides completely inhibited the growth of A. alternata, C. cladosporioides, and F. semitectum at 400 mg·L−1. Under naturally occurring infections, thiophanate methyl applied at fruit set had the greatest effect (81.68%) against PAFD, followed by difenoconazole (73.76%), pyraclostrobin + boscalid (70.29%), and carbendazim (66.34%). The results indicated that PAFD may in part be a result of diseases caused by certain phytopathogenic fungi, which could be controlled using a number of fungicides applied at the beginning of fruit set. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Sulphur Dioxide Pads Can Reduce Gray Mold While Maintaining the Quality of Clamshell-Packaged ‘BRS Nubia’ Seeded Table Grapes Grown under Protected Cultivation
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020020 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to test the efficacy of different types of SO2-generating pads on the incidence of gray mold, and on the physicochemical properties of quality of ‘BRS Nubia’ seeded table grapes grown under protected cultivation. Four types [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research is to test the efficacy of different types of SO2-generating pads on the incidence of gray mold, and on the physicochemical properties of quality of ‘BRS Nubia’ seeded table grapes grown under protected cultivation. Four types of SO2-generating pads, 5 or 8 g of sodium metabisulfite dual release pads, and 4 or 7 g of sodium metabisulfite slow release pads, were used. Grapes bunches were harvested from a vineyard covered with plastic mash and stored in a cold room at 1 ± 1 °C for 45 days followed by 6 days of shelf life at 22 ± 1 °C at a high relative humidity (>95%). The results showed that SO2-generating pads with a dual release of 5 or 8 g completely inhibited the development of gray mold at all evaluation times. Also, a high reduction of the disease incidence was achieved by using a slow release of 4 g. The study confirmed that SO2-generating pads did not alter the physicochemical properties of ‘BRS Nubia’ seeded table grapes including mass loss, berry firmness, color index, total anthocyanin concentration, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), and the TSS/TA ratio. Slow release pads at 4 and 7 g reduced the percentage of shattered berries by 56 and 48% as compared to control only after 6 days of shelf life. Also, all types of SO2-generating pads reduced the stem browning score at the end of cold storage. The 5 or 8 g dual release pads and 4 g slow release pads can be considered for effective controlling of gray mold for ‘BRS Nubia’ table grapes grown under protected cultivation while maintaining grape quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Seed Geometry in the Arecaceae
Horticulturae 2020, 6(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6040064 - 07 Oct 2020
Abstract
Fruit and seed shape are important characteristics in taxonomy providing information on ecological, nutritional, and developmental aspects, but their application requires quantification. We propose a method for seed shape quantification based on the comparison of the bi-dimensional images of the seeds with geometric [...] Read more.
Fruit and seed shape are important characteristics in taxonomy providing information on ecological, nutritional, and developmental aspects, but their application requires quantification. We propose a method for seed shape quantification based on the comparison of the bi-dimensional images of the seeds with geometric figures. J index is the percent of similarity of a seed image with a figure taken as a model. Models in shape quantification include geometrical figures (circle, ellipse, oval…) and their derivatives, as well as other figures obtained as geometric representations of algebraic equations. The analysis is based on three sources: Published work, images available on the Internet, and seeds collected or stored in our collections. Some of the models here described are applied for the first time in seed morphology, like the superellipses, a group of bidimensional figures that represent well seed shape in species of the Calamoideae and Phoenix canariensis Hort. ex Chabaud. Oval models are proposed for Chamaedorea pauciflora Mart. and cardioid-based models for Trachycarpus fortunei (Hook.) H. Wendl. Diversity of seed shape in the Arecaceae makes this family a good model system to study the application of geometric models in morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Potential of Introduction of Asian Vegetables in Europe
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030038 - 03 Jul 2020
Abstract
Increasing longevity, along with an aging population in Europe, has caused serious concerns about diet-related chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. As recently noted during the coronavirus pandemic, regular exercise and a robust immune system complemented by adequate [...] Read more.
Increasing longevity, along with an aging population in Europe, has caused serious concerns about diet-related chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. As recently noted during the coronavirus pandemic, regular exercise and a robust immune system complemented by adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables are recommended due to their known health benefits. Although the volume of fresh vegetable consumption in the EU is barely growing, demand for diversified, nutritious, and exotic vegetables has been increasing. Therefore, the European market for fresh Asian vegetables is expected to expand across the EU member states, and the introduction of new vegetables has enormous potential. We conducted this review to address the high number and wide range of Asian vegetable species with a commercial potential for introduction into the current European vegetable market. Many of them have not received any attention yet. Four Asian vegetables: (1) Korean ginseng sprout, (2) Korean cabbage, (3) Coastal hog fennel and (4) Japanese (Chinese or Korean) angelica tree, are further discussed. All of these vegetables possess several health benefits, are increasingly in demand, are easy to cultivate, and align with current trends of the European vegetable market, e.g., vegetables having a unique taste, higher value, are decorative and small. Introducing Asian vegetables will enhance the diversity of nutritious horticultural products in Europe, associated with all their respective consumption benefits. Future research on the Asian vegetable market within Europe is needed. In addition, experimental studies of Asian vegetables under practical conditions for their production in different European environments are required. Economic, social, and ecological aspects also ought to be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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Open AccessReview
Biochar—A Panacea for Agriculture or Just Carbon?
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030037 - 03 Jul 2020
Abstract
The sustainable production of food faces formidable challenges. Foremost is the availability of arable soils, which have been ravaged by the overuse of fertilizers and detrimental soil management techniques. The maintenance of soil quality and reclamation of marginal soils are urgent priorities. The [...] Read more.
The sustainable production of food faces formidable challenges. Foremost is the availability of arable soils, which have been ravaged by the overuse of fertilizers and detrimental soil management techniques. The maintenance of soil quality and reclamation of marginal soils are urgent priorities. The use of biochar, a carbon-rich, porous material thought to improve various soil properties, is gaining interest. Biochar (BC) is produced through the thermochemical decomposition of organic matter in a process known as pyrolysis. Importantly, the source of organic material, or ‘feedstock’, used in this process and different parameters of pyrolysis determine the chemical and physical properties of biochar. The incorporation of BC impacts soil–water relations and soil health, and it has been shown to have an overall positive impact on crop yield; however, pre-existing physical, chemical, and biological soil properties influence the outcome. The effects of long-term field application of BC and how it influences the soil microcosm also need to be understood. This literature review, including a focused meta-analysis, summarizes the key outcomes of BC studies and identifies critical research areas for future investigations. This knowledge will facilitate the predictable enhancement of crop productivity and meaningful carbon sequestration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Horticulturae)
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