Special Issue "Horticultural Crop Response to Different Environmental and Nutritional Stress"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 April 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Stefano Marino
Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi del Molise (Italy) · Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences
Interests: agronomy, precision agriculture, crop yield; fertilization; irrigation; remote sensing; horticultural crops; vegetation indices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental conditions and nutritional stress may greatly affect crop performance.

Abiotic stresses such as temperature (cold, heat), water (drought, flooding), irradiance, salinity, nutrients, and heavy metals can strongly affect plant growth dynamics and the yield and quality of horticultural products. Such effects become more and more important in the course of global climate change. Different strategies and techniques can be used to detect, investigate, and mitigate the effects of environmental and nutritional stress. Horticultural crop management is moving toward digitized, precision management through wireless remote-control solutions, but data analysis, although a traditional approach, remains the basis of stress detection and crop management.

This Special Issue intends to summarize the recent progress in agronomic management strategies to detect and reduce environmental and nutritional stress effects on the yield and quality of horticultural crops. Studies focused on these issues are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Stefano Marino
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

  • Crop management;
  • Abiotic stresses;
  • Nutritional stress;
  • Irrigation stress;
  • Wireless sensor networks;
  • Spatial analysis and zoning;
  • Variable-rate technologies;
  • Proximal and remote sensing of soils and crops.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Cucurbita Rootstocks Improve Salt Tolerance of Melon Scions by Inducing Physiological, Biochemical and Nutritional Responses
Horticulturae 2020, 6(4), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6040066 - 14 Oct 2020
Abstract
A hydroponic experiment was conducted to assess whether grafting with Cucurbita rootstocks could improve the salt tolerance of melon scions and to determine the physiological, biochemical, and nutritional responses induced by the rootstocks under salt stress. Two melon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars [...] Read more.
A hydroponic experiment was conducted to assess whether grafting with Cucurbita rootstocks could improve the salt tolerance of melon scions and to determine the physiological, biochemical, and nutritional responses induced by the rootstocks under salt stress. Two melon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars (Citirex and Altinbas) were grafted onto two commercial Cucurbita rootstocks (Kardosa and Nun9075). Plants were grown in aerated nutrient solution under deep water culture (DWC) at two electrical conductivity (EC) levels (control at 1.5 dS m−1 and salt at 8.0 dS m−1). Hydroponic salt stress led to a significant reduction in shoot and root growths, leaf area, photosynthetic activity, and leaf chlorophyll and carotenoid contents of both grafted and nongrafted melons. Susceptible plants responded to salt stress by increasing leaf proline and malondialdehyde (MDA), ion leakage, and leaf Na+ and Cl contents. Statistically significant negative correlations existed between shoot dry biomass production and leaf proline (r = −0.89), leaf MDA (r = −0.85), leaf Na+ (r = −0.90), and leaf (r = 0.63) and root (r = −0.90) ion leakages under salt stress. Nongrafted Citirex tended to be more sensitive to salt stress than Altinbas. The Cucurbita rootstocks (Nun9075 and Kardosa) significantly improved growth and biomass production of grafted melons (scions) by inducing physiological (high leaf area and photosynthesis), biochemical (low leaf proline and MDA), and nutritional (low leaf Na+ and ion leakage and high K+ and Ca++ contents) responses under salt stress. The highest growth performance was exhibited by the Citirex/Nun9075 and Citirex/Kardosa graft combinations. Both Cucurbita cultivars have high rootstock potential for melon, and their significant contributions to salt tolerance were closely associated with inducing physiological and biochemical responses of scions. These traits could be useful for the selection and breeding of salt-tolerant rootstocks for sustainable agriculture in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Gibberellic Acid and Emasculation Treatments on Seed and Fruit Production in the Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) cv. “Gialla”
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030046 - 17 Aug 2020
Abstract
Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. 1768) is cultivated in several dry and semi-dry areas of the world to produce fresh fruit, bioenergy, cosmetics, medicine, and forage. One of the main production constraints is the presence of many seeds within the fruit, [...] Read more.
Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. 1768) is cultivated in several dry and semi-dry areas of the world to produce fresh fruit, bioenergy, cosmetics, medicine, and forage. One of the main production constraints is the presence of many seeds within the fruit, which can negatively influence both the fresh-fruit market price and industrial transformation processes. In this study, different gibberellic acid (GA3) concentrations were tested for their ability to produce well-formed and seedless fruits. Different application methods (injection and spraying) and concentrations of GA3 (0, 100, 200, 250, and 500 ppm) combined with floral-bud emasculation were applied to a commercial plantation in southern Italy to evaluate their effects on the weight, length, and diameter of the fruits, total seed number, hard-coated viable seed number, and seed weight per fruit. The results indicated that the application of 500 ppm GA3 sprayed on emasculated floral buds was the most effective method for reducing seed numbers of prickly pear fruits (−46.0%). The injection method resulted in a very low number of seeds (−50.7%) but produced unmarketable fruit. Observed trends suggest the need to investigate the impact of higher GA3 concentrations and the applicability of a maximum threshold. Further studies are needed to increase our understanding of the physiological effects of the gibberellic acid pathway through productive tissue in terms of organoleptic and fruit quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Water Use and Yield Responses of Chile Pepper Cultivars Irrigated with Brackish Groundwater and Reverse Osmosis Concentrate
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020027 - 06 May 2020
Abstract
Freshwater availability is declining in most of semi-arid and arid regions across the world, including the southwestern United States. The use of marginal quality groundwater has been increasing for sustaining agriculture in these arid regions. Reverse Osmosis (RO) can treat brackish groundwater, but [...] Read more.
Freshwater availability is declining in most of semi-arid and arid regions across the world, including the southwestern United States. The use of marginal quality groundwater has been increasing for sustaining agriculture in these arid regions. Reverse Osmosis (RO) can treat brackish groundwater, but the possibility of using an RO concentrate for irrigation needs further exploration. This greenhouse study evaluates the water use and yield responses of five selected chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) cultivars irrigated with natural brackish groundwater and RO concentrate. The four saline water treatments used for irrigation were tap water with an electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.6 dS m−1 (control), groundwater with EC 3 and 5 dS m−1, and an RO concentrate with EC 8 dS m−1. The evapotranspiration (ET) of all chile pepper cultivars decreased and the leaching fraction (LF) increased, particularly in the 5 dS m−1 and 8 dS m−1 irrigation treatments. Based on the water use efficiency (WUE) of the selected chile pepper cultivars, brackish water with an EC ≤ 3 dS/m could be used for irrigation in scarce freshwater areas while maintaining the appropriate LFs. A piecewise linear function resulted in a threshold soil electrical conductivity (ECe) ranging between 1.0–1.3 dS m−1 for the tested chile pepper cultivars. Both piecewise linear and sigmoid non-linear functions suggested that the yield reductions in chile peppers irrigated with Ca2+ rich brackish groundwater were less than those reported in studies using an NaCl-dominant saline solution. Further research is needed to understand the role of supplementary calcium in improving the salt tolerance of chile peppers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Alterations in the Chemical Composition of Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) as Provoked by Season and Moderately Limited Water Supply in Open Field Cultivation
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020025 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The current use and distribution of agricultural water resources is highly prone to effects of global climate change due to shifting precipitation patterns. The production of vegetable crops in open field cultivation often requires demanding water applications, being impaired in regions where climate [...] Read more.
The current use and distribution of agricultural water resources is highly prone to effects of global climate change due to shifting precipitation patterns. The production of vegetable crops in open field cultivation often requires demanding water applications, being impaired in regions where climate change will increasingly evoke water scarcity. To date, increasingly occurring precipitation-free periods are already leading to moderate water deficits during plant growth, e.g., in southern Europe. Among all vegetable crops, leafy vegetables such as spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) are particularly vulnerable to limited water supply, because leaf expansion is highly dependent on water availability. Besides biomass production, water limitation might also affect the valuable nutritional composition of the produce. Therefore, we investigated the impact of moderately reduced water supply on the chemical composition of spinach, cultivated in the open field in three consecutive years. Two different water supply treatments, full and reduced irrigation, were used in a randomized block design consisting of three sets of six plots each. In the reduced water supply treatment, the total amount of supplied water, including both irrigation and natural precipitation, amounted to 90%, 94% and 96% in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively, of the full, optimal water supply treatment. Spinach grown under limited water supply showed significantly higher fresh biomass-based contents of polyols (e.g., inositol, glycerol), ascorbic acid, potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, zinc and manganese, as well as total flavonoids and carotenoids. Increased dry biomass-based levels were found for total inositol, zinc and manganese, as well as decreased levels for malic acid, fumaric acid, phosphate and chloride. Furthermore, we report a high seasonal variation of several minor phytochemicals, such as single flavonoids. Spinacetin derivatives, spinatoside-glucoside as well as a rather unusual hexuronylated methylenedioxy flavonoid showed highest amounts when grown under relatively low irradiation in autumn. Levels of patuletin derivatives tended to increase under high irradiation conditions during spring. In summary, the chemical composition of spinach was shown to be highly sensitive to moderately reduced water supply and seasonal variation, but the overall nutritional quality of fresh marketable spinach was only marginally affected when considering health-related constituents such as minerals, trace elements, flavonoids and carotenoids. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Container Type and Substrate Affect Root Zone Temperature and Growth of ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020022 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Root zone temperature (RZT) in nursery containers commonly exceeds ambient temperature during the growing season, negatively impacting crop growth and quality. Black nursery containers absorb radiant heat resulting in excessive RZT, yet other types of containers and different substrates can moderate RZT. We [...] Read more.
Root zone temperature (RZT) in nursery containers commonly exceeds ambient temperature during the growing season, negatively impacting crop growth and quality. Black nursery containers absorb radiant heat resulting in excessive RZT, yet other types of containers and different substrates can moderate RZT. We conducted studies in Tennessee and Alabama to evaluate the effects of container type and substrate on RZT and growth of ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae (Thuja standishii × plicata ‘Green Giant’). Trade gallon arborvitae were transplanted into black, white, or air pruning containers filled with pine bark (PB) or 4 PB: 1 peatmoss (v:v) (PB:PM). Plants grown in PB:PM were larger and had greater shoot and root biomass than plants grown in PB, likely due to increased volumetric water content. Plant growth response to container type varied by location, but white containers with PB:PM produced larger plants and greater biomass compared with the other container types. Root zone temperature was greatest in black containers and remained above 38 °C and 46 °C for 15% and 17% longer than white and air pruning containers, respectively. Utilizing light color containers in combination with substrates containing peatmoss can reduce RZT and increase substrate moisture content thus improving crop growth and quality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Non-Leguminous Cover Crops on Yield and Quality of Baby Corn (Zea mays L.) Grown under Subtropical Conditions
Horticulturae 2020, 6(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6020021 - 03 Apr 2020
Abstract
Effects of non-leguminous cover crops and their times of chopping on the yield and quality of no-till baby corn (Zea mays L.) were evaluated during two kharif seasons (May-August in 2014 and 2015) under subtropical climatic conditions of Punjab, India. The experiment [...] Read more.
Effects of non-leguminous cover crops and their times of chopping on the yield and quality of no-till baby corn (Zea mays L.) were evaluated during two kharif seasons (May-August in 2014 and 2015) under subtropical climatic conditions of Punjab, India. The experiment was laid out in a split-plot design with four replications at Punjab Agricultural University’s Research Farm. Three cover crops (pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.), fodder maize (Zea mays L.), and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.)) and the control (no cover crop) were in the main plots and chopping time treatments (25, 35, 45 days after planting (DAP)) in the subplots. During both kharif seasons, the yield (cob and fodder yield) and dry matter accumulation of baby corn following cover crop treatments, especially pearl millet, were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher than the control, and improved with increments in chopping time from 25 to 45 DAP. The effect of cover crops on baby corn quality (i.e., protein, starch, total soluble solids, crude fiber, total solid, and sugar content) did not differ among treatments, while increasing increments in chopping time had a significant effect on the protein and sugar content of baby corn. The use of cover crops and increment in chopping time helped in enhancing topsoil quality, especially available nitrogen; yet, the effect of cover crops and their times of chopping on topsoil organic carbon, phosphorus, and potassium did not differ among treatments. During both seasons, there was no significant interaction between cover crop and time of chopping among treatments with respect to baby corn yield and quality, as well as topsoil quality parameters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Stand Reduction at Different Growth Stages on Yield of Paprika-Type Chile Pepper
Horticulturae 2020, 6(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6010016 - 05 Mar 2020
Abstract
Paprika-type chile (Capsicum annuum L.) crops are susceptible to plant population losses through pest activity, disease, and extreme weather events such as hail storms. This study was conducted to determine the influence of intensity and timing of plant population reductions on the [...] Read more.
Paprika-type chile (Capsicum annuum L.) crops are susceptible to plant population losses through pest activity, disease, and extreme weather events such as hail storms. This study was conducted to determine the influence of intensity and timing of plant population reductions on the final harvested yield of paprika-type chile so that informed decisions can be made regarding continuing or ending a damaged field. Two trials, one per year, were conducted in southern New Mexico. ‘LB-25’, a standard commercial cultivar, was direct seeded on 29 March 2016 and 4 April 2017. Plants were thinned at three different growth stages; early seedling, first bloom, and peak bloom. Plants were thinned to four levels at each phenological stage; 0% stand reduction (control; ~200,000 plants/ha), 60% stand reduction (~82,000 plants/ha), 70% stand reduction (~60,000 plants/ha), and 80% stand reduction (~41,000 plant/ha). In both years, the main effects of stand reduction had a significant impact on harvested yield, emphasizing the percentage of stand reduction has more of an impact on yield than timing in paprika-type red chile. Consistently, an 80% stand reduction in paprika-type chile significantly reduced fresh red chile yield by 26% to 38%. Full article
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