Special Issue "Soil Science, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 March 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Rui Manuel Almeida Machado
Website
Guest Editor
MED – Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development - Departamento de Fitotecnia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
Interests: Vegetable crops; vegetable production systems; greenhouse and open-field systems; fertigation; root dynamics; salinity; organic fertilization and soilless cultivation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water and nitrogen management have a decisive impact on plant growth and the quality of horticultural crops and nitrate contamination of the waters. Thus, improving the sustainability of the water and nitrogen application to horticultural crops without compromising the yield is a priority and a challenge. In irrigated crops, the integrated management of the water quantity and quality (irrigation scheduling and methods, water-saving strategies, etc.) and nitrogen fertilization (inorganic and organic) (amount supply, form and ratio, method of application, etc.) may be the first step to increase water productivity and nitrogen use efficiency, contributing to reduce nitrogen fertilizer application, the levels of nitrate in irrigation water, and nitrate leaching. This Special Issue will examine recent advances in horticultural practices and strategies that integrate the soil, water, and nitrates that can contribute to increased water and nitrogen use efficiency and reduce nitrate leaching.

Dr. Rui Manuel Almeida Machado
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

  • Water quality
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrogen form
  • Nitrogen use efficiency
  • Organic composts
  • Fertigation
  • Water productivity
  • Evaporation-saving strategies
  • Mulching

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Valorization of Spent Coffee Grounds, Biochar and other residues to Produce Lightweight Clay Ceramic Aggregates Suitable for Nursery Grapevine Production
Horticulturae 2020, 6(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6040058 - 23 Sep 2020
Abstract
The valorization of agro-industrial by-products is one of the key strategies to improve agricultural sustainability. In the present study, spent coffee grounds and biochar were used as pore forming agents in the realization of lightweight clay ceramic aggregates that were used as sustainable [...] Read more.
The valorization of agro-industrial by-products is one of the key strategies to improve agricultural sustainability. In the present study, spent coffee grounds and biochar were used as pore forming agents in the realization of lightweight clay ceramic aggregates that were used as sustainable fertilizers, in addition to tailored glass fertilizer containing phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) synthetic fertilizer, for nursery grapevine production. The obtained fertilizers were assessed in a pot experiment for the fertilization of bare-rooted vines. Unfertilized (T0) and fertilized plants (T1, using NPK-containing commercial fertilizer) were used as controls. Plants fertilized by spent coffee grounds and spent coffee grounds + biochar-containing lightweight aggregates and added with 30 wt% of the above-mentioned glass and N fertilizers (T2 and T3, respectively) recorded higher values of plant height, shoot diameter, leaf and node numbers. Moreover, T2 treatment induced the highest chlorophyll content, shoot and root dry weights. The present study shows that lightweight clay ceramic aggregates containing spent coffee grounds and glass and N fertilizers can be used for nursery grapevine production, in turn improving the agricultural sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trichoderma spp. and Mulching Films Differentially Boost Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects of Greenhouse Lettuce under Diverse N Conditions
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030055 - 04 Sep 2020
Abstract
The global increasing demand of lettuce is pushing farmers to boost their production through several technical means, including mulching and nitrogen fertilization. However, from an environmental protection perspective, the role of scientific research is to limit the excessive use of some chemical approaches. [...] Read more.
The global increasing demand of lettuce is pushing farmers to boost their production through several technical means, including mulching and nitrogen fertilization. However, from an environmental protection perspective, the role of scientific research is to limit the excessive use of some chemical approaches. This research aims to evaluate the possible effects of two mulching films (black polyethylene, PE, and brown photoselective film, BF) and two treatments with a plant growth-promoting product, containing Trichoderma spp., (non-treated, - Control and treated with RYZO PEP UP, - TR), on the productive and qualitative traits of lettuce grown under four regimes of nitrogen (0, 30, 60 and 90 kg ha−1, N0, N30, N60, and N90, respectively). The marketable yield increased at higher nitrogen levels, but without differences between the N60 and N90 doses. The photoselective film elicited marketable yield, with an 8% increase over PE. N fertilization also improved photochemical efficiency (higher Soil Plant Analysis Development and chlorophyllous pigments biosynthesis), as well as antioxidant activities (lipophilic—LAA and hydrophilic—HAA) and bioactive compounds (phenols and total ascorbic acid—TAA). Interestingly, Trichoderma spp. had a positive effect on these qualitative parameters, especially when combined with mulching films, where the increase generated by PE-TR treatment over the all other treatments was 16.3% and 16.8% for LAA and HHA, respectively. In all treatments, the nitrate leaves content was consistently always within the legal limit imposed by the European community. Overall, although Trichoderma spp. did not engender a marked effect on yield, probably due to the short crop cycle, its positive effect on some quality traits is an interesting starting point for further research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Altered Carbohydrate Allocation Due to Soil Water Deficit Affects Summertime Flowering in Meiwa Kumquat Trees
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030049 - 26 Aug 2020
Abstract
The summertime flowers of the ever-flowering Meiwa kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) are the most useful for fruit production in Japan; however, summertime flowers bloom in three or four successive waves at approximately 10 day intervals, resulting in fruit of different maturity occurring [...] Read more.
The summertime flowers of the ever-flowering Meiwa kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) are the most useful for fruit production in Japan; however, summertime flowers bloom in three or four successive waves at approximately 10 day intervals, resulting in fruit of different maturity occurring on the same tree. Soil water deficit (SWD) treatment has been shown to reduce the flowering frequency and improve harvest efficiency; therefore, in this study, the effects of SWD treatment on the accumulation of soluble sugars in each tree organ above-ground were examined and it was discussed how SWD affects the whole-tree water relations and sugar accumulation by osmoregulation. The number of first-flush summertime flowers was higher in SWD-treated trees than non-treated control (CONT) trees (177.0 and 58.0 flowers, respectively), whereas the second- and third-flush flowers were only observed in CONT trees. The soluble sugar content was higher in SWD treated trees than CONT trees for all organs and tended to be higher in current-year organs than previous-year organs; however, when the sugar content of the current-year spring stems exceeded approximately 100 mg g−1 dry weight, the current-year leaf water potential decreased sharply and the rate of increase in the number of first-flush flowers also tended to decrease. SWD treatment significantly increased the total sugar content of the xylem tissue of the scaffold branches to three times the value in CONT trees (p = 0.001); however, the increase was observed even in sucrose, a disaccharide, similar to that in monosaccharides such as glucose and fructose. These results suggest that the increased sugar levels in the xylem tissue resulted from not only osmoregulation but also other factors as well; therefore, these sugars may affect whole-tree water relations as well as the development of flower buds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Deficit Irrigation and Arbuscular Mycorrhiza as a Water-Saving Strategy for Eggplant Production
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030045 - 11 Aug 2020
Abstract
Crop production in arid regions requires continuous irrigation to fulfill water demand throughout the growing season. Agronomic measures, such as roots-soil microorganisms, including arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, have emerged in recent years to overcome soil constraints and improve water use efficiency (WUE). Eggplant [...] Read more.
Crop production in arid regions requires continuous irrigation to fulfill water demand throughout the growing season. Agronomic measures, such as roots-soil microorganisms, including arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, have emerged in recent years to overcome soil constraints and improve water use efficiency (WUE). Eggplant plants were exposed to varying water stress under inoculated (AM+) and non-inoculated (AM−) to evaluate yield performance along with plant physiological status. Plants grown under full irrigation resulted in the highest fruit yield, and there were significant reductions in total yield and yield components when applying less water. The decline in fruit yield was due to the reduction in the number of fruits rather than the weight of the fruit per plant. AM+ plants showed more favorable growth conditions, which translated into better crop yield, total dry biomass, and number of fruits under all irrigation treatments. The fruit yield did not differ between full irrigation and 80% evapotranspiration (ET) restoration with AM+, but a 20% reduction in irrigation water was achieved. Water use efficiency (WUE) was negatively affected by deficit irrigation, particularly at 40% ET, when the water deficit severely depressed fruit yield. Yield response factor (Ky) showed a lower tolerance with a value higher than 1, with a persistent drop in WUE suggesting a lower tolerance to water deficits. The (Ky) factor was relatively lower with AM+ than with AM− for the total fruit yield and dry biomass (Kss), indicating that AM may enhance the drought tolerance of the crop. Plants with AM+ had a higher uptake of N and P in shoots and fruits, higher stomatal conductance (gs), and higher photosynthetic rates (Pn), regardless of drought severity. Soil with AM+ had higher extractable N, P, and organic carbon (OC), indicating an improvement of the fertility status in coping with a limited water supply. Full article
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