Special Issue "Nutrient Use Efficiency under Optimal and Stressful Conditions of Horticulture Plants"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonio Ferrante
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy
Interests: horticulture; metabolomics; crop physiology of vegetables and floriculture
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Dr. Miguel Guzmán
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, RNM151 Research Group - Agriculture and Environment in Arid Areas, Ciaimbital, Cei A3 Campus of International Excellence in Agri-Food, Almería University, Ctra. Sacramento s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain
Interests: plant nutrition; fertigation; nutrient use efficiency; soilless crops; high-throughput phenotyping; nanofertilizers; agronomic biofortification
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Dr. Roberta Bulgari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Forest, and Food Sciences, DISAFA, Vegetable Crops and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, VEGMAP, University of Turin, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
Interests: horticulture; abiotic stress; biostimulant; soilless cultivation; microgreens; vegetable quality; ornamentals; postharvest quality
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Dr. Stefania Toscano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Catania, Via Valdisavoia, 5 - 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: ornamental plants; abiotic stresses; antioxidant enzymes; biodiversity; product quality; germination; light response
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant growth and development are regulated by the environmental conditions and availability of mineral nutrients. The uptake of mineral elements is regulated from soil properties and rhizosphere conditions. Abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity, high or low temperature, and high or low light conditions affect the assimilation pathway of nutrients in plants. Eco-physiological studies can provide useful information on plant behaviour and adaptability on nutrient use efficiency. Nutrient availability, excess, or deficiency, can activate several physiological and biochemical pathways that are associated with specific transcriptional changes.

Nutrient uptake and assimilation can be improved by specific treatments with enriched bioactive compounds such as biostimulants. The efficacy of these products is particular evident in plant growth under sub-optimal conditions.

Appropriate methodologies used for mineral nutrition studies such as hydroponic systems and nutrient solution managements for improving plant growth are also welcome.

This Special Issue aims to collect reviews and specific studies in order to provide an updated state-of-the-art collection on plant nutrition and performance.

You may choose our Joint Special Issue in Plants.

Prof. Dr. Antonio Ferrante
Dr. Miguel Guzmán Universidad de Almería
Dr. Roberta Bulgari
Dr. Stefania Toscano
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. Horticulturae 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 1600 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

  • Assimilation pathway
  • Nitrogen
  • Soil fertility
  • Eco-physiology
  • Biostimulants
  • Hydroponics
  • Roots biology
  • Photosynthesis
  • Nutrient availability

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Impact of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on Growth, Development and Nutrient Uptake of Tomato
Horticulturae 2021, 7(11), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110509 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 304
Abstract
Elevated carbon dioxide (EC) can increase the growth and development of different C3 fruit crops, which may further increase the nutrient demand by the accumulated biomass. In this context, the current investigation was conceptualized to evaluate the growth performance and nutrient uptake [...] Read more.
Elevated carbon dioxide (EC) can increase the growth and development of different C3 fruit crops, which may further increase the nutrient demand by the accumulated biomass. In this context, the current investigation was conceptualized to evaluate the growth performance and nutrient uptake by tomato plants under elevated CO2 (EC700 and EC550 ppm) and temperature (+2 °C) in comparison to ambient conditions. Significant improvement in the growth indicating parameters like leaf area, leaf area index, leaf area duration and crop growth rate were measured at EC700 and EC550 at different stages of crop growth. Further, broader and thicker leaves of plants under EC700 and EC550 have intercepted higher radiation by almost 11% more than open field plants. Conversely, elevated temperature (+2 °C) had negative influence on crop growth and intercepted almost 7% lower radiation over plants under ambient conditions. Interestingly, earliness of phenophases viz., branch initiation (3.0 days), flower initiation (4.14 days), fruit initiation (4.07 days) and fruit maturation (7.60 days) were observed at EC700 + 2 °C, but it was statistically on par with EC700 and EC550 + 2 °C. Irrespective of the plant parts and growth stages, plants under EC700 and EC550 have showed significantly higher nutrient uptake due to higher root biomass. At EC700, the tune of increase in total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium uptake was almost 134%, 126% and 135%, respectively compared to open field crop. This indicates higher nutrient demand by the crop under elevated CO2 levels because of higher dry matter accumulation and radiation interception. Thus, nutrient application is needed to be monitored at different growth stages as per the crop needs. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Different Fertilization Practices in Combination with the Use of PGPR on the Sugar and Amino Acid Content of Asparagus officinalis
Horticulturae 2021, 7(11), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7110507 - 18 Nov 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
The present study examined the effects of different nitrogen (NH4NO3) and potassium (KNO3) fertilization levels in combination with a nitrogen-fixing, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) inoculation on the carbohydrate (CHO), amino acid content, and nutrient concentrations (N, P, [...] Read more.
The present study examined the effects of different nitrogen (NH4NO3) and potassium (KNO3) fertilization levels in combination with a nitrogen-fixing, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) inoculation on the carbohydrate (CHO), amino acid content, and nutrient concentrations (N, P, K) in the spears and the root system of asparagus plants. No significant differences were indicated between the different fertilization treatments regarding N, P, and K in the leaves and roots of asparagus. The inoculation of the asparagus fields with PGPR, no matter the type of the inorganic fertilizer, resulted in increased CHO and amino acid content of the foliage and roots of asparagus. The highest CHO content and amino acid content were recorded in the treatment that combined PGPR inoculation along with KNO3 fertilizer, indicating that higher K applications acted synergistically with the added PGPR. Full article
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Article
Nutrient Use in Vertical Farming: Optimal Electrical Conductivity of Nutrient Solution for Growth of Lettuce and Basil in Hydroponic Cultivation
Horticulturae 2021, 7(9), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7090283 - 03 Sep 2021
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Abstract
During the past few decades, vertical farming has attracted a lot of interest as an alternative food production method. Vertical farms use engineered growth environments and hydroponic cultivation techniques for growing plants indoors. One of the important factors in vertical farming for the [...] Read more.
During the past few decades, vertical farming has attracted a lot of interest as an alternative food production method. Vertical farms use engineered growth environments and hydroponic cultivation techniques for growing plants indoors. One of the important factors in vertical farming for the cultivation of different plants is the amount of nutrients, which can be measured as electrical conductivity (EC). Studying the optimal EC is important for avoiding nutrient loss and deficiency in vertical farms. In this study, we investigated the effect of five EC levels (2, 1.2, 0.9, 0.7, and 0.5 dS m−1) of Hoagland nutrient solution on the growth and development of basil cultivar ‘Emily’ and lettuce cultivar ‘Batavia-Caipira’. During the study, the environmental parameters were kept fixed using an automatic dosing machine. The experiment was done in automatic vertical farms using the hydroponic ebb–flow cultivation technique with a temperature of 20 ± 1 °C, relative humidity of 50–60%, CO2 concentration of 450 ppm, pH = 6, the PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density) of 215 ± 5.5 μmol m−2 s−1, and the photoperiod of 16:8 h (day/night). Each treatment was replicated four times. We studied the effects on several growth parameters (including the dry and fresh weight of leaves and roots, number of leaves, and leaf area) as well as the chlorophyll and nitrogen concentration of the leaves. According to the results, the basil and lettuce growth parameters among the five treatments have been significantly higher in the treatment with EC of 1.2 and 0.9 dS m−1. These EC values are lower than the recommended EC value given as the optimum in the previous studies. However, the concentration of chlorophyll and nitrogen show different trends and were higher in full strength of nutrient solution with EC = 2 dS m−1. Full article
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Article
Optimization of Substrate and Nutrient Solution Strength for Lettuce and Chinese Cabbage Seedling Production in the Semi-Arid Environment of Central Myanmar
Horticulturae 2021, 7(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7040064 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 940
Abstract
The growing population of tropical countries has led to a new awareness of the importance of vegetables as a source of essential foods and nutrients. The success of vegetable cultivation depends to a large extent on high-quality seedlings. This work aimed at evaluating [...] Read more.
The growing population of tropical countries has led to a new awareness of the importance of vegetables as a source of essential foods and nutrients. The success of vegetable cultivation depends to a large extent on high-quality seedlings. This work aimed at evaluating the effects of different substrates and different nutrient solution concentrations on the development of lettuce and Chinese cabbage seedlings in a semi-arid tropical area. Three independent experiments were conducted at the Soil and Water Research Station at Yezin Agriculture University, Myanmar (Myanmar, 19.83° N; 96.27° E). In all experiments a randomized block design was implemented with four treatments and three repetitions. In the first experiment the adaptability of lettuce seedling to two substrates (namely a Hulls Manure mix composed by 50% of mature cattle manure and 50% of carbonized rice husk and a soil based substrate constituted by 70% local soil, 20% burned rice husk, and 10% fresh cattle manure) and two nutrient solutions with different electrical conductivities (ECs) (W0.1, stored rainwater with EC = 0.13 dS m−1 and NS1.2, nutrient solution with EC = 1.20 dS m−1) were tested. In the second and third experiments, two species (lettuce and Chinese cabbage) were assessed for their response to nutrient solution concentrations. In both crops, 4 fertigation treatments (W0.1; NS0.6; NS1.2; and NS1.8) were supplied, by modulating the concentration of a compound mineral fertilizer (15:15:15) in the following ranges: W0.1: 0 g L−1, electrical conductivity (EC) 0.13 dS m−1, NS0.6: 0.3 g L−1, EC of 0.60 dS m−1; NS1.2: 0.6 g L−1, 1.2 dS m−1 EC, and NS1.8: 0.9 g L−1, 1.8 dS m−1 EC. Adopting different substrates and applying different nutrient solutions significantly affected growth (fresh weight and leaf morphology) and some physiological parameters (stomatal conductance, leaf temperature, and leaf chlorophyll content) of lettuce and Chinese cabbage seedling. From the first experiment, the combination of the soil based substrate and NS1.2 treatments allowed us to improve the seedlings’ growth. In the second experiment, highest growth of lettuce and Chinese cabbage seedlings was associated with NS1.2 and NS1.8, respectively. The presented results allow for the optimization of both growing media and nutrient solution management when lettuce and Chinese cabbage seedling are produced in the Central Dry Zone of Myanmar. Full article
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