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Special Issue "Pulses 2.0"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 April 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Milan State University, Milan, Italy
Interests: crop protection; plant diseases; agrochemicals; abiotic stresses; food production; food security; food safety; global climate change; bioactive phytochemicals; agrochemicals; mycotoxins; medicinal plants; ethnobotany
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Fabio Stagnari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Teramo | UNITE Department of Food Science Teramo Italy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pulses belong to the subfamily Faboideae, included in the Fabaceae family, and represented an essential part of the human diet for centuries (the cutivation of some legumes dates back to 7000–8000 BC). Pulses also play an important role for sustainability: They are a main component of crop rotations, they require less fertilisers than other crops and they are a low carbon source of protein. Indeed, because of their nitrogen-fixing propertied, legumes are part of the rotational crops farmers can use to maintain soil fertility. In addition, pulses are a protein source with a low footprint, in both carbon and water, thus improving sustainable food production and indirectly reducing greenhouse gas emission. In nutrition, pulses are part of a healthy, balanced diet and have been shown to have an important role in preventing chronic-degenerative diseases, such as certain types of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, they can be fully considered a ‘superfood’, source of protein, dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and bioactive phytochemicals, with low glycaemic index, gluten-free and zero cholesterol. Importantly, legumes are model organisms in botany and plant molecular biology, such as, for instance, Lotus and Medicago, used to study the symbiosis responsible for nitrogen fixation.

In this very wide context, we invite investigators to submit both original research and review articles that explore all these aspects. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Molecular Plant Biology
  • Genetics
  • Agronomy
  • Plant Disease
  • Crop Production
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Abiotic Stresses
  • Sustainability
  • Food Science

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
Prof. Dr. Fabio Stagnari
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. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. 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.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Soil Application of Effective Microorganisms (EM) Maintains Leaf Photosynthetic Efficiency, Increases Seed Yield and Quality Traits of Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Plants Grown on Different Substrates
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2327; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092327 - 10 May 2019
Abstract
EM (effective microorganisms) is a biofertilizer consisting of a mixed culture of potentially beneficial microorganisms. In this study, we investigated the effects of EM treatment on leaf in vivo chlorophyll a fluorescence of photosystem II (PSII), yield, and macronutrient content of bean plants [...] Read more.
EM (effective microorganisms) is a biofertilizer consisting of a mixed culture of potentially beneficial microorganisms. In this study, we investigated the effects of EM treatment on leaf in vivo chlorophyll a fluorescence of photosystem II (PSII), yield, and macronutrient content of bean plants grown on different substrates (nutrient rich substrate vs. nutrient poor sandy soil) in controlled environmental conditions (pot experiment in greenhouse). EM-treated plants maintained optimum leaf photosynthetic efficiency two weeks longer than the control plants, and increased yield independent of substrate. The levels of seed nutritionally-relevant molecules (proteins, lipids, and starch) were only slightly modified, apart from the protein content, which increased in plants grown in sandy soil. Although EM can be considered a promising and environmentally friendly technology for sustainable agriculture, more studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism(s) of action of EM, as well as its efficacy under open field conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptomic Changes in Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus Root Nodules during Drought Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(5), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20051204 - 09 Mar 2019
Abstract
Drought is one of the major environmental factors limiting biomass and seed yield production in agriculture. In this research, we focused on plants from the Fabaceae family, which has a unique ability for the establishment of symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and are relatively [...] Read more.
Drought is one of the major environmental factors limiting biomass and seed yield production in agriculture. In this research, we focused on plants from the Fabaceae family, which has a unique ability for the establishment of symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and are relatively susceptible to water limitation. We have presented the changes in nitrogenase activity and global gene expression occurring in Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus root nodules during water deficit. Our results proved a decrease in the efficiency of nitrogen fixation, as well as extensive changes in plant and bacterial transcriptomes, shortly after watering cessation. We showed for the first time that not only symbiotic plant components but also Sinorhizobium meliloti and Mesorhizobium loti bacteria residing in the root nodules of M. truncatula and L. japonicus, respectively, adjust their gene expression in response to water shortage. Although our results demonstrated that both M. truncatula and L. japonicus root nodules were susceptible to water deprivation, they indicated significant differences in plant and bacterial response to drought between the tested species, which might be related to the various types of root nodules formed by these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Trichoderma velutinum and Rhizoctonia solani on the Metabolome of Bean Plants (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030549 - 28 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is one of the most important food legume crops worldwide that is affected by phytopathogenic fungi such as Rhizoctonia solani. Biological control represents an effective alternative method for the use of conventional synthetic chemical pesticides [...] Read more.
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is one of the most important food legume crops worldwide that is affected by phytopathogenic fungi such as Rhizoctonia solani. Biological control represents an effective alternative method for the use of conventional synthetic chemical pesticides for crop protection. Trichoderma spp. have been successfully used in agriculture both to control fungal diseases and to promote plant growth. The response of the plant to the invasion of fungi activates defensive resistance responses by inducing the expression of genes and producing secondary metabolites. The purpose of this work was to analyze the changes in the bean metabolome that occur during its interaction with pathogenic (R. solani) and antagonistic (T. velutinum) fungi. In this work, 216 compounds were characterized by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis but only 36 were noted as significantly different in the interaction in comparison to control plants and they were tentatively characterized. These compounds were classified as: two amino acids, three peptides, one carbohydrate, one glycoside, one fatty acid, two lipids, 17 flavonoids, four phenols and four terpenes. This work is the first attempt to determine how the presence of T. velutinum and/or R. solani affect the defense response of bean plants using untargeted metabolomics analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Improvement of Soybean Agrobacterium-Mediated Transformation Efficiency by Adding Glutamine and Asparagine into the Culture Media
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 3039; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103039 - 05 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
As a genetically modified crop, transgenic soybean occupies the largest global scale with its food, nutritional, industrial, and pharmaceutical uses.Efficient transformation is a key factor for the improvement of genetically modified soybean. At present, the Agrobacterium-mediated method is primarily used for soybean [...] Read more.
As a genetically modified crop, transgenic soybean occupies the largest global scale with its food, nutritional, industrial, and pharmaceutical uses.Efficient transformation is a key factor for the improvement of genetically modified soybean. At present, the Agrobacterium-mediated method is primarily used for soybean transformation, but the efficiency of this method is still relatively low (below 5%) compared with rice (above 90%). In this study, we examined the influence of l-glutamine and/or l-asparagine on Agrobacterium-mediated transformation in soybean and explored the probable role in the process of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The results showed that when the amino acids l-glutamine and l-asparagine were added separately or together to the culture medium, the shoot induction frequency, elongation rate, and transformation frequency were improved. The combined effects of l-glutamine and l-asparagine were better than those of l-glutamine and l-asparagine alone. The 50 mg/L l-glutamine and 50 mg/L l-asparagine together can enhance the transformation frequency of soybean by attenuating the expression level of GmPRs (GmPR1, GmPR4, GmPR5, and GmPR10) and suppression of the plant defense response. The transgene was successfully transmitted to the T1 generation. This study will be useful in genetic engineering of soybean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Full-Length Transcriptome Survey and Expression Analysis of Cassia obtusifolia to Discover Putative Genes Related to Aurantio-Obtusin Biosynthesis, Seed Formation and Development, and Stress Response
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092476 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The seed is the pharmaceutical and breeding organ of Cassia obtusifolia, a well-known medical herb containing aurantio-obtusin (a kind of anthraquinone), food, and landscape. In order to understand the molecular mechanism of the biosynthesis of aurantio-obtusin, seed formation and development, and stress [...] Read more.
The seed is the pharmaceutical and breeding organ of Cassia obtusifolia, a well-known medical herb containing aurantio-obtusin (a kind of anthraquinone), food, and landscape. In order to understand the molecular mechanism of the biosynthesis of aurantio-obtusin, seed formation and development, and stress response of C. obtusifolia, it is necessary to understand the genomics information. Although previous seed transcriptome of C. obtusifolia has been carried out by short-read next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, the vast majority of the resulting unigenes did not represent full-length cDNA sequences and supply enough gene expression profile information of the various organs or tissues. In this study, fifteen cDNA libraries, which were constructed from the seed, root, stem, leaf, and flower (three repetitions with each organ) of C. obtusifolia, were sequenced using hybrid approach combining single-molecule real-time (SMRT) and NGS platform. More than 4,315,774 long reads with 9.66 Gb sequencing data and 361,427,021 short reads with 108.13 Gb sequencing data were generated by SMRT and NGS platform, respectively. 67,222 consensus isoforms were clustered from the reads and 81.73% (61,016) of which were longer than 1000 bp. Furthermore, the 67,222 consensus isoforms represented 58,106 nonredundant transcripts, 98.25% (57,092) of which were annotated and 25,573 of which were assigned to specific metabolic pathways by KEGG. CoDXS and CoDXR genes were directly used for functional characterization to validate the accuracy of sequences obtained from transcriptome. A total of 658 seed-specific transcripts indicated their special roles in physiological processes in seed. Analysis of transcripts which were involved in the early stage of anthraquinone biosynthesis suggested that the aurantio-obtusin in C. obtusifolia was mainly generated from isochorismate and Mevalonate/methylerythritol phosphate (MVA/MEP) pathway, and three reactions catalyzed by Menaquinone-specific isochorismate synthase (ICS), 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS) and isopentenyl diphosphate (IPPS) might be the limited steps. Several seed-specific CYPs, SAM-dependent methyltransferase, and UDP-glycosyltransferase (UDPG) supplied promising candidate genes in the late stage of anthraquinone biosynthesis. In addition, four seed-specific transcriptional factors including three MYB Transcription Factor (MYB) and one MADS-box Transcription Factor (MADS) transcriptional factors) and alternative splicing might be involved with seed formation and development. Meanwhile, most members of Hsp20 genes showed high expression level in seed and flower; seven of which might have chaperon activities under various abiotic stresses. Finally, the expressional patterns of genes with particular interests showed similar trends in both transcriptome assay and qRT-PCR. In conclusion, this is the first full-length transcriptome sequencing reported in Caesalpiniaceae family, and thus providing a more complete insight into aurantio-obtusin biosynthesis, seed formation and development, and stress response as well in C. obtusifolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Survey of Invertase Encoding Genes and Functional Characterization of an Extracellular Fungal Pathogen-Responsive Invertase in Glycine max
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2395; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082395 - 14 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Invertases are essential enzymes that irreversibly catalyze the cleavage of sucrose into glucose and fructose. Cell wall invertase (CWI) and vacuolar invertase (VI) are glycosylated proteins and exert fundamental roles in plant growth as well as in response to environmental cues. As yet, [...] Read more.
Invertases are essential enzymes that irreversibly catalyze the cleavage of sucrose into glucose and fructose. Cell wall invertase (CWI) and vacuolar invertase (VI) are glycosylated proteins and exert fundamental roles in plant growth as well as in response to environmental cues. As yet, comprehensive insight into invertase encoding genes are lacking in Glycine max. In the present study, the systematic survey of gene structures, coding regions, regulatory elements, conserved motifs, and phylogenies resulted in the identification of thirty–two putative invertase genes in soybean genome. Concomitantly, impacts on gene expression, enzyme activities, proteins, and soluble sugar accumulation were explored in specific tissues upon stress perturbation. In combination with the observation of subcellular compartmentation of the fluorescent fusion protein that indeed exported to apoplast, heterologous expression, and purification in using Pichia pastoris system revealed that GmCWI4 was a typical extracellular invertase. We postulated that GmCWI4 may play regulatory roles and be involved in pathogenic fungi defense. The experimental evaluation of physiological significance via phenotypic analysis of mutants under stress exposure has been initiated. Moreover, our paper provides theoretical basis for elucidating molecular mechanisms of invertase in association with inhibitors underlying the stress regime, and will contribute to the improvement of plant performance to a diverse range of stressors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Use of Lupin as a Source of Protein in Animal Feeding: Genomic Tools and Breeding Approaches
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040851 - 15 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Livestock production in the European Union EU is highly dependent on imported soybean, exposing the livestock farming system to risks related to the global trade of soybean. Lupin species could be a realistic sustainable alternative source of protein for animal feeding. Lupinus is [...] Read more.
Livestock production in the European Union EU is highly dependent on imported soybean, exposing the livestock farming system to risks related to the global trade of soybean. Lupin species could be a realistic sustainable alternative source of protein for animal feeding. Lupinus is a very diverse genus with many species. However, only four of them—namely, L. albus, L. angustifolius, L. luteus and L. mutabilis—are cultivated. Their use in livestock farming systems has many advantages in relation to economic and environmental impact. Generally, lupin grains are characterized by high protein content, while their oil content is relatively low but of high quality. On the other hand, the presence of quinolizidine alkaloids and their specific carbohydrate composition are the main antinutritional factors that prevent their use in animal feeding. This research is mainly related to L. albus and to L. angustifolius, and to a lesser extent, to L. lauteus and L. mutabilis. The breeding efforts are mostly focused on yield stabilization, resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, biochemical structure associated with seed quality and late maturing. Progress is made in improving lupin with respect to the seed quality, as well as the tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress. It has to be noted that modern cultivars, mostly of L. albus and L. angustifolius, contain low levels of alkaloids. However, for future breeding efforts, the implementation of marker-assisted selection and the available genomic tools is of great importance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pulses 2.0)
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