Special Issue "Factors Affecting Yield, Quality, Antioxidants, Mineral Composition and Residual Biomass Valorization of Vegetable Crops"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Gianluca Caruso
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Portici (Naples), Italy
Interests: vegetable crops; conventional farming; organic management; soilless growing; fertilization; biofortification; microorganism inoculation; light modification; yield components; quality indicators; antioxidants; mineral element composition; residual biomass valorization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Nadezhda A. Golubkina
Website
Guest Editor
Federal Scientific Center of Vegetable Production, Odintsovo District, Vniissok, Selectsionnaya 14, Moscow 143072, Russia
Interests: vegetable crops; biofortification; selenium, iodine; microorganism inoculation; soil chemical analyses; plant chemical analyses; functional food; quality indicators; cholophylls; antioxidants; ascorbic acid; carotenoids; polyphenols; flavonoids; antocyanyns; mineral element composition
Prof. Dr. Viliana Vasileva
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Forage Crops, General Vladimir Vazov Street 89, Pleven, 5800, Bulgaria
Interests: legume crop systems; plant root nodulation; nitrogen fixation; biodiversity; plant nutrition; water stress; plant growth promoting bacteria; quality indicators; nitrogen; proteins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Vegetable crops are widespread worldwide and characterized by management systems differing from each other with regard to the farming practices performed. However, all the systems should be managed in order to make them sustainable, both under the production and environmental safeguard perspectives. The crucial role of either farming or environmental factors on vegetable crop systems has been attracting the scientific community’s attention and stimulating its research interest. Among farming practices, fertilization plays a major role, as all the essential macro- and micronutrients should be supplied in order to fulfill plant requirements for growth and development, thus boosting crop yield and improving produce quality. The use of beneficial microorganisms interacting with those naturally present in the plants, such as nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria, may enhance plant nutrient absorption, growth, yield, and quality and affect the antioxidant synthesis and activity.

Indeed, the several literature reports relevant to the present topics have not worked out all the issues that have arisen and, therefore, in this interesting field of research, plenty of challenges should be addressed. In this respect, remarkable attention should be given to the interactive dynamics among nutrient uptake, plant development, and synthesis of antioxidants. The latter are essential plant secondary metabolites acting in plant growth as well as in plant–microbe, plant–plant, and plant-environment relationships, whose presence in significant concentrations also allows producing vegetables labeled as functional food.

In this Special Issue, we warmly welcome articles (original research, reviews, modeling approaches, perspectives, opinions) that focus on factors affecting yield, quality, antioxidant compounds and activity, mineral composition, and residual biomass valorization of vegetable crops grown in an open field or greenhouse, carried out upon investigations regarding agronomical, biochemical, physiological, genetic aspects of plant, soil, microbiome, nutrients, and hormone interactions in any vegetable species, including those industry-oriented (legumes, tomato, potato).

Prof. Gianluca Caruso
Dr. Nadezhda A. Golubkina
Prof. Dr. Viliana Vasileva
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • vegetable open field system
  • vegetable greenhouse system
  • conventional farming
  • organic management
  • soilless growing
  • genotype
  • fertilization
  • biofortification
  • microorganism inoculation
  • irrigation
  • weed control
  • light modification
  • produce processing
  • nutrient uptake
  • nutrient metabolism
  • nitrogen fixation
  • mineral element composition
  • sugars
  • organic acids
  • proteins
  • antioxidant compounds
  • antioxidant activity
  • residual biomass composition
  • residual biomass energy potential

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Environmental Conditions Effect in the Phytochemical Composition of Potato (Solanum tuberosum) Cultivars
Plants 2020, 9(7), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070815 - 29 Jun 2020
Abstract
Crop productivity and food quality are affected by environmental conditions. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of the environment on the concentration of phytochemical components in several potato (Solanum tuberosum) cultivars. The content of vitamin C (ascorbic [...] Read more.
Crop productivity and food quality are affected by environmental conditions. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of the environment on the concentration of phytochemical components in several potato (Solanum tuberosum) cultivars. The content of vitamin C (ascorbic acid, AA), the total carotenoids content (TCC), the total polyphenols content (TPC), and the total anthocyanins content (TAC) of 11 potatoes varieties grown in Ecuador (Cutuglahua, Pujilí, and Pilahuín) was measured by the spectrophotometric method. The antioxidant capacity (AC) of potato cultivars was evaluated by the ABTS method. The AA concentration ranged between 12.67 to 39.49 mg/100g fresh weight (FW), the TCC ranged between 50.00 and 1043.50 μg/100g FW, the TPC ranged between 0.41 and 3.25 g of gallic acid equivalents (GAE)/kg dry weight (DW), the TAC ranged between 2.74 and 172.53 μg/g FW and finally the AC ranged between 36.80 and 789.19 μg of trolox equivalents (TE)/g FW. Genotypes (G), location (L), and interaction (G x L) were significant at p < 0.01. The genotype (G) showed a greater variation in the phytochemical contents. AA and TPC showed the highest correlation with the AC. A selection of genotypes with these characteristics can be used to develop germplasms with a high AC. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Low-Haze Diffuse Glass on Greenhouse Tomato and Bell Pepper Production and Light Distribution Properties
Plants 2020, 9(7), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070806 - 27 Jun 2020
Abstract
Diffuse greenhouse glass can increase the production and growth of several crops, by scattering the incoming direct sunlight, which results in a better and more homogeneous light distribution in the crop canopy. Tomato and bell pepper growers in Belgium tend to install low-haze [...] Read more.
Diffuse greenhouse glass can increase the production and growth of several crops, by scattering the incoming direct sunlight, which results in a better and more homogeneous light distribution in the crop canopy. Tomato and bell pepper growers in Belgium tend to install low-haze diffuse glass with a double anti-reflection (AR) coating. These glass types have a limited diffuse effect but have a higher light transmission compared to standard float glass. Therefore, tomato growers often increase stem density to maximize light interception. However, a denser crop could counteract the positive effects of diffuse glass on the vertical light distribution. In this study, the effect of low-haze diffuse glass with an AR coating was evaluated for different cropping densities for tomato and bell pepper taking into account the vertical light distribution throughout the crop canopy. Tomato plants with two stem densities (3.33 and 3.75 stems.m−2) and bell pepper plants (with only one stem density of 7.1 stems.m−2) were evaluated in a greenhouse compartment with diffuse and reference float glass during a full growing season. For tomato, a significant production increase of 7.5% was observed under diffuse glass during the second half of the growing season but only for the low stem density. The benefit of diffuse glass appears most relevant during sunny clear skies and on the sun-side-facing rows of the crop. For bell pepper, no significant production increases were noted between regular float or diffuse glass, because a bell pepper crop is typically covered with thermal screens to prevent sunburn on the fruits during sunny days. The vertical light distribution and the usefulness of AR-coated diffuse glass depends on the crop type and should be optimized accordingly by altering the stem density, leaf pruning strategy, row orientation, or crop variety. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Joint Selenium–Iodine Supply and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Inoculation Affect Yield and Quality of Chickpea Seeds and Residual Biomass
Plants 2020, 9(7), 804; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9070804 - 27 Jun 2020
Abstract
The essentiality of selenium (Se) and iodine (I) for the human organism and the relationship between these two trace elements in mammal metabolism highlight the importance of the joint Se–I biofortification to vegetable crops in the frame of sustainable farming management. A research [...] Read more.
The essentiality of selenium (Se) and iodine (I) for the human organism and the relationship between these two trace elements in mammal metabolism highlight the importance of the joint Se–I biofortification to vegetable crops in the frame of sustainable farming management. A research study was carried out in southern Italy to determine the effects of the combined inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and biofortification with Se and I on plant growth, seed yield, quality, and antioxidant and elemental status, as well as residual biomass chemical composition of chickpea grown in two different planting times (14 January and 28 February). The AMF application improved the intensity of I and Se accumulation both in single and joint supply of these elements, resulting in higher seed yield and number as well as dry weight, and was also beneficial for increasing the content of antioxidants, protein, and macro- and microelements. Earlier planting time resulted in higher values of seed yield, as well as Se, I, N, P, Ca, protein, and antioxidant levels. Se and I showed a synergistic effect, stimulating the accumulation of each other in chickpea seeds. The AMF inoculation elicited a higher protein and cellulose synthesis, as well as glucose production in the residual biomass, compared to the single iodine application and the untreated control. From the present research, it can be inferred that the plant biostimulation through the soil inoculation with AMF and the biofortification with Se and I, applied singly or jointly, proved to be effective sustainable farming tools for improving the chickpea seed yield and/or quality, as well as the residual biomass chemical composition for energy production or beneficial metabolite extraction. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC. Yield and Quality as Influenced by Cropping Season, Protein Hydrolysates, and Trichoderma Applications
Plants 2020, 9(6), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060697 - 30 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Increasing attention is being given to plant biostimulants as a sustainable farming practice aimed to enhance vegetable crop performance. This research was conducted on greenhouse-grown perennial wall rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC.), comparing three biostimulant treatments (legume-derived protein hydrolysates, Trichoderma harzianum T22, [...] Read more.
Increasing attention is being given to plant biostimulants as a sustainable farming practice aimed to enhance vegetable crop performance. This research was conducted on greenhouse-grown perennial wall rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC.), comparing three biostimulant treatments (legume-derived protein hydrolysates, Trichoderma harzianum T22, and protein hydrolysates + Trichoderma harzianum T22) plus an untreated control, in a factorial combination with three cropping seasons (autumn–winter, winter, winter–spring). Measurements were performed on leaf yield components, colorimetric indicators, mineral composition, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant activity. Leaf marketable yield and mean weight, as well as plant dry weight, showed the highest values in winter crop cycle. Biostimulant treatments resulted in 18.4% and 26.4% increase in leaf yield and number of leaves per rosette, respectively, compared to the untreated control. Protein hydrolysates led to the highest plant dry weight (+34.7% compared to the control). Soil plant analysis development (SPAD) index as well as NO3, PO4, SO4, and Ca contents were influenced more during the winter–spring season than the winter cropping season. The winter production season resulted in a 19.8% increase in the leaf lipophilic antioxidant activity, whereas the hydrophilic antioxidant activity was 34.9% higher during the winter–spring season. SPAD index was the highest with protein hydrolysates + Trichoderma applications, which also increased the colorimetric parameters compared to the untreated control. The treatment with protein hydrolysates + Trichoderma enhanced N, PO4, Mg, and Na contents, compared to both biostimulants applied singly and to the untreated control. Both biostimulants applied alone or the protein hydrolysates + Trichoderma combination led to the increase of the lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant activity, as well as ascorbic acid and chlorophyll b, compared to the untreated control. The present research revealed that protein hydrolysates and Trichoderma single applications, and even more their combination in the case of some nutrients content, represent an effective tool for enhancing the yield and the quality attributes of perennial wall rocket produced under the perspective of sustainable crop system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ascorbic Acid Induces the Increase of Secondary Metabolites, Antioxidant Activity, Growth, and Productivity of the Common Bean under Water Stress Conditions
Plants 2020, 9(5), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050627 - 14 May 2020
Abstract
One of the most vital environmental factors that restricts plant production in arid and semi-arid environments is the lack of fresh water and drought stress. Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) productivity is severely limited by abiotic stress, especially climate-related constraints. Therefore, a [...] Read more.
One of the most vital environmental factors that restricts plant production in arid and semi-arid environments is the lack of fresh water and drought stress. Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) productivity is severely limited by abiotic stress, especially climate-related constraints. Therefore, a field experiment in split-plot design was carried out to examine the potential function of ascorbic acid (AsA) in mitigating the adverse effects of water stress on common bean. The experiment included two irrigation regimes (100% or 50% of crop evapotranspiration) and three AsA doses (0, 200, or 400 mg L−1 AsA). The results revealed that water stress reduced common bean photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoids), carbonic anhydrase activity, antioxidant activities (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical activity scavenging activity and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical cation assay), growth and seed yield, while increased enzymatic antioxidants (peroxidase), secondary metabolites (phenolic, flavonoids, and tannins), malondialdehyde (MDA), and crop water productivity. In contrast, the AsA foliar spray enhanced all studied traits and the enhancement was gradual with the increasing AsA dose. The linear regression model predicted that when the AsA dose increase by 1.0 mg L−1, the seed yield is expected to increase by 0.06 g m−2. Enhanced water stress tolerance through adequate ascorbic acid application is a promising strategy to increase the tolerance and productivity of common bean under water stress. Moreover, the response of common bean to water deficit appears to be dependent on AsA dose. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing N Fertilization to Improve Yield, Technological and Nutritional Quality of Tomato Grown in High Fertility Soil Conditions
Plants 2020, 9(5), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050575 - 01 May 2020
Abstract
Processing tomato is the second most important worldwide cash crop, generally produced in high-input systems. However, fruit yield and quality are affected by agronomic management, particularly nitrogen (N) fertilization, whose application to indeterminate growth genotypes for canning has yet to be investigated in [...] Read more.
Processing tomato is the second most important worldwide cash crop, generally produced in high-input systems. However, fruit yield and quality are affected by agronomic management, particularly nitrogen (N) fertilization, whose application to indeterminate growth genotypes for canning has yet to be investigated in depth. Hence, the objective of this work was to assess the effects of different N rates (0, 50, 125, 200, 275, and 350 kg ha−1) on fruit yield and quality characteristics of processing tomato ‘San Marzano’ landrace. The results of our study showed that 125 and 200 kg of N ha−1 are the most appropriate rates in soil with high fertility, ensuring the highest values of marketable yield and brix yield. However, plants fertilized with 125 kg of N ha−1 attained higher values of N efficiency and fruit K and P concentrations than plants fertilized with 200 kg of N ha−1. Our results suggest that overdoses of N supplies negatively affected fruit yield and quality of San Marzano landrace grown in high soil fertility conditions, also reducing the agricultural sustainability. Hence, specific agronomic protocol and extension services are required to optimally manage tomato crop systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Triacontanol Promotes the Fruit Development and Retards Fruit Senescence in Strawberry: A Transcriptome Analysis
Plants 2020, 9(4), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040488 - 10 Apr 2020
Abstract
Triacontanol (TA) is a non-toxic, pollution-free, low-cost, high-efficiency, broad-spectrum plant growth regulator that plays an important role in plant growth and development, but its regulation mechanism of strawberry (Sweet charlie, Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) fruit development is still unclear. In this study, we [...] Read more.
Triacontanol (TA) is a non-toxic, pollution-free, low-cost, high-efficiency, broad-spectrum plant growth regulator that plays an important role in plant growth and development, but its regulation mechanism of strawberry (Sweet charlie, Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) fruit development is still unclear. In this study, we showed that TA treatment (50 μM) could promote fruit development by up-regulating factors related to fruit ripening-related growth and development. TA increased fruit sugar content and anthocyanin accumulation, and many stress-related enzyme activities. In the meantime, Illumina RNA-Seq technology was used to evaluate the effect of TA treatment on strawberry fruit senescence. The results showed that 9338 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained, including 4520 up-regulated DEGs and 4818 down-regulated DEGs. We performed gene ontology (GO) enrichment and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis of these DEGs. The results showed that TA treatment caused changes in transcript levels related to cellular processes, hormones and secondary metabolism, such as DNA metabolic processes, flavonoid synthesis, and plant hormone signal transduction. Bioinformatics analysis showed that many transcription factors were related to fruit maturity. Taken together, this study will provide new insights into the mechanism of strawberry development and postharvest response to TA treatment. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Yield, Growth, Quality, Biochemical Characteristics and Elemental Composition of Plant Parts of Celery Leafy, Stalk and Root Types Grown in the Northern Hemisphere
Plants 2020, 9(4), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040484 - 09 Apr 2020
Abstract
Celery is one of the major nutraceutical vegetable species due to the high dietary and medicinal properties of all of its plant parts. Yield, growth and produce quality of six celery genotypes belonging to leafy (Elixir and Samurai), stalk (Atlant and Primus) or [...] Read more.
Celery is one of the major nutraceutical vegetable species due to the high dietary and medicinal properties of all of its plant parts. Yield, growth and produce quality of six celery genotypes belonging to leafy (Elixir and Samurai), stalk (Atlant and Primus) or root (Egor and Dobrynya) types, as well as the distribution of biomass, sugars, mineral elements and antioxidants among the different plant parts, were assessed. Within the celery root type, cultivar Dobrynya resulted in higher yield than Egor, whereas the genotype did not significantly affect the marketable plant part production of leafy and stalk types. Leaf/petiole ratios relevant to biomass, total dissolved solids, sugars, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, antioxidant activity and ash, K, Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu and Se content were significantly affected by the celery type examined. Ash content was highest in the leaves and lowest in the roots. Celery antioxidant system was characterized by highly significant relationships between ascorbic acid, polyphenols, flavonoids, antioxidant activity and Zn. Among the celery types analyzed, the highest values of chlorophyll, Fe and Mn content as well as antioxidant activity were recorded in leaves from root genotypes, which suggests interesting nutraceutical prospects of the aforementioned plant parts for human utilization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Yield, Essential Oil and Quality Performances of Artemisia dracunculus, Hyssopus officinalis and Lavandula angustifolia as Affected by Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi under Organic Management
Plants 2020, 9(3), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030375 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Utilization of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) for enhancing growth and development as well as production of essential oil in aromatic plants has been increasingly drawing research interest. In order to assess the AMF effects on different aromatic species, an open-field experiment was carried [...] Read more.
Utilization of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) for enhancing growth and development as well as production of essential oil in aromatic plants has been increasingly drawing research interest. In order to assess the AMF effects on different aromatic species, an open-field experiment was carried out using Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) and Hyssopus officinalis (hyssop). AMF stimulated the growth of tarragon and lavender plants, whereas hyssop showed a slight developmental slowing; nonetheless, a significant increase in essential oil content in the three species was seen. AMF application increased the biomass of A. dracunculus and H. officinalis by 20–35%. No differences in antioxidant activity and phenolics content were recorded at harvest between the control and AMF-inoculated plants, but the latter showed a significant increase in antioxidant status upon storage at high temperature and humidity compared to the untreated control. The enhancement of abiotic stress resistance during storage in plants inoculated with AMF was the highest in A. dracunculus, and the lowest in H. officinalis, while the untreated control plants showed a significant decrease in phenolics, ascorbic acid and chlorophyll content, as well as antioxidant activity, upon the abiotic stress. AMF inoculation differentially affected the mineral composition, increasing the accumulation of Se, I and Zn in A. dracunculus, and decreasing the levels of heavy metals and Co, Fe, Li, Mn in H. officinalis. Based on the outcome of the present research, AMF inoculation resulted in a significant enhancement of the overall performances of A. dracunculus, L. angustifolia and H. officinalis, and also in the improvement of plant antioxidant status upon storage in stress conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Screening of Chilli Pepper Genotypes as a Source of Capsaicinoids and Antioxidants under Conditions of Simulated Drought Stress
Plants 2020, 9(3), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030364 - 16 Mar 2020
Abstract
In many regions of the world, the production of vegetable crops is limited by a deepening water crisis. Drought stress affects productivity and the chemical composition of crops. The variability of drought tolerance between species and cultivars of economically important crops, such as [...] Read more.
In many regions of the world, the production of vegetable crops is limited by a deepening water crisis. Drought stress affects productivity and the chemical composition of crops. The variability of drought tolerance between species and cultivars of economically important crops, such as pepper (Capsicum species), requires specific investigations to understand the physiological and biochemical responses to the aftermath of drought. The fruits and leaves of four chilli pepper cultivars were investigated to elucidate the fruits’ pungency (Scoville Heat Units, SHU), ascorbic acid content, DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) radical scavenging activity, polyphenol content, membrane lipid peroxidation and key protective antioxidant enzyme activity under drought stress (18–28% volumetric water content) as compared to the control (35–60%). Drought increased the chilli pepper fruits’ pungency expressed in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) as well as ascorbic acid content, but this relationship was also dependent on genotype and stress duration. ‘Jolokia’ was marked as most sensitive to drought by increasing content of capsaicinoids and DPPH˙ scavenging activity under stress conditions. Capsaicinoids and Ascorbic acid (AsA) greatly influenced the antioxidant activity of highly pungent chilli pepper fruits, although total phenols played a significant role in the mildly pungent genotypes. Generally, the activities of antioxidant enzymes increased under drought in chilli pepper leaves and fruits, although the intensity of the reaction varied among the cultivars used in the current research. All the investigated biochemical parameters were involved in the drought response of chilli pepper plants, but their significance and effectiveness were highly cultivar-dependent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic of Phenolic Compounds, Antioxidant Activity, and Yield of Rhubarb under Chemical, Organic and Biological Fertilization
Plants 2020, 9(3), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030355 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In recent years, rhubarb is being increasingly cultivated, as it provides early yields when the vegetables supply to market is deficient and shows high levels of both polyphenols content and antioxidant capacity in edible parts. In 2017, we investigated crops of the rhubarb [...] Read more.
In recent years, rhubarb is being increasingly cultivated, as it provides early yields when the vegetables supply to market is deficient and shows high levels of both polyphenols content and antioxidant capacity in edible parts. In 2017, we investigated crops of the rhubarb cultivar Victoria to the fifth year of production. Comparisons were performed between three root phase fertilizations—chemical (NPK 16-16-16®), organic (Orgevit®), and biological (Micoseeds MB®)—plus an unfertilized control. The determinations of polyphenols, the antioxidant capacity, and the yield indicators from the stalks (petioles) of rhubarb were made at each out of the 10 harvests carried out. The highest yield (59.16 t·ha−1) was recorded under the chemical fertilization. The total polyphenols content and antioxidant capacity varied widely from 533.86 mg GAE·g−1 d.w. and 136.86 mmol Trolox·g−1 d.w., respectively in the unfertilized control at the last harvest, up to 3966.56 mg GAE·g−1 d.w. and 1953.97 mmol Trolox·g−1 d.w. respectively under the organic fertilization at the four harvest. From the results of our investigation, it can be inferred that the chemical fertilization was the most effective in terms of yield, whereas the sustainable nutritional management based on organic fertilizer supply led to higher antioxidant compounds and activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Winter Cultivation and Nano Fertilizers Improve Yield Components and Antioxidant Traits of Dragon’s Head (Lallemantia iberica (M.B.) Fischer & Meyer)
Plants 2020, 9(2), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9020252 - 16 Feb 2020
Abstract
Balangu (Lallemantia sp.) is a medicinal herb with a variety of applications, all parts of which have economic uses, including leaf for extraction of essential oils, as a vegetable and potherb, seed for extraction of mucilage and edible or industrial oil. To [...] Read more.
Balangu (Lallemantia sp.) is a medicinal herb with a variety of applications, all parts of which have economic uses, including leaf for extraction of essential oils, as a vegetable and potherb, seed for extraction of mucilage and edible or industrial oil. To investigate the effect of cultivation season and standard chemical and nano fertilizers (n) on the yield components and antioxidant properties of Dragon’s head, a factorial experiment based on randomized complete block design was conducted with 12 treatments and three replications. Experimental treatments consisted of two seasons (spring and winter cultivation) and six levels of fertilizer (control, NPK-s, NPK-n, Fe-chelated-n, NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n, NPK-s + NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n). The traits included grain yield per plant, essential oil percentage and yield, mucilage percentage and yield, antioxidant properties in the seeds and leaves, including total phenols and flavonoids content, DPPH radical scavenging, and nitric oxide and superoxide radical scavenging. The results showed that winter cultivation had a noticeable advantage over spring cultivation across all of the traits. The highest grain yield per plant was obtained in winter cultivation using NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n fertilizer treatment. The highest essential oil percentage was in NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n. The highest mucilage percentage was observed in NPK-s + NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n fertilizer treatment, which was not statistically different to NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n treatment. The combined effects of winter cultivation and NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n fertilizers resulted in improving antioxidant activity traits. Overall, the results indicated that the combination of winter cultivation and NPK-n + Fe-chelated-n fertilizers are the most appropriate treatment to acquire highest qualitative and quantitative yield of Dragon’s head, in the Azerbaijan region (Iran). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Yield, Biochemical Characteristics, and Elemental Composition of Garlic and Onion under Selenium Supply
Plants 2020, 9(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010084 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Biofortification of garlic and onion plants with selenium and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi inoculation are considered beneficial for producing functional food with anticarcinogenic properties. The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculation, sodium selenate foliar application, and the combination AMF + selenium (Se), compared [...] Read more.
Biofortification of garlic and onion plants with selenium and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi inoculation are considered beneficial for producing functional food with anticarcinogenic properties. The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculation, sodium selenate foliar application, and the combination AMF + selenium (Se), compared to an untreated control, were assessed regarding the bulb yield, biochemical characteristics, and mineral composition. AMF + Se application resulted in the highest yield, monosaccharides, and Se content in both garlic and onion bulbs; and an increase of ascorbic acid and flavonoids in onion, and flavonoids in garlic. The highest bulb concentrations of P and K were recorded under the AMF + Se application, Ca was best affected by AMF, and Mg accumulation was highest under all the treatments in garlic and upon AMF + Se application in onion bulbs. Contrary to garlic, onion bulbs were characterized by a remarkable increase in microelements (B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Si, Zn) under the AMF + Se treatment. Selenium, either with or without AMF application, promoted the accumulation of B and Si in onion and Mo and Zn in garlic bulbs. It can be inferred that the interaction between AMF and Se is highly specific, differing for garlic and onion grown in similar environmental conditions in Grozny region, Chechen Republic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Plant-Based Biostimulants Influence the Agronomical, Physiological, and Qualitative Responses of Baby Rocket Leaves under Diverse Nitrogen Conditions
Plants 2019, 8(11), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8110522 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Nitrogen is the primary technical means responsible for food production increase, but on the other hand, wise management is needed because its excessive use can have a negative impact on the environment and on green leafy vegetable quality, such as that rocket. Rocket [...] Read more.
Nitrogen is the primary technical means responsible for food production increase, but on the other hand, wise management is needed because its excessive use can have a negative impact on the environment and on green leafy vegetable quality, such as that rocket. Rocket has the characteristics of accumulating nitrate in leaves with possible impacts on human health. In order to overcome this issue, researchers are focusing their attention on the use of alternative means, such as plant biostimulant application. The scope of this study was to assess the effect of legume-derived protein hydrolysate(LDPH) and tropical plant extract(TPE), combined with various doses of nitrogen (0 kg ha−1 non-fertilized; N0); 60 kg ha−1 (sub-optimal; N1); 80 kg ha−1 (optimal; N2); and 100 kg ha−1 (supra-optimal; N3)), in order to reduce nitrogen use, boost yield, and enhance the chemical and nutritional value of leaves without significantly accumulating nitrate. Both vegetal-based plant biostimulants enhanced plant growth, boosted the marketable yield (especially at N0 and N1 levels, by 38.2% and 28.2%, respectively, compared to the non-treated control), and increased the SPAD (Soil Plant Analysis Development) index and leaf pigments content, such as chlorophyll and carotenoids, especially in treated-LDPH rocket. The plant-based biostimulants also produced a major amplification in lipophilic antioxidant activity (+ 48%) and total ascorbic acid content (average + 95.6%), especially at low nitrogen fertilization levels, and maintained nitrate content under the legal European Comission limits. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Prospects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Utilization in Production of Allium Plants
Plants 2020, 9(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9020279 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
The need to improve crop yield and quality, decrease the level of mineral fertilizers and pesticides/herbicides supply, and increase plants’ immunity are important topics of agriculture in the 21st century. In this respect, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may be considered as a crucial [...] Read more.
The need to improve crop yield and quality, decrease the level of mineral fertilizers and pesticides/herbicides supply, and increase plants’ immunity are important topics of agriculture in the 21st century. In this respect, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may be considered as a crucial tool in the development of a modern environmentally friendly agriculture. The efficiency of AMF application is connected to genetic peculiarities of plant and AMF species, soil characteristics and environmental factors, including biotic and abiotic stresses, temperature, and precipitation. Among vegetable crops, Allium species are particularly reactive to soil mycorrhiza, due to their less expanded root apparatus surface compared to most other species. Moreover, Allium crops are economically important and able to synthesize powerful anti-carcinogen compounds, such as selenomethyl selenocysteine and gamma-glutamyl selenomethyl selenocysteine, which highlights the importance of the present detailed discussion about the AMF use prospects to enhance Allium plant growth and development. This review reports the available information describing the AMF effects on the seasonal, inter-, and intra-species variations of yield, biochemical characteristics, and mineral composition of Allium species, with a special focus on the selenium accumulation both in ordinary conditions and under selenium supply. Full article
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