Special Issue "Sustainable Vegetable Production and Biodiversity within a Climate Change Environment"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spyridon A. Petropoulos
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, University of Thessaly, Greece
Interests: Nutritional value, chemical composition and bioactive properties of wild edible species; Nutrition of horticultural and medicinal plants; Essential oils of herbs and medicinal and horticultural plants; Quality of vegetable products (aroma profile, nitrate content, vitamins, phenolic compounds, color etc.); The effect of agronomic practices on bioactive compounds content of vegetable products; Agronomic performance and quality of local landraces of vegetables
Prof. Dr. Nikos Tzortzakis
Website1 Website2 SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, Biotechnology and Food Science, Cyprus University of Technology, 3036 Limassol, Cyprus
Interests: vegetable production; plant nutrition; soilless culture; substrates and hydroponics; abiotic stress; postharvest and quality of fresh produce; edible flowers; bioactive compounds; medicinal and aromatic plants
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

Vegetable crop cultivation uses intensified cropping systems in the pursuit of high yields, especially in the case of greenhouse cultivation, which is considered the most intense and high yielding cropping system. However, modern horticulture and vegetable production is under increasing pressure from the ongoing climate change and soil degradation, as well as the market demands for higher yields and better-quality products. Therefore, producers are caught in a vicious circle, where they have to increase agrochemical inputs to achieve the targeted yields with questionable results mostly in regard to final product quality and consumer safety issues as well as of the enterprise viability. Within this framework, farmers and related stakeholders have to reinvent vegetable crop cultivation and try to conform to modern requirements through the application of biodiversity-based and precise farming systems, the use of intensified cropping systems (e.g., indoors cultivation, hydroponics), the valorization of local landraces and farmers’ varieties, urban farming, vertical gardening and cost-efficient vegetable production, the exploitation of wild edible species for commercial cultivation, and the selection of elite genotypes of vegetable crops adapted to the new and ever-changing environment.

This Special Issue invites original research papers and reviews focusing on the rural and urban farming development through the sustainable vegetable production under the climate change challenges. Special focus will be given to biodiversity-based farming systems, plant adaptation to abiotic stresses, and eco-efficient cropping systems, although other research topics related with vegetable production are also welcomed. The Special Issue aims to contribute to the literature on sustainable cultivation of vegetable crops and foster and reinforce vegetable production with modern tools towards rural and urban development.

Prof. Dr. Spyridon A. Petropoulos
Prof. Dr. Nikos Tzortzakis
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1800 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

  • Biodiversity
  • Farming systems
  • Local landraces
  • Vegetable production
  • Wild edible species
  • Climate change
  • Quality and safety
  • Urban and rural farming

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Biostimulants as a Tool for Improving Environmental Sustainability of Greenhouse Vegetable Crops
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5101; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125101 - 23 Jun 2020
Abstract
Plant biostimulants have gained great interest from the agrochemical industry and farmers because of their ability to enhance nutrient use efficiency and increase abiotic stress tolerance in crop production. However, despite the considerable potential of biostimulants for the sustainable development of the agricultural [...] Read more.
Plant biostimulants have gained great interest from the agrochemical industry and farmers because of their ability to enhance nutrient use efficiency and increase abiotic stress tolerance in crop production. However, despite the considerable potential of biostimulants for the sustainable development of the agricultural sector, the environmental evaluation of the application of biostimulants is still missing. Hence, this is the first study that focuses on the environmental assessment of the biostimulant action of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices and vegetal-derived protein hydrolysate on two greenhouse vegetable crops, spinach and zucchini squash, under different fertilization regimes. The life cycle assessment from a cradle to gate perspective, which covers all processes related to crop cultivation up to harvest, was carried out to calculate the carbon footprint of the production chain for these two crops. The results of the comparative analysis revealed that the CO2 equivalent emissions of both crops were reduced due to the biostimulant applications. In particular, the effect of the mycorrhization on the reduction of carbon emissions compared to the un-mycorrhized control was higher in zucchini plants under organic fertilization (12%) than under mineral fertilization (7%). In addition, organic fertilization increased the total carbon footprint of zucchini (52%) compared with mineral fertilization. The results also showed that an increase of nitrogen fertilization from 15 to 45 kg N ha−1 in spinach production enhanced the total CO2 emissions per ton of harvested leaves in comparison with treatments that involved the foliar applications of protein hydrolysate together with a lower nitrogen input; this increase was 4% compared to the unfertilized treatment with application of biostimulant. This study can support decision-making in terms of agronomic technique choices in line with sustainable development of vegetable crop production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Treated Wastewater and Fertigation Applied for Greenhouse Tomato Cultivation Grown in Municipal Solid Waste Compost and Soil Mixtures
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104287 - 24 May 2020
Abstract
Low-fertility soil and the use of brackish water for irrigation act as obstacles and limit crop production. The utilization of municipal solid waste (MSW), compost (C), and treated wastewater (TWW) is receiving attention nowadays not only to overcome the above limitations but also [...] Read more.
Low-fertility soil and the use of brackish water for irrigation act as obstacles and limit crop production. The utilization of municipal solid waste (MSW), compost (C), and treated wastewater (TWW) is receiving attention nowadays not only to overcome the above limitations but also as an efficient way for waste management and reuse of raw materials. In the present study, MSW compost in different ratios (5%, 10%, 20%, and 40%), fertigation and/or irrigation with TWW were studied in tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.). The addition of compost increased organic content, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and mineral content of the growing media, while fertigation and TWW supported the mineral status of the growing media, and this was reflected in the increase of N, K, and Na in tomato leaves. Plants grown in compost-based media with fertigation produced more leaves, compared to the control, while irrigation with TWW did not increase the number of leaves. Plant biomass increased with the application of ≥20% C, fertigation, and/or TWW applications. Plant yield increased in 40% C, while fertigation increased yield in case of lower (5%-10% C) compost ratios, but TWW application did not change the yield. The combination of high C ratios and fertigation and/or TWW decreased tomato fresh weight. Different levels of C did not affect leaf photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, internal CO2 concentration, and chlorophyll fluorescence, but, in general, the combination of compost with fertigation and/or TWW affected them negatively. Fruit total soluble solids, acidity, ascorbic acid, firmness, and total phenolics were increased with the high ratios of compost and/or fertigation and TWW applications, but marketability did not. Bacteria (total coliform and Escherichia coli) units increased in growing media subjected to TWW, but lower levels were counted on the fruit, mainly due to splashing or fruit contact with the soil. The results indicate that up to 40% C can be added into the substrate, as increased plant growth and maintained plant yield for greenhouse tomato cultivation is observed, while fertigation and TWW could be used in a controlled manner as alternative means for nutrient and irrigation in vegetables following safety aspects. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Selected Insect Pests of Economic Importance to Brassica oleracea, Their Control Strategies and the Potential Threat to Environmental Pollution in Africa
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3824; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093824 - 08 May 2020
Abstract
The most common destructive insect pests affecting cabbages in African smallholder farmers include Plutella xylostella, Helula undalis, Pieris brassicae, Brevycoryne brassicae, Trichoplusia ni and Myzus persicae. Those insect pests infest cabbages at different stages of growth, causing huge damage [...] Read more.
The most common destructive insect pests affecting cabbages in African smallholder farmers include Plutella xylostella, Helula undalis, Pieris brassicae, Brevycoryne brassicae, Trichoplusia ni and Myzus persicae. Those insect pests infest cabbages at different stages of growth, causing huge damage and resulting into huge yield losses. The African smallholder farmers use cultural and synthetic pesticides to control insect pests and minimize infestations. The cultural practices like crop rotation, weeding and handpicking are used to minimize the invasion of cabbage pests. However, those practices are not sufficiently enough to control cabbage insect pests although they are cheap and safe to the environment. Also, the African smallholder famers rely intensively on the application of broad-spectrum of synthetic pesticides to effectively control the cabbage pests in the field. Due to severe infestation of cabbages caused by those insects, most of African smallholder farmers decide to; first, increase the concentrations of synthetic pesticides beyond the recommended amount by manufacturers. Secondly, increase the rate of application of the synthetic pesticides throughout the growing season to effectively kill the most stubborn insect pests infesting cabbages (Brassica oleracea var. capitata). Thirdly, they mix more than two synthetic pesticides for the purpose of increasing the spectrum of killing the most stubborn insect pests in the field. All those scenarios intensify the environmental pollution especially soil and water pollution. Moreover, most of insecticides sprayed are made with broad-spectrum and are hazardous chemicals posing environmental pollution and threats to natural enemies’ ecosystems. Therefore, this paper reviews Brassica oleracea var. capitata insect pests and control measures as a potential environmental pollution threat in African smallholder farmers. Full article
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