Topic Editors

Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Kamýcká 129, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
Department of Soil & Environmental Sciences, Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan
Dr. Saqib Bashir
Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Gazi University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Sustainable Crop Production from Problematic Soils to Ensure Food Security

Abstract submission deadline
1 May 2025
Manuscript submission deadline
12 July 2025
Viewed by
9290

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil is used for a variety of purposes, including cropping, pasturing, gardening, forestry, agroforestry, construction, etc. The aim is always to find the most suitable type of soil to get the best outcome. About 10% of the total soil resources of the world have little or no considerable limitations when it comes to cropping, yet most of the soils have some kind of limitations in terms of growing crops. Some soils can be productive for only a limited number of crops but offer serious limitations for others. Soils that have serious limitations for agricultural and other land uses are traditionally called problem soils. It is predicted that our planet will be populated with 9 billion people in 2050. This will result in serious issues with food, water, and energy supply, particularly in less developed countries. Considering the human demand, pressure on natural resources has already reached its critical limits. Intensive urbanization has already pressurized available soil resources, and issues around problematic soils are increasing, especially in the developing world, due to mismanagement. Therefore, utilizing problematic soils for agriculture production is inevitable in the current global food demands. This issue will mainly focus on innovative research to attain sustainable crop production from problematic soils including saline, sodic, compact, contaminated, and degraded soils. This issue will cover all the innovative practices to manage soils with problems.

Dr. Zhongbing Chen
Dr. Safdar Bashir
Dr. Saqib Bashir
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • contaminated soils
  • salinity
  • sodicity
  • heavy metals
  • stress
  • abiotic stress
  • wastewater

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Agriculture
agriculture
3.6 3.6 2011 17.7 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Agronomy
agronomy
3.7 5.2 2011 15.8 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Crops
crops
- - 2021 30.5 Days CHF 1000 Submit
Horticulturae
horticulturae
3.1 2.4 2015 14.7 Days CHF 2200 Submit
Plants
plants
4.5 5.4 2012 15.3 Days CHF 2700 Submit

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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18 pages, 4087 KiB  
Article
Alfalfa Responses to Intensive Soil Compaction: Effects on Plant and Root Growth, Phytohormones and Internal Gene Expression
by Mingke Yan, Dongming Yang, Yijun He, Yonglong Ma, Xin Zhang, Quanzhen Wang and Jinghui Gao
Plants 2024, 13(7), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13070953 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 576
Abstract
The perennial legume alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is of high value in providing cheap and high-nutritive forages. Due to a lack of tillage during the production period, the soil in which alfalfa grows prunes to become compacted through highly mechanized agriculture. Compaction [...] Read more.
The perennial legume alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is of high value in providing cheap and high-nutritive forages. Due to a lack of tillage during the production period, the soil in which alfalfa grows prunes to become compacted through highly mechanized agriculture. Compaction deteriorates the soil’s structure and fertility, leading to compromised alfalfa development and productivity. However, the way alfalfa responses to different levels of soil compaction and the underlying molecular mechanism are still unclear. In this study, we systematically evaluated the effects of gradient compacted soil on the growth of different cultivars of alfalfa, especially the root system architecture, phytohormones and internal gene expression profile alterations. The results showed that alfalfa growth was facilitated by moderate soil compaction, but drastically inhibited when compaction was intensified. The inhibition effect was universal across different cultivars, but with different severity. Transcriptomic and physiological studies revealed that the expression of a set of genes regulating the biosynthesis of lignin and flavonoids was significantly repressed in compaction treated alfalfa roots, and this might have resulted in a modified secondary cell wall and xylem vessel formation. Phytohormones, like ABA, are supposed to play pivotal roles in the regulation of the overall responses. These findings provide directions for the improvement of field soil management in alfalfa production and the molecular breeding of alfalfa germplasm with better soil compaction resilience. Full article
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17 pages, 9788 KiB  
Article
Design and Test of an Arc-Shaped Tooth Press Device for Combined Soil Preparation Equipment for Growing Potatoes
by Zhiming Zhao, Xiaoxin Zhu, Jicheng Li, Jinqing Lyu, Yu Qi and Jinni Liu
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061193 - 03 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1332
Abstract
In response to the low soil breakage rate and poor flatness of current combined soil preparation equipment for growing potatoes under the clay loam conditions of Northeast China, this paper presents the design of an arc-shaped tooth press device for such equipment, describing [...] Read more.
In response to the low soil breakage rate and poor flatness of current combined soil preparation equipment for growing potatoes under the clay loam conditions of Northeast China, this paper presents the design of an arc-shaped tooth press device for such equipment, describing its overall structure and working principle. By conducting force analysis on the press roller and shear stress analysis with MATLAB, we obtained the structural parameters and the corresponding value ranges impacting the operational effectiveness of the press device. A three-factor, five-level quadratic regression orthogonal rotational combination test was carried out using EDEM discrete element simulation software, taking the soil breakage rate and flatness as the test indicators. The forward speed, roller tooth arc length, and angle between the roller tooth and the vertical direction (ABRTVD) were the test factors. Design-Expert 8.0.6 software was used for data processing and analysis, and the results showed that the optimal parameter combination consisted of a forward speed of 0.72~1.15 m·s−1, a roller tooth arc length of 58.7 mm, and an ABRTVD of 37.74°, at which point the soil breakage rate was 93.58% and the flatness value was 21.36 mm. The optimal combination of parameters was selected for the field test, resulting in a soil breakage rate of 95.6% and a flatness value of 20.6 mm. The results of the simulation test were found to be consistent with the field test results, thus validating the efficacy of the device design. The findings of this study can provide a reference for enhancing the operational performance of combined soil preparation equipment for growing potatoes under clay loam conditions. Full article
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16 pages, 2739 KiB  
Article
Amendments of Severe Saline-Sodic Paddy Land: Optimal Combination of Phosphogypsum, Farmyard Fertilizer, and Wood Peat
by Guokang Duan, Miao Liu, Zhengwei Liang, Mingming Wang, Haoyu Yang, Yang Xu, Tianhe Yu, Yangyang Jin, Jiafeng Hu and Junqing Liu
Agronomy 2023, 13(5), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13051364 - 12 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
We aimed to determine the optimal combination of amendments to increase rice yields in saline-sodic soil. The effects of different proportions of phosphogypsum (P), farmyard fertilizer (F), and wood peat (W) across the main growth period of rice were studied. A total of [...] Read more.
We aimed to determine the optimal combination of amendments to increase rice yields in saline-sodic soil. The effects of different proportions of phosphogypsum (P), farmyard fertilizer (F), and wood peat (W) across the main growth period of rice were studied. A total of 14 treatments were designed based on the “3414” fertilizer effect field experiment scheme, with 3 factors (P, F, and W) and 4 application levels per factor. Application of a combination of P, F, and W reduced soil pH and electrical conductance (EC) (p < 0.05), increasing rice yields. The theoretical rice yield after treatment P2F2W2 (P 30, F 50, and W 30 t·ha−1) was 5819.20 kg·ha−1, which was 32.52-fold higher than that after P0F0W0 (P, F, and W, 0 t·ha−1). Panicle weight, number of total filled grains, total grain weight, and seed-setting rate were 9.76, 17.35, 32.11, and 3.96 times higher than those in the control treatment, respectively. Compared with the control P0F0W0 treatment, soil pH in P2F2W2 in 0–5, 5–10, 10–15, and 15–20 cm depth decreased by 12.69, 12.32, 11.18, and 10.70%, respectively, and soil EC was 1.06-fold, and 70.79, 49.30, and 47.76% higher, respectively. Overall, we found that the P2F2W2 treatment, with a combination of P, 29.09–32.38 t·ha−1; F, 40.36–46.97 t·ha−1; and W, 19.57–23.95 t·ha−1 was optimal in this experiment. Full article
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19 pages, 1885 KiB  
Article
Isolation of Glyphosate-Resistant Bacterial Strains to Improve the Growth of Maize and Degrade Glyphosate under Axenic Condition
by Waqas Mohy-Ud-Din, Muhammad Javed Akhtar, Safdar Bashir, Hafiz Naeem Asghar, Muhammad Farrakh Nawaz and Feng Chen
Agriculture 2023, 13(4), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13040886 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1974
Abstract
Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that is used to control perennial weeds in agriculture. However, its vast application may result in glyphosate residues in the food chain. Due to its toxicity to non-target organisms, glyphosate-contaminated soils needed to be remediated, and bioremediation is [...] Read more.
Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that is used to control perennial weeds in agriculture. However, its vast application may result in glyphosate residues in the food chain. Due to its toxicity to non-target organisms, glyphosate-contaminated soils needed to be remediated, and bioremediation is a conventional remedial method. The success of this depends on the isolation of bacteria with the ability to degrade glyphosate. The goal of this study was to isolate glyphosate-degrading bacteria from the rhizosphere of maize and wheat with a repeated application history of glyphosate for 5–10 years and test their roles in promoting the growth of maize (Zea mays) and glyphosate degradation in vitro. Eleven isolated bacteria were inoculated, and their role in plant growth was compared at different levels (100 and 200 mg/kg) of glyphosate. The results revealed that E. ludwigii improved the highest shoot length by 26% and the root length by 34% compared to the control at 100 mg/kg. The relative water contents in leaves significantly improved by 58% using P. aeruginosa at 100 mg/kg. The maximum electrolyte leakage from leaves significantly reduced by 73% using E. ludwigii at 100 mg/kg compared to the control (uninoculated). A high-pressure liquid chromatography instrument was used to assess the glyphosate concentrations. The highest degradation of glyphosate was observed in treatments inoculated with E. ludwigii (99 and 40%), P. aeruginosa (95 and 39%), K. variicola, (91 and 38%) E. cloacae (92 and 38%), and S. liquefaciens (87 and 36%), respectively, at 100 and 200 mg/kg within 28 days. These five strains demonstrated a great potential for degrading glyphosate and promoting the growth of maize in vitro, and they will be further exploited for the biodegradation of glyphosate and the growth promotion of broader crop species in situ in the near future. Full article
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19 pages, 4870 KiB  
Article
Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato Response to Filter Cake and Macadamia Husk Compost in Two Agroecologies of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
by Kayode Fatokun, Nozipho M. Motsa and Albert T. Modi
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 3091; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12123091 - 06 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1243
Abstract
Field experiments were carried out during the summer/autumn (first trial) and winter/spring (second trial) seasons of 2019 and 2021 in the Dlangubo, Ngwelezane, and Mtubatuba areas of KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa to study the drought amelioration effects and impact of two locally [...] Read more.
Field experiments were carried out during the summer/autumn (first trial) and winter/spring (second trial) seasons of 2019 and 2021 in the Dlangubo, Ngwelezane, and Mtubatuba areas of KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa to study the drought amelioration effects and impact of two locally available organic wastes (filter cake—a residue derived from sugar cane filtration (FC) and macadamia husk compost (MHC)) on the productivity and physiological responses of four orange-fleshed sweet potato cultivars (Beauregard cv., Impilo, W-119 and 199062.1). The effects of FC and MHC were compared with that of inorganic fertilizer (IF) [2:3:2 (30)], FC + IF, MHC + IF, and the control. The soil amendments were applied in the first trials only. Climatic data such as humidity, temperature, and rainfall were taken via remote sensing. The results of the first trial indicated that filter cake and IF significantly performed better than MHC. The strength of filter cake may be attributable to its rich array of mineral nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, and phosphorus. The limited performance of MHC may be attributable to its ability to hold water. Furthermore, a positive correction occurred between the yield of the test orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) cultivars, rainfall, and vegetation indices (normalized difference vegetation index, enhanced vegetation index, and normalized difference water index) investigated in the study. In season two, IF treatment did not have any significant effect on the growth and productivity of any of the tested sweet potato cultivars, but, FC, FC + IF, and MHC treatments largely maintained their performances. In conclusion, the use of FC is highly recommended in the production of the test OFSP cultivars. Furthermore, the study indicates that both FC and MHC may not only supply the needed plant nutrients but has the capacity to reduce the impact of drought on the growth of the test cultivars. These findings are of great value to farmers, especially the resource-poor ones. Full article
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14 pages, 2139 KiB  
Review
Metabolites Facilitating Adaptation of Desert Cyanobacteria to Extremely Arid Environments
by Siarhei A. Dabravolski and Stanislav V. Isayenkov
Plants 2022, 11(23), 3225; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11233225 - 24 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1800
Abstract
Desert is one of the harshest environments on the planet, characterized by exposure to daily fluctuations of extreme conditions (such as high temperature, low nitrogen, low water, high salt, etc.). However, some cyanobacteria are able to live and flourish in such conditions, form [...] Read more.
Desert is one of the harshest environments on the planet, characterized by exposure to daily fluctuations of extreme conditions (such as high temperature, low nitrogen, low water, high salt, etc.). However, some cyanobacteria are able to live and flourish in such conditions, form communities, and facilitate survival of other organisms. Therefore, to ensure survival, desert cyanobacteria must develop sophisticated and comprehensive adaptation strategies to enhance their tolerance to multiple simultaneous stresses. In this review, we discuss the metabolic pathways used by desert cyanobacteria to adapt to extreme arid conditions. In particular, we focus on the extracellular polysaccharides and compatible solutes biosynthesis pathways and their evolution and special features. We also discuss the role of desert cyanobacteria in the improvement of soil properties and their ecological and environmental impact on soil communities. Finally, we summarize recent achievements in the application of desert cyanobacteria to prevent soil erosion and desertification. Full article
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