Topic Editors

Associate Professor, Department of Animal Nutrition, University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, Svetosimunska 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
1. University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Biodiversity, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2. Center of Excellence for Biodiversity and Molecular Plant Breeding, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Department of Phytomedicine, Institute of Agricultural Zoology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Prof. Dr. Jernej Jakše
Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
Prof. Dr. Arup Kumar Goswami
Department of Electrical Engineering, National Institute of Technology Silchar, Cachar 788010, Assam, India
Dr. Craig Sturrock
Division of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK

New Insights in Agriculture: Sustainability, Digitalization and Food Safety

Abstract submission deadline
closed (15 March 2023)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (15 September 2023)
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growth of the world's population and the increasing vulnerability of agriculture due to global climate change have influenced global thinking about food security. The agricultural sector is at the center of food production, and the main challenges of modern agricultural production are to produce and provide sufficient quantities of healthy and nutritionally valuable food. Other challenges include adapting to climate change while reducing the impact on climate change and biodiversity loss. To meet these challenges, new knowledge must be gained in research and appropriately implemented into sustainable agricultural practices. The agricultural sector is characterized by its complexity and diversity; thus, new solutions and innovative farming practices should be implemented in every aspect of agricultural production, from plant production and animal husbandry to the application of new technologies, appropriate farm management, and environmental impact assessment.

The adoption of new sustainable practices to increase agricultural productivity and reduce the impact on the environment includes the introduction and integration of knowledge from different disciplines such as circular bioeconomy, soil management, biodiversity conservation, environmental protection, information technology, and digitalization. In addition to providing food, the agricultural sector also plays an important role in providing renewable energy sources in the form of bioenergy and contributes to carbon neutrality. However, as food production is an energy-demanding process, crosstalk with other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, geothermal and tidal energy, and hydropower should also be given due consideration, as they can be used not only in agriculture but in all areas of production and daily life in general.

In this Special Issue, we invite you to share your scientific achievements with a holistic approach and contribute to our common goal of maintaining coexistence on the globe through scientific ideas and analysis.

You are invited to participate in the International Renewable Energy Summit (INSORE2023) and in the 58th Croatian & 18th International Symposium on Agriculture. We particularly welcome contributions from SA 2023 and INSORE2023.

Dr. Kristina Kljak
Dr. Klaudija Carović-Stanko
Dr. Darija Lemić
Prof. Dr. Jernej Jakše
Dr. Kurt A. Rosentrater
Prof. Dr. Arup Kumar Goswami
Dr. Craig Sturrock
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • agricultural production
  • biodiversity
  • climate change
  • food quality and safety
  • renewable energy sources
  • bioeconomy
  • innovation and technology

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Agriculture
agriculture
3.3 4.9 2011 17.7 Days CHF 2600
Energies
energies
3.0 6.2 2008 16.1 Days CHF 2600
Foods
foods
4.7 7.4 2012 13.1 Days CHF 2900
Sustainability
sustainability
3.3 6.8 2009 18.8 Days CHF 2400

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Published Papers (23 papers)

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17 pages, 4555 KiB  
Review
Earth Observation-Based Rice Mapping Studies in Vietnamese Mekong Delta Compared to Global Context: A Bibliometric Analysis
by Anuva Chowdhury, Surajit Ghosh and Bunyod Holmatov
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010189 - 25 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1123
Abstract
A bibliometric study on mapping the rice cropping systems in VMD is crucial for understanding the trend of EO-based rice mapping and how remote sensing technologies are essential to address the food security issue in the region. This article presents an overview of [...] Read more.
A bibliometric study on mapping the rice cropping systems in VMD is crucial for understanding the trend of EO-based rice mapping and how remote sensing technologies are essential to address the food security issue in the region. This article presents an overview of Earth observation (EO)-based rice mapping strategies since 1979, prioritizing the scope of data, approaches, and techniques derived from 3700 research articles worldwide and contrasting them with the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD). Various quantitative analyses were conducted through bibliometric analysis using the VOS viewer and Scopus database. Optical images, particularly the Landsat (~16%) and MODIS (~12%) time series datasets, were the most commonly utilized globally. MODIS data (~31%) had the highest share in the VMD context, followed by Landsat data (~19%), while Sentinel series (~13% for global and ~16% for VMD) data became more popular in recent years. Research on rice mapping using UAVs has been gradually creeping into rice mapping research globally, but a gap is yet to be filled in the VMD. The most widely used approaches for rice mapping globally were Random Forest, Support Vector Machine, and Principal Component Analysis. Spectral indices like EVI, NDVI, and RVI were commonly used for rice mapping and monitoring. The findings underscore the critical role of EO-based rice mapping studies in the VMD in addressing sustainability and food security challenges. Full article
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16 pages, 5259 KiB  
Article
Research on Blockchain-Based Cereal and Oil Video Surveillance Abnormal Data Storage
by Yuan Zhang, Guangyuan Cui, Hongyi Ge, Yuying Jiang, Xuyang Wu, Zhenyu Sun and Zhiyuan Jia
Agriculture 2024, 14(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14010023 - 22 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
Cereal and oil video surveillance data play a vital role in food traceability, which not only helps to ensure the quality and safety of food, but also helps to improve the efficiency and transparency of the supply chain. Traditional video surveillance systems mainly [...] Read more.
Cereal and oil video surveillance data play a vital role in food traceability, which not only helps to ensure the quality and safety of food, but also helps to improve the efficiency and transparency of the supply chain. Traditional video surveillance systems mainly adopt a centralized storage mode, which is characterized by the deployment of multiple monitoring nodes and a large amount of data storage. It is difficult to guarantee the data security, and there is an urgent need for a solution that can achieve the safe and efficient storage of cereal and oil video surveillance data. This study proposes a blockchain-based abnormal data storage model for cereal and oil video surveillance. The model introduces a deep learning algorithm to process the cereal and oil video surveillance data, obtaining images with abnormal behavior from the monitoring data. The data are stored on a blockchain after hash operation, and InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is used as a secondary database to store video data and alleviate the storage pressure on the blockchain. The experimental results show that the model achieves the safe and efficient storage of cereal and oil video surveillance data, providing strong support for the sustainable development of the cereal and oil industry. Full article
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15 pages, 617 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Carbon Footprint Analysis Methods in Grain Processing—Studies Using Flour Production as an Example
by Magdalena Wróbel-Jędrzejewska and Ewelina Włodarczyk
Agriculture 2024, 14(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14010014 - 21 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1278
Abstract
Rational energy management in food production is one of the key actions in the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ongoing rapid climate change and global warming are making energy consumption an increasingly critical point in food production, throughout the “farm-to-table” manufacturing chain. [...] Read more.
Rational energy management in food production is one of the key actions in the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ongoing rapid climate change and global warming are making energy consumption an increasingly critical point in food production, throughout the “farm-to-table” manufacturing chain. The carbon footprint (CF) can be used to assess the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the area of food cultivation, production and distribution. The work purpose was to characterize the CF methodology on the basis of literature data, to analyze manufacturing processes in production plants to determine the shares of each type of emissions for selected products and to identify directions for optimizing technology (the scope of analysis—from raw material input to product output). A literature analysis of agriculturally important grain products was undertaken. Methods of carbon footprint analysis were analyzed. There is no standardized methodology for a given product group, with individual approaches designed for each product group existing in the literature. PAS 2050 is the most common standard focused on quantifying GHG emissions created during the life cycle of specific goods/services, without considering potential environmental, social and economic impacts. Full article
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14 pages, 1301 KiB  
Article
Critical Limit of Manganese for Soybean in Soils of Three Agro-Ecological Zones of Bangladesh
by Harun Or Rashed, Mohammad Mofizur Rahman Jahangir, M. Abul Hashem, Jannatul Ferdous, M. Abdul Kader, Zakaria M. Solaiman and Tahsina Sharmin Hoque
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16410; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316410 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1149
Abstract
Manganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient for plants, which influences multiple physiological systems. Determination of the critical limit (CL) of Mn in the soil is necessary for Mn fertilizer application as this limit delineates the deficiency, optimum, and toxicity ranges of Mn. A [...] Read more.
Manganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient for plants, which influences multiple physiological systems. Determination of the critical limit (CL) of Mn in the soil is necessary for Mn fertilizer application as this limit delineates the deficiency, optimum, and toxicity ranges of Mn. A pot experiment was performed in the winter season with 20 soils collected from three Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs) of Bangladesh to determine the CL of Mn for soybean (Glycine max L.). Manganese was applied in soil @ 0, 1, 2, and 4 ppm, and the experiment was laid out in a factorial and completely randomized design with three replications. The CL of Mn was determined by the Cate-Nelson graphical and statistical approach and was found 3.60 and 3.55 µg g−1, respectively. Applying 1 µg g−1 Mn in soil significantly enhanced root and shoot weight, as well as seed yield of soybean compared to no Mn application. In field conditions, a significant positive response of soybean yield was found up to the CL of Mn. The findings of the study could help predict possible Mn deficiency in soil and soybean response to Mn fertilizer, which is important in decision-making for efficient fertilizer management practices to ensure the yield potential of soybeans. Full article
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13 pages, 1670 KiB  
Article
Isotopic Signatures of Nitrogen in Selected Soils from Croatia
by Aleksandra Perčin, Ivana Šestak, Ivan Dugan, Milan Mesić, Ivica Kisić, Marina Baričević and Željka Zgorelec
Sustainability 2023, 15(23), 16174; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152316174 - 21 Nov 2023
Viewed by 760
Abstract
The mobility of nitrogen (N) in the environment is conditioned by its cycling between atmospheric, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems. It is a key element for global biogeochemistry, and although isotope analysis has been an integral part of many studies over the past eighty [...] Read more.
The mobility of nitrogen (N) in the environment is conditioned by its cycling between atmospheric, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems. It is a key element for global biogeochemistry, and although isotope analysis has been an integral part of many studies over the past eighty years, the complexity of the nitrogen cycle hinders a correct and detailed understanding of the mechanisms behind its processes. It could be argued that the interpretation of the isotopic signatures of nitrogen in soils is still in its infancy. In Croatia, such research has recently begun and is driven by a need for the comprehensive study of nitrogen isotopes in terrestrial ecosystems. The aim of this study was to compare the abundance of the 15N isotope in soils from continental and coastal parts of Croatia with different types of land use (arable land/crop production, meadows, forests, orchards, ski slopes, urban soil/city roads) and to authenticate the nitrogen origin in soils in relation to different soil management practices. This research was based on 27 soil samples collected at 11 locations in Croatia. The samples differed according to soil type, land use, applied mineral and organic nitrogen fertilization, and climatic condition at each specific location. The determination of δ15NT (T—total nitrogen) values in bulk samples was performed in duplicate with the IRMS (Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry) method using an IsoPrime100-Vario PYRO Cube (OH/CHN Pyrolyser/Elemental Analyzer). The results reveal that the mean δ15N abundance in soils according to different land use declines in the following order: crop production (+5.66 ± 1.06‰) > apple orchard (+5.60 ± 0.10‰) > city road (+4.33 ± 0.38‰) > meadow (+3.71 ± 0.85‰) > ski slope (+2.20 ± 0.10‰) > forest (+2.15 ± 1.86‰). The individual values were in the range from 0.00 ± 0.10‰ in the forest soil in continental Croatia to +7.19 ± 0.07‰ in the vegetable garden (crop production) soil in coastal Croatia. Among the investigated soil properties and weather conditions, PCA analysis identified close correlations between P2O5 content and δ115N abundance in arable soils, as well as between soil reaction (pH) and mean annual temperatures, while high C/N ratio values explained the isotopic distribution in non-arable soils (city roads and forests). Despite the long-term application of mineral nitrogen fertilizers, the results represent nitrogen of organic origin in the arable soils (crop production), which partly confirms the sustainable management of those agroecosystems. Full article
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20 pages, 4922 KiB  
Article
Metric and Spectral Insight into Bee-Pollen-to-Bee-Bread Transformation Process
by Lidija Svečnjak, Kristian Bošković, Saša Prđun, Mirna Mrkonjić Fuka and Irina Tanuwidjaja
Foods 2023, 12(22), 4149; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12224149 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1008
Abstract
Due to numerous bioactive constituents, both bee pollen (BP) and bee bread (BB) represent valuable food supplements. The transformation of BP into BB is a complex biochemical in-hive process that enables the preservation of the pollen’s nutritional value. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
Due to numerous bioactive constituents, both bee pollen (BP) and bee bread (BB) represent valuable food supplements. The transformation of BP into BB is a complex biochemical in-hive process that enables the preservation of the pollen’s nutritional value. The aim of this study was to determine the depth of the honeycomb cells in which bees store pollen and to provide a spectral insight into the chemical changes that occur during the BP-to-BB transformation process. This study was carried out on three experimental colonies of Apis mellifera carnica, from which fresh BP was collected using pollen traps, while BB samples were manually extracted from the cells two weeks after BP sampling. The samples were analyzed using infrared (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy, and the depth of the cells was measured using a caliper. The results showed that the average depth of the cells was 11.0 mm, and that the bees stored BB up to an average of 7.85 mm, thus covering between ⅔ and ¾ (71.4%) of the cell. The FTIR-ATR analysis revealed unique spectral profiles of both BP and BB, indicating compositional changes primarily reflected in a higher water content and an altered composition of the carbohydrate fraction (and, to a lesser extent, the lipid fraction) in BB compared to BP. Full article
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14 pages, 4068 KiB  
Article
Effects of Biochar and Cattle Manure under Different Tillage Management on Soil Properties and Crop Growth in Croatia
by Igor Bogunovic, Ivan Dugan, Paulo Pereira, Vilim Filipovic, Lana Filipovic, Vedran Krevh, Jasmina Defterdarovic, Manuel Matisic and Ivica Kisic
Agriculture 2023, 13(11), 2128; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13112128 - 11 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1072
Abstract
The negative environmental impact of conventional agriculture threatens agroecosystem stability and food security. Therefore, searching for optimal soil management practices is crucial for maintaining and improving soil functions. This work aims to determine the impact of conventional and conservation tillage on Stagnosols in [...] Read more.
The negative environmental impact of conventional agriculture threatens agroecosystem stability and food security. Therefore, searching for optimal soil management practices is crucial for maintaining and improving soil functions. This work aims to determine the impact of conventional and conservation tillage on Stagnosols in a semi-humid environment in Marija Magdalena (Croatia) during 2021 and 2022. Under each tillage treatment, subplots were biochar, cattle manure, and control (split-plot design). The conservation tillage exhibits lower compaction in addition to conventional tillage. In 2021, at 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm depths, control plots had the highest bulk density (BD), while biochar plots had the lowest. In 2022, biochar and manure treatments under conventional tillage had significantly higher BD than those under conservation tillage. Penetration resistance did not exceed 2 MPa in all treatments. Soil water content was high in conservation treatments at 0–15 cm. Water-stable aggregates were higher in biochar and manure plots under both tillage treatments. Maize yield was higher in conservation treatments in 2021 and in conventional during 2022. Manure and biochar in the conventional system showed a better impact on grain yields than under conservation. Conservation tillage in rain-fed farming maintains crop yields and reduces soil compaction. Full article
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15 pages, 646 KiB  
Article
Effect of Maize Hybrid in Complete Feed on the Production Performance and Economic Considerations in Laying Hens
by Veronika Gunjević, Darko Grbeša, Dora Zurak, Goran Kiš, Zlatko Janječić, Zlatko Svečnjak, Dalibor Bedeković, Marija Duvnjak, Vasil Pirgozliev and Kristina Kljak
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 15748; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152215748 - 8 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
The nutritional value of maize grain can be influenced by its genetic background, which can lead to differences that could affect laying hens due to the high proportion of maize hybrids in the complete feed. This study aimed to investigate the effects of [...] Read more.
The nutritional value of maize grain can be influenced by its genetic background, which can lead to differences that could affect laying hens due to the high proportion of maize hybrids in the complete feed. This study aimed to investigate the effects of modern maize hybrids on hen production and egg quality. Dietary treatments differed only in a grain of 15 high-yielding maize hybrids, added at a fixed proportion of 600 g kg−1 and without additional pigments. By 3 in each cage, 225 Lohmann Brown hens were allocated to 15 dietary treatments in a completely randomized block design (15 treatments × 5 cages). The experiment lasted 10 weeks, during which the number and weight of eggs were recorded daily, and diet intake was recorded weekly. Eggs for quality analysis were collected once per week during the last five weeks of the experiment. Dietary treatments differed (p < 0.05) in complete feed intake (119.7–123.1 g), egg weight (58.02–61.51 g), daily egg mass (56.17–60.16 g), and feed conversion ratio (2.01–2.19). As expected, dietary treatments did not affect egg traits such as shape index, albumen height, Haugh units, shell strength, thickness, and weight, but differed (p < 0.05) in yolk color (6.28–8.76) and yolk (14.74–16.03 g) and albumen (34.39–39.29 g) weights. The findings suggest that using different maize hybrids in complete feeds used in egg production systems may lead to small but significant differences in some hen production and egg quality traits, which in turn affect farmers’ income. Full article
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19 pages, 2452 KiB  
Article
Value Chain Digitalisation and Adoption Intention by Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) Farmers in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
by Sukoluhle Mazwane, Moraka Nakedi Makhura, Mmapatla Precious Senyolo and Athula Ginige
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15590; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115590 - 3 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 853
Abstract
Digital technologies disrupt agricultural value chains, thereby facilitating enhanced connectivity among various players. This contributes to the development of resilience and sustainability within farms. This study examined behavioural factors that influence farmers’ intentions to adopt value chain digital technologies available in South Africa. [...] Read more.
Digital technologies disrupt agricultural value chains, thereby facilitating enhanced connectivity among various players. This contributes to the development of resilience and sustainability within farms. This study examined behavioural factors that influence farmers’ intentions to adopt value chain digital technologies available in South Africa. A simple random sample of 100 Eastern Cape PLAS farms was chosen. Data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire. The data was analysed in R and STATA statistical packages using the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) and structural equation modelling (SEM). The results indicated a significant relationship between performance and effort expectancy and the intention to adopt value technologies. Furthermore, male farmers had a higher expectation of performance and effort. Prioritising performance demonstrations and trainings on the utilisation of these technologies is crucial in efforts to enhance their adoption. This contributes to the existing body of literature on the deployment of value chain technologies. Full article
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28 pages, 9042 KiB  
Article
Forecasting Fruit Export Damages and Enhancing Food Safety through Risk Management
by Francois du Plessis, Leila Louise Goedhals-Gerber and Joubert van Eeden
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15216; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115216 - 24 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1524
Abstract
This study underscores serious issues in the South African fruit export sector, notably highlighting the persistent fruit damage after 2016 that could boost microbial growth, jeopardising food safety. To enhance the supply chain and safeguard food, identifying and strategising the types of fruit [...] Read more.
This study underscores serious issues in the South African fruit export sector, notably highlighting the persistent fruit damage after 2016 that could boost microbial growth, jeopardising food safety. To enhance the supply chain and safeguard food, identifying and strategising the types of fruit damage during distribution is critical. The data bring to light intricate and varied trends in damage claims across different fruit types and years, indicating a need to understand each fruit type’s specific vulnerabilities and adjust handling and farming techniques accordingly to minimise losses after harvest. The analysis reveals key insights into seasonal patterns in fruit damage claims, with notable increases especially in January and February, and clear fluctuations throughout the year. Utilising this knowledge, stakeholders can optimise operations and formulate guidelines tailored to high-risk seasons for fruit handling and transportation. Looking forward, both SARIMA and linear regression models predict an increasing trend in damage claims, highlighting a pressing need for improved planning and risk management strategies. This proactive approach will be crucial in mitigating future damage claims and enhancing food safety amid the growing challenges posed by climate changes and shifting global standards and regulations. Full article
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15 pages, 2226 KiB  
Article
Mulch and Grass Cover Unevenly Halt Runoff Initiation and Sediment Detachment during the Growing Season of Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) in Croatia
by Manuel Matisic, Marko Reljic, Ivan Dugan, Paulo Pereira, Vilim Filipovic, Lana Filipovic, Vedran Krevh and Igor Bogunovic
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15200; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115200 - 24 Oct 2023
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Hazelnut orchards are popular for cropping on sloped sites, which are often highly erodible. This study aimed to assess the impact of soil management and season in a hazelnut orchard on soil properties and hydrological response. Three treatments (Tilled, Straw, and Grass) were [...] Read more.
Hazelnut orchards are popular for cropping on sloped sites, which are often highly erodible. This study aimed to assess the impact of soil management and season in a hazelnut orchard on soil properties and hydrological response. Three treatments (Tilled, Straw, and Grass) were established in Munije (Croatia) on Stagnosol. In Spring, Summer, and Fall, a rainfall simulation was performed (intensity of 58 mm h−1 for 30 min). Results reveal higher water stable aggregate values were observed for the Straw treatment in all seasons. Higher soil organic matter (SOM) content was noticed for the Grass treatment in all seasons, while lower values were recorded for the Tilled treatment. Sediment loss in Summer was up to 650% and 1300% higher for the Tilled treatment compared with the Straw and Grass treatments. This study strengthens the comprehension of utilizing a permanent ground cover in hazelnut orchards as a sustainable practice, contributing to the mitigation of soil erosion processes and the improvement of soil properties. The Straw treatment is a viable option since it increases soil stability and SOM, consequently preventing high soil erosion. Full article
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14 pages, 2697 KiB  
Article
Sensory Profile of Semi-Hard Goat Cheese Preserved in Oil for Different Lengths of Time
by Stefani Levak, Ivica Kos, Samir Kalit, Iva Dolenčić Špehar, Darija Bendelja Ljoljić, Ante Rako and Milna Tudor Kalit
Sustainability 2023, 15(20), 14797; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152014797 - 12 Oct 2023
Viewed by 855
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the sensory profile of semi-hard goat cheese preserved in an oil mixture (extra virgin olive oil from Mljet and refined sunflower oil; 50:50). Five batches of cheese were made, and each batch was divided into [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the sensory profile of semi-hard goat cheese preserved in an oil mixture (extra virgin olive oil from Mljet and refined sunflower oil; 50:50). Five batches of cheese were made, and each batch was divided into three groups: (i) ripening in air (group 1—control group), (ii) ripening in oil after 10 days of ripening in air (group 2), (iii) ripening in oil after 20 days of ripening in air (group 3). After 60 days of ripening, quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) was performed by six trained experts and texture was analyzed with a texture analyzer. The correlations between the descriptive sensory scores of texture and the texture analyzer results were significantly related. Compared to the control group, the oil-ripened cheeses had significantly (p < 0.05) higher oily odor and taste intensity and greater elasticity and stickiness determined by fingers, but thinner rind, lower cross-sectional color intensity, and lower crumbliness in the mouth. Ripening in oil improved rind thickness, taste, texture, and cross-sectional properties. Group 3 cheeses were preferred in terms of appearance, cross-section, odor, and taste, suggesting that prolonged ripening in air before immersion in oil positively affected the sensory characteristics of the cheese. Full article
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26 pages, 3606 KiB  
Review
Agrivoltaics and Aquavoltaics: Potential of Solar Energy Use in Agriculture and Freshwater Aquaculture in Croatia
by Daniel Matulić, Željko Andabaka, Sanja Radman, Goran Fruk, Josip Leto, Jakša Rošin, Mirta Rastija, Ivana Varga, Tea Tomljanović, Hrvoje Čeprnja and Marko Karoglan
Agriculture 2023, 13(7), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13071447 - 22 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4436
Abstract
Agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics combine renewable energy production with agriculture and aquaculture. Agrivoltaics involves placing solar panels on farmland, while aquavoltaics integrates photovoltaic systems with water bodies and aquaculture. This paper examines the benefits and challenges of agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics, focusing on their potential [...] Read more.
Agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics combine renewable energy production with agriculture and aquaculture. Agrivoltaics involves placing solar panels on farmland, while aquavoltaics integrates photovoltaic systems with water bodies and aquaculture. This paper examines the benefits and challenges of agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics, focusing on their potential for Croatian agriculture and freshwater aquaculture. Benefits include dual land use, which allows farmers to produce clean energy while maintaining agricultural practices. They diversify renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Solar panels in agrivoltaics provide shade, protect crops, reduce water needs, and increase yields. Challenges include high initial costs and limited accessibility, especially for small farmers. Integration with existing systems requires careful planning, considering irrigation, soil moisture, and crop or fish production. Maintenance and cleaning present additional challenges due to dust, debris, and algae. Policy and regulatory frameworks must support implementation, including incentives, grid integration, land use regulations, and conservation. The location, resources, and crops grown in Croatia present an opportunity for agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics, considering cultivation methods, species, and regulatory requirements. Full article
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20 pages, 1928 KiB  
Article
Accumulation of Stinging Nettle Bioactive Compounds as a Response to Controlled Drought Stress
by Mia Dujmović, Nevena Opačić, Sanja Radman, Sanja Fabek Uher, Sandra Voća and Jana Šic Žlabur
Agriculture 2023, 13(7), 1358; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13071358 - 6 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1433
Abstract
As the impact of global warming intensifies drought effects, plants need to adapt to drought and other climate change-induced stresses through various defense mechanisms. One of them is the increased synthesis of bioactive compounds (BCs), which helps plants overcome adverse environmental conditions. This [...] Read more.
As the impact of global warming intensifies drought effects, plants need to adapt to drought and other climate change-induced stresses through various defense mechanisms. One of them is the increased synthesis of bioactive compounds (BCs), which helps plants overcome adverse environmental conditions. This effect can be used in sustainable controlled cultivation as a tool for the nutritional improvement of crops, so this study focused on growing stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) for human consumption in a controlled environment. Since nettle can be consumed as a green leafy vegetable due to its nutritional value, the aim of this study was to determine the content of BCs (ascorbic acid, phenolic compounds, and pigments) and antioxidant capacity of nettle leaves grown under different drought stress conditions in an ebb and flow hydroponic system. During the experiment, plants were treated with a nutrient solution adjusted for nettle cultivation for 1 hour and then exposed to three different drought intervals: 24, 48, and 96 h. During the 48 h drought interval, the plants accumulated the highest amounts of total phenolic content and total non-flavonoid content (400.21 and 237.33 mg GAE/100 g, respectively), and during the 96 h drought interval, the nettle accumulated the highest amount of ascorbic acid (96.80 mg/100 g fw). The highest antioxidant capacity was recorded during the 24 and 48 h treatments (2435.07 and 2444.83 µmol/TE, respectively) according to the ABTS and during the 48 h treatment (3773.49 µmol/TE) according to the FRAP assay. The obtained results show that different drought stress durations caused by the absence of nutrient solutions can have a positive effect on the accumulation of nettle BCs. Full article
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21 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Socialized Agricultural Machinery Services on the Labor Transfer of Maize Growers
by Siyu Yang and Wei Li
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061249 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1970
Abstract
Socialized agricultural machinery services, effectively cracking the “who to plant, how to plant” dilemma, are an important grasp of the development of modern agriculture. Based on the specialization division of labor theory, using the 2019 national survey data of maize growers in 13 [...] Read more.
Socialized agricultural machinery services, effectively cracking the “who to plant, how to plant” dilemma, are an important grasp of the development of modern agriculture. Based on the specialization division of labor theory, using the 2019 national survey data of maize growers in 13 provinces, the instrumental variable method and systematic generalized moment estimation (GMM) were used to overcome the endogeneity problem of mutual causality between socialized agricultural machinery services and labor transfer, analyze the impact of socialized agricultural machinery services on the labor transfer of maize growers and its link to heterogeneity, and explore the impact effect in different terrain conditions, part-time. We also explored the cohort differences in the effect in different terrain conditions and degree of part-time work. The endogenous switching regression model (ESR) was also applied to construct a counterfactual framework to further analyze the impact effect of socialized agricultural machinery services on labor transfer. The results showed that socialized agricultural machinery services could effectively promote labor transfer among maize farmers. Compared with maize farmers in other terrain conditions and part-time degree, the impact effect of agricultural machinery socialization services on labor transfer of flatland and pure farming households was more significant. Socialized agricultural machinery services play an important role in driving traditional farming households to labor transfer and realizing their organic connection with modern agriculture. Full article
30 pages, 1457 KiB  
Article
The Behavioral Intention to Adopt Circular Economy-Based Digital Technology for Agricultural Waste Valorization
by Teerapong Pienwisetkaew, Sasichakorn Wongsaichia, Benyapa Pinyosap, Supakkarn Prasertsil, Kunjira Poonsakpaisarn and Chavis Ketkaew
Foods 2023, 12(12), 2341; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12122341 - 11 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3146
Abstract
Thailand generates considerable amounts of agricultural food waste. This research focuses on the manufacturing and retail agricultural food system in the northeastern region of Thailand. Our study aimed to investigate the user segments and factors that influence users’ behavioral intentions to utilize mobile [...] Read more.
Thailand generates considerable amounts of agricultural food waste. This research focuses on the manufacturing and retail agricultural food system in the northeastern region of Thailand. Our study aimed to investigate the user segments and factors that influence users’ behavioral intentions to utilize mobile technology for agricultural waste valorization. This study is based on the Unified Theory of the Adoption and Utilization of Technology (UTAUT2). In order to classify these segments, we performed a cluster analysis using demographic variables: gender, age, and income. In addition, the researchers employed a method known as multigroup structural equation modeling to determine and contrast the users’ behavioral intentions. The results showed two types of users: (1) older users with various income ranges, and (2) younger users with a low-income range. Explicitly, age and income were the significant variables for the demographic segmentation, but gender was not. The results also revealed that social influence, price value, and trust highly affected the behavioral intentions of older and various-income users, but did not influence younger and low-income users. However, privacy strongly affected the behavioral intentions in the younger segment, but not those in the older one. Lastly, habit or regularity influenced the behavioral intentions of users in both segments. This study highlights implications for how developers and practitioners might adapt their platform strategies using a circular agricultural platform and user behaviors. Full article
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16 pages, 1086 KiB  
Article
Technological Capabilities for the Adoption of New Technologies in the Agri-Food Sector of Mexico
by Juan Manuel Vargas-Canales
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061177 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2192
Abstract
Agriculture 4.0 and 5.0 generate good expectations of satisfying the growing demand for food in a sustainable way. However, in order to make effective use of scientific and technological developments, infrastructure, knowledge, experience and skills are required. In this sense, the objective of [...] Read more.
Agriculture 4.0 and 5.0 generate good expectations of satisfying the growing demand for food in a sustainable way. However, in order to make effective use of scientific and technological developments, infrastructure, knowledge, experience and skills are required. In this sense, the objective of this research was to analyze the technological capacity of the Mexican agri-food sector for the adoption of new technologies. The documentary research method was used, and the information was obtained from the Encuesta Nacional Agropecuaria, the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía and the Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad. A cluster analysis was performed to generate a typology of states, in addition to an analysis of variance with the Kruskal–Wallis H Test for independent samples, for which the IBM® SPSS Statistics program was used. The variables analyzed presented very low values, indicating low technological capabilities. Three clusters of states with different technological capabilities were identified. The first was formed of four states in the north of the country with high technological capabilities, for which it was expected that they would have higher adoption rates. Next, there was a group made up of ten states in the north and center of the country with intermediate technological capabilities. Finally, there was a group of 18 states of the country made up of states from the center and south of the country, which present the lowest levels. The results indicate that the technological capacities for the adoption of new technologies in the Mexican agri-food sector are low in general, and are concentrated in some highly specialized regions linked to international markets. Full article
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27 pages, 11619 KiB  
Article
A New Mode of a Natural Convection Solar Greenhouse Dryer for Domestic Usage: Performance Assessment for Grape Drying
by M. A. Tawfik, Khaled M. Oweda, M. K. Abd El-Wahab and W. E. Abd Allah
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051046 - 12 May 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2093
Abstract
It is known that the natural convection (NC) solar drying process is a simple and cheap method for drying foodstuffs, but it is not preferable for common users in the case of drying high-moisture content agro-products due to the slow rate of drying. [...] Read more.
It is known that the natural convection (NC) solar drying process is a simple and cheap method for drying foodstuffs, but it is not preferable for common users in the case of drying high-moisture content agro-products due to the slow rate of drying. Meanwhile, the forced convection (FC) drying process is most appropriate for such products, but its economic feasibility may be affected due to high initial and maintenance costs. Therefore, the present study proposed a controlled natural convection (CNC) drying mode using a solar greenhouse dryer (SGD) for drying grapes with two types of cover materials, glass and Plexiglas, through intermittent operation with a PV system to save energy as a simple and inexpensive domestic dryer instead of the common forced convection SGD and the conventional natural convection SGD. The obtained results of the new CNC drying mode using a Plexiglas SGD showed a higher drying rate than the NC drying mode and are close to the FC drying mode using the same cover material. The initial moisture content of the grapes was reduced from 5.91 g water/g dry matter to the final moisture content of 0.15 g water/g dry matter within 12 h and 15 h for the CNC and NC drying modes, respectively, using the Plexiglas SGD. Moreover, the thermal drying efficiency for the two mentioned drying modes was 12.5 and 9.7%, respectively. The Page model was found to be the most appropriate model to predict the kinetics of the SGD in all drying modes, regardless of the cover type. The new CNC drying mode using the Plexiglas SGD achieved the lowest cost per kg of dried grapes (1.26 USD/kg), the highest total saved costs over the lifespan of the dryer (USD 245.46) and the shortest payback period (1.08 years) compared to the other two dryers, NC-SGD and FC-SGD. Generally, the CNC-SGD had good performance over the NC-SGD because it is not affected by the fluctuation in the volume, velocity and direction of the inlet ambient air/wind during drying grapes as a high-moisture content product without external heating sources or complicated parts. Thus, the proposed drying system has the advantage in terms of simplicity, cheapness and saving energy compared to FC-SGD. Full article
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17 pages, 6739 KiB  
Article
Research on the Assessment Method of Sugarcane Cultivation Suitability in Guangxi Province, China, Based on Multi-Source Data
by Senzheng Chen, Huichun Ye, Chaojia Nie, Hongye Wang and Jingjing Wang
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13050988 - 29 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2898
Abstract
Conducting suitability assessment for sugarcane cultivation is of great significance for optimizing the sugarcane cultivation structure and industrial layout. In this paper, based on the requirements of sugarcane growth and development on climate, terrain, and other environmental conditions, as well as the influence [...] Read more.
Conducting suitability assessment for sugarcane cultivation is of great significance for optimizing the sugarcane cultivation structure and industrial layout. In this paper, based on the requirements of sugarcane growth and development on climate, terrain, and other environmental conditions, as well as the influence of natural disasters, a total of 11 specific indicators in terms of climate factor, terrain factor, and disaster factor were selected to construct a sugarcane cultivation suitability assessment system based on the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Then, using Guangxi Province, China, as an example, a suitability assessment for sugarcane cultivation was conducted using multi-source data on climate, terrain, and hazards over the past 30 years. The results showed that among 11 indicators, including annual average temperature, elevation had the largest contribution rate, followed by precipitation during the period of ≥20 °C, slope, and the autumn drought frequency. From the spatial distribution, 37% of the provincial regions were suitable for sugarcane cultivation, mainly distributed in Chongzuo City, Nanning City, Qinzhou City, and Beihai City. In total, 44% of the provincial regions were moderately suitable for sugarcane cultivation, mainly distributed in Hezhou City, Laibin City, and Liuzhou City. Additionally, only 19% of the provincial regions were unsuitable for sugarcane cultivation, mainly distributed in Baise City, Hechi City, and Guilin City, with the terrain factor being the main influencing factor of sugarcane suitability assessment. In order to make reasonable use of land resources and increase sugarcane yield, it is suggested that sugarcane cultivation areas should be adjusted to the central and southern regions such as Chongzuo City, Nanning City, Beihai City, and Qinzhou City, and other industries should be developed in the northern regions which are not suitable for sugarcane cultivation. Full article
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12 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Why Are Farmers Reluctant to Sell: Evidence from Rural China
by Pan Wang and Di Liu
Agriculture 2023, 13(4), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13040814 - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1565
Abstract
The agricultural marketing behavior of farmers is crucial for the realization of production value. Based on survey data from 406 citrus farmers in Hubei Province, this paper empirically examines the effects of risk aversion and Internet use on farmers’ marketing behavior in terms [...] Read more.
The agricultural marketing behavior of farmers is crucial for the realization of production value. Based on survey data from 406 citrus farmers in Hubei Province, this paper empirically examines the effects of risk aversion and Internet use on farmers’ marketing behavior in terms of fresh produce. The results show that, first, farmers are generally reluctant to sell, with reluctant sellers accounting for about one-third of the total sample, and most report high levels of Internet use. Second, risk aversion and Internet use have a significant impact on farmers’ reluctance to sell. The higher the level of farmer risk aversion, the lower the reluctance to sell, while Internet use significantly increases the probability of farmers being reluctant to sell. Third, Internet use weakens the inhibiting effect of risk aversion on reluctance to sell. These findings help to clarify the factors influencing farmers’ reluctance to sell and provide reference suggestions for promoting high-quality agricultural development and rural industrial revitalization. Full article
18 pages, 721 KiB  
Article
Switch or Stay? Applying a Push–Pull–Mooring Framework to Evaluate Behavior in E-Grocery Shopping
by Terrylina A. Monoarfa, Ujang Sumarwan, Arif I. Suroso and Ririn Wulandari
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6018; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076018 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3278
Abstract
This study investigates the antecedents of the intention to switch to e-grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is critical in recommending that e-grocery shopping service providers improve their competitiveness by responding to customer expectations. This study proposes a push–pull–mooring framework to describe [...] Read more.
This study investigates the antecedents of the intention to switch to e-grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is critical in recommending that e-grocery shopping service providers improve their competitiveness by responding to customer expectations. This study proposes a push–pull–mooring framework to describe the influence of dissatisfaction on the physical market, the attractiveness of e-grocery, and switching costs as factors that drive switching intentions. This study surveyed 252 Indonesians aware of the existence of an e-grocery mobile application, and applied structural equation modeling as an analytical method to explain causal relationships between variables thought to influence switching intentions to e-grocery shopping. The results showed that the attractiveness of e-grocery had a significant effect on switching intention. Likewise, switching costs ultimately drive customer intention to switch to e-grocery shopping. However, dissatisfaction is not a driving factor directly affecting switching costs and intentions. Finally, e-grocery services cannot replace the local tradition of Indonesian people who prefer to shop for groceries in physical markets. Nevertheless, these findings provide theoretical and practical contributions to retail grocery businesses that have integrated conventional and digital services as a future strategy that drives business sustainability. Full article
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19 pages, 5288 KiB  
Article
Monitoring System for Leucoptera malifoliella (O. Costa, 1836) and Its Damage Based on Artificial Neural Networks
by Dana Čirjak, Ivan Aleksi, Ivana Miklečić, Ana Marija Antolković, Rea Vrtodušić, Antonio Viduka, Darija Lemic, Tomislav Kos and Ivana Pajač Živković
Agriculture 2023, 13(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13010067 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2535
Abstract
The pear leaf blister moth is a significant pest in apple orchards. It causes damage to apple leaves by forming circular mines. Its control depends on monitoring two events: the flight of the first generation and the development of mines up to 2 [...] Read more.
The pear leaf blister moth is a significant pest in apple orchards. It causes damage to apple leaves by forming circular mines. Its control depends on monitoring two events: the flight of the first generation and the development of mines up to 2 mm in size. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop two models using artificial neural networks (ANNs) and two monitoring devices with cameras for the early detection of L. malifoliella (Pest Monitoring Device) and its mines on apple leaves (Vegetation Monitoring Device). To train the ANNs, 400 photos were collected and processed. There were 4700 annotations of L. malifoliella and 1880 annotations of mines. The results were processed using a confusion matrix. The accuracy of the model for the Pest Monitoring Device (camera in trap) was more than 98%, while the accuracy of the model for the Vegetation Monitoring Device (camera for damage) was more than 94%, all other parameters of the model were also satisfactory. The use of this comprehensive system allows reliable monitoring of pests and their damage in real-time, leading to targeted pest control, reduction in pesticide residues, and a lower ecological footprint. Furthermore, it could be adopted for monitoring other Lepidopteran pests in crop production. Full article
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11 pages, 2493 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Bioconversion of Wetland Plant Biomass for Pleurotus ostreatus var. florida Cultivation: Studies on Proximate and Biochemical Characterization
by Mohssen Elbagory, Sahar El-Nahrawy, Alaa El-Dein Omara, Ebrahem M. Eid, Archana Bachheti, Pankaj Kumar, Sami Abou Fayssal, Bashir Adelodun, Rakesh Kumar Bachheti, Pankaj Kumar, Boro Mioč, Vinod Kumar and Ivan Širić
Agriculture 2022, 12(12), 2095; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12122095 - 7 Dec 2022
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2689
Abstract
The abundant biomass growth of aquatic macrophytes in wetlands is one of the major concerns affecting their residing biota. Moreover, the biomass degenerates within the wetlands, thereby causing a remixing of nutrients and emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, it is crucial to find [...] Read more.
The abundant biomass growth of aquatic macrophytes in wetlands is one of the major concerns affecting their residing biota. Moreover, the biomass degenerates within the wetlands, thereby causing a remixing of nutrients and emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, it is crucial to find sustainable methods to utilize the biomass of aquatic macrophytes devoid of environmental concerns. The present study investigates the utilization of the biomass of three aquatic macrophytes, including the lake sedge (CL: Carex lacustris Willd.), water hyacinth (EC: Eichhornia crassipes Mart. Solms), and sacred lotus (NL: Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) to produce oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus var. florida) mushrooms. For this purpose, different combinations of wheat straw (WS: as control) and macrophyte’s biomass (WH) such as control (100% WH), CL50 (50% WH + 50% CL), CL100 (100% CL), EC50 (50% WH + 50% EC), EC100 (100% EC), NL50 (50% WH + 50% NL), and NL100 (100% NL) were used for P. florida cultivation under controlled laboratory conditions. The results showed that all selected combinations of wheat straw and macrophyte biomass supported the spawning and growth of P. florida. In particular, the maximum significant (p < 0.05) growth, yield, bioefficiency, proximate, and biochemical parameters were reported using the WH substrate followed by CL, NL, and EC biomass, which corresponds to the reduction efficiency of the substrate parameters. Therefore, the findings of this study reveal that the biomass of selected aquatic macrophytes can be effectively utilized for sustainable mushroom cultivation while minimizing the risk associated with their self-degeneration. Full article
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