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Agronomy, Volume 11, Issue 11 (November 2021) – 277 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Wildflowers can be an effective source of phytochemicals important for human health. Numerous Viola species are found in the Alpine environment which are potentially usable. Among these, the endemic subspecies of Viola calcarata are reported in the traditional medicine of West Italian Alps, despite the fact that their phenolic profiles are currently unavailable. The study provides the phytochemical characterization of V. calcarata subsp. calcarata (different flower colors—white, yellow, and violet) and of V. calcarata subsp. villarsiana (bicolor flowers—violet and yellow). The resulting subspecies are rich in bioactive compounds (flavonols, cinnamic and benzoic acids, catechins, and vitamin C) with antioxidant activity, highlighting their potential use in the agrifood sector and the importance of preserving their biodiversity. View this paper
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Article
Association Study of Symbiotic Genes in Pea (Pisum sativum L.) Cultivars Grown in Symbiotic Conditions
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2368; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112368 - 22 Nov 2021
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Abstract
In garden pea (Pisum sativum L.), several symbiotic genes are known to control the development of mutualistic symbioses with nodule bacteria (NB) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Here, we studied whether the allelic state of the symbiotic genes was associated with the [...] Read more.
In garden pea (Pisum sativum L.), several symbiotic genes are known to control the development of mutualistic symbioses with nodule bacteria (NB) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Here, we studied whether the allelic state of the symbiotic genes was associated with the growth parameters of pea plants under single inoculation with NB and under double inoculation with NB + AMF. Using different statistical methods, we analyzed the dataset obtained from a pot experiment that involved 99 pea cultivars, 10 of which were characterized as having shortened internodes due to the presence of the natural mutation p.A229T in the developmental gene Le. The plant’s habitus strongly influenced most of the studied growth and yield parameters and the effectiveness of the symbiotic interactions under NB and NB + AMF inoculation. Double inoculation had different effects on Le+ (normal) and le (dwarf) plants with regard to nitrogen and phosphorus content in seeds. Regardless of the Le-status of plants, allelic states of the symbiotic gene LykX encoding the putative receptor of Nod factors (bacterial signal molecules) were shown to be associated with seed number, thousand-seed weight, and pod number at the level of FDR < 0.001, whereas associations of allelic states of the other studied symbiotic genes were less significant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rhizobial Symbiosis in Crop Legumes: Molecular and Cellular Aspects)
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Article
Adaptability Mechanisms of Japonica Rice Based on the Comparative Temperature Conditions of Harbin and Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province of Northeast China
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2367; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112367 - 22 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Japonica rice has been considerably impacted from climate change, mainly regarding temperature variations. Adjusting the crop management practices based on the assessment of adaptability mechanisms to take full advantage of climate resources during the growing season is an important technique for japonica rice [...] Read more.
Japonica rice has been considerably impacted from climate change, mainly regarding temperature variations. Adjusting the crop management practices based on the assessment of adaptability mechanisms to take full advantage of climate resources during the growing season is an important technique for japonica rice adaptation to climate changed conditions. Research based on the adaptability mechanisms of japonica rice to temperature and other environmental variables has theoretical and practical significance to constitute a theoretical foundation for sustainable japonica rice production system. A contrived study was arranged with method of replacing time with space having four different japonica cultivars namely Longdao-18, Longdao-21, Longjing-21, and Suijing-18, and carried out in Harbin and Qiqihar during the years 2017–2019 to confer with the adaptability mechanisms in terms of growth, yield and quality. The formation of the grain-filling material for superior and inferior grains was mainly in the middle phase which shared nearly 60% of whole grain-filling process. Maximum yield was noticed in Longdao-18 at Harbin and Qiqihar which was 9500 and 13,250 kg/ha, respectively. The yield contributing components fertile tillers, number of grains per panicle, and 1000-grain weight were higher at Qiqihar; therefore, there was more potential to get higher yield. The data for grain-filling components demonstrated that the filling intensity and duration at Qiqihar was contributive to increase the grain yield, whereas the limiting agents to limit yield at Harbin were the dry weights of inferior grains. The varietal differences in duration and time of day of anthesis were small. Across all cultivars and both study sites, nearly 85% of the variation of the maximum time of anthesis could be justified with mean atmospheric temperature especially mean minimum temperature. Mean onset of anthesis was earliest in Longdao-21 at Harbin, whereas it was latest in Longdao-18 at Qiqihar. The maximum time to end anthesis and the longest duration of anthesis were taken by Longdao-18, i.e., 9.0 hasr and 4.2 h, respectively. Chalkiness and brown rice percentages were elevated at Qiqihar showing Harbin produced good quality rice. This study investigated the adaptability mechanisms of japonica rice under varying temperature conditions to distinguish the stress tolerance features for future sustainability and profitability in NEC. It was concluded that there is an adaptive value for anthesis especially regarding Tmin and, moreover, earlier transplantation may produce tall plants. The results demonstrated that high temperature at the onset of anthesis at the start of the day enhanced the escape from high temperature later during the day. Early transplantation is recommended in NEC because earlier anthesis during humid days rendered for potential escape from high ambient temperature later during that day. Temperature influenced japonica rice significantly and coherently, whereas the influence of growing season precipitation was not significant. Daily mean sunshine influenced the japonica rice significantly, but the impact was less spatially coherent. The results foregrounded the response of the japonica rice to external driving factors focusing climate, but ignored socioeconomic suggesting emphasis on both driving factors to target future research and render important insights into how japonica rice can adapt in mid-high-latitude regions. Full article
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Article
Isolation and Identification of Antibacterial and Antifungal Compounds from Praxelis clematidea R. M. King & H. Robinson as an Effective Potential Treatment against Rice Pathogens
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2366; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112366 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 231
Abstract
Bacterial leaf blight and blast diseases caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and the fungus Pyricularia oryzae, respectively, are among the most important infectious diseases affecting rice. We evaluated the antimicrobial effects of compounds derived from Praxelis clematidea on Xanthomonas [...] Read more.
Bacterial leaf blight and blast diseases caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and the fungus Pyricularia oryzae, respectively, are among the most important infectious diseases affecting rice. We evaluated the antimicrobial effects of compounds derived from Praxelis clematidea on Xanthomonas oryzae and Pyricularia oryzae. The dried aerial parts of Praxelis clematidea were subjected to ethanol extraction, separated by solvent partitioning using hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and water. In vitro assays demonstrated that the main antibacterial and antifungal activities were distributed in the ethyl acetate and chloroform fractions, respectively. These fractions were further separated using silica gel chromatography and reversed-phase chromatography. Finally, we isolated five compounds, 15, that inhibited the growth of Xanthomonas oryzae in vitro and four compounds, 69, that exhibited in vitro antifungal activity against Pyricularia oryzae. We evaluated their antimicrobial activities and identified their chemical structures by NMR and mass spectrometry analyses. This is the first study to isolate compound 2 (4,4′,4″-nitrilotriphenol) as an alternative microbial from natural resources and evaluate its physiological activity. Moreover, this is the first report to demonstrate antibacterial activity in comparison with flavonoids. Praxelis clematidea extracts plausibly exert both antibacterial and antifungal effects, which should be further validated in field trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Control of Fungal Diseases)
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Article
Automated Muzzle Detection and Biometric Identification via Few-Shot Deep Transfer Learning of Mixed Breed Cattle
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2365; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112365 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Livestock welfare and management could be greatly enhanced by the replacement of branding or ear tagging with less invasive visual biometric identification methods. Biometric identification of cattle from muzzle patterns has previously indicated promising results. Significant barriers exist in the translation of these [...] Read more.
Livestock welfare and management could be greatly enhanced by the replacement of branding or ear tagging with less invasive visual biometric identification methods. Biometric identification of cattle from muzzle patterns has previously indicated promising results. Significant barriers exist in the translation of these initial findings into a practical precision livestock monitoring system, which can be deployed at scale for large herds. The objective of this study was to investigate and address key limitations to the autonomous biometric identification of cattle. The contributions of this work are fourfold: (1) provision of a large publicly-available dataset of cattle face images (300 individual cattle) to facilitate further research in this field, (2) development of a two-stage YOLOv3-ResNet50 algorithm that first detects and extracts the cattle muzzle region in images and then applies deep transfer learning for biometric identification, (3) evaluation of model performance across a range of cattle breeds, and (4) utilizing few-shot learning (five images per individual) to greatly reduce both the data collection requirements and duration of model training. Results indicated excellent model performance. Muzzle detection accuracy was 99.13% (1024 × 1024 image resolution) and biometric identification achieved 99.11% testing accuracy. Overall, the two-stage YOLOv3-ResNet50 algorithm proposed has substantial potential to form the foundation of a highly accurate automated cattle biometric identification system, which is applicable in livestock farming systems. The obtained results indicate that utilizing livestock biometric monitoring in an advanced manner for resource management at multiple scales of production is possible for future agriculture decision support systems, including providing useful information to forecast acceptable stocking rates of pastures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Data-Driven Agricultural Innovations)
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Article
A Novel Technique for Classifying Bird Damage to Rapeseed Plants Based on a Deep Learning Algorithm
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2364; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112364 - 22 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Estimation of crop damage plays a vital role in the management of fields in the agriculture sector. An accurate measure of it provides key guidance to support agricultural decision-making systems. The objective of the study was to propose a novel technique for classifying [...] Read more.
Estimation of crop damage plays a vital role in the management of fields in the agriculture sector. An accurate measure of it provides key guidance to support agricultural decision-making systems. The objective of the study was to propose a novel technique for classifying damaged crops based on a state-of-the-art deep learning algorithm. To this end, a dataset of rapeseed field images was gathered from the field after birds’ attacks. The dataset consisted of three classes including undamaged, partially damaged, and fully damaged crops. Vgg16 and Res-Net50 as pre-trained deep convolutional neural networks were used to classify these classes. The overall classification accuracy reached 93.7% and 98.2% for the Vgg16 and the ResNet50 algorithms, respectively. The results indicated that a deep neural network has a high ability in distinguishing and categorizing different image-based datasets of rapeseed. The findings also revealed a great potential of deep learning-based models to classify other damaged crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Agriculture)
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Article
Long-Term Effects of the Use of Organic Amendments and Crop Rotation on Soil Properties in Southeast Spain
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2363; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112363 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 218
Abstract
The evolution of soil chemical properties over 20 years was monitored to assess the effects of the change in soil management from a rainfed to an irrigated model and the use of organic amendments and crop rotation. Intensive agriculture has been the activity [...] Read more.
The evolution of soil chemical properties over 20 years was monitored to assess the effects of the change in soil management from a rainfed to an irrigated model and the use of organic amendments and crop rotation. Intensive agriculture has been the activity that has caused most degradation and contamination of this soil. Long-term monitoring of the soil profile made it possible to assess its response to the application of sustainable agricultural techniques intended to offset these effects. Three profiles of the same soil were studied—P1 (1998), P2 (2003), P3 (2017)—to show the evolution in time and space. An incipient degradation process was detected in the first five years, verified by increases in salinity (2.3 dS m−1), exchangeable Na (0.5 g kg−1), and TN (1.3 g kg−1) in P2 in comparison with P1 (1.0, 0.2, and 1.1, respectively). There was also leaching towards the deep horizons for TN (0.4, 0.9, and 0.7 g kg−1 for P1, P2, and P3, respectively), and for assimilable elements such as P (1.1, 6.4, and 3.8), Fe (2.0, 2.1, and 5.6), Mn (0.3, 6.5, and 1.9), Zn (0.3, 0.5, and 0.9), and Cu (0.5, 0.6, and 1.3) (all mg kg−1, for P1, P2, and P3, respectively). Between 2004 and 2017, organic amendments (sheep manure) were reduced by 50%, crop rotation was intensified, and green fertilization and forage maize cultivation were included. As a result, P3 showed an improvement in comparison with P2, with decreases in EC (1.4 dS m−1), exchangeable Na (0.2 g kg−1), and TN (0.8 g kg−1). The change in soil management enhanced some soil functions (carbon sink and chemical fertility) and attenuated soil degradation. Full article
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Article
Gram-Negative Bacteria from Organic and Conventional Agriculture in the Hydrographic Basin of Loja: Quality or Pathogen Reservoir?
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2362; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112362 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 271
Abstract
Organic and conventional agriculture are vital for the development of human society; however, the use of contaminated water and the inappropriate use of organic chemical fertilizers can lead to an increase in the microbial load (potentially pathogenic) of the normal microbiota of the [...] Read more.
Organic and conventional agriculture are vital for the development of human society; however, the use of contaminated water and the inappropriate use of organic chemical fertilizers can lead to an increase in the microbial load (potentially pathogenic) of the normal microbiota of the agricultural soil. In this context, the aim of our study was to isolate Gram-negative bacteria from the superficial soil layer and irrigation water of agricultural areas (11 organic farms and nine conventional farms) and consider their potential ecological and health risk importance. Through culture isolation using three bacterial media (TSA) trypticase soy agar (general nutritive media); MacConkey Gram-negative bacteria and (EMB) eosin methylene blue agar (selective for Enterobacteriaceae) and classical biochemical tests, we recorded a total of 12 bacterial species, most belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family, such as Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Salmonella and Shigella, which can be pathogenic for humans and animals. In contrast, bacteria such as Pantoea agglomerans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, P. fluorescens and Burkholderia mallei could facultatively work as diazotrophic or plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria. Soil bacteria richness detected with the media applied was significantly higher than water bacteria, but we found no significant differences between organic and conventional agriculture. We conclude that the isolated bacteria in water and soil mostly belongs to enteropathogenic bacteria which could be pathogenic to animals and humans. While other bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa could be viewed as useful by improving nutrient availability in agricultural soil. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Foliar Application of K2SO4 or KH2PO4 on Skin Color of the ‘Kyoho’ Grape
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2361; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112361 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 233
Abstract
Anthocyanins in red grape skin have a positive effect on fruit color and human health. The effect of foliar potassium application on anthocyanin accumulation in grape skin is not well understood. The study aimed to better understand the mechanism of anthocyanin accumulation in [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins in red grape skin have a positive effect on fruit color and human health. The effect of foliar potassium application on anthocyanin accumulation in grape skin is not well understood. The study aimed to better understand the mechanism of anthocyanin accumulation in grape skin in response to foliar sprays of K2SO4 and KH2PO4. In this study, we investigated the effects of foliar application of KH2PO4 (T2), K2SO4 (T1) and distilled water (CK) on the skin color of ‘Kyoho’ grapes at mid-ripe and mature stages. At 90 and 110 days after full bloom (DAFB), T2 had the greatest total soluble solids (TSS), flavonoid and total anthocyanin contents, followed by T1 and CK. At two stages, the titratable acid content decreased and the juice pH increased under T2 treatment relative to CK. T1 and T2 had lower lightness (L*) than CK, and the color index of red grapes (CIRG) under T1 and T2 increased at two stages compared to CK. KEGG metabolic pathway analysis revealed that flavonoid biosynthesis was the most significantly enriched pathway in CK vs. T2 at 90 and 110 DAFB. At 90 DAFB, T2 had higher expressions of phenylalanine ammonia-lyas (PAL), cytochrome P450 CYP73A100 (CYP73A), 4-coumarate: CoA ligase (4CL), chalcone synthase (CHS), flavanone 3-dioxygenase-like (F3H) and UDP glucose: flavonoid 3-o-glucosyl transferase (UFGT) than CK and T1. Foliar application of potassium fertilizer may accelerate anthocyanin accumulation by altering the transcript levels of PAL, CYP73A, 4CL, CHS, F3H, and UFGT of the flavonoid biosynthesis. Full article
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Review
The Biological Function and Roles in Phytohormone Signaling of the F-Box Protein in Plants
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2360; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112360 - 22 Nov 2021
Viewed by 277
Abstract
The ubiquitin–proteasome pathway (UPP) is an important protein degradation pathway that can participate in the regulation of the physiological process of organisms by specifically removing abnormal peptides and degrading cell regulators. UPP mainly involves three enzymes, among which the E3 ubiquitin ligase function [...] Read more.
The ubiquitin–proteasome pathway (UPP) is an important protein degradation pathway that can participate in the regulation of the physiological process of organisms by specifically removing abnormal peptides and degrading cell regulators. UPP mainly involves three enzymes, among which the E3 ubiquitin ligase function is central to UPP. E3 ubiquitin ligases can recruit substrate protein for ubiquitination, and they have various forms. Among them, the Skp1–Cul1–F-box (SCF) complex is the most representative member of the cullin RING ubiquitin ligases type in RING-domain E3 ligases, being mainly composed of Cullin 1, Skp1, Rbx1, and F-box proteins. The F-box protein is the key component for SCF to perform specific functions. The F-box protein is one of the largest protein families in plants, and its family members are involved in the regulation of many key physiological processes, such as growth and development of plants and the response to external stimuli. Herein, we briefly review the structure, classification, function, and hormone signaling pathways of F-box proteins. Full article
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Review
A Review: Soil Management, Sustainable Strategies and Approaches to Improve the Quality of Modern Viticulture
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2359; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112359 - 21 Nov 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Conservative and sustainable soil management in vineyards is an approach of primary importance not only for the yield (tons per hectare) and grapes’ quality (primary and secondary metabolites), but also for the greater preservation of the ecosystem. Compared to sustained-conventional tillage and perpetual [...] Read more.
Conservative and sustainable soil management in vineyards is an approach of primary importance not only for the yield (tons per hectare) and grapes’ quality (primary and secondary metabolites), but also for the greater preservation of the ecosystem. Compared to sustained-conventional tillage and perpetual applications of fertilizers and phytopharmaceutical, these techniques give a primary role for safeguarding biodiversity, conserving soil fertility, and keeping vegetative–productive balance. The soil and, consequently, the wine production are in fact an intimate ecosystem jeopardized not only by a reckless approach by man (technical input, such as pesticides, fuel, fertilizers, and herbicides, are estimated to be responsible for 24% of anthropogenic greenhouse gases emissions), but also by climate change, as rising summer temperatures and reduced precipitation leads to production declines and water shortages in the soil. In fact, there are several risks associated with unbalanced soil management, such as compaction, pollution, soil erosion, soil organic matter (SOM) depletion, and loss of biodiversity, that lead to a drop in grape quality and quantity. In this context, soil management in viticulture and sustainable strategies assume greater significance to improve the quality of modern viticulture. This review aims to highlight new agronomic techniques capable of enhancing the resilience of the system and contributing to conservation and ecosystem services provision, especially as wine consumers increasingly appreciate environmentally friendly farming practices. In particular, the review aims to focus the positive implications and repercussions as a result of these practices (e.g., compost, vermicompost, biochar, Ascophyllum nodosum, Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), Trichoderma, zeolite, partial root drying, cover cropping, and mulching). Full article
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Article
Comparison and Characterization of Oxidation Resistance and Carbohydrate Content in Cd-Tolerant and -Sensitive Kentucky Bluegrass under Cd Stress
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2358; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112358 - 21 Nov 2021
Viewed by 223
Abstract
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), a turf grass species that is hypertolerant of cadmium (Cd), is a potential phytoremediation material for soil polluted with Cd. However, the mechanism of Cd phytotoxicity in Kentucky bluegrass is unclear. Here, we compared the phenotype, induction [...] Read more.
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), a turf grass species that is hypertolerant of cadmium (Cd), is a potential phytoremediation material for soil polluted with Cd. However, the mechanism of Cd phytotoxicity in Kentucky bluegrass is unclear. Here, we compared the phenotype, induction of oxidative stress, and structural and non-structural carbohydrate contents between a Cd-tolerant genotype (‘Midnight’, M) and Cd-sensitive genotype (‘Rugby’, R). The results showed that both genotypes accumulated more Cd in the roots, whereas the R genotype distributed more Cd into the leaves compared with the M genotype. In both genotypes, Cd inhibited the length and fresh weight of the leaves and roots; increased the peroxidase (POD) activity but inhibited ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and catalase (CAT) activity; and increased the superoxide radical (O2), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents. However, the M genotype exhibited lower root length inhibition, and the H2O2 and MDA contents confirmed that the M genotype had increased Cd accumulation and resistance, while the R genotype exhibited a better distribution of Cd. Moreover, Cd stress significantly increased the soluble sugar, trehalose, and sucrose contents of both genotypes. Pectin, lignin, and cellulose were significantly increased to prevent the entry of Cd into the roots. The Cd-induced growth inhibition and physiological responses in Kentucky bluegrass were preliminarily explored herein, with the chelation of pectin, lignification, and antioxidant response being possible contributors to Cd detoxification in Kentucky bluegrass. In addition, the Cd-induced increase in trehalose, sucrose, and soluble sugar contents might play a pivotal role in the defense against Cd stress in Kentucky bluegrass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Environmental Stress Tolerance in Forage and Turfgrass)
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Article
Sustainable Purchasing of Fresh Food by Restaurants and Cafes in France
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2357; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112357 - 21 Nov 2021
Viewed by 176
Abstract
This paper explores the purchasing practices adopted by restaurants and cafés operating in France to observe how the owner/operator(s) attitudes towards sustainable business practice impact on the choice of fresh food suppliers. A two-stage cluster analysis revealed the presence of two clusters: conventional [...] Read more.
This paper explores the purchasing practices adopted by restaurants and cafés operating in France to observe how the owner/operator(s) attitudes towards sustainable business practice impact on the choice of fresh food suppliers. A two-stage cluster analysis revealed the presence of two clusters: conventional buyers and green buyers that showed significant differences in the adoption of sustainable purchasing practices, the perceived benefits derived from the adoption of sustainable business practices, and barriers to the adoption of green purchasing. In making the decision to operate as a green restaurant, the personal beliefs of the owner/operator(s) were paramount, guided in part by the belief that in order to prepare and present the best-tasting food to patrons, executive chefs needed to procure the very best ingredients. In procuring the best quality fresh food ingredients, executive chefs preferred to deal with many small suppliers with whom they had developed a long-term relationship based on their reputation for delivering premium quality products in season. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Managing Agricultural Value Chains in a Rapidly Urbanizing World)
Article
AS-Solar, a Tool for Predictive Maintenance of Solar Groundwater Pumping Systems
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2356; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112356 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 455
Abstract
Energy for water abstraction limits the viability of some irrigable areas. Increasing efficiency and introducing renewable energy can reduce energy cost. Solar pumping is a widely recognized renewable energy solution. These pumping systems suffer special wear out due to sudden changes and for [...] Read more.
Energy for water abstraction limits the viability of some irrigable areas. Increasing efficiency and introducing renewable energy can reduce energy cost. Solar pumping is a widely recognized renewable energy solution. These pumping systems suffer special wear out due to sudden changes and for having working conditions far from the nominal points. Thus, monitoring systems are becoming more frequent for maintenance issues. A new decision support system, named AS-Solar, was developed to perform predictive maintenance. This model permits detecting if the source of the anomaly in the pump performance is the pump, the electrical components (motor, variable frequency drive (VFD) or cables) or the pumping pipe. It demands real-time data from the monitoring system and an accurate simulation model, together with an optimization process that helps in the decision making in predictive maintenance. To validate the developed model, it was applied to a complex case study of a solar pumping system of 40 kWp that abstracts groundwater from nearly 200 m deep. This pumping system has a VFD, two lines of cables up to the pump and aggressive water with slimes, which causes different problems in the pumping system. In this case study, the AS-Solar model shows an acceptable accuracy, with a relative error (RE) of the 2.9% in simulated power and 7.9% in simulated discharge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modernization and Optimization of Irrigation Systems)
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Article
The Effects of Bioinoculants Based on Mycorrhizal and Trichoderma spp. Fungi in an Apple Tree Nursery under Replantation Conditions
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2355; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112355 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 218
Abstract
Both mycorrhizal and Trichoderma spp. fungi are known for antagonistic effects against certain biological pathogens causing apple replant disease (ARD). The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the bioinoculants based on endomycorrhizal and Trichoderma spp. fungi on the biological [...] Read more.
Both mycorrhizal and Trichoderma spp. fungi are known for antagonistic effects against certain biological pathogens causing apple replant disease (ARD). The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the bioinoculants based on endomycorrhizal and Trichoderma spp. fungi on the biological properties of soil as well as the parameters of the apple tree growths in a fruit tree nursery under replantation conditions. A two-year experiment was conducted on Jonagold apple trees grafted on to M.9 rootstock in western Poland. The trees were planted in the replant soil—from areas used for the production of apple trees, and in the crop rotation soil, that had not been used for nursery purposes before. A mycorrhizal inoculum and preparations containing Trichoderma spp. fungi were applied to the replant soil. Biological properties of the soil and the growth of the aerial and underground parts of the apple trees were assessed. The enzymatic (dehydrogenases and protease) and respiratory activity of the replant soil was significantly lower than that of the crop rotation soil. The apple trees grew worse when exposed to the ARD conditions. The effectiveness of applied bioinoculants in mitigating the effects of replantation in the nursery were shown. Both the treatment mycorrhization and the application of bioinoculants containing Trichoderma spp. increased the respiratory and enzymatic activity of the replant soil. The growth of the root system and the aerial parts of the trees (including leaves) was much better after the combined use of both types of fungi than in the replant soil that had not received the fungal treatment. Full article
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Article
Regulation of Phosphorus Supply on Nodulation and Nitrogen Fixation in Soybean Plants with Dual-Root Systems
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2354; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112354 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 253
Abstract
Phosphorus (P) is an important nutrient affecting nodulation and nitrogen fixation in soybeans. To further investigate the relationship of phosphorus with soybean nodulation and nitrogen fixation, the seedling grafting technique was applied in this study to prepare dual-root soybean systems for a sand [...] Read more.
Phosphorus (P) is an important nutrient affecting nodulation and nitrogen fixation in soybeans. To further investigate the relationship of phosphorus with soybean nodulation and nitrogen fixation, the seedling grafting technique was applied in this study to prepare dual-root soybean systems for a sand culture experiment. From the unfolded cotyledon stage to the initial flowering stage, one side of each dual-root soybean system was irrigated with nutrient solution containing 1 mg/L, 31 mg/L, or 61 mg/L of phosphorus (phosphorus-application side), and the other side was irrigated with a phosphorus-free nutrient solution (phosphorus-free side), to study the effect of local phosphorus supply on nodulation and nitrogen fixation in soybean. The results are described as follows: (1) Increasing the phosphorus supply increased the nodules weight, nitrogenase activity, ureide content, number of bacteroids, number of infected cells, and relative expression levels of nodule nitrogen fixation key genes (GmEXPB2, GmSPX5, nifH, nifD, nifK, GmALN1, GmACP1, GmUR5, GmPUR5, and GmHIUH5) in root nodules on the phosphorus-application side. Although the phosphorus-application and phosphorus-free sides demonstrated similar changing trends, the phosphorus-induced increases were more prominent on the phosphorus-application side, which indicated that phosphorus supply systematically regulates nodulation and nitrogen fixation in soybean. (2) When the level of phosphorus supply was increased from 1 mg/L to 31 mg/L, the increase on the P– side root was significant, and nodule phosphorus content increased by 57.14–85.71% and 68.75–75.00%, respectively; ARA and SNA were 218.64–383.33% and 11.41–16.11%, respectively, while ureide content was 118.18–156.44%. When the level of phosphorus supply was increased from 31mg/L to 61mg/L, the increase in the regulation ability of root and nodule phosphorus content, ARA, SNA, and ureide content were low for roots, and the value for nodules was lower than when the phosphorus level increased from 1 mg/L to 31 mg/L. (3) A high-concentration phosphorus supply on one side of a dual-root soybean plant significantly increased the phosphorus content in the aboveground tissues, as well as the roots and nodules on both sides. In the roots on the phosphorus-free side, the nodules were prioritized for receiving the phosphorus transported from the aboveground tissues to maintain their phosphorus content and functionality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Mineral Elements in the Crop Growth and Production)
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Article
Plum Ripeness Analysis in Real Environments Using Deep Learning with Convolutional Neural Networks
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2353; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112353 - 20 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Digitization and technological transformation in agriculture is no longer something of the future, but of the present. Many crops are being managed by using sophisticated sensors that allow farmers to know the status of their crops at all times. This modernization of crops [...] Read more.
Digitization and technological transformation in agriculture is no longer something of the future, but of the present. Many crops are being managed by using sophisticated sensors that allow farmers to know the status of their crops at all times. This modernization of crops also allows for better quality harvests as well as significant cost savings. In this study, we present a tool based on Deep Learning that allows us to analyse different varieties of plums using image analysis to identify the variety and its ripeness status. The novelty of the system is the conditions in which the designed algorithm can work. An uncontrolled photographic acquisition method has been implemented. The user can take a photograph with any device, smartphone, camera, etc., directly in the field, regardless of light conditions, focus, etc. The robustness of the system presented allows us to differentiate, with 92.83% effectiveness, three varieties of plums through images taken directly in the field and values above 94% when the ripening stage of each variety is analyzed independently. We have worked with three varieties of plums, Red Beaut, Black Diamond and Angeleno, with different ripening cycles. This has allowed us to obtain a robust classification system that will allow users to differentiate between these varieties and subsequently determine the ripening stage of the particular variety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Artificial Neural Networks in Agriculture)
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Article
Effects of NaCl on Hydroponic Cultivation of Reichardia picroides (L.) Roth
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112352 - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 244
Abstract
Wild edible plant species are often more tolerant to salinity than many crop plants. Considering the salinization of irrigation water that is progressively affecting the Mediterranean region and the market demand for new plant foods, the cultivation of wild edible species could represent [...] Read more.
Wild edible plant species are often more tolerant to salinity than many crop plants. Considering the salinization of irrigation water that is progressively affecting the Mediterranean region and the market demand for new plant foods, the cultivation of wild edible species could represent a valid alternative to conventional vegetable crops. In this study, Reichardia picroides (L.) Roth, a widespread spontaneous herb of ethnobotanical tradition, was grown for four or six weeks under a greenhouse in a floating system for the production of baby leaves. In order to improve the nutraceutical quality of the tissues, the plants were exposed to the following NaCl concentrations in the nutrient solution: 1.7 (control), 25, 50, and 100 mM. The results showed that a 4-week growing period in a floating system with 50 mM NaCl in the nutrient solution increased the content of bioactive molecules without affecting the fresh yield. After six weeks of cultivation, despite a decrease in biomass production as compared with the control, the leaves of salt-treated plants contained higher levels of bioactive molecules along with lower amounts of nitrate ion. Full article
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Communication
A Holistic Framework towards Developing a Climate-Smart Agri-Food System in the Middle East and North Africa: A Regional Dialogue and Synthesis
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112351 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 435
Abstract
Agriculture and agri-food systems of the highly vulnerable Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region needs a radical transformation under a changing climate. Based on a two-year effort, initially we developed a mega hypothesis on how to achieve climate-smart agri-food transformation in the [...] Read more.
Agriculture and agri-food systems of the highly vulnerable Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region needs a radical transformation under a changing climate. Based on a two-year effort, initially we developed a mega hypothesis on how to achieve climate-smart agri-food transformation in the region. In the study, we hypothesized that “Climate-Smart Lifts” implemented in the enabling environments can rapidly facilitate agri-food transformation in the region. In order to gather the stakeholders’ perception about this, we organized a collective conversation among ~400 stakeholders that represent various scales and sectors within the agriculture sector in MENA. These “listening cum learning consultations” were conducted through a survey followed by a series of webinars. The webinar discussions were strategically guided based on our hypothesis, the responses from the surveys and the regional needs. These discussions provided a forum to bring-out the stakeholders’ perspective on what new knowledge, partnerships, instruments and projects were needed in the MENA. The deliberation focused on the opportunities of public–private partnerships focusing in all the four major agroecosystems in MENA (irrigated, rainfed, rangelands, and deserts). In result, we developed an effective framework for strategic resource mobilization in the region, keeping in view the strong regional needs for climate actions and the requisite long-term commitments for the SDGs implementation. Full article
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Article
Allelopathic Efficiency of Plant Extracts to Control Cyanobacteria in Hydroponic Culture
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2350; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112350 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 213
Abstract
Cyanobacteria rapidly form harmful algal blooms (HABs) that cause serious nutritional imbalances in crop production via hydroponics. Allelopathic extracts from plants can be applied as a solution for ecologically sustainable control of algal blooms. In this study, the effects of 11 aqueous extracts [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria rapidly form harmful algal blooms (HABs) that cause serious nutritional imbalances in crop production via hydroponics. Allelopathic extracts from plants can be applied as a solution for ecologically sustainable control of algal blooms. In this study, the effects of 11 aqueous extracts of 10 allelopathic plants in controlling Microcystis aeruginosa were evaluated. Among the extracts, walnut husk and rose leaf extracts exhibited high inhibitory levels for efficient control of algae. High inhibitory levels were achieved owing to large amounts of water-soluble tannins, especially tannic acid. The effective extracts were applied to a hydroponic system cultivated on leafy perilla vegetables. Although the severe doses (IC90) did not guarantee complete algal control due to partial algal regrowth, walnut husk and rose leaf extracts only exerted strong persistent effects on algae control. Persistent algae inhibition contributed to the increase in perilla growth and leaf quality. Rose leaf was potentially a more useful resource for controlling algae in a hydroponic system because the application of rose leaf extract efficiently controlled the algae and was less toxic to perilla growth. In contrast, the treatment of walnut husk extract also controlled algae but inhibited perilla growth with pale green leaves. Full article
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Article
Do AMF and Irrigation Regimes Affect Sweet Pepper Fruit Quality under Open Field Conditions?
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112349 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 211
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a mycorrhizal inoculation (AMF) and irrigation regime on certain yield morphological parameters and the biological value of fruits of open field-grown sweet pepper under temperate climate conditions. A study on the Polish [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a mycorrhizal inoculation (AMF) and irrigation regime on certain yield morphological parameters and the biological value of fruits of open field-grown sweet pepper under temperate climate conditions. A study on the Polish hybrid cultivar ‘Roberta F1’ was conducted over the period 2016–2018 in a private certified organic farm. Sweet pepper was harvested at physiological maturity from the second 10 days of August to the first 10 days of October. AMF and irrigation were shown to significantly modify the selected morphological parameters of the peppers. Fruits with the highest weight, length, and width were harvested from AMF-inoculated plants, both irrigated and non-irrigated ones. The chemical composition and antioxidant activity (AA) of pepper fruit extracts were significantly affected by AMF and irrigation. AMF application contributed to a decrease in the percentage of dry matter, vitamin C, reducing sugars, extract, carotenoids, and AA. Irrigation, on the other hand, had a beneficial effect on enhancing the biological value of pepper fruits (except for vitamin C), also increasing their AA. The highest levels of carotenoids (4.64 mg 100 g−1 of fresh matter (FM) were found in the fruits of irrigated plants without AMF, whereas the highest levels of vitamin C (134.10 mg 100 g−1 FM) were accumulated by the fruits of plants grown without AMF and without irrigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enhanced Product Quality of Plant Material from Field Crops)
Article
The Effect of Microbial Inoculation under Various Nitrogen Regimes on the Uptake of Nutrients by Apple Trees
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2348; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112348 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 229
Abstract
The European Green Deal strategy currently implemented in the EU aims to, among others, reduce the negative impact of fertilization on the environment. One of the solutions influencing the nutritional status of plants and the improvement of soil quality is the use of [...] Read more.
The European Green Deal strategy currently implemented in the EU aims to, among others, reduce the negative impact of fertilization on the environment. One of the solutions influencing the nutritional status of plants and the improvement of soil quality is the use of plant symbiosis with microorganisms. Thus, in this study we investigated the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMFs) and plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) colonization on the nutritional status of apple leaves and fruit, depending on the nitrogen treatment. In a fully factorial experiment, trees were grown for nine years with or without AMFs and PGPR. We compared several ammonium nitrate treatments as well as growth without fertilization as a control. The interactions between inoculation and doses of nitrogen fertilization were observed. AMF + PGPR significantly increased the concentration of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in leaves up to 5%, 23%, and 19%, respectively, depending on the N dosage. Conversely, in uninoculated trees, the nitrogen treatment had a negative impact on the leaf P mineral status. On the other hand, under microbial inoculation conditions, the dose of 100 kg N∙ha−1 diminished the leaf phosphorus content in comparison to other N doses, by a maximum of 9.6%. AMF + PGPR, depending on the N treatment, either did not influence or it decreased the Mg and Ca concentrations in the leaves by maximums of 8% and 15%, respectively. Microbial inoculation had no effect on the acquisition of Ca and Mg by fruits, except for the coupled negative influence of the 100 kg N∙ha−1 treatment. Symbiosis positively conditioned the K in fruits under a specific N regime—100 kg N∙ha−1 divided into two applications during the season and 50 kg N∙ha−1 applied to the herbicide strip, increasing the concentration by approximately 4% and 8%, respectively. This study greatly contributes to our understanding of the benefits of AMF and PGPR on perennials and encourages the future exploration of their effects on apple yield and fruit quality. Full article
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Article
The Multiple Activities and the Plant Beneficial Potential of Bacillus spp. Derived from the Permafrost of Western Siberia
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2347; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112347 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
Agents of biological control are an important part of traditional agriculture, as well as organic farming. However, in the climatic conditions of countries that are located in cold and temperate regions, plant protection requires particular biocontrol agents that have adapted to environments with [...] Read more.
Agents of biological control are an important part of traditional agriculture, as well as organic farming. However, in the climatic conditions of countries that are located in cold and temperate regions, plant protection requires particular biocontrol agents that have adapted to environments with low and unstable temperatures. This work presents the biocontrol potential and plant-promoting activity of Bacillus spp. that was isolated from permafrost sediments in Western Siberia. It was found that all of the studied strains (n = 10) were able to produce indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and chitinolytic enzymes at low positive temperatures (5 °C). The antifungal activity of cold-tolerant bacilli against Microdochium sp., Fusarium spp., and Alternaria sp was recorded. In greenhouse and field conditions, the selected strains (B. simplex 948P-1 (IAA-producing) and B. megaterium 312 (with antifungal activity)) were assessed in comparison to a commercially available fungicide (tebuconazole) and biofungicide (B.subtilis 26D). It was found that the bacilli in the seed germination assay exhibited low phytotoxicity and there was no significant advantage over the conventional fungicides in the yield stimulation assay. However, the twin consortia of B. megaterium 312 and B. simplex 948P-1 was able to increase winter wheat yields by 50% (compared to the untreated group), and by 70% (compared to the commercial biofungicide-treated group). Moreover, applying the twin consortia of Bacillus spp. significantly reduced the infection rate of Fusarium spp. in first-generation wheat grain. Full article
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Article
Effect of Spatial-Temporal Light Competition on Cotton Yield and Yield Distribution
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2346; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112346 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 299
Abstract
The photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) of crop canopy is highly related to yield formation, but how it relates to yield and yield distribution is not well understood. The focus of this study was to explore the relationship between light competition under different densities [...] Read more.
The photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) of crop canopy is highly related to yield formation, but how it relates to yield and yield distribution is not well understood. The focus of this study was to explore the relationship between light competition under different densities and yield distributions of cotton. The experiment was conducted in 2019 and 2020 at the Cotton Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Anyang city, Henan Province, China. A randomized block design was employed, with a total of three repeats. Each repeat had six density treatments: D1: 15,000; D2: 33,000; D3: 51,000; D4: 69,000; D5: 87,000; and D6: 105,000 plants·ha−1. As predicted, the results showed that the canopy light interception, leaf area index, plant height, and biomass of high-density cotton were higher than those of low-density cotton. The aboveground biomass produced by D6 was the highest, and was 12.9, 19.5, 25.4, 46.3, and 69.2% higher in 2019 and 14.3, 19.9, 32.5, 53.7, and 109.9% higher in 2020 than D5, D4, D3, D2, and D1, respectively. Leaf area, plant height, biomass, boll number, and boll weight were significantly correlated with the light interception rate. D5 (87,000 plants·ha−1) had a higher light interception rate and the highest yield. The highest lint yields produced by D5 were 1673.5 and 1375.4 kg·ha−1 in two years, and was 3.2, 4.3, 5.6, 9.7, and 24.7% higher in 2019, and 6.8, 10.6, 13.5, 21.5, and 34.4% higher in 2020 than D6, D4, D3, D2, and D1, respectively. The boll retention of the lower fruit branch under D5 reached 0.51 and 0.57 in two years, respectively. The shedding rate of the upper fruit branch decreased with the increase in cotton density in two years. The boll retention rate and shedding rate in the lower part of cotton plants were most closely related to light interception, with R2 values of 0.91 and 0.96, respectively. Our study shows cotton yield could be improved through higher light interception by optimizing planting density and canopy structure. Full article
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Article
Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) Mitigates the Decline in Grain Filling of Basmati 370 Due to Low Temperature in Tropical Highlands
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2345; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112345 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 211
Abstract
In the rice growing area of Kenya’s highlands, the development of a water-saving rice cultivation system is a key strategy because the shortage of irrigation water is a frequently occurring problem. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of alternate [...] Read more.
In the rice growing area of Kenya’s highlands, the development of a water-saving rice cultivation system is a key strategy because the shortage of irrigation water is a frequently occurring problem. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of alternate wetting and drying (AWD) on the growth and yield of rice under the unique cultivation environment of tropical highlands. Field experiments were performed over a period of four years (2014–2017) in a paddy field. Dry matter production of a lowland variety, Basmati 370, was greater under continuous flooding (CF) than under AWD. In years with low minimum temperature (less than 15 °C) during the reproductive and ripening stages, filled grain ratios were significantly higher under AWD than under CF. Accordingly, higher dry matter production under CF did not contribute to grain yield. In the years when rice was not exposed to low minimum temperature during the reproductive and ripening stages, filled grain ratio did not decrease even under CF. Therefore, there was no difference between filled grain ratio under AWD and CF. Our results indicated that AWD could mitigate the decline in grain filling, induced by low minimum temperature during the reproductive and ripening stages in Basmati 370, under the cultivation conditions in tropical highlands. Although AWD may reduce the above-ground biomass, its mitigation effect on grain filling could outweigh this drawback and can still be beneficial to rice farmers in the tropical highlands. Full article
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Article
Assessment and Prediction of Maize Production Considering Climate Change by Extreme Learning Machine in Czechia
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2344; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112344 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 270
Abstract
Machine learning algorithms have been applied in the agriculture field to forecast crop productivity. Previous studies mainly focused on the whole crop growth period while different time windows on yield prediction were still unknown. The entire growth period was separated into each month [...] Read more.
Machine learning algorithms have been applied in the agriculture field to forecast crop productivity. Previous studies mainly focused on the whole crop growth period while different time windows on yield prediction were still unknown. The entire growth period was separated into each month to assess their corresponding predictive ability by taking maize production (silage and grain) in Czechia. We present a thorough assessment of county-level maize yield prediction in Czechia using a machine learning algorithm (extreme learning machine (ELM)) and an extensive set of weather data and maize yields from 2002 to 2018. Results show that sunshine in June and water deficit in July were vastly influential factors for silage maize yield. The two primary climate parameters for grain maize yield are minimum temperature in September and water deficit in May. The average absolute relative deviation (AARD), root mean square error (RMSE), and coefficient (R2) of the proposed models are 6.565–32.148%, 1.006–1.071%, 0.641–0.716, respectively. Based on the results, silage yield will decrease by 1.367 t/ha (3.826% loss), and grain yield will increase by 0.337 t/ha (5.394% increase) when the max temperature in May increases by 2 °C. In conclusion, ELM models show a great potential application for predicting maize yield. Full article
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Article
Establishment and First Year Yield of Interseeded Alfalfa as Influenced by Corn Plant Density and Treatment with Prohexadione, Fungicide and Insecticide
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112343 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 280
Abstract
Interseeding alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) into a silage corn (Zea mays L.) companion crop can increase the yield and profitability of forage production and reduce the risk of nutrient and soil loss from cropland, but unreliable establishment of alfalfa hampers the [...] Read more.
Interseeding alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) into a silage corn (Zea mays L.) companion crop can increase the yield and profitability of forage production and reduce the risk of nutrient and soil loss from cropland, but unreliable establishment of alfalfa hampers the adoption of this practice on dairy farms. This study evaluated plant survival, foliar health, and dry matter yields of two alfalfa varieties when established in corn sown at populations ranging from about 47,500 to 100,000 plants per ha−1 and when treated with prohexadione (PHD), PHD followed by fungicide and insecticide (PHD-FI), or not treated with agrichemicals. The plant density of alfalfa during establishment was adversely impacted by above average precipitation and high corn populations, but substantially improved by PHD-FI treatment, which limited alfalfa etiolation, disease, and defoliation. First-cut dry-matter yields of interseeded alfalfa after corn were maximized at a stand density of approximately 200 plants m−2 or 850 stems m−2 and total first year yield exceeded conventionally spring-seeded alfalfa by 59 to 75%. Overall, our results indicated that PHD-FI treatment promoted good establishment and subsequent forage production of interseeded alfalfa. Applications of PHD-FI must, however, be fine-tuned, and additional management practices must be developed to ensure both good yields of corn silage and reliable establishment of interseeded alfalfa, especially during wet growing conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Forages)
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Article
Larvicidal Activity of Geranylacetone Derivatives against Culex quinquefasciatus Larvae and Investigation of Environmental Toxicity and Non-Target Aquatic Species
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112342 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 265
Abstract
A grindstone method based on Mannich condensation was used to synthesize geranylacetone derivatives (1a1f). The method showed a high yield under milder reaction conditions. Analyses of the synthesized compounds were carried out by FTIR, 1H, 13C NMR, [...] Read more.
A grindstone method based on Mannich condensation was used to synthesize geranylacetone derivatives (1a1f). The method showed a high yield under milder reaction conditions. Analyses of the synthesized compounds were carried out by FTIR, 1H, 13C NMR, mass spectrometry, and elemental analysis. We synthesized and evaluated the larvicidal and ichthyotoxic activities of six compounds (1a1f) in this study. Compound 1f (5,9-dimethyl-1-phenyl-3-(2-(3-phenylallylidene)hydrazinyl)deca-4,8-dien-1-one) was more active (LD50: 14.1 µg/mL) against the second instar larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus than geranylacetone (67.2 µg/mL), whereas the former caused 13.9% mortality at 100 µg/mL. Geranylacetone, in an antifeedant screening test, showed 53.1% against Oreochromis mossambicus within 24 h. The compound 1f showed high larvicidal activity against C. quinquefasciatus and was non-toxic to non-target aquatic species. Full article
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Article
Interactive Impact of Biochar and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal on Root Morphology, Physiological Properties of Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) and Soil Enzymatic Activities
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112341 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculation and biochar amendment has been reported to improve the growth of several crop plant; however, their role in stress amelioration individually as well as in combination has not been worked out. Limited information is available about the synergistic [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculation and biochar amendment has been reported to improve the growth of several crop plant; however, their role in stress amelioration individually as well as in combination has not been worked out. Limited information is available about the synergistic use of biochar and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF). Here, we investigated the synergistic effect of biochar and AMF on plant development, root architecture, the physiological performance of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), and soil enzymatic activities. Biochar and AMF were shown to have a considerable effect on plant height, according to the data (53.3 and 66.6%, respectively), leaf number (22.5 and 45.1%), total root length (19.8 and 40.1%), root volume (32.1 and 71.4%), chlorophyll a content (26.0 and 17.8%), chlorophyll b content (50.0 and 28.9%), total chlorophyll content (30.0 and 18.1%), and carotenoid content (60.0 and 48.0%) over the control treatment. There was a considerable increase in plant height when biochar and AMF were combined together by 80.9%, total root length by 68.9%, projected area by 48.7%, root surface area by 34.4%, root volume by 78.5%, chlorophyll a content by 34.2%, chlorophyll b content by 68.4%, total chlorophyll content by 44.5%, and carotenoid content by 84.0% compared to the control. Our results recommend that the combination of biochar and AMF is advantageous in fenugreek growth, microbial biomass, and soil enzyme activities. Full article
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Article
Effects of Environmental Stresses (Heat, Salt, Waterlogging) on Grain Yield and Associated Traits of Wheat under Application of Sulfur-Coated Urea
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2340; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112340 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
Abiotic stresses, such as heat, salt, waterlogging, and multiple-stress environments have significantly reduced wheat production in recent decades. There is a need to use effective strategies for overcoming crop losses due to these abiotic stresses. Fertilizer-based approaches are readily available and can be [...] Read more.
Abiotic stresses, such as heat, salt, waterlogging, and multiple-stress environments have significantly reduced wheat production in recent decades. There is a need to use effective strategies for overcoming crop losses due to these abiotic stresses. Fertilizer-based approaches are readily available and can be managed in all farming communities. This research revealed the effects of sulfur-coated urea (SCU, 130 kg ha−1, release time of 120 days) on wheat crops under heat, salt, waterlogging, and combined-stress climatic conditions. The research was done using a completely randomized design with three replicates. The results revealed that SCU at a rate of 130 kg of N ha−1 showed a significantly (p ≤ 0.05) high SPAD value (55) in the case of waterlogging stress, while it was the lowest (31) in the case of heat stress; the control had a SPAD value of 58. Stress application significantly (p ≤ 0.05) reduced the leaf area and was the highest in control (1898 cm2), followed by salt stress (1509 cm2), waterlogging (1478 cm2), and heat stress (1298 cm2). A significantly (p ≤ 0.05) lowest crop yield was observed in the case of heat stress (3623.47 kg ha−1) among all stresses, while it was 10,270 kg ha−1 in control and was reduced up to 35% after the application of heat stress. Among all stresses, the salt stress showed the highest crop yield of 5473.16 kg ha−1. A significant correlation was observed among growth rate, spike length, yield, and physiological constraints with N content in the soil. The SCU fertilizer was the least effective against heat stress but could tolerate salt stress in wheat plants. The findings suggested the feasibility of adding SCU as an alternative to normal urea to alleviate salt stresses and improve wheat crop growth and yield traits. For heat stress tolerance, the applicability of SCU with a longer release period of ~180 days is recommended as a future prospect for study. Full article
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Article
Rendering Multivariate Statistical Models for Genetic Diversity Assessment in A-Genome Diploid Wheat Population
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2339; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112339 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Diversifying available natural resources to cope with abrupt climatic changes and the necessity to equalize rising agricultural production with improved ability to endure environmental influence is the dire need of the day. Inherent allelic variability regarding significant economic traits featuring both enhanced productivity [...] Read more.
Diversifying available natural resources to cope with abrupt climatic changes and the necessity to equalize rising agricultural production with improved ability to endure environmental influence is the dire need of the day. Inherent allelic variability regarding significant economic traits featuring both enhanced productivity and environmental adaptability is one such prominent need. To address this requirement, a series of analyses were conducted in this study for exploring natural diploid wheat germplasm resources. The current study involved 98 Recombinant Inbred Lines (RILs) populations developed by crossing two diploid ‘A’ sub-genome wheat species, Triticummonococcum and Triticum boeoticum, enriched with valuable alleles controlling, in particular, biotic and abiotic stresses tolerance. Their 12 phenotypic traits were explored to reveal germplasm value. All traits exhibited vast diversity among parents and RILs via multivariate analysis. Most of the investigated traits depicted significant (p < 0.05) positive correlations enlightening spikelet per spike, total biomass, seed weight per spike, number of seeds per spike, plant height, and days to heading as considerably focused traits for improving hexaploid wheat. Principal component analysis (PCA) exhibited 61.513% of total variation with three PCs for 12 traits. Clustering of genotypes happened in three clades, and the two parents were separated into two extreme clusters, validating their enrichment of diversity. This study provided beneficial aspects of parental resources rich in diverse alleles. They can be efficiently exploited in wheat improvement programs focusing on introgression breeding and the recovery of eroded genetic factors in currently available commercial wheat cultivars to sustain calamities of environmental fluctuations. Full article
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