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Agronomy, Volume 12, Issue 5 (May 2022) – 268 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Sunlight is the driving motor for photosynthesis. Brassica microgreens grown under natural light in greenhouse conditions were found to have higher fresh and dry weight production than those cultivated in a growth chamber under LEDs. Instead, when using LEDs as single light source, increasing the percentage of blue spectra light cause the yield and quality of profile of the microgreens to decrease. By considering the genotypes, the landrace called “Mugnoli” showed a better adaptation in conditions of sub-optimal light conditions compared with “Broccolo Natalino”, showing higher production and better nutritional performance in any lighting conditions. View this paper
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Article
Effects of Soil Water Regulation on the Cotton Yield, Fiber Quality and Soil Salt Accumulation under Mulched Drip Irrigation in Southern Xinjiang, China
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1246; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051246 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 469
Abstract
To optimize suitable water-saving and soil salt-controlling irrigation needed for the high yield and good quality of cotton in southern Xinjiang, a field experiment was carried out to study the effects of soil water lower limits on water consumption, water use efficiency (WUE), [...] Read more.
To optimize suitable water-saving and soil salt-controlling irrigation needed for the high yield and good quality of cotton in southern Xinjiang, a field experiment was carried out to study the effects of soil water lower limits on water consumption, water use efficiency (WUE), yield, cotton fiber quality and soil salt accumulation under mulched drip irrigation in Korla, Xinjiang. The field capacity (FC) was regarded as the upper limit of soil moisture, and five soil water lower limits (85% FC, 75% FC, 65% FC, 55% FC, 45% FC, referred as T1~T5, respectively) were designed during the cotton growth period. The results indicated that the irrigation frequency and irrigation quota of cotton were gradually increased with the increase in the soil water lower limit, while the water consumption modulus for T2 treatment during the critical period of water demand arrived at the maximum value. Moreover, with the decrease in the soil water lower limit, the WUE, fiber micronaire value and fiber maturity index of cotton increased, whereas the yield, nitrogen partial factor productivity (PFPN) and fiber breaking elongation of cotton decreased. However, when the soil water lower limit exceeded 75% FC, the increase had little effect on the cotton yield increase and PFPN improvement, and the yield and PFPN for T2 treatment were 7146.4 kg∙hm2 and 23.82 kg∙kg1, respectively, In addition, the decrease in the soil water lower limit was unfavorable for an increase in fiber length, but it was conducive to the enhancement of fiber strength. Furthermore, soil salt accumulated inside and outside the film for the designed soil water lower limits, and the amount of accumulated salt in 0~100 cm followed T3 > T5 > T1 > T2 > T4. Based on a comprehensive analysis with the entropy TOPSIS method, the findings of the present study suggested that the suitable soil water lower limit for cotton under mulched drip irrigation was 75% FC in southern Xinjiang, China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant Responses and Tolerance to Salinity Stress)
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Article
Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) Shows Intraspecific Variability in Response to Temperature during Germination
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1245; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051245 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 413
Abstract
Tall fescue is a major species growing in temperate grasslands. It is a cool-season perennial native of Western Europe and used worldwide as forage for its quality and adaptability to various soils and climates. By its effects on germination and seedling growth, temperature [...] Read more.
Tall fescue is a major species growing in temperate grasslands. It is a cool-season perennial native of Western Europe and used worldwide as forage for its quality and adaptability to various soils and climates. By its effects on germination and seedling growth, temperature affects the recruitment of individuals and, consequently, the genetic diversity of plant communities. Under most climate change scenarios, breeding cultivars adapted to new ranges of temperature will be necessary. Knowing the variability of the responses to temperature by different accessions is an essential first step towards such breeding. In this work, we (i) analyze the intraspecific variability of tall fescue in response to a constant temperature during germination and (ii) quantitatively describe the response curves. A sample of nine, from 128, accessions of tall fescue was evaluated. Four replicates of 100 seeds per accessions were tested for germination in the dark at eight constant temperatures ranging from 5 to 40 °C with increases of 5 °C. The germinability, lag to start and maximum germination rates were estimated. It was observed that the responses of tall fescue accessions were statistically different (p < 0.05). The optimal temperature for maximum germination ranged from 9 °C to 25 °C. Germination was not observed for any accession at 40 °C. The novelty of this work comes from the duration of the sampling period at low temperatures that was longer than in most published papers. Based on the responses to temperature during germination, our findings suggest that a high intraspecific genetic variability exists in tall fescue that merits further exploration. This variability should be useful to breed new cultivars adapted to the new environmental conditions imposed by the ongoing fast climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Grassland and Pasture Science)
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Article
A More Drought Resistant Stem Xylem of Southern Highbush Than Rabbiteye Blueberry Is Linked to Its Anatomy
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1244; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051244 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 351
Abstract
Increasing extreme drought events due to climate change may cause severe damage to blueberry industries, including decreased fruit yield and quality. Previous studies on drought tolerance of blueberries focus mainly on functional changes of leaves, while hydraulic properties of blueberry stems related to [...] Read more.
Increasing extreme drought events due to climate change may cause severe damage to blueberry industries, including decreased fruit yield and quality. Previous studies on drought tolerance of blueberries focus mainly on functional changes of leaves, while hydraulic properties of blueberry stems related to drought resistance are poorly reported. Here, both xylem anatomical and functional traits of stems of two southern highbush (SHB) and three rabbiteye blueberry (REB) cultivars were investigated. Compared with REB, SHB showed lower sapwood hydraulic conductivity (KS) and P50 (xylem water potential with 50% embolism in xylem), suggesting that SHB has less conductive but safer xylem than REB. The hydraulic functional differences between two blueberry xylems were highly related to their significant differences in vessel anatomy. Small vessel diameter and total inner pit aperture area per vessel area (APA) limited the hydraulic conductivity of SHB xylem, but high conduit wall reinforcement, wood density, and vessel-grouping index in SHB xylem showed strong mechanical support and safe water transport. Besides, pseudo-tori pit membranes were found in all five cultivars, while the similar thickness of homogenous pit membrane in two blueberry species was not linked to other functional traits, which may be due to its limited measurements. These results reveal a trade-off between the water transport efficiency and safety in the blueberry xylem and clarify the variance of stem drought resistance in different cultivars from a hydraulic perspective. Further studies with such a perspective on other organs of blueberries are required to understand the drought tolerance of a whole plant, which builds a solid foundation for the introduction, cultivation, and management of blueberry industries. Full article
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Article
Management of Al3+ Residue in the Soil by Mapping Soil Capability in Retaining and Transporting Al3+ in the Farmland of Trang Bom District, Vietnam
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1243; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051243 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 302
Abstract
The assessment of soil capability in retaining and transporting chemical substances is necessary, especially currently, with the overuse of chemical products for crop production. Depending on the soil properties, these chemicals may bound on soil particles or release and transport in the soil [...] Read more.
The assessment of soil capability in retaining and transporting chemical substances is necessary, especially currently, with the overuse of chemical products for crop production. Depending on the soil properties, these chemicals may bound on soil particles or release and transport in the soil solution. In this study, we developed maps of the capability of soil to retain and transport Al3+, thereby evaluating the main soil factors affecting Al3+ fate in the agricultural land of Trang Bom District, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam. Information and data of the factors slope, soil texture, pH, organic matter, and ferrallitisation were processed and analyzed. The GIS tool was applied in combination with the analytical hierarchical process (AHP) to create the maps. Four hundred simulation runs were performed for criteria weight sensitivity analysis to explore the dependency of the resultant maps on the weights of the input factors. Sampling soil data were used to validate the accuracy of information given by the resultant maps. Results from the two maps show that the soils in the area have high capability in retaining and transporting Al3+. Ninety nine percent of the soils in the area have medium to high capability of Al3+ retention and about 65% of the soils have medium to high capability of transporting Al3+. For the agricultural land, about 65% of the land ranked as having a high to very high soil Al3+ retention capability and about 58% of the land ranked as having a medium to high capability of transporting Al3+. These maps can support the process of decision-making in identifying the appropriate dose and frequency of the chemical products that are applied on each soil capability zone; in this case study, the products contain aluminum. The accumulation of Al3+ in the soil, especially in the high Al3+ retention capability soil, can cause soil degradation and can cause negative effects on plant growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Precision and Digital Agriculture)
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Article
Effect of Potassium (K) Supply on Cannabinoids, Terpenoids and Plant Function in Medical Cannabis
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1242; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051242 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1440
Abstract
We have demonstrated in previous studies that the essential macro-nutrients nitrogen (N) and phosporous (P) have profound effects on the production of cannabinoids and terpenoids in the cannabis plant. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the hypothesis that potassium (K) supply, which [...] Read more.
We have demonstrated in previous studies that the essential macro-nutrients nitrogen (N) and phosporous (P) have profound effects on the production of cannabinoids and terpenoids in the cannabis plant. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the hypothesis that potassium (K) supply, which is known to substantially affect plant development and function, affects the secondary metabolism of the cannabis plant. Two cultivars of medical cannabis were grown in controlled environment conditions, under five levels of K supply: 15, 60, 100, 175, and 240 mg L−1 K. The results revealed that the development and function of plants that received the low K supply of 15 mg L−1 K were impaired, as the plants suffered from visual chlorosis, and the inflorescence yield was reduced in both cultivars. Plants that received higher K inputs in the range of −175 mg L−1 K demonstrated optimal plant function and high yield, and one cultivar demonstrated over-supply symptoms under the high K level of 240 mg L−1. The concentrations of most cannabinoids and terpenoids declined with the elevation of K supply, thus supporting the hypothesis. As secondary metabolite concentrations decreased with the increase in K supply, and higher K levels had no positive effects, 60 mg L−1 K is the suggested application level to maintain high function and yield combined with high secondary metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants)
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Article
Assessing Ecosystem Services of Rice–Fish Co-Culture and Rice Monoculture in Thailand
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1241; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051241 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 390
Abstract
Increasing production costs for rice monoculture and concerns about farming households’ food security have motivated farmers to adopt integrated rice–fish farming. To date, there has been little research that comparatively assesses the ecosystem services (ESVs) of both rice–fish co-culture and the rice monoculture [...] Read more.
Increasing production costs for rice monoculture and concerns about farming households’ food security have motivated farmers to adopt integrated rice–fish farming. To date, there has been little research that comparatively assesses the ecosystem services (ESVs) of both rice–fish co-culture and the rice monoculture system in Thailand. Therefore, this study aims to estimate the ESV values of these systems based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. A total of 19 rice–fish co-culture farms were investigated, covering three regions of Thailand (northern, northeastern, and central regions) and consisting of 13 sub-districts, 13 districts, and 11 provinces. For a fair comparison, 19 conventional rice farms were selected as comparison sites. Rice–fish co-culture had a higher net ESV value of 48,450,968.4 THB ha−1 year−1 than rice monoculture with a net ESV value of 42,422,598.5 THB ha−1 year−1. Rice–fish co-culture generated average economic values 25.40% higher than in rice monoculture farming. The most positive change in ESV was found in the regulation of temperature and humidity, with 3,160,862.9 THB ha−1 year−1. Moreover, agrotourism can generate revenue and increase the ESV in rice–fish co-culture. Our findings showed that rice–fish co-culture gives more economic and ecological benefits compared to the rice monoculture system. Further studies are recommended to explore and analyze the potential advantages of the rice–fish system in more detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecologically More Sustainable Agricultural Production)
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Article
Being a Farmer in Austria during COVID-19—A Qualitative Study on Challenges and Opportunities
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1240; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051240 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 393
Abstract
To assess the effects of COVID-19 on Austrian farmers, a qualitative study design including computer-aided, qualitative content analysis was applied. Interviews with 34 Austrian farmers covering a broad spectrum of the sector were conducted to identify the impacts, obstacles, and opportunities during the [...] Read more.
To assess the effects of COVID-19 on Austrian farmers, a qualitative study design including computer-aided, qualitative content analysis was applied. Interviews with 34 Austrian farmers covering a broad spectrum of the sector were conducted to identify the impacts, obstacles, and opportunities during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show that the diverse and heterogeneous impacts of COVID-19 on farms created significant challenges but also opportunities. Negative impacts included sales difficulties due to the closure of the hospitality industry and farmers markets, the ban on non-agricultural activities, the disrupted availability of workers and agricultural inputs, and the related additional workload. Mitigation of negative effects through political measures and interest groups showed limited effectiveness. Nevertheless, the functionality of the agricultural sector was maintained. During the initial phase of the pandemic, direct impacts on agricultural production were minimal and adjustments were adequate. There were also positive effects on parts of the agricultural sector, such as a boost in direct sales, increased demand in the food retail sector, and improved public perception of agriculture and farmers. Long-term changes in farms have been triggered and/or reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly driven by digitization, investments in product and/or process innovations, and adjustments concerning marketing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19 Crises & Implications to Agri-Food Sector)
Article
Macro- and Microscopic Characterization of Components of Resistance against Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici in a Collection of Spanish Bread Wheat Cultivars
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1239; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051239 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Yellow (stripe) rust, caused by the biotrophic fungus Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), stands as the most serious wheat disease worldwide, affecting approximately 88% of world wheat production. Even though yellow rust generally develops in cool humid weather conditions, the [...] Read more.
Yellow (stripe) rust, caused by the biotrophic fungus Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), stands as the most serious wheat disease worldwide, affecting approximately 88% of world wheat production. Even though yellow rust generally develops in cool humid weather conditions, the expansion of new races adapted to warmer climates threatens zones where severe P. striiformis epidemics were infrequent, such as Andalusian wheat cropping areas. In order to characterize yellow rust resistance mechanisms in Spanish germplasm, our study evaluated 19 Spanish bread wheat cultivars against P. striiformis under controlled conditions for percentage of disease severity (DS) and infection type (IT). From this visual evaluation, 74% of evaluated cultivars showed resistant responses against P. striiformis infection with only five cultivars considered susceptible. Subsequently, macroscopic and microscopic components of resistance were identified through image analysis and histological studies, respectively, in six selected cultivars. Macroscopic parameters such as total pustule area and total affected area (%), together with microscopic parameters such as early-aborted and established microcolonies regarding plant cell death responses (%), and microcolony length (µm), were identified as capable of differentiating cultivars quantitatively. Thus, these parameters could be used as a basis for screening resistant responses in future breeding programs, complementary to physiology, genetic and biochemical studies of plant-Pst interaction. Finally, our study seems to be the first macroscopic and microscopic characterization of P. striiformis infection in a collection of Spanish bread wheat cultivars in controlled conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Utilizing Genetic Resources for Agronomic Traits Improvement)
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Article
Response of Maize, Cotton, and Soybean to Increased Crop Density in Heterogeneous Planting Arrangements
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1238; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051238 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The reduction of row spacing and increase of crop population density are important tools for maximizing crop yield. For this strategy to be effective, the crop population should not create intraspecific crop competition that penalizes yield. Thus, planting arrangements that increase light interception [...] Read more.
The reduction of row spacing and increase of crop population density are important tools for maximizing crop yield. For this strategy to be effective, the crop population should not create intraspecific crop competition that penalizes yield. Thus, planting arrangements that increase light interception throughout the canopy without increasing row spacing might be needed to maintain yield. In this study, heterogeneous planting arrangements on evenly spaced rows were analyzed for maize (Zea mays L.), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), and soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). Each crop had four planting arrangements: (1) normal density in all rows, considered the control, (2) doubled density in all rows, (3) a sequential arrangement of normal and tripled densities (each in every other row; NTNT), and (4) normal-tripled-tripled-normal (NTTN). Maize and cotton did not exhibit changes in growth and architecture when comparing uniform and variable planting arrangements. Soybeans were more adaptable and increased biomass production by 44% to 45% in variable arrangements. None of the crops showed differences in yield due to planting arrangement, so the use of rows with different densities might not be needed when using high densities to maximize yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Yield and Quality Response to Cultivation Practices)
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Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of the NF-Y Transcription Factor Family in Medicago sativa L.
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1237; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051237 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 413
Abstract
The nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) gene family is an important transcription factor family consisting of three subfamilies, NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC, which are widely involved in plant growth and development, stress responses and other processes. In this study, we identified 64 members of [...] Read more.
The nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) gene family is an important transcription factor family consisting of three subfamilies, NF-YA, NF-YB and NF-YC, which are widely involved in plant growth and development, stress responses and other processes. In this study, we identified 64 members of the NF-Y gene family in the M. sativa L. (Xinjiang Daye) genome, including 11 MsNF-YAs, 33 MsNF-YBs and 20 MsNF-YCs. Analysis of conserved motifs indicated that each unit included unique compounds of motifs, although certain members lost some motifs. Conserved functional domain analysis showed that each subunit contained a specific set of functional domains. Analysis of cis-acting elements in the promoter region of the MsNF-Y genes identified a series of cis-acting elements associated with stress responses. In addition, the transcriptome data and qRT-PCR analysis showed that MsNF-Y genes were significantly induced or downregulated by alkali treatment. The results of this study may help to establish a basis for further cloning and functional studies of NF-Y genes in Medicago sativa and other related legume species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontier Studies in Legumes Genetic Breeding and Production)
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Article
Organic Amendment Types Influence Soil Properties, the Soil Bacterial Microbiome, and Tomato Growth
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1236; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051236 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 480
Abstract
The overuse of chemical fertilizers deteriorates soil quality, and the application of organic amendments has been proposed as an alternative to mineral fertilizers. This study aimed to investigate the effects of organic amendment types on soil properties, the soil microbiome, and tomato growth. [...] Read more.
The overuse of chemical fertilizers deteriorates soil quality, and the application of organic amendments has been proposed as an alternative to mineral fertilizers. This study aimed to investigate the effects of organic amendment types on soil properties, the soil microbiome, and tomato growth. Tomato seedlings were grown in soils applied with ten fertilizer treatments, including a no fertilization control, a chemical fertilization control, and eight organic amendment treatments. Compared with the chemical fertilization treatment, the application of manure compost significantly increased the shoot dry weight of tomato plants. In addition, manure compost and tea seed meal remarkably increased soil organic matter (SOM) in comparison with the no fertilization and chemical fertilization treatments. Moreover, manure compost significantly increased soil-exchangeable K and Mg. The application of neem cake and manure compost significantly increased both bacterial diversity and richness. The relative abundance of Lysinibacillus was significantly positively related to the shoot and total dry weights of tomato plants, and its relative abundance was positively influenced by SOM and soil-exchangeable K. Overall, the manure compost used in this study can increase SOM, soil-exchangeable K and Mg, and the relative abundance of Lysinibacillus, consequently promoting tomato growth. Full article
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Article
Cover Crops Enhance Soil Properties in Arid Agroecosystem despite Limited Irrigation
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1235; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051235 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Cover crops (CCs) can enhance the sustainability and resiliency of agroecosystems by providing multiple ecosystem benefits, including soil quality improvement. However, in areas with limited precipitation such as the southwestern USA, cover cropping is challenging. With limited water, it may be difficult to [...] Read more.
Cover crops (CCs) can enhance the sustainability and resiliency of agroecosystems by providing multiple ecosystem benefits, including soil quality improvement. However, in areas with limited precipitation such as the southwestern USA, cover cropping is challenging. With limited water, it may be difficult to raise cover crops for realizing ecosystem benefits. Research was conducted at two sites in New Mexico over two years to determine if CC under limited irrigation could produce enough biomass to improve soil quality. Treatments included a fallow (control) and monocultures of barley (Hordeum vulgare), Austrian winter peas (Pisum sativum subsp. arvense), mustard (Brassica rapa, var. Caliente 199), and a three-way mixture of these species, grown under three different irrigation regimes. The results indicate that the improvement in soil quality measurements by CCs grown under one supplemental irrigation were comparable to those grown under multiple irrigations. All CC treatments improved the soil dry aggregate size distribution from 2018 to 2020. At the end of the study, the MWD of dry aggregates was higher (3.26 mm) in all CC treatments than in the fallows (2.43 mm) at one site, but at the second site, mustard and mix were comparable to the fallows. Wet aggregate stability increased by 19% in the mix between 2018 and 2020 at one site. Pea plots needed about 23 kg ha−1 less N fertilizer for sweet corn production compared to the fallow treatment at one site. This suggests that CCs can be successfully grown under limited water availability in irrigated arid systems of New Mexico while still improving the soil quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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Article
Response of Phytic Acid to Nitrogen Application and Its Relation to Protein Content in Rice Grain
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1234; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051234 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 393
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) fertilization has been recognized as improving the grain beneficial micronutrients, including Zn and Fe, in rice. However, only a few studies have explicitly focused on N-induced variation in anti-nutritional components such as phytic acid (PA), PA synthesis-related gene expression, and variation [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) fertilization has been recognized as improving the grain beneficial micronutrients, including Zn and Fe, in rice. However, only a few studies have explicitly focused on N-induced variation in anti-nutritional components such as phytic acid (PA), PA synthesis-related gene expression, and variation in grain protein fractions. Therefore, in this study, two culture systems (hydroponic and detached panicle culture systems) were used to elucidate the influence of N application on PA concentration and its relation to the grain protein fractions, such as albumin, globulin, prolamin, and glutelin, and total protein in rice. Results showed that N application generally decreased the grain PA concentration in brown rice and down-regulated the PA synthesis-related genes in the lipid-independent pathway. In contrast, total grain protein and its fractions concentrations increased significantly. For grain positional distribution, PA and protein concentration were generally higher in the aleurone fraction than in the milled rice, regardless of N application. However, higher N application decreased the PA in both aleurone fraction and milled rice, while increased the grain protein fractions mainly in milled rice. These findings imply that N application could substantially improve the rice nutrition by reducing the PA while increasing the protein concentration. Hence, these findings may provide critical bases for rice nutritional improvement through optimal N management. Full article
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Article
Effects of Organic Fertilizer Application on Strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.) Cultivation
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1233; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051233 - 21 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 560
Abstract
In the agricultural production process, the production and environmental costs of chemical fertilizers used to increase yield and quality and the question of how to evaluate the herbal and animal wastes that arise in the agricultural production process are important issues. The main [...] Read more.
In the agricultural production process, the production and environmental costs of chemical fertilizers used to increase yield and quality and the question of how to evaluate the herbal and animal wastes that arise in the agricultural production process are important issues. The main purpose of using herbal and animal wastes that arise in the agricultural production process as an alternative fertilizer to chemical fertilizers is to reduce production costs and to ensure sustainability in agricultural production by reintroducing these wastes to the economy. In this study, the effects of vermicompost, chicken manure, farm manure, and chemical fertilizers on product yield and quality, plant nutrients, and economic profitability in strawberry cultivation were investigated. In the study, strawberries were used as the plant material and vermicompost, chicken manure, farm (cattle) manure, and chemical fertilizers were used as plant nutrition materials. In the study, statistically significant differences were found in the parameters of yield, quality, plant nutrient content in leaves, and economic profitability compared to chemical fertilizers. In terms of product yield and some quality parameters, organic fertilizers (worm manure and chicken manure in yield, total sugar and nitrate accumulation in fruit, chicken manure in vitamin C) gave better positive results than chemical fertilizers. In the macronutrient content of the leaves, chicken manure in terms of nitrogen and phosphorus; vermicompost, chicken manure, and farm manure in terms of potassium; and vermicompost and chicken manure in terms of calcium all gave better results than chemical fertilizers. In the micronutrient content of the leaves, chicken manure in terms of iron, vermicompost in terms of zinc, and chicken manure and farm manure in terms of copper gave better results than chemical fertilizers. In terms of economic profitability, while more profit was obtained from vermicompost, chicken manure and farm manure applications compared to chemical fertilizer applications, the highest profitability was obtained from vermicompost application. The findings of this study support the idea that vermicompost, chicken manure, and farm manure can be recommended as an alternative plant nutrition input to chemical fertilizers in strawberry cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward Sustainability in Horticultural Crop Production Systems)
Article
Analysis of Physico-Chemical and Organoleptic Fruit Parameters Relevant for Tomato Quality
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1232; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051232 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Increased interest in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) production requires breeding to create new cultivars with highly marketable values (e.g., regarding quality, nutrition, and health) and valuable sensorial parameters. The purpose of this research was to compare four tomato commercial hybrids—two newly created [...] Read more.
Increased interest in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) production requires breeding to create new cultivars with highly marketable values (e.g., regarding quality, nutrition, and health) and valuable sensorial parameters. The purpose of this research was to compare four tomato commercial hybrids—two newly created and two used as controls in the breeding process, cultivated in a high plastic tunnel, regarding a wide range of physico-chemical properties as well as nutritional and organoleptic components of the fruits, which are relevant for the quality of the tomatoes. The new AS 400 commercial hybrid registered the best results for carotenoids (16.64 mg 100 g−1 FW) and dry matter (6.88%). The highest total ascorbic acid value (28.03 mg 100 g−1 FW) was recorded in the other new hybrid, AS 300, while the highest values of total acidity were recorded on the Precos, used as the control (184.87 mg NaOH 100 g−1 FW). The correlations between the analyzed characteristics and the multivariate analysis provided insight into breeding tomatoes to meet the current fruit quality requirements. Based on the results, hypotheses have been formulated for the creation of new cultivars with anticipatory, prospective character, in order to ensure the future needs of the market and consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Agronomical Practices on Crop Quality and Sensory Profile)
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Article
Novel Methodology for the Assessment of Organic Carbon Stocks in German Arable Soils
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1231; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051231 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 511
Abstract
There is currently a significant focus on oil organic carbon, as interest in mitigating climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks is leading to efforts to include this within carbon farming and the trade of CO2 certificates. In addition, soil organic carbon [...] Read more.
There is currently a significant focus on oil organic carbon, as interest in mitigating climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks is leading to efforts to include this within carbon farming and the trade of CO2 certificates. In addition, soil organic carbon controls many other soil functions, such as soil productivity. However, results from long-term field experiments suggest that an ever-increasing carbon content in soil, at some point, will no longer increase productivity, but will cause environmental risks, especially from excess nitrogen. In Germany, the most widely recognized soil organic matter (SOM) balance method, VDLUFA (Association of German Agricultural Investigation and Research Institutions), addresses soil management only, without a relation to the soil carbon stock. To close this gap, a methodology is developed based on results from European long-term field experiments that allows for an assessment of agricultural management both in terms of the carbon input to soil and the amount of carbon stored in soil. Due to the transformation of carbon stock into carbon flux, it is possible to apply the classification scheme of the VDLUFA balance to the carbon content of topsoils. This provides information to qualify further decisions about fostering carbon accumulation. This was demonstrated on experimental results from Bad Lauchstädt, as well as on data from the German Agricultural Soil Inventory (BZE-LW) for arable soils on a regional scale. Full article
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Article
Root Characterization of Myanmar Upland and Lowland Rice in Relation to Agronomic and Physiological Traits under Drought Stress Condition
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051230 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Lowland and upland rice are the two most important rice ecotypes and are grown under different ecosystems of contrasting soil water conditions. The study aimed to characterize root morphological, anatomical, and architectural traits and shoot physiological traits related to agronomic traits in Myanmar [...] Read more.
Lowland and upland rice are the two most important rice ecotypes and are grown under different ecosystems of contrasting soil water conditions. The study aimed to characterize root morphological, anatomical, and architectural traits and shoot physiological traits related to agronomic traits in Myanmar lowland and upland rice under drought conditions. Drought experiments were conducted in the field and in the greenhouse. The reduction in root traits under drought was observed in both lowland and upland rice except for the stele and xylem area. Stele area and xylem area were increased under drought in lowland rice while stele area in upland rice was decreased and was not changed in the xylem area. A positive relationship between agronomic traits and root traits of lowland rice was observed including the total number of nodal roots, root number per tiller, and a negative relationship in lateral root density more than anatomical traits. While upland rice illustrated the relationship between root anatomical traits and agronomic traits. In addition, a negative contribution to biomass by photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rate was observed in lowland and upland rice. These findings can help improve drought tolerance in rice by selecting the optimal root trait for each rice ecosystem. Full article
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Article
Crop Sequencing to Improve Productivity and Profitability in Irrigated Double Cropping Using Agricultural System Simulation Modelling
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1229; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051229 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Land and water are two major inputs for crop production. Simulation modelling was used to determine crop sequences that maximise farm return. Crop yield was determined for different irrigation scheduling scenarios based on the fraction of available soil water (FASW). Farm returns ($ [...] Read more.
Land and water are two major inputs for crop production. Simulation modelling was used to determine crop sequences that maximise farm return. Crop yield was determined for different irrigation scheduling scenarios based on the fraction of available soil water (FASW). Farm returns ($ ML−1 and $ ha−1) were evaluated for seven crop sequences. Three irrigation water price scenarios (dry, median, wet) were considered. The yield of summer crops increased with irrigation. For winter crops, despite increase in irrigation, the yield would not increase. The optimum irrigation (ML ha−1) was: soybean 8.2, maize 10.4, wheat 2.5, barley 3.1, fababean 2.5, and canola 2.7. The water productivity curve of summer crops has a parabolic shape, increasing with FASW, reaching a maximum value at FASW 0.4–0.6, and then decreasing. The water productivity of winter crops decreases as FASW increases following a power function. Gross margins are positive when water is cheap ($60 ML−1) and when water has a median price ($124 ML−1). When water is expensive ($440 ML−1), positive gross margin would be obtained only for the continuous wheat scenario. Deficit irrigation of summer crops leads to significant yield loss. Supplemental irrigation of winter crops results in the highest gross margin per unit of water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimal Water Management and Sustainability in Irrigated Agriculture)
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Article
The Importance of Agronomic Knowledge for Crop Detection by Sentinel-2 in the CAP Controls Framework: A Possible Rule-Based Classification Approach
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1228; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051228 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 443
Abstract
Farmers are supported by European Union (EU) through contributions related to the common agricultural policy (CAP). To obtain grants, farmers have to apply every year according to the national/regional procedure that, presently, relies on the Geo-Spatial Aid Application (GSAA). To ensure the properness [...] Read more.
Farmers are supported by European Union (EU) through contributions related to the common agricultural policy (CAP). To obtain grants, farmers have to apply every year according to the national/regional procedure that, presently, relies on the Geo-Spatial Aid Application (GSAA). To ensure the properness of applications, national/regional payment agencies (PA) operate random controls through in-field surveys. EU regulation n. 809/2014 has introduced a new approach to CAP controls based on Copernicus Sentinel-2 (S2) data. These are expected to better address PA checks on the field, suggesting eventual inconsistencies between satellite-based deductions and farmers’ declarations. Within this framework, this work proposed a hierarchical (HI) approach to the classification of crops (soya, corn, wheat, rice, and meadow) explicitly aimed at supporting CAP controls in agriculture, with special concerns about the Piemonte Region (NW Italy) agricultural situation. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach, a comparison is made between HI and other, more ordinary approaches. In particular, two algorithms were considered as references: the minimum distance (MD) and the random forest (RF). Tests were operated in a study area located in the southern part of the Vercelli province (Piemonte), which is mainly devoted to agriculture. Training and validation steps were performed for all the classification approaches (HI, MD, RF) using the same ground data. MD and RF were based on S2-derived NDVI image time series (TS) for the 2020 year. Differently, HI was built according to a rule-based approach developing according to the following steps: (a) TS standard deviation analysis in the time domain for meadows mapping; (b) MD classification of winter part of TS in the time domain for wheat detection; (c) MD classification of summer part of TS in the time domain for corn classification; (d) selection of a proper summer multi-spectral image (SMSI) useful for separating rice from soya with MD operated in the spectral domain. To separate crops of interest from other classes, MD-based classifications belonging to HI were thresholded by Otsu’s method. Overall accuracy for MD, RF, and HI were found to be 63%, 80%, and 89%, respectively. It is worth remarking that thanks to the SMSI-based approach of HI, a significant improvement was obtained in soya and rice classification. Full article
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Article
Extraction of Phenolic Compounds from Cherry Seeds: A Preliminary Study
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051227 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 434
Abstract
Agri-food waste has proved to be a valuable bioresource that can be used to obtain a variety of valuable materials, ingredients and chemicals. The optimum conditions for extracting bioactive compounds from sweet cherry seeds (SCS) with different solvents and temperatures were tested in [...] Read more.
Agri-food waste has proved to be a valuable bioresource that can be used to obtain a variety of valuable materials, ingredients and chemicals. The optimum conditions for extracting bioactive compounds from sweet cherry seeds (SCS) with different solvents and temperatures were tested in this work. The choice criteria were based on the most efficient extracting capacity while looking for cleaner techniques with lower health or environmental impacts. Some extracting solvents (methanol, ethanol and water) were tested in different combinations and temperatures. The obtained extracts were evaluated for total phenolic compounds and some families of phenolics as well, using spectrophotometric methods. The results obtained showed that the highest extraction of total phenolic compounds was at 70 °C with 60:40 ratio water:ethanol (2.65 mg GAE/g), while maximum flavonoids were obtained at 80 °C and 50% ethanolic aqueous solution (7.26 mg QE/g). The highest value for ortho-diphenols was 21.47 mg GAE/g for 50 °C and water:ethanol 50:50 solution. The highest proanthocyanidins and flavonols were obtained for 50:50 solution at 70 °C (6.43 mg CE/g and 3.88 mg QE/g, respectively), while the same solution at 80 °C allowed obtaining maximum phenolic acids (1.68 mg CAE/g). The extraction of anthocyanins was found to vary significantly with concentration and temperature, being highest in the range 35–40 °C, when using an 80:20 water:ethanol solution. Hierarchical clustering showed three clusters, while factor analysis resulted in two factors and four groups of samples. In conclusion, it was found that extracts obtained from sweet cherry seeds have relevant bioactive compounds with applications in the food, pharmaceutical or cosmetic industries. Full article
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Article
Endophytic Bacteria Can Replace the Need for Synthetic Auxin during In Vitro Rooting of Pyrus communis
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1226; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051226 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 377
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the presence of beneficial microorganisms in the micropropagation of Pyrus communis rootstocks through the isolation, identification, and selection of auxin-producing bacteria. The selected microorganisms were also inoculated in vitro to evaluate their effect on the plant rooting process [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the presence of beneficial microorganisms in the micropropagation of Pyrus communis rootstocks through the isolation, identification, and selection of auxin-producing bacteria. The selected microorganisms were also inoculated in vitro to evaluate their effect on the plant rooting process and their behavior during the acclimatization phase. The results showed the presence of endophytic microorganisms in plant tissue cultures of the ‘OH×F87′ and ‘PDW’ selections. A low diversity was observed in the population of microorganisms isolated from the in vitro culture of the ‘OH×F87’and ‘PDW’ selections, with a predominance of the genera Acinetobacter, Bacillus, and Buttiauxella. The selection of promoting microorganisms was performed based on the auxin production test, in which 30.36% of the microorganisms tested positive. In the in vitro inoculation, it was possible to observe the promotion of growth and emission of roots in the pear rootstocks, from the inoculation with bacteria identified as capable of producing auxin. This process can be used to replace the inclusion of synthetic auxin in the productive chain of woody fruit trees propagated by vegetative means, such as pears. None of the bacterial isolates was notably more promising, but the general similarity of treatments containing the A. septicus and A. ursingii strains, with the synthetic auxin treatment, suggests the possibility of its use on a large scale allowing the adoption of the cheaper method. of rooting. This work opens the door for further research using new, more promising microbial isolates, and also for lower-cost microorganism cultivation techniques, such as low-cost media obtained from agro-industrial residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Multiplication and Seed Production Technology)
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Article
Introgression of Resistance to Multiple Pathotypes of Plasmodiophora brassicae from Turnip (Brassica rapa ssp. rapifera) into Spring B. napus Canola
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1225; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051225 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 365
Abstract
Clubroot disease resistance has been introgressed from Brassica rapa into canola following different approaches including a B. napus × B. rapa interspecific cross; however, the details of this cross are not available. To extend our knowledge of this cross for the introgression of [...] Read more.
Clubroot disease resistance has been introgressed from Brassica rapa into canola following different approaches including a B. napus × B. rapa interspecific cross; however, the details of this cross are not available. To extend our knowledge of this cross for the introgression of resistance to multiple pathotypes, we crossed a clubroot-resistant turnip with a susceptible canola and backcrossed the F1′s to canola. The backcross population was subjected to pedigree breeding with selection for clubroot resistance and canola-quality traits; selection for resistance to pathotype 3H and 3A was performed in the early and advanced generations, respectively. The advanced generation lines were also evaluated for resistance to 3H, 3A, 2B, and 5x, and for field resistance to clubroot, and agronomic and seed quality traits. Following this, we developed canola lines carrying resistance to multiple pathotypes and nuclear DNA content similar to B. napus. Resistance to 3H showed a weak correlation with other pathotypes whereas resistance to 3A showed a strong positive correlation with 5x indicating that resistance to these pathotypes was under a similar genetic control. Thus, the results demonstrate that resistance to multiple pathotypes can be introgressed from a turnip into a canola even when selection for resistance to single pathotype is performed in early generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Effect of Harvest Date on Kernel Quality and Antioxidant Activity in su1 Sweet Corn Genotypes
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1224; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051224 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 351
Abstract
In order to achieve a high-quality product, sweet corn should be harvested at the optimal stage of maturity. The taste of sweet corn depends largely on the kernel moisture (KM) and total sugars (TS) content while its health properties are attributed to the [...] Read more.
In order to achieve a high-quality product, sweet corn should be harvested at the optimal stage of maturity. The taste of sweet corn depends largely on the kernel moisture (KM) and total sugars (TS) content while its health properties are attributed to the content of total phenols (TPH) and antioxidant activity (AO). This study aimed to estimate quality in sugary (su1) sweet corn hybrids based on the maximum content of kernel chemical compounds and the content change during maturation. During two growing seasons, five harvests by year were made at 2-day intervals from 17 to 25 days after pollination (DAP). KM decreased among hybrids from 6.6% to 14% over an eight-day period, or 0.8% to 1.8% per day. TS content was the highest at 17 DAP (16.5–28.7 mg/g DW) and decreased during maturation from 27% to 67%. Hybrids differed significantly in TPH at 17 DAP (204.4–357.1 mg GAE/100 g DW). TPH change during maturation ranged from the no significant differences up to a 29.3% decrease. DPPH- radical scavenging activity ranged among genotypes from 52.5% to 74.9% inhibition at 17 DAP and significantly increased during maturation. A well-defined hybrid-specific harvest window is necessary to maintain kernel quality in su1 sweet corn. Full article
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Article
Germination and Growth Performance of Water-Saving and Drought-Resistant Rice Enhanced by Seed Treatment with Wood Vinegar and Biochar under Dry Direct-Seeded System
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1223; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051223 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 407
Abstract
Dry direct-seeded rice (dry-DSR) is an efficient, resource-saving and environmentally friendly cropping system. The employment of water-saving and drought-resistant rice (WDR) for dry direct-seeding can better meet the needs of dry-direct seeding systems. However, the decline in seedling emergence rate and poor seedling [...] Read more.
Dry direct-seeded rice (dry-DSR) is an efficient, resource-saving and environmentally friendly cropping system. The employment of water-saving and drought-resistant rice (WDR) for dry direct-seeding can better meet the needs of dry-direct seeding systems. However, the decline in seedling emergence rate and poor seedling growth are the main bottlenecks under current direct-seeded rice production. Seed treatment is a sustainable and effective technique to overcome these issues. Therefore, growth chamber and field experiments were conducted to assess the impact of poplar wood vinegar (WV) priming and rice straw biochar (BC) coating on emergence, establishment, growth, physio-biochemical events, and ultimate yield. We treated the seeds of WDR viz., Hanyou 73 with WV, BC, and co-treatment WV + BC. The results showed that seed priming with 1:50 WV concentration and coating with 20% BC content was the optimal ratio for promoting germination and seedling growth. The field evaluation indicated that individual WV and BC markedly promoted the final emergence by 58% and 31%, respectively, while co-treatment WV + BC increased by 67%. Likewise, WV and BC significantly enhanced total seedling biomass by 26% and 10%, respectively, and the respective enhancement of WV + BC was 31%. For ultimate yield, WV and BC produced 12% and 19% higher grain yield, respectively, whereas WV + BC yielded 20%. The above results revealed that WV and WV + BC were the most effective treatment. Our findings may provide new avenues for advancing pre-sowing seed treatments facilitating the stand establishment and grain yield of dry direct-seeded rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effective Methods for Improving Seed Germination and Seed Quality)
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Article
Plastic Pollution in Soil and Crops: Effects of Film Residuals on Soil Water Content and Tomato Physiology
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1222; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051222 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 373
Abstract
Agricultural producers in China are presently confronting the challenge of “white pollution” caused by the continuous expansion of plastic film area coverage. The main objective of this research is to address the increasing interest in the effects of film residual on tomato growth, [...] Read more.
Agricultural producers in China are presently confronting the challenge of “white pollution” caused by the continuous expansion of plastic film area coverage. The main objective of this research is to address the increasing interest in the effects of film residual on tomato growth, yield, and quality under drip irrigation. To reveal the effects of film residual on tomato physiology, field trials were conducted with five levels of film residual treatment applied in two consecutive cropping seasons from 2019 to 2020. Soil water content, plant height, stem diameter, photosynthetic characteristics, yield, soluble sugar content (SSC), organic acid (OA), vitamin C (VC), and nitrate content (NC) were measured; furthermore, four analysis methods were used to assess the comprehensive tomato quality. The results showed that film residuals significantly affected soil water content in 2019 and 2020 and inhibited tomato plant height and stem diameter. The variations in photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance showed practically the same trend, increasing with an increase in the film residual at the seedling stage. The maximum yields were observed at 94.02 ton/hm2 and 84.44 ton/hm2 in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and tomato yield exhibited a shape reduction with increasing amounts of film residual in all years. SSC, VC, and NC showed an increasing trend with increasing amounts of film residual. The best tomato comprehensive quality was observed when the amount of film residual was lower than 200 kg/hm2 and declined with an increasing amount of film residual. Overall, the soil water content, tomato growth, and fruit quality changed significantly under the influence of film residual. These results not only deepen our understanding of the harm caused by film residual to tomato growth and fruit quality but also provide reasonable advice to establish a management system for residual pollution on cultivated land. Full article
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Article
Phytoremediation of Soil Contaminated with Heavy Metals via Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (Funneliformismosseae) Inoculation Ameliorates the Growth Responses and Essential Oil Content in Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia L.)
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1221; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051221 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Phytoremediation of heavy metals (HMs) is an efficient methodology to remove toxic metals from the soil. On the other hand, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are utilized as biological fertilizers as they improve root expansion, nutrient uptake, shoot growth, and plant biological performance. In [...] Read more.
Phytoremediation of heavy metals (HMs) is an efficient methodology to remove toxic metals from the soil. On the other hand, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are utilized as biological fertilizers as they improve root expansion, nutrient uptake, shoot growth, and plant biological performance. In this study, the effect of AMF inoculation on the morphological traits, macro- and micronutrient contents, essential oil content (EOC), and essential oil yield (EOY) of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia L.) was investigated, under HM (Pb and Ni) stress in greenhouse conditions. The performed treatments were as follows: AMF (Funneliformis mosseae) inoculation (5 g kg−1 soil), and HM stress, including Pb (150 and 225 mg kg−1 soil from Pb(NO3)2) and Ni (220 and 330 mg kg−1 soil from Ni(NO3)2). The controls were the absence of AMF and HM treatments. The results showed that the contamination with Pb and Ni decreased plant height, branch number, fresh and dry weights of shoots and roots, and P, K, Mg, Fe, Zn, and Mn contents. At the same time, AMF inoculation modulated the adverse effects of Pb and Ni treatments. AMF inoculation and lower concentrations of Pb and Ni increased the EOC and EOY of lavender plants, whereas the higher levels of HMs reduced the morphobiometric traits. AMF inoculation increased the Pb and Ni contents in roots. The treatment with Pb at 220 mg kg−1 led to a higher stress effect than that of Ni treatment. In conclusion, the results recommend AMF inoculation as a helpful procedure to improve the growth responses and EOY of lavender in environments polluted with the tested HMs and suggest that AMF inoculation is potentially efficient in mitigating HM stress effects. Full article
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Article
Endophytic Fungi Accelerate Leaf Physiological Activity and Resveratrol Accumulation in Polygonum cuspidatum by Up-Regulating Expression of Associated Genes
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1220; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051220 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. et Zucc. is a major raw material for the extraction of drugs such as resveratrol, while the over-exploitation of P. cuspidatum decreases the yield and drug components. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of inoculation with [...] Read more.
Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. et Zucc. is a major raw material for the extraction of drugs such as resveratrol, while the over-exploitation of P. cuspidatum decreases the yield and drug components. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of inoculation with root endophytic fungi Funneliformis mosseae and Piriformospora indica singly or in combination in biomass production, physiological activities (e.g., chlorophyll, soluble protein, and gas exchange) and main medicinal ingredients of P. cuspidatum, accompanied by the expression levels of associated genes in resveratrol biosynthesis. Single and co-inoculation with P. indica significantly improved shoot and root biomass production, and single and co-inoculation with F. mosseae and P. indica, especially single P. indica, significantly promoted leaf chlorophyll and soluble-protein concentrations and improved leaf gas exchange, including photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and intercellular CO2 concentration. The application of endophytic fungi increased resveratrol and polydatin concentrations, while it affected chrysophanol, emodin, and physcion concentrations in a complex manner. In addition, F. mosseae inoculation and co-inoculation induced the expression of PcCRS1, PcRS11, PcRS, and PcSTS, and only single F. mosseae and P. indica inoculation up-regulated the expression of PcCHS1 and PcCHS2. It was concluded that endophytic fungi accelerated biomass production, leaf physiological activity, and resveratrol accumulation in P. cuspidatum, which was associated with the up-regulation of related gene expression in resveratrol biosynthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mycorrhizal Fungi Mediated Sustainable Crop Production)
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Article
Toxic Impact of Soil Microplastics (PVC) on Two Weeds: Changes in Growth, Phenology and Photosynthesis Efficiency
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1219; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051219 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 409
Abstract
Experimental evidence on the bio-ecological effects of microplastics on terrestrial plants is still lacking. In this study, we hypothesized that soil polluted with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microparticles can negatively influence plant traits, photosynthetic efficiency and phenology of two weeds but with different strength [...] Read more.
Experimental evidence on the bio-ecological effects of microplastics on terrestrial plants is still lacking. In this study, we hypothesized that soil polluted with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microparticles can negatively influence plant traits, photosynthetic efficiency and phenology of two weeds but with different strength in relation to the species’ life traits. Therefore, we conducted an experiment in a common garden growing the wild species Senecio inaequidens and Centaurea cyanus for about 60 days. The possible toxic effects of soil microplastics (1% of PVC in 100 g of soil medium) were investigated, coupling an analyses on plant traits with an evaluation of the microplastic-induced changes in terms of phenology and photosynthetic efficiency. Overall, results showed that plants in control pots were higher and larger than those in treated ones (C. cyanus plant width: p < 0.05; S. inaequidens—plant height: p < 0.05; plant width: p < 0.05). Moreover, for C. cyanus, photosynthetic efficiency (index Fv/Fm) was significantly lower in the treatment than that in control (p < 0.05). About phenology, the second leaf of S. inaequidens emerged earlier in control than that in treatments (day 12.2 ± 0.25 and 14.3 ± 0.3, respectively; p < 0.001). The obtained results highlight that PVC microparticles may have had negative effects on soil–plant system reducing the performance of plants. Since, up to now, research on the interaction between soil microplastics and terrestrial plants has mainly focused on agricultural plants, this work fills a gap of knowledge regarding wild species (weeds), highlighting the possible future impact of microplastics on biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Weed Science and Weed Management)
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Article
Improving the Authorization of Microbial Biological Control Products (MBCP) in the European Union within the EU Green Deal Framework
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1218; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051218 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Developing sustainable agriculture by identifying non-chemical alternative Plant Protection Products (PPP) is a cornerstone in achieving long-sought environmental friendliness. Despite significant legislative and political efforts to promote biocontrol solutions and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the literature points out the disadvantages posed by European [...] Read more.
Developing sustainable agriculture by identifying non-chemical alternative Plant Protection Products (PPP) is a cornerstone in achieving long-sought environmental friendliness. Despite significant legislative and political efforts to promote biocontrol solutions and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the literature points out the disadvantages posed by European Union’s (EU) two-tier system for Microbial Biological Control Agents (MBCA) approval and subsequent Microbial Biological Control Products (MBCP) authorization by each EU Member State (MS). Despite the disadvantages, in a recent article, we showed that the EU had outcompeted the US and other countries in approved MBCA in the last decades; however, MBCP approval at the national level lags. Achieving the EU Green Deal’s aim set out in the ‘Farm to Fork Strategy’ to reduce the use and risk of pesticides by 50% by 2030 is difficult without developing viable alternatives. Why do we not have higher MBCP availability and usage in the EU? Is it the current legislation, its poor application, or some other factors? The current legislative framework stimulated MBCA approval. Thus, we compare MBCA approval and MBCP authorization procedure to evaluate if MBCP authorization is more difficult and thus causes a bottleneck. We find that requirements for MBCP authorization are unnecessarily more complex. We recommend simplifying the MBCP dossier requirements and making them as similar to MBCA as possible to accelerate the MBCP authorization in more EU MS to increase their availability and integration in agronomic crops’ pest management plans. Full article
Article
Genetic Characterization and Agronomic Evaluation of Drought Tolerance in Ten Egyptian Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Cultivars
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1217; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12051217 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 555
Abstract
This investigation was carried out for genetic characterization and determination of drought tolerance of ten Egyptian cultivars of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), namely Misr 1, Misr 2, Gemmiza 9, Gemmiza 10, Gemmiza 11, Gemmiza 12, Shandawel 1, Giza 168, Giza 171, and [...] Read more.
This investigation was carried out for genetic characterization and determination of drought tolerance of ten Egyptian cultivars of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), namely Misr 1, Misr 2, Gemmiza 9, Gemmiza 10, Gemmiza 11, Gemmiza 12, Shandawel 1, Giza 168, Giza 171, and Sids 14. These cultivars were grown in two winter seasons: 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 at the experimental farm Fac. of Agric., Suez Canal Univ., Ismailia, Egypt, under two watering regimes: normal (100%) and stress (50% FC) conditions. Six agronomic traits and five tolerance indices, namely stress tolerance (TOL), mean productivity (MP), geometric mean productivity (GMP), yield stability index (YSI), and drought susceptibility index (DSI), were used to evaluate the impact of drought stress. The results reflected Giza 171, Misr 2, and Giza 168 as precious germplasm for breeding of high-yielding drought-tolerant wheat. A highly significant positive correlation was recorded between yield under normal and stress conditions on the one hand and each of MP and GMP on the other hand. In addition, YSI appeared engaged in a highly significant positive correlation with yield under drought conditions only. TOL and DSI appeared insignificantly correlated with yield. Therefore, MP and GMP were reflected as the first runners among indices suitable to distinguish the high-yielding cultivars under drought conditions. At the molecular level, five primers of Start Codon Targeted (SCoT) markers were able to resolve and characterize the studied cultivars, which reflected SCoT as a potent gene-targeting molecular marker, able to characterize and resolve genetic diversity in wheat at the cultivar level using few primers. Therefore, SCoT is a time-efficient molecular marker, and it can efficiently replace indices in characterization of drought-tolerant genotypes with a high confidence level and reasonable cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Utilizing Genetic Resources for Agronomic Traits Improvement)
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