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Agronomy, Volume 13, Issue 8 (August 2023) – 233 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Kañawa is the lesser-known cousin of the Andean pseudocereal quinoa. This paper provides an overview of the current botanical, genetic, and archaeological knowledge of kañawa domestication. It demonstrates patterns in archaeological kañawa seeds from the southern Lake Titicaca Basin of Bolivia indicating its domestication after 250 CE. View this paper
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13 pages, 2215 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Pre-Harvest LEDs on Phytochemical Constituents and Antioxidant Activity of Microgreens during Short-Term Storage
by Viktorija Vaštakaitė-Kairienė, Sigita Jurkonienė, Neringa Rasiukevičiūtė, Rasa Karklelienė and Giedrė Samuolienė
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2188; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082188 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 921
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate the influence of the pre-harvest light-emitting diode (LED) spectrum on the metabolic indices in microgreens during post-harvest storage. Broccoli ‘Micro Green’ and kale ‘Dwarf Blue Green’ microgreens were cultivated in a growth chamber under the photosynthetic photon flux [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate the influence of the pre-harvest light-emitting diode (LED) spectrum on the metabolic indices in microgreens during post-harvest storage. Broccoli ‘Micro Green’ and kale ‘Dwarf Blue Green’ microgreens were cultivated in a growth chamber under the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 200 µmol m−2 s−1 provided by violet (V, 405 nm), blue (B, 447 nm), green (G, 520 nm), and red (R638, R665, R—638 nm and 665 nm, or both, respectively) LEDs in combinations of BR638, BR665, BR, BRV, and BRG. We evaluated the total phenolic content (TPC), total protein (TP), chlorophyll (CHL), and carotenoid (CAR) contents, and the ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and ABTS and DPPH free radical scavenging activities at harvest and during storage at 4 °C for five days in the dark. The results demonstrate that the influence of pre-harvest LEDs on the metabolic indices varied among microgreens species and decreased consistently throughout the post-harvest period. BRV treatment led to the highest TPC, CHL, and CAR in kale, and increased the DPPH radical scavenging activity in broccoli. The TP content was the highest in kale and broccoli under BR665 and BR lights, respectively. In addition, BR light had a similar impact on the antioxidant capacity at harvest day for both microgreens species. The TPC, CHL, and CAR contents were influenced by BR665 after one day from harvest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial LED Lighting for Indoor Farming)
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17 pages, 2452 KiB  
Review
Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz as a Promising Cover Crop Species with Allelopathic Potential
by Martina Ghidoli, Michele Pesenti, Federico Colombo, Fabio Francesco Nocito, Roberto Pilu and Fabrizio Araniti
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082187 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1846
Abstract
The ability of plants to release chemicals that affect the growth of other plants offers potential benefits for weed management and sustainable agriculture. This review explores the use of Camelina sativa as a promising cover crop with weed control potential. Camelina sativa, [...] Read more.
The ability of plants to release chemicals that affect the growth of other plants offers potential benefits for weed management and sustainable agriculture. This review explores the use of Camelina sativa as a promising cover crop with weed control potential. Camelina sativa, known for its high oil content and adaptability to diverse climatic conditions, exhibits allelopathic potential by releasing chemical compounds that inhibit weed growth. The crop’s vigorous growth and canopy architecture contribute to effective weed suppression, reducing the prevalence and spread of associated pathogens. Furthermore, the chemical compounds released by camelina through the solubilization of compounds from leaves by rain, root exudation, or deriving from microbial-mediated decay of camelina’s tissues interfere with the growth of neighbouring plants, indicating allelopathic interactions. The isolation and identification of benzylamine and glucosinolates as allelochemicals in camelina highlight their role in plant–plant interactions. However, the studies carried out on this species are outdated, and it cannot be excluded that other chemicals deriving from the breakdown of the glucosinolates or belonging to other classes of specialized metabolites can be involved in its allelopathic potential. Camelina sativa also demonstrates disease suppression capabilities, with glucosinolates exhibiting fungicidal, nematocidal, and bactericidal activities. Additionally, camelina cover crops have been found to reduce root diseases and enhance growth and yields in corn and soybeans. This review sheds light on the allelopathic and agronomic benefits of Camelina sativa, emphasizing its potential as a sustainable and integrated pest management strategy in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Allelopathy in Sustainable Agriculture)
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14 pages, 1179 KiB  
Article
Proteomic Analysis of Maize Cultivars Tolerant to Drought Stress
by Mariana Cabral Pinto, Odair Honorato de Oliveira, Maria Beatriz Araújo de Oliveira, Cleiton Ribeiro da Silva, Marcela Portela Santos de Figueiredo, Rômulo Gil de Luna, Anielson dos Santos Souza, Lauter Silva Souto, Ancélio Ricardo de Oliveira Godim, Rodolfo Rodrigo de Almeida Lacerda, Andréa Chaves Fiuza Porto, Frank Gomes-Silva, Josimar Mendes de Vasconcelos, Guilherme Rocha Moreira, Maria Lindomárcia Leonardo da Costa, Mércia Regina Pereira de Figueiredo, Fabiana Aparecida Cavalcante Silva, Francisco Cássio Gomes Alvino, Amaro Epifânio Pereira Silva, Leonardo de Sousa Alves, Diogo Gonçalves Neder, Bianca Galúcio Pereira Araújo, Lucas Carvalho de Freitas, Tercilio Calsa Junior and João de Andrade Dutra Filhoadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2186; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082186 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1167
Abstract
Maize is a crop of significant economic importance. In the northeast region of Brazil, it serves as the foundation of family support for the majority of farmers. However, achieving high levels of productivity requires an adequate water supply throughout its growth cycle. The [...] Read more.
Maize is a crop of significant economic importance. In the northeast region of Brazil, it serves as the foundation of family support for the majority of farmers. However, achieving high levels of productivity requires an adequate water supply throughout its growth cycle. The northeast semi-arid region experiences low rainfall and high potential evapotranspiration, directly affecting maize development and leading to severe declines in productivity. In this study, genetic selection and proteomic analysis are proposed as a strategy to identify the tolerance of maize cultivars against water stress. The experiments were conducted under two water regimes using randomized block designs with three replicates. Development and productivity traits were evaluated, and genetic parameters were estimated using mixed linear models. Selection for water stress tolerance was based on the harmonic mean of the relative performance of genotypic values. Total protein extraction from maize leaves followed the protocol established by the phenol method, and peptides were analyzed through mass spectrometry. The AG8677P cultivar demonstrated remarkable productivity under drought stress conditions, and proteins related to various fundamentally important biological processes for the tolerance mechanism were identified. The combination of genetic selection with proteomic analysis proves to be an efficient strategy, even in the face of limited resources and a small number of treatments. Full article
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17 pages, 16178 KiB  
Article
Soil Dynamics and Crop Yield Modeling Using the MONICA Crop Simulation Model and Time Series Forecasting Methods
by Islombek Mirpulatov, Mikhail Gasanov and Sergey Matveev
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082185 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1490
Abstract
Crop simulation models are an important tool for assessing agroecosystem performance and the impact of agrotechnologies on soil cover condition. However, the high uncertainty and labor intensiveness of long-term weather forecasting limits the applicability of such models. A possible solution may be to [...] Read more.
Crop simulation models are an important tool for assessing agroecosystem performance and the impact of agrotechnologies on soil cover condition. However, the high uncertainty and labor intensiveness of long-term weather forecasting limits the applicability of such models. A possible solution may be to use time series forecasting models (SARIMAX and Prophet) and artificial neural-network-based technologies (Neural Prophet). This work compares the applicability of these methods for modeling soil condition dynamics and agroecosystem performance using the MONICA simulation model for Voronic Chernozems in the Kursk region of Russia. The goal is to determine which weather indicators are most important for the yield forecast and to choose the most appropriate methods for forecasting weather scenarios for agricultural modeling. Crop rotation of soybean and sugar beet was simulated, with agricultural techniques and fertilizer usage considered as factors. We demonstrated the high sensitivity of aboveground biomass production and soil moisture dynamics to daily temperature fluctuations and precipitation during the vegetation period. The dynamics of the leaf area index and nitrate content showed less sensitivity to the daily fluctuations of temperature and precipitation. Among the proposed forecasting methods, both SARIMAX and the Neural Prophet algorithm demonstrated the ability to forecast weather to model the dynamics of crop and soil conditions with the highest degree of approximation to actual observations. For the dynamic of the crop yield of soybean, the SARIMAX model exhibited the most favorable coefficient of determination, R2, while for sugar beet, the Neural Prophet model achieved superior R2 levels of 0.99 and 0.98, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Models for Agricultural Yield Prediction under Climate Change)
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19 pages, 3823 KiB  
Article
MtTGA1 Transcription Factor Enhances Salt Tolerance through Hormonal Regulation and Antioxidant Enzyme Activity in Medicago truncatula
by Shuwen Li, Hong Xie, Yinglong Chen, Wei Jia, Di Dong, Mengdi Wang, Yinruizhi Li, Tiejun Zhang, Liebao Han and Yuehui Chao
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2184; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082184 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1205
Abstract
The TGACG motif-binding factor1 (TGA1) transcription factor, in which belongs to the bZIP transcription factor family and has vast application potential in plant growth and development. Here, we cloned the gene of the MtTGA1 transcription factor from Medicago truncatula. The MtTGA1 promoter [...] Read more.
The TGACG motif-binding factor1 (TGA1) transcription factor, in which belongs to the bZIP transcription factor family and has vast application potential in plant growth and development. Here, we cloned the gene of the MtTGA1 transcription factor from Medicago truncatula. The MtTGA1 promoter region contains a diverse range of photoregulatory and hormonal regulatory elements. The expression profile of MtTGA1 indicated its highest expression in the root. Additionally, the expression level of MtTGA1 was significantly upregulated after SA and BR treatments and showed a downward trend after GA and ABA treatments. To explore the potential function of MtTGA1, we treated the transgenic plants with salt treatment for 15 days, and the results showed that transgenic plants demonstrated significantly longer root lengths and heightened activities of antioxidant enzymes such as ascorbic acid catalase (APX), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in their roots and leaves. The levels of endogenous hormones, including ABA and BR were improved in transgenic plants, with a marked change in the morphology of their leaf cells. Transcriptome analysis identified a total of 193 differentially expressed genes, which were significantly enriched in the pathways of “Brassinosteroid biosynthesis”, “Ascorbate and aldarate metabolism”, and “Plant hormone signal transduction”. Furthermore, MtTGA1 was found to interact with the SPX domain-containing protein 1 (SPX1) in Medicago truncatula. In conclusion, these results are beneficial for further studies about the plant growth and development regulatory network mediated by the TGA1 transcription factor family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value)
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17 pages, 4320 KiB  
Article
Classification of Monofloral Honeys by Measuring a Low-Cost Electronic Nose Prototype Based on Resistive Metal Oxide Sensors
by Eduardo González María, Antonio Madueño Luna, Agustín Conesa Celdrán, Gemma Martínez Muñoz, Martin John Oates and Antonio Ruiz-Canales
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2183; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082183 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1017
Abstract
In this article a case study of characterisation of type of honey based on floral origin is presented. It is intended to discriminate Iberian honeys from local beekeepers located in the Community of Madrid (Spain), by means of a low-cost electronic nose prototype, [...] Read more.
In this article a case study of characterisation of type of honey based on floral origin is presented. It is intended to discriminate Iberian honeys from local beekeepers located in the Community of Madrid (Spain), by means of a low-cost electronic nose prototype, composed of a matrix of nonspecific resistive sensors of MQ-type metal oxides. The measurements of the honeys made with an electronic nose prototype were contrasted with physicochemical analyzes and pollen content. The experiment was carried out in two trials. A first preliminary study in which six samples of honey from different sources were used (three Blueweed, one rapeseed, one lavender and one commercial honey) and in which eight repetitions were made for each of the six samples analyzed. Due to the small sample size, conclusive results were not obtained, although the sensors did show a clear response in those that presented a higher pollen content, above 57%, however, the honey samples that reflected pollen values lower than 50% they showed no perceptible reaction on the sensors. In the second study, in which the sample size was increased to a total of 16 samples (four lavender honeys, four oak honeys, four rosemary honeys, and four chestnut honeys), a total of 10 repetitions per sample were carried out with a total of repetitions out of 160. These last data were analyzed with the principal component technique (PCA), the results of which were inconclusive. However, when applying the data analysis through the use of Support Vector Machines (SVM), it is possible to obtain a model with 87.5% accuracy in the classification. In this case, the Lavender and Chestnut honeys were the ones that achieved a precision of 90% and 100% respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Precision and Digital Agriculture)
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16 pages, 1754 KiB  
Article
Biostimulant Application Alleviates the Negative Effects of Deficit Irrigation and Improves Growth Performance, Essential Oil Yield and Water-Use Efficiency of Mint Crop
by Christina Chaski, Kyriakos D. Giannoulis, Alexios A. Alexopoulos and Spyridon A. Petropoulos
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2182; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082182 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1119
Abstract
The scarcity of water is limiting crop production and is one of the most important stressors that severely affects crop yield, and it may also decrease the quality of the final products. Most of the medicinal and aromatic plants are considered resilient to [...] Read more.
The scarcity of water is limiting crop production and is one of the most important stressors that severely affects crop yield, and it may also decrease the quality of the final products. Most of the medicinal and aromatic plants are considered resilient to water stress and constitute a sustainable choice for crop production in arid and semiarid conditions. In the present study, we examined the effect of scheduled deficit irrigation (e.g., I1: 40% of field capacity); I2: 70% of field capacity; and I3: 100% of field capacity) combined with biostimulant application (four different products that consisted of nitrogenous compounds and carboxylic acids (M1); nitrogenous compounds and seaweed extracts (M2); humic and fulvic acids and seaweed extracts (M3); and CaO, SiO2, calcium mobilization and translocation factor and microminerals (M4)) on crop performance and essential oil production of mint plants (Mentha arvensis L.). Our aim was to define an irrigation regime that increases water-use efficiency and the biostimulant products that alleviate water stress effects. Our results indicate that moderate deficit irrigation (I2 treatment) and biostimulants that contained seaweed extracts and nitrogenous compounds and humic and fulvic acids (M2 and M3 treatments, respectively) significantly improved yield parameters in terms of fresh and dry herb yield and essential oil production. Moreover, the same biostimulant treatments significantly increased water-use efficiency of mint crops based on the various yield parameters tested in this study. In conclusion, our results indicate that selection of proper biostimulatory products may allow to apply deficit irrigation regimes in mint cultivation without compromising the crop performance in terms of both biomass production and essential oil yield. Therefore, the combination of these agronomic tools could facilitate water saving strategies in arid and semiarid regions and contribute to the sustainable management of water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agronomical Practices for Saving Water Supply)
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5 pages, 230 KiB  
Editorial
Evolution of Compounds and Characteristics of Crops during Ripening and after Harvest
by Ana V. González-de-Peredo and Gerardo Fernández Barbero
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2181; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082181 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 705
Abstract
Consumers are increasingly asking for products with better organoleptic characteristics, flavors, aromas, colors, attractiveness, etc [...] Full article
17 pages, 11680 KiB  
Article
Grassland Carbon Change in Northern China under Historical and Future Land Use and Land Cover Change
by Zhenwang Li, Quan Tang, Xu Wang, Baorui Chen, Chengming Sun and Xiaoping Xin
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2180; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082180 - 20 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 992
Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) change has greatly altered ecosystem carbon storage and exerted an enormous impact on terrestrial carbon cycling. Characterizing its impact on ecosystem carbon storage is critical to balance regional carbon budgets and make land use decisions. However, due [...] Read more.
Land use and land cover (LULC) change has greatly altered ecosystem carbon storage and exerted an enormous impact on terrestrial carbon cycling. Characterizing its impact on ecosystem carbon storage is critical to balance regional carbon budgets and make land use decisions. However, due to the availability of LULC data and the strong variability in LULC change, uncertainty remains high in quantifying the effect of LULC change on the historical and future carbon stock. Based on four historical LULC maps and one future LULC projection, this study combined the Land Use and Carbon Scenario Simulator (LUCAS) with a process-based CENTURY model to evaluate the historical and future LULC change and its impact on grassland carbon storage from 1991 to 2050 in northern China. Results showed that grassland experienced a drastic decrease of 16.10 × 103 km2 before 2005, while agriculture and barren land increased by 16.91 × 103 km2 and 3.73 × 103 km2, respectively. After that, grassland was projected to increase, agriculture kept steady, and barren land decreased. LULC change has resulted in enormous total ecosystem carbon loss, mainly in agro-pasture areas; the maximum 8.54% of carbon loss happened in 2000, which was primarily attributed to agriculture to grassland, forest to grassland, grassland to agriculture, and grassland to barren. Before 2000, the grassland net biome productivity was projected to be −15.54 Tg C/yr and −2.69 Tg C/yr with and without LULC change. After 2001, the LULC change showed a positive impact on the grassland carbon balance, and the region was projected to be a carbon sink. Ecological projects have made a significant contribution to grassland carbon storage. The paper provides a framework to account for the effects of LULC change on ecosystem carbon and highlights the importance of improving grassland management in balancing the grassland carbon budget, which is helpful to understand the regional carbon budget and better inform local land use strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agroecology Innovation: Achieving System Resilience)
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20 pages, 34357 KiB  
Article
Efficiency of Strawberry Cultivation under the Effect of Different Types of Plants in a Soilless System in the High-Altitude Regions of Southern Brazil
by Mário C. Palombini, Pedro Palencia, Jessé Marques S. J. Pavão and José L. T. Chiomento
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2179; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082179 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1455
Abstract
By analyzing the growth and development of different types of strawberry plants, the researchers were able to evaluate the interference with the horticultural potential of the cultivar ‘Albion’. The five treatments that have been studied corresponded to different types of strawberry plants: mini [...] Read more.
By analyzing the growth and development of different types of strawberry plants, the researchers were able to evaluate the interference with the horticultural potential of the cultivar ‘Albion’. The five treatments that have been studied corresponded to different types of strawberry plants: mini plants in trays with young roots, plants in trays with mature roots and an initial reduction of fertigation, plants in trays with mature roots, plants with bare roots, and plants in trays with mature roots preserved by the cold. In bags containing coconut fiber, the experiment was laid out in a randomized block design with three replications. The attributes evaluated were the total yield per plant, the total yield per plant with fruits above 10 g, the total yield per hectare, the total yield per hectare with fruits above 10 g, the average plant diameter, the average number of buds per plant, and the average number of stolons per plant. There were no significant effects among the plant types concerning yield production. Plants in cold-preserved trays with mature roots showed a higher number of buds than plants in trays with mature roots. Cold-preserved tray plants with mature roots produced the highest number of stolons, followed by bare-root plants. It is concluded that the types of strawberry seedlings did not influence the productive performance of the strawberry ‘Albion’ cultivar. However, cold-preserved tray plants with mature roots showed better vegetative performance, with a yield of a higher number of buds and stolons. However, the results were influenced by the agroclimatic conditions of the producing region; due to climatic interference in the behaviour of the plants about the factors studied, it is recommended to repeat the experiment for a better understanding of the objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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17 pages, 7611 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification, Characterization, and Expression Profiling of TaDUF668 Gene Family in Triticum aestivum
by Xiaohui Yin, Yi Yuan, Xiaowen Han, Shuo Han, Yiting Li, Dongfang Ma, Zhengwu Fang, Shuangjun Gong and Junliang Yin
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2178; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082178 - 20 Aug 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1416
Abstract
DUF668s, a plant-specific gene family, encode proteins containing domain of unknown function (DUF) domains. Despite their essential functions, there is a lack of insight into Triticum aestivum TaDUF668s. Here, 31 TaDUF668s were identified from the wheat genome; according to phylogenetic relationships, they [...] Read more.
DUF668s, a plant-specific gene family, encode proteins containing domain of unknown function (DUF) domains. Despite their essential functions, there is a lack of insight into Triticum aestivum TaDUF668s. Here, 31 TaDUF668s were identified from the wheat genome; according to phylogenetic relationships, they were named TaDUF668-01 to TaDUF668-31. All TaDUF668s were hydrophilic and unstable proteins. There were 22 TaDUF668s that showed subcellular localization in nucleus. Evolutionary analysis demonstrated that TaDUF668s had undergone strong purifying selection, and fragment duplication plays major role in TaDUF668 family expansion. Cis-element prediction displayed that over 90% of TaDUF668 promoter regions contain the growth and abiotic responsiveness element. Consistently, expression profiling showed that TaDUF668s were highly induced in five wheat growth and development stages, seven main different tissues, five abiotic stresses, and five pathogenic stresses. In total, 12 TaDUF668s were targeted by 20 miRNAs through the inhibition of translation and cleavage patterns. RT-qPCR results confirmed that the expression of six TaDUF668s was significantly regulated by NaCl, PEG, F. graminearum, and P. striiformis; nevertheless, the regulation patterns were different. In summary, through systematic identification, characterization, evolutionary analysis, and expression profiling, a comprehensive understanding of TaDUF668 has been obtained, which lays a foundation for further functional studies of TaDUF668. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Wheat Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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15 pages, 4122 KiB  
Article
Interactions between 20-Hydroxyecdysone and Juvenile Hormone I, II, and III during the Developmental Stages of Spodoptera frugiperda
by Xuesheng Li, Shucheng Liao, Jiangan Hou, Wenjie Zhang, Guoqiang Yi and Haolin Li
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082177 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 992
Abstract
Juvenile hormones (JHs) play a crucial role in the development of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, with varying types and concentrations observed at different stages. However, the interplay between JHs and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) in co-ordinating the life cycle of S. frugiperda remains [...] Read more.
Juvenile hormones (JHs) play a crucial role in the development of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, with varying types and concentrations observed at different stages. However, the interplay between JHs and 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) in co-ordinating the life cycle of S. frugiperda remains unknown. In this study, by using high-precision UPLC-MS/MS and qRT-PCR, we detected changes in JH and 20E levels and identified important 20E receptor and response genes. Our findings revealed that JH I antagonises JH II, whereas JH II promotes JH III synthesis. High JH I and JH II concentrations in the larval stage strongly affected moulting to the next instar. Furthermore, these hormones inhibit 20E synthesis and reduce its receptor expression, thereby affecting 20E signalling. During pupation, JH II plays a crucial role in stimulating 20E synthesis for larval–pupal transformation. JH I and JH II are essential for eclosion, precisely controlling emergence timing and subsequent reproductive organ maturation. These hormones likely regulate larval development, pupation, and adult reproduction in S. frugiperda. Further studies are warranted to explore the regulatory advantages of JH I and JH II over JH III. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pest and Disease Management)
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15 pages, 1353 KiB  
Article
Construction of an Early Warning System Based on a Fuzzy Matter-Element Model for Diagnosing the Health of Alpine Grassland: A Case Study of Henan County, Qinghai, China
by Huilan Shi, Mengping Liu, Shihai Zhu, Zhonghua Duan, Rongrong Wu, Xiaolong Quan, Mengci Chen, Jiexue Zhang and Youming Qiao
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2176; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082176 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 803
Abstract
To maintain alpine grassland in a healthy and sustainable state, a sound warning system was developed to diagnose its potential degradation risk. Data related to grassland quality (six indicators), habitat (six indicators), and eco-carrying capacity (three indicators) at eight sampling plots were collected [...] Read more.
To maintain alpine grassland in a healthy and sustainable state, a sound warning system was developed to diagnose its potential degradation risk. Data related to grassland quality (six indicators), habitat (six indicators), and eco-carrying capacity (three indicators) at eight sampling plots were collected from Henan Mongol Autonomous County of West China in 2014 and 2017, representing five types of grassland and three grazing styles. Compared to the warning level in 2014, alpine grassland had a higher warning level in 2017, demonstrating the degradation of grassland ecosystems. Kobresia tibetica exhibited the lowest level of warning, while Kobresia humilis had the highest, indicating its corresponding safety and unsafety under the environmental change. Grassland quality is the most important index for grassland health, and soil total carbon and available phosphorus are the most important indices of habitat quality, which finally greatly influence the warning level of alpine grassland. Further analysis results suggested that winter grazing is beneficial for the health of grassland, and moderate grazing can accelerate the self-recovery of the alpine grassland due to the increase in organic matter. This study is crucial for understanding the health level of alpine grassland and its further change trends, and providing an important scientific basis for rational grazing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grassland and Pasture Ecological Management and Utilization)
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18 pages, 1353 KiB  
Article
Genetic Diversity of the Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
by Matabaro Joseph Malekera, Damas Mamba Mamba, Gauthier Bope Bushabu, Justin Cishugi Murhula, Hwal-Su Hwang and Kyeong-Yeoll Lee
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2175; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082175 - 19 Aug 2023
Viewed by 977
Abstract
In 2016, the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, invaded western Africa and rapidly spread in sub-Saharan Africa, causing significant losses in yields of corn, a major food crop in Africa. Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a large corn-growing [...] Read more.
In 2016, the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, invaded western Africa and rapidly spread in sub-Saharan Africa, causing significant losses in yields of corn, a major food crop in Africa. Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a large corn-growing country, the impact of FAW has not been investigated. This study was designed to expand investigations on the genetic diversity of FAW populations in the DRC. We collected FAW individuals from eight provinces across the country, for analysis of genetic variation. Based on the partial sequences of both mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and nuclear triosephosphate isomerase (Tpi) genes, we compared polymorphic features of the COI haplotype and Tpi single nucleotide polymorphisms. The results revealed that most (84%) of the analyzed individuals were heterogeneous hybrids Tpi-corn/COI-rice (Tpi-C/COI-R), whereas 16% were homogenous Tpi-corn/COI-corn (Tpi-C/COI-C). Further analysis of the fourth exon/intron sequences of the Tpi gene identified two subgroups, TpiCa1 and TpiCa2, constituting 80% and 20%, respectively, of the collected individuals. Analysis of genetic variation among native and invasive populations indicated significant genetic differences (10.94%) between the native American and DRC populations, whereas both the DRC and African populations were genetically closer to Asian than American populations. This study provides important information on FAW genetic diversity in the DRC, which can be used for effective management of FAW. Full article
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16 pages, 6963 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Cross-Influence of Microclimate, Lighting, and Soil Parameters in the Vertical Farm
by Victoria Kamenchuk, Boris Rumiantsev, Sofya Dzhatdoeva, Elchin Sadykhov and Azret Kochkarov
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2174; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082174 - 19 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Urban vertical farming is an innovative solution to address the increasing demand for food in densely populated cities. With advanced technology and precise monitoring, closed urban vertical farms can optimize growing conditions for plants, resulting in higher yields and improved crop quality. However, [...] Read more.
Urban vertical farming is an innovative solution to address the increasing demand for food in densely populated cities. With advanced technology and precise monitoring, closed urban vertical farms can optimize growing conditions for plants, resulting in higher yields and improved crop quality. However, to fully optimize closed urban vertical farming systems, research is needed to enhance crop yields and reduce the growing season. The present study is focused on the research of the mutual influence of microclimate parameters, such as temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide concentration, as well as the spectral composition of light, humidity, and amount of peat in the substrate. The research was conducted within the cultivation of the “Innovator” potato variety at the experimental automated vertical farm of the “Fundamentals of Biotechnology” of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Based on the correlation and Fourier analysis of the dependences of soil moisture and carbon dioxide concentration on time, it is shown that after watering potatoes, there is a 56 h delayed decrease in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the cultivation room, which can be explained by a delayed increase in the intensity of the photosynthesis process. Moreover, a comparison of CO2 dependence on time with the lighting dynamics at the scale of one day indicates the presence of the intrinsic daily biological rhythm of the CO2 absorption rate that does not depend on the external lighting conditions. In addition, by analyzing the dependencies of microclimate parameters and the spectral composition of the lighting over time, it was found that switching on lighting influences the microclimate parameters, which can be explained by the heating of LEDs used for lighting. Moreover, the multiple regression analysis of microclimate parameters and soil moisture showed that an increase in peat content in the substrate leads to a transition from the decisive influence of air humidity on soil moisture to the dominant influence of air temperature. The obtained results reveal the complex mutual influence of the parameters determining the growing conditions within automated closed vertical farms. Consideration of this influence is necessary when optimizing the conditions of vegetation and the development of intelligent plant-growing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Farming Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture)
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14 pages, 332 KiB  
Review
Effectiveness of Agronomic Biofortification Strategy in Fighting against Hidden Hunger
by Demeke Teklu, Dawd Gashu, Edward J. M. Joy, Tilahun Amede and Martin R. Broadley
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2173; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082173 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1914
Abstract
Micronutrient deficiencies (MNDs), also known as hidden hunger, affect more than a quarter of the global population. Agronomic biofortification helps to increase the concentration of a target mineral in food crops and improve human mineral dietary intake. It is a means of providing [...] Read more.
Micronutrient deficiencies (MNDs), also known as hidden hunger, affect more than a quarter of the global population. Agronomic biofortification helps to increase the concentration of a target mineral in food crops and improve human mineral dietary intake. It is a means of providing nutrient-dense foods to a larger population, especially among rural resource-poor settings, providing that they have access to mineral fertilizers. However, the feasibility of agronomic biofortification in combating hidden hunger depends on several factors in addition to fertilizer access, including crop type, genotype, climate, soils, and soil mineral interactions. Consideration of its effectiveness in increasing human mineral intake to the daily requirements and the improvement of human health and the cost-effectiveness of the program is also important. In this paper, we review the available literature regarding the potential effectiveness and challenges of agronomic biofortification to improve crop micronutrient concentrations and reduce hidden hunger. Full article
16 pages, 5075 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Scale Effect and Temporal Stability of Groundwater in a Large Irrigation District in Northwest China
by Ziyi Zan, Weifeng Yue, Hangzheng Zhao, Changming Cao, Fengyan Wu, Peirong Lin and Jin Wu
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2172; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082172 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 718
Abstract
The depth to groundwater table (DGT) and the stability sites of groundwater were closely related parameters in groundwater research. Controlling the DGT and identifying stability sites of DGT were of great significance to prevent soil salinization and improve groundwater monitoring. In this study, [...] Read more.
The depth to groundwater table (DGT) and the stability sites of groundwater were closely related parameters in groundwater research. Controlling the DGT and identifying stability sites of DGT were of great significance to prevent soil salinization and improve groundwater monitoring. In this study, using DGT data from the Hetao Irrigation District (HID) from 1991 to 2015, combined with spatial interpolation and coefficient-of-variation methods, this study explored the spatiotemporal variation characteristics and scale-effect problems of DGT from four hierarchical scales: the irrigation district, irrigation subdistrict, main canal, and branch canal. The Spearman correlation coefficient, average relative difference, and standard deviation were also used to further clarify the characteristics of groundwater time stability and its periodic variation rule. The results indicated that the spatiotemporal variation in DGT in the HID, and showed moderate variation characteristics, consistent with scale-effect features, which was deeply influenced by the regional climate and human activities. The DGT in the HID showed different temporal stabilities before and after 2000 caused by the application of Water-saving practices (WSPs). The stability sites were not entirely the same in different years or time periods, but they were all at the moderate DGT level in the HID. The results of this study can provide more insights for improving soil salinization and groundwater monitoring and provide more information for agricultural water-use efficiency and management. Full article
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15 pages, 1608 KiB  
Article
A Brief History of Broomcorn Millet Cultivation in Lithuania
by Giedrė Motuzaitė Matuzevičiūtė and Rimvydas Laužikas
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2171; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082171 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1743
Abstract
The eastern Baltic region represents the world’s most northerly limit of successful broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) (hereafter, millet) cultivation in the past, yet this crop has been almost forgotten today. The earliest millet in the eastern Baltic region has been identified [...] Read more.
The eastern Baltic region represents the world’s most northerly limit of successful broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) (hereafter, millet) cultivation in the past, yet this crop has been almost forgotten today. The earliest millet in the eastern Baltic region has been identified from macrobotanical remains which were directly dated to ca 1000 BCE. Between 800 and 500 BCE, millet was one of the major staple foods in the territory of modern-day Lithuania. Millet continued to play an important role in past agriculture up until the 15th century, with its use significantly declining during the following centuries. This paper analyses both the archaeobotanical records and written sources on broomcorn millet cultivation in Lithuania from its first arrival all the way through to the 19th century. The manuscript reviews the evidence of millet cultivation in the past as documented by archaeobotanical remains and historical accounts. In light of fluctuating records of millet cultivation through time, we present the hypothetical reasons for the decline in millet use as human food. The paper hypothesizes that the significant decrease in broomcorn millet cultivation in Lithuania from the 15th century onwards was likely influenced by several factors, which include climate change (the Little Ice Age) and the agricultural reforms of the 16th century. However, more detailed research is required to link past fluctuations in millet cultivation with climatic and historical sources, thus better understanding the roots of collapsing crop biodiversity in the past. Full article
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18 pages, 1949 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Bioactive Phenolic Compounds in Seeds of Chilean Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) Germplasm
by Archis Pandya, Björn Thiele, Stephan Köppchen, Andres Zurita-Silva, Björn Usadel and Fabio Fiorani
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2170; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082170 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
In recent years, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), an ancient Andean region crop, has received increased research attention because it is an excellent source of nutrients and also of bioactive phenolic compounds, which are potentially beneficial for human health. However, variation in the [...] Read more.
In recent years, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), an ancient Andean region crop, has received increased research attention because it is an excellent source of nutrients and also of bioactive phenolic compounds, which are potentially beneficial for human health. However, variation in the content and type of these metabolites in quinoa genetic resources remains, to a large extent, unexplored. We evaluated the composition of free and bound phenolic forms in the seeds of 111 Chilean quinoa accessions by using LC-DAD-MS/MS. The relative phenolic content ranged from 35.51 mg/100 g to 93.23 mg/100 g of seed dry weight. The free phenolic fraction accounted for 72% of the total phenolic content, while the bound fraction represented the remaining 28% of the total phenolic content. Our study also revealed a significant degree of variation in terms of individual phenolic compounds such as rutin, vanillic acid, quercetin, and their derivatives, which can have important implications for quinoa’s nutritional and functional properties. We conclude that our data reveal a significant phenotypic variation of bioactive phenolic content in the examined germplasm, which could be exploited in current and future genetic improvement programs in quinoa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant-Crop Biology and Biochemistry)
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16 pages, 3474 KiB  
Article
Effects of Organic Materials and Their Incorporation Depths on Humus Substances Structure and Soil Microbial Communities’ Characteristics in a Chinese Mollisol
by Jiawei Gan, Wenxiu Zou, Xiaozeng Han, Xu Chen, Jun Yan and Xinchun Lu
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082169 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 898
Abstract
Organic material incorporation are important agricultural practices, which can influence soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and stabilization. However, the response of interaction between SOC structure and soil microbial to organic material incorporation management are still poorly understood. In 2021, we conducted a three [...] Read more.
Organic material incorporation are important agricultural practices, which can influence soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and stabilization. However, the response of interaction between SOC structure and soil microbial to organic material incorporation management are still poorly understood. In 2021, we conducted a three years field experiment in Guangrong country, northeastern China. Five treatments were established: conventional tillage (CK), conventional tillage with straw incorporation (T1); subsoil tillage with straw incorporation (T2); subsoil tillage with straw and organic manure incorporation (T3) and subsoiling tillage with organic manure incorporation (T4). Fulvic–like and protein–like components were found in fulvic acid (FA) in a 0–15 cm soil layer, while fulvic–like components in humic acid (HA) were found in 0–15 cm and 15–35 cm soil layers. In the 15–35 cm soil layer, the bacterial, fungal and total phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) contents were significantly higher by 159.62%, 687.00%, and 139.02% in T3 than CK, respectively. The fungal to bacterial PLFA ratios (F/B) were significantly higher by 97.46% and the Gram–positive bacteria to Gram–negative bacteria PLFA ratios (G+/G) were lower by 20.99% in T3 than CK in the 15–35 cm soil layer. Therefore, subsoil tillage with straw and organic manure incorporation could be recommended to improve soil quality in Mollisol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Arable Farming Measures on Nutrient Dynamics)
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19 pages, 3862 KiB  
Article
Phosphorus Mobility in Heavily Manured and Waterlogged Soil Cultivated with Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)
by Thidarat Rupngam, Aimé J. Messiga and Antoine Karam
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2168; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082168 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1268
Abstract
Extended waterlogging (WL) conditions in heavily manured soils can change soil phosphorus (P) dynamics. We assessed the effects of soil moisture regimes (field capacity (FC) and WL) and P rates on (i) dry matter (DM) yield and P offtake of ryegrass, (ii) changes [...] Read more.
Extended waterlogging (WL) conditions in heavily manured soils can change soil phosphorus (P) dynamics. We assessed the effects of soil moisture regimes (field capacity (FC) and WL) and P rates on (i) dry matter (DM) yield and P offtake of ryegrass, (ii) changes in soil Fe3+, Fe2+, and soil P, and (iii) risk of P leaching. The treatments were tested in a four-month greenhouse experiment using intact soil columns and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). The DM yield and P offtake were lower under WL compared with FC. The concentration of Fe3+ was 1984 mg kg−1 (0–30 cm) under FC, but 1213 mg kg−1 at 0–5 cm and 2024 mg kg−1 at 25–30 cm depth under WL. The concentration of Fe2+ was 244 mg kg−1 (0–30 cm) under FC, but 2897 at 0–5 cm and 687 mg kg−1 at 25–30 cm under WL. The water extractable P (Pw) was 12.7 mg kg−1 at 0–5 cm and 9.5 mg kg−1 at 25–30 cm under FC, but 8.6 mg kg−1 at 0–5 cm and 10.5 mg kg−1 at 25–30 cm under WL. The P saturation index (PSI) was 27.2% at 0–5 cm and 17.4% at 25–30 cm under FC, but averaged 11.9% at 0–30 cm under WL. We can conclude that extended WL associated with flooding creates reducing conditions in the soil, thus decreasing the concentration of Fe3+, but increasing the concentrations of Fe2+ and the solubility of P which can exacerbate the risk of P loss with runoff and leaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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17 pages, 2226 KiB  
Article
Effects of Sowing Dates and Genotypes of Castor (Ricinus communis L.) on Seed Yield and Oil Content in the South Mediterranean Basin
by Valeria Cafaro, Silvio Calcagno, Cristina Patanè, Salvatore Luciano Cosentino and Giorgio Testa
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2167; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082167 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 922
Abstract
To evaluate the performance of dwarf castor hybrids (‘C1012’, ‘C857’, ‘C856’), compared to a local selected genotype, in four subsequent sowing dates (SW1, SW2, SW3, SW4), a trial was conducted at the experimental farm of the University of Catania (Sicily, Italy). The length [...] Read more.
To evaluate the performance of dwarf castor hybrids (‘C1012’, ‘C857’, ‘C856’), compared to a local selected genotype, in four subsequent sowing dates (SW1, SW2, SW3, SW4), a trial was conducted at the experimental farm of the University of Catania (Sicily, Italy). The length of the growing season decreased with the increase of the sowing date in the average genotypes from 160 to 94 days, respectively, for the first and the last sowing date. According to the RED—Renewable Energy Directive, the genotype ‘C856’ was the earliest (112 days), resulting in suitability as a catch crop for biomass production. The results showed that early spring sowings negatively impact dwarf hybrid production (1.2 and 1.5 Mg ha−1 in SW1 and SW2, in the average of the three hybrids), which reached the highest yield in the third sowing date (2.0 Mg ha−1), preferring warmer temperatures for the germination of seeds. On the contrary, the ‘Local’ genotype reached the highest yield (1.6 Mg ha−1) in the first sowing date and linearly decreased in the subsequent ones. Nonetheless, the third sowing date positively influenced the oil content and the oil yield in all dwarf genotypes except the ‘Local’ genotype, which showed the highest oil yield in the first sowing date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Biomass for Bioenergy and Bioproducts)
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21 pages, 6439 KiB  
Article
Analyzing the Impact of Intensive Agriculture on Soil Quality: A Systematic Review and Global Meta-Analysis of Quality Indexes
by Héctor Iván Bedolla-Rivera, María de la Luz Xochilt Negrete-Rodríguez, Francisco Paúl Gámez-Vázquez, Dioselina Álvarez-Bernal and Eloy Conde-Barajas
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2166; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082166 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1587
Abstract
As the global population grows, the demand for food increases and puts a strain on food production systems and agricultural productivity, causing soil degradation. Soil quality indexes (SQIs) have been developed to maintain and improve soil quality. However, due to the variety of [...] Read more.
As the global population grows, the demand for food increases and puts a strain on food production systems and agricultural productivity, causing soil degradation. Soil quality indexes (SQIs) have been developed to maintain and improve soil quality. However, due to the variety of soils and SQIs, analyzing and comparing results has historically been difficult. Therefore, in this study, we carried out a systematic review with meta-analysis focused on soil quality studies of agricultural soils under intensive agriculture using the unified weighted additive SQI methodology (SQIU). Sixty-five observations of agricultural soil quality were analyzed. Chemical indicators were the most prevalent in the SQIUs, followed by physical and biological indicators. Conventional soil management had negative effects on soil quality (–7.55%). From the factors analyzed, the minimum database had a significant effect on the soil quality results, but not the number of indicators that made up the SQIU. The SQIU made up of chemical–biological indicators (CB) presented negatively overestimated measurements of soil quality (–32.53%), exaggerating the degradation of the analyzed soils. The indicators that correlated most strongly with the size of the effect on agricultural soil quality were the cation exchange capacity (CEC) and microbial biomass carbon (MBC). The SQIU is a feasible tool to interpret the quality of agricultural soils around the world, as it makes it possible to obtain a simple and generalized view of soil conditions. Full article
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16 pages, 3142 KiB  
Article
The Electrical Conductivity and Drying Method Changed the Secondary Metabolite Content and Photoprotective Effects of Hydroponically Cultivated Agastache rugosa Kuntze
by Yang-Ju Son, Jai-Eok Park and Chu Won Nho
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2165; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082165 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Many studies have examined how various cultivation methods and elicitors elevate target crop values. Post-harvest treatments, such as the drying method, may alter the final product’s characteristics. We investigated the effect of nutrient solution concentration during the hydroponic cultivation and drying method (cold [...] Read more.
Many studies have examined how various cultivation methods and elicitors elevate target crop values. Post-harvest treatments, such as the drying method, may alter the final product’s characteristics. We investigated the effect of nutrient solution concentration during the hydroponic cultivation and drying method (cold air drying and freeze drying) after harvesting Agastache rugosa Kuntze, an herb used for folk medicine and as a deodorant, spice, and tea in East Asia. To explore the properties of A. rugosa, we determined its growth parameters, secondary metabolites, and photoprotective effects. We observed the highest growth and yields in A. rugosa grown under 4.0 dS·m−1 electrical conductivity (EC) conditions. However, the EC 2.0 group showed higher antioxidative properties than those grown in EC 1.5 and 4.0 conditions. Drying conditions varied the content and ratios of major active compounds (rosmarinic acid, tilianin, and acacetin) in A. rugosa. Cold air drying caused rosmarinic acid transmutation to tilianin and acacetin, and tilianin showed a stronger positive correlation with antioxidative and photoprotective activities than rosmarinic acid. The increased tilianin content in cold-air-dried A. rugosa accompanied the improved photoprotective effects in dermal cell lines. This study reveals the effects of cultivation and drying methods in A. rugosa production, and proposes alternate industrial production techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Secondary Metabolites in Plants and Their Products)
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15 pages, 5621 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Analysis of Nitrogen-Deficiency-Responsive Genes in Two Potato Cultivars
by Qiaorong Wei, Yanbin Yin, Bin Deng, Xuewei Song, Zhenping Gong and Ying Shi
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2164; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082164 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1038
Abstract
The potato is the third largest food crop, and nitrogen fertilizer is important for increasing potato yields; however, the shallow root system of potatoes causes the nitrogen fertilizer utilization rate to be low, which results in waste and environmental pollution, meaning that high [...] Read more.
The potato is the third largest food crop, and nitrogen fertilizer is important for increasing potato yields; however, the shallow root system of potatoes causes the nitrogen fertilizer utilization rate to be low, which results in waste and environmental pollution, meaning that high nitrogen efficiency breeding is highly significant for potatoes. In the high nitrogen efficiency breeding of potatoes, genes with a nitrogen-deficient response should first be identified, and RNA-seq is an efficient method for identifying nitrogen-deficiency-response genes. In this study, two potato cultivars, Dongnong 322 (DN322) and Dongnong 314 (DN314), were utilized, and two nitrogen fertilizer application rates (N0 and N1) were set for both cultivars. Through the determination of physiological indicators, we identified that DN314 is more sensitive to nitrogen fertilizer, while DN322 is relatively insensitive to nitrogen fertilizer. Samples were taken at the seedling and tuber formation stage. At the seedling stage, DN322 and DN314 had 573 and 150 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), while at the tuber formation stage, they had 59 and 1905 DEGs, respectively. A total of three genes related to a low-nitrogen response were obtained via the combined analysis of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA), of which two genes were obtained at the tuber formation stage and one gene in the seedling stage, providing theoretical guidance for the high nitrogen efficiency breeding of potatoes. Full article
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25 pages, 2368 KiB  
Review
Advances and Developments in Monitoring and Inversion of the Biochemical Information of Crop Nutrients Based on Hyperspectral Technology
by Yali Zhang, Junqi Xiao, Kangting Yan, Xiaoyang Lu, Wanjian Li, Haoxin Tian, Linlin Wang, Jizhong Deng and Yubin Lan
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2163; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082163 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1186
Abstract
Crop nutrient biochemical information (mainly including chlorophyll class and nutrient elements mainly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) is an important basis for revealing crop growth and development patterns and their relationship with the environment. Hyperspectral technology has been rapidly developed and applied in crop [...] Read more.
Crop nutrient biochemical information (mainly including chlorophyll class and nutrient elements mainly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) is an important basis for revealing crop growth and development patterns and their relationship with the environment. Hyperspectral technology has been rapidly developed and applied in crop nutrient biochemical information monitoring research. This paper firstly describes the theoretical basis of hyperspectral technology for monitoring crop nutrients and biochemical information. Then, the research progress of hyperspectral technology in monitoring nutrient and biochemical information of crops in different growth periods or different growth environments is outlined. Meanwhile, the shortcomings of the current technology in these research directions and the future research trends are discussed. Finally, the modeling methods for building crop nutrient biochemical information monitoring models by applying hyperspectral data are systematically outlined. And the effects of different spectral pre-processing methods, spectral effective information extraction methods and modeling algorithms on the accuracy of monitoring models are analyzed. On this basis, the challenges and prospects of hyperspectral technology in monitoring crop nutrient biochemical information are presented, aiming to provide relevant theoretical basis and technical reference for the research related to monitoring and inversion of crop physiological parameters based on hyperspectral technology. Full article
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15 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Synthetic Fertilizer Application Coupled with Bioslurry Optimizes Potato (Solanum tuberosum) Growth and Yield
by Zeqiang Shao, Emmanuel R. Mwakidoshi, Esther M. Muindi, Rogério P. Soratto, Shivani Ranjan, Smruti Ranjan Padhan, Andrew W. Wamukota, Sumit Sow, Daniel O. Wasonga, Jamal Nasar, Mahmoud F. Seleiman and Harun I. Gitari
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082162 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
Biogas bioslurry, which is normally a bio-digestion product from livestock refuse, can be utilized as an inorganic fertilizer, thus boosting not only soil fertility but also crop growth and yield. Its use can mitigate climate change by reducing methane gas emissions, which are [...] Read more.
Biogas bioslurry, which is normally a bio-digestion product from livestock refuse, can be utilized as an inorganic fertilizer, thus boosting not only soil fertility but also crop growth and yield. Its use can mitigate climate change by reducing methane gas emissions, which are associated with the direct application of fresh animal manure. The current study was carried out on farmer’s fields based at Wusi-Kishamba and Werugha wards in Taita Taveta County, Kenya, and it aimed at investigating the effect of bioslurry coupled with synthetic fertilizer on potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) growth and yield. There were four treatments: sole bioslurry, sole fertilizer (DAP), bioslurry + DAP, and control, which were replicated five times in a randomized, complete block-designed layout. Data were collected on plant growth (plant height and leaf length) and yield (marketable and unmarketable tubers and the number of tubers plant−1). The results indicated a general increase in plant height from week one to week seven, where peak values were noted with sole slurry, sole fertilizer, and bioslurry + DAP treatments, which recorded 9, 18, and 43% taller plants, respectively, relative to control. Further, the combined application of bioslurry and DAP fertilizer significantly (p ≤ 0.05) improved potato growth and yield. For instance, there was a higher (23.3 t ha−1) yield in bioslurry + DAP treatment compared to the respective least record of 14.2 t ha−1 in control. Therefore, the study recommends a synergistic application of synthetic fertilizer (DAP) and bioslurry to potato crops for optimal crop growth and production. Full article
13 pages, 1779 KiB  
Article
Effects of Paclobutrazol and Mepiquat Chloride on the Physiological, Nutritional, and Morphological Behavior of Potted Icterina Sage under Greenhouse Conditions
by Daniel Bañón, María Fernanda Ortuño, María Jesús Sánchez-Blanco, Beatriz Lorente Pagán and Sebastián Bañón
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082161 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1399
Abstract
Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are commonly used in horticulture to improve crop quality, save water, and enhance plant resilience to stress. In this study, we examined the effects of two PGRs, paclobutrazol (PBZ) and mepiquat chloride (MC), on the growth and health of [...] Read more.
Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are commonly used in horticulture to improve crop quality, save water, and enhance plant resilience to stress. In this study, we examined the effects of two PGRs, paclobutrazol (PBZ) and mepiquat chloride (MC), on the growth and health of Salvia officinalis ‘Icterina’, a popular ornamental and aromatic plant. Parameters such as growth and development, water status, chlorophyll levels, nutrient content, photosynthetic performance, and gas exchange were evaluated. The study took place in a greenhouse with automatic watering and three plant groups: one treated with PBZ, another with MC, and a control group (untreated). Only one application of growth retardants was made, with 0.1 L per pot of a 100 mg/L solution of PBZ, and 0.1 L per pot of a 2.5 g/L solution of MC. The results showed that both PBZ and MC treatments reduced the plant’s water consumption, with PBZ being more effective in limiting leaf growth and promoting the accumulation of substances in the leaves. Both PGRs resulted in smaller plants, reducing the need for soil and potting materials. The MC treatment improved nutrient absorption, reducing the requirement for fertilizers. When subjected to environmental stress from March to June in the greenhouse, Salvia plants benefited from the application of both PGRs, as they helped maintain photosynthetic activity. These findings contribute to improving the sustainability of nursery practices by utilizing PGRs to conserve resources and mitigate the impact of stressful environmental conditions on sage plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Biosystem and Biological Engineering)
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11 pages, 2063 KiB  
Article
Modified Storage Atmosphere Prevents the Degradation of Key Grain Quality Traits in Lentil
by Bhawana Bhattarai, Cassandra K. Walker, Ashley J. Wallace, James G. Nuttall, Graham Hepworth, Joe F. Panozzo, Debra L. Partington and Glenn J. Fitzgerald
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2160; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082160 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1648
Abstract
Lentil seed coat colour influences market value, whilst germination is associated with crop establishment and hydration capacity with optimal processing outcomes. Storing lentil grain assists growers in managing price fluctuations; however, exposure to oxygen at higher temperatures during extended storage degrades seed coat [...] Read more.
Lentil seed coat colour influences market value, whilst germination is associated with crop establishment and hydration capacity with optimal processing outcomes. Storing lentil grain assists growers in managing price fluctuations; however, exposure to oxygen at higher temperatures during extended storage degrades seed coat colour, germination, and hydration capacity. Depleting oxygen prevents such degradation in other crops; however, studies in lentil are limited. This study examined the effects of oxygen-depleted modified atmospheres and temperatures on seed coat colour, germination, and hydration capacity in two red lentil cultivars, PBA Hallmark and PBA Jumbo2, stored for 360 days. Small volumes of lentil grain were placed in aluminium laminated bags filled with nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2), or air and stored at either 15 or 35 °C. At 35 °C in an air atmosphere, the lentil’s seed coat significantly (p = 0.05) darkened after 30 days of storage, whereas germination and hydration capacities decreased after 60 days regardless of cultivar. In contrast, N2 and CO2 atmospheres maintained initial seed coat colour, germination, and hydration capacities in both cultivars throughout the study period regardless of temperature. Storing lentil grain in an oxygen-depleted modified atmosphere may assist to maximise returns to grower and maintain key quality traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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15 pages, 3979 KiB  
Article
Historical Trends Analysis of Main Agronomic Traits in South China Inbred Indica Rice Varieties since Dwarf Breeding
by Xiaomin Feng, Ying Zhao, Wenlong Nie, Qiang Zhang, Zhixia Liu, Yijun Jiang, Kai Chen, Ning Yu, Xin Luan, Wenlong Li, Miaomiao Shan, Jianlong Xu and Qingshan Lin
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2159; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082159 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 789
Abstract
Studying the evolutionary patterns of rice agronomic traits in South China and analyzing the characteristics of rice improvement can provide insights into the developmental trajectory of rice breeding in South China and can guide further enhancement of variety yield. In this study, widely [...] Read more.
Studying the evolutionary patterns of rice agronomic traits in South China and analyzing the characteristics of rice improvement can provide insights into the developmental trajectory of rice breeding in South China and can guide further enhancement of variety yield. In this study, widely promoted varieties and core parents developed through dwarf breeding in the southern region, as well as landraces, were collected and planted in three different ecological regions. A total of 18 agronomic traits were investigated related to heading date, plant type, panicle type, grain type, and yield, and multiple comparisons, a correlation analysis, and a path analysis were conducted. The results indicate that dwarf breeding has significantly increased the yield of inbred indica rice varieties in South China. However, a reduction in plant height has also resulted in a reduction in flag leaf, shorter panicles, and decreased biomass, which have led to metabolic source and storage capacity deficiencies and limited yield potential. To address these limitations, breeders have employed strategies such as increasing flag leaf width, spikelet density, number of primary branches, and grain number per panicle. These measures have led to a gradual increase in yield. Additionally, starting from the 1980s, high-quality rice breeding has been pursued in South China, resulting in slender grain shape and reduced thousand grain weight. Given that total grain number per panicle has already increased significantly and the thousand grain weight cannot be reduced further, enhancing the effective tiller number, which decreases year by year, becomes an important approach to increasing the yield of inbred indica rice varieties in South China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Dissection and Improvement of Crop Traits)
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