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Agronomy, Volume 14, Issue 1 (January 2024) – 231 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): As a perennial agronomic and horticultural crop, perennial flax has the same marketable traits as annual flax along with added benefits. These new characteristics of perennial flax provide added value for sustainable production, such as reduced soil/water runoff, providing ecosystem services including pollinator benefits, and 2× harvests/year, along with the suite of traits for fiber, oilseed, cut flowers and herbaceous perennial uses. In this paper, we study the oilseed trait and its potential to transform perennial flax into a new crop. View this paper
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14 pages, 3515 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification of the Genes of the Odorant-Binding Protein Family Reveal Their Role in the Olfactory Response of the Tomato Leaf Miner (Tuta absoluta) to a Repellent Plant
by Ruixin Ma, Donggui Li, Chen Peng, Shuangyan Wang, Yaping Chen, Furong Gui and Zhongxiang Sun
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010231 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1056
Abstract
The remarkable biological and evolutionary adaptations of insects to plants are largely attributed to the powerful chemosensory systems of insects. The tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) is a destructive invasive pest with a global distribution that poses a serious threat to [...] Read more.
The remarkable biological and evolutionary adaptations of insects to plants are largely attributed to the powerful chemosensory systems of insects. The tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) is a destructive invasive pest with a global distribution that poses a serious threat to the production of nightshade crops, especially tomatoes. Functional plants can attract or repel insect pests by releasing volatiles that interact with the olfactory system of insects, thereby reducing the damage of insect pests to target crops. However, there is limited research on the interaction between T. absoluta olfactory genes and functional plants. In this study, 97 members of the putative odorant-binding protein (OBP) family have been identified in the whole genome of T. absoluta. Phylogenetic analysis involving various Lepidopteran and Dipteran species, including D. melanogaster, revealed that OBP gene families present conserved clustering patterns. Furthermore, the Plus-C subfamily of OBP showed extremely significant expansion. Moreover, the expression levels of the OBP genes varied significantly between different developmental stages; that is, the highest number of OBP genes were expressed in the adult stage, followed by the larval stage, and fewer genes were expressed in high abundance in the egg stage. On the other hand, through a Y-tube olfactometer, we identified a functional plant—Plectranthus tomentosa—that significantly repels adult and larval T. absoluta. Finally, we screened the OBP genes in response to tomato and P. tomentosa volatiles at the genomic level of T. absoluta using RT-qPCR. These results laid a good foundation for controlling T. absoluta with functional plants and further studying olfactory genes. Full article
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18 pages, 3164 KiB  
Article
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi as Biofertilizers to Increase the Plant Quality of Sour-Orange Seedlings
by Josefa María Navarro and Asunción Morte
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010230 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 999
Abstract
In addressing the agricultural challenges posed by climate change, the use of biofertilizers, derived from living organisms, promotes environmentally friendly crop cultivation, and represents an adaptive strategy for sustainable agriculture in the face of climate uncertainty. Careful selection of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus [...] Read more.
In addressing the agricultural challenges posed by climate change, the use of biofertilizers, derived from living organisms, promotes environmentally friendly crop cultivation, and represents an adaptive strategy for sustainable agriculture in the face of climate uncertainty. Careful selection of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) would represent a crucial step in mycorrhizal inoculation, considering the varying levels of compatibility between the AMF and the host plant. This study aimed to assess the impact of two AMF species that are prevalent in citrus soils of south-eastern Spain (Rhizophagus irregularis and Funneliformis mosseae) on the Citrus aurantium seedlings’ behavior. Sour-orange plants showed a high mycorrhizal dependence regardless of the specific AMF species. Both R. irregularis and F. mosseae fungi exhibited high colonization percentages, with R. irregularis outperforming F. mosseae in root colonization. Inoculation with both AMF yielded notable growth improvements, but R. irregularis exhibited higher positive effects in the long term. The heightened P nutrition and increased chlorophyll concentration significantly enhanced the performance of AMF-inoculated plants. With F. mosseae, plants showed more pronounced improvements in P nutrition and a stronger correlation of their dry mass with P concentration; however, in general, inoculation with R. irregularis produced a higher sour-orange-plant performance. Both R. irregularis and F. mosseae fungi produced strong positive effects in sour-orange growth, which positioned them as viable biofertilizer options. These results can contribute to enhancing understanding for the development of an improved design of biofertilizers used in regions that are vulnerable to climate change, such as south-eastern Spain. This promotes a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices by reducing dependence on chemical fertilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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12 pages, 2118 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Soil Salt Stress on the Nitrogen Uptake, Yield Response and Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Cotton in Arid Areas
by Tong Heng, Yingjie Ma, Pengrui Ai, Zhenyue Liu, Miao Wu and Changjiang Liu
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010229 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 770
Abstract
Soil salinity is a major soil threat, causing severe environmental problems. Soil salt stress limits N uptake and cotton growth, especially in arid regions. However, the mechanism underlying stress tolerance in cotton plants under different soil salinity levels has not been fully elucidated. [...] Read more.
Soil salinity is a major soil threat, causing severe environmental problems. Soil salt stress limits N uptake and cotton growth, especially in arid regions. However, the mechanism underlying stress tolerance in cotton plants under different soil salinity levels has not been fully elucidated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the proportion and mechanism of cotton N uptake and transport under salt stress using the 15N isotope labeling technique. Cotton plants were grown in four undisturbed loamy soils (CK, non-salinity, <2 dS m−1; C1, low salinity, 2–4 dS m−1; C2, mid-salinity, 4–8 dS m−1; and C3, high salinity, 8–15 dS m−1) in the test pit experiments. The findings indicated that the cotton N uptake was limited by the soil salt stress and total N content, and the cotton 15N use efficiency decreased by 25–27% with increasing salinity (>4.0 dS m−1). The N transported to cotton from the 0–20 cm soil layer in C1 treatment was higher than from the 40–60 cm layer. Furthermore, the cotton fruit cultivated in C1 exhibited a notably elevated dry matter content compared to those cultivated in the control treatment. As the soil salt stress increased from the control treatment to C1, the cotton stems and fruits demonstrated a gradual enhancement in their N uptake and regulatory capabilities, albeit with a slight decrease observed in the leaves. These findings emphasize that soil salt stress diminishes cotton nitrogen uptake and transport, potentially exacerbating nitrogen pollution in the absence of optimized nitrogen fertilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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11 pages, 1776 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Proportions of Organic Fertilizer Replacing Chemical Fertilizer on Soil Nutrients and Fertilizer Utilization in Gray Desert Soil
by Weidan Lu, Zhiqiang Hao, Xiaolong Ma, Jianglong Gao, Xiaoqin Fan, Jianfu Guo, Jianqiang Li, Ming Lin and Yuanhang Zhou
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010228 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Organic fertilizer can improve soil management and alleviate soil nutrient loss caused by excessive fertilization. This study determines a fertilization scheme that can achieve high and stable crop yield and effective soil fertilization by exploring the effects of different organic fertilizer proportions on [...] Read more.
Organic fertilizer can improve soil management and alleviate soil nutrient loss caused by excessive fertilization. This study determines a fertilization scheme that can achieve high and stable crop yield and effective soil fertilization by exploring the effects of different organic fertilizer proportions on soil nutrient content, fertilizer utilization rate, and wheat yield. The experiment was conducted from 2018 to 2020 using the Xinchun 38 wheat variety and gray desert soil. The experiment used six treatments: no fertilizer (CK), with normal nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer (CF). The amount of conventional chemical nitrogen fertilizer was reduced by 6%, 12%, 18%, and 24%, respectively, and supplemented with organic nitrogen fertilizer of the same proportion. The experimental treatment codes were SF6, SF12, SF18, and SF24, respectively. Plant samples from six wheat growth stages and 0–20 cm soil samples were collected to analyze the nitrogen and phosphorus content and organic matter; dry matter accumulation, crop yield, and yield components were measured at the harvest stage. Soil available nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and soil organic matter contents increased with the replacement ratio of organic fertilizer after three consecutive years of application. The available nutrients and organic matter in soil treated with SF18 and SF24 were significantly higher than those in CK and CF. The dry matter accumulation and nutrient accumulation of wheat increased with increasing organic fertilizer replacement rates of SF18 and SF24, respectively. Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer utilization rates, partial productivity, and agricultural use efficiency also increased, with the SF18 and SF24 treatments having higher organic fertilizer replacement rates than those in the other treatments. The number of ears, 1000-grain weight, and yield of wheat treated with SF18 treatment produced the best results. Therefore, continuously using organic fertilizer as a partial replacement for conventional fertilizer can increase wheat growth and soil nutrient availability, which can improve the utilization rate of fertilizer, thereby achieving stability and even a significant increase in yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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25 pages, 37622 KiB  
Article
Improve the Simulation of Radiation Interception and Distribution of the Strip-Intercropping System by Considering the Geometric Light Transmission
by Liming Dong, Yuchao Lu, Guoqing Lei, Jiesheng Huang and Wenzhi Zeng
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010227 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 585
Abstract
Intercropping radiation interception model is a promising tool for quantifying solar energy utilization in the intercropping system. However, few models have been proposed that can simulate intercropping radiation interception accurately and with simplicity. This study proposed a new statistical model (DRT model), which [...] Read more.
Intercropping radiation interception model is a promising tool for quantifying solar energy utilization in the intercropping system. However, few models have been proposed that can simulate intercropping radiation interception accurately and with simplicity. This study proposed a new statistical model (DRT model), which enables the simulation of daily radiation distribution by considering the geometric light transmission in the intercropping system. To evaluate model performance, the radiation interception and distribution in two wheat/maize strip intercropping experiments (A and B) were simulated with the DRT model and other two statistical models, including the horizontal homogeneous canopy model (HHC model) and the Gou Fang model (GF model). Experiment A was conducted in different intercropping configurations, while Experiment B was conducted in soils with different salinity levels. In both experiments, the HHC model exhibited the poorest performance (0.120 < RMSE < 0.172), while the DRT model obtained a higher simulation accuracy in the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) interception, with RMSE lower by 0.008–0.022 and 0.022–0.125 than the GF and the HHC models, respectively. Especially, the DRT model showed stronger stability than the other two models under soil salinity stress, with R2 higher by 0.129–0.354 and RMSE lower by 0.011–0.094. Moreover, the DRT model demonstrated a relatively ideal simulation of the daily radiation distribution in Experiment A (0.840 < R2 < 0.893, 0.105 < RMSE < 0.140) and Experiment B (0.683 < R2 < 0.772, 0.111 < RMSE < 0.143), especially when the continuous canopy formed during the later crop growth stages. These results indicate the superiority of the DRT model and could improve our understanding of radiation utilization in the intercropping system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Innovative Cropping Systems)
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16 pages, 3571 KiB  
Article
Detection and Analysis of Chili Pepper Root Rot by Hyperspectral Imaging Technology
by Yuanyuan Shao, Shengheng Ji, Guantao Xuan, Yanyun Ren, Wenjie Feng, Huijie Jia, Qiuyun Wang and Shuguo He
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010226 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 841
Abstract
The objective is to develop a portable device capable of promptly identifying root rot in the field. This study employs hyperspectral imaging technology to detect root rot by analyzing spectral variations in chili pepper leaves during times of health, incubation, and disease under [...] Read more.
The objective is to develop a portable device capable of promptly identifying root rot in the field. This study employs hyperspectral imaging technology to detect root rot by analyzing spectral variations in chili pepper leaves during times of health, incubation, and disease under the stress of root rot. Two types of chili pepper seeds (Manshanhong and Shanjiao No. 4) were cultured until they had grown two to three pairs of true leaves. Subsequently, robust young plants were infected with Fusarium root rot fungi by the root-irrigation technique. The effective wavelength for discriminating between distinct stages was determined using the successive projections algorithm (SPA) after capturing hyperspectral images. The optimal index related to root rot between each normalized difference spectral index (NDSI) was obtained using the Pearson correlation coefficient. The early detection of root rot illness can be modeled using spectral information at effective wavelengths and in NDSI, together with the application of partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), least squares support vector machine (LSSVM), and back-propagation (BP) neural network technology. The SPA-BP model demonstrates outstanding predictive capabilities compared with other models, with a classification accuracy of 92.3% for the prediction set. However, employing SPA to acquire an excessive number of efficient wave-lengths is not advantageous for immediate detection in practical field scenarios. In contrast, the NDSI (R445, R433)-BP model uses only two wavelengths of spectral information, but the prediction accuracy can reach 89.7%, which is more suitable for rapid detection of root rot. This thesis can provide theoretical support for the early detection of chili root rot and technical support for the design of a portable root rot detector. Full article
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11 pages, 1389 KiB  
Article
Effects of Pre-Germinative Treatments and Temperatures on Tassel Hyacinth [Muscari comosum (L.) Mill.] Seeds
by Donato Castronuovo, Loriana Cardone and Vincenzo Candido
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010225 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 768
Abstract
Muscari comosum (L.) Mill. is a spontaneous plant that grows in the whole Mediterranean area, including the Basilicata and Puglia regions (southern Italy), where it has received inclusion in the Italian National List for Traditional Agri-Food Product (TAP). The food and medicinal uses [...] Read more.
Muscari comosum (L.) Mill. is a spontaneous plant that grows in the whole Mediterranean area, including the Basilicata and Puglia regions (southern Italy), where it has received inclusion in the Italian National List for Traditional Agri-Food Product (TAP). The food and medicinal uses of bulb are ancient due to its antioxidant properties and high variety of nutrients, such as starch, sugars, and minerals. Muscari seed is characterized by morpho-physiological dormancy, and in order to achieve uniform germination, some pre-germinative treatments are needed. In this research, the effects of hydro-priming and osmo-priming, i.e., PEG 8000 and KNO3, as well as three germination temperatures (4, 10, and 20 °C), have been evaluated. In general, the average results pointed out that the pre-treatments increased the germination index (GI) by 5% and the germination percentage (GP) by 3% compared to the no-primed control. The germination temperature of 10 °C significantly reduced the median germination time (T50) by 5.4 days and the mean germination time (MGT) by 5 days compared to temperature at 4 °C. In particular, the best results were obtained by “hydro-priming treatment × 10 °C” interaction, in terms of T50 (34.9 days) and MGT (36.3 days). This combination decreased the T50 by 10.5 days and the MGT by 9.6 days compared to the “control × 4 °C” interaction. Pearson’s correlation matrix results highlighted a significant positive link between T50 and MGT (r = 0.993). In conclusion, these techniques enhanced the germination potential so that the use of pre-treated seeds could be included in a cultivation protocol to improve the germination phase and satisfy the growing demand for Italian bulbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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21 pages, 2103 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Morphometric and Biochemical Characterization of Seven Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Genotypes: Focus on Light Use Efficiency
by Ferdinando Branca, Simone Treccarichi, Giuseppe Ruberto, Agatino Renda and Sergio Argento
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010224 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1147
Abstract
The choice of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) genotypes determines key attributes such as yield, flavor, and adaptability, contributing significantly to the overall success and sustainability of basil cultivation practices. As the primary aim of this study, seven basil accessions were characterized for [...] Read more.
The choice of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) genotypes determines key attributes such as yield, flavor, and adaptability, contributing significantly to the overall success and sustainability of basil cultivation practices. As the primary aim of this study, seven basil accessions were characterized for both their growth performance and biochemical profile of volatile compounds, enabling the differentiation among distinct chemotypes. As secondary objectives, growth performance and production were evaluated under natural solar radiation conditions (SR100) and with a 30% reduction in solar radiation using a net (SR70). Light use efficiency (LUE) determination revealed the plants’ biomass production capability under different solar radiation (SR) conditions. Genotypes A, B, C, and G were characterized by a high levels of linalool, which is typically associated with the “pesto” sauce smell. Lemon basil D exhibited a different chemotype due to the presence of neral and geranial. E and F displayed a different chemotype due to the higher concentration of α-bergamotene. The total fresh harvested biomass was significantly higher in SR70 than SR100 conditions. The second harvest in both SR conditions was the most productive one, while genotype E under SR70 displayed the highest yield. The landraces D and E showed the highest LUE values, indicating their capability in converting the solar radiation into fresh biomass. Plants grown in SR70 conditions registered significantly higher values of plant height, number of branches, and leaf weight. This work aimed to provide valuable insights into the selection of basil genotypes suitable for sustainable agriculture. Conversely, it lays the basis for cultivation aspects pertaining to the crop’s adaptability in peri-urban, marginal lands, which are characterized by limited solar radiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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14 pages, 2423 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of N Transformation of Humic Acid Urea in Different Circle Layers of the Fertisphere: A Simulated Experiment
by Min Liu, Meng Xu, Liang Yuan, Shuiqin Zhang, Yanting Li and Bingqiang Zhao
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010223 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Due to its broad yield-increasing effect and low cost, humic acid urea (HAU) has become one of the leading modified fertilizers worldwide. The fertisphere is the primary space where urea (U) granules participate in the soil nitrogen cycle, forming a nutrient concentration gradient [...] Read more.
Due to its broad yield-increasing effect and low cost, humic acid urea (HAU) has become one of the leading modified fertilizers worldwide. The fertisphere is the primary space where urea (U) granules participate in the soil nitrogen cycle, forming a nutrient concentration gradient centered on the point of fertilization. The closer the circle layers to the urea granule in the fertisphere, the higher the nitrogen concentration. However, HAU in this microregion remains poorly understood. The differences in the transformation process from the inside to outside circle layers of the U and HAU fertispheres were simulated and studied using soil incubation experiments under 20, 10, 2, 1, and 0.2 g kg−1 nitrogen inputs. The 20 and 10 g kg−1 inputs represent the layers closest to the urea granule. Within the first seven days, HAU treatment showed higher concentrations of soil ammonia-N content than U treatment within the two layers closest to the fertilizer core, while exhibiting lower concentrations under the farthest two layers. Under 2 g kg−1 nitrogen input, the nitrate nitrogen under the HAU treatment was significantly higher than that in the U treatment, indicating a higher nitrification rate. During the 42-day incubation period, soil mineral nitrogen content under the HAU treatment was higher than that for the U treatment in the two closest circles. On the 42nd day, the residual urea-N under the HAU treatment was significantly higher than that for the U treatment when the nitrogen input was higher than 1 g kg−1. The effect of higher fertilizer preservation and supply capacity of HAU in Fluvo-aquic soil was achieved by changing the urease activity and nitrification rate in fertisphere ranges closer to the fertilizer core. An improved understanding of the high-efficiency mechanism of HAU in the fertisphere process will contribute to the development of new-generation high-efficiency urea products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Application Effects and Mechanisms of Fertilizer Products)
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10 pages, 1735 KiB  
Article
Ecological and Economic Benefits of Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategies in Rice Production: A Case Study of the Southern Rice Propagation Base in Hainan Province
by Xianxian Zhang, Junguo Bi, Weikang Wang, Donglai Sun, Huifeng Sun, Qingyu Bi, Cong Wang, Jining Zhang, Sheng Zhou and Lijun Luo
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010222 - 20 Jan 2024
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Developing tailored emission reduction strategies and estimating their potential is crucial for achieving low-carbon rice production in a specific region, as well as for advancing China’s dual carbon goals in the agricultural sector. By utilizing water-saving and drought-resistant rice (WDR) with enhanced water [...] Read more.
Developing tailored emission reduction strategies and estimating their potential is crucial for achieving low-carbon rice production in a specific region, as well as for advancing China’s dual carbon goals in the agricultural sector. By utilizing water-saving and drought-resistant rice (WDR) with enhanced water and nitrogen utilization efficiency, the mitigation strategies were constructed for rice production systems, and their potential for emission reduction was estimated in the southern rice propagation base of Hainan Province. This study revealed that the implementation of a reduction strategy, which involves dry direct seeding and dry cultivation, combined with a 53% reduction in nitrogen fertilizer, can effectively synergize the mitigation of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from rice paddies. Compared with traditional flooded rice cultivation, this integrated approach exhibits an impressive potential for reducing net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 97% while simultaneously doubling economic benefits. Moreover, when combined with plastic film mulching, the strategy not only sustains rice yields but also achieves a remarkable emission reduction of 92%, leading to a fourfold increase in economic benefits. Our study provides a comprehensive low-carbon sustainable development strategy for rice production in the southern rice propagation base of Hainan Province and offers valuable insights for researching GHG emissions in other regions or crops. These emission reduction pathways and the assessment method could contribute to the realization of low-carbon agriculture. Full article
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17 pages, 5062 KiB  
Article
Metabolome and Transcriptome Analysis Provide Insights into Flower Bud Color Variation in the Adaptation to UV-B Radiation of Litchi
by Zhidan Xiao, Jing Wang, Nonghui Jiang, Xu Xiang and Wei Liu
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010221 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Flower color variations have increasingly been recognized as playing an important role in the adaptation to UV-B radiation; however, the underlying mechanism is poorly understood in perennial fruit trees. Litchi is an important fruit tree, and extremely early maturing (EEM) and middle-to-late-maturing (MLM) [...] Read more.
Flower color variations have increasingly been recognized as playing an important role in the adaptation to UV-B radiation; however, the underlying mechanism is poorly understood in perennial fruit trees. Litchi is an important fruit tree, and extremely early maturing (EEM) and middle-to-late-maturing (MLM) cultivars that originated from regions with high and low UV-B radiation have dark brown and light yellow flower buds, respectively, while their hybrid early-maturing (EM) cultivars have an intermediate brown flower bud. This study comprehensively analyzed the metabolome and transcriptome of flower buds of litchi EEM, EM and MLM cultivars to explore the mechanism underlying flower color variation during the adaptation to UV-B radiation for the first time. Metabolomic analysis identified 72 flavonoids in litchi flower buds, among which a higher accumulation of flavonol glycosides was responsible for darker flower buds of EEM cultivars. And transcriptome analysis revealed key structural genes, including LcCHI, LcFLS and seven UGTs, together with two transcription factors (LcMYB12 and LcMYB111), which could be directly up-regulated by UV-B radiation, playing critical roles in regulating the differential accumulation of flavonol glycosides. These results provide new insights into the molecular mechanism underlying adaptation to UV-B radiation and provide a genetic basis for future breeding of stress-tolerant cultivars of litchi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Horticultural and Floricultural Crops)
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16 pages, 2327 KiB  
Article
Influence of Different Agro-Food Waste on Ammonia and Greenhouse Gas Emissions during Composting
by José L. S. Pereira, Telma Costa, Vitor Figueiredo, Francisco Marques, Adelaide Perdigão, Isabel Brás, Maria E. F. Silva and Dulcineia F. Wessel
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010220 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 869
Abstract
Composting is one of the best organic waste management techniques, with zero waste; however, it generates environmental impacts. The objective of this study was to evaluate the emission of NH3, N2O, CO2, and CH4 from the [...] Read more.
Composting is one of the best organic waste management techniques, with zero waste; however, it generates environmental impacts. The objective of this study was to evaluate the emission of NH3, N2O, CO2, and CH4 from the composting of olive, elderberry, and grape agro-food waste. The experiment was carried out using reactors receiving straw as control and three treatments receiving mixtures of straw and olive, elderberry, or grape wastes. The gas emissions were measured for 150 days, and the composition of the mixtures and composts was determined. The results showed NH3 and CH4 emissions were reduced by 48% and 29% by the Olive and Elderberry treatments, while only NH3 loss was reduced by 24% by the Grape treatment. Nitrous oxide, CO2, and GWP emissions were reduced by 46%, 32%, and 34% by the Olive treatment, while these losses were not reduced by the Elderberry or Grape treatments. It can be concluded olive waste can effectively reduce NH3 and GWP, while elderberry and grape wastes are also effective in reducing NH3, but not GWP. Thus, the addition of agro-food waste appears to be a promising mitigation strategy to reduce gaseous losses from the composting process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farming Sustainability)
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20 pages, 7060 KiB  
Article
Development of a Rapid Isothermal Amplification Assay for the Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Using Species-Specific Genomic Sequences
by Jeong Sun Park, Keon Hee Lee, Min Jee Kim, Deuk-Soo Choi, Kyeong-Yeoll Lee, Tariku Tesfaye Edosa, Teshale Daba Dinka, Woori Kwak and Iksoo Kim
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010219 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 730
Abstract
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, but is now regularly appearing in crop fields across South Korea, particularly in corn fields. Therefore, it is crucial to promptly and accurately identify [...] Read more.
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, but is now regularly appearing in crop fields across South Korea, particularly in corn fields. Therefore, it is crucial to promptly and accurately identify the presence of FAW in crop fields to effectively eradicate it as a regulated quarantine species. We developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay, which allows for rapid in-filed identification. To develop the LAMP assay, we selected FAW-specific genomic regions from the whole-genome sequences of one FAW and 13 other lepidopteran species and validated five primer sets that consistently produced positive reactions in ten FAW samples collected from eight different locations in four countries. The assay successfully identified FAW in a maximum of 45 min, starting from crude DNA extraction (~15 min) to diagnosis (30 min) from the following samples, which were deposited outdoors for 30 days: a 1st-instar larva, an adult leg, an adult antenna, and 1/16 and 1/8 of an adult thorax. The five assays can be used selectively or in combination to cross-check and provide further confidence in the in-field diagnosis of FAW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pest and Disease Management)
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17 pages, 4007 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Effects of Bicarbonate and Selenium on Cadmium Transport in Karst-Adaptable Plants Based on Plant Electrical Signals
by Antong Xia, Yanyou Wu, Zhanghui Qin, Yunfen Zhu, Lin Li, Juyue Xiao, Mohamed Aboueldahab, Haiying Wan, Jiajia Ming and Jiqian Xiang
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010218 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 744
Abstract
High cadmium (Cd) concentrations associated with geochemical anomalies are prevalent in carbonate-rich karstic areas, posing serious ecological risks, while the karstic soils are rich in bicarbonate (HCO3). It is known that Selenium (Se) is a mineral element that effectively mitigates [...] Read more.
High cadmium (Cd) concentrations associated with geochemical anomalies are prevalent in carbonate-rich karstic areas, posing serious ecological risks, while the karstic soils are rich in bicarbonate (HCO3). It is known that Selenium (Se) is a mineral element that effectively mitigates the Cd transport in plant species. However, the synergistic effects of HCO3 and Se on Cd translocation in plant species have not yet been indicated. In this study, based on plant electrophysiological measurements, we chose Orychophragmus violaceus (Ov) as experimental material and determined the growth potential, water metabolism, and nutrient translocation capacity under HCO3-Se6+-Cd2+ treatment to identify the synergistic effects of bicarbonate and selenium on cadmium transport in karst-adaptable plants. We found 5 mM HCO3 and 0.46 mM Se6+ synergistically alleviated the Cd2+ stress on Ov, promoting growth, intracellular water metabolism, nutrient translocation efficiency, and total Se accumulation, and inhibiting the uptake of Cd in Ov. Nevertheless, 15 mM HCO3 and 0.46 mM Se6+ synergistically augmented Cd transport on Ov, resulting in growth reduction, intracellular water metabolism, nutrient translocation efficiency, and total Se concentration. Hence, it not only provides a frontier approach for the real-time monitoring of intracellular water and nutrient utilization capacity in plant species, but is also even more a theoretical idea that reveals the synergistic effects of bicarbonate and selenium on cadmium transport of plants to precisely indicate selenium supplementation to ameliorate cadmium pollution and construct a sustainable karst ecosystem in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Research on Adaptive Plants in Karst Ecosystems—Volume II)
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22 pages, 2015 KiB  
Article
The Content of Antioxidant Compounds and VOCs in Sorghum Grain Grown in Central and Eastern Europe
by Anna Przybylska-Balcerek, Jakub Frankowski, Dominika Sieracka, Tereza Sázavská, Stanisław Wacławek, Barbara Klaudia Raczak, Lidia Szwajkowska-Michałek, Maciej Buśko, Małgorzata Graczyk, Grażyna Niedziela and Kinga Stuper-Szablewska
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010217 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 623
Abstract
Sorghum is a plant belonging to the Poaceae family. It is drought-resistant and has low soil requirements. In the face of climate change, it is increasingly cultivated in Europe. Poland is a country with great agricultural potential; it is thus important to develop [...] Read more.
Sorghum is a plant belonging to the Poaceae family. It is drought-resistant and has low soil requirements. In the face of climate change, it is increasingly cultivated in Europe. Poland is a country with great agricultural potential; it is thus important to develop effective and economic methods of agricultural production, which is confirmed by the introduction of sorghum into cultivation. The aim of this study was to characterize the composition of bioactive compounds (i.e., phenolic acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, and phytosterols) and VOCs in sorghum grain of two varieties, i.e., white ‘Sweet Caroline’ and red ‘Sweet Susana’ grown in the temperate climate (Pętkowo, Poland (52°12′40″ N 17°15′31″ E)). The following tests were carried out: analysis of phenolic acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, phytosterols, antioxidant activity (ABTS), free phenolic acids (FPAs); elemental analysis; and water, fat and starch content analysis. Based on the conducted research, it was concluded that Poland has appropriate conditions for growing sorghum, as the content of bioactive (antioxidant) compounds was at a similar level to those grown in tropical and subtropical climates. Of the nine phenolic acids and seven flavonoids determined, the highest concentrations in both sorghum grain varieties were found for ferulic, p-coumaric and protocatechuic acids. The content of ferulic acid was three times higher in Sweet Caroline grains than in Sweet Susana grains. Differences in the content of these compounds may be the result of genetic differences between the Sweet Susana and Sweet Caroline varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Insights in Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrient Management)
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19 pages, 1771 KiB  
Article
Influence of Nitrogen Applications during Grain-Filling Stage on Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Yield and Grain Quality under High Temperature
by Zhi Dou, Yicheng Zhou, Yaoyuan Zhang, Wei Guo, Qiang Xu and Hui Gao
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010216 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 717
Abstract
High temperature frequently occurs during rice’s early grain-filling period in the south of China, negatively affecting rice yield and quality and posing a major threat to local rice production. This experiment researched the influence of 3.5 °C warming during the first 20 grain-filling [...] Read more.
High temperature frequently occurs during rice’s early grain-filling period in the south of China, negatively affecting rice yield and quality and posing a major threat to local rice production. This experiment researched the influence of 3.5 °C warming during the first 20 grain-filling days on rice yield and quality and emphatically investigated the effects of the low-broadcast nitrogen fertilizer application level (LBN), high-broadcast nitrogen fertilizer application level (HBN) and foliar nitrogen fertilizer application (FN) at heading on the rice organ temperature, leaf photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, yield and grain quality, pasting and thermal properties under high temperature in 2020 and 2022, with a widely planted japonica rice variety, “Wuyunjing31”, in order to explore the practical mitigation measures for reducing the adverse impact of high temperature on rice productivity. The results showed that high temperatures during grain filling increased the rice plant temperature, damaged the chlorophyll fluorescence system and decreased the net photosynthesis rate. This led to a decline in the seed-setting rate and grain weight, resulting in a 7.0% and 13.9% yield loss in 2020 and 2022, respectively. In addition, high temperature caused a decline in the head rice rate and an increase in chalk occurrence and pasting temperature, thereby deteriorating rice grain quality. Under high temperatures, HBN enhanced the rice yield by 3.6% and 13.0% in 2020 and 2022, respectively, while FN enhanced the rice yield by 11.5% in 2022. The increase in yield was linked to the increased seed-setting rate and 1000-grain weight. LBN did not significantly affect the rice yield under high temperatures. The positive effects of nitrogen fertilizer measures on rice yield were associated with their role in lowering plant temperature and protection against the damage to the chlorophyll fluorescence system. All three nitrogen application measures generally improved rice milling quality and appearance quality under high temperature, with HBN generally showing the greatest impact. Under high temperature, LBN and FN tended to make the texture of cooked rice softer due to the decreased consistency, retrogradation enthalpy and retrogradation percentage, and this was closely associated with the decline in amylose content. In summary, nitrogen supplementation at the heading could efficiently mitigate the adverse impact of high temperature during the early grain-filling period on rice yield and quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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18 pages, 12096 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Irrigation Management and Nitrogen Rate on Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) Growth, Yield and Soil Nitrogen Accumulation with Drip Irrigation
by Zelin Wang, Tangzhe Nie, Dehao Lu, Peng Zhang, Jianfeng Li, Fanghao Li, Zhongxue Zhang, Peng Chen, Lili Jiang, Changlei Dai and Peter M. Waller
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010215 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 773
Abstract
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) has emerged as a pivotal global food crop. Consequently, it is imperative to explore sustainable and eco-friendly strategies to achieve sustainable sorghum production with a high yield. This study aimed to reveal the effects of irrigation management and [...] Read more.
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) has emerged as a pivotal global food crop. Consequently, it is imperative to explore sustainable and eco-friendly strategies to achieve sustainable sorghum production with a high yield. This study aimed to reveal the effects of irrigation management and nitrogen rates and their interactions on sorghum growth traits, yield and soil nitrate-N and ammonium-N accumulation to improve irrigation and nitrogen practices under drip irrigation. A 2-year (2021 and 2022) field experiment was conducted on drip-irrigated fertilized sorghum in Heilongjiang Province to investigate the effects of three lower levels of soil moisture (80% (HI), 70% (NI), and 60% (LI) of field capacity) with four nitrogen rates at 225, 150, 75 and 0 kg/ha (designated as HN, NN, LN and WN, respectively) on sorghum growth, yield and soil nitrogen accumulation. The results indicated that irrigation management and nitrogen rate interaction had a significant effect on sorghum growth (plant height, stem diameter, leaf area index (LAI), and SPAD value), yield, aboveground biomass and 0~60 cm soil nitrogen accumulation (p < 0.05). The NNHI treatment demonstrated the highest plant height (120.9 and 121.8 cm) and LAI (2.738 and 2.645) in 2021 and 2022, and there was a significant positive correlation between plant height, LAI, and yield (p < 0.01). However, the NNNI treatment exhibited the highest yield (7477.41 and 7362.27 kg/ha) in 2021 and 2022, sorghum yield increased and then decreased with an increase in irrigation management and nitrogen rate. In addition, soil nitrate-N and ammonium-N accumulation were significantly affected by the interaction of irrigation management and nitrogen rate (p < 0.05) while irrigation management had no significant effect on the accumulation of nitrate-N and ammonium-N. Soil nitrate-N and ammonium-N accumulation increased with the increasing nitrogen rate. Although yield differences between the NNNI and HNNI treatments were not significant, the NNNI treatment with a lower soil moisture limit of 70% field capacity and a nitrogen rate of 150 kg/ha accumulated 10.4% less nitrate-N in soil than the HNNI treatment, reduced risk of nitrate nitrogen leaching. The regression analysis indicated that the optimal irrigation management and nitrogen rate management practices of 71.93% of the soil moisture lower limit and 144.58 kg/ha of nitrogen rate was an optimal strategy for favorable sorghum growth, high-yielding and low soil nitrate-N accumulation of sorghum. This study provides a scientific reference for precise water and fertilizer management in sorghum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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15 pages, 4491 KiB  
Article
Farming System Choice Is Key to Preserving Surface Water Quality in Agricultural Watersheds
by Fabiola Nunes Derossi, Paulo Flores Ribeiro and José Lima Santos
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010214 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Despite numerous published literature on the impacts of agriculture on water quality, knowledge gaps persist regarding which farming systems are of most concern for their impact on water quality, which would allow water resource planners to better target water management efforts. Seeking to [...] Read more.
Despite numerous published literature on the impacts of agriculture on water quality, knowledge gaps persist regarding which farming systems are of most concern for their impact on water quality, which would allow water resource planners to better target water management efforts. Seeking to understand how these relationships vary across different farming systems, we used data on water quality status in watersheds of an agricultural region in southern Portugal and overlaid it with a map of farming systems for the same region provided by a previous study. By intersecting both data layers, we characterized the areal shares of the farming systems in each watershed and inspected how these shares relate to water quality status using logistic regression. The results show that the impact of agriculture on water quality is primarily related to specific farming systems. We believe this type of information can be of significant interest to agricultural planners and policymakers interested in meeting water quality standards, and we conclude this study by suggesting innovative policy options based on payments to farmers operating selected farming systems as a cost-effective way to reconcile agricultural and environmental policy objectives. Full article
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25 pages, 2354 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances and Developments in the Nematicidal Activity of Essential Oils and Their Components against Root-Knot Nematodes
by Konstantia Sarri, Snezhana Mourouzidou, Nikoletta Ntalli and Nikolaos Monokrousos
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010213 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 918
Abstract
The Meloidogyne genus is widely recognized for its significant economic and scientific importance within the group of plant-parasitic nematodes. The chemical management of nematodes presents its challenges and heavily depends on employing soil fumigants containing toxic and costly nematicides. However, plant-derived essential oils [...] Read more.
The Meloidogyne genus is widely recognized for its significant economic and scientific importance within the group of plant-parasitic nematodes. The chemical management of nematodes presents its challenges and heavily depends on employing soil fumigants containing toxic and costly nematicides. However, plant-derived essential oils offer promising alternatives, demonstrating a wide range of biological activities that affect nematodes through a range of mechanisms, including disrupting their nervous systems, inducing detrimental effects on plasma membrane permeability, penetrating the gelatinous matrix of nematode eggs, and disturbing intracellular redox status. Most of the extracted essential oils were predominantly sourced from the Lamiaceae family (32%), followed by Asteraceae (11%), Apiaceae (9%), and Poaceae (8%), and with genera Thymus, Mentha, Ocimum, Artemisia, Cymbopogon being the most common. The nematicidal activity of EOs primarily arises from their chemical groups, such as terpenes, phenylpropanoids, and organosulfur compounds. Among these, geraniol, carvacrol, limonene, eugenol, thymol, and pinene demonstrate the strongest nematicidal potential. The assessed EO efficacy was evaluated against 6 species belonging to the genus Meloidogyne. This review also provides knowledge of synergistic and antagonistic interactions of EO components. Synergistic interactions were identified between carvacrol and geraniol, as well as geraniol and eugenol, whereas binary combinations of carvacrol, γ-terpinene, and o-cymene exhibited reduced efficacy. Understanding how specific compounds interact can lead to the development of more potent and effective final products. Full article
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15 pages, 2865 KiB  
Article
Genomic Insights into Seed Germination Differences in Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum Dunal) under Contrasting GA and ABA Availability
by Zhaoxia Chen, Longlong Li, Kaidie Wu, Dandan Zhao, Long Yang, Hongjuan Huang, Zhaofeng Huang and Shouhui Wei
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010212 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum Dunal) is an invasive species that seriously endangers crop production and the ecological environment. Seeds are the primary source of infestation; therefore, understanding the molecular basis of buffalobur seed dormancy, and germination is crucial for precision weed management. In [...] Read more.
Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum Dunal) is an invasive species that seriously endangers crop production and the ecological environment. Seeds are the primary source of infestation; therefore, understanding the molecular basis of buffalobur seed dormancy, and germination is crucial for precision weed management. In this study, high-throughput RNA-Seq was performed on buffalobur seeds, which imbibed under 0.35 mmol/L giberellic acid (GA) and 0.35 mmol/L abscisic acid (ABA). In total, 3658 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified during seed germination. Gene annotation revealed that the DEGs were significantly enriched during the protein metabolic process, as well as the macromolecular complex and cytoplasmic part for ABA versus GA. Pathway analysis predicted that the DEGs were associated with metabolic pathways, the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites and ribosome. Nine germination-related genes involved in the biosynthesis and metabolism of the phytohormones and encoding of the endo-β-mannanase (EBM) were identified. Gene expression indicated that GA upregulated GA3OX1 and MAN2 expression to increase the EBM activity, which caused the endosperm cap to weaken and lowered the puncture force to trigger the germination of buffalobur. The obtained results would be helpful to clarify the regulation of seed dormancy and the germination of buffalobur, and could serve as a valuable resource when unravelling the genetic basis of seed biology of this weed species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptive Evolution in Weeds: Molecular Basis and Management)
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13 pages, 3187 KiB  
Article
Droplet Deposition and Efficacy of Real-Time Variable-Rate Application of Herbicides at Reduced Dose in Winter Wheat Fields
by Jinwei Zhang, Xian Xu, Yuan Lv, Xueguan Zhao, Jian Song, Pingzhong Yu, Xiu Wang and Ercheng Zhao
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010211 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Using an intelligent plant protection machine for spraying herbicides at a real-time variable rate plays a key role in improving the utilization efficiency of herbicides and reducing environmental pollution. Spraying volume (SV) and nozzle size (NS) are key factors influencing droplet deposition and [...] Read more.
Using an intelligent plant protection machine for spraying herbicides at a real-time variable rate plays a key role in improving the utilization efficiency of herbicides and reducing environmental pollution. Spraying volume (SV) and nozzle size (NS) are key factors influencing droplet deposition and herbicide efficacy and safety. A three-way split-split plot design experiment was conducted in the winter wheat field, with SV 180 L·ha−1 and 150 L·ha−1 in the main plot, a turbo air induction nozzle TTI11004 and TTI11003 in the subplot, herbicide flucarbazone-Na 70% WG mixed with florasulam 50 g·L−1 SC as the recommended dose, and a 20% reduced dose in the sub-subplot. Droplet deposition and weed control efficacy treated by these three factors and their combination were evaluated. Results indicated that there was a significant influence of SV on droplet coverage and density, but no significant influence of NS and its interaction with SV. A droplet coverage and density of treatment at 180 L·ha−1 were both significantly higher than at 150 L·ha−1. The influence of SV and its interaction with NS on weed control efficacy were significant. The efficacy of treatment TTI11004 at SV 180 L·ha−1 was the highest but decreased when NS was switched to TTI11003 and the SV was decreased to 150 L·ha−1. There was no significant effect of all the treatments on winter wheat yield and its components, but the yield loss could be reduced by 2.36% when the herbicide input was reduced by 20%. We can conclude that herbicide input can be reduced by at least 20% using the intelligent machine while equipped with the right NS at the right SV, which would increase the safety of winter wheat production. Full article
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12 pages, 4932 KiB  
Article
Effect of Mineral Fertilization and Microbial Inoculation on Cabbage Yield and Nutrition: A Field Experiment
by Wilfrand F. Bejarano-Herrera, Carlos A. Marcillo-Paguay, Daniel F. Rojas-Tapias and German A. Estrada-Bonilla
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010210 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 743
Abstract
Cabbage serves as an important food and nutrition source for numerous communities in the world, yet its production requires substantial quantities of chemical fertilizers. In this study, we assessed the impact of both increasing nitrogen and phosphorus mineral (NP) fertilization, along with the [...] Read more.
Cabbage serves as an important food and nutrition source for numerous communities in the world, yet its production requires substantial quantities of chemical fertilizers. In this study, we assessed the impact of both increasing nitrogen and phosphorus mineral (NP) fertilization, along with the application of plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) on the N and P uptake, quality, and yield of cabbage. To this end, we conducted two consecutive field experiments following a randomized block design with four replicates and two factors: NP doses and PGPB inoculation. PGPB inoculation used a bacterial consortium comprising Azospirillum brasilense D7, Herbaspirillum sp. AP21, and Rhizobium leguminosarum T88. Our results showed a significant influence of both biofertilization and NP fertilization across both crop cycles; however, no interaction between these factors was observed. In the first crop cycle, 75% of NP mineral fertilization (equivalent to 93.6 kg ha−1 of N and 82.1 kg ha−1 of P) positively impacted yield and N uptake. Also, microbial inoculation significantly influenced crop yield, resulting in a 9-ton increase in crop yield per hectare due to biofertilization. In the second crop cycle, we observed a significant positive effect of mineral fertilization on cabbage yield and nutritional quality. The relative agronomic effectiveness (RAE) index showed that combining biological fertilization with 50% and 75% of the NP fertilization, respectively, increased yield by 66% and 48% compared to the commercial NP dosage without PGPB. Collectively, our results demonstrated that within our experimental setup, NP fertilization dosage can be reduced without any detrimental impact on yield. Moreover, biofertilization could enhance cabbage quality and yield in field conditions. Full article
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4 pages, 159 KiB  
Editorial
The Importance of Mineral Elements for Sustainable Crop Production
by Dong-Xing Guan, Daniel Menezes-Blackburn and Gang Li
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010209 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 838
Abstract
By 2050, the global population is projected to reach 9 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Mineral Elements in the Crop Growth and Production)
17 pages, 2543 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Physiology, Photosynthesis, and Nutrition Based on Induced Deficiencies of Macro- and Micronutrients in Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.)
by Jinnan Song, Jingli Yang and Byoung Ryong Jeong
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010208 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 842
Abstract
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) contains abundant nutrients and is considered an economically important edible vegetable. The optimal nutrient levels will increase the productivity and basil quality. However, prominent research on basil regarding the diagnostic nutrient deficiency standard and the corresponding nutrient uptake [...] Read more.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) contains abundant nutrients and is considered an economically important edible vegetable. The optimal nutrient levels will increase the productivity and basil quality. However, prominent research on basil regarding the diagnostic nutrient deficiency standard and the corresponding nutrient uptake is still scarce. To this end, the basil plants were hydroponically cultured and subjected to one of 14 nutrient solution treatments, corresponding to the omission of a single nutrient element (designated as -N, -P, -K, -Ca, -Mg, -NH4+, -NO3, -S, -Fe, -Mn, -B, -Zn, -Mo, and -Cu) and a complete nutrient solution (CS) as the control. The most common nutrient deficiency symptoms were chlorosis, stunted roots and growth, and even leaf necrosis and abscission, in particular of -N, -P, -NO3, and -Fe. We also found that basil is a NH4+-sensitive species. The photosynthetic capacity (photosynthesis pigments, Fv/Fm ratio, and greenness index) was disturbed to varying degrees when a single nutrient was omitted from the nutrient solution. Additionally, the omission of a specific single nutrient confers significant differences in the tissue nutrients, regardless of the macronutrients and micronutrients considered. Concomitantly, multivariate analysis suggested the correlations among certain important nutrients were distinctly different under different treatments (correlation analysis); the influences of different nutrient deficiencies on the tissue nutrient concentrations showed similarity (principal component analysis). Collectively, the growth, physiological, and biochemical changes studied in this trial not only improved our knowledge for diagnosing nutrient deficiency symptoms for practical cultivation but also provided a comprehensive understanding of the internal nutrient associations in basil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop and Vegetable Physiology under Environmental Stresses)
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3 pages, 169 KiB  
Editorial
Fruit Growing: Cultivation Strategies for Sustainable Agriculture and Quality Produce
by Vasileios Ziogas
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010207 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 604
Abstract
During the last decade, climate change has had a direct impact on several plant-related aspects, such as physiological processes, disease–pest frequency, yield, and the qualitative composition of fruit [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fruit Growing: Production Practices and Post-Harvest Management)
18 pages, 3754 KiB  
Article
Comparative Analysis of the Performance of a Chain Mower and Tools That Perform Under-Row Weed Control with Tillage in the Vineyard
by Lorenzo Gagliardi, Sofia Matilde Luglio, Andrea Peruzzi, Marco Fontanelli, Christian Frasconi and Michele Raffaelli
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010206 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 651
Abstract
In the Mediterranean area, vineyard soils are often characterized by a high stone content. In these contexts, where tools commonly adopted for under-row weed control are frequently damaged, the utilization of a chain mower could be a preferable alternative. This research aims to [...] Read more.
In the Mediterranean area, vineyard soils are often characterized by a high stone content. In these contexts, where tools commonly adopted for under-row weed control are frequently damaged, the utilization of a chain mower could be a preferable alternative. This research aims to compare a modified mower with chains with other tools commonly employed that control weeds through tillage, such as motorized discs, blade weeder, and rotary star hoe. Weed control effectiveness, effects on weed flora composition, soil compaction, and operative efficiencies were evaluated. The chain mower allowed us to obtain encouraging results of weed biomass reduction (55.4 and 25.4%, between and around vine trunks, respectively), weed height reduction (35.9%), and weed cover reduction (79.2%), comparable to the other tools. All the tools showed a lower weed control efficacy around vine trunks rather than between them (weed biomass reductions of 24.8% and 52.6%, respectively). Results regarding the effect on weed flora composition seem to confirm this trend. Despite the higher chain mower field time (3.78 h ha−1) and fuel consumption (24.24 kg ha−1) compared to the blade weeder and the rotary star hoe, its versatility in stony soil and its lower impact on soil (soil penetration resistances of 1602.42 and 2262.83 kPa in 2022 and 2023, respectively) compared to the other tools make it a potentially advantageous implement for under-row weed management in vineyards. Further studies could be useful to improve chain mower performance, particularly around vine trunks, by evaluating in different planting layouts different dimensions of both the cutting element and feeler, which allows the vine-skipping mechanism. Full article
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22 pages, 6855 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Water Storage and Fertilizer Retention Substrates on Growth, Yield and Quality of Strawberry
by Xiaofei Tang, Yonghui Li, Mengying Fang, Wei Li, Yong Hong and Yucheng Li
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010205 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 756
Abstract
To address the problems of inadequate water and fertilizer retention performance of the substrate, which results in the waste of water and fertilizer resources and then contributes to existing agricultural non-point source pollution, this study selected raw materials with different water retention performances [...] Read more.
To address the problems of inadequate water and fertilizer retention performance of the substrate, which results in the waste of water and fertilizer resources and then contributes to existing agricultural non-point source pollution, this study selected raw materials with different water retention performances for substrate compounding and explored their water retention performance and impact on the growth, yield and quality of strawberries. The experimental setup utilized the strawberry cultivar ‘Hongyan’ as the test subject and incorporated different proportions of vermicompost, coconut bran, biochar and humic acid into the organic fertilizer. A total of 12 treatment groups were formed across three gradients, involving different proportions of vermicompost with 0.05, 0.10 and 0.15 proportions of coconut bran/biochar and 0.05, 0.15 and 0.20 proportions of humic acid. To evaluate the water retention performance, uniform water and fertilizer regulations were applied. The results revealed that the treatment groups T4 (vermicompost:coconut bran = 0.5:0.1) and T5 (vermicompost:biochar = 0.5:0.1) exhibited higher water absorption multiplicity, lower water infiltration rates, and better water retention performances, but there was no significant difference between the two treatment groups. Among them, T4 could effectively improve the nutrient content of the substrate, and the substrate nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) increased by 5.80% compared with CK2. Also, plant total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) uptake increased by 81.18% and 4.74%, respectively, compared with CK2, which in turn promoted the growth and development of the plant and improved the fruit yield and quality to a certain extent. Meanwhile, T4 had the highest urease and catalase activities, with sucrase activity ranking second only to T1. In contrast, T5 demonstrated greater effectiveness in improving the average fruit weight and maximum fruit weight, registering increases of 22.98% and 36.22% compared to CK2, respectively, but the effect on the total yield was less pronounced. A comprehensive evaluation of strawberry growth found that the T4 treatment was superior. In conclusion, the ratio of vermicompost and coconut bran at 0.5:0.1 improved and promoted the substrate water retention performance and strawberry growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agroecology Innovation: Achieving System Resilience)
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15 pages, 7417 KiB  
Article
Stochastic Processes Shape Bacterial Community Diversity Patterns along Plant Niche Gradients
by Zhiyuan Yang, Jiayi Xu, Junlin Li, Lirong He, Hongwei Xu, Xinrong Guo, Sha Xue and Yang Cao
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010204 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 685
Abstract
The ecological niche gradient is an important determinant of microbial community structure. In this paper, we studied variation in rhizosphere bacterial diversity and community composition along an ecological niche gradient. We used the high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes to study changes in [...] Read more.
The ecological niche gradient is an important determinant of microbial community structure. In this paper, we studied variation in rhizosphere bacterial diversity and community composition along an ecological niche gradient. We used the high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes to study changes in the rhizosphere soil microbial communities of six grass and four shrub species during the secondary succession of abandoned farmland on the Loess Plateau of China. A structural equation model (SEM) was employed to disentangle the relative contribution of ecological niche and soil properties to bacterial diversity and community composition. Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria were the dominant phyla of rhizosphere bacteria in all samples. During the dynamics of the plant niche from low to high, bacterial community composition transitioned from Actinobacteria + Acidobacteria to Proteobacteria + Bacteroidetes higher abundance. Moreover, the bacterial diversity and species richness changed with an increasing niche gradient, showing a clear differentiation in the rhizosphere bacterial community of grassland and shrubland. Further, diversity and species richness decreased from the middle niche of B. ischaemum to the poles, indicating that the succession process had not yet reached the climax community stage. Community assembly analysis suggested that the stochastic process gradually strengthened along the increasing ecological niche gradient, especially the drift effect. Furthermore, SEM analysis showed that the ecological niche had significant negative effects on soil properties and bacterial richness, while the effects on bacterial diversity and the stochastic processes of community assembly were weakened and insignificant. Altogether, our findings suggest that the complex interaction of the ecological niche with bacterial diversity and composition was determined by soil properties. Further, bacterial diversity was not necessarily higher with increasing ecological niche gradients. Full article
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15 pages, 4023 KiB  
Article
Beneficial Effects on Winter Wheat Production of the Application of Legume Green Manure during the Fallow Period
by Xiushuang Li, Jianglan Shi, Juan Chen and Xiaohong Tian
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010203 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 679
Abstract
Legume green manure (LGM) is an excellent organic amendment conducive to soil quality and nutrient cycling; however, the use of LGM was once repealed in the rain-fed agriculture of northern China. The objective was to investigate the effects that planting LGM would bring [...] Read more.
Legume green manure (LGM) is an excellent organic amendment conducive to soil quality and nutrient cycling; however, the use of LGM was once repealed in the rain-fed agriculture of northern China. The objective was to investigate the effects that planting LGM would bring and whether it would affect other fertilization regimes regarding the productivity and water and nutrient use efficiencies of succeeding crops. A short-term (2016–2019) field experiment was established with a split-plot design in the Loess Plateau of China, which included ten treatments consisting of two planting systems (main treatments)—conventional winter wheat monoculture (G0) and planting and incorporating LGM followed by winter wheat planting (G)—and five fertilization regimes (sub-treatments)—no fertilization (CK), basal fertilization with chemicals N, P and K (NPK), basal fertilization plus wheat straw return (NPK + S), basal fertilization plus farmyard manure application (NPK + M), and basal fertilization plus wheat straw return plus farmyard manure application (NPK + S + M). The results demonstrated that compared with G0, the G did not remarkably affect the total water consumption (WC) and water use efficiency (WUE) across the three trial wheat seasons. Specifically, during the third wheat season, the winter wheat yield of G increased by 7.5% more than that of G0 (p < 0.05). G primarily increased the N concentration in winter wheat and universally increased the uptake of N, P and K by 18.8%, 11.7% and 18.8%, respectively. The apparent use efficiencies (AUEs) of chemicals N, P and K under G were 88.0%, 102% and 93.2% higher than those under G0 (p < 0.05). In contrast, the wheat yields of NPK, NPK + S, NPK + M and NPK + S + M were 14.3%, 22.2%, 26.4% and 19.5%, respectively, higher than those of CK. The WC and WUE increased under NPK, NPK + S, NPK + M and NPK + S + M relative to the CK (p < 0.05). Compared with CK, the NPK, NPK + S, NPK + M and NPK + S + M primarily increased the N concentration in winter wheat and universally increased the uptake of N, P and K (p < 0.05). The AUEs of N, P and K were increased by 44.3–75.3%, 72.4–103% and 128–160%, respectively, by NPK + S, NPK + M and NPK + S + M compared with CK. In conclusion, the revival of planting LGM during the fallow period was considered an appropriate measure in the Loess Plateau and similar rain-fed regions due to its ability to improve the growth and nutrient utilization of subsequent winter wheat even in the short term, as well as the lack of negative effects exerted on other organic amendments in its effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Arable Farming Measures on Nutrient Dynamics)
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15 pages, 5063 KiB  
Article
Identification and Characterization of the BnFAR1/FHY3 Gene Family and Expression Analysis under Shading and Low-Temperature Responses in Brassica napus L.
by Yuekun Han, Hefen Cheng, Yaolan Jiang, Xinwen Wang, Xiaolan Liu, Dawei Zhang, Jinfeng Wu, Lili Liu, Mingli Yan and Dinggang Zhou
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010202 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 686
Abstract
FHY3 and FAR1 serve as positive regulators of the phyA-mediated far-red light signal pathway, influencing plant growth and development by regulating the expression of downstream genes. However, little is known about the FAR1/FHY3 family in Brassica species. A total of 21 members of [...] Read more.
FHY3 and FAR1 serve as positive regulators of the phyA-mediated far-red light signal pathway, influencing plant growth and development by regulating the expression of downstream genes. However, little is known about the FAR1/FHY3 family in Brassica species. A total of 21 members of the BnFAR1/FHY3 gene family were identified in the Brassica napus genome, exhibiting an uneven distribution across ten B. napus chromosomes. A phylogenetic analysis showed that the BnFAR1/FHY3 family could be divided into four subfamilies. Putative cis-elements in the BnFAR1/FHY3 promoter regions were also identified, which were potentially involved in phytohormone, light and abiotic stress responses (shading, low-temperature, etc.). Additionally, qRT-PCR results indicated that the expression levels of BnFAR1-10, BnFAR1-11, BnFAR1-21 and BnFAR1-4 decreased under shading stress. The expression of BnFAR1-10, BnFAR1-11 and BnFAR1-21 increased under low-temperature stress, whereas the expression of BnFAR1-4 did not change. In addition, the results of the tissue expression analysis showed that most of the genes exhibited the lowest expression in pollen and the highest expression in the 54-day silique. This study screened a batch of BnFHY3/BnFAR1 gene resources, which will contribute to further research on the functional characteristics of BnFHY3/BnFAR1 family members in growth, development and the stress response. Full article
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