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Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 2 (February 2020) – 23 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Quality composts may be a noble source of beneficial microorganisms for agricultural applications. Antagonistic bacteria belonging to the Bacillus genus, are promising biological control agents can be proposed as biofungicides in replacement of the synthetic ones. Thanks to their thermotolerance, Bacillus are advantaged in colonizing composting biomasses, where temperatures higher than 60 °C, also could be reached. Essential oils carried by the aromatic plant residues, due to their antiseptic effect, may further condition the composition and structure of the native microbial communities in the composting piles. So, composted aromatic plant residues have been investigated in this work to source new biological control agents of soil-borne plant pathogens in a laboratory step-wise selection. View this paper
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15 pages, 1448 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Household Wealth on Adoption and Compliance to GLOBAL GAP Production Standards: Evidence from Smallholder farmers in Kenya
by Castro N. Gichuki, Jiqin Han and Tim Njagi
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020050 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3871
Abstract
Horticultural production for the export market has been credited for rural community growth and employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. To make the agri-enterprises competitive and profitable, smallholder farmers are now required to invest in food safety and production standards such as GLOBAL Good Agricultural [...] Read more.
Horticultural production for the export market has been credited for rural community growth and employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. To make the agri-enterprises competitive and profitable, smallholder farmers are now required to invest in food safety and production standards such as GLOBAL Good Agricultural Practices (GLOBAL GAP). Most often, the inability to afford capital has affected compliance with food safety production standards. However, farmers can use household assets to finance the agri enterprise ventures. The purpose of the study is to explore the impact of household wealth on the adoption of food safety certification standards. The study used cross-sectional data collected from 479 smallholder farmers in Kenya. The findings reveal that 49% of the households are categorized as wealthy and 51% as poorly endowed. The empirical findings on the willingness to adopt GLOBAL GAP certification reveal that membership to GLOBAL GAP affiliated farmers groups significantly influence on wealthier farmers to attain GLOBAL GAP certification status. Farmers groups facilitate joint investments that reduce the cost of investing in GLOBAL GAP assets such as grading shed, protective gear, shower rooms, disposal pits, incinerators, hessian coolers, packaging crates, soil testing kits and establishing food traceability systems. In comparison to poor endowed farming households, the well-endowed farmers have a relatively significantly better wealth index, an indication that they can easily raise capital investments to finance GAP certification. Finally, we observe that selling beans to GAP certified buyers significantly enables farmers to comply with the expected certified production standards. Full article
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10 pages, 227 KiB  
Article
Marketable Yield of Potato and Its Quantitative Parameters after Application of Herbicides and Biostimulants
by Krystyna Zarzecka, Marek Gugała, Anna Sikorska, Kornelia Grzywacz and Marek Niewęgłowski
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020049 - 22 Feb 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4829
Abstract
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is grown in over 160 countries. Weed competition and environmental stressors during the vegetative growth stage significantly impact crop yields. An experiment was conducted from 2012 to 2014 in Poland to assess the effect of herbicides linuron + [...] Read more.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is grown in over 160 countries. Weed competition and environmental stressors during the vegetative growth stage significantly impact crop yields. An experiment was conducted from 2012 to 2014 in Poland to assess the effect of herbicides linuron + clomazone (L+CH) and metribuzin (M) as well as herbicides mixed with biostimulants (linuron + clomazone and algae extract of Ecklonia maxima—auxins and gibberellins (L+CH+E) and metribuzin + sodium p-nitrophenolate, sodium o-nitrophenolate and sodium 5-nitroguaiacolate (M+S)) on weed infestation, marketable yield and yield components of the following three table potato cultivars: Bartek, Gawin and Honorata. In plots where potato had been treated with herbicides and herbicides mixed with biostimulants, a decline in the fresh matter of weeds was observed, ranging from 72.4% to 96.1%, which was followed by an increase in potato marketable yield (from 27.5% to 61%) and improved parameters of S. tuberosum yield components, compared with the control. Linear correlation coefficients indicated that the following characteristics: marketable yield, weight of tubers per plant and average weight per tuber were associated with weed infestation determined prior to potato harvest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
14 pages, 2060 KiB  
Article
Biochemical, Physiological and Yield Characteristics of Red Basil as Affected by Cultivar and Fertilization
by Gabriel-Ciprian Teliban, Vasile Stoleru, Marian Burducea, Andrei Lobiuc, Neculai Munteanu, Lorena-Diana Popa and Gianluca Caruso
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020048 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4243
Abstract
Unconventional fertilizers can act as elicitors to encourage the synthesis of phyto-pharmaceuticals in aromatic plants. In the present research, the effects of factorial combination between two red basil cultivars, ‘Opal’ and ‘De Buzau’, and four fertilization types, biosolids, organic, microorganisms and chemical, plus [...] Read more.
Unconventional fertilizers can act as elicitors to encourage the synthesis of phyto-pharmaceuticals in aromatic plants. In the present research, the effects of factorial combination between two red basil cultivars, ‘Opal’ and ‘De Buzau’, and four fertilization types, biosolids, organic, microorganisms and chemical, plus an unfertilized control, were assessed on fresh and dry yield, biometrical parameters, soil plant analysis development (SPAD) and antioxidant compounds and activity. Chemical fertilization increased fresh yield compared with the control, with no difference in organic and microorganism fertilization regarding dry weight. ‘De Buzau’ enhanced the number of lateral stems and plant height, the latter being better affected by chemical and microorganisms compared to the control. Chemical fertilization showed the highest leaf dry matter, nitrate content and SPAD, whereas the control showed the lowest. Compared to the unfertilized control, biosolids increased total phenolics in ‘Opal’; microorganisms, organic and biosolids enhanced total flavonoids in ‘Opal’, with the same effect under microorganisms and organic treatments in ‘De Buzau’. Total anthocyanins showed the highest content in ‘Opal’ under organic fertilization. The highest antioxidant activity in the basil extracts was detected under microorganisms and organic applications in ‘Opal’. The present investigation results demonstrate that unconventional fertilizers increase the synthesis of antioxidants and represent a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilization for growing red basil. Full article
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10 pages, 502 KiB  
Article
Ecological Risk Assessment of Soil Heavy Metals and Pesticide Residues in Tea Plantations
by Haifang He, Longqing Shi, Guang Yang, Minsheng You and Liette Vasseur
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020047 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 5566
Abstract
Tea plantations have used many synthetic chemicals to ensure performance and control of pests. This has led to increased contamination of soils and reduced tea growth. We assessed the levels of heavy metals, including Cd, Cr, Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn, Hg, As, and [...] Read more.
Tea plantations have used many synthetic chemicals to ensure performance and control of pests. This has led to increased contamination of soils and reduced tea growth. We assessed the levels of heavy metals, including Cd, Cr, Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn, Hg, As, and pesticide residues, such as HCHs, biphenyl chrysanthemum ester, methamidophos, imidacloprid, permethrin, in the soil of tea plantations of Taiwan, Tibet, Guangdong, and Fujian. The Potential Ecological Risk Index and the Nemerow comprehensive pollution index were used to analyze the data. The results showed that risk indices in Tibet, Guangdong and Fuzhou were considered as moderate ecological harm level. Ecological risk assessment index of Anxi organic and Anxi conventional tea gardens suggested a “low” risk level. The Nemerow comprehensive pollution indices for soil pesticide residues in the tea plantations of Taiwan, Tibet, Anxi organic and Anxi conventional were considered mild. Guangdong and Fuzhou had values suggesting “slight pollution” levels. According to National Soil Environmental Quality Standard (GB15618-1995), soil in tea plantations in Taiwan, Tibet, and Anxi conventional matched the national first grade of soil quality and those from Guangdong, Fuzhou, and Anxi organic tea garden matched the national second grade. Full article
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14 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Organic Cropping System Affects Grain Chemical Composition, Rheological and Agronomic Performance of Durum Wheat
by Gaetano Pandino, Emanuela Mattiolo, Sara Lombardo, Grazia Maria Lombardo and Giovanni Mauromicale
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020046 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 3218
Abstract
Durum wheat plays a central role for Italy, a country characterized by an historical tradition of pasta making. This crop is one of the major sources of starch in the Mediterranean diet, also providing substantial amounts of nutrients, either essential or healthy, such [...] Read more.
Durum wheat plays a central role for Italy, a country characterized by an historical tradition of pasta making. This crop is one of the major sources of starch in the Mediterranean diet, also providing substantial amounts of nutrients, either essential or healthy, such as minerals and phytochemicals. In this study, the effect of cropping system (organic (ORG) and conventional (CONV)) on the content of proteins, wet gluten, minerals, and total polyphenols (TPC), as well as on the antioxidant activity (AA) and yield characteristics were evaluated in nine genotypes of whole durum wheat. The analysis of variance confirmed the key role of cropping system, which explained more than 50% of the total variation for some minerals (Na, K, and Fe), and more than 80% for proteins, wet gluten, and TPC. The CONV reported the highest levels of proteins, wet gluten, and ash, whereas the TPC and AA were statistically higher in the ORG ones. The quality traits under study were also genotype dependent. For instance, ‘Ramirez’ had a higher ash content under ORG than CONV, while ‘Core’ had an opposite behavior. This study provides a better understanding about the effect of both cropping system (ORG vs. CONV) and genotype on the yield and qualitative traits of the whole grain durum wheat. Full article
13 pages, 546 KiB  
Article
Effect of Four Pollinating Sources on Nutritional Properties of Medjool Date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Seeds
by Ricardo Salomón-Torres, Jesús Arturo Sol-Uribe, Benjamín Valdez-Salas, Conrado García-González, Robert Krueger, Daniel Hernández-Balbuena, Susana Norzagaray-Plasencia, Juan Pablo García-Vázquez and Noé Ortiz-Uribe
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020045 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4077
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of pollen source on the nutritional composition of seeds of the ‘Medjool’ date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) under conditions of northwest Mexico. The content of nutrients (protein, lipids, fiber, and ash), sugars (total, [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of pollen source on the nutritional composition of seeds of the ‘Medjool’ date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) under conditions of northwest Mexico. The content of nutrients (protein, lipids, fiber, and ash), sugars (total, reducing, and non-reducing), and most abundant minerals, were evaluated, as well as antioxidant activities. The pollen of four cultivars (‘Deglet Noor’, ‘Khadrawy’, ‘Medjool’, and ‘Zahidi’) was selected. Four groups of three bunches were pollinated in each of the female palms. For the four treatments, the following ranges were obtained: Seeds had a weight of 1.32–1.41 g and low concentrations of protein (4.44–5.49 g/100 g) and lipids (9.62–10.19 g/100 g). The content of dietary fiber and ash was 59.65–72.59 g/100 g and 1.09–1.42 g/100 g, respectively. Total sugars content was 4.50–6.96 g/100 g, while the insoluble solids were 92.21–96.03 g/100 g. The predominant mineral was potassium with 399.97–459.79 mg/100 g dry weight, followed by sulfur with 135.51–162.67 mg/100 g dry weight. Finally, for antioxidant activities, DPPH (2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and ABTS (2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)) assay results were 0.0014–0.0094 IC50 g/L and 0.176–0.299 IC50 g/L, respectively. The pollen sources had an effect on the physicochemical properties of the seeds of the ‘Medjool’ cultivar date. However, some of the parameters (diameter, total acidity, pH) did not show statistically significant differences. The pollen sources from the ‘Khadrawy’ and ‘Medjool’ cultivars were the ones that induced differences in physical, proximate, and nutritional parameters, while pollen from the ‘Zahidi’ source induced the largest differences for minerals. The results suggest that selection of the source of pollen has a significant effect on the nutritional properties of the date seed from the cultivar ‘Medjool’, and that its use could be feasible as a functional food or by-product of the date production. Full article
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13 pages, 597 KiB  
Article
Adoption of ICT-Based Information Sources and Market Participation among Smallholder Livestock Farmers in South Africa
by Christopher Ugochukwu Nwafor, Abiodun A. Ogundeji and Carlu van der Westhuizen
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020044 - 17 Feb 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 8114
Abstract
The study explored the contribution of information and communication technology (ICT)-based information sources to market participation among smallholder livestock farmers. Use of ICTs is considered paramount for providing smallholder farmers with required market information, and also to reduce market asymmetries. A double hurdle [...] Read more.
The study explored the contribution of information and communication technology (ICT)-based information sources to market participation among smallholder livestock farmers. Use of ICTs is considered paramount for providing smallholder farmers with required market information, and also to reduce market asymmetries. A double hurdle regression was utilized to analyze data collected from 150 smallholder livestock farmers in the study area. The results show that while use of ICT-based market information sources significantly influenced market participation, the effect of using ICT-based information sources on the intensity of market participation was not significant. Other variables shown to influence both market participation and the intensity of market participation were age, additional income and membership of farmer cooperatives. This suggests the need to consider other associated factors in the application and design of interventions that utilize ICT-based information sources to achieve market engagement among smallholders. Full article
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13 pages, 1966 KiB  
Article
Creeping Bentgrass Fairway Wear Resistance by Granular Topdressing of Ca/Mg-rich Liming Agents
by Derek T. Pruyne, Maxim J. Schlossberg and Wakar Uddin
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020043 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4045
Abstract
Depletion of extractable silicon (Si) from surface soil depths has been observed in managed production systems. While not characterized as a plant essential nutrient, Si accrues in epidermal and vascular tissue of monocotyledonous plants. A field evaluation of granular Ca/Mg-rich liming agents was [...] Read more.
Depletion of extractable silicon (Si) from surface soil depths has been observed in managed production systems. While not characterized as a plant essential nutrient, Si accrues in epidermal and vascular tissue of monocotyledonous plants. A field evaluation of granular Ca/Mg-rich liming agents was initiated on a creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L. cv. Declaration) fairway in 2010. Excluding the control, treatments comprised 2440 kg (ha year)−1 topdressing of calcitic/dolomitic blended limestone or Ca/Mg-SiO3 in semi-annual or more frequent “split” applications. Each week of the 2011 and 2012 growing seasons, a dedicated wear simulator trafficked the fairway plots. Measures of canopy quality, clipping yield, tissue composition, soil pH, and plant-available soil Si levels were collected frequently. The described Ca/Mg-SiO3 annual topdressing rates correlated with acetic acid extractable Si levels >30 mg kg−1 in the 0- to 5-cm soil depth. Neither creeping bentgrass vigor, nutrition, nor leaf water content was influenced by significantly elevated levels of soil and tissue Si. Relative to non-trafficked plots, all split plots within trafficked main plots showed similarly reduced canopy quality regardless of topdressing treatment. If a critical threshold leaf Si concentration for creeping bentgrass wear tolerance enhancement exists, it is unlikely <11 g Si kg−1. Full article
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14 pages, 966 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Nutritive Value and the Fatty Acid, Phenol, Tannin and Terpenoid Contents of Nine Pastures in an Alpine District during the Summer Season
by Pier Giorgio Peiretti, Sonia Tassone, Narges Vahdani, Giovanna Battelli and Francesco Gai
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020042 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2951
Abstract
A study was conducted over the summer of 2014 on nine Alpine pastures in the Chisone and Susa Valleys (NW Italy). The aim was to characterize the variation in the chemical composition, gross energy, in vitro true digestibility (IVTD), in vitro neutral detergent [...] Read more.
A study was conducted over the summer of 2014 on nine Alpine pastures in the Chisone and Susa Valleys (NW Italy). The aim was to characterize the variation in the chemical composition, gross energy, in vitro true digestibility (IVTD), in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD), fatty acids (FA), total phenols, total and condensed tannin contents, and terpenoid profile. The dry matter, ash, crude protein, acid detergent fiber, lignin, and gross energy contents of the pastures were found to differ. All the pastures had good IVTD (706–829 g/kg DM) and NDFD (487–694 g/kg NDF) values. The most abundant FAs in all the pastures were α-linolenic (354–519 g/kg of the total FAs), linoleic (75–110 g/kg of the total FAs), and palmitic acid (64–89 g/kg of the total FAs) and they differed significantly among pastures. No significant differences were found in the total phenols, or in the total and condensed tannin contents among pastures. Fifty-eight terpenoids were detected and 4-cyclopentene-1, 3-dione, β-caryophyllene, and eucalyptol were the most abundant. The terpenoids differed both qualitatively and quantitatively among pastures. The results highlight the importance of the great biodiversity of pastures, which provide a balanced distribution of fundamental nutritional elements and bioactive compounds in grasslands. Full article
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22 pages, 399 KiB  
Review
Natural Organic Compounds for Application in Organic Farming
by Esteban F. Durán-Lara, Aly Valderrama and Adolfo Marican
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020041 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 77 | Viewed by 43020
Abstract
Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides are widely used in agriculture to improve crop yields. Most of the compounds used are synthetic, and their overuse causes environmental pollution and human health problems. Currently, several countries are working to reduce the use of agrochemicals. Organic [...] Read more.
Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides are widely used in agriculture to improve crop yields. Most of the compounds used are synthetic, and their overuse causes environmental pollution and human health problems. Currently, several countries are working to reduce the use of agrochemicals. Organic agriculture is now emerging as a sustainable alternative to traditional agriculture using environmentally friendly strategies such as the application of organic fertilizers from plant and animal waste and pesticides based on plant extracts and microbials. However, the availability of commercial biopesticides and organic fertilizers is very limited because there are certain barriers to the commercialization of biological products. These barriers include small available quantities of raw materials and strict registration laws requiring toxicological tests and other studies that are expensive and time consuming. The objective of this review is to provide details about the various organic fertilizers and pesticides that do not have the same disadvantages as synthetic compounds in terms of persistence and toxicity. Full article
15 pages, 1229 KiB  
Article
Chemical Composition and Concentration of Bioactive Compounds in Garlic Cultivated from Air Bulbils
by Aneta Kopeć, Joanna Skoczylas, Elżbieta Jędrszczyk, Renata Francik, Beata Bystrowska and Jerzy Zawistowski
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020040 - 09 Feb 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3652
Abstract
This study was designed to determine the chemical composition, antioxidant activity, and selected bioactive compound content and occurrence in whole immature and mature garlic plants grown from air bulbils. Two winter garlic cultivars, Harnaś and Ornak, of Polish origin, were cultivated from air [...] Read more.
This study was designed to determine the chemical composition, antioxidant activity, and selected bioactive compound content and occurrence in whole immature and mature garlic plants grown from air bulbils. Two winter garlic cultivars, Harnaś and Ornak, of Polish origin, were cultivated from air bulbils at the Experimental Station of the Agricultural University in Kraków, Poland. Harvest bunching of garlic of both cultivars was carried out in May and in June. Mature plants were harvested in July. In whole plant proximate analysis, the concentration of vitamin C, total polyphenols, antioxidant activity, carotenoids, chlorophyll a and b, as well as glutathione level were determined. P-coumaric acid was found in Harnaś and Ornak samples collected in May. Sinapinic acid was identified in Ornak samples collected in June and July. Identification of sulphur compounds depended on the term of harvesting. Significantly higher content of total phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity, as well as other bioactive compounds, was measured in the Harnaś and Ornak cultivars harvested in May. A significantly lower level of bioactive compounds was determined in mature plants harvested in July. The organosulfur compound profile and polyphenolic profile depended on the time of harvesting. Immature garlic cultivated from air bulbils is recognized as a potential source of bioactive compounds in human nutrition, however, more research, in particular in vivo studies, is required to confirm its functional properties. Full article
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13 pages, 365 KiB  
Article
Boundary-Spanning Search for Knowledge, Knowledge Reconstruction and the Sustainable Innovation Ability of Agricultural Enterprises: A Chinese Perspective
by Kaifeng Duan, Changcheng Zhang, Junqiang Li, Rui Zhang and Yanwei Zhang
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020039 - 09 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5245
Abstract
Boundary-spanning search for knowledge is an effective way for enterprises to acquire heterogeneous knowledge, and is also an important pre-stage to realize effective knowledge reconstruction. Based on the boundary-spanning search for knowledge theory, this paper studies the relationship between boundary-spanning search for knowledge [...] Read more.
Boundary-spanning search for knowledge is an effective way for enterprises to acquire heterogeneous knowledge, and is also an important pre-stage to realize effective knowledge reconstruction. Based on the boundary-spanning search for knowledge theory, this paper studies the relationship between boundary-spanning search for knowledge and the sustainable innovation ability of agricultural enterprises considering the influence of organizational knowledge reconstruction, from a Chinese perspective. A questionnaire survey on agricultural enterprises mainly from Southeast China is conducted, and the hierarchical regression analysis method is utilized to verify five research hypotheses. The results mainly show that (1) boundary-spanning search for technology knowledge (BSSTK) and boundary-spanning search for market knowledge (BSSMK) both have a significant positive impact on the sustainable innovation ability of an agricultural enterprise; (2) organizational knowledge reconstruction plays a partial intermediary role between boundary-spanning search for knowledge (including BSSTK and BSSMK) and the sustainable innovation ability of an agricultural enterprise. From the perspective of boundary-spanning search for knowledge, this paper provides theoretical support for the promotion of sustainable innovation of an agricultural enterprise, which contributes to improving the economic sustainability of agriculture to some extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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16 pages, 2186 KiB  
Article
Soil and Water Quality Indicators of Diversified Farming Systems in a Saline Region of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
by Lam Van Tan, Thanh Tran and Ho Huu Loc
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020038 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 5515
Abstract
Saltwater intrusion, a consequence of climate change and decreased water levels, has been increasingly severe in the Mekong Delta region. Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, is a coastal region where agricultural production and local livelihood have been impaired by saltwater intrusion, [...] Read more.
Saltwater intrusion, a consequence of climate change and decreased water levels, has been increasingly severe in the Mekong Delta region. Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, is a coastal region where agricultural production and local livelihood have been impaired by saltwater intrusion, resulting in the adoption of multiple coping strategies, including rotations and intercropping. This study aims to measure and evaluate soil and water quality indicators of multiple farming systems in Thanh Phu district and contributes to developing suitable cropping patterns. Soil indicators were pH, electrical conductivity, and exchangeable Na+. Water quality characteristics include pH, salinity, dissolved N and P, alkalinity, H2S, and chemical oxygen demand (COD). The results indicated that water pH and salinity were at suitable levels to support the growth of prawn but were below the critical level required to grow black tiger shrimp and white-legged shrimp. Water alkalinity, dissolved N, P, and COD were not constraining for the growth of shrimps. However, a significant concentration of H2S may cause disadvantages for shrimp growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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16 pages, 935 KiB  
Article
Isolation, Identification and Characterization of Rhizobacteria Strains for Biological Control of Bacterial Wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) of Eggplant in China
by Iman Sabah Abd Alamer, Ali Athafah Tomah, Bin Li and Jing-Ze Zhang
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020037 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6632
Abstract
Bacterial wilt of eggplant is the most destructive disease caused by Ralstonia solanacearum throughout the world. Eleven bacterial strains with high antagonistic activity were obtained from 245 rhizobacteria. Based on analysis of morphology, 16S rRNA sequences, fatty acid profiles, gyrA and rpoB genes, [...] Read more.
Bacterial wilt of eggplant is the most destructive disease caused by Ralstonia solanacearum throughout the world. Eleven bacterial strains with high antagonistic activity were obtained from 245 rhizobacteria. Based on analysis of morphology, 16S rRNA sequences, fatty acid profiles, gyrA and rpoB genes, they were identified as Pseudomonas putida (IMA3), Paenibacillus polymyxa (IMA5), Bacillus cereus (IMA4, IMA7 and IMA11) and the “operational group Bacillus amyloliquefaciens” (IMA1, IMA2, IMA6, IMA8, IMA9 and IMA10). The lipopeptide compounds produced by each strain also were determined. The biocontrol tests demonstrated that co-inoculation by strain IMA5 and the pathogen gave the greatest biocontrol efficiency of 87.0% and 69.2% 30 and 40 days after co-inoculation, respectively. Plant growth promotion tests revealed that IMA5 markedly promoted eggplant growth, enhancing aboveground seedling length and biomass by 60.8% and by 107.6% and underground root length and biomass by 33.0% and 69.2%, respectively. Hence, strain IMA5 could be considered for developing potential biocontrol agents and for promoting plant growth characteristics, to aid the management of the pathogen R. solanacearum in eggplants. Full article
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17 pages, 1508 KiB  
Article
Effect of Climate and Roasting on Polyphenols and Tocopherols in the Kernels and Skin of Six Hazelnut Cultivars (Corylus avellana L.)
by Katarzyna Król, Magdalena Gantner, Anna Piotrowska and Ewelina Hallmann
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020036 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3393
Abstract
Poland is one of the largest producers of hazelnuts in Europe; however, information about the contents of biologically active compounds in hazelnuts grown in Poland is limited. The aim of this study was to analyze and compare the concentrations of phenolic acids, flavonols, [...] Read more.
Poland is one of the largest producers of hazelnuts in Europe; however, information about the contents of biologically active compounds in hazelnuts grown in Poland is limited. The aim of this study was to analyze and compare the concentrations of phenolic acids, flavonols, and tocopherols in raw and roasted hazelnut kernels and their skin, in addition to determining the effect of the cultivar and year of cultivation. The experiment was carried out in 2016–2018, and the nuts of six hazelnut cultivars were used for research purposes. Among the detected phenolic acids, p-coumaric acid was the most abundant in roasted and unroasted kernels, whereas the apigenin content represented 43%–45% of the total flavonols. The harvest year had a significant effect on the polyphenol content of hazelnuts, whereas roasting had a minor impact. The hazelnut skin contained 168- to 378- fold higher contents of total phenolic compounds than the raw and roasted nuts. Gallic acid was the most abundant phenolic acid in hazelnut skin, contributing 95.0% of the total polyphenols on average. α-Tocopherol was the most abundant tocopherol in the hazelnut cultivars, followed by β + ƴ-tocopherol and δ-tocopherol in hazelnut cultivars. The statistical analysis showed that roasting and year of cultivation did not affect the tocopherol contents of the investigated samples. Full article
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22 pages, 1761 KiB  
Article
Change of Price Premiums Trend for Organic Food Products: The Example of the Polish Egg Market
by Adam Pawlewicz
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020035 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 8093
Abstract
One of the most rapidly growing areas of the organic agricultural system is egg production. However, the price premium often decreases the affordability of organic foods. In this study, the production and sales of organic eggs in Europe were compared, the prices of [...] Read more.
One of the most rapidly growing areas of the organic agricultural system is egg production. However, the price premium often decreases the affordability of organic foods. In this study, the production and sales of organic eggs in Europe were compared, the prices of organic and conventional eggs in Poland were analyzed, and the price premium on the Polish market was evaluated. This study relied on data of Eurostat, Statistics Poland, Agricultural and Food Quality Inspection and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Poland. The prices of organic and conventional eggs on the Polish wholesale market were analyzed based on the monthly price registers. The production and sales of organic eggs in Europe were characterized by a steady increase. The nominal and real prices of organic eggs were higher than the prices of conventional eggs throughout the entire analyzed period. The nominal prices of organic eggs tended to decrease. However, an upward trend was observed in the real prices of both organic and conventional eggs. The average price premium for organic eggs exceeded 128% (median of 121%). The price premium was characterized by moderate variation (Vc = 33%). In Poland, the price premium was on a downward trend by around 1% per month in the examined period. Full article
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20 pages, 2266 KiB  
Article
The Economic Sustainability of Farms under Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union Countries
by Marta Guth, Katarzyna Smędzik-Ambroży, Bazyli Czyżewski and Sebastian Stępień
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020034 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 57 | Viewed by 7270
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to determine the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) subsidies on the level of economic sustainability of farms by means of three-fold study. To determine the economic sustainability of farms the authors applied the income gap [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to determine the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) subsidies on the level of economic sustainability of farms by means of three-fold study. To determine the economic sustainability of farms the authors applied the income gap ratio. Next, the level of income differentiation between farms of various economic classes was established. The last part consisted of the recognition of statistically significant CAP schemes that shape agricultural income in farms of different size and in assessing how the respective subsidies should increase or decrease to fill the recognized gap, based on the coefficients of panel regression. The spatial scope covered all EU countries in 2005–2015. Results show that due to the CAP’s support the average income of farms has approached the average non-agricultural income, but distribution of this support favored the largest farms, increasing disparities within the sector. Full article
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9 pages, 630 KiB  
Article
Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Sprouts from Seeds of Citrus Species
by Beatrice Falcinelli, Franco Famiani, Andrea Paoletti, Sara D’Egidio, Fabio Stagnari, Angelica Galieni and Paolo Benincasa
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020033 - 30 Jan 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4223
Abstract
Seeds from Citrus species represent a relevant by-product of the juice industry and a potential source of bioactive compounds such as phenols and other antioxidants. Sprouting could be an intriguing idea to enhance the content of these compounds, as explored for other fruittree [...] Read more.
Seeds from Citrus species represent a relevant by-product of the juice industry and a potential source of bioactive compounds such as phenols and other antioxidants. Sprouting could be an intriguing idea to enhance the content of these compounds, as explored for other fruittree species. In this experiment, the sprouting performance, the concentration of total phenols and phenolic acids, and the antioxidant activity of seeds and sprouts were evaluated for bitter orange (Citrus aurantium L. seedlings), blonde orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck cv.Biondocomune), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck seedlings), lemon (Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck cv.Femminello), and mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco cv.Tardivo di Ciaculli). The germination was high for all genotypes except for mandarin, but it took 4–8 weeks. Sprouts did not differ among genotypes for size and generally had hard consistency of cotyledons and a bitter taste. The concentrations of total phenols and phenolic acids of seeds and sprouts varied with the genotype, while the antioxidant activity was not statistically different among treatments. Sprouting increased both the concentration of phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity but no correlation was found between them, suggesting that other antioxidants, besides phenols, are present. Given the slow germination and the bitter taste, Citrus sprouts appear unsuitable for homemade production aimed at direct consumption, while they may have perspectives for extraction of food additives, cosmetics, and pharmaceutics. Full article
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14 pages, 2304 KiB  
Article
Pseudomonas fluorescens MZ05 Enhances Resistance against Setosphaeria turcica by Mediating Benzoxazinoid Metabolism in the Maize Inbred Line Anke35
by Cheng Zhou, Zhongyou Ma, Xiaoming Lu, Lin Zhu and Congsheng Yan
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020032 - 26 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3076
Abstract
Beneficial rhizobacteria can inhibit foliar pathogen infection by activation of defense responses, yet it the mechanisms of rhizobacteria-induced disease resistance remain largely unknown. Here, inoculation of susceptible maize plants with Pseudomonas fluorescens MZ05 significantly reduced disease occurrence caused by the leaf pathogen Setosphaeria [...] Read more.
Beneficial rhizobacteria can inhibit foliar pathogen infection by activation of defense responses, yet it the mechanisms of rhizobacteria-induced disease resistance remain largely unknown. Here, inoculation of susceptible maize plants with Pseudomonas fluorescens MZ05 significantly reduced disease occurrence caused by the leaf pathogen Setosphaeria turcica. Gene expression profiles of MZ05-inoculated plants were investigated by RNA-sequencing analyses, showing that several differentially expressed genes were positively associated with the metabolic processes of benzoxazinoids. Accordantly, the inoculation with P. fluorescens MZ05 resulted in a significant increase in the levels of 2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (DIMBOA) in the maize leaves. Furthermore, pre-inoculation with P. fluorescens MZ05 enhanced the transcription of two defense-related marked genes PAL and PR2a, as well as BX2 and GLU2, which are involved in DIMBOA biosynthesis, in pathogen-infected leaves. Defense responses in the inoculated plants were also greatly stronger and quicker than that in non-inoculated plants after pathogen attacks. However, virus-mediated silencing of BX2 or GLU2 remarkably attenuated the MZ05-induced effects, as evidenced by more disease occurrence and lower transcription of PAL and PR2a. Collectively, these findings indicated that the MZ05-induced increases of DIMBOA levels participated in the mediation of priming, which was the key mechanism in the rhizobacteria-induced host resistance. Full article
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17 pages, 1780 KiB  
Article
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cut Grasslands Renovated with Full Inversion Tillage, Shallow Tillage, and Use of a Tine Drill in Nasu, Japan
by Akinori Mori
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020031 - 24 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3196
Abstract
To restore the productivity of a deteriorated sward due to weed invasion, renovation (re-sowing) is necessary. However, the renovation method used can affect the sward’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and herbage yield. This study compared the effects of renovation using full inversion tillage [...] Read more.
To restore the productivity of a deteriorated sward due to weed invasion, renovation (re-sowing) is necessary. However, the renovation method used can affect the sward’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and herbage yield. This study compared the effects of renovation using full inversion tillage (F), shallow tillage (S), or a tine drill (T) on the GHG emissions and herbage yield of a grassland in Nasu, Japan. Two adjacent grasslands were renovated in September 2015 (year 1) and 2016 (year 2). In each year, F, S, and T plots (5 m × 20 m each) were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications and then orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) was seeded. All plots received 40 kg-N ha−1 for renovation and 190 kg-N ha−1 y−1 the following year. Carbon balance (i.e., the difference between C input through crop residue and C output through heterotrophic respiration), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, and herbage yield were measured over a period of 411 or 412 days. Cumulative N2O emissions were significantly smaller from F and S plots than from T plots, however, there was no significant difference in the sum of GHG emissions (i.e., C balance plus cumulative CH4 and N2O emissions) among F, S, and T plots. The cumulative total herbage yields of the F, S, and T plots did not differ significantly from each other. Consequently, the GHG intensity—i.e., the sum of GHG emissions per cumulative total herbage yield—was not significantly different among the F, S, and T plots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agroecosystems)
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13 pages, 1053 KiB  
Article
Stepwise-Selected Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and B. subtilis Strains from Composted Aromatic Plant Waste Able to Control Soil-Borne Diseases
by Massimo Zaccardelli, Roberto Sorrentino, Michele Caputo, Riccardo Scotti, Enrica De Falco and Catello Pane
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020030 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5026
Abstract
In the present study, 133 bacterial isolates from 11 composted aromatic plant wastes were selected for their ability to inhibit the mycelial growth of the soil-borne phytopathogenic fungi Sclerotinia minor and Rhizoctonia solani. Successively, a subset of 35 from them were further [...] Read more.
In the present study, 133 bacterial isolates from 11 composted aromatic plant wastes were selected for their ability to inhibit the mycelial growth of the soil-borne phytopathogenic fungi Sclerotinia minor and Rhizoctonia solani. Successively, a subset of 35 from them were further characterized for their ability to control, in vivo, rocket damping-off caused by the two fungi. Moreover, the isolates were characterized for morphology of the colonies, Gram reaction, siderophore production, P-solubilization and for the presence of antimicrobial lipopeptide genes in the genome. The screening for the in vitro antagonisms showed a mycelial growth reduction ranging between 31.7% and 56.1% for R. solani and 34.4% and 59.4% for S. minor. All the isolates were not able to produce siderophores and some of them were able to solubilize P. The isolates contained two or more of the five lipoproteins coding genes investigated in this study. The most promising isolates were identified at species level by 16S-rRNA partial gene sequence analysis and were grouped in two main clusters related to Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens reference strains. Results indicated that Bacillus isolates from compost are good candidates for application in the biocontrol of cultivated plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Composting and Organic Soil Amendments)
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11 pages, 829 KiB  
Article
Assessing Salicornia europaea Tolerance to Salinity at Seed Germination Stage
by Roberta Calone, Rabab Sanoubar, Enrico Noli and Lorenzo Barbanti
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020029 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4162
Abstract
Salicornia europaea, a halophytic species, was investigated to assess its ability to withstand salinity during seed germination, and to identify suitable indices to interpret salt tolerance at this delicate stage. Seed germination indices (germination percentage (GP), germination energy (GE), germination value (GV), [...] Read more.
Salicornia europaea, a halophytic species, was investigated to assess its ability to withstand salinity during seed germination, and to identify suitable indices to interpret salt tolerance at this delicate stage. Seed germination indices (germination percentage (GP), germination energy (GE), germination value (GV), coefficient of germination velocity (CVG), germination rate index (GRI), germination peak value (GPV), mean germination time (MGT), and time to 50% germination (T50)) were calculated under increasing salinity (0, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 600 mM NaCl). Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to describe the relationships involving the variables that account for data variance. Two salinity thresholds were identified (100 and 600 mM NaCl) determining significant decreases in all the indices, except for T50 and MGT. In fact, PCA based on generated correlation circle showed significant negative correlations (r close to −1) between salt stress and GP, GE, GRI, PV, GV, and CVG, whereas no correlation was observed with T50 and MGT (r close to zero). Based on this, GP, GE, GRI, PV, GV, and CVG can be considered useful traits to assess salt tolerance during germination in S. europaea, while T50 and MGT, that were not affected by the range of salinity levels investigated, should not be used for this purpose. Full article
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16 pages, 2839 KiB  
Article
The Evaluation of Growth Performance, Photosynthetic Capacity, and Primary and Secondary Metabolite Content of Leaf Lettuce Grown under Limited Irradiation of Blue and Red LED Light in an Urban Plant Factory
by Md Obyedul Kalam Azad, Katrine Heinsvig Kjaer, Md Adnan, Most Tahera Naznin, Jung Dae Lim, In Je Sung, Cheol Ho Park and Young Seok Lim
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020028 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 43 | Viewed by 8244
Abstract
Plant production in urban areas is receiving much attention due to its potential role in feeding the rapidly growing population of city dwellers. However, higher energy demands in urban plant factories are among the key challenges that need to be addressed. Artificial lighting [...] Read more.
Plant production in urban areas is receiving much attention due to its potential role in feeding the rapidly growing population of city dwellers. However, higher energy demands in urban plant factories are among the key challenges that need to be addressed. Artificial lighting is responsible for the most significant levels of energy consumption in plant factories; therefore, lighting systems must be modulated in consideration of the sustainable food–energy nexus. In this context, low light irradiation using blue (B) and red (R) LED was applied in a plant factory for the growth of red leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var Lollo rosso) to evaluate the growth performance and functional quality. The tested B (450 nm) and R (660 nm) light ratios were B/R = 5:1; 3:1; 1:1; 1:3, and 1:5, with a photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 90 ± 3 µmol m−2 s−1. In the plant factory, the photoperiod, temperature, RH, and CO2 conditions were 16 h d−1, 20 ± 0.5 °C, 65% ± 5%, and 360 ± 10 μL L−1, respectively. The lettuce was harvested 10 and 20 days after the commencement of LED light treatment (DAT). In this study, normal photosynthetic activity and good visual quality of the lettuce were observed. The results show that a higher fraction of R (B/R = 1:5) significantly increased plant growth parameters such as plant height, leaf area, specific leaf area, plant fresh and dry weight, and carbohydrate content. By contrast, a higher fraction of B (B/R = 5:1) significantly increased the photosynthetic parameters and contents of pigment and phenolic compounds. The rate of photosynthetic performance, carbohydrates (except starch), and content of phenolic compounds were highest after 10 DAT, whereas the pigment contents did not significantly differ at the different growth stages. It is concluded that high R fractions favor plant growth and carbohydrate content, while high B fractions favor photosynthetic performance and the accumulation of pigments and phenolic compounds in red leaf lettuce under limited lighting conditions. This study will help in designing artificial lighting conditions for plant factory production to reduce energy demands. Full article
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