Eco-Physiology of Fruit Tree and Innovative Agricultural Practices

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural and Floricultural Crops".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2021) | Viewed by 11830

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Soil, Plant, and Food Sciences, University of Bari “Aldo Moro” | UNIBA, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: leaf functioning; water relations; abiotic stresses; photo-protection; plan-based indices; fruit growth; bio-diversity; temperate fruit trees

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Guest Editor
Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna | UNIBO, Viale Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Interests: tropical and tubtropical truit growing; biology and physiology of trees; arboriculture; temperate fruit growing

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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences – DISTAL - Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin, 46, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Interests: application of new technologies and precision management techniques; effects of the environment on fruit tree physiology; developing new management strategies to improve orchards’ sustainability, maintaining a high level of quality and yields
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Agri-Food Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna | UNIBO, Viale Fanin 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Interests: irrigation; source-sink relationship; fruit growth; fruit tree ecophysiology; water relation; fruit quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fruit tree cultivation accounts for about 7% of the total agricultural surface, and it is the highest valued agricultural activity. Fruit and grapes provide high nutraceutical components to the human diet, preventing important diseases like obesity, cancer, and diabetes. In addition, orchards contribute to land preservation and stewardship. Despite the high economic, social, and environmental importance of this sector, making fruit tree production economically and ecologically sustainable is particularly challenging as trees are perennial and only a fraction of their bio-mass is used. Stressful conditions and improper agro-practices can affect current and future orchard performance. The study of tree functioning related to different and changing pedo-climates is deserving of great interest. Improving our knowledge of fruit tree ecophysiology will help to implement innovative practices based on a measure of real orchard needs.

Please share your research in fruit tree ecophysiology and innovative agro-practices in the present Special Issue. Submissions on but not limited to the following topics are invited: (1) tree (canopy, fruit, and whole plant) behavior as a function of genotype, environment, and management; (2) source/sink relations; (3) plant-based indices; and (4) innovative, ecophysiology-based agro-practices.

Dr. Pasquale Losciale
Prof. Luca Corelli Grappadelli
Dr. Luigi Manfrini
Dr. Brunella Morandi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • leaf functioning
  • fruit growth
  • fruit quality
  • water relations
  • abiotic stress
  • productive efficiency
  • precision orchard management

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 2861 KiB  
Article
Deficit Irrigation as a Tool to Optimize Fruit Quality in Abbé Fetél Pear
by Melissa Venturi, Luigi Manfrini, Giulio Demetrio Perulli, Alexandra Boini, Kushtrim Bresilla, Luca Corelli Grappadelli and Brunella Morandi
Agronomy 2021, 11(6), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11061141 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2315
Abstract
Climate change is leading to higher plant water requirements and rootstock can play a role in tree adaptation, since the more vigorous ones are also likely to be more stress resistant. Pear trees of the cv. Abbé Fetél grafted on BA29 (more vigorous) [...] Read more.
Climate change is leading to higher plant water requirements and rootstock can play a role in tree adaptation, since the more vigorous ones are also likely to be more stress resistant. Pear trees of the cv. Abbé Fetél grafted on BA29 (more vigorous) and SYDO (more dwarfing) quince were irrigated according to three different treatments: 110 C, 80 DI and 60 DI, corresponding to 110%, 80% and 60% of the crop evapotranspiration rate (ETc), respectively. Shoot and fruit growth, water potentials, leaf gas exchanges and dry matter content were monitored during the season. Fruit quality was evaluated at harvest and after 6 months of storage at 1 °C. Results show how for both rootstocks, 60 DI significantly decreased their stem (Ψstem) and leaf (Ψleaf) water potentials as well as leaf gas exchanges. In SYDO, final fruit size was affected by irrigation, with lower values on 60 DI, but in BA29, no differences were found between treatments. After storage, BA29 60 DI fruit showed a higher soluble solid content, while in SYDO fruit, firmness was more affected by irrigation level. In conclusion, despite a slight decrease in fruit size, reduced irrigation led to fruit with higher quality features that were also maintained after a long period of storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Physiology of Fruit Tree and Innovative Agricultural Practices)
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21 pages, 1671 KiB  
Article
High Levels of Shading as A Sustainable Application for Mitigating Drought, in Modern Apple Production
by Alexandra Boini, Luigi Manfrini, Brunella Morandi, Luca Corelli Grappadelli, Stefano Predieri, Giulia Maria Daniele and Gerardo López
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030422 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2394
Abstract
The sustainability of reducing light in apple orchards under well-watered (ww) and water stress (ws) conditions was evaluated for water relations, plant gas exchanges, fruit growth, yield determinants, and fruit quality over three years. A black (B) 28% shading [...] Read more.
The sustainability of reducing light in apple orchards under well-watered (ww) and water stress (ws) conditions was evaluated for water relations, plant gas exchanges, fruit growth, yield determinants, and fruit quality over three years. A black (B) 28% shading net was compared with two different 50% shading nets: red (R) and white (W). Each net was combined with two irrigation regimes (ww and ws) based on plant water status. Under ww and ws conditions, increasing shade from 28% to 50% was not detrimental for plant gas exchanges, yield, or quality over three years. Higher shade improved plant water status regardless of irrigation regime. Higher shading could be considered sustainable in apple orchards over several seasons. Fruit quality was more sensitive to plant water status than to light reduction. ws increased fruit soluble solid content and relative dry matter, regardless of shading, and this was positively reflected in consumer’s preference. When water availability is limited, increasing shading to 50% can help save water and maintain high-quality yields associated with water stress. Given the likely reductions of water availability in agriculture, growers and consultants may consider shading apple orchards as a sustainable and safe horticultural technique to save water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Physiology of Fruit Tree and Innovative Agricultural Practices)
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18 pages, 1937 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Agro-Ecological Apple Replant Disease (ARD) Management Strategies: Organic Fertilisation and Inoculation with Mycorrhizal Fungi and Bacteria
by Ulrike Cavael, Peter Lentzsch, Hilmar Schwärzel, Frank Eulenstein, Marion Tauschke and Katharina Diehl
Agronomy 2021, 11(2), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11020272 - 31 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3031
Abstract
Apple replant disease (ARD) impacts the economic yield of orchards by physiological and morphological suppression of apple trees on replanted soils. The complexity of replant disease caused by a plethora of biological interactions and physical properties of the soil requires complex management strategies [...] Read more.
Apple replant disease (ARD) impacts the economic yield of orchards by physiological and morphological suppression of apple trees on replanted soils. The complexity of replant disease caused by a plethora of biological interactions and physical properties of the soil requires complex management strategies to mitigate these effects. Based on expert recommendations, we selected two management strategies linked to agroecological principles of (a) organic fertilisation with a specific mulch composition (MDK) and (b) biofertilisation with arbuscular mycorrhizal and bacterial strains (AMFbac), applied by a composition of existing products. For both management strategies we provide a proof-of-concept, by pot and field experiments. Both treatments have the potential to mitigate ARD effects on plant vigour. ARD effect was fully mitigated by MDK treatment in the short-term (one year) and was mitigated by up to 29% after seven years of MDK treatment (long-term). MDK provides an additional substrate for root growth. AMFbac has the potential to mitigate ARD effects on plant vigour but with non-replicable plant-beneficial effects in its current form of application. Thereby our results show a principal potential to mitigate economic effects but not to overcome replant disease inducing effects. While the MDK treatment is found resource intensive but reliable, the AMFbac treatment was found more user-friendly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Physiology of Fruit Tree and Innovative Agricultural Practices)
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14 pages, 3515 KiB  
Article
Orchard Planting Density and Tree Development Stage Affects Physiological Processes of Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) Tree
by Kristina Laužikė, Nobertas Uselis, Darius Kviklys and Giedrė Samuolienė
Agronomy 2020, 10(12), 1912; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121912 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2987
Abstract
One of the most important factors affecting photosynthesis and metabolism is light absorbance by leaves and penetration through the canopy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of planting density and tree development stages on photosynthetic activity, photosynthetic pigments, and [...] Read more.
One of the most important factors affecting photosynthesis and metabolism is light absorbance by leaves and penetration through the canopy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of planting density and tree development stages on photosynthetic activity, photosynthetic pigments, and carbohydrates in apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees in a combined way. The apple tree, Auksis, was grafted on dwarfing rootstock P 22. Space between rows was 3 m, trees were planted in 2001 in four distances: 0.25 m, 0.50 m, 0.75 m, and 1.00 m. Measurements and leaf samples were taken in the end of May (leaves fully expanded BBCH 20–25), in the middle of July (beginning of apple maturity BBCH 73–75) and at the end of August (harvest time BBCH 87–88) according BBCH—growth stages. Photosynthetic rate was significantly the lowest in the spring and tended to rise until fruit ripening, when it increased up to 19.4% compared to spring. Significantly the highest chlorophyll b and carotene α and β contents were found at the BBCH 73–75. The lowest levels of fructose and sorbitol in leaves were found at BBCH 73–75. The amount of starch accumulated in the leaves increased three times in summer compared to spring. Reduced distance between trees to four times (from 1 m to 0.25 m) showed clear competitive stress, as the decrease of photosynthetic rate (up to 36.4–38.6%) and total starch (up to 37–53%) was observed. The photosynthetic behaviour of apple trees was significantly affected by the development stage during the particular season which is related with physiological changes of metabolites transport and their distribution during fruit ripening and leaf senescence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Physiology of Fruit Tree and Innovative Agricultural Practices)
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