Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Protected Culture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2021) | Viewed by 28798

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MED—Mediterranean Institute for Agriculture, Environment and Development, Departamento de Fitotecnia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Pólo da Mitra, Ap. 94, 7006-554 Évora, Portugal
Interests: vegetable crops; vegetable production systems; greenhouse and open-field systems; fertigation; root dynamics; salinity; organic fertilization and soilless cultivation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water and nitrogen management have a decisive impact on plant growth and the quality of horticultural crops and nitrate contamination of the waters. Thus, improving the sustainability of the water and nitrogen application to horticultural crops without compromising the yield is a priority and a challenge. In irrigated crops, the integrated management of the water quantity and quality (irrigation scheduling and methods, water-saving strategies, etc.) and nitrogen fertilization (inorganic and organic) (amount supply, form and ratio, method of application, etc.) may be the first step to increase water productivity and nitrogen use efficiency, contributing to reduce nitrogen fertilizer application, the levels of nitrate in irrigation water, and nitrate leaching. This Special Issue will examine recent advances in horticultural practices and strategies that integrate the soil, water, and nitrates that can contribute to increased water and nitrogen use efficiency and reduce nitrate leaching.

Dr. Rui Manuel Almeida Machado
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Water quality
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrogen form
  • Nitrogen use efficiency
  • Organic composts
  • Fertigation
  • Water productivity
  • Evaporation-saving strategies
  • Mulching

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 181 KiB  
Editorial
Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production
by Rui Manuel Almeida Machado
Horticulturae 2022, 8(5), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8050397 - 1 May 2022
Viewed by 1331
Abstract
The goal of this Special Issue, entitled “Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production”, is to examine recent advances in horticultural practices and strategies that can contribute to maintaining or increasing soil fertility and the efficiency of water and nitrogen use [...] [...] Read more.
The goal of this Special Issue, entitled “Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production”, is to examine recent advances in horticultural practices and strategies that can contribute to maintaining or increasing soil fertility and the efficiency of water and nitrogen use [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)

Research

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11 pages, 1756 KiB  
Article
Growth Response of Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Its Physiological Properties and Soil Enzyme Activities after Biochar Application under Greenhouse Conditions
by Dilfuza Jabborova, Stephan Wirth, Mosab Halwani, Mohamed F. M. Ibrahim, Islam H. El Azab, Mohamed M. El-Mogy and Amr Elkelish
Horticulturae 2021, 7(8), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7080250 - 17 Aug 2021
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 5258
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effects of biochar (1%, 2%, and 3%) on seed germination, plant growth, root morphological characteristics, and physiological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) and soil enzymatic activities. Pot experiments under greenhouse conditions at 24 °C (day) [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of biochar (1%, 2%, and 3%) on seed germination, plant growth, root morphological characteristics, and physiological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale) and soil enzymatic activities. Pot experiments under greenhouse conditions at 24 °C (day) and 16 °C (night) showed after six weeks that biochar additions of 2% and 3% significantly increased seed germination, plant height, leaf length, leaf number, as well as shoot and root dry weights compared to the control. Total root length significantly increased by 30%, 47%, and 74%, with increasing biochar contents (1%, 2%, and 3%) compared to the control. Root surface area, projected area, root diameter, and root volume reached a maximum at the 3% biochar treatment. The treatment with 2% biochar significantly increased fluorescein diacetate hydrolase and phenoloxidase activities by 33% and 59% compared to the control; so did the addition of 3% biochar, which significantly increased fluorescein diacetate hydrolases, phenoloxidase, and acid and alkaline phosphomonoesterase activity in soil compared to the control. Treatment with 3% biochar increased relative water content by 8%, chlorophyll content by 35%, and carotenoid content by 43% compared to the control. These results suggest that biochar can improve the performance of the rhizome of ginger and increase the activity of soil enzymes, thereby improving soil nutrient supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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13 pages, 2235 KiB  
Article
Nitrogen Effect on Growth-Related Parameters and Evaluation of Portulaca oleracea as a Phytoremediation Species in a Cr(VI)-Spiked Soil
by Georgios Thalassinos, Elina Nastou, Spyridon A. Petropoulos and Vasileios Antoniadis
Horticulturae 2021, 7(7), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7070192 - 14 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2563
Abstract
In a pot experiment, we assessed the potential of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) as a phytoremediation species in Cr(VI)-contaminated soils. We focused on the evaluation of phytotoxic Cr(VI) effects at concentrations reaching 150 mg Cr(VI) kg−1 and the possible stress amelioration [...] Read more.
In a pot experiment, we assessed the potential of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) as a phytoremediation species in Cr(VI)-contaminated soils. We focused on the evaluation of phytotoxic Cr(VI) effects at concentrations reaching 150 mg Cr(VI) kg−1 and the possible stress amelioration effect of nitrogen on Cr(VI)-stressed plants. Treatments were T-0 (control), T-1 (25 mg Cr(VI) kg−1), T-2 = 50 mg kg−1, T-3 = 100 mg kg−1, and T-4 = 150 mg kg−1. We measured Cr(VI) concentration in aerial and root tissues, a series of parameters related to photosynthesis and plant growth, phosphorus aerial plant tissue content, and we also calculated indices (ratios) related to leaf growth and above ground tissue water content. Cr(VI) almost exclusively was found in root tissues; all physiological and growth parameters studied were severely affected and plants selectively accumulated phosphorus in aerial plant tissues with increasing Cr(VI) soil concentrations. On the other hand, N amendment resulted in improved plant features in some of the measured parameters: chlorophyll index was improved with added N at T-2, plant height was significantly higher at T-0, T-1, and T-2, and aerial dry weight and leaf area was higher at T-0; these effects indicate that added N did increase P. oleracea potential to ameliorate Cr(VI) toxic effects. We conclude that purslane showed a potential as a possible species to be successfully introduced to Cr(VI)-laden soils, but more research is certainly necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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17 pages, 4049 KiB  
Article
Effects of Municipal Solid Waste Compost Supplemented with Inorganic Nitrogen on Physicochemical Soil Characteristics, Plant Growth, Nitrate Content, and Antioxidant Activity in Spinach
by Rui M. A. Machado, Isabel Alves-Pereira, Miguel Robalo and Rui Ferreira
Horticulturae 2021, 7(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7030053 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4157
Abstract
In this study, we evaluated the effects of municipal solid waste compost supplemented with inorganic N on the physicochemical properties of soil, plant growth, nitrate concentration, and antioxidant activity in spinach. Experiments were carried out in neutral and acidic soils that were low [...] Read more.
In this study, we evaluated the effects of municipal solid waste compost supplemented with inorganic N on the physicochemical properties of soil, plant growth, nitrate concentration, and antioxidant activity in spinach. Experiments were carried out in neutral and acidic soils that were low in organic matter. A fertilized soil was used as a control, while four compost treatments—two compost rates of 35 and 70 t ha−1, supplemented or not with inorganic N (92 kg N ha−1 as Ca (NO3)2)—were applied by fertigation. The addition of compost increased the soil organic matter content and pH in both soils. The compost supplementation with N greatly increased the shoot dry weight and spinach fresh yield by nearly 109%. With the highest compost rate and 43% N applied, the yield increased in both soils, similar to results obtained in fertilized soil (3.8 kg m−2). The combined application of compost and N could replace inorganic P and K fertilization to a significant extent. The compost application at both rates and in both soils considerably decreased shoot Mn concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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13 pages, 866 KiB  
Article
Valorization of Spent Coffee Grounds, Biochar and other residues to Produce Lightweight Clay Ceramic Aggregates Suitable for Nursery Grapevine Production
by Domenico Ronga, Mario Parisi, Luisa Barbieri, Isabella Lancellotti, Fernanda Andreola and Cristina Bignami
Horticulturae 2020, 6(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6040058 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4138
Abstract
The valorization of agro-industrial by-products is one of the key strategies to improve agricultural sustainability. In the present study, spent coffee grounds and biochar were used as pore forming agents in the realization of lightweight clay ceramic aggregates that were used as sustainable [...] Read more.
The valorization of agro-industrial by-products is one of the key strategies to improve agricultural sustainability. In the present study, spent coffee grounds and biochar were used as pore forming agents in the realization of lightweight clay ceramic aggregates that were used as sustainable fertilizers, in addition to tailored glass fertilizer containing phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) synthetic fertilizer, for nursery grapevine production. The obtained fertilizers were assessed in a pot experiment for the fertilization of bare-rooted vines. Unfertilized (T0) and fertilized plants (T1, using NPK-containing commercial fertilizer) were used as controls. Plants fertilized by spent coffee grounds and spent coffee grounds + biochar-containing lightweight aggregates and added with 30 wt% of the above-mentioned glass and N fertilizers (T2 and T3, respectively) recorded higher values of plant height, shoot diameter, leaf and node numbers. Moreover, T2 treatment induced the highest chlorophyll content, shoot and root dry weights. The present study shows that lightweight clay ceramic aggregates containing spent coffee grounds and glass and N fertilizers can be used for nursery grapevine production, in turn improving the agricultural sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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12 pages, 755 KiB  
Article
Trichoderma spp. and Mulching Films Differentially Boost Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects of Greenhouse Lettuce under Diverse N Conditions
by Ida Di Mola, Lucia Ottaiano, Eugenio Cozzolino, Mauro Senatore, Adriana Sacco, Christophe El-Nakhel, Youssef Rouphael and Mauro Mori
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030055 - 4 Sep 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3543
Abstract
The global increasing demand of lettuce is pushing farmers to boost their production through several technical means, including mulching and nitrogen fertilization. However, from an environmental protection perspective, the role of scientific research is to limit the excessive use of some chemical approaches. [...] Read more.
The global increasing demand of lettuce is pushing farmers to boost their production through several technical means, including mulching and nitrogen fertilization. However, from an environmental protection perspective, the role of scientific research is to limit the excessive use of some chemical approaches. This research aims to evaluate the possible effects of two mulching films (black polyethylene, PE, and brown photoselective film, BF) and two treatments with a plant growth-promoting product, containing Trichoderma spp., (non-treated, - Control and treated with RYZO PEP UP, - TR), on the productive and qualitative traits of lettuce grown under four regimes of nitrogen (0, 30, 60 and 90 kg ha−1, N0, N30, N60, and N90, respectively). The marketable yield increased at higher nitrogen levels, but without differences between the N60 and N90 doses. The photoselective film elicited marketable yield, with an 8% increase over PE. N fertilization also improved photochemical efficiency (higher Soil Plant Analysis Development and chlorophyllous pigments biosynthesis), as well as antioxidant activities (lipophilic—LAA and hydrophilic—HAA) and bioactive compounds (phenols and total ascorbic acid—TAA). Interestingly, Trichoderma spp. had a positive effect on these qualitative parameters, especially when combined with mulching films, where the increase generated by PE-TR treatment over the all other treatments was 16.3% and 16.8% for LAA and HHA, respectively. In all treatments, the nitrate leaves content was consistently always within the legal limit imposed by the European community. Overall, although Trichoderma spp. did not engender a marked effect on yield, probably due to the short crop cycle, its positive effect on some quality traits is an interesting starting point for further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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10 pages, 1109 KiB  
Article
Altered Carbohydrate Allocation Due to Soil Water Deficit Affects Summertime Flowering in Meiwa Kumquat Trees
by Naoto Iwasaki, Asaki Tamura and Kyoka Hori
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030049 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2488
Abstract
The summertime flowers of the ever-flowering Meiwa kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) are the most useful for fruit production in Japan; however, summertime flowers bloom in three or four successive waves at approximately 10 day intervals, resulting in fruit of different maturity occurring [...] Read more.
The summertime flowers of the ever-flowering Meiwa kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) are the most useful for fruit production in Japan; however, summertime flowers bloom in three or four successive waves at approximately 10 day intervals, resulting in fruit of different maturity occurring on the same tree. Soil water deficit (SWD) treatment has been shown to reduce the flowering frequency and improve harvest efficiency; therefore, in this study, the effects of SWD treatment on the accumulation of soluble sugars in each tree organ above-ground were examined and it was discussed how SWD affects the whole-tree water relations and sugar accumulation by osmoregulation. The number of first-flush summertime flowers was higher in SWD-treated trees than non-treated control (CONT) trees (177.0 and 58.0 flowers, respectively), whereas the second- and third-flush flowers were only observed in CONT trees. The soluble sugar content was higher in SWD treated trees than CONT trees for all organs and tended to be higher in current-year organs than previous-year organs; however, when the sugar content of the current-year spring stems exceeded approximately 100 mg g−1 dry weight, the current-year leaf water potential decreased sharply and the rate of increase in the number of first-flush flowers also tended to decrease. SWD treatment significantly increased the total sugar content of the xylem tissue of the scaffold branches to three times the value in CONT trees (p = 0.001); however, the increase was observed even in sucrose, a disaccharide, similar to that in monosaccharides such as glucose and fructose. These results suggest that the increased sugar levels in the xylem tissue resulted from not only osmoregulation but also other factors as well; therefore, these sugars may affect whole-tree water relations as well as the development of flower buds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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17 pages, 1302 KiB  
Article
Deficit Irrigation and Arbuscular Mycorrhiza as a Water-Saving Strategy for Eggplant Production
by M. A. Badr, W. A. El-Tohamy, S. D. Abou-Hussein and N. S. Gruda
Horticulturae 2020, 6(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6030045 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3901
Abstract
Crop production in arid regions requires continuous irrigation to fulfill water demand throughout the growing season. Agronomic measures, such as roots-soil microorganisms, including arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, have emerged in recent years to overcome soil constraints and improve water use efficiency (WUE). Eggplant [...] Read more.
Crop production in arid regions requires continuous irrigation to fulfill water demand throughout the growing season. Agronomic measures, such as roots-soil microorganisms, including arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, have emerged in recent years to overcome soil constraints and improve water use efficiency (WUE). Eggplant plants were exposed to varying water stress under inoculated (AM+) and non-inoculated (AM−) to evaluate yield performance along with plant physiological status. Plants grown under full irrigation resulted in the highest fruit yield, and there were significant reductions in total yield and yield components when applying less water. The decline in fruit yield was due to the reduction in the number of fruits rather than the weight of the fruit per plant. AM+ plants showed more favorable growth conditions, which translated into better crop yield, total dry biomass, and number of fruits under all irrigation treatments. The fruit yield did not differ between full irrigation and 80% evapotranspiration (ET) restoration with AM+, but a 20% reduction in irrigation water was achieved. Water use efficiency (WUE) was negatively affected by deficit irrigation, particularly at 40% ET, when the water deficit severely depressed fruit yield. Yield response factor (Ky) showed a lower tolerance with a value higher than 1, with a persistent drop in WUE suggesting a lower tolerance to water deficits. The (Ky) factor was relatively lower with AM+ than with AM− for the total fruit yield and dry biomass (Kss), indicating that AM may enhance the drought tolerance of the crop. Plants with AM+ had a higher uptake of N and P in shoots and fruits, higher stomatal conductance (gs), and higher photosynthetic rates (Pn), regardless of drought severity. Soil with AM+ had higher extractable N, P, and organic carbon (OC), indicating an improvement of the fertility status in coping with a limited water supply. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil, Water and Nitrates Management in Horticultural Production)
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