Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 22908

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, University of Almería, Agrifood Campus of International Excellence ceiA3, Ctra, Sacramento s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain
Interests: organic agriculture; ecological intensification; soil science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Horticultural production is facing global changes in political, socio-economic and climatic scenarios that require a continuous review of soil management and fertilisation techniques. Understanding the impact of emerging techniques for the recovery of biodiversity and soil ecosystem services, the development and application of biofertilisers specifically designed for this purpose, the reuse of crop residues in circular economy environments, the implementation of new tools and technologies, applied to increase efficiency in the uptake and use of nutrients, such as nanobubbles, the use of new generation sensors to monitor the nutritional and water status of the crop and the development of mathematical models for real-time processing of data have led to the publication of this Special Issue, which aims to compile the latest studies in the field of nutrition, fertilisation, and soil management in horticultural crops.

Prof. Dr. Fernando del Moral Torres
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • biofertilizers
  • ecological intensification
  • nanobubbles
  • crop residues
  • mineral nutrition
  • soil fertility
  • soil ecosystem services
  • soil-improving cropping systems
  • crop nutritional status

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 6096 KiB  
Article
Physiological and Transcriptional Characteristics of Banana Seedlings in Response to Nitrogen Deficiency Stress
by Lei Zhao, Bingyu Cai, Xiaohan Zhang, Bencheng Zhang, Junting Feng, Dengbo Zhou, Yufeng Chen, Miaoyi Zhang, Dengfeng Qi, Wei Wang, Jianghui Xie and Yongzan Wei
Horticulturae 2024, 10(3), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10030290 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 728
Abstract
Nitrogen is a crucial element for the growth and development of plants, directly affecting crop growth and yield. To investigate the physiological and molecular mechanism of nitrogen-deficiency stress, we conducted an investigation into the effects of different nitrogen levels on the growth, photosynthetic [...] Read more.
Nitrogen is a crucial element for the growth and development of plants, directly affecting crop growth and yield. To investigate the physiological and molecular mechanism of nitrogen-deficiency stress, we conducted an investigation into the effects of different nitrogen levels on the growth, photosynthetic characteristics, and gene transcription levels of banana seedlings. Compared with the control group with normal nitrogen levels (NN), the height of plants receiving Reduced-N (NR), Low-N (LN), and N-Free (NF) treatments was decreased by 0.45 cm, 2.5 cm, and 3.25 cm, respectively. Their dry weight was reduced by 1.63 g, 2.99 g, and 2.88 g, respectively. Conversely, the dry weight of the underground plant part in the LN and NF treatment groups exhibited an increase of 0.13 g and 0.16 g, respectively. Regarding photosynthetic characteristics, the Specialty Products Agricultural Division (SPAD) values of the NR, LN, and NF treatments showed reductions of 15.5%, 30.4%, and 35.9%, respectively, compared with those of the control treatments. The values of maximum photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm), actual photosynthetic efficiency (Y(Ⅱ)), and relative electron transfer (ETR) of the banana seedlings decreased to different degrees after NR, LN, and NF treatment, and their values were positively correlated with N levels. Gene transcription analysis showed that N transport-related proteins, including NRT1.7, NRT2.3a, NRT2.3b, and NRT2.5, were significantly up-regulated to increase the nitrogen absorption capacity of plant roots. On the other hand, various transcription factors including GRAS, MYB, and WRKY were notably up-regulated, facilitating root growth and the expanding root absorption area, thereby enhancing nitrogen uptake. Furthermore, genes associated with endogenous hormone metabolic pathways such as gibberellin (GA), strigolactone (SL), and brassinosteroids (BR) were activated in banana plants subjected to low nitrogen stress, enhancing the plant’s ability to adapt to nitrogen-deficient conditions. These findings offer valuable insights into understanding the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms governing banana responses to low nitrogen stress and breeding new varieties with improved nutrient utilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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14 pages, 3753 KiB  
Article
Improving the Nutrient Management of an Apple Orchard by Using Organic-Based Composites Derived from Agricultural Waste
by Florence Alexandra Tóth, Tamás Magyar, János Tamás and Péter Tamás Nagy
Horticulturae 2024, 10(2), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10020172 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 877
Abstract
Extreme weather and the declining organic matter content of soils cause serious sustainability problems in agriculture. Therefore, soil conditioner composites (chicken manure, bentonite and super absorbent polymer) were developed and tested in an integrated apple orchard characterized by poor nutrient and water management [...] Read more.
Extreme weather and the declining organic matter content of soils cause serious sustainability problems in agriculture. Therefore, soil conditioner composites (chicken manure, bentonite and super absorbent polymer) were developed and tested in an integrated apple orchard characterized by poor nutrient and water management to study their effects on soil, leaf and fruit attributes. Composites with higher doses of additives increased soil organic carbon by 4–9 g/kg, and organic nitrogen by 1.8–2.8 g/kg compared to the control (p < 0.05). Similarly, soil nitrate content steadily increased from 8–10 mg/kg to 30–38 mg/kg by composites. Composites effectively elevated leaf N, K, Ca, and Mg while not affecting the leaf P (p < 0.05). Treatments significantly enhanced the yields by 14–63% on average compared to the control. Treatments with bentonite improved the fruit weight by 2% and 24% compared to the chicken manure. On average, composite treatments increased the titratable acidity of fruits by 26–43% compared to the control and 0.5–10% compared to the treatment containing solely chicken manure. Overall, the developed organic-based composites are able to cope with changing circumstances that could help mitigate the negative effects of climate change, especially in arid areas, thus contributing to sustainable nutrient management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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10 pages, 575 KiB  
Article
Influence of Hydroponics Nutrient Solution on Quality of Selected Varieties of Potato Minitubers
by Winnie Chebet Wambugu, Anthony M. Kibe, Arnold M. Opiyo, Stephen Githeng’u and Thomas Odong
Horticulturae 2024, 10(2), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10020126 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Addressing poor seed quality is pivotal for increased potato yields in Kenya. For this to be realized there is a need for nutrient optimization in the hydroponic system. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of nutrient stock solution concentrations [...] Read more.
Addressing poor seed quality is pivotal for increased potato yields in Kenya. For this to be realized there is a need for nutrient optimization in the hydroponic system. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of nutrient stock solution concentrations on the quality of minitubers produced under a hydroponic system. Two greenhouse experiments were set up at Egerton University, Kenya in 2022. The treatments included three nutrient solution concentrations: 75% (N75), 100% (N100) and 125% (N125) and four potato varieties (Wanjiku, Unica, Shangi and Nyota) grown in a cocopeat substrate hydroponic system. The results indicated that the application of N125 produced minitubers that had significantly higher specific gravity, dry matter, starch, ash and sugar content. Crude protein and phosphorus did not differ significantly with the application of varying nutrient concentrations. The varieties did not differ significantly in the quality parameters except for total sugars where Unica was significantly different from Nyota and Wanjiku while Shangi did not differ from all varieties. Therefore, it will be advisable to apply 125% of the ADC-Molo recommended nutrient stock formulation which should be considered as an effective method of increasing minitubers quality under a hydroponic system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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15 pages, 336 KiB  
Article
Influence of Selenium, Titanium, and Silicon Nanoparticles on the Growth, Yield, and Fruit Quality of Mango under Drought Conditions
by Khalid F. Almutairi, Krzysztof Górnik, Rehab M. Awad, Ahmed Ayoub, Hesham S. Abada and Walid F. A. Mosa
Horticulturae 2023, 9(11), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9111231 - 15 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1101
Abstract
Weather fluctuations significantly affect the growth and production of orchard crops such as mango, leading to a substantial decrease in tree growth, flowering rate, yield, and fruit quality. One of these weather factors is drought, which negatively influences multiple physiological processes in plants. [...] Read more.
Weather fluctuations significantly affect the growth and production of orchard crops such as mango, leading to a substantial decrease in tree growth, flowering rate, yield, and fruit quality. One of these weather factors is drought, which negatively influences multiple physiological processes in plants. It increases the transpiration rate and decreases the cell turgidity, stomatal regulation, osmoregulation, water utilization efficiency, and the development of the deep root system; consequently, it decreases the final production and fruit quality. Therefore, the present study was performed in the 2022–2023 seasons to study the role of the spraying of Selenium (Se), Titanium (Ti), and Silicon (Si) nanoparticles on the growth parameters, yielding, fruit physical and chemical characteristics, and leaf mineral composition of mango cv. Keitt. Mango trees were sprayed during the vegetative season 2022–2023 three times, starting in April with three weeks intervals, by 5, 10, and 20 mg/L Se; 40, 60, and 80 mg/L Ti; and 50, 100, and 150 mg/L Si. The results showed that the extern spray of nanoparticles from these micronutrients improved the growth attributes, yielding and fruit quality of mango trees by reducing the effect of undesirable stressful conditions. The results also indicated that the extern implementation of 150 mg/L Si, 60 mg/L Ti and 20 mg/L Se gave the best increments in the shoot number, length, thickness, leaf area, and leaf chlorophyll contrasted to the else sprayed treatments. Besides, they also improved the fruit set percentages, fruit yields, fruit physical and chemical characteristics and nutritional status of mango trees in both tested seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
10 pages, 1140 KiB  
Article
Biodegradation Rate of EDTA and IDS and Their Metal Complexes
by Maria Beltyukova, Polina Kuryntseva, Polina Galitskaya, Svetlana Selivanovskaya, Vasiliy Brusko and Ayrat Dimiev
Horticulturae 2023, 9(6), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9060623 - 26 May 2023
Viewed by 1610
Abstract
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), when used as a main chelator for complex plant microfertilizers, causes many negative environmental effects; therefore, new compounds or new use of the known compounds to replace EDTA have been widely studied. In the present study, biodegradation rate, plant ( [...] Read more.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), when used as a main chelator for complex plant microfertilizers, causes many negative environmental effects; therefore, new compounds or new use of the known compounds to replace EDTA have been widely studied. In the present study, biodegradation rate, plant (Raphanus sativus) growth stimulation and ecotoxicity towards Daphnia magna and Chlorella vulgaris of iminodisuccinic acid (IDS), considered as an alternative for EDTA in agriculture, has been investigated. It was demonstrated that IDS’ biodegradation rate over 28 days was 28.1%, which is 4.5 times higher than that of EDTA. Similar to EDTA, complexation with metals led to an increase in the degradation rate by 1.8-fold. The majority of compounds were degraded within first 7 days. The GI values for IDS implemented at concentrations of 100 mg/L (both in pure form and in combination with microelements) were 2.4–2.6 times higher than those of EDTA. The ecotoxicity index EC10 of IDS was estimated to be 2.0 g/L and 5.8 g/L towards D. magna and Ch. vulgaris which are 4.1- and 10-fold higher than those for EDTA, respectively. It can be concluded that IDS is a promising agent to chelate microelements used in plant nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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23 pages, 680 KiB  
Article
Impact of Foliar Application of Zinc and Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles on Growth, Yield, Nutrient Uptake and Quality of Tomato
by Razu Ahmed, Md. Kamal Uddin, Md. Abdul Quddus, Mohd Yusoff Abd Samad, M. A. Motalib Hossain and Ahmad Numery Ashfaqul Haque
Horticulturae 2023, 9(2), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9020162 - 27 Jan 2023
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4167
Abstract
Appropriate foliar application of zinc (Zn) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) is important for the proper growth and yield of tomato. However, the effects of foliar application of Zn and ZnO-NPs were not well-studied on tomato production. A pot experiment was conducted at [...] Read more.
Appropriate foliar application of zinc (Zn) and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) is important for the proper growth and yield of tomato. However, the effects of foliar application of Zn and ZnO-NPs were not well-studied on tomato production. A pot experiment was conducted at glasshouse (8D) conditions under the Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to evaluate the effectiveness of Zn and ZnO-NPs on growth, yield, nutrient uptake, and fruit quality of tomatoes and to compare between the Zn nutrient and ZnO-NPs. Treatment combinations were 14 viz. T1 = 0 (control), T2 = 1500 ppm (mg/L) Zn nutrient, T3 = 2000 ppm (mg/L) Zn nutrient, T4 = 2500 ppm (mg/L) Zn nutrient, T5 = 75 ppm ZnO nanoparticle, T6 = 100 ppm ZnO nanoparticle, and T7 = 125 ppm ZnO nanoparticle along with two tomato varieties. The experimental design was a split plot with four replications. Results indicated that foliar application of 100 ppm ZnO-NPs performed best in terms of growth parameters, physiological traits, yield attributes, yield, and quality traits of tomatoes. The same treatment (100 ppm ZnO-NPs) contributed to attain the highest nutrient uptake. Recovery use efficiency of Zn was highest with foliar application of 75 ppm ZnO-NPs. The highest yield increment (200%) over control was from foliar sprayed with 100 ppm ZnO-NPs. Comparing the two varieties, MARDI Tomato-3 (MT3) showed better than MARDI Tomato-1 (MT1). As is appears from the results, foliar application of zinc oxide nanoparticles was more efficient than conventional zinc fertilizer. Therefore, the foliar sprayed with 100 ppm ZnO-NPs can be suggested to improve quantity and quality of tomato in glasshouse soil conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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10 pages, 947 KiB  
Article
Yield and Quality of Winter Jujube under Different Fertilizer Applications: A Field Investigation in the Yellow River Delta
by Yanpeng Zhang, Hui Yu, Haiyan Yao, Tingting Deng, Kuilin Yin, Jingtao Liu, Zhenhua Wang, Jikun Xu, Wenjun Xie and Zaiwang Zhang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(2), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9020152 - 25 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1293
Abstract
Winter jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill. cv. Dongzao) is highly popular due to its attractive taste and flavor of fruits. However, its cultivation is facing a serious obstacle for the substantial decrease in fruit soluble solids contents. In this study, four commonly-used fertilization [...] Read more.
Winter jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill. cv. Dongzao) is highly popular due to its attractive taste and flavor of fruits. However, its cultivation is facing a serious obstacle for the substantial decrease in fruit soluble solids contents. In this study, four commonly-used fertilization types, including organic manure application (OM), combined application of manure and NPK fertilizer (OC), NPK fertilizer application at high rate (HC) and NPK fertilizer application at low rate (LC) were selected to investigate their effects on soil and fruit properties. Results showed that fertilization influenced soil organic matter (SOM) and NPK contents. Fruit yield decreased as HC (3.37tha−1) > OC (2.81tha−1) > OM (2.14tha−1) > LC (1.92tha−1).Total soluble solids (TSS), protein contents, and the ratio of TSS to titratable acid (TA) were highest in OM, followed by OC, LC and HC. TSS and TSS/TA ratio in OM were 23.0% and 27.0% higher than those in HC. Fruit yield was significantly positively correlated with soil available N, vegetative shoot leaf N, and total topsoil P contents. TSS and TSS/TA ratio both significantly positively correlated with SOM of topsoil and leaf P contents. Combined application of organic and inorganic fertilizers should be the optimal mode for winter jujube production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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13 pages, 4775 KiB  
Article
Organic Substrates Differentially Affect Growth and Macronutrient Concentrations of Lulo (Solanum quitoense Lam.) Seedlings
by Libia Iris Trejo-Téllez, Fernando Carlos Gómez-Merino, J. Cruz García-Albarado and María Guadalupe Peralta-Sánchez
Horticulturae 2022, 8(12), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8121200 - 15 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1208
Abstract
We tested the effect of varying percentages (v/v) of peatmoss and compost (60/40, T1; 40/60, T2; and 20/80, T3) on growth and macronutrient concentration of lulo (Solanum quitoense Lam.) seedlings in a completely randomized experiment with ten replicates [...] Read more.
We tested the effect of varying percentages (v/v) of peatmoss and compost (60/40, T1; 40/60, T2; and 20/80, T3) on growth and macronutrient concentration of lulo (Solanum quitoense Lam.) seedlings in a completely randomized experiment with ten replicates under greenhouse conditions. Lulo seedlings displayed higher plant height and stem diameter when grown in T1 and T2, as compared to T3. In root tissues, N concentration was higher in plants grown in T1, and the same trend was observed in leaves, though differences were not significant in the latter. All other nutrient concentrations analyzed in root tissues were higher in plants under T3. These results are directly related to a higher biomass production in roots as compared to shoots (52.5% higher) found in T3. In leaf tissues, however, significant increases in plants exposed to T3 were only evident for Ca and S concentrations (i.e., 10.6 and 2.6 g kg−1 DBW). Considering dry biomass weight (DBW), lulo plants exhibited a significant and positive correlation between shoot (ShDBW) and total dry biomass (TDBW), whereas low and negative correlations were observed between root DBW and ShDBW. Therefore, a peatmoss/compost ratio of 0.66 (40/60, T2) results in a better plant growth performance, ensuring a good plant nutrient status for lulo seedlings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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12 pages, 1410 KiB  
Article
Effects of Neem Leaf Extract on the Soil Properties, Growth, Yield, and Inorganic Nitrogen Contents of Lettuce
by Pranee Sriraj, Banyong Toomsan and Somchai Butnan
Horticulturae 2022, 8(12), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8121104 - 25 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5437
Abstract
While lettuce offers essential human nutrients, it also contains anti-nutrients, particularly nitrate (NO3). The use of neem leaf extract as a natural nitrification inhibitor has proven itself promising to remediate lettuce tissue NO3 content. This study evaluated the [...] Read more.
While lettuce offers essential human nutrients, it also contains anti-nutrients, particularly nitrate (NO3). The use of neem leaf extract as a natural nitrification inhibitor has proven itself promising to remediate lettuce tissue NO3 content. This study evaluated the effects of neem leaf extract on soil properties, soil nitrification, lettuce growth, yield, and NO3 content. Five nitrification inhibitor treatments were evaluated: (i) no inhibitor (control), (ii) nitrapyrin, and three rates of neem leaf extract based on the dry weight of the raw material: (iii) 1 g kg−1 soil (Neem1), (iv) 2 g kg−1 soil (Neem2), and (v) 4 g kg−1 soil (Neem4). Neem leaf extract generally increased soil concentrations: P (47.6–55.8 mg kg−1), K (45.8–62.7 mg kg−1), Ca (129–164 mg kg−1), and Mg (29.0–35.7 mg kg−1) compared with the control (50.6 mg P kg−1, 35.3 mg K kg−1, 123 mg Ca kg−1, and 24.8 mg Mg kg−1). Neem leaf extracts significantly increased soil NH4+–N concentrations (13.9–30.2 mg kg−1) and nitrification inhibition (12.5–70.5%), but significantly decreased soil NO3–N concentrations (6.4–13.2 mg kg−1) and net nitrification rates (0.08–0.23 mg N kg−1 day−1) relative to the control (6.6 mg NH4+–N kg−1, 14.7 mg NO3–N kg−1, 0.26 mg N kg−1 day−1, and 0% nitrification inhibition). The neem leaf extracts significantly decreased shoot fresh weight (13.5–43.1 g plant−1), shoot dry weight (0.84–3.91 g plant−1), and root dry weight (0.14–0.27 g plant−1) compared with the control (52.3 g shoot fresh weight plant−1, 5.36 g shoot dry weight plant−1, and 0.35 g root dry weight plant−1). The significant decreases in the lettuce biomass in the neem extract treatments paralleled the significant decreases in the shoot’s tissue NO3–N contents and significant increases in tissue NH4+–N content and soil Al concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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11 pages, 1909 KiB  
Article
The Relative Sensitivity of Marigold vs. Tomato to Iron (Fe) Toxicity Is Associated with Root Traits: Root-to-Shoot Mass Ratio, Failure to Sequester Fe in Roots, and Levels of the Major Fe-Uptake Protein, IRT
by Emina Kostic, Scott Heckathorn, Aaron Bagrowski, J. Thomas Franklin and Jennifer Boldt
Horticulturae 2022, 8(9), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8090803 - 02 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1562
Abstract
Some plants are susceptible to iron (Fe) toxicity, resulting in excess leaf Fe, followed by photo-oxidative damage and necrosis. Avoidance of Fe toxicity should relate to root Fe-uptake properties, including the concentration of Fe-uptake proteins, which are rarely measured. Therefore, we compared responses [...] Read more.
Some plants are susceptible to iron (Fe) toxicity, resulting in excess leaf Fe, followed by photo-oxidative damage and necrosis. Avoidance of Fe toxicity should relate to root Fe-uptake properties, including the concentration of Fe-uptake proteins, which are rarely measured. Therefore, we compared responses to Fe toxicity in marigold (Tagetes erecta), a species prone to Fe toxicity, with tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) to determine which root responses were related to Fe-toxicity sensitivity. Plants were grown at 5, 50, and 500 µM Fe. Biomass decreased at 50 and/or 500 vs. 5 µM Fe in both species, with leaf necrosis occurring in marigold. Fe uptake per g root increased with increasing Fe in both species. Root and shoot Fe increased with Fe availability, with Fe much higher in roots than in shoots. Root Fe was higher in tomato, but shoot Fe was higher in marigold. Root protein levels of IRT, the main Fe transporter, decreased from 5 to 50 µM Fe in both species, but further decreased at 500 µM Fe only in tomato. In contrast, responses of secondary Fe-uptake proteins, FRO and H+-ATPase, were similar in the two species. Marigold was likely more susceptible to Fe toxicity because it could not prevent Fe transport to, and accumulation in, leaves; and its sensitivity to high Fe corresponded to a limited capacity to down-regulate IRT as available Fe increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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Review

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25 pages, 1868 KiB  
Review
From Lab to Field: Biofertilizers in the 21st Century
by Ana Ibáñez, Sonia Garrido-Chamorro, María F. Vasco-Cárdenas and Carlos Barreiro
Horticulturae 2023, 9(12), 1306; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9121306 - 05 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
Nowadays, legal regulations and social environmental concerns are converging towards the promotion of more sustainable agriculture based on organic compounds and soil preservation. These trends are fuelling the growth of the biofertilizers, which are beneficial preparations containing microorganisms able to enhance a plant’s [...] Read more.
Nowadays, legal regulations and social environmental concerns are converging towards the promotion of more sustainable agriculture based on organic compounds and soil preservation. These trends are fuelling the growth of the biofertilizers, which are beneficial preparations containing microorganisms able to enhance a plant’s ability to uptake essential nutrients. Their production and commercialization encompass a multitude of critical steps deeply reviewed in this manuscript through an exhaustive overview of the key stages, such as microorganism selection, new environmental sources, upscaling to field trials, encapsulation, current application systems and regulatory considerations. However, although the economical expectations are promising, several methodological, environmental, and legal concerns are undermining their advancement. The redefinition of international legal frameworks, their enhancement based on trending technologies, and the fostering of multidisciplinary collaboration across sectors are key players to promote biofertilizers as eco-friendly and cost-effective alternatives to chemical fertilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horticultural Plant Nutrition, Fertilization, Soil Management)
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