Italian Journal of Agronomy 2019-04-20T15:47:13+02:00 Paola Granata Open Journal Systems <p>The <strong>Italian Journal of Agronomy</strong> <em>(IJA)</em> is the official journal of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Italian Society for Agronomy</a>. It publishes quarterly original articles and reviews reporting experimental and theoretical contributions to agronomy and crop science, with main emphasis on original articles from Italy and countries having similar agricultural conditions. The journal deals with all aspects of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the interactions between cropping of sustainable development. Multidisciplinary articles that bridge agronomy with ecology, environmental and social sciences are also accepted.</p> Effects of close cutting on ground cover and quality of a polystand of Manilagrass and cool season turfgrasses 2019-04-20T15:47:05+02:00 Nicola Grossi Marco Fontanelli Christian Frasconi Luisa Martelloni Michele Raffaelli Andrea Peruzzi Monica Gaetani Simone Magni Lisa Caturegli Marco Volterrani Michel Pirchio <p>Warm season turfgrasses can be grown successfully in the transition zone, but dormancy occurs to some extent during the winter. Overseeding with cool-season turfgrasses is necessary if winter dormancy of warm season turfgrasses is not tolerated. The increasing availability of zoysiagrass cultivars has enabled this genus to be considered suitable for low-maintenance golf courses, especially for golf tees and golf fairways. On the other hand, zoysiagrasses have the most rigid leaves of all turfgrass species, followed by bermudagrasses and by the other warm season turf species. Thus, to have a high mowing quality, mowers working constantly on zoysiagrasses require more sharpening than mowers working on other grasses. Rotary mowers are not suitable for mowing at low heights and often result in scalping, while reel mowers perform optimal mowing at a short height (below 2.5 cm) but require accurate management and frequent sharpening. Autonomous mowers have proven to produce a superior turf quality compared with traditional walk-behind rotary mowers, but no autonomous mower has ever been tested at a low mowing height on an overseeded warm season turfgrass. Because of this, the trial was carried out to simulate a golf tee overseeded with cool season turfgrasses, with low input fertilisation rates and with one of the most difficult turf species to mow; <em>i.e. Zoysia matrella</em> (L.) Merr. The trial was carried out in San Piero a Grado (Pisa, Italy) from October 2016 to October 2018. After a two-year period the best turf quality was achieved with <em>Festuca rubra</em> L. ssp. cultivars among the overseeded species, especially during fall. In many cases turf quality increased after manila grass green up since the combination of both cool season and warm season species gave a higher quality to the turfgrass, due to the finer leaf texture and higher shoot density of some cool season species. Moreover, recovery of manila grass ground cover was satisficing. In conclusion, a polystand of manila grass and <em>Festuca rubra</em> ssp. could be suitable for golf tees with low-input management.</p> 2019-03-19T10:53:36+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fatty acid composition and antioxidant capacity in linseed grown as forage in Mediterranean environment 2019-04-20T15:47:07+02:00 Leonardo Sulas Giovanni Antonio Re Federico Sanna Simonetta Bullitta Giovanna Piluzza <p>This research was aimed at studying the bromatological traits, fatty acid profile, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant capacity in linseed (<em>Linum usitatissimum</em> L.) shoots harvested at six codified morphological stages. Quality traits were significantly related to cumulated growing degree days from seedling emergence to senescence. The crude protein and ash contents exhibited a gradual decrease and were negatively correlated with morphological stages, whereas cell wall components such as neutral, acid detergent fibers and lignin (NDF, ADF, and ADL) and ether extract (EE) showed a positive correlation. Both ABTS [(2,2’-azinobis (3- ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) diammonium salt] and DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) assays indicated a reduction in antioxidant capacities from stem extension to senescence, from 16 to 7.1, and 19 to 7 mmol TEAC/100g DW, for ABTS and DPPH, respectively. Significant linear correlation among the antioxidant activity, phenolics, NDF, ADF, ADL, and EE were found showed usually. Total phenolic (9.6-26.4 g GAE kg<sup>–1</sup>) and total flavonoid (5.2-16.7 g CE kg<sup>–1</sup>) contents were negatively related with morphological stages. The morphological stage was significantly correlated with oil content, although individual fatty acid content did not. Research gives new insights into the evolution of chemical composition of linseed shoot. Remarkable variations in quality traits, fatty acid contents, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant capacity evidence the possibility to use green linseed in animals’ diet, also suggesting the exploitation of linseed plant as forage source.</p> 2019-03-14T12:06:06+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Linking phytotechnologies to bioeconomy; varietal screening of high biomass and energy crops for phytoremediation of Cr and Cu contaminated soils 2019-04-20T15:47:07+02:00 Filip Pošćić Guido Fellet Massimo Fagnano Nunzio Fiorentino Luca Marchiol <p>Enerbiochem was a project devoted to study new strategies of industrial valorisation of high biomass crops grown on brownfields or contaminated soils not suitable for food production. Chromium and copper accumulation and toxicity were examined in different species of agronomic interest. Cultivars of <em>Brassica carinata</em> A. Braun (7), <em>Brassica juncea</em> (L.) Czern. (4), <em>Brassica napus</em> L. (4), <em>Raphanus sativus</em> L. (4), inbred lines of <em>Helianthus annuus</em> L. (6) and cultivars of <em>Nicotiana tabacum</em> L. (3) were screened for the best genetic materials to be used with the aims: i) to produce the highest biomass in contaminated soils; and ii) possibly to phytoremediate them. Cr and Cu accumulation in shoots were evaluated on 16 days old plants grown for additional 5 days in the presence of either Cr (60 μM) or Cu (2 μM) in hydroponic. They were characterised for Cr and Cu concentrations in roots and shoots, shoot biomass, and total chlorophyll as well. Shoot biomass was significantly lower in Brassica species than in <em>R. sativus, H. annuus </em>and<em> N. tabacum</em> under Cr treatments. On the contrary, under Cu treatments, N. tabacum produced the lowest biomass in respect to other species. Potentially toxic element concentrations varied among genetic material and some genetic material resulted less affected (higher chlorophyll content and shoot biomass) even under higher Cu or Cr concentrations in shoot. Potential candidates within each species, to be used for coupling phytoremediation and biomass production on slightly Cr-Cu potentially contaminated soils are listed.</p> 2019-03-05T15:28:12+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) as a novel forage and feed source: A review 2019-04-20T15:47:08+02:00 Amir M. Jamshidi Mariana Amato Ali Ahmadi Rocco Bochicchio Roberta Rossi <p>Chia (<em>Salvia hispanica L</em>.), is a traditional pre-Colombian food crop from Central America. Being considered the richest botanical source of omega-3 fatty acids, it has recently been rediscovered as a functional food and feed. A growing body of literature indicates that dietary chia seeds greatly improve animal products quality without compromising growth, productivity and organoleptic quality. Chia is mainly cultivated as a seed crop but recently interest has been raised on biomass production as a potential forage source opening alleys toward the integration of chia in crop-livestock systems. Literature on chia is flourishing, up to now reviews addressed botany, agronomy phytochemical and medicinal uses, this article reviews the main findings on chia use in animal nutrition and includes an overview on both seed and biomass yield and quality as affected by environment, agronomy, and genetic background. Chia is a short-day flowering crop, seed yields of commercial varieties can be as high as 2999 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> in areas of origin while at European latitudes seed production is severely hampered by photoperiod sensitivity (max 518 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>). The viable growing of chia for seeds worldwide relies on the availability of genotypes flowering at longer days than in the areas of origin, while for whole plant a relatively high forage yield can be expected. In southern Italy commercial short-day flowering varieties yielded up to 2.07 t ha<sup>–1</sup> of leaf dry biomass and in Greece chia yielded up to 15 T ha<sup>−1</sup> dry biomass. Chia seeds supplement in livestock diet are administered with the main objective to increase the content of omega-3 and improve animal health. The majority of work has been done on poultry and rabbits where rewarding results have been obtained in terms of improvement of products lipids profile. Only one work was published on pig but the first results are encouraging. Published data on ruminants are few but in agreement with findings on other species these works demonstrate chia has no adverse effects health performances, and sizeable improvement of milk fatty acid profile. A qualitative improvement of freshwater cultivated fish fillets was also obtained with a partial replacement of soybean oil with chia. Finally an innovative study tested the effect of total or partial replacement of wheat bran in the diets of two edible insects that can be considered the new frontier of food and feed production chains.</p> 2019-03-05T14:36:10+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Improving soil phosphorus availability and yield of Zea mays l. using biochar and compost derived from agro-industrial wastes 2019-04-20T15:47:09+02:00 Huck Ywih Ch’ng Ahmed Osumanu Haruna Nik Muhamad Nik Abdul Majid Mohamadu Boyie Jalloh <p>Tropical soils such as Ultisols fix phosphorus (P) because of their characteristically high contents of aluminium and iron. Organic amendments could be used to mitigate P fixation. This study aimed to: i) improve soil P availability, nutrients uptake, and yield of <em>Zea mays</em> L. using biochar and pineapple leaf residues compost; and ii) determine if the use of biochar and pineapple leaf residues compost could exert a residual effect on P. Two cycles of field trials were carried out and the test crop used was <em>Zea mays</em> L. hybrid F1. At harvest, the plants were harvested, partitioned into leaves and stems, and analysed. Soil samples were also collected and analysed. The results suggest that the soil total P, available P, inorganic P, and organic P recovered from the treatments with the organic amendments were higher compared with the nonorganic amendments. The availability of soil macro-nutrients in the soils and <em>Zea mays</em> L. yield were higher in the treatments with the organic amendments in the first and second field trials. Amending chemical fertilisers with organic amendments have a larger residual effect than chemical fertilisers only and can be used to ameliorate P fixation of acid soils to improve maize production on acid soils.</p> 2019-02-20T15:24:51+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Actual evapotranspiration and crop coefficients of irrigated lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.) under semiarid climate 2019-04-20T15:47:09+02:00 Koffi Djaman Daran R. Rudnick Yonnelle D. Moukoumbi Abdoulaye Sow Suat Irmak <p>Lowland irrigated rice is the predominant crop produced in the Senegal River Valley characterised by very low annual rainfall, high temperatures, and low relative humidity. The Senegal River is shared by Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Guinea, and serves as the main source of irrigation water for the adopted double rice cropping system. Developing appropriate resource management strategies might be the key factor for the sustainability of rice production in the region. This study aims to estimate rice seasonal evapotranspiration (ETa), irrigation water requirement, and to develop rice growth stage specific crop coefficients (Kc) to improve rice water productivity. Field experiments were conducted during the hot and dry seasons in 2014 and 2015 at the AfricaRice research station at Fanaye in Senegal. Irrigation water inputs were monitored and actual crop evapotranspiration was derived using the water balance method. Daily reference evapotranspiration (ETo) was estimated using the Penman-Monteith equation and the weather variables were collected at the site by an automated weather station. The results showed that the ETo during the hot and dry season from February 15<sup>th</sup> to June 30<sup>th</sup> varied from 4.5 to 9.9 mm and from 3.7 to 10.8 mm in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and averaged 6.8 mm d<sup>–1</sup> in 2014 and 6.6 mm d<sup>–1</sup> in 2015. The seasonal irrigation water amount for the transplanted rice was 1110 mm in 2014 and 1095 mm in 2015. Rice daily ETa varied from 4.7 to 10.5 mm in 2014 and from 4.4 to 10.5 mm in 2015 and averaged 8.17 mm in 2014 and 8.14 mm in 2015. Rice seasonal ETa was 841.5 mm in 2014 and 855.4 mm in 2015. The derived rice Kc values varied from 0.77 to 1.51 in 2014 and 0.85 to 1.50 in 2015. Rice Kc values averaged 1.01, 1.31, and 1.12 for the crop development, mid-season and late season growth stages, respectively. The Kc values developed in this study could be used for water management under rice production during the hot and dry season in the Senegal River Valley.</p> 2019-01-03T00:00:00+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Effect of crop management intensity on energy and carbon dioxide balance of two bioenergy Sorghum bicolor hybrids 2019-04-20T15:47:10+02:00 Antonio M. Cabrera-Ariza Cristiano Tozzini Sergio E. Espinoza-Meza Rómulo E. Santelices-Moya Carlos R. Magni-Díaz Máximo F. Alonso-Valdés <p>Although bioenergy sorghum has many traits that make it ideal for biofuel production, management conditions that can affect the productivity and sustainability of these systems are still poorly understood. This paper estimated the energy and CO<sub>2</sub> balance of two bioenergy sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench.) hybrids (H128 and H133) cultivated during two growing seasons and under two different levels of crop management, high and low input. At the end of both growing season, sorghum was harvested for biomass yield determination. Calorific value and net energy production were also estimated. Crop management had important effects on sorghum CO<sub>2</sub> and energy balance. The energy produced varied between 126 and 365 GJ ha<sup>–1</sup> depending on crop management, hybrid and growing season. Regarding of the CO<sub>2</sub> balance, the high level of crop management had a superior CO<sub>2</sub> emission. However, the energy produced per kg of CO<sub>2</sub> emitted was higher (&gt;300%) than the energy produced with the use of fossil fuels. The use of bioenergy sorghum can contribute to better energy sustainability and reduced CO<sub>2</sub> emission in Mediterranean ecosystems.</p> 2018-11-28T00:00:00+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## St. Augustinegrass accessions planted in northern, central and southern Italy: Growth and morphological traits during establishment 2019-04-20T15:47:11+02:00 Lisa Caturegli Rokhsareh Ramazani Marco Volterrani Nicola Grossi Simone Magni Stefano Macolino Cristina Pornaro Salvatore La Bella Teresa Tuttolomondo Alberto Minelli Monica Gaetani <p>The use of warm season turfgrasses is a consolidated trend in the climatic transition zone of Mediterranean countries, in particular St. Augustinegrass (<em>Stenotaphrum secundatum</em> (Walt.) Kuntze) begins to be widespread in warm coastal areas. However, little is known about the performance of the different cultivars of this species in southern Europe. In 2016-2017 a trial was carried out in three locations in Italy, Padova, Pisa, and Palermo, located in the north, center and south of the country respectively. Four cultivars (Floratine, Captiva, Sapphire, Palmetto) and five ecotypes (CeRTES 201, CeRTES 202, CeRTES 203, CeRTES 204, CeRTES 205) were compared in terms of their growth characteristics and morphological traits during establishment. The results highlighted that stolon growth was significantly affected by the location, as well as green colour retention. Stolon growth rate, internode length and internode volume and turf quality were, however, significantly determined by the accession effect. The quality of the ecotypes was also in some cases comparable to that of the cultivars. In Padova, winterkill occurred in most of the accessions, while in Pisa and Palermo, all the entries survived. In conclusion, St. Augustinegrass is suitable for turf use in the central and southern coastal area of Italy.</p> 2018-11-09T17:23:24+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Morphological characterisation of Cucurbita maxima Duchesne (Cucurbitaceae) landraces from the Po Valley (Northern Italy) 2019-04-20T15:47:12+02:00 Simone Orsenigo Thomas Abeli Massimo Schiavi Paolo Cauzzi Filippo Guzzon Nicola M.G. Ardenghi Graziano Rossi Ilda Vagge <p>Identifying crop genetic resources represent an important aspect of agricultural biodiversity conservation. However, conservation of landraces is challenging because they often cannot be properly identified, or have already suffered from genetic erosion, or have disappeared. Identification of landraces can be obtained using molecular markers or discriminating qualitative and quantitative morphological traits. The latter methodology is cheap and easily achievable, allowing the registration of landraces in national catalogues. In this study, we carried out a morphological characterisation of different accessions of <em>Cucurbita maxima</em> (Cucurbitaceae) cultivated in the Po Valley (N-Italy), locally known as <em>Cappello da prete</em>. The aim was to explore the morphological fruit variability among accessions and to identify potential distinct landraces within the Cappello da prete squash group. Differences between accessions were found indicating that morphological traits can be effectively used to identify these landraces and suggesting a diversification by isolation. Indeed, our morphological analysis shown the existence of two different landraces of <em>Cappello da prete</em> squashes. The adopted procedure can demonstrate that few <em>low-cost traits</em> are useful for the registration of local varieties in the official catalogue of landraces. Our study also demonstrates that morphological characterisation allows a rapid and cost-effective identification of diagnostic morphological traits that, together with historical and cultural information, are fundamental to recognise landraces.</p> 2018-11-07T17:23:24+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement## Application of modern agronomic and biotechnological strategies to valorise worldwide globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L.) potential - an analytical overview 2019-04-20T15:47:13+02:00 Aneta Grabowska Gianluca Caruso Ali Mehrafarin Andrzej Kalisz Robert Gruszecki Edward Kunicki Agnieszka Sękara <p>The globe artichoke [<em>Cynara cardunculus</em> L. var. <em>scolymus</em> (L.) Fiori], an ancient vegetable originated in the Mediterranean Basin, is currently cultivated in many regions of the world under a perennial cycle or as an annual crop, with the first method being more widespread globally. The growing importance of globe artichoke as modern functional food as well as a source of pharmaceuticals has raised new issues that all producers have to face; hence the necessity of contemporaneous development of new centres of production and new technologies application in traditional regions of growing which can complement the global market. This review is focused on development of globe artichoke technology of production in recent several years which meet the diversified requirements of global and local markets. We considered the recent literature to highlight specific applications of modern farming practices and plant breeding along with genetic variation to globe artichoke production system as well as to postharvest management in order to enhance the value added of this commodity. The latter targets are mainly addressed to particular regions of the world and they are based on farmers knowledge, equipment, scale and methods of production, processing, final market. Our reports are focused on sustainable and environmentally friendly methods which can improve the profitability of production as well as product’s quality and quantity traits. We discussed the balanced mineral application which can precisely affect the yield chemical composition, attractiveness and shelf life of globe artichoke heads as well as create the opportunities to attain standardised by-products, valuable on the market of health and convenient food. Further topics were developed, such as introduction of seed propagation, intercropping, grafting, flowering induction, postharvest treatments as linked to different regions and conditions of production. Precise selection of modern management practices was recognised as a main goal to fulfil the requirements of local and global market for fresh, processed and new potential globe artichoke products.</p> 2018-11-07T16:09:25+01:00 ##submission.copyrightStatement##