Italian Journal of Agronomy <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> PAGEPress Scientific Publications, Pavia, Italy en-US Italian Journal of Agronomy 1125-4718 <p><strong>PAGEPress</strong> has chosen to apply the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License</strong></a>&nbsp;(CC BY-NC 4.0) to all manuscripts to be published.<br><br> An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:</p> <ol> <li>the author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.</li> <li>a complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.</li> </ol> <p>Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:</p> <ol> <li>Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.</li> </ol> Allelopathic potential of leaf aqueous extracts from Cynara cardunculus L. on the seedling growth of two cosmopolitan weed species <p>The search for sustainable alternatives to synthetic herbicides for weed control, has led the scientific community to an increased interest for plant allelopathic mechanisms. The utilization of plant extracts as possible bioherbicides represents an important solution. In the present study, laboratory experiments were carried out to investigate, for the first time, the differences in the allelopathic activity of the three <em>Cynara cardunculus</em> L. botanical varieties (globe artichoke, cultivated and wild cardoon) leaf aqueous extracts on the seedling growth of <em>Amaranthus retroflexus</em> L. and <em>Portulaca oleracea</em> L. In addition, the autoallelopathic effect on wild cardoon growth and the qualitative profile of the aqueous extract through HPLC analysis were evaluated. Overall, the allelopathic effects were both genotype- and weed species-dependent. Wild cardoon showed the highest allelopathic potential (–23.4%), followed by cultivated cardoon and globe artichoke, and <em>P. oleracea</em> was the most sensitive target species (–32%). Besides, root system length was the most affected parameter (–32.6%). The autoallelopathic effect of wild cardoon extract was also demonstrated on root system length, hypocotyl and epicotyl length and total dry weight. <em>C. cardunculus</em> leaf aqueous extract was characterised by 5 sesquiterpene lactones, 2 caffeoylquinic acids, 6 flavones and 1 lignan. From the HPLC analysis we found that apigenin and luteolin 7-<em>O</em>-glucoronide were detected only in wild cardoon, apigenin 7-<em>O</em>-glucoside was typic of globe artichoke, and 11,13-dihydro-desacylcynaropicrin and 11,13-dihydroxi-8-desoxygrosheimin were characteristics of cultivated cardoon.</p> Aurelio Scavo Gaetano Pandino Alessia Restuccia Sara Lombardo Gaetano Roberto Pesce Giovanni Mauromicale ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-05-07 2019-05-07 14 1 10.4081/ija.2019.1373 Effects of close cutting on ground cover and quality of a polystand of Manilagrass and cool season turfgrasses <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> Nicola Grossi Marco Fontanelli Christian Frasconi Luisa Martelloni Michele Raffaelli Andrea Peruzzi Monica Gaetani Simone Magni Lisa Caturegli Marco Volterrani Michel Pirchio ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-03-19 2019-03-19 14 1 59 65 10.4081/ija.2019.1378 Fatty acid composition and antioxidant capacity in linseed grown as forage in Mediterranean environment <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> Leonardo Sulas Giovanni Antonio Re Federico Sanna Simonetta Bullitta Giovanna Piluzza ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-03-14 2019-03-14 14 1 50 58 10.4081/ija.2019.1291 Linking phytotechnologies to bioeconomy; varietal screening of high biomass and energy crops for phytoremediation of Cr and Cu contaminated soils <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> Filip Pošćić Guido Fellet Massimo Fagnano Nunzio Fiorentino Luca Marchiol ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-03-05 2019-03-05 14 1 43 49 10.4081/ija.2019.1176 Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) as a novel forage and feed source: A review <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> Amir M. Jamshidi Mariana Amato Ali Ahmadi Rocco Bochicchio Roberta Rossi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-03-05 2019-03-05 14 1 1 18 10.4081/ija.2019.1297 Improving soil phosphorus availability and yield of Zea mays l. using biochar and compost derived from agro-industrial wastes <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> Huck Ywih Ch’ng Ahmed Osumanu Haruna Nik Muhamad Nik Abdul Majid Mohamadu Boyie Jalloh ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-02-20 2019-02-20 14 1 34 42 10.4081/ija.2019.1107 Actual evapotranspiration and crop coefficients of irrigated lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.) under semiarid climate <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> Koffi Djaman Daran R. Rudnick Yonnelle D. Moukoumbi Abdoulaye Sow Suat Irmak ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-01-03 2019-01-03 14 1 19 25 10.4081/ija.2019.1059 Effect of crop management intensity on energy and carbon dioxide balance of two bioenergy Sorghum bicolor hybrids <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> Antonio M. Cabrera-Ariza Cristiano Tozzini Sergio E. Espinoza-Meza Rómulo E. Santelices-Moya Carlos R. Magni-Díaz Máximo F. Alonso-Valdés ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-11-28 2018-11-28 14 1 26 33 10.4081/ija.2018.1316 St. Augustinegrass accessions planted in northern, central and southern Italy: Growth and morphological traits during establishment <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> Lisa Caturegli Rokhsareh Ramazani Marco Volterrani Nicola Grossi Simone Magni Stefano Macolino Cristina Pornaro Salvatore La Bella Teresa Tuttolomondo Alberto Minelli Monica Gaetani ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-11-09 2018-11-09 14 1 332 337 10.4081/ija.2018.1294 Morphological characterisation of Cucurbita maxima Duchesne (Cucurbitaceae) landraces from the Po Valley (Northern Italy) <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> Simone Orsenigo Thomas Abeli Massimo Schiavi Paolo Cauzzi Filippo Guzzon Nicola M.G. Ardenghi Graziano Rossi Ilda Vagge ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-11-07 2018-11-07 14 1 338 342 10.4081/ija.2018.963