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> en-US <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> (Paola Granata) (Tiziano Taccini) Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0100 OJS 60 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## Wed, 28 Nov 2018 12:40:58 +0100 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## Fri, 09 Nov 2018 17:23:24 +0100 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## Wed, 07 Nov 2018 17:23:24 +0100 Application of modern agronomic and biotechnological strategies to valorise worldwide globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L.) potential - an analytical overview <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> Aneta Grabowska, Gianluca Caruso, Ali Mehrafarin, Andrzej Kalisz, Robert Gruszecki, Edward Kunicki, Agnieszka Sękara ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 07 Nov 2018 16:09:25 +0100 Compost enriched with ZnO and Zn-solubilising bacteria improves yield and Zn-fortification in flooded rice <p>Zinc (Zn) is an essential element for humans, animals and plants, however, its deficiency has been widely reported around the world especially in flooded rice. Adequate amount of Zn is considered essential for optimum growth and development of rice. We hypothesised that management practices like Zn-mineral fertiliser, -compost, and -solubilising bacteria would improve Zn availability and uptake in flooded rice. A series of studies were conducted to find out the comparative efficacy of Zn-enriched composts (Zn-ECs) with Zn solubilising bacteria (ZnSB) <em>vs</em>. ZnSO<sub>4</sub> for improved growth, yield and Zn accumulation in rice. There were six treatments viz. control, ZnSB, ZnO (80% Zn), ZnSO<sub>4</sub> (33% Zn), Zn-EC<sub>80:20</sub> and Zn-EC<sub>60:40</sub>. In all the treatments, Zn was applied at the rate of 5 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> except the control. The treatment Zn-EC<sub>60:40</sub> resulted in the maximum Zn release in soil as compared to ZnSO<sub>4</sub> and all other treatments during incubation study. The treatment Zn-EC<sub>60:40</sub> significantly improved root dry weight, grain yield and 100-grain weight of rice by 15, 22 and 28%, respectively as compared to ZnSO<sub>4</sub>. The same treatment resulted in the maximum increase in photosynthetic rate (11%), transpiration rate (21%), stomatal conductance (17%), chlorophyll contents (8%) and carbonic anhydrase activity (10%) while a decrease of 27% in electrolyte leakage was observed in comparison with ZnSO<sub>4</sub> application. Moreover, the maximum increase in grain quality parameters and Zn bioaccumulation was observed with the application of Zn-EC<sub>60:40</sub> in comparison with ZnSO<sub>4</sub> application and all other treatments. We conclude that Zn-EC<sub>60:40</sub> are not only an effective strategy to improve growth, physiology and yield parameters of rice, but also to improve the grain quality and Zn-bioaccumulation in rice compared to ZnSO<sub>4</sub>.</p> Hassan Zeb, Azhar Hussain, Muhammad Naveed, Allah Ditta, Shakeel Ahmad, Muhammad Usman Jamshaid, Hafiz Tanvir Ahmad, Muhammad Baqir Hussain, Riffat Aziz, Muhammad Sajjad Haider ##submission.copyrightStatement## Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:29:13 +0100 Soil physical properties, nitrogen uptake and grain quality of maize (Zea mays L.) as affected by tillage systems and nitrogen application <p>Soil compaction is a global issue pertaining to agricultural lands. The frequent use of farm machinery and field operations at the same depth are the major causes of soil compaction. The gradual increase in soil compaction deteriorates maize grain quality due to reduced nitrogen (N) uptake. Quality food production by reducing soil compaction is the need of time, which can be achieved through deep tillage and N management. In this study, three tillage systems viz. conventional tillage (using cultivator), tillage with mould board plough +2-cultivations (MBP), and tillage with chisel plough +2-cultivations (CP); and three nitrogen levels viz. 100, 150 and 200 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> were used to evaluate their effect on soil properties, N uptake and grain quality in maize. Lower bulk density (1.41 Mg m<sup>–3</sup>), higher total porosity (0.47 m<sup>3</sup> m<sup>–3</sup>) and higher nitrogen uptake (96.01 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>) was recorded under chisel plough (CP) compared with other tillage systems. Different N levels had significant effect on grain and total N uptake and grain quality, while soil properties remains unaffected. Higher N uptake was recorded with 200 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> N application than other treatments. Similarly, 8.51% and 8.57% more grain protein contents were recorded with 200 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> N during first and second year respectively. Unlike grain protein, starch and oil contents were negatively affected by N application being higher starch (71.7%) and oil contents (3.41%) with less N supply (100 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>). However, interaction effect of tillage and nitrogen levels was found non-significant for all studied parameters except for oil contents. Higher oil contents were recorded with MBP along with 100 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> N application. Overall study indicated that deep ploughing with CP is important for maize to explore more soil area for nutrient uptake and N is also important for improving grain quality especially protein contents an important food constituent.</p> Allah Wasaya, Muhammad Tahir, Tauqeer Ahmad Yasir, Muhammad Akram, Omer Farooq, Naeem Sarwar ##submission.copyrightStatement## Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:14:43 +0100 The Ecoremed protocol for an integrated agronomic approach to characterization and remediation of contaminated soils <p><strong>Definition of a site as contaminated: Problems related to agricultural soils</strong><br><em>Massimo Fagnano.......... pp. 1-5</em></p> <p><strong>Geography of soil contamination for characterization and precision remediation of potentially contaminated sites</strong><br><em>Giuliano Langella, Antonietta Agrillo, Angelo Basile, Roberto De Mascellis, Piero Manna, Pierpaolo Moretti, Florindo Antonio Mileti, Fabio Terribile, Simona Vingiani.......... pp. 6-15</em></p> <p><strong>Assessing the bioavailability of potentially toxic elements in soil: A proposed approach</strong><br><em>Claudia Rocco, Diana Agrelli, Maria Tafuro, Antonio Giandonato Caporale, Paola Adamo.......... pp. 16-22</em></p> <p><strong>Use of the native vascular flora for risk assessment and management of an industrial contaminated soil</strong><br><em>Donato Visconti, Nunzio Fiorentino, Adriano Stinca, Ida Di Mola, Massimo Fagnano.......... pp. 23-33</em></p> <p><strong>Assisted phytoremediation for restoring soil fertility in contaminated and degraded land</strong><br><em>Nunzio Fiorentino, Mauro Mori, Vincenzo Cenvinzo, Luigi Giuseppe Duri, Laura Gioia, Donato Visconti, Massimo Fagnano.......... pp. 34-44</em></p> <p><strong>Bioassays for evaluation of sanitary risks from food crops cultivated in potentially contaminated sites</strong><br><em>Luigi Giuseppe Duri, Nunzio Fiorentino, Eugenio Cozzolino, Lucia Ottaiano, Diana Agrelli Massimo Fagnano.......... pp. 45-52</em></p> <p><strong>Responses of bacterial community structure and diversity to soil eco-friendly bioremediation treatments of two multi-contaminated fields</strong><br><em>Valeria Ventorino, Vincenza Faraco, Ida Romano, Olimpia Pepe.......... pp. 53-58</em></p> <p><strong>Monitoring and modelling the role of phytoremediation to mitigate non-point source cadmium pollution and groundwater contamination at field scale</strong><br><em>Mario Palladino, Paolo Nasta, Alessandra Capolupo, Nunzio Romano.......... pp. 59-68</em></p> Massimo Fagnano, Nunzio Fiorentino (Guest editors) ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 24 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0200 Residual soil nitrate as affected by giant reed cultivation and cattle slurry fertilisation <p>The residual soil nitrate (RSN) is the amount of nitrate which remains in soil profile after crop uptake has ceased, typically in the autumn. The RSN is prone to leaching and therefore poses serious environmental concerns, especially in areas with intensive livestock activities. Little is known about the ability of the energy grass giant reed in leaving low RSN. Such ability would add a desirable environmental benefit to giant reed cultivation. This article reports on snapshot measurements of RSN across soil profile in the autumn of three consecutive years: 2010, 2011 and 2012. Soil nitrate content was measured on soil samples collected from the soil layers 0-0.2 m, 0.2-0.4 m, 0.4-0.6 m and 0.6-0.8 m. The RSN of giant reed was compared with RSN of the energy crops sweet sorghum and poplar short rotation coppice (SRC). The three energy crops were treated with two fertilisation regimes: 0 kg N ha<sup>–1</sup> (Control) and 20 mm of cattle slurry (CS20). Soil samples were also taken for a reference crop of winter wheat following winter wheat and receiving no N supply. Our findings for the three years of experiment can be summarised as follows: i) in case of the unfertilised Control, the three dedicated energy crops giant reed, sweet sorghum and poplar SRC left in soil profile in the autumn significantly lower amounts of RSN compared to the reference crop of wheat. Hence, all the three energy crops provided in similar manner the environmental benefit of leaving lower RSN; ii) in case of cattle slurry application the real advantage of giant reed cultivation became surprisingly evident. In fact, in three subsequent years the treatment giant reed CS20 never determined RSN significantly higher than RSN for giant reed Control. The RSN for giant reed with treatment CS20 was significantly lower than that the reference crop of wheat in all the three years. Unlike poplar SRC and sweet sorghum, giant reed exerted effective soil nitrate removal with a relatively high rate of cattle slurry application. Hence, this species can be regarded as suitable not only to utilise livestock effluents, but also to reduce the risk of nitrate pollution in many land use situations dealing with nitrogen surplus.</p> Enrico Ceotto, Rosa Marchetti, Fabio Castelli ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 18 Oct 2018 00:00:00 +0200 Split nitrogen sources effects on nitrogen use efficiency, yield and seed quality of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) <p>The effects of nitrogen (N) on crop yields have historically been assessed with field trials, but selection and use of the best sources and optimal timing N applications have a significant role in realizing the maximum potential of oilseeds quality and quantity. This study was conducted to determine the combine effects of N sources [ammonium nitrate (AN), ammonium sulphate (AS), sulphur coated urea (SCU), and urea (U)] and split N fertilisation [(1/4,3/4,0), (1/3,1/3,1/3), (1/2,1/2,0), and (1/3,2/3,0)] on safflower (<em>Carthamus tinctorius</em> L.) some growth characters, yield and seed quality, and N use efficiency based on a split plot design with three replications at the experimental research station, Shiraz University in 2015 and 2016. The highest safflower dry matter (5140.93 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>), seed yield (3303.52 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>) and protein yield (694.95 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>) were achieved with the application of AN fertiliser in a split pattern of 1/2,1/2,0 (applying half of the N at sowing time and the rest at stem elongation), while the highest oil yield (753.09 kg ha<sup>– 1</sup>) was observed by U fertiliser and similar split pattern. Applying AN fertiliser and split patterns of 1/3,2/3,0 (applying one third of the N at sowing and two thirds of the N at stem elongation) and 1/4,3/4,0 (applying one quarter of the N at sowing and three quarters at stem elongation) maximised safflower N uptake efficiency (NUpE) (0.78 kg kg<sup>–1</sup>). However, the highest N utilisation efficiency (NUtE) (43.70 kg kg–1) was obtained when AN fertiliser in a split pattern of 1/2,1/2,0 was applied. On the contrary, applying AS and SCU fertilisers was less effective on safflower performance by all split patterns. It is concluded that applying AN fertiliser in a split pattern of 1/3,2/3,0 and or U fertiliser in a split pattern of 1/2,1/2,0 not only enhanced safflower growth, yield and seed quality improved, but also increased the N use efficiency of safflower.</p> Reza Moradi Talebbeigi, Seyed Abdolreza Kazemeini, Hossein Ghadiri, Mohsen Edalat ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 17 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200 Crop yield and water saving potential for AquaCrop model under full and deficit irrigation managements <p>The study review selected researches related to full and deficit irrigation managements simulated with AquaCrop model for various field crops (group 1) and vegetables/spices (group 2). In order to evaluate the application of full and deficit irrigation vs crop yield and water use, publications from 1979 to 2018 were reviewed. With a view to find the significance variations in modelled crop yield, irrigation water use and yield reductions corresponding to water saving potential (WSP). Additionally, reporting brief summary of findings, recommendations linked to model simulation and proposed some gaps for further investigations. The findings confirm that there are significant differences in yield reductions corresponding to water saving with inference R<sup>2</sup> was 0.372 in crop group 1 and 0.117 in group 2 during study. Simulated yield in evaluated field crops and vegetables/spices varied between 14.44 to 0.012 t/ha in full ET<sub>c</sub> and 10.72 to 0.004 t/ha in deficit ET<sub>c</sub>. The water saving potential, in the two groups of field and vegetable/spice crops revealed that, with acceptance of yield reduction equivalent 2.66 and 29.03% save irrigation water equal to 23.68 and 80% while the reduction of 41.79 and 26.86% of yield saved 28.87 and 82.1%. The maximum water save values are higher than that reported for deficit irrigation in previous publications. Some suggested points related to this research need further studies <em>e.g.</em> evaluating the big differences in crop yields and irrigation water applied resulted with AquaCrop under full and deficit irrigation management and justification of high WSP corresponding less crop yield reduction.</p> Mohmed A.M. Abdalhi, Zhonghua Jia ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 13 Sep 2018 00:00:00 +0200