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Topic review
Updated time: 24 Apr 2021
Submitted by: Theodora Karanisa
Definition: Starting in the 1970s, Qatar had almost entirely based its economic growth on resource exploitation of the hydrocarbon sector, with agriculture being considered only as a ‘’hobby’’, rather than an important economic activity. The real driver of change affecting Qatar’s agricultural sector is the issue of food security, after the 2017 embargo (imposed by neighboring countries that made Qatar’s government critically aware that it cannot rely on other countries to secure its food basket), and thus highlighted the need to produce in the country.The factor that has most hindered the development of productive agricultural and horticultural systems in the past has been the availability of land, with suitable soils. This is a consequence of Qatar’s harsh climate; it is in a hot arid zone characterized by sparse precipitation; high summer temperatures; together with high humidity in the late summer months that makes working outside very difficult; very high solar radiation; strong winds; and limited freshwater availability for irrigation causing dependency on desalinated abstracted groundwater, and/or (more recently) on desalinated sea-water.
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Topic review
Updated time: 27 Jul 2021
Submitted by: Wenzheng Tang
Definition: In order to meet the growing food demand of the global population and maintain sustainable soil fertility, there is an urgent need to optimize fertilizer application amount in agricultural production practices. Most of the existing studies on the optimal K rates for apple orchards were based on case studies and lack information on optimizing K-fertilizer management on a regional scale. Here, we used the method of combining meta-analysis with the K application rate-yield relationship model to quantify and summarize the optimal K rates of the Loess Plateau and Bohai Bay regions in China. We built a dataset based on 159 observations obtained from 18 peer-reviewed literature studies distributed in 15 different research sites and evaluated the regional-scale optimal K rates for apple production. The results showed that the linear plus platform model was more suitable for estimating the regional-scale optimal K rates, which were 208.33 and 176.61 kg K ha−1 for the Loess Plateau and Bohai Bay regions of China, respectively. Compared with high K application rates, the optimal K rates increased K use efficiency by 45.88–68.57%, with almost no yield losses. The optimal K rates also enhanced the yield by 6.30% compared with the low K application rates.
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Topic review
Updated time: 04 Aug 2021
Submitted by: Emilio Stefani
Definition: Xanthomonads, members of the family Xanthomonadaceae, are economically important plant pathogenic bacteria responsible for infections of over 400 plant species. Bacteriophage-based biopesticides can provide an environmentally friendly, effective solution to control these bacteria. Bacteriophage-based biocontrol has important advantages over chemical pesticides, and treatment with these biopesticides is a minor intervention into the microflora. However, bacteriophages’ agricultural application has limitations rooted in these viruses’ biological properties as active substances. These disadvantageous features, together with the complicated registration process of bacteriophage-based biopesticides, means that there are few products available on the market.
Entry Collection : Environmental Sciences
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Topic review
Updated time: 08 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Isma'ila Muhammad
Definition: Currently, the global agricultural system is focused on a limited number of crop species, thereby presenting a threat to food security and supply, especially with predicted global climate change conditions. The importance of ‘underutilized’ crop species in meeting the world’s demand for food has been duly recognized by research communities, governments and policy makers worldwide. The development of underutilized crops, with their vast genetic resources and beneficial traits, may be a useful step towards solving food security challenges by offering a multifaceted agricultural system that includes additional important food resources. Bambara groundnut is among the beneficial underutilized crop species that may have a positive impact on global food security through organized and well-coordinated multidimensional breeding programs. The excessive degrees of allelic difference in Bambara groundnut germplasm could be exploited in breeding activities to develop new varieties. It is important to match recognized breeding objectives with documented diversity in order to significantly improve breeding.
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Topic review
Updated time: 25 Apr 2021
Submitted by: Adriana Gallego
Definition: Agriculture generates 11.4 billion tons of biomass worldwide, including residues from crop production and industrial processing. Improper disposal of agricultural residues results in environmental pollution and the waste of valuable biomass resources. Management of agricultural waste is particularly suboptimal in developing countries where low added-value traditional practices to manage the residues are commonplace.
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Topic review
Updated time: 25 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Jenn Fang Su
Definition: Biochar is a carbon-rich material prepared from the pyrolysis of biomass under various conditions. Recently, biochar drew great attention due to its promising potential in climate change mitigation, soil amendment, and environmental control. Obviously, biochar can be a beneficial soil amendment in several ways including preventing nutrients loss due to leaching, increasing N and P mineralization, and enabling the microbial mediation of N2O and CO2 emissions.
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Topic review
Updated time: 06 May 2021
Definition: To minimize excess water usage, alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation practice is considered as an efficient technique in which soil intermittently dried during the growing period of rice by maintaining yield compared to a flooded system. Continuous AWD may result in poor soil health caused by carbon loss, nutrient depletion, cracking, and affecting soil physical properties.Due to being a potential organic amendment, biochar has a great scope to overcome these problems by improving soil’s physicochemical properties.
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Topic review
Updated time: 30 Aug 2021
Submitted by: Vittorio Capozzi
Definition: Selected biological resources used as raw materials in beer production are important drivers of innovation and segmentation in the dynamic market of craft beers. Among these resources, local/regional ingredients have several benefits, such as strengthening the connection with territories, enhancing the added value of the final products, and reducing supply costs and environmental impacts. It is assumed that specific ingredients provide differences in flavours, aromas, and, more generally, sensory attributes of the final products. In particular, of interest are ingredients with features attributable and/or linked to a specific geographical origin.
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Topic review
Updated time: 09 Jun 2021
Submitted by: Franziska Hanschen
Definition: Replant disease is a soil (micro-) biome-based, harmfully-disturbed physiological and morphological reaction of plants to replanting similar cultures on the same sites by demonstrating growth retardation and leading to economic losses especially in Rosaceae plant production. Commonly, replant disease is overcome by soil fumigation with toxic chemicals. With chemical soil fumigation being restricted in many countries, other strategies are needed. Biofumigation, which is characterized by the incorporation of Brassicaceae plant materials into soil, is a promising method.
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Topic review
Updated time: 06 Jul 2021
Submitted by: Grazia Maria Borrelli
Definition: Cereal landraces are still cultivated on marginal lands due to their adaptability to unfavourable conditions, constituting an important source of genetic diversity usable in modern plant breeding to improve the adaptation to abiotic or biotic stresses, yield performance and quality traits in limiting environments. Traditional agricultural production systems have played an important role in the evolution and conservation of wide variability in gene pools within species. Today, on-farm and ex situ conservation in gene bank collections, together with data sharing among researchers and breeders, will greatly benefit cereal improvement. Many efforts are usually made to collect, organize and phenotypically and genotypically analyse cereal landrace collections, which also utilize genomic approaches. Their use in breeding programs based on genomic selection, and the discovery of beneficial untapped QTL/genes/alleles which could be introgressed into modern varieties by MAS, pyramiding or biotechnological tools, increase the potential for their better deployment and exploitation in breeding for a more sustainable agricultural production, particularly enhancing adaptation and productivity in stress-prone environments to cope with current climate changes.
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