Dr. Ahmed Medhat Mohamed Al-Naggar
Professor of Plant Breeding,Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University, Egypt.

ISBN 978-93-90768-10-3 (Print)
ISBN 978-93-90768-11-0 (eBook)
DOI: 10.9734/bpi/cras/v6

This book covers key areas of agricultural sciences. The contributions by the authors include bioresource technology, vegetative growth, microbial population, herbicide, zinc deficiency, crop physiology, bio-fortification, breeding, translocation factors, micronutrient, agronomic practices, climate change, cassava yield, rainfall variability,  tapping systems, active metabolism, tapping panel dryness, rubber productivity, economic efficiency, simulation model, risk management strategy, groundwater management, Stochastic efficiency, certainly equivalent, seed treatment, NaCl sorting, seed infestation, germination, seedling vigor, concentration index, food security, thermal soil amendment, organic priming, cation exchange capacity, wilt complex, hybrids, hatch and carry technique, pollination, antimicrobial activity, antibiotics. This book contains various materials suitable for students, researchers and academicians in the field of agricultural sciences.


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Research Technology of Stevia

Zahida Rashid, Tanveer Ahmad Ahngar, Aijaz Nazir, Z. A. Dar, N. S. Khuroo, Shabina Majeed, Sabeena Naseer, Sabiya Bashir, A. Rakshanda, Sadaf Iqbal, Seerat Jan

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 1-14

Nature has bestowed us with great reservoir of sustainable resources beneficial for mankind. Whatever be the state of resources, it has been seen that nature has provided all these resources as an answer to this world’s concerns. Out of all these resources, researchers have only been able to explore a handful as is evident by the fact that there are nearly 2.5 million plants and herbs existing on earth, out of which only one per cent has been acknowledged through scientific studies to have real therapeutic value when used in extract form by humans. Virtually all such plants have been discovered and put to wide spread use in traditional medical systems through information derived from their use in folk medicine, ethno medicine or traditional medicine.

Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a herb that has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay both as a sweetener and as a medicine. Stevia has been introduced as a crop in a number of countries including China, Japan, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, United States, Canada, India and Indonesia. In India it was first introduced in Banglore by Banglore based Madhuram Agro. Currently stevia production is centred in China and the major market is in Japan. The largest user is Japan which began cultivating stevia in hot houses in 1954 providing the researchers a ray of hope that stevia could be grown in temperate climate also. Research carried out at Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (IHBT), Palampur has shown its production potential as an intercrop and have extensively reported its various properties for commercial cultivation paving a ray of hope for getting its potential yield under the temperate conditions of Kashmir Valley.

Monitoring and Assessment of the Microbial Populations and Chemical Characteristics of Paraquat Treated Soil

John Kagana Dagze, B. Chimbekujwo Ishaku, Tari Tizhe Dlama

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 15-25

This study was aimed at assessing the microbial population and chemical components of paraquat treated soils. The soil samples were treated with the low (0.3 ml/L), recommended (0.6 ml/L) and high (0.9 ml/L) doses of paraquat respectively. Microbial and chemical assessments were carried out using standard procedures. The results of the study showed that, microbes such as Staphylococcus sp., Micrococcus sp., Pseudomonas sp., Escherichia coli, Bacillus sp., Actinomycetes bovis, Actinomycetes israeli, Streptomycetes sp., Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Absidia corymbifera and Rhizopus stolonifer were found present in the paraquat treated soils of different doses with the control soil samples having most of the fungal species isolated. The application of the paraquat to the soils at different weeks after application (WAA) affected the microbes as most were found absent in some of the treated soil samples and this was proved by the result of the control soil samples. The organic matter and carbon contents of the paraquat treated soils were at the 4th WAA had the significantly (P=.05) highest contents with 1.93%, 1.93% and 1.84% and 1.34%, 1.12% and 1.12% respectively whereas the pH of the soils was at 2nd WAA the highest compared to those of the other soils at other WAA as well as the control soils. Different doses of paraquat at different WAA affect soil microbial populations as well as the chemical components of the soil. So, the effects of paraquat on soil microbial population and chemical components depended on the concentrations used and the duration of application. Since the fungi, bacteria and actinomycetes species identified in this study were sensitive to herbicide application, they may serve as a reliable indicator of the biological value of soils. It also determines the type of microbes present in the soil by getting rid of those that cannot withstand its effects, in this way allowing only the resistible species.

Zinc deficiency in humans is widespread in arid Middle East and West Asia countries. The first discovery of Zn deficiency and its impact on human health was in early sixties last century in Egypt and Iran.  Zinc deficiency causes many unhealthy symptoms. In children and adolescents, it is one of causes of the stunting syndrome, mental retardation and fertility problems.

During the seventies, the National Research Centre, Egypt, carried out soil and crop nutritional surveys including Zn. It was very evident that a large areas of soils contain low to very low Zn content, which reflected in low Zn content in crops, including wheat.

In between, different approaches to correct Zn deficiency in humans through agronomic practices were established. Among others, treating seeds with Zn (Soaking or Coating), treating soil (through adding Zn fertilizers) or treating the crop by spraying Zn foliar fertilizers. However, all these methods are temporarily and do not provide a permanent solution.

It was found that different crop cultivars show different responses to Zn and thus, are different in their Zn uptake, translocation and accumulation in the edible parts. Intensive efforts were and still running to breed new varieties to produce edible parts with high micronutrient contents. These efforts include Zn, Fe and others. Bill-Gates Foundation and other donors initiated the Harvest Plus program to breed new varieties of different crops contain high micronutrient contents. The CGIAR institutes and centers are working intensively on this topic in wheat, Maize, Rice and other crops.

In Egypt, there is a considerable information about Zn deficiency in soils and crops and the effect of using agronomic practices to correct deficiency and increase yields and Zn content in edible parts including wheat grains.

We still need intensive work in collaboration and cooperation among breeders, biotechnologists, soil scientists, crop physiologists and agronomists to breed new crop cultivars with high Zn content in the edible parts. Wheat, Maize, Rice and Fababean should be given high priority.

This study examined the implication of rainfall variability on cassava yield in selected coastal and upland areas of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The climate change is the variation in the distribution of weather patterns (including rainfall, temperature) over an extended period of time, typically decade. Thirty years daily rainfall data were collected from Nigeria Meteorological Agency (1989 – 2018); cassava yield data were also collected from Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Agriculture Uyo (1989 – 2018). Descriptive statistics was used to determine the average annual rainfall and cassava yield. Time series analysis were used to assess the relationship between rainfall and cassava yield. The result indicated an increase in rainfall trends in all areas with Eket – r2 = 0.6631, Oron - r2 = 0.5329, Uyo - r2 = 0.4215 and Ikot Ekpene - r2 = 0.4042. The result also showed an increase in yield of cassava in Uyo and Ikot Ekpene at r2 = 0.2436 and 0.4397 respectively; while its decreases in Eket and Oron at r2 = 0.0611 and 0.1159 respectively. The results revealed that there is a significant increase (positive trends) in rainfall trends in all Akwa Ibom State. This suggested that a high yield of cassava may be achieved only in the upland areas of Akwa Ibom State due to continuous increase in rainfall as a result of climate change.

Efficient Tapping Systems of Hevea brasiliensis Clones with Active Metabolism IRCA 18, IRCA 111, IRCA 130, PB 235 and PB 260 in Côte d’Ivoire

S. Obouayeba, M. Diarrassouba, E. F. Soumahin, J. L. Essehi, M. K. Okoma, C. B. Y. Adou, A. P. Obouayeba

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 50-66

To take into account the sensitivity of metabolically active clones, which negatively affects their rubber productivity, a study determining suitable tapping systems for clones (IRCA18, IRCA 111, IRCA 130, PB 235 and PB 260) of this metabolic class, the availability of tappers and socio-economic conditions, was conducted in the southwest of Côte d'Ivoire. Six tapping systems S/2 d2 6d/7 no stimulation; S/2 d3 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 4/y; S/2 d4 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 4/y; S/2 d4 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 8/y; S/2 d5 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 8/y; S/2 d6 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 10/y tested in a randomized full block device with 4 replicates. Parameters measured were rubber yield, radial vegetative growth and Tapping Panel Dryness (TPD) sensitivity. The results show that these clones are very productive (2300 ± 310 kg.ha-1). The average TPD rate (8.5%) is relatively low compared to the reference rate of clones with active metabolism suitable for tapping systems from clones of this class because they are respectively consumers of bark (short latex harvest time) and increase the TPD. On the other hand, the tapping systems S/2 d3 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 4/y; S/2 d4 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 4/y; S/2 d5 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 8/y and S/2 d6 6d/7 ET2.5% Pa1 (1) 10/y are best suited to tapping systems from metabolic clones active as they yield good rubber productivity while maintaining good vegetative growth with a low TPD. They also allow efficient management of the availability of tapper labor.

Fodder Crop Farming Sustainability Groundwater Management and Risk Management Efficiency

Kheiry Hassan M. Ishag

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 67-81

Rhodes Grass crop is continuously cultivated in coastal area of Sultanate of Oman. This farm practices created a negative impact on the overall agriculture system and producti­on. The government stopped the cultivation of Rhodes grass at coastal area and support farmers to cultivate new agriculture area at Najed since 2012. Due to heavy extraction of groundwater for nine years to irrigate Rhodes Grass crop, and competitive abstraction, groundwater tables fall to low level and resulted in exhausted aquifers. The planted area and yield reduced by 49% and 58% respectively, resulting in accumulated loss of 5.3 Mn at September end 2020. The research aims to analyze project environment and economic sustainability and outline the best risk management strategies to improve project profitability. The study applies a stochastic budgeting approach to evaluate the government intensive strategies under uncertainty of fodder crops farming. The stochastic budgeting simulation model performed to represent risk variables and draw NPV probability distributions. Different incentives strategies were evaluated and ranked across various risk aversion levels. The study shows that raw material subsidy for Rhodes Grass cultivation will reduce expected loss probability from 95% to 50% at Hanfeet farm and from 78.6% to 70% at Dawkah area and also increase the chance of getting acceptable positive NPV. The SERF analysis for Alfalfa crop shows that, raw material (RM) subsidy alternative in terms of risk efficiency is the most appropriate strategy for Dawkah farm followed by and minimum revenue grantee (MRG) subsidy at Hanfeet farm. Rhodes Grass crop with raw material subsidy followed by minimum revenue grantee are risk efficient at Hanfeet farm. The analysis indicates that current capital subsidy policy is not sufficient to mitigate risk and achieve sustainability at Najed locations. Government authorities have to monitor and control groundwater and calculate the cost of each risk management tool and select the one could sustain agricultural activates at Najed area.

Effects of Seed Treatments Using Extracts of Oxalis barrelieri L. and Cymbopogon citratus Stapf, Coupled with NaCl Sorting on Seed Health, Germination, Emergence and Seedlings Vigor, of Rice (Oryzae sativa L.) Seeds

Nguefack Julienne, Fouelefack François Romain, Dongmo Lekagne Joseph Blaise, Azah Udom Rene, Dongmo Nanfack Albert, Djoufack Metis Molière, Nkengfack Augustin Ephrem

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 82-100

The extracts of Oxalis barrelieri and Cymbopogon citratus were tested for their antifungal activity against Bipolaris oryzae and Fusarium moniliforme, and use as seed treatment coupled with NaCl treatment to improve the seed germination and the seedlings vigor of treated rice seeds. The significance of the inhibitory activity of the plant extracts against B. oryzae and F. moniliforme was type of extract and concentration dependent. The ethanolic extract of C. citratus at 10000 ppm, showed the highest inhibitory effect, with 58.51% and 55.9% growth inhibition of F. moniliforme and B. oryzae, respectively. The rice seeds sorted in 20% NaCl solution had a greater mass (quantify), a germination percentage of 13% higher as compared to seeds sorted in with water and 20% higher than that of unsorted seeds. A moderate positive and significant linear relationship (Rho (78) = 0.427 **, p <0.01) was shown between weight and germination of rice seeds. The ethanol extracts of O. barrelieri and C. citratus stimulated rice seed germination at a comparable degree; 15- 22% from the top of paper method and 11-16% from sand method in green house trials. Rice seed treatments at 1% concentration, exhibited the best germination/emergence and reduced the seed infestation of B. oryzae and F. moniliforme by 25.25% and 9.83%, respectively. Stressed seeds treated with plant extracts showed less pronounced decrease (5 %) in germination compared to untreated stressed seed (26%). The germination and the emergence were each negatively correlated with both the seed infestation of B. oryzae and F. moniliforme; only the correlation between the germination and the infestation of F. moniliforme (r (54) = -0.441**, p < 0.01) and that between the emergence and the infestation of F. moniliforme (r (54) = -0.426**, p < 0.01) were moderately and statistically significant. Sorting of rice seeds with 20% NaCl and/or treatment with 1% ethanol extracts of Oxalis barrelieri and Cymbopogon citratus showed potential green alternative to synthetic fungicides for the control of rice seed-borne infestation, improvement of seedling vigor and increase of seed germination and emergence for the effective field establishment of seedlings .

This study assessed variability of rainfall in coastal and upland areas of Akwa Ibom State, as a guide for cultivation of maize, tomato, yam, cassava, oil palm and cocoa in the areas. Rainfall variability is the degree to which onset, length of growing season, cessation, amount and distribution of rainfall varies across an area due to climatic influence. The study was done in four different locations – coastal areas (Eket and Oron) and upland areas (Uyo and Ikot Ekpene). Daily rainfall data were obtained from Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Abuja, for a period of 30 years (1989 – 2018). The amount of annual rainfall was determined using descriptive statistics; percentage of rainfall distribution was determined using precipitation concentration index equation; and onset, cessation and length of growing season were determined using Instat+ 3.36 software. The annual rainfall shows high variability between coastal and upland areas. Coastal areas experienced high amount of rainfall with average annual rainfall of 3282.50 mm (Eket) and 3094.87 mm (Oron); while the average rainfall for upland areas were 2272.24 mm (Uyo) and 2007.49 mm (Ikot Ekpene). All the areas experienced moderate precipitation distribution with coastal areas – Eket (11.31%) and Oron (11.67%); upland areas – Uyo (12.67%) and Ikot Ekpene (13.70%). Coastal areas (Eket and Oron) recorded early onset, late cessation and long length of growing season than upland areas (Uyo and Ikot Ekpene). The mean onset for Eket and Oron were 19th and 21st February; cessation 4th and 1st December and length of growing season 289.0 and 283.5 days respectively. The mean onset for Uyo and Ikot Ekpene were 8th and 17th March; cessation 16th November and 12th November and length of growing season 265.2 and 255.3 days respectively. The study shows that only upland areas can support sustainable production of yam and cassava, while both upland and coastal areas can support sustainable production of oil palm and cocoa. Also, sustainable production of tomato and maize production may not be achieved in both areas. Climate variability is a serious environmental issue that possess great threat to sustainable development and food security. Therefore, to avert the risks of crops failure, poor yield and economic loss, the use of seasonal climate outlook is recommended for adjusting farm operations and farming system decisions.

This study evaluated the early germination and growth variables of Irvingia gabonensis under organically primed and thermally amended soil media. Six media were prepared from Gmelina plantation topsoil by amendment with poultry waste (T2), river sand (T3) and combusted forest floor litters for 5 (T4), 10 (T5), 15 (T6) and 20 (T7) minutes respectively to contrast a control topsoil (T1). Soil media were analyzed for critical nutrient properties and engaged in the germination and early growth trial of Irvingia replicated three times and arranged in a completely randomized design. Data collected were analyzed with ANOVA and significant means separated with the Duncan multiple range test. The results showed that Ca/Mg ratio was widest for T3, least CEC (13.2 meq/100 g soil) by T7 and slightly acidic pH (H2O) for T1 and T2 while T3, T4, T6 and T7 were alkaline. Germination at 6 WAS was T4 (100%)> T1=T2=T5 (85.71%) > T3 (71.43%) > T6 (42.86%) > T7 (0%). The growth variables of seedling varied significantly (P<0.05) with T3 and T4 comparing favorably in collar diameter (4.50x10-1± 0.05 mm) and leaf area (35.08±4.85 mm2) although T3 recorded the highest stem height (117.79±0.42 mm). The study recommends the use of least thermally modified media (T4) and primed topsoil-river-sand (T3) in favour of the conventional topsoil (T1), for fast germination in view of conserving food reserve for the critical early growth period of I. gabonensis in pursuit of its domestication in nutrient degraded soils. Therefore the domestication of this near threatened and economic forest tree species is possible with a combination of these cheap and readily available amendments at the nursery and plantation establishment phases.

A Recent Study on Integrated Management of Wilt Complex Disease in Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)

Tariq R. Rather, V. K. Razdan, A. K. Tewari, Efath Shanaz, Z. A. Bhat, Mir G. Hassan, T. A. Wani

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 119-127

Effect of various disease management tools on seedling emergence, wilt incidence and yield of bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Var. California Wonder was studied as part of integrated management strategies under both glass house and field conditions. The wilt disease, incited by a number of pathogens, is the devastating soil-borne disease and hence difficult to manage. The disease has been observed to be caused by Fusarium spp., Phytophthora capsici and Rhizoctonia solani. Different fungicides were tested against the four wilt pathogens viz, Fusarium oxysporum, Phytopthora capsici, Rhizoctonia solani and Sclerotium rolfsii under in-vitro conditions. The fungicides viz, Captan, Carbendazim, Metalaxyl and Carboxin which were found effective under in-vitro conditions were further tested individually as well as in combinations under glass house conditions. Seed treatment followed by seedling treatment with fungicides proved ineffective in controlling wilt incidence disease, however, besides seed treatment and seedling treatment when fungicides were sprayed at crown region of the plant, wilt incidence was significantly reduced. Seed treatment+ seedling treatment + spraying of Carbendazim + Metalaxyl proved most effective and recorded 59.8% disease reduction over check under field conditions. Integration of Captan + Metalaxyl with Trichoderma harzianum and T. virens also proved superior compared to their individual treatments.

The productivity of oil palm plants is determined by the success of pollination. Some factors that influence are the planting material, rainfall conditions and the adequacy of pollinating weevil, namely Elaeidobius kamerunicus (EK). Oil palm plants are monoecious with separate male flower inflorescence and female flower inflorescence with flowering sequences and ripening phases that never overlap so that the nature of the pollination is cross pollination. Producers of planting materials produce crosses of Dura X Pisifera hybrids with their spesific characters. This research aim was to determine the effect of planting material on flowering characteristics and EK population. The research was conducted in Adolina (DxP Simalungun) and Dolok Ilir (DxP La Me) in January 2018 - October 2018 with a descriptive method. The research results showed that the character of oil palm planting material affected the number and character of male flowers as a source of pollen.In planting material with a large number of male flower spikelet, the DxP Simalungun has a positive effect on the population of Elaedobius kamerunicus. The efforts to increase the EK can be achieved by applying the Hatch and Carry technique which can increase EK populations by 32-45%.

Antibacterial Activity of Spent Substrate of Mushroom

J. Ocampo-López, S. Soto-Simental, M. Ayala-Martínez, A. Zepeda-Bastida

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6, 5 March 2021, Page 136-147

Nowadays, the uncontrolled use of antibiotics has created the problem of bacterial resistance to them, what has motivated the search for new alternatives of drug for the treatment of bacterial diseases. Here, we compare antimicrobial activity of spent substrate of mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus combined or not with medicinal plants and Lentinula edodes, against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella tiphymorium, Staphylococcus aureus and Micrococcus luteus. We designed three mixtures, barley straw to be used as a substrate of cultivation of mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus and oats or cedar for the cultivation of mushroom Lentinula edodes and five mixtures with herbs (barley straw/Chenopodium ambrosioides L., barley straw/Mentha piperita L., barley straw/Rosmarinus officinalis L., barley straw/Litsea glaucescens Kunth and barley straw/Tagetes lucid Cav) to be used as a substrate of cultivation of mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus; were obtained aqueous extracts from all spent substrates; extracts were tested for antibacterial activity. The protocol was a completely randomized assay with a factorial arrangement design. The data were analyzed with PROC GLM, SAS. The results showed that in the case of Escherichia coli the greatest inhibition zone was of 12.66 mm at a concentration of 6 mg mL-1, with treatment of Lentinula edodes/cedar; Salmonella tiphymorium showed a greatest inhibition zone of 31.10 mm to a concentration of 5.12 mg mL-1, with treatment of Pleurotus ostreatus/barley straw; Staphylococcus aureus showed a greatest inhibition zone of 9.33 mm to a concentration of 100 mg mL-1, with the treatment of Lentinula edodes/cedar; Micrococcus luteus showed a greatest inhibition zone of 15.00 mm to a concentration of 50 mg mL-1, with the treatment Lentinula edodes/oats and finaly, Staphylococcus epidermidis showed a greatest inhibition zone of 33.33 mm at a concentration of 50 mg mL-1, and 40.00 mm at a concentration of 50 mg mL-1, with treatment the spent substrate from Pleurotus ostreatus that contained barley straw and the mix barley straw/Mentha piperita L, respectively. In conclusion, the results suggest that it is possible to use indistinctly the spent substrate of Pleurotus ostreatus and Lentinula edodes, as well as the mix barley straw/Mentha piperita L as source of extracts with antibacterial activity.