Dr. T. Selvamuthukumaran
Assistant Professor,
Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India.

ISBN 978-93-90888-75-7 (Print)
ISBN 978-93-90888-83-2 (eBook)
DOI: 10.9734/bpi/cras/v9

This book covers key areas of agricultural sciences. The contributions by the authors include  crop residues, isotopic dilution, nutrient uptake, nitrobenzene concentrations, flowering, fruit setting, polytunnel, greenhouse effect, organic greenhouse cucumber, weighted goal programming, medicinal plants, caffeine, phenolics, flavonoids, antioxidant activity, fruit pericarp thickness, light colour spectrum, phytochemical properties, seedling growth, agricultural diversification, legumes, forage crops, grain crops, dolichos bean, hyacinth bean, sprouting, vegetative propagation, emergence speed, yield loss, estimation, sugarcane, smut, sucrose content, intercropping system, fertilization, land reform, sustainability, models and livelihoods, extension support, guava cultures, remote sensing, plague detection, eco-composite boards, boards properties, scanning electron microscope, thermogravimetric analysis, geostatistics, soil chemical and physical properties, soil management, soil fertility, laminated panels, lay-up veneer structure, densification. This book contains various materials suitable for students, researchers and academicians in the field of agricultural sciences.


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Crop residue return is a nutrient conservation practice that positively impacts crop production and improves the soil quality. One of the challenges scientists faced was to find a reliable technique to properly measure the N release from these residues and follow their fate in the plant-soil system.

The direct isotopic labeling method, which consists of labeling crop residues with 15N, has the disadvantage of being very expensive and often complex.

The indirect technique based on the principle of isotopic dilution and which consists in using the 15N tracer and the unlabelled residues simultaneously, has the advantage of being simpler and less expensive than the direct technique. However, it has limitations due to the temporary organisation of an amount of nitrogen of the 15N tracer in the presence of the organic residues and which causes a dilution of the isotopic labeling which is not related to the mineralisation of the residues applied, Which leads to an over estimation of the nitrogen-residues use by the plant. In order to minimise errors related to N pools substitution, a modified approach to this technique was suggested. It consists of labeling the soil with 15N and allowing it to stabilise for several months before applying the unlabeled residues. By this soil pre-labeling, the mineral nitrogen native to the soil and the nitrogen organised by the microorganisms have substantially a similar enrichment in 15N. A field experiment was conducted to test the new approach for estimating crop N uptake from suflower residues. The soil was prelabeled with 15N by applying 15N-fertiliser to sunflower crop (Helianthus annuus L. var. Viki). 14N plots which received unlabelled fertiliser were also set up. At harvest, 15N-labelled residues were added to the unlabelled soils (direct technique) and unlabelled residues were added to the 15N-labelled soils (indirect technique). Control plots without residues were also established. All plots were sown with wheat (Triticum aestivum L. var merchouch) – sunflower (Helianthus annuus L. var. Viki) cropping sequence. The objective of this study is to test in the field the new approach to the dilution technique and to compare it with the direct technique. If the estimates of crop N uptake from organic residues, obtained by the two techniques are similar, this will strongly argue for the validity of the new approach tested. In the cropping sequence, the first and second crop derived respectively 6,92% and 3,62% from crop residues estimated by the direct method, 7,9% and 4.24% estimated by the indirect method. The results showed no significant difference between the two techniques, which suggests that the soil pre-labeling new technique compares well with the direct technique. It also has the advantage of being less expensive and easier to use for a wide range of organic residues, even the most complex ones.

Effect of Nitrobenzene on Yield of Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and Sweet Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) under Green House Condition

Shyamalee Kohombange, H. K. L. K. Gunasekera, J. P. Eeswara

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 23-32

Bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)  and Sweet cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) are grown extensively throughout the world especially in temperate countries. Poor fruit-set as well as loss of reproductive structures due to moisture stress is one of the major barriers to tropical adaptation of bell pepper and sweet cucumber. Nitrobenzene is a combination of nitrogen and plant growth regulators, extracted from sea weeds that act as plant energizer, flowering stimulant and yield booster in crop production. The objective of the present study was to examine the effect of nitrobenzene on bell pepper and sweet cucumber yield to evaluate the optimum dose of nitrobenzene for economically better yield. The study was conducted at a farmer polytunnels located in Pilimathalawa and Athgala areas (WU1) in Sri Lanka. The experiment was laid out in a Completely Randomize Design (CRD) with four treatments randomized in three replicates. The treatments used for Bell pepper, T1 – Control (without Nitrobenzene), T2 – Nitrobenzene 15%, T3 – Nitrobenzene 20%, T4 – Nitrobenzene 25%. Treatments used for Sweet cucumber, T1 – Control (without Nitrobenzene), T2 – Nitrobenzene 10%, T3 – Nitrobenzene 15%, T4 – Nitrobenzene 20%. Accordingly, plants were established in drip-fertigated bags in the Poly tunnel and standard crop management practices were done throughout the study. Nitrobenzene was sprayed to the seedlings 20 and 35 days after sowing. Albert solution, 6: 30: 30 fertilizer mixture 20: 20 fertilizer mixture and Ca(NO3)2 were used as recommended fertilizers. Measurements were taken on growth parameters, reproductive parameters, Fruit setting and postharvest stages. The data obtained were subjected to the Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) procedure of Statistical Analysis System (SAS) 9.1. Duncan’s New Multiple Range Test (DNMRT) was performed to compare the differences among treatment means at p=0.05. According to the study findings, the Bell pepper performed better in 25% Nitrobenzene applied treatment while the Sweet cucumber performed better with the 20% Nitrobenzene showing significant (p=0.05) positive impact on postharvest quality of the fruits with extending the shelf life. Hence the overall study findings clearly revealed that the applications of higher Nitrobenzene levels are economically feasible to enhance the overall yield performance of Bell pepper as well as Sweet cucumber under greenhouse condition.

Economic Yield Optimization for Organic Greenhouse Cucumber Production

Zainab Abdel Mo’ez Embaby, Muhammad Ali Rushdi, Khaled El Sayed Abd El Mowla

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 33-45

Producing more will largely depend on increasing crop yield, not farming more land. An important element of food production which must be addressed immediately is the future optimization of crop yield. Organic greenhouse cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) can be considered as one of several approaches to sustainable agriculture. It is more economic than conventionally grown cucumber crops. The main objective is to optimize yield and decrease costs. In general, excess in agricultural production on a reasonable basis and at a competitive price is vital to becoming better the farmers' economic situation. We introduce Weighted Goal Programming (WGP) as an efficient model in reaching optimality, involving net return, regular labor cost, crop collection cost, engineering supervision cost and seeds cost. The result revealed that the yield for cucumber crop in both greenhouse and open field covered its actual costs of production. Irrespective of the factors affecting the cucumber growth, the first optimization results are WGP model achieves the unique optimal solution for the overall problem, in greenhouse x = 165.1883 tons/acre in spring, 50.00 tons/acre in autumn, and in open field x =13.8796 tons/acre in spring, 10.4640 tons/acre in autumn. This study concluded that the cucumber greenhouse system has been shown to have higher profitability than the open-field system and is more efficient which compensates its extra costs. A marketing aspect study is suggested as it could open up more avenues for improving the performance of this organic greenhouse production system as an important sub-sector.

Biological Activities and Valuable Bioactive Compounds from Portuguese Medicinal Plants

Ana F. Vinha, Carla Sousa

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 46-61

Currently, there are more than 85,000 plant species that have been documented for medical use globally. This implies, plant derived natural products hold great promise for discovery and development of new pharmaceuticals in diverse human ailments. The lack of effective pharmaceutical formulas and the resistance created by current antibiotic pathogens, as well as oxidative stress new therapeutic agents from plants. In fact, several studies have shown that medicinal plants possess antioxidant properties due largely to their phytochemical profile. Endemic plants can be a source of new bioactive compounds able to prevent several diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s disease by combating oxidative stress and its associated pathologies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the contents of total phenolics, flavonoids, and caffeine in six medicinal plants used traditionally in phytotherapy, usually consumed as tea or infusion namely: Camellia sinensisMelissa officinalis, Lippia citriodora, Cymbopogon citratusMatricaria chamomilla, and Tilia cordata. Significant variations in total phenolics and flavonoids content were found among analyzed plants and depending on the nature of the extract. The concentration of caffeine was also very dissimilar and followed the sequence M. officinalis T. cordata C. citratus M. chamomilla L. citriodora C. sinensis. Also, the antioxidant activity of each plant was found to vary according to C. citratus (90.9%) > C. sinensis (87.8%) > M. officinalis (50.7%) > M. chamomilla (45.3%) > T. cordata (32.2%) > L. citriodora (28.0%).

Different wavelengths of light are associated with various functions in plant development. Plants have a range of photoreceptors to detect these wavelengths. The changes in the light quality (wavelength) influences various physiological processes such as intra and inter-cellular differentiation, Different sources of light seem to be affected differently on different growth stages of plants. Light Emitting Diode (LED) colour spectrum, fluorescent tube light, High intensity discharge (HID) lamps and transparent shading are some of examples of source of colour of light on plants. Experiments that conducted on seed germination of different plant under different light colour have showed different effects on germination. There is a high variation of seedling height of tomato under different colour transparent shading. Ascorbic acid content in tomato fruit is significantly high under yellow, green and colourless shading. We can propose green and red shading on tomato plant is more important for healthy lycopene rich fruit production than direct high intensity light. Pericarp thickness is one of the most valuable character of fruit, which important for postharvest life, was significantly high under green shading.

Lablab: A New Crop for Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States of America

Harbans L. Bhardwaj, Anwar A. Hamama

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 71-82

Lablab [Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet], essentially a tropical plant, is a native of Asia and Africa.  It has been a novelty garden plant in the U.S. for generations. Several studies were conducted to characterize productivity of lablab under Virginia's agro-climatic conditions, an area where environmental conditions are not sub-tropical or tropical.  From a forage perspective, fresh and dry yields varied from 33 to 121 Mg/ha with a mean of 66, and 7 to 18 with a mean of 13 Mg/ha, respectively during 2011 whereas fresh and dry yields varied from 40 to 93 with a mean of 59, and 7-18 with a mean of 12 Mg/ha, respectively during 2012.  Overall means of fresh and dry yields (over years) varied from 47 to 91 with a mean of 62, and 9 to 15 with a mean of 13 Mg/ha, respectively.  Concentrations of protein, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Al, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Na, and Zn in lablab plant tissue produced in Virginia were 15, 0.28, 2.30, 1.32, 0.27, 0.22, 224, 20, 18, 343, 79, 0.03, and 40, respectively.  Lablab seed yields in Virginia varied from 559 (PI 593055) to 1678 (PI 288467) kg.ha-1.  The average protein concentration in lablab seed produced in Virginia was 25.4%, with a range from 20.6 to 28.8%, on dry weight basis.  The lablab seeds contained small quantities of oil.  It varied from 0.54 to 1.13%, dry weight basis, with an average of 0.87%.  The sugar concentration in lablab seeds varied from 4.2 to 10.1%, dry weight basis with a mean concentration of 6.2%.  Predominant fatty acids in oil of lablab seeds were C18:2 (Linoleic acid: 53.5%), followed by C16:0 (Palmitic acid: 15.8%) and C18:3 (Linolenic acid: 14.1%).  Total saturated fatty acids in lablab seed varied from 21.0 to 24.9 % with a mean of 22.2%.  Total unsaturated fatty acids in lablab seed varied from 74.8 to 78.9% with a mean of 77.6%.  Based on concentrations of Al, P, K, and S (ppm) in lablab biomass (110 to 554, 2400 to 3200, 20300 to 24700, 1900 to 2400, respectively), lablab biomass may also be a potential feed stock for bio-ethanol.  One advantage of using lablab biomass as a feedstock for bio-ethanol will be the Symbiotic N Fixation by lablab which could reduce/eliminate use of N fertilizers.  It was concluded that lablab is a potential forage and grain crop in mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America.

Studies on Different Substrates and Container Volumes in the Emergence and Ministumps Formation of Physalis peruviana L.

Jeniffer Ribeiro de Oliveira, André Cayô Cavalcanti, Jalille Amim Altoé, Aclécia Gonçalves Batista, Gleison Oliosi, Alex Campanharo, Mariana Alexandre Alves Amourim

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 83-91

It is necessary to use good production techniques to obtain the quality of seedlings. Important factors include the container and the form of propagation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of two substrates and container volumes on the emergence and formation of Physalis peruviana L. mini-stumps. This study was carried out from September to November 2019, in a greenhouse belonging to the Federal University Network of the Holy Spirit. The design used was completely randomized, in a factorial scheme with the combination of three containers (R1 = tube with a volume of 50 ml; R2 = tube with a volume of 280 ml and R3 = plastic cups with a volume of 500 ml) and two substrates (S1 = Bioplant® and S2 = Provaso® + soil 1:1), totaling six treatments, four replications, six plants per experimental unit and 144 plants. After 90 days of experiment, it is recommended for a better emergence and emission of the shoots of Physalis peruviana L. the use of the volume of 280 ml, combined with the substrate Provaso® + soil.

This study was conducted at Sugarcane Research Centre, Guneid, (Latitude 15° N, longitude 33° E) in 2008/2009 cropping season. Currently, sugarcane contributes substantially to the national economy in Sudan. The aim was to estimate the amounts of losses (field and factory) incurred on sugarcane by the effects of smut disease of sugarcane caused by Ustilago scitaminea (Syd.). From some selected sugarcane genotypes, replicated cane stalk samples were taken from each of three cane categories: whip-bearing canes from diseased stools (WBC-DS), seemingly healthy looking canes from diseased stools (AHC-DS), and healthy canes from healthy stools (HC-HS). In comparison to healthy canes, brix, sucrose content (pol %), estimated recoverable sugar (ERS), and stalk weight all showed substantial reductions of 5%, 4%, 5%, and 40%, respectively. The fibre content of whip bearing cane stalks was 7% than that of HC-HS and AHC-DS, which is harmful and responsible for ERS losses. Moisture content and purity were however, found to be unaffected by the disease. Smut disease causes losses in most cane yield parameters in both the field and the factory, according to this report. As a result, cane growers must better control this disease, with the most feasible method being the propagation and use of disease-resistant/tolerant sugarcane genotypes, augmented by crop sanitation to keep inoculum levels down.

Sorghum is important for its grain as food, animal feed, seeds and brewing local bear. Its stalks are used for shelter, animal feed and at times as source of sugar. This study was performed at Damazin Research Station, Damazin, (Latitude 11°47’34N, longitude 34°21’55 E) and approximately 343.01 meters above sea level (MSL) for two consecutive seasons of 2006/07 and 2007/08. There were three different types of seed beds used. namely, flat (control 1); normal ridged and tied ridged in a Striga infested field trial. The aim of this study to test for the incidence of witch weed (Striga spp.) and performance of sorghum under the different treatments. The procedures were carried out: two rates of urea fertilizers applied at 103.5 and 207.0 kg/ha; four leguminous plants namely, Bambara nuts, (Vigna subterranea L. Verdc.; Groundnuts, (Arachis hypogoea L.); Clitoria, (Clitoria ternatea); and Desmodium spp.) were intercropped with sorghum, Sorghum bicolor L. Moench (cv. Wad Ahmed) and a sole sorghum without any treatment (control 2) were compared for their effect on Striga population at 8 and 12 weeks after sorghum emergence (WASE); Striga dry weight at harvest; sorghum height and sorghum grain and straw yield. The results showed that standard ridged seedbeds effectively reduced Striga population and dry weight. Clitoria spp., among the legumes intercropped with sorghum, reduced sorghum height significantly, and the application urea fertilizers regardless of the rates used, increased sorghum grain yield as well as Striga population.

Before being settled on farms, land redistribution must be supported with the essential resources required for sustained farming production, and its beneficiaries must be capacitated. Then, to ensure that farming productions are sustainable, they must be monitored and evaluated. Then, on a larger scale, land reform beneficiaries' livelihoods must be improved. Based on all of the aforementioned criteria, research was begun to build a model that will ensure that land acquisition is done in a sustainable manner, thereby improving beneficiaries' livelihoods.

Effects of Anastrepha striata & Anastrepha ludens on Guava Cultures in Mexico: A Remote Sensing Approach

Eduardo Vazquezq, Roman Alvarez

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 117-133

Remote sensing techniques have been incorporated for the detection of the presence of plagues affecting plants and animals for over two decades. The presence of Anastrepha striata and Anastrepha ludens in guava cultures is currently being detected in Mexico by catching the flies in properly placed traps. The goal of this research is to show that remote sensing may be used to discover locations where flies are present or absent, simplifying the typical method of detecting these plagues. In the field, groups of traps were selected where flies had been captured, as well as areas in which there was no capture in the traps. The radiometric signatures of complete trees and leaves were acquired, revealing substantial differences between plagued and unaffected species. Then we chose a SPOT5 image from 2007 that corresponded to the study region in Calvillo, Aguascalientes, Mexico, one of the major areas of guava cultures in the country. The location of guava cultures in the image was made possible via supervised classification. The guava culture areas obtained from this classification were validated comparing them to available maps of the cultured areas. The image data was used to create spectral signatures for each class. In order to maximise separation between classes, the separability of pairs of classes was also assessed. The IR/R (infrared to red ratio) ratio of the image bands was evaluated in 80 x 80 pixels around the locations of five traps where flies had been captured, and around five locations where the traps had not captured flies. Other forms of vegetation and soil coverage were eliminated, therefore only pixels with guava cultures were included in the analysis. The index distributions with flies taken and those without flies collected clustered into two distinct groups, according to our findings. We note that plotting the whole distribution of pixels around a trap yields a diagnostic view of the area, and individual index values do not provide such a view, since values with the flies’ presence and without these overlap to some extent. Further analysis of other trap locations supported this split and also identified a third group of intermediate values between the two above, that are interpreted as locations in which the guava cultures are affected by the plague at an early stage of development, where the flies are not captured by the traps since they do not yet hatch. We concluded that remote sensing techniques can be used to detect the presence of Anastrepha striata and Anastrepha ludens in Psidium guajava L. cultures, even at early stages of plague development. These results also suggest that a systematic analysis by means of satellite images is warranted in the detection of the presence of Anastrepha striata & Anastrepha ludens, which would complement the present techniques of physical capture of flies.

Quality Eco-Composite Boards from Oil Palm Agro-Waste of Empty Fruit Bunches

Razak Wahab, Mohamad Saiful Sulaiman, Hashim W. Samsi, Ros Syazmini Mohd Ghani, Taharah Edin, Nasihah Mokhtar, Mohammad Haziq Razak

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 134-147

The potential usage of an eco-composite boards from agro-waste of oil palm empty fruit bunches were studied. The oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB) obtained from a private oil palm plantation. By using fibre cutter and particle crusher, these EFB refined. Hardeners and wax added at 1% and 3% during the mixing process. Boards with densities of 500, 600 and 700 kg/m3 produced using resin urea formaldehyde as the bonding agent at 10, 12 and 14%. The boards conditioned in a conditioning chamber set at 20±2°C and 65% relative humidity before undergoing subsequent testing. The EN Standards specifications applied in the preparation of test samples and testing. Results showed the highest modulus of rupture (MOR) and modulus of elasticity (MOE) achieved in this study were 22.91 N/mm2 and 2059.56 N/mm2. The internal bonding was found to be at 0.98 N/mm2, and 467.47 N/mm2 and 512.37 N/mm2 respectively for the edge and face screw withdrawal. Boards with 700 kg/m3 density and 14% resin content met the requirement of standard specifications. Scanning electron microscopy machine used to study the resin-fibre bonding property. Resin and fibre in the board inspected carefully, and voids appeared at the cross-section of the board with density 500 kg/m3 at 10% resin suggesting moisture penetrated into the board via the open spaces and weakened the linkages existed, thus cause the board to have low properties. The thermogravimetric analysis(TGA) indicates maximum rate of decomposition for the EFB boards occurred at 380.83°C. This study shows that the board’s density and resin content applied influence on the board’s overall properties with boards produced at 700 kg/m3 density with 14% resin content showed excellent overall properties with good dimensional stability. This type of board, scanned under SEM, shows numerous voids structure that absorbs and traps moisture. Inter particle’s bonding thus diminished as moisture interrupts, causing low board performance. The UF resin showed higher thermal stability compared to regular boards when analysed under TGA. 

Study on Spatial Variability of Soil Properties in an Agrarian Reform Settlement in Chapadinha, Brazil

James Ribeiro de Azevedo, Célia Regina Paes Bueno, Gener Tadeu Pereira

Cutting-edge Research in Agricultural Sciences Vol. 9, 28 May 2021, Page 148-160

The study of soil chemical and physical properties variability is important for suitable management practices. Land use without adequate planning leads to soil impoverishment and low crop yield, which results in a decline in the socioeconomic and technological level of the rural population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spatial variability of soil properties in the Malhada do Meio settlement to subsidize soil use planning. The settlement is located in Chapadinha, MA, Brazil, and has an area of 630.86 ha. The vegetation is seasonal submontane deciduous forest and steppe savanna. The geology is formed of sandstones and siltstones of the Itapecuru Formation and by colluvial and alluvial deposits. The relief consists of hills with rounded and flat tops with an average altitude of 67 m, and frequently covered over by ferruginous duricrusts. A total of 183 georeferenced soil samples were collected at the depth of 0.00-0.20 m in Plintossolos , Neossolo and Gleissolo. The following chemical variables were analyzed: pH(CaCl2), H+Al, Al, SB, V, CEC, P, K, OM, Ca, Mg, SiO2, Al2O3, and Fe2O3; along with particle size variables: clay, silt, and sand. Descriptive statistical and geostatistical analyses were carried out. The coefficient of variation (CV) was high for most of the variables, with the exception of pH with a low CV, and of sand with a medium CV. The models fitted to the experimental semivariograms of these variables were the exponential and the spherical. The range values were from 999 m to 3,690 m. For the variables pH(CaCl2), SB, and clay, there are three specific areas for land use planning. The central part of the area (zone III), where the Plintossolos Pétricos and Neossolos Flúvicos occur, is the most suitable for crops due to higher macronutrient content, organic matter and pH. Zones I and II are indicated for environmental preservation. This study defined homogeneous areas of the management of high and low levels of soil fertility.

Plywood and other laminated panels are used as substitutes for solid wood in various applications. There is a special interest for the densified wood veneers to produce such composites. In this chapter selected properties of densified veneers made of two fast-growing species are presented along with a new lay-up veneer structure of plywood to produce value-added panels for indoor applications. Based on the findings of this study the densification process enhanced the veneer surface quality and gloss, giving also a pleasant darker colour to the veneers and the plywood made of them. The new plywood structure with alternate layers of densified and non-densified veneers was proved to be an efficient solution to obtain panels with improved properties.