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Mediterranean fig culture (Ficus carica L.) in northern Morocco : Resilience of caprifig and female fig trees to climate change
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The Mediterranean fig tree (Ficus carica L.) is a dioecious tree originating from the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East, and it plays a significant role in human nutrition. In Morocco, much like in North Africa, the cultivation of the Mediterranean fig tree (Ficus carica L.) dates back to ancient times. In 2017, it covered an area of 55,000 hectares in Morocco and yielded an estimated production of 150,000 tons of figs (fresh and dried). The fig tree ranks among the fruit species of major economic importance, particularly in the northern regions of Morocco. In the context of this study, we investigate the phenological adaptability and fructification periods of the caprifig and female fig tree in response to climatic fluctuations. As a result, the study was conducted in the province of Chefchaouen (Bni Ahmed Commune), where we considered a sample comprising 20 caprifig trees and 40 female fig trees belonging to 8 local varieties. The monitoring was carried out over two years (2020/2021 and 2021/2022) while collecting meteorological elements associated with phenology such as air temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation. The results revealed significant relationships between phenology, fructification, receptivity periods, pollinator insect abundance, and climatic conditions, thus indicating promising responses for the cultivation of caprifig trees in the province of Chefchaouen. Additionally, the study highlighted the importance of preserving local biodiversity and emphasized the potential benefits of an agroecological approach to promote sustainable agriculture.

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Essential oil composition and glandular trichome structure of the weather prophet Dimorphoteca pluvialis

Dimorphoteca pluvialis (L.) Moench, usually known as weather prophet, African daisy, or Cape marigold, is an Asteraceae commonly found in gardens due to its appealing white to yellowish flowers. Recently, its use as a non-food oilseed crop has been investigated due to the high amounts of dimorphecolic acid (Δ9-hydroxy,10t,12t-octadecadienoic acid), a highly reactive C18 fatty acid with value for the manufacture of paints, inks, lubricants, plastic and nylon. However, information on the essential oil (EO) composition of its plant tissues is scarce. The present work focused on characterizing the glandular trichomes, the main site for secretion of natural products, of shoots and sepals and analysing the EO composition of shoots and flowers of D. pluvialis, extracted by hydrodistillation for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. Shoot surface displayed sharp and elongated non-glandular protection trichomes, while the sepals additionally showed shorter and wider non-glandular trichomes. A capitate trichome with a biseriate peduncle and a multiseriate head was the only type of glandular trichome identified. A histochemical analysis of the glandular head revealed the presence of acid lipids, terpenic and phenolic compounds. The extracted EOs showed high amounts of trans-2-hexenal, a C6 aldehyde that protects plants against harmful substances, but is considered toxic for humans. This study described, for the first time, the composition of EOs of D. pluvialis plants.

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In vitro preservation of somatic seeds and nonencapsulated hemp explants

Somatic seed technology and cold storage are used for rapid clonal propagation of plants and germplasm preservation. These methods provides genetic uniformity, pest and disease-free plants, easy to handle, and transport. The storage at low temperature reduces the metabolic rate, minimizes the risk of somaclonal variation and prolong storage time. The cold storage protocols of somatic seeds for Cannabis sativa L. are scare and limited to drug type chemotypes. The aim of this study was to develop protocols for nonencapsulated shoot tips and for alginate-encapsulated somatic seeds of industrial hemp genotypes. Aseptic axillary shoot tips derived from in vitro grown plants were used as explants and storage up to 6 months at 4 °C in the dark. Somatic seeds were produced in 3% sodium alginate and Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium salts with addition of sucrose or mannitol. Synthetic seeds were stored at 4 °C in the dark up to 6 months. The effect of the bead composition, and the time of storage on plant regeneration was investigated. After 6 months of cold storage the highest regrowth 45% was recorded for the nonencapsulated explants. Recovery of somatic seeds was 90% under the same storage condition after 3 months. Well-developed, rooted plants regenerated from encapsulated, stored explants were successfully acclimatized.

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Can long photoperiods be utilized to integrate Cichorium spinosum L. into vertical farms?

Vertical farming is gaining attention for urban agriculture and sustainable food production, but mainstream crops may not be economically viable in this system, prompting a shift to high-value crops. This study explores the potential of Cichorium spinosum L. (spiny chicory), a wild edible green, for vertical farming. When cultivated on open field and greenhouses, spiny chicory tends to flower prior vernalization deeming the flowered plants unsalable, necessitating an investigation on its flowering responses. C. spinosum L. plants were cultivated and for 5 months in peat-filled pots, under low light (100 umols m2 s-1), and two photoperiods (10 and 15 hours) with stable temperature (20°C) and CO2 level (400 ppm). No flowering occurred at the end of the first experiment, indicating that photoperiod alone did not induce flowering. Next, C. spinosum L. was hydroponically cultivated in a commercial vertical farm with a 15-hour photoperiod, light intensity of 300 umols m-2s-1, temperature between 25 and 30°C, CO2 levels of 350 to 400 ppm, and plant density of 100 plants m-2. At the end of the one-month cultivation, gas exchange measurements were conducted to analyze CO2 uptake and evaporation, whereas the salable fresh weight was approximately 1.7-2 kg per m2. This study aims to enhance understanding of spiny chicory’s flowering response and growth performance, providing valuable insights for cultivating this wild edible vegetable in vertical farming systems.

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DETERMINATION OF OPTIMUM PHOSPHORUS AND POTASSIUM APPLICATION RATES FOR HIGHER POTATO SEED TUBER PRODUCTION
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ABSTRACT

Sustainable potato production requires continuous provision of high-quality seed tubers. However, obtaining adequate high quality (healthy medium-sized) potato seed is the major challenge in potato seed tuber production. Nutrient management particularly Phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) are vital for the regulation of the yield and tuber quality attributes of the potatoes. This study was conducted to test and determine the economically optimum amount of P, K, and PK required for higher seed tuber yield and quality of three potato varieties. The experiment had four levels (control, a quarter (8.5, 85kg), half (17, 170kg), and complete dosages (34, 340kg)) of P and K fertilizers recommended for ware potatoes as the factorial main plot factor and the three potato varieties as subplot factor in a split-plot design with three replications. Results showed the absence of statistically significant interaction effects (p>0.05) of variety by fertility management. However, cultivar, P, K, and combined application of P and K affected some growth, yield, and quality characteristics of the varieties. Only P application remarkably affected seed tuber yield and the economic benefit of the varieties. Among the tested fertilizer levels, a quarter of the recommended P for ware potato gave maximum standard seed tuber yield (20.51t) equivalent to the recommended P level (23.51t). It has enhanced the economic benefit of medium-size and total seed tuber by 385 and 362%, respectively. The result indicated that a quarter of the P fertilizer required for ware potato production is optimal for economically feasible seed tuber production.

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THE USE OF NEW PLANT GROWTH REGULATORS METHYUR, KAMETHUR AND IVIN TO INCREASE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF SORGHUM
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Published: 26 October 2023 by MDPI in The 3rd International Electronic Conference on Agronomy session Poster session

Sorghum is one of the most important food, fodder and technical crops grown in the world. Global climate change and environmental pollution with toxic industrial and agricultural waste are the most unfavorable environmental factors affecting the growth and development of sorghum, which leads to a decrease in product quality. The main purpose of this work is to study the effect of new plant growth regulators Methyur (derivative of sodium salt of 6-methyl-2-mercapto-4-hydroxypyrimidine), Kamethur (derivative of potassium salt of 6-methyl-2-mercapto-4-hydroxypyrimidine) and Ivin (N-oxide-2,6-dimethylpyridine) on the productivity of field-grown sorghum. Field experiments were carried out on grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) cv. Yarona, and sweet sorghum (Sorghum saccharatum L.) cv. Favorite. Statistical analysis showed that the productivity parameters of 4 month-old sorghum plants obtained from seeds treated before sowing in the soil with water solution of Methyur, Kamethur or Ivin at a concentration of 10-7M, increased as follows: the average panicle length (in cm) increased by 7% - 20% - for grain sorghum cv. Yarona and by 25% - 37% - for sweet sorghum cv. Favorite, accordingly, and the average fresh weight of grain (in gram) increased by 13% – 26% - for grain sorghum cv. Yarona, and by 24% - 38% - for sweet sorghum cv. Favorite, compared to control. Based on the results obtained, it is proposed to use new plant growth regulators Methyur, Kamethur and Ivin to increase the productivity of sorghum crops.

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Genetic and Microbial Insights into Drought Stress Alleviation in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)
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Drought is a significant environmental stress that severely affects various key crops development, productivity, and overall quality. Recent studies have provided insight on the function of plant genetics in conferring drought stress resistance in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), which is a key crop worldwide. In response to the need to mitigate the impacts of drought stress on tomato plants, it is focused on the assessment of the delicate interplay between genetic variables and microbial interactions. Some key genes, such as ABA-responsive genes, transcription factor genes, aquaporin genes, ROS-related genes, etc., and their function in drought tolerance in tomato plants have been discovered and analyzed to understand their role in stress adaptation. Additionally, Microbial interactions, notably with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), mycorrhizal fungi, and pseudomonas, have emerged as key components in the context of drought stress alleviation. These helpful microbes develop symbiotic interactions with the tomato plant’s molecular functions, aiding nutrient intake, hormone control, and stress signal transmission. Moreover, their systemic resistance accelerates the plant's ability to cope with drought. This study emphasizes existing information on molecular principles underpinning stress tolerance and underscores the relevance of microbial-assisted stress amelioration and the interplay between genetic variables and microbial populations in relieving drought in tomato. Overall, it contributes to the necessity of understanding the intricate relationships between genetics and helpful microbes to create creative ways for sustainable agriculture in the face of growing water scarcity.

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RESPONSE TO GRAZING PRESSURE ON THE SOIL PROPERTIES AND SHRUB COMMUNITIES IN THE SEMI-DESERT STEPPE, MONGOLIA

Soil physical properties (topsoil density, 0-30cm density, soil organic carbon and soil organic matter) was significant of grazing intensity in the semi-desert steppe of Mongolia. Soil physical properties are playing an important role for formation of arid ecosystem. Grazing of abundant livestock can alter for the spatial heterogeneity of vegetation and soil structure, especially of arid ecosystem. According to our results, soil organic carbon was remarkably different among all sites (F=13.8, P<0.0001). This study conducted to identifying grazing effects of both livestock and wild ungulates (as large herbivores) on both herbaceous shrub communities’ characteristics, including their physical performance (DF=4, F=46.73, P<0.0001) such as, height, canopy diameter, basal diameter and annual shoot in Ikh Nart Nature Reserve. Our findings revealed the soil physical characters such as topsoil density, bulk density, SOC and SOM were decreased with increased grazing intensity, as well as grazing of herbivores was negatively affected for height, canopy diameter and annual shoot of shrub communities. Therefore, our findings clearly indicated the negative effects of grazing to studied soil properties and shrub communities in semi-desert region of Mongolia. The results also showed that there is still need well managed pasture management that covered conservation of shrub communities alongside with other-species in semi-desert region.

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Morphological Characterization of Hybrids Derived from the Pollination of Hoya deleoniorum
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A number of Hoya cultivars have emerged as significant horticultural plants, considering the broad range of ornamental traits these plants possess. Market demand has consistently been driven by distinctive foliage and flower attributes. In this study, two first-generation offspring from the pollination of Hoya deleoniorum as a seed parent were selected, and their characteristics were examined. Using 36 leaf and floral traits, phenetic investigation and cluster analysis were performed on the hybrids (GTX-021, GTX-067) and parent species (H. deleoniorum, H. peninsularis, H. subquintuplinervis). Polymorphism was observed among 14 of the 24 qualitative characters evaluated, whereas significant differences (p<0.05) were observed for 11 of the 12 analyzed quantitative characters. A dendrogram based on morphometric measures, expressed through Euclidean similarity coefficients using the UPGMA method, separated the seed parent from other genotypes while grouping the pollen parent with its offspring. Due to its morphological intermediateness to its parents, the F1 GTX-021 was selected from the resultant population of H. deleoniorum x H. peninsularis. The morphometric measurements of GTX-021 reveal a close resemblance to its pollen parent. The F1 GTX-067, on the other hand, is more similar to its pollen parent, H. subquintuplinervis, in terms of qualitative morphological traits, but significantly smaller in terms of leaf and corona measurements. The distinct morphological traits of the F1 plants documented in this study enhance the ornamental value of the genus. Additionally, it is expected that these hybrid plants will improve genetic diversity, which will be essential to subsequent Hoya breeding initiatives.

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Agroecological fertilisation practices to improve sustainability and circularity in maize crop systems
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Agroecological practices, such as organic fertilisation offer a sustainable approach to crop systems. In this research, organic fertilisers made from a mixture of nejayote (lime-water) and ovine manure were evaluated in maize. Several indexes and indicators were calculated based on field data. The results demonstrated that nejayote-manure fertilisers improve Soil Quality (SQI=14.1), enhance efficiency in nutrient utilisation (Increased Yield, IY= 4.2 Mg ha-1) and promote greater production biomass compared to chemical fertilisation. Organic fertilisations reduced dependency on external inputs and non-renewable energy, increased sustainability in maize, and facilitated the closure of nutrient cycles by integrating livestock, crop and agro-industrial systems.

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