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Effect of seed inoculation and fertilization with titanium on soybean yield
Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

Soybean is grown in many parts of the world due to the high demand for seeds (food and feed) and its advantages and disadvantages are well known. In Poland, efforts have been made to increase soybean production through the use of optimal cultivars and cultivation technology. In soybean agriculture practice, an important treatment is the inoculation of seeds with symbiotic bacteria and optimal fertilization with selected nutrients. Recently, due to the rising dearth of microelements in soils worldwide, the use of several elements such as B, Zn, Cu, Mn, Mo, Fe, Si or Ti has received great attention in crop production. Although Ti application in crops is very rare, but several studies reported its beneficial effects on plant growth and development.

The present study examined the reaction of soybean to seed inoculation with Bradyrhizobium japonicum and the synergistic effect of foliar fertilization plants with titanium (Ti). The experiment was carried out in 2021-2022 in a field of the Podkarpackie Agricultural Advisory Centre in Boguchwała (21°57′E, 49°59′N), Podkarpackie Province, Poland. The tested factor was a bacterial inoculant for soybean (PRIMSEED® BIOM Soja) and foliar fertilizer (TYTANIT®, Ti - 8,5 g/l) with applied in the following variants:

A – Control

B – Seeds inoculated

C – Foliar fertilization with Ti (in accordance with the instructions on the product label)

D – B + C.

The experiment was carried out in four replicates in a random block design, using the cultivar Mavka, recommended for cultivation in the study area. Soybean was cultivated in accordance with the best agrotechnical knowledge.

It was demonstrated that the best variant was seed inoculation with Bradyrhizobium japonicum in combination with foliar titanium application. As a result of this treatments, a significant increase in nodulation, soil plant analysis development (SPAD) index, leaf area index (LAI) and seed yield (by 0.33 t⸱ha-1) was obtained compared to the control. In addition, the content of total protein in the seeds increased, while the content of crude fat decreased, which significantly modified the yield of both components. Soybean yielded variably during the study years and the difference obtained between 2021 and 2022 was 0.89 t⸱ha-1. Inoculation seeds with B. japonicum, in combination with foliar fertilization with Ti, could be recommended for agricultural practice, which was confirmed by economic calculations. Future experiments will assess the soybean’s response to seed inoculation or coating and fertilization with other micronutrients.

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THE INFLUENCE OF WHEAT-FLOUR ENRICHED WITH WILD GROWN FRUITS ON THE PROLIFERATION OF FIBROBLASTS, BREAST CANCER CELLS, AND MELANOMA CELLS
Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

The number of deaths due to malignant neoplasms is increasing year by year. For this reason, new ways of preventing them and supporting treatment are being sought. One of them is adding plant extracts to food in case of increasing its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerogenic activity. The aim of the study was to examine the effect of different wild grown fruits (chokeberry, elderberry, hawthorn and sea-buckthorn) added to wheat-flour cookies on the proliferation of: (i) normal BJ lines (fibroblasts); (ii) tumour cells of the MCF-7 (breast cancer) and (iii) WM793 (melanoma) lines. Methanol-acetone extracts were prepared from previously baked wheat-flour cookies fortified with fruits, in order to use them in the further part of the research to prepare mixtures with concentrations of: 0.5 mg / mL; 1 mg / mL; 1.5 mg / mL; 2.5 mg / mL. The viability and cytotoxicity of normal and neoplastic cells was examined. It was observed that the MCF-7 melanoma tumour line appeared to be more susceptible to the action of the tested extracts with the addition of selected wild grown fruits compared to WM793 breast cancer cells. Moreover, the greatest significant effect on the inhibition of MCF-7 cells among extracts with a concentration of 2.5 mg/ml was proved in the case of chokeberry and elderberry (p <0.05). In terms of the inhibition of the WM793 line among extracts with a concentration of 2.5 mg/ml, the greatest significant effect was proved in the case of sea buckthorn and elderberry (p <0.05).

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Machine learning for the prediction of high Andean crop yields in the Ancash Region – Peru
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Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

Agriculture is the backbone of every economy. In a country like Peru, which has an increasing demand for food due to population growth, advancements in the agricultural sector are necessary to meet these needs. Machine learning is an important decision support tool for predicting crop yields. However, nowadays, food production and prediction are being depleted due to non-natural climate changes, which negatively impact the economy of farmers by obtaining low yields. This article explores various machine learning techniques such as neural networks, decision trees, k-means, and logistic regression, used in the field of crop yield estimation, to enhance decision-making by farmers in the Ancash region of Peru. For this research, six provinces in the Ancash region (Yungay, Carhuaz, Huaraz, Recuay, Aija, and Huari) were selected, where a database of 2,573 households was obtained in 2016, and subsequently, a separate set of 594 samples was obtained in 2017. All machine learning algorithms are useful as they cater to different objectives. In our study, we still need to test ensemble algorithms such as random forests, stacking, bagging, boosting, and voting to determine the best one for predicting yields in high-altitude crops in the Ancash region of Peru.

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Variable impacts of two various nano-ZnO application techniques on selected growth parameters of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)
Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is a highly esteemed horticultural crop that is consumed in various forms, including raw and processed. Contemporary agriculture employs both conventional and organic fertilizers to enhance crop yield and optimize efficiency. Conventional fertilizers have been shown to enhance agricultural productivity, but their usage has been linked to negative environmental consequences. Those circumstances provide motivation for the exploration of an alternative resolution.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of nano-ZnO (at conc. 50, 150 and 250 mg/L) administered in two distinct ways (foliar spraying and directly into the soil) along with conventional fertilizer on tomatoes. After cultivation, the plant tissues, including aboveground parts of the plants and fruits were analyzed in detail. The findings indicate that the utilization of nano-ZnO in tomato plants had an impact on the plant's biometric parameters and its antioxidant capacity. The outcomes of the performed analyses were dependent upon the concentrations of nano-ZnO utilized or the method of their administration. Further investigations revealed that the utilization of nano ZnO resulted in an elevation of malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and other chosen antioxidants’ activities in the aerial parts of the plant. On the other hand, the utilization of nano-ZnO resulted in a slight reduction in the levels of chlorophyll and carotenoid in the chosen plants, along with a decrease in the quantity and mass of the harvested fruits. However, a reduction in fruit weight aside, the application of nano-ZnO resulted in an elevation of lycopene and β-carotene levels in the fruit of chosen plants.

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GELLAN GUM BASED HYDROGELS AS POTENTIAL SYSTEM FOR PLANT GROWTH
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Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

Hydrogels are three-dimensional polymeric networks with promising properties as release systems for fertilizers, pesticides and plant growth-promoting bacteria, as well as improving water availability in crop soils. Most commercial hydrogels for agricultural use are based on synthetic polymers. Due to the increasing attention on the use of biodegradable materials, hydrogels based on natural polymers have gained interest. In this work, the design and development of new hydrogels with superabsorbent characteristics based on gellan gum (GG) and humic acid (HA) were carried out, as an ecological alternative with potential application in the agricultural industry. Hydrogels were obtained by crosslinking the GG chains with spermidine in the presence of HA. The structural and physicochemical properties of the hydrogels were evaluated by FTIR, TGA, SEM and degree of swelling at 25 °C in deionized water. Chlorophyll quantification was evaluated in sorghum (Sorghum sp.) seedlings germinated in a growth chamber for plants at 27±1 °C and 12 light hours. The results showed that adding HA to the GG matrix increases the amount of total chlorophylls in sorghum seedlings.

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Comparative analysis of antioxidant activity in mustard grown under different lighting conditions

The antioxidant activity of leafy vegetables is an important aspect of its nutritional value. Based on the literature data light is a powerful tool used as a natural factor seeking to alter the antioxidant activity during harvest and may result in prolonged shelf-life. Thus our aim was to determine if the spectral composition affects the antioxidant activity of mustard microgreens at the same light intensity. Mustard microgreens (Brassica juncea) were grown in a peat substrate, in (I) a greenhouse when natural light was supplemented with white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) lighting (16h), and (II) in a controlled-environment chamber (CEC)under R61%, B20%, W15%, and FR4% spectral composition LED’s. 20±3 °C temperature and total PPFD of 150, 200, and 250 µmol m-2s-1 were maintained in both treatments. Samples were taken on a harvest day (D0), one (D1), and three (D3) days after harvest and were held in the light or dark at +4°C. Results showed that depending on light spectra, 150 µmol m-2s-1 resulted in a significant difference in FRAP activity only on D3/light and dark between both treatments. Spectral composition of R61%, B20%, W15%, and FR4% resulted in higher antioxidant activity than white light under 150 µmol m-2s-1. At PPFD levels of 200 and 250 µmol m-2s-1, similar results were found on D0, D1/light, and D3/ light and dark when the spectral composition of R61%, B20%, W15%, and FR4% showed effectuate significantly higher antioxidant activity. It is important to understand how efficiently plants use the light they receive, that kind of knowledge may help to reduce energy costs and impact profitability, and productivity. Our findings show that even separate light components such as PPFD can enable in a higher efficiency. Concluding by manipulating the spectral composition of the light during mustard microgreen growth, antioxidant activity may be altered during storage.

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The Significance of Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change: A Study on Farmers' Perspectives in Sikkim, India
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Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

This research explores farmers' views in Sikkim, India, a region nestled in the Himalayas, on sustainable agriculture and the impact of climate change. Thirty two Sikkimese farmers participated in this study, which utilized convenience sampling. Structured, open-ended interviews were conducted to gather data on their perceptions of climate change, sustainable agriculture, and associated challenges.
Qualitative data and web-based sentiment analysis tools were employed to identify key themes and attitudes towards sustainable agriculture and climate change. The findings revealed that Sikkim farmers have been experiencing the effects of climate change, mainly through rising summer temperatures, over the past decade. Altered rainfall patterns have also affected their crop yields and necessitated adjustments to their farming methods.
Sikkim's farmers exhibited a positive sentiment towards the adoption of organic farming techniques as a means to promote sustainable agriculture. They recognized the benefits of organic farming on their health, crop vitality, and the environment. However, limited resources and funding constraints highlighted the need for government support to facilitate a widespread transition to organic practices. The study also discovered that vermicomposting was favoured among Sikkim's farmers due to its positive effects on plant health and crop development. Resilient crop selection and seasonal crop choices were identified as essential strategies to cope with climate change and maximize yields.
Additionally, farmers expressed enthusiasm for employing practices such as crop rotation, intercropping, and companion cropping to mitigate soil erosion and manage pests. They believed such approaches could enhance crop yields while minimizing the negative impacts of climate change on their farms. Overall, this research provides valuable insights into farmers' perspectives on sustainable agriculture and climate change in the Himalayan region. It underscores the need for government assistance and resources to enable farmers to embrace sustainable agricultural techniques amidst ongoing climatic shifts. Furthermore, these findings are a valuable resource for farmers implementing organic farming practices, crop selection, and management methods to adapt to the evolving climate.

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The effect of manure on plant development and yield of the wild edible species Cichorium spinosum, Scolymus hispanicus and Sonchus oleraceus.
Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Crop Production;

The Mediterranean basin is an abundant hotspot of native wild edible plants which have gained great interest for their commercial exploitation as alternative crops in terms of sustainability due to rich phytochemical profile and tremendous bioactive properties. At the experimental farm of the University of Thessaly during the period of May 2022 and July 2022 a field trial was conducted in order to evaluate the effect of manure on the morphological traits and yield of the three wild edible species, namely Scolymus hispanicus, Sonchus oleraceus and Cichorium spinosum. Seeds of species were sown in seed trays and young plants were transplanted to the field at the stage of 3-4 fully developed leaves. For the execution of the experiment, two treatments (manure and control) were tested, while each treatment included three plots with a size of 8 m2 (4 x 2 m, n=3). Twenty plants per wild edible plant were transplanted in each plot with distances of 0.40 cm between the rows and 0.30 cm within each row. For the manure treatment, 40 kg/plot of manure were added directly in soil and incorporated with a tiller, whereas in the control treatment no manure was added. The cholorophyll content of leaves (SPAD values) and the diameter of the plants’ rosettes were evaluated during the growing period. Plants were harvested when fully developed and prior to anthesis and morphological traits were determined, namely the weight of plant (g), the number of leaves/plant, the weight of leaves/plant (g), the leaf area index (cm2), specific leaf area (m2/kg) and the dry matter of leaves (%). The experiment was carried out according to a Completely Randomized Design with three replications (n=3) per treatment. All data were checked for normal distribution according to the Shaphiro-Wilk test and mean values were compared according to the Tukey’s test at p=0,05, whereas the statistical analysis was performed with the software with JMP v. 16.1 (SAS Institute Inc.). Based on the current findings, the application of manure had a significant positive impact on the tested yield parameters namely the weight of plant, the number of leaves, and the weight of leaves/plant for all the studied species, whereas significant statistical differences were also observed regarding the chlorophyll content of leaves, the diameter of plant, the leaf area index and specific leaf area compared to the control treatment. In conclusion, the manure application could be a useful cultivation practice to improve yield characteristics and the overall growth development of the tested plants, which could be implement by the farmers in a sustainable point of view, especially in small-scale farms that are the backbone of crop production in the broader Mediterranean area; however, further studies are needed to be carried to define the optimum cultivation practices for the commercial cultivation of these species, while more analyses are need to study the effect of this practice on the chemical composition, the nutritional value and the bioactive properties of these wild edible species.

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Foliar Selenate and Zinc Oxide Separately Applied to Two Pea Varieties: Effects on Growth Parameters and Accumulation of Macronutrients and Minerals in Seeds under Field Conditions
Published: 31 October 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Poster Session.

Selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn) deficiencies affect up to 15% and 17% of the global population, respectively. Agronomic biofortification of staple crops with Se/Zn may alleviate these challenges. Pea (Pisum sativum L.) is a nutritious legume crop with great potential for Se/Zn biofortification. Herein, two varieties of pea (Ambassador, Premium) were biofortified via foliar application of sodium selenate (0/50/100 g of Se/ha) or zinc oxide (0/375/750 g of Zn/ha) during the flowering stage under field conditions. While no significant differences were found in Se accumulation between seed varieties upon Se treatments, selenate enhanced the accumulation of Se in the two seed varieties dose dependently. Selenium concentration was most elevated in seeds of Ambassador exposed to 100 g of Se/ha (3.93 mg/kg DW vs. the control (0.08 mg/kg DW), p < 0.001). 375 g of Zn/ha (35.7 mg/kg DW) and 750 g of Zn/ha (35.5 mg/kg DW) significantly and similarly enhanced Zn concentrations compared to the control (31.3 mg/kg DW) in Premium seeds, p < 0.001. Zinc oxide also improved accumulations of Fe, Cu, Mn, and Mg in Premium seeds. Se/Zn treatments did not significantly affect growth parameters and accumulations of soluble solids and protein in seeds. Consuming 33 g/day of pea biofortified with Se at 50 g/ha and 266 g/day of pea biofortified with 375 g of Zn/ha could provide 100% of the RDA for Se (55 µg) and Zn (9.5 mg) in adults, respectively. These results are relevant for enhancing Se/Zn status in peas by foliar biofortification.

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Comparative Seed Germination and Early growth Assessment of Indigenous and Exotic Tree species in Nigeria
Published: 06 November 2023 by MDPI in 2nd International Online Conference on Agriculture session Crop Production;

This study assessed the germination and early growth of selected indigenous tree crops (Khaya grandifoliola, Khaya senegalensis, Terminalia superba, Terminalia ivorensis, Mansonia altissima) and exotic tree species (Tectona grandis). Seeds of the tree species were collected, treated, and raised in the departmental nursery of Forest Production and Products, University of Ibadan. The replicate for the seed germination experiment varied based on seed availability. A total of 45 and 42 Khaya grandifoliola and Khaya senegalensis seeds, 8390 Tectona grandis, 295 seed of Terminalia superba, and 2725 Terminalia ivorensis seed was planted respectively. Upon germination, seedlings were pricked-out into the polythene pots while the change in growth variables which are leaf length, number of leaves, leaf width, and height was assessed for three weeks using a total of 10 replicates per each tree species. Data obtained were subjected to descriptive statistics and ANOVA using IBM Statistics 27 and the experimental design employed is the completely randomized design (CRD). The best germination (100%) was recorded for two of the indigenous tree crops (Khaya senegalensis and Khaya grandifoliola) 21 days after planting. Plant height increased from Mansonia altissima (2.17 cm) to T. superba (26.05 cm). All the growth variables assessed were significantly different among the tree species. This study revealed that the indigenous tree species are better germinated and grew more appreciably than the exotic species, however, there is a need for a more extended study to confirm the claim.

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