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See detailImpact of Land Use Changes on Soil and Vegetation Characteristics in Fereydan, Iran
Eghdami, Hanieh; Azhdari, Ghanimat; Lebailly, Philippe ULiege et al

in Agriculture (2019), 9(3), 58

To understand and manage ecosystem complexity, it is important to determine the relationships between soil characteristics, human activities, and biodiversity. This study analyzes the relationships ... [more ▼]

To understand and manage ecosystem complexity, it is important to determine the relationships between soil characteristics, human activities, and biodiversity. This study analyzes the relationships between vegetation, soil, and man-made damage with regards to land use change in the Fereydan region, Iran. Soil physical properties such as sand and silt content, clay, saturated soil’s moisture content, and gravel percentage as well as chemical properties such as lime content, pH, electro conductivity (EC), and organic matter content were measured. In order to trace these variables, the principle component analysis (PCA) was applied. The study area was divided into three states of conditions; i.e., good condition rangelands, poor condition rangelands, and abandoned rain-fed area. Based on the results there was a significant difference between species diversity in good condition rangelands compared with two other sites. The results further revealed that among soil chemical and physical characteristics, only soil organic matter had a significant difference between different rangeland sites. According to the results, the rangelands with good conditions had the highest amount of organic matter (1.43–1.50%) compared with two other studied rangelands (poor conditions: 1.02–1.09%; abandoned rain-fed: 1.2–1.46%). The most influential factor on the species diversity index was the distance to village parameter that revealed the important role of humans in degrading rangelands and reducing species diversity. [less ▲]

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See detailSurfactin protects wheat against Zymoseptoria tritici and activates both salicylic acid- and jasmonic acid-dependent defense responses
Le Mire, Géraldine ULiege; Siah, Ali; Brisset, Marie-Noëlle et al

in Agriculture (2018), 8

Natural elicitors induce plant resistance against a broad spectrum of diseases, and are currently among the most promising biocontrol tools. The present study focuses on the elicitor properties of the ... [more ▼]

Natural elicitors induce plant resistance against a broad spectrum of diseases, and are currently among the most promising biocontrol tools. The present study focuses on the elicitor properties of the cyclic lipopeptide surfactin on wheat, in order to stimulate the defenses of this major crop against the challenging fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. The protection efficacy of surfactin extracted from the strain Bacillus amyloliquefaciens S499 was investigated through greenhouse trials. Surfactin protected wheat by 70% against Z. tritici, similarly to the chemical reference elicitor Bion®50WG. In vitro biocidal assays revealed no antifungal activities of surfactin towards the pathogen. A biomolecular RT-qPCR based low-density microarray tool was used to study the relative expression of 23 wheat defense genes. Surfactin significantly induced wheat natural defenses by stimulating both salicylic acid- and jasmonic acid-dependent signaling pathways. Surfactin was successfully tested as an elicitor on the pathosystem wheat–Z. tritici. These results promote further sustainable agricultural practices and the reduction of chemical inputs. [less ▲]

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See detailMiscanthus Biochar had Limited Effects on Soil Physical Properties, Microbial Biomass, and Grain Yield in a Four-Year Field Experiment in Norway
O'Toole, Adam; Moni, Christophe; Weldon, Simon et al

in Agriculture (2018), 8(11), 171-190

he application of biochar to soils is a promising technique for increasing soil organic C and offsetting GHG emissions. However, large-scale adoption by farmers will likely require the proof of its ... [more ▼]

he application of biochar to soils is a promising technique for increasing soil organic C and offsetting GHG emissions. However, large-scale adoption by farmers will likely require the proof of its utility to improve plant growth and soil quality. In this context, we conducted a four-year field experiment between October 2010 to October 2014 on a fertile silty clay loam Albeluvisol in Norway to assess the impact of biochar on soil physical properties, soil microbial biomass, and oat and barley yield. The following treatments were included: Control (soil), miscanthus biochar 8 t C ha−1 (BC8), miscanthus straw feedstock 8 t C ha−1 (MC8), and miscanthus biochar 25 t C ha−1 (BC25). Average volumetric water content at field capacity was significantly higher in BC25 when compared to the control due to changes in BD and total porosity. The biochar amendment had no effect on soil aggregate (2–6 mm) stability, pore size distribution, penetration resistance, soil microbial biomass C and N, and basal respiration. Biochar did not alter crop yields of oat and barley during the four growing seasons. In order to realize biochar’s climate mitigation potential, we suggest future research and development efforts should focus on improving the agronomic utility of biochar in engineered fertilizer and soil amendment products. [less ▲]

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