Open Access Short communication

Impact of Angoumois Grain Moth, Sitotroga cerealella Olivier (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on the Viability of Maize Seed

Shahab-U-Din ., Azhar A. Khan, Khalid Mehmood, Arif M. Khan, Muhammad Afzal

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 127-132
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/3451

The current study was conducted to determine the viability of maize seed infested with Angoumois Grain Moth Sitotroga cerealella (Olivier). The aim was to see how different cultivars of maize are resistant to this pest. Seeds of four cultivars of maize viz. Pop 2006, Soan, Margalla and Islamabad gold were examined in Stored Product Laboratory of Department of Entomology, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi during the year 2009-2010. The Pop-2006 appeared susceptible for S. cerealella egg hatching with 91.66% hatchability and minimum percent hatchability in Margla with 89.33%. Maximum and minimum percent infestation 9.30 ± 0.35 and 6.30 ± 0.58 in Islamabad gold and Pop 2006 respectively. Results indicated that maximum percent grain losses in Islamabad gold and minimum in Pop 2006, i.e. 51.91 ± 1.91, and 30.06 ± 0.70 (mean ± SE) respectively. The cultivars Pop 2006 and Marglla are considered as important part in IPM tools to control the store grain losses in maize crop. Present study was conducted to evaluate the resistance of different maize cultivars against the S. Cerealella. The finding may improve the good quality store of the products with minimal use of synthetic chemicals.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Palm Bunch Ash Application on Soil and Plant Nutrient Composition and Growth and Yield of Garden Eggs, Pepper and Okra

S. Adjei-Nsiah, Christian Boahen Obeng

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-15
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/2039

The effects of palm bunch ash (PBA) application on growth, nutrient uptake and yield of three vegetable crops; garden eggs, pepper and okra were studied both in the field and in the pot. The study which was carried out at the Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Centre, Kade in the forest zone of Ghana was conducted in a split plot fitted in a randomised complete block design. The results of the study showed that PBA application significantly (P<0.05) increased soil pH, soil phosphorus and exchangeable cations. In the field experiment, mineral fertilizer application resulted in an increase in the fresh fruit yield of the garden eggs and the pepper over the control by as much as 93% while PBA application resulted in fresh fruit yield increase of between 55-91%. For okra, fertilizer application resulted in fresh fruits yield increase of about 83% over the control while yield increase as a result of PBA application ranged between 8 and 69%. There were also significant interactions between the vegetables and the PBA application rates. For the garden eggs, the highest fruit yield of 9.52 t ha-1 was obtained at PBA application rate of 4 t ha-1 while for the pepper and the okra, the highest fruit yields of 6 and 4.96 t ha-1 were obtained at the PBA application rate of 2 t ha-1. Our study suggests that PBA could be used as a liming material and fertiliser supplement to increase soil pH of acid soils and increase the yield of vegetable crops.

Open Access Original Research Article

Determination of Mineralization Rate of Organic Materials Using Carbon Dioxide Evolution as an Index

E. A. Makinde, L. S. Ayeni

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 16-23
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/2334

A study was conducted on a sandy loam soil to determine the rate of CO2 release by Kola Pod Husk (KPH) and Pacesetter Grade B (PGB) (sorted city waste plus cow dung) in southwest Nigeria. Each of KPH and PGB was applied at 0.25 g to 50 g soil; and control without treatment application was incubated for 16 weeks. The treatments were replicated four times on a completely randomized design. Evolution of CO2 by all the treatments increased as the period of incubation increased from the first week to the 5th week of the experiment. After the 6th week, PGB decreased CO2 at 7th and 8th week and increased it between 9th and 11th week and thereafter finally decreased it as incubation period progressed. KPH decreased CO2 between 7th and 8th week and then increased it from 9th - 11th week before the CO2 finally declined till the termination of the experiment. Compared with control, KPH and PGB significantly (P< 0.05) increased CO2evolution. The rate of mineralization in the first 1-7 weeks of incubation was in the order of PGB > KPH> control, while the last 12-16 weeks of incubation was in the order of KPH>PGB> control. Pacesetter Grade B reached its peak of CO2 evolution at 9th week of incubation while KPH reached its peak at 13th week of incubation. Grade B pacesetter had the highest CO2 emission.

Open Access Original Research Article

Performance of Abelmoschus esculentus (L) Moench (OKRA) under Various Applications of Pesticides and Fertilizers in an Oxic Paleustalf

B. A. Senjobi, O. T. Ande, C. T. Senjobi, A. O. Adepiti, M. O. Adigun

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 24-40
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/2401

This study was conducted to determine the performance of okra, (Abelmoschus esculentus (L) Moench) under various applications of pesticides and fertilizer in Oxic Paleustalf. A field experiment was carried out to examine the effect of the combination of varying levels of neem (100%, 75% and 50% concentration), cypermethrin (350 ml and 250 ml), poultry manure (6000 kg and 8000 kg) and NPK fertilizer (112 kg and 83 kg) on the growth, yield and yield component of okra. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design with three replicates.
The results show that the application of the various pesticides and fertilizer have significant effects P= 0.05 on the performance of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus). The combined application of 100% neem, 350 ml/ha cypermethrin, 8000 kg/ha poultry manure and 112 kg/ha NPK fertilizer reduced pest population compared to the control plot. The combination of 50% neem, 350 ml/ha cypermethrin, 6000 kg/ha poultry manure and 112 kg/ha NPK fertilizer produced the best yield in the numbers and weight of okra fruits.
It is concluded that the Combined application of pesticides and fertilizer resulted in the control of pest population and significantly P= 0.05 increased the soil fertility and yield of okra planted on Oxic Paleustalf.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Factors on Conidium Germination of Botrytis cinerea in vitro

Salem Nassr, Radwan Barakat

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 41-54
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/2772

Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic fungal plant pathogen distributed worldwide. The early stages of epidemiology namely spore germination is a topic of great interest among researchers. In the current study, the effect of various physical, chemical and nutritional factors on germination of B. cinerea conidia were studied in vitro. Results showed that there was no particular influence of spore age (5-14 days) on germination in 10 mM fructose. In addition, germination-self-inhibition was found to be associated with increased spore concentrations (above 4.5×105 conidia/ml) without significant differences between fungal isolates. When setting different pH values in the medium, conidial germination of B. cinerea was impaired by pH values below 6 and above 8. However, germination of B. cinerea was strongly enhanced (>90% after 24 hours) in the presence of sugars (i.e. fructose, sucrose and glucose) at concentrations above 100 mM, whilst the cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, and Fe2+ ) had no visible influence on conidial germination at a wide range of concentrations (0.001-1mM). With other additives and in the presence of inorganic nitrogen forms (i.e. NH4 and NO3), conidial germination responded similarly with no particular influence on germination, whilst germ tube growth and elongation increased progressively with increasing concentrations of both N-forms.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effects of Methods of Seedbed Preparation and Organic Amendments on Soil Properties, Growth and Yield of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) in a Humid Zone of Nigeria

S. O. Agele, T. G. Taiwo

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 55-69
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/1967

Aims: Field experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of methods of seedbed preparation via clearing of existing vegetation and organic amendments on some soil properties, growth and yield of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.).

Study Design: The treatments consisted of 2 by 3 factorial combination of bush clearing methods and organic amendments arranged in a split- plot design.

Place and Duration of Study: The experiments were conducted in the late season of 2009 and late season of 2010 at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria.

Methodology: The treatments consisted bush clearing methods, manual clearing and herbicide-based zero tillage, were the main plots while organic amendments via application of organic fertilizer and farmyard manure constituted the subplot treatments. Measurements were made on soil properties: physical,(soil moisture contents and temperature), chemical  (soil pH, organic matter, N, P, K, Ca, Mg) and biological (bacterial and fungal counts).

Results: The results show that herbicide–based zero tillage plus organic manure produced the highest values of soil organic matter (4.2 g kg-1 and 4.5 g kg-1) in 2009 and 2010 respectively compared with manual clearing plus organic manure (4.0 g kg-1 and 4.2 g kg-1) in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Herbicide–based zero tillage plus organic fertilizer had higher values of organic matter (3.9 g kg-1) in 2009 experiment compared with manual clearing plus organic fertilizer (3.8 g kg-1). In the respective bush clearing methods, application of organic manure increased soil organic matter content. Organic amendments improved the soil micro- environment around the plant compared with unmanured plots with increases the populations of soil bacteria and fungi. Non significant differences were obtained in soil temperatures between bush clearing methods alone and in combination with organic amendments. There were small differences in soil moisture contents between bush clearing methods alone and in combination with manuring. Herbicide-based zero tillage plus organic fertilizer produced values of plant height and stem girth (1.25 m, 2.80 cm and 1.10 m, 2.21cm) which were not significantly different (P > 0.05) from values ( 1.21 m, 2.70 cm and 1.08 m, 2.00 cm) under manual clearing plus organic fertilizer. Although organic amendments improved growth and yield components of sunflower over the unamended, no significant differences (P > 0.05) were found for most of the parameters measured. The effects of bush clearing methods were also not significant on growth and yield components of sunflower. Herbicide-based zero tillage plus organic fertilizer produced higher seed yields and is therefore recommended for sunflower production in the study area.

Conclusions: Organic amendments and herbicide–based zero tillage had positive effects on soil and sunflower productivity, this practice is recommended for sunflower production in the study area.

Open Access Original Research Article

Kinetics and Leaching Study of Nitrate and Nitrite on Urea Hydrolysis in Alkaline Soil

Bharatiy Sharma, Ashu Rani

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 70-81
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/2424

Aims: The present research study describes leaching kinetics of NO2- and NO3- at different added urea concentrations on undisturbed columns of agriculture soil.
Study Design: This study design to understand solute transport in soil.
Place of Study: Samples are collected from the agriculture fields of Kota region and research work related to analysis is carried out at University of Kota. Rajasthan. India.
Methodology: The clay loam soil collected from agriculture fields of Kota, Rajasthan. India was dried and sieved for uniform particle size. Initial leaching rates of NO2- and NO3- ions have been calculated at different added urea concentrations and linear dependence of LRobs and [ion]i has been derived. The leaching kinetics of nitrate and nitrite have been studied by determining the concentrations of NO2and NO3- in the leachate with time using standard spectroscopic method by measuring the wavelength at 520 nm and 410 nm respectively. The leaching was carried out till ions are completely removed. Effect of Na and Ca level of percolating water have been studied on nitrate and nitrite leaching. Graphical equation of different kinetic models applied on results were tested with least square regression analysis.
Results: The log-log plot of [ion]i vs LRobs are found to be second order for NO2- leaching and fractional order of more than one for NO3- leaching. On increasing Ca level of percolating water LRobs found to decrease while in case of Na results are found to be reverse.
Conclusion: It is evident that urea-soil interaction generate nitrate and nitrite but initially soil was dried and incubation period of urea is only 24 hours therefore the conversion of added urea N into NO3-N and NO2-N is only less than 2 and 0.2% respectively. Fraction order rate in case of nitrate suggest that another path of conversion of nitrate into nitrite simultaneously occurs with its generation. Effect of irrigation water quality is also found to have significant effect on leaching rates of both the ions.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Role of Natural Weed Species from Soil Seed Bank in the Natural Attenuation of a Petroleum Hydrocarbon Polluted Soil

Beckley Ikhajiagbe, Geoffery O. Anoliefo, Chinenye C. Chijioke-Osuji, Uwaila A. Ogedegbe

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 82-94
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/3598

Aims: The present study investigated the effect of the presence of natural weeds in the remediation of oil polluted soils that have not been disturbed or modified anthropogenically.
Study Design: The experimental design chosen was the completely randomized design (CRD) following assumption of homogeneity of the experimental plot in use.
Place and Duration of Study: Botanic Garden, University of Benin, Benin City. Study period spanned from April 2011 through December 2012.
Methodology: Top soil was collected from a marked plot and thoroughly mixed with waste engine oil on weight basis to obtain 2.5%w/w oil-in-soil concentrations. Ten kilograms of the contaminated soil were measured each into experiment bowls. The entire set up was divided into 4 sets. The natural weeds that eventually emerged in the first set (Wwds) were left undisturbed throughout the duration of the experiment. Those in the second set (W4mw) were removed once every four months. Those in the third set were manually removed as soon as they appeared, leaving none on the soil surface (Wnon). The soils in the fourth set were sterilized before amendment with waste engine oil. The entire set up was exposed to the various treatment conditions for 20 months.
Results: There were significant reductions in composition of soil heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbon contents in the all the treatments. The treatment showing most enhanced remediation was Wwds, followed by W4mw, Wnon, and Wctr/ste in that order. Seven out of the nineteen weed species that originally made up the soil seed bank, were identified in the polluted soil. These included Euphorbia hirta, Fluerya aestuans, Panicum maximum, Phyllanthus amarus, Spigelia anthelmia, and Tridax procumbens. The predominant weed species was Euphorbia heterophylla. These weed species are likely oil tolerant species.
Conclusion: The study further affirms that weed composition of any soil is to be reckoned with as an important factor in the natural attenuation of a petroleum hydrocarbon-polluted soil.

Open Access Original Research Article

Soil Properties Dynamics Induced by Passage of Fire During Agricultural Burning

Edem I. Dennis, Alphonsus D. Usoroh, Christiana J. Ijah

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 111-126
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/3121

Aims: Effects of fire on soil properties was performed in experimental plots, whose fuel amount was altered in order to obtain different heating intensities with the aim of assessing changes in soil physical conditions at varying fire temperature and also the fire temperatures within which soil quality attributes are depleted.
Study Design: The experiment consisted of two treatments (burned and un-burned plots) arranged in a RCBD with three replicates. Data were statistically analyzed for variance (ANOVA). A post Hoc Duncan multiple comparisons test was performed to compare the severity of fire temperature on soil properties. Paired t-test was used to compare means of the unburnt and burnt plots. For all tests, a threshold of P = 0.05 was used to define statistical significance. All statistical analyses were performed using SigmaStat (3.5 Edition) and validated using SPSS 17.0. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to assess the degree of relationships among variables
Place and Duration of Study: The research was conducted in a continuous cropped arable experimental plots located at the University of Uyo Teaching and Research Farm (UUTRF), Use-Offot, Uyo, Nigeria for four growing seasons, between March, 2010 to October, 2011.
Methodology: The severity of burning in each site was measured qualitatively from the degree of litter consumption of the applied biomass. Immediately after burning, soil temperatures were read from the installed temperature sensors at the surface and subsurface of the respective plots. To ensure representative sampling, bulk soil samples, which were analyzed for soil physico-chemical properties, were composite of five random samples taken at 0–15 and 15-30 cm depths within replicated plots. Particle-size distribution was determined in the soil samples using hydrometer method. Bulk density was estimated by dividing the oven-dry mass of the soil by the volume of the soil. In addition, core samples were also used to determine saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) in the laboratory using a constant head permeameter. pH was determined with the use of glass electrode pH meter to read the suspension of 10g soil sample with 20 ml 0.01 N CaCl2. Available phosphorus was determined using bicarbonate extraction, with acid reductant. Meanwhile, the exchangeable cations (calcium, Ca; magnesium, Mg; potassium, K; and sodium, Na) in the soil were determined by first extracting the soil sediment with 1M NH4 OAc (ammonium acetate) solution. The amounts of exchangeable Na and K in the extract were determined by flame photometry while Ca and Mg were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry.
Results: Temperature differences significantly (P < 0.05) affected sand, total nitrogen, organic carbon and pH contents of the soils positively (r = 0.518* 0.478*, 0.582*, 0.595** respectively), whereas a reduction in the soil temperature increased the concentrations of clay, 1mm, 0.05mm and 0.25 mm stable soil aggregates in the soil (r = -0.619**, -0.578*, -0.780, -0.526* respectively) after burning. Exchange acidity increased to 5.12 cmolkg-1 at 400C from 0.80 cmolkg-1 at initial temperature of 250C at the surface soil.
Conclusion: Though aggregates formation was significantly higher (P = 0.05) after burning than the control soil locations, both organic matter and ECEC increased at increasing fire temperature. Potassium content remained surprisingly constant as the fire temperature increased. However, despite the merits of quick release of occluded nutrients, heating temperatures of slash-and-burn method of land clearing altered the soil quality attributes, this soil will easily be distressed with the least application of force.

Open Access Original Research Article

Strategies and Mechanisms of Building up and Stabilizing Organic Matter Stocks in Soils

Keston Oliver Willard Njira, Janet Nabwami

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 133-143
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/4970

Soil organic matter (SOM) has very important functions in the soil. It affects the soil physical, chemical and biological properties, and eventually affecting the overall soil and crop productivity. Increase in SOM matter is associated with an increase in soil and crop productivity. It also contributes to climate change mitigation through soil carbon sequestration. This paper discusses various soil management and/or farming strategies that contribute to the building up of SOM. The paper also highlights mechanisms that stabilize organic matter in the soil and protect it from rapid decomposition and its loss from the soil. Through reviewing of various research papers, literature shows that a number of strategies provide substantial contributions to building up of SOM. These include: conservation agriculture, crop rotations, cover cropping, agroforestry and afforestration, improved fallows, well managed pastures and organic farming. Various physical, chemical and biochemical mechanisms contribute to stabilization of organic matter and protect the accumulated SOM from rapid decomposition. Quantity and quality of organic materials, soil matrix and clay minerals, organo-mineral interactions and soil management practices are all important factors in SOM stabilization. From this review it can be pointed out that research based knowledge of both SOM accumulation strategies and SOM stabilizing mechanisms is very beneficial in making recommendations and implementation of soil management practices that can increase and build up organic matter in the soil.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Different Crude Oil Fractions on Growth and Oxidative Stress Parameters of Maize Radicle

O. Stella Olubodun, E. George Eriyamremu

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 144-154
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/4102

This study investigated the effect of different crude oil fractions (whole crude WC, water soluble fraction WSF, water insoluble fraction WIF and soil from a crude oil contaminated site, Ubeji) at different percentages of soil contamination (2, 5 and 10%) on growth (percentage seedling emergence, plant height, leaf number, leaf area, root length and radicle length) and oxidative stress (catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POX) and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations) parameters in maize radicle. A total of 330 bags containing 500g of soil were used for this study. 30 bags containing sandy loam soil served as control, 270 bags of sandy loam soil were mixed with different crude oil fractions to give 2%, 5% and 10% contamination, while 30 bags containing 500g of soil were collected from a crude oil contaminated site in Ubeji, south-south, Nigeria. The maize grown in these soils was harvested after 7, 14 and 21 days of seedling emergence and assessed for growth and oxidative stress parameters. Descriptive statistics and analysis of variance were employed to statistically analyse data that were obtained. The growth parameters in maize, including percentage seedling emergence, leaf number, leaf area, root length etc, significantly (P<.01) reduced as percentage contamination increased. Maize grown in soil contaminated with 10% WIF and the Ubeji soil produced the greatest reduction in growth parameters. Oxidative stress assessed by measuring maize radicle CAT, SOD, POX and MDA levels, revealed a percentage contamination dependent alteration of these parameters implying the presence of oxidative stress. The results of this study have again shown the deleterious effects of crude oil contamination on plant growth. Efforts to intensify effective cleanup of crude oil contaminated sites must be given top priority.

Open Access Review Article

Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture: A Review in Relation to Sustainability

Carlo Ponzio, Ramesh Gangatharan, Davide Neri

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 95-110
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2013/4493

This paper focuses on organic and biodynamic farming systems - sectors growing rapidly in many countries - and particularly on their relationship with the concept of sustainability. Both technical packages promote and improve the health of the agro-ecosystems related to biodiversity, nutrient biocycles, soil microbial and biochemical activities. In addition to the common tools of organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture uses specific manure and fermented herbal preparations as compost additives and field sprays. Organic farming and biodynamic agriculture have been regarded as having different provenances and having arisen independently, but the authors suggest to consider organic and biodynamic farming systems as a unique sustainable system driven by a common holistic approach.