Open Access Original Research Article

Laboratory Setup for Sensing Root-Induced Changes of Soil Hydraulic Properties in Soil Columns

Peter Scholl, Reinhard Nolz, Margarita Himmelbauer, Gerhard Kammerer, Willibald Loiskandl, Hans-Peter Kaul, Gernot Bodner

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-20
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/20604

Structural porosity is a dynamic soil property with high spatio-temporal variability affected by many factors. In order to develop a quantitative understanding of root driven changes in soil hydraulic properties adequate measurement setups are required. A modular soil column setup for drainage experiments providing all data for inverse determination of soil hydraulic properties was developed. The aim of this paper is to present the overall setup, and to assess if the influence of an experimental factor (plant roots) can be captured by the system.

The designed setup facilitates simultaneous measurements of soil water content (TDR-sensor), matric potential (tensiometer) and column bottom flux (balance) in 12 soil filled columns. In total 144 soil water sensors ensure a high spatial and temporal resolution (six 10 cm layers per column, time steps ≥ 5 min). An initial drainage experiment with 12 unplanted columns was combined with a second (final) drainage run investigating the variants mustard (Sinapis alba L.), rye (Secale cereale L.) and an unplanted control in four replicates. A specific data acquisition system was developed to operate the devices, and for data synchronization and management. The included semi-automatic trouble-shooting routine sustained long-term experiments. Our analyses showed very low inter-sensor variability for TDR-sensors and tensiometers (0.2 ‑ 0.5% and 1.2 ‑ 4%, respectively). Cumulative outflow data indicated only a minor contribution to variability (6.1%) between columns due to heterogeneity from filling. Therefore, a significant effect of the experimental factor plant root was not overlaid by higher variability due to undesired effects, and could be clearly identified. We concluded that the setup is adequate to identify root induced changes of soil hydraulic properties using designed experiments.

Open Access Original Research Article

Symptoms of Nutrient Deficiencies on Cucumbers

V. V. Carmona, L. C. Costa, A. B. Cecílio Filho

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/20243

Aims: The objective of this study was to describe and photograph the initial symptoms and the development of nutritional deficiencies in cucumbers, and determine the concentration of the omitted macronutrient in leaves, on which symptoms of deficiency were observed.

Study Design: A completely randomized design with six treatments and three replications were made.

Place and Duration of Study: Sector of Horticulture Crops and Aromatic Medicinal Plants belonging to the Department of Plant Production of the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, UNESP Jaboticabal, São Paulo, Brazil, from March 6 to May 9, 2014.

Methodology: Treatments corresponded to a complete nutrient solution and to individual omissions of N, P, K, Ca and Mg, when plants were in early fruiting. The symptoms of macronutrient deficiencies were described and recorded by photographs, and the omitted macronutrient contents were determined at the onset of symptoms.

Results: Physiological deficiencies of N, P, K, Ca and Mg in cucumber were first observed at 3, 20, 2, 3 and 5 days after nutrient omission, respectively. N and P deficiencies were initially characterized by uniform chlorosis and browning, respectively, while the lack of K lead to chlorosis initially on the margins of the leaf blade progressing to necrosis. The Mg deficiency was characterized by internerval chlorosis, which evolved to tissue necrosis. Ca deficiency symptoms were observed in leaves next to meristems, with leaf shriveling and marginal tissue necrosis of the leaf blade. At the observation of deficiency symptoms, the levels of N, P, K, Ca and Mg in leaves with a deficiency were 18.9, 1.5, 9.5, 1.5 and 1.2 g kg-1, respectively.

Conclusion: With the omission of nutrients in early fruiting plants, the symptoms of the deficiencies of N, P, K and Mg are observed initially in intermediary leaves and Ca deficiency in young leaves.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Polymer Coating, Chemicals and Biocontrol Agent on Storability of Black Gram (Vigna mungo L.)

Pragada Veraja, Prashant Kumar Rai

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/20369

The present storage experiment was conducted at Seed Testing Laboratory, Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology & Sciences (SHIATS), Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh during 2014 - 2015 with black gram cv. T-9 obtained from Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, SHIATS. The seeds were coated with polymer in combination with fungicide (thiram 3 g/kg seed), insecticide (imidacloprid @ 2.5 ml/kg seed), bioagent (Trichoderma viride @ 10 g/kg seed) and maintained untreated seeds (control) where T1 is polymer coat alone, T2 is polymer + thiram, T3 is polymer + imidacloprid, T4 is polymer + thiram + imidacloprid, T5 is polymer + thiram + imidacloprid + Trichoderma viride and T6 is control. Treated seeds were packed in cloth bag and polythene bag (700 gauge) (factor C1and C2) at ambient conditions for assessment of seed germination, seedling length, seedling dry matter, seedling vigour indices, moisture content, total fungal colonies and protein content where data was subjected to factorial experiment laid out in completely randomized design. Germination percentage, root length, shoot length, seedling length, seedling dry weight, seedling vigour indices and protein content were high in T5C2 as compared to all other treatments. However, total fungal colonies and moisture content were less in T5C2.


Open Access Original Research Article

NPK Fertilization and Deflowering Increases Leaf Yield and Extends the Vegetative Phase of Cleome gynandra L.

Carol M. Mutua, Richard S. Mulwa, Joshua O. Ogweno

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/21331

Spider plant (Cleome gynandra L.) is among some of the African Leafy Vegetables whose consumption is on the increase in Kenya. Production of the vegetable is constrained by low leaf yields resulting from, among others causes, the short vegetative phase of the plant. In trying to address these problems, a study was conducted at Egerton University, Kenya, in 2014-2015 to investigate the effects of various levels (0, 100, 200, 300 and 400 kg of Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium ha-1 fertilizer and deflowering and no deflowering. The experiment was a 5x2 factorial arrangement in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with 10 treatment combinations. Data collected included number of primary branches, plant height, fresh and dry leaf weight and the harvest period in weeks. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance with the SAS statistical package. Means were separated using Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference. Results indicated that deflowering and NPK fertilization significantly (P ≤ 0.05) influenced the fresh leaf yield, dry leaf weight, number of primary branches, plant height and significantly extended the harvest period. Application of 300 kg NPK ha-1 combined with deflowering gave the highest leaf yield of 1090.32 kg ha-1 and 873.24 kg ha-1 in season 1 and 2 respectively compared to the other treatment combinations. This combination also gave the highest number of primary branches per plant and extended the harvesting period by eight weeks in both seasons compared to the control. In conclusion the application of 300 kg ha-1of NPK fertilizer and deflowering is a horticultural management solution to the low productivity of spider plant vegetable.


Open Access Original Research Article

Response of Growth and Yield of Pineapple (Ananas comosus) on Spent Mushroom Substrates and Inorganic Fertilizer in South – South, Nigeria

J. A. Orluchukwu, O. M. Adedokun

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-5
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/19228

Aim: The experiment on pineapple (Ananas comosus) was conducted in 2013 at the Teaching and Research Farm of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria using soil enrichment materials. The experiment was aimed at comparing the best soil enrichment material that can enhance the production of pineapple in southern part of Nigeria.

Study Design: The experimental design used was a randomized complete block design in three (3) replications. 

Methodology: The soil enrichment materials used for the study were spent mushroom substrate (SMS), and inorganic fertilizer (NPK 15:15:15) and no treatment as control. The growth and yield attributes measured in the field included plant height, number of leaves, leaf area, length of leaves, number of fruits and fruits weight.

Results: These attributes increased significantly due to application of the soil enrichment materials which led to continuous supply of nutrients as against the control (no treatment) which gave lower values in all the growth and yield parameters measured. The results of the trial on growth parameter showed that spent mushroom substrate gave a significant difference (P<0.05) against the inorganic fertilizer used. On fruit production, it was observed that spent mushroom substrate and inorganic fertilizer did not show any significant difference (P>0.05), though a higher fruit yield of 6.7 (12.42 kg/plot) was obtained in SMS than in inorganic fertilizer (NPK 15:15:15) which had 6.0 (9.87 kg/plot).

Conclusion: Therefore, farmers in South-South of Nigeria are advised to plant pineapple using spent mushroom substrate more than inorganic fertilizer (NPK 15:15:15) as soil enrichment material for better growth and increase in yield.

Open Access Original Research Article

Assessment of N-efficiency and N-responsiveness of Six Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Genotypes and their F1 and F2 Diallel Crosses

A. M. M. Al-Naggar, R. Shabana, M. M. Abd El-Aleem, Zainab El-Rashidy

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-21
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/21915

Screening wheat germplasm based on grain yield (GYPP) and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) under contrasting N environments may be useful in identifying N-efficient (low-N tolerant) and responsive genotypes of great value in breeding programs. The main aim of the present study was to assess six wheat parents and their F1 and F2 diallel crosses for tolerance to low-N (N-efficiency) and responsiveness to high-N. A split plot design in a lattice arrangement with three replications was used in two-season experiment. Combined analysis across seasons indicated that mean squares due to genotypes (G), nitrogen levels (N) and G x N interaction were significant for most studied traits. In general, means of most studied traits of the three parents L25 , L26 and L27 were higher in magnitude than those of the three other parents Gem 7, Gem 9 and Giza 168 under both high-N and low-N levels. The highest mean of GYPP under low-N was obtained from L26 × L27 followed by L25 × L26 and L25 × L27 in Fand L25 × L27 followed by L25 × L26 and L26 × Gz 168 in F2 generation. Superiority of low-N tolerant (T) over sensitive (S) parents, F1's and F2's in GYPP (40.54%) under low-N was 40.54, 40.42 and 40.62%, respectively. Superiority in GYPP was associated with superiority in NUE and most studied traits. In general, T × T crosses had favorable (higher) values for GYPP and NUE traits than S × S and T × S crosses under low-N stress. Studied genotypes were classified into four groups, based on NUE, GYPP and tolerance to low-N. The parents L26 and L27, the F1's L26 × L27 and L26 × Gem7 and the F2's L25 × L26 and L27 × Gz168 occupied the first group in all classifications; they are N-efficient and high-yielding at low and high N, tolerant to low-N and responsive at high-N.