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Cantore V.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Lechkar O.,Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari CIHEAM IAMB | Karabulut E.,Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari CIHEAM IAMB | Sellami M.H.,CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems In the Mediterranean | And 4 more authors.
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2016

This study focused on the assessment of the interactive effect of deficit irrigation and strobilurin application in improving tomato physiological and yield response under water shortage. A two-year field research (2011 and 2012) was carried out in southern Italy, on tomato grown under three irrigation regimes - full recovering of crop evapotranspiration (I100), 50% of full irrigation supply (I50) and rainfed (I0) - and with three fungicide treatments - control (F0) without any fungicide; application of fungicides without strobilurin (F1); application of a strobilurin based fungicide (Cabrio® Duo) (F2).Plant water status, yield and quality parameters, biomass and yield water use efficiencies (B_WUE and Y_WUE), yield and biomass water response factors (Ky and Kby) were assessed.Water shortage significantly affected yield and quality response: as an average of the two years, a marketable yield decrement of 52.7 and 80.5% was observed in I50 and I0 in respect to I100 treatment, respectively, because of the reduction in both fruit weight and number. Fruit dry matter, total soluble solids, titratable acidity, firmness and redness showed an increase to the decline of water availability. Strobilurin based fungicide application increased total and marketable yield by 14.2% and 19.1%, respectively. In addition, strobilurin improved the plant water status under water shortage as a consequence of reduction in stomatal conductance.Deficit irrigation caused a decrease of B_WUE and Y_WUE, while the strobilurin application improved Y_WUE by 17%. Kby and Ky on average were equal to 1.11 and 1.40, respectively, and were unaffected by fungicide treatments. These results indicated the potential benefits of using strobilurin based agrochemicals in tomato disease management, due to their complementary action in improving yield, WUE, and plant water status under water stress conditions. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Rana G.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | Ferrara R.M.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | Vitale D.,University of Tuscia | D'Andrea L.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | Palumbo A.D.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2016

Here we investigate how cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.), energetic crop cultivated under Mediterranean climate in rainfed conditions, is adapted to the environment. Two main resources used for producing biomass are analysed in detail: water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Following micrometeorological approach, the eddy covariance technique has been used for monitoring H2O and CO2 exchanges between canopy and atmosphere in order to investigate the dynamics of the cardoon growth at field level and to compute the Gross Primary Production (GPP). The dynamics of canopy CO2 assimilation in terms of GPP, evapotranspiration (ET) and water use efficiency (WUEGPP, as ratio between seasonal GPP and seasonal ET and WUEagro as ratio between yield and seasonal ET) were analysed during three successive growth seasons in a south Italy site. The environmental drivers of CO2 assimilation and ET were analysed at instantaneous scale. The crop showed increasing resource use efficiency along the three seasons of experiment for all considered resources: in particular, for the last two seasons cumulated GPP increased and cumulated ET decreased. It seemed to require a season for its establishment to the environment, improving the use of water and CO2 assimilation in the second and third season. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Vitti C.,Research Unit for cropping systems in dry environments CREA SCA | Stellacci A.M.,Research Unit for cropping systems in dry environments CREA SCA | Leogrande R.,Research Unit for cropping systems in dry environments CREA SCA | Mastrangelo M.,Research Unit for cropping systems in dry environments CREA SCA | And 2 more authors.
Catena | Year: 2016

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is the largest carbon pool in the terrestrial biosphere and it is among the most important factors responsible for conservation of soil quality. Automated dry combustion techniques are gradually replacing traditional quantification methods based on wet digestion chemistry. Critical comparison of different methods is fundamental to reevaluate archives of SOC data and accurately assess and model long-term carbon stock variation and should be performed for different soil types and management conditions. Two analytical methods, the Springer-Klee wet digestion and the dry combustion using an automated analyser, were compared for soils typical of a Mediterranean environment in Southern Italy. Soil samples were collected from three sites, at two depths. Soils were fine textured (from clay-loam to clay) with total carbonate ranging from 6.6 to 16.7g 100g-1. SOC content varied from 6.92 to 28.86gkg-1 (as average of the two methods), with values and ranges typical of Southern Europe. On average, Springer-Klee method gave slightly higher values and showed greater data variability. This behaviour, in agreement with other studies, can be attributed to the reaction of K2Cr2O7 with other soil constituents and to analytical constraints. Our results suggest high consistency between Springer-Klee and dry combustion techniques and show recoveries close to one both for the whole dataset and for data grouped per experimental site or soil depth. Linear regression equations between the two methods were slightly affected by different soil types (P=0.0621). The best fitting of the relationship was a linear regression passing through the origin for the whole dataset (Radj 2=0.965; RPD=3.41). The strong overall agreement observed between the two methods would enable the direct comparison of new data set with those already existing in Southern Italy for soils with similar characteristics. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Navarro A.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | Stellacci A.M.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | Campi P.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | Vitti C.,Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments CREA SCA | And 2 more authors.
Bioenergy Research | Year: 2016

The suitability of poplar (Populus × canadensis Moench.—genotype ‘Neva’), black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus bridgesiana R. Baker) growing in short rotation coppice (SRC) system in a Mediterranean area (southern Italy), and under two management regimes, was evaluated in terms of survival, biomass yield, biomass quality, and soil fertility. The high management regime (H treatment) consisted of high plant density (6667 trees ha−1) and a 2-year harvesting cycle; the low management regime (L treatment) consisted of low plant density (1667 trees ha−1) and a 4-year harvesting cycle. The dry biomass production was 36, 13, and 9 t dry matter (dm) ha−1 in the H treatment and 25, 14, and 7 t dm ha−1 in the L treatment for eucalyptus, black locust, and poplar, respectively. The analysis of the biomass showed a superior quality for the black locust feedstock because of its low moisture and ash percentages, high heating value (HHV), and low alkali metal concentrations, although, from an environmental point of view, the high N (12.3 g kg−1) and S (0.7 g kg−1) biomass concentrations would increase the pollutant emissions generated by combustion. Eucalyptus showed a high HHV, especially for the H treatment (18.70 MJ kg−1). Its high concentrations of K (4 g kg−1) and Mg (0.8 g kg−1) could provoke slagging and fouling in combustion equipment, and the high concentrations of S and N, if leaves are considered in the harvested biomass, indicate the low quality of its feedstock. No specific poplar feedstock stood out, although it had a good HHV (19.02 MJ kg−1). The soil fertility was not affected negatively after the 4-year SRC cycle, while S content in soil showed a tendency to increase in the case of black locust cultivation. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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