Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scientia Agricola]]> vol. 71 num. 2 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Agroforestry systems, nutrients in litter and microbial activity in soils cultivated with coffee at high altitude</b>]]> Agroforestry systems are an alternative option for sustainable production management. These systems contain trees that absorb nutrients from deeper layers of the soil and leaf litter that help improve the soil quality of the rough terrain in high altitude areas, which are areas extremely susceptible to environmental degradation. The aim of this study was to characterize the stock and nutrients in litter, soil activity and the population of microorganisms in coffee (Coffea arabica L.) plantations under high altitude agroforestry systems in the semi-arid region of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Samples were collected from the surface litter together with soil samples taken at two depths (0-10 and 10-20 cm) from areas each subject to one of the following four treatments: agroforestry system (AS), native forest (NF), biodynamic system (BS) and coffee control (CT).The coffee plantation had been abandoned for nearly 15 years and, although there had been no management or harvesting, still contained productive coffee plants. The accumulation of litter and mean nutrient content of the litter, the soil nutrient content, microbial biomass carbon, total carbon, total nitrogen, C/N ratio, basal respiration, microbial quotient, metabolic quotient and microbial populations (total bacteria, fluorescent bacteria group, total fungi and Trichoderma spp.) were all analyzed. The systems thatwere exposed to human intervention (A and BS) differed in their chemical attributes and contained higher levels of nutrients when compared to NF and CT. BS for coffee production at high altitude can be used as a sustainable alternative in the high altitude zones of the semi-arid region in Brazil, which is an area that is highly susceptible to environmental degradation. <![CDATA[<b>Transpiration and leaf growth of potato clones in response to soil water deficit</b>]]> Potato (Solanum tuberosum ssp. Tuberosum) crop is particularly susceptible to water deficit because of its small and shallow root system. The fraction of transpirable soil water (FTSW) approach has been widely used in the evaluation of plant responses to water deficit in different crops. The FTSW 34 threshold (when stomatal closure starts) is a trait of particular interest because it is an indicator of tolerance to water deficit. The FTSW threshold for decline in transpiration and leaf growth was evaluated in a drying soil to identify potato clones tolerant to water deficit. Two greenhouse experiments were carried out in pots, with three advanced clones and the cultivar Asterix. The FTSW, transpiration and leaf growth were measured on a daily basis, during the period of soil drying. FTSW was an efficient method to separate potato clones with regard to their response to water deficit. The advancedclones SMINIA 02106-11 and SMINIA 00017-6 are more tolerant to soil water deficit than the cultivar Asterix, and the clone SMINIA 793101-3 is more tolerant only under high solar radiation. <![CDATA[<b>Reducing supplementation frequency for Nellore beef steers grazing tropical pastures</b>]]> Reduced supplementation frequency is a broadly applied management practice. Ruminants consuming low quality forages/pastures, supplemented less than once daily are able to maintain body weight gain (BWG), efficiency of use of dry matter, nitrogen and other nutrients, as compared with animals supplemented once daily. We evaluated the feeding behavior, dry matter intake (DMI), dry matter and organic matter digestibility (DMD and OMD), BWG, Longissimus muscle area and backfat depth of Nellore steers raised on Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu pastures during the dry season, with different supplementation patterns. Thirty six animals (338 ± 40.7 kg) were distributed over nine paddocks according to a completely randomized design. Treatments were based on supplementation frequency: once daily (OD), once daily except Saturdays and Sundays (SS), or on alternate days (AD), at 1.0 %, 1.4 % and 2.0 % BW, respectively. Average total DMI accounted for 1.6 % BW day-1, with no effect of supplementation frequency. Supplementation frequency had no effect on BWG or grazing time during the day. There was no difference in Longissimus muscle area animals supplemented daily, SS and AD. The backfat depth was thinner in animals supplemented AD, but even in this case, it was within the standards considered satisfactory for a finishing steer. Reducing supplementation frequency seems a good option to lower labor costs without affecting feed efficiency or carcass quality in beef cattle grazing tropical pastures. <![CDATA[<b>Univariate and multivariate analysis on processing tomato quality under different mulches</b>]]> The use of eco-friendly mulch materials as alternatives to the standard polyethylene (PE) has become increasingly prevalent worldwide. Consequently, a comparison of mulch materials from different origins is necessary to evaluate their feasibility. Several researchers have compared the effects of mulch materials on each crop variable through univariate analysis (ANOVA). However, it is important to focus on the effect of these materials on fruit quality, because this factor decisively influences the acceptance of the final product by consumers and the industrial sector. This study aimed to analyze the information supplied by a randomized complete block experiment combined over two seasons, a principal component analysis (PCA) and a cluster analysis (CA) when studying the effects of mulch materials on the quality of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). The study focused on the variability in the quality measurements and on the determination of mulch materials with a similar response to them. A comparison of the results from both types of analysis yielded complementary information. ANOVA showed the similarity of certain materials. However, considering the totality of the variables analyzed, the final interpretation was slightly complicated. PCA indicated that the juice color, the fruit firmness and the soluble solid content were the most influential factors in the total variability of a set of 12 juice and fruit variables, and CA allowed us to establish four categories of treatment: plastics (polyethylene - PE, oxo- and biodegradable materials), papers, manual weeding and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) straw. Oxobiodegradable and PE were most closely related based on CA. <![CDATA[<b>Agronomic potential of genebank landrace elite accessions for common bean genetic breeding</b>]]> Plant breeding efficiency relies mainly on genetic diversity and selection to release new cultivars. This study aimed to identify landraces with favorable characteristics that can be used as parents of segregating populations in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) breeding programs. Firstly, ten bean genotypes were selected because they showed promising agronomic performance, and the following seven adaptive traits of four commercial bean cultivars were evaluated: i) plant height; ii) diameter of the stem; iii) height of the insertion of the first pod; iv) pod number per plant; v) grain number per pod; vi) weight of a thousand grains and vii) grain yield. The accessions BAF 07, BAF 44, and BAF 45 are promising in terms of increasing plant height, and accession BAF 01, in terms of reducing plant height. The accession BAF 07 was also the most promising in terms of a plant ideotype that combines higher plant height, maximum height of the insertion of the first pod, and increment in grain yield. Moreover, the selection can be made between and within accessions, because genetic variability is also present within landraces. <![CDATA[<b>Health risk assessment of heavy metals in vegetables grown around battery production area</b>]]> Battery production is one of the main sources of heavy metals that present great harm to human health even in low concentrations. Chromium (Cr), Cadmium (Cd) and Lead (Pb) were measured in edible portions of vegetables and soils around a battery production area in China, and the potential health risk of heavy metal contamination to the local population via vegetable consumption was evaluated. Their concentrations in edible portions of vegetables were 2.354 (0.078-14.878), 0.035 (0.003-0.230) and 0.039 (0.003-0.178) mg kg-1, respectively. Approximately 3 % of the Cd in the vegetable samples exceeded the maximum concentration allowable by national food safety criteria, although Pb content in all samples were within the criteria. Transfer factors (TF) from soils to vegetables were dependent on vegetable species. Leguminous vegetables were more likely to accumulate Cr, while leaf vegetables tended to show higher levels of concentration of Cd and Pb. Melon vegetables demonstrated a relatively low capacity for accumulating the heavy metals studied. TF were positively correlated with soil organic matter and negatively correlated with soil pH. The mean estimated daily intake of Cr, Cd and Pb via dietary consumption of vegetables was 0.011, 1.65 × 10-4 and 1.84 × 10-4 mg kg-1 of body weight per day, respectively, levels that were much lower than the reference doses recommended by USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives), indicating that the potential health risk of Cr, Cd and Pb exposure via vegetable consumption to the local population around this battery production area could be negligible. <![CDATA[<b>Adaptability and stability of fruit set and production of peach trees in a subtropical climate</b>]]> Brazilian peach breeding programs have been established to improve peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] production, yield consistency, quality, and disease resistance. Every year several genotypes are selected and their traits must be assessed. This study aimed to evaluate adaptability and stability of fruit set and production of peach genotypes in a subtropical climate, using the GGE biplot methodology. The experimental design was completely randomized with three replicates (trees) in a factorial arrangement of 29 × 3 for genotype and growing season, respectively. The genotypes 'Conserva 1129', 'Rubimel', 'Kampai', 'Tropic Beauty', and 'Cascata 967' had the greatest adaptability and stability for fruit set. The genotypes 'Conserva 681', 'Santa Áurea', 'Atenas', 'Kampai', 'Cascata 962', 'Tropic Beauty' and 'Cascata 967' had the greatest production adaptability and stability. The GGE-biplot methodology classified the peach tree genotypes with regard to adaptability and stability of fruit set and production. <![CDATA[<b>AMMI analysis of the adaptability and yield stability of yellow passion fruit varieties</b>]]> High yield stability and adaptability of yellow passion fruit varieties (Passiflora edulis Sims. f. flavicarpa Deg.) are highly desirable attributes when exploring different environments. This study aimed to evaluate the adaptability and yield stability of yellow passion fruit varieties using AMMI (additive main effects and multiplicative interaction) and other ancillary statistics. Twelve varieties were evaluated in eight environments. Analysis of variance showed effects attributable to the varieties (G), environment (E) and their interaction (G × E). The first two multiplicative components of the interaction accounted for 69% of the sum of squares. The scores of the principal interaction components showed high variability for the environments relative to the variety effects. High varietal phenotypic stability was observed in three environments; which can be used in yellow passion fruit breeding programs for initial selection trials. A biplot-AMMI analysis and yield stability index incorporating the AMMI stability value and yield capacity in a single non-parametric index were useful for discriminating genotypes with superior and stable fruit yield. AMMI analysis also allowed for the identification of more productive varieties in specific environments, leading to significant increase in passion fruit productivity. <![CDATA[<b>Genetic evaluation of grain sorghum hybrids in Brazilian environments using the REML/BLUP procedure</b>]]> When it comes to recommending sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) cultivars, it is essential to carry out a genetic evaluation of the agronomic traits of promising genotypes from several common environments where the crop is cultivated. This study consisted of a genetic evaluation of 52 experimental grain sorghum hybrids and eight commercial cultivars. Hybrids were evaluated in 19 experiments representing the most varied cultivation conditions in Brazil. Traits of agronomic interest such as grain yield, flowering and plant height were analysed. Genotypic evaluation was performed following the REML/BLUP (Restricted Maximum Likelihood/Best Linear Unbiased Predictor) procedure; the MHPRVG (Harmonic Mean of Relative Performance of Genotypic Values) method was also employed to study stability and adaptability. Hybrids which stood out in terms of highest grain yield based on genotypic values, stability and adaptability were 0306037, 1G150, DKB 599, 0306039, 1G282 and 0307671. Of these, only 1G282 showed restrictions as to plant height. For flowering, experimental hybrids showed shorter cycles than commercial cultivars, confirming the efficiency of genetic improvement for this trait. With the analysis of grain yield considering days to flowering and plant height as covariates, it was observed that most of the hybrids of greater performance, showed grain yield to be positively influenced by plant height and days to flowering. <![CDATA[<b>Ozonated water and chlorine effects on the antioxidant properties of organic and conventional broccoli during postharvest</b>]]> There is growing interest in studies on sanitizers other than chlorine that can maintain the quality of organic products without affecting their phytochemical content. The effects of using chlorinated and ozonized water treatments, as sanitizing procedures, on the post-harvest quality of organic and conventional broccoli (Brassica oleracea L.) cv. Italica was evaluated. The biochemical parameters (chlorophyll, polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamin C and antioxidant capacity) of the broccoli samples were analyzed at day 0 (arrival of the plant from the field, original features), and 1, 4 and 7 days after harvest. The polyamine analysis was performed on arrival of the plant from the field and on the first and seventh days. The cultivation procedure influenced polyphenol, vitamin C and total chlorophyll content, and the highest value was observed in organic broccoli after the fourth day. Flavenoid content was higher in organic broccoli. The use of ozone appears not to have had an influence on the amount of polyphenolic, flavonoids and vitamin C during storage. Total chlorophyll content was less affected by ozonized water than by the chlorine treatment as at the first and fourth days of storage. The highest content of putrescine was found in conventional broccoli, while the highest levels of spermidine and spermine were found in organic broccoli. Antioxidant capacity was highest in organic broccoli after day 4 of storage and was affected by the bioactive compounds analyzed. Methods of cultivation influenced natural antioxidant and chlorophyll contents in broccoli under cold storage. <![CDATA[<b>Soil structure and greenhouse gas production differences between row and interrow positions under no-tillage</b>]]> No-tillage in Brazil is an efficient agricultural system that improves crop productivity whilst controlling erosion caused to the soil by degradation. However, there is some concern regarding soil compaction. Our objective was to determine whether the function of soil structure in sustaining crop growth was dependent on row and interrow positions in long-term no-tillage. We took soil samples from a field in a commercial farm under long-term no-tillage since 1979 on a clayey Oxisol in Southern Brazil. We assessed soil physical quality using the revised Peerlkamp technique and measured bulk density, air-filled porosity and air permeability of intact soil cores. Samples were incubated to assess in vitro N2O and CO2 production. The soil physical and structural properties showed consistent differences between interrow and row positions, where the properties measured were more favorable. The revised Peerlkamp technique proved as efficient as quantitative parameters in discriminating treatment differences. Overall, soil physical conditions in the interrow were less favourable than in the row. Pore continuity did not vary as regards position. This may explain why row position did not influence in vitro N2O and CO2 production. Soil physical quality under no-tillage system is enhanced, at least in the short term, by superficial disturbances in the row as a result of the action of the coulters of the no-tillage seeder. <![CDATA[<b>Tensile strength and friability of an Alfisol under agricultural management systems</b>]]> Management systems may influence the structural quality of soils. Tensile strength (TS) and friability (F) are indicators of soil structural quality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the TS and F of an Alfisol under different management systems. The treatments were as follows: (i) soil under conventional system with growing maize after tobacco cultivation, (ii) soil under conventional system with growing maize after use as pasture, (iii) soil under natural pasture, and (iv) a natural area with predominance of spontaneous vegetation. TS and F were evaluated at depths of 0.00-0.05 and 0.05-0.10 m. The water content of soil aggregates, soil particle-size distribution, total organic carbon, carbon in the coarse fraction and carbon associated with minerals were also determined. The increase in clay content and soil organic carbon influences the values of TS. The lowest TS was for the soil under maize cultivation after tobacco in the conventional system. Soil under natural area in the 0.05-0.10 m layer was classified as slightly friable, while other systems were classified as friable. Evaluations of the structural quality of soils under management systems can be performed using TS. However, F was not efficient in detecting changes between the different management systems.