Agronomy for Sustainable Development



Soil carbon to save drylands

Drylands turn rapidly into bare deserts if soil carbon is not correctly managed. Indeed soil carbon has many beneficial properties such as water holding, plant nutrient storage and glueing the minerals to prevent erosion. In addition storing more carbon in drylands would slow down global warming. Plaza-Bonilla et al. review the management of organic and inorganic carbon in drylands.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Agroecological engineering: a virtual issue

Climate change, increasing food demand, decreasing natural resources and rapid degradation of most ecosystems are calling urgently for alternative farming practices. This virtual issue published by the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development gathers 20 visionary reviews describing principles and applications of agroecological engineering. Key topics include climate-change resilient farming, food sovereignty, organic farming, weeds for bees, water management under drought, alternative pest management, ecological services for agriculture, cereal-legume intercropping, landscape engineering, and soil carbon and biodiversity.
Link to the Editorial
Link to the virtual issue

Write comment (0 Comments)

Undergound fungi, the unexpected allies of climate-adapted wine

Producing wine is expected to be tough in the next years due to climate changes such as increasing droughts and pest occurrence. French agronomists Trouvelot et al. report the benefits of mycorrhiza in viticulturefound an unexpected ally, the so-called arbuscular mycorrhiza, a plant-fungus team located in the vine roots. They detail the benefit of these microbial friends in their report.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Better radish with the help of little friends

Scientists have found that plants grow better with the help of some soil bacteria, named plant growth-promoting bacteria or rhizobacteria; from the Greek 'rhiza' meaning roots. Such bacteria form symbiotic associations with plant roots and enhance nitrogen and mineral fixation by plants. Rhizobacteria may thus be spread onto crop soils to enhance yields, but field experiments are so far rarely successful. Agronomists Berger et al. demonstrate that Kosakonia radicincitans promotes radish growth both in pots and field conditions.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Legumes build more homes for friendly bacteria

Legumes are plant species that can fix atmospheric nitrogen, and thus legumes do not need costly and polluting fertilisers. Such an advantage is provided by special bacteria that live in small, round homes, named nodules, which are built by the plant in the roots. Basically, plants provide the home and food for bacteria, and, in return the bacteria transform atmospheric nitrogen into plant-edible nitrogen. Plant physiologists Voisin et al. study hypernodulating legumes, that are plants that have more homes to host bacteria, to design new species needing less fertilisers.

Write comment (0 Comments)

How to fight pests without pesticides ?

Most classical pesticides are now found in almost every media such as water, air, food and drinks, thus threatening human health. Moreover, those pesticides are inefficient in the long run because pests adapt to pesticides fast. There is therefore a need for guidelines explaining how to reduce pesticide usage and develop new strategies. Barzman et al. propose eight principles of integrated pest management (IPM). They show in particular that the complexity of farming systems can improve pest management.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Rice-duck farming, a win-win strategy

Organic farming aims at reducing the use of mineral fertilisers and pesticides, and producing safe and tasty food. Agronomists Pirdashti et al. explain that growing ducks in rice field has many benefits such as weed control and fertilisation by ducks and high quality rice and duck meat.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Microbes as biofertilisers

Classical fertilisers are expensive and are polluting waters when applied in excess. Therefore scientists are actually seeking sustainable alternatives such as biofertilisers. Megali et al. show that research reports on ‘effective microorganisms’, a commercial mixture of bacteria and yeast, conclude on an overall positive effect of this biofertiliser on crop yields. Nevertheless, effective microorganisms also induces higher vulnerability to insect attack in cornfields.

Write comment (0 Comments)

© INRA 2015