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An Introduction to the Sunflower Crop


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Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) belongs to the family Asteraceae. The Helianthus genus contains 65 different species of which 14 are annual plants. The sunflower plant originated in eastern North America. It is thought to have been domesticated around 3000 B.C. by Native Americans. In the late 1800s the sunflower was introduced in the Russian Federation where it became a food crop and Russian farmers made significant improvements in the way that the sunflower was cultivated. Since 3000 B.C. a wide range of uses of sunflower have been reported throughout the world such as ornamental plant, medicinal, alimentary, feedstock, fodder, dyes for textile industry, body painting, decorations, and so on. Sunflower species are allelopathic in nature and this crop appears to have a bright future, especially if the scientists can translate the cutting-edge research into technologies that will reduce the reliance on synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and crop protection chemicals. On the one hand sunflower is well known by its phytoremediation potential, thus it can be speculated that the good tolerance of sunflower towards pollutants coupled with an increased accumulation/degradation capacity might contribute to an efficient removal of pollutants from soil and water; on the other hand sunflower possesses the potential to develop bioenergy systems that allow for synergies between food and energy production. Because the sunflower has several potential markets, it is a good choice for growers on both small and large scales. However, it has to be remembered that scientific, technical or agricultural projects linked with sunflower have to include side effects elsewhere in order to shape a sustainable future. ONLY AVAILABLE ON THE STORE OF NOVA SCIENCE PUBLISHERS & AMAZON.
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In: Sunflowers ISBN: 978-1-63117-347-9
Editor: Juan Ignacio Arribas © 2014 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Chapter 1
Fabián Fernández-Luqueño1,
, Fernando López-Valdez2,
Mariana Miranda-Arámbula2, Minerva Rosas-Morales2,
Nicolaza Pariona1 and Roberto Espinoza-Zapata3
1Natural Resources and Energy Group, Cinvestav-Saltillo, Coahuila, México
2CIBA - Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Tepetitla de Lardizábal, Tlaxcala, México
3Crop Breeding Department, UAAAN, Saltillo, Coahuila, México
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) belongs to the family Asteraceae. The Helianthus
genus contains 65 different species of which 14 are annual plants. The sunflower plant
originated in eastern North America. It is thought to have been domesticated around 3000
B.C. by Native Americans. In the late 1800s the sunflower was introduced in the Russian
Federation where it became a food crop and Russian farmers made significant
improvements in the way that the sunflower was cultivated. Since 3000 B.C. a wide
range of uses of sunflower have been reported throughout the world such as ornamental
plant, medicinal, alimentary, feedstock, fodder, dyes for textile industry, body painting,
decorations, and so on. Sunflower species are allelopathic in nature and this crop appears
to have a bright future, especially if the scientists can translate the cutting-edge research
into technologies that will reduce the reliance on synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and
crop protection chemicals. On the one hand sunflower is well known by its
phytoremediation potential, thus it can be speculated that the good tolerance of sunflower
towards pollutants coupled with an increased accumulation/degradation capacity might
contribute to an efficient removal of pollutants from soil and water; on the other hand
sunflower possesses the potential to develop bioenergy systems that allow for synergies
between food and energy production. Because the sunflower has several potential
markets, it is a good choice for growers on both small and large scales. However, it has to
be remembered that scientific, technical or agricultural projects linked with sunflower
have to include side effects elsewhere in order to shape a sustainable future.
* Corresponding author: F. Fernández-Luqueño, Natural Resources and Energy Group, Cinvestav-Saltillo, Coahuila.
C. P. 25900, México Tel.: +52 844 4389625; Fax: +52 844 4389610. E-mail address: cinves.cp.cha.luqueno@
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F. Fernández-Luqueño, F. López-Valdez, M. Miranda-Arámbula et al.
Keywords: Allelopathy, biodiesel, phytoremediation, renewable energy, sustainable
development, symbiosis
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) belongs to the family Asteraceae. Helianthus genus
contains 65 different species (Andrew et al., 2013). The name Helianthus, being derived from
helios (the sun) and anthos (a flower), has the same meaning as the English name Sunflower,
which has been given these flowers from a supposition that they follow the sun by day,
always turning towards its direct rays. The sunflower that most people refer to is H. annuus,
an annual sunflower. In general, it is an annual plant which possesses a large inflorescence
(flowering head), and its name is derived from the flower's shape and image, which is often
used to depict the sun. The plant has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough
leaves and circular heads of flowers (Khaleghizadeh, 2011). The heads consist of many
individual flowers which mature into seeds on a receptacle base (Seghatoleslami et al., 2012).
Sunflower is the world‘s fourth largest oil-seed crop and its seeds are used as food and its
dried stalk as fuel. It is already been used as ornamental plant and was used in ancient
ceremonies (Harter et al., 2004; Muller et al., 2011). Additionally, medical uses for
pulmonary afflictions have been reported. In addition, parts of this plant are used in making
dyes for the textile industry, body painting, and other decorations. Sunflower oil is used in
salad dressings, for cooking and in the manufacturing of margarine and shortening
(Kunduraci et al., 2010). Sunflower is used in industry for making paints and cosmetics. A
coffee type could be made with the roasted seeds. In some countries the seed cake that is left
after the oil extraction is used as livestock feed. In the Soviet Union the hulls are used for
manufacturing ethyl alcohol, in lining for plywood and growing yeast. The dried stems have
also been used for fuel. The stems contain phosphorous and potassium which can be
composted and returned to soil as fertilizer. Sunflower meal is a potential source of protein
for human consumption due to its high nutritional value and lack of anti-nutritional factors
(Fozia et al., 2008).
Sunflower was a common crop among American Indian tribes throughout North
America. Evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by natives in present-day Arizona
and New Mexico about 3000 B.C. Some archaeologists suggest that sunflower may have been
domesticated before corn (NSA, 2013). Although the scientific consensus had long been that
sunflower was domesticated once in eastern North America, the discovery of pre-Columbian
sunflower remains at archaeological sites in Mexico led to the proposal of a second
domestication center in southern Mexico. However, evidences from multiple evolutionary
important loci and from neutral markets support a single domestication event for extant
cultivated sunflower in eastern North America (Blackman et al., 2011).
The objective of this chapter is to present and discuss a summary about the huge amount
of information in which the sunflower is the main subject. The chapter aims to assist people
involved in all aspects of sunflower management, including conservation, agriculture, mining,
energy, food production, health and other industries, to obtain a broad knowledge of
sunflower and of its ecosystem services.
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An Introduction to the Sunflower Crop
Sunflowers are botanically classified as Helianthus annuus L. (Table 1). They are large
plant and are grown throughout the world because of their relatively short growing season.
Sunflower is an annual herb, with a rough, hairy stem, 3 to 12 feet high, broad, coarsely
toothed, rough leaves, 3 to 12 inches long and circular heads of flowers, 3 to 6 inches wide in
wild specimens and often a foot or more in cultivation. The flower-heads are composed of
many small tubular flowers arranged compactly on a flattish disk: those in the outer row have
long strap-shaped corollas, forming the rays of the composite flower. Each sunflower head, or
inflorescence, is actually composed of two types of flowers. What appears to be yellow petals
around the edge of the head are actually individual ray flowers. The face of the head is
comprised of hundreds of disk flowers, which each form into a seed (achene).
The basic chromosome number for the Helianthus genus is 17. Diploid, tetraploid and
hexaploid species are known. There are only 14 annual species of Helianthus. Plant breeders
have made interspecific crosses within the genus and have transferred such useful characters
as higher oil percentage, cytoplasmic male sterility for use in production of hybrids, and
disease and insect resistance to commercial sunflower.
Table 1. Scientific classification of H. annuus L.; this genus counts 65 different species
The taxonomic classification has been in place since 1753.
In recent years, the sunflower cultivated area has been steadily increasing due to the
breeding of dwarf high yielding hybrids that also facilitate mechanization and the emphasis
given to polyunsaturated acids for human consumption. Global production grew steadily in
last 25 years (PSD-USDA, 2011), and FAO expect a total world output close to 60 million
tons towards 2050. The four largest producers (Russia, Ukraine, European Union and
Argentina) account for 70% of global volume, with an exponential growth of production in
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the last ten years in the Black Sea region, with increased acreage an higher yields achieved by
the replacing old varieties by hybrid seeds.
According to data from FAOSTAT (FAOSTAT, 2011) Russia Federation ranked first
producing ca. 9.7 millions of tons of sunflower seeds or 26% of the world total. Ukraine and
Argentina ranked second and third place with 8.6 and 3.6 tons of sunflower seeds,
respectively. France, Romania, China, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, and Spain produced
between 1.0 and 1.9 millions of tons of sunflower seeds (Table 2). The United States
produced ca. 1.0 millions of tons of sunflower seeds, or 5% of the world‘s total production.
That is enough to make the United States rank eleventh in that category. South Africa ranked
twelfth producing ca. 0.9 millions of tons of sunflower seeds.
Table 2. The highest twelve sunflower seed producing countries
in the world during 2011
Russia Federation
United States of America
South Africa
Russia followed by Ukraine are harvesting almost half of the world sunflower seed production. The
total sunflower seed production is reaching ca. 35 millions of tons
Data source: data obtained from FAOSTAT (2011).
According to FAO (FAO, 2010), there are some key production parameters which have
to be known by farmers throughout the world:
Sunflowers are grown in warm to moderate semi-arid climatic regions of the world
from Argentina to Canada and from central Africa to the Commonwealth of
Independent States (Esmaeli et al., 2012; Onemli, 2012).
Frost will damage sunflowers at all stages of growth. The plant grows well within a
temperature range of 20-25°C; temperatures above 25°C reduce yields and oil
content of the seeds (Thomaz et al., 2012).
Plants are drought-resistant, but yield and oil content are reduced if they are exposed
to drought stress during the main growing and flowering periods. Sunflowers will
produce moderate yields with as little as 300 mm of rain per year, while 500-750 mm
are required for better yields (Gholamhoseini et al., 2013; Ghaffari et al., 2012).
Sunflowers adapt to a wide variety of soil, but perform best on good soils suitable for
maize or wheat production (Radanielson et al., 2012).
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An Introduction to the Sunflower Crop
Sunflower plant density of 5-8 plants per m2 is required to form the optimum leaf
area for plant photosynthesis. Kernel weight (40-80 g per 1000 kernels) and the
average number of kernels in a sunflower head (1200-1500) are the other most
important yield component (Seassau et al., 2012; Emami-Bistghani et al., 2012).
Sunflower growth depends more on nitrogen than any other nutrient. Due to its deep
rooting system, sunflower is able to use nitrogen from soil layers that are inaccessible
to wheat, corn or other field crops. The plant requires a maximum of 150 kg of
nitrogen per hectare to produce a three tons ha-1 yield. Over fertilization may lead to
sunflower lodging. Phosphorous, potassium, boron, magnesium and molybdenum are
also needed to achieve the best yields (Jabeen and Ahmad, 2012; Babaeian et al.,
The average fatty acid composition of oil from temperate sunflower crops is 55-75%
linoleic acid and 15-25% oleic acid. Protein content is 15-20% (Aznar-Moreno et al.,
2013; Ali and Ullah, 2012).
Planting in the Western Balkan countries, Eastern Europe and countries of the
Former Soviet Union takes place during March and April (Zheljazkov et al., 2012;
Saleem et al., 2008).
Sunflower has one of the shortest growing seasons of the major economically
important crops of the world. Early maturing varieties are ready for harvesting 90 to
120 days after planting, and late maturing varieties 120 to 160 days after planting.
Delayed harvesting causes unwelcome changes in oil quality, with an increase in free
fatty acid content. The seeds are ready to harvest when the heads turn black or brown
and the seed moisture content reaches 10-12%. Grain combines are fairly easily
adapted for the harvesting of sunflower by the addition of a head snatcher (Borbely et
al., 2008).
Depending on climatic and cultivation conditions, yields can vary from as much as
600 to 3000 kg ha-1; irrigation is a key factor for obtaining high yields (Chigeza et
al., 2013; Khan et al., 2013; Akhtar et al., 2012).
Table 3 shows the oil yields in gallons per acre of oil producing crops, the yields will
vary in different agroclimatic zones. Sunflower produces 98 Gal oil acre-1. That is enough to
make the sunflower rank twenty-third in that category. Additionally, higher-yielding oil crops
like safflower, mustards and sunflower have significant rotational benefits. For example, deep
safflower and sunflower roots help break up hardpan and improve soil tilth.
Sunflower is a broadleaf plant that emerges from the soil with two large cotyledons
(Rawat et al., 2010). The emergence will take four to five days when planted an inch deep in
warm soil, but will take a few days longer in cooler soils or when planted deeper. Soil
crusting can make it difficult for the large seedlings to push out of the soil. Sunflowers grow
rapidly, producing large and rough leaves. Current sunflower varieties reach an average
height of six feet, varying between five and seven feet depending on planting date and soil
conditions (Saensee et al., 2012). After reaching their full height and blooming, heads on
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F. Fernández-Luqueño, F. López-Valdez, M. Miranda-Arámbula et al.
commercial cultivars turn downwards, designed to make it harder for birds to eat the seed.
Commercial sunflowers have flowers that are self-compatible for pollination, meaning they
do not require a pollinating insect, although some studies have shown bee pollinators
providing a slight yield boost (de Carvalho and de Toledo, 2008). Some farmers prefer
sowing their rows from north to south so that the capitula can lean into the row space, rather
than bumping against an adjacent plant, causing some seed to fall (Olowe and Adeyemo,
Table 3. Oil producing crops
Scientific name
Yield (Gal oil acre-1)
Oil palm
Elaeis guineensis Jacq.
Macauba palm
Acrocomia aculeata Jacq.
Caryocar brasiliense Camb.
Buriti palm
Mauritia flexuosa L.
Licania rigida Benth
Cocos nucifera L.
Persea americana Mill.
Brazil nut
Bertholletia excelsa Humb & Bonpl.
Macadamia nut
Macadamia ternifolia F.V. Muell.
Jatropha curcas L.
Babassu palm
Orbignya martiana Mart.
Simmondsia chinensis Link
Carya illinoensis Wangenh.
Platonia insignis Mart.
Castor bean
Ricinus communis L.
Ghoper plant
Euphorbia lathyris L.
Attalea funifera Mart.
Olive tree
Olea europea L.
Brassica napus L.
Opium poppy
Papaver somniferum L.
Arachis hypogea L.
Theobroma cacao L.
Helianthus annuus L.
Tung oil tree
Aleurites fordii Hemsl.
Yields of common energy crops are associated with biodiesel production. This is not related to ethanol
production, which relies on starch, sugar, and cellulose content instead of oil yields.
Experiments have been carried out to improve the growth and development of sunflower
under natural or stress conditions (Gerardo et al., 2013; Nasim et al., 2011; Da Silva et al.,
2012). Naz and Bano (2013) reported that the adverse effects of salt stress on sunflower
growth could be alleviated by foliar application of salicylic acid alone or in combination with
Azospirillum and Pseudomonas inoculations (Table 4). Gholamhoseini et al. (2013) shown
that the application of Glomus musseae and Glomus hoi could be critical in the cultivation of
sunflowers under arid and semi-arid conditions, where water is the most important factor in
determining plant growth and yield. Additionally, Akbari et al. (2011) reported that
inoculating the sunflower seeds with plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria increased the
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An Introduction to the Sunflower Crop
qualitative and quantitative properties of sunflower significantly, as compared to the control
Table 4. Recent uses of the sunflower during the last years; main or alternative uses
make evident the diversity of sunflower
Blends of high linoleic sunflower oil with
selected cold pressed soils.
(Ramadan, 2013)
Production of florets of sunflower.
(Liang et al., 2013)
Tocopherols and phytosterols for the human
food market.
(Fernández-Cuesta et al.,
Sunflower flour as a rich source of high
quality proteins.
(Levic et al., 2012)
Protein hydrolysis using proteases.
(Tavano, 2013)
Animal Feed
Sunflower products fed to finishing pigs.
(González-Vega and Stein,
Ingestive behavior and physiological
responses of goats fed with sunflower cake.
(Agy et al., 2013)
Nutritional value of sunflower meal on broiler
(Moghaddam et al., 2012)
Potential nutritive value as source of feed for
ruminants in Kenya.
(Osuga et al., 2012)
Methane production.
(Fernández-Cegrí et al., 2013;
Todorovic et al., 2013)
Biodiesel production.
(Iriarte and Villalobos, 2013;
Iglesias et al., 2012)
Bioenergy: biotechnology progress and
emerging possibilities.
(González-Rosas et al., 2013)
Anaerobic digestion of sunflower oil cake.
(De la Rubia et al., 2013)
Oil production.
(Spinelli et al., 2012)
Of sunflower cultivation within the EU
Renewable Energy Directive.
(Spugnoli et al., 2012)
Sustainable sunflower processing.
(Weisz et al., 2013)
Economic sustainability of sunflower
(Keskin and Dellal, 2011)
Symbiosis and Plant-Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria
Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation
on sunflower.
(Naz and Bano, 2013; Audet
and Charest, 2013;
Gholamhoseini et al., 2013)
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Table 4. (Continued)
Symbiosis and Plant-Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria
Bacterial inoculation speeds zinc release from
ground tire rubber.
(Khoshgoftarmanesh et al.,
A strain of Bacillus subtilis stimulates
sunflower growth.
(López-Valdez et al., 2011)
Biodegradation of PAHs.
(Tejeda-Agredano et al.,
Plant response to lead.
(Doncheva et al., 2013)
Metal accumulation on sunflower.
(Mahmood et al., 2013; Hao et
al., 2012)
Fertilization, pesticides and environment
Foliar fertilization with molybdenum.
(Skarpa et al., 2013)
Fertilization affects the agronomic traits of
high oleic sunflower hybrid.
(Mohammadi et al., 2013)
Gas exchange in sunflower plants.
(Da Silva et al., 2013)
Effect of different nitrogen level on yield
(Rafiei et al., 2012)
Biological control
Encrusting offers protection against
phytotoxic chemicals.
(Szemruch and Ferrari, 2013)
Biological control of Macrophomina
phaseolina on sunflower.
(Ullah, 2010)
Allelopathic effects
On growth of rice and subsequent wheat crop.
(Bashir et al., 2012)
On seed germination and seedling growth of
Trianthema portulacastrum.
(Rawat et al., 2012)
In vivo evaluation of an oral health toothpaste
with sunflower oil.
(Schafer et al., 2007)
Health benefits of the sunflower kernel.
(Holliday and Phillips, 2001)
Sunflower species are allelopathic in nature; as well cultivated sunflower has great
allelopathic potential and inhibits weed-seedling growth of velvet leaf, thorn apple, morning
glory, wild mustard and other weeds (Macías et al., 1998a). Two members of the genus
Helianthus contain a great quantity of allelopathic compounds. H. annuus is well known for
its allelopathic compounds, including sesquiterpene lactones, heliespirones A, annoionones,
helibis-abonols and heliannols (Macías et al., 1998b). Heliannols A, D and E have special
relevance due to high phytotoxic activity (Macías et al., 1999).
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An Introduction to the Sunflower Crop
Figure 1. Some molecular structures of allelopathic compounds presents in sunflower cultivars. A)
Annuithrin (sesquiterpene lactone) or Niveusin C, a growth inhibitor. B) Furanoheliangoline, a
biologically active molecule. C) Germacranolide, a toxic sesquiterpene lactone (a potent feeding
Helianthus tuberosus contains helian-gine and H. annuus contains a sesquiterpene
lactone; a heliangolide [Annuithrin or Niveusin C (Figure 1A)] (a growth inhibitor);
furanoheliangolide [(Figure 1B) a biologically active]; three additional sesquiterpene
lactones: the known compound niveusin B, a germacranolide (Figure 1C) (the tifruticin-type);
a 3-ethoxy-niveusin B; an ethoxyheliangolide (Spring et al., 1982) and coumarins (only
accumulate in healthy sunflower plants as a response to the variation in environmental
conditions that affect field-grown plants). In sunflower, it was reported that the concentrations
of scopolin exceeded those in both infected and uninfected plants (Gutiérrez-Mellado et al.,
Scopoletin have been described as phytoalexins and allelopathic compounds, being
accumulated in response to fungal and parasitic plant infection, insect attack, mechanical
injury and treatment with abiotic elicitors such as sucrose and CuCl2, and plant hormones;
besides scopoletin has also been shown to have a physiological activity, including the
promotion of stomatal closure in sunflower and inhibition of bud growth in pea at very low
concentrations (Gutiérrez-Mellado et al., 1996).
Annuithrin was tested using a bioassay with Avena straight growth test. The addition of a
concentration range from 50 to 180 μM resulted in a linear reduction of growth between 10
and 90%. In fact, annuithrin was shown to have antibacterial qualities. However, fungi and
yeast were either less inhibited or not inhibited (minimal inhibitory concentration, MIC 45 μg
mL-1 on Bacillus brevis; MIC 90 μg mL-1 on Proteus vulgaris; MIC 90 μg mL-1 on
Eremothecium ashbyi; Macías et al., 1996). In addition, in vivo DNA and RNA synthesis in
cells of the ascitic form of Ehrlich carcinoma was drastically reduced by annuithrin (at an
annuithrin concentration of 20 μg mL-1 about 50% inhibition of DNA synthesis and about
75% inhibition of RNA synthesis) (Spring et al., 1981).
It is well known that there are examples of allelopathic cover crops being used for weed
management in other crops, as well as other cultural methods to employ allelopathy (Duke,
2010). However, there are still no cultivars of crops being sold with allelopathic properties as
a selling point (Cheema and Khaliq, 2000; Tesio and Ferrero, 2010). Enhancement or
impartation of allelopathy in crops through the use of transgenes could eventually be used to
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F. Fernández-Luqueño, F. López-Valdez, M. Miranda-Arámbula et al.
produce such a cultivar. The study of allelopathic crops appears to have a bright future,
especially if the scientists can translate the cutting-edge research into technologies that will
reduce the reliance on synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and crop protection chemicals. Tesio
and Ferrero (2010) reported that the use of allelopathic traits from crops or cultivars with
important weed inhibition qualities, together with common weed control strategies, can play
an important role in the establishment of sustainable agriculture. It has to be noted that
allelopathy may also be another component of desired improved weed management. It will
not solve all weed problems in any field, but may help considerably to reduce the population
of weeds in the fields (Labrada, 2008).
Phytoremediation consists of mitigating pollutant concentrations in contaminated soils,
water, or air, with plants able to contain, degrade, or eliminate contaminants and its
derivatives (Malaviya and Singh, 2012). H. annuus is a plant with not only food and energy
values, but also with phytoremediation potential (Seth et al., 2011; Mukhtar et al., 2010). It is
one of the most widely studied plants for heavy metal phytoremediation (Kara et al., 2013).
However, it is well known that sunflower is able to contain, degrade or eliminate metals
(Chen et al., 2012; Ker and Charest, 2010; Lee and Yang, 2010), polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (Tejeda-Agredano et al., 2013; Gan et al., 2009) and polychlorinated biphenyls
(Fiebig et al., 1997) from soil or water. Investigations with H. annuus have revealed that
several heavy metals, including lead, cadmium, copper, zinc and cobalt, accumulate at high
concentrations in shoots as well as in roots. Heavy metal uptake is minor in seeds than in
roots and shoots. However, few attempts have been made to use plant-growth promoting
rhizobacteria to facilitate phytoextraction and cadmium uptake in H. annuus planted in
cadmium-contaminated soil (Prapagdee et al., 2013). Sunflower is a documented metal
accumulator and its growth on contaminated soil for simultaneous remediation and further
energy production has been studied (Marques et al., 2013; Madejon et al., 2003). The good
tolerance of sunflower toward pollutants coupled with an increased accumulation/degradation
capacity might contribute to an efficient removal of pollutants from soil and water. Clearly it
is not an easy job, thus scientists of multidisciplinary areas have to work hard. Additionally,
there is a lack of knowledge concerning the pollutants accumulation and antioxidant
responses during the growth and development of sunflowers.
Thousands of years ago, people in many regions throughout the world began to process
vegetable oils, utilizing whatever food stuffs they had on hand to obtain oils for a variety of
cooking purposes. The Chinese and Japanese produced soy bean oil as early as 2000 B.C.,
while southern Europeans had begun to produce olive oil by 3000 B.C. In Mexico and North
America, sunflower seeds were roasted and beaten into a paste before being boiled in water;
the oil that rose to the surface was skimmed off (FAO, 2010). During the last decade, an
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An Introduction to the Sunflower Crop
increased attention would be observed being paid on the use of sunflower as renewable
energy source.
Oilseed sunflower is quickly gaining popularity as a feedstock crop for biodiesel because
it shares several positive agronomic features with other common oil crops such as canola and
soybean; yields well in a variety of conditions, and can be grown easily and profitably at both
small farm and large field scales. It is well known that a number of crops can be used for both
food and bioenergy production such as sunflower (Kibazohi et al., 2012). Under some
circumstances, the potential exist to develop bioenergy systems that allow for synergies
between food and energy production. Integrated food and energy systems could produce food
crops while simultaneously addressing energy needs (Bogdanski et al., 2010).
There is a trend world-wide to grow crops in short rotation or in monoculture (such as
sunflower), particularly in conventional agriculture (Bennett et al., 2012). This practice is
becoming more prevalent due to a range of factors including economic market trends,
technological advances, government incentives, and retailer and consumer demands. Land-
use intensity will have to increase further in future in order to meet the demands of growing
crops for both bioenergy and food production, and long rotations may not be considered
viable or practical. Notwithstanding, evidence indicates that crops grown in short rotations or
monoculture often suffer from yield decline compared to those grown in longer rotations or
for the first time (Zambrano-Navea et al., 2012). Numerous factors have been hypothesized as
contributing to yield decline, including biotic factors such as plant pathogens, deleterious
rhizosphere microorganisms, mycorrhizas acting as pathogens, and allelopathy or autotoxicity
of the crop, as well as abiotic factors such as land management practices and nutrient
availability (Sun et al., 2011). This section identifies gaps in our understanding about the
energy production of biomass and the interaction of the ecosystems. Additionally, it has to be
remembered that each bioenergy development projects have to include side effects elsewhere
in order to shape a sustainable future.
Sunflower was domesticated in eastern North America and since 3000 B.C. this crop was
bred by natives. Thenceforth a wide range of uses of sunflower have been reported
throughout the world. Sunflowers are a permanent source of food, oilseed and biofuels
because they are well adapted to a variety of conditions and often require fewer agricultural
inputs than other more common crops, while under some circumstances, the potential exist to
develop bioenergy systems that allow for synergies between food and energy production.
Because the sunflower has several potential markets, it is a good choice for growers in both
small and large scales. However, scientific, technical or agricultural projects linked with
sunflower have to include environmental side effects such as pollution, greenhouse gases
emissions, salinization, or energy consumption elsewhere in order to shape a sustainable
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F. Fernández-Luqueño, F. López-Valdez, M. Miranda-Arámbula et al.
Agy, M. S. F. A., Oliveira, R. L., Carvalho, G. G. P., Leao, A. G., Ribeiro, O. L., Bagaldo, A.
R., Ribeiro, R. D. X. & Ribeiro, M. D. (2013). Ingestive behavior and physiological
responses of goats fed with diets containing sunflower cake from biodiesel production.
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... The sunflower was brought to Tanzania by colonialists during the colonial era. It adapts and grows well in approximately all parts of the country, as opposed to other sources of vegetable oil crops such as palm oil that are location specific (Fernández-Luqueño et al. 2014). Fascinatingly, compared to other crops like wheat and maize, a sunflower grows well in the semi-arid areas, including the Central regions of Tanzania. ...
... to sell raw sesame and groundnuts for other uses instead of processing them for oil. Since the crops mentioned above have various uses compared to sunflower, makes sunflower oil remains the most vital vegetable oil produced in Tanzania (Fernández-Luqueño et al. 2014). Rathore (2001) reported that oil derived from sunflower is called premium oil since it has a high level of unsaturated fatty acid, containing up to 60% of polyunsaturated fatty acid. ...
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This paper highlights the importance of sunflower, and its current status, giving the prospects of improving its production through intercropping it with sunn hemp legume. The review focuses on Tanzania, where smallholder farmers mainly produce sunflower as a cash crop and a source of vegetable oil. The crop’s production is threatened by decreased soil fertility, attack by pests and disease, limited rainfall, and the high cost of inputs like fertilizers and chemicals. This calls for adopting farming systems that can meet the increasing demand for sunflowers. Intercropping sunflower with a legume such as sunn hemp is an environmentally friendly technique for increasing and sustaining the productivity of the farmland.
... Lettuce is a commonly grown vegetable because of its taste and high contents of antioxidants, vitamins (A, C, B9, and K), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and iron) and fiber (Sapkota et al., 2019;Azarmi-Atajan and Sayyari-Zohan, 2020). Sunflower is the third most important source of edible vegetable oil worldwide and an efficient source of biodiesel; it also has other applications, e.g., as medicines, nourishments, feedstocks, fodders, decorations, and phytoremediators (Talia et al., 2011;Fernández-Luqueño et al., 2014;Ittah et al., 2019). Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), representative of the Poaceae family, is one of the most salt stress tolerant crops among glycophytes and is considered the most adaptable cereal to salinity (El Madidi et al., 2006;Zhou, 2009;Adjel et al., 2013). ...
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Soil salinity is one of the most important abiotic factors limiting plant productivity. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of selected halotolerant plant growth-promoting endophytes (PGPEs, Pseudomonas stutzeri ISE12 and Kushneria marisflavi CSE9) on the growth parameters of barley (Hordeum vulgare), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus) cultivated under salt stress conditions. A negative effect of two higher tested salinities (150 and 300 mM NaCl) was observed on the growth parameters of all investigated plants, including germination percentage and index (decreasing compared to the non-saline control variant in the ranges 5.3–91.7 and 13.6–90.9%, respectively), number of leaves (2.2–39.2%), fresh weight (24.2–81.6%); however, differences in salt stress tolerance among the investigated crops were observed (H. annuus > H. vulgare > L. sativa). Our data showed that the most crucial traits affected by endophyte inoculation under salt stress were chlorophyll concentration, leaf development, water storage, root development, and biomass accumulation. Thus, the influence of endophytes was species specific. K. marisflavi CSE9 promoted the growth of all tested plant species and could be considered a universal PGPEs for many plant genotypes cultivated under saline conditions (e.g., increasing of fresh weight compared to the non-inoculated control variant of barley, lettuce, and sunflower in the ranges 11.4–246.8, 118.9–201.2, and 16.4–77.7%, respectively). P. stutzeri ISE12 stimulated growth and mitigated salinity stress only in the case of barley. Bioaugmentation of crops with halotolerant bacterial strains can alleviate salt stress and promote plant growth; however, the selection of compatible strains and the verification of universal plant stress indicators are the key factors.
... The sunflower plant originated in eastern North America. It is thought to have been domesticated around 3000 B.C. by Native Americans (Fernandez Luqueno 2014). Seed and oil yield are reduced under conditions of stress. ...
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Sunflower wild populations contain useful genes that can be used to the breeding of crop cultivars. In the present study, the genetic variation of 107 wild accessions of Helianthus annuus L. species was studied for seed traits (seed length, seed diameter and 1000-grain weight), seed oil content and fatty acid composition based on continents. Gas chromatography was used to identify the fatty acid composition of the oil. The distribution of populations in continents are as follows: The Europe continent with 65 populations and South America with 7 populations had the highest and lowest populations, respectively. On the other hand, the continents of Asia, Africa and North America had 14, 9 and 12 populations, respectively. The results showed that the highest amount of seed oil belonged Asia and north America, respectively. The results of mean comparison among the continents in terms of PALM showed that the collected populations from South America had the highest amount of this fatty acid. On the other hand, the populations collected from North America and Asia had the lowest amount of PALM, respectively. The study of the continents in terms of OLE indicated that the populations collected from the African continent had the highest levels of this fatty acid, followed by Europe continent and South America in the next rank. As study showed, the collected populations of the continents of Asia and North America accounted for the largest amounts of LIN, while the Africa continent had the lowest amount of LIN. The results of correlation analysis between seed traits and oil percentages using Pearson coefficient indicated that there was not a significant correlation between the seed characteristics (seed length, seed diameter and 1000-grain weight) with oil percentage. While, there was a positive and significant correlation between seed traits, which showed the highest correlation between seed length and seed diameter. As analysis showed, there were no significant differences among the continents in terms of seed length and seed diameter. On the other hand, the continents with 1000- seed weight had a significant difference at the probability level of 5%. Mean Comparison of different continents in terms of 1000-seed weight trait showed that the populations in Asia continent had an average of 1.70 g which was the highest in comparison with other continents. On the other hand, the South American populations with 0.78 grams had the least amount of 1000- seed weight The findings of this study showed that there is a significant genetic variation among the studied populations based on continents, which can be used in crossings programs and to maximizing the heterosis.
... Cottonseed oilcake was reported to have phytotoxicity on the growth of squash (Mian and Rodriguez-Kabana, 1982), cress (Koller at al., 2004), marigold and redbud (Fine, 2010), and tomato plants (Radwan et al., 2011). Rapeseed oilcake was reported to have phytotoxicity effects on tomato (Walker, 1996), cress Koller at al., 2004) and blueberry (Yang et al., Sunflower plants have allelopathic compounds, mostly are phenolic compounds including sesquiterpene lactones, triterpene, diterpenes, heliangolides (annuithrin or niveusin C), germacranolides, furanohelioangolide, niveusin B, germacranolides, 3-ethoxy-niveusin B, ethoxyheliangolide, heliespirones A, annuionones, helinorbisabones, helibis-abonols, heliannuols, coumarins, scopoletin, and flavonoids (Fernandez-Luqueno et al., 2014). Bau et al. (1983) also reported than sunflower seed meal had phenolic contents range from 2.54 to 4.61%, of which up to 78.60% are soluble (free) and 21.40% are protein-bound. ...
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Conference Paper
The residues of agricultural industries are one of the major parts of the total annual production of biomass and these residues are an important source of soil organic matter. Organic matter is one of the most important components of soil that can improve the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the soil. The stable level of organic matter content in the soil that can support plant growth and development is 5% of total soil compositions. Most of the agricultural land in many countries have very low organic matter content (<2%). The organic matter content in soil can be improved by organic matter addition. One of the organic material sources that can be used for the addition of soil organic matter is plant residues amendment. The use of plant residues for soil organic matter addition can contribute to improving soil organic matter to a high stable level. One of the main residues of plant residues comes from plant-based industries. The use of these residues will increase organic matter and plant nutrient contents in soil, reduce the application of chemical fertilizers, reuse and recycle the organic materials, and reduce residue pollution, especially from agricultural industries. This paper gives brief information about some different plant-based industrial residues and their potential use for improving soil properties and plant growth.
... Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is a member of the Asteraceae family and is originated about 3000 B.C ago from Eastern North America. In the late 1800s, it was introduced as a food crop by Russian farmers and made substantial advances in its cultivation (Fernández-Luqueño et al., 2014). Sunflower seed is enriched with 20% protein and 38-45% oil contents. ...
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Sunflower is an important oil seed crop of Pakistan, comprising 20% proteins and 38-45% oil contents. Alternaria leaf blight (ALB) caused by Alternaria alternata, is one of the devastating diseases of sunflower. Six different fungicides viz., difenoconazole, hexaconazole, azoxystrobin, dimethomorph + mancozeb, myclobutanil and Sulphur were tested at different concentrations (10, 20, 30 ppm) in laboratory and in greenhouse. Fungicides performed best in the laboratory were also investigated in greenhouse against Alternaria leaf blight of sunflower. In in vitro study, Hexaconazole showed 100 % growth inhibition of A. alternata at 30 ppm followed by 70% at 20 ppm and 62% at 10 ppm. Difenoconazole proved as the 2nd best fungicide with 77% fungal inhibition at 30 ppm, 75.8% at 20 ppm and 71% at 10 ppm. Azoxystrobin was the least effective fungicide with 24%, 28%, 34% fungal inhibition at 10, 20 and 30 ppm, respectively. Twelve cultivars of sunflower were screened against blight disease in pot experiment to check the fungicides at different level of susceptibility in greenhouse. Screening result showed that FH 702 was the highest susceptible variety with mean value 7.6. Greenhouse study of disease inhibition effect of fungicides also showed that hexaconazole fungicide produced the best results against A. alternata with 42% disease reduction in FH 702 cultivar and 25 % in FH 696 cultivar as compared to control (83%). The results showed that no fungicide provided full disease inhibition, so, further investigation is needed to find the new chemistry against blight disease of sunflower crop
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The Asteraceae (formerly Compositae) family contains approximately 1600 genera, many of which are known for their phytochemistry and pharmacological properties. Helianthus annuus is one of the most important plants in this family, known for producing oil and playing an important role in the economies of countries. This plant’s traditional uses date back more than 3000 years. The plants are ethnomedicinally significant and contain a variety of alkaloids, terpenoids, carbohydrates, fixed oils, steroids, amino acids, and other compounds. An important point to emphasize in this book chapter is that plants are highly adaptable to various environmental conditions, making them easier to cultivate and yielding higher yields. There is a substantial literature on the plant, but as research-based knowledge grows, it must be updated, so we will attempt to update this plant’s information in terms of its traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacology properties; the pharmacological properties of H. annuus were investigated using a variety of sources, including medicinal plant databases, ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological books, and peer-reviewed papers. This book chapter delves deeply into the chemical, nutritional, and pharmacological properties of H. annuus.Keywords Helianthus annuus SunflowerAsteraceaeFatty acidsPhenolic acids
The present study was to evaluate the phytochemical screening and anthelmintic activity of aqueous polyherbal seed extract (APSE) against Pheretima posthuma. The seeds of Helianthus annuus, Cucurbita pepo, Linum usitatissimum, Citrullus lanatus and Cucumis melo was identified and purchased from local market of Nuzvid. APSE was prepared from the dried seeds of five different seeds using the solvent water. Initially, APSE was screened for phytochemical constituents by standard methods. Further, anthelmintic study was conducted against Pheretima posthuma, collected from local Vermicomposting Farm, Nuzvid. In the phytochemical screening, APSE showed presence of glycosides, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, phytosterols and tannins. In the anthelmintic study, mortality was produced in earth worm populations by APSE. The use of APSE as an anthelmintic was confirmed by using standard method against Pheretima posthuma. The results indicated that the test drug has significant anthelmintic properties. Hence, it can be concluded that the APSE can be used as a novel drug for the treatment of worm infestations.
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The climate and soil conditions have a significant impact on sunflower yields. Sunflower yield dynamics in the Central European mixed forests (Polissya) and Eastern European forest-steppe ecoregions in Ukraine from 1991 to 2017 was proved to fit a log-logistic model most adequately. The model has four characteristic parameters: the Lower Limit indicates the lowest level of yield over the study period; the Slope indicates the rate of yield increase over time; the ED50 is the time required to reach half of the maximum yield level and simultaneously the point with the highest rate of yield increase; the Upper Limit shows the highest yield level. The parameters of the yield model are used to meaningfully interpret the causes of yield dynamics. Edaphoclimatic factors account for 34 to 58% of the variation in the yield trend parameters. The soil texture and soil organic carbon (SOC) predominate among the edaphic factors that determine the variability of sunflower yield. Continentality of climate and degree of temperature variability during the growing season are the main climatic determinants of sunflower yield parameters.
Feedstock is an important aspect and source of any production process. Biodiesel feedstocks are not exceptional as they are the main source and determinant factor of type and quality of biodiesel. Biodiesel feedstocks come in different forms such as edible and non-edible agricultural plant origin. Other feedstocks sources currently in existence or development are from biomass and waste resources in nature. For example, bagasse, food waste, agricultural waste and municipal solid waste streams sources. Biodiesel feedstocks offer hope as they contain lower emission pollutants compared to petroleum fossil-based fuels. Biodiesel feedstocks thus contain inherent merits, which enhance and promote combustion reactions. In the last two decades, biodiesel researchers and developers have continued to come up with more merits, which have been tipping towards wide commercialization of biodiesel feedstocks production. This chapter offers a glimpse into the different classification of feedstocks. However, the main classification remains first, second and third generation of biofuels besides the smart fuels now coming in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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Due to extensive coal mining, large areas of Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya has been turned into degraded land, creating unfavourable condition for plant growth. Coal mine spoils when freshly tipped has a great range of particle size ranging from large pieces of shales to silt and clay. These mine spoils represent extremely rigid substrata for plant growth and development. Among the factors which hinder the growth of plant species on these spoils, acidity merits special attention. Extreme acidity is caused due to the oxidation of iron pyrites. Besides acids, coal mine spoils contain toxic levels of environmental sensitive organic and mineral bound elements such as Fe, Mg, Bi, Al, V, Cu, Cd, Ni, Pb, and Mn etc. All heavy metals released to the soil at high concentrations have strong toxic effects and are regarded as environmental pollutants which largely effects soil fertility. In the last 12 years, coal mining area has increased by 1.2% and agricultural land has decreased by 1.5% in Meghalaya due to the deposition of coal particles. Continued decline in plant growth reduces yield which eventually leads to food insecurity.Most physical and chemical methods such as encapsulation, solidification, stabilization, electrokinetics, vitrification, vapour extraction, and soil washing and flushing are expensive and do not make the soil suitable for plant growth. Biological approach (bioremediation), on the other hand encourages the establishment/reestablishment of plants on polluted soils. Phytoremediation is an aspect of bioremediation that uses plants for the treatment of polluted soils. In order to assess the phytoremediation effect on the heavy metals polluted soil of coal mine area of Jaintia Hills, a pot culture trail was conducted at School of Natural Resource Management, College of Post Graduate Studies in Agricultural Sciences, Central Agricultural University, Umiam, Meghalaya using two phytoremediating crops viz. Asparagus cv. UPC-287 (PC2) and Sunflower cv. EC-68913 (PC3) along with control with no phytoremediating crop (PC1). On the basis of investigation, the farmers of coal mine areas of Jaintia Hills may be advised to phytoremediate their soil with Sunflower crop before planting the main crop to reduce the adverse effects of heavy metals.
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The aim of this paper is to analyse economic sustainability of sunflower production of farmers by comparing farm size, input use level, productivity and gross margin in the Thrace region of Turkey. To reach this aim the primary data were collected by survey with farmers whose main activity was sunflower production in the Thrace region. Edirne, Kirklareli and Tekirdag provinces were selected for representing the region and 80 survey were done by pollsters. The farms were separated in 3-size groups as to its sunflower area sown as small, middle, big farms. According to research results, it was found that wheat-sunflower crop rotation was made by all farms and gross margin in wheat production was higher than sunflower. Sustainability for sunflower production in this region does not depend only on economic parameters, but also on farmer attitudes, necessity of crop rotation and institutional infrastructure.
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Various parts of the wild sunflower (Tithonia) were analysed for their chemical composition and degradation characteristics. Pyrethrum marc (pymarc), a common agro-industrial by-product was also analysed to compare the potential nutritive value. Leaves and flowers both young and mature were harvested, dried and ground. The crude protein (CP) content ranged from 143.3 g/kg dry matter (DM) in pymarc to 235.6 g/kg DM in mature Tithonia leaves. The neutral detergent fibre (NDF) content was highest in pymarc (421 g/kg DM) and least in mature leaves (264.8 g/kg DM). Concentration of polyphenolic compounds was highest in young leaves and lowest in young flowers. However, the concentrations were far below levels (50.0 g/kg DM) known to have detrimental effects in ruminants. Flowers were more digestible than leaves but overall pymarc recorded the highest value of 60.5% organic matter digestibility (OMD). The same trend was recorded for metabolizable energy (ME). Addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG), a tannin-binding agent did not yield significant increase in gas production values except for mature flowers, which also recorded significant increases in both OMD and ME. Tithonia forages (leaf and flower) at both young and mature vegetative state have high nutritive value compared to pymarc. However, mature leaves and young flowers are slightly higher in CP and low in concentration of phenolic compounds than young and mature leaves and flowers, respectively. This depicts the high potential of Tithonia shrub in feeding of ruminants.
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Herbicidal resistance in Horse purslane (Trianthema portulacastrum) threatens the quality and yield of Kharif crops in India, prompting research to discover novel natural plant compounds with herbicidal properties. Due to its novel nature and potentially interesting chemistry, the American native, Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), was tested for its ability to suppress Horse purslane growth and its feasibility for use in weed control strategies. Aqueous extract of sunflower significantly inhibited seed germination, seedling growth and dry matter accumulation of T. portulacastrum in laboratory bioassays at concentrations of 5, 10 and 15% (w/v). In pot trials, sunflower rhizosphere soil (SRSS), at the stage of 60 days after sunflower sowing (DAS), inhibited above 50% of growth and yield attributes of T. portulacastrum. Extract fractionation showed the highest phytotoxicity against shoot and root growth of test weeds at 100 ppm. Several phenolic acids were identified in stem and leaf extracts through paper chromatography. Their identity was confirmed through spraying with diazotized-p-nitro aniline, sufanilic acid, ferric chloride-potassium ferricyanide and also tested with Hoepfner'scoplin reaction. These results suggest that sunflower is an important potential source of compounds for control of horse purslane in kharif crops.
Several studies have demonstrated that many plants have strong allelopathic effects enabling them to reduce growth of other plants growing simultaneously or subsequently in the fields. Exuded or secreted substances derived from their normal metabolism called allelochemicals inhibit certain plants, while, others are not affected at all. This differential effect is due to the same paradigm governing herbicide selectivity, which is also implicit in the selectivity of the allelochemicals. Crops with strong allelopathic effect may become an additional important tool for weed management. Practically allelopathy is used widely in those areas where cover crops are planted in rotation with other crops and effectively smother or suppress several weeds. Now, it is also known that various cultivars have an allelopathic potential making possible the control of some major weeds during the crop cycle. One of these crops is rice. Evaluation of the allelopathic potential of rice germplasm indicates that there are some lines quite aggressive against troublesome weeds such as Echinochloa crusgalli and Cyperus difformis. In this context, breeders should be able to combine the characteristics of these allelopathic lines with those high yielding varieties. In China it has been found that there is no correlation between the allelopathic traits and main agronomic characters of high yielding varieties, and this makes possible to effectively breed allelopathic lines with high-yield potential. Allelopathic rice varieties should be suitable for direct seeding as well as for transplanting. Another possibility to explore in the near future, is to improve crop varieties with less allelopathic potential by incorporating desired genes encoding the synthesis of allelochemicals. Therefore allelopathy may also be another component of desired improved weed management. It will not solve all weed problems in any field, but may help considerably to reduce the population of some weeds in the fields.
In order to study the effect of different nitrogen levels on yield components and seed yield of three sunflower cultivars, an experiment was conducted during 2010-11 at a research farm of farming building of Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan (Esfahan) Branch located in Khatun abad village (latitude 32°40' N and longitude 51°48' E). A split plot layout within randomized complete block design with three replications was used. Main plots were different levels of nitrogen fertilizer (0, 100, 150 and 200 kg/ha) from urea source, and sub-plots were different cultivars (Sanbro, Sirna and Hai.sun33). Condition represented that the effect of N fertilizer was significant on head diameter, 100-seed weight, seed yield, biological yield, oil percentage and oil yield. 150 kg N/ha fertilizer treatment resulted in the maximum of all mentioned factors. Effect of cultivar was significant on head deep, seed number of head, 100-seed weight, seed yield, biological yield, oil percentage and oil yield. The maximum of all mentioned factors except oil percentage were related to Hai.sun33. Interaction of nitrogen and cultivar was significant on 100-seed weight, seed yield, oil percentage and oil yield. On the basis of the results obtained, the fertilizer treatment 150 kg N/ha and Hai.sun33 might be suitable for sunflower production under the condition similar to the present study.
Information about the proper plant density, planting pattern and cultivar for maximum production of crops is necessary for designing a suitable agriculture system. In order to determine seed yield and oil percentage of different sunflower cultivars in different plant densities and planting pattern, an experiment was conducted in 2010-11 at Cultural Experiment and Research Center in Isfahan. Split factorial layout within randomized complete block design with three replications was used. Planting pattern (single row and double row) was considered as main plot, and the combination of plant densities (8, 10 and 12 plants/m 2) and cultivars (Master, Lacomka and Hysun) was considered as factorial. Planting pattern had significant effect on the number of days from plantation until 100% of flowering, the number of days from plantation until physiological maturation, plant height and 1000-seed weight. Cultivar had significant influence on all experimental treatments, expect of seed yield. The number of days from plantation until 100% of flowering and physiological maturation, plant height, head diameter, 1000-seed weight and seed yield were significantly influenced by plant density. Master obtained the highest head diameter, seed yield, oil percentage and appropriate 1000-seed weight. The maximum 1000-seed weight, seed yield and oil percentage were also obtained in single row plantation. Eight plants/m 2 obtained the maximum 1000-seed weight, seed yield and acceptable oil percentage. So, it seems that cultivation of Master in single row plantation and eight plants/m 2 was appropriate for this region.
Laboratory bioassay was conducted to assess the toxicity of sunflower rhizosphere soil against crops and weeds of kharif season. The aqueous extracts (75%, 50% and 25%) of sunflower rhizosphere soil inhibited the germination and seedling growth (shoot length, root length and dry matter accumulation) of all test plants as compared to control. However, the extracts proved most harmful to germination in Parthenium hysterophorus followed by Trianthema portulacastrum, Vigna radiata and Pennisetum glaucum. Aqueous extract of 25% proved to be less harmful to germination in all test plants except Parthenium hysterophorus and inhibitory effect of extract increased with increase of extract concentration. Among all parameters, germination proved most sensitive to applied aqueous extracts.
Seed yield and achene oil yield are the main determinants for N application rates rather than seed composition. Nitrogen plays a critical role in producing unsaturated fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acids), which are the main factors determining sunflower oil quality (Helianthus annuus L.). Studies were conducted on the effect of N fertilization on seed yield, achene oil yield, and quality parameters of sunflower hybrids for two successive years (2010 and 2011) in a split plot arrangement under a randomized complete block design. The hybrids (Hysun-33 & S-278) and N levels (0, 75, 150, and 225 kg ha-1) were allotted in main and sub-plots, respectively. Increasing N levels resulted in steady increases in yield, protein contents and linoleic acid, whereas oil contents and percentage of oleic acid responded negatively during both years. At the same time, crop oil yield was positively related to increased N supply with higher achene yield (AY). Palmitic acid varied from 5.27 to 6.42% and stearic acid ranged from 2.27 to 2.95%. Hybrid S-278 exhibited significantly (P < 0.05) higher AY (3380 kg ha-1), oil content (42.11%) than Hysun-33 (2968 kg ha-1 and 40.75%, respectively), while the opposite was true for protein content. Oil yield varied in response to N fertilizer, with a range of 34 to 37% providing the best quality traits in both seasons.
The study of allelopathy as a discipline has a long and at times controversial history. Since Hans Molisch coined the term before World War II, allelopathy research has grown from a trickle of papers before 1970 to a burgeoning subdiscipline of chemical ecology represented by hundreds of papers each year. Yet, allelopathy research still suffers from a reputation for papers of poor scientific quality that equate the presence of a phytotoxic phytochemical as proof of an allelochemical function without regard for proving that the compound is bioavailable in soil at sufficient concentrations to affect vegetation either directly or indirectly through effects on soil microbes. Synergism has often been invoked without proof to explain why effects of crude extracts are sometimes greater than even the additive effects of phytotoxins known to be in the extract. Much of this work may be correct, but to be widely accepted more rigorous proof is needed. Much of this literature also makes the assumption that allelochemicals must be highly water soluble, when there are good scientific reasons to hypothesize that the most effective allelochemicals would have very limited water solubility. Very little is known about the mode of action of and mechanisms of resistance to putative allelochemicals. Nevertheless, the quality and quantity of papers on allelopathy has increased steadily over the past several decades and knowledge gaps are being filled at an ever increasing pace. There can be little doubt that allelopathy plays an important role in plant/plant interactions in nature and in agriculture. Translating this growing knowledge to technology to manage weeds in agriculture has been slow. There is only one good case of discovery of an allelochemical (leptospermone) leading to the development of a major class of herbicides (triketones). There are examples of allelopathic cover crops being used for weed management in other crops, as well as other cultural methods to employ allelopathy. However to my knowledge, there are still no cultivars of crops being sold with allelopathic properties as a selling point. Enhancement or impartation of allelopathy in crops through the use of transgenes could eventually be used to produce such a cultivar. Some of the most high profile recent examples of research in our discipline will be discussed. The study of allelopathy appears to have a bright future, especially if we can translate our research into technologies that will reduce our reliance on synthetic herbicides.
To study the effect of water deficit and N fertilizer on some morphological traits, yield and yield components of sunflower cv. Progress, a study was carried out as a split plot experiment based on a Randomized Complete Block Design with three replications in research field of Islamic Azad University, Birjand Branch, Iran in 2009. In this study, the irrigation was the main plot at three levels including supplying 100, 67 and 33% of plant water requirement (PWR) and N fertilizer was the sub-plot at four levels of 0, 60, 90 and 120 kg N/ha. The results of analysis of variance showed that irrigation significantly affected plant height, stem diameter, head diameter, seed number per head, 1000-seed weight and seed yield, and N significantly affected all morphological traits, yield and yield components, but the interactions between irrigation and N level significantly affected none of the studied traits. The treatment of supplying 100% of PWR produced the highest seed number per head (680.43), 1000-seed weight (46.58 g) and seed yield (3567.67 kg/ha) which was superior over the treatments of supplying 67 and 33% of PWR by 24.1 and 67% in the case of seed number and by 27.2 and 57.8% in the case of 1000-seed weight, respectively. The seed yield under the treatment of supplying 100% of PWR was 2.64 times greater than that under the treatment of supplying 33% of PWR and with the decrease in supplying PWR from 100 to 33%, plant height, stem diameter and head diameter decreased by 32, 21.9 and 30.8%, respectively. In addition, with the increase in N fertilizer level from 0 to 120 kg/ha, plant height, stem diameter, leaf number, head diameter, seed number/head, 1000-seed weight and seed yield significantly increased by 15.6, 14.4, 13.2, 17.1, 24.2, 13 and 49.1%, respectively. In total, on the basis of the results, the treatment of optimum irrigation and application of 120 kg N/ha can be recommended for realizing high productivity in sunflower cultivation under the conditions of the current study.