About this Research Topic
The world production of main oil crops increases steadily. This growth is caused by population growth, increased use of oil crops in bio-fuel production, and increased use of vegetable oils in human nutrition. Oil crops are grown worldwide under varied agro-climatic conditions and are vital commodities in the trade and commerce of many economies. From the perspective of the sown areas, the oil crops are the second most important in the world, preceded by cereals. Oil crops include both annual and perennial plants whose seeds, fruits or mesocarp, and nuts are valued mainly for the edible or industrial oils that are extracted from them. There are about 40 different oil crops whose oil can be consumed but only soybean, sunflower and rapeseed are significant in the total world trade.
Sustainable oil crops systems must harmonize productivity with conservation of natural resources and environmental protection. The research conducted must be consequently oriented towards the improvement of productivity and, at the same time, the investigation in options for sustainable exploitation of resources as well as minimized effects on the environment. Plant breeding has played an essential role in supporting oil crops expansion: breeding for higher yield and oil content allowed for an increase in oil production per unit area, whereas breeding for better oil quality has improved both the human health value as well as the suitability of oils in industrial applications. This has been supplemented with the advanced scientific production technologies which have resulted in high levels of per unit productivity, particularly in countries with high standards of agricultural production. Research in agronomy of oil crops must be committed to sustainability through the rational use and conservation of water and soil resources. Current resource management is facilitated by the application of new technologies (models, remote sensing, control/automation, instrumentation. Oil crop production efficiency must be increased through the integrated management of invertebrate pests, pathogens, and weeds. Novel options for the control of biotic stresses also play a major role. Research is therefore focused to the development of innovative and environmentally friendly management strategies and aims at ensuring both the efficiency of the oil crops systems and the quality of oil production.
The aim of the Research Topic “Advances in Oil Crops Research – Classical and New Approaches to Achieve Sustainable Productivity” is to compile the latest research dealing with different aspects of oil crops, including the breeding and selection of varieties for high yield or specific traits, biodiversity, sustainable cultivation, food and feed uses, nutritional value or health benefits, pests, diseases, weeds, integrated pest management, soil fertility and crop nutrition, soil tillage and conservation, crop ecology and physiology, and water management. The goal of this Research Topic is not only to present the most advanced research dealing with oil crops, but also to attract valuable research articles, reviews and methods in order to offer an outstanding overview of these crops essential to worldwide food supply.
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