Journal of Agricultural Engineering <p>The<strong> Journal of Agricultural Engineering (JAE) </strong>is the official journal of the<a href=""><strong> Italian Society of Agricultural Engineering &nbsp;</strong></a>supported by University of Bologna, Italy. The subject matter covers a complete and interdisciplinary range of research in engineering for agriculture and biosystems.</p> PAGEPress Scientific Publications, Pavia, Italy en-US Journal of Agricultural Engineering 1974-7071 <p><strong>PAGEPress</strong> has chosen to apply the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License</strong></a>&nbsp;(CC BY-NC 4.0) to all manuscripts to be published.<br><br> An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:</p> <ol> <li>the author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.</li> <li>a complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.</li> </ol> <p>Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:</p> <ol> <li>Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.</li> </ol> Effects of equipments and processing conditions on quality of fresh-cut produce <p>A wide range of fresh conveniently packaged, minimally processed products are available on both local and global market in response to consumer demand for ready to eat food. Majority of these products are leafy vegetables, which are highly susceptible to quality changes during minimal processing operations (trimming, cutting, washing, drying, and packaging). Despite the available precautionary measures for maintaining quality attributes of raw and processed material, quality degradation due to minimally processing is unavoidable, also considering that a peeling, trimming and/or cutting operation is always present except than for baby leaves and small fruits. In addition, other operations as washing and drying are known to cause mechanical stresses and loss of sugars and nutrients. However, the extent to which quality is compromised depends on the produce and on the processing conditions, including equipment and their operational settings. This review aims to describe the main processing operations and equipment used, resuming the available information on their impact on final quality of fresh-cut products over storage, in order to identify areas for future research aiming to the enhancement of product quality</p> Francisca Aba Ansah Maria Luisa Amodio Maria Lucia Valeria De Chiara Giancarlo Colelli ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-03-27 2018-03-27 49 3 139 150 10.4081/jae.2018.827 Analysis and evaluation of abandoned railways aimed at greenway conversion: A methodological application in the Sicilian landscape using multi-criteria analysis and geographical information system <p>Nowadays, in many countries around the world, abandoned railways are considered as important resources that can be recovered and converted into greenways, thanks to their specific adaptability to this function. With its about 1000 km of dismantled lines, Sicily is the Italian region where the abandonment of railways is more evident. Nevertheless, to the present day, only about 20 km have been converted in greenways. As a recovery action requires large investments, it is necessary to determine a priority list based on the actual suitability of a track to be converted. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to define and apply a methodology, based on multi-criteria analysis associated with geographical information system (GIS), for the assessment of different suitability degrees of an abandoned railway to be converted in greenway for agro-touristic and cultural use of the land. The work was developed on two abandoned railway lines, sited in the province of Syracuse, embedded in landscapes of great value thanks to the existence of natural areas and cultural heritage. The applied method attributes great importance to the quality of the landscape that is considered in the same way as the intrinsic characteristics of the track. Several indicators were weighed and spatially mapped to describe the local resources at the margin of the track and the characteristics of the stretches of the two lines. The GIS analysis allowed obtaining various intermediate maps containing the necessary information for drawing the ultimate maps, which showed the suitability of each line to be converted in greenway. The results showed that the suitability level depends on the specific characteristics of the railroad and its marginal values, as well as on the quality of the landscape and the development opportunities that it offers. The creation of greenways can thus become a support to make easier the integration between the landscape and the growing demands of land, economic and tourist development, while maintaining intact the rural land and favoring its connection with the urban centers. The study, although referred to specific territorial areas, is generally valid from a methodological point of view and can be applied in other contexts.</p> Marzia Quattrone Giovanna Tomaselli Alessandro D'Emilio Patrizia Russo ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-03-27 2018-03-27 49 3 151 163 10.4081/jae.2018.744 Influence of canopy development in the vineyard on spray deposition from a tunnel sprayer <p>Spray deposition from a tunnel, air-assisted sprayer was analysed during the whole season, following canopy development in a vertical-shoot-positioned vineyard. Four field tests were performed using hollow-cone, turbulence nozzles between the BBCH 15 (5 leaves unfolded) and BBCH 77 (berries beginning to touch) growth stages, plus an additional test with flat-fan, air-injection nozzles at BBCH 77. The main canopy parameters were assessed, including the canopy height range (0.6 m to 1.4 m), the leaf area index (<em>LAI</em>; 0.15 to 1.60) and the leaf layer index (<em>LLI</em>; 0.69 to 2.74). Total deposition on target (leaves and bunches) increased from 14.8% to 53.9% of volume applied, and was significantly related to the <em>LLI</em> (R² = 0.943); the relevance of such relationship in connection with the leaf wall area model for volume rate adjustment is discussed in the paper. Losses to the ground (1.9% to 8.1% of volume applied), spray recovery rate (31.0% to 67.2%) and losses owing to evaporation of the recycled liquid (0.1% to 3.5%) were also analysed. At BBCH 77, air-injection nozzles did not improve overall deposition in comparison to hollow-cone nozzles, but increased spray recovery (from 31.0% to 36.1%) and reduced (to 0.1%) evaporation of the recycled liquid, so that they may represent an option to avoid an excessive concentration in the tank towards the end of application.</p> Gianfranco Pergher Nicola Zucchiatti ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-02-20 2018-02-20 49 3 164 173 10.4081/jae.2018.801 How effective is information on soil-landscape units for determining spatio-temporal variability of near-surface soil moisture? <p>In the last decades, a growing interest in fostering advanced interdisciplinary studies is leading to the establishment of observatories in pilot catchments for long-term monitoring of hydrological variables and fluxes. Nevertheless prior to sensor network installation, this investment necessitates preliminary surveys on key-variables such as near-surface soil moisture in order to prevent risks of erronously distributing sensors by missing sufficient spatial information for understanding hydrological processes within the landatmosphere interactions. The availability of maps describing areas with similar morphological, topographical, soil, and vegetation characteristics enable preliminary surveys to be organized for capturing spatio-temporal variability of soil moisture as best as possible. The soil-landscape classification can be considered as an interesting approach for grouping mapping units with similar hydrological behavior. Therefore, we assume the soil-landscape units as <em>hydrotopes</em> or <em>hydrological similar units</em>. Six transects were established along two hillsides of the Upper Alento River catchment (southern Italy) which is a proper candidate to become a Critical Zone Observatory. In this paper we use a soil-landscape map to infer spatial and temporal dynamics of soil moisture measured along these transects, whereas quantitative analyses were obtained by using multivariate techniques. The effectiveness of available information on soil-landscape mapping units is evaluated with respect to different observed patterns of soil moisture: wetter- and drier-than average observation points belong to agricultural and forested hillslopes, respectively. Soil texture and topographical controlling factors, especially clay content and slope gradient, are found to explain approximately 70% of the observed spatial variations in soil moisture along the forested hillslopes. The spatial structure explained by the environmental controlling factors decreases to 45% in the cases of the agricultural hillslopes mainly due to perturbations induced by grazing and tillage practices.</p> Paolo Nasta Benedetto Sica Caterina Mazzitelli Paola Di Fiore Ugo Lazzaro Mario Palladino Nunzio Romano ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-09-24 2018-09-24 49 3 174 182 10.4081/jae.2018.822 Thermal behaviour of green façades in summer <p>Building greenery systems can represent a sustainable solution for new buildings design and for existing buildings retrofitting, in order to improve the thermal energy performance of buildings, to decrease building energy loads and to contrast the Urban Heat Island. Green façades can influence thermal properties of a building by means of different important mechanisms: the shading, the cooling, the insulating and the wind barrier effect. Moreover, green façades accomplish heating effect in the cold season and at nighttime. An experimental test was developed at small scale at the University of Bari (Italy) from 2014 to 2016 for testing two different green façades. The plant species chosen were <em>Pandorea jasminoides variegated</em> and <em>Rhyncospermum</em> <em>jasminoides</em>, two evergreen climbing plants. A third uncovered wall was used as control. The thermal behaviour of the plants was analysed during the 2016 summer season, by keeping in consideration the external surface temperature of the building and the temperature of the airgap behind the green vertical systems. The daylight temperatures observed on the plant-covered walls during representative days were lower than the respective temperatures of the uncovered wall up to 7.0°C. During nighttime, the temperatures behind the plants were higher than the respective temperatures of the control wall up to 2.2°C. The results shown in the present research allow delineating the behaviour of the two plant species during summer in the Mediterranean climate region.</p> Ileana Blanco Evelia Schettini Giacomo Scarascia Mugnozza Giuliano Vox ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-09-24 2018-09-24 49 3 183 190 10.4081/jae.2018.835 Assessment of aerial and underground vibration transmission in mechanically trunk shaken olive trees <p>The present study analyses the transmission of vibrations generated from a multidirectional trunk shaker to olive tree structure considering both the aerial zone (trunk and branches) and the underground zone (the coarse root). The vibration characterization was conducted by measuring acceleration on several points of the tree during harvesting operations. The influence of two different heights of shaker head clamping was analysed. In addition, a dynamic probing was performed in order to evaluate soil compaction. The results showed that the vibration performed by the trunk shaker head, corresponding to an acceleration resultant of approximately 77 ms<sup>–2</sup> with a dominant vibration frequency of 18 Hz, increased up to 106% in branches and decreased up to 90% in trunks. At root level, where the analysis was carried out at 1/3 and 2/3 of the coarse root length, the acceleration values diminished significantly to 17 ms<sup>–2</sup> and 12 ms<sup>–2</sup>, respectively. Soil dynamic resistance was lower (36 kg cm<sup>–2</sup>) near the trees than between the trees (53 kg cm<sup>–2</sup>). The vibration transmission to the aerial and the underground parts diversely influences the dynamic behaviour of the olive tree, considering an operational frequency of a commercial trunk shaker. The assessment of vibration transmission to the aerial part could contribute to improve fruit detachment and reduce branch breaking and leaf detachment. While vibration transmission to the underground part rises new challenges considering soil compaction in olive groves.</p> Ruben R. Sola-Guirado Bruno Bernardi Sergio Castro-García Gregorio L. Blanco-Roldán Souraya Benalia Antonio Fazari Alessio Brescia Giuseppe Zimbalatti ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2018-02-19 2018-02-19 49 3 191 197 10.4081/jae.2018.788