Wild asparagus domestication for food/energy cropping system set up
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Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Brecce Bianche 10, Ancona, 60131, Italy
Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39/a, Sassari, 07100, Italy
Agricultural Research Agency of Sardinia (AGRIS), Service of Environmental Studies, Crop Protection and Production Quality, Cagliari, Italy
These authors had equal contribution to this work
Final revision date: 2023-09-30
Acceptance date: 2023-10-06
Publication date: 2023-10-20
Corresponding author
Marco Cossu   

Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy
Int. Agrophys. 2023, 37(4): 415–424
Data Availability Statement: The data presented in this study are available on request from the authors.
  • Solar greenhouses are mixed systems merging energy and crops on the same land unit
  • Wild asparagus cropping may represent a good option under these challenging systems
  • Plants showed a relevant physiological plasticity in response to light constraints
  • Neither roof type nor management significantly affected spears number and length
The solar greenhouse sector is currently unbalanced towards energy production. Thus, the introduction of new crop options, such as wild asparagus, could contribute to the promotion of economic and environmental sustainability in these food/energy systems (mixed-systems). We hypothesized that wild asparagus is able to adapt both to sunny and partially shaded environments provided that both nutrient and water supply are guaranteed. Over a three-year experiment, we carried out an intensive examination of within-season phenological, physiological and productive dynamics under a greenhouse with 50% of the roof area covered with photovoltaic panels. Under the photovoltaic roof the net assimilation rate was on average 5 time lower, averaged over the growing seasons (0.6 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1), resulting in negative results for some monitoring dates. However, lower net assimilation rate did not negatively impact spears production in terms of number, length and diameter. The year of establishment affected the length of the spear, which was 4 cm shorter in 2013 than in 2014 and 2015, when no significant difference was observed. The novelty proposed in this study could be a successful option for farmers to promote production diversification and a promising strategy to guarantee the environmental and economic sustainability of the whole mixed system.
The authors thank Dr. Stefania Solinas for helpful comments on the final draft of the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the Murtas family and CIDAM s.s.a. farm staff for their longstanding support, Mr. Tore Pala, Mr. Marco Maxia and Dr. Giulia R. Urracci for their valuable help in collecting data.
The Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Italy) (grant number C04-1). Project RESTART, FSC 2014-2020 (CUP D66C18000260002) of the UniNuoro University Consortium and the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (Italy); Project Innovagreen, FDS2017 of the Banco di Sardegna Foundation (CUP J85F20000360007); Project Atlantide (CUP J88D2000007000202) of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia; Project H2020 Solaqua “Accessible, reliable and affordable solar irrigation for Europe and beyond”, funded by the European Commission within Programme Horizon 2020 Framework Programme Call: H2020-LC-SC3-2020-RES-IA-CSA Project: 952879.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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