Journal of Agricultural Engineering 2019-11-28T15:03:47+00:00 Paola Granata Open Journal Systems <p>The <strong>Journal of Agricultural Engineering (JAE)</strong> is the official journal of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Italian Society of Agricultural Engineering</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> Closed tank pneumatic press application to improve Sauvignon Blanc wine quality and nutraceutical properties 2019-11-28T15:03:47+00:00 Pietro Catania Filippa Bono Claudio De Pasquale Mariangela Vallone <p>The machines used in the winemaking process directly affect the quality of wine and its nutraceutical properties. Grapes’ pressing is a very important step in winemaking as it may promote the presence and/or absence of enzymatic processes on the must, leading to the creation of different products in terms of chemical composition, starting from the same grapes. The aim of the study was to compare two different pressing systems of Sauvignon Blanc grapes using an innovative pneumatic discontinuous closed tank press in two operating modes: the traditional pressing mode in presence of oxygen and the inert pressing mode, performed through grapes pressing under inert gas with nitrogen recovery. Chemical composition of musts and wines was analysed. Pressing under inert atmosphere caused an increase in total polyphenols; total acidity values in musts raised up denoting a very favourable environment for the development of the aromatic component of the future wine. The absorbance measured at 420 nm, an index of total browning reaction of foods, was significantly lower in the wine coming from inert pressing. Principal component analysis application allowed extracting composite quality indicators of must for evaluating the effectiveness of the inert pressing procedure. Results are encouraging and open up new research prospective with the aim of applying innovative techniques to improve the quality of the final product.</p> 2019-11-27T15:37:38+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Pietro Catania, Filippa Bono, Claudio De Pasquale, Mariangela Vallone Effect of some selected soil properties, moisture content, yield and consumptive water use on two Cassava (TMS 0581 and TME 419) varieties 2019-11-27T16:38:47+00:00 Christopher O. Akinbile Remigius C. Eze Habeeb Yusuf Babatunde S. Ewulo Adeniyi Olayanju <p>The increasing demand of Cassava for our dietary needs and shortage experienced going by the burgeoning global population is a cause for concern that requires urgent attention. The study therefore considered the effect of some selected soil properties, nutrients, moisture content, yield and consumptive water use on two selected Cassava varieties TMS 0581 and TME 419 respectively. The design was a randomised complete block design of four treatments and three replicates. Treatment A had fertigation, B used poultry manure, C employed nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium, 15-15-15 while D with no treatment was used as control. Soil properties such as bulk density, particle density, soil classification and nutrients such as cation exchange capacity, organic matter, nitrogen, potassium and others were determined using standard procedures. Penman-Monteith model was used in estimating reference evapotranspiration while its product with crop coefficient produced crop evapotranspiration. Moisture content was measured at depths 10, 20 and 30 cm respectively while water use efficiency (WUE), irrigation water applied and tuber yield were also determined. The findings of this study showed that all the soil properties were within permissible levels to encourage optimum agronomic development of Cassava plant and the class was entirely a loamy soil, which permits well-developed root-tuber configuration. Tuber yields varied from 21.96 kg to 25.13 kg for TMS 0581 variety while TME 419 had 17.04 kg to 31.63 kg in all the treatments. Deficiencies were observed in some of the nutrients, which were replenished with the introduction of the fertilisers among the plots. Moisture content at 30 cm depth is suggestive of adequate water availability sufficient enough to encourage proper tuber development for optimum yield while fertigation technique was adjudged the best as it improved Cassava <em>Tuberisation</em> and WUE in all the treatments considered.</p> 2019-09-23T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Christopher O. Akinbile, Remigius C. Eze, Habeeb Yusuf, Babatunde S. Ewulo, Adeniyi Olayanju Development of a six-wheel drive vehicle: A comparative study on steering performance 2019-11-27T16:38:48+00:00 Abd Rahim Shuib Mohd Azwan Mohd Bakri Mohd Khairul Fadzly Md Radzi <p>The innovation for the recent agriculture tractors have been widely developed. These tractors are used to enhance the harvesting activities in way to lowering the labour cost. However, the current system of infield collection of oil palm fresh fruit bunches by using mini-tractor-trailer (MTT) has its limitation. This MTT have poor traction on soft ground such as coastal and peat areas which give the limiting factors that prohibit the usage of any mini-tractor. Thus, the aim of this project is to fabricate a functioning prototype vehicle consist of two-wheel steering (2WS) and four-wheel steering (4WS) in measuring its performance of tractive effort and steering radius for usage in palm plantation. The machine configuration consists of main chassis, compartment to carry oil palm bunches, a mechanism for loading purposes, operator cabin, and associated hydraulic system. The labouratory test of performance evaluation were conducted to the developed vehicle. The results show that under four-wheel drive (4WD) mode, the turning radius of the vehicle was found to be 42.9% lesser if the 4WS mode is engaged. For 6WD with 4WS active, the turning radius was 46% lesser while turning for 42.2% lesser compared to 2WS. The slippage ranges are recorded between 8.5% to 22.5% where the slippage for the left wheel is negative as the left wheel rotates slower than the right wheel on the left turning of circular motion and vice versa. In addition, the vehicle design could be considered optimum as the measured tractive effort of the vehicle was found to be 32% of the vehicle gross weight. This is within the recommended tractive effort, which is within</p> 2019-09-20T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Abd Rahim Shuib, Mohd Azwan Mohd Bakri, Mohd Khairul Fadzly Md Radzi Numerical simulations for the optimisation of ventilation system designed for wine cellars 2019-11-28T15:03:46+00:00 Enrica Santolini Alberto Barbaresi Daniele Torreggiani Patrizia Tassinari <p>The wine-ageing process is one of the most important phases of the wine production and it can be considerably affected by the micro-climatic conditions inside the ageing rooms. Underground wine cellars in small-medium wineries are designed with natural ventilation systems, able to maintain optimal indoor condition. However, critical factors emerge, such as mold growth or wine evapo-transpiration, where ventilation proved to be poorly designed, insufficient in the first case or excessive in the second one. The zones around the wooden barrels proved to be the most sensitive and problematic. These areas are the most investigated in terms of temperature and humidity values but surprisingly not in terms of air velocity. In this paper, a ventilation system has been designed and optimised to support the lack of ventilation, by means of computational fluid dynamics modelling. Eight configurations have been performed and analysed, identifying the best two according to the air velocity range. Specific parameters have been defined to appreciate the application limits of each configuration. These parameters can be used as reference for system design in similar studies and applications and can help scholars and professionals to identify the optimal configurations for the implementation and proper placement of the system inside a cellar.</p> 2019-11-27T16:02:24+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Enrica Santolini, Alberto Barbaresi, Daniele Torreggiani, Patrizia Tassinari Near infrared spectroscopy for assessing mechanical properties of Castanea sativa wood samples 2019-11-28T15:03:46+00:00 Manuela Mancini Elena Leoni Michela Nocetti Carlo Urbinati Daniele Duca Michele Brunetti Giuseppe Toscano <p>Near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) is a technique widely used for the prediction of different chemical-physical features of wood. In this study, the technique was used to assess its potential to predict the mechanical characteristics of wood. <em>Castanea sativa</em> samples of three different European provenances were collected and laboratory tests were performed to assess the mechanical properties of wood samples. Modulus of elasticity (MOE), load-deflection curve and modulus of rupture (MOR) were calculated by using INSTRON machine with three points bending strength with elastic modulus, while density (D) was calculated according to the current standard. Samples were then analysed by means of NIR spectroscopy. The raw spectra were pre-processed and regression models were developed. Variables selection techniques were used to improve the model performance. In detail, MOE regression model returned an error of 696.01 MPa (R<sup>2</sup>=0.78). Instead, MOR and D prediction models must be further investigated on a wider number of samples considering the high variability in physical characteristics of chestnut wood. The results demonstrated the possibility to use NIR technique for the prediction of the mechanical properties of wood providing useful indications in evaluation-screening processes. Indeed, the presence of the principal wood compounds (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) and their influence in the characterisation of mechanical stress reactions were confirmed.</p> 2019-11-27T16:17:01+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Giuseppe Toscano A robotic irrigation system for urban gardening and agriculture 2019-11-28T15:03:45+00:00 Ioannis Gravalos Avgoustinos Avgousti Theodoros Gialamas Nikolaos Alfieris Georgios Paschalidis <p>Water supply limits and continued population growth have intensified the search for measures to conserve water in urban gardening and agriculture. The efficiency of water use is depended on performance of the irrigation technologies and management practices. In this study, a robotic irrigation system was developed that consists of a moving bridge manipulator and a sensor-based platform. The manipulator constructed is partly using open-source components and software, and is easily reconfigurable and extendable. In combination to the sensor-based platform this custommade manipulator has the potential to monitor the soil water content (SWC) in real time. The irrigation robotic system was tested in an experimental soil tank. The total surface of the soil tank was divided by a raster into 18 equal quadrants. The water management for maintaining water content in the soil tank within tolerable lower limit (refill point) was based on three irrigation treatments: i) quadrants whose SWC is below the refill point are irrigated; ii) quadrants are irrigated only when the daily mean SWC of the tank is below the refill point and only for those whose actual SWC is lower than that limit; and iii) quadrants are irrigated every two days with constant amount of water. A comparison of the results of the three irrigation treatments showed that the second treatment gave less irrigation events and less applied water. Finally, we could conclude that the performance of the fabricated robotic system is appropriate and it could play an important role in achieving sustainable irrigation into urban food systems.</p> 2019-11-27T16:22:48+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Ioannis Gravalos, Avgoustinos Avgousti, Theodoros Gialamas, Nikolaos Alfieris, Georgios Paschalidis Environmental indoor thermal control of extra virgin olive oil storage room with phase change materials 2019-11-28T15:03:44+00:00 Francesco Barreca Pasquale Praticò <p>The quality of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is strongly correlated to storage temperature, in fact the storage conditions (packaging material, oxygen, temperature, and light) alters not only the fatty acid alkyl esters (FAEE) of the olive oil but also other quality parameters such as peroxide, making the oil incompatible to the high quality EVOO. During storage of EVOO the polyphenols tend to decrease and compromise the dietetic and nutritional qualities and taste and produce harmful substances. The storage temperature, more than 24°C, influences quite a lot FAEE especially for long-term conservation. High storage temperature leads to degradation of oil quality in the long term while low temperature develops rancidity quickly, reducing the consumer’s demand. Low storage temperature also affects the EVOO quality but in a lesser way than high storage temperature. The present study proposes the use of a control temperature system based on the application of phase change materials (PCM) on the buildings envelope. A specific case study was considered to evaluate the effect on use of PCM. The building analysed was an olive mill building situated in Scido a small town in the province of Reggio Calabria located in southern Italy. The intervention on the EVOO storage room to improve the energy savings for temperature control was based on the insulation of the partitions and the installation of a false ceiling to limit the air volume, with a two layer panel sandwich, one of PCM and the other of a rigid polyurethane foam with a 4 cm thick metal cladding. A thermal analysis simulation, by means of DesignBuilder software, was conducted. To calculate the electric energy spent in a year to control air temperature in a range of 8- 22°C. The results were of 3590. 67 kWh/year for existing building and 2539.52 kWh/year for building with PCM, energy save of about 30%. A temperature decrease of about 3°C was measured inside the storage room without a cooling system during the hottest year period but the most important result was a thermal indoor air stabilisation in the storage room. This condition avoids a thermal fluctuation to the EVOO and it is the best storage condition.</p> 2019-11-27T16:27:46+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Francesco Barreca, Pasquale Praticò