Published on Organic Agriculture. Biodynamic agriculture (BD agriculture) was presented as an alternative form of agriculture by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner and is nowadays considered one of the forms of organic agriculture. The objective of the present manuscript is to critically review international scientific literature on biodynamic agriculture as published in highly ranked journals and to assess its performance. This review was based on a structured literature survey of peer-reviewed journals indexed on the Web of Science™ (WoS) Core Collection database carried out from 1985 until 2018. We found 147 publications of studies in journals with an impact factor. Of these, 93 focused on biodynamic agricultural practices, 26 on the sustainability of the biodynamic method, and 28 on the food quality of biodynamic products. The results of the literature review showed that the BD method enhances soil quality and biodiversity. Instead, further efforts are needed to implement knowledge on the socio-economic sustainability and food quality aspects of BD products. One particularly promising topic of research consists in the assessment of microbial activity and the potential that microbiomes have in BD farms to enhance soil fertility and human health following the One Health approach. Moreover, it is critical that such subjects be investigated using a systemic approach. We conclude that BD agriculture could provide benefits for the environment and that further efforts should be made with research and innovation activities to provide additional information to farmers, policy makers, and stakeholders regarding this type of organic agriculture.
• Margherita Santoni, Lorenzo Ferretti, Paola Migliorini, Concetta Vazzana, Gaio Cesare Pacini