Special Issue "Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. em. Urs Feller

Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nutrient transport via xylem and phloem; xylem-to-phloem transfer of nutrients and pollutants; senescence; nutrient redistribution
Guest Editor
Prof. Stanislav Kopriva

Botanical Institute, Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
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Interests: regulatory mechanisms of nutrient uptake and assimilation; control of nutrient homeostasis; role of microorganisms in plant nutrition; sulfur metabolism; metabolic fluxes; integration of nutrient assimilation in general plant metabolism
Guest Editor
Prof. Valya Vassileva

Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria
Website | E-Mail
Interests: root development and abiotic stress adaptation; nutrient sensing and signaling in plants; symbiotic nitrogen fixation; comparative genomics of model legumes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Abiotic and biotic stresses can strongly influence plant nutrient dynamics by affecting nutrient availability in the soil, uptake, assimilation, transport and accumulation within the plant. Such effects become more and more important in the course of global climate change. Combinations of stresses may cause more complex effects and must be considered besides individual stresses (e.g., beneficial effects on aphids and other animal pests on drought-stressed plants, improved solubility of some heavy metals in waterlogged soil).

This Special Issue intends to summarize the recent progress in the elucidation of stress effects on the nutrition of plants and on the quality of harvested crops. All types of articles, original research, opinions and reviews that provide new insights into the effects of various stresses and the mechanisms involved in the stress responses are welcome. Experimental studies and theoretical approaches referring to the molecular, cellular, organ or whole plant level may be considered. Understanding the interaction between stress and nutrition is highly relevant for modern agriculture in order to ensure high yields and high quality of plant products in stressful environments. The following list of stresses gives some examples and is not exhaustive:

  • High salt concentration in soil solution
  • Heavy metals in the soil
  • Air pollution (e.g., ozone)
  • Drought
  • Waterlogging
  • Heat
  • Low temperature
  • Microbial pests
  • Animal pests
  • Competition with other plants (e.g., with weeds)

Plant nutrient availability depends on nutrient contents in the soil and on processes prior to the acquisition of macro- and micronutrients by plants. Some nutrients may be insolubilized at the root surface or in the root apoplast before reaching a translocator embedded in the plasmalemma of root cells. After the uptake into root cells, nutrients may be subjected to assimilatory processes (e.g., for nitrogen, sulfur) and/or to the transfer from the cytosol to other subcellular compartments. The transfer of nutrients to the central cylinder and the release into the xylem are important steps for the transport from the roots to the shoot via the transpiration stream. During the acropetal transport, nutrient ions may be removed from the xylem sap and accumulate in the stem or may be loaded into the phloem. Xylem-to-phloem transfer is important, since the two long-distance transport systems are directed to other organs. Nitrogen and sulfur are not necessarily assimilated in the root system, but may also be transported to shoot organs in inorganic form and then assimilated there. After fulfilling functions in active shoot organs nutrients may be remobilized during senescence and redistributed via the phloem to other sinks within the same plant (e.g., expanding leaves, maturing fruits). All the processes summarized here may be affected by abiotic and biotic stresses and must therefore be considered for this Special Issue:

  • Processes in the soil affecting nutrient availability for plants (e.g., solubilization or insolubilzation of nutrients, soil water potential, redox processes in the soil solution)
  • Interaction of plants with soil microorganisms
  • Nutrient acquisition and root architecture
  • Processes at the root surface and in the root apoplast
  • Uptake of nutrients across a membrane into the root symplast
  • Compartmentation of nutrients on the organ, tissue and subcellular level
  • Assimilatory processes
  • Transport of nutrients to the central cylinder and release into the root xylem
  • Transport of nutrients via xylem and phloem including interactions between the two long-distance transport systems in stems, petioles or leaf veins
  • Effects of nutrient disorders on physiological processes in various organs
  • Remobilization of nutrients from senescing plant parts and redistribution to sinks via the phloem
  • Nutrient dynamics in fruits and seeds, quality of plant products

Particular emphasis of the Special Issue should be made on summarizing approaches that improve the potential of crop plants to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses, on identifying possible targets for breeding or genotype selection and on suggesting modifications in agricultural techniques to reduce the negative influence of stress.

Prof. em. Urs Feller
Prof. Valya Vassileva
Prof. Stanislav Kopriva
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Abiotic stress
  • Biotic stress
  • Nutrient availability in soil
  • Nutrient uptake
  • Nutrient assimilation
  • Transport via xylem and phloem
  • Nutrient redistribution
  • Senescence
  • Nutrient contents in harvested plant products
  • Pollution

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Nitrogen Use Efficiency and the Genetic Variation of Maize Expired Plant Variety Protection Germplasm
Agriculture 2018, 8(1), 3; doi:10.3390/agriculture8010003
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 21 December 2017 / Published: 1 January 2018
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Abstract
Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in maize (Zea mays L.) is an important trait to optimize yield with minimal input of nitrogen (N) fertilizer. Expired Plant Variety Protection (ex-PVP) Act-certified germplasm may be an important genetic resource for public breeding sectors. The objectives
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Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in maize (Zea mays L.) is an important trait to optimize yield with minimal input of nitrogen (N) fertilizer. Expired Plant Variety Protection (ex-PVP) Act-certified germplasm may be an important genetic resource for public breeding sectors. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the genetic variation of N-use traits and to characterize maize ex-PVP inbreds that are adapted to the U.S. Corn Belt for NUE performance. Eighty-nine ex-PVP inbreds (36 stiff stalk synthetic (SSS), and 53 non-stiff stalk synthetic (NSSS)) were genotyped using 26,769 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, then 263 single-cross maize hybrids derived from these inbreds were grown in eight environments from 2011 to 2015 at two N fertilizer rates (0 and 252 kg N ha−1) and three replications. Genetic utilization of inherent soil nitrogen and the yield response to N fertilizer were stable across environments and were highly correlated with yield under low and high N conditions, respectively. Cluster analysis identified inbreds with desirable NUE performance. However, only one inbred (PHK56) was ranked in the top 10% for yield under both N-stress and high N conditions. Broad-sense heritability across 12 different N-use traits varied from 0.11 to 0.77, but was not associated with breeding value accuracy. Nitrogen-stress tolerance was negatively correlated with the yield increase from N fertilizer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
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Open AccessArticle Interactive Effects of N-, P- and K-Nutrition and Drought Stress on the Development of Maize Seedlings
Agriculture 2017, 7(11), 90; doi:10.3390/agriculture7110090
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 28 October 2017
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Abstract
Global climate change is likely to increase the risk of frequent drought. Maize, as the principal global cereal, is particularly impacted by drought. Nutrient supply may improve plant drought tolerance for better plant establishment during seedling growth stages. Thus, this study investigated the
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Global climate change is likely to increase the risk of frequent drought. Maize, as the principal global cereal, is particularly impacted by drought. Nutrient supply may improve plant drought tolerance for better plant establishment during seedling growth stages. Thus, this study investigated the interactive effects of drought and the application of the nutrients N, P and K either individually or in combination. The maize seedlings were harvested between 12 and 20 days after sowing, and the leaf area, shoot fresh and dry weight and root dry weight were determined, and shoot water content and root/shoot dry weight ratio were calculated. Among the N, P and K fertilization treatments applied individually or in combination, the results showed that there was generally a positive effect of combined NPK and/or NP nutrient supply on shoot growth such as leaf area, shoot fresh and dry weight at day 20 after sowing under both well-watered and drought conditions compared with no nutrient supply. Compared with the effect of N and P nutrient supply, it seems that K was not limiting to plant growth due to the mineralogical characteristics of the illitic-chloritic silt loam used, which provided sufficient K, even though soil tests showed a low K nutrient status. Interestingly, the root/shoot ratio remained high and constant under drought regardless of NPK application, while it decreased with NPK applications in the well-watered treatment. This suggests that the higher root/shoot ratios with N, NP, PK and NPK under drought could be exploited as a strategy for stress tolerance in crop plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Magnesium on Gas Exchange and Photosynthetic Efficiency of Coffee Plants Grown under Different Light Levels
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 85; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100085
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 30 September 2017
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Abstract
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of magnesium on the gas exchange and photosynthetic efficiency of Coffee seedlings grown in nutrient solution under different light levels. The experiment was conducted under controlled conditions in growth chambers and nutrient
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of magnesium on the gas exchange and photosynthetic efficiency of Coffee seedlings grown in nutrient solution under different light levels. The experiment was conducted under controlled conditions in growth chambers and nutrient solution at the Department of Plant Pathology of the Federal University of Lavras. The treatments consisted of five different Mg concentrations (0, 48, 96, 192 and 384 mg·L−1) and four light levels (80, 160, 240 and 320 µmol photon m−2·s−1). Both the Mg concentration and light levels affected gas exchange in the coffee plants. Photosynthesis increased linearly with the increasing light, indicating that the light levels tested were low for this crop. The highest CO2 assimilation rate, lowest transpiration, and highest water use efficiency were observed with 250 mg·Mg·L−1, indicating that this concentration was the optimal Mg supply for the tested light levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Macro and Micronutrient Storage in Plants and Their Remobilization When Facing Scarcity: The Case of Drought
Agriculture 2018, 8(1), 14; doi:10.3390/agriculture8010014
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Human mineral malnutrition or hidden hunger is considered a global challenge, affecting a large proportion of the world’s population. The reduction in the mineral content of edible plant products is frequently found in cultivars bred for higher yields, and is probably increased by
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Human mineral malnutrition or hidden hunger is considered a global challenge, affecting a large proportion of the world’s population. The reduction in the mineral content of edible plant products is frequently found in cultivars bred for higher yields, and is probably increased by intensive agricultural practices. The filling of grain with macro and micronutrients is partly the result of a direct allocation from root uptake and remobilization from vegetative tissues. The aim of this bibliographic review is to focus on recent knowledge obtained from ionomic analysis of plant tissues in order to build a global appraisal of the potential remobilization of all macro and micronutrients, and especially those from leaves. Nitrogen is always remobilized from leaves of all plant species, although with different efficiencies, while nutrients such as K, S, P, Mg, Cu, Mo, Fe and Zn can be mobilized to a certain extent when plants are facing deficiencies. On the opposite, there is few evidence for leaf mobilization of Ca, Mn, Ni and B. Mechanisms related to the remobilization process (remobilization of mineral forms from vacuolar and organic compounds associated with senescence, respectively) are also discussed in the context of drought, an abiotic stress that is thought to increase and known to modulate the ionic composition of grain in crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
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Open AccessReview Sustainable Agriculture—Enhancing Environmental Benefits, Food Nutritional Quality and Building Crop Resilience to Abiotic and Biotic Stresses
Agriculture 2018, 8(1), 8; doi:10.3390/agriculture8010008
Received: 9 December 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 1 January 2018
PDF Full-text (309 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Feeding nutrition-dense food to future world populations presents agriculture with enormous challenges as estimates indicate that crop production must as much as double. Crop production cannot be increased to meet this challenge simply by increasing land acreage or using past agricultural intensification methods.
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Feeding nutrition-dense food to future world populations presents agriculture with enormous challenges as estimates indicate that crop production must as much as double. Crop production cannot be increased to meet this challenge simply by increasing land acreage or using past agricultural intensification methods. Food production doubled in the past through substantial use of synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation, all at significant environmental cost. Future production of nutrition-dense food will require next-generation crop production systems with decreased reliance on synthetic fertilizer and pesticide. Here, we present three case studies detailing the development of cover crops and plant-beneficial microbes for sustainable, next-generation small grain, tomato, and oilseed rape production systems. Cover crops imparted weed and pathogen control and decreased soil erosion and loss of soil nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon, while plant-beneficial microbes provided disease control and phosphorus fertility. However, yield in these next-generation crop production systems at best approximated that associated with current production systems. We argue here that to substantially increase agricultural productivity, new crop germplasm needs to be developed with enhanced nutritional content and enhanced tolerance to abiotic and biotic stress. This will require using all available technologies, including intensified genetic engineering tools, in the next-generation cropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
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