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Abiotic Stress in Crop Species: Improving Tolerance by Applying Plant Metabolites

Centro de Biología Molecular Vegetal, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras 3425, Ñuñoa, Santiago 7800024, Chile
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Plants 2021, 10(2), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020186
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 23 November 2020 / Accepted: 4 December 2020 / Published: 20 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Metabolites and Regulation under Environmental Stress)
Reductions in crop yields brought about by abiotic stress are expected to increase as climate change, and other factors, generate harsher environmental conditions in regions traditionally used for cultivation. Although breeding and genetically modified and edited organisms have generated many varieties with greater abiotic stress tolerance, their practical use depends on lengthy processes, such as biological cycles and legal aspects. On the other hand, a non-genetic approach to improve crop yield in stress conditions involves the exogenous application of natural compounds, including plant metabolites. In this review, we examine the recent literature related to the application of different natural primary (proline, l-tryptophan, glutathione, and citric acid) and secondary (polyols, ascorbic acid, lipoic acid, glycine betaine, α-tocopherol, and melatonin) plant metabolites in improving tolerance to abiotic stress. We focus on drought, saline, heavy metal, and temperature as environmental parameters that are forecast to become more extreme or frequent as the climate continues to alter. The benefits of such applications are often evaluated by measuring their effects on metabolic, biochemical, and morphological parameters in a variety of crop plants, which usually result in improved yields when applied in greenhouse conditions or in the field. As this strategy has proven to be an effective way to raise plant tolerance to abiotic stress, we also discuss the prospect of its widespread implementation in the short term. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought stress; heavy metal stress; primary metabolite; salt stress; secondary metabolites drought stress; heavy metal stress; primary metabolite; salt stress; secondary metabolites
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MDPI and ACS Style

Godoy, F.; Olivos-Hernández, K.; Stange, C.; Handford, M. Abiotic Stress in Crop Species: Improving Tolerance by Applying Plant Metabolites. Plants 2021, 10, 186. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020186

AMA Style

Godoy F, Olivos-Hernández K, Stange C, Handford M. Abiotic Stress in Crop Species: Improving Tolerance by Applying Plant Metabolites. Plants. 2021; 10(2):186. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020186

Chicago/Turabian Style

Godoy, Francisca; Olivos-Hernández, Karina; Stange, Claudia; Handford, Michael. 2021. "Abiotic Stress in Crop Species: Improving Tolerance by Applying Plant Metabolites" Plants 10, no. 2: 186. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020186

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