Special Issue "Drought Resistance Mechanisms in Crops"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Irrigation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Alejandro Galindo
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Agroforestry Science. University of Seville, Ctra. Utrera Km 1, 41013 Seville, Spain
Interests: irrigation management; deficit irrigation; climate change; plant ecophysiology; water stress; water relations; water footprint; water use efficiency; water productivity; water saving; droughts and water scarcity; plant nutrition; evapotranspiration and plant modelling
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural crops make a major contribution to food and economic security worldwide. However, due to their sessile nature, plants are continuously exposed to biotic and abiotic stress. Abiotic stress, such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures, and chemical pollution, leads to crop failure and significant yield losses. Of these, drought and salinity stress are the major causes of crop failure worldwide, leading to yield loss and salinization of arable land for major crops.

The current and predicted global warming has already led to a combination of elevated temperatures and decreased precipitation, whose effects have led to more frequent and severe drought conditions drastically affecting crop productivity. Plants have developed a wide range of adaptive structural, physiological, and molecular response mechanisms at the whole plant, organ, and cellular levels and in signal transduction pathways to cope with the effects of abiotic stresses.

However, stress response and tolerance vary greatly among plant species, creating a gap in our understanding of them.

Therefore, the aim of this Special Issue is to gather novel and recent studies in the field of plant response to abiotic stress. Of particular interest is research on stress responses aimed at reducing the effects of stress, such as water loss and protection against oxidative damage, as is research on response mechanisms employed at the whole-plant, tissue, cellular, and molecular levels for metabolic adjustment and gene expression regulation to enhance physiological and morphological adaptation.

All types of manuscripts (original research, reviews, etc.) are welcome.

Dr. Alejandro Galindo
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Agronomy 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 1600 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

  • Drought
  • Salinity
  • Abiotic stress
  • Avoidance
  • Tolerance
  • Adaptation
  • Water relations
  • Isohydric
  • Anisohydric

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Silicon-Mediated Physiological and Agronomic Responses of Maize to Drought Stress Imposed at the Vegetative and Reproductive Stages
Agronomy 2020, 10(8), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10081136 - 05 Aug 2020
Abstract
Silicon (Si) enhances maize resistance to drought. While previous studies have mainly focused on the seedling stage, the mediation of drought stress by Si imposed at the vegetative and reproductive stages has been rarely investigated. A soil-column experiment was thus conducted under a [...] Read more.
Silicon (Si) enhances maize resistance to drought. While previous studies have mainly focused on the seedling stage, the mediation of drought stress by Si imposed at the vegetative and reproductive stages has been rarely investigated. A soil-column experiment was thus conducted under a rainproof shelter to quantify the effect s of Si application on the physiological and agronomic responses of maize to drought stress imposed at the 6-leaf (D-V6), 12-leaf (D-V12), and blister (D-R2) stages. The observed parameters included plant growth, photosynthesis, osmolytes, antioxidant activity, and grain yield. The results showed that drought stress strongly decreased the leaf area, leaf water content, photosynthetic rate, chlorophyll content, and antioxidant activity (superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT)) and markedly increased lipid peroxidation. D-V6, D-V12, and D-R2 decreased grain yields by 12.9%, 28.9%, and 44.8%, respectively, compared to the well-watered treatment (CK). However, Si application markedly increased leaf area, chlorophyll content, photosynthetic rate, osmolyte content, and enzymatic antioxidant activities (SOD, POD, and CAT), and decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) and superoxide radical accumulation, ultimately improving maize yields by 12.4%, 69.8%, and 80.8%, respectively, compared to the non-Si treated plants under drought stress at the V6, V12, and R2 stages. Furthermore, maize yields had a significant positive correlation with chlorophyll content and SOD and POD activity during the three stages. Our findings suggest that Si-induced changes in chlorophyll content and antioxidant activity might constitute important mechanisms for mitigating drought stress. In conclusion, this study provides physico-biochemical evidence for the beneficial role of Si in alleviating drought-induced yield reduction in maize, particularly during the late vegetative or early reproductive stages. Thus, Si application constitutes an effective approach for improving maize yield in rain-fed agricultural systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Resistance Mechanisms in Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of SDHI Seed Treatment on the Physiological Conditions of Spring Barley Seedlings under Drought Stress
Agronomy 2020, 10(5), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050731 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Seed treatments help reduce the pathogen load and thus improve the condition of plants from their earliest developmental stages, but they can have impacts beyond their basic fungicide protection role. In this study, we investigated how seven spring barley seed treatments affected the [...] Read more.
Seed treatments help reduce the pathogen load and thus improve the condition of plants from their earliest developmental stages, but they can have impacts beyond their basic fungicide protection role. In this study, we investigated how seven spring barley seed treatments affected the plants’ physiological state. The tested seed treatments differed significantly in their impacts on the vigor parameters of barley seeds and on the physiological state of seedlings under drought stress and after regeneration. Seed treatments based on substances from the succinate-dehydrogenase-inhibitors (SDHI) group did not cause inhibition of seedling growth and also display by the highest vigor index values. Using the analysis of photosynthesis-related parameters, we showed that seed treatments from the SDHI group provided a superior tolerance of the imposed drought in spring barley than other treatments. In addition to protection against abiotic stress, SDHI treatments also rendered a higher efficiency of photochemical reactions in the treated plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Resistance Mechanisms in Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
High Soybean Yield and Drought Adaptation Being Associated with Canopy Architecture, Water Uptake, and Root Traits
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040608 - 24 Apr 2020
Abstract
Water stress is the main abiotic factor that limits soybean grain yield. We investigated eight soybean cultivars under well-watered (WW) and terminal drought stress (TDS) conditions to determine the traits associated with water saving and the relationship between water use, root morphology, canopy [...] Read more.
Water stress is the main abiotic factor that limits soybean grain yield. We investigated eight soybean cultivars under well-watered (WW) and terminal drought stress (TDS) conditions to determine the traits associated with water saving and the relationship between water use, root morphology, canopy architecture, flower and tagged-pod number, and yield performance. Under WW conditions, the average grain yield across the new soybean cultivars was significantly higher (18.7 g plant−1 vs. 15.1 g plant−1), but significantly less water was used (36 L plant−1 vs. 47 L plant−1) than in the old soybean cultivars. Under TDS, the four old soybean cultivars failed to produce a measurable grain yield, while the new soybean cultivars Zhonghuang 30 (ZH) and Jindou 19 (J19) produced a measurable grain yield. Water stress significantly reduced the flower numbers and tagged-pod numbers; the four new soybean cultivars on average had low flower and tagged-pod numbers under WW treatment, while they had low flower but high tagged-pod numbers under TDS conditions. ZH and JD exhibited a lower branch number and leaf area under both WW and TDS conditions. Water use during the flowering and podding periods was significantly positively correlated with the flower number and the tagged-pod number under both WW and TDS conditions. Thus, the small canopy size and low root length and root surface area contributed to a water-saving mechanism in the new soybean cultivars and improved the yield under drought conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Resistance Mechanisms in Crops)
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Open AccessArticle
Response of Photosynthetic Performance to Drought Duration and Re-Watering in Maize
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040533 - 08 Apr 2020
Abstract
The drought tolerance and capacity to recover after drought are important for plant growth and yield. In this study, two maize lines with different drought resistance were used to investigate the effects of different drought durations and subsequent re-watering on photosynthetic capacity, electron [...] Read more.
The drought tolerance and capacity to recover after drought are important for plant growth and yield. In this study, two maize lines with different drought resistance were used to investigate the effects of different drought durations and subsequent re-watering on photosynthetic capacity, electron transfer and energy distribution, and antioxidative defense mechanisms of maize. Under short drought, maize plants decreased stomatal conductance and photosynthetic electron transport rate, and increased NPQ (Non-photochemical quenching) to dissipate excess excitation energy in time and protect the photosynthetic apparatus. With the increased drought duration, NPQ, antioxidase activity, PItotal (total performance index), ∆I/Io, ψEo (quantum yield for electron transport), φEo (efficiency/probability that an electron moves further than QA), δRo (efficiency/probability with which an electron from the intersystem electron carriers is transferred to reduce end electron acceptors at the PSI acceptor side) and φRo (the quantum yield for the reduction of the end electron acceptors at the PSI acceptor side) were significantly reduced, while Y(NO) (quantum yield of nonregulated energy dissipation) and MDA (malondialdehyde) began to quickly increase. The photosynthetic rate and capacity of photosynthetic electron transport could not recover to the level of the plants subjected to normal water status after re-watering. These findings indicated that long drought damaged the PSI (photosystem I) and PSII (photosystem II) reaction center and decreased the electron transfer efficiency, and this damage could not be recovered by re-watering. Different drought resistance and recovery levels of photosynthetic performance were achieved by different maize lines. Compared with D340, D1798Z had higher NPQ and antioxidase activity, which was able to maintain functionality for longer in response to progressive drought, and it could also recover at more severe drought after re-watering, which indicated its higher tolerance to drought. It was concluded that the capacity of the energy dissipation and antioxidant enzyme system is crucial to mitigate the effects caused by drought, and the capacity to recover after re-watering was dependent on the severity and persistence of drought, adaptability, and recovery differences of the maize lines. The results provide a profound insight to understand the maize functional traits’ responses to drought stresses and re-watering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drought Resistance Mechanisms in Crops)
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