Special Issue "Horticultural Plants Facing Stressful Conditions - Ways of Stress Mitigation"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Biotic and Abiotic Stress".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2023 | Viewed by 9210

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Agnieszka Hanaka
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Guest Editor
Department of Plant Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland
Interests: plant physiology; plant response to abiotic and biotic stress factors; metal phytotoxicity; enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants; secondary metabolites; photosynthesis
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Dr. Małgorzata Majewska
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Guest Editor
Department of Industrial and Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland
Interests: rhizosphere microorganisms; microbial interaction; plant growth promoting microorganisms; metals bioavailability; heavy metals bioremediation; metal-induced stress
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Barbara Hawrylak-Nowak
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Unit of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Botany and Plant Physiology, Faculty of Environmental Biology, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Akademicka 15, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
Interests: plant physiology; mineral nutrition; stress response and resistance; trace elements; plant ecophysiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Horticultural plants are exposed to a wide range of environmental stresses. Two types of stresses are distinguished: (1) abiotic stresses (e.g., heavy metals, salinity, heat, drought, chilling, freezing, radiation, nutrient deficit) and (2) biotic stresses (e.g., fungi, bacteria, nematodes, insects). Plants have developed various strategies of survival in and adaptation to adverse habitats. Their responses involve different complex signaling pathways, the effects of which can be investigated at the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels. Under multiple stress conditions, plants synthetize various regulators and biologically active compounds, which cause both biotic and abiotic stress responses. Plant tolerance can emerge not only from endogenic mechanisms, but also from simultaneously enriched microorganisms inhabiting their tissues (endophytes), surfaces (epiphytes), and soils in the vicinity of the roots (rhizosphere). These microorganisms and their metabolites and mineral elements can play an important role in generating genetic and physiological plant responses to stresses. Compiling our knowledge about these cross-linking relations can be helpful in the development of new strategies for increasing the productivity of horticultural crops. The application of natural origin agents will allow us to produce healthy food in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

The goal of this Special Issue is to provide deeper insight into the influence of stress factors at the cellular, tissue, organ, and whole plant level. Both non-modified and genetically modified plants are acceptable. Especially welcome are approaches combining stresses and the exploration of a wide range of fields, from anatomy through biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology, and genetics.

Dr. Agnieszka Hanaka
Dr. Małgorzata Majewska
Dr. Barbara Hawrylak-Nowak
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Horticulturae 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 1800 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
  • cross-tolerance to stresses
  • cross-induction of resistance
  • biologically active compounds
  • exo- and endogenic regulators
  • signaling pathways
  • genetical and physiological responses
  • synergistic and antagonistic effects

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Anatomical and Physiological Performance of Jojoba Treated with Proline under Salinity Stress Condition
Horticulturae 2022, 8(8), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8080716 - 09 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
A field trial study was conducted for two consecutive seasons 2020 and 2021 in approximately 8-month-old jojoba plants to evaluate the physiological responses following salt treatment and the role of proline as a foliar application to enhance jojoba tolerance to salinity stress. Jojoba [...] Read more.
A field trial study was conducted for two consecutive seasons 2020 and 2021 in approximately 8-month-old jojoba plants to evaluate the physiological responses following salt treatment and the role of proline as a foliar application to enhance jojoba tolerance to salinity stress. Jojoba plants were irrigated once a week for four months with diluted seawater in concentrations of 5000, 10,000, and 15,000 ppm and tap water (control). Anti-stress proline was applied four times throughout the experiment, the first at the beginning of the experiment and another three times at 30-day intervals, at concentrations of 0, 300, and 450 ppm. The effect of proline treatments on jojoba plant behavior includes growth vegetative characteristics, namely plant height increase percentage (PHIP), shoot number increase percentage (NSIP), stem diameter increase percentage (SDIP), number of leaves, leaf thickness, leaf area, and fresh and dry weights of leaves, and chemical characteristics, namely chlorophyll a and b, total chlorophyll, carotenoids, leaf mineral contents (N, P, K, Na, and Cl), total phenolic content (TPC), and proline concentration. Moreover, the impacts of proline on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), superoxide anion (O2•−), malondialdehyde (MDA), and ion leakage (IL) under salinity stress were investigated. Briefly, proline at 450 ppm enhanced all studied growth and physiological characteristics and promoted the antioxidant system of jojoba plants compared with the control and other treatments. The anatomical structure of leaves was also examined, and favorable variations in the anatomical structure were detected in the stressed and proline-treated plants. Exogenous application of proline enhanced most of this anatomical characteristic of jojoba leaf under saline stress. In conclusion, proline as a foliar application at 450 ppm under salinity stress of 10,000 ppm enhances jojoba tolerance to salinity stress by modifying the physicochemical and morphological characteristics of jojoba plants. Full article
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Article
Iodine Enhances the Nutritional Value but Not the Tolerance of Lettuce to NaCl
Horticulturae 2022, 8(7), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8070662 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 604
Abstract
Positive stress or essential and nonessential elements can improve nutritive values (biofortification) of edible plants. In the present study, we evaluate (i) the effect of moderate salinity on lettuce biofortification, evaluated as nutritional bioactive compound accumulation, and (ii) the role of iodine in [...] Read more.
Positive stress or essential and nonessential elements can improve nutritive values (biofortification) of edible plants. In the present study, we evaluate (i) the effect of moderate salinity on lettuce biofortification, evaluated as nutritional bioactive compound accumulation, and (ii) the role of iodine in enhancing salt tolerance by increasing photorespiration and the content of antioxidants in lettuce. Physiological (gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence emission) and biochemical (photosynthetic pigment and bioactive compound) analyses were performed on lettuce plants grown under moderate salinity (50 mM NaCl alone or 50 mM NaCl in combination with iodine, KIO3). Our results show that NaCl + iodine treatment improves the nutritional value of lettuce in terms of bioactive compounds acting as antioxidants. More specifically, iodine enhances the accumulation of photosynthetic pigments and polyphenols, such as anthocyanins, under salt but does not improve the salt tolerance. Our findings indicate that iodine application under moderate salinity could be a valid strategy in plant biofortification by improving nutritional bioactive compound accumulation, thus exercising functional effects on human health. Full article
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Article
Adaptive Redox Reactions Promote Naturalization of Rare Orchid Epipactis atrorubens on Serpentine Dumps Post Asbestos Mining
Horticulturae 2022, 8(7), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8070603 - 04 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
Epipactis atrorubens (Hoffm.) Besser. is a regionally rare orchid species with highly ornamental properties due to its very beautiful bright flowers, therefore it is of considerable interest as a horticultural plant for use in botanical gardens and greenhouses. The objective of the research [...] Read more.
Epipactis atrorubens (Hoffm.) Besser. is a regionally rare orchid species with highly ornamental properties due to its very beautiful bright flowers, therefore it is of considerable interest as a horticultural plant for use in botanical gardens and greenhouses. The objective of the research was to assess metal accumulation and some pro- and antioxidant reactions in E. atrorubens, colonizing serpentine dumps post asbestos mining. Additionally, some physicochemical properties of substrates, microbiotic characteristics and water status were investigated in orchids growing on two serpentine dumps and in a natural forest habitat of the Middle Urals, Russia. The dump substrates were characterized by the strong stoniness and the high content of Mg, Ni, Cr and Co (by 1.8 times on average) compared to the natural habitat. In these sites, E. atrorubens was characterized by increased mycorrhization. In the rhizome and roots of E. atrorubens the concentrations of most metals studied were considerably higher (more than 4 times on average) than in the leaves. It was found that orchids colonizing serpentine dumps produced more lipid peroxidation products (by 1.4 times on average) in the leaves which was accompanied by the more active synthesis of such non-enzymatic antioxidants as ascorbate, free proline, soluble phenolic compounds (including flavonoids) and non-protein thiols. The study suggests that non-enzymatic antioxidants increased the adaptive potential of E. atrorubens and contributed to its naturalization on serpentine dumps post asbestos mining. Full article
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Article
Brassinosteroid Applications Enhance the Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses, Production and Quality of Strawberry Fruits
Horticulturae 2022, 8(7), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8070572 - 24 Jun 2022
Viewed by 873
Abstract
Brassinosteriods (BRs) have increasingly been used to improve the yields and quality of various crops. In this work we studied the effect of two brassinosteroids, BB16 and EP24, on the growth promotion of Fragaria ananassa plants under normal conditions or exposed to water [...] Read more.
Brassinosteriods (BRs) have increasingly been used to improve the yields and quality of various crops. In this work we studied the effect of two brassinosteroids, BB16 and EP24, on the growth promotion of Fragaria ananassa plants under normal conditions or exposed to water or saline stress. The influence of both BRs on the plant development and fruit quality was evaluated when cultivated in semi-hydroponic conditions. A marked growth-promoting effect was observed with both compounds when plants were cultivated under normal irrigation conditions and under saline and water stresses. BB16 and EP24 yielded plants with a higher dry weight, root length and surface, a higher number and area of leaves, a higher total weight of fruits per plant, and a higher percentage of fruits of commercial quality. Additionally, a higher content of chlorophyll, number of leaves, and increased dry weight was detected in plants treated with both BRs and exposed to water and saline stresses. Finally, when evaluating the production and quality of fruits obtained under semi-hydroponic conditions, we observed that the pre-harvest treatment with both compounds induced a higher fruit production and better quality of fruits. These results suggest the potential of these compounds to achieve a more sustainable management of strawberry cultivation. Full article
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Article
Morpho-Physiological and Anatomical Alterations of Salt-Affected Thompson Seedless Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) to Brassinolide Spraying
Horticulturae 2022, 8(7), 568; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8070568 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1013
Abstract
Salinity is one of the most critical crises worldwide that ultimately compromises future food security. Brassinosteroids including brassinolide (BL) are a class of polyhydroxy steroids phytohormones, that play a crucial role in several plant metabolic pathways and boost plants’ stress tolerance, but less [...] Read more.
Salinity is one of the most critical crises worldwide that ultimately compromises future food security. Brassinosteroids including brassinolide (BL) are a class of polyhydroxy steroids phytohormones, that play a crucial role in several plant metabolic pathways and boost plants’ stress tolerance, but less data is accessible on its function in salt-affected grapevine. The experiment was conducted throughout the 2019 and 2020 experimental seasons at EL-Baramon experimental farm, Horticulture Research Institute, Mansoura, Egypt, to recognize the remediation potential of BL (1 and 2 mg L−1) in lightening salinity (NaCl at 1000, 2000, and 3000 mg L−1) injury on Thompson seedless grapevine seedlings (H4 strain) growth and physio-anatomical attributes. Data advocated that while salinity reduced growth attributes, BL applications substantially improved the overall salt-affected plant performance. Salinity stress significantly decreased photosynthetic pigment, relative water content, and ions percentage (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, potassium/sodium ratio). Alternatively, BL spraying significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased the photosynthetic pigment, maintaining a favorable potassium/sodium ratio and increasing the ions percentage. Additionally, increasing salinity levels significantly boost plant sodium percentage and induce a membrane malfunction associated with increased membrane permeability; conversely, the application of BL decreased the sodium percentage associated with decreasing membrane permeability relative to non-treated salinized plants. Moreover, salinity and/or BL significantly improved the antioxidant capacity associated with rising proline accumulation and antioxidant enzyme activities. Anatomically, salinity stress considerably modified leaf structure; meanwhile, the spraying with BL drastically mitigates the harmful effects of salinity on leaf anatomy. Additionally, salt-affected plant cells explained various obvious organelles ultrastructural modifications and cellular damage; meanwhile, BL spraying to salt-affected plants repealed the ultrastructural modifications of cell organelles. Taken together, BL, especially 2 mg L−1, has a great potential to boost the salt tolerance of Thompson seedless grapevine seedlings (H4 strain). It improves salt tolerance by sustaining higher photosynthetic pigment concentrations, maintaining ion homeostasis, regulating water status, and stimulating antioxidant capacity as well as maintaining leaf anatomical attributes. Full article
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Article
Copper Stress Enhances the Lignification of Axial Organs in Zinnia elegans
Horticulturae 2022, 8(6), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8060558 - 20 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1339
Abstract
Zinnia elegans Jacq. is an ornamental plant, widely used in landscaping. Heavy-metal pollution in urban and rural areas is still increasing, which determines the actuality of studying plants’ reactions to pollutants. Zinnia was not sufficiently studied in this regard, so the aim of [...] Read more.
Zinnia elegans Jacq. is an ornamental plant, widely used in landscaping. Heavy-metal pollution in urban and rural areas is still increasing, which determines the actuality of studying plants’ reactions to pollutants. Zinnia was not sufficiently studied in this regard, so the aim of our research was to identify morphophysiological changes in this species under excess copper concentration in the soil. For this, we treated a growth substrate with 200 µM CuSO4 solution for 20 days. At the end of the treatment, several morphological, biochemical, and molecular genetic traits were evaluated: the root and the shoot size; the concentration of H2O2 and malondialdehyde (MDA), as indicators of stress; the amount of the phenolic compounds and lignin; and the level of the expression of genes, which encoded their biosynthesis. The Cu amount in the substrate and zinnia organs was quantified using atomic-absorption spectroscopy; hydrogen peroxide, MDA, and phenolic compounds were determined spectrophotometrically, while the amount of lignin was determined according to Klason. Real-time PCR was used for estimation of the gene-transcription level. Lignin in tissues was visualized by fluorescent microscopy. In experimental plants, Cu accumulation was higher in the root than in the stem. This caused an increase in stress markers and a decrease in the root and stem lengths. For the first time for zinnia, it was shown that for several genes—4-coumarate-CoA ligase (4CL), cinnamoyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD), and class III peroxidase (PRX)—the level of expression increased under copper treatment. The rise of the transcripts’ amount of these genes was accompanied by a thickening and lignification of the cell walls in the metaxylem vessels. Thus, the adaptation of zinnia to the excess Cu in the growth medium was associated with the metabolic changes in the phenylpropanoid pathway. As a result, the lignification increased in the root, which led to the accumulation of Cu in this organ and limited its translocation through the xylem to the stem, which provided plant growth. Full article
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Article
Effect of Elevated Temperature and Excess Light on Photosynthetic Efficiency, Pigments, and Proteins in the Field-Grown Sunflower during Afternoon
Horticulturae 2022, 8(5), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8050392 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1128
Abstract
This study examined the photosynthetic responses of two sunflower hybrids to elevated temperatures and excess light intensity in the flowering stage by measuring the chlorophyll a fluorescence (ChlF) under morning and afternoon field conditions to determine the photosynthetic pigment contents and the relative [...] Read more.
This study examined the photosynthetic responses of two sunflower hybrids to elevated temperatures and excess light intensity in the flowering stage by measuring the chlorophyll a fluorescence (ChlF) under morning and afternoon field conditions to determine the photosynthetic pigment contents and the relative accumulation of photosynthetic proteins. The morning environmental conditions were considered optimal, while the afternoon was characterised by elevated temperatures and excess light intensity. The minimum fluorescence intensity (F0), the electron-flux-reducing end electron acceptors at the photosystem I acceptor side per reaction centre (RE0/RC), and the D1 protein had significant, high, and positive correlations with the environmental conditions, which indicates that they were the most useful in the sunflower-stress-response research. In hybrid 7, the elevated temperatures and the excess light intensity resulted in the inactivation of the oxygen-evolving complex, which was indicated by the positive L, K, and J steps, the increase in the maximum quantum yield of PSII (TR0/ABS), the decrease in the electron transport further than the primary acceptor QA (ET0/(TR0-ET0)), the reduction in the performance index (PIABS), and the higher relative accumulation of the light-harvesting complex of the photosystem (LHCII). Hybrid 4 had smaller changes in the fluorescence curves in phases O–J and J–I, and especially in steps L, K, J, and I, and a higher PIABS, which indicates a more efficient excitation energy under the unfavourable conditions. As the tested parameters were sensitive enough to determine the significant differences between the sunflower hybrids in their photosynthetic responses to the elevated temperatures and excess light intensity in the flowering stage, they can be considered useful selection criteria. The development of more adaptable sunflower hybrids encourages sustainable sunflower production under stressful growing conditions. Full article
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Article
The Effective Role of Nano-Silicon Application in Improving the Productivity and Quality of Grafted Tomato Grown under Salinity Stress
Horticulturae 2022, 8(4), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8040293 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
This study aims to determine the influence of grafting and nano-silicon fertilizer on the growth and production of tomatoes (Solanumlycopersicum L.) under salinity conditions. A commercial tomato hybrid (cv. Strain B) was used as a scion and two tomato phenotypes were used [...] Read more.
This study aims to determine the influence of grafting and nano-silicon fertilizer on the growth and production of tomatoes (Solanumlycopersicum L.) under salinity conditions. A commercial tomato hybrid (cv. Strain B) was used as a scion and two tomato phenotypes were used as rootstocks: S. pimpinellifolium and Edkawy. The rootstock effect was evaluated by growing plants at two NaCl concentrations plus the control (0, 4000, and 8000 ppm NaCl). Nano-silicon foliar application (0.5 ppm) after 20, 28, and 36 days from transplanting was also used to mitigate salinity stress. Antioxidants, hormones, and proline were evaluated for a better understanding of the physiological changes induced by salinity and grafting. The results showed that grafting either on S. pimpinellifolium or Edkawy combined with nano-silicon application enhanced shoot and root growth, fruit yield, and fruit quality. The Edkawy rootstock was more effective than the S. pimpinellifolium rootstock in terms of counteracting the negative effect of salinity. Higher levels of mineral contents, GA3, ABA, and proline were detected in shoots that were subjected to grafting and nano-silicon application compared to the control treatment. This study indicates that grafting and nano-silicon application hold potential as alternative techniques to mitigate salt stress in commercial tomato cultivars. Full article
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Review

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Review
Plant Defensive Responses Triggered by Trichoderma spp. as Tools to Face Stressful Conditions
Horticulturae 2022, 8(12), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8121181 - 10 Dec 2022
Viewed by 470
Abstract
The current agriculture is facing various challenges to produce enough food to satisfy the need of the human population consumption without having a negative impact on the environment, human health and ecosystems. The exploitation of bioinoculants has been a crucial alternative for green [...] Read more.
The current agriculture is facing various challenges to produce enough food to satisfy the need of the human population consumption without having a negative impact on the environment, human health and ecosystems. The exploitation of bioinoculants has been a crucial alternative for green agriculture. Bioinoculants have two great benefits: to promote plant growth by making essential nutrients available to crops and, to increase the tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses by inducing a long-lasting defense. Certain members of genus Trichoderma have been recognized as biocontrol agents, biofertilizers and stress alleviators for the plants. The use of Trichoderma spp. has also been extended to protect and stimulate growth of horticultural crops. Elucidating the plant signaling events triggered by Trichoderma is of high importance in order to understand the molecular basis involving plant protection against stresses. In this review, the signaling elements of the plants from Trichoderma perception through late defensive responses is discussed. Enhanced understanding how Trichoderma spp. activate defense will lead to improvement in the use of species of this genus to increase crop production with the consequent benefits for human health and care for the environment. Full article
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