Plants Response to Abiotic Stresses: Strategies for Adaptations and Survival

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 August 2024 | Viewed by 19693

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Guest Editor
Plant Systems Biology, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA
Interests: plant physiology; abiotic stress; stomata; secondary metabolites; reactive oxygen species; signal transduction; photosynthesis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants, being sessile organisms, need to adapt to and survive harsh environmental conditions. These include extreme climates, drought, high temperatures, high light, heavy metals and nutrient deficiency. These conditions, individually or in combination, cause a significant loss in crop yield and quality.

Studies using model plants suggest that plants could coordinate different signal transduction pathways to sense and respond to stress. As part of these stress response mechanisms, some other changes include (i) changes at the cellular, molecular, or biochemical level, (ii) changes in secondary metabolite production such as ROS, NO, hormones, etc., and/or (iii) other physiological modifications such as leaf anatomy, stomatal responses, etc. These modifications help alter the rate and efficiency of plant metabolism and photosynthesis, thus helping plants to adapt to and survive stressful environments. However, how these events or mechanisms are coordinated in the crop or horticultural plants is still not completely known. Hence, a deeper understanding of these action mechanisms is required. The probable outcomes from these studies can be used in the plant biotechnology industry to not only develop stress-tolerant crops, but also help overcome plant-species-specific or region-specific environmental challenges.

In this context, this Special Issue aims to is highlight potential research outcomes that may lead to a deeper understanding of the plant's responses, adaptation, and survival to abiotic stresses. This issue will focus on the cellular, molecular, physiological, or any other mechanisms used by plants to recognize and respond to diverse abiotic stresses and their combinations. Papers addressing specific abiotic stress are also welcomed. This Special Issue will accept original research papers, methods, reviews, and perspectives.

Dr. Amith R. Devireddy
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • abiotic stress
  • physiology
  • adaptation and survival
  • signal transduction
  • secondary metabolites
  • phytohormones
  • gene expression
  • photosynthesis
  • tolerance
  • resistance

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

12 pages, 1022 KiB  
Article
Study on Morphological Traits of Natural Populations of Vaccinium uliginosum at Different Altitudinal Gradients on Changbai Mountain
by Chunnan Fan, Zhongling Guo and Jinping Zheng
Horticulturae 2024, 10(3), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10030224 - 26 Feb 2024
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Vaccinium uliginosum (VU) is one of the most precious wild berry plants distributed in the Changbai Mountain region in northeast China. Eight key morphological traits of VU were analyzed to examine the variation among and within five natural populations at different altitudes, as [...] Read more.
Vaccinium uliginosum (VU) is one of the most precious wild berry plants distributed in the Changbai Mountain region in northeast China. Eight key morphological traits of VU were analyzed to examine the variation among and within five natural populations at different altitudes, as well as their response to environmental factors. The study results showed an increasing trend of variation among populations with ascending altitudes, but the range variation within populations exhibited a decreasing trend. The diversity level among populations was found to be higher than that within populations, and the five populations of VU were classified into four groups. Except for leaf width and twig length, all other morphological traits demonstrated significant or extremely significant correlations. Generally, with increasing altitude, leaf length decreased, while plant height, clear bole height, and basal diameter decreased significantly, and similar trends were observed with moisture factors, while a significant positive correlation was found with temperature factors. Among them, the morphological traits of clear bole height and basal diameter exhibited the strongest correlation with environmental factor variations. Overall, these findings indicate extensive variation in the morphological traits of VU within and among populations at different altitudes, with clear responses to changes in environmental factors. Full article
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18 pages, 11766 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Changes in Active Ingredients and Mining of Key Metabolites in Bletilla striata under Shading and Drought Stresses
by Ruoyong Yin, Leiru Chen, Pengfei Deng, Xiaoqing Cao and Xiaoniu Xu
Horticulturae 2024, 10(2), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10020163 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 781
Abstract
Shading and drought are considered crucial abiotic stress factors that limit the normal growth of plants. Under natural conditions, the quality of Bletilla striata pseudobulbs (BP), a Chinese traditional medicinal crop, is often affected by the dual stresses of shading and drought. However, [...] Read more.
Shading and drought are considered crucial abiotic stress factors that limit the normal growth of plants. Under natural conditions, the quality of Bletilla striata pseudobulbs (BP), a Chinese traditional medicinal crop, is often affected by the dual stresses of shading and drought. However, the relationship and mechanism of the interaction between the two stress factors in B. striata remain unclear. In this study, we examined the changes in photosynthetic properties and active ingredients of B. striata under shading (L), drought (W), and shading-drought dual stresses (LW). We aimed to explore the metabolite mechanism that led to these changes using GC-MS-based non-targeted metabolomics techniques. The results indicated a significant reduction in the polysaccharide content of BP under W and LW treatments compared to the control (CK). The total phenol content was significantly reduced under L treatment, while the total flavonoid content did not change significantly under the three stresses. The significant increase in militarine content under all three stresses implies that B. striata may modulate its biosynthesis in response to different environmental stresses. Transpiration rate and stomatal conductance were reduced, amino acid expression was up-regulated, and carbohydrate expression was down-regulated in B. striata under L treatment. The net photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rate exhibited significant reductions, and the tuber metabolic disorder marker Homocysteine increased and organic acid content as well under W treatment. The net photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and water use efficiency of B. striata were further reduced under LW compared with single stress, which is in agreement with the “trade-off theory”. Pseudobulb metabolite changes, in combination with the results of the two single stresses, showed an up-regulation of amino acids and disaccharide compounds and a down-regulation of monosaccharide compounds. A support vector machine model (SVM) was used to screen 10 marker metabolites and accurately predict the changes in active ingredient content through an artificial neural network model (ANN). The results suggest that an appropriate stress environment can enhance the content of the target active ingredients based on cultivation goals. Full article
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15 pages, 2776 KiB  
Article
Sodium Silicate Improves Cucumber Seedling Growth and Substrate Nutrients and Reduces Heavy Metal Accumulation in Plants
by Wei Tian, Zhaoxuan Li, Kaixuan Gong, Xiaodong Wang, Sadiq Shah, Xiaozhuo Wang and Xueyan Zhang
Horticulturae 2023, 9(9), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae9090988 - 01 Sep 2023
Viewed by 921
Abstract
The gasification filter cake (GFC) has great application potential for improving the characteristics of seedling substrates due to its nutrient richness and excellent water retention capacity. However, GFCs leach heavy metals easily and thus pose certain ecological risks. Sodium silicate can enhance plant [...] Read more.
The gasification filter cake (GFC) has great application potential for improving the characteristics of seedling substrates due to its nutrient richness and excellent water retention capacity. However, GFCs leach heavy metals easily and thus pose certain ecological risks. Sodium silicate can enhance plant resistance to heavy metal toxicity by fixing heavy metals. This study investigated the impact of sodium silicate on cucumber plant growth, the chemical characterization of the substrate, and the distribution and transfer of heavy metals. Sodium silicate was added to the seedling substrate mix at mass rates of 0 g/kg−1 (GFC0), 2 g/kg−1 (GFC2), 4 g/kg−1 (GFC4), and 8 g/kg−1 (GFC8). The seedling substrate was composed of a commercial matrix, caragana compost, and GFC (m:m 7:7:2). The GFC increased the content of total phosphorus (P), available phosphorus (P), and available potassium (K) in the substrate by 31.58%, 16.58%, and 80.10%, respectively. Conversely, the GFC decreased the plant height by 12.3%. Adding sodium silicate to the GFC increased the chlorophyll content of the plants, fixed heavy metals in the substrate, and promoted nutrient absorption and utilization by the plants. Compared with GFC0 without sodium silicate, adding sodium silicate at a mass rate of 2 g/kg−1 (GFC2) reduced the chromium, lead, and cadmium contents by 51.13%, 26.37%, and 90.04%, respectively, which effectively alleviated heavy metal stress and was more conducive to plant growth. Full article
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14 pages, 1460 KiB  
Article
Mitigation of Salinity Stress on Pomegranate (Punica granatum L. cv. Wonderful) Plant Using Salicylic Acid Foliar Spray
by Hoda A. Khalil, Diaa O. El-Ansary and Zienab F. R. Ahmed
Horticulturae 2022, 8(5), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8050375 - 25 Apr 2022
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2957
Abstract
Salt stress significantly impacts plant morphological structure and physiological processes, resulting in decreased plant growth. Salicylic acid (SA) is a key signal molecule that protects plants from the negative impacts of salinity. Under natural conditions, the pomegranate plant generally exhibits salt-tolerant characteristics. The [...] Read more.
Salt stress significantly impacts plant morphological structure and physiological processes, resulting in decreased plant growth. Salicylic acid (SA) is a key signal molecule that protects plants from the negative impacts of salinity. Under natural conditions, the pomegranate plant generally exhibits salt-tolerant characteristics. The objective of this study was to elucidate the salt-tolerance level of pomegranate (Punica granatum L. cv. Wonderful) and the effect of the regulating strategy of SA foliar spray on growth, morphological structure, and physiological processes. SA levels were 0, 0.25, 0.50, and 1 mM in the presence of salinity levels of 10, 35, and 70 mM NaCl, respectively. Vegetative growth indices, including stem cross-sectional area, leaf area, and total dry weight, were lowered by salinity treatments. However, SA applications greatly improved morphological characteristics and plant growth under salt stress. The effects of salinity were effectively reversed by SA treatment at 1 mM compared to control and other treatments. Interestingly, SA applications enhanced the chlorophyll, total phenolic, carbohydrate, and proline contents of leaves while decreasing electrolyte leakage (EL), Na, and Cl levels. Moreover, the foliar SA treatments enhanced the nutrient content in the leaves and increased the activities of peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT), with a decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) content. This study suggests that the alleviation of the salinity stress by SA may be due to the activation of the antioxidant enzymatic mechanism and decrease in the lipid peroxidation of the pomegranate plant. Full article
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19 pages, 336 KiB  
Article
Integrative Seed and Leaf Treatment with Ascorbic Acid Extends the Planting Period by Improving Tolerance to Late Sowing Influences in Parsley
by Sudad K. Al-Taweel, Hussein E. E. Belal, Dalia M. El Sowfy, El-Sayed M. Desoky, Mostafa M. Rady, Khaled E. Mazrou, Ahmed R. M. Maray, Mohamed E. El-Sharnouby, Khalid H. Alamer, Esmat F. Ali and Alaa I. B. Abou-Sreea
Horticulturae 2022, 8(4), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8040334 - 15 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1912
Abstract
Abnormal production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is an undesirable event which occurs in plants due to stress. To meet this event, plants synthesize ROS-neutralizing compounds, including the non-enzymatic oxidant scavenger known as vitamin C: ascorbic acid (AsA). In addition to scavenging ROS, [...] Read more.
Abnormal production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is an undesirable event which occurs in plants due to stress. To meet this event, plants synthesize ROS-neutralizing compounds, including the non-enzymatic oxidant scavenger known as vitamin C: ascorbic acid (AsA). In addition to scavenging ROS, AsA modulates many vital functions in stressed or non-stressed plants. Thus, two-season (2018/2019 and 2019/2020) trials were conducted to study the effect of integrative treatment (seed soaking + foliar spray) using 1.0 or 2.0 mM AsA vs. distilled water (control) on the growth, seed yield, and oil yield of parsley plants under three sowing dates (SDs; November, December, and January, which represent adverse conditions of late sowing) vs. October as the optimal SD (control). The ion balance, osmotic-modifying compounds, and different antioxidants were also studied. The experimental layout was a split plot in a completely randomized block design. Late sowing (December and January) noticeably reduced growth traits, seed and oil yield components, and chlorophyll and nutrient contents. However, soluble sugar, proline, and AsA contents were significantly increased along with the activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Under late sowing conditions, the use of AsA significantly increased growth, different yields, essential oil fractions, CAT and SOD activities, and contents of chlorophylls, nutrients, soluble sugars, free proline, and AsA. The interaction treatments of SDs and AsA concentrations indicated that AsA at a concentration of 2 mM was more efficient in conferring greater tolerance to adverse conditions of late sowing in parsley plants. Therefore, this study recommends 2.0 mM AsA for integrative (seed soaking + foliar spraying) treatment to prolong the sowing period of parsley seeds (from October up to December) and avoid damage caused by adverse conditions of late sowing. Full article
14 pages, 1346 KiB  
Article
Physiological Response to Short-Term Heat Stress in the Leaves of Traditional and Modern Plum (Prunus domestica L.) Cultivars
by Marija Viljevac Vuletić, Ines Mihaljević, Vesna Tomaš, Daniela Horvat, Zvonimir Zdunić and Dominik Vuković
Horticulturae 2022, 8(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8010072 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2463
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate physiological responses to short-term heat stress in the leaves of traditional (Bistrica) and modern (Toptaste) plum cultivars. In this study, detached plum leaves were incubated at 25 °C (control) and 40 °C (stress). After 1 [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate physiological responses to short-term heat stress in the leaves of traditional (Bistrica) and modern (Toptaste) plum cultivars. In this study, detached plum leaves were incubated at 25 °C (control) and 40 °C (stress). After 1 h of exposure to heat (40 °C), chlorophyll a fluorescence transients were measured, and several biochemical parameters were analyzed. Elevated temperature caused heat stress in both plum cultivars, seen as a decrease in water content (WT), but in the leaves of the cultivar Bistrica, an accumulation of proline and phenols, as well as an accumulation of photosynthetic pigments, suggest the activation of a significant response to unfavorable conditions. Conversely, in the leaves of Toptaste, a significant accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA) and an activation of guaiacol peroxidase (GPOD), all together with a decreased soluble proteins content, indicate an inadequate response to maintaining homeostasis in the leaf metabolism. The impact of an elevated temperature on photosynthesis was significant in both plum cultivars as reflected in the decrease in performance indexes (PIABS and PItotal) and the maximum quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm), with significantly pronounced changes found in Toptaste. Unlike the traditional plum cultivar, Bistrica, in the modern cultivar, Toptaste, short-term heat stress increased the minimal fluorescence (F0) and absorption (ABS/RC), as well as Chl b in total chlorophylls. Additionally, the inactivation of RCs (RC/ABS) suggests that excitation energy was not trapped efficiently in the electron chain transport, which resulted in stronger dissipation (DI0/RC) and the formation of ROSs. Considering all presented results, it can be presumed that the traditional cultivar Bistrica has better tolerance to heat stress than the modern cultivar Toptaste. The cultivar, Bistrica, can be used as a basis in further plum breeding programs, as a source of tolerance for high temperature stress. Full article
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13 pages, 2764 KiB  
Article
Mechanisms of Nitric Oxide in the Regulation of Chilling Stress Tolerance in Camellia sinensis
by Yingzi Wang, Qin Yu, Yinhua Li, Juan Li, Jinhua Chen, Zhonghua Liu, Jian’an Huang, Mohammad S. Al-Harbi, Esmat F. Ali and Mamdouh A. Eissa
Horticulturae 2021, 7(10), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100410 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2232
Abstract
Tea [Camellia sinensis (L.)] plants are important economic crop in China. Chilling stress and freezing damages have seriously affected the quality of tea products that have been already regarded as the main restricting factors to industry’s development. Nitric oxide (NO) plays a [...] Read more.
Tea [Camellia sinensis (L.)] plants are important economic crop in China. Chilling stress and freezing damages have seriously affected the quality of tea products that have been already regarded as the main restricting factors to industry’s development. Nitric oxide (NO) plays a crucial role in resistance of abiotic stresses. An experiment was conducted in an artificial climate chamber to study the effect of NO on tea plants grown under chilling stress (−2 °C) for 0, 6, 24, 48, and 72 h. Foliar application of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) at a rate of 500 μmol·L−1 was used as NO donor. The experiment contained two factors: the first was the foliar application with SNP or distilled water, and the scond one was the chilling (−2 °C) exposure time (0, 6, 24, 48, and 72 h). The effects of NO on membrane lipid peroxidation, osmotic adjustment substances, and antioxidant activity under cold stress were studied. In addition, the gene expression of CsICE1 and CsCBF1 in respond to NO addition were also investigated using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The results show that foliar addition of NO (500 μmol·L−1 of SNP) reduce the relative conductivity of tea leaves, inhibits the elevated malondialdehyde content, promotes the accumulation of proline, soluble protein and sugar, and increases the superoxide dismutase, catalase activities, thereby alleviates the damage of cold stress on tea leaves. The CsICE1 expression in 500 μM SNP treatment was peaked at 24 h of low temperature stress, while it did not express at normal temperature. Therefore, the current study is considered a good scientific material in understanding how tea plants sense and defense the chilling stress and that plays an important role to improve the level of production and economic benefits. It is also provided significant theory bas to control chilling stress in tea plants. Full article
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17 pages, 3983 KiB  
Article
Heat Stress at Early Reproductive Stage Differentially Alters Several Physiological and Biochemical Traits of Three Tomato Cultivars
by Md. Sabibul Haque, Mst. Tanziatul Husna, Md. Nesar Uddin, Md. Alamgir Hossain, Abul Khayer Mohammad Golam Sarwar, Omar M. Ali, Arafat Abdel Hamed Abdel Latef and Akbar Hossain
Horticulturae 2021, 7(10), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7100330 - 22 Sep 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3413
Abstract
Global warming is predicted to be increased in the upcoming years, resulting in frequent heatwaves or hot days worldwide, which can seriously affect crop growth and productivity. The responses of heat stress to several photophysiological and biochemical traits in three tomato cultivars were [...] Read more.
Global warming is predicted to be increased in the upcoming years, resulting in frequent heatwaves or hot days worldwide, which can seriously affect crop growth and productivity. The responses of heat stress to several photophysiological and biochemical traits in three tomato cultivars were investigated in a pot experiment, and the heat tolerance capability of these cultivars was evaluated based on the investigated traits. The experiment was followed by a factorial completely randomized design, and the factors were (i) tomato cultivars (BARI Hybrid Tomato-5, BARI Tomato-14, and BARI Tomato-15) and (ii) heat stress (control and heat). The plants of three tomato cultivars were exposed to short-term heat stress (four days at 38/25 °C day/night temperature) at the flowering stage. The measured traits such as dry mass, leaf greenness (SPAD), maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), photosynthetic rate (A), stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration rate (E), leaf chlorophyll, and carotenoid content were significantly declined, while the catalase and ascorbate peroxidase activities were increased by heat stress in all three tomato cultivars except BARI Tomato-15, which showed unaltered gs, E, and carotenoids. The percent reduction (over control) in SPAD, Fv/Fm, A, total chlorophyll, and total carotenoids was significantly lower (11, 06, 25, 34, and 19%, respectively), whereas the percent increase in catalase and ascorbate peroxidase activities was substantially higher (70 and 72%, respectively) in BARI Tomato-15 than in other cultivars. Based on the measured physiological and biochemical traits, the cultivar BARI Tomato-15 showed better heat tolerance than the other cultivars. Full article
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Review

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13 pages, 3292 KiB  
Review
Individual and Interactive Effects of Elevated Ozone and Temperature on Plant Responses
by Jong Kyu Lee, Myeong Ja Kwak, Su Gyeong Jeong and Su Young Woo
Horticulturae 2022, 8(3), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8030211 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2774
Abstract
From the preindustrial era to the present day, the tropospheric ozone (O3) concentration has increased dramatically in much of the industrialized world due to anthropogenic activities. O3 is the most harmful air pollutant to plants. Global surface temperatures are expected [...] Read more.
From the preindustrial era to the present day, the tropospheric ozone (O3) concentration has increased dramatically in much of the industrialized world due to anthropogenic activities. O3 is the most harmful air pollutant to plants. Global surface temperatures are expected to increase with rising O3 concentration. Plants are directly affected by temperature and O3. Elevated O3 can impair physiological processes, as well as cause the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to decreased plant growth. Temperature is another important factor influencing plant development. Here, we summarize how O3 and temperature elevation can affect plant physiological and biochemical characteristics, and discuss results from studies investigating plant responses to these factors. In this review, we focused on the interactions between elevated O3 and temperature on plant responses, because neither factor acts independently. Temperature has great potential to significantly influence stomatal movement and O3 uptake. For this reason, the combined influence of both factors can yield significantly different results than those of a single factor. Plant responses to the combined effects of elevated temperature and O3 are still controversial. We attribute the substantial uncertainty of these combined effects primarily to differences in methodological approaches. Full article
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