Special Issue "Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Response to Abiotic Stress and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carmen Arena
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia, 80126 Naples, Italy
Interests: plant ecology; photosynthetic regulation mechanisms; antioxidant defenses; photoprotective strategies; abiotic stress metabolic response
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Luca Vitale
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean (ISAFoM), National Research Council of Italy-CNR, 80055 Portici, NA, Italy
Interests: agroecology; greenhouse gases; ecosystem carbon fluxes; crop ecology; crop physiology; nitrogen and carbon cycles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The adaptation to the changing environment is one of the most appealing research topics in plant science. The environmental insults such as high irradiance, extreme temperatures, and water scarcity, as well as other abiotic stresses such as salinity, air and soil pollution, or mineral deficit largely influence plant development and crop productivity. Plants can cope with the abiotic stress by molecular, biochemical, physiological mechanisms, and morpho-anatomical changes allow plants to overcome or adapt to stress conditions. Whereas morpho-anatomical and structural modification are long-lasting responses, physiological as well as molecular and biochemical changes, including the activation of specific genes and the synthesis of molecules and secondary metabolites, are more rapid. Most of these changes are mediated by signal transduction molecules (reactive oxygen species and others) that regulate different pathways during plant acclimation to stress. All these changes improve plant tolerance to abiotic stress and preserve plant productivity. However, the extent to which these changes occur as well as the pathways involved in plant acclimation, remain unknown because the results are sometimes controversial. This Special Issue will accept reviews as well as full or short research papers from a broad scope of interdisciplinary research on plant and crop responses to abiotic stress, ranging from molecular to morpho-anatomical responses, also passing through new signal transduction molecules and pathways involved during plant acclimation.

Particularly welcome are research papers on the following topics:

  • Acclimation, adaptation, and effects of the environment on plant growth and photosynthesis
  • The impact of global change on plant communities
  • The physiological and structural strategies to overcome stress
  • The regulation of plant metabolism in response to high irradiance, cold, and drought
  • Environmental pollution on plant growth and photosynthesis

Prof. Dr. Carmen Arena
Dr. Luca Vitale
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 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

  • Plant and crop susceptibility to natural and anthropogenic stresses
  • Signal transduction molecules and pathways in plant acclimation to stress
  • Molecular, biochemical, physiological and morpho-anatomical responses to stress
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Stress tolerance

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

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Article
Chloroplastic SaNADP-ME4 of C3–C4 Woody Desert Species Salsola laricifolia Confers Drought and Salt Stress Resistance to Arabidopsis
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091827 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 666
Abstract
The NADP-malic enzyme (NADP-ME) catalyzes the reversible decarboxylation of L-malate to produce pyruvate, CO2, and NADPH in the presence of a bivalent cation. In addition, this enzyme plays crucial roles in plant developmental and environment responses, especially for the plastidic isoform. [...] Read more.
The NADP-malic enzyme (NADP-ME) catalyzes the reversible decarboxylation of L-malate to produce pyruvate, CO2, and NADPH in the presence of a bivalent cation. In addition, this enzyme plays crucial roles in plant developmental and environment responses, especially for the plastidic isoform. However, this isoform is less studied in C3–C4 intermediate species under drought and salt stresses than in C3 and C4 species. In the present study, we characterized SaNADP-ME4 from the intermediate woody desert species Salsola laricifolia. SaNADP-ME4 encoded a protein of 646 amino acids, which was found to be located in the chloroplasts based on confocal imaging. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that SaNADP-ME4 was highly expressed in leaves, followed by stems and roots, and SaNADP-ME4 expression was improved and reached its maximum under the 200 mm mannitol and 100 mm NaCl treatments, respectively. Arabidopsis overexpressing SaNADP-ME4 showed increased root length and fresh weight under mannitol and salt stress conditions at the seedling stage. In the adult stage, SaNADP-ME4 could alleviate the decreased in chlorophyll contents and PSII photochemical efficiency, as well as improve the expression of superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase genes to enhance reactive oxygen species scavenging capability and proline levels. Our results suggest that SaNADP-ME4 overexpression in Arabidopsis increases drought and salt stress resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Light Spectral Composition Influences Structural and Eco-Physiological Traits of Solanum lycopersicum L. cv. ‘Microtom’ in Response to High-LET Ionizing Radiation
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1752; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081752 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
This study evaluated if specific light quality (LQ) regimes (white fluorescent, FL; full-spectrum, FS; red-blue, RB) during plant growth modified morphological and photosynthetic traits of Solanum lycopersicum L. ‘Microtom’ plants irradiated at the dry seed stage with 25 Gy 48Ca ions (IR). [...] Read more.
This study evaluated if specific light quality (LQ) regimes (white fluorescent, FL; full-spectrum, FS; red-blue, RB) during plant growth modified morphological and photosynthetic traits of Solanum lycopersicum L. ‘Microtom’ plants irradiated at the dry seed stage with 25 Gy 48Ca ions (IR). The irradiation reduced plant size while it increased leaf dry matter content (LDMC) and relative water content (RWC) compared to the control. FS and RB light regimes determined a decrease of plant height and a rise of RWC compared to FL plants. The irradiation under FS and RB regimes favoured the development of dwarf plants and improved the leaf water status. Under the FL regime, irradiated plants showed reduced photosynthesis and stomatal conductance. The opposite behavior was observed in RB irradiated plants in which gas exchanges were significantly stimulated. RB regime enhanced Rubisco expression in irradiated plants also inducing anatomical and functional adjustments (i.e., increase of leaf thickness and incidence of intercellular spaces). Finally, 48Ca ions did not prevent fruit ripening and the achievement of the ‘seed-to seed’ cycle, irrespective of the LQ regime. Overall, the present study evidenced that RB light regime was the most effective in optimising growth and photosynthetic efficiency of ‘Microtom’ irradiated plants. These outcomes may help to develop proper cultivation protocols for the growth of dwarf tomato in Controlled Ecological Life Support Systems (CELSS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Abiotic Stress Tolerance of Coastal Accessions of a Promising Forage Species, Trifolium fragiferum
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1552; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081552 - 28 Jul 2021
Viewed by 619
Abstract
Crop wild relatives are valuable as a genetic resource to develop new crop cultivars, better adapted to increasing environmental heterogeneity and being able to give high quality yields in a changing climate. The aim of the study was to evaluate the tolerance of [...] Read more.
Crop wild relatives are valuable as a genetic resource to develop new crop cultivars, better adapted to increasing environmental heterogeneity and being able to give high quality yields in a changing climate. The aim of the study was to evaluate the tolerance of different accessions of a crop wild relative, Trifolium fragiferum L., from coastal habitats of the Baltic Sea to three abiotic factors (increased soil moisture, trampling, cutting) in controlled conditions. Seeds from four accessions of T. fragiferum, collected in the wild, were used for experiments, and cv. ‘Palestine’ was used as a reference genotype. Plants were cultivated in asymbiotic conditions of soil culture. Treatments were performed in a quantifiable way, with three gradations for soil moisture (optimum, waterlogged, flooded) and four gradations for both trampling and cutting. All accessions had relatively high tolerance against increased soil moisture, trampling, and cutting, but significant accession-specific differences in tolerance to individual factors were clearly evident, indicating that the studied wild accessions represented different ecotypes of the species. Several wild accessions of T. fragiferum showed stress tolerance-related features superior to these of cv. ‘Palestine’, but TF1 was the most tolerant accession, with a very high score against both waterlogging and cutting, and a high score against trampling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Growth and Biochemical Responses of Potato Cultivars under In Vitro Lithium Chloride and Mannitol Simulated Salinity and Drought Stress
Plants 2021, 10(5), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10050924 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1156
Abstract
Globally, drought and salinity stress critically constrain potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) production. Considering the impact of these stresses on crops and increasing food demand, insight into both tolerance and susceptibility is essential. The present study screens two potato cultivars, BARI-401 and Spunta, [...] Read more.
Globally, drought and salinity stress critically constrain potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) production. Considering the impact of these stresses on crops and increasing food demand, insight into both tolerance and susceptibility is essential. The present study screens two potato cultivars, BARI-401 and Spunta, for their tolerance to simulated salinity and drought by in vitro LiCl and mannitol exposure. Plantlets treated with a range of LiCl (0, 10, 30, and 40 mM) and mannitol (0, 50, 100, 200, and 250 mM) concentrations were biochemically and physiologically characterized to assess their tolerance capacity. Shoot number, shoot length, root number, and root length were affected in both cultivars under higher LiCl and mannitol concentrations, even though Spunta was able to better maintain a higher shoot length under the 40 mM of LiCl and 250 mM of mannitol compared to BARI-401. The total phenol contents (TPC) in both cultivars were increased at the highest treatment concentration and the total flavonoids content (TFC) was decreased in BARI-401 as compared to Spunta. Higher free radical scavenging capacity (FRSC, low IC50 value) was recorded in Spunta as compared to BARI-401 with increasing treatment concentrations, which supports the high antioxidant capacity of Spunta. An inverse correlation between polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and TPC was noted in both cultivars. Peroxidase dismutase (POD) activity was increased significantly in both cultivars for all treatments, but activity was highest overall in Spunta. These physiological and biochemical analyses of both cultivars suggest that cultivar Spunta is more tolerant to salinity and drought stress. Further open-field experiments are required to confirm these results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Physiological, Biochemical and Yield-Component Responses of Solanum tuberosum L. Group Phureja Genotypes to a Water Deficit
Plants 2021, 10(4), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040638 - 27 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
Water deficits are the major constraint in some potato-growing areas of the world. The effect is most severe at the tuberization stage, resulting in lower yield. Therefore, an assessment of genetic and phenotypic variations resulting from water deficits in Colombia germplasm is required [...] Read more.
Water deficits are the major constraint in some potato-growing areas of the world. The effect is most severe at the tuberization stage, resulting in lower yield. Therefore, an assessment of genetic and phenotypic variations resulting from water deficits in Colombia germplasm is required to accelerate breeding efforts. Phenotypic variations in response to a water deficit were studied in a collection of Solanum tuberosum Group Phureja. A progressive water deficit experiment on the tuberization stage was undertaken using 104 genotypes belonging to the Working Collection of the Potato Breeding Program at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. The response to water deficit conditions was assessed with the relative chlorophyll content (CC), maximum quantum efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm), relative water content (RWC), leaf sugar content, tuber number per plant (TN) and tuber fresh weight per plant (TW). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis were used, and the Drought Tolerance Index (DTI) was calculated for the variables and genotypes. The soluble sugar contents increased significantly under the deficit conditions in the leaves, with a weak correlation with yield under both water treatments. The PCA results revealed that the physiological, biochemical and yield-component variables had broad variation, while the yield-component variables more powerfully distinguished between the tolerant and susceptible genotypes than the physiological and biochemical variables. The PCA and cluster analysis based on the DTI revealed different levels of water deficit tolerance for the 104 genotypes. These results provide a foundation for future research directed at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying potato tolerance to water deficits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Expression Level of Transcription Factor ART1 Is Responsible for Differential Aluminum Tolerance in Indica Rice
Plants 2021, 10(4), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040634 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 658
Abstract
Rice is the most aluminum (Al)-tolerant species among the small grain cereals, but there are great variations in the Al tolerance between subspecies, with higher tolerance in japonica subspecies than indica subspecies. Here, we performed a screening of Al tolerance using 65 indica [...] Read more.
Rice is the most aluminum (Al)-tolerant species among the small grain cereals, but there are great variations in the Al tolerance between subspecies, with higher tolerance in japonica subspecies than indica subspecies. Here, we performed a screening of Al tolerance using 65 indica cultivars and found that there was also a large genotypic difference in Al tolerance among indica subspecies. Further characterization of two cultivars contrasting in Al tolerance showed that the expression level of ART1 (ALUMINUM RESISTANCE TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR 1) encoding a C2H2-type Zn-finger transcription factor, was higher in an Al-tolerant indica cultivar, Jinguoyin, than in an Al-sensitive indica cultivar, Kasalath. Furthermore, a dose-response experiment showed that ART1 expression was not induced by Al in both cultivars, but Jinguoyin always showed 5.9 to 11.4-fold higher expression compared with Kasalath, irrespectively of Al concentrations. Among genes regulated by ART1, 19 genes showed higher expression in Jinguoyin than in Kasalath. This is associated with less Al accumulation in the root tip cell wall in Jinguoyin. Sequence comparison of the 2-kb promoter region of ART1 revealed the extensive sequence polymorphism between two cultivars. Whole transcriptome analysis with RNA-seq revealed that more genes were up- and downregulated by Al in Kasalath than in Jinguoyin. Taken together, our results suggest that there is a large genotypic variation in Al tolerance in indica rice and that the different expression level of ART1 is responsible for the genotypic difference in the Al tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Response of Tomato Genotypes under Different High Temperatures in Field and Greenhouse Conditions
Plants 2021, 10(3), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030449 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1334
Abstract
Heat stress is one of the production constraints for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) due to unfavorable, above optimum temperatures. This research was undertaken to evaluate growth and fruit yield of tomato genotypes under three contrasting growing conditions (i.e., optimal temperature in field-, [...] Read more.
Heat stress is one of the production constraints for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) due to unfavorable, above optimum temperatures. This research was undertaken to evaluate growth and fruit yield of tomato genotypes under three contrasting growing conditions (i.e., optimal temperature in field-, high temperature in field- and high temperature in greenhouse conditions) to determine their relative heat tolerance. Eleven tomato genotypes, including two local check varieties, were evaluated, and data on growth and yield were measured and analyzed. The interactions between the genotypes and growing conditions for all yield traits were significant. In general, the performance of tomato under optimal temperature field conditions was better than under high temperature field- and greenhouse conditions. Genotypes CLN1621L, CLN2026D, CLN3212C, and KK1 had consistently greater fruit yield per plant in all growing conditions. Although the local genotype, Neang Tamm, had lower yield under optimal conditions, it performed moderately well under high temperature field- and high temperature greenhouse conditions, and yield decrease under high temperature condition was minimal. Genotype CLN1621L had stable fruit setting compared to other genotypes under high temperature conditions. Since fruit setting and yield are important traits for heat tolerance, genotypes CLN1621L and Neang Tamm are potential candidates for breeding programs focused on improved yield and heat stress tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
MicroRNA-Mediated Responses to Cadmium Stress in Arabidopsis thaliana
Plants 2021, 10(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010130 - 10 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1066
Abstract
In recent decades, the presence of cadmium (Cd) in the environment has increased significantly due to anthropogenic activities. Cd is taken up from the soil by plant roots for its subsequent translocation to shoots. However, Cd is a non-essential heavy metal and is [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the presence of cadmium (Cd) in the environment has increased significantly due to anthropogenic activities. Cd is taken up from the soil by plant roots for its subsequent translocation to shoots. However, Cd is a non-essential heavy metal and is therefore toxic to plants when it over-accumulates. MicroRNA (miRNA)-directed gene expression regulation is central to the response of a plant to Cd stress. Here, we document the miRNA-directed response of wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) plants and the drb1, drb2 and drb4 mutant lines to Cd stress. Phenotypic and physiological analyses revealed the drb1 mutant to display the highest degree of tolerance to the imposed stress while the drb2 mutant was the most sensitive. RT-qPCR-based molecular profiling of miRNA abundance and miRNA target gene expression revealed DRB1 to be the primary double-stranded RNA binding (DRB) protein required for the production of six of the seven Cd-responsive miRNAs analyzed. However, DRB2, and not DRB1, was determined to be required for miR396 production. RT-qPCR further inferred that transcript cleavage was the RNA silencing mechanism directed by each assessed miRNA to control miRNA target gene expression. Taken together, the results presented here reveal the complexity of the miRNA-directed molecular response of Arabidopsis to Cd stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Metabolomic and Biochemical Analysis of Two Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Cultivars Exposed to In Vitro Osmotic and Salt Stresses
Plants 2021, 10(1), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010098 - 06 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1401
Abstract
Globally, many crop production areas are threatened by drought and salinity. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is susceptible to these challenging environmental conditions. In this study, an in vitro approach was employed to compare the tolerance of potato cultivars ‘BARI-401’ (red skin) and [...] Read more.
Globally, many crop production areas are threatened by drought and salinity. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is susceptible to these challenging environmental conditions. In this study, an in vitro approach was employed to compare the tolerance of potato cultivars ‘BARI-401’ (red skin) and ‘Spunta’ (yellow skin). To simulate ionic and osmotic stress, MS media was supplemented with lithium chloride (LiCl 20 mM) and mannitol (150 mM). GC-MS and spectrophotometry techniques were used to determine metabolite accumulation. Other biochemical properties, such as total phenols concentration (TPC), total flavonoids concentration (TFC), antioxidant capacity (DPPH free radical scavenging capacity), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and peroxidase (POD) activities, were also measured. The two cultivars respond differently to ionic and osmotic stress treatments, with Spunta accumulating more defensive metabolites in response, indicating a higher level of tolerance. While further investigation of the physiological and biochemical responses of these varieties to drought and salinity is required, the approach taken in this paper provides useful information prior to open field evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Effects of Water Deficits on Prosopis tamarugo Growth, Water Status and Stomata Functioning
Plants 2021, 10(1), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010053 - 29 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1162
Abstract
The effect of water deficit on growth, water status and stomatal functioning of Prosopis tamarugo was investigated under controlled water conditions. The study was done at the Antumapu Experiment Station of the University of Chile. Three levels of water stress were tested: (i) [...] Read more.
The effect of water deficit on growth, water status and stomatal functioning of Prosopis tamarugo was investigated under controlled water conditions. The study was done at the Antumapu Experiment Station of the University of Chile. Three levels of water stress were tested: (i) well-watered (WW), (ii) medium stress intensity (low-watered (LW)) and (iii) intense stress (non-watered (NW)), with 10 replicates each level. All growth parameters evaluated, such as twig growth, specific leaf area and apical dominance index, were significantly decreased under water deficit. Tamarugo twig growth decreased along with twig water potential. The stomatal conductance and CO2 assimilation decreased significantly under the water deficit condition. Tamarugo maintained a high stomatal conductance at low leaf water potential. In addition, tamarugo reduced its leaf area as a strategy to diminish the water demand. These results suggest that, despite a significant decrease in water status, tamarugo can maintain its growth at low leaf water potential and can tolerate intense water deficit due to a partial stomatal closing strategy that allows the sustaining of CO2 assimilation in the condition of reduced water availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
The Geomagnetic Field (GMF) Modulates Nutrient Status and Lipid Metabolism during Arabidopsis thaliana Plant Development
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1729; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121729 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 804
Abstract
The Geomagnetic field (GMF) is a typical component of our planet. Plant perception of the GMF implies that any magnetic field (MF) variation would induce possible metabolic changes. In this work was we assessed the role of the GMF on Arabidopsis thaliana Col0 [...] Read more.
The Geomagnetic field (GMF) is a typical component of our planet. Plant perception of the GMF implies that any magnetic field (MF) variation would induce possible metabolic changes. In this work was we assessed the role of the GMF on Arabidopsis thaliana Col0 mineral nutrition and lipid metabolism during plant development. We reduced the local GMF (about 40 μT) to Near Null Magnetic Field (NNMF, about 30 nT) to evaluate the effects of GMF on Arabidopsis in a time-course (from rosette to seed-set) experiment by studying the lipid content (fatty acids, FA; and surface alkanes, SA) and mineral nutrients. The expression of selected genes involved in lipid metabolism was assessed by Real-Time PCR (qPCR). A progressive increase of SA with carbon numbers between 21 and 28 was found in plants exposed to NNMF from bolting to flowering developmental stages, whereas the content of some FA significantly (p < 0.05) increased in rosette, bolting and seed-set developmental stages. Variations in SA composition were correlated to the differential expression of several Arabidopsis 3-ketoacyl-CoAsynthase (KCS) genes, including KCS1, KCS5, KCS6, KCS8, and KCS12, a lipid transfer protein (LTPG1) and a lipase (LIP1). Ionomic analysis showed a significant variation in some micronutrients (Fe, Co, Mn and Ni) and macronutrients (Mg, K and Ca) during plant development of plants exposed to NNMF. The results of this work show that A. thaliana responds to variations of the GMF which are perceived as is typical of abiotic stress responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
UV-B Radiation Affects Photosynthesis-Related Processes of Two Italian Olea europaea (L.) Varieties Differently
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1712; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121712 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 677
Abstract
Given the economical importance of the olive tree it is essential to study its responses to stress agents such as excessive UV-B radiation, to understand the defense mechanisms and to identify the varieties that are able to cope with it. In the light [...] Read more.
Given the economical importance of the olive tree it is essential to study its responses to stress agents such as excessive UV-B radiation, to understand the defense mechanisms and to identify the varieties that are able to cope with it. In the light of the analysis carried out in this study, we argue that UV-B radiation represents a dangerous source of stress for the olive tree, especially in the current increasingly changing environmental conditions. Both the varieties considered (Giarraffa and Olivastra Seggianese), although resistant to the strong treatment to which they were exposed, showed, albeit in different ways and at different times, evident effects. The two varieties have different response times and the Giarraffa variety seems better suited to prolonged UV-B stress, possible due to a more efficient and quick activation of the antioxidant response (e.g., flavonoids use to counteract reactive oxygen species) and because of its capacity to maintain the photosynthetic efficiency as well as a relatively higher content of mannitol. Moreover, pigments reduction after a long period of UV-B exposure can also be an adaptation mechanism triggered by Giarraffa to reduce energy absorption under UV-B stress. Olivastra Seggianese seems less suited to overcome UV-B stress for a long period (e.g., higher reduction of Fv/Fm) and has a higher requirement for sugars (e.g., glucose) possible to counteract stress and to restore energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Understanding Physiology and Impacts of High Temperature Stress on the Progamic Phase of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.)
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9121651 - 26 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 994
Abstract
The reproductive phase of coconut is extremely sensitive to high temperature, manifesting as button (female flower) shedding and poor nut set. The progamic phase, which elapses from pollination to fertilization, is one of the most critical phases during the sexual reproduction processes in [...] Read more.
The reproductive phase of coconut is extremely sensitive to high temperature, manifesting as button (female flower) shedding and poor nut set. The progamic phase, which elapses from pollination to fertilization, is one of the most critical phases during the sexual reproduction processes in annuals and fruit trees and is extremely vulnerable to high temperature. Hence, we investigated the progamic phase of the tall coconut cultivar West Coast Tall (WCT) and the effect of high temperature on the phase under both in vivo and in vitro conditions. Coconut has a long pistil and its length was found to be 18.2 ± 4.9 mm in WCT. Pollen germination on stigma occurred one day after pollination and the pollen tube traversed through the pistil and reached micropyle of ovule four days after pollination at 29 °C. However, high temperature (Tmax > 33 °C), both under in vivo and in vitro conditions, significantly reduced pollen tube growth through the pistil, suggesting its inability to reach the ovule on time to effect fertilization. High temperature also advanced nectar secretion and stigma receptivity and the receptive stigma was dry without nectar, rendering it unappealing to insect pollinators. Thus, both poor pollination and the inability of pollen tube to reach the ovule on time to effect fertilization could be the cause of poor nut set in the coconut variety WCT under high temperature. However, it was encouraging to note that the pollen tube growth was less vulnerable to elevated temperature under high humidity, suggesting that climate change effect on coconut in coastal regions with high humidity might be less severe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Effect of Salinity Stress on Growth and Metabolomic Profiling of Cucumis sativus and Solanum lycopersicum
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111626 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
Seeds germination and seedlings growth of Cucumis sativus and Solanum lycopersicum were monitored in in vitro and in vivo experiments after application of different concentrations of NaCl (25, 50, 100 and 200 mM). Photosynthetic pigments content and the biochemical responses of C. sativus [...] Read more.
Seeds germination and seedlings growth of Cucumis sativus and Solanum lycopersicum were monitored in in vitro and in vivo experiments after application of different concentrations of NaCl (25, 50, 100 and 200 mM). Photosynthetic pigments content and the biochemical responses of C. sativus and S. lycopersicum were assessed. Salinity stress slightly delayed the seeds germination rate and significantly reduced the percentage of germination as well as shoot length under the highest salt concentration (200 mM) in cucumber. Furthermore, root length was decreased significantly in all treatments. Whereas, in tomato, a prominent delay in seeds germination rate, the germination percentage and seedlings growth (shoot and root lengths) were significantly influenced under all concentrations of NaCl. Fresh and dry weights were reduced prominently in tomato compared to cucumber. Photosynthetic pigments content was reduced but with pronounced decreasing in tomato compared to cucumber. Secondary metabolites profiling in both plants under stress was varied from tomato to cucumber. The content of saponins, proline and total antioxidant capacity was reduced more prominently in tomato as compared to cucumber. On the other hand, the content of phenolics and flavonoids was increased in both plants with pronounced increase in tomato particularly under the highest level of salinity stress. The metabolomic profiling in stressful plants was significantly influenced by salinity stress and some bioactive secondary metabolites was enhanced in both cucumber and tomato plants. The enhancement of secondary metabolites under salinity stress may explain the tolerance and sensitivity of cucumber and tomato under salinity stress. The metabolomic evaluation combined with multivariate data analysis revealed a similar mechanism of action of plants to mediate stress, with variant level of this response in both plant species. Based on these results, the effect of salinity stress on seeds germination, seedlings growth and metabolomic content of plants was discussed in terms of tolerance and sensitivity of plants to salinity stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Physiological and Biochemical Changes in Sugar Beet Seedlings to Confer Stress Adaptability under Drought Condition
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1511; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111511 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1429
Abstract
The present study was conducted to examine the adaptability of 11 sugar beet cultivars grown under drought stress in the controlled glasshouse. The treatment was initiated on 30-day-old sugar beet plants where drought stress was made withholding water supply for consecutive 10 days [...] Read more.
The present study was conducted to examine the adaptability of 11 sugar beet cultivars grown under drought stress in the controlled glasshouse. The treatment was initiated on 30-day-old sugar beet plants where drought stress was made withholding water supply for consecutive 10 days while control was done with providing water as per requirement. It was observed that drought stress expressively reduced plant growth, photosynthetic pigments, and photosynthetic quantum yield in all the cultivars but comparative better results were observed in S1 (MAXIMELLA), S2 (HELENIKA), S6 (RECODDINA), S8 (SV2347), and S11 (BSRI Sugarbeet 2) cultivars. Besides, osmolytes like proline, glycine betaine, total soluble carbohydrate, total soluble sugar, total polyphenol, total flavonoid, and DPPH free radical scavenging activity were remarkably increased under drought condition in MAXIMELLA, HELENIKA, TERRANOVA, GREGOIA, SV2348, and BSRI Sugar beet 2 cultivars. In contrast, activities of enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD) were significantly decreased in all, while the cultivars SV2347, BSRI Sugar beet 1 and BSRI Sugar beet 2 were found with increased ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity under drought condition. In parallel, polyphenol oxidase (PPO) was increased in all cultivars except HELENIKA. Overall, the cultivars HELENIKA, RECODDINA, GREGOIA, SV2347, SV2348, BSRI Sugar beet 1, and BSRI Sugar beet 2 were found best fitted to the given drought condition. These findings would help further for the improvement of stress adaptive sugar beet cultivars development in the breeding program for drought-prone regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
A Plant’s Electrical Parameters Indicate Its Physiological State: A Study of Intracellular Water Metabolism
Plants 2020, 9(10), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9101256 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
Almost all of a plant’s life activities involve electrochemical reactions. Plant electrical parameters respond quickly to environmental changes and are closely related to physiological activities. In this study, the theoretical intrinsic relationships between clamping force and leaf impedance (Z) or capacitive reactance (Xc) [...] Read more.
Almost all of a plant’s life activities involve electrochemical reactions. Plant electrical parameters respond quickly to environmental changes and are closely related to physiological activities. In this study, the theoretical intrinsic relationships between clamping force and leaf impedance (Z) or capacitive reactance (Xc) and capacitance (C) were revealed as 3-parameter exponential decay and linear models based on bioenergetics, respectively, for the first time. Leaf electrical characteristics including intrinsic impedance (IZ), capacitive reactance (IXc), capacitance (IC) and specific effective thickness (d) were successfully detected using the above-mentioned relationships and were used to manifest plant metabolic activity. The intracellular water-holding capacity (IWHC), water-use efficiency (IWUE), water-holding time (IWHT) and water transfer rate (WTR) of plant leaves were defined on the basis of IZ, IXc, IC and d, and applied to reflect the intracellular water metabolism. The results demonstrated that the leaves of Broussonetia papyrifera plants grown in agricultural soil had higher IC, d, IWHC, WTR, water content values and lower IZ, IXc values than those grown in moderately rocky desertified soil. The leaf IC, d, IWHC, WTR and water content values of herbaceous plants were higher than those of woody plants. Solanum tuberosum L. had higher leaf IC, d, IWHC and WTR values, but exhibited lower IZ, IXc, IWUE and IWHT values than Capsicum annuum L. This study highlighted that a plant’s electrical parameters based on bioenergetics clearly indicate its physiological process—e.g., the intracellular water metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Increasing Air Temperatures and Its Effects on Growth and Productivity of Tomato in South Florida
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1245; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091245 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1045
Abstract
Florida ranks first among US states in fresh-market tomato production with annual production exceeding one-third of the total annual production in the country. Although tomato is a signature crop in Florida, current and future ambient temperatures could impose a major production challenge, especially [...] Read more.
Florida ranks first among US states in fresh-market tomato production with annual production exceeding one-third of the total annual production in the country. Although tomato is a signature crop in Florida, current and future ambient temperatures could impose a major production challenge, especially during the fall growing season. This problem is increasingly becoming an important concern among tomato growers in south Florida, but studies addressing these concerns have not been conducted until now. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the impacts of the present ambient temperature conditions and planting dates on tomato productivity in south Florida. The study was conducted using crop simulation model CROPGRO-Tomato of DSSAT (Decision Support System for Agricultural Transfer) version 4.7. Five treatments were evaluated, and included AT (simulated treatment using 14 years of actual daily weather conditions at the study location) while other treatments were conducted based on a percentage (−20%, −10%, +10%, +20%) of AT to simulate cooler and warmer temperature regimes. The results suggested that under the current temperature conditions during the fall growing season in south Florida, average tomato yield was up to 29% lower compared to the cooler temperature regimes. Tomato yield further decreased by 52% to 85% at air temperatures above the current condition. Yield reduction under high temperature was primarily due to lower fruit production. Contrary to yield, both tomato biomass accumulation and leaf area index increased with increase in temperature. Results also indicated that due to changes in air temperature pattern, tomato yield increased as planting date increased from July to December. Therefore, planting date modification during the fall season from the current July–September to dates between November and December will reduce the impacts of heat stress and increase tomato productivity in south Florida. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Photo-Protective Mechanisms and the Role of Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Activity in a Facultative CAM Plant Exposed to Long-Term Water Deprivation
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091192 - 12 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1065
Abstract
The Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway helps plants to alleviate the oxidative stress under drought, but the shift to CAM-idling may expose plants to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species causing cell damages. The facultative CAM species Portulacaria afra L., was subjected to [...] Read more.
The Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) pathway helps plants to alleviate the oxidative stress under drought, but the shift to CAM-idling may expose plants to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species causing cell damages. The facultative CAM species Portulacaria afra L., was subjected to long-term water deprivation to assess the photo-protective strategies and the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activity during water stress and plant capability to recover from the stress. Measurements of titratable acidity, chlorophyll fluorescence emission, and antioxidant activity were performed during the stress and rewatering. Under water deprivation, plants shifted from C3 to CAM metabolism, reaching the CAM-idling status at the end of the stress period. The daily variation of the titratable acidity and PARP activity increased at the beginning of stress and declined with stress progression, reaching the lowest value at the end of stress treatment. H2O2 content, superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT) activities increased with the severity of water stress. The photochemical processes remained high during the entire stress period indicating the presence of alternative sinks to CO2 fixation. The elevated activity of catalase under severe water stress suggests the occurrence of photorespiration in sustaining the photosynthetic electron transport under CAM-idling condition. The overall data indicate that scavenger enzymes, photorespiration and PARP activity modulation contribute to the strong resistance of P. afra to severe water stress, preserving the functioning of photosynthetic apparatus and ensuring plant recovery with rewatering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Light and Low Relative Humidity Increase Antioxidants Content in Mung Bean (Vigna radiata L.) Sprouts
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091093 - 25 Aug 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1314
Abstract
In the last decades, there has been a growing interest in the production of sprouts, since they are a highly nutritious food, particularly suitable for indoor farming in urban areas. Achieving sprout production in indoor systems requires an understanding of possible alterations induced [...] Read more.
In the last decades, there has been a growing interest in the production of sprouts, since they are a highly nutritious food, particularly suitable for indoor farming in urban areas. Achieving sprout production in indoor systems requires an understanding of possible alterations induced by the microclimate. The aim of this study was to analyze the combined effect of presence/absence of light and high/low air relative humidity (RH) on mung bean sprouts. Morpho-anatomical development and functional anatomical traits in hypocotyl were quantified. The content of antioxidants, soluble sugars, and starch were measured for nutritional and functional purposes. Different RH regimes mainly induced morpho-anatomical modifications, while the presence/absence of light changed the content of antioxidant compounds. Increments in stele diameter at high RH suggest a higher water uptake and conductivity, compared to the low RH treatment; low RH and light induced anatomical traits improving plant water transport (reduced number of cortical layers) and increased the production of antioxidants. The overall results suggested that RH and light, already at the early stages of development, affect the plant’s nutritional value. Therefore, the combination of light and low RH allows the production of antioxidant-rich mung bean sprouts to be used as a food supplement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Tolerance of Douglas Fir Somatic Plantlets to Aluminum Stress: Biological, Cytological, and Mineral Studies
Plants 2020, 9(4), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040536 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
Aluminum (Al) is well known as a potent inhibitor of plant growth and development. It is notably present in soils in the soluble and bioavailable form Al3+ when the soil pH drops below 5. This situation is frequent, especially in softwood forests [...] Read more.
Aluminum (Al) is well known as a potent inhibitor of plant growth and development. It is notably present in soils in the soluble and bioavailable form Al3+ when the soil pH drops below 5. This situation is frequent, especially in softwood forests when litter decomposition is slow. In the present work, we studied the effects of Al3+ on the growth and development of Douglas fir plantlets. Somatic plantlets, regenerated via somatic embryogenesis, were grown in vitro on media supplemented with different concentrations of aluminum chloride (AlCl3): 0 µM, 200 µM, 500 µM. and 1 mM. We show that a concentration of 500 µM AlCl3 in medium significantly reduced root elongation (−21.8%), as well as stem growth (−14.6%). Also, a 25% reduction in dry mass of the plantlets was observed in presence of a concentration of 200 µM of AlCl3. Histological analysis of root tissues revealed significant damage, especially in conducting vessels. In addition, mineral cation content of plantlets was disturbed under Al exposure. More particularly, the Mg and K contents of needles and the Ca content of stems and needles were significantly reduced in presence of a concentration of 500 µM AlCl3 in the culture medium (−35.6%, −33.5%, −24%, and −34% respectively). However, all these damages appeared at relatively high Al concentrations when compared with other herbaceous species. This study shed light on the ability of Douglas fir in vitro plantlets to cope with the acid-driven toxicity of Al. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Article
Eco-Physiological Screening of Different Tomato Genotypes in Response to High Temperatures: A Combined Field-to-Laboratory Approach
Plants 2020, 9(4), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040508 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
High temperatures represent a limitation for growth and development of many crop species. Several studies have demonstrated that the yield reduction of tomato under high temperatures and drought is mainly due to a photosynthetic decline. In this paper, a set of 15 tomato [...] Read more.
High temperatures represent a limitation for growth and development of many crop species. Several studies have demonstrated that the yield reduction of tomato under high temperatures and drought is mainly due to a photosynthetic decline. In this paper, a set of 15 tomato genotypes were screened for tolerance to elevated temperatures by cultivating plants under plastic walk-in tunnels. To assess the potential tolerance of tomato genotypes to high temperatures, measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence, pigments content and leaf functional traits have been carried out together with the evaluation of the final yields. Based on the greenhouse trials, a group of eight putative heat-sensitive and heat-tolerant tomato genotypes was selected for laboratory experiments aimed at investigating the effects of short-term high temperatures treatments in controlled conditions. The chlorophyll fluorescence induction kinetics were recorded on detached leaves treated for 60 min at 35 °C or at 45 °C. The last treatment significantly affected the photosystem II (PSII) photochemical efficiency (namely maximum PSII quantum efficiency, Fv/Fm, and quantum yield of PSII electron transport, ΦPSII) and the non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) in the majority of genotypes. The short-term heat shock treatments also led to significant differences in the shape of the slow Kautsky kinetics and its significant time points (chlorophyll fluorescence levels minimum O, peak P, semi-steady state S, maximum M, terminal steady state T) compared to the control, demonstrating heat shock-induced changes in PSII functionality. Genotypes potentially tolerant to high temperatures have been identified. Our findings support the idea that chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (i.e., ΦPSII or NPQ) and some leaf functional traits may be used as a tool to detect high temperatures-tolerant tomato cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Drought and Heat Stress in Cool-Season Food Legumes in Sub-Tropical Regions: Consequences, Adaptation, and Mitigation Strategies
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1038; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061038 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Drought and heat stress are two major abiotic stresses that challenge the sustainability of agriculture to a larger extend. The changing and unpredictable climate further aggravates the efforts made by researchers as well as farmers. The stresses during the terminal stage of cool-season [...] Read more.
Drought and heat stress are two major abiotic stresses that challenge the sustainability of agriculture to a larger extend. The changing and unpredictable climate further aggravates the efforts made by researchers as well as farmers. The stresses during the terminal stage of cool-season food legumes may affect numerous physiological and biochemical reactions that may result in poor yield. The plants possess a good number of adaptative and avoiding mechanisms to sustain the adverse situation. The various agronomic and breeding approaches may help in stress-induced alteration. The physiological and biochemical response of crops to any adverse situation is very important to understand to develop mechanisms and approaches for tolerance in plants. Agronomic approaches like altering the planting time, seed priming, foliar application of various macro and micro nutrients, and the application of rhizobacteria may help in mitigating the adverse effect of heat and drought stress to some extent. Breeding approaches like trait-based selection, inheritance studies of marker-based selection, genetic approaches using the transcriptome and metabolome may further pave the way to select and develop crops with better heat and drought stress adaptation and mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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Review
Bioinformatics Resources for Plant Abiotic Stress Responses: State of the Art and Opportunities in the Fast Evolving -Omics Era
Plants 2020, 9(5), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9050591 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1607
Abstract
Abiotic stresses are among the principal limiting factors for productivity in agriculture. In the current era of continuous climate changes, the understanding of the molecular aspects involved in abiotic stress response in plants is a priority. The rise of -omics approaches provides key [...] Read more.
Abiotic stresses are among the principal limiting factors for productivity in agriculture. In the current era of continuous climate changes, the understanding of the molecular aspects involved in abiotic stress response in plants is a priority. The rise of -omics approaches provides key strategies to promote effective research in the field, facilitating the investigations from reference models to an increasing number of species, tolerant and sensitive genotypes. Integrated multilevel approaches, based on molecular investigations at genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics levels, are now feasible, expanding the opportunities to clarify key molecular aspects involved in responses to abiotic stresses. To this aim, bioinformatics has become fundamental for data production, mining and integration, and necessary for extracting valuable information and for comparative efforts, paving the way to the modeling of the involved processes. We provide here an overview of bioinformatics resources for research on plant abiotic stresses, describing collections from -omics efforts in the field, ranging from raw data to complete databases or platforms, highlighting opportunities and still open challenges in abiotic stress research based on -omics technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020–2021)
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