Special Issue "Effects of Abiotic Stress on Plants 2020"

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: 30 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carmen Arena
Website SciProfiles
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 and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Luca Vitale
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems in the Mediterranean (ISAFoM), National Research Council of Italy-CNR, 80056, Ercolano (NA) Italy
Interests: agroecology, greenhouse gases, ecosystem carbon fluxes, crop ecology, crop physiology, nitrogen and carbon cycles
Special Issues and Collections 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

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 papers will be 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. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • 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 (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
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
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)
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Open AccessArticle
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
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)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
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
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)
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Open AccessArticle
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
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)
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Open AccessArticle
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
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)
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Open AccessArticle
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 1
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)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
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
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)
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