Special Issue "Genetic Resources, Nitrogen Nutrition, and Stress Tolerance in Cereals"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Svetlana Misheva
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113, Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: cereal molecular genetics and cytogenetics; genetic diversity; genetic control of agronomical and physiological traits; stress resistance/tolerance; wild relatives; wheat-alien introgressions
Dr. Konstantina Kocheva
Website
Co-Guest Editor
Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113, Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: mineral nutrition; water stress; photosynthesis; biochemical analyzes; cytogenetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The major part of the world’s food supply relies heavily on cereal crop cultivation. Today’s cereal production faces an existential challenge to ensure food security for all. This problem is complex but at least partially compounded by the environmental limitations to agricultural production. Cereal crops are continually exposed to resource deficits and a plethora of abiotic and biotic stresses, which compromise grain yield and quality.

The two resources with the greatest influence on cereal crop productivity are water and nitrogen (N). Insufficiency of water adversely affects many biochemical processes and physiological functions within plants. Water shortage restricts nutrient availability in plants, and during drought episodes, crops may suffer from both water and N deficiency. In this regard, we need more meticulous knowledge about the sophisticated interplay between water and N transportation. As an essential macronutrient, N amply contributes to the accumulation of biomass by affecting photosynthesis and the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. Besides promoting growth, N availability has a direct influence on plant responses to stress. Contemporary scientific approaches render new possibilities for insight into the interaction between N limitation/excess and alterations in the expression of specific genes, and in transcriptomic, metabolomic, and phenomic patterns in cereal plants responding to different abiotic and biotic stressors.

The current challenge of increasing resource-use efficiency (NUE and WUE) in cereal crops, and improving plant-stress tolerance and grain production, requires profound understanding of the genetic variation and genetic architecture of the so-called subtraits making up NUE, WUE, and stress tolerance. The genetic diversity within germplasm collections is a key foundation upon which agriculture and food security are based. We are lucky to have a vast part of this diversity preserved in ex situ seed genebanks. “Exotic” germplasm collections, in particular, composed of landraces, old varieties, and wild relatives, represent a rich pool of useful traits and genes, which can be incorporated into a crop’s genome. 

We invite contributions to this Special Issue from scientists who do research in the field of plant physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular genetics, pathology and entomology, plant–soil interactions, and molecular breeding in cereals. Articles are welcome that address the intricate relationships between water and N transport, NUE and WUE, NUE and tolerance to nutrient deficiency, N and carbon metabolism, N and abiotic stress tolerance, the triggered signaling cascades, breeding for resource-use efficiency or for stress tolerance, the potential and utilization of genetic resources for improving nutrient-use efficiency and stress tolerance in cereals. Interdisciplinary works are particularly welcome. We believe that it is now possible to develop integral research on the whole plant, cellular, and subcellular level to gain new knowledge to support designing novel genotypes for modern on-target agriculture.

Prof. Dr. Svetlana Misheva
Dr. Konstantina Kocheva
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • plant genetic resources
  • cereals
  • wheat, rye, barley, oats, rice, maize, triticale, landraces, old germplasm
  • wild relatives
  • nitrogen
  • nitrogen assimilation
  • nitrogen deficiency
  • nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)
  • water deficiency
  • water use efficiency (WUE)
  • photosynthesis
  • abiotic stress
  • biotic stress
  • stress tolerance
  • genetic variation
  • genome mapping
  • gene expression
  • transcriptomics
  • metabolomics
  • phenomics
  • molecular breeding

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Metabolite Profiling and Network Analysis Reveal Coordinated Changes in Low-N Tolerant and Low-N Sensitive Maize Genotypes under Nitrogen Deficiency and Restoration Conditions
Plants 2020, 9(11), 1459; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9111459 - 29 Oct 2020
Abstract
Nitrogen (N), applied in the form of a nitrogenous fertilizer, is one of the main inputs for agricultural production. Food production is closely associated with the application of N. However, the application of nitrogenous fertilizers to agricultural fields is associated with heavy production [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N), applied in the form of a nitrogenous fertilizer, is one of the main inputs for agricultural production. Food production is closely associated with the application of N. However, the application of nitrogenous fertilizers to agricultural fields is associated with heavy production of nitrous oxide because agricultural crops can only utilize 30–40% of applied N, leaving behind unused 60–70% N in the environment. The global warming effect of this greenhouse gas is approximately 300 times more than of carbon dioxide. Under the present scenario of climate change, it is critical to maintain the natural balance between food production and environmental sustainability by targeting traits responsible for improving nitrogen-use-efficiency (NUE). Understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind the metabolic alterations due to nitrogen status needs to be addressed. Additionally, mineral nutrient deficiencies and their associated metabolic networks have not yet been studied well. Given this, the alterations in core metabolic pathways of low-N tolerant (LNT) and low-N sensitive (LNS) genotypes of maize under N-deficiency and their efficiency of recovering the changes upon resupplying N were investigated by us, using the GC–MS and LC–MS based metabolomic approach. Significant genotype-specific changes were noted in response to low-N. The N limitation affected the whole plant metabolism, most significantly the precursors of primary metabolic pathways. These precursors may act as important targets for improving the NUE. Limited availability of N reduced the levels of N-containing metabolites, organic acids and amino acids, but soluble sugars increased. Major variations were encountered in LNS, as compared to LNT. This study has revealed potential metabolic targets in response to the N status, which are indeed the prospective targets for crop improvement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Agronomic Efficiency Using a New Controlled-Released, Polymeric-Coated Nitrogen Fertilizer in Rice
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091183 - 11 Sep 2020
Abstract
Fertilizer-use efficiency is one of the most critical concerns in rice cultivation to reduce N losses, increase yields, and improve crop management. The effects of a new polymeric-coated controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) were compared to those of other slow-release and traditional fertilizers in a [...] Read more.
Fertilizer-use efficiency is one of the most critical concerns in rice cultivation to reduce N losses, increase yields, and improve crop management. The effects of a new polymeric-coated controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) were compared to those of other slow-release and traditional fertilizers in a microscale experiment, which was carried out in cuvettes under partly controlled ambient conditions, and a large-scale field experiment. To evaluate the fertilizer’s efficiency, nitrogen and water-use efficiency were calculated using the measurement of different photosynthetic and crop yield parameters. Improved responses regarding some of the analyzed physiological and growth parameters were observed for those plants fertilized with the new CRF. In the microscale experiment, significantly increased yields (ca. 35%) were produced in the plants treated with CRF as compared to traditional fertilizer. These results were in accordance with ca. 24% significant increased levels of N in leaves of CRF-treated plants, besides increased P, Fe, Mn, and cytokinin contents. At the field scale, similar yields were obtained with the slow-release or traditional fertilizers and CRF at a 20% reduced N dose. The new controlled-release fertilizer is a urea-based fertilizer coated with lignosulfonates, which is cheaply produced from the waste of pulp and wood industries, containing humic acids as biostimulants. In conclusion, CRF is recommended to facilitate rice crop management and to reduce contamination, as it can be formulated with lower N doses and because it is ecological manufacturing. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Trans-generational effects of abiotic stress on nitrogen-starvation adaptation via microRNAs in durum wheat seedlings
Authors: Haipei Liu; Amanda J. Able; Jason A. Able
Affiliation: School of Agriculture, Food & Wine, Waite Research Institute, The University of Adelaide, Urrbrae, SA 5064, Australia

Title: Multifaceted roles of strigolactones and its biosynthesis in plants
Authors: Muthu Thiruvengadam
Affiliation: Department of Applied Bioscience, Konkuk University, Korea
Abstract: Strigolactones (SLs) are biosynthetically carotenoid-derived terpenoid lactones. The natural SLs were grouped into two types, namely, strigol-type and orobanchol-type, and so far, there are 20 SLs have been identified from different plant kingdom or species. The more stable SLs called GR24 derived synthetically utilized for the investigation of SLs responses. SLs are one of the crucial endogenous plant hormones that possess a multifactorial role in plant and rhizosphere interactions, controlling mycorrhization and lateral shoot branching. SLs participated in the organization of plant architecture by reducing bud outgrowth in addition to various morphological and developmental processes collectively with other plant growth hormones namely auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, and abscisic acid (ABA). SLs are regulating root growth and root organization structure through inhibiting lateral root production along with enhancing the root-hair elongation. The targeted genetic engineering of SLs leads to up- or down-regulation of crucial associated SLs genes and, in turn, potential alterations in rooting and vegetative systems and assist in generating plants more appropriate to different situations such as drought, salt stress, cold, water deficit, various biotic and abiotic stresses. This short review presents a clear outline of the structure, types, biosynthesis, signaling mechanisms of SLs. In addition to this, their potential function in plant growth and development and response to stress conditions was also provided shortly.

Keywords: Strigolactones (SLs); Phytohormones; GR24; A/biotic stresses; Plant growth.

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