Special Issue "Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Masayuki Fujita
Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants are frequently exposed to a plethora of unfavorable, or even adverse, environmental conditions, termed abiotic stresses, such as salinity, drought, heat, cold, flooding, heavy metals, ozone, ultraviolet radiation, nutrient deficiencies, etc., and these stresses pose serious threats to the sustainability of crop yield. Abiotic stresses are the greatest constraints for crop production worldwide. All plants possess adaptations to cope with the stresses imposed by the environments in which they exist. Most of the crops grown under field conditions are frequently exposed to various abiotic stresses. The complex nature of the environment, along with its unpredictable conditions and global climate change, are increasing gradually, which are creating more adverse situations. Abiotic stresses modify plant metabolism, leading to harmful effects on growth, development, and productivity. If the stress becomes very high and/or continues for an extended period, it may lead to an intolerable metabolic load on cells, reducing growth, and, in severe cases, result in plant death. A key sign of such stresses at the molecular level is the accelerated production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause oxidative stress. However, plant stress may vary depending on the types of stressor and on the prevailing period. In nature, plants may not be completely free from abiotic stresses. All plants possess adaptations to cope with the stresses imposed by the environments in which they exist. Plants also employ different tolerance mechanisms to cope with these adverse conditions. The new knowledge acquired through research of abiotic and biotic stress tolerance mechanisms in plants will help in the application of stress-responsive determinants and in engineering plants with enhanced tolerance to stress.

This Special Issue will cover any review, mini-review, and research article on topics related to the following sub-topics:

•    Climate change and abiotic stress: Overview
•    Abiotic stresses in plants
•    Plant responses and tolerance to salinity
•    Plant responses and tolerance to drought (water limited environment)
•    Plant responses and tolerance to heavy metals
•    Plant responses and tolerance to high temperature
•    Plant responses and tolerance to low temperature
•    Plant responses and tolerance to heavy submergence/flooding
•    Plant responses and tolerance to ozone
•    Plant responses and tolerance to ultra violet radiation
•    Plant responses and tolerance to air pollution
•    Plant responses and to nutrient deficiencies
•    Oxidative stress in plants under abiotic/environmental stresses
•    Antioxidant defense in plants exposed to abiotic stresses
•    Role of trace elements in alleviating environmental stress
•    Different approaches of plant breeding in developing abiotic stress tolerance
•    Phytohormone and abiotic stress tolerance
•    Genomic approaches and abiotic stress tolerance in plants
•    Genetic improvement of yield potential of major grain crops under environmental stress
•    Abiotic stress signaling

Prof. Dr. Masayuki Fujita
Dr. Mirza Hasanuzzaman
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 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

  • abiotic stress
  • salinity
  • drought
  • heat stress
  • heavy metals
  • oxidative stress
  • antioxidant defense
  • phytohormones
  • signaling molecules
  • trace elements
  • environmental pollution

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Metabolomic Profiling of Soybeans (Glycine max L.) Reveals the Importance of Sugar and Nitrogen Metabolism under Drought and Heat Stress
Plants 2017, 6(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants6020021 - 25 May 2017
Cited by 41
Abstract
Soybean is an important crop that is continually threatened by abiotic stresses, especially drought and heat stress. At molecular levels, reduced yields due to drought and heat stress can be seen as a result of alterations in metabolic homeostasis of vegetative tissues. At [...] Read more.
Soybean is an important crop that is continually threatened by abiotic stresses, especially drought and heat stress. At molecular levels, reduced yields due to drought and heat stress can be seen as a result of alterations in metabolic homeostasis of vegetative tissues. At present an incomplete understanding of abiotic stress-associated metabolism and identification of associated metabolites remains a major gap in soybean stress research. A study with a goal to profile leaf metabolites under control conditions (28/24 °C), drought [28/24 °C, 10% volumetric water content (VWC)], and heat stress (43/35 °C) was conducted in a controlled environment. Analyses of non-targeted metabolomic data showed that in response to drought and heat stress, key metabolites (carbohydrates, amino acids, lipids, cofactors, nucleotides, peptides and secondary metabolites) were differentially accumulated in soybean leaves. The metabolites for various cellular processes, such as glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, the pentose phosphate pathway, and starch biosynthesis, that regulate carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid metabolism, peptide metabolism, and purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis, were found to be affected by drought as well as heat stress. Computationally based regulatory networks predicted additional compounds that address the possibility of other metabolites and metabolic pathways that could also be important for soybean under drought and heat stress conditions. Metabolomic profiling demonstrated that in soybeans, keeping up with sugar and nitrogen metabolism is of prime significance, along with phytochemical metabolism under drought and heat stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Attenuation of Drought Stress in Brassica Seedlings with Exogenous Application of Ca2+ and H2O2
Plants 2017, 6(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants6020020 - 13 May 2017
Cited by 19
Abstract
Drought is one of the most common abiotic stresses, affecting the growth and productivity of crop plants globally, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Different strategies are used to mitigate the impact of drought among crop plants. Exogenous application of different substances are [...] Read more.
Drought is one of the most common abiotic stresses, affecting the growth and productivity of crop plants globally, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Different strategies are used to mitigate the impact of drought among crop plants. Exogenous application of different substances are known to decrease the effects of various abiotic stresses, including drought stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Ca2+ and H2O2 in developing drought stress tolerance in Brassica napus “Bulbul-98” seedlings. Brassica napus “Bulbul-98” seedlings were exposed to 5, 10 and 15 mM Ca2+ and 2, 5 and 10 μM H2O2 concentrations twice at an interval of two days for up to 20 days after germination. Drought stress decreased relative water content (RWC), chlorophyll content and increased proline, H2O2, soluble protein and electrolyte leakage in Brassica seedlings. Exogenous Ca2+ (5, 10,15 mM) and H2O2 (2, 5, 10 μM) supplementations, during drought stress induction, showed a significant increase in RWC by 5.4%, 18.06%, 26.2% and 6.87%, 13.9%, 18.3% respectively. Similarly, with the exogenous application of Ca2+ (5, 10, 15 mM) and H2O2 (2, 5, 10 μM), chlorophyll content was increased by 15.03%, 22.2%, and 28.4%, and 9.6%, 23.3%, and 27.5% respectively. It was confirmed that the seedlings under drought stress that were supplemented with Ca2+ and H2O2 recovered from water content reduction and chlorosis, and were able to grow normally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Combined Effects of Ozone and Drought on the Physiology and Membrane Lipids of Two Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) Cultivars
Plants 2017, 6(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants6010014 - 03 Mar 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
The interactive effects of drought and ozone on the physiology and leaf membrane lipid content, composition and metabolism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) were investigated in two cultivars (EPACE-1 and IT83-D) grown under controlled conditions. The drought treatment (three-week water deprivation) did [...] Read more.
The interactive effects of drought and ozone on the physiology and leaf membrane lipid content, composition and metabolism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) were investigated in two cultivars (EPACE-1 and IT83-D) grown under controlled conditions. The drought treatment (three-week water deprivation) did not cause leaf injury but restricted growth through stomatal closure. In contrast, the short-term ozone treatment (130 ppb 12 h daily during 14 day) had a limited impact at the whole-plant level but caused leaf injury, hydrogen peroxide accumulation and galactolipid degradation. These effects were stronger in the IT83-D cultivar, which also showed specific ozone responses such as a higher digalactosyl-diacylglycerol (DGDG):monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) ratio and the coordinated up-regulation of DGDG synthase (VuDGD2) and ω-3 fatty acid desaturase 8 (VuFAD8) genes, suggesting that membrane remodeling occurred under ozone stress in the sensitive cultivar. When stresses were combined, ozone did not modify the stomatal response to drought and the observed effects on whole-plant physiology were essentially the same as when drought was applied alone. Conversely, the drought-induced stomatal closure appeared to alleviate ozone effects through the reduction of ozone uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Quantification of Climate Warming and Crop Management Impacts on Cotton Phenology
Plants 2017, 6(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants6010007 - 10 Feb 2017
Cited by 36
Abstract
Understanding the impact of the warming trend on phenological stages and phases of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in central and lower Punjab, Pakistan, may assist in optimizing crop management practices to enhance production. This study determined the influence of the thermal trend [...] Read more.
Understanding the impact of the warming trend on phenological stages and phases of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in central and lower Punjab, Pakistan, may assist in optimizing crop management practices to enhance production. This study determined the influence of the thermal trend on cotton phenology from 1980–2015 in 15 selected locations. The results demonstrated that observed phenological stages including sowing (S), emergence (E), anthesis (A) and physiological maturity (M) occurred earlier by, on average, 5.35, 5.08, 2.87 and 1.12 days decade−1, respectively. Phenological phases, sowing anthesis (S-A), anthesis to maturity (A-M) and sowing to maturity (S-M) were reduced by, on average, 2.45, 1.76 and 4.23 days decade−1, respectively. Observed sowing, emergence, anthesis and maturity were negatively correlated with air temperature by, on average, −2.03, −1.93, −1.09 and −0.42 days °C−1, respectively. Observed sowing-anthesis, anthesis to maturity and sowing-maturity were also negatively correlated with temperature by, on average, −0.94, −0.67 and −1.61 days °C−1, respectively. Applying the cropping system model CSM-CROPGRO-Cotton model using a standard variety in all locations indicated that the model-predicted phenology accelerated more due to warming trends than field-observed phenology. However, 30.21% of the harmful influence of the thermal trend was compensated as a result of introducing new cotton cultivars with higher growing degree day (thermal time) requirements. Therefore, new cotton cultivars which have higher thermal times and are high temperature tolerant should be evolved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Heat Stress Decreases Levels of Nutrient-Uptake and -Assimilation Proteins in Tomato Roots
Plants 2017, 6(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants6010006 - 19 Jan 2017
Cited by 27
Abstract
Global warming will increase root heat stress, which is already common under certain conditions. Effects of heat stress on root nutrient uptake have rarely been examined in intact plants, but the limited results indicate that heat stress will decrease it; no studies have [...] Read more.
Global warming will increase root heat stress, which is already common under certain conditions. Effects of heat stress on root nutrient uptake have rarely been examined in intact plants, but the limited results indicate that heat stress will decrease it; no studies have examined heat-stress effects on the concentration of nutrient-uptake proteins. We grew Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) at 25 °C/20 °C (day/night) and then transferred some plants for six days to 35 °C /30 °C (moderate heat) or 42 °C/37 °C (severe heat) (maximum root temperature = 32 °C or 39 °C, respectively); plants were then moved back to control conditions for seven days to monitor recovery. In a second experiment, plants were grown for 15 days at 28 °C/23 °C, 32 °C/27 °C, 36 °C/31 °C, and 40 °C/35 °C (day/night). Concentrations of nutrient-uptake and -assimilation proteins in roots were determined using protein-specific antibodies and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). In general, (1) roots were affected by heat more than shoots, as indicated by decreased root:shoot mass ratio, shoot vs. root %N and C, and the level of nutrient metabolism proteins vs. less sensitive photosynthesis and stomatal conductance; and (2) negative effects on roots were large and slow-to-recover only with severe heat stress (40 °C–42 °C). Thus, short-term heat stress, if severe, can decrease total protein concentration and levels of nutrient-uptake and -assimilation proteins in roots. Hence, increases in heat stress with global warming may decrease crop production, as well as nutritional quality, partly via effects on root nutrient relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Variation among Soybean Cultivars in Mesophyll Conductance and Leaf Water Use Efficiency
Plants 2016, 5(4), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants5040044 - 11 Dec 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
Improving water use efficiency (WUE) may prove a useful way to adapt crop species to drought. Since the recognition of the importance of mesophyll conductance to CO2 movement from inside stomatal pores to the sites of photosynthetic carboxylation, there has been interest [...] Read more.
Improving water use efficiency (WUE) may prove a useful way to adapt crop species to drought. Since the recognition of the importance of mesophyll conductance to CO2 movement from inside stomatal pores to the sites of photosynthetic carboxylation, there has been interest in how much intraspecific variation in mesophyll conductance (gm) exists, and how such variation may impact leaf WUE within C3 species. In this study, the gm and leaf WUE of fifteen cultivars of soybeans grown under controlled conditions were measured under standardized environmental conditions. Leaf WUE varied by a factor of 2.6 among the cultivars, and gm varied by a factor of 8.6. However, there was no significant correlation (r = −0.047) between gm and leaf WUE. Leaf WUE was linearly related to the sub-stomatal CO2 concentration. The value of gm affected the ratio of maximum Rubisco carboxylation capacity calculated from the sub-stomatal CO2 concentration to that calculated from the CO2 concentration at the site of carboxylation. That is, variation in gm affected the efficiency of Rubisco carboxylation, but not leaf WUE. Nevertheless, there is considerable scope for genetically improving soybean leaf water use efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Interaction Effect between Elevated CO2 and Fertilization on Biomass, Gas Exchange and C/N Ratio of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.)
Plants 2016, 5(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants5030038 - 07 Sep 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
The effects of elevated CO2 and interaction effects between elevated CO2 and nutrient supplies on growth and the C/N ratio of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) saplings were studied. One-year-old beech saplings were grown in a greenhouse at ambient (385 [...] Read more.
The effects of elevated CO2 and interaction effects between elevated CO2 and nutrient supplies on growth and the C/N ratio of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) saplings were studied. One-year-old beech saplings were grown in a greenhouse at ambient (385 ppm) and elevated CO2 (770 ppm/950 ppm), with or without fertilization for two growing seasons. In this study, emphasis is placed on the combined fertilization including phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen with two level of elevated CO2. The fertilized plants grown under elevated CO2 had the highest net leaf photosynthesis rate (Ac). The saplings grown under elevated CO2 had a significantly lower stomatal conductance (gs) than saplings grown under ambient air. No interaction effect was found between elevated CO2 and fertilization on Ac. A interaction effect between CO2 and fertilization, as well as between date and fertilization and between date and CO2 was detected on gs. Leaf chlorophyll content index (CCI) and leaf nitrogen content were strongly positively correlated to each other and both of them decreased under elevated CO2. At the end of both growing seasons, stem dry weight was greater under elevated CO2 and root dry weight was not affected by different treatments. No interaction effect was detected between elevated CO2 and nutrient supplies on the dry weight of different plant tissues (stems and roots). However, elevated CO2 caused a significant decrease in the nitrogen content of plant tissues. Nitrogen reduction in the leaves under elevated CO2 was about 10% and distinctly higher than in the stem and root. The interaction effect of elevated CO2 and fertilization on C/N ratio in plants tissues was significant. The results led to the conclusion that photosynthesis and the C/N ratio increased while stomatal conductance and leaf nitrogen content decreased under elevated CO2 and nutrient-limited conditions. In general, under nutrient-limited conditions, the plant responses to elevated CO2 were decreased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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