Topical Collection "Feature Papers in Plant Physiology and Metabolism"

A topical collection in Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This collection belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Editors

Prof. Dr. John Hancock
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Applied Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
Interests: redox signaling; reactive oxygen species; hydrogen sulfide; hydrogen gas; nitric oxide
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Mikihisa Umehara
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Applied Biosciences, Toyo University, Itakura-machi, Ora-gun, Gunma 374-0193, Japan
Interests: leaf senescence; plant biotechnology; plant tissue and organ culture; plant hormones; plant physiology; shoot branching

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

As described in the title, this Topical Collection, Feature Papers in Plant Physiology and Metabolism, aims to collect high-quality research articles, short communications, and review articles in all the fields of plant physiological mechanism and biochemistry.

Since the aim of this Topical Collection is to illustrate, through selected works, frontier research in Plant Physiology and Metabolism, we encourage Editorial Board Members of the Plant Physiology and Metabolism Section of Plants to contribute papers reflecting the latest progress in their research field, or to invite relevant experts and colleagues to do so.

In particular (but not exclusively), this Collection invites contributions that report on:

  • Photosynthesis and respiration;
  • Photoprotection and abiotic stresses;
  • Structure and function of biochemical macromolecules and their organization into super complexes;
  • Acclimation to abiotic stress;
  • Oxidative stress;
  • Nitrosative stress;
  • Drought and flood stress;
  • Photoreceptors and other receptors of the physical environment;
  • Signal transduction of environmental factors;
  • Engineering of plants and algae for enhanced photosynthetic yield and biomass accumulation;
  • Engineering of plants and algae for accumulation of biofuel precursors;
  • Phytohormone biosynthesis and signaling;
  • Engineering for secondary metabolism.

Prof. Dr. John Hancock
Prof. Dr. Mikihisa Umehara
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 collection 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 1800 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.

Published Papers (12 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020, 2019

Article
Mercury-Induced Phytotoxicity and Responses in Upland Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) Seedlings
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081494 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Cotton is a potential and excellent candidate to balance both agricultural production and remediation of mercury-contained soil, as its main production fiber hardly involves into food chains. However, in cotton, there is known rarely about the tolerance and response to mercury (Hg [...] Read more.
Cotton is a potential and excellent candidate to balance both agricultural production and remediation of mercury-contained soil, as its main production fiber hardly involves into food chains. However, in cotton, there is known rarely about the tolerance and response to mercury (Hg) environments. In this study, the biochemical and physiological damages, in response to Hg concentrations (0, 1, 10, 50 and 100 µM), were investigated in upland cotton seedlings. The results on germination of cottonseeds indicated the germination rates were suppressed by high Hg levels, as the decrease of percentage was more than 10% at 1000 µM Hg. Shoots and roots’ growth were significantly inhibited over 10 µM Hg. The inhibitor rates (IR) in fresh weight were close in values between shoots and roots, whereas those in dry weight the root growth were more obviously influenced by Hg. In comparison of organs, the growth inhibition ranked as root > leaf > stem. The declining of translocation factor (TF) opposed the Hg level as even low to 0.05 at 50 µM Hg. The assimilation in terms of photosynthesis, of cotton plants, was affected negatively by Hg, as evidenced from the performances on pigments (chlorophyll a and b) and gas exchange (Intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci), CO2 assimilation rate (Pn) and stomatal conductance (Gs)). Sick phenotypes on leaf surface included small white zone, shrinking and necrosis. Membrane lipid peroxidation and leakage were Hg dose-dependent as indicated by malondialdehyde (MDA) content and relative conductivity (RC) values in leaves and roots. More than 10 µM Hg damaged antioxidant enzyme system in both leaves and roots (p < 0.05). Concludingly, 10 µM Hg post negative consequences to upland cotton plants in growth, physiology and biochemistry, whereas high phytotoxicity and damage appeared at more than 50 µM Hg concentration. Full article
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Article
Application of Trehalose and Salicylic Acid Mitigates Drought Stress in Sweet Basil and Improves Plant Growth
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1078; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061078 - 27 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1029
Abstract
Trehalose (Tre) and salicylic acid (SA) are increasingly used to mitigate drought stress in crop plants. In this study, a pot experiment was performed to study the influence of Tre and SA applied individually or in combination on the growth, photosynthesis, and antioxidant [...] Read more.
Trehalose (Tre) and salicylic acid (SA) are increasingly used to mitigate drought stress in crop plants. In this study, a pot experiment was performed to study the influence of Tre and SA applied individually or in combination on the growth, photosynthesis, and antioxidant responses of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) exposed to drought stress. Basil plants were watered to 60% or 100% field capacity with or without treatment with 30 mM Tre and/or 1 mM SA. Drought negatively affected growth, physiological parameters, and antioxidant responses. Application of Tre and/or SA resulted in growth recovery, increased photosynthesis, and reduced oxidative stress. Application of Tre mitigated the detrimental effects of drought more than SA. Furthermore, co-application of Tre and SA largely eliminated the negative impact of drought by reducing oxidative stress through increased activities of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and catalase, as well as the accumulation of the protective osmolytes proline and glycine betaine. Combined Tre and SA application improved water use efficiency and reduced the amount of malondialdehyde in drought-stressed plants. Our results suggested that combined application of Tre and SA may trigger defense mechanisms of sweet basil to better mitigate oxidative stress induced by drought stress, thereby improving plant growth. Full article
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Article
Antagonistic Interaction between Phosphinothricin and Nepeta rtanjensis Essential Oil Affected Ammonium Metabolism and Antioxidant Defense of Arabidopsis Grown In Vitro
Plants 2021, 10(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10010142 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
Phosphinothricin (PPT) is one of the most widely used herbicides. PTT targets glutamine synthetase (GS) activity in plants, and its phytotoxicity is ascribed to ammonium accumulation and reactive oxygen species bursts, which drives rapid lipid peroxidation of cell membranes. In agricultural fields, PPT [...] Read more.
Phosphinothricin (PPT) is one of the most widely used herbicides. PTT targets glutamine synthetase (GS) activity in plants, and its phytotoxicity is ascribed to ammonium accumulation and reactive oxygen species bursts, which drives rapid lipid peroxidation of cell membranes. In agricultural fields, PPT is extensively sprayed on plant foliage; however, a portion of the herbicide reaches the soil. According to the present study, PPT absorbed via roots can be phytotoxic to Arabidopsis, inducing more adverse effects in roots than in shoots. Alterations in plant physiology caused by 10 days exposure to herbicide via roots are reflected through growth suppression, reduced chlorophyll content, perturbations in the sugar and organic acid metabolism, modifications in the activities and abundances of GS, catalase, peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase. Antagonistic interaction of Nepeta rtanjensis essential oil (NrEO) and PPT, emphasizes the existence of complex control mechanisms at the transcriptional and posttranslational level, which result in the mitigation of PPT-induced ammonium toxicity and in providing more efficient antioxidant defense of plants. Simultaneous application of the two agents in the field cannot be recommended; however, NrEO might be considered as the PPT post-treatment for reducing harmful effects of herbicide residues in the soil on non-target plants. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021, 2019

Article
Aerobic Barley Mg-protoporphyrin IX Monomethyl Ester Cyclase is Powered by Electrons from Ferredoxin
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091157 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1243
Abstract
Chlorophyll is the light-harvesting molecule central to the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is synthesized through 15 enzymatic steps. Most of the reactions have been characterized using recombinant proteins. One exception is the formation of the isocyclic E-ring characteristic of chlorophylls. This reaction is [...] Read more.
Chlorophyll is the light-harvesting molecule central to the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is synthesized through 15 enzymatic steps. Most of the reactions have been characterized using recombinant proteins. One exception is the formation of the isocyclic E-ring characteristic of chlorophylls. This reaction is catalyzed by the Mg-protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester cyclase encoded by Xantha-l in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). The Xantha-l gene product (XanL) is a membrane-bound diiron monooxygenase, which requires additional soluble and membrane-bound components for its activity. XanL has so far been impossible to produce as an active recombinant protein for in vitro assays, which is required for deeper biochemical and structural analyses. In the present work, we performed cyclase assays with soluble and membrane-bound fractions of barley etioplasts. Addition of antibodies raised against ferredoxin or ferredoxin-NADPH oxidoreductase (FNR) inhibited assays, strongly suggesting that reducing electrons for the cyclase reaction involves ferredoxin and FNR. We further developed a completely recombinant cyclase assay. Expression of active XanL required co-expression with an additional protein, Ycf54. In vitro cyclase activity was obtained with recombinant XanL in combination with ferredoxin and FNR. Our experiment demonstrates that the cyclase is a ferredoxin-dependent enzyme. Ferredoxin is part of the photosynthetic electron-transport chain, which suggests that the cyclase reaction might be connected to photosynthesis under light conditions. Full article
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Review
Hydrogenases and the Role of Molecular Hydrogen in Plants
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091136 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1740
Abstract
Molecular hydrogen (H2) has been suggested to be a beneficial treatment for a range of species, from humans to plants. Hydrogenases catalyze the reversible oxidation of H2, and are found in many organisms, including plants. One of the cellular [...] Read more.
Molecular hydrogen (H2) has been suggested to be a beneficial treatment for a range of species, from humans to plants. Hydrogenases catalyze the reversible oxidation of H2, and are found in many organisms, including plants. One of the cellular effects of H2 is the selective removal of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), specifically hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite. Therefore, the function of hydrogenases and the action of H2 needs to be reviewed in the context of the signalling roles of a range of redox active compounds. Enzymes can be controlled by the covalent modification of thiol groups, and although motifs targeted by nitric oxide (NO) can be predicted in hydrogenases sequences it is likely that the metal prosthetic groups are the target of inhibition. Here, a selection of hydrogenases, and the possibility of their control by molecules involved in redox signalling are investigated using a bioinformatics approach. Methods of treating plants with H2 along with the role of H2 in plants is also briefly reviewed. It is clear that studies report significant effects of H2 on plants, improving growth and stress responses, and therefore future work needs to focus on the molecular mechanisms involved. Full article
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Article
The Recovery of Soybean Plants after Short-Term Cadmium Stress
Plants 2020, 9(6), 782; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060782 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1225
Abstract
Background: Cadmium is a non-essential heavy metal, which is toxic even in relatively low concentrations. Although the mechanisms of Cd toxicity are well documented, there is limited information concerning the recovery of plants after exposure to this metal. Methods: The present study describes [...] Read more.
Background: Cadmium is a non-essential heavy metal, which is toxic even in relatively low concentrations. Although the mechanisms of Cd toxicity are well documented, there is limited information concerning the recovery of plants after exposure to this metal. Methods: The present study describes the recovery of soybean plants treated for 48 h with Cd at two concentrations: 10 and 25 mg/L. In the frame of the study the growth, cell viability, level of membrane damage makers, mineral content, photosynthesis parameters, and global methylation level have been assessed directly after Cd treatment and/or after 7 days of growth in optimal conditions. Results: The results show that exposure to Cd leads to the development of toxicity symptoms such as growth inhibition, increased cell mortality, and membrane damage. After a recovery period of 7 days, the exposed plants showed no differences in relation to the control in all analyzed parameters, with an exception of a slight reduction in root length and changed content of potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Conclusions: The results indicate that soybean plants are able to efficiently recover even after relatively severe Cd stress. On the other hand, previous exposure to Cd stress modulated their mineral uptake. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Nitrogen Nutrition in Diminishing Water Deficiency at Different Growth Stages of Maize by Chlorophyll Fluorescence Parameters
Plants 2020, 9(6), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060676 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 846
Abstract
Efficient nitrogen (N) nutrition has been reported to have the potential to alleviate the drought stress damages by maintaining metabolic activities even at low tissue water potential. The goal of our research was to find a correlation on the genotype level between the [...] Read more.
Efficient nitrogen (N) nutrition has been reported to have the potential to alleviate the drought stress damages by maintaining metabolic activities even at low tissue water potential. The goal of our research was to find a correlation on the genotype level between the effect of different amounts of nitrogen nutrition and water supply at different growth stages. A small-plot experiment was established with three maize hybrids and three levels of nitrogen, and two different amounts of water supply were applied during the vegetation period of 2018 and 2019. Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters were detected, as well as potential and actual photochemical efficiency of PSII, at three growth stages: eight-leaf stage, tasseling, silking. At physiological maturity, the yield of hybrids was also measured. While only genotype differences were described among the investigated parameters in the V8 stage, treatment effects were also realized based on the measured chlorophyll fluorescence parameters during the tasseling and silking stages. Beyond the significant effect of irrigation, a similar impact was declared in the case of 80 kg ha−1 N treatment at the later growth stages. Pronounced correlation was described between chlorophyll fluorescence parameters and yield mainly under irrigated conditions. Our result suggested that lower N nutrition may be sufficient mainly under irrigated conditions, and in vivo chlorophyll fluorescence parameters are appropriate for detecting the effect of environmental factors in different growth stages. Full article
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Article
A Phosphite Dehydrogenase Variant with Promiscuous Access to Nicotinamide Cofactor Pools Sustains Fast Phosphite-Dependent Growth of Transplastomic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Plants 2020, 9(4), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040473 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2185
Abstract
Heterologous expression of the NAD+-dependent phosphite dehydrogenase (PTXD) bacterial enzyme from Pseudomonas stutzerii enables selective growth of transgenic organisms by using phosphite as sole phosphorous source. Combining phosphite fertilization with nuclear expression of the ptxD transgene was shown to be an [...] Read more.
Heterologous expression of the NAD+-dependent phosphite dehydrogenase (PTXD) bacterial enzyme from Pseudomonas stutzerii enables selective growth of transgenic organisms by using phosphite as sole phosphorous source. Combining phosphite fertilization with nuclear expression of the ptxD transgene was shown to be an alternative to herbicides in controlling weeds and contamination of algal cultures. Chloroplast expression of ptxD in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was proposed as an environmentally friendly alternative to antibiotic resistance genes for plastid transformation. However, PTXD activity in the chloroplast is low, possibly due to the low NAD+/NADP+ ratio, limiting the efficiency of phosphite assimilation. We addressed the intrinsic constraints of the PTXD activity in the chloroplast and improved its catalytic efficiency in vivo via rational mutagenesis of key residues involved in cofactor binding. Transplastomic lines carrying a mutagenized PTXD version promiscuously used NADP+ and NAD+ for converting phosphite into phosphate and grew faster compared to those expressing the wild type protein. The modified PTXD enzyme also enabled faster and reproducible selection of transplastomic colonies by directly plating on phosphite-containing medium. These results allow using phosphite as selective agent for chloroplast transformation and for controlling biological contaminants when expressing heterologous proteins in algal chloroplasts, without compromising on culture performance. Full article
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Article
Foliar Application of Calcium and Growth Regulators Modulate Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium L.) Tree Performance
Plants 2020, 9(4), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9040410 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1756
Abstract
Cracking of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) fruits is caused by rain events close to harvest. This problem has occurred in most cherry growing regions with significant economic losses. Several orchard management practices have been applied to reduce the severity of this [...] Read more.
Cracking of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) fruits is caused by rain events close to harvest. This problem has occurred in most cherry growing regions with significant economic losses. Several orchard management practices have been applied to reduce the severity of this disorder, like the foliar application of minerals or growth regulators. In the present study, we hypothesized that preharvest spray treatments improve the physiological performance of sweet cherry trees and could also mitigate environmental stressful conditions. Effects of repeated foliar spraying of calcium (Ca), gibberellic acid (GA3), abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), glycine betaine (GB), and the biostimulant Ascophyllum nodosum (AN) on the physiological and biochemical performance of ‘Skeena’ sweet cherry trees during two consecutive years (without Ca in 2015 and in 2016 with addition of Ca) were studied. Results showed that in general spray treatments improved the physiological performance and water status of the trees. AN and ABA sprays were demonstrated to be the best compounds for increasing yield and reducing cherry cracking as well as improving photosynthetic performance and leaf metabolites content. In conclusion, AN and ABA might be promising tools in the fruit production system. Full article
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Article
Nitro-Oleic Acid in Seeds and Differently Developed Seedlings of Brassica napus L.
Plants 2020, 9(3), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9030406 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1508
Abstract
Similar to animals, it has recently been proven that nitro-fatty acids such as nitro-linolenic acid and nitro-oleic acid (NO2-OA) have relevant physiological roles as signalling molecules also in plants. Although NO2-OA is of great therapeutic importance, its presence in [...] Read more.
Similar to animals, it has recently been proven that nitro-fatty acids such as nitro-linolenic acid and nitro-oleic acid (NO2-OA) have relevant physiological roles as signalling molecules also in plants. Although NO2-OA is of great therapeutic importance, its presence in plants as a free fatty acid has not been observed so far. Since Brassica napus (oilseed rape) is a crop with high oleic acid content, the abundance of NO2-OA in its tissues can be assumed. Therefore, we quantified NO2-OA in B. napus seeds and differently developed seedlings. In all samples, NO2-OA was detectable at nanomolar concentrations. The seeds showed the highest NO2-OA content, which decreased during germination. In contrast, nitric oxide (•NO) levels increased in the early stages of germination and seedling growth. Exogenous NO2-OA treatment (100 µM, 24 h) of Brassica seeds resulted in significantly increased •NO level and induced germination capacity compared to untreated seeds. The results of in vitro approaches (4-Amino-5-methylamino-2′,7′-difluorofluorescein (DAF-FM) fluorescence, •NO-sensitive electrode) supported the •NO liberating capacity of NO2-OA. We observed for the first time that Brassica seeds and seedlings contain free NO2-OA which may be involved in germination as an •NO donor as suggested both by the results of exogenous NO2-OA treatment of seeds and in vitro approaches. Due to their high NO2-OA content, Brassica sprouts can be considered as a good source of dietary NO2-OA intake. Full article
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Article
Effects of Light and Daytime on the Regulation of Chitosan-Induced Stomatal Responses and Defence in Tomato Plants
Plants 2020, 9(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010059 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1725
Abstract
Closure of stomata upon pathogenesis is among the earliest plant immune responses. However, our knowledge is very limited about the dependency of plant defence responses to chitosan (CHT) on external factors (e.g., time of the day, presence, or absence of light) in intact [...] Read more.
Closure of stomata upon pathogenesis is among the earliest plant immune responses. However, our knowledge is very limited about the dependency of plant defence responses to chitosan (CHT) on external factors (e.g., time of the day, presence, or absence of light) in intact plants. CHT induced stomatal closure before dark/light transition in leaves treated at 17:00 hrs and stomata were closed at 09:00 hrs in plants treated at dawn and in the morning. CHT was able to induce generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in guard cells in the first part of the light phase, but significant nitric oxide production was observable only at 15:00 hrs. The actual quantum yield of PSII electron transport (ΦPSII) decreased upon CHT treatments at 09:00 hrs in guard cells but it declined only at dawn in mesophyll cells after the treatment at 17:00 hrs. Expression of Pathogenesis-related 1 (PR1) and Ethylene Response Factor 1 were already increased at dawn in the CHT-treated leaves but PR1 expression was inhibited in the dark. CHT-induced systemic response was also observed in the distal leaves of CHT-treated ones. Our results suggest a delayed and daytime-dependent defence response of tomato plants after CHT treatment at night and under darkness. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Review
Genetic Engineering for Global Food Security: Photosynthesis and Biofortification
Plants 2019, 8(12), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8120586 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2699
Abstract
Increasing demands for food and resources are challenging existing markets, driving a need to continually investigate and establish crop varieties with improved yields and health benefits. By the later part of the century, current estimates indicate that a >50% increase in the yield [...] Read more.
Increasing demands for food and resources are challenging existing markets, driving a need to continually investigate and establish crop varieties with improved yields and health benefits. By the later part of the century, current estimates indicate that a >50% increase in the yield of most of the important food crops including wheat, rice and barley will be needed to maintain food supplies and improve nutritional quality to tackle what has become known as ‘hidden hunger’. Improving the nutritional quality of crops has become a target for providing the micronutrients required in remote communities where dietary variation is often limited. A number of methods to achieve this have been investigated over recent years, from improving photosynthesis through genetic engineering, to breeding new higher yielding varieties. Recent research has shown that growing plants under elevated [CO2] can lead to an increase in Vitamin C due to changes in gene expression, demonstrating one potential route for plant biofortification. In this review, we discuss the current research being undertaken to improve photosynthesis and biofortify key crops to secure future food supplies and the potential links between improved photosynthesis and nutritional quality. 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: Plants are not incompetent beings: photosynthesis process is the key. 
Authors: Hazem M. Kalaji et al.
Key words: artificial neural networks; chlorophyll fluorescence; plant talk; machine learning  

Title: Shoot branching regulated by nitrogen nutrient and strigolactones in Arabidopsis
Authors: Takahito Nomura et al.
Affiliation: Center for Bioscience Research & Education, Utsunomiya University 350 Minemachi, Utsunomiya 321-8505, Japan
Abstract: Strigolactones (SLs) are plant hormones that inhibit shoot branching, and stimulate seed germination of root parasitic plants and induce hyphal branching of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the rhizosphere. However, little is known about the regulation of SL production in Arabidopsis that is a non-mycotrophic plant, because its SL production is smaller than mycotrophic plants. In this study, we investigated the effect of nitrogen nutrients on shoot branching and SL production in Arabidopsis.

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