Special Issue "Wild Halophytes: Tools for Understanding Salt Tolerance Mechanisms of Plants and for Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change"

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: 20 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Oscar Vicente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for the Conservation and Improvement of Valencian Agrodiversity (COMAV), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera 14, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Interests: climate change; plant biotechnology; plant reproduction; abiotic stress; plant stress physiology; halophytes; drought; salinity; stress tolerance
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Marius-Nicusor Grigore‬
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Biology, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, 700505, Iasi, Romania
Interests: halophytes; halophytes anatomy and ecology; ecophysiology of halophytes; plant abiotic stress; conceptual and historical approach of halophytes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change represents a major challenge for agriculture and food security in the coming years. Soil salinity is, together with drought, one of the major causes of the reduction of crop yields worldwide, and climate change is contributing to the increasing loss of irrigated cropland due to secondary salinization, especially in arid and semiarid regions. The most promising strategy to address this problem should be based on the genetic improvement of crop salt tolerance. This, in turn, requires a deep understanding of the mechanisms underlying salt tolerance. Paradoxically, most studies on plant salt tolerance have been carried out using non-tolerant model species, such as Arabidopsis thaliana. Besides, even though tolerance is based on a series of conserved responses to salt stress – control of ion transport, osmolyte biosynthesis, and activation of antioxidant systems – the specific mechanisms of tolerance can vary widely in different species. Therefore, no single model will provide enough information.

All major crops are glycophytes, sensitive to relatively low levels of salt in the soil. The halophytes, on the contrary, are adapted to natural saline environments and are able to survive and complete their life cycle in habitats with soil salinity equivalent to 200 mM NaCl, or even higher, close to that of seawater. Halophytes are, therefore, ideal materials for basic studies of salt tolerance mechanisms in plants, at the physiological, biochemical, and molecular levels. Apart from being a source of knowledge, halophytes can also provide biotechnological tools – salt-tolerance genes and salt-induced promoters – for the genetic improvement of salt tolerance of conventional crops. Furthermore, some halophytes could represent the basis of a sustainable ‘saline agriculture’, being commercially grown in salinized land and irrigated with brackish or saline water. This Special Issue will cover all of the aforementioned basic and applied aspects of halophytes research, reflected in original research articles, reviews, mini-reviews, and opinion papers.

Prof. Dr. Óscar Vicente
Dr. Marius-Nicusor Grigore‬
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • abiotic stress
  • antioxidant systems
  • climate change
  • ion transport
  • osmolyte accumulation
  • plant breeding
  • saline agriculture
  • salinity
  • salt stress responses
  • salt tolerance

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Heavy Metal Pre-Conditioning History Modulates Spartina patens Physiological Tolerance along a Salinity Gradient
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2072; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102072 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 186
Abstract
Land salinization, resulting from the ongoing climate change phenomena, is having an increasing impact on coastal ecosystems like salt marshes. Although halophyte species can live and thrive in high salinities, they experience differences in their salt tolerance range, being this a determining factor [...] Read more.
Land salinization, resulting from the ongoing climate change phenomena, is having an increasing impact on coastal ecosystems like salt marshes. Although halophyte species can live and thrive in high salinities, they experience differences in their salt tolerance range, being this a determining factor in the plant distribution and frequency throughout marshes. Furthermore, intraspecific variation to NaCl response is observed in high-ranging halophyte species at a population level. The present study aims to determine if the environmental history, namely heavy metal pre-conditioning, can have a meaningful influence on salinity tolerance mechanisms of Spartina patens, a highly disperse grass invader in the Mediterranean marshes. For this purpose, individuals from pristine and heavy metal contaminated marsh populations were exposed to a high-ranging salinity gradient, and their intraspecific biophysical and biochemical feedbacks were analyzed. When comparing the tolerance mechanisms of both populations, S. patens from the contaminated marsh appeared to be more resilient and tolerant to salt stress, this was particularly present at the high salinities. Consequently, as the salinity increases in the environment, the heavy metal contaminated marsh may experience a more resilient and better adapted S. patens community. Therefore, the heavy metal pre-conditioning of salt mash populations appears to be able to create intraspecific physiological variations at the population level that can have a great influence on marsh plant distribution outcome. Full article
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Article
Plant Growth Regulators Application Enhance Tolerance to Salinity and Benefit the Halophyte Plantago coronopus in Saline Agriculture
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1872; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091872 - 10 Sep 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
Climate change, soil salinisation and desertification, intensive agriculture and the poor quality of irrigation water all create serious problems for the agriculture that supplies the world with food. Halophyte cultivation could constitute an alternative to glycophytic cultures and help resolve these issues. Plantago [...] Read more.
Climate change, soil salinisation and desertification, intensive agriculture and the poor quality of irrigation water all create serious problems for the agriculture that supplies the world with food. Halophyte cultivation could constitute an alternative to glycophytic cultures and help resolve these issues. Plantago coronopus can be used in biosaline agriculture as it tolerates salt concentrations of 100 mM NaCl. To increase the salt tolerance of this plant, plant growth regulators such as polyamine spermidine, salicylic acid, gibberellins, cytokinins, and auxins were added in a hydroponic culture before the irrigation of NaCl (200 mM). In 45-day-old plants, dry weight, water content, osmolyte (sorbitol), antioxidants (phenols, flavonoids), polyamines (putrescine, spermidine, spermine (free, bound, and conjugated forms)) and ethylene were determined. In non-saline conditions, all plant regulators improved growth while in plants treated with salt, spermidine application was the most effective in improving growth, osmolyte accumulation (43%) and an increase of antioxidants (24%) in P. coronopus. The pretreatments that increase the sorbitol content, endogenous amines (bound spermine fraction), phenols and flavonoids may be the most effective in protecting to P. coronopus against stress and, therefore, could contribute to improving the tolerance to salinity and increase nutritional quality of P. coronopus. Full article
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Article
Responses to Salinity in Four Plantago Species from Tunisia
Plants 2021, 10(7), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071392 - 07 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 874
Abstract
The genus Plantago is particularly interesting for studying the mechanisms of salt tolerance in plants, as it includes both halophytes and glycophytes, as well as species adapted to xeric environments. In this study, the salt stress responses of two halophytes, P. crassifolia and [...] Read more.
The genus Plantago is particularly interesting for studying the mechanisms of salt tolerance in plants, as it includes both halophytes and glycophytes, as well as species adapted to xeric environments. In this study, the salt stress responses of two halophytes, P. crassifolia and P. coronopus, were compared with those of two glycophytes, P. ovata and P. afra. Plants obtained by seed germination of the four species, collected in different regions of Tunisia, were subjected to increasing salinity treatments for one month under greenhouse conditions. Morphological traits and biochemical parameters, such as ion accumulation and the leaf contents of photosynthetic pigments, osmolytes, oxidative stress markers and antioxidant metabolites, were measured after the treatments. Salt-induced growth inhibition was more pronounced in P. afra, and only plants subjected to the lowest applied NaCl concentration (200 mM) survived until the end of the treatments. The biochemical responses were different in the two groups of plants; the halophytes accumulated higher Na+ and proline concentrations, whereas MDA levels in their leaves decreased, indicating a lower level of oxidative stress. Overall, the results showed that P. coronopus and P. crassifolia are the most tolerant to salt stress, and P. afra is the most susceptible of the four species. Plantago ovata is also quite resistant, apparently by using specific mechanisms of tolerance that are more efficient than in the halophytes, such as a less pronounced inhibition of photosynthesis, the accumulation of higher levels of Cl ions in the leaves, or the activation of K+ uptake and transport to the aerial part under high salinity conditions. Full article
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Article
Differential Salt Tolerance Strategies in Three Halophytes from the Same Ecological Habitat: Augmentation of Antioxidant Enzymes and Compounds
Plants 2021, 10(6), 1100; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10061100 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
Understanding the salt tolerance mechanism in obligate halophytes provides valuable information for conservation and re-habitation of saline areas. Here, we investigated the responses of three obligate halophytes namely Arthrocnemum macrostachyum, Sarcocornia fruticosa and Salicornia europaea to salt stress (0, 100, 200, 400 [...] Read more.
Understanding the salt tolerance mechanism in obligate halophytes provides valuable information for conservation and re-habitation of saline areas. Here, we investigated the responses of three obligate halophytes namely Arthrocnemum macrostachyum, Sarcocornia fruticosa and Salicornia europaea to salt stress (0, 100, 200, 400 and 600 mM NaCl) during their vegetative growth with regard to biomass, ions contents (Na+, K+ and Ca2+), chlorophyll contents, carotenoids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and superoxide dismutase, peroxidase and esterase activities. S. europaea showed the lowest biomass, root K+ content, Chl a/b ratio, and carotenoids under salinity. This reduction of biomass is concomitant with the increase in proline contents and peroxidase activity. On the other hand, the promotion of growth under low salinity and maintenance under high salinity (200 and 400 Mm NaCl) in A. Macrostachyum and S. fruticosa are accompanied by an increase in Chl a/b ratio, carotenoids, phenolics contents, and esterase activity. Proline content was decreased under high salinity (400 and 600 mM NaCl) in both species compared to S. europaea, while peroxidase showed the lowest activity in both plants under all salt levels except under 600 mM NaCl in Arthrocnemum macrostachyum compared to S. europaea. These results suggest two differential strategies; (1) the salt tolerance is due to activation of antioxidant enzymes and biosynthesis of proline in S. europaea, (2) the salt tolerance in A. macrostachyum, S. fruticosa are due to rearrangement of chlorophyll ratio and biosynthesis of antioxidant compounds (carotenoids, phenolics and flavonoids) which their cost seem to need less energy than activation of antioxidant enzymes. The differential behavior in halophytes of the same habitat confirms that the tolerance mechanism in halophytes is species-specific which provides new insight about the restoration strategy of saline areas. 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: Spermidine pretreatment enhances salinity tolerance and benefits of the halophyte Plantago coronopus used in biosaline agriculture
Authors: Milagros Bueno and María Pilar Cordovilla
Affiliation: Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Experimental Science, University of Jaén, 23071 Jaén, Spain

Title: Halophytes and saline crops usage in Bio-economy as new chance and challenge for Agriculture
Authors:
Surówka Ewa, Ślesak Ireneusz, Hura Tomasz, Dubert Franciszek, Miszalski Zbigniew

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