Photosynthesis under Stress: Selective Pressures, Adaptation and Mitigation of Environmental Change

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2018) | Viewed by 14454

Special Issue Editors

Trees and Timber Institute, National Research Council (CNR-IVALSA), 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Interests: stomatal control; photosynthesis; plant responses to [CO2] and drought
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development of photosynthesis, global biogeochemical processes and the origination, diversification and extinction of plant species are inextricably linked throughout Earth’s history. The selective pressures exerted by environmental change have influenced the development of photosynthesis and plants. In turn, the land, sea and atmosphere have been shaped by photosynthesis. Alongside photosynthesis, associated biochemical processes, such as secondary metabolism (e.g., phenylpropanoids, carotenoids, volatile isoprenoids) and plant signalling (e.g., volatile organic compounds emitted from plants under stressful conditions), have developed to protect, maintain and regulate the photosynthetic physiology to optimise carbon uptake.

Variations in the temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall, increased temperatures, rising atmospheric (CO2), pollution and population growth exert pressures on plant growth. As photosynthesis underpins ecosystem function and food security, adaptation and mitigation of the negative impacts of these pressures is essential. However, the current rate of climate change (often compounded by localised effects of urbanisation/industrialisation) is more rapid than at any time during Earth’s history. Crucially, this rate of environmental change exceeds both the capacity of plant species to adapt through natural selection and capabilities of plant phenotyping/breeding programs to identify new productive and resistant varieties. The identification and characterisation of adaptive physiological and morphological traits that confer resistance to these abiotic pressures will play a key-role in the development of photosynthesis to address the key challenges of climate change and population growth in the next 50 to 100 years. The Special Issue will cover plant responses to abiotic pressures such as drought, rising (CO2), pollution and temperature stress. The impact of these pressures in natural, agricultural and urban environments on plant secondary metabolism, hormones, chlorophyll fluorescence, gas exchange, photosynthetic physiology and stomatal behaviour is fundamental to our understanding of the capacity of plants to adapt to a changing world.

Dr. Cecilia Brunetti
Dr. Matthew Haworth
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • photosynthesis
  • drought
  • atmospheric (CO2)
  • abiotic stresses
  • stomatal control
  • plant hormones
  • secondary metabolism
  • reactive oxygen species (ROS)

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 1647 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Heat Stress and Water Deficit on the Photosynthetic and Stomatal Physiology of Olive (Olea europaea L.)—A Case Study of the 2017 Heat Wave
Plants 2018, 7(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants7040076 - 20 Sep 2018
Cited by 72 | Viewed by 7975
Abstract
Heat waves are predicted to increase in frequency and duration in many regions as global temperatures rise. These transient increases in temperature above normal average values will have pronounced impacts upon the photosynthetic and stomatal physiology of plants. During the summer of 2017, [...] Read more.
Heat waves are predicted to increase in frequency and duration in many regions as global temperatures rise. These transient increases in temperature above normal average values will have pronounced impacts upon the photosynthetic and stomatal physiology of plants. During the summer of 2017, much of the Mediterranean experienced a severe heat wave. Here, we report photosynthetic leaf gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters of olive (Olea europaea cv. Leccino) grown under water deficit and full irrigation over the course of the heat wave as midday temperatures rose over 40 °C in Central Italy. Heat stress induced a decline in the photosynthetic capacity of the olives consistent with reduced ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO) activity. Damage to photosystem II was more apparent in plants subject to water deficit. In contrast to previous studies, higher temperatures induced reductions in stomatal conductance. Heat stress adversely affected the carbon efficiency of olive. The selection of olive varieties with enhanced tolerance to heat stress and/or strategies to mitigate the impact of higher temperatures will become increasingly important in developing sustainable agriculture in the Mediterranean as global temperatures rise. Full article
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5763 KiB  
Article
Differential Mechanisms of Photosynthetic Acclimation to Light and Low Temperature in Arabidopsis and the Extremophile Eutrema salsugineum
Plants 2017, 6(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants6030032 - 09 Aug 2017
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 5706
Abstract
Photosynthetic organisms are able to sense energy imbalances brought about by the overexcitation of photosystem II (PSII) through the redox state of the photosynthetic electron transport chain, estimated as the chlorophyll fluorescence parameter 1-qL, also known as PSII excitation pressure. Plants [...] Read more.
Photosynthetic organisms are able to sense energy imbalances brought about by the overexcitation of photosystem II (PSII) through the redox state of the photosynthetic electron transport chain, estimated as the chlorophyll fluorescence parameter 1-qL, also known as PSII excitation pressure. Plants employ a wide array of photoprotective processes that modulate photosynthesis to correct these energy imbalances. Low temperature and light are well established in their ability to modulate PSII excitation pressure. The acquisition of freezing tolerance requires growth and development a low temperature (cold acclimation) which predisposes the plant to photoinhibition. Thus, photosynthetic acclimation is essential for proper energy balancing during the cold acclimation process. Eutrema salsugineum (Thellungiella salsuginea) is an extremophile, a close relative of Arabidopsis thaliana, but possessing much higher constitutive levels of tolerance to abiotic stress. This comparative study aimed to characterize the photosynthetic properties of Arabidopsis (Columbia accession) and two accessions of Eutrema (Yukon and Shandong) isolated from contrasting geographical locations at cold acclimating and non-acclimating conditions. In addition, three different growth regimes were utilized that varied in temperature, photoperiod and irradiance which resulted in different levels of PSII excitation pressure. This study has shown that these accessions interact differentially to instantaneous (measuring) and long-term (acclimation) changes in PSII excitation pressure with regard to their photosynthetic behaviour. Eutrema accessions contained a higher amount of photosynthetic pigments, showed higher oxidation of P700 and possessed more resilient photoprotective mechanisms than that of Arabidopsis, perhaps through the prevention of PSI acceptor-limitation. Upon comparison of the two Eutrema accessions, Shandong demonstrated the greatest PSII operating efficiency (ΦPSII) and P700 oxidizing capacity, while Yukon showed greater growth plasticity to irradiance. Both of these Eutrema accessions are able to photosynthetically acclimate but do so by different mechanisms. The Shandong accessions demonstrate a stable response, favouring energy partitioning to photochemistry while the Yukon accession shows a more rapid response with partitioning to other (non-photochemical) strategies. Full article
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