Special Issue "Environmental Pollution & Climate Change: Responses of Plant Organisms to Harsh Environments"

A special issue of Stresses (ISSN 2673-7140). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant and Photoautotrophic Stresses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2022 | Viewed by 7730

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: essential oils; bioactive phytochemicals; ethnopharmacology; antimicrobial resistance; one health; food security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Georgios Liakopoulos
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Morphology, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, 118 55 Athens, Greece
Interests: photosynthesis and photoprotection under stress; plant tissue optics; role of secondary metabolites in plant stress tolerance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Eleni Tani
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens, Greece
Interests: epigenetics and abiotic/biotic stresses; plant breeding under abiotic and biotic stresses; breeding for weed management; relationships between wild relatives and cultivated species
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In their environment, plants have to cope with a plethora of adverse and stressful conditions due to extreme meteorological events, temperature fluctuations, drought, flooding, UV and high solar radiation, organic and inorganic pollutants, etc. Anthropogenic inputs are largely responsible for climate change. Over the past century, human activities have released huge amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels into the environment, thus affecting plant health and distribution. As sessile organisms, plants are not able to escape from a changing milieu, and they have therefore evolved an array of strategies to defend themselves from a wide range of stressors. In other words, the evolutionary success of plants has depended on their genotypic/phenotypic plasticity, resilience, and metabolic diversity.

In this very wide context, we invite investigators to submit both original research and review articles that explore all these aspects, in open and/or confined environments.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Global change biology
  • Air and soil pollution
  • Tropospheric ozone
  • Xenobiotics
  • Heavy metals
  • Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs)
  • Secondary metabolism and metabolites
  • Chemical ecology
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Loss of biodiversity

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
Prof. Dr. Georgios Liakopoulos
Dr. Eleni Tani
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 submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue 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. Stresses is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1000 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 (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Contribution of Pulses to Agrobiodiversity in the View of EU Protein Strategy
Stresses 2022, 2(1), 90-112; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2010008 - 14 Feb 2022
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The importance of legume crops in global agricultural systems is inevitable; conversely, less than 4% of European agricultural lands are dedicated for these plants. Besides total loss of biodiversity, agrobiodiversity is also in danger. The production of legumes diversifies arable plant production and [...] Read more.
The importance of legume crops in global agricultural systems is inevitable; conversely, less than 4% of European agricultural lands are dedicated for these plants. Besides total loss of biodiversity, agrobiodiversity is also in danger. The production of legumes diversifies arable plant production and supports the nutrient management of the agroecosystem, as well as that of the whole ecosystem. Increasing soybean production area means that other pulses are grown on smaller areas, that means a reduced resiliency of the whole production system. Expanding environmental stresses of climate change and intensive agricultural practices are easier to counteract with help of diversity on species and on genetic level as well. As a consequence of climate change and targeted breeding of the last decade, agricultural lands appropriate for soybean production shows an increase in Europe. The self-sufficiency rates of the European Union concerning single protein sources shows fluctuations. The easier utilization of soy-based products as forage displaces the use of other pulses, which are traditionally produced as protein crops. Besides protein flow, these leguminous plants have an important role in different levels of agricultural systems as well. Several recent initiatives aim to reduce the serious protein exposure of the EU. These programs, beyond the introduction and technological development of soybean production, always mention the strengthening of the role of other pulses. In this study, the last decades of EU pulse utilization were analyzed, using crop yield, crop harvested area, certified seed yield, seed production area, number of registered varieties, and the number of scientific publications as indicators to summarize trends of EU field bean, field pea, lupin, chickpea, lentil, and soybean production in the view of targeted protein initiatives. Full article
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Article
Response of Wheat Genotypes to Drought Stress Stimulated by PEG
Stresses 2022, 2(1), 26-51; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2010003 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 707
Abstract
Wheat is a cereal grain crop that is commonly cultivated and is a good source of nutrients that are beneficial to human health. In recent years, the productivity of wheat has been steadily declining, with abiotic pressures accounting for almost half of all [...] Read more.
Wheat is a cereal grain crop that is commonly cultivated and is a good source of nutrients that are beneficial to human health. In recent years, the productivity of wheat has been steadily declining, with abiotic pressures accounting for almost half of all yield losses. Drought stress is a significant limiting factor for plant development and production around the planet. The influence of polyethylene glycol (PEG) (at concentrations of 5, 10, and 15%)-induced drought stress on the morphological, physiological, and biochemical characteristics of fifteen wheat genotypes was investigated in this work. Overall, it was discovered that morphological and physiological indicators such as germination % and shoot-root lengths during the seedling stage had reduced significantly. The proline content, on the other hand, was shown to be positively correlated with the concentration of PEG treatments. There was a significant difference between the genotypes HD2733, HD2888, and RAJ3765 regarding tolerance to abiotic stress caused by drought. A further finding was that under stressful settings, the first three main components explained 56.65 percent, 65.06 percent, and 72.47 percent of the total variability in PEG treatment levels of five, ten, and fifteen percent, respectively. These collective morphological and physiological parameters, and analyses of their diverse responses, could be used for screening of drought tolerance among the 15 wheat genotypes to select for significant drought tolerance and diverse molecular responses during breeding of stress resistant forms. Full article
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Article
Glomus mosseae and Pseudomonas fluorescens Application Sustains Yield and Promote Tolerance to Water Stress in Helianthus annuus L.
Stresses 2021, 1(4), 305-316; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1040022 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 732
Abstract
The inoculation of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) plants with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can significantly enhance its growth and yield in a sustainable manner. Drought tolerance is mediated by a combination of direct AMF and PGPR benefits [...] Read more.
The inoculation of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) plants with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can significantly enhance its growth and yield in a sustainable manner. Drought tolerance is mediated by a combination of direct AMF and PGPR benefits that boost the plant’s natural ability to cope with stress, whereas drought mitigation is mediated by indirect AMF and PGPR benefits and increased water uptake. An experiment was carried out to demonstrate the interactive effects of AMF (Glomus mosseae) alone or in association with PGPR (Pseudomonas fluorescens) under water-stressed conditions in order to assess their biofertilizer efficiency. Accordingly, various morphological and biochemical parameters were studied, and the results suggested that all the co-inoculation treatments displayed beneficial effects. Still, the combination of G. mosseae + P. fluorescens showed the maximum increment in all the parameters considered, i.e., plant height and weight, leaves length and width, number of leaves per plant, specific leaf weight, relative leaf water content (RLWC), photosynthetic efficiency, seed length, width, and area, seed yield per plant, number of seeds per flower, days to 50% flowering, days to maturity, flower and head diameter, harvest index, oil content, fatty acid composition (palmitic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid), and total yield. The improvement in different parameters may be attributed to the increased availability of nutrients due to the symbiotic association of AMF and PGPR with plant roots along with enhanced root structures for more water absorption under stressed conditions. Therefore, the results suggested that they offer a promising bio-control strategy for crop protection as biofertilizers combined in one formulation. Full article
Article
Utilization of Tomato Landraces to Improve Seedling Performance under Salt Stress
Stresses 2021, 1(4), 238-252; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1040017 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
Salt stress is considered as one of the most frequent factors limiting plant growth and productivity of crops worldwide. The aim of the study was to evaluate physiological and biochemical responses of nine diverse tomato genotypes exposed to salt stress. In this regard, [...] Read more.
Salt stress is considered as one of the most frequent factors limiting plant growth and productivity of crops worldwide. The aim of the study was to evaluate physiological and biochemical responses of nine diverse tomato genotypes exposed to salt stress. In this regard, four-week-old seedlings of one modern variety, five landraces, the salt-sensitive accession of ‘Ailsa Craig’, the salt-tolerant wild accession of S. pimpinellifolium ‘LA1579’, as well as the vitamin C-rich S. pennellii introgression line ‘IL12-4’, were exposed to moderate salt stress (200 mM NaCl) for 10 days. At the end of the stress treatment, agronomical traits and stress indices were evaluated, while gas exchange-related parameters, root electrolyte leakage, malondialdehyde content and ascorbic acid were also determined. All parameters were significantly affected by salt stress, but to a different extent, verifying the diverse degree of tolerance within the selected genotypes, and further highlighting the different stress-induced mechanisms. The landrace originated from ‘Santorini’ island, as well as the modern variety, which originated from traditional cultivars, demonstrated a better performance and adaptivity under moderate salt stress, accompanied by reduced lipid peroxidation and enhanced ascorbic acid content, indicating that they could be potential promising genetic material for breeding programs or as grafting rootstocks/scions. Full article
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Review

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Review
Physiological Responses to Drought, Salinity, and Heat Stress in Plants: A Review
Stresses 2022, 2(1), 113-135; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2010009 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 951
Abstract
On the world stage, the increase in temperatures due to global warming is already a reality that has become one of the main challenges faced by the scientific community. Since agriculture is highly dependent on climatic conditions, it may suffer a great impact [...] Read more.
On the world stage, the increase in temperatures due to global warming is already a reality that has become one of the main challenges faced by the scientific community. Since agriculture is highly dependent on climatic conditions, it may suffer a great impact in the short term if no measures are taken to adapt and mitigate the agricultural system. Plant responses to abiotic stresses have been the subject of research by numerous groups worldwide. Initially, these studies were concentrated on model plants, and, later, they expanded their studies in several economically important crops such as rice, corn, soybeans, coffee, and others. However, agronomic evaluations for the launching of cultivars and the classical genetic improvement process focus, above all, on productivity, historically leaving factors such as tolerance to abiotic stresses in the background. Considering the importance of the impact that abiotic stresses can have on agriculture in the short term, new strategies are currently being sought and adopted in breeding programs to understand the physiological, biochemical, and molecular responses to environmental disturbances in plants of agronomic interest, thus ensuring the world food security. Moreover, integration of these approaches is bringing new insights on breeding. We will discuss how water deficit, high temperatures, and salinity exert effects on plants. Full article
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Review
Plant–Metal Interactions in the Context of Climate Change
Stresses 2022, 2(1), 79-89; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2010007 - 05 Feb 2022
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Expanding fundamental understanding of the complex and far-reaching impacts of anthropogenic climate change is essential for formulating mitigation strategies. There is abundant evidence of ongoing damage and threat to plant health across both natural and cultivated ecosystems, with potentially immeasurable cost to humanity [...] Read more.
Expanding fundamental understanding of the complex and far-reaching impacts of anthropogenic climate change is essential for formulating mitigation strategies. There is abundant evidence of ongoing damage and threat to plant health across both natural and cultivated ecosystems, with potentially immeasurable cost to humanity and the health of the planet. Plant–soil systems are multi-faceted, incorporating key variables that are individually and interactively affected by climatic factors such as rainfall, solar radiation, air temperature, atmospheric CO2, and pollution. This synthesis focuses on climate effects on plant–metal interactions and related plant–soil dynamics. Ecosystems native to metalliferous soils incorporate vegetation well adapted to metal oversupply, yet climate-change is known to induce the oversupply of certain immobile soil metals by altering the chemistry of non-metalliferous soils. The latter is implicated in observed stress in some non-metal-adapted forest trees growing on ‘normal’ non-metalliferous soils. Vegetation native to riverine habitats reliant on flooding is increasingly at risk under drying conditions caused by anthropogenic water removal and climate change that ultimately limit plant access to essential trace-metal nutrients from nutrient poor sandy soils. In agricultural plant systems, it is well known that environmental conditions alter soil chemistries and plant responses to drive plant metal toxicity stress. These aspects are addressed with reference to specific scenarios and studies linking climate to plant–metal interactions, with emphasis on land plants. Full article
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Review
Abscisic Acid Machinery Is under Circadian Clock Regulation at Multiple Levels
Stresses 2022, 2(1), 65-78; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses2010006 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
Abscisic acid (ABA) is recognized as the key hormonal regulator of plant stress physiology. This phytohormone is also involved in plant growth and development under normal conditions. Over the last 50 years the components of ABA machinery have been well characterized, from synthesis [...] Read more.
Abscisic acid (ABA) is recognized as the key hormonal regulator of plant stress physiology. This phytohormone is also involved in plant growth and development under normal conditions. Over the last 50 years the components of ABA machinery have been well characterized, from synthesis to molecular perception and signaling; knowledge about the fine regulation of these ABA machinery components is starting to increase. In this article, we review a particular regulation of the ABA machinery that comes from the plant circadian system and extends to multiple levels. The circadian clock is a self-sustained molecular oscillator that perceives external changes and prepares plants to respond to them in advance. The circadian system constitutes the most important predictive homeostasis mechanism in living beings. Moreover, the circadian clock has several output pathways that control molecular, cellular and physiological downstream processes, such as hormonal response and transcriptional activity. One of these outputs involves the ABA machinery. The circadian oscillator components regulate expression and post-translational modification of ABA machinery elements, from synthesis to perception and signaling response. The circadian clock establishes a gating in the ABA response during the day, which fine tunes stomatal closure and plant growth response. Full article
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Review
Prospect and Challenges for Sustainable Management of Climate Change-Associated Stresses to Soil and Plant Health by Beneficial Rhizobacteria
Stresses 2021, 1(4), 200-222; https://doi.org/10.3390/stresses1040015 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1620
Abstract
Climate change imposes biotic and abiotic stresses on soil and plant health all across the planet. Beneficial rhizobacterial genera, such as Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Paraburkholderia, Rhizobium, Serratia, and others, are gaining popularity due to their ability to provide simultaneous nutrition and protection of [...] Read more.
Climate change imposes biotic and abiotic stresses on soil and plant health all across the planet. Beneficial rhizobacterial genera, such as Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Paraburkholderia, Rhizobium, Serratia, and others, are gaining popularity due to their ability to provide simultaneous nutrition and protection of plants in adverse climatic conditions. Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria are known to boost soil and plant health through a variety of direct and indirect mechanisms. However, various issues limit the wider commercialization of bacterial biostimulants, such as variable performance in different environmental conditions, poor shelf-life, application challenges, and our poor understanding on complex mechanisms of their interactions with plants and environment. This study focused on detecting the most recent findings on the improvement of plant and soil health under a stressful environment by the application of beneficial rhizobacteria. For a critical and systematic review story, we conducted a non-exhaustive but rigorous literature survey to assemble the most relevant literature (sorting of a total of 236 out of 300 articles produced from the search). In addition, a critical discussion deciphering the major challenges for the commercialization of these bioagents as biofertilizer, biostimulants, and biopesticides was undertaken to unlock the prospective research avenues and wider application of these natural resources. The advancement of biotechnological tools may help to enhance the sustainable use of bacterial biostimulants in agriculture. The perspective of biostimulants is also systematically evaluated for a better understanding of the molecular crosstalk between plants and beneficial bacteria in the changing climate towards sustainable soil and plant health. 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.

Plant-metal interactions in the context of climate change: a review

Denise R. Fernando1,2

1 Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic 3086, Australia.

2 Department of Animal Plant and Soil Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic 3086, Australia.

ABSTRACT: Expanding fundamental understanding of the complex and far-reaching impacts of anthropogenic climate change is essential for formulating mitigation strategies. There is abundant evidence of ongoing damage and threat to plant health across both natural and cultivated ecosystems, with potentially immeasurable cost to humanity and the health of the planet. Plant-soil systems are multi-faceted, incorporating key variables that are individually and interactively affected by climatic factors such as rainfall, solar radiation, air temperature, atmospheric CO2 and pollution. This review focuses on climate effects on plant-metal interactions and related plant-soil dynamics. For example, while ecosystems native to metalliferous soils incorporate vegetation well adapted to metal oversupply, climate-change can induce the oversupply of certain immobile soil metals by altering the chemistry of non-metalliferous soils. The latter is implicated in observed stress in some non-metal adapted forest trees growing on ‘normal’ non-metalliferous soils. Vegetation native to riverine habitats reliant on flooding is increasingly at risk under drying conditions caused by anthropogenic water removal and climate change, which can ultimately limit plant access to essential trace-metal nutrients from nutrient poor sandy soils. In agricultural plant systems it is well known that environmental conditions are capable of altering soil chemistries and plant responses to drive plant metal toxicity stress. These aspects will be discussed with respect to specific studies linking climate to plant-metal interactions.

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