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Overcoming Salinity Barriers to Crop Production Using Traditional Methods

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Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences

Informa UK Limited

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      Mechanisms of salinity tolerance.

      The physiological and molecular mechanisms of tolerance to osmotic and ionic components of salinity stress are reviewed at the cellular, organ, and whole-plant level. Plant growth responds to salinity in two phases: a rapid, osmotic phase that inhibits growth of young leaves, and a slower, ionic phase that accelerates senescence of mature leaves. Plant adaptations to salinity are of three distinct types: osmotic stress tolerance, Na(+) or Cl() exclusion, and the tolerance of tissue to accumulated Na(+) or Cl(). Our understanding of the role of the HKT gene family in Na(+) exclusion from leaves is increasing, as is the understanding of the molecular bases for many other transport processes at the cellular level. However, we have a limited molecular understanding of the overall control of Na(+) accumulation and of osmotic stress tolerance at the whole-plant level. Molecular genetics and functional genomics provide a new opportunity to synthesize molecular and physiological knowledge to improve the salinity tolerance of plants relevant to food production and environmental sustainability.
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        Plant responses to drought, salinity and extreme temperatures: towards genetic engineering for stress tolerance.

        Abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures, chemical toxicity and oxidative stress are serious threats to agriculture and the natural status of the environment. Increased salinization of arable land is expected to have devastating global effects, resulting in 30% land loss within the next 25 years, and up to 50% by the year 2050. Therefore, breeding for drought and salinity stress tolerance in crop plants (for food supply) and in forest trees (a central component of the global ecosystem) should be given high research priority in plant biotechnology programs. Molecular control mechanisms for abiotic stress tolerance are based on the activation and regulation of specific stress-related genes. These genes are involved in the whole sequence of stress responses, such as signaling, transcriptional control, protection of membranes and proteins, and free-radical and toxic-compound scavenging. Recently, research into the molecular mechanisms of stress responses has started to bear fruit and, in parallel, genetic modification of stress tolerance has also shown promising results that may ultimately apply to agriculturally and ecologically important plants. The present review summarizes the recent advances in elucidating stress-response mechanisms and their biotechnological applications. Emphasis is placed on transgenic plants that have been engineered based on different stress-response mechanisms. The review examines the following aspects: regulatory controls, metabolite engineering, ion transport, antioxidants and detoxification, late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) and heat-shock proteins.
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          Mycorrhizal fungal diversity determines plant biodiversity, ecosystem variability and productivity

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences
            Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences
            Informa UK Limited
            0735-2689
            1549-7836
            July 04 2013
            July 04 2013
            : 32
            : 4
            : 250-291
            10.1080/07352689.2012.752236
            © 2013

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