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      Drought-Tolerance of Wheat Improved by Rhizosphere Bacteria from Harsh Environments: Enhanced Biomass Production and Reduced Emissions of Stress Volatiles

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          Abstract

          Water is the key resource limiting world agricultural production. Although an impressive number of research reports have been published on plant drought tolerance enhancement via genetic modifications during the last few years, progress has been slower than expected. We suggest a feasible alternative strategy by application of rhizospheric bacteria coevolved with plant roots in harsh environments over millions of years, and harboring adaptive traits improving plant fitness under biotic and abiotic stresses. We show the effect of bacterial priming on wheat drought stress tolerance enhancement, resulting in up to 78% greater plant biomass and five-fold higher survivorship under severe drought. We monitored emissions of seven stress-related volatiles from bacterially-primed drought-stressed wheat seedlings, and demonstrated that three of these volatiles are likely promising candidates for a rapid non-invasive technique to assess crop drought stress and its mitigation in early phases of stress development. We conclude that gauging stress by elicited volatiles provides an effectual platform for rapid screening of potent bacterial strains and that priming with isolates of rhizospheric bacteria from harsh environments is a promising, novel way to improve plant water use efficiency. These new advancements importantly contribute towards solving food security issues in changing climates.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Solutions for a cultivated planet.

          Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world's future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture's environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing 'yield gaps' on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.
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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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              Photosynthesis under drought and salt stress: regulation mechanisms from whole plant to cell.

              Plants are often subjected to periods of soil and atmospheric water deficits during their life cycle as well as, in many areas of the globe, to high soil salinity. Understanding how plants respond to drought, salt and co-occurring stresses can play a major role in stabilizing crop performance under drought and saline conditions and in the protection of natural vegetation. Photosynthesis, together with cell growth, is among the primary processes to be affected by water or salt stress. The effects of drought and salt stresses on photosynthesis are either direct (as the diffusion limitations through the stomata and the mesophyll and the alterations in photosynthetic metabolism) or secondary, such as the oxidative stress arising from the superimposition of multiple stresses. The carbon balance of a plant during a period of salt/water stress and recovery may depend as much on the velocity and degree of photosynthetic recovery, as it depends on the degree and velocity of photosynthesis decline during water depletion. Current knowledge about physiological limitations to photosynthetic recovery after different intensities of water and salt stress is still scarce. From the large amount of data available on transcript-profiling studies in plants subjected to drought and salt it is becoming apparent that plants perceive and respond to these stresses by quickly altering gene expression in parallel with physiological and biochemical alterations; this occurs even under mild to moderate stress conditions. From a recent comprehensive study that compared salt and drought stress it is apparent that both stresses led to down-regulation of some photosynthetic genes, with most of the changes being small (ratio threshold lower than 1) possibly reflecting the mild stress imposed. When compared with drought, salt stress affected more genes and more intensely, possibly reflecting the combined effects of dehydration and osmotic stress in salt-stressed plants.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2014
                8 May 2014
                : 9
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Dept. of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Uppsala BioCenter, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden
                [2 ]Dept. of Plant Physiology, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia
                [3 ]Institute of Evolution, The University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
                [4 ]Dept. of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Uppsala BioCenter, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden
                [5 ]Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia
                University of Delhi South Campus, India
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: ST ÜN LB IED LC GS. Performed the experiments: ST IED LC TT GS. Analyzed the data: ST ÜN IED LB LC AK GS ES. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ST ÜN LB EN GS. Wrote the paper: ST ÜN LB IED LC.

                Article
                PONE-D-13-47632
                10.1371/journal.pone.0096086
                4014485
                24811199

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 13
                Funding
                Financial support for the study was provided by the European Commission through European Regional Fund (the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Adaptation), and the European Research Council (advanced grant 322603, SIP-VOL+), European Union FP7:247669, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning 2009-243, Carl Tryggers Stiftelse for vetenskaplig forskning CTS09:385, Stiftelsen Oscar och Lili Lamms Minne DO2009-0052, and by the Estonian Ministry of Science and Education (institutional grant IUT-8-3). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Biochemistry
                Chemical Biology
                Biotechnology
                Plant Biotechnology
                Developmental Biology
                Plant Growth and Development
                Ecology
                Plant Ecology
                Plant-Environment Interactions
                Microbiology
                Plant Microbiology
                Plant Science
                Ecology and Environmental Sciences
                Physical Sciences
                Chemistry

                Uncategorized

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