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Frontiers in Chemistry

Agricultural Biological Chemistry

This article is part of the Research Topic

Drought Tolerance in Crop Plants

Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Chem. | doi: 10.3389/fchem.2018.00092

Introgression of physiological traits for a comprehensive improvement of drought adaptation in crop plants

 Sheshshayee Sreeman1, Preethi Vijayaraghavareddy1,  Rohini Sreevathsa2, Sowmya Rajareddy1, Smitharani Arakesh1, Pooja Bharti1, Prathibha Darmappa1 and  Raju Soolanayakanahally3*
  • 1Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, India
  • 2National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (ICAR), India
  • 3Saskatoon Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada

Burgeoning population growth, industrial demand and the predicted global climate change resulting in erratic monsoon rains are expected to severely limit fresh water availability for agriculture both in irrigated and rainfed ecosystems. In order to remain food and nutrient secure, agriculture research needs to focus on devising strategies to save water in irrigated conditions and to develop superior cultivars with improved water productivity to sustain yield under rainfed conditions. Recent opinions accruing in the scientific literature strongly favour the adoption of a “trait based” approach for increasing water productivity especially the traits associated with maintenance of positive tissue turgor and maintenance of increased carbon assimilation as the most relevant traits to improve crop growth rates under water limiting conditions and to enhance water productivity. The advent of several water saving agronomic practices notwithstanding, a genetic enhancement strategy of introgressing distinct physiological, morphological and cellular mechanisms on to a single elite genetic background is essential for achieving a comprehensive improvement in drought adaptation in crop plants. The significant progress made in genomics, though would provide the necessary impetus, a clear understanding of the “traits” to be introgressed is the most essential need of the hour. Water uptake by a better root architecture, water conservation by preventing unproductive transpiration is crucial for maintaining positive tissue water relations. Improved carbon assimilation associated with carboxylation capacity and mesophyll conductance is equally important in sustaining crop growth rates under water limited conditions. Besides these major traits, we summarized the available information in literature on classifying various drought adaptive traits. We provide evidences that water-use efficiency when introgressed with moderately higher transpiration, would significantly enhance growth rates and water productivity in rice through an improved photosynthetic capacity.

Keywords: drought adaptive traits, Water productivity, water-use efficiency, Physiological breeding, carbon isotope discrimination, mesophyll conductance

Received: 31 Aug 2017; Accepted: 14 Mar 2018.

Edited by:

Raju Datla, National Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC), Canada

Reviewed by:

Ravinder K. Goyal, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canada
Prasanta Dash, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), India  

Copyright: © 2018 Sreeman, Vijayaraghavareddy, Sreevathsa, Rajareddy, Arakesh, Bharti, Darmappa and Soolanayakanahally. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Raju Soolanayakanahally, Saskatoon Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon, Canada,