Research Topic

Physiological, Molecular and Genetic Perspectives of Chilling Tolerance in Horticultural Crops

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About this Research Topic

Chilling injury affects crops of the tropic and subtopic region whereby plants exhibit physiological, biochemical and cellular dysfunctions in response to low temperature exposure. Damage as a result of chilling injury can include surface pitting, discoloration, internal breakdown, water soaking, failure to ...

Chilling injury affects crops of the tropic and subtopic region whereby plants exhibit physiological, biochemical and cellular dysfunctions in response to low temperature exposure. Damage as a result of chilling injury can include surface pitting, discoloration, internal breakdown, water soaking, failure to ripen, growth inhibition, wilting, loss of flavor, and decay. The susceptibility of a crop to chilling injury is related to its origin, genetic makeup, tissue developmental or maturation stage, and tissue metabolic status, in addition to environmental factors such as temperature, light, relative humidity, and atmospheric composition.

Crops have evolved complex mechanisms for tolerance under chilling stress. These mechanisms include stress perception, signal transduction, transcriptional activation of stress-responsive target genes, and synthesis of stress-related proteins and other molecules. Conventional breeding has been instrumental in developing chilling tolerant cultivars in various crops. However, the more recent integration of molecular and omics-based techniques to conventional breeding has vastly improved the efficiency of screening traits associated with chilling tolerance. An improved understanding of the physiological, biochemical, and molecular responses and tolerance mechanisms, along with the discovery of novel stress-responsive pathways and genes, may contribute to efficient engineering strategies that enhance cold stress tolerance. It is therefore imperative to accelerate the efforts to unravel the mechanisms underlying cold stress tolerance in horticultural crops.

This Research Topic aims to present and discuss cold stress tolerance mechanisms using physiological, biochemical, molecular, structural and systems biology approaches in horticultural crops. Furthermore, to analyse the postharvest technologies that alleviate chilling injury, restrict loss and ensure maximal quality and economic value. A further objective is to introduce the most relevant problems of chilling tolerance mechanisms, and to emphasize the effective, safe and environmental-friendly technologies for chilling tolerance induction. Articles are expected to address and report recent advances in the physiological, molecular and genetic perspectives of chilling tolerance in horticultural crops falling under the following aspects:

- Physiological, molecular and genetic response of horticultural crops to chilling stress;
- Novel chilling-responsive pathways and genes to regulate chilling tolerance in horticultural crops;
- Molecular and functional genomics approaches for tolerant crops selection and breeding;
- Physiology, biology, and mitigation technologies for postharvest chilling injury in horticultural crops.


Keywords: Chilling Stress, Chilling Response, Chilling Tolerance, Horticultural Crop


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