About this Research Topic
Plant primary metabolism encompasses the biochemical pathways and metabolites involved in the production and utilization of energy for growth, development, and survival. Such pathways include photosynthesis and respiration (i.e. glycolysis, TCA cycle). Partitioning of these pathways into specific metabolites is pivotal for productivity of fruit and agronomic species, amongst others. This has several physiological consequences, such as differential shoot:root resource distributions, altering plant growth and development and phenological stages, and impacts on reproductive activity often with negative economic impact on perennial tree crop production. The partitioning and allocation of primary metabolites therein to various plant organs is influenced by genotype, and is also controlled to a great degree by environmental cues. Climate change is negatively affecting crop and horticultural plant productivity mainly due to the increase in extreme weather events. Erratic weather events trigger abiotic stress responses, which modify primary metabolism by inducing biochemical and physiological changes that exert influence on carbon metabolism. Therefore, the impact on primary metabolite partitioning could induce a long-term metabolic shift toward different plant functions, fostering vegetative carbon sink strength and in turn reducing carbohydrates available for reproductive activity or plant defense, since primary metabolites provide substrates for the biosynthesis of defense-related metabolites.
In horticultural crops, the feedback of primary metabolism to changing environments is fundamental for the study and the exploitation of plant genetic variability and plant plasticity under abiotic stress. In fact, plant plasticity highlights the ability of plants to adapt to and cope with environmental challenges. The focus of this Research Topic will be on the environmental control of primary metabolite synthesis and translocation to different plant organs in horticultural crops. Accumulating evidence suggests that pathways and enzymes of primary metabolism and strategies for partitioning and allocating primary metabolites can be modified during plant stress, implying metabolic flexibility. Phenotyping plants under abiotic stress conditions is contributing to our understanding of the adaptation of metabolic pathways, and hence, of plant plasticity. The acquired knowledge of primary metabolism diversity and its underlying physiological plasticity will allow for a more holistic understanding of plant health and in turn, crop productivity. Examining the plasticity of primary metabolism under environmental stress at the biochemical, cellular, genetic, and molecular levels will lead to innovative approaches to further optimize agronomic plant production.
This Research Topic aims to assemble a comprehensive collection of studies in particular in perennial and tree crops, around how primary metabolism is affected by the environment and which are the strategies to improve the resilience of plant primary metabolism to abiotic stress. We welcome submissions of Original Research, Review and Methods falling under (but not limited to) the following categories:
• Hypothesis-driven studies on the interaction of plant primary metabolism as influenced by the environment: influences of climate and stress on photosynthesis and respiration.
• Transport of primary metabolites: environmental control of metabolite translocation, phloem functioning as influenced by the environment.
• Allocation of primary metabolites in different organs as affected by abiotic stress: prioritization of sinks in plants, competition between reproductive and vegetative activity.
• Agronomic tools to improve primary metabolism performance: techniques to improve primary metabolite biosynthesis under abiotic stress conditions, manipulation of translocation, microclimate modification and primary metabolism efficiency.
• Descriptive studies that report responses of growth, yield, or quality to a given treatment will not be considered if they do not progress physiological understanding of these responses.
• Studies defining gene families or descriptive collection of transcripts, proteins, or metabolites, will not be considered for review unless they are expanded and provide mechanistic and/or physiological insights into the biological system or process being studied.
Keywords: Primary metabolism, Abiotic stress, Perennial Crops, Tree Crops, Plasticity
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.