Research Topic

Coping with Pollution - the Effects of Environmental Contaminants on Plant Growth and Physiology

About this Research Topic

Environmental contamination as a consequence of anthropogenic activities has become a global concern. Legislative changes and practices on a global scale surrounding soil, water, and atmospheric contamination require continued attention and development to mitigate damage. Cities, mining, industry, and certain agricultural practices, as well as improper waste disposal, are largely responsible for undesirable release of hazardous compounds to the environment. These compounds, such as trace-elements, pharmaceuticals and health care products, pesticides, as well as newly developed nanoparticles can negatively affect plant growth and physiology, including those of agricultural interest, causing adverse ecological and economic outcomes. Moreover, the response of plants to pollutants and contaminants requires investigation to assess the compound uptake, accumulation in the food chain, and the plant's capability to resist and ‘reclaim’ pollutants from contaminated environments. In this context, the identification of tolerance and sequestration mechanisms in plants to hazardous compounds can help the development of environmentally friendly technologies, i.e. phytoremediation, and support molecular approaches to increase plant tolerance to contaminants. In addition to contaminants, plants are challenged with changes in the environment arising from climate change, such as increasing temperatures, irregular rain patterns, and adverse light conditions. However, our understanding of the interactive effects between hazardous compounds and abiotic factors on plants remains limited.

This Research Topic aims to gather knowledge on plant responses to environmental contamination and the interaction with various scenarios of climate change, which is of critical importance for sustaining crop production. Studies can acknowledge the accumulation of contaminants in plants and the potential impacts in the food chain or at higher trophic levels. Papers focused on plant responses to emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals and personal care products, persistent organic chemicals including pesticides and harmful algal toxins) are of particular interest.

Original Research papers, Opinions, Perspectives, Hypotheses, Reviews, and Mini-Reviews related to the following topics in agricultural and non-agricultural plants are welcome for submission:
1) Plant physiological and morphophysiological responses to contaminants
2) Interaction of contaminants and abiotic factors in plant growth and physiology
3) Contaminant uptake and phytoremediation capacity of plants

Descriptive studies reporting responses of growth, yield, or quality to environmental contaminants will not be considered if they do not progress physiological understanding of these responses.


Keywords: Plant physiology, Environmental Contamination, Emerging Contaminants, Climate changes, Phytoremediation


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.

Environmental contamination as a consequence of anthropogenic activities has become a global concern. Legislative changes and practices on a global scale surrounding soil, water, and atmospheric contamination require continued attention and development to mitigate damage. Cities, mining, industry, and certain agricultural practices, as well as improper waste disposal, are largely responsible for undesirable release of hazardous compounds to the environment. These compounds, such as trace-elements, pharmaceuticals and health care products, pesticides, as well as newly developed nanoparticles can negatively affect plant growth and physiology, including those of agricultural interest, causing adverse ecological and economic outcomes. Moreover, the response of plants to pollutants and contaminants requires investigation to assess the compound uptake, accumulation in the food chain, and the plant's capability to resist and ‘reclaim’ pollutants from contaminated environments. In this context, the identification of tolerance and sequestration mechanisms in plants to hazardous compounds can help the development of environmentally friendly technologies, i.e. phytoremediation, and support molecular approaches to increase plant tolerance to contaminants. In addition to contaminants, plants are challenged with changes in the environment arising from climate change, such as increasing temperatures, irregular rain patterns, and adverse light conditions. However, our understanding of the interactive effects between hazardous compounds and abiotic factors on plants remains limited.

This Research Topic aims to gather knowledge on plant responses to environmental contamination and the interaction with various scenarios of climate change, which is of critical importance for sustaining crop production. Studies can acknowledge the accumulation of contaminants in plants and the potential impacts in the food chain or at higher trophic levels. Papers focused on plant responses to emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals and personal care products, persistent organic chemicals including pesticides and harmful algal toxins) are of particular interest.

Original Research papers, Opinions, Perspectives, Hypotheses, Reviews, and Mini-Reviews related to the following topics in agricultural and non-agricultural plants are welcome for submission:
1) Plant physiological and morphophysiological responses to contaminants
2) Interaction of contaminants and abiotic factors in plant growth and physiology
3) Contaminant uptake and phytoremediation capacity of plants

Descriptive studies reporting responses of growth, yield, or quality to environmental contaminants will not be considered if they do not progress physiological understanding of these responses.


Keywords: Plant physiology, Environmental Contamination, Emerging Contaminants, Climate changes, Phytoremediation


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.

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Submission Deadlines

03 September 2020 Abstract
03 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

03 September 2020 Abstract
03 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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