About this Research Topic
Plants sense and acclimate to environmental changes by activating response mechanisms at the molecular, cellular, physiological, and developmental levels. The acclimation process allows the plant to maintain its fitness, to continue to grow, and in the best case to reproduce. However, due to the tradeoff between growth and stress responses, acclimation impairs biomass production and thus crop yield.
Climate change, the need for a sustainable agriculture, and the increasing demand for food are three grand challenges. To tackle these challenges, researchers need to understand the genetic diversity and physiological potential of crop species, and exploit their ability to adapt to abiotic stresses to implement new breeding and management strategies.
Each stress condition prompts a unique response although some overlap occurs between the reactions to abiotic stress, drought, heat, cold, salt, high light, hazard metals and metalloids. Focusing on the pathway(s) and process(es) targeted as responsible for stress tolerance is one important step forward to discover the specificities of different crops to particular types of abiotic stress.
Plants maintain homeostasis through physiological mechanisms controlling gas exchange, water and nutrient use efficiency, and photosynthesis. Available techniques are based on non-invasive, remote, and automated methods, which result in the creation of big data sets. This information can be used to build models that mirror the plant system.
Classical genetics, breeding, and induced mutagenesis are routinely applied to crop species for many decades. More recently, reverse genetics and high throughput technologies provide access to the complex relationship between genes, proteins, metabolites, and their functions. Experimental approaches that so far were mainly applied to model species are now applicable to crop species. Indeed, complementary analytical techniques with distinct sensitivity range are increasingly used to study transcriptomes, proteomes, interactomes, or metabolomes in crops plants. As a result of these approaches, many studies examined and described the pathways and processes responsible for stress tolerance, and highlighted the specificities observed across the different crop species and types of stress. However, relevant correlations remain to be established between molecular processes, specific genes, physiological responses, and stress tolerance in crop varieties of interest. Notably, molecular markers are useful tools for marker-assisted breeding and improvement of management strategies.
This Research Topic welcomes the submission of all types of articles, with a preference for original research, reviews, and opinions, addressing the following:
1) Integration of experimental data from physiological and/or cellular quantitative traits and any “omic” approach;
2) Analysis of species cultivated for the purpose to produce fresh or processed food, feed, raw materials, and bioenergy, or involved in phytoremediation or biodiversity and landscape conservation;
3) Investigation of some physiologically relevant crop plant abiotic stress response/tolerance.
Keywords: acclimation, crop plants, omics, phenotype, abiotic stress