Research Topic

Crop Response to Waterlogging

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Waterlogging affects approximately 10% of the global land area and significantly reduces crop yield. In agricultural soils, the primary causes of waterlogging are heavy rainfall, but also inadequate soil drainage and particular soil conditions such as duplex soils. According to trends in climate change, ...

Waterlogging affects approximately 10% of the global land area and significantly reduces crop yield. In agricultural soils, the primary causes of waterlogging are heavy rainfall, but also inadequate soil drainage and particular soil conditions such as duplex soils. According to trends in climate change, waterlogging risk will increase in near future, thus presenting a challenge to research and land management. The saturation of soil pores with water reduces gas exchange with the atmosphere, so that oxygen concentration decreases rapidly. Anoxia is the first negative effect of waterlogging on plants, but also secondary effects can be detrimental to plant growth.

In waterlogged soils, carbon dioxide and ethylene concentrations increase in the root environment, changes in soil bacteria populations lead to an intense de-nitrification and accumulation of ammonium and polyphenolic compounds, and some nutrients, such as N and S, become less available or available in another form, while others, P, Fe, Zn, Mn, increase their availability, even reaching toxic levels. Plants react to anoxia adopting apparently contrasting strategies, such as the reduction of metabolism up to the complete growth stop, or the activation of lactic or ethanol fermentation pathways. Moreover, several species can form aerenchyma tissues to increase oxygen supply to submerged parts. Most crops are sensitive to waterlogging, however, the extent of damage strongly depends on the species, the stage of development and the climatic conditions at the time stress is applied, as well as on the duration of exposure. Because soil is a complex matrix, it is not clear whether damages to crops are primary caused by anoxia or whether other stress conditions persist after the end of waterlogging, thus hindering plant recovery. This, along with a deeper understanding of the morphological traits, the physiological mechanisms and the management practices that determine the different sensitivity of crop species and genotypes to waterlogging, are open challenges for research.

This Research Topic aims to highlight the impact of soil waterlogging on crop production worldwide, understanding how waterlogging stress affects plants, what traits determine the different sensitivity of species, and to which extent breeding for waterlogging tolerance and management practices can face the question. Aiming to gather the novel frontiers of waterlogging research in various disciplines, we encourage submissions of scientific papers covering the fields of Agronomy and Crop Production, Soil and Plant Science, Plant Physiology and Breeding, in order to provide the reader with knowledge on all aspects of the impact of waterlogging on crop production. We welcome authors reporting original and novel researches that investigate the response of crop plants to soil waterlogging, with either a physiologic or agronomic approach. Papers discussing changes in plant growth and physiology in view of crop yield, are highly welcome. Manuscripts should meet the requirements of the specialty section Plant Abiotic Stress, include an adequate number of biological replicates, and provide mechanistic insights on the observed phenomena. Analysis of historical data on the occurrence of waterlogging and flooding events, so as economic analyses of damages based on real data, are also appreciated.


Keywords: Waterlogging, Crop Species, Yield, Damage, Tolerance


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