About this Research Topic
Resource allocation is fundamental to plant development, yield formation and tolerance to abiotic and biotic stress. Resource functions in plants in organic and inorganic forms. The former includes organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N); whereas the latter covers mineral ions and water. In most plants, organic C is initially produced in photosynthetic leaves as sucrose that is transported through phloem to non-photosynthetic tissues (sinks) for diverse uses. On the other hand, ions and water are taken up by roots from soil and transported to the aerial parts through xylem. Organic N is mainly assimilated as amino acids in leaves from organic C and inorganic N for transport through phloem to the remaining plant bodies. The distribution and utilization of resource are overall controlled by concerted actions of membrane-transport proteins and /or metabolic enzymes of cell types located in strategic positions within the plant body. These processes determine plant food, fibre and biofuel quality and yield, hence human and animal nutrition and health and textile and bioenergy production. Importantly, resources such as glucose, peptides and many ions also act as signalling molecules regulating plant growth and in response to adverse conditions including drought, salt and pathogen infections. Indeed, the dual role of these resource species in nutrient distribution and signalling renders them perhaps ideal molecules in efficiently adjusting plants to adopt some stress situations such as lacking nutrient availability during reproductive stage. As for water, it is estimated that more than 50% of water transported through plant cells are mediated by membrane proteins and increase in water use efficiency has become an urgent matter in global agriculture which is the number one ‘consumer’ of world water resource.
It has taken humanity thousands of years to create plant varieties that allocate resource into readily harvestable tissues that are compatible with our high intensity agricultural systems. However, most of the changes in resource partitioning conflict with the normal evolutionary trajectories of the particular species. Thus, stabilizing and further modifying resource allocation in plants remains challenging. Given this and in light of the demand to double world crop yield by 2050 to feed more people with less arable land and the increased incidents of climate change-associated abiotic stress such as drought, salt and heat stress, it is imperative to advance our fundamental understanding of the mechanisms underpinning resource uptake and allocation in plants from molecular to whole plant levels. This could allow us to develop innovative solutions to optimise resource distribution and utilization for higher plant yield, quality and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Thus, it is timely to launch this Research Topic in Frontiers in Plant Physiology. We encourage colleagues from wide plant science community to contribute your work as research paper or review or opinion to this Research Topic which covers all aspects of uptake and regulation of organic C and N and minerals and water under optimal or stressful conditions.
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.