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Chapter 22

Responses to
Abiotic Stresses

CHAPTER OUTLINE
Introduction
22.1 Plant responses to abiotic stresses
22.2 Stresses involving water deficit
22.3 Osmotic adjustment and its role in tolerance to drought and salinity
22.4 Impact of water deficit and salinity on transport across plant membranes
22.5 Additional genes induced by water stress
22.6 Freezing stress
22.7 Flooding and oxygen deficit
22.8 Oxidative stress
22.9 Heat stress

Elizabeth A. Bray
Julia Bailey-Serres
Elizabeth Weretilnyk

 

 

Plants frequently encounter stresses, external conditions that adversely affect growth, development, or productivity. Stresses can be biotic, imposed by other organisms (Chapter 21), or abiotic, arising from an excess or deficit in the physical or chemical environment. Among the environmental conditions that cause damage are water-logging, drought, high or low temperatures, excessive soil salinity, inadequate mineral nutrients in the soil, and too much or too little light. Phytotoxic compounds such as ozone also can damage plant tissues. Resistance or sensitivity to the stress depends on the species, the genotype, and the developmental age of the plant.
      Stresses trigger a wide range of plant responses, from altered gene expression and cellular metabolism to changes in growth rates and crop yields. The duration, severity, and rate at which a stress is imposed all influence how a plant responds. Several adverse conditions in combination may elicit a response different from that for a single type of stress. Features of the plant, including organ or tissue identity, developmental age, and genotype, also influence plant responses to stress (Fig. 22.1). A response may be triggered directly by a stress, such as drought, or may result from a stress-induced injury, such as loss of membrane integrity. Some responses clearly enable a plant to acclimate to stress, whereas the functional role of others is not apparent. Therefore, identifying which responses promote or maintain plant growth and development during stress is important for understanding the stress response process.


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