January 17, 2023 – Heat and drought are the utmost limiting abiotic factors which pose a major threat to food security and agricultural production and are exacerbated by ‘extreme and rapid’ climate change, according to a new paper in CABI Reviews.

The team of international scientists suggest that it is critical to understand the biochemical, ecological and physiological responses on plants to the stresses of heat and drought in order for more practical solutions and management.

They state that plant responses to these challenges may be divided into three categories: phonological, physiological and biochemical.

Lead researcher Dr Aqarab Husnain Gondal, of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan, argues that due to physical damages, biological disruptions and biochemical abnormalities, sub-optimal water supplies and unusual temperatures negatively impact crop development and yields.

Supported by colleagues from Yarmouk University, Jordan, the National University of Huancavelica, Peru, and the Citrus Research Institute Sagodha, Dr Aqarab Husnain Gondal says a distinctive aspect of the phenomenon is comparing fundamental behaviour with abiotic stresses.

The scientists, referring to a study examining data from research published between 1980 and 2015, state that drought has reduced wheat and maize yields by up to 40% around the world. They also highlight that projections suggest that for every degree Celsius rise in temperature, this would result in a 6% loss in global wheat yields.

Dr Aqarab Husnain Gondal said, “This review gives a thorough description of the adaptation of plants towards heat and drought stress with a particular emphasis on identifying similarities and variations.

“Abiotic stresses are reducing crop yield all around the world. Heat and drought stress causes plants to respond in a variety of ways – the most notable of which is by altering their development and morphology.

“While the capacity of plants to withstand these pressures differs significantly across species, it is worthy to note that recent advances have been achieved in limiting the adverse consequences – either through the use of genetic methods or by the induction of stress tolerance.”

The scientists maintain that despite the fact that heat and drought stress may have a negative impact on the plant’s growth and development, reproductive growth is the most affected.

Anthesis or grain filling stress may have a major impact on crop production if it is mild while damage to the photosynthetic machinery, oxidative stress and membrane instability are also caused by these forces, they say.

Full paper reference

Aqarab Husnain Gondal, Mohammad Al Zubi, Franklin Ore Areche, Abdul Jabbar, Sana Akram and Denis Dante Corilla Flores, ‘Plants adaptability to climate change and drought stress for crop growth and production,’ CABI Reviews, 18 January (2023). DOI: 10.1079/cabireviews.2023.0004

The paper can be read open access from 00:01hrs UK time 18 January, 2023, here: https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/doi/10.1079/cabireviews.2023.0004

About CABI Reviews

CABI Reviews is a reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science.

About CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 49-member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

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CABI Reviews




Plants adaptability to climate change and drought stress for crop growth and production