Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 March 2024) | Viewed by 17109

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Pomology, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, 11855 Athens, Greece
Interests: fruit tree abiotic stress tolerance; fruit tree propagation; fruit tree cultivation management; cultural practices on fruit tree yield, quality and functional properties
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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Morphology, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, 118 55 Athens, Greece
Interests: photosynthesis and photoprotection under stress; plant tissue optics; role of secondary metabolites in plant stress tolerance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In a changing environment due to climate crisis, horticultural crops often experience one or more severe stresses, resulting in physiological and biochemical disorders that cause yield reduction or, under critical stress, even plant loss. Due to the prediction of climate perturbations during recent decades, an intense interest in the effects of abiotic stress on plant physiology, biochemistry and overall production and survival has arisen. This Special Issue focuses on the effects of abiotic stress on horticultural crops (fruit trees, grapevine, vegetables and ornamental plants) on a morphoanatomical, physiological and biochemical basis. Alleviation strategies powered by plant adaptation and acclimation mechanisms, as well as cultivar tolerance, are all within the scope of this Special Issue. There is also a special interest on the effects of abiotic stress on yield and yield components, i.e., quality, phytochemical content and functional product properties. In this context, this Special Issue welcomes high-quality, interdisciplinary studies within the framework of horticultural crops. Original research manuscripts and reviews are accepted.

Prof. Dr. Peter A. Roussos
Dr. Georgios Liakopoulos
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • horticultural crops
  • drought
  • salinity
  • temperature extremes
  • irradiance extremes
  • flooding
  • heavy metal toxicity
  • ozone toxicity

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 2892 KiB  
Article
Selection and Phenotyping for Drought Tolerance in Somatic Hybrids between Solanum tuberosum and Solanum bulbocastanum That Show Resistance to Late Blight, by Using a Semi-Automated Plant Phenotyping Platform
by Tünde-Éva Dénes, Imola Molnár, István Zoltán Vass, Imre Vass and Elena Rákosy-Tican
Agriculture 2024, 14(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14010048 - 27 Dec 2023
Viewed by 945
Abstract
Drought stress is one of the most limiting abiotic stresses for plant growth and development. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), due to its shallow root system, is considered sensitive to drought. In potato breeding, the wild Solanum species may represent a good resource [...] Read more.
Drought stress is one of the most limiting abiotic stresses for plant growth and development. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), due to its shallow root system, is considered sensitive to drought. In potato breeding, the wild Solanum species may represent a good resource for disease and abiotic stress resistance genes, but their transfer is limited by sexual incompatibilities. Somatic hybrids (SH) between potato and the wild species Solanum bulbocastanum, sexually incompatible with potato, proved to be late-blight-resistant in laboratory and field assays. The aim of this study was to screen a series of somatic hybrids and derived backcrosses for drought stress tolerance. In vitro stress exposure (with 5% and 15% PEG 6000) allowed the selection of several tolerant genotypes in a short time. The eleven selected genotypes were tested by using a semi-automated plant phenotyping platform at the Biological Research Centre in Szeged, Hungary, where the plants’ biomass accumulation and photosynthesis under long-term drought conditions were monitored. The findings of this study affirm that the somatic hybrids between potato and S. bulbocastanum, along with their backcrosses, constitute valuable pre-breeding material. This is attributed to their possession of both late blight resistance and drought stress tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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19 pages, 6191 KiB  
Article
Does Sodium Nitroprusside Alleviate Water Deficit Stress in Impatiens walleriana Shoots Grown In Vitro?
by Marija Đurić, Milana Trifunović-Momčilov, Snežana Milošević, Marija Marković, Olga Radulović, Angelina Subotić and Branka Uzelac
Agriculture 2023, 13(10), 1903; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13101903 - 28 Sep 2023
Viewed by 994
Abstract
Impatiens walleriana is a decorative horticultural plant species. Commercial production requires that the plants be brought to market, often accompanied by reduced water content during transport. Drought significantly affects metabolic processes in plants. The effects of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced water deficit on shoots [...] Read more.
Impatiens walleriana is a decorative horticultural plant species. Commercial production requires that the plants be brought to market, often accompanied by reduced water content during transport. Drought significantly affects metabolic processes in plants. The effects of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced water deficit on shoots of I. walleriana were investigated using different mechanisms at the biochemical level. In addition, the potential water deficit-ameliorating effect of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) was tested. Shoots of I. walleriana were initially grown on MS media supplemented with SNP (50, 100 and 250 μM). After pre-treatments, shoots were further transferred to media supplemented with PEG8000 (3%) and/or SNP (50, 100 and 250 μM). Water deficit conditions increased proline, photosynthetic pigments, malondialdehyde (MDA), H2O2, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity. In addition, PEG-induced water deficit increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POX) activities but decreased catalase (CAT) activity. SNP did not significantly affect photosynthetic pigments and total phenolic content but increased proline accumulation, MDA and H2O2 content, especially when applied simultaneously with PEG. Moreover, none of the investigated SNP pretreatments significantly altered the activities of SOD, POX, and CAT in I. walleriana. The results indicate that exogenous application of SNP effectively alleviated water deficit stress in shoots of I. walleriana grown in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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9 pages, 478 KiB  
Communication
The Effect of Hydro-Priming and Proline Priming of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Seeds on Germination, Photosynthetic Pigments and Metal Metabolism under Cadmium Stress
by Alisa Selović, Erna Karalija, Arnela Demir, Adisa Parić and Dunja Šamec
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081472 - 25 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) is considered one of the most toxic heavy metals to living organisms, being very persistent in soil and non-biodegradable, thus posing a long-term hazard to plants and humans. In recent years, the application of different molecules at the seed level, known [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) is considered one of the most toxic heavy metals to living organisms, being very persistent in soil and non-biodegradable, thus posing a long-term hazard to plants and humans. In recent years, the application of different molecules at the seed level, known as chemical seed priming, has been studied as a method to improve stress tolerance in plants. In the present study, we tested the effect of hydro-priming and proline priming of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds on germination, photosynthetic pigments, and metal metabolism under cadmium stress. Plants primed with proline showed better germination under cadmium stress (100% versus 84% for non-primed and hydro-primed seeds). Priming with 20 mM of proline increased the chlorophyll a and total chlorophyll contents by 40.8% and 18.6%, respectively, while these parameters decreased in other seedlings under Cd stress. Similarly, 20 mM of proline improved the uptake of Zn and Fe in roots under Cd stress. This indicates that 20 mM of proline treatments may be beneficial for maintaining a normal photosynthetic capacity and mineral uptake under Cd stress, but further metabolomics and transcriptomic data should reveal the exact mechanisms of action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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21 pages, 1268 KiB  
Article
Interactive Effects of Salinity Stress and Irrigation Intervals on Plant Growth, Nutritional Value, and Phytochemical Content in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.
by Okuhle Mndi, Avela Sogoni, Muhali Olaide Jimoh, Carolyn Margaret Wilmot, Fanie Rautenbach and Charles Petrus Laubscher
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051026 - 8 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2061
Abstract
Halophytes such as ice plants are concurrently subjected to salt and drought stresses in their natural habitats, but our knowledge about the effects of combined stress on plants is limited. In this study, the individual and combined effects of salinity and irrigation intervals [...] Read more.
Halophytes such as ice plants are concurrently subjected to salt and drought stresses in their natural habitats, but our knowledge about the effects of combined stress on plants is limited. In this study, the individual and combined effects of salinity and irrigation intervals on the plant growth, mineral content, and proximate and phytochemical composition of M. crystallinum were evaluated. Treatments consisted of four irrigation treatments ((1) 100 mL once a day; (2) 100 mL once every 2 days; (3) 100 mL once every 4 days; (4) 100 mL once every 8 days) with four salt concentrations (0, 200, 400, and 800 ppm) applied in each treatment. Salt concentrations were set up by adding increasing concentrations of NaCl to the nutrient solution, while the control treatment was irrigated daily without NaCl. The results revealed a significant increase in the leaf number and fresh and dry weights of plants irrigated with 800 ppm salinity every four days. However, the highest chlorophyll content was consistently recorded in the control treatment (0 ppm, 4-day irrigation interval), although no significant variability in chlorophyll content was observed at week 6. The highest yields of N, Mg, and Cu were consistently recorded in plants without saline treatment, while P, K, Ca, Na, Zn, and Fe were consistently recorded in plants subjected to a combination of salinity and irrigation intervals. The combination of salinity and irrigation intervals was significant for Fe and Ca, whereas, for other elements, no significant differences occurred. The salt concentration did not influence the high yields of acid detergent fibre (ADF), crude fat, protein, or neutral detergent fibre (NDF), as they were recorded in high amounts in plants subjected to irrigation intervals only, whereas a combination of salinity and irrigation intervals resulted in the highest ash and moisture contents. Invariably, the 8-day irrigation interval without salinity optimized the yields of assayed polyphenols, flavonols, Ferric Reducing/Antioxidant Power (FRAP), and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), suggesting that salt stress does not influence the quantities of phytochemicals and antioxidants of M. crystallinum. These findings suggest that M. crystallinum can minimize the impact of salt stress on the accumulated minerals, phytochemicals, and proximate and antioxidant substances. Therefore, it is a suitable vegetable for regions affected by both salinity and water stress, as it can provide additional minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and proximate nutrients when cultivated in saline soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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18 pages, 2812 KiB  
Article
Mitigation of High Solar Irradiance and Heat Stress in Kiwifruit during Summer via the Use of Alleviating Products with Different Modes of Action—Part 2 Effects on Fruit Quality, Organoleptic, and Phytochemical Properties at Harvest and after Storage
by Nikoleta-Kleio Denaxa, Athanassios Tsafouros, Efstathios Ntanos, Anna Kosta and Peter Anargyrou Roussos
Agriculture 2023, 13(3), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13030701 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
In Greece, kiwifruit is grown in areas characterized by high temperatures during the summer months, with high solar radiation, especially during the period of shoot growth and fruit maturation. Therefore, the impact of heat stress is crucial. The objective of the present study [...] Read more.
In Greece, kiwifruit is grown in areas characterized by high temperatures during the summer months, with high solar radiation, especially during the period of shoot growth and fruit maturation. Therefore, the impact of heat stress is crucial. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of pre-harvest alleviating products’ application in the field on the yield and fruit quality attributes of ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit before and after storage. To achieve this, the osmoprotectant BlueStim (glycine betaine), the reflectant Purshade (calcium carbonate 62.5% w/w), and the antioxidant Sun Protect were applied by foliar spraying. Fruits produced under the influence of BlueStim exhibited high soluble sugars, total phenols, total flavanols, total flavonoids, and FRAP antioxidant capacity at harvest, while the production per vine increased by almost 17% compared to control. After storage, fruits produced from vines pre-harvest treated with BlueStim showed increased concentrations of soluble sugars, ascorbic acid, total organic acids, total flavonoids, and antioxidant capacity. Fruits produced from vines treated with Purshade presented high concentrations of soluble sugars, total phenols, FRAP and DPPH antioxidant capacity, total soluble solids, and malic acid, while Sun Protect application resulted in increased fruit firmness and total phenols as well. Therefore, the applied treatments alleviated, to some extent, the negative impact of heat stress on fruit quality, with variable effects on the measured quality parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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16 pages, 2769 KiB  
Article
Mitigation of High Solar Irradiance and Heat Stress in Kiwifruit during Summer via the Use of Alleviating Products with Different Modes of Action—Part 1 Effects on Leaf Physiology and Biochemistry
by Efstathios Ntanos, Athanassios Tsafouros, Nikoleta-Kleio Denaxa, Anna Kosta, Pavlos Bouchagier and Peter Anargyrou Roussos
Agriculture 2022, 12(12), 2121; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12122121 - 10 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1507
Abstract
Kiwifruit is a significant fruit crop species for many countries around the world. Due to climate change, it undergoes significant heat stress during the summer months in the Mediterranean area. Heat stress, along with high irradiance, generally imposes significant reductions in leaf photosynthetic [...] Read more.
Kiwifruit is a significant fruit crop species for many countries around the world. Due to climate change, it undergoes significant heat stress during the summer months in the Mediterranean area. Heat stress, along with high irradiance, generally imposes significant reductions in leaf photosynthetic activity and changes in leaf antioxidant status. In order to ameliorate these impacts, three alleviating commercial products (the osmoprotectant glycine betaine—commercial product BlueStim SP, the antioxidant mixture of tocopherol and phenolic compounds—commercial product Sun Protect, and reflectance calcium carbonate—commercial product Pureshade) were tested. In a fully mature kiwifruit orchard (‘Hayward’ cultivar), the prementioned products were foliarly applied during the summer months, and three assessments took place (in early and late August and late September) to assess their effects on photosynthetic activity, leaf carbohydrate concentration, the leaf sclerophylly indexes, leaf phenolic compound concentration, and antioxidant capacity. The three products induced various effects on leaf physiology and biochemistry, alleviating stress impact to some extent. Glycine betaine proved to be more efficient in alleviating the negative effects on the photosynthetic machinery, while leaf relative water content and, therefore, succulence remained at high levels. The reflectance calcium carbonate product resulted in lower leaf temperatures during the August measurements and in relatively high leaf carbohydrate concentrations. The discriminant analysis, which took place regarding all the measured parameters per assessment, resulted in distinct differences among the treatments, revealing the different modes of action and the effects of the products used. The alleviating products ameliorated the effects of heat and high irradiance stress in the kiwifruit leaves in terms of photosynthetic activity and hydration status, with glycine betaine being more effective than the others, especially under unfavorable conditions in mid-summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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21 pages, 3447 KiB  
Article
Precise Monitoring of Lettuce Functional Responses to Minimal Nutrient Supplementation Identifies Aquaponic System’s Nutrient Limitations and Their Time-Course
by Evangelia Tsoumalakou, Eleni Mente, Konstantinos A. Kormas, Nikolaos Katsoulas, Nikolaos Vlahos, Panagiotis Kapsis and Efi Levizou
Agriculture 2022, 12(8), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12081278 - 22 Aug 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3146
Abstract
In aquaponics, a closed-loop system which combines fish and crop production, essential nutrients for plant growth are often at sub-optimal concentrations. The aim of the present study was to identify system limitations and thoroughly examine the integrated response of its components to minimal [...] Read more.
In aquaponics, a closed-loop system which combines fish and crop production, essential nutrients for plant growth are often at sub-optimal concentrations. The aim of the present study was to identify system limitations and thoroughly examine the integrated response of its components to minimal external inputs, notably crop’s functional parameters, fish performance, and microorganism profile. Lettuce and red tilapia were co-cultivated under only Fe and Fe with K supplementation and their performance was evaluated against the control of no nutrient addition. Photosynthesis, the photosynthetic apparatus state, and efficiency, pigments, leaf elemental composition, and antioxidant activity of lettuce were monitored throughout the growth period, along with several parameters related to water quality, fish growth, plant productivity and bacterial community composition. Nutrient deficiency in control plants severely impacted gas exchange, PSII efficiency, and chlorophyll a content, from day 14 of the experiment, causing a significant increase in dissipation energy and signs of photoinhibition. Fe+K input resulted in 50% and two-fold increase in lettuce production compared with Fe and control groups respectively. Nutrient supplementation resulted in higher specific growth rate of tilapias, but did not affect root microbiota which was distinct from the water bacterial community. Collectively, the results emphasize the importance of monitoring crop’s functional responses for identifying the system’s limitations and designing effective nutrient management to sustain the reduced environmental footprint of aquaponics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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19 pages, 4023 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Survey and Expression Analysis of B-Box Family Genes in Cucumber Reveal Their Potential Roles in Response to Diverse Abiotic and Biotic Stresses
by Chuxia Zhu, Lingdi Xiao, Yaqi Hu, Liu Liu, Haoju Liu, Zhaoyang Hu, Shiqiang Liu and Yong Zhou
Agriculture 2022, 12(6), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12060827 - 9 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
As a class of zinc finger transcription factors, B-box (BBX) proteins play diverse roles in numerous biological processes, and they have been identified in a series of plant species in recent years. However, the roles of BBX genes in regulating cucumber growth regulation [...] Read more.
As a class of zinc finger transcription factors, B-box (BBX) proteins play diverse roles in numerous biological processes, and they have been identified in a series of plant species in recent years. However, the roles of BBX genes in regulating cucumber growth regulation and stress response have not yet been established. Here, a total of 22 BBX family genes were identified via an analysis of the latest cucumber genome data, which were classified into five groups (I–V) on the basis of their phylogenetic features and number of B-box domains and CCT domains. The CsBBX genes were unevenly distributed across the seven cucumber chromosomes, and segmental duplication was found to play a significant role in the expansion of the cucumber BBX gene family. Gene structure and motif composition analysis suggested that the evolutionarily close CsBBXs have similar conserved motif composition and gene structure. Most CsBBX genes possessed 1–3 introns, and intron gain rather than intron loss could contribute to the different structures of CsBBX genes across different groups during their evolution. Promoter analysis revealed the presence of 13 kinds of hormone-related and nine kinds of stress-related cis-regulatory elements in the promoter regions of these CsBBX genes. Expression analysis via RNA-seq and qRT-PCR suggested that the CsBBX genes exhibit differential expression in different tissues and in response to various abiotic and biotic stresses. This work constitutes a starting point for further revealing the function of the CsBBX genes and sheds light on the potential molecular mechanism of stress resistance in cucumber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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10 pages, 2210 KiB  
Article
Particle Film Improves the Physiology and Productivity of Sweet Potato without Affecting Tuber’s Physicochemical Parameters
by Alexandre Oliveira, Lia-Tânia Dinis, Abraão Almeida Santos, Pryanka Fontes, Marcelo Carnelossi, Jailson Fagundes and Luiz Oliveira-Júnior
Agriculture 2022, 12(4), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12040558 - 14 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2008
Abstract
In tropical areas, the lower productivity of sweet potato has been related to unfavorable climatic conditions, as heat stress caused by high temperatures limits the optimal genotypic expression of plants. Innovative techniques, such as particle films, have been proposed to reduce productivity loss [...] Read more.
In tropical areas, the lower productivity of sweet potato has been related to unfavorable climatic conditions, as heat stress caused by high temperatures limits the optimal genotypic expression of plants. Innovative techniques, such as particle films, have been proposed to reduce productivity loss caused by such conditions. Herein, we examine whether applying calcium oxide particle films could minimize heat stress on sweet potato under field conditions, reflecting higher productivity. For this purpose, sweet potato plants were exposed to four concentrations of calcium oxide particle film (0, 5, 10, and 15% w/v) applied onto leaves and assessed regarding the physiological, physicochemical, and productivity parameters. Overall, in plants treated with calcium oxide particle films, the photosynthetic rate, intercellular CO2 concentration, water use efficiency, and carboxylation efficiency increased compared to untreated plants. Moreover, we observe a reduction in leaf temperature and stomatal conductance of up to 6.8% and 45%, respectively, in sweet potato plants treated with 10% w/v, resulting in higher productivity (34.97 ton ha−1) compared to the control (21.55 ton ha-1). No effect is noted on tuber physicochemical parameters. In summary, the application of a calcium oxide particle film seems to favor sweet potato crops, alleviating the stress caused by hot climatic conditions in tropical regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Abiotic Stress on Horticultural Crops)
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