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Mitigation Effect of Microbes on Crop Drought Stress

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 1941

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Departamento de Microbiología del Suelo y Sistemas Simbióticos, Estación Experimental del Zaidín (CSIC), Profesor Albareda nº 1, 18008 Granada, Spain
Interests: arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis; aquaporins; drought stress; plant-growth-promoting rhizo-bacteria; salt stress; root hydraulics
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Dear Colleagues,

Global warming and reduced rainfall are leading to frequent episodes of drought globally, causing a serious impact on crop growth and productivity. Other abiotic stresses such as salinity or extreme temperature also cause water limitations for plants due to their osmotic component. Thus, under the current climate change scenario, increasing crop tolerance to environmental conditions limiting water availability is of crucial importance in order to secure food production for the ever-increasing human population. Hence, there is a need to understand the mechanisms that allow a higher productivity of crops under water-limiting conditions, which is crucial to guarantee future food production. There are different strategies to increase crop tolerance to adverse growing conditions, such as the selection of resistant varieties, crossbreeding among varieties, genetic engineering, etc., but modern sustainable agriculture favors the use of natural resources such as the soil beneficial microorganisms that can improve plant development under limiting environmental conditions. Among these microorganisms, the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi stand out. The AM symbiosis activates the host’s physiological, molecular and morphological plant responses, increasing the ability of host plants to survive and maintain vigor under drought conditions. Other microorganisms present in the rhizosphere that help plants to tolerate abiotic stresses are the so-called plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). These bacteria may live in the rhizoplane or inside roots, and have several mechanisms to promote plant growth and increase their tolerance to abiotic stresses, like the reduction of ethylene levels, nutrient solubilization, production of some hormones, degradative enzymes and siderophores or nitrogen fixation, among others. In this context, the use of AM fungi and PGPR (alone or in combination) represents one of the most sustainable strategies to increase the tolerance of plants to adverse conditions such as water limitation, and to enhance crop production.

Dr. Juan Manuel Ruiz Lozano
Guest Editor

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  • drought stress
  • osmotic stress
  • plant productivity
  • mycorrhizal symbiosis
  • plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria
  • beneficial microorganism
  • crop productivity
  • stress mitigation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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22 pages, 2255 KiB  
Dual Inoculation with Rhizophagus irregularis and Bacillus megaterium Improves Maize Tolerance to Combined Drought and High Temperature Stress by Enhancing Root Hydraulics, Photosynthesis and Hormonal Responses
by Antonia Romero-Munar, Ricardo Aroca, Angel María Zamarreño, José María García-Mina, Noelia Perez-Hernández and Juan Manuel Ruiz-Lozano
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065193 - 08 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1557
Climate change is leading to combined drought and high temperature stress in many areas, drastically reducing crop production, especially for high-water-consuming crops such as maize. This study aimed to determine how the co-inoculation of an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus (Rhizophagus irregularis) [...] Read more.
Climate change is leading to combined drought and high temperature stress in many areas, drastically reducing crop production, especially for high-water-consuming crops such as maize. This study aimed to determine how the co-inoculation of an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus (Rhizophagus irregularis) and the PGPR Bacillus megaterium (Bm) alters the radial water movement and physiology in maize plants in order to cope with combined drought and high temperature stress. Thus, maize plants were kept uninoculated or inoculated with R. irregularis (AM), with B. megaterium (Bm) or with both microorganisms (AM + Bm) and subjected or not to combined drought and high temperature stress (D + T). We measured plant physiological responses, root hydraulic parameters, aquaporin gene expression and protein abundances and sap hormonal content. The results showed that dual AM + Bm inoculation was more effective against combined D + T stress than single inoculation. This was related to a synergistic enhancement of efficiency of the phytosystem II, stomatal conductance and photosynthetic activity. Moreover, dually inoculated plants maintained higher root hydraulic conductivity, which was related to regulation of the aquaporins ZmPIP1;3, ZmTIP1.1, ZmPIP2;2 and GintAQPF1 and levels of plant sap hormones. This study demonstrates the usefulness of combining beneficial soil microorganisms to improve crop productivity under the current climate-change scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation Effect of Microbes on Crop Drought Stress)
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