Morpho-Physiological Traits and Molecular Intricacies Associated with Tolerance to Combined Drought and Pathogen Stress in Plants
Crops in field conditions are challenged by the simultaneous occurrence of drought and pathogen stress. In the past, research was primarily focused on studying the impact of individual stresses on plants and selection of crop varieties potentially tolerant to particular stress by yield-associated morpho-physiological traits. However, several molecular responses of crop plants underlying morpho-physiological features to concurrent stresses are not similar to that of individual stresses. Certain morpho-physiological traits such as cell membrane stability, leaf water potential, stomatal movement, and root length were shown to be altered distinctly under combined stress to combat the stress condition. However, the relevance of such traits under combined stress tolerance is not precisely known. In this chapter, from the extensive literature survey, we identified several morpho-physiological changes that could be cognate with better plant performance under combined stress and represented them as traits that have potential to impart combined stress tolerance. We have comprehensively explained physiological and molecular basis for each trait and, where possible, suggested the ways to exploit the information for identification of varieties with prospective traits. Also, we proposed the need for systematically studying the underlying regulatory traits under combined stress conditions in the future.
KeywordsCombined stress Drought Pathogen infection Morpho-physiological traits Combined stress tolerance
Combined stress tolerance project at MS-K Lab is supported by the DBT—Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (BT/09/IYBA/2015/07). VI acknowledges DBT-JRF (DBT/2015/NIPGR/430) for his Ph.D. program. Authors thank Dr. Aarti Gupta and Dr. Prachi Pandey for critical reading of the chapter.
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