Manipulating Metabolic Pathways for Development of Salt-Tolerant Crops

  • Melike Bor
  • Filiz Özdemir


Engineering plants for salt stress tolerance is a complex process due to the multiple-sided characteristics of stress coping mechanisms. The common approach was first identification of the components of signalling and regulatory pathways for salinity tolerance, then transformation of plants with one of those genes and phenotyping the transgenic plant subjected to salt stress at controlled conditions. Plant biology literature is full of research papers on the success of such plants to acclimate and survive under salinity; however, to date none of them was able to become a commercial variety having improved performance at field conditions. Disturbing or interfering with complex networks and pathways can result in unexpected effects on plant growth and development. Furthermore, tolerance against one stress would not be efficient to cope with different environmental stress factors which field-grown plants encounter during a single growth season.

Instead of targeting signalling or regulatory networks, manipulating metabolic routes for higher osmotic and ionic stress tolerance would be more realistic to mitigate negative impact of salt stress on crop plants. At field conditions coping well with osmotic and ionic stresses will double the chance of crop plants to overcome other challenges such as drought, nutrient and high temperature. Absolutely manipulating plant metabolism is also a complex task, but it is worth to put an effort since modifying common tolerance routes such as osmoregulation, antioxidant capacity and ion transport mechanisms will be more promising at field conditions for the whole plant life cycle. In this chapter we tried to collect and point out the recent information on metabolism in relation to salt stress tolerance and focused on more feasible efforts for the achievement of this purpose in crop plants at field conditions.


Primary metabolism Cellular homeostasis Metabolite Abiotic stress Salinity tolerance Osmotic adjustment Reactive oxygen species Trade-offs Polyamine metabolism Sugar metabolism Halophytes Glycophytes 



Abscisic acid


Arginine decarboxylase


Gamma amino butyric acid


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


Hydrogen peroxide


High-affinity potassium transporter


Late embryogenesis abundant


Lipid transfer protein


Malate dehydrogenase


Multi-trait mixed model


Sodium chloride


N-acetyltransferase activity 1


Ornithine decarboxylase




Phospholipase C1


Phospholipase D




Reactive oxygen species


S-adenosylmethionine synthetase


Salicylic acid


Sensitive to freezing


Sodium ion transmembrane transporter activity 1


Sucrose nonfermenting-related kinase1


Salt overly sensitive 1






Tricarboxylic acid






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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of EgeİzmirTurkey

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