, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 401-412
Date: 11 Sep 2008

Physiology and biochemistry of waterlogging tolerance in plants

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Waterlogging is a serious problem, which affects crop growth and yield in low lying rainfed areas. The main cause of damage under waterlogging is oxygen deprivation, which affect nutrient and water uptake, so the plants show wilting even when surrounded by excess of water. Lack of oxygen shift the energy metabolism from aerobic mode to anaerobic mode. Plants adapted to waterlogged conditions, have mechanisms to cope with this stress such as aerenchyma formation, increased availability of soluble sugars, greater activity of glycolytic pathway and fermentation enzymes and involvement of antioxidant defence mechanism to cope with the post hypoxia/anoxia oxidative stress. Gaseous plant hormone ethylene plays an important role in modifying plant response to oxygen deficiency. It has been reported to induce genes of enzymes associated with aerenchyma formation, glycolysis and fermentation pathway. Besides, nonsymbiotic-haemoglobins and nitric oxide have also been suggested as an alternative to fermentation for maintaining lower redox potential (low NADH/NAD ratio), and thereby playing an important role in anaerobic stress tolerance and signaling.