Plant and Soil

, Volume 410, Issue 1–2, pp 335–356 | Cite as

Mechanisms of plant response to salt and drought stress and their alteration by rhizobacteria

  • Cinzia Forni
  • Daiana Duca
  • Bernard R. Glick
Regular Article



Soil salinity and drought are an enormous worldwide problem for agriculture, horticulture and silviculture. The initial responses of plants to drought and salinity are similar; both are attributed to water deficit which inhibits plant growth and development.


In this review, an overview of the major physiological and biochemical changes that occur in plants as a consequence of salt and drought stress is presented. In addition, the role of beneficial plant growth-promoting bacteria in ameliorating many of the deleterious consequences of salt and drought stress is discussed. Mechanisms used by plant growth-promoting bacteria to ameliorate the effects of these stresses include the production of cytokinin, indoleacetic acid, ACC deaminase, abscisic acid, trehalose, volatile organic compounds, and exopolysaccharides.


Given the fundamental understanding of many of the mechanisms operating in plant-bacterial interactions, it is expected that the practical use of beneficial bacteria in agriculture, horticulture and silviculture will grow dramatically in the coming years.

Graphical Abstract

Overview of salt- and drought-stress responses in plants. The perception of stress by plant cell elicits stress-signaling pathways that involve transcriptional remodeling, metabolic changes and altered hormonal activity. Bacterial activity may affect the latter. A positive stress response leads to plant tolerance of the stress while a negative response leads to growth inhibition


Drought stress Plant growth-promoting bacteria PGPB Salt stress 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Via della Ricerca ScientificaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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