Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 407–426 | Cite as

Roles of osmoprotectants in improving salinity and drought tolerance in plants: a review

  • Madhulika Singh
  • Jitendra Kumar
  • Samiksha Singh
  • Vijay Pratap Singh
  • Sheo Mohan Prasad
Review paper


Abiotic stresses collectively are responsible for crop losses worldwide. Among various abiotic stresses, drought and salinity are the most destructive. Different strategies have been adopted for the management of these stresses. Being complex traits, conventional breeding approaches have shown less success in improving salinity and drought stress tolerance. Roles of compatible solutes in salinity and drought stress tolerance have been studied extensively. At physiological level, osmotic adjustment is an adaptive mechanism involved in drought and/or salinity tolerance and permits the maintenance of turgor pressure under stress conditions. Increasing evidences from series of in vivo and in vitro studies involving physiological, biochemical, genetic, and molecular approaches strongly suggest that osmolytes such as ammonium compounds (polyamines, glycinebetaine, b-alanine betaine, dimethyl-sulfonio propionate and choline-O-sulfate), sugars and sugar alcohols (fructan, trehalose, mannitol, d-ononitol and sorbitol) and amino acids (proline and ectoine) perform important function in adjustment of plants against salinity and drought stresses. Thus, aim of this review is to expose how to osmoprotectants detoxify adverse effect of reactive oxygen species and alleviate drought and salinity stresses. An understanding of the relationship between these two sets of parameters is needed to develop measures for mitigating the damaging impacts of salinity and drought stresses.


Antioxidants Drought stress Osmoprotectants Reactive oxygen species Salt stress 



Authors are thankful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, for financial assistance to carry out this work. Dr. Vijay Pratap Singh is thankful to Central Regional Office, Bhopal of University Grants Commission, New Delhi for providing financial assistance (PI-UGC Minor Research Project, File No. MS-27/201022/XII/13-14/CRO). Jitendra Kumar, is thankful to UGC, New Delhi for providing the financial support as SRF under Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (Ref. No. RGNF-2012-13-SC-UTT-33185).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ranjan Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Laboratory, Department of BotanyUniversity of AllahabadAllahabadIndia
  2. 2.Govt. Ramanuj Pratap Singhdev Post Graduate CollegeBaikunthpur, KoriyaIndia

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