Drought Stress in Plants: An Overview

  • M. Farooq
  • M. Hussain
  • Abdul Wahid
  • K. H. M. Siddique
Chapter

Abstract

Drought is one of the major constraints limiting crop production worldwide. Crop growth models predict that this issue will be more severe in future. Drought impairs normal growth, disturbs water relations, and reduces water use efficiency in plants. Plants, however, have a variety of physiological and biochemical responses at cellular and whole organism levels, making it a more complex phenomenon. The rate of photosynthesis is reduced mainly by stomatal closure, membrane damage, and disturbed activity of various enzymes, especially those involved in ATP synthesis. Plants display a range of mechanisms to withstand drought, such as reduced water loss by increased diffusive resistance, increased water uptake with prolific and deep root systems, and smaller and succulent leaves to reduce transpirational loss. Low-molecular-weight osmolytes, including glycinebetaine, proline and other amino acids, organic acids, and polyols also play vital roles in sustaining cellular functions under drought. Plant growth substances such as salicylic acid, auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, and abscisic acid modulate plant responses toward drought. Polyamines, citrulline, and several enzymes act as antioxidants and reduce adverse effects of water deficit. Plant drought stress can be managed by adopting strategies such as mass screening and breeding, marker-assisted selection, and exogenous application of hormones and osmoprotectants to seeds or growing plants, as well as engineering for drought resistance. Here, we provide an overview of plant drought stress, its effects on plants’ resistance mechanisms and management strategies to cope with drought stress.

Abbreviations

ABA

Abscisic acid

ADC2

Arginine decarboxlase 2 gene

Amax

Maximum photosynthetic efficiency

APX

Ascorbate peroxidase

BRs

Brassinolides

CAT

Catalase

chl

Chlorophyll

Cks

Cytokinins

DRE/CRT

Dehydration-responsive element/C-repeat

DREB

Dehydration-responsive element binding proteins

EBR

Epibrassinolide

ETC

Electron transport chain

GA3

Gibberellins

GB

Glycinebetaine

GR

Glutathione reductase

H+-ATPase

Hydrogen pump ATPase protein

H2O2

Hydrogen peroxide

IAA

Indole acetic acid

K

Potassium

LAI

Leaf area index

LEA

Late embryogenesis abundant

N

Nitrogen

O2

Superoxide radicals

O21

Single oxygen

OH

Hydroxyl radicals

OsRDCPs

Oryza sativa RING domain-containing proteins

P

Phosphorous

PA

Polyamine

PAL

Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase

POX

Peroxidase

PPO

Polyphenol oxidase

PSI

Photosystem I

PSII

Photosystem II

QTL

Quantitative trait loci

RO

Alkoxy radicals

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

Rubisco

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase

RuBP

Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate

RWC

Relative water contents

SA

Salicylic acid

Si

Silicon

SOD

Superoxide dismutase

TcADC

Arginine decarboxylase

TcODC

Ornithine decarboxylase

TcSAMDC

S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase

TcSPDS

Spermidine synthase

TcSPMS

Spermine synthase

Vc,max

Carboxylation velocity of Rubisco

WUE

Water use efficiency

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Farooq
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. Hussain
    • 4
    • 5
  • Abdul Wahid
    • 6
  • K. H. M. Siddique
    • 3
    • 7
  1. 1.Institute of Plant NutritionJustus-Liebig-UniversityGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  3. 3.The UWA Institute of AgricultureThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  4. 4.Department of AgronomyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  5. 5.Department of Crop Science and BiotechnologyDankook UniversityChungnamSouth Korea
  6. 6.Department of BotanyUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  7. 7.College of Food and Agricultural SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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