Plant Breeding for Flood Tolerance: Advances and Limitations

  • Xuechen Zhang
  • Xin Huang
  • Meixue Zhou
  • Lana Shabala
  • Anthony Koutoulis
  • Sergey ShabalaEmail author


Over 17 million km2 of land surface is affected by flooding every year, resulting in severe damage to plants and associated losses in agricultural production around the globe. While importance of plant breeding for waterlogging stress tolerance has been long on the agenda, the progress in the field is handicapped by the physiological and genetic complexity of this trait. In this chapter, we summarise the recent knowledge about the major constraints affecting plant performance in waterlogged soils and discuss the mechanisms employed by plants to deal with the stress. The topics covered include oxygen availability in flooded soils; whole-plant responses to oxygen deprivation; biochemical alterations in hypoxic roots; mechanisms of aerenchyma formation; the role of ethylene signalling and programmed cell death in hypoxic roots; oxygen transport from shoot to root; formation of ROL barrier and control of oxygen loss; changes in soil redox potential under flooding; Mn and Fe toxicity in waterlogged plants; secondary metabolite toxicity and plant adaptation to organic phytotoxins; MAS approach to plant breeding for flooding stress tolerance; and emerging areas such as elucidating the role of membrane transporters in flooding tolerance, developing high-throughput technology platforms for fine QTL mapping and understanding ROS signalling in flooding stress tolerance.


Waterlogging Aerenchyma Elemental toxicity Ethylene Membrane transport Programmed cell death ROS Breeding QTL 



This work was supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery (DP120101482) and Linkage (LP120200516) grants to Sergey Shabala.


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuechen Zhang
    • 1
  • Xin Huang
    • 1
  • Meixue Zhou
    • 1
  • Lana Shabala
    • 1
  • Anthony Koutoulis
    • 2
  • Sergey Shabala
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Land and FoodUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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