A Unified Concept of Stress in Plants?

  • Peter L. Steponkus
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 14)


Consideration of a unified concept of stress resistance in plants is often prompted by the numerous examples where seasonal variation in resistance, to a particular environmental stress is paralleled by increased resistance to other stresses. As early as 1929, Maximov discussed Walter’s (1925) suggestion that there is a close analogy between freezing and drought resistance. Scarth (1941), drawing upon data of Levitt and Siminovitch (1940), reported that the relative resistance to desiccation, freezing and plasmolysis was equal in such diverse tissues as cabbage petioles and cortex tissue of Catalpa and Cornus twigs. Pisek and Larcher (1954) have documented that several conifers and broad-leaved evergreens exhibit parallel trends in drought and freezing resistance, while Parker (1972) indicates that seasonal trends in heat resistance of various species of conifers and broad-leaved evergreens resemble those for freezing resistance. Coffman (1957) demonstrated a parallelism between freezing resistance and heat resistance of twelve varieties of two Avena species, while Sullivan and Ross (1979) reported positive correlations between levels of cellular desiccation tolerance and heat tolerance.


Salt Stress Drought Stress Cold Acclimation Osmotic Adjustment Drought Resistance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acevedo, E, Fereres, E, Hsiao, TC, and Henderson, DW, 1979 Diurnal growth trends, water potential, and osmotic adjustment of maize and sorghum leaves in the field, Plant Physiol, 64: 476PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akerman, A, 1927, Studien über den Kältetod und die Kälteresistanz der Pflanzen nebst Untersuchungen über die Winterfestigkeit des Weizens, Lund(Cited by Maximov, 1929; original not seen).Google Scholar
  3. Alden, J and Hermann, RK, 1971, Aspects of the cold-hardiness mechanism in plants, Bot Review, 37: 37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartel, AT, 1947, Some physiological characteristics of four varieties of spring wheat presumably differing in drought resistance, J Agr Res, 74: 97.Google Scholar
  5. Begg, JE and Turner, NC, 1976, Crop water deficits, Adv.Agron, 28: 161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernstein, L and Hayward, HE, 1958, Physiology of salt tolerance, Ann Rev Plant Physiol, 9: 25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Biebl, R, 1952, Ecological and nonenvironmental constitutional resistance of the protoplasm of marine algae, J. Marine. Biol. Assoc U.K, 31: 307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyer, JS and McPherson, HG, 1975, Physiology of water deficits in cereal crops, Adv.Agron, 27: 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bunce, JA, 1977, Leaf elongation in relation to leaf water potential in soybean, J. Expt. Bot, 28: 156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chandler, WH, 1913, The killing of plant tissue by low temperature, Mo. Agr. Expt. Sta. Res. Bull, 8: 141.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, HH and Li, PH, 1978, Interactions of low temperature, water stress and short days in the induction of stem frost hardiness in red osier dogwood, Plant Physiol, 62: 833.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, PM and Li, PH, 1977, Induction of frost hardiness in stem cortical tissues of Cornus stolonifera Michxby water stress 2 Biochemical changes, Plant Physiol, 59: 240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen, P, Li, PH, and Weiser, CH, 1975, Induction of frost hardiness in red osier dogwood stems by water stress, Hort. Science, 10: 372.Google Scholar
  14. Chen, PM, Li, PH, and Burke, MJ, 1977, Induction of frost hardiness in stem cortical tissues of Cornus stolonifera Michxby water stress1Unfrozen water in cortical tissues and water status in plants and soil, Plant Physiol, 59: 236.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Coffman, FA, 1957, Cold resistant oat varieties also resistant to heat, Science, 125: 1298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cox, W and Levitt, J, 1976, Interrelations between environmental factors and freezing resistance of cabbage leaves, Plant Physiol, 57: 553.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cram, WJ, 1974, The regulation of concentration and hydrostatic pressure in cells in relation to growth, in: “Mechanisms of Regulation of Plant Growth,” RL Bieleski, AR Ferguson, and MM Cresswell, Bull. Roy. Soc. New Zealand, 12: 183.Google Scholar
  18. Cutler, JM and Rains, DW, 1978, Effects of water stress and hardening on the internal water relations and osmotic constituents of cotton leaves, Physiol Plant, 42: 261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cutler, JM, Shahan, KW, and Steponkus, PL, 1979, Characterization of internal water relations of rice by a pressure- volume method, Crop.Sci, 19: 681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cutler, JM, Shahan, KW, and Steponkus, PL, 1980a, Alteration of the internal water relations of rice in response to drought hardening, Crop Sci, (in press).Google Scholar
  21. Cutler, JM, Shahan, KW, and Steponkus, PL, 1980b, Dynamics of osmotic adjustment in rice, Crop Sci, (in press).Google Scholar
  22. Dainty, J, 1972, Plant cell water relations: the elasticity of the cell wall, Proc. Roy. Soc. Edin(A), 70: 89.Google Scholar
  23. Dainty, J, 1976, Water relations of plant cells, in: “Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology,” V Luttge and MG Putman, Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  24. Flowers, TJ, Troke, PF, and Yeo, AR, 1977, The mechanism of salt tolerance in halophytes, Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol, 28: 89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Görke, H, 1906, Uber chemische Vorgänge beim Erfrieren der Pflanzen, Land Versuchs, 65: 149.Google Scholar
  26. Greenway, H and Sims, AP, 1974, Effects of high concentrations of KCl and NaCl on responses of malate dehydrogenase (decar-boxylating) to malate and various inhibitors, Aust. J. Plant Physiol, 1: 15.Google Scholar
  27. Harvey, RB, 1918, Hardening process in plants and developments from frost injury, Jagr. Res, 15: 83.Google Scholar
  28. Heber, U and Santarius, KA, 1973, Cell death by cold and heat and resistance to extreme temperatures. Mechanisms of hardening and dehardening, in: “Temperature and Life,” H Precht, J Christopherson, H Hensel, and W Larcher, Springer- Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  29. Hellebust, JA, 1976, Osmoregulation, Ann Rev Plant Physiol, 27: 485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hsiao, TC, 1973, Plant responses to water stress, Ann Rev Plant Physiol, 24: 519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hsiao, TC and Acevedo, E, 1974, Plant responses to water deficits, water use efficiency, and drought resistance, Ag Meteorol, 14: 59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hsiao, TC, Acevedo, E, Fereres, E, and Henderson, DW, 1976a, Stress metabolismWater stress, growth, and osmotic adjustment, Phil Transr Soc Lond B, 273: 479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hsiao, TC, Fereres, E, Acevedo, E, and Henderson, DW, 1976b, Water stress and dynamics of growth and yield of crop plants, in: “Water and Plant Life,” L Lange, L Kappen, and ED Schultze, Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Iljin, WS, 1929, Der Einfluss der Standortsfeuchtigkeit auf den osmotischen Wert bei Pflanzen, Planta, 7: 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Iljin, WS, 1957, Drought resistance in plants and physiological processes, Ann Rev Plant Physiol, 8: 257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jacoby, B and Laties, GG, 1971, Bicarbonate fixation and malate compartmentation in relation to salt-induced stoichiometric synthesis of organic acid, Plant Physiol, 47: 525.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jones, MM and Turner, NC, 1978, Osmotic adjustment in leaves of sorghum in response to water deficits, Plant Physiol, 61: 122.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lange, OL, 1967, Investigations on the variability of heatGoogle Scholar
  39. resistance in plants, in: “The Cell and Environmental Temperature,” AS Troshin, ed, Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  40. Levitt, J, 1951, Frost, drought and heat resistance, Ann Rev Plant Physiol, 2: 245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Levitt, J, 1958, Frost, drought and heat resistance, in: “Proto-plasmatologia,” LV Heilbrumn and F Weber, Springer, Vienna.Google Scholar
  42. Levitt, J, 1962, A sulfhydryl-disulphide hypothesis of frost injury and resistance in plants, J Theoret Biol, 3: 355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Levitt, J, 1972, “Responses of Plants to Environmental Stresses,” Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  44. Levitt, J and Siminovitch, D, 1940, The relation between frost resistance and the physical state of the protoplasm The protoplasm as a whole, Canad J Res, 18: 550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Levitt, J, Sullivan, CY, and Krull, E, 1960, Some problems in drought resistance, Bull Council Israel, 80: 173.Google Scholar
  46. Lidforss, B, 1907, Die wintergrune FloraLunds UniversitatsGoogle Scholar
  47. Arsskrift, N.F2, Afd2, No13, (Cited by Maximov, 1929; original not seen).Google Scholar
  48. Lineberger, RD and Steponkus, PL, 1980, Cryoprotection by glucose, sucrose and raffinose to chloroplast thylakoidsPlant Physiol, 65:(in press).Google Scholar
  49. Lovelock, JE, 1953a, The haemolysis of human red blood cells by freezing and thawing, Biochim Biophys Acta, 10: 414.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lovelock, JE, 1953b, The mechanism of the protective action of glycerol against haemolysis by freezing and thawing, Biochim Biophys Acta, 11: 28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lovelock, JE, 1957, The denaturation of lipid-protein complexes as a cause of damage by freezing, Proc Roy Soc, 147: 427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. MacLennan, DH, Beevers, H, and Harley, JL, 1963, Compartmentation1 of acids in plant tissues, Biochem J, 89: 316.Google Scholar
  53. Maximov, NA, 1929, Internal factors of frost and drought resistance in plants, Protoplasma, 7: 259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mazur, P, 1969, Freezing injury in plants, Ann Rev Plant Physiol 20: 419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mazur, P, 1970, Cryobiology: The freezing of biological systems, Science, 168: 939.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mazur, P, 1977b, Slow-freezing injury in mammalian cells, in: “The Freezing of Mammalian Embryos,” ProcCiba Foundation Symposium, London.Google Scholar
  57. Meryman, HT, 1968, Modified model for the mechanism of freezing injury in erythrocytes, Nature, 218: 333.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Meryman, HT, 1971, Osmotic stress as a mechanism of freezing injury, Cryobiology, 8: 488.Google Scholar
  59. Meyer, RF and Boyer, JS, 1972, Sensitivity of cell division and cell elongation to low water potentials in soybean hypocotyls, Planta, 108: 77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Morgan, JM, 1977, Differences in osmoregulation between wheat genotypes, Nature, 270: 234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Newton, R, 1924, Colloidal properties of winter wheat plants in relation to frost resistance, JÄgr Sci, 14: 178.Google Scholar
  62. Nobel, PS, 1970, “Plant Cell Physiology A Physicochemical Approach,” WH Freeman Co, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  63. Parker, J, 1972, Protoplasmic resistance to water deficits, in: “Water Deficits and Plant Growth,” TT Kozlowski, ed, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  64. Pisek, A and Larcher, W, 1954, Zusammenhang zwischen Austrock-nungsresistenz und Frosthmrte bei immergrünen Pflanzen, Protoplasma, 44: 30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rosa, JT, 1921, Investigation of the hardening process in vegetable plants, Miss Agr Exp Sta Res Bull, 8: 1.Google Scholar
  66. Santarius, KA, 1973, The protective effect of sugars on chloroplast membranes during temperature and water stress and its relationship to frost, desiccation and heat resistance, Planta, 113: 105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Scarth, GW, 1941, Dehydration injury and resistance, Plant Physiol, 16: 171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Scarth, GW and Levitt, J, 1937, The frost-hardening mechanism of plant cells, Plant Physiol, 12: 51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schmidt, H, 1939, Plasmazustand und Wasserhaushalt bei Laminium maculatum, Protoplasma, 33: 25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Scholander, PF, Hammel, HT, Hernmingsen, EA, and Bradstreet ED, 1964, Hydrostatic pressure and osmotic potential in leaves of mangroves and some other plants, Proc Nat Acad Sci, 52: 119.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Shahan, KW, Cutler, JM, and Steponkus, PL, 1979, Influence of stress regime on osmotic adjustment in rice, Plant Physiol 63:(abstract in press).Google Scholar
  72. Siminovitch, D and Levitt, J, 1941, The relationship between frost resistance and the physical state of protoplasm II The protoplasmic surface, Can J Res, 19: 9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Siminovitch, D and Briggs, DR, 1953a, Studies on the chemistry of the living bark of the black locust in relation to its frost hardiness III. The validity of plasmolysis and dessication tests for determining the frost hardiness of tissues, Plant Physiol, 28: 15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Simmelsgaard, SE, 1976, Adaptation to water stress in wheat, PhysiolPlant, 37: 167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Stadelmann, EJ, 1966, Evaluation of turgidity, plasmolysis, and deplasmolysis of plant cells, in: “Methods in Cell Physiology, ”DM Prescott, ed, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  76. Steiner, M and Eschrich, W, 1958, Die osmotische Bedeutung der Mineralstoffe, in: “Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology,” W Ruhland, ed, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  77. Steponkus, PL, 1971, Cold acclimation of Hedera helix: Evidence for a two phase process, Plant Physiol, 47: 175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Steponkus, PL, 1978, Cold hardiness and freezing injury of agronomic crops, Adv.Agron, 30: 51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Steponkus, PL, 1979, Effects of freezing and cold acclimation on membrane structure and function, in: “Stress Physiology of Crop Plants,” H Mussell and RC Stables, Wiley- Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  80. Steponkus, PL, Cutler, JM, and O’Toole, JC, 1980, Adaptation to water deficits in rice, in: “Adaptation of Plants to Water and High Temperature Stress,” PJ Kramer and NC Turner, Wiley Interscience, New York, (in press).Google Scholar
  81. Steponkus, PL, Dowgert, MF, and Roberts, SR, 1979, Cryobiology of isolated plant protoplasts: VIInfluence of cold acclimation, Cryobiology, 16:(in press).Google Scholar
  82. Steponkus, PL, Garber, MP, Myers, SP, and Lineberger, RD, 1977, Effects of cold acclimation and freezing on structure and function of chloroplast thylakoids, Cryobiology, 14: 303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Steponkus, PL and Wiest, SC, 1978, Plasma membrane alterations following cold acclimation and freezing, in: “Plant Cold Hardiness and Freezing Stress — Mechanisms and Crop Implications,” PH Li and A Sakai, Acadamic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  84. Steponkus, PL and Wiest, SC, 1980, Freeze-thaw induced lesions in the plasma membrane, in: “Low Temperature Stress in Crop”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter L. Steponkus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations