Maize is one of the mostly consumed grains in the world. It possesses a greater potentiality of being an alternative to rice and wheat in the near future. In field condition, maize encounters abiotic stresses like salinity, drought, water logging, cold, heat, etc. Physiology and production of maize are largely affected by drought. Drought has become a prime cause of agricultural disaster because of the major occurrence records of the last few decades. It leads to immense losses in plant growth (plant height and stem), water relations (relative water content), gas exchange (photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and transpiration rate), and nutrient levels in maize. To mitigate the effect of stress, plant retreats by using multiple morphological, molecular, and physiological mechanisms. Maize alters its physiological processes like photosynthesis, oxidoreductase activities, carbohydrate metabolism, nutrient metabolism, and other drought-responsive pathways in response to drought. Synthesis of some chemicals like proline, abscisic acid (ABA), different phenolic compounds, etc. helps to fight against stress. Inoculation of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can result to the gene expression involved in the biosynthesis of abscisic acid which also helps to resist drought. Moreover, adaptation to drought and heat stress is positively influenced by the activity of chaperone proteins and proteases, protein that responds to ethylene and ripening. Some modifications generated by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9 are able to improve maize yield in drought. Forward and reverse genetics and functional and comparative genomics are being implemented now to overcome stress conditions like drought. Maize response to drought is a multifarious physiological and biochemical process. Applying data synthesis approach, this study aims toward better demonstration of its consequences to provide critical information on maize tolerance along with minimizing yield loss.
Part of the book: Plant Stress Physiology