Climate change-driven ecological disturbances have a great impact on freshwater availability which hampers agricultural production. Currently, drought and salinity are the two major abiotic stress factors responsible for the reduction of crop yields worldwide. Increasing soil salt concentration decreases plant water uptake leading to an apparent water limitation and later to the accumulation of toxic ions in various plant organs which negatively affect plant growth. Plants are autotrophic organisms that function with simple inorganic molecules, but the underlying pathways of defense mechanisms are much more complex and harder to unravel. However, the most promising strategy to achieve sustainable agriculture and to meet the future global food demand, is the enhancement of crop stress tolerance through traditional breeding techniques and genetic engineering. Therefore, it is very important to better understand the tolerance mechanisms of the plants, including signaling pathways, biochemical and physiological responses. Although, these mechanisms are based on a well-defined set of basic responses, they can vary among different plant species.
Part of the book: Plant Stress Physiology