Plants respond to various stresses during their lifecycle among which abiotic stress is the most severe one comprising heat, cold, drought, salinity, flooding, etc. which take a heavy toll on crop yield worldwide in every corresponding year. ROS has a dual role in abiotic stress mechanisms where, at high levels, they are toxic to cells while at the same time, the same molecule can function as a signal transducer that activates a local as well as a systemic plant defense response against stress. The most common ROS species are Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), Superoxide anions (O2-), Hydroxyl radicals (OH-), and Singlet oxygen (1O2) which are results of physiological metabolism often controlled by enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense systems. ROS generally accumulate in plants during abiotic and biotic stress conditions resulting in oxidative damage which ultimately leads to programmed cell death. Many ROS scavenging pathways have been well studied against stress responses. Through careful manipulation of ROS levels in plants, we can enhance stress tolerance in plants under unfavorable environmental conditions. This chapter presents an overview of ROS regulation in plants and the essential enzymes involved in the abiotic stress tolerance mechanisms which are thoroughly discussed below.
Part of the book: Reactive Oxygen Species