Article

Understanding water deficit stress-induced changes in the basic metabolism of higher plants - biotechnologically and sustainably improving agriculture and the ecoenvironment in arid regions of the globe.

Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Science, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China.
Critical Reviews in Biotechnology (Impact Factor: 5.1). 06/2009; 29(2):131-51. DOI: 10.1080/07388550902869792
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Water is vital for plant growth, development and productivity. Permanent or temporary water deficit stress limits the growth and distribution of natural and artificial vegetation and the performance of cultivated plants (crops) more than any other environmental factor. Productive and sustainable agriculture necessitates growing plants (crops) in arid and semiarid regions with less input of precious resources such as fresh water. For a better understanding and rapid improvement of soil-water stress tolerance in these regions, especially in the water-wind eroded crossing region, it is very important to link physiological and biochemical studies to molecular work in genetically tractable model plants and important native plants, and further extending them to practical ecological restoration and efficient crop production. Although basic studies and practices aimed at improving soil water stress resistance and plant water use efficiency have been carried out for many years, the mechanisms involved at different scales are still not clear. Further understanding and manipulating soil-plant water relationships and soil-water stress tolerance at the scales of ecology, physiology and molecular biology can significantly improve plant productivity and environmental quality. Currently, post-genomics and metabolomics are very important in exploring anti-drought gene resources in various life forms, but modern agriculturally sustainable development must be combined with plant physiological measures in the field, on the basis of which post-genomics and metabolomics have further practical prospects. In this review, we discuss physiological and molecular insights and effects in basic plant metabolism, drought tolerance strategies under drought conditions in higher plants for sustainable agriculture and ecoenvironments in arid and semiarid areas of the world. We conclude that biological measures are the bases for the solutions to the issues relating to the different types of sustainable development.

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