The maximum yield of plants, determined by their genetic potential, is seldom achieved because factors such as insufficient water or nutrients, adverse climatic conditions, plant diseases, and insect damage will limit growth at some stage. Plants subjected to these biotic and abiotic constraints are said to be stressed. The term "stress" can be defined as any disturbance that adversely influences growth. It is axiomatic that high yields can only be obtained if plant stress is kept to a minimum. The problem is, then, to detect stress as early as possible so that management practices can be instigated to effect on the harvestable yield of the crop. Physiological and anatomical changes take place within plants as a result of stress. If transpiration is restricted from lack of water or a vascular disease, leaf temperatures will increase because of less cooling by transpired water as it evaporates from the leaf surfaces. Leaf color may change as a result of physiological changes caused by a water deficiency or a change in nutrient status. Plant pathogens may change leaf color by causing chemical changes within plant cells or by growing on plant surfaces. Morphological changes such as leaf curl or droop may
Annual Review of Phytopathology – Annual Reviews
Published: Sep 1, 1986
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