The plant senescence syndrome resembles, in many molecular and phenotypic aspects, plant responses to abiotic stresses. Both processes have an enormous negative global agro-economic impact and endanger food security worldwide. Premature plant senescence is the main cause of losses in grain filling and biomass yield due to leaf yellowing and deteriorated photosynthesis, and is also responsible for the losses resulting from the short shelf life of many vegetables and fruits. Under abiotic stress conditions the yield losses are often even greater. The primary challenge in agricultural sciences today is to develop technologies that will increase food production and sustainability of agriculture especially under environmentally limiting conditions. In this chapter, some of the mechanisms involved in abiotic stress-induced plant senescence are discussed. Recent studies have shown that crop yield and nutritional values can be altered as well as plant stress tolerance through manipulating the timing of senescence. It is often difficult to separate the effects of age-dependent senescence from stress-induced senescence since both share many biochemical processes and ultimately result in plant death. The focus of this review is on abiotic stress-induced senescence. Here, a number of the major approaches that have been developed to ameliorate some of the effects of abiotic stress-induced plant senescence are considered and discussed. Some approaches mimic the mechanisms already used by some plants and soil bacteria whereas others are based on development of new improved transgenic plants. While there may not be one simple strategy that can effectively decrease all losses of crop yield that accrue as a consequence of abiotic stress-induced plant senescence, some of the strategies that are discussed already show great promise.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 18, 2013
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