C-Repeat Transcription Factors as Targets for the Maintenance of Crop Yield under Suboptimal Growth Conditions

Authored by: Keshav Dahal , Khalil Kane , Fathey Sarhan , Leonid V. Savitch , Jas Singh , Bernard Grodzinski , Norman P.A. Hüner

Handbook of Plant and Crop Physiology

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553286
eBook ISBN: 9781466553293
Adobe ISBN:


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The intergovernmental panel on climate change has predicted that the atmospheric CO2 concentration will double from the present 380 μmol C mol−1 to approx. 700 μmol C mol−1 by the end of the twenty-first century, which may be coupled to an increase in average global temperature by the end of this century (IPCC 2007). The predicted increase in atmospheric CO2 and high temperature associated with global warming may increase the severity of water stress as well as the incidence of biotic stresses (Hatfield et al. 2011; DeLucia et al. 2012; Vandegeer et al. 2012). Such suboptimal growth conditions due to global warming and climate change may substantially affect the photosynthetic performance of plants and, consequently, plant biomass and seed yield. The anticipated increase in global temperature will result in the inhibition of photosynthetic carbon assimilation, which is closely correlated with a high-temperature-induced decrease in the activation state of Rubisco as well as irreversible photosystem II (PSII) damage and increased photorespiratory rates (Long et al. 2004; Salvucci and Crafts-Brandner 2004; Ainsworth and Rogers 2007; Kumar et al. 2009; Dahal et al. 2012c). This is associated with the inhibition of respiration and grain filling (Salvucci and Crafts-Brandner 2004; Ainsworth and Rogers 2007; Kumar et al. 2009; Dahal et al. 2012c), increased risk of sterility, and complete crop failure (Teixeira et al. 2013). In addition, the anticipated rise in temperature will increase the evapotranspiration leading to soil water deficit and agricultural drought (Hatfield et al. 2011) and will increase the likelihood of crop infestation by insect, pests, diseases, and weeds leading to yield losses (Ziska et al. 2011, DeLucia et al. 2012). Thus, although the projected rise in the atmospheric CO2 may increase crop yield potential in certain plant species, the yield deterioration due to high temperature, water limitations, and biotic stresses associated with global warming induced by elevated CO2 may exceed the benefit achieved by any increase in CO2. For example, high CO2 is expected to increase global crop yields by about 1.8% per decade over the next few decades, whereas global warming will likely decrease the crop yield by a 0%–4% over the same period due to other coincident factors such as high-temperature stress, water limitations, and biotic stress (Lobell and Gourdji 2012). Recently, Tonkaz et al. (2010) reported that although a 6°C decrease in growth temperature increases yield by 37%, a 6°C increase in growth temperature decreases winter wheat yield by 30%. In a study of eight different crops, Hlavinka et al. (2009) revealed that drought was the leading factor causing yield variability. Similarly, Oliveira et al. (2012) reported a considerable decrease in wheat biomass and grain yield under drought stress regardless of growth CO2 levels. Furthermore, Sardans and Penuelas (2012) conclude that the effects of global warming on crop productivity are expected to vary widely depending on the ecosystem in question, for instance, cold, wet temperate regions vs. hot, dry ecosystems.

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