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Topical Collection "Plant Health and Food Security"

Editor

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Milan State University, Milan, Italy
Interests: environmental pollution; agrochemicals; mycotoxins; biomonitoring
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health with the aim to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help to end hanger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development. Indeed, plants supply up 80% of the food we eat and 98% of the oxygen we breathe. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that agricultural production must rise by about 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger population. Therefore, plant health is pivotal to feeding the planet because plant pests are globally responsible for the loss of up to 40% of food crops. Not least, climate change is having a huge impact on plant health, threatening to reduce crop yields and lower the quality of agricultural products. Rising temperatures are also exacerbating water scarcity and altering plant–pest interactions: Indeed, many plant pests are appearing in places where they were never observed before due to climate change. A plethora of biotic and abiotic stresses can threaten plant health, including microbial pathogens and viruses, insects, nematodes, and other invertebrates; parasitic plants and weeds; drought; extreme climatic conditions; anthropogenic environmental pollutants, and non-environmentally-friendly agricultural practices, to cite but a few. All these factors unavoidably alter the plant metabolism (both primary and secondary metabolic pathways) at gene, protein, and metabolite levels in order to improve the plant fitness in this complex scenario.

Therefore, this Topical Collection welcomes articles focusing on biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in the general issue of plant health, including the plant resistance/tolerance/acclimatization to biotic/abiotic stresses, with an emphasis on the impacts of these processes on global food security.

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Global climate change
  • Crop protection
  • Agrochemicals
  • Plant stress physiology
  • Abiotic stresses
  • Global food needs
  • Food production
  • Food quality
  • Food safety
  • Mycotoxins and mycotoxicoses
  • Healthy diet

Published Papers (7 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Article
Silica Particles Trigger the Exopolysaccharide Production of Harsh Environment Isolates of Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria and Increase Their Ability to Enhance Wheat Biomass in Drought-Stressed Soils
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(12), 6201; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22126201 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 445
Abstract
In coming decades, drought is expected to expand globally owing to increased evaporation and reduced rainfall. Understanding, predicting, and controlling crop plants’ rhizosphere has the potential to manipulate its responses to environmental stress. Our plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are isolated from a natural [...] Read more.
In coming decades, drought is expected to expand globally owing to increased evaporation and reduced rainfall. Understanding, predicting, and controlling crop plants’ rhizosphere has the potential to manipulate its responses to environmental stress. Our plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are isolated from a natural laboratory, ‘The Evolution Canyon’, Israel, (EC), from the wild progenitors of cereals, where they have been co-habituating with their hosts for long periods of time. The study revealed that commercial TM50 silica particles (SN) triggered the PGPR production of exopolysaccharides (EPS) containing D-glucuronate (D-GA). The increased EPS content increased the PGPR water-holding capacity (WHC) and osmotic pressure of the biofilm matrix, which led to enhanced plant biomass in drought-stressed growth environments. Light- and cryo-electron- microscopic studies showed that, in the presence of silica (SN) particles, bacterial morphology is changed, indicating that SNs are associated with significant reprogramming in bacteria. The findings encourage the development of large-scale methods for isolate formulation with natural silicas that ensure higher WHC and hyperosmolarity under field conditions. Osmotic pressure involvement of holobiont cohabitation is also discussed. Full article
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Article
Overexpression of OsCASP1 Improves Calcium Tolerance in Rice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(11), 6002; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22116002 - 01 Jun 2021
Viewed by 828
Abstract
The Casparian strip domain protein 1 (OsCASP1) is necessary for the formation of the Casparian strip (CS) in the rice endodermis. It also controls Ca2+ transport to the stele. Here, we demonstrated that OsCASP1 overexpression enhanced Ca tolerance in rice. [...] Read more.
The Casparian strip domain protein 1 (OsCASP1) is necessary for the formation of the Casparian strip (CS) in the rice endodermis. It also controls Ca2+ transport to the stele. Here, we demonstrated that OsCASP1 overexpression enhanced Ca tolerance in rice. Under normal conditions, OsCASP1-overexpressed lines showed similar concentrations of essential metals in the roots and shoots compared to the wild type, while under high Ca conditions, Ca in the roots, shoots, and xylem sap of the OsCASP1-overexpressed lines was significantly decreased. This did not apply to other essential metals. Ca-inhibited growth was significantly alleviated in the OsCASP1-overexpressed lines. Furthermore, OsCASP1 overexpression resulted in earlier formation of both the CS and functional apoplastic barrier in the endodermis but did not induce ectopic CS formation in non-endodermal cell layers and affect suberin accumulation in the endodermis. These results indicate that the overexpression of OsCASP1 promotes CS formation in endodermal cells and inhibits Ca2+ transport by the apoplastic pathway, restricting Ca accumulation in the roots and shoots under high Ca conditions. Taken together, the results suggest that OsCASP1 overexpression is an effective way to improve rice adaptation to high Ca environments. Full article
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Article
Salinity Stress Alters the Secondary Metabolic Profile of M. sativa, M. arborea and Their Hybrid (Alborea)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 4882; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22094882 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
Increased soil salinity, and therefore accumulation of ions, is one of the major abiotic stresses of cultivated plants that negatively affect their growth and yield. Among Medicago species, only Medicago truncatula, which is a model plant, has been extensively studied, while research [...] Read more.
Increased soil salinity, and therefore accumulation of ions, is one of the major abiotic stresses of cultivated plants that negatively affect their growth and yield. Among Medicago species, only Medicago truncatula, which is a model plant, has been extensively studied, while research regarding salinity responses of two important forage legumes of Medicago sativa (M. sativa) and Medicago arborea (M. arborea) has been limited. In the present work, differences between M. arborea, M. sativa and their hybrid Alborea were studied regarding growth parameters and metabolomic responses. The entries were subjected to three different treatments: (1) no NaCl application (control plants), (2) continuous application of 100 mM NaCl (acute stress) and (3) gradual application of NaCl at concentrations of 50-75-150 mM by increasing NaCl concentration every 10 days. According to the results, M. arborea maintained steady growth in all three treatments and appeared to be more resistant to salinity. Furthermore, results clearly demonstrated that M. arborea presented a different metabolic profile from that of M. sativa and their hybrid. In general, it was found that under acute and gradual stress, M. sativa overexpressed saponins in the shoots while M. arborea overexpressed saponins in the roots, which is the part of the plant where most of the saponins are produced and overexpressed. Alborea did not perform well, as more metabolites were downregulated than upregulated when subjected to salinity stress. Finally, saponins and hydroxycinnamic acids were key players of increased salinity tolerance. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021

Article
Peptide-Based Identification of Phytophthora Isolates and Phytophthora Detection in Planta
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9463; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21249463 - 12 Dec 2020
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Phytophthora is arguably one of the most damaging genera of plant pathogens. This pathogen is well suited to transmission via the international plant trade, and globalization has been promoting its spread since the 19th century. Early detection is essential for reducing its economic [...] Read more.
Phytophthora is arguably one of the most damaging genera of plant pathogens. This pathogen is well suited to transmission via the international plant trade, and globalization has been promoting its spread since the 19th century. Early detection is essential for reducing its economic and ecological impact. Here, a shotgun proteomics approach was utilized for Phytophthora analysis. The collection of 37 Phytophthora isolates representing 12 different species was screened for species-specific peptide patterns. Next, Phytophthora proteins were detected in planta, employing model plants Solanum tuberosum and Hordeum vulgare. Although the evolutionarily conserved sequences represented more than 10% of the host proteome and limited the pathogen detection, the comparison between qPCR and protein data highlighted more than 300 protein markers, which correlated positively with the amount of P. infestans DNA. Finally, the analysis of P. palmivora response in barley revealed significant alterations in plant metabolism. These changes included enzymes of cell wall metabolism, ROS production, and proteins involved in trafficking. The observed root-specific attenuation in stress–response mechanisms, including the biosynthesis of jasmonates, ethylene and polyamines, and an accumulation of serotonin, provided the first insight into molecular mechanisms behind this particular biotic interaction. Full article
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Article
Induction of Glucoraphasatin Biosynthesis Genes by MYB29 in Radish (Raphanus sativus L.) Roots
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5721; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21165721 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Glucoraphasatin (GRH) is a specific aliphatic glucosinolate (GSL) that is only abundant in radish (Raphanus sativus L.). The gene expression regulating GRH biosynthesis in radish is still poorly understood. We employed a total of 59 radish accessions to analyze GSL profiles and [...] Read more.
Glucoraphasatin (GRH) is a specific aliphatic glucosinolate (GSL) that is only abundant in radish (Raphanus sativus L.). The gene expression regulating GRH biosynthesis in radish is still poorly understood. We employed a total of 59 radish accessions to analyze GSL profiles and showed that GRH was specific and predominant among the aliphatic GSLs in radish roots. We selected five accessions roots with high, moderate and low GSL biosynthesis, respectively, to conduct a comparative transcriptome analysis and the qRT-PCR of the biosynthesis genes for aliphatic GSLs. In this study, among all the accessions tested, roots with the accession RA157-74 had a high GRH content and showed a significant expression of the aliphatic GSL biosynthesis genes. We defined the genes involved in the GRH biosynthesis process and found that they were regulated by a transcription factor (RSG00789) at the MYB29 locus in radish roots. We found 13 aliphatic GSL biosynthesis genes regulated by the RSG00789 gene in the GRH biosynthesis pathway. Full article
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Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Characterization of Drought Stress Responsive microRNAs in Tibetan Wild Barley
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2795; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21082795 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 908
Abstract
Drought stress is a major obstacle to agricultural production. Tibetan wild barley with rich genetic diversity is useful for drought-tolerant improvement of cereals. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in controlling gene expression in response to various environment perturbations in plants. However, the genome-wide [...] Read more.
Drought stress is a major obstacle to agricultural production. Tibetan wild barley with rich genetic diversity is useful for drought-tolerant improvement of cereals. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play critical roles in controlling gene expression in response to various environment perturbations in plants. However, the genome-wide expression profiles of miRNAs and their targets in response to drought stress are largely unknown in wild barley. In this study, a polyethylene glycol (PEG) induced drought stress hydroponic experiment was performed, and the expression profiles of miRNAs from the roots of two contrasting Tibetan wild barley genotypes XZ5 (drought-tolerant) and XZ54 (drought-sensitive), and one cultivated barley Tadmor (drought-tolerant) generated by high-throughput sequencing were compared. There were 69 conserved miRNAs and 1574 novel miRNAs in the dataset of three genotypes under control and drought conditions. Among them, seven conserved miRNAs and 36 novel miRNAs showed significantly genotype-specific expression patterns in response to drought stress. And 12 miRNAs were further regarded as drought tolerant associated miRNAs in XZ5, which mostly participate in gene expression, metabolism, signaling and transportation, suggesting that they and their target genes play important roles in plant drought tolerance. This is the first comparation study on the miRNA transcriptome in the roots of two Tibetan wild barley genotypes differing in drought tolerance and one drought tolerant cultivar in response to PEG treatment. Further results revealed the candidate drought tolerant miRNAs and target genes in the miRNA regulation mechanism in wild barley under drought stress. Our findings provide valuable understandings for the functional characterization of miRNAs in drought tolerance. Full article
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Article
Maize ZmFNSI Homologs Interact with an NLR Protein to Modulate Hypersensitive Response
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2529; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21072529 - 05 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 971
Abstract
Nucleotide binding, leucine-rich-repeat (NLR) proteins are the major class of resistance (R) proteins used by plants to defend against pathogen infection. The recognition between NLRs and their cognate pathogen effectors usually triggers a rapid localized cell death, termed the hypersensitive response (HR). Flavone [...] Read more.
Nucleotide binding, leucine-rich-repeat (NLR) proteins are the major class of resistance (R) proteins used by plants to defend against pathogen infection. The recognition between NLRs and their cognate pathogen effectors usually triggers a rapid localized cell death, termed the hypersensitive response (HR). Flavone synthase I (FNSI) is one of the key enzymes in the flavone biosynthesis pathway. It also displays salicylic acid (SA) 5-hydroxylase (S5H) activity. A close homolog of FNSI/S5H displays SA 3-hydroxylase (S3H) activity. Both FNSI/S5H and S3H play important roles in plant innate immunity. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms and the relationship between S5H and S3H with the NLR-mediated HR are not known in any plant species. In this study, we identified three genes encoding ZmFNSI-1, ZmFNSI-2 and ZmS3H that are significantly upregulated in a maize line carrying an autoactive NLR Rp1-D21 mutant. Functional analysis showed that ZmFNSI-1 and ZmFNSI-2, but not ZmS3H, suppressed HR conferred by Rp1-D21 and its signaling domain CCD21 when transiently expressed in N. benthamiana. ZmFNSI-1 and ZmFNSI-2 physically interacted with CCD21. Furthermore, ZmFNSI-1 and ZmFNSI-2 interacted with HCT, a key enzyme in lignin biosynthesis pathway, which can also suppress Rp1-D21-mediated HR. These results lay the foundation for the further functional analysis of the roles of FNSI in plant innate immunity. Full article
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