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Cross‐stress tolerance: Mild nitrogen (N) deficiency effects on drought stress response of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)

  • Abstract Climate change will lead to more frequent and severe drought periods which massively reduce crop production worldwide. Besides drought, nitrogen (N)‐deficiency is another critical threat to crop yield production. Drought and N‐deficiency both decrease photosynthesis and induce similar adaptive strategies such as longer roots, reduction of biomass, induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and antioxidative enzymes. Due to the overlapping response to N‐deficiency and drought, understanding the physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in cross‐stresses tolerance is crucial for breeding strategies and achieving multiple stress resistance and eventually more sustainable agriculture. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of a mild N‐deficiency on drought stress tolerance of tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L., cv. Moneymaker). Various morphological and physiological parameters such as dry biomass, root length, water potential, SPAD values, stomatal conductance, and compatible solutes accumulation (proline and sugar) were analyzed. Moreover, the expression of ROS scavenging marker genes, cytosolic ASCORBATE PEROXIDASES (cAPX1, cAPX2, and cAPX3), were investigated. Our results showed that a former mild N‐deficiency (2 mM NO3−) enhances plant adaptive response to drought stress (4 days) when compared to the plants treated with adequate N (5 mM NO3−). The improved adaptive response was reflected in higher aboveground biomass, longer root, increased specific leaf weight, enhanced stomatal conductance (without reducing water content), and higher leaf sugar content. Moreover, the APX1 gene showed a higher expression level compared to control under N‐deficiency and in combination with drought in the leaf, after a one‐week recovery period. Our finding highlights a potentially positive link between a former mild N‐deficiency and subsequent drought stress response in tomato. Combining the morphological and physiological response with underlying gene regulatory networks under consecutive stress, provide a powerful tool for improving multiple stress resistance in tomato which can be further transferred to other economically important crops.

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Author: Vajiheh Safavi‐Rizi, Kora Uellendahl, Britta Öhrlein, Hamid Safavi‐Rizi, Christine Stöhr
Parent Title (English):Plant‐Environment Interactions
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2021/10/07
Release Date:2022/07/06
Tag:climate change; cross‐stress tolerance; drought; nitrogen deficiency; tomato
GND Keyword:-
First Page:217
Last Page:228
Faculties:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Botanik und Landschaftsökologie & Botanischer Garten
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung