Improving performance of salt-grown crops by exogenous application of plant growth regulators
Quamruzzaman, M and Manik, S and Shabala, S and Zhou, M, Improving performance of salt-grown crops by exogenous application of plant growth regulators, Biomolecules, 11, (6) Article 788. ISSN 2218-273X (2021) [Refereed Article]
Soil salinity is one of the major abiotic stresses restricting plant growth and development. Application of plant growth regulators (PGRs) is a possible practical means for minimizing salinity-induced yield losses, and can be used in addition to or as an alternative to crop breeding for enhancing salinity tolerance. The PGRs auxin, cytokinin, nitric oxide, brassinosteroid, gibberellin, salicylic acid, abscisic acid, jasmonate, and ethylene have been advocated for practical use to improve crop performance and yield under saline conditions. This review summarizes the current knowledge of the effectiveness of various PGRs in ameliorating the detrimental effects of salinity on plant growth and development, and elucidates the physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying this process by linking PGRs with their downstream targets and signal transduction pathways. It is shown that, while each of these PGRs possesses an ability to alter plant ionic and redox homeostasis, the complexity of interactions between various PGRs and their involvement in numerous signaling pathways makes it difficult to establish an unequivocal causal link between PGRs and their downstream effectors mediating plants' adaptation to salinity. The beneficial effects of PGRs are also strongly dependent on genotype, the timing of application, and the concentration used. The action spectrum of PGRs is also strongly dependent on salinity levels. Taken together, this results in a rather narrow "window" in which the beneficial effects of PGR are observed, hence limiting their practical application (especially under field conditions). It is concluded that, in the light of the above complexity, and also in the context of the cost-benefit analysis, crop breeding for salinity tolerance remains a more reliable avenue for minimizing the impact of salinity on plant growth and yield. Further progress in the field requires more studies on the underlying cell-based mechanisms of interaction between PGRs and membrane transporters mediating plant ion homeostasis.