Rewilding staple crops for the lost halophytism: Toward sustainability and profitability of agricultural production systems

Nishtha Rawat, Silas Wungrampha, Sneh L. Singla-Pareek, Min Yu, Sergey Shabala, Ashwani Pareek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Abiotic stress tolerance has been weakened during the domestication of all major staple crops. Soil salinity is a major environmental constraint that impacts over half of the world population; however, given the increasing reliance on irrigation and the lack of available freshwater, agriculture in the 21st century will increasingly become saline. Therefore, global food security is critically dependent on the ability of plant breeders to create high-yielding staple crop varieties that will incorporate salinity tolerance traits and account for future climate scenarios. Previously, we have argued that the current agricultural practices and reliance on crops that exclude salt from uptake is counterproductive and environmentally unsustainable, and thus called for a need for a major shift in a breeding paradigm to incorporate some halophytic traits that were present in wild relatives but were lost in modern crops during domestication. In this review, we provide a comprehensive physiological and molecular analysis of the key traits conferring crop halophytism, such as vacuolar Na+ sequestration, ROS desensitization, succulence, metabolic photosynthetic switch, and salt deposition in trichomes, and discuss the strategies for incorporating them into elite germplasm, to address a pressing issue of boosting plant salinity tolerance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-64
Number of pages20
JournalMolecular Plant
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

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