Digging deeper to define the physiological responses to environmental stress: The case of common bean and brachiaria grasses

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Plants have evolved sophisticated adaptive mechanisms to withstand multiple abiotic stress factors. Plants grown under unfavorable soil and climatic stress factors have become increasingly vulnerable in recent decades due to climate change.

The influence of poor soils and extreme weather disasters is expected to increase due to population growth and consequent demands for securing food and nutrition of resource-poor people, especially in developing countries. Sustainability is also of concern, and we must improve resource use efficiency and minimize land degradation and deforestation. Developing climate-resilient and nutrient-efficient crops would maximize yield on the agricultural land and strengthen our odds of feeding a growing world population and fighting against climate change.

The aim of this chapter is to review the progress in improving common bean and Brachiaria forage grasses for their adaptation to major abiotic stresses in the tropics. Advances in research for the past two decades building on the research approach used and progress reported before are summarized. The role of physiological studies for improving genetic adaptation to major abiotic constraints is highlighted. The use of multiple stress-adapted crop and forage cultivars would contribute to improved food and nutritional security, and resource use efficiency in the face of climate change.

Rao, Idupulapati Madhusudana

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