Ozone Damages to Mediterranean Crops: Physiological Responses
AbstractIn this brief review we analyzed some aspects of tropospheric ozone damages to crop plants. Specifically, we addressed this issue to Mediterranean environments, where plant response to multiple stresses may either exacerbate or counteract deleterious ozone effects. After discussing the adequacy of current models to predict ozone damages to Mediterranean crops, we present a few examples of physiological responses to drought and salinity stress that generally overlap with seasonal ozone peaks in Southern Italy. The co-existence of multiple stresses is then analyzed in terms of stomatal vs. non-stomatal control of ozone damages. Recent results on osmoprotectant feeding experiments, as a non-invasive strategy to uncouple stomatal vs. non stomatal contribution to ozone protection, are also presented. In the final section, we discuss critical needs in ozone research and the great potential of plant model systems to unravel multiple stress responses in agricultural crops.
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