Yuan Sun et al., Response of Plants to Water Stress: A Meta-Analysis
Response of Plants to Water Stress: A Meta-Analysis
Front. Plant Sci., 26 June 2020
Plants are key to the functionality of many ecosystem processes. The duration and intensity of water stress are anticipated to increase in the future; however, a detailed elucidation of the responses of plants to water stress remains incomplete. For this study, we present a meta-analysis derived from the 1,301 paired observations of 84 studies to evaluate the responses of plants to water stress. The results revealed that although water stress inhibited plant growth and photosynthesis, it increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), plasma membrane permeability, enzymatic antioxidants, and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Importantly, these responses generally increased with the intensity and duration of water stress, with a more pronounced decrease in ROS anticipated over time. Our findings suggested that the overproduction of ROS was the primary mechanism behind the responses of plants to water stress, where plants appeared to acclimatize to water stress, to some extent, over time. Our synthesis provides a framework for better understanding the responses and mechanisms of plants under drought conditions.