The stress concept in plants: an introduction

Author: Lichtenthaler, H.K.

Description: The current concept of stress in plants has been well developed over the past 60 years. Any unfavorable condition or substance that affects or blocks a plant’s metabolism, growth, or development is regarded as stress. Vegetation stress can be induced by various natural and anthropogenic stress factors. One has to differentiate between short-term and long-term stress effects as well as between low-stress events that can be partially compensated for by acclimation, adaptation, and repair mechanisms, on the one hand, and strong stress or chronic stress events causing considerable damage that may eventually lead to cell and plant death, on the other hand. Some essential stress syndrome responses of plants are summarized in a unifying stress concept. The major abiotic, biotic, and anthropogenic stressors are listed. Some stress tolerance mechanisms are mentioned. Stress conditions and stress-induced damage in plants have so far been detected using the classical ecophysiological field methods as well as point data measurements of particular chlorophyll fluorescence parameters and of reflectance spectra. The novel laser-induced high-resolution fluorescence imaging technique, which integrates chlorophyll and blue-green fluorescence, marks a new standard in the detection of stress in plants.

Subject headings: Acclimatization/physiology; Environment; Molecular Structure; Photons; Plant Physiological Phenomena; Plants/metabolism; Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism; Signal Transduction/physiology; Stress, Mechanical; Xanthophylls; beta Carotene/analogs & derivatives/metabolism

Publication year: 1998

Journal or book title: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Volume: 851


Pages: 187-198

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 528