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Quantitative and comparative analysis of whole-plant performance for functional physiological traits phenotyping: New tools to support pre-breeding and plant stress physiology studies

Gosa, Sanbon Chaka, Lupo, Yaniv, Moshelion, Menachem
Plant science 2019 v.282 pp. 49-59
abiotic stress, autotrophs, biomass, breeding, breeding programs, carbon dioxide, crop models, lysimeters, monitoring, nutrients, phenotype, plant stress, solar radiation, stomatal conductance, water use efficiency
Plants are autotrophic organisms in which there are linear relationships between the rate at which organic biomass is accumulated and many ambient parameters such as water, nutrients, CO2 and solar radiation. These linear relationships are the result of good feedback regulation between a plants sensing of the environment and the optimization of its performance response. In this review, we suggest that continuous monitoring of the plant physiological profile in response to changing ambient conditions could be a useful new phenotyping tool, allowing the characterization and comparison of different levels of functional phenotypes and productivity. This functional physiological phenotyping (FPP) approach can be integrated into breeding programs, which are facing difficulties in selecting plants that perform well under abiotic stress. Moreover, high-throughput FPP will increase the efficiency of the selection of traits that are closely related to environmental interactions (such as plant water status, water-use efficiency, stomatal conductance, etc.) thanks to its high resolution and dynamic measurements. One of the important advantages of FPP is, its simplicity and effectiveness and compatibility with experimental methods that use load-cell lysimeters and ambient sensors. In the future, this platform could help with phenotyping of complex physiological traits, beneficial for yield gain to enhance functional breeding approaches and guide in crop modeling.