Plant environmental (abiotic) stress is the main factor limiting agricultural production and farmer’s livelihood worldwide. Crop production is hardly ever free of environmental stress and climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of drought and/or heat stress episodes globally while increasing their unpredictability. The major plant environmental stresses of economic importance worldwide are drought, salinity, heat, cold, soil mineral deficiency, soil mineral toxicity and their combinations. A major challenge in agriculture practice and research is how to cope with plant environmental stress in an economical and an environmentally sustainable approach. Thus breeding of crop plants with enhanced yield potential and improved resilience to stressful environments is crucial for global food security.
Research to meet these challenges is complex as it involves widely different disciplines such as atmospheric sciences, soil science, plant physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology genetics, plant breeding, agronomy and agricultural engineering. The most successful cases of solution development by research in this area involved close interdisciplinary approaches. Such collaboration requires an extensive exchange of knowledge and a deep understanding of the adaptive response of plants to stress.
The PlantStress website was launched in 2000 by the late Dr. Abraham Blum thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation (courtesy of Dr. John O’Toole) and was managed by him till 2017. The PlantStress website aims to serve as a brokerage of information, a meeting place, a consultation facility and a source for professional update on the most important issues of plant environmental (abiotic) stress. While the site is dynamic and constantly updated, it also offers basic educational materials to newcomers into this area who wish to use the site for learning. The most important goal of this website is to promote interaction among those interested in mitigating the negative effects of stress in agriculture, be it scientists, extension specialists, business people, administrators, policy makers or farmers.
Contributing new material that pertains to the contents and purpose of this website is welcomed. Please write to the editors of the site. The decision to publish any contributed information on this site lies with the editors whereas the final responsibility for the submitted material is solely with the person submitting it.
A tribute to Abraham Blum
Abraham Blum passed away on 10 March 2018, at the age of 84 years. During his five-decades-long career, he published two influential books (Blum 1988, 2011) and over 150 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, the vast majority of which focused on the functional basis of drought tolerance in cereals as related to proxy traits involved in the adaptive response to water deficit.