Biostimulation and biofortification of crop plants – new challenges for modern agriculture

Barbara Hawrylak-Nowak, Mirza Hasanuzzaman, Małgorzata Wójcik
2019 Acta Agrobotanica  
In the era of climate change and the rapid increase in food demand for the ever-growing population estimated to exceed 11 billion by the end of the twenty-first century, there is a real problem with provision of the so-called food safety. The extreme climate phenomena and increased anthropopressure exert a negative impact on food production manifested in progressing losses of agricultural land and a decrease in crop yield and quality. As a result, approximately 3 billion people on the globe are
more » ... le on the globe are affected by malnutrition caused by either an insufficient food supply (acute hunger) or deficit of vitamins and elements in their diet (hidden hunger) [1] . Unfortunately, no universal solution for effective elimination of these problems has been found so far. There are many approaches to manage the adverse effects of climate change and the increasing environmental pollution/degradation in order to ensure sustainable food security. One of them is the so-called "climate-smart agriculture", which involves adjustment of agricultural practices in a way to make agricultural production more resistant to the consequences of climate change and at the same time to reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment, including the climate [2] . Plants are the basis of the human diet and feed for livestock. As sessile organisms, plants are exposed to a variety of abiotic and biotic stress factors, resulting, among others, in reduced yield potential, which causes large economic losses and food shortages. Therefore, increasing the tolerance of crop plants to stressful conditions is a prerequisite of satisfying the food demand of the human population. The mechanisms of tolerance to stress factors in plants are highly complex and multifaceted, which impedes development of effective methods for mitigation of the negative stress effects on plant production [3] . Therefore, increasing the resistance of crops to adverse environmental conditions is one of the most important challenges to sustain or enhance crop productivity in currently used agricultural areas and to settle crop vegetation in many regions where cultivation has been very difficult or even impossible so far. This task can be accomplished, e.g., by application of biostimulants and/or various mineral plant nutrition schemes, including nutrition with trace elements that are especially insufficient in the human diet [4] . A biostimulant is defined as any exogenous substance or microorganism, other than a fertilizer, which applied to plants or to the rhizosphere stimulates natural processes to improve plant nutritional efficiency, abiotic/biotic stress tolerance, and/or crop yield and quality [5, 6] . There are several categories of biostimulants, including natural substances (e.g., seaweed extracts, humic and fulvic acids, protein hydrolysates, chitosan and other biopolymers, vitamins), synthetic compounds (e.g., synthetic growth regulators, chelating ligands like ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid -EDTA), inorganic compounds (e.g., nonessential but beneficial elements such as Si, Se, Al, Co, Na), and beneficial fungi and plant growth promoting (rhizo)bacteria [5, 7] . The effect of application of some of
doi:10.5586/aa.1777 fatcat:57enjvujezbljozluisfzmrbwu