Global warming, climate change, and environmental pollution present plants with unique combinations of different abiotic and biotic stresses. Although much is known about how plants acclimate to each of these individual stressors, little is known about how they respond to a combination of many of these stress factors occurring together, namely a multifactorial stress combination. Recent studies revealed that increasing the number and complexity of different co-occurring stress factors causes a severe decline in plant growth and survival, as well as in the microbiome biodiversity that plants depend upon. This ‘multifactorial stress combination effect’ should serve as a dire warning to our society and prompt us to decisively act to reduce pollutants, fight global warming, and augment the tolerance of crops to multiple stress combinations. Newly discovered acclimation strategies for stress combination and different approaches to augment the resilience of crop plants to multifactorial stress combination will be discussed.
Dr. Ron Mittler
Global Warming, Climate Change, and Environmental Pollution: Recipe for a Multifactorial Stress Combination Disaster
University of Missouri, USA