Editorial: Physiological, Molecular and Genetic Perspectives of Chilling Tolerance in Horticultural Crops
MetadataShow full item record
Horticultural crops have high economic, and enrich our lives through their aesthetic and nutritional value. Many horticultural species originate from tropical regions and are sensitive to cold at every stage of their lifecycle. Cold stress leads to lower productivity and post-harvest losses in these species, with poor economic and environmental outcomes. Better understanding of the protective mechanisms mediated by hormonal and other signaling pathways (Akhtar et al., 2012) may offer solutions to reduce cold-stress induced losses. The papers included in this collection illustrate this concept, examining natural cold-tolerance mechanisms and practical ways for growers to alleviate chilling stress and to reduce crop losses. The studies were remarkably diverse in terms of the species studied (i.e., tomato, longan, tung tree, lowbush blueberry, and apple), plant organs examined (i.e., seedlings, leaf, and fruit), and approaches used (i.e., reverse genetics, the systems biology, physiology, and biochemistry). The papers encompassed the use of (1) basic science, aimed at identifying key genes and their roles in cold signal transduction and protective pathways in fruit and photosynthetic tissues; (2) reverse genetics for proof-of-concept on the hypothesized role of a cold-tolerance transcription factor cloned from an understudied species; and (3) emerging technologies, by using exogenous hormones and signaling compounds to mitigate the harmful effects of chilling. These studies are described below.