Climate Change and Defense against Pathogens in Plants

Adrian C. Newton, Lesley Torrance, Nicola Holden, Ian K. Toth, David E. L. Cooke, Vivian Blok, Eleanor M. Gilroy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Citations (Scopus)


Most reviews of climate change are epidemiological, focusing on impact assessment and risk mapping. However, there are many reports of the effects of environmental stress factors on defense mechanisms in plants against pathogens. We review those representative of key climate change-related stresses to determine whether there are any patterns or trends in adaptation responses. We recognize the complexity of climate change itself and the multitrophic nature of the complex biological interactions of plants, microbes, soil, and the environment and, therefore, the difficulty of reductionist dissection approaches to resolving the problems. We review host defense genes, germplasm, and environmental interactions in different types of organisms but find no significant group-specific trends. Similarly, we review by host defense mechanism type and by host pathogen trophic relationship but identify no dominating mechanism for stress response. However, we do identify core stress response mechanisms playing key roles in multiple response pathways whether to biotic or abiotic stress. We suggest that these should be central to mechanistic climate change plant defense research. We also recognize biodiversity, heterogeneity, and the need for understanding stress in a true systems biology approach as being essential components of progressing our understanding of and response to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Applied Microbiology
EditorsGeoffrey M. Gadd, Sima Sariaslani
Place of PublicationSan Diego
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-394382-8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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