Climate Change and Production of Horticultural Crops

Authored by: Jagan Singh Gora , Ajay Kumar Verma , Jitendra Singh , Desh Raj Choudhary

Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367345235
eBook ISBN: 9780429326349
Adobe ISBN:




Climate can be defined as an average weather condition over a long period (typically 30 years). Change in the climate that persists for decades or longer, arising from either natural causes or human activity is referred to as climate change (IPCC, 2007). It includes increases in temperature, changes in rainfall pattern, sea level rise, salt-water intrusion, generation of floods and droughts etc. (Bates et al., 2008; Shetty et al., 2013; Pathak et al., 2012). Climate change per se is not necessarily harmful. The problems that arise from extreme events are difficult to predict (FAO, 2001). More erratic rainfall patterns and unpredictable high temperature spells will consequently reduce the crop productivity. The resulting anthropogenic activities are responsible for an increase in gases, viz. carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) popularly known as the “greenhouse gases” (GHGs). Specially, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased drastically from 280 ppm to 370 ppm and is likely to be doubled in the 21st century (IPCC, 2007). The Indian climate has undergone significant changes showing increasing trends in annual temperature with an average of 0.56°C rise over the last 100 years (Rao et al., 2009; IMD, 2010).

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Climate Change and Production of Horticultural Crops

3.1  Introduction

Climate can be defined as an average weather condition over a long period (typically 30 years). Change in the climate that persists for decades or longer, arising from either natural causes or human activity is referred to as climate change (IPCC, 2007). It includes increases in temperature, changes in rainfall pattern, sea level rise, salt-water intrusion, generation of floods and droughts etc. (Bates et al., 2008; Shetty et al., 2013; Pathak et al., 2012). Climate change per se is not necessarily harmful. The problems that arise from extreme events are difficult to predict (FAO, 2001). More erratic rainfall patterns and unpredictable high temperature spells will consequently reduce the crop productivity. The resulting anthropogenic activities are responsible for an increase in gases, viz. carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) popularly known as the “greenhouse gases” (GHGs). Specially, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has increased drastically from 280 ppm to 370 ppm and is likely to be doubled in the 21st century (IPCC, 2007). The Indian climate has undergone significant changes showing increasing trends in annual temperature with an average of 0.56°C rise over the last 100 years (Rao et al., 2009; IMD, 2010).

Climate change poses serious impacts on agriculture, horticulture, environment, and health all over the world. Environmental stresses severely affect the soil organic matter decomposition, nutrient recycling, nutrient availability, limited soil moisture, low yield, and water availability to the plant. It is predicted that by 2080 the cereal production could be reduced by 2%–4%, meanwhile the price will increase by 13%–45%, and about 36%–50% of the population will be affected by hunger (FAO, 2009). Despite several negative impacts, there are a few beneficial aspects of enhanced GHGs e.g., higher atmospheric concentration of CO2 may enhance the crop production of onion, leafy vegetables, rice, wheat, and soybean (Spaldon et al., 2015; Shetty et al., 2013). A significant change in climate on a global scale impacts agriculture and consequently affects the world’s food supply (Afroza et al., 2010; Pathak et al., 2012). As per an analysis of ongoing temperature conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8°C (1.4°F) since 1880. The sea level rise has been estimated to be on an average between +2.6 mm and +2.9 mm/year ± 0.4 mm since 1993. Additionally, sea level rise has accelerated in recent years.

Some prominent consequences of climate change are as under:

  1. Rise in global mean temperatures by 0.74°C during the last 100 years
  2. Global warming.
  3. Rise in sea level.
  4. Increase in frequency and intensity of wild fires, floods, droughts, and tropical storms.
  5. Changes in the amount, timing and distribution of rain, snow, run-off and disturbance of coastal marine and other ecosystems.
  6. More acidic ocean-disrupting marine plankton.
  7. Vulnerable production of vegetables.
  8. Increase in abiotic stresses like extreme temperature (low/high), soil salinity, droughts and floods.
  9. Detrimental influence on vegetative growth; flowering and fruiting are significantly influenced by the vagaries of climate.

3.2  Causes of Climate Change

Natural processes: Natural changes in the components of the Earth’s climate system and their interactions are the cause of internal climate variability or internal forcing. Generally the five types of the Earth’s climate systems, namely atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere (Weis and Berry, 1988; Shetty et al., 2013) form the very basis of climate change.

  1. Ocean variability: The Ocean is a fundamental part of the climate system. Some changes occur in it at a longer time scale than in the atmosphere, massing hundreds of times more and having very high thermal inertia such as the ocean depths still lagging today in temperature adjustment from the little Ice Age.
  2. Orbital variation: Slight variations in the Earth’s orbit lead to changes in the seasonal distribution of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface and how it is distributed across the globe. There is very little change to the area in respect to annually averaged sunshine but there can be strong changes in the geographical and seasonal distribution.
  3. Changes in the sun: The sun is the predominant source of energy input to the Earth. Both long and short-term variations in solar intensity are known to influence the global climate. Three to four billion years ago the sun emitted only 70% as much power as it does today. If the atmospheric composition had been the same as today, liquid water should not have existed on Earth.
  4. Volcanic eruptions: Volcanic eruptions release gases and particulate matter into the atmosphere. The eruptions are large enough to affect the climate several times per century and cause cooling for a period of a few years.
  5. Tectonic plate movement: Over the course of millions of years, the motion of tectonic plates reconfigures global land, ocean areas, and generates topography. This can affect both global and local patterns of climate and ocean circulation. The positions of the continents determine the geometry of the oceans and therefore influence patterns of ocean circulation. The locations of the seas are important in controlling the transfer of heat and moisture across the globe and therefore in determining global climate.
  6. Human activities: The scientific consensus on climate change is that the climate is changing and that these changes in large part are caused by human activities and they are largely irreversible. The biggest concern in these anthropogenic factors is the increase in CO2 levels due to emissions from fossil fuel combustion, followed by aerosols (particulate matter in the atmosphere), and cement manufacturing. Other factors like land use, ozone depletion, agriculture, and deforestation etc. separately and in conjunction with other factors affect the climate, micro-climate and measures of climate variables. The human activities include power plants (40% of carbon emissions), automobiles (33% of carbon emissions), deforestation (responsible for 20%–25% of carbon emissions), buildings (12% of carbon emissions) and aeroplanes (3.5% of global warming) etc. Due to rising pressure on land aggravated by various anthropogenic factors, there has been a continuous rise in the level of CO2 since 2006 till the recorded period of 2014 as furnished below. This is the prime cause of global warming and the associated ill effects on the entire Earth. The CO2 (ppm) level for different years is summarized in Table 3.1.

    Table 3.1   CO2 Level in Different Years

    Year 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
    CO2 (ppm) 398.5 396.4 393.8 391.6 389.8 387.3 385.5 383.7 381.9
  7. Greenhouse effect: Greenhouse effect is one of the main reasons for climate change. The Earth is the only planet in our solar system that supports life, because of its unique environmental conditions with the presence of water, an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and a suitable surface temperature. It has an atmosphere of proper depth and chemical composition. About 30% of the incoming energy from the sun is reflected back to space while the rest which reaches the earth has a role in warming the air, oceans, and land, maintaining an average surface temperature of about 15°C. The concentration of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere is 78% and 21%, respectively, which all animals need to survive. Only a small portion, i.e., 0.036% is made up of carbon dioxide which is required by plants for photosynthesis. The solar energy is absorbed by the land, sea, mountains etc. and simultaneously released in the form of infrared waves. All this released heat is not lost to space but is partly absorbed by some gases present in very small quantities in the atmosphere called GHGs, consisting of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous-oxide, water vapor, ozone and a few others and leads to greenhouse effect (Kricksen, 2008).

3.2.1  Challenges Due to Climate Change in Horticulture Production

The abiotic stress arises due to change in climate. It affects several morphological, anatomical, physiological, and biochemical parameters of the plants. Environmental stress is the primary cause of low production for most of the fruits and vegetables worldwide. Some of the important environmental stresses which affect crop production have been reviewed below:

Temperature: A constantly high temperature causes an array of morpho-anatomical changes in plants which affect the seed germination, plant growth, flower shedding, pollen viability, gametic fertilization, fruit setting, fruit size, fruit weight, and fruit quality etc. Exposure of horticulture crops to increased heat stress is the cause of physiological disorders and their associated problems. Poor pollination, especially under low humidity and high temperatures, will occur in many crops (e.g., sweet corn, lettuce, carrot, cucurbits, tomato, and avocado), together with a reduction in the number of pollinator insect species (Deuter, 2008). Pollen germination in tomato is affected at temperatures above 27°C. It results in the reduced fruit set, smaller size, and lower quality fruits (Stevens, 1978). Floral abortion will occur in capsicum when temperatures exceed 30°C (Erickson and Markhart, 2002). In peas, temperature above 25.6°C during bloom and pod set reduce flower, pod number, and yield. In beans, high temperature delays flowering because they enhance the short day photoperiod (Davis, 1997). In cucumber, sex expression is affected leading to production of more male flowers. In bulb crops, 1°C increase in temperature will decrease bulb yield by 3.5%–15%. Increasing carbon dioxide could increase the incidence of brown fleck disorder and due to high temperature it is likely to reduce tuber initiation in potatoes. Out of season high temperatures cause bolting of lettuce and celery, resulting in poor quality heads and reduced yields.

Color development in apples occurs through the production of anthocyanin. Anthocyanin production is reduced at high temperatures (Figure 3.1). Similarly, in capsicum red color development during ripening is inhibited above 27°C. In banana, temperature below 10°C leads to impedance of inflorescence and malformation of bunches. For avocados, increased heat stress will adversely affect the fruit size and the capacity to “store” a mature crop on the tree. Pome and stone fruits require a specific amount of winter chilling to develop fruitful buds and break dormancy satisfactorily in the spring (Table 3.2). Increasing minimum temperatures under climate change may induce insufficient chilling accumulation resulting in uneven or delayed bud break. A number of fruit commodities (e.g., pome fruit, stone fruit, and avocadoes) require cross-pollinating cultivars for effective fruit set. Increasing temperatures may adversely affect the synchronization of flowering of these cultivars, resulting in inefficient pollination and reduced yield and quality (Deuter, 2008).

High temperature incited problems in fruit production.

Figure 3.1   High temperature incited problems in fruit production.

Table 3.2   List of Physiological Disorders Caused by High Temperature

S. No.


Physiological Disorders



Low carotene content


Asparagus, Bean

High fiber content in stalks/pods


Cauliflower, Broccoli

Hollow stem, leafiness, no head


Cole crops, Lettuce

Tip burns, bolting, loose puffy heads


Tomato, Pepper

Fruit cracking, sun scald


Tomato, Pepper, Watermelon

Blossom end rot (BER)



Spongy tissue






Pink berry formation


Litchi, pomegranate

Fruit cracking



Tip burning



Sun scald



Blackening of petals



Bleached petals, bract buds

Source: Bahadur et al. (2011), Muthukumar and Selvakumar (2013).

Drought: Water availability is highly sensitive to climate change and severe water stress conditions will affect crop productivity. In combination with elevated temperatures, decreased precipitation could cause a reduction in the availability of irrigation water and increase in evapotranspiration, leading to severe crop water stress conditions (IPCC, 2001). Drought-stress causes an increase in solute concentration in the environment (soil), leading to an osmotic flow of water out of plant cells. This leads to an increase in the solute concentration in plant cells, thereby lowering the water potential and disrupting membranes and cell processes such as photosynthesis. Water-stress condition affects the plants in terms of narrow leaf orientation, lesser germination, delayed maturity, small and delayed flowering, decline in chlorophyll content, reduced rate of transpiration, less uptake of nutrients, and severe reduction in yield (Bhardwaj, 2012). The soil moisture stress during the vegetative stage of banana causes the plant to extend its life cycle, and leads to poor bunch formation, lesser number of fingers, and small sized fingers. The water stress during flowering causes poor filling of fingers and unmarketable bunches.

Salinity: Salinity is a serious problem that reduces the growth and productivity of horticulture crops in many salt-affected areas. It is estimated that about 20% of cultivated lands and 33% of irrigated agricultural lands worldwide are affected by high salinity (Foolad, 2004). In addition, the salinity affected areas are increasing at a rate of 10% annually. Low precipitation, high surface evaporation, weathering of native rocks, irrigation with saline water, and poor cultural practices are the major hazards of increasing soil salinity. The high solute concentration in the soil imposes an initial water deficit. Altered K+/Na+ ratios, and build up due to Na+ and Cl concentrations are detrimental to plants (Yamaguchi and Blumwald, 2005). Soil salinity can affect seed germination through osmotic effects; loss of turgor, growth reduction, wilting, leaf curling, epinasty, decreased photosynthesis, respiratory changes, loss of cellular integrity, tissue necrosis, and death of the plant (Jones, 1984; Cheeseman, 1988). Pea shows poor seed germination under saline condition (Kumar et al., 2012). Onion and Kagzi lime are sensitive to saline soils, while cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, beet root, beet leaf, and tomatoes are moderately sensitive.

Flooding: The excess amount of water than its optimum requirement is known as flooding/water logging. Crop production is often limited during the rainy season due to excessive moisture brought about by heavy rains. In general, the damage to crops by flooding is due to reduction of oxygen in the root zone, which inhibits aerobic processes (Table 3.3). Flooded plants accumulate endogenous ethylene that causes damage to the plants (Drew, 1981). Low oxygen levels stimulate an increased production of an ethylene precursor, 1-amino cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), in the roots (Kawase, 1981). It disturbs the physiological functioning, and the vegetative and reproductive growth of plants. Flooding symptoms such as rapid wilting and death of plants in tomato and increased incidence of pathogens viz. late blight, root pathogens increases with rising temperatures (Kuo et al., 1982). Some insects are killed or removed from crops by heavy rains e.g., onion thrips. Most fruits and vegetables are highly sensitive to water-logging or over-irrigation, particularly tomato, chilli, papaya, and early cauliflower.

Table 3.3   Abiotic Stress Susceptible Horticultural Crops

S. No.

Abiotic Stress



High temperature

Peas, tomato, potato, beans, capsicum, banana, papaya, litchi, citrus, bael, rose.


Low temperature

Tomato, brinjal, onion, drumstick, Indian gooseberry, ber, senna, phalsa, gonad, rose, jasmine, tropical orchids, carnation.



Chilli, turnip, tomato, onion, pomegranate, custard apple, fig, grape, mango, banana, guava, black pepper, cardamom.



Onion, radish, potato, beans, melons, peas, mango, fig, citrus, grape, guava, custard apple, apple, pear, strawberry.


Flooding/excess moisture

Chilli, onion, tomato, papaya, early cauliflower, banana.

Source: Singh (2010), Muthukumar and Selvakumar (2013).

Increase of CO 2 concentration: The change in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere can alter plant tissues in terms of growth and physiological behavior (Pathak et al., 2012). Srinivasa and Bhatt (1992) studied the effect of tomato cv. Arka Ashish at higher CO2 (550ppm) which influenced growth and development and increased yield by 24.4%. Higher CO2 influenced overall growth and development of onion cv. Arka Kalyan, producing higher dry matter content in leaves, stems, and bulbs. At the bulb development stage, the photosynthesis rate was higher at elevated CO2 levels as compared to ambient level. In tuber crops every 100 ppm increase in CO2 increases tuber initiation, flowering, tuber weight, tuber number, and tuber yield by approximately 10% (Miglietta et al., 1998). The few negative effects of elevated CO2 concentration include reduction in chlorophyll content in leaves particularly during late growing season after tuber initiation (Bindi et al., 2001). Root crop yield increased by 34% for an increase in CO2 from 325 to 530 ppm (Kimball, 1983). Nederhoff (1994) found that yield increased by 34% for an increase in CO2 from 364 to 620 µ/mol in cucumber. In coconut, arecanut, and cocoa, increased CO2 led to higher biomass production and total dry matter content (Singh et al., 2010).

Outbreak of insect-pest: Changes in temperature and variability in rainfall, unseasonal rains, and heavy dew during the flowering and fruiting period would affect incidence of insect-pests, diseases, and virulence of major crops. Higher temperature generally results in increased insect-pest activity e.g., an extra generation of insect-pests such as halitosis may be possible in most locations. Higher temperatures may result in a longer period of pest activity; especially where production is extended e.g., Diamondback Moth (DBM) is a pest of worldwide significance wherever Brassica vegetables are grown. With a warming climate DBM will have an increased impact in all Brassica growing regions, particularly sub-tropical regions and increasingly so in temperate regions (Deuter, 2008). Pollinating insect activities were also reduced to the minimum, resulting in poor setting of fruits, vegetables, and nuts during that period. Due to the climate change, the number of crops (host) affected by a particular pest has increased (Singh et al., 2010). See Table 3.4 for such details.

Table 3.4   Crops Infested by a Particular Pest

S. No.


Major Crop

Crops Infested


Serpentine leaf miner (Liriomyza trifolii)


Brinjal, Cow pea, French bean, Leafy vegetables, Cucurbits


Spiraling whiteflies (A. macfarlanei)

Guava, Citrus



Mealy bug (C. insolita, P. solanpisis)

Cotton, Jute

Brinjal, Tomato, Chilli, Okra


Hadda beetle (H. vigitioctopuntata)


Bitter gourd


Fruit borer (H. armigera)

Gram, Cotton, Tomato

Peas, Chilli, Brinjal, Okra


Cabbage butterfly (Pieris brasicae)

Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Mustard

Knol-khol, Radish


Red spider mite (Tetranychus sp.)


Brinjal, Cowpea, Indian bean

Source: Sharma (2012), Singh et al. (2010).

3.3  Mitigation Strategies for Enhancing Horticultural Production

Various management practices have the potential to increase the yield of fruits and vegetables grown under adverse conditions. The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan, has developed technologies to alleviate production challenges such as limited irrigation water and flooding to mitigate the effects of salinity, and also to ensure appropriate availability of nutrients to the plants. Strategies include modifying fertilizer application to enhance nutrient availability to plants, direct delivery of water to roots (drip irrigation), grafting to increase disease tolerance, and use of soil amendments to improve soil fertility and enhance nutrient uptake by plants (AVRDC, 2009; Schwarz et al., 2010).

Water harvesting: Collection of rainwater is termed as water harvesting. It can be collected both in-situ and ex-situ modes. In the former method, the rain drop is collected wherever it falls. In ex-situ conservation, water which otherwise forms run-off, is collected in a suitable structure. It may be a farm pond, reservoir or other suitable structure known locally by different names. A country like India where the annual rainfall is more than 500 mm, barring arid region, receives a calculated amount of more than 5,000,000 lakh liters water per ha. However, after cessation of rains, no moisture is left for successful cultivation. This calls for collection of the rainwater. A farmer by constructing a farm pond of 1 m3 size can store 1.0 lakh liter of water. This much water is sufficient for life saving irrigation, especially in a moderately spaced new orchard for almost one month which continues to be very critical during summer month.

Water saving irrigation: The quality and efficiency of water management determine the yield and quality of the products. Too much or too little water causes abnormal plant growth, predisposes plants to infection by pathogens, and causes nutritional disorders. The timely irrigation and conservation of soil moisture reserves are the most important agronomic interventions to maintain yield during drought stress (Phene, 1989). The World Vegetable Center and other institutions promote affordable, small-scale drip irrigation technologies. The water use efficiency by chilli was significantly higher in drip irrigation as compared to furrow irrigation (AVRDC, 2005, 2006). For drought tolerant crops like watermelon, the yield difference was non-significant between furrow and drip irrigation, but there was a reduction in the incidence of Fusarium wilt in drip irrigation method. In general, the use of low cost drip irrigation is cost-effective, labor-saving, and allows more plants to be grown per unit of water, thereby saving water and increasing the farmers’ incomes at the same time.

  1. Cultural practices to conserve water: Several crop management practices such as mulching, use of shelters and raised beds help to conserve soil moisture, prevent soil degradation, and protect plants from heavy rains, high temperatures, and flooding. The use of mulches helps reduce evaporation, soil temperature, erosion, and minimizes weed growth. Mulching has been found to improve the growth of brinjal, okra, bottle gourd, round melon, ridge gourd, and sponge gourd as compared to the non-mulched crop (Pandita and Singh, 1992). Planting of fruit and vegetable seedlings in raised beds can ameliorate the effects of flooding during the rainy season (AVRDC, 1979, 1981). Additional effects on yield were observed when the seedlings were planted in raised beds with rain shelters.
  2. Improved stress tolerance through grafting: Grafting involves uniting of two living plant parts (rootstock and scion) to produce a single growing plant. It has been used primarily to control soil-borne diseases affecting the production of fruit vegetables such as tomato, brinjal, and cucurbits. However, it can provide tolerance to soil-related environmental stresses such as drought, salinity, low soil temperature, and flooding if appropriate tolerant rootstocks are used (Edelstein, 2004; Singh, 2005; AVRDC, 2009; Schwarz et al., 2010). Romero et al. (1997) reported that melons grafted onto hybrid squash rootstocks were more salt tolerant than the non-grafted melons. However, rootstocks from Cucurbita spp. are more tolerant of salt than rootstocks from Lagenaria siceraria (Matsubara, 1989). Okimura et al. (1986) found that Solanum lycopersicum x S. habrochaites rootstocks provide tolerance of low soil temperatures (100°C–130°C) for their grafted tomato scions, while eggplants grafted onto S. integrifolium x S. melongena rootstocks grew better at lower temperatures (180°C–210°C) than non-grafted plants (Table 3.5).

    Table 3.5   Suitable Rootstocks for Different Purposes in Vegetables

    S. No. Vegetables Rootstock Uses
    1 Tomato Brinjal and wild spp. of Tomato Tolerance to corky rot, fungal diseases, cold hardiness, and enhanced yield
    2 Brinjal Brinjal and its wild spp. Tolerance to bacterial wilt, Verticilium wilt, low temperature, nematodes, vigor, and yield
    3 Pepper Pepper and its wild spp. Tolerance to bacterial wilt, Verticilium wilt, nematodes, induced vigor, and yield
    4 Cucumber Squash and fig leaf gourd Tolerance to Fusarium wilt, cold hardiness, and favorable sex ratio
    5 Watermelon Bottle gourd and Squash Tolerance to Fusarium wilt, wilting, and drought

    Source: Singh (2005).

  3. Use of resilient source: An improved and adapted germplasm is the most cost-effective option for farmers to meet the challenges of a changing climate. However, most modern cultivars represent a limited sampling of the available genetic variability, including tolerance to environmental stresses. New breeding varieties particularly for intensive, high input production and tolerance to different biotic and abiotic stresses are worth using (Pena and Hughes, 2007).
    • Varieties tolerant to high temperatures: The key to obtaining high yield with heat tolerant cultivars is the broadening of their genetic base through crosses between heat tolerant tropical lines and disease resistant temperate or winter varieties (Opena and Lo, 1981). The heat tolerant tomato lines were developed using heat tolerant breeding lines and landraces from the Philippines (VC11-3-1-8, VC 11-2-5, Divisoria-2) and the United States (Tamu Chico III, PI289309) (Hazra et al., 2007; Opena et al., 1989). However, lower yields in the heat tolerant lines are still a concern.
    • Drought tolerance sources: Some rootstocks like Dogridge (Vitis champine) of grape, Zizyphus rotundifolia of ber, MM-111 and MM-104 of apple, Mahaleb of cherry, Rosa canina and Rosa indica var. odorata of rose were found promising both for improvement in vigor, yield and quality as well as for tolerance to drought and salinity (Muthukumar and Selvakumar, 2013). Genetic variability for drought tolerance in Solanum lycopersicum is limited and inadequate. The stress tolerant tomato germplasm includes accessions of S. cheesmanii, S. chilense, S. lycopersicum var. cerasiforme, S. pennellii, S. peruvianum and S. pimpinellifolium. Drought tests show that S. chilense is five times more tolerant than cultivated tomato (Kumar et al., 2012).
    • Salinity tolerant lines: Genetic variation for salt tolerance during seed germination in tomato has been identified within cultivated and wild species. A cross between a salt sensitive tomato line (UCT5) and a salt-tolerant S. esculentum accession (PI174263) showed that the ability of the tomato seed to germinate rapidly under salt stress is genetically controlled (Pena and Hughes, 2007). In pepper, salt stress significantly decreases germination, shoot height, root length, fresh and dry weight and yield. See details in Table 3.6. Yildirim and Güvenç (2006) reported that pepper genotypes Demre, Ilica 250, 11-B-14, Bagci Carliston, Mini Aci Sivri, Yalova Carliston, and Yaglik-28 can be useful as sources of genes to develop pepper cultivars with improved germination under salt stress. In the fruit crops, rootstocks Bappakai, Kurrukan of mango; Rangpur lime, Cleopatra mandarin of citrus, and Z. nummularia of ber were found to be more tolerant to saline soil levels of up to 5.3 ds/m and saline water irrigations (Singh, 2010; Kumar et al., 2012).
  4. Climate proofing though Genomics and Biotechnology: Increasing crop productivity in unfavorable environments will require advanced technologies to complement the traditional methods which are often unable to prevent yield losses due to environmental stresses. National and international institutes are retooling for plant molecular genetics research to enhance traditional plant breeding and benefit from the potential of genetic engineering to increase and sustain crop productivity (CGIAR, 2003).
    • Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and gene discovery for tolerance to stresses: Genetic enhancement using molecular technologies has revolutionized plant breeding. The use of molecular markers as a selection tool provides the potential for increasing the efficiency of breeding programs by reducing environmental variability, facilitating earlier selection, and reducing subsequent population sizes for field testing. Martin et al. (1989) identified drought tolerance in tomato, and three QTLs were linked to water use efficiency in Solanum pennellii based on 13C composition. An identified four QTLs were associated with tomato seed to germinate rapidly under the drought and salt tolerance which was contributed by S. pimpinellifolium (Foolad et al., 2003). Lin et al. (2006) identified random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers linked to heat tolerance in The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), tomato line CL5915. “Osmotin” gene in potato, tolerant to water stress condition, has also been developed.

      Table 3.6   List of Some Varieties and Advanced Line Tolerant to Abiotic Stresses

      S. No. Tolerant Crop Varieties/Rootstock Advanced Line
      1 Drought/rainfed Tomato Arka Vikas, Arka Meghali RF-4A
      Chilli Arka Lohit IIHR sel.-132
      Onion Arka Kalyan MST-42 & MST-46
      Aonla Goma Aishwarya Clonal sel. NA-7
      Annona Arka Sahan -
      Pomegranate Ruby -
      Fig Deanna and Excel
      2 Salinity Okra Pusa Sawani -
      Onion Hisar-2 -
      Mango Kurrukan, Bappakai (rootstock)
      Citrus Rangpur lime and Cleopatra mandarin (rootstock)
      Grape Dogridge (rootstock)
      3 Photo-insensitive Lablab bean Arka Jay, Arka Vijay IIHR sel.-16-2
      Cowpea Arka Garima, Arka Suman, Arka Mangala -
      French bean Arka Anoop, Arka Bold IIHR-19-1
      4 Frost Onion Arka Kalyan, PBO-1 -
      Tomato Pusa Sheetal -
      5 High temperature Capsicum - IIHR sel.-3
      Tomato Pusa Hybrid-1 -
      Cauliflower Pusa Meghna IIHR-316-1 & IIHR-371-1
      Peas - IIHR-1 & IIHR-8
      Radish Pusa Chetki -
      Carrot Pusa Vrishti, Pusa Kesar -
      Cucumber Pusa Barkha -

      Source: Rai and Yadav (2005), Yadav et al. (2012), Muthukumar and Selvakumar (2013).

    • Engineering stress tolerance: Environmental stress tolerance is a complex trait and involves many genes (Wang et al., 2003). In response to stresses, both RNA and protein expression profiles change. Approximately 130 drought-responsive genes have been identified using microarrays (Reymond et al., 2000; Seki et al., 2001). These genes are involved with transcription modulation, ion-transport, and carbohydrate metabolism and transpiration control. DREB1A, CBF and HSF genes are transcription factors implicated in drought and heat response, respectively (Sung et al., 2003; Sakuma et al., 2002). The CBF/DREB1 genes have been used successfully to engineer drought tolerance and increased stress tolerance without plant growth retardation in tomato and other crops (Hsieh et al., 2002; Kumar et al., 2012).
  5. Carbon trading: This is a type of compensatory allowance in terms of money value for the generation of carbon sink. In India carbon trading remains neglected. It is well known and widely accepted that plants are a very potent source of utilization of carbon. This is the reason that plantation drives form massive campaigns across the globe. In continents where the created biomass base is considerably large, there is an opportunity of carbon trading. It has been observed that a mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) plant at the age of 6 years had the potential to store 1.6 tc/ha (Mehta et al., 2016). Thus plantation drives, while lessening the CO2 content in the environment, can be an opportunity for earning.

3.4  Conclusion

The demand for horticultural produce is increasing due to rising consumerism, and needs to be met in a sustainable manner. The succulent horticultural crops are highly sensitive to heat, radiation, drought, salinity, and flooding. Direct and indirect observations indicate increased levels of carbon dioxide and increase in temperature from 1–5°C by the end of this century with changing rainfall patterns and greater frequency of extreme events of droughts and floods (IPCC, 2007). Elevated CO2 has a positive effect ranging from 24% to 51% on the productivity of crops like mango, citrus, grapes, guava, fig, annona, tomato, capsicum, onion, cucumber, and melons. However, increase in temperature affects the crop duration, flowering, fruiting, fruit size, quality, and fruit ripening with reduced productivity and economic yield. Therefore, the overall impact of climate change depends on the interaction effect of elevated CO2 and rising temperature. Accurate impact analyses of global warming on horticultural crops are required to evolve adaptive measures and future strategies to cope up with climate change and global warming (Shetty et al., 2013; Pathak et al., 2012). Selection of adaptive crops and adoption of mitigation measures are in the way of sustainability in the production of horticultural crops.


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