A Review on Potential Plant-Based Water Stress Indicators for Vegetable Crops



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Area under vegetable cultivation is expanding in arid and semi-arid regions of the world to meet the nutritional requirements of an ever-growing population. However, water scarcity in these areas is limiting vegetable productivity. New water-conserving irrigation management practices are being implemented in these areas. Under these irrigation management practices, crops are frequently exposed to some extent of water stress. Vegetables are highly sensitive to water stress. For the successful implementation of new irrigation practices in vegetable crops, it is of immense importance to determine the threshold water deficit level which will not have a detrimental effect on plant growth and yield. Along with this, plant response and adaptation mechanisms to new irrigation practices need to be understood for the successful implementation of new irrigation practices. To understand this, water stress indicators that are highly responsive to water stress; and that can help in early detection of water stress need to be identified for vegetable crops. Plant-based water stress indicators are quite effective in determining the water stress level in plants because they take into account the cumulative effect of water stress due to declining soil moisture status and increased evaporative demand of the atmosphere while determining the water stress level in plant. Water stress quantification using plant-based approaches involves direct measurements of several aspects of plant water status and indirect measurements of plant processes which are highly sensitive to water deficit. In this article, a number of plant-based water stress indicators were critically reviewed for (1) their efficacy to determine the level of water stress, (2) their potential to predict the yield of a crop as affected by different water-deficit levels and (3) their suitability for irrigation scheduling in vegetable crops.


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


Water Stress Indicator, Deficit Irrigation, Vegetables, Plant-Based Approaches, Threshold Water Stress


Parkash V, Singh S. A Review on Potential Plant-Based Water Stress Indicators for Vegetable Crops. Sustainability. 2020; 12(10):3945. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12103945