Soil salinity limits plant shade avoidance (Curr. Biol.)


The agriculture sector is going to face big challenges to feed the 10 billion people that are going to inhabit the planet in the upcoming years with limited arable land. One effective practice to enhance the yield per unit area is to increase crop planting density.  However, in dense stands, plants compete with each other for light. They perceive this vegetative shading mainly as a reduction in the ratio of red to far-red light caused by the depletion of photosynthetically active radiation by neighbouring plants. Such a signal serves as a warning of forthcoming competition from neighbours and triggers a number of physiological alterations that are described as the shade avoidance response. Hayes et al are interested in the connection of this developmental program with other environmental factors. Here they show that even low levels of salt interfere with shade avoidance. In particular they highlight and demonstrate a link between light, ABA-, and BR-signaling pathways. (Summarized by Francesca Resentini) Curr. Biol. 10.1016/j.cub.2019.03.042