The well-known hormone melatonin is not just promoting sleep in humans and animals but is also involved in stress tolerance in plants.
And Crop Physiologists from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen has now documented the roles of melatonin in drought priming and stress memory in barley, together with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, USA.
The results from their study suggest that exogenous melatonin application enhances the drought priming induced cold tolerance by modulating sub-cellular antioxidant systems and the level of the plant hormone abscisic acid in barley. Abscisic acid plays an important part in plant responses to environmental stress, as it for example slows plant growth to protect it from the cold conditions in the winter.
Post doc and first author Dr. Xiangnan Li and Associate Professor Fulai Liu, the senior author of the article, both from Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, see great perspectives in their findings:
"Regulating melatonin production in plants via drought priming could be a promising approach to enhancing abiotic stress tolerance of crops in future climate scenarios."