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Plant adaptations and mutualism

Anticipated changes in global climatic variability leading to more frequent extreme conditions will require adaptations of crops in order to sustain food security. Increased occurrences of severe drought and heat events as well as spreading of soil-borne diseases have become a major problem for crop production.

There is a current need to study the interaction of biotic (bacterial and fungal infection) and abiotic (climate) disorders and the consequences for crop health. Interactions between multiple stress episodes and of stress types needs further investigation. Understanding of mutualistic and competitive interactions of plants with other organisms and the environment are necessary.

A multidisciplinary approach integrating physiological and microbial, biochemical and genetic research will determine limiting variables and optimal acclimation patterns in order to increase crop health, yield and quality.