Ethanol enhances drought tolerance in plants

August 25, 2022

The development of fertilizers and technologies that increase drought tolerance in crops is expected

Researchers at the RIKEN CSRS found that ethanol application to plants enhances their drought stress tolerance.

Researchers treated a model plant Arabidopsis thaliana with ethanol, an inexpensive and widely used chemical, before subjecting these plants to drought stress. The results revealed that ethanol enhances the drought stress tolerance in plants through the following mechanisms: 1. Ethanol treatment induces stomatal closure, decreasing water loss in cells. 2. Ethanol is readily absorbed by the plants, metabolized, and converted into amino acids and sugars through gluconeogenesis. 3. A decrease in carbon dioxide intake due to stomatal closure is compensated by gluconeogenesis, maintaining plant growth. 4. Plants accumulate metabolites, such as glucosinolates  that help tolerate drought stress. Moreover, ethanol treatment enhances drought stress tolerance in crops such as wheat and rice. These findings would contribute to the development of fertilizers and technologies that increase the drought stress tolerance in crops.

Original article
Plant & Cell Physiology doi:10.1093/pcp/pcac114
K. Bashir, D. Todaka, S. Rasheed, A. Matsui, Z. Ahmad, K. Sako, Y. Utsumi, A. T. Vu, M. Tanaka, S. Takahashi, J. Ishida, Y. Tsuboi, S. Watanabe, Y. Kanno, E. Ando, K.-C. Shin, M. Seito, H. Motegi, M. Sato, R. Li, S. Kikuchi, M. Fujita, M. Kusano, M. Kobayashi, Y. Habu, A. J. Nagano, K. Kawaura, J. Kikuchi, K. Saito, M. Y. Hirai, M. Seo, K. Shinozaki, T. Kinoshita, M. Seki,
"Ethanol-mediated novel survival strategy against drought stress in plants".
Motoaki Seki; Team Leader
Daisuke Todaka; Research Scientist
Plant Genomic Network Research Team