Food legumes and rising temperatures: Effects, adaptive functional mechanisms specific to reproductive growth stage and strategies to improve heat tolerance

Kumari Sita, Akanksha Sehgal, Bindumadhava Hanumantharao*, Ramakrishnan M. Nair, P. V. Vara Prasad, Shiv Kumar, Pooran M. Gaur, Muhammad Farooq, Kadambot H.M. Siddique, Rajeev K. Varshney, Harsh Nayyar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Ambient temperatures are predicted to rise in the future owing to several reasons associated with global climate changes. These temperature increases can result in heat stress-a severe threat to crop production in most countries. Legumes are wellknown for their impact on agricultural sustainability as well as their nutritional and health benefits. Heat stress imposes challenges for legume crops and has deleterious effects on the morphology, physiology, and reproductive growth of plants. High-temperature stress at the time of the reproductive stage is becoming a severe limitation for production of grain legumes as their cultivation expands to warmer environments and temperature variability increases due to climate change. The reproductive period is vital in the life cycle of all plants and is susceptible to high-temperature stress as various metabolic processes are adversely impacted during this phase, which reduces crop yield. Food legumes exposed to high-temperature stress during reproduction show flower abortion, pollen and ovule infertility, impaired fertilization, and reduced seed filling, leading to smaller seeds and poor yields. Through various breeding techniques, heat tolerance in major legumes can be enhanced to improve performance in the field. Omics approaches unravel different mechanisms underlying thermotolerance, which is imperative to understand the processes of molecular responses toward high-temperature stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1658
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 4 2017


  • Food legumes
  • Functional mechanisms
  • High temperature stress
  • Reproductive function
  • ‘Omics’ approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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