Soil salinity, a serious environmental issue and plant responses: A metabolomics perspective

Kekeletso H. Chele, Morena M. Tinte, Lizelle A. Piater, Ian A. Dubery, Fidele Tugizimana

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of global warming have increasingly led to devastating environmental stresses, such as heat, salinity, and drought. Soil salinization is a serious environmental issue and results in detrimental abiotic stress, affecting 7% of land area and 33% of irrigated lands worldwide. The proportion of arable land facing salinity is expected to rise due to increasing climate change fuelled by anthropogenic activities, exacerbating the threat to global food security for the exponentially growing populace. As sessile organisms, plants have evolutionarily developed mechanisms that allow ad hoc responses to salinity stress. The orchestrated mechanisms include signalling cascades involving phytohormones, kinases, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and calcium regulatory networks. As a pillar in a systems biology approach, metabolomics allows for comprehensive interrogation of the biochemistry and a deconvolution of molecular mechanisms involved in plant responses to salinity. Thus, this review highlights soil salinization as a serious environmental issue and points to the negative impacts of salinity on plants. Furthermore, the review summarises mechanisms regulating salinity tolerance on molecular, cellular, and biochemical levels with a focus on metabolomics perspectives. This critical synthesis of current literature is an opportunity to revisit the current models regarding plant responses to salinity, with an invitation to further fundamental research for novel and actionable insights.

Original languageEnglish
Article number724
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Abiotic stresses
  • Environmental factors
  • Metabolomics
  • Salinity
  • Salinization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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