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Physiology of Plants Under Stress: Abiotic Factors

In the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day work, a fear is that we find too little time to ready much "technical literature". We once knew a forester that still referred to his college notes OVER 30 years old (the notes, not the forester). With the plethora of scientific, technical, and professional journals out there today, we probably need to rely on someone to read all that stuff, synthesize it, and then publish the mish-mash in a book. With a little luck, we will discover the book before we retire and read, read, reread it. Here's one you just gotta see. Entitled "Physiology of Plants Under Stress: Abiotic Factors" by Erik Nilsen and David Orcutt (John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 0-471- 03512-6), this new book (1996) on plant stress is well worth investigating.

After introductory chapters on growth physiology and hormonal stress responses, the core chapters on drought, flooding, high temperature, low temperature, and multiple stress factor interactions beckon us to reread section after section to understand this stuff. This is not light reading for bedtime, but serious heavy duty stuff. For example in the chapter on flooding, the authors summarize the metabolic regulation of respiration in flooded plants. Remembering that respiration without oxygen requires a different metabolic pathway to generate the ATP needed to keep cells functional without generating a toxic concentration of ethanol. Under these anaerobic conditions, glycolysis and fermentation are significantly increased, more energy is used to create the same effect, and seriously bad stuff is produced. Whoa, dude! Totally far out.

Tom Clancey sleeps well at night knowing that this book is out there. This book will never make it to the NY Times Best Ten list, nor is it ever likely to show up in Barnes & Noble, but seek and ye' shall find. This one is worth both seeking and finding.