chapter  42
Drought Resistance of Tropical Forage Grasses
Opening a Fertile Ground for Innovative Research
WithJuan Andrés Cardoso, Idupulapati M. Rao
Pages 11

This chapter provides an overview of four aspects, and these include drought stress, tropical forage grasses, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) strategy for evaluating drought stress responses and mechanisms, and future outlook. CIAT aims to identify drought resistant tropical forage grasses by characterizing an “ideotype” for different water use strategies. Drought stress is a major abiotic factor restricting plant growth and productivity around the world. Drought stress is determined by water supply, in turn, influenced by type, texture, and hydraulic conductivity of the soil, but also to the atmospheric evaporative demand. Drought escape is associated with phenology, by entering a state of dormancy or by ensuring plant survival by the production of seeds. Dehydration tolerance is mostly associated with the ability to sustain low tissue water potential and maintain turgor under drought conditions. Phenomic approaches have opened a great avenue for improvement on how tropical forage grasses are studied under drought stress.