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2614 in Biosciences 7(18): 2614-2621, 2014


Trends in Biosciences 7 (18), 2014


Impact of Climate Change on Vegetable Cultivation: A Review

*1Department of Vegetable Science College of Agriculture,Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana
Punjab-141 004 (India)
Division of Food Science and PHT IARI New Delhi.
email: chandrawatop2@gmail.com

Vegetables are an important component of human diet as

they are the only source of nutrients vitamins and minerals.
They are also good remunerative to the farmer as they
fetch higher price in the market. Likewise other crops
they are also being hit by the consequences of climate
change such as global warming changes in seasonal and
monsoon pattern and biotic and abiotic factors. Under
changing climatic situations crop failures shortage of
yields reduction in quality and increasing pest and disease
problems are common and they render the vegetable
cultivation unprofitable. Potato among the all vegetables
is most vulnerable to climate change due to its exact
climatic requirement for various physiological processes.
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Key words

Vegetables temperature drought salinity and


Climate change may be a change in the mean of

the various climatic parameters such as temperature
precipitation relative humidity and atmospheric gases
composition etc. and in properties over a longer period
of time and a larger geographical area. It can also be
referred as any change in climate over time whether
due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.
Climatic changes will influence the severity of
environmental stress imposed on vegetable crops. The
response of plants to environmentalstresses depends
on the plant developmental stage and the length and
severity of the stress(Bray 2002). Environmental stress
is the primary cause of crop losses worldwide reducing
average yields for most major crops by more than 50%
(Bray et al. 2000). These effects of climate change
also influence the pest and disease occurrences host
pathogen interactions distribution and ecology of insects
time of appearance migration to new places and their
overwintering capacity there by becoming major setback
to vegetable cultivation (Ayyogari et al. 2014).
According to Schneider et al. (2007) vulnerability of
any system to climate change is the degree to which
these systems are susceptible and unable to survive with
the adverse impacts of climate change. High temperature

is due to the increased amount of greenhouse gases

like CO2and CH4 in atmosphere which is commonly
known as global warming or greenhouse effect. The
mean annual temperature of India is increased by 0.460
C over a period of last 111 years since 1901 (24.230 C)
to 2012 (24.690C) (Data Portal India 2013). Global
combined surface temperatures over land and sea have
been increased from13.680 C in 1881-90 to 14.470C in
2001-10 (WMO 2013).Globally averaged surface
temperature is expected to rise by between 1.10C up to
6.40C by the last decade of the21st century (Minaxi et
al. 2011). This temperature increase will alter the timing
and amount of rainfall availability of water wind patterns
and causes incidence of weather extremes such as
droughts heat waves floods or storms changes in ocean
currents acidification forest fires and hastens rate of
ozone depletion (Minaxi et al. 2011; Kumar
2012).Increasing temperatures reduced irrigation water
availability flooding and salinity will be major limiting
factors in sustaining andincreasing vegetable
productivity. Extreme climatic conditions will also
negativelyimpact soil fertility and increase soil erosion.
Thus additional fertilizer application or improved
nutrient-use efficiency of crops will be needed to
maintain productivity or harness the potential for
enhanced crop growth due to increased atmospheric
CO 2.The failure of the monsoons results in water
shortages resulting in below-average crop yields. This
is particularly true of major drought-prone regions such
as southern and eastern Maharashtra northern Karnataka
Andhra Pradesh Orissa Gujarat and Rajasthan. High
temperatures and in adequate rainfall at the time of
sowing and heavy rainfall at the time harvesting cause
severe crop losses in Andhra Pradesh Tamilnadu and
Karnataka (Ayyogari et al. 2014). Despite of having a
direct effect on rainfed vegetable cultivation climate
change affects water storage and availability of water
for irrigation. Since availability of water is limited
drought will become the major stress factor to vegetable
production further stressing farming systems (Verchot
et al. 2007).

MEENA and MEENA, Impact of Climate Change on Vegetable Cultivation: A Review

Some important effect of various climatic factors

on vegetable growth and development and incidence of
pest and diseases has been summarized below.

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High Temperatures
Fluctuations in daily mean maximum and
minimumtemperature is the primary effect of climate
change thatadversely affects vegetable production as
many plant physiological bio-chemical and metabolic
activities aretemperature dependent (Ayyogari et al.
2014). For most vegetables growth is more rapid as
temperatures increase at least up to 25 0 C. High
temperature injuries commonly reduce productivity.
Vegetables are generally sensitive to environmental
extremes and thus high temperature and limited soil
moisture are the major causes of low yields in the tropic
and warming will influence the severity of environmental
stress imposed on vegetable crops. The sensitivity of
individual crops to temperature depends on the inherent
tolerance and growing habits. Hall and Allen 1993
suggested that indeterminate crops are less sensitive to
periods of heat stress because the time of flowering is
extended compared with determinate crops.
Vegetative and reproductive processes in tomato
are strongly modified by temperature alone or in
conjunction with other environmental factors (Abdalla
and Verkerk 1968). High temperatures affect
reproductive development in two ways both of which
potentially reduce yields. Firstly the rate of reproductive
development is accelerated which shortens the fruit
maturation period resulting in lower fruit weight. In
many crops reproductive events themselves are
prevented at temperatures only a few degrees above
optimal. In tomato high temperatures can cause
significant losses in productivity due to reduced fruit
set with smaller size and lower quality fruits (Stevens
and Rudich 1978). Temperature influences the dry
matter partitioning between fruits and vegetative plant
parts either directly or indirectly through its influence
on development flower and or fruit abortion. Hazra et
al. (2007) summarized the symptoms causing fruit set
failure at high temperatures in tomato; this includes bud
drop abnormal flower development poor pollen
production dehiscence and viability ovule abortion and
poor viability reduced carbohydrate availability and other
reproductive abnormalities. The optimal temperature of
net assimilation rate in tomato is between 25-300 C and
optimal daily mean temperatures for fruit set of tomato
have been reported as 21-240 C (Geisenberg and Stewart
1986). Fruit colour is having significant importance in
assessing the marketable quality of tomato. The
optimum temperature for development of lycopene
pigment in tomato is 21-240 C. Degradation of lycopene


starts at above 270 C and it is completely destroyed at

400 C (Ayyogari et al. 2014).In tomato high temperature
after pollen release decreased fruit setting yield and seed
set even when pollen was produced under optimal
condition (Peet et al.,1997). Lurie et al. 1996 reported
high temperature inhibits ripening by inhibiting the
accumulation of ripening related m-RNAs thereby
inhibits continuous protein synthesisincluding ethylene
production lycopene accumulation andcell-wall
In pepper high temperature exposure at the preanthesis stage did not affect pistil or stamen viability
but high post-pollination temperatures inhibited fruit
setting suggesting that fertilization is sensitive to high
temperature stress (Erickson and Markhart 2002). High
temperature affects red colour development in ripen
chilli fruits and also causes flower drop ovule abortion
poor fruit set and fruit drop inchilli (Arora et al.
1987).Sprouting of potato is best at 22-34 0 C. The
normal temperature for tuberization is at temperatures
between 21 0 C but it is adversely affected at
temperatures above 210 C and there is no tuberization
at 290 C and above temperature (Swarup 2012).
Bulbing in onion is induced by photoperiod once
induced it occurs rapidly at higher temperature
(Brewster 1997). The optimum temperature before
bulbing is between 130C and 240 C. The ideal temperature
for bulb development is 15.50 to 250 C. In the rabi season
a sudden rise in temperature may result in early bulb
maturity and smaller-sized bulbs. Temperature
influences the development of seed stalk (Swarup 2012).
In pea temperature above 25.60 C during bloom and
pod set reduce flower and pod number and yields. In
beans high temperature delays flowering because they
enhance the short day photoperiod (Davis 1997).
Increasing temperature generally increases the
development rate but the growth rate is not necessarily
stimulated to the same degree (Kurg 1997). In an early
maturing pea cultivar increasing the temperature from
16-240 C increased the differentiation rate of nodes
from emergence to the appearance of the first flower
but the growth rate was reduced which reduced total
dry matter and yields.
Germination of cucumber and melon seeds are
greatlysuppressed at 420 and 450 C respectively besides
germination will not occur at 42 0 C in watermelon
summer squash winter squash and pumpkin seeds
(Kurtar 2010).Warm humid climate increase the
vegetative growth and result in poor productionof female
flowers in cucurbitaceous vegetables which causes low
yield(Singh 2010).In okra hightemperatures cause poor
germination of seed during spring summer season


Trends in Biosciences 7 (18), 2014

Climate change resulting in increased temperature

couldshow impact on insect pest populations in several
complexways. Although some climate change effects
might tendto depress insect populations the warmer
temperature intemperate climate will result in more types
and higherpopulations of insects. Climate change also
influences theecology and biology of insect pests (Jat
and Tetarwal 2012). Increased temperature in
somegroup of insects with short life cycles such as
aphids anddiamond back moth increases fecundity
earlier completionof life cycle. Hence these can produce
more generationsper year than their usual rate (FAO
2008). Contrary to it,some insects may take several
years to complete their lifecycle. Temperature may
change gender ratios of some pestspecies such as thrips
(Lewis 1997) potentially affectingreproduction rates.
Some insect species which reside insoil for the whole
or some stages of life cycle tend tosuffer more than
insects present above the soil surface,because soil
provides an insulating medium that will tendto buffer
temperature changes more than the air (Baleet al.
2002).Several research workers (Yamamura and Kiritani
1998) found that theactivity and population of sucking
pests such as aphids whiteflies and thrips increases with
increase in temperature. Higher temperatures cause
faster disease cycles in air borne pathogens and increase
their survival due to reduction in frost (Termorshuizen
2008 and Boonekamp 2012). The earlierappearance and
increase in number of insect vectors ofviral diseases
due to rise in temperature during winter resultsin
increasing viral diseases of crops like potato and
sugarbeet(Harringtonand Stork,1995). Reduction in
frostdue to increased average minimum temperatures
implies the removal of a limiting factor for pathogens
such as Fusarium (Pautassoet al. 2012).
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Flower drop in okra is recorded at hightemperatures

above 42 0 C (Dhankhar and Mishra 2001). High
temperature causes bolting in cole crops which is not
desirable when they are grown forvegetable purpose.

Low Temperatures
During the cold season suboptimal temperatures
and low irradiation can affect yield and reduce product
quality of vegetable crops Reports from Israel (Rylski
et al. 1994; Pressman et al. 1998; Aloniet al. 1999)
showed that low temperaturecaused fruit malformation
and fruit misshape seedless,pericarp cracking and
pigmentation in pepper and misshaped tomato fruits.
Flynn et al. 2002 found high percentage (90%) seed
germination of chilli at 200 C andcomplete inhibition at
100C indicating that fall in minimum temperatures affect
seed germination in chilli. Pressman et al. 1998 reported
about the effects of night temperatures on the function

and fertility of flower parts. Low night temperatures

(140C or less) reduced the number of pollen grain per
flower and impaired their germination ability,and
affected fruit set and fruit shape in sweet pepper. In
addition pollen release is inhibited especially if low
temperatureis combined with high humidity (Picken
1984; Rylski et al.,1994).Low temperature combined
with lowirradiance caused puffiness and blotchy
ripeningin tomato as well as a deterioration of taste due
to a decline insugar content while citric acid content
was unchanged (Rylski et al. 1994). Wada et al. (2001)
reported an increase of number of irregularly shaped
fruits on single-truss tomatoeswhen seedlings were
exposed to 5 and 10 0C in comparisonto seedlings
exposed to 15 and 20 0C and further cultivated
at200C.Flower and fruit malformations induced by low
temperature have been studied in tomato and bell peppers
(Aloni et al.,1999; Adams et al. 2001). Tomato is
severely affected by frost and low light intensity. The
germination is adversely affected when the soil
temperature is below 100 C. Night temperature is critical
for fruit set the optimum range being 150-200 C. fruit
do not set when night temperature is below 13 0 C
(Swarup 2012).
Low temperatures could also directly influence
the organoleptic properties of vegetable products. For
instance lowtemperatures will produce less juicy tomato
fruit with a mealy taste (Bruckner et al. 2004).
Moreover,Kano and Goto 2003 reported a higher
occurrence of bitterfruits in cucumber
(CucumissativusL. cv. Kagafutokyuri) plantsgrown in
lower temperatures than in plants grown in higher
temperatures which may be due to high active protein
synthesis,which caused a high activity of HMG-CoA
reductase that furtherprovokes a brisk synthesis of
cucurbitacin C.

Drought is a meteorological term and is
commonlydefined as a period without significant
rainfall. Generallydrought stress occurs when the
available water in the soil isreduced and atmospheric
conditions cause continuous lossof water by
transpiration or evaporation. Drought stresstolerance
is seen in almost all plants but its extent variesfrom
species to species and even within species.Drought
stress is characterized by reduction of water content
diminished leaf water potentialand turgor loss closure
of stomata and decrease in cell enlargement and growth.
Severe water stress mayresult in the arrest of
photosynthesis disturbance of metabolism and finally
the death of plant (Jaleelet al. 2008).It has been
established that drought stress is a very important

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MEENA and MEENA, Impact of Climate Change on Vegetable Cultivation: A Review

limiting factor at the initial phase of plantgrowth and

establishment. It affects both elongation andexpansion
growth (Anjum et al. 2003; Bhatt andSrinivasaRao
2005; Kusaka et al. 2005; Shao et al. 2008). Drought
stress produced changes in the ratio of chlorophyll a
and b and carotenoids. The prevalence of drought
conditions adversely affects the germination of seeds
in vegetable crops like onion and okra and sprouting of
tubers in potato (Arora et al. 1987). Potato is highly
sensitive to drought.A moderate level of water stress
can also cause reductionsin tuber yield (Jefferies and
Mackerron 1993). As succulent leaves are commercial
products in leafy vegetables like amaranthus palak and
spinach the drought conditions reduce their water
content thereby reduces their quality(AVRDC
1990).Stem length was significantly affected under
water stress in potato (Heuer and Nadler 1995)
Abelmoschusesculentus (Sankar et al. 2007 & 08);
Vignaunguiculata (Manivannan et al. 2007); and parsley
(Petroselinumcrispum) (Petropoulos et al. 2008). The
reduction in plant height was associated with a decline
in the cell enlargement and moreleaf senescence in A.
esculentusunder water stress (Bhatt and Srinivasa Rao
2005). Bahadur et al. 2009 observed significant
stomatalconductance in spring-summer okra when
water stresswas imposed for 10 or 12 days.

Excessive amounts of soluble salts in soil in many
regions ofthe world particularly in arid and semi-arid
areas limit productionof most crops including vegetables
(FAO 2002).Salt stress causes loss of turgor reduction
in growth wilting leaf abscission decreased
photosynthesis and respiration loss of cellular
integrity,tissue necrosis and finally death of the plant
(Cheeseman,1988).Salinity causes a significant
reduction in germination percentage germination rate
and root and shoots length and fresh rootand shoot
weight in cabbage (Jamil and Rha 2004).Salinity stress
has been reported to cause alteration in a variety of
morphological attributes and todecrease almost all
growth parameters including shoot and rootfresh and
dry weights plant height total leaf area and yield,and
some yield quality attributes in tomato (Eraslan et al.
2008; Li 2009; Tantawy et al. 2009). Salt stress also
causes changes in a range of metabolic processes. For
example protein contents and activities of
ascorbateperoxidase and catalase decreased proline
contents increased and superoxide dismutase activity
remained unchanged undersaline conditions
(Chookhampaeng et al. 2008). In maturetomato fruit
the amount of sucrose and the activity of


sucrosephosphate synthase increased while fruit yield

decreased undersaline conditions (Chookhampaeng et
al. 2008).High salt concentration also causes an ionic
imbalance and osmotic shock to tomato plants (Ciobanu
and Sumalan 2009). Yield loss up to 50% was observed
in eggplant at 8.5 dS m1 of soil salinity (Shalhevet et
al. 1983). As well as appraising overall response of
various varieties of eggplant to soil stress their response
to salinity stress at various growth stages has also been
examined (Chartzoulakis and Loupassiki 1997). However
Chartzoulakis and Loupassiki 1997 concluded that initial
growth stages i.e. germination and seedling stages are
the most sensitive to salinity stress (Akinci et al. 2004).
For example salt (NaCl) stress caused considerable
reduction in germination percentageand rate radicle and
hypocotyl fresh and dry weightsand their length seedling
length seedling root and shoot freshand dry biomass
and leaf area (Akinci et al. 2004).Under saline conditions
seedling leaf Na+ concentration increased while thatof
K+ and K+/Na+ ratios decreased in eggplant (Akinci et
al. 2004).Salt stress also adversely affects the plants at
later stages including shoot and root fresh anddry
weights shoot and rootlengths (Hamdy et al. 2002;
Akinciet al. 2004; Abbas et al.,2010). Salinity also
markedly reduces both fruit weight and number of fruits
per plant in eggplant (Abbas et al. 2010). Salinityinduced suppression in shoot and root fresh and dry
biomass of pepper was reported to be due to reductionin
total leaf area per plant as well as net CO2 assimilation
rateand stomatal conductance (Cabanero et al. 2004).
Most legumes including pea are considered highly
sensitiveto salinity (Maas and Hoffman 1977) although
Zahran 1999 reported that pea is more salt sensitive
than the other commonlegumes broad bean (Viciafaba)
common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris),and soybean
(Glycine max). Pea shows poor seed germination under
saline conditions (Bonilla et al.,2004) and pea growth
is considerably inhibited by the rootingmedium salt
stress (Ahmad and Jhon 2005).Being a salt sensitive
crop 50% yield reduction is reported to occur at salinity
levels between 6 and10 dS m1 (Okcu et al.
2005).Ahmad and Jhon 2005 reported that shoot and
root fresh and dry biomass,relative water contents nitrate
reductase activity and photosyntheticpigments are
decreased while sugar and proline contentsincreased
as a result of salinity.The number of nitrogen fixing
nodules in pea is reduced markedly by salt stress
(Zahran and Sprent 1986; Borucki andSujkowska
Salinity (NaCl) had a considerable inhibitory effect
onseed germination of okra with Na+ sugar and phenols
increased,and K+ starch and amylase activity decreased


Trends in Biosciences 7 (18), 2014

Salinitytends to reduce the tuber yield in potato.

The combinedstress of salinity and heat results in failure
of vegetative growth recovery and a consequent
reduction in the leafarea index and canopy functioning
due to the damage ofsalt accumulation avoiding
mechanism in young expandingleaves of potato (Bustan
et al. 2004).
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significantly in the cotyledons of germinating seeds

(Abid et al.,2002; Dkhil and Denden 2010). Fifty
percent reduction in freshfruit yield of okra has been
reported at 6.7 dS m1 (Minhas and Gupta 1993). High
levels of salinity have multiple adverseeffects at the later
growth stages of the crop life cycle. Themorphology
physiology and metabolism of okra including theactivities
of various enzymes are adversely affected due to
highlevels of salinity and crop yield is reduced (Abid et
al. 2002).Ashraf et al. (2003) and Saleem et al. 2011
observed that rooting medium salinity significantly
reduced shoot and root freshand dry weights total leaf
area per plant shoot length and freshpod yield of different
cultivars of okra.

to some extent.Effects of temperature generated by

global warming oncrop plants are the major among all
the climate changeeffects. It is again responsible for
other stresses like droughtor moisture stress salinity
and floods and water logging incoastal areas due to
melting of polar ice and increased sealevels.In view of
these problems olericulturists will have to play a
significant role in theclimate change scenario and proper
strategies have to be envisaged for saving vegetables.
The most effective way is to adopt conservation
agriculture; using renewable energy forestand water
conservation reforestation etc. to sustain the
productivity modification of presenthorticultural
practices and greater use of green-house technology
are some of the solutions tominimize the effect of climate
change. Development of new cultivars of vegetable
cropstolerant to high temperature resistant to pests and
diseases short duration and producinggood yield under
stress conditions as well as adoption of hi-tech
horticulture and judiciousmanagement of land use
resources will be the main strategies to meet these

Waterlogging is a serious problem which affects
crop growth and yield in low lying rainfedareas. The
main cause ofdamage under waterlogging is oxygen
deprivation which affect nutrient and water uptake so
the plants show wiltingeven when surrounded by excess
of water. Lack of oxygen shifts the energy metabolism
from aerobic mode to anaerobicmode (Sairam et al.
2008).Most of the vegetable crops are highly sensitive
to flooding and genetic variation with respect to this
character is limited. Flooded crops especially in tomato
plants accumulateendogenous ethylene that causes
damage to the plants (Drew 1979).Under low oxygen
levels stimulate an increased production of an ethylene
precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid
(ACC) in the roots.The rapid development of epinastic
growth of leaves is a characteristic response of tomatoes
to water-logged conditions and the role of ethylene
accumulation has been implicated. The severity of
flooding symptoms increases with rising temperatures;
rapid wilting and death of tomato plants is usually
observed following a short period of flooding at high
temperatures (Kuoet al. 1982).
Though the changes in climate is a continuous
process ithas become recognizable in agricultural field
from the pastfew years when it has started significant
and lasting effecton crop production. The reasons for
climate change arenot completely known today but as
per the availableinformation anthropogenic activities like
industrializationand mechanization may contribute up

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Received on 27-07-2014

Accepted on 08-05-2014