Numerous and partly contradicting reports exist on the responses of the glutathione system of plants to environmental stresses. A complete literature overview is not the intention of the present chapter. Some examples for the range of observations of the glutathione system related to environmental stress are given to illustrate the variability and the mechanisms of possible responses. For a more complete review see Alscher (1989), Polle and Renneberg (1994), Polle (1997), Noctor and Foyer (1998), Mullineaux and Cre-issen(1997).
The experiments conducted to understand the GSH system responses of environmentally stressed plants are based on three approaches: (1) Plants are transferred to a stress situation and the response is compared to non-stressed control, or plants under natural stress conditions are investigated in the field; (2) Variants, mutants, or cultivars with constitutive differences in their GSH metabolism are compared with respect to their stress tolerance; and (3) The most recent approach is the application of genetic engineering techniques (for more details see also Foyer and Noctor in this volume). Plants modified in specific aspects of their GSH metabolism are tested under stress situations.
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