Usman Ahmad1, Muhammad Ans Hussain1, Wahaj Ahmad2, Jazib Javed1, Zonera Arshad1, Zahid Akram*1

1 Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 2Comsats University Islamabad, Abbottabad


In the context of global climate variability, it is foreseeable that multiple agricultural regions worldwide will experience an upsurge in instances of drought and heat stress. Today, these abiotic stresses are the primary limiting factor affecting crop development and yield. It's prevalent in semiarid regions, but climate change is having a major impact on maize output. Climate change presents significant challenges for maize production, with rising heat stress emerging as a major problem. Lower yields, worse grain quality, and increased susceptibility to pests and diseases are some of the negative effects of heat stress on maize physiology. The optimum management choices for maize can be made with the help of predictions of future maize yield based on climate change projections and the projected developmental and physiological stomatal responses. The current results of this study summarize the physiological responses of maize to heat stress, which include adaptations in photosynthesis, respiration, water usage efficiency, and reproductive activity. Furthermore, many genetic engineering strategies, including breeding for heat tolerance and biotechnological treatments, including genetic engineering, to mitigating the adverse effects of heat stress on maize production and adaptation in Maize stomatal development. In maize's adjustment to climatic threats, molecular processes play a key role, particularly emphasizing the function of stomata. Some specific genes like AOX, Zm-AN13, and ZmSEC14p plays a crucial role in fortifying maize against severe temperature fluctuations. By amalgamating this data, the combination of conventional breeding, current techniques, and grasping the physiological reactions emerges as crucial in augmenting maize's capability to withstand upcoming climatic changes.


Keywords: Heat stress, Maize physiology, Maize production, Stomatal responses, Breeding Strategies

Article Information


Cite to this Article

*Corresponding author:

Copyright 2023 TBPS



Environmental issue of heat stress impacts the globe's ecosystems and agriculture systems. It transpires when temperatures exceed a vital limit, causing harm to numerous creatures, including crops. The issue is notably destructive within the climate change framework, as increasing worldwide temperatures become more frequent and severe due to greenhouse gas emissions. The planet faces a growing challenge from the escalating and worrying outcomes of heat strain. As stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), heatwaves are on the rise, growing more frequent and intense, bringing substantial dangers to human well-being, food safety, and natural surroundings. These extraordinary episodes of high temperatures are causing disruptions in everyday existence and applying pressure on worldwide farming output. Climbing temperatures and the connected heat strain are vital factors that influence harvest production, encompassing essential crops such as maize (Masson-Delmotte, 2018). Maize (Zea mays), a crucial global staple crop, exhibits great sensitivity to heat strain. When temperatures surpass the ideal range for maize cultivation, it triggers a sequence of unfavorable consequences. Elevated temperatures can reduce photosynthesis, disrupt reproductive growth, and diminish kernel production, ultimately causing significant yield reductions. Moreover, heat strain during the flowering phase can yield unsatisfactory kernel formation and diminished grain quality (Lobell and Field, 2007).

Food security and agricultural sustainability are two major issues raised due to global climate change (Ali et al., 2017). Due to its location, socioeconomic standing, and reliance on agriculture, Pakistan is one of the country’s most at risk from the consequences of climate change (Syed et al., 2022). Food security and economic growth in Pakistan owe a great deal to maize, a crucial staple crop (Rehman et al., 2015). Its output, however, is negatively impacted by heat stress brought on by global warming, altered precipitation patterns, and a rise in the frequency of extreme weather events (Chaudhry et al., 2019). The adverse effects of heat stress on maize growth, development, and production impact farmers of all sizes. As the climate changes, the negative impacts of heat stress on maize productivity will become more pronounced (Chen et al., 2018).

Deforestation and burning fossil fuels are two examples of human activities that raise the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs), which in turn contribute to the worldwide climate change phenomenon (Abbass et al., 2022). Global temperatures are caused by a rise in greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (Cassia et al., 2018). Agriculture is one industry where the effects of climate change will be particularly severe. Latitude, crop type, and agricultural practices are a few of the numerous factors affecting how global climate change affects agriculture (Syed et al., 2022). Rising global temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and extreme weather occurrences, including floods, droughts, and storms, have negatively influenced agricultural production in many parts of the world (Gornall et al., 2010). Furthermore, new pests and diseases are multiplying due to climate change, which can severely impact livestock and crops (Jamil et al., 2022). Climate change is delaying planting and harvesting of crop from their natural time period, which might result in reduced yields and increased food insecurity (Ali et al., 2017).

Brilhaus, D., Bräutigam, A., Mettler-Altmann, T., Winter, K. and Weber, A. P. (2016). Reversible burst of transcriptional changes during induction of crassulacean acid metabolism in Talinum triangulare. Plant Physiology, 170(1), 102-122.

Cairns, J. E., Crossa, J., Zaidi, P. H., Grudloyma, P., Sanchez, C., Araus, J. L. and Atlin, G. N. (2013). Identification of drought, heat, and combined drought and heat tolerant donors in maize. Crop Science, 53(4), 1335-1346.

Cassia, R., Nocioni, M., Correa-Aragunde, N. and Lamattina, L. (2018). Climate Change and the Impact of Greenhouse Gasses: CO2 and NO, Friends and Foes of Plant Oxidative Stress. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9(273).

Chaudhry, Q., Mahmood, A. and Hyder, K. (2019). Effect of Temperature Rise on Crop Growth & Productivity. Pakistan Journal of Meteorology, 8, 15.

Chaves, M. M., Flexas, J. and Pinheiro, C. (2008). Photosynthesis under drought and salt stress: regulation mechanisms from whole plant to cell. Annals of Botany, 103(4), 551–560.

Chen, Y., Zhang, Z. and Tao, F. (2018). Impacts of climate change and climate extremes on major crops productivity in China at a global warming of 1.5 and 2.0 °C. Earth System Dynamics (Online), 9(2).

Chen, Y., Zhang, Z., Tao, F., Palosuo, T. and Rötter, R. P. (2018). Impacts of heat stress on leaf area index and growth duration of winter wheat in the North China Plain. Field Crops Research, 222, 230–237.

Ciais, P., Reichstein, M., Viovy, N., Granier, A., Ogée, J., Allard, V., Aubinet, M., Buchmann, N., Bernhofer, Chr., Carrara, A., Chevallier, F., De Noblet, N., Friend, A. D., Friedlingstein, P., Grünwald, T., Heinesch, B., Keronen, P., Knohl, A., Krinner, G. and Loustau, D. (2005). Europe-wide reduction in primary productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003. Nature, 437(7058), 529–533.

Curtis, O. F. (1936). Transpiration and the Cooling of Leaves. American Journal of Botany, 23(1), 7–10.

Cutler, S. R., Rodriguez, P. L., Finkelstein, R. R. and Abrams, S. R. (2010). Abscisic Acid: Emergence of a Core Signaling Network. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 61(1), 651–679.

Dakora, F. D., Matiru, V. N. and Kanu, A. S. (2015). Rhizosphere ecology of lumichrome and riboflavin, two bacterial signal molecules eliciting developmental changes in plants. Frontiers in Plant Science, 6.

Dar, Z. A., Dar, S. A., Khan, J. A., Lone, A. A., Langyan, S., Lone, B. A. and Ansari, M. J. (2021). Identification for surrogate drought tolerance in maize inbred lines utilizing high-throughput phenomics approach. Plos one, 16(7), e0254318.

El-Sappah, A. H., Rather, S. A., Wani, S. H., Elrys, A. S., Bilal, M., Huang, Q., Dar, Z. A., Elashtokhy, M. M. A., Soaud, N., Koul, M., Mir, R. R., Yan, K., Li, J., El-Tarabily, K. A. and Abbas, M. (2022). Heat Stress-Mediated Constraints in Maize (Zea mays) Production: Challenges and Solutions. Frontiers in Plant Science, 13.

Erenstein, O., Jaleta, M., Sonder, K., Mottaleb, K. and Prasanna, B. M. (2022). Global maize production, consumption and trade: trends and R&D implications. Food Security.

Fahad, S., Bajwa, A. A., Nazir, U., Anjum, S. A., Farooq, A., Zohaib, A., Sadia, S., Nasim, W., Adkins, S., Saud, S., Ihsan, M. Z., Alharby, H., Wu, C., Wang, D. and Huang, J. (2017). Crop Production under Drought and Heat Stress: Plant Responses and Management Options. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8.

Gachoki, P., Muraya, M. and Njoroge, G. (2022). Features Selection in Statistical Classification of High Dimensional Image Derived Maize (Zea Mays L.) Phenomic Data.

Gillani, S. F., Rasheed, A., Majeed, Y., Tariq, H. and Yunling, P. (2021). Recent advancements on use of CRISPR/Cas9 in maize yield and quality improvement. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca, 49(3), 12459-12459.

Gonzalez, M. E. and Barrett, D. M. (2010). Thermal, High Pressure, and Electric Field Processing Effects on Plant Cell Membrane Integrity and Relevance to Fruit and Vegetable Quality. Journal of Food Science, 75(7), R121–R130.

Gornall, J., Betts, R., Burke, E., Clark, R., Camp, J., Willett, K. and Wiltshire, A. (2010). Implications of climate change for agricultural productivity in the early twenty-first century. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 365(1554), 2973–2989.

Gupta, A., Rico-Medina, A. and Caño-Delgado, A. I. (2020). The physiology of plant responses to drought. Science, 368(6488), 266–269.

Halubok, M. and Yang, Z.-L. (2020). Estimating Crop and Grass Productivity over the United States Using Satellite Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence, Precipitation and Soil Moisture Data. Remote Sensing, 12(20), 3434.

Hatfield, J. L. and Dold, C. (2018). Climate change impacts on corn phenology and productivity. Corn: Production and human Health in Changing Climate95.

Hickey, L. T., Hafeez, N. A., Robinson, H., Jackson, S. A., Leal-Bertioli, S. C., Tester, M., ... & Wulff, B. B. (2019). Breeding crops to feed 10 billion. Nature Biotechnology, 37(7), 744-754.

Huan, Y. A. N. G., Gu, X. T., Ding, M. Q., Lu, W. P. and Lu, D. L. (2020). Weakened carbon and nitrogen metabolisms under post-silking heat stress reduce the yield and dry matter accumulation in waxy maize. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 19(1), 78-88.

Hussain, H. A., Men, S., Hussain, S., Chen, Y., Ali, S., Zhang, S., Zhang, K., Li, Y., Xu, Q., Liao, C. and Wang, L. (2019). Interactive effects of drought and heat stresses on morpho-physiological attributes, yield, nutrient uptake and oxidative status in maize hybrids. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 3890.

Jamil, M., Shakeel, I., Ullah, H., Ahmad, M., Ullah, S., Rasool, I., Tahir, M., Gull, J., Jabeen, N. and Ali, M. (2022). Livestock in Pakistan: An Insight into Climate Changes and Impacts. Journal of Bioresource Management, 9(4).

Kamara, A. Y., Menkir, A., Badu-Apraku, B. and Ibikunle, O. (2003). The influence of drought stress on growth, yield and yield components of selected maize genotypes. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 141(1), 43-50.

Kharin, V. V., Zwiers, F. W., Zhang, X. and Hegerl, G. C. (2007). Changes in Temperature and Precipitation Extremes in the IPCC Ensemble of Global Coupled Model Simulations. Journal of Climate, 20(8), 1419–1444.

Killi, D., Bussotti, F., Raschi, A. and Haworth, M. (2016). Adaptation to high temperature mitigates the impact of water deficit during combined heat and drought stress in C3 sunflower and C4 maize varieties with contrasting drought tolerance. Physiologia Plantarum, 159(2), 130–147.

Klopfenstein, T. J., Erickson, G. E. and Berger, L. L. (2013). Maize is a critically important source of food, feed, energy and forage in the USA. Field Crops Research, 153, 5–11.

Kulkarni, M., Soolanayakanahally, R., Ogawa, S., Uga, Y., Selvaraj, M. G. and Kagale, S. (2017). Drought Response in Wheat: Key Genes and Regulatory Mechanisms Controlling Root System Architecture and Transpiration Efficiency. Frontiers in Chemistry, 5.

Kwak, J. M. (2003). NADPH oxidase AtrbohD and AtrbohF genes function in ROS-dependent ABA signaling in Arabidopsis. The EMBO Journal, 22(11), 2623–2633.

Lafitte, H. R., Yongsheng, G., Yan, S. and Li, Z. K. (2007). Whole plant responses, key processes, and adaptation to drought stress: the case of rice. Journal of Experimental Botany, 58(2), 169-175.

Li, Z., Liu, P., Zhang, X., Zhang, Y., Ma, L., Liu, M. and Shen, Y. (2020). Genome‐wide association studies and QTL mapping uncover the genetic architecture of ear tip‐barrenness in maize. Physiologia Plantarum, 170(1), 27-39.

Lipiec, J., Doussan, C., Nosalewicz, A. and Kondracka, K. (2013). Effect of drought and heat stresses on plant growth and yield: a review. International Agrophysics, 27(4), 463–477.

Lobell, D. B. and Field, C. B. (2007). Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming. Environmental Research Letters, 2(1), 014002.

Lobell, D. B. and Gourdji, S. M. (2012). The influence of climate change on global crop productivity. Plant Physiology, 160(4), 1686-1697.

Lobell, D. B., Bänziger, M., Magorokosho, C. and Vivek, B. (2011). Nonlinear heat effects on African maize as evidenced by historical yield trials. Nature Climate Change, 1(1), 42–45.

Lobell, D. B., Hammer, G. L., McLean, G., Messina, C., Roberts, M. J. and Schlenker, W. (2013). The critical role of extreme heat for maize production in the United States. Nature Climate Change, 3(5), 497–501.

Lobell, D. B., Schlenker, W. and Costa-Roberts, J. (2011). Climate trends and global crop production since 1980. Science, 333(6042), 616-620.

Martinez-Feria, R. A. and Basso, B. (2020). Unstable crop yields reveal opportunities for site-specific adaptations to climate variability. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 2885.

Masson-Delmotte, V. (2018). Global warming of 1.5° c: An IPCC Special Report on impacts of global warming of 1.5° c above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the contex of strengthening the global response to the thereat of blimate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. (No Title).

Matsuoka, Y., Vigouroux, Y., Goodman, M. M., Sanchez G., J., Buckler, E. and Doebley, J. (2002). A single domestication for maize shown by multilocus microsatellite genotyping. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 99(9), 6080–6084.

Mazahery-Laghab, H., Nouri, F. and Zare Abianeh, H. (2003). Effects of the reduction of drought stress using supplementary irrigation for sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in dry farming conditions. Horticulture.

Miller, G., Suzuki, N., Ciftci-Yilmaz, S. and Mittler, R. (2010). Reactive oxygen species homeostasis and signalling during drought and salinity stresses. Plant, Cell & Environment, 33(4), 453–467.

Moreau, L., Charcosset, A. and Gallais, A. (2004). Experimental evaluation of several cycles of marker-assisted selection in maize. Euphytica, 137(1), 111-118.

Nayyar, H., Kaur, S., Singh, S. and Upadhyaya, H. D. (2006). Differential sensitivity of Desi (small‐seeded) and Kabuli (large‐seeded) chickpea genotypes to water stress during seed filling: effects on accumulation of seed reserves and yield. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 86(13), 2076-2082.

Nelson, T. and Dengler, N. (1997). Leaf Vascular Pattern Formation. The Plant Cell, 1121–1135.

Obeng-Bio, E., Badu-Apraku, B., Ifie, B. E., Danquah, A., Blay, E. T. and Annor, B. (2019). Genetic analysis of grain yield and agronomic traits of early provitamin A quality protein maize inbred lines in contrasting environments. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 157(5), 413-433.

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2021-2030. (2021). In OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. OECD.

Paterniani, E. (1990). Maize breeding in the tropics. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 9(2), 125-154.

Pereira, A. (2016). Plant Abiotic Stress Challenges from the Changing Environment. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7.

Prasanna, B. M. (2014, October). Maize research-for-development scenario: challenges and opportunities for Asia. In 12th Asian maize conference and expert consultation on maize for food, feed and nutritional security, book of extended summaries (Vol. 30, pp. 2-11).

Ranum, P., Peña-Rosas, J. P. and Garcia-Casal, M. N. (2014). Global maize production, utilization, and consumption. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1312(1), 105–112.

Rehman, A., Jingdong, L., Shahzad, B., Chandio, A. A., Hussain, I., Nabi, G. and Iqbal, M. S. (2015). Economic perspectives of major field crops of Pakistan: An empirical study. Pacific Science Review B: Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(3), 145–158.

Ribaut, J. M. and Ragot, M. (2007). Marker-assisted selection to improve drought adaptation in maize: the backcross approach, perspectives, limitations, and alternatives. Journal of Experimental Botany, 58(2), 351-360.

Rizhsky, L. (2004). When Defense Pathways Collide. The Response of Arabidopsis to a Combination of Drought and Heat Stress. Plant Physiology, 134(4), 1683–1696.

Rojas, M., Lambert, F., Ramirez-Villegas, J. and Challinor, A. J. (2019). Emergence of robust precipitation changes across crop production areas in the 21st century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(14), 6673–6678.

Rosenzweig, C., Elliott, J., Deryng, D., Ruane, A. C., Müller, C., Arneth, A., Boote, K. J., Folberth, C., Glotter, M., Khabarov, N., Neumann, K., Piontek, F., Pugh, T. A. M., Schmid, E., Stehfest, E., Yang, H. and Jones, J. W. (2013). Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(9), 3268–3273.

Rouf Shah, T., Prasad, K. and Kumar, P. (2016). Maize - A potential source of human nutrition and health: A review. Cogent Food & Agriculture, 2(1).

Samarah, N. H., Mullen, R. E., Cianzio, S. R. and Scott, P. (2006). Dehydrin‐Like Proteins in Soybean Seeds in Response to Drought Stress during Seed Filling. Crop Science, 46(5), 2141-2150.

Schauberger, B., Archontoulis, S., Arneth, A., Balkovic, J., Ciais, P., Deryng, D., Elliott, J., Folberth, C., Khabarov, N., Müller, C., Pugh, T. A. M., Rolinski, S., Schaphoff, S., Schmid, E., Wang, X., Schlenker, W. and Frieler, K. (2017). Consistent negative response of US crops to high temperatures in observations and crop models. Nature Communications, 8(1).

Settles, A. M., Holding, D. R., Tan, B. C., Latshaw, S. P., Liu, J., Suzuki, M. and McCarty, D. R. (2007). Sequence-indexed mutations in maize using the UniformMu transposon-tagging population. BMC Genomics, 8(1), 1-12.

Shrestha, S., Mahat, J., Shrestha, J., K.C., M. and Paudel, K. (2022). Influence of high-temperature stress on rice growth and development. A review. Heliyon, 8(12), e12651.

Syed, A., Raza, T., Bhatti, T. T. and Eash, N. S. (2022). Climate Impacts on the agricultural sector of Pakistan: Risks and solutions. Environmental Challenges, 6, 100433.

Tariq, M. and Iqbal, H. (2010). Maize in Pakistan -An Overview. National Science, 44, 757–763.

Tian, X., Matsui, T., Li, S., Yoshimoto, M., Kobayasi, K. and Hasegawa, T. (2010). Heat-induced floret sterility of hybrid rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars under humid and low wind conditionsin the field of Jianghan Basin, China. Plant Production Science, 13(3), 243-251.

Utsumi, Y., Utsumi, C., Tanaka, M., Ha, C. V., Takahashi, S., Matsui, A., Matsunaga, T. M., Matsunaga, S., Kanno, Y., Seo, M., Okamoto, Y., Moriya, E. and Seki, M. (2019). Acetic Acid Treatment Enhances Drought Avoidance in Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). Frontiers in Plant Science, 10.

Van der Velde, M., Tubiello, F. N., Vrieling, A. and Bouraoui, F. (2011). Impacts of extreme weather on wheat and maize in France: evaluating regional crop simulations against observed data. Climatic Change, 113(3-4), 751–765.

Vogel, E., Donat, M. G., Alexander, L. V., Meinshausen, M., Ray, D. K., Karoly, D., Meinshausen, N. and Frieler, K. (2019). The effects of climate extremes on global agricultural yields. Environmental Research Letters, 14(5), 054010.

Waha, K., Müller, C. and Rolinski, S. (2013). Separate and combined effects of temperature and precipitation change on maize yields in sub-Saharan Africa for mid- to late-21st century. Global and Planetary Change, 106, 1–12.

Waqas, M. A., Wang, X., Zafar, S. A., Noor, M. A., Hussain, H. A., Azher Nawaz, M. and Farooq, M. (2021). Thermal Stresses in Maize: Effects and Management Strategies. Plants, 10(2), 293.

Webber, H., Ewert, F., Olesen, J. E., Müller, C., Fronzek, S., Ruane, A. C., Bourgault, M., Martre, P., Ababaei, B., Bindi, M., Ferrise, R., Finger, R., Fodor, N., Gabaldón-Leal, C., Gaiser, T., Jabloun, M., Kersebaum, K.-C., Lizaso, J. I., Lorite, I. J. and Manceau, L. (2018). Diverging importance of drought stress for maize and winter wheat in Europe. Nature Communications, 9(1).

Weiß, T. M., Zhu, X., Leiser, W. L., Li, D., Liu, W., Schipprack, W. and Würschum, T. (2022). Unraveling the potential of phenomic selection within and among diverse breeding material of maize (Zea mays L.). G312(3), jkab445.

Xiao, L., Yobi, A., Koster, K. L., He, Y. and Oliver, M. J. (2018). Desiccation tolerance in Physcomitrella patens: rate of dehydration and the involvement of endogenous abscisic acid (ABA). Plant, Cell & Environment, 41(1), 275-284.

Xiao, Y., Liu, H., Wu, L., Warburton, M. and Yan, J. (2017). Genome-wide association studies in maize: praise and stargaze. Molecular Plant, 10(3), 359-374.

Xiong, L., Ishitani, M., Lee, H. and Zhu, J. K. (2001). The Arabidopsis LOS5/ABA3 locus encodes a molybdenum cofactor sulfurase and modulates cold stress–and osmotic stress–responsive gene expression. The Plant Cell, 13(9), 2063-2083.

Yu, C., Miao, R. and Khanna, M. (2021). Maladaptation of U.S. corn and soybeans to a changing climate. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 12351.

Zargar, S. M., Gupta, N., Nazir, M., Mahajan, R., Malik, F. A., Sofi, N. R., Shikari, A. B. and Salgotra, R. K. (2017). Impact of drought on photosynthesis: Molecular perspective. Plant Gene, 11, 154–159.

Zhao, X., Luo, L., Cao, Y., Liu, Y., Li, Y., Wu, W. and Lin, H. (2018). Genome-wide association analysis and QTL mapping reveal the genetic control of cadmium accumulation in maize leaf. BMC Genomics, 19(1), 1-13.

Article Files
Article Files
  • Article Views: 16
  • Article Downloads:
Paper Citation

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved |