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Is Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) a Climate “Smart” Crop? A Review in the Context of Bridging Future Food Demand Gap

Publication Type : Journal Article

Source : Tropical Plant Biology, 13, pages 201–211, DOI:, 2020.

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Campus : Amritapuri

School : School for Sustainable Futures

Year : 2020

Abstract : Climate change and its impact on agriculture are one of the ongoing research areas, and the major task among agricultural managers is to meet the food demand in the future in the context of the production gap of major food grain crops. Literature analysis is carried out to understand the climate resilience of cassava, one of the major tuber crops and is considered to bridge the food demand gap in the near future. Systematic analysis of literature includes influence of changing environmental parameters such as temperature, solar radiation, photoperiod, air humidity, soil water deficit, salinity, elevated ozone and CO2, combined effects of elevated CO2 with temperature, water deficit and salinity to the growth and yield of cassava along with its resilience to biotic stresses and its climate suitability. Studies indicate cassava can tolerate a temperature level of up to 40 °C, and thereafter the rate of photosynthesis decreases. Cassava can be cultivated in regions with variations in solar radiation without much compromise in its yield in the context of global dimming of sunshine duration. The resilience to water stress and air humidity variations are adapted by reducing stomatal conductance without influencing the rate of photosynthesis. Cassava has also an inbuilt mechanism to cope with water scarcity by leaf drooping. Already established cassava can tolerate a salinity level of up to 150 mM and the younger ones can tolerate up to a level of 40 mM. Studies also indicate a strong positive influence of elevated CO2 of up to 700 ppm on the rate of photosynthesis and yield of cassava. Elevated CO2 enhances the resilience of cassava to water stress and salinity. Similarly, the combined effect of elevated CO2 and higher temperatures also increases the yield attributes of cassava. These all indicate the resilience of cassava to the changing climate and it ensures as an insurance crop as well as food security crop in the near future. Studies show its resilience to biotic stresses as well. Climate suitability studies also show its suitability in the present locations in the near future as well as its adaptation to other areas. However, the research gap is identified in areas of influence of elevated ozone on growth characteristics of cassava. This study also recommends identifying the extent of tolerance level of cassava to the influence of the combined effect of salinity and elevated CO2. Further, researchers need to concentrate on developing biotic as well as abiotic stress-tolerant genes in cassava varieties to increase its production irrespective of the changing climatic conditions.

Cite this Research Publication : Raji Pushpalatha, Byju G., "Is Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) a Climate “Smart” Crop? A Review in the Context of Bridging Future Food Demand Gap," Tropical Plant Biology, 13, pages 201–211, DOI:, 2020.

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