Potential Mechanisms of Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants Induced by Thiourea

Muhammad Ahmed Waqas*, Cengiz Kaya, Adeel Riaz, Muhammad Farooq, Iqra Nawaz, Andreas Wilkes, Yue Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)


Abiotic stresses, such as temperature extremes, drought, salinity, and heavy metals are major factors limiting crop productivity and sustainability worldwide. Abiotic stresses disturb plant growth and yield formation. Several chemical compounds, known as plant growth regulators (PGRs), modulate plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses at the cellular, tissue, and organ levels. Thiourea (TU) is an important synthetic PGR containing nitrogen (36%) and sulfur (42%) that has gained wide attention for its role in plant stress tolerance. Tolerance against abiotic stresses is a complex phenomenon involving an array of mechanisms, and TU may modulate several of these. An understanding of TU-induced tolerance mechanisms may help improve crop yield under stress conditions. However, the potential mechanisms involved in TU-induced plant stress tolerance are still elusive. In this review, we discuss the essential role of TU-induced tolerance in improving performance of plants growing under abiotic stresses and potential mechanisms underlying TU-induced stress tolerance. We also highlight exploitation of new avenues critical in TU-induced stress tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1336
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 29 2019


  • antioxidants
  • climate change
  • cold
  • drought
  • heat
  • heavy metal
  • osmolytes biosynthesis
  • salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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