Arid and semiarid regions suffer from extreme temperatures and a lack of good-quality water. To enable agricultural production and combat desertification in these regions, marginal waters, such as saline water and treated domestic sewage (effluent), are increasingly being used for irrigation. These waters contain relatively high concentrations of salt, boron and toxic elements, which can decrease growth and fruit yield of vegetable plants, and result in the accumulation of toxic elements in the edible part of the plant. Grafting of vegetable plants is a common practice in many countries, with the primary aim of preventing damage caused by soilborne pests and pathogens. However, recent studies have shown that grafting can also increase tolerance of vegetable plants to salinity, boron, and toxic elements. The present chapter reviews these recent results, showing that grafting could be a useful tool for increasing tolerance of vegetable plants to abiotic stresses while preventing the entry of contaminants into the human food supply under arid and semiarid conditions.
Keywords: grafting, abiotic stresses, heavy metals, salinity