Free online resource “Stress Knowledge Map” aims to boost plant stress research


The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT), in which Europatat is participating, aims to understand the signalling pathways for single and combined abiotic stresses to the selection of potato cultivars more resilient to climate change. One of the most key deliverables of the project, the “Stress Knowledge Map” (SKM) has been recently published in the scientific journal Plant Communications.

Developed by the team of researchers from the Slovenian National Institute of Biology (NIB), which is part of the ADAPT’s consortium, the SKM aims to assist in the development of resilient crop varieties, a crucial step in addressing the global food security challenges posed by climate change.

SKM combines large amounts of data on plant stress responses and molecular interactions into a single, structured platform, utilising knowledge graphs. “Such integration of data from diverse sources is crucial to gain a deeper understanding of how plants react to stresses like heat, drought, and pathogens,” explains Dr. Carissa Bleker, lead developer of the resource.

The interactive platform simplifies navigation of complex information, allowing researchers and agricultural professionals to explore how plants react under various stress conditions, to interpret data from new experiments, and form new hypotheses.

In the article published in Plant Communications, the utility of SKM was shown through two case studies: one examines the complex cross-talk between three plant hormones in activating a stress-related gene and the second explores the regulatory role of calcium in stress influenced proteins.

SKM enables systematic hypothesis generation and design of validation experiments which are essential for advancing our understanding of plant biology,” said Dr. Kristina Gruden, the project’s lead. “But its application also extends beyond basic research, for example SKM can be used by breeders to find crucial information needed for crop improvement.

Freely accessible online, SKM offers comprehensive tools for systems biology analysis, promising significant contributions in agriculture by supporting the development of stress-resistant crops, thus enhancing productivity and sustainability.

For more information about SKM, visit