DEVELOP IMPROVED TECHNOLOGIES FOR SOILLESS GREENHOUSE PLANT PRODUCTION TO MINIMIZE WATER, LABOR, AGROCHEMICAL INPUTS & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
Location: Application Technology Research Unit
Title: Potential for the use of silicon to alleviate disease stresses in floricultural crop production
Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 30, 2008
Publication Date: June 16, 2008
Citation: Locke, J.C., Omer, M.A., Frantz, J., Widrig, A.K., Zellner, W.L., Leisner, S.M., Krause, C.R. 2008. Potential for the use of silicon to alleviate disease stresses in floricultural crop production. Phytopathology. 98(6):S93-94.
Although there are a few reports of the beneficial use of supplemental silicon on floricultural crops, this potentially useful management strategy has not been developed in commercial practice. The extent of silicon uptake and accumulation has been evaluated in over 500 plant species, but few of these species are commonly used as floricultural crops. We report here our survey of over 30 commonly grown floricultural crops which indicates that uptake and accumulation, to at least 0.5% of dried weight, occurs in only a limited number of crops (zinnia, verbena, and sunflower). We also report the effect of supplemental silicon against a variety of pathogen-induced stresses which resulted in varying outcomes. In controlled inoculation trials, powdery mildew development was delayed in silicon treated zinnias and lesion size was restricted. Root rot, caused by Pythium ultimum, was not significantly influenced by supplemental silicon fertigation of either vinca or New Guinea Impatiens. Amendment of the hydroponic nuturent solution with silicon reduced the distribution and delayed the spread of Tobacco ringspot nepovirus (TRSV) in tobacco plants. However, supplemental silicon appeared to increase the number of symptomatic Arabidopsis plants when inoculated with TRSV. These results indicate that there is potential to utilize silicon in management practices to alleviate certain plant disease stresses, but it does not appear to be of a universal benefit.