Submitted to: Silicon in Agriculture Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2008
Publication Date: October 26, 2008
Citation: Frantz, J., Locke, J.C. 2008. Evaluating silicon uptake in floriculture crops grown in the U.S. Silicon in Agriculture Proceedings. p 21. Technical Abstract: Inclusion of Si in fertilizer solutions is not a typical management practice in floriculture crop production in the United States, in spite of the growing body of literature showing a clear, beneficial effect on plant growth. Most floriculture crops have not been critically tested for their ability to take up Si when it is applied in the fertilizer solution. At the previous Silicon in Agriculture meeting held in Uberlandia, Brazil, we reported on the ability of eleven floriculture crops to take up Si and accumulate it in the leaves in various concentrations. We have continued this research and have now investigated a total of about 40 crops. After hydroponically growing each crop for about four weeks in Si-containing solution, Si content and localization was determined by a combination of scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis, and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) analysis. General patterns of Si deposition in leaf trichomes or along the leaf margins remained the same in the wide variety of species tested. Therefore, subsequent efforts focused solely on quantifying Si uptake in leaves, stems, and roots using ICP-OES. Roughly 25% of the species tested so far have Si concentrations higher than 0.15% dry weight in the leaf tissue. There is minimal Si in stem or root sections. Six Zinnia elegans cultivars were tested for potential cultivar differences; no differences in leaf Si concentrations were detected and all had over 1% dry weight of Si. This information has served in identifying species of floriculture crops that may benefit from supplied Si during production and could result in higher quality bedding plants with fewer agrochemical inputs.