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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Silicon Inhibits Powdery Mildew Infection and Induces Metabolic Changes in Strawberry Plants

Authors
item Wang, Shiow
item Galletta, Gene

Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 6, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Powdery mildew is a serious fungal disease in strawberry plants. However, the application of various agricultural pesticides to control plant diseases has become an issue of great concern to the general public. The use of chemicals poses potential harmful effects on the ecosystem. Therefore, it is important to find an effective alternative way to control powdery mildew in strawberry plants and reduce the dependency on fungicide use. We found that plants treated with potassium silicate showed reduced severity of powdery mildew, increased chlorophyll content, and increased plant growth. Potassium silicate treatments also induced metabolic changes such as increases in citric acid and malic acid levels, and decreases carbohydrate content in plant tissues. The treated tissues also had higher ratios of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids and elevated amounts of membrane lipids. These results suggest that Si has beneficial effects on strawberry plants and may serve as an alternative to fungicides for controlling powdery mildew. This study has potential to benefit strawberry growers and consumers.

Technical Abstract: The effect of foliar silicon (Si) applications on metabolic changes and powdery mildew infection in strawberry plants (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.) were studied. Silicon was used in the form of potassium (K) salt. Foliar sprays containing 0, 4.25, 8.50, 12.75 and 17.00 mM of Si were applied. Plants treated with potassium silicate showed reduced severity of powdery mildew, increased chlorophyll content, and increased plant growth. Potassium silicate treatments also induced metabolic changes such as increases in citric acid and malic acid levels, and decreases in fructose, glucose, sucrose, and myo- inositol contents. The treated tissues also had higher ratios of (18:2+18:3)/18:1 in glycolipids and phospholipids and elevated amounts of membrane lipids. These results suggest that Si has beneficial effects on strawberry plants and may serve as an alternative to fungicides for controlling powdery mildew.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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