Dr. Jonathan Frantz was invited to speak at the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) annual meetings, Cincinnati, OH. His presentation was one of seven presentations in the Silicon Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Session. Agronomists and horticulturists are increasingly becoming aware of the potential for silicon to have an active role in disease and insect suppression, improving environmental stress tolerance, and as a result increasing crop productivity. The Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) has officially designated Silicon as a plant beneficial substance.
Dr. Frantz focused on the uses and challenges of supplemental silicon (Si) in greenhouse and floriculture production. In different research projects conducted at the USDA-ARS Greenhouse Production Research Group (GPRG; Drs. Jim Locke and Chris Ranger) and with colleagues at the University of Toledo (Drs. Scott Heckathorn, Wendy Zellner, and Sushant Kandkar), Cornell University (Drs. Neil Mattson and Michal Moyal Ben Zavi), Utah State University (Dr. Bruce Bugbee), and The Edw. C. Levy Co (John Yzenas), results have demonstrated that Si can induce reductions in symptoms from the pathogens powdery mildew and Tobacco ringspot virus, decreased aphid population growth, reduced susceptibility to copper toxicity, improved salt tolerance during growth, increased post-harvest longevity, changes in nutrient regulation and alterations in stress enzyme activity in both Si-accumulating and non-accumulating species. Finally, Dr. Frantz described applied work that addressed many of the best approaches for incorporating supplemental Si in containerized crop production.
Speakers at the Silicon in Agriculture Symposium, 10/2012, Cincinnati, OH. (left to right), Drs. Hamilton Pereira, Gaspar Korndorffer, Francois Belzile, Emanuel Epstein (front), Jonathan Frantz (back), Lawrence Datnoff (back), Mary Provance-Bowley, Joseph Heckman, and Yongchao Liang.