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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #442348

Research Project: Assessing the Effect of Exogenous Silicon Application on Yield and Quality of Lettuce Produce

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-21530-003-011-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2022
End Date: Apr 30, 2025

Determine the effect of applying exogenous silicone (Si) on lettuce yield, resistance to biotic and abiotic factors, and post-harvest quality.

Silicone (Si) has been shown to significantly improve yield, quality, shelf-life, and abiotic and biotic stress resistance in several crops. This project aims to understand the effect of Si on the growth, stress response, shelf-life, and quality of lettuce as well as the impact of various factors (genotype, water availability, temperature, Si concentration, plant age, etc.) on the efficiency of Si effect. The results of this study will be used to provide recommendations regarding Si application, thus optimizing economy of lettuce production through improved yield and quality, postharvest shelf-life, and enhanced resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Optimal application of Si may thus directly or indirectly reduce the use of pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and water in lettuce production. Plant 2 accessions in field, apply Si at different concentrations on plants at different developmental stages, and measure Si-responsive traits (e.g., weight, vitamin C, chlorophyll, anthocyanins). Repeat the experiment to determine the optimal conditions of Si application. Plant 6 accessions, apply drought (limited water), salinity, andt emperature stresses (12C, 20C, 28C) along with Si treatment in growth chambers. Measure plant weight to evaluate the effect of Si on stress response. Nov 2022–Jun 2023 Plant 15 accessions in field (trial 1), evaluate disease and pest incidence, bolting, tipburn, leaf properties (thickness, strength), nutrient composition, yield, and shelf-life of lettuce under the optimal Si treatment. Repeat trial 1 (trial 2). Conduct RNAseq with samples (3 accessions) from trial 2. Jul 2023–Jan 2024 Repeat the trial (trial 3) and analyze the effect of Si on lettuce production with the data from trial 1-3. Plant the same 15 accessions in field (trial 4), apply Si treatment, and measure Si-response traits. Repeat the drought, salinity, and temperature stress experiments. Analyze RNAseq data. Report findings at the California Leafy Greens Research Program (CLGRP) biannual meetings, scientific conferences and individual meetings with growers and lettuce producing companies. Feb 2024–Jul 2024