Silicon supply in soilless cultivations of zucchini alleviates stress induced by salinity and powdery mildew infections
In the present study, the hypothesis was tested as to whether silicon supplied via the nutrient solution is capable of enhancing the tolerance of hydroponically grown zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L. cv. 'Rival') to salinity and powdery mildew infections. Two experiments were conducted involving a low (2.2dSm⁻¹, 0.8mM NaCl) and a high salinity level (6.2dSm⁻¹, 35mM NaCl) in combination with a low (0.1mM) and a high (1.0mM) Si level in the nutrient solution supplied to the crop. The exposure of the plants to high external salinity restricted significantly the vegetative growth as well as the fruit yield of zucchini due to a reduction of both the number of fruits per plant and the mean fruit weight. However, the inclusion of 1mM of Si in the salinized nutrient solution mitigated the salinity-associated suppression of both growth and yield. Part of the growth and fruit yield suppression at high salinity was due to restriction of net photosynthesis. The stomatal conductance was also restricted by salinity, whereas the substomatal CO₂ concentration was not affected by the NaCl or Si treatments. The supply of 1mM of Si via the nutrient solution mitigated the inhibitory effect of salinity on net photosynthesis and this effect was associated with lower Na and Cl translocation to the epigeous plant tissues. Furthermore, the supply of Si via the nutrient solution suppressed appreciably the expansion of a powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii) infection in the leaves at both salinity levels. These results indicate that the supply of at least 1mM of Si via the nutrient solution is capable of enhancing both tolerance to salinity and resistance to powdery mildew in soilless cultivations of zucchini squash.
Environmental and experimental botany.
2009 Jan., v. 65, no. 1
|Main Author:||Savvas, D.|
|Other Authors:||Giotis, D., Chatzieustratiou, E., Bakea, M., Patakioutas, G.|
translocation (plant physiology)
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