Silicon (Si) plays a pivotal role in the nutritional status of a wide variety of monocot and dicot plant species and helps them, whether directly or indirectly, counteract abiotic andor biotic stresses. In general, plants with a high root or shoot Si concentration are less prone to pest attack and exhibit enhanced tolerance to abiotic stresses such as drought, low temperature, or metal toxicity. However, the most remarkable effect of Si is the reduction in the intensities of a number of seedborne, soilborne, and foliar diseases in many economically important crops that are caused by biotrophic, hemibiotrophic, and necrotrophic plant pathogens. The reduction in disease symptom expression is due to the effect of Si on some components of host resistance, including incubation period, lesion size, and lesion number. The mechanical barrier formed by the polymerization of Si beneath the cuticle and in the cell walls was the first proposed hypothesis to explain how this element reduced the severity of plant diseases. However, new insights have revealed that many plant species supplied with Si have the phenylpropanoid and terpenoid pathways potentiated and have a faster and stronger transcription of defense genes and higher activities of defense enzymes. Photosynthesis and the antioxidant system are also improved for Si-supplied plants. Although the current understanding of how this overlooked element improves plant reaction against pathogen infections, pest attacks, and abiotic stresses has advanced, the exact mechanism(s) by which it modulates plant physiology through the potentiation of host defense mechanisms still needs further investigation at the genomic, metabolomic, and proteomic levels.
Annual Review of Phytopathology – Annual Reviews
Published: Aug 4, 2017
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