Effect of root and foliar applications of soluble silicon on powdery mildew control and growth of wheat plants
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Foliar and root applications of different silicon (Si)-based formulations were evaluated for their effects in reducing powdery mildew and promoting growth of wheat plants. X-ray microanalyses of treated plants revealed that root applications resulted in consistent deposition of Si in the leaves. In terms of powdery mildew control, root applications at 1.7 mM Si gave consistently the best results, reducing disease severity by as much as 80%, regardless of the product used. Although less effective than root applications, foliar treatments with both Si and nutrient salt solutions led to a significant reduction of powdery mildew on wheat plants. This suggests a direct effect of the products on powdery mildew rather than one mediated by the plant as in the case of root amendments. In our experiments, Si amendment, either through the roots or the leaves, did not increase plant growth. These results lead to the conclusion that Si is primarily, if not exclusively, absorbed by the root system and that such absorption by the roots is necessary for an optimal prophylactic effect.
KeywordsBlumeria graminis Induced resistance Potassium silicate X-ray microanalysis
Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici
scanning electron microscopy
The authors would like to thank Caroline Labbé for technical assistance and statistical analyses and Florian Chain for critical review of the manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Coucil of Canada (NSERC) in collaboration with Label Agro Inc (Montreal, Canada), and the Canada Research Chairs Programme to R.R. Bélanger.
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