Plant and Soil

, Volume 311, Issue 1–2, pp 73–86

Effects of silicon nutrition on cadmium uptake, growth and photosynthesis of rice plants exposed to low-level cadmium

Regular Article


The effect of silicon (Si) nutrition on low-level cadmium (Cd) toxicity symptoms was investigated in hydroponically-grown rice seedlings (Oryza sativa L.). Silicon (0.0, 0.2, or 0.6 mM) was added when seedlings were 6 or 20 days old representing early (SiE) or late (SiL) Si treatment, respectively. Cadmium (0.0 or 2.5 μM) was added when seedlings were 6 days old. Measurements included generation of CO2 and light response curves; chlorophyll fluorescence analysis; growth; and tissue-element content analysis. Our results showed that low-level Cd treatment generally inhibited growth and photosynthesis. However, the addition of 0.2 or 0.6 mM SiE or SiL significantly reduced root- and leaf-Cd content. Consequently, the addition of 0.6 mM SiL significantly alleviated low-level Cd-induced inhibition of growth. Furthermore, 0.2 mM Si treatment significantly reduced gs compared to 0.0 or 0.6 mM Si without inhibiting A, especially in +Cd plants, suggesting an increase in instantaneous water-use-efficiency (IWUE). Additionally, in +Cd plants, the addition of 0.6 mM SiE significantly reduced Fo but increased Fv/Fm, while treatment with 0.2 mM SiL significantly increased qP, suggesting an increase in light-use-efficiency. We thus, propose that 0.6 mM SiL treatment is required for the alleviation of low-level Cd-mediated growth inhibition. Furthermore, we suggest that 0.2 mM Si concentration might be close to the optimum requirement for maximum Si-induced increase in IWUE in rice plants, especially when under low-level Cd-stress. Our results also suggest that Si alleviates low-level Cd toxicity by improving light-use-efficiency.


Chlorophyll fluorescence Instantaneous water-use-efficiency Low-level cadmium Silicon Stomatal conductance 



net CO2 assimilation rate


maximum net CO2 assimilation rate


ambient CO2 concentration


carboxylation efficiency


intercellular CO2 concentration


transpiration rate


maximum chlorophyll fluorescence yield in a dark-adapted state


minimum chlorophyll fluorescence yield in a dark-adapted state


basal quantum yield of non-photochemical processes in PS2 in a dark-adapted state


maximum variable fluorescence yield in a dark-adapted state


quantum efficiency of open PS2 centers in a dark-adapted state


stomatal conductance rate


maximum stomatal conductance rate


photosynthetic light-saturation point


instantaneous water-use-efficiency




non-photochemical quenching coefficient in a light-adapted state


photochemical quenching coefficient in a light-adapted state


ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


Si was added (early) when plants were 6 days old


Si was added (late) when plants were 20 days old


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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