Plant and Soil

, Volume 336, Issue 1–2, pp 99–106 | Cite as

Contrasting silicon uptakes by coniferous trees: a hydroponic experiment on young seedlings

Regular Article


Silicon uptake by terrestrial plants impacts the Si land-ocean fluxes, therefore inducing significant modifications for biogeochemical cycle of Si. Understanding the mechanisms that control Si uptakes by forest vegetation is of great interest for the study of the global Si cycle as the world’s total forest area corresponds to about 30% of the land area. Our study compares Si uptake in controlled conditions by two coniferous species (Pseudotsuga menziensii and Pinus nigra) exhibiting contrasting Si uptake in the field. For this purpose, seedlings were grown for 11 weeks under controlled conditions in hydroponics with different Si concentrations (0.2 to 1.6 mM) in nutrient solutions. The Si concentrations were greater in Douglas fir leaves as compared with Black pine leaves and increased, depending on the Si concentration in the nutrient solution. According to mass balance, Si absorption seems to have been driven by passive Si transport at 0.2 mM Si (realistic concentration for forest soil solutions) and was rejective at higher Si concentrations in nutrient solution for both species. For this reason, we attributed the higher Si concentration in Douglas fir leaves to the greater cumulative transpiration of these seedlings. We suggest that contrasting transpiration rates may also play a key role in controlling Si accumulation in leaves at field scale.


Hydroponics Tree seedlings Silicon Uptake Accumulation Transpiration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth and Life InstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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