Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 1589–1594

The regulatory role of silicon on water relations, photosynthetic gas exchange, and carboxylation activities of wheat leaves in field drought conditions

Short Communication


The effects of silicon on water relations, photosynthetic gas exchange, and carboxylation activities of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) leaves were investigated in field drought conditions. Silicon application improved the leaf relative water content and water potential under drought. The leaf net photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance were significantly decreased between 7:30 and 17:30 under drought, whereas silicon application increased the leaf net photosynthetic rate between 7:30 and 15:30 with an exception at 9:30. Silicon application also increased the leaf stomatal conductance at 13:30 and 17:30 under drought. The leaf transpiration rate was decreased by drought but it was increased by silicon from 13:30 to 17:30. The intercellular CO2 concentration was increased at 7:30 under drought, while it was decreased most of the time from midday to the afternoon. The leaf stomatal limitation was increased under drought from 11:30 to 17:30, whereas it was intermediate in silicon treated plants. The instantaneous water use efficiency was significantly increased by silicon application at 7:30 under drought. Silicon application slightly decreased the activity of ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase, but it increased the activity of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase and the concentration of inorganic phosphorus under drought. These results suggest that silicon could improve the photosynthetic ability of wheat in field drought conditions, and both stomatal and non-stomatal factors were involved in the regulation. In the early morning (at 7:30), the non-stomatal factor was the main contributor; 9:30 was a turning point, after which the stomatal factor was the main contributor.


Drought Photosynthetic carboxylation activity Photosynthetic gas exchange Silicon Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 


  1. Adatia MH, Besford RT (1986) The effects of silicon on cucumber plants grown in recirculating nutrient solution. Ann Bot 58:343–351Google Scholar
  2. Agarie S, Hanaoka N, Ueno O, Miyazaki A, Kubota F, Agata W, Kaufman PB (1998) Effects of silicon on tolerance to water deficit and heat stress in rice plants (Oryza sativa L.), monitored by electrolyte leakage. Plant Prod Sci 1:96–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradford MM (1976) A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 72:248–254PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen W, Yao X, Cai K, Chen J (2011) Silicon alleviates drought stress of rice plants by improving plant water status, photosynthesis and mineral nutrient absorption. Biol Trace Elem Res 142:67–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crusciol CAC, Pulz AL, Lemos LB, Soratto RP, Lima GPP (2009) Effects of silicon and drought stress on tuber yield and leaf biochemical characteristics in potato. Crop Sci 49:949–954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ding YF, Liang YC, Zhu J, Li ZJ (2007) Effects of silicon on plant growth, photosynthetic parameters and soluble sugar content in leaves of wheat under drought stress. Plant Nutr Fert Sci 13:471–478Google Scholar
  7. dos Santos MG, Ribeiro RV, de Oliveira RF, Machado EC, Pimentel C (2006) The role of inorganic phosphate on photosynthesis recovery of common bean after a mild water deficit. Plant Sci 170:659–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doubnerová V, Ryšlavá H (2011) What can enzymes of C4 photosynthesis do for C3 plants under stress? Plant Sci 180:575–583PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Epstein E (1994) The anomaly of silicon in plant biology. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91:11–17PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gao X, Zou C, Wang L, Zhang F (2006) Silicon decreases transpiration rate and conductance from stomata of maize plants. J Plant Nutr 29:1637–1647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gong H, Zhu X, Chen K, Wang S, Zhang C (2005) Silicon alleviates oxidative damage of wheat plants in pots under drought. Plant Sci 169:313–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hattori T, Lux A, Tanimoto E, Luxova M, Sugimoto Y, Inanaga S (2001) The effect of silicon on the growth of sorghum under drought. In: Morita S (ed) The 6th Symposium of the International Society of Root Research. Japanese Society for Root Research (JSRR), Nagoya, pp 348–349Google Scholar
  13. Hattori T, Inanaga S, Araki H, An P, Morita S, Luxová M, Lux A (2005) Application of silicon enhanced drought tolerance in Sorghum bicolour. Physiol Plant 123:459–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hattori T, Sonobe K, Inanaga S, An P, Tsuji W, Araki H, Eneji AE, Morita S (2007) Short term stomatal responses to light intensity changes and osmotic stress in sorghum seedlings raised with and without silicon. Environ Exp Bot 60:177–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liang Y, Sun W, Zhu Y-G, Christie P (2007) Mechanisms of silicon-mediated alleviation of abiotic stresses in higher plants: a review. Environ Pollut 147:422–428PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liang Y, Zhu J, Li Z, Chu G, Ding Y, Zhang J, Sun W (2008) Role of silicon in enhancing resistance to freezing stress in two contrasting winter wheat cultivars. Environ Exp Bot 64:286–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lobato AKS, Coimbra GK, Neto MAM, Costa RCL, Filho BGS, Neto CFO, Luz LM, Barreto AGT, Pereira BWF, Alves GAR, Monteiro BS, Marochio CA (2009) Protective action of silicon on water relations and photosynthetic pigments in pepper plants induced to water deficit. Res J Biol Sci 4:617–623Google Scholar
  18. Pei ZF, Ming DF, Liu D, Wan GL, Geng XX, Gong HJ, Zhou WJ (2010) Silicon improves the tolerance to water deficit stress induced by polyethylene glycol in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seedlings. J Plant Growth Regul 29:106–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Shen X, Zhou Y, Duan L, Li Z, Eneji AE, Li J (2010) Silicon effects on photosynthesis and antioxidant parameters of soybean seedlings under drought and ultraviolet-B radiation. J Plant Physiol 167:1248–1252PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Signarbieux C, Feller U (2011) Non-stomatal limitations of photosynthesis in grassland species under artificial drought in the field. Environ Exp Bot 71:192–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sistani KR, Savant NK, Reddy KC (1997) Effect of rice hull ash silicon on rice seedling growth. J Plant Nutr 20:195–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sonobe K, Hattori T, An P, Tsuji W, Eneji E, Tanaka K, Inanaga S (2009) Diurnal variations in photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and leaf water relation in sorghum grown with or without silicon under water stress. J Plant Nutr 32:433–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wang Z-M, Wei A-L, Zheng D-M (2001) Photosynthetic characteristics of non-leaf organs of winter wheat cultivars differing in ear type and their relationship with grain mass per ear. Photosynthetica 39:239–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wei A, Wang Z, Zhai Z, Gong Y (2003) Effect of soil drought on C4 photosynthesis enzyme activities of flag leaf and ear in wheat. Sci Agric Sin 36:508–512Google Scholar
  25. Xu S, Shen X, Gu W, Dai J, Wang L (1994) Changes of lipid peroxidation, reasterification of phosphatide and ultrastructure of membrane in leaf cells of maize under soil drought condition. Acta Agron Sin 20:564–569Google Scholar
  26. Yoshida S (1965) Chemical aspects of the role of silicon in physiology of the rice plant. Bull Natl Inst Agric Sci B 15:18–58Google Scholar
  27. Yu DJ, Kim SJ, Lee HJ (2009) Stomatal and non-stomatal limitations to photosynthesis in field-grown grapevine cultivars. Biol Plant 53:133–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zhu X, Gong H, Chen G, Wang S, Zhang C (2005) Different solute levels in two spring wheat cultivars induced by progressive field water stress at different developmental stages. J Arid Environ 62:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas, College of HorticultureNorthwest A&F UniversityXianyangChina
  2. 2.College of Life SciencesNorthwest A&F UniversityXianyangChina

Personalised recommendations