Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 3099–3107 | Cite as

Application of silicon improves salt tolerance through ameliorating osmotic and ionic stresses in the seedling of Sorghum bicolor

  • Lina Yin
  • Shiwen WangEmail author
  • Jianye Li
  • Kiyoshi Tanaka
  • Mariko Oka
Original Paper


Silicon has been widely reported to have a beneficial effect on improving plant tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the mechanisms of silicon in mediating stress responses are still poorly understood. Sorghum is classified as a silicon accumulator and is relatively sensitive to salt stress. In this study, we investigated the short-term application of silicon on growth, osmotic adjustment and ion accumulation in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) under salt stress. The application of silicon alone had no effects upon sorghum growth, while it partly reversed the salt-induced reduction in plant growth and photosynthesis. Meanwhile, the osmotic potential was lower and the turgor pressure was higher than that without silicon application under salt stress. The osmolytes, the sucrose and fructose levels, but not the proline, were significantly increased, as well as Na+ concentration was decreased in silicon-treated plants under salt stress. These results suggest that the beneficial effects of silicon on improving salt tolerance under short-term treatment are attributed to the alleviating of salt-induced osmotic stress and as well as ionic stress simultaneously.


Ionic stress Osmotic stress Salt tolerance Silicon Sugar Water potential 



Days after treatment


Dry weight


Transpiration rate


Fresh weight


Stomatal conductance


Leaf area


Net photosynthetic rate


Osmotic potential


Turgor pressure


Water potential



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31101597), West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Universities Scientific Fund (Z109021202) and 111 project of Chinese Education Ministry (B12007).

Supplementary material

11738_2013_1343_MOESM1_ESM.doc (88 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 88 kb)


  1. Ashraf M, Foolad MR (2007) Roles of glycine betaine and proline in improving plant abiotic stress and resistance. Environ Exp Bot 59:206–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashraf M, Rahmatullah AR, Bhatti AS, Afzal M, Sarwar A, Maqsood MA, Kanwa S (2010) Amelioration of salt stress in sugarcane (Sacharum officinarum L.) by supplying potassium and silicon in hydroponics. Pedosphere 20:153–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bates I, Waldren RP, Teare JD (1973) Rapid determination of free proline for water stress studies. Plant Soil 39:205–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boursier P, Läuchli A (1990) Growth responses and mineral nutrient relations of salt-stressed sorghum. Crop Sci 30:1226–1233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De-Lacerda CF, Cambraia J, Oliva MA, Ruiz HA, Prisco JT (2003) Solute accumulation and distribution during shoot and leaf development in two sorghum genotypes under salt stress. Environ Exp Bot 49:107–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Epstein E (1999) Silicon. Ann Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 50:641–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Epstein E (2009) Silicon: its manifold role in plants. Ann Appl Biol 155:155–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fauteux F, Chain F, Belzile F, Menzies JM, Bélanger R (2006) The protective role of silicon in the Arabidopsis-powdery mildew Pathosystem. Proc Nat Acad Sci 46:17554–17559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gong HJ, Randall DP, Flowers FJ (2006) Silicon deposition in the root reduce uptake in rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedling by reducing bypass flow. Plant Cell Environ 29:1970–1979PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Greenway H, Munns R (1980) Mechanisms of slat tolerance in nonhalophytes. Ann Rev Plant Physiol 31:149–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hattori T, Inanaga S, Araki H, An P, Morita S, Luxová M, Lux A (2005) Application of silicon enhanced drought tolerance in Sorghum bicolor. Physiol Plant 123:459–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kafi M, Rahimi Z (2011) Effect of salinity and silicon on root characteristics, growth, water status, propline contents and ion accumulation of purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). Soil Sci Plant Nutr 57:341–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lee G, Carrow RN, Duncan RR, Eiteman MA, Rieger MW (2008) Synthesis of organic osmolytes and salt tolerance mechanisms in Paspalum Vaginatum. Environ Exp Bot 63:19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee SK, Sohn EY, Hamayun M, Yoon JY, Lee IJ (2010) Effect of silicon on growth and salinity stress of soybean plant grown under hydroponic system. Agrofor Syst 80:333–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liang YC, Zhang WH, Chen Q, Liu YL, Ding RX (2006) Effects of exogenous silicon (Si) on H+-ATPase activity, phospholipids and fluidity of plasma membrane in leaves of salt-stressed barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Environ Exp Bot 57:212–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Liang YC, Sun WC, Zhu YG, Christie P (2007) Mechanisms of silicon mediated alleviation of abiotic stresses in higher plants: a review. Environ Pollut 147:422–428PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lutts S, Nainawatee HS, Jain RK, Chowdhury JB (1999) NaCl effects on proline metabolism in rice (Oryza sativa) seedling. Physiol Plant 105:450–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ma JF, Yamaji N (2008) Function and transport of silicon in plants. Cell Mol Life Sci 65:3049–3057PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Madan S, Nainawatte HS, Jain PK, Chowdhury JB (1995) Proline and proline metabolizing enzymes in vitro selected NaCl-tolerant Brassica juncea L. under salt stress. Ann Bot 76:51–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Matoh T, Kairusmee P, Takahashi E (1986) Salt-induced damage to rice plants and alleviation effect of silicate. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 32:295–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Miao BH, Han XG, Zhang WH (2010) The ameliorative effects of silicon on soybean seedling grown in potassium-deficient medium. Ann Bot 105:967–973PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ming DF, Pei ZF, Naeem MS, Gong HJ, Zhou WJ (2012) Silicon alleviates PEG-induced water-deficit stress in upland rice seedlings by enhancing osmotic adjustment. J Agron Crop Sci 198:14–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Munns R, Tester M (2008) Mechanism of salinity tolerance. Ann Rev Plant Biol 59:651–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nayyar, Wali P (2003) Water stress induced proline accumulation in contrasting wheat genotypes as affected by calcium and abscisic acid. Biol Plant 46:275–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neumann D, Nieden U (2001) Silicon and heavy metal tolerance of high plants. Phytochemistry 56:685–692PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 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.) seedling. J. Plant Growth Regul 29:106–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Romero-Aranda MR, Jurado O, Cuarterp J (2006) Silicon alleviates the deleterious salt effect on tomato plant growth by improving plant water status. J Plant Physiol 163:847–855PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Savvas D, Giotis D, Chatzieustratiou E, Bakea M, Patakioutas G (2009) Silicon supplied in soilless cultivations of zucchini alleviates stress induce by salinity and powdery mildew infection. Environ Exp Bot 65:11–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sonobe K, Hattori T, An P, Tsuji W, Eneji E, Tanaka K, Shinobu I (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
  30. Sonobe K, Hattori T, An P, Tsuji W, Eneji E, Kobayashi S, Kawamura Y, Tanaka K, Shinobu I (2011) Effect of silicon application on sorghum root response to water stress. J Plant Nutr 34:71–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tuna AL, Kaya G, Higgs D, Murillo-Amador B, Aydemir S, Girgin AR (2008) Silicon improves salinity tolerance in what plants. Environ Exp Bot 62:10–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Volkmar KM, Hu Y, Steppuhn H (1997) Physiological response of plant to salinity: a review. Can J Plant Sci 78:19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wang XS, Han JG (2007) Effects of NaCl and silicon on ion distribution in the roots, shoots and leaves of two alfalfa cultivars with different slat tolerance. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 53:278–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yang C, Chong J, Li C, Kim C, Shi D, Wang D (2007) Osmotic adjustment and ion balance traits of an alkali resistant halophyte Kochia sieveriana during adaptation to slat and alkali conditions. Plant Soil 294:263–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yeo AR, Caporn SJM, Flowers TJ (1985) The effects of salinity on photosynthesis in rice (Oryza sativa L.): gas exchange by individual leaves in relation to their salt content. J Exp Bot 36:1240–1248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yeo AR, Flowers SA, Rao G, Welfare K, Senanayake N, Floweres TJ (1999) Silicon reduce sodium uptake in rice (Oryza sativa L.) in saline conditions and this is accounted for by a reduction in the transpirational bypass flow. Plant Cell Environ 22:559–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhu Z, Wei G, Li J, Qian Q, Yu J (2004) Silicon alleviates salt stress and increase antioxidant enzymes activity in leaves of salt-stressed cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). Plant Sci 167:527–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lina Yin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Shiwen Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jianye Li
    • 2
  • Kiyoshi Tanaka
    • 3
  • Mariko Oka
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water ConservationNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.Faculty of AgricultureTottori UniversityTottoriJapan

Personalised recommendations