Encyclopedia of Metalloproteins

2013 Edition
| Editors: Robert H. Kretsinger, Vladimir N. Uversky, Eugene A. Permyakov

Silicon-Mediated Pathogen Resistance in Plants

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-1533-6_454



Silicon-mediated pathogen resistance in plants refers to an increase in resistance to pathogen and improvement in plant health by silicon amendment. When attacked by plant diseases, silicon treatment may increase Si accumulation and deposition in leaves to form a cuticle-Si double layer to impede pathogen’s penetration, and Si also can induce the biochemical defense responses of host and even prime the defense capacity of plant to reduce disease incidence.


Silicon (Si) is the second most prevalent mineral element in soil following oxygen and comprises approximately 28% of the earth’s crust (Epstein 1994). Plants uptake Si through the roots in the form of monosilicic acid [Si(OH)4], at a typical concentration of 0.1–0.6 mM in soil water. Once absorbed by the roots, Si is translocated to the shoot via xylem and deposited in the form of amorphous silica (SiO 2-nH 2O) throughout...


Silicon Biotic stress Pathogen Induced resistance Signal transduction 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



The study is financially supported by grants from the National Key Basic Research Funds of China (2011CB100400), Natural Science Foundation of China (31070396), and Doctoral Fund of Ministry of Education of China (20094404110007).


  1. Bélanger RR, Benhamou N, Menzies JG (2003) Cytological evidence of an active role of silicon in wheat resistance to powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici). Phytopathology 93:402–412CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen P, Menzies J, Ehret D, Samuels L, Glass ADM (1992) Soluble silicon sprays inhibit powdery mildew development on grape leaves. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 117:906–912Google Scholar
  3. Brunings AM, Datnoff LE, Ma JF, Mitani N, Nagamura Y, Rathinasabapathi B, Kirst M (2009) Differential gene expression of rice in response to silicon and rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Ann Appl Biol 155:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cai KZ, Gao D, Luo SM, Zeng RS, Yang JY, Zhu XY (2008) Physiological and cytological mechanisms of silicon induced resistance in rice against blast disease. Physiol Plant 134:324–333CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Cai KZ, Gao D, Chen JN, Luo SM (2009) Probing the mechanisms of silicon-mediated pathogen resistance. Plant Sig Behav 4:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carver TLW, Zeyen RJ, Ahlstrand GG (1987) The relationship between insoluble silicon and success or failure of attempted primary penetration by powdery mildew (Erysiphe graminis) germlings on barley. Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 31:133–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chérif M, Benhamou N, Menzies JG, Bélanger RR (1992) Silicon induced resistance in cucumber plants against Pythium ultimum. Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 41:411–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chérif M, Asselin A, Bélanger RR (1994) Defense responses induced by soluble silicon in cucumber roots infected by Pythium spp. Phytopathology 84:236–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Currie HA, Perry CC (2007) Silica in plants: biological, biochemical and chemical Studies. Ann Bot 100:1383–1389CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Epstein E (1994) The anomaly of silicon in plant biology. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91:11–17CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Fauteux F, Rémus-Borel W, Menzies JG, Bélanger RR (2005) Silicon and plant disease resistance against pathogenic fungi. FEMS Microbiol Lett 249:1–6CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Fauteux F, Chain F, Belzile F, Menzies JG, Bélanger RR (2006) The protective role of silicon in the Arabidopsis-powdery mildew pathosystem. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:17554–17559CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Fawe A, Abou-Zaid M, Menzies JG, Bélanger RR (1998) Silicon-mediated accumulation of flavonoid phytoalexins in cucumber. Phytopathology 88:396–401CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fawe A, Menzies JG, Chérif M, Bélanger RR (2001) Silicon and disease resistance in dicotyledons. In: Datnoff LE, Snyder GH, Korndörfer GH (eds) Silicon in agriculture. Elsevier Science, New York, pp 159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ghareeb H, Bozsó Z, Ott PG, Repenningc C, Stahlc F, Wydra K (2011a) Transcriptome of silicon-induced resistance against Ralstonia solanacearum in the silicon non-accumulator tomato implicates priming effect. Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 75:83–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ghareeb H, Bozsób Z, Ott PG, Wydra K (2011b) Silicon and Ralstonia solanacearum modulate expression stability of housekeeping genes in tomato. Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 75:176–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayasaka T, Fujii H, Ishiguro K (2008) The role of silicon in preventing appressorial penetration by the rice blast fungus. Phytopathology 98:1038–1044CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Heine G, Tikum G, Horst WJ (2007) The effect of silicon on the infection by and spread of Pythium aphanidermatum in single roots of tomato and bitter gourd. J Exp Bot 58:569–577CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Inanaga S, Okasaka A, Tanaka S (1995) Does silicon exist in association with organic compounds in rice plant? Jpn J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 11:111–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kauss H, Seehaus K, Franke R, Gilbert S, Dietrich RA, Kröger N (2003) Silica deposition by a strongly cationic proline-rich protein from systemically resistant cucumber plants. Plant J 33:87–95CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Kim SG, Kim KW, Park EW, Choi D (2002) Silicon-induced cell wall fortification of rice leaves: a possible cellular mechanism of enhanced host resistance to blast. Phytopathology 92:1095–1103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Kwon SH, Oh JH, Song HS (1974) Studies on the relationship between chemical contents of rice plants and resistance to rice blast disease. Kor J Plant Prot 13:33–39Google Scholar
  23. Liang YC, Sun WC, Si J, Römheld V (2005) Effects of foliar- and root-applied silicon on the enhancement of induced resistance to powdery mildew in Cucumis sativus. Plant Pathol 54:678–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liang Y, Sun W, Zhu YG, Christie P (2007) Mechanisms of silicon-mediated alleviation of abiotic stresses in higher plants: a review. Environ Poll 147:422–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ma JF, Yamaji N (2006) Silicon uptake and accumulation in higher plants. Trends Plant Sci 11:392–397CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Ma JF, Yamaji N (2008) Functions and transport of silicon in plants. Cell Mol Life Sci 65:3049–3057CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Rémus-Borel W, Menzies JG, Bélanger RR (2005) Silicon induces antifungal compounds in powdery mildew-infected wheat. Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 66:108–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rodrigues FÁ, Benhamou N, Datnoff LE, Jones JB, Bélanger RR (2003) Ultrastructural and cytochemical aspects of silicon mediated rice blast resistance. Phytopathology 93:535–546CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodrigues FÁ, McNally DJ, Datnoff LE, Jones JB, Labbé C, Benhamou N, Menzies JG, Bélanger RR (2004) Silicon enhances the accumulation of diterpenoid phytoalexins in rice: a potential mechanism for blast resistance. Phytopathology 94:177–183CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Rodrigues FÁ, Jurick WM, Datnoff LE, Jones JB, Rollins JA (2005) Silicon influences cytological and molecular events in compatible and incompatible rice-Magnaporthe grisea interactions. Physiol Mol Plant Pathol 66:144–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Samuels AL, Glass ADM, Ehret DL, Menzies JG (1991) Mobility and deposition of silicon in cucumber plants. Plant Cell Environ 14:485–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Seebold KW, Kucharek TA, Datnoff LE, Correa-Victoria FJ, Marchetti MA (2001) The influence of silicon on components of resistance to blast in susceptible, partially resistant and resistant cultivars of rice. Phytopathology 91:63–69CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Strange RN, Scott PR (2005) Plant disease: a threat to global food security. Annu Rev Phytopathol 43:83–116CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Watanabe S, Shimoi E, Ohkama N, Hayashi H, Yoneyama T, Yazaki J, Fujii F, Shinbo K, Yamamoto K, Sakata K, Sasaki T, Kishimoto N, Kikuchi S, Fujiwara T (2004) Identification of several rice genes regulated by Si nutrition. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 50:1273–1276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yang YF, Liang YC, Lou YS, Sun WC (2003) Influences of silicon on peroxidase, superoxide dismutase activity and lignin content in leaves of wheat Tritium aestivum L. and its relation to resistance to powdery mildew. Sci Agric Sin 36:813–817Google Scholar
  36. Zargar SM, Nazir M, Agrawal GK, Kim DW, Rakwal R (2010) Silicon in plant tolerance against environmental stressors: towards crop improvement using omics approaches. Curr Proteomics 7:135–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhang GL, Dai QG, Zhang HC (2006) Silicon application enhances resistance to sheath blight (Rhizoctonia solani) in rice. J Plant Physiol Mol Biol 32:600–606Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Tropical and Subtropical Ecology, South China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina