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Role of Silicon in alleviating biotic & abiotic stresses in plants

Silicon (Si) is found in high concentrations that perform several important functions in plants. Silicon induces tolerance that reduces biotic and abiotic stresses. Their use also improves soil properties due to Si, improves mineral nutrients availability, and reduces heavy metals (Al, Cd, and Cr) concentration in soil.

The use of silicon causes the creation of various tissues that helps the plant to tolerate drought and salt toxins. Therefore, physical and chemical processes are positively affected by the use of silicon.

In addition, protein groups and amino acids of peptides can be created by many poly-silicic species through the combined interaction with silicate species. Alcohol and carboxylic groups of asparagine and serine are not involved in the formation of poly-silicate but the hydroxyl group in the chain formatted the bond between hydrogen and Si (OH)4.

The process involves in the absorption of silicon differ among plant types and is controlled by the mechanism specified with energy consumption. Further, silicon transport inhibits during low temperatures. It has been stated that the Cd intake of plants is decreased by increasing available Si and soil pH.

Si can significantly reduce Al toxins in maize, barley, soybean, rice, pea, and cotton. Phosphorous deficient soils do not affect crop yield due to the use of Si. Moreover, silicon limits the Fe, and Mn accessibility thus, augmented the phosphorous availability of the plant. Si concentration in the leaves and stem of rice reduces the mutual shading and strengthens the plant to withstand any abiotic stress and disorders caused by high nitrogen application. The application of silica to the epidermal layer of the leaves serves as a barrier to insects.

The silicon uptake by roots of rice plants plays an imperative role in developing resistance against brown spot disease. The use of silicon increases seed germination. In addition, silicon fertilization in rice fields can increase growth by reducing disease severity, thus enhance its productivity.

Muhammad Talha Aslam*, Muhammad Umair Hassan, Muhammad Umer Chattha and Imran khan. 
Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

Times Agriculture

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