Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust after oxygen with an average content of 28%. The form that can be absorbed by the plant is as monosilicic acid, a complex mineral silicate, but most of it is found as silicon dioxide, which cannot be absorbed (Fellet et al., 2021). As a result of the action of water and soil microorganisms (via silicatein/silicase enzymes) on rock and clay particles, silicon dioxide becomes absorbable. This action is very slow and therefore its availability is very limited (Meena et al., 2021).
Multiple effects of silicon application have been studied on a wide variety of plant species. These effects are:
- Increases plant resistance to pests and pathogens.
- Improves resistance to drought and salinity.
- Mitigates the effects of heavy metals.
- Helps nitrogen and phosphorus fixation and absorption.
The accumulation of silicon in the epidermal tissues in polymeric, organic and crystalline form (phytoliths) protects and strengthens plant tissues mechanically and biochemically. Silicon has been used effectively to control numerous fungal diseases and insect attacks, as well as or better than pesticides and fungicides (with some complex forms being much more active), but without negative effects on the environment. In addition to increasing the formation of trichomes between 20 to 80 percent, giving more protection to the plant.
TRICHODEX has carried out single leaf trials with plants fertilised with TRICHO-SIL AMENDMENT. The contribution of silicon in crop fertilisation reduced both the severity and incidence of Botrytis cinerea, obtaining a high significance (p<0.01) in the latter parameter and with disease control levels of 66.68% of affected surface and 86.25% of affected leaf circles.
Fellet, G., Pilotto, L., Marchiol, L., & Braidot, E. (2021). Tools for Nano-Enabled Agriculture: Fertilizers Based on Calcium Phosphate, Silicon and Chitosan Nanostructures. Agronomy, 11(6), 1239.
Meena, V., Dotaniya, M. L., Saha, J. K., & Patra, A. K. (2021). Silicon potential to mitigate plant heavy metals stress for sustainable agriculture: a review. Silicon, 1-16.
Kumar, S., Soukup, M., & Elbaum, R. (2017). Silicification in grasses: variation between different cell types. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, 438.