The role of silicon as a nutrient/biostimulant in strawberries
Wileman, H J
• All plants grown in soil contain silicon (Si) in their tissues, with concentrations that vary from 0.1% to 10% of their dry weight. • Si is referred to as “quasi-essential” for the growth of higher plants due to its important role in alleviating abiotic and biotic stresses. It can be taken up in a bio-available form - H4SiO4 (Ma et al., 2011). • Work at the University of Hertfordshire showed that regular use of a Si nutrient enhanced constitutive (passive) defence pathway (i.e. morphological changes in the leaf structure) in strawberry plants, resulting in increased resilience to diseases (e.g. strawberry powdery mildew Podosphaera aphanis) and pests (e.g. twospotted spider mites Tetranychus urtiae). An increase in plant biomass and improvements on other agronomic traits were also found (results shown from 2018-2019 glasshouse hydroponic experiments). • Si is mainly laid down in epidermis and in the form of phytoliths.