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Silicon-Based Solutions for the Mitigation of Abiotic and Biotic Stresses in Plants

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 September 2023) | Viewed by 12250

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Guest Editor
Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), L-4940 Hautcharage, Luxembourg
Interests: plant bioprocesses; plant cell wall; transcriptomics; plant secondary metabolites; plant tissue culture; plant molecular biology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Silicon (Si) is a metalloid classified as a quasi-essential element for plants’ growth and development. It has been extensively reported that Si, once absorbed as silicic acid–Si(OH)4 via aquaporins by the roots, can deposit as opaline silica (SiO2) in the cell walls of plants, thereby conferring a mechanical protection against the penetration of pathogens. Si has been included in the list of biostimulants, given its proven protective and beneficial effects for plants. Under normal conditions, the protective effects of Si are mostly latent and become evident in the presence of exogenous stresses, as documented in several species of monocots and dicots. Some molecular studies have elucidated the major pathways affected by Si supplementation; however, a detailed understanding of the changes to genes, proteins, primary, and secondary metabolites and soil microbial communities changing under stress and the addition of Si is still missing.

Nanoformulations based on Si are also attracting interest as environmentally benign delivery systems for the mitigation of plant stress response. Nanoparticles of Si can be used to deliver active ingredients functioning as biostimulants to plants. Such nanoformulations can be applied via injection, foliar spraying (where they enter through the stomata), or root amendment and can be engineered to have specific dimensions and physicochemical properties and to be functionalized on the surface or in the core.

This Special Issue aims to attract the interest of the scientific community studying the impact of Si on the response of plants to (a)biotic stresses and the use of Si-based nanodelivery systems tailored for agronomical uses. Contributions in the form of original research papers, as well as topical reviews and/or short communications focusing on the use of -omic technologies (RNA-Seq, metabolomics proteomics, metagenomics/metatranscriptomics), microscopy (e.g., high-resolution, confocal), and nanotechnology for the manufacture and characterization of Si-containing nanoparticles are welcome.

Dr. Gea Guerriero
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Silicon
  • Abiotic stress
  • Biotic stress
  • Nanotechnology
  • Omics
  • Microscopy
  • Cell walls
  • Systems biology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 2014 KiB  
Communication
A Study on the Use of the Phyto-Courier Technology in Tobacco Leaves Infected by Agrobacterium tumefaciens
by Annelie Gutsch, Roberto Berni, Jean-Francois Hausman, Flavia Maria Sutera, Ashkan Dehsorkhi, Nissim Torabi-Pour, Suzanne Saffie-Siebert and Gea Guerriero
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(18), 14153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241814153 - 15 Sep 2023
Viewed by 884
Abstract
Climate change results in exceptional environmental conditions and drives the migration of pathogens to which local plants are not adapted. Biotic stress disrupts plants’ metabolism, fitness, and performance, ultimately impacting their productivity. It is therefore necessary to develop strategies for improving plant resistance [...] Read more.
Climate change results in exceptional environmental conditions and drives the migration of pathogens to which local plants are not adapted. Biotic stress disrupts plants’ metabolism, fitness, and performance, ultimately impacting their productivity. It is therefore necessary to develop strategies for improving plant resistance by promoting stress responsiveness and resilience in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. The aim of this study was to investigate whether priming tobacco plants with a formulation containing silicon-stabilised hybrid lipid nanoparticles functionalised with quercetin (referred to as GS3 phyto-courier) can protect against biotic stress triggered by Agrobacterium tumefaciens leaf infiltration. Tobacco leaves were primed via infiltration or spraying with the GS3 phyto-courier, as well as with a buffer (B) and free quercetin (Q) solution serving as controls prior to the biotic stress. Leaves were then sampled four days after bacterial infiltration for gene expression analysis and microscopy. The investigated genes increased in expression after stress, both in leaves treated with the phyto-courier and control solutions. A trend towards lower values was observed in the presence of the GS3 phyto-courier for genes encoding chitinases and pathogenesis-related proteins. Agroinfiltrated leaves sprayed with GS3 confirmed the significant lower expression of the pathogenesis-related gene PR-1a and showed higher expression of peroxidase and serine threonine kinase. Microscopy revealed swelling of the chloroplasts in the parenchyma of stressed leaves treated with B; however, GS3 preserved the chloroplasts’ mean area under stress. Furthermore, the UV spectrum of free Q solution and of quercetin freshly extracted from GS3 revealed a different spectral signature with higher values of maximum absorbance (Amax) of the flavonoid in the latter, suggesting that the silicon-stabilised hybrid lipid nanoparticles protect quercetin against oxidative degradation. Full article
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26 pages, 10815 KiB  
Article
Silicon-Induced Morphological, Biochemical and Molecular Regulation in Phoenix dactylifera L. under Low-Temperature Stress
by Saqib Bilal, Taimoor Khan, Sajjad Asaf, Nasir Ali Khan, Syed Saad Jan, Muhammad Imran, Ahmed Al-Rawahi, Abdul Latif Khan, In-Jung Lee and Ahmed Al-Harrasi
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(7), 6036; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076036 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1435
Abstract
Climate changes abruptly affect optimum growth temperatures, leading to a negative influence on plant physiology and productivity. The present study aimed to investigate the extent of low-temperature stress effects on date palm growth and physiological indicators under the exogenous application of silicon (Si). [...] Read more.
Climate changes abruptly affect optimum growth temperatures, leading to a negative influence on plant physiology and productivity. The present study aimed to investigate the extent of low-temperature stress effects on date palm growth and physiological indicators under the exogenous application of silicon (Si). Date palm seedlings were treated with Si (1.0 mM) and exposed to different temperature regimes (5, 15, and 30 °C). It was observed that the application of Si markedly improved fresh and dry biomass, photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoids), plant morphology, and relative water content by ameliorating low-temperature-induced oxidative stress. Low-temperature stress (5 and 15 °C), led to a substantial upregulation of ABA-signaling-related genes (NCED-1 and PyL-4) in non Si treated plants, while Si treated plants revealed an antagonistic trend. However, jasmonic acid and salicylic acid accumulation were markedly elevated in Si treated plants under stress conditions (5 and 15 °C) in comparison with non Si treated plants. Interestingly, the upregulation of low temperature stress related plant plasma membrane ATPase (PPMA3 and PPMA4) and short-chain dehydrogenases/reductases (SDR), responsible for cellular physiology, stomatal conductance and nutrient translocation under silicon applications, was observed in Si plants under stress conditions in comparison with non Si treated plants. Furthermore, a significant expression of LSi-2 was detected in Si plants under stress, leading to the significant accumulation of Si in roots and shoots. In contrast, non Si plants demonstrated a low expression of LSi-2 under stress conditions, and thereby, reduced level of Si accumulation were observed. Less accumulation of oxidative stress was evident from the expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT). Additionally, Si plants revealed a significant exudation of organic acids (succinic acid and citric acid) and nutrient accumulation (K and Mg) in roots and shoots. Furthermore, the application of Si led to substantial upregulation of the low temperature stress related soybean cold regulated gene (SRC-2) and ICE-1 (inducer of CBF expression 1), involved in the expression of CBF/DREB (C-repeat binding factor/dehydration responsive element binding factor) gene family under stress conditions in comparison with non Si plants. The current research findings are crucial for exploring the impact on morpho-physio-biochemical attributes of date palms under low temperature and Si supplementation, which may provide an efficient strategy for growing plants in low-temperature fields. Full article
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23 pages, 3150 KiB  
Article
Physiological, Biochemical, and Epigenetic Reaction of Maize (Zea mays L.) to Cultivation in Conditions of Varying Soil Salinity and Foliar Application of Silicon
by Renata Tobiasz-Salach, Marzena Mazurek and Beata Jacek
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(2), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24021141 - 06 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
Soil salinity is one of the basic factors causing physiological, biochemical and epigenetic changes in plants. The negative effects of salt in the soil environment can be reduced by foliar application of silicon (Si). The study showed some positive effects of Si on [...] Read more.
Soil salinity is one of the basic factors causing physiological, biochemical and epigenetic changes in plants. The negative effects of salt in the soil environment can be reduced by foliar application of silicon (Si). The study showed some positive effects of Si on maize plants (Zea mays L.) grown in various salinity conditions. At high soil salinity (300 and 400 mM NaCl), higher CCI content was demonstrated following the application of 0.2 and 0.3% Si. Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters (PI, FV/F0, Fv/Fm and RC/ABS) were higher after spraying at 0.3 and 0.4% Si, and plant gas exchange (Ci, PN, gs, E) was higher after spraying from 0.1 to 0.4% Si. Soil salinity determined by the level of chlorophyll a and b, and carotenoid pigments caused the accumulation of free proline in plant leaves. To detect changes in DNA methylation under salt stress and in combination with Si treatment of maize plants, the methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (MSAP) technique was used. The overall DNA methylation level within the 3′CCGG 5′ sequence varied among groups of plants differentially treated. Results obtained indicated alterations of DNA methylation in plants as a response to salt stress, and the effects of NaCl + Si were dose-dependent. These changes may suggest mechanisms for plant adaptation under salt stress. Full article
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17 pages, 3831 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Effects of Silicon and Preservative on Promoting Postharvest Performance of Cut Flowers of Peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.)
by Jinnan Song, Jingli Yang and Byoung Ryong Jeong
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(21), 13211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232113211 - 30 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1630
Abstract
As a commercial high-grade cut flower, the marketability of herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) is limited by its short vase life in water. Si (silicon) is an alternative to improve the postharvest life of cut flowers. However, the effects of the combined [...] Read more.
As a commercial high-grade cut flower, the marketability of herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) is limited by its short vase life in water. Si (silicon) is an alternative to improve the postharvest life of cut flowers. However, the effects of the combined application of Si and preservatives on the postharvest performance of cut peony flowers are unknown. In this study, the effects of a Si application and a preservative alone and collegial on the longevity of the vase life, water loss, antioxidant defense system, and stock carbohydrates level of cut flowers of three peony cultivars were investigated. It was observed that Si effectively prolonged the vase life, while the preservative alone, to a lesser extent, but markedly induced an early flowering and a greater flower diameter (flower open degree). The simultaneous use of Si and the preservatives not only showed larger flowers, but also improved the postharvest performance as characterized by an extended vase life and delayed the water loss. In addition, the Si supplementation dramatically intensified the antioxidant defense system (ameliorated antioxidant enzymes and alleviated ROS accumulation) in petals but did not increase the stock carbohydrates (starch and soluble sugars) levels, as compared to the treatment with the preservative alone. We show that a Si supplementation to a preservative is highly recommended for a large-scale use to promote the postharvest performance and competitiveness of marketed cut flowers. Full article
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21 pages, 5147 KiB  
Article
Drenched Silicon Suppresses Disease and Insect Pests in Coffee Plant Grown in Controlled Environment by Improving Physiology and Upregulating Defense Genes
by Jingli Yang, Jinnan Song and Byoung Ryong Jeong
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(7), 3543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23073543 - 24 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2285
Abstract
Plant disease and insect pests are major limiting factors that reduce crop production worldwide. The ornamental indoor cultivation cash crop dwarf coffee Punica arabica ‘Pacas’ is also troubled by these issues. Silicon (Si) is one of the most abundant elements in the lithosphere [...] Read more.
Plant disease and insect pests are major limiting factors that reduce crop production worldwide. The ornamental indoor cultivation cash crop dwarf coffee Punica arabica ‘Pacas’ is also troubled by these issues. Silicon (Si) is one of the most abundant elements in the lithosphere and positively impacts plant health by effectively mitigating biotic and abiotic stresses. Several studies have shown that Si activates plant defense systems, although the specific nature of the involvement of Si in biochemical processes that lead to resistance is unclear. In our study, Si significantly promoted the growth and development of dwarf coffee seedlings grown in plant growth chambers. More than that, through natural infection, Si suppressed disease and insect pests by improving physiology (e.g., the strong development of the internal structures of roots, stems, and leaves; higher photosynthetic efficiency; more abundant organic matter accumulation; the promotion of root activity; the efficient absorption and transfer of mineral elements; and various activated enzymes) and up-regulating defense genes (CaERFTF11 and CaERF13). Overall, in agriculture, Si may potentially contribute to global food security and safety by assisting in the creation of enhanced crop types with optimal production as well by mitigating plant disease and insect pests. In this sense, Si is a sustainable alternative in agricultural production. Full article
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Review

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11 pages, 524 KiB  
Review
Silicon Mediated Plant Immunity against Nematodes: Summarizing the Underline Defence Mechanisms in Plant Nematodes Interaction
by Jingwen Yu, Xiyue Yu, Caihong Li, Muhammad Ayaz, Sulaiman Abdulsalam, Deliang Peng, Rende Qi, Huan Peng, Lingan Kong, Jianping Jia and Wenkun Huang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(22), 14026; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232214026 - 14 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2935
Abstract
Silicon (Si) is known to stimulate plant resistance against different phytopathogens, i.e., bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. It is an efficient plant growth regulator under various biotic and abiotic stresses. Silicon-containing compounds, including silicon dioxide, SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), nano-chelated silicon fertilizer (NCSF), sodium [...] Read more.
Silicon (Si) is known to stimulate plant resistance against different phytopathogens, i.e., bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. It is an efficient plant growth regulator under various biotic and abiotic stresses. Silicon-containing compounds, including silicon dioxide, SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), nano-chelated silicon fertilizer (NCSF), sodium siliconate, and sodium metasilicate, are effective in damaging various nematodes that reduce their reproduction, galling, and disease severity. The defence mechanisms in plant-nematodes interaction may involve a physical barrier, plant defence-associated enzyme activity, synthesis of antimicrobial compounds, and transcriptional regulation of defence-related genes. In the current review, we focused on silicon and its compounds in controlling plant nematodes and regulating different defence mechanisms involved in plant-nematodes interaction. Furthermore, the review aims to evaluate the potential role of Si application in improving plant resistance against nematodes and highlight its need for efficient plant-nematodes disease management. Full article
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