Effect of Silicon on Strawberry Plants

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  • 1 Fruit Laboratory, Beltsville Agriculture Research Center, ARS, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705

The effect of silicon (Si) foliar applications on metabolic changes and powdery mildew infection in strawberry plants were determined. Silicon was used in the forms of potassium (K) and sodium (Na) salts. Foliar sprays containing 0, 250, 500, 750, and 1000 ppm of Si were applied. Strawberry plants showed no difference in response to the K or Na salts of Si during the seven weeks of experimental period. Plants treated with potassium and sodium silicate showed reduced severity of powdery mildew, increased chlorophyll content, and increased plant growth. Potassium and sodium silicate treatments also induced metabolic changes such as an increase in citric acid and malic acid levels, and a decrease in fructose, glucose, sucrose, and myoinositol content. The treated tissues also had higher ratios of (18:2 + 18:3)/18:1 in glycolipids and phospholipids and elevated amounts of membrane lipids in leaves and petioles. These results suggest that Si has beneficial effects on strawberry plants and may serve as an alternative to fungicides for controlling powdery mildew.

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