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  • Author or Editor: Sushant Khandekar x
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The use of copper (Cu) in agriculture is widespread as a pesticide, and it is present in high concentrations in certain types of manures. As the use of Cu continues and manure management is incorporated into sustainable systems, the likelihood of Cu toxicity increases. Supplemental silicon has been used to successfully counteract potential micronutrient toxicity. There is currently considerable debate regarding the value of including silicon (Si) as a nutrient in fertility programs and as such, it is not part of a typical management practice in floriculture crop production in the United States. We investigated the potential for Si to ameliorate the effects of Cu toxicity in both a Si-accumulating [zinnia (Zinnia elegans)] and a Si-non-accumulating [snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)] species. Using visible stress indicators and dry weight analysis, it initially appeared that Si was a significant benefit to only zinnia under Cu toxicity. Enzymatic assays and elemental analysis of leaves, stems, and roots revealed that both species responded to supplemental Si, showing evidence of reduced stress and nutrient concentrations more similar to healthy, control plants than plants exposed to Cu toxicity. Although there appear to be differences in the extent of Si-mediated amelioration of Cu toxicity between these two plants, both responded to supplemental Si. This adds to the growing body of evidence that all plants likely have Si-mediated responses to stress, and its inclusion into fertility programs should be more broadly considered than current practices.

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