Silicon attenuates sodium toxicity by improving nutritional efficiency in sorghum and sunflower plants.Plant Physiol Biochem 2019; 142:224-233PP
Salt stress is known to negatively affect the fundamental processes in plants, reducing their growth and yield. The role of Silicon (Si) to protect the sorghum and sunflower plants against salinity stress was assessed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of different forms of Si application on the uptake and use efficiency of macronutrients and micronutrients in sorghum and sunflower plants under salinity stress under greenhouse conditions. Two experiments were conducted using sorghum and sunflower under greenhouse conditions. Four Si levels were applied to plants: no Si application; foliar application of 28.6 mmol.L-1; root application of 2.0 mmol.L-1; and combined Si application with both via nutrient solution and foliar spraying. Each Si treatment was applied in the absence and presence of NaCl (100 mM). Thirty days after treatments, sodium (Na+) and Si accumulation, nutrient uptake and use efficiency, and the roots and total plant dry weight were measured. Salinity stress induced nutritional imbalance and decreased dry weight production in both plant species. Our results showed that Si application alleviated the salinity stress by decreased Na+ uptake and increased nutritional efficiency, thereby favoring the total plant dry weight in sorghum by 27% and sunflower by 41%. This occurred when Si was applied either via root or in combination via root and foliar application, respectively. Collectively, our findings indicate that Si application can attenuate the deleterious effects of salt stress and increase yield in sorghum and sunflower plants in a sustainable manner.