Silicon application improved the yield and nutritional quality while reduced cadmium concentration in rice.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Jun; 27(16):20370-20379.ES
Silicon (Si) is an essential nutrient for rice, but its effects on the yield and quality of rice under heavy metal stress remain uncertain. In this study, two typical paddy soils (acidic and calcareous purple soils) in the western region of Chongqing were selected for field plot experiment, with the purpose of understanding the effects of Si implementation methods on grain yields and cadmium (Cd) uptake, transport, and accumulation in the grain of a hybrid rice (Oryza sativa L, Changliangyou 772). Four treatments were set for the purposes including soil-based Si application, foliar spray of Si alone, foliar spray of selenium (Se)-containing Si fertilizer, and a control without Si application, respectively. The results indicated that the Si applications reduced Cd contents in brown rice by 11.45~51.85% in the slightly Cd-contaminated acidic purple soil (pH = 4.77, soil total Cd content 0.413 mg kg-1) and 26.93~43.77% in the purple calcareous paddy soil (pH = 7.77) with similar Cd-polluting levels. It is worth noting that the Cd content of conventional fertilized rice exceeds the Chinese National Food Safety Standard limit (0.2 mg kg-1, GB2762-2017) in the slightly Cd-contaminated acidic purple soil, and foliar spray treatments showed most effective effects that meets the safety threshold standard. Soil-based Si application reduced Cd accumulation in rice grains mainly by inhibiting the translocation of Cd from stem to the rice grain or root to stem, while foliar sprays of Si mainly by inhibiting the translocation of Cd from stem to brown rice. Si applications increased the rice yield by 17.15 to 25.45% in calcareous paddy soil with foliar spray being the best, while no significant yield increase was found in acidic paddy soil. Si and Se-containing Si fertilizer improved the nutritional quality of rice grain as indicated by the increases of Se, Si, and protein contents and the significant decreases of Cd contents in the rice grains. The comprehensive effects in improving the rice quality follow the order of foliar spray of Se-containing Si fertilizer > foliar spray of Si alone > soil-based Si application. Thus, foliar spray Si-containing fertilizer could be helpful in increasing rice yield while reducing the Cd uptake in rice grains, which might be a feasible approach in controlling Cd entry into the human body via crops.