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  Section: Plant Nutrition » Other Beneficial Elements » Silicon
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Effect of Silicon on Plant Growth and Development

Historical Perspectives
Silicon in Plants
  Plant Absorption of Silicon
  Forms of Silicon in Plants
  Biochemical Reactions with Silicon
Beneficial Effects of Silicon in Plant Nutrition
  Effect of Silicon on Biotic Stresses
  Effect of Silicon on Abiotic Stresses
Effect of Silicon on Plant Growth and Development
  Effect of Silicon on Root Development
  Effect of Silicon on Fruit Formation
  Effect of Silicon on Crop Yield
Silicon in Soil
  Forms of Silicon in Soil
  Soil Tests
Silicon Fertilizers
Silicon in Animal Nutrition

Effect of Silicon on Root Development
Optimization of silicon nutrition results in increased mass and volume of roots, giving increased total and adsorbing surfaces (39,63–66). As a result of application of silicon fertilizer, the dry weight of barley increased by 21 and 54% over 20 and 30 days of growth, respectively, relative to plants receiving no supplemental silicon (67). Silicon fertilizer increases root respiration (68).

A germination experiment with citrus (Citrus spp.) has demonstrated that with increasing monosilicic acid concentration in irrigation water, the weight of roots increased more than that of shoots (69). The same effect was observed for bahia grass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) (70).

Effect of Silicon on Fruit Formation
Silicon plays an important role in hull formation in rice, and, in turn, seems to influence grain quality (71). The hulls of poor-quality, milky-white grains (kernels) are generally low in silicon content, which is directly proportional to the silicon concentration in the rice straw (72).

Barley grains that were harvested from a silicon-fertilized area had better capacity for germination than seeds from a soil poor in plant-available silicon (37). Poor silicon nutrition had a negative effect on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) flowering (73). It is important to note that the application of silicon fertilizer accelerated citrus growth by 30 to 80%, speeded up fruit maturation by 2 to 4 weeks, and increased fruit quantity (74). A similar acceleration in plant maturation with silicon fertilizer application was observed for corn (37).

Effect of Silicon on Crop Yield
Numerous field experiments under different soil and climatic conditions and with various plants clearly demonstrated the benefits of application of silicon fertilizer for crop productivity and crop quality (Table 19.3).

TABLE 19.3

Copper Tissue Analysis Values of Various Plant and Crop Species

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