Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Two cucumber (Cucumis sativus) cultivars differing in their resistance to powdery mildew, Ningfeng No. 3 (susceptible) and Jinchun No. 4 (resistant), were used to study the effects of foliar- and root-applied silicon on resistance to infection by Podosphaera xanthii (syn. Sphaerotheca fuliginea) and the production of pathogenesis-related proteins (PRs). The results indicated that inoculation with P. xanthii significantly suppressed subsequent infection by powdery mildew compared with noninoculation, regardless of Si application. Root-applied Si significantly suppressed powdery mildew, the disease index being lower in Si-supplied than in Si-deprived plants, regardless of inoculation treatment. The resistant cultivar had a more constant lower disease index than the susceptible cultivar, irrespective of inoculation or Si treatment. Moreover, with root-applied Si, activities of PRs (for example peroxidase, polyphenoloxidase and chitinase) were significantly enhanced in inoculated lower leaves or noninoculated upper leaves in inoculated plants of both cultivars. Root-applied Si significantly decreased the activity of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase in inoculated leaves, but increased it in noninoculated upper leaves. However, Si treatment failed to change significantly the activity of PRs in plants without fungal attack. Compared to the control (no Si), foliar-applied Si had no effects either on the suppression of subsequent infection by P. xanthii or on the activity of PRs, irrespective of inoculation. Based on the findings in this study and previous reports, it was concluded that foliar-applied Si can effectively control infections by P. xanthii only via the physical barrier of Si deposited on leaf surfaces, and/or osmotic effect of the silicate applied, but cannot enhance systemic acquired resistance induced by inoculation, while continuously root-applied Si can enhance defence resistance in response to infection by P. xanthii in cucumber.
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