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Silicon Enhances the Accumulation of Diterpenoid Phytoalexins in Rice: A Potential Mechanism for Blast Resistance

February 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  2
Pages  177 - 183

Fabrício á. Rodrigues , David J. McNally , Lawrence E. Datnoff , Jeffrey B. Jones , Caroline Labbé , Nicole Benhamou , James G. Menzies , and Richard R. Bélanger

First and fourth authors: University of Florida-IFAS, Plant Pathology Department, Gainesville 32611; second, fifth, sixth, and eighth authors: Département de Phytologie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada G1K 7P4; and third author: University of Florida-IFAS, Plant Pathology Department, Everglades Research & Education Center, 3200 E. Palm Beach Rd., Belle Glade 33430; and seventh author: Cereal Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 195 Dafoe Road, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R3T 2M9

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Accepted for publication 23 September 2003.

Although several reports underscore the importance of silicon (Si) in controlling Magnaporthe grisea on rice, no study has associated this beneficial effect with specific mechanisms of host defense responses against this fungal attack. In this study, however, we provide evidence that higher levels of momilactone phytoalexins were found in leaf extracts from plants inoculated with M. grisea and amended with silicon (Si+) than in leaf extracts from inoculated plants not amended with silicon (Si- ) or noninoculated Si+ and Si- plants. On this basis, the more efficient stimulation of the terpenoid pathway in Si+ plants and, consequently, the increase in the levels of momilactones appears to be a factor contributing to enhanced rice resistance to blast. This may explain the lower level of blast severity observed on leaves of Si+ plants at 96 h after inoculation with M. grisea. The results of this study strongly suggest that Si plays an active role in the resistance of rice to blast rather than the formation of a physical barrier to penetration by M. grisea.

Additional keywords: antifungal compounds, calcium silicate slag, induced resistance, Oryza sativa, secondary metabolites.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society