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The Role of Silicon in Preventing Appressorial Penetration by the Rice Blast Fungus

September 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  9
Pages  1,038 - 1,044

T. Hayasaka, H. Fujii, and K. Ishiguro

First author: Yamagata General Agricultural Research Center, Tsuruoka, Japan; second author: Yamagata University, Tsuruoka, Japan; and third author: National Agriculture Research Center for Tohoku Region, Morioka, 020-0198, Japan.

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Accepted for publication 23 May 2008.

To test the hypothesis that silicon (Si) confers resistance against appressorial penetration of the rice blast fungus, the proportion of appressorial penetration into the leaf epidermis to total appressoria formed was compared among rice plants amended with various rates of silica gel to those plants nonamended. The amounts of Si in the youngest leaves were consistent with the amounts of silica gel applied to the rice plants. Relative Si levels on the adaxial surface of leaves as detected by energy dispersive X-ray analysis also increased with the amounts of silica gel applied. Based on light microscopic observation of the adaxial surface of rice leaves, the proportion of appressorial penetration was reduced by increasing amounts of silica gel applied and increased with the length of period after spray inoculation. Consequently, these results strongly support the hypothesis and suggest that Si in the leaf epidermis may confer resistance against appressorial penetration. Meanwhile, the number of lesions per leaf also decreased with the amount of Si applied, while only a certain part of penetrated appressoria could become sporulating susceptible lesions. This suggests that Si also confers physiological resistance against blast infection after the penetration.

Additional keywords:Magnaporthe oryzae, mineral nutrition, physical fortification.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society