First, second, and third authors: Viçosa Federal University, Department of Plant Pathology, Laboratory of Host-Parasite Interaction, Viçosa, Minas Gerais State, 36570-000, Brazil; fourth author: Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, Chuo 2-20-1, Kurashiki 720-0046, Japan; and fifth author: University of Florida, Department of Plant Pathology, Gainesville 32611-0680.
Rice is known to accumulate high amounts of silicon (Si) in plant tissue, which helps to decrease the intensity of many economically important rice diseases. Among these diseases, brown spot, caused by the fungus Bipolaris oryzae, is one of the most devastating because it negatively affects yield and grain quality. This study aimed to evaluate the importance of active root Si uptake in rice for controlling brown spot development. Some components of host resistance were evaluated in a rice mutant, low silicon 1 (lsi1), defective in active Si uptake, and its wild-type counterpart (cv. Oochikara). Plants were inoculated with B. oryzae after growing for 35 days in a hydroponic culture amended with 0 or 2 mMol Si. The components of host resistance evaluated were incubation period (IP), relative infection efficiency (RIE), area under brown spot progress curve (AUBSPC), final lesion size (FLS), rate of lesion expansion (r), and area under lesion expansion progress curve (AULEPC). Si content from both Oochikara and lsi1 in the +Si treatment increased in leaf tissue by 219 and 178%, respectively, over the nonamended controls. Plants from Oochikara had 112% more Si in leaf tissue than plants from lsi1. The IP of brown spot from Oochikara increased ≈6 h in the presence of Si and the RIE, AUBSPC, FLS, r, and AULEPC were significantly reduced by 65, 75, 33, 36, and 35%, respectively. In the presence of Si, the IP increased 3 h for lsi1 but the RIE, AUBSPC, FLS, r, and AULEPC were reduced by only 40, 50, 12, 21, and 12%, respectively. The correlation between Si leaf content and IP was significantly positive but Si content was negatively correlated with RIE, AUBSPC, FLS, r, and AULEPC. Single degree-of-freedom contrasts showed that Oochikara and lsi1 supplied with Si were significantly different from those not supplied with Si for all components of resistance evaluated. This result showed that a reduced Si content in tissues of plants from lsi1 dramatically affected its basal level of resistance to brown spot, suggesting that a minimum Si concentration is needed. Consequently, the results of this study emphasized the importance of an active root Si uptake system for an increase in rice resistance to brown spot.