Stress exposure alters the role of silicon in controlling plant water movement

Carey, Joanna and Cooke, Julia (2022). Stress exposure alters the role of silicon in controlling plant water movement. In: 10th Isotopes in Biogenic Silica (IBiS), 14-16 Jun 2022, Lund University, Sweden.



All plants contain silicon (Si), but some species take it up passively through the transpiration stream while others additionally actively accumulate Si by producing transporters. Existing literature presents a conflicting picture for the relationship between plant Si availability and water uptake, with studies highlighting positive, negative, or no relationship between plant Si and water movement (transpiration and stomatal conductance) and little information about how these relationships shift under different environmental conditions. Here, we present the results of a meta-analysis investigating the relationships between plant Si availability and water movement across diverse non-rice plant groups exposed to varying amounts of environmental stress. We find that stress changes the role of Si availability in controlling water movement; Si additions displayed no consistent or significant impact on water movement in unstressed plants, whereas Si additions significantly increased water movement in stressed plants, particularly in the form of higher stomatal conductance, especially when exposed to salinity or drought stress. This signal of increased conductance with stress is most apparent in plants grown hydroponically, C4 plants and Poales order, which includes grasses and sedges that often accumulate Si actively.

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