Tobacco plants (Nicotiana benthamiana) were influenced by silicon and were not infected by dodder (Cuscuta europaea).


Department of Plant Physiology, The Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Mlynska dolina B2, Ilkovicova 6, 842 15, Bratislava 4, Slovakia. Electronic address: [Email]


The effect of silicon (Si) on tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) development and dodder (Cuscuta europaea) - tobacco interaction were studied. Three Si application approaches were tested: tobacco seed priming (2.5 mM Si and 5 mM Si; 2.5S, 5S), watering tobacco plants with Si solution (2.5 mM Si and 5 mM Si; 2.5W, 5W) and foliar application (1 mM Si and 2.5 mM Si; 1F, 2.5F). Dodder was not able to infect the host plant in almost all Si treatments. Only in the control and 2.5W treatments was dodder able to infect its host. A significant increase in all observed antioxidant enzymes activities (POX, CAT and SOD) occurred in the plants of 2.5W treatment after infection in comparison with the uninfected 2.5W treatment and control plants, which indicated the importance of antioxidant enzymes activities in the plant parasite - host interaction. Resistance of Si treated plants to dodder could have been due to the changes in the cell wall properties of the epidermis and cortex where activity of POX was confirmed histochemically. The growth and development of tobacco shoots were evaluated after four and eight weeks of cultivation in the individual Si treatments. The development of shoots was enhanced after eight weeks of cultivation in the 2.5S, 5S, 2.5W and 5W treatments in comparison with the control treatment. However, a negative effect of Si was observed in 1F and 2.5F treatments. In the majority of cases, the plants treated with Si had decreased chlorophyll content when compared to control, except for chl a in 5W plants after 8 weeks of cultivation. Contrary to this, carotenoids increased in all Si treated plants after eight weeks cultivation in comparison with the control. The secondary xylem formation in tobacco was enhanced after 4 and 8 weeks cultivation in shoots of plants receiving the 2.5S, 5S, 2.5W and 5W treartments. The cambium was the most active in producing secondary xylem in the 2.5S treatment. Protein profile and antioxidant enzymes activities (POX, CAT and SOD) were altered by Si treatment. After 8 weeks of cultivation, activities of POX were significantly decreased in 2.5S, 5S, 2.5W and 5W in comparison with control. Catalase was decreased in 2.5S, 5S and 5W in comparison with the control, however, 1F and 2.5F treatments had significantly increased CAT and SOD activities. The specific activity of POX was confirmed histochemically in Si treated plants in the cell walls of several stem tissues like the epidermis, cortex and pith. A small amount of H2O2 was detected in leaves in the control and Si treated plants. The amount of O2- decreased in all treatments with time. The highest Si concentration in the plants (almost 800 mg . kg-1 d. w.) was detected in the 2.5W, 5W treatments.


Biotic stress,Catalase,Dodder,Peroxidases,Silicon,Superoxide dismutase,Tobacco,

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