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Yu, J.;  Yu, X.;  Li, C.;  Ayaz, M.;  Abdulsalam, S.;  Peng, D.;  Qi, R.;  Peng, H.;  Kong, L.;  Jia, J.; et al. Role of Silicon in Nematode Management. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 July 2024).
Yu J,  Yu X,  Li C,  Ayaz M,  Abdulsalam S,  Peng D, et al. Role of Silicon in Nematode Management. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed July 19, 2024.
Yu, Jingwen, Xiyue Yu, Caihong Li, Muhammad Ayaz, Sulaiman Abdulsalam, Deliang Peng, Rende Qi, Huan Peng, Lingan Kong, Jianping Jia, et al. "Role of Silicon in Nematode Management" Encyclopedia, (accessed July 19, 2024).
Yu, J.,  Yu, X.,  Li, C.,  Ayaz, M.,  Abdulsalam, S.,  Peng, D.,  Qi, R.,  Peng, H.,  Kong, L.,  Jia, J., & Huang, W. (2022, December 08). Role of Silicon in Nematode Management. In Encyclopedia.
Yu, Jingwen, et al. "Role of Silicon in Nematode Management." Encyclopedia. Web. 08 December, 2022.
Role of Silicon in Nematode Management

Silicon (Si) is known to stimulate plant resistance against different phytopathogens, i.e., bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. It is an efficient plant growth regulator under various biotic and abiotic stresses. Silicon-containing compounds, including silicon dioxide, SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), nano-chelated silicon fertilizer (NCSF), sodium siliconate, and sodium metasilicate, are effective in damaging various nematodes that reduce their reproduction, galling, and disease severity. 

silicon plant-nematode interaction interaction mechanism defence response nematode management

1. Introduction

Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and its importance in agriculture has increased multifold [1]. Si is known to enhance growth and stimulate plant-induced resistance against nematodes. Plant-induced resistance is a physiological state of enhanced defensive capacity elicited by environmental stimuli, including fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and insect herbivores [2]. Based on the elicitor’s nature and the regulatory pathways involved, the two most clearly defined forms of induced resistance are systemic acquired resistance (SAR) and induced systemic resistance (ISR) [3]. ISR is enhanced by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria without accumulating pathogenesis-related proteins [4]. Unlike ISR, SAR can be triggered by exposing the plant to pathogenic microbes or artificially with chemicals such as salicylic acid (SA), thiamine, and inorganic salt, coupled with the accumulation of pathogenesis-related proteins (e.g., chitinase, glucanase, etc.) and hypersensitive response. In general, neither chemical elicitor exhibits any direct antimicrobial activity. However, after treatment with chemical elicitors, the levels of defence-related genes in the SA pathway were upregulated in plants that express SAR resistance, while the levels of defence-related genes in the methyl jasmonate (JA)/exogenous ethylene (ET) pathway were upregulated in plants to express ISR resistance. The combination of the two pathways enables a broader spectrum of plant resistance to pathogens [4][5][6]. Nahar et al. found that exogenous application of ET and JA on the shoots induced a strong systemic defence response in the rice roots against root-knot nematode (RKN) Meloidogyne graminicola and ET-induced defence requires an intact JA pathway, while JA-induced defence was still functional when ET signalling was impaired [4][5][6]. However, Lohar and Bird did not observe significant changes in susceptibility plants Lotus japonicus with ET resistance, but foliar application with JA was shown to induce systemic defence of tomatoes against RKN [7][8].
The application of Si is beneficial to plant growth and production. Plant species greatly differ in silicon accumulation due to differences in root uptake capacity [9]. Numerous studies show that silicon accumulation positively affects many crops (e.g., rice, sugarcane, corn). Silicon improves plants’ mechanical and physiological properties and helps plants to overcome various abiotic and biotic stresses [10][11][12]. For example, by stimulating defence reactions, Si enhances host resistance to various pathogenic fungi, bacteria, and nematodes [13][14][15]. Chérif et al. observed that soluble silicon activated defence in cucumber against Pythium spp. through enhanced activity of chitinases (CHT), peroxidases (POD), and polyphenol oxidases (PPO), and increased the accumulation of phenolic compounds [16]. Rodrigues et al. reported that Si-mediated resistance to Magnaporthe grisea in rice was associated with a higher accumulation of antimicrobial compounds at infection sites [17]. Berry et al. observed that the total numbers of plant-parasitic nematodes and Pratylenchus zeae and Helicotylenchus dihystera in the soil were significantly lower in plots where foliar Si levels were higher [18]. Guimarães et al. showed that the reduction of M. incognita in potassium silicate-treated sugarcane plants was associated with the enhancement of POD activity, while the reduction of root-knot nematodes (RKN) in horse bean and coffee plants treated with calcium silicate was associated with the production of lignin, PPO or phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) [19][20]. However, the mechanistic basis and regulation of Si-mediated resistance against most plant-parasitic nematodes (PPNs) are still poorly understood in higher plants.

2. Role of Silicon in Nematode Management

Nematode diseases are the major concern in agricultural production, resulting in a drastic reduction in crop yield and quality. Silicon compounds, including silicon dioxide, SiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), nano-chelated silicon fertilizer (NCSF), sodium siliconate, and sodium metasilicate, have been used to control different PPNs. Junior et al. observed that root irrigation with SiO2 at a dose of 0.6 g dm−3 of soil negatively affected the formation of galls of M. incognita in the inoculated tomatoes and reduced the final population of nematodes in the root system [21]. However, Ardakani et al. revealed that SiO2 NPs (11–14 nm) at concentrations of 200~800 mg mL−1 were found not to affect the mortality of M. incognita in tomatoes [22]. Foliar spray of SiO2 also caused a higher reduction in root galling and multiplication of M. incognita in carrots [23]. The nematode population in carrots was decreased by 40%, and the number of galls was decreased by 30% in the application of 0.10 mg mL−1 SiO2 NPs compared to the control. In addition, Khan et al. revealed that foliar spray of 0.20 mg mL−1 SiO2-NPs in plants reduced the juveniles of M. incognita and improved up to 37.92% of dry shoot weight and increased 70.42% of chlorophyll content in eggplant [24]. Besides the positive effect on reducing nematode number, SiO2 NPs also showed a great inhibitory effect on egg hatching of nematodes. Danielle and Claudia found that the hatching of M. javanica eggs was significantly reduced in silicon [25]. Ahamad and Siddiqui also observed that SiO2 NPs at 0.05 and 0.10 mg ml−1 concentrations caused 69.91% and 91.67% inhibition of hatching of M. incognita, respectively, over control after 48 h [23]. An in vitro test also showed that Si NPs concentrations significantly inhibited the percentage of egg hatching at a different time of exposure than in the control. The mortality rate of juveniles ranged from 87% to 98% with 100 and 200 ppm Si NPs after 72 h [26]. In other in vitro experiments, Si was also found to have a positive effect on reducing the M. paranaensis population [27]. Dugui-Es et al. observed that root application of sodium metasilicate at the rate of 400 ppm gave the lowest number of eggmasses in cucumber, and application of Si at 200 ppm both on the leaves and roots significantly reduced the number of galls in inoculated plants [28].
To date, dozens of reports have documented Si’s capacity for improving the resistance of vegetables and other economically important crops to different nematodes. Khan and Siddiqui reported that seed priming and foliar spray of SiO2 NPs caused a reduction in root galling, nematode multiplication, and disease indices of M. incognita in beetroot. Seed priming with SiO2 NPs at 200 mg L−1 resulted in the lowest galling and nematode multiplication, significantly different from that in a foliar spray [29]. Following the foliar application of silicon nanoparticle solution to tomatoes, Udalova et al. observed that silicon was accumulated in the parasitic zone, activating the stress response mechanisms to M. incognita infection and inhibiting nematode proliferation [30]. Furthermore, Zhan et al. reported that amendment with silicon fertilizer reduced nematodes’ number of M. graminicola in rice roots and delayed their development [31]. At a dose of 0.04%, amendment of Si resulted in a significant reduction of nematodes (53.1%) and root galls (65.5%) at 14 dpi, and the ratio of adult females in 0.04% Si-treated plants (73%) was significantly lower than that of non-treated plants (92%).
Further research disclosed that increased resistance in rice was correlated with higher transcript levels of defense-related genes in the ethylene (ET) pathway. In addition, Al-Banna et al. observed that silica nanoparticles caused the degeneration of the reproductive organs of nematodes, and dead nematodes were found to exhibit black internal organs [32]. These observations indicated that the application of Si increased the resistance of plants to defend themselves against different nematodes.
In many countries, solid fertilizers of Si are integrated into the soil, while liquid irrigation is used for foliar application or soil amendment. Si fertilizer’s liquid and solid forms increased plant resistance to different nematodes. In a two-year’s field experiment, Sinh et al. observed that the abundances of PPNs, especially Hirschmanniella spp., were significantly reduced after treatment with silicate fertilizer in acid sulfate soil [33]. In a greenhouse experiment, Charehgani et al. indicated that soil drenching of NCSF significantly reduced the nematode population indices [34]. The reproduction factor of nematode in pre- and post-treated tomatoes with NCSF as soil drenches at the rate of 1000 mg per plant was reduced by 66% and 44%, respectively, compared to the control. In the case of silicon dioxide nanoparticles (nSiO2), soil drenches at 1000 mg per plant nSiO2 reduced the reproduction factor by 50% and 27%, respectively. Mansourabad et al. found that the application of sodium siliconate (Na2O3Si) in combination with iron sequestrene (Fe-EDDHA) on M. incognita infected cucumber significantly reduced the number of root galls by 55% compared to control after 60 days [35]. The supply of Si effectively enhanced Si accumulation in cotton plants, and a lower population of M. incognita was estimated in Si fertigation [36]. The nematode population in cadusafos (Cad) treatment (0.08 mL of 1.6 mg L−1 cadusafos) did not differ from Cad + Si treatment (0.04 mL of 1.6 mg L−1 cadusafos +500 mL of 2 mmol L−1 potassium silicate), as both treatments resulted in lower nematode population at 180 dai. The combination between SiNPs and half-recommended doses (RD) of nematicides reduced nematode reproduction, gall formation, egg masses on eggplant roots, and the final population of juveniles in the soil. Applying 200 ppm Si NPs + 0.5 RD fenamiphos resulted in a significant reduction of galls by 79.1% and eggmasses by 81.5% than the control, which is similar to that of RD of fenamiphos. Similar results were also observed in the treatments of 200 ppm SiNPs + 0.5 RD fosthiazate [26]. Thus, fertilizers of silicon can be used to control different nematodes with root irrigation or soil application.


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