The effect of silicon on the antioxidant system of tomato seedlings exposed to individual and combined nitrogen and water deficit

Joana Machado, Ana Patricia G. Fernandes, Boris Bokor, Marek Vaculík, Ep Heuvelink, Susana M.P. Carvalho, Marta W. Vasconcelos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Exploring sustainable strategies for improving crop water and nitrogen use efficiency is essential. Silicon (Si) has been reported as a beneficial metalloid for plants since it alleviates several abiotic stresses (including drought) by triggering the plants' antioxidant system. However, its role in mitigating the negative impact of nitrogen (N) deficit alone or when combined with water (W) deficit is not well studied. This study applied 0 or 2 mM of Na₂SiO3 to 3-week-old tomato cv. Micro-Tom seedlings that were grown under the following conditions: control (CTR; 100%N + 100% Field Capacity), N deficit (N; 50% N + 100% Field Capacity), water deficit (W; 100% N + 50% Field Capacity) or combined stress (N + W; 50% N + 50% Field Capacity). The Si effect on tomato plant growth depended on the type of stress. Si could only alleviate stress caused by N + W deficit resulting in a higher root dry weight (by 28%), total dry weight (by 23%) and root length (by 37%). Alongside this, there was an increase in the antioxidant (AOX) system activity with the root activity of ascorbate peroxidase and catalase enzymes being enhanced by 48% and by 263%, respectively. Si application also enhanced AOX enzyme activity when tomato plants were subjected to individual deficits but to a lesser extent. In conclusion, Si-treated tomato plants could efficiently modulate their AOX networks in a situation of combined N and water limitation, thus mitigating some of the adverse effects of this combined stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-60
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Volume184
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • abiotic stress
  • antioxidant system
  • cv Micro-Tom
  • phenolics
  • plant growth
  • silicon

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