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Keywords:

  • Silicon;
  • Induced resistance;
  • Signaling;
  • Phytoalexins

Abstract

Silicon (Si) is a bioactive element associated with beneficial effects on mechanical and physiological properties of plants. Silicon alleviates abiotic and biotic stresses, and increases the resistance of plants to pathogenic fungi. Several studies have suggested that Si activates plant defense mechanisms, yet the exact nature of the interaction between the element and biochemical pathways leading to resistance remains unclear. Silicon possesses unique biochemical properties that may explain its bioactivity as a regulator of plant defense mechanisms. It can act as a modulator influencing the timing and extent of plant defense responses in a manner reminiscent of the role of secondary messengers in induced systemic resistance; it can also bind to hydroxyl groups of proteins strategically involved in signal transduction; or it can interfere with cationic co-factors of enzymes influencing pathogenesis-related events. Silicon may therefore interact with several key components of plant stress signaling systems leading to induced resistance.