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Effect of Electrical Conductivity and Silicate on Infection of Basil with Colletotrichum gloeosporioides in Soilless Culture


Centre of Competence for Agro-Environmental Innovation (AGROINNOVA), University of Torino, Grugliasco, To, Italy (correspondence to Ettore Erik Cogliati. E-mail:


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of potassium silicate administration and of electrical conductivity of nutrient solution in three experiments against Colletotrichum gloeosporioides infection on basil (Ocimum basilicum L. cv Genovese Gigante) grown in a closed soilless system. Potassium silicate was added at 100 mg/l of nutrient solution at three different levels of electrical conductivity: 1.5–1.6 mS/cm (E.C.1), 3–3.2 mS/cm (E.C.2, 0.70 g/l NaCl) and 4–4.2 mS/cm (E.C.3, 0.95 g/l NaCl). Basil plants were inoculated with C. gloeosporioides spores 21–31 days after sowing or placing the pots on the channels, applying 5 ml of conidial suspension to each treatment. The increased electrical conductivity of the nutrient solution generally reduced the incidence and severity of the disease, with the highest electrical conductivity (E.C.3) providing the best results. The addition of potassium silicate to the different nutrient solutions showed a significant reduction in both incidence and severity of the disease compared to a solution without silicate and the best results were given by the addition of silicate with the highest electrical conductivity (E.C.3) in all the trials carried out. The combination of high electrical conductivity and potassium silicate supplied gave good results. The possibility and benefits of applying Si amendments in practice are examined.