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Keywords:

  • chemical extraction;
  • phytolith;
  • shoot;
  • silicon;
  • Tiron

Summary

  • The quantification of silicon (Si) in plants generally requires a digestion procedure before the determination of the dissolved Si concentration by spectrometric analysis. Recent procedures produce rapid and accurate measurements, but are based on either hazardous chemicals or sophisticated instrumentation.
  • Here, we describe a simpler procedure using Tiron. Tiron [4,5-dihydroxy-1,3-benzene-disulfonic acid disodium salt, (HO)2C6H2(SO3Na)2] is currently used as a selective extractant for amorphous silica in soils. Because Si in the shoots is mostly composed of amorphous opaline silica particles (i.e. phytoliths), we tested the Tiron extraction procedure for plants.
  • Our results are critically discussed in relation to two other standard procedures: electrothermal vaporization determination and high-temperature lithium-metaborate digestion.
  • We demonstrate that Tiron extraction is an alternative method which allows the rapid, safe and accurate quantification of Si in shoots of various plants covering a wide range of Si concentrations.