Silicon, by promoting a homeostatic balance of C:N:P and nutrient use efficiency, attenuates K deficiency, favoring sustainable bean cultivation

BMC Plant Biol. 2023 Apr 24;23(1):213. doi: 10.1186/s12870-023-04236-5.


BACKGROUND: In many regions of the world, K is being depleted from soils due to agricultural intensification a lack of accessibility, and the high cost of K. Thus, there is an urgent need for a sustainable strategy for crops in this environment. Si is an option for mitigating stress due to nutritional deficiency. However, the underlying effects of Si in mitigating K deficiency C:N:P homeostasis still remains unknown for bean plants. This is a species of great worldwide importance. Thus, this study aims to evaluate whether i) K deficiency modifies the homeostatic balance of C, N and P, and, if so, ii) Si supply can reduce damage caused to nutritional stoichiometry, nutrient use efficiency, and production of dry mass in bean plants.

RESULTS: K deficiency caused a reduction in the stoichiometric ratios C:N, C:P, and P:Si in shoots and C:N, C:P, C:Si, N:Si, and P:Si in roots, resulting in a decrease in K content and use efficiency and reducing biomass production. The application of Si in K-deficient plants modified the ratios C:N, C:Si, N:P, N:Si, and P:Si in shoots and C:N, C:P, C:Si, N:Si, N:P, and P:Si in roots, increasing the K content and efficiency, reducing the loss of biomass. In bean plants with K sufficiency, Si also changed the stoichiometric ratios C:N, C:P, C:Si, N:P, N:Si, and P:Si in shoots and C:N, C:Si, N:Si, and P:Si in roots, increasing K content only in roots and the use efficiency of C and P in shoots and C, N, and P in roots, increasing the biomass production only in roots.

CONCLUSION: K deficiency causes damage to the C:N:P homeostatic balance, reducing the efficiency of nutrient use and biomass production. However, Si is a viable alternative to attenuate these nutritional damages, favoring bean growth. The future perspective is that the use of Si in agriculture in underdeveloped economies with restrictions on the use of K will constitute a sustainable strategy to increase food security.

PMID:37095435 | PMC:PMC10124036 | DOI:10.1186/s12870-023-04236-5


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