Boosting Rice Growth with Nano Silicon and Nutrients in Drought Conditions

Jim Crocker
15th March, 2024

Boosting Rice Growth with Nano Silicon and Nutrients in Drought Conditions

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In arid regions, biostimulants like nano-silicon and proline boost rice drought tolerance
  • These treatments improve plant growth, yield, and defense against water stress
  • Rice variety Giza-178 shows superior drought resilience, beneficial for arid farming
In regions where water is scarce, drought poses a significant challenge to rice production, a staple food for over half the world's population. The quest for solutions to bolster rice's resilience against water deficit is crucial, especially as climate change exacerbates these dry conditions. A recent investigation by researchers at Kafrelsheikh University has shed light on potential strategies to enhance the drought tolerance of rice using biostimulants[1]. This study evaluated the effects of three biostimulants—nano-silicon, potassium sulfate, and proline—on various rice genotypes. These substances were applied to the plants' leaves under both optimal and water-deficient conditions across a two-year field trial. The genotypes tested included IRAT-112, Giza-178, and IR-64, representing a spectrum of rice varieties. Under drought stress, the research observed a decline in photosynthetic pigments, growth, and yield traits. However, the plants' natural defense mechanisms kicked in, increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes and osmoprotectants—molecules that help cells cope with stress. Remarkably, the external application of the biostimulants, particularly nano-silicon and proline, significantly counteracted the adverse effects of water scarcity. These treatments boosted the plants' photosynthetic pigments, antioxidant responses, and, importantly, their growth and yield attributes. Diving deeper into the findings, the application of proline stood out by enhancing chlorophyll and carotenoid levels, critical components for photosynthesis, by over 19%. Nano-silicon also proved beneficial, particularly in catalyzing the activity of catalase and peroxidase, enzymes that protect cells from oxidative damage. These treatments not only improved the plants' physiological health but also translated into tangible agronomic benefits, such as increased panicle length, grain count, and overall yield. Interestingly, the study also highlighted the varying responses of different rice genotypes to drought. Giza-178, for instance, demonstrated superior drought tolerance compared to the other genotypes tested. This finding echoes previous research indicating that certain plant genotypes are inherently better equipped to handle water stress[2][3]. The ability to identify and utilize these genotypes can be a key part of developing drought-resilient crops. The study's approach aligns with earlier research on the role of plant growth regulators like salicylic acid in enhancing plant tolerance to environmental stresses[4]. The use of biostimulants like nano-silicon and proline could be seen as extending this understanding by providing plants with additional resources to manage stress. Moreover, the use of biostimulants is in harmony with sustainable agricultural practices, as it involves enhancing the plant's intrinsic abilities rather than relying on high water inputs. This sustainable angle is further reinforced by the integration of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPRs) and nano-technological solutions to improve crop resilience against other abiotic stresses, such as soil salinity[5]. In conclusion, the research from Kafrelsheikh University offers promising insights into sustainable methods to improve drought tolerance in rice. By employing foliar applications of nano-silicon or proline, particularly in conjunction with genetically resilient genotypes like Giza-178, farmers could potentially mitigate the impact of water deficit and secure rice yields in arid climates. These findings not only contribute to the body of knowledge on plant stress biology but also offer practical strategies for agriculture in the face of changing global weather patterns.

BiotechPlant ScienceAgriculture

References

Main Study

1) Exogenous application of nano-silicon, potassium sulfate, or proline enhances physiological parameters, antioxidant enzyme activities, and agronomic traits of diverse rice genotypes under water deficit conditions.

Published 15th March, 2024

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e26077


Related Studies

2) Drought Tolerance Assessment of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus [L.] Moench) Accessions Based on Leaf Gas Exchange and Chlorophyll Fluorescence.

https://doi.org/10.3390/life13030682


3) Yield-based drought tolerance index evaluates the drought tolerance of cotton germplasm lines in the interaction of genotype-by-environment.

https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.14367


4) Salicylic acid interacts with other plant growth regulators and signal molecules in response to stressful environments in plants.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2023.02.006


5) Stimulating the Growth, Anabolism, Antioxidants, and Yield of Rice Plants Grown under Salt Stress by Combined Application of Bacterial Inoculants and Nano-Silicon.

https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11243431



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