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Application of Nano-Silicon Dioxide Improves Salt Stress Tolerance in Strawberry Plants

1
Department of Horticultural Science, University of Guilan, Rasht 4199613776, Iran
2
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Urrbrae 5064, South Australia, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050246
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 4 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection)
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Abstract

Silicon application can improve productivity outcomes for salt stressed plants. Here, we describe how strawberry plants respond to treatments including various combinations of salt stress and nano-silicon dioxide, and assess whether nano-silicon dioxide improves strawberry plant tolerance to salt stress. Strawberry plants were treated with salt (0, 25 or 50 mM NaCl), and the nano-silicon dioxide treatments were applied to the strawberry plants before (0, 50 and 100 mg L−1) or after (0 and 50 mg L−1) flowering. The salt stress treatments reduced plant biomass, chlorophyll content, and leaf relative water content (RWC) as expected. Relative to control (no NaCl) plants the salt treated plants had 10% lower membrane stability index (MSI), 81% greater proline content, and 54% greater cuticular transpiration; as well as increased canopy temperature and changes in the structure of the epicuticular wax layer. The plants treated with nano-silicon dioxide were better able to maintain epicuticular wax structure, chlorophyll content, and carotenoid content and accumulated less proline relative to plants treated only with salt and no nano-silicon dioxide. Analysis of scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images revealed that the salt treatments resulted in changes in epicuticular wax type and thickness, and that the application of nano-silicon dioxide suppressed the adverse effects of salinity on the epicuticular wax layer. Nano-silicon dioxide treated salt stressed plants had increased irregular (smoother) crystal wax deposits in their epicuticular layer. Together these observations indicate that application of nano-silicon dioxide can limit the adverse anatomical and biochemical changes related to salt stress impacts on strawberry plants and that this is, in part, associated with epicuticular wax deposition.
Keywords: abiotic stress; epicuticular wax; nanoparticle; silicon abiotic stress; epicuticular wax; nanoparticle; silicon
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Avestan, S.; Ghasemnezhad, M.; Esfahani, M.; Byrt, C.S. Application of Nano-Silicon Dioxide Improves Salt Stress Tolerance in Strawberry Plants. Agronomy 2019, 9, 246.

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