Effects of Amorphous Silica on Growth and Nutrients Accumulation in Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

Rea, Rafea Sultana
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Silicon (Si) is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Plants uptake Si from the soil which impacts their growth and nutrients accumulation. It is known to increase plant resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses like drought, salinity, and heavy metal, diseases, and pest infestation. Eco-Sil™ is an amorphous silica produced from rice hull, which has not been studied as a fertilizer. In this study, the effect of EcoSil™ fertilization on the growth and nutrients accumulation of lettuce plant was analyzed. The study was conducted in the greenhouse using two Si fertilizers: 1) Eco-Sil™ and 2) diatomaceous earth following three doses: 0.38, 0.75 and 1.25 g kg<sup>-1</sup> soil. Eco-Sil™ was applied following soil and foliar application method whereas only soil application of diatomaceous earth was followed. Both forms of Si fertilizer increased plant growth. EcoSil™ increased plant height and weight up to 10% and 20% respectively compared with control, which was statistically similar with diatomaceous earth for certain doses and the effect was significantly (p<0.05) different for two different methods of application and three different doses. However, further increase of Eco-Sil™ dose caused decrease in plant height and weight. There was a statistically significant effect of nutrient accumulation in leafy part of lettuce plant, but the effect for some nutrients were not adequate to improve plant growth. Lettuce accumulated higher concentration of N, Ca, Mg, Zn, B and Mn due to soil application of Eco-Sil™ whereas, P, S, Fe and Cu accumulation decreased. Almost no effect was observed in case of K accumulation. Nutrients accumulation was least for foliar application of Eco-Sil™. Collectively, these results indicate the positive effects of Si fertilizers as well as Eco-Sil™ on lettuce plant growth and nutrients accumulation.
Silicon fertilization, Nutrient accumulation, Plant growth
Rea, R. S. (2020). <i>Effects of amorphous silica on growth and nutrients accumulation in lettuce (Lactuca sativa)</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.