Silicon (Si) improves plant resistance to insect attack and may also enhance tolerance of water stress. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether Si-mediated resistance of sugarcane to the borer Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) is enhanced by water stress. Sugarcane cultivars, two resistant to E. saccharina (N21, N33) and two susceptible (N26, N11) were grown in a pot trial, in Si deficient river sand with (Si+) and without (Si-) calcium silicate. To induce water stress, irrigation to half of the trial was reduced prior to inoculation with E. saccharina eggs, and harvested 66 days later. Stressed and non-stressed plants of the same cultivar did not differ significantly in Si content. However, Si+ plants exhibited increased resistance to E. saccharina attack. In Si+ cane, E. saccharina larval survival and biomass was lower than in Si- cane, significantly so for stressed, susceptible cultivars N26 and N11, and for larval mass in non-stressed N26. Stalk damage was reduced in Si+ cane, significantly so for the stressed, susceptible cultivars N26 and N11, and non-stressed N26. This study showed that Si provides greater protection against E. saccharina attack in susceptible, water-stressed sugarcane than in non-stressed cane and/or resistant cultivars.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||International Sugar Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|