Communications in agricultural and applied biological sciences

Effects of silicates from scaps of photovoltaic industries on powdery mildew of zucchini.

PMID 23878962


Silicon is the second most abundant element on earth's surface and its use can stimulate natural defense mechanisms in plants. The effect of silicate from scraps of photovoltaic industries against powdery mildew on zucchini (Cucurbita pepo) was evaluated under greenhouse conditions. Potted plants were inoculated with a spore suspension containing 1 x 10(5) cfu/ml. The following treatments have been carried out, 3 and 10 days after pathogen inoculation: chemical fungicide (propiconazole, TILT 25 EC, Syngenta); Bacillus subtilis (250 g/hl, Serenade, Intrachem); 1% and 0.1% sodium silicate (r = 1); 1% and 0.1% sodium silicate (r = 2); tap water as control. Disease incidence and severity were assessed 7, 14 and 21days after pathogen inoculation. Results showed that the application of 1% sodium silicate (r = 1) significantly reduced the powdery mildew to a level similar to chemical control. The other treatments, including Bacillus subtilis, reduced disease severity compared to water control, but were less efficient. The use of silicates from photovoltaic industries is a valid alternative for the control of powdery mildew on zucchini, in particular in organic farming. However, silicates might not be sufficient at higher disease incidence levels, and their use is more suitable within an integrated disease control strategy.