Thesis: Silicon enhances drought resistance in rice
Silicon is a beneficial element enhancing resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants. Applying Si could be a potential method to alleviate drought stress, which is one of the main causes of decreasing yield in rice production, especially in irrigated lowland rice cultivation. This project aims to elucidate a role of Si in enhancing drought resistance in rice. Silicon uptake capacity in different rice varieties will be characterized. In addition, the effects of Si on improving drought resistance in rice will be determined by applying various Si rates to genotypes differing in Si uptake capacity under drought stress. The most appropriate Si application rate for preventing yield loss or increasing yield under drought will be selected and studied under water-saving irrigation regimes, particularly alternate wetting and drying technology (AWD) under which rice plants may experience periodic drought. The effects of selected Si application on alleviating drought in various rice genotypes grown under AWD technology will be characterised.
Why my research is important
This study will characterise Si uptake and accumulation in rice plants in order to rank different rice varieties, thus providing the better understanding whether drought resistance in different varieties is influenced by Si. The effects of Si in terms of improving drought resistance in rice will be determined to help further elucidate the mechanisms of Si alleviating drought stress. Furthermore, the knowledge can be used to further enhance rice breeding for pest and pathogen resistances. This project will include the investigation of the appropriate Si application rate to improve drought resistance in genotypes differing in Si uptake capacity. The knowledge will contribute to preventing yield loss or increasing yield under drought condition. Also, the study will characterise the effects of Si in alleviating drought stress under water-saving regimes, providing a theoretical basis for maintaining yield with less water (e.g. by combining appropriate Si application with alternate wetting and drying technology). This combination could be an effective water saving strategy, especially in arid areas where rice growers cannot access sufficient water for irrigation.