Assessment of silicon- and mycorrhizae- mediated constitutive and induced systemic resistance in rice, Oryza sativa L., against the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda Smith.
Induced resistance provides protection in plants against insect herbivores. Silicon and mycorrhizae often prime plant defenses and thereby enhance plant resistance against herbivores. In rice, Oryza sativa L., insect injury has been shown to induce resistance against future defoliators. However, it is unknown if silicon and mycorrhizae treatments in combination with insect injury result in greater induced resistance. Using the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda Smith, two experiments were conducted to investigate whether (1) silicon or mycorrhizae treatment alters resistance in rice and (2) induced systemic resistance in response to insect injury is augmented in silicon- or mycorrhizae- treated plants. In the first experiment, silicon treatment reduced FAW growth by 20% while mycorrhizae increased FAW growth by 8%. In the second experiment, insect injury induced systemic resistance, resulting in a 23% reduction in FAW larval weight gains on injured compared to uninjured plants, irrespective of treatment. Neither silicon nor mycorrhizae enhanced this systemic resistance in insect-injured plants. Furthermore, mycorrhizae resulted in the systemic increase of peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activities, and injury caused a slight decrease in these enzyme activities in mycorrhizae plants. Silicon treatment did not result in a stronger induction of POD and PPO activity in injured plants. Taken together, these results indicate a lack of silicon and mycorrhizae priming of plant defenses in rice. Regardless of injury, silicon reduced FAW weight gains by 36%. Based on these results, it appears silicon-mediated biomechanical rather than biochemical defenses may play a greater role in increased resistance against FAW in rice.