LSU College of Agriculture Professor Lawrence Datnoff Addresses Silicon’s Role in Production Agriculture at Symposium
BATON ROUGE – Scientists from around the globe who have researched silicon’s role in agricultural production presented their research at the Soil Science Society of America’s 2012 symposium on “Silicon Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management,” held recently in Cincinnati.
Lawrence Datnoff, professor and head of the LSU Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, presented results to the international contingent, demonstrating that silicon amendments can suppress foliar and root diseases in crops to help curtail disease progression and limit severity.
Soil scientists and agronomists from the United States, Canada, China and Brazil attended the symposium, which was sponsored jointly by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.
A renowned pioneer in the use of elemental silicon to suppress plant diseases, Datnoff initiated silicon research programs in Colombia and Brazil with subsequent collaborations with Canada, India and Japan. In addition, he has been instrumental in developing a series of world conferences addressing silicon and agriculture.
Participating scientists at the seminar noted the importance of silicon is often overlooked in soil fertility and crop production as compared to other nutrients.
According to Datnoff, enhancing plant silicon uptake with soil silicon amendments can provide crop health benefits beyond what is traditionally thought of as a liming material. He noted that enhanced silicon soil fertility and nutrition may help suppress powdery mildew disease on a wide variety of field and greenhouse crops, especially in soils or soilless mixes low in plant available silicon. He further noted that silicon may suppress plant disease as effectively as some fungicides.
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