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Plant Physiol. 2001 Dec;127(4):1773-80.

Role of root hairs and lateral roots in silicon uptake by rice.

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  • 1Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Ikenobe 2393, Miki-cho, Kita-gun, Kagawa 761-0795, Japan.


The rice plant (Oryza sativa L. cv Oochikara) is known to be a Si accumulator, but the mechanism responsible for the high uptake of Si by the roots is not well understood. We investigated the role of root hairs and lateral roots in the Si uptake using two mutants of rice, one defective in the formation of root hairs (RH2) and another in that of lateral roots (RM109). Uptake experiments with nutrient solution during both a short term (up to 12 h) and relatively long term (26 d) showed that there was no significant difference in Si uptake between RH2 and the wild type (WT), whereas the Si uptake of RM109 was much less than that of WT. The number of silica bodies formed on the third leaf in RH2 was similar to that in WT, but the number of silica bodies in RM109 was only 40% of that in WT, when grown in soil amended with Si under flooded conditions. There was also no difference in the shoot Si concentration between WT and RH2 when grown in soil under upland conditions. Using a multi-compartment transport box, the Si uptake at the root tip (0-1 cm, without lateral roots and root hairs) was found to be similar in WT, RH2, and RM109. However, the Si uptake in the mature zone (1-4 cm from root tip) was significantly lower in RM109 than in WT, whereas no difference was found in Si uptake between WT and RH2. All these results clearly indicate that lateral roots contribute to the Si uptake in rice plant, whereas root hairs do not. Analysis of F(2) populations between RM109 and WT showed that Si uptake was correlated with the presence of lateral roots and that the gene controlling formation of lateral roots and Si uptake is a dominant gene.

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