The effect of amorphous silica on soil–plant–water relations in soils with contrasting textures

Mohsen Zarebanadkouki, Wael Al Hamwi, Mohanned Abdalla, Rasoul Rahnemaie, Jörg Schaller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates how amorphous silica (ASi) influences soil–plant–water interactions in distinct soil textures. A sandy loam and silty clay soil were mixed with 0 and 2% ASi, and their impact on soil retention and soil hydraulic conductivity curves were determined. In parallel, tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) were grown in experimental pots under controlled conditions. When plants were established, the soil was saturated, and a controlled drying cycle ensued until plants reached their wilting points. Soil water content, soil water potential, plant transpiration rate, and leaf water potential were monitored during this process. Results indicate a positive impact of ASi on the sandy loam soil, enhancing soil water content at field capacity (FC, factor of 1.3 times) and at permanent wilting point (PWP, a factor of 3.5 times), while its effect in silty clay loam was negligible (< 1.05 times). In addition, the presence of ASi prevented a significant drop in soil hydraulic conductivity (Kh) at dry conditions. The Kh of ASi-treated sandy loam and silty clay at PWP were 4.3 times higher than their respective control. Transpiration rates in plants grown in ASi-treated sandy loam soil under soil drying conditions were higher than in the control, attributed to improved soil hydraulic conductivity. At the same time, no significant difference was observed in the transpiration of plants treated with ASi in silty clay soil. This suggests ASi boosts soil–plant–water relationships in coarse-textured soils by maintaining heightened hydraulic conductivity, with no significant effect on fine-textured soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10277
JournalScientific Reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2024

Keywords

  • Amorphous silica
  • Drought
  • Leaf water potential
  • Soil amendment
  • Soil hydraulic conductivity
  • Soil–plant hydraulic model

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