Influence of silicon on resistance of Zinnia elegans to Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae)

Christopher M. Ranger, Ajay P. Singh, Jonathan M. Frantz, Luis Cañas, James C. Locke, Michael E. Reding, Nicholi Vorsa

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54 Scopus citations


Studies were conducted to examine the effect of treating Zinnia elegans Jacq. with soluble silicon on the performance of the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Sulzer). Z. elegans plants were irrigated every 2 d throughout the duration of the experiment with a nutrient solution amended with potassium silicate (K 2SiO 2), or a nutrient solution without K 2SiO 2. Length of the prereproductive period and survivorship of M. persicae were not affected by K 2SiO 2 treatment, but total cumulative fecundity and the intrinsic rate of increase (r m) were slightly reduced on Z. elegans plants receiving soluble silicon. Quantification of silicon content in leaf tissues using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) confirmed significantly higher silicon concentrations in plants treated with K 2SiO 2 compared with control plants. High performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) analysis was used to identify and quantify phenolic acids and flavonols in leaf tissue of Z. elegans. Compared with untreated control plants, significant elevations in 5-caf-feoylquinic acid, p-coumaroylquinic acid, and rutin were detected in leaves of Z. elegans plants treated with K 2SiO 2, but none of seven other phenolics were significantly affected. Similarly, a slight elevation in guaiacol peroxidase activity was detected in plants treated with K 2SiO 2 Overall, these results indicate treatment of Z. elegans with soluble silicon provides a modest increase in resistance levels to M. persicae, which may be caused in part by defense-related compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


  • Aphid population fitness
  • Green peach aphid
  • Myzus persicae
  • Peroxidase
  • Phenolics


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