Effects of silicon soil amendments and nitrogen fertilizer on apple snail (Ampullariidae) damage to rice seedlings

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Crop Protection, 2017, 91 pp. 123 - 131
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd This study examines the potential for silicon soil amendments and nitrogen to reduce apple snail, Pomacea canaliculata Lamarck, damage to rice (Oryza sativa L.) seedlings. A rate of 75 kg/ha of nitrogen applied as (NH4)2SO4 to rice (cv IR64 and cv YTH183) seedbeds increased seedling biomass, allowing the seedlings to gain critical stem thickness and avoid snail herbivory. These seedlings remained relatively large after exposure to snails in pot experiments, mainly because of faster growth rates, but also due to lower damage from snails to >21 day-old IR64 seedlings. Silicon applied as Na2O3Si·9H20 alone (without nitrogen) reduced seedling growth compared to control seedlings. When nitrogen and silicon were applied together, the addition of silicon resulted in reduced seedling growth in YTH183 compared to seedlings treated with nitrogen alone. However, the same effect was not noted for IR64 seedlings, indicating clear variety-specific responses to seedbed inputs. Regardless of variety, silicon-treated seedlings that were transplanted to snail-infested pots at 21 days after seeding (DAS) had lower biomass than seedlings without silicon despite silicon-treated IR64 seedlings having less snail damage than untreated controls. From an experiment conducted in snail-infested ponds, we found no difference between snail damage to silicon (SiO2)-treated and control cv IR50 seedlings. Although we did not determine silicon levels in plant tissues, our results indicate that the effects of silicon soil amendments are largely insufficient to reduce the impact of apple snails to young rice seedlings (≤21 DAS).
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