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Silicon In Horticultural Crops: Cross-talk, Signaling, And Tolerance Mechanism Under Salinity Stress

Musa Al Murad, Abdul Latif Khan, Sowbiya Muneer

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Agricultural land is extensively affected by salinity stress either due to natural phenomena or by agricultural practices. Saline stress possesses two major threats to crop growth: osmotic stress and oxidative stress. The response of these changes is often accompanied by variety of symptoms, such as the decrease in leaf area and internode length and increase in leaf thickness and succulence, abscission of leaves, and necrosis of root and shoot. Salinity also delays the potential physiological activities, such as photosynthesis, transpiration, phytohormonal functions, metabolic pathways, and gene/protein functions. However, crops in response to salinity stress adopt counter cascade mechanisms to tackle salinity stress incursion, whilst continuous exposure to saline stress overcomes the defense mechanism system which results in cell death and compromises the function of essential organelles in crops. To overcome the salinity, a large number of studies have been conducted on silicon (Si); one of the beneficial elements in the Earth’s crust. Si application has been found to mitigate salinity stress and improve plant growth and development, involving signaling transduction pathways of various organelles and other molecular mechanisms. A large number of studies have been conducted on several agricultural crops, whereas limited information is available on horticultural crops. In the present review article, we have summarized the potential role of Si in mitigating salinity stress in horticultural crops and possible mechanism of Si-associated improvements in them. The present review also scrutinizes the need of future research to evaluate the role of Si and gaps to saline stress in horticultural crops for their improvement.