Imaging changes in the physicochemical properties of oilseed rape tissues the influence of silicon under optimal hydratation and drought conditions

The changing climate and the progressive process of the earth stepping are currently becoming key areas for many studies. Supplementation of plants with silicon plays an important role in stimulating the growth and development of plants, as well as in alleviating the abiotic and biotic effects of stress. The mechanism of action of this element in plants, however, remains unclear and is intensively researched, which is of particular importance not only for cognitive reasons, but also in relation to more efficient farming. Most of the research in this area concerns mainly plants classified as good silicon accumulators. However, the research carried out by the project manager and the team to date has shown that it also has a positive effect on oilseed rape (Brassica napus var. napus), which is one of the weak accumulators of this element. The aim of the research activity is to characterize the changes occurring at the level of the tissues of individual oilseed rape organs (roots, stems and leaves), resulting from supplementation of plants with silicon, in conditions of periodic water shortage in the soil. The research will be carried out on spring oilseed rape, variety Markus. Three-week-old plants will be divided into 3 groups and watered 3 times at weekly intervals with water, Optysil silicon preparation and orthosilicic acid solution, respectively. Then half of the plants will be subjected to 10 days of drought stress. The imaging of changes in the course of lignification and the deposition of callose will be carried out on microtome sections in a fluorescence microscope as part of cooperation with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and changes in the silicon content in individual organs based on scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with an X-ray overlay (EDX ) in cooperation with the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow. In addition, for the precise characterization of changes in the structure of the cell wall of oilseed rape organs caused by silicon supplementation in response to drought stress, ultrastructural immunolocation of arabinogalactan and selected pectins and hemicelluloses will be performed in cooperation with the University of Silesia in Katowice. The analysis of selected genes of calose synthase (CalS) with the use of Real-Time PCR will also be performed. A species was selected for the study that has so far been poorly recognized in terms of silicon supplementation, but at the same time it is of strategic importance for agriculture and industry. Oilseed rape plants, both in Poland and in the world, is a key species in the production of oil, and its sensitivity to the effects of periodic water shortages in the soil is very high. Recognition of the mechanisms of the protective role of silicon in the response of useful plants to biotic and abiotic stress factors is the basis for further actions aimed at reducing losses in agriculture. The imaging of the distribution of silicon in the tissues of individual organs, the observation of the remodeling of the cell wall structures, or the analysis of the expression of the calose synthase genes are crucial for gaining insight into the mechanism of action of silicon in oilseed rape.