Journal Article

Silica in Plants: Biological, Biochemical and Chemical Studies

Heather A. Currie and Carole C. Perry

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 100, issue 7, pages 1383-1389
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcm247
Silica in Plants: Biological, Biochemical and Chemical Studies

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
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Background

The incorporation of silica within the plant cell wall has been well documented by botanists and materials scientists; however, the means by which plants are able to transport silicon and control its polymerization, together with the roles of silica in situ, are not fully understood.

Recent Progress

Recent studies into the mechanisms by which silicification proceeds have identified the following: an energy-dependent Si transporter; Si as a biologically active element triggering natural defence mechanisms; and the means by which abiotic toxicities are alleviated by silica. A full understanding of silica formation in vivo still requires an elucidation of the role played by the environment in which silica formation occurs. Results from in-vitro studies of the effects of cell-wall components associated with polymerized silica on mineral formation illustrate the interactions occurring between the biomolecules and silica, and the effects their presence has on the mineralized structures so formed.

Scope

This Botanical Briefing describes the uptake, storage and function of Si, and discusses the role biomolecules play when incorporated into model systems of silica polymerization as well as future directions for research in this field.

Keywords: Silica; biosilicification; stress resistance; silicon transport; silicic acid

Journal Article.  4764 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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