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Prof. Liang Yongchao Gives a Lecture on Plant Silicon Biology

On December 1st, Prof. Liang Yongchao, Distinguished Professor from the College of Environment & Resources of Zhejiang University, Cheung Kong Scholars and Alexander von Humboldt Scholar, was invited to visit the Biomass Energy Laboratory of the College of Plant Science & Technology, and gave a lecture entitled “Plant Silicon Biology: from Laboratory to Field” chaired by Prof. Peng Liangcai.

Prof. Liang started with the question of “ whether Si is an essential nutrient for plants”, and systematically explained “the uptake and transport of Si”. He proposed that the cucumber’s uptake and transport of Si is an active process, and illuminated that higher plants’ uptake and transport of Si are both active and passive processes, the relative importance of which depend on the plant species and Si supplying concentration. Subsequently, he introduced “Si and abiotic stresses” and “Si and biotic stresses” which show that Si is not inert and can enhance the plant resistance to various abiotic stresses (salt and heavy metal stress) through metabolic processes. Si’s enhancement of antioxidant defense activity is the general mechanism of Si’s enhancement of resistance in plants under abiotic stresses.

In the lecture, Prof. Liang specially introduced the research—“Molecular Studies on Si Enhancement Against Metal Toxicity” related to the heavy metal projects of laboratories in HZAU. He said that heavy metals toxicity could be reduced by the combination of more heavy metals and cell wall through Si channels. Besides, Si can enhance the tolerance of salts and heavy metals by the integrity and stability of mediated membrane and can strength the resistance against metal toxicity via adjustment of genetic expressions that control metabolism (such as photosynthesis and oxidative stress).

After the lecture, the students discussed the relevant questions with Prof. Liang. Prof. Peng also extended his wish of further cooperation between the two teams.

(By Zhu Jingjing)