Extensive research has focused on the benefits of Si fertilization. However, it remains unclear whether leaf Si has any negative effects, or costs.
I am currently investigating the physiological responses of Sorghum, a model C4 grass, to varying soil conditions and Si supply. Because Si polymerizes as solid glass-like particles in leaves and cannot be remobilized, I am interested in how phytolith accumulation affects important plant physiological traits such as photosynthesis and leaf curling.
Through these studies, I have obtained a collection of phytolith and leaf surface imagery, some of which is available here.
Sorghum plants grown in soil with (right) and without (left) Si addition.