Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Silica accumulates in non-glandular trichomes and sites of powdery mildew infection in Cannabis sativa L.


Maryam Haghighi,   Samuel J. Livingston, May A. Constabel, Erin J. Gilchrist

Recieved Date: 2020-09-11, Accepted Date: 2020-12-30


Cannabis sativa L. (cannabis) producers use soluble silicon (Si) treatment to increase yield and protect against powdery mildew infection, although little is known about the localization of Si in plant tissues or how Si application impacts growth. In this study we mapped the location of elemental Si in cannabis leaves and flowers using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) in three test conditions. Silicon treated ‘Finola’ plants (+Si) were treated twice weekly with either commercially obtained Pro-Silicate (Grotek) at a concentration of 2 ml of 170 mM sodium silicate, after combustion of plant tissues, and during powdery mildew infection. Si supplementation did not increase Si localized to non-glandular hair trichomes on calyces and leaves. In combusted ash, Si mapped to intact hairs, although the distribution was more disperse. Following leaf powdery mildew infection, Si deposits concentrated around areas of fungal penetration pegs, indicating Si location in cannabis is dependent on biotic stimuli. The combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) provides high-resolution elemental analysis to show that Si localized to, and was deposited in, non-glandular hairs on calyces and leaves. Following combustion, Si was detected in intact hair trichomes of ash samples. The location of insoluble Si deposition was dependent on biotic stimuli, and following powdery mildew infection. Si deposits were observed surrounding areas of fungal penetration into plant tissue. Our results provide a framework for future quantitative analysis and are relevant for developing guidelines regarding soluble Si treatment of cannabis plants grown for medicinal and recreational use.


Cannabis, epidermal cells, hair trichomes, silicon, powdery mildew

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2021
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 52-57

Full text for Subscribers

Note to users

The requested document is freely available only to subscribers / registered users with an online subscription to this Journal. If you have set up a personal subscription to this title please enter your user name and password ( All abstracts are available for free.

Article purchasing

If you like to purchase this specific document such as article, visit the site Software and compilation, Science & Technology, all rights reserved. Your use of this website details or service is governed by terms of use. Authors are invited to check from time to time news or information.

Purchase this Article:   20 Purchase PDF Order Reprints for 15

Share this article :