Sugar Tech

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 113–121 | Cite as

Effect of Silicon and Nitrogen on Diatraea tabernella Dyar in Sugarcane in Panama

  • Randy AtencioEmail author
  • François-Régis Goebel
  • Abby Guerra
Research Article


The main pest of sugarcane in Panama is the stem borer, Diatraea tabernella Dyar (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) which can cause significant losses in cane biomass and sugar. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of two silicon- and nitrogen-based products applied at two rates on borer infestation. To compare the effect of these two amendments, a completely randomized block design was established comprising four treatments with four replicates. This experiment included 16 sampling units of 32 m2 each. Measurements of borer damage, agronomic parameters, sugar content and for silicon, the content in stalk material were conducted to evaluate the impact of different silicon and nitrogen treatments applied in the field. The use of silicon-based products reduced internodes borer (% IB) by up to 50%, confirming the role of silicon in damage reduction. The use of high doses of nitrogen doses resulted in an increase in the damage level from 5.2% (control plots with 110 kg N/ha) to 6.9% IB (treatment with the highest dose of 210 kg N/ha).


Sugarcane Silicon Nitrogen Stem borers Infestation Yield losses 



SENACYT Panamá/SFERE provided the Ph.D. Grant and CALESA (Compañía Azucarera La Estrella, S.A.) provided technical and logistical support. Guillermo Ramirez (Department of Fields), Juan Pablo Erazo (Department of Fields), Reinaldo Meneses (Department of Fields), Greisy Borrero (Laboratory of Quality and Sugar) and Amed Ramos (field technician) in particular are thanked for their support. We are grateful to Bioiberica S.A. for providing the product Armurox® (Liquid silicon) and Ecotec Panamá S.A. for providing Tecnosilix® (Granular silicon). We also would like to express our gratitude to William White from USDA-ARS (United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service) for reviewing this manuscript.


Randy Atencio has received research grants from Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologìa de Panamá (SENACYT). François-Regis Goebel has received research grants from Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD). Abby Guerra have received research grants from Biotechnology Laboratory, Sugar Company, La Estrella S.A., Panama.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Sugar Research & Promotion 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Montpellier/CIRAD Research Unit AIDAMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.CIRAD Research Unit AIDAMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Biotechnology LaboratorySugar Company, La Estrella S.A.NatáPanama

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