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Impact of Exogenous Silicate Amendments on Nitrogen Metabolism in Wheat Seedlings Subjected to Arsenate Stress



We intended to investigate the response of arsenate on nitrogen metabolism in wheat seedlings and aimed to assess the efficacy of silicon amendments in modulating the metabolic disturbances caused by arsenate stress.


The nitrogen metabolism of wheat cultivated in different levels of arsenate with or without silicate in a medium supplemented with modified Hoagland’s solution for 21 days was studied. Experimental design was completely randomized with different arsenate concentrations (0, 25, 50 and 100 μM) with or without 5 mM silicate.


Arsenate treatment decreased growth along with decline in nitrate (NO3) uptake and accumulation. Activities of nitrate reductase (NR), nitrite reductase (NiR), glutamine synthetase (GS) as well as glutamate synthase (GOGAT) were lowered in the test seedlings. Decline in nitrite (NO2) and amino acid contents were also evident along with an enhancement in the accumulation of toxic ammonia. Silicate supplementation under arsenate stress however, improved growth, repaired the arsenate-induced effects leading to an enhancement in nitrate (NO3) uptake and consequently improved nitrite (NO2) and amino acid contents as well. The total and soluble nitrogen contents were enhanced along with enhancements in activities of enzymes associated with nitrate metabolism while ammonia accumulation was lowered.


Results therefore, imply the involvement of exogenous silicon amendments in relieving the metabolic alterations in nitrogen metabolism caused by arsenate stress that enabled wheat seedlings to adapt under arsenate excess and eventually promoted plant growth.

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The authors are grateful to the University Grants Commission, New Delhi, India; for financial assistance and Centre of Advanced Study, Department of Botany, University of Calcutta, India for infrastructural facilities in completion of the work. The authors also acknowledge the assistance of Prof. Uttam Bandopadhyay, Department of Statistics, University of Calcutta, India for regression analysis.

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Correspondence to Asok K. Biswas.

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Sil, P., Das, P. & Biswas, A.K. Impact of Exogenous Silicate Amendments on Nitrogen Metabolism in Wheat Seedlings Subjected to Arsenate Stress. Silicon 12, 535–545 (2020).

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  • Arsenate
  • Growth
  • Nitrogen metabolism
  • Silicate
  • Wheat