Silicon effect on vegetative growth of young olive K-starved plants

ISHS Secretariat
Silicon effect on vegetative growth of young olive K-starved plants

Inmaculada Martos-García got her BS degree in Agrifood Engineering and the Rural Environment at the University of Córdoba, Spain, in 2016. After graduation, she started her master’s studies in olive growing and olive oil technology at the same institution in 2019. She is currently immersed in her PhD studies under the supervision of Professor Dr. Ricardo Fernández Escobar and Dr. María Benlloch González in the Department of Agronomy of Cordoba University, Spain. Currently, 80% of the olive orchard area is in the Mediterranean basin, where it is common to find nutritional imbalances caused by nitrogen (N) and potassium (K). N shows as problems of excess, because farmers associate the higher quantity applied with higher yield. Potassium shows as deficiency problems particularly in soils that lack moisture, have low clay contents, or K immobilization due to interactions with other nutrients. Silicon (Si) is not considered an essential element for plant growth. However, there is increasing evidence in herbaceous and horticultural crops that Si fertilization benefits all aspects of N nutrition including uptake, availability in soil, and transport efficiency through up-regulation of genes encoding N transporters. Related to Si effects on K nutrition, less research has been performed, but this element seems to have a positive effect on K-uptake, K concentration in leaves, and amelioration of K-deficiency-induced oxidative stress in K-starved plants. Inmaculada is focused on the effects of silicon fertilization in olive trees, considering the limited available information of Si interaction with N and K nutrition. She is examining the effects on the vegetative growth when Si is applied to leaves or through the irrigation water. She is specifically looking for potassium and nitrogen absorption and organ distribution in plants treated with different doses of potassium (KCl; 0.05 and 2.5 mM) or nitrogen (Ca(NO3)2; 0, 100 and 400 ppm N). She is paying special attention to the advantageous role played by Si lessening the negative effects caused by nitrogen and potassium interactions.

Inmaculada Martos-García won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the IX International Symposium on Mineral Nutrition of Fruit Crops, which was held virtually in Israel in June 2021.

Inmaculada Martos-García, Agronomy Department, Cordoba University, 14071 Cordoba, Spain, e-mail:

The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae

mineral nutrition of fruit crops
Young Minds Award Winners