Professor Sue Hartley, University of York
Silicon is used by plants to arm and defend the leaf surface, causing unpalatable leaf textures. Not much is known about the mechanisms behind silicon uptake and deposition in plants despite silicon transporters being characterised in many important crop species (such as rice, maize and barley). This project aims to understand how the forage grass tall fescue accumulates silicon and how it utilises silicon-based defences in response to damage caused by herbivores. In particular, one aspect will focus on the changes at the gene level in response to plant damage in an attempt to gain a better understanding of why this forage grass takes up more silicon under these damaged conditions.