, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 167–183 | Cite as

The role of arbuscular mycorrhizas in decreasing aluminium phytotoxicity in acidic soils: a review

  • Alex Seguel
  • Jonathan R. Cumming
  • Katrina Klugh-Stewart
  • Pablo Cornejo
  • Fernando BorieEmail author


Soil acidity is an impediment to agricultural production on a significant portion of arable land worldwide. Low productivity of these soils is mainly due to nutrient limitation and the presence of high levels of aluminium (Al), which causes deleterious effects on plant physiology and growth. In response to acidic soil stress, plants have evolved various mechanisms to tolerate high concentrations of Al in the soil solution. These strategies for Al detoxification include mechanisms that reduce the activity of Al3+ and its toxicity, either externally through exudation of Al-chelating compounds such as organic acids into the rhizosphere or internally through the accumulation of Al–organic acid complexes sequestered within plant cells. Additionally, root colonization by symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi increases plant resistance to acidity and phytotoxic levels of Al in the soil environment. In this review, the role of the AM symbiosis in increasing the Al resistance of plants in natural and agricultural ecosystems under phytotoxic conditions of Al is discussed. Mechanisms of Al resistance induced by AM fungi in host plants and variation in resistance among AM fungi that contribute to detoxifying Al in the rhizosphere environment are considered with respect to altering Al bioavailability.


AM fungal diversity Exudation Glomalin-related soil protein GRSP Organic acids Aluminium tolerance mechanisms 



We greatly fully acknowledge the financial support of FONDECYT 1100642 grant (F. Borie), from Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT), Chile. Alex Seguel also acknowledges the financial support of CONICYT through Doctoral Fellowship Program, Project 24100181 and Internship grant BECAS CHILE to visit Dr. Cumming’s laboratory at West Virginia University, USA.

Supplementary material

572_2013_479_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (66 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 65 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Seguel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jonathan R. Cumming
    • 3
  • Katrina Klugh-Stewart
    • 3
  • Pablo Cornejo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fernando Borie
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias Químicas y Recursos NaturalesUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  2. 2.Scientific and Technological Nucleus of BioresourcesUniversidad de La FronteraTemucoChile
  3. 3.Department of BiologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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