Plant and Soil

, Volume 266, Issue 1–2, pp 177–186 | Cite as

Rhizotoxicity of aluminate and polycationic aluminium at high pH

  • P. M. Kopittke
  • N. W. Menzies
  • F. P. C. Blamey


Although monomeric Al species are often toxic in acidic soils, the effects of the aluminate ion (Al(OH) 4 ) on roots grown in alkaline media are still unclear. Dilute, alkaline (pH 9.5) nutrient solutions were used to investigate the effects of Al(OH) 4 on root growth of mungbean (Vigna radiata L.). Root growth was reduced by 13% after 3 d growth in solutions with an Al(OH) 4 activity of 16 µM and no detectable polycationic Al (Al13). This decrease in root growth was associated with the formation of lesions on the root tips (due to the rupturing of the epidermal and outer cortical cells) and a slight limitation to root hair growth (particularly on the lateral roots). When roots displaying these symptoms were transferred to fresh Al(OH) 4 solutions for a further 12 h, no root tip lesions were observed and root hair growth on the lateral roots improved. The symptoms were similar to those induced by Al13 at concentrations as low as 0.50 µM Al which are below the detection limit of the ferron method. Thus, Al(OH) 4 is considered to be non-toxic, with the observed reduction in root growth in solutions containing Al(OH) 4 due to the gradual formation of toxic Al13 in the bulk nutrient solution resulting from the acidification of the alkaline nutrient solution by the plant roots.

Key words

Al13 toxicity symptoms aluminate toxicity Al toxicity polycationic Al toxicity polymeric Al toxicity root growth 



completely randomised design




electrical conductivity


triple deionised


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. M. Kopittke
    • 1
  • N. W. Menzies
    • 1
  • F. P. C. Blamey
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Mined Land RehabilitationUniversity of QueenslandSt. Lucia, QldAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Global Agricultural SciencesThe University of TokyoBunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan

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