Plant and Soil

, Volume 388, Issue 1–2, pp 87–97 | Cite as

Aluminum toxicity to tropical montane forest tree seedlings in southern Ecuador:

Response of nutrient status to elevated Al concentrations
  • Agnes Rehmus
  • Moritz Bigalke
  • Carlos Valarezo
  • Julio Mora Castillo
  • Wolfgang Wilcke
Regular Article



We determined the reasons why in nutrient solution increasing Al concentrations >300 μ M inhibited shoot biomass production of Cedrela odorata L., Heliocarpus americanus L., and Tabebuia chrysantha (Jacq.) G. Nicholson while 300 μ M Al stimulated root biomass production of Tabebuia chrysantha.


Nutrient concentrations in plant tissue after a hydroponic growth experiment were determined.


Increasing Al concentrations significantly decreased Mg concentrations in leaves. Phosphorus concentrations in roots of C. odorata and T. chrysantha were significantly highest in the treatment with 300 μ M Al and correlated significantly with root biomass.


Shoot biomass production was likely inhibited by reduced Mg uptake, impairing photosynthesis. The stimulation of root growth at low Al concentrations can be possibly attributed to improved P uptake.


Aluminum toxicity Tropical forest tree seedlings Nutrient deficiency Growth stimulation by phosphorus 



We thank Karoline Klaus, Katharina Kitzinger, Jose Luis Peña Caivinagua and Orly Mendoza Aguirre for support in set up of the experiment, Nature and Culture International in Loja, EC, for providing the study area and the research station, Ecuadorian authorities for the research permit and the German Research Foundation (DFG) for funding (FOR 816, Wi 1601/8-2).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agnes Rehmus
    • 1
  • Moritz Bigalke
    • 1
  • Carlos Valarezo
    • 2
  • Julio Mora Castillo
    • 3
  • Wolfgang Wilcke
    • 4
  1. 1.Geographic InstituteUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Dirección General de InvestigacionesUniversidad Nacional de Loja, Ciudadela Universitaria Guillermo Falconí, sector La ArgeliaLojaEcuador
  3. 3.Institute of SilvicultureTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Geography and GeoecologyKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany

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