Toxicity and tolerance of aluminium in vascular plants

A literature review

Abstract

Elevated levels of Al in soil solution may be toxic to plants. The activity of monomeric inorganic Al species is the best measure of the phytotoxic fraction. Decreasing soil pH increases soil solution Al exponentially as the pH falls below 4.5. In the presence of organic matter and organic acids the availability of A1 is reduced, due to complexation. The Al concentration is also dependent on dominant clay mineral and clay content. Symptoms of Al toxicity usually first appear in the roots becoming structurally and functionally damaged and inefficient in absorbing water and nutrients. This might be due to disturbance of mitosis and changed permeability of the root membranes. Aluminium also affects DNA replication, protein synthesis, and activity of some enzymes. Symptoms on shoots usually develop at a later stage of Al poisoning. There is an antagonism between the macronutrients P, Ca, Mg, and K on the one hand, and Al on the other. Aluminium may induce deficiency of mineral nutrients and high nutrient concentrations reduce al toxicity. There is considerable variation in Al tolerance between species and between varieties of the same species. Several mechanisms for Al tolerance are suggested. Tolerant plants may possess an active exclusion mechanism or may be able to inactivate Al within their tissues. pH increases induced by the plant in the rhizosphere, exudation of chelating agents, a low C.E.C. in the roots and an ability to withstand or compensate Al induced nutrient deficiency are other possible tolerance mechanisms.

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Andersson, M. Toxicity and tolerance of aluminium in vascular plants. Water Air Soil Pollut 39, 439–462 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00279487

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Keywords

  • Clay
  • Soil Solution
  • Mineral Nutrient
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Tolerance Mechanism