Plant and Soil

, Volume 50, Issue 1–3, pp 681–690 | Cite as

Aluminium tolerance in triticale, wheat and rye as measured by root growth characteristics and aluminium concentration

  • L. M. Mugwira
  • S. M. Elgawhary
  • S. U. Patel


Screening large populations of plant species for Al tolerance requires simple and rapid tests. In this study, root characteristics of 12 cultivars of triticale (X Triticosecale, Witt Mack), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and rye (Secale cereale L.) were measured in nutrient solution with 0 or 6 ppm Al added.

Aluminum injury to roots of triticale and wheat was characterized by decreases in root length, increases in the number of roots, and in Al-sensitive Redcoat and Arthur wheats by decrease in root weight. Root length and number of roots were correlated in triticale (r=−0.73*) and in wheat (r=−0.85*). Root length was also correlated with root weight in wheat (r=0.65*); there was no relationship between the number of roots and weight. Differences in Al tolerance of cultivars of the three species were greater when the solution was adjusted to pH 4.8 only on the first day of the experiment than when pH was maintained at pH 4.8 throughout the growing period. Triticale and rye cultivars low in ability to increase solution pH gradually overcame Al toxicity by increasing the nutrient solution pH between 12 and 22 days.

Aluminum sensitive triticale and wheat accumulated more Al in roots than tolerant cultivars when the solution pH was not adjusted daily; but no differences in Al accumulation were obtained between wheat cultivars at constant pH value. This study indicated that root length and number of roots can be reliably used for screening triticales for Al tolerance within 12 days of exposure to Al. Root length, Al concentration, and dry weight after 22 days of Al treatment were also reliable criteria for evaluating differential Al tolerances among triticale cultivars.


Root Length Nutrient Solution Wheat Cultivar Aluminium Concentration Root Weight 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. M. Mugwira
    • 1
  • S. M. Elgawhary
    • 2
  • S. U. Patel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural Resource and Environmental StudiesAlabama A & M UniversityNormal
  2. 2.Biophysics Dept.Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing

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