Plant and Soil

, Volume 166, Issue 1, pp 21–30 | Cite as

Effects of growth period, plant age and changes in solution aluminium concentrations on aluminium toxicity in wheat

  • D. M. Wheeler
Research Article


The effects of growth period (time between transplanting and harvesting), plant age at which aluminium (Al) was added to solution, changes in Al concentration, and solution culture techniques (monitoring and adjusting solution Al concentrations thrice weekly or weekly replacement of the solutions) were investigated using a low ionic strength (2.7×10−3M) solution culture technique. The wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars Waalt (Al-tolerant) and Warigal (Al-sensitive), or the near isogenic lines bred from these cultivars (RR for the Al-tolerant line and SS for the Al-sensitive line) were grown. In all experiments and treatments, Al additions were required to maintain the nominal concentration. The decline in solution Al concentrations was partially attributed to formation of an Al-hydroxy-phosphate precipitate with an Al:P molar ratio of 2.8 to 4.0. Increasing the growth period from 14 to 28 days increased Al sensitivity in Warigal but not in Waalt. When plants were exposed to Al for the same time, increasing the age of the plants that Al was added to solution decreased sensitivity to Al. Differential Al tolerance between the two lines was evident when solutions were monitored thrice weekly or replaced weekly. However, the Al concentration required to reduce relative yield by a given amount when the solutions were replaced weekly was about twice that when the solutions were monitored. With a constant growth period of 28 days, increasing solution Al concentrations for 3 or more days resulted in decreased yields at harvest. The exact effect depended on the cultivar, plant part (tops or roots), when solution Al concentrations were increased and the duration of the increase. For example, increasing Al concentrations from 5 μM to 20 μM for 10 days reduced yield in the RR line by approximately 50% in the tops and 30% in the roots beyond the effect of 5 M but had no effect in the SS line due to yields already being low at 5 μM. Adding 10 μM Al to solution for 6 days at the beginning of the experiment reduced yield by 25% in the RR line and 50% in the SS line. In contrast, adding 10 μM Al for 6 days in the middle of the growth cycle had no effect on the RR line but reduced yield by approximately 25% in the SS line. These results show that growth period, the age of the plants at which Al is added and the technique used (monitored or weekly replacement) all need to be considered when comparing results from different experiments. These results also show that the Al concentrations in solution need to be regularly monitored in long term experiments.

Key words

aluminium growth period phosphorus plant age root length root width solution culture techniques Triticum aestivum variation wheat 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Wheeler
    • 1
  1. 1.New Zealand Agricultural Pastoral Research Institute Ltd.Ruakura Research CentreHamiltonNew Zealand

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