Effect of aluminium on plant growth and metabolism.
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Aluminium toxicity is one of the major factors that limit plant growth and development in many acid soils. Root cells plasma membrane, particularly of the root apex, seems to be a major target of Al toxicity. However, strong interaction of Al3+, the main Al toxic form, with oxygen donor ligands (proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides) results in the inhibition of cell division, cell extension, and transport. Although the identification of Al tolerance genes is under way, the mechanism of their expression remains obscure.Soil chemical factors that limit root growth in acid soils, diminish crop production, include Al, Mn and various cations, and also deficiency or unavailability of Ca, Mg, P, Mo, and Si. These effects are further complicated by interactions of Al with other ions in different plant genotypes and under stress conditions (Foy, 1992). Cytotoxicity of Al has been well documented in plants (Delhaize & Ryan, 1995; Horst et al., 1999; Kollmeier et al., 2000; Marienfeld et al., 2000). It is generally known that plants grown in acid soils due to Al solubility at low pH have reduced root systems and exhibit a variety of nutrient-deficiency symptoms, with a consequent decrease in yield. In many countries with naturally acid soils, which constitute about 40% of world arable soil (LeNoble et al., 1996), Al toxicity is a major agricultural problem, and is intensively studied in plant systems.The effects of aluminium on plant growth, crop yield, uptake and nutrients distribution in vegetative and reproductive parts are still not fully understood. This review discusses recent information on aluminium toxicity with an emphasis on plant response to Al stress.
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