Journal Article

Effects of aluminium on the growth and mineral composition of <i>Betula pendula</i> Roth

Petra S. Kidd and John Proctor

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Volume 51, issue 347, pages 1057-1066
Published in print June 2000 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online June 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Effects of aluminium on the growth and mineral composition of Betula pendula Roth

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Aluminium (Al) is rhizotoxic and is often present in acidic soils at activities high enough to inhibit root elongation. The objectives of the present study were to assess the level of Al tolerance in different races of Betula pendula Roth (Silver Birch) and to investigate how growth and nutrient acquisition were affected by Al. A solution culture technique was employed which simulated natural soil solutions. Aluminium at low concentrations (2 and 5 mg l−1), enhanced the growth of two races of B. pendula originating from soils poor in Al (FM and KP). In contrast, Al, at all concentrations tested, inhibited growth in an Al‐sensitive race (KR) whose provenance was a calcareous soil. At concentrations ≥10 mg l−1, Al reduced growth in FM and KP races, while growth increased with increasing Al (up to 25 mg l−1) in the Al‐tolerant, SMM, race. Aluminium altered both root and leaf architecture. Low Al concentrations (<5 mg l−1) significantly increased leaf expansion, and high concentrations (>25 mg l−1) reduced leaf expansion. In the Al‐sensitive race, KR, there was a loss of apical dominance, and both lateral and primary roots were stunted and swollen, with increasing Al concentrations. These results demonstrated pronounced racial differences in tolerance to Al by B. pendula that could be predicted from the soil environment of each race.

Keywords: Aluminium toxicity; aluminium tolerance; Betula pendula; hydroponics; plant morphology.

Journal Article.  6365 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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