Organic acid exudation by wild herbs in response to elevated Al concentrations

Marion Schöttelndreier, M M Norddahl, Lena Ström, Ursula Falkengren-Grerup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In acidic soils, monomeric aluminium (Al3+) can reach levels that are toxic to plants, thus preventing many species from growing there. Organic acids chelate Al and render it non-toxic. It has been shown that exudation of organic acids by Al-tolerant crops increases their tolerance to Al. We have extended this observation to wild plants by comparing the ability of ten herbs to exude organic acids in response to elevated Al levels. We hypothesized that exudation of organic acids was related to the ability of plants to grow on Al-rich soils. Two grasses were grown in rhizotrons in soils with 41 and 63 muM reactive Al. Organic acids were sampled from root tips connected to an intact plant-root system. Deschampsia flexuosa (L.) Trin. exuded more malic acid when grown in the soil with the highest Al content. Five forbs and five grasses were also exposed to three Al levels (0, 25 and 75 muM) in a hydroponic system. Rumex acetosella L, and Viscaria vulgaris Bernh. increased exudation of oxalic acid and Galium saxatile auct. non L. and Veronica officinalis L, increased exudation of citric acid in response to elevated Al. The distribution of the forbs in the field as described by soil pH was negatively related to the amount of organic acids exuded in response to Al. In contrast, none of the grasses exuded higher amounts of organic acids with increasing Al concentration in the hydroponic experiment. (C) 2001 Annals of Botany Company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-775
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Plant Ecology and Systematics (Closed 2011) (011004000), Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (011010000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


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