J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2009, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (6): 574-580.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00825.x

• Plant-environmental Interactions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Protecting Cell Walls from Binding Aluminum by Organic Acids Cntributes to Aluminum Resistance

Ya-Ying Li1, Yue-Jiao Zhang2, Yuan Zhou1, Jian-Li Yang2 and Shao-Jian Zheng2*   

  1. 1 Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory for Non-Point Pollution Control, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China
    2 State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • Received:2008-11-20 Accepted:2009-02-19 Published:2009-06-08
  • About author: *Author for correspondence Tel(Fax): +86 571 8820 6438; E-mail: sjzheng@zju.edu.cn


Aluminum-induced secretion of organic acids from the root apex has been demonstrated to be one major Al resistance mechanism in plants. However, whether the organic acid concentration is high enough to detoxify Al in the growth medium is frequently questioned. The genotypes of Al-resistant wheat, Cassia tora L. and buckwheat secrete malate, citrate and oxalate, respectively. In the present study we found that at a 35% inhibition of root elongation, the Al activities in the solution were 10, 20, and 50 μM with the corresponding malate, citrate, and oxalate exudation at the rates of 15, 20 and 21 nmol/cm2 per 12 h, respectively, for the above three plant species. When exogenous organic acids were added to ameliorate Al toxicity, twofold and eightfold higher oxalate and malate concentrations were required to produce the equal effect by citrate. After the root apical cell walls were isolated and preincubated in 1 mM malate, oxalate or citrate solution overnight, the total amount of Al adsorbed to the cell walls all decreased significantly to a similar level, implying that these organic acids own an equal ability to protect the cell walls from binding Al. These findings suggest that protection of cell walls from binding Al by organic acids may contribute significantly to Al resistance.

Li YY, Zhang YJ, Zhou Y, Yang JL, Zheng SJ (2009). Protecting cell walls from binding aluminum by organic acids contributes to aluminum resistance. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 51(6), 574–580.

Key words: adsorption and desorption, aluminum toxicity, cell wall, chelation, detoxification, organic acid

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