Cell biology of aluminum toxicity and tolerance in higher plants

Int Rev Cytol. 2000;200:1-46. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(00)00001-2.


Aluminum is the major element in the soil and exists as a stable complex with oxygen and silicate in neutral and weakly acidic soil. When the soil pH is lower than 4.5-5.0, Al is solubilized in the soil water and absorbed by plant roots. Absorbed Al inhibits root elongation severely, and the elongation of roots exposed to Al3+ as low as mumol level is inhibited within an hour(s). Thus much research has been conducted to understand the mechanism of Al toxicity and tolerance. Al is located specifically at the root apex. Al-sensitive plants absorb more Al than do Al-tolerant plants, and thus the exclusion mechanism of Al is the major idea for Al tolerance. The understanding of Al stress in plants is important for stable food production in future. Al is a complicated ion in its chemical form and biological function. In this chapter, mechanisms of Al toxicity and tolerance proposed during the past few decades as well as future topics are described from physiological and molecular points of view.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum* / toxicity
  • Plants*


  • Aluminum