One-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings were grown for 9 weeks in nutrient solutions containing 0, 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mM aluminum nitrate (Al(NO3)3) at pH 4.2. Nine weeks exposure to Al significantly reduced total plant, shoot and root mass and caused a linear decline in proportional allocation of biomass to roots. Relative growth rate of roots declined to as low as zero. Aluminum treatment decreased calcium and magnesium uptake and increased Al content in roots and needles. After 3 weeks of exposure a 10-60% increase in total phenols in roots and a 20-40% increase in o-diphenols in roots and needles were noted. Roots affected by Al showed degeneration of meristematic cells, fewer cell divisions, deformation in cell walls and higher lignification and suberization. The majority of root apices were structurally similar to dormant roots, and a premature senescence of the entire rout system was observed. Net photosynthetic rate after 6 weeks of treatment was negatively correlated with needle Al content and Al/Ca ratio (r < -0.9, P < 0.1). The results suggest that Scots pine may be more susceptible to Al than was expected based on previous experiments.
- Scots pine