Response of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) seedlings to experimental variation in aluminum concentration

Krystyna Bojarczuk, Jacek Oleksyn, Piotr Karolewski, Roma Zytkowiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The process of soil degradation and destabilization of forest ecosystem by industrial pollution is frequently associated with mobilization of toxic Al 3+ ions. Both these processes exert a negative influence on tree root systems and may even result in the decline of whole forest stands. One-year-old seedlings of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) grown in pots were treated with a range of aluminum sulfate concentrations in order to test the effects of Al on growth, root structure, content of phenolic compounds and mineral nutrition of roots and foliage. Plants exposed to Al concentrations exceeding 50 mg Al dm-3 had reduced growth, root structure and nutrient uptake were affected, and a substantial increase of Al concentration occurred in foliage and roots. Concentration of several elements in the foliage and roots declined with increasing Al concentration, including Mg and Ca, and to a lesser extent, P, K, and Na. Most root traits such as root mass or root growth rate were more strongly affected by Al than the foliage. Changes in root Ca, Al and Ca:Al ratio, and root morphology were detected at the lowest Al concentration (50 mg Al dm-3) indicating usefulness of these traits as early indicators of adverse aluminum effects on plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalPolish Journal of Ecology
Volume54
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 24 2006

Keywords

  • Aluminum
  • Betula pendula
  • Ca:Al ratio
  • Growth
  • Nutrients
  • Phenolics
  • Root morphology

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