Boron-induced amelioration of aluminium toxicity in a monocot and a dicot species

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Previous research has reported inconsistent results from experiments on the influence of boron (B) on plant sensitivity to potentially toxic aluminium (Al) concentrations. Differences in B requirement and cell wall properties among species, especially between Poaceae and dicots, may account for this. This investigation reports amelioration by B of Al-induced inhibition of root elongation in Al-sensitive cucumber (Cucumis sativus), but not in Al-sensitive maize (Zea mays). Vital staining, however, also revealed a positive influence of B supply on Al tolerance in maize. In both species, adequate B supply decreased Al-induced damage of cell integrity. In cucumber, increasing B supply enhanced Al concentrations and haematoxylin staining in root tips. In maize, no differences for root Al among B treatments were observed. These results indicate that the positive effect of B on Al resistance was not due to less Al accumulation in root tips. Enhanced concentrations of reduced glutathione were found in roots of Al-stressed maize plants growing with adequate B. It is concluded that adequate B supply is essential for prevention of Al toxicity in both the dicot and the monocot species. In dicot cucumber, the B-induced amelioration of root elongation, despite higher Al accumulation in root tips, indicates B-induced change in either or both Al speciation and compartmentation in the tips. The protection by an adequate B supply of roots against Al-induced cell death suggests a role for B in the defence against oxidative stress. This is supported by the observation that Al induced enhanced levels of GSH in roots of maize plants growing with adequate B supply but not in those growing with either deficient or excess B concentrations. © 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-513
JournalJournal of Plant Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2008


  • Aluminium
  • Boron
  • Cell wall
  • Glutathione
  • Root growth


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