Localization of aluminium in tea (Camellia sinensis) leaves using low energy X-ray fluorescence spectro-microscopy

Roser Tolrà, Katarina Vogel-Mikuš, Roghieh Hajiboland, Peter Kump, Paula Pongrac, Burkhard Kaulich, Alessandra Gianoncelli, Vladimir Babin, Juan Barceló, Marjana Regvar, Charlotte Poschenrieder

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Information on localization of Al in tea leaf tissues is required in order to better understand Al tolerance mechanism in this Al-accumulating plant species. Here, we have used low-energy X-ray fluorescence spectro-microscopy (LEXRF) to study localization of Al and other low Z-elements, namely C, O, Mg, Si and P, in fully developed leaves of the tea plant [Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze]. Plants were grown from seeds for 3 months in a hydroponic solution, and then exposed to 200 μM AlCl3 for 2 weeks. Epidermal-mesophyll and xylem phloem regions of 20 μm thick cryo-fixed freeze-dried tea-leaf cross-sections were raster scanned with 1. 7 and 2. 2 keV excitation energies to reach the Al-K and P-K absorption edges. Al was mainly localized in the cell walls of the leaf epidermal cells, while almost no Al signal was obtained from the leaf symplast. The results suggest that the retention of Al in epidermal leaf apoplast represent the main tolerance mechanism to Al in tea plants. In addition LEXRF proved to be a powerful tool for localization of Al in plant tissues, which can help in our understanding of the processes of Al uptake, transport and tolerance in plants. © 2010 The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-172
JournalJournal of Plant Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze
  • Cell wall
  • Elemental spatial distribution
  • Epidermis
  • Synchrotron based X-ray fluorescence
  • Tea plant


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