Mechanisms of aluminum-induced growth stimulation in tea (Camellia sinensis)

Roghieh Hajiboland, Sara Bahrami Rad, Juan Barceló, Charlotte Poschenrieder

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Beneficial effects of aluminum (Al) on plant growth have been reported for plant species adapted to acid soils. However, mechanisms underlying the stimulatory effect of Al have not been fully elucidated. The aim of this study was to determine the possible contribution of photosynthesis, antioxidative defense, and the metabolism of both nitrogen and phenolics to the Al-induced growth stimulation in tea (Camellia sinensis [L.] Kuntze) plants. In hydroponics, shoot growth achieved its maximum at 50 μM Al suply (24 μM Al3+ activity). A more than threefold increase of root biomass was observed for plants supplied with 300 μM Al (125 μM Al3+ activity). Total root length was positively related to root Al concentrations (r = 0.98). Chlorophyll a and carotenoid concentrations and net assimilation rates were considerably enhanced by Al supply in the young but not in the old leaves. Activity of nitrate reductase was not influenced by Al. Higher concentrations of soluble nitrogen compounds (nitrate, nitrite, amino acids) and reduction of protein concentrations suggest Al-induced protein degradation. This occurred concomitantly with enhanced net CO2-assimilation rates and carbohydrate concentrations. Aluminum treatments activated antioxidant defense enzymes and increased free proline content. Lowering of malondialdehyde concentrations by Al supply indicates that membrane integrity was not impaired by Al. Leaves and roots of Al-treated plants had considerably lower phenolic and lignin concentrations in the cell walls, but a higher proportion of soluble phenolics. In conclusion, Al-induced growth stimulation in tea plants was mediated by higher photosynthesis rate and increased antioxidant defense. Additionally, greater root surface area may improve water and nutrient uptake by the plants. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-625
JournalAgribiological Research: Zeitschrift fuer Agrarbiologie -Agrikulturchemie -Oekologie
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Antioxidant defense
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lignification
  • Phenolics
  • Photosynthesis


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