• acid soils;
  • Al[BOND]P interaction;
  • alleviation;
  • long-term Al[BOND]P alternate treatment;
  • Al resistance;
  • P/Al ratio


Aluminium (Al) toxicity and phosphorus (P) deficiency are considered to be the main constraints for crop production in acid soils, which are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. Conventionally, P addition is regarded as capable of alleviating Al toxicity in plants. However, this field is still rife with unsubstantiated theories, especially for different plant species growing on acid soils. In this review, the responses of plants to different methods of Al[BOND]P treatments are briefly summarized, and possible reasons are proposed by considering recent results from our laboratory. It is shown that: (1) long-term Al[BOND]P alternate treatment is advantageous for studying Al[BOND]P interactions in plants; (2) under the long-term Al[BOND]P alternate treatment, the roles of P in Al phytotoxicity might be associated with the Al resistance capability and P use efficiency of the plant, and a P/Al molar ratio exceeding 5 in roots may be the threshold of P alleviating Al toxicity based on the calculation of the tested plants; (3) in acid soils, P application may be effective only after Al stress is overcome for Al–sensitive species. Thus it is concluded that P application does not always alleviate Al toxicity under long-term Al[BOND]P alternate treatment. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry