Cytological and enzymatic responses to aluminium stress in root tips of Norway spruce seedlings


Author for correspondence: Toril D. Eldhuset Tel: +47 64949000 Fax: +47 64942980 E-mail:


  • • Aluminium (Al) stress reduces plant growth. However, some species such as Norway spruce (Picea abies) seem to tolerate high Al concentrations. The aim of this study was to investigate characteristics possibly involved in Al tolerance in Norway spruce seedlings.
  • • Seedlings (10-d-old) were exposed to Al3+ concentrations of 0.5 and 5 mm for up to 168 h. The effect of Al stress on root growth, cell morphology and Al distribution, callose production, and peroxidase and chitinase activity was analysed.
  • • Root growth decreased after 1 d and 2 d with 5 and 0.5 mm Al, respectively. Callose concentration increased strongly after 6 h treatment with 5 mm Al. The activity of many peroxidase and chitinase isoforms decreased after 1–24 h exposure of both treatments. Several isoforms increased after 48–168 h exposure to 5 mm Al.
  • • We postulate that, with external Al concentrations 0.5 mm or lower, an increased production above constitutive levels of peroxidase or chitinase is not required for Al tolerance in young Norway spruce seedlings. High constitutive levels of peroxidase and chitinase in this species may be part of this Al tolerance.