Molecular approaches unravel the mechanism of acid soil tolerance in plants
Bian, M., Zhou, M., Sun, D. and Li, C. (2013) Molecular approaches unravel the mechanism of acid soil tolerance in plants. The Crop Journal, 1 (2). pp. 91-104.
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Acid soil is a worldwide problem to plant production. Acid toxicity is mainly caused by a lack of essential nutrients in the soil and excessive toxic metals in the plant root zone. Of the toxic metals, aluminum (Al) is the most prevalent and most toxic. Plant species have evolved to variable levels of tolerance to aluminum enabling breeding of high Al-tolerant cultivars. Physiological and molecular approaches have revealed some mechanisms of Al toxicity in higher plants. Mechanisms of plant tolerance to Al stress include: 1) exclusion of Al from the root tips, and 2) absorbance, but tolerance of Al in root cells. Organic acid exudation to chelate Al is a feature shared by many higher plants. The future challenge for Al tolerance studies is the identification of novel tolerance mechanisms and the combination of different mechanisms to achieve higher tolerance. Molecular approaches have led to significant progress in explaining mechanisms and detection of genes responsible for Al tolerance. Gene-specific molecular markers offer better options for marker-assisted selection in breeding programs than linked marker strategies. This paper mainly focuses on recent progress in the use of molecular approaches in Al tolerance research.
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