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Environ Monit Assess. 2014 Feb;186(2):1123-31. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3443-5. Epub 2013 Oct 5.

The secretion of organic acids is also regulated by factors other than aluminum.

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College of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, 310032, People's Republic of China.


As a result of natural processes and human activities, aluminum (Al) toxicity is recognized as a major limiting factor for plant productivity, and the secretion of organic acids facilitated by channel proteins is one of the most important Al resistance mechanisms in plants. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of several types of stress, including herbicide (imazethapyr (IM) and diclofop-methyl (DM)), heavy metal (Al and Cu), salt stress (NaCl), and proton stress (HCl), on the release of organic acids in rice. The results showed that 0.05 mg/L IM, 0.1 mg/L DM, 4680 mg/L NaCl, 0.5 mg/L CuSO4, and 18 mg/L AlCl3 significantly inhibited rice root elongation and the root fresh weight. In contrast, no significant inhibitory effects on rice growth were found with HCl (pH = 4.5). Similar to the effect of AlCl3 on organic acid induction, treatment with IM, DM, NaCl, and CuSO4 also induced the synthesis of endogenous citric acid and oxalic acid but decreased endogenous malic acid synthesis in the seedlings, though only citric acid was released into the environment after these treatments. We also analyzed the transcripts of three citrate channel proteins and found they were up-regulated by NaCl, CuSO4, and AlCl3 but not by IM or DM. This study clarified that organic acid secretion in plants might be a common phenomenon when plants are exposed to environmental stress other than Al toxicity.

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