Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Geochem Health. 1990 Mar;12(1-2):17-27. doi: 10.1007/BF01734045.

Environmental effects of aluminium.

Author information

Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Korsvoll, P.O. Box 69, N-0808, Oslo 8, Norway.


Aluminium (Al), when present in high concentrations, has for long been recognised as a toxic agent to aquatic freshwater organisms,i.e. downstream industrial point sources of Al-rich process water. Today the environmental effects of aluminium are mainly a result of acidic precipitation; acidification of catchments leads to increased Al- concentrations in soil solution and freshwaters. Large parts of both the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are affected.In the aquatic environment, aluminium acts as a toxic agent on gill-breathing animals such as fish and invertebrates, by causing loss of plasma- and haemolymph ions leading to osmoregulatory failure. In fish, the inorganic (labile) monomeric species of aluminium reduce the activities of gill enzymes important in the active uptake of ions. Aluminium seems also to accumulate in freshwater invertebrates. Dietary organically complexed aluminium, maybe in synergistic effects with other contaminants, may easily be absorbed and interfere with important metabolic processes in mammals and birds.The mycorrhiza and fine root systems of terrestrial plants are adversely affected by high levels of inorganic monomeric aluminium. As in the animals, aluminium seems to have its primary effect on enzyme systems important for the uptake of nutrients. Aluminium can accumulate in plants. Aluminium contaminated invertebrates and plants might thus be a link for aluminium to enter into terrestrial food chains.


Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center