Organo-mineral interactions have been hypothesized to play a major role in biogeochemical cycling and pedogenesis in some forest soils. These processes are likely to be controlled to some extent by their persistence in soil, however, the factors regulating their bioavailability remain poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated the microbial utilization of 14C-labeled citrate in glass bead filled bioreactors containing a biofilm developed from an inoculum from an acid forest soil. The removal of Al-citrate in the bioreactors was negligible compared to the rate of citrate removal in the absence of Al. There was no evidence that in the short-term the microbial community adapted to increase the utilization of Al-citrate. In bioreactors filled with a Picea abies forest soil (Haplic Arenosol) the rates of citrate utilization were always slightly higher than that of Al-citrate. We conclude that complexation of citrate by metals such as Al may have a significant effect on their role in soil biogeochemical cycles.