Root growth response of serradella species to aluminium in solution culture and soil

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Serradella (Ornithopus) species are high-quality pasture legumes that originate from the Mediterranean basin and have been increasingly used in southern Australian temperate grazing systems. They are generally regarded as tolerant of soils with low pH and, by inference, elemental toxicities such as aluminium (Al). No studies have examined the effect of high Al concentrations on the growth of French serradella (Ornithopus sativus Brot.) or newly developed cultivars of yellow serradella (O. compressus L.). Several cultivars/accessions of each species were grown in low ionic-strength nutrient solutions at pHCa 4.5 containing a range of Al concentrations. Their susceptibility to root growth inhibition by Al was benchmarked against reference species ranging from Al-sensitive to Al-tolerant. Most serradella cultivars had moderate-to-high Al tolerance in solution culture but one yellow and two French serradella cultivars ranked alongside the Al-sensitive reference species. A subset of cultivars and reference species were then grown in an Al-toxic soil to test the validity of the solution culture results; these cultivars spanned the apparent range in Al sensitivity/tolerance indicated by the solution culture experiment. Variation in the relative root length achieved in Al-toxic solution culture explained ~59% of the variation in the relative root length achieved in the acidic Al-toxic soil. This result supports the conclusion that Al tolerance varies among serradella and that some cultivars may not thrive in soils with pHCa < 4.5 and elevated extractable Al concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-71
Number of pages15
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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