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TREE MYCORRHIZAS AND ALUMINIUM IN POLLUTED SOIL

Objective

TO GENERATE SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION IN ORDER TO ELUCIDATE THE INTERFERENCE BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION AND KEY PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESSES IN FOREST TREES.

ONE OF THE MOST SERIOUS EFFECTS OF ACID POLLUTION ON PLANT GROWTH IS THAT IT MAKES SOLUBLE TOXIC CONCENTRATIONS OF ALUMINIUM. IT IS LIKELY THAT IN ACID SOILS MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI MAY REDUCE THE TOXICITY OF ALUMINIUM TO THEIR HOST PLANTS. IF THIS WERE TRUE IT WOULD HAVE IMPORTANT IMPLICATIONS BOTH FOR THE UNDERSTANDING OF PLANT ADAPTATION AND FOR COMMERCIAL FORESTRY ON ACIDIFIED SOILS. THE PRIME OBJECTIVE OF THIS PROGRAMME, THEREFORE, IS A DETAILED STUDY OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN TREE MYCORRHIZAE AND ALUMINIUM.
THIS WILL BE TACKLED BY COMPARING THE LEVELS OF ALUMINIUM TOLERANCE FOUND IN POPULATIONS OF TREES ADAPTED TO ACID AND ALKALINE SOILS, BOTH WITH AND WITHOUT MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI. PINUS SYLVESTRIS AND PICEA ABIES WOULD BE THE TREE SPECIES OF CHOICE. BOTH OCCUR ON A WIDE RANGE OF SOILS OVER LARGE PARTS OF EUROPE AND BOTH ARE GIVING CONCERN OVER THEIR REACTION TO ACID POLLUTION.
THE SECOND STAGE WILL BE AN ANALYSIS OF THE PATTERN OF DISTRIBUTION OF ALUMINIUM BETWEEN THE TISSUES OF THE HOST AND THE FUNGUS.
THE THIRD STAGE WILL BE THE INVESTIGATION OF INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER SOIL VARIABLES. NITROGEN, CALCIUM AND PHOSPHATE ARE ALL EXPECTED TO INTERACT WITH ALUMINIUM TO A SIGNIFICANT EXTENT IN SOILS AND CULTURE MEDIA.
THIS INVESTIGATION WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN PARALLEL WITH OUR COLLABORATORS IN GOETTINGEN, WHO WILL BE CONCENTRATING ON LEAD AND MERCURY. THE TWO STUDIES WILL BE CLOSELY COMPLEMENTARY, INVOLVING THE SAME PLANT MATERIALS AND LABORATORY TECHNIQUES.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM
Address
Edgbaston
B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom