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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2013

Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
Corresponding author. Email:


We aimed to evaluate aluminium (Al) effects on the photosynthetic apparatus of two rice cultivars with contrasting tolerances to Al. Nine-days-old seedlings were exposed to 0 or 1 mM Al for 10 days, and then dry mass, Al and chloroplastidic pigment contents and photosynthetic parameters were determined. Al accumulated mainly in the roots of the Al-treated plants. In the leaves, Al increased only in the sensitive cultivar, but there was no difference between the cultivars in Al-treated plants. The root and leaf dry mass, the net carbon assimilation rate, stomatal conductance and internal CO2 concentration were all reduced in response to Al application, but only in the sensitive cultivar. Both the initial fluorescence and potential photochemical efficiency of photosystem II were unresponsive to the Al treatments, regardless of the cultivar. In the Al-sensitive cultivar, Al provoked significant decreases in the photochemical quenching coefficient, quantum yield of photosystem II electron transport and apparent electron transport rate, in parallel to an unaltered non-photochemical quenching coefficient. All of these parameters remained at the control levels in the tolerant cultivar. The chloroplastidic pigment content increased only in the Al-tolerant cultivar, whereas it remained unaltered after Al treatment in the sensitive cultivar. In conclusion, Al induced stomatal and (most likely) photochemical constraints on photosynthesis but with no apparent signs of photoinhibition in the Al-sensitive cultivar. Despite the similar Al levels of the cultivars, unchanging biomass accumulation or photosynthetic performance in the tolerant cultivar challenged with Al highlights its higher intrinsic ability to cope with Al stress.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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