ISSN 1392-3196 / e-ISSN 2335-8947
Zemdirbyste-Agriculture, vol. 105, No. 2 (2018), p. 141–148
DOI  10.13080/z-a.2018.105.018

The response of Medicago sativa to aluminium toxicity under laboratory and field conditions



Aluminium (Al) toxicity is one of the factors limiting alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) production on acid soils. This study aimed to determine the Al tolerance of M. sativa in the laboratory and field conditions, and to assess and select the most promising accessions for breeding. The response of M. sativa accessions of different eco-geographical origin to Al was evaluated in Petri dishes with filter paper moistened with different aluminium chloride (AlCl3) concentrations: 0 (control), 1.9, 3.7, 5.6, 7.5 and 16 mM. In the laboratory conditions, the Al tolerance of the accessions was evaluated both in Lithuania (59) and in Ukraine (48). The study found that the accessions of M. sativa significantly differed in Al tolerance at the juvenile growth stage. Al toxicity inhibited seed germination and hypocotyl and root growth, particularly at 7.5 and 16 mM AlCl3. The Al tolerance index of germination at 7.5 mM and 16 mM AlCl3 was by 1.8 and 3.3 times lower, respectively, compared with the control. The tolerance index of root and hypocotyl length of the high-tolerance accessions ranged from 28.0% to 47.0% and from 45.0% to 100%, respectively at 7.5 mM. The seed yield of M. sativa was evaluated in the field conditions in Ukraine only. The 48 accessions were sown in an acid (pH 4.9) soil in 2013 and were assessed in 2014–2016. The M. sativa accessions ‘Sevani-1’, ‘JJ Paso’, ‘Selection Manfredi’ and ‘Mongolian colorful hybrid’ exhibited high Al tolerance both in the laboratory and field conditions and produced the highest seed yield ranging from 41.2 to 47.9 g m2, which was 1.3 times higher compared with the standard ‘Synucha’.

Key words: alfalfa, aluminium tolerance, soil acidity.

Full text: 105_2_str18.pdf