Short-term effects of Al3+ on the osmotic behavior of red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) protoplasts

Young Sang Lee, Girma Mitiku, Anton G. Endress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The short-term (less than 10 min) effects of Al3+ on the biophysical properties of plasma membranes were investigated by time-series image analysis of osmotically-induced volumetric and morphologic changes of red beet (Beta vulgaris L.) protoplasts. Exposure to Al3+ under hypotonic conditions reduced the volumetric expansion of protoplasts and their resultant burst: i.e. lysis of protoplasts in a concentration-dependent manner. Under hypertonic conditions, protoplasts exposed to Al3+ underwent an enhanced volumetric contraction in cross-sectional area, while maintaining higher protoplast roundness. The residual effects of Al3+ pre-treatment on subsequent osmotic behavior were also examined, and protoplasts pre-treated with Al3+ also exhibited less lysis during subsequent exposure to hypotonic conditions and enhanced volumetric contractions and higher roundness under subsequent hypertonic conditions. Under our experimental conditions, Al3+ consistently minimized protoplast surface area by inhibiting osmotic expansion or by enhancing osmotic contraction, as well as by maintaining higher protoplast roundness. These results suggested that the electrostatic property of Al3+ might have induced the binding and possible cross-linking of negatively-charged sites on the plasma membrane surface. This may be an important factor in understanding the mechanism of Al3+ phytotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Aluminum
  • Beta vulgaris
  • Osmotic behavior
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Plasma membrane
  • Protoplast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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