Aims: Aluminum (Al) toxicity is an important limitation to maize production in many tropical and sub-tropical acid soil areas. The aim of this study was to survey the variation in Al tolerance in a panel of maize lines adapted for Kenya and look for novel sources of Al tolerance.
Methods: 112 Kenyan maize accessions were phenotyped for Al tolerance in solution culture. Several Al tolerance-related parameters including relative net root growth (RNRG), root apex Al accumulation, Al-activated root organic acid exudation, and expression of the maize Al tolerance gene, ZmMATE1, were used to classify Kenyan maize accessions.
Results: Based on RNRG, 42 %, 28 %, and 30 % of the lines were classified as highly tolerant, moderately tolerant and sensitive, respectively. Tolerant accessions accumulated less Al in their root apices compared to sensitive lines. The Kenyan maize line, CON 5, and the Brazilian standard for tolerance, Cateto, exhibited the greatest Al tolerance based on RNRG, but CON 5 had only about 50 % of ZmMATE1 gene expression relative to Cateto. CON 5 also had low root apex Al content and high citrate exudation, suggesting that it may employ a citrate transporter other than ZmMATE1.
Conclusions: We identified a very Al tolerant Kenyan maize line whose Al tolerance may be based in part on a novel tolerance gene. The maize lines identified in this study are useful germplasm for the development of varieties suitable for agriculture on acid soils in Kenya.
Matonyei, T.K.; Cheprot, R.K.; Liu, J.; Piñeros, M.A.; Shaff, J.E.; Gudu, S.; Were, B.; Magalhaes, J.V.; Kochian, L.V. Physiological and molecular analysis of aluminum tolerance in selected Kenyan maize lines. Plant and Soil (2014) 377 (1-2) 357-367. [DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1976-6]