The soils developed under High Altitude Rocky Complexes in Brazil are generally of very low chemical fertility, with low base saturation and high exchangeable aluminium concentration. This stressful condition imposes evolutionary pressures that lead to ecological success of plant species that are able to tolerate or accumulate high amounts of aluminium. Several analytical methods are currently available for elemental mapping of biological structures, such as micro-X-ray fluorescence (μ-EDX) and histochemical tests. The aim of this study was to combine μ-EDX analysis and histochemical tests to quantify aluminium in plants from High Altitude Rocky Complexes, identifying the main sites for Al-accumulation. Among the studied species, five showed total Al concentration higher than 1000 mg kg−1. The main Al-hyperaccumulator plants,Lavoisiera pectinata, Lycopodium clavatumand Trembleya parviflora presented positive reactions in the histochemical tests using Chrome Azurol and Aluminon. Strong positive correlations were observed between the total Al concentrations and data obtained by μ-EDX analysis. The μ-EDX analysis is a potential tool to map and quantify Al in hyperaccumulator species, and a valuable technique due to its non-destructive capacity. Histochemical tests can be helpful to indicate the accumulation pattern of samples before they are submitted for further μ-EDX scrutiny.
Al-hyperaccumulator plants; aluminon; chrome azurol; High Altitude Rocky Complexes; μ-EDX