In this study, the effects of short-term aluminium toxicity and the application of spermidine on the lichen Xanthoria parietina were investigated at the physiological and transcriptional levels. Our results suggest that aluminium stress leads to physiological processes in a dose-dependent manner through differences in lipid peroxidation rate, chlorophyll content and glutathione reductase (EC 184.108.40.206) activity in aluminium and spermidine treated samples. The expression of the photosystem II D1 protein (psbA) gene was quantified using semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Increased glutathione reductase activity and psbA mRNA transcript levels were observed in the X parietina thalli that were treated with spermidine before aluminium-stress. The results showed that the application of spermidine could mitigate aluminium-induced lipid peroxidation and chlorophyll degradation on lichen X. parietina thalli through an increase In psbA transcript levels and activity of glutathione reductase (GR) enzymes. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.