A Biotic Ligand Model was developed predicting the effect of cobalt on root growth of barley (Hordeum vulgare) in nutrient solutions. The extent to which Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+ ions and pH independently affect cobalt toxicity to barley was studied. With increasing activities of Mg2+, and to a lesser extent also K+, the 4-d EC50Co2+ increased linearly, while Ca2+, Na+ and H+ activities did not affect Co2+ toxicity. Stability constants for the binding of Co2+, Mg2+ and K+ to the biotic ligand were obtained: log KCoBL = 5.14, log KMgBL = 3.86 and log KKBL = 2.50. Limited validation of the model with one standard artificial soil and one standard field soil showed that the 4-d EC50Co2+ could only be predicted within a factor of four from the observed values, indicating further refinement of the BLM is needed.