Mycorrhizae Plants that live in difficult environments evolve systems to help them survive. These include physical traits like thickened, tiny, or narrow leaves to prevent water loss, decrease the plant’s growth rate, and establish a tolerance for high salinity and low nutrition levels. Creating mutually beneficial (symbiotic) interactions between plant roots and soil-borne organisms such as bacteria and Mycorrhizae fungi is one of the most significant survival mechanisms.
Over the last few decades, there has been a surge of interest in identifying and cultivating beneficial soil microbes. In many cases, bacteria and fungi have been shown to help plants fight illnesses, locate nutrients, and obtain water when they are short on water. A complex collection of fungus known as mycorrhizae exists among the beneficial organisms. Fungi that grow nearby plants have been studied for their potential to increase the growth and quality of agricultural and horticultural crops.
Mycorrhizal fungi have been around since the earliest plants evolved on drylands almost 450 million years ago. Plant roots establish a close symbiotic interaction with them. Mycorrhizae come from the Greek words “mukés,” which means “fungus,” and “rhiza,” meaning “roots.”
Mycorrhizae are filamentous organisms that attach to plant roots and extract nutrients from the soil that the roots are otherwise unable to access. This fungus-plant partnership promotes plant growth and root development.
In a one-litre pot, a plant can grow a kilometer of fine filaments (hyphae) and be able to absorb water and nutrients through the tiny pores in the soil. The plant also becomes more resistant to soil-borne infections and other environmental stresses, including salinity and drought. As a result, the fungi receive carbohydrates and other nutrients from the plant. They use these carbohydrates for growth, as well as for synthesizing and excreting products like glycoproteins. When glomalin is released into the soil environment, it improves soil structure and increases organic matter content.
However, when soil is disturbed by human activity, the number of mycorrhizae declines dramatically, to the point that there aren’t enough to provide a meaningful advantage to plant development and health, necessitating the need to compensate.
- The mycorrhizal fungus colonizes the root system of plants and forms a symbiotic relationship called “mycorrhiza.”
- Plant roots are attached to a network of tiny filaments that take in nutrients and water from the soil that would otherwise be unavailable to the roots.
- More than 90 percent of plant species produce mycorrhizae.
Plants may collect more water and nutrients from the soil thanks to mycorrhizal fungus. They also boost plant resistance to a variety of environmental challenges. Furthermore, these fungi contribute to soil aggregation and microbial activity. Mycorrhizae provide diverse benefits to plants and the environment depending on the plant type, cultivation practices, and conditions:
- Improve the health and productivity of plants
- Improve yields and crop quality by increasing plant establishment and survival during seeding and transplanting
- Drought tolerance is improved, allowing watering to be reduced
- Improve the blossoming and fruiting of your plants
- Optimize the usage of fertilizers, particularly phosphorus
- Tolerance to soil salinity should be increased
- Reduce the occurrence of disease
- Assist in the preservation of soil quality and nutrient cycling
- Contribute to the prevention of soil erosion
Mycorrhizal fungi are divided into two categories: ectomycorrhizal and endomycorrhizal.
The first group develops only on the outsides of root cells, whereas the second group penetrates plant cells, allowing direct metabolic interactions. Endomycorrhizal fungus colonizes trees, shrubs, and most herbaceous plants but does not produce visible structures. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are usually found on trees, forming visible structures, while endomycorrhizal fungi colonize trees, shrubs, and flowering plants but do not form visible structures.
Endomycorrhizal fungi of the arctic region are known as Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM). Arbuscules are the structures they develop within the plant root cell that gives them their name.
Plants and fungi exchange metabolic energy through arborescence’s, which are finely branched structures within the cell. Some species of AM fungus have vesicles, which are sac-like structures that emerge from hyphae and function as lipid storage organs.
Endomycorrhizal fungi form a symbiotic relationship with 85% of the plants. Other varieties of mycorrhizae exist in nature, but they are exclusive to certain plant groups. Orchids and the Ericaceous family, for example. The fungi involved in these plant groups’ mycorrhizal colonization are currently unavailable in commercial products.
Arbutus plants, in general, are not obligate hosts for fungi
None of the orchid plants is an obligate fungus.
Orchids are reliant on them.
All Ericaceous Plants (Blueberry, Azalea, Rhododendron) Ericaceous plants (Blueberry, Azalea, Rhododendron) Ericaceous plants (Blueberry, Azalea, Rhododendron) Ericaceous plants (Blueberry, Azalea)
- Ectomycorrhizal fungi
Ectomycorrhizal fungi can also be found in the wild, primarily in forest habitats. These fungi can produce apparent reproductive structures (mushrooms) near the base of the trees they infest. Ectomycorrhizal fungi thrive in the spaces between root cells rather than invading them. Externally, their hyphae produce a dense growth known as a fungal mantle. Most pines, spruces, and some hardwood trees, such as beech, birch, oak, and willow, have symbiotic partnerships with these fungi—5% to 7% of all plants.
Effects of Mycorrhizae fungi on soil structure
The term “soil structure” refers to the aggregation of soil particles as well as pore spaces. Keeping soil structure intact is essential to preserving soil function and fertility. As a result of hyphal network formation and glomalin formation (biological glue), mycorrhizae fungi play a crucial role in soil aggregation. Their presence in the soil is critical for the preservation of physical soil qualities. As a result of improved soil structure,
- Increased water infiltration and storage capacity
- Better root development due to increased air permeability
- Microbial activity and nutrient cycling are both increasing.
- Surface sealing resistance is improved (crusts)
- Erosion resistance (water/wind) is improved.
- Better compaction resistance
The Bottom line:
We all know that plants need roots to grow and thrive. The type of soil, the amount of water, and even the temperature can affect how well a plant’s root system is able to provide nutrients for growth. With this in mind, it only makes sense that a healthy root system will result in healthier plants with better yields! One way you can help improve your crop’s health is by using mycorrhizae as a root enhancer. Mycorrhizal fungi are single-celled organisms that live on or near roots; they form symbiotic relationships with their host plant species by exchanging minerals like phosphorus and potassium for carbohydrates made through photosynthesis. This arrangement benefits both parties because it helps increase nutrient uptake.