Mycorrhizal Fungi, sometimes called endo mycorrhiza, are beneficial soil fungi. These fungi have a synergistic relationship with plants, specifically the plant root system. The addition of endo mycorrhiza to the root system of plants has proved to be beneficial to the plant in a number of ways.
These benefits include increased water to the plant and increased nutrient uptake. Most fertile soils contain an abundant microbial populations that include bacteria, protozoa and mycorrhizal fungi.
Mycorrhizal fungi are also important for soil structure. An often overlooked feature of soil fertility.
Mycorrhizal Fungi – Endo Mycorrhiza
Endo Mycorrhiza differ from Ectomycorrhizas. Endomorrhiza fungi have a hyphae that penetrates the cell wall of the plant’s roots. Types of endomycorrizae are:
Arbuscular mycorrhiza, or AM, are mycorrhiza that have hyphae that enter into the plant cells, producing either vesicles or branching invaginations. The fungal hyphae do not enter the protoplasm of the plant cell, but do enter the space between the cell wall and the cell membrane. This penetration greatly increases the contact surface area of the two organisms, plant and fungi, and facilitates the transfer of nutrients between them.
Arbuscular mycorrhiza have been found to inhabit about 85% of plant species. Fossil evidence suggests that the synergistic relationship formed about 400 million years. Additionally, the hyphae of arbuscular mycorrhiza produce glomalin, a glycoprotein. Glomalin is one of the major stores of carbon in the soil. In addition, glomalin helps create soil structure.
Plants that Benefit from Mycorrhizal Fungi.
A great number of different plants are known to benefit from the mutualistic relationship with the beneficial fungi; including:
- Palm Trees (all varieties)
- Cow Pea
- Melons (all)
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