In the world of plants, symbiotic relationships take many forms. Plants have associations with soil fungi called mycorrhizae that often don’t make a plant look different but may provide it with nutrients it cannot get from the soil. Mycorrhizae are fungal decomposers that help feed plants by transferring nutrients from one organism to another in exchange for carbohydrates from a plant’s roots. This blog post will focus on the role of mycorrhizae in plant growth and soil health.
1. Mycorrhiza and the Central Nervous System
Mycorrhizal fungi (or just mycelium) have been known to have a symbiotic relationship with plants for centuries. When a plant grows roots and sprouts new root tips, it sends signals to the fungus in the soil, making them rotate, bunch up or swell when they land on it, and then exchange nutrients. Mycorrhizae for plants have a central nervous system, allowing them to respond to the signals that plants send them.
2. Mycorrhiza and Fungal Disease
Mycorrhizae help mycorrhizal fungi beat the heat, which means plants with mycorrhiza are resistant to high temperatures and drought. Mycorrhizae for plants increase a plant’s tolerance to disease as they have been shown to inhibit specific soil pathogens.
3. Mycorrhiza in the Soil
Mycorrhizae can be found all over the world. However, their presence is only sometimes recognized. A soil sample with a significant population of mycorrhizae will contain many more pores than one without mycorrhizal activity. Mycorrhiza is also visible in cross sections between plant roots because they form a network of tubes called hyphae that feed off plant roots.
The role of mycorrhizae in plant growth and soil health is affected by many things, such as the presence of botanical elements in the soil, temperature, and moisture. If mycorrhizae are present in the ground, a plant can grow healthy roots and improve disease resistance.
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