Mycorrhizae: The Symbiotic Relationship between Plants and Fungi.

Category: Fungi, Plants
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
Pages: 5 Views: 346

The symbiotic relationships that establish involving the roots of major plant species and fungi are called Mycorrhizae. These symbiotic relationships differentiated by the two-way movement of nutrients whereby carbon runs to the fungus. The fungus then facilitates the movement of the inorganic nutrients towards the plant, in that way, it gives a vital connection between the soil and the root of the plant (Smith, 1997).

The absorbed nutrients by the mycorrhizal fungi can direct to enhanced plant development and reproduction. Accordingly, mycorrhizal plants are frequently more viable and more capable to endure ecological strains than non-mycorrhizal plants.

Mycorrhizal relationships differ extensively in structure and purpose. Basidiomycetes that cultivate among root cortical cells of various tree species which create a Hartig net are called Ectomycorrhizal fungi (Smith, 1997). On the other hand, fungi that under the order Glomales and create extremely pronged forms called arbuscules, contained by root cortical cells of numerous herbaceous and forested plant species are called Arbuscular mycorrhizal.

Order custom essay Mycorrhizae: The Symbiotic Relationship between Plants and Fungi. with free plagiarism report

feat icon 450+ experts on 30 subjects feat icon Starting from 3 hours delivery
Get Essay Help

Through mycorrhizal fungi, plant is able to respond to colonization (can vary from remarkable development promotion to development depression. Known elements that affect the response of the plant are the following: the nutrient condition of the soil, the inoculum possibility of the mycorrhizal fungi, and the mycorrhizal dependence of the horde crop.

Crop rotation, fallowing, and tillage are among management practices that may negatively distress the number of mycorrhizal fungi in the field. Inoculation techniques and methods may be employed in the case wherein native inoculum is short or unproductive. Through the advanced pace of technology in the contemporary and scientific world, inoculation is mainly practicable for uprooted crops as well as in regions where soil interruption has significantly abridged the local inoculum potential.

What Mycorrhiza Is

A relationship or symbiosis involving plants and fungi which takes over the cortical tissue of roots throughout the stages of active development of plant is referred as mycorrhiza. Such relationship is described by the shift of the carbon produced by the plant towards the fungus as well as the movement of obtained nutrients by the fungus to the plant.

In 1885, a German forest pathologist Frank first employed the term mycorrhiza (which denotes “fungus-root”) to the relationship that he observed from between the tree and fungus. From then on, the symbiotic relationships observed between plants and fungi are characterized by mycorrhiza (Smith, 1997).

Increased development and yield or environmentally by enhanced condition characterize the advantages that the plants get from their symbiotic relationships. In such ways, the advantage accumulates mainly for the fact that mycorrhizal fungi establish a vital connection between the soil and the roots of the plant (Varma & Hock, 1999). Mycorrhizal fungi generally propagate mutually in the soil and in the root.

The extramatrical hyphae (or the soil borne) adopt nutrients drawn from the soil solution and transfer them towards the plant’s root. In this process, mycorrhiza enlarges the productive absorptive exterior part of the plant. In soils which lack nutrient or moisture, nutrients engaged in extramatrical hyphae can result to enhanced plant development and reproduction. In effect, mycorrhizal plants are frequently more viable in defense of ecological hazards than those plants that are not mycorrhizal (Varma & Hock, 1999).

What Mycorrhiza Does

In cases when there is a lack of soil solution in a nutrient, the surface area is the vital root factor which controls the uptake. The hyphae of mycorrhizal have the possibility to significantly amplify the part of the surface area of the root which main function is to absorb the nutrient.

Moreover, it is noteworthy to take consideration on the allocation and role of the extramatrical hyphae. The hyphae must be allocated away from the nutrient reduction region that progress around the root if the mycorrhiza is to be productive in the uptake of nutrient (Smith, 1997). In the case when the nutrients are detached from the soil solution more hastily than they can be reinstated by transmission, a nutrient reduction region is developed.

A jagged and thin reduction region is developed near the root in the case of a poorly-mobile ion, for example phosphate. Together with a sufficient amount of phosphorus, hyphae can voluntarily link this reduction region and develop into soil. Mycorrizhae improves the uptake of micronutrients (e.g. copper and zinc) for the reason that these elements are also transmission-bounded in major soils (Varma & Hock, 1999).

The reduction region is broad and it is less probable that hyphae develop at length into the region that is not only affected by the root in case of more mobile nutrients, for example nitrate. The narrow diameter relative to roots effectively helps in the absorption of nutrient which is among the significant factors. The abruptness of the distribution incline for a nutrient is conversely associated to the radius of the absorbing unit (Smith, 19970. Consequently, the soil solution should be less exhausted at the outside of a contracted absorbing unit like a hypha. In addition, contracted hyphae can cultivate into undersized soil stomas unreachable to roots as well as to root hairs.

Access to band of phosphorus not voluntarily obtainable to the plant is another benefit characterize to mycorrhizal fungi. One method to obtain such access is by the means of physiochemical discharge of organic and inorganic phosphorus from organic acids as a result of the low-molecular-weight organic anions’ action like that of oxalate which can function to either substitute phosphorus absorbed at metal-hydroxide shells y means of ligand-exchange effects, or liquefy metal-oxide shells that absorb phosphorus, or intricate metals in solution hence averting moisture-generation of metal phosphates (Fox et al., 1990)

How the World Sees Mycorrhiza

Mycorrhizal relationships differ generally in composition and role. Notwithstanding the countless exclusion, it is likely to affirm wide-ranging oversimplifications concerning altitude, structure, soil properties, and roles of the various mycorrhizal forms that take over the leading undergrowth in a pitch of climatic zones (Read, 1884).

Ericaceous plants (which control the acidic, high-organic heath land soils of subarctic and subalpine areas) are taken over by a cluster of ascomycetous fungi which give ascend to the ericoid-type of mycorrhiza (Smith, 1997). A wide-ranging development inside the cortical cells yet have small expansion into the soil characterizes this mycorrhizal variety.

The fungi generate extracellular enzymes that break organic substances which enable the plant to absorb nutrients drawn from organic complexes derived in the colloidal substance contiguous on the roots. Heading alongside the ecological ascent, coniferous trees put back ericaceous shrubs as the prevailing foliage. These trees are taken over by an ample array of typically basidiomycetous fungi that cultivate amid root cortical cells establishing the ectomycorrhizal variety of mycorrhiza (Varma & Hock, 1999).

Ectomycorrhizal fungi may generate huge amounts of hyphae in the soil and on the root (Smith, 1997). These hyphae work in the assimilation and transfer of location of water and inorganic nutrients as well as discharge nutrients from waste deposits through manufacture of enzymes implicated in the “mineralization” of organic substance.

Grasslands frequently establish the principal foliage during the more humid and more parched finish of the ecological pitch. Nutrient employment is elevated and phosphorus is often a restrictive factor for development.

A broad range of plants and even grasses are taken over by fungi fitting to the order Glomales. These fungi establish arbuscules or extremely divided structures within root cortical cells which necessitated the arbuscular variety of mycorrhiza. The Glomalean fungi may manufacture wide-ranging extramatrical hyphae and can drastically enlarge phosphorus-inflow charges of the plants they take over (Smith, 1997).

The variety of these root-fungal relationships benefits plants with a variety of techniques and methods for well-organized carrying out in an arrangement of plant-soil scheme. The purpose of this paper is to offer an outline of this variety and to analyze the functions and potential for administration of the mycorrhizal symbiotic relationships in local and controlled ecosystems.


Read, D.J., Lewis, D.J., Fitter, A.H. & Alexander, I.J. (1992).  Mycorrhizae in ecosystems. CAB          International.

Fox, T.R., Comerford, N.B. & McFee, W.W. (1990). Kinetics of phosphorus release from          spodosols: Effects of oxalate and formate. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 54:1441-1447.

Smith, S.E. & Read, D.J. (1997). Mycorrhiza Symbioses (Second ed.). Academic Press.

Varma, A. & Hock, B. (1999). Mycorrhiza: Structure, Function, Molecular Biology and  Biotechnology (Second ed.). Springer.

Cite this Page

Mycorrhizae: The Symbiotic Relationship between Plants and Fungi.. (2017, Feb 20). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

plagiarism ruin image

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer