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What is Mycorrhiza?-Definition, Types, and Importance

August 30, 2022
written by Sidra Batool

Mycorrhiza is a symbiotic relationship between fungi and roots of vascular plants. Fungi help plants obtain water and mineral nutrients from the soil. In return, they receive carbohydrates produced by the plant. Mycorrhizal fungi play an important role in the growth and development of many plants.

The mycorrhizal fungus forms a mutualistic association with the roots of certain plants. It provides the host plant with increased tolerance to environmental stresses, including salinity, drought, extreme temperatures, heavy metals, and pathogens.

In addition to providing the host plant with improved tolerance to these stresses, mycorrhizal fungi have been shown to increase biomass production, yield, and fruit quality.

Importance For Plants

The fungi increase the total amount of soil contact and area of absorption. It also helps the root in the direct absorption of nutrients from the soil. These nutrients are phosphorus, zinc, copper, and other nutrients from the soil. Such plants show better growth than plants without this association.

The plant supplies organic compounds to fungal hyphae.

Types Of Mycorrhizae

There are two main types of mycorrhizae.

a) Endomycorrhizae:

In this case, the fungal hyphae penetrate the outer cells of the plant root. These hyphae form coils, swellings, and minute branches. These branches d hyphae extend into the surrounding soil and absorb water.

b) Ectomycorrhizae:

In this case, the hyphae surround and extend between the cells. But they do not penetrate the cell wall of the root cells. However, the mycelium extends outside in the soil. These mycorrhizae are formed with pines, firs, etc.

Benefits Of Mycorrhiza

Benefits of mycorrhiza include increased plant size, improved tolerance to environmental stresses, and enhanced disease resistance. Mycorrhizal fungi can increase the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the plant, making it easier for the plant to take up nutrients. This increases the yield of the plant.

Additionally, mycorrhizal fungi improve the ability of the plant to withstand environmental stresses. When grown with mycorrhizal fungus, plants are less likely to succumb to pathogens and insects than non-mycorrhized plants. Finally, mycorrhizae enhance the plant’s defense system by increasing its ability to resist biotic and abiotic stresses.

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