What does Endomycorrhizae mean?
The term mycorrhizae describes the symbiotic relationship between specialized soil fungi and the roots of the majority of plants on Earth in which these fungi inhabit.
There are three main types of mycorrhizae/mycorrhizal fungi:
- Ectomycorrhizae (found in the root zones of plants like pine, fir, spruce, oak, and eucalyptus
- Endomycorrhizae (arbuscular mycorrhizae) (found in the root zones for most crop plants)
- Ericoid mycorrhizae (found in the root zones of plants like blueberry, rhododendron, azalea, Pieris, and cranberry).
Endomycorrhizae refers to the type of close relationship between a plant and root fungi in which the hyphae or thread-like material of the fungus actually penetrates the cells of the root, rather than just colonizing on its surface.
Endomycorrhizae are normally present and beneficial in many types of plants.
Another name for Endomycorrhizae is Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AM).
There are many types of fungi, such as mycorrhizae, that have a symbiotic relationship with plants. While attracting the nutrients for itself, the fungi is also attracting them for the plant to utilize as well. In horticulture, this close relationship between plant and fungi is known a mycorrhizae relationship that is beneficial to both species.
A mycorrhizal root will attract and take up more nutrients than an unaffected one and so many different plants utilize this relationship with fungi in one way or another.
Endomycorrhizae is the mycorrhizal fungi that actually penetrates the root, rather than existing solely on the epidermal layer of the root, like Ectomycorrhizae. The fungi lives in the roots and thereby attracts nutrients for both. It is believed that up to 80% of vascular plants rely on or use Endomycorrhizae as primary source for attracting and assimilating nutrients into their system.
It is possible to inoculate soil-grown plants with Endomycorrhizae. The benefits of doing so include:
- Improved root development
- Improved transplant success
- Increased yield and quality
- Greater tolerance to soil-borne diseases
- Improved soil structure due to aggregation
- Improved fertilizer-use efficiency
- Improved tolerance to soil drought
- Improved tolerance to soil toxicities (salinity)
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