Role of mycorrhizas in the mineral nutrition of host plants
Mycorrhizas are very important in the uptake of nutrients such as P, N, K, Cu, Zn and Ca by plants especially in soils low in these nutrients. Since P is the most limiting nutrient in tropical soils, mycorrhizas are vital for improving P nutrition particularly for cultivated plants. External hyphae can absorb and translocate P to the host from soil outside the root depletion zone. The thin mycorrhizal hyphae (2-4 μm in diameter) are able to penetrate soil pores not accessible to the root hairs which are about five times larger than the hyphae (Kirkby and Mengel, 2001). For example, studies have shown that the heavily mycorrhizal root of cassava enables it to grow well in phosphate-deficient soils where other crops fail (Wild, 1993). Also, a long-term study at the National Abaca Research Center at VSU (Armecin and Geneston-Asio, 2004) has provided the first clear evidence that abaca plant (Musa textilis) is mycorrhizal although colonization was relatively low (18-22%). In alkaline soils, mycorrhiza can prevent iron and manganese deficiencies. Mycorrhizas are also known to protect the plant from soil borne pathogens. Recently, Lambers et al. (2010) reported that terrestrial plants (except epiphytes, parasites and carnivorous species) acquire most mineral nutrients from the soil primarily via two pathways: 1) direct absorption through the roots, and 2) indirect absorption through symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi. The majority of plants can take up phosphorus via both pathways but depend primarily on mycorrhizal fungi to acquire phosphorus. http://soil-environment.blogspot.com/2010/08/role-of-mycorrhiza-in-mineral-nutrition.html A. Benefits to plants
Increased plant nutrient supply by extending the volume of soil accessible to plants as explained below. 2.
Increased plant nutrient supply by acquiring nutrient forms that would not normally be available to plants (Tarafdar & Marschner 1994, Schweiger et al....
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