Symbiosis with Plants Symbiosis with plants is very important. Fungus helps the plant live through tough times. There is a lot of information available about symbiosis but there are also many unanswered questions. Certain careers specialize in answering these questions. Whether symbiosis is good for the plant or not is often debated. Plants and fungus help each other live. The fungus helps the plant absorb important minerals. The plant gives the fungus carbohydrates because most fungus don’t go through photosynthesis. The fungus also extends the plants root system so it can get to more nutrients in the soil. Plants and fungus need each other. There are three types of symbiosis; mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism. Mutualism is when both sides benefit from the symbiosis for example “The fungi penetrate the roots of the plants and make soil nutrients, such as nitrogen, available to the plants receiving carbohydrates in return” (Symbiosis 1). When one side benefits and the other side is harmed in the process of symbiosis it is called parasitism. For example parasites may feed off a plant but give it a disease at the same time. Commensalism is when one side benefits and it doesn’t help or harm the other side; this is common among marine invertebrates. Mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism are the three types of symbiosis. There is a lot of research currently being done about symbiosis with plants. Grasses with asexual fungal entophytes is a popular topic right now. Grasses and asexual fungal have a mutual relationship but scientists have discovered some negative effects on the plants fitness and health. This discovery started a debate; whether symbiosis is good or bad for plants.
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