Fungi as Biofertlizers

This is a continuing series of articles on Biofertilizers. This is the 3rd and concluding part of the series.

Read part 1 and Part 2

Mycorrhizal root tips -AmanitaMycorrhiza can be Ecto or Endo. Ectomycorrhiza is on the surface of roots while Endomycorrhiza is send hyphae tips into cells and arbuscles. Mycorrhiza is beneficial to plants, they are associations of fungus with roots of higher plants. Shape of root is coral like with no root cap. Fungus is restricted to cortex region and mycorrhiza remains in upper region of the soil because the layer is rich in organic matter.

Ectomycorrhiza-

The fungus here forms a sort of mantle on root surface, the fungal hyphae then penetrate into the cortex region of roots and also grow into the soil, this helps in increasing surface are for absorption of water, minerals. Ultimately, this is beneficial to the plant as it improves plant growth and yield. Root cells secrete sugars for breeding the fungus which in turn absorb nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium and potassium from the soil and also convert complex organic compounds into simpler forms for uptake by the plant.

Examples- Eucalyptus, Oak, Pine, Peach

Endomycorrhiza-

The fungus here send hyphae inside the cells as vesicles and arbcscles (finely branched masses), therefore also known as VAM (Vesscicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza). VAM serve an important role in phosphate nutrition of plants. Plants with VAM show more growth and higher vigour. The synthetic fertilizer requirement in case of such plants is also less. VAM comprise the group of Endogoniaceace of Zygomycetes.

Vam is found in many plants such as rice, soyabean, potato, rubber, citrus, peas, tea, apples, papaya etc.

Some important VAM species are-

  • Glomus
  • Gigaspora
  • Sclerocystis
  • Eldogone
  • Acaulospora

VAM helps plants to intake more of zinc, calcium, iron and such other minerals. It helps in securing better plant growth, helps in improving absorption rates in plants, reduces sensitivity of crops towards salinity and heavy metals and also provides resistance against soil borne pathogens.

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