The growth of mycorrhizal fungi into plant roots used to be viewed as a parasitic relationship between plants and fungi, where the fungal symbiont benefits and the plant host is harmed. Current research elucidates a mutualistic relationship. The mycorrhizae network assists the plants by increasing the capabilities for nutrient absorption in the soil. In exchange, the fungi receive carbon supply from the photosynthetic plants for growth. Our scientific understanding of other topics like species specificity, seed germination, and co-evolutionary influence of mycorrhizae and plants has also progressed. Additionally, we now understand that the mycorrhizal mutualism is not limited to the roots of a single plant species and the mycelium associated with it. Mycorrhizae networks have an ecological impact on other species within the community since networks can be developed among roots of multiple plants. Non-photosynthetic plants rely heavily on these interconnected mycorrhizae. In perspective, mycorrhizae influence the relationships between plants and fungi, along with the environmental factors, in the ecosystem. More specifically, the relationships of the plant roots and the fungal mycelium within the soil along with other microorganisms, like bacteria, influences overall productively above and below the soil.
"The Understanding of Mycorrhizae Networks: A Historical Approach,"
The Confluence: Vol. 1:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lindenwood.edu/theconfluence/vol1/iss2/2
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