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What are Mycorrhizae?

A definition and explanation of Mycorrhizae, including their structure, function and importance in soil.

Mycorrhizae are mutualistic symbiotic relationships between fungi and the roots of most plants. The term "mycorrhiza" comes from the Greek words "mykes" (fungus) and "rhiza" (root).


Structure

Mycorrhizae typically consist of a fungal hyphae that penetrate the root cells of a plant, forming a dense network around the root. The fungal hyphae provide a larger surface area for the plant to absorb nutrients and water from the soil, while the plant provides the fungus with sugars produced through photosynthesis.

Function

The main function of mycorrhizae is to increase the plant's ability to absorb essential nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, from the soil. The fungal hyphae act as an extension of the plant roots and allow the plant to absorb more nutrients than it would be able to on its own.

Importance in soil

Mycorrhizae play a crucial role in maintaining the health of soil and ecosystems. They help to increase the availability of essential nutrients in the soil, improve soil structure and fertility, and reduce soil erosion. They also play a role in decomposing organic matter, improving soil structure, and increasing the diversity of soil microorganisms.


In short, mycorrhizae are essential for maintaining healthy plant growth and productivity, and they play a critical role in the functioning of many ecosystems.



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