Eric Robb Siegel
esiegel at UNIX1.SNCC.LSU.EDU
Sun Mar 31 19:27:05 EST 1996
On Wed, 20 Mar 1996, Grunden Eric wrote, among other things:
> .................................. Oh, also, there are many
> cases of fungi parasitizing plants, but does the opposite ever
> occur? Is there a parasitic plant that exists off of fungi?
> I know that insectivorous plants utilize the chitin of insects as a
> nitrogen source, and that's why I began wondering if any plants
> utilize fungal chitin in a similar manner. Any thoughts?......
I did a term paper on mycorrhizas about two `n'a half years ago, and ran
across a mycorrhizal association with non-chlorophyllous plants called
"monotropids", I think. Monotropa was the type genus. I think they
grow in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and I believe Trappe was
one of the people who published on this. The idea I have, after
two-plus years of memory-fade, is that the monotropids tapped into the
tree mycorrhizas and fed off the tree photosynthates being diverted to
the mycorrhizas. Perhaps Richard Winder could comment, since that's
approximately his neck of the woods, so to speak.
Also, certain species of orchid apparently establish mycorrhizal
associations with fungal plant pathogens such as Rhizoctonia and
Armillaria. The more virulent the fungal strain, the better the orchid
does. Some appear to flower only when near trees succumbing to
I can't say for sure about plants reclaiming nitrogen from fungal
chitin, but you might want to investigate the fate of the arbuscules in
the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas.
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