Fwd: Re: Mycorrhiza

Julia Frugoli jfrugol at CLEMSON.EDU
Sat May 5 12:12:00 EST 2001

>Date: Sat, 5 May 2001 13:11:13 -0400
>>"Simon Oliver" <xbq80 at dial.pipex.com> wrote in message
>>news:3af41439$0$15029$cc9e4d1f at news.dial.pipex.com...
>> > Does anybody know anything about Mycorrhiza, it is a plant specific fungus
>> > that exists in the soil , interacting with the roots for the good of the
>> > plant I know there are different ones for agricultural use, trees and
>> > forests, and usual gaden plants. How do you know if you've got it ? If you
>> > havent got it where can you get it ? Does it really aid plants
>> > to bother introducing it ? Have any of you used it ?
>> >
>> >
>>Many different bacteria/fungi have a sybiotic relationship with roots. Any
>>gardencenter will sell garden/bean innoculant.  It makes a large diference
>>with beans peas ect.  but i doubt it would help any other plants much.  If
>>you want it for trees just go to any well established grove or orchard and
>>dig up a shovelful of dirt.  Bury it in your yard  and the colonies of
>>fungus will spread from it.
>The pea/bean inoculant you are talking about is a bacterium, strains 
>of Rhizobia, which interact with legumes.  These are NOT fungus and 
>they're not mycorrhiza.  There are thousands of species of 
>mycorrhiza that interact in species specific ways with over 90% of 
>the plants on the planet, providing nutrients (often phosphorus) in 
>exchange for carbon from the plant.  They do aid in the growth of 
>plants, but it's got to be the species that interacts with the 
>plants you want to grow.  This is an area of research that has only 
>recently begun to be explored, because many of the mycorrhiza are 
>difficult/impossible to culture apart from their host plant.  But 
>there are very few plants that grow "sterile"-without bacterial and 
>fungal symbionts-Arabidopsis is one. Digging up a shovelful of dirt 
>from the forest will aid plants like the ones in the forest, and an 
>established orchard (especially one not regularly sprayed with 
>herbicide) will aid orchard trees but not your common garden plants. 
>How can you tell if you have it?  Other than trying to culture it 
>out of your soil, there isn't a way to my knowledge.  Soils with 
>lots of organic matter and humus are conducive to mycorrizal growth.
>Is it enough of a difference to bother?  That's a judgement call-if 
>your soil is fertile, maybe not.  If your soil hasn't grown crops or 
>has been sod for a long time, it might be worth it.

Julia Frugoli
Asst. Professor
Biological Sciences
Clemson University
132 Long Hall
Clemson, SC 29634

PHONE (864) 656-1859
FAX (864) 656-0435


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