Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AM)

Definition - What does Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AM) mean?

The term mycorrhizae describes the symbiotic relationship between specialized soil fungi and the roots of the majority of plants on Earth.

There are three main types of mycorrhizae: Ectomycorrhizae (found in the root zones of plants like pine, fir, spruce, oak, and eucalyptus; Endomycorrhizae (arbuscular mycorrhizae) (found in the root zones for most crop plants); and Ericoid mycorrhizae (found in the root zones of blueberry, rhododendron, azalea, Pieris, and cranberry plants).

Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AM), a.k.a. Endomycorrhizae, are fungi that can actually penetrate the cortical cells of vascular plants, rather than colonizing just on the surface of the roots.

MaximumYield explains Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AM)

Because it strictly affects the roots, Arbuscular Mycorrhzae does not affect simple or non-vascular plants.

AM-borne fungi help a plant capture and retain primary nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur, as well as numerous micronutrients. AM fungi form a symbiotic relationship with vascular plants by receiving the nutrients and conditions it needs to live while also benefiting the plant.

Arbuscular Mycorrhizae are beneficial to the roots of plants because they actively attract the nutrients they need for their own survival. These nutrients also happen to be some of the nutrients that the plant also needs for its own survival, so this relationship is mutually beneficial.

It is believed that this relationship played a crucial part in evolution when plants made the jump from a purely aquatic life to being able to also grow on land.

AM is so prevalent that it is found in almost 80% of all vascular plant species today.

It is possible to inoculate soil-grown plants with Arbuscular Mycorrhizae/Endomycorrhizae. The benefits of doing so include:

  • Improved root development
  • Improved transplant success
  • Increased yield and quality
  • Greater tolerance to soil-borne diseases
  • Improved soil structure due to aggregation
  • Improved fertilizer-use efficiency
  • Improved tolerance to soil drought
  • Improved tolerance to soil toxicities (salinity)
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