Arbuscular mycorrhizas are the roots that come with specific types of fungi inside them and also in the surrounding soil. This type of mycorrhiza is generally formed due to fungi which are also known as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Arbuscular fungi come with the characteristics of having very thin threadlike structures known as hyphae. The hyphae are around 1 to 10 thousandths of a millimeter in width and helps in forming networks between the particles of soil, between the soil particles and the roots, between the roots of different types of plants and between the roots of the same plant. This network of hyphae is known as mycelium.
Why the name “arbuscular”?
Arbuscular mycorrhiza got its name as they develop a structure which is specific only to them known as arbuscule. Some kinds of fungi available in the soil can be associated with animal and plant disease. However, the fungi that form arbuscular mycorrhiza are the part of soil fungi that provides benefits for the plants. Mycorrhiza is also known as fungus root which is derived from the association of plants roots and fungi. In fact, the fungi that form arbuscular mycorrhiza cannot even complete their life cycle unless and until they are connected with the plant roots. So, both the plant and the fungi are dependent on each other for existence.
What are arbuscules?
Arbuscules are the structures formed by mycorrhiza inside the cells of plant roots. It is the meeting point where the fungi and the plant meet together for exchanging nutrients and foods among each other. Phosphorus and carbon can be exchanged via the hyphae but other major nutrients are exchanged only via the arbuscule. They look like sea anemones and come with various small projections that extend to the interior of the plant cells. Arbuscule is formed with repeated branching of hyphae as it enters the cells of the roots.
What are the benefits of arbuscular mycorrhiza?
Carbohydrates are very much important for the mycorrhizas for their energy. They get the same from the roots of the plants in which they live. In turn, the fungi help the plants by transferring phosphorus available from the soil into the roots. Thus, it can also be regarded as a dependent mechanism. Arbuscular mycorrhiza is important for plants when the soil lacks in phosphorus which is required for plant growth. They help in uptake of phosphate as phosphorus does not move towards the roots of the plants easily. Nutrients like nitrogen are carried where the soil water moves which is not the case with phosphorus. So, the fungi help in extending the soil volume so that the roots can explore around for phosphorus. However, arbuscular mycorrhizas can only form on majority types of plants. It is very common in plants like lupin and canola. Arbuscular mycorrhizas can be found in natural ecosystems and are also abundant in agricultural areas. This fungus can also help in improving the physical attributes of the plants as the hyphae help in stabilizing the soil aggregates.