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Mycorrhizal Fungi

Mycorrhizal fungi when well-fed by plant exudates, not only mine the minerals out of rocks, they bring them right to a plant and in some cases right inside a plant’s green body. In addition to expanding a plants roots system reach they also release powerful enzymes into the soil that dissolve hard-to-capture nutrients, such as organic nitrogen, phosphorus, iron and other “tightly bound” soil nutrients. The minerals considered essential to plant health as well as our own number about a dozen. The familiar ones, like zinc and iron, help build a plant’s fruits and vegetables. The not-so-familiar molybdenum, assists plants to use nitrogen and turns sunlight into carbohydrates.

For a variety of reasons, plant roots need help to take up sufficient amounts of minerals. Mycorrhizal fungi assist them. This fungal organism can double or triple a plant’s nutrient uptake per unit root length. The root-like hyphae of fungi act as long-distance conduits, that, extend a plant’s roots. One end connects to a root, the other to a store of minerals often beyond the physical reach of roots.

Mycorrhizal fungi associated with plant roots increase the absorption of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, and thus enhance the growth of crop plants and trees. The majority of plant species, including most agricultural crops, enter into a symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi, exchanging plant sugars for fungal-derived nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Apart from nutritional benefits, they are also known to increase soil structure and suppress diseases.

Today, mycorrhizal fungi can be a powerful tool for farmers seeking to improve water-use efficiency and lower irrigation costs. Some modern agricultural practices reduce the biological activity in soil.

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