Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning More About Beneficial Soil Fungi

Date:
February 2, 2006
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Beneficial soil fungi that help plants grow could become easier for farmers to use, based on research by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who are studying these valuable organisms.

Microbiologist David Douds (right) and technician Joe Lee examine pot cultures of bahiagrass and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the greenhouse.
Credit: Photo by Peggy Greb

Beneficial soil fungi that help plants grow could become easier for farmers to use, based on research by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who are studying these valuable organisms.

Related Articles


The fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, live inside and outside root cells and help them reach for nutrients by extending long threads called hyphae into the soil. The plant, in exchange, provides the fungi glucose and possibly other organic materials that they need to survive. Unfortunately, modern agricultural practices have reduced populations of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, the most common type.

By learning more about AM fungi physiology and finding ways to grow colonies without host plants, ARS scientists at the Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa., hope to make the fungi a practical option for producers.

Currently, researchers cannot cultivate an AM fungus without a host because the fungus can't complete its life cycle without the organic nutrients or other stimuli it receives from roots. Gerald Nagahashi, a chemist/cell biologist at ERRC, has been focusing on the events that must occur before the fungus can colonize a host plant.

He developed a bioassay showing that host root components--including chemical compounds exuding from the roots, root caps and root border cells--induce fungal hyphal branching. The increase in branching creates a greater potential for the fungus to find and attach to the host root surface.

Nagahashi and David D. Douds, an ERRC microbiologist, investigated how environmental factors, such as chemical compounds from host roots, blue light from the sun�s spectrum, and carbon dioxide, affect AM fungal growth, either individually or together.

Their techniques involved growing host roots in sterile culture and using sterile fungal spores to study various environmental factors individually or in combination. They found that these three factors--root chemicals, blue light and carbon dioxide--can all work independently to promote growth in AM fungi but are even more effective when applied together.

###

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Learning More About Beneficial Soil Fungi." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060201232838.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2006, February 2). Learning More About Beneficial Soil Fungi. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060201232838.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Learning More About Beneficial Soil Fungi." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060201232838.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

AFP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A giant panda goes walkabout alone at night in southwest China. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

AP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A shortage of snow has forced Alaska&apos;s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to move 300 miles north to Fairbanks. The ceremonial start through downtown Anchorage will take place this weekend, using snow stockpiled earlier this winter. (March 6) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) — A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins