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.

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 sunβοΏ½οΏ½s 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 April 18, 2014 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 April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) — Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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