Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plants and fungi play the 'underground market'

Date:
August 22, 2011
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Plants and fungi co-operate and trade with each other on a biological 'underground market', changing their trading partners if they don't get a fair deal.

Photo of fungi connecting roots of plant hosts.
Credit: Yoshihiro Kobae

Plants and fungi co-operate and trade with each other on a biological 'underground market', changing their trading partners if they don't get a fair deal.

The finding was made by an international team, including Oxford University scientists, examining how plants trade energy-rich carbohydrate they make using photosynthesis for phosphorus fungi collect from the soil. They found that plants use their roots to actively search out fungi to trade with but will attempt to avoid 'cheating' fungi which 'hoard' phosphorus instead of paying their fair share in return for carbohydrate.

A report of the research is published in this week's Science.

'This is one of the first recorded examples of a 'biological market' operating in which both partners reward fair trading rather than one partner having the advantage and exploiting the other,' said Professor Stuart West of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, an author of the paper. 'We've shown that both plants and fungi can be choosy, 'playing the market' and looking for a better trading partner if they aren't getting a good deal.

'The team used the plant Medicago truncatula, which is related to alfalfa, and then observed its interactions with three different species of fungi; Glomus intraradices, Glomus custos, and Glomus aggregatum, which exhibit different levels of cooperation. They used radioactive tags to track the carbon produced by the plant and the phosphorus harvested by the fungi. The results showed that not only was more carbon supplied to the more cooperative -- 'fairer trading' -- species of fungi but also that more phosphorus was supplied to more cooperative plants.

'We think that this sort of biological market, reminiscent of a market economy, has arisen because there are so many different individuals either partner could trade with,' said Professor West. 'Rather like with human traders, if they are given a chance both plants and fungi will go elsewhere to get a better deal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. T. Kiers, M. Duhamel, Y. Beesetty, J. A. Mensah, O. Franken, E. Verbruggen, C. R. Fellbaum, G. A. Kowalchuk, M. M. Hart, A. Bago, T. M. Palmer, S. A. West, P. Vandenkoornhuyse, J. Jansa, H. Bucking. Reciprocal Rewards Stabilize Cooperation in the Mycorrhizal Symbiosis. Science, 2011; 333 (6044): 880 DOI: 10.1126/science.1208473

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Plants and fungi play the 'underground market'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110821210224.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2011, August 22). Plants and fungi play the 'underground market'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110821210224.htm
University of Oxford. "Plants and fungi play the 'underground market'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110821210224.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! 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