Hydroponics

Do Mycorrhizae have a Role in Hydroponics

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The seemingly magical properties of mycorrhizal fungi (aka ‘mycorrhizae’) are already fairly well known to soil growers. This special “root fungus” forms a mutualistic relationship with the roots of many plants, allowing them to access more water and nutrients. Mycorrhizae effectively extend the reach of the roots by forming a mycelial network that is able to extract tightly bonded water and nutrients (particularly phosphorus and iron) and translocate them back to the plant. The plant, in turn, feeds the root fungus with carbohydrates. Everybody’s happy – it’s mutual after all!


Declaration of Interdependence

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What do they do for plants? These mycorrhizal fungi increase the surface absorbing area of roots 10 to 1,000 times, thereby greatly improving the ability of the plants to use the nutrients and water (fi gure 2). Estimates of amounts of mycorrhizal fi laments present in soil associated with plants are astonishing. Several miles of fungal filaments can be present in less than a thimbleful of soil. Mycorrhizal fungi increase nutrient uptake not only by increasing the surface absorbing area of roots. Mycorrhizal fungi also release powerful chemicals into the surrounding environment that capture nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and other plant nutrients. This extraction process is particularly important in plant nutrition, flowering and fruiting and explains why mycorrhizal inoculations have been so successful in hydroponic operations.


What are Mycorrhizal Fungi video

What are Mycorrhizal Fungi

This brief animation shows how mycorrhizae work and how mycorrhizal fungi attach to roots, explore the soil and absorb vital nutrients for plants.