General information

What is mycorrhiza in biology?


Mycorrhiza is a symbiosis between the plant and the mycelium of the fungus that lives in the soil. Certain types of fungi cooperate with specific types of plants. In natural conditions, the allies are themselves. In the garden, we must help them in this by applying appropriate "vaccines" applied to the soil.

What is mycorrhiza?

Mycorrhiza, (from the Greek mikos (μύκης) - mushroom and riza (ρίζα) - root) - the phenomenon of mutually beneficial coexistence between living plant cells, and non-pathogenic (not causing diseases) fungi that inhabit the soil. The definition of mycorrhiza literally means "fungus root«.

Mycorrhiza is a community between plants and mushrooms.leading to mutual benefit. Mushrooms use the products of plant photosynthesis, obtaining vegetable sugars that they themselves cannot produce. Plants, in turn, thanks to mycorrhiza, receive much more benefits.

Hyphae of the mycelium penetrate into the cells of the root cortex (Endomycorrhiza) or remain on the root surface, braiding it with a dense network (Ectomycorrhiza), due to which the capacity of absorption of moisture and mineral salts from the soil increases. Plants begin to grow stronger, form more flowers and fruits. They also become much more resistant to adverse conditions - drought, frost, inappropriate pH or excessive soil salinity. Mycorrhiza protects plants from diseases (Fusarium, Phytophlorosis).

Where is mycorrhiza?

Mycorrhiza has existed in nature for millions of years. - more than 80% of all plants remain in symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi. Unfortunately, it rarely occurs in the household plots, since it was destroyed as a result of intensive cultivation and use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection products.

With the naked eye (without a microscope) it will not be possible to check whether there is mycorrhiza in the garden soil. Mycorrhiza mushrooms very often die during the construction of the house. Deep pits, soil left on the surface, remains of rubble and lime are the main reasons for the lack of mycorrhiza in the garden.

Noticeable effect of mycorrhiza

The most popular and most noticeable result of mycorrhiza are Forest mushrooms. These are the fruiting bodies of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Even a novice in the collection of mushrooms, after the first collection of mushrooms, will notice that specific mushrooms grow only in close proximity to specific trees.

Chanterelles grow under deciduous and coniferous trees, mushrooms under pines, spruces and firs. White mushrooms can be found in not too dense forests, mainly under oaks, beeches, and also pines and spruces. It is better to search for flywheels under spruces and pines, as well as in deciduous forests, under oaks and beeches. In the birch groves and under the spruce grows the sideabs, and the boletus under the birches, hornbeams and oaks.

Mycorrhiza drugs - vaccines

Mycorrhizal vaccines contain live fungal hyphae or fungal spores.. Specific, adapted mycorrhiza mixtures are intended for various plants (they also include edible varieties, however, they rarely form fruit bodies in home gardens).

You can buy mycorrhizal preparations for indoor plants (the most popular is mycorrhiza for orchids) and balcony plants. A much larger selection of vaccines for garden plants - for flowerbed, coniferous and deciduous plants, vegetables, heather, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, roses, and even for a lawn.

The roots of old trees go very deep, and with the tree itself there are only skeletal roots that are not suitable for mycorrhization. It should be remembered that in plants, both young and adult, the youngest roots are relatively shallow underground, within 10-40 cm. In the case of planting trees dug directly from the ground, with an open root system, you should add a vaccine to several of the youngest, living roots, before planting.

5 rules for the use of mycorrhiza vaccine

  1. Preparations in the form of powder are added to the substrate in a flower pot, and then watered. Vaccines in the form of a suspension are introduced into pots or into the soil (directly at the roots) using a syringe or a special applicator.
  2. It is enough to plant the roots of plants once, so that they get in touch with it and be useful throughout their life.
  3. There is no universal mycorrhiza adapted for all types of plants! Each plant (or group of plants - for example, heather) remains in mycorrhiza only with certain types of fungi.
  4. Much better are those containing hyphae of the mycelium. Vaccines containing fungal spores are unreliable, since spores often do not have suitable conditions for germination. Mycorrhiza of live mycelium, unlike dry preparations, after irrigation, is ready for an immediate reaction with the plant. In the form of a gel suspension, it is stable even for several years, at a temperature of about 0 ° C, and it loses its vitality during drying.
  5. After the introduction of live mycelium, plants should not be fertilized for 2 months. Also, do not use any fungicides.

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Kingdom Mushrooms: General Characteristics

To begin with, you should generally remember who the mushrooms are and what they are? In biology there is a special section, a separate discipline, the purpose of which is to study these organisms. It is called mycology. According to the latest data, today over one hundred thousand different types of fungi are known, both single-celled and multicellular.

The figure is considerable, especially since this realm of living nature is intensively developing and numerically progressive. Parasitic and saprophytic forms reach particular diversity.

Mushrooms occupy a special position in the system of the organic world due to the presence of a number of characteristic features in the structure and lifestyle. Therefore, they are all united in a separate kingdom.

Distinctive features of mushrooms

What are these features? It's all about the similarity of representatives of both plants and animals. For a long time, it puzzled scientists. After all, creatures turn out to be unique and incomprehensible, since they combine the features of completely opposite organisms.

So, the general features that combine mushrooms with plants include:

  • the ability to synthesize phytohormones and vitamins inside the body,
  • unlimited apical growth throughout life,
  • attached lifestyle (lack of ability to move),
  • the presence of a strong cell wall,
  • food by absorption of substances.

However, there are signs that are related to the organisms in question and with animals:

  • heterotrophic nutrition (i.e., consumption of ready-made organic compounds, impossibility of their independent synthesis inside the body),
  • the presence in the cell wall of a complex carbohydrate of chitin, from which the integuments of crustaceans, insects, and other animal creatures are composed.

The combination of such features makes it possible to consider mushrooms as unique creatures worthy of uniting into a separate kingdom of living nature.

The general plan of the structure of the fungus

The main feature in the structure of the organisms under consideration is the hyphae, which form the mycelium and in the higher basidiomycetes, fruit bodies. They are thin filaments, white or translucent, which consist of cells separated by partitions. Hyphae strongly branched, intertwined, fused and form a large underground network - mycelium. Outside, they also form the fruit body of higher fungi — the leg and the cap.

All other representatives of the hyphae serve only for the formation of mycelium. The latter is needed for the absorption of nutrients, vegetative reproduction, the formation of spores and the sexual process.

It is mycelium of the fungus that participates in the formation of the fungus. Therefore, what is mycorrhiza, it becomes clear if you know what the body is represented by. This is a combination of the underground part of the fungi with the roots of higher plants. A kind of mutually beneficial cooperation that helps both beings to survive.

Thus, the hyphae of the fungus form mycelium, it is intertwined with the roots and forms mycorrhiza, or fungus root. This is the main feature in the structure and lifestyle of a significant part of the representatives of the kingdom under consideration.

What is mycorrhiza in biology: definition

If we consider this unique phenomenon from a scientific point of view, we can only once again be surprised at the skill of living beings in their fitness for survival. It is possible to give a more precise concept of what is mycorrhiza in biology using a definition. This is a symbiotic relationship between fungi and plants, which are carried out by closely intertwining mycelium and roots in the underground environment.

The term "mycorrhiza" was proposed in 1885 by the scientist Frank. About the existence of this phenomenon became known four years earlier. What is mycorrhiza mushroom, explained in 1881, the Russian scientist F.I. Kamensky. It was he who first studied and described the fungus root.

Almost all higher plants enter into similar relationships with mushrooms, not only with those that we used to see and gather in the forest, but also with smaller, even underground ones. Such a symbiosis was so successful and beneficial for both parties that the absence of mycorrhiza in the plant is considered an exception in nature.

What classes of fungi are capable of the phenomenon in question?

  1. Basidiomycetes (Hymenomycetes, Gastromycetes).
  2. Ascomycetes (most species).
  3. Zygomycetes (some species).

What plants are able to enter into symbiosis with mycelium of the fungus?

  1. Practically all perennial representatives belonging to the most diverse life forms (grasses, bushes, trees).
  2. Very rare annual plants.

Generally, the representatives that live on the surface of the water and in its thickness do not form the fungus root.


We found out what is mycorrhiza, the definition was given to it. Now consider what types of fungi are, because it turns out that not everything is so simple. There is a classification reflecting variants of this symbiosis.

There are three main types of mycorrhiza:

  • endotrophic ("endo" - inside),
  • ectotrophic ("ecto" - outside),
  • mixed or endoectotrophic.

Let us consider in more detail each specified type

Endotrophic mycorrhiza

What is endotrophic mycorrhiza? This is the interaction between the fungus and the root of the plant, in which the mycelium is not at all outside, but completely absorbed inside. Hyphae penetrate under the integumentary cells and develop inside the roots themselves, sucking the sap of the plant. In this case, some of the mycelium dissolves and goes to food.

An interesting feature is that endophytic fungi are transmitted in the form of spores by inheritance from the same plant species. That is, spores penetrate into the pollen, from there they enter the seed, and the new plant organism from birth incorporates its own mushroom-endophyte.

The presence of mycelium inside the root does not affect its normal development, branching, and so on. The mushroom goes unnoticed outside in general.

Exotrophic mycorrhiza

On the question of what is mycorrhiza exotrophic type, the answer is obvious. It is logical to conclude that this education is visible from the outside. It really is. Ectophytes have a well-developed, powerful, branching mycelium. Hyphae so densely envelop the roots of the plant, which turns out a kind of cover. In this case, the root hairs die as unnecessary.

Separate hyphae strings may penetrate under the integumentary tissues of the plant, but they do not enter the cells themselves. This type of fungus is most often formed between trees and agaric mushrooms. That is why many edible species of people find whole families in the shade of the crown of a tree.

Mixed mycorrhiza

What is mixed type mycorrhiza? This is a kind of symbiosis of the endo- and ecto-fungi with the roots of the plants simultaneously. The most common type of fungus. Another name is endoectomycorrhiza.

It is obvious that the essence of this phenomenon is the simultaneous penetration of hyphae into the cells of the root and at the same time the formation of a dense cover of them outside. Most often, such a symbiosis is observed between cap agaric mushrooms and various trees. Example: aspen, boletus, toadstools, white fungus and others.

Many species cannot exist at all without mycorrhiza; therefore, methods of their artificial cultivation have not yet been found.

The value of mycorrhiza in the life of the fungus

Now we know what is mycorrhiza. And its value should also not remain secret. Obviously, the main role is the exchange of nutrients between two different organisms.

What do plants get as a result of such a symbiosis?

  1. The area of ​​the suction surface increases due to multiple branching hyphae.
  2. Mushroom provides water and minerals.
  3. The plant receives hormones, vitamins.
  4. The fungus converts many compounds into a form that can be absorbed by plants (for example, salts of potassium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, and so on).

What does a mushroom get from a plant?

  1. Organic compounds, mostly carbohydrate nature.
  2. Amino acids.
  3. Some phytohormones and growth substances.

Thus, mycorrhiza is a completely mutually beneficial cooperation, often vital for both parties.

Mycorrhiza - what is it

To understand what a fungus is, you need to consider the structure of the fungus. The fruit body of the fungus consists of a cap and a leg, but the most interesting thing is the hyphae or thin threads, which are interlaced to form a mycelium (mycelium). This organ of the fungus serves both for nutrition and for reproduction (formation of spores), as well as for the formation of mycorrhiza.

What is mycorrhiza? This is just a combination of fungal mycelium with the root system of plants. Fungal roots and roots of plants are intertwined, sometimes the fungus is introduced into the root system of plants, which is done for the fruitful cooperation of both parties.

What is mycorrhiza by definition? This symbiotic habitat of fungi on the surface of the root system or in the tissues of the roots of higher plants.

To better understand the effect of mycorrhiza, consider its types. There are three main types of mycorrhiza: ectotrophic, endotrophic and ectoendotrophic. In its biological essence, the first type is the outer or surface enveloping of the roots by the mycelium, the second type is characterized by penetration into the root tissue, and the third type is the mixed interaction.

So, we found out what is mycorrhiza in biology and now we know that this kind of cooperation is characteristic of almost all plants: grass, trees, bushes. The absence of such a symbiosis, rather an exception to the general rules.

Properties of mycorrhiza for growing plants

Let's take a closer look at what is mycorrhiza and what its functions are useful for plants. Mushroom mycelium is able to produce special proteins, which are certain catalysts in nature. In addition, mycelium digests and breaks down nutrients in the soil, from plant residues to organic and inorganic elements from humus. Plants are capable of absorbing only readily soluble elements of humus, and here they have many competitors: these are weeds and microbes that live in the soil.

MycorrhizaThis is a mutually beneficial symbiosis of plants and fungi. Plants get nutrients and water, and mushrooms get carbohydrates produced by plants. Without carbohydrates, fungi are not able to multiply and grow fruit bodies. Plants give up to 40% of carbohydrates.

The role of mycorrhiza in plant life cannot be overestimated. Mycorrhiza supplies them with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and hormones. Thanks to the mycelium, the plant root system increases the absorption area of ​​beneficial elements such as phosphorus, potassium and other stimulating substances. Moreover, it not only serves as a food supplier, but also doses it correctly.

Plants grow more actively, in the period of flowering they form more inflorescences with fruitful flowers and, accordingly, fruiting increases. Plants are immune to stress and weather conditions: drought, heavy rainfall, sudden changes in temperature. Mushrooms, forming mycorrhiza with plant roots, act as defenders against some of the diseases of the latter, such as, for example, fusarium or late blight.

Due to its ability to digest and break down organic and inorganic compounds of humus, mycorrhiza cleans the soil for plants from excess salts and acids.

Mycorrhizal vaccinations

Few mushrooms do not form mycorrhiza, because this symbiosis has existed since the beginning of the development of flora on earth. Unfortunately, in suburban areas mycorrhiza is often destroyed as a result of prolonged use of chemicals, mycorhiza dies and during construction. Therefore, to help their plants, gardeners vaccinate.

Mycorrhiza vaccineit is a preparation in the form of a powder or a liquid that contains particles of the live mycelium of fungi. After a kind of inoculation of the soil, the bacteria of fungi begin to cooperate with the root system of plants, which forms a natural mycorrhiza.

Mycorrhizal vaccines are also popular today for indoor flowers, there is a large selection for vegetables, garden flowering and herbaceous plants, as well as coniferous plants such as hydrangeas, rhododendrons, heather and roses. При вакцинации следует помнить, что корневая система очень старых деревьев слишком глубока и для микоризы она не подходит.

Особенности применения микоризы для растений

Препарат микоризы вносят путем полива или опрыскивания культур, и непосредственно в почву. When vaccination into the soil, make several shallow holes directly in the ground near the plant and pour the vaccine into it.

Many are interested in the question "What plants do not form mycorrhiza and with what mushrooms, this symbiosis is also impossible?". Today, few plants are known that do very well without mycorrhiza: these are some species of the Cruciferous family, Amaranths and Marevy. Mushrooms that do not form mycorrhiza - umbrellas, oyster mushrooms, champignons, dung beetles, wild mushrooms.

Mycorrhiza should be used after harvest, that is, in the fall. During the winter, the mushrooms form mycorrhiza with the roots of sleeping plants, and the results will be noticeable in the spring. Unlike plants, mushrooms do not fall into anabiosis in winter and continue to be active. If you use the drug in the spring, its active action will be noticeable next year.

The use of mycorrhiza is important when transferring crops to a new or permanent place after rooting of seedlings. The action of the drug will reduce the stress of the plant and accelerate its adaptation. After vaccination with mycorrhiza preparations, a significant growth and more accelerated development of cultures is observed.

  • Powder preparations for indoor plants are introduced into the potting soil, then watering is carried out. The composition in the form of an emulsion is drawn into a syringe and injected directly into the root system into the soil.
  • After vaccination, the plant is not fertilized for two months. The same period does not use fungicides.
  • More effective for flowerpots are vaccinations, which contain particles of living mycelium, and not spores of the fungus. These include gel formulations with live mycelium, which form mycorrhiza immediately, while spores do not have the conditions for development in a closed pot.

Advantages and disadvantages of using mycorrhiza in plant life

The main advantages of using fungus:

  • Cultivated crops get enough water and more nutrients,
  • The area of ​​absorption of moisture in plants increases.
  • Plants acquire resistance to weather conditions, unfavorable soil composition, resistance to stress, and immunity to root infections.
  • The action of mycorrhiza stimulates the growth, flowering and fruiting of cultivated plants.
  • The quality characteristics of fruit and berry plants are improved.
  • The root system is strengthened and the ability to root after transplant is improved.
Mycorrhiza has no negative reviews, the only thing that can be attributed to significant shortcomings is that the mycorrhizal fungus is a living organism, it is grown. Therefore, the disadvantage is the complex production of the vaccine.

Vaccination with mycorrhiza will facilitate the cultivation and care of grafted cultures, since the fungus root will allow the plant to receive both water and nutrients in the right amount. You will be able to pay less attention to procedures such as plant nutrition and watering.