Cell walls were isolated and purified from Ri T-DNA-transformed carrot roots to determine whether arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi need a signal from the host root in order to form appressoria. Large cell-wall pieces were generated by the Parr nitrogen bomb technique. Purified cell walls were sterilized and inoculated with single spores of Gigaspora gigantea (Nicol. & Gerd.) Gerdemann & Trappe and Gigaspora margarita Becker & Hall using an in vitro culture technique. Appressoria only formed on epidermal cell walls isolated from host roots (Daucus carota L.) but did not form on epidermal cell walls isolated from non-host roots (Beta vulgaris L.). Although appressoria formed on host-cell walls, penetration hyphae did not fully develop. The results of this study indicate that appressorium formation by these AM fungi is a contact recognition event that does not require a signal secreted from the host root or the presence of intact host cells.