Microbial ecology of the arbuscular mycorrhiza


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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi interact with a wide variety of organisms during all stages of their life. Some of these interactions such as grazing of the external mycelium are detrimental, while others including interactions with plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PG PR) promote mycorrhizal functioning. Following mycorrhizal colonisation the functions of the root become modified, with consequences for the rhizosphere community which is extended into the mycorrhizosphere due to the presence of the AM external mycelium. However, we still know relatively little of the ecology of AM fungi and, in particular, the mycelium network under natural conditions. This area merits attention in the future with emphasis on the fungal partner in the association rather than the plant which has been the focus in the past.