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Mycorrhizal Fungi

Plants inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi had robust root systems and could be grown with significantly less chemical fertilizers and water. On top of that, new research was showing that these mycorrhizal fungi could lessen the amount of chemical pollution reaching waterways, reduce soil erosion and produce more nutritious plants. By sequestering the greenhouse gas CO2 and depositing carbon in the soil, scientists now consider mycorrhizal fungi as an important tool in the fight against global warming.

Mycorrhizal (my-core-rise-ul) fungi excrete powerful chemicals that dissolve mineral nutrients, absorb water, retard soil pathogens, and glue soil particles together into a healthful porous structure. In return, the mycorrhizal fungi receive sugars and other compounds from the plant for their own nutrition.

Do I Need Mycorrhizae? In today's man-made environments plants can be greatly stressed and the relationship between fungus and root is critical. Unnatural conditions such as concrete, asphalt, roadsides, sidewalk cut outs, trenching, drain fields, air pollution, shopping malls, business districts, and suburban developments adversely effect the presence and abundance of mycorrhizal fungi.

Man-made environments often suffer from disturbance, compaction, top soil loss, and the absence of quality organic matter, conditions which reduce the habitat necessary for the mycorrhizal fungi to survive and thrive. Artificial landscapes effect the mycorrhizal relationship in two fundamental ways. First, they isolate the plant from beneficial mycorrhizal fungi available in natural settings and, secondly, they increase plant stress and the need for water, nutrients, and soil structure mediated by their below-ground "partners". Many nursery and agricultural soils lack mycorrhizae due to excessive and long-term uses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Endomycorrhizal Plants: 90% of Plants—Mostly Green, Leafy Plants and most Commercially Produced Plants. Shrubs and foliage plants except for Rhododendron, Azalea, and Heath; Berries except for blue-berries, cranberries and lingonberries; Nut trees except pecan, hazelnuts and filberts. Flowers, Vegetables except Brassica and beets, cultivated grasses except weedy grasses; Fruit trees including tropical fruits; many wetland/aquatic species except rushes and horsetails.

More Information . . . ., U.S.D.A. Research Soil Scientist and University Researcher, Dr. Mike Amaranthus decided it was time to bring sustainability to the mainstream. We were having excellent results in experiments with mycorrhizal fungi and plants, says Dr. Mike. By sequestering the greenhouse gas CO2 and depositing carbon in the soil, scientists now consider mycorrhizal fungi as an important tool in the fight against global warming. Dr. Mike calls starting a business that improves the bottom line for growers while simultaneously providing great services for the environment as Ecolicious. Ecolicious means making ecological decisions appetizing. Saving our customers dollars AND the earth's resources is a win/win, says Dr. Mike.

Carbon Grazing has specific relevance for adapting to climate change and worsening drought. Carbon management has always been important for rural producers, but with climate change, it is going to be even more important. It is carbon that provides the landscape with increased resilience. Grain growers have been alerted that they are likely to hear more about "farming carbon" over the next few years. However, carbon is just as important to grazing as it is to cropping, which is why Carbon Grazing has come into being.

Mycor Root
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Mycorrhizal Symbiosis

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