Interactions between mycorrhizal fungi and other soil organisms
- Cite this article as:
- Fitter, A.H. & Garbaye, J. Plant Soil (1994) 159: 123. doi:10.1007/BF00000101
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Mycorrhizal fungi interact with a wide range of other soil organisms, in the root, in the rhizosphere and in the bulk soil. These interactions may be inhibitory or stimulatory; some are clearly competitive, others may be mutualistic. Effects can be seen at all stages of the mycorrhizal fungal life-cycle, from spore population dynamics (predation, dispersal and germination) through root colonization to external hyphal growth. Two areas that seem likely to be of particular importance to the functioning of the symbiosis are the role of bacteria in promoting mycorrhiza formation and of soil animals in grazing the external mycelium. Mycorrhizal fungi also modify the interactions of plants with other soil organisms, both pathogens, such as root-inhabiting nematodes and fungi, and mutualists, notably nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These interactions are probably important both in natural ecosystems, where pathogens are increasingly recognized as playing controlling roles, and in agricultural systems, where mycorrhizas may be valuable in designing integrated systems of pest control and growth stimulation.