I attended a class put on by Santia Morganics about Mycorrhizae. I learned about how mycorrhizae is colonized. These are my notes.
There are 3 major types of mycorrhizae.
(1) Endo or Arbuscular mycorrhizae (which exist on 85% of the plant families),
(2) Ecto mycorrhizae (which exist on 10% of the plant families (mostly woody plants), and
(3) Ericoid mycorrhizae (which exist on less than 5% of the plant families).
There are several other more obscure forms of mycorrhizae, but they are
highly specific and not used from a commercial perspective.
Some producers grow all of their types
together whereas Santia Morganics grows each isolated from the other
and combines them in exact proportions when packaging the final
product. This assures that their product contains a controlled
proportion of each type. Growing several types together will allow a few to dominate the mix. Each type
has different preferences such as pH, and therefore it's impossible to
level the playing field for each when grown together and some types may
fail to grow.
The reason so many types
are sold together is to provide one that will find your soil
adaptable. So it's important to have a a good assortment of different
Santia Morganics also grows their mycorrhizae in vivo where as some
other manufactures grow in vitro. In vivo means that it's grown in live
plants and soil. In Vitro is grown in a sterile media. By growing in
vivo the mycorrhizae become more adapted to interacting with actual live
plants and other microorganisms. The in vitro grown mycorrhizae fail
to replicate the precise cellular conditions of an organism,
particularly a microbe.
Santia Morganics sells mycorrhizae for soil and another for hydroponics.
The later is finer and water soluable, but the process of reducing the
size destroys some of the mycorrhizae so it will contain a little less.
two mycorrhizae products already contain sufficient amounts of
nutrients to help the mycorrhizae become established quickly, but they also make a couple additives that will and promote the growth of mycorrhizae. One is made for soil and the other is made to dissolve into water so that it can soak down into the root zone or be used for hydroponics. These additives contain no mycorrhizae.
The Myco-Fusion line consists of all three types of mycorrhizae, as well
as Rhizo-Charge and Bio-Jolt companion products, both which are
designed to maximize yield.
The relationship between plant and fungi evolved to help the plants access low levels of phosphorus in the soil but after adding mycorrhizae
phosphorous should be avoided for as long as possible because
mycorrhizae do not grow and colonize roots when the phosphorus level is
high. Therefore it is best to let the relationship become established before adding phosphorous.
Mycorrhizea can survive for many years as long as it is not subjected to
heat over about 120 F. It will lay dormant until the conditions are
right and a host root becomes available. It is okay to store your
mycorrhizae in a warm greenhouse so long as it is kept dry and below 120
Endomycilium is the type we vegetable gardeners want unless we are
growing hardwood plants such as blueberry in which case we would want Ectomycilium. Endomycilium grows
inside of the vegetable roots and sends Hyphae out to feed the plant
with water and nutrients. One cubic centimeter of rich organic soil may
contain 1 km of fungal hyphae.
The mycorrhizal fungi become the interface between the soil and plant
roots: the fungi colonize the roots internally, and the soil externally.
Internally, the fungus becomes the interface where nutrient exchanges
occur between the fungus and plant by direct contact of the fungus with
the root cells: carbon energy moves from the plant to the fungus, and
soil nutrients moves from the fungus to the host plant.