By forming a symbiotic relationship with fungi, plants not only develop more resistance against diseases, but they can also contribute to more sustainable agriculture, according to a new research study published in Plant Physiology. Lisa Adolfsson and Cornelia Spetea Wiklund from the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences contributed to the study.
Most crops can form symbioses with fungi to obtain nutrients in return. The fungi, in turn, receive carbohydrates produced by the plants’ photosynthesis. The symbiosis, which is known as arbuscular mycorrhiza, is important for sustainable agriculture because it helps plants take better advantage of phosphate that fertilizes the field. To understand how the symbiosis can be better utilised in agriculture, the researchers tried to explore what is behind the increased tolerance. One factor is the way the fungi increase the level of several hormones in both the roots and shoots of the plants.