Newly discovered Fungus feeds plant with phosphorus- Research by Cluster of Excellence on Plant Science, University of Cologne

Researchers at the University of Cologne have discovered how a previously unknown fungus supplies a plant with the important mineral phosphorus. The findings are important for new crops of plants that optimally cooperate with beneficial fungi and that are economical in their use of soil resources. The study was published in PNAS.

Plants are populated by a large number of microorganisms, the entirety of which is called microbiome. This includes mushrooms from the ground.

The research group led by Professor Marcel Bucher from the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Science (CEPLAS) has now shown that a previously unknown fungus from the microbiome in the root of the plant Arabis alpina (Alpine geese cress) supplies its host plant with phosphorus in nutrient-poor soils and promotes its growth.

“The results of the work are important for understanding the cooperation of plants with the microorganisms that populate their roots by the thousands,” says Professor Marcel Bucher. The researchers describe the results of their work in their article “Root-associated fungal microbiota of non-mycorrhizal Arabis alpina and its contribution to plant phosphorus nutrition” in the current issue of the “Proceedings” of the American National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

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