Fungal Root Endophytes

Authored by: Thomas N. Sieber , Christoph R. Grünig

Plant Roots

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  April  2013

Print ISBN: 9781439846483
eBook ISBN: 9781439846490
Adobe ISBN:


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The peripheral root tissues form a morphologically, physically, and chemically complex microcosm that provides a broad selection of different habitats for a myriad of microorganisms: bacteria, actinomycetes, protozoa, nematodes, microalgae, and fungi. The boundary between roots and soil changes all the time because roots constantly modify the nearby soil structure by their mechanical and metabolic activity (Foster et al. 1983). The rhizoplane, the epidermis, and the outer cortex are colonized by microorganisms in a nonrandom manner. Heavy microbial growth can occur on some individual cells, while neighboring cells are almost devoid of microorganisms (Bowen and Rovira 1976). Patchiness of microbial root colonization probably reflects the uneven distribution of organic debris in the soil, which serves as food base for the microorganisms. Many soil bacteria and fungi are able to colonize inter- and or intracellularly the epidermal and the outer cortical cells (OCO) of healthy roots. Only a comparatively small number of organisms, for example, mycorrhizal fungi, endophytes, and pathogens, possess, however, the ability to cross the inner boundary of the rhizosphere and to colonize the inner of root tissues (Bazin et al. 1990).

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