Lichens and Mycorrhizae

Symbioses are the type of intimate associations which involves two or more species. Fungi have numerous symbioses involving many eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Symbioses are categorized according to the relative benefit or harm that the partners experience as a consequence of the interactions i.e. Parasitism or mutualism in the association.

Lichen - The appearance of lichens is plant-like which hides their true identity. It is not a single organism, but the result is mutualistic symbiosis between an alga or cyanobacteria and a fungus. The fungus lichen provides its partner a benefit by giving protection and in return it gains nutrients. Lichens can grow in a wide range of shapes and is usually determined according to the organization of the fungal filaments. The fungus part of lichen benefits from the algae or cyanobacteria as they produce food by photosynthesis. 

Mycorrhizae – This association is between fungi and plant roots, where the fungi derive photosynthetic sugars from the plants, and they assist the plant by facilitating the uptake of mineral nutrients and water. Approximately 70-80% of all plants have mycorrhizae. There are two major forms of mycorrhizae.

  • Ectomycorrhizae are formed primarily by basidiomycetes and also a few ascomycetes. 
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizae are formed by zygomycetes called glomales
  • Mutualist dynamics
  • Cyanolichens
  • Occurrence of mycorrhizal associations
  • Types of mycorrhizas

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