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Can fungi help grow better cider apples?


Planet Earth Online 01/6/2013

Duncan Cameron of the University of Sheffield explains the symbiotic relationship between cider apple trees and fungi in the soil to Planet Earth online the website of the Natural Environment Research Council.

“That's exactly what we're doing. So 80% to 90% of all plant species that have ever lived form a symbiosis, a kind of mutualistic partnership with fungus in the soil and what happens is the tree will fix carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and it turns this into sugar which it moves to its roots and it gives this sugar to the mycorrhizal fungus - this is the fungal symbiont. And what the fungus does is that it grows out into the soil and it can explore a much bigger volume of the soil than the plant roots and it can get hold of nutrients and it transports these back to the plant in return for the sugar that the plant is providing it with. So it's what we call a mutualistic symbiosis where both partners are benefiting.”



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