Fungi important in Arctic nitrogen cycle

May 09, 2006

U.S. biologists say a new method of calculating nitrogen transfer from mushrooms to plants is proving that fungi is important in the Arctic nitrogen cycle.

Researchers from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., say they are gaining insight into how fungi living symbiotically on plant roots transfer vital nutrients to their hosts.

The analytical technique was developed by John Hobbie, co-director of the MBL's Ecosystems Center, and his son, Erik Hobbie of the University of New Hampshire. They say the method may be applied to nearly all conifers, oaks, beeches, birch and shrubs, such as blueberry and cranberry -- in fact, all nitrogen-poor ecosystems -- and will be an important tool for future studies of plant nitrogen supply.

Although scientists have long known when soil nitrogen is in short supply, mycorrhizal fungi transfer nutrients to their host plants in exchange for plant sugars derived from photosynthesis, the rates of transfer had never been quantified in the field.

The study is published in the April issue of the journal Ecology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Average temperature in Finland has risen by more than two degrees

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Orchids and fungi: An unexpected case of symbiosis

Jul 12, 2011

The majority of orchids are found in habitats where light may be a limiting factor. In such habitats it is not surprising that many achlorophyllous (lacking chlorophyll), as well as green, orchids depend on ...

Secrets of cooperation between trees and fungi revealed

Mar 05, 2008

Plants gained their ancestral toehold on dry land with considerable help from their fungal friends. Now, millennia later, that partnership is being exploited as a strategy to bolster biomass production for next generation ...

Recommended for you

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

Dec 21, 2014

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

Dec 20, 2014

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.