Fungi and plant roots: a love story
There are many types of “good” fungi that form symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships with plants. These relationships are known as mycorrhizae, and the microorganisms are called mycorrhizal fungi. These specialized fungi effectively extend the plant root system with mycelium – a web of long microscopic filaments called hyphae. A mycelium’s surface area can be up to 100 times greater than that of the plant root itself. This “secondary root system” absorbs valuable nutrients (and water) that otherwise are simply unavailable to the plant.