In the latest of our series of articles from international agritech company Premier Tech, we delve into Mycorrhizae, the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots, which stands as a cornerstone in enhancing crop growth and resource utilization. As mycorrhizal products gain prominence in the agricultural landscape, misconceptions about their usage persist. In this exploration, we explore the truths and myths surrounding mycorrhizae products to guide growers towards informed decisions.
Mycorrhizae are beneficial associations between mycorrhizal fungi and a plant’s root system. Mycorrhizal fungi spores germinate in the soil, creating filaments (hyphae) that penetrate the root cells, thus establishing a symbiotic relationship. This collaboration leads to the development of both intra-radical and extra-radical networks of filaments, enabling efficient exploration of the soil for enhanced access to nutrients and water. Consequently, these vital resources are transferred to the plant, resulting in numerous benefits for crop cultivation.
Various mycorrhizal products are available in diverse formulations (powder, granular, and liquid), concentrations, and qualities. Ongoing advancements in products, technologies, and research are reshaping our understanding of mycorrhizae. Despite these positive developments, certain misconceptions persist. In the following discussion, we aim to clarify the truths and dispel the myths surrounding mycorrhizae products.
A HIGHER NUMBER OF MYCORRHIZAE SPECIES MEANS BETTER RESULTS.
Contrary to common belief, having a higher number of mycorrhizae species in a product does not translate to better results; in fact, it often yields the opposite outcome. A plant can sustain only one association with a particular mycorrhizal fungi species. Introducing multiple species creates competition among them, which is not advantageous for the plant. The initial colonizer does not ensure the highest success; instead, it gains precedence. It is recommended to select a product with a concentrated presence of a single mycorrhizae species known for its effective performance, rather than opting for a product with multiple species at lower concentrations.
ECTOMYCORRHIZAE ARE EFFECTIVE FOR CANNABIS PLANTS.
Although ectomycorrhizae can colonize five to ten percent of plant species, cannabis is not among them. Ectomycorrhizae do not penetrate the root cells; instead, they develop around the roots and on the exterior. For cannabis plants, it is essential to seek out endomycorrhizae. Endomycorrhizae are capable of colonizing 70% to 90% of plant species, including cannabis. Unlike ectomycorrhizae, endomycorrhizae penetrate the root cells, forming structures like arbuscules for the exchange of nutrients and water with the plant.
WHOLE INOCULANT (PROPAGULES) PERFORM BETTER THAN ONLY VIABLE SPORES.
The propagule count specified on most mycorrhizae products indicates the presence of spores (viable and unviable), hyphae, and root fragments. However, it is crucial to note that only viable spores, those with the capacity to germinate, can successfully colonize a plant’s root system. Spores are to mycorrhizal fungi what seeds are to cannabis plants—a fundamental component enabling fungi reproduction. Consequently, even if a mycorrhizal product boasts millions of propagules, its effectiveness hinges on the presence of viable spores. Without viable spores, the product will not contribute to plant development. Therefore, the genuine value of a mycorrhizal inoculant lies in the quantity of viable spores it contains, as only viable spores can efficiently initiate symbiosis.
ALL METHODS OF APPLICATION YIELD IDENTICAL RESULTS.
To establish the symbiosis, mycorrhizal fungi spores must be close to the plant roots. The optimal recommendation is to directly apply mycorrhizal inoculant to the roots, either in powder, granular or slurry form. This method ensures maximum proximity between the spores and the roots, facilitating a rapid establishment of symbiosis. Particularly with crops like cannabis, which have a short growing cycle, employing this technique is the most effective way to obtain optimal benefits. Alternatively, techniques such as blending the inoculant with the soil are effective, but there may be a delay in the establishment of symbiosis. This is because the roots need to grow and come into contact with the dispersed spores throughout the growing media.
MYCORRHIZAE CAN ONLY BE GROWN ON LIVING PLANTS.
While the predominant method for commercially producing mycorrhizae involves growing them on the root systems of living plants (in vivo production), it is not the exclusive nor the optimal technique. In fact, this production approach has notable drawbacks that the “root organ culture” method just does not have (in vitro production). In vitro production occurs in meticulously controlled, aseptic laboratory conditions, allowing for the consistent generation of products that are viable, highly concentrated, species-specific, and free from pathogens. Achieving such precision and quality is impossible when relying on the cultivation of mycorrhizal fungi on plants exposed to external conditions.
In conclusion, it is crucial to take all these factors into consideration when choosing the appropriate product for your crop to fully harness the wide array of benefits provided by a high-quality mycorrhizal product.
- STRONGER PLANT – Stress resistance.
- FASTER GROWTH – Improve plant structure and shorter veg time.
- INCREASE YIELD – Overall more biomass.
- IMPROVED QUALITY – Increase cannabinoids and terpenes content.
Learn more about the mycorrhizal inoculant with the greatest viable spore concentration PRO-MIX® CONNECT™.