Welcome to INVAM
The content of this website focuses on a group of soil-borne fungi found in almost
any habitat worldwide. They partner with many plant species by colonizing roots
and producing hyphae in the rhizosphere to facilitate uptake of nutrients (mostly
immobile phosphorus) and to provide other benefits, either directly and indirectly.
This mutually beneficial symbiosis is called an “arbuscular mycorrhizal” association
” referring to specialized fungal structures interfacing with the contents of root
cortical cells and “mycorrhizal” referring to the fungus (myco) – root (rhizo) interaction. This particular mycorrhizal
association began more than 400 million years ago with the first land plants and
both partners have coevolved to the present day. As obligate symbionts, the fungi
have evolved exclusively in their associations with host plants and so it is no
surprise that they comprise a unique and separate evolutionary lineage now classified
as the phylum Glomeromycota. The symbiosis has a sustainable net benefit to both
partners, or they would have gotten a “divorce” long before now. This benefit can
be physiological, nutritional, ecological or any combination of these processes.
Therefore, exploiting and managing mycorrhizas has important and sustainable consequences
for both agricultural and natural ecosystems.