Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are an important group of fungal species that grow symbiotically with plant roots, helping them take up nutrients. Scientists have recently found a group of bacteria called Collimonas that interact with AM fungi, but the function of the relationship is not clear. The EU-funded 'Possible stimulation by mycophagous Collimonas bacteria of arbuscular mycorrhizal functioning' (COLLIAM) project aimed to understand how AM fungi and Collimonas bacteria interact. Researchers intended to use these microorganisms as a soil treatment for sustainable agriculture. COLLIAM conducted physiological experiments to better understand the relationship between AM fungi, Collimonas bacteria and soil nutrients. Initial studies confirmed that Collimonas bacteria feed on parts of the AM fungi, and that the bacteria can take up phosphorus from the soil. Researchers also showed that Collimonas grew up to 10 times faster in the presence of AM fungi, and could in return stimulate growth in the AM fungi. COLLIAM concluded that the mutualistic relationship between AM fungi and Collimonas ultimately benefited plants through increased nutrient availability and strong AM fungi growth. This project has demonstrated that these mutualistic microorganisms could be useful as a soil treatment for sustainable agriculture.
Soil microorganisms, plant roots, arbuscular mycorrhizal, fungal species, bacteria, Collimonas, mycophagous, soil treatment, sustainable agriculture, soil nutrients, phosphorus, mutualistic, fungi growth