A Mutually Beneficial Relationship18th May 2013 • Stephanie's Blog • Stephanie Donaldson
Since I began working with Carbon Gold, trialling their biochar products (and contributing to their website as The Charlady) I have begun to appreciate and understand just how important mycorrhizal fungi are to plants. They create a microscopic web that provides the vital conduit that exchanges nutrients from the soil for carbon from the plants. When we dig the ground this web is broken which is why it is a good idea to add mycorrhiza to the soil, to re-establish the connection. By adding biochar we also provide an ideal home for the fungi where they can get on with their good work. Now there is evidence that the fungi also help plants defend themselves against enemies such as aphids. A new study (reported by the BBC) focused on how plants respond to enemy attack and found that plants attached to one another by a micorrhizal network could communicate and release the same chemical defence regardless of whether they were being actively attacked or not. This did not happen with plants without a micorrhizal connection. Interesting stuff.