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mycorrhiza


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The mutually beneficial association (see mutualism) formed between fungi and the roots of plants. This is a very common form of mutualism; the absorption of mineral ions by the plant roots is enhanced by the presence of the fungus, which benefits by obtaining soluble organic nutrients from the root cells. Ectotrophic mycorrhizas ( ectomycorrhizas) form a network of hyphae around the root and grow into the air spaces between the cells of the root. The hyphae of endotrophic mycorrhizas ( endomycorrhizas or arbuscular mycorrhizas) enter the cortical cells of the host roots, where they form branching structures called arbuscules, which can fill individual host cells.


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