3 ways Mycorrhizal Fungi benefits the environment – not just your garden!

mycorrhizal fungi for carbon storage 1

Rapidly increasing carbon emissions is one of the greatest threats to our environment and is linked to the negative impacts of climate change. There are clear links between healthy soils and its capacity to store higher amounts of carbon for longer periods of time.

Over the last few months we’ve been talking about the benefits of Mycorrhizal fungi and improving plant vitality and soil health.  

Here’s a quick recap before we lift the lid on just how great Mycorrhizal really is; the positive effects are far reaching. Whilst your home garden might be looking great (we hope it is!), healthy soil full of nutrients also benefits the wider environment too.

Benefits to crops 

  1. Nutrient dense crops – the plant can uptake more nutrients from the soil, meaning more goodness for the plant to produce fruit and vegetables.
  2. Less fertiliser needed – improved use of applied fertiliser and native minerals means you can apply less fertiliser to get the same result, giving cost and time benefits.
  3. Drought and heat resistance – helps plants cope with extreme weather conditions or irregular precipitation.
  4. Forms soil aggregates – helps the soil stay together, reducing the loss of valuable topsoil.
  5. Resilience – the more robust the plants, the more resistant they are to pest and pathogens, and fewer sprays are needed.

Mycorrhizal fungi in action

As most of the good stuff happens below the surface, it can be difficult to visualise just how well the root systems develop after Mycorrhizal fungi is added to the soil. These images show a comparison between plants treated with fungi and without.

Rootella Mycorrhizal Fungi

Read more about Mycorrhizal fungi here.

3 ways Mycorrhizal Fungi benefits the environment

Mycorrhizal fungi really are a superhero in the growing world and are a valuable part of the environmental ecosystem. Farmers and growers are not only providing food for the world, but by keeping their land healthy they are also ensuring a healthy world for us all to live in.

  1. Mycorrhizal fungi increase soil nutrient uptake in 90% of plant species. This helps plants to absorb more nutrients, resulting in fruit and vegetables that are more nutrient-rich. This offers health benefits to consumers. 
  2. Healthy soil prevents erosion. Mycorrhizal fungi forms soil aggregates, helping the soil to stay together and reducing loss of topsoil. Erosion leads to loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation and soil salinity.
  3. It can help combat climate change. Truth. Glomalin (an enzyme produced by Mycorrhizal fungi) is a vital link in carbon storage; plants move carbon CO2 from the environment and store it in the soil. Less carbon in the atmosphere will have positive impacts on climate change.

Hang on, so my soil can help reverse climate change?

For sure! The major benefit of Mycorrhizal fungi that is often overlooked is its positive environmental impact due to its capacity to store CO2 in the soil. 

Having plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere isn’t a foreign concept, but knowing what the plants DO with that Carbon is a little unknown, until now.

We know that through photosynthesis, plants and trees breathe in CO2 and breathe out clean air. A lesser known fact is that Mycorrhizal fungi play a key role as they make it possible for larger amount of carbon to be stored in the soil for longer periods of time – up to 50 years!

When CO2 enters the plant, it travels down into the roots and into the millions of kilometres of mycorrhizal fungal extensions in the ground. These organisms regulate carbon storage and effectively take carbon down into the soil. According to Australian soil scientist Christine Jones, plants with mycorrhizal connections can transfer up to 15 percent more carbon to soil than their non-mycorrhizal counterparts.[1]

From here, Glomalin does the heavy lifting. Glomalin is a protein compound that stores carbon, locking it in the soil. 

Healthy microbial connections enable the movement of the carbon into long term storage in the soil carbon pool. So, soils teeming with healthy populations of Mycorrhizal fungi are an effective tool in ultimately helping to mitigate climate change.

Rootella for home gardeners  

Available for purchase now.

Roots, Shoots & Fruits has been supplying Mycorrhizal fungi to growers for two decades. The newest range of Mycorrhizal fungi, Rootella, contains more formulations to suit different types of applications, including a granular and a fine powder, with high concentrations of live organisms. Rootella is Biogro certified, and applicable to most crops especially at planting or during root growth periods. It is important that you speak to your ag-retail rep or call Roots, Shoots & Fruits to identify the best formulation for your crop.

View our webstore here now for more information on the Rootella products.

[1] https://e360.yale.edu/features/soil_as_carbon_storehouse_new_weapon_in_climate_fight