Mycorrhiza allow Egyptian clover to grow in salty soil by regulating the uptake and distribution of salt ions into the plant.

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Salty soil represents an extremely harsh environment for plant growth. It causes, among other challenges, an osmotic imbalance that prevents water uptake by roots, prevents the uptake of vital nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, and prevents the ability to maintain a proper sodium/potassium balance in the plant cells. Mycorrhiza is the fungal net that forms on and in the roots of many plants as a mutualistic symbiote. Certain mycorrhiza allow the host plant, like the berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum), to grow in soil that would normally be too salty for it in its pure state. They effectively allow the plant to uptake water, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium using a number of biochemical means such as storing excess salt ions in vacuoles (internal storage spaces), putting the breaks on the transport of salt ions within the host plant, and tapping the surrounding soil for nutrients by extending the fungal network through a greater volume of soil than would be possible for the plant roots alone.

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References

“Several studies investigating the role of AMF in protection against salt stress have demonstrated that the symbiosis often results in increased nutrient uptake, accumulation of an osmoregulator, an increase in photosynthetic rate and water-use efficiency, suggesting that salt-stress alleviation by AMF results from a combination of nutritional, biochemical and physiological effects.” (Heikham et al. 2009:5)

Journal article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis modulates antioxidant response in salt-stressed Trigonella foenum-graecum plantsMycorrhizaOctober 11, 2013
Evelin Heikham, Kapoor Rupam

Journal article
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in alleviation of salt stress: a reviewHeikham E; Kapoor R; Giri B

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Organism
Egyptian CloverTrifolium alexandriumSpecies


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